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=> untitled drabble: rod and rose
=> careful but not sure how it goes
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Life expectancy is longer in this new London (new new new new new new new new new new new York, the Doctor echoes in her head). Rose figures it’s something about the air, it’s cleaner somehow, which makes no sense with all the zeppelins. Maybe people here just care more about the right things, health and human kindness and all that. But then Rose remembers the Jackie who was not her mother, and thinks, No, maybe it’s something fundamentally different about this universe, different elements or more of some or others.

Rose doesn’t realize it until a conversation with a colleague at Torchwood (Rose Tyler, you are brilliant, she hears sometimes) who looked, to Rose, very young for seventy-five. Hadn’t you thought about retiring? Rose had asked upon learning her true age, and Serena said Retirement, bloody hell! I don’t know what you did in that other London of yours, but here retirement is for old people. Rose had phrased it delicately: In our London, seventy-five was rather an advanced age. And Serena snorted. We retire closer to ninety ‘round these parts.

Rose figures it’s something about the air, it’s cleaner somehow, which makes no sense with all the zeppelins. Maybe people here just care more about the right things, health and human kindness and all that. But then Rose remembers the Jackie who was not her mother, and thinks, No, maybe it’s something fundamentally different about this universe, different elements or more of some or others.

At forty-five, Rose is diagnosed with a breast cancer that doctors in the London of her birth would have considered terminal. She takes a month off work for treatment and she’s right as rain.

Despite what her closest friends like to say about the “inferior medical treatment” she received for the first nineteen years of her life (stupid apes, his Northern accent bitter), Rose retires at ninety in nearly-perfect health. And when she dies, finally, of some disease she doesn’t understand except for the part where it’s killing her, she thinks about the ways the Doctor was and wasn’t right.

It said she’d die in battle and on her home planet, she supposes she did. Killed in action, defending the earth and all that rubbish. There’s a headstone and an empty grave that no one goes to visit, since she and Shareen had that falling-out and Mickey and mum are here. And when the Doctor wants to mourn her, she knows, he goes to Torchwood, because that’s where she goes when she misses him.

It said she’d die in battle and she is, isn’t she? A battle against Death she cannot possibly win. And it was soon, to a Beast that lived eternally, born or created before Time. To the Doctor, too; been less than a hundred years, and by now he’s lived a thousand. Ten percent of anything is tiny.

It said she’d die in battle and the Doctor said it lied, sternly, in the voice that meant this discussion is over. But the Doctor lied, too. He did that often, to protect her. So Rose supposes the Doctor was right.

Rose hopes that Heaven is like the heart of the Tardis.
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