Go On 8/10
Title- Go on
Show- Doctor Who
Genre- Angst PGish
Disclaimer- I won Doctor Who in a poker game. RTD was drunk; it happens.
Summary- Rose finds it hard to let go and has to speak to an old friend. Set directly after TGIF.
The Doctor stormed over to the console and flicked a few switches sending the TARDIS spinning into the vortex, his jaw tight and his back straight as he pulled his anger under control.
You could cut the tension with a knife and Mickey glanced concernedly at Rose but she was plucking at the edges of her jacket, ignoring them both.
The Doctor seethed silently for a few minutes and then spoke, his voice loud but calm in the still of the control room.
“Mickey, maybe you should go and shake some of that dust off you; get something to eat.”
Mickey looked from him to Rose and back again. Neither said anything else and he cleared his throat.
“Yeah, probably a good idea.” He took a step forward and then another, and another, all the while waiting for the explosion he could feel at his back.
Nothing. He made it all the way to the door before he felt comfortable enough to stop and look at the two of them again. The two of them who were carefully not looking at each other.
It was almost painful, the tension stretched so taut and so hard that Mickey wondered if it snapped would it take the whole universe with it.
Was this it? Was this finally the end of the Doctor and Rose, the universal constant?
He opened his mouth and the tension almost hummed.
Mickey changed his mind and left the two of them alone to face the damage and see if they could try to recapture anything of what they once had.
The control room was suddenly cold and full of waves of unsaid words, dancing along the time-lines and stretching, moving, coming together and separating, looking for ways to make it all okay and finding holes and pains that it couldn’t quite fill and soothe.
A lever was flicked and the resulting click echoed around the TARDIS like a gun shot.
Rose didn’t flinch as she ran a finger over the railing, saying nothing. She winced and pulled her aching wrist into a protective cradle, rubbing her fingers over the muscles and rotating slightly. It didn’t feel broken, but probably could do with some support.
The Doctor glanced up, deliberately not looking at her as he glared at the undulating funnel that signalled where they were in the stream of the vortex. It was at normal speed and he dragged in another calming breath, the sound echoing in the silent confines.
He wasn’t going to say anything and Rose was starting to feel more than a little uneasy.
She started to leave the console room, slowly heading for the door.
“How’s the wrist?” His voice whipped out in the silence and she stopped in her tracks.
“’sokay, a bit sore,” she replied, her own voice quiet.
“And the shakes?”
“Easing off.” Rose sighed. “I’ll be okay.”
“Because you can take care of yourself,” he said bitterly.
Rose held her head high. “Exactly.”
He clenched his jaw and chanced a look at her from the corner of his eye. She was covered in dust and muck, some from her fight going in but mostly from her fight going out. Her hair was all over the place, blonde strands flying every which way and her clothes were torn.
She was tall, proud, and defiant and, gods, she looked beautiful.
He looked away again, battling the furious urge to scream at her, to walk over and shake her for being such a fool, for risking her life on a ridiculous …
Then he noticed a small smear of blood on one sleeve and he was in front of her before he even realised that he’d moved.
He lifted her arm and stared at the droplet of crimson liquid. His eyes rose to hers, asking and she followed his finger as it traced the stain.
“Resisting arrest,” she said and pointed to the split lip that had escaped his notice.
“They hit you?” The coldness in his voice made her tremble and she knew that he had no problem in going back and destroying the planet for that one slight.
His darkness still had the capacity to scare her. No second chances and no chance to explain.
“If it makes you feel any better, that’s one Fellit’gian who won’t be having kids.” She tried for a smile but it fell flatly for both of them.
He reached up but stopped his hand before he could touch her cheek, before he could cup her softness in his palm and convince himself that she was okay.
Rose stepped back. “Did you get the part you needed for the TARDIS?”
“Yeah, I—” He stopped, realising that she was trying to distract him. And once he was distracted they wouldn’t mention it again. She’d internalise it and push it away and he’d just never remember, until the next time and by then it would be too late. It was a classic distraction technique that he used often. “You’ve learned too much from me.”
And she had. Internalisation, repression and now deflection? What else had he taught her?
“I thought that was the point,” Rose said softly. “Travel through space and time and grow up in the process. You make a good teacher.”
His throat suddenly hurt and the back of his eyes burnt white hot at the thought of Rose becoming like him, the Oncoming Storm, willing to sacrifice others.
Rose, without her compassion.
“Don’t,” he croaked, spinning away from her quickly and slamming his hands down onto the console. Rose waited a beat and then gathered herself together.
“How ‘bout I go make us some tea, yeah, and then shower this mess off me?” She grinned widely at him, the smile not even trying to reach for her eyes. “I feel like half the hangar is in my hair.”
“And it wouldn’t be if you hadn’t made them shoot at you.”
There. It was out in the open.
“You gave me the idea,” Rose acknowledged, rubbing at her swollen wrist. “Special features drain the batteries, like Jack said. Once they can’t threaten with useless weapons we’re home free. It was just a case of making them fire.”
“At you!” he spat. “Fire at you, Rose, that was … that was stupid. Beyond stupid. You had no idea when the batteries would drain—”
“The TARDIS told me,” she interrupted softly. “She said he had one more blast and that was it.”
Rose was quiet, looking away.
“He shot at you, Rose. If you hadn’t ducked.” His throat tightened and then he pinned her with a glare of quiet intensity. “If you had been a little bit slower, it’d be you with a hole in your heart!”
No change there, then, she thought, her hands turning cold as she remembered the sickening thud of that wet body slamming into the floor. She’d done that. She’d made someone kill him.
Bile rose on her throat.
Did that make her a killer? Or an accessory?
“Did you even think about that?” His icy anger was masking a need so deep to take her into his arms, a fear so vibrant that it threatened to tear out his hearts and make them bleed in front of him. “You could have died, Rose. I would have gotten us out of there; there was no need for stupid heroics!”
Would you? She wanted to ask. Would you have gotten us all out? Or would you have decided it was okay to leave us behind. Like you did Jack?
“But you didn’t share your plan with me,” she challenged. “I had no idea what you were going to do, even with your cryptic words. Your plan seemed to involve you getting in the TARDIS and flying off leaving us with those armed guards and no leverage. An’ with your time keeping skills who knew when you’d be back? The TARDIS had an idea and I took it. It worked, didn’t it?”
“Just by blind luck!” he thundered, hurt at her lack of trust. Not only didn’t she believe that he could have gotten them out of there, but she seemed to think he wouldn’t have even tried. “I had a plan; all you had to do was listen!”
“Well, I’m just a stupid ape,” she shot back, her guilt tripping her temper. “Can’t expect much, right?”
He swallowed and looked away. He should never have said that. He had regretted it the instant it had left his lips and he’d even gone so far as to try to make it into an endearment but those two words, spoken in anger and disappointment, seemed to have stuck with her.
“You’re not a stupid ape, Rose. I expect more than that from you.”
“Then maybe you’re wrong.”
His head snapped up and his eyes pierced into hers. “I haven’t been so far.”
Rose shrugged one shoulder and massaged her aching wrist.
A small smile graced his features. “I once told you that you were the best.”
“Yeah.” She didn’t return the smile. “I figured that was for Adam’s benefit. I’ve not exactly lived up to it, have I?”
“Oh, I think you have.”
“Reapers, end of the world?” She laughed ruefully.
“And I haven’t made mistakes?” He met her eyes and almost shivered at how shuttered they were. Once he’d been able to read everything in that expression and now he couldn’t even tell whether she was hearing him properly, but he had to take a chance. “You know, Rose, we never spoke about what happened.”
“On Satellite Five?”
He blinked, not realising that she’d even been thinking of that as one of his mistakes. He’d obviously made more than he thought. “No, actually, I meant on the space station, the fireplace.”
Rose stiffened. “No point.”
“I think there is.”
Rose took a deep breath. “We don’t do post-match analysis, Doctor,” she said shortly. “We never have. Once it’s done it’s done. That’s the way it’s always been.”
“And maybe that needs to change?” he asked softly, watching her carefully.
Rose wandered towards the central console and lightly caressed the pulsing panels, seemingly gathering her thoughts. She was so quiet that he could hear the tiny hum of the TARDIS under the movements of her parts.
“You’ve been off ever since we left the station,” he ventured uncomfortably, not used to talking about these kinds of things.
Rose gave a smile. “I’m all right.”
He just barely managed to hold back a wince at that.
“But we’re not.” He licked his lips. “I can feel it, Rose; you’ve been pulling away from me. We don’t talk like we did and you seem to be avoiding me. We used to be able to tell each other anything but you didn’t tell me that the TARDIS talks to you. Why is that, Rose?”
“No time?” Rose bit down on her lip as she looked everywhere but at the Doctor. “You regenerated and then we were all Sycorax, cat-nuns and body swapping, wolves and Krillitanes, robot droids and slime bugs. There’s never really been a moment.”
“We saw the end of the world, battled Slitheen and met Charles Dickens, survived a German air-raid and you had time to tell me what your favourite movies were and when you first realised that girls were different from boys.” He grinned softly at the memory of that particular conversation. “Time’s never a factor, Rose, not for a Time Lord.”
Rose tucked her hands into her pockets and rocked back on her heels, knowing that they were dancing around the subject that he wanted to talk about so badly, but this time she wasn’t going to help him.
“That was different.”
She shrugged one shoulder again. “Just was … you were different, I was different.”
“It’s not been that long, Rose.”
His condescending voice grated; everything about this conversation grated. It was Satellite Five all over again. It was fine to stand and talk and analyse when he wanted to know something, or when he thought that there was something wrong. But when Rose needed to know something then he was zipped up tighter than a Slitheen.
“Maybe not in Time Lord terms,” she retorted sharply, aiming to wound. “But we humans don’t have as long, remember? We wither and die very quickly. It’s a blink for you but a year for me. You know, like the one we missed?”
He felt that slap and held in the throb of pain as it hit its target. Something else he shouldn’t have said.
“I’ve said I make mistakes, Rose. More than I—” he trailed off. “There’s no point in me apologising for all the things I’ve done wrong since I met you, Rose.”
“I didn’t ask you to.”
“No.” He was suddenly very angry. “You walk away and stop talking to me, stop holding my hand and start acting like any second now I’m going to dump you on some asteroid and take off. You don’t even trust that I’ll try and save you. You assume I’m going to—to—swan off and leave you.”
“Gee, I wonder what could have given me that idea?” Rose snapped and then rolled her eyes at herself for falling into his trap.
“This is about the space station!” he was triumphant. “I knew it. You’re jealous because I went to save Reinette.”
“No, I’m not.” Rose maintained calmly and he shook his head.
“Yes, you are!” he said, bitterly disappointed. “Jealousy. Humans and their rules. ‘You can only love one person at a time.’ ‘You can only have one true love.’ No wonder the human race is doomed, narrow minded race of … of … apes.”
“And yet you spend most of your time around us.” Rose stared him straight in the eye. “We’ll get this straight now, Doctor. I’m not jealous; I’m not holding some deep seated resentment over Madame De Pompadour. I’m sorry that she died and that it hurt you. I’m not annoyed about the two of you, or anything like that. I don’t care about that.”
“Then this is about me leaving you and Mickey?” He shot back even as something inside felt a pang over her firm insistence on not caring. Why was he upset that she wasn’t jealous?
“No.” Rose shook her head. “Not really.”
“And that’s human for yes.” He slammed his hands into the console, ignoring the squeal in his head as the TARDIS protested the action. “You don’t understand, Rose. If I hadn’t gone through and they’d have killed her then the whole of history would have been deleted and altered. Remember the Reapers, Rose?”
“Vividly.” Her voice was cold. Icy.
“She was supposed to die later, after reforms and laws and appeals and many, many years. So many things had to happen and she couldn’t just die. History needed her.”
Rose folded her arms and gave him a scathing look. “Exactly who are you trying to convince?”
He did a double-take. “What?”
“History and time-lines align themselves, ‘time’s in constant flux, your cosy little world can be re-written like that’—” Rose snapped her fingers “—you taught me that. Satellite Five? Hundred years of hell? The Fourth Great and Bountiful Human Empire?” Rose laughed bitterly. “History is always changing. If you’re going to—” She took a deep breath. “You didn’t do it for history, you did it for her. You charged through the mirror to save her. Lie to yourself but not to me.”
His eyes grew hot as the truth of her words penetrated and he lashed out as much in anger over her being right as he was angry at himself.
“You are just a human, you wouldn’t understand.”
He wanted to snatch the vicious words back as soon as they’d hit the air, twisting and turning as they grew nasty and hit hard, and he winced at how savage and pathetic he sounded, how mean and spiteful. He licked his lip and opened his mouth to apologise but Rose held up her hand, stopping the words.
Rose blinked back the tears, refusing to let him see her cry. She took a step backwards and then turned, halting as she reached the doorframe. Then she half-turned not looking at him.
“You’re right. I couldn’t possibly understand. I’ve never done anything like that. I’ve never given up everything to get to the person I loved when they were in trouble. I’ve never left my friends and family waiting, not sure if I’m even alive. I’ve never done something really reckless and stupid, not knowing if I’ll survive just to be with them so they don’t die alone. I’ve never sacrificed everything on the slim hope that I could help, that I could save them even if it meant dying myself. I’ve never been willing to die if it meant he lived.” Tears slid down her face then, unchecked. “Then again, I’m just a stupid ape, what do I know?”
Agony swept through the Doctor as she spoke, his own words eating away at him as images inundated his consciousness.
Images of Rose glowing with gold light swamped his vision. Images of Rose destroying the Daleks to make him happy, to save him, coming back although it had meant her death. He closed his eyes at his utter stupidity and heartlessness.
“You’re right, Doctor,” she said sadly. “I couldn’t possibly understand.”
“Rose—” he croaked, spinning around but she was already gone.
He leaned on the console, his hands shaking and eyes burning with unshed tears.
Damn. Damn, hell and—
His hearts ached at the utter pain in Rose’s voice. He was such an ass. Worse than an ass. He had just taken her sacrifice and made it into nothing. He had made her think that she didn’t matter; that she was nothing.
Anger burned in his stomach at himself, twisting and clawing at his insides.
The Doctor slammed his hands down, relishing the slight pain. He’d wanted to make things right with Rose and all he’d succeeded in doing was making things worse.
How the hell was he supposed to fix this? Was there anything left to fix? How could he fix it when it seemed that every time he turned around more was broken and shattered than he even realised. He tilted his head back feeling the TARDIS admonishing him in the back of his head, he gritted his teeth.
“You’re a fine one to talk; you could have told me that something was seriously wrong.”
The Doctor knew that it wasn’t right to blame the TARDIS, she wasn’t, after all, infallible, but she could have at least given him a heads up. Or maybe it was all girls together.
“You could have at least mentioned that Rose not only doesn’t trust me but doesn’t even believe in me any more.” He slumped to the floor, turning so his back was against the console. “How did it all go so wrong? I thought we were fine. After the regeneration it was all fine, she was happy. We were happy. Was it meeting Sarah-Jane?” he asked the TARDIS. “I’d told her I’d travelled with others, but humans and their jealousies, always wanting to be ‘the one’. To be special. Doesn’t she realise that they’re all special? She’s special? Rose is my—” he sighed again and rested his head against the TARDIS. “Was it letting Mickey come along? But she was okay with Jack and I thought Mickey would be company.” And a buffer. But he wasn’t going there. “It was the space station. It had to be. Everything was different after that. But why?” he begged plaintively. “If she wasn’t jealous of Reinette, and she understood why I left her and Mickey, then what?”
Why was she distant? Why was she distrustful and awkward around him? And why did it hurt so badly? He’d lost the trust and friendship of other companions before- Tegan and Peri springing immediately to mind, but it had never affected him like this. Why was the loss of Rose’s touch, the withdrawal of her affections affecting him so much? Why did he care that she was crying as she left and why did it hurt that she didn’t trust him? No, more than hurt— burn.
“I’ve never given up everything to get to the person I loved when they were in trouble.”
“the person I loved.”
His breath caught. He knew she loved him—had loved him although he’d never heard it out loud, never needed it to be said. But now, her words seemed almost past tense. Had she withdrawn her love for him too? Pain, unlike anything he’d felt in this regeneration lanced through him at the thought of Rose leaving. What if she no longer loved him, too? How could he cope with that?
Suddenly he needed to hear the words.
Rose had taken a quick shower and then wandered along the TARDIS to the Mind Room where she’d ignored the comfy chair and laid down on the floor, staring up at the ceiling, just pretending that she was floating in space alone without any thoughts drifting through her mind.
The TARDIS didn’t let her get away with that for very long, though. She turned the wall an odd mauve colour which was her way of asking Rose if she was okay.
Rose gave a sad smile. “Not really, girl.”
Her bottom lip trembled as she thought back to the argument in the console room. “I’m not sure how much longer we can do this. How much longer I can do this.”
She rolled onto her side, facing away from the door, not noticing as a shadow appeared behind her.
“I’m so tired of this, of fighting with him. It’s not what I wanted. Why is he pushing?” she demanded angrily. “He’s never wanted to talk through this crap before. He’s never gone over his actions. Once it’s done it’s over and he never mentions it again. Like his companions,” she added bitterly. “Gone and forgotten.”
The walls flashed an admonishing red and Rose sighed. “You’re right, that’s not fair. I’m sorry. I’m getting mean,” she laughed sadly. “Maybe it’s time to leave.”
She sniffed, the sound masking a gasp from the door. “Time to go before I hate myself, or him, any more. But how do I go back to Earth after all this?”
She stared at the wall thinking of the beautiful nebulae that lay beyond, thinking of all the planets that she hadn’t seen or visited.
“How can I have a normal life after seeing the universe? And you?” she added softly, stroking the floor. “You’re more home to me than Earth ever was and I don’t want to leave you. But I think he’s done. He’s going to ask me to leave, I can feel it.” Rose started to cry. “I love you, I don’t want to go.” She swiped at her face. “God, I must be tired. I only get like this when I’m knackered.”
Rose breathed out hard and licked at her lips. “You heard what we were talking about in the control room, yeah? He thinks I’m jealous of Madam Pompadour; because they had a thing. I think he was a bit shocked when I said I wasn’t. He said I didn’t understand. But I do.”
She swallowed hard, pushing away the pain that had followed that statement. How dare he say that she didn’t understand? She might not be a Time Lord, but she understood pain and loss and sacrifice and going back for the one you—
“I understand because I did the same—for him. I suppose I’m more hurt that he doesn’t recognise that. He thinks I was upset because he went off with her and left me and Mickey alone on the station; just abandoned us like we didn’t matter, like we were nothing.”
Her words made her think of something else and her eyes shot open wide. “God, Mickey. I should really apologise and check on him.” She glanced up at the ceiling. “Is he okay?”
The ceiling glowed a soft pink and Rose settled back again. “Thanks. I’ll speak to him tomorrow. Where was I? Oh, yeah. The Doctor. He doesn’t understand that his actions just drove home what I already knew. He’s not my Doctor anymore.”
Rose curled up tighter on the floor. “He keeps saying ‘remember when we did this’ or ‘we did that’ and I wanna yell at him that it wasn’t him. We never battled Slitheen together, we never met Charles Dickens. Me and him … he’s not.” Rose closed her eyes as she cried gently. “I remember he said that I gave up on him, I never did. He gave up on me. Somewhere between the Daleks and the Sycorax he gave up on me.”
The indignation in his eyes as he pointed at her, yelling that she had given up on him still managed to pull something inside. “He should’ve known me better!” She cried angrily, swiping at the wet tracks on her face.
“The other him did—had. He knew me, he loved me.” Rose dragged in a deep breath and repeated adamantly. “He did love me. He would have let the Earth die for me. I could save the world but lose you, he said that. He needed me.”
The TARDIS glowed golden in sympathy and understanding as Rose curled into a ball on the floor.
Rose smiled softly and reminisced to the listening TARDIS.
“We were everything to each other. It was in the way he smiled at me; every time he said my name I could feel it. It was like I was the most important thing in the universe to him. He just had to smile and I felt better. We ran through the universe and it wasn’t scary because we were together.”
She closed her eyes and behind her lids she could see him with his daft old face and battered leather jacket grinning down at her. Before she realised it she was crying again, the drops falling off her chin to land on the floor.
“’m so sorry, I don’t cry. Not this much, ‘m just … miss him – god, it hurts!”
Rose realised that half her words were lost in sobs and she slowed down, taking deep breaths, trying to explain to the softly cooing TARDIS why she was so upset.
“I tried to believe the new man was the same. I did try to see him as the same but … he wasn’t. He stopped looking at me and wanting me and needing me. He stopped … loving me.”
And that was what hurt most of all.
One second she had been precious to him and then, in one heartbeat he had been replaced by a stranger who didn’t seem to see her anymore.
“I was never really the most important thing in his life.”
She was still a while, thinking about it.
“His priority was always the world or the universe. He went after the cooling fans on Platform One before trying to save me from being fried. Even in the Blitz when I was hanging from a Barrage balloon, he wasn’t there. But I always believed he’d come for me. Eventually. Like Mickey did today. The Doctor saves the innocent.” She shook her head. “Now ‘m not even an afterthought. He lost faith in me. Right after the Sycorax. He thinks that just because I stood up I didn’t believe he’d come for me. So now he doesn’t. I learned that from being locked in with the werewolf and from Sarah-Jane and Reinette. I have to save myself now. I can’t rely on him because he won’t be there anymore, because he doesn’t care as much. Least not ‘bout me.”
Rose was silent a long moment and when she next spoke it was so quiet that even the TARDIS had to strain to hear her.
“But what if I was wrong? What if he’s always felt this way and I was fooling myself. That’s why it hurts ‘n that’s why I can’t …”
She took a deep breath and poured out her heart. “This body of his has me thinking that I was imagining it all this time. I mean before he lied to me to send me away, even though Lynda got to help. He was always flirting with others; maybe I was just reading more into it. Maybe I was wrong.”
She closed her eyes, fighting with her insecurities. “No. I need to believe that he loved me, at least once. Even if this one doesn’t, I need to believe that he did. Because I do. I still do.”
She rubbed the floor and looked tenderly at the walls.
“I’ve been trying to protect myself. I love him, but every time he looks through me it hurts. I can’t keep giving him my heart to break. It doesn’t work like that. Sooner or later I need to protect it for me. He hurts me so much and so often and expects it to always be alright; that I’ll just get over it, get used to it. Like he said: ‘It’s a different morality—get used to it or go home.’ Maybe it’s time to go home.”
She allowed the tears to fall down her cheeks again.
“I love him, but god, it hurts, and all I can think is I want him back—my Doctor. The one who loved me, the one who never let me down.”
And with that Rose gave up any idea of composure and turned over, sobbing her heart out into the carpet.