Disclaimer: I do not own Doctor who. Those rights belong to the BBC and Russell T Davis. –Sob–

Rating: K+

Pairing: 10/Rose as always.

Spoilers: Nothing past Doomsday.

Possibly slightly AU here after. Somewhere between The Runaway Bride, and Smith and Jones, although it may not run onto Smith and Jones…BUT set in 2004, therefore Rose is aged 18.


When it's thought about really deeply, life's really not that exciting. It's all rather like a dull routine, all of it; you're born; you go to school; go to work; get married; have kids; you die. The end. It's pretty depressing really, Rose mused as she bustled through the busy London streets along with all the other nine to five goers. Life was just boring with a few snippets of small excitement thrown in here and there to keep you going, like Christmas and birthdays.

It was difficult to comprehend that there was anymore to life than chips, Eastenders and the dulcet sounds of a working day. Was there something more? she wondered as she crossed the road, parting herself from her job for the next sixteen hours. Ha, that was laughable. Like what? A magical land of wizards? Ghosts in a haunted castle? Yeah, throw in the Martians from Mars and there's your Halloween party. She didn't know where these thoughts were coming from, but she was just so bored of it. Of it all.

Her and Mickey were taking another break. She had no doubt they'd be back together this time next week, but it was still slightly depressing how bad their relationship was getting. If he'd just stop smothering her…

She sighed, slowing to a dawdle much to the annoyance of those bustling through the London streets around her. She turned into a side street, a short cut to the Powel Estate where she lived, and much less crowded, if a little rough. She scuffed her shoes on the floor, walking miserably. She should have had more of a zest for life than this, being eighteen years old, young and free, and usually she did, but today had just been so routinely dull, she didn't have the energy.

It was only when she was half way down the side street when she noticed there was a man behind her, following her some feet back. Even though he was probably just heading the same way, she couldn't get rid of the feeling that his eyes were upon her. She ignored this and continued walking… until his pace quickened. He wasn't far behind, she could here his rough breath, and his eyes were still boring through her back.

Her speed increased a little, not wanting to get in his way – he could be in a hurry. His stare stayed on her though; she could feel it. His speed increased with her, too. Fear seemed to elope her and she quickened to a slight jog. With it, so did he. She could no longer kid herself that he wasn't following her. Their quick footfalls fell in time and she felt a scream escape her as he grabbed her wrist.

She turned and looked at him. The words 'dirty old man' came to mind. He was quite old, smelled… odd, and his eyes were slightly yellow. He leered over her, a gruff voice saying something she could barely understand. Suddenly he pushed her against the wall, startling the breath from her.

Finding her voice, Rose screamed.

--

"What'll it be?"

"Oh, I'm fine for now thank you, just… enjoying the view really. Best ask later."

The Doctor smiled at the waitress who gave him a frown and a quizzical look, before stalking away, pen and pad in hand. Sighing, he shrugged and looked outside through the window, at the London streets. It was February 21st, in the year 2004. There was no particular reason for his being there he had to admit. He couldn't decide where to go though, so the Tardis had chosen for him.

He didn't mind; didn't much care. But then again, after losing Rose, he didn't much care about anything anymore. He balanced his elbow on the table and put his chin in his palm, staring outside at the big bad London world in all its glory. Even just sitting there, he felt like a knife had ripped – and was still ripping – two huge holes in his hearts. A piece of him had been torn away into that parallel world, along with Rose.

Looking outside, he suddenly, visibly stiffened. His hearts missed some beats.

"No," he half whispered.

He'd been thinking about her, that was all. It had been a trick of his mind. She had merely been running through his thoughts – but then she always was – and he'd mistaken a blonde head for hers. Yes, that must be it…

Then he saw her among the sea of people again. There was no mistaking it this time. She was walking slowly through the crowd, quite oblivious to his eyes on her. Just walking, eyes ahead, and just being… normal. He felt little air in his lungs as he stared at her, barely breathing. There she was. In the here and now. Simply living her life. She must've be about eighteen… it was the year before they first met.

He simply stared, all other thoughts demolised. This was probably dangerous, if she saw him… But that hardly mattered to him then. Particularly when he saw the man in the crowd with his eye on her. He was quite old and seemed to be taking all of her in, before she turned into a side street. He turned into the street after her.

The sudden shock of seeing her was taken over by fear. Something was amiss, he was sure. Like that man… shouldn't be there. Startling people drinking tea and coffee nearby, the Doctor stood suddenly and raced out of the café. He crossed the road, almost getting hit by a taxi in the process, and ran through the crowd, deeply annoying workers as he went. Quickly, he turned into the side street, in time to see an old man grab Rose's wrist and hear her scream in terror.

Ignoring any consequences that might come his way, and letting the fear felt before become a raw, hot, red anger, the Doctor raced over to save Rose. His eyes were as black as coal as he gripped the man's shoulder. The man looked round, looking ready to thump the Doctor.

"I don't think so," the Doctor's voice was icy, as he swung the man away from Rose.

The man didn't seem to pay much attention to the Doctor's presence for a moment, then he let out an ear splitting grin, and began to change.

His teeth grew larger until they were poking out of his mouth; his hair became longer; his eyes more yellow; his size grew to twice that it were before and lurched outwards. The alien standing in front of the Doctor and Rose let out a penetrating squeal, causing their ear drums to ache, and their bodies to bend to the floor in pain.

The creature turned its teeth to Rose. Then all the Doctor heard was her terrified scream.


Please review, so I know whether or not to continue...