Jack sat on the floor next to the console with the metal circlet on his head, waiting for the moment when the Doctor would pull energy from him to give to Rose. If he did so, that was. He hoped Rose wouldn’t need it, but if she did, he was more than happy to provide it. It wouldn’t be the first time someone had pulled life force from him, and Rosie was someone worth it, unlike the thing that possessed that girl or Abbadon.
Suddenly, the Doctor switched on his part of the machine. He flinched, but stayed silent as he watched Rose with wide, fearful eyes. There was a flash of golden light and the process seemed calmer, but only marginally so.
Finally, the Arch shut itself down and released from Rose’s head. She fell back against the seat and the Doctor rushed to release her from the belt that was holding her in place. Jack yanked the circlet off his head and got up, rushing to her himself.
“Is she alright, Doctor?” Jack questioned worriedly.
“Medbay,” he snapped and carried his wife out of the console room.
The Doctor immediately placed his unconscious wife on the nearest bed as they entered the medbay. Jack was right behind him, and, having had to help the Doctor with Rose twice before, went straight for the full body scanner and turned it on.
They watched several laser lights moved up and down the unconscious form on the table in just a few seconds. As soon as the lasers were finished, the Doctor went straight to her and checked her pulse in an effort to reassure himself while the results were being compiled.
“A bit slow,” he murmured to himself. A second later, the machine beeped and he turned toward it. Jack came up beside him to look at the screen before he remembered that he wouldn’t be able to read it.
The Doctor stared at the information for about ten seconds before Jack asked, “What’s wrong with her? Did it work?”
“Yeah,” he breathed out. The Doctor’s face broke out in a grin. Suddenly, he turned, grabbed Jack, planted a kiss right on his lips, and hugged the immortal man. “Mwah! It worked!” he nearly shouted in his excitement.
Jack, who was caught up in the Time Lord’s infectious enthusiasm for a moment, hugged back and laughed before he opened his eyes and saw the still form on the gurney. “Uh, Doc? So, why’s she unconscious, then?”
“Her brain is still sorting itself out. The same thing happened to me when I used the Arch,” the Doctor said, pulling back and returning to Rose’s side. “But, because the process is different, it’s presenting as a post regenerative coma.”
“So, she’ll come out of it just fine, then?” Jack questioned worriedly.
“Oh, yes, but there’s something we can do to help it along,” the Doctor told him. “You wouldn’t happen to remember how Rose takes her tea, would you?”
Rose was snuggled up in the bed she shared with the Doctor, all comfortable and warm. She’d had the oddest dream, but it had felt so real. A person should not be allowed to be in that much pain when in a dream state. She also swore she tasted tea and wondered why she’d gone to bed without brushing her teeth.
She became aware of a pair of male voices speaking in low tones and picked out the Doctor’s quite easily. Wondering who else was on the ship, she opened her eyes and immediately closed them, groaning. The light was bright. Why was the light bright like that? It was rarely more than an amber glow in the bedroom.
At her groan, both voices ceased speaking and the side of the bed lowered with the weight of someone sitting on it. She tried opening her eyes again and found the light to be more bearable, blocked as it was by a skinny Time Lord in a brown, pinstriped suit.
“Hello,” he softly said and brushed a strand of hair back from her face.
“Hi,” she replied automatically. “Oh, can you turn that light down just a hair, Sweetheart?” she directed to the ship, which lowered the light level a bit. She received an apologetic hum from the ancient time ship, except it was intertwined with a soft, barely heard melody.
She saw Jack behind the Doctor and realized her dream was actually reality. She’d been through the Chameleon Arch. “Did it work?” Rose asked shakily and the Doctor began to chuckle.
“Oh yes, my Love. You wouldn't be able to ask that if it hadn't. That was the single most terrifying experience of all my lives,” he admitted.
“Worse than when I almost fell into the Void?” she questioned, knowing that he had awoken several times from nightmares about that. He got a dark look in his eyes and she realized she had actually said that out loud. Okay, brain to mouth filter was needing a bit of adjustment, there.
“Close, but this was definitely more agonizing, hearing you in so much pain,” he told her and ran his hands up and down her arm as if to reassure himself that she was still there. She felt goosebumps rise on her skin as his hand passed over her and shivered.
She went to sit up, but as soon as she moved, her hand brushed against the velvety duvet she was laying on, which felt incredibly good. She ran her hand over the fabric again, with her whole palm making contact. “Ooh,” she breathed out, running her hand back and forth over the fabric. She moved to the pillow, then down over the clothing that was on her. She realized that she was still wearing the dress she had gotten married in. The lace felt rough against her skin.
“This is different,” Rose said, lost in the way everything felt different. The Doctor chuckled, which snapped her attention back to him and away from how everything felt against her skin.
“I know,” he empathised. She sat up all the way and he hugged her. He felt so warm and smelled so good. He felt too warm.
“Are you okay?” she asked, looking at him hard. He looked different, not by much, but it was like he was more detailed.
“Am I okay? You were the one that just changed species.” the Doctor replied incredulously.
“You’re so warm,” she told him and felt his forehead. That led her to tracing the freckles over his face that seemed to stand out more and the Doctor closed his eyes in pleasure before he grabbed her other hand and placed it on the exposed skin of her chest.
“I’m the same as I always was,” he told her softly. “You’re cooler now.”
“I’m like you,” she whispered. She put her other hand on her chest so she could feel the beat of her hearts. She had two. She focused on the feeling. Each heart was a little bit slower than her single, human heart was. One beat just ahead of the other, so that both together felt like lub, lub, dub, dub, with a small break before the next round.
It was the extremely comforting rhythm she’d slept with for several months, but it felt odd from inside her chest. Not something you think about all the time: the rhythm inside your chest.
“You’re like me. Two hearts,” he agreed softly. A memory came to mind, so vivid she could see the disrepair of the room they were in at the time.
“I-I’m.” Oh, she was having trouble spitting it out. She gestured at her chest and started laughing.
“Rose?” Jack, who had been a silent observer before, asked worriedly.
Oh, god, Rose, just spit it out already , she thought to herself. “I’m beating out a samba!” she finally forced out, and the Doctor, who’d been smiling at her laughter, shook his head and rolled his eyes, but she could see from his expression that he thought the reference was funny as well.
She stopped laughing when she focused on the rest of the room. The walls looked different and some of the items in the room were a different shade than she remembered from just a few hours before.
“Everything looks different,” she said as she went to get up to look at the wall closer. As soon as she swung her legs off the other side of the bed from where the Doctor was sitting, a toe got caught in the lace of her dress’ top layer and she fell to the floor painfully, ripping the piece of lace a little.
Both men immediately rushed over to help her up. “I’m fine,” she protested once she was upright. “Just a little clumsy, I suppose.” Part of her thought she’d be a bit more graceful or something.
“Well, that’s to be expected,” the Doctor told her. “You’ve just changed. Essentially, you’re newly regenerated without the excess energy. Everything’s going to be a bit different.”
At his words, Rose’s eyes widened and she turned to look into the mirror on the vanity that had once been in her room to find that she looked-exactly the same. Her cheeks were a little more pink, maybe, with her hair a yellower tint, but she was sure that was because of how her vision had changed and not how her appearance had actually changed.
“I wanna see the rest of the TARDIS,” she said.
They walked together back to the console room, Rose leaning on the Doctor a little as she was still a bit wobbly. She was seeing things that weren't visible to her before. They had always been there, she supposed, but it was disorienting to see an odd glow in the coral or feel a new air current that had gone completely unnoticed to her previously. A low, almost melodious humming noise started just after they left the bedroom and Rose was trying to figure out where it came from.
“How do you feel, Rosie?” Jack asked, still a bit worried about her.
“Actually, I feel amazing. There's this humming. A bit like the TARDIS, but differ-” she began and gasped as she turned to look into the Doctor’s eyes. “It's you! Oh wow, that's incredible!”
“Yep,” the Doctor replied happily. “I’m guessing that it started back when we left the room?” he deduced. At her nod, he explained, “Your telepathy is coming back.” They turned the corner and walked into the console room, where the Chameleon Arch was still hanging from the ceiling.
“Wow, look at that!” she added as she gazed at the time rotor.
“What?” Jack wondered, not understanding what she saw that was different. Rose’s hand was reaching into the air as if she could touch something floating in the air. Her eyes were wide and her mouth open in awe at whatever she was seeing.
The Doctor, however, knew exactly what she was seeing that was so different. The Time Rotor was surrounded by wispy bits of pure time energy To the temporally sensitive, it presented much like golden smoke spiraling in the air.
“It will take you a little while to get used to your new senses, Rose. You can see a wider spectrum of colours now, and you'll start to develop your time sense. I'll help you, Love,” her husband assured her. She felt his mental caress stronger than ever before coming from the place in her mind that was softly humming against her consciousness.
“Humans usually have five senses. How many do you have, Doc?” Jack wondered.
“Twenty seven. But your senses aren't usually something you really have to think about, they just happen. Now, since we have a lovely bit of honeymooning to do, we can take everything nice and slow, alright, love?” he explained.
“Yeah, let’s do that,” Rose replied as she felt something else new start. She felt dizzy for a moment as she felt the ship drifting. She realized then, that when they were on a planet, she would feel it turning, the way the Doctor told her he could when they first met. The air smelled different, felt different and there was something near her that felt extremely unnatural.
It was all a bit overwhelming.
“Oh my god, Jack. Is that you? I’m sorry!” Rose exclaimed when she realized the strange sensation was coming from him.
“Right, I forgot. I have to tamp down my time senses around him. Are you alright?” the Doctor asked worriedly.
“Yes, it's just, umm, uncomfortable? Maybe since I've never been like this and not been around him, it isn't so bad for me?” she suggested. Despite her other senses telling her he was flesh and blood, her new senses made him seem like a statue in the middle of a busy room. It made her sad. After everything Jack had done for them, he’d even died earlier for her mother, and she was having to get away from him for the moment.
And it was all because of what she’d done to him.
“That makes sense. And I sincerely hope that you two will come visit me often, but if I'm going to make things difficult while you're acclimating, why don't you drop me off back in Cardiff?” Jack told them.
“There's also the fact that your time senses haven't fully developed yet, but I'm sure if we hang around him often enough, we’ll both get used to it,” the Doctor added.
“Thank you for being here with us, Jack. For this and for the wedding,” Rose said as she hugged her friend tightly.
“Yes, thank you, Jack. I was very glad you were here during all of that,” the Doctor agreed and moved to pilot the ship back to the Torchwood Hub, just after they had picked him up earlier that day.
“Anytime. Just make sure and come back once in awhile? I've got your number, Rosie, if we get in over our heads around here,” Jack replied. He could feel the change in her body temperature when she hugged him. He was used to differences like that with all of the different species he'd met, but it was disconcerting to note the change in a friend.
The time ship landed with a bump and Jack walked to the door before adding over his shoulder, “And if the two of you ever change your minds about that three way…”
“Jack!” Rose and the Doctor shouted, making Jack laugh loudly before leaving the ship.
Jack continued chuckling to himself as he listened to the TARDIS engines wheezing behind him, to take his friends off on their honeymoon.