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.
Disclaimer: All the usuals; own nothing, not intended to cause infringement or offense to anyone...
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, explaining to her mum that she was never leaving the Doctor, and he'd slipped that ruddy yellow button around her neck.
Suddenly, Rose found herself in the Pete's world's Torchwood; sterile, empty, a metallic, disused tang in the air. The vague hum of distant zeppelins.
Rose wasn't going to let him try that old trick again.
It hadn't worked on Satellite 5, sending her to her mum. And it wouldn't work now. He was her home.
She pressed the button, and returned to her own world.
"I think this is the 'on' switch..." Rose breathed nonchalantly.
The Doctor startled at the sudden appearance. Then he charged for her grabbing Rose roughly by the shoulders, roaring 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."
The Void had pulled hungrily at Rose, trying to make her lose her grip, and release herself into its depths; possessive. She was stronger than they gave her credit for.
For a while, at least.
The process of losing her grip was a long one; first one hand, then after a struggle, the other.
Rose could see the Doctor. His face was a mask of terror; he was so powerful, so clever, but at this moment, all for naught. She could see, feel, his desperate yearn to save her.
"ROSE!" he screamed in anguish.
Rose's hair whipped her face; the trip to Hell was taking a long time. 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 a universe opening and closing a hole, barely audible over the wrenching of the ravenous void.
A startled, desperate cry; "Rose!"
Rose's path was blocked by a body, for a moment. It was time enough. She turned, reaching for whoever it was, as they slipped through her fingers. Rose was left with a blue denim jacket in her hands, as the void closed over Jackie Tyler's shocked eyes. The wind died. The void was silent.
"MUM!" Rose screamed as the gateway to the void crumbled and closed.
She rushed forward. Called to the featureless white wall.
"MUM!" Rose "No! Mum!"
The Doctor was beside her, she realised, as he lay a palm on the wall where the centre of the void had just been. Rose, tears beginning to pool dangerously over the eyeliner, sniffed and clenched her tears back as she turned quickly to him.
"Rose," he was so serious, so sad, before she could find any words. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."
The answer to the question she hadn't asked. There was nothing he could do. She nodded. The tears spilled down her face as Rose turned, in grief, slamming her fists against the wall.
"Bring her back!"
The Doctor eyes were on the wall; he stared at nothing. Simple, 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 tearstains streaking her cheeks left marks on the stark whiteness.
The Doctor waited for her, silent. 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? How could this have-
"It's all my fault,"Rose realised to herself aloud, the tears renewing their zeal.
She turned to the Doctor. Crumbled into his hug, her arms clenched desperately together around the blue denim jacket. His embrace enclosed her completely.
The Doctor patted her back gently, spoke carefully. "It's not your fault."
"She only came back for me," Rose blubbed.
Rose felt, rather than heard, the Doctor sigh, and renew his hug on 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 questing that she make eye contact, but couldn't tear her eyes from her hands, and the jacket still held between them.
She immediately sat in the seat by the controls, feel squarely on the floor of the TARDIS, the jacket on her lap. The Doctor didn't speak; part of Rose wished he would. He eyed her, his face a mixture of grief, concern and wary, as he moved away from Rose and toward 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 simple, monotonous "I can't", back at Torchwood, had 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? What was happening to mum now?
Rose closed her eyes as the thoughts sank in, and listened to the hums of the parked TARDIS, hearing 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 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.
"Please," she started shakily. "Take me away from here. Or give me somethin' to do," Rose sniffed, wiping her eyes. She laughed, absurdly. "I'm goin' to go mad in all this quiet!"
The Doctor remained by the console. "Where would you like to go?"
"I don' care," Rose laughed helplessly, the desperation leaking through her tone.
The Doctor pursed his lips, but flipped a couple of 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. She stood and tried to occupy her mind with the flashing icons on the console display. Trying to convince herself that she knew, after all these years, what they meant.
Time passed quickly, ironically enough 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'd promised to take you a long time ago. Funny that the time never seemed right before. Barcelona."
Aside the moments of forgetting, 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.
The Doctor was real. He didn't demand answers, or make Rose sit and explain her feelings to him. He was there. He took her to planets full of art and beauty. Incidentally, most of these planets had some funny, furry animal species. He'd hold her hand. Put his arm around her. He didn't have to.
But he was there, which is what Rose needed most. What she did know of his people, and the Time War…she had guessed he was relating that to her own loss. The feelings he'd had, when all his people had died. There's grief, loneliness. 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 (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 there).
Rose had sat down, put her feet on the console. The Doctor had returned to the main display. Stared at it for a while.
"Hmm," he hmmed. Again, stared at the screen. Glanced at Rose briefly, then back at the screen.
"What is it?" Rose asked eventually.
"A gap," he kept his eyes on the screen, almost deliberately not looking back at her now. Rose sat up straighter, 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. "…meanin'?"
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 Harriet Jones, for that matter, if you felt the urge."
Rose continued to stare at him. "What about…" she stopped, already knowing the answer.
After a moment's pause. "Do you want me to chase it?"
He nodded, "Last of it's kind. You won't get another chance."
What would be the point, Rose thought? They would see a Pete who wasn't Rose's 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 tied Rose to Pete's world...wasn't there now either.
Rose forced a half-smile, "What else ya got?"
The Doctor paused just for a moment, and recovered, sucking in a breath and turning back to his monitor. "Oh, let's see. 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 more gigantic 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, no fluffy bees or pollinatin' rituals either, mister," Rose pointed a finger, smirking.
The Doctor grinned and flipped a switch.
They were off.
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.
She turned and looked. Standing by the door, back to them, was somehow, absurdly, someone in a bride costume.
"Hello?" Rose called. Made a move to dash 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. 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, older than Rose, with a shock of red hair. 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…