A/N: Hellooo everyone :D Sorry there's been a bit of a gap between updates this time :S But, seeing as I've made you wait a few weeks for this, I thought I'd make it a bit of a longer chapter. I hope you enjoy! Please review and let me know :D Love ya xxx
After about an hour, the Doctor's eyes finally flutter open.
"Wh...what the...?" he mumbles, feeling incredibly disorientated for a split second before realising his head is in Rose's lap, so everything must be rather fine.
She looks down at him, her eyes wide and bright now that he's conscious, and relief is flooding through her. "I thought you were never gonna wake up," she whispers softly. "You've never been knocked out like that before. My legs of gone numb sitting like this for so long," she adds, chuckling lightly.
"Sorry - " he begins, moving to sit up, but Rose shakes her head and pushes him back down. She quite likes him lying there, her taking care of him like this.
And really, he's quite comfortable, looking up at her from this position, so he lets her keep him there. " – So. Where are we? Did you find out anything about out captors?" he asks brightly, absently fiddling with the hem of her t-shirt with one hand.
"Well, I don't know what the ship is, or why they've stopped, or why we've been thrown in the prison cells..." she tells him, biting her lip.
"Ah. Well, that's useful," he replies, and she gives him a stern look.
"He's very secretive, ok? He wouldn't reveal anything. However, I know that someone we know has been talking to him, because he was saying all sorts of stuff about us..."
"What sort of stuff?" he asks warily, feeling terribly guilty he still hasn't told her about him.
"Oh, erm...just...stuff," she mutters, blushing. "About us, before we...you know. Et cetera..."
"Right," he says, nodding quickly.
"And he told me his name's John Hart. You recognise the name?"
"No...um...nope, not a clue."
"So, who do you reckon has been telling him all that stuff about us?"
The Doctor swallows nervously. It's time to tell her. "Rose. There's something I've been meaning to tell you. About this place. And who's...here."
"Oh?" she says, staring down at him in confusion.
"Yeah. Ok, first things first, how much do you remember about the Gamestation?"
"I...well. Only what you've told me. You know, how you kissed the Time Vortex out of me and that," she replies, an eyebrow raised and her lips upturned in a slight smirk.
"Quite. But do you remember anything about when you had all that power inside you? Do you remember what you did?"
"What, you mean, killing all the Daleks?"asks Rose, her brow furrowing.
"No, no. Other than that..." He sighs. "Rose, you didn't just...kill...that day. You brought someone back to life, too."
"What?" she whispers, shocked into almost-silence.
He sits up, shifting to hold her hands. "Someone who died, someone you cared about, Rose."
"Oh my go – Jack? You mean Jack? He died and I brought him back?" she cries in disbelief.
"Yeah. Except, you couldn't control it properly. You...you're so brilliantly compassionate and loving, truly the best of humanity, Rose. And you brought him back for good."
"He can't die. You made him immortal. And I...out of extinct, I just ran away from him. He shouldn't exist and I was regenerating and I just...I took us away..."
"You just left him there? Didn't you think about how he would feel? How confused he would be? How much he'd need us? How much I'd need to say to him?" she exclaims accusingly, her voice rising.
"I'm sorry. I am so sorry."
"And you kept this from me, all this time. I made him immortal, and you didn't even...Oh god. Oh god, he's going to hate me," she says, realisation dawning.
"Why would he hate you? You brought him - " he begins.
"Are you stupid? You said yourself how difficult it is, living for so long, watching the people you...care about 'wither and die' - I made him like that, and he'll hate me for it. Maybe not right away, but sooner or later, when he's lost everyone, he's going to hate me for making him like that...and we just left him there..." She bites her lip, staring hard at the wall, blinking back tears.
"I'm sorry..." begins the Doctor.
She turns her fiery gaze on him again. "It's not me you should be apologising to, is it? I think we both need to apologise to him."
"I know. I know, Rose." He gives her hands a quick squeeze, and is relieved when she doesn't pull them away.
She relaxes her angry stance a little, and lets out a long breath. They are both silent for five or so minutes. Maybe six. The Doctor doesn't really know what else to say. She must be really furious with him; she isn't meeting his eyes anymore. On the plus side, she hasn't removed his hands from hers yet, so maybe she isn't ready to jump up and leave him. Yet.
Then, to his surprise, she chuckles slightly, breaking the silence, before saying, "He's sooo gonna kill you."
He sighs in relief, glad to have her talking again. He missed hearing her voice just then. Wait. It was only for five minutes. Is he really that bad? So incapable of lasting very long without her talking to him?
"Probably," he murmurs. Whether it's an answer to her question of his he's not even sure. Perhaps both.
"I wonder whether your next regeneration will be better looking?"
He pokes her in her waist with one finger. "Oi! Don't say that."
"He is though. He's going to kill you. Right after he's given you a great big snog. He won't be able to resist you, now that you're all..." she pauses, meeting his eyes once more. "...Foxy. I guarantee it."
"Oh yeah? Thanks. And what about you?" he replies.
"Oh, he can't kill me. He loves me too much."
"Right. Great," he mutters sarcastically.
Then she remembers something. "Wait a sec. So...Jack. Is he here?"
"Yeah. TARDIS sensed it somehow. Somewhere on this ship, Jack Harkness is most probably flirting with some - "
" - Wait. John Hart said he was working for someone, that's why he'd been ordered to throw us in here. Do you think...do you think Jack's behind this?"
"Do you think he'd do this to us?" he asks her, genuinely curious to see what she thinks. Because honestly? He doesn't have a clue.
"No. We're his friends," she assures him, and herself, confidently. Then she adds thoughtfully, "Pretty bad ones, for just leaving like that, but you know."
"You said he's going to kill me."
"Yeah, I said that. But he won't. He couldn't. He loves you too, you know."
"That's nice to hear."
"But who could it be then? He's obviously friends with this John fellow, close enough to share all his memories of us with. So what the hell is going on here?" asks the Doctor.
"I don't know. But I do know that Jack wouldn't hurt us, not really. What do you reckon he's been doing since we left him on the Gamestation?"
"What hasn't he been doing would be a more appropriate question relating to Jack Harkness, don't you think?"
"Well that's a bit rude," comes a voice from beyond the door to the cell. Then the man behind the voice, John Hart, steps up and unlocks the door.
"You come to set us free, then?" asks Rose hopefully.
"No, sorry Blondie. I just thought I'd come see how you two are doing. Well. Not him, so much. Just you, honey."
The Doctor, already scowling at John, watches him reach down and stroke Rose's cheek. He stands up abruptly, wincing slightly at the pain in his head, and squares up to John. "She's fine. She'd be better if you stopped touching her and let us out of here."
"Ooh, touchy. You're very possessive of her, aren't you?"
"Yes," answers the Doctor honestly.
"Why's that then?" inquires John.
The Doctor ignores his question. "What's going on here? Where's Jack?"
"You remember him, then?" John smirks.
"Of course we do," pipes up Rose, standing up too.
"I heard your little conversation. And you know what, you're right, sugar. Jack's here. But he's not the one...oh, I really shouldn't be telling you this, but...I like you. And you know, we're friends, right?" John says, reaching out and twirling a strand of her hair between his fingers. The Doctor tries not to contemplate the things he's contemplating right now, which involve that very large piece of metal over there and John Hart's head. But he can't help it.
However, to the Doctor's delight, Rose gently removes John's hand from her hair and puts her own hands on her hips, elbows out. He knows that this means she means business, and she isn't going to stand for John Hart being all...John Hart-like. Which, consequently, is similar to Captain Jack-like. Basically, the fact of the matter is, Rose is the Doctor's and she knows that. Which makes him very happy indeed. And that look on her face – utter determination – that is a bit lovely...
"Yes. Please, tell us what's going on here. We can help," she says, as the Doctor comes out of his quiet contemplation to listen to her speak.
"Exactly," puts in the Doctor, dispelling all his jealous thoughts. If this man needs their help, and if Rose trusts him, then he should too. "Who's in control here?"
John flinches. "You really don't want to know. But it isn't Jack. He just got a little caught up in a bit of a bad plan of mine, and now I've got him stuck here."
"Where was he before?" asks Rose.
"Oh, he was on Earth. Twentieth century earth. He's working with this little team...they have a base and everything. In a bit of a strange place, mind you. But anyway. A proper hero, he is," laughs John.
"What's it called? This team? What does he do?" asks the Doctor.
John averts his eyes. "Um...yeah, that's something I can't tell you about. Could cause a paradox or something, apparently. I don't really get half the stuff he comes out with, but he insists he learnt it all from the best..." he trails off, nodding a head in the Doctor's direction.
"Right. Yes, of course."
"And he was waiting for you to show up. Says he has some unfinished business."
Rose swallows nervously, and the Doctor nods his head once. "I can understand that," he replies.
"And then," John continues, "I showed up. Told him I had a lovely surprise for him."
"Was that the first time you met him?" asks Rose.
"Hell no. I knew him way back. Back when he was a Time Agent. Before he abandoned the Agency to go search for his memories or whatever – which is when you came in, I believe. Anyway, long story short, we were partners...in more ways than one. Well, sort of. We got stuck in a time loop for quite a while. Had to put up with him for ages, and you know what he's like," he says, winking. Rose smiles.
"So this 'lovely surprise' you had for him? What was that?" asks the Doctor.
John folds his arms in a defensive gesture. "Right, well, there's a small, maybe rather big, chance that I'm not proud of this, so don't judge me. But I...well, I was in a spot of bother with the Arcanians - "
" – Ahhhh," sighs the Doctor in realisation. Rose turns to look at him with a question in her eyes. "They're a race of intergalactic traders – traders in all sorts of things: energy, money, diamonds, pineapples – you name it. Very nice people, if you negotiate and make a fair deal. Very, very not-nice people if you rip them off," he explains to her. Then he turns back to John. "Which I'm guessing you did?"
"Hey, I said don't judge me! Jack used to be a con-man too, and you befriended him!"
"One, I'm not judging you, and two, he befriended Rose first; I was much more opposed to opposed to the idea of him coming on board."
"Yeah, but he grew to love him," Rose tells John, shooting a sideways glance to the Doctor that told him 'You know I'm right.'
John smiles. "Well, anyway. Yeah. I um...sort of tried to trade them my motor – a ExtX 480, you know..." he adds, for the Doctor's benefit. Judging by the way the Doctor's eyebrows rose in appreciation just then, Rose is guessing that that is one cool spaceship. "...for one of their Xops 8000's. But...well, there was this controversy over the fact that my ExtX 480 accidently didn't exist anymore, due to my not-friend-anymore blowing it up – Rita, her name was. Nice girl. Crap at mechanics. Evidently. Anyway..."
The Doctor leans towards Rose while John continues his story, and whispers, "Are you getting Déjà vu here?"
"God yeah. It's like he's him. No wonder they were...you know," she murmurs back.
"...what's that?" asks John, noticing his audience is now chattering amongst themselves.
Rose bit her lip to keep from laughing. "Just saying...you two must have been made for each other. You and Jack," she clarifies.
"Maybe once. He's changed now. A lot. Thanks to you two," he says, and Rose can't help but notice the tiny scowl he sends their way briefly.
"So...?" the Doctor prompts. "Why did you call on Jack?"
"I managed to escape from the, um...'trial' that the Arcanians were 'giving' me. Honestly, if you could call it a trial...Mind you, they'd have had me hung, drawn, quartered and fed to a Nestene Consciousness – if such a thing still existed - immediately if I hadn't pointed out that that would be wrong, according to Article 876 of their new deal with the Shadow Proclamation – you know, when they got into trouble with them a bit too often, and had to make a sign of peace or something to stop them going over the top in their punishments..." At this, the Doctor nods, acknowledging the information as fact.
John continues, "So, I escaped – very skilfully, I may add, and pressed something or other on this thing..." he pauses, holding up his wrist, where Rose can now see has a familiar-looking Vortex Manipulator attached to it, albeit a smaller one than Jack's. "...ended up on Earth. Yuck. That wasn't fun. Landed in a swamp on some distant continent. Travelled to some sort of civilisation, i.e. London. But, I didn't realise Jack was on Earth – I wasn't looking for him. But then, I accidently bumped into him, and thought 'aha! There's a man who can help me get out of a spot of bother!' Turns out, he's about as capable of laughing/flirting his way out of trouble amongst a group of Arcanians as me. And now, we are both trapped here, on their HQ sort of ship, awaiting our...um...well, our execution. I've been let out of my cell to sort you two out, but Jack..."John trails off, not able to meet their eyes any longer.
"What? Where's Jack?" asks the Doctor.
"He's got this...this ability now. I think it's what you were talking about in here earlier – I couldn't make out all the details, but from what I gather he's immortal, right? So, the Arcanians – Bob in particular - didn't take it very well when, after they shot him down dead, Jack simply gasped back to life and stood back up again."
Rose feels sick, knowing that she's responsible for him going through the pain of death over and over again, only to be brought back alive each time."And now?" prompts Rose.
"Now, they're experimenting on him. A lot. And it ain't pretty."
"What exactly are they doing?" asks the Doctor, though he has an idea.
"Ooh, think about the biggest electrical pulse you've ever seen run through a living person, and then times that by about 1000," states John unflinchingly. But Rose can tell, in his eyes, that he feels guilty for what's happening to his friend.
Don't they all?
"Ah," murmurs the Doctor. Then, his sombre look turns cheerful. "Well, where is he then? Let's go save him!" he cries enthusiastically.
His enthusiasm diminishes as soon as John silences him with a look of his own.
"We wouldn't be able to reach him. There are loads of guards down there – at the bottom of the ship."
The Doctor shakes his head. "We'll find a way," he assures him.
Rose nods in agreement. "And you can let us out right?" Rose asks John.
John looks torn. On one hand, he knows he should, because if anyone has a chance of saving both him and Jack it's the Doctor (or so he's heard.) But on the other hand, he's been ordered by the chief Arcanian to keep these 'intruders' locked up, and if he found out that he'd released them, he'd have no chance of survival.
"Um..." he begins.
"How about..." the Doctor starts thoughtfully, understanding John's dilemma at once. "...you go back to wherever you're supposed to be, and we'll escape this cell all by ourselves. That way, it's not your fault; it's the fault of whoever is supposed to be guarding us."
"And what about those people who are guarding outside that door then, eh?" points out Rose.
"Weeeelll, as John goes out, he might accidently-on-purpose knock them out, so that it looks like we've done it..."
She tuts. "Doctor," Rose begins, in a mock-admonishing tone, "I thought you disapproved of violence."
"When you're up against the Arcanians, believe me, there's little else choice," pitches in John, to which the Doctor gives an acknowledging shrug. "Ok. I'll do it. But I can't exactly leave the cell door unlocked, or else they'll know that - "
" – it's alright. Lock the door. I've got my sonic screwdriver. As long as it's not a deadlock seal, I'll be able to get us out of here in a jiffy," interrupts the Doctor.
"Screwdriver," supplies Rose.
"Riigghhht," John replies, looking between the two of them oddly for a moment. Then he regains his composure, salutes them, and makes his way out. "Good luck," he calls over his shoulder, and as he locks the cell door, he adds a genuine, "And thanks."
The Doctor and Rose stand and wait for a moment. After hearing a few punches being thrown and an 'Owww!' promptly followed by utter silence, they reckon that John has done his job.
The Doctor smiles his mischievous smile at Rose, and retrieves the sonic screwdriver from his pocket. He's about to unlock the door, when he pauses contemplatively. "You want to do the honours?" he asks Rose, holding it out to her. She looks at him for a moment, a quizzical frown on her face, but then shrugs and takes it off of him.
She fiddles for a moment, adjusting the setting to the one she knows he usually uses in situations like these – setting number 12, to be precise – and points it at the lock. The Doctor watches, wondering whether she'll be able to do it. Maybe this wasn't the best time to be teaching Rose this stuff, not when they had their old friend to save, but you see, it suddenly occurred to him that she might need to know how to do this one day, if she's trapped with nothing but it and not him. Although, why she'd have it but not him is a bit of a hazy area. Although, if she had her own one...
He's brought out of his musings when Rose yelps and jumps back after a spark hits her arm. She looks at him impishly, biting her lip in that delicious way she does. "Oops?" she offers. The Doctor smiles at her, and is about to retort, when he suddenly stares right past her, at the door that's gently swinging open.
"No...no, no, not 'oops,'" he replies, pointing at the door.
She turns around. "Ohhh," she says, giggling. "Cool."
And that's when he thinks about how lovely she is, and how her laugh is like music to his ears, and he thinks he might tell her the other thing he should have told her a long time ago, the very thing he's been planning on telling her for ages now.
He steps towards her and links their hands. "Rose Tyler - " he begins.
" – Alons-y!" she finishes, breaking into a sprint, and for once, it's her dragging him along.
As the two of them run, weaving their way through the corridors, trying to find some stairs or something to take them down to where Jack supposedly is, the Doctor realises that with a life like theirs, there's bound to be a few distractions from saying things that need to be said.
But one day, he won't get interrupted, and she'll know what he knows she wants to know.
Because he'll tell her.He just WWe