It's funny, when I first started this episode, I thought that it would be one of the hardest to change things about on, but as I wrote, new things just kept popping into my mind. So, I actually think this one is the most different to the script so far. I'm bringing a bit more personal issues into it a bit more.
Getting this one done slowly, but it will get there.
*Aliens of London*
Rose quietly put the 'Book of Changes' notebook back in her draw. She had been so upset the day before, that she'd completely forgotten to fill it in. Now the next page had been drawn up, and filled in.
What was really sad was that this time, there was no one to put into the 'saved' column. And the biggest change she could jot down was her injured ankle.
She had come back to change things, to help people that she couldn't the first time. She hadn't done a thing… What if she couldn't when she needed to most?
Rose stepped from the TARDIS and looked around at the sunny space. This was just around the corner from where her mother lived. The Doctor followed her out and she smiled at him.
If things were the same as last time, then she was about to get something that she could hold over his head for ages.
"So, how long have I been gone, then?" she asked him.
"About twelve hours," he said smugly, leaning back against the TARDIS.
"Really, you sure about that? Hasn't been twelve minutes?"
"Oi! My driving isn't that bad!"
"Alright then. Well, I'm going to see Mum. Pack some bags."
"So you really want to stay with me?" he said.
"For how long?"
"Is forever okay?" She poked out her tongue. Really she was just trying to make fun and block out the horribly ironic memory of telling him she would say with him forever, the day before they got separated.
"Stop being cheeky, you. And you can stay with me for as long as you like. But they eventually leave for one reason or another."
"Yeah, well, you've never had a companion like me," she said. "And you can't tell me that they all just decide to leave. Who would ever want to leave that life?!"
"You've seen it. It can be really dangerous. Some got tired of the danger. Some fell in love and stayed behind. Some carried on travelling on their own. Some wanted a normal life… Some died. And I'll admit I've kicked a few out." Rose snorted out laughing. Especially when she remembered Adam.
"Right, I should go. Mum."
"What are you going to tell her? Where you've been, where you're going."
"Easy. I'm going to tell her I'm going to travel the universe in a small wooden box that moves through space and time," she teased. "Though, I should probably start with. 'Hey, I'm home. Did you miss me?'" The Doctor just snorted and shook his head in amusement, assuming she was being sarcastic… She wasn't.
Smiling, she turned to him and pointed a reprimanding finger his way. "Stay," she ordered.
"Oi!" he cried. Rose just walked away laughing.
Rose waited a moment at the door, taking deep breaths to try and calm her breathing after running up the stairs. And to calm her nerves.
She had no idea how to handle this. It would be okay… Mickey would have told her that she would be gone for a year and Jackie had always trusted Mickey before the 'murder' fiasco. But she really should have called half a dozen times from the TARDIS. Then she couldn't be angry at her for just 'disappearing'… She really should have thought that through.
She took her key from her pocket and opened the door.
"Mum!" she called. "Mum! Mum, I'm back. I'm home!" She went further into the house where she knew her mother would probably be and continued to yell for her. Just like last time, she bumped into a pale faced, tired looking Jackie. "I'm home! Did you miss me?"
"Yeah. See, I said-"
"It's you!" Jackie cried.
"What?" The mug dropped from the woman's hand. "Mum?!"
"It's really you? Oh my god, it's you! Oh my god." Then sobbing, she pulled her daughter into her arms. Over her shoulder, Rose saw the missing fliers groaned. And that, of course, was right when the Doctor came crashing in.
"Erm," he said sheepishly. "It's not twelve hours. It's er… twelve moths. You've been gone a whole year." She just shot evils at him. Annoyed at him for getting it wrong in the first place and Mickey for not passing her message on. He just gave a small apologetic laugh. "Sorry."
Could she get one thing right?!
Both Rose and the Doctor winced as Jackie's shrill voice pierced their ears. She had been going on at them for a good hour. Even before the policeman had arrived. She'd quite literally heard it all before. And what was worse, she still couldn't think of better answers.
"The hours I've sat here. Days and weeks and months, all on my own. I thought you were dead! And where were you? Travelling! What the hell does that mean? Travelling? That's no sort of answer." She turned to the officer. "You ask her. She won't tell me! That's all she says. 'Travelling'!"
"Yeah, well… that was what I was doing…" she said sheepishly.
"Well your passport's still in the draw. It's just one lie after another!"
"You don't always need your passport. We went everywhere by car. Stayed in Cardiff for a few days. But most of the time we were in remote places. No cell service. I would have called, but… I couldn't."
"For a year? An entire year? You couldn't just drive back to say hello, or drive into town to use a phone? Not once? And I'm left sitting here? I just don't believe you! Why won't you tell me where you've been?"
"Actually, it's my fault. I sort of, er… employed Rose as my companion."
"When you say 'companion', is this a sexual relationship?" the officer asked.
"No!" they both cried. Rose opened her mouth to spin something up, but Jackie bet her to it. She advanced dangerously on the Doctor, making him take a step back.
"Then was is it? Because you! You waltz in here, all charms and smiles, and the next thing I know, she vanishes off the face of the earth! How old are you, then? forty? forty-five? What, did you find her on the internet? Did you go on line and pretend you're a doctor?!"
"I am a Doctor!" he defended weakly, slightly bewildered by the forceful woman.
"Prove it!" she said. "Stitch this, mate!" And with that, she swung her hand round and slapped him.
"Mum!" Rose called out, too late. She stood from her chair and went over to the furious woman. "He is a Doctor. A scientist. He works for a top secret special taskforce, called, erm… (oh what was it)… UNIT! He works for UNIT. He hired me as his research assistant when my job blew up. I couldn't call you or tell you where I was because I wasn't authorised to."
"UNIT? Never heard of it," the officer said.
"Stands for United Nations Intelligence Taskforce," the Doctor groaned. "I've worked there a long time. As Rose said, it's a secret taskforce. Call in with the higher authorities. I can assure you it exists. Since the 1970's at least. Not even I know when it's founded, and that's saying something."
"I'll see abut then," the officer said. He stood and left the room, putting his phone to his ear as he went.
"Top secret? What a load of bull!" Jackie snorted. "First you're a doctor, now you're a scientist!"
"Well, I am a Doctor. It's my name."
"Of what?" Jackie challenged.
"A lot of things. Medical… although, my healing is somewhat limited. Sadly I'm better at autopsies." He shivered. "At least twelve different kinds of sciences. And… well, we'd be standing here all day if I told you how smart I was."
"Why, you-" It looked like she was about to slap him again, but he was saved when the officer came in.
"Well, seems he's telling the truth. I got put straight through to the brigadier. Was told that they trust this man completely. He's been working for them for many years and had quite a few assistants. Almost all of them have ended up with a missing persons file once or twice. I'm afraid they told me to drop the case, Mrs Tyler. Besides, she's home safe. There's nothing much else we can do."
"I'm sorry. Good day."
Rose and the Doctor let out a sigh of relief as the officer left.
Rose sat in the kitchen, her mother in front of her, tears running down both their cheeks. She hadn't wanted it to be this way. She had hoped they would know. That her mother wouldn't have had to put up with that pain.
It wasn't to be.
"Did you think about me at all?" Jackie asked tearfully.
"Yes. Yes of course I did. How couldn't I? But…"
"One phone call. Just to know you were alive!
"I'm so sorry. So, so sorry. I wanted to… It wasn't supposed to be like this…"
"Do you know what terrifies me, is that you still can't say. What happened to you, Rose? What could be so bad that you can't tell me, sweetheart? Where were you?!"
"It wasn't bad!" she suddenly shouted. She loved her mother, she really did, but she couldn't put up with this. Not again. "It was brilliant and wonderful and fantastic! I can't tell you because you'd think I was insane!"
"Okay. All that time, I was travelling around the universe in a little blue box that travels in space and time. I've been five billion years in the future and seen the world end. I met Charles Dickens. And I've only been gone a few days. But we're a year late, because the Doctor can't drive!"
"Don't you mess with me, Rose Tyler. Do you think I'm an idiot?"
"No. I don't. You're one of the smartest women I know. You care a lot about our family and you would do anything to protect that… I know. But I am telling the truth. You'll see that soon. And I am going back with him. I'm gong to travel with that man for ages. This time I'll come back, I promise."
"Travel in time! You sound like a loony!"
"Good, at least I'm doing something right!"
Jackie just cried in frustration and stormed out of the room, shouting at the Doctor on her way.
Rose sat up on the roof of their apartment, looking out over the city. She swung her legs and enjoyed the breeze while she tried to think of how she could make things better. Her mother thought she was utterly insane!
She kept staring out into the distance as the Doctor came up behind her and leant beside her on the wall. She glanced at him an pulled her feet up so her knees were to her chest.
"You told her about the TARDIS?"
"I said I was going to," she said.
"God, Rose, I thought you were joking!" he cried, throwing up his arms.
"She was going to find out anyway."
"Yeah, but… Couldn't you have found a better way to tell her? She'll think you're mad now."
"Oh, no doubt about it. But, I couldn't lie to her. I can't do that again. She was so upset. And I had to tell her something!"
"So you told her the truth?!" he said incredulously.
"I told her the truth," she nodded.
"I'm sorry," he said.
Rose was taken aback a moment. "About what?"
"Dropping you back late. You've missed an entire year because of me."
"Oh, right… Well, hopefully my timeline's gonna get a little messy now. I don't mind so much. It's Mum you've got to apologise to."
"Still, I'm sorry."
"What was it like? The year I missed."
"So, so," the Doctor replied. "Nothing overly exciting happened."
Rose sighed. "Oh, You're so useless!"
"Are you sure you still want to come with me… after your mother…"
"Yeah, 'course. She'll get over it. This is something that makes me happy, and at some point she'll get that through her stubborn head and be okay with it… But we have to go back for visits. I can't put her through that again."
"Well, she's not coming with us!" Rose cracked up laughing, and her smile grew when the Doctor joined in.
"Nope! No chance. I'm a nineteen year old, living with my mother. Do you have any idea how annoying that can get?"
"Good. Because I don't do families."
"Scared of domestics?"
Rose laughed. "I can't believe she slapped you!"
"900 years of time and space, and I've never been slapped by someone's mother," he grumbled.
"Oh, god! Your face! It was so hilarious!"
"You're so gay!" she laughed.
She lay back so she was staring at the sky. She couldn't wait to get back up there. According to the TARDIS, she was different now. She would live as long as the TARDIS. She could travel with him for hundreds of years… Oh, right, he'd said 900 years… She should probably be reacting to that…
"Hang on, you said 900 years…"
"Yep, that's my age,' he said seriously. Of course she knew this, and she was used to it.
"Wow… Looking good for an old man." The Doctor let out a small laugh at this.
"I'm actually not that old… for my species anyway." Rose was silent for longer than he was comfortable with, and he looked at her again. "What?"
"I was just thinking… What if you weren't alone?"
"Rose, I can tell, there are no other Time Lords out there."
"Yeah but… what if there was someone out there, someone you like, that could live as long as you do. Keep you company?"
The Doctor hesitated for a while. "I've already told you… nobody stays."
"I'll stay," she said. The Doctor said nothing.
Suddenly they were distracted as a loud noise rung out over London. They turned to see a smoking spaceship fly right over them. It narrowly missed their head. They ducked down and watched as it headed off towards the city.
It wobbled around, coming close to hitting many landmarks. Like last time, it did crash through Big Ben. Finally, it crashed into the Thames and stopped. They stood with their mouths open a moment.
"You got to be kidding me!" she said, breaking the silence. The Doctor began to laugh gleefully, and a smile spread across her face. Then he grabbed her hand and dragged her off towards the door.
Just like last time, when they reached the Thames, there were large crowds, and UNIT officers keeping them back.
"It's blocked off," the Doctor said, slightly disappointed.
"We're miles off. We've got no chance of getting in. I bet all of London is closed down."
"I know! I can't believe I'm here to see this! This is fantastic!"
"But, I didn't think we were supposed to get alien contact for a few hundred years," she said.
"Well, it's not. But time can be re-written, Rose. This is what I travel for! To see history happening right in front of us. Alien contact isn't supposed to happen till 3062. But here it is, right now! Just yesterday you were all tiny and just suspecting and dreaming of alien life, now it's right in front of you. The universe at you're doorstep!"
"You're like a little kid at Christmas!" Rose laughed.
"So what if I am?"
"Nothing. It's just cute."
"Cute!" the Doctor said, so appalled his voice cracked. "Cute! If there is one thing I am not, Rose Tyler, it is cute!" This, of course, just made Rose laugh more.
"'Course not," she said, giving her tongue in teeth grin. "So, we going to go check it out, or are we going to stand here all day till the UNIT guys find the alien."
"Yep… Just one problem, though, we have no way in. All the paths are blocked, and I don't want to get the TARDIS involved. They've already got one spaceship in the middle of London, don't want to shove another one on top."
"Right then," she sighed. "There's only really one thing left to do."
"Watch it on TV like everyone else. Never know, might find out something important." She grabbed his hand, and led him out of the crowed, stammering away. "Oh, actually, there's something I need to do first. You head back to Mum's and start channel flicking. I'll be there soon, yeah?"
"B-but, Rose!" he wined, but she was already gone.
After finding her way out of the confusing crowds, Rose made her way to a very familiar little store. It was just a corner shop near the estate. She still had the money from the lottery in her pocket. It would be enough for what she needed.
Knowing the place so well, it wasn't long till she found what she was looking for. Vinegar. Vinegar killed Slitheen. And the faster it would be to kill them, the safer she would feel about leaving her mother alone.
She grabbed three bottles of the stuff, then did a double take when she saw one of those children's sour squirt candies. The bottle had a lid that she could pry off, and put back on. It was small enough to keep in her pocket.
Buying these, she began her walk to Mickey's hose, eating the squirt candy as she went. By the time she got there, the candy was finished. She was glad to find that the flat was locked. Mickey must have been out with the rest of the crowds.
Luckily, she knew where he kept his spare key, and let herself in. She was only mildly surprised to see that his computer area had been set up as a Doctor tracking station. Heading to the kitchen, she washed out the empty squirt bottle, and filled it up with vinegar. Then she put the bottles in his cupboards.
She locked the house again, and headed past the TARDIS, around the corner to her mum's flat. There she found her mum and the Doctor arguing.
"Oh, give I a rest," she sighed, then flopped on the couch.
Already, friends, neighbours and family were flooding in to watch the spectacle on TV. Of course, rather than actually watching the TV, they were all chatting and catching each other up what had been happening. Once again, she was given an earful about running off on her mother by their neighbour, Marianna.
Jackie was, thankfully, distracted making tea and pouring wine for everyone, but when she wasn't, she was glairing at the Doctor and shooting worried looks at Rose. She was even glairing at the TV. It was clear that she didn't like this alien nonsense… especially since it gave her already 'mentally fragile' daughter room to believe even further that what she'd been saying was true.
This time, Rose was mostly paying attention to the Doctor, and the TV, instead of the people who hadn't seen her in a year. So she heard about the meeting at 10 Downing Street, and she heard about a body in the Thames that was being taken to a 'secure unit mortuary'. AKA: Albion Hospital. Also, she heard that the Prime Minister was missing… She could still remember finding his body…
And worse, she knew that she would not be able to save him.
It wasn't long till the scene became too much for the Doctor, and looking about, he slipped out of the house. Rose could almost see the panic and anxiousness in his eyes. She knew that soon, he would be different. Soon, crowds wouldn't bother him so much, and he would actually come to like her family. This was now.
"Where are you going?" she asked, following him out.
"Nowhere!" he said quickly.
"Look, I know that you don't like… well people, and my mum can be nag-y. And it's bit overwhelming-"
"Rose," he stopped her. "It's okay. It's just a little human in there for me. I mean, history just happened, and they're talking about where you can buy dodgy top up cards for half price! I'm off on a wander, that's all."
"You mean, going to check out the alien, now it's not smack bang in the middle of London?"
"It's okay!" she replied quickly. "I mean, knowing you, I'd be worried if you didn't."
"Oh, well, it's noting to do with me really. It's not an invasion. That was a genuine crash landing. Angle of decent, colour of smoke, everything! It's perfect!"
Rose smiled at how excited he was about it. To be honest, it helped cover up the fact that she knew that he was wrong. That this was an invasion… well, kind of. The crash was an actual crash, but it was choreographed. It was all planned.
"So maybe this is it! First contact! The day mankind officially comes into contact with an alien race. I'm not interfering, because you've got to handle this on your own. That's when the human race filly grows up. Just this morning you were all tiny and small and made of clay! Now you can expand!" He laughed in delight, making Rose grin.
"So, you're just curious, then. Can I come, too?"
The Doctor looked at her kindly for a moment. "Rose, if you really are going to come travelling with me, then maybe you should go spend some time with your mother. You may not be missing her yet, but she's missed you more than anything."
"Okay… Why do you keep saying 'if'? I'm going with you. I promise. So don't you dare run off without me."
"Tell you what," the Doctor said, smiling. He went into his pocket and pulled out his own key. "TARDIS key. About time you had one." He handed it to her. "See you later."
Rose gave a small wave, then looked down at the key in her hand. She was so used to it, she would know the feel of it anywhere, but it was only just now that she had realised… This was his key. He hadn't just given her a spare, or a copy or anything. He had given her his key. He had grumbles that he'd spent a good hour looking for the spare for her. This time she noticed that the key he'd used had a small Gallifreyan symbol carved into it, and after giving her this, the other key didn't.
Looking at the symbol, she felt the TARDIS in her mind, pushing the meaning of the word into her head. It was just a feeling, but a powerful one… It felt like home.
Smiling slightly, she held tight to the key. Then she turned, and went back inside, listening as the sound of the TARDIS engines faded into the night.