|The Star Child
Author: Jessa L'Rynn PM
The Doctor and Rose are given a command on the planet Rakku. Along with the command comes a bundle of heartache for the Doctor and, as time goes on, for Rose, too. Response to AFantasticRose's challenge for July II. No Spoilers.Rated: Fiction T - English - Angst/Romance - 9th Doctor & Rose T. - Chapters: 2 - Words: 6,278 - Reviews: 40 - Favs: 79 - Follows: 15 - Updated: 08-06-08 - Published: 08-04-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4448819
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
This story was requested by AFantasticRose for the July II Challenge. It's slightly AU. Takes place after PotW, but the Doctor didn't regenerate. Rose knows about regeneration, not that it matters to this story. Oh, and they know where Jack is and visit him from time to time, so I've sorta messed up Torchwood, too, but hey, I own Doctor Who (that ALSO is in an alternate universe).
I was requested to make this 9/Rose, include a little girl from a war torn planet that they are to care for, and to have to face Jackie while dealing with said child.
It's sorta been done, so I decided to add a tiny bit of a twist.
This is two chapters long.
The Star Child
"I'm sorry Rose," the Doctor shouted. "There's nothing else we can do."
"It's all right!" she answered loudly. "At least we've done what we could."
He snorted and bit back a couple of swear words. "Through here," he said, more quietly now.
They were running for their lives across the plains of Rakku. Civil war had broken out between two separate religious sects over something even the Doctor couldn't fathom, and he had been trying to make peace with them, trying desperately, right up until his time sense told him to stop, that everything that happened now had to happen.
The TARDIS was just ahead. The Doctor guided Rose carefully around the smashed brick wall and through the littered corridors of what had once been the main temple of one of the two warring sects. It was time to leave. Thirty years from now, this planet would be at peace again, united by a leader who was also a pacifist according to the Doctor's memory, but until then, this was their fate.
They had just reached the inner sanctum, what was left of it, when he saw a party of four heavily cloaked people approaching. "Wait," one of them pleaded. "Please help us."
"I'm sorry," he answered, shoving Rose carefully behind him. "I've done what I could. You'll have to do the rest yourselves." He realized then that there was something truly odd about this party. There were two members of each sect in the party. It was decidedly off.
"You can do this last thing," said another. And she held out, in trembling arms, a small bundle.
The Doctor stepped forward hesitantly. "What..."
"Save the Star Child," the four commanded, and the one dropped the bundle into his startled arms. Utterly baffled now, he pushed the blanket back. Rose stepped up and stared over his arm.
"A baby," he agreed. "We can't take care of..." He looked up, but the room was empty except for him, Rose, and the TARDIS. "...a baby."
Slightly telepathic, like all Rakku, the child's thoughts of fear and confusion greeted his mind the moment he touched the little face. Instinct, blind, mortal, long-forgotten instinct had him answering the frightened thoughts with the idea of warmth and safety and comfort.
"Right," he said, completely startled at himself. "Let's go." He moved to set the baby down. The infant would be much more likely to survive in a war zone than the way his life went. He couldn't do it, he couldn't take a child with them.
"Here," Rose said. "Give her to me and you can unlock the door."
"Her?" he asked, and passed her right into Rose's arms as if it were the most natural thing in the world. "Support her head," he added.
"Well, I figured a girl. The blanket's pink."
"Oh," he said, and unlocked the door.
Rose went inside, carrying the little bundle. "Good job she doesn't talk yet," Rose observed.
The Doctor grinned and shucked his leather jacket, then took the baby from Rose. "Yes, it is bigger on the inside," he said. Rose shot him a look. "What?"
"You just..." She grinned. "You're so cute."
"Ya sound like Jack," he answered.
"I don't. I sound like..." She swayed sharply.
The Doctor looked at her more closely. "Rose, why didn't you tell me you were bleeding?" he demanded.
"Am I?" she asked softly. She put a hand to the back of her head, pulled it around to look at it. "Huh, whadyaknow. I am."
Baby in one arm, Rose collapsing on the other, and the Doctor just stood there and didn't know exactly what to do.
The TARDIS helped out by manifesting a small cot right in front of him. He lowered the baby into it, then lifted Rose into his arms. He carried her through to the Med bay, stopping by the console to send the TARDIS into the relative safety of a hover in the Vortex.
And just like that, there was a baby traveling on the TARDIS.
Rose came to with the most unusual sound she had ever heard in her whole life tickling at her ears. She knew that voice, thought for sure she would be able to hear it even if she were stone deaf to every other sound in the Universe. It was the Doctor, her Doctor, and he was singing.
Well, she'd heard him sing before, but not like this. It sounded like he was singing along with the TARDIS, the ringing, chiming chords of his own musical language cascading from his lips. His voice was a smooth, rich, baritone throb, and the alien syllables sifted his accent into something scarcely distinguishable.
The Doctor sang in the shower, always, but it was usually some pop tune or some strange aria. He swore when he couldn't hit the high notes and complained that he was used to being a tenor. He wryly admitted the first time she'd ever heard it that it was one of very few things he had done for as long as he could remember.
So why was it Gallifreyan, this time?
She sat up, and her head swam and the room sparkled. The sound cut off abruptly. "Lie back down, Rose," he commanded. "C'mon, now, you'll only hurt yourself."
"Wha' happened? And what were you singing?" He helped her, his large hands gentle as he lowered her, placing an extra pillow behind her so she could sit up without any effort.
"A lullaby for our unexpected guest."
She struggled with that. "There was a war."
"And someone gave you a baby," she added. It didn't make sense. She thought she remembered him talking oh so adorably to the child, but that was definitely not him. "I dreamed that, didn't I?"
In answer, he took a few steps away, coming back with something small and decidedly pink. He laid the little bundle in her arms gently and grinned at her. "Fantastic," he pronounced softly.
Rose looked down at the squirming little person in her arms and couldn't help the idiotic grin that blossomed on her face.
"Hello, I'm the Doctor. This is my friend Rose, and the baby's a friend of ours, too."
The aliens didn't look even slightly impressed.
"Run?" Rose asked, clutching the little girl to her shoulder.
"Yeah, think so," he agreed.
"Hello, I'm the Doctor, and this is Rose."
"And the offspring?" the aliens asked, staring curiously at the child.
"Oh, she's not ours," the Doctor said.
"Run," ordered Rose.
The first few days with the baby on board passed comfortably, except for the two misadventures with people getting mixed up about what two people and a baby were supposed to be.
"Why can't we all be friends?" the Doctor asked. The baby, who was about the equivalent of a six month old human, was sleeping on his chest. Rose was staring at them in undisguised fascination. "What?" he asked.
"Nothing," she said. She sighed to herself. Honestly, she didn't even like kids, so why...
"Hello, I'm the Doctor."
"And your wife is?"
"She's not my wife."
After rescuing Rose from being nearly burnt at the stake, the Doctor decided that he'd had enough attempts at exploring for the next few days.
"I am so killing your daddy when we get home," Rose told the baby in a gentle, sweet tone.
He couldn't quite make himself answer that statement the way he should.
Telepathic alien baby, Rose reminded herself firmly as she lowered the child into the warm bath water of the small tub the TARDIS had provided for this purpose. If the Doctor was completely taken with the little girl, it was nothing on what the TARDIS seemed to think.
The baby now had a vast nursery between the Doctor's and Rose's rooms, full of more stuff than four kids her size could possibly need. The Doctor had tried - he really, really had - to say that it was a bad idea. They couldn't get attached to the little girl, had to find a proper place and give her into a loving home. That was why he refused to let Rose name her and wouldn't do it himself, either. Nevertheless, Rose could tell quite clearly that it would break his hearts when they found a place for her.
Rose was human and was coping with the child in the human manner, becoming quite motherly and attached, but she had nothing on the Doctor. Whenever the baby was in the same room with him, he treated her like another appendage, carrying her everywhere, talking to her, singing to her, telling her stories. Rose had realized, watching them fall asleep together in front of the telly last night, that the Doctor had had children before and they were gone.
He tried to pretend to be aloof when he thought Rose was watching him. Like just now, he'd asked her to bathe the baby and put her down for a nap, but she knew he'd turn up before too much longer on some pretext like asking her if she remembered to use the right shampoo on the baby's soft golden wispy hair. As if she could get it wrong. She'd had to ask for her own shampoo back this morning when she went to get a shower.
She gently shoved away the feeling of abject terror - it wasn't her feeling, after all, it was the baby's, and no baby liked being bathed until it was actually in the water. Rose thought instead, like the Doctor had taught her, about the nice feeling of being clean, and the wonderful warmth of sinking into a hot, soapy bath after a long day. The baby stilled and let Rose ease her into the water. Rose grinned a little when the baby let out a tiny giggle. She was getting the hang of this.
They all were.
The Doctor arrived in the bathroom at a dead run, due to the sounds of shrieking and baby squealing coming from inside. He pulled up short in the doorway, though, and very nearly fell over.
"Thought I sent you ta wash her, not the other way round," he said, unable to stifle the laughter completely. It bubbled up as a deep chuckle and the baby squealed again and held up her arms to be rescued. "Oh, no," he said to her. "You've got yourself into that predicament."
Rose sighed and dripped at him. "She decided I should have a bath, too, I guess."
He snagged a couple of towels from the cupboard. "C'mon, Star Child, let's get you dry so Rose can get dry, too."
"No, s'alright, Doctor... Star Child?" She took the towel from him, lifted the wiggly, slippery Star Child from the water, and wrapped her in it tightly. Then she passed him the baby, pulled her completely drenched tee off over her head, and grabbed the second towel. She draped it over her shoulders, took the baby back, and walked back into the nursery with her.
"They called her the Star Child, the people who handed her over."
"Good, then I can call her Starr," she said and laid the baby on the changing table.
"Yeah, could do," the Doctor agreed. He paced the nursery, looking like a caged leopard, while Rose diapered and powdered Starr. Then, he turned back up with a little onesie to dress her in and Rose obliged quietly, all the while feeling those blue eyes locked on her with an intense heat that had physical weight.
"What is it?" she whispered, as she lowered the yawning Starr into her bed.
"Your... your shorts are soaked, too," he said.
"A bit," she agreed, and rubbed the baby's back in soothing circles until she slept.
"Telepathic alien baby," he reminded her when she beamed with pride at this accomplishment.
"Shut it," she said.
"Nope," he answered, and came closer. "Can talk for the world, me." He snagged the ends of her towel and drew her closer. "That was a very cruel thing to do to an old man," he added.
She giggled. "Don't know any old men," she said, wrapping her arms around his neck. "Just you."
He grinned then and led her through the adjoining door to her room.
"Hello, I'm the Doctor. This is Rose, and Starr."
"We keep your family if you do not give us your power," said the aliens.
"Yeah, not happening," said Rose, noticing the devastated, infuriated look on the Doctor's face. "Run?" she asked.
"Yes, run," he agreed. But he didn't seem to have it in him to do it with as much energy as usual.
"We can't keep her," the Doctor said for probably the eight thousandth time. He was sitting in the rocking chair in the nursery, holding Starr who was getting bigger every day, and had just been singing to her when Rose walked in.
"That's true," Rose agreed.
But neither of them moved to do a thing about it.
Starr filled a need for him that Rose, whether as his friend, his companion, or his lover, couldn't quite do. She wasn't the kind of telepathic that Starr was and she was pretty sure she couldn't touch his mind like the child did.
So it was a complete surprise to her one morning when she answered a call from his room, to find out that he was asleep and had actually called her, silently, from inside his dreams.
"Hello, I'm the Doctor. This is my wife, Rose, and Starr, our daughter."
"Aren't you just precious?" cooed the alien at Starr.
"I can't believe that worked," the Doctor whispered in her ear.
"I didn't know I was your wife," she whispered back.
The look he answered that with made her wonder. She should have been thinking that they were just playing a role, or that he was losing it in his attempts not to let on how determined he was to keep the baby. Instead, she was sort of wondering when the ceremony had happened and how she'd missed it.