by Camilla Sandman
Disclaimer: Just written for my own and other's amusement, BBC. Please not be suing me.
Author's Note: Written for an anon request in my LJ. Thanks to Saz for beta-ing and being awesome. Love ya, darling.
Part Nine: Wherein a crowd is tough, Nattdvalve is given a challenge, Berho gets a memorial of sorts, a human affinity is reinforced, a relationship remains unnamed and certain things do not change at all
Rose isn't surprised to find a welcoming committee in her room as she exists the TARDIS, mostly because the Doctor told them they were there as soon as the TARDIS materialised. She puts on her best fake-surprise face still, just in case they were hoping for one.
She's feeling generous, after all.
"Hello! Had a feeling I would find you lot here," the Doctor says cheerfully, clearly not bothering with the fake surprise. "Sorry about the blackout. Hope you didn't miss your favourite football match on telly or some such, but matters of planetary well-being were rather pressing. No need to execute us, I assure you."
He pauses, but no one else says anything, and the silence stretches on a bit.
"That's where they usually assure me they weren't really planning on it," he mutters to Rose, who supresses a smile. "Right, you're probably wondering what I nicked all your power for, and you're thinking it's something brilliant, am I right?"
Again, the silence stretches on.
"Seems you're wrong," Rose whispers, and he gives her a wounded look.
"I am not wrong, this is just a tough crowd," he corrects. "No matter. I have solved your ghost problems."
They stare at him, a few muttering some very rude words Rose feels almost insulted at. Granted, she thinks the Doctor has lost his marbles now and then too, but she has a right to think that. She's claimed that right, and the Doctor gives her a grin, as if he knows.
"Very tough crowd. Now, my lovely assistant..." He catches Rose's glance and quickly amends himself. "My lovely Watson will show you how."
She reaches back into the TARDIS, and ever so careful she lifts the sphere out. It is still beating steadily and surely, and when she rests her palm on the surface, she can almost hear the whispers.
"A little of your technology, a little of mine," the Doctor says, beaming. "I've charged it pretty well. You're a clever lot, you'll find some way to keep it alive and communicate with those inside. I could do it for you, but I'm not going to. You need a good challenge."
"How...?" one of the aliens ask, staring so intently Rose thinks it almost looks greedy.
"Brilliance. Now, as nice as it's been being accused of murder here, Rose and I rather have to hop along. Rose, give them their dead, and let's hop."
"Hopping along right behind you, Doctor," she says, and he vanishes inside. She places the sphere carefully in the nearest alien's arms, and he stares at her, eyes so very dark.
"Walker Rose, what...? How did...?"
"Just Rose now," she says softly. "Rose'll do. Take care of them. You owe them that."
And with that, she walks away, feeling just the briefest moment of pride. Berho desired change for his home, she remembers. Maybe now there'll be some.
Maybe he would've thought that the best memorial there is.
She turns over on her side to look at him bathed in sun - they needed some serious sun after everything, she had insisted, and he had eventually agreed - and he's smiling distantly, eyes closed, lips warm from sun. She's going to kiss him later, but right now, it feels good to have time to wait too.
"Would you really have taken a ghost?"
"What's one more?" he says lightly, but all darkness underneath.
"For me, though?"
He shifts slightly. "Why do humans always ask questions they know the answer to?"
"Maybe because we like to hear them aloud still."
"The human affinity for stating the obvious," he says affectionately, a light breeze ruffling his hair. "Yeah. For you. And don't you start asking me if Holmes would've done that for Watson, or if Poirot had a partner he also occasionally shagged or if Miss Marple ever felt alone."
She smiles, and he cracks one eye open, regarding her.
"You all right?"
"I think I will be," she answers honestly. "Still feels like I've lost something."
"It'll get better."
He would know, she thinks.
He flips over on his side as well, smiling at her. "Not everyone gets their own ghost story, Rose Tyler. Or live to hear it told and retold and changed and written down and finally ripped off by a bad big budget movie. They probably made one. We could go see."
She wrinkles her nose. "I think I've had enough ghosts for a while."
"Yeah, me too," he agrees readily. "Might try for life. Live a little. Mummies though, mummies you never get enough of."
She does kiss him then, and he still hesitates a little before kissing her back, and she does wonder if he is merely giving her what she wants and this is not about what he wants at all, but she can live on the hope that he wants it a little too. She knows there's a million unresolved issues still, and their relationship has changed from one unnamed thing to another, but that's all right. Life is change.
"Are you sure parking the TARDIS on the Opera House to catch some tan was such a bright idea after all?"
"Because there are quite a lot of police down there and they're not looking particularly pleased."
He glances over her shoulder. "Oh! That's the Sydney Water Police. Delightful people. I helped them solve this mystery once..."
Life is change, she decides, but certain things remain the same still.
Epilogue: Wherein endings depend
A story, it is known, has a beginning and an end. Both may depend upon the teller. A story may have a happy ending if you end it at a certain time, and the same story may have an unhappy one if you end it at another. Everything depends.
Rose and the Doctor travelled on. Some things changed. Some did not. Maybe they were happy. It depends.
Nattdvalve went on. The people were still greedy for knowledge, and the living still died, but now and then someone brave would listen to a ghost, and see what might be better. Maybe they learned a lesson. It depends.
The ghosts whispered on. Important messages sometimes, personal messages sometimes, and often both. But even whispers can die, and ghosts let go.
Maybe that's where it ends. Maybe not.