The Last of the Time Lords
Twenty hours remaining on the countdown, and word made its way to the UNIT base: Martha Jones was back home.
Rose smiled from her spot at the back of the room as Kate briefed the ten remaining men and women who hadn’t been injured in the last three weeks as to what had to happen, how they all had to make sure their Saviour arrived in London at the base without issue.
“There’s word,” Kate said, looking around the room. “That Martha Jones hasn’t just been spreading stories as she walked to Earth. She’s been collecting pieces to a gun, a special weapon created back in the nineties after years of watching the Doctor and other Time Lords coming to earth. While the Doctor worked for UNIT, we had time to study his biology and with that information a defense was developed should he or any other Time Lord cause problems with us.”
“Not possible,” Sarah Jane said with a shake of her head.
“Very,” Kate said seriously. “And one of those pieces was located here, the final piece Martha needs so she and the Doctor can defeat the Master, Saxon, and we can take back our Earth.”
“What about the spheres?” Someone near the front asked.
“They’re readying for the Universal strike the Master has planned,” Rose said , and eyes turned to her. “There’s reports that they’ve abandoned every post and are heading out of the atmosphere. Which is a good thing, because if the best defense the Master has is heading away from him than he has no idea we have a fool proof way to stop him.”
“An advantage we can’t let fall through the cracks.” Kate said with a nod. “So that said, we need to ensure that Martha gets here. Sarah Jane will stay here with me and the children, the rest of you will be divided into pairs. Baxter, Jimmy, you two will be posted near the Thames, Quinton and Mario, I want you two to drive out to the south end of London. Jake, Rose, you two will stay here and guard the entrance, make sure Martha sees someone she can trust.”
“You sure she actually trusts Rose?” Jimmy asked with a snort, and Rose glared at the back of his head. The bruises she’d given him had cleared up, maybe he needed new ones.
“She thinks I’m dead,” Rose said evenly, trying to keep the sneer out of her voice. “Biggest apprehensions she’ll have is thinkin’ she’s seeing a ghost.”
No one said anything to counter that, and after the silence lingered in the air, Kate sighed heavily. “Alright. We only have one shot at this,” Kate said calmly. “In all likelihood, Martha won’t even be near us until nightfall. If we have any hope of catching her on time, then we should all try to rest up now. It’ll be a long night, and tomorrow a longer day.” And with that, everyone but she and Rose left the room, Sarah Jane giving the latter a knowing smile as she passed. When the door closed, Rose met Kate’s eye. “Think they bought it?” Kate asked with a smirk.
“Ones that needed to did.” Rose smiled back, pushing off the wall and coming to sit in a chair opposite of Kate at her desk. “Martha won’t make it anywhere near London, I don’t think. ‘S pretty obvious if our channels caught word she’s back, then so has the Master’s.”
“Are you sure this is what you want to do?” Kate asked for the half a dozenth time since she and Rose formulated their plan. “Must be a better way to get you up on that ship with the Doctor.”
Rose shook her head. “Not that I can think of. Play to the greed, best way to do it. Price on my head has only grown, and if there’s one thing the Master taught me at the end of the Universe ‘s that people will do anything to ensure they survive. Count down only hours away from completing, best to hand me over to the man in charge in case the Doctor’s plan fails and we all go to war with the Universe.”
Kate nodded, and Rose could tell she was resigned. There was no other way, they both knew that.
Am I still good? Am I still your precious girl? Will you still love me after all I’ve done?
The thoughts danced around in Rose’s mind as she lay on her cot, trying to rest but finding it nearly impossible after what she had witnessed on every monitor in the base.
“My people, salutations on this eve of war.” The Master’s smug face had filled the screen, his voice silencing all those in the base. “And what an eve it is! It’s come to my attention that there are whispers down there, stories of a child walking the Earth, giving you hope. Of a wolf doing the same with its own stories and acts of rebellion all in the name of the Doctor. Well,” The camera followed the Master as he knelt beside the Doctor in his wheel chair, looking exactly the same as he had when she left him. Rose had gasped, moving to the nearest monitor and kneeling before it. Her fingers lingered over the screen near the lines of his cheeks, and she felt the tears rise in her eyes as her heart swelled at the sight of him. A sight her mind could never get quite right, and whether his face was old or not she didn’t care. He was there, for her to see, and her strong facade was fading fast.
“How much hope does this man have?” The Master continued. “Say hello, Gandalf. Except he’s not that old. But, he is an alien with a much greater lifespan than you stunted little apes. What if it showed? Hmm? What if I suspended your capacity to regenerate?” The fingers that had been lingering on the image of the Doctor suddenly clamped into a fist, her nostrils flaring as she lip curled. The Master stepped away, his laser screwdriver emerging from his jacket as the camera widened the shot. “All nine hundred years of yours life, Doctor. What if it showed?” And then the Doctor was in agony, and Rose growled in her throat, sensing those behind her backing up. “Older, older, and older!” The Master chanted happily, and Rose punched the screen, shattering it before diverting her attention to one that was still intact. “Down you go, Doctor.” The Master grinned as the Doctor virtually vanished, all remaining of him seeming to be the suit he was wearing. Rose did her best to keep her breathing even, though the depth and pace of those breaths were too deep and quick for anyone to believe she was calm. “And look at that.” The Master said as a head reminding Rose of Doby the house elf popped out of the neck of the Doctor’s oxford. Unfamiliar as he looked, his eyes were still the same. She never thought those eyes would bring her pain, but they did. He was helpless, and in turn so was she. And Rose knew, without a doubt, she needed to be up there with him. “Received and understood, miss Jones?” The Master said to the camera, the start of Rose’s alias on his lips though he seemed unable to say it. After a few seconds, the transmission cut out.
No one said anything to her, moving out of Rose’s way as she stormed first to the gym, then to her cot where she was having the worst time dealing with it all.
Her outburst clearly had some people on edge, and while it was a reassurance that the acts she committed over the last few months were getting to the Master with the two words attached, she was no longer sure it was bringing the Doctor any kind of hope. For all she knew, he was told how many people Bad Wolf killed in his name, how much damage she had done, and it was causing him to question who and what she was.
And if she were honest, she wouldn’t blame him. Because she had been wondering that for too long herself.
She only had hours left before her and Jake would be stationed outside the door, waiting for the person who would likely never come. And if all went according to plan, by morning Rose will be arrested and brought on board the Valiant.
But what happens after? Was she still good? Had she changed too much?
Sighing, she punched her pillow, shifting around and trying to get comfortable enough to sleep.
Martha sat in the living quarters of a woman who she knew to be a traitor, clutching a mug of tea tight in her hand as she attempted to push back the unsettled feeling that lingered after watching the Doctor being reduced to nothing, and then finding that once sweet boy from the end of the Universe trapped inside the Toclafane sphere. His head, oh it was virtually mummified, and if it wasn’t for him recognizing her, repeating back some of the things she had said to him all that time ago she’d never have believed it. It had been rumored once that the Bad Wolf had known what was inside the sphere, but the story had gotten so skewed as she traveled she wasn’t sure which one was real. Never did she imagine it was the human head, not once did she want to believe that one was real. But when she found out about the one downed in Africa, the one that provided all that information on the disc, well, she knew she would find someone who could figure it out eventually.
She thought of the head, and she shuddered.
Did the Doctor know what was inside them?
“I think it’s time we had the truth, Miss Jones.” Said Professor Docherty, the woman known to the resistance as a traitor despite her believing they were in the dark. “The legend says you’ve traveled the world to find a way of killing the Master. Tell us, is it true?”
Martha smiled, happy to know that Docherty was asking all the right questions. “Before I escaped, the Doctor told me that he and the Master had been coming to Earth for years, and they’ve been watched by UNIT and Torchwood. They were studying Time Lords in secret, and the made this, the ultimate defense.” She said as she opened her bag and removed the case.
For all intents and purposes it looked real.
It wasn’t long post Rose’s death that she came across a small town with a toy store. She found the perfect water pistol, one that had three chambers for (as the package read) “ultimate summer fun”. She carried it with her until she neared California and came across a resistance camp with an artist among the survivors. She’d sworn him to secrecy as he painted the gun for her, and by the time time he was finished the bright colored plastic looked like cold metal. The case she carried it in was painstakingly crafted by a man in Japan before it burned, truly believing that Martha had been reckless to carry such a weapon with the chemicals loose in her bag.
Tom, the man who had been with her since she arrived on English soil, scoffed. “All you need to do is get close. I can shoot the Master dead with this,” He said, waving his hand gun around.
“Actually, you can put that down now, thank you very much.” Docherty scowled.
“You could shoot him, yeah but it wouldn’t kill him. Time Lords have this way they can bring themselves back to life. Makes them near immortal, except if they get his with this.” She said, picking up the gun. “Four chemicals, slotted into the gun. One injection kills a Time Lord permanently,” She said with practiced ease.
“Four chemicals?” Tom said, looking at the veils in case. “You only got three.”
“Still need the last one ‘cause the components of this gun were kept safe,” Martha replied, her lines rehearsed often enough that she didn’t have to fake the confidence, nor did she stumble on the delivery. “I found these three in different places: San Diego, Beijing, and Budapest. I had my suspicions the last was in London, but I didn’t get confirmation until about a week ago when I received a letter with the access codes for an old UNIT base in London.”
“A letter? In these times? From who?” Docherty asked.
From inside her jacket, Martha with drew the envelope showing it to Docherty and Tom.
For Martha Jones. Love, Bad Wolf.
“It had been passed along from base to base, stopping in France where it was considered likely I’d end up. Inside were numbers and the name of the base in London, that’s it.” Martha lied.
You know where you need to be when the count down ends, the real letter read. The best way to get there is to come to this location. We both know the gun is a fake, but say this is where the chemical is anyway. I’ll see you on Doomsday. Bad Wolf xo.
The letter had been typed, and before she burned it Martha took care to copy the co-ordinates herself so the secret of the gun would remain. Who ever Bad Wolf was, because it certainly couldn’t have been Rose. Not when she watched the fire burn the way it had.
Martha had her suspicions that it was Jack, the only other person aside from her and the Doctor who could possibly have known the name Rose had chosen when she did that thing with the Vortex. It was possible that he escaped too, wasn’t it? The last Martha saw or heard of him was on the Valiant, but a man who can’t die could do a lot of things to escape an airship and survive. Wishful thinking, perhaps, but it was the only explanation other than Rose leaving messages to her from beyond the grave.
Or she somehow survived.
“Tom,” Martha said, getting the man’s attention as he looked at the envelope with the same puzzled expression Docherty had. “Can you get me there?”
“Yeah,” He said instantly. “We can’t go across London in the dark, it’s full of while dogs and we’d get eaten alive, but we can get halfway, stay at the slave quarters in Bexley.”
“As long as I’m in London well before the countdown ends tomorrow, all should be fine,” Martha said with nod.
“Well then, we should get to Bexley then.” Tom said, standing and offering his hand to Docherty. “Professor, thank you.”
“Good luck,” She replied before turning a little sheepishly to Martha. “Could you do it? Could you actually kill him?”
“Got no choice.” Martha replied, looking the Professor dead in the eye.
“You might be many things, but you don’t look like a killer to me.” Docherty said.
“Well,” Martha looked down at the case holding the gun, slowly closing it and putting it in her bag. “Bad Wolf will be there, at that base in London,” She said, hoping that this wasn’t a mistake on her part. “If I can’t do it, Bad Wolf can.” She put her bag on her back, making a quick adjustment before smiling thinly again. “Thanks again, Professor, for all your help.” She added before moving to stand by Tom, nodding at him once before the two of them left the Professor’s home.
How long did she have before the Master caught wind of where she was? And was it a bad thing if she wasn’t in London when she was finally apprehended. Martha didn’t worry about it, not too much. She made it this far without Bad Wolf’s assistance, she was sure she could finish her mission without them.
Rose’s heart hammered in her chest, her breath dancing in front of her and giving away how nervous she was. It had been so long since her confidence wavered like this that she almost didn’t know what to do. She’d rub her palms together, on her hips, shifting her weight from one leg to another as hours passed and the sky slowly started to lighten.
“I don’t think she’s coming,” Jake said evenly, eyes squinting as he searched the horizon.
“Really doesn’t matter is she does,” Rose murmured just a little louder than if the words had only been meant for her, which earned her the side long glance from Jake she was expecting. He didn’t say anything, simply turning to look back out on the horizon like he had been.
She closed her eyes, trying to steady her breath, her heart, telling herself it was all going according to plan. If she wanted to have any affect at all, she had to push her nerves aside. And so she did.
Instantly she was still, focused, eased, her emotions tucked away in a little box in the back of her mind as she stood stiffly beside Jake.
Footsteps hammering the pavement from her left drew her attention instantly, and she watched as an exhausted seeming Jimmy came jogging toward her, gun in hand and looking for all the world ready to fall on his face.
“They took her,” He managed to say when he was about ten feet away. “Martha. Jones. Taken. Saxon. Found her. Bexley.”
“Where is she now?” Rose asked, turning to Jimmy and taking a couple steps toward him.
He breathed, heavy and hard, trying to catch his breath with his smoker’s lungs. He looked up at her, eyes watered from the struggle. “With him,” he said in one breath.
“Good,” Jake said, and the sound of a gun shot rang through the air before Jimmy was thrown back on his ass, clutching his shoulder and crying in pain.
Rose smiled, shook her head, and turned slowly to Jake. “You didn’t have to shoot him, you know.” She said calmly. “Jimmy’d go along with whatever if it meant saving his ass.”
“What?” She heard Jimmy say behind her but she kept her focus on Jake.
Jake shrugged, “Felt good to get a round off in him. He pisses me off often enough. Now,” he gestured with his gun, “hands up, Bad Wolf.”
“Seriously?” She scoffed, seeing the small army of enforcement officers coming toward her.
“Saxon wants you dead or alive, and there’s been a few times I thought of selling you out before hand but now? I was iffy, but seeing the Doctor reduced to nothing sealed the deal. Get in while the getting’s good.”
“Everyone was so sure it was Jimmy, but I knew.” She smiled, shaking her head as she slowly lifted her hands in the air while the enforcement officers circled her with their weapons pointed at her. “So, how are you taking me in? Dead, or alive?”
“Alive,” One officer said as he approached her, waving a black bag in front of her face. “For now.”
Rose chuckled. “Don’t want me to know where I’m going? Oddly pointless if you’re gonna kill me, yeah?” She said before the bag was shoved roughly over her head while two very strong hands gripped her arms painfully. She gritted her teeth, struggling against them on instinct. Something hit her in the head, and whether she died or was knocked out Rose couldn’t even tell any more.
Knocked out, definitely. She woke up to a voice saying that they landed on board the valiant, and there was no death yet that would have put her out that long. Her temple ached a little, and her body was stiff, but physically she was fine other wise. She felt the holster from her hip had been removed, the sensation of being naked without it a tad unsettling but not surprising after having it for so long. She was surprised she wasn’t handcuffed, but then how often had big, burly men like these bruts often mistook her petite frame to mean she was weak.
“Saxon’s going to be thrilled with this catch,” One man said, holding her arms tightly. If they noticed she was supporting her own weight as they carried her off the aircraft and down the hall, they didn’t say. Rose’s feet moved in time with theirs, and as she was lead through the halls of what had to be the Valiant she slowly lifted her head.
“Maybe we’ll get to live, then,” Said the other. “Don’t think we’d survive a war with the Universe, but maybe we’ll be one of the lucky ones who get to stay here with him.”
“Maybe,” the other said.
A small twinge of something tickled her mind as they walked, and Rose’s heart leapt as she recognized the hum of the TARDIS even if it was filled with agony. She knew her Wolf was aboard, and something akin to hope hit Rose in the heart from the beautiful ship. Voices over the ships speakers echoed, one sounding like the Master’s, but Rose didn’t care. With as much strength as he could, she sent love and hope back to the ship before the tickle became too weak to feel and a headache threatened.
“At Zero, to mark this day, the child, Martha Jones, will die.” She heard the Master’s voice suddenly seemed loud as she was turned down the next hall. “Ha, my first blood. Any last words? No? Such a disappointment, this one.” There was a pause, and Rose sensed they had entered the bridge. With her sight gone and her mind already open she could sort of sense the people around her. Jack, the Doctor, Martha, and a few others. She was there, the time had come, and from beneath her hood she smiled. “Days of old, Doctor, you had companions who could absorb the time vortex. This one’s useless.” The Master continued, and Rose squirmed just a small bit before she managed to rein in the flare of anger his words stirred in her. “Bow your head.” The Master commanded, and there was a pause. “And so it falls to me, the Master of all, to establish from this day the new order of Time Lords. From this day forward ….”
He was cut off by Martha’s chuckle.
“What? What’s so funny?” The Master asked, and Rose snickered from beneath her hood.
“A gun?” Martha asked incredulously.
“What about it?” The Master asked.
“A gun in four parts?”
“Yes, and I destroyed it.”
“A gun in four parts, scattered across the world? I mean, come on, did you really believe that?”
“What do you mean?” The Master asked, and Rose outright laughed.
“Honestly,” She said, unable to resist at this point. She felt every single person in the room look at her, could sense the mix of wonder, disbelief, and curiosity that came over those present. “We came up with the bloody idea on the side of a road somewhere in Illinois, I think. Seriously? The Doctor asking us to kill?” She stopped as she heard the click of shoes cross the room toward her, waiting with a patient smirk as the hood was ripped off her head.
“What?” The Master looked at her with wide eyed astonishment, and she heard Jack laugh joyously somewhere off to the side.
“Sorry?” Rose said with mock confusion. “Was I not supposed to be here?” She looked around the room, at the joy in those who knew her, the confusion from those who didn’t. Her eyes fell on the Doctor, and her heart warmed. “I thought Bad Wolf was to brought before the Master dead or alive? And here I am, brought to you alive so you could have the pleasure of a second blood.” She looked back to the Master. “The two martyrs of the Doctor joining each other in death as the countdown ends. Well, suppose it would have been a good idea if it’d actually work. But yeah, if it’s inconvenient I can just go back to blowin’ up your ships and wrecking havoc over your lil slave camps.”
“You’re dead.” He said flatly.
“Think you need to get your eyes checked, mate.” Rose replied, her smirk growing into a grin that she couldn’t help but put her tongue in the corner of.
“Nope,” he laughed. “Just have to fix a grievous mistake.” He said, pointing his laser screw driver at her and firing instantly.
Then the air rushed back into her burning lungs. Rose slowly opened her eyes, and they fell on Jack who had been looking at her with pain in his eyes, his beautiful face marred with dirt and tears. Astonishment slowly came over him, and when she winked at him, he grinned.
“Blimey,” She said loudly, cutting off someone. Martha maybe? She’ll have to apologize later. “And I thought bullets were bad.” Rose said as she got back up on her feet and ignoring how her chest ached, noting that the guards made no move to restrain her. She looked at the Doctor, his huge, wet eyes somehow going wider. “Though I’m not not sure how long I was out. Might’ve been a quicker come back then I’m used to. Sorry, Martha, I think your were explaining somethin’ to this git, didn’t mean to interrupt.”
The Master stared at her, terrified. “How?” He asked.
“Something the matter, Master?” Rose said tilt of her head. “Not afraid of the big, Bad Wolf are you?”
“How!” He demanded, stomping his foot like a spoiled child.
“You really are thick aren’t you?” She said, stepping around him with confidence, moving to stand next to the Doctor in his cage. She put her fingers inside, feeling his cold, tiny hand grip one as tightly as he could. The rush of love, relief, confusion mixed with pure joy hit her hard enough she stumbled a bit, but she regained her composure quick enough. “Martha was telling you exactly how she’s about to take you out and you’re more concerned with something that doesn’t even matter. Honestly, talk about rude and not ginger.” She looked to Martha who beamed up at her. “Martha, you’ll have to give him the short version, he wasted too much time.”
“It’s simple really,” Martha snickered, turning her attention back to the Master. “Stories hold power, bring hope, and that’s just what I did. I walked the Earth, not looking for a weapon but to spread words. Stories of us, of the Doctor, of all he’s ever done for everyone.”
“And she’s not the only one.” Rose said as Martha paused, the Master looking between the two of them like he wasn’t sure who to shut up first. “All of the Doctor’s human companions still alive told their stories, too. But it was Martha’s instruction that really matters.”
“I told them to think one word, one thought, at one moment, but with fifteen satellites.” Martha added.
“What?” The Master’s face fell, his body tensing.
“The Archangel Network.” Jack said, smiling wide.
“A telepathic field binding the whole human race together, with all of them thinking the same thing at the same time.” Martha said. “And that word is ‘Doctor’.”
As the countdown reached zero, Rose looked to her Doctor.
Every single center of her brain focused on him: her love for him, her belief in him, the strength he’d brought her and so many others. He held her eye even as the glow started to form around him.
“I’ve had a whole year to tune myself into the psychic network and integrate with its matrices.” The Doctor admitted as the power started to surround him.
The Master said something, running about the room before flying up the stairs to stand by his wife, but Rose paid him no mind. She focused her thoughts on her adventures with her Doctor, on his laughter, his smiles, his touch, his determination. She saw the grin pulling on his lips as he broke free from the cage, returning to the form of the old man he had been when they left.
Everyone around the room had been saying his name, all with varying degrees of emotion, all with hope, and the swell in her heart was likely not just Rose’s.
“My Doctor.” Rose whispered, giving him the smile he loved so much.
And then he was there, back to his younger looking self, a smirk on his face as he gave her a slight shake of his head.
“My Precious Rose.” He thought before he let go of her hand and levitated up to the Master.
Leaving him to face down the Master by himself, Rose turned to Jack and ran for his open arms. He crushed her to him, and she squeezed him back as they watched the Doctor and the Master.
“The one thing you can’t do,” The Doctor said, the calm before the storm simmering in his voice. “Stop them thinking. Tell me the human race is degenerate now when they can do this.” He said, gesturing to the energy field around him.
“No!” The Master cried out, lifting his laser screwdriver and firing at the Doctor. Rose tensed, bracing herself before seeing every shot deflected by the energy field.
“I’m sorry,” The Doctor said, shaking his head. “I’m so sorry.”
“I’ll kill them,” The Master screamed desperately, aiming his screwdriver at the Jones’, Martha having joined them. The Doctor flicked his wrist, and the screwdriver launched from the Master’s hand and flew across the room a few feet away. Gently pushing Jack off, Rose strode over to it, caught the Master’s eye, and stomped on it. She felt it shatter and spark under her foot, watching as the Master started having trouble breathing. “You can’t do this!” The Master cried in panic. “You can’t! It’s not fair!”
“And you know what happens now,” The Doctor said, floating toward the Master as he backed down the stairs, trying to get away from the Doctor as he packed him against a wall. “You wouldn’t listen, because you know what I’m going to say.”
“No,” The Master whimpered repeatedly, curling into a ball with his head tucked between his legs and his arms up in a sad attempt to cover his ears.
As the Doctor knelt beside the Master, Rose could see all the love the former once had for the latter come through. All the love that was still there for the man he once called his best friend, and the only other member of his species. “I forgive you.” The Doctor said, stroking the Master’s back, and for a moment sympathy for the poor, lost little boy who went insane before the vortex washed over her.
“My Children,” The Master gasped out, and the sympathy was gone.
“Rose, Jack, the paradox machine!” The Doctor yelled out.
“You men, with us,” Jack said to the men who had been guarding him, grabbing a machine gun. “You two, stay here.” He ordered the two who had brought her in.
Rose pulled a hand gun from the hip of one of the guards who had been her escort. “Since you took mine,” she said, checking the chamber quickly before taking off and forcing herself not to look back as she heard the Doctor cry out ‘no’.
“You and I are going to have a talk later,” Jack said breathlessly as they ran down the corridors to where the TARDIS was being held, Rose pointing the way as the tickle the ship had on her mind grew stronger.
“Could swap stories you and I.” She replied as they got the the room, the two guards who came with them stopping as they did at the sight of the Toclafane.
Rose was the only one who didn’t fire at them, even as it earned an arched brow, confused look from Jack.
“Can’t get it, we’d get slaughtered.” One of the guards noted.
Rose tilted her head from side to side as if to crack her neck, rolling it and her shoulders for good measure. “Not as bad as a bomb,” She told herself as she walked into the room.
“We must protect the Paradox.” One of them said in a child-like voice.
“That’s my ship,” Rose said firmly. “And if you want it, you’re going to have to take me down to get it.” She tossed her jacket aside, tucked her hand gun in her back pocket, then beckoned them to come at her.
“A new play thing from Master!” One exclaimed.
“We shall have fun together.” Said a second.
“Her blood will make the paradox so much prettier!” The last one agreed.
As the spheres with blades and spikes came at her, Jack dove for the TARDIS. Rose, once seeing he got by without much notice, dove, tucked, and rolled away from them. She was at the door of the TARDIS, Jack leaving it partially open for her, and she stood to slide inside.
“Rose!” She heard Jack call, and things went black a moment.
When she opened her eyes again, she and Jack were inside the TARDIS, and he was firing his machine gun at the grating surrounding the time rotor.
“Limme guess,” She said as the shots ended. Jack whipped around to look at her, smiling. “Laser?”
He chuckled. “Oh, Rosie.” He started to say before something similar to a gush of wind hit them. “What the?”
Rose reached up and grabbed a hold of the rail, feeling the TARDIS In her mind hum with utter relief as if she’d finally been given something to relieve her pain. The air moved around her as if it had been compressed a moment for, and Jack was forced forward, hitting the railing beside Rose hard before managing to grab on to it tightly.
Rose giggled, which caused Jack to laugh, in turn putting her in stitches, the TARDIS humming laughter in her mind as well as the rotor slowly changed from red, to purplish-brown, to blue. The second she felt she could move without being knocked about, Rose let go of the railing and started running out the TARDIS, grabbing her jacket off the floor and putting it on along the way. She heard Jack close behind her, and possibly even the two guards that came with them as they headed back toward the bridge of the Valiant.
As the doors opened, the Master was poised in an attempt to make an escape before crashing into Jack. Rose pulled her hand gun from her back pocket, finger on the trigger but keeping it at her side.
“Whoa, big fella! You don’t want to miss the party,” Jack said as he grabbed the Master’s arms. “Cuff him.” He told one of the guards who obliged. “So, what do we do with this one?” He asked as he gave the Master a bit of a shove.
He stumbled a little, looking back at them just as Rose slowly lifted the gun. He stared at it, something changing in his gaze as he smirked.
“We kill him,” A man Rose presumed to be Martha’s father said.
“We execute him,” her sister chimed in.
“Could do,” Rose said as she turned off the safety.
“No, that’s not the solution,” The Doctor said, but Rose was focused solely on the Time Lord smiling wickedly in front of her.
“Bad Wolf,” The Master said slowly, turning and gazing at her with a look of appreciation. He laughed a little in his throat. “Now I see it. The woman who wrecked havoc and took so many lives. Pathetic, meaningless lives, of course, but still.” She narrowed her gaze on him. “Oh, ho, ho, and aren’t you gorgeous with that murderous look in your eyes.”
Rose’s lips curled into a snarl.
“Rose,” The Doctor said with the weight of his panic. “Rose, think of what you’re doing.”
“Am. Have been for a while.” She responded without looking. “I want you safe. Protected from the false God.” She echoed the words she said before, sensing the Doctor tense with his deep intake of breath. “How many times have you killed me in the last year?” She asked the Master.
“Enough I’m sure it warrants a return in the favor.” He replied, and if his arms weren’t cuffed behind his back he likely would have spread his arms in a tempting gesture.
“Rose, no!” And the Doctor was there beside her, hand on her upper arm and placing gentle pressure on it. He sent her calm, reassurance, love, but she could only return the last. “No, you are so much better than this.”
“Am I?” She asked with a snort. “Killed a lot of people in the last year, Doctor. Have a lot of blood on my hands whether I intended it or not.”
“The year is reset, Rose.” He said soothingly. “Everything that happened is wiped of the minds from everyone except those of us on this ship. Everything, every life is restored.”
Her stance wavered slightly. “It’s all gone.” She said in disbelief, remembering her time with Tim, Sarah Jane, Jimmy, meeting Grace. The men and women who wouldn’t have escaped the traps she set, or got in the line of fire when she didn’t mean them to. Her arm quivered a bit, and she almost lowered her gun.
“Well if you won’t let your pet kill me then what will you do?” The Master asked, looking to the Doctor now.
Both men seemed to ignore Rose’s growl at what the Master called her, but the Doctor sent another wave of calm as her arm went rigid and the gun returned it’s aim to the Master’s chest.
“You are the only other Time Lord left in existence, you are my responsibility.”
“You can’t trust him,” Jack echoed exactly what Rose thought, standing on the other side of her.
“No,” The Doctor shook his head. “The only safe place for him is the TARDIS.” Rose turned a glare on the Doctor, and she felt the TARDIS hum her begrudging agreement with her Time Lord. Out numbered two to one, Rose tried to ease the tension her desire to pull the trigger had on her.
“You mean you’re just gonna keep me?” The Master asked, and when Rose shifted her eyes to him, she could tell that he’d rather be shot.
“If that’s what I have to do.” The Doctor replied.
The Master stumbled, eyes wide with pain and a bit of relief. He smiled slightly at Rose before he fell on to his knees.
“Rose!” The Doctor cried out as he dove to catch the Master, looking up at her with confusion as he caught his former friend in his arms.
“Wasn’t me.” She said, replacing the safety and lowering the gun. Her eyes fell on the Master’s wife.
She held the gun loosely in her hand, gazing at the Master with this half dazed look, like she wasn’t entirely sure she’d done it and really didn’t care if she had. The black eye she sported probably helped with her decision making, though from the way Jack seemed to ease the gun from her grip with hardly a rise out of her made Rose wonder if perhaps there hadn’t been any thought put behind the decision at all.
And she was so close to doing it herself.
Swallowing the guilt, Rose knelt down by the two Time Lords, unsure what to do as she wanted to comfort the Doctor but wasn’t sure she should.
“Always the women,” The Master said, looking to Rose. “You wouldn’t have let me stay.”
“’Course I would’ve.” She replied firmly, every word true. “If that’s what he wanted, then that’s what would have happened. Didn’t mean I had to like it.”
The Master laughed, coughing a little. “Oh, she’s got a bite, this one.” He looked to the Doctor. “Least you’ll still have someone to torment you when I die.”
“You’re not dying, don’t be stupid.” The Doctor said with a veil of exasperation. “It’s only a bullet. Regenerate.”
“No,” The Master said firmly.
“Why not?” Rose asked. “The lengths you’ve gone through to live before?”
The Master laughed, a bit of blood trickling from the corner of his mouth. “Not much of a life, imprisonment.”
“Come on, it can’t end like this.” The Doctor growled, desperation in his voice as he shook the Master. “You and me, all the things we’ve done. Axons? Remember the Axons? And the Daleks?” Tears sprung to his eyes, and Rose’s heart broke. “We’re the only two left, there’s no one else.” The Doctor’s chest heaved. “Regenerate!” He half yelled, desperate and scared.
“How about that?” The Master teased. “I win.” He seemed to struggle with breathing, and despite everything he’d done, everything his reign made her become, Rose clutched his hand. “Will it stop? The drumming?”
“Yes,” She said softly, feeling the double pulse in the palm of his hand speed before it stopped.
The Master’s eyes rolled back, his eyes closed, and Rose looked up at the Doctor. They waited a moment, just a few seconds for that golden glow to take over the Master’s body, and when it hadn’t the Doctor screamed. Letting go of the Master’s hand, Rose moved and wrapped her arms around his neck, her shields raised as she poured her love and regret for what he lost our over their bond. In turn, she took his grief, as much as she could bare. His agony over his lost friend, over being the last of his kind once more, understanding without his needing to say that this moment was like watching Gallifrey burn all over again. She kissed his cheek, her tears mingling with his, and he took one hand off the Master to keep her head pressed against his as he let all the pain out.
She helped him build the pyre. Neither said a word as they staked the logs on the deserted beach into a high block, nor did they when the Doctor took the Master’s wrapped body and placed it on top.
“We burn our dead.” He said as he took a spare stick, wrapping some of the remaining rags from that of the Master’s body and tied it to the end. “Time Lord DNA is so … if it ever got into the wrong hands.”
“We both know it’s not about that.” Rose said gently as she placed her hand in his.
“No,” He said, locking their fingers together and sending her his love and thanks. “It’s not.” He gave her hand a squeeze before letting go. He reached deep into his pockets, producing a lighter a few seconds later. He struck it, holding the flame against his torch until it caught fire, then took a deep, shuddering breath.
Rose watched as he strode up to the Pyre, lighting the dry wood and tossing the torch into the fire after it caught.
He returned to her side, taking her hand as silent tears ran down his stern looking face.
“I would have stayed.” She said as she watched the fire climb and catch the Master’s body. “Had you brought him on board, I would have stayed. I want you to know that, without a doubt. He would not have made me leave.”
“Thank you,” He said, and she felt the sincerity of it carried over their skin contact.
They stood on the beach together until the fire started dying down, and then with hands still joined the returned to the TARDIS.
Inside was quiet, Jack was likely in his old room sleeping after months of being forced to remain somewhat upright, Martha and her family were somewhere inside where they could talk in quiet safety, leaving them the only two in the control room
Rose ran her hand along the console, feeling the Old Girl hum with delight and love. She hummed in return, smiling as the time rotor glowed a little brighter.
“You’re alive.” The Doctor said after Rose completed a lap around the room. She looked over to see he’d discarded his long coat and stood at the top of the ramp with his hands in his pockets. “I knew in my gut when the Master brought me that TARDIS key that you were. No ring found, something that should have gone noticed if everything else around was ash. But I watched him shoot you in the chest, watched you drop, saw your chest stop moving, and then you stood up as if nothing happened.”
“Well, not entirely true. Just learned to mask the pain. My chest only really stopped aching an hour ago.” Rose confessed, stopping a few feet away from him, seeing how his eyes studied her with fear and awe.
“It’s not possible.” He said, some of those emotions coming through in his voice. “Nothing about you feels wrong. You have one heart, and what’s more, it’s not even like you regenerated.” He took two large steps toward her, reaching out and taking her hands while maintaining a bit of distance. “How?”
“So long as he wanders, so too shall the wolf.” She said, holding his eye before she sent him her memory of the face of Boe telling her those words. “The Bad Wolf.” She added.
“Bad Wolf,” He half snorted, shaking his head.
“Stronger, faster, smarter, and yours. Forever. So long as you live, I will too. I created myself, and since you had me pretty much from ‘run’ I made it so I could run with you until you couldn’t run anymore.” She squeezed his hands. “I love you, I will love you for the rest of our lives, but if you don’t want me here.”
The Doctor laughed incredulously, shaking his head and looking at everything but her.
“Rose Tyler,” He said with deep affection, sending it to her in torrents so strong her breath caught. His eyes met hers, and for the first time in so long they were warm, and full of wonder. He said something in Gallifreyan, the same long and lilting sentence he had said to her a few times before.
“Which means?” She asked, a chuckle to her voice.
“More than can properly be said,” He replied, “But roughly it translates to me saying that my love for you is not bound to a body, but a soul. It can not be changed or altered by anything except to grow stronger and more resilient. It is forever. And if you, my sweet, wonderful, incredible, precious girl have done the impossible and made it so that we share that forever together than I am never going to let you go.” He stepped closer, dropping her hands to hold her by the waist.
Rose put her hands on his shoulders. “I’ve changed, though.” She said cautiously. “’M not the girl that made it happen.” She took a deep breath, put her fingers to his neck, and showed him all the things she’d done over the year that never was. All the lives she took, the things she’d done, the darkness that started to come over her.
“Rose,” He said softly, closing his eyes, mouth moving around words not coming out. “I was such a bitter, hardened man when I met you.” He opened his eyes slowly, locking his gaze to hers. “You made me better, so much better. You love me despite everything I’ve done, and now … now, Precious Girl, let me show you that that love goes both ways in every way.” He leaned and kissed her, sending her every ounce of love and devotion he could, bringing her to silent tears as she kissed him back. “You helped me,” He said softly, breaking their kiss a moment. “Now it’s my turn to help you.” He brushed his nose against her before his lips found hers again.
It struck her in that moment that it was the first time they’d had any kind of intimate contact in a year, even if the year was now gone. The thought intensified every brush of his cool lips, every stroke of his tongue, and suddenly he overwhelmed her. And by the way his fingers dug into her body it wasn’t one sided.
They broke apart at the same time, both panting, both unable to look away as they clutched one another.
“We can’t.” He said quickly.
“You’re right,” She agreed.
“Too much happened.” He nodded.
“Very emotional day.” She added.
“I don’t care.” And he scooped her up, bringing her down the corridors to their bedroom, untouched since last they were in it, and kicked the door shut behind them.