A/N: Ladies and Gents, welcome to the last chapter. This is it. Thank you all so much for sticking with me. I actually found this one really hard to write at times. Luckily the next one is running away with me so keep an eye out for that one. Still no title as yet, hopefully it'll get one soon so I can start posting.
Such a few quick things, hurrah to the BBC for fianlly showing learners. Made me smile lots! Welcome back to kiss-her-theta whos been on travels. Glad you made it back in time for the last posting! And thank you to BarbMack for going through and reviewing like EVERY chapter that you've missed. You're fantastic!!!!! Oh and I hope you enjoye the Proclaimers without me!!!! lol And so here it is, the end... for now!
The Doctor stepped out first and looked around. He managed to suppress a shudder as his footsteps echoed around him.
The damage Jack's team had done with the fire had hardly touched this floor; the only evidence was some black smudging on the ceiling.
He ran his fingers over one of the levers as he stared at the all too familiar white wall at the other end of the room.
In his minds eye he saw Rose falling towards it, falling from his life never to return. Or so he thought.
Taking a deep breath he smelt Rose's perfume and smiled lightly, turning to look at her.
"Wondered how long 'til you came out."
"You're not the only one with ghosts here."
He nodded and saw Martha step out behind her with Jack.
"Welcome to Torchwood one Martha."
She nodded and looked around her.
"Your cousin's desk was in very room." He let her absorb the fact as he stuffed his hands in his pockets and made his way to the door and peered out into the corridor.
"Two doors down to the left," Jack called to him.
He turned back and nodded, hesitating before going any further.
Martha looked round at Rose and Jack questioningly. They said nothing, just followed the Doctor's journey slowly. She took hold of Rose's had and squeezed supportively. She knew this was where they had lost each other. She'd lost her cousin here and she thought maybe she should feel something more but all she felt was a slight sadness, like a residual energy in the walls, nothing more.
Jack paused outside a room and Martha and Rose joined him, watching the Doctor stand in the middle staring at what was left of the equipment.
"Who are you?" the Doctor gasped.
"Oh we've never met. I'm Elizabeth. Although you did meet my sister last time you were here. You killed her. Yvonne Hartman?"
"I didn't kill her. She was upgraded it wasn't my fault."
"But you didn't save her did you?"
"I wish I could save everyone but I can't. It never works that way."
"You loved her. How is that possible? An alien falling for a human."
"Takes a special kind of human."
"Well at least you know what loss feels like."
"More than you knooo…" His sentence finished with another scream.
The Doctor remembered the feeling of helplessness, electricity coursing through him from head to toe. He looked around and saw the portable generator they had used when the power cut out, it's cables still attached. Without a word he walked over and shoved it hard, propelling it against the wall causing it to spilt open. He winced as pain shot through his still tender shoulder and kicked the offending machinery for good measure.
Rose jumped slightly beside Jack as the metal crashed down onto the floor; he noticed and wrapped an arm round her shoulders, pressing a light kiss to the top of her head.
Jack remembered opening the door and seeing the lifeless Time Lord on the table, covered in a green sheet. For a moment he wondered if they had killed him and he remembered the rage he felt when he'd shot Elizabeth Hartman. He'd never killed a human in a blind rage before. He could still hear the rushing in his ears as she refused to stop her torture on the Doctor and all that mattered to him at that point was getting the Time Lord home.
Martha watched as the Doctor attacked the equipment, throwing things around the room. Then he was still again, fingering the leather straps attached to the metal table and rubbing his chest with his other hand. That's when she understood. The scar on his chest was because of this room and this equipment. She looked up at Jack questioningly but she already knew the answer before he nodded. The Doctor had been tortured here, in this room.
When he'd said he was laying old ghosts to rest it wasn't just the day he lost Rose he was talking about.
Rose went to the Doctor and just stood beside him, letting him know she was there. Without looking he took her hand in one of his and squeezed. She looked at him and saw a shimmer in his eyes.
"It's over," she said, her voice no more than a whisper.
He nodded and gave her a small smile. "Yes, it finally is," he agreed making one final decision before heading back to the TARDIS.
The pair paused before following Jack and Martha inside, taking one last look around them at the white room that had haunted so many nightmares.
The TARDIS landed back in the dark hospital car park.
"A bit later than I thought, sorry," the Doctor told Martha leaning against the doors. "Sure you're not going to stick around?"
"Definitely," she replied with such certainty that the Doctor frowned. She smiled at him. "I've learnt a lot of things about you over the last few days but none of them were because you wanted to share them with me and it made me realise I don't belong." She held up a hand when he looked like he might interrupt. "And that's okay. It was usually me hugging you, me grabbing for your hand not the other way round. There's still that barrier up between us and it will always be there.
I never lost my family, they were always right here as dysfunctional and annoying as they are and you have a family now, you three have each other. You need them and they need you. But you and I? We don't need each other never have done really. I have everything I need here, at home. I thought I was second best but I'm not even that, I'm third at the most. But I wouldn't have missed a second of it and I don't regret for one minute going travelling with you but it really is time to move on now. And I hope you'll come and visit me sometime but if you don't I won't be surprised. Just try and stay uninjured for a while and rest that shoulder. Throwing electrical equipment around won't have done it any good."
The Doctor smiled and nodded. "Thank you Martha, for everything. Oh Rassilion I've got deja vu!"
Martha laughed. "Well we have done this before."
"Yeah. Thank you for looking after me. And I know I've said it before but I really am sorry for every time I've made you feel less than fantastic. I guess I'm just a coward at heart."
"You were hurting. It's like they say, 'when someone's standing on a ledge there's no talking them down, it's something they have to go through'. Go on, they'll be waiting for you."
He nodded, "Goodbye Martha Jones." Suddenly he stooped and took her in a bone crunching hug and she laughed. "There, that's a real hug."
Martha smiled and nodded, stepping back as he disappeared into the TARDIS without a backward glance. The familiar grating of the universe filled the air as the blue box faded into the night and she bit her lip willing her eyes not to shed the tears she could feel burning. "Goodbye Mr Smith."
The control room was empty when the Doctor stepped back inside. He set the ship in motion and set off looking for Jack. Today had turned into a day of revelations, apologies and letting go. Now it was Jack's turn.
He knocked tentatively on Jack's open door as he poked his head round to find the Time Agent. "Managed to find your room this time then?" he asked, stepping through the door.
"Yeah, she decided to let me have it after ten minutes of hiding it."
The Doctor chuckled. "It's just because she likes you."
The pair stood in a strange silence for a few moments before Jack spoke. "Did you want something Doc?"
"Uh, well actually I um… I wanted to say I'm sorry."
Jack frowned. "Sorry for what?"
"Plenty and I don't just mean over the past few hours I'm talking about the last couple of centuries. I left you behind, I betrayed your trust and I can't take it back. Believe me I wish I could."
"Doc, I knew we were goners anyway."
"You weren't expecting me to leave without you if we won though were you? There's no excuse other than my cowardice. I wasn't lying when I said you scare me Jack, sometimes I look at you and I'm still scared I can't help it. I didn't know what had happened to you, I didn't know that you couldn't stay dead but I knew you'd somehow come back from the dead and that scared me. It's not normal. Ironic coming from me I know but it's the way I'm programmed. I really am glad you're here now though. You keep saying we're all you've got. It works both ways and we wouldn't be without you. I give you a hard time sometimes and that's wrong of me. Guess some of the old habits die hard but I promise I will be better. Well, I'll try anyway. 900 years on and off of being rude is kind of a hard habit to break."
"Where's all this coming from?"
"Laying ghosts to rest, Jack. You're a good friend and you've never let us down."
"Apart from turning you into a human with your old face."
"You fixed it. We all make mistakes, me more than most; it's what you do afterwards that counts."
The Time Agent nodded and smiled. "For what it's worth, if I were you, I'd still have a hard time trusting me too. Ex Con-Artist and Time Agent that runs a branch of Torchwood; a company that almost caused the end of the world, that ripped Rose away and torture you. It's a hard stigma to shake. I sometimes forget that you don't think the way we do all the time. That you have to look at the bigger picture and other times I think you've got you priorities all screwed up but you always prove to be right. So I guess it's new beginnings all round. And despite some of the things I've said in the past I've never really doubted you and never will. Might take a couple of centuries but you always save our behinds in the end." His smile turned into a full on grin as the Doctor laughed and nodded.
"It really is good to have you back Jack."
The pair laughed as they hugged each other tightly and as the Doctor went to leave Jack stopped him.
"There's something I wana ask you though."
The Doctor turned and looked at him expectantly.
"Earlier, what got Rose so upset? What did you do while she was gone? I mean I've heard some of it, like the Daleks but so had she, I don't understand what upset her so much."
The Doctor regarded him for a moment but remained silent.
"Forget I asked; it's none of my business. I mean I know it's hard to trust someone that you…"
The Time Lord stepped towards him, cutting him off mid-flow. "You really want to know?"
Jack didn't know how to answer.
"You might want to sit down," the Doctor told him. "This is going to feel a bit strange." He pressed his fingers to Jack's temples.
Eventually the Doctor bounced into his bedroom looking for Rose. He heard water sloshing from the bathroom and smiled as he realised Rose was following through with her earlier promise to herself.
"Hello," he grinned, perching himself on the end of the bath.
"Of course, any reason why it shouldn't?"
"Well, saying goodbye isn't exactly your favourite thing in the world."
"Everyone I know says goodbye in the end," he said quietly.
She slid forward and looked him in the eyes. "Not me, I'm not going anywhere," she told him before rising up to kiss him. "Was she upset?"
"Well I'm not sure really." He frowned and scratched the back of his head as he thought back on their conversation. "It was all a bit odd. Said she knew she didn't belong with us and that was okay because she had a family at home."
"Well that's a good thing isn't it?"
"Yeah, just a bit of an odd conversation I suppose. She said we didn't need each other and that 'when someone's standing on a ledge there's no talking them down, it's something they have to go through.'"
Rose smiled at him.
"You, breaking young girl's hearts left right and centre. It's the eyes. One look from you can break a million hearts whether you want to or not."
"Not my fault," he told her taking off his shoes and socks before rolling up his trouser legs and dipping his feet into the bath.
"Not denying it then," she teased, grinning from ear to ear.
"Why….Rose Tyler are you playing footsie with me under the bubbles?"
"Maybe." She lay back in the bath raising an eyebrow.
"I certainly hope so or there's an anonymous inhabitant getting friendly in our bath!"
"Why don't you jump in and find out?"
"Oh you'd just love that wouldn't you?!" he grinned back.
Rose sighed. "So what else did she say? You were gone quite a long time." Reaching for the sponge she continued to bathe as the Doctor spoke.
"Well I wasn't with her that long really. I did stop in on Jack though." He became serious for a moment.
"Oh?" Rose looked up at him again.
"Felt like there were a few things left to say."
"You two okay?"
"Yeah, just felt like I needed to clear the air. Start fresh."
She nodded. "How fresh? Do I need to book appointments with you for attention?"
"Weeeellll Jack is a very attractive man you know."
She giggled and splashed him, soaking his shirt and tie right through. He froze for a moment before sloshing water back at her.
"Oh you asked for it!" she told him and before he knew it she'd wrapped her feet around his ankles and pulled him into the bath, causing him to slip under the water completely.
He resurfaced spluttering water and wiping the bubbles from his eyes.
"That was mean," he coughed.
Rose bit her lip trying not to laugh at the sight of the soggy Time Lord covered in soap bubbles.
He shook his head at her and manoeuvred himself so he was levered above her.
She reached up and flicked some of the foam from his hair as he glared at her with false annoyance.
"You love it," she told him.
"Oh really? You think so do you? If these trousers shrink you're for it," he couldn't help but smirk.
"Oh no, whatever will you do to me?!"
"Cheeky minx." He began to laugh as he kissed her lightly.
"Right," he pushed himself upright. "I'm off to get dried and I might even treat myself to a snooze."
"Need some help?"
"I think I remember how to snooze," he teased, carefully stepping onto the bathroom floor, water slashing everywhere. He rolled his shoulder and grunted. "Although I might need a hand with my shirt, I think I jarred my shoulder there."
"Sorry," Rose said feeling guilty for pulling him in.
"Don't think I did it much good earlier," he told her holding out a giant towel as she rose from the water.
"Water was getting cold anyway."
"See this is why people generally undress before getting in the bath," he laughed as his soaking wet shirt became tangled around his arms.
"Where's the fun in that?" Rose asked, pressing a kiss to the tip of his nose and dropping her towel.
"You're going to get cold stood like that," he smirked as his eyes darkened.
"How about you help dry me off then?" She wrapped her arms around his neck and pressed herself against him.
"You're not going to get very dry like that." He shook one of his water-logged trouser legs to emphasise his point.
"Well that's easily fixed." She smiled at him coyly as she helped divest him of his sopping wet trousers. "And you're definitely not cold," she told him as she looked him over.
The soggy Time Lord just grinned as he allowed himself to be led into the bedroom.
Jack sat dumbfounded on his bed. He'd realised the Doctor had had a tough time coping with the loss of Rose. Martha had mentioned his supposed death wish but seeing it was more than Jack had prepared for.
He'd always seen the Doctor as the strong one, the one with all the answers. Now he saw someone who could be as vulnerable as the rest of them. Watching him offer himself up in sacrifice to the Daleks was almost more than Jack could bear. He'd died at their hand and he knew the fear that bubbled away at the mere sight of them.
This Doctor had been more reckless than the last, less cautious with his existence and Jack suddenly realised what Martha must've gone through watching her friend despair right before her eyes. She'd caught the live version not the replay. She'd been with him at some of his darkest moments.
Jack had felt the darkness that had engulfed the Doctor as he imprisoned The Family and it terrified him. He'd always known the Doctor was dangerous but that was a whole new side to him. He couldn't blame Martha for leaving him after that.
The Doctor hadn't been fair to her at all but then who was ever fair when they were grieving? And this wasn't just any kind of grief. This was deep set, soul destroying grief. Decades of loneliness ended by one person only for that person to be ripped away by a cruel twist of fate.
Jack got the impression no one had ever chosen the Doctor over their own family before. No one had ever really left all that they knew for him forever as Rose had done.
He found himself smiling at the situation now. The old Doctor was back, making sure they were all safe. Team TARDIS were back in action with one slight difference. Well two if you count the Doctor's regeneration. The Doctor and Rose were finally together in the way Jack had always thought they should be.
He lay back on his bed with a huge grin on his face as Rose's shrieks of joy floated down the corridors. Things were finally good again. The Doctor had trusted him enough to show him his weaknesses of the past. There was an acceptance between them now that had been missing over the last couple of weeks despite the jokes they had shared.
Yep, life on the TARDIS was good.
Rose lay protectively curled in the Doctor's arms thinking over the last few weeks. They were together and would be for centuries to come. All they needed to do now was stay out of trouble for a few days; giving them a chance to relax. She smiled to herself sleepily as she wondered where he would take her. Away from trouble he'd promised. Well she wouldn't hold him to it. Wasn't like he went looking for trouble, he just always managed to find it. Still it's the thought that counts; as long as they were together they could cope with everything.
He'd told her how he'd shown Jack everything he could allow himself to and she couldn't help but let her heart swell. There was trust between them once more, real honest trust and that was more than she'd ever dared to hope for.
She took one last look up at her lover and gently trailed a finger along his jaw. She smiled at the five o'clock shadow; it was one of the things that made him so human at times. He looked peaceful, nothing in the world to worry him tonight.
Resting her head on his chest she listened to his heartbeats, feeling them lull her closer and closer to her untroubled own dreams. The nightmares were over now for both of them.
A/N: And that's it, that's all there is for this one. Thank you one and all for sticking with me, it means a lot and I hope to hear from you all again the the not so distant future. I'm quite excited by my next story. Friends old and new will be popping into the TARDIS.
Thank you all once again to all those who've reviewed, all those who have favourited, all who have stayed hidden, all who have put me on alert and all the new people who have found me in the last few weeks.
And to all who may stumble upon this story in the future, who take the time to dust it off and give it another read, you are all most welcome in my world and I hope you will all visit again and often. It's nice to have people around!
Coming soon to a story near you:
"You know I've just realised something," Jack slurred sitting down in the seat opposite Rose and the Doctor. "You always say 'not without buying me a drink first'. Well Doc, I've bought you a drink, what you going to do now Spaceboy?"
Can't balme Jack for trying!
"Rose? As in lost Rose? What did you do, go back in time and steal her?"
"No that would cause a paradox. She found a way home." He looked round at her with a huge grin on his face. "Quiet and interesting story, you see there's this rift…."
"Never mind the alien science, get to the good stuff. Have you told her you love her yet?" Donna spoke over him, shutting him up completely.
This time the Doctor was the one who looked shocked.
"What, you didn't think I'd noticed?"
"Hang on; you miss two alien invasions because you were either hung-over or scuba diving but that you notice?"
One old friend followed by another!
"What is it these humans say? 'What goes around comes around'? Imagine what you've got coming to you! The blood of your entire species soaks your hands. And doesn't it just drive you mad?" he paused for a moment. "Doesn't it make your flesh crawl? Don't you want to rip your self apart for it? Don't you just wish……you were dead?"
"No," the Doctor said quietly running to the control panel.
And that's your lot folks. A few teasers for the next as yet un-named story. Hope to see you all there!
and so for the lsat time for this story;
"Catch ya on the flip flop!"