"What're you-" she said as the thing went over her neck and she felt her stomach lurch.
The room suddenly became darker, with wires hanging from the ceiling. It took a moment for Rose to realize what had happened. She was in the other universe, without the Doctor. That bastard had sent her away for her "own good" again! Not two days before, she had promised that she would stay by his side forever, and damn it if she was going to let him make her break her promise.
"Oh no, you don't. He's not doing that to me again," she growled as she looked at the ugly yellow thing in her hands, trying to figure it out. She realized that the yellow part was a button. She smacked it roughly and said, "I think this is the on switch." The room lurched again, turning back to bright white.
She turned around to see the Doctor standing there, looking shocked. He stormed over to her and grabbed her shoulders roughly.
"Once the breach collapses, that's it. You will never be able to see her again. Your own mother!" he shouted as he shook her fearfully and gazed into her eyes.
If she wanted to get him to understand that she knew what she was doing, she needed to stay calm. "I made my choice a long time ago, and I'm never going to leave you," she insisted as evenly as she could. "So what can I do to help?" she asked.
The Doctor looked shocked. Did he not believe her promise of forever? He really thought she could be happy in another world without him? Rose saw that he was starting to see just how serious she was, and in his eyes was a glimmer of acceptance and joy at her loyalty.
Dimly, in the background, she heard the computer announce that the system had been rebooted. That seemed to be the call to action for the Doctor.
"Those coordinates over there, set them all at six. And hurry up," he ordered, nearly shouting. She didn't take it personally, as he had a habit of shouting whenever he was stressed.
She ran over to the computer terminal and took off her universe jumper thingy, before he could pull that trick again, and did as he asked. On a computer, she saw surveillance video of Cybermen coming up the stairs toward them.
"We've got Cybermen on the way up," she informed the Doctor, who stopped what he was doing and came over behind her to look at the monitor.
"How many floors down?" he asked as he headed over.
"Just the one," she replied.
They watched as one of the Cybermen stood in front of the others and halted them. They couldn't hear what was said, but it was clear that someone had been strong willed enough to fight the control of conversion. Taking advantage of the extra time allotted them, they got back to work on their plan.
The oh-so-helpful computer proclaimed that the levers were operational, and the Doctor smiled.
"That's more like it. Bit of a smile. The old team," she encouraged, happy to see his grin again.
"Hope and Glory, Mutt and Jeff, Shiver and Shake," the Doctor babbled.
Shiver and Shake? Was he calling her an elephant? Maybe not. Maybe she could be the ghost instead. "Which one's Shiver?" she asked.
"Oh, I'm Shake," the Doctor replied as he handed her a magna clamp. Good, she was the ghost. Wait, did she want to be the ghost?
They each went to different sides of the room and put their clamps on the wall, Rose, not knowing how they were actually supposed to work, just mimicked the Doctor's actions. She looked over at him unsurely.
"Press the red button," he instructed.
She looked back at the machine in her hands and found the red button. Upon pressing it, she realized that she no longer had to hold it in place.
"When it starts, just hold on tight. Shouldn't be too bad for us, but the Daleks and the Cybermen are steeped in Void stuff," he told her. "Are you ready?" he asked.
Rose nodded in reply. Then she saw them, a few Daleks gathered outside of the window threateningly. "So are they," she warned and he followed her gaze.
"Let's do it!" he called. The pair went to the levers and pushed them up into the on position, then ran back to the clamps before the suction could really start.
"The breach is open! Into the Void! Ha!" the Doctor shouted joyously as the first Daleks smashed through the window, then a mix of Daleks and Cybermen came flying by.
One of the Daleks hit Rose's lever with a glancing blow, causing it to spark and come unlocked.
The computer took that opportunity to mockingly announce that the system was now offline. They couldn't allow the suction to stop now. Who knew how many Cybermen and Daleks would be left to roam?
Rose tried to reach the lever from her position, but it was too far away. She reluctantly let go of her clamp and grabbed the lever, yelling, "I've got to get it upright!"
She tried to pull the lever upright from the side she was on, but the suction of the Void was still too strong and kept making her push the lever instead. She wound up being pulled to the other side of the lever, where she finally found a bit of purchase to push the lever back into the 'on' position. As soon as the lever was locked in place, the infuriatingly calm computer informed her of what she could already feel; that the machine was working again. The suction picked up, and Rose could feel herself lifting off of the ground, against gravity.
"Rose!" the Doctor yelled, clearly terrified of what might happen to her. "Hold on!"
She tried to do just that. She was adamant that she wouldn't let go, no matter what he said. But her fingers started slipping. The Doctor's eyes were wide with fear as he saw the slip and shouted at her to hold on again, louder this time.
Her fingers slid from the lever, first one hand, then the other slowly gave way to the suction. She was going to fall into the Void. When she was down to two fingers, she turned all of her attention to the Doctor, who watched with wide eyes, breathing heavily as he reached toward her.
I'm sorry, she thought as her last finger slipped and she sped towards the Void. She threw out her arms frantically as she was sucked toward the Void, desperate for anything to grab on to, when her fingers struck something solid and she instinctively grasped it with all her might. She immediately reached out with her other hand to hold more securely onto the odd, diagonally placed bar that came out of the floor. The suction pulled her towards the centre of the wall.
Rose's hold started slipping again. She couldn't seem to get a proper grasp with her right hand for some reason, so she kicked with all her might, trying to get one of her legs to hook onto the next bar for more purchase. Somehow, she managed to get one foot around the bar, and used it to drag her other leg to the same bar. She held onto both bars for dear life, literally.
When she finally looked back towards the Doctor, she saw sheer terror in his eyes. It was clear that he felt that she ought to have died during this little stunt. He was still breathing heavily, one arm reaching towards her, as if he could strengthen her hold by sheer will alone.
She felt the pull lessen as the opening between the universes started to collapse into itself. The collapse took only a second, but it felt longer to Rose. As soon as it was over, her whole body dropped to the floor, now being pulled by normal Earth gravity.
In an instant, she found herself in the Doctor's arms as he checked her over for injuries. She couldn't help but scream as a piercing pain shot through her hand when he touched it. How did she not feel that before?
"Adrenaline," the Doctor mumbled. Did she ask that out loud?
"Is it broken?" she asked him worriedly.
"Yeah," the Doctor affirmed. "I'm afraid so. But we'll have you fixed up in a jiffy, once we get back to the TARDIS," he added with slightly more cheer.
Rose turned and looked at the wall that had been the focus of the last few minutes, knowing that it would now separate her forever from her mother, Mickey, and her would-have-been father. She walked to the wall, holding her broken hand gingerly against her chest and put her good hand on the cool, white surface.
"Have a good life, Mum," she whispered, as if her mother could hear. Maybe she could.
She hadn't noticed the Doctor following her, but suddenly felt his hand on her shoulder with a supportive squeeze. Tears dripped down her cheeks against her will.
"I'm sorry, Rose," the Doctor whispered, not daring to disturb her.
Rose sniffed and dashed the tears off of her face with the back of her hand. "It isn't your fault, Doctor. I made my choice, yeah? And it'll always be you."
They made their way back to the TARDIS in the basement of Torchwood, so that the Doctor could treat Rose's hand and they could leave before the authorities arrived. The Doctor and Rose found their beloved ship far from the spot it had been left. Apparently, a few of the items in the room had been through the Void as well, and had smashed into it, making it slide across the room. It left a scraped trail on the floor in its wake. A pile of some of those items lay in front of the doors of the TARDIS, and the Doctor pushed them back enough so that they wouldn't just fall in when he opened the door.
He pulled one thing out from the items and stuck it in his pocket, muttering about how the humans didn't need that before he entered the ship, Rose following silently.
Once inside, the pair made a beeline for the infirmary, where the Doctor found the necessary equipment to heal her fractured hand. Rose hopped up onto one of the beds and waited for him.
"Is there any way to contact her, Doctor?" she asked quietly as he worked on her hand. "Just to let her know I'm alright?"
The Doctor thought for a moment, then replied, "I don't think so. I'll check with the TARDIS and see if there are any cracks left. We would have to seal them as quickly as possible, though."
This gave her hope that she could say a proper goodbye to her mother. A large part of her was ashamed at how she left her without a word, but there hadn't been time for that. If she had waited another moment, she might not have been able to come back at all.
"Before we go contacting your mother, this hand needs to finish healing," the Doctor said. "I don't want her clawing her way through to slap me when she sees that," he teased, trying to lighten the melancholy mood that had been haunting them.
Two days later, Rose sat in the jumpseat in the console room, watching the Doctor typing away at the monitor. The circular lines and dots that made up the written form of his language moved faster than she could believe that he could see, but then again, she'd watched him read through books in her language at astonishing speeds. Suddenly, the Doctor stopped, spun around, and smiled at Rose.
""It'll work, Rose," he let her know. "There's a way to get enough power to talk to her, rather than just send a message."
"Thank you." she jumped up and wrapped her arms around the Doctor's neck in a hug, which he reciprocated.
"So, how do we do this?" Rose wondered a minute later when she finally let go of the Doctor.
"Um, welll," he began, scratching the back of his neck as if he was nervous.
"Well, what?" Rose asked. If he was nervous about it, maybe they shouldn't do this?
"Well, it's just a little thing, really," the Doctor started. "Just a tiny little thing, but the connection between mother and daughter is the only way I can be sure that we'll be able to contact her."
"Yeah, so?" she prompted. Rose hadn't figured out what he was going on about yet.
"I know you don't like people messing about with your mind, and I wouldn't ask this of you if I didn't-"
"Oh," Rose realized. He needed to make telepathic contact with her.
"I'll just need to barely skim the surface of your mind," he replied, apologetically. "I won't look at anything deeper, just the surface thoughts you are having at that moment. And if there's anything you really, really don't want me to see, you can just imagine a door in front of it, and I won't look," he babbled rapidly.
"Okay," Rose replied simply.
"And you'll just need to- wait, did you say okay?" he asked, stunned.
"Yeah," she affirmed. "I trust you, Doctor. You just asked. My problem is things messin' about with my mind without askin'."
"Oh," he replied, flustered. "Okay then. There's one other thing we'll need to do to get the power we need," he informed her.
"What's tha'?" she wondered after he paused.
"We're gonna cause a sun to supernova," he rapidly said, with a glimmer of excitement in his eyes.
"We're gonna what?" she queried, stunned. Maybe she didn't hear that right.
"We are going to burn up a star," he repeated at a slower, less manic pace.
"We can do tha'?" Rose asked, stunned.
"Oh, yes," he answered, proudly.
"But what about-" she started, but was cut off by the Doctor.
"There's no life on the one planet that orbits it," he assured her. "And the star is nearing the end of its life cycle. There never will be any life. It's nowhere near any other system that it could affect. I've already thought about all of that, Rose."
"Sorry for questio-," Rose said.
"Don't be," he rudely interrupted again. "If you hadn't questioned that, I'd have worried about you. I know you'd never want any damage done." He then switched back to his explanation. "Okay, I have the TARDIS set up to telepathically contact your mother and set this sun off, all we have to do is press a few buttons," he told her. "Welll, that and get to the sun in the first place. Hold on!"
Rose grabbed the nearest surface and held on as the Doctor pulled them out of the Vortex. When the shaking stopped, the scanner showed a small star outside of the TARDIS. The Doctor came around to her, nervous again, and Rose wondered why he seemed that way. Did he have something else he needed to do that she might not like?
"Okay, last chance to back out," he let her know.
"Not likely," she replied. She was nervous about him going into her head, he'd never done it before. She did have telepathic experience, though. The Timeship she called home was telepathic, and she'd occasionally talk to her. The TARDIS wouldn't properly talk back, but she could let her opinions be known with lights, feelings, and the rare image.
The Doctor hesitantly held his hands out to her head, his long fingers slowly moved towards her temples, and he closed his eyes when he physically made contact with her. She watched his face as this happened. He appeared to be serene, almost happy.
"Okay, think of your Mum," he instructed her. "Think of something from your childhood. Happy times. Talking to her on the phone. Think of anything to help you make contact."
Think happy thoughts, she thought, and the image of Wendy came into her head for a moment. The Doctor smiled, and then said out loud, "Sorry, about that, that was me, carry on."
This was an odd experience. She had to keep from thinking wayward thoughts, something that was damned near impossible with her Time Lord so close.
His breath hitched. "Rose, close your eyes, it might help you to concentrate better," he ordered, strained.
She immediately did so. She summoned as many good thoughts about her mother as she could. Her Mum whistling while doing laundry; conversations when they were younger about her dad; fixing scraped knees. As she had gotten older, they became more like friends than anything. Her memories turned to fangirling about that cute Scottish actor's bum and talking about clothes and shoes and whatnot.
Suddenly, the console dinged, and the Doctor pulled back quickly.
"That's all I need," he informed her. "You did great. Now we just need to wait."
Rose sat back down and watched him back at the console. He wasn't paying any attention to her anymore, and she worried about what would happen later. Why couldn't she have just shut her eyes from the start? Not that she needed to look at him to feel the attraction between them.
After what felt like an eternity, the console gave another ding. The Doctor immediately went to look at the monitor and turned to Rose.
"She's near the gap," he said. He grabbed her hand and positioned her near the console with her face toward the wall. "Ready?" he asked.
"No, but let's do this anyway," she replied.
The Doctor hit one last button on the console, and the whole ship shuddered violently. He had just blown up the sun they had been orbiting, the TARDIS soaking up the energy.
As soon as the ship stabilized, Rose straightened herself back up, and an image showed up around her, as if she were standing in some virtual reality program. She saw her mother running towards her through the holographic image the TARDIS displayed. She seemed to be on a beach somewhere.
"Rose! Sweetheart, is it really you?" Jackie cried.
"Yeah, Mum. Well, it's… it's a hologram, I suppose," Rose answered as she tried to calm her racing heart. This was probably the last time that she would ever speak with her mother and she didn't want to waste it with tears.
"Well, where are you then?" Jackie whined.
"Inside the TARDIS. We can't get through to you, Mum," Rose explained, and suddenly the Doctor was beside her.
"There's one tiny little gap in the Universe left, just about to close, and it takes a lot of power to send this projection. We're in orbit around a super nova. Burning up a sun just to say goodbye," the Doctor explained.
"You mean, I'll never get to see my daughter again, Doctor?" Jackie asked as her eyes filled with tears.
"I'm sorry, Jackie," he whispered in reply, regret clear in his eyes.
"You'll be alright, Mum. You've got Pete and Mickey there with ya," Rose said, trying to cheer her up a little. "And I'll be fine with the Doctor, yeah?"
"There'll be four of us soon. I'm pregnant," Jackie admitted and wiped a few of the tears away that had escaped her eyes.
"Oh Mum, that's wonderful! More Tylers on the way," Rose responded with a genuine smile.
"But what are you gonna do, Rose?" Jackie questioned, seemingly worried that the Doctor might abandon her the way he did Sarah Jane.
"I told you, Mum, I'm staying with the Doctor. I made my choice a long time ago and we'll just keep travelling," Rose replied as she took his hand next to her.
"I promise, I won't abandon her, Jackie. She is welcome to stay with me for as long as she wants to," the Doctor added.
"You take good care of her, Doctor. Or so help me, I'll find my own way back and slap you into your next face," she scolded with false bravado.
"Time's almost up," the Doctor whispered to Rose.
"Oh god. Umm… I love you, Mum," Rose said, flustered by the time ticking away from them.
"I love you too, sweetheart. You take care of yourself," Jackie replied.
Suddenly, the image around Rose faded, leaving only the coral and hexagon shaped things in her field of vision. She turned around and the Doctor gathered her up in his arms, to let her cry. She felt the hum of the TARDIS in her mind trying to soothe her as well.
On a beach in another universe, Jackie Tyler broke down crying. Her new husband and old friend came running to support her through the difficult time.
The Doctor held Rose until her sobs died down, running his hand along her back in circles. She wouldn't know it, but through his motions, he was writing in his language how much she meant to him.
When she pulled back, her mascara was running everywhere. She sniffed once, then zeroed in on a spot on his jacket.
"I'm sorry," she apologized and wiped at the dark patch.
He looked down, and saw that there was a smudge of her mascara. Her wiping had actually made it bigger. When she noticed it, she stopped.
"Hey now," he said in his best calming voice, "that's fine. I can get that out in a jiffy." He reached up and wiped a tear off her face.
"I'm, just…" she trailed off and pointed towards the corridor.
"Yeah," he acknowledged with a nod of reassurance.
As soon as she left, he pulled out his sonic and set it to take care of the mascara. As soon as he was finished, he put it back in his pocket and went to the monitor, trying to decide where to take Rose to get her mind off things.
Suddenly, there was a flash of light. He looked up, and there was a woman standing there, facing the doors.
The woman turned around at his exclamation. "Oh!" she squeaked.
"What?" he repeated, a hair louder this time. Where the hell had this woman come from?
"Who are you?" she demanded.
"But-" he started, confused.
"Where am I, eh?" The woman, a ginger he noticed, demanded of him.
"What?" He was shocked. This couldn't be possible. Nothing could get in here!
"What the hell is this place?" she thundered.
"What?!" he shouted.
Rose reappeared in the doorway, having heard the noise and asked, "What's going on?"