Rose collapsed on her bed in her Pajamas, clean of that 1599 smell and ready for a kip. It was agreed that they would rest before the next adventure, and while the Doctor showed Martha around the TARDIS and to a room, Rose went to her own. She had no idea what was being said, what was happening, and as unsettled as it made her she decided to go with it. Martha could be flirting, and the Doctor could be enjoying it, basking in the attention. Maybe even indulging the new companion in allowing her a hand hold or to stroke her hand on his arm, but there wasn’t anything she could do about it.
Her bedroom door opened, and her eyes fell on the Doctor as he entered the room looking exhausted. Closing th door with a heavy sigh, he shrugged off his blazer. Setting it on her vanity chair, he drew Rose’s attention as he loosened his tie before pulling it over his head. She sat up as he dropped it on top of his blazer before toeing off his trainers. He unbuttoned his sleeve cuffs, pushing them up as he moved for the bed. He slowly spread out over what had naturally became his side of the bed, laying flat on his stomach while his arm snaked around Rose’s waist.
He pulled her, and with a yelp she was laying down beside him, head on her pillow, rolling on her side and facing his grinning face as he chuckled in his throat.
“Martha seems settled in,” He said, closing his eyes. “Told her we’d take her to the future tomorrow to make up for the second bad run in with aliens in a row. She seemed excited.”
“Did you tell her where?” Rose asked, feeling his fingers trace circles on a patch of exposed skin where her shirt had ridden up.
“No,” He said, his voice sounding heavy with sleep. “Thought I’d leave that surprise for her to ponder.” He said, his eyes falling shut.
Rose giggled. “Where’s your Time Lord superior physiology?” She teased, sticking her tongue between her teeth as she grinned.
He rolled over and shifted closer, the length of his front pressed against hers. Her breath hitched at the unexpected closeness, his hand shifting lazily up her back beneath her shirt.
“Still need to sleep,” He said groggily. “And having a heart stopped will tire you out.” He shifted so his nose was near her hair, taking a deep breath.
“Doctor,” Rose managed to choke out, her voice shaking.
He peeked at her before slowly opening his eyes in confusion. He shifted back to look at her better, and with that action he seemed to realize how they were situated. His hand withdrew, hovering in the air as if he was surrendering while he leaned away from her.
“Sorry,” he said with fear in his wide brown eyes.
Rose reached for his sleeve and pulled him toward her, moving the hand to his back so their closeness was reestablished. He looked confused as he lowered his hand to rest on her hip. “It didn’t bother me,” She admitted. “Just surprised me.”
He shifted his other hand from beneath the pillow, cupping her face. Tentatively he inched toward her, holding her eye until nearness made it impossible.
The Doctor only pecked her at first, but went back instantly for another, deeper kiss. She inhaled sharply as he parted his lips just a little more. He shifted, and he half rolled on her. Rose’s hands slide around him, clutching the fabric of his shirt in her fists. Her stomach knotted, an ache that only he’d been able to stir in her screaming to be relieved as he shifted on her slightly. Rose wondered what happened, what she had done to bring this kind of passion out of him. The closest they ever came to this, and it wasn’t all that close, was just after the hospital. Standing in the console room once he had a new pair of trainers on, just before he told her ….
Rose pulled back abruptly, trying to read what was behind his hooded eyes.
“Did you kiss her again or somethin’?” She asked him quietly, catching her breath.
His brow furrowed, and he rolled off her and on to his side. “What?”
“What?” He asked, his eyes searching before widening. “Oh,” He clued in. “No, Rose, no. No, no, is that what you think?”
“Well s’just the last time.”
“Last time,” He started to say, shaking his head before rolling on to his back and digging the heels of his hands in his eyes. “That was a blunder, wasn’t it? Snogging you and then telling you what I’d done.” His hands fell to his sides, eyes remaining closed. “We don’t even know what we’re doing ourselves, do we? Never seem to just … and it’s been going on since I’ve regenerated.”
“Maybe even before.” Rose said quietly, catching him by surprise. Dozens of questions danced in his eyes as his mouth wrapped around words that didn’t come out. “We,” She started to say, causing his mouth to snap shut. Licking her lips, trying to think, she focused on the buttons of his oxford. “We’re.” She tried again, and failing to think a coherent thought.
“Rose,” He said softly, and she looked up to see it was now the Doctor’s turn to avoid eye contact. “I’m sorry,” He said. “I want, that is to say, but I can’t.” He stumbled, sighing. “Great big brain of mine and I can’t find the simple words.” He closed his eyes. “Slow.” He said simply. “Very slow. I want to do this slowly.” He opened his eyes, looking into hers with utter sincerity. “I don’t want to steal a single kiss, give you any touch that I don’t know for one hundred percent certain you want. And,” He said, lifting a hand to silence her. “You won’t always want it, not at first, not while we figure out what we are. Just now you were worried that there was an ulterior motive to my actions, and that’s not acceptable.”
“So what’re you saying?” She asked him.
He smiled. “You’re human,” He said lovingly. “You’re scent is stronger from the influx of pheromones, your pulse has quickened, your temperature is risen, and a primal instinct took over for just long enough that mistakes could have been made.” He brushed her hair from her furrowed brow. “And all those factors, well, I may not be human but that doesn’t mean I’m not affected by them. Especially knowing I’m the one causing it.”
Rose laughed, ducking her head, resting it on his chest. “Oh you’re fulla it.” She teased.
He hummed in agreement, happy and light sounding, arm drifting around her but hand resting on her waist. “But all that said, I want every single step of this to be without hesitation or regret. I can think of so many times I regret not showing you how much you mean to me that I can’t bare a second of regret because I did. And right now, if I were to follow through on all those natural impulses I’d end up regretting it. Not because it was with you,” He added to clarify. “But because you had a second of doubt about my intentions.
Rose wanted to argue, but she realized he was right.
She listened to the double rhythm of his hearts, feeling herself relax, and the lingering bits of lust in her system changed to tender affection. The rhythm slowed slightly, his hand resting heavier against her as he sighed. Peeking up, she saw his eyes had fallen shut and his face completely relaxed. He looked beautiful to her, always had. The one time she had seen his previous self fall asleep she’d thought the same thing.
Closing her eyes, she snuggled into him. Slow, slow was fine. Slow was a promise that this wasn’t an itch needing to be scratched, or to make up for something he felt he did wrong with someone else. Slow meant anticipation that she’d gladly take now knowing they were working toward something stead of just playing cat and mouse.
He was gone when she woke up, not surprising.
Changing in to some jeans and pink t-shirt, she then grabbed her trainers and pulled them on before heading to the console room.
Rose was surprised to find he was not alone. He was rambling, and she caught part of the history lesson he had given her on New New York the last time they were there. It didn’t have quite the same tone to it though. With her he had been relaxed, flirty even, but with Martha it sounded almost as if he was avoiding another conversation.
Martha was sitting on the jumpseat, old clothes back on except her jacket which was beside her. She was looking at the Doctor, watching him with intrigue that stirred the green monster inside Rose’s chest. But only for a moment, because she somehow doubted that look would be there if Martha knew where the Doctor fell asleep.
“Ah, you’re awake!” His voice pulled her attention to him, and she watched him smile as he flipped a switch and the TARDIS shook. “I’ve had the coordinates set for a while, waiting for you to drag yourself back to the world of the living.”
She shot him a good natured glare before walking to the rail where his overcoat draped. Lifting, she slid out her black zipper jumper, pulling it on doing it up. “New New York,” She beamed with false enthusiasm as she pulled her hair out from under the jumper. “Apple grass, flying cars, pure beauty.”
“Exactly. Come on,” The Doctor jumped about, grabbing the overcoat and throwing it on with flourish. “Martha, that means you. Up, up, up.” He said, and Martha pulled herself off the jumpseat. She walked past them down the ramp, and the Doctor quickly followed. He waited for Rose to catch up before he pushed open the door and they stepped outside.
And were instantly greeted with a heavy down pour.
Even though her hair was already wet, Rose flipped the hood of her jumper over her head, drawing the zipper up higher. She looked around, taking in the high buildings of old brown brick, the dirty streets, the strange amount of structures that vaguely reminded her of dumpsters. Wrapping her arms around her self, thankful that her jumper was made from waterproof material from the twenty-fifth century, she shifted closer to the Doctor. “So much for apple grass.” She mumbled
“Is this the Time Lord version of dazzling?” Martha asked as she zipped her coat up a little more and also stepped closer to the being in question.
“A little rain never hurt anyone.” He said, flashing a smile down at each of them. “Come on, let’s get under cover.” He said, gesturing to an alcove a few feet off before heading toward it. Martha followed instantly, but Rose hesitated. She wanted apple grass, dammit, and the TARDIS was right behind her. Sighing, she reluctantly jogged to catch up to the others, ducking under the shelter with them.
“Looks like the same old Earth to me.” Martha commented dryly.
“’S not.” Rose said, shaking her head. “You can sense it. Different smell, taste to the air.” She looked at the skeptical Martha. “And there’s a screen in the wall over there. Don’t have too many of those one Earth.” She smiled with a her tongue between her teeth. The Doctor chuckled in his chest but Martha … Martha looked like she scoffed a little.
Rose looked away, down to the trash littered ground that she nudged with her toes. He heard the whir of the sonic, the static of television coming on, and then a clear, too chipper voice.
“And driving should be clear and easy with fifteen extra lanes open for the New New Jersey expressway.”
“Oh, that’s more like it.” The Doctor said cheerfully. She glanced over at the screen before turning her eyes up to him. He smiled down at her, “That’s what we had last time. Must be in some sort of under city.”
“We’re in the slums?” Martha asked, and Rose looked back down to the ground.
“Much more interesting.” The Doctor said, trying to raise morale. “It’s all cocktails and glitter up there. This is the real city.”
Martha giggled. “You’d enjoy anything.”
“That’s me,” he said, and Rose heard him click his tongue. Rose snorted. “What?” He asked.
“Pears, mortgages, the idea of having to stay still at all.” She gazed up at him from under her lashes.
“I don’t think that’s quite what she meant,” He countered.
Like someone turning off a faucet, the rain stopped.
Despite the terrible looking surroundings, the air still had that strangely pleasant smell that comes after a down pour. Stepping away from the awkwardness that started to brew in alcove, Rose greeted the open space with her palms out. She closed her eyes and breathed deep. There was the undercurrent of smog, but she didn’t care. Exhaling slowly, she put her hands in her pockets and paced a bit. While she heard a touch of minor irritation coming from the alcove, she turned and leaned against one of the dumpster like structures.
The top part flew up, nearly hitting her in the head as she stumbled out of the way.
“Oh!” A man said, startling Rose to where she swore under her breath. “You should have said. How long you been there? Happy? You want happy?”
“Wh-what?” She stuttered.
Suddenly all the dumpster like structures opened, and people were shouting various moods at her. She stumbled, backed away, hitting against a chest with a double heart beat. The Doctor lightly took her wrists as people continued to shout at them.
“Are they selling Drugs?” Martha asked, coming up beside them.
“I think they’re selling moods.” The Doctor countered.
“What for?” Rose asked, frowning at the vendors who tried to haggle other people passing by.
“Some people thrive off of a particular feeling. Stress, elation, anger, misery, Sadness, sometimes people just want to feel. They can’t help it. Why else would anyone read, or watch, or listen to anything they knew will bring something powerful out in them? Good or bad, it can make them feel alive.” He replied as Rose watched a young girl walking toward the area with purpose. She had her head bowed, peeking out from behind her hood every couple steps.
The girl approached a stale ran by one of the nicest seeming vendors, close enough to them that Rose could hear the conversation between she and the woman selling emotions.
“I want to buy forget,” The girl said.
“I’ve got forget.” The vendor replied with compassion. “What strength? How much you want forgetting”
“My mother and father went on the motorway.” She replied.
The vendor nodded in understand before disappearing for a second. “Forget forty-three.” She said, handing something over to the girl. “Two pence.”
The girl handed the vendor something, likely money, and turned away.
Without thinking, Rose moved toward her, the Doctor close behind her.
“Sorry, but hold on a minute. What happened to your parents?” He asked her.
“They drove off.” She replied.
Rose frowned. “With out you? Is that why you want to forget?”
The girl nodded slightly. “They couldn’t bare the idea of taking me with them. Everyone goes to the motorway in the end, but it just wasn’t my time to leave.”
“But they might drive back,” The Doctor reminded her.
The girl shook her head. “I’ve lost them.” And before Rose or the Doctor could stop her, the girl placed something on her neck.
Instantly all the grief melted away, and the girl looked as completely stoned.
“I’m sorry,” She said, her voice rid of all sadness. “What were you saying.”
“Your parents, you said they’re on the motorway.” The Doctor reminded her.
“Are they?” She said with an amused grin. “That’s nice.” She added, looking between Rose and the Doctor. “I’m sorry, I won’t keep you.” She walked away with her head held high, and a dreamy air to her step.
“So that’s the human race in five billion years?” Martha said, and Rose looked over her shoulder to see her scowling. “Off their heads on chemicals?”
“Wasn’t like that last time.” Rose tried to reassure, looking back to where the girl had gone. “It was strange, but nothing like this.”
As the Doctor opened his mouth to add to Rose’s reply, Martha yelped behind them. Turning abruptly, Rose wasn’t expecting to have woman pointing a gun in her face.
The Doctor yanked her behind him, but could make no move toward Martha or the man dragging her backward. She struggled against the man’s hold, a brave face but fear in her eyes.
“I’m sorry, really. Really sorry. We just need three, that’s all.” He said despite Martha’s protests to be freed.
“I’m sorry,” The woman holding the gun said. “Really.” She kept the gun pointed at them as she backed away to join the man with Martha. A door opened behind them, and they backed out, closing it behind them.
“Wait here,” He said to Rose before darting after Martha and the others.
She grunted, about to protest, but he was gone before anything could be said. Growling, she kicked the ground.
“Could buy some happy,” One of the vendors offered. “Or maybe some mellow? Relax ya.”
She turned a narrow gaze his way. “No, thanks, mate.” She said in as even as a voice as she could muster.
“Could make you forget your pain,” He tried again. “Can’t be fun to watch him run after the other.”
“What’s the point of all this?” Rose asked, whirling around and stomping toward him. “Why sell false emotions to people? Wha’s the point in makin’ ‘em feel something that’s not real?”
He shrugged, looking as though the question never crossed his mind. “Why not? Why let yourself feel anything short of content? Doesn’t everyone want a life filled with only happy?” He asked in return.
“I wouldn’t.” Rose shook her head resolutely. “’N’ I’ve had a harder life than I care to think about. But ya know what? I wouldn’t change a thing. All those hard times make you stronger, fight harder. Makes the happy times happier.” She strode up to the man who seemed perfectly ashamed of himself at the moment, trying to and failing at avoiding her gaze. “S’like the Doctor said, makes you feel alive.”
“Those people, who were they?” She heard the man himself behind her, full on Oncoming Storm in his demeanor and tone. “Where did they take her?”
“They’ve taken her to the motorway,” The vendor closest to him replied.
“Looked like carjackers,” Another added in.
“I’d give up now, darling. You won’t see her again.” Added a third.
“He kept saying three, we need three. What did he mean?” The Doctor asked, and Rose slowly made her way over to him.
“It’s the car sharing policy. Saves fuel.” The second vendor replied. “You get special access if you’re carrying three adults.”
“This motorway, how do I get there?” He demanded, and now that she was closer to him she could see the fury and panic in his eyes. His hands were in fists at his sides, his whole body rigid.
“Straight down the alley, keep going to the end. You can’t miss it.” The same vendor answered with a happy demeanor.
He turned his gaze to Rose, and she jumped back ever so slightly at it. “Go to the TARDIS,” He instructed with no room for argument.
It didn’t stop her from trying. “Why?”
“Because it’s dangerous.”
She scoffed, “’S always dangerous.”
“Rose,” He said through clenched teeth. “For once, just once, listen to me. I don’t know why they took her, and everyone keeps talking of the motorway as if it’s some kind of hell. I can’t worry about you while I try and rescue Martha. Not this time.”
Her jaw tensed, and she was sure she was probably meeting his fierce gaze with equal power, but she nodded once. Crossing her arms, she strode past him, back toward the TARDIS.
Rose heard the faint voice of a vendor in the background.
“Word of advice.” The Doctor’s raised voice made her stop, looking over her shoulder to see him addressing the vendors. “All of you cash up, close down, and pack your bags. Because as soon as I’ve found my friend alive and well, and I will find her alive and well, then I’m coming back. And this street is closing tonight.” He stormed in the direction he was given without another word.
“Can,” the vendor nearest her asked with a shaky voice. “Can he really do that?”
“Seen him take down the British government with six words.” Rose replied, a small smirk playing on her lips as she folded her arms. “What do you think?”
She didn’t wait for the reply as she continued back to the TARDIS, hoping the whole time she wasn’t going to be greeted by another hologram ready to send her away.
Martha had immediately regretted telling the Doctor she wanted to see the same things Rose had. If she was getting cocktails and glitter, then Martha wanted them too. She knew how she sounded the second she walked away from him, how she acted, and when she stole a glance at Rose she had been happy to find th blonde pointedly not paying attention.
But as soon as the three of them were distracted by the emotional drug dealers was her guard dropped and she was taken, drugged, and found herself in a car with the potential of not seeing the Doctor or Rose for another six years.
Fast Lane her arse.
At least Cheen and Milo were nice, as far as kidnappers were concerned. The parents-to-be were just trying to get to a better life as fast as they could, and while they may have gone about it in entirely the wrong way, Martha understood.
It didn’t mean she had to like it.
No sooner was this daily contemplation over did an electronic voice announce that they had Fast lane access.
“We made it!” Milo cried out victoriously. Cheen grinned, turning to Martha with excitement.
“Just another six years to go.” Martha said with a fake smile and unenthusiastic fist pump.
“Look on the bright side,” Cheen tried to console. “By then that guy and the blonde may have broken up.”
“Huh?” Martha asked.
“Oh, stop.” Cheen waved it off, giving Martha a little smack on the knee. “You say friend with reverence. We were stalking you for a bit before we snagged you, we saw the way the two of you bickered. And who knows, maybe us taking you will help him realize what he lost.”
“Why did you take me and not her?” Martha asked, grudgingly wondering for a moment if the Doctor was even going to come for her. Had it been Rose, well, maybe he would have. Okay, so probably.
She said he was all she had left in the Universe, so maybe he’d feel obligated. But then again, no one would be looking for her.
Six years, she would change too much. Time machines wouldn’t reverse aging, so someone would have to notice the difference when she got home.
If no one was looking for Rose, no one would notice if he didn’t just pop over and grab her after the six years were up.
“She looked too young.” Milo answered her question, snapping her out of her daydream. “We didn’t want to risk being denied because she didn’t look quite of age.”
Martha nodded. “Still, may have been better for me though.” She smirked, and Cheen giggled.
“Junctions are coming up,” Milo said, tapping the screen. “Let’s see what the best one to get us to Brooklyn would be.
Rose walked into the TARDIS, and the old girl slammed the door shut behind her. Looking up at the ceiling, she immediately felt the ships mutual annoyance at the Doctor leaving her behind.
“So you think he was being irrational too, don’t ya?” She asked patting one of the coral struts. The ship dimmed and Rose felt something like agreement in her mind.
Walking up the ramp, she headed for and plopped down in the jump seat, swinging her legs, reluctant to sit any other way with the wet hems of her pants. She blew at her bangs as she gazed up at the time rotor.
“Looks like I need to just hold tight and wait,” She said to the TARDIS. “Just you and me.”
The TARDIS nudged her mind, something reminding Rose of a shoulder bump, and she blinked. A second later, the nudge came harder, and Rose felt like her mind was expanding. She felt warmer from within, and she quickly looked down at her hands.
They weren’t glowing.
Sighing with relief, Rose wasn’t as apprehensive about the odd feelings anymore.
Another nudge in her mind, and she was on her feet, moving to the console like someone was physically pushing her toward it. She studied the console controls, and a weird sense of knowing started to fill that space in her mind that was expanding.
“I don’t know how to fly you.” She said quietly.
The memory hit her mind’s eye with force.
The heart of the TARDIS had entered her mind, filled her soul, and she relished it. Comradery like she’d never known coursed through her, a feeling of trust and protection wrapping around her soul. She was loved by this wonderful ship, and their mutual love for the Time Lord meant they could not be stopped now.
But they had to hurry, and she knew that.
Moving up around the console, it all came naturally. The TARDIS guided her to the controls that were needed, sent Rose images of what she was supposed to press or shift, and she followed the ship’s instructions.
“We’re coming for you, our Doctor.” She said as she sent the ship into the vortex.
Rose gasped, suddenly needing to catch her breath as that warmth radiated in her brain. She clutched her hair as if it would prevent her mind from burning up, and she sank down to her knees.
What just happened?
The TARDIS stroked her mind soothingly, sending reassurance to her in mass quantities. She would not let Rose burn, not for a second, not ever. Not so long as she was in control. With that comfort, Rose pulled herself up with the help of the console.
Without a second thought, she flipped a switch. Moving around, she pressed buttons seemingly at random, made adjustments, checked other settings, and then ran around to send them on her way.
And then she paused.
“I don’t know what I’m doing,” She said, squinting her eyes. The TARDIS hummed in disagreement. “Seriously, I know how to fly you?” She asked the walls, and the walls concurred with a cheery flicker of the lights. “And did I know this when we were stuck on a space ship while the Doctor was gallivanting in France?” She asked, hands on her hips as she looked around the console room.
The lights dimmed. In Rose’s mind she saw a flicker of herself twisting on the floor at the mercy of the racknoss in the Torchwood lab.
“That did it, then?” She said, and the TARDIS sort of grumbled a yes. Then she put an image in Rose’s mind that didn’t happen. That had she and Mickey waited inside the TARDIS for the Doctor she would have sent them back to the estate. And for some reason, Rose knew the ship was not pleased about being programmed to do that.
“That’s fine,” Rose reassured with a stroke on the console. “But I still can’t read Gallifreyan, and I have no idea how to set coordinates.” She huffed, looking up at the ship’s ceiling with a sly grin. “But you can do that part, can’t you girl? You can set it to when the Doctor finds Martha.”
She heard something twisting, and Rose watched as the dials moved on their own accord. When they stopped, Rose put her hand on the switch.
Smirking, she gave it a push. “Allons-y.” She murmured to her self as she felt the ship dematerialize.
The stark realization as she faced the possibility of oxygen starvation or death by alien for the second time in three days had hit Martha hard. She trusted the Doctor even though she knew nothing about him, truly believed he would rescue her without a second thought, and worst of all that she was extremely infatuated with the alien.
Her heart soared as his face lit up the screen, calling out to the car she was in. Her face split into a grin she couldn’t relax if she tried, and she blushed to the point where a light sheen came to her cheeks.
“And car Four Six Five Diamond Six,” He said as he finished encouraging all the cars to fly up. “I’m sending you a flight path. Come to the Senate.”
She had lunged for the transmitter, and Cheen and Milo hid their grins as she peered at the monitor. “On my way.” She said.
The Doctor’s face split into a grin that lit up his eyes, and it was the best. The absolute best, that is, until he spoke. “It’s been quite a while since I saw you, Martha Jones.” He said in a way that made her feel special, cherished, important.
And like Rose was in no way without some competition.
Milo followed the coordinates, dropping Martha off at the senate entrance.
“Go get him,” Cheen said with a wink.
“Thank you, and good luck with your little one.” Martha said with a wave before turning and running into the senate.
She was momentarily set back in her joy when she had to side step a skeleton, noting that there were others around her. But once she was around it and she caught the sound of shoes echoing toward her, her heart began to race once more.
He stepped around the corner, hands in his pockets, and stopped. After a beat, his face split into that smile again, and she ran toward the Doctor. She jumped up, wrapping her arms around his neck, and he laughed as he hugged her back.
“Did you think I would leave you or something?” He asked her as set her down.
“Never doubted it. Not once.” She said, leaning back to look into those deep brown eyes.
“Oh,” He said, his smile perking up again. “That’s a nice change.”
She went to hold him closer when a grinding noise filled the air around them, and the Doctor’s face scrunched in confusion.
The TARDIS materialized a few feet away, and he let Martha go completely to turn and stare at the ship with utter shock.
And Martha was completely disappointed when the door opened, and Rose stepped out of the box with her jeans and hair still damp and a smug grin on her face.
“How?” Was the word that escaped the Doctor’s mouth when she stepped out to where ever they were now. Martha looked as if she’d been grinning ear to ear just a moment before, standing close enough to the Doctor for Rose to piece together that she had probably just been found.
“How do you think?” Rose asked, crossing her arms and trying to remain completely serious. “I flew here.”
“How?” The Doctor repeated, seeming unable to move.
Rose shrugged. “Just knew.” She said, her gaze focused on her damp trainers. “Only thing I wasn’t certain how to do were the coordinates, and the TARDIS helped with that.”
She heard the Doctor rush toward her, felt his grip tight on her shoulders. Lifting her head like a guilty child, she met his unreadable gaze. “How did you know how to fly the TARDIS?” He repeated, his voice devoid of pride, joy, anything that didn’t seem like she had just committed a crime.
“I remembered how.” She said quietly. “I remembered … from the last time I had to fly her to get to you.”
His Adam’s apple bobbed for a moment, and there was a quiver to his features that sort of scared her.
“Doctor,” Someone called behind them, and it was enough of a distraction to pull his eyes off of her. He took off, and in the absence of his presence she could see Martha standing there staring. She blushed, likely realizing she’d been caught, but was quick to avoid Rose’s gaze like she hadn’t wanted to be associated with the trouble maker.
As their companion took after the Doctor, Rose swallowed back the need to cry. Was it really so bad that she came to him? To them?
Shaking her head, she followed them.
Entering the room, Rose clasped her hand over her mouth to cover the gasp as she took in the Face of Boe outside the tank that contained him, and the Doctor and Martha leaning down beside him. There was a cat Nurse standing near the Doctor, looking near tears at the giant head.
“Rose Tyler, you’ve come as well.” The Face of Boe said in her head, and she flinched back before willing herself to go to him.
“How did you know my name?” She asked, a hand reaching out and stroking one of the tentacle like things nearest her.
The Face of Boe closed his eyes, and there seemed to be a faint smile on his lips. “The touch of an angel is not easily forgotten. We have met before, many times. Though I’m afraid this will be my last.”
“Don’t say that.” The Doctor said, his voice tender. “Not old Boe. Plenty of life left.”
“It’s good to breathe the air once more,” The Face of Boe sighed. “As it is to be surrounded by friends in the end. I have seen so much, perhaps too much. And I have kept secrets for far too long. Secrets I now want to share with you.”
“Secrets’re overrated,” Rose said, tearing up as she felt genuine love for this giant head that she couldn’t explain. “May as well keep’em to yourself a bit longer, yeah?”
The Face chuckled weakly inside her head. “You’re one to talk.” He said in a way that was so familiar it sent a jolt through her. “I do have some comfort I can give you, my dear. It is said that so long as he wanders, so too shall the wolf.” She glanced over at the Doctor, but he didn’t seem to hear it.
“She’s right,” The Doctor said as if nothing else was exchanged, confirming her suspicions. “You have some more life left in you. You can hold on.”
“I am not so lucky. I have reached the end. But be warned, Time Lord, that danger is coming. And know that you are not alone.” And with that, the Face of Boe’s eyes closed as he took a shuddering breath.
Rose smiled, tears running down her face as she looked over at the Doctor. His eyes glistened with grief and wonder. She could only assume that the Face of Boe’s final words were meant to be something private for the Doctor, as her message from him was, but maybe the poor thing couldn’t mute his telepathy in the end. Regardless, the spark in her Doctor’s eyes made her heart swell despite the strange, heartbreaking loss she felt.
Martha walked beside the Doctor, admiring the look of satisfaction he wore as he gazed around the closed down Pharmacy town. It was the happiest she’d seen him since Rose landed the TARDIS in the senate, and Martha was happy to have had a hand in something that put the smile back in his eyes.
“Been quite a day,” She said lightly, and he nodded and hummed in agreement. “Can’t say I will ever complain about traffic again, knowing how long some people had been stuck in their cars.” She added, taking his arm in hopes to get his attention.
“Yeah, but you humans will always find something to complain about. Actually, I suppose complaining isn’t limited to humans, but you lot do do it brilliantly.” He said gazing up at the newly open sky above. “And you always have someone who understands, always at least one of your fellow man who feels the same way.” He glanced down at her, smile held though it was hiding something. Worry, maybe?
“What did he mean, the Face of Boe? That danger is coming?”
The Doctor smirked, though his eyes grew more trouble. “With me? Danger is always coming. Seems that way anyway. Always seem to run into Daleks, or Cybermen, or crab like aliens that feast off polluted air.” He said, and she had to chuckle at his defensive humor.
A moment later she sobered. “But he said, ‘you are not alone.’ Of course you’re not alone, you have me.” She paused as his smile faded. “And Rose. So why would he say that?”
“I don’t know.” He lied.
“Yes you do,” She said softly, hoping that maybe he would tell her. When all he did was smile and turn away, making a B-line for the TARDIS parked by one of the former stales she scoffed and shook her head. “Bet Rose knows.” She mumbled.
“Sorry?” He asked politely, obviously unaware that he wasn’t meant to hear.
Martha crossed her arms. “I said, ‘I bet Rose knows.’” She replied.
He furrowed his brow as if he had to think about it. “I’m not sure I understand.”
Martha looked around her, finding a metal folding chair that seemed to have been neglected by someone leaving in a hurry. Who knew what was on it, but she righted it and sat in it anyway. “You and she have traveled together for a while, and it’s constantly there, her knowing more about you than I do. If he didn’t mean she and I, than what did he mean? Why would he even say that? How is it a secret that you are not alone?” She rambled on.
They stayed silent staring each other down in a contest that neither knew the rules to. Around them the city was singing a hymn similar to the one Martha heard during their daily contemplation. Some how it strengthened her resolve while the Doctor’s whithered. He glanced over at the TARDIS before sighing heavily, picking up another discarded chair and sitting down across from her.
“I lied to you, ‘cause I liked it. I could pretend, just for a bit, that they were still alive underneath a burnt orange sky.” His head hung. “I’m not just a Time Lord. I’m the last of the Time Lords.”
“Does … does Rose know?” She asked.
He nodded. “Oh yes.” He said, “She knows everything. Our first trip out was to watch Earth burn. Back then I wanted her to understand how it felt, because I didn’t realize she had such a strong sense of empathy. After that I brought her back to London for some perspective, and she asked me about Gallifrey as we ate chips on a park bench overlooking the Thames. Simple questions about a place she would never see. Over time, as we traveled together, she’d ask on occasion, or I’d make an absentminded comparison. I’m pretty sure I’ve detailed complete continents to her without even realizing it.”
“What happened?” Martha asked quickly, steering the topic of conversation back where it needed to go.
He sighed. “There was a war. A Time War. The last Great Time War. My people fought a race called the Daleks, for the sake of all creation. And they lost. Everyone lost. They’re all gone now. My family, my friends, even that sky.”
“Tell me about it?” She asked gently, reaching across the space between them, taking his hand.
He looked at it for a good, solid minute, and Martha’s heart started to pound as she waited for what he may do next.
“The second sun
would rise in the south, and the mountains would shine.” He said in
a dreamy tone that caused her to smile, listening to his every word
like it was the key to everything. She listened to him tell her
details of the planet that sounded more like a fairy tale than
anything that could possibly be real. But then he smiled, and that
was all it took for her to realize a place like that had to have
existed for someone as beautiful as him to be brought into creation.
Rose sat on the jumpseat hugging a knee to her chest as she nervously waited for her Time Lord to unleash what ever had been brewing behind his eyes when she landed the TARDIS. He and Martha went to shut down Pharmacy Town, the place they arrived at in the first place, and had been taking far longer than she had expected them to. She could have simply got up and peeked outside, but she didn’t dare to. Didn’t dare see what might happen or what she might see or hear.
So she waited, heart pounding despite the TARDIS sending her reassuring vibes.
When the doors finally opened her head snapped up, and she watched as Martha walked up the ramp with a satisfied smile on her face.
“Goodnight, Rose.” She said with a wave, and Rose blinked back.
Martha was gone before she could respond.
She looked to the Doctor as he came up the ramp slowly, a wistfulness in his brown eyes as he stopped part way toward her and leaned with his hip against the console. His hands were buried deep in his pockets, and his head turned toward the corridor.
“She asked to see Gallifrey this morning.” He said after an intense amount of silence. “And I lied to her. Told her I just didn’t want to go instead of the truth like I had told you. I lied so easily to her, and I think she figured me out somewhere along the way. She asked outside what Boe meant. ‘You are not alone’. She assumed that it was because I have her. And you, of course.” He added, almost as if an afterthought, but Rose supposed if this was really what happened she would have been to Martha. “Maybe she’s right, but she could still tell I didn’t believe that, and that I was hiding something.” He shifted around the console, coming to stand in front of her but still wouldn’t look at her. “I lied to her, but I was honest with you in an instant. First trip out, not even a full day after I just met you, and I was spilling everything to you. Discussed my planet over chips like we were talking about a park down the road. That body kept everything locked up, but not with you. Never with you. Not if I didn’t think it would send you running. So I have to wonder what you could have possibly been thinking, risking burning up just to fly the TARDIS to me, when you are the only being in the universe who knows who I am.” He finally looked up and met her eye, pain, fear, and anger looking back at her.
“I didn’t risk burning.” She replied firmly. “Just came back to me.”
“How?” He asked.
“Can’t explain it.” She partially snapped. “I did what you asked, I came back inside, sat down, and she … nudged me. In my mind, she helped me unlock the memories.” She watched his gaze soften just a little. “And then I just knew. Was like second nature.”
“What did it feel like?” He asked gently. “When she unlocked those memories.” He added, flashing a scowl at the ceiling.
The corner of Rose’s mouth twitched up for a second. “Warm, safe. Like my mind grew to make room for it.”
At that the Doctor straightened, hands out of his pockets, eyes wide. “What?” He asked.
“I know you heard me.” She replied evenly.
He reached out and grabbed her hand, yanking her off the jumpseat and pulling her down the hall. He cursed in what she was assuming was Gallifreyan the whole way, turning those curses and a scowl toward the ceiling. The TARDIS would hum back in a growl, and Rose felt bad for mentioning any of it. The Doctor pushed the door to the medbay open, allowing it to slam against the wall before he tugged Rose over to the flat bed scanner he had used on her after their meeting with Donna.
“Get on, now.” He demanded as he moved to the computer.
With a sigh, she obeyed. The TARDIS tried to sooth her agitation, but the poor ship was still warring with her captain in hums to his alien tongue.
Rose waited, letting the machine pass over her, feeling the energy tickle her skin with each pass, pulling that sensation deeper into her body as it dug deeper into her anatomy. When it stopped, she sat up, though this time she didn’t join the Doctor to read them. He’d stopped cursing at one point, had put on his specs, and seemed to have picked up her bad habit of biting her thumb. She watched as his brow would pull together for a second before softening, how he hit the keyboard aggressively at first but with less conviction as the seconds ticked by. Eventually his whole body sagged, his glasses came off, and he looked at Rose with an apologetic expression.
“So?” She asked.
“You’re not going to burn.” He admitted quietly. “There are a couple changes. Your processing power has gone up a little,” he said, tapping his head for emphasis. “Different parts of your brain have sort of woken up. And your … life expectancy has increased a little.” He smiled sadly. “You get another fifty years, Rose Tyler. Be nearly two hundred before you go on your last adventure now.”
“So why do you look like the world is about to end?” She asked him.
“Because I’m an idiot.” He confessed whole heartedly. “When you showed up in the senate, all I could think of was the Game Station. All I saw for a few fleeting seconds was you walking out of here with the Vortex around you and I was terrified. When I took the Vortex out of you, I didn’t take your memories with it. I think she, Bad Wolf, sealed those away herself.”
“So you intended me to remember you kissing me?” She interrupted him, smiling slyly with her tongue between her teeth as his head jerked in surprise.
He cleared his throat, looking away and pulling at his ear, scratching his side burn. “Well, intentions are, that’s to say I wasn’t going to make you forget but I was pretty sure you wouldn’t… hold on,” he said, looking at her. “How long have you remembered that?”
“Only since the whole Huon thing.” Rose shrugged. “Came back to me.”
He fidgeted. “What else do you remember?”
Her eyes widened. “What else did we do?”
He grinned, wide and manic, and she was truly terrified of the answer. “Nothing, Rose.” He reassured. “I kissed you, but that was all there was. I promise.”
“Okay, good.” She said, the relief palatable. “So what now?” She asked him.
He shrugged. “You missed the whole thirteen hours Martha and I were stuck on the motorway.” He said, and her jaw dropped. “I don’t need to sleep, and you don’t exactly need it considering you skipped over the day.”
“So?” She asked.
He stood up, walking with a bit of swagger toward her. He offered his hand, and she took it curiously. He led her back out into the console room, keeping her hand in his as brought her over to the coordinate input. He stayed silent for a few seconds, then looked over to Rose with an affectionate grin. “You shouldn’t have trouble reading it now.” He said, and Rose looked down to see that what was previously all circles and dots and lines was now easy to read English. “I’m still Captain.” He said to her seriously.
“I know.” She grinned.
“I’m the one that flies her, you’re more of a co-polite.”
“’Kay,” She said, her tongue poking out between her teeth.
He grinned wider. “Don’t give me that look, Rose Tyler. You are not, under most circumstances, to pilot this ship. You hear me?”
She pulled her lips into her mouth, swallowing the laugh and putting on her most serious expression. “Yes sir, captain sir.” She said with a half-hearted salute.
“Good.” The Doctor said, stepping away from the console. “Now, let’s see your skills. Quick pit-stop to, oh, let’s see. How about Paris, France. May, 1889. Eiffel tower is brand new, used as a gateway to the World Fair. We can find ourselves a nice little bistro, have some dinner, take in the view.”
“You want me to take us out for a date then?” Rose asked, brow arched.
He grinned cheekily. “Only if you can land in the right time.” He teased. “And no helping her,” He said sharply to the ceiling. “I’m still mad at you.”
Rose giggled, setting the coordinates before dancing around the console. When the ship landed with a gentle thud, the Doctor strode down the ramp, pulling the door open. Rose could see the tower from where she was.
“Not bad.” He conceded, grinning with pride. He stuck his arm out to her, “Shall we, Mademoiselle?”
She skipped down to him, taking his arm. “Allons-y,” She winked, and he chuckled in his throat as he led her out the door into the Paris night.