Disclaimer: Uhm… no, but maybe next Christmas…
Series: A sort of Prologue story to the 'In Omne Tempus' series.
Characters: The (Tenth) Doctor, Rose Tyler, Marley Harrod, others.
Summary: If Rose had hung on… just that little bit longer. An AU of Doomsday.
Important Author's Notes: The beginning of a series featuring an AU following Doomsday; where Rose does not get trapped in the parallel universe. The series follows an AU of series 3 as well, but with many, many different plots and a further step in the relationship of Rose and the Doctor.
Oh, and review's are lovely...
"Hold on! " the Doctor screamed desperately; his voice raw with unshed tears, his hand reaching uselessly.
Her fingers were slipping though, and she was moving further and further toward hell; he could see it before his eyes, as she slid along the grip, and he knew that when she was into the void, he would also be in his own personal hell as well. Rassilon, no, he begged silently. Please, oh no, no, no!
This could not be happening. She could have been safe. In another world, true, a world so, so far away from him… But safe nonetheless! Not being sucked into hell forever because of him! What an idiot he was, letting her get away with it; letting her stay! He remembered his fury when she'd popped back in front of him. Fury, jolted through fear, he'd wanted to shake her for being so foolish. And then she'd told him just what exactly he meant to her… and it had sobered him. He'd thought that maybe, just maybe, they'd get through it. Maybe she wouldn't mind being away from her family. Maybe they would both survive and they'd carry on… together. He was ashamed to admit that when she told him she was never going to leave him, part of him had wanted to keep her through his selfishness. As soon as she had said it, he had – quite suddenly – needed it to be true. And needed to keep her with him.
What a bloody fool he was! Now she was being pulled into hell and it was his entire fault! He should have forced her back into that world. Where she was safe! His own anguish be damned! Him and his stupid, confusing emotions getting in the way!
Through this self-recrimination he noted suddenly that something seemed to be... slowing. The pull, the sucking hellish pull of the void… it was slowing. It was losing its force. And Rose was still hanging on. Her fingers were slipping still, but if she hung on just a little bit longer –
Then, with a whoosh of air, it all stopped. The void closed, and at the same moment Rose let go. She flew away from the lever as if in slow motion, landing on her stomach on the floor meters from where the void had been moments before.
Time stood still.
And then he was running.
She sat up, shock covering her face. He scanned over with his eyes as he ran over. She didn't look hurt… and she was here. Right here, with him. The Daleks were gone. The cybermen were gone. And Rose was here!
He took her hand and pulled her up, touching her only lightly, afraid to lest she disappeared. Then she flung her arms around him and he was hugging her like he never had before. Squeezing so tightly, never wanting to let go.
Then it really caught up with him. She was here, and she was alive. And he was laughing into her hair, with tears prickling his eyes, so giddy with relief.
"Doctor?" she pulled back and looked at him. She saw his giant, laughing grin and beamed back at him.
His eyes took her in, took in each bit of her, as he tried to assess and assure himself that she was really all right and not in any way hurt. She appeared fine though, grinning and shaking in relief.
"Is it me," she began, her voice slightly breathless. "Or was I just nearly sucked into hell a little bit there?"
"You were," the Doctor confirmed. "Best try not to do that again though, eh Rose? Wouldn't want you to mess up your hair like that again." He made an effort to stroke down stray bits of blond hair that appeared to have been flailed about madly in the sucking wind of the void. His gaze met hers, and he drew a heavy breath, before saying, his tone carefully casual, "And I wouldn't want to lose you."
Rose simply turned her mouth up into a small, cocky grin. "Nah, couldn't lose me that easily. Even if you wanted to."
The Doctor nodded, speaking breezily, "Good… very good." He grinned and started toward the exit, only before stopping abruptly at the door and turning back to her.
She wasn't behind him, but standing very still over by the expanding white wall, staring up at it with an odd, contemplative expression on her face. Thinking of the people she lost and the promise she made.
"Rose?" he called gently. She looked swiftly back at him, blinking furiously against apparent bridging tears. The Doctor held out his hand, "Come home with me?"
She walked over to him and linked her hand in his, fitting them perfectly. "Always."
Rose ran her hand over the console, her fingers dipping between buttons and the many levers. She looked up at the time rotor, her hands still brushing over the smooth switches, and smiled.
She had very nearly lost this; lost the Doctor, lost the TARDIS, lost her home. The very thought made her go icy cold and stilled her heart. She had still lost others, of course… her mother and Mickey again. And her chest clenched at the thought of never ever seeing them again… But she knew that it would be alright though, because she had the Doctor. And to her, he was everything.
"Careful," she heard a playfully scolding voice behind her, and turned to find said Timelord, grinning from ear to ear, indicating lightly at her hands, which were still rolling over the buttons of the TARDIS. "Don't want us to end up on some forbidden planet with a laser sun and giant man-eating ants, do you?"
Rose raised an eyebrow sceptically, but her hand wavered lightly above the console. "You sure that's even a planet, Doctor?"
The Doctor cast her a beaming smile. "No idea. But if there was, I can imagine we may not be able to resist a passing visit, and imagine where that could get us."
Rose just grinned. "Sounds like an adventure to me."
The Doctor gave a chuckle and moved closer to the console, bouncing on his heels as he jubilantly began to set in coordinates. "I think we'll leave the killing suns and giant ants for now. I have something a little more… relaxing in mind."
"Oh, yeah?" Rose questioned, moving beside him. She watched as he leaned over her, pulling brackets and hitting buttons. "Can you really guarantee none of those giant man-eating ants, no laser suns or shooting moons… not even any running for our lives?"
"Rose," said the Doctor, grinning goofily. "You're with me … and I am going to take you somewhere you'll just love!" He grinned, and pulled another lever down with two hands. "What could possibly go wrong?"
The ward was impossibly dark and most irritatingly quiet.
The dark silence stretched out between the two-dozen beds printed throughout the room, leaving the occupants to rest in the confinement of itchy bedspreads and lumpy mattresses. The long rail of closed, caged windows let in the small, subtle amount of moonlight.
Not enough to see each other, but just enough to see yourself.
Marley scratched at his upper arm, clawing it viciously, before wincing in deep pain immediately after. The only one awake, he kept his cry to a minimum. Gritting his teeth and scowling into the darkness his hands clenched into fists.
He hated everything about this place He hated the smell, the sickly smell of disinfectant and iron. He hated the black, grey and white walls. He hated the retching sounds, and too kind nurses. He hated the prejudice and subtle snide comments. He hated the hourly injections, and pretend excuses. He hated the people, each and every one – nurse and patient.
But most of all, he just hated himself.
Anger and bitterness had stolen his heart; he was trapped and they thought he didn't know. He was getting sicker and sicker with each night, each jab of the needle, and each second he spent in the hospital that was his hell; and they thought he suspected nothing? Ha! They might as well have locked him in a cage, tied him down, turned on the gas and left him to slowly choke on his own blood. He was only hanging onto life through his irrational and confusing want to live. Why he would want to live in the first place though, he had no idea.
As the thoughts punctured through his mind, contaminating his humanity and icing over his heart, there came a distant clatter of footsteps, of heels on wooden floorboards, and a second later a dark silhouette stood in the doorframe. Of course, it's a nurse come to give each of them their hourly dose of death. He was expecting it, but that did not make it any less of a disappointment. Another nail to his coffin.
As the nurse made her way around each patient, silently pushing poison into their blood as they slept, Marley began to wonder what would happen if, when she reached him, he were to simply hit her and run. If he just struck the small, vulgar woman and ran for his life. How would it feel , he thought to himself, to stretch ones legs and run with the wind just behind them? How would it feel to have her nose broken on his fist?
He stared at her figure as she moved from bed to bed, only a couple of dark shapes away from him now. He caught a glimpse of her too-long nose and too-dark eyes from the moonlight shining through a shuttered window from above.
How would it feel … the blood dripping from his fingers, between his knuckles, like the tears he used to cry?
What would happen… if he rushed into the world outside after so, so long?
How would she fall… would she crumple down like a fallen tower of cards, or would she shudder slowly to ground slowly like paper?
He was weak though. Much, much too weak to put anything into practise. Still, it was something to pass the time, something to muse upon. And he was so very, very bored. And his hate was so very, very venomous.
It was certainly something to think about.
To be continued in 'No Hope Hospital', Episode One of the 'In Omne Tempus' series…