Disclaimer: If I owned it, this wouldn't be called fanfiction... Doctor Who is property of BBC.
A/N: Thank you to CruentusMeretrix, Dreamcatcher49, and A Who Down in Whoville for the reviews :D, and to everyone who favorite-ed, and subscribed last chapter!
Chapter 3: John Smith
The Doctor was concentrating on taking deep, calming breaths, as he fallowed Rose to the kitchen. He estimated that he had another hour before he could stop worrying about keeping his hearts rate in check. 'Oh Joy.'
He had already collapsed three times since he woke up in the Tyler mansion. The first, discovering he was alive and in his tenth body, when he should be dead and in his thirteenth. The second, when he had kissed Rose. The third, walking up the stairs. Thank Rassilon Rose was there, or that one would have hurt…
He backtracked. He had kissed Rose … No. Rose had kissed him, then he kissed her back… She had kissed him… After all he must have put her through, leaving her on that beach, and she still had feelings for him? And after seeing the way Rose reacted when the Meta-Crises whispered, what he could only assume, were the three words he himself regretted not saying that day… He had always assumed they would have settled down together, made a life for themselves.
He looked up to see Rose's blond hair swaying in front of him, as she continued to lead him to the kitchen. Where was the Meta-crises?
When they reached the kitchen Rose shoved him down into the nearest chair.
"Best sit down before you faint again." She said, smirking.
"Oi! I didn't faint! I just… passed out from a lack of blood circulating my system!" He said defensively.
Rose gave him a placating "Mm hm, sure." as she checked the kettle for water.
He huffed, and watched as she turned on the burner. 'Now was as good a time to ask as any.'
She turned to look at him "Yes?"
"How long has it been for you since…" he trailed off, knowing she would understand.
Her face saddened a little "About two years."
"And the Meta-Crises? Where's he?" He asked, a little hesitantly.
Rose's face hardened. "His name was John." She stated firmly.
That hurt more than he should have let it. He knew it was too good to be true. Besides, this was what he wanted wasn't it? Rose to be happy with a man that wouldn't change, a man that could grow old with her. But then why had she kissed him?
Rose must have seen the hurt on his face, because her features softened. This body was never good at hiding emotions.
"We weren't like that." Rose assured him.
He gave her a skeptical look.
Rose sighed, brushing her hair out of her face and behind her ear. "Doctor, he wasn't you." She said as she looked down at her feet.
He opened his mouth to protest, but Rose cut him off before he could voice it.
"Let me finish." Rose gave him a stern look and he clamped his jaw shut.
"He was his own person the moment he was created from that hand." Rose continued "If we-If I…" Rose paused, closing her eyes, and taking a deep breath before continuing. "It would have felt like betraying you, and it would have been unfair to always be comparing him to another person."
He didn't know what to say to that, which was quite unusual considering the body he was currently in… 'Wait. Was, where, wouldn't? She was using past tens to describe him? Why would she—Oh.'
"Rose." He said quietly, "You never answered my question."
Rose looked up at him "What question was that?"
"Where is he?"
Rose crossed her arms, almost hugging herself, as she looked down at the floor. "He's dead." she whispered.
He wanted go to her, comfort her. But as soon as he tried to stand up, black spots swam in his vision. He sat back down, narrowly avoiding passing out for the fourth time that day.
"Rose, I'm so sorry. What happened?" he asked, after blinking a few times to clear his vision.
He looked up, and saw the pain in Rose's eyes "Rose, if it hurts to talk about it you don't have to-"
"No, it's all right." Rose said, giving him a small, reassuring smile that didn't reach her eyes.
Rose swallowed "He was murdered." she closed her eyes and took a deep breath before continuing.
"About a year ago, John and I were on a field assignment from Torchwood. The killer snuck up on us." Rose took a shuddering breath "He stabbed John chest, then knocked me out." Rose was subconsciously rubbing a spot on the back of her head.
"I came too in the local hospital. The forest John and I were in had burned down, there was nothing left. If it wasn't for an untraceable caller, I'd probably be dead too."
Rose looked up to meet his eyes
"Torchwood believes the murderer was the one who started the fire and made the call, that it was all premeditated... They never foundthe killer, or John's body."
He recognized the look in Rose's eyes, and knew exactly what she was feeling at that moment.
"Rose, it's not your fault."
"I know. But why him and not me?" she asked, eyes shining with tears. "He had only been here for a year Doctor, and only six months of that year was spent at Torchwood. How do you make an enemy like that in that little time?"
"Rose it happens, especially in an occupation like Torchwood. He knew what he was getting into."
Rose nodded and looked back down to the floor, the Doctor kept quite and let her have a moment to calm down.
After a little while, Rose took a deep breath and looked back up at him. "So, you never told me, how did you get here? What happened?"
He laughed nervously, running a hand through his hair. " I haven't the slightest clue how I got here... I was kinda hoping you knew."
Rose shifted uncomfortably against the stove.
The Doctor raised his eyebrows. "Do you?"
Rose gave him a measured look "Doctor, how much do you remember of when I found you?"
He thought back to the memory of what he believed, at the time, was a hallucination. He smiled "I remember saying that I love you."
Rose smiled back, her pain from earlier seeming to dim a little. "But do you remember where you were?"
He thought a little harder, but he had been pretty out of it by that point... "No, where?"
Rose gave him a knowing look "Bad Wolf Bay."
A flash of memory shot through him. He had seen Rose as the Bad Wolf when he thought he was dying alone on the TARDIS. But it had been nothing more than one of his memories of her, hadn't it?
"You think it was the Bad Wolf?"
Rose nodded "People in the area had been receiving a signal conveying the date March second, and a wolf howling. Mum and I came down March first. The next day I went for a walk down the beach, nearly had a heart attack when I found you lying in the sand."
"And I nearly had a heart attack when I woke up alone in that bloody tent you made us sleep in."
Rose and the Doctor both spun around to face the doorway to the kitchen, the Doctor nearly falling out of his chair.
There was Jackie Tyler standing in the doorway, giving the Doctor a concerned look. "How're you feelin' sweetheart?"
He looked to Rose, giving her a soft smile, before turning back to Jackie "Better, thanks." He got up off his chair so he could greet her properly "Jackie, it's good to see you again, how've you been?"
"How've I been!" Jackie exclaimed in disbelief.
The Doctor stopped dead in the middle of the kitchen. 'Uh oh.'
Jackie began to advance on him, and he instinctively began to back up, hands raised in defense.
"Oh, I've been fine! Just had to clean up the mess you made after you left my daughter on that bleeding beach!"
The Doctor came to a halt as he bumped into the kitchen table. Jackie continued her advance.
"Mum, leave him alone." Rose said, coming to his defense.
Jackie chose to ignore her daughter. "And you chose to come back now! Two years later!"
Black spots began to swim through his vision. 'Oh no.' "Um, Jackie..."
She didn't seem to hear him. "Why the 'ell did you leave in the first place!"
"Mum! He's still recovering, you're gonna make him pass out again!"
This seemed to get Jackie's attention.
"What do you mean I'll make 'im pass out again?" her voice sounded as if it was coming from the end of a tunnel.
If he had been able to, the Doctor would have groaned in frustration. 'Round four.' Was his last thought before everything went dark.