THE YEAR THAT WAS
36 Hours of Hell, Part One
A/N: This is the year that the Clone Doctor and Rose spent in Pete's World, before getting nabbed by the Dimensional Snap. Prequel to 'Carpe Tempus' and 'From the Ashes', their story continues right after the Doctor leaves them on Bad Wolf Bay. Will eventually lead straight into 'Carpe Tempus'. How do you deal with a timey-wimey copy of the love of your life?
Restless Goddess: L-O-V-E this idea! Then again, Jonn's stuff is always brilliant; I'm just here to play grammar police. :D
JW: She does more than that, but wont admit it. Details are everything, and she puts little things in that make stories really pop out.
There was nothing but the sound of the ocean and the feel of a familiar hand gripping hers tightly. The glorious noise of the TARDIS engines had faded a few minutes ago. During that time, she only spared a quick look at the double next to her, then stared at the square indentation in the sand. She couldn't move, she couldn't think, and had completely forgotten how to breathe.
Behind them, Jackie watched the pair with trepidation. Even though she was beyond thrilled that Rose was still there, her heart lurched over what Rose was going through. Glancing at the Doctor, she noticed that he stood stock still while holding Rose's hand. The look on his face was pensive and full of worry, and she couldn't blame him in the slightest.
The very slight quiver of her head told both Jackie and the Doctor that something was about to happen. When it did, both of them felt their hearts constrict in their chests at the sound of it.
The shock of being left on the beach again finally broke her apart, and Rose wailed a gut wrenching, "Nooooo!" Before she realized it, she was spun into a hug as she started sobbing. Strong arms were around her and she felt a hand in her hair, holding her head against a tee shirt and a light blazer. Soon, she felt softer arms coming round from behind her.
Cradled on both sides, Rose finally let herself break down. Years of pain and loneliness poured out of her. Her Doctor was gone. "He left me!" she choked out.
Jackie looked up to see an equally anguished expression on the Doctor's face. They locked eyes for a brief moment, and she saw utter heartbreak. "He's still here swee'hear'," she soothed.
The words didn't make any sense to her, but Rose finally realized whose shirt she was currently drenching and froze completely. Emotions locked up with shock, she shoved the man away from her. "You're not him!" she shouted. "You're a copy not worthy of the name of Doctor!" Driving the knife of hatred deeper, she made a great show of wiping her mouth on the sleeve of her jacket.
Not knowing what to think, Jackie held on to her tightly from behind. Her normal ability to shout through anything failed her when she saw the look of horror on the Doctor's face.
"Rose, it's me. Honestly, it's me," he said, stepping forward again. "From the moment I took your hand and said 'run', you burned the very air in my lungs. You were all I could ever think about. I swear…" his defensive babble was cut short when Rose one-upped her mother's ability to slap.
Breaking out of her mother's hold on her, Rose got in his face, growling. "You're. Not. HIM!"
Hands over her mouth, Jackie finally realized what had happened. She knew of course that this man was some sort of human duplicate, made from some kind of alien thingamajig that she had no hope of understanding. But he was still the Doctor...wasn't he? Jackie nearly shrieked when the Doctor moved faster than anything she ever saw before.
It was automatic. Fuelled by terror, this Doctor took two steps forward and grabbed Rose's temples. Surprisingly, and he would wonder about that for a while later, there were no walls or barriers. He simply slipped into Rose's mind so fast that he didn't realize what he'd done.
Not having time to gasp or even hold up her hands in defence, Rose eyes rolled back in shock as an Everest sized mountain of love poured into her. It was overwhelming, shattering her pain and sense of loss so completely that she honestly didn't know what to think. It was glorious, gorgeous, and a slew of other positive adjectives that she couldn't think of at that moment.
Watching all of this, Jackie had no clue what was happening until she remembered Rose telling her about Madam de Pompadour. Is he in her mind? Is he changing it? He couldn't hurt her, could he? Those thoughts evaporated when she saw the Doctor's eyes pop open in shock.
Looking at where he was and where his hands were, he was completely mortified. Pulling away, the Doctor actually stuttered. "Rose, I-I-I I'm sorry."
The connection broken, Rose wobbled slightly. Staring at him, she could still see a faint image of some sort of classroom with odd writing on something resembling a blackboard. Blinking rapidly, she tried to grasp at the remaining strands of such intense love, aching when she could no longer feel it consuming her mind. It was so intimate that she was reeling from the experience. "You," she started, before swallowing and trying again. "You're… still you?"
A faint look of hope went over his face, and his voice was shaken when he nodded. "I'm still me, Rose. I promise."
Stepping forward, Rose put her hand over the centre of his chest again. The steady beat of his singular heart was quite rapid, but she felt something else too: that slight buzz she'd always feel whenever they held hands or hugged was there, under her fingertips. Not knowing what else to do, she went into his arms and quietly cried.
Wiping her eyes, Jackie squared herself. They were still stuck on that beach after all, and things needed to be done. Pulling her mobile out of her jacket, she thumbed the speed dial for Pete. It rang only once before it was picked up. Hearing a rather panicked Pete yelling 'Jacks?', she smiled. "Hello swee'hear'. Guess where we are? Bloody back-of-beyond Norway again."
Listening to what Pete was saying, she looked over to Rose and the Doctor in shock. "We were gone for over a week?" she said rather loudly. "It was only a few hours!"
The Doctor let up on the hug just enough for Rose to look over at her. "Time's faster over here, remember? Let me talk to him." Instead of letting go of the Doctor, she simply held her hand out for the phone. Honestly though, she couldn't let go if she tried. Somehow, her hand had locked up around a fist full of jacket.
While her emotions were on a roller coaster from hell, she took her mum's mobile and immediately switched into her professional mode. "Dad? Yeah, still here. No, he's here too… sort of. Listen, can you call Torchwood Forty Eight in Trondheim? Yeah, we need a lift home. Since when do they have a Zeppelin?" Blinking at that, she handed the phone back over and looked up into the other Doctor's eyes. "They're sending a high speed Zeppelin to get us."
"High speed? That sounds rather ominous," the Doctor said.
Nodding, Jackie agreed completely. "I hate them. They go too fast for something that big. Not natural at all, that. Makes me think we're gonna explode or somethin'"
"They're not that bad," Rose complained. "But you're right. Not too fond of them being able to get close to the sound barrier."
His eyebrows up, a bit of a grin crossed the Doctor's face. "Oh, now I have to see this."
It wasn't ten minutes later when the dirigible arrived. A Torchwood logo emblazoned both sides of it, and it was only half the size of the others he'd seen. When they clambered in, the Doctor noticed that there were only two people aboard, piloting the thing.
Looking out the window at the water going past, the Doctor blurted "Brixton" rather abruptly.
Rose turned her head at him quizzically, unsure that she heard that right. "Pardon?"
Shaking his head slightly, the Doctor shrugged. "Sorry. Dunno why I said that." Looking over at her, he grinned. "Interesting name though, Brixton. Flows rather nicely out of the mouth. Odd place to have a riot though. Then again, people tend to get all funny when those in charge wont help them. Lack of attention on the poverty level had them lashing out at 'the man', so I guess it's understandable."
Grinning, Rose was rather pleased that this Doctor babbled odd tangents of history or other interesting things that caught his attention. That thought made her frown though. She understood that he loved her now, but that still didn't solve all the hurt she was feeling over being left behind.
Seeing the look in her eyes, the Doctor slid his arm around her shoulders. "I'm sorry."
Confused, Rose just looked at him. "What for?"
"You didn't get what you wanted," he said quietly.
She looked down at his red plimsolls and wiped her face. "It's all right. Not like it's your fault or anything. Just don't expect things. Of anyone, you should know that people need time to process life changing events."
"I'll wait however long you need," he said quietly. "I'll do anything to make sure you're happy. Just let me know what that is, and I'll do it without thinking twice about it."
Giving him a dubious look, she had to test that out. "Stand up." Her eyes widened slightly at how fast he got out of the seat. "Turn 'round," she said, wondering how far she could go with this. When he faced the cabin wall, she grinned at the sight of his bum. "Okay, you can sit."
Grinning, the Doctor sat down. "I can roll over and play dead too, if you want."
The look on her face was priceless. Trying not to and failing, Rose snorted once before she finally burst out laughing, causing her head to to fall back.
"You're mad, the pair of you," Jackie said from the other side of the cabin with a huge smile on her face. Honestly, though, she was tickled pink over hearing her daughter laugh again. Sure, she'd done so before, but this one was real and it made her own mood soar. The hope that things would get better caught root, and she actually prayed that it was true. Please God, let this work. I can't stand seeing her in pain. Not again. Never so horribly again.