Disclaimer: This will be the only disclaimer in the story. I do not own Any of the Doctors incarnations. I DO NOT own Rose Tyler. I dream about owning them ^.^ but I don't :'(

Special Thanks to my Beta Stiehl

The Choices We Make - Chapter One

Blessed are the people whose leaders can look destiny in the eye without flinching but also without attempting to play God. - Henry A. Kissinger


Her boots were making that satisfying clicking sound on the pavement that all new boots do. She knew it was silly to wear heeled boots out on recon with her Torchwood unit, but they weren't those ridiculous stiletto things, and they weren't very high, so Rose had decided to indulge herself just this once.

Catching the look on his face was enough to convince her it was worth it. The Doctor, the human one... John Smith, as he had chosen to be called, let his eyes skim over the skirt and black knee high boots with a look she'd never seen on the other Doctors face, and she grinned at him, as he opened his arms to hug her.

"You're working in that?" he murmured, kissing her gently.

"Nothing wrong with them, they're practical!" the blonde argued playfully, her grin still in place.

"That skirt's not..." he wrapped an arm round her waist and they entered the Torchwood building together. The scans, and fingerprint testing were routine to the pair of them by now. It had been a year since the original Doctor had left them on that desolate beach in Norway, and flown away without so much as a word goodbye, and in that time Rose and John had swiftly risen through the ranks of Torchwood until they were leading their own teams.

"You've got that new lad today, haven't you? Ian? Or Owen right?" a hand was passed through rough brown hair as he held a glass door open for her and Rose laughed.

"Mark... and yes, he started last week, but it's his first recon today... nothing too difficult, it seems to be a basic salvage mission," John sighed, and shoved his hands in his suit pockets. "Well, you know what I'm going to say; stay-"

"Stay safe, yes, I know," Rose glanced over her shoulder at the worried brown eyes watching her, and she grinned. "Love you..."

It still amazed her how those two simple words lit up his face, and lightened the weight he always seemed to carry around with him, and as he returned her grin with a sweet smile, Rose entered her meeting room with a warm glow settling into her chest.


Rose was cursing the skirt.

The look on John's face had been worth it, right up until the moment they reached the salvage site. She should have known that "crashed ship" would mean "uneven ground, lots of rubble... lots of climbing."

She sometimes wondered just how human John really was, besides only having one heart he'd lost the telepathic abilities of the Time Lords, but sometimes... just sometimes, he seemed to be able to know the best route to take, the best plan to follow, as though he was on some level aware of what was going to happen next.

As though he was still aware of the timelines.

Gunfire drew her attention and she crouched, rather uncomfortably, behind a chunk of rock.

"Tyler... bzzzz... shots to... bzzz... Thompson do... bzzz... copy?" her comm crackled.

Rose cursed, she knew sonic interference with the comm system when she heard it and didn't bother trying to respond. She leaned her head out slightly to try and locate who was shooting and staying low she managed to move further into the wreckage for a better view without drawing attention to herself.

Rose was carefully keeping her breathing steady, and was about to glance round her latest rock shield when something told her to stay still, to not move... and a shriek suddenly rent the air. She moved before her thoughts had caught up with her, swinging her arms over the top of the boulder she had crouched behind, her gun in her hands, and firing off shots in the direction the sound had come from. Red hair went flying, and the humanoid dropped the limp body of one of her team, pinning Rose with blood red eyes before shrieking again. Rose's blood froze, but she swiftly emptied her gun's clip into the chest of the Caxtarid, watching as it dropped, with the shock and adrenaline floating through her brain locking her muscles in place.

"C... casualty report?" she requested over the communications system, her voice soft, and one hand still on her gun.

"Thompson is down, badly injured, but we think he'll make it... Parker's dead." Rose let her eyes slip closed with a sigh.

"Let's move out, if there were more alive they would have attacked, the Caxtarids don't act alone if they can help it," she ordered, and slowly her team emerged from their covered positions.

"How does she know all of this?"

"She just does, that's Agent Tyler for you..." she caught the smattering of conversation over the comm and shook her head. If only they knew, they'd probably take her in for experimentation.

The last four members of her team all met her at the crash site as she finished calling in a clean up crew. "There shouldn't be anything here we haven't encountered before... Mark, you stick by Evans and let her show you what sort of things need to be bagged and tagged, and what Torchwood considers junk... the rest of you, scatter formation, lets not overlook anything people... she was unusually violent."

After making sure that Evans was all right with teaching the new boy the ropes, Rose quickly joined her team in searching through the ship's debris. It appeared to be a small, one person shuttle, and Rose frowned as she leaned into the cockpit, her eyes studying the partially lit screens for something she could recognise.

"No... MARK NO...!" The blonde's blood ran cold, and all she caught sight of as she glanced over her shoulder was her team scattering, and the new guy's terrified face as they all watched what appeared to be a small hunk of metal soar towards the remains of the ship and bounce off of the front, setting off the self destruct sequence.

Rose managed to scramble out of the immediate vicinity of the shuttle, but didn't get nearly far enough, and she couldn't stop the sharp scream as she felt the flames lick along her side, and the shock wave sent her flying through the air.

Her last conscious thought was that if she hadn't been wearing that blasted skirt, she'd have been able to get up and run.


The rattle of metal...

Shouting... "20 CC's of... we're losing her..."

"What did you think you were doing?"

"I... I'm sorry.…"

The smell of bleach.

The brightness of a hospital... The Torchwood facility.

Had they found out? Were they experimenting? Why did it hurt so much? Torchwood always sedated their alien test subjects...

"Where is she? You must let me see her!"

John?

"John..."

Her eyes opened slowly, blinking against the harsh light emanating from the ceiling, and carefully her eyes roved the room, finally landing on the desperate face of John Smith... Her Doctor. She blinked and he sighed, tears glittering in his expressive brown eyes, and her brow furrowed into a frown, pulling a wince of pain from her, which only hurt more.

He slipped his hand into hers, and stroked it gently, waiting for her to relax again.

"What happened?" Rose finally rasped, her throat drier than she'd expected. "How long have I been in here?"

"Only a day or so... they wanted to keep you asleep but..." John took a breath and glanced down at her hand. "It was that stupid fool Owen..."

"Mark..."

"...He threw a piece of debris over his shoulder after determining it useless... it was the control module for the ships main computer panel..." He watched her eyes widen in realisation, as her memories returned slowly while he spoke. "He blew up the ship, Daniel got a couple of scrapes but you... Rose..." The human time lord choked on her name, and the tears finally fell, causing Rose's own eyes to flood.

"I'm sorry... for wearing that... stupid skirt... she struggled to keep the tears held in check, certain that would hurt even more than she expected it too if the salty drops managed to run down her cheeks. The more she woke up the more she could feel the bandages.

"You're going to be fine," he muttered, and Rose's heart sank, and her smile vanished.

"Don't lie, John…"

"I'm not... I won't let them-"

"Not to yourself either... I can feel it... I'm in the intensive unit... Its bad-" She coughed from the force of her tone and then gasped as pain wracked her body. "Tell me the truth, John?" she begged, when she could finally draw a breath into her body again, and her partner fought off his own tears to continue speaking, although the tight grip he had on her hand never lessened.

"Your entire left side is covered... covered in acidic burns from the shuttle's engine fuel... you... you lost too much blood and the... burns... they aren't healing as fast or as well as they should... Rose... You... you're..."

"I'm dying…"

She locked eyes with John and studied the tears flooding his face, the helpless look in his eyes she'd only seen once before. The day his other version had left her in Norway for the first time.

When his words of devotion had been stolen from the both of them by the death of a sun.

"I won't let this happen... I'll find a way to fix this..."

"Doctor..." He fell silent, hurt flashing in his eyes for a moment, before he realised that this time... she meant him. "Doctor, you can't fix everything..."

"But it's not fair..."

"Life isn't..." the machines around her blipped, and stuttered for a minute, and Rose gasped, John Smith panicked... but after a moment, the equipment stabilized, and Rose opened her eyes again. "How long?"

Her lover was silent, and her eyes hardened, even through the pain she was feeling. "How long?" she demanded.

"Maybe a day... maybe less..." he whispered, as though he couldn't bear to speak their final deadline aloud and Rose nodded, shivering as pain ripped through her body once again at the thoughtless movement.

"I don't want to sleep..." she admitted, even as her eyes slid closed, and a fresh flood of tears made it's way down John's face.

"I'll be here when you wake up," he promised, gently brushing his fingers through what remained of her soft blonde hair.


John had fallen asleep at her side. More than once a Torchwood operative had come to make him leave, but a glare from the Oncoming Storm, and a few choice phrases growled at them, had each and every one scampering from the room as fast as they could while still retaining their dignity.

He slept lightly, fitfully, waking every ten or fifteen minutes to check on this amazing, wonderful, beautiful woman who had accepted him for who he was, differences and all, and deigned to love him with all her heart. But what woke him this time would have had both his hearts stopping and his second respiratory system shutting down if he still had those secondary organs inside of this part human body.

The machines Rose was plugged into were giving off the most terrifying sound the Doctor had ever encountered.

Rose Tyler was flat lining.

John was staring at the machines; all that was filling his mind was the single long hum that signaled the end of his existence. There was no way he could continue living without this woman. He stood slowly and backed away from the bed, burying both his hands in his hair and staring in horror as the medics rushed in, shocking her chest, sticking needles into her arms, and everything else they were 'supposed' to do.

But they weren't really trying.

Rose Tyler had been dead from the moment Mark Abrams had thrown debris on an alien crash site.

And then he saw it. The tears flowed fresh, as the medics began packing away their equipment and reporting time of death at 9:34pm, because it wasn't possible.

And then he saw it again, and John took a single step towards the bed, shock filtering over his face.

"Get out," he whispered, and the medics frowned at him.

"We did everything we could Mr..."

"I said get out!"

John didn't have time for their useless apologies, and there it was again. Rose was starting to glow with the light of the time vortex, and he didn't dare hope what this meant, but if Torchwood saw?

He shuddered to think.

He had to march the last of them from the room, claiming time to grieve, and slammed the solid door shut behind them. The useless medics who wouldn't even fight for her.

John moved back to her side cautiously, wary of hoping, scared not too, and studied the prone form of Rose Tyler. The machines were still emitting their useless singular tone, and then he saw it again.

The gorgeous golden glow that matched her hair shimmered and flowed over her skin. Where The Doctor exploded with light and fire, Rose was glowing from within, and suddenly the machines spiked with a sharp and secondary beat and John's breath was stolen from him.

He hadn't dared to hope. Almost wished he hadn't.

The time vortex had saved this woman, this keeper of his heart, from death, but she had just as surely ripped Rose from him as if death had stolen and kept her.

Time had given Rose the gift of a Time Lord. A new life, two hearts, and everything that came with it.

She would have to leave.

To survive this test, Rose Tyler needed a Time Lord.


Song Listened To: This Is My Last Goodbye – Trading Yesterday


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