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Fic- Again

Okay, I really have to stop doing this!

Title- Again
Author- Fayth
Show- Doctor Who
Genre- Angst/ humour
Pairing- Rose9, poss Rose10
Disclaimer- I'm mad, I write angst, I'm not Russel T Davies. Sad but true.
Summary- Rose can't believe she has to see it again. It isn't fair. Takes place sometime after GitF.

Again

Again.

 

The TARDIS was in another one of its moods, stroppy and pouting like a teenager. It had started when they had to leave Quarkthon in a hurry and didn’t have time to wipe off the mud splats that the natives had thrown at the TARDIS before they left.


As a result she had decided to start making threatening groans and the Doctor had had to put them down on one of the market planets that Rose loved to shop at—another torture for the Doctor, watching her parade around in short, tight outfits trying on shorter, tighter outfits.


He had elected to stay in and try to reason with his temperamental machine saving both his sanity and credit rating, which meant that Rose sat not ten feet away from him whilst he lay under the console, his pin-striped suit jacket haphazardly strewn over a chair, as he muttered and cursed in another language in between singing along to the music being piped through the control room.


“It’s good to be a lunatic, hit me with your rhythm stick, hit me, hit– Karzic fey!—stupid bloody—”


Rose grinned down at the legs that were jiggling in time to the tune, even when he was stationary he couldn’t stop moving, his hands, his legs—he was like a child tripping on a sugar rush.


It was almost cute.


Plus she was learning some very useful curses.


Rose sat on the edge of the console and swung her legs. “C’mon,” she wheedled.


“No,” came the reply from under the console.


“Please?” she begged. “Just half an hour?”


“No.”


“I just want to look around.”


He shuffled out from under the console and blinked at her from behind his thick black-rimmed glasses. “Rose, I know you. Just look around transports into shop til … I drop, and I have shopped with some of the greats. Marie Antoinette, Jane Austen. Marilyn Monroe—now she could shop.”


“You met Marilyn Monroe?” she gaped and he grinned.


“Oh yeah.” He shook himself. “Point is it’s never just half an hour with you, Rose, and I have to finish this.”


“All right, keep your hair on.” She paused considering. “I could—”


“No!” He pointed a finger at her sternly. “Neither are you going on your own, little Miss jeopardy friendly. I let you out there and you’ll start some kind of riot.”


“That was only one time!” she replied indignantly. “And it was your fault for not explaining that offering to pay and not barter was some kind of insult.”


“Well if you will insist on paying!” he gave her a loopy grin and she shook her head.


“I just want to do a little bit of shopping; I mean what can it hurt?”


His eyes widened comically. “I can’t believe you just said that, Rose Tyler, that’s right up there with ‘nothing can possibly go wrong’ and ‘I’ll be right back’ on the cosmic scale of things not to say. Doomed. Doomed I tell you!”


Rose couldn’t hold back the laugh and he grinned as her face lit up, her eyes sparkling with mirth.


“Superstitious, Doctor? I thought that was all beneath you. Great Time Lord and all that.”


“Well,” he hedged, scratching the back of his head in thought, “I would have said it was but then stranger things have happened.”


“Like you, you mean,” she cut in and he feigned indignation.


“Oy! Missy, I’ll have you know I’m practically perfect in every way.”


“Like Mary Poppins?”


“Even got the handbag,” he reported teasingly.


“Suits ya,” Rose shot back. “Now if I went shopping I could have a handbag too.”


She gave him her very best puppy-dog eyes, knowing that he had never been able to resist them.


Except he did, he slammed his eyes shut, knowing full well the impact her puppy-eyes and pouting lips had on his resistance. “No. It won’t work this time, Rose. I’m not going shopping.”


“Go on, please.”


“No! The wardrobe has exactly what you’ll need.”


“I’m not wearing second hand knickers.”


The Doctor groaned and closed his eyes. “I didn’t need to know that. I really didn’t.”


She laughed out loud at the expression on his face. “Pillock, you see we need to go—”


There was a large whine from the TARDIS that cut off her words and he swore once before a burst of static charge came from the console, cutting off the punk music and making the control panel spark. The Doctor swore once and ducked under the glowing metal, grasping at some wires.


“It’s all right, just bypassed and routed some … hang on, what’s this do?”


She grinned at those words and leaned back to tell him to leave it when the panel right in front of her flashed blue lights and an image appeared in the air.


“This is Emergency Programme One.”


Rose’s heart froze, her smile falling off her face as the oh-so-familiar close cropped hair and daft grin filled her vision.


It was like a sucker punch to both her throat and her heart as the hologram flickered in front of her.


It was him.


“Rose, now listen; this is important. If this message is activated, then it can only mean one thing. We must be in danger.”


Danger?


The Doctor dragged himself out from under the console and stared in disbelief at the image of his earlier regeneration.


He hadn’t realised that he was that odd looking. Short hair and flappy ears, he looked kind of Dumbo-esque. In a manly sort of way.


He opened his mouth to make a joke to Rose about his silly old ears but stopped when he saw the look on her face. She looked like she’d seen a ghost, which, she had.


“And I mean fatal.”


All of the colour had drained from Rose’s face as she stared at him.  Her Doctor. 

Saying goodbye again.


It wasn’t fair.


“I'm dead.”


She shouldn’t have to listen to this again.


 
“Or about to die any second with no chance of escape.”


It wasn’t FAIR.


She’d heard it; she’d watched him say ‘goodbye’ with his mouth and ‘I love you’ with his eyes as he’d left her.


Just left her alone to live on and die without him.


She hadn’t had long enough with him, not with that daft old face.


Oh god, she missed him.


Missed his stupid ears and ridiculous grin. She missed those firm hands and stupid accent. She missed his dancing and his leather jacket and his smell and his jokes and his eyes.


Blue eyes. A blue so true it was like looking into the sky.


The Doctor saw her hands grip on the edge of the TARDIS and her bottom lip tremble.


He didn’t understood why she wasn’t moving until he caught the look in her eyes and his chest tightened devastatingly.


She looked like she was watching the world end; her heart breaking as she stared at the previous incarnation of himself. Pain, like he hadn’t known she felt, swam in her expression.


He couldn’t move.


“And that's okay. Hope it's a good death.”


A good death? A good DEATH? Rose couldn’t swallow past the lump in her throat, sharp pain as if she’d eaten a whole pineapple or a lemon with nails in.


Her eyes stung as he beamed and then sobered.


“But I promised to look after you, and that's what I'm doing. The TARDIS is taking you home.”


She shook her head quickly, her mind spinning her back to that time, almost a year ago when she’d seen it.


The heartbreak and sheer pain at what had happened, the way he’d taken control and sent her away. It was like it was yesterday. She’d tried so hard.


“And I bet you're fussing and moaning now - typical. But hold on and just listen a 
bit more.”


She’d accepted the regeneration and she’d taken to the new Doctor and shared his adventures; she even loved him.


“The TARDIS can never return for me.”

 
But no matter what he said he wasn’t the same man who’d taken her hands and told her to run. He wasn’t the same man who’d cradled baby Rose and took her to see her father.


“Emergency Programme One means I'm facing an enemy that should never get their hands on this machine.”


That man was gone. He’d died in front of her and another had taken his face and she hadn’t even had time to grieve properly before he’d taken her hand and asked her come along.


It wasn’t fair. It hadn’t been fair then and it sure as hell wasn’t fair now. He was dead. He’d died!


And she couldn’t even mourn him because he was right here!


“So this is what you should do: let the TARDIS die. Just let this old box gather dust. No one can open it; no one will even notice it. Let it become a strange little thing standing on a street corner. And over the years, the world will move on and the box will be buried.”


The TARDIS beeped loudly as if objecting to his words as much as Rose did herself and the noise shook the Doctor out of his stupor. He dived beneath the console, desperately trying to switch off the broadcast, desperately trying to stop what had already happened, all the time cursing the TARDIS and her temper tantrums.


Rose was motionless, numb.


“And if you wanna remember me, then you can do one thing. That's all. One thing.”
He turned and looked directly at her, his eyes so deep and full of love and regret. “Have a good life. Do that for me, Rose. Have a fantastic life.”


The hologram image flickered and died as if someone had pulled the plug, the blue 
light fading and the TARDIS control room slowly turning back to green.


Still Rose didn’t move, her brain still trying to cope with the meltdown that had happened when she’d first seen the flickering hologram.


The Doctor pulled himself out of the console and stood up walking slowly over to a stationary Rose.


He stopped in front of her but her eyes were focussed around chest level, her gaze seemingly stuck on his shirt.


“Rose?” he said softly. This close to her he could see that she was trembling, shaking from head to foot.


“Rose?” He reached out hesitantly and touched her shoulder. Rose jumped violently, like she had been hit with 1,000 volts.


Her gaze met his only to slide away as she ducked out of his reach.


“Yeah,” she said randomly, her voice fast and thick. She brushed a strand of hair away from her face with hands that shook and pulled at her top.


He stepped forwards only to stop as she stepped back. He pushed away the hurt he felt at her action and ducked his head slightly to see into her down-turned face.


“Are you okay?”


Rose nodded quickly and let out a burst of laughter, insincere and short. “I’m gonna go, let you fix the…” she trailed off and licked her lip.


“Rose?” he repeated, not sure what it was he wanted to say to her, only knowing that he wanted to take the anguish from her eyes.


He wanted to hold her tightly and comfort her but she backed away before he could touch her.


“Shower,” she decided. “Gonna go shower. You fix ‘er up, yeah? Then we’ll go … go.” She swallowed once, hard, and then left, almost bolting from the room.


The Doctor leaned forward and grabbed at the edge of the console, his jaw set.


Damn it.


Things had been going so well.


Rose had had some issues to deal with once the regeneration was complete but he thought that they’d dealt with them pretty well and she’d seemed to acclimatise to the new him quickly.


Maybe too quickly.


She’d held his hand and told him she’d stay with him forever. She’d said she loved this life of theirs and he thought … he’d hoped that she’d felt at least some of the trust and devotion and, yes, love towards him that she felt for his other self.


Had he been fooling himself?


He thought of the way she smiled at him on New Earth, her eyes wide and her smile bright. True she didn’t turn to him at Christmas to celebrate the Sycorax leaving but she hadn’t known that he’d want that.


As soon as they reached the TARDIS he’d se her straight and she’d been her usual tactile self, grabbing his hands and hugging him—or was he the one who initiated it?


She’d made sure that he was okay after that whole mistake with Reinette, but she’d asked for her mother when Mickey had decided to leave her.


Was she still angry with him over that? Would she have decided that his other regeneration would have been enough comfort? Would she have hugged him? Kissed him?


Envy bubbled in his stomach.


Oh, gods, he was jealous of himself.


He took a deep steadying breath. This was stupid. He had to fix the TARDIS ands then go and see Rose.


But a little voice inside him asked quietly: What if she doesn’t want to see you?


He ignored it.

 


Rose sat on her bed, her legs only managing to take her as far as her room before they gave way.


She felt like she’d been run over by a bus.


She was trying to figure out exactly why she felt so bad. The Doctor was right there. 
He was there fixing the TARDIS, the way he always had. Why did it suddenly hurt so bad that he didn’t have a Northern accent? Why did she want to throw that pin-striped jacket away and fetch a long leather coat?


It hadn’t bothered her until she’d seen him again and she’d felt … guilty.


Guilty for getting along so well with the new Doctor, guilty for not missing him more, for not thinking of him more.


Guilty for loving someone else


She wrapped her arms around her middle and let the tears fall.


“Just … tell me you’re sorry.”


“I am,” she cried into the silence. “I’m sorry.”


But this time he wasn’t there to wrap his arms around her and kiss it better, he wasn’t there because she’d killed him.


Rose collapsed, face first onto her duvet and sobbed.

 


The TARDIS seemed to regret her behaviour and showed him how to fix her up quickly.


The Doctor alternated between irritated and concerned as he slammed the partition back into place and threatened to fix the camouflage circuits and turn her into a port-a-loo.


He wandered down the halls, making a quick detour at the kitchen before heading to her room.


He stopped before her door, closing his eyes tightly as he heard the weeping coming from within.


His strong Rose was crying and he had never felt so helpless. He rested his head on the wood momentarily, gathering his resolve and his strength. He had to do this for her, no matter how much it hurt him.


The Doctor pushed the door open and stared at the figure on the bed, her body curled around a pillow, wracked with sobs.


Both hearts ached for her and he stepped slowly into the room and sat on the edge of the bed, placing his gift offering on the side table.


She didn’t notice.


He stroked her shoulder and she sat up quickly, looking over her shoulder into his sad eyes.


Even red, damp and in pain, Rose was beautiful to him.


He tried to drag a smile on his face for her but missed and just looked wistful. “Oh, Rose.”


With one wrenched cry she turned into his waiting arms and laid her head on his chest, her hands grabbing his arms to keep her anchored. He pulled her into his embrace and held tight, feeling her tears soak into his shirt.


“I’m sorry,” she whimpered. “I don’t know why I’m crying. You’re right here.”


“Regeneration is harder on you humans that it is on us. The change … it’s hard.”


She nodded into his chest. “I miss him, I miss you.”


“I’m right here.” He soothed and rubbed her back, letting his hands offer her comfort. He laid his chin on her head, feeling her hair tickle his cheek.


“It’s just—” she looked up, pulling away and staring at him with damp streaks down her face, “I didn’t get to say goodbye. It was all end of the world and then he was gone and you were there and I didn’t get to say it.”


His breath caught. Was she going to say it? Was she going to tell him that she had been in love with his other regeneration—and not with him? Was she going to break his hearts?


“Say what?” he asked almost desperately.


“That I … I … I was sorry.”


He blinked. “What?”


“I messed up again,” she choked. “Stupid little ape. He told me to stay away and I came back and he died anyway. I killed him.”


“No!” he grabbed her wet face. “No. I didn’t die, Rose, I’m here. You saved me.”

“All the cells in his body died. He died. Is that wrong?”


The Doctor opened and closed his mouth. No, it wasn’t wrong. Theoretically every single cell in his body did die, and regenerate. He did, theoretically, die.


How could he explain the concept of regeneration to a species that had most of it’s internal organs removed by surgery—tonsils, kidneys, appendix—never bothering to check if they’d need them someway down the line.


He stroked her hair, the silken strands so fine beneath his fingers.


“Every seven years all human cells regenerate themselves. Does that mean that in seven years you won’t be the same woman you are now?” he asked gently. “You won’t be Rose Tyler?”


“I’ll still look like me.”


“With added wrinkles and lines,” he stroked her face, “an older you but still you. I’m still me, just older. You didn’t kill me, Rose.”


She nodded, her face screwing up in another fresh onslaught of tears. “I feel guilty.”


“Why?”


“Because I don’t think of him so often. When I’m with you it’s …”


His hearts pounded in his chest. What did she mean by that? “What?”


“It’s like I’ve replaced him, forgotten him. He gave me everything and I barely even mention him.” She sniffled and tried to pull herself together. “You’re him but you’re not. You don’t even smell the same.”


“I hope you’re not telling me I need a shower. I have a bath once a year whether I need it or not.” He joked and was rewarded by a small smile.

“There, that’s what I like to see.”


Rose swiped at her cheeks. “Sorry, didn’t mean to fall to pieces. It was just a shock to see him.”


“I imagine it would. I know its hard Rose, but we are the same man. I’m him, a different version, but the same man. I have his memories, his thoughts. Just packaged differently.”


“He liked cats.”


“What?” The Doctor blinked.


“He liked cats,” Rose smiled. “You don’t.”


“Well, he hadn’t been threatened by one in a nuns wimple, tends to put you off.”


“You both have a thing about bananas though,” she laughed.


“Nothing wrong with that, good source of potassium is a banana.” He grinned, teeth showing in a manic smile. “It’s a comfort food, speaking of which.”


He leaned over and picked up the mug he’d brought from the kitchen. “Tea.”


Rose giggled as she took the cup from him. “Thanks.”


The Doctor wondered whether or not to say anything else, it wasn’t like he was fishing for anything, just stating facts. But she had been so intent ton seeing him as two people that maybe she wouldn’t realise that he was really asking what she felt for him.


“Back then, Rose, I know I don’t talk about it much, but I do know what you did for me, coming back and all that. You risked your life for me … him.”


“For you,” she amended and gave him a bigger smile. “Of course I did.


“Why?” he held his breath.


“Because I’m just that good,” she repeated the words she’d said to him on the station. “Besides it’s not every bloke who can hand you the universe on a plate.”


“Or a broken TARDIS,” he added, slightly disappointed at her answer even as he berated himself. Really what did he want her to say?


Apart from that.


“Did ya get her fixed?” she asked.


“Yup, all ready to go. But we’re not going.”


Rose frowned. “Why not?”


“I remember promising a girl to take her shopping.”


She grinned. “Really?”


He rolled his eyes. “Yeah, I’ll regret it. I already regret it. Maybe I should change my mind. I could pretend that I didn’t say it. In fact I’m pretty sure we never had this conversation.”


Rose giggled and he smiled back, glad to see the tears drying up. “Oh no, you’re not getting out of it that easy. I’m holding you to a shopping trip.”


“Be ready in ten minutes!” he warned. “Or we’ll head to Teelarzix without new shoes!”


“Yes, sir!” She saluted.


“I like that!” He waggled his eyebrows and she blushed.


“Perv.”


“You love me anyway,” he heard himself say even as he leaped off the bed and headed to the door.


He paused at the threshold.


“Rose?


“Hmm?”


He swallowed. “It’s not that bad, being stuck with me, is it?”


She shook her head slowly. “That’s part of the problem. You’re too good. I love … being with you.”


“Okay. Ten minutes.”


He shut the door and leaned against the hard wood.


“I love … being with you.”


He broke into a huge, delighted grin. “Fantastic.”

 


Comments

daera23
Sep. 10th, 2006 12:36 pm (UTC)
nicely melancholy. i like the idea of Rose seeing the emergency program wth 10
faythbrady
Sep. 12th, 2006 03:41 pm (UTC)
Thank you. It was something that struck me when I was rewatching PotW. What if... glad it worked.