This is my Doctor Who, 6th Doctor/Rose multi-era story that I had originally posted over on . Since I had all the chapters in one Word doc, I decided to download the entire file and have separate sections, instead of posting individual chapters, as I had done with the story on . The usual disclaimers apply, I don't own Doctor Who, etc. Hope you all enjoy :)
Rose couldn't believe it. She had been doing a bit of shopping in London, well, the parallel universe's version of it, and had just happened to look out the shop front window, when she saw that coat. She could've sworn it was the same multi-colored monstrosity of a coat that she had found in the Tardis wardrobe once. The man wearing it had curly blond hair and, from the few seconds she caught of him, seemed a bit taller than her Doctor, and had a bit more weight to him as well. She put down the shirt she had been looking at previously and walked quickly outside the shop.
She saw him a few stores down, gazing at a store front window. If this was the Doctor, then what the hell was he doing here in London, in the same parallel universe as she? With these questions on her mind, she quickly walked toward him. He was facing away from her and therefore did not see her approach. As she was within a few feet of him, her heart racing in her chest hoping against all hope that this was the Doctor, he turned around.
The last thing the Doctor had expected was to find a young woman staring at him from just a few feet away. He smiled amiably at her and was about to turn to walk away when he felt an odd sensation. Something in the back of his mind was telling him that he should know this woman, yet for the life of him, he could not recall who she was. There was something about her eyes. Although she looked like she was in her early twenties, her eyes looked much older. There was a sadness to her, but in equal measure there seemed to be a grim determination as well.
All of this musing on his part was done in a matter of seconds as he looked intently into her eyes. Not even aware he was doing so, he had taken a few steps closer to her.
She had also taken a few steps closer to him. This felt so surreal to Rose. She knew she should say something, ask him those questions she had just thought of, but she was too overcome with emotion to think of anything except to say with hesitation, "Doctor?"
The Doctor too was so caught up in what he saw in her eyes that he was at a loss for words. When she said his name, he realized at once that she must be a future companion of his. "Yes, I am the Doctor. You must be a companion of one of my future selves?", he asked, searching her eyes for the answer.
"Yeah, I traveled with your ninth and tenth selves," she answered calmly, because although this felt real, she didn't want to do or say anything that would cause her to wake up at any second. Yet the people who were passing by them on the sidewalk, she noticed, kept giving the Doctor strange looks, no doubt because of the coat he was wearing. That's when she realized this was no dream. The dreams she'd had about meeting the Doctor again never had the reality to it of other people staring at them.
The Doctor noticed how she suddenly became self conscious and saw how the humans walking by them were giving him strange looks. He could care less, but for some reason, he didn't want her to be uncomfortable in his presence. It was strange, but he felt a wave of protectiveness for this woman whom he didn't even know the name of yet. He decided to be a bit forward and for the moment he could care less about the possible effects that could occur to his time line by him talking to one of his future companions.
"Would you care to join me for a cup of tea in the Tardis…hmm, forgive me but…what's your name?"
"I'm Rose, Rose Tyler"
"Nice to meet you Rose", he smiled warmly at her. "Shall we?" and with that, he held out his elbow to her. She smiled, a most beautiful smile, the Doctor noted, and together they walked down the street, making their way to a side street where the Tardis was parked.
I can't believe the Doctor is really here, she thought in disbelief. Too bad it's not my Doctor, but at least it is a version of the man I know. I hope to God he's not the eighth version. I couldn't bear the thought of keeping the Time War from him, knowing that the eighth version is the one that fought in it, she thought sadly.
As they turned a corner, Rose stopped walking and just stared in awe. She never thought she'd see that magnificent ship again. She was so overwhelmed, that a few tears began to fall down her cheeks. When the Doctor looked down at her to see why she had stopped walking, he noticed how the sight of his ship was affecting her.
"Rose, all you alright?", he asked with concern.
"Yeah, for the first time in a very long time, I feel I'm going to be alright", she said as she smiled up at him through her tears. "I never thought I'd see the Tardis or you, well one of your past incarnations, ever again since I was trapped here in this parallel universe."
"This isn't your natural universe?" he asked with surprise. "What do you mean by 'trapped here'? Why couldn't you leave this universe with my future self? My being here is proof that jumping from one parallel universe to another is quite possible!" He couldn't help but be angry at his future self for leaving his future companion stranded in a universe not her own. "What in the name of Rassilon was my future self playing at?" He was about to ask yet another question, when he saw how hurt and angry Rose looked at his questions and tone of voice in regard to his future self.
"Forgive me Rose. I didn't mean to upset you. Apparently there's a lot more to your story about how you ended up here in this universe than I could ever surmise. As much as I would be interested in hearing about how you got stranded here, I unfortunately cannot know anything about my future selves. Promise me Rose that you will not tell me anything that could compromise this timeline. The consequences could not only be disastrous for me, but for you as well," he stated adamantly.
"You don't have to worry Doctor. I found out the hard way a while back what happens when a person changes their own timeline," she said solemnly.
The Doctor wondered what she meant by that, but decided it was best not to ask. He unlocked the Tardis doors and led Rose inside.
She was stunned as she walked into the console room with the Doctor.
"So what do you think Rose? Is this very different from the console room my future selves have?"
"Yes, very different. It's very…white and…Spock-y", she said with a grin.
"Nice to know it meets with your approval," the Doctor said with a hint of sarcasm.
"So which Doctor are you? Are you the eighth, or an earlier version?" she asked with a bit of apprehension in her voice. How odd, he thought. Now why would she be concerned about me being the eighth incarnation, he wondered to himself.
"I am the sixth incarnation or 'version' as you put it", he stated as he watched her walk around the console.
She nodded, almost in relief the Doctor noted, as she looked in fascination at how the buttons and levers of this console were so much more different than the ones she remembered. As she touched the console, careful not to accidentally press any of the buttons, the Tardis emitted a sort of soothing low level hum.
The Doctor heard and felt the way the Tardis responded to Rose and was shocked. The Tardis had never responded in this manner to any of his previous companions. Rose looked up at the Doctor just then and noticed how shocked he looked. When Rose looked at him questioningly, he answered, "None of my previous companions have been able to affect the Tardis the way you just have."
"The Tardis and I have been through a lot", Rose answered cryptically. "I wish I could tell you the whole story, but like you said before, you can't know anything about your future."
Rose walked around the console and was now standing in front of him, about two feet away. Yet why did it feel to him like he should be standing closer to her, that he should have his arms around her? This is impossible, he thought. I just met her and already I feel as if the most natural thing to do would be to ask her to travel with me. I can tell that she wants to leave this parallel universe, that she doesn't feel at home here. Perhaps I could find my future self that she had traveled with and reunite them? I'm a bit surprised that she hasn't asked me to do just that. Of course she does seem a bit overwhelmed by all this. Perhaps she will ask me to find my future self, he thought as he looked in her eyes.
Rose for her part had been thinking all this time about asking this Doctor if it would be possible for him to find his future self, her Doctor. She knew that just about anything was possible when the Doctor was involved. She was about to ask him about finding her Doctor when all of a sudden, the time rotor began to activate on its own.
The Doctor was shocked out of his musings by this sudden turn of events and went over to the controls. "What is it, Old Girl?" he asked in concern as he attempted to ascertain where the Tardis was heading.
What's she doing Doctor? Where's she going? Rose was thinking of asking these questions but knew better than to ask. She saw how concerned the Doctor was and how intently he concentrated on trying to find out the answers to those questions. Instead she asked him "How can I help?"
The Doctor looked up at her, surprised by her choice of question, and said excitedly with only a hint of worry, "Hold on tight Rose! It looks like we're in for a bumpy ride!"
Rose held onto the side of the console near the Doctor. He was pressing buttons and pulling levers, attempting to ascertain how in the hell the Tardis dematerialized of her own accord, without him punching in the dematerialization sequences.
"I didn't have this much trouble arriving in your parallel universe. Why does it seem like the Tardis is having more difficulty leaving it?" he said out loud in annoyance. Then all of a sudden, according to the console scans, the Tardis had picked a location. "Oh no, not there! Anywhere but there!"
"What's our destination?" Rose asked apprehensively, as she was holding on, white knuckled, to the console. Just then, the Tardis lurched to one side, causing Rose to lose her grip and go tumbling to the floor. Finally the Tardis made it out of the parallel universe and was back in the Doctor's universe.
"Rose, are you alright?" he asked as he knelt down next to where she had tumbled.
"Yeah I think so," she said a bit shakily. He held out his hand to her to help her back up. As she took it, something akin to an electric current surged through her and it was not at all unpleasant. It was exactly like the feeling she got when the Ninth Doctor took her hand in that shop basement years ago and told her to run.
As soon as he had taken her hand, the Doctor had felt something, something he had never felt before and could not describe. He pushed it to the back of his mind for the time being though. There were more pressing issues at the moment, such as why in the universe the Tardis was heading to where she was headed.
As he helped her up, Rose could have sworn she saw a curious expression on his face, but it was gone a moment later. He let go of her hand as soon as she was on her feet and he was all business again, intensely concentrating on the Tardis readouts.
"So where are we Doctor? You acted like the Tardis had picked the last place in the galaxy you wanted to go to."
"Yes, you could say that" he said with an exasperated sigh.
The Doctor switched on the viewscreen and Rose was blown away by the image she saw. They had arrived quite a distance from a type of city surrounded by a large, clear dome. The city was massive, with elaborate buildings and spires so elegant and regal that they reminded her of fairy tale castles, yet that seemed too quaint a description for them. The buildings were almost the same color as the sky, which was a brilliant shade of burnt sienna.
"Rose…welcome to Gallifrey."
"This is Gallifrey, your home planet?" Rose asked in awe, mixed with a touch of sadness in her voice. She couldn't believe she was actually here, on the same planet her Doctor had told her about. Oh my God, how am I going to do this, keep the Time War from him and any other Gallifreyan we meet here?
Rose was so caught up in her own thoughts that she didn't hear the Doctor answer her question in the affirmative nor did she notice him look at her quizzically, as if he knew something was wrong by the tone of her voice and by how serious her facial expression became at the mention of his planet's name.
I have to be brave, Rose thought to herself. I have to act like nothing's wrong. I can't let him know how much this is upsetting me. Why did you bring us here, Old Girl? Rose touched the Tardis console as if the act of doing so would give her some solace and some answer to her question.
"Right then, I'll just go back to one of the rooms and freshen up a bit before we head out there," she said, her voice cracking slightly on the last two words. Before the Doctor could respond, she raced out of the console room.
Now what was that all about, the Doctor wondered to himself. Why did the mention of Gallifrey affect her so deeply. I better go to her. I hope she doesn't want to go into the city, he thought as he walked down the hallway leading away from the console room. I just recently finished dealing with them in that mockery of a trial. The last thing Rose needs to know about is how my own people put me on trial for my life and how they separated me from Peri. Dear, sweet Peri, he thought with sadness and regret. He quickly pushed those thoughts out of his mind, knowing that he had to find Rose, see if she was alright and convince her that the best thing for him would be to quickly leave Gallifrey before they were detected. It was a lucky thing the Old Girl had dematerialized a good ten kilometers from the city. With luck, they could leave and his fellow Timelords would be none the wiser. Now where did Rose go to?
Rose, not knowing where she was going, just kept running through the Tardis hallways, but stopped suddenly when she saw a door open out of the corner of her eye. As she walked up to the door, it swung open gently revealing a good sized swimming pool amidst beautiful tall potted plants, marble columns, and comfy looking outdoor style pool chairs and tables. She felt an urge to just dive in the water and swim, just to do anything to keep from thinking too much and before she totally broke down crying. She knew the Doctor must already be suspicious by her tone of voice and her action of running away from the console room, but she had to get away from him before she said something about the Time War. She took off her shoes and socks and took off her turquoise sweater, leaving on her black tank top and her black dress pants. Just then she realized she was wearing the same color clothing she had worn the day she had become separated from her own Doctor. Choking back a sob that threatened to escape her lips, she took a deep breath, held it and dived off the side of the pool.
The Doctor had just turned a corner at one of the multiple hallway junctures, when he heard an unmistakable sound, the sound of a splash of water. He noticed the door to the swimming pool room open and walked inside. He saw Rose's sweater, shoes and socks on a chair by the pool and saw Rose swimming underwater over towards the opposite side of where he was standing. She then raised her head from out of the water, pushing her golden hair back away from her eyes, facing away from him.
Rose clung to the side of the pool and it was then that she lost it, and broke down crying. Her whole body shook with her sobbing. She hadn't cried like this since the day she had been stranded in the parallel universe. She not only cried for the loss of her Doctor from her life. She cried for Gallifrey, knowing that it would burn and cease to exist. She was glad she got to see what the city looked like from a distance and to know the exact color of the sky, but it did little to console her now. The water, which had felt great earlier, now felt too cool. Shivering slightly, she climbed out the side of the pool and turned around toward where she had left her clothes. It was then that she noticed him standing there.
The Doctor felt for her as he stood there helplessly, watching her shake with sobs. He immediately took off his coat and walked over to where she was.
She didn't even try to hide the fact that she'd been crying, knowing full well that her face must be extremely red already. She saw the concern for her in his eyes and didn't even put up a protest as he draped his coat around her and embraced her in his arms without him saying a word. She felt such a rush of gratitude toward him and put her arms around him, holding him tightly as if afraid that even this version of the Doctor would soon disappear.
"Shh, Rose, it's alright. I'm here for you," he said gently into her ear as he held her, noticing how tightly she was holding him and how she was shaking slightly. He placed a hand gently on her head and comfortingly ran his hand down her hair in a soothing motion. Her grief was so palpable to him, it nearly overwhelmed him and he had to close his eyes and collect himself. He had to be strong for her. He wondered what in Rassilon had happened to her that led to her being stranded in that parallel universe and that led her to have such a strong reaction to his planet. She's keeping a great deal from me and I know she has to, but it's tearing her apart inside. I have to find some way for her to deal with it, without it altering my timeline. But first, I have to get us off of Gallifrey.
He released her gently from his embrace, but still held her hands in his own. Her crying seemed to have settled down for the time being. She was staring at her feet though. He carefully lifted her chin so she was looking him in the eyes. He saw such sadness there that it nearly broke his hearts. He took a steadying breath. "Rose, I need to go back to the control room to get us off this planet. I can't stay here. I'll explain my reason why at another time. You can get changed in one of the bedrooms near the console room. Will you be okay for now?"
"Yeah, I'll be okay. I don't want to stay on this planet either," she replied, her voice still a bit shaky.
With that being said, he gave her hand a gentle squeeze and walked quickly out of the room. She wrapped her arms around herself, reveling in the warmth of his coat. Grabbing her sweater, shoes and socks, she made her way to one of the bedrooms.
The Doctor entered the console room, took one final look at the viewscreen and turned it off. He pushed a few of the buttons on the console, thinking that drifting in the vortex awhile would be a good idea. Rose had been through quite enough already. The last thing she needed to deal with was the politics of the city.
Then a thought struck him. Just because they had dematerialized on Gallifrey didn't mean that they had to visit the city, nor deal with the politicking that went on at the Panoptican. The Tardis did dematerialize far enough away from the city to avoid detection. He could show her the countryside where he grew up and also where he spent his Pridonian Academy breaks. The family ties he used to have in the country no longer existed. His relatives had long since left. Then another thought struck him. Rose did say that she wanted to leave this planet, but she was upset at the time. Perhaps she'll change her mind once she sees just how lovely the countryside is during the autumnal season. With his mind made up, he set about making it happen.
Rose, in the meantime, had just gotten in the shower and was enjoying the feel of the warm water, when she heard a knock on the bathroom door. She turned off the water and called out, "Yes?"
"Rose, forgive my interruption, but I just had an interesting idea. How would you like to visit the countryside here where I grew up?", he asked from the other side of the door. "There shouldn't be anyone else around that area to disturb us."
After a few seconds deliberation, she said in a steady and resolute voice, "Sounds like a good idea Doctor. Just give me another twenty minutes."
"Take your time Rose. I'll be in the console room." With that said, he walked away, thinking that this little side trip of the Tardis's could be salvageable.
Rose was determined to see this through. Besides, she thought, this will be my last chance to really see his home world, to see where he grew up. The explorer in Rose won out. She would deal with the emotional baggage of all this again at a later time. She felt a bit emotionally exhausted from her cry out earlier, but somehow it did help to get at least some of that out of her system. She quickly got done with her shower and found some comfortable clothes and walking shoes in the bedroom closet. After getting dressed, she sat down on the bed where she had placed the Doctor's coat. She picked it up and looked at all its mismatched patchwork colors and designs. She shook her head, wondering why in the hell he would have picked this coat out of all the coats in the Tardis wardrobe to wear.
Then she realized that she probably would never have seen the Doctor walking around back in London, had it not been for his coat. Thinking how strange a coincidence it was made her think of her unanswered questions upon first seeing him there. Why had he been in London in her parallel universe? Why had he been window shopping of all things? Also why did he want to avoid going into the Gallifreyen city? She'd have to ask him those questions at some point. Of course she could not forget the ultimate question she'd have to ask him, would he be able to take her back to her Doctor? Now that they were in his universe it should be just a matter of him contacting her Doctor somehow. With her mind resolute and determined to see her plan through, she picked up his coat and walked to the console room, absentmindedly rubbing the black cat pin on his coat for good luck.
As Rose entered the console room, she found the Doctor looking intently at the readouts. He then looked up and smiled warmly at her. "Ready to go on a tour of the countryside?" he asked enthusiastically.
She smiled at him while handing his coat back, and said a bit hopefully, "As ready as I'll ever be". Since his coat was still damp, he laid it outon the chair near the console and then pulled the lever to open the doors. He held out his hand to her and she took it, once again that electric current running pleasantly through her.
Rose found the following two hours to be the best time she had had in a long time. She thought she'd feel upset while walking around a place that would no longer exist in the Doctor's future. Instead that made it all the more precious to her. She took everything in, attempting to memorize every single detail of the countryside the Doctor showed her. The brilliant orange sky, the autumn colors of the leaves, the ancient pillars and stone structures from The Old Times with moss and ivy growing over them, all seemed to produce a cathartic feeling of peace within Rose. The weight of her knowledge of the Time War, seemed to lessen with each breath of Gallifreyan autumnal air.
She asked the Doctor where the people, who lived around the area, were. He mentioned something about them moving back to the city during this time of year, since this part of the countryside was only used for vacation homes during the warm months of the year. She was about to ask where his family's home was located, but decided not to press him. She knew this must be a big step for him, just showing her the planet where he grew up. She suspected that he had many secrets and would not share all of them, not even with her. On their walk through the countryside, she saw many different styles of homes, from the elaborate to the rustic. Most of the homes surrounded a massive natural lake, named Lake Selaya, which was Old Gallifreyan for 'tranquility'.
As they were walking by a few of the docks on the lake, Rose decided to walk out on one of them. This place was so unlike anything she had ever imagined about Gallifrey. She felt so comfortable and at peace here as she stood on the end of the dock, gazing out at the magnificent sunset over the lake.
The Doctor had noticed a change in Rose. It's amazing, he thought, the difference this place has made in her. He slowly walked up behind her and stopped a less than a foot away from her. "Breathtaking, isn't it", he said softly in her ear.
Although she had not heard him approach, she was not startled by how close he was behind her. If anything, she found his proximity very reassuring and comforting, so much so that she found herself leaning her head back against his chest. They stood like that for a time, enjoying the tranquility of the lake and sunset.
"Rose," the Doctor said softly in her ear, "I want you to know that I'm here for you and I will do whatever it takes to reunite you with your Doctor."
At this, Rose turned around to face him, smiled and said "Thank you Doctor" with such gratitude and appreciation in her eyes. As he gazed at her, he noticed there was something else in her eyes as well, though he couldn't quite place it. He realized that she was holding onto his arms and he still had his arms around her. Why does this feel so right, he asked himself. I must not get too attached to her. She's not my companion, well…not yet anyways.
As Rose gazed into the Doctor's eyes, she could have sworn she saw something else there. She realized she was still holding onto his arms and he still had his arms around her, yet she felt no need to pull back from him. Why does this feel so right, she asked herself. As she gazed up at him, his hazel eyes reflecting the colors of the sunset, she found herself feeling that same feeling from earlier when she had taken his hand in hers. I must not get too attached to him. I've got to get back to my Doctor, her head kept telling her. Her heart, though, did not totally agree.
Then, as if some type of spell had been broke, the Doctor pulled back from her, though he still held her hands. "We should be making it back to the Tardis. It's beginning to get dark," he said casually, with a touch of disappointment in his voice. "Yeah, sure, let's head back," she also said with a touch of disappointment in her voice.
As they were walking back along the lake, Rose spotted something out of the corner of her eye. She saw a silhouette of somebody standing out on the edge of a dock. The person had on a long coat, which was billowing slightly in the breeze. It appeared to be a man with a slight build to him. She stopped in her tracks and ran off towards the dock.
The Doctor had also stopped walking. A few seconds after looking toward where she was running to, he felt something wasn't quite right and called out to her, "Rose, wait!" but his call went ignored. He began running towards her.
Her heart was pounding in her chest. She couldn't believe her eyes. It can't be, she thought. A little voice in the back of her head, which also heard the Doctor calling for her to wait, was telling her that it couldn't possibly be her Doctor because her Doctor had said that it was impossible to visit Gallifrey in his past. According to him, Gallifrey existed outside of the timestream. Therefore, once the Gallifrey of his timeline was destroyed, it was impossible for him to return prior to the Time War.
As she made it to the dock and walked slowly toward the familiar silhouetted figure, he turned around. Oh my God, it is him! He's got that same brown suit on that I remember so well. As she approached him, she realized he wasn't smiling at her. He looked at her questioningly, as if he didn't recognize her.
By this point, the Sixth Doctor had made it to where Rose was standing. The Sixth Doctor looked at his older incarnation wearily. His older incarnation looked back at him in irritation.
Rose realized that something was very wrong here. Why wasn't her Doctor jumping up and down for joy upon seeing her? Why wasn't he running into her arms?
"Doctor, it's me. What's wrong?" she asked, her voice shaking in concern.
He turned his gaze from the Sixth Doctor back to her and said in a confused voice, "Sorry, but…who are you?"
"Who am I?!" Rose asked, shock and anger evident in her voice. "What the hell do you mean?!"
"Rose, listen to me," the Sixth Doctor interrupted her in a forceful voice that diverted her attention from the other Doctor. "I believe I know what's going on here. He's not of the universe you originated from. He's of another parallel universe. Is that correct?" he directed the question toward his tenth self.
"Well obviously since I've never met this human girl, let alone allowed her to be my companion, she must not be from my universe of origin," he said matter of factly, with an air of haughtiness about him.
Rose felt as if she had been slapped in the face. This mirror image of her Tenth Doctor was nothing like the man she had traveled with. He seemed to be the exact opposite of everything her real Doctor was.
The Sixth Doctor, realizing Rose's anger and unease around this other version of her Doctor could only make an already bad situation worse, decided to quickly ask only one out of the many things that popped into his mind at this turn of events. "Just one more thing before Rose and I leave. What are you doing here in this universe's Gallifrey? Why not visit the Gallifrey of your own universe?"
Oh no, Rose thought, what if this version of the Tenth Doctor had the same thing happen to his Gallifrey as my Doctor had happened to his universe's Gallifrey? I have to think of something quick before this imposter of my Doctor opens his big fat mouth.
The Tenth Doctor was about to answer when Rose interjected, "That's not important. We have to leave now", she said forcefully, placing emphasis on the last word. The Tenth Doctor, who's expression had gotten a cold, far away look before he was about to answer, quickly shut his mouth as if realizing there were things he should not tell his younger incarnation of his self, even though this younger version was not of his own universe.
"This human girl of yours is very perceptive for someone so young," the Tenth Doctor said to the Sixth Doctor, with a nod of approval towards Rose. "I take it you're trying to find her Doctor, who looks like me?" When the Sixth Doctor and Rose agreed, he continued, "Well, I wish you both the best of luck, but if I were you, I would not so willingly give her up", he said, with an appreciative yet smug look that lingered on Rose a bit too long for the Sixth Doctor's taste.
Rose, for her part, looked at this version of the Tenth Doctor with barely concealed disgust. She couldn't believe any version of the Doctor, even one from a parallel universe, could act like this.
"Yes, well, I think it's time we left. I think it's safe to say that the pleasure was all yours," the Sixth Doctor said quickly while taking Rose by the hand, turning away from the Tenth Doctor to walk off the dock and back to the road leading to the Tardis.
The Sixth Doctor and Rose walked at a quick pace and within thirty minutes, the Tardis was in sight. Neither one of them had spoken on the walk back. Rose was still in shock over that version of the Tenth Doctor and was lost in her own thoughts. The Doctor, likewise, was lost in his own thoughts. He was quite unnerved by that version of his older incarnation, which reminded him of someone he had met before, but whom? Then about a minute after asking himself that question, he came up with the answer. That version reminded him of the Valeyard, who had claimed to be his twelfth incarnation. The Doctor had thought it positively absurd at the time, but could the Valeyard have been from the same parallel universe as this version of his tenth self?
With this thought on his mind, the Doctor unlocked the Tardis door and let them in. He walked to the console and engaged the dematerialization sequence. "I think drifting in the vortex for a while is what we both need, wouldn't you agree Rose?"
"Yeah, sure", Rose agreed distractedly as she leaned against the console on the opposite side from where the Doctor was standing.
He walked over to Rose and gently placed a hand on her shoulder. She turned around and asked, "Is it possible for you to get in contact with my Doctor somehow"?
"Yes, it is possible for me to make contact with my past and future selves, but for that I need a few hours to establish a telepathic link. It's been a very long day for you. Why don't you stop by the kitchen to eat something and then retire to one of the rooms for a while. I'll wake you as soon as I've finished. Then we can come up with a plan of action to get you back to my future self. Agreed?"
"Okay Doctor," Rose said, giving him a friendly hug, which he returned in kind. Before ending their hug, though, she gave him a quick kiss on the cheek. "Thank you Doctor," she said, with a tired smile on her face, and walked toward the kitchen.
Now down to business, he thought to himself as he laid out his already dry coat on the console room floor. He lay down on the coat and closed his eyes, taking deep calming breaths in preparation for contact with his much older self. As usual, the mental link began with images of his younger selves and where they were located at this moment in the universe. He then delved ahead and felt, more than saw, his seventh self and then his eighth self. He probed further ahead into the link, attempting to feel the presence of his ninth and tenth selves. Try as he might, attempting to establish a link with his tenth incarnation was like trying to grab at fog. He then decided to attempt a link with his ninth self, but he had the same results. It was as if some type of distortion was preventing him from contacting his tenth and even ninth self.
By the time his mind had returned to his body, he noticed from the chronometer on the console that four hours had gone by. Getting up from the floor and shaking out his coat, he made his way to the kitchen. I need some tea and time to think over what my next step should be, he thought to himself.
He stopped at the half open door to the room Rose had chosen to sleep in and found that she was sound asleep. He walked quietly over to her, pulled the covers up more closely around her, and gently kissed her forehead. I'll figure this out Rose, I promise, he thought to himself as he left her room.
As he was going about making some tea in the kitchen, he kept trying to think of some logical explanation for why he couldn't make contact with his tenth or ninth selves. Then as he sat down and took his first sip of tea, the answers came to him with the impact of a ton of bricks.
For at that moment, he arrived at two theories. The first was that his universe was indeed not Rose's original universe. All this theory meant was that he'd have to perform a quantum signature scan on Rose in order to determine which universe she originated from. He was bound to find her correct universe. Once arriving in her original universe, he would initiate a telepathic link with his tenth self and agree on a rendezvous location.
The second theory was the one that filled him with a chilling dread. There was no distortion keeping him from initiating contact with his tenth and ninth selves. No, it was much simpler than that.
The only logical theory he could come up with was that, for some reason beyond his worst imaginings, his eighth self would never regenerate in this universe.
The Doctor sat there for a time, drinking his tea, attempting to think what could possibly cause his eighth self to die and not regenerate. Then out of the blue, he remembered something Rose had asked upon first meeting him. 'So which Doctor are you? Are you the eighth, or an earlier version?' He remembered the apprehension in her voice as she had asked that. Dear Rassilon! Something happened to my eighth self in Rose's universe, but how did my eighth self survive in that universe and not in this one? Perhaps I could ask Rose…no, I cannot do that. Knowing something so crucial about my future self would affect the timeline in ways I dare not think about. I must not tell Rose about this. She would want to help and it would make it extremely difficult for her to not tell me all she knows about what happened to my eighth self in her universe.
No, I must first help her get back to her universe and to my future self. I'm going to have to elaborate on the truth a bit. She's quite bright for her age, though. I must have some type of response ready for when she asks if I was able to make contact with my future self, he thought with grim determination. His mind made up, he finished the last bit of his tea and left the kitchen to go see Rose.
He walked quietly into her room and sat down next to her sleeping form. In the dim light of the room, he could make out the features of her face. Instead of finding her sleeping peacefully, her face was contorted in fear. She then began moving her head slightly back and forth and it looked like she was mouthing the word 'no' over and over again. He was about to lay a hand on her forehead to offer his soothing presence, when she bolted up, screamed "No!", and out of instinct, grabbed his arms and held onto him, her whole body shaking with fear.
He held her in his arms, saying "Shh, Rose, I've got you. It's alright. It was only a dream." This just caused her to hold onto him even more tightly, as if she was scared he was only a figment of her imagination.
"I'm afraid Doctor," Rose whispered hesitantly, as if scared that this confession would make her seem weak in his eyes.
"What are you afraid of Rose?", he asked softly in her ear, concern in his voice for this companion whom he was growing more protective of by the moment.
"I'm afraid of never finding my Doctor again" she said in a whisper, as if speaking in more than a whisper would somehow make it true.
"Oh Rose, is that all you're afraid of?" he asked gently as he pulled away from her embrace to look her in the eyes. "Don't you worry, we will find your Doctor," he said emphatically as he gently cupped her cheek in his hand. "I promise you I will return you to him."
He spoke with such confidence and determination that she found herself believing in him wholeheartedly. It's amazing, she thought, even in this dim lighting his eyes blaze with such strength and courage. She found herself gazing into his eyes, as if doing so would help her to gain her own strength and courage needed to make it through.
He realized in that moment, as she was gazing into his eyes, that his hand had, entirely on its own, gone from touching her cheek to gently stroking her hair. They were sitting only inches apart from each other and he did not mind at all. She appeared not to mind either. How is it that we both seem to be so comfortable with each other, he thought to himself. Was she this comfortable with her Doctor, he wondered.
"It's so strange," Rose said all of a sudden, "that I feel as close to you as I did to your future self."
At this, the Doctor was taken aback. This was the first time she had not used the words 'my Doctor' to refer to his future self. "Oh, well…" he began as a small blush crept up his cheeks. He then realized he didn't know what to say. I'm speechless, he thought. Since when am I speechless?
Rose, realizing she had caught him totally off guard, said, "Sorry, I meant that platonically, not as a come on or anything."
"Ah, I see. So you're saying I'm not as charming and handsome as my future self?" he asked in mock disbelief. "It's the coat, isn't it?" he asked with a melodramatic sigh, as if he heard that excuse all the time.
Rose laughingly replied, "Definitely. If you wore a different coat, perhaps I would find you as charming and handsome as your future self," she said half jokingly, realizing that flirting with him was just as fun as flirting with her Doctor had been.
"Well, I may just have to wear a different coat then," he replied good naturedly, thinking perhaps that coat with the different shades of blue, that he had recently found hanging in the Tardis wardrobe, would be just the ticket.
"In all seriousness Rose, I was taken aback by the fact that you didn't say the words 'my Doctor' to describe my future self."
"I didn't?" she asked, a bit unsure as to why she hadn't noticed her change in words.
"Rose, it's perfectly natural. Remember, I'm just a younger version of the man you know, even though he and I are not of the same universe." There, he said it. Now to see how she'd react.
"What? How do you know?" Rose asked, caught off guard by this statement.
"Let's just say that I found out, while establishing a telepathic link with my future selves, that my tenth self in this universe will have no companion," he stated matter of factly, as if this was the whole truth. Well, it is the truth, from a certain point of view, he thought to himself.
After he said this though, Rose could have sworn she saw a glimmer of something in his eyes, as if he was holding something back. Instinct told her this, yet her instinct also told her that he would never put her in harms way intentionally, that she could trust him completely with her life and with his promise to return her to his future self. Since he claimed he had contacted his future self and he claimed his future self in this universe never had a companion, then she would believe him.
"Okay then, how do we find my correct universe?"
He could tell from her eyes that she had almost seen right through him. Dear Rassilon, he thought to himself, I'll have to be more careful from now on. "Well, glad you asked. All we have to do is perform a quantum signature scan on you to determine which universe you originated from and then find that universe. Then once we're in your universe, I will establish a telepathic link with my future self and agree on a rendezvous location. Simple logic."
"What's involved in a quantum signature scan? Will it hurt any?" she asked curiously.
"Not at all. Well, truth be known, I've never performed this scan on a human before. Well…actually, I've never performed this scan at all." At Rose's skeptical look, he quickly added, "But I've read the theory on it and it seems quite sound. It should be a breeze to construct the scanner and then only a matter of tweaking to ensure that it's safe to use."
"Great, I get to be a guinea pig. This should be fun," she said with good humored sarcasm, as she began to pull back the covers to get up.
The Doctor halted her movement by gently touching her shoulder. Looking her in the eyes, he asked just to be sure, "Trust me?"
She grinned at him and responded with absolute faith, "Always."
"Now this shouldn't hurt a bit", the Doctor stated confidently as he made some final adjustments on the scanner above the examination table Rose was laying on.
"Famous last words," Rose mumbled sarcastically, with a grin.
"I heard that", he said, looking away from the scanner to lift an eyebrow at her in mock annoyance. "Rose, a few things before I begin the scan," he said seriously. "First, lay perfectly still. This should only take about two minutes. Second, when the scanner light runs over your face, keep your eyes open, but don't look directly into the light. I've adjusted the light so it won't be too bright for you. Oh and third, try not to blink when the light passes over your eyes. This scanner must be able to take in every detail so that it can accurately narrow down your universe of origin.
"Understood, Doctor. Let's find out which universe I belong to," Rose said eagerly. The scanner began, its electric blue light running over her body, beginning with her feet. The Doctor was sitting over at a nearby computer console, checking the readouts coming in from the scan.
"There are about one hundred possible universes you could have originated from, Rose. The Tardis was only able to narrow it down to that number. This scan, though, should limit the possibilities down to one," he informed her as he was busy with the readouts, which Rose couldn't see from her vantage point.
As the blue light from the scan slowly made it up to her face and then began to pass over her eyes, something strange began to happen. Everything began to take on a golden hue, as if some gold colored filter had been placed on her eyes. That's odd, she thought, the scanner light is blue, so if anything, things should have a blue color to them, not gold. Then a second after that, she began to feel really warm. Why is it so warm in here all of a sudden, she thought, as she began to sweat. As soon as the scanner light had run past her eyes, the golden color had vanished and her vision was normal. Then, when the scanner light ran back down her forehead and over her eyes, the golden hue returned to her vision, along with the feeling of warmth through her entire body. As the scanner light passed away from her face and back down her body, though, she began to feel cooler and the golden color was gone. Rose was about to tell him to turn off the scanner, but she realized this was the only way to determine which universe she originated from and that this would bring her one enormous step closer to being able to see her Doctor again. She could live with the effects from the scanner for a bit longer.
The Doctor had noticed something not quite right as soon as the scanner had first passed over Rose's eyes. Her vital signs had shown that her temperature had increased by two degrees, but after the scanner had passed over her face and back down her body, her temperature had returned to normal. The Doctor was tempted to turn off the scanner, but since she had not said anything, he had assumed that she would be alright enough to let the scanner finish its job. Already it had narrowed down the number of universes to twenty and that number kept decreasing every few seconds.
Finally, the two minutes of the scan were up and he turned it off, but not before noting that the number of universes had not changed in the last five seconds of the scan. That can't be right, he thought in confusion. The scanner should have narrowed the number down to one, to her correct universe. Instead, it's showing two possibilities. There's no malfunction with this scanner, I'm sure of it. Since the scanner is working properly, that could only mean…
He quickly got up and went over to Rose. "Are you alright? While the scanner light had passed over your eyes, your temperature had increased by two degrees, but then it returned to normal."
"I'm alright Doctor, though I think something's wrong with your scanner. When the light passed over my eyes, everything looked gold colored. I should have seen everything in blue since the scanner light is blue, yeah?"
"Rose," the Doctor said in concern mixed with confusion, "your vision should have stayed normal. Even though the scanner light is blue, that would not have caused you to see everything in blue, let alone gold. Also that scanner should not have caused your temperature to jump two degrees. I've checked the scanner and it was working fine, which means that when the scanner light passed over your eyes, it triggered something already in you."
At Rose's confused look, he continued, "There's something else Rose. That scanner was designed with the sole purpose of narrowing down the list of possible universes from one hundred to one. In the last five seconds of the scan, the computer reported two possibilities. When the scan was complete, there were still two possibilities left. That means that whatever is inside you interfered with the scanner's ability to determine your exact universe of origin."
Rose slowly sat up on the examination table, taking all this in. Then instantly, the puzzle pieces clicked into place. The gold light, the warm feeling, she had felt these before, but how to tell the Doctor. Also two possibilities out of one hundred sounded infinitely better than having to check all one hundred of the possibilities they began with.
"Doctor, I know what caused me to see everything in a gold color and what caused me to feel warmer than usual, though I'm not sure why the scanner caused it to resurface in me, since your future self had said that he had taken it all out of me."
"Taken what out of you Rose?" The Doctor asked in confusion.
"I can't explain every detail to you Doctor, since I can't remember what I did. My Doctor had told me much later what had happened."
Rose then proceeded to tell him about his ninth self having to send her away from the Daleks and how she was able to pry open the Tardis console to look directly into the heart of the Tardis. The Doctor looked shocked at all this, but he asked her to continue. She told of how she saved his ninth self and how she defeated the Daleks by using the vortex energy that was running through her. She then explained that the Doctor had somehow absorbed the vortex energy from her, since it was burning her. She concluded with how his ninth self had to regenerate since the energy was killing him.
The Doctor couldn't believe that a future companion of his had managed to do all that. "Rose, that's amazing, absolutely brilliant what you were able to do for my future selves," he stated as he looked at her with pride. "But there's just one thing I don't understand."
Rose could tell he looked very concerned and a bit confused about something. He's probably wondering how my Doctor had absorbed the vortex energy from me, she thought, smiling inwardly as she remembered her Doctor's slight embarrassment when he had told her that he had to kiss her in order to absorb the energy. Damn, I wish I had remembered that kiss, she thought to herself.
Shaking herself from her quick reverie, she asked him, "What don't you understand, Doctor?"
"Rose, who are the Daleks?"
"What?" Rose asked, completely shocked. I couldn't have heard the Doctor correctly, she thought to herself, completely dumbfounded.
"Who are the Daleks, Rose? I assume from what you told me that they were a massive threat in your universe, the likes of which even the Time Lords would have trouble dealing with" the Doctor speculated as he looked into the distance, deep in thought. When Rose did not answer, he looked at her and noticed her state of shock, but it was mixed with a look of hope in her eyes.
"You mean to tell me that there are no Daleks anywhere in this universe, your universe?" she asked, hardly daring to hope that such a wonderful thing could be true. When the Doctor shook his head no, she stood up from the examination table and reached out to hug him.
The instant that physical contact was made between them, though, it was as if all of the memories of what his future incarnations from her universe had told her about the Daleks and what she had experienced with the Daleks came rushing into his mind. She felt warmer than usual and he could have sworn he had seen a bit of gold color in her eyes as she had begun to embrace him in the hug. He knew the instant the telepathic link began to happen that he should step away from her, but he couldn't do it. He had to know how his eighth self had regenerated in her universe and what these Daleks were capable of. Unfortunately, her memories did not provide any insight into how his eighth self had regenerated into his ninth self.
As soon as she had begun to embrace him in a hug, she instantly felt warmer and her vision took on a golden hue as all of her memories of the Daleks and what her Doctor had told her about the Time War came flooding back to the forefront of her mind. Instinctually she knew, without a doubt, that the Doctor was somehow seeing her memories as they were playing out in her mind's eye. A small part of her mind was telling her to step away from him, that something might happen to the timeline if he knew about the Time War. The larger part of her mind, though, was just relieved to finally have him know everything that she had gone through and relieved that she didn't have to worry about keeping all of this from him anymore.
A minute might have passed or ten, the Doctor couldn't be sure. All he did know was that this telepathic link should not be happening at all. The remnant of the vortex energy from the heart of the Tardis must have enabled Rose to somehow transmit all of these memories to my mind, he thought to himself as he was shown the image of his future self appearing on a beach to say goodbye to Rose. After that heartbreaking memory played out, though, the telepathic link ended. The Doctor stepped away from Rose and turned away, trying to regain some semblance of control over the absolute horror and sadness at finding out about Gallifrey and everything else her mind had shown him.
She saw in his eyes how distraught he was at everything he had seen, so she decided to give him some time before asking if he would be alright and if he wanted to talk about anything. Feeling emotionally drained, she sat down in the chair facing the computer screen where the results from the quantum signature scan appeared. The screen showed two sets of coordinates, presumably the two possible universes she could have originated from, along with long lines of indecipherable calculations. The Doctor was still standing away from her, staring at the other side of the room. After a few minutes, she decided to be the first one to speak. "Doctor?" Rose asked, not wanting to push him if he didn't want to talk about all that he had seen.
That seemed to bring him back to their current situation and he turned around to face her. His face was a mask of grim determination, but Rose could tell from his eyes just how overwhelming it all must be for him. "I don't know why that telepathic link became established right then Rose, but I have an idea of how it happened. The remnant of the vortex energy still inside you must have somehow enabled you to transmit your memories to my mind. Nevertheless, what you showed me answered some of my questions."
"Only some?" Rose asked tiredly in a sarcastic voice, in an attempt to lighten the mood somewhat.
The Doctor smiled slightly, but the smile didn't reach his eyes. "Well… since you weren't present when Gallifrey was destroyed in your universe, you don't know all the events that led up to it occurring. I was just pondering how the Daleks could have broken through Gallifrey's defenses," the Doctor stated, when all the while his mind was focused on the one question he did not have answered by the telepathic link. Rose cannot know about my eighth self in this universe, he thought to himself.
"Yeah, your ninth self in my universe never talked much about what occurred during the Time War, only about how it ended." Rose knew that what the Doctor had stated was not what was really bothering him. It was a natural question for him to have, but something in his expressive hazel eyes told her that he was holding something back from her. She decided not to press him, though, at least for now.
Deciding to get back to their current situation, the Doctor walked over to the computer screen Rose was sitting in front of and said, "Well, let's see if the results from the quantum signature scan gave accurate enough coordinates for your two possible universes of origin, shall we?" he said, all business again.
Just like my Doctor, Rose thought to herself, pushing aside his emotions to deal with the problem at hand. Focusing her mind back on the current situation, she asked as she scooted over so he could see the screen better, "So, it shouldn't take much time to figure out which universe I belong in, right?
"Right", the Doctor said absentmindedly as he was standing next to her, his hand on her shoulder, reading over the results on the screen. He typed in a few commands that sent the information to the console room and then turned off the computer. "I'll go to the console room and set the coordinates for the first parallel universe on our list. Once we arrive, I'll need some time to establish a telepathic link with my future self. Why don't you get some more rest for now. I'll let you know as soon as I've made contact with my future self."
"Sure, Doctor, I could use a bit more sleep anyways," Rose said tiredly, realizing that he needed some time to himself.
As she got up from the chair and made her way across the infirmary to the door, the Doctor called out to her, "Rose?"
She turned back around to face him,"Yeah, Doctor?"
"I'm so sorry about how my future self had to leave you before he could say…",he said, his voice trailing off and his eyes filled with compassion.
Not trusting herself to speak without her voice shaking, Rose simply nodded and left the room.
"…I love you", he whispered out loud to the empty room.
As Rose headed toward her room to sleep, the Doctor made his way to the console room, but not before stopping by the Tardis wardrobe. "I need a bit of a change", he said aloud as he tossed off his trusty multi-colored coat and searched for that coat with all the different shades of blue he had seen in the wardrobe recently. After a few minutes of searching, he finally found it in between a worn looking black leather jacket and a tan colored trench coat. He tried on his new choice in front of the mirror and admired the variations of blues, from midnight blue, to cobalt, cerulean to turquoise. 'Blue is the color of mourning on Necros', he recalled, momentarily lost in memory of his time there with Peri.
With thoughts of his previous companion came thoughts of his present and future companion. He knew how all of this would play out, had to play out. I will contact my future self, I will wish Rose well and I'll be on my way, as simple as that. Truth be told it wasn't as simple as that. Nothing ever seemed to be where his companions were concerned. This is foolish, he thought to himself. She wants to go back to him, she loves him, well me from the future and a parallel universe, but still me in a sense. "That should be enough, has to be enough," he said out loud, lost in thought.
"Rose…" a voice called out to her as she dreamed and it wasn't just any voice, it was his! Her Doctor was calling out to her like he had that night before she had seen him for the last time in Norway. "Doctor!", she called out as she bolted upright in bed, the sudden movement making her feel slightly dizzy.
"Rose, I know my sixth self is attempting a telepathic link with me right at this moment, but I cannot allow the link. He must not know about the Time War nor see my memories of the destruction of Gallifrey. That's why I've established a telepathic link with you. You must inform him to take you to a rendezvous location where we can meet."
"How about the planet Woman Wept?" Rose asked aloud. She was about to tell him that his sixth self already knew about the Time War and Gallifrey from her, but figured that her Doctor knew what he was doing. Anyways, she was too focused on the all encompassing thought of finally seeing him again to nitpick over such questions, no matter how logical they sounded to her.
"That sounds perfect, Rose. Now, just one more thing before I have to end this telepathic link. You must proceed to the planet right away. Once your Tardis dematerializes on the planet's surface, my sixth self must leave immediately. I cannot meet up with any of my past incarnations. It would cause major disruptions in the timeline. I will be monitoring the planet's surface and will dematerialize my Tardis as soon as his leaves. Then we can be on our way. How does that sound, Rose?"
A tiny part in the back of her mind thought that it was odd that he couldn't meet up with his past self, but then again, whatever it took to see him again, she'd agree to it. "Sounds wonderful Doctor! I'll let your past self know right away."
"Till then, Rose", and with that the telepathic link ended.
Finally, it's happening, Rose thought excitedly as she got dressed. As excited as she was though, she began to have mixed feelings about having to leave his sixth self. He'll be okay. He'll find other companions in this universe to travel with. Plus, without the Daleks around, he'll have his home planet. Still, no matter how much she tried to rationalize her feelings, she still felt bad at having to leave him. She would miss him terribly, his multi-colored coat, his personality, his compassion towards her, his warm embrace and expressive hazel eyes.
Then it dawned on her. There was a bigger reason why she would miss him and that rationalization stopped her in her tracks as she was about to leave her room. Oh no, it can't be, she thought to herself incredulously, I'm in love with him.
In another part of space in a different Tardis, buttons were being pressed and calculations were being made in preparation for dematerialization on the planet Woman Wept. On one of the screens on the console, a taped message was playing again. On that message was a dark haired man wearing traditional black Gallifreyan courtroom attire. As the message was about to conclude, the dark haired man stated adamantly, "He must be stopped at all costs. Hurt him by going after his greatest weakness, his companion. I am entrusting you, my tenth self, with this task. For as I record this message, the trial is nearing its end, and it appears that the Doctor will win. This message is being sent to you on the chance that I am unable to defeat him." The message ended abruptly.
The tenth incarnation, later to be known as the Valeyard, grinned maniacally and stated aloud, "Oh don't you worry, Old Man. Our time has come at last. Where you failed, I will succeed." With that said, the tenth incarnation, wearing the same color suit and coat from the last time he was seen on that dock on Gallifrey, punched in the dematerialization sequence for his rendezvous with destiny.
Rose walked into the console room, expecting to find the Doctor in there at the console, but he was nowhere to be found. That's odd, she thought. My Doctor had just said that his sixth self was currently attempting a telepathic link with him. Perhaps he went to a different room in order to do that. She left the console room and the next door she came to, which was left open, was the wardrobe. As she made her way up the room's spiral staircase, looking at all the different styles of clothing collected from multitudes of planets over hundreds of years, she felt a bit of nostalgia. Just as I remember it, she thought in fondness. "Doctor, are you in here?", she called out.
"Up here, Rose", he called back to her from the third floor. "Why are you awake so soon? I thought you'd still be sleeping."
As she made her way up to where he was, she said, "I was, until I was awakened by…", her voice trailed off as she saw him in his new coat. He turned from the mirror and, upon seeing how she was looking at him, asked eagerly, "So, what do you think?"
She was amazed. Damn, he looks good, she thought to herself, as a blush crept up her cheeks. Then she realized she had been staring a bit too long, without answering his question. She cleared her throat and replied coyly, "Blue is a good color on you, but something's missing."
Smiling at her answer and noticing the blush on her cheeks, he asked, "And just what is missing, my dear?"
She walked over to a small table next to where he stood and picked up his black cat pin. "This," she said as she stood in front of him and began to attach the pin to his lapel.
He watched her hands as she attached the pin and took the opportunity to just enjoy how close she was standing in front of him. He could smell the raspberry scent of her hair and the smell of her vanilla scented body spray.
What is up with this pin, she thought in irritation, as she kept trying to attach it to his lapel. Damn, he smells good, like tea and cinnamon, she thought to herself as she realized her face was getting really warm. Finally, after to her what seemed like a few minutes, but in reality was only about thirty seconds, her slightly unsteady fingers got the cat pin attached. "There, now your ensemble is complete," she grinned in embarrassment as she looked up at his face.
"Thank you," he said softly with a gentle smile on his face as he gazed into her eyes.
"You're welcome," she said a bit breathlessly as she felt herself being drawn into the endless depths of his expressive hazel eyes. She saw such kindness and compassion there and yet, there was something else too. It was something she had seen before and hadn't been able to name. But now she knew without a doubt what it was. He loves me, she thought in awe. This new revelation totally took all thoughts out the window of her telepathic conversation recently with the Doctor's tenth self. She felt herself being drawn to him, this sixth version of the Doctor who had become quite important to her.
He noticed her reaction when she gazed into his eyes and realized that she now knew how he felt. But instead of turning away, like he had thought she would, she stayed. As he continued to gaze into her eyes, he saw all the kindness and compassion there that he loved her for, but he also saw something else. It was something he had noticed before, but hadn't been able to name. Now he had a name for it. It was love! He saw love for him in her eyes! How can this be? I thought she only loved my tenth self, he thought in awe. He felt himself being drawn to her, his future companion who he had promised to reunite with his future self.
He then remembered his original plan, before he got sidetracked in the wardrobe. He was supposed to be in the console room, taking them to the first parallel universe on their list. He had to step away from Rose before something happened that would make things awkward between them, not to mention tougher to say goodbye once he did reunite her with his future self. He looked away from her eyes and, clearing his throat, said, "Rose, you didn't finish what you had started to say earlier. You mentioned being awakened by something?"
As soon as he had looked away, it was as if some type of spell had been broken. Upon his question, she immediately remembered the reason she had come searching for him. "Yeah, that's why I came looking for you.
She was about to say the words 'my Doctor', but somehow that didn't seem right to say at the moment. Instead she said, "Your tenth self from my original universe contacted me telepathically. He said that you were attempting to establish a telepathic link with him, but that he couldn't let you. He didn't want you to see his memories of the Time War."
"He wants us to rendezvous at the planet called Woman Wept. Well, I actually suggested that choice since that was a great place your ninth self had taken me to. He said for me to meet him there as soon as possible, that he would monitor the planet's surface for your Tardis. This next part he said sounded a bit odd to me, though. He said that once I arrived on the planet, you must leave immediately. He said that he cannot meet up with you or any of his previous selves. He mentioned something about it disrupting the timeline. Is that true?"
As the Doctor had been listening to her, he increasingly got a very uneasy feeling. At her question, he absentmindedly said, "Not entirely. It would depend on the many variables and scenarios involved. Meeting briefly wouldn't disrupt the timeline." He turned away from her and began pacing back and forth, his hand on his chin, deep in thought with a worried look on his face.
"Doctor, what is it? You think it's odd too, what he said and the condition under which he would meet up with me again?
He stopped his pacing and turned around to face her. "Yes, it's very odd, Rose. But it's not just that fact that has me worried."
"Then what is it?", Rose asked, completely baffled.
He was about to say the words 'your Doctor', but somehow that didn't seem right to say at the moment. "I've been in the wardrobe this entire time. I haven't set the coordinates yet for the first parallel universe on our list, nor have I attempted a telepathic link with my tenth self from that universe."
Rose, looking extremely confused, asked, "Then if it wasn't your tenth self, then who the hell was I talking to?"
"Who indeed?" the Doctor asked himself, lost in thought. Then, all of a sudden, the realization dawned on him. "No, it can't be," he thought out loud. "He wouldn't be so foolish as to do the same thing twice," he exclaimed heatedly.
"Who wouldn't?" Rose asked, anger evident in her voice at the thought of someone pretending to be her Doctor.
In a voice which barely masked his anger, he simply stated, looking into the distance, "The Valeyard."
As the Doctor and Rose made their way back to the console room, he explained to her a bit about who the Valeyard was and his dealings with him at the Gallifreyan trial. He downplayed the import of the trial, so as not to alarm her to the fact that his own people had put him on trial for his life. He decided not to mention Peri either. That subject was still painful for him and he didn't want Rose asking any questions about her.
As they entered the console room, Rose said, "So, you're saying that that version of your tenth self we saw on Gallifrey is a younger version of the Valeyard and he's the one who contacted me?"
"If my theory on this matter is correct, and my theories invariably are. I knew there was something not quite right about that alternate version of my future self. Well, no matter," the Doctor said resolutely, "we won't fall into his little trap. I'll deal with him at a later time. For now, I have a much more important task, getting you back home," he stated matter of factly, in a business like tone. His face was a mask of concentration as he set the coordinates for the first parallel universe on their list.
"Yeah, home," Rose said absentmindedly as she thought about her Mom, Mickey, Pete, and the miscarriage her Mom had about a month after Rose had been left in that parallel universe. After a little time, her Mom and Mickey had adapted well to their new lives there, but Rose always felt out of place. She had lived there for two long years.
Rose had tried to move on, to live a good life in order to make her Doctor proud of her. On a professional and educational level, she had succeeded. She was a valued consultant at Torchwood and, while working, she attended university and had gotten her degree in Political Science. Although her parents thought this an odd choice, she reasoned that since she was stuck in this parallel universe, she might as well know about national and international politics so she could know what was going on in the world and, in a way, feel a part of it. She also liked contributing to various charities and doing volunteer work. It made her feel like she was making some sort of a difference.
But as time had gone on, her family had kept pestering her about finding a nice man to settle down with, get married, and have children with. She knew her Mom wanted grandchildren. Pete usually just went along with what Jackie said. Mickey, though, had been a good friend by just reminding Rose that it didn't matter what her parents' wishes were for Rose. All that mattered was that Rose find happiness in her life and to not get married because her parents wanted her to.
Mickey had also told her that if the Doctor ever found a way back to her, for her to just go, to not worry about saying any goodbyes. All Mickey asked that she do was to send him a text message on her cell phone with the words 'Bad Wolf Bay'. She had done just that too, upon first entering her room on the Tardis. Mickey had told her that if he ever received that text message, he would tell her parents where she had gone. He knew that they would never have allowed Rose to leave if she had gone to them first, instead of just leaving with the Doctor. She was glad she had taken Mickey's advice. She hated long goodbyes.
Just then, Rose remembered those two questions she had upon first meeting up with the Doctor again. "Doctor, can I ask you something?"
"Hmm, oh, of course Rose," he said, looking up from the readouts. After he had entered the coordinates for the parallel universe, he had decided to run two more diagnostics just to be sure everything was working properly. He didn't want to run the risk of arriving in the wrong universe. Setting the coordinates for a parallel universe required more precise calculations than setting coordinates for a destination within one's own universe.
"What were you doing in that parallel universe you found me in? I mean, window shopping in London, well window shopping period, was never one of your hobbies, was it?", she asked, grinning.
"Well, truth be known, I wasn't exactly 'window shopping' as you put it. I was just walking around, enjoying being back on Earth. I didn't exactly pick the time or universe I arrived in. I was aiming for the Earth of my own universe, no city in particular, but the Tardis for some reason saw fit to dematerialize in the London you were living in. Based on what you've told me and all that I've seen of your memories, it's entirely possible the Tardis had the intention of me finding you. She cares very much about you, Rose, and must want to see you reunited with…your Doctor," he said matter of factly as he quickly turned his gaze from her back to the readings on his console.
It did not skip Rose's attention, the very slight pause in the Doctor's voice before he said the words 'your Doctor'. While he had been talking, his eyes showed only friendship for her, but she could tell he was hiding his feelings. He acted friendly and all business, but she knew it was an act. He couldn't feel this neutral about returning her to his future self. Her revelation in the wardrobe and what had almost seemed to happen was proof of that.
"Hold on tight, Rose. We're ready to go!" he said excitedly as he pushed the final button to get the Tardis underway. The Tardis, though, did not pitch and tumble about like the Doctor had thought she would. She made a smooth transition from his universe to the first one on their list.
"Well, that was anticlimactic", Rose said sarcastically.
"Yes, a totally different experience from when we left the parallel universe you were living in. I wonder why there was a difference?", he asked aloud, deep in thought.
"Well, now that we're here, should I leave the console room so you can establish a telepathic link with your tenth self?", she asked.
"Hmm, yes that would be fine. Give me a few hours. That should be sufficient enough time," he said as he gave her a reassuring smile.
She smiled back, said "Hopefully this will be the right universe," and left the console room. As she made her way to the kitchen to get something to eat, part of her hoped differently.
The Doctor watched her go, sighed, said out loud to himself, "Well, no time like the present to do what needs to be done."
He lay down on the floor, closed his eyes, and took deep calming breaths in preparation for contact with his tenth self. As usual, the mental link began with images of his younger selves and where they were located at this moment in this universe. He saw his sixth self from this universe on Varos with Peri. He then delved ahead and saw his seventh self playing chess with a future companion. He then saw his eighth self, who was pacing back and forth, looking as if the weight of the entire universe was on his shoulders. He probed further ahead into the link and, for the first time, saw his ninth and tenth selves. He saw his ninth self with Rose at a planet covered in ice, with a massive wave hanging suspended over the ocean. The planet Woman Wept, he thought to himself. He saw his ninth self looking at Rose tenderly as he held her hand.
Then he saw his tenth self, in what looked to be ancient Rome. He was about to establish a telepathic link with his tenth self, when all of a sudden, he saw a red haired human woman (a future companion?) approach his tenth self and begin to yell at him. What ensued next was a very heated discussion. They were getting in each other's faces and his tenth self looked extremely annoyed to say the least. What happened next in the mental link totally startled him. He saw the red haired woman kissing his tenth self, but his tenth self was not pulling away! He was kissing her back! Then just like that, the mental link dissolved as he lost his concentration and his mind returned to his body in the console room.
"What in the name of Rassilon?", he asked aloud in confusion and anger. That's the incarnation that Rose loves, he asked himself, positively livid. Well, my tenth self sure got over Rose in a hurry, now didn't he.
It was at that moment that Rose entered the console room and, upon seeing the Doctor awake, albeit a bit confused and miffed to say the least, asked hesitantly, "Well, what did you find out?"
Before he could even think up an appropriate response, the cloister bell tolled. "Now there's a sound I haven't heard in a while," he said incredulously as he got up and went to the console, pushing buttons and running diagnostics on the Tardis.
"How can I help?" Rose asked bravely, as the cloister bell sounded its ominous toll again.
"Stand over here near me. I've sealed off the console room as well as the upper levels of the Tardis, which I've scanned for hull breaches and intruders. I'm currently scanning the mid to lower levels," he reported, sounding extremely concerned.
She stood beside him at the console and watched him work. Although she could see the concern in his eyes, she also saw confidence and determination there. He seemed to exude the attitude of knowing that whatever was going on, he would get to the bottom of it, fix it and that was a promise.
After a few moments, he looked up from his readouts, shocked by the results. "Oh no, not again," he said worriedly, as he looked into the distance, momentarily lost in thought.
"What is it, an intruder?" she asked, scared by the worried expression on his face.
"You could say that", he said, gaining a bit of anger in his voice over their new predicament. He turned on the viewscreen to show one of the rooms in the mid level of the Tardis. Rose saw what looked like a conservatory, with a variety of plant life amidst marble columns and benches, but what she saw off to the side of the image made her gasp in shock. Half obscured by two tall plants, she saw the unmistakable image of a blue police box.
"How can that be possible", Rose asked, completely dumbfounded. "How can there be a Tardis inside this Tardis?"
"Oh believe me, this is not without precedent," the Doctor stated, momentarily lost in thought. "Well now, I'll just go have a little chat with our 'intruder'," he stated angrily as he opened the console room door leading to the rest of the Tardis. He turned around, looked Rose squarely in the eyes and said in a voice that would brook no further argument, "You stay here, Rose. I'm very certain it's the tenth incarnation of the Valeyard who is in that Tardis. Since his goal for following us here is to find you, I want you to stay as far away as possible from him. Please don't follow me there. I don't know why he's fixated on finding you, but I'm going to find out. He'd better have enough sense not to think about trying to harm you, or he'll have me to answer to," he stated in a low, dangerously calm voice, and with that he left the console room.
She was struck by the undercurrent of fire and passion in his voice she witnessed from him. And all out of a sense of love and protection for me, she thought to herself. "I almost feel sorry for the Valeyard…almost," she said aloud as she stood over by the viewscreen, which the Doctor had kept on, so she could see what was happening in the conservatory. Within a few minutes time, she saw him in the conservatory, slowly walking up to the Tardis. As he approached, one of its doors opened slightly as if beckoning him to enter. She watched on the viewscreen as he slowly opened the door to the Tardis all the way, peered inside, and then walked in.
The Doctor had noticed severe burn marks on the exterior of the Tardis before he had slowly entered it. The console room in that Tardis was only dimly lit and seemed to be running on emergency reserves of power, as if the trip from its universe of origin to this current universe had been extremely taxing on the poor ship. "I must remember to keep my Tardis' shields up so this type of thing doesn't keep happening," he thought to himself as he looked at the readouts on the console. As he had suspected, this Tardis did indeed come from another universe and, judging by the coordinates of origin on the screen, it was from neither his universe nor the parallel universe he had found Rose in. "Which universe did you come from, hmm?" he asked the ship out loud as he placed his hands on the console. Unlike his Tardis, he felt no familiar telepathic link with this ship.
As he walked around the other side of the console, he saw something that halted him in his footsteps. On one of the screens there was a message from the Valeyard (looking exactly the same as the Doctor remembered him from the trial). The sound was muted so he turned on the volume switch. He could tell from the display on the screen that the message had been playing for at least five minutes. He was able to catch the end of it.
'He must be stopped at all costs. Hurt him by going after his greatest weakness, his companion. I am entrusting you, my tenth self, with this task. For as I record this message, the trial is nearing its end, and it appears that the Doctor will win. This message is being sent to you on the chance that I will be unable to defeat him.'
The message ended abruptly and the screen went dark. "So I was right. The Valeyard from my trial was from a parallel universe, a future incarnation of that alternate tenth version of myself. But if this is that incarnation's Tardis, then where is he?", the Doctor pondered aloud as he initiated a scan, using the console, for his tenth self's life sign. All it took was a minute to find out the answer. "No one aboard? Where did he go then? He couldn't have left this Tardis. I had the monitor on this Tardis the entire time and no one stepped out of it."
Just then, a holographic projection of his tenth self appeared off to the side of the console. His tenth self looked as if he had been to hell and back.
'Doctor, if you are receiving this transmission, it means that I wasn't able to escape and had to send my Tardis away so a mortal enemy of Gallifrey's could not get ahold of it. In my universe, Gallifrey has been at war for centuries with an enemy the likes of which you, (living in your universe which seems quite peaceful by comparison), have never seen and hopefully never will. By now you've heard the Valeyard's message to me. He was envious of the fact that the Gallifrey in your universe was still peaceful and thriving. I'm afraid that total jealousy was his motive for sending me on my little mission to capture your companion in the hopes of hurting you in the process.'
'Imagine my surprise on your Gallifrey when I saw you and Rose there and you told me who she was looking for. It seemed all too easy for me to establish a telepathic link with her and pretend I was her Doctor. I waited for you both to arrive on Woman Wept and when the hours passed and you did not arrive, I realized that the plan had somehow failed. I established a telepathic link with the Valeyard and was able to talk to him before his final day in court with you. He informed me of his little contingency plan, which involved using his eleventh self to defeat you.'
At this point, the tenth incarnation gave a type of sadistic smirk and said 'Ah, I could make you suffer, Doctor. I could just leave it at that and not tell you what my eleventh self has in store for you.' Then he got a faraway, almost melancholy look on his face as he said, 'But I've seen too much death and destruction already in my lifetimes and especially recently, with the end so near…for Gallifrey.' Staring straight ahead with a determined look on his face as if he had just made up his mind about something, the tenth incarnation continued. 'Doctor, before ending my telepathic link with the Valeyard, he informed me that he had already established a link with his eleventh self. He told his eleventh self to assassinate your eighth incarnation upon your eighth self's return to your Gallifrey. When I asked the Valeyard how this could be achieved without you just regenerating again, he laughed and said that there were things that he would not even confide in me about.'
'So Doctor, there you have it. If you have ever tried to establish a telepathic link with your ninth and tenth selves and found it impossible, there is your answer. If the Valeyard gets his way, your eighth self will not regenerate. I must go now. Do what you like with my Tardis. I am needed on my home planet.' Just as he was about to end the transmission, his head turned and he stared at the spot the Sixth Doctor was standing at. 'Oh and by the way Doctor, I meant what I said back on your Gallifrey. Don't let your future companion leave so quickly. Even I could tell that she seemed worth holding onto. Till my future selves meet you again.'
With the transmission ended, the Doctor stood with his hands leaning against the console, thinking over all that he had heard. Well, at least I know what will happen to my eighth self, he thought to himself. Now that I know, at least I can watch out for the eleventh version of the Valeyard. But what to do about this Tardis? And what he said about Rose…Rose! She must be worried sick! He quickly walked out of that Tardis and made his way to his console room, to Rose, who he hoped would not want to leave him quite so soon.
It had been an interesting few days for Rose, to say the least. As she slept in her room on the Tardis, she thought over everything that had happened in the last few hours…
Upon the Doctor's return from the conservatory, she had been so relieved to see him that, instead of first asking the numerous questions on her mind, she had run up and hugged him tightly, and for a tad bit longer than a usual hug. His affection for her had also been palpable as he held her in his arms. He then proceeded to tell her about the message he saw from the Valeyard and the holographic projection of the tenth incarnation. He told her about the Valeyard's future plan in regards to the Doctor's eighth self. He had then assured her that now that he knew who to watch out for, he would easily be able to put a stop to the Valeyard's plan. Although the Doctor relayed all of this information calmly and seemed to project confidence about his ability at defeating the Valeyard in the future, Rose could see a trace of deep concern in his eyes that even he was unable to keep hidden from her.
She had then asked whether he had been able earlier to establish a telepathic link with his tenth self from this universe. After she had asked the question, he had looked away from her for a few moments while looking at the readouts on the console to make sure they were still safely floating in the time vortex. He had a neutral look on his face, as if they had been discussing some bit of trivia, but Rose knew instinctively that something was up. Then, without looking directly into her eyes, he had said, "No, I wasn't able to establish a telepathic link directly with my tenth incarnation, but while preparing for it, I saw my first through tenth incarnations and where they were in the timestream. I was about to establish a link with my tenth self, but I saw something that…distracted me."
Rose was about to ask him what had gotten him distracted, when he suddenly said with a look of interest on his face, "Still, I'd like to go to the second and final parallel universe on our list, just to be sure. Besides, I'm curious to see how the two universes are similar…and how they differ." With that said, he began his task of preparing to set the coordinates for the next parallel universe.
"Right then. I'll go get some sleep while you do that. Wake me after you get in contact with your tenth self," Rose said as she headed out of the console room.
She had slept fitfully since then, with thoughts swirling in her mind, trying to figure out what it was that the Doctor was not telling her. She should have demanded that he tell her what he saw in the link when he saw his tenth self, but somehow it hadn't felt like the right thing to do at the time, what with him being concerned about the Valeyard's future plan. What he had seen of his tenth self in that mental link must have been something troublesome, something that would make him doubt that it could be the Doctor she had traveled with. What is he protecting me from? She looked over at the clock by her bed and noticed that only three hours had passed. Still feeling tired, she went back to sleep.
About three hours later, Rose was gently stirred out of her slumber by the Doctor sitting on the side of her bed, his hand gently caressing her cheek and moving stray strands of hair away from her eyes. She opened her eyes and, in the dim light of her room, saw him gazing at her with a gentle smile on his face, but the smile did not totally reach his eyes. His expressive hazel eyes were filled with love for her, but there was sadness there as well.
"Doctor, what is it? Did you contact your tenth self?" she asked, as she was beginning to fully wake up.
"Yes, Rose, the telepathic link was successfully established, only…well, my tenth self is not alone in this universe. He already travels with you, well, this universe's version of you, to be more precise. It appears that in this universe, the both of you were never divided. The Rose of this universe was never torn apart from her Doctor and left in another parallel universe. According to what this tenth incarnation said to me, both he and his Rose have been traveling together for the past three years. I relayed my situation with you and he offered his deepest sympathies to you and sent his hopes that you be reunited with…your Doctor."
Rose noticed the pause in his sentence and how his voice was almost a whisper. "Doctor, it's alright. Although I'm a bit disappointed that this isn't my original universe, in a way, I feel happy for the both of them. Why do you still look sad? We still have the first parallel universe on our list." He looked away from her, a concerned expression on his face. "You had told me earlier that you had been about to establish a telepathic link with your tenth self from that universe, but that you were distracted. What did you see of your tenth self in the link? Please, no matter how bad it is, I have to know," she stated as she sat up in bed, holding his hands in hers.
"It seems, based on what's been learned of my tenth self in this universe, that the first parallel universe on the list must indeed be your correct universe, Rose." He then proceeded to tell her about the image of his tenth self having a heated discussion with a red haired human woman and then, hesitantly, he told her the rest of what he saw. He then concluded by saying, "That's why we had to come to the second parallel universe on the list. I wasn't sure if what I saw was from your correct universe. I had hoped it wasn't. The fact that my tenth self in that universe appeared to have gotten over you so easily just infuriated me, which caused me to lose concentration, ending the link."
Rose, shocked by what she had heard about the man she had at one time called 'her Doctor', looked away from him, momentarily lost in thought. He's moved on, she thought to herself, as the importance of that statement finally sunk in. I have to move on as well. She looked again into the Doctor's concerned eyes. He's still the Doctor, the man who loves me, the man I love. I could travel with him. It wouldn't be like second best because he's, in essence, the same man I had fallen in love with before.
With her mind made up, she stated, "The Rose of this universe got something that I had wanted for the longest time, to keep traveling with my Doctor."
Rose was about to continue, but then he stopped her abruptly, his expression one of confusion. "Wait a minute Rose. You said 'had wanted'. That's the past tense. Isn't that still what you want, to travel with your Doctor again? I may have misinterpreted what I saw. It might not have been a companion of his."
With a gentle smile on her face, she said, "Yes, that's still what I want."
At his instant look of disappointment, she cupped his face in her hands and simply stated, "I want to travel with you…my Doctor."
He looked at Rose in astonishment, (seeing the love in her eyes for him), smiled, and said, "My Rose, what would I ever do without you", as he embraced her in a hug.
Reveling in his embrace, she replied resolutely, "That's a question that you won't ever have to answer, not as long as I have anything to say about it!"
He laughed softly as he gazed into her eyes and then, he did something he had wanted to do ever since he realized that he had fallen for her. Caressing her cheek, he leaned in and began to gently kiss her lips.
Rose felt as though time was standing still. With her fingers running through his hair and on the back of his neck, she kissed him back fervently, relishing the feel of his lips on hers.
He in turn deepened the kiss, expressing the passion he felt for her in a way that mere words could not. He had always known this incarnation of himself was more passionate than any of the others, but until this moment, he had never allowed himself to express that passion in such a way to a companion.
All too soon for Rose, he ended the kiss. Leaning back from her slightly, he caressed her cheek and, gazing into her eyes, asked in a serious voice, "Are you sure this is what you want, Rose, to travel with me?"
She gazed into his eyes and answered in an equally serious voice, "Yes, I want to travel with you. You are still the Doctor to me, no matter that you're a younger version and you're from a different universe than the tenth version of you I traveled with."
"Well, since you're sure, my dear, I have one more question for you. Where would you like to go next?"
Pretending to ponder over his question, she replied with a smile on her face, "Hmm, how about somewhere relaxing and beautiful in your universe."
He smiled at her as he stood up from her bed and said, "I know just the place. There's a great little planet called Pauate, a perfect holiday spot. For one day out of every one of their standard years, they celebrate an important holiday by letting off enormous fireworks for hours on end. What do you say?" he asked excitedly.
She grinned at him and replied, "Sounds like fun!"
After informing Rose that she should dress in something festive, yet comfortable for cool weather, the Doctor made his way to the console room to punch in the coordinates for Pauate. I haven't felt this content since before that mockery of a trial my fellow Timelords subjected me through, he thought to himself as he walked through the hallways. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed the door to the conservatory was still open. Funny, I thought I had shut that, he pondered as he took a quick glance inside to make sure the other Tardis was still there. As he gazed at the ship that, in another parallel universe would become the Valeyard's, he wondered what he should do with it. Should I send it back to the Gallifrey of my own universe? From what the projected image of the Tenth Doctor had said, it would fall into enemy hands if returned to that Doctor's own universe. Hmm, I'll decide what to do about it later. I promised Rose a holiday and I intend to make good on that promise. With his mind made up, he firmly shut the conservatory door and walked toward the console room.
About twenty minutes later, Rose eagerly made her way to the console room, dressed comfortably for a festive night out. She had a long sleeved flirty top on with colorfully intricate designs (that reminded her of the colors of the time vortex), black slacks, and comfortable black leather ankle boots. As she walked into the console room, she asked, "Have we arrived on Pauate?" It was then that she noticed the Doctor's intense concentration while working the Tardis controls. Apparently, they hadn't arrived yet or had arrived somewhere else. He didn't even look up as she had entered. She walked over to the other side of the console and asked, "What's wrong?"
He glanced up at her worriedly. His usual air of confidence in difficult situations was gone and was replaced by one of anger mixed with fear. "Rose, I know I set the coordinates for Pauate. We should have been there by now. Instead, we've arrived on Mycenae during the 24th century, one of the worst time periods to be in. It's filled with multiple wars, political intrigue, corruption, and utter contempt of any outsiders."
"Can't you reset the coordinates so we'll be floating in the vortex until you fix the Tardis?", Rose asked while trying to appear calm.
"That's just it. I've been trying to reset the coordinates but something or someone is blocking my every attempt", the Doctor stated in utter frustration as he ran his hand through his hair.
"Wait a minute. You said 'someone', Doctor. There's just you and me on the Tardis. Who could've reset the coordinates then?" Rose asked, utterly perplexed.
The Doctor switched on the view screen to show an image of the conservatory. The other Tardis was still there. Whereas earlier the Tardis doors had been closed, they now were open slightly and a faint reddish light emanated from them.
"It would seem that my initial scan of that Tardis for any signs of life gave me false information. Someone is still in that Tardis and that person has somehow integrated his Tardis with mine in order to change and lock in the coordinates," the Doctor stated in utter frustration.
"Who's still in that Tardis, Doctor? You said the Tenth version of yourself had stayed behind on the Gallifrey of his universe. Who else could be in there," Rose asked in disbelief.
The Doctor's eyes narrowed at the view screen as he replied, "The one person who would not entirely trust his mission to be fulfilled by anyone else but himself, the Valeyard."
(Continued in the sequel, "Changing The Rules")