Run With You

By mltrefry

Romance / Adventure

The Sound of Drums pt 2

“How’s your shoulder?” The Doctor asked as Rose examined the now scabbing wound.

“’S fine,” She said, pulling her torn jumper and jacket over her shoulder. “I don’t think I was hit as badly as everyone thought, and then given the circumstances.” She said, sitting in the folding chair next to the Doctor inside the abandoned warehouse the quartet had chosen as their hideout.

It was dark out, a couple small lanterns Jack had found in a crate were the only light thanks to the Doctor’s sonicing the rechargeable batteries inside. They’d found some folding chairs and empty crates, setting up a small sitting area where the laptop with it’s now nearly ever lasting battery and ability to pick up wi-fi from great distances was essentially the centerpiece.

Rose watched the Doctor refreshed the various news feeds he had open, seeing no changes from fifteen minutes ago.

“I wish I knew what to say to you,” He said quietly, glancing over at Jack who was a good distance away, back turned to them as he fiddled with his vortex manipulator. “Seems every time I get us back on track, something new comes up. We’ve been hiding more than we’ve been running, and the running hasn’t been the good kind as of late.”

“You don’t have to say anything to me,” Rose reassured. “Not in the way you think. ‘S not your fault.”

“But I should have sensed him right from the beginning. I should have … but I didn’t. And now here we are, hiding in a warehouse, you’ve been shot, Martha’s family in danger. Only good thing I can think of is your mother not being here. Watching them take Martha’s mother was bad enough, but if I had to watch them take Jackie?” He huffed. “I’d have lost it.”

“I never thought I would think of my mother being locked in another world as a good thing, but you’re right. It’s better that she’s not here. Then again he can’t seem to figure out who I am.”

“Which is strange,” The Doctor thought on it. “If he’s been here that long. He did say he couldn’t get to the records until after he was an elected official, and that was after Canary Wharf, but still. You’re on the list of the dead, the dead don’t just get wiped from the records.”

“He called me Rose Smith,” She pointed out. “When I went to the Lazarus party in disguise, that was the name I used. And back when we met Martha, in the hospital. I used Smith then, too. Like him, I just sorta popped up.”

“I guess you did,” The Doctor said thoughtfully. “Rose Tyler was reported missing, and then considered missing again after the battle, but Rose Smith has been around London a bit since then.” The Doctor smirked. “Married and has a job as a journalist.”

“Not married yet,” She managed to tease him, tongue between her teeth.

He smirked. “That is one thing I will say that surprises me about him: married to a human.” The Doctor snorted, “And before me, at that.” He looked to Rose again, brushing her hair back behind her ear, and she felt his love came through, and closed her eyes against it, only now realizing it’d been a while since felt it like that.

Rose hummed happily, a grin pulling on her lips before she felt his against hers. She lifted her hand, fingers going to his jawline and feeling the light stubble with her thumb. She felt his fingers sift through the hair at the base of her neck, gently holding her to him. It wasn’t strictly chaste, but it wasn’t trying to head into anything heady, simply being an exchange of love that neither had shared and desperately needed after everything that happened.

The Doctor gently brushed his nose against Rose’s before he rested his forehead against hers.

“You know it’s one thing to hear you two say you’re together,” Jack’s voice startled Rose away from the Doctor, turning toward her immortal friend. Jack was smiling almost wistfully, his eyes looking glassy in the low light. “It’s another thing to actually see it.”

“Sorry,” The Doctor said, turning to the laptop and hitting the refresh button as his ears turned red.

“No, don’t apologize.” Jack said firmly. “You’ve no idea how happy I am that you two are truly, well, happy. Together.”

Rose smiled at him, at a loss of what she could say but appreciative of it none the less.

The door on the far end of the warehouse closed with an echo that reverberated until Martha was a few feet away with two bags of takeaway in her hands.

“How was it?” Jack asked her as she set them down on the crate where the laptop was resting.

“I don’t think anyone saw me.” She said as she reached in the bag and started handing out food.

“Shoulda been me,” Rose said as she took the container of food from Martha. “My face was the least visible, and I’m technically considered a dead woman.”

“And you have a bullet hole in your jacket and a healing wound to go with it.” Jack countered. “Martha was the least suspicious.”

Rose shrugged, though she still wasn’t so sure she agreed.

“Anything new?” Martha asked as she handed the Doctor a container of food.

“I’ve got this tuned into the government wavelength so we can follow what Saxon’s doing.” Jack said, gesturing to his manipulator before grabbing the Styrofoam container from Martha.

“Meant about my family.” She replied.

“It still says Jones family taken in for questioning. Tell you what, though, no mention of Leo.” The Doctor said as he opened his container and leaned back, propping his feet up on the edge of the crate. Rose shifted, resting her feet beside his as she started eating the glorious smelling fish and chips Martha brought back.

“He’s not as daft as he looks.” Martha said with a smile as she sat down. It fell a moment later. “I’m talking about my brother on the run. How did this happen?”

Rose and Jack met each other’s eyes over the crate, glanced at the Doctor who was very interested in his trainers, and then back to one another.

“Nice chips,” Jack said, lifting one with his fingers.

“Gorgeous.” Rose replied. “Haven’t had chips like these in forever.” She popped on in her mouth, looking back at the Doctor who nodded in agreement. He noted her gaze, and flashed her a smile and a wink that made her grin back.

Jack cleared his throat, “So, Doctor, who is he?” He asked quite suddenly. “How come the ancient society of Time Lords created a psychopath.”

“Jack,” Rose admonished.

“And what is he to you?” Martha asked. “Like a colleague?”

“A friend, at first.” The Doctor admitted, quite to Rose’s surprise.

“I thought you were gonna say he was our secret brother or something,” Martha mused.

“It doesn’t matter who he is,” Rose said firmly. “Just that he needs to be stopped.”

“He’s got my family,” Martha countered. “I want to know why my being with the Doctor put them in danger. Not all of us have the luxury of not having family to worry about.”

“Low blow, Jones.” Jack said evenly, and Martha blushed and bowed her head before Rose could start giving her a piece of her mind. “But honestly,” Jack continued. “How’d he get like this? The legends of Gallifrey made it sound so perfect.”

“Well, perfect to look at, maybe.” The Doctor said thoughtfully, dropping an arm around Rose’s shoulders and playing with the ends of her hair. “And it was beautiful. They used to call it the Shining World of the Seven Systems. And on the Continent of Wild Endeavor, in the Mountains of Solace and Solitude stood the Citadel of the Time Lords.” His caress touched her neck, and Rose’s mind was flooded with the images he was describing to their friends. The high buildings in the glass dome reminded Rose of castles, but instead of brick and stone with rigid towers the were lovely structures of metal and glass. Some came to points like needles, others were simply rounded at the top. Set against the backdrop of those red mountains and the fields of matching grass, lit ablaze by the two suns, she realized that there was no way the Doctor could do his planet justice with words. She saw the trees with their silver leaves, and could almost smell the fragrance of the rose-like flowers that lined a field where two small boys ran about, a grand estate in the background.

The images faded, then the Doctor’s fingers returned to toying with her hair.

“Children of Gallifrey,” He continued, “are taken from their families at the age of eight to enter the Academy. Some say that’s when it all began, when he was a child. As a novice, he was taken for initiation to the untempered schism. It’s a gap in the fabric of reality through which could be seen the whole of the vortex. You stand there, eight years old, staring at the raw power of time and space. Some would be inspired, some would run away, and some would go mad.”

“What about you?” Martha asked.

“Oh, one of the ones that ran away. I never stopped.” The Doctor said, pulling his hand away from Rose’s hair and resumed munching.

“I can’t imagine letting my child go through that.” Rose shook her head, imagining the Doctor as a boy, running away from the power he saw. Power, she knew, he never wanted.

“Good things you can’t have children then,” Martha said, looking surprised the words came out of her mouth. “Sorry.” She murmured.

“’S alright.” Rose shrugged.

“What do you mean you can’t have kids?” Jack asked, looking between her an the Doctor. “Like an incompatibility thing between you two, or…?”

“Well, the compatibility would have been tricky,” The Doctor said thoughtfully, looking to Rose without saying anything else. She held his eye a moment, understanding in the end that this was her story to tell, not his.

“Doctor said I took on the heart of the TARDIS, yeah? And you asked what I did to me if I could do … what I did to you. Well, I’m aging more slowly. So slowly, in fact, that I’m probably not going to look any older than thirty five when I … and that’s not going to be for a long time. Centuries, actually.” She explained, carefully avoiding mention the defining word of the end of her mortality more for the Doctor’s sake than anything. “But with all the enhancements, like better healing, and faster thinking, I lost my ability to have children. The one adventure we can never have.” She said, feeling th Doctor’s hand fall on her knee.

“You guys think of your future like that?” Martha asked while looking at the last bit of her food.

“Always have,” The Doctor said. “Just didn’t think I’d have someone who was willing to share it with me.” He may not have noticed, but at his words Martha flinched. “Still wish I could give that to you though,” He added, and Rose looked to see the sad smile on his face.

“Ten dogs should do,” She replied, laughing as his smile fell away and he paled.

A beep came from Jack’s direction, and he looked at his manipulator as he set his empty container on the crate. “Encrypted channel with files attached. Don’t recognize it.” He told them.

“Patch it through to the laptop.” The Doctor said, gesturing to the device sitting on the crate.

Jack fidgeted, looking between Rose and the Doctor, eyes falling mostly to Rose. “Um, since we’re telling stories. There’s, uh, there’s something I haven’t told you.”

“What?” Rose asked, the last of her laughter still in her voice before the fear in Jack’s eyes made all the humor fall away.

He got up, bringing his chair over to the other side of the crate and placed it in front. He typed a few things on the laptop in a browser, took a deep breath, let out a nervous exhale, then hit enter.

And Rose’s heart dropped into her stomach as she looked at the Torchwood logo with the damning company name beneath it for good measure.

“Jack,” She whimpered, finding it hard to look at him.

“You work for Torchwood?” The Doctor growled.

“I swear to you both, it’s different!” Jack defended quickly, once again putting his focus more on Rose. “It’s changed, there’s only a half dozen of us now.”

“Probably because they were all killed by their own stupidity back at Canary Wharf. Where I lost everything.” Rose’s voice continued to rise and break with every word.

“That was the old regime. I rebuilt it, changed it after it fell.” He looked to the Doctor. “I did it for you, in your honor,” He looked back to Rose, “In your memory.”

The Doctor looked to Rose over Jack’s head, his anger felt even without them touching, slowly fading as Rose couldn’t return it in equal. She ached, she was angry, but she loved Jack too much to hate him. And since he was Jack she was inclined to believe him, at least until his word was proven false.

When the tension settled a bit, the Doctor reached over to the laptop and opened the file, a video with an unfamiliar older woman looking back at them.

“If I haven't returned to my desk by twenty-two hundred hours, this file will be emailed to Torchwood.” She said. “Which means, if you're watching this, then I'm...” Rose swallowed as the woman on camera looked away, taking a moment to keep herself together. “Anyway, the Saxon files are attached. But take a look at the Archangel document. That's when it all started. When Harold Saxon became Minister in charge of launching the Archangel Network.” The woman pushed a button, and a blueprint of something came up in her place, then switched to a cartoon style image of the Earth with 15 satellites pointed around it.

“What’s the Archangel Network?” The Doctor asked, looking to Jack, and then likely to Martha.

“I’ve got Archangel. Everyone’s got it,” She replied, handing the Doctor her phone.

“It’s the mobile network,” Jack explained. “Look, it’s gone worldwide. Even the other networks are carried by Archangel.” He pointed out.

The Doctor popped the back of Martha’s phone, handed the piece to Rose before running his sonic over the exposed back.

“It’s in the phones! Oh, I said he was a hypnotist.” The Doctor proclaimed like a child.

“Why, what’s he done?” Rose asked, standing to see if she could glean any insight by watching what the Doctor was doing.

The Doctor pretty much ignored her, tongue curling out the corner of his mouth as he focused. Then he bent down suddenly, tapping Martha’s phone against the crate despite her protest. And then it started. “There it is,” the Doctor said with quiet triumph. “That rhythm, it’s everywhere. Ticking away in the subconscious.”

“What is it, mind control?” Martha asked.

“No, no, subtler than that. Any stronger and people would question it.”

“It’s suggestion,” Rose realized. “The rhythm in the phones that people use constantly. Then when he starts campaigning the sound is somehow, I dunno, layered, or played in the background.” She tried to articulate, suddenly finding that she was thinking too fast, and a headache started to form.

“Exactly,” The Doctor said, his mind so focused and his attention so drawn to the phone that he didn’t notice Rose slink back down to the chair, fingers pressed into her temples as she closed her eyes blocked him out.

She knew that his gob was still running, as it always did when he was on to something like this, but she didn’t dare listen. Her thoughts were jumbled, and Rose went inside her own mind to sort them out. Slowly she was able to calm it down, the random running thoughts that made so much sense and yet she couldn’t fully comprehend tucking themselves away like files in a drawer. Her headache receding, she sighed with relief.

“Rosie?” Jack’s voice made her eyes fly open, and she looked up at him looking at her with concern, the Doctor having just noticed the ball she had curled herself into. “You alright?” Jack asked as the Doctor dropped to his knees in front of her.

“’M fine.” Rose replied with a smile. “My mind just got away from me. Gave me a headache.”

The Doctor put his fingers on Rose’s temples without permission, though the concern he had flooded over her the instant their skin touched, and she made no effort to block him out of her mind when he slowly entered it.

Your mind has gotten bigger,” He noted internally. “It’s neater than your room used to be, that’s for sure.

“Oi,” Rose said out loud, causing the Doctor to laugh out loud, and Jack and Martha to look confused.

I don’t see where the pain is.” He noted.

I calmed my mind already,” Rose replied. “Just got away from, ‘s all.

He pulled out of her mind slowly, kissing her forehead before taking away his touch and his hum of love.

“Right, now!” He said as he bounced back up on his feet. “I have work to do. And I’m sorry, Martha, but I’m going to owe you a new laptop. And phone.

Martha’s laptop probably had a good run, or at least that’s what Rose hoped as she looked at the discarded bits of it around the warehouse floor. Her mobile was in hard shape too, if it still had a shape at all, and Rose genuinely wondered how the Doctor was ever going to make this up to her.

“Our TARDIS keys,” He said, holding out three of them on a rope and Rose’s on her chain. “Four pieces of the TARDIS with low-level perception properties because the TARDIS is designed to blend in.”

“But she doesn’t” Rose teased with her tongue poking out of her smile as she stood facing the Doctor, flanked by Martha and Jack.

“Well, she sorta does. Anyway, the Archangel Network’s got a second low-level signal. Weld the key to the network and,” He took one of the keys and put the rope around his neck. Jack and Martha shifted, but Rose stared ahead. “Can you see me?” He asked.

“Yes,” Rose said while Jack and Martha shifted their heads about, squinting their eyes.

“Ah, but you want to see me.” The Doctor said, clicking his tongue and winking at her which only made Rose roll her eyes. “Jack,” He said, taking off the key from around his neck and chucking it to the Captain with ease.

Rose moved to stand beside the Doctor, watching Jack slip the key around his neck then ….

“Blimey, that’s ….”

“It just shifts your perception a tiny bit. Won’t make us invisible, just unnoticed.” The Doctor explained.

“Aww, don’t want to see me Rosie?” Jack teased, though Rose wasn’t entirely sure where he was. She squinted, shifting her head around in an attempt to see him.

“I do,” She reassured. “Why do you think I’m willin’ to give myself another bloody headache tryin’?” She asked with a grin and getting a chuckle out of Martha.

Her chain with the TARDIS key came into view, and as the Doctor slipped it around her neck, Jack became clearer. “We’ll be able to see each other fine.” He said, stepping away from her when the clasp on her chain was secure. He dropped the next TARDIS key around Martha’s neck, and she stopped squinting instantly. As the Doctor put the last key around his neck he returned to stand beside Rose.

“When we’re out there, don’t run. Don’t shout. Draw attention to yourself and the spell is broken. Just keep to the shadows.”

“Like ghosts,” Jack nodded.

“Yeah, that’s what we are. Ghosts,” the Doctor nodded.

“Some of us more than others.” Rose mumbled.

“Rose,” Jack said as the Doctor and Martha turned to leave the warehouse. He looked at her with sincerity. “I’m sorry. About what Torchwood did, about not telling you I work for them when I found out you were alive.”

“You don’t need to apologize.” Rose smiled, moving toward him with her arms open to embrace him.

He took it, crushing her against him. “I’m still just so happy you’re alive. And that you will be for a long time.”

“Me too,” She chuckled, kissing his cheek before she stepped back. Taking Jack’s hand, the two of them caught up with Martha and the Doctor where Rose quickly fell in step with the Time Lord. Jack’s hand was traded for his, and they walked in the darkened streets of London.

The Master is an ass. Far more childish than Rose had ever seen the Doctor behave, though maybe that’s because being a bloody psychopath causes one to lose their sense of maturity. Standing in the rain, holding the Doctor’s hand with Jack on her other side, she watched the Master as Harold Saxon make a mockery of the country he represented to the President of the United States.

As the President left to prepare to board the Valiant, Saxon leaned into his wife with a mischievous smirk before sending her off. The he turned and looked right at them. Or maybe not right at them, but it was like he could tell they were there.

The police siren made her startle, and the Doctor tightened his grip on her hand.

It’s alright,” He soothed in her mind, sending her some reassurance to help lower her heart rate as they watched the Master gleefully run up to the police van that parked on the runway.

He laughed a true evil laugh as the doors opened and Martha’s family were escorted out.

“Oh my God,” Martha gasped and Rose felt the Doctor shift to stop her.

“Don’t move,” he reminded, “Don’t.” He let slip some of his anger and frustration before he put up a wall and stopped the flow between them.

“I’m gonna kill him,” Martha said with a conviction Rose could get behind as the Jones’ were moved into a black SUV, Martha’s parents putting up a good fight but failing.

“Say I use the perception filter to walk up behind him and break his neck?” Jack suggested casually,

“Now that sounds like Torchwood.” The Doctor said bitterly.

“Still a good plan,” Jack defended as the Master moved toward another waiting vehicle where his wife was likely waiting for him.

“He’s a Time Lord, which makes him my responsibility,” The Doctor said with the weight of the storm in his voice. “I’m not here to kill him, I’m here to save him.”

“You can’t save everyone.” Rose said as the Master climbed inside the vehicle.

“I owe it to myself, and to him, to try.” The Doctor added, and Rose looked up when she felt his gaze on her too intensely to be ignored. He was firm in his decision, and he wanted her to see that. He would not be a killer again, not if it could be avoided.

“I have this set to the Valiant.” Jack said breaking the fraction of tension. “Works as a teleport since you revamped it, Doc.”

“My family’s on board,” Martha said quickly, stepping into Rose’s view and staring down the Doctor.

“Hands on Jack,” He said as he took one last look out toward the Master. The three of them touched the manipulator on Jack’s wrist.

Not unlike a punch to the gut, the teleport knocked the breath out of Rose. Straightening her back that ached as well, she heard Jack groan.

“Oh that thing is rough.” Martha commented with a moan as well.

“I’ve had worse nights,” Jack said as he cracked his neck. “Welcome to the Valiant.”

“It’s dawn,” Martha commented as she moved to a port hole with a slight limp.

“Was that intentional?” Rose asked, finally feeling like herself.

“Oh yes,” The Doctor said as he moved like the teleport hadn’t fazed him at all. “Why wait around all night when we can jump right to the main event?” He said before stopping short. Rose came up beside him and heard a soft, agonized hum that wasn’t the engines surrounding them. “Do you hear that?” He asked her, his grin growing full and wide.

“Yeah.” She replied, mirroring it.

The Doctor grabbed Rose’s hand and pulled her toward the sound.

“Hey, where are you going?” Jack asked, flustered. Rose heard his heavy footfalls coming up behind them, Martha’s lighter ones not far behind.

“What is it?” Martha called to them as quietly as she could. “Is it my family?”

“It’s ours,” Rose smiled to Martha before the Doctor pulled her around the corner. He came to a door and threw it open, chuckling with delight.

“Oh at last!” He said, his hand already going to the key around his neck before he took a step toward the old girl.

“Oh darling, you have been missed,” Rose said, darting to the corner and giving it a stroke. The TARDIS didn’t hum in her mind, not the way she normally would, and no more than a groan of pain. “What is it?” Rose asked as the Doctor got inside. “What’s wrong?”

“Rose!” He yelled, sounding scared and angry, and Rose darted inside the TARDIS to see what was the matter.

Everything glowed red, reflecting the ships pain and likely her anger at whatever the Master had done to her. The console and the time rotor were entirely caged off, the Doctor kneeling down and looking at something.

She started toward the middle, hand extended to comfort the ship.

“Don’t touch her,” The Doctor said, reaching up and grabbing Rose’s wrist.

“What the hell happened?” Jack asked as if he had finally found his voice. He was on the other side of what should have been the console, looking just as upset as Rose felt about the beloved ship’s condition.

“He’s cannibalized the TARDIS,” The Doctor spat.

“What’s that mean?” Martha asked, sounding more panicked than concerned. Which, Rose supposed, made sense seeing as how she was the least connected to the old girl out of the four of them.

“It means he’s turned the ship into a paradox machine.” The Doctor ground out, tapping his knuckle against a gage attached to the metal grating caging in the rotor. “As soon as this hits red, it activates. At this speed it’ll trigger,” He grabbed Jack’s other wrist, looking at his watch. “Two minutes past eight.”

“First contact is at eight, and then two minutes later….” Jack noted.

“And it’s being televised,” Rose reminded them. “To the world. What ever he’s planning the world will be watching itself fall to his mercy ….”

“Unless we stop him.” Jack nodded.

“So we’ve got to get to the Master,” Martha added with determination.

“We will.” The Doctor said as she slowly stood up.

“But what do we do when we get there?” Jack asked. “How do we stop him?”

“I’ve got a way,” The Doctor said, and Rose arched a brow. He simply grinned, turning abruptly and leaving the TARDIS.

“I’m sorry,” Rose said to the ship. The TARDIS weak and in pain, stroked Rose’s mind once. In that one wave, Rose felt the poor girl’s bravery, and her asking Rose to do the same.

She followed the others outside, catching up to them as they weaved their way down the corridors with the Doctor leading the way.

“So what’s the plan?” Jack asked the question on Rose’s mind as she managed to pass Martha to flag the Doctor.

The Doctor lifted the TARDIS key around his neck. “If I can get this around the Master’s neck, cancel out his perception, they’ll see him for real, as a danger.”

“And what happens if you get caught?” Rose demanded.

He glanced at her quickly, fleetingly, the look in his eyes painfully familiar. “You all have keys, too.”

“That we do,” Jack said firmly.

“I’ll get him,” Martha growled out.

Rose grabbed the Doctor’s hand and forced him to stop. He spun around, looking at her with confusion in his dark, stormy eyes, and Rose heard Jack and Martha pause too.

“This is all too familiar.” Rose said.

“How so?” The Doctor asked.

“About to go up against someone or something bent on murder and destruction with a plan seemingly so fail proof it has to work.” He quirked and eyebrow at her reasoning. “Like opening the void and letting Dalek’s and Cybermen fly in. Only one of the switches fail, and we almost lose each other.”

“Rose,” He said calmly but she shut up him by grabbing his head and bringing his lips to hers.

“Just in case,” She breathed when she broke away, only to find his mouth back on hers a moment later, his tongue caressing hers, gentle yet intimate.

“Just in case.” He said agreed as he stepped away from her, continuing the way he was heading before. Rose didn’t care that Jack beamed at her like a fool, or that Martha held herself tightly as she looked at the floor while she turned to follow the Doctor. Rose wasn’t about to consider the thoughts or feelings of others when everything around her seemed so off, wrong, like the end was coming and they just couldn’t see it.

Like five seconds wouldn’t be long enough this time.

The four of them made it to a conference type room, slipping inside as the the President of the United states was giving his address to the world.

“I give you the Toclafane,” He said, and the room applauded as the metal spheres appeared around him. “My name is Arthur Coleman Winters, President-Elect of the United States of America and designated representative of the United Nations. I welcome you to the planet Earth, and its associated moon.”

Giving Rose’s hand a quick squeeze, the Doctor slowly started to move forward, key poised to be lifted off his neck though not yet removed.

“You’re not the Master,” A masculine sounding voice came from one of the Toclafane.

“We like the mister Master.” A childish, girly sounding voice came from another.

“We don’t like you,” Another male voice came threateningly from the last.

“I … can be master, if you wish.” The President said, trying to focus on a Toclafane but not able to do so as the hovered and circled him. Rose glanced at the Doctor who was painfully close to the Master. Her heart hammered erratically, and she found herself chewing her thumb as she watched him creep closer. A massive part of her longed to run over and yank him back, prevent him from doing this, but the smaller, calmer part of her mind knew this likely their only way to stop something that could destroy the world.

“Man is stupid.” Said the Toclafane who last spoke.

“Master is our friend,” Said the first.

“Where’s my Master? Pretty Please?” Said the girly one.

The Doctor lifted his key a little higher.

“Oh, alright, then! It’s me!” The Master stood abruptly, and the Doctor fell back a step, looking around the room and glancing at them as the Master leapt up on to the stage-like platform beside Winters. “Sorry, sorry, I have this effect. People just get obsessed! Is it the smile? Is it the aftershave? Is it the capacity to laugh at myself? Ha, ha, ha, I don’t know, it’s crazy!” He said as he looked around the room and then into the cameras.

“Saxon, what are you talkin’ about?” The President asked, frustrated.

The Master let his smile drop as he turned to the President. “I’m taking control, Uncle Sam. Starting with you.” He turned to the Toclafane. “Kill him.”

It all happened so fast and yet painfully slow. The President was shot, guards shouted as people tried to escape, Jack pulling Rose toward him protectively before he lost his grip and she made to try to stop the Doctor as he removed his key too hastily. A Guard grabbed him, then another, forcing him down on his knees and getting Rose to stop in her tracks.

“We meet at last, Doctor.” The Master said with a caress of the Doctor’s name. “Oh, how I love saying that.”

“Stop this, stop it now!” The Doctor growled out.

“As if a perception filter’s gonna work on me.” The Master said with a grin, looking straight at Rose now. She felt her stance becoming defensive without realizing she was shifting. “Oh and look, it’s your little pet. Still can’t figure out who or what she is, though I’m more or less leaning toward your toy. Is she the one who screams ‘save me, Doctor’ every time you land somewhere new? Does she make you feel like, oooh, like a hero getting his reward?” The Master asked, twitching his eyebrows suggestively.

“Leave her alone!” Jack rushed toward him.

“Jack, stop!” Rose tried to warn, but the Master was quick to draw something out of his pocket and point it at Jack. A beam of light hit him in the chest, and with a groan of pain, the Captain collapsed to the floor. Martha ran over to him, and Rose found herself torn between doing the same or staying near the Doctor.

“Laser screwdriver! Who’d have sonic?” The Master explained, giving his screwdriver a little toss. “And the good thing is, he’s not dead for long, I get to kill him again!” He laughed as if it was the most fun thing in the Universe.

“Master, just calm down.” The Doctor tried to reason. “Just look at what you’re doing. Just stop. If you could see yourself ….”

The Master opened his mouth, stopping as he seemed to remember something. Turning to the camera, he smiled. “Oh, do excuse me. Little bit of personal business, be back in a minute.” He then looked to the guards as he slowly sauntered down the platform. “Let him go.”

They did as told after giving the Doctor a shove to the floor.

“It’s that sound,” the Doctor tried to reason. “The sound in your head. What if I could help?”

The Master dropped to sit on the stairs across from the Doctor, and it was taking every bit of strength Rose had not to go to him, to resist attacking the Master with her bare hands as he looked at the man she loved with a crazy, predatory gaze.

“Oh how to shut him up?” He said, miming with his free hand like had was making puppet speak. “I know! Memory lane. Professor Lazarus, remember him and his genetic manipulation device? Couldn’t resist checking out what he was doing, could you? It worked, of course, the technology portion. It was the machine that failed him, altered his DNA, caused his untimely death. But the technology, ooh, wasn’t it sound. And you know what? Being his only backer meant I got easy access to it, managed to concentrate it into one, little screwdriver.” He said with a grin, wiggling his device between his fingers before faking a pout. “But, ooh, if I only had the Doctor’s biological code. Oh, wait a minute!” He perked up before leaping to his feet and rushing to a silver case sitting on a table. “I do!” he said with flourish as he opened the case to show off the Doctor’s severed hand. “And if Lazarus can make himself younger, I can use the same technology to age you about, oh I dunno, a hundred years.” The Master aimed his screwdriver at the Doctor.

As the Doctor screamed in agony, Rose turned away, seeing Jack hand Martha his vortex manipulator. He looked to her, met her eye, and mouthed. “Teleport.”

She shook her head.

“Please,” He begged silently, his eyes showing how badly he wanted her gone and safe.

She turned back to the Doctor just as the screaming stopped, seeing his beautiful body was aged to a weak elderly form.

“Doctor,” She barely managed to say before rushing to his side, catching him as he started falling to his knees, holding him as tight as she dared. His brown eyes looked into hers, full of regret.

“The Toclafane,” The Doctor barely managed to say. “What are they?”

The Master smiled with a mock sympathy. “Doctor, if I told you the truth, your hearts would break.” He gave the Doctor a pat on the cheek, moving before Rose could snarl or make to hit him. Hopping back up on the platform, he ignored them, addressing his likely no longer adoring public.

I failed you,” The Doctor’s mental voice sounded the same, though perhaps a little weakened.

You didn’t,” Rose replied, tears in her eyes as she reached to brush his cheek. Martha was at her side a moment later, the fear evident in her shaking form and wide eyes.

“Girls,” The Doctor’s old voice whispered. “There’s only one thing left you can do. Use the manipulator, leave.”

“Not leavin’ you,” Rose said as firmly as she could while her heart started breaking.

“Precious girl, please.” The Doctor said, and he must of known his term of endearment for her would cause her to listen more attentively, because she gave up her fight right then. “The World’s watching, they see him now. They heard someone standing up to him, but I don’t … I don’t know if they saw me. It doesn’t matter if they did, not really. Just that they know there’s someone out there who will stand up to him.”

“What do we do?” Martha asked him quietly.

“Tell them a story, tell them all our stories, make them believe in me.” He said.

“What good will it do?” Rose asked, not meaning it unkindly.

The Doctor pointed as discreetly as he could to a monitor.

364 days 23 hours 54 minutes.

“I don’t know exactly what he plans to do,” The Doctor whispered. “But on that day, at the time ….”

“If everyone in the world thinks the same thing, it could be so powerful it could stop the Master.” Rose figured it out.

The Doctor’s old face smiled. “Clever girl.”

“Stories.” Martha said, “So we get them to think of … you.” He nodded once. “Then what are we waiting for,” Martha’s voice cracked, and Rose saw she was crying quietly. She gently took one of Rose’s hands off the Doctor, placing it on Jack’s manipulator that Martha clutched in her hand.

“Wait,” Rose implored, and Martha hesitated before pausing, her finger a hair’s breath from pressing the button.

Rose looked into the Doctor’s eyes, seeing that he believed in her with the smile that shined within them.

She kissed him quickly, “I love you.”

He smiled, his wrinkled fingers caressing her cheek, wiping away the tears, flooding her with the intensity her words made him feel.

I love you, too.” His voice was the one she was used to, since it was in her mind, and Rose wasn’t sure it made it any better. A moment later, he was gone, and the gut punch feeling that remained was from so much more than the teleport.

Martha’s arms wrapped around her neck, and Rose clutched to her like a life line as they both took a moment to give in to their broken hearts and collect themselves.

“My family’s up there.” Martha wept.

“So’s mine,” Rose said, swallowing back her grief. The two women looked at each other, seeing the pain and loss that they were both facing, the seemingly impossible task that they were given together. At once, they both tucked their pain away, their expressions matching determination as they helped each other to their feet.

Turning together, they watched from the empty field they landed in as billions of Toclafane descended on London, on Earth, with the screams of the innocent filled the air.

Their hands found one another, and grasping to each other tightly they headed toward the city, facing the Master’s Apocalypse side by side.

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