a/n: Thanks to a_who_in_whoville who allowed herself to be spoiled so I could have some help keeping the plot straight and for fixing all the grammar flubs. This is the last chapt of this fic but I am planning on some follow up Ten, Rose and Donna stories in this verse. I am also somewhat confident that you have not seen the last of the Void Creatures
Thank you to everyone who read and reviewed this story. I really do appreciate you taking the time to let me know you enjoyed it!
Disclaimer: I do not own or profit from Doctor Who
The Tardis shuttered violently. Jack came running out of the corridor. "Doctor?" he asked.
"Take over of the dimensional stabilizers. We have to find a tear to the right universe and it's not gonna be easy," the Doctor said tensely, as he raced around the console punching buttons and flipping switches. Jack nodded and after what felt like an eternity of shutters, sounding of cloister bells and one jolt that threw Jack against a support strut and had Donna tumbling down the corridor swearing a blue streak at them, the Tardis came to a halt.
"Martha wants to talk to you," Donna said to the Doctor.
"Can it wait? We need to get to Cardiff to refuel," the Doctor responded, not looking at her and staring intently at the monitor on the console.
Donna looked ready to smack him. "Fine, but don't muck about. Just land and get back here. Rose is in a bad way. Martha needs your help," Donna said and marched off in a huff.
Jack looked at him like he was trying to figure something out.
The Doctor fiddled with a few more controls.
"You know Doctor, I could probably..."
"No," the Doctor interrupted. You'd end up landing us in the Thames or at Pompeii on volcano day or worse. I'll handle this."
"Right, okay, then are you going to handle Rose or am I taking her back to Torchwood while you hide out?"
The Doctor slammed a control violently and picked up the mallet and pounded the Tardis who again jerked them about until finally dematerializing. The Doctor looked up at Jack, glaring and swept out of the room toward the infirmary. Once he was away from Jack, he slowed his pace and began thinking about Rose. He was afraid of what he'd find in the infirmary. He didn't know how long Rose had been in the Void or how long the Void creatures had been tormenting her and battering her mind.
Also weighing heavily on him were the amount of changes to Rose while she had been away. The events on the Game Station and the Tardis' manipulations of her biology may have activated the recessive trait in her DNA, but the ultimate manifestation of changes would have taken time. She could have endured any number of physically traumatic afflictions during this period of metamorphosis. It could have manifested as headaches or nausea, memory loss or worse. He had no idea what those changes had done to her. Was she still his Rose? How would she feel about being different and learning the changes inside of her were a result of Time Lord tampering and his Tardis manipulating her DNA? Did she still have feelings for him? How would he deal with her feelings? She said she loved him at Bad Wolf Bay and how would all of that affect life on the Tardis? Before he could contemplate all this and more, the Tardis saw fit for him to arrive at the medical bay. He paused in front of the door, his hands in his pockets and stared at the door as if it led to his doom. Before he could enter, Martha opened it.
"Doctor, was wondering what was takin' you so long," Martha said and took a step back to allow him to pass. He walked into the room, his eyes immediately drawn to the bed on the opposite side where Rose was bundled up under some blankets with some sensors placed on her forehead. He walked over to a monitor and flipped a few switches and watched Gallifreyan writing scroll across the screen. Martha walked up next to him.
"Her body temperature seems to have stabilized at a much lower temperature than is normal for humans. She seems to be breathing easier but the scans show her beta wave pattern is off the charts. Is this all part of whatever happened to her?"
He stared at the monitor not responding to Martha. "Doctor? I need your help. I can't do anything further until I understand what's normal for her given the changes to her DNA." Martha crossed her arms and glared at him. After all his moaning and whinging about how much he missed Rose and making Martha feel second best to his blonde-headed former companion, she couldn't believe this was his reaction. He should be happy, and not this closed-off gloomy apparition of a Time Lord before her.
"You know Doctor, I just don't understand. Rose is here, back on the Tardis and you're just standing there like you wish she was anywhere else."
The Doctor turned to her. "You don't understand," he said and turned to Rose lying unconscious across the room. "She may not be my Rose. There's no way of knowing for sure what she's been through or how her time in the Void has affected her, and now she's trapped here. The walls to between universes are sealed. Her family is on the other side and I have to tell her what happened to her is the result of a Time Lord experiment. How would you feel if I told you that knowing you couldn't go back to your family and were stuck here with the surviving member of the race that changed you forever?" the Doctor asked, appearing as if he expected the worst.
"You know what Doctor? If I loved you, it wouldn't matter. What makes you think she won't be happy to see you? I mean, she left her family risking her life over and over again crossin' the Void trying to find you. I think she knew the risks and was willing to take them."
"She's young and impetuous and she cares too much," he said softly, gazing down at her. "Now she's trapped and things have been done to her that I can't fix. I can't save her from this."
"Doctor, I thought I understood you but I don't think I do," Martha said, pacing across the med bay. "You've given up on her and you're not giving her much credit."
Mickey walked in with a tray with tea and sandwiches. He looked from the Doctor to Martha. The Doctor stared at him as if everything was Mickey's fault.
"I brought tea and sandwiches for Martha. Thought she might need it while lookin' after Rose since she seems to be the only one lookin out for 'er," Mickey said, setting the tray down on an empty counter.
"Thanks, Mickey but I think we better leave the Doctor alone with Rose. I think he has some things he needs to work out. Don't you, Doctor?" Martha said, as Mickey picked the tray back up and walked out with her.
The Doctor slowly made his way over to Rose's side. "Oh Rose, what's happened to you?" he whispered and grasped one of her hands. The monitor showed an increase in brain activity and he saw her face begin to warm. "You can hear me can't you?" he asked her.
"I'm so sorry for everything that happened, for losing you at Canary Wharf, for not paying attention to anything that may have been happening to you after the Game Station, for not finding you sooner and for what those things in the Void did to you," he whispered, caressing her hand.
"Doctor," Rose whispered. He straightened up abruptly and stared at her startled. "I'm so cold."
"Rose," he whispered. He looked into her warm honey colored eyes which were looking sleepily at him. "Cold, right, yes, I can fix that." He pulled out his sonic and pointed it at some controls and the bed warmed. She smiled and snuggled into the blankets but never let go of his hand. Suddenly, she gasped and tried to sit up but he held her down. "The Void!" she said with a hoarse voice. "The stars are goin' out! Doctor we need you! Somethin' terrible's happenin!" she said in a panic.
"It's all right now. We're out of the Void and I've sorted what was happening with the stars. You're in the Tardis and you're safe."
"You found me," she whispered and smiled at him. "Knew you would." Her smile faded a bit. "Doctor, I wasn't alone in the Void. There were…"
"Sshhhh," he interrupted. "We don't have to talk about that now. We need to focus on getting you well."
"No, I have to tell you something about what's in the Void."
"No, you don't. I saw them and know what they are or what they were," he said with a sad smile.
She looked at him and pools of tears formed in her eyes. "Doctor, I'm so sorry," she whispered emotionally.
He looked at her and shook his head. "After everything you went through and you're sorry for me. Oh Rose," he said and leaned down to gently pull her into his arms and hug her. "You don't need to be sorry for me. It's me that owes you. I know they hurt you. If I could change that…"
"No, Doctor. Don't you go blamin' yourself. I'm the one that was crossin' the Void and I'm the one that ran into 'em. I tried to talk to them but they wouldn't listen. Oh Doctor, they're so messed up. They hid in a Void ship during the Time War, but it all went pear shaped. Their ship broke apart and all of them were just floatin' in the Void. It twisted them up until they became those things," she told him, hugging him tightly.
He pulled back. "They told you all that?" he asked, surprised that the Void Creatures were that chatty with her.
She shook her head. "No, they didn't tell me much. I just sort of knew. They kept askin' me things, demandin' things. They wanted something from me but I didn't understand." All of sudden panic gripped her again as she thought about the stars. She gripped his arm. "Doctor, what about the stars? The universes were collapsing and it was affectin' the Void."
He smiled softly at her. "I took care of it. Well, me and Donna, Martha, Sarah Jane and even your Mum and Mickey helped. It's all right now," he assured her, omitting Jack as he really didn't want to have to explain Jack just yet. He gently pushed Rose down onto the bed and pulled the covers up around her. "You should get some rest. You're still suffering the effects of the Void. We can talk more later."
He scanned her again with his sonic and Rose looked up to him, her eyes questioning. "Is Mum all right?"
He turned away and began fiddling with some controls. "Oh, she's fine. I took her home. Mickey's still here though. He wanted to stay."
Rose sat back and absorbed this information and then turned to him. "Doctor, how long has it been since Bad Wolf Bay?"
He paused. "You really should get some rest," he said avoiding looking at her.
"I'm not that tired and you're avoidin' me. So, it's been a while. Are you, I mean obviously you're travelin' with someone so maybe you don't want me to…" she said but couldn't finish her sentence. The way he avoided her made her wonder if he was sorry she came back.
He turned to her. "Rose, don't," he said, a bit more emotionally than he intended.
She looked at him and then down at the blankets and started pulling at them. "At Bad Wolf Bay you were starting to say something. I thought I knew how that sentence was gonna end but if I got it wrong…" she said softly, still staring at the blankets. All of the insecurities she felt regarding whether or not he wanted her or loved her whispered in her mind. She was so afraid of his answer and she had pinned so much hope and emotion on finding him. One of her biggest fears was that he had moved on and wouldn't want her around or would resent her coming back at all.
He slid a stool over and sat by her bed. He put his hand over hers. "Rose, I… I am happy to see you. When Jackie and Mickey told me that you were lost, I felt my hearts stop with worry."
She looked up at him and smiled. "I missed you," she said, looking into his eyes and squeezing his hand. "I tried to do what you asked, have a fantastic life. Pete and Mickey talked me into workin' for Torchwood over there. It wasn't like this Torchwood. It wasn't the same as life on the Tardis with you. Doctor, I.."
"Rose, we don't have to do this now. You're still recovering."
"No, Doctor. I need to tell you. I've come so far. I crossed so many universes to find you. It's just that I…I love you. It's been three years for me and I still love you. Nothin's gonna change that. Not bein' stuck in another universe, the stars goin' out or bein' trapped in the Void."
For the first time in a long time, he had no words. He just stared at her.
"Doctor, you don't have to say anything right now, unless you want me to leave. Course, I don't have anywhere to go, so it might be a bit of a problem but I knew the risk when I started crossing the Void lookin' for you. I knew there was no guarantee you'd want me but I had hope. You always said hope was a good thing," she said, watching him and worrying at his reaction.
Finally, he smiled gently at her. "Rose Tyler, there is no other place in the entire universe I want you except by my side." He took a deep breath and decided if she could be so courageous and declare her feelings and insecurities to him, then he owed her some truth as well.
"Rose, there something I need to tell you and it may change your mind."
"Told you, nothin's gonna change how I feel about you. 'Sides, I promised you forever and that's what I want to give you, my forever as long as it is."
He stared at her and stood up and began pacing back and forth. "You said you knew what the Void Creatures were."
"Yeah, they're Time Lords."
"Don't call them that!" he almost shouted at her. She stared in shock at his reaction. "What I mean is that's not what they are anymore."
She nodded her head and looked at him worriedly. "Doctor, the Void Creatures, they said some stuff about me. I don't know if it was true, but it's why they kept me there."
He sighed. "Did they tell you that you're different?"
"Yeah. They kept saying that I was something new and old, that I was an anomaly, and that I was sort of like they used to be. Doctor, I don't understand. Did something happen to me?" she asked, her voice trembling slightly. He walked over and sat next to her. "Doctor, whatever it is, just tell me," she pleaded, becoming a bit frightened at his reticence to talk to her.
"Long ago in the history of my people in what Time Lords consider the dark times, some of my people visited Earth's ancient past to conduct genetic experiments. There were traits built into human DNA that when combined in the right mix would produce a human far more advanced than his or her counterparts. But, none of it was supposed to happen without a Time Lord there to activate the gene."
"So, you're sayin' that they were right, I'm some sort of experiment. I'm different," she said softly, staring at the blankets covering her. Suddenly she smiled. "So is that good different or bad different?"
"Just different," he said softly and held her hand. "It doesn't change anything. You're still Rose Tyler."
"You said this thing in my DNA had to be triggered by a Time Lord. Did you do it? Was there some accident?"
He swallowed hard and looked across the room for a moment.
"Doctor, if it was an accident, it's all right, but I need to understand what's happening and how it happened and… am I going to become like those things or…" She couldn't finish.
"No!" he shouted and reached for her hand. "You are nothing like them!" he affirmed adamantly. "You are so much better," he said softly.
"How did this happen?" she asked, her thumb caressing his hand.
"It was the Game Station. You looked into the heart of the Tardis and she saw what I couldn't. You should have burned within a short time but you didn't. I think she saw the recessive gene and used the Vortex to activate it, controlled what was happening giving you enough time to find me and for me to remove the Vortex from you before it was too late."
"But, I didn't feel any different. Well, that's not true, I did a bit," Rose admitted.
"What do you mean?" he almost demanded.
"Well, it's like I could feel the Tardis more and well there were a few dreams," she said, toying with her hair in contemplation.
"Why didn't you tell me this!" he said, tugging at his hair and pacing.
"It didn't seem important. I mean, they were just dreams and 'sides, you were goin' through your own changes. We was gettin' to know each other again."
He stopped and stared at her. "From now on, you need to promise me that if anything like that happens, you tell me."
She nodded. "So if the Tardis activated this gene, does that mean I'm still changing?"
"Your DNA has stabilized. This change only enhances your abilities to perceive time, grasp concepts that twenty first century humans aren't even aware of, maybe enhance your telepathic abilities a bit and changed your biology enough to make you physically a bit more durable and well one other thing," he said nervously.
"What other thing?" she asked, concerned at all these changes.
He sat down next to her. "Your cellular structure is not deteriorating at the rate of a normal human."
She looked at him. "In English please."
He closed his eyes and squeezed her hand. "You're going to live a lot longer."
"How long?" she asked softly.
"I don't know, could be several centuries. I need to run more tests."
She trembled slightly and gripped his hand like a life line. When she looked up at him, there was great compassion in his eyes. "I could have been stuck in Pete's world all by myself," she breathed out a bit fearfully. She looked up at him with a slight smile. "Promised you forever, didn't I," she said.
"Yeah," he said softly back to her. "How do you feel now?"
She smiled a bit. "I dunno. I'm tired from everything that's happened. It's all sort swirlin' around in my mind." She smiled a bit brighter at him. "I know everything will be all right as long as I'm with you."
He looked into her eyes which were filled with that spark of what he could only describe as Rose Tyler. A smile emerged on his face as he felt her emotions wash over him and he realized, a bit of Rose Tyler had lodged itself in his mind. She sat up and leaned into him. "Doctor," she whispered with such emotion and felt himself drawn to her almost like a moth to a flame. Their lips met in a soft and tentative kiss that deepened into something beyond passionate. He felt her, tasted her and then he realized he could hear here singing to him in his mind. She blanketed herself around him until there was nothing but him and her. In that moment, the universe could have collapsed and he would not have known it, that is until the Tardis saw fit to unlock the door and a group of eavesdropping companions tumbled in.
They broke apart and looked at the group of cursing people laying in a jumble on the floor. The Doctor scowled and looked a wall sending a sarcastic "thanks" to his Tardis. Jack was the first to get up and jog over to Rose.
"Hey there gorgeous! Gave us all scare there for a while," he said with a charming smile and leaned over to kiss her forehead.
Rose stared at him for a long time.
"Uh Rose? You okay?" Jack asked, a bit worried.
"It's just I thought you were…" she started to say and then shifted gears as she squinted at him. "Jack, you look different. I mean like you're not entirely human." She turned to the Doctor. "Why's his timeline so weird?"
The Doctor looked really uncomfortable. "Yes, well, Jack is…. an impossible thing," he finally said.
Rose turned and reached for Jack's hand. She blinked a few times and then understanding lit her eyes followed by tears. She gasped and covered her mouth with her hand. "I'm so sorry," she whispered.
"Hey, hey now. None of that," he said softly, as he reached up and caressed her hair.
"I didn't mean to do this to you, Jack. I should have remembered," she said through her tears. "I shoulda known and had a talk with this one. No one should be alone," she said emotionally and inclining her head toward the Doctor.
"It's all right. The Doctor and I have already talked about this. It's all a bit ancient history for me now. I'm glad you're all right and finally home. Gives me a chance to visit with my favorite girl now," he said with a wink. Rose smiled at him.
"Stop it!" the Doctor said, pulling Rose possessively to him. Jack grinned and the rest of the group came up to meet Rose.
"I'm Martha," Martha said, as she took Rose's hand. "It's nice to finally meet you. The Doctor talked about you all the time," Martha said and shot a look at the Doctor who flinched a bit.
"Did he?" Rose asked curious. "So, you traveled with him then?"
"Yeah, right after he lost you. We met in a hospital on the moon." Rose grinned at this.
Mickey made his way over to her bed. "Hey, Babe! Gave us scare there you did," Mickey said grinning. He leaned over and hugged Rose.
"Oh Mick, thanks for comin' after me, but you're stuck here now. What about Jake and Torchwood? You left so much behind," Rose said.
"Naw, that parallel world was great and all but Gran is gone and there's nothing more for me to do there. Time for a fresh start."
"But where will you go? What will you do?" Rose asked, concerned for him.
"Dunno, fresh start like I said."
Martha stepped forward. "I might be able to help with that. UNIT's always lookin' for brilliant people," she said smiling. Mickey looked at Martha and Rose saw something click into place, a new possibility and one that made her ecstatically happy.
Donna came forward. "I'm Donna and it's about time he came to his senses. Been whinging about you for ages. It's nice to finally meet you," Donna said.
Rose looked at Donna and a flash of sadness crossed her eyes. She still vividly remembered the universe where Donna sacrificed herself to save the Doctor. "Donna Noble," she whispered.
"You all right? You like you just saw a ghost," Donna said a bit nervous.
"I'm sorry. It's just… we met in a parallel world and it was…" Rose trailed off.
"You told me 'Bad Wolf'" Donna whispered, lost in thought. She shook herself out of it and turned to Rose. "The Doctor said that universe doesn't exist anymore."
Rose tried to smile. "No, it doesn't thanks to you. You saved the Doctor and everyone. I'm so happy to meet you again, Donna Noble," she said softly, tears streaming down her face.
"Oi, enough with the tears. You're back with him where you belong and now maybe the rest of can stop havin' to watch him mope about. Don't know how you put up with him. Doesn't skinny boy's thousand mile a minute explanations drive you mad!" Rose smiled at this. "It'll be nice havin' another female around to chat with while himself here is off tinkerin' now won't it?"
Rose sat up a bit straighter. "Oh, I like you already, Donna Noble," Rose said, grinning and watching the Doctor worry with his hair.
"Course you do! Now then, you need your rest and we still have to get everyone sorted. Everyone out," Donna ordered. Everyone said goodbye to Rose and slowly filed out. Jack paused at the door. "You know, the universe is safe, we're all alive. Sounds like it's time for a party as soon as you're up to it," Jack said with a charming grin, that is, until Donna came back and grabbed him by the ear. "Oi! I said she needs rest!" Donna groused and dragged him away by the ear.
After they were gone, Rose pulled the Doctor down on the bed with her and curled up facing him. "You never did finish that sentence you know," she said, looking the Doctor in the eyes.
"What sentence?" he responded, looking at their clasped hands.
Rose rolled her eyes. "Blimey, but you can be oblivious. You know very well, Bad Wolf Bay, you disappearin' before you finished. If it's my last chance to say this, Rose Tyler dot, dot, dot," Rose said, a bit exasperated with him.
He looked into her eyes, his alight with mischief. He leaned over close to her ear. "I'll love you forever," he whispered. She looked into his ancient eyes and whispered back to him, "I love you forever, always."