AN ~ Okay that's it. I can't contain my fangirling! I went to Comicon on Sunday, the Cinema Experience on Thursday, and then the BBC ( www . youtube watch?feature=player _ embedded&v=SRQu3MvRySA) & BBCAmerica ( www . Dailymotion video/xy97qp_series-7-part-2-bbca-trailer_shortfilms#.UUT-izd5KnI) trailers for season 7B came out the other day - I AM SO EXCITED! And Aussies, time to party, coz we get the eps at 7:30pm on the 31st on ACTUAL TELEVISION!

Thankfully I was able to channel all this fanergy into finishing this chapter. There's a lot going on but enjoy!

Previously

He threw the terraforming globe at the ground, where it shattered. Around the room, pins and ammunition were clicked back into place, safety mechanisms disabled, guns raised. The Doctor could hardly believe it. They had just received definitive proof that this was not a weapon of mass destruction – at least, not the instant, unavoidable kind - and they were still planning to shoot him. Bloody humans. They could be so stupid sometimes. And blind.

"Oh, come on," he sighed, gesturing to where the green and gold gases were seeping into the concrete. "This is not a weapon. Not earth tech, but Torchwood keeps them pretty well hidden – explains why you wouldn't have seen it if we were in the 21st century. It's a terraforming globe. Purifies water and air. Grows trees. It's an instrument of peace. Never mind that though. My question is this: why are we not in the 21st century?"

Chapter Twenty One ~ Answers

"What did you say?" one of them demanded. Close to the Sergeant, he might have been some sort of officer. Judging by the way he stepped past the Sergeant (which, given the frown and glare this elicited, was against Tucker's wishes) perhaps more senior. He certainly had the badges for it, material stitch-on though they were.

"Who's asking?" the Doctor replied, in the same commanding tone, edged with dark threat.

"Sergeant Major James McCarthy."

For him to have revealed himself after so long of absolute secrecy, the Doctor figured he must have had them running scared. He grinned, an open, toothy grin, and felt a chill run over the crowd at his disconcerting calm.

"Hello Jimmy! I'm the Doctor. And I said 'we are not in the twenty first century'. We are in fact, in the sixty first."

"Hm?"

"Third of May, 60-12. Which, frankly, one of you should have noticed by now – it was right there on the video footage, right Martha?"

The Doctor made a point of peering through the crowd of soldiers. While a few of them fumed, they were nudged aside by the others who had long since recognised that the Doctor was probably right, and almost definitely their only chance of having the last seven years (or so they thought) of their lives explained properly. Sure enough, the shuffling revealed a slightly blushing Martha, tempted but refusing to cower under the weight of so many curious eyes, and Mickey, whose gaze shot straight through the crowd to Rose and Jenny.

"Mickey!" Jenny cried with joy and relief, running towards him with open arms. He dodged his way through the crowd and threw himself into her arms before she could get too close to the wrong side. The arms that wrapped around him betrayed for a moment the five year old Jenny really was, worried for the man who was essentially her father.

"Mickey..." Rose repeated absently as she watched him guide her daughter over to their side. She frowned at him. There was something she had to tell him, wasn't there?

"Come in, come in, join the party," the Doctor beckoned, hailing the newcomers over with a slight sense of urgency, gesturing faintly with his head to the assembly of soldiers now dumbly observing the scene. Glancing over her shoulder at the soldiers, Martha decided against asking the others if they had seen Jack and Jenny's friends.

"Okay, so, these are my friends," the Doctor announced, gesturing to the gathering behind him as he once again addressed the soldiers. "Not all of them though, Jimmy. Perhaps you can help me with that? Big top man like you, you must have access to some pretty amazing tech – way above this lot, eh?"

"Of course not!" the Sergeant Major huffed. He looked a little flustered, red rising in his cheeks.

"In fact," the Doctor went on, "way above anyone in the twenty first century. Because they came to you, didn't they? When one of Tucker's little drones questioned the time stamp, they were sent to you. What did you tell them? That it was a glitch? Well, they probably wouldn't have believed you if you'd said transtemporal residual data reading. Maybe not even understood you. Which wouldn't surprise me at all, because, dear Jim, you were misunderstanding."

The Sergeant Major stormed out the front of his troops – who were looking increasingly doubtful about the situation. Those who had been standing around Chris, before he switched sides, were slowly drifting forward and towards the edges of the group, almost subconsciously joining the Doctor's team. Their weapons lowered, some even fell to their sides, and the Doctor felt the tendons in his shoulders relax slightly.

"Wow." Jenny almost mouthed. Rose's face lit up with a grin, almost laughing as she watched her daughter absorb the simplistic power of her father's incredible ability. Her heart once more swelled with love for this man, who could turn people's hearts with words. The gun in her hands felt like a hollow piece of metal against his words. She had forgotten how much she missed that feeling: of utter faith in language. In him.

She almost ran up and embraced him right then, but she could see another camp forming amongst the soldiers; one that involved a tighter grip on their weapons, and sharp eyes assessing the risk of each and every potential enemy that stood before them. Perhaps the guns wouldn't be so useless after all – what was the good of the Doctors' words, Rose thought, if they wouldn't let him speak?

"At least, I certainly hope you were misunderstanding, because I don't think your soldiers would be all that pleased to know that everyone they know and love is now long dead. I certainly hope you were planning to tell them at some stage if you did know. Were you even planning to go back? Were you even going to try?"

Rose, Donna and Martha shared a concerned glance. They were dead-ended this time: not all of them would make it to the Tardis if it came to a firefight. Even the Doctor himself had to admit, he was not accustomed to the duty of care of ten people. Two guns on their side were not going to be enough anyway, if push came to shove. And shove was looking increasingly likely.

If, Rose. She clung to the thought, to her faith in him, and refused to let her weapon gain substance again. Only if.

"It was the twenty first century data that was actually the 'glitch...'" the Doctor continued, addressing confused, sympathetic and angry soldiers alike, trying to make them the victims in this – and at the same time, lower the number of guns pointing at them. But he was losing his audience now. Those who had decided on sympathy for the Doctor's cause shuffled to the edges of the mass, forlorn expressions on their faces because none were brave enough to actually step away. Those decided against the Doctor, or swayed by either trust in or fear of their superiors, drew closer to the higher ranks. The Doctor's eyes flicked between faces. They were glancing at each other, communicating somehow. He looked for signals, but he could not decipher them. They could, very soon, be in serious trouble.

"Rose," he called, trying not to let his voice waver as he resisted the urge to look over his shoulder. "Go into the Tardis and run a scan for the others. Take Jenny with you."

He had showed his hand more than he wanted to, but he had to do what he could. He was taking extra precautions, perhaps risky ones, but though he tried to tell himself there was no credit in favouritism, that leaving the others exposed was just as bad, he knew deep down that he would never forgive himself if he lost either of those two again. Other than that, though, the Doctor went on, determined not to alarm anybody in case confusion or frustration was the problem - which fortunately, with more simple-minded species' like most humans, was the case. Even if it was not, he figured there was not much else he could safely and peacefully achieve. With the knowledge that seven others were counting on him, he drew a deep breath, and with it, courage.

"Correct me if I'm wrong," he invited amiably - and everyone knew they didn't have a hope of doing that - "but the flare that brought you down also disrupted your sensors and blacked out your instruments, didn't it? You were crashing into another time."

As Rose obeyed the Doctor – and as she always would – she took another glance at her daughter and Mickey. Whenever she looked at them, she felt a rush of adrenalin or endorphins – no, more than that. It had to be more. It was so powerful. Almost overwhelming: somethingprimal that she could not name. Something that made her head spin unlike anything she had ever felt. It was dread. That was the only way she could think to put it. Terrible, looming dread; almost a premonition, as if bullets were flying at them, or the ground was about to open up beneath them and swallow them forever.

This is natural, she tried to tell herself as she swallowed the bile rising in her throat. Her fingers tingled, itching to drag Jenny behind herself. Your four year old daughter is at risk of being shredded by bullets. It would be worse if you didn't feel like jumping in front of her.

"Jenny, come on," she beckoned, her hand already on the Tardis door. She had never had a typical motherly nature. And, to be honest, bullets did not top her list of safety concerns. And she had long since given up the thought that Jenny was a child. The instinct had never been this strong, Rose thought, scanning through Jenny's lifetime as the girl took an uncertain look around and obeyed her parents, fighting not to cringe away from the scrutinising eyes. No,it had never been so driving, so all-consuming, since the young Jenny had unwittingly mentioned the Dalek that day, oh so long ago, while playing with her bath toys.

"You were crashing into another time," the Doctor was saying – with increased enthusiasm and oddness, Rose couldn't help but notice. He was trying to draw attention away from them. "Into this time. Well, if I'm going to believe you lot, seven years before this time."

Seven years. Something about seven years.

"Seven years aaaaaand..." He licked one finger and held it up in the air, testing it. "Seven days."

Rose's heart became louder; it almost blotted out the Doctor's words. The greyness of everything started to blur objects and people into each other as the blood rushed around her brain. The feel of the wood of the Tardis door under her fingers became strange and soft. The soldiers across the way looked strangely at her, and the Doctor twisted back and forth in an effort to keep one eye on everything.

"Rose," Mickey asked, barely opening his mouth. "Y'okay?"

He almost moved back to join her by the Tardis, but he was frozen to the spot by Rose's eyes. They were glued on the Doctor, and almost obsessively wide. It was hauntingly familiar – from the outside, and to Rose herself: there was something...something she couldn't quite touch, in the back of her mind, that was as if it had been there forever. The Doctor's casual character dropped and he frowned, that beloved frown, accented by the fragment of their Doomsday parting that still haunted him. But his face, the face that she had never forgotten, suddenly didn't seem to make any sense. It didn't seem to exist at all. He was still there, but suddenly he was not flesh and blood. It was as if she could see...all of him. Like looking into infinity.

"Rose?"

The soldiers dropped instantly to the back of the Doctor's mind. He spun around fully to face Rose, and in that moment, the Time Lord Victorious faltered.

"Shoot the girl!" McCarthy ordered.

"Oh no you don't," Mickey objected, storming forward as if to twist the weapon out of the Sergeant's hand. But he couldn't- he wouldn't-

Why do you keep saying my name? I don't know...

On the seventh day of the seventh year...

"MICKEY!" Rose lunged after him, throwing herself into every step. She could not let this happen. If she did one thing in her whole life for that man, it would be to stop this. But she was moving impossibly slowly. It felt like he was miles away, and she was stuck in slow motion. No, no!

As the shot tore from the barrel, bass echoing like a drumbeat through the chamber, a cry tore from the Doctor's chest.

"ROSE!"