The Year that Never Was pt 2
She held on to the roll bar of the jeep as they drove back to London, the wind in her hair an odd luxury for her. She felt Jimmy’s eyes on her but she didn’t care. Couldn’t care. She was back on English soil, she felt closer to the Doctor in a way she couldn’t pin point, and it was wonderful. She worried for Tim, hoping he would be there waiting for them when it was all over. She thought of the infamous Martha Jones and hoped she managed to keep on her journey. But for now, Rose was happy.
“We don’t have much,” Baxter, the man who was with Jimmy, said from the driver’s seat. “Small group, just a few survivors who managed to stay hidden. You familiar with UNIT?”
Rose snorted, “Companion of the Doctor, what do you think?” She said, leaning down so her voice would carry better.
Baxter chuckled. “Guess so. Anyway, place was pretty much destroyed when the spheres invaded, but the basement wasn’t. We stay down there.”
“How many of you?” She asked, letting go of the roll bar and sitting down in her seat beside him.
“About twenty adults and forty kids under eighteen.” Baxter replied, his mustache flapping in the wind of the open vehicle.
“That’s actually a pretty good rate.” Rose said. “Seen far less.”
At that, Jimmy chuckled.
Rose slowly turned and looked at him in the backseat. “What?” She asked.
“Not a thing,” Jimmy said shaking his head and looking away.
She narrowed her gaze at him before turning around and facing forward. They picked up speed as they entered London, taking a lot of sharp turns that nearly had the jeep tilting over until they took one last corner and was suddenly in an underground parking garage.
Rose looked around as they came to a stop, noticing only another three vehicles, all of them parked haphazardly.
“We wondered when the spheres attacked if maybe they were given specific orders when it came to who to kill. Most all of UNIT headquarters were taken out.” Baxter explained solemnly. Rose climbed out of the vehicle, following Baxter’s lead as he directed them down a winding corridor. “The few members we have left don’t even make up half the adult population here,” he added as they came to a door, and Baxter punched in a code. “Everyone else were stragglers who somehow knew to come here, or got lucky.”
There was a bit of commotion on the other side of the door, but it was mostly from kids running about. Letting Baxter continue to lead her, Rose looked around the some-what homey feeling bunker. There were rooms that had likely been offices at one point now housing 2-4 cots depending on the size, there’d been the common area they walked through, and Rose could smell a food wafting from a hidden kitchen. Baxter brought her down to the end of the hall, knocking twice on a door before opening it, a blonde woman speaking and pointing to a map of London while a brunette woman and a bald man looked on.
“We’re back,” Baxter said. “And we brought someone.”
The blonde was the one who turned first, and upon seeing Rose she had a hint of recognition in her eyes.
But it was the brunette that drew Rose’s attention with a gasp, and Rose’s heart stopped when she met the woman’s eyes.
“Sarah Jane,” Rose barely said louder than a whisper before her fellow companion leapt out of the seat and held her tightly.
“Rose,” She said, and Rose was rocked back and forth as her heart swelled. “Oh, God, it’s good to see you.” She stepped back, and her eyes were damp. “We heard stories months ago, tales of Martha Jones and Rose telling stories of the Doctor. Not long ago the reports we were getting back was that it was simply Martha.”
“Had to lay low,” Rose replied, still gripping Sarah Jane’s shoulders. “Better most people think ‘Rose’ is dead.”
“But you are,” The Blonde said, her gaze narrowing on her in confusion. “Rose Marion Tyler, companion of the Doctor in his ninth and tenth incarnations, died at Canary Wharf at age twenty.”
“I’m twenty-two, actually.” Rose smirked, “And I didn’t die, I just never had a reason to stay.” She replied, brushing a lock of hair behind her ear and noticing Sarah Jane watching the motion intensely. “And should we really be talking the Doctor’s regenerations with just anyone in the room?” Rose asked the blonde woman as she gestured to Jimmy standing a few feet away.
The blonde looked at him coldly. “All soldiers of UNIT are briefed on the Doctor, even those who are soldiers because we’re desperate.”
“Ma’am, yes, ma’am.” Jimmy mocked behind her, and Rose rolled her eyes. “Where would you like me now?”
“You’re relieved of duty for now,” The blonde waved Jimmy away, and he snickered and mumbled before shutting the door roughly behind him. “Different times and I’d love to see that boy actually put through the basic.” She said with a sigh. “I’m sorry, we’ve met but you don’t remember me. Kate Lethbridge-Stewart.” She offered Rose a hand. “My father was a good friend of the Doctor’s.”
“I’ve heard the stories.” Rose said as she stepped back and leaned against the wall. “Well some of them,” She shrugged. “He still doesn’t tell me everything. Not yet anyway.” She said with a smile, tongue between her teeth as she briefly allowed herself to remember her Doctor animatedly recounting tales in their 1969 flat.
It was a beautiful memory, him in only his pants, jumping about as he enthusiastically recounted adventures during one of the rare moments they had to themselves and were not otherwise occupied.
Kate smiled, maybe seeing the small gleam of joy in Rose’s eye, or maybe for the fact that the Doctor never forgot her father. “When we met before, it’s because all companions of the Doctor are interviewed and then have their memory erased. He thought you were visiting your mother, and you were, just not as long as he thought you were.” The smile faded. “And I’m sorry about your loss. Or, am I?”
Rose smiled, though not as big as she had before. “She’s trapped in a parallel Universe.” Rose explained. “’S why there wasn’t any reason for me to stay. My home is the TARDIS now.”
“Where is it?” Kate asked. “We’ve looked everywhere, hoping to recover it and maybe ….”
“’S on the Valiant.” Rose replied sadly. “She’s been cannibalized.”
“What!?” Sarah Jane cried in horror, slowly sitting down in her seat.
Rose nodded sadly. “The Master, Harold Saxon, turned her into a paradox machine.”
“Why?” Kate asked.
Rose shrugged. “Something to do with the Toclafane. And, if I had to wager, Utopia.”
And to the confused expressions of Sarah Jane, Kate, Baxter, and the unknown bald man, Rose explained how they stumbled upon the Master at the end of the Universe. She left out no detail that seemed important, including her encounter with one of the spheres on the side of the road minus the detail of her dying.
“So there’s a human head in those things?” Kate said after a long pause of silence.
“Yep,” Rose said, popping the ‘p’. “It’s horrifying, really.”
“And we really, truly need to wait for the count down to end before anything can happen?” Kate asked, seeming desperate for something different.
“We do.” Rose said with a single nod. “One thought, at one time, using the very thing that brainwashed everyone into believing Saxon was a good man. I don’t know what will happen when we all share that thought, I couldn’t …,” Rose closed her eyes. “His mind was closed to mine at the time, I couldn’t see what he was thinking.”
“You can ….” Sarah Jane started to say, glancing very quickly at Rose’s left hand. She cleared her throat. “You can read his mind?”
“Well, not entirely. Solve so many problems if I could,” Rose said cheekily. “But I’m sorry, when it comes to his plan, that’s all I know. But I’m here, and I have a lot of experience with getting supplies and causing a headache or two for the Master.”
“Oh?” Kate said with interest. “How so?”
Rose smirked. “Ever heard of Bad Wolf?”
Rose had been sitting alone in what was known as the mess hall, a nearly empty bowl of soup in front of her as she stopped eating a while ago. A part of her was thinking of the Doctor, as it usually did, and being perceived to be so close to him at that moment was heady and depressing. Another part thought of Martha, making a name for herself for not only walking the world and spreading the word, but for surviving the horrors the Master inflicted. The last thought was of Tim, left behind nearly a week ago with an uncertainty of his future Rose was unable to calm. She wasn’t there to protect him anymore, and she worried about the dangers he had very likely come across since their parting. He’d better be there when this was all over.
A shadow fell over her, and Rose tensed out of habit, her grip tightening on her spoon as if it could be used as a weapon.
“I saw your name,” Sarah Jane’s voice said as the woman sat down beside her with a gentle smile. “The memorial at Canary Wharf. I lost a few colleges, went down to see how much damage those blasted creatures caused, and saw your name.” She looked down at her lap. “My heart broke for him, because I knew you were still with him when it all happened.” She took a deep breath. “And Mickey?”
“With my Mum,” Rose replied, smiling at the relief in Sarah Jane’s sigh. “How did you get to be with this lot?”
Sarah Jane smiled, “Couldn’t think of a better place to go when the world was ending.” And then her eyes fell to Rose’s left hand, and Rose understood why things felt weird. “I didn’t get an invitation.” She said somewhat pointedly.
“Hasn’t happened yet,” Rose replied quietly, leaning in so only Sarah Jane could hear. “If someone asks about my ‘husband’ I don’t deny it, but it’s all so complicated.”
Sarah Jane laughed, head thrown back and eyes closed as the chuckles rolled out. “Oh that sounds exactly like him.” She said with a grin. “Making even the most simple things complicated.” She shook her head, looking Rose in the eye as her smile shifted from humor to concern. “All those stories we heard of Bad Wolf. That was really you?” Rose nodded. “You are quite remarkable. A legend almost as big as the Doctor or Martha.”
“Bad Wolf is a name that gives the Doctor hope,” Rose said. “The story behind it, the real story, is too long, complex, and dangerous. But like his name gives the world strength, that name gives it back to him. I only hope he’s caught wind that it’s out there, coming back to him.”
“I’m sure he has,” Sarah Jane smiled wickedly. “We don’t get much for television, as I’m sure your journey’s have made you aware. But once in awhile they’ll be … updates. You have a bounty on your head, quite a big one at that. Information regarding your whereabouts, or even who you are, can make a person very comfortable under Saxon’s reign.”
Rose tapped the spoon in her open palm, looking around and spotting an unaware Jimmy on the other side of the room. “I bet,” She said, unable to tear her eyes away from her ex-boyfriend.
“You don’t trust Jimmy,” Sarah Jane said without a hint of surprise.
“Neither do you.” Rose replied, eyes still on him.
“Most of us don’t, to be honest. That’s why Kate dismissed him, because there’s been a couple times where only he and one other from the camp came back. Our numbers have slowly dwindled, and while there have been other causes, Jimmy seems to be at the center of most.”
“He always was the kind to sell his friend out for a quid,” She said, diverting her eyes as Jimmy’s head turned slightly. “Or hit his girlfriend for lack of one.” She mumbled, unsure if Sarah Jane heard, and not really caring if she had.
“Sarah Jane, you’re needed in area 12.” Someone shouted, and Sarah Jane turned toward it.
“Alright, be right there!” She called back before turning to Rose with a smile. “I want to hear all about what the two of you had been up to since we parted ways before.”
“We should swap stories.” Rose nodded with a grin.
Sarah Jane gave Rose’s shoulder a squeeze before getting up and heading off to where ever area 12 was. As she turned away, her eyes fell on Jimmy, catching him staring at her. She averted her eyes before standing, grabbing her dish and setting it in the kitchen before heading off to explore.
It had been three weeks since Rose washed up in Cardiff. She slept well most nights, though being where she was brought on more dreams of the Doctor than she’d had in a long time. Most were good, others ….
Lost to the void oh so long ago, watching him shot by Daleks in New York only to find she still had to live out what would have been her natural life, burning with him as the ship they were on crashed into a sun. And the worst, the ones that recurred the most, had the Master invading her dream like he did oh so long ago. Be it him replacing or killing the Doctor outright, he was there, haunting her, taunting her. And on those nights she hardly slept.
On those nights she found herself in a small, make shift gym that was probably used to train civilian soldiers in the early days of the Master’s reign. She’d heard a few stories as she helped the make-shift UNIT team get supplies to groups that needed it, how they all assumed that they could defeat the Time Lord and his army of spheres if only they had enough man power. How that all slowed after a few months to defending those who happened to escape.
Twenty-two days left of this, then the count down will reach zero, and the Master will fall. With every punch and kick Rose threw at the bag before she thought of Saxon, of what he did to her planet, her Love, her friends who were family. She thought of all the things she wanted to do to him as they seeped up from the darkest parts of her soul. For every time he killed her, a part of her wanted to kill him in return knowing that he’d run out of regenerations. It made her punch harder, kick higher, hold back the screams in her lungs until they burned.
And with one swift kick, the bag flew across the room and almost hit Jimmy in the head.
Too bad it missed.
“I’d say I was impressed,” Jimmy said as he walked over to her slowly. “But you probably didn’t have the bag latched right.”
“Could alway hang another for me,” Rose panted a bit. “Hold it steady just in case.”
Jimmy snickered, grabbing another bag and hanging it. He let his eyes linger on her sweaty form through every action, and while once that look made Rose quiver with anticipation it now made her sick to her stomach.
“So,” he said as he latched the new bag in to place. “We haven’t gotten a chance to talk since you washed up.”
“Probably, ‘cause I was avoiding you. ” Rose said, throwing a punch much harder than Jimmy was obviously expecting. She tried not to smile at the grunt. “But since you’re here, obviously got something you wanna say.”
“I do,” He said before grunting, the bag hitting him harder once again. He tried to tighten his grip on it, keeping it steady. “So which one of your boyfriends taught you this?” Jimmy asked, jaw clenched against the force of Rose’s impacts.
“Whaddya mean?” She asked as she started to put as much strength behind each hit as she could.
“Tall, ugly guy with big ears, or that pretty boy fag who threatened me shortly after?”
If anyone asked, the bag slipped and that’s how Jimmy got a black eye and a broken nose in under five seconds and before he even had a chance to react. It wasn’t her fault that her punctuating kick landed in his gut and not on the bag, which launched him three feet away and onto a mat that thankfully broke his fall. She’d hate to have to explain a broken tail bone.
“Do not talk ‘bout the men I love like that or next time I won’t be so nice.” She said in an eerily calm voice as she came to stand over him, Jimmy looking up at her with a snarl on his lips. “And for the record, I don’t need the Doctor or Jack to fight my battles for me, I’m my own weapon these days and you better believe that neither of them wanted it that way.” She crouched down, grabbing Jimmy by the collar and pulling him closer. A tiny thrill went through her as he winced. “I’ve a reputation, Jimmy, that extends much farther in the Universe than a few bases blown up. There are creatures out there who fear the name ‘Bad Wolf’, creatures who would have you pissing yourself at the thought.”
She didn’t know where it came from, but even her quick reflexes couldn’t stop Jimmy from grabbing her head and forcing his kiss on her. She pulled back, stronger than she was at sixteen, grabbing his arm and bending it behind him almost to the point of breaking before back-handing him across the face. “Not that girl anymore, Jimmy.” She spat. “So don’t even try.”
She gave him a hard shove before getting to her feet, turning away from the disgusting excuse of a human laying on the floor.
“Fearsome indeed.” He had to get in the last word. “And what would your husband think of you becoming a murderer, supposedly in his name?” That stopped her, and she turned quickly to see that leering smile back on his face. “Bad Wolf has been a bad girl. Always liked a bad girl, me. Even if she was just a chav.”
Rose’s fist clenched into balls, the only thing she could do from going over there and killing him with her bare hands.
“Watch your mouth,” She said as calmly as she could. “Or I’ll add your name to the list.”
“And what the list it is.” Jimmy said as he struggled to his feet. “Kate’s got the stats and let me tell you it’s an impressive number. Your Doctor would be so proud.”
Before he or she could say another word, Rose left the gym.
She should wash up. She should see if the kitchen needs help. Hell, she should sleep because it was needed, but now she knew she couldn’t.
Heading toward the offices, she used her access codes given to her by Kate to access the office. Inside, she searched the folders for reports, chuckling to herself in a nervous way at the thought that even with the world dying around them the paper-pushers continued. When she came to the one labeled “B.W.” she cringed at the thickness of it.
Taking it out of the filing drawer, she sat at the desk Kate normally occupied and began to go over the file.
Thunder Bay, Montreal, Waterville, Springhill, and another half a dozen cities were listed, all of them having held a site where the Master used the human race as slaves to build his universal war machines, his weapons to oppress the populace, where he withheld basic necessities that she, Tim, and a few other rebels either destroyed or liberated for the benefit of the greater good. She could see the reports those they helped sent out to their fellow rebels, the success they felt they had from these little ventures, and how even for a brief time there was a lift in spirits and quality of life.
But Rose’s stomach was in knots, a lump in her throat the only thing holding back the bile as she read what was on every report.
There was always a count for both sides, and while the rebels had a few losses it was the later that disturbed her.
Every single place she went, where either she or Tim left the ‘Bad Wolf’ mark before an explosive went off either with her still inside or not, nearly all of the men and women working for the Master were severely injured or killed.
Since it’s been rumored that the Toclafane are sent in to finish off those that failed their Master, Harold Saxon, it’s safe to say that there are no survivors. Credit for mission success attributed to: Bad Wolf.
She couldn’t help but remember every single instance. How many of those bullets did she fire with the intention of missing but hadn’t? How many times did she purposely make the hit and didn’t seem to care? She always yelled ample warning before setting a bomb to explode what ever they were destroying, and she knew by the screams that maybe not all of them got away safely. But in Rose’s partially naive mind, she hadn’t once truly considered that all this made her a killer. A murderer. She was vengeful, dying so many times in so many ways under the command of the same man will want prompt a girl to want to rip Saxon’s hearts out and crush them with her bare hands. But all those other people, they were just following orders. And she killed them, whether she meant to or not, she took their lives and in so many instances she walked away without batting an eye.
Swallowing back the panic, Rose closed her eyes and reasoned with herself. She killed Daleks, turned them to dust. They were evil, but they were living creatures. She killed them, and never felt guilty doing it. She was quick to let that poor man get sucked out the shot out ship while circling the impossible planet. It was life or death then, but the possessed man had been that: a man, and she killed him without a second thought. She considered all the times she allowed the Doctor to trigger the death of an alien indirectly, like the Slitheen, the Gelth, so many others, and she stood by without much guilt. Aliens, it was because they were aliens and not humans, and that’s why she was okay with it, right? Except she was fine with ending Lazarus’s life and he was human. Evolved and monstrous, but human.
But this? They were not threatening her life, not really. Tim’s, yes, and she always made sure he was safe. Those were the bullets that landed, the bombs with shorter detonation times, but she didn’t kill large-scale for fun. There was no need for all those people to die. And what’s worse, is she remembered how she’d walk away from it all. Like a warrior woman in the movies, she walked out of the explosions unscathed except for parts of her clothing, her head high and hips swinging as she smiled at the cheering rebels who praised Bad Wolf. And then they listened to the stories she had of the Doctor with their full attention, in awe that someone was even more powerful than her. She never told the stories any differently than she had before, but ….
What if now they thought he’d spill the Master’s blood? What would be the results if the Doctor spared him?
No, no, she couldn’t think like that, either at the possible outcry at the Master’s lack of execution, or the idea that her beloved Time Lord would be the one that did it.
A knock on the door frame startled her, and she looked up to the Jake, the bald man she had met on the first day who spoke with a heavy Scottish accent. “We’re heading North for a food run,” he said. “Care to come?”
She nodded, not trusting her voice at the moment, not with her stomach still in knots knowing that she was considered a revered killer. She followed Jake out down the hall, let him lead her to a jeep, and only gave Sarah Jane a smile when she climbed in.
Jimmy followed shortly, his eye black, his nose having seen better days, but no one said anything about it as they headed off with their crates of tins in the back.
“We have to get out of here now!” Jake yelled over the gun fire, mostly to Sarah Jane who was trying to shield a small girl from the violence around them.
“Not that easy, Jake.” Rose yelled back, firing off three shots with her head not entirely in the battle. She didn’t want to add another name to the list, but they were being backed into a corner with no exit.
“I’ll cover you guys, Jimmy and you get the kid and Sarah Jane out.” Jake suggested, ducking at the sound of gun shots.
“How do we know they don’t already have the jeep surrounded?” Rose asked, popping up to fire a few more rounds before crouching behind the crates again.
“We don’t, but it’s our only shot for getting out of this god-forsaken trap.” Jake retorted, his turn to shoot off a couple rounds.
Rose nodded, looking to Jimmy. “You heard him, move.”
“Fat chance,” Jimmy said. “I seem to be a better shot than you are, Bad Wolf.” He said loud and mocking.
Something in Rose’s mind shifted and she stood, shot three rounds, downing three enforcement officers. Jimmy looked on, jaw slacking a bit. “Get her out of here, now!” Rose snarled, and Jimmy didn’t hesitate in going over to Sarah Jane and the girl.
Rose side stepped, giving him cover, ignoring the bullet that grazed her hip as she fired the last rounds in her chamber before changing out the clip.
“Jake, go on ahead.” She said as he blinked at the blood dripping down her leg.
He nodded, falling back with Jimmy and the others.
“The fucking jeep is surrounded.” Jimmy’s voice called out.
Her breathing grew heavy, her mind reeling. No way was she walking out of this warehouse the only survivor all because they fell for a distress call. No way was she being captured and dragged to the Master before she was ready, only to have her secrets revealed and her added to his collection of unkillable pets to be tortured for the next three weeks. “Go,” She said, pointing to a corner in the warehouse. “Leave this to me. Don’t come out until I say.” She said, turning to Jake who nodded, pulling the others with him into hiding.
As she stood alone, her heart hammering, her mind pushing the Doctor back into the furthest recesses where his smiling face or warm brown eyes couldn’t pass judgment, she steeled herself as a few of the enforcement officers came toward her.
One of them snickered. “Aren’t you brave. Surrendering?”
“Hardly,” She replied flatly.
One made to grab her, and she twisted his arm around like she had with Jimmy by didn’t stop as she felt the bone snap. He cried out in agony, dropping to the ground.
Another two came at her, and she shot one before the second attempted to grab her. A stomp of her foot, an elbow to the solar plexus, a swift hit in the neck on a pressure point and he was on the ground, crushing his buddy with the broken arm and causing another scream to emerge.
The other half a dozen enforcement officers hesitated.
“What’s a matter?” She asked evenly, cold and robotic. “Afraid of the Bad Wolf?” Six guns were drawn on her instantly, and it actually made her laugh. “Blimey, word gets around.”
“You’re worth something to Saxon,” A woman said. “Doesn’t matter if you’re brought in alive.”
“Please.” Rose said, shaking her head. “Try. Please, go ahead. Try.” She challenged. “Because I would love if you could put me out of my misery right now. Honestly, put a bullet in my head. See if it makes a difference.” No one moved, and she sighed. “’Course you’re not going to try. Never gets easy killing, yeah?”
She could sense the shift of someone off to the side, and she shot the officer firing at her. Her bullet hit his arm, his missed and hit the wall.
“Let us walk out of here,” She said, “And I won’t down another soldier. ‘S all I ask, that you let me and my people walk out of here.”
The moment was tense, and she waited. This was the right thing to do, they way she wished she could have always done it. But it’s not like she was often face to face with those who tried to take her down. Guns lowered slightly, and she felt a touch of relief.
“Nope,” She heard that woman say. “Mister Saxon’s orders were clear. Dead or alive.”
The bullet hit Rose just above her heart, the pain dizzying. Her self preservation took over then, and she emptied most of her clip into the officers who surrounded her. Falling on her knees, surrounded by quiet and pain, she started to cry. She added to the list. She didn’t want to do that, but even with that thought she put the officer with a broken arm out of his misery as she saw him weakly grab his gun and point it away from her.
Swaying, Rose fell back, expecting to hit the floor but found herself cradled in a lap instead. Panic and terror came over her, draining the blood from her face faster than her injuries would have allowed.
“It’s okay,” Sarah Jane soothed. “It’s okay, you’re not alone.”
“Jimmy,” Rose managed to choke out, tasting the strong iron flavor of blood in her mouth.
“He’s with Jake, and the girl. Do you want me to…?” Sarah Jane started to ask, and Rose thought she saw tears in her eyes through her blurred vision.
“No,” She said, her body trembling. “No, keep away. Keep ‘em away.” Rose stammered, her breath growing short. Another couple breaths, and the blackness came over her.
The deep intact of breath was rougher than normal. Had been a while since she’d taken one in the chest, she supposed. She registered a muffled scream from Sarah Jane, and her eyes popped open to see the disbelieving look in her fellow companions eyes, her mouth covered by her hands.
“Don’t say anything,” Rose said, slowly getting up as Sarah Jane nodded. “Go tell them it’s safe to come out.” Rose suggested, as she got on her feet, giving Sarah Jane a rub and pat on the arm.
Another nod, and Sarah Jane moved to where Jimmy, Jake, and the girl used as bait had been hiding.
Rose’s eyes fell on the pool of her own blood, then to the pile of soldiers with fatal wounds. At least one of them was alive, for now. He probably wouldn’t be once he wakes up to find himself the only survivor. Dipping her finger in her blood, she quickly wrote out those two words before hearing the others coming out of hiding.
“Holy shit,” Jimmy’s voice carried. “You did that? On your own.”
“Yeah,” Rose said, turning away from the words and heading for the others. “Come on, let’s go before the Toclafane decide to show up.”
She climbed in the jeep, ignoring the questioning gaze from Sarah Jane as they headed speedily back to London.
She sought solitude when they arrived back at the base, but since anywhere outside of the underground was considered unsafe to only place Rose could find it was the mess hall after everyone else went to sleep. So she wandered there, hoping to be alone with her thoughts only to discover Sarah Jane sitting at the table alone, a teapot and a mug beside her. She looked up, doing a double take as Rose came closer. “I always make too much,” She said. “There are mugs in the kitchen.”
Rose nodded, heading to get one and then returning to sit next to Sarah Jane.
“Giving you nightmares now, am I?” Rose guessed as she poured her tea, plopping in a couple sugars and giving it a stir.
Sarah Jane snorted. “The whole world is a nightmare now, isn’t it?” She quipped, and Rose couldn’t argue with the logic. “I’m sorry if I seemed … that’s to say I’m sorry if how I acted in the warehouse wasn’t very helpful.”
“Oh, Sarah Jane, no.” Rose reassured, putting her hand on her fellow companion’s arm. “No, don’t worry about that.”
“I’ve seen the Doctor regenerate, but that was …,” She shook her head. “Does he know?”
“No,” Rose shook her head. “No, head doesn’t. I can only think of one time that I may have died and came back while we were traveling, and I’m not sure if that’s actually what took place. Got hit in the head with some debris on a space ship.” She shrugged. “It’s all so new.”
“And related to what happened to you? The long, complicated thing?” Sarah Jane determined, and Rose knew her silence was answer enough. Silence passed between them where Rose braced herself for all the angles Sarah Jane could come at her with. Instead, after a deep breath she asked, “I can’t be sure, but I believe that trap was arranged.”
“Me too,” Rose agreed. “Someone knew you wouldn’t be armed, and that we’d all want to protect a little girl. Has she spoken yet?” Rose asked, and Sarah Jane shook her head. “Thought not. Traumatized, likely. And that’s the thing, she was a pawn. She may have parents looking for her now, and if she doesn’t talk because of what happens I don’t know who I’d blame more. The Master, or the bloody git who’s trying to play both sides.”
“And I think we both know who that is.” Sarah Jane mumbled.
“I’ve talked to Kate,” Rose said in a hushed voice. “She can’t prove it’s Jimmy, not when Jake could still be the possible snitch, too. But I think … I think I know how to use this to my advantage.” Sarah Jane’s eye brow arched. “Twenty-one days I’m going to act on it, with her permission. Drive out the snitch, and get me where I want to be.”
“That plan almost sounds like one he would come up with.” She noted.
Rose snorted, shaking her head. “Time was I would have agreed. But I’ve changed so much in the last year, not sure I’m the same woman anymore.” She said, worrying her ring as she looked at a spot in the distance. “Tried to reason that I always had no choice, that all the bad ones I’ve made was because it there weren’t any others. But he’d have always found another.”
“It’s true he abhors violence,” Sarah Jane nodded. “But one has to wonder where we’d be now if he’d done something to take the Master out.”
“I don’t think it would be that simple.” Rose shook her head. “And trying to think on it, trying to see things how they could have been, just doesn’t help any, you know?”
“I do,” Sarah Jane agreed, sipping her tea. “I just hope this plan of yours will work.”
At that Rose smiled, wide and honest. “It’s impossible for it not.”
It had been three hundred and sixty-three days since Martha had stepped foot on English soil, and she knew in two days the journey would be over. Done. Mission accomplished, and she had complete and utter faith that the Doctor’s plan would work. Everywhere she went, she would tell those who spoke of her like a legend that they had it all wrong and then tell them the stories she had memorized. She told them of his Earthly saves of the past, even if she wasn’t personally there for them. She never held back the fact that she loved him, still, wholly and without question, and she was certain that added to the faith the people now had in an alien they didn’t see.
And it was that love that had her holding on even as she was dragged away from the wreckage that took Rose’s life, because someone would have to show him he was still worth it.
She thought of her often. How poorly she treated her, how she wasted too much time competing against her and not enough actually getting to know her. Not until it was too late, not until circumstances made them both change who they were for the sake of survival. Looking back, as always happens when someone dies, Martha couldn’t quite remember the faults. She could, however, recall with glaring detail all the ways Rose brought light into the Doctor’s life. What would he be like without it?
She imagined it at night as she laid under the stars or on a cot, trying to sleep and finding it nearly impossible. She imagined the storm raging, the destructive force that may just take out the Master simply for the loss he caused. She imagined the aftermath of that filled with fits of tears and blame, on both her and himself. And always, because love and hope were still strong within her, she imagines she would comfort him. Emotionally at first, and then eventually it would be physical. She swore to herself she would not be replacing Rose, that this wasn’t her trying to win the affections of the Doctor. Martha knew that the love she felt for him was still strong and still real, but may only ever be reciprocated in time. And as if to prove herself a good person at her core, those mental images of her and the Doctor clutching to each other in the privacy of her TARDIS bedroom were always plagued by guilt. Those arms belonged around Rose, and the Doctor may not know that those arms of his would never encircle his precious girl again.
She wept for him at the thought.
“Mademoiselle Martha,” A man said to her, snapping her out of her thoughts. “We’re ready to cross,” He said to her in French, TARDIS translation still working despite the poor ship’s condition. “But we have to go now while the sun is setting.”
“Alright.” She replied, her speech translated for her. “Here we go, time for the home stretch.”
“You have your weapon?” he asked uneasily.
“Of course,” Martha said, patting the bag.
“Good, good,” Said the Frenchman. “When the countdown reaches zero, we can all breathe easy.”
“As long as we all think of him.” Martha nodded before climbing into the small row boat with the man and another, heading into the waters of the English channel as the curtain of night fell.
And she thought of him. Of his warm brown eyes, and his manic smile. Of his perfect hair and the way he kissed her both as a Time Lord and a human, and how she hoped he would let the love she had for him get him through the grief of his lost Rose. That maybe she could mend his hearts, and he would let her. When the countdown reaches zero, and the Master is taken out, that’s when the healing can begin. For him, for her, for the world. Two days, and it will all be over.
And she hoped that where ever Rose was she was smiling down at them, thankful someone would be with her Time Lord when she no longer could be.