OH MAN, I rewatched "Parting of the Ways" because Series 4 is now out on DVD in a box set. And I had a truly odd dream the other night that I was working at an alien tech museum with Rose, and new!Doctor was there and Rose was pregnant. I had been meaning to write this for a while (oh, since the end of series 4), and since I'm anxious for the Christmas special (LESS THAN A DAY), I decided to write it up. "Breakfast at the End of the World" will be updated soon, probably sometime early January, since I'm working the 27th thru to New Year's Eve.
Enjoy! Remember, I own nothing.
It was a long, quiet ride back to a hotel in Norway. Mickey gone (since he couldn't have come with them--the 'Mickey' here was already long gone), and it just Rose and her mum and...this new Doctor. She wasn't quite sure what she was supposed to do, or even where to begin. This was her Doctor, and yet...it wasn't. Jackie chatted with him, informing him of little Tony and the life they had been living since that day that seemed ages back.
New Doctor smiled and conversed back, but said little. He was always worrying at his lip, consciously keeping his distance from Rose, hoping she wasn't angry at the other him, or this him.
They had reached the hotel lobby when she finally spoke up. She shifted closer to him, worn and tired (they both were), and rested her head on his shoulder. His hand found hers. Rose gave a heaving sigh and met his eyes.
"What do I call you? You can't just be The Doctor now...you've got to have a name. And a life...and...everything."
New Doctor shrugged a shoulder, whispered back.
"I don't know."
And he was being honest. There had never been a human-timelord biological metacrisis before. He'd never settled down for long, so creating a life was a mystery to him. What was more worrisome was the distance in Rose's eyes. He was not her Doctor. He couldn't ever be, really, even if he was in every way the same. Her Doctor was far gone, in another universe with all the same memories, but two hearts and an aching hole where Rose had nestled herself again. But she could not stay there.
"We can get back to London, and think on it there, yeah?" he whispered, and tentatively brushed a few strands from her face.
The Doctor had loved her. New Doctor knew he was not the same man--that would be impossible on every level. They had been the same man, up until the Daleks had resurfaced and everything had almost been lost forever.
A silence, but for the announcments chiming through the air in English and Norwegian.
"Will you ever tell me what happened before?"
"Before....," a million things, a thousand years tumbled before him.
"Before I met you. For the first time. I mean, if you and him have the same memories.."
A deep pain welled in the New Doctor's chest, a pain evident behind his eyes.
"Whatcha mean, maybe?"
Weary, he responded, half smiling.
"905 years brings a lot to recall. And some things," he breathed, "are still too fresh"
And like that, she understood. He smiled inwardly--no wonder he had fallen for her.
Silence came and went as they waited for news from Pete, who was trying to get them a ride further home to London. After a particularly long stretch, Rose piped up, eyes bright.
"You said you were a father before. When?"
The new Doctor blanched, and Rose giggled. Maybe this wasn't as hard to believe as she had first thought. There was still a feeling that this was not 'her' Doctor, but perhaps, in time, that might wane and dissappear.
"Oh, Rose, s'ancient history..I mean, really really long time ago."
"Did you have a big family?"
"No, it was...just the one. It was before I traveled all over the place. Sort of a renegade, I was," he smiled softly, but his face shifted, as if he had remembered something but was hesitant to say it.
"No, there was..two. There was Jenny," he took a shuttering breath--two hearts, a brilliant mind...oh Jenny had been his, through and through, even if she had been born out of a progeny machine for a useless war. They had been so close to a happy ending, for once. He would have been madly happy to have another family member aboard the Tardis. There hadn't been one since...Susan.
New Doctor didn't mention Susan, though. It was already odd enough, this tenuous new relationship. Mentioning that he had been a grandfather as well would probably make it more awkward that it was already destined to be.
"Still, gone now."
"I know," she sighed, and squeezed his hand tight. New Doctor could not help but feel quite guilty that the proper Doctor was still so desperately alone (and Donna could not have been with him long--all of that time lord knowledge in a human mind would have killed her quickly), but at the same time, he, this new Doctor, loved Rose Tyler.
"It is taking a BLOODY long time to get transport back home. Where'd your mum go?"
"Probably to the shop, to get some food"
"They've got a little shop?" new Doctor's voice rose in pitch, and Rose giggled. Same old Doctor, just..one heart. For her. Her Doctor, the proper Doctor, had done the most selfless thing anyone in love could ever do--he had let her go. It was only cruel irony that she was able to have 'her' Doctor, while her Doctor could never have her. Her laughter became tears as she realized that this time, he really was gone.
New Doctor pulled her close and let her cry. He smelled like the proper Doctor, but she couldn't smell Time. Not on this one.
When her tears had dried, Rose slipped a hand into her coat pocket, and absently fingered the piece of Tardis coral. New Doctor and Rose, they could travel through time and space, but it wouldn't be the same. But still, wouldn't this universe need just as much saving as the other?
"I know, let's think of names for you."
New Doctor pursed his lips.
"I like John Smith. Very simple, very classic"
"Really? Nothing more adventurous than..."John Smith"?"
"Oi, I've been using that one since before you were born! Before Sarah Jane was born!"
The new Doctor smiled.
"What about...your real name, Doctor?"
The pain pulsed a little stronger in his chest, single heart pounding.
"No," he whispered, "that..that.."
Rose kissed his cheek.
"It's okay. If you're ever ready, you can tell me. No one else has to know."
Eventually they made it back to London, where Pete proceeded to gush over Rose and Jackie's safe return, and then berate the new Doctor for leaving them stranded out beyond Norway with no way to get back home. Rose pointed out several times that this was not, in fact, the same Doctor but a sort of copy of him, and would he please stop yelling at him.
It had taken a few days, but they had reached the Torchwood of this new world, who were more than happy to help this new Doctor set up a false identity. Until he had refused to assist them in helping to turn technology into weapons, reminding them that this split in personality (and body) was quite recent. Rose had to argue back and make Torchwood agree to help the man because if he had no history and someone found out, it'd lead back to Rose and that'd lead back to Torchwood. Thankfully, Rose was invaluable to the company, or else her bargain would not have worked.
So now John Smith (it was still too strange to call him simply Doctor) was sitting outside the nursery, waiting for Rose to return from a shopping trip with her mother. He'd been relegated to babysitting, which he felt very confident about at first.
Then Tony had taken one look at him and begun to cry, and the half-human version of the Time Lord knew it would not be easy. The nineteenth month old toddled around his room, pointedly speaking to the new Doctor in little child words, and doing marvelously brilliant things for a young child.
Jackie must have been quieter than usual, because it was a surprise to the new Doctor when he turned around and she was standing there, smiling. Tony nuzzled the new Doctor's chest, happily sleeping away, sucking for a bottle that'd long been emptied. The new Doctor gave Jackie a look which made her almost laugh...he looked overwhelmed.
Daleks and Cybermen and the end of the world, and he was afraid of a child? It was kind of cute.
"You'll make a good dad one day, you will," she whispered as new Doctor set Tony in his crib. The new Doctor bit back a smile. Best not mention prior things to Jackie.
Rose flipped through the radio on her way home, unhappy with any of the stations. She chose to drive in silence, still trying to work out just what had happened back at Bad Wolf Bay. And yet...this 'new' Doctor really wasn't new at all. He might be a little more reckless than the one she traveled with, and there were countless other differences. What amazed her was how much the same they were.
Same eyes, same mind, same caring, compassionate drive, same hope, same love for everything adventurous and free. And so fiercely loyal to his values that he would gladly die to prove his point.
This was her Doctor. Perhaps one day, if they had not off and left to travel in a Tardis they had grown from that tiny chunk of coral, they would find a quiet spot and make a family there. And they would be together, till the end. The other man who loved her, the proper Doctor, had given her the greatest gift he ever could.
He gave her a life spent together. Even if his hearts broke as he did so.
It would be a long while before Rose could say she truly loved this 'new' Doctor, because for so long she'd tried to get back to the Proper Doctor. Both knew a long road lay ahead of them, but they were traveling together, and that made all the difference.