I am SOOOOOOO so sorry for the LONG delay! For some mucho complicated reasons (including one Shih Tzu puppy named Gibbs, a car, three small children, four aliens with purple skin, one apple, and seventeen copies of the same newspaper) this chappie didn't get to my beta for a long time. :(
But, here it is! SUPER KUDOS go to Lacey for her Beta Skills of Awesomeness!
And thanks to all of you for the reviews, and your patience!
doodlegirll and Little Bat
Chapter Six: Bad Wolf Rising
Later, after Rose had gone back to bed, the Doctor stood silent vigil over both her and River, sitting in a chair in the corner, his chin resting in one hand, elbows on his knees. He watched his daughter toss and turn in her peaceful sleep, a small smile gracing her features.
Oh River, he thought. My brilliant, wonderful River.
His mind wandered back to the Library, back when he had first met River before he knew who exactly she was.
He remembered feeling as thought he knew her, though at the time he had no idea how. As they continued to interact, and when she whispered his name in his ear, he had thought something completely different than what turned out to be the truth.
He couldn't lie. At first he thought that she was much more than just his friend or…no. He had always known she couldn't be that. No one could ever be that, no one but Rose. That much had been certain since the moment she showed up on Satellite 5 as the Bad Wolf.
And now, he had proof.
He had his daughter. He had his River, the Oncoming Storm and the Bad Wolf all rolled up into one.
How could he not have seen Rose in her? How could he not have looked into River Song's eyes back at that library, and not see the pure Rose Tyler that lived there? He knew he saw a bit of himself in her. She was brave, and brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.
The Doctor smiled.
He was so lost in his thoughts he didn't notice River stir and sit up, rubbing her eyes.
"Daddy?" She asked, noticing him in the corner.
The Doctor was pulled back to reality and looked at River.
"I had a bad dream." River said quietly.
"Oh." The Doctor said. Another memory flared. In it, he was comforting River as she clung to his pajamas, shaking, scared to death. He saw himself picking up the little girl and taking her to the living room, setting her down on the couch as he went into the kitchen to make her some warm tea.
He pulled himself out of the chair and crossed the room to sit next to River. The little girl crawled into his lap, hugging him around his stomach. He cradled her close, stroking her curls gently.
"What was it about?" He asked after a moment.
River sniffed. "You and Mummy." She said. "I dreamed the monsters got you, like they got Gran and Grandad and Tony." She buried her face in his shirt.
"Sh, it was just a dream." He soothed. "They can't get you here. And Mummy and I are just fine, see? We're both right here, safe and sound."
"But I heard you yelling…" River said. "After you told Mummy and me to run. Why were you yelling?"
The Doctor was quiet.
"Because it hurt, sweetie." He said after a moment, softly. "And I was scared."
The Doctor had no real way of knowing, but from what the letter his double had written and what Rose had told him, what the monsters did to their victims sounded less than pleasurable, let alone painless.
"Are you okay now, Daddy?"
He looked down at her.
"Me? Oh yeah." He said, smiling. "Never been better."
River smiled back. "Good."
"How's about you and I go find that kitchen and make a cuppa tea? Hm? That sound good?"
River nodded enthusiastically, and he lifted the little girl into his arms, carrying her out the door. He took a glance back into the room, making sure Rose was still sleeping soundly. She had shifted in her sleep to face the wall, but she appeared to be fine.
Smiling, he gently eased the door closed.
As soon as she was sure he was gone, Rose smiled.
The Doctor and River found the Torchwood kitchen easily. It was deserted, with the rest of the Torchwood team asleep, or at least keeping busy, in Captain Jack's case. The Doctor sat River down in a chair at the table in the corner, and went to the counter, opening one of the cabinets.
"Alright," he said, surveying their choices. "Peach or…Snickerdoodle?" He picked up the tin of tea. "Where does Jack get this stuff?"
"Miss Martha told me he gets them from a store down the street." River said.
"Yes, but snickerdoodle tea?!" The Doctor said. "That's new…" He sat down the tin. "So, what'll it be?"
"Peach." River said. "It's my favorite!"
"Peach it is, then."
The Doctor moved to the stove, setting the tea kettle on the burner and turning it on high. When the burner didn't turn on, the Doctor's eyebrows furrowed and he took a closer look at the stove. He banged on it a couple of times, but when nothing happened, he finally gave up and pulled the sonic screwdriver from his pocket. Pointing it at the burner, it whirred, and the stove top lit.
He turned back to face River, twirling the sonic screwdriver around with his fingers.
"There we go. Working to full capacity, good as new, if I do say so myself."
River giggled. "Can I see the sonic screwdriver?"
"Promise not to try and take it apart again?"
River nodded, her little hand outstretched. The Doctor sat the small device in his daughter's hand, and River examined it closely.
"Is this one new?" She asked.
"Yep." The Doctor lied. "Just finished it up while you were sleeping."
River grinned. "When are we going to see the TARDIS?"
The Doctor frowned. "You know about the TARDIS?"
Another memory flashed in front of him.
"It's called the TARDIS, which stands for Time and Relative Dimensions in Space." The Doctor said, showing River a picture he had drawn of the blue box that he used to call home.
"TAR-DIS." River tried out the strange word. "What's it do, Daddy?"
"It travels in time and space. Anywhere you want to go, anything you want to see, the TARDIS can take you there."
River's eyes sparkled. "I want to go to the biggest library in the universe." She said.
The Doctor laughed. "And why would you want to go there?"
"Because I love learning new things, Daddy." River said. "And books can teach me."
"Well, who knows?" The Doctor said, a far away, almost sad look in his eye. "Maybe one day you will."
River giggled again. "Of course, silly!" She said. "You said I'd get to see it one day."
"Oh. Of course. I'm sorry, River, I forgot." The Doctor smiled, trying to make up for his mistake. "And yes, you'll get to see it tomorrow, when Mummy can be with us."
River squealed and handed the sonic screwdriver back to her father.
Suddenly, a high, shrill whistle sounded through the small kitchen, and the two turned to find the tea kettle steaming out of control. The Doctor jumped from his seat and ran over to it, turning off the stovetop. He grabbed for the handle, only to find it scorching hot, and he pulled back instinctively.
"Ow!" He said.
He sucked on his fingers for a moment, and then turned his attention back to getting the burning kettle off of the stovetop. He rustled through a drawer and pulled out a pair of tongs. Using them, he picked up the kettle and sat it in the sink. Turning on the cold water, steam spewed into the air as the hot kettle popped and crackled.
"Well…" The Doctor said. "How does milk sound instead?"
An hour later, the Doctor carefully carried River back down the hallway, fast asleep in his arms. They had spent the last hour talking, eating a few cookies the Doctor had found in one of his pockets with their milk. River had helped spark a few more of his newfound memories, and with each one, he found himself feeling more and more like the man Rose had married.
It was nice, he thought, feeling human.
He carefully lowered River back onto her bed of blankets, pulling one of them up to cover her. River snuggled in instinctively, and the Doctor smiled as he turned away to face the still sleeping form of Rose.
She was beautiful when she slept. The Doctor recalled many a time he had snuck into her room aboard the TARDIS, just to watch her sleep. Even when he had had big ears and a Northern accent he had done that. When she slept, Rose Tyler fascinated him. She seemed so innocent, so childlike, so inherently human he found himself mesmerized, caught in her spell.
And now, she seemed even more beautiful to him now that she was there, forever and for always his.
He bent over and pressed a gentle kiss to her cool forehead.
He slipped out of the room again, knowing he still had to finish fixing the stove back in the kitchen that he had only helped to break further. Upon scorching the pot of water for River's tea, he had found a small note taped to the wall above the stovetop which read: 'High' setting broken. Do not attempt to use.
The Doctor stuffed his hands into his pockets and started for the kitchen.
The sound of running caused him to stop. Captain Jack suddenly rounded the corner, skidding to halt in front of him. He appeared out of breath, even for the leader of Torchwood and a former companion of the Doctor.
Something was wrong.
"Doctor!" Jack gasped. "We have a problem."
"Jack, what's wrong?" The Doctor said. "You look like you've just run a race with a cheetah! No, wait, scratch that: a whole pack of cheetahs. What's going on?"
"The monsters." Jack heaved. "Doctor, it's the monsters. The monsters Rose and River told us about."
"What?" The Doctor was confused. "What about the monsters?"
"When Rose and River used that dimension cannon, they ripped another hole in reality." Jack said. "I've had Mickey monitoring it closely, but up until now, everything's seemed fine. Then a few minutes ago, alarms started to go off, and when I checked, I nearly died again."
"Why, Jack?" The Doctor was getting impatient.
"It's the hole, Doctor." Jack said. "The monsters have found out about it. I don't know how, but they have, and they're somehow using it." His eyes were huge. "They're crossing the void. They're coming through to our world."