This isn't a story, but a one-shot thing that popped into my head after watching the 50th anniversary. I wasn't going to write it -I tried really hard not to- but then I remembered that I didn't have anything to give a good friend of mine for Christmas, so this became said gift. It's a little late, but she gets the point, lol. This was also my way of venting. I was a bit mad when I realized Rose wasn't actually Rose in the 50th. Ok...maybe really, really mad. But...that's what makes fanfic so much fun, eh? Love some feedback ;)
This contains mild adult content toward the end. Nothing explicit, so I'm not editing anything out but the caution is there nonetheless.
With an ever wheezing groan, the TARDIS eased herself into the vortex, ready for their next adventure in Time and Space. The Doctor circled her glowing console, staring at all the winking buttons and coloured levers, but he didn't see them. He was lost in his thoughts as he walked, his mind still spinning from the unexpected turn of events.
Soon, at any moment, the Doctor would forget. As the timelines settled into place once more, he'd lose the memory of ever saving Gallifrey alongside his past and future incarnations. He'd forget about the Zygons and the paintings and his future companion, Clara. Unfortunately, he wouldn't forget his accidental marriage to Queen Elizabeth, but the details of their 'arrangement' would probably be a bit fuzzy around the edges.
There was one thing, though, haunting him as a joyous cry uttered from his past self bounced around in his head over and over and over again: "She didn't just show me any old future, she told me exactly the future I need to see! Oh, Bad Wolf Girl, I could kiss you!"
The memory sent an unnerving shiver down his spine.
"Are you afraid of the Big Bad Wolf, Doctor?"
Her voice doused him with ice cold water, robbing him of breath as he spun around to pinpoint the woman of his dreams; and nightmares. It was entirely impossible, and the Doctor thought that he must have finally snapped, but there she stood, his Rose, leaning casually against a coral strut not far from the ramp. Without shame, his eyes roved over her body, drinking in every curve and scrap of fabric and he knew instantly that something was off. She wasn't right.
"Well, aren't you the rude one," said the blonde, arching a sculpted brow at the Time Lord. She folded her arms as she cocked her head to the side, a curious golden spark in her rich chocolate eyes that had the Doctor's stomach twisting in knots. Of all the people to impersonate...
"What? I didn't say anything," he argued weakly, for lack of anything better to say. "And anyway, how did you get on my ship? That's-"
"Impossible?" Not-Rose interrupted with a half-smirk. "Silly man, have you learned nothing in all your years travelling in Time and Space?"
The Doctor swallowed, his jaw clenching and unclenching as he absorbed the lilting voice he secretly longed to hear day-in and day-out. Her tangled golden locks, and the worn, beige biker jacket coupled with the rags of her white dresses underneath did little to take away from her beauty. The set of her shoulders and amusement on her face...it was all so very much her.
"And who else would I be?"
He froze, his Time Lord mind finally catching up. He'd never said that part aloud. She was clearly able to read his thoughts. Not-Rose's grin grew predatory as she pushed away from the coral strut and aimlessly wandered the console room.
"How are you doing that?" the Doctor asked curiously, hastily slamming up his barriers to lock his mind -and hearts- up tight. "And what, exactly, are you?" His suspicious glare followed her every step as she ambled around to the other side of the centre console.
"Oh, I dunno. Suppose it just came with programming," Not-Rose mused with a shrug when she stopped to lean forward over the console. With one hand on the base of the panel, the fingers of her free hand hovered over the blinking buttons within reach, wiggling as if deciding on which one to press. Instead, she paused, staring up at the Time Rotor in private thought before slowly meeting his troubled gaze. "As to what I am, what do you think I am?"
"You're not real." The Doctor's frame was rigid as he denied what stood in front of him. It didn't matter who or what she looked like, she wasn't possibly...
"Oh, but I am, and you know it. She does too. She's the one that let me in, after all." Not-Rose's fingers brushed over the sleek metal top, caressing the ship as her gaze shifted back to the glowing green column. "The TARDIS; can't you hear her?"
"I can always hear her," he defended softly.
Not-Rose snorted, shaking her head as she withdrew her hands and began stalking to his side of the console. He turned to face her, pulling himself up to stand his ground against the prowling wolf, though in truth he felt tiny.
"And yet you can't hear her at all. But I hear you. I always...hear you. All of you."
She stopped within an inch of him and her scent washed over his senses. She smelled of Time and dust, of fire and ash, and there was a hint of sweet perfume that was distinctly familiar; roses.
"Did you really think I'd let you go without ever saying goodbye, Doctor?"
The sudden tinge of salty air invaded his nostrils, bringing back the stark reminder of a distant beach in another dimension. A lump lodged in the Doctor's throat at the memory, cutting off his ability to speak. Unable to do more than gape like a sad little fish, he stepped back and retreated from the dangerous memories this imposter stirred up. He ran a nervous hand through his hair, scrubbing at the back of his neck as he pointlessly flipped useless levers on the console with his free hand. He shuffled to the other side, thinking that the more distance he put between them, the better.
Not-Rose disagreed. No sooner had he made it to the opposite side, he blinked and just about squeaked when he found himself face to face with her again. Her expression was serious, but her eyes were pained, remorseful. It was a look he never wanted to see on Rose's beautiful face, no matter who impersonated her.
"I'm sorry," she whispered, her gaze searching. "I needed to tell you that, before I go."
The initial shock of finding her aboard his ship was nothing compared to the sudden panic of losing her all over again. His pain and suspicion thrown aside, he scrambled for any reason to keep her here for as long as possible. "Sorry? Sorry for what? Shouldn't I be the one saying that to you after everything that I've done?"
"Oh, and now you suddenly believe me?" Rose snapped back, ire lurking in the corners of her eyes, but her expression softened seconds later. "I forgave you. Took me a bit. Days? Weeks? Sorta hard to remember when they run together, but I did forgive you. Because it was my fault. I did this," she murmured, stepping back to gesture between them. "I broke my promise because it was the only way to save them."
"Rose," the Doctor breathed, almost choking on her name, "What are you talking about?"
She shied away from him when he reached for her hand, the once confident entity now just a meek young woman. She ducked behind a coral strut, using it as a shield but the Doctor advanced on her and twisted it to his advantage. He slid in front of her, pinning her back against the rough surface as he braced his arms on either side of her head. There was no way he was letting her evade him. He was past the point of caring whether or not any of this was real.
"Tell me," he pleaded gently, eyes searching the wide orbs just millimetres from his face.
Rose sucked in a breath, her hands gripping the strut behind her back for support before she finally released the air slowly, almost as if she were afraid to shatter the moment. She licked her dry lips and found her voice again, though it was anything but stable. "B-bit bold, aren't you?"
When the Doctor didn't respond, she continued, shoulders sagging slightly as she averted her gaze to something unimportant over his shoulder. "Back on the Crucible, a woman by the name of Donna Noble was locked inside the TARDIS. Do you know why?"
The Doctor tensed at the mention of Donna, another wound still too fresh for him to face so openly. "Never understood it, no."
"Because she was needed to create him, the man who is you, and who isn't you."
The air crackled between them, the Doctor bristling at the thought of his human self getting the one thing he could never have.
"I burned like the sun for you," Rose said, her eyes shifting back to his searing gaze. "I saw everything, including the death of the TARDIS, and our friends. Your companions - Martha Jones, Donna Noble, Mickey Smith, Sarah Jane; they were all going to die."
Rose pushed forward, her confidence slowly returning and the Doctor yielded to her, backing away in dazed silence as she continued to speak.
"I could have let them die. The fury in your hearts from their loss would have annihilated the Daleks, and Dravos with them. The Universe would have been saved one last time, and I would've been your prize. But I was human. A part of me will always be human, Badwolf or not. And I watched myself wither and die on Earth while you suffered in silence. Without the TARDIS...and then without me...you became nothing. And the Universe died with you. Is that the life you would have wanted?"
The Doctor didn't answer. He couldn't force his lungs to work, as iced over from the shock as they were. His respiratory bypass kicked in full throttle as he struggled to wrap his mind around her words. He was little more than a deer caught in the headlights of a lorry as it sped down the highway straight for him.
"I didn't think so," Rose answered softly, moving away to wrap her arms around herself as she turned to walk back toward the console. She stared up at the rotor, her back to the Time Lord. "And wouldn't you know it, but the Universe was kind enough to give me a choice. I could leave things as they were, or..." she glanced over her shoulder, eyes finding his, "I could interfere."
She sighed, fingers once again seeking the cool metal of the console as she looked down at all the twinkling buttons. "But there would be a price to pay for my actions. If I changed things, it would mean his creation and thus, our separation would become a fixed point. It's why you left us behind, yeah? You felt it. The moment he stepped off the TARDIS and onto the Crucible, the timelines snapped into place." She punctuated her statement with a snap of her fingers, though her gaze remained on the console.
"I…," the Doctor choked, his head pounding with the effort to absorb her story. Everything she'd said was true, and not just because she was Rose, but because he'd seen just a glimpse of what could have happened, back then. He'd felt the shift within the timestream, a flux that writhed uncertainly until his part-human self had rushed onto the Crucible with that pitiful gun.
"Shh," Rose hushed him, a finger to his lips. Where had she come from? He'd merely blinked again, and there she was, almost flush against his trembling frame. He could see the flecks of gold in her honey-brown eyes, a reminder that while she was Rose, she wasn't, not completely.
"I am many things, Doctor, but I can assure you that I am your Rose, in here," she reiterated, a hand over her thrumming heart. "We'll always be yours."
"And will you remember this? Will she? Any of it? If you've come to me now, knowing that I'll forget everything, does that mean Rose will remember?"
Rose studied his face, a tender smile on her lips and the golden flecks within her eyes dimmed, revealing the depths of molten brown. "We never truly forget, Doctor. We'll remember in our dreams. It's how I learned to forgive you, and to forgive myself, in the end."
The Doctor stood there, air coming in harshly from the emotions tearing through his soul. So many questions he'd had, puzzles left unsolved and she'd given him the missing pieces. But that didn't make it easier. If anything, his hearts clenched all the more tighter. He couldn't let her go. Not again. Not ever. Badwolf or Rose Tyler, it didn't matter.
"Hush," Rose commanded gently, and it no longer bothered him that she was in his head, somehow, in spite of his barriers. "Come with me."
Swallowing, the Doctor was led into the halls of the TARDIS, legs following of their own accord until he was pulled through a random door and into a bedroom. It was unfamiliar, this room, and dimly lit with plush tan carpets and a four poster bed in similar hues, but little else. The only thing he was aware of now was the sharp reality of hot fingers against his skin as his clothing was stripped piece by piece from his body. He didn't think to stop her, but perhaps he never could. He didn't want to.
"Say it," Rose husked, a challenge glinting in her dark eyes. "What do you want, my Doctor?"
It was all the prodding he needed to react and any remaining logic fled from his mind. The only scrap of thought left intact was the instinct to claim what was lost but rightfully his. He registered not the sound of fabric as he tore at the rags of her dresses, nor her squeak of surprise when he scooped her up in his arms to lay her down on the bed. It was simply take, and claim, and mine.
With every hushed sigh and strangled cry, the Oncoming Storm grew. The darkness within had always oppressed him, but now he was setting it free and the woman beneath him spurred him forward with the bite of teeth and scratch of nails. She soothed the fires of his hearts, chasing her marks with a balm of soft kisses and gentle touches. Their dance of love and loss seemed to last forever, and yet it wasn't nearly long enough. The storm peeked, bodies shook, and then the raging waters calmed completely.
Minutes passed before the Doctor was willing to admit that time had run out. The timelines burned brightly within his mind, warning him. Rose sensed it too, stirring in his arms to sit up enough to lean over him.
"It's time," she murmured, kissing his lips ever so sweetly and he nodded as they moved together from the bed. He dressed quickly, hating the Universe, but powerless to defy it.
When the Doctor finished fiddling with his tie, he turned to Rose and found her leaning against the wall beside the door, her once-torn clothes mended and whole. Her hair lay in soft, neat curls flowing a little past her shoulders and a calmness had settled on her face. Now this was the woman he remembered.
"Why did you come here?" he asked at last, breaking the silence as his brain began functioning normally again. There had to be more to her visit than this. She was holding something back; he could see it in her eyes. "I mean, why did you really come to me, now, after all this time? It could have been anytime, any moment...so why now?"
Rose eased away from the wall, hands fidgeting with the hem of her newly donned All Saints biker jacket for a moment before hiding them behind her back. She stopped a foot away from him, her gaze roaming over his frame until it reached his inquiring eyes.
"I came here to give you peace. And to give you this." She withdrew one hand, producing a large brown leaf for him to see, the stem clutched tightly between her thumb and forefinger. When he reached for it, Rose pulled it back from him, shaking her head to deter him.
"...it's a leaf," the Doctor said, not quite getting it.
"It's not just a leaf, Doctor," Rose grinned, her tongue poking out between her teeth. "This here is the most important leaf in human history. And it's for you." Confused, the Doctor made to reach for the leaf in her hand again, but she held up her free hand, palm against his chest. "Nuh-uh, it doesn't work like that. Watch."
Stepping backwards, Rose's eyes flashed gold, her expression becoming one of concentration as she stared down at the leaf held out in front of her. She let it go and it hovered in place, a glimmering mist of gold surrounding the leaf as Rose slowly cupped her hands around it. The leaf crumbled in on itself like golden pixie dust until it was safely encased within her hands and when she opened them once more, a tiny seed was in its place.
Holding it between thumb and forefinger like she had with the leaf, Rose took one of the Doctor's hands and gently nestled the seed within his palm. She closed his fingers over it, her hands covering his as he met her gaze.
"Take this, and plant it. The TARDIS has landed, so go and do so now. Because one day, this exact seed will grow the perfect tree, and on that tree, a leaf will grow in a special way, and a wolf will cry to the sun, ripping it from a precise branch to set it free. And from there, history will be born, and from that...you'll meet an impossible girl."
The Doctor's breath hitched, his fingers clenching around the warm seed in his hand. "But..."
"Shhh. I don't need a good-bye, Doctor. Just know that I'll always be with you. I'll always be watching. And I'll always...love you."
He kissed her, one last time, one hand sinking into her hair as he angled her head to take full advantage of her lips. It was firm, but soft, a heart-wrenching thing that stole away both their breaths but when they parted, he sucked in enough air to say the one thing he'd regretted not telling her on that deserted beach in Norway. "Rose Tyler, I love you. Forever."
Laughter bubbled up from Rose, and she gave him her famous grin, tongue caught between her teeth as her image began to fade. She rested her forehead against his, a tenderness sparkling in her eyes.
"Quite right, too." It was the last thing he heard before she dissolved from sight completely.
Standing there, a wave of emotions tore at the Doctor's soul; sorrow, longing, grief. He almost forgot the tiny seed held within his fist until it pulsed, bringing it to his attention. Digging in his coat pocket, he grabbed his black specs and put them on, holding the seed between his fingers for inspection. It glowed a brilliant gold, an unnatural warmth radiating from its core. A gift, she'd said.
"Alright, if that's what you want," he mumbled to the seed before heading to the console room.
As Rose had said, the TARDIS had indeed landed. A quick glance at the monitor revealed their destination to be Earth, specifically in Lancashire, England in the year 1732. It was early spring and the sun was out to greet him when the Doctor made his way out of the ship. This part of Lancashire was undeveloped, filled with untamed grass and giant trees growing every few metres apart, but a small clearing sat not too far off.
When he found the perfect spot, the Doctor took care in planting the seed. He clawed away the grass and soil with his hands until he was satisfied with his work and placed the seed in its new home. Covering it, he patted the earth softly and brushed the dirt off his hands to rummage around in his many pockets for a canteen of water.
"There we are," he hummed to himself when the seed was planted and watered. He stuffed the empty canteen back where he'd found it and stood up, sighing. "Guess that's it then."
The TARDIS groaned from her landing spot, urging him to return to the ship. The Doctor glanced at the old blue box, nodding silently before moving to obey his constant friend. It was then that a wolf howled, the sound almost lost on a gust of wind as it churned up behind him and when he swung around to find the source, he gasped at what he found. Growing from the mound of dirt, a sapling glimmered in the sunlight. And just as quickly as he blinked, he saw the ghost of a golden wolf staring back at him.
Never forget... the wind seemed to whisper, and then it was gone, wolf and all. The only thing that remained was the sapling, standing tall and proud as it swayed in the light breeze.
"Never," the Doctor vowed vehemently, and he never did truly forget. In the centuries that followed, he dreamed of her and remembered, knowing in his hearts that Rose Tyler was always with him wherever he went, even if the memory itself was forever lost.
End Author's note: For those who wondered, yes, I am still working away with my next story. I won't be posting it till it's done, but never fear, its a current and on-going task ;) Add me to favorites for updates when I start posting.