“I think you need a Doctor.”
The heart of the TARDIS blinded the Doctor as it flooded through him, and for a moment he saw nothing but gold, although whether it was light or the woman in front of him, he could not tell. He felt Rose crumple to the ground in front of him, and he gently took her in his arms before she fell all the way, beginning to walk toward his TARDIS. Rose’s words echoed in his mind as he went, feeling as if he was in a dream.
I want you safe, my Doctor. Protected from the false god.
Oh, but this feeling was wonderful and terrible, this incredible knowledge of the vortex. It burned and burned through him, but he wanted to keep it, to be a god, to reign over the entirety of space and time…
No, Doctor.It wasn’t Rose speaking, and he barely registered that he had set her down to rest on the TARDIS grating. It wasn’t even a voice, really. A notion, perhaps even an emotion, his brain interpreting it as words. It was there nonetheless, however. He challenged the voice, not wanting to give up this terrible burning light, feeling it begin to tear through his body. Let me hold onto it a bit longer. Let me burn through this body with it, let me exist as a god for just one moment before I give it back…
No. It is not your time, Doctor. The vortex is my responsibility, give her back to me…The Doctor suddenly jerked forward against the console as the golden light was torn from him, spiraling back into the heart of the TARDIS where it belonged. He felt his atoms tear and burn as it was pulled from him, but he felt the energy of his TARDIS along with it, putting him back together, keeping him from the edge of death.
I was supposed to die, I needed a new body, to be washed clean of everything— His rage was cut short as the last of the TARDIS left him, and he collapsed against the console. Everything went blissfully black.
Rose slowly came back to consciousness, and she opened her eyes to see the ceiling of the TARDIS. Everything was bathed in quiet, save for the Doctor breathing next to her.
“Doctor! Oh - ” She pushed herself up, alarmed to see that he was unconscious, but at least he was still breathing. “Doctor! Are you all right?” She gently nudged his shoulder with her hand, and he stirred a little, although he did not wake up. Rose looked around, praying that the Daleks were really gone, and that she had not just dreamed it. The TARDIS was quiet, thankfully, and nothing was trying to break down the door.
Her mind turned to Jack, now that the Doctor seemed stable. He was gone, wasn’t he? She couldn’t quite remember what happened, but that could be the only reason why the Doctor had left without him. She curled up a little around herself, not sure what to do now, or how to deal with what had just happened. She was amazed that she and the Doctor had not died. There was a large blank spot in her head concerning the Daleks and what had become of them, and it frightened her.
Finally, the Doctor began to stir, looking as if he was in pain. Rose immediately rushed to his side, helping him sit up.
“Sssh. Don’t have to get up so quickly. Don’t hurt yourself.” Rose found her hand curling around his back, her other hand taking one of his. He looked at her for a moment, confused. Then he smiled at her, the smile she was familiar with, and she gave a sigh of relief.
“I’m fine, Rose. Nothing to worry about.” He quirked a grin at her, but then his face turned confused again, as if he was partially in pain. “Just a bit…just a bit addled.” He blinked, seeming as if he was trying to process something deep inside his mind. “I think we both almost died.” The Doctor began to try and stand up, but Rose pushed him down again, worried.
“Doctor. You’re going to hurt yourself. Your eyes are still all funny.” She looked at him, concerned. “Still a bit o’ gold in them.” The Doctor shook his head to clear it, and a little of the gold faded, although the muted fury within them did not. She couldn’t imagine why he was so angry, but she hoped that it was just because of the pain, and that it would fade soon.
“I’m fine, Rose. I really mean that.” The Doctor pushed himself up before Rose could stop him, and he leaned on the TARDIS, putting on a smile for her. Rose still saw the lingering anger in his eyes, but convinced herself that it would fade. It had to. There wasn’t anything to be angry about, they had gotten out alive…
“We had plans, didn’t we? I was going to take you to Barcelona.”