A/N So, next to last chapter and the beginning of the reunion. *gulp* Hope I make this good enough. Please don't hate me for this taking so long, I had an insane bout of writers block but I promised this story would be finished eventually and it will be. I am hoping the last chapter, will come a lot easier since I had to re-write this chapter about 12 times. I hope I've still got my loyal readers after a year and hopefully some new followers as well
Disclaimer: I own no rights to Doctor Who.
Chapter 19: Wrong
The TARDIS was rife with tension. Martha had systematically engaged all of its occupants in conversation in the hopes of distracting them from becoming impatient and violent, which based on the motions and noises of annoyance coming from the small blue GENIE who was now refusing to speak with anyone until they ceased to "hold him against his will", though he had agreed to stay when the Doctor had picked him up, was a very likely possibility.
When the thought crossed her mind Martha looked up from her hushed conversation with Princess Anne to glance at the busy Time Lord. When they had landed she had expected them to get right into everything the Doctor had mentioned but he had looked up, faced their expectant expression, furrowed his eyebrows and whispered "Almost time," before returning to his work and whispering in even more rushed conversation with the Face of Boe.
After another hour of preparation he finally stopped. Everything was done, finally. He stepped back from the rotor and simply looked. He looked at everything, his eyes honing in on the detailed workings to try and pinpoint something he may have missed. When they found nothing his shoulders slumped and he let the whole weight of what he was about to try and do come crashing down on him. He leant forward and let his hands rest on the edge of the controls, his body weight pressing forward and head drooping to stare unseeingly at the floors metal grating.
There would only be one go at this and it had to be done quickly. The amount of energy this would take from everyone, especially him, made it border on the impossible.
He turned to face his companions, seeking out Martha's face because he knew she was the only one who had the slightest chance to understand what was at stake.
Getting Rose back wouldn't fix everything by any means. Nightmares would still plague him and he would always have the death of his people and they're enemies hanging over his head, not to mention the countless people and civilisations he had failed to save. But the loss of Rose had been the last straw, the final cut in the chord of his sanity and he desperately needed it to be sewn back together because that brilliant little yellow human was the only one who had ever helped him move on from his guilt and agony and live his live with the enthusiasm and wonder it called for.
"It's done." He stated simply. Martha gulped in anticipation. "Does everyone know their parts?" She looked around the TARDIS to see everyone give small nods, whether they be filled with nerves, serenity or loathing, on the GENIE's part.
"Let's do it then. The TARDIS found the last hole in the walls between our universes, fresh from its transformation from a supernova I created years ago."
The Doctor turned back to the console, tapped a few controls and everyone felt the TARDIS shudder before becoming still again. He turned to the Face of Boe then and walked to him, kneeling before the glass that encased him.
"You're up captain."
The Doctor turned back to Martha for a second and she could feel panic welling inside her, this plan was so complicated and… unrealistic. She was finding it incredibly difficult to believe anyone, even a Time Lord, even the Doctor, could pull it off.
"I have to connect with him psychically so I know where he finds the hole and make sure he connects to the right universe." He raised a hand in a slightly comic way to rest across his lips. "Everyone needs to be veeery quiet, okay kiddies?"
With that, not waiting for an answer, he knelt in front of the Face of Boe , lowered his head and rested his palms and forehead against the glass casing, becoming as still as a statue as his muscles seemed to seize up, clench and stay taut , as if waiting for a blow.
The Doctor reached out with his mind, following the psychic tendril of connectivity Jack had extended to him.
Suddenly his mind exploded with thoughts, images, memories and premonitions, coming across the link in a jumble of unidentifiable consciousness that came from a being having lived for literally, millions of years. Even a Time Lord greater than himself would have been hard pressed to keep in his right mind and continue on his original task but the Doctor was nothing if not desperate and determined and so he fought back the creeping of insanity he felt gnawing at the edge of his own mind and pushed through the last barrier to completely enter Boe's mind.
When he did he felt his body and every cell in it relax. The vortex, the untempered schism and the void danced around them, and it felt like home. It was calm, empty and completely pure, made up of all the things he had been lacking in the years passed. It started off as a pleasant feeling but quickly mutated into something else the deeper they stretched into the Void.
Cold seeped into his consciousness and he could hear the whispers of billions of presences, all sorts of beings calling out to the newest member of the sucking blackness, trying to lure him into their paths so they could latch on and catch a ride back into a universe, out of the nothingness.
His attention was caught once again by a new feeling, one that got stronger as the seconds ticked by while his mind continued to cling to Jacks, knowing that was still the most important. Points of pressure began to buffer down on him, like billions of tiny different objects were cramped inside the void and were moments away from bursting open, clutching onto their conscious' in an attempt to be heard… And that's exactly what it was he realised. This was all the different universes, calling out to him, wanting to be discovered and opened.
Then he felt Boe frantically pull away from them, swimming through the condensed nothingness and stretching his mind as they both saw it, the light at the centre of the mess. It shone with the blue of a Dalek's eye and the silver of a Cybermans suit, yet it was beautiful.
The sight of it sent waves of warmth and familiarity through them, colliding particles at is centre showing it was steeped in "void stuff", this universe was one that had foreigners within it, unknowns and secret. This was the one.
The Doctor stumbled away from Jack, eyes wide and mouth agape, gasping breaths escaping him as the void still swirled in his head. Now the connection had been made it would be present until the Face of Boe and the TARDIS were completely disconnected. He could feel it on the surface of his mind, the cold of the void, the light, the skin of the universe calling to him, promising him he would find what he so longed for just beyond if only he had the means to grasp it.
Telling his thoughts to quiet and the insanity that always dwelt in his being to rise in its madness and become brilliance he turned in a flurry to face the others, eyes wide and unblinking as they focused upon the shocked, fearful face of Princess Anne.
"Anne, come here." When she hesitated he had to use every ounce of his control not to become frustrated, knowing just how small their opening would be before himself and the Face of Boe would tire. "Please Anne, I promise you no harm will come, I'll guide you all the way."
She stepped forward, toward his arm that had extended out to usher her forward, her face becoming bathed in the TARDIS' blue-green glow, making her features seem to tremble as he looked into her eyes.
"Now, I assume my future self has prepared you for this somehow… Somehow without ever telling you what it was really for. Did he tell you how a psychic link would work? What it would feel like?" She simply nodded.
She was a woman of few words it would seem, thought Martha as she watched. At the Princess' confirmation the Doctor slowly raised his hands, fingers spread to settle at her temples, index and middle finger pressed together, thumbs caressing her cheeks and his last two slipping gently into the beginnings of her hair. His eyes slipped closed, brows furrowing in concentration.
It took only a few seconds for Anne's eyes to become unfocussed and snap shut in a way that seemed almost mechanical.
Martha edged closer as to try and hear what the Doctor began to say, his lips moving but only uttering his words, barely whispers past his tongue.
"Relax. Trust me to guide you, let me in." His hand relaxed just slightly as he felt the barriers of her mind falling around them both, the reality of standing in the TARDIS once again leaving them. "You'll feel us both now, me and the Face of Boe. It should be something small, tingling in the back of your mind. A presence you tell yourself to ignore because it's impossible. Reach out, touch it, let everything inside yourself grab onto it and it will lead you to us, through the void safely to the other side where the other universe waits."
The Princess swayed where she stood, hands clenching into fists and eyes squinting. She gasped harshly, lurching forward as if a string had physically pulled her towards the Doctor and then her whole body relaxed, not one inch of her showing any movement or sign of life, it seemed as if even her breathing had stopped.
Martha saw the Doctors fingers turn white as they pressed harder to Anne's temples, now not resting but physically holding her in place.
"I feel you; you've done well Anne but don't let it take you over completely. Let the wolf rise just enough to give you power, strength enough to make the journey, to feel the connection, then rein it in."
The Doctor searched the princess' mind, his hearts beating in double-time as he felt her break through the thin membrane of the universe, bursting open the tiny tear they had found. He felt as the wolf searched quickly, knowing it had found what they were looking for already and feeling his entire being seize up as he followed her consciousness.
His throat seized and his respitory-bypass system was made to do its work as he no longer felt able to breathe, the minds he was connected to all came to a halt at the emergence of a presence that was more familiar to him than anything else he had ever felt.
Suddenly everything snapped into place and the truth of what he was doing became very real. His thoughts screamed at him, the face that went with the presence was all he could think about and his teeth clenched in the frustration of knowing that when he opened his eyes, even though he could feel her, he still would not see her standing beside him.
Go Doctor, he heard Boe transmit to him through their standing connection, I can stabilise Anne and the connection while you talk to the GENIE. Be careful Doctor, the hardest is yet to come.
Martha never took her eyes away from the unmoving Doctor, the Time Lord and Princess still in the same position they had been when they entered their trance-like state five minutes ago. She chewed her lip and wrung her hands in worry. They were like statues, faces slack and so relaxed they could be sleeping had they been off their feet.
The GENIE sitting beside her was making her nervous as well. Its beady eyes gaze at her with disturbing persistence and its breathing was constantly wheezing and spluttering. She was just about to start edging away from the sickly blue creature when the Doctor's eyes clenched tightly and his hands left the Princess' face as he launched himself bodily away from her.
He gasped deeply and one word escaped his clenched teeth, making him sound as if he were in pain. "Rose."
"Doctor!" Martha rushed to his side, laying a supporting hand on his arm as he doubled over. "You broke the connection, won't this set us back?" She asked urgently as he straightened, not wanting all this to be a waste.
"No," he collected himself in less than a second and stepped to the console, manic again as Anne and Boe made no change. "The hole is wide open and Jack is holding the connection to Rose in place. Now all I have to do is open a visual window so we can physically see what's going on and make the connection two-way."
"What does that mean Doctor?"
"It means I'm going to make the membrane of the two universes transparent through the gap, which means we'll be able to see Rose… and she'll be able to see us."
Martha frowned, not remembering this being part of the plan. "But… why?"
The Doctor lowered his head and rubbed his brow in frustration. "It might not be strictly necessary but I can't just pull Rose back here with no warning." He turned to look at her now, the TARDIS' screen looking to be loading something. "It's been three years Martha, in that universe it might have been slightly more or less, but either way it's been a long time. Anything could have happened. She could be injured and therefore not able to survive the transference from there to here, she might like her life there better now than she did then… She might not want to come back." His voice by the end had lowered to a whisper as if he wasn't really willing to admit such possibilities aloud.
Martha's face softened and she found she could say nothing. As much as she wished to reassure him it really wasn't her place, for all she knew he was right and Rose had moved on… though she doubted it. The Doctor wasn't someone who was easy to move on from and the feelings she had for him could hardly compare to what the Doctor and Rose had shared... Still shared.
Without waiting for a response he turned and flipped one last switch and the back wall of the TARDIS disappeared, seeming to be sent into a sucking void, a great wind building and pulling that the occupants of the TARDIS could not feel.
"The TARDIS is locking onto the universe and the Huon energy Rose and the Princess' consciousness are emitting. The both combined should be enough to lock onto Rose and open a gate." The Doctor had to shout over the ripping noise the hole was now making. The whole ship shook and rumbled as tiny bits of colour and movement started to peek through. The darkness seemed to break into shards and fall away and Martha looked away from the Doctor as a picture formed and her mouth gaped.
The Doctor let go of her as the shuddering stopped and looked up from his place at the console of the TARDIS and although he knew this had been coming, felt his body almost shut down in shock.
There she was; blonde hair, blue eyes, dark jeans and dark leather jacket, exactly as he remembered her, mouth open in likewise shock and as yet unshed tears glistening in her eyes.
But he couldn't. Not yet. The visible wall had dissipated but the wall between the universes still stood and he was the one who had to rip them down.
That part of the plan was far from his thoughts now though, nothing left in his thoughts as he looked into her beautiful eyes for the first time in what felt like decades.
He could see her throat and mouth working, silently forming his name but too stunned to actually get the sound out.
His mouth was dry, his body tense and he could not decipher one emotion from the unbelievable tangle of feelings inside of him.
He walked forward to where he knew the wall still was, though they couldn't see it, and watched, hearts thumping loudly in his ears as she did the same till they were only a foot from each other, his memories flashing back to the beach they stood on last time they saw each other and how similar everything was. The only difference now was that they both had hope shining in their eyes, and there were many more witnesses.
With that thought the Doctor tore his eyes unwillingly away from her glistening pools and noticed Jackie, Pete and a small boy in Jackie's arms, all standing just behind her in what looked like a cosy living room. The Doctor's heart swelled at seeing them again but he couldn't resist and had to turn his eyes back to the one he had come for, still standing before him silently.
He looking back down at her and noticed the baggy, pink flannel pyjamas she had on and smiled, an almost non-existent breath of laughter escaping him. He raised his right hand to reach out to her and hit the barrier that still separated them, smile disappearing as quickly as it had come as he remembered he still could not touch her.
She glanced down at the action as he once again lowered the arm and her eyes returned to question him. "Doctor?" Her fingers trailed up and over the surface of the invisible wall, hands trembling.
Only moments ago she had been spending a quiet night in with her family, next she had heard the crunch of the TARDIS, thinking she was imagining things as usual. But then the wall of their living room had been ripped away to be replaced by a momentary earthquake, the TARDIS and the man she had been trying to make her way back to for four years.
She lay her hand against the barrier and let a tear fall from her eyes. The look in his eyes was one she had not let herself dare to hope to ever see again.
"Rose." He longed to wipe away her tears and hold her to him and never let ago. That's when it all came back to him. The TARDIS was grinding behind him, alerting him to the waning strength of the Face of Boe, the one who was responsible to hold the door open, so to speak, along with the TARDIS who was using every last reserve of energy within her.
Rose had clearly heard it as well for she was looking over his shoulder curiously at the others in the TARDIS and the ship itself.
"Martha!" He called over his shoulder. "Would you please put the GENIE in the captain's chair for me and then read what the monitor says aloud."
Martha did as he asked and was worried when she saw the screen. "Doctor it says they only have enough power to keep the window open for another three minutes."
Boe spoke to him psychically then. Anne is fading quickly Doctor, you must hurry now.
He hadn't yet turned away from Rose, eyes locked on her face so he was surprised when her expression changed dramatically from the shock and awe to a wide grin that was as familiar to him as the TARDIS itself. "Three huh? One more than last time at least. And I see you brought an old friend," she mentioned, nodding towards the GENIE that was cackling pointlessly behind him. "What's happening Doctor?"
It was the first full sentence they had said to each other and the ease of it didn't really surprise them at all. It felt as if they had never left each other.
"Rose I'm… I'm so so sorry to put you in this position when there's no time to think but there's no other way. There's three minutes until this gap is going to close up again and I don't know how long it will take me to find another way to you. This is it, you have to choose." The Doctor hated being so harsh but he needed to get his point across quickly and she had to decide even quicker. He swallowed thickly and rasped in a breath. "So, it's time to decide. You can stay with your family or you can come with me but when I make the wish the GENIE and I will only have enough energy to bring one person through and it's only because you belong here. It's more natural to the multiverse for you to be here than it is for you to be there. You can stay, with them, with… whoever you might have found-"
He was cut off then as Rose shook her head and sent another watery smile his way. "There was never anyone else, how could there be? … You're my Doctor. And there was never any choice, I promised you forever."
She turned then, taking her eyes off him for the first time, finally convinced he was more than a figment of her damaged, lonely imagination. She walked to her family, hugged them one by one and kissed her little brother on the cheek. She looked into her parents eyes and told them she loved them.
Jackie looked at the Doctor then. "Take care of her you crazy man, alright?" He nodded solemnly at her. "Oh and stop looking like that, we all knew this was coming eventually so we've said our goodbyes long before now. Rose has been a right old misery; that and the look on your face, that is the only thing I need to know to know this is for the best."
Rose and the Doctor simultaneously grinned widely at the woman they both, in one way or another, thought of as a mother.
"Thanks Jackie." The TARDIS shook warningly beneath him. "Rose, it's time, I have to do this. Are you ready?" She merely nodded at him and came back to the barrier. He suddenly became nervous, he knew this would be the hardest part, physically at least.
He turned and leapt over to the GENIE, explaining on his way that which the rest of them already knew. "As we all know, the GENIE will be able to grant me a wish but to do something so impossibly difficult it's going to take a little something extra. Usually it calls for a sacrifice, for the energy of an entire human beings life to be charged into the wish to make it happen and technically… this won't be any different."
Rose gasped, looking absolutely horrified and Martha couldn't blame her. Her stomach was suddenly in knots, knowing what was coming and having some sort of feeling that something was going to go horribly wrong. Hoping she was just being cynical Martha stole herself, preparing to leap forward at the first sign she could do something to help.
The Doctor rushed to finish his explanation, sounding somehow more light-hearted now. "Lucky, as a Time Lord I'm rather like a cat and am more than willing to give up one of my lives for this."
Rose shook her head, unbelieving that he was going to do this when really none of them had any idea how this would affect him, in the long or short run. But Martha knew the blonde wouldn't protest, that she couldn't because she knew if positions were switched she would do the same and more for the Doctor if she had to.
"Remember Doctor," the GENIE spoke up for almost the first time since entering the TARDIS what felt like a lifetime ago. "Think through your words carefully or it all may go wrong. I grant the wish, I don't control it."
"I know." The Doctor leant on the chair and took a deep breath, knowing there was only 83 seconds left. "I wish," everyone held their breaths, "for the Rose Marion Tyler that originated from our universe, daughter of Jackie and Pete Tyler, to be returned to her home universe. For her to be transported across the wall of the universes, bypassing the void and be delivered directly to me, onto my TARDIS with no adverse effects on either of the universes involved."
The GENIE cackled loudly and there was a deafening crash of thunder all around them. Martha felt everything shift in some, ineffable way. Her mind became muddled and for a few seconds she didn't understand what was happening or where she was.
Then the blonde girl she was just watching came back into focus, hands stretched forward and her vision became less blurry and more stable. It was then they heard it.
The Doctor's voice in a way not many had ever heard it before. He was screaming, at the top of his lungs, agony pouring out of the sound and almost physically hurting her as well.
She could see Rose shouting out to the Doctor but couldn't hear her as she looked over to the brilliant alien she knew so well.
He was on the floor of the TARDIS, kneeling on the grating and bent further at his waist, hands in his lap and head cradled in his hands, fingers harshly gripping his hair and pulling at the roots. A bright yellow light began to shine around him, his skin becoming red and raw. The light came out of him in swirls and clouds, shooting around and back into him as if reluctant to leave his body, making him scream louder. His voice seemed to cut out on itself as he collapsed even further, head resting on the grated with a loud bang.
Martha winced, everything was so loud and everything became terrifying. The Doctors body jerked and thrashed, Rose screamed his name and the TARDIS was using her own voice to object to the Doctor's pain, all the while the GENIE laughed insanely as if mocking it all.
Then as suddenly as it all began, everything stopped. The Doctor fell limp. Rose called to him one last time before also falling silent, not knowing what to do, not knowing if she could yet run to him. Princess Anne fell out of her trance and stumbled forward, head shaking as if to clear it and the Face of Boe opened his eyes and blinked widely. There was a good five seconds of complete silence and stillness but then…
There was an ominous sound of a snap and the ripping sound from before returned. Martha turned to see Rose take a step forward that would have been impossible only one minute ago, tears streaming down the girls face as her eyes still searched the Doctor who still had not moved from his place on the ground. No one else was paying the same amount of attention so they didn't see what Martha saw.
They didn't see how Rose was just slightly clearer then she had been seconds ago. They didn't see the edges of the window to the other universe quiver and begin to collapse in on itself. They didn't see how it began sucking everything in once again, repairing itself. And they didn't see how Rose was caught in the wind when before it hadn't affected any of them.
Rose's eyes turned even more frightened when she felt the wind, realising the same thing as Martha and shouted in denial just as the Doctor raised his head weakly to look up and see if everything he had gone through had worked. His arm reached to Rose but he was too defeated to be able to make his body move off the ground. He watched as the force picked up and the hole closed, Rose's hair caught in the wind and body resisting the pull. It was all too familiar and he was sure history was being doomed to repeat itself.
"Rose, no," his voice was barely audible and he was sure she couldn't hear him, but darkness was gathering at the corners of his vision and he couldn't let her go again without finishing. "Love yo-" His head dropped once again, body falling limp.
Martha heard the Doctors words and looked back to Rose, his voice snapping her out of her shock and she leapt forward, grabbing Rose by her outstretched hand just as there was only a meter squared of the hole left, closing more rapidly now and pulling at Rose's body more harshly.
The force dragged Rose backward and Martha forward towards the other universe by a few centimetres. "NO!" It was Martha's time to scream. She gritted her teeth, grabbed Rose more tightly with both hands and pulled with all her strength.
Then suddenly the Princess was beside them and also grabbed for Rose. They tugged with all their might, Rose yelled at the force being exerted on her body being pulled both ways at once.
The hole became smaller, a noise like a drain sucking in the last of the water in a dwindling tub filled the air before, with an anticlimactic 'pop', the hole closed and they were thrown backwards in a heap, breathing heavily.
They slowly pushed themselves up, only the usual faint sounds of the TARDIS now echoing familiarly in the room. Martha's eyes slid to Rose and she grinned at seeing the girl still there with them, relief flushing through her as she let herself fall back to the ground and relax for the first time in quite a while. Unfortunately, it didn't last.
Rose pushed herself up, no sign of relief or happiness crossing her face as she stood and ran to the still fallen Doctor.
Martha gasped at how she had momentarily forgotten the Time Lord and also stood, helping up Anne as they both also made their way to him.
"Oh god, no no no, come on Doctor." Martha heard the small blonde muttering under her breath as she bent at the fallen man's side.
"Come on Doctor," she added herself. "Wake up!" She demanded, reached out and pulling him over to lie on his back as she checked his hearts and made sure he was breathing. "I can't find anything wrong," she said, directing the comment of course towards Rose.
The girls lips trembled and without thinking, only seeing the expressionless face of the man who had been missing from her life for almost half a decade, she bent over, hand cupping his neck, and softly laid her lips over his, trying hard to hold back her desperate sobs. She felt the slightest of movements from underneath her and pulled back, looking at his face… And his now wide open eyes.
She couldn't help it; after the complete craziness of the past five minutes, of the past four years, she laughed down at him as tears still fell from her eyes as if her body could not decide what it should be feeling.
He smile softly up at her, finally reaching up and caressing her cheek, wiping away the tears and feeling unmitigated happiness when her hand came to his to hold it there, his small reserve of strength already waning once again.
He looked into her eyes, felt her warm skin, could still taste her on his lips and there was absolutely only one thing he could think of to say.
A/N Okay, so I know the whole 'kiss and then wake up thing' is extremely clique but it just came out while I was attempting to end the chapter and I didn't wanna change it because it seemed to fit. I thought it was appropriate to finally give them an easy fix to something. So anyway, I hope this wasn't too disappointing, I don't know yet whether or not I like it myself. I think I like the beginning but from about when Rose came back I don't… I don't think it lives up to the drama the scene deserves :p
But tell me if you disagree… Or agree for that matter. Tell me if you love it, hate it, were expecting more or less. Really wanna hear from you guys!
Thanks for reading.
One more chapter to go!
Signing off ;)