08 | the ship you want to break up so you can stan the hell out of them
Does it need saying?
SPOILERS UP TO THE END OF S4 FYI
SO. When I say that Rose/Ten is the ship I want to break up, I really mean Rose/Ten 2.0 (also known as "Cloen" ? ? ?) is the ship I want to break up. Because. Well. When I first saw Journey's End, I fully admit to yelling "ABOUT TIME" (... or something) when they ate each other's faces. But really, WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT IT, Rose ending up with the Doctor's clone is JUST A LITTLE BIT BIZARRE. I don't particularly condone it. Firstly because Doomsday WAS SUCH PERFECT MISERY WHY WOULD YOU RUIN IT. Secondly because the manufactured HEA just doesn't... fly. It's a totally unproblematised fairytale ending, a wish fulfilment follow-up to "How long are you gonna stay with me?"/"Forever". That doesn't sit well with me in canon. Especially since that's the last we see of them.
But on the other hand, it's also the exact reason for them being on this meme. A !human! Doctor should be a complete riotous mess. A human Doctor paired with Rose should be a complete riotous mess. And unfortunately, none of the post-Journey's End fic I've read has depicted the ship as I secretly (not so secretly) want it to be depicted. For one thing, I really deeply feel that the relationship should just... completely implode and fall apart. And then -- IDK. I actually don't know. But I'd pay good money to see a completely unromanticised Rose/Ten. What would that even look like? WE JUST DON'T KNOW.
Shadiness aside, I do think that this ship says a lot of really fascinating things about the Doctor. One is that Ten seems to be the only incarnation with a strong personal desire for a legit human life. Nine was indifferent, Eleven is -- Eleven; yet, Ten literally went out of his way to give the woman he loved a better version of himself to take home. LMAO? And it says a lot that the original Ten resigned himself to walking away (and leaving his copy with Rose): it shows that he knew very well it was a pipe dream. Because, really, a normal human life? Growing old together with the object of his affections? A brand new start? Redemption? All of that is impossible. He will never be able to have that. He will never be able to even deserve that.
But at least, he can give his lady love a clone (... lol). I think that for Ten, this is the ultimate gift (... lol) to both Rose and "himself". It's everything he wants -- everything that the real him can't have -- wrapped in a big blue bow. Original Ten can't be saved, but his doppelganger -- the shiny, new (= innocent?), mortal version of himself -- can at least be given the chance to be whipped into shape by the woman who represents all the things in life worth wanting: hope, redemption, humanity, normality, etc. etc.
It's also interesting that Ten genuinely believes that Rose would just go along with it. Of course, he takes off before she has any opportunity to argue otherwise, but the point stands. I think it reveals something about their relationship that hardcore shippers probably aren't going to appreciate me suggesting: that deep down, Ten knows/fears/suspects that the man with whom Rose is in love isn't the reality of him. Granted, this isn't remotely unique to Rose/Ten. This is characteristic of virtually every doctor/companion dynamic: Ten keeps his distance from Martha because he's uncomfortable with her idealized love for him, Eleven spends a lot of time angsting about constantly disappointing Amy, etcetera etcetera -- the Doctor is a very screwed up little boy / old man, what's new.
But Rose/Ten IS notable insofar as it's the only doctor/companion duo in New Who where the Doctor is canonically in love with his human companion (who is also in love with him). This tends to be problematic. Mostly because Rose is a 19-year-old shop assistant and the Doctor is a [insert ludicrous age here] Time Lord with a habit of being a controlling, paternalistic bag of dicks. And although they're brilliant partners in crimes and best friends and all that jazz, there's always that subtle imbalance of power throughout their relationship. One of the best examples is in School Reunion, when Rose meets Sarah Jane Smith for the first time and is confronted with the reality that she may not be ~special after all -- the Doctor has literally been around the block with dozens of plucky gorgeous women, and left most of them in emotional ruins. And the reason for his ~damage, as explained by Ten, is that "you can spend the rest of your life with me, but I can't spend the rest of mine with you."
Which brings me to the most unpopular opinion I may spout in this fandom: I don't think that Rose is the be-all and end-all for the Doctor. I don't think he loved her ~more than he will ever love anyone in his life. Because. He's the Doctor. He loves everyone -- but after losing his entire planet, he never loves anyone more than his own self-preservation. And you can see that clear as day in Doomsday: Rose is ready and willing to leave EVERYTHING behind, permanently, to stay with him, but he's already prepared to let go -- even before they're forcibly separated, he attempts to make the decision for her to stay in the alternate dimension with her family and without him. And he lets go again in Journey's End. Because the truth is that he was always prepared for the end. She wasn't.
So, no, I don't agree with the right!shipping side of fandom's view of the Doctor's love for Rose: I don't think his feelings for her amounted to an ~all-consuming, beyond reason, beyond rationality, beyond self-preservation, "without you the universe itself ceases to have meaning" sort of earth-shaking codependence (that's Eleven's Amy thing -- but that's a topic for another day), nor should that really be... something... to be aspired to...? Rather, I think Rose was the Doctor's attempt to do it right.
And the epitome of that effort is Rose/Ten 2.0. Who I want to break up in their AU. So, so much. It would make me cry masochistic tears of bloody joy. TL;DR WHERE IS THE FIC?