"Hold on to that green lever, the one on your left! Pull it back as hard as you can!" The Doctor called out to Rose, sweat beginning to drip down his forehead from excursion. He had his hands and one foot on the console, trying to wrestle the TARDIS into submission. She was having none of it. "Have you done it yet?!"
"I'm pulling as hard as I can!" Rose called out, her face strained from the excursion of pulling back on the lever. The TARDIS gave a violent shake as sparks rained down from the ceiling.
"Uh….okay" The Doctor said, struggling to figure out what to do. "See that blue button about seven inches to your left? Press that while you're pulling on the lever."
Rose did as the Doctor asked, but the TARDIS fought even harder against their trying to tame her. The TARDIS shook so violently that Rose and the Doctor were thrown to the ground. The Doctor's face smashed into the floor, Rose landing next to him roughly. The TARDIS shook as the lights flickered. The Doctor picked himself off the floor as fast as he could manage, already feeling bruises begin to form from the violent fall. He ran to the console and began to try everything he could think of, hitting levers and switches at an alarming rate.
Rose picked herself up and joined him a minute later, her hair disheveled and her expression beginning to grow worried. "What's wrong with her?" Rose asked, grabbing on to the console with both hands and holding on as hard as she could, the ground under their feet shaking like an earthquake.
"I don't know" The Doctor admitted. The lightly flickered until there were no lights on but the red warning lights. "She's refusing to do anything I tell her…..nothing seems to be wrong with her systems."
The Doctor checked and rechecked the scans that he had already run several times. He had never seen the TARDIS behave this way; there really appeared to be nothing wrong with her and yet she was spiraling down the time vortex, completely out of control and refusing to listen to anything he told her to do. She was giving off a very negative energy and the Doctor worried something was terribly wrong.
He couldn't understand it; he and Rose had been traveling a lot lately and she had been acting fine. They'd had a few hiccups here and there in their last few travels but he had assumed it was nothing. Now it appeared that it was a sign of things to come; maybe she had been trying to warn them.
"What is it?" The Doctor asked soothingly, running his hands along the console as he tried to think of a solution that he hadn't tried yet. He hoped to comfort the ship but his calm voice seemed to have the exact opposite affect; the TARDIS shuddered and turned so violently that the Doctor and Rose were thrown to the ground again as the TARDIS turned sideways, rolling them to one side of the ship. Rose hit the wall, followed closely by the Doctor a few feet away from her. A moment later the lights in the console room went completely off followed by a loud crash before the TARDIS became eerily silent.
Rose had felt the disturbance in the TARDIS a few minutes before she had started to act up. They had been enroute to Kokker, a primitive planet that was experiencing disturbances often from a nearby planet that was feeding off of their solar energy when the TARDIS had been thrown completely off course, free falling. Nothing and no one seemed to have caused the disturbance but the TARDIS went from having a mild hiccup to having full blow distress. The Doctor was doing everything that he could to get the TARDIS to cooperate but it didn't seem to be helping. In fact, it was getting worse by the moment. As Rose fell to the ground and the lights went off, she became fully worried about the situation. The TARDIS had had its share of troubles during their travels but nothing this serious. And the TARDIS just felt…not right.
Rose hadn't mentioned it to the Doctor, but ever since Rose had connected with the heart of the TARDIS to bring her back to him at Satellite 5, she had been able to almost feel the TARDIS. She knew that the Doctor had said that the TARDIS could get inside your head but it was different now. It went beyond her translating for her; she could sense when the TARDIS wasn't well and right now the TARDIS was definitely not right. She was expressing herself strongly; she felt angry. She had felt happiness and sadness from the TARDIS before, even a sort of ill feeling, but she hadn't ever felt her seem angry. It was unsettling.
After several seconds of lying in the dark, Rose heard the Doctor's voice. "Rose? Are you alright?" he called out.
Rose coughed through the smoke that was filling the room at an alarming rate. "I'm…..fine" Rose chocked out.
"She's…losing….her…..air…..supply" the Doctor said, even his voice sounding strained now from the smoke. "We need…..to get…..out…..of….here"
Rose felt fear rise up inside her at the thought of abandoning the TARDIS; she had been in many dangerous situations before and had managed to keep her composure. But the thought that they had to flee the TARDIS, their home, their security, the thing that always kept them safe, was disconcerting. She began to reach out for the Doctor as she gasped for air in the darkness. She had just managed to touch the leather of his jacket when she felt his hand connect with her own. He pulled her up, the sound of his sonic soon followed by the little blue light that emanated from it. Rose could see a small glimmer of the Doctor's face from the small amount of light. "Come on, Rose" he said, his voice strained. He pulled her along the darkened console room, the sonic the only light.
Rose stumbled along, gasping for air as the oxygen supply became more and polluted by smoke. It seemed like it took forever to make the small trip to the TARDIS' doors.
Rose and the Doctor burst from the door, falling onto the ground of the unrequested destination. Rose fell to her knees, gasping for air, hearing the doors of the TARDIS slam loudly behind her. She gulped in air for several seconds, coughing to dispel the unwanted substances in her lungs before she became aware of the heat under hear knees. She looked down at the ground that she had landed on and found that it wasn't ground at all; it was sand.
Despite the unease that was still settled over her, she couldn't help but feel a little excitement at seeing where they had landed. It was the same, rushing feeling of exhilaration that always came when they landed on a new planet or in a new time. Rose didn't think she would ever exit the doors of the TARDIS and not feel that sense of excitement. It was one of the many reasons that she traveled with the Doctor despite the danger that always accompanied their travels.
Rose pushed up from the ground and looked around the planet that the TARDIS had seemingly dumped them on and her breath was taken away. If they had to crash land somewhere, then this place was about as lucky as they could get. It was a beautiful planet; the ground was white sand as far as Rose could see, with a deep blue ocean stretching into the horizon several feet from where they were standing. The sky was a light blue, tinged with a hint of purple, with something akin to stars seeming to sparkle despite the fact that it was day time. In the distance Rose could see a line of what looked like palm trees with orange leaves secluding what looked to a cluster of cabins. It looked like the perfect place for a vacation, which ironically was far from resembling any place that she and the Doctor had ever visited.
Rose looked over to the Doctor who had stood and was brushing himself off. He was looking around the planet much the same way that Rose had, only his expression was not one of awe but slight disgust .Party pooper, Rose thought with an inward huff.
"So, where are we?" Rose asked after he had taken the area in.
The Doctor once more looked around, giving the air a sniff. "I…..don't know" he admitted. It seemed to bother him to admit it "I've never been here"
"It could be worse" Rose said with slight hopefulness as she looked around the planet. She could think of several other places that would have been much worse. "Being stranded at the beach isn't so bad"
The Doctor did not share her sentiment. He turned toward the TARDIS, trying to open her doors but they would not open. "What is wrong with you?" The Doctor asked. His voice was annoyed and slightly angry, not sympathetic like the last time he had asked her. "She's never locked me out like this"
Rose walked up to the TARDIS, placing her hand on the door. It was hot to the touch, black smoke swirling behind the windows. "She's angry" Rose said, not intending to say it out loud.
"Angry?" The Doctor said, annoyance dripping from his tone. "Well, you better get not angry real fast and open these doors" The Doctor jigged on the doors but they didn't budge. "If you know what is good for you, you're going to open these doors right now"
Rose suppressed a laugh despite the seriousness of the situation; it was like watching a father scold his insolent teenage daughter. "Doctor, calm down" Rose said, not wanting him to get really angry. Getting angry really wouldn't help the situation and Rose didn't want things to get worse than they already were. "There's obviously something upsetting her"
The Doctor scowled at the TARDIS before his expression softened. He whipped around to glance at Rose. "You can feel her?" he asked, it suddenly dawning on him. His expression spoke of awe that she could connect more with the ship but hurt that she hadn't told him until now. And even now she really hadn't told him.
"Well, yeah" Rose said, shrugging, feeling a little uncomfortable under his gaze. "I mean, it's not like it is for you…..I just kind of sense how she feels"
The Doctor looked from the TARDIS and back to Rose as if trying to figure out how he had missed it. "How long have you been able to do that?" he asked incredulously. He seemed amazed by the connection and Rose felt herself blush a little bit as he looked at her like she was amazing.
"Since I connected with her…..since I looked into her heart" Rose said quietly, a little embarrassed. Perhaps she should have told him about it earlier if he was going to get this excited.
"Really?" The Doctor asked in amazement. "How did I not notice?" He looked at the TARDIS in perplextion.
"It's not that big of a deal" Rose said with a shrug.
"I could understand if you were able to before but I'm surprised you still do…..even after….." The Doctor said. His voice trailed off sadly and he looked away from Rose. Rose found herself staring down at her feet, sadness washing over her as well.
He didn't say it and he didn't have to; they both knew exactly what he didn't say. It would have been understandable if Rose had had a connection with the TARDIS after she had looked into the heart of the TARDIS because she had residual time energy in her. But it didn't make sense that she still could. Not now that the time energy was gone. Rose felt that all familiar pang of regret and sadness at the memory of the horror of losing that time energy and all it had entailed.
The Doctor did what he did best and changed the subject. "I'm surprised you sense anger in her…..I don't"
Rose didn't want to answer, her stomach still churning from the unintended reference to her losing the time lord power she had had in her. It was still a raw open wound, one that she didn't think would ever heal. It had been three months now since she had lost their baby and while the pain had lessened, it still felt fresh anytime it was brought up on accident. She knew these things took time to heal and that she had to give it more time; that would have been easier to do if she felt like the Doctor was handling it better than she was. But she didn't; he hid it well but she knew that he was not okay.
The second that they had gotten back in the TARDIS after the loss of their child, they had immediately launched into adventures and their typical business of traveling. It would have been fine but Rose sensed that the Doctor was running. She was used to keeping at a fast pace with him but this was obvious running, even for him. The second one trip was over, they launched into the next. He rarely stopped and the small amount of time that they would stop for Rose to attend to human needs like sleeping, the Doctor kept going, working on something or taking off to some distant room in the TARDIS. Rose had grown accustomed to sleeping next to the Doctor while they had been living somewhat domestic on Earth during her pregnancy. There were plenty of nights that she did end up sleeping alone because he didn't need sleep as often as she did, but it was different now. He hardly ever slept and while he had often lain in bed with her on nights he didn't sleep, he would now run away somewhere to be alone. She felt like he was avoiding sleep. Even worse, she felt like he was avoiding her.
Rose knew that he loved her; finally he had admitted as much. She had finally managed to get him to open up to her; he had told her he loved her, that she was important to him. He'd even went so far as to say that he wouldn't be able to survive without her. He had been by her side in every way while she had been staying in her mum's flat recovering from the rough miscarriage. But after they had started traveling, he'd been at arm's length. He wasn't cold, but he was detached. It been a full week after beginning their travels again that the Doctor had finally succumbed to sleep. They had been separated most of the day, having been captured by a group of cannibalistic humanoid aliens on a space station. They apparently enjoyed the thrill of tasting new alien species and had them in different cells while they had decided who to enjoy first and who to save for later when the Doctor had worked his magic and managed to talk his way out of there. She didn't know how he had done it, and she didn't really ask. She had just fallen into bed relieved at the end of the day. The Doctor had fallen into bed beside her and they had somehow managed to find themselves entwined in each other's arms. Rose hadn't thought about the need to stop; they were, after all, open with each other now. Or so she had thought. As she had begun to remove the Doctor's clothes, she had felt him immediately tense up. A moment later he was mumbling about something he had forgotten to do in the console room and was walking, almost running from the room. It had left Rose confused and hurt; she didn't understand why he was still pushing her away. She needed him now more than ever. She had only tried to initiate intimacy a few other times since then, both times with the same result. Now she longer tried. Now she was used to spending each night alone and wishing the Doctor would comfort her, the TARDIS the only one to send her calming energy.
Rose shook her head of the musings and forced herself to think about the present moment. The Doctor's primary way of coping with problems was to avoid them entirely. Rose was beginning to think that she was going to have to adopt this system whether she wanted to or not.
"She doesn't seem angry to you?" Rose asked, walking over to the TARDIS and putting a hand on her. She felt a small surge of calm energy run through her fingers at the touch.
"No….I sense her distress but that's all" The Doctor said. "Why's that? Why's she talking to you and not me?"
Rose didn't want to tell him the obvious answer; maybe she was angry at him. She didn't know why she would be, but she could feel the change in energy when the Doctor touched her. She was not happy with him at all. She didn't know if that could possibly be the reason for all of her distress but it was at least part of it. "I don't know…..you're the one that knows her" Rose said cryptically. "And she's not talking to me…..I just sense what she is feeling is all"
The Doctor looked at the TARDIS with confusion again before he got out his sonic. He scanned all around the outside, his face growing more and more perplexed. He came back around to the front of the TARDIS and focused it on the lock. Once more, though, the lock remained strongly closed. "This makes no sense!" he said in frustration before turning around and looking away from the TARDIS. He ran his hands along his short hair and looked away from Rose as if trying to hide the fact he was so frustrated. It was obvious that he was used to knowing the answers to everything, especially the workings of his own ship. He didn't like to admit that he didn't know something.
"Maybe she's just in need of rest" Rose suggested. "We have been traveling an awful lot" She wanted to calm the Doctor down from his anger but at the same time she really wanted an excuse to stop and slow down. She wasn't happy that the TARDIS was essentially grounding them but she did want to slow down a bit. Something wasn't right with the Doctor; he was running from something and she wanted to know that he wasn't running from her.
The Doctor turned toward her. "We haven't been traveling anymore than usual" he said with a shrug. Rose knew he didn't really believe that and neither did she. They had been traveling more than they usually did. Maybe the TARDIS was simply as exhausted as Rose was. She knew the Doctor was exhausted even though he wouldn't admit it; she could see the fatigue and sadness in his eyes.
"Well….what are we gonna do?" Rose asked after an uncomfortable silence had passed between them. "We can't get in the TARDIS…..can't leave…..should we just explore? Have a look around? See what wonderful planet we have landed on this time?"
"We didn't land here…..she dumped us here" The Doctor said sourly, looking at the TARDIS. Rose reached out for the Doctor's hand and gave it a squeeze.
"Come on…..I know this isn't exactly the day we planned but it really could be worse" Rose said encouragingly. "This is a beautiful planet. And even better, you've never been here…..it's new to us both. What do you say? Let's have a look around?"
Rose hoped that the Doctor agreed; there really wasn't much else they could do, seeing as they weren't going anywhere. But that didn't stop Rose from wondering if he might just toss himself down on the sand and pout the rest of the day. She was glad when he gave her a small smile and squeezed her hand back. "Alright…..let's have a look" he said.