Child of Earth
Chapter Sixty-Five: Total Eclipse: Farewell to Earth
Disclaimer: I do not own Doctor Who or any of the spinoff material and I gain no income off of this story, just the satisfaction of playing with the characters.
AN: It's done…. Wow the Earth years are finally done. I struggled to believe I'd ever get here. Thank you so much to all of you that have stuck with me or joined in this grand adventure. I will be taking April off to do some editing of the series and work on another project, but I will return with more adventures in May.
It was a warm and sunny day when Rose donned the heavy dark robes of King's College. At Jackie's insistence, she'd added a bit more curl to her hair and let it hang loose. To her delight and relief, the ceremony went off without a hitch except of course for the explosion of noise from those who had come to see her graduate. They took up nearly two rows and were getting looks from some of the more formal patrons, but no one said anything as both Alistair and John were in their uniforms. Malcolm, Tosh, Kate and Osgood were seated with them. Her Mum, Sarah Jane and her family, Tegan, Jo, and Ace were in front of them with her mum looking torn between happiness and annoyance. Jo was cheering the loudest of them all, jumping up and down on her feet.
Ian smiled warmly at her and shook her hand. Beaming in return, Rose caught him make a pointed look towards the edge of the audience. She risked a glance and almost laughed. The Doctor, the blue-eyed Doctor, was in the shadows and watching her. Rose returned her seat as the rest of the names and ceremony passed in a blur. This was supposed to be important and a celebration of her years of work, but she couldn't focus. Already her mind was elsewhere.
With every passing moment, Rose's impatience grew until finally the last happy note of the last speech was given. A deafening cheer rose up through the students and family, all sense of decorum gone. Rose kept her cap on and reached up to touch the tassel. Finally, she was done. She laughed as the other caps came floating back to Earth and took her off with a grateful sigh.
It took time for the students to leave. Rose got stuck in a long slow line, weaving her way between families and her former peers. There were shouts of congratulations from the people she knew and Rose had to stop a few times for hugs from those she'd been in classes with. Finally, she made it out of the throng and inhaled a deep breath of fresh air.
The area around the TARDIS was full of her friends and Rose was frozen in place. There were so many of them, chatting with each other. Sarah Jane was talking with her mother. Everyone else had gathered there and Rose felt a jolt of nervousness. Her two bags that she'd entrusted to Ace were waiting for her by the blue doors. This was it, this was finally it, but she'd never imagined so many people being there to see her off.
"There she is!" Sarah Jane laughed, gesturing over to Rose with a beaming smile. "Congratulations Rose!"
"Yeah Rose!" Skye shouted. Her goddaughter rushed over to her, throwing her long arms around Rose's waist and almost knocking her over. Even her own mum, who looked torn between happiness and distress was laughing. "Congratulations!"
"Thank you Skye." Rose chuckled and patted the girl's head as she looked around at the assembled companions. She blinked in surprise as she found that Alistair and John had stayed to see her off. "Thank you so much for coming," Rose said warmly. "I've been very lucky to have so many wonderful people as my friends and colleagues."
"We're proud of you," Jo said happily. "Not to mention who knows the next time we'll see you."
Her mum made a small sound at that but said nothing. Thankfully Skye released her and stepped back, letting Rose finally started her way through her friends. Her eyes jumped back to the TARDIS. The Doctor was nowhere to be seen and Rose was certain he was already inside, waiting for her. Being out here with the others was probably a bit too much for him. And her mother was here.
Ace hugged her tightly, the pair grinning at each other. Rose grinned as Ace whispered, "Look after him, as much as he'll let you. And don't forget to look after yourself too."
"I will," Rose said. The pair shared a look of understanding as Ace handed Rose her shoulder bag and helped her out of the robes.
She hugged the other companions, receiving final bits of advice from Jo and Tegan. Both women were smiling, but she could see worry in their eyes. She didn't blame them, life on the TARDIS was dangerous and she was going into a strange situation. Still, Rose couldn't wait. Sir Alistair shook her hand and smiled while Benton gave her a hug and rolled his eyes at the formality. Rose knew that she'd miss the pair of them but nodded calmly to them.
Malcolm didn't worry about formality. He hugged her tightly. "I'm so proud of you," Malcolm cheered. His glasses were askew and his accent was thicker than usual. "Oh, you do us all so proud. Saving the world and graduating with honours."
"Well I had some help studying sometimes," Rose pointed out. "And it's hard not to pick things up when you spend time with the Science Division."
He laughed out loud, drawing some attention from the other people gathered on the lawn. Malcolm hugged her tightly again, only stepping aside to give Tosh a chance. The former prisoner smiled shyly at her but hugged Rose quickly.
"Thank you for everything," Tosh said. "I'll miss your visitors."
"I suspect you'll see me more than you think," Rose said. She chuckled warmly. "I'm not sure how long Earth can stay out of trouble."
Benton spoke up first. "Just remember to give us the courtesy of a call to explain. Unexplained events cause numerous problems."
"Aren't you retiring soon?" Rose countered.
Alistair snorted, drawing a look of amusement from Kate. "That means nothing and you know it," the General said.
Shaking her head, Rose turned to Kate and accepted a hug from the woman. Their goodbye was calm and Kate gave her a fond smile. "We'll look after Earth," Kate promised.
"I know," Rose said. "But if you do need us."
"I have your number," Kate agreed. "Talking of, you are getting a new phone right?"
"Picked one up this morning," Rose assured her. "I'll get the Doctor to boost it later."
"Good. Glad to hear it."
Rose turned her attention to Osgood next. "Congratulations Miss Ty- Rose," Osgood said quickly. The smaller woman gave her a smile that Rose returned. She was a bit surprised that Osgood had come along but judging from the woman's question mark lapels it had more to do with catching a glimpse of the TARDIS than her. "I've been given orders from the rest of the Science Department to say how proud we are and that we'll miss you a great deal."
"I'll miss all of you too," Rose agree. She smiled fondly. "I've had some good times. Nothing beat back summer boredom like the experiments."
Osgood laughed and visibly relaxed. Then she recovered herself and dug into her shoulder bag, pulling out a small package. Osgood blushed slightly as Rose smiled at her and held out a package with a wild grin. "Here," she offered eagerly. "He likes them… at least later on."
Rose dropped her eyes and laughed. Osgood had a large package of Jammie Dodgers and Rose remembered all too clearly the Eleventh Doctor remarking about the lack of them on the Enterprise.
"Thanks, Osgood." Rose slipped them into her own shoulder bag along and smiled. Stepping forward, she surprised the young woman with a hug. "Look after the science department for me, will you? Don't let Malcolm and Tosh do anything too crazy."
"Uh yes ma'am," Osgood said, blushing brightly. "Good luck out there."
"Rose!" Ian called behind her.
Rose turned to find the Ian and Barbara still in their robes jogging up. Both were smiling brightly and Skye rushed past Rose to hug her grandmother. Barbara laughed happily and accepted the hug with a smile. Ian grinned, glancing at them before stepping forward to hug Rose.
"I'm proud of you," Ian said softly. When he released her, Rose blinked back the tears trying to gather. "Despite everything you weren't a half bad student."
"Ian!" Barbara scolded, but Rose laughed. Then she shook her head and looked at Rose. "Sorry, it took a few minutes to get away from other families and the rest of the staff."
"I understand," Rose assured them. "Thanks for coming. I would've hated missing saying goodbye."
"I don't think he's going to leave without you," Ian pointed out. He glanced at the TARDIS and frowned. "The old man could've said hello at least."
"I think there's too many of you here at once for that." Rose grimaced in sympathy for the Doctor. "Give it a regeneration or two."
There were more hugs and goodbyes amongst the companions before Rose shifted her attention to the three teenagers who'd come to see her graduate. Rani, Luke, and Clyde were all grinning at her brilliantly. Rose opened her shoulder bag, ignoring the curious looks she was getting.
"Here Rani," Rose said. She pulled out a single key and an envelope. "The title of my motorcycle and the key."
"Are you serious?" Rani stared at her with wide eyes while Luke and Clyde gaped.
"Wait you're giving her the motorcycle!" Clyde protested while Rani grinned. "Why?"
"Luke has a terrible sense of balance and Rani is the one that I know will attend the classes before trying to ride the thing." She gave Clyde a knowing look and smiled when he sheepishly grinned. "I'd tell you to stay out trouble, but-"
"We make no promises," Skye finished for her with a beaming smile.
"Exactly." Rose grinned at the girl. "I've taught you well. Besides, Mum isn't going to use it."
"That's the truth!" Jackie snapped. Her mum was looking nervously at the TARDIS.
The itch in the back of Rose's mind was growing. Her limbs were all but aching as excitement and nervousness pounded through her system. She stepped in front of Sarah Jane. "I'm going to miss you Sarah Jane," Rose said.
"You'll be far too busy and amazed to miss me." The older woman smiled warmly at her.
"You know that's not true." Rose hugged her tightly. "Thank you for everything."
"I should be telling you that." Sarah Jane sounded a bit teary now. "My life before and after I met you-"
"You never needed me for that." Rose released her and stepped back. "That was all you, I promise you that. But we had some fun times."
"Yes we did and I do expect you to check in sometimes."
"I will and call me if anything too bad happens on Earth."
Sarah Jane nodded and Rose turned her attention to her mother. The others were moving off to give them some space and she felt another rush of gratitude. Jackie bit her lower lip but was silent. For a moment neither of them moved. Then Rose stepped forward and wrapped her arms around her mum. In less than a heartbeat, her mum's arms came up to hold her just as tightly.
"I love you, Mum," Rose whispered into her ear.
"Rose-" There was a hint of something in her mother's voice. It was desperate but resigned. She thought her mum might say something more, but then she just sighed. Rose released her and started to step back, but her mum caught a loose strand of her golden hair in her fingers. Tears were trying to gather in her eyes, but Jackie didn't let them fall. "Please stay safe," Jackie begged.
"I've got my superphone, Mum, I'll call so please try not to worry." Rose brought a hand up and touched her cheek. They just looked at each other for a long moment. "Thank you for everything. You've been a good Mum."
"No, I haven't."
"Yes, you have," Rose insisted. She could feel a few tears prickling at her own eyes and wondered how their relationship might have been if aliens had never been a part of their lives. "You brought me up and I know I didn't make that easy."
"You weren't too bad," Jackie managed. The words came out a bit thin, but she managed a smile. "Go on then. You've set me up for life. I'll be fine."
"If anything weird happens remember-"
"I know I know, Sarah Jane is across the street and call UNIT," Jackie sighed. "Honestly boredom is my greatest danger." Jackie paused and Rose braced herself for one last guilt trip or something similar. "Maybe I'll take some classes, finally learn to cook a few more things. Goodness knows I was surprised to discover I've got a green thumb. Maybe I'll discover another talent."
Blinking in surprise, Rose stared at her mum in stunned silence. That hadn't been what she was expecting. There was no begging, no guilt trip or anything else. It wasn't acceptance exactly, but Rose would take it. Rewarding her mum with a grin, Rose leaned forward and kissed her cheek gain.
"I love you, Mum. Try not to worry."
"Love you too sweetheart."
It was a bit much for Rose. There was a sad and defeated look on her mum's face that hurt more than anything Jackie could have said. Rose nodded to her and grabbed her bag, spinning towards the TARDIS. The sight of the blue box soothed the hurts and doubts, allowing excitement and nervous energy to take its place.
Taking a deep breath and fighting to contain her smile Rose stepped up to the TARDIS. She pulled her key out from under the shirt and unlocked the door. Letting it fall against her chest, she waved to the others as they backed away. Rose grabbed her bags and stepped inside the TARDIS. The warm glow of the console room lit up her face and she looked towards the rotor affectionately. It was different than other versions she'd seen and yet the TARDIS smelled the same and the soft hum surrounding her felt oh so familiar. Setting down her bags, Rose stepped forward and placed a hand on the edge of the console.
"Hello gorgeous," she breathed. "Here we go." The Doctor came around the console, watching her with a small smile. "Just let me stow my things," Rose called to him. She grabbed the two bags and headed down the corridor. "Be right back!"
Rose looked around uncertainly for a moment until her eyes caught sight of a dark cherry wood door with a curved top that was fitted between two curving pillars of the coral-like wall. There was a golden rose carved into the door with a series of circular symbols below it that Rose recognised as linear Gallifreyan. She knew in an instant that this was her room. None the less, her fingers trembled slightly as she reached for the knob. She'd been in the TARDIS plenty, but never in her own room, never in her own space. With a grin, Rose grabbed the knob and twisted, pushing the door open.
It wasn't what she expected. She'd heard about the rooms on the TARDIS from the others. They were comfortable and slowly grew more personalised, but hers was quite different. Rose wasn't sure if that was just a reflection of the new TARDIS layout or the Doctor himself or if this was the grand ship's way of welcoming her aboard. Rose decided she liked the third option best, she liked the idea of the TARDIS approving of her.
The room was large with walls that formed a slight dome and were the warm rust colour of the rest of the ship. A row of roundels lined the upper half of the wall and glowed softly like lights, bathing the room in a golden glow. To her surprise, the floor was a lovely thick white carpet that made her smile as she stepped onto it. A large bed with a deep purple duvet with gold accents filled one side of the room, the wood the same rich tone as the door and a matching large chest at the foot of the bed. The rest of the furniture: a couple of tall bookshelves, a desk, a couple of small night tables, a beautiful vanity and wardrobe all matched the wood of the bed and were classic in their design with soft golden spiral designs accenting them.
One of the shelves already had several volumes on it while the others were empty and waiting for her to fill them. A black and gold kintsugi vase on the left nightstand had a bouquet of purple lilacs whose scent was filling the room. There was a small easel set up on the corner of the desk with an empty canvas just waiting for her.
It was so perfect that it almost hurt. With a happy grin, Rose set her bags down next to the bed and shifted over to brush an affectionate hand on the TARDIS' wall. It was beautiful, a bit classic and a bit alien. Rose fancied that it was a bit like herself and utterly loved it. She just wondered what sort of rules there were about painting on the walls. Beneath her fingers, the TARDIS thrummed and Rose would have sworn it was in response to her question. She wondered for a moment if she'd ever understand the TARDIS like the Doctor did. Rose hoped so.
But as lovely as the room was, there was a Time Lord waiting in the console room for her and the whole of time and space to see. With one last grin, Rose took off her translator and slipped it into her shoulder bag. She eyed the package of Jammie Dodgers and wondered if his current incarnation even liked them and decided against taking it out of the bag. Dashing out of the room, Rose returned to the console room with a wide grin. The Doctor was moving around the console and looked up with a grin as she returned.
"What are you smiling about?" the Doctor asked in a teasing voice.
"Because " Rose replied as she lost control and let her full smile bloom. "I'm finally home."
… Coming 6 May 2017 Travels in Time and Space…
Rewrites of End of the World, The Unquiet Dead, The Beast Below, Fires of Pompeii, Robots of Sherwood, The Rings of Akhaten, and Planet of the Ood plus six original episodes and an original season arc.