They’d regenerated together, but it was different for Rose. She wasn’t born Time Lord, she was made one when she looked into the heart of the TARDIS- and the TARDIS had looked back. One heart, and a human soul- she couldn’t change herself on a molecular level, but she could completely heal herself… in most cases... it just took a while, that’s all. At least that’s what The Doctor was telling himself anyway.
“Really really not good!” The Doctor yelled, feeling the new muscles on the new face he hasn’t seen yet move as he flew around the burning console. Two simultaneous regenerations in a single TARDIS? It was more than any ship was equipped to handle.
Rose was unconscious on the grating, regeneration energy still swirling around her. The Doctor was trying really very hard not to panic.
Before he could dwell too much on his unconscious wife though, the TARDIS doors flung open, clearly in a last ditch attempt at releasing the toxic air now swirling around the room attempting to suffocate the both of them. Apparently the energy from one or both of their regenerations had hit the center console. The ship lurched suddenly and he went tumbling towards the open doors, only to catch himself by the tips of his fingers before meeting his doom on the English concrete down below. (And of course they were flying over bloody London- where else would something like this happen to them?)
The Doctor rolled his eyes and shoved the sonic screwdriver currently impeding his grip on the TARDIS door frame into his mouth, sending a quick frantic glance towards Rose as he pulled himself up. Behind him Big Ben tolled, warning him of further impending doom. He pulled the sonic back from his new mouth and aimed it haphazardly at the gyroscopic stabiliser, hoping to get the ship to calm down but only accomplishing a small jump up, flinging him out the doors once more. He yelled and avoided the point of the clock tower by only a hair, blowing out a relieved breath afterwards as he hung by his fingertips.
Finally, finally , he pulled himself into the burning console room and shut the doors behind him. Only getting a second to look at Rose’s still unmoving form before the TARDIS jolted and started spinning wildly through space-time.
They crashed seconds or hours or centuries later- he couldn’t tell his time senses still weren’t functional- it felt like missing an arm. All he knew for sure is that they certainly weren’t upright, as they were in the swimming pool, and the swimming pool had been sideways since Rose was last cross with him- a fact he was a grateful for now since it otherwise could have been a much worse fall- apparently in all the commotion the pool had appeared in the Library, and books weren’t usually the best for breaking falls- he should know.
Of course, the library is directly across from the console room from which they fell… so yeah the TARDIS probably moved the pool on purpose then.
Why were his thoughts so fuzzy?
Nevermind that though, he swam through the book filled water, thanking Rassilon for his respiratory bypass, and pulled Rose up by her armpits, digging in his bigger-on-the-inside pockets as he did- he knows he put that grappling hook somewhere- oh yes there it is.
He aimed blindly upwards and then begin the very incredibly difficult task of climbing up the TARDIS one handed while carrying his unconscious wife. The entire time thinking of only one thing…
When they finally arrived at the front doors it was all he could do to flop over the edge with Rose in tow- her landing squarely on his chest, he moved her gently to the ground, barely taking notice of the little girl watching them.
He looked up at her as soon as he was sure Rose was still breathing. “Can I have an apple?” He asked, and not at all with his own permission. It seemed this new body had a tongue with a mind of its own. He’d meant to ask if the girl was alright, but he just couldn’t get this craving out of his head- hm cravings… that was new.
“An apple?” The girl asked incredulously, but she didn’t wait for an answer before she went on. “Is your friend okay?” She asked, eyeing Rose’s still gold-glowing body.
“I love apples!” The Doctor exclaimed, and then furrowed his brow as her words caught up with him. “She’s not my friend. Well no actually she’s my best friend. But more importantly- or perhaps maybe equally importantly- she’s my wife.” He cut himself off, wow he really could not shut up with this new mouth. He wiggled his lips around distractedly before looking up to the little girl once more. “And she’s fine.” He said more to himself than to her. “We landed in the library.” He explained, knowing it wasn’t a full-answer, but giving it anyway just because he could, standing to his full height as he did, effectively stepping between Rose and the little girl.
“You’re soaking wet.” She challenged.
“Yes, we landed in the swimming pool.”
“You said you were in the library.”
‘Well she’s a quick one isn’t she?’ He thought towards the telepathic presence that was supposed to be Rose in his mind- but the lights were off. Closed for reconstruction. He shook his head his head as the headache set in.
“Are you a policeman?” She asked, not caring that she hadn’t gotten a proper answer yet.
He furrowed his brow at her, completely unaware of how she could have come to that conclusion- chalking it up to the minds of children. “Why?” He asked at first- meaning why did she think that, but then studied her face harder, suddenly more interested. “Did you call a policeman?”
She didn’t answer his question really- fairly. “Did you come about the crack in my wall?”
He squinted down at her. “What cra-aahhh” He left heart sped up suddenly, stopped, and then went back to it, sending him back down to his knees in pain. He let out a small cough of regeneration energy.
The little girl looked between the quickly evaporating cough and The Doctor’s still-glowing wife. “Who are you two?”
His hands began to glow as well and he grinned up at her. “I’m the Doctor, and that’s Rose Tyler- my wife. We’re still cooking.” He said, by way of explanation for the glowing. “I’m still conscious- I don’t know why, but it happens sometimes. She’s in a regeneration coma.” He hadn’t meant to explain further, but his mouth kept going anyway. “Does it scare you?” He asked, mind racing as his eyes studied hers.
“No,” she answered stubbornly, “you just look a bit weird.”
He laughed despite himself, and mentally chastised his too-quick mind with his too-quick mouth. “No, no no,” he said, unable to keep the word from repeating. “The crack in your wall- does it scare you?”
“Yes.” She said, without hesitation.
He jumped up, new and frantic energy consuming him. He could feel the souls of his trainers flopping and the wind hit his knees through the tears in his pinstriped trousers- and these were his favorites too. “Well then! No time to lose! I’m The Doctor! Do everything I tell you, don’t ask stupid questions, and no wandering off.” He said, ticking off what to him appeared to be the most pertinent rules on his long list of rules. “And help me get Rose up.” He added, turning around and lifting her arm around his shoulders, smiling grandly when the little girl grabbed her waist without question.
They stumbled into the nearby house that he hadn’t noticed before, The Doctor periodically tripping over his too-big feet in his too-small trainers. He set Rose gently on the couch as soon as he was led to it, and followed the little girl into the adjacent kitchen. She handed him the apple that he’d honestly forgotten about by that point- funny now how the thoughts were quicker than normal this time.
“If you're a Doctor, then how come your box says police?” She asked innocently, but challengingly.
-So that’s why she thought I was a policeman! He studied her, and took the proffered fruit without breaking eye-contact. He took a bite, and then immediately spit it back out. Effectively, though unintentionally, surprising her into forgetting she’d asked a question. “That’s disgusting. What is that?” He declared, revelling only slightly in the back of his mind at the speed in which his thoughts were racing in and flying away, the stray ones spilling out his mouth in the process.
“An apple.” She answered incredulously, squinting up at him.
“Apples are rubbish. I hate apples.” He ranted without really meaning to.
“You said you loved them.” She argued, ginger brows furrowing further as the strange man got stranger.
“No, no. no.” He said, the word once again repeating as the thoughts attempted to catch up with his mouth- or perhaps the other way around? “I’ll have a yoghurt! Yoghurt’s my favorite. Give me yoghurt.” She ran to the fridge, only questioning him with her eyes, and came back with the requested food. He took it and chugged, only to spit it out again in an instant. “I hate yogurt! It’s just stuff with bits in it!” He yelled, wondering himself what he was going on about. But he was hungry-
“You said it was your favorite!” She argued again.
“New mouth!” He exclaimed, finally vocalizing what he’d been thinking since they’d landed in her back garden. “New mouth- new rules!” He said, meaning more than just food, but not saying that. “It’s like eating after cleaning your teeth everything tastes wro-!” His rambling analogy was cut short as his kidney decided to flop out. He cracked his back and hit his forehead- a little bit jealous of Rose at the moment as she wasn’t having to feel the whole process of regeneration.
“What is it? What’s wrong with you?” The little girl questioned.
“Wrong with me? It’s not my fault. Why can’t you feed me any decent food? You’re Scottish. Fry something.” -‘ Still rude then, Doctor.’ He heard suddenly in the back of his head and grinned wildly. “ROSE!” He yelled, spinning away.
When he arrived back in the sitting room Rose was attempting to stand, holding her stomach as she did, grimacing in pain. “Whoa whoa whoa!” He exclaimed, running over to stop her from getting to her feet. “Why are you up? You should have been out much longer than that.”
Rose looked around the unfamiliar surroundings. “Oh yeah like you’d know anything about human regeneration.” She quipped, ignoring his protests as she stood.
“Oh are you rude too now then?” He teased, grinning.
“Only to you, love.” She answered, giving him a tongue touched smile.
He only wanted to kiss the cheeky look right off her face, but first he had to know. “Still love me then? Even with the new face?” He asked, eyes flicking in between hers.
“Of course, Doctor.” She answered seriously, coming up on her toes to kiss him. She laughed when she pulled back. “I loved old big ears didn’t I?” She said, “Speaking of which…” She added, noticing the new big ears for the first time, grabbing them despite herself, and giving him a significant look.
“Oi!” He exclaimed, but he was smiling widely at her with his hands still on her hips.
“Hold on!” She said, realizing finally why the embrace felt different- and not just because of the new body. “You’re shorter!”
He scoffed, offense written clearly across his new features. “I am not!” He protested.
“You are!” She insisted, nodding and leaning up to kiss him again. His eyes stayed open to study her, but his lips pursed on instinct. She pulled back and giggled. “Yep, there’s definitely an inch less for me to raise to.” She confirmed.
Before The Doctor could pronounce more offense however, Rose turned to notice the little girl for the first time. “Hello dear,” she started, sounding very much like she did when she spoke to the TARDIS. “What’s your name?”
The Doctor realized he hadn’t asked before, and thanked Rose across their connection. She gave him the telepathic-equivalent of an eyeroll in response, and he grinned and rocked back on his heels.
“Amelia Pond.” She said, in that confident way children do to the questions they’ve been asked their whole lives. Rose imagined she’d have the same tone if she’d asked for her age as well, but she’d always hated when people asked her her age when she was little- an obvious attempt to belittle her, so she wasn’t going to do the same to this little girl.
“Oh! That’s a brilliant name! Amelia Pond!” The Doctor exclaimed, surprising Rose with his manic energy. “Like a name from a fairy tale!” The comment seemed off handed to both of the girls, but neither one of them mentioned it, deciding instead to just shoot each other knowing glances. “Rose! Amelia Pond was just about to fry something!” He declared, and flounced back into the kitchen.
The next ten minutes were a whirlwind of energy.
“Bacon!” He demanded, pounding his fork and knife on the table- much to Rose’s horror- only to spit it out seconds after placing the meat in his mouth. Rose attempted to follow his train of thought speeding through the back of her head as she watched him, but it was less of a train , and more like an avalanche of thought. She kept getting swept up and lost in it. “That’s bacon.” He said, like he didn’t know before he’d eaten it. “Are you trying to poison me?” He asked, an air of seriousness to his tone, and Rose tried to sort through that thought process to no avail as more came pouring through.
“How about beans?” Rose offered. Normally, she would stop the Doctor from being quite so imposing, but Amelia seemed to be enjoying herself despite the demands, so she allowed it to carry on. He made beans nearly every morning for their breakfast for the last… fifty or so years since she’s been on the TARDIS. It had made it through the last regeneration, perhaps it would make it though-
“Beans are evil. Bad, bad beans.” He said with wide green eyes that Rose was already falling in love with.
Well there goes that theory. Rose shook her head and looked down to little Amelia. “At least it wasn’t on the floor that time” she said, throwing a glance towards the apple bite and yoghurt splat in the doorway.
Amelia’s idea of “simple- bread and butter” was next thrown out the door- much to the displeasure of the neighbor’s cat. Rose sighed as the Doctor paced the kitchen floor and Amelia shuffled through the remaining contents of her fridge. “We’ve got carrots…” she offered eventually.
“Carrots?! Are you insane?!” He yelled, but the girls only rolled their eyes- it not being the first time he’d questioned their sanity due to their sustenance suggestions that evening.
“Wait no- hold on!” He exclaimed suddenly, pushing past Amelia. “I know what I need. I need… I need… I need-” He was stuck on repeat again, a new endearing trait Rose had now noticed, as his eyes searched frantically through the fridge. “I need- fish fingers- and custard.” He declared, pulling the two items out as he said them, and grinning triumphantly at his wife when he turned around.
Three minutes later Rose and Amelia sat opposite The Doctor, two spoons in the ice-cream tub, while he ate fish fingers and custard like it was the most delicious thing he’d tasted in centuries. His wife wrinkled his nose at him, but he ignored her. He tipped the bowl of custard into his mouth, wiping the mustache away with little care.
“Funny.” Amelia commented eventually.
“Am I?” He asked genuinely, eyes lighting up. “Good. Funny’s good.” He said it like it was fact, but the furrow in his brow and the questioning look he shot his wife said otherwise. She smirked in confirmation and he grinned again. “Are we in Scotland, Amelia?” He asked, changing the subject as quickly as he had been- finally allowing the question he’d been sitting on since he first heard her speak tumble out of his mouth.
Amelia set her spoon down and sighed deeply. “No. Had to move to England. It’s rubbish .” She declared.
“We’re always in England aren’t we Doctor?” Rose laughed, “All of time and space at our fingertips and we just can’t escape this country.” He smirked lovingly and knowingly in response- little did she know he’d been thinking the same thing earlier as he was hanging precariously close to death over London. That was a story for another day though- a day when she wouldn’t get quite so cross at the information.
Amelia seemed unaffected by the ‘space and time’ comment, instead only nodding in agreement. “I know what you mean.” She said, earning giggles from the two aliens.
Rose looked up to the ceiling suddenly though, as the thought that should have been her first finally occurred to her. Maybe regeneration changed her brain a bit too. “Amelia… haven’t you got a mum and dad? Are you home alone?”
“We would have woken them up by now.” The Doctor mused, catching the thought process.
Amelia looked down sadly though in response. “Haven’t got parents.” She said, not offering any explanation. “Just an aunt.”
The Doctor nodded sadly, “I don’t even have an aunt.” He said, hoping maybe it would make her feel better about her own situation.
“You’re lucky.” She said instead.
The sadness was still behind his eyes, but only Rose could see it. He smirked at the little girl like he agreed, “I know.”
Rose inhaled quickly. “So your aunt then,” she started, “she’s left you all alone?”
“I’m not scared.” She answered defiantly, meaning every word.
“Course you’re not!” The Doctor interrupted whatever his wife’s response was going to be. “You’re not scared of anything! Box falls out of the sky, man and his unconscious wife fall out of the box, man eats fish custard-” he takes a purposeful bite. “And look at you! Just sitting there!” Amelia glances at Rose and seems to wonder for the first time if she should be worried, but The Doctor goes on. “So you know what I think?”
He shakes his head and looks at her seriously. “Must be a hell of a scary crack in your wall.”
Real genuine fear paints Amelia’s features for the first time that evening and it takes everything in Rose not to take her away right then. The only thing keeping her from it being that yeah… they probably should look at anything that could scare this child, and also that she’s pretty sure they’d wrecked the TARDIS.
As soon as they enter Amelia’s room Rose is hit by the sheer amount of energy pouring through that crack. It’s a wonder they hadn’t felt it earlier. Their space-time senses are messed up. They must be, as she can’t even figure the year. “Doctor-” Rose starts.
“I know.” He whispers, squeezing her hand before striding purposely towards the source of their worry. “You’ve had some cowboys in here.” He announces, wondering distantly where that phrase came from. “...Not actual cowboys… though that can happen.” He amends, wondering why he’d felt the need to even as he was.
Rose rolled her eyes, and turned from the room, needing to get away from the crack. No wonder it scared Amelia so much. It was making her ill.
A few words reached Rose’s ears as she wandered down the corridor. “Wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey” the Doctor was saying, but Rose didn’t react to the familiar phrase as the door… the door at the end of the corridor… why was it so-
“Rose!” The Doctor called, but she barely registered it, instead walking slowly towards the door. The Doctor sighed and looked down to the little girl who he was still holding the hand of. “She’s never been good at the no wandering off bit… it’s why I married her. ”
Amelia smiled slightly despite the scary crack getting scarier, and followed him out her door.
“Rose! Rose, don’t go wandering off there’s an escaped-” The TARDIS chimes just as Rose is reaching for the door handle. He’s instantly distracted from the thoughts that watching his wife be brilliant were bringing at the sound of their home burning. “No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no!” He exclaims, the word once again stuck on repeat as he went flying down the stairs, Amelia keeping close to his heels.
“-Five minute hop into the future should get it stabilised!” He was yelling a few quick moments later as he tied the rope around his box. “-Rose.” He said suddenly, for all the world looking like a lost puppy.
He was looking up towards the house hoping the blond may appear in the next half a second he had to wait on her when Amelia spoke. “Can I come?” She asked, still not old enough to be afraid of the rejection most adults fear when asking questions like that.
His attention went back to her. “Not safe in there, not yet. Five minutes! Give me five minutes!” He said, frantic once more and repeating himself again. “I’ll be right back.” He promised.
“People always say that.” She said sadly, and the Doctor got the feeling that he knew exactly what had happened to her parents.
He bent down to be eye level and spoke seriously with her once more, concentrating (harder than he used to have to, mind you) on giving her his full attention. “Am I people?” He asked. “Do I even look like people?” He paused, eyes flicking back and forth. “Rose is still up there, and I wouldn’t leave her if the universe was at stake, and I wouldn’t leave you either- not with that scary crack in you wall.” He smiled as his teasing brought a little hope back to her face. “I need you two to keep each other safe while I’m gone. Okay?” Amelia nodded. “Five minutes. I promise. Trust me, I’m the Doctor.” He said it all very seriously, and studied her one last time before hopping back to the TARDIS.
“GERONIMO!” He yelled, and Amelia heard a faint splash before the whooshing noise started, the box started fading, and she ran back up to the house to find Rose and get her things.
“Rose!” She called as she climbed the stairs, failing to notice the newly opened door when she ran past it towards her room. She’d packed her entire trunk and found her coat and hat before she realized than she’d yet to get answer from the Doctor’s wife. “Rose?” She called again, walking more slowly around the second floor this time.
No one could ever accuse the Doctor of being a great driver, but he could always find his wife. One of the reasons they got married actually. Telepathy is dead useful- kept them from being dead a lot of the time actually. Ten minutes after leaving he arrived back again. “Amelia!” He yelled, exiting the still-smoking TARDIS. “Amelia, I worked out what it was! I know what I was missing! You’ve got to get out of there!” She’d left the door open, and he ran through it, taking the stairs two at a time, still yelling, only to get his mouth clamped shut by the hand of his wife- “Prisoner Zero -mm!” She pulled him back to the end of the corridor facing the door.
Wide-eyed and mumbling, he turned to see Rose’s face perched on his shoulder, fear written clearly upon her features, with Amelia tucked behind her hip. She nodded silently towards the now ajar door. “Doctor,” she whispered, “I was in there, but there wasn’t anything. I couldn’t see anything. But I sort of… I don’t know. Felt something. Amelia called my name and I ran to her before I could see anything.” She filled him in quickly, keeping her eyes on the door.
“Perception filter.” He said, also staring at the door. “Somehow you noticed the door anyway, but not Prisoner Zero.”
“Prisoner Zero?” Amelia interrupted, stepping forward slightly. “Like from the crack in my wall? He’s in there?” She took a few more steps, pushing Rose’s hand out of the way, as though knowing its name somehow made the monster living in her house less scary.
“Amelia come back here.” The Doctor said frantically, putting a hand on her shoulder, but the little girl shook it off. The door snapped closed again.
“Amelia do not open that door.” Rose said, terrified for the child, but at the same time relieved the door had closed- even if ominous, it meant the alien wasn’t planning on attacking.
She wasn’t listening though, walking slowly towards the door. “Stay away from that door!” The Doctor demanded to no avail. “Do not touch that door! Do not-”
The brave girl had grabbed the handle, and was turning it.
The Doctor threw his hands in the air, talking half to Rose and half to the universe at large. “Why does no one ever listen to me? Do I just have a face that no one listens to? … Again?” He turned to Rose and she couldn’t help the amused smile that graced her features before the seriousness of the situation set in again. In an instant they were both running in an effort to get between the little girl and the scary door.
The Doctor slammed his whole body weight against it, spreading his arms out either side of him, and staring down at Amelia Pond. “Amelia, do you remember those rules I told you about when we first landed?” He asked, sounding very paternal and earning an amused glance from Rose.
She nodded but argued nonetheless. “So what? You’re just gonna leave it in there?”
“Of course not, dear,” Rose interrupted, placing a hand on Amelia’s shoulder. “We just can’t go walking in there when we don’t know what we’re up against.” It wasn’t exactly a lie. It was certainly what they liked to think they’d do- but both her and The Doctor knew it wouldn’t be the first time they’d done such a thing if they were to open the door right now. It just seemed to them that Amelia was looking for trouble at this point, and maybe it wasn’t best to deal with this with a child at their side.
The Doctor, picking all this up from Rose’s thoughts, started scanning the door with his screwdriver. “If we can trace the signal-” he cut himself off as the light on his tool kept going out without his permission, and ran back to Amelia’s bedroom. “Yes! There we go, come here you beautiful thing!” He exclaimed triumphantly.
He froze minutely, surprised by the sudden onslaught of affection he felt over his bond with Rose, he looked up to find her watching him and he shot her a cheeky grin before turning back to Amelia. “Amelia, we’re going to go back in the TARDIS.” She opened her mouth, clearly to argue, but he kept on. “We’ll be back quickly, I promise. I came back this time didn’t I?”
Amelia crossed her arms defiantly and Rose kneeled down to eye level. “You have to stay away from the door while we’re gone, okay? Whatever is in there isn’t strong enough to come looking for a fight right now, but that doesn’t mean it won’t attack if provoked.” Rose’s eyes flitted back and forth as she studied the little girl, and was disappointed but otherwise unsurprised to still see the defiance in her eyes.
‘I have to lock her memory, Doctor’ Rose said, glancing up to him surreptitiously.
‘-Rose…’ He started, hesitant.
‘Not us. Not everything. Just the door. If we leave now like we have to she’s going to open it and get hurt.’ Rose argued sadly. ‘You know she will Doctor, look at her.’ Rose added, and The Doctor was forced to take in the little girl’s rigid posture and folded arms- and concede his wife’s point.
Rose’s hand came up under the guise of moving a stray hair from Amelia’s face, but The Doctor watched as her fingers brushed over the child’s temple- in half a second locking away the memory putting her in danger and in turn deflating Amelia’s shoulders. “You promise you’ll come back?” She asked, all defiance leaving her eyes, quickly replaced by rejection.
“Cross our hearts.” The Doctor said as Rose pulled the little girl into a tight hug. “And by the way count them- there’s three.”
Rose stood up and took her husband’s hand. “Can’t I come with you?” Amelia asked pitifully
The Doctor shook his head. “The TARDIS is still unsafe. It’s barely okay for us.” Amelia looked down at her feet, and The Doctor went on. “Soon as we’re back though and everything’s safe, yeah?”
Her eyes brightened immediately. “Yeah?”
“Yeah.” Rose repeated, and The Doctor was pulled her back towards the TARDIS. “We’ll be back!” He called over his shoulder. “Five minutes! Tops!” And then the door slammed behind them.
Amelia Pond ran to her bedroom window to watch the Raggedy Man and the Golden Rose disappear into their mad blue box.
“Five minutes?” Rose asked, coughing on the fumes still spilling out of the TARDIS.
“Yeah it’s a Time Machine, I’ll promise any time I like.” He said, holding his shredded tie up to his face and hitting a few buttons on the console while Rose called for extractor fans that didn’t listen.
Rose adjusted some dials and pulled the dematerialisation lever. “Yeah but you’re a terrible driver.”
“Oi!” He protested, but was immediately cut off as he hit another control and turned the relatively-smooth trip Rose had started into a bumpy one. “Yes well, you’re not. It’s why I married you.” He teased.
“Oh is that the only reason then?” She grinned cheekily, and braced herself on the console as the TARDIS skidded to a halt.
They sputtered on the toxic fumes as they stepped out, the TARDIS practically slamming the door behind them. “Oh she’s quite upset with us isn’t she?” He said, running his hand down the door.
“Well we did set her on fire, crash land, and then proceed to fly her twice afterwards.” Rose admonished before looking around. “Where are we, Doctor?”
“A prison ship- the one looking for Prisoner Zero to be exact.” He explained, attempting to shove his hands in his ruined pockets, but finding ash in one and his fingers exposed in the other. He decided even if they’d been decent pockets though he didn’t much care for the feeling anymore- there goes that habit then.
Rose stopped him before he could get too far on this ship he’d started wandering around without realizing. “Wait, Doctor- listen.” She said, looking up to the ceiling. A message was being played over the P.A. system on repeat: Prisoner Zero will vacate the human residence, or the human residence will be incinerated… Repeat: Prisoner Zero will vacate the human residence, or the human residence will be incinerated… Rose’s eyes widened as she processed it. “Amelia!” She exclaimed, and they both started running towards the center of the ship.
“We can’t stop them but we can slow them down. Give us time to get ahead and get Prisoner Zero and then- I don’t know. Something clever!” The Doctor yelled, pulling Rose by the hand as they ran.
They came upon a computer command system and The Doctor started sonicking it, growling as the light kept flickering and hitting it against the side of the screen in frustration. Finally though the ship’s blueprints came up. “Plasma engines, fission-electric…” he muttered, eyes flitting back and forth across the screen. He attempted to unlock the controls but cursed eloquently in Gallifreyan as the deadlock seal kept him out. “Can’t access the ship’s controls from here we’ll have to get to the front-”
“Wait hold on,” Rose said, grabbing his arm before he could turn. “Plasma engines you said? That means they’re traveling by wormhole, yeah? Otherwise it would take them ages to get from here to Earth.” She scanned her time-space senses for confirmation of their coordinates. “We don’t need to slow them down, we need to keep them from making the jump...” She concluded.
“...And because they’re using wormholes we can manipulate their travel from the TARDIS!” The Doctor finished, grabbing her face and kissing her firmly. “Oh Rose Tyler, you’re brilliant!”
Rose grinned, “it’s why you married me, yeah?”
The Doctor spun on his heel and started back towards the TARDIS. “Well that and you’re dead sexy.” He grinned cheekily.
Rose rolled her eyes despite the blush. “Didn’t think you could get even more of a flirt than last time.”
They have to fight the TARDIS a bit to get back through the doors but she eventually concedes, allowing them entrance- though Rose suspected it was only because they weren’t currently safe trespassing on the battleship. “Alright,” he said, pulling the monitor closer to him and flipping switches, “we’ll just reverse the polarity-”
“-engage a dampening field-” Rose added, typing something to his left.
-and slow down time in the wormhole.” He finished, flicking a final switch with a flourish and a grin. “Now back to Amelia Pond- whoah-”
He collapsed into Rose’s arms, clutching his chest, just as the TARDIS lurched forwards and started flinging them haphazardly through the Time Vortex. Rose likewise, felt a shooting pain all down her back as her kidneys attempted explosion and her regeneration energy flew there. “Not good.” She muttered, grabbing onto the console and helping The Doctor stand up straight.
“Really really not good.” He said, adjusting the coordinates as best he could while the TARDIS was trying incredibly hard to get them out of her fast as she could.
They crash landed again just as another explosion went through the ship.
Amy Pond was going through the kitchen pantry, already ready for work, when the whooshing noise filled the air, but- no- it couldn’t be-
“Amelia!” That familiar voice from her dreams called, startling her to run to the door and lock it. “Amelia, we worked out what to do! We can fix it! You’ve gotta get out of there!” The sonic noise came through the keyhole and she ran upstairs.
“Amelia!” A woman called this time, as the door flung open and two sets of footsteps filled the house. “Amelia are you there? Are you alright? Amelia!” They ran up the stairs and Amy hovered in the doorframe, hidden.
“Prisoner Zero is here! Prisoner Zero is here!” He was yelling frantically while Rose looked about the corridor. No, not Rose. Rose isn’t real-
She turned back to focus on what her husband was doing and Amy took her chance, seizing the cricket bat from the floor next to her, she creeped out and aimed the makeshift weapon right at the back of both of their heads, but they turned around last second and got it full-forced. Oh well.
Muttering to herself, she dragged the two unconscious intruders to the end of the hall. Thinking quickly as they were beginning to come round again, she looped the costume handcuffs through the heating unit and locked each end around their wrists. She leaned against the stair railing, panicking only slightly, and watched as their heads started lolling and eyes rolled behind their eyelids.
“White male and female couple, mid-20’s, breaking and entering.” She muttered into her fake radio, praying they’d take the bait, “send me some backup I’ve got them restrained.” She turned to look at them finally as they stared at her incredulously. “Oi! You sit still.”
“Amelia…” The woman muttered, squinting at her. Amy’s eyes widened only half a fraction before she composed herself and shook her head.
The man cleared his throat and Amy was swept up in how they’re exactly the same. Same torn clothes and same faint golden light coming from the woman. The people that have plagued her nearly every thought since she was seven years old. “... Cricket bat. I’m getting cricket bat.” He muttered, emphasizing the last two words and looking around wildly.
“You two were breaking and entering.” She said, leaning forward, hand on her hip.
But he didn’t seem to hear her. “Yeah that’s much better. Brand new me. Whack on the head. Just what I needed. Is that what you needed?” He said, turning to his wife who was still studying Amy cautiously.
She shook her head and raised her hand to rub at what would be a bruise if she wasn’t still regenerating. “Definitely not.” She said plainly.
“Do you two want to shut up now? I’ve got back up on the way.” She threatened, hoping maybe if she said it again they’d believe her.
“Hang on wait no you’re a policewoman.” He rambled, looking her up and down, confusion written on his face as if he was trying to figure out what he was missing.
“And you’re breaking and entering. See how this works?” She answered snarkily.
“Awfully short skirt for a policewoman…” The wife commented, and Amy glared at her.
He tilted his head as if giving her that- maybe that’s what he was missing- either way he deemed it not incredibly important at the moment. “But what are you doing here? Where’s Amelia?”
Amy straightened up, “Amelia Pond?”
“Yeah. Amelia. Little Scottish girl.” He said holding his free hand up to knee-height. “Where is she?” He squinted up at her. “I promised her five minutes but the engines were phasing, we must have gone a bit far… Has something happened to her?”
“Amelia Pond hasn’t lived here for a long time.” She said, giving him the half-lie.
He seemed to choke on his own words and next to him the woman gasped. “How long?” He demanded.
“Six months.” She said, a whole-lie, but she wanted to see how he’d react.
“No! No, no, no, no!” He exclaimed, sitting back as the word got stuck on repeat like it did- no. “I can’t be six months late, I said five minutes. I promised.” He sniffs somewhat defiantly and she stares at him and the distressed look on his wife’s face before turning around.
“What happened to her?” Rose demanded, sounding heart-broken, “What happened to Amelia Pond?” They both attempted to stand up despite the restraints.
Amy swallowed her feelings and spoke into the fake radio again. “Sarge, it’s me again. Hurry it up. These two know something about Amelia Pond.”
“I need to speak to whoever lives in this house right now.” He demanded from his place on the floor as she came back to stand in front of them.
“I live here.”
“But you’re the police.” He argued.
“Yeah, and this is where I live. Have you got a problem with that?” Amy realized the unlikelihood of the coincidence, and his wife squinted at her as she did too, but Amy kept her eyes straight.
“How many rooms?” He asked finally.
“On this floor. How many rooms? Count them for me now.”
He stared at her, eyes old and sad and serious, just like she remem- no . “Because it will change your life.”
“Five. One, two, three, four, five-”
“Six.” Rose said quietly- No, not Rose.
“Where?” She argued, but she couldn’t keep the frightened tone from her voice.
“Exactly where you don’t want to look. Where you never want to look.” He said quickly. “The corner of your eye. Look behind you.”
She did, slowly, and there it was. “That’s… that is not possible. How is that possible?”
The woman answered. “There’s a perception filter around the whole door. I saw it last time. We should have done-” She cut herself off, still clearly caught on the news that Amelia Pond wasn’t there. If it was any other circumstance Amy might have felt bad.
“But that’s a whole room.” Amy argued, even as she was staring at the evidence. “That’s a whole room I’ve never even noticed.” Even as she was saying it though she felt like it was wrong- something niggling in the back of her head.
She walked towards the room slowly, deja-vu invading her every sense as he yelled at her not to open the door. “You need to uncuff us now!” He yelled frantically.
“I lost the key.” She mumbled distractedly, pulling the door knob open.
The Doctor started patting his pockets looking for his screwdriver. “My screwdriver!” He yelled towards the policewoman as she opened the door. “Have you seen it? Silver thing, blue at the end.”
“There’s nothing in here.” She said instead of answering.
“Whatever is in there kept you from seeing the whole room. What makes you think you could see it?” He answered sarcastically, and felt a half-hearted reprimand for rudeness come from Rose’s side of the bond -he ignored her.
“Silver thing, blue at the end?” The policewoman called.
“Yes, my screwdriver!” He looked up hopefully, like maybe the Universe would be kind and she’d walk out unscathed holding his sonic.
“It’s here.” She said after a moment.
“Must’ve rolled under the door.” He tried to explain, though clearly not believing it himself.
“Yeah… must’ve…” a long pause followed and then they heard a faint mutter. “And then it must have jumped up on the table…”
“Get out of there!” They both yelled over and over, pulling at their restraints, but still she didn’t appear. “What is it? What are you doing?” He yelled.
“There’s nothing here but…” She drifted off quietly, and if it wasn’t for their Time Lord hearing there’s no way they would have heard her.
“Corner of your eye.” Rose said hauntingly.
“Don’t try to see it! If it knows you’ve seen it, it will kill you!” The Doctor spouted off the warning quickly. She screamed shortly after and came running out with his screwdriver. “Give me that!” He yelled, and then pointed it at the door, locking it, before aiming it at the handcuffs where it flickered pitifully some more. “Come on what’s the bad alien done to you?” He mumbled, rubbing their odd substances off of it and shooting the policewoman a look that said she was the bad alien.
“Will that door hold it?” She asked, real fear finally present in her voice.
He was flippant with his reply. “Oh yeah, yeah, course! It’s an inter-dimensional multi-form from outer space- they’re all terrified of wood.” He answered sarcastically. Rose didn’t even bother to reprimand him; she stared at the door in question as it started to glow.
“What’s that? What’s it doing?” She demanded.
“Don’t know,” he lied. “Getting dressed.” He answered somewhat honestly. “Run! Just go! We’ll be fine. We’re always fine. Your backup’s coming.”
“There is no backup!” She rolled her eyes, and pretty-much confirmed what Rose had been thinking.
The Doctor argued the obvious truth though as he is wont to do. “No, I heard you on the radio. You called for backup.”
“I was pretending. It’s a pretend radio.” She answered quickly.
“But you’re a policewoman!” He argued further.
“I’m a kiss-o-gram!” She exclaimed, and pulled her hat off, letting her long red hair spill down her shoulders- pretty much confirming Rose’s other suspicion. Scottish accent in England, red hair, brave defiant attitude? It was too horrible a thing to have had happened though for Rose to voice it out loud.
The door burst open then, and their eyes widened as a man and his dog walked over the fallen piece of wood. “But it’s just…” She started.
“No it isn’t.” Rose interrupted. “Look at the faces.” The man was growling, not the dog, and soon he was barking as well.
“What? I’m sorry, but what?” She demanded, looking down at the couple that seemed to have all the answers at the moment.
“It’s one creature. One creature disguised as two. Clever old multi-form.” The Doctor explained quickly, unable to keep that old admiration for life out of his voice even while awaiting his death. “Bit of a rush job though. Got a voice a bit muddled did you?” He antagonized the alien, getting it to stare at him rather than the girls. “Mind you, where’d you get the pattern though? You’d need a psychic-link, a live feed. How’d you fix that?”
A sickening cracking noise came with every movement the alien made, and it all came to a boiling point as it opened it’s mouth to reveal rows long pointed teeth. “Stay, boy!” Rose tried, hoping maybe it came with the ‘pattern.’ It kept coming forward though.
“We’re safe. You wanna know why?” The doctor tried, patting the kiss-o-gram’s shoes. “She sent for backup.”
“I didn’t send for backup!” She argued, misunderstanding, and The Doctor rolled his eyes.
“I know- that was a clever lie to save our lives. Okay, yeah! No backup! And that’s why we’re safe. Alone we’re not a threat to you. If we had backup then you’d have to kill us.” To their surprise the alien closed its mouth, seeming to consider his words.
Just as the words were out of the Doctor’s mouth though the P.A. voice from the ship enveloped the house. “ Attention Prisoner Zero: The human residence is surrounded- ”
“Well that would be backup.” The Doctor said quickly. “Okay, one more time. We do have backup and that is definitely why we’re safe-”
“Prisoner Zero will vacate the human residence, or the human residence will be incinerated…” The voice interrupted him.
“-Well apart from you know… incineration.” He said flippantly, and Rose had to keep herself from facepalming.
Prisoner Zero wandered into the next room to look out the window, and finally The Doctor got the sonic working. Quickly he unlocked their handcuffs. “Run!” He said, pulling both women by the hand and shoving them in front of him towards the stairs. They ran out the door, The Doctor locking it behind them. “Kiss-o-gram?” He demanded of the woman.
“Yes, a kiss-o-gram! What’s going on?” She demanded right back as they followed Rose to the TARDIS.
“Why did you pretend to be a policewoman?” He continued on his own line of questioning instead of answering hers. In front of them Rose rolled her eyes- sounding like old school mates, they did.
“You broke into my house! It was this or a French maid!” She yelled back. “What’s going on? Tell me!” She demanded again.
He ran up behind Rose as the still-steaming TARDIS where she was jiggling her key in the lock to no avail. “An alien convict is hiding in your spare room disguised as a man and a dog, and some other aliens are about to incinerate your house.” He turned to her, speaking quickly. “Any other questions?”
Rose hit the TARDIS door angrily and The Doctor realized what was going on. “No, no, no!” He repeated for what was likely the eighth time since he regenerated. “Don’t do that! Not now!” He yelled at their ship, but didn’t get a response- not even a telepathic indignant sniff. She must be incredibly cross with them then.
“Come on!” The fake-policewoman yelled over the noise of the alien ship and the barking alien in her window. She attempted to pull the couple away but The Doctor stopped short. Rose’s breath caught in her throat as she realized her husband was catching on.
“No, wait, hang on, hang on, wait, wait, wait. The shed!” He exclaimed, running in the opposite direction from the escape route to examine the tool shed. “I destroyed that shed last time I was here! Smashed it to pieces!” He jumped over a bush to get right up next to it. Rose inhaled sharply as her suspicions were further confirmed at his discovery- and her husband began to pick up on them as well.
“So there’s a new one!” The girl said. “Let’s go!”
“Yes but the new one’s got old!” He argued, “It’s ten years old at least!” He sniffed it, ran his finger down the wood, and then licked his finger. “Twelve years. I’m not six months late, I’m twelve years late.” He turned angrily towards her, demanding answers. “You said six months! Why did you say six months?”
“Why did you say six months?” He repeated.
“We’ve gotta go.”
“This matters. This is important. Why did you say six months? ”
“WELL WHY DID YOU SAY FIVE MINUTES?” She finally yelled, officially losing any disguise she had left, and confirming Rose’s worst fears.
“What?” He asked, shell shocked, and Rose ran forward to grab both of their hands. “What?” He asked again, and a laser shot at them. “What?” He yelled, and she continued to ignore him as they ran further into the small town.
They slowed to a walk on a small one-way road lined by old stone walls, and The Doctor immediately turned to her again. “You’re Amelia.” He declared, and Rose rested her hand on his back.
“And you’re late.” She answered, walking ahead of them.
“Amelia Pond. You’re the little girl!” He repeated, lengthening his strides to match hers.
“I’m Amelia and you’re late.” She said, not meeting his eye as they kept down the street.
“What happened?” He begged.
“Twelve years.” She said firmly, still not meeting either one of their eyes.
“You hit us with a cricket bat.” He said incredulously.
Amelia scoffs indignantly, “twelve years!”
“A cricket bat!” He repeated, making an odd motion with his hands.
“Twelve years, and four psychiatrists!”
“Four?” He asked, curiosity getting the better of him.
She looked sideways at the couple. “I kept biting them.”
“Biting them? Why?” He said, a hint of amusement finally entering his voice.
She stopped and finally turned to look at them for the first time since she yelled. The Doctor looked lost and confused. Rose looked heartbroken. It would have been easier had they both just turned out to be horrible people, but no- it’s only been so many minutes for them. “They kept saying you weren’t real.” She said firmly, albeit a bit sheepish.
A smile started to form on The Doctor’s face, but it was interrupted as the voice from earlier came over a nearby set of speakers. “Prisoner Zero will vacate the human residence, or the human residence will be incinerated… Repeat: Prisoner Zero will vacate the human residence, or the human residence will be incinerated…”
“No, no, no, no, no, come on.” Amelia said, and Rose couldn’t help but smirk as she repeated the word just like The Doctor did. “What? We’re being staked out by an ice-cream van?” She asked incredulously.
They ran up to the van in question as the man inside was splicing two wires together. “Why are you playing that?” The Doctor demanded.
The ice-cream man gave him a funny look. “It’s supposed to be Clair de Lune,” he insisted, brow furrowed as he tried to make sense of his tape with the alien message.
They looked around to realize the message was repeating itself over and over out of everyone’s mobile. Nearby a jogger stared down at her smartphone and a few paces away an elderly woman shook her older phone incredulously and held it up to her ear. “Doctor, what’s happening?” Amelia insisted.
He shot Rose a look and knew she’d reached the same horrible conclusion he had. They took off at the same time by unspoken agreement, hopping the fence of someone’s back garden and entering their home unceremoniously, Amelia close on their heels.
They came in, slipping on the front rug a bit, and Rose spoke quickly to the elderly woman surprised to find the two strangers in her sitting room. “Hello. We’re doing a special on-television faults in this area-” Amelia came up next to them as soon as she said it though, wearing her policewoman costume.
“-also crimes…” The Doctor added, looking the girl up and down. The older woman opened and closed her mouth a few times in confusion. “Let’s have a look then.” He said, stepping around the small couch to take the remote from her.
“I was just about to phone.” She informed them matter of factly, “It’s on every channel!” The Doctor nodded politely and starting banging the remote against his palm before aiming it at the telly like that would do anything. “Oh, hello Amy dear, are you a policewoman now?” She asked, squinting at the young girl.
Amy’s eyes widened and she bent her knees a bit awkwardly. “Well… sometimes!” She let out.
“I thought you were a nurse.” The old woman went on, and Rose got the distinct feeling that she knew exactly what Amelia actually did.
“I can be a nurse…” She answered awkwardly, and Rose caught The Doctor’s look when he slowly raised his head as he took in what exactly Amelia was saying.
“...Or actually a nun?” The elderly woman squinted.
“I dabble!” Amelia exclaimed, aiming to cut the conversation short.
The woman nodded and took the out. “Amy, who's your friend?” She asked, but the Doctor interrupted before she could answer.
“Amy? Who’s Amy? You were Amelia!” He demanded, sounding quite like a put-off father, and Rose had to hide her smirk as this whole scene unfolded before her.
“Yeah, and now I’m Amy.” She said flippantly.
“Amelia Pond!” He exclaimed. “That was a great name!” He argued like he’d named her that himself.
She squinted at him. “Bit fairytale” she said, keeping her expression blank but her eyes full of all the emotion she was refusing to reveal.
The old woman whose home they were invading didn’t pick up on the unspoken conversation. “I know you don’t I?” She asked The Doctor, effectively breaking the eye contact he’d had with Amelia. “I’ve seen you somewhere before.”
He leaned down, and Rose realized this new regeneration had a proclivity for getting incredibly close to people when he spoke. “Not me! Brand-new face!” He said, and Rose stifled a giggle as he stretched said ‘brand-new face’ comically while standing so close to the woman. “First time on. My wife though maybe!” He exclaimed, gesturing grandly and proudly towards Rose. “I don’t know where we are. She’s a Londoner!” He didn’t give Rose a chance to introduce herself though as his gaze flicked back to Amy. “What sort of job’s a kiss-o-gram?” He demanded.
She crossed her arms. “I go to parties and I… kiss people.” She clears her throat as he gives her the most heartbreaking look, but goes on. “In outfits… it’s a laugh!”
“You were a little girl five minutes ago!” He said sternly, and Rose couldn’t help but feel like she was witnessing a father and daughter argument this time.
“You’re worse than my aunt!” She exclaimed.
“I’m The Doctor; I’m worse than everybody’s aunt.” He said with so much defiance but still Rose had to stifle her laugh at the ridiculousness of that statement. He turned back to the elderly woman he was still standing very close to as if remembering she was still there. “And that is not how I’m introducing myself.” He said to her, but also as a statement to the universe at large.
He picked up the nearby stereo and sonicked it a few times, each time the message arrived in a different language, and Rose had only a little time to worry about the TARDIS not translating, before he was speaking again. “Okay, so it’s everywhere. In every language. They’re broadcasting to the whole world.” He set the stereo down.
‘And that means-’ Rose started inside his head.
‘Yeah. Human residence. The Earth. Pretty much as bad as it gets, love.’ He answered, shooting her a furtive look as he ran to the open window to look up towards the still blessedly-empty sky.
“What’s up there? What are you looking for?” Amy demanded at his side, but he didn’t answer. He shook his head towards Rose who let out a sigh of momentary relief.
“Alright, okay.” He started, pacing. “Planet this size, two poles your basic molten core-”
“-they’re going to need a 40% fission-blast.” Rose finished, scanning through the blueprints they saw of the ship in her head. “But they’ll have to power up first-” She started hopefully, just as The Doctor came face-to-face with the new man who’d come through the door.
“What would you say, Rose. Medium sized starship?” He asked his wife, but leaned further into the new man’s space, scanning his eyes wildly without really seeing them. “That’s twenty minutes.” He concluded. He started going up and down on his toes in front of the tall bloke and Rose realized he was thinking about the comment she’d made about his height a few hours ago now- or twelve years ago, depending on how you looked at it. “What do you think? Twenty minutes? Yeah, twenty minutes.” He repeated as he did, the stranger staring at him incredulously. “We’ve got twenty minutes.” He said finally, dropping back to his heels and looking around the room.
“Twenty minutes to what?” Amy asked, looking between The Doctor and Rose.
“Are you The Doctor?” The new bloke interrupted, and both he and Rose startled. “And Rose?” He added, spining to point at the blonde- they both shot each other a look, wondering if maybe they had met these people.
“They are, aren’t they!” The older woman exclaimed, grinning brightly as she solved the riddle she’d been working on since they’d walk in. “The Raggedy Doctor and The Golden Rose!” Amy grimaced and Rose had to stifle her snort at the look The Doctor was giving her. “All those cartoons you did when you were little!” She said, turning to Amy like maybe she’d forgotten. “The Raggedy Doctor and Rose! It’s them!” She exclaimed again like she was informing Amy on this for the first time.
Amy cleared her throat. “Shut up,” she said softly.
The Doctor looked around for a second like he was lost. “Cartoons?” He asked distractedly, like he didn’t know the word.
Rose laughed and sat down on the couch, crossing her legs, the Doctor following suit, though he sort of just flopped there. “I’ve always wanted to be a cartoon.” She mused good-naturedly.
“Gran, It’s really them!” The bloke exclaimed, ironically ignoring them.
“Jeff, shut up!” Amy said, brushing imaginary hair out of her face. “Twenty minutes to what?” She asked again, attempting to get back to the important conversation. The one about the safety of their lives.
The Doctor sat forward and watched the creepy eyeball on the television screen. “The human residences,” he explained quickly, “they’re not talking about your house- they’re talking about the planet. Somewhere up there, there’s a spaceship. And… it’s going to incinerate the planet.” He paused, and the now more-daunting message filled the room again. “Twenty minutes to the end of the world.”
A few dramatic moments passed before him and Rose stood at the same time and made their way out the door- not saying anything to the shellshocked Jeff and his gran, while Amy gave them a half-hearted smile before following them out.
Walking quickly, they were back on the stone building lined street. “What is this place? Where are we?” The Doctor asked as a little innocent boy with a toy helicopter passed.
“Leadworth.” Amy answered shortly.
The Doctor shot his wife a look- her having better Earth geography than him, but she only shrugged in response. “Where’s the rest of it?” He asked, earning a ‘rude’ from Rose that he promptly ignored- he got to do that in end-of-the-world situations (and in retrospect they really should start to worry about how often they are in such situations that we have rules surrounding them).
“This is it.” She said.
“Is there an airport?” Rose asked hopefully. Plenty of small towns had airports after all.
“No.” Amy answered, deflating Rose’s shoulders, but The Doctor continued down that line of questioning despite the likelihood.
“A nuclear power station?”
Amy let out a cross between an incredulous laugh and a scoff. “Yeah, no.”
“Even just a little one?” He said, looking around and limping a bit as his hip struggled. Regeneration really did make him feel all 900 and something of his years.
“Nope.” She said simply, waiting for the evaluation of her tiny town to be over.
“Nearest city?” He asked, thinking maybe he’d have time to get somewhere more productive.
“Gloucester, half an hour by car.” She answered quickly.
“Haven’t got half an hour. Have we got a car?” He said quicker, and Rose felt like she was watching a tennis table match when these two spoke.
“No.” She said finally, sighing.
“Well that’s good!” He exclaimed sarcastically. “Fantastic, that is. Twenty minutes to save the world, and I’ve got a post office.” He gestured widely to the building they’d just passed. He turned to her again as they walked. “And it’s shut!” Rose could feel his frustration and anxiety coming off of him in waves, and she was quite sure she’d still be able to even without the bond linking them together. He jutted his arm out in front of him suddenly as they came to what appeared to be the center of the small town. “ What is that?” He demanded.
“It’s a duck pond!” She exclaimed incredulously, and they ran to catch up with his lengthening strides towards the pond. His hip seemed better now.
“Why aren’t there any ducks?” He asked, like it was a personal attack against him that there weren’t any ducks in the duck pond.
“I don’t know! There’s never any ducks!” She answered, frustrated with his seemingly endless ventures away from territory that made sense.
His eyes studied hers. “Then how do you know it’s a duck pond?”
“It just is! Is it important, the duck pond?” She asked, squinting.
“I don’t know. Why would I know?” He answered, just as his right heart decided to take a kip and he clutched at his chest, falling back to sit at the edge of the duck-less duck pond. Rose ran to squat next to him. “This is too soon.” He said to his wife and Amy. “I’m not ready. I’m not done yet.”
Rose brushed his new floppy hair out of his new green eyes and projected as much belief in him as she could over the bond. He grinned at her and clutched at his hip just as the sky went dark.
“What’s happening? Why’s it going dark?” Amy voiced the questions on all of their minds. “What’s wrong with the sun?” She asked, squinting at the odd looking ball-of-fire, as the lights came back on.
“Nothing.” Rose answered for him. “You’re looking at it through a forcefield. They’ve sealed off your upper atmosphere.” She explained, and distantly she wondered when she stopped thinking of the Earth as ‘hers.’
“And now they’re getting ready to boil the planet.” The Doctor said flippantly, earning a glare from both the women that he ignored. Finally, he could stand again. “Oh and here they come!” He said, looking towards the townsfolk gathered on the green- all with their phones pointed towards the sky. “The human race. The end comes, as it was always going to, down a video phone!”
Rose looked at Amy. “He gets a superiority complex about humans when he’s stressed.” She said, and he turned around to scowl at her.
Amy’s eyes flitted back and forth between the couple. It was them saying ‘humans’ like that, like they weren’t- so, so… casually, that set her off. “This isn’t real. This is some sort of wind up isn’t it?” She asked, half-daring to hope.
“Why would we wind you up?” He asked, frowning at her.
“You told me you had a time machine.” She said by way of explanation.
“And you believed me!” He argued incredulously.
“Then I grew up.” She said, twisting her hands together and not looking up to meet their eyes. She knew Rose was looking at her with that heartbroken expression again.
“Oh you never wanna do that.” He said quickly, looking around, like he was thinking of something else as he said it. “No, hang on, shut up, wait! I missed it!” He hit himself in the forehead and both Amy and Rose stared at him like he was a mad man- maybe he was a mad man. “I saw it. And I missed it. What did I see? I saw… what did I see?”
“The nurse.” Rose said, eyes wide. And yes- yes the nurse. ‘Rose you are beautiful!’ He said, and she gave him a tongue-touched smile.
“Twenty minutes!” He exclaimed, turning to Amy and getting close to her face. “We can do it. Twenty minutes, the planet burns. Run to your loved ones and say goodbye, or stay with us.”
Amy studied him for a moment and she was half-way to saying ‘no’ and throwing him in a looney bin when she caught the look on Rose’s face. She was grinning at him with so much love and affection… and her shoulders were squared like she was really ready, like she saved the world on a daily basis and this was another day on the job. And right behind their eyes, right behind all the manic energy and love for each other… was this weight, the weight of the world that they were taking on right now and have been for who knows how long. That couldn’t be faked. “What do we do?” She said finally, earning dazzling grins from the both of them.
“Stop that nurse!” He exclaimed, and they took off running. The Doctor grabbed the nurse’s phone as he ran past him, holding up the screen to make sure what he and Rose caught was correct- it was, of course it was. “The sun’s going out, and you’re photographing a man and a dog. Why?” He placed the phone back in his hand rather forcefully.
Amy ran up as the nurse continued to stare at the couple incredulously. “Amy?” He turned to her for answers, and she grabbed his arm comfortably.
Rose didn’t miss the familiar gesture, but she locked her smirk away carefully. “Hi!” Amy said, lightly, leaning into him. Rose raised an eyebrow. “Oh this is Rory, he’s a- ...friend.” So a new relationship then , Rose thought.
“Boyfriend.” Rory laughed awkwardly, and Rose thought she knew the feeling. Her and The Doctor weren’t exactly textbook. It took him ages to admit he loved her, and even that was after they’d realized she was part-Time Lord, even without a human lifespan he’d been too terrified of losing her for so long. Well she’d been… twenty-two anyway, and now at seventy-two that felt like many lifetimes ago, but still.
“Sort of, boyfriend.” Amy corrected, and Rose tilted her head- feeling a bit like a concerned mother.
“Amy!” Rory protested awkwardly, looking at her sideways.
But The Doctor, not paying nearly as much attention to the relationship as Rose, didn’t allow Amy to respond. “Man and dog, why?” - Oh right, twenty minutes to save the world. Suppose relationship trifles can wait then, Rose reminded herself.
There was a long pause as Rory took The Doctor in, instead of answering he went, “Oh my god, it’s him. It’s them!” He pointed at the couple and looked at Amy.
She grimaced, “just answer his question, please.”
“It’s him though. The Doctor. The Raggedy Doctor. And her. Rose. The Golden Rose.” He kept on, sounding frazzled.
“Yeah, they came back.” She said, finally admitting it out loud.
“But they were a story! They were a game!” He protested, and Rose thought she finally got why people were doing this. For twelve years they were just a story that Amy told, and now to them it seemed as if they’d suddenly come to life. It would be like if Harry Potter and Albus Dumbledore walked onto the TARDIS.
The Doctor, not half as interested in the small developments like Rose, pulled Rory by his jacket and came nose to nose with him, frustration written clearly upon his features. “Man and dog. Why? Tell me. Now.”
“Sorry.” Rory said, shaking his head. “Because he can’t be there. Because he’s in a hospital, in a coma. ” The Doctor said the last words with him. Rory nodded, “yeah.”
The Doctor grinned, “Knew it.” he bragged, and behind him his wife rolled her eyes. “Multi-form, you see?” He clapped Rory on the shoulders and finally let go of his jacket -brushing it out, then grabbing his shoulders- turns out this new doctor was more tactile than before- Rose thought she could get used to that. “Disguise itself as anything- but it needs a live feed. A psychic link with a living but dormant mind.” He poked Rory hard in the forehead at that, and over her husband’s shoulder Rose sent him an apologetic look. Behind them, in front of the tudor home, the dog and man in question barked. The Doctor towards him without a second thought. “Prisoner Zero.” He said by way of greeting the criminal alien, hands in his pockets despite his earlier decision to abandon the habit- must be the pants.
“What, there’s a Prisoner Zero too?” Rory asked Amy, gaining Rose’s attention as well.
“Yes.” Amy answered quickly, not taking her eyes off The Doctor.
Then, the spacecraft came overhead. Around them the humans lifted their video phones again, but The Doctor surreptitiously pulled his sonic out of his pocket- suddenly glad for the old habit. “See, that ship up there is scanning for non-terrestrial technology.” He ignored Rose’s comment of ‘Very Spock,’ and kept his gaze locked on the prisoner. “And nothing says non-terrestrial like a sonic screwdriver.” He said, cleverly holding up the tool for emphasis.
He grinned like a child and held the screwdriver up, that all-too-familiar noise filled the air as all around them the street lamps blew out, car horns blared, motor-scooters went off on their own (their respective old ladies screaming ‘STOP!’) and sirens wailed as the nearby fire truck rolled away driverless, the fire brigade themselves running after it with shouts of ‘Oi! Get back here!’ as if it was sentient and dutiful. Behind him Rory and Amy laughed merrily and The Doctor felt that giddy sense of joy that always came when people enjoyed him doing something clever. “I think someone’s gonna notice, don’t you?” He asked cheekily.
He pointed his tool at the closest phone-booth and sent it into sparks, only to have the sonic spark at him as well a moment later. “No, no, no, don’t do that!” He pouted picking up the burnt screwdriver from the grass and slamming it back down in a fit. He pivoted around to see the ship leaving. He’d burnt out his sonic for no reason then too. “No! Come back!” He yelled to no avail. “He’s here!” He flung his hands down as the ship disappeared once more, and Rose called his attention.
“He’s gone, love.” She said simply.
“The drain.” Amy said frantically, “He just sort of… melted down it.”
“Well of course it did.” He said bitterly, and he informed Rose that he knew he was being rude before she could say anything- she smirked.
“Well what do we do?” She asked, clearly unphased by his attitude, a trait Rose decided she quite liked in the Scottish girl.
“It’s hiding in human form. We need to drive it into the open.” Rose said, kindly as she could, cutting The Doctor off from saying the same thing in a more condescending tone.
“No TARDIS, no screwdriver, 17 minutes.” He said. “Come on, think. Think!” He muttered to himself.
Amy turned to Rose as The Doctor continued to look off into the distance and mutter to himself. “So that thing . That thing hid in my house for twelve years?” She asked.
Rose put a hand on her shoulder. “Multi-forms can live for a millennia… maybe more. Twelve years was like a pit stop.” She explained. She glanced over to Rory as he studied her husband and smirked to herself distractedly before flitting back to Amy.
“What about you two then?” Amy asked, studying Rose’s eyes again. “You look young but your eyes are old. Both of you. And you say you’re time travellers… what’s all that about?”
Rose sighed. “I’m… seventy-two years old, I think. It’s hard to keep track sometimes in the vortex.”
Amy took a step back, her eyes widening, “No you’re not. You’re lying. Look at you. No one looks that good at seventy-two. And I should know I live in Leadworth.”
Rose smirked. “I’ll take that as a compliment then.” She shook her head before going on. “I met The Doctor when I was just nineteen. Properly human then.” She said, eyes getting distant. “Then… a lot of things happened that I may explain when we have more than seventeen minutes to live.” She joked half-heartedly. “Short story short is I don’t age- neither of us do. The Doctor is nine-hundred and something. He lost count way before he met me.”
Amy studied the woman curiously as they approached The Doctor and Rory, but decided to drop the subject for now. “So how come you two show up again on the very same day that lot do, the same minute?” She asked, leaning into The Doctor.
“There’s two explanations and it’s probably both.” Rose answered.
“They were looking for him, but they found us. They saw me through the crack, got a fix, and followed me here. When we left your house we went on that ship. We tried to slow it down to buy ourselves some more time before it got here. Still not sure if we succeeded, the TARDIS sort of exploded halfway through. They may have followed us through the wormhole. Either way, they’re late because we are.” He explained quickly, talking half a mile a minute, but Rose couldn’t blame him. They were on a very serious time limit at the moment. “Nurse boy -Rory-” The Doctor corrected himself before Rose could, “Give me your phone.” He said, holding out his hand.
Rory just looked to Amy though. “How can they be real? They were never real.”
The Doctor squinted at being ignored, “Phone. Now. Give me.” He said incredulously, and finally Rory handed it to him distractedly.
“It was just a game- when we were kids.” He said to Amy, like she didn’t know. “You made me dress up as him.” Rose snorted despite herself at the image, but The Doctor didn’t seem to be paying any attention, already scrolling through the phone.
“These photos, they are all coma patients?” He asked. Rory confirmed and The Doctor immediately corrected him. “No. They’re multi-forms. Eight comas, eight disguises for Prisoner Zero.”
“He had a dog though, there’s a dog in a coma?” Amy said over his shoulder.
“Well, the coma patient dreams he’s walking a dog- Prisoner Zero gets a dog.” He explained, far more patient with Amy’s questions than Rory’s. “Laptop!” He exclaimed suddenly. He pointed at Amy, tossing the phone from one hand to another. “Your friend, what was his name? Not him- the good looking one.”
“-Thanks.” Rory interrupted, to which Rose put a comforting hand on his shoulder. The Doctor had even less manners than usual when he was under time constraints. He much preferred to be lording over time - as it were, than being held down by it.
“Jeff.” Amy answered quickly.
“-Ohhh, thanks.” Rory said, and Rose got the feeling this was a typical concern of his. Rory turned to Rose who gave him as much of a comforting look as she could manage given the circumstances. He seemed to appreciate it though nonetheless
“He had a laptop in his bag! A laptop!” The Doctor went on, ignoring Rory further, though Rose wasn’t sure he was doing it on purpose- he just wasn’t very good with trifles, much less in the middle of a crisis. “Big bag, big laptop!” He exclaimed, clapping Rory on the shoulder to get his attention again. “I need Jeff’s laptop!” He looked between Amy and Rory as he had an arm around each of them. “You two, get to the hospital. Get everyone out of that ward. Clear the whole floor. Phone me when you’re done.” He ordered happily, and then grabbed Rose by the hand and hauled her back in the direction of the laptop.
“You’re going to hack into that call aren’t you?” Rose asked, smirking, as they ran towards the house.
The Doctor grinned at her. “You know me too well.” He said, flinging the front door open and flying to Jeff’s room without greeting to his gran. Rose remedied that quickly before following him.
“Give it here!” The Doctor was saying when she entered, pulling the laptop from Jeff, and Rose smirked when her husband’s eyes widened at the screen and sent a look over his shoulder to the poor human. “Blimey! Get a girlfriend, Jeff.” He mumbled, and Rose snorted- much to Jeff’s horror.
His Gran walked in then. “What are you doing?” She asked Rose, but The Doctor interrupted on impulse.
“The sun’s gone wibbly- so right now, somewhere out there there’s going to be a big old video conference call.” He typed rapidly without looking at the screen, but instead at the elderly woman who he could impress. “All the experts of the world ,panicking at once! And you know what they need? Me!” He smirked and threw a look at his wife who only rolled her eyes at his cockiness- some things never change. Third regeneration on since she’s met him and he’s always so impressive and knows it. “Ah! And here they all are!” He exclaimed, eyes back on the monitor. “All the big boys. NASA, Jodrell Bank, Tokyo Space Center, Patrick Moore.” He said, running his finger down a list on the screen. Behind him Jeff was looking over his shoulder wide-eyed.
“Oh I like Patrick Moore!” Jeff’s gran exclaimed merrily, and Rose giggled at this woman’s ability to just roll with everything The Doctor says. If she didn’t have a bad hip Rose would ask her on the TARDIS in a heartbeat.
The Doctor seemed to be thinking the same thing as he grinned up at her. “I’ll get you his number!” He offered happily. “But watch him- he’s a devil.”
“You can’t just hack in on a call like that.” Jeff protested, clearly he didn’t get his gran’s spirit from the gene pool.
“Can’t I?” The Doctor challenged, and Rose crossed her arms at his flippancy. He didn’t seem to notice though as he pulled the psychic paper out of his pocket and waved it at the camera while they are questioned who he was and what he was doing there. “Gentlemen,” The Doctor started, “Hello! Yeah, I know, you should switch me off- but before you do watch this!” He started typing rapidly again, and Rose moved from the door to look over his shoulder. “Fermat’s Theorem- the proof, and I mean the real one never before seen. Poor old Fermat got killed in a duel before he could write it down.” He rambled as he typed, and looked up to Jeff’s gran sheepishly. “My fault. I slept in.” He added, still typing, and Rose had to bite her lip as she remembered just why he’d slept in that morning.
“Oh!” He exclaimed, looking back down. “And here’s an oldie but a goodie- why electrons have mass.” A diagram showed up on the screen, but he kept going. “And a personal favorite of mine: faster-than-light travel!” He exclaimed, sending more diagrams and Rose a cheeky look. “Plus a photo of me and my wife on our wedding day- yes I look different, it’s complicated. But she doesn’t see-” He said, pulling Rose into frame and she smiled and waved awkwardly. “Oh, and a joke!” He added with a flourish.
Rose sat down next to him just as he finally looked up to the gathering group of world leaders in the video call. “Look at your screens. Whoever I am, I’m a genius. Look at the sun. You need all the help you can get. Fellas, pay attention.” He said, before launching into his spiel- Rose cutting in occasionally to either explain the things he forgets aren’t common knowledge, or answer the questions so that he won’t get too annoyed.
A bit later, as they were all launching into the instructions given to them by The Doctor, he was meanwhile typing wildly on Rory’s mobile. “Sir, what are you doing?” The associate from NASA called.
“I am writing a computer virus.” The Doctor answered, not looking up to the man. “Very clever, super-fast, and a tiny bit alive- but don’t let on. And why am I writing it on a phone?” He looked up from what was a bored and incredibly fast pace explanation to grin excitedly. “Never mind, you’ll find out. Okay! I’m sending this to all your computers. Get everyone who works for you sending this everywhere. Email, text, Facebook, Twitter, Bebo, radar-dish- whatever you’ve got.” He listed off seriously. “Any questions?””
Patrick Moore spoke up first. “Who was your lady friend?”
Jeff pulled back his chin and The Doctor squinted at the man. “If you’re talking about my wife- well, don’t be. ” He said firmly, a bit of the Oncoming-Storm behind his eyes. “But if you’re talking about Jeff’s gran- I’ll get you her number.” He winked cheekily and Mr. Moore smiled brightly.
The man from ESA ignored that. “What does this virus do?” He asked, getting back to the issue at hand.
“It’s a reset command that’s all. It resets counters. It gets in the wi-fi and resets every counter it can find. Clocks, calendars, anything with a chip will default to zero at exactly the same time.” The Doctor looked up again once he pressed send. “But yeah- I could be lying. Why should you trust me? I’ll let my best man explain.” He said, sitting forwards.
There was an awkward pause as Jeff looked around at the people on his laptop screen, and finally The Doctor looked over to him. “Jeff, you’re my best man.” He whispered.
“You what?” He whispered, taken aback.
The Doctor turned the camera towards Rose ( she’s pretty that’ll distract them ), and put his hand on Jeff’s shoulder. “Jeff, in ten minutes you’re going to be a legend. In ten minutes everyone on that screen is going to offer you any job you want. But first, you have to be magnificent. ” He said quietly, but with so much reverence Rose forgot to pay attention to the influencers currently throwing questions at her about her husband. “You have to make them trust you, and get them working. This is it Jeff. Right here, right now. This is when you fly. Today’s the day you save the world.” He smiled warmly and clapped the man on the back.
“Why me?” Jeff asked, clearly expecting some deep philosophical meaning or prophecy.
“It’s your bedroom.” The Doctor shrugged, effectively ruining the awe-inspiring mood. “Now- go, go, go.” He said, turning the camera back to Jeff, and standing to take Rose’s hand and run out the door- nine minutes left. He turned around suddenly though in the sitting room and ran back to Jeff’s room. “Oh and- delete your internet history.” He ordered, giving him a significant look, before taking off again, grabbing his wife as he went.
They ran through the garden quickly and paused at the edge of the pavement. “We can’t run to the hospital in time.” Rose said, looking around.
“I think,” The Doctor said, smirking. “I just found our transport.” He tilted his head towards the vehicle he’d spotted and Rose grinned up at him.
“Stealing a fire truck then?” Rose asked, with her signature tongue-touched smile.
In lieu of answering he ran towards the fire truck in question- Rose hot on his heels. Amy phoned just as they started driving- leaving the confused fire brigade in their wake. God bless the psychic paper.
“Doctor? Rose? We’re at the hospital, but we can’t get through.” Amy said on the other end of the line.
The Doctor and Rose rolled their eyes at the same time. “Look in the mirror, Amelia.” The Doctor said.
“Oh.” There was a small pause where they could hear Rory talking in the background. “Haha!” She said finally, “Uniform! Are you on your way?” She asked.
“Yeah should be there in record time.” Rose answered, a death grip on the door handle. He really was an absolutely atrocious driver- no matter the vehicle. At least in the TARDIS she knew the ship would keep them safe- a fire truck on tiny English streets during the end of the world? Not so much.
“You’ll need a car.” Amy warned, thinking of the distance.
“Don’t worry!” The Doctor laughed, and Amy heard sirens in the background. “We’ve commandeered a vehicle!”
She hung up, but seconds later as they were speeding down the road the phone rang again. Rose answered, not bothering to put it on speaker this time as the sirens were too loud. “Are you in?” She yelled by way of greeting.
“Yep.” Amy said for too calmly for someone tracking down an alien convict for the first time. “But so’s Prisoner Zero.”
“You need to get out of there then! Amy it’s not worth it!” She argued before Amy could, knowing that she would. But instead a lot of commotion and no words came through the speakers. “Amy? Amy what’s happening?” Rose asked. Only more noise followed so Rose repeated the question until finally Amy spoke.
“We’re in the coma ward, but it’s here- it’s getting in.” She said quickly, and finally Rose detected proper fear in her Scottish accent.
“Which window is she?” The Doctor yelled.
“Which window?” Rose repeated, louder and closer to the phone.
“Uh… first floor on the left- fourth from the end.” She replied frantically.
Seconds later Rose managed to text “DUCK!” right before they crashed the ladder through the window. They scaled up it quickly, and landed next to Amy and Rory. The Doctor put his arms around the couple. “Right! Hello! Am I late? No-” He stood up as the words hit him, and looked at the clock over the door. “Three minutes to go. We’ve still got time.”
“Time for what, Time Lords?” The woman with her children mocked. The Doctor and Rose walked forwards, standing shoulder to shoulder in a face off against the alien.
“Take the disguise off and they’ll find you in a heartbeat. Nobody has to die.” Rose spoke, offering the best option first, even though she knew from experience it would never take it.
“The Atraxi will kill me this time.” Prisoner Zero said, and Rose squinted. The Atraxi have a dangerous prisoner that has escaped multiple times and still it managed to do it again? “If I am to die, let there be fire.” It said, eyes glowing, and Rose noticed that sickening cracking noise again. Overhead the clock turned to 11:49.
The Doctor chuckled humorlessly. “Okay. You came to this world by opening a crack in space and time. Do it again. Just leave.” He said, not really caring if the prisoner escaped, he just needed the Earth to come out unscathed- it wouldn’t exactly be the first time they’d let a prisoner run free.
It tilted her head, “I did not open the crack.”
“Somebody did.” He argued.
“The cracks in the skin of the universe! Don’t you know where they same from?” It asks mockingly, looking between the two Time Lords. They only stared at her in response, and it raised her eyebrows. “You don’t do you?” She took on the children’s voice then, “The Doctor and Rose in the TARDIS don’t know!’ She exclaimed, referencing the children’s stories about them floating around the universe. “Doesn’t know, doesn’t know!” The child’s voice sing-songed mockingly. They glared menacingly in response. - 11:50.
It’s voice went back to the woman’s. “The universe is cracked.” She said, not like she was telling them, but rather like it was reciting something it’d read in a book. “The Pandorica will open. Silence will fall.” It sounded like a prophecy though she said it like fact.
They stared at her for a few moments, but before they had to respond the clock clicked again- and this time before the minute was up. 00:00 it read. They grinned despite themselves. “And we’re off!” The Doctor exclaimed. “Look at that!” He said pointing over the prisoner’s head to the clock, and looking back towards the humans at the window.
“Do you know what’s happening?” Rose asked the prisoner, tilting her head as it was her turn to mock. “In one little bedroom our team is working. Jeff and the world, and do you know what they’re doing? They’re spreading the word.” Rose enunciated each word carefully, enjoying the look on the criminal’s stolen face.
“All over the world.” The Doctor grinned, “Quantum-fast. The word is out!”
Rose smirked and took a step forward threateningly “And do you know what that word is? …Zero .” She said, raising her eyebrows.
“Now me,” The Doctor started, pulling Rose back towards him surreptitiously. “If I was up in a battleship monitoring all of Earth’s communications, I’d probably take that as a hint. And if I had a whole battle fleet surrounding the planet, I’d be able to track a simple old computer virus to its source in- what?” He looked up, calculating. “Under a minute?” He reached into his pocket. “The source by the way, is right here .” He explained, holding up Rory’s phone. And right on cue a light filled the coma ward as the ship locked in on the signal.
“Oh I think they just found it!” Rose exclaimed, giving the alien a significant look.
“The Atraxi are limited.” It said cockily- as if they needed telling, this was the race currently hell bent on blowing up an entire planet just looking for one little alien after all. “While I’m in this form they’ll still be unable to detect me. They’ve tracked a phone , not me. ”
“Yeah, but this is the good bit.” Rose said, biting her lip and looking up to her husband. “The really really clever bit.” She grinned.
He couldn’t help but smile either. “Do you know what this phone is full of?” He asked merrily. “Pictures of you!” He said, dropping the final straw. “Every form you’ve learned to take- right here! Oh and being uploaded right about- now!” He said, pressing send. He grinned and looked up. “And the final score is: No TARDIS. No screwdriver. Two minutes to spare… Who da man?” He exclaimed, throwing his arms in the air.
An awkward silence insued in which the alien convict tilted her head, Amy sucked her lips in with a look, Rory shifted his gaze away, and Rose tried not to burst out laughing- placing a hand on his hip. “...I’m never saying that again. Fine.” He mumbled, looking around at the blank faces and to his wife.
“Then I shall take a new form.” It said, neck cracking.
“Oh come on, you know you can’t.” The Doctor said, not losing any of his confidence. “A link that that takes months to form.”
“And I’ve had years.” It answered, not missing a beat. The woman and the girls glowed, and behind them Amy crumbled to the floor. The Doctor and Rose ran to her.
“Amy!” Rose called.
“You’ve got to stay awake.” The Doctor insisted, placing his hands either side of her face.
“Doctor.” Rory said seriously, bringing their attention back to the alien- where once three ladies stood now a perfect imitation of The Doctor.
He stood up, clearly confused. “Well that’s rubbish Who’s that supposed to be?” He asked, looking between Rory and Rose.
“It's you!” Rory said.
“Me?” The Doctor looked down at himself. “Is that what I look like?” He said to Rose who nodded, smirking despite the situation.
“You don’t know?” Rory asked incredulously.
“Busy day.” The Doctor answered shortly, and beside him Rose shrugged when Rory shot her a look. Now really wasn’t the best time to explain regeneration and time travel. “Why me though?” The Doctor asked, walking forward. “You’re linked with her. Why are you copying me?”
The imitation-doctor didn’t answer though. Instead little Amelia’s voice came from somewhere behind him. “I’m not,” she said, stepping around him, with Rose on her other hand. “Poor Amy Pond. Still such a child inside. Dreaming of the magic Doctor and Rose she knows will return to save her.” She paused, studying the couple as Rose came next him. “What a disappointment you two have been.” She practically spit in their faces.
The Doctor stared at the little girl for a second. “No, she’s dreaming about us because she can hear us.” He insisted quickly, pivoting on the spot to run back to Amy. Rose stayed frozen in front of Prisoner Zero though.
“Amy, don’t just hear me, listen.” He said, placing his hands at her telepathic centers again. “Remember the room, the room in your house you couldn’t see?” He said, unlocking the memory Rose had barred twelve years ago, but guiding her towards the one from today. “Remember you went inside. We tried to stop you, but you did. You went in the room. You went inside. Amy. Dream about what you saw.” He told her, but it sounded like begging.
In front of Rose Prisoner Zero started glowing again, and Rose took a step back as it transformed into the horrific worm-like alien it really was. “Well done, Prisoner Zero.” Rose said, her voice still a little hollow. “A perfect imitation of yourself.”
Outside the light from the ship grew brighter, and Prisoner Zero thrashed about angrily. “Silence, Doctor. Silence will fall.” It hissed menacingly, and then disappeared.
They searched each other’s eyes afterwards, both wondering at the ominous prophecy the alien had been so keen to tell them of, but also knowing something else was more important at the moment. This wasn’t over yet. They ran to the window. “The sun…” Rory said, looking around them from his place on the floor next to Amy. “It’s back to normal. That’s good, yeah? That means it’s over.” He asked, confused by their angry faces.
Amy woke with a start, and looked around confused as Rose followed the Doctor to the other side of the room where he was typing something into the phone again. “No, it’s not over. I’m tracking the signal back,” he said “Sorry in advance,” he threw over his shoulder to Rory.
“For what?” Rory asked hesitantly.
“Hey-” Rory started, but The Doctor started speaking on the phone, Rose standing close next to him with her arms crossed.
“Oi! I didn’t say you could go!” He yelled angrily. “Article 57 of the Shadow Proclamation. This is a fully established, level-five planet-- And you were gonna burn it? What?” He asked incredulously. Next to him Rose bit her thumb nail. “Did you think no one was watching? You lot… back here, now!” He demanded, snapping the mobile closed and tossing it back to the confused humans.
They walked out of the room with long strides, Amy hot on their heels while Rory stammered. “Uh… did he just bring them back? Did he just save the world from aliens, and then bring all the aliens back again?” He demanded, but no one was going to answer. He sighed and followed.
“Where are you going?” Amy yelled to their backs, and Rose slowed down to walk next to her.
“He’s angry.” She muttered to the redhead and her boyfriend while her husband flippantly answered “The roof!” And then something indecisive before taking a sharp right. “You’ll see.” She said, sighing as they followed him.
“What’s in here?” Amy asked as they entered the locker room.
“I’m saving the world!” The Doctor exclaimed, throwing random clothes behind him as he did. “I need a decent shirt. To hell with the raggedy . Time to put on a show!” He threw another jacket that landed in Rory’s face and began loosening his tie and undoing his buttons without a second thought.
“You just summoned aliens back to Earth. Actual aliens. Deadly aliens. And now you’re… taking your clothes off.” Rory protested, starting strong and drifting off awkwardly as the Doctor’s shirt came off.
“Turn your back if it embarrases you!” The Doctor answered flippantly, but Rose shook her head.
“Nu-uh.” She said, pulling both Amy and Rory by the shoulder to face the other direction. “ I haven’t even seen this new body properly yet, I’ll be damned if someone else does.”
Rose turned back around herself though and smirked. “Do I detect a hint of jealousy, love?” Her husband threw over his (bare) shoulder as his trousers came down.
Rose wouldn’t dignify that with an answer. Which really was answer enough.
Moments later they were walking out on the roof, Rose watching his body move in the deliciously tight brown corduroy trousers and red patterned shirt. At his thighs the same color red suspenders dangled. (‘ Suspenders , Doctor, really? Are you someone’s grandad?’ ‘Shut up. Fate decided to give me the face of a twelve year old. I might as well try to look my age. Maybe get some respect.’ ‘And suspenders are going to do that?’ ‘Shut up’). Around his neck the three ties he still couldn't decide between when time ran out laid under the popped collar. Rory held all the suit jackets he’d thrown at him. He strode purposely towards the giant eyeball of the ship.
“So this was a good idea was it?” Amy demanded, sounding incredibly Scottish. “They were leaving!”
“Leaving is good. Never coming back is better.” He answered quickly, not taking his eyes off the ship. Behind him Rose stopped their little group short before they got too close. “Come ooooon then!” He yelled. “The Doctor will see you now!” The eyeball zoomed up to him, pupil dilating back and forth as it scanned him.
“You are not of this world.” It announced as he pulled up his suspenders.
“No, but I’ve put a lot of work into it.” He answered, green eyes looking threateningly up through his lashes. They could not dare question how he cares for Earth. His gaze flicked down to the ties on his shoulders, and hummed-and-hahed for a bit over them. He held them up for the eyeball to see. “I don’t know… what do you think?” He casually asked the aliens for style advice.
“Is this world important?” The ship asked, ignoring The Doctor’s current debate over fashion.
The Doctor flicked the solid colored tie off, and rolled it up. “Important?” He asked incredulously. “What’s that mean ‘important’? ” He threw the tie at Rory who caught it deftly. “Six billion people live here. Is that important? -Here’s a better question. Is this planet a threat to the Atraxi?” He threw the purple spotted tie behind him and it landed on Amy’s shoulder. “Well come on.You’re monitoring the whole planet. Is this world a threat?” He demanded, and Rose couldn’t help the shiver that went up her back.
In front of him the eyeball projected an image of the Earth, and then threw it it’s history flashed by rapidly out-of order. World War II, Nuclear Bombs, Apollo 11, The Pyramids, Buddha, Reconstruction, The Aztecs, Gandhi- “No.” It finally concluded. The Doctor threw the last tie behind him.
“Are the people of this world guilty of any crime by the laws of the Atraxi?” He demanded next.
More history flashed by, quicker than Rose could place- even with superior Time Lord senses. “No.” It concluded again.
“Okay. One more, just one…” He began buttoning his top button. “Is this world protected? ” In front of them all the aliens that have ever come to Earth popped up, a lot of which Rose was there for, and she couldn’t swallow around the lump in her throat. “Because you’re not the first aliens to come here. And what you’ve got to ask yourselves is: what happened to them?” He said dramatically, walking off to grab the last articles of clothing he needed. While his back was turned all his past regenerations appeared, and tears sprung to Rose’s eyes at the last two… The Doctor walked through the hologram of his previous face to make a point, and Rose laughed on her tears. He was wearing a tweed jacket with elbow pads… and a bowtie- looking dorky and adorable and … sexy as hell facing down the alien ship. “Hello. I’m The Doctor.” He said casually, all bow legged and floppy haired- energy practically radiating off of him.
“Basically… Run.” He said severely, despite the smile at the corners of his mouth. The eyeball studied him frantically and then zoomed back to it’s place on the ship, flying away quicker than it had the first time in the face of The Doctor. Rose ran up to him through the wind and threw her arms around his neck, laughing as he picked her up and swung her around. Between them something burned in his coat pocket and they jumped apart so Rose could pull it out. In her palm sat two glowing new TARDIS keys. They grinned manically at each other and ran for their home- faster than they had all day.
They didn’t stop until they reached their ship still sitting in Amy’s back garden. “Okay,” Rose said, running her hand down the side of the door.
“What have you got for us this time?” The Doctor asked, grinning and turning the key with a look towards his wife.
They opened both doors together and were instantly blinded by golden light. Shiney copper walls surrounded them, the windows Rose had always wanted scattered about along with the lights. In front of them a flat floor led to some stairs up to the console, rather than a ramp. Instead of grating a sleek glass floor revealed the wires underneath, and on the other side another set of stairs could lead them down below for repairs- no more crawling under the grates for them. The console itself was new too- more lit up and spinny than before. The center engine even had a new cloister bell as well. “She’s beautiful.” Rose whispered reverently, running her hand across the panels.
He was already in the middle of typing in the coordinates for the moon before Rose realized what he as doing. She put a hand on his arm and stopped him just in time to hear Amy’s frantic call of “Doctor! Rose!” from outside. Rory was behind her as they stepped outside, closing the door behind them.
“I thought you were leaving again.” She said, eyes full of worry. She’d left the ‘me’ out, but it was clear in her face.
“Amy Pond,” The Doctor said, smirking. “The girl who waited. You’ve waited long enough.”
Amy swallowed and stepped forward. “When I was a kid, you said there was a swimming pool, and a library, and the swimming pool was in the library.” She said, looking up to the impossible blue box.
“Yeah. Not sure where it’s got to now.” He answered, raising an eyebrow at Rose. “It’ll turn up… So, you coming?”
Amy’s eyes were wide, and she reached behind her for Rory’s hand. “No.” She said quietly, and Rose felt a sudden sense of deja-vu at the scene… but this was different.
“You wanted to come twelve years ago.” The Doctor said, smirking- clearly unphased.
“I grew up.” She argued, and Rose watched as Rory held her hand tighter, worry painting his face. He wasn’t trying to hold her back- he wouldn’t ask her to stay like Mickey had asked her, but he was terrified he was going to lose her.
Her husband didn’t seem to notice all that though. “Don’t worry. We’ll fix that.” He laughed, and Rory swallowed anxiously behind his girlfriend.
“Rory, we’re asking you too.” Rose said, looking at him. Amy turned around quickly to see her boyfriend’s reaction. His eyes widened as he looked between the three of them.
The Doctor finally caught on. He snapped, and behind them the door opened- effectively making their decision for them. Amy and Rory walked ahead of the alien couple, looking around awe-struck at the bigger on the inside machine. Rose closed the door behind them and leaned against it while The Doctor ran up the stairs.
“So,” He started after a minute, walking around the console, he pulled the new screwdriver from the panel next to the zig-zag plotter, thanking the TARDIS as he did, and Rose came up to wrap her arm around his waist. “All of time and space, everything that ever happened or ever will…”
“Where do you want to start?” Rose asked, grinning.