A Home Birth
Amelia McNab ran down the street as fast as she could, but her high heels were not meant for running. The asphalt clicked beneath her feet, echoing dully on the tall brick buildings. She'd been running for so long, her home was only a quarter mile away, now.
Think, think, she begged herself. You are not an animal, you have reason. Think of a way out of this.
She was not fast enough. Amelia McNab ran into one side of an alley—an attempt to make a shortcut—and she was never seen again.
When Jackie got up in the morning she saw the Doctor still holding Rose, trying to interest himself in some muted Discovery Channel documentary. He waved silently, pointing at the still-sleeping Rose to warn her to be quiet.
Jackie rolled her eyes, turning the TV volume up and pulling pans down to make breakfast. "Sleep through a war, that one. There's no way a bit of noise will bother her."
He frowned. "She heard me in her room the other night. It woke her up."
"What were you doing in her room," Jackie asked accusatorially.
"Oh, um, I was just… that's not the point."
"If you think you woke Rose up, it's because she wanted you to think so. She must have been awake when you walked in there."
He thought it through for a minute, then raised his eyebrow at the sleeping girl. "Well, you devious little sneak."
"I suspect she'll be hungry when she wakes up. I was thinking eggs, maybe some bacon. 'Course I couldn't eat eggs at all with her. Made me sick all nine months. How is she?"
"She's been asleep for a good nine hours or so. It's good for her but—"
Rose cried out from his lap, cutting him off. "Ah!"
"Rose?" he asked alarmed.
She jumped from the couch, hands clasped over her stomach. "Oh, it—it burns." She let out a scream as they rushed over to her, trying to lower her back to the couch.
"No, no! I don't need to rest, I need…I don't even know," she cried, wringing her hands.
"I don't know, it just hurts. I hurt everywhere!"
"Is she in labor?" Jackie asked him.
"Maybe," he started, but Rose shook her head.
"That's not it. I just… it's like I'm hungry but… oh, move!" she pushed past them running for the door.
"Doctor, what's happening?" Jackie asked as he ran out the door after Rose, ignoring her.
Rose's stomach was extended, not to the degree it had been the night before, but enough to slow her down for the Doctor to catch up to her. "You shouldn't be running. Just tell me what you need!"
"The TARDIS! Get me to the TARDIS."
He scooped her up in one swoop, running around the corner to where they had parked the little wooden box. She burst inside, pulling up one of the removable floor boards and digging through the wires.
"You're going to electrocute yourself!" he cried, trying to move her from the wires, but she just pushed him away.
"I know what I'm doing," she insisted.
Jackie made it to the TARDIS, gasping for breath and holding a stitch in her side. "You two are in shape, did you know that? I haven't seen anyone run that fast since I caught Howard the grocer with that fish woman in the Peat District. Just how much running is involved with your travelling?"
"Quite a bit, actually," he said distractedly, wincing every time Rose took hold of a wire. He set a hand comfortingly on the console, hoping his box wouldn't get scared and try to electrocute the three of them.
On the contrary, the TARDIS seemed perfectly calm as Rose dug through her mechanisms, finally pulling out a sleeve of tubing from the floor. She snapped the tube in her hands and a thick, oozing gold liquid dripped from it.
"Rose, be careful! That's excess radiation from the Time Vortex. The tubing is a disposal system so we don't get too powerful of a dose from traveling through it."
Rose ignored him entirely and stuck the end of the tube in her mouth, taking deep drinks of the goop.
"Ew!" Jackie cringed, trying to pull the tube from her daughter's hands. "Sweetheart, you have no idea what's in that junk."
Rose held up her hand, warning her mother to stay back. After a few intense gulps, she finally pulled away, sighing in relief as she laid down on the TARDIS floor. "That's so much better. The pain is gone."
"But what is that goop you were drinking?" Jackie asked disdainfully. "How did you know it was down there?"
"No idea," Rose shrugged. "I was just…like hungry, or something. I knew where to get it, whatever it was."
"Pure time energy," the Doctor explained, carefully repairing the tubing with his sonic. "On Gallifrrey you would get everything you need from the air. I guess the baby decided to improvise, sent you to the TARDIS to collect it for him."
"He sent me? As in, he gave the thought?"
"Sure. It was easy enough for him last night. The good news is you drank a very concentrated dose, it should sustain you through the rest of the ordeal."
Rose was just agreeing with him when she gasped again, grabbing her stomach in pain.
"Then again, what do I know?" the Doctor grumbled at himself, picking her up to carry her back to the flat.
"No! Here! I want to stay here."
"Well thanks, love you too," Jackie snapped. "Is my flat really so bad you'd rather stay in a room where goop comes bubbling out of the floor. What's the design in here anyway? It looks like I'm surrounded by brown cactuses."
"The word is cacti, and it's not. These are coral," the Doctor argued.
"I'm just saying, you couldn't go wrong with a bit of a woman's touch in here. Especially if you expect my daughter to fly around in this thing permanently."
"I'll set my desktop any way I like. You probably wouldn't even like the round things. I loved the round things."
"If anyone's interested," Rose cut in, "I want to stay here because—ow! These are not hunger pains."
They looked at in confusion, but what they saw shocked them into understanding. Rose was lying in the Doctor's arms, eyes wide, and skin positively glowing.
No, I mean really glowing.
"What is that?" Jackie shrieked as the Doctor laid Rose on the ground. "Don't let her go; we have to get her somewhere safe if the baby's coming!"
"No place safer in the universe," he promised, closing the TARDIS doors as Jackie knelt down by Rose's head. He ran back and grabbed the older woman, pulling her away.
"Hey! I want to be with Rose! Rose, Honey, can you hear me?"
"You can't," the Doctor explained. "That's not any glow, that's regeneration energy. We have to stay back, it could burn you, or mess with my genetics. Too much exposure and it could kick-start me into my next face."
"What about her? If it'll burn me, why not her?"
"It would have started already, she would be in pain."
"She said it hurt! We have to stop this!"
"I don't think that's her pain she's feeling," he said ominously.
Rose lay on the floor, gasping softly as she watched her shimmering fingers. She looked over and saw the Doctor standing there with Jackie. She tried to speak but her throat was dry. Her voice came out raspy and sad. "If I don't…If I die…"
"Don't you dare talk like that," he said immediately, but the tears staining his face poked holes in the shelter his confidence provided. "You can do this Rose Tyler, you're fantastic. Just hold on a bit longer."
Rose let out a final gasp, and suddenly a bright yellow light filled the room, shining from her face and hands. It was magnificent and the heat was almost unbearable. The light danced in the air, but instead of dispersing, it swung around the room and came to hit the floor next to Rose, filling the space with a formless blob. As the light congealed it took on shapes, a leg here, an arm there, and worked its way in a circular fashion until there was a fully-formed adult body lying next to her, concealed by the yellow energy.
"Rose!" The Doctor yelled, using one hand to shield himself from the light.
Very suddenly, the glow was gone from Rose's body, along with the bump that had been on her stomach. What was left of the energy swirled through the room, always coming to rest in the figure on the floor. Rose took shaky breaths and sat up slowly, watching the last traces of the light bounce along into the figure. Finally, only the body next to her glowed, and with a sudden pop the light disappeared, leaving a boy in its wake.
Rose stared at him in shock for half a minute, taking in every feature of this being she'd created. He was tall, five-foot seven at the least, and he looked to be about sixteen physically. He had wild brown hair that hung down intrusively onto his angular face. Rose laid a hand on the boy's face, brushing some of his hair away gingerly.
His eyes shot open, and he went immediately from sleeping to panicked. The boy shot up into a sitting position, grabbing at his arms, his face, his legs, making unintelligible sounds with his mouth, as though he couldn't find words that he wished he had.
"It's okay," Rose said immediately, pulling his head to her shoulder, trying to calm him down. "It's okay, Sweetheart, I'm here. You don't have to be afraid, never ever. Everything is alright."
The boy made a sharp grunt and pulled away from her embrace, pressing the heels of his palms against the side of his head. "Ah!" he cried. "Ah—ah!" he fell backward, screaming, his hands guarding his temples.
The Doctor ran over, leaning over the boy and wrestling his hands away from his face to replace them with his own.
"What's happening?" Rose shrieked. "He's in pain! What's happening? What are you doing?"
"He's too human, more human than I thought. But just as smart as a Time Lord. Those things don't go together. You can't have a Time Lord mind inside a human brain, it'll burn up and die in under a minute."
"He's dying?" she sobbed, grabbing tightly at her son's hand.
"I've just got to—okay hold still," the Doctor said, pinning back the terrified boy's arms. He laid his own palms against the boy's temples, closing his eyes and concentrating very hard on something. After ten seconds the boy stopped screaming, his arms and legs going limp beneath his parents.
"No!" Rose screamed, a scream that chilled everyone on the TARDIS to their bones. "No, he can't be—"
"He's not dead," the Doctor said, quickly, pulling Rose into a tight hug. "He's okay, he's only asleep, I thought it would be easier to get him back to your Mother's without his arms flying everywhere."
"But—but you said his mind would kill him."
"It would, that's why I've moved it."
"His whole mind? You moved it?"
"No, not the whole thing. Just some of the Time Lord part of it. Imagine…a wall, like, a bid dam inside his head. I took the stuff that was too much for him to handle and shoved it behind a barrier where he can't reach it."
"So he's safe?" she asked, laying a hand alongside the sleeping boy's face. "Our son is safe?"
"Not exactly. The wall… it's a quick fix. We'll have to find something more permanent."
"But he's alive," Rose sobbed, ignoring him as she stroked the boy's cheek "Our son is alive, and I'm alive."
The Doctor grinned. "Oh, yes. So alive."
"He's beautiful," Jackie whispered from the corner. Rose smiled at her mother, surmised to hear such gentle words. Jackie quickly composed herself. "But I guess you couldn't have made him any younger? People are going to think he's mine! You're way too young to have one that age. Bit big for a newborn."
Rose rolled her eyes as the Doctor took off his overcoat and wrapped it around the boy, lifting him gingerly in his arms.
"I think he's perfect," Rose said, slipping on hand around the Doctor's arm as they walked back to the flat she'd called home before her life had changed, all those months ago.