Characters: Dark Alt Ten/Rose
Genre: Dark AU/Adventure/Romance in a dark way and Angst
Disclaimer: I do not own Doctor Who
Summary: The Doctor and Rose are back on Earth fulfilling their duties as Protectors of the Earth as assigned to them by Time Lord Council. Enemies are emerging from the darkness intent on vengeance. The Doctor will not see it coming until it steals what he holds most precious.
A/N: Third in the Dark Ten Series. Follows Burn With Me and A Smouldering Storm Thanks to callistawolf , littlewhomouse, whoinwhoville, timelord1, onabeaskinrug and many others who helped me plot or just listened to me whinge. Big Thank you to ValueTurtle for the idea about the void ship interior. I revised this quite a bit after beta so don't blame Calli for the errors - mine and mine alone! Yes, the someone at the end is who you think. He's quite prominent in the next couple of chapters.
Prior Chapters: One Two Three FourFive Six Seven
Rose didn’t know what she would find outside of the Void ship. She didn’t even know how to open it and questioned: if the mad Time Lords couldn’t navigate out of the Void and open their own ship, how could she? Some inner voice prodded her on, as if to say they weren’t her. Time Lords lacked her intuitive nature. They gave up whereas Rose clung to her hope and determination to not only survive, but to live and return home. With that thought, Rose calmed her mind and once again reached for that special place within her that harbored that small bit of Time and worked on opening the door. She had no awareness of how much time had elapsed, but by the time she heard the ever present mechanical hum of the ship change, her stomach was growling.
Fresh air greeted her, and not just any air. It held all the scents of London as it breezed into the ship. Rose was never happier to smell the scent of the city. She stood before the open door and looked out at an untamed and overgrown area. It was night out and quiet, with only the sound of a train in the distance and a few cars driving nearby. If she hadn’t already heard the sounds of the city, she might have assumed she was in the woods. She pushed aside the bushes blocking her exit and stepped out and onto the dew covered grass. Cautiously, she made her way through the park until she could see where she was. It was London, but not in the London she’d just left.
The buildings were wrong. They weren’t modern enough. There was the scent of standard combustion engines and pollution that would not be found on her Doctor’s Earth. A whole new set of worries began to whirl through her mind. What if she’d traveled in time? What if this was London before the Time Lords interfered? She had to find out the date. Cautiously Rose walked out of the park and onto a street until she found a bin and pulled out an old newspaper.
"Shit," she muttered. It was two days after the Ambassador’s visit. That meant this was not the Earth she had been living on. She thought back again to how she’d arrived here. Flashes of the darkness of the Void, feelings of terror, loneliness and loss shook through her along with a warmth and golden light. She had clung to it and screamed for the Doctor. There had been a small tug and whisper in her mind as if he heard her and then everything went black. Bad Wolf had brought her into this world from the Void, but why this parallel Earth? Why not take her back to her Doctor? How would she get back to him? The emptiness in her mind and the loss of her Doctor struck deep inside of her. Her fingernails bit into her palms as she clenched her fists and tried not to panic.
First things first. She had to figure out if this was a universe she recognized from her travels. It wasn’t like she hadn’t visited dozens of parallel worlds before landing in her new Doctor’s world and vividly recalled each trip. Once she knew where she was, she could then figure out a way back to her Doctor. Of course, there was one hitch, not all parallel Earth’s were friendly. She could face anything from a world dominated by bird people, a mad dictator ruling a totalitarian society, cannibalistic humans, or anything in between, and this time she was on her own with no dimension cannon to whisk her away. If she was on a hostile world, that could add a whole new level of worries above and beyond trying to get back to her Doctor.
She gazed up at the sky. There were no zeppelins so it wasn’t Pete’s World. She didn’t know if she was happy or sad about that fact. She needed to proceed with caution. As she looked around, she didn’t see anything or one that looked hostile. It was always a good thing when she could stand out in the open without having something try and kill or eat her. Memories of an Earth where she was hunted by giant rats made her shiver. She did not care to repeat that experience. Still, caution would be wise and she needed to assess her assets. Rose reached into her bigger on the inside pockets, happy that she had filled them before the Ambassadorial tour. She pulled out a psychic credit card and hoped that it would work here. She also found a dodgy sonic screwdriver that the Doctor had shoved off on her when it had malfunctioned on one of their side trips to Earth. There was also some alien currency, a tool kit she’d picked up on a slightly notorious market in the Hassk quadrant that had some rather unusual features, her mobile, which had some special apps, spare earrings, a protein bar, ball bearings, bits and bobs of TARDIS parts, a magnifying glass, mints, silver leaves from Gallifrey and miscellaneous bric-a-brac.
The dawning sun began to peek through the cloudy morning sky, spreading muted golden and pink rays over the city. Rose watched nervously as the city awakened and the streets began to fill with people. They all looked normal enough but normal was a relative description in Rose’s experience. Thankfully, the Void ship had landed amidst a wooded and brush filled area, and would be hidden from view from anyone who happened to wander into the park. Rose knew she wasn’t getting anywhere standing here, anxiously looking out at the street. She needed to venture forth and explore.
A slight smile lit her face. Rose Tyler was never one to turn away from an adventure. She stepped out of the park and walked down the street until she came to a coffee shop. The scent of freshly brewed coffee made her stomach growl. She had no idea how long it had been since she had been lost in the Void, but if her stomach was any indication, it was at least twenty four standard Earth hours. She wiped her hands nervously on her jeans and watched a stream of people enter the coffee shop. Eventually, hunger won out over caution and she entered. It was small, but cozy, with tables lining one side of the shop. She ordered a large white mocha latte and two pastries. Luckily, the credit card worked and Rose soon sat down at a table, sipping the latte and devouring her pastries. It was a casual glance at a news article on someone’s iPad that gave her the first clue as to where she was. This world had a Prime Minister. Rose felt her heart rate elevate. Could it be she was back in her home universe? She needed to investigate further. She wolfed down what was left of her pastries and latte and was soon on her way to confirm her suspicions.
There was one very easy way to know for certain. She hit up a cash point and smiled at the familiar currency. It had been a long, long time since she carried pound notes like these. There was no particular hurry, so she took her time and browsed a few shops on the way taking in the current fashions. It felt odd looking at clothing like this. She hadn’t shopped in what felt like years. On Pete’s world, she had been so focused on Torchwood and the dimension cannon that she hadn’t spared a thought toward shopping for pleasure. Not that she never wanted to buy clothes or groceries, only that it was done on a schedule, as a matter of course and a necessity. Even with her new Doctor, she hadn’t done too much perusing at alien markets. He didn’t like it and didn’t want her wandering too far from him.
She continued walking, lost in thought. This was the first time since she’d met her new Doctor that she’d spent time doing anything like this. Was this even who she was anymore? That thought then led to her thinking about a comment her mum had made so many years ago, about Rose being a stranger wandering an alien market and not even human anymore. Rose tugged at the zipper on her coat and wondered if her mother had been unknowingly predicting the future, except, her prediction happened a lot sooner. Was she that alien her mother had suggested? Who was she now, anyway? The Doctor said she wasn’t entirely human. Maybe that was what was bothering her more than anything, and why she was so torn up about not fitting in anywhere. These thoughts then led to her thinking about her Doctor and wondering how he was and if he missed her as much as she missed him. Honking horns and screeching breaks jerked her out of her internal misery. She’d been so lost in thought, she’d almost been run over crossing the street.
She quickly escaped the raging motorists, quietly chastising herself. She had to pull it together. If she’d been injured and taken to a hospital, it would have been very bad. Who knows what they would have found out and if they found out she wasn’t entirely human. Torchwood could still be around. She needed to remember until she proved otherwise, that this world was dangerous. Rose knew she needed to shove aside introspection and inner conflict for another day. The most important thing right now was figuring out if this was her original world and how dangerous it was for her. Once that was done, she could mire herself in anguish and her own failings.
She reached the closest library, and ran up the steps and through the double doors. It was busy, but not crowded. She wound her way through the various rooms, inhaling the scent of books, which calmed her slightly. It made her think of both her Doctor’s massive libraries. The library had been one of her favorite TARDIS rooms. She made her way over to bank of computers and settled in front of one to begin looking for any evidence this was her Earth prime. It didn’t take long. There was an article on the events of Canary Wharf. Still being reluctant to admit it, she read on and found a list of the victims of the Cybermen and Dalek conflict. Her hands shook as she scrolled down and saw her and her mum’s names. There it was, staring her in the face. She read on, looking up more details on herself, as if to try and disprove this still wasn’t her Earth. Everything matched. A patron tapped her on the shoulder, reminding her that she was beyond her allotted time. She erased the search history and left, almost in a daze.
She was home, if this could still be considered home for her. Somehow, it didn’t feel like it anymore. Rose stopped and just looked around her, at the bustling streets and cars zipping by. How much time in Pete’s world had she spent wishing to be just where she was right then? She sighed. There were people here who knew her, people she could contact. She knew that Mickey had stayed in this world, and then there was Jack. Both would more than likely help her, but then she would have to tell them the truth. Rose swallowed hard. She would have to tell them that she sent a clone in her place and abandoned her family and…him. Her whole body tensed and she shoved her hands in her pockets and stared blankly ahead of her. She couldn’t do it. She couldn’t deal with her friends condemning looks or interrogation. Besides, this wasn’t her world anymore. It may have been her goal once upon a time in another lifetime to return here, but that was before she found her new Doctor and a new universe to call home.
Facing old friends and confessing her choices was not something she was prepared to do unless she had no other choice. She looked around one more time. This was her past and it was time to face it. She hailed a cab and asked to be taken to Canary Wharf. During the trip there, she couldn’t help thinking about her old life on this Earth, with her first Doctor as compared to her new life. So much had changed, her especially. Her emotions welled up inside of her as she thought about her new Doctor and she fingered the bonding pendant he had given her. They were supposed to be forever but then she had once promised forever to her other Doctor as well. Maybe she was doomed to love and lose that love for the rest of her life. Tears welled up and she rubbed at her eyes. No. She wasn’t going to dwell on the past. She had to stay focused on the here and now and that meant dealing with the card she had been dealt and making the best of it. Her life was not on this Earth. As the cab pulled up to the Canary Wharf monument, she paused. This was it. She swallowed hard, paid her fare and stepped out of the cab.
The monument was massive and there were many people milling around paying their respects to those lives lost during that tragic event. She walked up to the shiny, dark gray stone wall engraved with names. Even after all this time, people still left flowers and mementos for their lost loved ones. Rose took her time, as memories of that day and tumultuous emotions rolled through her in waves. Her fingers gently touched the engraved names, and she felt tears beginning to prick at her eyes at the thought of all these lives cut short. Eventually, she reached her and her mum’s names. To her shock, there were bunches of tiny delicate pink and yellow roses on the ground and attached to the wall next to her name. Her hand came up to her mouth. They were Kallashian Roses from the planet Kallas. Rose remembered the Doctor taking her there after New Earth and how shrines were built anywhere the roses grew as they were considered sacred. They couldn’t possibly be here unless… There was only one person who would do this, who had access to those flowers and had the ability to bring them here.
It was a powerful moment for her, and one that drove home exactly who she had left behind. After she had gathered herself, Rose left to return to the park where the Void ship was tucked away in the foliage. She needed the long walk to absorb the significance of what she’d seen at the monument. She stopped for fish and chips along the way. This was her home universe, and the Doctor was still visiting Earth, could be there right now. What would she say to him if she ran into him? Then, she mentally slapped herself. The odds were she’d never see him. He was the one who was always running and looking for adventure. She was just another person walking down the street on an ordinary day. There wasn’t even an alien in sight.
When she returned to the park, there still weren’t many people around. She sat on a bench near where the ship was tucked away amongst the greenery and pondered what to do next. She couldn’t just stay here, and there was no obvious way back to her Doctor yet. Once again, she focused on the last harsh words they had hurled at one another before his family arrived to torment and tear them apart. Tears glistened on her face as regret became a tangible ache, cutting through her. Despite their disagreements, their last telepathic message to each other had been love and how much they loved each other. He had said he’d find her, but Rose was feeling unsure that would happen. What if the psychotic Time Lords regenerated him? Would he still feel the same way, still want her? What if he decided she was more trouble than she was worth? His family was broken, but perhaps they could be helped. What if the Time Lord Council insisted he let her go? What if they’d killed him permanently?
That last thought almost broke her, and she burst into wracking sobs. She curled up on the bench as misery overwhelmed her. Rose knew this was wasted time. She should be making plans for what she was going to do and how she was going to survive here. It had been a long day, or few days, and Rose was knackered and emotionally overwrought. She lay on the bench in the waning light and felt exhaustion claim her.
Not long after Rose fell asleep, the wind kicked up and a wheezing and whooshing sound could be heard in a nearby meadow. A beloved blue box that Rose knew all too well appeared. If she had not been so exhausted and emotionally drained, she might have awakened with heart pumping joy, happy that her Doctor had found her. The door creaked open and the Doctor emerged except it wasn’t the Doctor she would have expected.
The Doctor practically tumbled out of the TARDIS, limbs all askew in his haste to investigate some peculiar energy signatures in the area. He had been in the midst of researching his curious new companion’s time line when the cloister bells began chiming and the TARDIS started sparking. He’d barely escaped a landing which very well could have imploded all of time and space. If he’d had his newest companion with him, he’d have been doing his best to impress her with how he stopped the universe from going boom with his mad skills. Much to his annoyance, she was making him wait until the next day. Well, the next day in her linear life. For the Doctor, the next day could be thirty seconds away. Thus, he had been focused on learning more about Clara Oswald. At least, he had been, until his TARDIS insisted he investigate this park.
He dusted off his aubergine frock coat and brandished his sonic with flair, the green tip glowing in the darkened park. “All right, whatever you are, show yourself," he said softly, his light green eyes alight with excitement at a new mystery to solve. He continued spinning around in a circle, the whir of his sonic mixed with the rustle of leaves as some nocturnal animal scampered away and a lone owl let out a deep and lonely whoooo. The Doctor paused and examined his sonic, his brown hair flopping carelessly across his face.
He smacked the sonic on the palm of his hand and looked out at some shrubbery nearby. “No, not possible." He walked toward the bushes and pushed his way through, his coat snagging so that he had to yank it away, causing himself to fall out of the bushes. He shoved his hair off his very prominent brow and looked up. There was a park bench not far away, and he caught a glimpse of blonde hair spilling over the edge. He stood up, straightened his bow tie and marched over to the bench. It didn’t take him long to realize who was asleep before him. His breath caught and his respiratory bypass almost activated at the shock of seeing her there.
His sonic fell to the ground as memories long buried surfaced: a pink and yellow girl who saved him more times than she knew, a golden goddess who ate impossible for breakfast to save him and the universe; werewolves, a black hole, a missed trip to Elvis; a terrible white wall, sacrifice and Daleks. Finally, memories of a lonely beach and a gift so great, it ripped him apart and nearly drove him mad. Yet, here she was, asleep on this bench.
All he could do was whisper her name, “Rose."