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The Next Adventure

Chapter Text

“Make your decision Mister Smith,” Jenny taunted, still holding tight to Rose.

“Perhaps, if the human heart breaks, the Time Lord will emerge,” Baines mused, turning to look at Jenny and Rose.

Hidden in the crowd, Tim Latimer pulled the pocket watch out and opened it quickly, a golden energy leaking out. The Family all sniffed and turned, hissing, “Time Lord,” in unison.

Rose took the opportunity to twist out of Jenny’s reach and gain control of the gun. She turned and pointed it at Baines. “Alright, one move and I shoot,” she yelled at them, and their heads all snapped back to her as the scent of the Time Lord vanished, along with Tim who had took off into the night.

“Oh, the librarian has such spirit,” Baines smiled.

“Oi! The librarian has a name, thank you,” Rose replied on instinct. “Martha, get everyone out, now.”

Realizing now was not the time to argue, Martha listened to Rose and ushered everyone out. The only person insisting on staying was John.

“Please, what is going on? This is madness, and it needs to stop,” he begged.

“Get out, John. I can handle this,” Rose replied.

“But Marion, you said only this morning how you hated guns,” John tried.

“I know, I do. But right now, I’m the only thing stopping these people from killing everyone in this village. Now go, I’m fine. Try to help the others, okay?” Rose said, looking back at John. When she did, Jenny twisted out of her grasp and moved back toward the rest of the Family. “What have you done to them? Jenny and Baines and Mr. Clark and Lucy?”

“They are consumed. Their bodies are ours,” Jenny replied.

“So they’re dead?” Rose asked. “You killed them?”

Jenny rolled her eyes. “I suppose that’s accurate, yes. They’re all dead.”

A scarecrow grabbed Rose from behind and got the gun, but she twisted out of its grasp and ran outside to where Martha was trying to get John to leave. “Oh, this is ridiculous,” Rose huffed, grabbing John’s hand and yelling, “Run!’

They took off toward the school, and as soon as they were through the doors, John grabbed a bell and started ringing it.

“What are you doing?” Martha asked.

“Like Marion said. There’s little stopping them from murdering everyone since they’ve gone mad. Maybe one man can't fight them, but this school teaches us to stand together. Take arms! Take arms!” He yelled as boys began pouring downstairs.

“You can’t do that!” Martha argued.

“They’re just children,” Rose exclaimed. “They don’t stand a chance.”

“They’re cadets, Marion. They’re trained for this. Far more so than you were tonight,” John argued.

“Hard as it might be to believe, I’m much more prepared to deal with this than they are,” she argued. “But Martha, we need to find the watch.”

“I was in the kitchen. The only people in there were Tim Latimer and Jenny. And Jenny doesn’t have it or they wouldn’t still be looking.”

“So Tim might know?” Rose asked.

“I guess,” Martha shrugged. “Don’t know why he’d have taken it though.”

“What in thunder's name is this? Before I devise an excellent and endless series of punishments for each and every one of you, could someone explain very simply and immediately exactly what is going on?” The Headmaster roared, barging into the room as the boys all began picking up guns.

“Headmaster, I have to report the school is under attack,” John replied.

“Really? Is that so? Perhaps you and I should have a word in private,” he hissed at John.

“No, I promise you, sir. I was in the village with Miss Wolf. It's Baines, sir. Jeremy Baines and Mister Clark from Oakham Farm. They've gone mad, sir. They've got guns. They've already murdered people in the village. I saw it happen,” John said.

“Miss Wolf, is that so?” the Headmaster asked.

“Yes, but this is madness. These boys don’t stand a chance,” Rose argued.

Ignoring her last comment, the Headmaster said, “Perhaps you did well then, Mister Smith. What makes you think the danger's coming here?”

“Well, sir, they’ve gone completely mad. Seem to think I’m something else, and they’re threatening to follow me anywhere. And they got into a bit of an altercation with Miss Wolf,” John sighed.

“Very well. You boys, remain on guard. Mister Snell, telephone for the police. Mister Philips, with me. We shall investigate,” the Headmaster said.

“No!” Martha yelled. “But it’s not safe out there!”

“Miss Wolf, do keep your favourite servant under control,” he snapped.

“Pardon me, sir, but no. She’s right,” Rose huffed, though he ignored her and charged out the door.

“We need to find that watch,” Rose said, turning to Martha. The two girls hurried out of the room quietly.

**********************************************************************************************************************

Rose and Martha ran out as Lucy came toward the Headmaster. “Mister Rocastle! Please, don't go near her!” Martha called.

“You were told to be quiet,” he yelled at Martha.

“Just listen to me, she’s a part of it,” Martha pleaded.

“She’s right, Mister Rocastle. She was there, with Baines, in the village,” Rose added. “You need to stay back.”

“Miss Wolf, I've seen many strange sights this night, but there is no cause on God's Earth that would allow me to see this child in the field of battle, ma’am. Come with me,” he said, directing the last bit at Lucy.

“You’re funny,” Lucy said blankly.

“That’s right, now take my hand,” he said to the little girl.

“So funny,” she repeated before pulling out a gun and vaporizing the Headmaster. “Now who's going to shoot me? Any of you, really?”

“Put down your guns,” John said.

“Sir, the Headmaster,” Hutchinson protested.

“I'll not see this happen. Not anymore. You will retreat in an orderly fashion back through the school. Hutchinson, lead the way,” John demanded.

“But sir,” Hutchinson tried again.

“I said, lead the way.”

Just then, Baines entered the courtyard where they all were and fired his gun straight into the air. “Well, go on, then. Run!”

As they all took off into the school, Rose heard Baines yell, “Reanimate.” It was shortly followed by the shuffling of straw, so she didn’t need to guess what it was that was happening.

They got all of the boys they could find out, then Rose, Martha, and John took off into the woods. They ran around the front of the school to where the family was calling for the Doctor. There was a blue wooden box sitting in front of the school.

“You recognize it, don’t you?” Rose asked John.

“I’ve never seen it in my life,” he whispered, unable to take his eyes off the box that had appeared so frequently in his dreams.

“Do you remember its name?” Martha asked.

“I'm not. I'm John Smith. That's all I want to be. John Smith, with his life, and his job, and his love. Why can't I be John Smith? Isn't he a good man?” he asked.

“He’s not real,” Rose whispered.

“What?” John asked.

“John Smith isn’t real,” Rose said, turning to him and taking his hand.

“Marion,” he whispered hoarsely.

“That’s not my name,” Rose said sadly. “But you do know my real name.”

“Rose,” he said, the word coming out like a prayer.

“Hello,” she smiled at him.

“But the Doctor can’t—” he protested.

“I know,” Rose said. “But we need the Doctor.”

“What am I, then? Nothing. I'm just a story,” John exclaimed before running off into the woods.

The girls followed after him until Rose stopped. “This way. I think I know somewhere we can hide,” Rose said.

“We’ve got to keep going,” John said, looking back pleadingly.

“Just listen to me for once, John. Now, follow me,” Rose said, and the three of them followed her to a little cottage.

“Oh, here we are,” Rose said. “Blimey, it’s been ages since I’ve run that much. Two months should not have been that hard on me.”

“Who lives here?” Martha asked.

“If I’m right?” Rose asked. “No one.” They walked in and Rose called out, “Hello?” When no one answered, she said, “No one home. We should be safe here.”

“Whose house is it, though?” Martha asked.

“Er, the Cartwrights. That little girl at the school, she's Lucy Cartwright, or I guess she's taken Lucy Cartwright's form. If she came home this afternoon and if her parents tried to stop their little girl, then they were vaporized,” Rose replied.

John was pacing the room anxiously. “I must go to them, before anyone else dies.”

“You can’t!” Martha exclaimed. “There must be something we can do.”

Rose shook her head. “Not without the watch.”

Almost on cue, there was a knock at the door. Martha went to open it, but John stopped her. “What if it’s them?”

“I'm not an expert, but I don't think scarecrows knock,” Martha said, opening the door to reveal Tim Latimer.

“I brought you this,” he replied, stepping in and handing the watch to Rose.

Rose took the watch gingerly and held it. Then she held it out to John. “Hold it.”

“I won’t,” he protested.

“Please, just hold it,” Rose begged.

“It told me to find you. It wants to be held,” Tim said. “It told me to take it and keep it safe until now. That you weren’t ready until now.”

“You’ve had the watch this whole time? You took it from the kitchen?’ Martha asked. He nodded. “Why didn’t you give it back earlier?”

“Because it was waiting. And because I was so scared of the Doctor,” Tim replied.

“Why?” John asked quietly.

“Because I've seen him. He's like fire and ice and rage. He's like the night and the storm in the heart of the sun,” Tim replied.

“Stop it,” John whispered.

“He's ancient and forever. He burns at the centre of time and he can see the turn of the universe,” Tim continued.

“Stop it! I said stop it,” John yelled.

“Please!” Martha said. “Just take it.”

Before he could protest anymore, something shook the cottage. They all ran to the window to see giant fireballs hit the village. “They’re destroying the village,” Martha said.

“The watch,” he said, taking it and starting for the door.

“Can you hear it?” Tim asked.

“I think he’s asleep, waiting to awaken,” John whispered.

“Why did he speak to me?” Tim asked.

“Oh, low level telepathic field. You were born with it. Just an extra synaptic engram causing—” he started, sounding just like the Doctor for a moment. Then, returning to the terrified voice of John he whispered, “is that how he talks?”

“Yes, that’s the Doctor,” Rose said, smiling.

“All you have to do is open it and he’s back,” Martha exclaimed.

He glanced between Rose and Martha, “You knew this all along and yet you let me, let us?”

“I tried, I really did,” Rose whispered. “But I didn’t know what else to do. I couldn’t let anything happen with Matron Redfern because she’ll be staying, when all is said and done. Your instructions didn’t have anything to do with this!”

“Falling in love? That didn’t even occur to him?” John asked.

Rose shook her head. “He’s an alien. He does all sorts of strange things. Doesn’t think like us stupid apes.”

“Then what sort of man is that? And now you expect me to die?” John asked.

“It was always going to end, though! The Doctor said the Family's got a limited lifespan, and that's why they need to consume a Time Lord. Otherwise, three months and they die. Like mayflies, he said,” Martha exclaimed.

“So your job was to execute me?” John asked.

“Our job was to take care of you, and bring the Doctor back when it was time,” Rose whispered. “But listen. People are dying out there. They need him, and I need him. I gave up everything for the Doctor. He’s practically all I have left. He means everything to me, and I know that I’m not that for him, can’t ever be, but I don’t care. He’s worth it,” Rose said.

Another explosion rocked the cottage and Tim said, “It’s getting closer.”

“I should have thought of it before. I can give them this. Just the watch. Then they can leave and I can stay as I am,” John said, holding up the watch.

“You can’t do that!” Martha yelled.

“If they want the Doctor they can have him,” John said. “And I can stay me, and we can be together, happy.”

“No, we couldn’t be,” Rose whispered, taking his hands. “John, you’re a good man, but you’re not the Doctor. And I love the Doctor.” Rose laughed a little breathlessly at that. “I love the Doctor. He’s it for me. And you just aren’t him. Sometimes little bits get through, but it’s like a poor copy. I couldn’t be truly happy with John Smith. And, if you were willing to give those monsters exactly what they want, and let them roam the cosmos killing everything in their path, then you would be nearly as bad. I couldn’t ever love someone who would willingly sacrifice the entire universe for a few years of selfish happiness.”

Rose knew that would eat away at him, but she had to say it. They needed the Doctor back. The Family had been right when they had guessed that if the human heart broke the Time Lord would emerge. John took a deep breath and put a hand on Rose’s cheek. “Alright. But, before I die, there’s something I need to say. Something he never can. Marion Wolf—or I suppose, Rose Tyler. I love you. With all of my heart.” He leaned forward and kissed her. Rose knew the moment he actually opened the watch because he stiffened and pulled back. Then, without looking at her, he walked out the door of the cottage.

Rose tried to keep it all in, but she couldn’t help the handful of tears that ran down her cheek.

**********************************************************************************************************************

Rose and Martha were already on the TARDIS, having collected all of their things from the school, when the Doctor got back. Rose tried to wait for him to return to the TARDIS, but the moment she heard him slip his key in the lock, she turned and ran to her room. She couldn’t do it. She couldn’t face him. Not yet. She had said everything she wanted to say to him, and he had said those words she so desperately wanted to hear. But she just kept telling herself it wasn’t really him.

She hoped he didn’t remember, not really. Or that, at least, he thought she was just willing to say anything to get him to change back. Maybe she could check in the morning. But not then. It was all too fresh. So when the Doctor came to check in on her that night, Rose rolled over and pretended to be asleep. Hoping everything would hurt less in the morning.

**********************************************************************************************************************

The Doctor walked into the TARDIS, still dressed as John Smith. Martha was about to say something to him when she noticed the look of uncontrolled rage on his face, and the fact that he was dragging the Family behind him. “Go to bed, Martha,” he ordered, and she decided the best course of action was to do as he said. She had never seen him like that before.

Once Martha was gone, the Doctor set about devising the punishments for each member of the family. He wrapped Mr. Clark in unbreakable chains, forged in the heart of a dwarf star. Jenny was tricked into the event horizon of a collapsing galaxy, where she was imprisoned forever. Lucy was trapped inside a mirror. Every mirror. And Baines was suspended in time and dressed as a scarecrow, to stand guard over the fields of England. They had wanted to live forever, so he made sure they did.

When it was all done, the Doctor sent the TARDIS into the Vortex and then collapsed on the jump seat. He remembered everything that John Smith had done—and said. Rose could never know that John Smith knew he was speaking both for himself and the Doctor. When John had said that he was going to say something the Doctor never could, John had had a strong enough connection to the watch to know that the feelings he had for Rose were left over from the Doctor’s consciousness. He was literally saying what the Doctor never could. Because the Doctor knew that if he ever said those words, then there was no chance that he would ever be able to survive losing Rose.

The Doctor rested his face in his hands and sighed. Knowing that he was being ridiculous, but that neither her Thief or her Wolf were ready to have that conversation yet, the TARDIS decided to give him a break, and dimmed the lights, letting him mourn what might have been in peace.