A/N: I did it! I finally finished this! Sort of... BUT I have the feeling some of you won't be pleased.
"Rose…" The Doctor hadn't been able to say much when Rose's gun shot out of her hand as she was prodded in the head from behind.
Rose was prodded in the head again by the figure of a child, or small person, absolutely covered in grim and carrying one of the guns the guards had been using onboard the ship. Whoever it was they were unrecognisable beneath their unintended disguise. "YOU!" the figure spat out as her whole body went rigid with anger. "How dare you threaten my dad," she stated as she flexed the gun in her hand.
"No, Kate! Don't do this," the Doctor cried out as he recognised her voice. "This isn't the answer." He edged near Rose's abandoned gun and kicked it towards Donna for her to deactivate, keeping eye contact with both Kate and Rose all the time.
"Yes it is," Kate disagreed. Slowly she released the safety catch. "She tried to get Tamis killed. She was horrible to Mum. She blew up the burrow and killed Wanda! Vic said someone should have killed her when we first saw her, and he was right. I hate her."
Rose's eyes beseeched him to rescue her, but he wasn't thinking about her; all he cared about was Kate in that moment. He slowly walked up and placed his hand over the gun. "I know," he said softly. "But this really isn't the way to do it." He grabbed the gun, threw it away to the side, noting with relief that there was no way the gun could have been used by anyone since it was empty of any bullets. He sighed his relief and cradled Kate's head. "Well done, my precious daughter. Why don't you go and say hello to Tamis." He kissed her forehead before releasing her, and Kate shot over to hug and kiss Tamis and Donna who willingly reciprocated.
"Doctor, I…" Rose started to thank him, but he cut her off dead with a glare.
"Don't talk to me," he hissed in anger. "You almost caused a child to commit murder."
He then deliberately left Rose standing alone in the compound.
Donna had never seen the Doctor act so angry with anyone before. He had ordered the rebels to leave Rose to him to deal with, knowing they wanted to execute her, but he had let them bind her hands together in the meantime. No one was to speak to her or offer her any comfort beyond the food and water rations she was entitled to as a prisoner.
With his family and friends the Doctor was able to act joyous, but with Rose he turned to thunder, not uttering one word of explanation. No one dared protest at her treatment, mainly because no one cared enough to. She had made plenty of enemies amongst the people of the planet, so it wasn't exactly a hardship for most people who viewed her scolded kitten act with contempt.
It had been a long trek back to Small Tundle, where various items were retrieved so that a new settlement could be established. Soon after they were on their way to the TARDIS, which was still standing in one of the tunnels below the burrow. The Doctor had promised to report the misdemeanours of the Q'Larkons to any authority that would listen, and the rebels come settlers believed that he would sort it all out for them. They had a major bargaining chip with the minerals the Doctor had discovered for them to help their cause.
Donna knew that as soon as the small family was back in the TARDIS that the Doctor would deal with Rose. She could feel his anger and indignation rolling off him in waves. With that in mind, she instructed Tamis to go and explore the TARDIS with Kate whilst things could get a little ugly. Keep well away until I tell you to come back, she informed him. Tamis had been only too keen to keep out of the line of fire; he had known this was coming too. Plus he was curious to see his parents' home and learn about her first hand.
With a concerned eye, Donna saw the Doctor circle Rose thoughtfully. If he'd been a cobra she was sure he was getting ready to pounce and inflict venom. The whole atmosphere within the console room dropped by several degrees as he weighed her up. Donna's concern was for the Doctor and the Doctor only. Rose could hang for all she cared, but she didn't want the Doctor to suffer because of this. He didn't deserve to suffer any more after all he had been through.
"Doctor?" Rose whimpered, and shot Donna a look that begged her to intervene.
Donna merely mouthed back, 'Sorry' as her answer. It was the mental image of Tamis held within that box on board the Q'Larkon ship that kept her strong in her convictions. Goodness knew what horrors were keeping the Doctor steadfast.
He moved to the console and punched in some coordinates, keeping his eyes on his task and his face expressionless. When he lifted his face Rose wanted to curl away in terror. She had never seen such anger and cold hatred in his eyes before. It was evident that he couldn't bring himself to speak to her, that gracing her with any words was a comfort he was not prepared to make. Finally she was beginning to accept that it was not going to have the fairy tale ending she wanted and had expected.
When the TARDIS landed, he silently walked over and grabbed the cord binding her hands, as though to touch her offended him deeply.
"Please, Doctor; I'm sorry," she whined and whimpered, to no avail. "If you let me go I promise I'll be good."
There was still no response from him, and her spirits flagged.
He dragged her out of the TARDIS doors and into a landscape she did not recognise in any shape or form. "Where am I?" she demanded. "What is this place?"
"It looks like a scene in that weird film… Being John Malkovich I think it was called," remarked Donna. It was like standing in a small attic room, with low beams and walls that were a bit claustrophobic. All of it was painted a sort of mushroomy pink colour.
Since Donna was the only one offering an answer Rose didn't tell her to shut up. She had no idea what she was on about though. "What happened in that?" she asked Donna.
"Haven't you seen it? They end up going inside the actor's head and live his life through his eyes," Donna explained briefly.
"So I'm inside someone's head?" Rose exclaimed. She couldn't believe this! Surely Donna was making it up.
Donna double-checked with the Doctor to see if it was okay to carry on. It was obvious that he didn't trust himself to speak, didn't want to utter a single word. "It would seem so. But who's?" She stepped forward and peered out of the only window-like aperture. "Whoever it is, they know you," she told Rose. She had clearly seen a girl that was a younger Rose through the window thing.
Rose pressed eagerly forward to look too. "That's me!" she exclaimed in surprise. "Then who…? Oh my God! I'm inside Mum!" This was getting more bizarre by the minute, and Rose had never dealt well with anything surreal.
"That's right. You'll get to feel every single worry, every disappointment, every concern your mum has ever felt about you," Donna stated, relaying what the Doctor had told her.
"Everything?" Rose wondered in horror. "But… Doctor! You can't leave me in here. This isn't right. Mum told me she went through absolute agony when I met up with you and disappeared!"
"That is rather the point," Donna told her calmly. "That is your punishment for treading all over other people's concerns and feelings. This way you will know exactly what it feels like to lose someone who doesn't care enough back."
"Donna, don't let him do this to me! You know what my mum went through," Rose begged, adopting an almost praying stance.
"All too well," Donna snorted with derision. She wasn't convinced at all by this act of Rose's. "The thing is; do you?"
"No! And I don't want to," Rose replied honestly. She didn't want to spend an indefinite amount of time in this place all alone without the Doctor. In her mind she should still be entitled to stand by the Doctor's side. She had earned the right to do that.
She still doesn't get it! Donna remarked in bewilderment to the Doctor. What needs to happen so that she does, for goodness sake?
Time, and plenty of it, he answered objectively. There was nothing left in him that could feel anything positive towards Rose Tyler. He was amazed to feel a tiny shred inside Donna; he didn't know how she could.
The Doctor took hold of Donna's wrist and started to lead her out.
"Where are you going? Don't leave me! Please! I beg you, Doctor! You love me, not her!" Rose shouted after him, but he took no notice.
The only gesture he made that implied that he had heard her was to momentarily lift Donna's fingers to his lips and briefly kiss the back of her hand. Nothing more.
Without a backwards glance they returned to the TARDIS as Rose continued shouting a tirade of abuse and anger about her predicament.
As the doors closed, the Doctor stood on the ramp dejected before setting them into the Vortex. There was nothing to be said in that moment. Donna knew he would probably eventually take pity on Rose and arrange something else, but for now he needed comfort and escape from his actions. All he needed for now was a loving hug, and Donna gladly supplied it. His healing would continue later.
A/N2: I've written The Boy From The Machine [aka The DVD Extra] to explain about Tamis and the baby; and The Baby After The Machine to expand the ending here.
A/N3: Here is a little reader's challenge for you. Obviously I have problems writing anger (I freely admit it, so don't worry), so I challenge you to come up with the speech where the Doctor tells Rose off in this story. So how about it? Go on, have a go...