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Prologue

What would you do for the person you loved?

Lie for them? Cry for them when they were in pain? Carry their burdens with or for them? Commit a crime for them? Die for them? Marry someone else to save his or her life? All of the above? I would—I did. My eyes blur with tears as I feel Sari putting on the last pieces of jewelry, attaching the tiara and veil to my head. The pain I feel is worse than anything I have ever been through in my life, not even the power of the TARDIS tore through my veins like fire when I begged her to allow me the power to save the Doctor…

My Doctor

I collapse into tears—I failed him!

This was all my fault.

I feel Sari trying to soothe me but I cannot hear her, I am lost. Lost in my grief and guilt. I accepted this damn Prince's offer of marriage to save Jack and the Doctor's lives! But it all was for not! The bloody bastard lied to me! He lied to me! He promised he would spare them if I married him. Yet…the images flash through my mind

The Prince's sly smile as he whispers in my ear. The look of triumph as the Prince announced their execution to the pleased peerage. The shocked looks on Jack and the Doctor's faces that turned quickly to anger. My pleas, curses and screams as guards tried to pull me away. The soft, loving look the Doctor gives me as he is forced onto his knees…the shots…his cold lips…

"I'm so, so sorry…Doctor, I'm sorry…I love you," Sari hands me a silk handkerchief and tells me to dry my eyes, the Queen would be here to escort me along with the ladies of the realm to the chapel any minute now. I stand up, wiping my eyes as I walk to the mirror. I hiccup as I look at myself in the mirror. I am dressed in crimson instead of white since crimson is the color of the royal family on this planet. The dress is a mix between ancient Greek robes and something from a Jane Austen novel. I cannot describe it. I am dripping with gold and jewels; I am shimmering in the dim light like a star. Yet I don't feel like a star at all. I felt like a white dwarf, slowly dying, sending out the last vestiges of light I have out to the universe.

When I imagined my wedding day it was far from this…I imagined a small chapel filled with family and friends…A warm spring day, the smell of fragrant flowers in the air, the sound of laughter. My mum nervously jumping about trying to make sure everything was perfect. I smile at the thought of mum on my wedding day. God, she could hardly imagine this! Then again she was so far away anyway…living with my alternate world father in an alternate world where I would never see or talk to her again. That was the price I paid for staying with the Doctor and now…now…I wondered if I had been better off staying in that alternate world than stubbornly keeping my promise of staying with the Doctor forever. I gave a small mad laugh as I realized one way or another, I had no way of telling her, 'Guess what, mum? The Doctor is dead and I'm being forced against my will to marry an alien prince! Wanna come to the wedding?'

Mum…Mum was supposed to be a big part of my wedding day…My mum would escort me down the aisle to my awaiting bridegroom, a warm smile on his face and love in his eyes…Not the cold hand of an alien prince forcing me to marry him, he may love me, but I do not, will not, ever,never, love him! My face grows hot with anger as tears sting my eyes again. He killed the man I loved; I will never forgive him! I wouldn't even be marrying him, if I wasn't locked and guarded in my suite rooms 24/7! I'd be home…safe back on Earth.

On my wedding day I once imagined I would blush and my chest would feel warm with love as my bridegroom took my hand and whispered that I looked stunning in my wedding dress…I don't feel beautiful. I don't feel like a bride. I'm dressed in crimson—blood red crimson—how fitting. The gold and red jewels feel heavy and gaudy, gold was never my choice in metals; I preferred silver or platinum. Gold just…ech, made my face look too pale. Then again, I am very pale…I am shaking uncontrollably. Sorrow, guilt and anger fills my veins instead of excitement and love…My face is flushed from crying and my eyes are pink from crying so much…I feel miserable, cold, alone and ugly, I'm not beautiful at all! A sudden sharp rap at the door turns my attention away from the mirror.

"Rose, they are ready for you…" said Sari softly, her amber colored eyes, giving me a look of sadness and pity. She was my only friend here now; she knew I didn't want to marry this man. That I'd rather throw myself off the palace battlements then unite myself to that—that bastard of a prince! It was useless now…I have no choice anymore…I have nowhere else to go…The Doctor is dead, the TARDIS is somewhere in the wastelands of this planet, my TARDIS key has been taken from me…I cannot go home…

Sari straightens my train and the tiara on my head as she finally pulls the heavy, white, lace veil over my head. (The only white thing I'm wearing, mind you, since I insisted on it) She hurries over to the vanity as another sharp rap hits the bedroom doors.

"Just a second!" I call, my voice cracking from the amount of crying I had been doing for the past several hours. Sari hands me a large bouquet of crimson flowers and sprays a very pungent and sweet perfume all over me. I sneezed; whatever this was made of, I did not like it! Musky and simple perfumes suited me better than this sweet stuff! Sari took a step back and sadly surveyed me.

"You're ready," she said softly. She gave me a sad smile as I face the bedroom door. She reached for the door but I stopped her hand. My hands were shaking, I felt like crying again. Without a word I hugged her tightly. Sari froze for a moment; then hesitantly hugged me back with equal fervor.

"May the Gods watch over you Rose Tyler of Earth. You have sacrificed your own freedom and happiness to save your planet and your…friends. Only to be betrayed," I stiffened as I clung tighter to her, not wanting to leave this room. Sari pulled away and cupped my face, pulling the veil up so I could see her eyes, "The Gods have blessed you, Rose. They will grant you vengeance one day, I promise you that. Bless you, Rose." She then pressed a soft kiss on my forehead before lowering and straightening my veil again.

"Thank you, Sari. I'm sorry for being so mean to you at first." Sari shook her head as she lowered her head, trying not to show the tears streaming down her face. She bent down the fix my train again, though it did not need to be fixed.

"I understood you were scared, alone and upset. Forced here against your will." I smiled down at her as she tried not to look at me. There was another rap at the door, I ignored it; Sari stood up to answer it. Her hands were on the gold handles when I whispered,

"You have been a very good friend to me, Sari. I wish I could do more to help you. You and the people of this planet." Sari looked up at me and gave a sad smile,

"You already have, Rose. I've never had a more kinder and giving friend in my life than you. Who knows? With an Earthling as our Queen one day, you could make changes to help the lower classes on this planet." I lowered my eyes down to the floor. We both knew that was impossible. I would only be a Queen consort one day…if I lived that long…I would have little to no power here. This Empire was a patriarchal society for the nobles, royalty and common folk alike. Ninety-five percent of the planet's population had been enslaved, mistreated and poor for centuries. What could I do to change centuries of oppressive rule?

Sari pulled open the door and bowed as the Queen entered the room. I fell into a curtsey before her, my soon-to-be mother-in-law. She gave me a warm smile as she greeted me,

"May the Gods smile upon you, my dear. It is time." I raised my head; the Queen's warm silver eyes gleamed at me. I felt myself blush, other than Sari the Queen was the only person who showed me warmth and kindness. The Queen wore robes similar to mine but they were royal purple lined with silver and she wore no veil that signified she was married. She offered her hand to me, her long fingers sweeping towards me. I took her hand as I resigned myself to my fate.

The ladies of the realm parted to let us pass. They were all dressed in bright colors, matrons and maidens alike. The married women wore no veils and a strange variety of headgear that made the hats ladies wore to Royal Weddings back in Britain look tame! The maidens, like myself, wore veils in their hair pulled back from their faces, but their veils were made of silk instead of lace since I was the only bride here. The maidens all glared at me and whispered behind their hands like primary school girls.

With the Queen there, they dared not to call me dirty names. (They had been doing that for three weeks straight!) Yet if looks could kill, I'd be dead ten times over. I rolled my eyes; thankful my veil was so dense that they could not see me. If they wanted to be in my place, I would gladly give it to them! Their eyes all radiated jealousy and anger; some bared a hint of their canine like fangs at me. I more than wanted to yell at them that anyone of them could take my place and I'd be glad to not be marrying that stupid prince, but I could not. My mouth was too dry to say a word.

The matrons all looked me up and down like a prized horse. I could tell what they were thinking. 'Why was this stupid Earth girl going to marry their prince instead of one of their daughters or granddaughters?' The Queen shot a group of elderly matrons a look and slowly, they all fell to their knees in homage. Slowly we walked towards the chapel, through winding hallways of the palace. The palace was beautiful, very beautiful decorated with paintings, statues and foreign stones and metals I did not even know existed. The palace could stand up to some of the most beautiful palaces on Earth…But the splendor and beauty of the palace was lost on me. With each step I was getting closer to sealing my fate.

We finally reached the large wooden and gold doors of the chapel. I could hear chatter behind the doors, it was so loud that it was like bees buzzing in my ears. The doors then opened as light blinded me for a second. The chapel was full to the brim along the royal blue carpet that led up to the altar. The matrons entered first to take their seats. I was trembling violently. The Queen gave me a gentle smile,

"Nervous?" she asked, softly. I couldn't bring myself to speak; afraid I would vomit at any moment as my stomach was more jumpy than it had ever been in my life. Suddenly everyone turned to face the Queen and I as what sounded like trumpets and a full string orchestra announced our arrival. It was a crescendo of beautiful, triumphal music that could fill one's soul with wonder. Yet my soul was empty, blank, I felt like a walking shell. I always expected to hear the traditional 'Here Comes the Bride' march, not this triumphal music that tried to dispel the blood that was shed to get me here!

I couldn't breathe; I was here, here, to be wed to a man who was a murderer, a liar and whom I did not love! My vision went blurry with tears and the lack of air. I placed my hand for a moment on my heart as I tried to return my breathing to normal. Once I was ready, I placed my sweaty hand back into the Queen's. I squeezed her hand, asking for comfort and support.

"Please…please," I licked my dry lips so I could speak, "Please don't let me fall." I looked up at the Queen; she gently pressed a kiss against my head. I wanted to scream at her, couldn't she see how miserable I was? How her son tricked me into this? When she looked at me, I could see for a moment, pity in her eyes as she squeezed my hand in return. On this planet, women had little rights, maybe, maybe she had been forced into marriage herself against her will…She gave me a sad smile,

"Never, my dear Rose," The music swelled as the Queen took the first step and half pulled me with her. She looked at me as we started the long march up the aisle as the court bowed and curtseyed to us. She leaned in just slightly and whispered, "I'm sorry…" No wonder she was so kind to me, she knew just how I felt…

Those words cut deep into my soul, into my heart. I squeezed her hand tightly as I looked down at my feet, my bare feet, unable to look her in the eye. Why I am a barefoot bride? I was surprised to learn brides in this culture went to the altar barefoot to symbolize leaving her father's house and care to be brought to her husband's care. Usually there was a ceremony at the chapel doors; the father removed the bride's shoes as a gesture that he was handing over his daughter to the groom.

Yet…yet my dad had died when I was a baby…Tears stung my eyes (the Doctor took me back to that time and I damn well near destroyed the timeline due to my own anguish and stupidity! And now my mum and alternate father were stuck in an alternate world. As good as dead!) With my lack of a father alive or otherwise, I asked the Queen to escort me up the aisle last night—knowing I was doomed to this fate now that the Doctor was gone…

With a steady hand the Queen guided me up the stairs to the altar. I looked up to see him smiling down at me. I was glad the veil covered my face as to not show him the look of utter disgust and contempt I felt for him! The King took the Queen's hand and guided her to the large pair of thrones near the altar. I felt the last vestige of courage and strength leave me with her hand. I was alone—cold and alone with this bastard. I had no way out!

"Rose?" I looked up at the Prince; he had stopped smiling as he offered his hand to me, "Come," he commanded; I bit my lower lip to stop from screaming at him and running back down the aisle, I took his cold hand. Why not run away you say? Where would I go? I had no way home…The Prince smiled down at me again as he led me to the priest dressed in funny robes and an absurd hat that would make the Archbishop of Westminster blush! I felt my world fade into darkness and silence as the ceremony began…this was my fate…my life…

And I had no say, no choice…Not any more…

I am Rose Tyler, and I am about to marry the man who killed my Doctor.