A/N Follows on after "Forever's Beginning." A year after their marriage, an incident causes the Doctor and Rose to lose their memories of the past three years. The Doctor faces his greatest challenge as he is suddenly forced to re-confront his past repressed feelings for Rose, who apparently is now his wife.
Disclaimer: I still don't own Doctor Who. All rights belong to the BBC.
As Rose stood beside the Doctor, their hands held up in surrender and surrounded by hostile aliens, she thought back to how perfectly this day had begun. Those were the dangerous days, she concluded. When it came to life with the Doctor, if things seemed to be going all too well, that's just when disaster seemed to strike. Rose cast her mind back to how they had landed in this predicament...
It had started out as a perfect morning. She had woken from a blissful sleep and was greeted by the sight she adored most in the universe: her Doctor. A lazy smile had stretched across her face as she looked up into the affectionate, brown eyes shining back at her. His hair was adorably mussed from sleep and…other activities. She'd reached up to run her fingers through his soft, brown locks as he lowered his head and leaned in to give her a slow, leisurely kiss.
They had eventually made it out of bed and gotten dressed. It wasn't long before the Doctor had somehow managed to reverse it all, and they ended up back in bed once again. That seemed to have become one of his many talents.
Rose still found it hard to believe they had actually reached this point together. Especially considering their past history. They had always held their feelings back from each other when they had been traveling together before being separated. Almost as if there had been an invisible line in their relationship they dared not cross. But the fear of crossing that line shattered the moment they laid eyes on each other again, standing on opposite ends of that abandoned street.
Their new shared life had been very close to perfection since being reunited once again. Two years of separation and the fear that they would never be able to see each other again had made the Doctor realize and admit to himself the depth and intensity of his love for Rose. And once they were finally back together, he had determined to have no more regrets when it came to making his feelings known to her. Even before he found out about the changes Bad Wolf had made in Rose, changes that would allow them to have a forever that matched, he was still willing to give her his hearts and spend however long a lifetime they could have together.
So after choosing to return with her to the parallel universe, they were soon married. Following their Earth ceremony, they were bonded to each other in the sacred Gallifreyan way, joining their minds together and becoming one on every level. They then set out to travel the parallel universe together in the new TARDIS they had grown, all just over a year ago.
They still, of course, managed to get into a bit of trouble now and then just as they always had (much like today), but nothing they couldn't handle. It was just part of the adventure.
They thought their life couldn't be more perfect. It was the Doctor in the TARDIS with Rose Tyler, just as it should be. And then something happened that would change them both forever, and they realized their life was only going to get better.
Not quite three months before, and just two months shy of their first anniversary, Rose became pregnant. They had initially planned to wait at least a few years before starting a family. And the Doctor with his superior Time Lord biology was supposedly keeping things regulated so it wouldn't happen until they both decided they were ready. But unexpected surprises were a part of life. Even though it hadn't been planned, they were both overjoyed with the prospect of this new little life they had created and the significance it held. In a way, it was a rebirth of the Time Lords. The Doctor would no longer be the last of his kind.
They had both actually known the moment the baby was conceived, as the little tendril of awareness connected with them through the bond the Doctor and Rose shared. And the two became three.
They were expecting a little girl. Rose knew that right from the start. The Doctor explained to her that although most Gallifreyan children were loomed, the ones who on rare occasion were conceived in the traditional way had a very strong connection with their mothers. The Doctor was connected to the baby as well, but not quite to the extent that Rose was while she carried the child.
The pregnancy seemed to be progressing for the most part as a normal human pregnancy, with the exception, of course, of the baby's inherited, slightly telepathic abilities. And the pregnancy was a bit more draining for Rose than a human one would have been. She tired rather easily, and her nutrient levels required careful monitoring to ensure they stayed within normal parameters. She was also experiencing the joys of morning sickness, but apparently that was to be expected whether she was carrying a human or Time Lord baby. Though why they called it 'morning' sickness she didn't know, because it seemed to strike at any given time throughout the day.
But the Doctor was certainly an attentive husband, to say the least. He monitored Rose carefully and checked her over in the infirmary once a day. It would have been more often, but Rose drew the limit. He had to settle for secretly scanning her with the sonic screwdriver every chance he got. Many times Rose would wake in the middle of the night to the familiar buzzing sound of the sonic passing over her.
She found it hard to be annoyed with him, though. He only wanted the best for her, and was so sensitive to her every need. She knew a part of him was frightened for the safety of her and the baby, and he didn't want to take a chance on anything going wrong. He was not about to lose another family. Never again.
Jackie and Pete were of course thrilled to learn they were going to be grandparents. They were not so thrilled, however, to learn that the Doctor and Rose planned to keep traveling just as they always had through the pregnancy, and continuing on after the baby was born. Jackie especially thought it was much too dangerous. And the Doctor himself had been willing to put their life of travel on hold if that was what Rose wanted until after the baby was born and had gotten a bit older — at least old enough to run, which seemed to be a requirement for the life they led. But it was Rose who wanted to continue on as they had been. They wouldn't take any unnecessary risks, of course, and they would stick to the more harmless planets for the time being. But Rose reasoned that the baby was part Time Lord and needed to learn about this life she was inheriting right from the start. And Rose could sense the baby's connection to the TARDIS even at this early stage. This was where their child belonged.
And so, this very morning found them aboard the TARDIS, after finally getting out of bed and getting dressed (again), ready to plan their next destination. The Doctor began enthusiastically telling Rose about the magnificent planet of Kalston.
"They have the most wonderful variety of bananas in the universe, Rose!" he told her excitedly. "They grow already perfectly ripe and stay that way until they're eaten. No chance of getting a green one or one that's all brown and splotchy. Oh no! These are the very epitome of perfection!" he beamed, happily rocking back and forth on his heels in that exuberant way of his.
Rose smirked. "I'm the one who's pregnant, remember?" she pointed out. "So why is it that you're the one with the cravings?"
The Doctor's expression turned to a distinct pout. "I always have a craving for bananas, Rose. And besides, it would be perfect for the baby. I'm sure she'd love it! Bananas are good — all that potassium. Just the thing for you and the baby. Really, Rose, I'm only thinking of the two of you."
Rose chuckled. "And I'm sure the thought of having one yourself never even crossed your mind," she teased. "Fine, planet Kalston it is."
He grinned. "Brilliant!"
Once they had reached the planet, however, they found that the parallel version apparently didn't take kindly to outside visitors. Travel in the parallel universe, they had found, could be a bit dodgy at times. Most of the time it was just subtle differences, but occasionally those unknown differences could get them into trouble.
After being arrested and tried for trespassing, the Doctor and Rose were escorted by armed guard back to where they had first landed in the TARDIS, and were then ordered to come to a halt. A large device resembling a sort of high-tech cannon was brought out and prepared to apparently be used against them, if the aim in their direction was anything to go by.
The Doctor, as always, had tried talking his way out of the situation, but to no avail.
"You will be banished from our planet, never again to return," the leader of the Kalstonians declared.
"Weeell, it won't be a first," the Doctor replied casually. "I suppose Rose and I will just have to stick to Earth for our supply of bananas from now on. Shame that, too. I was rather looking forward to stocking up on your superior specimens. But I don't fancy going through all of this pomp and circumstance — tasty as your fruit may be. So if it's alright with you lot, Rose and I will just get back in our ship and be off."
The Doctor tentatively lowered his hands and turned to move, when the weapons were cocked and pointed more threateningly at him.
"Stop!" he was ordered. "You will not leave until granted permission. We are preparing our gravimetric energy beam to propel you back into space. Once ready, you and the female will get in your ship and be sent three years distance from our planet. It will also be combined with a precise, neuro-targeted gamma ray devised to remove your memories of having found this place so you will not be able to return."
The Doctor suddenly became extremely concerned, look of fear crossing his face. "You can't do that!" he objected. "Do you realize what that will do? If those combined energy waves set to the same calibration propel us three years distance while affecting our memories in the process, it will also take the last three years of our memories!"
"That is correct."
"Just let us leave…please! I swear we will NEVER return to your planet. There's no need to do this! My wife is expecting a child and you don't know what kind of effect that could have on her!"
"You should have considered the consequences of your actions before trespassing on our planet. Be grateful your sentence was not execution. There will be no further discussion."
Through their connection, Rose could feel the fear rising in the doctor, and her own fright was growing. It was times like this that having the ability to communicate with each other telepathically definitely had its advantages.
Rose reached out for his mind through their link. "Doctor, what are we gonna do?" she asked, becoming more and more frightened. "If they take the last three years of our memories, we won't even remember that we're married! Three years ago we hadn't even been separated yet. And we weren't anywhere near being ready to share our feelings for each other like this. If we go back to that time now, what will happen to us? What about our baby?"
"Calm down, Rose," he inwardly soothed. "I'm going to get us out of here. They're still waiting for their device to power up, so we still have time. Look, they're becoming distracted setting the calibrations. So when I tell you to run, you make a dash for the TARDIS. It's just a few feet behind us and we should be able to make it. I'll be right behind you."
He sent her a feeling of reassurance through their link as they waited for an opportunity to make their escape. Once he saw the best chance they were going to get, he gave Rose the command.
She quickly turned and ran as fast as she could, the Doctor right behind her to shield her in case they did not make it in time and were fired upon. The weapons began firing at them just as they both crashed through the doors of the TARDIS, narrowly escaping the laser blasts as the doors slammed shut.
The Doctor dashed to the console to get them into the Vortex as quickly as possible before the energy weapon was fully powered and used against them.
"Even if they fire at us with that thing, shouldn't the TARDIS' shields protect us?" Rose asked, desperately hoping this situation wasn't as bad as it seemed.
"Our TARDIS is still very young. Her shields aren't as powerful as a fully-developed TARDIS' would be. At best, the shields might protect us enough to lessen the extent of the impact. And maybe — hopefully the effect on our memories wouldn't be permanent."
As the Doctor worked the controls trying to get the TARDIS in flight, he hastily began preparing Rose for what might happen.
"Rose, listen to me," he began, his eyes imploring, "If we're not able to make it out of this…if they're successful in using their weapon against us, I need you to know this, Rose: I love you. Whatever happens, I love you. Even if I couldn't remember these past three years, that won't change how I feel. I may not have had the courage to open up to you about my feelings in the past, but that doesn't mean those feelings weren't there," he said earnestly, as he looked at her in desperation, hoping against hope it wouldn't come to that.
Tears were building in Rose's eyes as she quickly responded. "And I love you! I always have and I always will. Nothing could change that."
The TARDIS was set in flight, and for a brief moment they thought they might have escaped. But then a sudden a blast of energy hit them and sent the TARDIS spiraling out of control as they were both thrown to the grating.
As the sparks shooting from the console died out and the smoke began to clear, the Doctor pulled himself up and quickly checked on Rose.
"Are you okay?" he asked, still a bit dazed from the impact of being hurled to the floor.
Rose sat up and rubbed her right shoulder that had taken the brunt of the impact. "Yeah, I think so," she replied, feeling a bit stunned. "What about you?"
The Doctor rotated his neck side-to-side to work out the stiffness and took quick inventory. "Arms, legs, neck, head, nose. I'm fine," he assessed.
He then went to the console to try and work out what had just occurred. Rose came over beside him, peering at the blank monitor.
"What just happened?" she asked him.
"I don't know. Some sort of energy surge, I'd say. Whatever it was, it knocked us out of the Vortex. We seem to be adrift."
Rose looked at him and raised a brow. "What were you doin' when it happened?" she queried.
"It wasn't my fault," he said in defense. "I had just entered coordinates and everything was fine."
"Maybe the TARDIS didn't like your choice of destination," Rose teased.
The Doctor looked up and quirked his lips in a half smile. "Oh, it was one of her favorite destinations, actually. The glorious Planet Earth. I was going to surprise you, but…I thought I would take you to the 2012 London Olympics," he announced happily.
Rose's face broke into a wide grin. "Oh, that's brilliant! Why didn't I think of that? So, is the TARDIS alright now?"
The Doctor shook his head. "Half her systems are still off-line, and I can't determine whatever it was that caused this because the ship's logs seemed to have been wiped clean. It's going to take me a little while to get her up and running properly again."
Rose, however, had lost focus on what he was saying because something else now had her attention. She looked down in bewilderment at the diamond ring she just realized was on her left finger. She slid it off and saw what looked to be swirling Gallifreyan script engraved on the inside of the band.
"Doctor?" she questioned in a puzzled tone as she held up the ring. "Where did this come from?"