But that was how she tells you two apart. Him in the t-shirt and blue suit and you in the classic brown with the tie. He's more relaxed and human and you're classically stuck in the past. Well, it wasn't as if your sartorial tastes are what're keeping her from you: you are.
This is how it has to be. She's got a family back here, a great big world, and you…well, you've got a secondary clone that's too dangerous to be left out on his own. You think, briefly, that you could just let him loose in Pete's world and take Rose away.
That would be just like Davros said though, wouldn't it? Running away because you dare not look back in shame. This thing with your face and your personality is your responsibility. So, naturally, you have to find him a home, a world, a nanny.
Both he and Donna understand when you land on Bad Wolf Bay what's about to happen next. Donna steps to the side and lets Rose suss out who's the Doctor she really wants. Her hair is wild and her mascara's running and you realize you never did give up loving her.
And it's the best life you can give to Rose. She's willing to live out the rest of her life with you, but you can't live out yours with her. He can.
And he loves her as much as you do. You both have the memory of the last time you stood on this beach and you both know what the next thing you were going to say was. The difference is when she asks you, you don't know how to make it come out.
Does it need saying?
It does, apparently. The man who wears your face leans down and whispers it in her ear. You don't need to hear his words to know what he's saying. Part of you wants to scream those words out first, have her know that you felt them first. But this is how it has to be.
But that human side of him is enough to make the words come out where they get stuck in your throat. You imagine his touch is warm where yours is milk-bottle cold. He's you but he's more (or maybe it's less?) and really she deserves that, doesn't she?
She kisses him like you want to be kissed by her. He wraps his arms around her and holds her like you'd hold her if you could. His single heart beats in time to hers where yours was always a little off.
There's only so much you can take and you and Donna leave. You don't look at the monitor, just step aside and let Donna send the ship into orbit. You like to imagine Rose doesn't notice your departure, that the lovers are still happily kissing on the beach, living out the life you can't have.
Your time for grief is brief, because you've got another crisis to handle: Donna. Psychic surgery's never been your strong point, but you sever your best friend from you and leave her to the life of Pringles and TMZ that she had before.
It feels very like murder, actually.
But that's just like you, you think, circling the console in your rain-drenched suit. Killing your own best friend and giving up the woman you love to a man who's like you but a little bit different.
But the Doctor's…still you.
And there was that moment, one shining moment, where Rose looked at you and you thought she could see the difference between you and your double outside of the color of your suits.
You tug off the wet brown suit and look down at it a moment. It's very nearly black from the rain, the dark blue pinstripes blending in with the dirty brown cotton. It's like a uniform, sometimes, when you wear it. Suit, shirt, tie. Sometimes you mix it up with a t-shirt or the dark blue suit or the blue suit.
Now there's just the one suit, your suit. Brown suit of the traveling man, while the blue suit's the suit of the domesticated man in the other world. You don't imagine he's got it perfect, oh, no. He's got the wanderlust you do but he has no ability to expend it. He'll live out his days on Earth watching the sun rise and set and he'll never be able to relive it. He'll have intimate knowledge of the moving mountains of Felspoon but he'll never see them. But he's got Rose. He's got the only adventure you can never have.
I've traveled to all sorts of places. Done things you could never imagine. But you two, street corner, getting a taxi home. I've never had a life like that.
You toss the brown jacket aside and stand before the glowing console. A man out of uniform, unable to decide what path you want. You've always loved the stars, but the stars have been all you've had for 900 years. Longer than that, if you're honest with yourself.
The TARDIS in your mind tries to comfort, but she knows she can't. Eventually she picks up where you've left off in setting up the destination and leaves you to your melancholy. You don't forget she's lost Donna too, lost the things you've lost and feels the pain you feel.
She also feels a sense of rejection that you can't take away. It's not just an echo of your rejection from being the wrong man on the beach for Rose; it's because right now you don't want her, don't want this.
Because for a moment, this moment, you wish you were wearing the blue suit on the beach.
Muse: The Doctor (Ten)
Fandom: Doctor Who
Word Count: 962
Special thanks to ambitious_woman for the plot suggestion. You are a brilliant inspiration.