As soon as Rose’s feet touched the ground, she could hear the hum of the TARDIS in her mind, calling out for her. Swallowing the lump in her throat, and blinking back tears, she began running toward the home she had missed for so long. Feet pounding into the ground at a fast and steady pace, the beautiful old ship led Rose to her Doctor.
At the top of the darkened, deserted street she slid to a stop, her feet feeling glued to the asphalt. Near the other end of the street, just in front of the church, she could see the beautiful blue police box, it’s light and hum calling her home. Rose watched the woman she knew to be Donna, and the man she had missed so very much — the love of her life, her Doctor — talking in front of the TARDIS.
She saw him turn and look at her. Her mind and body froze.
The look on his face was one of shock, disbelief, and begging this not to be a dream. A smile slowly broke out on her face until it was big enough to make her cheeks hurt. She began moving toward him and he seemed to break out of his daze, doing the same. Then he sped up, sprinting toward her with a look of pure joy stretching his smile across his face.
She was being hindered by her heavy gun, so she flung the strap over her head and threw it to the ground, allowing her to move faster than before, to run full-out to him.
Then they both heard it, the quiet mechanical whir. She saw the Doctor look to his left, trying to stop; but she ran harder, her legs pounding into the asphalt as she pushed her body to go faster.
She heard the predictable death threat that always hailed a laser blast. She knew she had mere seconds left.
Rose lept and shoved the Doctor out of the way, feeling the Dalek’s laser blast graze her side. A wave of agony ripped through her body and she crumpled to the ground, her breaths ragged as the pain overtook her.
Her vision blurred momentarily and she couldn’t hear anything. Not the sound of someone teleporting onto the street, another laser blast, and a Dalek exploding. Nor the Doctor’s panicked shouting of her name as he scrambled to her side.
Rose only recalled where she was, and that the Doctor was there at all, when he was suddenly hovering over her and smoothing the hair from her face. She gasped as he gently maneuvered her into his arms. The feeling of him holding her was all at once comforting and surreal, yet not doing anything to stem the pain. She was thankful the blast hadn’t hit her full on and that she had this moment with him; thankful that the universe was kind enough to give them this, at least.
“Rose, oh my brilliant Rose! You came back! You found me!” she heard him saying. His amazement at the fact that she was in his arms after all this time, which warred with his fear that he might lose her again, was evident on his face.
“Of course I did.” She longed to stroke his face and remove the look of fear, but felt too weak to do so. “You’re my Doctor and I’ll always return to you.”
Those words used the last of her breath, and she found that she couldn’t make her lungs take in another. A feeling of peace stole over her body as her eyes fluttered closed.
She heard the Doctor’s agonized cry and it tore at her heart. She felt him pull her limp body to his chest, his warm tears falling upon her face.
Just before she lost all coherent thought, a deafening sound pierced through her mind and echoed all around her — the howl of the Wolf.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The Doctor couldn’t hold back the mournful wail that ripped from his throat as he rocked Rose’s limp body, cradling her head to his chest. This couldn’t be happening! He couldn’t have just found her and immediately lost her again!
He wanted to be so angry at her for jumping in front of him, trying to protect him from the Dalek’s blast.
But he couldn’t. It was so human, so Rose.
He growled and yanked away from Donna’s touch on his shoulder, refusing to be comforted. He wasn’t sure if he had the strength to go on, to keep fighting.
The Daleks. Of course it was the Daleks. It was always the Daleks.
NO! We CAN’T let them win like this! A surprisingly Northern voice shouted angrily in his mind. They hurt our girl, so WE HURT THEM BACK!
He suddenly felt the full fury of the Oncoming Storm swirling within him. As he looked up into the mournful faces of Captain Jack Harkness and Donna Noble, he saw them take an involuntary step back from him.
He carefully shifted Rose’s body and stood, maneuvering her into his arms and walked toward his TARDIS at a brisk pace. He didn’t even feel her weight in his arms. He heard Jack and Donna follow silently behind him, but his mind was solely on getting his revenge for what the Daleks had done to his precious Rose.
Once inside the TARDIS, the Doctor gingerly set Rose down on the grating, staring at her unnaturally still form a moment longer. Then he jumped to his feet and raced to the console. He was so intent on his dance of pushing buttons and pulling levers, clacking away at the computer, that it didn’t at first register with him that Jack was repeatedly calling his name, getting more insistent and urgent.
“What?!” he yelled.
The Doctor stared at where Jack was pointing, at Rose. His hearts stopped, then hammered on double-time.
She was...glowing. Then his eyes trailed to the source of the light.
“Impossible!” he breathed, his feet seemingly glued to the metal-grated floor—though he wasn’t sure he could move right now if he wanted to.
The panel of the console nearest Rose had been flung open and a swirling mist-like trail of light was traveling from the heart of the TARDIS and into Rose. Her skin was shining with the same iridescent gold that he had seen once before.
The Doctor felt the TARDIS’s hum in his mind grow excited, trying to soothe his mind and heart that was still grieving and enraged from his loss. Once again Rose Tyler and his TARDIS were doing the impossible.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Rose wasn’t sure how long the howl resonated through her mind—a few minutes, hours, days? She felt herself suddenly take a deep breath and blink her eyes open to see the beautiful domed ceiling of her beloved TARDIS; but it looked wrong. Brighter and more golden than she remembered.
Her skin, her whole body, felt like it was burning, as though a furnace had been stoked to a wild blaze and it was raging through her whole being. She stood to her feet and looked in the direction she had heard three distinct gasps, each with a different level of shock. With the excruciating pain coursing through her body, clouding her mind, she wasn’t certain why they were looking at her in a state of terrified awe.
Had she been able to see herself through their eyes, she would have seen the blindingly-brilliant glow of time surrounding her, exuding from her, a familiar golden light swirling in her eyes.
Rose didn’t know why Jack was fighting to hold the Doctor back, couldn’t comprehend his shouted statement, “Jack, let me go! LET ME GO, NOW! The Bad Wolf is returning to Rose and I need to take it from her before it kills her! I SAID, LET ME GO!”
She heard a voice that was hers, but yet wasn’t—more ethereal—coming from her lips. “Do not fear, my Doctor. All will be well.” Everyone went still and silent. “The Doctor and the Bad Wolf will be together forever. It is written in the stars, throughout all of time and space. So shall it be.”
The Doctor stopped struggling against Jack, which was good, as that man’s arms went limp and fell at his sides. Donna’s eyes were wide with terror, her mouth gaping in shock.
The light slowly faded and trailed back into the heart of the TARDIS, her console panel slamming shut. The fire within Rose began to cool and her head cleared. She took a deep breath, but just as she was about to lose control of her legs and fall to the grating, the Doctor’s arms were suddenly around her waist, supporting her.
Rose blinked open her eyes, finding herself staring into the frightened and concerned face of her beloved Doctor. His quick panting breaths warmed her face and caused the hair framing it to quiver. A smile pulled at her lips and oh, how she hoped this wasn’t a dream!
“Hello!” she said excitedly.
“Hello!” he replied in equal enthusiasm, though his voice had an undertone of worry.
“Am I dreaming this?”
“Only if I’m having the same dream.” His quirky reply brought a delighted laugh from her. “Oh, Rose! Please don’t ever scare me like that again!” He hugged her tightly to him, her arms squeezing him in return.
“Oh, just kiss her already!” Jack suddenly shouted.
The Doctor pulled back to see a flirtatious grin on Jack’s face and an encouraging one—yet still slightly frightened—on Donna’s.
He turned back to Rose and, with a loving smile, gently framed her face with his hands and brushed a soft, chaste kiss to her lips. When he tried to pull away a moment later, she held tight to him while her hands moved into his hair. The kiss slowly grew more passionate as his hold on her tightened as well.
They both knew there was a Dalek infestation outside the TARDIS doors and a whole host of planets to get sorted back to their proper time and place in the universe; but for this moment, it was just the two of them.
Try as it might to split them up, to tear them down and destroy them, the universe would never be successful in separating the Doctor from his Rose for long. Her place was at his side, her hand within his. Together they were stronger, better.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The TARDIS looked on in fondness at her Thief and her Wolf. The Doctor and Rose Tyler, the Stuff of Legend, would be together forever now. Just as she knew it should be.