Right, I know that the last chapter made some people unhappy. Lady Clark-Weasley of Books, I'm looking at you! But this is a happy story. So here's the next chapter. I want to thank you all for reviewing, and encourage you again to press that little purple button at the bottom of the screen. It really does make me so happy to hear what you think. I love this chapter to bits, and I'd love to know if you agree. Next chapter will be the last, so get your reviews in, before the end! Mucho loves!
P.s. I was slightly naughty with this chapter, and there is one naughty word. Apologies!
On a cold, isolated corner Earth, a shadowy figure walked towards a tall pyre, the linen bound body of the Master laying atop the piled wood. The Doctor walked forwards, his stony face set as he carried a flaming log, setting the oil-drenched wood alight and watching impassively as the flames took hold. The flickering blaze bathed his face in a hellish glow, throwing sharp shadows across his features.
He walked away from the last of his species, throwing the torch on the ground and putting his hands in his pockets as he walked away slowly. He had insisted that he and he alone should do this, putting the Master to rest. He felt that, as the rest of his people had died in the flames of his burning planet, so the Master should meet a similar end. He reached into his pocket, searching for the TARDIS key and sliding it into the lock, walking silently into the restored control room.
'Is it done?' Martha asked, sitting on the jump seat, having waited patiently for his return.
'It's done,' The Doctor sighed, removing his coat and throwing it over one of the coral like struts that seemed to grow from the floor to the ceiling of the ship. He walked over to the central column, his usual enthusiasm long since gone as he started the dematerialisation sequence. The ship was slow to comply, her recent hurt and heartbreak obvious to even Martha, who had never really understood the fact that the TARDIS was as much alive as she was.
The hammer stood leaning against the underside of the panel, as it always did, offering him a vent for his anger and anguish, but he couldn't. He knew what she was feeling, as she understood his own, and neither had the heart to nag at each other as they usually did.
'Are you alright?' Martha said tentatively.
'I'm always alright,' He replied brightly, the evidence to the contrary written so plainly across his face that she didn't even bother pressing him. 'Where's Jack?'
'Wardrobe,' She replied simply.
'Right ho,' He said, bringing them into the Vortex with a final flick of a switch, not setting any co-ordinates, leaving them to float aimlessly through the Vortex. He left the console, hands in pockets, walking towards the inner door, heading for the labyrinthine network of corridors that made up the bowels of the enormous ship. When he noticed her not moving he turned to look at her, 'You coming?' he offered.
'Nah,' she said, shaking her head, 'I think you two need to talk. I'll only get in the way.'
He nodded, not in the mood to argue, walking out of the room, trusting his sense of direction and the TARDIS to stop him getting too lost. As it turned out he could rely on them both quiet well, only getting the wrong door twice before he found his chosen destination.
'How 'you doing?' he asked as he walked in, closing the door quietly behind himself.
'Not so bad,' Rose replied, opening her eyes and trying to sit up with difficulty.
'Careful!' he said, running over, helping her to sit in a comfortable position, moving the pillows around to help, before settling himself in the chair beside her bed. 'Do you need anything? Water? Painkillers? Soup? Ooh I could make you a nice bowl of soup? Or a sandwich? Ooh oh I could make both, soup and a sandwich? Or I could-'
'You're mother henning again. Well, to be more precise, you're Jackie-ing.'
At her words, his eyes went wide as dinner plates, gulping loudly at the horror of it, making Rose laugh, which swiftly lead to her coughing badly. The Doctor jumped up, living up to his name sake and rushing to help her, grabbing the glass from her bedside table and holding it gently to her lips as he held her up, rubbing circles on her back.
'You okay?' he asked as he lay her back on the pillows, placing the glass on the table.
''M fine,' She assured him, eyes watering but her breathing returning to normal as she placed a bandaged hand on her heaving chest. When he didn't move away she waved a hand. 'Honestly, I'm fine,' She cocked an eyebrow. 'Do you have this effect on every woman you meet?'
He smiled, sitting down and taking her bound hand, his eyes focused on her face. 'Has the amnesia worn off yet?'
'Nah, still blank,' She sighed, flattening the sheets of her bed. 'God I know I've got a bad memory, but this is getting ridiculous.'
'Do you want to know?'
She looked up into the chocolate brown pools that resided in his eyes, uncertain.
'What do you remember?' he asked softly.
'Falling down the stairs,' She sighed, then laughed gently, shaking her head, 'So much for my bronze for gymnastics, eh?' He smiled, laughing with her.
'I remember seeing you holding me, and we were talking… and then…' she shook her head. Surely that wasn't a real memory. It couldn't be… could it? 'But then I only really remember seeing the Wolf, and I said goodbye. Then it all went black, and I woke up here, bandaged and bruised, but feeling better that ever.'
'Well,' he said, moving his chair forward and rubbing his thumb over her uncovered fingers, 'we're all of the opinion that your Mr Wolf decided that it wasn't the right time to let you go. That's why you're all bandaged up… no opposable thumbs.' He lifted his own, waggling it at her to illustrate the fact, 'He might have looked like star dust, but those teeth seem to be pretty solid.'
'Wait, could you all see him?' she asked, puzzlement tugging the corners of her mouth into a confused frown.
''Course we could. He swooped down on you, grabbed your wrist and pulled you out of my arms, barking at me- quite literally- to go get the TARDIS sorted out. Martha and Jack said that he had lay next to you, licking the wounds that he had made, but still making new ones. They said it looked like a mother holding a child's hand to stop them wandering off. I suppose that's what it was, in a way. But then, when I'd sorted out the TARDIS, they said it was like the Wolf just sorta… jumped into you. You didn't go Bad-Wolffy, exactly, you just sorta… glowed. That's what you were like when I came back. I carried you back here, hooked you up to a life support system, and the Wolf jumped out. He sat there for a moment, licking your hand, then nodded to me and… not exactly vanished, just sorta blew away, fading into the walls,' He looked at her, and she nodded, understanding. 'Do you remember?'
She shook her head, but smiling all the same. 'So, I've got to ask… am I still… ya know… Time Lord slash Jack?'
'Yep,' He said, popping the 'p' happily. 'Look at the monitors; two heart beats, nice and strong and healthy.'
'But… what if it happens again? What if she can't save me?'
His face fell. 'I can't change you, Rose. There's nothing that I can do. But, the only person that could do something that devastating is gone now, and I don't think he'll be coming back this time.'
'What do ya mean, 'this time'?' Rose asked, her brows furrowing.
'The Master was a Time Lord; a very powerful and clever Time Lord at that. He seemed to have an unnatural talent of dodging death. But, with my people gone, I don't think he'll be able to resurrect himself on his own.'
She swallowed, knowing that he was putting a brave face on the loss of the last true member of his species. She searched for some way to change the subject, turning to something that had been bothering her for a while. 'How come he could sorta control how he looked when he regenerated?'
The Doctor laughed, shuffling the chair slightly closer without realising it. 'Well, most Gallifreyans could. I just kinda… skipped most of school.'
'I'm in shock!' Rose said, eyes wide as she grinned.
'Ha ha.' The Doctor deadpanned.
'You? Skipping class?' she said, breaking out in laughter, 'I always thought of you as sitting at the very front of class, all the kids flicking pen lids at you.'
'Thank you so much for that insight into your ever interesting imagination, my dear Rose. But if anything I was the opposite. I broke every rule those stuffed shirts tried to enforce.'
'Like what?' she asked.
'What rules did you break?'
'Wellllll… we weren't meant to interfere with other planets, just to watch over the universe. Not to get caught up.'
'There goes that one!' she laughed.
'Exactly!' he agreed, laughing with her, enjoying the musical sound of her delighted laughter.
'Well…' this was it .she hadn't said anything about the kiss they had shared. What if she regretted it… or did she really not remember. But he couldn't stand not knowing. This was the time to find out.
'Doctor?' she asked, seeing his body tensing and shuffling closer.
'There-' he cleared his throat, his mouth dry, 'There was one rule… Time Lords weren't exactly… we weren't meant to… to fall in love with humans.'
She blinked, her mouth open. 'Oh,' She breathed, her expression unreadable as she turned her gaze away from his penetrating gaze, looking down at their joined hands, wishing that the heart monitor on the wall beside her wouldn't incriminate her by the increase of beeps as her hearts started to beat faster, wondering breathlessly whether he was confirming what she remembered happening in the control room of the Valiant.
'And…' she ventured, her voice noticeably unsteady, 'Have… have you broken that rule?'
'Every day since the moment I fist met you,' He answered, smiling apprehensively as her eyes shot up to meet his gaze.
She laughed nervously, trying to ignore the rapid break-beat of the machine beside her until it became almost a blur of sound. They moved in perfect synchronicity, leaning into each other so close that they could taste each other's breath as their eyes flickered closed…
'Rose, are you alright?!' Jack said, slamming into the room, the devise on his wrist beeping in time to the wall monitor, 'The Vortex Manipulator said that your heart rate just increased sharply, so I…' he cut off, noticing the Doctor and Rose looking rather uncomfortable, Rose's face looking an incriminating shade of red.
'Ah,' Said Jack, looking between them, eyebrows shooting up, 'Bad timing, as ever. I'll just…' he strode over to the screen on the wall, switching it off.
'Well… I'll just... ya know…' he pointed a thumb over his shoulder, before turning and leaving the room as quickly as he dared. He may be immortal, but he didn't know whether immortality was completely Tyler-proof. And also, he didn't much fancy finding out whether that meant that he'd be able to re-grow teeth. He quite like the ones he had already. He certainly didn't want to risk either possibilities.
As Jack left the room, the Doctor and Rose looked at each other, their faces mirroring their own perfectly. Huge grins broke out, then changed into outbursts of insane laughter, the Doctor moving up to sit next to her on the bed and pulling her into a warm hug.
'You, Rose Tyler, are the most amazing, beautiful, fantastic woman I have ever had the good fortune to travel through time and space with. And there's something that I should have told you every day from the second I first took your hand. I love you, Rose Tyler, with all of both my hearts. And I always will be in love with you, until my very last breath.'
She looked up at him, her eyes sparkling. 'I love you too.'
And so, for the first time in their lives, with out the threat of imminent death or possession by bitchy trampolines, their lips touched, tender and sweet and oh so sweet, the only sounds around them of the synchronised beat of their hearts and the proud whispers of the ancient ship around them.
The next day, Rose awoke to see the Doctor sitting in the chair next to her, gently stroking her hair and watching her soundlessly. Still exhausted from her brush with Old Boney's final visit, she had fallen asleep with the Doctor's arms around her and, she suspected, more than just the smallest mental nudges from him not ten minutes after Jack had left the room.
'That,' she mumbled sleepily, one eye shut as she struggled through the veils of unconsciousness, 'was cheating.'
'Well, I know humans well enough to know that, the way we were going, you wouldn't have got any of the sleep that you so desperately needed.'
'Your problem, dear Doctor,' she said, stifling a yawn, 'is that you use Jack to categorise all us humans. We're not all from the 51st century, ya know.'
'Actually,' the Doctor said snobbily, 'I know from personal research.'
'Oh aye?' Rose enquired, sitting up and fixing him with a stare, now assured that her eyes wouldn't start wandering from tiredness, 'I advise you to choose your answer to this question very carefully; Personal research?'
'Well, I of course mean watching human films,' He stuttered quickly.
'Good choice,' She mumbled, stretching and making some rather strange noises in the process. 'So good Doctor, is your patient ready to leave her bed today?' she asked matronly.
He grinned, copying her and putting on posh-Doctor voice 'If she can peal herself to get out of the bed, nurse Tyler, I believe she may.'
Alison Docherty walked silently through the park, enjoying the feel of the summer's sun on the back of her head and the sounds of birds singing and children playing. There was a small group in their late teens, about the same age as her son, chatting animatedly and laughing. She noticed a young blonde woman, about twenty two, carrying a bouquet of brightly coloured flowers and running in her direction. She had expected the woman to run past, but instead she stopped right in front of her, a kind smile on her face as she gently pressed the flowers into her hands.
'Just to say I don't blame you,' The blonde said, her hair catching the sunlight, turning into gold as she grinned, running off and waving.
'But who are you?' Alison asked a moment too late. The woman turned for a second, waving, a knowing wink, and then she was gone, disappearing around a corner. Alison looked down at the flowers, realising for the first time what they were. A beautiful selection of roses; red, pink, white and yellow. Why did that seem so appropriate? She laughed softly at the nagging feeling of recognition in her mind, smiling bemusedly down at the flowers and walking on, heading for her son's flat, not noticing the wheezing, whirring sound of a blue box disappearing from around the corner that the blonde had ran.
The Doctor, Rose, Martha and Jack stood, leaning against a railing in Cardiff, looking out over the courtyard where the millennium fountain stood, their backs to the opera house, watching in comfortable silence as children played and people talked, carrying on with their everyday lives, unaware of how close they had come to a completely different world.
'Time was, every single one of these people knew your names,' Martha said, 'Both of you. Now they've all forgotten.'
'Good,' Rose and the Doctor said in unison, holding each other's hands slightly differently from before. No longer was this a simple sign of friendship, but it had undergone a metamorphosis into something that little more affectionate.
'I'm still thought to be dead,' Rose continued, 'All it would do is make my life harder, and I don't fancy UNIT or Torchwood breathing down my neck. Life with the Doctor gets me noticed enough as it is, thanks.'
'Speaking of Torchwood,' Jack said, clapping and rubbing his hands together, 'Back to work.'
'I really don't mind though,' The Doctor said as he watched Jack slide under the railings. He gestured with his head, nodding back to where the TARDIS stood. 'Come with us.'
'I had a lot of time to think that past year,' he smiled, a thoughtful look washing over his face. 'The year that never was,' He sighed, turning to look at the fountain, 'And I kept thinking of that team of mine.' He turned back, 'Like you said Doctor. Responsibility.'
'Defending the Earth, can't argue with that,' He sniffed, grabbing the ex-Time Agent's wrist and fishing out the Sonic Screwdriver.
'Hey, I need that!' Jack argued.
'I can't have you, walking around with a time travelling teleport,' The Doctor said firmly, zapping the device and pressing the buttons, 'You could go anywhere. Twice!'
'Second time to apologise,' Rose laughed, watching Jack's face, 'Don't think I didn't notice, skulking around the Estate when I was little.'
'You knew I was there?'
Rose scoffed, 'Oh please, half the parents on the Estate warned their kids about you! And when you knocked over the bins, that sorta gave you away. I always said I recognised you from somewhere.'
'I never was much good at spying,' Jack admitted as the Doctor dropped his hand, 'The only reason I passed was 'cause me and the examiner-'
'Jack!' Rose interrupted, knowing Jack too well to doubt where the conversation was going. 'There are impressionable ears around. And I'm sure the kid's parents won't like their children hearing what you've got to say.'
'And what exactly is that supposed to mean?' the Doctor asked suspiciously.
'Just that I don't want Jack giving you any ideas,' She laughed, tongue between her teeth, 'I'm still a bit too weak for you to try out any of his tips.'
'You, Rose Tyler, are a minx,' The Doctor said, feigning seriousness.
'What about me and Rose, Doctor?' Jack said, 'Can you fix that? Will we ever be able to die?'
'Nothing I can do. You're a pair of impossibles.'
'I've been called that before,' Jack grinned, turning and stepping towards the fountain, but then turning back and raising his hand in a salute. 'Sir!'
The Doctor returned the gesture wordlessly as Jack turned his attention to the girls, winking charmingly at them. 'Ladies.'
Rose grinned and Martha waggled her fingers shyly.
'We're all gonna miss you, Rose,' Jack said, lowering his hand. 'I will, of course, but I can think of someone else in particular who'll miss your company.'
'If you're talking about that little weasel, Owen, the only thing he's gonna miss is my curves, and he was never gonna get any of that anyway. And you better tell him that your little trick of making bras pop open by looking at them doesn't work for him, so he can stop eyeballing Tosh and Gwen. Say bye to them, for me though, won't ya?' he nodded, 'And you better take care of Ianto. I don't want to hear that you've been playing him for a fool. You mean a lot to him after Lisa. I've still got his number, and I will be checking in, ya hear?'
'Loud and clear,' Jack nodded, smiling as he turned to leave, but then changing his mind and turning back.
'But I keep wondering, Doctor, what about aging? 'Cause I can't die, but I keep getting older. The odd little grey hair, ya know. What if I live for a million years?'
'I really can't say,' The Doctor said, failing to conceal a wicked grin.
'Okay, vanity, sorry. Yeah. Can't help it. Used to be a poster boy! When I was a kid, living on the Boeshane Peninsula. Tiny little place. I was the first one ever to sign up for the Time Agency. They were so proud of me. The Face of Boe they called me.'
He grinned, not noticing Rose's, the Doctor's and Martha's faces dropping, their eyes going wide. 'I'll see ya.'
With that he ran off, towards the fountain and the secret pavement entrance to the underground Hub.
'No,' said the Doctor as Martha tapped his arm and Rose's hand went limp.
'Can't be,' Martha said numbly.
'I'm…' Rose said, stunned, 'I'm… I'm gonna be a head in a jar.'
'No,' the Doctor assured her.
'I'm gonna be a big, wrinkly, ugly face in a jar.'
'Definitely not, no. You're part Time Lady, so-'
'Oh God!' Rose gasped, fear washing over her face, 'That's even worse! I'm gonna be Yoda!'
It had become too much for Martha, her face crumpling up in laughter, hand pressed over her mouth. Soon the Doctor followed suite, laughing guiltily at Rose's shocked expression.
'I don't turn into Yoda!' Rose moaned, poking the Doctor in the ribs.
'Ah, don't worry,' He said, slipping an arm around her shoulder and pulling her into a hug. 'You won't turn into Yoda.'
'Really?' she asked looking up at him hopefully.
'Nah,' He replied. 'More like Gollum!'
And with that he was gone, dashing as fast as he could from the Tyler killer slap that he knew he would likely receive if he lingered, dodging around people and laughing manically as he ran towards where the TARDIS was parked. Rose turned to Martha, who had also been watching the Doctor with a bemused smile. They shared an understanding look, nodding to each other and heading off after the Doctor.
This. Was. War.
Five minutes later saw the Doctor pinned to the floor, face down on the cold grille flooring of the TARDIS with two laughing companions sitting comfortably of his back, holding his limbs hard against the floor in an attempt to stop him from struggling. Rose sat with her legs spread to hold down his right arm and leg, tickling his side with her free hands, laughing manically as she saw that Martha had managed to remove one of his shoes to tickle his wiggling foot, joining their laughter.
Meanwhile the Doctor lay uncomfortably, trying to breath between escape attempts and the uncontrollable giggles that racked his body as he desperately tried to stop himself from crossing that delicate line; one that he had danced over many a time, that presented the border between slightly mad and all out mentally insane.
See! Didn't I say it would all be good? This chapter was a joy to write, and it really did make me laugh. So don't forget to press that pretty little button, just down there. Love ya all!