This is part B of The Darkness Within part 10. It wouldn't fit. Grrrr
This is part B of The Darkness Within part 10. It wouldn't fit. Grrrr
“Rose Tyler, you are a sight for sore eyes!” Jack hoisted Rose up by her waist and spun her around before she even had time to register their move from one reality to the next.
Rose squealed as she smelled the wonderful mixture of cologne and pure male that was Captain Jack Harkness and she tightened her arms. “You’re alive! God, Jack, I can’t believe it.”
Jack let her slide down his body to the floor with his trademark flirtatious grin and salacious leer, ignoring the way the Doctor glowered at him over her shoulder.
“Got something else you won’t believe, sweetheart—”
“Ahem!” the Doctor cleared his throat.
“—but it can wait.” Jack amended, noting the warning for what it was. “P.S I like what you’ve done with your hair, very chic, very now.”
Rose self-consciously touched her roots. “Oh you know, new reality, new style.”
Jack held his arms out. “Oh, I’m all for change. Can’t you tell?”
Rose laughed. “You don’t look any different.”
His face took on an intense expression as he swallowed. “Appearances and all that, huh?”
Rose frowned as he stepped away, a fake smile shadowing the real one that had appeared when she had.
Secrets, more secrets. Just what the hell was going on here?
“Meet the team,” Jack motioned to the people that Rose had registered on the periphery of her vision.
The Doctor watched as Rose greeted the other members of Torchwood with the friendliness and grace that she had always shown to everyone, from servant to Sire and he adored her all the more.
What he wasn’t so fond of was the way that Jack seemed unable to take his hand off her for more than twenty seconds at a time; his palm on the small of her back, fingers tapping her shoulder, curving around her waist, sliding over her hair, cradling her cheek, holding her hand…
“Jack!” He all but exploded and winced as everyone stared at his outburst. He forced a smile. “I think Rose probably needs her rest, it’s been a long day.”
Jack looked sheepishly at Rose. “That right, darlin’?”
She tried to deny it but a yawn escaped her lips. “Yeah, little bit. It’s not everyday your…Doctor comes and rescues you from a parallel universe, brings you back to your old one and you meet a guy you thought was dead.”
Jack laughed. “Yeah, I can see how that one might not be covered in the Miss Manners etiquette book.”
Jack groaned. “Now I feel old. Okay, missy, you can bunk—”
“With me.” Once again all eyes were on the Doctor and he almost found himself blushing. “Mind in the gutter, you lot. I meant the TARDIS. Your old room’s still there,” he looked away, “you know, if you want.”
Everyone could tell, even though he pretended that it didn’t matter one bit to him whether she took him up on his offer, that it’d crush him if she said no.
Luckily Rose had no intention of doing that.
Rose’s face lit up. “She’s around?”
He nodded with a grin slowly building its way around his lips. “Yep.”
Rose clapped her hands. “Sorry Jack, thanks for the invite but I just want to go home.”
There seemed to be a stillness echoing in the room.
“Home?” Jack’s voice sounded odd and Rose frowned.
“Ah!” There was a collective sigh from Jack and the Doctor who seemed to puff up with abashed delight at hearing her call the TARDIS her home.
“All right, Rose, but I want dibs on a long conversation tomorrow?” Jack pointed teasingly at her and she nodded.
Despite his joking tone there was steel in his eyes and gave Rose the impression that there was something he needed to talk to her about. Rose could only guess that it something to do with the irascible man silently seething at Jack’s familiarity and she was fine with that.
Maybe Jack could clue her in to what was going on with the Doctor and why he seemed to be two temper tantrums away from a heart attack.
“Yes, sir!” Rose snapped off a salute and Jack leered.
“Ooh, I like that.” He leaned down to plant a kiss on her lips.
The Doctor snapped and, grasping Rose’s arm, yanked her away from Jack with such force that he almost gave her whip-lash.
Rose stumbled up against him and frowned. “Rip my arm off why don’t you?!”
“Hey, easy!” Jack held up his hands in protest but paused at the almost feral look on the Doctor’s face.
He recognised that defensive, almost savage look from his war days and realised that here was not just a man in love, but an animal guarding its territory. “It was just a good night kiss.”
A kiss? Nothing from Jack was just a kiss, and who the hell did he think he was? Had he traversed time and space for Rose? Did he have the right to touch her? The Doctor clenched his fists as he stared Jack down.
“Doctor?” Rose touched his arm, disquiet on her face and worry in her voice. “Are you all right?”
He felt the soft pressure of her skin on his and looked down into her concerned eyes.
The whole room seemed to fade away, Jack’s wary expression, Toshiko’s concerned face, Owen’s
militant stand and Gwen’s ready stance, and he was left with the vision of Rose standing watching him.
Rose who was getting more and more aware that there was something different about him. He <i>had</i> to tone this down or she’d know.
He held his hand out. “Come with me.”
She reached over and tucked her fingers into his hand, her palm sliding against his with such aching familiarity that he wanted to cry.
Rose’s expression was one of absolute trust, devotion and love and the Doctor felt his hearts thud against his chest in duel rhythm as he led her to the blue box that had been missing a vital piece for almost a year.
The TARDIS was still attached to Jack’s rift machine by a leader cable and the door was ajar, but Rose had eyes for nothing else but him as he slid inside and felt the warm green hue of his home swallow him, even as he basked in the warmth of Rose’s attention.
Rose finally tore her gaze away to look around, her breath catching in her throat. “I’m back,” she whispered.
“Yes, you are.” Funny, he’d always been annoyed by humans need to state the obvious ‘it’s a nice day’, ‘it’s raining’, ‘you seem to be on fire’. But with Rose he didn’t mind so much, he could hardly believe it himself.
“I’m back,” she repeated, her voice no more than a harsh whisper.
“No, you don’t get it,” she sounded frustrated as she stepped back away from him, his hands feeling the
loss even as she moved away to trace the contours of the ship with her fingers. “For so long I dreamed about her, dreamed about coming back. I kept telling myself that it was impossible, yeah, that you would have found some way of coming back for me already if it was possible. I told myself to move on…that I wouldn’t be like Sarah Jane and just wait for you. I’d have that fantastic life. But I always hoped…”
He reached for her again. “I tried; it just took me longer than I hoped. Rose, you had to know that I would come back for you. I always have. Even he knew that.”
Rose turned to him. “He who?”
His eyes widened at his near faux pas. “Jack. Jack knew I’d come for you.”
Rose blushed, seemingly embarrassed by this. “Yeah, you did.” She folded her arms. “I missed her. ‘was really weird trying to sleep without the TARDIS sounds, you know. There was like this humming that used to rock me to sleep.”
“Central destabilisers,” he corrected. “Yeah, they are rhythmic. Pitched to oscillate at premium zeitgeistic levels.”
“Well,” Rose said, “if I knew what that meant I’d be dead impressed.”
Rose bit her lip and then decided to go ahead with what was on her mind. “You know, you need to see someone about this hair-trigger you’ve got. You didn’t need to rip Jack’s head off.”
“He’d only grow another one,” the Doctor muttered. Off Rose’s look he relented. “He knows that I wanted to spend time with you, he was trying to wind me up.”
Rose had to grin. “Yep, that’s Jack.” She paused. “Still, you need to watch your temper else you’ll say something you don’t mean.”
“Oh, I’m always good with words, me. Except…” he trailed off and looked away.
There was awkward silence in the TARDIS, memories of what had been said and what hadn’t lay heavy in the air, the weight of unspoken words hovering over them with all the burden of a full rain cloud.
He shoved his hands into his pockets. “Rose Tyler, I was going to take you to so many places.”
“The planet not the city,” he agreed. “They have dogs with no noses.”
Rose bit her lip impishly. “And how do they smell?”
He waited a beat, staring into her eyes and then slowly held out a hand. “Want to find out?”
Rose stared at that hand, the hand that had held hers through so much; the hand that had taken hers and saved her again and again; the hand that had been missing from her life and she’d never felt so sure of anything in her life.
“You have to ask?” she grasped his hand firmly. “I’ve got you back, Doctor, and this time I’m not letting go.”
The Doctor had lived with many years of regret over things he had done or not done. He regretted planets that had died and others that had not. He regretted people he couldn’t save and those he had when he shouldn’t’ve. He regretted friends he’d ignored and things he’d taken for granted. But right now he knew that he would regret forever being tied inside his own mind and not being the one that rescued Rose from the Earth.
He yanked at his bindings and screamed with all of his might, hoping to at least give his ninth self a headache if nothing else. But inside he cursed and shouted his anger, fury and pain, using swear words that were outlawed in three solar systems and probably seditious on another twelve.
It wasn’t fair. It wasn’t. FAIR.
That man was the one who had thrown Rose away; he’d regenerated and deliberately kept her at an arms length prompting her distrust when he changed into this body. After months of trying to win Rose back he’d succeeded only to lose her and now, now, his old self was repeating the benefits. He was holding Rose tight, wrapping his arms around her, cradling her against his chest as he navigated his way around the console, loathe to let her far away from him.
And Rose wasn’t protesting. She had to know that there was something wrong but she was content to be with him, being held by him.
The Doctor inside knew that Rose had loved him and he had never done anything about it, wanting to take his time and not screw things up. He had assumed that they had years together.
He was wrong and he had never got to say those words.
And if his alter ego had any say he would never get the chance, he would never get to hold Rose again,
never get to say sorry or kiss her.
It wasn’t fair! He opened his mouth to scream but it fell off in a choked cry, tears sliding down his face in frustration and anguish.
“Rose!” he croaked damply. “My Rose.”
My Rose, thundered the voice of the ninth Doctor.
“I’ll get her back!” he vowed, yelling up at the ceiling. “I will escape.”
It’ll be too late. smirked the voice. She’s already mine, pretty boy and I won’t miss the boat this time. Rose Tyler belongs to
A shock of pain travelled down the chains that bound him, sending bolts of liquid fire screaming through his veins.
The Doctor threw his head back, refusing to yell in pain but biting his lip so hard that blood trickled once again down his chin.
You are weak. A shadow of who I was…and will be again.
Not for the first time the Doctor felt a spike of fear at the abilities of his old self. Madness wrapped in obsession was not a good mix and if his reaction to Jack touching Rose was anything to go by, one of them was in terrible danger.
He couldn’t let himself regret anything else.
Rose sighed as she leaned against her Doctor. After she had taken his hand he’d pulled her in to his body and just held her; performing all of his tasks with one arm firmly fixed around her chest, unwilling to let her go.
Not that she minded this new possessiveness, it made a change from the way he had sometimes treated her in the past.
Of course it wasn’t as if Rose expected, or even wanted that now. After spending a long time analysing their relationship, Rose had been chagrined to admit that she had been unashamedly clingy to the regenerated Doctor.
The scare that he’d given her, in nearly dying, had made her almost suffocate the poor man. It was no wonder he’d asked Mickey to come onboard.
It had taken many hours of reflection on Earth 2.0 before Rose realized that the relationship had been unhealthy.
Torchwood 2 had been a learning curve for Rose when it came to both alien affairs and herself. She had to handle things on her own that she wasn’t even aware that she could and this status, when added to her separation from the Doctor had forced her to grow up and assume a sense of responsibility. It was that ongoing sense of accountability that made her so aware of what the Doctor had done:
He’d punched a hole through into another universe at great cost, both to the fabric of time and to himself.
Hadn’t he told her that travel between the two realities was dangerous to the point of impossible? Yet he’d done it; he’d thrown caution to the wind and defied them all. But why, why would he do that? Why would he risk so much. Surely it wasn’t because of her; it couldn’t have been.
She swallowed. “Doctor?”
“Hmm?” his voice rumbled in his chest and she snuggled further into him.
“I…uh…just wanted to know…why did you come back for me?”
He stilled. “Did you want to stay there? Eats peas on toast rather than beans and do domestic with Jackie?”
“No!” No,” she replied immediately. “You know I wanted to come back to you.” Rose gathered her courage. “I love you, Doctor, you know that.”
He was silent a long moment and her courage flagged.
“I mean, ‘snot important, just glad you did and that.”
She made to move away but he gripped her arm forcefully and turned her to face him. His face was set in stone, features hard and intense as he scrutinised her, almost as if searching for weaknesses.
She felt cold and a little afraid of him for the first time. “Doctor?”
“I never ask anyone twice, Rose Tyler. Never. If they don’t want to come with me then fine, no one gets a second chance. Except you. I went back twice to ask you to come with me. After I died the next me asked you again, at Christmas. Then I walked across universes to get you back. That’s four times, Rose. Four.”
He sniffed, almost angrily. “I don’t do domestic; rather boil my eyes, me. But you apes need to hear ‘em no matter what I’ve shown you, don’t you? Four times, Rose. No one else has ever had that. How can you think that I don’t…that I…? I never said the words, but you know I do…right?”
Her heart melted. “Yeah, I do know. Don’t need words.”
“Tough,” he breathed deeply. “Because you’re going to get ‘em. Rose Tyler…I love you. I love you, my stupid little ape. Despite the fact that you always wander off, you never stay put and you risk your life for me again and again.”
Rose laughed out loud at the very characteristic declaration of her Doctor. Never one to wax on poetically, or be sentimental. He was brash and bolshy and she adored him.
“Oh, like you’re a picnic yourself!”
“I am,” he protested, a broad grin sweeping across his face. “I told you, genius, me!”
Rose just shook her head. “Well, you carry on being a genius, I’m gonna go and change.”
The Doctor nodded but seemed even more reluctant to let go of her hand. Rose tugged and he pretended to pout, eliciting a giggle from Rose who suddenly felt years lighter.
“Let go then,” she urged and he rolled his eyes.
“Always in a hurry.”
Rose backed away. “Yeah well, I wanna see my room again.” She paused before she reached the door and hesitated, her hand on the frame.
“My room is still there, isn’t it?”
Her insecurity was as endearing as it was unnecessary. His eyes softened.
“Nothing touched,” he assured her and felt a missed beat as she smiled widely before walking away to rediscover her home.