"So, as soon as the TARDIS is refueled we go, yeah?" Rory asked once they were far enough from Auntie and Uncle to be heard.
"No. There are Time Lords here. I heard them and they need me." The Doctor answered back, refusing to look at his companions.
"You told me about your people and you told me what you did." Amy said softly.
"Yes, yes, but if they're like the Corsair, they're good ones, and I can save them." The Doctor said, finally turning around to look at his companions. Rose could see the clear desperation on his face even though he was trying valiantly hard to hide it.
"And then tell them you destroyed all the others?"
"I can explain, uh… tell them why I had to." The Doctor turned his back on them again, walking a couple paces away.
"You want to be forgiven." Amy said confidently and they all watched the Doctor's shoulders fall.
"Well, don't we all?" The Doctor asked. All his false confidence, his bravado, that constant bundle of energy that made up the Doctor was gone. He was left quite raw in front of them.
"What do you need from me?" Amy asked, giving up without a fight.
"Uh- my screwdriver." The Doctor said, patting his pockets. "I left it in the TARDIS. It's in my jacket."
"You're wearing your jacket." Rory deadpanned.
"My other jacket." The Doctor quickly retorted back, moving back towards the couple.
"You have two of those?" Rory asked and Rose felt her lips twitch into a grin. Nothing seemed to shake up Rory Williams.
"Okay, I'll get it, but, Doctor, listen to me-" Amy said, interjecting between her husband and the Doctor. "Don't get emotional, because that's when you make mistakes."
"Yes, boss." The Doctor said cheerfully, saluting the redhead.
"I'll call you from the TARDIS." Amy tossed the Doctor her phone. "Rory, look after him."
"Rory, look after her." The Doctor commanded, slipping the phone into his breast pocket before grabbing hold of Rose's slack hand and walking away. Rory looked both ways in confusion before following after his wife. "Okay, out with it." The Doctor said, spinning around and letting go of her hand.
"Out with what, Doctor?" Rose asked, not quite meeting his eyes.
"I've seen you furious and sad and cheerful and even drunk once but this, never seen this from you. If I didn't know better I'd say its defeat, but not Rose Tyler, you'd never admit defeat. So what is it? Do you think I'm being rash or too emotional? Do you think I should just leave the Time Lords here to rot? Out with it." The Doctor said, working himself into a near frenzy.
"All it took to get here was losing a few rooms from the TARDIS." Rose stated and the Doctor nodded. "A few rooms that you didn't even use. I've never even seen the scullery, and you have several other pools, and that last one- a potatoes court?"
"Severely underestimated that one."
"Just a couple unused rooms to get here, to another universe." Rose said, her voice devoid of all emotions.
"Outside the universe, I keep saying that but nobody seems to hear me- oh, oh no." The Doctor looked over Rose with dawning realization. He stepped close, cupping her face and making her look at him properly. "This is not another dimension, not like Pete's world. This might be outside the universe but it's still a part of it. Like a loose thread on a quilt. Pete's world is a whole other quilt in a whole other room." Rose swallowed a couple times, trying to get the lump in her throat to go down.
"So you couldn't get back to me just by gettin' rid of a few rooms?" Rose asked softly. The Doctor let out a breath and gave a hard kiss to her forehead before pulling her close for a hug.
"I tried Rose, I really did. I don't know how long it was for you, linear speaking, but it was near a year of me trying, and failing to get back to you. I nearly pulled the TARDIS apart, twice, trying. The next step would have ripped a hole in the universe, think the old girl realized how desperate I was. She kicked me out on this planet that had been abandoned, use to be a resort but the sun was going out. Took her two weeks to trust me enough to let me in again, and I used that dying sun to say goodbye." The Doctor explained while still holding on tightly to Rose. Rose returned the hug in equal measures, the glowing box in her hand digging into his back but he never said anything.
"'m sorry Doctor." Rose mumbled against the cotton of his shirt. The Doctor pulled back enough to look down at her. "I keep makin' things about me and that's not how I wanted to do this, 'm sorry."
"Rose Tyler you have nothing to apologize for, you have been absolutely brilliant. Hurt and angry at me, thinking I had abandoned you in another world with an easy way of getting back to you, you still came to defend me from-" Rose laughed as the Doctor stuttered.
"Idris, her name is Idris." Rose provided and the Doctor snapped his fingers before grapping her free hand and spinning the blonde around.
"See! Completely brilliant." The Doctor pulled out Amy's phone when it started to ring. "Yeah, it's around somewhere." The Doctor said, pulling out his sonic from his breast pocket. Rose raised an eye brow as he flipped it around in his hand, listening to Amy on the other line. "Have a good look." He held up the sonic and clicked it on. The Doctor then hung up the phone and put it back into his pocket, staring at Rose.
"What did you just do?" Rose finally asked.
"Locked them into the TARDIS." The Doctor answered back, sounding a bit pleased with himself.
"Of course you did," Rose sighed and started walking forward, the Doctor close behind.
"Where are you?" The Doctor asked to someone other than Rose. "Huh? Where are you all?" The Time Lords, he was referring to them. As if they would pop out from around a corner and go 'oh yes, here we are'. As if it is ever that easy. "Where are you?" He closed his eyes, turning his head around slowly.
"Doctor…" Rose said softly, feeling the box in her hand throb slightly. Somehow she felt like something was going to go terribly wrong. But the Doctor wasn't listening to her, he opened his eyes and started to walk determinedly forward. He pushed aside a make shift curtain and stared at a cupboard in the wall.
"Well, they can't all be in here." The Doctor said, looking back at Rose as if to confirm this. He then turned around slowly again and pressed his hand against the cupboard door before opening it. Uncle and Auntie appeared about the same time. Rose took a step forward, nearly tripping over an old forgotten satchel on the ground, and got a good look at all the glowing boxes and felt a sudden sense of dread.
"Just admiring your Time Lord distress-signal collection." The Doctor said without turning around to acknowledge the two new comers. "Nice job, brilliant job. I really thought I had some friends here. But this is what the Ood translator picked up, cries for help from the long-dead." The Doctor finally turned around to face Auntie and Uncle. "How many Time Lords have you lured here, the way you lured me? And what happened to them all?"
"House- House is kind and He is wise." Auntie said desperately.
"House repairs you when you break!" The Doctor shouted, moving a threatening step closer to the couple. "Yes, I know! But how does he mend you?" The Doctor pulled out his screwdriver, pointing it first at Uncle. "You've got the eyes of a 20-year-old."
"Thank you." Uncle said.
"No, no, I mean it literally. Your eyes are 30 years younger than the rest of you." The Doctor snatched away Uncle's hat, revealing a blue pointed ear. "Your ears don't match, your right arm is 2 inches longer than your left. And how's your dancing?! Because you've got two left feet! Patchwork people. You've been repaired and patched up so often, I doubt there's anything left of what used to be you." The Doctor put away his screwdriver only to grab Auntie's arm. "I had an umbrella like you, once."
"Oh, no, it's been a great arm for me, this." Auntie said and Rose felt her heart beat quicken a little in fear as to what was to come.
"The Corsair." The Doctor said, grabbing her arm again, the snake tattoo on the inside of the arm's forearm.
"He was a strapping big bloke, wasn't he, Uncle?"
"Yeah. I got the arm, and Uncle got the spine and the kidneys."
"You gave me hope and then you took it away." The Doctor said in a dangerously low voice.
"Doctor," Rose finally spoke up, stepping forward.
"That's enough to make anyone dangerous." The Doctor continued, ignoring Rose. "God knows what it will do to me. Basically, run!" Auntie ran but Uncle only backed up slowly.
"Poor old Time Lord, too late. House is too clever." Uncle then scurried away as Amy's phone began to ring. The Doctor reached into his pocket, his back to Rose.
"Time Lord stuff. I needed you out of the way." The Doctor said into the phone, back ramrod straight, shoulders squared off. Like he was preparing for battle. "The boxes will make you angry. How could she know?" The Doctor asked but Rose knew he wasn't really speaking to Amy any longer. "Stay put. Stay exactly where you are." The Doctor then hung up and began running down the corridor. Rose hesitated a moment, looking back at the cabinet full of little boxes. The last remains of the Time Lords. Her foot was still caught up in the satchel as she tried to turn and follow after the Doctor.
"How did you know about the boxes?!" The Doctor was yelling down the corridor. Rose ran after him, stopping when she saw Idris in a cage. "You said they'd make me angry, how did you know?"
"Ah, it's my thief." Idris was sitting in the middle of the cage, eyes closed and looking very relaxed.
"Who are you?" The Doctor asked angrily but Idris only laughed.
"It's about time." Idris said, opening her eyes.
"I don't understand. Who are you?"
"Do you really not know me, just because they put me in here? Our wolf knows, she's always known. Clever little wolf."
"They said you were dangerous."
"Not the cage, stupid." Idris stood up and touched her temples. "In here. They put me in here. I'm the…" She was gripping the bars now and looking frustrated. "Oh! What do you call me?" She looked over at Rose for help. "We travel. I go-" And then the TARDIS noise emerged from the strange woman's mouth.
"The TARDIS?" The Doctor asked in disbelief as Rose thought back to what he had originally said-something about the MATRIX, the soul of the ship being gone. She adjusted the heavy satchel so it wouldn't dig into her shoulder as she thought it over.
"Time And Relative Dimension In Space. Yes, that's it. Names are funny. It's me." She stood up, still gripping the bars on her cage. "I'm the TARDIS."
"No, you're not. You're a bitey mad lady."
"Doctor," Rose said admonishingly but there was laughter lacing her voice.
"The TARDIS is up-and-downy stuff in a big blue box!" The Doctor said, spinning around and looking at Rose as if she needed to be told that.
"Yes, that's me. A Type 40 TARDIS. I was already a museum piece when you were young. And the first time you touched my console, you said-"
"I said you were the most beautiful thing I'd ever known." The Doctor said, staring right into Rose's eyes with a dawning realization. A conclusion that Rose had already come to.
"And then you stole me. And I stole you."
"I borrowed you."
"Borrowing implies the eventual intention to return the thing that was taken. Our wolf was borrowed by another universe, a universe that needed her to help it, but what makes you think I would ever give you back?" The Doctor turned slowly to look at Idris, or the TARDIS inhabiting the body of a woman named Idris.
"You're the TARDIS."
"My Doctor, he is a slow one isn't he?" Idris asked, looking over at Rose who grinned.
"Sometimes, a bit. Usually quicker on the uptake then this though. Then again it's not every day that one's ship comes alive. Or is it? It's a first for me." Rose said, near giddy with excitement.
"Oh! We have now reached the point in the conversation where you open the lock." Idris said, stepping away from the door. The Doctor took out his screwdriver wordlessly and pointed it at the lock. The door creaked loudly as it swung open, letting Idris out to come stand in front of the Doctor. Both of them looked each other over quite thoroughly. "Are all people like this?"
"Like what?" The Doctor asked, sounding concerned, as if he was truly worried that his ship thought badly of this new body.
"So much bigger on the inside." Idris said, leaning around the Doctor to look at Rose. "I'm-" She turned back to the Doctor. "Oh, what is that word?! It's so big! So complicated. It's so sad."
"But why, why pull the living soul from a TARDIS and pop it in a tiny human head?" The Doctor asked, ignoring Rose's offended 'Oi!' "What does it want you for?"
"Oh, it doesn't want me." Idris said, sniffing the Doctor.
"How do you know?"
"House eats TARDISes." The Doctor pulled up his jacket and sniffed it himself.
"What do you mean?"
"I don't know. Something I heard you say."
"In the future."
"Brilliant, this is. Can you two pause so I can get some popcorn?" Rose asked, grinning from ear to ear as she held the now brightly glowing box in her hand.
"House eats TARDISes?" The Doctor asked, shooting Rose a look.
"Oh, there you go." Idris put her thumb over the Doctor's mouth. "What are fish fingers?" She asked Rose.
"When do I say that?"
"Of course! House feeds on rift energy and TARDISes are bursting with it. And not raw, lovely, uncooked processed food, mmm fish fingers." The Doctor said.
"Do fish have fingers?" Idris asked, making Rose laugh.
"But you can't eat a TARDIS! It would destroy you. Unless- unless-"
"Unless you got rid of the soul of the TARDIS?" Rose guessed, drawing both their attention to her.
"Yes, unless you deleted the TARDIS matrix first." Idris agreed and the Doctor laughed in disbelief.
"So it deleted you."
"But House can't just delete the TARDIS consciousness. That would blow a hole in the universe. So he pulls out the MATRIX, sticks it into a living receptacle, and then it feeds off the remaining artron energy." Idris gasped. "You were about to say all that. I don't suppose you have to now." The Doctor started to frantically go through is pockets.
"I sent Amy and Rory in there. They'll be eaten. Amy!" The Doctor fumbled with the phone for a moment. "Amy! Rory! Get the hell out of there!" And off he went, running down the corridor. "Yeah, it's House! He's after the TARDIS! Just get out, both of you!" Rose heard the Doctor yelling down the hall. She went to follow him, but Idris stopped her.
"Psychic message." Idris said. "You were wondering how you could feel emotions that weren't your own? A box that seemed to react to the environment around it but it's just a message? But Time Lords don't do simple, it's a psychic message."
"Like the psychic paper, you have to be careful what you're thinkin' of or more will be put on the paper than what you bargained for." Rose said, staring down at the box with a mix of awe and horror. "Part of him is in this then?"
"Small part, insignificant really. Nothing at all like the real one, but he's dead and that's all that will ever be left of him. He likes you. You should go now." Idris pointed down the hall. Rose hesitated a minute before running after the Doctor.
Rose came out to see the Doctor banging on the TARDIS door as something loudly chimed all around them. But the soul of the TARDIS was standing in a room on this strange planet, and there was no one to open the door for him. The engines started up, the familiar whooshing sound and the TARDIS disappeared from sight.
"Amy?" The Doctor said into the phone. "Amy, can you hear me?" He hung up and looked back to the space where the TARDIS had disappeared. "Okay, right. I don't- I really don't know what to do. That's a new feeling." The Doctor slapped himself to keep from chuckling. Then he turned around and ran back, grabbing Rose's hand on the way and nearly pulling her right off her feet. The satchel bounced painfully off Rose's hip but she ignored that. They dashed back to the room where they left Idris, where Auntie and Uncle now occupied a space. "It's gone!"
"Eaten?" Idris asked.
"No, it left. Not eaten, hijacked, but why?" The Doctor asked.
"It's time for us both to go, Uncky, together." Auntie's said.
"Whoa, whoa, whoa! Go? What do you mean go? Where are you going?" The Doctor asked as Auntie bundled up Uncle.
"Well, we're dying, my love." Auntie answered easily. "It's time for Auntie and Uncle to pop off."
"I'm against it, but-" Uncle shrugged and sat down next to Auntie.
"It's your fault, isn't it, sweets? Because you told House that it was the last TARDIS. House can't feed on them if there's none more coming, can he?" Auntie asked.
"So now, he's off to your universe, to find more TARDISes." Uncle explained.
"It won't." The Doctor said, arms crossed. Rose stood beside him, brow furrowed and the Doctor uncrossed his arms to take a hold of her hand.
"Oh, it'll think of something." Auntie said right before falling over. The Doctor and Rose rushed to her.
"Actually, I feel fine." Uncle said, standing up before falling over also.
"Not dead! You can't just die!" The Doctor yelled, standing over Uncle's prone body. Rose felt around for a pulse on Auntie and found none.
"We need to go to where I landed Doctor, quickly." Idris said.
"Why?!" The Doctor asked in exasperation, his hands falling uselessly to his sides as Rose knelt next to Uncle.
"Because we are there in three minutes. We need to go-" Idris paused. "Now!" She rushed off but didn't get far before she was bent over in pain.
"What's wrong?" The Doctor asked, keeping his distance but Rose got up and went over to Idris, who was holding her side.
"Roughly how long do these bodies last? Oh why am I asking you, you're no more human than I am!" Idris then looked pointedly at Rose. The Doctor pulled out his sonic and pointed it at the woman with the consciousness of a space ship in her head. When Rose had taken the time vortex within herself, back when she was 19, she had twelve minutes and twenty two seconds before her body started to burn from the inside out.
"You're dying." The Doctor said in a conclusion they had all reached.
"Yes, of course I'm dying." Idris said, grabbing the sonic. "I don't belong in a flesh body. I could blow the casing in no time. No, stop it. Don't get emotional. Hmm, that's what the Orangey Girl says. You're the Doctor. Focus. Wolf, calm him." Rose stepped over to the Doctor, lacing her fingers with the Doctor's. She supposed being called Wolf was better than Orangey Girl. Idris then held out the sonic to him.
"On what?!" The Doctor asked, looking down at Rose before looking back at Idris. "How?! I'm a madman with a box, without a box!" He took the screwdriver and started to pace, only to realize he had a blonde girl still attached to his hand. He gave her a quick, hard kiss on the temple before releasing her hand to resume his pacing. "I'm stuck down the plughole at the end of the universe in a stupid, old junkyard!" The Doctor was becoming frantic as he shoved his sonic back into his pocket.
Rose looked down at the box in her hand, at the snake eating itself on the side before looking up at the enormous ship with the same thing printed on the side. Idris was smiling at her.
"Oh." The Doctor said, sounding significantly less frantic now.
"Oh, what?" Idris asked.
"No, I'm not."
"Because it's not a junkyard. Don't you see? It's not a junkyard." The Doctor said and Rose barely managed to contain her smile.
"What is it, then?" Rose asked, just to give him a little bit of a win even though she had already figured this out.
"It's a TARDIS-junk yard. Come on!" He began to run away but stopped and skidded in front of Idris. "Oh! Sorry. Do you have a name?"
"700 years. Finally, he asks." Idris scoffed.
"What do I call you?"
"I think you call me… Sexy." Rose couldn't contain her laughter now and the Doctor gave her a shocked look. If it was all well and good to both of them she would continue to think of her as Idris, or the TARDIS.
"Only when we're alone." The Doctor whispered, as if Rose still couldn't hear him. 900 year old space toddler, that's what he was. He then grabbed Idris's hand and took off. Rose pulled the blankets over Auntie and Uncle before walking away.
"Valley of half-eaten TARDISes." The Doctor was saying as he stood next to Idris on a mound of rubbish. "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?"
"I'm thinking all of my sisters are dead, that they were devoured, and that we are looking at their corpses." Idris said softly.
"Ah, sorry, no, I wasn't thinking that." The Doctor said, losing his manic grin.
"No. You were thinking you could build a working TARDIS console out of broken remnants of a hundred different models. And you don't care that it's impossible."
"It's not impossible as long as we're alive. Rory and Amy need me, so, yeah, we're going to build a TARDIS. Plus," The Doctor added, jumping down and nearly falling flat on his face before Rose. Rose grinned and helped him regain his balance. "I try to believe in as many as six impossible things before breakfast." The Doctor grinned back at Rose.
The Doctor ran about assembling a working TARDIS.
"Bond the tube directly into the tachyon diverter." Idris yelled out.
"Yes, I have actually rebuilt a TARDIS before, you know! I know what I'm doing!" The Doctor yelled back, sounding extremely frustrated.
"You're like a 9-year-old trying to rebuild a motorbike in his bedroom and you never read the instructions." Idris countered back. Rose sat near the Corsair's ship, watching the scene with amusement as she stripped wires.
"I always read the instructions!"
"There's a sign on my front door. You have been walking past it for 700 years. What does it say?" Idris asked.
"That's not instructions!"
"An instruction at the bottom. What does it say?"
"Pull to open." The Doctor finally admitted.
"Yes, and what do you do?"
"Every single time. 700 years. Police-Box doors open out the way."
"You know, I think I have earned the right to open my front doors any way I want." The Doctor gave up on his fruitless pursuit of trying to drag a hunk of metal across the ground and strode over to Idris.
"Your front doors? Have you any idea how childish that sounds?"
"Oh, you are not my mother."
"And you are not my child."
"You know, since we're talking, with mouths not really an opportunity that comes along very often, I just want to say, you know, you have never been very reliable." The Doctor stated, hands on hips.
"Doctor." Rose admonished from her spot, though she was quite enjoying the show.
"And you have?" Idris asked back.
"You didn't always take me where I wanted to go." The Doctor said, turning away from Idris.
"No, but I always took you where you needed to go." Idris said, giving a pointed look over to Rose.
"You did. Look at us, talking!" The Doctor rushed back to Idris in a change of temperament. "Wouldn't it be amazing, if we could always talk, even when you're stuck inside the box?"
"You know I'm not constructed that way. I exist across all space and time and you talk and run around and bring home strays." Idris then collapsed. Rose stood up but the Doctor had caught her.
"You're okay." The Doctor said softly, nearly inaudibly.
"One of the kidneys has already failed. It doesn't matter we need to finish assembling the console."
"Using a console without a proper shell, it's not going to be safe." The Doctor glanced quickly over at Rose. Less safe for the human amongst them.
"This body has about 18 minutes left to live. The universe we're in will reach absolute zero in three hours. Safe is relative."
"Then we need to get a move on, eh, old girl?" The Doctor went back to his pulling and Rose sat back down.
Several minutes later found Rose surrounded by stripped wires and watching the pair of people before her with interest. They were both going about their own thing. The Doctor was mumbling as he fitted pieces into the make-shift TARDIS console, while Idris tossed unusable items over her shoulder as she went through a pile of junk.
"Do you ever wonder why I chose you all those years ago?" Idris asked, holding up a coat hanger.
"I chose you. You were unlocked." The Doctor yelled over from his place several meters away.
"Of course I was." Idris turned back, taking several steps towards the Doctor. "I wanted to see the Universe, so I stole a Time Lord and I ran away. And you were the only one mad enough." The Doctor bounded over to his TARDIS incarnated.
"Right, perfect. Look at that. What could possibly go wrong?" They all watched as something snapped off the console and flew off into a junk pile. Rose stifled her laughter but she must have let some noise out because the Doctor shot her a dark look. "That's fine. That always happens. No, hang on, wait." The Doctor grabbed the wires from around Rose and rushed back to the make-shift console.
Idris placed her coat hanger on the console before the Doctor handed her the wires. Rose watched as they both placed the wires into their respective slots. The Doctor kept glancing at the blonde girl before quickly averting his eyes away but his gaze always pulled back to her. Rose gave a half grin before pushing herself to her feet and making her way over to the pair.
"Off you go then, don't forget to give me a lift before this whole pocket-universe folds up on itself." Rose tried to keep her grin in place but it slid off, feeling fake and dishonest. The Doctor peered at her from his spot in the make-shift TARDIS console, his fingers hovering over buttons. "I can't come with you, not enough room, plus there's a good chance that a human body won't survive that."
"She's right," Idris said, looking at her own face in a small mirror on the console. She pressed fingers into her cheek and pulled at her lip. "Our poor wolf won't survive the trip, but she also won't survive staying here. This universe will collapse upon itself when we leave."
"It will be like punching a hole in a balloon, that's how we leave. In a proper TARDIS we wouldn't make a dent but with this…" The Doctor trailed off. His eyes looked down at the console, then at Rose, but they slid off of her.
Rose bottled up her inner turmoil. It came down to this. He would have to leave her, there was no other choice. She wouldn't survive the trip with them, she didn't know the reason why behind that, but Idris had said so, and she trusted that soul and heart of the TARDIS. The Doctor needed to go, needed to save his companions. But more importantly, he needed to stop House.
"Well then, guess this is goodbye." Rose tried to sound cheerful while she wondered if it would hurt. A universe collapsing on itself, what would that be like? Her thoughts lingered on her half-human Doctor. Did he realize he was about to be wiped out of existence or was he there one moment and gone the next, never knowing. Would it be the same for her?
"Goodbye? Oh don't be stupid. I am simply going to transfer myself to your body, I will protect it until we get back to our proper home." Idris said while taking a step towards her. The Doctor hopped in between them.
"Transfer yourself to her body? That's insane, the last time-" The Doctor stopped himself, biting back his words and glancing up and around, anywhere but at Rose. Rose did not remember the last time she looked into the heart of the TARDIS, but she did remember what happened when she woke up. She lost her blue-eyed Doctor. She didn't quite know the logistics of what happened, but she knew he had somehow saved her, given up his life in order to get the soul of the TARDIS out of her.
"You'd rather her stay here?" Idris asked.
"Of course not!" The Doctor snapped impatiently, as if it were the stupidest thing he ever heard. Rose felt herself smile for real this time. "Well, I did have this body for quite a while, I guess it's time for a change."
"Oh my dear, daft Doctor. You will not be regenerating, not now at least. Two minutes, if we get me back to my proper home in two minutes, then there will be no damage done to our wolf and you will not have to give up a regeneration to save her." Idris explained and the Doctor looked confused for a moment before hope made his face come alive. He laughed and hugged Idris before turning and doing the same to Rose. "Now wolf, close your eyes and take a deep breath-" Rose did as she was told and felt like she was falling.
Rose felt like she was burning alive, from the inside out. She wanted to scream but realized she had no lungs to fill with air, no mouth to let any noise out. All her instincts shouted at her to fight but how could she fight with no body? She was nothing and she hurt so much.
Something hummed at her and she suddenly felt her body again. Burning still but the fire inside of her was manageable now. It still hurt but she felt her attention pulled elsewhere, to something far more important than her own pain. Her own knowledge that her insides were being shredded, her mind wiped out, everything that made her Rose Marion Tyler was being erased and destroyed, but that didn't seem to matter. It was background noise to what she could see because she had eyes now and they were looking down at a man. She was speaking but it wasn't her words coming out of her mouth. Something older was pouring through her, destroying her slowly.
"Rose, you've got to stop this! You've got to stop this right now!" That voice was so familiar, it pulled at something inside her. Tugged at the other inside her, too. But she couldn't place it. "You've got the entire vortex runnin' through your head. You're goin' to burn." She knew that voice, fought her way past the Other controlling her.
"I want you safe." The Other was still there, lurking inside her and speaking through her voice, but it was her words, her meaning, her emotion behind them. She stared down at big blue eyes in an old, daft, handsome face. "My Doctor…" Rose nearly wept, perhaps she did because she could feel wetness upon her cheeks. "Protected from the False God." Rose wanted to scream when the Other took control again.
Rose was pushed back into nothingness again. But why did nothing burn so much? She fought her way back. She howled, or something howled, and she struggled back to control her own body. Rose wanted to crumble in upon herself as she watched Jack's death, another howl echoed in her mind though she somehow knew that this was an action that had already happened. But she could stop it, the Other inside her knew how.
"I bring life." The Other whispered or maybe that was her, she wasn't sure how to tell the difference anymore. She watched Jack gasp as she pushed life back into his prone body.
"But this is wrong! You can't control life and death!" That voice pulled her back to what was happening, to the present. Past, present, future, it made no difference to her anymore.
"But I can." The Other said to her Doctor, to their Doctor. "The sun and the moon, the day and the night." Rose struggled to separate herself from the Other inside her, the howling in her head not able to block out all she could see, all she could hear. Death and destruction, pain and hurt all around her, inside of her. She couldn't push it away, couldn't block it out. She felt everything. "But why did they hurt?" Rose found herself saying, in control again, at least for a moment.
"The power's goin' to kill you, and it's my fault!" The Doctor looked away, his own pain crushing him. Crushing Rose, because she could feel it now. Could feel the deafening silence of a lost race, of his race. Could see and feel how one tiny human hand in his had kept his pain at bay, but how it was crushing him now.
"I can see everything." Rose tried to explain, tried to get the words out but they failed her. Her head, her body, her very soul hurt. "All that is, all that was, all that ever could be." She needed him to know he wasn't alone, that he was never alone, not with her, but she was in so much pain.
She saw him, the future Doctor, with his floppy hair and ridiculous assortment of bow-ties and she saw the pain he carried around with him. He had been born out of regret and bitterness and sadness, he had died alone and been born alone and he felt oh so alone. She saw her younger self, only slightly younger though she felt so old now- timeless and ageless and eternity all at once. 26 year old Rose Tyler, stuck in another dimension, struggling with the loss of her human Doctor. She wasn't unhappy but she knew what it felt like to be completely content, satisfied to her very bones and that Rose- the one who ate dinner alone in a sad, empty little flat, she was not content.
The Other grabbed an envelope from the void and pushed it into the other dimension. Rose knew what was happening, watched as the Other pulled her younger self through the void and dropped her into the middle of a desert. Bad Wolf had brought Rose Tyler to the Doctor once again.
"That's what I see, all the time." He was in front of her and she had to look up now. "And doesn't it drive you mad?"
"My head." Rose sobbed.
"Come here." The Doctor answered, arms outspread, his very soul bare to her. She could see every body of his, every heartache and hurt inside of him. But she could also see the joy, the wonder and the mad energy that made up the Doctor.
"It's killing me." Rose admitted, her heart breaking as she looked at her Doctor. Her hands were in his but there was so much space between them.
"I think you need a doctor." Rose wanted to laugh at his stupid joke, the kind of joke they had shared when she had just been a kid fresh off the Council estate but she was in too much pain. The Other let her have a little more control, so she could move though her body felt over used and jerky. Rose stared up at him, knowing what was to come but she tried to stay with her body, in the present as he lent down and pressed his lips to hers. She pressed against him when she realized he was elevating the pain. Taking away her ability to see all of time and space. But the Other remained behind.
Blackness consumed her again.
Rose came back to awareness suddenly but she knew this time she really had no body. She was nothing but consciousness in the ether. It didn't scare or alarm her like she thought it would. She felt somewhat comforted, knowing that someone was trying to show her something. The Other was present with her, a part of her now.
The Bad Wolf, she thought with sardonic amusement and felt the Other preen inside of her. She and the Other were one now, for better or worse.
Rose saw Time Lord Victorious. She saw the Master and everything involving him. She saw the death of her second Doctor, alone and bitter and unwilling to go. Saw how that affected this new Doctor, the one who hid coldness behind a childlike wonder. She saw bits and pieces, everything she needed to know to put together a full picture of this new Doctor.
Rose thought of House and the Other growled. Or maybe she did. There wasn't really a difference anymore.
She slipped into blackness once more.
A/N: As usual, big thanks to my beta-reader Rosalea12! And a big thanks for everyone who reads this story and reviews or favorites! Hope you enjoyed this chapter.