He knows how that whole scheme of things works out. Or doesn't, in all cases. Nothing lives forever, not even him. Not even the Family, who would succumb to the natural order of the universe in several millennia. Not even Borusa, whose statue was shattered during the War. The Master, swallowed up by the TARDIS. Nothing.
He wished everything that could die would just stay dead. Wouldn't scrape for life and hurt the living. He wouldn't push past his thirteenth life, he didn't need more life than what he'd already had. They shouldn't want it, either.
There's some irony in that, he thinks. Now, after everything that's happened.
He blames himself, of course. If he'd thought through their plan of escape, they wouldn't have gotten cornered by those---what were they? Extraplanar beings? Whatever they were, they were armed. If he'd thought through what he said, the largest of them wouldn't have leveled a gun at him and if he'd thought twice about his rudeness he wouldn't have fired.
And if he was even slightly faster, Rose wouldn't have been able to move in front of the bullet.
She drops and one of the beings takes a hold of him and it's horrible and terrible and she's there, she's right there and her eyes go wide and dark and she's suddenly gone. He couldn't even hold her as she went and it's those guns, those bloody stupid guns and Rose had a whole life and---
He's not proud of what he did to her killers. It's one of those memories he wishes he could do without.
He drops to his knees afterwards and looks at the body of his friend. More than his friend, but he's never been able to admit that. Her mouth is slightly open and her eyes are still wide with shock. Rose had never been shot before; the sensation is exceptionally strange the first time, he knows. The only time. It only took one time for Rose.
Something crawls out of the ground. Something black and smoky and it grasps what was Rose and slides into her mouth. He's screaming at it, screaming at it to let her go, to get away from her even though it's not really her anymore, it's not Rose anymore, it's just this shell of what she was.
The blackness fills the shell. The whites of her eyes deepen and change and the muscles in her neck and shoulders and back start to move. She stands, looms over him.
Rose is gone, but something is animating her dead form. It's worse than death, it's revolting. It's beyond disgusting. He lunges for the body of one of the extraplanar creatures and pulls out its revolver. He stands and points it right at the head of the thing standing in front of him.
"Ironic, isn't it?" the creature uses Rose's vocal cords, too, and the words that come out are in her familiar melodic tones. "I think he's the one who shot her initially."
His finger is on the trigger. His finger is on the trigger. His finger is on the trigger. He just has to pull back the hammer and kill the thing that killed Rose. Rose. She just wanted to travel the universe. Just wanted to be with him. Forever, she said. It was a matter of forever.
As if it can read his mind, the creature speaks again. "I'll keep her body alive for you. Forever."
He hates immortality.
He would rather have had Rose die of old age. The slow path. He never wanted her to have to live forever. It was a curse.
He pulls back the hammer on the gun.
But can he really shoot something that looks like Rose?
Can he really shoot something?
His hearts hurt. They hurt. He hasn't even had time to grieve. It's been only minutes.
"Show me the TARDIS," the creature instructs, and she holds out Rose's hand to him. She---it doesn't seem afraid of the gun or of him.
It should be a very simple return gesture to take the hand. He's taken Rose's hand so many times in the past. So many. So many times. But it's not Rose, it's an abomination wearing her face.
And he's still holding a gun and unable to decide if he should use it.
He can't decide which is worse.
Muse: The Doctor
Fandom: Doctor Who
Word Count: 743
Special thanks to banished_dame for the idea!