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Rewritten

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It all started the night she died.

To say Rose Tyler lived an eventful life would be an understatement. She had traveled through time and space, fought hostile aliens, saved civilizations, even fell in love. She had her adventures, yet always made time for family. She'd married the Doctor, or John as he was known in Pete's World and they continued traveling through time and space; once their TARDIS was fully grown, of course. Rose got to have all the adventure she never thought she’d have again, and John got to have the one adventure he never thought he’d have ever. He died of old age, of all things, not too long ago. Now she was going the same way and, honestly, she didn't know if she wanted to go. 

Rose had been reliving memories in her head as she lay in her hospital bed. Her mind flowed backwards, like watching her life’s greatest hits. She had thought of her mum and dad; how happy they were together again. They had decided to get remarried back on Pete's world. Rose remembered how beautiful her mother had looked and how her father got so nervous he'd said her name wrong again. She thought often of Tony, too; the little boy he'd once been and the brave man she watched him become. He and Rose were always partners in crime. He had always reminded her so much of Jack, he even called her "Rosie" like Jack used to. The Doctor was the one she thought of most.

Oh, she had always loved the Doctor. Probably from the moment she had met him she had been falling for him.

Eyes closed, she could almost see the Doctor again, back when he was all big ears and leather, slipping his hand in hers and whispering "Run" like it was only seconds ago. Oh, all the wonderful, amazing, impossible things they did. She wished it never had to end. She could almost feel the last bit of her life seeping out of her body, almost like she was drifting to sleep. The last thought in her mind before she finally went was of the Doctor. Her Doctor.

Suddenly she was blinded by a golden light. She shielded her eyes until the light finally died down and she saw... Herself? A 19-year-old Rose Tyler stood before her, bathed in a soft golden glow which swirled around her as she smirked, "Hello Rose Tyler." she said, her voice echoing with power and sophistication.  

"Wot's happenin'? Who are you?" Rose asked softly. Nothing was making any bit of sense.

"I am you." the other Rose said, "Or, at least, a part of you."

"Yeah, cos that's not really cryptic and vague." Rose sighed, exasperated. Of course, something weird was gonna happen to her just before she died. Wonderful. 

"I am the Bad Wolf."

"Bad Wolf? The Bad Wolf, as in… No, no way! Tha’s impossible, the Doctor took that outta me ages ago!" It took a long time for Rose to get the Doctor to tell her what happened at the Game Station, and even then, it was hard for him to talk about. She knew how dangerous that power had to be if it had scared the Doctor that much.

"Nothing is impossible, especially not for me." said the Bad Wolf with a small smile, “I have awoken from inside you."

"Awoken? So, the Doctor didn't take the power outta me?"

"Not really, no. I am a part of you, woven into your very being. A piece of me has been inside your mind, lying dormant." Suddenly she began walking, no, gliding towards Rose until the gold light surrounded them both, "Until now..."  

The tendrils radiated power. Rose could feel it on her skin, giving her strength and energy that she hadn't felt in so many years. Then, the Bad Wolf placed her fingers to Rose’s temples and suddenly it felt like she was exploding. She could feel all of time and space running through her veins and electrifying her every nerve. Her body seemed to burst with absolute energy. It felt wonderful and horrible at the same time. It was like she was being ripped apart and put back together all at once. Then it stopped almost as suddenly as it had started. She blinked a few times, taking in deep breaths as her mind tried to catch up to what happened. The Bad Wolf looked absolutely ecstatic, it was Christmas morning to her.

"Wot just..." Rose started, but her voice. She sounded so young! Instinctively, her hands went to her throat, then she looked down at her hands. Not a wrinkle remained. She was properly weirded out. "Wot did you do ta me?!"

"I gave you a gift." The Bad Wolf responded simply. "You must use it wisely. Understand your limits. Not everyone can be saved, but some may be spared. And, above all else, you mustn't let him know until you've succeeded. If he knows too much, if he suspects anything is off, the whole time stream may collapse."

Correction. Now she was properly weirded out.

"Hold on, wot are you on about? Start from the beginnin', help me understand."

"Well, right now, since you’re dead, we’re in this sort of subconscious subspace where I can talk to you properly.” She sounded so much like John, Rose thought. Like the Doctor when he was trying to explain something. “Your death unlocked what has been long hidden from you; me. The Doctor removed the, let’s say, physical Time Vortex, the part that was burning you up, but you had already changed."

"And tha’s 'cos of you?" She asked rhetorically, "Right. So, bit of the vortex stayed inside me, yeah? Lived my whole life, didn't even know it was there. Never felt it or nothin'. The Doctor didn't even know."

"That’s because it's never happened before. Originally, Time Lords became Time Lords by looking into the Untempered Schism, this opening or rift in the space-time continuum. But you, oh you saw the raw vortex, the very heart of the TARDIS. We are a special case!" the Bad Wolf explained, with an edge of pride in her voice. Rose was just trying to stop her legs shaking.

"We?"

"Oh, yes! I mean, I am you... Or at least-"

"A part of me, yeah..." Rose murmured, almost seeing the full picture. "Does that mean I’m talkin’ to myself?" she asked sarcastically, despite the tremble in her voice. “Most people would say that’s right mad, you know.”

“Rose Tyler,” the Bad Wolf smirked, “You and I both know you’re not most people.”

Rose chuckled slightly. “Tha’s true.” She paused for a moment, “So, I really died then.”

"Technically, yes." the Bad Wolf said, "However, that's what my gift is for."

"Why? Wot's the point? My parents are dead, my friends are dead, the Doctor is dead! There's nothin' left for me!" Rose tried to keep her composure as she talked, but she couldn’t help being irritated at how everything the Bad Wolf said was so ambiguous.

"You’re right, there’s nothing left for you. At least, not here." the Bad Wolf assured her softly, cradling her face again, "That’s why I'm sending you back."

Rose stared into the other her’s eyes. She felt her chest constrict as she grasped the magnitude of the Bad Wolf’s words. "Back to my universe? Back to the Doctor?"

"Even better!" she smiled knowingly at Rose, "Back in time!" Rose looked at her perplexed. She shook her head lovingly and explained, "I can use my power to send us back to the moment you first entered the TARDIS, when she first came in contact with us. Send our consciousness into our younger self and relive those two years with the Doctor, but this time we can fix it!"

"Fix it?" Rose asked, squinting. The light tendrils around them were growing awfully bright.

“Yes! Just do as I said and everything should work perfectly!”

“Should?”

“Well, of course there is always an infinite number of possibilities. Quite a few unsavory ones, but also good and that is what we are aiming for!”

Yup, she sounded just like the Doctor. Rose considered what Bad Wolf was saying. Going back, doing it all over again, doing it right this time. She could save more people, herself included. She looked into Bad Wolf’s eyes and saw her own gazing back. They probably reflected what the other was feeling; a hope that this would work and a determination to make it work.

“Are you ready, Rose Tyler?” Rose nodded definitely at Bad Wolf. A giant grin broke out on her face, causing Rose to smile as well. Bad Wolf drew closer to Rose and touched her temples again. The golden light around them kept getting brighter and brighter, until it was blinding. Rose shut her eyes tightly.

Chapter Text

Rose felt very dizzy. She stretched out her arms a bit and steadied herself, trying to make sure she didn't faint. Her stomach felt like she'd just gone off the big drop on a roller coaster and here ears were buzzing, a song fading from earshot. It wasn't the most comfortable feeling.

"Don't worry, the assembled hordes of Genghis Kahn couldn't get through those doors. Believe me, they've tried!"

That voice. Rose's eyes snapped open and she saw him. The Doctor. Her Doctor. Her first Doctor, plugging that plastic head into the console. There he was, all big ears and leather jacket. She couldn’t take her eyes off him.

"You see, the arm was too simple, but the head's perfect." He started, "I can use it to trace the signal back to the original source."

The Doctor turned around to Rose and asked briskly, "Right. Where do you want to start?"

Rose didn't know if she was gonna laugh, cry, or get sick. She was in the TARDIS. She was with the Doctor. She couldn’t believe it worked. She couldn’t remember what she said last time. Oh god, what happened last time?

Finally, she managed to say, "Uh... it's bigger on the inside."

"Yes."

"It's alien."

"Yep."

"Are you alien?"

"Yes." There was a pause. "Is that alright?"

"Yeah." She let out a small laugh. It was real. It was really real!

"It's called the TARDIS, this thing. T-A-R-D-I-S, that's Time And Relative Dimension In Space."

She marveled at the ship around her, looking just as she’d remembered in her dreams. Oh, she'd missed her! Rose beamed back at the Doctor and laughed out of pure joy.

"She’s beautiful!"

The Doctor's mouth quirked upwards. Rose would’ve just stood there staring around at the console room forever, but suddenly she heard a bubbling sound. Oh, yeah.

"Uh, Doctor?" Rose nodded towards the console. "Mickey's melting."

"What?" The Doctor whipped around to see the plastic head caving in on itself. "Oh, no, no, no, no, no!" He yelled, frantically pulling levers and pushing buttons. "I've got to follow the signal before it fades!"

Rose gripped the rails tight as the TARDIS shook, until they abruptly landed. The Doctor ran past Rose and burst out of the doors. With one last glance around and a quick grin, Rose followed him out.

“I lost the signal. I got so close.” The Doctor leaned against the wall dejectedly.

“We’ve, uh, moved.” Rose said in fake astonishment, “How’d it do that?”

“Disappears there and reappears here. You wouldn’t understand.” He snapped back at her.

“What about Mickey?” she tried again. The Doctor just looked at her confused. “Would they’ve left him alive?”

“I didn’t think about that.”

“You didn’t think?” Rose asked incredulously and quite angry, despite herself, “They copied him, he could actually be dead, and you just didn’t think?”

“Look,” the Doctor started, in the same harsh tone as her, “if I did forget some kid called Mickey…”

“Yeah, he’s not just some kid!”

“It’s because I’m tryin to save the lives of every stupid ape on this planet! Alright?”

“Alright?”

“Yes, it is!”

She huffed. Rose had almost forgotten how infuriating this Doctor used to be. Almost. She looked back over at him, her gaze softening. She hadn’t wanted to fight with him again, but she wasn’t going to let him get away with treating Mickey like that, not again. If she was really getting a second chance, she was gonna use it properly. Rose took this moment to remember everything, every detail she could. All she had to do was go by the script.

“Wot’s a Police Public Call Box?”

He turned back around, uncrossing his arms and reaching out for the TARDIS. “It’s a telephone box, from the 1950’s. It’s a disguise.” He said, all malice gone from his voice and replaced with pride. Rose chuckled.

“I like it. So, wot about this living plastic, wot’s it want? Like, wot’s it got against us?”

“Nothing. It loves you. You’ve got such a good planet: lots of smoke and oil, plenty of toxins and dioxins in the air. Perfect. Just what the Nestene Consciousness needs. Its food stock was destroyed in the war, all its protein planets rotted. So, earth, dinner.”

“Any way of stoppin’ it?”

The Doctor pulled out a vile filled with blue liquid from in his jacket pocket. “Antiplastic. But first I’ve gotta find it. How can you hide somethin’ that big in a city this small.”

“Hold on, hide wot?”

“The transmitter. The Consciousness is controlling every single piece of plastic, so it needs a transmitter to boost the signal.”

“So like a satellite er somethin’?”

“Yes. Like a dish, or a wheel. Round and massive, somewhere slap-bang in the middle of London. A huge, metal, circular structure close to where we’re standing. It must be completely invisible.” The Doctor rambled and Rose had to fight back a laugh as he walked right in front of and turned his back to the transmitter, the London Eye. Rose didn’t feel like wasting time making him figure it out for himself.

She pointed past him and said, “So, somethin’ like that?”

He turned around, gave the Eye a hard look, then turned back to her and said, “Oh.” Then he turned to it again, back to her, grinned, and said in that way she always loved, “Fantastic.”

He took off, Rose right next to him. He took her hand as they ran and Rose couldn’t remember feeling this happy in years. They took off until they were right below the Eye, stopping to take a breather.

“Think of it.” he said, “Plastic all over the world, every artificial thing waiting to come alive: the shop window dummies, the phones, the wires, the cables.”

“The breast implants.” This time around, she saw him smirk at her joke.

“So, we found the transmitter. The Consciousness must be somewhere underneath.”

Rose ran back towards where she knew the entrance to below was as he looked around, then yelled, “Wot about here?”

He ran towards her to take a look. He smiled, “Looks good to me”

They ran down the stairs and the Doctor opened the hatch. He climbed down first, then Rose. Quietly, they entered through the door. It was sweltering hot, just as Rose remembered.

“The Nestene Consciousness. That’s it, inside the vat. A living plastic creature.”

“So, wot now?”

“I’ve gotta give it a chance.”

Rose already knew what he’d say and it broke her heart. He always did that, gave them a chance. She wished that someday, they’d take it. The Doctor approached the molten blob in the vat, Rose right behind him. If he was gonna do this, she had to be prepared for what was going to happen. She wouldn’t let anyone die this time, she had to be fast.

“I seek audience with the Nestene Consciousness under peaceful contract according to Convention 15 of the Shadow Proclamation.” The blob gurggled back to the Doctor some response that never translated in Rose’s head. “Thank you. If I might have permission to approach.”

Then Rose spotted Micky. He looked so different than she remembered, probably because the last time she saw him was when the stars were going out. However, this Mickey was terrified and ignorant to the man he would become. Rose ran to him.

“It’s okay Mickey, it’s me. It’s alright, I’m here.” He trembled like a leaf in her arms. Mickey shushed her.

“That thing down there.” He said, his voice shaking as bad as he was, “The liquid, Rose. It can talk!” she gripped him tighter in hopes that it would calm him down. She couldn’t stay here comforting him though, she had to make sure she did everything right.

“They kept him alive, Doctor!” she called out.  

“Yeah, that was always a possibility. Keep him alive to maintain the copy.”

“Oh, and you didn’t think to tell me that now, did ya?”

“Can we keep the domestics outside, thank you?”

She wanted to punch him. She settled for rolling her eyes. As the Doctor approached the Consciousness and begin to try and negotiate, Rose looked around for the axe and chain she would need. When she turned back to the Doctor, she saw the dummies coming for him.

“Doctor!” she yelled out, but again it was too late as they grabbed him and pulled out the antiplastic he had hidden.

“That was just insurance! I wasn’t gonna use it.” The Consciousness growled back at him. “I was not attacking you, I’m here to help. I’m not your enemy. I swear, I’m not.” It growled again. “What do you mean?”

Suddenly, the mechanical door behind them slid open to reveal the TARDIS. “No, no, no! Honestly, no.” The Nestene Consciousness said something to the Doctor, and he replied, “Yes that’s my ship.” It squealed back. “That’s not true! I should know, I was there. I fought in the war. It wasn’t my fault.” The desperate sound in his voice hurt Rose to hear. “I couldn’t save your world. I couldn’t save any of them.” Now, The Consciousness was furious.

“Wot’s it doing?” Rose yelled

“It’s the TARDIS.” The Doctor cried back, “The Nestene’s identified it as superior technology. It’s terrified. It’s going to the final base. Its starting the invasion. Get out, Rose! Just leg it, now!”

Mickey’s grip on her legs grew tighter as The Nestene Consciousness thrashed around in its vat. The Doctor struggled but it was futile. Then, a bolt of lightning shot from the vat and Rose knew it was now or never. Without any hesitation, she ripped free of Mickey’s death grip and ran up to the axe. The stairs begin to collapse as she wacked the hook until the chain came free. She may not have had as much brawn as she did back at Torchwood, but her 19-year-old body still had muscle from The Jericho Street Junior School under-sevens gymnastics team. Gripping tight, she swung down and kicked the plastic dummy off the platform along with the antiplastic in its hand. The Doctor, meanwhile, threw the dummy holding him over his back and into the vat as well. As she swung back around, the Doctor caught her and said, “Now we’re in trouble.”

Together, they ran up to the TARDIS as the place began to explode. Rose grabbed Mickey and dragged him behind her into the phone box. The Doctor started working on the console to make them disappear from the chaos. As the TARDIS shook in flight, Rose pulled out her phone and immediately called her mom. They landed right as her mom picked up. “Oh, there you are. I was just thinkin’ of phoning you. You can get compensation, I said so. I just got this document thing off the police. Don’t thank me…”

“Where are you, mum?”

“I’m in town! Doing a bit of late night shopping and all. In fact, weirdest thing just happened. The shop window dummies started movin’! Broke outta the glass then just fell to the floor! Everyone’s sayin’ publicity stunt gone wrong.” Rose looked at the TARDIS and giggled a bit. She’d really done it!

“That’s great mum. Look, I just met up with an old friend so imma go, love you.”

“Alright, I’ll talk to you later. Ta!”

Rose smiled as she hung up the phone. She jogged up to Mickey, who was whimpering behind some trash, staring at the TARDIS in fear. Oh boy, he had no clue what was coming in his future. The Doctor leaned on the doorway of the TARDIS, also smiling.

“Nestene Consciousness,” he clicked his fingers, “easy!”

“You were useless in there, you’d be dead if it wasn’t for me.” Rose boasted back.

“Yes, I would.” He said seriously, but still smiling at her softly, “Thank you.” They looked at each other for a moment, then he clapped his hands together. “Right then, I’ll be off. Unless, uh, I don’t know. You could come with me? This box isn’t just a London-op, you know? It goes anywhere in the universe, free of charge.”

“Don’t.” Mickey suddenly pipped up, “He’s an alien, he’s a thing!”

“He’s not invited.” The Doctor paused. “What do ya think? You could stay here, fill your life with work and food and sleep, or you could go… anywhere.”

Rose was more than ready to grab his hand and run away again, but then she remembered last time. She had said no. He asked her a second time. She had to know he wanted her there, not just because he was lonely. She had to know he wanted her.

“I can’t.” she said, hoping history would repeat itself. “I gotta go find my mum, and someone’s gotta look after this stupid lump, so…”

He hesitated, then said, “Okay. See you around.” Rose hoped she was right about this. They spent another moment or two just looking at each other, then he closed the TARDIS door and was gone. The TARDIS phased out of the ally with that beautiful groaning sound.

Rose knew she only had a few seconds before he came back, so she knelt down to Mickey and hugged him. “I love ya, Mickey. I always have and always will, just,” she pulled him back and looked him in the eyes, “not in the way you want me to.” He looked utterly confused as she pulled him to his feet. Right as they both stood, the TARDIS’ groan came back into earshot. She grinned ear to ear as she turned to see the Doctor peering out the doors.

“By the way, did I mention, it also travels in time?” he took a step back, confident she was coming this time.

“Tell my mum I went travelin’.” She said, not even turning to Mickey, and she ran into the TARDIS.

Finally, she was home again.

Chapter Text

The moment the TARDIS had come back into view, Rose could not stop smiling. Finally, being back inside with her first Doctor about to go on an adventure just made her smile even bigger, if possible. She jogged her way inside the TARDIS, the doors closing behind her. The Doctor leaned nonchalantly against the console, throwing around a piece of the TARDIS in his hand which Rose still wasn’t totally sure what it did.

“Right then, Rose Tyler, you tell me, where do you want to go? Backwards or forwards in time? It’s your choice. What’s it gonna be?”

“Forwards, definitely forwards.”

The Doctor placed the ball back into its place on the console, flipped a few switches, then turned back to Rose and asked, “How far?”

“One hundred years.”

Without even breaking eye contact, the Doctor got to work. Pulling levers, turning knobs, pressing buttons. The TARDIS begin to shake and wheeze, flying through the time vortex. Then the Doctor turned another knob and they instantly stopped.

“There you go! Step outside those doors, it’s the 22nd century.” Rose just grinned back. “That’s a bit boring, though. Do ya wanna go further?”

“Fine by me!”

The Doctor got back to work with the levers and knobs and buttons, even faster than before. The TARDIS rumbled around them, then stopped again.
“Ten thousand years in the future. Step outside, it’s the year 12005. The new Roman Empire.”

“You think you’re so impressive.” Rose laughed. She hadn’t paid much attention to it last time, but he was really laying it on thick with this first trip.

“I am so impressive!” he exclaimed defensively.

“You wish!”

“Right, you asked for it. I know exactly where to go.” And with that, he was off. His hands moved furiously over the console and the TARDIS sped through the vortex. Rose held on tight, ready to relive their first adventure. Almost as quickly as he’d started, the Doctor stopped moving about and the TARDIS stood still.

“Where are we?” Rose asked. The Doctor just gestured to the front doors. “What’s out there?” Rose grinned as he just gestured again. She sauntered to the front doors, flashing the Doctor one last smile before slowly opening them. Rose looked around the space station, remembering her first time here. She heard the doors of the TARDIS squeak open behind her as she walked down the stairs. As she made her way down, Rose heard the Doctor use his sonic screwdriver to lower the cover on the windows. The view of the Earth was absolutely stunning.

“You lot…” the Doctor said from beside her, “You spend all your time thinking about dying. How you’re gonna get killed by eggs or beef or global warming or asteroids. But you never take time to imagine the impossible. That maybe you survive.” He paused.

Rose looked at him and really took a moment to just stare. She was really here, with her Doctor. He kept looking out at the Earth, but Rose still just looked at him. He was just as beautiful as she remembered. There had never been enough time with this version of him, but she had fallen for him just the same. Now, she had a second chance to love him, big ears and all.

“This is the year 5.5/Apple/26, five billion years in your future. And this is the day… hold on…” The Doctor checked his watch. Then, the sun flared, causing Rose to look back at the planet below. “This is the day the sun expands. Welcome to the end of the world.” The Doctor said softly.

Rose kept her eyes on the Earth, but she could see the Doctor was staring at her now. He was looking for her reaction. Suddenly, it clicked. She couldn’t believe how thick she was. This had never been a coincidence, he wanted to watch her reaction to her home world burning, just as his did. He was probably testing her or trying to scare her off. Mostly, however, he was just torturing himself. Of course, he was fresh out of the Time War. He was still filled with anger and sadness, blaming himself for the loss of his people. He watched his planet burn and now he wanted Rose to see hers burn, too. But Rose wasn’t that naïve 19-year-old girl anymore, at least not on the inside. She wasn’t scared or intimidated by the Doctor, she had already fallen for him. He just didn’t know it.

“Everythin’ ends, I suppose. I’m not really afraid of dyin’. Course, I don’t mean I wanna die or anythin’, but I know it’s a part of life and all.” The Doctor looked at her in both admiration and curiosity. That wasn’t exactly something a regular 19-year-old would say, but that’s because Rose had already died. She’d lived her life, now she got the chance to do it again. But why? What was the point of rewriting her history if she was just going to grow old and die anyways? Sure, she would get more time with the Doctor, but he would have to watch her decay. She’d already spent her life with the Doctor back on Pete’s World, but then again if she “fixed everything” like the Bad Wolf said, would she even go to Pete’s World at all?

Rose’s thoughts abruptly stopped the moment she noticed the Doctor walking away. She jogged after him, out of the observation deck and down the corridor as the computerized lady over the speaker spoke, “Shuttles five and six now docking. Guests are reminded that Platform 1 forbids the use of weapons, teleportation, and religion. Earth Death is scheduled for 15:39, followed by drinks in the Manchester Suite.”

“So, when it says ‘guests’, I’m assumin’ that doesn’t mean people like…people.” Rose said lamely as the Doctor begin to sonic his way into the main gallery. “It means aliens, right?”

“Yup.”

“And wot, there just here to watch the world burn?”

“Exactly.”

“Wot for?”

“Fun.” He smiled at her as they entered.

“Cheery. Wait a sec, doesn’t it take like hundreds of years for the sun to expand and all?”

“Millions. But the planet’s now in the property of the National Trust. They’ve been keeping it preserved. See down there? He asked rhetorically, pointing to some machine spinning around the planet. “Gravity satellite. That’s holding back the sun.”
“The planet looks the same as ever. I thought the continents shifted and things.”

“They did, and the Trust shifted ’em back! That’s a classic Earth. But, now the money’s run out, nature takes over.”

“How long’s it got?”

“About half an hour. Then the planet gets roasted.”

“But what about all the people?”

“It’s empty. They’ve all gone. All left.”

“Just me, then.” Rose said quietly, feeling it much more this time around. She remembered her life on Pete’s World, watching her family die. Her dad, her mom, John, even her little brother Tony died before she did due to cancer. She had been the last one to go. For years before her death, it had been just her.
“Who the hell are you?” came the Steward’s voice behind them. Rose snapped out of her trance, suddenly remembering what had happened the first time around. The Doctor pulled out his psychic paper as Rose tried to pinpoint in her mind the exact moment in their adventure things went sideways. So many had died here, but if she was able stop the Nestene Consciousness in time, she could save everyone here, too. She only wished she had a perfect memory.

“The paper’s slightly psychic,” the Doctor said, “Shows them whatever I want them to see. Saves a lot of time.”

“Makes for easy party crashin’, I suppose.” She joked, earning her a grin from the Doctor as the stuffed the paper back into his pocket.

“We have in attendance, The Doctor and Rose Tyler,” the Steward’s voice boomed from the microphone. “Thank you! All staff to their positions.” A crowd of blue munchkins in major head gear suddenly swarmed in and made their way through the room to get to whatever their jobs were. “Hurry now! Thank you! Quick as we can, come along! And now, might I introduce the next honored guest representing the Forest of Cheem, we have trees. Namely Jabe, Lute, and Coffa. There will be an exchange of gifts, representing peace. If you could keep the room circulating, thank you.”

The Steward continued listing the entering guests, but Rose tuned out as she gazed upon the future dead. Could she really save them all? She had to, no matter what. That was part of the reason she came back. But the Bad Wolf’s words, “not everyone can be saved, but some may be spared” echoed over and over again in her mind. Then, Jabe and the other trees approached.

“A Gift of Peace,” Jabe said, bowing her head slightly and took a potted plant from one of her companions. “I give you a cutting from my grandfather.” She continued, handing it to the Doctor.

“Thank you.” The Doctor passed it on to Rose and patted his jacket for something to offer back. “Yes, gifts…erm…”

“I give to you in return,” Rose said before he could, “Air from my lungs.” Her and the Doctor shared a side glance for a moment before she turned back to Jabe and awkwardly blew in her face. Jabe closed her eyes, looking as uncomfortable as Rose felt. She had no clue why she had said it instead of letting the Doctor other than because she was petty and didn’t want them getting that close, like last time.

“How…. Generous. Thank you.” Jabe said, still very uncomfortable. Rose couldn’t help but think how comfortable with it she was when it had been the Doctor, but she let it slide.

“That was quick.” The Doctor murmured to Rose as the trees moved on. “a bit intimate, though.” He teased.

“Shut it. It’s all I could think of.” The Doctor chuckled and shook his head, Rose laughed a little with him. “Next one’s all yours.”
Right as Rose looked up the Steward was introducing the Face of Boe. She had never really gotten the chance to meet the face of Boe, despite running into him twice. First time at Platform 1, Rose was too freaked out to even think of mingling. Then, on New Earth, Cassandra had hijacked her body. Rose didn’t even remember most of that adventure. This time, however, she definitely wanted a conversation with this “textbook enigmatic” being. The next guest approached.

“The Moxx of Balhoon!” The Doctor greeted.

“My felicitations on this historical happenstance,” the little man replied, “I bring you the gift of bodily salivas.” Then, he hawked and spat right into Rose’s eye, again. Of all the things she remembered, Rose wished that had been one of them.

“Thank you very much.” The Doctor laughed. “Ah! The Adherents of the Repeated Meme,” he said to the approaching guests. Well, they weren’t guests at all. Rose knew they weren’t even people under those hoods, but Cassandra’s robots. Rose couldn’t let it look like she thought something was up though, not in front of the Doctor. “I bring you air from my lungs.” The Doctor said, then audibly exhaled all around them. It took a lot for Rose not to laugh at how ridiculous he looked doing that.

“A gift of peace in all good faith.” The front one said in a mysterious voice. It handed the Doctor a metal sphere which, unknown to him, had Cassandra’s spider bots hiding inside, waiting to attack. He handed it to Rose, who handled it carefully. She didn’t know how she was going to stop these things without telling the Doctor, but damn it she was gonna try.

“Ladies and gentlemen and trees and multiforms, consider the Earth below. In memory of this dying world, we call forth the last human. The Lady Cassandra O’Brien Dot Delta Seventeen.”

“Oh, now, don’t stare. I know, it’s shocking, isn’t it?” Cassandra said in her navally voice as they rolled her in the room. Rose couldn’t help rolling her eyes as that bitchy trampoline started talking about her last surgery. The Doctor looked at her and snorted. Rose didn’t want to listen to Cassandra’s speech again, but it’s not like she could just walk out. So, she stayed and just tuned out the whole thing. Instead, Rose took the time to look around the room at all the guests. Some of the aliens she actually recognized from back in the day, working at Torchwood. They all seemed so fascinated at the ostrich egg, gasping when Cassandra claimed they could breathe fire. Rose wondered if any of them had actually read up on Earth before showing up to watch it die. It was sad, but Rose knew how ridiculous and frivolous rich people were. In the other universe, her and Mickey used to laugh about how her dad didn’t even actually know anything about half the stuff in his mansion.

When they rolled in the juke box, Rose was absolutely done. In no way was Tainted Love what Rose considered “classical” in any way. She basically stormed away from the Doctor and out the doors. She needed to clear her head, so she decided to walk around for a bit.

Rose wandered the corridors, half of her mind wondering how she was going to save all those people and half on how Cassandra just rubbed her the wrong way. She stopped and stared out a small window at the Earth. It was a lot to take in, honestly. It had only been maybe two hours since she had died of old age in another universe, now her consciousness had taken over her 19-year-old body and she was rewriting history. After everything she learned from the Doctor about time travel, Rose wondered what part of her though this was a good idea. Well, obviously Bad Wolf thought it was, but technically she wasn’t a part of her yet. Rose had so many questions that just couldn’t be answered, it was giving her a bit of a headache. Suddenly, she felt as if someone was watching her. Turning, she saw it was that mechanic she spoke to last time.

“Oh, hello. Sorry, am I in your way?” Rose said to the blue woman in front of her, wishing she could remember her name. She was met with awkward silence. “Oh! Right, yeah, uh you have permission to talk.”

“Thank you. And, no, you’re not in the way. Guests are allowed anywhere.”

“Wot’s your name?”

“Raffalo.”

“Raffalo,” Rose repeated, “Tha’s a lovely name.”

“Thank you, Miss. I won’t be long. I’ve just got to carry out some maintenance.” Raffalo fiddled with a control panel on the wall, then bent down to the vent. “There’s a little glitch in the Face of Boe’s suite. There must be something blocking the system. He’s not getting any hot water.” She started pulling out the screws on the grate.

“So, you’re a plumber, yeah?”

“That’s right, Miss.”

“Tha’s good, honest work. Someone’s gotta do the jobs no one wants, I suppose. I used to work in a shop myself.”

“Is that right, Miss?”

“Yeah, but that was ages ago. More of a traveler now, me. Where you from? Maybe I’ve been there.”

“Crespallion.” She said, standing up to properly talk with Rose.

“Tha’s part of the Jaggit Brocade, right? In the Scarlet Junction?”

“Yes, Miss. Have you been?”

“No, only seen the Junction from a far.” Rose replied, remembering watching its death on Kropp Torr.

“And where are you from, Miss?” Raffalo suddenly looked horrified at her own question. “If you don’t mind me asking.”

“No, not at all. Well, like I said, I’m a traveler so I’m sorta from everywhere. Me and my companion, I mean.” Rose hesitated on the word “companion”. She had never known what to call her and the Doctor in those two years traveling. Companions? Mates? Lovers? But, for now, it would have to do. “Well, anyways, don’t lemmie keep you. Good luck with it.” Rose started to walk away.

“Thank you, Miss, and uh…” Rose turned back to look at Raffalo, who said in a sincere tone, “thank you for the permission. Not many people are that considerate.”

“Well, they should be. See ya later.” Rose waved and walked back to the observation deck. Her talk with Raffalo had definitely calmed her down a bit, made her feel better. Those questions were still nagging at her mind, but for now she’d let them rest. She was with the Doctor and nothing could make her feel better than being with her Doctor again. Rose sat on the ledge and looked out the window. The planet really looked beautiful from up here. In all those years traveling with the Doctor, things like that view just never got old to Rose. She tossed the metal ball up and down in her hand, determined not to let it out of her sight.

“Would the owner of the blue box in private gallery 15 please report to the steward’s office immediately. Guests are reminded that the use of teleportation devices is strictly prohibited under Peace Tready 5.4/Cup/16. Thank you.” Came the Steward’s voice over the PA, followed by an automated woman.
“Earth Death in 25 minutes. Earth Death in 25 minutes.”

“Thanks, mate.” Rose muttered sarcastically. She kept staring out into space until she heard the sound of the sonic from outside the doors.

“Rose, you in there?” came the Doctor’s voice.

“Yeah, I’m here.” The doors then slipped open and the Doctor came in.

“Aye-aye.” He said, plopping down on the ledge on the other side of the stairs. “What d’ya think then?”

“Brilliant, really. Just a lot on my mind, s’all.” The Doctor looked at her quizzically. She couldn’t very well tell him what was really on her mind, so she copped out to her last excuse. “They’re just so alien! The aliens are so alien. You look at ’em, and they’re alien.”

“Good thing I didn’t take you to the deep south.”

“Funny.” She said flatly. “Why do they all speak English? I woulda thought different species had different languages.”

“No, they do. You just hear English. It’s a gift of the TARDIS. It’s the telapathic field, gets inside your brain, translates.”

“Handy, that. So, you’re an alien. Do your people speak English or am I just hearing English?”

“I speak a multitude of languages, English is one of them.”

“Cool.” Rose tried for a shot in the dark, maybe he’d open up to her this time. “So, who are ya people? Like, where you from?”

“All over the place.”

Yeah, Rose thought not. She tried again. “Really though, what you called? What sorta alien are you?”

“I’m just the Doctor.” He said irritably.

Rose tried softening her tone, making sure she didn’t sound accusatory this time. “From what planet?”

“Well, it’s not as if you’d know where it is.” He sniggered.

“True. So wot’s the harm, aye?” Rose sighed “I just wanna know who ya are.”

“This is who I am.” He said, not angry like last time. More resigned. “Right here, right now. All right? All that counts is here and now, and this is me.” He got up and walked down the stairs. Last time it was out of anger, but this time was sadness. This definitely was not what Rose wanted. She had avoided the fight, but instead she felt like she just rubbed salt in a quite recent wound. Rose slowly made her way towards him. Behind him, she reached out her hand to touch his shoulder, but stopped herself before making contact. She shuffled her feet a bit and turned away to look out the window.

“Alrigh’. As my mate Shareen always says, ‘don’t argue with the designated driver’.” Rose looked out of the corner of her eye and saw the Doctors mouth quirk up slightly. “Can’t exactly call for a taxi.” She continued, pulling out her Nokia. “No signal. We’re a bit outta range.” Finally, the Doctor turned to her.

“Tell you what, with a little bit of jiggery-pokery…”

“Is tha’ a technical term, ‘jiggery-pokery’?” she grinned as he took her phone.

“Yeah, I came first in jiggery-pokery. What about you?”

“Nah, I failed hullabaloo.”

“Awe.” He said, fake pity etched in his tone as he handed her the cell phone. “There you go.” He handed her phone back, looking at her expectantly. She went to her contacts and called her mom. It rang.

“Hullo?” came her mother’s voice. She nearly teared up as it suddenly hit her she was calling her mom. In her time, her mother had been dead for decades. Rose hadn’t really thought about it last time, too worried about saving lives to realize she was getting the chance to talk to her mother again.

“Mum?”

“Oh, what is it? What’s wrong? What have I done now? Ooh, this red top is falling to bits! You should get your money back. Go on, there must be something. You never phone in the middle of the day.”

“Oh its nothin’, just wanted to say hullo. You alrigh’?”

“Yeah, why wouldn’t I be?”

“Wot day is it?”

“Wednesday, all day. You got a hangover? Oh, I tell you wot, put a quid in that lottery syndicate. I’ll pay you back later.”

“Yeah, m’kay. I was just callin’ to say imma be late home.”

“Is there something wrong?”

“No, I’m fine. Top of the world!” Rose laughed. “And mum… I love you.”

“Ya sure you’re alright, love?”

“Absolutely fantastic, trust me. Bye, mum.” She hung up and took a deep breath. She had just talked to her mother from five billion years in the future. Last time all she could focus on was that her mother would be dead five billion years in the future, but now all she could think that her mother was actually alive five billion years in the past.

“Think tha’s amazin’, you wanna see the bill.” Piped up the Doctor. Rose instantly whipped around and jumped into his arms, gripping his neck tightly. Tentatively, he wrapped his arms around her waist in return.

“Thank you, Doctor.” She whispered into his shoulder. Rose would have stayed in the Doctor’s arms forever, but the whole platform suddenly rumbled around them. Rose moved out of his embrace and he gave her a intrigued smirk.

“Tha’s not supposed to happen.”

“Honored guests may be reassured that gravity pockets may cause slight turbulence. Thanking you.” Instantly came the Steward’s voice in response. Rose and the Doctor shared a look, and together they were off to investigate.

Chapter Text

The Doctor walked like a man on a mission, Rose trailing behind him. She knew from that moment on was when all of her actions would really count. Together, they made their way back to the party.

“That wasn’t a gravity pocket.” Started the Doctor as they entered the room. Instantly, the Doctor went for the control panel on the wall and started fiddling with it. “I know gravity pockets, and they don’t feel like that.” He suddenly whipped around at the sound of someone approaching. “What do ya think, Jabe? Listen to the engines, they’re hitched up about 30 Hertz. Is tha’ dodgy or what?”

She looked back at him, genuinely confused. “It’s the sound of metal, it doesn’t make any sense to me.”

“Where’s the engine room?”

“I don’t know. But the maintenance duct is just behind our guest’s suite, I could show you. And your wife.” She said that last bit almost as a question.

“Oh, she’s not my wife.” The Doctor said quickly, almost embarrassed. Rose rolled her eyes and smiled. He had no idea.

“Partner?”

“No.”

“Concubine?”

“Nope.”

Jabe glanced at Rose, then back at the Doctor and said, “Prostitute?”

The smile instantly dropped off Rose’s as she wipped her head around. “Wotever I am, it must be invisible. D’ya mind?” Rose took a breath. “Tell ya wot, you two go and pollinate. I’m gonna mingle, yeah?”

“I’m all yours.” The Doctor gave his arm to Jabe and they started out the door.

“And I want you home by midnight!” She called after them, earning her a grin from the Doctor. Rose turned and slowly made her way about the room. She wasn’t sure who to talk to. She could always retrace her steps and talk to Cassandra, but she feared she’d only try to slap off that trampoline’s bad lipstick.

“Earth Death in 15 minutes. Earth Death in 15 minutes.”

And so, with that, she went up to Cassandra against her better judgement. Rose inched her way past the men in hazmat suits and went around the flap of skin to the face. “Hullo. My name’s Rose Tyler. I wanted to talk to you about the uh gifts you brought on board. The stuff from Earth?”

“Ah, yes. The planet below. Soon the sun will blossom into a red giant, and my home will die.” Cassandra began, rolling forward. Rose resisted the urge to groan out loud and walked forward with her. “That’s where I used to live when I was a little boy. Down there.”

“Don’tcha mean little girl?” Rose interrupted, but Cassandra just ignored her.

“Mommy and Daddy had a house built on the side on the Los Angles Crevasse.” She sighed, and Rose cringed. Even the way this woman said crevasse grated on Rose’s nerves. Why did she come over here again? “I’d have such fun.”

“So, wot about everyone else. All the people across the galaxy? There’s humans out there, Cassandra. You’re not the last one.”

“I am the last pure human. The others…mingled…” Somehow, Cassandra twisted her face up in disgust. “Oh, they call themselves New-humans and Proto-humans and Digi-humans and even Human-ish! But you know what I call them? Mongerls.”

“And you stayed behind.”

“I kept myself pure.”

“Pure, right. How many operations have you had?”

“708. Next week, its 709. I’m having my blood bleached. Is that really why you wanted a word? You could be flatter, now. You’ve got a little bit of a chin poking out.”

“I’d rather die.”

“Honestly, it doesn’t hurt.”

“Nah, I mean it, I’d rather die. Better to die than end up like you, a bitchy trampoline. You’re jus’ a narrowminded flap of skin, so stuck in the past you’re not willin’ to move forward.”

“Oh well, what do you know.”

Rose stepped in front of Cassandra, making sure she was looking at her. “I was born on tha’ planet. I lived on tha’ planet. I have defended tha’ plant more times than you could comprehend, Cassandra. All tha’ more than qualifies me as the last human in this room, cos you’re not human. You’ve had it all nipped and tucked and flattened till theres nothin’ left. Anythin’ human got chucked in the bin. All that’s left of you is bad lipstick and a bad attitude. Nice talkin’ to ya.” Rose started to stomp away, but quickly turned on her heel and added, “By the way, ostriches didn’t breathe fire. Did you even live on tha’ planet?” Satisfied with the absolute offense on Cassandra’s face, Rose walked away.

She almost made it to the doors when she remembered that was exactly what happened last time. Cassandra would have her robots attack when Rose was alone, so she couldn’t be alone. Instead, she wandered around the room for someone to make conversation with. Finally, she saw the Face of Boe unaccompanied. Well, now was as good a time as ever to get a word with him. She wasn’t sure how to approach an ancient telepathic being, but she was just gonna wing it.

“Hello there.” She waved slightly. “My name’s Rose Tyler. It’s nice ta meet ya.”

“Rose Tyler.” Came a strong voice in her mind, which she instantly connected to the Face of Boe. “It has been so many years since I last saw your face.”

“So, we met before?”

“Indeed. You will not remember our last meeting, but you will remember our first.” The Face of Boe said, and Rose could have sworn he was grinning. “Champagne by the light of Big Ben. Us, dancing to the sounds of German bombs and Glen Miller. It’s one of my most treasured memories.”

 “J-jack?” Rose’s mouth gapped open. “You’re tellin me you are Captain Jack Harkness?”

“That is no longer the name I go by, but yes.”

“But Captain Jack Harkness is a suave 51st century man and you…well, you’re a head in a box.”

“A very suave head in a box.” He replied in the same tone every time, but Rose could tell it was a joke. She cracked a smile.

“Wot mess did’ja get into ta end up like this?”

“Some things, Rose Tyler, are meant to stay secret. Much like your situation now. You walk over an old path, but you must be careful not to stumble along the way. You could fall off.”

“I’m assumin’ tha’ metaphor is a lot more serious than it sounds, yeah?”

“Much more. You already know much of time and its rules, but bending those rules even slightly is still quite dangerous. Go too far, and everything may collapse.”

“Real vote of confidence, thanks Captain.”

“Rose”

She looked at him softly and bent down so they were eye to eye. “I understand the risks, Jack. I will be careful, but I’m not gonna give up.” She closed her eyes and put her hand to the glass case. She could feel his warmth, like hugging an old friend. “Thank you.”

“Earth Death in 10 minutes. Earth Death in 10 minutes.”

Rose opened her eyes and stood up. “Guess tha’s my cue. Better find the Doctor, make sure he hasn’t gotten himself in too much trouble, yeah?”

“It was good to see you again, Rose Tyler.”

“And here’s to seein you soon, Captain.”

“The planet’s end!” Came Cassandra’s voice from the center of the room. “Come gather, come gather! Bid farewell to the cradle of civilization. Let us mourn her with a traditional ballad.” The juke box started up, playing Toxic. Rose shared a look with Jack and smiled.

“Earth Death in 5 minutes. Earth Death in 5 minutes.” 

She walked a little closer to the door just as the Doctor and Jabe walked in. Rose quickly matched his stride and took his hand. “Alrigh’ there?” she asked, looking concerned. He gave her hand a squeeze, but barely looked at her. Something happened. She was so concerned about the Doctor, she wasn’t even paying attention to what Jabe was saying.

“The metal machine confirms; the spider devices have infiltrated the whole of Platform One.” Everyone around her gasped. The Doctor let go of Rose’s hand and grabbed the spider from Jabe, returning to Rose’s side to tinker with it.

“How’s that possible?” demanded Cassandra. “"Our private rooms are protected by a code wall. Moisturize me, moisturize me," she ordered her attendants, feigning distress. Rose knew it was all an act, but she also knew the Doctor had already figured that out.

"Summon the Steward!" cried the Moxx of Balhoon.

"I'm afraid the Steward is dead," Jabe informed him sadly. Rose suddenly felt like she’d just been punched in the gut. She had totally forgotten about the Steward, and now he was dead because of her negligence. She tried not to let all her emotions show on her face.

"This whole event was sponsored by the Face of Boe! He invited us!" Cassandra yelled. The Face of Boe shook his head. "Talk to the face! Talk to the face!" She cried again.

"Easy way of finding out," pipped up the Doctor, gesturing out the hand with the metal spider. "Someone brought the little pet on board. Let's send him back to Master." He placed the spider down on the floor, which immediately scuttled over to Cassandra and looked up at her, but then quickly moved on in front of the Adherents of the Repeated Meme.

"The Adherents of the Repeated Meme," Cassandra gasped. "J'accuse!"

“C’mon, there’s something wrong with tha’.” Rose said to the Doctor, trying not to sound too suspicious.

“Right you are, Rose Tyler. Because while tha’s all very well and really kinda obvious.” the Doctor said, sauntering over to the group. "But if you stop and think about it," He dodged as one of them tried to strike him, catching its arm and ripping it off. "A Repeated Meme is just an idea. And that's all they are. An idea." He pulled at a wire in the arm, and all of the Adherents instantly crumpled into a bundle of black cloaks. There were more gasps as he tossed the metal arm onto the pile. Rose saw Cassandra just roll her eyes. "Remote controlled Droids. Nice little cover up for the real troublemaker. Go on, Jimbo," he told the spider, nudging it with his foot. "Go home!"

The spider made its way back in front of Cassandra, who just sneered. “I bet you were the school swot and never got kissed. At arms!” she shouted to her attendents, who instantly raised their nozzles to the Doctor threateningly.

“Wot are you gonna do, moisturize me?” The Doctor asked sarcastically.

"With acid. Oh, you're too late anyway. My spiders have control of the mainframe. Oh, you all carried them as gifts, tax free, past every code wall. I'm not just as pretty face."

“Yeah, not even that.” Rose retorted, causing Cassandra to give her a dirty look. "But seriously though? Sabotaging a ship while you're still in it? How stupid's tha?"

"I'd hoped to manufacture a hostage situation with myself as one of the victims," Cassandra explained. "The compensation would have been enormous."

"Five billion years and it still comes down to money," the Doctor scolded.

“Do you think it's cheap, looking like this?" Cassandra asked. "Flatness costs a fortune. I am the last human, Doctor. Me. Not that freaky little kid of yours."

"Arrest her! The infidel." cried the Moxx of Balhoon

"Oh, shut it, pixie." Cassandra muttered. "I've still got my final option."

"Earth Death in 3 minutes. Earth Death in 3 minutes."

"And here it comes," Cassandra continued. "You're just as useful dead, all of you. I have shares in your rival companies and they'll triple in price as soon as you're dead. My spiders are primed and ready to destroy the safety systems. How did that old Earth song go? ‘Burn, baby, burn’."

"Then you'll burn with us," Jabe spat at her.

"Oh, I'm so sorry," Cassandra said, her voice dripping with insincerity. "I know the use of teleportation is strictly forbidden, but... I'm such a naughty thing. Spiders, activate." The whole platform shuddered as explosions went off throughout the ship. "Force fields gone with the planet about to explode. At least it'll be quick. Just like my fifth husband," she added with a giggle. "Oh, shame on me. Buh-bye, darlings. Buh-bye, my darlings."

Red lights were flashing all around the room as whistles blared, obviously warning them of an emergency.

"Reset the computer," suggested the Moxx of Balhoon.

"Only the Steward would know how," Jabe told him.

"No. We can do it by hand," the Doctor said, moving towards the door. "There must be a system restore switch. Jabe, Rose, come on. You lot - just chill!" he called over his shoulder as the three of them ran out the room.

“Earth Death in 2 minutes. Earth Death in 2 minutes. Heat levels critical. Heat levels critical.”

“Yeah, thanks!” Shouted Rose as she ran down the corridor full of wired, the Doctor’s hand in hers. They all darted into the ventilation chamber. Rose gaped at the huge metal fans in front of her.

"Oh, and guess where the switch is…" the Doctor said sarcastically. Rose followed his gaze all the way to the lever on the opposite wall on the other side of the huge room and past all the fans.

"Heat levels rising. Heat levels rising.”

The doctor rushed to the lever right next to them and pulled it.

“External temperature five thousand degrees."

The Doctor let go of the lever, and stared hopelessly as the fans sped up again. Rose saw Jabe reach for the lever, and jumped to grab it before her. "You can't," she told the tree quickly. "Jabe, you're made of wood. The heat in here is gonna kill ya. You have to get outta here, now." Jabe looked at the Doctor uncertainly, and he nodded. With one last look at Rose, she turned on her heel and ran.

“Right then,” Rose nodded to the Doctor, “get to it.” They shared a smile, then he turned around and got to work. Rose gripped the lever tight as the Doctor maneuvered through the slow-moving fans. It took some will power not to cry out as her hands began to burn. The computerized voice kept reminding them of their impending doom. Quickly, the Doctor to the other side and pulled the lever. The fans slowed down considerably and the Doctor made his way back. Rose happily noted there was no countdown this time.

Rose only let go of her vice grip on the lever when she saw the Doctor was safely on the platform. She went to go for a hug, then winced at the flaming pain in her palms. The Doctor’s ice blue eyes softened in concern at the sight. He took her wrists in his hands and examined. Then, he pulled out his sonic and buzzed it over her hands. The pain subsided, but the skin was still raw red.

“Lucky you came out with no blisters.” He finished with his sonic, put it away, then he looked Rose in the eye, still holding her wrists, and said, "You were fantastic."

Her heart skipped a beat. She quickly recoverd, though. “Ah, I just held down a lever. Tough job, but somebody’s gotta do the dirty work round here.” She gave him her classic grin, and he flashed her one in return. Together, they walked back to the main gallery.

As they entered the room, Rose took a notice of all the people inside. There was Jabe, alive with her companions. But the Moxx of Balhoon and one of the ambassadors from the City State of Binding Light were gone. The Doctor obviously noticed this, too. He was almost radiating rage.

“You alrigh’?” Rose asked softly

“Yeah, I’m fine.” The Doctor responded, obviously not fine. “I’m full of ideas, I’m bristling with ‘em. Idea number one, teleportation through five-thousand-degree heat needs some kind of feed. Idea number two, this feed must be hidden nearby." He strode over to the ostrich egg and smashed it open, revealing the teleportation feed. He picked it up and moved back to Rose. "Idea number three, if you're as clever as me, then a teleportation feed can be reversed." He twisted the feed, and Cassandra appeared before them, apparently in the middle of gloating.

"Ah, you should have seen their little alien faces," she was saying, laughing hard. Then, she noticed where she was.

"The Last Human," the Doctor sneered.

"So…you passed my little test," Cassandra said, scrambling. "Bravo. This makes you eligible to join the er…the human club."

People have died, Cassandra.” He said sternly, “You murdered them.”

“That depends on your definition of ‘people’. And that's enough of a technicality to keep your lawyers dizzy for centuries. Take me to court then, Doctor! And watch me smile, and cry, and flutter…"

“And creak?" The Doctor interrupted.

"And what?"

"Creak." He repeated. "You're creaking."

"What? Ah! Ah! I'm drying out!" she cried as her skin paled and tightened. "Oh, sweet heavens! Moisturize me! Moisturize me! Where are my surgeons? My lovely boys! It's too hot!"

"You raised the temperature." the Doctor said as red blotches began to appear all over her. Her eyes were bloodshot and bulging.

"Have pity!" she cried, terrified. "Moisturize me! Oh, Doctor!"

"Help her," Rose whispered before she could stop herself.

“Everything dies, Rose.” He said coldly, “Like you said, everything ends.”

“I’m…too…young!” Cassandra groaned before bursting. It was just as gross and disturbing as it had been the first time. She looked up at the Doctor, who stood stiff. Then, he just walked off. Rose knew not to follow him, he’d find her later anyways.

She stood in front of the giant windows for so long, she’d lost track of time. Not that she really cared anyways. When it was time to go, the Doctor would find her. And he did, moments later. She heard the Doctor walk up next to her as she watched the floating bits of rock that used to be her home go by. Rose wondered if the Doctor would ever really tell her what happened to his planet. Maybe this time around, she could get him to open up to her more. She knew she would never be able to comprehend the pain he had gone through, but she hoped to one day help him carry that weight.

“The end of the Earth. It’s gone. We missed it.” She said softly. “I’m glad everyone’s safe, tha’s wot’s important, but no one saw it go. All those years... all that history...jus’...gone."

The Doctor held out his hand. “Come with me.” Rose slipped her palm into his, still stinging. Together, they walked to the TARDIS. Carefully, he took them away from Platform One.

When rose exited the TARDIS, she was surrounded. People passed her in either direction, paying her no mind. The sounds of the city were almost comforting to Rose.

"You think it’ll last forever, people and cars and concrete. But it won't. One day, it's all gone. Even the sky." He looked up at the blue above. “My planet’s gone. It’s dead. It burned, like the Earth. Before its time.”
“Wot happened?”

“There was a war, and we lost.”

“Wot about your people?”

“I’m a Time Lord. I’m the last of the Time Lords. They’re all gone. I’m the only survivor.” He finally looked at Rose. “I’m left travelin on my own cos there’s no one else.”

“There’s me.”

They shared a look. Rose’s heart hammered against her chest. She felt like she could stare into his ice blue eyes forever.

“You’ve seen how dangerous it is. D’you wanna go home?”

“No," she said quickly. “I want…” Honestly, she wanted forever. All she had ever wanted was forever in the TARDIS with that man. She’d had it once before, and she wanted it still. She tried to come up with something else to say, but the smell of chips suddenly wafted through the air. It had been a long time since her last meal. "Can you smell chips?" she asked, looking around.

The Doctor stared at her for a second, then laughed. "Yeah! Yeah.”

"I want chips." She said fervently.

"Me too." He said, still smiling.

"Right then, before you get me back in that box, chips it is." She told him. “Ya got money?” she asked, knowing the answer. She still laughed when he shook his head. “Wot sorta date are you? Come on then, tightwad, chips are on me.”

They smiled brightly at each other, then walked hand in hand to the chippy.

Chapter Text

Rose plopped down in the seat across from the Doctor and eagerly popped open her box of chips. She was far too hungry to think of table manners and started to scarf them down two at a time.

"Calm down," The Doctor said, laughing, "you'll give yourself a heart attack if you wolf them down like that."

"They're so good, though." Rose whined, mouth full. If he had been living on nothing but hospital food for as many moths as she had, maybe he'd understand. She'd honestly hated that she'd had to live in a home and die in a hospital. There had been no one to take care of her, so she had no choice, but that didn't mean she had to like it. But, Rose suddenly thought, that's all in a forgotten past soon to be replaced by a bright new future. If everything went according to plan, she'd never have to be alone again, and neither would the Doctor.

"I just thought of something." said the Doctor suddenly.

"Oh? Wot's tha'?"

"You called her a she." Rose looked up from her chips, puzzled. "When you first entered the TARDIS you said 'she's beautiful'. Not it, but she. Why?"

Rose rolled her eyes and smiled. She'd had years of interrogation training back at Torchwood, coming up with excuses and explanations for the dumb stuff she said was nothing. Good thing, too. Rose had a feeling she was going to slip up a few times on her journey.

"Well, she is a ship, right? The TARDIS is your space ship, and I've never heard of a bloke who didn't call his ship a she."

"I'm no bloke." The Doctor said far too seriously for Rose not to laugh. The Doctor liked being able to make Rose laugh like that. He could definitely get used to having that smile on board.

"So, I suppose it's my turn to ask a question then, yeah?" The Doctor raised his eyebrows, but Rose just kept flashing that toothy grin at him. He wasn't sure what game she was playing, but if she kept smiling like that, then the Doctor was game.

"Ask away, Rose Tyler."

"Why did you ask me twice?"

The Doctor grew visibly flustered. He hadn't planned on asking twice. He never asked anyone more than once before, but, then again, he'd never had to before. Typically, when he'd asked, people rarely said no. When they did, he would accept it and go about his merry way through time and space. This time was different. She was different. He'd never tell her, but the Doctor had traveled for almost a month before coming back for her. For almost a month, the Doctor tried and failed to get Rose Tyler out his mind. There was something about her. It was ridiculous, really.

"I dunno. I suppose it was a thank you, for what you did for me with the Nestene Consciousness."

"Oh, ya mean save your life." Rose replied cheekily. They both laughed a little.

"But," the Doctor said softly, "I will admit, it's…nice…having you along." He looked down at his chips quickly and shoved a few in his mouth. Rose could have sworn he was blushing, at least a little, which made her face feel warm. She pushed her chips around with her plastic fork and let out a little embarrassed laugh.

"Well, I'm glad to be aboard." She smiled brightly at him.

The Doctor couldn't help but stare at that tongue-in-tooth grin and feel both his hearts stutter. He choked a little on his chips. She pretended she didn't notice, but she did.

"Glad to have you aboard." He said, smiling back. "Now, tell me something about yourself, Rose Tyler."

She was a bit taken aback. She wasn't sure why, it was a valid question. He was just trying to get to know her. The problem was, she'd been so comfortable she'd forgotten they were technically still strangers. This conversation was very different from her first time around, considering this time there was actual conversation instead of just awkward silence. She knew so much about this man and he knew nothing of her. Rose didn't like that thought stung her heart irrationally.

"Well, wot's there to know really?" she shrugged, "Uh, I'm from London, born and raised. Me and my mum have lived in the same apartment since I was a baby, the landlord is a friend of mum's. My dad died when I was a baby," she paused.

She was going to say she never knew him, but she did. She knew what a kind and brave man he was, how he was a true family man and natural born leader. She knew he only ever ate Wheaties and milk for breakfast and that he knew every song on The Beatles Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album, word for word. She knew what his love felt like. She missed him so much.

"Rose…" came the Doctor's voice.

"Sorry, zoned out for a sec." she shook her head, as though to shake off her thoughts.

"I'm sorry about your father." He said, putting his hand on top of hers. She turned her hand and intertwined their fingers.

"It doesn't hurt anymore, but it did for so long." Rose sighed.

She was really talking about the father she had on Pete's World. It was a real blow when they found out he had cancer, but it was nothing compared to the blow they felt when he died a year and a half later. Her mother died of heartbreak not a few days later, unable to stand losing her husband twice. Rose spent years mourning their deaths. Sometimes she could ignore the pain, but it had always come back. As she grew older, it dulled. After seeing so many of her loved ones die, as well as facing death herself, she could honestly say it didn't hurt to think about them.

"Anyways," pipped up Rose in a lighter tone, "Tell me somethin' about yourself, Doctor."

The Doctor looked away, in deep thought. She could tell he was trying to think of something not too personal. She knew quite a bit about the Doctor's past already, but hearing from this Doctor would be different. This time around, she was going to get him to open up to her. Maybe she'd learn somethings about him she never knew.

"I suppose a good thing to tell ya now is that you're not the first person I've traveled with."

"Oh?" Rose feigned curiosity. She knew a few companion stories, but most of them were about Martha and Donna. She had never really thought to ask the Doctor about many other companions. "How many?"

"Have traveled with me? Oh, um… I dunno, quite a few I suppose." said the Doctor, honestly confused. How many people had he traveled with? He really was getting old.

"Who was the first, then?"

"Well, technically, that would've been Susan, my granddaughter."

"Granddaughter?"

"Yeah." The Doctor rubbed the back of his neck. He tried to think of something to distract Rose from the small bomb he'd just dropped on her. "Funny thing, that. Her real name wasn't Susan, that was just the name she went by on Earth. Her birth name was Arkytior." The Doctor looked at Rose and smirked. "In the language of my people, Arkytior means Rose."

"No," Rose said, smiling as the Doctor begin to laugh, "no way tha's true!"

"It is!" the Doctor exclaimed, and they both dissolved into laughter.

Their laughter died down, but the smiles never left their faces as they continued on talking. They talked about everything and nothing at all, never was there a lull in conversation in that booth. Half an hour passed before they finally left the chippy and headed back to the TARDIS, on to their next adventure.

Chapter Text

“Hold that one down!” The Doctor yelled to Rose, gesturing quickly at the big button to her left.

“I’m holdin’ this one down!”

“Well, hold ‘em both down!”

Rose groaned as she reached over to the button, still pulling her lever as hard as she could against resistance. The TARDIS shook and groaned as they tried navigating through the vortex.

“Ya sure this’ll work?”

“Oi! I promised you a time machine and tha’s what you’re getting’. Now, you’ve seen the future, let’s have a look at the past. 1860! How does 1860 sound?”

“Sounds brilliant!” Rose laughed.

“Right then. Hold on, here we go!” And with that he pulled another lever that jolted the TARDIS forward, knocking the Doctor and Rose down on their backs. Just as quickly as it started, the TARDIS landed. Rose and The Doctor were laying there on the grating, laughing.

“Blimey!” Rose chuckled.

“You’re tellin’ me! You alright?” the Doctor asked, recovering from laughter. They both rolled over and got back to their feet.

“Yup, all good ‘ere. We make it?”

“I did it! Give the man a medal.” The Doctor gestured to the screen, but Rose couldn’t read what it said. It was all in Gallifreyan. “Earth, Naples, December 24th, 1860.”

“Ya sure?” Rose asked before she could stop herself. The Doctor looked actually offended.

“Rose Tyler, have I given you any reason to doubt me?”

“I suppose not.” She chuckled, thinking that he hadn’t given her a reason yet. “Wait, so it’s Christmas?”

“All yours.” Said the Doctor, gesturing widely towards the doors.

“Think about it, though. Christmas, 1860, it only happens once then it’s gone forever. But not for you. You can go back and see days dead and gone, a hundred thousand sunsets ago. No wonder you never stay still.”

“Not a bad life.” He said, almost like a question.

“Better with two.” Rose smiled, and the Doctor returned it. They sat there for a moment, drinking each other in. “Wot about my clothes?” Rose asked suddenly.

“Wot?”

“My clothes.” Rose insisted, pulling at her baggy hoodie. “I can’t exactly go out to 1860 in jeans and a t-shirt, now can I?”

“Right you are. What you’re lookin’ for is the wardrobe. It’s right through there, first left, second right, third on the left, go straight ahead, under the stairs, past the bins, fifth door on your left. Hurry up!”

Rose flashed him one last smile before dashing off to the wardrobe. Honestly, she had no idea how she’d found it last time. Probably the TARDIS helping her along. She wandered the halls, letting the TARDIS guide her. She turned the corner expecting to find the wardrobe, but instead she was facing a soft pink door with a gold rose etched on the smooth surface. She twisted the knob and felt the feeling of being home wash over her.

It was her bedroom, looking almost exactly as she remembered it. Up against the far wall was the white four poster bed with fancy knobs on each corner, dressed in pink and purple bed sheets exactly like the ones back in her room at the estate. Next to the bed was her small round end table with a fuzzy pink lamp helping illuminate the room. She looked to her left and saw the dresser that matched the rest of the furniture, white with fancy swirls carved into the wood. This time, however, a large cork board was hung above it. She smiled at the thought of filling it up with memories. Also new to the room was a large bookshelf opposite her bed that was currently bare as well. On the right side of the door she saw a large wardrobe. She finally walked out of the doorway to open it up and saw that the only thing inside was the outfit she’d wore last time, down to the shoes.

Rose fixed her hair up in the mirror on the wardrobe door once dressed. With the last hair in place, she lowered her hands and suddenly became aware of her reflection. She was so young. She had almost forgotten she ever even looked like this. It had been years since she’d been blonde, opting to accept the grey and age gracefully. It hardly seemed real. She shook her head slightly, laughing under her breath. Finally, she turned on her heel and headed back to the console room.

She found the Doctor underneath the grates fiddling with his sonic, trying to make himself look busy. Somehow, she knew he wasn’t actually fixing anything. When he heard her coming he immediately looked up at her.

“Blimey!” The Doctor exclaimed, awestruck. He was suddenly confronted with an odd feeling in his stomach.

“Ta-da!” She grinned broadly at him and twirled.

“You look beautiful.” He said, unable to stop himself. At the sight of her slight blush, he quickly recovered. “Considering.”

“Considering wot?” She asked, giggling.

“That you’re human.” He replied, like this was obvious. Rose rolled her eyes, still laughing slightly.

“Well, I’ll take that as a compliment. Lucky you don’t have to change.” She was always quite jealous of how he managed to fit in wherever they went effortlessly.

“I’ve changed my jumper. Come on.” He began pulling himself out from under the console. Rose quickly started for the door.

“You stay there, you’ve done this before. This is mine!”

The door to the TARDIS creaked open and Rose was hit with a blast of crisp air. The night was illuminated by lanterns in the alleyway. She could hear hooves clattering in a distant street. Snow crunched under her feet as Rose stepped out. She loved that sound. The Doctor stepped out after her.

“Ready for this?” He held out his arm to her and she took it immediately. “Here we go. History!”

The wind blew right through Rose, but the cold didn’t bother her. It couldn’t, it wouldn’t, not now. Her and the Doctor walked through the street, horse drawn buggies passing them by and carolers singing somewhere close by. People were going about their lives, not knowing that they were living history to Rose. The Doctor pulled her along to buy a paper, but Rose was too busy drinking in the sights. She was not only living history herself, but she was reliving it. Never, she thought, would this get old.

“I got the flight a bit wrong.”

“I don’t care.”

“It’s not 1860, it’s 1869.”

“I don’t care.”

“And it’s not Naples.”

“I don’t care.”

“It’s Cardiff.”

“Brilliant.” She laughed. The Doctor stopped, forcing Rose to stop and turn to him. “Wot?”

“Cardiff? Brilliant? Cardiff?”

“Oi, don’t knock it. Ya never know.”

The Doctor’s bewilderment was clear on his face. He had never met a girl quite like this Rose Tyler, that was for sure. Rose took his arm and started leading him through the street again. However, they only got a few steps in when suddenly they heard screams come from in the building across the street. The Doctor quickly locked eyes with Rose, smiled broadly, and pulled her along with him into the building. He was only pulling, though, because she was in heels. Rose had been waiting for those screams. She was ready this time, so sure she could defeat the Gelth and save Gwyneth. 

As they pushed their way into the theatre, a blue figment glided past them. Rose heard the Doctor mutter “fantastic” as he stared up at it in amazement. She, however, was scanning the room for Mr. Sneed and Gwyneth. The Doctor let go of her hand and started towards the stage the moment Rose spotted them heading for the old lady.

“Oi!” she shouted to them, then to the Doctor, “Doctor, I’ll get ‘em!”

“Be careful!” she heard him shout as she ran out the doors.

Oh, all the trouble the Doctor got her into. Well, would get her into. She pushed her way through the crowd of people and out the front doors, back into the snow. It took her only seconds to find the hearse that Mr. Sneed and Gwyneth were shoving that old lady into.

“Stop, righ’ now!”

“Oh! It’s a tragedy, miss.” Gwyneth replied quickly, trying to block Rose from looking at what was going on behind her. “Don’t worry yourself, me and the master will deal with it. Fact is, this poor lady has been taken with a brain fever. We have to get her to the infirmary.”

“In the back of an undertaker’s carridge?” Rose asked sarcastically. “She’s dead, ain’t she? Look, we can help you, me and the Doctor, we can help, but first you’ve gotta trust me.”

Rose was a fool to think Mr. Sneed wouldn’t drug her this time. She struggled against the cloth, but she wasn’t strong enough. In her daze, Rose could hear them saying something, but she couldn’t seem to place the words. She felt them lift her into the carriage, and Mr. Sneed copping a feel, then she was out. It felt like only seconds had past when Rose opened her eyes again. Blimey, her head hurt. Suddenly there was a groan coming from her left. Instinct kicked in and she was up ready to fight.

But, Rose knew that was futile and stupid. She couldn’t fight the undead with her bare hands even if she was Torchwood trained, or at least she used to be. Right now, she was a 19-year-old girl against a possessed zombie and she knew her only option was to get outta there. She ran immediately for the door, which of course was locked. The man’s corpse walked menacingly slow towards her as the old woman rose from her coffin.

Rose begin pounding on the door, screaming for someone, anyone, to let her out. She knew the Doctor would be there soon, if he wasn’t already. The dead man’s hands wrapped around Rose’s torso, to stop her from moving, and around her neck, to stop her from breathing. She tried to elbow him in the gut, but his hold was too tight. The door banged open and in stormed the Doctor.

“I believe this is my dance.” He said as he made the man release Rose. She gasped for breath and held on to the Doctor’s arm.

“It’s a prank.” came Dickens’ voice behind Rose. “Must be. We’re under some mesmeric influence.”

“No, we’re not. The dead are walking.” The Doctor said in a serious tone, then he turned to Rose and his whole face changed. “Hi.”

“Hi.” Rose turned to Charles, ready to say hello, but then remembered she wasn’t supposed to know him yet. “And I see you brought a friend.”

 “Yup. Charles Dickens.”

“Ah, nice to meet you Charlie.”

“My name’s the Doctor. Who are you then? What do you want?”

“Failing!” said the mixed voice of the leader of the Gelth and the man whom they possessed. “Open the rift. We’re dying. Trapped in this form. Cannot sustain. Help us.” Then with a shriek, the gas forms left both bodies.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

“First of all, you drugged me, and ya kidnapped me, and don’t think I didn’t feel ya hand havin a wonder you dirty old man!” Rose screamed at the old man sitting in front of her. She couldn’t help but notice the giant grin on the Doctor’s face in the corner of her eye.

“I will not be spoken to like this!” Mr. Sneed said gruffly.

“Oh yes you bloody well will! Cause if that isn’t enough, you lock me in a room fulla zombies and leave me to die! So, come on then, talk!”

“It’s not my fault, it’s this house! It always had a reputation. Haunted. But I never had much bother until about three months back, and then the stiffs… the, um, the dear departed… started getting restless.”

“Tommyrot.” Came Dickens as he went to drink his tea.

“You witnessed it! Can’t keep the beggars down, sir. They walk. And it’s the queerest thing, but they hang on to scraps. Makes no sense. One old fella, used to be a sexton, almost walked into his own memorial service. Just like the old lady going to your performance, sir, just as she’d planned.”

“Morbid fancy.”

“Oh, Charles, you were there.” Said the Doctor irritably.

“I saw nothing but an illusion.” Dickens insisted.

“If you’re going to deny it, don’t waste my time, just shut up.” Dickens looked clearly offended. There was a moment of silence, then the Doctor turned to Mr. Sneed. “What about the gas?”

“That’s new, sir. Never seen anything like that.”

“Means it’s getting stronger, the rift’s getting wider and something’s sneaking through.”

“The rift, sir?”

“A weak point in space and time,” replied the Doctor, “the connection between this place and another. That’s the cause of ghost stories most of the time.”

“That’s how I got the house so cheap, stories going back generations.” The door slammed as Charles Dickens left, but Mr. Sneed continued without pause. “Echo’s in the dark. Queer songs in the air. And this feeling, like a shadow, passing over your soul. Mind you, truth be told, it’s been good for business. Just what people expect from a gloomy old trade like mine.”

Rose looked over at the Doctor, who was once again grinning widely. She couldn’t help but grin back. She moved closer to the Doctor as Sneed busied himself in his tea cup.

“So,” she said lowly, “wot we do now?”

“I’m not sure, yet.” The Doctor replied.

Rose nodded. “I suppose you better find old Charlie boy before he finds himself in any trouble, yeah?”

“Right.” And off he went, out the door to find Dickens.

Mr. Sneed was doing everything he could to avoid Rose’s eye now that they were alone in the parlor. When Gwyneth got up and cleared the cups, Rose followed. She placed the tray of used cups into the sink, then got a matchbox from one of the shelves. As Gwyneth lit the lamp, Rose picked up a washcloth and began working on the dishes.

“Please, miss, you shouldn’t be helping! It’s not right!”

“Don’t be daft,” Rose waved her cloth dismissively. “it’s the least I could do.”

Gwyneth held out her hand and, reluctantly, Rose gave up the cloth to her. She reviewed their last conversation in her head, wondering where to start. This time around she was a lot less ignorant to the times, but she loved being able to make that connection anyways.

“So, how’d you come to work for an old bully like Sneed?”

“Ah, now, that’s not fair. He’d not so bad, old Sneed.”

“I’m sure he pays you well to say that.”

“Eight pound a year, miss. So generous, I would have been happy with six.”

“I think you’re worth much more than that.” Gwyneth smiled like it was the sweetest compliment she’d heard all day, which it probably was. “But really, how’d ya get to working here?

“Mr. Sneed was very kind to me to take me in, cos I lost my mum and dad to the flu when I was 12.”

“I’m sorry to hear that. My dad died when I was little, too.”

“Thank you, miss. But I’ll be with them again, one day, much like you were. Sitting with them in paradise. I shall be so blessed. They’re waiting for me. Plenty of people were waiting for you, but I don’t suppose they have to now.”

“Wotcha mean?” Rose asked, confused by her words. This conversation was very different from their first one. Was Gwyneth seeing her old timeline?

“Oh,” she gave a shaky giggle, “don’t mind me, I say odd things that pop in my head sometimes. Mr. Sneed says I think too much. I’m all alone down here”

“Tha’s what I mean! You deserve more in your life than Mr. Sneed. You should have some fun in your life.” Rose playfully shoved Gwyneth on the shoulder as they both laughed.

“You really think so?”

“Yes! You know, me and my mate Shareen, we used to skip lessons all the time to go down to the shops and look at boys.”

Gwyneth sobered up instantly and said, “Well, I don’t know much about that, miss.”  

“Oh, come on. You can tell me. I bet you’ve got your eye on someone.”

“I suppose, there is one lad,” Gwyneth said tentatively, turning back to Rose, “the butcher’s boy, he comes by every Tuesday. Such a lovely smile on him.” Her face broke out into a huge grin and she almost melted at her own words.

“Oh, I love a nice smile. You should talk to him, try gettin’ to know him! I speak from experience when I say if he isn’t gonna make the first move, you’ve gotta.”

“I swear, it’s the strangest thing, miss.” Gwyneth marveled, “You’ve got all the clothes and the breeding, but you talk like some sort of wild thing.”

“Maybe I am. Maybe tha’s not such a bad thing.”

They spent a few moments in comfortable silence, then Gwyneth pipped up, “What about you and the Doctor? He clearly cares a great deal for you.”

“Yeah?” Rose actually giggled at Gwyneth’s insinuation. She wasn’t wrong, but she was a bit too early. “I like him, I like travelin’ with him.”

“And you’ve traveled so far.” She replied almost dreamily.

“What makes you say that?” Rose inquired. This was it. Suddenly, Gwyneth hyper focused on Rose’s face, like all the answers were written in her eyes, but really, she was connecting to her telepathically.

“You’re from London. I’ve seen London in drawings, but never like that. All those people rushing about. Half-naked for shame. And the noise… And the metal boxes racing past… And the birds in the sky, no… No, they’re metal as well. Metal birds with people in them. People are flying. And you, you’ve flown so far. Further than anyone. The things you’ve seen, the things you’ve done. The big Bad Wolf.” Gwyneth gasped, backing into the shelves behind her. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry, miss.”

Rose moved to comfort her, resting a hand on her shoulder. “It’s alrigh’, it’s not your fault.”

“I can’t help it,” she whimpered, “ever since I was a little girl, my mum said I had the Sight. She told me to hide it.”

“But it’s getting stronger.” The Doctor’s voice startled them both and they turned to see him standing in the doorway. “More powerful, is that right?”

“All the time, sir.” Gwyneth replied meekly. “Every night, voices in my head.”

“You grew up on top of the rift. You’re part of it. You’re the key.”

“I’ve tried to make sense of it, sir. Consulted with spiritualists, table-rappers, all sorts.”

“Well, that should help. You can show us what to do.”

“What to do where, sir?”

“We’re gonna have a séance.”      

 

Chapter Text

"Doctor, are you sure about this?" Rose whispered to the Doctor. Gwyneth was setting up the table for the séance. "I mean, is this really the best plan we got?"

"Well, how else do you expect we talk to ghosts?"

"But they're not really ghosts. I mean, tha's not real, right?"

"Well I dunno everything." the Doctor said. "But in my experience, no. Ghosts aren't real."

"So why the séance?" Rose couldn't keep the twinge of sass out of her voice. She knew if the Doctor heard the Gelth, he would pity them, leading straight into disaster. She had to stop it all before it happened and save Gwyneth.

"It's not a real séance, you know." He responded with just as much sass. "Gwyneth is the connection between these "ghosts", the Gelth, and us. They will be able to talk to us through the rift with Gwyneth acting as a bridge."

"But is tha' safe? I mean, you saw her earlier. Lookin' into my mind scared her, wot if this does some real damage her?"

"Gwyneth has been living on top of the rift since the day she was born. All that time, absorbing its energy, she became so telepathically inclined she's basically psychic. She's much stronger than you're giving her credit for."

Rose didn't know how to respond. She couldn't just tell him that the Gelth were up to no good, but she knew once they mentioned the Time War it would be over. There was no arguing with the Doctor after that. But damnit if she wouldn't try. Gwyneth sat in her chair and smoothed out the tablecloth as Mr. Sneed and a reluctant Charles Dickens also took their seats. Rose was about to go to the table, but the Doctor grabbed her arm suddenly.

"Wot Gwyneth said, 'The things you've seen, the things you've done. The big Bad Wolf'," the Doctor said lowly, "wot did she mean?"

"I dunno." Rose said as nonchalantly as she could manage. The Doctor had moved his face very close to hers. She could feel his breath against her ear and it gave her a weird feeling in the pit of her stomach. "Like ya said, she's basically psychic, yeah? So, it's probably about my future."

"Right." They locked eyes. Rose could almost see the gears turning in that big brain of his. She could tell by that look in his eyes he sensed something coming. Then, like he was filing that information away for analysis later, he squeezed her arm once then let go and said, "Come on."

He ushered her to the table and pulled out her chair for her. This time she was sitting between the Doctor and Gwyneth. On the Doctor's other side was Mr. Sneed, then Dickens. They all settled in at the round table.

"This is how Madam Mortlock summons those from the Land of Mists, down in Mid Town." Gwyneth began, "Come. We must all join hands." Rose took Gwyneth's outstretched hand, then the Doctor's. He gave her a reassuring squeeze, but it did little in calming her.

"I can't take part in this." Dickens proclaimed, getting up from the table.

"Humbug?" The Doctor teased. "Come on, open mind."

"This is precisely the sort of cheap mummery I strive to unmask. Seances! Nothing but luminous tambourines and a squeeze box concealed between the knees. This girl knows nothing."

"Oi, lay off 'er." Rose scolded.

"Yeah, don't antagonize her. I love a happy medium."

"Oh my god, I can't believe ya just said tha'." Rose giggled at the pleased look on the Doctor's face.

"Come on." The Doctor said, turning back to Dickens. "We might need you."

He looked reprehensive, but Dickens sat back down. Even more reluctantly, he took Mr. Sneed's hand on one side and Gwyneth's on the other. Rose liked this arrangement better, being next to the Doctor this time. She always felt safer next to him. Plus, she might be able to get Gwyneth to release her hand and cut the Gelth off before they could say anything to manipulate the Doctor and Gwyneth. Sadly, that was the best plan she had. Rose tried and tried to come up with some way to save Gwyneth, to stop the trouble before it started, but it seemed almost inevitable. Still, she wouldn't give up. She'd fight the Doctor tooth and nail before she let an innocent woman die.

"Now, Gwyneth. Reach out."

Gwyneth took a deep breath at the Doctor's words and spoke to the air, "Speak to us. Are you there? Spirits, come. Speak to us that we may relieve your burden." Suddenly, she looked up. There were distorted whispers all around. Rose felt a chill go down her spine. Blue gas floated above their heads. "I see them! I feel them!"

"It can't get through the rift. Gwyneth, it's not controlling you, you're controlling it. Now look deep. Allow them through."

"I can't." She whimpered in response.

"Doctor," Rose started, but he ignored her.

"Yes, you can. Just believe it. I have faith in you, Gwyneth. Make the link."

Gwyneth scrunched up her eyes, then gasped and opened them wide. A blue wispy figure of what looked like a girl appeared behind her, followed by two others. Rose could tell that was a ranking formation; the leader of the Gelth in front, with either lackies or body guards slightly behind on each side. Rose could already feel her hope dwindling.

"Great God." Whispered Mr. Sneed in awe. "Spirits from the other side!"

"The other side of the universe." The Doctor murmured back.

"Pity us!" came the voice of both Gwyneth and the leader of the Gelth. "Pity the Gelth! There is so little time. Help us!"

"What do you want us to do?" instantly replied the Doctor.

"The rift. Take the girl to the rift. Make the bridge."

"What for?"

"We are so few. The last of our kind. We face extinction."

"Why, what happened?"

"Once we had physical form, like you. But then the war came."

"War? What war?" Dickens pipped up curiously.

"The Time War." Rose exchanged a look with the Doctor. She knew how blamed himself solely for the Time War, and that's why he was so ready to help the Gelth. Anything to make amends, the Doctor would do. The way the Gelth was using his survivors guilt made her even more angry. "The whole universe convulsed. The Time War raged. Invisible to smaller species, but devastating to higher forms. Our bodies wasted away. We're trapped in this gaseous state."

"So that's why you need the corpses." the Doctor concluded.

"We want to stand tall. To feel the sunlight. To live again. We need physical form and your dead are abandoned. They go to waste. Give them to us."

"No, we can't." Rose refused to let them milk this any farther.

"Why not?" asked the Doctor, harshly.

"How do we know we can even trust them?"

"Rose, they're dyin'!"

"Yeah, says them!"

"Open the rift." Came the Gelth, obviously trying to shut Rose up. "Let the Gelth through. We're dying. Help us. Pity the Gelth!"

Faster than they had come, the Gelth had gone. Gwyneth dropped to the table like a puppet whose strings had been cut. Rose immediately released the Doctor's hand and got up to help Gwyneth. Dickens muttered something, but Rose wasn't listening. She looked over at the Doctor and damnit she could read his face clear as day. He was going to use Gwyneth to help the Gelth, but Rose was ready to fight.

Chapter Text

The Doctor and Rose fought in whispers behind the men carrying Gwyneth all the way back to the parlor. Back and fourth in hushed voices, they went at it. No matter what she said, the Doctor had something smart to say back. It irritated the hell out of her to no end. This was a girl's life on the line, but she couldn't tell him that for a matter of fact without revealing how she knew. Finally, she just stopped talking to him all together. Mr. Sneed and Dickens laid Gwyneth down on a couch, Rose went to the kitchen and dampened a cloth.

As she walked towards where Gwyneth lay, her and the Doctor made brief eye contact. Simultaneously, they both huffed and looked away. It reminded her of the petty fights her and John had. They didn't fight often, but when they did it was always over something stupid, like who would pilot the TARDIS or who filled the dish washer last. They would explode at each other, then came the silent treatment. But one of them always gave in and apologized, usually John. She idly started thinking of that life, the life she was leaving behind for this second chance. Absentmindedly dabbing Gwyneth's forehead, she wondered how that was going to work out. Would John still get a chance to live? Or would her changes now mean no metacrisis later? If so, how would they stop the Daleks without the Doctor Donna? Would Donna even travel with the Doctor with Rose still around? That was assuming all this worked out. Rose almost didn't notice Gwyneth getting up.

"Hey, there. It's alrigh', you just rest." She soothed Gwyneth, getting her to lie back down.

"But my angels, miss! They came, didn't they? They need me."

"They do need you, Gwyneth." Came the Doctor's voice from behind Rose. She gripped the cloth a bit tighter. "You're their only chance of survival."

"Now stop it." Rose snapped, whipping around to look at him. "I'm not gonna tell ya again, leave 'er alone."

"But what did you say, Doctor? Explain it again." Sneed said, thankfully distracting the Doctor. "What are they?"

"Aliens." He said simply. Rose gave Gwyneth a glass of water, trying to keep herself from pulling out the old Tyler slap on the Doctor.

"Like, foreigners, you mean?"

"Pretty foreign, yeah. From up there."

"Brecon?"

"Close." Rose couldn't help but smirk a little. "And they've been tryin' to get through from Brecon to Cardiff, but the road's blocked. Only a few can get through and even then, they're weak. They can only test drive the bodies for so long. Then they have to revert to gas and hide in the pipes."

"Which is why they need the girl." Dickens slurred.

"They're not havin' her." Rose butted in, turning around.

"But she can help." The Doctor insisted. "I told you, living on the rift, she became part of it. She can open it up, make a bridge, and let them through."

"Incredible. Ghosts that are not ghosts, but beings from another world, who can only exist in our realm by inhabiting cadavers." Dickens swayed a bit as he spoke, clearly drunk after trying to calm his nerves.

"Good system. It might work."

"No!" Rose yelled. Why wouldn't he just listen?

"Wot? Because it's not decent? Not polite?" The Doctor yelled back

"Because I'm not gonna just hand 'er over to some aliens, who I don't trust, and risk 'er life. It's not happenin'."

"She wouldn't be risking her life! Why are you so convinced that these creatures are dangerous?"

"Because they tried to kill me! I dunno about you, but to me that constitutes as dangerous!" Rose was now toe to toe with the Doctor. She took a deep breath and continued without yelling. "If they were really as innocent as they claim, just wantin' abandoned bodies, why did they try and kill me?" He didn't visibly flounder, but Rose could see in his eyes she'd finally stumped him. "And can you really tell me, without a shadow of a doubt, that she'll be safe?"

"Don't I get a say, miss?"

"Gwyneth." Rose was afraid of this. The Doctor she could handle, but if Gwyneth made up her mind to help the Gelth, there was no way Rose could reverse what happened the first time. She kneeled in front of Gwyneth and said in a low voice, "You can see into my mind. Please, Gwyneth, you know why I don't want ya doin this."

"I know. Things might be very different where you're from, but here and now, I know my own mind. Doctor? What do I have to do?"

"You don't have to do anything."

"They've been signing to me since I was a child, sent by my mum on a holy mission. This is what I have to do. So, tell me."

"We need to find the rift. This house was built on a weak spot, so there must be a spot that's weaker than any other. Mr. Sneed, what's the weakest part of the house? The place where most of the ghosts have been seen?"

"That would be the morgue." Mr. Sneed replied simply.

So, with Rose trailing behind, the whole lot of them made their way down to the basement. She remembered what the Bad Wolf had told her, how not everyone could be saved, but she was really hoping that wasn't true. She couldn't help that she wanted to save everyone, it was only natural. But she realized this moment was a fixed point in time. Gwyneth was always meant to open the rift, but that meant that Rose needed to stop the Gelth before they could succeed, just like before. It was the gas, turn up the gas and they would get out of the bodies and back into the air. But it had been Dickens who figured it out. Could she afford to wait for him?

"Huh!" Said the Doctor as they entered the morgue, "Talk about Bleak House. The Doctor looked at Rose, hoping she'd laugh at his joke, but only saw disappointment on her face. "Rose, y'know I have to do this."

"No. The Time War wasn't your fault. You don't have to do this." She took a step towards him and took his hand. "But ya don't gotta do it alone, either. I'm with ya, no matter wot."

The Doctor was shocked to say the least. He squeezed her hand, hoping it would convey everything he was feeling, even though he wasn't sure for himself what he was feeling. She smiled at him. It wasn't her usual bright smile, it was a bit sad, but it was determined. It gave him more courage than he deserved.

"Doctor," Dickens called. "I think the room is getting colder."

"Here they come." Rose muttered.

"You have come to help!" cried the voice of the Gelth as the forms begin to appear. "Praise the Doctor! Praise him!"

"Promise you won't hurt her!" Rose yelled up at them.

"Hurry! Please," the voice said, ignoring her. "So little time. Pity the Gelth."

"I'll take you somewhere else after the transfer," the Doctor told them. "Somewhere you can build proper bodies. This isn't a permanent solution, alright?"

"My angels," Gwyneth looked up at them determined.

"Okay," said the Doctor, "where's the weak point?"

"Here, beneath the arch!"

"Beneath the arch." Gwyneth repeated, and she moved under the point where the leader of the Gelth stood. She was dead from the minute she stood in that arch, that's what the Doctor had said. Rose walked over to her slowly, trying to stop the tears from coming.

"I'm so sorry." She choked. Gwyneth took her face into her hands and smiled sweetly.

"Keep faith, miss."

"Establish the bridge, reach out of the void, let us through!" cried the Gelth.

"Yes. I can see you!" Gwyneth exclaimed. "I can see you! Come!"

"Bridgehead establishing."

"Come! Come to me! Come to this world, poor lost souls!"

"It is begun! The bridge is made!" cried the Gelth. Gwyneth's mouth opened, and beings began to flow out of it. "She has given herself to the Gelth!"

"There's rather a lot of them, eh?" Dickens noted with a gasp.

"The bridge is open. We descend." Suddenly, the figure changed, growing in size and changing from ethereal blue to demonic flame. "The Gelth will come through in force."

"You said that you were few in number!" Dickens cried.

"A few billion. And all of us in need of corpses." The leader growled. Bodies started rising around the morgue as the Gelth took over.

"Gwyneth…stop this!" Sneed shouted. "Listen to your master! This has gone far enough. Stop dabbling, child, leave these things alone. I beg of you!" But suddenly a body possessed by the Gelth grabbed him from behind.

"Mr. Sneed! Get back!" she yelled, just as the Doctor took hold of her waist and pulled her away. She watched in horror as Sneed's neck was snapped and a Gelth sped into his corpse.

"I think it's gone a little bit wrong." the Doctor said in a low voice.

"Oh, ya think?" she asked sharply.

"I have joined the legions of the Gelth," Sneed said as he approached them, eyes cold and dead. "Come. March with us."

"Oh, Glory!" Dickens cried, backing away.

"We need bodies," the Gelth said as the corpses advanced. "All of you. Dead. The human race. Dead." The Doctor pulled Rose behind him against the barred door.

"Gwyneth," he called, "stop them! Send them back! Now!"

"Three more bodies," said the demonic figure. "Make them vessels for the Gelth."

"I—I can't! I'm sorry!" Dickens cried as he bolted up the stairs. "This new world of yours is too much for me! I'm so—"

The Doctor glanced at him, and caught sight of the door. He pushed Rose in and slammed it shut, the Gelth trapped outside, reaching in.

"Give yourself to glory," the Gelth ordered. "Sacrifice your lives for the Gelth."

"I trusted you," he said. "I pitied you!"

"We don't want your pity! We want this world and all its flesh."

"Not while I'm alive," he vowed darkly.

"Then live no more." The Gelth shook at the bars, but the door was holding for now. Rose wondered how long until Dickens came back. He was coming back this time, right? Oh, no. This plan was relying too much on hope for Rose.

"I'm not dyin' down 'ere. I can't!" Rose muttered to herself.

"I'm sorry." The Doctor looked at her, remorse tinged in his voice. "Time isn't a straight line, it can twist into any shape. You can be born in the 20th century and die in the 19th. And it's all my fault."

"If only you had listened to me, yeah?" Rose tried for a joke, but she sounded too scared. "It's not your fault. I wanted to come."

"What about me?" The Doctor said frantically. "I saw the fall of Troy. World War Five. I pushed boxes at the Boston Tea Party. Now I'm gonna die in a dungeon, in Cardiff!"

"It's alright. We'll go down fightin'. Together, yeah?"

"Yeah." He said, not taking his eyes off Rose. If he was going to die, he wanted to make sure her face was the last thing he'd see. She laced her fingers through his, and he squeezed. "I'm so glad I met you."

"Me too," she said, grinning up at him.

"Doctor!" Dickens yelled as he burst back into the room. "Turn off the flame, turn up the gas! Now fill the room, all of it, now! Flood the place!"

"Brilliant," he cried, as the spirits not possessing bodies began to scream. "Gas!"

"Am I correct, Doctor?" Dickens called. "These creatures are gaseous!"

"Fill the room with gas, it'll draw them out of the host. Suck them into the air like poison from a wound!"

"I hope... oh, Lord..." He paused as the corpses turned and set their sights on him. "I hope that this theory will be validated soon. If not immediately."

"Plenty more!" the Doctor yelled, pulling at a pipe and knocking it out of the wall. The Gelth screamed and released the bodies, sucked into the gas. The Doctor unlocked the door and pushed it open as the bodies hit the floor.

"Gwyneth, send them back! They lied, they're not angels!" The Doctor rushed forward, Rose right next to him.

"Liars?" Gwyneth questioned in a daze. She lowered her arms and stared blankly forward.

"Look at me. If your mother and father could look down and see this, they'd tell you the same. They'd give you the strength, now send them back!"

"Gwyneth," Rose started, but then she started choking.

"Charles, get her out." The Doctor commanded, not tearing his eyes away from Gwyneth. Dickens made a move to lead her out but she shook him off.

"I'm not leaving her!"

"They're too strong. I can't send them back. But I can hold them. Hold them here, in this place." Gwyneth deadpanned, then she reached into the pocket of her apron and pulled out a box of matches. "Get out."

"Come on," the Doctor held out his hand, "leave that to me." He stared into her eyes, and suddenly something dawned on him. He knows, Rose thought. As if to confirm it, the Doctor puts his hand on her neck, checking for a pulse. "Rose, get out."

"Wot?"

"Please, just go, now!" Finally, Dickens got fed up. He grabbed Rose's wrist tightly and dragged her out behind him. He didn't let go until they were back outside in the cold.

"Where do you think you're going, child?" Dickens asked astounded, reaching and grabbing Rose again. She moved to rush right back into the house.

"I have to go back!" she yelled, fighting against him. "I have to help the Doctor!"

But right as she tore away from his grip, the Doctor ran out the front door. Then, boom! Mr. Sneed's practice was up in flames. Rose immediately ran to where the Doctor stood. The second he made eye contact with Rose, his whole demeanor changed.

"I'm sorry." He started. "She closed the rift. I couldn't save her."

"At such a cost." Came the melancholy voice of Charles Dickens. "That poor child."

"I did try, Rose, but Gwyneth was already dead. She had been for at least five minutes. I think she died the minute she stood in that arch."

"It's not fair." Rose croaked.

"I know." The Doctor replied.

"Right then, Charlie-boy," the Doctor said as they approached the TARDIS. "I've just got to go into my, um, shed. Won't be long!"

"Have you got family for Christmas, Mister Dickens?" Rose asked him

"Not just now, but I will. I shall take the mail coach back to London. Quite literally post-haste. This is no time for me to be on my own. I shall spend Christmas with my family and make amends to them. After all I've learned tonight, there can be nothing more vital."

"You've cheered up!" the Doctor noted.

"Exceedingly! This morning, I thought I knew everything in the world and now I know I've just started! All these huge and wonderful notions, Doctor! I'm inspired. I must write about them!"

"Upgrading your ghost stories to aliens?" Rose asked.

"I shall be subtle at first. The Mystery of Edwin Drood still lacks an ending. Perhaps the killer was not the boy's uncle. Perhaps he was not of this earth. 'The Mystery of Edwin Drood and the Blue Elementals.' I can spread the word! Tell the truth!"

"Good luck with it. Nice to meet you," the Doctor said, shaking Dickens' hand. "Fantastic."

"Bye, then, Charlie. And, thanks," she told him sincerely. "It really has been a pleasure." She gave him a kiss on the cheek.

"Oh, my dear," he stammered, taken aback. "how modern. Thank you, but, I don't understand. In what way is this goodbye? Where are you going?"

"You'll see. In the shed," the Doctor said, turning to the TARDIS and opening the door.

"Oh, my soul," Dickens said. "Doctor, it's one riddle after another with you. But after all these revelations, there's one mystery you still haven't explained. Answer me this; who are you?"

"Just a friend," the Doctor said after a moment. "Passing through."

"But you have such knowledge of future times," Dickens said. "I don't wish to impose on you, but I must ask you. My books, Doctor, do they last?"

"Oh, yes!"

"For how long?"

"Forever!"

Dickens smiled proudly.

"Right. Shed. Come on, Rose."

"In - in the box?" Dickens stammered as they both turned to go. "Both of you?"

"We'd invite you in, but it's a bit of a tight fit." Rose says, suppressing a giggle at the astonished and slightly mortified look on Dickens' face. "See ya!" and with that, she pushes a snickering Doctor into the TARDIS.

"He's never going to tell the story, though, is he?" Rose said as they walked up to the console. "He dies, what, next year?"

"Yeah," the Doctor said, bringing up an external view on the camera. "In a week's time, it's 1870. The year he dies."

"But you brought him back to life," Rose said, watching the man outside. "Look how much happier he is."

"Wasn't just me," the Doctor said, looking down at her. "But you're right. He's more alive now than he's ever been, old Charlie-boy. Let's give him one last surprise."

He hit a button and the engines wheezed. They watched as his face slackened in astonishment, laughing.

Chapter Text

Once Charles Dickens was out of sight, the Doctor turned off the monitor and made his way to the main controls.

“So, where to next Rose Tyler?” he asked excitedly.

“Actually, I was wantin’ to go home.” His mood visibly changed at these words.

“Oh.”

“Not for long, stupid.” She giggled, and the Doctor perked up. “I just need to get some stuff. Plus, I wanna see my mum before we’re off again.”

“Alright, 2005 here we come. But first, I think you need a rest.” Rose raised a quizzical brow at him. “Two life threatening adventures in one day is a bit taxing on your human body.”

“Oh, but not for you superior Time Lords. You were made for this.” She said dryly, and he smiled broadly at her. There was a pause, then Rose asked quizzically, “Were you, though? Like, is that actually wot Time Lords did? Run around, savin the universe and all tha’?”

“No, just me.”

“So, you’re the odd duck.”

“Tha’s me, all righ’. Time Lords as a whole were more content to observe time.”

“But not you,” Rose mused. “instead of sittin’ back, you ran. Ran to the stars. Same with me, I suppose. I mean, all of time and space, how could anyone resist?”

The Doctor wondered what to say to that. What to say to impress this girl. Why he was trying so hard to impress her, he wasn’t entirely sure. He’d always been one to flourish in front of his companions, make what he did seem effortless, to try and look superior to them. But this was different. He wanted her approval, craved her attention like a child. She seemed so high above him. She was like no other human, it intrigued him. There was something about this Rose Tyler he felt drawn to. It was this thought that brought him to the perfect story to tell.

“I actually stole this TARDIS.”

“You didn’t.” Rose feigned disbelief. She always loved hearing this story from John.

“I did. She’s a Type 40 Mark 3 TARDIS, actually seen as a bit outta date back home,” The Doctor stroked the console fondly, and Rose couldn’t help but smile, “but the moment I touched her console, I said she was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. And I ran. I stole ‘er. Off we went into time and space.”

“Your granddaughter, too? Susan?”

“Yeah.” His expression changed to something more forlorn, but it only crossed his face for a moment before the walls went back up. “All in the past.”

“Well,” Rose slid her hand over the console until her hand rested on the Doctor’s, “now you’ve got me.”

The moment weighed heavy in the air. Rose could be bolder in this timeline. She already knew the Doctor had been falling for her from the beginning, just as she was for him. She knew his feelings. Hell, in another life she’d married the man. She knew him better than anyone else in the universe. But, the Doctor couldn’t wrap his head around his infatuation with this 19-year-old human girl. She’s intelligent and kind beyond her years. She’s stubborn, made of stronger stuff than she let on. Something about her just drew him in and he couldn’t figure out how to fight it. He already told her more than he meant to. This feeling scared and excited him, but he couldn’t put his finger on the name of it. Oddly enough, it was Rose who pulled back first.

“I should, uh, get some rest yeah?” She was flustered, wondering if it had been too much at once. The Doctor’s face was unreadable, even for her. “Night, Doctor.”

“Goodnight, Rose.”

She smiled one last signature tongue in tooth smile at him, then jogged down the hall to her room. Once behind the door, she let out a heavy sigh. Things were already so different between them. He was so much more open to her this time around. She was honestly afraid of when he’d snap shut. She couldn’t push him too far, she had to keep it at his pace. Make sure he was comfortable enough to tell her everything. She was more than willing to wait for him.

Rose was trying to escape the corset when a thought suddenly hit her. Her mother. She was going to see her mum 12 months late tomorrow. How was she going to play this? She knew if she just straight up told her mum the Doctor was an alien, she’d flip. But, she would find out anyway, wouldn’t she? Every scenario Rose thought of ended with her mum freaking out and calling the hotline, getting the Doctor and Rose right where they needed to be. That was the good news, though. The bad news was that in every scenario Rose thought of had her mum scared to death. She hated to put her through that, but no matter what it had to be that way. That was always the worst part of traveling with the Doctor.

Finally, Rose managed to get out of the dress and into bed. She sighed, resigned to accept whatever happened. She couldn’t control everything, she knew that. Didn’t mean she had to like it. With that thought, she switched off the light on her bedside table and settled in. As she faded into sleep, she could hear a faint melody that she recognized as the TARDIS humming her to sleep. The sound comforted her restless mind into a dreamless sleep.

Meanwhile, the Doctor was under the grates fixing things that weren’t broken to begin with. Really, he was just trying to distract himself from thinking too much about one Rose Tyler. To no avail, of course. She was all he could think about. Fantastic Rose Tyler; just a simple girl from Earth, but yet so much more than that. The Doctor had always been very strict about his companion’s place with him. They had always been his friends, or at the very least his assistants, and that was how he liked it. Keeping them at an arm’s length was for the best. They were always beneath him anyways, as much as he hated saying that now. The Doctor was always the one with the plan, the cleverest in the room. He didn’t feel like that with Rose, though. He knew Rose was there to help him, but he knew she’d challenge him as well. The lines were blurring around Rose Tyler and he wasn’t sure if he liked it.

He couldn’t let her know what he’d done. Telling her stories about his granddaughter was one thing, but if he told her what he’d done during the war, what he’d done to end it, she would hate him. She would leave. He couldn’t lose her, he just couldn’t. He wanted to let her in, but only so far. He finally put down the wires that refused to fuse and sighed. He had to resist her, he had to, because if she got too close, she might burn.

Chapter Text

When Rose woke up the next morning, she almost expected to be in a hospital bed. Once she rubbed the sleep out of her eyes, her face broke out into a big grin that she couldn’t get rid of if she tried. Two adventures in but she still got giddy thinking she was back on the TARDIS, back home

And back home was where she was going, as well. To see her mother, back in 2005. Rose suddenly felt queasy while brushing her teeth. She technically hadn’t seen her mother in almost 50 years, after she and her father died. After so many decades mourning her, Rose was a mix of excited and scared to see her mother again, especially so much younger. She had to keep her emotions in check, something she was honestly never too good at. But nonetheless, Rose kept her grin on and her nausea in check all the way to the quaint kitchen in the TARDIS. The Doctor was already sitting at the table, half eaten banana in one hand and a textbook open on the table. Rose instantly found the kettle and began boiling the water. She lifted the side of the book to see the cover. The Doctor continued reading his page as she did, unbothered.

“Quantum Mechanics.” She read aloud, “Cool. Refreshing your memory or just for fun?”

“Both.” He answered simply over the sound of the whistling kettle.

Rose poured two cups and grabbed the tea bags from the cabinet above her. She spooned in a bunch of sugar into the striped mug and splashed some milk into the one that said “Aroura 5: Home of the Universe’s Largest Ball of Twine”. She sipped her tea, the bag still in it, and placed the Doctor’s in front of him. He instantly looked up at her curiously.

“Tha’s how I like my tea.” He said quite unbelieving yet so matter-of-factly.

“Yes, it is.” She said back in the same tone.

“How did you know tha’?” She panicked for a moment, grasping at early memories and coming up blank, but kept a straight face for the Doctor. Finally, she pulls a memory out her ass she kind of remembers.

“Well, you told me back at my flat, didn’t’cha? I asked if you wanted a coffee ‘nd you said just milk.” She then gestured at his mug. “There ya are.”

He paused, looked at the mug, then stared back at her. “You remembered that?” he asked, disbelieving.

“Well, yeah,” she said sheepishly, actually blushing lightly, “I dunno. I didn’t think ‘bout it.”

She honestly didn’t think about it. She was surprised she didn’t make it how John always liked it, with honey. Or even how her mum always had taken it, milk and two scoops sugar, considering how much her mum was on her mind. But yet, she made the Doctor his tea exactly how this body liked, almost as if she were on autopilot.

She did always made tea for them on the TARDIS, but that wasn’t until Jack joined on board. He always took his tea with the bag still in it, just like Rose, but with a dash of hyper vodka. Of course, Rose did not allow that, so he just drank it plain the rest of their time together. Jack was always the last one up because “looking this good takes time, Rosie”, so she just made tea for all of them. It’s not like the Doctor was going to do it, he was far too “busy” (stubborn) to do such a mundane and domestic task. It had just become this sort of tradition.  

After the Doctor regenerated, they had to try a million different flavor combinations to find the right one. Rose had been both amused and disgusted when he took a swig of the first cup with just tea and milk then immediately spit it out all over the table. Cup number three was when the novelty had worn off and it had just become gross. Cup number seven was a success, so she got used to making it that way instead. And then, she’d done it just about every morning in Pete’s World, too. Up till the day he died, she made him tea. Unless, of course, she was cross at him, then he made her tea.

She mulled over these memories in her own little world, sipping her tea. The Doctor kept his eyes on her. How did she remember how he liked his tea? Why did she make him tea, anyways? It’s not as though he asked, she just did it as if she’d done it a thousand times before. And casually lifting his book cover to read it? And he let her! It just all felt so natural with her, he couldn’t explain it. There’s just something about this Rose Tyler that he couldn’t figure out.

His textbook lay open in front of him, but the Doctor was too busy studying Rose. She was staring into her cup of tea, sipping it occasionally, paying no mind to the Doctor’s heavy stare. He was looking at her so intently, it was almost like he was trying to commit her profile to memory, trying to sear her onto his eyelids. He took his time looking her over, reading her like he would his book.

Her hair was all swept to one side, lying down her shoulder where she twisted it in her fingers. She obviously dyed it blonde, but yet it fit her better than anything else the Doctor could picture. It looked soft, despite the peroxide coloring. And the Doctor could faintly smell her shampoo from where he sat, due to his superior Time Lord senses of course. Strawberry and vanilla.

Her hazel eyes were trained dreamily on the steaming cup sitting on the table. Those eyes seemed to hold more than the Doctor thought possible of a 19-year-old human girl. On Platform One, he saw they held a true sadness. Yet, they also held joy and love, which he had seen on many occasions since they met. Not to mention a sort of wild twinkle in her eye, a mad gleam that the Doctor suspected he had as well. But, most importantly and most prominently, they held a strength that the Doctor almost couldn’t describe. He saw it in her eyes, like a raging fire, when they argued about Gwyneth and the Gealth in 1869. She seemed like the kind to follow her heart as well as her head.

A small smile was set on her plump pink lips. He liked seeing her smile, especially that tongue in tooth grin she’d displayed quite a few times at the chip shop. He was ready to say anything to get her to show him that smile, and luckily, she showed it often. And that smile was so contagious, he wondered how she did it. How did she manage to brighten all the dark corners of a room with one simple smile?

There was no denying that she was beautiful, especially for a human, but that was just objectively speaking. He was only studying her to get a read on her, memorizing her for purely platonic purposes. But even he didn’t fully believe that. He hadn’t even known her that long, but he felt like he’d do anything for her approval. He still wasn’t sure if that was really Rose Tyler or if that was all due to post war guilt. He wanted someone to impress, someone to show off to and amaze. Someone who didn’t know what he had done. Someone who would never know what he had done.

It was at that moment she decided to look up.  Their eyes locked and the Doctor had never wished he could disappear more than he had in that moment. So much for cool, confident Doctor. Hello, awkward Time Lord. He was like a deer in headlights, incapable of moving despite the speeding car barreling towards him. And then, she smiled. It was so warm, such a fond expression, he couldn’t stop himself from smiling like an idiot back.

“So,” she said, standing up, “2005 then?”

The Doctor simply nodded and stood up as well. She beamed at him before turning around and making her way to the console room. He followed her in suit, leaving his open textbook and full mug on the table.

Chapter Text

The moment the TARDIS landed, Rose rushed out the doors and was greated with the less-than-spectacular sight of the ally way in front of her building in the estate. She let out a loud laugh and twirled, she was really back! She was gonna see her mum. Oh god, her mum. 

She was going to see her mum. She had to play it cool, she couldn’t let her know about the emotional roller-coaster she was going through on the inside. She had to be careful, if anyone could read her it was her mother. If her mum knew something was off, it could ruin everything.

“How long have I been gone?” Rose finally asked the Doctor, who was now leaning against the TARDIS.

“About 12 hours.”

“You sure?”

“Oi, you doubt me?”

“Well, you also said Naples 1860 but..” she teased.

“Alright, one mistake. I’m allowed one.”  

“Right, well I won’t be long. Just wanna see my mum.” She started walking to her building.

“What’re you gonna tell ‘er?”

“I dunno,” she said airily, turning back to the Doctor, “Time travel and all tha’ may be a bit much for ‘er. I’ll just say I was out with a mate.” She gave him that special grin and he chuckled. She started jogging away, but the suddenly turned back and yelled, “Don’t you disappear, now!”  He just grinned back at her and she ran off.

She jogged all the way up until she got to her door. She froze, steeling her nerves for the absolute shit storm she was about to face. She could feel her keys in her pocket weighing a ton. Finally, she opened the door.

“Mum?” she called, walking into the apartment slowly.

It had always looked exactly the same for as long as she can remember. They rarely moved around furniture or anything. She walked through the entryway and towards the kitchen where her mum stood in the archway. She looked shell shocked, to say the least.

“Hi, mum.” Her mug dropped to the floor with a crash.

“It’s you.” She said breathless. “Oh my god, it’s you. Oh my god!” she began sobbing, enveloping Rose in a tight hug. Now Rose could clearly see the missing posters on the kitchen table. Almost immediately, the Doctor busted in. Rose turned to him, still in her mother’s arms.

“It’s not 12 hours, it’s 12 months. You’ve been gone a whole year.” he chuckled, clearly embarrassed, “Sorry.”

“Who the hell are you?” Jackie yelled.

“Mum, this is the Doctor. I’ve been with him this whole time.” Rose said slowly, moving out of her mother’s arms and in front of the Doctor to protect him from an oncoming Tyler Slap. “Look, why don’t you sit down and we will explain everythin’, alrigh’?”

“Everything?” the Doctor murmered in her ear.

Everything.” She said firmly.

“Wait a minute, I know you! You were with the paper or somethin’, about Rose’s job blowing up. You came to interview her, then she disappeared!” Her mum was livid, and it was too late. No talking it out. She grabbed the phone and called the police, taking the landline to her room.

“I suppose if we run, we’ll look guilty.” The Doctor tried to joke, but Rose just glared at him. “Right.”

So there Rose was, again, sitting on the sofa chair with the Doctor standing next to her, a policeman across from her, and her mother screaming at her.

“The hours I sat here, days and weeks and months, all on my own! I thought you were dead. And where were you? Travelling! What the hell does that mean, travelling? That’s no sort of answer!” she turned to the police man sitting on their couch who was looking like he’d rather be anywhere other than this living room. You and me both, mate, Rose thought. “You ask her, she won’t tell me. That’s all she says, travelling.”

“Look, I know wot it sounds like, but I was…” Rose started.

“With your passport still in the drawer! It’s just one lie after another!”

“I wanted to explain this to you calmly and privately,” Rose said, looking to the policeman, “but you wouldn’t listen.”

“I don’t believe you!” her mother huffed. “Why won’t you tell me where you’ve been?”

“Actually, it’s my fault.” The Doctor pipped in. Oh, no. “I sort of employed Rose as my companion.”

“When you say companion, is this a sexual relationship?” the policeman asked.

“No!” Rose and the Doctor exclaim simultaneously.

 “Then wot is it?” Jackie yelled, rounding on the Doctor. “Because you, you waltz in here all charm and smiles, and the next thing I know, she vanishes off the face of the earth! How old are you then? 40, 45? Wot, did’ja find her on the internet? Did’ja go online and pretend you’re a doctor?”

“I am a doctor.” He said, and Rose wished he had shut his mouth.

“Prove it. Stitch this, mate.” WACK! She slapped him hard across the face. Rose stood up instantly.

“Alright! Tha’s enough!” She yelled. “You can leave.” She said to the policeman, who honestly looked ready to either run out or call backup. “You, wait outside.” She said to the Doctor, who was cradling his cheek. “You and I are talkin’, now.” She said to her mother and stormed into the kitchen.

Her mother ushered the policeman out before joining Rose in the kitchen. Rose turned to look at her mother to find tears in her eyes. Immediately, she crossed the room and hugged her mum. They both let out a sob.

“Did you think about me at all?” her mum asked, tears choking her words.

“I did, mum. All the time. But it’s not wotcha think. Didn’t Mickey tell ya anythin’?”

“Oh, Mickey.” Jackie scoffed, waving it off. “One phone call. Just to know you were alive.”

“I’m sorry, I really am.” Rose sniffled.

“But do you know what terrifies me is that you still can’t say. What happened to you, Rose? What could be so bad that you can’t tell me, sweetheart?” her mum practically begged for an answer. “Where were you?”

Rose took a deep breath and tried to steady her voice. She had to tell her mum the truth, because one way or another she was going to find out. Telling her was her best bet.

“Here’s the thing, mum. The Doctor, he’s not… normal. He’s an alien.”

“My god, Rose, what did he do to you?” Jacking began to frantically cradle Rose’s face, but she shook her off.

“No, mum, you’re not listening! I’m not jokin’, I’m not crazy, and I’m not lyin’. He’s an alien called a Time Lord, he’s got a ship that can travel through time and space, and he’s brought me along with him.”

And when that conversation turned into a disaster, her mother ready to call up every psychiatrist in the greater London area, Rose and the Doctor ended up sitting on the roof as far away from Jackie as possible.

“She thinks I’m mad, absolutely barmy! That I’m brainwashed or somethin’. She’s never gonna forgive me.”

“I still can’t believe you told her.” He scoffed. Then he said, in a mostly crass voice, but with a hint of insecurity which he hoped Rose wouldn’t pickup on (which she did pickup on), “Well, if it’s this much trouble, are you gonna stay here now?”

“And miss out on adventures with you? No way!” They smiled at each other, but then Rose looked away. “But I can’t do that to her again.”

“Well she’s not coming with us.”

“No chance!” Rose laughed and it spread to the Doctor.

“I don’t do families.”

“She slapped you!”

“900 years of time and space, and ive never been slapped by someone’s mother.”

“All that time, that gob hasn’t gotten you in trouble?”

“Trouble, maybe. But, not like that!”

“Your face!” she giggled.

“It hurt!” he whined. He started cradling his previously hurt cheek, which made Rose laugh harder.

“So,” she sighed, getting her giggles out, “you’re 900 years old?”

“Yeah.”

“Huh, mum was right. That’s one hell of an age gap.” Rose hopped off the wall. That spaceship was going to fly overhead soon, she just had to wait. She was just about to start pacing when a horn blew and the ship flew overhead. Her and the Doctor ducked as it flew past them, making its way to Big Ben. The crash was deafeningly loud against the clock. Finally, it landed in the river. They both sprang up, looked at each other, and started laughing.

“C’mon!” he yelled excitedly, grabbing Rose’s hand. She pulled him back.

“Hold it. Eager much? A spaceship just landed in the middle of London.”

“Precisely why we should go.” Sassed the Doctor.

“A spaceship just crashed into Big Ben, ya don’t think the whole place is gonna be on high alert? It’s gonna be gridlocked down there, we can’t get in.”

“Right. And I wouldn’t wanna take the TARDIS in. There’s already one spaceship there don’t wanna add another in the mix.”

“Well, we can do wot everybody else does.” He looked at her, a blank expression on his face. “We can watch it on TV.”

 

 

Chapter Text

The Doctor couldn’t believe Rose Tyler was worth this much to him. There he was, sitting in her mother’s crowded living room, the mother who slapped him in the face and would not stop giving him the side eye every chance she got, trying to watch the news on the alien crash landing. He couldn’t believe an actual alien just crash landed into Big Ben, and these people were talking about recipes and who asked who out. It was ridiculous!

He’d been sitting on the idea of whisking Rose away and going to Albion Hospital to investigate for about a half hour, but he kept arguing with himself over it. He knew she would go with him, but he couldn’t take her away from her mother again. He was honestly surprised she still agreed to keep traveling with him to begin with. All the trouble he got her into, the time he had taken away from her, and she still said she was coming like there was no way she’d even consider leaving to begin with. But, it was just too much for him. He couldn’t take another minute in their living room. He’d just have to go alone.

“And where do you think you’re goin’?” came Rose’s voice from behind him.

“Nowhere.” He answered too quickly. “It’s just a bit human in there for me. History just happened and they’re talking about where you can buy dodgy top up cards for half price. I’m off on a wander, tha’s all.”

“Right. Off on a wander to Albion Hospital, perhaps?”

“Rose,” he started. “That was a genuine crash-landing. Angle of decent, color of smoke, everything! It was perfect.”

“So?”

“So maybe this is it! First contact! The day mankind officially comes into contact with an alien race. I’m not interfering, cos you gotta handle this on your own. Now, go, spend some time with your mum.”

“Yeah, but I know you. You’re curious.” She gave him a knowing look and the Doctor knew she could see through his nonchalant lies. How she could read him so well was a mystery, but also seemed to be part of the Rose Tyler charm. “Look, I’m not telling you not to go, I jus’… I wanna make sure you’re comin’ back. Alright?”

“You know what,” the Doctor patted up and down his jacket until he found what he was looking for. “TARDIS key, bout time you had one.” He presented her with the key and chain. The look in her eyes was something he’d never forget; a look like she was being welcomed home after a long journey away. They shared a smile. “See ya later.”

Rose watched him until he was out of sight. She clutched the key tightly to her heart and walked back inside. The loud chatter of the room hit her like a brick wall, but she didn’t care. Almost in a daze, she sat down in the seat previously taken by the Doctor. Rose just stared down at the key, turning it over in her hand again and again. It felt more real, having the cold metal in her hand. It almost seemed to buzz in her palm. Every little thing meant so much more to her this time around, for obvious reasons.

She must have sat there with a goofy grin on her face for a long time because the next thing she knew, the whole room had gone quiet. Which could only mean…

“Mickey.” She said, standing up. The look on his face said nothing and everything all at once. It was like he couldn’t decide which emotion to express.

“Someone owes Mickey an apology.” Said Ru sternly.

“I’m sorry.” Rose said automatically.   

“Not you.” Ru glared at her mother.

“Well, it’s not my fault!” Jackie said defensively. “Be fair, wot was I supposed to think?”

“Mum, you didn’t.” Rose groaned. She took a deep breath. She knew it was all gonna go to shite, but it still exhausted her. “Alright, mum, Mickey, can I see ya in the kitchen please?”

“Yeah, yeah we need to talk.” Mickey said, clearly deciding on being angry 

They all walked to the kitchen awkwardly, Rose closing the door behind them to hopefully ward off any listening ears and/or prying eyes. Her mother sat down by the door and Rose settled on leaning against the sink, but Mickey was pacing the length of the small kitchen.

“Now,” Rose started calmly, but Mickey rounded on her.

“You disappear, who do they turn to? Your boyfriend. That’s who. Or your ex, I guess, right Rose? Five times I was taken in for questioning. Five times! No evidence, of course. There couldn’t be could there? And then I get her, your mother, whispering around the estate, pointing the finger, stuff through my letter box, and all cos of you!”

“I’m sorry, Mickey, I really am. Didn’t think I’d be gone so long.” But of course, she did. She knew she’d be gone twelve months, but it’s not like she could’ve done anything about it. "I told you I was goin’ travelin’ though."

"Oh, yeah, you told me!" he snapped. "You break it off and swan off like it's nothing. And I still waited for you, Rose! Twelve months. Waitin’ for you and the Doctor to come back!”

“Hold on! You knew about the Doctor?” her mum pipped up. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Yeah, yeah. Why not, Rose? Huh? How could I tell her where you went?”

“Tell me now.”

“I might as well, cause you’re stuck here. The Doctor’s gone. That box thing just faded away. He’s left you! Some boyfriend he turned out to be.”

“Mickey, I know. I told him to go.” Rose said calmly. “And he’s not my boyfriend. He’s much more important than that.” 

“You don’t believe me.” Mickey said skeptically. “Fine, I’ll show you.” And with that, he marched out the door with Jackie after him. Rose had no choice, she had to follow.

“See!” yelled Mickey, gesturing to the empty space that used to contain the TARDIS. “Oh, he’s dumped you, Rose! Sailed off into space. How does it feel? Now you are left behind with the rest of us Earthlings. Get used to it.”

“I told you, I already know he’s gone. He’s coming back.”

“Wot are you two idiots going on about? Wots goin’ on? Wots this Doctor done now?”

Mickey laughed mockingly. “Oh, he’s vamoosed.”

“He’s not, I’m tellin ya. I know where he is and I know he is coming back. Look, he even gave me this.”

She showed him the key from her pocket and right as she did, it began to heat in her hand and glow faintly. Then the wooshing filled her ears, and she couldn’t help but smile. The whirring grew louder and the wind blew around them as the TARDIS materialized. With a solidifying boom, there she was. Mickey had a triumphant smile on his face in reaction to Jackie’s shock. Rose knew the Doctor was not going to like this, but she walked into the TARDIS with both Mickey and her mum following in suit. She jogged a bit ahead of them in order to warn him. This was going to be fun

Chapter Text

“Okay, so you were right, I went and had a look.” started the Doctor the moment Rose briskly came in. “The whole crash landing’s a fake. I thought so, just too perfect. I mean hitting Big Ben, come on! So, I went to have a look and…”

“Doctor, we have company.” Rose quickly interrupted. At that moment, the door creaked open, announcing Mickey and her mum.

“Oh, that’s just what I need.” He said irritated. “Don’t you dare make this place domestic!” he said, pointing a finger at Rose. 

“You ruined my life, Doctor. They thought she was dead. I was a murder suspect cos of you.” Mickey said.

“See what I mean? Domestic!”

“I bet you don’t even remember my name!”

“Ricky.” The Doctor whipped back around, annoyed.

“It’s Mickey.”

“No, it’s Ricky.”

“I think I know my own name.”

“You think you know your own name? How stupid are you?”

“Oi! Enough you two. Don’t start a fight.” Rose butted in, putting herself between them. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw her mum rushing out of the TARDIS. “Wait, mum! Please, I can explain!”

She rushed forward after her, but it was too late. The door slammed in her face. But this had to happen, Rose thought, she had to call the hotline to get them to Downing Street. So, reluctantly, she let her go. Rose took a deep breath, let it out sharply, then turned back to the console.

“So, that was a real spaceship, but it was all fake?” she asked the Doctor, leaning against the console with him to look at the monitor.

“Yep, the extraterrestrial found, nothin’ more than a fake.”

“Wot is it then, some alien practical joke?” the Doctor smirked at her joke.

“I’m gonna say more of an invasion.”

“Funny way to invade,” pipped in Mickey. “putting the world on red alert.”

“Good point!” the Doctor said, surprised. “So, wot are they up to?”

“Maybe they want us scared. Humans do stupid things outta fear.” Rose said, trying to be subtle. The Doctor looked at her, the gears in his head visibly turning.

“Maybe,” he said, moving down to a grate to the left of the console. “if I adjust a few things...” instead of finishing that sentence, the Doctor pulled up the grating and slid down into the hole, getting right to work.

"So, what're you doing down there?" Mickey asked the Doctor.

"Ricky," he mumbled around his sonic screwdriver.

"Mickey."

"Ricky," he said again, taking the screwdriver out of his mouth. "If I was to tell you what I was doing to the controls of my frankly magnificent time ship, would you even begin to understand?"

"I suppose not..."

"Shut it, then," he ordered, putting the screwdriver back in his teeth and going back to his work.

"Some friend you've got," he said to Rose after shooting the Doctor another nasty look.

“C’mon, he’s just winding you up.” Rose grinned, rolling her eyes. She knew how the Doctor was. He was so clearly jealous of Mickey, that’s why he was so snippy towards him.

He had told her once, about his jealousy. Not only of Mickey, but Jack and Adam, too. They were young, pretty boys who were clearly head over heels for Rose. “I mean, I was, too,” he had told her as they cuddled in bed one night. “but I was all big ears and brooding back then. Never thought you’d even look at a guy like me.” Of course, they laughed at how silly they were. Hindsight is always funny like that once everything is said and done. John had described her as his sun, a star that shined so bright that he was too afraid to get close, but still pulled into her by gravity, by love, so he just simply orbited her for so long. She’d told him it was the other way around for her. They kissed. She smiled at the memory. A memory she would always treasure, in spite of the fact that soon, it will never have happened.

“Did you miss me at all?” Mickey asked, snapping her out of it.

“It’s only been a few days for me, honest.” She sighed.

 "Every day, I looked. On every street corner, wherever I went, looking for a blue box for a whole year."

“I’m sorry,” she said softly. She didn’t wanna hurt him this time. That was something she had to change in this timeline, no matter what. She couldn’t do that to him again.

“Did’ya really mean it?”

“Wot?”

“That you don’t love me like I love you. Tha’s wotcha said, before you went with him. Is it true?”

“Mickey,” she started, but then the Doctor popped back up, interrupting them.

"Got it!" the Doctor shouted. Rose gave Mickey an apologetic look and moved to the other side of the console with the Doctor. "Patched in the radar, looped it back twelve hours so we can follow the flight of the spaceship, here we go…hold on," he said, whacking the computer screen. "Come on…That's the spaceship on its way to Earth," he explained as the graphic came up on the screen. "See? Except…hold on…see, the spaceship did a sling shot round the Earth before it landed."

"So, it came from Earth to begin with?" she asked. "They haven't just arrived."

"Nope," the Doctor said, still looking at the screen. "They've been here for a while. The question is, what have they been doing?"

He flipped a switch, and the graphic changed into the tv station. Mickey looked at it in surprise as the doctor flipped through different news reports.

"How many channels do you get?" Mickey asked him.

"All the basic packages," the Doctor told him.

"You get sports channels?" Rose glanced at him and rolled her eyes, smiling.

"Yes, I get the football," he said, a little mockingly. "Hold on," the Doctor said suddenly, straightening. "I know that lot."

"It is looking likely that the government is bringing in alien specialists, those people who have devoted their lives to studying outer space," reported the newscaster.

 “Who are they, UNIT?” Rose asked. The Doctor nodded, looking at her surprised.

"You've worked for them," Mickey said, saving Rose. The Doctor looked at him in surprise, now. "Yeah, don't think I sat on my backside for twelve months, Doctor. I read up on you. You look deep enough on the Internet, and in the history books, and there's his name. Followed by a list of the dead."

"That's nice," the Doctor responded, dripping with sarcasm. "Good boy, Ricky."

 “Boys, focus.” Rose chided. “If you know them, why don't you go and help?" she asked the Doctor.

"They wouldn't recognize me," he explained, springing into action once more. "I've changed a lot since the old days. Besides, the world's on a knife-edge. There's aliens out there and fake aliens. We want to keep this alien out of the mix. I'm going undercover. Better keep the TARDIS out of sight. Ricky! You've got a car, you can do some driving."

"Where to?" Mickey asked as they walked to the door.

"The roads are clearing," the Doctor told him. "Let's go and have a look at that spaceship."

But as soon as they stepped outside, there was a spotlight on them. A helicopter whirred overhead while police cars and military tanks pulled up. Sirens whaled and a man on a megaphone shouted, “Don not move! Step away from the box! Raise your hands above your head!”

 Mickey instantly ran for it. A few soldiers ran after him, but most stayed trained on her and the Doctor. Rose could barely see, but she heard her mum screaming for her from a distance. All this for the Doctor? They could have just asked nicely. Slowly, her and the Doctor raised their hands up.

“Take me to your leader!” The Doctor said, grinning. It took everything in Rose not to double over laughing.

“This is a bit posh.” Rose said to the Doctor as they were escorted into a black car. “I’m gonna take a guess a say we’re not bein’ arrested.”

“Nope, escorted!” The Doctor replied, excited.

“Where to?”

“Where do ya think? Downing Street.” He laughed.

“10 Downing Street?” She laughed back. “Wait, how come?”

“I hate to say it, but Mickey was right. Over the years I visited this planet a lot of times, and I’ve been, uh, noticed.”

 “Yeah, no kiddin’. Only took me a few internet searches to find you. So, now they need you?”

 "Like it said on the news, they're gathering experts in alien knowledge. And who's the biggest expert of the lot?" He grinned at her expectantly.

"Patrick Moore?" she teased.

"Apart from him." the Doctor said defensively.

"Ah, don't you just love it." Rose grinned.

"I'm telling you, Lloyd George, he used to drink me under the table. Who's the Prime Minister now?"

"How should I know?" Rose asked. "I missed a year."

As they pulled up, paparazzi were clamoring to get a glimpse of them. The Doctor sprang out of the vehicle, waving and grinning at the cameras. It all reminded Rose of being the Vitex heiress and how bad that was back in Pete’s World. It was a huge story when she first showed up, using the cover story that Jackie had been found alive in a distant Cyberman warehouse with their “long lost daughter”. The press ate that up like pudding, it was crazy. Rose smiled and waved politely, like she always used to. Then she took the Doctor’s hand and went inside.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, could we convene?" called a man walking in. She recognized him, he was the man the Slitheen murdered in front of her. Another one to try and save. "Quick as we can, please. It's this way on the right and can I remind you, ID cards are to be worn at all times. Here's your ID card." the man said, approaching the Doctor. "I'm sorry, your companion doesn't have clearance."

"I don't go anywhere without her." the Doctor informed him as he looped the ID card around his neck. Rose couldn't help smiling with pride at his words.

"You're the code nine, not her." the man said sternly.

Rose tuned out their argument. Right then, she caught sight of Harriet Jones. The would-be prime minister was still just a nobody right now, but tonight would be her turning point. Despite the uncomfortable tone they had last parted on, Rose was thrilled to see another familiar face from her old life.

"It's alright, you go," she said quietly to the Doctor as the other man was approached by Harriet Jones.

"Are you sure?"

"Yeah, you're the expert, they should hear what you have to say," she told him. She chewed her lip for a second, then took a chance. "We gotta figure why aliens would pull something like this, right?"

"Good point,” the Doctor frowned. He didn’t feel right, leaving her alone. “I'll be out in no time. Don't get into any trouble."

"I'm going to have to leave you with security," the man said, starting to lead Rose away.

"It's alright," Harriet said. "I'll look after her. Let me be of some use." She turned to Rose, smiling kindly. "Walk with me," she said, and steered her towards the door. "Just keep walking. That's right. Harriet Jones, MP Flydale North," she added, flashing her ID card.

“Nice to meet’cha.” Rose and Harriet kept walking until the finally were alone, next to the starewell.  

"This friend of yours... he's an expert, is that right?" Harriet asked, trying hard to keep her voice intact. "He knows about aliens?"

"Yeah," Rose replied, “Why? Tell me wot happened.” Harriet broke down. Rose put her arm around the sobbing woman and stroked her arm sympathetically. “It’s okay. I’m gonna help you, alright? But you need to tell me wot’s goin’ on.”

Harriet Jones wiped away her tears. “I’ll show you.” And with that, she lead her to the cabinet room.

 "They turned the body into a suit!" she cried once inside, holding up someone's empty skin. "A disguise for the thing inside!"

"It's alright," Rose assured her again as she started crying. "I believe you. It's definitely alien." She glanced around the room. "C’mon, you need to be strong, Harriet. The people need to you to be strong," Harriet looked at her, sniffled, then drew herself up and nodded. "Right. We need to find, uh, whatever alien technology is causing this, it might be in this room." she lied, making her way to the cupboard. As she expected, a tall, thin man fell out onto the floor as she opened the door. Harriet hurried over to examine the body.

"Is that…" Started Harriet.

The aid from earlier chose that moment to enter the room. "Harriet, for God's sake! This has gone beyond a joke. You cannot just wander…" He froze when he saw the body on the floor. "Oh, my God," he said. "That's the Prime Minister!"

 “Oh!” Came a high-pitched voice Rose immediately recognized. “Has someone been naughty?” Margret asked coldly, sauntering in the room.

“But, that’s not possible. He left this afternoon.” Said the aid, disbelieving. “The Prime Minister left Downing Street. He was driven away!” he said, louder.

“And who told you that? Hmm? Me!” Margret taunted.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Even though she knew what was coming, that didn’t make it any less creepy seeing Margret unzip her skin to reveal the creature inside. She laughed as she was fully revealed. Then, in one swift move, she grabbed the aid by the throat and slammed him into the wall, choking him.

“Oh, no you don’t!” Rose yelled, and, thinking quickly, she grabbed a chair and smashed it against Margret, causing her to drop the man. He instantly crumpled to the floor, breathing heavily. Margret drew back in pain and Rose instantly went for the man on the floor.

Suddenly, electricity crackled all over Margret and she screamed in pain, the sound gurgled in her throat. Rose took this opportunity to help the man up and make for the door. She had to drag Harriet by the hand, but the other man was right next to her. They made their way half way down the corridor, but Harriet pulled Rose to a halt.

“Wait!” she said, breathless. “They're still in there! The emergency protocols! We need them!”

“Not much we can do if we’re dead, now c’mon!” Rose snapped back, pulling Harriet again. “it’s coming!”

As if on cue, Margret burst out of the cabinet room and tore after them. They took off again down the corridor, Rose twisting the path whenever possible. She caught a glimpse of the Doctor in the lift as she tried opening another locked door, but she wasn’t exacly in a situation to stop for a chat. Finally, they reached a dead end in a room with only one unlocked door in or out.

"Hide," she ordered the other two, sprinting for the curtains. Just as she slipped behind them, the Slitheen opened the door.

"Oh, such fun!" it cried happily, taking in big wiffs of air. She was obviously sniffing them out. They didn’t have long, but Rose was banking on the Doctor showing up right in time as usual. "Little human children... where are you? Sweet little humeykins... come to me... let me kiss you better...kiss you with my big, green lips."

Rose shuddered as Margret hissed. She heard the door open again and more Slitheen entered.

"My brothers," the Margaret thing greeted the other two.

"Happy hunting?" asked one of the new Slitheen.

"It's wonderful," Margaret told him. "The more you prolong it, the more they stink."

"Sweat," noted the other newcomer. "And fear!"

"I can smell an old girl," said the first. "Stale perfume and brittle bones."

"And a young man," said the second, "stressed and eager to please."

"And a ripe youngster," Margaret went on. "All hormones and adrenaline. Fresh enough to bend before she snaps!"

Rose jumped as the curtain was swept aside, looking up defiantly at the looming creature. She wasn’t scared this time, she was ready to fight.

“No!” screamed Harriet Jones, leaping out form the partition she was hiding behind. “Take me first, take me!”

Right then, the Doctor bursted into the room and sprayed the hissing Slitheen with a fire extinguisher. The aliens roared. Rose pulled down the curtain onto Margret and bolted towards the Doctor, Harriett and the aid behind her.

“Who the hell are you two?” the Doctor asked as the all crowded behind him like a shield.

“Harriet Jones, MP for Flydale North.” She answered quickly.

“Indra Ganesh.” The aid croaked, with throat still raw from being choked.

“Nice to meet you both.” The Doctor said.

“Likewise.” Harriet replied. The Doctor hit the Slitheen with another round of extinguisher gas, then they all bolted out the door.

“We need to get to the Cabinet Rooms.” The Doctor called to them as the ran through the corridors.

“the Emergency Protocols are in there.” Harriet yelled back. “They give instructions for aliens.”

“Harriet Jones, I like you.”

“I think I like you, too.”

The four of them backtracked all the way to the Cabinet Rooms. Luckily, the Doctor knew where he was going. Despite having just run this path, Rose couldn’t remember for the life of her where she had been and where she hadn’t. It felt like she had run the whole floor. The Doctor whipped out his sonic to open a door. They all busted through the door, and with one more turn left, they were in the Cabinet Rooms. The Slitheen were right there behind them. Thinking quickly, the Doctor picked up a nearby bottle of brandy and held his screwdriver against it threateningly.

"One more move and my sonic device will triplicate the flammability of this alcohol. Whoof! We all go up. So back off." He stared them down, and they hesitated. "Right then, question time. Who exactly are the Slitheen?"

"They're aliens." Harriet said.

"Yes. I got that, thanks." the Doctor said sarcastically.

"Who are you, if not human?" one of the Slitheen asked.

"Who's not human?" Harriet asked.

“He’s not human.” Rose answered.

“He’s not human?” Harriet asked, astonished.

“Could I have a bit of hush?” butted in the Doctor.

“Sorry.” Replied Harriet.

“So, wots the plan?” He turned back to the Slitheen. "You've got a spaceship hidden in the North Sea. It's transmitting a signal. You've murdered your way to the top of government. What for? Invasion?"

"Why would we invade this God forsaken rock?" scoffed one of the Slitheen.

"Then something's brought the Slitheen race here." the Doctor said. "What is it?"

"'The Slitheen race'?" asked one of them, bewildered.

"Slitheen is not our species," explained another. "Slitheen is our surname. Jocrassa Fel-Fotch Pasameer-Day Slitheen at your service."

"So, you're family."

"It's a family business."

"Then you're out to make a profit," the Doctor noted. "How can you do that on a 'God forsaken rock'?"

"Uh, excuse me? Your device will do what? Triplicate the flammability...?"

The Doctor pause, shifting uncomfortably. "Is that what I said?"

"You're making it up!" one of the Slitheen accused.

"Ah, well! Nice try. Harriet, have a drink. I think you're gonna need it," the Doctor said, holding the brandy out to her.

"Pass it to the left first," Harriet said, manners kicking in automatically.

"Sorry," he said, handing it to Rose without looking around.

“Thanks.” She said, taking it.

"Now we can end this hunt," said the Slitheen menacingly, its claws primed and ready. "with a slaughter."

"Fascinating history, Downing Street," the Doctor said, going into lecture mode. "2,000 years ago, this was marsh land. 1730, it was occupied by a Mr. Chicken. He was a nice man. 1796, this was the Cabinet Room. If the cabinet's in session and in danger, these are about the four most safest walls in the whole of Great Britain." He reached out and pressed a button near the door. "End of lesson."

Metal shutters slammed down over every door and window, blocking the Slitheen from their intended prey.

"Installed in 1991," continued the Doctor. "Three inches of steel lining every single wall. They'll never get in."

"And we can't get out," Rose said flatly.

“Ah.” said the Doctor sheepishly.

Chapter Text

"Right, what have we got?" the Doctor asked. "Any terminals? Anything?"

"I already told you, the cabinet has nothing in here but the speaker phone," Indra said irritably.

"That's helpful, thanks," the Doctor sassed.

Rose was too busy pretending to look for anything that would help to call him rude. She knew exactly what had to be done. Things would be a lot easier if she could just tell the Doctor what she knew, but she remembered the Bad Wolf telling her that he must never find out. But she dropped hints here and there, moving things a bit faster. Still, she had to pretend she was clueless.

"So, they killed the Prim Minister." Rose finally said, figuring someone had to ask. "Why not use his body?"

"He's too slim, they're big ol' beasts. They need to fit inside big humans." The Doctor answered while sonicing the bolted windows.

"But they're like eight feet, how to they fit? Is it that device round their necks?"

"Yeah, compression field, literally shrinks them down a bit. That's why there's all that gas. It's a big exchange."

"I mean, I wanna be a size smaller, but I don't think that gas is worth it." Rose joked. She noticed the Doctors mouth twitch up as he soniced the next window.

"Excuse me," Harriet pipped up. "people are dead. This is not the time for making jokes."

"Sorry, you get used to this stuff when you're with him." Rose replied, jabbing her thumb at the Doctor.

"Harriet Jones. I've heard that name before." The Doctor interrupted, walking towards the woman. "Harriet Jones. You're not famous for anything, are you?"

"Oh!" She laughed. "Hardly! Lifelong backbencher, I'm afraid, and a fat lot of use I'm being now. The Protocols are redundant. They list the people who could help and they're all dead downstairs."

"What about defense codes for a nuclear strike? Where do we get those?"

"You're a very violent young woman," Harriet said, taken aback. Harriet shook her head. "Anyway, there's nothing like that in here. Nuclear strikes do need a release code, yes, but it's kept secret by the United Nations."

"Say that again," the Doctor said, pausing his scan to turn to them.

"What, about the codes?"

"Anything. All of it," he said, looking over at Harriet thoughtful.

"Um, well, the British Isles cant gain access to atomic weapons without a special resolution from the UN."

"Like that's ever stopped them." Indra snorted, sardonically.

"Exactly, given our past record, and I voted against that thank you very much," Harriet stated. "The codes have been taken out of the governments hands and given to the UN." Harriet glanced at the Doctor. "Is it important?"

"Everything's important," he said, frowning.

"If we only knew what the Slitheen wanted," she said, exasperated. "Listen to me, I'm saying 'Slitheen' as if it's normal."

"Well, like they said, 'family business', right?" Rose said slowly. He looked up at her. "It's not an invasion, it's just them. But they want somethin', somethin' we have here on Earth."

"Like what?" Harriet asked. "Gold? Oil? Water?"

"You two are very good at this," the Doctor said with a small smile. Rose grinned at him.

"Thank you," Harriet said, looking please.

"Harriet Jones," he said again. "Why do I know that name?" Suddenly, Rose's phone beeped.

"Sorry, that's me."

"But we're sealed off." Indra said, confused. "How did you get a signal?"

"Super-phone," she said quickly, nodding at the Doctor. "Bit of jiggery-pokery on his part."

"Then we can phone for help!" Harriet cried as the Doctor smirked at Rose. "You must have contacts."

"Dead downstairs, yeah." he told her.

"It's Mickey," Rose said.

"Oh, tell your stupid boyfriend we're busy," the Doctor spat

"Yeah, not my boyfriend. Not so stupid, either." Rose said as she showed him the picture of the Slitheen.

"Call him." The Doctor ordered, handing her back the phone. She dialed the number.

"Mickey, you two alright?" Rose asked, almost frantic when he picked up

"There's an alien. Here, an alien."

"Yeah, I know, you alright though?"

"No, no, no, no, no. Not just alien, but like, proper alien. All stinkin' and wet and disgustin', and more to the point, it wanted to kill us!"

"I could've died!" she heard her mum cry faintly. So, yeah, they were alright.

"Hang on, here, talk to the Doctor." She said in the phone, then handed it to him/

"Ricky. Don't talk just shut up and go to your computer." Rose could hear Mickey's reply, but then the Doctor said, "Mickey the Idiot, I might just choke before I finish this sentence, but, uh, I need you."

"Wait, here," Indra said, moving towards the speaker on the table. "Use the speaker, so we can hear this guy, Ricky?"

"Mickey." Rose corrected. "And yeah, do it."

The Doctor plugged in the phone with a click and said, "Say again." Loud enough for Mickey to hear.

"It's askin' for the password." Came Mickey's voice over the speaker.

"Bufflo. Two F's, one L."

"So, wot's that website?" came Jackie's voice.

"All the secret information known to mankind." Mickey said dramatically. "See, they've known about aliens for years. They just kept us in the dark."

"Mickey, you were born in the dark."

"Oi, not helping." Rose said, jabbing him with her elbow lightly.

"Thank you" Mickey said smugly. "Password again."

"Just repeat it, every time." The Doctor replied. He straightened up and started pacing. "Big Ben, why did the Slitheen hit Big Ben?"

"You said to gather the experts, to kill them," Harriet said, handing out brandy glasses.

"That lot would've gathered for a weather balloon," the Doctor said, shaking his head. "You don't need to crash land it in the middle of London."

"So they needed the country on red alert. What for?" Rose asked.

"Oh, listen to her," Jackie scoffed.

"Oi, at least I'm trying!" Rose snapped back before she could stop herself.

"well, I've got a question if you don't mind!" started her mum. "Cos since that man walked into our lives, I've been attacked in the streets, I've had creatures from the pits of hell in my own living room, and my daughter disappear off the face of the earth."

"Mum," Rose started calmly, but her mother went off again.

"I'm talking to him! Cos I've seen this life of yours, Doctor, and maybe you get off on it, and maybe you think it's all smart and clever, but you tell me, just answer me this, is my daughter safe? Will she always be safe, can you promise me that?"

"Mum, don't put that on him. Don't you dare. Cos you know wot, no one can promise you that. Not even you, mum. I'm sorry. But doin' wot's right isn't always wot's safe, but the hell if I'm not gonna try." Rose never broke eye contact with the Doctor as she spoke, making sure he hears her words, too.

"We're in." came Mickey's voice. The Doctor immediately snapped out of his trance.

"Now, then," the Doctor cried, circling around the table again. "on the left, at the top, there's a tab, an icon, little concentric circles, click on that."

"What is it?" Mickey asked as the whirling noise started.

"The Slitheen have got a spaceship in the North Sea and it's transmitting that signal," he said. "Now hush, let me work out what it's saying." He paused listening intently. "It's some sort of messag."

"What's it say?" Rose asked.

"Don't know, it's on a loop, keeps repeating." There was a buzzer blare from the phone. "Hush!" the Doctor ordered. Mickey was telling Jacking to get the door as the Doctor said, "It's beaming out into space, who's it for?"

"It's him! It's the thing, it's the Slickeen!" they heard Jackie cry.

"They've found us," Mickey said flatly.

"Mickey, I need that signal," the Doctor said.

"Then we have to stop the Slitheen," Rose said to the Doctor. "You're not going to be able to get that signal 'til they're safe. So, c'mon, what do they do?"

"Oh, my God," Mickey said. "It's unmasking. It's gonna kill us."

"There's got to be some way of stopping them! You're the expert, think of something!" said Indra, panicked.

"I'm trying!" The Doctor cried, moving away from the speaker and around the table. They could hear the alien growling as it beat down Mickey's door.

"I'll take it on, Jackie." Mickey said. "You just run. Don't look back. Just run."

"Doctor," Rose said. "that's my mother."

He looked up at her and nodded. "Right!" he growled. "If we're going to find their weakness, we need to find out where they're from, which planet. So, judging by their face and shape, that narrows it down to five thousand planets within travelling distance. What else do we know about them? Information!"

"They're green," Rose said instantly.

"Yep, narrows it down."

"Uh, good sense of smell." she said, trying to think of characteristics while trying to remember what it was that they'd said last time.

"Narrows it down."

"They can smell adrenaline." Indra added.

"Narrows it down."

"The pig technology." Harriet put in.

"Narrows it down."

"The spaceship in the Thames," said Rose, trying furiously to remember what it is Harriet would say. "you said slipstream engine?"

"Narrows it down."

"They hunt for sport." Said Indra.

"Narrows it down."

"Wait a minute. Did you notice, when they fart, if you'll pardon the word, it doesn't just smell like a fart, if you'll pardon the word, it's something else."

"Bad breath!" Rose yelled.

"That's it!" Harriet yelled back.

"Calcium decay! Now, that narrows it down."

"Hang in there, you two!" Rose said to the phone.

"Too late!" Replied Mickey.

"Calcium phosphate. Organic calcium. Living calcium. Creatures made out of living calcium." The Doctor said quickly, working it out, out loud. "Wot else? Wot else? Hyphenated surname! Yes! That narrows it down to one planet! Raxacoricofallapatorius!"

"Oh, yeah, great! We can write 'em a letter!" Mickey snapped.

"Get into the kitchen!" there was a lot of banging and clamoring and yelling on Jackie's part coming from the phone. "Calcium weakened by the compression field. Acetic acid! Vinegar!"

"Just like Hannibal!" Cried Harriet Jones.

"Just like Hannibal." Replied the Doctor. "Mickey have you got any vinegar?"

"How should I know?"

"It's your kitchen."

"Cupboard by the sink, middle shelf." Rose said instantly.

"Wotcha need?" asked Jackie.

"Anything with vinegar." The Doctor replied.

"Gherkins! Pickled onions! Pickled eggs!" her mum listed.

"You kiss this man?" asked the Doctor, looking at Rose.

"Not anymore, now focus!" Rose snapped.

There was a loud banging, a growl, then a period of silence. Suddenly, a loud bang like an explosion. They all sighed in relief.

"Hannibal?" asked Indra.

"Hannibal crossed the Alps by dissolving boulders with vinegar." Rose replied before Harriet could. "It was one of the major events of the Second Punic War." They all looked at her. "Wot? Just cos I dropped outta school doesn't mean I don't read."

"Well, cheers, then." Indra said, raising his glass. They all took a swig, except for the Doctor, who spit his back into the glass.

Chapter Text

The Doctor watched Rose as she drank and talked with Indra and Harriet. She truly was the most remarkable human he’d ever met. She was so incredibly intelligent. Sure, she had never gotten her A-Levels, but she was always on par with the Doctor. It seemed like she always knew what to say in a situation, no matter what. She asked all the right questions and gave all the right answers. Plus, she was smart where he was lacking. Especially with the human aspect of everything.

That’s probably what he liked most about her. She was just so human. Where she was smart, she was also clueless. Where she was brave, she was also stubborn. Where she was compassionate, she was also fierce. He couldn’t believe his luck. In the whole of time and space, he was lucky enough to meet her.

Therefore, he had to keep her safe. He was never going to find another being in all the universe quite like Rose Tyler, no matter how hard he tried. She was quickly becoming the most important thing to him in a long time. He was so battered and bruised, but she was the light in his darkness. He was not losing Rose, no way in hell. 

Of course, he had a plan, he’d come up with it when Rose had mentioned the nuclear codes, but he was going to do everything in his power to come up with something else, anything else. This plan put them in danger, and most importantly, he couldn’t guarantee that Rose would come out it unharmed. He would do anything and everything to keep her safe. Suddenly, he was snapped out of his thoughts by Mickey over the speaker phone.

"Listen to this." Mickey said. They all leaned on the table, getting close as Mickey held the phone to the TV for them.

"Our inspectors have searched the sky above our heads," the fake Acting Prime Minister was saying, "and they have found massive weapons of destruction, capable of being deployed within 45 seconds."

The Doctor frowned. "What?"

"Our technicians can baffle the alien probes," the man continued. "but not for long. We are facing extinction. Unless we strike first. The United Kingdom stands directly beneath the belly of the mother ship. I beg the United Nations, pass an emergency resolution. Give us the access codes! A nuclear strike at the heart of the beast is our only chance of survival. Because, from this moment on, it is my solemn duty to inform you, planet Earth is at war."

"He's making it up," the Doctor said, pushing off the table and circling around it. "There's no weapons up there, there's no threat. He just invented it."

"Do you think they'll believe him?" Harriet asked.

“Well, they did last time.” Rose said. The Doctor started for the door and Rose, Harriet, and Indra followed.

“That’s why the Slitheen went for spectacle. It’s like you said, Rose, humans get scared and lash out.”

“They release the defence codes.” Rose started.

“And the Slitheen go nuclear.” The Doctor finished.

“But why?” Indra asked. The Doctor pushed the button by the door, revealing the three aliens behind the door.

“You get the codes, release the missiles. But not into space, cos there’s nothing there. You attack every other country on earth. They retaliate, fight back. World War Three. Everybody gets nuked.” The Doctor said in a stony voice. Margret the Slitheen made her way in front of her brothers, smiling cruelly.  

“And we can sit through it safe in our spaceship, waiting on the Thames.” She said. “Not crashed, just parked. Barely two minutes away.”

“But you’ll destroy the planet. This beautiful place. What for?” cried Harriet.

“Profit.” The Doctor answered. “That’s what the signal is. An advert.”

“Sale of the century. We reduce the earth to molten slag, then sell it. Piece by piece. Radioactive chunks, capable of powering every cut-price star liner and budget cargo ship. There’s a recession out there, Doctor. People re buying cheap. This rock becomes raw fuel.”

“At the cost of five billion lives.” Rose spat.

“Bargain.” Margret chuckled darkly.

“I give you a choice. Leave this planet of I’ll stop you.” The Doctor said in a menacing voice that drove a chill down Rose’s spine. But the family in front of them just giggled.

“What? You? Trapped in your box?”

“Yes. Me.” He replied simply, yet it still chilled Rose. And she could see in her eyes, it did the same thing to Margret, despite her laughing. The Doctor never broke eye contact as he pressed the button and shut the door again. There was a reason he was called the Oncoming Storm.

Time dragged on. Mickey, Harriet, and Indra were all trying to come up with ideas on how to stop the Slitheen. The Doctor leaned against the wall, watching. Occasionally he’d answer a question directed at him, but otherwise he stayed silent. Rose knew exactly what he was thinking, and she hated to probe him, but she had to save the world.

“There’s somthin’ you’re not tellin’ us, Doctor.” She said softly. Instantly, the room went dead quiet. He looked up at her, with this look in his eyes like he was begging her not to ask. It had to be done, though. “There’s a way out, isn’t there.”

“There’s always been a way out.” He said, lowly.

“Then why don’t we use it?” asked Indra harshly. The Doctor kept his eyes on Rose as he spoke, then went to the speaker phone.

“Because I can’t guarantee your daughter will be safe.”

“Don’t you dare. Whatever it is, don’t you dare!” Jackie said sternly.

“That’s the thing. If I don’t dare, everyone dies.”

“Do it.” Rose said simply.

"You don't even know what it is," the Doctor said, staring at her. "You'd just let me?"

"I trust you, Doctor."

"Please, Doctor. Please!" Jackie begged as the Doctor continued to search Rose's eyes. "She's my daughter, she's just a kid!"

"She's not just anything," he said softly. "But this is my life, Jackie," he said louder. "It's not fun, it's not smart, it's just standing up and making a decision because nobody else will."

"Then what're you waiting for?" Rose asked him.

He looked up at her again, and Rose could see the pain in his eyes as he said, "I could save the world but lose you."

"Except it's not your decision, Doctor," Harriet said after a moment. The Doctor turned to her. "It's mine."

"And who the hell are you?" Jackie yelled angrily.

"Harriet Jones, MP for Flydale North. The only elected representative in this room, chosen by the people, for the people, and on behalf of the people I command you. Do it."

Indra stood next to Harriet, put a hand on her shoulder, and said to the Doctor, “You’re outvoted, Doctor. I stand with my elected official.”

The Doctor looked at Rose and smiled, but it didn’t seem to reach his eyes. He was scared. She smiled back.

“How do we get out?” she asked.

“We don’t, we stay here.” He said, rifling through the Protocols briefcase until he found the right folder. “Mickey, you're going to have to go through the UNIT site to the Royal Navy. Use the buffalo password, it overrides everything.” He said to the phone.  

"We're in," Mickey said after a moment. "Here it is, uh, H.M.S. Taurean, Trafalgar Class Submarine, 10 miles off the coast of Plymouth."

"Right," the Doctor said. "We need to select a missile."

"We can't go nuclear," Mickey reminded him. "We don't have the defense codes."

"We don't need it, all we need is an ordinary missile. What's the first category?"

"Sub Harpoon, UGM84A."

"That's the one. Select," the Doctor instructed. He paused and took a deep breath. "Ready for this?"

"Yeah," Mickey said.

"Mickey the Idiot, the world is in your hands," the Doctor said, straightening up. "Fire."

"How solid are these?" Harriet asked, tapping on the steel shutters.

"Not solid enough," he replied. "Built for short range attack, nothing this big." He looked over and finally noticed Rose pulling things from the cupboard. "What are you doing?"

"Now I’m makin’ the decision," she told him. "We're not going to die. We're gonna ride this one out."

"What's your plan?" Indra asked, hurrying over to help her.

"It's like what they say about earthquakes." Rose said. "You can survive 'em by standing under a doorframe. This cupboard's small so it's strong.”

"It's on radar," Mickey broke in. "Counter defense 556."

"Stop them intercepting it," the Doctor told him, taking the phone from the speaker connection and walking toward the cupboard.

"I'm doing it now."

"Good boy."

"556 neutralized."

"Doctor, come on," said Rose.

The Doctor unplugged her phone and ran to her. They scrambled into the cupboard, packing together in the corner with the Doctor and Harriet in the middle, Rose next to the Doctor, and Indra next to Harriet.

“Well, nice knowing you all.” Harriet said as they all joined hands.

The Doctor squeezed Rose’s extra tight, hoping that her plan works. It had to work, it just had to. They all braced for impact, but it was much more than they bargained for. It rocked the whole room, sending them tumbling. The Doctor instantly let go of Harriet’s hand and put both his arms around Rose protectively. He held tight until the room finally stopped spinning.

“Are you alright?” he asked Rose, refusing to let go till he got confirmation she was safe.

“Uh, yeah. Brilliant.” She said blushing. Blushing? The Doctor suddenly realized the position they were in; his arms wrapped around her as she lay beneath him, pressed very tightly together. He sprung off her immediately. Luckily, neither Harriet nor Indra noticed.

They all climbed out of the closet and made their way, with much difficulty, to the door. With one push, the door flew off its hinges and fell forward.

“Made in Britain.” Harriet said fondly.

“Oh my god, are you alright?” asked a military officer making his way towards them.

“Harriet Jones, MP, Flydale North. I want you to contact the UN immediately. Tell the ambassadors the crisis is over, they can step down.”

“Go on, tell the news.” Indra urged the man.

“Right away.” The soldier said, rushing off.  

"Someone's got a hell of a job sorting this lot out." she continued, taking in the devastation. "Oh, Lord! We haven't even got a Prime Minister!"

"Well, maybe you should have a go," the Doctor suggested.

"Me? Ha, I'm only a back-bencher."

"You'd get my vote," Indra told her genuinely. "Saving the world is a far cry from cottage hospitals."

"See, there you go," Rose said with a grin.

"Now, don't be silly," she scolded. The Doctor and Rose both grinned at her, and she shook her head. "Look, I'd better go and see if I can help. Come on, Indra, I'll be needing a right-hand man."

"I thought I knew the name," The Doctor said as they made their way on to the street, hand in hand. They watched as Harriet Jones ran over to the cameras and ambulances. "Harriet Jones, future Prime Minister. Elected for three successive terms, the architect of Britain's Golden Age."

Rose was suddenly reminded of the next time she’d see Harriet Jones and the horrible decision she made. No second chances, that’s the sort of man the Doctor will become. Rose hoped against hope that Harriet would make the right choice next time around.

Chapter Text

The Doctor didn’t refuse to go back to the Tyler’s flat right out, but Rose knew he didn’t need to check up on the TARDIS. He was just scared of her mum. But it was nice, she thought, that he was giving her time with her mum. She sat on the chair, watching Harriet Jones’ speech. Indra right next to her, another person Rose had managed to save.

“Harriet Jones. Who does she think she is?” her mum said incredulously. “Look at her, taking all the credit. That should be you on there. My daughter saved the world!” she told the TV. Rose just laughed.

“I think the Doctor helped a bit.”

“All right then,” Jackie said, plopping down on the other chair. “him, too. You should be given knighthoods.” Rose busted out laughing at the irony of that statement. “Wot’s so funny, then?”

“Nothin’, nothin’, it’s not the way he does things is all.” She peered over at her mum. “He’s not that bad, if you give him a chance.”

“He’s good in a crisis, I’ll give him that.” She said, reluctantly.

“Oh! Now the world has changed, you’re sayin’ nice things about him.” She teased.

“Well, I reckon I’ve got no choice. There’s no getting rid of him since you’re infatuated.”

“Oh, shut up.” She giggled.

“Wot does he eat?”

“Mum,” Rose started, but her mum ignored her.

"I was gonna do shepherd's pie," Jackie continued. "All of us. A proper sit down. Cos, I'm ready to listen. I wanna learn about you and him and that life you lead.”

“That’s not really the way he does things either, mum.”

"Well, fine, I won't cook for him, if he can't appreciate it. But he'll still come for a sit down and a nice long chat." she said as she stood up and walked toward the kitchen. "You can go and visit your gran tomorrow," she continued. "You'd better learn some French. I told her you were in France. I said you were au-pairing."

Rose rolled her eyes. Her phone started to ring, finally. The caller ID showed that it was the TARDIS calling, despite it not being in her contacts. She smiled and answered.

“Well, hello stranger.”

“Right, I’ll be a couple of hours, then we can go. I’ve just got to send out this dispersal. There ya go. That’s cancelling out the Slitheen’s advert in case any bargain hunters turn up.”

“So, Doctor, when you said you don’t do domestic, how far does that go exactly?”

“Rose,” he said, warningly.

“She just wants to get to know you.”

“Tough.” He said simply.

“She’s my mother.”

“Well, she’s not mine!”

“I figured as much from you.”

“Well, you can stay there if you want. But right now, there's this plasma storm brewing in the Horsehead Nebula. Fires are burning. 10 million miles wide. I could fly the TARDIS right into the heart of it then ride the shock wave all the way out. Hurtle right across the sky and end up anywhere. Your choice." And with that, he hung up.

It just wasn’t fair. How could he make space travel sound so sexy? Without a second thought, she went straight to her room and started packing. She only faltered for a moment when she stepped in her old room. It had been so long since she lived here, but it was exactly as she remembered it; a total mess. Her mum obviously hadn’t touched it since she left. There was makeup cluttering her dresser top, clothes on the floor, and her bed was in complete disarray. It only took Rose a minute to find her backpack and start filling it with clean clothes.

“I was wondering whether he drinks or not." Jackie said suddenly from the bedroom door. Rose froze. She didn’t want to hurt her mum this time around, but it seemed like an inevitable fact.

“Sometime, yeah.” Rose said, not turning around. She didn’t know if she could look at her mum and leave her without breaking down into tears. She finally sees her mum after decades of her being dead, only to leave her again.

"Don't go, sweetheart." Jackie begged softly. Rose finally looked at her. "Please don't go."

"I've got to, Mum," Rose said, her voice breaking a little. "and I know you don’t get it, and I know you probably never will, but there’s a big wide universe out there to explore. And, see, that universe needs the Doctor, but the Doctor needs me.”

She held in her tears as her mother sighed and walked out of the room. Rose went right back to packing, this time folding her clothes before stuffing them into her bag. She smiled fondly as she took the tag off her Union flag shirt and packed it. She went to her dresser and, with one swipe, emptied all her makeup into the trash bin. She didn’t need it, she didn’t even like wearing it anymore. Once she joined Torchwood, it was just a hassle to put on every day. Rifling through her dresser for underwear and socks, Rose found a disposable camera. She had no recollection of when or why she bought it, but it looked to have most of the film unused. She smiled and packed it.

She still had an hour to kill before the Doctor came for her, but it couldn’t go by fast enough. Her mum was giving her the silent treatment. All she could do is sit there, drink her tea, and take it. Her leg bounced with anticipation. Finally, the phone rang. Rose didn’t even bother picking up this time, she just bolted out the door.

“Rose!” her mum called, running after her. “Please, Rose, don’t leave. Rose!”

“Mum, I told you,” rose sighed as she walked out the front door to the estate. “I’m goin’. Please, don’t make this any harder.”

 “I'll get a proper job, I'll work weekends, I'll pass my test, and if Jim comes ‘round again, I'll say no. I really will.” She promised Rose as they walked to where the Doctor and Mickey were.

 “I’m not leaving cos of you, you know that. I’m travelling, that’s all, and then I’ll come back.”

“But it’s not safe.”

“Nothin’ really is, mum. You gotta understand tha’. But, this is wot I want.” Rose turned to the Doctor, who had his eyebrow cocked.

“Got enough stuff?” he asked sarcastically.

 “Last time I stepped in there, it was spur of the moment.” She said, stripping off her backpack and handing it to him. “Now, I’m signing up. You’re stuck with me.” She gave a small laugh as re reluctantly took her bag.

"Just be careful out there, yeah?" Mickey said as she walked to him. "Good luck."

"Thanks," Rose said before giving him a hug. “and I’m sorry.”

“I know.” He said in her ear. He understood, she could feel it. She wished it didn’t have to be this way, but she had to break Mickey’s heart. It was better this way, especially compared to last time.

"You still can't promise me!" Jackie said, turning to the Doctor. "What if she gets lost? What if something happens to you, Doctor, and she's left all alone standing on some moon a million light years away? How long do I wait then?"

"Mum," Rose said, and Jackie spun around. She put her hand on her mother's shoulder. "I'm not gonna lie to ya. I’m not gonna tell you I’m always gonna be safe. But I can tell ya, as long as you're still ‘ere, I will always come home to you. The Doctor'll make sure of it. And when I'm not here, don't waste your time worryin’ about me, cos I will come home."

She hugged her mum tightly, breathing her in. Finally, she let go and followed the Doctor into the TARDIS.  

Chapter Text

“Ready?” the Doctor asked Rose from the other side of the console.

“Always.” She replied excitedly.

The Doctor grinned at her and pulled a lever, sending them off. The TARIDS shook and whirred to life, the time rotor glowing and pumping as they flew through space. Rose held on tight as the Doctor ran around to pilot the TARDIS. Rose absolutely loved watching the Doctor run about, almost like he was just messing with things at random, but she knew every move was calculated. Every lever, every button, every piece of the console had a specific purpose that the Doctor knew how to harmonize. It was all very complex.

A sudden thought popped into her head; she should have the Doctor teach her how to pilot the TARDIS. Of course, she already knew how. Better than the Doctor, she might add. He always forgot to take off the breaks and didn’t realize, but she did like the noise it made. That wheezing, groaning. That sound brought hope wherever it went. He couldn’t know she knew how to fly her, though. She’d have to ask him when he was in a good mood.

Suddenly, they stopped. Not like a normal landing, just stopped. Usually, when the TARDIS just stopped like that, it meant they were in space. Wordlessly, the Doctor walked to the doors. Rose followed automatically. When the Doctor opened the doors for her, Rose let out a small gasp at the cool air that flooded in and bit at her skin.

“As I promised.” the Doctor said, gesturing out to the view in front of them with his other hand. 

And what a view it was. The plasma storm stretched out as far as the eye could see. It was like a wave of pure energy. The eye of the storm burned a bright gold, fanning out into hues of red, pink, and purple. It stood out sharp against the void black of space, riddled with stars. The air crackled around them like static. Rose could almost feel her hair standing up on end, but in a pleasant way. It made her giddy. Honestly, it would never matter how many times she saw it, stuff like this would never get old to Rose.

Suddenly, she felt brave again. Rose grabbed the Doctor’s hand and interlaced their fingers. This was another thing that would never get old to Rose, holding the Doctor’s hand. It was comfortable and familiar, yet every time their hands touched, Rose could feel her insides bubble up just a little.

He never believed her when she told him how much she had fallen for him in this body. Always he would scoff at the thought that she could fall for, as he so tenderly put it, a daft looking war-torn man like him. He would say how much older than her he’d looked, or how big his ears were, or how goofy his smile was. Rose, however, never saw any of this. Not then, and definitely not now. All she saw when she’d look at him was beauty. Not just in his face, but in his mind and his heart as well. It filled her whole body with butterflies.  

Even now, having been married to this man for decades in another life, he made her feel like she really was a teenager again. Her smile widened at the warm feeling of her palm flush against his, but she didn’t dare look in his eyes, or else she’d lose her cool. She stared, unblinking at the mass in front of her.

The Doctor, however, was staring at her. He had no clue why he was focusing on her so much. He’d never given any of his companions this much thought before, so why Rose Tyler? What was it about Rose that caught the Doctor so? Rose was a being so complex and so complicated and yet so human. She was magnificent, absolutely fantastic. The Doctor suddenly couldn’t help the thought that popped in his head. She might just be too good to be true.

It was little things, really. Small pieces of information she already knew, or the small actions she took that always seemed to lead them in the right direction. Of course, he still didn’t know much about Rose. Maybe she was just incredibly intelligent. Maybe she was just lucky. Or maybe there was something more to Rose Tyler than the Doctor first thought. He knew that these questions were going to start gnawing on him more and more, but for now he decided to let them go as Rose released his hand and ran over to her backpack.

“Oi, the view is over here!” the Doctor called jokingly, but Rose continued digging in her bag.

“Got it!” she yelled as she unsheathed a disposable camera from the depths of her bag. She jogged back to the doors, looked through the lens for a moment, then snapped the picture. “Perfect!” she said, cranking the camera dial with her thumb. “D’ya think the film’ll come out fine?”

“What’cha mean?”

“Well, I did just take a picture in space.” She said, in an obvious tone. “Like, will the atmosphere change the quality of the film or does the air ‘nd atmosphere in the TARDIS just make that irrelevant?”

“How should I know? I’ve never taken a picture with a disposable camera while in orbit of a plasma storm. Believe it or not, I don’t know everything.”

“Oh, I believe it.” She teased. She turned back to the open doors and sighed. “It’s so beautiful. Y’know, I always loved space. When I was in grade school, I just wasn’t interested. I barely turned in homework, never participated. I wasn’t stupid or nothin’, though I thought I was, I just didn’t see the point. But, when we started learnin’ ‘bout the solar system, I was a model student. I was so fascinated by space, I wanted to touch the stars. After mum was asleep, I’d sneak out and climb to the roof of the estate and just look at the stars. I knew that was the closest I was ever gonna get to them. But you, you brought me to the stars. Thank you, Doctor.”

They shared a long, lingering look. They seemed to share many of these, the Doctor noticed. It was her fault, though. Her and those big eyes, drawing him in and keeping him paralyzed. She smiled and he could actually feel one of his hearts skip a beat at the sight. He couldn’t help but smile in return. Honestly, he never thought he would be able to smile this much ever again. He was ready to be a miserable old man the rest of his remaining existence, but, of course, Rose came along and gave him hope again. Maybe, just maybe, they were meant to meet. The Doctor didn’t believe in nonsense like fate or destiny, but the universe loved to prove him wrong. Rose loved to prove him wrong. If he were to believe in anything…

The Doctor broke the gaze and shut the doors, turned to her with a quick, mad smile, then rushed over to console, Rose right behind him. 

“Ready for the fun bit?” he asked, a twinkle in his eye.

 “Let’s ride tha’ storm!” she replied excitedly.

He pulled the lever and the whole place shook. Rose felt her stomach drop in the most wonderful way as the TARDIS rode the waves of the plasma storm. Her knuckles were white with how hard she gripped the console for balance. It felt like being in a teacup ride at an amusement park, but infinitely more fun. She and the Doctor whooped and laughed the whole ride to their next adventure.

Chapter Text

"So, wot is it? Wot's wrong?" Rose asked the Doctor as they stepped out of the TARDIS and into her nightmares.

Two months' time on the TARDIS had taken Rose Tyler like the current of a lazy river; steady and sure, but slow enough so that she didn't miss a thing. She couldn't believe she'd been living this life for two months already, but here she was still standing and still smiling like an idiot about it. Every day spent with her Doctor had been bliss to her.

That is not to say, however, that they hadn't had their fair share of adventures along the way. There was that spot of trouble when they had gone to the British Empire Exhibit in 1924, then there was that nasty business with the Slitheen in the Justicia System which was thankfully handled much faster with Rose's foreknowledge, and not to forget that video game nonsense with Mickey back home that Rose had almost completely changed this time around.

Her and the Doctor had their fair share of dangers, sure, but there was also the picnic outside the Glass Pyramid of San Kaloon just as the second sun was setting, or visiting the Aplan Markets on Alfava Metraxis, or crashing the first opening of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1872. You know, normal dates.

But today wasn't going to be as easy.

"I don't know." The Doctor responded, "Some kinda signal, drawing the TARDIS off course."

"Where are we, then?" Rose asked, trying to sound like she wasn't absolutely dreading his answer.

"Earth. Utah. North America. About half a mile underground."

"And when are we?"

"2012."

"By that time I should be…" but she didn't finish. By that time, she would be back in Pete's World with the metacrisis. They would be happily living together, working for the new and improved Torchwood, saving their new world.

"26, I believe." Pipped in the Doctor, distractedly. He muct have thought she paused trying to calculate her age. He then flipped a switch, and all the lights buzzed alive.

"Blimey, it's like a great big alien museum."

"Someone's got a hobby. They must've spent a fortune on this." They walked down the hall, looking at all the glass cases. "Look, chunks of meteorite, moondust. That's the milometer from the Roswell spaceship."

"Look at tha', looks like one of our old friends got stuffed." Rose pointed at the Slitheen arm placed on display.

"Ah, look at you." Rose turned and saw the Doctor was face to face with a rudimentary model of a Cyberman head.

"Another old friend of yours?" she asked, no humor in her voice. She sounded sad.

"The stuff of nightmares, reduced to an exhibit. I'm getting old."

"But tha's not where the signal is comin' from, is it?" Rose asked redundantly. She knew the horrors which awaited them and she was more than eager to run away from it.

"Nah, its stone dead. This signal's alive. Something's reaching out. Calling for help." The Doctor then made the mistake of touching the glass. Alarms blared as soldiers came stomping, surrounding them. Their guns cocked, trained on the Doctor and Rose. The two of them simply looked at each other, then back at the soldiers, raising their hands in surrender simultaneously.

"This is the last," came Adam's voice as Rose and the Doctor were led into van Statten's office. "paid $800,000 for it."

"What does it do?" van Statten asked impatiently.

"Well, you see the tubes on the side? Must be to channel something. I think maybe fuel." Adam replied, so clearly flying by the seat of his pants, it was actually kind of funny.

"I really wouldn't hold it like that." The Doctor couldn't help but pipe in.

"Shut it!" the woman, Goddard, barked.

"Really though," he insisted, "tha's wrong."

"Is it dangerous?" Adam asked.

"No, it just looks silly." The Doctor moved to show them, but the sound of guns cocking behind him made him hesitate. Van Statten stood up and handed it to the Doctor. "You just need to be… delicate." The Doctor stroked the instrument and it hummed a high pitch song.

"It's a musical instrument." Van Statten said, impressed.

"And it's a long way from home." The Doctor replied fondly. Rose couldn't help but smile.

"Here," van Statten yanked it out of the Doctor's hands. "let me."

"I did say delicate." The Doctor instructed as the instrument garbled at van Statten's rough touch. "It reacts to the smallest finger print. It needs precision." Finally, the humming started. "Very good. Quite the expert."

"As are you." Van Statten commented, then throwing aside the instrument. "Who exactly are you?"

"I'm the Doctor, and who are you?"

"Like you don't know! We're hidden away with the most valuable collection of extraterrestrial artifacts in the world, and you just stumbled in by mistake."

"Pretty much sums me up, yeah."

"Question is, how did you get in? 53 floors down, with your little cat-burglar accomplice. Quite a collector yourself, she's rather pretty."

"She's gonna smack you in a right minute." Rose cut in with a fiery tone.

"She's English, too! Hey, little Lord Fauntleroy, got you a girlfriend."

"This is Mr. Henry van Statten." Adam introduced, trying to relieve some of the tension in the room.

"Is tha' supposed to mean somthin' to me?"

"Mr. van Statten owns the internet." Adam further explained.

"Yeah, right, and I'm sure that, like everythin' else in here, was stolen or paid for with blood money."

"She sure is a spitfire, isn't she?" he admired, like she was a well-cooked piece of meat. It made her palm itch for a good Tyler smack.

"So you're an expert on just about everything except the things in your museum." The Doctor said. "Anything you don't understand, you lock up."

"And you claim greater knowledge?" Van Statten asked, almost taunting.

"I don't need to make claims," the Doctor told him calmly. "I know how good I am."

"And yet, I captured you," Van Statten reminded him. "right next to the Cage. What were you doing down there?"

"You tell me."

"The Cage contains my one living specimen."

"And what's that?"

"Like you don't know."

"Show me."

"You wanna see it?"

"Blimey, you can smell the testosterone." Rose muttered.

"Goddard, inform the Cage," Van Statten ordered. "We're heading down. You, English," he added to Adam. "Look after the girl. Canoodle or spoon, or whatever it is you British do. And you, Doctor with no name, come and see my pet."

As they were being ushered out, Rose grabbed the Doctor's hand and squeezed.

"Be careful." She whispered. He was about to laugh and reassure her that he's always careful, but the look in her eye made him pause. She was genuinely scared, he'd never seen that before.

"Yeah, you too." He whispered back lamely. They parted ways out the door and Rose just hoped against all odds that she could change something, anything this time around.

Adam walked her to his "office" as he called it, really it was just a glorified cupboard. They hardly said two words to each other on the walk, but Rose could already feel the eyes he was giving her, not that she cared. She couldn't believe she even considered him before? Nothing personal, he just wasn't really her type. Of course, John had argued that, back when she was 19, every pretty boy was her type.

"Sorry about the mess." Adam apologized as they entered his work space. "Mr. van Statten sort of lets me do my own thing, so long as I deliver the goods." Rose immediately plopped down on the stool at the work bench. Adam moved beside her and handed her a piece of metal. "Wot do you think that is?"

She already knew it was a hypocaust piece for the engine hull of a Chithulian warship, her and John had helped a pack of ship traders rebuild one to sell after they had crashed into their supply on a bad test run in their fully grown TARDIS.

"I dunno, wot?" she said, feigning interest.

"I think, well, I'm almost certain, it's from the hull of a spacecraft." He started, excited. Well, he was kinda close. Clearly, no one around here had shown much interest in what he was doing. Rose felt kinda sorry for him. "The thing is, its all true. Everything the United Nations tries to keep quiet. Spacecraft, aliens, visitors to Earth. They really exist."

"Tha's amazing."

"I know it sounds incredible, but I honestly believe the whole universe is just teeming with life."

"Incredible." She replied, trying not to sound too sarcastic. "So, wot, you jus' sit here and catalog it?"

"Best job in the world!" He said, a mix of proud, defensive, and resigned.

"How d'you end up here anyways?"

"Van Statten has agents all over the world, looking for geniuses to recruit."

"Oh, right, you're a genius." She said much more sardonically than last time, thinking of that stupid stunt he pulled on Satellite 5. Would pull? Maybe not, she could just not invite him this time and avoid the whole mess all together.

"Sorry, but, yeah. Can't help it, I was born clever. When I was eight, I logged into the U.S. Defense System. Nearly caused World War Three. Oh, you should've been there, just to see them running about. Fantastic!"

"You sound kinda like the Doctor." Rose replied fondly at Adam's use of his favorite catchphrase.

"Are you and him…?" Adam started.

"Oh, uh, well…" Rose was at a loss. How was she to answer this question? She was, of course, in love with the Doctor, but he wasn't in love with her. Not yet, anyways.

"Because if you are…"

"I mean, we're not," Rose interrupted, then continued in a low voice, "but, I'd kinda like to. Sorry."

"No, it's fine. If anything, I'm sorry. That Doctor doesn't see how lucky he is."

"Yeah, van Statten doesn't see wot he's got, either. I mean, working for that guy? Is it really worth it? Like, wot if you could travel among the stars and see it for real?" She couldn't help but ask. He wasn't such a bad guy, just made one stupid mistake, and this time she could stop him from making it.

"Well, yeah, I'd give anythin'. I don't think it's ever gonna happen, though. Not in our lifetimes."

"Oh, you never know." She said knowingly, making Adam quirk up an eyebrow. "So, wouldn't you rather be downstairs? I mean, this stuff is great and all, but van Statten's got a living creature down there."

"Yeah, well, I did ask, but he keeps it to himself." Adam turned to Rose with a mischievous glint in his eyes that looked so much like John's, like the Doctor's. "Although, if you're a genius, it doesn't take long to patch in on the com system."

"Well, c'mon then." She said, getting up off the stool to lean over his shoulder at the monitor.

"It doesn't do much, the alien." He said as he began tapping keys on the computer. "It's weird, it's kind of useless. It's just like this great big pepperpot."

Rose steeled her face when the image came on screen. The man in the orange jumpsuit was grabbing something off the table, then he moved towards the Dalek. A loud drilling noise blasted out of the speakers, followed by the Dalek's scream. The sounds made her sick to her stomach. True, Rose had no love in her heart for the Daleks, they had caused her so much pain, but to hear it being tortured was terrible. She couldn't stand it, she had to do something, no matter how much she'd regret it.

"Take me down there. Now." She demanded, marching to the door. 

Chapter Text

They made their way down to cage. Rose had no idea where the Doctor was, he'd never actually told her what he'd been doing while she was in the Cage. She had a feeling that it wasn't good.

"Hold it right there!" One of the guards shouted, trying to stop them.

"Level three access," Adam said quickly, flashing a badge at the guard. "Special clearance from Mr. van Statten."

The moment they entered the Cage, Rose wanted to run. Get the Doctor back in the TARDIS and fly away, hopefully to never see another Dalek again. But she knew she had to face it. She ignored Adam's warning to stay back, making her way slowly towards the alien. It was all chained up, but Rose knew that would do no good. It would get out. She stayed a good distance away this time, so not as to touch it. She would convince it to kill itself before it killed anyone at the base. It was the only way she could think of to ensure the safety of everyone here.

"Hello. I know what you are. I travel with the Doctor. My name's Rose Tyler."

"ROSE TYLER." It repeated, sounding weak.

"Tha's right, Rose Tyler. Are you in pain?"

"YES. I AM IN PAIN. THEY TORTURE ME, BUT STILL THEY FEAR ME. DO YOU FEAR ME, ROSE TYLER?"

"No." she answered. It wasn't entirely a lie. The Daleks scared her, yes, but she never ran from what scared her. The Doctor taught her that. Besides, this Dalek was beaten down, rusted, and close to death. She felt no fear looking into its eyestalk.

"I AM DYING." It continued.

"I know."

"I WELCOME DEATH. BUT I'M GLAD THAT BEFORE I DIE, I MET A HUMAN WHO WAS NOT AFRAID."

Thinking now, that made no sense to Rose. Daleks didn't care if they were feared, they only cared if they were superior. They did whatever they had to to accomplish their mission, exterminate anything and anyone in their path towards total control. Then, it became obvious. It was playing her. It was using her "human emotions" against her to make her pity it. She mentioned the Doctor, but also said she was not afraid, so it must've figured if it got on her good side, she'd help it.

"I'm sorry for wot they've done to you. Not even you deserve that." She said, coldly. Sure, she meant it, but she could feel her loathing for the creature bubbling in her throat. It took all her will power not to grab a wrench and beat the Dalek till it was dust.

Rose turned to leave, but suddenly her foot was caught on a wire. She thrust out her arms to catch herself and her hand connected with something hot. On the ground, she turned her head to see her bright handprint fading from the Dalek's shell. Horror shook her whole body and she scrambled up and away from the Dalek.

"GENETIC MATERIAL EXTRAPOLATED. INITIATE CELLULAR RECONSTRUCTION!"

The chains cracked as it pulled itself free, sparks flying everywhere. Oh god, what had she done? It wasn't supposed to happen this way, not again.

"What the hell have you done?" The technician in the orange jumpsuit shouted as he ran into the room.

"No, don't get near it!" Rose yelled. He ignored her, moving towards the Dalek with the giant drill. The Dalek raised its sucker in response.

"Whatcha gonna do?" the technician sneered. "Sucker me to death?"

"No!" Rose shouted as the Dalek proceeded to do exactly that, crushing his skull. She raced with Adam out of the cell. "Lock it down," she ordered one of the guards. He just looked. "Hold it off. Do it, now!"

"Condition red!" He yelled into the com device. "Repeat, condition red! This is not a drill!" He spun around and slammed a button, closing down the door to the cell.

"God, damnit!" Rose shouted, holding back tears. Everyone was going to die, and it was all her fault. They'll never listen to her, they sure as hell didn't last time. "How could I be so stupid?"

"Rose, its not your fault," Adam tried to soothe her. "it was an accident, alright? Besides, it's trapped now. Can't get out."

"That door won't hold it for long." Rose said, darkly.

"You've got to keep it in that cell!" the Doctor's voice suddenly shouted over the com. Rose rushed to the computer.

"Doctor! I'm sorry, it's all my fault."

"I've sealed the compartment," the male guard said quickly before the Doctor could respond. "It can't get out, that lock's got a billion combinations."

"The Dalek's a genius," the Doctor told him. "It can calculate a thousand billion combinations in one second flat."

"Look." Adam pointed at the monitor next to the one with the Doctor, showing the inside of the Cage. The Dalek was by the door, sucker on the panel trying to unlock the door.

"Alright, back! Everybody back!" Shouted the female guard as she ushered them all to the hallway. They stood in the archway, the guards ready to fire when the door opened. The panel suddenly beeped, an orange light began to flash, and the door slowly opened to reveal the Dalek.

"Open fire!" the male guard shouted.

"Don't shoot it, I want it unharmed!" Van Statten shouted over the com as bullets began flying.

"Rose, get out of there!" the Doctor yelled.

The Dalek continued advancing towards them, completely unfazed.

"De Maggio, take the civilians and get them out alive." the first guard ordered. "That is your job, got that?"

"You, with me," she said, running into the corridor.

Adam and Rose trailed on her heel. There had to be some way to stop this. Get everyone to evacuate so Rose could stop the Dalek herself. Her DNA would've made the Dalek part human again, so maybe she could convince it to stop before any blood was spilt. Guards converged at both ends of the corridor as they ran from the Cage.

"Civilians, let 'em through!" De Maggio shouted as the ran past, but Rose stopped once she saw the other men taking position.

"Wait! No, you can't fight it!" Rose yelled, trying to stop them. "Bullets don't work!"

"De Maggio, get her out of here!" One of the guards shouted, gun trained on the other end of the hall.

"Come on!" Adam tugged her down the right hall. She could hear the other male guard shouting instructions, then the sound of the Dalek's ray gun, a scream of pain from the guard, then a hail of bullets raining down on the Dalek. Like that would do any good. Every time the Dalek shot, the sound was followed by a scream, letting Rose know it never missed.

"Stairs! Tha's more like it!" Adam yelled triumphantly. "It hasn't got legs, it's stuck!"

"It's coming!" De Maggio yelled. "Get up!"

They ran up the steps and stopped to look over the landing as the Dalek entered the stairwell. Rose wanted to keep running, but she wasn't going to leave either of them behind. It paused at the foot of the first step. Adam laughed in relief.

"Great big alien death machine," he mocked, "defeated by a flight of stairs."

"Now, listen to me," De Maggio called down to the Dalek, "I demand that you return to your cage. If you want to negotiate, then I guarantee that Mr. van Statten will be willing to talk. I accept that we imprisoned you, and maybe that was wrong, but people have died, and that stops. Right now. The killing stops, have you got that?" The Dalek continued to watch her silently. "I demand that you surrender, is that clear?"

"ELEVATE!" They all stared as the Dalek levitated into the air and began up the steps.

"Adam, get her out of here." De Maggio ordered.

"Come with us." Rose pleaded, tugging her arm, but she wouldn't move. "You can't stop it!"

"Someone's got to try." She replied calmly. "Now get out!"

"They did, they're dead downstairs!" Rose yelled.

De Maggio just pushed her away. "Don't look back, just run!"

With no choice, Rose and Adam ran. Half way down the hall, they heard the Dalek's pulse and De Maggio scream. Rose's insides cringed at the sound, she should have made that woman come with them. Their feet pounding echoed in the empty hallway until they made it to a large warehouse space.

"Hold your fire." Yelled the commander. "You two, get the hell outta there."

Her and Adam ran to the other side of the room, ready to run down the next corridor, when the sound of the Dalek rolling up made them pause. Rose stared at it, and it stared back. It was still corrupted by her human DNA. She could stop it. Before she could try, however, Adam began pulling her down the hall.

"No!" she yelled, ripping her arm free of his grip and running back to the Dalek. "I have to stop it!"

Adam grabbed her again. "Getting yourself killed isn't goin' to do anything, now c'mon!"

"It wants me! I can stop it!" She kept trying to free herself, but Adam was stronger. Why wouldn't anyone listen? She could hear them dying behind her and it tore her apart. They ran on.

Chapter Text

Rose's phone rang as they ran up another stairwell.

"Is now the time?" She shouted as she answered.

"Where are you?" The Doctor demanded.

"Level 49."

"You've got to keep moving." he told her. "The vault's being sealed off, up at level 46."

"Can't you stop them closing?" Rose asked desperately as she tried to push herself faster. She couldn't do this again.

"I'm the one who's closing them." he replied in a harsh voice. "I can't wait and I can't help you. Now for God's sake, run!"

They sprinted up the stairs and out the doors at level 46, Adam a few feet ahead of Rose. She had a sudden longing thought of her toned, Torchwood trained body she had cultivated in Pete's World. What she wouldn't give for those legs now!

"We're nearly there, give us two seconds!" She shouted.

"Doctor, I can't sustain the power," Rose heard van Statten say. "The whole system is failing. Doctor, you've got to close the bulkheads."

She pleaded silently for the power to hold up just a little longer, for the Doctor to wait.

"I'm sorry," he said softly.

She pulled the phone away from her ear and pushed herself further, her legs screaming. She was gaining on Adam as they turned another corner, but she could see the bulkhead ahead was already dangerously low. Adam reached it first and rolled underneath.

She stopped when she reached it. Too late. She closed her eyes, a few tears leaked. She couldn't be sure she would survive. For all she knew, the Dalek would wipe her out this time.

"Rose! Where are you? Rose, did you make it?"

She slowly pulled the phone up to her ear. "I'm sorry, Doctor, was a bit slow." she told him, glancing behind her to see the Dalek rolling around the corner. "It wasn't you fault, Doctor. None of it. Remember that, okay? It wasn't your fault. And Doctor, I…" No, she couldn't say that. It was too soon. She took a deep breath. "I wouldn't have missed it for the world."

She hung up the phone and turned to face the Dalek.

"EXTERMINATE!"

The Doctor tore the earpiece out as the Dalek's gun fired. She was gone. Beautiful, brave, brilliant Rose Tyler was gone. Dead. Two months was all he got with her. It felt like someone was squeezing his hearts until they would pop.

"It killed her."

"I'm sorry." Came van Statten's voice.

"You're sorry? How dare you? I could've killed that Dalek in its cell, but you stopped me."

"It was the prize of my collection!" Van Statten protested.

"Your collection?" Yelled the Doctor, furious. "But was it worth it? Worth all those men's deaths? Worth Rose?" Van Statten simply stared at him. "Let me tell you something, van Statten. Mankind goes into space to explore. To be part of something greater,"

"Exactly!" Van Statten cried, jumping to his feet. "I wanted to touch the stars!"

"You just want to drag the stars down and stick them underground underneath tons of sand and dirt and label them! You're about as far from the stars as you can get!" the Doctor spat, then turned somber. "And you took her down with you. She was nineteen years old."

He couldn't even stand to look at van Statten anymore. What was he going to do? Her death hit him like the death of his people all over again. He was now truly alone. She had so quickly become his light in this cold universe, a beacon of hope for him. She had appeared to have been a simple human, but she was clearly so much more. She was everything.

Now, she was dead. It was all his fault. He brought her along, he was responsible for her. How could he ever live with himself? The door behind him whirred open to reveal that boy she was with. Him, who had survived, instead of Rose.

"You were quick on your feet," The Doctor said accusingly, rounding on the boy, "leaving Rose behind."

"I'm not the one who sealed the vault!" he screamed back.

"OPEN THE BULKHEAD OR ROSE TYLER DIES." The Doctor whipped around and gasped at the sight on the monitor.

"You're alive!"

"Can't get rid of me." She joked shakily.

"I thought you were dead!" the Doctor cried.

"OPEN THE BULKHEAD." Said the Dalek again, more urgently. The Doctor hesitated, trying to read Rose through the pixilated screen. "WHAT USE ARE EMOTIONS IF YOU WILL NOT SAVE THE WOMAN YOU LOVE?"

"I killed her once. I can't do it again."

The feed zipped out once the door began to rise. They all stood tensely, awaiting the inevitable arrival of their doom. It was, of course, van Statten who broke the silence.

"What do we do now? You bleeding heart, what the hell do we do?" He yelled, panicked.

"Kill it when it gets here." The boy, what was his name, Adam, suggested.

"All the guns are useless!" cried Goddard. "And the alien weapons are in the vault."

"Only the catalogued ones."

"Take me." The Doctor demanded.

Quickly, they made their way to Adams workshop. He pulled out a tucked away wire bin from a corner and presented it to the Doctor proudly. The Doctor sifted through the junk, trying to find something, anything useful. He was not losing Rose. The Daleks were not going to take anything else from him.

"Broken. Broken. Hairdryer." Each piece of junk was tossed aside, much to Adam's dismay.

"Mr. van Statten tends to dispose of his staff and when he does, he wipes their memory. I kept this stuff in case I needed to fight my way out one day."

"Wot, you in a fight? Id like to see that." The Doctor quipped. This guy reminded him much too much of Mickey the idiot.

"I could do!"

"Wot you gonna do? Throw you're A Levels at 'em?" He threw aside the broken gun in his hand and found the perfect weapon. "Oh, yes. Lock and load!"

Meanwhile, Rose stood tensely next to the Dalek in the lift as the numbers ticked down on the screen by the door. The Dalek was already mutated, contaminated by Rose. It felt emotion, it was becoming part human. That was a death sentence for a Dalek. She actually felt more sorry for it now than when it was being tortured.

That feeling, however, couldn't even compare to the guilt that was wrenching through her. Everyone died because she was careless. She never should have gone down to the Cage. She should have left that Dalek to die.

"Don't kill them." She finally said as they ascended in the lift. "You don't have to. You didn't kill me."

"BUT WHY NOT?" It asked, spinning its eyestalk around so fast Rose had to duck out of the way. "WHY ARE YOU ALIVE? MY FUNCTION IS TO KILL. WHAT AM I? WHAT AM I?"

The doors opened, and the Dalek spun his eyestalk again to face a very scared van Statten.

"Don't move," Rose warned him. "don't do anythin'. It's beginning to question itself."

"VAN STATTEN. YOU TORTURED ME. WHY?"

"I wanted to help you," he replied, backing away in terror as the Dalek advanced on him. "I just, I don't know, I was just trying to help. I thought if we could get through to you, if we could mend you. I wanted you better, I'm sorry." The Dalek backed him up against the wall, van Statten practically shrieked, "I'm so sorry! I swear! I just wanted you to talk!"

"THEN HEAR ME TALK NOW. EXTERMINATE. EXTERMINATE. EXTERMINATE!"

"No! Don't do it!" Rose shouted as she rushed over. The Dalek's eyestalk spun to her. "You don't have to do this anymore. You're changin'. There must be something else now. Not just killin'. What do you want?" she said, calmly this time.

The Dalek's eyestalk spun to Van Statten, then back to her. "I WANT FREEDOM."

She nodded. "Then that's wotcha gonna get."

So, together, they made their way out the office. They came out on floor 01, and Rose walked beside the Dalek as it rolled around a corner. It stopped and looked up at the ceiling before shooting its ray at it, showering them with debris. Rose ducked, then looked around. They stood in a pool of sunlight.

"You're out. You made it. I never thought I'd feel the sunlight again." She smiled slightly.

"HOW DOES IT FEEL?" it asked slowly. Then, it opened up its casing, revealing the grotesque mutation inside. It stretched out its tentacle to the sun, feeling its warmth for the first time. Rose was disgusted, but not at the creature. She had done this to it, she changed it to make it hate its own existence. As far as it knew, it was the last of its kind, and because of her, it wasn't even that anymore.

"Get out of the way!" Yelled the Doctor. Rose whipped around and saw him, the Oncoming Storm, all hate and anger and a giant gun shaking in his hands. "Rose, get out of the way, now!"

"No." she said, defiantly. "I won't let you do this."

"That thing killed hundreds of people."

"It's not the one pointin' the gun at me."

"I've got to do this, I've got to end it." He growled. "The Daleks destroyed my home. My people! I've got nothing left."

"I know, but jus' look at it."

"Wot's it doin'?"

"It doesn't want to kill. It just wants to feel the sun."

"But it can't…"

"It couldn't kill van Statten, it couldn't kill me. It's changin'." The Doctor still wouldn't lower the gun. She couldn't let him do this. She wouldn't let him. "Wot about you, Doctor? Wot are you changin' into?"

Immediately, at Rose's words, he dropped the gun to his side.

"I couldn't… I wasn't… Oh, Rose. They're all dead." He looked desperate.

"WHY DO WE SURVIVE?" the Dalek asked in a pained voice.

"I don't know." The Doctor replied, equally as pained.

"I AM THE LAST OF THE DALEKS."

"You're not even that. Rose did more than regenerate you. You've absorbed her DNA. You're mutating."

"INTO WHAT?"

"Something new. I'm sorry."

"I CAN FEEL SO MANY IDEAS. SO MUCH DARKNESS. ROSE. GIVE ME ORDERS! ORDER ME TO DIE." Rose couldn't help but hesitate. It was tragic. She couldn't stand it. "THIS IS NOT LIFE," it continued when she stayed silent, "THIS IS SICKNESS. I SHALL NOT BE LIKE YOU. ORDER MY DESTRUCTION! OBEY! OBEY! OBEY!"

"Do it, then." she said finally.

"ARE YOU FRIGHTENED, ROSE TYLER?"

"Yeah." she choked out.

"SO AM I. EXTERMINATE!"

She ran to the Doctor as the Dalek replaced its armor. It levitated into the air and the golden knobs on its casing detached themselves to surround the Dalek in a sphere. The sphere glowed briefly, then the Dalek exploded, vanishing completely. They stood in silence for a moment, then the Doctor dropped the gun and scooped Rose up into a hug. Rose wrapped her arms around the Doctor and held tight. He buried his face into her neck and breathed her in. Rose Tyler, alive.

They stood together outside the TARDIS, the Doctor and Rose deep in thought. The Doctor couldn't believe after all he'd lost, he'd managed to get Rose back. He mourned the loss of his planet and what he had to do, but Rose Tyler lived to see another day. That was a win in his books.

Rose was shell shocked. Nothing changed. She shouted herself horse to every man and woman in that base and not one had listened. And they all died, because of her stupid mistake. She tried to blame it on fixed points in time, but it all seemed to still feel like she'd been their ultimate demise.

"Little piece of home." the Doctor said, breaking the silence as he reached up to pat the TARDIS. "Better than nothing."

"So, the Time War is over now?"

"I'm the only one left." He said, dejected. "I win. How about that?"

"Would you know?" She asked him. "If any other Time Lords survived, I mean?"

"Yeah. In here." he said, tapping his temple. "Feels like there's no one."

"Well, then. Good thing I'm not goin' anywhere." She said, making a mental note to ask him more about Time Lord telepathy later.

"Yeah." He nodded, his tone sad but a small smile on his face.

"We'd better get out," Adam said, jogging up to them and breaking the moment. "Van Statten's disappeared, they're closing down the base. Goddard says they're going to fill it full of cement! Like it never existed!"

"Good riddance." Rose said.

"I'll have to go back home." Adam said a little sadly.

"Better hurry up then," the Doctor told him, "next flight to Heathrow leaves at 1500 hours."

"Adam was saying that all his life, he wanted to see the stars." Rose said, almost unable to stop herself. It's not like Adam was a bad person. If she just kept a closer eye on him she could make a difference in this man's life.

"Tell him to go and stand outside, then." Replied the Doctor.

"He's all on his own, Doctor, and he did help."

"He left you down there!"

"So did you."

"What're you talking about?" Adam cried. "We've got to leave!"

"Plus, he's a bit pretty." The Doctor teased, a twinge of jealousy in his voice that Rose picked up on.

"I hadn't noticed." she said, honestly. It didn't matter what he looked like, anyhow. He wasn't the Doctor.

"On your own head." He said finally, unlocking the TARDIS.

Rose followed him, Adam shouting after her. She wasn't entirely sure this was a good idea, but she had a feeling Adam had to be there either way. Rose just hoped it all went well this time around.

"Oh, my God." Adam gasped as the TARDIS door closed behind him. "What is this place?"

"This is the TARDIS. Basically, welcome to the universe." The Doctor said. And with that, they were off.

Chapter Text

Adam was gazing all around the console room, open mouthed. The Doctor was piloting the TARDIS into the vortex, just stabilizing them so they could drift. Last time, Rose was eager to show off all her knowledge to Adam, trying to look clever and impressive, much like the Doctor, but this time she was standing back, trying her very best to shrink.

"But, hang on, it was just a box. It was just a blue, wooden box when I saw it." Adam said.

"Yes, yes. It's bigger on the inside, all of time and space, basically another dimension, it's a lot to explain, really." The Doctor replied in an agitated tone. He couldn't help himself, the boy just got under his skin. The only reason he was coming along was because it was what Rose wanted and, although he'd never admit it to her, the Doctor had a hard time saying no to anything Rose wanted.

"A whole dimension? Oh, my… Can I see?"

"Yeah, sure, go explore." The Doctor waved him off, not even looking at him. "Just don't break anything!" he called after Adam as he was running off down the hall and out of sight.

That's when the Doctor turned his attention to Rose. She was staring down at her boots, her arms wrapped around herself so tightly, like it was all that was holding her together. She hadn't even acknowledged Adam or himself since getting into the TARDIS. She must have felt his eyes on her, because she looked up at him. Their eyes stayed locked for a moment, and the Doctor could almost feel her cracking.

"Well," Rose said suddenly, looking away again, "imma pop off. Long day and all." She smiled, but it looked almost forced, then turned on her heel and left the console room.

Something about it didn't sit well with the Doctor. He wanted to give her space, so he waited exactly thirty-seven minutes and twelve seconds before going to check on her. He stood outside the pink door, trying to listen closely for any sounds. Nothing. He steeled himself and cracked open the door.

Peeking in, the first thing he noticed was the empty bed. Her sheets were disturbed, but there was no Rose. He crept into the room, fearing getting caught. He'd never actually been in her room, and coming in without permission felt wrong, but he did anyways.

This girl sure did like pink. Her door, her walls, her sheets, so many shades of pink. He looked at the bookcase, across from her bed. It was beginning to fill up with trinkets from the markets they'd visited as well as books she had "borrowed" from the library. He pulled out a book at random. Pride and Prejudice. Huh, why did that not surprise him? He replaced the book and continued looking around.

One door of her wardrobe was open, revealing her massive hoodie collection. The other door was shut, showing off a carving of a large rose. He traced it with his finger. The irony of her favorite flower didn't miss him, or the TARDIS, clearly. The carvings were everywhere, you just had to look. Her dresser was especially covered, vines of carving swirling the wooden surface. On top of her dresser was that disposable camera. She loved taking pictures with it so much, they had to stop off and get it developed last week. Of course, she had also bought a new one. The envelope of the pictures sat open next to the camera.

Gazing up, he noticed the cork board. It was quite bare, save a few pictures. There was a picture of her mum and who she assumed was her dad on their wedding day. She had told him about her father's death, but not much. She also had a photo booth strip of her, Mickey the idiot, and another girl. The first picture, they all smiled. The next, they made silly faces and bunny ears. The next was another batch of silly faces. The last, both Rose and the other girl kissed a surprised Mickey on either cheek.

Despite all the pictures she had taken, only one from the TARDIS was tacked up. It was a picture of him, sitting in the jump seat of the TARDIS console. He had been sitting there for only a second when he heard Rose say, "Smile!"

He turned to her, refusing to smile. She dropped the camera to her side exasperated. She pleaded with a pout that he just couldn't resist. So, he posed nicely, and smiled lightly, and the pleased grin she gave him after was more blinding than the flash of the camera.

The Doctor decided that was enough snooping, and left her room in search of Rose herself.

Meanwhile, Adam was absolutely exhausted. It had been one hell of a day and he was getting quite lost in these halls. He wandered around aimlessly until he finally spotted the Doctor, who was walking in quick strides. It seemed as if he were looking for something. He strode through the large oak double doors of the library and Adam followed behind. He was about to call out to the Doctor when they noticed Rose. The Doctor only paused a moment, then immediately joined her in the corner by the fireplace. Adam, instead, hid behind one of the nearest shelves.

"Rose?" The Doctor asked tentatively. There she was, curled up on the fainting couch, crying as silently as she could.

"Doctor," she was clearly startled, quickly wiping away her tears. "I didn't hear ya come in."

"Wot's wrong?" He sat next to her and she shrank.

"It's nothin'." She shook her head

"Rose." He said sternly yet compassionately. He held her gaze for a long moment, her eyes glittering with unshed tears. Then she looked down at her hands in her lap.

"I didn't mean to touch it." She croaked. "The Dalek. I tripped and tried to steady myself. I didn't want any of tha' to happen."

"I know." The Doctor said softly.

"It was all pointless!" she cried, throat clogged with unshed tears. "I yelled and screamed for them to get out, to jus' run, but nobody listened. And now they're all dead cos of me."

"None of that is your fault!" The Doctor said indignantly.

"It feels like it is, though." She looked him dead in the eye and he could see how much pain it caused her to think people were hurt because of her. Her heart was just too big, he thought. "I know I can't save everybody, but jus'... why couldn't I save one? One person!" She buried her head in her hands.

After a long pause, the Doctor said, "You saved me."

She snapped her head up at his words. She was staring at him with those big hazel eyes, but the Doctor refused to move his gaze. It scared him, but he wasn't going to run this time, not from her.

"I was ready to end the Time War there and then. I was ready to kill. Be a good soldier, do wot I had to. But you, wonderful, brilliant, fantastic you. You wouldn't let me. You brought me out of the dark. You saved me."

Rose hadn't even gone to her bedroom in fear of sleep, of the nightmares that would come. She went right to the library for solitary comfort, but found only her own guilt. She had been tearing herself apart before the Doctor had come. His words seemed to heal her wounded mind. She was suddenly filled with how much she loved him. Rose knew she would always love him, no matter the face he wore or number of hearts he had, but in that moment, the real depth of her love for him ran through her veins. She wanted so badly to kiss him, but she knew it was far too soon. So, she settled for a peck on the cheek.

"Thank you, Doctor." She whispered against his cheek.

Adam felt awkward, like he was intruding on a moment. He was quite charmed by Rose and, despite her comment about the Doctor earlier, had hoped she'd grow to like him as well. Clearly, though, that was never going to happen.

Feeling uncomfortable, he walked out from behind the shelf and, acting like he hadn't seen a thing, called out, "Hey, Doctor, Rose, there you are."

The Doctor moved back like he had been burned, but Rose just smiled politely.

"Hey, Adam, like the TARDIS?" Rose said. "She's magnificent, isn't she?"

"Yeah, yeah, it's really great." Adam replied, a bit awkwardly. "Hey, so, y'know I'm real knackered, is there some place to sleep or somthin'?"

"Oh, sure. I'll take ya to your room. I'm sure the TARDIS has come up with somethin' by now." Rose said, standing up. She squeezed the Doctor's hand and said quietly to him, "I'll meet'cha back 'ere in a few minutes, yeah?"

He nodded and watched, disappointed, as she walked off with Adam. He shouldn't be disappointed. He shouldn't even have so many feelings when it came to Rose Tyler. She made him feel very vulnerable and he did not like that. At the same time, though, she made him better. Every moment he spent with her was like putting salve on an open wound, it healed him. She was so good, he wondered what he'd done to deserve her.

Nothing. He'd done nothing to deserve her. In fact, he'd done everything to do the exact opposite of deserve her. Memories of the war invaded his mind, consuming him. That Dalek really did a number on him, bringing up so many things he tried so hard to forget; The Skaro Degradations, the Horde of Travesties, the Nightmare Child, the Could-Have-Been King with his army of Meanwhiles and Never-weres. He had to end it all, he had to. For the sake of all, he'd declared no more.

His thoughts were interrupted by Rose touching his shoulder. He looked up at her and a frown etched its way onto her face. Without saying a word, she took his hand a pulled him up from the couch, leading him out of the library.

Together they walked in silence, hand in hand, down the long corridor. They stopped in front of Rose's bedroom door. The Doctor moved to let her go, but she held his hand tight.

"Stay." Rose said softly. "Please."

"Rose, I can't…" the Doctor said, floundering a bit. "I mean, I don't…"

"Doctor," Rose stopped him in a stern, yet gentle tone. "Please, just stay with me."

Without another word, she opened her bedroom door and went inside. Without another word, he followed, closing the door softly behind him.

Chapter Text

The Doctor sat stiffly on Rose's bed as he waited for her to exit the bathroom. He had only been in this room some twenty minutes earlier, but he felt as though he was in new territory. New, dangerous territory.

The door squeaked lightly open, revealing Rose in a white vest and a pair of light blue flannel pajama bottoms. She was pulling and twisting her hair up in a messy bun, her bare feet padding softly on the wood floor. She grinned at the Doctor and he smiled back awkwardly. Her grin immediately turned into a frown.

"You don't wanna be here."

"No, Rose," he started to reassure.

"I shouldn't have asked this of ya." She shook her head, looking down at her feet shamefully. This was much too much for the Doctor, what was she thinking?

"Rose," he started again.

"I jus… I didn't think either of us wanted to be alone tonight."

The Doctor stood and took Rose into his arms. She immediately accepted the hug, snuggling closer.

"You, of course, were absolutely right, Rose Tyler." he said into her hair. "Neither of us should be alone tonight, not after today."

He could not believe what he was doing. There he was, in his companion's bedroom, getting into bed with her to spend the night. He must be completely mad. Some part of his brain must have shut down for him to do something so stupid. One look at her face, though, and he was gone. He could never say no to Rose Tyler, especially when she looked so scared.

So, there they lay, facing each other, holding hands, in her bed. The air around them was thick. The Doctor was determined not to look at her, so as not to seem creepy, choosing instead to stare at their intertwined hands. Hers were much smaller, much paler, and much softer than his. There was a ring on her thumb that he was studying when Rose finally spoke up.

"Do you get nightmares?" She asked, barely above a whisper.

"Yes." He answered simply.

"Wot about?"

He took in a deep breath. Something about being wrapped up in the darkness with Rose made him feel safe, like nothing else mattered. Like tonight was endless and tomorrow would never come. For some reason, he wanted to tell her. He wanted to confide in her.

"The war, mostly." He finally answered. "What I saw, what I did. The Moment, although I don't totally remember it."

"What moment?"

"The Moment. The Eye of Discord. The Galaxy Eater. It was an ancient Gallifreyan weapon, the most powerful and dangerous weapon in all of creation. I used it to end the Time War."

"Tell me." She said softly, and the Doctor, despite everything, obeyed.

"It was the only weapon in the Omega Arsenal that wasn't yet used against the Daleks in the war. I stole it, hoping to use its power to end it. The Moment was capable of destroying entire galaxies in a single moment, hence the name. It ended the Daleks, and Gallifrey along with it."

"You ended the Time War."

"I had to, the whole thing was hell. The war raged an eternity across all of space, destroying everything in its path. At the heart of the war, millions were killed and brought back to life every second. So many horrors created on both sides. No more."

Rose felt those last words resonate inside her. She screwed her eyes shut, hoping no tears would escape. She couldn't believe her selfishness. Never, in their whole marriage, did Rose talk to the Doctor about the war. He had told her that he had ended the Time War, but that was it. They never spoke of it because she never asked. In fact, the few times he had brought it up, she told him not to talk about it, thinking that reliving it would only make him more upset. She could see now that he needed to let it out. This time, she decided, she would listen.

"You don't haveta talk about this if you don't wanna, but I'm glad you told me." She said, finally opening her eyes to see his ice blue boring into her.

"Thank you." He whispered back, smiling sadly.

"I don't think I could ever be as brave as you."

"Rose Tyler, you are much braver than me. Much braver than you know."

"Yeah, well, wasn't always." Rose scoffed. The Doctor quirked his brow. She supposed this was good a time as any to get into her back story, make it even. "Since we're swappin' battle stories, I guess I should tell ya about Jimmy."

"Jimmy?"

"Jimmy Stone. I fell in love with him when I was almost seventeen. He was older, a guitar player for this band me and some mates saw in a pub. I fell hard and fast, and I thought he did, too. I left school and ran away with him. I let him get away with a lotta things because I thought he loved me. Well, all that ended in tears some five months later. I was £800 in debt and he was off in a camper van to Amsterdam with a woman called Noosh. He ended up in prison and I ended up back home with mum."

"Rose." The Doctor said, but he didn't continue. He just gave her hands a reassuring squeeze. Even after all this time, Jimmy Stone was a story Rose hurt to tell.

"One night, we were havin' this big row, don't even remember wot it was all about, but I was screamin' at the top of my lungs, tellin him no, and he did not like that. I was used to him smackin me around, but that night, I smacked him back. I think that was when he decided to throw me away. I was no use to him anymore."

"Good. You didn't deserve that, and he sure as hell didn't deserve you." The Doctor whispered sternly. Rose smiled.

For a long time, they just lied there, holding hands in the dark. Finally, Rose's eyes fluttered shut and her breathing steadied. The Doctor watched as she drifted off and was lulled into sleep himself. And In that moment, they were just together in bliss.

Chapter Text

Rose had woken up, unsurprised, to an empty bed. She sat up and smiled dumbly at her memories of the night before. She could almost still feel his cool hands on her bare arms, almost hear his double heart beat quickening in her ear. It had been so much more than she ever expected.

Now, it was time for adventure. She got up and quickly got ready. Pulling her hair into a ponytail, she basically skipped down the hall to the kitchen where she expected to see the Doctor at the table as he was every morning. He wasn't there. Feeling a bit like she'd been stood up, but quickly shaking that off, she made both their cups just how they liked them. She walked to the console room, sipping from her mug with the Doctor's in her other hand. As she expected, he was in the grating, fiddling with something.

"Mornin'." Rose called as she entered. The sound startled the Doctor and he hit his head, cursing in another language that the TARDIS didn't translate.

"Oh, hello." He said, rubbing the back of his head. "Didn't hear you come in."

"I brought your tea." She handed him the mug, beaming. He looked at her part amused and part puzzled. "Wot? Why you lookin' at me like that?"

"You're never this chipper in the morning." He stated, like it was obvious. "I've learned to steer clear until after your first cuppa."

"Oi, I may not be a morning person, but I'm not that bad." She defended, still beaming at him. "Anyway, I wanted to ask, can I introduce where we're goin' to Adam?"

"Wotcha mean?"

"Well, you always know all about where we land and it just seems so, I dunno, smart and impressive when you do it. I wanna do it this time."

"As you wish, Rose Tyler." He pulled himself up from the grating and she and him put the cover back on.

He couldn't help but feel a little uneasy about Adam. Maybe uneasy wasn't the right word, but the Doctor didn't dare say jealous. He wouldn't even entertain the idea. Jealous? Of a simple human ape? As if. And yet, the way Rose seemed to radiate excitement at the thought of showing Adam the universe made his blood boil.

He couldn't think like that, though. He was already on thin ice with himself for sleeping in her bed the night previous. He could not let himself get close to Rose like that, he was very strict about his relationships with his companions. Not that he'd had any problems like this before, far from it, he just knew he was supposed to be above it. So, in effort to not think anymore on Rose, he started messing about around the console, picking a place to go.

It didn't work very well, especially with her sitting on the jump seat watching him. He first thought Adam entering the room would help. He was also wrong about that. She answered every question he had with ease, explaining who the Doctor was and what they did. She talked and laughed and was she flirting?

Suddenly, a thought creeped into the back of his mind. She fancied this pretty boy. It would explain why she wanted to bring him along. Well, if she liked an ape like him, who was he to get in the way? It didn't bother him, not one bit. Clearly, that was a lie, but the Doctor was stubborn.

The second they landed, the Doctor bounded towards the door, Rose behind him and Adam behind her.

"Hold on," Rose stopped Adam right outside the door. "We gotta do an environmental check, so you stay put."

Adam just nodded excitedly. The Doctor and Rose squeezed out the door.

"Environmental check, clever." The Doctor praised quickly and she flashed him a smile as thanks. "So, it's 200,000, it's a spaceship... no, wait a minute, space station, and, er... Go and try that gate over there! Off you go."

"Thanks!" Rose then knocked on the TARDIS door. "Adam, out ya come!"

"Oh my god." He said, his eyes went wide as he tried to keep calm.

"Don't worry, you'll get used to it." She said kindly. He really didn't seem all that bad.

"Where are we?"

"Good question," started Rose, trying to sound like she was time traveling, intergalactic travel extraordinaire. "Judging by the architecture, I'd say we're around the year 200,000. And if you listen... engines. We're on some sorta space ship, probably space station by the looks of it. Bit warm in here, they could turn the heating down. Tell you wot, let's try that gate. C'mon!"

Both Adam and the Doctor were staring in wonder and amazement, but neither at the same thing. Adam couldn't believe he had actually traveled in time. The Doctor couldn't believe how in her element Rose had been.

The three of them walked through the gate and walked onto the observation deck.

"Here we go." Rose said, basking in the view of the earth down below. "I'll let the Doctor take it from here."

"The Fourth Great and Bountiful Human Empire. And there it is. Planet Earth, at its height. Covered with mega-cities five moons, population 96 billion, the hub of a galactic domain stretching across a million planets, a million species, with man kind right in the middle."

Thud. There went Adam.

"He's your boyfriend."

"Not likely." Rose sighed, really hoping if he was coming along, Adam wouldn't do this every time. "C'mon, let's wake him."

Adam finally came round after a minute. Took another few to get him to get up. Finally, they were making their way to the main deck.

"Come on, Adam. Open your mind!" The Doctor said, wrapping an arm around each of their shoulders. "You're gonna like this fantastic period of history. The human race at its most intelligent. Culture! Art! Politics! This era has got fine food, good manners, the works."

"Outta the way!" yelled a very cranky voice behind them, nearly knocking Rose off her feet.

An alarm sounded and people rushed about around them, all yelling loudly. Food stands suddenly opened around them and business started fast. Rose moved to the closest stand and started reading the menu.

"Fine cuisine, you said?" Rose teased.

"My watch must be wrong." He quickly looked down at his wrist watch. "No, its fine. Tha's weird."

"Maybe your history's not as good as you thought it was." Rose replied, almost like a question.

"My history's perfect." He said defensively.

"Then maybe it's somethin' else wrong, then." Rose suggested, trying not to seem like she knew anything.

"They're all human." Adam said. "What about the millions of planets, millions of species, where are all they?"

"Good question. Actually, that is a good question." There was a split second where the Doctor considered all this, then he put on a smile and wrapped his arm around Adam. "Adam, me old mate, you must be starving!"

"No, I'm just a bit timesick."

"Nah, you just need a bit of grub." The Doctor insisted. He was trying to get rid of him to investigate Rose recognized immediately. "Oi, mate! How much is a kronkburger?"

"Two credits twenty, sweetheart." the man in the stand informed him not entirely in a nice tone. "Now, join the queue."

"Money. We need money." He said, turning away from the man to Rose and Adam. "Have to use a cash point."

They followed the Doctor as he hurried over to a cash point and tapped it with his sonic screwdriver. A thin metal bar dropped out, and he handed it to Adam.

"There you go, pocket money. Don't spend it all on sweets."

"Well, how does it work?" Adam asked as the Doctor started walking away.

"Go and find out, stop nagging me!" The Doctor cried, turning back around. "The thing is, Adam, time travel is like visiting Paris. You can't just read the guidebook, you gotta throw yourself in. Wat the food, use the wrong verbs, get charged double and end up kissing complete strangers. Or is that just me?" Rose laughed while Adam just looked even more lost. "Stop asking questions, go and do it!"

Adam immediately hopped off, but Rose didn't follow. She wanted to keep an eye on Adam, but she also wanted to go with the Doctor.

"Off you go, then." The Doctor said, teasing. "Your first date."

"Oh, it is not." Rose said, rolling her eyes. "Once you find wot's wrong, you come find me, yeah?"

He just nodded. She jogged to catch up with Adam in the closest queue. When she turned back, the Doctor was already out of sight.

Chapter Text

"Try this, it's called Zaffic." Rose said, holding out the drink to Adam as she went to sit next to him. "It's sorta like a Slush Puppy."

"What flavor?" he asked, hesitant.

She took a sip. "It's sort of beef."

"Oh, my god." Adam moaned. They both laughed, but Adam's was much shorter lived. "It's like everything is gone. Home, family… Everything." He said, dejected.

"But it's not." Rose reassured him, she was not gonna give him her cell phone this time. No way to call home, no message to send, no reason to get a bloody door in his head. Simple. "We're thousands of years in the future, yeah? But the Doctor has a time machine. We can go back to a minute after we left and no one but us would know the difference."

"Yeah, I suppose." He said, gloomy and unconvinced.

"Here, lemmie show you." Rose said, thinking quick and pulling out her phone. "The Doctor gave it a bit of a top-up. C'mon, listen in." The dial tone was still going as Adam skootched closer to listen.

"Rose? Bilmey, been a while since I heard from you. Y'know, you could call your mother every blue moon, let'er know you're alive." Her mum scolded. Adam looked stunned.

"Yeah, I'm sorry. The TARDIS is a bit wonky. For me, its only been a few days since our last call. Promise."

"Been a whole month on my end. Blimey, been worried sick. So, tell me, when you comin' home for a visit? I'd like to know a day this time, you two are always so vague about that."

"Oh, you know how it is, mum. The Doctor hardly gets it right when we do set a date." Rose looked over at Adam, who was staring at her phone with a look of disbelief. "Oh, mum, tha' reminds me, wot's the date?"

"July, the 19th I believe. Yeah, 19th."

"And the year?" Rose said, trying to prove it to Adam.

"2006, wot other bloody year were you phonin'?" Her mum joked.

Suddenly, a horn started going off and everyone around them started packing up.

"Oi, Mutt and Jeff! Over 'ere!" the Doctor called to them.

"Gotta go, mum. Love ya." Rose said into the phone and hung up. "See? Nothing's lost, promise." She said kindly to Adam, hoping that would be enough to get him back on track. He kept staring at her phone, amazed, as she tucked it into her jacket pocket.

"Adam, Rose, this is Suki and Cathica. Suki, Cathica, this is Adam and Rose."

"You're management as well?" Suki asked, her voice a bit vague. She was much smarter than she was letting on, Rose could tell. Suki was hiding something. If the Doctor and Torchwood taught her anything, it was infiltration. This girl was quite good at it, but not good enough to fool Rose.

"Yeah, just on a bit of a break. Showin' the new guy the ropes." Rose replied with ease, patting a very confused Adam on the back. "But, ready to get back to work." Rose turned to the Doctor for instruction.

"Right, then. To finish off our test, we'd like to see the process." The Doctor said to the journalist.

"That would be to the news room then. I take you there." Cathica said, schmoozing it up to the Doctor.

They were taken to a sterile looking circular room. A group of people took up places around a low table, each sitting on a cushion in front of silver mounds with handprints in them. At the center was a chair. It looked a bit like what you sit in at the dentist, Rose thought. The Doctor stood with Adam and her, leaning on some rails near the door.

"Now, everybody, behave. We have a management inspection." Cathica warned the group, then turned to the Doctor. "How do you want it? By the book?" she asked him.

"Oh, right from scratch, thanks." the Doctor told her. He and Rose smirked at each other as she turned away.

"Okay, so, ladies, gentlemen, multisex, undecided, or robot, my name is Cathica Santini Khadeni. That's Cathica with a C," she turned to the Doctor, "in case you wanna write to Floor 500, praising me, and please do. Now, please feel free to ask any questions. The process of news gathering must be open, honest, and beyond bias. That's company policy." Cathica turned again to the Doctor, flashing a bright smile. She was really laying it on thick for that promotion.

"Actually, um, it's the law." Came Suki's timid voice.

"Yes, thank you, Suki." Cathica deadpanned. "Okay, keep it calm. Don't show off for the guests. Here we go. Engage safety."

Cathica laid down in the chair, looking up at the devise overhead. Everyone around the table hovered their hands above the silver handprints. The lights all around the room came on with a hum. Cathica then clicked her fingers and the door in her head zipped open. Rose couldn't help but notice the way Adam leaned forward in fascination. Around the table, person after person placed their hands in position.

"And three… two… and spike!" Cathica said, and down shot a blue light connecting to the opening to her brain.

"Compressed information, streaming into her." The Doctor said, almost thinking out loud. "Reports from every city, every country, every planet, and they all get packaged inside her head. She becomes part of the software. Her brain is the computer."

"Would she actually remember any of it?" Rose asked him.

"Nah, it's too much," the Doctor said, circling around the table with Rose close behind. "The brain's the processor. As soon as it closes, she forgets."

"So, what about all these people round the edge?" she asked, kneeling down to peer at one of them.

"They've all got tiny little chips in their head, connecting them to her, and they transmit 600 channels. Every single fact in the empire beams out of this place." He leaned against the rails again, having done a complete circuit of the room, and watched them. "Now, that's what I call power."

"You alright?" Rose asked Adam.

"I can see her brain." He replied simply.

"Yeah, I know. It's weird, right?" She said, hoping to deter him from the operation at least a little.

"No, no. This technology, it's… it's amazing." He said, completely in awe.

"This technology's wrong." The Doctor said.

"Trouble?" Rose asked, maybe a bit too much joy in her voice for that question.

"Oh, yeah." The Doctor replied, just as enthusiastic.

Adam looked between the two of them incredulously. Oh, this he found weird, Rose thought, but not the door in some woman's forehead. Out of the corner of her eye, Rose saw Suki flinch, like something was bothering her. With a zap and a gasp, Suki pulled her hands away from the controls like she'd been burned. All the lights went out and the beam zipped back from the device.

"Come off it, Suki," Cathica complained, getting up. "I wasn't even halfway. What was that for?"

"Sorry," she said, cradling her hands, "it must've been a glitch."

Cathica turned to them, probably ready to grovel and throw Suki under the bus if it meant better chances for her, when a projection suddenly lit up the far wall.

"Promotion." Said the automated woman's voice.

Rose and the Doctor shared a glance as Cathica begged for it to be her.

"Promotion for Suki Macrae Cantrell." The voice said. Suki stared, open mouthed, as her name flashed on the projection. Cathica looked ready to kill. "Please proceed to Floor 500."

"I don't believe it, Floor 500." Suki said in awe.

"How the hell did you manage that?" Cathica asked angrily. "I'm above you!"

"I don't know, I just applied on the off-chance." Suki said, still staring at the screen. "And they've said yes!"

"That's so not fair." Cathica spat. "I've been applying to Floor 500 for three years!"

"Floor 500." Rose murmured, looking at the Doctor.

"Where the walls are made of gold." He answered her unasked question.

Chapter Text

Suki laughed as the Doctor hugged her. She was on her way to Floor 500, saying her goodbyes. Rose smiled, but it fell when her eyes landed on Adam. He was sitting off to the side, looking quite thoroughly freaked out. Remembering her first trip, she made her way over to him.

"You alrigh' over here?" She asked, nudging his shoulder.

"Huh? Oh, yeah. Just, uh…"

"I know, it's weird." She conceded. "Time travel is a lot to take in. Honestly, you're doing no better now than I did my first go."

"It's everything, it just freaks me out. And I just need to… ugh, if I could just…" he sighed. "Cool down, sort of acclimatize."

"How'dya mean?"

"Maybe I could just go and sit on the observation deck. Will that be alrigh'?" He asked. Rose had a feeling that he wasn't being entirely honest, though. "Soak it in, you know? Pretend I'm a citizen of the year 200,000."

"I'll come with."

"No. No, you stay with the Doctor. I know you'd rather be with him." He said, bumping sides with her. She smiled, but she still felt uneasy about letting him out of her sight. "It's gonna take a better man than me to get between you two."

"Alrigh', just don't go wonderin' off, yeah?"

"Got it." He agreed, and with that he left. Rose hoped this second chance she was giving him was worth it.

"Oh my god, I've got to go! I can't keep them waiting, I'm sorry." Suki ran off to the elevator as Rose rejoined the group. She wanted to call after the girl, but she knew anything she said would sound suspicious and no one would listen, anyways. "Say goodbye to Steve for me. Bye!"

"Good riddance." Cathica muttered when the doors closed on Suki.

"You're talking like you'll never see her again." The Doctor remarked. "She's only going upstairs."

"We won't." She replied simply. "Once you go to Floor 500 you never come back."

He frowned at the lift before following Cathica through the canteen area. "Have you ever been up there?"

"Can't." Cathica said. "You need a key for the lift, and you only get a key with promotion. No one gets to 500 except for the chosen few."

"Wait, so, somebody gets a promotion and they're never heard from again?" Rose asked. Cathica just shrugged. "That doesn't concern you, even a little?"

"Look, they only give us twenty minutes maintenance, can't you give it a rest?" Cathica sighed as the entered the news room from before.

"But you've never been to another floor?" The Doctor asked, reclining in the chair she had been in earlier, while Rose leaned against the back. "Not even one floor down?"

"I went to floor 16 when I first arrived. That's medical, that's when I got my head done. And then I came straight here. Satellite Five, you work, eat, and sleep on the same floor. That's it, that's all." She eyed them suspiciously. "You're not management, are you?"

"At last! She's clever." cried the Doctor.

"Yeah, well, whatever it is, don't involve me. I don't know anything."

"Don't you even ask?" Rose asked her.

"Why would I?"

"You're a journalist!" the Doctor said in an obvious tone. "Why's all the crew human?" He asked suddenly.

"What's that got to do with anything?"

"There's no aliens on board. Why?"

"I dunno, no real reason. They're not banned or anything."

"Then where are they?"

"I suppose immigration's tightened up. It's had to, what with all the threats."

"What threats?"

"I dunno, all of them, the usual stuff. And the price of space warp doubled, so that kept the visitors away. Oh, and the government of Chavic Five collapsed, so that lot stopped coming, you see? Just lots of little reasons, that's all."

"Adding up to one, great big fact. And you didn't even notice."

"Doctor, I think, if there was any sort of conspiracy, Satelite Five would have seen it."

"Clearly not." Rose butted in.

"She's right. This society's the wrong shape, even the technology."

"It's cutting edge!" Cathica defended.

"It's mental!" Rose said in the same tone. "You've got a bloody door in your head."

"It's not just this space station." The Doctor said. "It's the whole attitude. It's the way people think. The Great and Bountiful Human Empire's stunted. Something's holding it back."

"And how would you know?" Cathica asked.

"Trust me, humanity's been set back about 90 years." "When did Satellite Five start broadcasting?"

"91 years ago." She trailed off, eyes widening slightly.

"We're so gonna get in trouble." Cathica whispered anxiously as the Doctor attempted to sonic his way into a door on the wall. "You're not allowed to touch the mainframe, we'll get told off."

"Rose, tell her to button it." The Doctor said distractedly.

"You'll just vandalize the place, someone's gonna notice!"

"Oi, button it." Rose said to her. The Doctor grinned at Rose, then pulled off the door revealing the wiring.

"This has nothing to do with me!" Cathica said, throwing her hands up and taking a few steps away. "I'm going back to work."

"Go on then!" The Doctor said. "See ya!"

"I can't just leave you, can I!" she yelled, turning back to them.

"If you wanna be useful, figure out a way to turn the heating down, it's boiling." Rose suggested. "Haven't you ever wondered about the temperature?"

"I don't know, we keep asking. Something to do with the turbine."

"Something to do with the turbine." The Doctor mocked.

"Well, I don't know!"

"Exactly! I give up on you, Cathica." He said, spinning around to face her. "Now, Rose, look at Rose." He beamed down at her as she straightened and smiled. "Rose is asking the right kind of questions."

"Ah, thank you."

"Why's it so hot?" He snapped, going back to his work.

"One minute you're worried about the Empire and the next it's the central heating" Cathica cried, clearly exacerbated.

"Well, never underestimate plumbing." The Doctor told her. "Plumbing's very important." There was a crack as the Doctor ripped out a bundle of cords. The Doctor ripped out a few wires, soniced some others, and told Rose which ends to twist together. He worked for a few more minutes, then stepped away, pulling a monitor on a swivel arm out with him.

"Here we go, Satellite Five. Pipes and plumbing. Look at the layout."

"This is ridiculous." Cathica marveled. "You've got access to the computer's core. You could look at the archive, the news, the stock exchange…" she turned back to the Doctor. "And you're looking at pipes?"

"But there's something wrong."

"I suppose." Cathica said quietly.

"Wot?" Rose asked.

"The ventilation system." Cathica said slowly. "Cooling ducts, ice filters, all working flat out. Channeling massive amounts of heat down."

"All the way from the top." The Doctor said.

"Floor 500." Rose continued.

"Something up there is generating tons and tons of heat." He finished.

"Well, I don't know about you," Rose said, "but I feel like I'm missing out on a party. It's all going on upstairs. Fancy a trip?"

"You can't, you need a key." Cathica protested.

"Keys are just codes, and I've got the codes right here." He explained, tapping a few keys. "Here we go. Override 215.9."

"How come it's giving you the code?"

"Someone up there likes me." He said, looking up at a security camera. His eyes narrowed a little before moving off towards the lifts. Rose and Cathica followed quickly. The Doctor and Rose got in, but Cathica stayed outside.

"Come on, come with us!" Rose motioned for her to get on the lift, but Cathica shook her head.

"No way!"

"Bye!" The Doctor said with a cheerful wave.

"But you know it's all true, wot the Doctor's said." Rose tried convincing her.

"Just don't mention my name. When you get in trouble, just don't involve me!" And with that, she stalked off, eager to get away from them.

"That's her gone." The Doctor said. "Adam's given up. Looks like it's just you and me."

"Yeah." Rose agreed, smiling up at him.

"Good." He said as he pushed the button and took her hand. The elevator doors slid shut as Rose squeezed his hand.

Chapter Text

Moment of truth, Rose thought as the lift doors slid open. The Doctor let go of her hand and walked ahead into the frozen room. Ice covered every inch, making the place look even more decrepit and abandoned than it already seemed. Rose shivered as her breath puffed in front of her.

"The walls are not made of gold." The Doctor said, redundantly. "You should go back downstairs."

Rose let out a laugh and took his hand again. "Tough."

Together, they made their way through the barren floor. They walked around aimlessly, at first. Then, they both looked at each other as they heard the faint sounds of a computer being run. Following the sound, the made it to the Editor's office.

"I started without you." Said the man in front of them. "This is fascinating! Satellite Five contains every piece of information within the Fourth Great and Bountiful Human Empire. Birth certificates, shopping habits, bank statements, but you two… You don't exist. There's not a trace. No birth, no job, not the slightest kiss." He looked at them amazed, as if he was amused by all this. "How can you walk through the world and not leave a single foot print?"

"Oh, my god. Suki." Rose muttered to the Doctor. She felt terrible that she couldn't do anything.

"She's dead." He said, regretfully.

"But she's working." Rose pointed out.

"They've all got chips in their head, and the chips keep going. Like puppets." He ran his gaze over the line of workers.

"Ooh! You're full of information!" The Editor said happily, and the Doctor smirked without humor behind it. "But it's only fair we get information back, because apparently, you're no one. It's so rare not to know something. Who are you?"

"It doesn't matter, 'cause we're off. Nice to meet you. Come on!" The Doctor said, but as he and Rose tried to turn, several of the Editor's puppets got up and held them back.

"Tell me who you are." The Editor insisted.

"Since that information is keeping us alive, I'm hardly gonna say, am I?"

"Well," the Editor said smugly, "perhaps my Editor-in-Chief can convince you otherwise."

"And who's that?"

"It may interest you to know that this is not the Fourth Great ad Bountiful Human Empire. In fact, its actually not human at all. Its merely a place where humans happen to live…" suddenly, there was a growling above them as if talking to the Editor. "Yup, yup. Sorry! It's a place where humans are allowed to live by kind permission of my client." He snapped and pointed up. Rose and the Doctor's eyes trailed up and saw the giant creature looming over. Slime dripped down it as it snapped its razor sharp teeth.

"You mean that thing is in charge of Satellite Five?" The Doctor asked with a twinge of horror in his voice. Rose couldn't blame him, looking at the Jagrafess.

"That thing, as you put it, is in charge of the human race. For almost 100 years, makind has been shaped and guided. His knowledge and ambition strictly controlled by its broadcast news. Edited by my superior, your master, and humanity's guiding light, the Mighty Jagrafess of the Holy Hadrojassic Maxarodenfoe. I call him Max." The Editor tittered as the Jagrafess roared. Then, he turned serious again. "Now, restrain them."

Rose knew the Editor wouldn't kill them outright, he was obsessed with knowing who they were, so they were safe there. Adam may not have been in her sight the whole time, but she knew he didn't have the TARDIS key or her mobile, so there was no reason to panic on that front either. So long as they kept level heads and Cathica got up to Floor 500 in good time, then all would be well.

Once the manacles were locked, the Editor started telling them his whole evil plan like a bad Bond villain. He went on about how by controlling the news, they could control the human race. One word in the right place sort of thing, honestly, Rose wasn't entirely paying attention. She'd heard it before and it wasn't all that interesting then, either.

"So, all the people on Earth are like slaves?" Rose asked.

"Well, now, there's an interesting point. Is a slave a slave if he doesn't know he's enslaved?"

"Yes." Rose and the Doctor said simultaneously.

"Awe. I was hoping for a philosophical debate. Is that all I'm going to get? Yes?" he asked, disappointed.

"Yes." They said again in unison.

"You're no fun." The Editor pouted.

"Let me out of these manacles," the Doctor said darkly, "you'll find out how much fun I am."

"Oh, he's tough, isn't he?" He said to Rose, chuckling. "But, come on. Isn't it a great system? You've got to admire it, just a little bit."

"You can't hide something on this scale." Rose said. "Somebody must've noticed."

"From time to time, someone, yes," he admitted, "but the computer system allows me to see inside their brain. I can see the smallest doubt and crush it. And then they just carry on, living the life. Strutting about downstairs and all over the surface of the Earth like they're so individual. When of course, they're not. They're just cattle. In that respect, the Jagrafess hasn't changed a thing."

As he spoke, Rose caught movement out of the corner of her eye. She glanced up at the Doctor, who was looking around a corner at something she couldn't see. Cathica.

"Wot about you?" Rose asked. "You're not a Jagrafess. You're human."

"Yeah, well simply being human doesn't pay very well." the Editor responded.

"Of course, it's all about the money." She rolled her eyes. "But you couldn't have done this all on your own."

"No, I represent a consortium of banks." the Editor explained. "Money prefers a long-term investment. Also, the Jagrafess needed a little hand to, um, install himself."

"No wonder, a creature that size." the Doctor remarked, nodding up at it, showing it to Cathica. "What's his life span?"

"Three thousand years." The Editor said.

"That's one hell of a metabolism generating all that heat." He said, mostly for Cathica's benefit. "That's why Satellite Five's so hot. You pump it out of the creature, channel it downstairs. Jagrafess stays cool, stays alive. Satellite Five's one great big life support system."

"But that's why you're so dangerous. Knowledge is power, but you remain unknown." The Editor snapped his finger and electricity pulsed through their bodies painfully. Rose let out a groan in pain when he snapped his fingers again. "Who are you?"

"Leave her alone! I'm the Doctor. She's Rose Tyler. We're nothing, we're just wandering."

"Tell me who you are!"

"I've just said!"

"Yeah, but who do you work for? Who sent you? Who knows about us? Who exactly…" the Editor cut off, gasping excitedly. He grinned maliciously and gestured to the Doctor. "Time Lord."

"No." Rose whimpered under her breath.

"Wot?" The Doctor asked, taken aback.

"Oh yes! The last of the Time Lords and his traveling machine." The Editor said dramatically. "Oh, and his little human girl from long ago." He moved to stroke Rose's cheek, but she lunged at him. She knew she couldn't escape, but seeing the Editor jump back gave her a small satisfaction.

"Don't know what you're talkin' about."

"Time travel."

"Someone's been telling you lies." The Doctor tried to cover.

"Young master Adam Mitchell?" The Editor asked rhetorically, snapping his fingers. A projection appeared of Adam screaming, pulling the same stupid stunt he had last time.

"Oh, you idiot!" Rose cried, not sure if she meant Adam or herself. She thought, if she was careful, things would be different. She genuinely wanted to give him another go and show him the universe, but that boy was selfish. He was ignorant and self-centered and Rose was the fool who brought him along.

"Wot the hell's he done? Wot the hell's he gone and done?" The Doctor asked the air, horrified. "They're reading his mind, he's telling them everything."

"And through him, I know everything about you. Every piece of information in his head is now mine. And you have infinite knowledge, Doctor. The Human Empire is tiny compared to what you've seen in you T-A-R-D-I-S. TARDIS." The Editor gloated. The Jagrafess above them growled and spat as if in approval.

"Well, you'll never get your hand on it, I'll die first!" The Doctor spat.

"Well, die all you like, I don't need ya. I've got the key." The Editor strode over to Rose and slipped the key and chain out of her jeans pocket. He held it up in front of their faces, taunting them. "Today, we are the headlines. We can rewrite history. We could prevent mankind form ever developing."

"And no one's gonna stop you." The Doctor looked pointedly at Cathica, trying to get his message across. "Because you bred a human race that doesn't ask questions. Stupid little slaves believing every lie. They'll just trot right into the slaughter house if they're told it's made of gold."

"Don't you see, human kind is just so useless. No need to waste any time and effort trying to rule over them with violence when they so easily submit under manipulation."

"You underestimate us." Rose said. "You don't even realize the wonders humans can do. One person can change the course of all history."

The Editor started to roll his eyes, when suddenly the projection of Adam blinked out and alarms started going off all over. He rushed to the screens, confused. The Jagrafess was thrashing and howling as Cathica infiltrated the systems. The Editor snapped his fingers and a projection of Cathica appeared.

"Who's that?"

"It's Cathica." Rose cheered.

"And she's thinking. She's using what she knows." The Doctor said, proudly. "Everything I told her about Satellite Five, the pipes, the filters, she's reversing it. Look at that, it's getting' hot."

Rose looked around and saw all the ice melting fast. The Editor was yelling at Suki's body, trying to make his puppet obey, but suddenly, sparks flew and screens blinked out. All the workers dropped as if their strings had been cut. The whole station was shaking. Rose felt a shock of electricity before the manacles blinked out as she was able to rip free of them. The Doctor's cuffs, however, remained active.

Rose quickly reached in the inside pocket of his jacket and pulled out his sonic screwdriver. She pressed the button down and hoped it was on the right setting. She held it up against the right cuff until she heard it click, then moved to the left.

"Yes! I'm trying, sir," the Editor started nervously in response to the Jagrafess, "but, I don't know how she did it, it's impossible. A member of staff with an idea!"

"Told ya." Rose taunted as the Doctor was freed.

"Oi, mate! You wanna bank on a certainty?" The Doctor asked as he ripped free of the manacles. "Massive heat in a massive body, massive bang!"

Rose quickly advanced on the Editor. "That does not belong to you." She growled, ripping the key out of his shaking hands. "See ya in the headlines!"

The Doctor grabbed Rose's hand and lead her out of the office. Debris was falling everywhere as the whole place shook violently. They spotted the lights of an old news room set up and ran towards it, finding Cathica. The Doctor clicked his fingers and her forehead shut. Together, they swiftly made their way to the lifts and the Doctor soniced the controls to send them down quick as possible.

All was calm. Everyone on floor 139 that Rose saw seemed a bit battered, a bit shaken up, but glad to be alive. Rose knew exactly how they felt.

"We're just gonna go. I hate tidying up. Too many question." The Doctor said to Cathica. "You'll manage."

"You'll have to stay and explain it. No one's gonna believe me."

"Well, they might start believing a lotta things now. Human race should accelerate, all back to normal."

"What about your friend?" Cathica asked lowly. The Doctor's face darkened.

"He's not my friend." He replied coldly.

"I'm all right now." Adam said as they made their way towards the TARDIS, "Much better. And I found Rose's phone." He said, holding it up, laughing nervously. Rose stepped in front of the Doctor and snatched her phone from Adam's grasp.

"Ya knicked my phone? Seriously?"

"Well, it all worked out for the best, didn't it? You know, it's not actually my fault, because you were in charge." Adam tried as a last-ditch effort. Rose rolled her eyes. The Doctor grabbed him by the shoulder and steered him to the TARDIS, unlocking it with Rose's key before shoving him inside.

The Doctor stomped his way to the console and piloted the TARDIS without a word. Rose knocked past Adam to sit in the jump seat until the landed. Both of them were bristling with anger. Adam remained on the ramp, holding on to the railing as the TARDIS shook lightly. Only a few tense moments passed before the boom of the TARDIS landing was heard. Adam flinched as the Doctor clapped his hand onto his shoulder again, pushing him out of the TARDIS doors.

"It's my house." Adam finally was able to exhale, relief flooding through him. "I'm home. Oh, my god, I'm home!" he chuckled, but when he turned to look at the Doctor, all laughter left. "Blimey, I thought you were gonna chuck me out of an airlock."

"Is there somethin' else you wanna tell me?" The Doctor asked in an accusatory tone.

"No. Erm, what do you mean?" Adam tried.

"The archive of Satellite Five." The Doctor said, striding over to the landline and picking it up. "One second of that message could've changed the world." Adam shifted, guilty. Rose could clearly see that Adam only felt guilty because he got caught. The Doctor put the phone back down and took out his sonic screwdriver, pointing it at the phone. It crackled and popped into sparks. "That's it, then. See ya."

"How'd ya mean, see ya?"

"As in, goodbye."

"What about me? You can't just go. I've got my head. I've got a chip type two. My head opens!"

"Wot, like this?" The Doctor clicked his fingers and Adams door whirred open.

"Don't." Adam clicked his fingers to shut it.

"Don't do wot?" The Doctor asked in faux innocence, clicking his fingers again.

"Stop it!" Adam practically whined. Another click and he closed it again.

"Alright, Doctor. Tha's enough, stop it." Rose said.

"Thank you." Click. It opened again. "Oi!"

"Couldn't resist." Rose shrugged as he closed it. "You deserve it."

"The whole of history could've changed because of you." The Doctor said in a low, serious tone.

"I just wanted to help."

"No," Rose cut in. "don't you dare try to weasel your way outta this. You jus' wanted to help yourself."

"And I'm sorry. And I've said I'm sorry. And I am, I really am. But, you can't just leave me like this."

"Yes, I can. Cause if you show that head to anyone, they'll dissect you in seconds. You'll have to live a very quiet life. Keep outta trouble. Be average. Unseen. Good luck."

The TARDIS door creaked open as the Doctor moved to leave Adam in the dust.

"But I wanna come with you." He cried, stopping the Doctor in his tracks.

"I only take the best. I've got Rose."

The Doctor walked into the TARDIS, Rose right behind him.

"You and your boyfriends." He muttered.

"Oi!" Rose snapped at him, still furious at both Adam and herself, but mostly Adam. "Not my boyfriend. Never was, never could be, not in a million years." She huffed and plopped herself down on the jump seat.

The Doctor pulled the lever, sending them into the vortex. There was a tense moment between them, then Rose sighed.

"I'm sorry."

"Don't be."

"But I am." She continued. "I just thought… I dunno, I wanted to be like you."

"Like me?" the Doctor asked incredulously.

"Yeah. It's stupid." The Doctor looked at her expectantly. "Look, I don't wanna stroke your ego any more than I already have." She said, getting up. "Imma head off to bed. Don't stay up too late."

She gave him a small wave and headed down the corridor and out of sight, leaving the Doctor to his thoughts.

Chapter Text

Peter Alan Tyler. Born 15 September, 1954. Died, in this universe, 7 November, 1987. Died, in the other universe, 21 July, 2041.

Unlike the first time he died, everyone knew it was coming. He had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. They gave him six months to live, but he was a stubborn man and lived a little over twice that. He gave command of Torchwood to Rose, gave the mansion to Tony, and gave all his love to Jackie. When they went over his last will and testament, Jackie did, too. She was stubborn as well, refused to go to another funeral for Pete. She just wouldn't live without him, not again.

They were buried together. John always went to the grave with Rose, talking to the tombstones as if they could hear him. Eventually, Rose started doing the same. It still hurt, but talking to them like normal made it hurt less.

Her biggest regret in life was that she wasn't there when they died. She had been working late for two weeks straight, so John thought she deserved a break. They made a hop to the Leisure Palace on Midnight and stayed for three days. When they returned, both of Rose's parents had died.

So, when her and the Doctor were sitting in the console room, just swapping stories, Rose decided she would take that trip to see her father after all. She had been so daft the first time around, thinking she could save her dad, but this time she was smarter. She would be more careful.

"Mum always says how he would've loved to have seen me grown up." Rose said to the Doctor sitting in front of her as she told him the story of her dad. "So, I was thinking, could we? Could we go and see my dad when he was still alive?"

"Where's this come from all of a sudden?"

"I dunno," she answered, not entirely honest, "I jus'…. I wanna see him. If you can't do it, though, that's fine."

"No, I can do anything. I'm just more worried about you."

"I wanna see him."

"Your wish is my command, but be careful what you wish for."

That's how they ended up sitting back row at her parents small wedding. It was so different from when they remarried back on Pete's World. That had been a huge affair, whether they wanted it that way or not. They tried to do it quietly, but paparazzi still found them outside the court house. It was quite a miracle story; Vitex king reunites with wife he believed dead and long-lost daughter. How anyone bought that was beyond Rose, honestly.

"I, Peter Alan Tyler, take you, Jacqueline… Susanne… Suzette… Anita?"

"Oh, just carry on. It's good enough for Lady Di."

Rose smiled fondly at them as the Doctor contained his laughter. The rest of the wedding went smoothly. When the kissed, every clapped. The Doctor tugged Rose's hand gently in his, leading her back to the TARDIS. They walked in slowly, Rose still trying to decide if this was the right thing to do.

"I wanna be there for him." She blurted out. "When he dies. I don't want him to die alone."

"Are you sure, Rose?" The Doctor asked, tentatively. She only nodded. "November 7th?"

"1987."

The Doctor pulled up a lever and they went. It was the smoothest ride Rose had ever had in the TARDIS. She supposed either the Doctor or the TARDIS herself was trying to be sympathetic. They walked out of the TARDIS together.

"The day my father died. It's so weird, it looks like just another day."

"The past is another country, 1987 is just the Isle of Wight." He joked, trying to get Rose to crack at least a little smile. "You sure about this?"

"Yeah." She answered immediately. She supposed it was because she'd actually known her father now, but it was more important to her this time around that she be there for her father's death.

She held out her hand and the Doctor took it, giving her a reassuring squeeze. They walked in silence down a few blocks. The Doctor wished he could take Rose away, back to the TARDIS, but she was so determined not to let her father die. She had never even known this man, as far as he knew, and yet she wanted nothing more than to make his final moments better.

"This is it. Jordan Road. He was late. He'd been to get a wedding present, a vase. Mum always said 'that stupid vase'." She chuckled lightly with no humor. A green car turned down the road. "He got outta his car… and crossed the road." The car stopped and they could see Pete Tyler in the vehicle. "I need you to hold on to me tight. Do not let go of me until he needs me." She said to the Doctor, shaky but stern.

A tan car came barreling down the road as Pete got out of his car. The driver shielded his eyes and rammed right into her dad. The vase smashed loudly, tire squeaks echoed in the empty street. Rose flinched as if she were the one being hit. The Doctor's grip on her didn't let up until the car was out of sight.

"Go to him, quickly." The Doctor murmured in her ear as he released his grip on her.

She ran to her father's side as the Doctor went to the nearest phone booth to call 999. Pete was shaking in her arms, trembling like a leaf. Rose took his hand, holding back her tears. She would be strong for him.

"Shhh, shhh, it's alright." She soothed him. "I'm here, I'm not goin' anywhere. Imma stay with you till the end."

He smiled at her, and then his eyes fluttered shut. She kissed his forehead as she heard sirens approaching. The EMTs told her mum that it was a hit-and-run, but that a blonde girl was holding his hand as he died. She disappeared before they could ask her name.

She had only glanced back once before they stepped around the corner to the TARDIS.

The Doctor held her in his arms as she broke down behind the closed doors. She fell to her knees on the grating and let out sob after sob for her father. She buried herself into the Doctors chest as he stroked her hair. They stayed like that for a good fifteen minutes before Rose finally hiccupped her last tear away.

"My head hurts." She said weakly.

"C'mere. I think you need a Doctor." He said sweetly, reminding Rose of something she couldn't quite place, as he helped her up and walked her to her bedroom.

He opened the door for her and lead her to her bed, making her sit. She let him take off her shoes as she shrugged off her jackets. She tugged her hair free of its messy ponytail and scratched her scalp lightly. He took her hands and pulled her up to stand. He moved to unbutton her jeans and Rose helped him pull them off.

Now, under any other circumstance, both the Doctor and Rose would be quite embarrassed by this, but neither cared about that at the moment. Rose was still reeling at the loss of her father for a third time and the Doctor was only concerned with how Rose was feeling.

Standing there in nothing but her t-shirt and knickers, Rose felt pitiful. The Doctor did not see her that way, though. He looked at her with not pity in his eyes, but understanding. He knew the pain of having to watch as the ones you love are taken away. He looked at Rose and saw a brave young woman with so much kindness in her heart.

He nudged her into bed, then he slipped off his leather jacket, kicked off his boots, and climbed in after her. Together they lie in the dimly lit room, the TARDIS hum comforting them both. Rose burrowed herself in his chest, listening to his double hear beat.

"Thank you, Doctor." She whispered. "For everything."