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For His Future

Chapter Text

Rose sprints down the street toward the Doctor, ignoring the way her bulky gun bounces against her body.

The Doctor! Her Doctor, finally, after all this time.

She almost sobs out of sheer relief, and joy, and most of all disbelief. She feels her body relaxing and the tension escaping, in spite of the danger she can feel in the air, because now, whatever happens next, at least they’ll be together.

The breath is forced from her lungs when an equally desperate Doctor crashes into her, their arms instinctively wrapping around each other to steady themselves, but the moment of unbridled happiness is cut short when the harsh scream of a Dalek cuts through the air.

"EXTERMIN–"

The metallic voice cuts off mid-scream as the familiar grinding of a materializing TARDIS interrupts and lands right on top of the Dalek, flattening it to the earth.

Clinging to each other, still on a high of emotions from their reunion, Rose and the Doctor stare in shock at the unexpected arrival of another TARDIS, and her mouth falls open when the him she’d just left steps out onto the street, his brow furrowed in confusion as he surveys his surroundings.

“Oh dear,” she hears him mutter.

“What?!” Her Doctor in pinstripes exclaims in astonishment. ”What?!”

Chapter Text

“Oh dear,” the Doctor says, glancing around him with casual interest before, inevitably, his gaze lands on Rose.

“What?!” The man he assumes is future him gapes at him, his mouth hanging open in shock. ”What?!”

The Doctor, more than a little stunned that his ship has redirected him from his intended destination so thoroughly, grins at the pair standing wrapped in each other’s arms in the middle of the street. “Well, get on with it, then,” he calls out, gesturing at them to continue whatever it was he’d so rudely interrupted.

Rose blinks, then shakes her head, turning to the tall, lanky man in front of her with a smile. It takes a moment longer for the man in pinstripes to come to his senses, and the Doctor watches as future him flicks his eyes between him and the ground by his TARDIS a few times before returning his focus to Rose.

As if not quite believing that his long-lost companion has suddenly returned, future him gently cups Rose’s face in his hands and stares at her for several moments before leaning down and kissing her sweetly on the lips. The action sends a short and completely unexpected spark of jealousy through his own hearts, but nevertheless, it cheers him greatly to know they’ve found their way back to each other. He’d sensed Rose’s loss so acutely, and to know he doesn’t have to live without her forever makes him happier than he really understands.

“Hi there, Captain Jack Harkness, at your service,” a smooth American voice says to his right, startling him, and he peels his eyes away from the embracing couple to face the newcomer. An unfamiliar man stands next to his TARDIS wearing a dated military coat and sporting a confident smile, holding one hand out to greet him while the other tightly grips a blaster.

The Doctor experiences brief sensation of nausea upon meeting the other man, as something about the Captain scratches uncomfortably against his time sense. Swallowing heavily, he tries to dampen the sensation as he doesn’t think the man poses any kind of danger, and cautiously returns the handshake.

“Nice landing,” Captain Jack continues. “Couldn’t have planned it better myself.” He smiles disarmingly. “For a moment there, I thought for sure the Doctor was a goner, but you saved the day.”

The Doctor’s eyes widen in shock as his gaze follows Captain Jack’s to the ground. Much to his astonishment, his ship sits on top of a flattened Dalek, obviously crushed to death upon his arrival. Oh, his cheeky TARDIS...

“Well,” he says, returning his gaze to Captain Jack’s, “this is a bit unexpected.”

“So you’re the Doctor, then?” Captain Jack looks far too pleased about his appearance, and drags his eyes rather lecherously up the Doctor’s body. “You sure know how to make an entrance.”

Blushing under Captain Jack’s intense… study, the Doctor sniffs and straightens his overcoat somewhat self-consciously. “Yes, well… I thought I was landing on Gallifrey, not…” He looks around curiously. “Earth?”

“Gallifrey, so that must mean…” Jack trails off and his gaze turns pitiful.

“Jack, Donna, Rose,” a new voice interrupts loudly, “I’d like to introduce you to... me!” His future self walks over to him, gripping tightly to Rose’s hand, and she sends him a brilliant smile, which he returns automatically. The red-headed woman, Donna, he assumes, walks over from the other TARDIS. “And Jack, meet Donna. Donna, Jack and Rose.” He gestures wildly between them.

“Although,” future him continues, before the others can get a word in edgewise, “I can’t for the life of me figure out why I have no memory of this. I shouldn’t be here. Welllll, past me shouldn’t be here. Me me is right where I need to be. And blimey, as much as I dislike running into past me, it’s a good thing you arrived when you did. Turned that nasty Dalek into a Dalek pancake.”

The Doctor raises his eyebrows in perplexion, trying to follow future him’s rambling speech.

“So you mean to say,” Donna interrupts, nodding in his direction, “that this is you?”

“Right you are, Donna Noble! You remember me telling you about regeneration, right?” the future Doctor says, earning himself an eyebrow raise from Rose.

“Mmmhmmm,” Donna mumbles, staring at him. “You were a bit dishy, Doctor.”

The Doctor smiles. “At the risk of sounding immodest, I have to say, you are absolutely correct.” He winks at Donna.

“Oi!” the Doctor in the pinstriped suit squawks. “I’m still dishy, thank you very much.” He turns to Rose and sniffs, adjusting his tie. “Aren’t I, Rose? Dishy, dashing, and dapper?”

“Yep!” Rose says, popping the ‘p.’ “And more than a little bit foxy.” Rose grins, leaning into his side and patting him soothingly on his chest. She runs her fingers down his tie, distracting both her pinstriped Doctor and himself with her tongue dancing between her teeth.

“Oh, I can’t tell you what I’m thinking right now,” Jack says, his eyes slightly unfocused, as he stares at the three of them.

“As much as I’d love to continue this delightful reunion,” Donna says, interrupting them, “I’m really not in the mood for another sneak attack from a Dalek. How about we move this inside and work out a plan to beat those homicidal pepperpots?”

“Hmmm,” the Doctor attached to Rose mumbles somewhat absently, clearly still distracted by Rose, then shakes his head. “Right! Yes. Everyone in the TARDIS, and you–” Lifting a finger, he points it at him. “My TARDIS. Oooh, blimey, this is about to get complicated.”

Glancing at Rose for confirmation, the Doctor leaves his TARDIS on the street and follows the others inside his future ship.


Once inside the TARDIS, the Doctor in pinstripes strides to the console, clinging to Rose with one hand, and pushes a few buttons. A quick glance at him, and he knows future him had made an attempt to increase the shielding around the ship. It won’t work forever, but it’ll at least give them a few minutes of peace before the Daleks can interfere.

The Doctor follows the others up the ramp, pausing at the top as he inspects the interior. The beautiful rich paneling of his TARDIS is gone and has been replaced with the natural organic coral of the TARDIS. It’s not really his preference, but then again, this isn’t his TARDIS, yet. These preferences to tend to change with each body. The raggedy jumpseat and console filled with a hodge podge of mismatched parts seems to suit the chaotic energy he can feel emanating from his future self.

“Rose, how are you here? Is it really you?” Future him pulls Rose in for a bone crushing hug, and the Doctor stares in wonder. Jack and Donna watch on, both misty eyed with happy grins.

“You met Donna in that pocket universe, and it’s how we knew something was wrong. Nice job with the Bad Wolf, by the way. And then the others were on the monitor, somehow– Jack and Martha and Sarah Jane, and–” Rose places a finger on the pinstriped Doctor’s lips, cutting off his ramble..

“Doctor, hush. I’ll tell you, just stop talking.” She glances at him, the Doctor in velvet, before looking at the others, eventually focusing her gaze on future him.

Since reuniting, the Doctor notes, Rose and his older self haven’t stopped touching for a moment. Such a pull, such an unconscious need, even after a reunion like theirs, is mind boggling. It’s like an unconscious pull to the other, as if instinct draws them together.

Rose and her Doctor lean against the console, while Jack and Donna take seats on the jumpseat. He moves to lean against the railing.

“I worked for Torchwood in the other universe, yeah? And I searched and searched for a way to come back, but there was no way, like you said.” Taking a deep breath, she looks at the ground for a moment. “But then the darkness came.”

“What darkness?” her Doctor asked.

“The stars were going out,” Rose answers. “One by one. We looked up at the sky, and they were just dying. Time runs a bit faster in Pete’s universe, so that’s how we knew something was happening. Basically, we’ve been building this, er, travel machine. This, ehm, this dimension cannon, so I could– Well, so I could…”

The pinstriped Doctor grins at Rose with a knowing grin on his face. “What?”

Rose blushes and nudges him, trying (and failing) to hold back a smile. “So I could come back. Shut up. Anyway, it started to work, and the dimensions started to collapse. Not just in our world, not just in yours, but the whole of reality. Even the Void was dead. Something is destroying everything.” His older self opens his mouth to say something, but Rose holds her hand up. “No, just wait. I met Donna in this pocket universe. An’ then after that, I kept jumping, and I was on this asteroid running from some aliens, and I found the TARDIS! His TARDIS.” Rose nods to him, and the others follow her gaze.

He brought you here?” Her Doctor asks in surprise. “Blimey, I really need to find my memories.”

“Rose rather rudely, or so I thought at the time, barged into my TARDIS and invaded my company. I was busy contemplating some rather dark timelines when she arrived and gave me a much welcome distraction.” He peers at his future self to look for a reaction, and the other Doctor’s mouth tightens in a thin line, jaw clenching, and his heavily shielded mind offers no hints of the future.

Rose smiles at him, and his hearts skip a beat. “Long story short, I explained everythin’ to ‘im and asked if he could help find the you in my timeline. I was just as surprised to see him show up again as you were. Though he was going…” At this, she trails off and flushes. “Goin’ home.”

“The last thing I expected when I landed was to find you waiting for me on the street, but my TARDIS seems rather taken with you, Miss Tyler, and clearly had other plans,” he explains.

“Right,” Rose says, studying him curiously.

The pinstriped Doctor finally drops her hand and spins away from her to inspect the monitor. “I have so many questions, but time is of the essence, I think, and it might be time for you to leave.” He looks pointedly at himself, and the Doctor frowns.

“Doctor,” Rose hisses. “Don’t be rude.”

“Ah, Rose, it’s myself. No offense taken,” his future self says, still looking at the monitor.

The Doctor stares at the others, feeling distinctly lost and somewhat of place. The intrigue lures him in, but he feels compelled to leave, having already decided to embrace the future he senses before him. “I’m sorry, but he’s right, I really must be returning to my TARDIS. It seems I’m just as much in the dark as you are, and I feel it’s time to face the path I must take.” Another glance at his future self confirms his dark future, as the other man pointedly ignores him, a twitch in his jaw the only thing giving him away.

Stepping forward to Rose, he holds out his arms, embracing her one last time (for now) before he turns and walks down the ramp. The moment he touches the door, however, the TARDIS lurches, sending him off balance, and the lights go out.

“They’ve got us,” his future self shouts. “”Power’s gone. Some kind of chronon loop.”

The Doctor rushes back toward the console, and Rose asks, “What’s going on? What do you know that we don’t?”

Jack, standing behind the pinstriped Doctor at the monitor, explains. “The Daleks have stolen twenty seven planets, including the Earth– That’s why it looks so wrong outside. We found out there’s a massive Dalek ship at the center of the planets. They’re calling it the Crucible. Guess that’s our destination.”

Donna adds, “An’ Doctor, this one,” she nods at the Doctor she travels with, “you said these planets were like an engine, planets in a perfect pattern. Why?”

“That, Donna,” the other Doctor growls, “is the question of the hour.”

A scanner on the console beeps, and everyone looks at it. “The Dalek Crucible,” future him says. “All aboard.”

“THE TARDIS IS SECURED!” the grating voice of a Dalek announces from outside.

“DOCTOR, YOU WILL STEP FORTH OR DIE,” another Dalek screams.

The Doctor watches as his future self paces restlessly in front of the monitor, stopping only when Rose steps over and places a comforting hand on his arm. “We’ll have to go out. Because if we don’t, they’ll get in,” pinstriped him says, looking at Rose first, then the others.

Rose pales. “You told me nothing could get through those doors.”

The other Doctor flicks his gaze to his, before looking at the monitor.

“You’ve got extrapolator shielding,” Jack says.

“Last time we fought the Daleks, they were scavengers and hybrids, and mad. But this is a fully-fledged Dalek empire at the height of its power. Experts at fighting TARDISes, they can do anything. Right now, that wooden door is just wood.”

Jack looks at Rose. “What about your dimension cannon?”

“It needs another twenty minutes, and anyway, I’m not leaving. Besides, it can only safely jump two people at most.”

The pinstriped Doctor shifts his gaze to Jack. “What about your teleport?”

Jack shrugs. “Went down with the power loss.”

The Doctor watches as his future self turns to Rose and gazes into her eyes. After a moment he nods resolutely, as if he and Rose had come to a mutual decision.

“Right then,” the other Doctor says, “All of us together, yeah?”

“Doctor, what about you?” Rose asks, stopping suddenly in her tracks.

“What about me?” they both answer, then scowl at each other.

Rose stops on the ramp, facing her current Doctor. “Doctor, if the Daleks find out there are two of you, they’ll do everything they can to destroy past you.” She nods at him. “That can’t happen. You know that. Can he stays on the TARDIS?”

“Very good, Rose,” he answers before his future self has a chance. “We don’t have much time, but the TARDIS will be able to cloak my mind and hide my presence from their scans, as long as they haven’t performed them already. Even if they have, there’s a chance I can send a signal to confuse their scanners.”

“That’s a slim chance, but it’s all we’ve got,” the other Doctor says with a frown. “Ahh, my head! Why can’t I remember?”

He glares at himself, understanding now why he’d followed that urge to keep his memories of Rose a little longer. It could have been catastrophic had his future self known these events. “You know why you can’t know.”

“Doctor!” Jack calls from the door. “We need to go, now!”

“Right,” the other Doctor replies. “Hide yourself.”

Chapter Text

Hiding behind the door while the others leave, the Doctor races to the console as soon as the door shuts. He looks frantically for a portable tablet, sighing in relief when the TARDIS wastes no time in flashing a light over a storage compartment.

As he turns on the slim device and sets it to monitor the events outside the TARDIS doors, his mind works furiously with the TARDIS to construct the protective cloaking needed to hide from the Dalek scans. As soon as the tablet syncs with the TARDIS’s systems, he rushes to the Zero room, which the TARDIS has brought close to the console room. The telepathic dampening fields will further hide himself from the scanners, but won’t affect the tablet.

As soon as he steps inside the room, however, the TARDIS lurches once more, and seconds later, his mind erupts in excruciating pain.

He falls to his knees, panting, and holds his hands to his head, squeezing his eyes shut as the TARDIS screams in agony. He’s unable to prevent himself from crying out in pain with her.

Willing himself to focus, the Doctor grapples for the tablet that’d fallen to the floor and stares in shock.

Fire surrounds the TARDIS, and whatever it is – wherever the Daleks have deposited the TARDIS – it’s killing her.

“NO!” He shouts, attempting to comfort his beautiful ship along their bond. “No, you won’t kill her. YOU WON’T! Not if I have any say in it.”

With a growl, the Doctor throws himself out of the Zero room and runs to the console, flicking switches and turning knobs. At the last possible second before the TARDIS’s shields disintegrated, he flicks the lever to dematerialize the ship out of what must be whatever is powering the Crucible.

He knows not to materialize in the TARDIS’s last location, and as soon as they’re out of the fire and away from the Crucible, he flicks the switch to cloak the TARDIS and manually pilots his ship into space. Due to the damage to her shields, the Doctor knows his time is limited, as she may not be able to sustain the cloaking shield for long. But for the time being, he needs to come up with a plan, and if the Daleks detect the TARDIS, it’s all over. He powers down the ship as much as he can to allow for healing but to also improve their ability to hide from the Dalek scans.

Without waiting for his ship’s scans of the area to complete, the Doctor hurries to the doors and flings them open. The sight outside makes him step back several paces.

He knows this place. The Medusa Cascade.

The TARDIS shudders, and the twenty-seven planets suddenly glow with energy and slowly move into alignment with each other.

No. But it can’t be. With very bad feeling, the Doctor slams the doors shut and races to the console. The monitor shows what he’s feared: that the TARDIS had been deposited into a Z-neutrino energy core, and single string Z-neutrinos means…

The Daleks have created a weapon with the power to destroy all of the universe. The entire multiverse, all that is and ever was and ever would be. The stars disappearing and every random tidbit of information he’d gleaned from Rose and the other Doctor falls into place in his mind.

He must return to the Crucible.

But how? What can he possibly do to save everyone?

Pacing around the console, the hint of an idea begins to grow in his mind. It’s risky at best, filled with more chances for failure than success and relies on numerous factors outside of his control, but he’s their only hope.

And there’s no more time to waste.


The TARDIS lands with a groan, and the Doctor steels himself at the door, readying himself for what happens next. He checks his mental shields once more, then takes a deep breath.

For his future.

Throwing open the door, the Doctor runs out into the Crucible. A quick glance around gives him a good layout of the station and everyone’s position, and he looks aground stupidly, feigning confusion. “Doctor!” he shouts, focusing on the Doctor, but sparing a quick glance at Rose. “I don’t know what happened, Doctor, but the TARDIS, she– she was exploding, and I hit something on the console to try to get her working, and then when I ran out the doors–”

“SILENCE!” Davros screams. “You have failed.” The creature raises his gun at the Doctor, and a dazzling blue blast streams out and hits him in the chest.

The impact sends the Doctor flying into the air, and he lands with a sickening thud against a wall of machinery. Much to his relief, the impact merely knocks the breath out of him, but he lays against the warm metal for several moments, eyes closed, pretending to be knocked out cold.

“DO–nald!” a voice that sounds like Donna’s shouts in alarm. “What did you to do him? You can’t hurt him!”

“I can, and I will!” Davros answers.

The blaster whirs to life again, and a woman’s scream is cut off mid breath. A body, Donna, he assumes, lands near his, but the Doctor remains still under the guise of unconsciousness.

The other Doctor shouts above the hubbub. “Donna! Dooo–nald! Are you alright? Donna!”

Davros laughs. “I was wrong about your warriors, Doctor. They are pathetic.”

“You didn’t have to do that,” the Doctor’s future self yells furiously at Davros. “They’re innocent.”

“Oh, Doctor. No one is innocent when they become children of Time.”

A Dalek’s voice echos through the chamber. “DETONATION IN TWENTY RELS. NINETEEN.”

“Time to go,” the Doctor mutters to himself, and cracking open his eyes, he’s pleased to find Davros and the others distracted, their focus not on where him and Donna lay. Moving quickly, he crawls around the machinery, taking the briefest moment to check Donna’s pulse, before standing up at the controls. His plan had miraculously gone exactly as he’d hoped.

Studying the panel, the Doctor finds the sequence of buttons to power down the reality bomb. In the background, the distant sound of a Dalek counting down to zero and of Davros boasting his success echos throughout the chamber, but he ignores the bluster in favor of stopping the bomb. Finally, at the very last second, the Doctor finishes the necessary adjustments and flicks the switch.

“Now,” he says, “closing all Z-neutrino relay loops using an internalised synchronous back-feed reversal loop. Grade school technology.”

The system powers down, and for a brief moment, the chamber is silent.

“SYSTEM IN SHUTDOWN.”

“DETONATION NEGATIVE.”

“EXPLAIN. EXPLAIN. EXPLAIN!”

The Doctor smirks as the Daleks fly into a dither about their precious bomb shutting down. Donna groans on the ground, and he crouches down beside her. “Donna, you okay?”

“Bloody Daleks,” Donna moans.

“ I agree completely, but I need your help. Can you stand up?” he whispers urgently.

“Yeah, okay, Time Boy. Give me a mo’.”

Jumping back up to the control panel, the Doctor waves at Davros.

“You’ll suffer for his!” Davros threatens, raising his blaster once more.

The Doctor smiles coldly. “Oh no, I don’t think so.” He pushes a button, and an electrical current travels up Davros’s arm. “Oh, look! A bio-electric dampening field with a retrograde field arc inversion. How handy!”

While the Daleks bluster about and scream threats of extermination, the Doctor busies himself with the control panel. Just in time, he punches another series of buttons, rendering the Dalek weapons non-functional.

“And that’s how it’s done!” he shouts in delight, laughing as the Daleks spin around uselessly. “Macro-transmission of a K-filter wavelength blocking Dalek weaponry in a self-replicating energy blindfold matrix.”

Working quickly, he spares a quick grin for Donna when she joins him at the panel. “Holding cells are down!” he announces, and refocuses his attention on the panel while the others take care of the Daleks, sending them careening down hallways and into each other.

The Doctor future’s self runs over to the control panel. “Well done, me. I suppose I know, now, why I don’t remember this quite yet. Can’t know how it’s all gonna end!”

The Doctor shifts over to allow the other Doctor room at the panel. “We need to send these planets home. Activate magnetron!” his older self says, immediately setting to work by removing the rods holding the planets in place.

Allowing the other Doctor to handle this task, the Doctor takes a few steps away and turns to Donna, his mind working furiously. “Donna, there’s a chance…” He trails off, unable to continue.

“Just spit it out, Doctor,” Donna says with impatience.

“There’s a chance there still may not be a way out. The Daleks will still exist, free to rebuild a reality bomb, free to destroy the universe.” Revulsion at the knowledge of what he must do churns his stomach. He’s supposed to be a healer, not a killer.

“We have to destroy them,” Donna says quietly, so only he can hear.

Running his hands down his face, he sighs. “It’s possible, yes. But I can’t–”

“It’s Pompeii or the world, Doctor. Show me how.” Donna glares defiantly at him, and her words suggest she has some experience with such an impossible decision.

“No, Donna, I can’t let you do it,” the Doctor says, feeling utterly helpless, hating himself for involving a friend, a companion.

“No, Doctor, I can’t let you destroy them again. It’s time for someone else to do it. Let me help.”

Donna’s words make no sense, but there’s no time for argument. The Doctor whispers the command sequence in her ear, and she nods in confirmation. “But only if there’s no other chance. Right? Only if there’s no other option.

“Doctor.” Donna’s look leaves no room for argument.

The Doctor’s future self whoops in excitement with each planet he sends back home, and he moves in beside himself to assist. One by one, they send the planets back, and despite the horror of Davros’s plan, the Doctor can’t help but be impressed by the ingenuity of reality bomb.

As the seconds pass, Davros’s panic becomes more evident. “But you promised me, Dalek Caan. Why did you not foresee this?”

The pinstriped Doctor looks up from the control panel. “Oh, I think he did. There’s some unexpected influence to the timelines, isn’t there? It’s no accident my other self is here today.”

Davros turns to the Doctor. “You are the Doctor? You will be exterminated, Doctor, and you will disappear from existence! The Daleks will prevail!” He laughs maniacally.

Dalek Caan interjects. “THIS WOULD HAVE ALWAYS HAPPENED.”

Davros stares at Dalek Caan in shock. “You betrayed the Daleks!”

The Dalek moves its head. “I SAW THE DALEKS. WHAT WE HAVE DONE, THROUGHOUT TIME AND SPACE. I SAW THE TRUTH OF US, CREATOR, AND I DECREED, NO MORE!”

A moment later, a red Dalek appears in the chamber. “DAVROS, YOU HAVE BETRAYED US.”

Davros shrinks against his chair. “It was Dalek Caan.”

“THE VAULT WILL BE PURGED. YOU WILL ALL BE EXTERMINATED.” A moment later, the Doctor shoves his future self and Donna out of the way as the red Dalek shoots the control panel, sending sparks flying in the air.

Within seconds, Jack charges his gun and points it at the red Dalek, destroying it. The Doctor sighs in relief, and he and his older self study the damage on the panel.

“Oh, we’ve lost the magnetron,” he observes, “and there’s only one planet left.”

The pinstriped Doctor throws up his hands. “Oh, and guess which one?” He cards a hand through his hair. “Think, Doctor, think, think, think. Oh, but we can use the TARDIS!” Without a glance at him, the older Doctor sprints to his ship and dashes inside.

The Doctor checks the panel. “Holding Earth stability. Maintaining atmospheric shell.”

Dalek Caan talks once more. “THE PROPHECY MUST COMPLETE.”

“Don’t listen to him,” Davros shouts.

“I HAVE SEEN THE END OF EVERYTHING DALEK, AND YOU MUST MAKE IT HAPPEN, DOCTOR.” Dalek Caan faces the Doctor, who closes his eyes, hating to admit that a Dalek is right.

“Doctor, we have to do it, now,” Donna whispers desperately from his side. “You know we have to.”

Staring at what’s left of the control panel, the Doctor considers any and all possibilities to avoid this path, but there are none. This is it. What has he become? He’s destroying an entire race of beings, and not only that, he’d coerced a companion of his future self to complete the task with him.

The Doctor looks up and searches for Rose. He stares at her, knowing desperation is written on his face, and she nods.

Buoyed by some false sense of justification, the Doctor turns to Donna. “They’ll keep destroying the Universe, won’t they?”

“Yes,” Donna replies softly. “I’ve already entered the sequence. Come on, Doctor. Now, together.” She takes his hand and pushes it down on the the final button.

“Maximizing Dalekanium power feeds! Blasting them back!” he shouts, announcing what he and Donna have just done, as explosions shudder through the Crucible. “Run for the TARDIS, all of you! Run!”

Daleks explode all around them, and he takes Donna’s hand and pulls her toward the TARDIS. The others – Rose, Jack, two others he doesn’t know, and is that Sarah Jane? – sprint into the ship.

The pinstriped Doctor meets him at the door, fury written on his face. “What have you done!”

“What had to be done. You know there was no other way,” he answers, voice cold as steel.

“Can it Doctor. They would have destroyed the Universe again and again and again,” Donna says, voice flat. “Now let’s get out of here.”

As the chamber explodes, the future Doctor stands at the door and shouts at Davros. “Davros? Come with me. I promise I can save you.”

Davros merely cackles, and as flames consume him, he screams. “Never forget, Doctor! You did this! I name you. Forever, you are the Destroyer of Worlds!”

The Doctor pulls his future self away from the door and slams it shut.

With a growl of anger, the pinstriped Doctor pulls himself away from him and stalks up the ramp to the console. The Doctor follows, and without a word, they send the TARDIS away from the Crucible.

Chapter Text

Over the next several hours, there’s little time to discuss what had happened on the Crucible. It’s a group effort to tow the Earth back to her rightful place in the solar system as they use the rift energy as a sort of rope to perform the complicated activity. Despite the simmering anger the Doctor can sense from his future self, the overwhelmingly exuberant mood on the TARDIS is enough to push away his dark deeds from the forefront of his thoughts. For a little while, anyway.

In the meantime, the Doctor joyfully reunites with Sarah Jane, who is most surprised by his presence on the TARDIS. Rose introduces him to her mate Mickey, who, if he’s not mistaken, appears quite taken with the delightful Martha Jones, another companion of his future self he has the pleasure of meeting.

After a while, he wanders over to Rose and Mickey, who hover close in deep in conversation along one wall of the console room, and the Doctor listens to their conversation.

“Micks, what are you doin’ here? I didn’t think Pete was gonna let anyone else jump,” Rose asks.

“Yeah, well, I don’t belong in that universe any more than you do, Rose. An’ you know it. Since Gran died, there’s nothin’ for me there.” Mickey studies his feet for a moment. “Jackie tried to come, but Pete stopped her at the last minute. Oh, you should have heard the row they had. Thought it was gonna bring down Torchwood.” He snorts a laugh.

“Oh, boy, if Jackie’d come, there’s no chance we would have gotten out alive,” the future Doctor quips as he arrives. “Ol’ Davros would have pushed the button just to shut her up!”

“Oi, mate,” Mickey elbows the pinstriped Doctor in the ribs with a scowl and glances at Rose, who’d tensed at the Doctor’s words. “She’s never gonna see her Mum again, and you just…” He shakes his head. “Still rude, then.”

“Rose,” the other Doctor says, pulling her into a hug with a contrite expression. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t even think.”

“S’okay, Doctor. I… Mum and me, we had our goodbyes, an’ she wanted me to be with you.” She inhales sharply and casts her gaze to Donna, who stands unnecessarily close to Jack, laughing at something he says. “If it’s… you know… I can stay with you, yeah?”

The Doctor looks on with interest, part of him feeling as though he’s intruding on a life he doesn’t yet have the right to live. His future self glances at him for a moment before looking down at the woman in his arms.

“I–” he pauses, and Rose looks up at him, fear evident in her eyes. “Course you can. I’d love it. I just… I still can’t believe you’re back.”

Mickey chuckles and punches the pinstriped Doctor lightly on the arm. “Good save, mate,” he says before shaking his head and wandering away.

After a moment, Rose loosens her grip on her Doctor and looks between both Doctors. “I’m assuming you want to talk to him,” she asks his future self. He stiffens in her arms and moves to pull away, but she holds him tight. “Later, yeah? With Donna.”

Her gaze travels to him, and he nods in agreement. “I think that’d be best, yes. And I really must be getting back to my TARDIS.”

“Where are you headed?” the other Doctor asks, reaching a hand up to scratch the back of his neck.

“Gallifrey,” he answers.

Rose and his future self share a heavy glance, then turn to him.

“No need to get too hasty, quite yet,” his other self says. “Think there’s time for a bit of fun before you… do that.”

The Doctor frowns to himself, once again feeling the pull of darkness on the timelines. He joins in the festivities, the cake and freely flowing champagne and hypervodka, but a part of him lingers in the unknown of his immediate future on Gallifrey.

Finally, the Earth is back in place, the pinstriped Doctor begins the process of delivering everyone back to Earth. Mickey steps out with Martha and Jack, the three of them waving back at the TARDIS, and he shares a fond hug with Sarah Jane as she leaves to rejoin her son. Donna demands a quick visit to her family to make sure they’d survived the Dalek invasion, during which both Doctor’s ensure the barriers between universes remain solid and impenetrable, and as soon as she’s back on the TARDIS, they land the TARDIS next to his.

Donna, sensing the rising tension between him and his future self, cuts right to it. “Why don’t we move this discussion to the galley? That way I can throw pears at you both if you start bickering like a couple of old ladies.”

The Doctor wrinkles his nose, and the other Doctor huffs in indignation. “What are pears doing on my ship? I thought I made myself clear when I said ‘no pears allowed.’” he says, standing up to walk out of the console room.

Donna smirks. “I happen to like them, and the TARDIS gave me a special cupboard.”

She laughs at the Doctor’s outraged squawk.

As soon as they arrive in the galley, the Doctor follows the other Doctor to the table, sitting between him and Donna. Rose busies herself at the counter with the kettle.

“All right, Doctor,” Donna starts, staring at the pinstriped Doctor. “Now, don’t get your knickers in a twist. You knew killing the Daleks was the only option. The only option,” she emphasizes. “Now, you’ve told me about these Daleks before, from the Time War–”

“Donna.” The Doctor’s future self bites out her name, and his jaw clenches with tension.

“Oh, whoops, doesn’t he know?” Donna cringes, turning to look at him, and he sighs.

Rose moves from the counter to the table and takes his hand, rubbing her thumb over his. “Still too early in my timeline, but that answers my question about what I’m going home to,” he answers. A cataclysmic event in his own time, apparently. The Time War? He shudders. Donna’s slip had answered more than he’d like, but at least it’ll be soon forgotten.

“Either way, Doctor, you’d’ve done the same thing.” Donna leans back and crosses her arms, almost challenging the Doctor – her Doctor – to contradict her.

“It’s not just him, Donna,” the pinstriped Doctor interjects. “It’s you, too! You helped him! What have I turned you into?” His gaze is anguished.

Rose finally breaks her silence. “No, Doctor, you have to stop doing this. All of us, your companions, those of us who travel with you– we’re our own selves an’ we make our own decisions. We’re capable of making our own choices, and sometimes, you might not agree. And that’s okay. But you can’t decide for us, thinking you always know best. Because you don’t. Remember when you tried to send me away at… at Canary Wharf?” She sighs and reaches across the table and takes her Doctor’s hand with the one not holding his. “Let us help you. It’s our universe, too. You don’t have to be the only one protecting it.”

“Well said, Rose.” Donna holds up an imaginary glass in a mock toast.

“An’ you, Doctor.” Rose turns to face him. “Yeah, from what the Doctor’s told me, it’s gonna be hard. An’ when the darkness comes – you said yourself it’s coming – when you think there will be no redemption for what you have to do, remember this: It’ll get better. Some day you’ll find yourself in London, and you’ll take the hand of a shop girl named Rose, and,” she smiles brilliantly, “your life will never be the same again.”

The Doctor stares at Rose, entranced by her words. Hope in his hearts blooms stronger than the despair lurking around the edges of his mind, and he nods.

“This life we live,” Rose continues, “isn’t always easy. But we always stand up and do what’s right, even if no one else will. It’s what we do, Doctor. You know it, too, Donna. I know you do.”

Donna nods, blinking back tears.

“But,” the pinstriped Doctor starts, then stops when Rose holds up a hand.

“No buts, Doctor. I’m not gonna let you argue with yourself about something that’s already done. It’s over. The planets are back, and the Universe is saved. And I’m home,” she adds, stressing the last word.

The Doctor watches on as his future self finally allows himself to smile, and he and Rose smile serenely at each other for several long moments.

“Oi, you two,” Donna protests, “stop making bedroom eyes over the table. Blimey, it’s gonna be bad, isn’t it? No public shagging!” She points her finger between Rose and his future self and makes a face.

The Doctor blushes, forcing himself to disengage from that train of thought. Rose is not his for the taking, and it wouldn’t do well to dwell on the things he can’t have. He is, however, amused at the brilliant flush on both Rose and her Doctor’s faces and winks at Donna across the table.

“Well, if we’re done,” he flicks his gaze to his future self, “I think it’s time I’m off. Gallifrey awaits.”

“Right, yes,” the pinstriped Doctor says, looking at his hands. “Thank you,” he adds unexpectedly.

“Whatever for?” he answers.

“I’m not sure I could have done it again,” the other Doctor responds quietly.

They share a quick glance, but the Doctor can’t sense anything from his future self.

“Come on, I’ll walk you out,” Rose says as she stands up and tugs at his hand. “No, you stay here with Donna,” she commands her Doctor, who looks up at her in puzzlement.

The Doctor and Rose walk down the corridor to the console room, hand in hand. “What was that about, Rose?”

Rose looks up at him with a tongue touched smile. “‘S just… Ever since I met you, this you, I mean, I’ve been wanting to do this.” She tugs him to a stop and turns to face him, pushing him back up against the wall. Tangling her fingers in his hair, she pulls his head down to hers, and captures his lips with hers.

He responds eagerly, having desired the same, and pulls her flush against him. After several moments, Rose pulls apart with a gasp, and licks her lips. His gaze follows her tongue before meeting her knowing eyes.

“He gets jealous,” Rose says with a laugh, pointing down the corridor with her thumb. “Mind you, he’ll probably get jealous of himself whenever he gets his memories of this back.”

Ah yes, his memories.

“Speaking of, Rose, I think it’ll be best if these memories are unlocked with a trigger. Is there anything you can say when you return to him that might do so?”

Rose thinks a minute, then smiles. “I love you,” she says, eyes soft and loving. “I haven’t said it to him yet since I got back. Things’ve been a bit busy. An’ hopefully…” she trails off. “Oh, never mind that.”

They resume their walk to the TARDIS doors, and the Doctor pulls open the doors. Turning to Rose, he says, “Thank you, Rose. For everything. I know what’s coming is… Well, I know it’s not good. But you’ve given me hope, and I know I won’t remember this for a long time, but I hope some part of me will know.”

Rose smiles at him once more, then leans up to place one last kiss on his lips. “Goodbye, Doctor. Until we meet again.”

The Doctor nods, then steps outside. Before he moves toward his TARDIS, however, he stops. “Oh, and Rose?”

“Hmm?”

“He does, don’t worry.”

He turns, then, and walks briskly toward his TARDIS, stepping inside after unlocking the doors. His TARDIS surrounds him in welcome, and he strolls to the console.

This time, he locks his memories up in a box, hiding it in a hidden corner of his mind, already anticipating the day when Rose says those three words to him upon her return.

With a shake of his head, the Doctor sets the coordinates for Gallifrey and sets his ship in motion.

For his future.

Chapter Text

When Rose wanders back into the galley, only Donna remains in the room, pensively sipping a cup of tea at the counter.

“Donna, do you know where the Doctor’s got off to?” Rose asks, walking over to the counter to get her own cup of tea. She’s exhausted in both mind and body, but since she knows it’ll be a while yet before she can fall into bed, a bit of caffeine is an absolutely necessity.

“Spaceman? No, I don’t. Lord knows what he gets up to in this ship of his.” Donna blows on her tea. “Figured he’d’ve followed you.”

“Everything okay, Donna? I know you… I’m sure it wasn’t easy to do, what you did with the other Doctor.” For some reason she avoids voicing their actions on the Crucible straight out.

“I’ll be fine… Or something.” Donna answers, avoiding Rose’s gaze. “Besides, it’s not the first time I’ve helped the Doctor make a decision like that.”

“Donna, please, I want you to know you can talk to me any time. I can’t wait to get to know you. You and the Doctor seem very… close.”

“Do you think him and me are…?” Donna trails off as her face scrunches in distaste. “That skinny bean pole? Please, Rose, no. We’re just mates. He’s all yours. Trust me.” Her gaze flicks to Rose then away again. “But, you’re okay if I… if I stay? Because as much as it hurts sometimes, and with… the things I’ve lost… I love this mad life. I just...” she laughs. “It’s home.

“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Rose replies with a smile, curious about Donna’s mention of loss. She won’t ask though– either Donna will tell her or she won’t, and there’s no sense in pushing.

She and Donna drink their tea in companionable silence for a few minutes, then Rose places her mug on the counter. “I’m gonna find the Doctor, now,” she says. “See you later?”

Donna waves goodbye, and Rose walks out of the galley. After years without her Time Lord, she’s desperate to be with him again, in any way he’ll have her. She follows the corridor until it leads her to a familiar door: the library. Of course. It makes sense that he’d wait for her here. It’d been their favorite place to relax after an adventure and the room holds many precious memories.

Heart hammering in anticipation, she opens the door and steps inside. She spots him instantly, sprawled out on the couch, his suit jacket discarded on another chair and his trainers in a pile on the floor. It’s a relief that he’s fallen so quickly back into their old habits of intimacy; part of her had expected walls up and barriers back in place, a Doctor holding her at arm’s length, too scared to lose her again.

His head pops up when he hears her enter, and in a moment, he’s on his feet and rushing toward her. Surging forward, she meets him halfway, and they collide in a tangle of limbs, similar to their first reunion. Only this time, they’re in the safety of the TARDIS, and no one else is watching, no Dalek lurking in the shadows. Hands roam freely over curves and clothes as their lips find each other, and Rose allows herself to get lost in the sensation of the Doctor’s body pressed against hers, clearly wanting and needing her as much as she wants and needs him. As the initial feverish rush recedes, their lips find a gentle rhythm together, and they cling to each other as if the other is going to disappear.

“Rose,” he pulls away and breathes raggedly in the crook of her neck. He nuzzles his nose up her neck to her ear, and he nips softly, sending a jolt of heat to her core. “I missed you so much.”

His words pull her back to the present, reminding her he still needs his memories, and Rose nudges him away gently. She reaches up to cup his face and strokes his sideburns. “I love you, Doctor.”

The Doctor blinks once, and his jaw falls open slightly. For several moments, his eyes glaze over slightly as the memories fall into place, then he shakes his head and steps away from her. Frowning at the loss, she steps forward to meet him, but he waggles a finger at her.

“Rose Tyler, you kissed me!”

Rose bites her lip to hold back a laugh, as the Doctor looks well and truly affronted. She smirks. “Oh, is that what we were just doing?” Pressing her lips together, she waits for the Doctor’s reaction.

He blinks, then stares at Rose like she’s a strange and unusual creature.

“Oh, you’re too easy to wind up,” she laughs. “Of course I kissed you! That long hair was just so…” She growls slightly and makes a predatory motion with her fingers, then continues. “And the opportunity to kiss another Doctor? How could I refuse?”

“I…” He’s well and truly flummoxed. “You kissed me.”

“Well,” she says, pressing herself up against him and stroking his tie. “I’ve done a lot more than kiss this you before, so you have nothing to be jealous about. Besides, I’m hoping to resume said activities again sooner than later.”

With a sexy growl, the Doctor spins them around and pushes Rose back toward the couch. She falls onto it with a squeak, and before she knows it, the Doctor’s straddling her legs and kissing her as if his life depended on it. The desperation in his kiss, however, sends a warning signal to her brain, and she nudges him against his chest.

Taking the hint, he pulls back, breathing heavily, eyes wild with some unspoken emotion. “Rose, I– I never got the chance to finish my sentence on that beach…” He trails off, and Rose holds her breath in anticipation. The Doctor traces the line of her jaw with a finger, then leans forward to whisper in her ear, voice low and gravely.

“Rose Tyler, I love you.”

After waiting for those three words for so long, it’s impossible to keep the tears at bay. Rose surges up to meet the Doctor and twisting her fingers in that glorious hair of his, tugs his face down to hers. The kiss they share is sweet, conveys the deep emotion of the words they’d just shared with each other after so long.

Despite wanting to taking the Doctor by his tie and drag him to bed, there are a few things she needs to share with him first. A few things he needs to know before they fall back into life together.

“Doctor, I have a few things to tell you,” she says, “before we, you know, continue this.” Blushing, she gestures between them, rolling her eyes when the Doctor grins a smug, crooked smile.

“Okay, Rose, fire away.” He flips himself around to sit on the couch, and pulls her into his side.

“Well, first of all, are you sure you’re okay with the thing with the Daleks and Donna?” Part of her wonders if the issue had been resolved too quickly, and she fears he’ll secretly brood about it for longer than she’d like.

The Doctor’s silent for several moments before sighing loudly. “I’ll never be ‘okay’ with destroying an entire race, Rose. That’s… I hope you never experience that. The fact that Donna felt she had to help me… Is that what I do to my companions? Turn them into monsters?” He turns to her, and his eyes are suspiciously red around the edges.

“No, Doctor, you don’t do anything at all. I think without Donna, you wouldn’t have been able to do it. Maybe that’s why everything has pointed to Donna all along.” Pausing, she gathers her thoughts.

“Doctor, you are the most wonderful man, and your companions love you. You show us what’s right, how to avoid conflict and violence and hate, but sometimes… Sometimes there’s no other way. Sometimes the answer is the Universe or your enemy. And you do what no one else can do.” Falling into a silence, they both linger in their thoughts for a few minutes. “And ‘sides… I’ve already destroyed the Daleks once before.”

Raising her head off the Doctor’s shoulder at his gasp, she looks him dead in the eye. “I remember Bad Wolf, Doctor. I remember everything… Even the kiss.” Her fingers ghost up to her lips at the memory. “And Jack…”

The Doctor pulls away. “But Rose, that’s impossible! I took it out of you, locked the memories away!”

Rose purses her lips. “Well, that’s the thing, Doctor. That wasn’t your decision to make. They’re my memories.” With a sigh, she explains what had happened after her arrival in Pete’s world. “After… the beach… after I thought I was going home, I started having these dreams. At first I thought I was goin’ mad, but after a while, I started writing everything down, and all the pieces fit together. I remembered.”

“Rose…” The Doctor looks horrified.

“No, let me finish. At first I was so angry that you kept everything from me, that I – me! Rose! – destroyed the Daleks with a wave of my hand, that I brought Jack back to life. That you just… left him there.” A wave of anger surges through her again, but she pushes it down. “It took me a long time to understand you did what you had to do in the moment. You thought the memories would harm me, an’ then… you gave your life to save me, didn’t you?”

The Doctor nods, tension radiating off his body.

“Doctor, that’s…” With a smile, remembers the words she’d spoken once to his last self. “Bloke-wise, that’s up there with flossin’.”

At this, the Doctor cracks a grin, then sobers. “I couldn’t let you die, Rose. And Jack, he…”

“I know, Doctor. Jack and me, we talked it when we were pulling the Earth back. I had no idea, and he said you met up a while back, experienced something… bad… with an old friend of yours, and that he doesn't hate you anymore.” The Doctor’s expression hardens. “‘S okay, you don’t have to tell me. I’m just glad I know, now.”

“Rose, how can you just… forgive me so quickly?”

Averting her gaze, Rose sighs. “I had a lot of time in that other universe to process everything. Six years, actually. Even though I don’t agree with your methods, I understand why you did it. An’ there’s something else. After the memories came back, I started noticing I wasn’t aging like I should. I healed quicker from minor injuries, scrapes and bruises, stuff like that. Part of the job, working at Torchwood.”

“What!” The Doctor’s eyes widen in shock.

“An’ then I tested my blood, and turns out, I’m not as human as I used to be. Bad Wolf, Doctor. Turns out I did a lot more than destroy the Daleks and save Jack. I…” She smiles widely. “I get to make good on my promise of forever.”

“Rose, it could be killing you–” the Doctor starts, panic lacing his voice.

No, Doctor. It’s not. Trust me.. You can test me all you want later– Tomorrow,” she adds firmly, “but not now. Not tonight.”

For several moments, the Doctor sits ramrod straight on the couch, looking as though he very much wants to pull her to the medbay and prove her wrong, but then, as the fight goes out of him, he falls back into the couch with a loud exhale. “Why would you do that for me?”

Rose shifts over to his side and gently cups his face with one hand. “Because I love you, and you deserve to have someone at your side to help carry the burden of the Universe, the good and the bad an’ everything in between.”

At her words, the Doctor pulls her close and crushes his mouth to hers. It’s almost punishing, the intensity of his kiss, but she pours her heart into returning it, unable to keep her mind from seeking out his any longer. Before she’d fallen into Pete’s word, they’d only just briefly experienced a mental connection, and the action, now, to seek him out, is almost instinctive.

He groans into the kiss, enthusiastically meeting her mind, and Rose realizes everything else can wait until later.

She’ll share the story of how, on her final jump, the coordinates read as B4DW07F8, Bad Wolf leading her home once more. There’s much yet to discuss and stories of their time apart to share, but for now?

Now, it’s time to take her Time Lord to bed, to rejoice in their reunion, and begin the rest of their…

Forever.