AUTHOR: Laura H
FANDOM: Doctor Who
CATEGORY: Angst, Romance, Ten/Rose
SPOILERS: Season 1, TCI, CiN special and kinda sorta Doomsday
The day was fading with shades of purple and gold unfolding across the sky. The August sun though, was still visible in the west, clinging to the horizon as if unwilling to succumb to the onslaught of the night.
Rose gazed through the rusted fence at the old building that loomed in front of her. Apprehension had wound its way around every muscle and tendon in her body and she suspected that she wouldn’t be able to move even if she wanted.
She’d spent the day having an internal argument, first of all deciding resolutely that she’d be the stupidest person on the planet to go to meet a stranger alone in a deserted building. Then telling herself that if she didn’t go she’d spend the rest of her life never knowing whether this was it; the life changing moment that’d she’d always suspected was coming. The event that made it all fall into place.
Rose had thought about telling Sheila what had happened to her, but when she’d eventually made it back to the shop, Sheila was in a strange mood, so distracted that she hadn’t even noticed how late her assistant was.
Telling Mickey was out of the question. Of course he’d tell her not to go and if she insisted, then he’d insist on going with her. That, she knew, was out of the question. So eventually she’d made the decision on her own. She’d go.
Now she stood frozen on the other side of the fence thinking that maybe she’d finally lost the plot entirely.
“What the hell am I doing here?” she muttered, all the while knowing that there was no way she was leaving until she found out whether or not he was there. She walked to the gate and pushed it open, jumping at the loud groan from the rusty hinge. It stuck with barely six inches of a gap and Rose put her shoulder to it, forcing it open further. Decades worth of empty beer cans and crisp packets gathered behind the metal bars until eventually Rose had enough space to fit through.
Her footsteps echoed across the wasteland as she slowly approached the shell of brick and metal that loomed in front of her, but despite the sense of trepidation and the way her heartbeat quickened, Rose knew now that there was no going back.
The black hole of the doorway beckoned and she couldn’t resist its pull. Stepping over the fallen masonry and broken glass, Rose entered the building.
“Now what?” she muttered. Look for the blue he’d said, but Rose had no idea what that meant. She gazed around the vast expanse of the warehouse’s ground floor and felt lost.
“Hello?” she called and winced as the word echoed back as if mocking her for her foolishness.
It was at that moment she heard it. A reverberating sound, like metal scraped over granite, rising and falling. It undulated and grew louder, making the hairs on her neck stand on end and her head spin. Then she saw the blue.
First it was a light that pulsated, reaching into the far corners of the empty room and turning shadows into ghosts. She looked toward it’s source and in the next few seconds Rose truly doubted her sanity.
A box was materialising. Now ‘materialising’ wasn’t a word she used on a regular basis but there really didn’t seem to be any other way to describe it. First it wasn’t there, then it was. A translucent outline of a large blue box with a flashing light on top. Rose watched as it faded in and out of view until, finally, undeniably, it was there. A blue rectangular box, big enough to fit a person inside.
Rose walked over to what she assumed was it’s front and placed her hand on the solid wooden panel of the door. Spreading her fingers over the cracked blue paint, she noticed it was still warm, like the bonnet of a car after the engine has been switched off. Yes, she decided, it was definitely real; concrete and indisputable.
There was a sign, she realised, on the adjacent panel.
FOR USE OF THE PUBLIC
But somehow Rose didn’t think she’d get any response from your friendly, local bobby if she used that phone.
“What are you?” she asked, softly, but then jumped back, retracting her hand as the door opened and a familiar head popped out.
“Evenin’” beamed the head, “Glad you could make it. Have any trouble getting here?”
“Um, no not really,” replied Rose, taken aback by the stranger’s blithe manner.
“Oh, good, good. Sometimes the buses after 6 o’clock can be so unreliable,” he said, stepping out into the warehouse and closing the door.
“Glad that rain stopped, eh? That wasn’t half weather for ducks. Did you…?”
“Now hold on one minute!” she snapped, her bewilderment having dissipated. “You’ve not invited me to a bloody tea party here! I’m here to find out what the hell’s going on! Who are you? How do you know my name?” She pointed toward the blue kiosk.
“And what the bloody hell is that thing?!”
“Oh, right yeah. Sorry. Rose Tyler,” he said, beaming proudly, “meet the TARDIS.”
“Time and Relative Dimensions in Space,” he continued, as if by way of explanation. The man looked at Rose expectantly. She looked back blankly and shrugged her shoulders.
“No? Nothing? Oh well, basically it’s a transdimensional, temporal matter transmitter, existing in a relative actuality. The dimensional shifter circuit creates the interior dimension and the dimensional integrator and void locker provide an interface…”
Rose coughed pointedly.
“…what?” he said, looking back at her. She crossed her arms and arched one eyebrow. “Oh, right, sorry. Um, in layman’s terms I suppose you’d call it my time machine.” He smiled broadly.
“Did you just snort?”
“Yes, you did. You snorted. I clearly heard you expel air through your nose in a derisive manner.”
“Well why would I do that. You’ve just told me that this phone box is a time machine. Why on earth would I find that amusing? In fact, you know what? When you said look for the blue you didn’t need to be so cryptic. You should’ve just said look for the big time machine that appears out of nowhere!”
“Ok, stop it! You’re blatantly laughing at me now!”
“No, I’m not actually,” said Rose. “I’m not laughing. I’m leaving.” She spun, resolutely, on her heel and began walking towards the exit.
And there was something in his voice, something earnest, all light-heartedness gone. She stopped.
“There’s something you have to see. I think it’ll help you understand. Will you come with me?”
Rose turned and the man held out his hand. This time, after a moment’s hesitation, she took it and let him lead her inside his time machine.