"Rose River" AU
'The Oncoming Storm'
Chapter One
- The Moment -

A/N: This story is the tenth of the series, and will explain several things. Don't be surprised when you don't see people you think should be there.

I've retitled every story to include a numbering system. After several people asked what order this series is in, it seemed appropriate.

This will be the darkest story in the series.

It was a stupid thing, really, the war. Stupidity on the scale of colossal with an added state of idiocy and cowardice. And, it was entirely his fault. Two little wires separated by five measly inches of space, one in each hand, while he was pontificating the morality of the act. 'Did he have the right', and all that rot.

The answer to that was no, but there were orders, and at the time they seemed completely unreasonable. Five inches of space that eventually became more, and he'd gone the way of the coward. Thus, he'd committed his entire species into the Third Time War.

It was his fault.

He was an idiot.

Thoughts like this usually spiralled out of him every day or so during the war, but never so poignant as during the Battle of the Nightmare Child: A being brought into existence by the Cult of Skaro for the Emperor. A being that consumed life through creating madness. Madness that he laughed at.

His laughter ceased when two beings were consumed by it. The first was Davros, which in hindsight wasn't that bad of a thing. Still, he did try to save him only to have the act thrown in his face as the mechanical chair was torn apart.

The second he didn't find out about until after it was over. One of four Time Lords assigned to the area to convolute and involute the vortex in such a manner as to bombard the Nightmare Child with time itself. It was supposed to rapidly age the beast, and failed utterly by making it stronger. The reason for that was the miscalculation of one of the other Time Lords in the quartet.

When the Doctor realized that his elder and only brother Braxiatel had been thoroughly wiped from time, he came to the very wrong conclusion: The Valeyard Was Right.

Ignoring his beloved ship for the first time in seven lifetimes, he shed his Victorian attire, shorn his long locks, and replaced the wool with a derivative of the Chancellery Guard's armour. Instead of the signatory red and white, it was midnight blue and black in the style of the planet he so loved. It was the first time that his sonic screwdriver had been given a dalekanium setting, which was as close as he could get to carrying a staser without feeling the right hypocrite.

Multiple star systems were rent open from his wrath, and in the linear course of seventeen years, the Doctor earned several titles from the Daleks and their allies. In addition to their original, Ka Faraq Gatri: the Bringer of Darkness, his method of using the vortex itself as a weapon earned him Destroyer of Worlds – as he literally cracked them open like so many eggs. Of them all, The Oncoming Storm was the one that took root.

As for Earth, it was the only thing that called him back from that downward spiral of madness. They were innocent, and he'd vowed to protect humanity. The potential of them all was something that the other time sensitive races either ignored, or had blinders too. He knew they would outlive the universe if given enough of a chance.

Called into a virtual meeting with the other forces of the TARDIS fleet, his was the only mouth to drop open when they were told of the Ultimate Sanction: a paradox so vast that it would rip the vortex apart and destroy the fabric of reality. Rassilon thanked him personally for the idea.

His own madness broken, the Doctor stole The Great Key from the bowels of an unnamed prison planet. Using it, he called the original De-mat gun back into existence and heavily modified it. Instead of removing a small area from time and space, his modifications increased its effectiveness to the point where he could remove Gallifrey itself – when used to target a specific point.

Even still, he tried to reason with Lord President Rassilon. When that failed, he threatened him with the one moment that he would never be able to control. The laughter that evoked from the near religious figure killed the last vestige of mercy he had.

Faced with everything or nothing, the Doctor realized that Gallifrey was already lost. The choice was rather simple to make, when balancing existence against his home planet. Still, even while he went through the motions of modifications, his mind was spinning over different possible solutions. Each one of those was worse than the one he was going through.

Oddly enough, the TARDIS agreed with him. And that sensation wasn't something he expected at all.

In a stationary orbit over the planet, the Doctor's modifications to the rather large rifle had it hooked directly into the console. Clamped to the floor on a raised platform, the thing was the antithesis of everything he believed in. He hated guns, and this was the epitome.

Standing at the main console interface, the Doctor pulled down the monitor. Targeting information scrolled and rotated as the Panopticon of the Capitol came into focus. A few adjustments and he could see through the broken shell of the city dome, and into the Great Hall.

One hundred metres below the floor of the Hall, rested the Eye of Harmony – Qqaba, it was once called, before Omega involuted it into a singularity. The single most massive star to ever have existed, compressed and converted into the power source of Gallifrey and every TARDIS the Time Lords would ever use. Enough power for over a trillion years, it was rumoured that the Eye of Harmony would outlive the universe.

Once every calculation was in place, and the other failing solutions numbered in eight digits, the Doctor opened the outer door of the TARDIS. Staring, he swallowed as he took in the majesty of Gallifrey, then frowned at the plethora of Dalek and Gallifreyan warships that were marring the space surrounding it. Guilty, he had to turn away, retreating to the contraption that was hard wired into the console. Hand resting on the trigger lever, he actually sighted down the barrel while cursing his own existence.

Something odd was happening, causing him to stand up straight. Gallifrey was flickering in and out. Looking at his hands, he briefly considered if the gun had gone off without him realizing, but it hadn't. Staring out the door again, he saw Gallifrey vanish. Counting the milliseconds, he felt the TARDIS pressing him to wait while he panicked.

Ten point three eight seconds later, Gallifrey reappeared. Along with it, was an overwhelming urgency. Every fibre of his being was screaming 'NOW!' and his hand slid the trigger lever back with a crack.

Humming, the De-mat gun fired a crimson violet beam of energy, instantly destroying the Great Hall, to impact on the obelisk shell of the Eye. It lasted a fraction of a second longer than the Hall, before the energies within detonated.

The feedback was immense, and the Doctor caught a flash of blue before the gun itself exploded. Hearing the TARDIS scream in his mind was something he never expected. But, that in itself paled in comparison to a little over a billion telepaths screeching horrifically in the back of his mind as they died.

He never new he was screaming before blackness took him. Somewhere deep within him, he heard an overwhelming feminine voice calling to him from everywhere as he lost consciousness. 'Oh Beloved, Live!'