Hello! This is my first Doctor Who Fanfic, I hope you enjoy it!
I'd like to make it clear now that I don't dislike Martha. I think she brings an interesting dynamic to Doctor Who, and she will be turning up in later chapters. This story specifically is here to see how the Third series might have gone if Rose was still around, that's all.
It was inspired by "The Shakespeare Code", and the Doctor's; "Rose would know what to say..." comment.
Note: I'm back - sort of! I re-watched season 3 in 2014 and decided this could be a whole lot better, so a few of the chapters have had a bit of an edit here and there.
Disclaimer: All the usuals; own nothing, not intended to cause infringement or offence to anyone...
PROLOGUE: DOOMSDAY'S EPILOGUE
We begin with what could have been the end: Earth's Doomsday. It marked the end of Torchwood, and the end of the Tylers, as the world had known them.
He'd tricked her again. There she'd been, confidently explaining to her mum that she was never leaving the Doctor, and he'd slipped that damned yellow button around her neck.
Rose found herself in Pete's world, at Torchwood. It was sterile and empty, with a metallic, disused tang in the air. There was a hum in the distance, of the zeppelins she had once looked up at with wonder. At that moment, it was the worst sound in the world to her.
Oh no, Rose wasn't going to let him do it again. It hadn't worked on Satellite 5, sending her to her mum, and it wouldn't work now. How many times did she have to tell him for him to believe she was never leaving him?
She pressed the yellow button, and with a tugging sensation as she was pulled through universes, returned to her own world.
"I think this is the 'on' switch..." Rose breathed nonchalantly.
The Doctor startled at her sudden reappearance. Then he charged for her, grabbing Rose by the shoulders, and roared at her, his eyes flashing.
"Once the breach collapses, that's it. You will never be able to see her again. Your own mother!"
"I made my choice a long time ago, and I'm never gonna leave you," she stated calmly, staring him down.
The Void pulled hungrily at Rose, trying to make her lose her grip and fall into its depths, possessive and hungry. But she was stronger than anyone gave her credit for.
For a while, at least.
The process of losing her grip was an agonisingly long one; first one hand, then after a struggle to try hold on, the other.
Rose could see the Doctor. His face was a mask of terror. For all his power and cleverness, at this moment, he was as helpless as she was. She could see, almost feel, his desperate longing to save her.
"ROSE!" he screamed in anguish.
Rose's hair whipped around her face as she fell. The trip to Hell was taking a long time and she could do nothing but scream.
When the distance between the Doctor and the Void was halved by Rose, there was another sound - the sound of the universes opening and closing, barely audible but definitely present, over the wrenching noise of the ravenous Void.
She hit something - someone - and she stopped falling.
There was a startled, desperate cry, from the someone.
Rose's path was blocked by the body, for a moment, and it was time enough to save her.
"Mum!" Rose cried out.
She turned, reaching back for Jackie Tyler, grabbing her arm for only a moment, and then she slipped through her fingers. Rose was left with a blue denim jacket in her hands, as the Void closed over Jackie's wide, frightened eyes.
Then the wind died down and the Void was silent.
"MUM!" Rose screamed as the gateway to the Void crumbled and closed.
She rushed forward and called to the featureless white wall.
"MUM!" Rose cried. "No! Mum! Come back!"
The Doctor was beside her, she noticed, and he lay a palm on the wall where the centre of the hole to the Void had just been. Rose, tears beginning to pool over her heavy eyeliner, sniffed and clenched her teeth as she turned quickly to him.
"Rose," he was so serious, so sad, before she could say anything. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."
The answer to the question she hadn't asked. There was nothing he could do.
The tears spilled down her face as Rose turned, in grief, slamming her fists against the wall.
"Bring her back!" she demanded to the universe.
The Doctor eyes were on the wall, but he stared at nothing. His unnecessary reply was simple and in a monotone: "I can't."
Rose sobbed, her hands pressed to the last place she'd seen her mother's terrified eyes as the Void had claimed her. "No…" she rested her forehead on the wall, closing her eyes. The blackened tear stains streaking her cheeks left marks on the stark white wall.
The Doctor waited for her silently and patiently; waited while Rose Tyler grieved her mother's sacrifice.
Had Jackie known the Void was still open, or had she simply followed her daughter to her ultimate end?
And where was she now – hell? Nowhere? Another universe? How could this have happened?
"It's all my fault,"Rose realised aloud, the tears flowing freely again, and she sobbed.
She turned to the Doctor and crumbled against him, her arms clenched desperately together around the blue denim jacket. His embrace enclosed her completely.
The Doctor patted her back gently, and spoke carefully.
"It's not your fault."
"But she only came back for me," Rose blubbed.
Rose felt, rather than heard, the Doctor sigh, and tighten his hug around her.
Weren't they supposed to be the "stuff of legends"? Not her mum?
When Rose had calmed down, she had asked to go back to the TARDIS. She'd felt him trying to make eye contact, but couldn't tear her eyes from her hands, and the jacket still held between them.
She immediately moved to and sat in her usual seat by the controls, feet squarely on the floor of the TARDIS, the jacket on her lap. The Doctor didn't speak, and a part of Rose wished he would. He eyed her, his face a mixture of grief, concern and wariness, as he turned away from Rose and faced the console.
He'd always had an answer for everything they'd ever encountered, Rose thought, a little blankly. It seemed wrong that he was so empty of a solution now. But his "I can't" back at Torchwood...he'd been serious. That's why she didn't ask again. He would not give her false hope, when there was none.
What would have happened if she'd fallen through the Void, Rose wondered? Would he have given up on her, or tried to find some impossible way to save her?
What was happening to mum now? Was she alive?
Rose closed her eyes as her mind swam through endless questions, aware of the hums of the parked TARDIS, and the Doctor's nearby tapping, adjusting and buzzy sonic-ing.
With her eyes closed, she was victim to those final, desperate, agonising minutes all over again. This wouldn't do.
"Doctor?" Rose cleared her throat.
He looked up from whatever he was doing on the console, to Rose. He was still so, so sad, which surprised Rose a little, on the level that she was still operating and sensing the world around her. Rose wished he would smile and tell her it would be okay, then took the thought back. No, that wouldn't do either. This wasn't okay. This would never be okay.
"Please," she started shakily. "Take me away from here. Or give me something to do," Rose sniffed, wiping her eyes. She laughed, absurdly. "Let's go somewhere. Please?"
The Doctor remained by the console, looking down and flicking a few switches. After a pause, he asked quietly, "Where would you like to go?"
"I don't care," Rose laughed helplessly, the desperation leaking through her tone.
The Doctor pursed his lips, but flipped a couple more switches and started up the dematerialisation sequence. Rose focussed on the sound, telling herself again and again that she was not abandoning her mother to hell, and if there was some way to bring her back, the Doctor would be doing that right now instead of taking them away.
She stood, and tried to distract herself by watching the flashing icons on the console display closely. Trying to convince herself that she knew, after all these years, what they meant.
Time passed quickly, which was impossible really, since they were in a time machine. The TARDIS quietened. There was a hand on Rose's shoulder.
She blinked and turned her head a little, refocusing on the Doctor. He'd put his glasses on, for some reason.
The Doctor tried a smile, but Rose noticed his eyes weren't smiling at all. "Somewhere I promised to take you a long time ago. Funny that the time never seemed right before. Barcelona."
Rose attempted a small smile, too, though her heart was not in it. "The city? Or the planet?"
The Doctor's smile widened.
When Rose wasn't distracting herself and trying to forget what had happened, there was a lot of grief. How does one come to terms with what had happened to Jackie Tyler? So Rose could live, she had…well, died? Or something worse? Rose didn't know.
It was the not knowing that was the worst.
The Doctor was real, and there. He didn't demand answers, or make Rose sit and explain her feelings to him. He took her to planets full of art and music, and beautiful distractions. Incidentally, most of these planets also had some funny, furry animal species inhabiting it. He'd hold her hand. Put his arm around her. He didn't have to.
He was just there, which is what Rose needed most. Did he know how she was feeling? Was she being selfish, wallowing? Was her loss at all relatable to him losing his entire planet - the feelings he'd had, when all his people had died?
It didn't matter. Right now, there was grief and loneliness, amongst the running through space and time. All sorts of damaging self-inflicted emotions, that could have sent Rose spiralling if it had not been for his presence, and distractions. He was no stranger to grief, and Rose didn't try to pretend she was the only person who had ever lost someone.
They had just returned to the TARDIS from a stroll around Cygnus, which was home to hundreds of fluffy butterflies, the size of humans. They were actually quite scary, but Rose guessed the Doctor had thought she'd find them cute - definite Hagrid complex he had there.
Rose had sat down and put her feet up on the console. The Doctor returned to the main display, and stared at it for a while.
"Hmm," he hmmed.
Again, stared at the screen. Glanced at Rose briefly, then back at the screen.
Rose waited. When he didn't answer, she asked eventually, "What is it?"
"A gap," he kept his eyes on the screen, and she wondered if he was deliberately not looking at her. Rose sat up straight, feet on the floor.
"Gap of what?"
"A gap in the Universe, just about to close," as though this explained everything.
Rose stared at him and waited. "…meaning?"
He laughed softly.
"A gap leading to Pete's world. We could talk to them, if you wanted to. Mickey and Pete, I mean. And Jake. The alternate universe Harriet Jones, for that matter, if you wanted to."
Rose continued to stare at him. "What about…?" she stopped, already knowing the answer.
After a moment's pause, he asked, "Do you want me to chase it?"
He nodded, "Last of its kind. We won't get another chance."
What would be the point, Rose thought? They would see a Pete who wasn't her father, and darling Mickey who she'd already said goodbye to months ago, when he'd first decided to stay on Alternate Earth. The only person that could have really tied Rose to Pete's world...wasn't there anymore.
Rose forced a half-smile, "Nah. What else ya got?"
The Doctor paused just for a moment, then inhaled and exhaled loudly, turning back to his monitor. "Oh, let's see, what's close? There's Florana, I haven't taken you there yet? Why haven't I taken you there?" almost scolding himself.
Rose shook off the feeling of gloom and tried a proper smile. "As long as there's no giant fluffy butterflies."
"Nooo," the Doctor pepped up a little, winking at her. "There's lots of flowers, though, if you hadn't guessed from the name."
"Right, flowers. And they won't spring legs, chase us, or try to eat us?" she asked.
"Eat us?" the Doctor seemed genuinely confused.
"And no..." she continued, "I don't know, giant killer bees or weird pollinating rituals?" Rose asked, smirking.
"No. Just flowers." The Doctor laughed, and flipped a switch. "Plain old boring, beautiful, sweet-smelling, run-of-the-mill flowers."
They were off.
"And maybe a sort of hummingbird beetle lizard thing the size of a van," he added quickly. "But they're harmless, I promise."
Rose groaned and stood up, placing her hands on the centre console. "What's he like, old girl?" she asked the TARDIS.
And the last, small gap in the universe closed forever, unnoticed.
Rose leaned on the console, watching the Doctor at work, again. She didn't know what he was up to, but she was sure it was important. Or he was just trying to look important. She smiled at him.
Suddenly, the Doctor looked up from the monitor, toward the doorway, eyes wide in shock.
Rose's heart leaped into her mouth. "What is it?" she asked quickly.
The Doctor didn't answer Rose; still staring at the door.
"What?" she turned and looked.
Standing by the door, back to them, was somehow, absurdly, a red-headed bride.
"Hello?" Rose called, and started toward her. The Doctor grabbed Rose's wrist, held her in place, a grip both restrictive and reassuring. She flashed him a questioning glance; he was tight-lipped, eyes wide, and shook his head, slightly. Rose could practically hear the cogs of his brain ticking over, trying to figure out how someone could have entered his TARDIS without being invited.
The bride turned – she was older than Rose. She yelped at them. Rose jumped.
"Who are you?" the bride demanded.
"But-" the Doctor started, and was cut off.
"Where am I?" she continued, angrier.
Rose gripped the Doctor's hand, harder, spoke through the corner of her mouth. "Doctor, what's going on?"
"What?" the Doctor turned to Rose, as though he'd forgotten she was there.
"What the hell is this place?" the bride threw her hands up.
To be continued…