For a long time we had lain together, staring up at the forest canopy, watching the small mammals indigenous to this planet scurry about their business, until Rose had fallen asleep. Rose was tired, it had been a long day but neither of us had been willing to see it end. However, as a gentle rain begins to fall, warm and wet like a shower, it is time to move on; being drenched is not the way to get a good rest.
We both needed a day like today, after Woman Wept. It never freezes here, in this nice, uninhabited, planet-wide tropical rain forest. Amazingly we didn't have to fight off anything or run for our lives. The only running we had in fact done had been strictly for pleasure. The day had been magical but loath as I was to return, it was time. It was a wonderful day but it was time to be getting back to the TARDIS; things to do, places to go. So I gently wake Rose and we collect our things and head back hand in hand.
It's been a long day so I encourage Rose to get some proper sleep. She looks like she wants to ask me something but then changes her mind.
While Rose sleeps I think about what has happened in the last couple of days. Never did I expect things to turn out as they have. I hadn't suspected that Rose was an empath, in spite of all the evidence being there right in front of my face. That bothers me almost as much as thinking about how exposed I feel, how vulnerable I have allowed myself become to her and her desires. I would do anything for her and that scares me. Time Lords are not to be tugged around on leashes at the whims of a human. Yet for months now, apparently, she has been exposed to the ups and downs of my emotions and hasn't run away, that in and of itself amazes me. But I cannot let her be tormented by my emotions any longer, from now on she won't be reading me like an open book and I still feel slightly betrayed by both her and my ship for not telling me. I have grown careless in my mental shielding and that is something I can't afford. I have been being a total fool to leave my mental shields untended all this time. Just because humans for the most part are not telepathic doesn't mean telepaths have never been to Earth, my own presence there proves that. Not all telepaths are so earthling friendly.
I will need to teach Rose how to shield herself as well and I cringe as I think of how many planets, how many aliens, we have visited who would have been able to access her mind... I shiver as the reality of how vulnerable Rose has been because of my neglect.
The TARDIS quietly whispers in my mind, 'Theta, please don't worry so. You know I protect your companions from that kind of assault.'
I gently caress the console, 'Yes, I know, but even you can't protect them completely.' I remember with a shudder how the Mara had taken over Tegan, 'she needs to be able to protect herself as well.'
I cringe as I feel him thinking about the Mara, and think also of the time just two days ago when we had been separated on Woman Wept. Both times I let him down and I know he is right; 'True', we had talked about it and he understands that I had no control over leaving him and Rose but that doesn't change the fact that my failure left Rose vulnerable. Yet one more thing my Theta and Rose will have to discuss when she gets up.
When Rose awakes and comes into the control room hesitantly I know something is bothering her other than the fact that my mind is no longer an open book to her. I am sure that that doesn't help, but tough, she was never meant to have had that kind of access to my personal feeling in the first place, she will just have to cope.
He is so closed off, I am not sure if it the TARDIS's doing or his. I learned on Woman Wept that that he has ways to block me out just as effectively as the TARDIS. My inability to feel him makes me nervous about what I want to ask.
I have been thinking, ever since last night, of everything he had said and everything we have done since Woman Wept and I couldn't help but think about how it must have been for my mum to lose my dad when I was just a baby. I knew, when I was child, how much she missed my dad, how she had missed him all my life, for as long as I could remember. She had always said she wished I had a chance to meet him. Well maybe, if I ask, the Doctor will take me to meet him. I can but ask.
"Doctor, I was thinking…"
"Good thing that thinking."
"Well, I was wondering, when I was little my mum told me that she wished I could get to see my dad." I pause, uncertain; he is so focused, so intense right now. "That's what mum always said. So I was thinking, could we? Could we go and see my dad when he was still alive?"
"Where's this come from all of a sudden?" I can see how nervous she is and worry about what this will do to her. I know more than most how hard it is to loose people you love. I don't want to see her hurt.
"All right then, if we can't, if it's against the laws of time or something, then I'll never know, we'll just leave it."
As she quickly backpedals I feel how frightened she is that she has over stepped herself and I try to reassure her, "No, I can do anything. I'm just more worried about you."
"I want to see him."
"Your wish is my command, but be careful what you wish for."
I stalk back to the TARDIS with every intention of leaving her. I should have known, I should have said no, but she had been so sweet, so loving and I had let myself be a fool. A stupid fool, that's what I have become, a 900 year-old fool! I let her talk me into it and I held her hand as she watched her dad die. Then I was even more the fool to let her go back again. I let my own guilt about it get in the way when she asked to go back to try again. She just wanted to go back so that she could be there for her dad when he died, so that he wouldn't be alone, it seemed so reasonable at the time, so I took her. What a bloody fool I have become! I warned her how dangerous it was.
Bloody stupid ape had to go and save her dad. I should have known better, I should have never have let her on board. How could I have I been so stupid? I let myself think that her kindness, her tenderness, was something more; that she cared about me not just what she could get out of me. Bloody stupid fool I've been. Well, she got what she wanted. I have her key so she won't be getting back; it's over and done with. Let her figure out how to explain her presence in this time. She thought it was all about me being important! Stupid, stupid ape, how dare she think I will just stand around pining for her, waiting for her at the TARDIS, just because I don't want to be alone. I'm leaving and she will get to see exactly how much I need her. Let her figure out how to… to what? Screw up the timeline more? To make things even worse? Blast her, she deserves what she gets, she'll see the consequences, she'll see what messing with time means.
'Come on old girl; let's get out of here. We're leaving the stupid ape and her planet behind.' I feel a shiver of fear run up my spine. I've been so caught up in my own thoughts I hadn't noticed; I can't feel her. My hands are shaking but I have to get into to the TARDIS. Something is wrong; I can feel it, again there is that gaping hole in my mind where there should be the TARDIS. Throwing open the doors I realize how truly horrific it is. She's gone. My sweet TARDIS is gone; just an empty wooden blue box! I stand for the briefest moment stunned. She's my TARDIS and she's is gone! Oh no Reapers! "ROSE!"
My hearts are racing as I realize what has happened and begin to run. I have to put this right. If the Reapers find Rose they will kill her. The church, she will be heading for the church with her dad. I pour on more speed; I've got to get to her before they do!
Everyone that's left is here in the church. The walls and glass are old and that should hold them out for a bit. I've got to make sure that there aren't any breaches. I've got to ensure the Reapers can't get in! "Go and check the other doors. Move!"
Oh Rose, what have you done, what have I done? I have to find a way out of this. I've got to get us out, but Reapers… Oh Rassilion, we have let out Reapers.
Then she's there, looking at me with those beautiful brown eyes, so scared, so…
"Is this because… is this my fault?"
What can I tell her? She knows it is, and yet how can I tell her the only way to fix this is to kill her dad? I can't.
I check the door and then there's the bride and groom asking if I can save them. So precious, so in love and so the antithesis of my life; if for no other reason than that I have to try, try to save them. I have to save what they stand for; hope, a future, and love, foolish wonderful love.
Of all the people in the church, Jackie asks me to look after baby Rose. Me, what kind of irony is that then? Jackie trusting me with her baby, funny how history repeats itself. Though I can't resist telling baby Rose, "Now Rose, you're not going to bring about the end of the world, are you?"
Then there's the older version. What does she try to do first but hold baby Rose! Will these stupid apes never learn? I snap at her angrily, unable to contain my anger and fear. Then I see the expression on her face, how hurt she is by my words.
I try to explain, I try to let her know what's going on, how sorry I am for being a fool. The Time Lords would have stopped this but they're gone and all there is left is the most foolish, useless one of all, the one that killed his people. The Destroyer of Worlds; how true a name that one has been. Now I've done it again; my stupidity has brought this down on us, the human race dead and dying because I couldn't resist a stupid human female.
In the game room laughter echoes around, filling the room with chaos's glee, a truly horrifying sound, "There is my fellow Destruction! Thought you had won did you Order? Thought you would turn him, made him soft by giving him the girl. I have told you before how stupid love is; see, he won't even do what he needs to, to fix the rip. Too concerned with your pawn and her pretty symmetrical face to prevent her world from being eaten. Such a tasty feast for my Reapers; mark my words, she will be your undoing Lady Order."
Her quiet smile and soft lilting words showed no fear, "We shall see Lord Chaos, we shall see. I believe it's my turn is it not?"
I hate fighting with Rose. It's not her fault really, it's mine; I should have never brought her back here, I should have known better then to tempt her like that; she's got such a tender heart. I mean, she accepted me didn't she? Has to be half daft to have that kind of compassion for someone like me. I wouldn't mind dying so much if I just knew she was sorry and that she wasn't just using me. But then she said so, she really didn't plan it, she told me so back at the flat, she had been angry and hurt but she hadn't been lying.
"Just tell me you're sorry."
"I am. I'm Sorry"
There it is, clear and true, I feel how truly sorry she is, how much she regrets her part in this and I can't help smiling. At least I will have her for a little time yet. We may die today but at least we will have this, each other to hold. In spite of everything, just holding her makes me feel better; feel warm inside, alive.
"Doctor? What's getting hot?"
Then she's digging in my inner pocket and what does she find? The TARDIS key… a glowing TARDIS key! My beautiful TARDIS is call out, letting me know she is still close that she needs to know where we are; with all the interference from the Reapers she won't have anything home in on. If I can just get some power, I can give her that beacon.
Oh my beautiful TARDIS. Come you can do it, pull yourself back together girl.
Lady Time smiles slightly as she watches Order's move play out.
"You call that a move Order? Ha! This is a move."
No, No, No! Pete! "Rose, NO!" Now he's done it, he let the Reaper in with us. Why in the world did he hand the baby to Rose?
"Everyone behind me." Oh Rassilion I hate Reapers. This is it; I guess I am going to die today after all. At least I won't have to watch Rose die. I need to get some space from her, distract its attention, "I'm the oldest thing in here." The last thing I hear is Rose screaming my name, "Doctor!"
He's dead. The Doctor is dead and it's all my fault. That thing just swallowed him and exploded into light and disappeared when it hit the half materialized TARDIS. He died to make sure it wouldn't get us, get me. The TARDIS key has gone dead too, the Doctor is dead and now my dad's telling me the only way this will end is if he lets the car kill him. I killed them; I killed them all! It's so unfair; I just wanted my dad back, I didn't want everyone to die! The Doctor told me over and over don't touch the baby, don't touch the baby and I did, I let dad push the baby me into my arms and I killed the two most important men in my life, because I touched the baby. I should have listened, he was right all along; I am just a stupid ape. I didn't deserve the Doctor and he died to protect me. Now my dad is going to die for me too.
Oh God, he's gone, my dad's gone!
Pain! Oh wait, not dead, that must mean… Rose! There she is, staring in horror at her father in the road, "Go to him, quick."
I watch as she runs to him, I watch as she gets her wish, to stay with her dad in his last few moments of life. At least that good came out of this. Everything is resetting, I can feel it all around me, people returning in reverse order from when they were taken. Memories of the time at the church will disappear for everyone but Rose and I, only we two will remember.
"No, Lord Chaos, I call that a move," Order says with a large smile.
"Grrrrrrr!" His aspect grows even darker in appearance and he grates out, "Just the battle you have won Order, not the game. Not the game!"