Title: For Those Who Eat Gingerbread Houses
Author: Lady Yueh
Characters: John Smith, Rose Tyler, Joan Redfern.
Disclaimer: Doctor Who in any form or incarnation does not belong to me.
Warnings: Spoilers for Human Nature and The Family of Blood
Summary: One timeline and universe where Rose Tyler met The Family and "saved" John Smith.
A/N: I realize that there are lots of 'Rose in season 3' fics floating around. I don't hate Martha, I do respect her. But I've read so many of these type of fics that this little bunny came, bit me and wouldn't let go. The idea isn't original but, I hope, the execution is. This is because Rose is not Martha and Martha is not Rose. They wouldn't say or do the same things in the same circumstances and I really wanted to convey that.
He had only gone for mere moments to procure drinks for himself and Joan.
Yet, as he approached their table, he saw that Rose Tyler had seated herself and was badgering his companion. The sheer nerve astounded him, that this uncouth and uncultured girl had crossed all lines of propriety in one night. He was not stupid, he had guessed that she felt somewhat fond of him. And while he'd thought her to be affable enough that he disregarded her ignorance in previous instances he could no longer do so. They were not proper, her feelings. She was not proper.
"Oh. Now, really, Rose! This is getting out of hand. I must insist that you leave," he infused his statement with all the disapproval he could muster.
She rose from the table, "And I insist that you listen to me. You're in danger. Your life and the lives of those around you are at risk."
"Will you stop this? This is sheer nonsense. Rose, you must seek medical help for these…these delusions that you seem to be plagued by!"
Rose made an inelegant sound of sarcastic amusement, "Me? I'm the nutter? You're the one who has dreams of far-off stars and planets. Of distant vistas and foreign beings. Have you seen the Glass Pyramid of San Kaloon? D'you remember the sun rising over the silver-blue ice of Woman Wept? What about the Sakura Festival in Japan when the cherry blossoms overwhelmed every sense? If I'm the nutter, tell me why it is that your dreams feel more real to you than reality?"
All the while, her words seem to weave a web where the sound of her voice and her fervent, almost feral, golden gaze painted images in his mind. Those places…they were familiar.
"John? What is she talking about, John?"
Joan's voice snapped both of them out of whatever…mesmerism they had fallen into.
He chided himself and avoided Joan's eyes because for a moment, between the span of a heartbeat--he wanted to believe.
"You're not John Smith," Rose's voice, which had been so entrancing moments before, now grated and served as a reminder of his brief surrender. "You are the Doctor. And your dreams are not dreams. They're memories."
He would not falter a second time. He refused.
But, as he opened his mouth to order her to leave, there came a crash.
"You. Will. Be. Silent! All of you!" Mr. Clarke had entered and the crowd was abuzz. "I said silent!"
Would these infernal disruptions of peace and normality never end?
"Mr. Clarke! What's going on?" One of the partygoers inquired.
Mr. Clarke aimed some sort of weapon and the man was incinerated. It was inconceivable.
Rose swore under her breath but loud enough that he could hear and aim a disapproving glance her way. She moved closer to him, enough that the color of her eyes was inescapably clear to his sight.
"Listen, don't mention anything about what I've said. Forget it! Forget it or they'll kill you," she hissed with terrifying conviction before she moved away from him.
"We asked for silence!" Baines called loudly.
The room hushed.
"Now, then. We have a few questions for Mr. Smith."
And all eyes were turned to him.
"No," a new voice entered the discussion, a child, "Better than that. The teacher, he's the Doctor. Heard them talking."
What was going on?
Baines seemed terribly amused, "You took human form."
"Of course I'm human. I was born human! As were you Baines. And Jenny. And you Mr. Clarke! What is going on? This is madness!" Had the whole world gone mad? Surely this was another nightmare that he was soon to wake from!
"Ooh, and a human brain, too - simple, thick and dull," Baines continued tauntingly.
"He's no good like this," Jenny whispered loudly.
"No," Mr. Clarke agreed. "We need a Time Lord."
"Easily done," Baines stepped forward and aimed that cruel instrument of death. "Change back," he demanded.
"I don't know what you're talking about," Smith uttered desperately.
"Change back!" Baines commanded once again.
"I, I literally do not know—" Smith was becoming more agitated at the sight of the weapon and the knowledge of what it could do.
Rose's shout cut through the air, "You utter cow! Let me go!"
"Is this not your friend?" Jenny questioned as she set her own gun at Rose's temple, "I will kill her if you don't change back!"
"I'm not! And he's not! And where the hell do you get off calling humans thick? If anyone here is thick it'd be you lot!" Rose's insulted were ignored.
"I don't…" Smith was at a loss.
"Grab the matron! That woman there!" Jenny ordered. "He loves her."
Mr. Clarke took Joan from his side, another woman who was under the threat of death. It seemed Rose hadn't lied about the danger.
"Have you enjoyed it, Doctor?" Baines asked condescendingly. "Being human? Has it taught you wonderful things? Are you better, richer, wiser? So, answer this: who will die? Your friend or your lover? Make your choice."
All eyes were on him, again.
Until a cry of pain drew their attention.
Jenny was now Rose's prisoner it seemed. The blonde had taken her captor's weapon and was aiming for Baines as she used Jenny as a shield. In her other hand was a thin instrument topped with blue glass.
"Well, aren't you a firebrand!" Baines taunted.
Rose laughed darkly, "You have no idea."
"You won't shoot," Baines stated with certainty.
The shot almost hit Baines' head but instead passed by it with only centimeters to spare. It hit the shambling scarecrow thing behind him, reducing it to dust.
"You have no idea what I'm capable of," Rose threatened.
Who was she? To be so calm under such a threat. And to fire weapons as if she'd been trained to do so?
"I've faced far more terrifyin' things than you, mate. Slitheen, werewolves, Cybermen and Daleks. D'you know them? Daleks? I stared down the Emperor himself and the entire Cult of Skaro and even they couldn't kill me. What makes you think you can? What've you got? Weak human forms, a couple of energy weapons and some animated scarecrows? Don't make me laugh."
What was she spouting? More delusions? But her eyes, her whole face was fierce like one of those warrior-women in myth. A veritable Amazon. Baines and his whole rabble had fallen silent. They seemed afraid of her.
"Lower your weapons," she instructed.
They lowered their weapons.
"Smith. Take everyone and get out! Everybody, get out if you value your lives!"
That sent the crowd screaming as they scrambled for the door.
"Rose, what about you!" Smith called.
"GO!" Rose roared.
His feet were moving before his mind could even register the words, so compelling was her command.
He raced outside where Joan was still trying to move people to leave.
The sounds of that queer weapon sounded from inside the dance hall.
His mind entertained the thought that Rose was now ash on the floor of that dancehall when she rushed out the doors.
When she saw that he and Joan were there she growled, growled, like some feral animal.
"God! The little bastard was right! Humans are thick!" she grabbed Joan's hand and started to pull her along, "Run!"
"Where are you going?" he demanded. "The school is this way!"
He grabbed Joan's other hand and started towards the school before a jolt stopped him. Rose had released Joan and grabbed his arm.
"No," she told him seriously.
"I must! Those things-"
Her fingers dug into his arm cruelly as she brought up that odd silver cylinder in a threatening manner. "You didn't listen to me before and look what happened then! Are you willing to risk being wrong again? You're going to kill those children! They're after you. If you go to the school they'll follow and kill everyone regardless!"
Bewildered, he could only appeal silently to a breathless and frightened Joan.
"If if what she says is true…" she trailed off, horror filling her voice.
"Very well," he conceded to Rose. "Lead us."
Rose looked to him, then to Joan and it seemed as if she wanted to object. Instead, she shook her head, released him and took up Joan's hand again.
"We have to be quick," she impressed upon them.
They were moving through the woods and he was helping support Joan who tripped, once again, due to her skirts.
"Where are we going?" he demanded, gasping for breath.
"We're almost there," Rose told him shortly.
Annoyed, at her answer, her even breathing, and relentless pace he was on the verge of stopping when Rose breathed a sigh of relief.
Some sort of cabin or shed made of wood and stone was now visible to his eyes.
"How are we to be safe here?" Joan questioned skeptically.
Rose didn't answer. She simply pulled her through the door with him following after.
"What on earth…" Joan murmured; bemused and awed in equal measures.
John Smith was silent. Something inside him was twisting and writhing. Excitement and something like dread played havoc on his senses.
And it originated from this Blue Box.
The Blue Box from his dreams.
Rose had gone to the door and from her neck pulled a chain from which a key was suspended.
With a steady hand and a deft twist the door opened.
"Go inside," she told them in a solemn manner.
"What? But we shall never fit inside!" Joan objected.
"With all due respect Nurse Redford, I saved your life yeah? So a little faith would be nice. In ya go," she added cheerily as she herded them both through the entrance.
"Oh." He took his eyes from the fantastical sight that was before him to see a pale Joan gripping a rail for support.
"This isn't…It's just not possible!" He cried to an amused looking Rose.
"What isn't possible?" she questioned as she shut the door.
"It's-it's bigger on the inside!"
Rose's eyes widened, her mouth twitched and she fell into spasms of laughter. Mouth wide, teeth flashing and face contorted in rather vulgar display.
"What is so terribly amusing Miss Tyler?" Joan questioned frostily.
Rose's laughter faded quickly as did her humor.
"Nothing," she answered.
"Please explain yourself., your vague answers and explanations will not suffice. What is going on?"
Rose strode past them to the rather bulbous contraption in the middle of the circular room and moved about it, pushing buttons and flipping switched so that the previously dark room lit up.
"Your dreams, Mr. Smith. Those fanciful things you wrote about in your journal. All about monsters, stars, and an adventurer called The Doctor. That's what this is about. 'Cause, you see, it's all real. Every bit of it. And you-you're The Doctor," her serious gaze was trained on him.
"I-I that's preposterous," he breathed with sheer disbelief.
"Oh we don't have time for your denial," she spat and she turned and pushed a button.
A previously square of dark glass came alive. Light sprung forth and there, in color, was his image, perfectly rendered. Moving as if it had been a piece of his life captured and doomed to repeat itself for the viewing of others.
Only…it was not him. It only looked it. He certainly had never worn such attire.
"Is this working?" The accent was wrong.
"Rose? Before I change, here's a list of instruction for when I'm human." It was his face saying such things and his voice. But it wasn't.
"One: Don't let me hurt anyone. We can't have that but you know what humans are like. Don't want to have taken over any worlds and set up an Empire based on the worship of bananas or something. Mind you, that'd be rather brilliant wouldn't it? Two: Don't worry about the TARDIS. I'll put the old girl on emergency power so she can't be detected. Just let her hide away right under everyone's noses. Four-no-wait Three! Three: No getting involved in big historical events. Wouldn't want to have Reapers on our hands without me there to stage a heroic sacrifice! Now, Four: Rose. Don't let me forget you. I don't know what's going to happen but whatever I say or do I'm counting on you to keep me safe. Be my guardian angel-" The message cut off abruptly, the screen which had been alive was now dark.
He and Joan turned from their fascinated viewing to see that Rose was on the verge of tears. She stepped away once she realized their scrutiny was on her.
"That was The Doctor. We were being chased and because of the danger he turned human to hide away. So he changed. Into you," she said as she pinned him with accusing and somewhat angry eyes.
"No," he denied, somewhat feebly.
"This Doctor," Joan began. "He's…an alien? The things in the journal? They're all true?"
Rose nodded decisively, "The dreams are bits of The Doctor shining through."
"And I'm just supposed to…change back? Let myself die and be nothing more than a story! I'm John Smith! I don't-I don't want to be The Doctor. Those dreams…I've woken with images of fire and death. That's his life? Why would any sane man wish to lead such a dreadful existence?" he questioned furiously. Anger and fury were choking him. He was being told that he was some construct. A picture painted to hide something beneath.
"It's not a dreadful existence!" Rose denied hotly. "He helps people! He saves them! He does so much good in the universe."
"And you? What do you do for him?" he questioned pointedly, a dirty insinuation colored his words.
Rose glared and declared with pride and purpose, "I'm his Companion."
"What does that mean?!"
Joan had retreated from the discussion, watching at they argued, conflicted and anxious.
"It means that I hold his hand. I save him and he saves me. I'm there, by his side, through thick and thin. I help him save worlds and stop evil. We run, laugh and have chips in celebration. The Doctor and Rose Tyler, we're the stuff that the monsters have nightmares about. That's who we are!"
"But I'm a person! I deserve to live just as much as he does! He made me and now you're going to kill me?" Anger, disbelief and sorrow filled his face. He was a man who was becoming aware that he might soon die.
"This was never permanent," Rose began sadly. "It was only supposed to last until The Family was dead and gone. A few months. Not a lifetime. Once they were dead you were supposed to open the watch and then me and The Doctor would be back among the stars. Only…" Rose shifted her gaze between him and Joan, sad and pitying. And her eyes said what words could not. He and Joan were not a part of the plan that The Doctor and Rose Tyler had concocted.
"I won't," he asserted.
"You have to!" Rose growled.
"In those dreams, you saw as he fought the bad guys. You saw all the darkness and evil the universe has to offer. If there's no Doctor, who will stop it now? How many people, how many planets, will die because John Smith lived? The Doctor once told me that an ordinary man is the most important thing in creation; that day the whole world was almost destroyed because of an ordinary man. The Doctor, he's the most important being in every universe. What do you think'll happen without him?"
The room was silent.
Rose shook her head as sorrow filled her face and tears filled her eyes. Her eyes shut and her lips were pursed into a white line of suppressed pain.
"It's not death, not really. It's a change. Your memories, everything that makes you John Smith will be a part of The Doctor. And you, whether you know it or not, you are The Doctor. You're who he could have been, had circumstances been different."
Rose reached into her pocket, withdrew a silver fob watch and set it down in plain view.
"It's your choice."