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! Big hugs for Bittie752 who paid special attention to Eleven's character for me to keep me on t
Prior Chapters: One Two Three FourFive Six Seven Eight Nine
The Doctor and the Corsair worked relentlessly on stabilizing the universal tear that the Recondite had manipulated to let the Void ship through, and which the Doctor’s demented relatives had used to create other universal fractures on Earth, Gallifrey and throughout the universe. Many lives had been lost on Gallifrey. Earth also bore a mark as a result of the actions of the mad Time Lords. The damage and loss of life on Earth would not be remedied by just the destruction of those who perpetrated this terror on the universe. Repairing the damage would require diplomacy and patience. The Doctor thought of this only fleetingly. His focus was on Rose, who had called out to him through their bond. He had felt a powerful jolt as her feelings of fear and desperation slammed into him. He would find her.
The whole time he worked, he felt twinges of regret regarding his disagreements with Rose. He knew he could be an arrogant git, but he was a Time Lord, and it was how he’d been trained. Time Lords were superior. Although, when he started traveling, he had soon learned that might not be true. The Universe was filled with wonders, and even the smallest, most insignificant looking creature could teach a pompous species like his not to be too sure of themselves. Time Lords were evolved, intelligent, and one of the oldest, most advanced species in the universe, but they didn’t know everything, even if they professed otherwise. This was a flaw of his species, and a flaw which was impacting his relationship with Rose.
He and Rose were two of a kind. Both were strong willed and stubborn, determined to get their own way. They were also loyal to each other. Lately though, their shared stubbornness mixed with his arrogance had evolved into some hurtful rows between them. At the time, he justified his actions as being the elder and more knowledgeable partner in their relationship. He knew what was best for both of them. His first thought was always that he needed to keep her safe. Now, he could see how horribly that had worked. Memories of her anger and hurt were salt on the wounds he bore for losing her. He really was a git. As he worked, he promised the universe and any force in time and space that was listening that if… no when he found Rose, he would make it up to her. Even, if that meant being less possessive, giving in to her requests occasionally, and sitting down and talking things through.
It wasn’t like he didn’t talk to her. Of course he did. It was just that he hated talking about humany feelings or domestics. He felt as if he spoke them, it would make him less of a Time Lord. He thought about losing her and felt pain and panic slice through him. He couldn’t lose her. He could look back now and remember life before Rose compared to life after, and it left him cold. Rose had brought with her warmth and a zest for life, and seeing the universe anew. She imbibed everything she did with enthusiasm and a certain joyousness. Life without Rose was inconceivable now, and not just because of the bond they shared. The Doctor was not overly romantic, but the truth was, she was a part of him and she kept him focused and calm. Of course, then there was the shagging. Time Lords didn’t do that, as a rule. They were taught to repress baser instincts, but he was not a typical Time Lord.
The Doctor had always been one to dive into new experiences, and touch, taste, smell, feel were all part of it. Rose was no ordinary human either. When he was around her, she just punched through all his carefully built up self control. He reacted to it by shouting, hurling arrogant quips or by trying to be impressive in every way possible. Their physical relationship was just as volatile. He never had any doubts that they would always be intimate. Of course, being them, physical wasn’t that simple. There was a telepathic component in addition to touch, and that was, in truth, more important than any physical stimulation. He craved the intimacy he could have with her. As he thought about it, he realized that maybe shagging their problems away was not the best solution. It was fun and satisfying, but it didn’t solve anything. When he found her, he would make things right.
A hologram of the Corsair appeared on the TARDIS. “Stop your moping and wallowing!" the Corsair chastised him. “You need to focus now. Rose needs you. Now, are you ready?" the Corsair asked as his hologram paced around the console room, the brass buttons on the elaborate blue velvet frock coat he wore glinting in the light.
The Doctor rolled his eyes at the fanciful image of the Corsair, from his frock coat, to the gold earring in his ear, to the tight black trousers and shiny black knee high boots. He turned to stare at the control console and placed a hand on it, seeking out a connection to his TARDIS. He smiled. “Let’s go get our Rose back," he murmured and looked up at the Corsair staring at him worriedly.
"This isn’t just swooping into some temporal eddy. This is the Void. No one’s done this before. Don’t get distracted!" the Corsair chastised.
The Doctor stood tall and was as calmer than he’d been since he lost Rose. “I’m going to find her, Corsair. You just keep things steady on this side."
"I’ll do my part," he said and looked at his friend as if he’d never see him again. “Just bring her home safe."
The Doctor nodded and the hologram disappeared. He took a moment to focus and then began navigating into the Void. It wasn’t unusual for a TARDIS to pass through the Void, but purposely navigating into the Howling was unheard of. There was no Time Vortex in the Void, so this was straight spacial navigation. His ship shuddered and the lights dimmed. The Hordes of Genghis Khan might not be capable of breaching his TARDIS, but that didn’t mean that whatever forces that existed in the Void couldn’t effect his ship.
He could sense his ship’s distress as they floated in the nothingness. He tried to calm and soothe her as he madly dashed around the console, shoring up the extra shielding he’d installed to protect them from the effects of the Void. Once he was sure they were secure, he began to input the information about the Void ship he’d wrenched from his cousin’s insane mind, and began scanning the Void. He knew this was a monumental task, and similar to the old Earth saying of finding a needle in a hay stack. Not to mention, Rose’s was not the only Void ship in this place. There were other Void ships lost in the Time War, not to mention a few prison ships floating around here too. The Time Lords had been a bit sloppy with the Void, using it as a dumping ground. He had to find the right Void ship and avoid any unpleasant surprises.
Unfortunately, none of his scanning equipment seemed to be working. He slammed his hands on the console in frustration, and that’s when he began to hear it. There were whispers, barely formed words, but they conveyed a malevolent intent. He stood up straight. This was what had destroyed his family, and it was trying to get to him. He closed his eyes and pushed it away. His TARDIS tilted violently, and he gripped the console to keep from falling. He began punching controls, shoring up the shielding, and trying to gain control. His TARDIS was panicking, and the cloister bells began to chime.
"No!" he shouted, and focused on his TARDIS, tuning everything out, including any whispering or cold presences trying to seep into his ship. He thought of Rose, focused on her brilliant smile, and how time wrapped around her, and he felt his ship jerk again. They were spiraling toward something, and he was doing his best to try to regain control. He gasped as he felt a flash of Rose in his mind. It disappeared as quickly as it had appeared, and he growled with frustration. Determination and a stubborn refusal to admit defeat filled him as he focused on her and that whisp of her that had teased him. Slowly, he began to feel her and channeled that feeling through to his TARDIS. It was as though they became one being with one purpose, to find his Uncommon Rose. They were tossed and toppled about, the console sparked and the time rotor moved furiously. It was as though they were being torn apart. The Doctor held on and never waivered. He had promised Rose he would come for her, and nothing would stop him from keeping that promise.
As abruptly as the shaking had started, it stopped. The air in the TARDIS felt lighter and the ship calmed. The Doctor loosened his grip on the console and looked around. The lights were back to the normal. He examined the readings and then turned his attention to the time rotor.
"We’re out of the Void," he said and then glared at his ship. “Rose is in there! We have to go back and find her!"
The ship sparked and burned his fingers as he tried to navigate them back into the Howling.
"Don’t get stroppy with me! Rose is counting on us no matter how difficult or painful it is. I won’t leave her behind!" he shouted, furious with his ship. A picture flashed up on the monitor. It showed a Void ship, hidden amongst some greenery.
He took a step forward and tugged at his hair. “She fell out of the Void," he said in disbelief. He looked back at the time rotor. “How is that possible?" Then, it occurred to him. “A rift. She fell through a rift out of the Void." A smile began to light his face. “Impossible Rose, you’ve done it again," he said softly and then began hitting controls. “Now then, where have you brought us? What trouble has my Rose found this time?"
He stopped dead still at what he read. “No!" he said in an angry voice. As if readying for battle, he grabbed his sonic and his coat and exited the TARDIS.
Rose had given into her grief and guilt, and let this new Doctor comfort her. She missed her Doctor so much, even if he was an arrogant git. She smiled as she thought of him. He might be an arrogant git, but he was hers. A clear line was drawn in her mind as she sorted through her feelings. She loved both of them, but in different ways. If she couldn’t get back to her Doctor, she could stay with this him, but it wouldn’t be the same. She would always live with the guilt and pain of missing the Doctor that had bonded with her, accepted her as a wife, lover, and partner, and had filled that aching void in her mind. This Doctor was older, and he had changed, but she still felt him holding back in a way her Doctor didn’t. Rose focused on him and his timeline for a moment. The timeline of a Time Lord was a tricky thing, and not easy to follow with its twists and turns and the way it tied up in knots. It was clear that this Doctor had a part to play in this universe, and the universe needed him in a way the other universe needed her. Her time with him was temporary, no matter if she stayed or left. She felt this Doctor’s arms tighten around her reflexively, as if he was responding to her thoughts. She didn’t want to hurt him, but she didn’t want him to be alone either. Just as she was about to talk to him about what she’d seen, that empty ache in her mind was soothed and filled with a very familiar presence. She stiffened and looked up at the Doctor that held her, but his eyes were focused elsewhere. It wasn’t this him, and if it wasn’t him then it meant… Her heart started to beat and adrenalin raced through her as she turned around.
Emerging through the bushes, tall and impressive, was the Oncoming Storm himself, and he was not happy. In fact, he looked deadly. Rose was relieved, overjoyed, and worried all at the same time. She’d never seen him like this. He was full of a darkness and fury she hadn’t ever experienced with him. She tried to send him comfort through their bond, but was met with an icy wall, behind which some dark, furious beast was snarling. She might not be able to comfort him, but she was able to sense reverberations of something terrible. Something bad had happened to him, and it had wrapped its hateful claws around him and was dragging him into a pit of blood, anger, and revenge.
"Doctor," she gasped and took a step forward, but the Doctor of this universe held her back. She turned to him, but his gaze was focused ahead on her Doctor.
"Let her go!" her Doctor demanded, his voice filled with barely controlled rage. His sonic was aimed at the Doctor that now held her.
This was very, very bad. Rose looked up at the Doctor that held her. His face was passive, but his gaze told another story. There was no doubt in her mind that she was between two furious Time Lords, both of whom now aimed their sonics at one another, in some Time Lord version of a stand off. Rose cursed and wrenched her arm away from him.
"Stop it! Both of you, just stop it! There’s no reason for this!" she shouted, but neither of them seemed to hear her. The very air was vibrating with the unseen tension between the two Doctors. The sun was setting, casting the park in dark shadows, reflecting the animosity between the two. angry aliens Dark clouds were beginning to swirl in the sky, enveloping them into further darkness. Thunder rumbled and the wind picked up, flaring her Doctor’s dark grey coat about him and hurling leaves through the air as further evidence of the storm brewing. Neither Time Lord seemed to notice the changes around them.
"Rose, get back to my TARDIS," her Doctor finally commanded, his eyes never leaving the other Doctor.
"Oh, I don’t think that’s a good idea," the bow tied wearing Doctor replied. “In fact, that would be a very bad plan. Maybe even three buses, a long walk, and eight quid in a taxi from good."
"Doctor," Rose said in an annoyed tone, her hand on her hip, facing the frock coated Doctor. “I’m askin’ you again to stop this now."
"Rose!" her Doctor shouted. “Get away from this… this floppy haired, gangly, pathetic version of a Time Lord!" he snarled.
The bow tie wearing Doctor stood up straight and thrust his prominent jaw out. “Oh, I’m not the one that’s pathetic here, you moaning, melodramatic pretty boy. I didn’t have to imprison Rose to win her affections, and I’m certainly not going to allow some malicious, shadowy image of who I am to manipulate her."
Rose stared at the bow tie wearing Doctor. She could not believe he just said that. Especially after how she’d poured her heart out to him and he’d comforted her, murmuring words as if he understood. He wasn’t like this. At least, he hadn’t been when she’d traveled with him. As she looked at him now, she could see it. Something was there, just beneath the surface, pain, loss, a touch of fear, and a streak of possessiveness. He’d been alone too long. Rose felt a twinge of sympathy. He was rubbish on his own.
It wasn’t long before her Doctor replied in his typical gruff way. “No, you just abandoned her in parallel world, gave up, and walked away. No, scratch that. You ran away. Not me. I told her I’d come for her and I have. Now piss off and let her go!"
Rose almost groaned. This was so not going well. “Now see here," she started to say before the bow tie wearing Doctor cut in, his face an icy mask.
"I would have risked everything, jeopardized millions of lives to rip apart the universe for her, but she wouldn’t have wanted that. And what sort of Time Lord are you, willing to risk so many lives? How many are in peril because of you ripping your way into MY universe!"
"Oh God," Rose said and pinched the bridge of her nose. This was going to be an all out Time Lord pissing contest. She had to set them both straight and soon before they started blowing things up. Of course just as she thought that lightening cracked and the park bench exploded sending shards of wood and metal flying into the air.
Her Doctor wasted no time responding. “What kind of Time Lord am I?" he snipped. “The kind that keeps my promises. I will always come for Rose, be there for her as she was for me. I will always find a way, without sacrificing the universe. And don’t think for one micro second that I’m gonna let you take her from me! You might walk away from her, acting the martyr, enjoying some self inflicted emotional torment, but I’m not gonna do that. She isn’t your Rose and this isn’t her home anymore and she knows that."
Rose looked at the intensity in her Doctor’s eyes and for just a moment, she saw something more than anger. Beneath the seething, possessive Time Lord was him. Her Doctor was afraid of losing her to this world, and that was her fault. So mired in her personal loss and grief, she’d planted seeds of doubt in his mind. He loved her and wanted her to come home. As much as she was in pain, having been separated from him, he was in pain as well. Rose touched the pendant around her neck. It was them. Two halves of a whole that might be cracked, but would never be truly broken. At that moment, Rose knew without a doubt, he was her home. This world she now stood in, this universe, was her past. She had to let it go. A single tear trailed down her face as she finally came to terms with who she was at that moment.
"Rose," her bow tie wearing Doctor said with an emotional inflection in his voice. “That’s not true. You can stay here with me. You don’t have to go back with Dark and Moody over there," he said waving the hand that held the sonic in the air erratically.
She walked over and gripped the wrist of the hand holding his sonic. He looked down at her and gazed deep into her eyes. “You don’t have to go," he murmured softly.
She smiled sadly at him. “He’s right. This isn’t my world anymore, and you…you’ve moved on. I can see it in your eyes. You may not think so now, but you have." He seemed to relax under her touch, almost as if he knew she was right, but didn’t want to admit it.
She looked at him and her brow furrowed, as if she was seeing something inside of him. “You’re alone, but you’re not, not really. There’s someone, a mystery of sorts." She smiled. “You love a good mystery, and if I hadn’t arrived here like this, you’d be with her right now." Rose looked further into his time line and smiled. “She’s good for you, and it’s her time with you now. Every companion you take changes you, helps you to be better, just like how you make them better." Her smile faded and she cupped his cheek. “You’ve been through so much, lost people, but there’s more for you to do and learn. I’m your past now," she said tearfully. “You and me were brilliant, and you’ll meet more brilliant people. I know you will. You don’t need me now. He does. He’s… he’s you and I…"
"Exactly," the Doctor answered with a sneer, and he pulled away from her, glaring at the other Doctor, his own self loathing reinvigorating his anger. “He’s me, and what am I? A murderer of my own kind, the Doctor, a warrior, liar and deceiver. No one’s better at manipulating people than I am!" he spit out.
Rose looked at him sympathetically and tried to deny what he was saying but he wouldn’t have it.
"Even you, Rose. Especially you!" He turned and glared at the other Doctor. “Oh, he’s me all right. He found you, saw how special you were, and was willing to do anything, say anything so he could keep you." He turned back to her. “I did the same."
"Doctor…" she started to say, but he put a finger against her lips.
"You are too compassionate for your own good. It’s your greatest fault and your greatest strength."
By this time, the other Doctor stormed over and yanked Rose away. He was immediately in the bow tie wearing Doctor’s face. “Back off!"
The two Doctors were almost nose to nose, glaring at each other. Lightning flashed in the sky and the very ground seemed to vibrate. Rose had no doubt that they were the cause. She was sure there was a lot of telepathic snarking going back and forth as well. In fact, she was developing a headache from what she was assuming was a telepathic tug of war between the two of them with her in the middle. She had to end it and quickly.
"That is enough!" she shouted and sent the equivalent to a telepathic slap at both of them. They turned to her stunned and rubbing their temples.
"Now see here, I love both of you."
Her Doctor looked incredibly hurt and then furious. “You promised!" he shouted, looking as if he was ready to rip the universe apart in his anger.
"Yes, she did!" the other Doctor responded. “She promised me forever, and well, things may have gotten a bit wonky or complicated and perhaps even twisted in a temporal loop to loop kind of way. But, the point is, and I did have a point!" he said exuberantly. “Forever and, well, she could do that now couldn’t she, but the question is, with who?" He finished softly, looking at her.
With waves of emotion in her eyes and sparkling with just the faintest gold, she looked back at him while her Doctor stood stiffly beside them. She reached over and grasped her Doctor’s hand, but her gaze never left the bow tie wearing Doctor.
In that moment, he seemed to acknowledge a choice had been made and in reality, he knew this would happen. “Rose Tyler," he said softly. “Defender of the multiverse and tamer of the Oncoming Storm, you’ve become so much more," he announced with a touch of sadness in his voice.
"I meant it. I love both of you, but…" she paused and looked at her Doctor who stared at her with such an intense passion it could have lit the entire park on fire. “I’m in love with this Doctor, and I gave him part of myself and he gave me part of himself."
She looked back at the other Doctor. “It doesn’t mean I don’t love you too, just not in the same way. He needs me, and you…well, you have so much ahead of you, so many people who care. You’ll never be alone unless you choose to be."
He stared at her for one more moment, and then perked up and adjusted his bow tie. “Quite right. I mean, look at me. Brilliant, impressive, and a snappy dresser and cool. Don’t you think?"
Through teary eyes, she managed to smile brightly at him. “Very cool!"
"That’s enough!" her Doctor snapped, glaring at Rose as he began tugging her away. “You’ve caused enough trouble for one day."
Rose turned on him, suddenly fuming. “Oi! I’m not the one whose psychotic evil family came back and tossed me in the Void!" she said, stopping him.
This Doctor was in no mood to listen to her. “Don’t you dare! You don’t know what I had to do to solve that and what I did to get here. I risked myself and my TARDIS to save you from the Void and what do I find, but you in the arms of another Time Lord!" he raged at her.
"Oh, it wasn’t like that. I mean, it was, but it was friendly hugging, not the kissy kissy kind!" the bow tie wearing Doctor asserted, trying to get them to calm down. Neither paid attention to him.
"And that’s my fault how? And why is it always about you? What about me? It wasn’t exactly a holiday in the Void. You think I had a good time, that it wasn’t bloody terrifying and then landing here, not knowing where here was?" Rose shouted back while her Doctor glared and gripped his sonic so hard it looked like he would break it.
"Rose, I think we should…" the other Doctor tried to say, but Rose was too angry to listen.
"I barely escaped the evil things in the Void and I landed here with nothin! For all I knew, I was in the universe where humans were cannibals or where they worshipped Fluffy the Almighty Bunny of Doom!"
"Fluffy the Almighty Bunny of Doom?" the bow tie wearing Doctor asked. “There’s a Bunny of Doom universe?" he asked, his eyes alight. “Do they hop everywhere, or is this more like a carrot feasting festival type thingy?" he asked and hopped up and down.
Both Rose and her Doctor looked at him with furrowed brows before turning back to each other.
"Look, the point is, you were gone and I didn’t think I’d ever see you again. Then the Doctor wandered up, and I thought he could help me get back. He was only holding me because…" Rose’s eyes filled with tears. “I was afraid I’d never see you again, and we were rowing and I didn’t want you to think…"
"Think what?" her Doctor asked, his voice softer now, and demanding as if he couldn’t breath until he heard her say it.
"I understand why you wanted me to do all that Time Lord ritual stuff, I really do. I’m sorry if I stunk at ‘em, but it wasn’t to piss you off or because I don’t love you. I do love you, so much, and I do want to be a part of your world. I just don’t want to disappear. I want to still be me, too."
"I don’t want you to disappear, or change from who you are, who I love. I just wanted to keep you safe, to include you in my life and make sure…" He paused. “So that you would know that Gallifrey is your home too."
They gazed into each other’s eyes as if some subtle unspoken communication was occurring. This was a threshold they both had to cross together. Each accepting the other and respecting who they were as individuals, as well as together as a couple. Slowly, they sidled up to each other, embraced and snogged as if to seal their understanding of one another.
The bow tie wearing Doctor was fidgeting. He understood what Rose had said to him, and he was a master at tamping down his own emotions, but this, watching them snog and be domestic, was an entirely different thing. He hated domestics. When he had Amy and Rory along with him, he’d done a lot to avoid getting stuck in the middle, always keeping them on the run and in the thick of an adventure. Of course, this was different. This was Rose and a version of him. He was an outsider, observing two people overcoming an emotional obstacle and connecting in ways he hadn’t realized he wanted or that he had run from. Once again, he thought about what he could have had with Rose, and now he’d lost his chance. It was painful, but that seemed to be a theme in his long life. And now, it was time to end this chapter and yet another loss.
"Right-O!" he said clapping his hands and rubbing them together. “This has been fun, well, no it hasn’t, but it hasn’t been boring!"
Rose pulled away from her Doctor, who scowled at the other Doctor. Rose smiled softly. “Thank you, Doctor, for everything." She stepped over to him, never letting go of her Doctor’s hand, and kissed him softly. He gasped at the feeling of her lips on his, and looked at her startled when she pulled away. She laid a hand on his cheek and gazed deeply into his eyes. He felt as if she could look straight through him into his soul and he took a step back away from her.
"Don’t be alone," she said in all seriousness. “Something’s coming and you’ll need help. You can’t run from this, and you won’t see it coming. Let her in, Doctor."
"Enough, we need to leave," her Doctor said firmly, but not with as much anger. “The Corsair can’t hold the bloody Void open forever."
"The Corsair," the other Doctor said softly, his voice tinged with delight. “Now, there was a Time Lord!"
Rose felt herself being tugged away.
"Good bye," she said, looking at him with tears pooling.
The Doctor swallowed hard, trying not to show his emotions. “Good bye, Rose Tyler, or perhaps I should say, until next time. That is rather us."
She laughed as tears cascaded down her face. Just before she disappeared into the bushes with her Doctor, she paused. “Find her Doctor. Don’t be alone."
The Doctor exhaled slowly as he watched Rose disappear and he heard the sound of a TARDIS dematerializing. He was used to leaving people behind, or watching them leave, but this time it wasn’t so hard. Perhaps, it was because they both had closure. One last day to spend with each other, to know that each of them would be happy, and he was sure she would be. She was with him, after all. Besides, he meant it when he said until next time. Perhaps one day he would see her again.
As he walked to his TARDIS, it hit him. They’d left the void ship. After cursing profusely and glaring up at the sky where he felt a universal tear closing up, he began walked over to the Void ship and began pacing around it, muttering about inconsiderate Time Lords leaving their universal rubbish around for him to clean up and about foolish humans, trying to blow themselves up with it. He spread his arms out and paced around it once more, as if measuring it. With a mischievous glint in his eyes, he hopped in the air once, and raced giddily to his TARDIS. If anyone in the park had been there, they would have watched, mystified, as a blue public police call box somehow materialized around the giant gold sphere and then disappeared in whirlwind of dust and leaves, leaving no trace behind of the multiversal incursion that had happened, or of the conversion of time lines that would mark this place for millennia to come.