Title- Encroaching Madness 7/20
Show- Doctor Who. Rose/Doctor
Genre- Dark, Angst
Disclaimer- I own nothing but books and an imagination
Summary- Ten has concocted a plan with the TARDIS to oust 9, but it's Rose who gets caught in the cross-fire. A familair planet means danger for everyone.
A/N- Sequel to the Darkness Within. A much longer piece this week. With thanks to Gargantua and Serenity.
The tenth incarnation of the Doctor waited with bated breath as his less sane companion charged into his own mind.
He knew that at this moment, his counterpart would be storming down the corridor of his subconscious leading to the iron door behind which he waited. He managed to hold his temper in check only by the skin of his teeth and the knowledge that he was about to do this intruder a dangerous turn.
He’d watched in pained despair as his alter annoyance had touched Rose, held Rose and spoke about desire. The yearning that he had often felt to be near Rose was increased by the evidence that she wanted him too.
Ever since his regeneration he had waited, watching for some sign that Rose Tyler was ready and willing to accept what he had to offer.
Oh, he knew that she wanted him; Rose was notoriously easy to read sometimes. But he had wanted to make sure that it was him she wanted; this body. He wanted her to want the pin-striped, sappy-grinning, weak-wristed version who adored her. Not the obsessed big-eared version who held her to an impossible standard.
As she slid up to the man who had taken his body and professed to want all of him he’d felt his own hearts lurch.
That should be me, he cried internally, it’s me she loves. I’m the one Rose loves!
The idea that his place would be usurped was twisting his guts in knots and he wanted to hurt his other self more than he could remember wanting to hurt anyone in a long time.
But he had to bide his time.
The TARDIS had landed them on Deva Loka and soon his other self would go out onto the planet. The rest would be up to the occupants of the planet but, knowing what he knew about them, it wouldn’t be long until his other self would come crawling for help.
The door to his chamber suddenly slammed open and the Doctor smiled cheerily.
“Oh hello, come to visit?” He rocked back on his heels. “I wasn’t expecting visitors, you know or I would have tidied up.” He gestured to the splintered wall. “Or done some DIY. Always wondered about that, if two of you do it, it isn’t really Do It Yourself is it? Or would it be selves. DIYS. D. I wise?” He said doubtfully. “Doesn’t sound right.”
“I almost forgot how much you can talk!” the ninth incarnation said with a roll of his eyes. “Natter natter, you’re like an old woman.”
“You can talk!” the tenth incarnation shot back.
“Not nearly as well as you, blah, blah, blah, I got more sense out of Adam…or Turlough.”
“That’s right, be petty. You know I’m surprised you didn’t carry a safety blanket around with you. You must be the wimpiest incarnation I’ve ever had. I bet you’re wearing girl’s pants.”
The Ninth Doctor swept a hand and his future self slammed into the already cracked wall. His head snapped back and he crumpled to the floor.
The man standing took a deep breath and tried to calm himself. It would do him no good to beat his future self to death… no matter how appealing it sounded.
The Doctor slowly crawled to his feet. “Temper,” he hissed, “forgot you had a bloody bad temper and a short fuse.”
“It’s getting shorter by the second.” The northern voice was terse and filled with annoyance. “What I want to know is how you got the TARDIS on your side.”
The Doctor smiled. “Jealous?”
His counterpart put his hands in his pockets and smirked. “Oh yeah. Very jealous. Fuming in fact. I may have to go to Rose to be consoled.”
The triumphant expression on the tenth Doctor’s face dropped faster than a stone in a pool.
The Doctor sniffed. “Yeah, Rose is good at that, consoling. Always has been. Pity you never bothered with it. But I’m sure I can catch up.” He wandered over to the wall and examined the cracks and splinters. “What’s this?”
The prisoner started. So his younger self didn’t know what he had done?
“Oh that was me,” he lied, “I was trying to get out. Not doing too badly, am I?”
He was stared at with pity. “By this time I was already out.”
“Oh really?” the Doctor straightened his suit jacket. “I thought that by now you were still ghostly in form trying to become corporeal after being blasted apart by, well it’d be me, wouldn’t it?” The Doctor grinned maliciously. “You know, you were replaced, swopped, traded up, upgraded, improved, disposed of, dispersed… deleted.”
The Doctor in leather spread open his arms. “I’m still here.”
“You shouldn’t be.”
The ghostly man inclined his head at Rose and the rest of his selves melted into nothingness leaving the two of them alone again. “You are an odd one.”
Rose shrugged. “Also not news.”
“Most in your position would be gibbering or at least unnerved by now,” he grinned nastily. “Most in your position have been nervous wrecks by now. Fumbling, crying, squealing remnants of themselves.”
Rose rolled her eyes. “You know I’ve just about had enough of you, mate.”
“Is that so?” her tormentor suddenly crouched down, kneeling on the ground. “Try this then.”
He vanished and the darkness quickly ebbed into the space where he had been. Rose was alone again in the nothingness. Pushing back the instinctive panic Rose took a breath.
“There’s always a way out and wandering off is usually a good idea.” She smiled at the thought of what the Doctor would say if he could hear that. But it was true. Unlike
She had to move and try to find some way out of here. She swallowed and from sheer effort of will put one foot forward. She was not going to be intimidated by this place; she had been in far worse.
Rose started to walk slowly, checking with her toes to make sure that she wasn’t going to walk straight into some sort of hole.
There was nothing to break up the monotony of black and pretty soon Rose had lost all track of time and space.
She just kept walking.
The two Doctors stared in undisguised hatred at each other.
It was odd in a kind of masochistic way to have this intense dislike for yourself that only pain and blood would ease.
The Doctor had met himself before in more than one incarnation and there had always been arguments and annoyance from both sides. It was hard to be confronted with a part of yourself, especially if it was a part that you didn’t particular like or believe that you had.
On the odd occasions that he had met himself he had balked against his own dominant traits but had, eventually, come to understand that in any regeneration he was brilliant and he should get along with himself purely for the fact that he could appreciate his own genius better than anyone.
Of course, none of his other regenerations had been psychotic.
Now the tenaciously devoted psychopath sneered at the mouthy exuberant pretty boy and tried to forget that they were both part of the whole.
“I will get out,” the tenth incarnation maintained. “You know I will. What will Rose think of you once I do, hmm? Have you thought about that? Right now she has good memories of you. She remembers that you saved her dad and that you held her hand and made her run. She has Dickens and the year Five Billion and all that, good times. But what will she remember when I break free and tell her all that you’ve done? What will she remember about you then?”
The ninth incarnation looked away, thinking about that.
The prisoner pressed his luck. “If you let me go now I won’t say a word, we can blame it on going through the rift or something. I’m giving you a chance here. One chance. Let me go now and Rose will keep those memories of you.”
The blue eyes of the ninth Doctor stared at him quietly as the emotions tumbled behind those eyes too fast for the Doctor to understand what he was thinking. He wasn’t sure if he was getting through or being careful observed for dissection.
“No second chances,” the ninth Doctor said softly and the prisoner swallowed hard.
There was a moments silence while the younger Doctor walked over to the cracked wall and traced one of the spidery tendrils with his fingers.
“Do you have any idea what it’s like to be trapped inside someone’s mind for years? To watch them make mistakes and be powerless to stop it? Do you know what it’s like to feel the years speed up the aging process and experience every single cell dying and being flooded with time? Each pore aches.” He lifted up his arm and examined his fingertips. “It’s like the most painful pins and needles and then it gets worse. Much worse. But beyond the pain you know that there’s something you have to do, something you have to concentrate on. So you claw your way through the agony. You bypass it all because it doesn’t matter. Only one thing matters. The light tries to drag you away but you don’t let it because you promised to take care of her and you have to see that she’s all right. It takes a while, days maybe weeks before you open your eyes and find you’re trapped inside someone who has no idea what he’s doing.” His head snapped round to fix the tenth Doctor with a steely stare. “To watch him as he pushes her away and knocks her confidence and to know that you can’t do anything. We’ve been vulnerable before. We’ve been locked up and helpless and unable to do anything. But this was worse.” He stalked forwards and the Doctor watched with trepidation. “Truly powerless.”
The scent of his leather jacket edged into the tenth Doctor’s awareness as the irate man intruded into his space.
“Never again.” He whispered. “I’m in this to win it.”
He turned on his heel and marched to the iron door. “The TARDIS may be pissed at me, fine. I can stay around here for a while. She’ll get bored soon enough. It’d be fun to spend some time on Maurra Delta, we can take in the local colour.”
The tenth Doctor frowned. “Where?”
“Maurra Delta. Just after the Pax. Rose should be already there enjoying the festivities.”
He was only slightly troubled when the pin-striped man paled.
Rose felt like Sarah in the Labyrinth.
“Where’s David Bowie in tight trousers when you need him?” she mused as she carried on through the darkness. Her eyes had grown accustomed to the lack of light and she could pick out shapes in the distance. Nothing concrete yet but it gave her something to aim for…if only it didn’t keep moving further away from her whenever she got close.
As it was Rose felt like she had walking for miles and miles and was seriously rethinking her choice of holiday location.
“We’re on Maurra Delta, Rose,” she mocked as she carried on walking, “Time of the Pax anniversary. Perfectly safe. Sure. Why do I trust him? That flaming box is never reliable. Isn’t that right, Doctor?” She grinned at her own absurdity.
The grin dropped as she heard something call out her name.
“Doctor!” Rose spun around but she couldn’t see him. “Doctor are you there?”
“Rose?” the sound was pained and her unease kicked back up to full panic scale.
“Doctor where are you, are you okay? Doctor?”
“Help me, Rose. I—I’m trapped.”
The pin-striped man grew even paler and reached over to grab his tormentor’s arm. “Where’s Rose?”
He was shrugged off by the other man. “Rose went for a walk. The TARDIS data banks showed this to be Maurra Delta. It’s safe. I’m not like you, pretty boy. I don’t let Rose wander off where she could get hurt.”
“Oh you’re wrong, you are so wrong.” The Doctor raked a hand through his hair. “This isn’t right.”
The Doctor in leather smirked. “Remember your history. The Maurrians declared peace and stick to it rigidly. We brought Nyssa here after that business with her father. Remember, it was all peace all the time,” he paused, “a bit boring actually. Rose is fine.”
“Rose would be fine,” the tenth Doctor said through gritted teeth, “if this were Maurra Delta. It’s not.”
The Doctor scowled. “You, stuck in here, how do you know?”
“Because this isn’t where I told her to land.”
It took a moment; a very very brief moment for the synapses to connect and the weathered face of the Doctor hardened, all animation fled and a mask of pure, unadulterated fury leeched across the large features.
Without warning his hands grabbed the lapels of that hated pin-striped suit and he hauled his older self to him with a growl of animalistic ferocity.
“Where. Are. We?” he spat.
The Doctor didn’t even struggle to get free. “Deva Loka.”
He was thrown aside and dropped to the floor like so much rubbish and the iron door slammed shut before he even registered landing.
But he would never forget the fear he felt in those nano-seconds when realisation flashed in his adversary’s eyes.
He knew, beyond a doubt that he would suffer for this and only hoped Rose wouldn’t pay the price.
The Doctor sprang out of his own mind and reached reality on his feet, racing for the TARDIS door. The TARDIS knew that something wasn’t right and flung the outer doors open to allow him to escape into the jungle outside. He wouldn’t have stopped even if he’d have had to break them down. So focused was he, he hadn’t even seen them.
Rose was in danger and it was all his fault.
He hadn’t known that the TARDIS had deliberately hidden their location from him, but he should have.
As soon as his prisoner had told him where they were, he knew what the plan had been between the TARDIS and his older self. It was a great plan but foolhardy and a measure of how desperate his other self was.
At any other time he would be delighting in having reduced someone to these kinds of extremes, but his overriding concern for Rose left little time to gloat.
He slammed through the forest, his feet tramping over leaves and branches and possibly small animals. He didn’t know and he didn’t care. The trees parted in front of him like magic, all loathe to get in the way of the harried Time Lord. The sound of the forest hemmed him in but he broke through, the sounds of his pounding feet only eclipsed by the pounding of his hearts.
He had to get through, he had to find Rose. It couldn’t be too late.
Rose searched for the Doctor, listening to his voice as he called her. She started to run towards the greyness that she could see at the edge of her vision certain that was where he was. He called out to her, his voice pained and full of anguish and every word broke her heart.
“I’m coming,” she choked, a sob lodged in her throat. “I’m coming, don’t worry Doctor. I’ll get you out.”
Suddenly the greyness become dark brown and switched from a transient haze to solid steel bars.
She could see a figure on the other side of the bars, huddled on the floor.
“Doctor?” she hurtled towards the cage at full pelt and almost slammed against the bars in her haste.
She could see the curled form of the Doctor in the bottom of the cage. His leather jacket all but hiding his face as he writhed in agony.
“Doctor?” she whispered, reaching through the bars for him.
“Rose?” he whimpered and seemed to seize, his body looking like it was wracked with pain.
“What is it, what’s wrong?”
“It hurts!” he spat and his head snapped back.
Tears streamed down Rose’s face as she stretched her arm through the bars to reach him. “What? What hurts? Tell me, what can I do?”
“Get me out,” he hissed and writhed again.
“How?” she cried looking around. There was nothing anywhere but the Doctor in a cage. No locks, no padlocks, nothing but solid steel bars and blackness. “I don’t even know where we are, how am I supposed to get you out?”
“We’re in a fixed mind field,” he said in between groans of pain. “An altered reality. Someone’s mind. I’m trying to break us out but his mind is strong. His mind is attacking me—” he broke off and groaned again.
“The weird guy,” Rose realised, “talks a lot. He abducted us. I was sleeping and then… how did he get you?”
“I came out looking for you. You were asleep by some chimes.”
Rose nodded and stretched further, reaching out, trying to touch the Doctor but he was too far away. She felt wretched. If she had stayed nearer to the TARDIS he wouldn’t be going through this pain. It was her fault. It was always her fault. When would she listen and stay put?
“I can break free,” the Doctor managed with gritted teeth, shaking her out of her reverie. “But I need help.”
“What can I do?”
He crawled towards her. “I need you to let me in, to accept me, Rose.”
He shook his head and then his whole body shook as he was attacked again. “Inside your head, if I can use your mind I can strengthen mine. I can bind us and we’re stronger than him. We’re stronger together, Rose.”
Rose hesitated. “You want to go inside my mind, like you did with Madam De Pompadour?”
He slumped to the floor and his body trembled. “Rose please, trust me.”
“I do. I do, all right.” Rose sank to her knees. “Can you touch my head?”
“Don’t need to, I only need your hand. Reach to me, Rose.”
At Rose acquiescence he breathed out; a relieved breath. “You agree?”
“Yeah, yeah. Join with me or whatever.”
His hand shot out and grabbed hers and his head snapped up for the first time showing her a face that definitely didn’t belong to her Doctor.
With dawning horror Rose looked from the snake tattoo on his arm to his red eyes and snarled mouth.
It twisted into a mocking smile. “I thought you’d never ask.”
The Doctor almost tripped over his feet as the clearing came into sight. He put on a burst of speed that would have put Linford Christie to shame. He sped into the clearing and his eyes automatically fell onto the one thing that didn’t belong there.
He was by her side, lifting her head and tapping her cheek.
“Rose, Rose? Please wake up. Rose?” He shook her frantically and his pulse trebled at her unresponsiveness.
“Rose? Come on my stupid little ape. Wake up, wake up , wake up, don’t let it get you, please Rose. Wake UP!” he screamed into her face desperation adding power to his words.
With a cough and a splutter, like a drowning man reviving, Rose rolled over his arm and hacked away, pressing at her chest.
He stroked the back of her head in pure relief. She was alive, she was okay.
“Silly little human,” he soothed. “You scared me, Rose. I thought you were in trouble then. Real trouble.”
Rose stilled and he paused in his ministrations. “Rose?”
“I think…it’s you who is in trouble, Doctor.”
His hearts thumped away turning his blood to ice as she rolled back over and pinned him with red rimmed eyes.