*Note* To be cautious, this story is rated 'M' for chapters 25 & 26, but those chapters are the edited versions and are not sexually explicit.
Disclaimer: Sadly, I still don't own Doctor Who. All rights belong to the BBC.
I've had this story bouncing around in my head for quite some time, so I finally decide to write this out. This takes place after "Fear Her" but before "Doomsday." In other words, my own little pocket of time. This story will eventually reach the point of "Doomsday," but I won't be taking the same route as RTD. ;)
Reviews are my inspiration to keep writing, so please let me know if you're reading and enjoying! :)
Rose sat on a bench beside a busy street corner amidst the hustle and bustle of crowds going past and traffic whizzing along in the street and was struck by how the people around her were simply going about their normal lives, while everything in her life had just been turned on its head. As she sat there on this seemingly average day, Rose's mind replayed how she and the Doctor had ended up at this point.
It began as just another ordinary day. Well, ordinary as far as things go for her and the Doctor, anyway. Just another alien threatening the safety of Earth – London, specifically. Why is it always London, Rose thought to herself wryly. In other words, just the usual. It was nothing the Doctor couldn't handle with her aptly alongside him. The hostile alien (the name of which Rose still couldn't get her tongue around the pronunciation of, so she'd given up trying) had thankfully been acting alone and was skillfully outwitted by the Doctor, faced down with those three mighty words: It Is Defended.
As always, the Doctor had given a choice: leave this planet in peace or face the consequences. The creature, now cowering in fear, had wisely chosen the former; but apparently didn't trust that the Oncoming Storm would not hunt it down after it left, so it made sure to put a safe distance between them. Just before departing, it suddenly fired a concealed weapon at the Doctor and Rose, hitting them with a temporal displacement wave.
That was the moment everything changed. The blinding light struck them both and sent them hurtling to the ground.
Slowly recovering from the unexpected blast, Rose opened her bleary eyes as she raised her head from the ground and saw the Doctor coming to kneel beside her.
"Are you alright?" he asked as he offered Rose his hand and she sat up, rubbing her palm to her forehead trying to clear away the feeling of disorientation.
"Yeah, I think so," she rasped, as the Doctor gave her a quick scan with the sonic just to be certain.
She blinked several times and looked around at the same alleyway they had been standing in just moments ago, only now the creature was gone. With her hand still in his, she stood. Rose released the Doctor's hand and brushed the dirt from her jeans. "What was that?" she questioned, still feeling a bit dazed.
"Temporal blaster," the Doctor replied dismally. "I should have seen it coming," he shook his head and berated himself.
Rose was about to question further when she noticed the alley where they stood was now noticeably missing something rather important that had been there just moments before.
"The TARDIS is…is gone," she said, concern beginning to bubble to the surface. Rose turned her head left and right looking for the blue box that was no longer there. "What did it do to the TARDIS?"
The Doctor swallowed hard, his eyes troubled. "The TARDIS is still right where we left it, but we're no longer in the same place…or rather, the same time," he explained.
Rose shook her head slowly, hoping this didn't mean what she feared. "What'd you mean?"
The Doctor took a deep breath and released it with a heavy sigh. "The temporal displacement wave locked onto us and carried us backwards in time."
Rose's eyes darted around the alley, then she took a few quick steps to the end and peered out at the adjoining sidewalk with people milling by. She turned and walked back over to the Doctor. "But…everything still looks the same – except for the TARDIS not being here. So we couldn't have gone too far, yeah?"
The Doctor closed his eyes and inhaled deeply, his Time Lord senses making rapid calculations. He slowly opened them again and focused back on her. "About four months, I'd say."
He turned and walked back out of the alley and onto the sidewalk, with Rose following behind him. The Doctor approached a newsstand and picked up a paper to examine the date. "Good to know the blast didn't throw-off my time sense." He turned the paper towards her. "Four months to the day," he confirmed, though not feeling in the mood to gloat about his precision.
Rose looked at the date, then back up at him. "Okay, well…that's not too bad. It could have been worse. At least we didn't end up in the Dark Ages," she said, sounding a bit more relieved and giving a half-smile. "So, how do we get back to the TARDIS?" Rose asked, her voice hopeful. The Doctor always seemed to have an answer for everything, and she was sure now was no different.
Her confidence began to quickly fade, however, when she saw the look in his eyes. "There's only one way to get back," the Doctor replied grimly. "Wait for time to take us there."
Realization began to dawn on her. "So…we'll have to wait four months to get back to the TARDIS? Back to the day we just left?" He nodded somberly.
Rose began to process the implications of this. They would be stuck on Earth for the next four months. Okay, it might not make for the most adventurous time of their lives, but they'd manage. The situation could certainly be worse, she thought to herself. At least she was home and in her own time period (more or less) and not stranded on some strange, distant planet.
"Well," Rose began, trying to sound cheerful, "we'll just have to make the best of it." She then grinned. "You'll have to learn to get along with my mum if she's gonna take you in and let you sleep on her couch for the next four months," she teased as she poked him in the chest.
The Doctor, however, didn't return her smile or good humor. His regretful expression was one that usually accompanied the phrase, 'I'm sorry. I'm so sorry.'
"Rose," he began, his voice apologetic, "we can't go to your mum. You can't see her, I'm sorry."
Rose knit her brows together in confusion. "Why?"
The Doctor heaved a sigh as he raked a hand through his hair. "The Jackie that's here now is part of our past timeline. We can't go back on that," he said firmly. "It's dangerous just being here. We've already crossed in and out of this timeline, and we're going to have to be extremely careful not to cross paths with our past selves. Normally, the TARDIS prevents such things from happening. But being that it's just us and no TARDIS, we're going to have to ensure we stay away from anywhere we have been previously."
Rose's thoughts began racing ahead with the ramifications of his words. She studied his face and could see the distress, barely contained within his own eyes. Rose slowly shook her head as the reality of the situation began to sink in. "Then…what are we gonna do? Where will we go? We don't even have a place to stay." She was feeling more alarmed by the second.
The Doctor placed his hands on her shoulders and looked into her eyes as he spoke, trying to impart a sense of calm. "Rose, look at me," he said steadily. "We'll be fine. First we'll find a place to stay and then we'll take it from there."
"For four months?" she asked doubtfully. "Where are we gonna stay for four months? We don't even have any money!" Rose's attention then shifted to his bigger-on-the-inside pockets. "Unless…hold on…do you have money?"
The Doctor frowned and began rummaging through the pockets of his coat. A moment later he held up three small discs. "Three hundred Zeruglian credits," he stated. "Which the exchange rate would be roughly about…ohhh…two million pounds?"
Rose's eyes went wide. "You've got the equivalent of two million pounds?"
He shrugged. "Never gave it much thought. But unfortunately, making a currency exchange would be a bit difficult."
Rose's shoulders slumped. "Right," she said dismally, then began fishing through her own pockets and produced what little money she had on her. "I've got a fiver and two quid. Not exactly enough to live on, then," she said with a sigh.
The Doctor pulled the sonic screwdriver from his pocket and held it up. "Getting money shouldn't be too difficult," he assured her.
Rose quickly shook her head. "Doctor, you can't just sonic the nearest cashpoint," she said under her breath so passersby wouldn't hear. "Especially now that you don't have the TARDIS to make a quick getaway."
"It wouldn't really be stealing," he reasoned. "More like…payment for services rendered on behalf of the universe. Besides, I only plan on getting enough to get us through the here and now until we can come up with more." Seeing that she still wasn't convinced, he added, "After I have the TARDIS back and can make some exchanges, I'll see what I can do about replacing what I 'borrowed.'"
Reluctantly, Rose had to admit he had a point. This planet most likely wouldn't even be here if it weren't for him. He had saved the Earth more times than she was probably even aware of, so it seemed only reasonable he get a little something in return for once. And at the moment, she didn't know what else they could do. Rose looked around nervously. "Alright, but just…just make it quick, yeah?"
The Doctor grinned with confidence. "Just leave it to me," he said assuredly as Rose went and found a nearby bench to sit and wait for him to do the deed.
So here Rose sat, trying to let her brain catch up to all that had just taken place while contemplating what exactly they were going to do now. After several minutes, the Doctor rejoined her.
Rose gave him a sidelong, questioning look. "Done?" she asked apprehensively. He simply nodded.
She blew out a long breath and turned to the Doctor. "So…now what?"
The Doctor held her gaze for a moment, his eyes searching, then glanced away. She could tell that whatever he was feeling right now, he was doing his best to keep it locked inside. "We have to leave London, which means we need to decide where we're going to go," he finally replied.
He pulled a newspaper out from beneath his arm and showed her the rental section. "What do you think of Kendal?" he asked, his casual tone belying the tension he was feeling regarding the current situation.
"In Cumbria?" Rose asked.
"Lovely area," he said breezily. "South Lakeland District on the River Kent. Should be far enough away to keep from crossing paths with anyone from our past timeline, and there seem to be plenty of rentals available."
Rose shrugged. "Good as anywhere, I suppose," she said dimly.
So with that much decided, the Doctor and Rose headed for the train station and embarked on a trip that would lead them to what would soon be their new home for the foreseeable future. Rose was struck by the surrealism of the entire situation. Just traveling by train with the Doctor felt strange. For two people who traveled through time and space, now using ordinary means of travel felt oddly abnormal.
They took their seats on the crowded train, and the Doctor turned to give Rose a tight smile that didn't reach his eyes.
Just think of this as a new adventure, Rose told herself as the train lurched forward and pulled out of the station. Yet she couldn't escape the myriad of emotions churning within. They had come close to facing a similar situation on Krop Tor when the TARDIS had been lost. For the Doctor, the prospect of living an ordinary life without the TARDIS was not exactly a pleasant one. In the end, he had been spared that fate. How would he cope now that a situation he had once called 'terrifying' had become a reality – even if only temporary? He might be trying to hide his feelings behind false smiles for her sake, but Rose could feel the anxiety coming off him in waves.
Amidst the uncertainty they were both feeling, each knew that whatever happened, the next four months would be an experience unlike any they had faced together yet. But neither one was yet aware that this was the beginning of a journey which would forever change them both.