Chapter: 12/19, 13/19
AUTHOR: Laura H
FANDOM: Doctor Who
CATEGORY: Angst, Romance, Ten/Rose
SPOILERS: Season 1, TCI, CiN special and kinda sorta Doomsday
Author's note: We're moving fast now, folks. Try to keep up ;)
As they sat side by side on the small couch by the ship’s console, Rose thought that she might want to lay her head on his shoulder but didn‘t. Not yet, she thought. She’d only been in the TARDIS for about fifteen minutes and yet it felt like time had swelled, enclosing them, protecting them in its bubble.
At first it had been strange, the way he’d held her hands and smiled at her as if he’d searched time and space for her. The sudden thought that maybe he had, sent tremors through her body. He had opened his mouth as if to say something but a look of uncertainty had passed across his face. Swallowing, he’d finally spoke.
“How much do you remember?” He seemed so fearful of her response that she’d almost wanted to lie to him, but that wouldn’t work, so reluctantly she’d told him the truth.
“Nothing. Nothing concrete. Just your name.”
“There’s nothing else?”
“I don’t remember being here. There’s just…”
Feelings. Longings. Desires.
“Yes?” he’d said, his voice hopeful, but she’d pulled back from saying it, not ready to give voice to what she didn’t know for sure.
“No, I’m sorry. I can’t remember anything,” she’d said and wished she could take the words back as, almost imperceptibly, his shoulders sagged. She’d ignored the voice that told her she should’ve lied and said, “What about you? What do you remember?”
“Everything,” he’d said and looked at her in a way that, for a split second, made her forget how to breath.
So now they sat in silence and Rose suspected that the Doctor was giving her time to take in all that had happened.
I could stay here forever she thought, and wondered why she felt so safe, but she knew that soon they’d have to move. She decided to be the first to speak.
“So what happens now?”
“Now, Rose Tyler, we have work to do and I think we have to work fast.” He sprang from the seat and leapt towards the control panel where he began throwing switches and levers.
“Why? I still don’t understand what’s going on you know.”
“Alternate timelines, Rose. Alternate universes. We existed somewhere else once. All of us. You, me, your mum, Mickey.” Rose winced at the sound of that name, but the Doctor was oblivious, fiddling with dials and buttons while he spoke. “Reality’s been adjusted somewhere along the line and we’ve found ourselves in an alternate universe. I don’t know why or how, but what I do know is that it shouldn’t have happened.” He turned to her.
“Rose, listen to me very carefully. No matter what you remember, you have to understand. That was not your home. Neither one of us belongs here.”
Suddenly an instrument on the panel began beeping rapidly and an image appeared on the small monitor.
“Aha! There it is! I knew it would be close.”
“What? Doctor, what is it?” asked Rose, her frustration growing once more at his vague, unfathomable answers.
“We need to get back. We can’t stay here. This is a construct, Rose. A false reality and I’ve got a feeling that who or what created it won’t be happy that it’s unravelling. They’ll do whatever it takes to fix things. To separate us again.” He stopped his activity suddenly and looked down at nothing in particular. “I can’t let that happen.”
For a moment Rose felt the overwhelming urge to throw her arms around him and tell him that no, she wouldn’t let it happen either. She was here to stay and she’d never leave him again. She stood there her stomach and chest swimming with emotions that she didn’t understand and couldn’t explain. How could she feel such a link with this man when she didn’t have a single memory with which to tie it down? Why was she so drawn to him? Why did she…?
Her thoughts were interrupted as the Doctor reached for a lever, pulling it vigorously towards him and the TARDIS engines ground into life. Rose felt a familiar sensation that reminded her of going over the first dip of a rollercoaster. At first she was glad of the interruption to her thoughts. They’d been drifting to a place where she wasn’t sure she was comfortable. But then she realised that he was taking her away in his time machine without even a proper explanation.
“Doctor!” she shouted and his head snapped round at her tone. “Will you please tell me where the hell we are going?”
“Well of course I can,” he said with a bright smile and pointed to the monitor. “We’re going there. The Powell Estate.”
“The Powell Estate? But that‘s where mum lives.” Rose stopped speaking, her voice suddenly catching at the mention of her mother. She’d think about that later, she told herself.
Instead she focused on the image displayed on the small screen. It was one she recognised immediately as the playground near her mum’s flat. She’d passed by it that morning, but that felt like a lifetime ago now. The swings, the merry-go-round, everything was so familiar. Why was it so important to the Doctor now?
“There’s an energy signature there,” he said, in response to her unasked question, “and I think it’s got something to do with what’s written on the ground.”
At first she didn’t know what he was talking about. What writing? Then, as she scrutinised the image she saw it, scrawled in chalk, letters ten feet long. Bad Wolf.
Rose squeezed her eyes shut as a sound echoed through her head. A loud wail, almost a howl, that she knew she’d heard in dreams.
“Don’t you recognise it?”
Rose shook her head, refusing to let it in.
“Rose, you were the Bad Wolf once. Don’t you remember? You held that power. These markings are yours.”
On the screen the words were faint, but still they seemed to glare at her from the monochrome monitor. The memory itself was just outside of her reach but she knew that what the Doctor said was true.
“So what does it mean? Say I did write those words, so what? They’re just words now. It’s just chalk.”
“No, Rose it’s not! There’s energy there. One hundred times the normal background readings for this planet. Those words have power that they shouldn’t! That’s why it’s important!”
He paused and took a breath.
“I think Bad Wolf’s been unleashed, Rose. I think it’s trying to show us the way home.”
The journey was short, almost instantaneous.
“I didn‘t think I‘d be seeing this place again quite so quickly,” murmured Rose as she stepped through the TARDIS door onto the concrete playground. Immediately her eyes were drawn to the giant letters scrawled across its surface. She felt strange. Every hair on her skin was standing on end and her head hurt. The Doctor bounded past her and ran towards the writing waving the little blue light…
…that she’d seen him using earlier.
“Yes!” he cried. “Yes, it is here! I knew it!”
Rose stood back and watched him run back and forth between the playground and the TARDIS. She felt powerless and out of control. Events were gathering speed now but despite the fact that she still had no real understanding of how this was going to turn out, the conviction refused to fade that this was how things were supposed to be. Her trust in the Doctor was implicit.
“A beam. A single beam aimed right here,” he said, pointing at a spot on the ground. “That’ll open it up. It’ll tear it right open if necessary.”
“Sounds dangerous,” said Rose, wanting to contribute.
Looking up at the sky and then back down at the ground, the Doctor nodded. “Yes,” he said, contemplatively. “Yes, it just might be. But I’m afraid, Rose Tyler, that we have very little choice.” He turned and ran back inside his ship and Rose peered round the door to find him lying underneath the console ripping wires and tubes out of it’s inner workings.
His labours continued for about half an hour while Rose rocked idly on the swings. Every so often she’d glance around the estate, half expecting to see her mum pass by on the way to the shops. This current situation would certainly be hard to explain. But no familiar face appeared and Rose tried hard to swallow her regret.
Suddenly a glow appeared from within the TARDIS, accompanied by a cry of ‘Yes, you beauty!’ and in the next instant a dazzling beam of light burst forth, it’s energy concentrated at the very centre of the Bad Wolf graffiti. It was accompanied by a loud resonating whine.
And something was happening. At first it looked like the actual ground was melting beneath the force of the blast, but when Rose looked closer she saw that in fact the surface of the playground was peeling apart like a zip. Her mind reeled at the impossibility of what was happening and an growing sense of dread clawed at her insides. None of this was right. None of it.
Then, as suddenly as the beam had started it stopped, but still the ground gaped where the playground used to be and she edged her way forward, simultaneously afraid to see what lay within but pulled by an overwhelming desire to find out.
“Rose!” The Doctors voice was urgent and echoed from within the ship. He appeared at the door and she ran to him. “It’s now, Rose! We have to go now! Are you ready?”
But Rose shook her head. She knew that it had all been leading to this, but now that the moment was here she was recoiled at the thought of what it might mean. A roar had begun to build from within the crack, like white rapids pouring over a waterfall.
“I… I don’t know if I can. This is too much, Doctor. I don’t think I’m ready.”
“We’ve no choice, Rose!” he cried, clutching at her elbow as she tried to pull away. “This isn’t where we belong. You know that! You have to know that!”
“But what about mum? What about Mickey? I can’t leave them! I can’t just disappear!”
“Rose, as soon as we go through the fissure they won’t know any different. They’ll never have existed in this timeline and things will be back to how they should be. All of this,” he swung his arm round in a wide arc, “will be gone. It’s fake, Rose. It’s not real.” He grasped her face in his hands and said earnestly, “But I’ll tell you what is real, Rose. You and me. This is what’s true.” He paused and stared intently into her eyes. “Do you believe me, Rose? Do you trust me?”
“Yes,” she whispered and her words were almost lost in the noise that was coming from the fracture in the ground, but the Doctor heard and he smiled.
“Well then Rose Tyler. I’ll tell you one more thing that’s real. My ship. And it wants to take us home. Want to come along?”
In answer she laughed, knowing finally that wherever the Doctor went she would go too. She grabbed his hand, pulling him inside. He laughed and swung her round in his arms as he kicked the door closed.
Seconds later the TARDIS rose from the ground and hurtled into the breach. Neither of it’s passengers realised that where they were going would take them further from home than they had ever been before.