Title: Rebirth of the Time Lords
Summary: Rose tells the Doctor to take her back to her time and come back in twenty years to get her. But after leaving her, TARDIS takes him to a post-time war Barcelona where he is assigned the task of taking on several companions and teach the ways of the Gallifrey.
Notes: 10/Rose. Very AU.
Chapter Nine - Ambrosia
The drink of the Gods…
The Doctor would later laugh and tell Rose she should have known better than to indulge in ambrosia, but who could blame her? As the saying went, "When in Rome" -- or rather "Greece," as their case was. Of course it hadn't been real ambrosia, since the real nectar was rather poisonous to mortals, it had only been a rather good imitation.
Though, no one had warned them that it was a drink also used to help induce "over-ripened" females into labour until after the fact. Needless to say one cup of the nectar drink had sent water splashing to the floor the moment they stood to leave Plato's home. Rose's dress had instantly become drenched and the Doctor had simultaneously launched into a state of panic, primarily because they hadn't known Rose was at the stage in her pregnancy to be considered "over-ripened."
It hadn't been because he was worried about the health of the twins Rose was carrying in her proud belly, but because he was fairly sure Jackie would kill him at least three times once they arrived back at Powell Estates for letting the twins be born in Ancient Greece. She had actually made a point of threatening that very thing, right before they left, so he wouldn't put it past her to keep to her word. Thankfully, Lilith had thought to scoop up Dee while the Doctor tried to hurry Rose back to the TARDIS, while shouting a quick thank you and goodbye to Plato over his shoulder.
Once back in the TARDIS the Doctor tried to take charge. "Lilith, get Rose to the… the… the thing… with the… stuff for things and… you know what I mean!" the Doctor yelled, desperately turning knobs and pulling levers.
"The infirmary?" Lilith asked unsurely. "Won't you need help with the--"
"I've steered the TARDIS plenty on my own before," the Doctor pointed out. "So get Rose to the infirmary before I mis-turn a knob and we end up in Cambodia, 1837."
As soon as the two women had disappeared down the corridor, the Doctor turned toward the console seat and grinned at Dee. The six-year-old boy bounced fervently in his seat and then slipped to the floor. "What do you need me to do?" he asked excitedly.
"You see that lever?" the Doctor asked. When Dee nodded, the Doctor continued. "That's the… the --- oh bother, it's not important what it is right now. Just push it toward the console and hold it steady if you can." The Doctor hurried around the console and adjusted, pumped, and turned as many things as he could. "Dee, there's a crank about six inches from you. I need you to turn it clockwise about four and half times and push it in. But try to keep hold of that lever."
When the Doctor arrived in the infirmary Rose was sitting on the side of the little bed. Her and Lilith were giggling over something or other. Rose gave him a bright smile the moment he walked in.
"Doctor, Lilith and I were just having a laugh about this whole situation. I was thinking, could we name the girl Ambrosia? Lilith said I should maybe run it past you to see what you thought. A bit of a secret joke about her birth…" she trailed off.
Lilith stroked Rose's hair affectionately then walked over to the Doctor. "She hasn't stopped laughing since I gave her a sedative," she said in a low voice. "She's very relaxed and calm, all the readouts are normal. I'm going to go get Jackie and Mickey. Where's Dee, I'll take him along with me."
"He's in the console room watching television," the Doctor provided. "We've just arrived at Powell Estates, so they should be knocking at the door shortly."
As soon as Lilith had exited the room, Rose gave the Doctor a wide grin. "So? What do you think? Ambrosia? 'S that sound like a good enough name?"
The Doctor took a seat next to Rose on the bed. "Sounds wonderful," the Doctor replied with a knowing smile.
Rose gawked. "Oh, dirty!" she laughed, giving him a playful shove. "You already knew that's what I was going to name her didn't you? I should change my mind just to spite you now." She smiled gently and put her hand on her stomach. "She likes Ambrosia, so we'll keep it."
"You never told me, Rose… What's it like?" The Doctor carefully placed his hand on Rose's stomach. "I mean, I can feel their presence there. Every little atom of their existence…"
"It's… strange," Rose said quietly. "I mean, when I was pregnant with Dee, mum had told me --" she did her best to imitate her mother's voice. "Oh, this will happen and you'll feel this, experience that. I did but… it was different. I can feel them, I can hear them. I know what they know and they know everything."
A troubled look crossed her features. "Something's happening. She's scared. She's screaming. Something's going wrong!"
The door of the infirmary was thrust open and Lilith looked at Rose wildly. "Doctor," Lilith said in a worried tone. "Ambrosia is dying."
After a lot of screaming and cursing on Rose's part two little bundles were delivered. The boy, which Rose named after Mickey -- to be called Mick -- was set carefully into her arms. The Doctor and Lilith had spared no moments in getting Ambrosia to the Zero Room, to see if it would help her situation any.
"Why! What's going on? Why is she dying Lilith?" the Doctor asked quietly.
"I don't know," was the whispered reply. "You and I both saw… she's perfectly alive and well in the future…" Lilith paused and gently touched the tiny little baby in the sterile crib. "We both've seen her… Arrogant, haughty, snot-nosed brat Ambrosia," Lilith said with affection.
Jackie, Mickey, and Dee were in the infirmary with Rose and the newborn Mick. The Doctor and Lilith had tracked down the Zero Room in record time and taken Ambrosia there in hopes that maybe it would help. But over a hundred scans later, Ambrosia's life signs were still rapidly failing.
It was a weak heart that was doing her in. The tiny little heart couldn't keep up with the body. And some time very soon it would be giving up the struggle.
The Doctor did another scan of the baby and sighed heavily. "This is maddening. I can't do anything! All the technology of the universe is available to me in the TARDIS and I can't do a damn thing to stop this."
He looked over to Lilith and froze. The girl was trembling fiercely; her eyes were blank of any expression. Suddenly, she looked at him sharply the blank eyes suddenly becoming aglow with a golden light. When she opened her mouth to speak, it wasn't her voice that spoke to him.
"My Doctor," the soft voice said. "There is… one way. It will damage her, but she will be made stronger by it."
The Doctor hesitated. In what way could the Empress save the failing child?
"You have seen firsthand that whoever controls all of time and space can easily control life and death. It is but a quirk of matter, as you have said before."
"But it is not your place to do that," the Doctor pointed out, pacing the small room. "And I thought I told you that Lilith is not your celestial carrier pigeon!" he spat this out transferring his helplessness to anger.
"What I do with my daughter is not your concern." The golden eyes narrowed. "Would you have me take away all the things I have already returned to you? They are all things that it was not my place to restore but I did it out of gratitude for all the things you have done for me. If that is what you wish, then I will restore the rule of the Daleks, I will take away Gallifrey, all of your children…" She paused slightly, "…and Rose. Which would you prefer? A paradox created by your hands or one created by mine? To help you make an informed decision I will let you know, the one made by your hands would undo the entirety of time and space since the last moments of your previous regeneration."
The Doctor opened his mouth to reply but then promptly closed it. It wasn't often people, or in this instance beings, left him speechless. Part of him knew that, as a Time Lord, he was usually a better judge of what should and should not exist better than most. But, in this case the Empress of Time and Space might possibly know a little bit better than him -- but only a little, his Time Lord pride added even though he knew she knew much better than he did.
He scanned Ambrosia one last time and looked at Lilith. He took a deep breath then slowly exhaled. "Do whatever you have to."
"Leave us," the Empress said firmly as Lilith carefully gathered the infant into her arms.
"Leave us!" she shouted with much more authority.
The Doctor jumped back slightly. With much hesitation, he backed away to the door and eased out of the room. He rested his forehead against the cold door for several minutes before pushing away from it and heading back toward the infirmary.
"She slept for a bloomin' week after Dee was born. Just sorta passed out and didn't do anything but breathe for eight days straight," Jackie was saying in a hushed tone, to Mickey, as the Doctor walked back into the infirmary. Dee was clinging to her leg, watching the door. She had baby Mick in her arms, gently swaying back and forth to give him the impression of being rocked. "But you wouldn't know of all that sort, Mickey. She didn't want anyone around her at that time. I hardly got to see her out of her room until Dee 'ere was born."
Dee gave the Doctor a sneaky grin. "Is my little sister going to be okay?" he asked, running over to the Doctor and tugging on his trousers leg.
The Doctor knelt down and scooped Dee onto his hip. "I don't know. How is Rose, Jackie?"
"Sleeping," Jackie bristled. "If you hadn't taken her off --"
"It would have still happened Jackie so don't start giving me a lecture. I'll be able to give you a lecturing that would make your head spin if you so much as think of blaming me for this," the Doctor interrupted. To his surprise, Jackie clamped her mouth shut and retreated to a close by chair.
Jackie eyed him as if expecting some sort of explanation as to why her granddaughter was dying when she was born.
"Weak heart," a vague voice whispered. It took everyone in the room a moment to realize that it was Rose. "Couldn't help that Mum. She just had a weak heart." Rose carefully sat up and her eyes instantly latched onto the Doctor. "Where is she?"
Just as the Doctor opened his mouth to respond, the TARDIS gave a loud groan and shuddered violently -- which alone was odd considering she wasn't travelling or getting ready to materialize somewhere. The lights began flickering as the ship convulsed, as if she was about to become horribly sick.
The Doctor quickly lowered Dee to the floor and raced out of the infirmary and down the corridors.
When he reached the Zero Room, just as the lights went completely out, he tried the door but it stayed firmly in place. The TARDIS rumbled and groaned painfully. It gave one last convulsion and everything stilled and became eerily quiet.
Slowly, the TARDIS began to show signs of being alive. First with a gentle humming and the return of the lights. The door of the Zero Room flung open and Lilith staggered out. The Doctor caught her just before she tumbled to the ground. Lilith blabbered incoherently, a wild look in her eyes as she tried to right herself.
Jackie and Mickey ran up in the middle of Lilith's blabbering. After about five minutes of the strange behaviour, Lilith snapped instantly to attention. "Oi," she barked, looking at Mickey and Jackie sharply. They both jumped slightly.
Lilith grinned brightly and stepped into the doorway. "First things first Doctor," her smile faded. "I have no control over what happened. Between the combination of me and my mother… we were able to make sure none of the usual risks and endangerments during the process did anything…"
"What did you do to Ambrosia?" the Doctor asked. "Is she alright?"
"She's fine. She's absolutely smashing in fact," Lilith said proudly.
"What did you do to her?" It was Rose's weak voice that took everyone's attention from the Zero Room door. She was holding the other baby securely in her arms and Dee was obediently at her side.
Lilith bounded over to Rose and lightly placed her hands on the woman's shoulders. "Rose. Don't be angry or anything. She would have died if it hadn't been done. But… She's better now, much better than you could ever imagine. She's just going to be… different."
"How… different? Or should I ask different how?" Rose asked slowly.
Lilith looked to the Doctor pleadingly. "She'll age slowly, until her mind catches up…"
"What did you do to her?" the others all demanded.
Lilith shrank away. "I'm just… trying to prepare you…"
"Mum…" a tremulous voice came from somewhere close to the ground.
For a moment both the Doctor and Rose looked at Dee, but the tiny frail voice was too gentle and soft for it to have been Dee. Lilith stepped into the Zero Room to allow the source of the small voice to walk out in front of her.
The Doctor's jaw dropped, Rose let out a slight scream of surprise, Jackie's face contorted into an expression that bordered shock and blind fury. The small form was wobbly in her slightly chubby limbs, wrapped up in the blanket she had been swaddled in prior to being raced to the Zero Room.
The dark brown eyes looked up at Rose and the Doctor. She cocked her head to the side curiously. "Are you my mummy and daddy?" she asked.
The Doctor dropped down to the unsteady child's level, taking her small face in his hands. "Two heartbeats… the knowledge of the entirety of space and time…" He looked at Lilith sharply. "There's a reason regeneration was not done by anyone except thoroughly prepared Time Lords…" dangerous anger flashed in his dark eyes.
"She'll be fine Doctor," Lilith said moodily. "I know you're confused by what you're seeing… But human children are born with the knowledge of all those things. It's just as they get older… they forget. But Ambrosia won't forget."
Rose knelt down and hesitantly reached out to touch Ambrosia's silky blond hair. Ambrosia weaved unsteadily and grabbed her mother's arm to keep from falling down. Rose looked between the child that looked about a year old standing in front of her and the small newborn held securely with her arm.
When Rose looked up and caught the Doctor's eyes, there were so many questions in the depths of her brown eyes. The Doctor instinctive knew what she was wanting know.
"Loomings… when we first came out of the loom… we could walk and talk within a few hours," he explained. "I can only guess that when the regeneration happened… it did the best it could. Time Lords usually can't regenerate until they are at least 150 or so years old…" The Doctor gazed at Ambrosia for a long moment. "This is completely out of my sphere of experience."
They both looked to Lilith, who had the decency to look strained. "I, or rather my mum, had to help her of course. She would not have managed on her own. She needed the second heart to survive. Can't you see it was the only way?" the young woman pleaded. "My mum healed her, made her better.
The Doctor sighed, he'd already met Ambrosia in the future so he supposed it was fated, or predetermined. "Fine!" he said irritated then relented and spoke more gently for the children's sake. "What now?"
"What do you mean, 'what now'?" Rose asked, her eyes glimmering with tears as she gently pulled Ambrosia closer. "We adapt, we go on. There's nothing we can do to change it and frankly…" she looked up at Lilith. "Thank you, Lilith. And, if you can easily communicate with your mum… Give her my thanks too."
"She knows," Lilith whispered.