Title- All That Glitters
Characters- Ten, Rose, Romana IV
Summary- Alternate end to Doomsday, and continuing from there. Rose is rescued, but not by Pete Tyler...
A/N- Okay, alright, I know. I'm horrible. I should be working on my Jenny fics. But honestly, I would rather write good fic that I'm inspired for than crank out generic, poorly-written chapters for something I'm (temporarily, I promise) blocked on. And with this plot bunny gnawing on my leg and refusing to let go... well, you see where that's going, right?
"You gotta be stronger than the story,
Don't let it blind you."
"Once the breach collapses, that's it!" the Doctor half-shouted, shaking Rose's shoulders, trying to drive home how deadly serious this was. "You will never be able to see her again, your own mother!"
Rose stared into his eyes, defiant and gentle at the same time. "I made my choice a long time ago and I'm never gonna leave you," she said softly.
They were words he'd heard before. So many times, they promised him forever. So many friends, all thinking they could save him, somehow. One by one, they had all slipped away. Some died. Some chose to get out before this life of his had the chance to kill them. Some, he sent away, as he had just tried to do for Rose. Even Ace, brilliant, impossible, rough-around-the-edges Ace, had flown away on wings of her own in the end.
The words of the Beast came back to him. "The Valiant Child, who will die in battle so very soon..."
He didn't know how he could stand to lose her. After Gallifrey was lost, he was so disoriented, the silence in the back of his mind where the Time Lords used to be nearly overwhelming him. It was like losing a sense he hadn't even known he possessed, but which he relied on utterly. Rose had filled the silence with chatter. The empty place was still there, but he didn't really notice it. Without her, that void was sure to be back, so much more empty than the blank space to which he was about to condemn his enemies.
Time wove itself into patterns before his eyes, and he could see Rose falling, dropping away from him into the Void. It was only one possibility among many, but it terrified him.
Before he could say anything, the computer interrupted.
Systems rebooted. Open access.
He blinked. "Those coordinates, set them all to six," he said, voice roughening with fear. "And hurry up!"
She rushed immediately to the computer and began doing as he instructed. A few seconds later, he heard a beep. "We've got Cybermen on the way up," she warned him.
"How many floors down?" he demanded, crossing to her and peering over her shoulder at the monitor.
"Just one," Rose breathed, and she sounded terrified. He wondered if she regretted her decision to stay.
Suddenly, though, the Cybermen on the monitor collapsed, struck down by their own energy weapons. The Doctor didn't stay to watch what had happened. He had work to do. He flew to the other terminal and punched in the last few equations.
Levers operational, the computer chirped. He grinned. This just might work.
"That's more like it, bit of a smile!" Rose commented. "The old team."
"Hope and glory, Mutt and Jeff, shiver and shake!"
"Which one's shiver?"
"Oh, I'm shake," he said with a Very, Very Serious expression on his face. He hoisted the second magnaclamp into her hands, then hurtled for the far wall. He attached his magnaclamp, then glanced over his shoulder to see how Rose was doing. She had placed her clamp against the wall, but seemed confused about what to do next. "Hit the red button!" he told her impatiently. She did as told, and he hurried to finish his instructions. "Once it starts, you hold on tight! It shouldn't be too bad for us, but the Daleks and Cybermen are stepped in Void-stuff. You ready?"
Rose looked away from him, and a look of abject terror crossed her face. "So are they," she breathed, looking out the window, where a quartet of Daleks were speeding toward them.
"Let's do it!" he shouted, and as one, they pushed the levers forward.
The Doctor seized the handle of the magnaclamp, looping his arm through and locking in his grip as tight as he possibly could. As he did so, the first four Daleks were sucked through the window, smashing in the glass in the process and flying past, screaming in panic. "The breach is open! Into the Void, ha!" he cried over the roar of the abyss. He had to admit... he was enjoying this. Daleks and Cybermen streamed through, vanishing in a blaze of light as they disappeared into nothingness.
He knew what was going to happen a split second before it did.
The Genesis Ark slammed into the lever on Rose's side, knocking it out of position.
Offline, the computer said cheerfully.
Rose gasped, and to his horror, he could see what was coming, he could see her terrified eyes locked on his own as she fell toward the breach... She reached for the lever, but she couldn't reach. Before his eyes, she let go of the clamp and jumped to the lever, struggling to push it back into place.
"I've gotta get it up straight!" she shouted.
She pulled, but the suction of the breach was too great, and she slipped around to the opposite side of the lever. With great difficulty, she locked her feet against the bolt that held the lever in place and forced it upright.
Online, and locked, the computer announced.
The Daleks and Cybermen were long gone, but the breach was still open, not ready to close until it was done dragging the remnants of the Void-stuff in and around Torchwood back within itself. Rose swung outward, pulled toward the Void, and the Doctor saw her lose her grip long before her fingers even started to slip.
And then the timelines he was seeing came into play, and she was falling away from him. He might have screamed her name. He wasn't sure.
Suddenly, another figure appeared, just beyond the glowing curtain that composed the breach. Moving in slow motion, as if struggling against a fierce pressure, the figure dragged itself out of the Void and into real space. He just had time to see dark eyes widen and then Rose fell against the newcomer and they both tumbled to the ground. Together they were pulled back along the ground, they were nearly at the edge-
The breach sealed itself.
Dropping his hold on the magnaclamp, the Doctor sprinted the length of the hall. By the time he had reached her, Rose was on her feet, and she threw her arms around his neck, clinging to him tightly.
"Are you alright?" he asked.
He felt her nod. "I'm fine. I'm... I'm good. Close shave, yeah?"
"Yeah, I... Rose, let me go, I need to-"
She dropped her arms from him, and part of him picked up on a feeling of hurt radiating from her, but he was too preoccupied with the figure lying on the ground to worry. Rose's hurt feelings would heal. He knelt beside the woman, for it was in fact a woman. She was wearing scarlet and gold robes that, though tattered and stained, had clearly once been very fine. The outfit was completed by an elaborate headdress that rose up to frame her face in tarnished bronze. Her face bore a thousand care-worn lines, her short-cropped black hair was streaked with silver and as her eyes crept open, he saw that they were a steely gray, and suddenly, bitingly familiar...
The pieces snapped into place.
"It can't be," he said to himself.
"Who is she?" Rose asked, kneeling down beside him.
The woman blinked, and raised a hand to touch her own face. "The Void ages you, it seems," she mumbled weakly.
"How can you possibly exist? How did you survive in the Void?" the Doctor asked.
He didn't get an answer immediately, as her face contorted in apparent, but silent, agony. Those disconcerting icy eyes slammed shut for a few moments. When she opened them again, her gaze was unfocused and she was obviously still in terrible pain. "If you find out, let me know, will you? I'm right curious myself..." she said in a crackling whisper.
Realizing what was coming, the Doctor grabbed Rose and pulled her back to a safe distance, just in case. She had always been good at this, but he knew from experience that control was tricky if you were busy focusing on not dying...
Silver light rippled outward from the woman's body, cascading across her and obscuring her from view. It was more graceful than the Doctor's own regenerations, still violent and probably excruciatingly painful, but significantly less... explosive.
"What the hell-?" Rose whispered. "Doctor, what's happening?"
"She's regenerating," he told her in a carefully emotionless voice.
"But I thought that was a Time Lord thing..." she began, before the realization hit her very suddenly.
As Rose fell silent, the regeneration process came to a close.
The Time Lady opened brand new eyes.
A/N- I am not above begging for reviews!