A/N: Summary: What if there was a video recording made for the Doctor that he never saw? What if everything that happened in the last two years had to happen, or else a worse fate would befall them? What if he can't change the past, but neither can he change the future, because the vital video recording that would enable him to do so has gone missing? What if in saving the World again, he loses something he didn't know he had?
All Things Lost
Rose switched on the video camera. "Doctor," she greeted swiftly, with the briefest of smiles. "I don't know if this is gonna work, but if you're watching this then you need to listen. You really, really need to listen. 'Cos what I'm gonna say changes everything."
Eight months earlier for him, two and a half years earlier for her...
She was waiting for the Doctor at the corner of the street.
They were in plain old 21st century London, planning on visiting Jackie, when Rose had accidently wandered off after seeing something mysterious going on with a suspicious looking monk and his alarmingly large suitcase. She'd been wary of monks ever since their werewolf adventure, and seeing one who looked like he'd popped up from the 14th century with a Gucci travel case really rang alarm bells. So, when the Doctor was distracted by this little old bookshop they popped into whenever they came back to Earth, Rose headed off, following the monk.
Of course, jeopardy-friendly as she was, she landed in a wee bit of trouble...trouble involving being suspended over a huge vat of boiling spaghetti in the middle of a disused warehouse – but, but, but, it was a good job she did, otherwise they wouldn't have been able to stop the monk from taking over the World. Or maybe just South London, but anyway. The crisis was averted when the Doctor, who'd been tracking Rose via her phone signal since about thirty seconds after she'd left him, arrived to sort out the misplaced-in-time-and-space alien and save Rose from being turned into Bolognese sauce.
There was, however, a rather large mess to clean up. Instead of scarpering like they usually did, they tried to have a bit of a tidy; but then some soldier blokes from UNIT turned up and thought that Rose and the Doctor were responsible for the sort-of bomb thing going off, which, okay maybe they were, but still – it was necessary. But no, UNIT didn't need any help thanks very much, so kindly be on your way. The Doctor was only too happy to oblige and leave them to clean up the sorry mess, but once they'd started walking away, a UNIT officer called back the Time Lord and said he needed a word. The Doctor had replied go ahead. The UNIT officer had glanced meaningfully at Rose, indicating that she was not to hear what he was going to say. Rolling her eyes, Rose surprised the Doctor by simply exiting the warehouse without protest, knowing that the Doctor would fill her in afterwards anyway.
Hence why she was now waiting for him around the corner, trying, desperately, desperately trying to find some more excitement – well, okay...danger – to immerse herself into. She was so bored. He'd still not come out, and it'd been..oh. Well, only twenty minutes. But it felt like longer.
"And then, well. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry for never telling you this at the time, but you'll understand one day, you'll have to." She took in a deep breath and stared straight at the camera. "I met a man who told me secrets of a future I did not want to have."
And then this man came up to her. Dark hair, manic eyes, and a smarmy grin; Rose eyed him carefully.
"You alright?" she asked, when he simply stood in front of her silently.
His eyes lit up. "Yes! Yes, I'm just...fantastic!" he announced.
Rose squinted at him. "Right...so...can I help you?"
"Oh yes, Rose Tyler. You can help me very much," he nodded.
Her eyebrows rose. "How do you know my name?"
"Oh, I know everything about you, Rose," he said, his tone suddenly soft.
"And why's that, exactly?" she asked, her instincts telling her to be cautious of this man with the calm exterior but wild expression.
"Don't you recognise me, Rose?"
She didn't reply straight away. She contemplated him for a second, tilting her head from side to side. Then, she looked into his eyes. Deep into his eyes, as if she was reading his soul. Then, she shook her head. "You're not the Doctor," she said quietly.
The man sighed. "I am, Rose. It's me." He waved at her, right in front of her face. "Hello!"
"You're not," she insisted.
"Go on then, let me feel your double heartbeat - " she started, reaching her hand to his chest. He flinched away from her before she could make contact, and she smiled smugly. "See."
He huffed. "How could you tell, straight off? He might've regenerated."
"Your eyes," she answered simply, shrugging.
"What about them?"
"The way you look at me," she clarified.
Comprehension dawned. The man smiled. Rose thought it looked a little cruel, and took a reflexive step back. "You mean I don't look at you like I...know you?"
She swallowed. "Something like that, yeah."
"Right. Oh, well. Worth a try!" he said breezily.
"So, who are you?"
"Oh, you don't need to know my name. But I'm an old friend of the Doctor's. And he speaks so fondly of you, I just wanted to meet you..."
Rose's brow furrowed in confusion. "Then why doesn't he bring me to see you, instead of you stalking me?"
The man let out a short laugh. "Oh, you are clever. I see it all, now, you know. The reasons why he's so enamoured with you." He raised his hand to her face and cupped her cheek. "You're quite beautiful, really. For a human."
Rose took another step back, and his hand slipped from her face. "What do you want?"
"I told you," he sighed impatiently. "I just wanted to meet you. See you in the flesh, as opposed to in his memories."
"You're from the future," she stated.
"Yep! It's a jolly good future, too," He paused, looking thoughtful. Then he smiled, almost apologetically, though Rose could sense some underlying amusement. "Oops, no it isn't. Well, it is. For me! But not for the Doctor. And not for his lovely Rose."
"What's going to happen?" she asked before she could stop herself. She knew, realistically, that she couldn't know. That it could cause a paradox and all that. But something instinctive told her to question this strange, slightly scary man. Something told her he was not to be trusted.
"Ooh, lots of things. From his thoughts and memories and feelings, I've gathered you have quite a whale of a time over the coming months. But...well. There's a day when a war comes to 21st century London. And on that day..." the man made a sharp sound at the back of his throat that turned into a little giggle. "There be monsters!"
Rose rolled her eyes and folded her arms, feigning a confidence she wasn't quite sure she really felt. "Go on then. What's your instruction? Do I get some sort of foreboding warning or something?"
"Well, aren't you a feisty little..." he trailed off, smiling to himself. "I will give you a warning. Because this day to come...it is going to tear you and your handsome Doctor apart. Forever," he told her tauntingly.
She swallowed hard. "Alright then. We'll see about that, shall we?" she dismissed airily.
"On the day of the army of ghosts, turn around and flee Earth. Just get in the TARDIS and run. Or you'll never see him again. Not ever," warned the man, his tone low, his eyes dark.
"But I couldn't do that, you see. Because they needed us. I couldn't tell you to turn your back on the entire human race and let those things destroy the Earth, just so we could stay together. I couldn't. And I didn't want to believe what he said was gonna come true. I thought we could defy it, somehow. I thought I did defy it, by coming right back when you sent me away with the dimension hopper. I thought we could save the World, just like we usually did, and then be back home in the TARDIS by the end of the night. I was stupid. I was wrong. But I could never regret it, because to have left the Earth when it needed us would have been so, so selfish." She paused, blinking back tears. "But now I know something else, and it's...it's even worse, if that's possible, and now I can't prepare you for it, or help you through it, because I'm not there with you." She swallowed thickly and continued, "I'm so sorry I can't be there to hold your hand through this, because...it's gonna be tough." She paused again, looking into the lens unblinkingly as she revealed, "You're not alone, Doctor."
After his revelation, the man had turned and disappeared from her view within moments. Rose had been left standing there, breathing heavily, fear curling in a tight ball inside her stomach until she felt sick with it.
But she brushed it off. She didn't tell the Doctor. And they went on as normal.
She didn't see the man again until he came for her, while she was trapped on a parallel Earth.
"Rose Tyler," he said, as he stepped into her office at Torchwood. "The Bad Wolf herself! How positively lovely to see you again!"
Her reaction time was impeccable. She stood up the second he'd entered, the gun she rarely used and even more rarely wanted to use trained fully on him without a moment's hesitation. "You knew," she muttered coldly. "How?"
He raised his hands in surrender, and smiled gently. "Because he told me all about it. Or rather, I looked into his mind and saw..."
"Why did you tell me to stop it?"
"Why didn't you do as I told you?"
She ignored his question as effortlessly as he'd ignored hers, and repeated herself, "Why did you tell me to stop it?"
"Because I wanted you to stay with him."
"But not because you're his friend," she stated knowingly. "I could see it in your eyes. You were delighting in the power you had. In the pain that would come to both me and him. So why would you want us to stay together?"
He took a step closer to her. Rose flicked back the safety catch on her gun, and he immediately looked apologetic. He never trusted a blonde with a gun. It was a very volatile combination. Which was why he never let his dear Lucy near one.
He was surprised, truly. That Rose, the girl who the pacifist Doctor loved, could wield a gun so confidently. Still, he supposed, she'd probably been hardened by her plight here in Pete's World. She was stubborn, determined, and outstandingly courageous; that he could tell from the Doctor's mind. And he'd seen what she'd done with the Daleks, with the vortex inside of her. It shouldn't surprise him, really, that she would, without a doubt, kill any man who she perceived as a) a threat to the Doctor or b) a threat to her being with the Doctor.
"For my master plan," he answered quietly.
"And what's that?" she persisted impatiently.
"Let me take you for a drink and I'll tell you," he grinned.
Rose rolled her eyes. "Oh yeah, I bet the Doctor'd love that. Me going on a date with his arch enemy or whoever you are."
"Why shouldn't you?" He leant forward conspiringly. "He's got a new...companion. Why shouldn't you be allowed to enjoy yourself too, eh?"
She pretended the idea of the Doctor with anyone else but her didn't bruise her heart and instead said, very calmly, with an arched eyebrow and a wry smile, "I don't even know your name."
"You can call me anything you want, sweetheart," he countered. He paused, then. "Well, except Doctor. That would boost his ego far too high, and both of us know that's not needed."
Rose chuckled, though she wasn't particularly amused. "Who are you?" she asked again.
He extended his hand out in a peace offering and answered, "Harold Saxon. Prime Minister of Great Britain."
Her eyebrows rose. "So, if I shoot you, I'm basically assassinating an evil politician?"
"I'm not evil!" he protested.
Rose smiled. "Well, you're still a politician. Reason enough."
"What makes you think I'm evil, though?"
"You're a maniac. You're arrogant. You're narcissistic. You're a tiny bit afraid that I'm going to pull this trigger – but not that afraid. And seeing as you're human - "
" – what makes you think I'm human?" he said, grinning triumphantly.
"Well, whatever you are, you can't be a..." Rose trailed off and went very still as she watched Harold's eyes twinkle merrily at her. "...Time Lord," she finished quietly.
"You wouldn't let me feel your double heartbeat," she murmured.
"Because I realised then that you'd know your Doctor anywhere. You looked so sure, so sure that I wasn't him. It's amazing, really, that you have such a natural good instinct. You didn't trust me from the moment you laid eyes on me, did you?"
"Nope," she exhaled roughly. "Your name isn't really Harold Saxon, is it?"
He winked at her. "Clever girl."
"Not really. It's just that Harold's a rubbish name for a Time Lord."
He scowled at her as if she'd greatly offended him. "I actually quite like it."
"Sorry," she half-smiled. "So...just to check you're telling me the truth for once, can I feel your hearts now?"
"Is that a euphemism?" he asked hopefully.
"In your dreams."
"Yep. And his," he grinned. "You put the gun down, then."
She swallowed nervously and lowered the gun. When she reached her hand to touch his chest, he let her. She felt the double beat beneath her palm and felt a bit light-headed at what that meant. The Doctor wasn't alone. There was another Time Lord. Good times. But he was an evil Time Lord. Bad times.
"Answer this," she said next, just to make sure. "What's the name of your planet?"
"Gallifrey," he replied succinctly, a lump in his throat.
"And what happened to it?"
"Your Doctor destroyed it." He sounded scathing.
"And where did you go, eh?" she countered defensively. "Run away, did you? Leave the Doctor to sort out all that on his own?"
He glared at her, and for the next few moments, Rose really saw what it was like to stare into the eyes of someone who'd lost their mind. She mildly regretted her words.
"Don't get all righteous with me," he spat, his voice low and dangerous. "It's not your war to talk about, human."
Her free hand clenched anxiously at her side. "I know that. And I am sorry, for all that you both lost. But he thought he was alone. He said he couldn't sense any other Time Lord still alive. How come, if you survived too?"
He let out a short, tiresome sigh. "It's all very complicated. But I basically re-wrote my biology to disguise myself as human. Only, I disguised myself so well that even I didn't remember who I was. But then...the Doctor showed up. And I remembered."
"Right," she breathed out roughly. "So...so what's this master plan of yours, then?"
He smiled. "I'm going to take you back to our universe."
"Because I've realised that being his enemy is no fun anymore, not when he's not fighting back. He's completely useless without his lovely blonde by his side to spur him on. Or to save him. And he needs saving right now, Rose. Boy does he need saving." He chuckled darkly.
"You've trapped him, haven't you? Got him imprisoned?" She raised her gun again.
"Hey, now. That may be so, but you'll never get back to save him if you shoot me now..." he tried to reason with her.
"Yeah? Well I've got news for you, mate. I'm working on something, ooh...very impressive...and it's gonna send me back."
"Really? Well, I must say, I'm very proud of you. He would be, too. But tell me...is it reliable? Could it get you exactly to the right point in time and space that you need to be?"
She winced. "Well, no."
"Then you need me."
"But how did you get here?"
He smiled. "He didn't lie to you," he told her, surprisingly gently. "He really did think it was impossible. Well, it is."
"He couldn't do it on his own," Rose realised.
"Got it in one, sugar!" he exclaimed, in a bad American accent.
"But how comes you're here? How did you convince him to do this? Surely he knows you're just doing this to use it against him. I mean, I'm not naive enough to believe that you've come here to send me back to save him, however bored you are."
"He doesn't know."
"But you just said that one Time Lord can't open the breach," she pointed out, confused.
"He doesn't know he helped," he clarified. "I am very clever, after all. He doesn't have any clue I've come to get you. Which will make your return that much more spectacular, eh? Then you can try and save him, and I can try to stop you, and we'll see if the Valiant Child and the Oncoming Storm can defeat the Master."
Rose almost smiled. "Seriously? That's your name? 'The Master?'"
"Yep. Does it scare you?"
She laughed loudly. "Of course not. Our names are much better!"
"I don't know who you're travelling with now but you need to protect them. Harold Saxon is nothing short of evil; but then, you know that, don't you? Or at least, you'll know him by his Time Lord name. He's the Master, apparently. And I think he used to be your friend, but then he became your nemesis." She inhaled deeply. "Do you know, for a bit, I sort of thought he was just a little misunderstood. I thought, maybe, he could heal. Over time. Like you did."
She let out a bitter laugh. "But I don't think anything except the return of Gallifrey would put a genuine smile on his face. And he's turned that anger and resentment and the madness of the drums and he's crafted it into a malicious vision to remove any sort of happiness in the lives of others. He's going to try and kill half the population and enslave the other half." Despite the tears streaming down her face, she refused to acknowledge them at all, refraining from even wiping them away. "And what's worse is, he's going to make you watch."