Hello! Yes, it's been a while. Thank you for all the messages and emails asking if I was going to continue an Alternate Universe for series 4!
After hearing that Rose was returning, I had put away the idea of continuing – there wasn't really a need - however after some reading and thinking, I might be able to make it still work ;) and it was too fun not to continue.
Here we have an alternate Time Crash. I've tagged it to the end of the (completed) Alternate Universe for series three to highlight that it won't make any sense unless you've read the previous chapters.
Let me know what you think – it was quite difficult in the end!
"Your mother will be desperate to see you, but before we go to her, you have to know. You can't see her like this," he said through gritted teeth, as though convincing himself to say whatever it was he was trying to say.
"Can't see me like what?"
The Doctor gave her a sympathetic look, and Rose noticed he was fiddling with something, something small and metallic, in his hand. "You're-"
The Doctor's head snapped to the centre console, his brows still crossed.
"Ah! Stop it! What was all that about, eh? Eh?" he called out, holding his hands up, dashing away.
"What the hell was that?!" Jack entered the room, lifting a welding mask from his face, addressing the sparking, whirring vortex.
Rose barely noticed him as she dashed to the Doctor's side, leaning over the controls and typing furiously to keep the Zeiton crystals from burning out, though she had no idea how she knew to do that.
"What's wrong?" she muttered, to herself, and the TARDIS, shaking her head and rubbing her eyes, before letting her hands and mind take over again and lead her.
A white-ish figure glanced past Rose's field of view as the Doctor pushed past her in the other direction. She looked over her shoulder, frowning. What, was she seeing ghosts, now?
"What'd you do, forget the shields again?" Jack called over the steadying hum.
"Right, just settle down!" another someone called out.
"And who exactly are you?" Jack called out.
"Oh, excuse me," the Doctor kept moving, dodging the same, white figure again.
"So sorry," the newcomer spoke hurriedly.
A prickling sensation crept up Rose's neck. She turned quickly, grabbing hold of the TARDIS console in the sudden movement, making the Doctor, Jack and – yes – another person – startle.
It was then that the Doctor also noticed a white-and-tan clad newcomer.
"What?!" the Doctor sounded somewhere between confusion, and delight, almost laughing in the alarmed sound that burst out of him.
"What?" the newcomer was sharp in his echo.
Rose stared. He was a man, in his 50's, wearing a tan jacket, white cricket vest, bowler hat and...
Her eyes were drawn to his lapel. Yes. A piece of celery.
While Rose had been taking in his appearance, the Doctor had stepped forward, grinning.
"Who are you?" the newcomer demanded.
"Oh, brilliant," the Doctor was laughing, grinning at Rose and Jack, and then turning back to the new addition to the TARDIS' control room. "I mean, totally wrong," he held up his hands, "big emergency, the universe goes bang in five minutes, but, brilliant."
"Who are you?" Rose asked hotly. Not just anybody could appear in her TARDIS, uninvited.
The tan jacketed man was flustered as he stated, "I'm the Doctor. Who are you?" he demanded, waving his hands at all three of them.
Rose turned her head slightly to the left and flashed a look at Jack. Jack shrugged, the corner of his mouth rising slightly in amusement as he moved around the console to stand next to her and watch.
"Did you do this?" he muttered to Rose.
Rose smirked and shrugged. Of course she hadn't. Had she? Full of surprises today, certainly, but she didn't think she'd done it.
The Doctor was completely distracted by this new man, who also called himself the Doctor. "Yes, you are. You are the Doctor," the Doctor continued grinning, shaking his head in wonder.
Rose covered her mouth, trying to mask a laugh as a cough. He was nearly swooning.
"Yes, I am the Doctor," the other Doctor was scandalised.
Their Doctor just kept grinning. "Oh, good for you, Doctor. Good for brilliant old you."
"Is there something wrong with you?"
At this, Jack started laughing, and the Doctor flashed them a look, waving in their direction for him to pipe down.
"I see," the other Doctor frowned. "Yes, clearly, there's something wrong with all of you."
"Ooh, there it goes," the Doctor pointed to the other Doctor, grinning at Rose. "The frowny face! I remember that one!"
Rose put her palm to her forehead, wincing, trying to stop the laughter from rising. She needed to maintain some control here. "Doctor, I don't think making fun of him will-"
"Making fun?" the Doctor scoffed. "Never! I mean," he waggled his finger at Rose and Jack, then waved the same hand at the other Doctor, and sighed. "a bit saggier than I ought to be. Hair's a bit greyer. That's 'cause of me, though," he told Rose and Jack, knowingly. "Two of us together has shorted out the time differential."
"You're telling me that you," Jack cut in, "used to parade about with a decorative vegetable on your coat-?"
Rose laughed now, wondering where the uncontrollable impulses were coming from. It was quite rude. "You're certainly braver than I gave you credit for," she managed, stifling herself.
"No, no no no, but it's for a very good reason," he babbled quickly, then turned back to the other Doctor. "Anyway, should all snap back into place when we get you home-" he nodded to his other self.
"Shut up," the other Doctor said clearly. "There is something very wrong with my TARDIS and I've got to do something about it very, very quickly," he marched back toward the controls. "And it would help, it really would help, if there wasn't some skinny idiot, daft blondie, and brainless buffoon," he waved his hand at Jack on the last, "ranting in my face like smug morons about every single thing that happens to be in front of them like it's a tremendous joke!"
At his 'my TARDIS' remark, Rose somewhat tuned out. So, that was that, then. She had been wondering how a previous Doctor could arrive in her TARDIS. But he settled the matter. She was in his TARDIS. She frowned. Then why did she, the TARDIS, feel so familiar? Feel like her home? Did they always travel together like this? Was she about to bump into a previous regeneration of herself, she wondered with glee, suddenly understanding why the Doctor - her Doctor - was so excited?
Jack looked affronted at the 'buffoon' remark, and held a finger up before opening his mouth, but the Doctor held him back, a hand on his chest.
"Okay, okay. We're sorry. Aren't we?"
Jack, taking his cues from the Doctor like a pro, nodded slowly and tried for serious and sober. "Sorry, Doctor."
"Thank you," he turned back to the console.
"Oh, look, the back of my head!" the Doctor pointed excitedly.
The serious and sober spell was broken.
"Hat looks to be covering one hell of a bald-" Jack began teasing.
"What?" the other Doctor turned back furiously.
The Doctor - that was - the older Doctor – that was – her Doctor – continued to babble about his head, his appearance, mentioned the celery again. He just went on and on.
Rose didn't feel like laughing any more, realising that any alternate regenerations of herself would not be showing up, being forced to remember what the Doctor had started telling her before this new Doctor had appeared; that she wasn't a Time Lord.
She hit the Doctor in the chest eventually to shut him up, whispering "Doctor, that's enough," from the corner of her mouth.
At that moment, the other Doctor put on a pair of glasses.
"Oh, oh, and out they come, the brainy-!" the Doctor grinned.
Thwack! "I said, enough."
"We should leave these two alone," Jack grabbed Rose's elbow and made to move away.
"No, no no, see the thing is," the Doctor turned back to them, all smiles, "He doesn't even need them," he turned back to the other Doctor, "you just think they make you look a bit clever."
"What, like yours?" Jack jibed.
The Doctor moved to open his mouth, and issued a long, high-pitched whining sound. It took Rose a moment to realise that it was the TARDIS' alarm and not the Doctor. The sound engulfed the control room.
The other Doctor was on it and Rose pushed past him. Her TARDIS or not, she wasn't going to let muggins babble them into oblivion when she could stop it.
"Level five alert," Rose announced, looking up and nodding to Jack.
"I'm on it," Jack raced around the console to the thermal buffers.
The other Doctor looked quite taken back by their actions, and pulled his specs off. "It's like two TARDISes have merged," he exclaimed. "But there's definitely only one TARDIS present. It's like two time zones at war in the heart of the TARDIS. That's a paradox." he faced the Doctor.
The Doctor was watching Rose and Jack, with one eyebrow raised, as though he had frozen in time, then tilted the monitor towards him.
The other Doctor continued. "It could blow a hole in the space time continuum the size of..."
He trailed off, thinking.
"Belgium," the Doctor finished, deadpan.
"Doctor, I'll go to the Helmic regulator, you get on those Zeiton crystals, all right?" Rose asked, pushing past the two Doctors to continue around the console.
"Right," both Doctors snapped out of their reveries at the same moment, and both went for the Zeiton crystal controls.
Rose smirked as the other Doctor looked, aghast, to their Doctor. Their Doctor grinned at the younger version of himself, then held his hand forward. "After you."
The other Doctor, eyebrows crossed in concern, turned over the controls, then immediately turned back, exasperation in his voice.
"Just who are you?" he demanded.
Jack groaned. "Any time now, guys?"
"Perhaps before this hole the size of Belgium disrupts the continuum, permanently?" Rose fired.
"Take a look," the Doctor talked to himself, calmly, nodding.
The other Doctor stared at his older self a moment, then shook his head, in horror. "Oh, oh no."
"Oh, yes!" their Doctor grinned happily.
The other Doctor pointed a finger at him. "You're...oh no."
"Here it comes," he told Rose and Jack, in his 'I'm so clever' voice. "Yeah, yeah, I am."
"A fan," the other Doctor spat.
"Yeah-" their Doctor did a double take. "What?"
Rose pushed past the other Doctor and took over the controls she'd asked them – one of them – to take care of, leaving the Helmic regulator. She heard Jack laughing from his holding spot at the buffers.
"Out of the way, you two. We're up to level ten," she grumbled.
The Doctor continued behind Rose, taking no notice that they were two minutes 'til Belgium.
"What do you mean, a fan? I'm not just a fan, I'm you!" he insisted.
"Okay, you're my biggest fan," the other Doctor waved his hand, nodded at Rose. "Right, that's under control, I'll go vent-"
"Listen to me," the Doctor turned himself around to face him. "I'm you. I'm you with a new face. Check out this bone structure, Doctor, 'cause one day you're gonna be shaving it."
Before the other Doctor could respond, a bell tolled.
"The cloister bell!" the other Doctor announced.
"Exactly!" Rose called over the console. "So shut it, the pair of you, and someone, please deal with the Helmic regulator before the end of the universe!"
"Which will be in less than a minute, if my calculations are correct," the other Doctor didn't seem all that worried – more dazed.
"Yeah, that's my fault actually," their Doctor confessed. "We were rebuilding the TARDIS, and I forgot to put the shields back up."
"Yes, thank you, impending black hole any minute now!" Rose tried again.
The Doctor had to continue explaining. Impending disaster warning or not, stopping him from explaining something was like trying to knock down a skyscraper with a dead fish.
"Your TARDIS and my TARDIS-well, the same TARDIS actually, different points in the same time stream-collided, and oops! There you go, end of the universe, butterfingers!"
He scooted around the console, finally flooring the Helmic regulator.
"We're too late!" Jack called out, as the world turned white.
When the glow faded, Rose slowly opened her eyes, wondering if she would see anything – or worse – black nothing. She sighed a breath she hadn't realised she'd been holding, and patted herself down, seeing nothing more than the TARDIS console, Jack, also looking relieved, and the two Doctors, grinning at one another.
"Supernova and black hole at the exact same instant," the other Doctor marvelled.
"The explosion cancels out the implosion," their Doctor shrugged smugly.
Jack clapped his hands together. "Right, so, matter remains constant, TARDIS keeps flying, universe is saved again. Are we good?" he grinned at Rose.
She couldn't help return it. "We're good," she shook her head, collapsing into the seat by the console. She shouldn't have felt so tired all of a sudden.
The other Doctor and Rose's Doctor talked over the top of one another for a moment longer, muttering about times past, people Rose didn't know, and general wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff.
Rose tuned out, yet again, even when Jack joined her on the seat, leaning his head back and laughing at the pair's antics.
She didn't know any of the people he was talking about. Nyssa, Tegan, Mara? The Master, she recognised, and the Cybermen – though couldn't pinpoint the exact reason she knew the latter.
Rose bit her thumbnail out of nervousness, and stared up at the two Doctors, just as the other started turning transparent.
"Oh, I seem to be off," he pipped cheerfully. "What can I say? Thank you, Doctor."
"'Cause, you know, we did nothing," Jack nudged Rose in the side, laughing again.
Rose sniffed and nodded, distracted, to Jack.
The Doctors said their goodbyes. Jack saluted; Rose waved, briefly, a pit of worry settling in her stomach, her hearts racing.
"To days to come," the other Doctor said faintly. "Oh," he added hurriedly. "Doctor, remember to put your shields up this time!"
And he was gone.
In that moment, Rose stood, her hands beside her sides, and stopped the Doctor as he turned back to them.
"Oh!" the Doctor startled, nearly bumping into Rose, his grin wide. "Wasn't that lucky!"
Rose's face stayed worried. "Doctor. It's time you told me-"
The TARDIS rocketed sideways and both Rose and the Doctor were thrown across the console room as everything shook. All of the lights flashed off then on, and the dull, usually pleasant humming in Rose's mind expressed an emotionally-driven, somewhat angry question.
Rose scrambled to her feet, catching a side rail and hanging on as the TARDIS bucked and a tearing, grating sound ripped through the console room.
The source of the sound was immediately obvious. The bow of a ship had crashed through the top of the TARDIS.
"Don't tell me, you forgot to raise shields again!" Jack pointed, his voice edged with an almost whining annoyance, as though a ship crashing into a TARDIS was a minor thing.
A lifebelt fell from the ship, labelled 'TITANIC', and landed at the Doctor's feet.
He picked it up, eyes widening, then looked to the bow, almost squinting.
Idea continued - beginning with Voyage of the Damned - in my Alternate Universe: Series 4 fic!