Greetings! And so begins my venture into Doctor Who fanficiton…with a oneshot, of course! And before you all groan about yet another story in which Rose is pregnant with the Doctors baby, or has given up on life and decides to commit suicide, or even another reunion fic…stop! Because this is none of them. Or at least I hope its not…it started going in one direction, and I had it all planned…and then it suddenly gained a life of its own and veered of in a totally different one…so bits of it don't quite join on to the bits before, but hey, its my fic, so I can do what I want with it!
Disclaimer – One word. Doomsday. However, we do have elaborate plans to gain ownership of Doctor Who…my friend Carly is going to sue RTD for emotional distress, and use the compensation money to buy Doctor Who from the BBC. We're then going to bribe Billie Piper to come back, and start a whole new series…hey, we can dream! But I don't own Doctor Who, The Tardis, Rose Tyler or the Doctor. However, I do know a couple of people who would place high bids on David, and if anyone knows where a Jack Harkness can be bought, my sisters interested….
Dedicated to: Carly, Kate, Hannah and Beth, with whom I spent thirteen weeks of plot discussions and theories, and with whom I watched Doomsday, and shrieked and cried and shrieked and leapt out of seats with…and also Daniel and Ben, who had to watch it with us. When asked later how my brother (Daniel) found watching it with 5 girls, he said "well, the middle bit was alright, but at the beginning they kept shirking, an then at the end they got all weird."
But then, that's brothers for you.
She could have been and done so many things. Its funny how, looking back, you see all the choices you made mapped out before you, how things could have been if you'd arrivedfive seconds earlier or later, caught a different bus, said yes when you actually said no…
The security guard, all those years and universes ago, could have given the money to Alice, who left in front of her, and then Rose Tyler would have gone home, and woken up the next morning with no job, and found another one somewhere else. That Rose Tyler married Mickey in the end, and had three children, and never lived outside London. And she was happy, in a comfortable, content sort of way, because that Rose Tyler never saw any better. Never knew any better.
Or He could have only asked once, not bothered to come back a check. And that Rose Tyler would have gone home too, and she may well have married Mickey, and been quite happy, but always wondering…
There were…are thousands of them, Rose Tyler's scattered across the universes, each living a life that was the same as all the others, yet so indescribably different.
Concentrate on one now. Her name is Rose Tyler, and she sits in a small office crowded with strange objects. If she wanted, by now she could have a much larger office, with a glass wall and a view of the city, such is her reputation amongst those she works for and with, but all the Rose Tyler's are smart, this one more than most, and she knows that if she did that she would loose all that she has now.
The people who reign ten floors above her are the face of Torchwood, but she is part of the body, and it is the body that does the work. The face gets the credit, the face gets the nine 'til five job with the executive car and the fancy holidays…but Rose gets her little office, and all the alien junk she could wish for. Well, not all of it. But enough to keep her busy between visits and invasions from other planets. Because when that happens, she's front of the queue, right in the middle of it, breaking it, fixing it, sorting it.
And, in a strange, mixed up sort of way, she's happy. She has a job that's the second best in the multiverse, and when the best is out of reach you learn to settle for what's left. She has a family, a whole family, that seems to grow and multiply in size every year. She has a flat, a small three roomed deal that's even more stuffed with stuff than her office. She gets to face creatures that have never seen a human before, and examine objects that haven't seen the light of day for a millennia.
She gets to persuade Harriet Jones that Torchwood isn't about destroying anything and everything that isn't completely Earthen. She gets to find a boy genius in his final year of Oxford, and persuade him that maybe working for a man who's employees seems to disappear with alarming regularity isn't the best option for him, and she gets to show him a life with little material reward, and she gets to watch him fall in love with it.
And every couple of years, she gets to disappear for a few weeks, maybe even a few months, and travel and explore and see. Because she was once a Doctors companion, and that's not something you ever forget. Even if your confined to one planet, one time, one universe, it doesn't mean you can't keep looking. It just means you get to see everything one world has to offer, instead of snatches of thousands of them. Sometimes she takes someone with her for part of the way – Mickey, usually, and occasionally Jake. She took Tam once, as a celebration for the end of her A-Levels, and then Rose Tyler became a little more happier, because she got to see what He had seen so many times – the look of wonder on a loved ones face as they see something beyond anything they'd ever dreamed.
And if any of them notice that the travels always, always start in London, and always, always finish in Norway, they say nothing. Because moving on does not mean forgetting. A widow may for many years continue to wear her wedding ring, much in the way Rose Tyler wore a key on a chain around her neck until her dying day – all she had left of the universe she was born in.
So Rose Tyler sits in a her crowded office, with the door open so that she can hear and occasionally see other people hurrying about, and decides that she is happy. Every now and again, reports will reach her of a strange blue box that appears from no where, and disappears again soon afterwards, but while Rose Tyler is not a face, she knows people, and these reports always mange to vanish before they can get anywhere. For of course there is a Doctor in this universe too – there could not be a Torchwood if there was not a Doctor. She was surprised how little it hurt when she first meet him, first realised who he was, still in his eighth at the time, which probably helped in a way, and first realised who he wasn't..
It was hard, keeping from him the truth of his future that she knew but he did not. In the end, of course, he found out for himself, and for a while Rose had to live with the knowledge that she had, indirectly, helped cause the look in the eyes of his ninth. But this time it is not she who must help sooth it, although she wished she could. She long ago learnt to treat Pete Tyler as a father, which was not as difficult as she had first thought, since she had no predecessor to compare him too.
But it would not be right to do that to this Doctor, and so she let him be, to find his own healer. It is ironic, she supposes, that in the end it is Tam who saves him, and Tam who leaves behind her family to travel the stars with him. Jackie moans, of course, and declares it seems her lot in life to do no more than produce off-spring to be whisked away by time travelling aliens. But Tam, the eldest of this universes Tyler children, was raised on her older sisters stories, so it is of little surprise to anyone really when she follows in her footsteps and goes "travelling."
Rose Tyler, defender of the world, was what He called her once, and another time He made her promise to have a fantastic life, and she likes to think that she has at least partly lived up to both. She found friends, some of them people she knew once, some of them people she would never have meet under different circumstances. She stops thinking of the other place as "her world", and instead it becomes the "other world". She doesn't cry herself to sleep every night, clutching at a key that will only open one door, or not after the first year anyway. She goes out with people – people from work, friends of friends – and tries desperately not a make comparisons. She fights aliens, and negotiates with aliens, and from time to time tries to show humans that to some beings they are the aliens. It doesn't work, but she likes to try anyway.
And sometimes, Tam and her Doctor drop in, and help with whatever crisis is threatening the Earth this time, and every time that happens Rose sees her little sister growing up a bit more, and realises for the first time what her mother saw that first time round. But Rose knows what Jackie doesn't, and so the two sisters compare stories – both went to platform one, both saw the fall of the Berlin wall, but where Rose got a pig crashing into Big Ben, Tam got an egomaniac with exposure to enough nuclear energy to blow out half the solar system – and they never, ever talk about the future, because Rose learnt with sometimes it really is best not knowing, and although she never says it directly, Tam understands.
And eventually, of course, as is the way of the universe, her time runs out, and Rose Tyler dies. It is not a miraculous death, burning out in a blaze of glory for the sake of the world…indeed, outside her own circle of family and friends, her death goes un-remarked upon. That's the price of working for an organisation that no one knows exists. But Rose Tyler wouldn't have minded – she was never one for blazes of glory any way.
She's not buried – Tam, who out of the five remaining Tyler children, was closest to Rose in both age and affection, is insistent upon that. So she is cremated instead, glowing golden for a second time, and then she is scattered to the wind and to the stars, where her heart was left so many years before. The key that had hung faithfully round her neck for over sixty years was meant to be burnt with her, but in the way of its owner, stubbornly refused to do what was wanted of it, and decided instead it was quite happy remaining key shaped, thank you very much.
There was no gravestone, of course, but it was decided that some form of memorial was needed, something to mark that there had been a Rose Tyler in this universe. Adam, who although not a Tyler, was as close to Rose as any of them, suggested the plague, and Robbie, the youngest but one, suggested the park, and they all thought of the inscription, remembering bedtime stories of long ago, when Rose had been in great demand amongst her younger siblings.
There was some argument over what to do with the key, and in the end it was embedded into the plague, firmly wedged in a way that meant it wasn't going anywhere.
So that was it. The life of one Rose Tyler, born in one universe, died in another. School drop out, shop assistant, Doctors Companion, Time traveller, daughter, sister, Bad Wolf, Valiant Child, Earths Defender. A varied life, to be sure, and one that she would have swapped, many times over, but again one she would fight to the death to keep. Admired, feared, pitied, laughed at, loved.
Once upon a time a beautiful princess was saved by a handsome prince, and she saved him in return…and they travelled the stars together, and he taught her many lessons, so that even when she lost him she still had his lessons to remember, and her own new ones to learn. And he broke her heart, and she his, but hearts are simply muscles needed in order for survival, and so they mend in time.
Moving on isn't forgetting. It's looking back and remembering, and laughing and crying over what you remember, but never forgetting to look forward at the same time. It's learning to ignore the dull ache deep down in your chest, until its almost as if the aches not there at all. It's living to the best of your abilities when all seems lost. Its knowing that while time can never heal a wound, especially when time helped create the wound in the first place, it is pretty good at soothing it. It's remembering the lessons you've been taught, and knowing when to follow them and when to break them. Its always looking forward, looking around you, seeing what there is and what there will be. And its remembering to, every now and again, keep and eye on what has been, because this Rose Tyler was a Time Lords companion…more importantly, a Doctors companion. And that is something that should never, ever be forgotten.
1986 – 2069
"Come take my hand, and let the storm blow us beyond your dreams…"
So there you have it. Please review!
There may be another one, not exactly a follow on, more of a companion piece, about the Doctor. Not sure yet, will have to see!