“I must have gotten all turned around, because I swear we parked on the north end, not over here-” The voice stopped dead. “Who… er, I mean. Hello. Is the Doctor here?”

The Doctor looked up slowly. Rose Tyler was standing at the door of the TARDIS, halfway in, confusion written all across her face. The Doctor had been taking inventory of the things he needed to get while on this small planet just outside the Helix Nebula when suddenly he had heard the lock turning and the door of the TARDIS open.

He cleared his throat. “I am the Doctor, Rose Tyler.” Her name felt foreign on his tongue. He spent years running away from his past and future, from everything that had happened, yet was still supposed to happen on that beach in Utah and in walks the one person that defined his previous two generations. No matter how far he runs…

Rose raised her eyebrows. “Yeah, ‘cept you’re not, though. He’s tall, pinstriped suit, can’t stop talking. Definitely not you. Unless you’ve…”

“Regenerated again? Well. Yes.” She always caught on quick, his girl. Well. Not his girl anymore. 

A look of sudden horror came over her face. “But you can’t! I’ve only been gone for an hour! What happened?!” She ran toward him quickly, but stopped when he raised his hand. 

“You’ve been gone for much longer than an hour for me, Rose. 194 years, to be exact.” He ran over to the console, looking at the screen and pressing a few buttons. “Must have accidentally crossed my own timeline, though really, don’t know how that happened. I know for certain I set the date for 5093, not 5033, unless…” The TARDIS. She must have changed it. She may not take him where he always wanted to go, but she always took him where he needed to, he thought.

“At least we know your horrible driving hasn’t changed.” Rose laughed before slowly coming closer to him. “Can I…” She hesitated for a moment. “Can I touch you? I mean, we won’t cause a paradox or nothin’, right?”

“Nope, no paradox.” He wrapped his arms around her, hugging her tight. He was surprised by how familiar she still smelled. “But the thing is… My Rose never mentioned anything like this. So she either never met the future me or…” He trailed off.

“Or she forgot.” Rose nodded, knowing what he was going to say. “You’re going to have to wipe this meetin’, aren’t you? To preserve the timeline?”

He nodded sadly and raised his hands to her temples. “One thing before you go, Rose Tyler. Do you like the bowtie?”

She smiled and he erased her memories.


As the TARDIS dematerialized, the Doctor decided that after this, he just couldn’t be alone right now. Amy and Rory… no. Hm, but maybe… Maybe he’d go see his old friend, Craig.