So…Rose is my least favourite of the regulars, you probably know that. Mostly because I hate the way she treats Mickey. But I guess I can understand why she acts the way she does; i.e. she is a slightly spoiled teenager quite probably very much in love who just had the universe handed to her on a silver platter in the form of an attractive man.
She reflected later that she was extremely glad Mickey hadn’t seen the look on her face when he asked to join the two of them; that would be all the poor bloke needed. And then she reflected, maybe even a little gloomily, that now he was ‘the poor bloke’, as opposed to someone she’d kissed, slept with, and had assumed she was in love with.
She wandered to the console room, and found the Doctor there. She was expecting him to be holding a picture of Sarah Jane or something, but he wasn’t. Maybe he wasn’t even thinking about her, but she didn’t know. Maybe he would never ever mention her again…and maybe he’d never mention Rose Tyler again either, if she ever…left. Was dumped. Abandoned or whatever. Maybe she herself would run into him by chance twenty years later, when she was old and clinging to the past, and he’d be different, have a different girl with him, and the different girl would look at her coldly, frightened. Maybe the different girl would leave her and the Doctor alone for a minute, and she would say to him ‘Why did you leave me, then?’
‘Because nothing lasts forever, Rose. You can’t pretend anything does.’
‘Some things should…some things do! They have to.’ And the future her, a her with no future, started to cry. ‘Some things last forever.’
‘Life doesn’t, Rose. You know that. Didn’t I teach you anything? Don’t you remember have a fantastic life?’
And she was jolted out of her wild imaginings then- because all of a sudden, she did remember. She remembered the hologram, the words still burned into her mind, the thought that he’d thought her strong enough to go on without him. Was that what he taught everyone who’d ever been his friend, eventually? That they were strong enough to go on without him?
She sighed to herself and sat down, and Mickey came and joined her and started talking about where they should go next. He was happier than she’d seen him in ages, all energy and laughs. And then he glanced across at her.
“You all right?” he said in a voice so low even the Doctor didn’t hear. “You looked really miserable for a second there.”
She looked at him- a piece of her old life suddenly in the new one.
I can go anywhere I want to., she thought. See anything I want. Meet people and leave people. Save the world- although not my father. Live anywhere in the universe- apart from home.
“I’m okay,” Rose said. “Thank you.”
“Rose!” the Doctor called. “Come pull this lever- and hold down this button here. Mickey! You hold this.”
Rose got up and went to the console. She was still not exactly happy– she was not the Doctor’s future, or his past, merely his here and now. But perhaps there was no ‘merely’ about here and now. Surely here and now was as important as anything, when time travel was your life.
“Come on, Rose!” the Doctor called, holding down two levers at once. “We’re not waiting forever!”
No, Rose thought, You’re not. I can go anywhere. But I can’t go home- not yet, not now. And it’s going to happen again, isn’t it- I’m always going to want what I can’t have.