A day early, just for you, Jessa7 ;) But you'll have to give me some more time for the sequel!

Chapter 2, Dålig Ulv Stranden

Rose knew just what the Doctor was up to. He'd spent every waking moment of the past week searching the world over for a last, little gap between universes. And the non-waking moments had been few and far between. In fact, she couldn't be sure he'd slept at all.

Once again, the Doctor was blaming himself.

Rose was sure that if she'd been stuck with Jackie, he'd be blaming himself for that, too. But now, he was blaming himself for their separation, even though it was Rose's choice to come back.

At last, however, the end was in sight. The Doctor had located a-hopefully-suitable gap near India, then had flown the TARDIS out in search of a power source. He was, at present, putting the finishing touches on the holographic interface.

She only hoped that once this was over, they could go back to the way things had been between them. Rose was not going to tolerate a moping, guilt-ridden Time Lord for much longer.

"You really think this'll work?" Rose asked the Doctor from across the TARDIS console. She was more nervous than doubtful as the Doctor connected wires, flipped switches, and sonic-ed almost everything in sight.

"We've got the power, now, from the supernova," he told her, "and the interface should work through the gap, provided your Mum gets to her end of it. And from how strong the connection feels now, I'd say she's there."

The Doctor had made quite a show of reluctance at having to contact her mother psychically, but said her mind stood out even more than Mickey's because of how new she was to the alternate universe.

"Let's do it, then," said Rose. "You ready yet?"

The Doctor finished his jiggery pokery, then came over to Rose, positioning her in front of the-well, camera, he'd finally called it, for lack of a better term. He then went back over to the console, activating the interface. "Can you see anything?" he asked her.

"I can see her!" Rose exclaimed, looking over at the Doctor, then turning back to the image of her mother. "Hi, mum," she said, waving, as Jackie walked up to her along what looked like a beach.

"It's really you!" Jackie said, hands over her mouth in disbelief. She then shook her fists at her sides in annoyance. "I could've killed that Doctor. Nearly thought I'd lost my mind, chasin' a voice all this way!"

"It's me," said Rose, feeling tears spring to her eyes. "The Doctor figured it out, how we could talk to you."

"You look all see-through 'n stuff," Jackie observed.

"Hang on," the Doctor murmured from the console, while he held his sonic screwdriver to one of the components. "Better?" he asked Rose.

"That better?" Rose asked her Mum.

"Oh, Rose," Jackie raised her arms, but Rose stopped her.

"It's just a projection, Mum, a hologram. I can't hug you."

Jackie nodded her understanding. "You alright?" she asked.

"I'm great, Mum, just fine," Rose answered. "You?"

"Oh, yeah. I miss you, so much, but I'm doin' alright. Pete 'n Mickey've been great."

"Hang on, Mum," Rose turned to the Doctor. "How much time've we got?"

"About two minutes," he told her.

"We've only got a couple minutes, Mum, but I wanted to say goodbye properly."

"Can you do this hologram thingy again?" Jackie asked.

Rose shook her head. "Won't be able to talk to you at all, after this."

"Then I should tell you," said Jackie, with a smile, "you're a big sister."

"What?" asked Rose, shocked.

"Yeah, I'm about a month gone already. Just found out. We're thinkin' Lily for a girl, Anthony if it's a boy."

"But, how?" stammered Rose. "I mean, who-"

"Well, it's Pete, innit?" said Jackie. "Got married six months ago. Told everyone we're just renewin' our vows, but it was a proper weddin', just beautiful."

Six months ago? "Mum, you've been gone a week," said Rose.

"Actually-" the Doctor attempted to intervene.

"A week? I've been here a year!" corrected Jackie.

"Time moves differently in diff-" the Doctor tried again.

"Oh, shut up," Rose and Jackie told him at the same time.

A week for her, a year for her Mum. Rose sighed, then looked up at Jackie. "I love you. I just want you to know that. And thank you for everything you've ever done for me, and I'm never ever gonna forget you, I promise."

"I love you too, Rose. I'll always love you, sweetheart. An' your little brother or sister's gonna hear all about you, I promise." Rose smiled as Jackie wiped at her eyes. "Where's that Doctor? I got a thing or two to say to him."

Rose beckoned the reluctant Doctor over to her. He stepped up behind her, so that Jackie could see him.

"You take care of her, Doctor, you hear me?" she told him. "There's no more sendin' her home if things get dicey. You're all she's got, an' for some reason, that's all she wants." Rose bit her lip to keep from smiling. "I'm not gonna make you promise to keep her safe, but-" her words were cut off by her tears.

The Doctor put his hands on Rose's shoulders. "I promise I'll take care of her, Jackie," he said.

"I love you, Mum," said Rose again, knowing time was short. "Say 'bye to Mickey and Pete for me."

"I will. I love y-"

And she was gone.

Rose took a deep breath, knowing she was close to breaking down. She felt the Doctor squeeze her shoulders, and she turned into his embrace. "Thank you," she managed against his jacket.

"Thank you," he said. "For coming back."

Rose smiled weakly up at him through her tears, then gave him a quick peck on the lips. "Never gonna leave ya," she told him.

She got a genuine smile from him then, the first in days, and was happy to return it. To her delight, he pulled her back to him, and gave her the kiss she'd been dying for ever since this whole Cybermen fiasco had begun.

It was cut much too short for Rose's liking, when a small squeak sounded from somewhere behind her, followed by some rather insistent throat-clearing. The Doctor broke away with a soft "pop", followed by a "What?" as he stared, shocked, over Rose's shoulder.

Rose turned in the Doctor's arms to see a woman in a wedding dress standing next to the TARDIS' console. "Who are you?" the woman asked.

"But-" was the Doctor's eloquent reply.

"Where am I?" the bride asked. Rose turned her head back to her from the Doctor, feeling like she was watching a ping pong match.

"What?" asked the Doctor, still holding Rose close to him.

"What the hell is this place?" she demanded.


Rose was impressed. She had no idea who this woman was, but she'd already significantly decreased the Doctor's vocabulary.

The end.

"Runaway Bride" to follow :)