Author's Note: Ok... last chapter of the first bit in this series. I'm thinking I'll continue this through series 4, but probably not in order. Definitely not, as I've already gotten part of my obligatory End of Time rewrite... rewritten. Not sure what to do after that so if anyone has any preferences I'd be very glad to hear them! Also, I've (quite obviously) borrowed a lot of the Time Crash script for this one- just wanted to make sure everyone was forewarned.
Oh - and as always - a massive thank you to everyone who's read, reviewed and favourited this! :-) xx All are love.
'Who are you?' the older looking man demanded, managing to inject each syllable with the impression that the Doctor had no right to be anybody.
The Doctor, of course, wasn't listening. 'Oh, brilliant. I mean, totally wrong, big emergency, the universe goes bang in five minutes, but… brilliant.' He was grinning, Rose knew. She could tell from his tone of voice.
'I'm the Doctor,' the other man said, his words making something click into place in Rose's head. She'd known. Known since she saw him exactly who he was. 'Who are you?'
The present Doctor – her Doctor – seemed to be enjoying himself far too much to give a proper answer. Finally the other Doctor seemed to have had enough. 'Is there something wrong with you?'
Immediately, her Doctor was off on a wild appreciation of the other Doctor's appearance. When he actually tugged at the other man's jacket, Rose bit back a smirk at the other man's expression of mild outrage.
'But never mind that,' the Doctor said, stepping back and giving his counterpart an admiring look. 'Look at you! The hat, the coat, the cricket-cricket stuff, the stick of celery… yeah.' He trailed off contemplatively.
Rose raked her eyes over the other Doctor quickly. She was so going to tease him about this. It would be merciless, unrelenting. It would last for weeks. The other man had a stalk of celery pinned to his lapel.
The Doctor seemed to be considering what an odd accessory it was, too. 'Brave choice, celery. But fair play to you, not a lot of men can carry off a decorative vegetable.'
Rose had always harboured a sneaking suspicion that her first Doctor wouldn't have appreciated the gob he developed when he regenerated. It seemed that instant annoyance stretched further back. 'Shut up,' the other Doctor said, reaching up and removing his hat. 'There is something very wrong with my TARDIS and I've got to do something about it very, very quickly,' he said, his tone earnest. 'And it would help, it really would help, if there wasn't some skinny idiot ranting in my face about every single thing that happens to be in front of him!'
Rose had to reach up and cover her mouth at that point to prevent a laugh escaping. The Doctor obviously wanted her hidden from his other self and the laugh she felt bubbling up inside her would have called attention to her position immediately.
The Time Lord in question had followed his previous self back over to the console and was joyfully inspecting the other man's head. 'Sorry, sorry, it's not something you see every day, is it, the back of your own head,' he paused. 'Mind you, I can see why you wear a hat. I don't want to seem vain, but could you keep that on?'
Rose rolled her eyes at this and wondered if the Doctor had ever been the direct cause of one of his own regenerations. The past Doctor, however, was luckily more concerned with the TARDIS. Apparently it hadn't always looked like this. Rose wondered at that. She'd always been rather attached to the mix of mechanic and organic that made up the TARDIS interior.
'It's worse than the leopard skin,' the other Doctor said haughtily, shoving reading glasses onto his face and peering at the console.
The Doctor seemed inordinately pleased at this, bounding back a few steps and regarding the other Doctor gleefully. 'Oh, and out they come, the brainy specs! You don't even need them, you just think they make you look a bit clever.'
Got you, Rose thought. She'd always known he didn't need those glasses. An alarm began to sound and Rose's attention went to her Doctor, watching his body language as the other Doctor moved around the console towards the monitor. Her Doctor merely strolled around after him, apparently unconcerned, and perched on the console.
'It's like two TARDISes have merged. But there's definitely only one TARDIS present. It's like two time zones at war in the heart of the TARDIS. That's a paradox. Could blow a hole in the space-time continuum the size of . . . ' The Doctor shoved the monitor towards his counterpart. 'Well, actually, the exact size of Belgium. That's a bit undramatic, isn't it? Belgium?'
Rose did giggle then, unable to prevent it. That was the Doctor, always trying to make a drama out of a crisis.
Her Doctor reached into his pocket and withdrew the sonic screwdriver, holding it out to his previous self, who merely ignored him. 'Need this?' The other Doctor replied in the negative, barely glancing up from the console. Rose watched as her Doctor spun the screwdriver in the air before tucking it away in his inside pocket. 'Oh, no, you mostly went hands-free, didn't you? Like, "Hey, I'm the Doctor, I can save the universe using a kettle and some string. And look at me, I'm wearing a vegetable."'
Behind her strut, Rose shook her head. He'd definitely be lucky if he didn't regenerate himself, she thought.
The other Doctor was staring into her Doctor's eyes now, his gaze tracking over the other Time Lord's face, seeking something recognisable. 'You're… oh, no.'
He was grinning again. Rose knew without having to see him. 'Here it comes. Yeah, yeah, I am.'
'Yeah.' There was what Rose had heard referred to as the delayed drop while her Doctor heard what the other had said. 'What?' He stalked around the console after his counterpart, looking every inch the sulking Time Lord. 'What do you mean, a fan? I'm not just a fan, I'm you.'
'Okay, you're my biggest fan,' the other Doctor said, obviously attempting to console the Doctor even though he was clearly exasperated. 'Look, it's perfectly understandable. I go zooming around space and time, saving planets, fighting monsters, and being, well, let's face it, pretty sort of marvellous.' Rose watched her Doctor nod, clearly pleased, and rolled her eyes. 'And naturally, now and then people notice me. Start up their little groups. That L.I.N.D.A. lot. Are you one of them?'
When the Doctor didn't respond, his counterpart continued. 'How did you get in here?' he demanded. 'Can't have you lot knowing where I live.' He moved away from her Doctor, back to the console.
'Listen to me. I'm you,' the Doctor said, following him and sounding very put out. 'I'm you with a new face. Check out this bone structure, Doctor, 'cos one day you're gonna be shaving it.'
A deep bell sounded from within the TARDIS. Rose looked up automatically, half expecting to see it swinging overhead. Her Doctor rushed to the console and started flicking switches and pressing buttons frantically.
His counterpart took up station opposite. 'In less than a minute, we're going to detonate a black hole strong enough to swallow the entire universe!'
Rose's eyes snapped to the back of her Doctor's head. Black holes were not good, she knew. Black holes were bad.
Instead of panicking, however, her Doctor sounded mildly sheepish. 'Yeah, that's my fault, actually. I was rebuilding the TARDIS, forgot to put the shields back up. Your TARDIS and my TARDIS - well, the same TARDIS actually, different points in its own time stream - collided, and oops, there you go, end of the universe, butterfingers. But don't worry, I know exactly how this all works out. Watch!' Rose stared at him, always amazed at the Doctor's ability to babble in a crisis.
He was running around the console now, speaking at a rate of knots and working the controls like a madman. His counterpart could only stare.
'You'll blow up the TARDIS!' he said, finally grabbing hold of the Doctor's wrists to stop him.
'Only way out!'
'Who told you that?' the other demanded, staring at the Doctor as he ripped his hands free.
'You told me that!' he said, bringing a hand down onto the console.
Suddenly, Rose was pressed against the doors. Everything distorted for a moment, leaving her ears ringing. Then the room seemed to come back into focus.
'…cancels out implosion,' the Doctor was saying.
His counterpart looked like he was in a state of shock. 'Matter remains constant.'
'Brilliant,' the Doctor said, sounding slightly smug.
The other Doctor sounded less than impressed. 'Far too brilliant. I've never met anyone else who could fly the TARDIS like that.'
Her Doctor sniffed dismissively. 'Sorry, mate, you still haven't.'
The other Doctor followed him around the console. 'You didn't have time to work all that out,' he insisted. 'Even I couldn't do it!'
'I didn't work it out,' the Doctor said, his tone more serious now. 'I didn't have to.'
The other Doctor stared at him, realisation dawning. 'You remembered.'
'Because you will remember.'
'You remembered being me, watching you doing that. You only knew what to do because . . . I saw you do it.'
'Wibbly wobbly…' her Doctor began.
'Timey wimey!' they both said at the same time. Rose giggled again, it seemed the Doctor had a ridiculous streak whichever incarnation he was in. The Doctor lifted his hand to high-five his previous self, but met nothing but air. The other man was staring past him, directly at Rose.
'Hello,' he said.
The Doctor turned slowly. 'Ah,' he said to his former self. 'You shouldn't… you really shouldn't-'
The other Doctor ignored him, stepping past him towards Rose. 'I have the damndest feeling I know you. I do, of course, you'd hardly be on the TARDIS if I didn't. But you seem familiar to me, this me, as though...' He shook his head as though trying to clear it. He turned and looked over his shoulder at the present Doctor. 'All over her… can you see?'
The Doctor nodded, his stern expression forbidding any further comment. The other Doctor turned back to Rose. She looked to her Doctor for help, but he was looking at his counterpart's back.
'You can't speak to her,' he said quietly.
'What's your name?' the other Doctor asked, ignoring him.
'I'm Rose,' she said, receiving an exasperated look from her Doctor in response.
'You can't tell him... me... That! Not yet!'
'Oh, I'll forget,' the other Doctor said dismissively, waving a hand at his future self. 'You know I will.' He smiled at Rose, keen eyes making her feel as though he could see straight into her head. 'Erase you so I can be fresh when I meet you.' He paused, his smile fading. 'Though I'll be sorry to do it.'
Against all reason, the Doctor glared at his former self. He sighed and beckoned to Rose, who went and stood at his side, the other Doctor turning to follow her movements.
A chime sounded from within the TARDIS and the Doctor sprang to life, dashing over to the console. 'Time's up! Sorry, Doctor, back to long ago.' He paused and looked up at his former self, who was still staring at Rose. 'Where are you now?' he asked, attempting to get his attention. 'Nyssa and Tegan? Cybermen and Mara and Time Lords with funny hats and the Master? Oh, he just showed up again, same as ever.'
That startled the other Doctor, who looked up at his counterpart. 'Oh no. Really? Does he still have that rubbish beard?'
'No,' the Doctor said, coming back around the console to Rose again. 'No beard this time. Well…' he considered, 'a wife.'
Rose snorted her amusement at that, causing the other Doctor to look back at her. As the other Doctor began to disappear, Rose called out, 'Doctor!'
Her Doctor leaned forwards and hit a switch on the console, causing the other to solidify again. He looked at them expectantly.
'You have to ask me twice!' Rose said, and felt her Doctor tense beside her. She stepped forwards, picking up the other Doctor's hat from the console and handing it to him.
'I'm sorry?' the other asked, clearly having no idea what she was talking about.
'Rose…' her Doctor said, laying a restraining hand on her shoulder.
Rose shook him off, ignoring him. 'When you meet me,' she said. 'You have to ask me to come with you twice.'
'I don't normally ask twice,' the Doctor's former self said, his gaze wandering first over Rose, then over the Doctor.
Behind Rose, the Doctor sighed. He stepped forwards and took Rose's hand. 'You will,' he said fervently.
The other Doctor regarded them for a moment, his face wearing a measuring look he still used quite often. 'Indeed.'
'You know,' the present Doctor said. 'I loved being you. Back when I first started, at the very beginning, I was always trying to be old and grumpy and important, like you do when you're young.' Rose smirked at that. 'Shut up,' the Doctor said, managing to aim his words at her without looking at her. 'And then I was you! And it was all dashing about and playing cricket and my voice going all squeaky when I shouted. I still do that! The voice thing, I got that from you! Oh,' The other Doctor watched Rose roll her eyes as his future self put his foot up on the console so he could show his footwear off. 'And the trainers. And . . .' the Doctor slipped a hand into his pocket and withdrew his glasses, sliding them on. 'Snap!'
The other Doctor smiled. 'I rather think I'll love being you, too,' he said, his gaze flickering from the Doctor to Rose and back again. The Doctor grinned in response.
Rose stepped forwards and stood on tiptoe to kiss the other Doctor on the cheek. To her amazement, he blushed.
'Yes well,' he said, looking rather pleased. 'To days to come,' he said, raising his hat as Rose stepped back to the Doctor's side.
'All my love to long ago,' the Doctor said, sincerely.
As the other Doctor faded Rose took the Doctor's hand, squeezing his fingers slightly. He leaned away from her, flicking a switch on the console.
'Shields up,' he said in answer to her questioning look.
She nodded and let go of his hand, moving to the jumpseat. 'Thought you needed them down to fix the TARDIS.'
He didn't answer, merely walked around the console until he was standing in front of her. He leaned against the console, crossing his arms over his chest and watching her intently.
'You're staring at me,' she said, shifting uncomfortably where she sat.
'That was a very dangerous thing you just did, Rose,' he said, the corners of his mouth quirked up in a smile.
Rose smiled back. 'Had to make sure you would. I never worked out why you did… ask me twice I mean.'
He uncrossed his arms and pushed away from the console, moving until he was standing just in front of her. He reached up, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. 'Rose Tyler,' he said softly, pressing a kiss to her forehead. 'I'd have asked you as many times as it took to get you to come with me.' He tilted her head back slightly and kissed her, thrusting his fingers into her hair as her mouth opened beneath his.
When the kiss ended, the Doctor stood back, taking Rose's hand and tugging on it, pulling her down from the jumpseat.
As he led her away from the console room, Rose found the breath to ask, 'What about the TARDIS?'
'Oh…' he said, stopping in front of her. He turned, grinning. 'She'll be all right for an hour or two, don't you think?' Rose blushed and looked down at her feet. The Doctor nodded and started to walk again.
'Doctor-' Rose asked, tugging on his hand.
'Yes, Rose?' he said, sounding more than a little exasperated as he turned to face her.
'What did he… what did you mean?'
He smiled at her correction. 'When?'
'You said something was all over me…' she said, looking down at their joined hands as though searching for what he'd said was there.
The Doctor stood back from her, his eyes sweeping over her body. He reached into his pocket and withdrew his glasses, shoving them onto his face as he ran his eyes over her again and again.
'Doctor?' Rose asked when it became clear he wasn't about to speak. 'What is it? Is it… somethin' bad? Void stuff?'
He met her eyes finally. 'It's time, Rose. All over you, wound around you, through you. Time.'
'Time,' she asked.
He nodded. 'Yep!'
'Is it dangerous?' Rose asked hesitantly.
'D'you think we'd be standing here chatting if it was?' the Doctor asked, smirking slightly. He shoved his hands in his pockets, rocking back on his heels and looking at her from beneath the strands of hair that had fallen over his forehead.
Rose stared at him a moment, suddenly hit with the realisation that this was it. Him and her. In the TARDIS, for as long as possible. And he was standing there, grinning at her now, like he'd known this would happen all along. Like he'd never had any doubt.
Although, if she looked carefully, she could see the ghost of the man who'd appeared to her at Bad Wolf Bay, the man who'd held the Master as he died. The man who had screamed as she fell towards the void.
She stepped forwards, raising both hands and laying them against his chest, feeling his hearts pick up as she pushed him gently backwards until his back met the wall. She stood on tiptoe, allowing his body to support hers as she ghosted her lips over his. 'I've got a question,' she said.
He rolled his eyes, 'Another one? Might have to do something to curb that enquiring mind of yours, Rose Tyler.' The words were meant to be scathing, she knew, but the husky, shaken tone to his voice made it impossible for them to be.
She smirked against his lips, sliding a hand up and running her nails lightly through the hair at the nape of his neck. 'Would this've happened? If I hadn't… gotten lost?'
He watched her for a moment, considered pretending he didn't know what she was talking about, but quickly gave up on that idea. 'Yes,' he said softly, tugging his hands from his pockets and allowing one of them to drift to the small of her back, pressing her closer. 'This was always going to happen. Let's face it, the moment I saw you swinging over my head on that chain banging on about your bronze gymnastics medal…' he trailed off, grinning. 'Well… never stood a chance, did I?'
She blushed. She actually blushed. The woman who had pressed him against the wall of his own TARDIS, who was practically holding him captive with her body, blushed.
'You really have no idea of the effect you have on me, do you?' he asked quietly.
'Show me,' she said.
Author's End Note: As I said above, this will be continued. Next up is Master and Commander: Returning (.net/s/6683822/1/)