A Long Lost Friend

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Rose watched as the Doctor woke from his uneasy sleep and rubbed at his groggy eyes. She had taken to staying in his room these past few nights. She'd been getting her 'midnight' dinner - the only time she knew she'd be able to eat without Martha or the Doctor walking in and stopping her - when she'd walked past his door to find him having another nightmare.

It horrified her that he seemed to have so many of them. And he had them about everything. The Time War, her, people he couldn't save, people he killed. It was like his mind was so full with guilt and darkness that he held at bay, that it all came flooding out when he didn't have the power to keep it in.

He never seemed to have a good sleep, but she hoped that her being there, in spirit and… well, whatever the hell she was, that she was somewhat helping him. And to be honest, she was lonely and scared. Being close to him helped her too.

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Letting him have some privacy while he showered and got changed, Rose went to go have a shower of her own. The warm water slucing down her back helped wake her up and relax.

She hadn't been sleeping well of late either. Maybe it was because she was worried about the Doctor, or about her situation. Maybe it was because somehow, she was linked to the TARDIS, and the TARDIS didn't want anyone to know that she existed.

She had never realised that the TARDIS was this sentient. Okay, she had noticed one or two things, but now that she was somewhat linked to her, it was like she could feel the old girl all around her. And the things that she could do were incredible. She doubted that even the Doctor knew what a quarter of them were.

At least now the TARDIS was being a lot more co-operative. It seemed that, in her measures to stop Rose from contacting anyone, she paid attention to some of the things Rose was asking for and helped her out with that.

Rose needed a new hairdryer, since her last one finally died from the Doctor's old fix-it jobs. So the TARDIS hid Martha's, causing her to get a new one, and swapping them so the new one was in Rose's room. And no one ever dared going into Rose's room. Even the Doctor only went in there on rare occasions.

It kind of saddened her. Truth was… she was lonely.

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After her shower, she headed to the console room to find the Doctor alone, tinkering. With a smile, she went and sat on the jump seat. She like these moments, when it was just her and him, fixing the TARDIS. It almost felt normal.

She laughed as he yelped and started scolding the TARDIS. She knew at that point he would be telling her not to laugh at him. It was only small things like that that bought the reality back down on her.

"What's your problem today, eh?" he said, rubbing the edge of the panel he was working under. "You feeling a bit down? Well, I suppose we have been travelling to some horrible places lately. Can't have been nice on you either. You need a rest." Getting up, he looked at the monitor and frowned. "You don't need a rest, you need a recharge... I know just the place to go today!"

"And where's that?" Martha asked as she walked into the room. Rose turned to face her and realised that she had a pout-y frown on her face. When Martha was there, there was no way that she could pretend in the slightest. She liked it better when it had just been her and the Doctor... And Jack. She missed Jack.

Before Martha had finished speaking, the Doctor had already set the TARDIS in motion. So by the time he answered, they were already there.

"Cardiff!" he cried.

"Cardiff?" Martha repeated in disgust.

"Time Rift danger central," Rose grinned, thinking of all the memories here... Actually... she wasn't so sure why she like Cardiff so much. There weren't actually many happy memories. Her first argument with the Doctor, when he told her more or less to go home. Gwyneth. The Gelth. That terrifying earthquake. Nearly being strangled to death. Her argument with Mickey. Losing him... and that feeling that she knew he would never forgiver her completely for what she had done to him...

"Ah, but the thing about Cardiff is," the Doctor said, snapping her back, "that it's built on a rift in time and Space. Just like California and the San Andreas Fault. The rift bleeds energy. every now and then I need to open up the engines, soak up the energy and use it as fuel."

"So, it's pit stop," Martha said, sounding much happier.

"Exactly."

"Wait a minute. They had an earthquake in Cardiff a couple of years ago. Was that you?"

"Yep," Rose said brightly.

"Bit of trouble with the Slitheen," the Doctor said.

"A bit? Those things just kept coming back. And then we had to go to Raxacoricofallapatorius! That place was freaky!"

"Long time ago," the Doctor continued. "Lifetimes. I was a different man back then."

"He means that literally too," Rose said to Martha.

"Finito. All powered up!" the Doctor said brightly when the TARDIS bleeped.

Rose looked at the monitor in time to see a figure running across the Plass towards them… A very familiar figure. It seemed that the Doctor had noticed too… and was panicking at the sight of their old friend. He immediately set the TARDIS to dematerialise, it was like he couldn't do it fast enough.

"What are you doing!" Rose cried in alarm. She reached over and pushed it back into neutral, but the Doctor growled and pushed it back almost immediately. "It's Jack!" she said.

Suddenly there was a crash, the console sparked, and everyone was thrown to the floor. Quickly, they all clung to the console and dragged themselves up slightly, still clinging on for dear life, since the TARDIS was still moving. And Rose could hear her, feel her. She was in pain and panicking.

"What was that?" Martha cried. The Doctor jumped up and put one foot up on the console to steady himself. He tried to look at the monitor but a shower of sparks fell down on him. Adjusting the screen he looked again.

"We're accelerating," the Doctor said. "Into the future. The year one billion. Five billion. Five trillion? Fifty trillion? What?! The year 100 trillion? That's impossible!"

"Why? What happens then?"

For a moment all he could do was open and close his mouth, a look of incredulity on his face. "We're going to the end of the universe," he said. There was another thud that threw them all on their butts, then the TARDIS was silent and still. "Well, we've landed." The Doctor got to his feet. The other two followed.

"So, what's out there?" Martha asked.

"I don't know," he said.

"What?!" Rose cried. "First time I've heard that!"

"Say that again. That's rare," Martha laughed nervously.

"Not even the Time Lords came this far. We should leave. We should go. We should really… go…" Suddenly he looked at Martha and a huge, cheeky grin lit up his face. In the next second, he was running for the door.

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Rose stood in the doorway as the other two continued out into the night air. They had landed in some distant, rocky wasteland. She shivered as the wind blew past her. She could feel how strange and stale it seemed. It was a cold clear night, yet looking up she saw no stars. Not one.

She was, however, distracted from the sight by a cry from ahead.

"Oh my god!" Martha said, rushing over to a body that was lying on the ground. Tears welled in Rose's eyes. Even though it was dark, and even from here, she could tell who it was. "Can't get a pulse. Hold on, you've got a medical kit thing!"

She ran back into the TARDIS, walking through Rose as she attempted to get out of the way. Rose stepped out of the TARDIS and walked till the pressure became too much. Then she just stood there, tears running silently down her cheeks.

"Hello again," the Doctor said blankly to the unconscious - or dead - Jack. "Oh, I'm sorry." Rose blinked in surprise hearing how the Doctor treated their old friend so indifferently.

"Here we go," Martha said, running back over with the small bag. She pushed the Doctor out of her way so she was at Jack's side faster. "Out of the way! It's a bit odd, though. Not very 100 trillion. That coat's more like World War II."

"It's is," Rose sniffed, wiping her eyes. "He loved that coat. You should have seen when the Doctor hid it from him!"

"I think he came with us," the Doctor said, still sounding very detached.

"How do you mean? From Earth?"

"Must have been clinging to the outside of the TARDIS, all the way through the Vortex… Well, that's very him."

"What? Do you know him?"

"Friend of mine. Use to travel with me, back in the old days."

"And that's how you treat old friends?" Rose muttered.

"But he's… I'm sorry, there's no heartbeat. There's nothing. He's dead."

Fresh tears had just started to leak from Rose's eyes when Jack suddenly sat up with a loud gasp. He grabbed onto Martha, who screamed at the unexpected contact. And for a second - a split second - Jack looked right at Rose. Actually looked at her.

Rose could see the confusion on his face, and see him mouth her name. Though, soon he was distracted by Martha.

"Oh, well, so much for me. It's alright. Just breathe deep. I've got you now."

"Captain Jack Harkness," he introduced himself to Martha. "And who are you?"

"Martha Jones."

"Nice to meet you, Martha Jones."

"Oh, don't start!" both Rose and the Doctor said at the same time. They both knew his antics all too well.

"I was just saying hello!" he protested.

"And for you, that's flirting," Rose giggled. She suddenly realised that Jack was somehow alive and began to giggle manically. She didn't understand what was going on.

"I don't mind," Martha said, helping Jack up. For a moment, Jack and the Doctor just stared at each other coldly.

"Doctor," Jack said.

"Captain," said the Doctor in the same tone.

"Good to see you."

"And you. Same as ever… although… have you had work done?"

"You can talk!" he cried. For a split second, the Doctor seemed confused, then he clicked.

"Oh, yes, the face. Regeneration. How did you know it was me?"

"The Police Box kind of gives it away," he replied, pointing to the box. Then his demeanour changed again, he became slightly more cold. Rose could tell that he had been through much since they had last seen him. "I've been following you for a long time. You abandoned me."

"What?!" Rose cried.

"Did I? Busy life. Moving on."

"Really?" she said in surprise. She didn't want to believe it was true… but the way the Doctor was talking…

"Just got to ask… The battle of Canary Wharf." Her heart dropped into her stomach. "I saw the list of the dead. It said Rose Tyler."

Rose saw the way that Martha's head swung to the Doctor in horrified surprise. The expression quickly changed when the Doctor corrected them, though.

"Oh, no! Sorry! She's alive!"

"You're kidding?!" Jack cried.

"Yes. He is. I'm dead," Rose said to thin air.

"Parallel world. Safe and sound. And Mickey! And her mother!"

"Oh yes!" Jack cried, running over to the Doctor and embracing him in happiness. They both laughed, and Rose looked down at the ground. They didn't know how wrong they were.

"Mickey and Mum, yeah… But not me. I'm here… I'm… probably a ghost." Tears pricked in her eyes as she looked at the two mean, celebrating in the false hope that she was okay. She couldn't stand it, so she turned to Martha.

Martha was standing not far off, looking down at the ground sadly. "Good old Rose," she said softly.

"So, we're here," the Doctor said, breaking apart from Jack. "At the end of the universe. What do you say we go look around?"

"Sounds like a plan to me," Jack said.

"No. No, it isn't a plan!" Rose said. "Jack, you've been away so long, don't you want to see the TARDIS? Come on, the TARDIS missed you. Come on guys, please don't leave!" Of course, none of them heard her, and none of them agreed anyway. There were mutual agreements on exploring, and the three off them walked away into the wasteland, talking like good old friends. "Fine… Okay, then," she said. "I'll - I'll just… be here…"


?…DW…?


It was hours later that Rose saw movement again. She knew that it wasn't the Doctor. It was a truck with a tank on the back. There were two people in it, and neither of them were anyone she knew. Carefully, she closed the door and hid in the TARDIS, hoping they would not stop.

As she listened at the door, she cursed as the truck slowed down and stopped. The two men talked a little, then the TARDIS began to shake as someone moved it.

"Crap!" she said. There was nothing she could do to stop them. When the Doctor came back, he would find that the TARDIS was gone, and he would panic. And she could do nothing… She was sick of not being able to help.

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So, with nothing else to do, she waited in the console room, till the shaking stopped, and she was finally still. She knew that nothing could get in, but it still felt like her duty to protect the TARDIS. It wasn't long till she was moved again a little. And no sooner had they stopped, the door burst open to reveal a grinning Doctor.

He rushed in, lifted some of the grating from the floor, grabbed a large cable out of it, and dashed back out again.

"Erm… I'm sorry, what's going on?" Rose said in confusion. It seemed that she had missed a lot.

"Extra power," he said gleefully to the people just outside. "Little bit of a cheat, but who's counting? Jack, you're in charge of the retro-feeds." Then he, Jack, and an old man got to work on some device. A few moments later, Martha walked into the room with a blue insect woman, both of their arms full.

"Oh, am I glad to see that thing!" Martha cried when she saw the TARDIS. There was a static charge to the air, and Rose could feel the TARDIS's annoyance at being refered to as a 'thing'.

Finally happy, at least to not be alone, Rose sat in the doorway of the open TARDIS and watched what everyone was doing. She watched as the Doctor compassionately listened to the old man, Professor Yana, and helped him to build a machine to escape.

This was what she'd missed. Helping people. Seeing the Doctor so happy as he did what he did best… She would gladly die a thousand times to see that.

.

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I think the saddest thing about how late I've posted this chapter, was that that I've had most of this done for a while. I was going to finish the episode, but then I realised it would be a VERY long chapter, so I decided to end it there.

Sorry it was a little slow, but I hope you liked it anyway.