The Doctor was beginning to think this whole let himself be captured plan was a bad idea. Mind you, he hadn't had all the facts, such as becoming a groom, when he formulated it, so he was putting it down to incomplete intelligence.
Yup, that suited him fine. Incomplete. Intelligence.
Or, in Nafficilon's case - no intelligence whatsoever, if he thought that wiring and duct tape would hold him for long.
As he worked to free himself, he heard the engines suddenly pitch up, as the ship entered light speed.
Wherever he was being taken, it was a fair way away he reasoned.
He resumed his work on the cabling binding his arms.
Rose and Mickey materialised on the far side of the cargo bay, Mickey feeling more then slightly nauseated by the short trip via transmat.
Rose, who had been through alot more transmat journeys in her years as an Ambassador, clapped a hand on his shoulder in sympathy.
"It'll wear off." She promised, and stood up.
"Right then, here we go. Looks like a cargo bay. Knowing Nafficilon he'll want to keep the Doctor in sight at all times, and the ship needs a pilot, so... bridge it is!" She announced happily, then stopped when she saw Mickey smiling at her and shaking his head slightly.
"What is it?" She asked, suddenly wondering if there was something on her face.
"You even sound like 'im!" Chuckled Mickey.
Rose sighed and rolled her eyes.
"When I start wearing sideburns, then you can have me committed. Come on!" And she opened the service hatchway leading into the inner corridors of the ship.
Still grinning and imagining Rose with sideburns, Mickey followed her.
The Doctor was almost through his bonds, when there came a clatter from behind. Fresh ropes snaked over and around him, as Nafficilon returned in the nick of time, to stop his prisoner's escape.
"Now, I KNOW you weren't trying to escape... because if you had been, that wouldv'e hurt my feelings. And I KNOW you don't want to hurt my feelings, Doctor." Rasped Nafficilon, harshly in his ear. The Doctor stilled.
"Of course not. Mr Sensitive that's me." Assured the Doctor, groaning inwardly.
"Good. Because my dear Doctor, it's time to meet your bride"
Nafficilon activated the transmat and the Doctor was momentarily blinded by the white flash as it transported it's passenger right in front of him.
When he opened his eyes, the Doctor gasped in shock and pain.
But it wasn't Romana any longer. As she stepped closer, he could plainly see that although half the face was hers, the other was.. like the flesh of a Dalek!
Everything slotted into place in the Doctor's head in that instant.
Romana's disappearance from Gallifrey. The announcement that she must have been killed by the Daleks.
Only now, now he could see they were only half right.
"What happened to you Romana?" He breathed, eyes full of pity and sympathy for the creature which now stood in front of him. A shell of the woman he had known in this Universe, and married in his own.
"Can't you guess? The Daleks happened. They picked up my ship, transported me aboard. At first they simply wished to kill me, but the Dalek scientists reasoned they could utilise my genetic structure to create a union between our two peoples. They were half way through the metamorphis when my ship was hit by the Time Eddy. Your work?"
The Doctor nodded.
"I had to stop them destroying Earth."
She stopped in front of him, one long crippled finger reaching out to strok his cheek. He tried very hard not to flinch.
"And if you had known about me being held prisoner?" She questioned him.
The Doctor was silent, unable to meet her calm gaze. She smiled.
"You would have done the same anyway. For your Rose. I knew you would come back for her. That was why I arranged all this. So we could fulfill our destiny"
"What destiny is that then?" Asked the Doctor.
"We will rule the Universe, you and I. We will mould it, shape it and crush any rebellion they care to offer us." Romana pressed the human side of her face against the Doctor's in her excitement.
"Think of it! "
"And I suppose that I get to become like you, a hybrid - before all of this happens?" Questioned the Doctor, with dread in his voice.
"Yes. We shall be the only two, you and I, our first conquest will be Gallifrey.. and then Earth.. and then"
"The Universe? The Mily Way? Burger King?" Rose Tyler's voice interrupted the glorious picture Romana was painting, and the hybrid looked up angrily.
"Yup me. Rose Marion Tyler, defender of the Earth, Time Traveller extraordinaire, telling you to get the hell away from my Doctor"
"Rose this isn't what it looks like, I swear!" Called the Doctor, with a twinkle in his eye.
Rose grinned at him.
"Lying down on the job are we. Remember where that got us last time?" She quipped.
"Yeah, been meaning to speak to you about that. Never seem to have the time. Oh and Rose"
"I think Romana's having a fit" Romana was having a fit, actual convulsions as she tried to reconcile what was now happening. This wasn't right?! This wasn't her dream!
"Nafficilon, kill her!" She ordered.
Her henchman nodded and raised his blaster, but Mickey kicked it out of the way. "Now didnt anyone tell you it's not nice to fight girls?" He said, waggling his finger at the little man.
"Fine, I get to kill you first then!" Shouted Nafficilon, charging at Mickey.
"Me and my big mouth!" Gasped Mickey as he was knocked off his feet.
The Doctor was trying to get out his bonds, as Romana and Rose circled him, each preparing an attack on the other.
"He is mine! We are destiny reunited!" Hissed Romana as she lunged forward to get a grip on Rose.
"Destiny's overrated sweetheart!" Retorted Rose, as she pressed something into the Doctor's free hand. His sonic screwdriver. "He is mine!" Snarled Romana.
"No he isn't!" Differed Rose.
"Don't I get a say in this?" Asked the Doctor mid sonicking.
Both woman stared at him and then answered simultaneously.
"No!" "Just checking." Said the Doctor.
Mickey Smith had the upper hand now, and was busy smacking Nafficilion's head into a handy console which shorted out in sparks. Mickey rolled clear of it, but Nafficilon was not so lucky. His hand connected with the live wiring inside and the smell of burning flesh rent the air.
"Ashes to ashes.." Murmured Mickey as Nafficilon was reduced to such before his eyes.
"One down, one to go."
That 'one to go' had Rose pinned against the floor of the bridge, busy choking the life out of her with a metal pylon she'd wrenched from nearby machinery.
"Once you're gone, he will come back to me! This is all your. fault." Spat Romana.
Stars were appearing in Rose's field of vision, soon to be overcome with blackness, as she sought desperately for oxygen. Surely it couldn't end like this? Surely she couldn't fail him?
"You can never fail me, Rose Tyler"
Then the restriction was gone from her throat, and she drew in long ragged breaths, through a bruised a windpipe. Lovely, lovely oxygen! She gulped it in greedily. The Doctor had a hold of Romana now and he grabbed the metal pylon, wrestling it from her grasp and chucking it to one side.
"You NEVER touch her!" He growled in anger, and flung the woman aside as he hurried to Rose's side.
He grabbed her hand, and helped her stand up, catching her when she wobbled and fell, still dizzy.
"Alright?" He asked her, in his gentle manner. She couldv'e burst into tears at the sound of concern.
"Never better, now." She answered honestly and pressed a kiss to his lips.
"YOU BITCH!" Came a hoarse cry as Romana stood up, unaided, and with Nafficilon's blaster in her hands.
"NO!" Shouted Mickey in horror, and Romana turned in confusion at the sound of his voice.
The Doctor and Rose both seized the opportunity presented, and jumped Romana, grabbing for the gun, which went off twice.
At first it wasn't clear who had been shot, then Romana's dead body hit the floor, and Mickey breathed a sigh in relief.
He wasn't sorry that she was dead, but then he remembered. TWO shots. He'd heard the blaster whine twice.
The Doctor and Rose stared at each other, a lifetime of love exchanged between them.
"So near..." Whispered the Doctor.
"So far." Finished Rose, her eyes half closing as he held them upright.
"This isn't the end, Rose. I promise you. It's just the beginning of something new." Said the Time Lord, a sad smile playing on his lips.
"But it's the last time we - you and me - can be together. Until ... until we get to meet again." A tear appeared in Rose Tyler's eyes, and dropped down her cheek unchecked.
"If I had known .. I would still have come for you"
"Sshh... don't speak. Just hold me, until it's time. Until we have to go, lets hold onto here and now. Us. Together. The way it was meant to be." A sob racked her body, as the pain hit home.
She was losing her Doctor.
"Until we meet again, my Rose Tyler, defender of the Earth.. until then... I Love you."
Light flared between them, but Rose didn't look away this time. Didn't want to miss a single last second of seeing his face, his ridiculous, lovely, funny, kind - handsome face.
"Goodbye my Doctor." She whispered.
And he was gone.
Another man stood before her now, similar yet unsimilar. Blonde hair now replaced the dark, cropped shorter then before, blue eyes instead of brown, clear complexion instead of mottled.
A new Doctor. Would he still love her?
Authors Note: You thought it was Rose didn't you? You did, you did, you did! As if I could kill of a mother of two! This chapter is dedicated to Waltmouse and company! A big thank you to everyone reading this story, and kicking me up the butt to keep writing it.
Remember if you review.. I write more.