Title: Discordant - Prologue -- Part of the Blind and Bound series (1/13)
Author: sinecure
Character/Pairing: Ten/Rose
Rating: Adult
Genre: AU, romance, mystery, action/adventure
Summary: Rose Tyler traveled through universes to get back to the Doctor. What did she see in those universes, and how did they affect her?
Disclaimer: I don't own Doctor Who.
Author's Note: This fic came around through a prompt given to me by JennyLD. I wrote a short fic, which we both discussed and thought would be better as a longer one. And then NaNoWriMo came along. Now there are 13 chapters in the first story, and probably about that many in the second.
Thanks: to JennyLD for the beta, and the prompt, and the constant inspiration to finish this thing.

Gingerly touching her fingertips to her temple, Rose pushed herself into a sitting position against the wall. She was pretty sure she'd got head-butted. There was a large, tender bruise spreading across her forehead.

Maybe not just head-butted then.

Pain throbbed through her head with every movement, but she ignored it. She could handle a little pain. What was more important was that Mickey was on his way and she needed to be ready when he got there. Ready to escape.

Getting captured was a stupid mistake on her part. Not that she'd had a choice. The Larwurkin had stormed Torchwood without warning. How they'd managed to make it past security, fight off Pete and Ari and get out again, hauling her with them, she'd never know.

And poor Eric.

Fighting back tears, she decided she needed to do something to help herself before rescue arrived. She wasn't about to just sit around, nursing her injuries, waiting for them to come for her. That wasn't who she was, wasn't what the Doctor had taught her, wasn't what she'd learned in her Torchwood training.

So, she began by assessing the situation.

Her hands were tied in front of her, giving her only limited movement, and there was a strip of some kind of hard material completely covering her eyes. The blindfold was dark enough that no light penetrated it, and they'd attached it around her head somehow so that she couldn't get her fingers beneath it. Still, she continued to pull at it, hoping for any help she could get.

But it was no good. The blindfold wouldn't budge.

Sighing in frustration, she scooted around, placing her hands on the wall, feeling along it, inch by inch. It was surprisingly soft and sponge-like. She trailed her chipped and broken fingernails along the smooth surface, from one side of the room to the other, finding nothing to aid her escape. Nothing to keep them from killing her.

But they wouldn't do that, would they? Kill the only bait they had? Or was she a bargaining tool to get them safely off Earth?

The Larwurkin weren't fierce fighters, nor did they have the sharpest brains in the universe. Capturing one of Torchwood's employees was a mistake they might not live to regret if Mickey and Pete and Ari had their way.

She just hoped it wouldn't come to that.

After two complete circuits around the room, a wave of dizziness swept over her and she had to sit down again. She'd been here for hours, though it felt like days. It was cold and dark--she thought--and the walls were seamless, no doors or windows or anything else marring the smooth surface, nothing to provide her with a possible means of escape. And that was all she knew, all she'd been able to find out from her explorations.

The last thing she'd seen before General Br'ons motioned for her to be dragged away was an old, abandoned building on the edge of a large field. She thought maybe that was where they'd taken her. Surely their ship was hidden inside.

The silence, but for her own ragged breathing, was deafening, making her feel like she was stuffed in a cotton wool container.

Leaning wearily against the wall, she held her arms to her chest, trying to find some warmth. Her head was aching fiercely now and she wanted to just lie down and sleep, but she knew that she couldn't. Escape was her only chance. Mickey and-- and the Doctor were on their way, she just knew they were.

Head dropping to her chest, she decided to allow herself a brief rest. Just for a moment.

If the Larwurkin came for her, she wanted to be ready to fight them. Her Torchwood training would come in handy, but first, she needed a bit of a kip.

There was a jingling sound off to her right and she snapped awake, holding herself still. Sitting up, she shook her head to clear it from the fog threatening to engulf her. A minute later, all was still silent and she wondered if she'd heard anything at all or if it was just a dream.

Pushing herself to her feet, she called out, "Someone there?"

The soft, thick walls swallowed up her voice and she shuffled forward, hands held out in front of her. Her feet were bare and cold, moving hesitantly over the soft flooring. Shivering, she briefly rubbed her hands up and down her bare arms; the loose, thin clothing she wore doing nothing to ward off the chilly air.

She tried again. "Someone there?"

Silence enveloped her, and she realized she was alone once again. Still?

Staying where she was, she straightened her back, feeling the mantle of fear slip from her shoulders. She was a Torchwood field agent, a member of the best team at the London office. She could handle a few Larwurkin. Her weapons had been taken from her, but she still had her training to back her up. Panicking wouldn't help, calm would.

Repeating this to herself, she stretched and bent, working her body to warm it, make it more flexible in the cool air.

An hour later, she was still waiting. Her stomach was beginning to rumble, but she ignored it. And the image of the nice, thick, juicy steak that came to mind. Food wasn't important right now, the fact that she was beginning to tire was. She didn't want to relax again, didn't want to drop her guard.

There was another sound, to her left this time, and she spun around, shoving at the blindfold. It remained securely in place, and a bit of fear rose up in her, making her yank at it desperately. "Who's there?" she demanded. "Mickey, is that you?" She bit back the words, knowing it wasn't Mickey. Of course, it wasn't Mickey. He wouldn't be playing with her, taunting her. It had to be one of the Larwurkin. She straightened again and moved toward where she'd heard the sound. "I know you're there, so stop playing. Tell me what you want."

No answer.

She waited, standing in what she thought was the middle of the room, turning her head at every perceived sound, listening for the slightest noise--a stray breath, a footstep, anything--but only silence greeted her.

Clawing at the blindfold, she only ended up scratching the skin around her eyes and forehead. It didn't move, and finally, she dropped to the floor with a grunt of frustration, impatient for something to happen; to be taunted openly, or smacked around, or let free. For rescue to come.

Living in this limbo was hell.

Pressing her hands to her bruised head, she tried to keep her thoughts on the important things. Help would come. Mickey and Pete and the Doctor were on their way, if they weren't already stealthily sneaking around the ship looking for her. They'd come, and they'd get her out.

They would. She knew they would.

Trying to loosen the bindings around her wrists, she pushed back against the wall and rested, waiting, listening. Weariness settled over her again and she closed her eyes, or she thought she did anyway; it was difficult to tell when her default sight was blackness.

"The Doctor's coming for me," she whispered, needing to voice the affirmation out loud. The TARDIS was probably already on its way. They'd escape like usual and he'd fix her up in the medical bay and then they'd head off for planets unknown, or moons untamed. She just had to wait for him, give him a little more time.

Blind and bound, senses straining against their normal limitations, she waited.

*~*~*~*~*~*

Outside the door, Dr. Brons shut the small observation window on his patient. Mr. and Mrs. Tyler were going to be very disappointed.

Heaving a sigh, he headed to his office to make the call. Their hopes that the new medications would work were about to be dashed; Rose wasn't just delusional anymore, she was self-harming and completely unaware of her surroundings.