A/N: Last one. EVER!
Chapter 34 – The Final Chapter
The TARDIS had always been watching.
She had watched him from the moment he had stolen her on Gallifrey to the moment he had died. Oh, how her Doctor had grown and matured in the time in between. He had been at first arrogant and irritable in a junkyard on Earth but then had drastically changed over nine hundred years to the childish, happy family man he had eventually become.
The TARDIS had helped considerably in the birth of Rory and Eva before guiding the Doctor and Rose through the emotional torment of the loss of Eva. She had spotted the weakness the baby boy had, devising a plan to 'charge' him to keep him alive. She'd protected baby Rory from outside attack when the Darkeese had tried to get in to get to him. She had made a connection with Rory, able to speak with him as a child.
She had protected his family as they grew and grew, ensuring that they felt safe within her corridors. She had helped Rory through his first regeneration, knowing he would never be able to make it through without his father by his side. She had tried desperately to contain the Master within the depths of the TARDIS but had failed, so she had been forced to take the Doctor's regenerative energy out of him to ensure the Master would not be able to force a regeneration to completely consume the Doctor's soul. She wouldn't be able to bear it. Not her Doctor.
But now he was dead, and she was left with a golden cloud of regenerative energy. But there was one last hope…
Zoë offered Drunky out to her gran. "He's hurt," she said, tears in her eyes once again. She pointed to the tears in Drunky's torso precisely where the Doctor had been shot. "Please fix him."
Jackie nodded with a reassuring smile, kissing her on the forehead. "'Course I will, sweetheart. I'll just get my needle and thread," she said, taking Drunky and turning away. Minutes later Jackie returned with a mended Drunky and Zoë took him back, hugging him tightly and returning to her room. She looked at the bear sadly, the sparkles from his eyes still gone. The holes were fixed, but there was no life left.
But maybe… just maybe…
She ran out of the flat front door, down the stairs and towards the TARDIS. She slipped inside, looking up at the TARDIS console the bear in hand.
"TARDIS?" she asked quietly.
There's only one way.
"I know," she replied, holding Drunky tighter.
They won't remember you.
She nodded. "Daddy had his destiny. Now this is mine."
Blimey, it was cold.
No, really. It was freezing.
The Doctor eased open his cold eyelids to meet a cold, dark world, lit only by the hole in the centre of the roof. It was small, but it gave so much light. He was lying on a cold bed strewn with cold furs in a very, very, very cold place. He shuddered uncontrollably, trying to flex his fingers but they were rigid – probably from the cold. He continued this routine for a while, flexing fingers and wiggling toes until he had regained control of most of his body. He forced himself to turn over to his right, surprised to see the one person he'd never expected…
"R-Rose?" he gasped, but Rose wasn't moving, and it may have just been the light but he could almost swear she wasn't breathing. He tried desperately to force his blood to circulate faster so he could apply movement and get to her. It was almost like his blood has stopped circulating for a while…
No. Wait. Could it…? Had he…? Questions began flying through his head as he forced his heavy limbs up to trace over his face. Messy hair, sideburns, thin face… No, he hadn't regenerated. He ran his hands over his clothes, finding himself wearing his usual brown suit and trenchcoat but… what was this?
He strained his head up, forcing back fatigue as he discovered a hole in the left side of the material halfway down his abdomen. It was just the right size for… a regular bullet. He'd been shot?! He didn't remember this! He was pretty damn sure he'd remember a thing like getting shot; it definitely wasn't something you tended to forget in a hurry…
Suddenly there was a dramatic gasp from his right where Rose lay, and the Doctor focused on the woman in question.
"R-Rose?" he stuttered again, and this time a choked reply came:
"D-Doct-tor? Wh-what… Wh-where…?" She was trying to move everything at once.
"R-Rose, l-listen to m-me," he stuttered, flexing his muscles once more to return feeling. "You n-need t-to t-take it s-slowl-ly. Flex y-your f-fingers and y-your t-toes first, d-do it g-gradually ok-kay?"
"Ok-kay," she affirmed as the Doctor took a deep breath, forcing himself to sit up. He slowly built up the energy and courage to put the weight onto his feet, only to succeed in falling flat on his face onto the floor. He heard her giggle and he couldn't help but smile as he dragged himself to his feet, shaking as the draft from between the rocks rushed right through him. He leant over Rose, helping her to move as best he could. He checked her over for any indication as to what had happened to her – and found a regular sized bullet hole in the material of her clothes where her heart was.
"R-Rose, d-don't want t-to… alarm y-you, but w-we've been… sh-shot and k-killed," he said slowly and clearly, helping her to sit up. She stared at him for a moment, shaking her head to try and clear it.
"We've c-come… b-back f-from the d-dead."
Rose was staring at him, eyes wide, jaw open. "What?" But before he could explain there came shouting and footsteps from somewhere beyond the cave wall, and the sound of rock shifting.
"Mum? Dad?" came a yell from the other side, a very familiar yell. The Doctor and Rose exchanged a look.
"We-we're h-here!" Rose called back, leaning against the Doctor as she got to her feet, who was also leaning on her. They were starting to shake from the cold now. There were a few dramatic gasps in reaction to her reply on the other side of the rock.
"Hold on, I'll get you out in a sec!"
The Doctor turned back to Rose, giving her a smile through the shaking. Suddenly his legs were too weak to support both him and Rose at the same time and he slid to the floor weakly, Rose in his arms.
"Rose, Doc! Hold on!" came another familiar voice, "keep moving, keep warm!"
"C-cold," Rose muttered, trying to huddle into the Doctor even more. Her skin definitely had a blue tinge… The Doctor gently lowered her to the ground, still holding her tightly.
"J-Jack… R-Rory… h-hurry… u-up…" he forced out, staring at the caved-in entrance.
"Move! Keep moving!" Jack's voice came again, "keep warm!"
"C-can't… t-too… h-hard…"
"Don't you two dare die on us again!"
The Doctor found himself smiling, a gesture that quickly faded when he looked back to Rose, who had stopped shivering. Coming into severe hypothermia…
Then he could see a light in-amongst the rubble, and he realised with glee that it was the other side of the cave-in. He held Rose tighter. It wasn't just Jack and Rory digging them out. There seemed to be a whole load of other people too, voices he didn't recognise frantically yelling instructions. Where was he, anyway? He couldn't remember…
His eyes dropped down to his chest – to the four bullet holes cut into his shirt. He checked the skin and yes, scars were present. He'd been shot. Four times. Someone had really wanted him dead. Well, he had been, for a while.
Then the light exploded out of the entrance and the Doctor's hand flew to his eyes, the light too bright for a moment. There were a few more gasps and a couple of yells before suddenly Jack was kneeling next to him, throwing a blanket around his shoulders and hugging him firmly.
"It's okay, we got you," the ex-Time Agent reassured him gently. "You're hypothermic, but we're gonna take you to a safe place, okay?"
The Doctor smiled gratefully, feeling Jack lift his body up in the air and carry him out of the chamber. They had barely been moving for a minute before Jack suddenly stopped, expressing vocal disbelief at something. The Doctor forced his eyes to open as Jack set him carefully down on the ground, turning his head sideways to look at what Jack was seeing. It was a small girl – about five or six – laid on the ground. She had blonde curly hair and a neat white dress on, a bedraggled teddy bear in her grip.
He pulled himself over to her, putting his fingers on her neck to check for a pulse. Nothing. He could see no signs of forced death – it was as though she'd died of old age.
"D'you recognise her?" one of the Gallifreyans of the group asked. The Doctor paused for a moment, taking in her features. She was so familiar…
"N-no," he answered, his eyes snapping to the bears under her arm. "B-but that I d-do." He reached out, the bear from out of her loose grip. "M-mine."
"How'd she get it?" Jack frowned. "Who is she?"
The Doctor suddenly caught sight of a small bottle in her left hand. It was almost empty… a couple of golden drops sparkled at the bottom left over from being poured.
"I th-think I-I kn-know," he said, "this i-is re-regen-nerat-tive e-energy… my e-energ-gy…"
Put them together… but… no. That was stupid. You couldn't bring someone back to life using a bottle of regenerative energy and a teddy bear.
This girl, whoever she was, she'd given a jolt to their lives by sacrificing her own. It was the only explanation. But why would she do that? What kind of immense power had she held in her to do something like that? Did he even know her? And asides from that, how had a teddy bear become an entity for him and Rose? This was beyond weird…
"R-Rose," the Doctor suddenly said, and Jack picked him up once more.
"She's fine, Doc. We're gonna take you guys to a safe place."
They buried the blonde little girl next to Eva Sigma-Tyler – the Doctor and Rose's daughter whom had died during childbirth – in the Earth churchyard. No one seemed to know the blonde girl, but she had definitely played a part in the Doctor and Rose's revival. The Doctor and Rose named her Amber for the church records, registering her as their own child. Amber Sigma-Tyler. The mysterious girl without a home.
It had been three months since they had died, and all the children had grown up so fast in that time. Jackie had since enrolled Lottie into the local primary school; Jack too overwhelmed with children to teach them all. The Doctor said he would take her out of the primary school when it stopped being fun and got into pointless exams, but she was happy for the time being.
Little Jack had become a pain instantly from the moment he saw his father. His sister, Yuna, had acknowledged her parents without another word and had shown off that she had learnt to walk. The Doctor and Rose felt slightly miffed that they had missed that part of Yuna and Jack's lives. Dawn had also learnt to walk and talk, and the Doctor had never seen Captain Jack so protective of anything as much as he was of his baby girl.
Rory also had returned to the University in that time, managing to find Amylia once more. Their wedding was scheduled for after Amylia had completed her course, Rory deciding to abandon his place at the Universal University and be self-taught.
It was as though they'd never been away.
"Where are we?"
"Planet Euphorias, sector G at approximately 4:55am," the Doctor replied to her, hands in pockets as he led Rose up the hill.
"Why'd you bring me here?" Rose asked as they stopped at the top, gazing down at the scene below. He grinned.
"Good view. Bit of a breather before it all starts over again." He took his coat off, laying it on the ground for her to sit on. She did so and he dropped down behind her, letting her sit up against him in his arms. He pointed across the shore to the village by the beach, still and quiet in the early morning atmosphere. "The city lights go out one by one, the stars fade. Then the horizon glows, almost like it's on fire. It's kinda rose coloured, right? First in the sea, then it spreads to the sky. It gets brighter and brighter, 'til everything glows."
"If you want prettier, all you have to do is look in a mirror."
"Don't get cheesy," she replied, but she was still smiling. "It's perfect. Thank you."
"I don't take you to enough places like this," the Doctor said wistfully. "There are plenty."
"I don't mind," she replied as she closed her eyes, letting the sound of the tide carry her away in the Doctor's arms.
"I do. Besides, I'm gonna need to think of a few more places to go since we're gonna be spending one-and-a-half-lives together."
She opened her eyes and looked up at him, confused. "What?"
"Well, basically, somehow my last three bodies have split themselves between you and me. We both now have one-and-a-half lives."
"What's that mean though?"
"If you die you'll regenerate, as I will. But the half… is a bit dodgy. It can go three ways. Number one, the body will be healed and physical and mental state won't change – basically we'll keep our body and personality, we'll just get healed from the injury. The second option is that the body will heal and the physical state will remain the same, but we'll also a acquire a new personality besides the one we already have."
"Two personalities?" Rose asked. The Doctor nodded. "Jekyll and Hyde."
"Maybe," he said, entirely seriously, "not good. The third option isn't good either. The physical state will change and the body will be healed, the old personality chucked but no new personality."
"No personality at all?"
He shook his head. "Nadda."
"So more like a vegetable, then," Rose surmised and the Doctor nodded again. "Can't we do anythin' about it?"
He shook his head this time. "We can only hope for the best, and have a great time in-between." He cupped her cheek, turning her face towards him.
"I love you," she said with a smile to which he returned, just as wide.
"I love you too." The Doctor leant forward to kiss her, lingering for a moment before pulling away and getting to his feet, taking her hand. "Allons-y, then. Back to civilisation." She nodded and got up also, giving his grip a squeeze. The Doctor no longer had to fear mortality – she would live as long as he would, he wouldn't have to watch her grow old and die. He picked up his coat, and together they began to walk down the hill to the TARDIS, finally together forever.
"Oh, by the way," Rose suddenly said as they neared the door, and he looked down at her. "I'm pregnant again."
A/N: Well, and with that we finally come to the end of the Rambles. Forever. I swore this would be a trilogy, you beat a fourth out of me but now I'm utterly out of ideas. So That's it. Settled! No Ramble Christmas Special or Ramble Remixed or what have you, never ever, ever, ever, ever!
So, that brings me to the usual 'thanks' at the end.
First, always and forever - the readers, and especially, the reviewers. Without whom there would've been no second, third or fourth Ramble, no compulsion to go on. I seriously love all of you and I'm proud to say it's been almost three years since the first Ramble was published - heckova long time, right? At this point I would spend loads of time going through all the reviews on all the Rambles to find faithful reviewers but I just wanna go this up and done and dusted. Hugs for everyone! I just can't thank you enough.
Second, tardis-mole, faithful proofreader for just about, well, everything. You're incredible and amazingly talented, and I seem to be discovering new things about you everyday! tardis-mole is literally a brilliant writer so if you haven't read stuff already, GO AND READ IT NOW!
Last, the teachers. Every single one of you have been an assistance in my writing this during your classes and probably will be for future fics to come.
Upcoming fics? Well, I'm currently in the ties of writing a 'prequel' to Lector Manor (by FORCE I tell you!), or rather what I have come to call before Lector Manor from the Doctor's point of view. So keep an eye out for that one 'cause I'm loving writing it!
So, this is me, RDA, signing off the Rambles for the last time.