I became the Bad Wolf.
Well. That wasn’t quite what he was expecting to hear. The Bad Wolf – from what he saw on the security feed – was separate to Rose. Oh, the power was most definitely Rose, but the voice of the Bad Wolf? That wasn’t her … it definitely wasn’t her.
…Oh please don't let it be her.
Braxiatel’s silence, and his wide eyes … well … They told the Doctor loud and clear that his thoughts were very much the same as his. Actually, so did the disbelief and worry that his mind was projecting outward – not that he was actually trying to pick up his brother’s inadvertent mental transmissions – loud thinker that he was.
It was Braxiatel, rather than the Doctor, who actually found his voice to speak after that revelation.
“Just what is the Bad Wolf, Rose?” He knew she would likely respond with a shrug and ‘me’ response, so he clarified what he was asking. “What did you become, and why did you become her?”
Rose’s eyes were wide, but she wasn’t looking at either of them. Her lips were pouted, even though her mouth was open, and she drew in a couple of breaths as she tried to remember what had happened almost four years ago.
“The Bad Wolf was – as the Doctor described her to me later – like a Goddess of time.” She looked at her husband. “At first I thought you were bein’ all over dramatic about it. You’re good at that.”
He couldn’t chuckle even if he wanted to.
She swallowed before continuing and looked at her hands as she turned them up and then down. “But then…” She gulped. “When I started to remember it all on my own, I knew he wasn’t overdramatising it. If anything he downplayed it.” He dropped her hands, looked up, and sighed. “Not that he really went into it all that deep. Basically just said,” she adopted a male voice to mimic the Doctor. “Bad wolf was Time’s Goddess. She’s gone now. I sent her home. Nothing for you to worry about. Now how about a trip to see Ian Drury, Sheffield, 1979?”
Braxiatel looked toward his brother with a frustrated furrow in his brow. “You left it at that?”
The Doctor held up his hands. “Not me … at least not yet.” He seemed confused. “How could I not explain it to you indepth? That is so very un-me.”
Rose chuckled softly. “Always talkin’,” she said softly. “But never really saying anything.”
“You got that right,” Braxietel gruffed. He looked to his brother. “You know. I think I like her. She’s got the best read on you of anyone…”
“Oh shut it,” the Doctor growled. He took Rose’s hands in his and tugged them lightly so that she looked at him. “Please continue.”
“Like I said,” she continued. “I can only tell you what I remember, and even that’s spotty at best.” She paused and looked upward again, clearly trying to remember. “When I looked into the heart of the TARDIS,” she tried to ignore the double gasps, but shuddered anyway. “And she looked into me…” There was a tear in her eye. “It was like me and her, we were one. I didn’t have to work the controls or anything – and I couldn’t do it if I tried to anyway … which I did when you first sent me home.” She dropped her eyes to his. “I hated you for that.”
“Right now, so do I?” he admitted on a whisper.
“Anyway,” she continued with a deep inhale for composure. “Me and the TARDIS. We flew back to you – flew back to the gamestation.” Her voice wavered and she clutched tightly at his hands. “I couldn’t leave you there alone, Doctor. You were goin’ to die, alone, defendin the Earth. It wasn’t right.” Her head shook. “I jus’ couldn’t.”
“I know,” he breathed, stroking her knuckles with his thumbs. “I know.”
“An’ when I opened the TARDIS doors, all glowin’ with Time…” She shuddered with the memory of the Doctor’s reaction to her. “Well. You were mad … or upset.”
“I imagine I would be, Rose,” he offered gently. “If I’d sent you away for your safety and you found a way back to me.”
Braxiatel agreed. “And in the condition you returned to him in. Rose, I suspect my brother was terrified, not angry or upset.”
The Doctor nodded. “Quite right.” He lifted a hand to tenderly push her hair behind her ear.. “So you were golden, glowing Goddess?”
She smiled and captured his hand to lean her cheek into it. “It wasn’t me, though, Doctor. Not really.” She looked into his worried eyes, almost grey instead of blue. “It was my body, but not me. Not really. I had the entire vortex running through my head. I’m human. Just an ordinary Human. I wasn’t in control, how could I be?”
“The entire vortex,” Braxiatel breathed out worriedly. “No. That would kill a Time Lord…”
“And it did,” Rose admitted sadly. “When the Doctor took that power away from me, it … it,” she hiccupped. “He regenerated.” She looked toward the man watching her with wide and panicked eyes. “I’m so sorry, Doctor. I am.”
He pulled her hard against him into an embrace that was awkward, but very fierce. “Don’t apologise, Rose. Please don’t apologise. I’d gladly give up a life for yours.”
Braxietel cleared his throat loud enough that it forced the couple apart. He swallowed thickly. “This power or yours, Rose. How strong was it?”
“Id say it’s pretty obvious, Brax,” the Doctor growled.
“No, no,” Rose assured softly. “He’s okay to ask.” She looked toward her brother in law with sad eyes. “This power, it was… indescribable.” She lifted her hands from the Doctor’s and looked at it as she once again turned them up and then down. “With these, I was able to destroy an entire Dalek fleet.” She flicked them both. “With just that, the whole lot of them were gone, reduced to dust and nothing else. A wave of my hand, that’s all.”
She lifted her head and drew in a deep breath through an open mouth. “I could see them. Every atom of them.” She lowered her head again. “And I separated them. I destroyed them all, the Daleks, their emperor, and their entire battle fleet – ships and all.”
“By Rassilon’s ghost,” Braxiatel breathed out with horror. “That power…”
“Can never get into a Time Lord’s hands,” the Doctor warned darkly. “He’d go mad with it.”
“I wouldn’t worry about it,” she offered gently. “You took it all from me. Made sure it was all gone.” sHe smiled and wiggled her fingers. “No more destroying anything with these.” She frowned. “Well, except a Roast dinner, of course. Could never get that done properly.”
He smiled weakly at her.
She sighed at that point. “But I can see your worry about it. The power was immense, so much so that I had no control over it … at least not the human part of me.” She shrugged. “When Bad Wolf was in control, she knew what she had to do – which was to keep you safe.” A small smile formed. “Her whole purpose was your safety against the Daleks.”
“As mine is to yours,” the Doctor offered.
“I have to admit that the power was enticing. I could see the universe, all of it. The turn of it. Everything that is, all that was, and all that ever could be.”
Braxiatel nodded. “That’s the way we see it,” he said softly. “All the time.”
“That’s what the Doctor said to me at the time, wondering how it wasn’t burning.” She pursed her lips. “But it was burning. God, it hurt so much.”
“It’s gone now,” the Doctor assured her, with only a short look of warning to his brother.
“But w-why would you ask?” she stammered, worry entering her voice.
“No reason for you to concern yourself with my dear,” Braxiatel answered her, beating his brother to it. “Thete and I were talking about an old faery tale from our youth. The name Bad Wolf popped up, and my brother mentioned that it was something you’d mentioned about your time with him in the future.” He gave her a warm smile. “We wanted to see if they were one in the same?”
“And were they?” she queried.
“Not even close,” he lied with a smile. “And I believe Thete now owes me an expensive bottle of Southern Gallifrey Magnolia wine for losing that particular bet.” His eyes slid to the Doctor. “Isn’t that right, Thete?”
The Doctor nodded. “Yes. I’m afraid so.”
Rose looked between the both of them, but could see nothing in their expressions or shared looks to indicate that they couldn’t be trusted. She sighed, but smiled. “So are we done now? You got your answers?”
The Doctor slapped his hands to wipe them against each other. “Indeed. The answers to all of my questions. My apology for keeping you awake to settle the bet.” His eyes shifted to her hand as she lifted it to cover her forehead. “Are you okay?”
“Headache,” she admitted with a wince. “Any chance of you having some paracetamol anywhere ‘round?”
“I’m sure the TARDIS has a supply of them,” he said with a smile and a kiss to her forehead. “Give me a moment, I’ll go grab it.”
She jerked just slightly when he hurriedly leapt off the bed and walked briskly out the door. She leaned around to watch his back as he retreated from her. “Don’t forget some water,” she called out.
“I won’t,’ he called in return.
Rose sat back in the pillows and looked across at Braxiatel, who was standing at her bedside with a look of concern on his face.
“Are you okay?” she asked him gently.
He nodded. “The more important question is whether or not you are okay, dear,” he answered softly.
“I’m okay,” she breathed with a shrug. Her eyes danced across to the door. “Him, on the other hand…”
“He will be fine,” he assured her.
She looked to him. “And you?”
“What about me?”
“What you just heard,” she muttered. “It can’t have been easy to hear – any of it.” She looked down at the duvet, and flicked at imaginary pills with her fingernail. “You don’t think all that highly of me to begin with, so…”
“Don’t’ be foolish,” he barked out in reply. He looked toward the door to see if his brother was within earshot. When he saw that it was clear, he moved toward her. Her eyes lifted to his as he approached. “Breathe a word to anyone, and I’ll vehemently deny it.”
She blinked a rapid trio of blinks. “I’m sorry, what?”
“I have a very marked respect for you, and for who you are,” he began quietly. “Granted, I can only say that I’ve interacted with you only on a social basis over the past couple of years, but in that time…” He smiled. “Well. You’ve shown a spirit that I’ve never given your people credit for. Rassilon, I don’t know that I’d even put you in the same category that I would any of your people. You are unique.”
She lowered her head with a smile.
“What you give to my brother - the man he becomes because of you – I can only describe as a marvel of the universe.” He sighed almost happily. “You ground him. None of us are anywhere near capable of that. Not me. Not our father. Not even our mother.”
She reached out to take his hand, surprised that he let her do so.
He squeezed at her tiny hand inside his, marvelling at her warmth. “And as the woman who has so bravely saved my brother in more ways than just one, and let that fool live to frustrate me again and yet again, I make you this vow.”
He lowered down into a stoop to press his forehead lightly against hers; a form of affection she would never have thought possible from this man.
“I vow to you that from this day and every day forward that you are protected. That no matter where or when you are, I will always be there as your support, as your protection, and as your brother.”
Rose did the only thing she could with that revelation. She launched up onto her knees and hugged the man. She didn’t think for a moment of his aversion to such things. She just grabbed his lapel and pulled him in against her chest. “Thank you, Brax!”
Initially, the poor man’s arms flailed. Gestures of affection of this nature were far better left between mates, but he quickly relaxed and let his arms settle across her shoulders. “No, Rose,’ he breathed out. “Thank you.”
At the Doorway, the Doctor watched the exchange with wide eyes and a gaped mouth. Not one time in his entire lives had he seen his brother be so affectionate toward another. His would much rather show disdain than respect for another being – particularly one that was human.
Oh, it could almost make him cry.
Knowing that blatantly interrupting them would cause his brother unnecessary embarrassment, and quite likely an insult that would upset his wife, the Doctor opted to act as though he’d not borne witness to such a remarkable exchange. He took a step back from the door, and then stepped forward. Looking down at the plastic container in his hand, he gave it a shake.
Paracetamol,” he sang out. “Good for headaches and very safe for little as yet unborn Time Lords.” He looked up and lifted his brows curiously as his wife and brother hurriedly separate. “Oh-Kay,” he drawled out. “Looks like I missed something.”
“No,” Rose laughed, her cheeks pinkening. “I just fell…”
“It’s her head,’ Braxiatel agreed with a guilty look that was quickly disguised by an expression of contempt. “These frail humans. Tiny little knock to the head, and all of a sudden they’re reduced to infancy – unable to even stand on their own.”
“Yeah, oh-kay,” the Doctor drawled with an appropriate amount of suspicion. His eyes and expression brightened, and he moved toward his wife with his bottle of pills and a glass of water. “There you are, my Hearts. Drink up, swallow those pills, and get some rest.”
Rose popped two ills on her tongue and drew back a mouthful of water from the glass to wash them down. She spoke too soon after her swallow and managed to only choke out her words. “can’t very well sleep with you two lookin’ at me.”
“She has a point,” the Doctor sad to his brother with a shrug. “Best that you and I head off then. Give her some peace and quiet.” He grinned. “Rose baked a pie yesterday…”
“Magnolia?” Brax remarked with a smile.
“The one and only,” he answered with a grin. “Unless she’s eaten it all…”
Rose sighed. “Boys? Scoot. Both of you.”
The Doctor leaned down to kiss her gently. Words of adoration in his native tongue ghosted from his lips and vowed that his hearts beat for her.
“I love you too, Doctor,” she breathed out as she slid back down into the bed and snuggled into her pillow. “Now sod off. Both of you.”
The Doctor wore a smile, and Braxiatel a shake in his head as the both of them left the bedroom. The Doctor was careful to pull the door closed with only a light snick. He then waved his hand in a request for his brother to follow him to the kitchen.
“Well,’ Braxiatel muttered. “That was certainly enlightening.”
“Terrifying,” the Doctor corrected him. “Quite terrifying.” He walked to the fridge and pulled out the half-eaten magnolia pie. “And aside from enlightening, what did you get from it?”
Braxiatel thought on that for a moment as the Doctor moved around the kitchen gathering plates and cutlery. When he did speak it was with concern. “It’s very clear that she still holds this Bad Wolf entity inside her, Thete.”
“Right,” the Doctor drawled in reply. “Straight to that part of it.” He cut a slice of pie for his brother and slopped it onto a plate. His eyes was on the piece as he slid it across the counter. “It would be incredibly irresponsible of me to leave any part of that inside her, Brax, given the immense power it seemed to wield.”
Braxiatel held a fork in his hand but didn’t immediately dig into the pie. “I believe that somewhere within the 26 syllables that make up your name, irresponsible is in there.” He grinned as he finally shovelled a forkful of pie into his mouth. He then purred gratefully. “Heaven,” he mumbled around fruit and pastry. “Absolute heaven.” He swallowed. “For this alone she is marriage worthy.”
“How very sexist of you,” the Doctor quipped in reply as he finished his own mouthful. “I believe Rose when she says that I told her the power was removed. I believe that I truly believed that when I said it to her.” He shook his head and dug his fork in for another bite. “I also believe that this Bad Wolf thing is …”
“Parasitic,” Braxiatel offered. “And able to hide itself rather effectively against Time Lord discovery.” He took another bite of his pie and let the flavour run across his tongue before chewing and swallowing again. “But on a good note, it really doesn’t seem to be causing her any detriment at all.”
“No,” he agreed. “It doesn’t. If anything it’s protecting her.” He pursed his lips, his brows deepening to a furrow. “Well. Against the Daleks at any rate. It doesn’t seem to activate in other circumstances – the cliff fall as an example.”
“But you were there.”
“I very nearly wasn’t.”
The two men quietened down so that the only sounds heard in the kitchen were the scraping of forks on plates, and the sounds of chewing.
(A/N: If you have misophonia like I do, my apology for that image and any eye-ticking that may occur)
The Doctor finally spoke when there was only one to two bites left of his pie. “Have you given much thought to this Bad Wolf telling the Daleks that they’re here too early?”
Braxiatel nodded. “I have.” He dropped his fork onto the empty plate. “And it concerns me, greatly.”
“Sees the universe like us, all that is, all that was…”
“And all that ever could be,” he finished. He nodded. “Which means…”
“She’s seen the arrival of Daleks to Gallifrey,” The Doctor said gravely. “Which means what we saw today, that one ship. That’s only the beginning.”
“You’re thinking we may be looking at an invasion, Thete?”
“Rassilon,” he breathed out. “I hope not.” He looked down at his plate with a shake in his head. “There is no way that our forces can hold back a fully-fledged Dalek fleet.”
“You and Romana are well versed in the ways of the Daleks and how to defeat them,” Braxiatel offered. “Can we rely on you to assist in bringing our soldiers up to speed?”
The Doctor blew out a breath and slouched on the countertop, his arms straight, and his head hung low between his shoulders. “Your best course of action is to not let them get to Gallifrey, Brax.” He lifted his eyes to his brother. “They kill indiscriminately. Women, children, they don’t care.” He growled. “Exterminate, exterminate, exter-min-Sepulchasm-ate.”
Braxiatel’s brows lifted. “Reached for the big one there, I see,” he remarked. He blew out a breath. “I will have to tell Romana what we learned today, Thete.”
“I know,“ he murmured, still in his slouch. His head still low. “But please, don’t let it go further.” He lifted his head. “What Rose may, or may not know, is not to any of us to know – and they will push her if they catch wind of it.”
“I know, Thete,” he agreed. “I vow to you that it won’t leave the sanctity of the three of us. But do know that together, we must find a solution, so that if our fears are realised and the Daleks are on their way to Gallifrey – we must be prepared for them.”
“Anyway,” he said with more of a chirp in his tone than of doom and gloom. “For now, I say please go be with your wife. I will ensure that you will not be bothered by any hospital calls.”
He nodded. “Thanks.”
Braxiatel have him a couple of firm pats on the shoulder and walked toward the doorway, and toward the stolen travel capsule. “I’ll be taking the capsule you stole,” he grumbled. The then paused and picked up the pie dish and its remaining two pieces of pie. “And this…”