Hello! This story is basically an excuse to write Confused!Doctor and TimeLady!Rose, so yeah… it turned out sadder and more angst-y than I meant it to, but oh well. Enjoy anyways. :)
Disclaimer: Nope, no, not mine. All rights to BBC, the show that continually breaks out hearts with every finale.
Five Times the Doctor didn't find out that Rose Tyler was a Time Lady… And one time he did
Prelude- The Change
It hadn't happened quickly, she would think later. In fact, it wasn't until after they'd met Queen Victoria and fought a werewolf that she noticed anything at all. It had started when they'd just returned to the TARDIS- her heart had skipped a beat. She didn't think anything of it at the time, as it was hardly life-threatening, but then it had happened again. And again. And again.
Scary? A little. But still not life-threatening, as far as the Londoner knew, and she had a secret fear that if she told the Doctor about it, he'd think she was too unhealthy to travel with him and take her home. So, as a result, she retired to her room and didn't say a word about her heart's erratic behavior.
Eventually, her heart had returned to normal; the beats were a little fast, but it wasn't bad, so the young Tyler dismissed it easily enough. Then she'd met Sarah-Jane, and forgotten about the occurrence entirely. She didn't think about it again until the second odd occurrence. This time, it wasn't her heart; it was her skin.
She'd been in the bathroom after a long life-or-death run, preparing to take a shower and then get some much-needed sleep. Sliding out of her dirty, sweaty clothes, she'd stuck her hand into the shower and turned the water so hot that the mirror fogged up. The hot water tended to loosen up her muscles, and she didn't want to be sore the next day, so she'd turned it a little hotter than normal (still bearable, though.) Wearily she stepped into the tile chamber-
-and screamed. The water didn't just feel hot, it was burning her. In her desperation to get out of the shower she slipped and fell to the floor, crawling away from the boiling water as quickly as she could.
Panting, she stared at her tender skin in horror. Her usually milky skin was red and blotchy where the hot water had trickled over it in streams and good Lord did it hurt. Stumbling to her feet, she turned to the mirror. Her face, like the rest of her, was red and sore. Touching her cheek tenderly, she winced and hissed in pain, staring at the white spot that appeared in the sea of red where her finger had been. Moving stiffly, she glanced back into the shower, expecting to see the temperature as hot as it could go.
To her surprise, it was about normal. Hot, sure, but no hotter than the water she usually bathed in. Then why did it feel so hot? She wondered, baffled. Why is my skin suddenly so sensitive? Laying a hand tenderly on her arm, she winced again before freezing. Her skin was so red, it should have been warm to the touch. But it wasn't. It felt… normal. Grabbing a thermometer off the counter, she stuck it in her mouth, almost shaking.
Beep… beep… beep. The blonde looked at the screen-
-and dropped the thermometer, letting it clatter to the floor. Her temperature had dropped to 30 degrees Celsius. Thirty. Rose was no scholar, but she knew the average human had a temperature of 37. What if it continued to drop? It couldn't be healthy!
No wonder the water hurt so much, she thought shakily. My skin is so cool, the temperature difference is bigger than I'm used to. It could have been much worse.
She turned the shower water cold, and finished her shower quickly. She barely felt the cool water; when she got out of the shower, she checked her temperature again.
It had dropped two more degrees.
She got very little sleep that night, and thanked her lucky stars the Doctor hadn't heard her shriek. How was she supposed to explain her newest problem?
Weeks later, Rose had adapted to her new body temperature. She felt fine, so she opted not to tell the Doctor. Hiding the change was hard, but she managed. Her heart still skipped beats every now and then, but it happened less and less. The companion figured she was fine, and things were getting back on track.
Then it happened.
"Doctor! We're out of milk!" Rose hollered, holding up the offending carton as if to verify her declaration.
"Go buy more!" He yelled, his voice distant from the counsel room. "We're in London, shouldn't be hard!"
"I got the milk last time," she argued, leaving the kitchen and entering the counsel room so she wouldn't have to yell. "It's your turn."
"That's domestic," he argued back, sliding out from under the counsel to look at her. "I don't-"
"Do domestic," Rose finished, shooting him a glare. "I know. But I got it last time, and the time before that, and the time before that, and-"
"Okay, okay!" He said, holding up his hands in mock surrender. "I'll get the milk!" Rose suspected he'd only agreed to alleviate her bad mood- whatever the case, she was grateful. Her head hurt, her chest hurt- everything hurt today, and she didn't want to deal with the crowds at the store.
"Thank you," she sighed, heading back into the kitchen and taking a seat at the table. Propping her head in her hands, she rubbed her temples, trying to stop the pounding in her head. God, it hurt. She couldn't remember ever having a headache this bad before.
The blonde jumped in surprise- she hadn't heard the Time Lord walk up behind her.
"Yeah," she lied. "Just a headache." He looked at her, concerned, but didn't argue.
"You should take some medicine and lie down," he suggested finally. "If it's not better by the time I get back, I'll run some scans."
"I'm sure it'll be fine!" She rushed, too quickly, panicked at the thought of scans. Who knew what he'd find? He was silent for several long seconds.
"Okay," he said finally, oddly solemn. "Go get some rest, then. I'll be back soon." With a relieved nod, Rose stood up and started for the door.
"Rose?" He asked, almost as an afterthought, just as she reached the exit.
"You'd tell me if something was wrong, right?" He asked, looking at her steadily from across the room.
Swallowing her guilt, Rose shot him a forced smile and nodded. "Of course I would."
"Good," he said, looking relieved. The lump in Rose's throat grew. "Sleep tight. I'll be back soon."
"Okay," she managed, hurrying out the door to the confides of her room. Once there, she stood by her bed, head bowed, taking deep breaths. I didn't lie to him. There's nothing wrong. I'm fine, she thought desperately.
That was when it happened. Pain seized her chest, and her heart raced. Her pain in her head intensified until Rose sunk to her knees, clutching her head in her hands as if that would stop the splitting pain. Her skin felt warm, then cool, as if she was having hot and cold flashes. She wanted to scream, but was grinding her teeth together so tightly she couldn't.
Curling into a ball, tears streaming down her face, she gasped for breath, her chest aching as if it were caving in on itself. Her mind was a haze of pain, and she couldn't think clearly.
"Doctor," she said in a strangled voice, a pleading voice. "Doctor!" Through the haze, she vaguely remembered him leaving to get something. What was it? Some errand. A choked sob escaped her; she was going to die, and he would never know what happened.
The pain surged through her with new intensity, and this time she screamed like she'd never screamed before. Rose Tyler was no stranger to pain, but this was different. This was pure agony. Dark spots danced before her eyes, and the blonde sank into unconsciousness gratefully, the pain fading and taking her world with it in a wave of black.
"Ugh," moaned Rose, rolling over. Something was humming- what was that? She just wanted to sleep; mm, sleep. That sounded good right now…
The humming intensified into a feeling that felt like desperation. What on earth? Blinking sleepily, Rose tried to get her bearing. Her surroundings were unfamiliar- what was that white? She stared at it for a moment before realizing it was her bedroom ceiling. I'm on my bedroom… floor? Why did I fall asleep on my floor?
Propping herself up on her elbows, the blonde looked for the source of the humming. To her confusion, she found she was alone. Then what's making that noise? As if to answer her question, the lamp on her desk flickered.
"Oh," Rose realized, looking back at her ceiling. "What's wrong, old girl?"
A feeling of relief- one that wasn't her own- flowed over the companion. Rose could swear the TARDIS had been checking to see if she was okay. Am I hurt? She wondered, getting slowly to her feet. She felt fine- maybe a little stiff from sleeping on the floor, but otherwise fine.
Then she remembered the pain, passing out.
"Oh my God," she muttered, one hand flying to her chest, the other flying to her head, as if to check for any gaping wounds. She found no injuries or blood; she did find, however, a double heartbeat.
"Oh my God," she muttered again, slightly panicked. Rushing to her bathroom, she grabbed the thermometer and took her temperature. 15 degrees Celsius, lower than it had ever been before.
Staring in the mirror, her reflection looked back at her.
"What's happened to me?"
Her reflection didn't answer.
"Am I…" She couldn't finish the thought aloud, but mentally, her mind raced. Am I a Time Lord- or a Time Lady? How is that even possible? That can't be possible. How? Maybe the vortex- no, he said he took that out of me. Maybe I'm not a Time Lady- if that's even what they're called.
Around her, the TARDIS hummed her suggestion. Even though she only communicated through emotion, Rose knew what she was saying: Tell him.
"No!" Rose blurted aloud, panic bubbling in her again. "Promise you won't!" The TARDIS hummed her disapproval.
"You can't tell him! If I am, then he might really be stuck with me. What if he doesn't want that? Just last week, he left me for Reinette!" The TARDIS was silent, listening to her explain. "Besides, what if this is some fluke? I might make him think he's not the last of his kind, only to say later that he is. I have to be sure!" Rose knew her argument sounded desperate, but she didn't care. She needed to know how he would react- what would happen. She had to be sure.
Reluctantly, the TARDIS agreed.
"Thanks, old girl," the blonde murmured in relief, laying one hand on the wall. Unsummoned, Rose's thoughts flew to what had been said earlier:
"You'd tell me if something was wrong, right?"
"Of course I would."
Gulping, Rose turned from the mirror. She couldn't tell him about this. She wouldn't force him to keep her around because she might be a Time Lady.
And thus, Rose Tyler became a Time Lady and hid her nature from the Doctor, who was none the wiser.
-Part 1 -
You look tired. Rose sighed in response to the unasked question- had the TARDIS said those exact words? No. She communicated through emotion. However, as Rose's telepathic senses got stronger, it was easier for her to "interpret" the feelings she received, so that the TARDIS might as well have been talking.
"I am tired," she admitted, running a hand over her face. "Are the scans almost done?" The TARDIS hummed a yes in response, just as the papers shot out of the printer.
When was the last time you slept?
"Not since I… changed," Rose admitted, scooping up the papers from the machine. "But honestly, I haven't been very tired up until now." It was true; she hadn't been tired. She'd occupied her empty eight hours each night reading the dusty manual for the scanner in the med bay. Now, finally, she'd learned enough to complete a simple species scan and snuck down to complete the procedure tonight.
That was almost three weeks ago! The TARDIS chided, sounding very much like a concerned mother scolding a teenager who'd been out too late.
"I know," Rose muttered, walking toward the door. "I'll get a full eight hours tonight, yeah? I promise." The space ship blinked her approval in a way that seemed to say, I'll hold you to that.
Slipping out of the room, Rose shut the door to the med bay silently behind her and started off down the hallway, back to her room with the files tucked securely under one arm.
Why are you waiting to read them? The ship asked after a moment, genuine curiosity resounding off of her.
"The scan results?" Rose asked, gesturing to the files under her arm.
"I dunno," the blonde admitted, running her free hand down the walls of the corridor as she walked. "I don't know what I want it to say, yet." The feelings of confusion intensified, so the companion continued. "If it says that this is a fluke, then my forever still means nothing." She swallowed thickly before continuing. "But if it isn't a fluke, then what happens next?"
"If what isn't a fluke?" Asked a familiar voice from down the corridor, making Rose jump.
"Doctor?" She asked stupidly as he walked closer, hands stuffed in his coat pockets. She'd been so preoccupied with her conversation and the scan results, she hadn't noticed him walking through the shadows toward her. "What are you doing up?"
"Time Lord," he reminded her with a raised eyebrow. "What are you doing up? You're human. You need sleep."
Maybe not, she thought. Aloud, she said, "Couldn't sleep." Mentally, she cursed the TARDIS for not warning her about the alien's approach. The machine radiated a feeling that could only be described as unrepentant in response.
"That's odd," the Doctor muttered, picking up on the telepathic signal.
"What's odd?" Rose asked nervously.
"She's been acting odd lately," the Doctor clarified, nodding upwards to indicate the TARDIS. "Every now and then, I pick up on these random signals from her. It's like she's talking to someone, but I'm the only telepathic being on board."
"That is weird, I'll leave you to figure tha' out, then," the blonde rushed, stumbling over her words in her hurry to say them. "I better get to bed, goodnight!"
She almost made it past him before he said, "Wait a minute," and grabbed her wrist to stop her. Panicked, Rose pulled her hand back, worried he'd felt the temperature difference. She regretted the movement when she saw the hurt in his eyes, but once again swallowed her guilt- although it was with difficulty.
"Yeah?" She asked, trying to distract him.
"You never told me why you were wandering around- hold up. What's that?" He broke off, pointing to the file Rose held. Rose felt both hearts race in panic, and despite her best efforts, couldn't find a reasonable lie to offer.
"Rose," he prompted, raising both eyebrows now. Looking over her shoulder, he scanned the hallway behind her. "There's not much back this way," he mused, almost to himself. "Except for the… med… bay…" he said each word slowly as the truth hit him. "You were in the med bay. Why were you in the med bay? Are you hurt?" He asked, concerned.
"I'm fine," Rose spluttered, trying not to be touched by his worry.
"Then what are those?" The Doctor challenged, pointing to the papers. "Because I'm thinking those are medical reports."
"I'm fine!" Rose repeated, more insistently this time.
"Rose," the Time Lord argued. "If you were in the med bay, then you aren't 'fine'. What aren't you telling me?"
"Do I have to tell you everything?" Rose snapped back, more upset with herself then with him. She wished she could take the words back the moment they left her mouth.
Before her, the alien became very still. Then: "You can trust me, Rose."
"I know," she muttered, not looking him in the eye.
"I'm just trying to make sure you're okay."
"I know," she said again, looking up at him this time. The sight before her made her hearts ache; his jaw was clenched and his eyes were pained. It was rare for him to show emotion like that; Rose felt even worse knowing she'd hurt him. "It's nothing. I'm fine, okay? Nothing wrong with me." She attempted a smile, but it fell flat.
The Doctor seemed torn between giving in to his concern and pressing for more information, or leaving her alone. After a long, uncomfortable pause, he chose the latter.
"Okay," he said quietly. Rose offered him a small smile, than slipped past him back to her room. The first thing she did was throw the stupid file away. She felt sick, the lies like a poison spreading through her. She didn't care about the stupid results; didn't want to see them. Collapsing into bed, she fell asleep hating herself for all the secrecy. That night, she dreamt of the TARDIS disappearing without her on board, the Doctor leaving her behind. He didn't come back; Rose woke the next morning with tears still running down her face.
The second close call came a week later, back at Jackie's flat. They'd returned to Rose's home on Jackie's request- she insisted that Rose come back every month to catch up and reassure herself that her daughter was doing okay. Rose even had a secret suspicion the woman liked to make sure the Doctor was okay, too, although she never voiced the thought but instead observed in amusement at their interactions.
"Where's Mr. Big-an'-bad?" Called Jackie from the kitchen, summoning Rose from her musings.
"Shh, mum, he's sleepin'," Rose whispered, walking into the kitchen to join her mum and try to quiet her down a bit.
"I thought he didn't sleep," Jackie grumbled, stirring her ever-present tea with one hand. To Rose's relief, she lowered her voice.
"He doesn't need as much sleep as humans," the blonde explained. "But he still needs to sleep every once 'n a while. He's crashed on the couch."
"Wha's up with you two?" Rose's mother asked suddenly, making Rose raise an eyebrow in confusion.
"Wha's up with you two?" Jackie repeated. "You ain't actin' the same 'round him, sweetheart- no, hush a moment, I'm your mum, so don't think you can lie to me!- you're normally always cuddled up 'round each other, but you haven't even held his hand once since you got here. Did he do somethin'?"
"No, mum, nothin' like that," Rose assured her mother, hearing the threat in her voice.
"Then wha's wrong?"
Rose froze, uncertain. She was at a crossroads she hadn't expected to reach- at least, not yet- and she wasn't sure how to handle it. Could she tell her about that change? It would be nice for someone to know, the blonde thought uneasily. Her secret had been gnawing away at her insides for weeks now, desperate to get out. Besides, it was bad enough lying to the Doctor. She didn't want to lie to her mum, too. But knowin' her, she might have a heart attack! She won't know what to do or how to handle it- she'll panic if she finds out I might not be human anymore!
She'll be furious if I lie to her and she finds out the truth. That decided it; some things Rose had to keep from her mum, and Jackie understood that (even though she didn't like it.) But this was different, this was big. Jackie needed to know the truth.
"Mum, I need you to not freak out, alright?" Rose said slowly, watching her mum's expression carefully as it morphed into a mask of worry and concern.
"Rose, what's goin' on?"
Taking a deep breath, the blonde plunged ahead. "Mum, do you have a thermometer?"
"Course I do, wha' kind of a question is that?"
"Can you get it for me?"
"Oh! Alright," Jackie complied, putting down her tea and reaching into a cabinet to retrieve the white article. "Here yah are, sweetheart."
"Thanks," Rose mumbled, sticking the device into her mouth. A moment later, the beep signaled her temperature had been taken successfully. The blonde not-quite-human didn't spare a look at the screen. She knew by memory what it would say; instead, she handed it to her mum. Jackie looked confused, but read the number nonetheless.
And immediately paled, her eyes wide and jaw slack.
"Fifteen-" she cried, looking horrified.
"Sh, sh mum, it's alright!" Rose rushing, hurrying to pacify Jackie.
"Alright?! Alright?!" Jackie shrieked, banishing the still-beeping instrument like a weapon. "15 degrees is not alright! People die when their temperatures drop too low!"
"Mum, I'm fine," Rose said desperately, mindful of the sleeping alien in the room just behind the kitchen door. "I'm not going to die, it's okay!"
"We need to get you to the hospital!" Jackie continued, already reaching for her keys in her frenzy.
"No!" Rose cried, real fear evident in her voice at the thought of the hospital. "You can't!" Something about the panic in her voice seemed to get through to her mother, and Jackie paused, looking at Rose with a mixed look of concern and panic still on her face.
"Mum," Rose said, taking a deep breath and trying to calm her racing hearts. "My temperature is different 'coz I'm different."
"You're different," Jackie echoed, sounding almost hysterical. "What on earth is that supposed to mean?"
Rose didn't answer verbally. Instead, she took her mum's hands and placed them gently by her collar bone, so that she could feel her double heart beats.
"Oh my God," Jackie muttered, her eyes glistening as she put two and two together. "You're like 'im now, aren't you?"
"I don't know," Rose admitted as her mother sat down heavily, covering her mouth with one hand, her shoulders shaking with silent sobs. "I might be."
"Oh my God," Jackie repeated again, tears streaming down her face. "You're not human. That bloody alien made you like 'im!"
"He doesn't know, mum," the blonde said softly. "I haven't told him."
"And he hasn't figured it out!" Jackie cried, still shaking. "He went and made you a bloody alien and he doesn't know!?"
"I didn't know how to tell him," her daughter muttered, looking almost embarrassed. "I wasn't sure how he'd react."
"Oh, I know how he'd react," Jackie said with an empty laugh. "He'd swoop you away for good, an' I'd never see you again. You'd forget all about earth, off livin' your crazy life with 'im!"
"Is that what you're afraid of?" Rose asked, understanding hitting her like a strike of lightning. "Oh, no, mum. I'll always come home. Jus' 'coz I'm a little different-"
"-doesn't mean I'm gonna forget about you," the blonde finished firmly, trying to make her mum understand. "My body's a little different now, but it's still me. Nothin's changed, not really."
"Then why haven't you told 'im?" Jackie challenged. When Rose didn't answer, Jackie gave a watery smile. "Thought so. Things are different, aren't they? An' I'm too late to change that."
"Things are different for me an' 'im," Rose clarified, finding her voice after a moment of stunned silence. "But not for me an' you."
"My little girl," Jackie mumbled, getting up and pulling her daughter in close for a hug. "I love you, human or no. I jus' don't like losing you."
"You're not losing me, mum," Rose insisted. Jackie pulled back and gave her daughter another watery smile, not arguing, but obviously not believing Rose's promise, either.
"What's going on in here?" Came a new voice from the doorway. Mother and daughter spun around to see a groggy looking Doctor leaning on the door frame, rubbing the sleep from his eyes wearily. Then his eyes landed on Jackie's red eyes and pale, tear-streaked face, and his brown eyes widened. "Jackie? What happened?" He asked, sounding more alert.
Jackie turned to her daughter, and Rose, in turn, gave a barely visible shake of her head. Her mother turned back to the Doctor before the alien could question the odd exchange.
"Nothing," Jackie lied. "I'm fine. It's jus'… I jus' got a call saying, um, that my bes' friend's… dog… died this mornin'."
"Oh," said the Doctor, relaxing. "Must have been a great dog, if you're crying an' all. Always rough losing good dogs, never can be replaced, can they?"
"Oi!" Jackie cried. "Is that supposed to make me feel better? 'Coz it doesn't!"
"Easy," the Doctor cried, throwing up his hands in mock surrender. "I'm not trying to offend you! Weelll, not now, but-"
"Doctor," Rose interrupted, with another small shake of her head. Thankfully, the alien took a hint. "I'll, uh, leave you two to it," he ended lamely, making his retreat from the Tyler kitchen.
The next day, the duo took their leave of the Tyler flat. The Doctor later wondered why Jackie looked so tearful at the farewell; it was hardly the first goodbye, and not a permanent one. He had no way of knowing what had happened in the kitchen. Soon after, an alien endangered the earth once more and any further questions fled the Doctor's mind. Rose had never been so grateful for hostile alien enemies.
To Rose's dismay, the next close call came only four days later, in the console room. It was over the stupid changed body temperature, as it turned out.
"Allonsy!" The Doctor grinned, grabbing his companion's hand and pulling the lever. Rose, panicked, yanked her hand back to her side, ducking away from the tall man in the suit. The Doctor froze like he'd been slapped, hurt flashing across his face as it had every time before in the past month whenever she'd retracted her hand.
This time, though, was different, Rose could tell. This time, he didn't bury his hurt and press on. Instead, he stuck his hands in his pockets and stepped away from the controls, turning to give Rose his full attention. Oh no, the blonde moaned mentally, her palms already sweating nervously. This wasn't going to be pretty, she just knew it.
"Rose," he began carefully. "Have I done something wrong? Made you mad somehow? Offended you?"
"No, of course not," the blonde rushed, shaking her head vigorously as if to give the statement more credibility.
"Because you've been rather… distant," The Doctor continued, struggling to put what he was feeling into words, never having been one to talk about emotions. Normally, he'd dismiss a companion's odd behavior. They always seemed to work out their personal problems on their own, and it saved him from these dreaded talks. But honestly, he missed Rose. She'd been acting so removed lately, and it was driving him mad.
"I know," Rose gulped, her guilty conscience making it hard to swallow and causing her hearts ache with regret for making him worry. "I'm sorry. I've jus' been working through some stuff, tha's all."
"What stuff?" The Doctor pressed, before pausing to re-think his statement. "That was rude, wasn't it? Sorry. I just… want to help."
"I know," the blonde said again, not meeting his gaze. Across from her, the Doctor took a step towards her. Rose automatically took a step back. Hurt flashed across his face again, but he shoved it aside and didn't try to come closer.
"Can we go somewhere cold?" The blonde blurted suddenly, an idea forming. "Please? London gets so hot in the summer."
"Sure," The Doctor agreed, looking surprised at the sudden subject change. "You might want to change into something warmer, though."
"Okay," Rose nodded, relieved. She turned and headed back toward her room, glad to escape their previous conversation.
"Rose?" The Doctor called, just before she could disappear down the corridor to her room.
"You sure you're okay?" He asked carefully, concern laced through his voice. Once again, Rose shoved down her guilt and turned to give him a smile that didn't quite reach her chocolate eyes.
"Course I am." Then she disappeared to change into a heavy coat and mittens. When she returned, the Doctor was back to his energetic self, putting the incident behind him in a very Doctor-like fashion.
Rose, however, knew he hadn't forgotten. So she slipped her mitten-clad hand into his, leaning against his shoulder and feeling thankful for the small liberty the cloth around her arms and hands gave her. The small contact helped her relax. He noticed. The small contact made him smile. She noticed.
Both pretended not to.
Rose managed to slide two more weeks before the next incident. This time, she blamed Jack, one hundred percent. They'd been out to get chips and run into him. Naturally he'd wanted to come with them on an adventure; Rose, happy to see the agent, had begged the reluctant Time Lord to give the man a trip. The Doctor had, at Rose's insistence, complied, much to Jack's delight, and hours later time found all three aboard the TARDIS, resting up for the adventure they were sure to find the next day.
Then Jack had suggested a movie night.
Much arguing and persuasion followed the suggestion, but eventually the ex-time agent managed to get all three in the TARDIS's "movie room", as Rose called it, and pop a Harry Potter movie in (the only movie the Doctor would agree to watch). They were almost an hour into the movie without incident when Jack faked a yawn and stretched his arms wide, letting one arm fall so that it rested across Rose's shoulders.
The blonde grinned, returning Jack's saucy wink, and let his arm stay across her shoulders. After all, she had a long-sleeved shirt on, so Jack probably wouldn't feel the temperature difference, especially through his own army coat sleeve. She figured she was safe.
A moment later, Jack leaned over and whispered in her ear: "Why the double pulse, Rosie?"
"What?" Rose whispered back with a start, her full attention on Jack.
"You have a double pulse," the man informed her in an undertone matter-of-factly. "I can feel it."
"Course you can," the blonde grumbled. "Jus' my luck."
"Does this mean what I think it means?"
"Depends. What do you think it means?" Rose shot back.
"I think it means you're not as human as you're letting everyone think you are," Jack accused.
"Shh, keep your voice down, would yah?" Rose whispered forcefully, casting a nervous glance at the Doctor, who was lounged in the chair next to the couch Jack and Rose were sharing. To her relief, the Doctor still appeared captivated with the wizard's tale.
"Does he know?" Jack whispered, following the not-human's gaze. Rose shifted uneasily, confirming the ex-time agent's growing suspicions. "He doesn't know," the immortal deadpanned.
"No," Rose admitted after a moment. "He doesn't."
"Rosie," Jack sighed, sounding almost reproachful. "Don't you think he deserves to know the truth? He's been alone a long time; you know that better than anyone."
"He's not alone," the blonde shot back defensively.
"You know what I mean," Jack said, pulling back to give Rose a chiding look.
"What are you two blabbin' on about?" Asked the Doctor suddenly, and both occupants of the couch jumped, surprised to find the Time Lord's attention so suddenly diverted to them.
"Nothin'," Rose said, too quickly, at the same time as Jack said, "We were just discussing Rosie here."
"Rose?" The Doctor repeated, immediately alert, movie forgotten. "What's wrong with Rose?"
"Nothin's wrong with me," the blonde assured him, shooting the agent next to her a glare that said 'thanks for nothing'.
"Oh, c'mon, tell him the truth, Rosie," Jack pressed with false cheerfulness. His eyes, despite his easy grin, were deadly serious.
"Rose? What's he talkin' about?" The Time Lord asked, facing the not-so-human in confusion.
"Um…" Rose stammered, both frozen, not having a lie prepared, and furious with Jack for putting her in such a position. "My… friend. She got married a few months back, an' I missed the weddin'. I was jus' tellin' Jack how I wished I'd made the ceremony, tha's all."
"Why didn't you say anything?" The Time Lord asked, sounding faintly offended. "Time machine, remember? You should have asked!"
"I jus', um, you know, thought it'd be too domestic… or somethin'," Rose stammered, her face bright red. "I'll go get some more popcorn, yeah?" With that, the blonde scooped up the (full) popcorn bowl and left the room, glad to escape the men's scrutiny in the safety of the kitchen.
Are you okay? Asked the TARDIS, feelings of concern emitting from the walls around her. Rose let the telepathic feelings wash over her; since her change, she and the TARDIS had grown closer, the latter becoming a confident and good friend for the blonde woman.
"Yeah," Rose grumbled, sticking a popcorn bag into the microwave. "Jack's jus' trying to sabotage me."
"Can you blame me?" Asked Jack from behind her, making Rose jump. Spinning around, she found the ex-time agent leaning against the door frame, arms crossed across his chest as he watched her. "You need to tell him, Rose."
"I can't, Jack, okay?" Rose snapped, fear at the idea making her harsher than she'd meant to be. Jack studied her, reading the fear in her voice and noting her tense body posture.
"What are you afraid of?" He asked, shaking his head in confusion. "He'll be happy."
"Maybe," Rose swallowed, averting her gaze. "Or maybe he'll feel like he has to keep me around, obliged to. Or maybe I'll give him false hope. Or-"
"That's why you won't tell him?" Jack broke in, raising one eyebrow and uncrossing his arms as he walked further into the kitchen. "Rosie! He's gonna find out eventually; he'll be more hurt if- no, when- he finds out you didn't think you could trust him."
"It's not-" Rose began, but Jack raised a hand, cutting her off.
"He's a big boy, Rose," Jack said, more serious than Rose had ever seen him. "And he cares about you. He's not going to feel 'obliged', he's going to be overjoyed."
"Why does this bother you so much?" Rose snapped, feeling tense and baffled all at once. She'd expected a strong reaction from her mother, but she'd thought Jack would take it in stride and let her be.
"Because I know how he feels," Jack snapped back, eyes level with hers, as if willing her to understand. "He thinks he's got a longer life span than you; he thinks that he's gonna lose you. I know how it feels to watch people fade around you, and to try to keep your distance because of it. It's a hard way to live, Rose. And it's worse for him, because he lo-" Jack broke off suddenly, clearing his throat uncomfortably.
"Because he what?" Rose prompted, curious.
"Never mind," Jack mumbled, voice rising as he carried on. "You need to hear that from him, not me. The point is, he's living with the fear that the closer he gets to you, the more it's gonna hurt him later. It's not fair of you to let him think that," Jack explained, eyes softening slightly as he looked at his friend. "I know what it's like to think you're going to outlive everyone you're close to. It's not a fun way to live, Rosie."
"I'm sorry," Rose mumbled, ducking her head. "It's my fault you can't die."
"Don't be," Jack grinned, sudden seriousness gone. "I get to live forever. Lots of people would kill to be immortal. Besides, you and the Doctor are some of my best friends, and it looks like I'm not losing you two for some time, am I? The Doctor's not the only one who doesn't want to see you die." Pausing, he re-considered the statement. "Well, I care in a different way, but you know what I mean. I'm like the overprotective big brother. Or that guy friend who thinks you've got great legs."
"I'll remember that," Rose laughed.
"Tell him soon, alright?" Jack pressed, just as the timer on the microwave beeped.
"What, that I've got great legs?" Rose teased, opening the microwave and letting the buttery aroma spread tantalizingly around the kitchen.
"I'm pretty sure he knows that already," Jack scoffed, ignoring Rose's indignant look. "You know what I'm talking about."
"Like you said, he's gonna find out eventually," Rose said, opening the bag and pouring the popcorn into the already mostly-full bowl. Some of the buttery treat overflowed onto the counter, but Rose paid the mess no mind. She'd clean it up later.
"Yeah," Jack agreed innocently. "But I'm pretty sure he'd like to hear it from you." On that note, the ex-time agent left the kitchen, going back into the movie room.
He's right, you know, threw in the TARDIS unhelpfully.
"I know," the blonde muttered, popping a piece of popcorn into her mouth. If only she weren't so uncertain of how he'd react!
It was a week later that Rose's luck once again ran short. Her telepathic abilities had finally fully developed; unfortunately, Rose had forgotten that the Doctor would now be able to sense her presence.
"Doctor?" Rose called, confused. She'd looked all over, but he was nowhere to be found. A little help? She asked mentally, pressing the palm of her hand against the wall of the TARDIS. Since her telepathic senses had fully developed, she'd found she no longer had to vocalize her thoughts to communicate with the TARIDS, a skill that had come in handy when trying to talk to the ship without a certain Time Lord overhearing.
He's in the library, the ship responded helpfully with a slight hum, an image of the wooden bookshelves and thick carpets before the fireplace flashing through Rose's mind to accompany the answer. Mentally sending her thanks, the blonde headed toward the room, the TARDIS rearranging the rooms to aid her in finding her destination.
Thanks to the space ship's help, Rose found the mahogany door that led to the library quickly, slipping inside and enjoying the peace that came in the silent room, surrounded by old and new books that were organized in the quiet area, the serenity broken only by the cackle of low flames in the fireplace.
Well, normally. Today, however, the peace was interrupted by the frenzy of a Time Lord, running between shelves and tossing books over his shoulder in his desperation to find whatever he was looking for.
"Doctor?" Rose called, baffled, as the Doctor pulled a book that looked suspiciously like The Complete History of the Andromeda Galaxy of a shelf and leafing through the pages, his eyes scanning the words swiftly for something that Rose could only guess at. A moment later he snapped the book shut, looking dissatisfied, and tossed it over his shoulder, reaching for another thick encyclopedia-like book.
"Doctor?" Rose prompted again, and this time he looked up, seeming to notice her for the first time.
"Rose!" He greeted, giving her a wide, familiar grin. "You're up! Perfect, grab a book and help me look for any mentions of a mysterious woman throughout history."
"'Scuse me?" Rose asked, bewildered. "A mysterious woman?"
"Yes, Rose, a mysterious woman!" The Doctor repeated, his voice muffled slightly as he moved further down the aisle, leaving a trail of discarded books in his wake. "See, I can sense her! I don't know how I missed it before, but she's out there, and she must be leaving some sort of trail- hard not to, traveling through time and all- so-"
"Wait, what?" Rose echoed, and the Doctor poked his head out from around one of the long shelves, giving her another ear-to-ear grin. "Who are we talking about?"
"There's a Time Lady out there somewhere!" The Doctor cried triumphantly. "I'm not the last, after all!"
"What?" Rose echoed again, her blood going cold at the declaration. "How do you know?"
"I can sense her," the Doctor informed her, tapping his temple sagely. "Up here. My people were telepathic, remember?"
Rose cursed under her breath, trying not to panic. How could she have forgotten? She was so stupid!
"What was that?"
"I said, um, how do you know it's a woman?" Rose lied, picking up one of the books on the floor and placing it back on the shelf. The title, The truth about the Aztecs, stared back at her in bold letters.
"Women have a different presence than men," the Doctor explained, his voice once again slightly muffled. "Like the way you can tell if someone is male or female by hearing them talk- weellll, usually. There are those people with in-between voices, you know, that make you think-"
"Doctor," Rose interrupted gingerly, picking up three more books and returning them to their proper places. "What if this woman doesn't want to be found?"
"What?" The Doctor frowned, making a reappearance from the rows of dark wooden shelves. "Why do you say that?"
"Well," Rose began carefully, considering her next word before she spoke. "She must be able to… sense… you too, right? But she hasn't tried to find you. She might want to be left alone."
"Why would she want that?" The Time Lord asked, still sounding lost.
"I dunno," Rose shrugged, picking up yet another book to avoid meeting his gaze. "She doesn't know who you are; she might assume you're dangerous. Or maybe she's still grieving over Gallifrey."
"Gallifrey was a long time ago," the Time Lord objected, somewhat indignantly.
"So? You were still grieving when I met you," Rose pointed out, and the Doctor was silent for a moment, no doubt remembering when he'd had a northern accent with big ears and worn leather.
"So what am I supposed to do? Just not look for her?" The Doctor asked finally, sounding pained.
"I'm sure you'll find her eventually," the blonde hedged, trying to ignore the feelings of guilt growing inside of her.
"But she's close, I can feel it," the Doctor pleaded, waving his hands as if to emphasize his point.
"Then you'll find her soon," Rose said gently. "Let her come out in her own time, Doctor. It'll be okay." From the look on his face, Rose knew she'd won the argument. What he said next, though, took any triumph she might have felt out of the success.
"I'm just tired of being alone," he muttered. The words weren't meant for her ears, but Rose heard him anyway; she wondered if he could hear her hearts break as he said them.
You could help him, screamed her hearts at her mind. How can you sit by while he's in pain? TELL HIM. She opened her mouth, but then her fears came back, and images of a familiar French woman, and Rose shut her mouth without a sound.
Turning, she left, her secret weighing her down as if liquid lead ran in her veins.
-The Truth Comes Out-
It didn't happen the way Rose Tyler would have liked. And in the end, he didn't hear the truth from her (Rose wished with both her hearts she'd told him earlier, herself). No, it happened mid-adventure, after they'd been captured by a mysterious enemy.
The duo had been on earth (winter, by Rose's request, to give her an excuse to wear her gloves and hold his hand without fear of discovery), back in London, just stopping by for a quick bite to eat and to stock up on some supplies for the TARDIS- mundane things, like toothpaste and soap, but necessary nonetheless.
They'd been arrested suddenly, without warning or reason; the police cars had pulled over suddenly, as if only just receiving the arrest order. The handcuffs had been latched on, cold metal circling the time travelers' wrists, and the two had been thrown in the back of the cop car and escorted to a nearby prison before they even knew what was happening. No explanation had been offered as to why they'd been arrested; their first clue that they were dealing with something out of the ordinary.
The human cops hadn't searched them in depth, simply putting them in a holding cell and leaving them there temporarily. The Doctor, still possessing his sonic screwdriver, had considered escaping, but concluded that they might as well wait and see who was out to get them- better to get the villain out of the way sooner than later, he'd decided, and, with Rose's consent, they'd settled down to wait.
The two hadn't been worried, honestly; danger was a normal routine for them. If something hadn't gone wrong they would have been more surprised and worried. No, the duo was unconcerned; curious, maybe, but by no means daunted by the unknown threat. They hadn't had to sit around waiting for long, either, as it turned out. Only a half hour later, the guard by their cell had tilted his head to one side, listening to his ear piece, and then promptly turned and released them from their cell, loading them back into the cop car and carting them away from the prison to a fancy-looking government building.
"Nice," whistled the Doctor to Rose under his breath, examining the building. "We're obviously in to meet someone high up, then."
"Yep," Rose agreed with a grin. "Wonder who it is?"
"Only one way to find out," the Doctor grinned back, the adrenaline of the adventure making him careless of any danger the mystery official might possess. On that note, they'd been escorted into the building and down several richly carpeted hallways decorated with dangling chandeliers and expensive looking paintings, passing many curious people in fancy suits and professional dresses, eventually coming to a stop outside double doors of rich, dark wood with large brass handles.
"Very high up," Rose commented as one of the police opened one of the doors and ushered them in. Once in the office, both Rose and the Doctor took a moment to examine their surroundings. The owner of the office had spared no expensive in making their office lavishly furnished; enormous domed windows spilled sunlight across a plush carpet, and a desk big enough to be a small table occupied one end of the room. On the opposite walls, expensive leather couches were pressed against the walls, looking more like decoration than actual places to sit and rest.
In the seat behind the desk, there sat an unfamiliar man with brown hair that wasn't dark or light, but somewhere in the middle and cut short, revealing the way it receded slightly around the temples and grew back near the center of his forehead. Despite the way his hair receded, giving him a widow's peak-like hairline, the man wasn't old; in fact, Rose wouldn't have guessed him to be any older than thirty. The suit he was wearing gave him an authoritative air, and his posture, although relaxed, seemed to scream confidence.
"Release them from the handcuffs," the man ordered lazily with a wave of his hand. The police obliged, removing the metal restraints, and then quickly took his leave of the room. Beside Rose, the Doctor shifted, rubbing his sore wrists and studying the man behind the desk, eyes narrowed in thought.
"Do I know you?" He asked finally. "You seem familiar."
"Maybe this will help," the man said with a wide grin that seemed to have an almost manic look to it, making Rose uneasy for the first time since they'd been arrested. Reaching to a small, delicate chain on his neck, the odd man pulled a necklace out from under his shirt. At the end of the chain hung a small silver pendant in the shape of an integrate symbol that Rose recognized to be Gallifreyan. Before either the Doctor or Rose could say a word, he pulled the necklace off over his head and tossed it on his desk, letting it clatter to a stop on the hard surface.
The effect was immediate. Once the necklace was removed, a new force hit Rose in the back of her mind all at once; a presence she was all together unprepared for, although the pressure wasn't painful so much as unexpected. Still, she stumbled back a step, one hand flying to her temple in shock. Next to her, the Doctor was reacting much the same way, and Rose knew he'd felt the man's presence in his head, too.
Telepathy, Rose realized after a moment, quickly retracting her hand lest either man realize she had felt it, too. That man's telepathic, like me an' the Doctor. She was no stranger to telepathic presences in her mind; she commonly conversed with the TARDIS, after all, and her connection with the Doctor had been steadily growing stronger (much to her unease), but she'd always been prepared for it. To be connected to this utter stranger was something Rose was not comfortable with, let alone ready for.
"Recognize me now, Doctor?" Taunted the official, saying the Time Lord's name with undisguised malice. Despite the spiteful tone, the man never appeared angry, or even so much as glared in the Doctor's direction. It was unsettling.
"You," the Doctor managed, eyes growing wide in shock. "But… how…"
"Who is that?" Rose asked the Time Lord uneasily, eyeing the man behind the desk as if he was a dangerous animal who might bite at any moment.
"My name is the Master," the man behind the desk smirked. "I was a good friend of your little companion here, before we had a, ah, shall we say, disagreement."
"You're a Time Lord," Rose managed, stunned. The Doctor beside her had yet to say a word, still staring at the Master as if he couldn't believe he existed.
"Yes," the Master smirked again. "I'm a Time Lord. I survived this man's-" here he broke off to point an accusatory finger at the Doctor- "destruction of our entire planet. And I've remained hidden, all these years, using my old Extrasensory Perception Filter to hide until I was ready to be found." At the mention of his 'Extrasensory Perception Filter', the Master gestured to the Gallifreyan necklace lying innocently on his desk. "Now, the question is, who are you?"
"She's my companion," the Doctor interrupted, moving slightly in front of Rose, as if hoping to draw the Master's attention away from her.
"Obviously," the Master dawdled, rolling his eyes. "But who is she?"
"Doesn't matter," the Doctor snapped, before taking a deep breath. "Look, if you know Gallifrey if gone, then you know we're the only ones left-"
"Barely reunited, and you're already lying to me," the Master interrupted, making a tsk tsk sound, as if in reproach. "There's another, can't you feel her? A Time Lady. She's out there, I know it. Close, too."
The Doctor fell silent for a moment, before giving a barely visible nod of his head. "Yes, I've sensed her," he admitted finally. "Haven't found her, though."
"Have you been looking?" The Master challenged.
"She may not want to be found," the Doctor shot back.
"See, that's the difference between you and me, Doctor," the Master sighed, as if disappointed in the other Time Lord. "You actually care how some stranger might feel. I don't, and I intend to find that Time Lady if it's the last thing I ever do."
At his declaration, Rose felt her blood go cold, terror gripping her. Of all the people to look for her, to want to find her, why did it have to be this man? Why an enemy, a Time Lord opposite of the Doctor in almost every way that mattered?
"Good luck," the Doctor snorted. "If she doesn't want to be found, she won't be found. Our species is temperamental that way."
"I'll find her," the Master shrugged, apparently unbothered by the Doctor's doubt. "You can believe me, or not. Whichever, it makes no difference."
Once again, Rose felt panic surge through her. He sounded so determined, and while the Doctor may have doubted his drive, Rose did not. Across the room from her, the Master frowned, and Rose realized with horror she hadn't masked her fear well enough.
He'd felt it.
Under her breath, Rose cursed her new telepathic abilities, fear seizing both hearts with new power as his eyes found hers across the room.
"Doctor, there's something you need to know," Rose mumbled, trying unsuccessfully to bury her panic.
"Not right now, Rose," the Doctor said back, eyebrows scrunched together in concentration. "For a moment there…"
He'd felt it too. Across the room, the Master stood up, his chair rolling silently over the carpet. His eyes never left her face. Rose's hands started to shake, and she stuck them in her pockets to try to hide the tremors.
"Actually, Doctor," she tried again, breaking off when, to her horror and embarrassment, her voice shook. Clearing her throat, she tried again. "Actually, this is kind of important. You see-"
"Not now, Rose," the Doctor repeated, distracted. "I almost had it there. What was it…"
The Master slowly began to walk across the room, his gait easy but his gaze predatory.
"Doctor-" Rose tried again, growing desperate, but was once again cut off.
"Rose, not now," the Doctor snapped, screwing his eyes shut in concentration. "I've almost got it…"
The Master had crossed the room and come to a stop right before the blonde. Reaching out one hand slowly, as if scared she might run like a frightened animal, he pressed the back of his hand to her cheek, feeling her temperature. His eyes once again found hers as he retracted his hand, and Rose knew that he knew. It was too late. The Master knew.
"Now, now, Doctor," The Master said casually, as if discussing the weather. "Not very nice of you to keep her all to yourself."
"What?" The Doctor asked, snapping his eyes open. He looked surprised to see the Master so close so suddenly, which Rose supposed just showed how focused he'd been. Looking between the Master to Rose, he quickly grabbed her gloved hand and pulled her closer to his side, his stance protective. "What are you talking about?"
"Her," The Master said, nodding toward Rose. "Not very nice of you to keep the last Time Lady all to yourself, is it?" The words were easy, but the tone threatening. Although he spoke to the Doctor, his eyes never left Rose's.
"The last Time Lady?" The Doctor echoed, looking to Rose in confusion. "What are you talking about? She's human."
"Oh? Didn't she tell you?" The other Gallifreyan asked, pretending to be surprised. "Her skin isn't warm enough to be a human's, and I guarantee you she has a double pulse. She reacted when I took off my Extrasensory Perception Filter, so she's almost definitely telepathic. I won't call that 'human', would you?"
"Don't be ridiculous," the Doctor argued, his stance definitely protective now. "I've known Rose for years. She's got a human family, born and bred on Earth. She's as human as they come."
"Feel her skin," the Master challenged, looking smug. "Check her heart beat, and tell me she's as 'human as they come'."
"I'm telling you, she's not the Time Lady," The Doctor snapped, but turned to Rose anyway. Taking her hand, he pulled off her glove, tossing it aside without ceremony. Then, in motion so familiar it almost hurt, he laced his fingers through hers, bare skin touching bare skin completely for the first time since she'd changed.
"See? She's-" then he broke off. His eyes widened. His other hand flew to cover her unadorned hand, so that it was firmly encased in both of his. Rose didn't resist; there was no point now. They both knew. The cat was finally out of the bag.
For a moment, it felt like a great weight had been lifted off her chest, freeing her. Then she saw his expression, a mixed look of hurt and confusion and some other emotion she couldn't name, and the weight came crashing back down.
"Rose…?" He whispered, his eyes searching her face, as if looking for an explanation.
"Isn't this touching," the Master cooed. "Our little Time Lady is revealed. What did he say your name was? Rose? A bit of a letdown, isn't it?" He mused, as if immune to the tension in the room. "I mean, there's THE Doctor, THE Master, and then… Rose. Very anti-climactic. Well, no matter. I'll be taking her off your hands, Doctor."
"What?" The Doctor asked, his attention snapped back to the other Time Lord. His hands still remained wrapped around Rose's, but otherwise all his attention was focused on the other Gallifreyan.
"I said," the Master repeated in a slow, patronizing tone, "that I'll be taking her off your hands now. I mean, she's the last Time Lady! I can't just let her slip away."
"I'm standing right here," Rose snapped, her fear receding in the face of her anger.
"Yes, I know," the Master said, rolling his eyes as if she was being particularly thick. "And you're going to stay right there. You're not leaving, sweetheart. Sorry!"
"Rose," the Doctor said tensely, his grip on her hand tightening. "Run." Rose needed no further encouragement. The duo turned on their heels and ran for their lives.
"GUARDS!" Echoed the Master's voice from behind them, the sound of several footsteps falling in behind them, big, armed men in hot pursuit of the two time travelers.
"To the right!" The Doctor ordered as the two turned down another corridor. "Why didn't you tell me?!"
"Wasn't sure what you'd think!" Rose yelled back. "Left!" The duo made a sharp turn, dodging more guards that were steadily closing in around them.
"Wasn't sure what I'd think?!" The Time Lord echoed incredulously as they reached a set of stairs, running down as quickly as they could without falling. "How long?"
"About two months since the change," Rose panted. Even though her twin hearts helped stop her from becoming short of breath, running and talking simultaneously was beginning to take its toll.
"Two months?!"The Doctor cried as they reached the end of the staircase, dashing down yet another long corridor and making several zig-zagging sharp turns in the hopes of losing their pursuers. "And you didn't tell me?!"
"What was I supposed to say?" Rose cried as they made another sharp turn. A bullet exploded in the wall right where her head had been, but Rose was too engrossed in their argument to notice. "Hey, I might be a Time Lady- not sure why, maybe 'coz of Bad Wolf- please don't feel obliged to keep me around 'coz I'm like you? Also, if I'm not, sorry to let you down? Please don't leave me again?"
"Obliged? Leave you?!" The Doctor echoed as they burst from the large double doors, people in fancy, expensive clothing hurrying out of their way so they wouldn't get knocked over and yelling profanities and threats after them in their anger. In the distance, the shape of the TARDIS appeared. "Why on earth would I do that?!"
"I don't know!" Rose yelled, her legs burning as they pumped to keep her rushing down the road. "Maybe like the way you left me for a certain French woman not long ago?"
"Reinette?" The Doctor echoed in disbelief. "This is about Reinette?!"
"No! Yes? I don't know!" Rose cried as the shape of the TARDIS slowly became bigger and clearer. Behind them, police sirens sounded. "You loved her and discarded me! I didn't think you'd want me around forever!"
"First off, I did not love Reinette," the Doctor objected. "She was a special woman I admired; that's all. I didn't know her long enough to love her! Secondly, if that's how you felt, why did you promise me forever?!"
"Because!" Rose cried. "If you didn't want my forever, it was only for a while! I was trying to be there for you without being a burden!"
"And you thought because you suddenly had the same life span as me I wouldn't want you around anymore?!" The Doctor cried incredulously. "Are you completely mad?!"
Behind them, the sirens got louder, flashes of blue and red ghosting across their surroundings. Just a hundred yards ahead, the TARIDS sat in all her glory. Motivated by the promise of safety, the duo poured on the speed, demanding everything they could of their gasping lungs and burning legs.
The sound of cop cars skidding to a sudden stop hit their ears just as they burst through the space ship's doors, tumbling into the console room in a tangled heap of arms and legs. The Doctor sprang up and rushed to the controls, switching levers and pressing buttons with wild abandon in his frenzy to get them away and into the vortex. While he did that, Rose stumbled to her feet and slammed the doors shut, muffling the sound of sirens and orders of "Open up!" and listings of laws they were in violation of; grasping at straws, Rose thought dryly. A moment later, a jolt and shake of the TARDIS announced that they'd escaped to the safety of the vortex, far away from their pursuers and enemies.
For a moment, all the time travelers could do was lean against the coral supports of the TARDIS, trying to get their breath back and waiting for their heart rates to return to normal. All too soon, in Rose's opinion, they had, and the Doctor wasted no time in crossing the room until he stood in front of his blonde companion, facing her.
"You're a Time Lady," he stated flatly. Rose nodded, still leaning against the coral structure but no longer gasping for air. "You're a Time Lady, and you didn't trust me enough to tell me."
"It wasn't that," Rose argued, looking up at him defiantly. "I just wasn't sure how you'd react. I didn't know if you'd be upset or not!"
"Why would you think I'd be upset?" He asked, running one hand through his wild hair.
"You're upset now!"
"Because you didn't tell me!" The Time Lord snapped back. That seemed to quiet Rose, and she grew very still.
"I thought you might get tired of me," she said finally, so softly the Doctor almost didn't hear her. "It wasn't long after Reinette, and I thought-" she broke off to take a deep breath before continuing, "-I thought you'd already grown tired of me. I didn't think you'd want to hear you might really have to keep me around. And even if you did want me around, at first I wasn't even sure what had happened to me. I didn't want to give you false hope." As she spoke, the fire in the Doctor's eyes faded and his expression softened.
"Let's clear this up right now," the Doctor said, anger fading as he cupped her cheek in one hand so that she had to look him in the eye, the other hand finding one of hers. "I will always want you around, understand? Always. And as for false hope… I don't know what made you change, Rose Tyler, whether it was Bad Wolf or something else. But I don't know what else you could be, besides a Time Lady- in fact, I'm certain you're a Time Lady- and whatever changed you, I'll always be grateful it did. Okay?"
"Okay," Rose whispered.
"I know," the Doctor muttered, his voice dropping as doubt filled him. "I know you can't have a normal life now. I'm sorry, Rose, you've lost that chance. If you want, I can try to figure out what triggered your change and-"
"What?" Rose interrupted as she realized where he was going. "No! No, Doctor, I'll always stay with you… as long as you want me, that is. Who needs a normal life, anyway?"
"Rose Tyler," the Doctor said with a watery laugh, his eyes glistening but no tears running down his face. After a moment, Rose realized her own face was slick with tears; she hadn't even noticed. "You never cease to amaze me."
"Is that so, Oncoming Storm?" Rose teased, giving him her special tongue-between-the-teeth smile, albeit a slightly watery one.
"It is, Valiant Child," he shot back, giving another laugh. "This is really happening, isn't it? You're really like me." If not for the joy in his voice, his words would have once again filled Rose with doubt. As it was, he sounded too elated for Rose to consider the option. "Are you sure you're okay with this? Not being human, I mean. I know-"
Rose cut him off the best way she knew how- by kissing him. For a moment, he seemed too startled to do anything, but quickly recovered his wits and kissed her back. After a moment, she reluctantly pulled away, although she kept her forehead against his. Somewhere during the kiss his arms had found their way around her waist; she was content to stay in that position forever.
"Don't ask that again," she chided gently, pressing another quick kiss to his lips.
"Okay," he mumbled, his eyes closed as he held her close to him.
"If you're okay with this- me being a Time Lady, I mean-"
"-then why were you so insistent I was human back with the Master?"
"Because," the Doctor mumbled, as if the moment was glass, frozen in time, and if he spoke to loudly it would shatter, "I knew that if you were a Time Lady, he'd want you for himself. Besides, I didn't want to get my hopes up."
"Mm," Rose hummed, accepting his answer. "Terrified me, when I knew he'd figured it out. Do you think we'll see 'im again?"
"Undoubtedly," the Doctor admitted. "Don't worry about it, though. I made a promise to your mum to keep you safe, remember?"
"Is that why you do it?" Rose teased, her tongue making another re-appearance in her smile.
"Among other reasons," the Doctor admitted.
"Does it always need saying?" The Doctor prompted. "Don't actions speak louder than words?" Rose nodded, and the Doctor dipped his head down, kissing her once again. Rose thought she heard him mutter something against her lips in Gallifrayan, and for once the TARDIS translated for her.
I love you.
Even though they were kissing, Rose smiled. This was the kind of forever she could get used to.
You can invent your own reasons as to what made her a Time Lady, I guess. :/ Please review; this took forever to write. Until next time! -Qwerty