Disclaimer: None of the character's belong to me. My muse just wants to have fun with them.
Category: 10th Doctor. No Warnings. Doomsday epilogue.
Beta work: By my wonderful friend Strut.
Author's Notes: This is my first Doctor Who story. I find it a bit scary to write for a new fandom and would highly appreciate some constructive reviews.
The oncoming storm is what I call him, because his strength doesn't lie in repelling alien fleets or in staving off invasions. He touches life… your life… and makes it better. That's how good the Doctor is.
The old lady watched. Safe and sound behind her second floor window, looking down upon the parking lot below.
See'd seen him… That new boyfriend of Rose Tyler, acting like he belonged here on Powell estate.
This was Rose's latest fling, she burned her love interests up like matches, then tossed them away when she'd had enough.
First there'd been Mickey, poor fellow. He never could handle her. The Tyler girl used him like he was her toy and then dumped the sweet guy for a man old enough to be her father for God's sake.
She'd seen them… He must have been way in his forties, sitting on that wall, talking, and laughing. Rose was smitten, the old woman could tell. He was a man who'd probably seen it all and thought it amusing to see it again through a young girl's eyes. This second relationship of the Tyler girl would never last.
Sure enough, one-year later, after this so called 'traveling' of her, though everybody knew what was really going on –shacking up- or whatever the kids called it these days, Rose returned home with yet another man.
The old woman observed him closely… This one was younger, and she had to hand it to the girl, far better looking. Marching back and forth Powell Estate, the two of them always hung around that blue police box on the concrete square beneath her window. At times the Tyler girl and her newest boyfriend even went inside. God knew what they were doing in there. Unholy things, that's for sure. At that point she always stopped watching and closed the blinds.
Now, a few weeks later, here they were again, strolling toward the small park just off to the left of her building. If she strained her neck, she could just make out the greenery. They walked hand in hand. She frowned. It's obvious the Rose's in love again. But is he? The looks he shot her when the girl was not looking betrayed the fact that he held back. Good for him. Better be careful around her, the way she used her boyfriends, he was lucky enough that their relationship had lasted this long.
Girls like Rose didn't belong on this estate. The old lady preferred to surround herself with proper hard working people, elderly folk who kept to them selves and upheld the rules, unlike the Tylers. I shouldn't blame Rose, I s'pose. The way she's raised I'm surprised she turned out this well. Ever since her husband died, Rose's mother's string of boyfriends had grown by the month. Jacky Tyler's latest conquest was Howard, the Milkman. Good thing I stopped buying milk from him. But as a result she was forced to go to the grocery store far more often than she pleased. No, girls like Rose: unemployed and lazing about needed to be told the truth once in a while.
Wearing a long coat in a style that went out with the dark ages, she thought Rose's boyfriend had charisma. But good looking or not, to be frank, the guy gave her the creeps. As though feeling the intensity of her stare, he looked up. Brown eyes locked straight onto her window two floors up. She gasped and managed to hide just in time.
A few months later they were back. And this time the young man was clearly in love. The way he looked at Rose left no doubt. Plus, he walked around like he owned the place, marching straight across the garage lot where only residents of her building were allowed.
She grunted in frustration. Maybe it was time to tell him the truth. Let him know for sure that she was watching his every move.
The opportunity arose when she took out the garbage the next morning and spotted him walking only a few feet away from the buildings large containers. "Oi! Only residents are allowed here!" she yelled in a fit of anger.
He turned. "Oh, but this way is so much shorter."
She held up an accusing finger. "I know where you're going and where that girl of yours lives. Next time, take the long route, like everyone else does!"
"Neighborhood security listens to me," she said quickly, while walking away. "You mark my words."
"Really?" To her surprise he paced right by her and cut her off. "Ma'am, may I suggest… And I say this with the utmost respect… G e t… a… l i f e?"
"How dare you talk to me like that? If anyone should get a life it's you and that Tyler girl of yours! Instead of dallying about, you could work for a living! Don't think I haven't noticed your lack of decent employment. And let me give you a word of advice. Don't fall in love with her! She's no good."
He stared at her. The look in his eyes making her want to step back. It took some tremendous effort, but in the end she remained put. "That…" he spoke coldly and lifted a finger in her face. "Is none of your business."
To her relief, he turned and abruptly walked off.
The Tardis materialized.
The engine died down to the low hum Rose had gotten used to and she opened the doors. Enthused she walked outside, looking forward to see her mother again. There was a time when the Doctor hesitated to come with her and do the 'domestic thing,' but after his regeneration at least in that aspect he had changed and happily trotted after her. She stopped dead at the sight of the grassy field in front of them. "This is Powell court! Why have you parked all the way over here?"
She turned to catch the Doctor's quick shrug. "I told you, the Tardis has a mind of her own. I can't always control the exact point of landing down to the-"
"That's bull and you know it!" She interrupted him. "You always land smack dead in the middle of the estate! You even materialized in my mother's kitchen once!"
"Well… yes…" he spoke vaguely and continued walking toward the high rises in the distance.
"All right!" he snapped and turned, clearly annoyed. "There's this woman."
"Woman?" she repeated confused, her curiosity peeked. It wasn't like him to act so subdued. He started walking again and she had to run to keep up.
"Yeah, near where you live," he rattled. "She's crazy." He took a deep breath then muttered. "Apparently I'm not allowed to walk across the-"
Suddenly she understood and desperately tried to hold back her laughter. "You got told off by Mrs. Rotherby, didn't you?" Failing partly in her efforts she couldn't help but release a teasing smile.
"Well… not so much as told off as more of a-"
"I don't believe this!" She said, no longer hiding her amusement. "The oncoming storm, diverted by a frail old lady?"
The Doctor stopped abruptly and pointed a sharp finger at the estate. "That woman is a stiff know-it-all who should mind her own business!"
Rose watched his eyes darken and her snicker died down to a frown. "I've never seen you like this before. Well, maybe in front of a Dalek force, but not-"
This time, he interrupted her. "Let me tell you something, Rose. That woman has more power than the Dalek fleet and Cybermen combined. You humans… You don't know the power you have. Individually, you're so strong, you could move mountains if you had to. Most of you don't. But when an age old woman picks me out? Yeah… It scares the crap out of me."
"So, we take the long road to my mom's?"
"We take the long road."
He lost her.
The Doctor stood just outside the Tardis, unseeing, holding back his grief, his face drawn.
Just like I lost everyone else, by my choice or not. But they weren't as hard to give up as Rose was. Why was she so different? Maybe Rose was right. He had changed. He'd opened up, if only for a fraction, and learned to love.
For all his talk about the force of the individual, he'd never been able to embrace that power fully himself. It was too dangerous. You couldn't save the world and lose your soul in the process. Not time and time again. Not for as long as he'd lived. You couldn't.
A movement caught his eye and he looked up, taking in the disheveled appearance of the parking lot. Without Rose's presence, the Powell estate looked empty. Strange how quickly he'd come to see this as a second home.
The frail old woman that'd scorned him earlier emerged from the building to his left. Walking toward the garbage containers, she watched him with her beady little eyes, obviously intend on another aggressive verbal attack.
That's how evil starts, how it manages to gain a foothold into this world and grows and grows. Until it destroys something beautiful, something like love…
And took Rose away from him.
Sure enough the woman dumped her garbage and marched straight for him, finger raised. "I told you-"
"She's gone." His voice sounded more hoarse than he'd intended to.
Her gaze didn't soften in the slightest. "Well, you can't say I didn't warn you."
If it was her uncaring attitude or the events finally catching up with him, he didn't know, but suddenly he found himself laughing. "You think you know so much, don't you?" He walked forward, backing her off. "Have everything under control? Your flat, your neighborhood." He gestured to encompass the parking lot around him and swiveled around. "Keep it tidy! Keep it clean, ward off the strays, the ones not fitting into your picture of 'proper' people!" He stopped, looming over her. "Now here's a surprise. You know nothing. She's gone… g o n e. As in not among us anymore?"
The woman placed a hand over her mouth in shock.
The Doctor could tell she got it now "I lost her saving this world," he spoke coldly, not feeling the slightest compassion for her. "So you can live your puny little life. So I can go on protecting it!"
He never burst out like this to a complete stranger. Not without sufficient reason, because he knew the impact it could have. Still, he made no effort to stop the emotional tidal wave pressing through the gap between the raw edges of grief in his mind. It was all he could do to held off the rage building up inside. He lifted a finger and with a penetrating glare froze her on the spot. "For once, Mrs. Rotherby, just once, stay here! And watch!" he shouted. "Don't hide behind blinds! See what happens when you care enough and learn that there's so much more out there then Powell estate!"
He leaned in and lowered his voice to a threatening level. "I dare you to watch!"
Paralyzed by the emotional storm washing over her, the old woman stood trembling on the concrete pavement of the parking lot, not daring to turn around and walk home. His words shattered her carefully constructed walls, and it was all she could do to keep still. Frozen like a rabbit caught in headlights, she watched him disappear in the blue police box.
With a loud whooshing noise the booth faded from existence.
Mrs. Rotherby stood and stared, unmoving, eyes large and not blinking. Finally, reality caught up with her and she started to walk home, slowly, already denying what she'd seen. Slamming down her defenses, she turned to the familiar job at hand. Looking over the containers, she carefully checked if none of them had spilled any garbage. Can't have a mess now, can we?
But she couldn't stop the spark from burning inside her, and it was only in the lift that she felt it.
Until the warmth ballooned all out of proportion, shattering the barriers in her mind. It overwhelmed her just as she stepped inside her apartment. With a soft sob, she managed to close the front door behind her.
And she cried.