Alrighty! Everyone cried out from Doomsday? Good, that's done.

I'm finished with the TV show canon; it's AU time! This story begins the branching-off. Think of it as a sequel to my stories, "The Girl in the Stalking Spaceship", "Age of Bronze", "Lantern Extinguished", "Gravity Schmavity", "Love and Monsters", "Show Her, Tell Her", and "Ghost of a Chance", but replacing "Through the Gloom and Doom".

This is as yet un-beta'd, so please be merciful.

Disclaimer: Surprise, surprise, I don't own Doctor Who. Nor do I get anything from writing these stories--except wonderful, constructive reviews! Wink, wink; nudge, nudge ;)


Chapter 1, Ghost Floor

Rose and the Doctor raced from the levers to their respective magnaclamps as the system came online. From his place on the wall opposite Rose, the Doctor glanced over his left shoulder at the sound of breaking glass. In flew the first Daleks, being pulled straight through the breach.

"The breach is open, into the void! Ha!" the Doctor shouted, as Cybermen and Daleks continued to fly across the room between him and Rose. He returned Rose's smile, both clinging to their clamps, being only lightly buffeted by the "wind" that was drawing their enemies to their doom.

Suddenly, a shower of sparks erupted from the right-hand lever, as it slowly moved out of the locked position. "Offline," the computer voice reported.

The Doctor quickly kicked out, just catching the lever with the toe of his shoe.

"Doctor!" shouted Rose.

"I've just--" he grunted out, trying to pull the lever into position, "gotta get it--" he reached out with his right arm, keeping his left hooked around the clamp, "locked!" he said, letting his grip on the magnaclamp slide so that he was only holding on with his hand, giving him the necessary reach to grab hold of the lever at last.

"Hold on!" Rose screamed at him.

The Doctor leveraged his feet against the base, and pulled for all he was worth. Slowly, he returned the lever to the upright position. "Online and locked," the system reported.

Instantly, the suction increased, leaving the Doctor scrambling to regain his grip on the magnaclamp. Kicking against the base of the lever, he managed to hook his left elbow back through the grip. He hung, panting from his exertion, then looked up at Rose. He could see the terror only slowly receding from her face, and realized he, himself, was shaking. Nevertheless, he smiled, and she sent him an answering grin. "Piece of cake," he shouted across to her, and she laughed.

It seemed all the Cybermen and Daleks had gone, and the Doctor was only waiting for the breach to self-seal. Just as he'd predicted, a calm suddenly filled the room as the breach closed.

"That's it, then?" Rose asked, still holding tightly to her magnaclamp.

"That's it!" answered the Doctor, letting go, and stepping away from the wall.

Rose was in his arms before he'd made it halfway across the room to her.

"Oh, Rose," he said, holding her against his chest, his chin resting atop her head. "My brilliant, amazing, stubborn Rose," he laughed. In answer, she only squeezed more tightly around his middle.

It was finally sinking in: she'd come back to him. He had sent her away, prepared to live the rest of his life without her, thinking she needed to be with her family, above all else.

But she'd come back. For him. Again. He kissed her hair as she clung to him.

After a good minute or so of calm, Rose pulled back to arm's length. She smiled at the Doctor, then looked over at the blank, white wall.

"We really did it, yeah?" she asked, still looking at the wall. Her face fell slightly as she asked, "It's sealed for good?"

The Doctor swallowed, realizing she was thinking of Jackie, and Mickey, and Pete. "I'm sorry," he said.

Rose looked back at him, shaking her head with a half-smile. "No, 's alright," she told him. "I sorta got to say goodbye, didn't I? Before you tried to get rid of me?" she poked him hard in the chest at that, and the Doctor had the good grace to look contrite as he took her hands. "'Sides, Mum's got Mickey, an' I'm pretty sure Pete'll look after her, too," she said, glancing back over at the wall.

The Doctor thought things through. There was a chance, a--quite literally--tiny chance that a few small gaps might remain. The breach was sealed, to be sure, but elsewhere on the planet, somewhere out along the edges, so to speak . . . . "Rose," he said, giving her hands a squeeze, "now, don't get your hopes up, but we should scan the planet. There might be a small hole left, and we might, I stress 'might', be able to get a message across."

She gave him a small smile. "Really?"

"Maybe," he repeated. "But right now," he led her by the hand from the room, "I think we should probably get out of here." It wouldn't take long for the local authorities to trace the Cybermen and Daleks to Canary Wharf.

Rose followed him, but pulled away just before leaving the room. "Hang on," she said, running back over to the wall and releasing her magnaclamp. "Could come in useful, yeah?" she asked, coming back to the Doctor's side.

"What, with the shopping?" he asked.

"Ya never know what," Rose answered, taking his hand again, as they left to find the TARDIS.


To be continued.