He had sent her to the alternate universe, she was safe. He had lost her but what are his feelings compared with her safety? There's a full scale war going on outside, Cyberman probably on their way up and he had minutes before they broke in and 'Deleted' him. What else could he have done?
Rose had been distracted, he had crept up behind her and put the device around her neck and Pete and pushed the button and they had all vanished in front of him. He had lost the woman he loved and he'd never even told her. How many times had he failed to say it? What was so difficult he couldn't even tell her how he felt? He'd had many chances, some fairly recent and he couldn't even tell someone else to tell her for him. He had been right, he was a coward every time. Now she was gone forever and there was no getting her back this time.
He was making his preparations to close the void for good, setting the levers so he could hang on for dear life while the Cybermen and Daleks got sucked up where they belonged and both worlds would be safe, Rose would be safe. His Rose.
Everything was happening so fast. Then he heard a noise and spun round. Rose was back, her hands on the device that was around her neck. He should plead with her to go back while she still could.
"Rose, what are you doing here? You'll be trapped for good," he said with panic in his voice. He put his hands on her shoulders and looked at her. "You'll never see your mother again. I told you the last time, once the void is sealed you won't be able to get back to her."
He was stunned to see her but he shouldn't have been. He didn't have time for this, he knew the Cybermen would break through the door at any moment.
"Yeah, well I'm here now so what can I do to help?" said a slightly puzzled Rose who had expected at least to get a 'Thanks for coming back again Rose, I could really use your help' but this was the Doctor, she knew he didn't give such sentiments and it was ok, because she loved him and couldn't bear to be parted from him even if it meant losing her mother.
"That computer over there, set all the co-ordinates to six and hurry up." He was glad she had come back. That was what she did, she had gone back to the games station and saved him there, he should have expected no less this time.
He set about what he had been doing until a few seconds later Rose gave the bad news – Cybermen were on the way up.
"How far down are they?" he asked as she gave him the news.
"Just one," came Rose's grim reply as she finished setting the co-ordinates and got up.
The Doctor had just finished and handed a clamp he had retrieved earlier. "Fasten this to the wall by pressing the red button," he said to Rose, showing her what he meant.
Rose went to the wall opposite without saying another word. She had plenty she wanted to say to him, 'I love you' being first on her list but it would have to wait until this was over. She had come back to him, she had promised forever and that was what he was going to get. He was stuck with her, there would be no going back now. That was what she thought.
The levers came to life, it was now or never. They would both survive this or not, maybe only one of them would and the Doctor was praying it would be Rose. He didn't care about himself, he could live with the knowledge Rose was safe. As the Cybermen and Daleks hurtled past them at phenomenal speeds that the eye couldn't process, he looked over at Rose, trying to mouth those words to her, 'I love you' but her eyes were closed, she was holding on for her life and she never saw. He could have shouted but it would have distracted her and she may have let go. She could be sucked into the void because of his stupidity, because he couldn't tell her to her face he loved her. Well if they both survived this, he was going to make damn sure she knew.
What seemed like hours but were only actually minutes passed, he heard a noise, a click and was horrified Rose's side of the lever had been caught by a passing Dalek and the computer voice was telling him the system was 'offline'. Rose opened her eyes in horror as the lever slid back to the 'off' position. There was still a back draft from the pull of the void, Daleks were hovering in mid-air and Rose looked over at him, her face terrified but she let go of the clamp with one hand and stretched out to reach the lever handle and slowly, she pulled herself over and clasped onto the lever with both hands. Then with all her strength and might, she pushed the lever forward, moving herself with it until her back was against the void and the computer voice said 'online'.
The Doctor watched, horrified, willing Rose to complete her task and stay holding onto the lever. It was almost over, less and less, all Daleks were coming through until the last one floated past them. He was praying the void would close and he could rescue Rose but it was still active, the force was pulling Rose out horizontally, her fingers were loosening around the handle and all he could do was watch helplessly. He cried out to her to hold on, Rose was straining herself to keep a grip, even if only with one hand until it closed down and he would come over and save her. She trusted him with her life and now that trust was going to be put to the test.
She now had almost no grip on the lever handle, she knew she was going to be pulled into the void, it was inevitable. She looked over at him, he had a terrified look on his face, he was almost crying, screaming out her name. "Rose!"
Which a loud 'twang' of the lever, her fingers were outstretched, still trying to maintain the grip on the handle, they slid away one by one as the force pulled her away. Her eyes were wide open, he was still screaming her name as she looked helplessly at him, she was crying out in panic but no words or sounds were coming out of her mouth, his face was distorted in pain as he watched her being pulled away.
That was when he decided, in a split second to let go of the clamp he was holding. He would rather die with Rose in the void than let her die alone. He couldn't live without her, he couldn't go on, it was all over for him. The seconds he had watched her being pulled slowly towards the white wall that represented the void, he knew he had to at least show her he loved her even if he could never say the actual words. A million things went through his mind in the few seconds he had watched her struggle to keep a grip, the void may close just as she reached the white wall and she would be safe for one, she may reach the wall and be knocked unconscious as she slammed into it, at least she would live or she may be pulled through and the void would close a second after she had been sucked into it.
He did it, he let go of the clamp, watching her face pleading as she got nearer. Time was moving in slow motion as he battled the force of the void to make his way to her, trying to slow himself down so he wouldn't collide with her or overtake her and be the cause of pulling her in. Maybe he could grab her and pull her back to safety as the void closed.
Suddenly, there was a shimmer of a figure in black, arms reaching out and grabbing Rose. It was Pete Tyler. His arms wrapped around her, holding her tight. Rose looked at the Doctor, the Doctor looked at Pete, who had realised what the other man was trying to do and just as the Doctor reached them, he grabbed hold of Rose's arm and they all disappeared.
The three of them collapsed onto the floor in the other universe's version of Torchwood. Jackie was stood with her hands covering her mouth in a surprised look. She had nattered Pete to death to risk everything and go get her daughter back and he had to give in because Rose Tyler had helped him in the past, she had tried to save his wife and he owed her for that and for helping defeat Lumic. He couldn't blame her or the Doctor for this world's stupidity in thinking the Cybermen were sentient beings and should have the same rights as any other citizen of the planet Earth and allowed them to make plans and escape to where Rose came from.
He had done what he could and gone across to help them, they were now even but this, risking having the worlds collapsing into each other to rescue what could have been his dead wife's twin sister's daughter, was above and beyond what he had been prepared to do and by the looks of things when he had materialised a few seconds earlier in the other world, it had not been a moment too soon. Now he had brought back a bonus – the Doctor.
The three of them picked themselves up off the floor of the darkened lever room, a vast contrast to the one they had left a few seconds ago. The Doctor held out his hand to help Rose up. Jackie recovered enough to run over to her daughter, hugging her tightly and frowning at both Pete and the Doctor as if to say, " What ya brought him back for?" but changed her mind because Rose had left her and chosen to be with him and it was plain to Jackie that Rose loved him.
"Rose, you're safe!" was all Jackie managed in the end, almost squashing poor Rose.
Rose let go and turned to Pete, hugging him too, whispering "Thank you."
Mickey was observing all this quietly. He had known that Rose loved the alien, had done since before his regeneration and even more since he had turned into a pretty boy that Christmas. He knew when he'd gone back to prepare the way for Pete and the rest of them to go over and help defeat the Cybermen again and he had convinced himself he was doing it for this world, not for himself to see Rose again and he had been hopeful in those few seconds Rose had come back with them she might take him back but no, she had brought the Doctor with her, of course she had. It was the story of Mickey's life.
Rose turned to the Doctor and threw her arms around him. "You let go, you came after me, you daft alien," she said to him, clinging even tighter.
The Doctor tried to loosen her grip, unsuccessfully. "Yeah, I did didn't I? You won't catch me doing that again," he joked, feeling he had said that line before somewhere recently. This time he meant it, he literally couldn't.
"You came after me and now you're stuck here too, why?" Rose buried her head in his neck, oblivious to everyone watching her.
The Doctor, who was facing Pete, motioned the others should leave. Pete took Jackie's arm and led her outside, Mickey followed, he didn't want to watch this, he knew what was going to happen. He had watched them hug each other when he had gone to help Jake take over Lumic's airship and he had known then that he wasn't going back with them.
Rose let go, still not realising everyone had left. She whacked him on the arm, playfully. "What did you have to go and pull a stunt like that for?" she asked, now rubbing his arm for him and taking his hand into hers. "You're trapped here now, what are you going to do? Are you going to try to find a way back?" She tapped the device around her neck but nothing happened, she knew it wouldn't work any more.
"Rose, you know there's no way back. I couldn't let you fall into the void alone, if you were going to be sent there, then so was I. I couldn't hold on there and watch you go, not without.." he stopped. He still couldn't say it, even now. What was the point in going after her if he couldn't tell her?
Rose took his other hand in hers. "Without what? Without telling me something?" she dared to ask. Well if he wasn't going to say it, she was. "You don't have to say anything, you showed me by coming after me and you got yourself trapped here – forever, with me. You knew that was going to happen the second you saw Pete appear, you could have stayed back, not grabbed hold of me and stayed there, you would have been safe."
"Safe yes, with you, no. I couldn't have faced that Rose, I couldn't have faced being there without you, I would have rather let myself be sucked into the void than be there without you." He put his arms around her and pulled her close.
Remembering their conversation on Sanctuary Base One, Rose decided to tease him. "Well, now you're stuck here with me, you'll have to find somewhere to live, you'll have to get a house and a mortgage, the whole works," she laughed into his neck.
"Oh, I don't know, being stuck here with you isn't so bad, considering the alternatives. I can't live without you, Rose Tyler."
He buried his face into her neck. He still couldn't say it, those three stupid little one-syllable words that humans, especially women needed to hear. Maybe what he had said was close enough for her. If she said it first, maybe he could say it back. He was a 900 year old Timelord and he couldn't tell a human woman that he loved her. He could show her, maybe she already knew, thanks to that stupid thing he just did a few minutes ago. He had left the other universe, left his Tardis to be with her. No way back, not ever, this was it, he had to make a life here now. If he wanted to do it with Rose, then he would have to say it or face losing her not to the void or another universe but to another man, maybe even Mickey.
Rose reached up and lightly kissed his cheek. "You let go of that clamp before Pete even appeared, I saw you. You were going to get sucked into the void with me, weren't you? What would have happened? What was in there besides millions of Cybermen and Daleks?"
"Nothing Rose, there is nothing in the void, no up, no down, nothing, it's empty, black. They would have been scattered around, there's no end to it. You would have known nothing about it," he said sadly, not wanting to upset her. He couldn't tell her the full extent of what could have happened.
"You mean I would have been dead?" she asked as it sank in he had literally been following her to certain death. "You would have been too, if you had followed me in. You were willing to die so I wouldn't go in there alone? Would I even had seen you follow me in?"
"For a few seconds, maybe. Then you would have known nothing, it's not quite like dying, not as such but yes, you would have known I had followed you in."
Rose just clung onto him even more, she was almost crying. She could have lost him, he wasn't prepared to just lose her though, he was prepared to follow her so she wouldn't go in there alone. That proved one thing to her – he did love her even though apparently he couldn't bring himself to say it.
Just then, Pete put his head around the corner of the doorway. "I hate to break this up but we really should get out of here. Now all this is over, I'm putting together a team and we're going to clean up this place and use it for good. I'm putting Jake and Mickey in charge to oversee everything, they will look after things and eventually, we'll have a fully operational Torchwood."
The Doctor cringed at the thought. "Maybe you should just let it be Pete, the other world's Torchwood were partly responsible for letting the Cybermen get access and I have a feeling that this world's Torchwood gave them the means in the first place."
"Well I can assure you Doctor, I had no knowledge of it. I admit I knew about Torchwood but no idea what was going on. The Cybermen must have infiltrated it and taken it over, to get that many of them across the void." Pete noticed Rose was still clinging hold of the other man and wasn't about to let him go.
The Doctor couldn't argue with him but if Pete insisted on getting it operational, then at least it would be in good hands and he had the money and backing to do it and if he, Mickey and Jake were in charge, then it wouldn't fall into the wrong hands. He still didn't like the idea though but if it was to be, better them in charge than someone else he supposed. Rose was still holding onto him, looking up now and then at Pete, half expecting her mother to tell her to let go.
"Right, I've got Mickey waiting downstairs with your mother Rose, I'm going to take you all to my place and when you've all had a good night's sleep, we'll talk in the morning. You must be tired and hungry. That includes you, Doctor, I doubt Rose is going to let you out of her sight," Pete smiled.
Rose reluctantly let go of him and instead put her arm in his and they made their way downstairs to join Mickey and Jackie. Jackie just gave her daughter a look that meant, "You've still got him then?" and they made their way outside to a waiting car. Jake was also downstairs, grinning to see Pete's plan had worked, staying behind and helping them to get back but had not expected to see the Doctor.
"Jakey boy!" the Doctor greeted the blonde haired man.
"Doctor. Never thought you'd be coming back here. Is everything safe back there?"
The Doctor was hoping it was. "Well the walls between the two universes will be closed by now, since nothing else has come through, we're safe now. I had no choice, it was lose Rose or come through with her and well, here I am. I had no idea Pete was going to go back for her and by the time he appeared, I was already across the room trying to save her or go into the void with her."
"Well I always said you were an idiot Doctor," Jackie chirped in. "What did you do a thing like that for? Pete had gone back for her."
"Well I didn't know that did I? I wasn't going to let her just fall into the void was I? What do you take me for Jackie? Was I suppose to hang on and watch her get sucked in and do nothing about it? Well I couldn't. I promised you I would get you both out alive and I kept my promise." He wasn't about to admit to Jackie just how close they had come to getting pulled in. Ultimately it had been Pete that had saved them both and now, he could never hope to repay the man.
Jackie saw the look on his face and knew there was something else to it. "You mean Rose would have been pulled into that void thingy if Pete hadn't got there on time? Oh. And you went after her and you both would have been pulled in?" She shuddered at the thought of losing her daughter permanently. She had realised the second Rose had vanished she might never see her again and had finally worn down this world's version of her dead husband to go after her and not a moment too soon it seemed. She turned to Pete. "Thank you, for saving my daughter." She was about to say he had almost left it too late but she was grateful he had gone back at all and left it.
Pete ushered Rose and Jackie into the back of his car and the Doctor got into the front passenger seat after squeezing Rose's hand and saying he was going with her. Pete took Jake and Mickey to one side, Jake already had a security team ready to move in and take control of the building.
Pete drove them back to his residence and got his staff to make them something to eat and they all sat around the dinner table. They were mostly quiet, both women were tired, that much was apparent after what they had just gone through. Pete said they would talk some more in the morning. He had someone show Jackie and Rose to some guest rooms and thought the Doctor would want to talk some more. Just as Rose got up, he got up at the same time and took her into the reception area.
"Go get some sleep Rose, I'm not going anywhere, I promise. I'll be here in the morning. We'll talk then."
He kissed her forehead and Rose put her arms around him. Jackie was halfway up the stairs, never in her life seeing a house like this before except having to pay to enter it. She watched the two of them and realised he did care for Rose and smiled to herself. She was never going to get rid of him now.
The Doctor walked Rose upstairs and the maid indicated which was to be Rose's room. She opened the door and stopped. "Please Doctor, I don't want to be on my own. I remember the last time we were here." She put her arms around him again.
"Rose, it's fine, nothing's going to happen, I promise. Please, get some sleep, I'll be here in the morning." He moved her arms that were around his neck and kissed her forehead again.
Rose wasn't going to let him get away. "Please, just stay with me for a while," she pleaded.
"I'll come back, I have to talk to Pete. If he's going to open up this world's Torchwood, if anyone can help me get the Tardis back, it's them."
Rose hadn't forgotten the ship. "Will the Tardis be ok? I mean is there an emergency programme in place if you don't go back at all. I know she'll wait a few hours but what if you never go back?"
"She'll be safe enough there. The authorities will investigate, close the place down and since she's disguised as a Police Box, just put her in storage. If I get back for her, I'll be able to find her."
"What do you mean you'll find her, that's we'll find her, you're not going back without me so don't even think about it."
"Rose, I don't even know what kind of world we'll be going back to now I'm not there. I sacrificed everything to try to save you Rose, everything including the safety of the Earth. I know Sarah-Jane is there, UNIT is there, they'll be able to keep some control, UNIT will notice I'm no longer there before too long but don't you see Rose, now I'm here, the same may start to happen on this world, I may have been the one attracting all the other aliens in the first place."
"Don't say that. You say it like you're some kind of beacon that's beaming out into space and you're not, they'll come whether you're there or not. Besides, if this world's version of Torchwood gets operational, who says the other one won't resurface? Someone else may take it over."
He didn't like the thought of that. "I hope not but at least with Pete in charge this one stands a chance I suppose. Anyway, you get some sleep, I'll come and check on you later, I promise."
Rose seemed satisfied and hopefully when he did go and check on her she would be asleep. He noted where her room was and giving her a hug and yet another kiss on her forehead he went back down to find Pete. He wished he had the courage to kiss her properly, like she deserved to be kissed.
He found Pete in his study, the same study he had seen the schematics for the Cybermen and dearly hoped Pete had not been involved in that but he supposed that since Lumic had taken over Pete's company, Lumic was only trying to sell him the idea and it stood to reason if Pete was helping to bring Lumic down he would have all the details of the deadly creatures. How Lumic had even come up with the idea of them in the first place was incredible. What had been the chances of him coming up with such an idea? Maybe he'd had some alien influence of his own.
Pete was on the phone to Jake, giving last minute plans on what he wanted done for the time being. He motioned for the Doctor to take a seat and hung up. "So Doctor, what did you want to talk about? I know all about that time machine of yours, Mickey told me all about it. I told you how I thought the Cybermen had got to your world but what were those other metal creatures, Daleks I think you called them."
"Your worst nightmare Pete, believe me you don't even want to know about them, they won't be any bother and neither will the Cybermen. Rose was terrified coming back here after what happened before, I was just assuring her it was ok now. Anyway, if you're opening up Torchwood again I want in and not just at the bottom, I want to get my Tardis back and I reckon that's the best way of getting to it. That ship was the last thing I had left of my home planet, I suppose Mickey told you I wasn't from Earth, didn't he?" He could tell by the look on Pete's face Mickey had told him.
The Doctor continued. "I'm not condoning any part of Torchwood because of what the other one did but I know you're a fair man Pete, I know you'll make sure it's done right but I have to get my ship back and I won't deny that will be my top priority. In return for your help and virtually free reign, I'll help you with anything I can."
"Sounds fair to me Doctor but it's going to take a while to get it set up again, what are you going to do in the meantime? I could use your help setting it up, making sure everything's done right."
The Doctor did not want to form this alliance in the first place but if he wanted his ship back, he had very little choice. "OK, what about Jackie and Rose, will you help them?"
"Of course I will Doctor. I haven't forgotten what you and Rose did for me when you were both here before. I'll let them stay here until they find their feet. Rose can work with you if she wants and Jackie, well she can look after the house in return for her and Rose's accommodation. I won't ask Jackie to work, just oversee the daily running of the house, I'm sure she'll enjoy it. I'll give her a generous allowance, Rose too until Torchwood's up and running. As for you, you're all going to need new identities but we'll discuss it with them in the morning. I suggest you get some rest too, there are plenty of empty rooms, take your pick."
"Yeah," the Doctor replied, stretching his arms behind his head and his legs outwards. "I'll just go and check on Rose first, she's had a rough day."
"And Jackie hasn't?" Pete laughed. "You're not fooling anyone Doctor, you love that girl more than you admit. I saw it the first time you were here."
The Doctor moved his hands over his face. Everyone knew except Rose. It was back to that again, even Jackie must have suspected the way he was holding Rose at the foot of the stairs earlier. He said goodnight to Pete and climbed up the open staircase. He never imagined he would be setting foot in this house again but at least Rose and Jackie had a roof over their heads and maybe Jackie and this Pete would get together, it would make Rose happy. He could make Rose happy if he put his mind to it and stopped being a complete idiot. Jackie seemed to take to Pete but maybe it was just the heat of the moment, of seeing him again after twenty years.
He stopped outside Rose's bedroom door and listened. He couldn't hear any sound, maybe she was already asleep but he had promised. He tapped gently on the door and waited a few seconds then went in. The lamp was on low and Rose was asleep under the covers. He crossed over to the bed and pulled the sheet up over her shoulder and kissed her cheek. Rose stirred and as he put his hand on the pillow to move away, she put hers on his, causing him to almost lose his balance. He moved her hand gently and pushed back a strand of hair on her face. She was so beautiful, he would be a fool to let her go find another man because he couldn't tell her how he felt especially since he had risked everything to go after her.
She stirred again as he moved his hand away. "Doctor?" she called as he moved away. "I was waiting for you," she yawned, reaching out for his hand. "Is everything ok, did you talk to Pete?"
He let go of her hand and sat on the edge of the bed, taking off his tie. He turned back to her, she was wearing a white t-shirt she had got from somewhere and had sat up. "I spoke with him, you and your mother are staying her for the time being, he'll explain it all tomorrow. You should go back to sleep."
He got up and paced the room, wanting to get out but he couldn't, he had nearly lost her today. He took his jacket off and put it on a chair and went back to Rose and sat down, this time nearer. Rose held her arms out and moved to kneel in front of him and put hers around him as he did the same. It felt good as they hugged but was a bit distracting to him as there was definitely nothing under her t-shirt that just now covered her legs. Rose was leaning her head on his shoulder as he rested his against her head, kissing her hair then Rose began to kiss his neck. She pulled away but he pulled her back.
"It's ok Rose, we both need a hug," he smiled. "We both nearly lost each other again today and we seem to be making a habit of it. I'll make it up to you Rose, I promise, you'll be safe here, Pete will look after us. It's not a day visit this time Rose."
Rose increased her grip on him, slipping down so her head was now resting on his chest. His arms were still around her. "It's late Rose, get some sleep, please."
"Stay with me?" she asked, looking up at him.
"OK, just for a while, you get back in and I'll sit on the edge of the bed until you go to sleep."
He still couldn't do it but he was going to have to make allowances for her, she had almost died, he had almost died, permanently and they should both be glad they were alive. It was understandable she didn't want to be alone, in a house where the Cybermen had invaded and now stuck in a world she didn't belong in but at least now she had her mother, she wasn't left in the other one without her. That split second he had let go of the clamp, the thought of losing her was devastating and now after all that, he was offering to sit by her while she slept. "You can do better than that, you idiot," he told himself. "She needs you to do more than just sit by while she sleeps."
Rose climbed back into bed and was surprised when he toed off his converse and lay on top of the covers. "I'm sorry Rose, I know you still need a hug, I do too. Come here."
Rose didn't hesitate, he lay down next to her and she turned onto her side and snuggled up to him, one of her arms holding onto him as both his arms were around her. He kissed her forehead again. "Goodnight Rose."
"Doctor, will you still be here when I wake up, please?"
How could he say no? "I'll be here Rose, don't worry."
Rose shuffled around and got comfortable and fell asleep in his arms. He smiled to himself, he was here with her in this world and taking the chance to go after her had been the right thing, the only thing to do. "I love you Rose," he whispered.