Doomsday

The Daleks advanced upon Rose, Mickey, Rajesh, and the Professor, who seemed near having a panic attack.

"Daleks!" Rose shouted, the first thing that came to mind. The Daleks froze, "You're called 'Daleks,'" they didn't move. She tried to walk forward, but the Professor held her back, not willing to let her near them, "I know your name," Rose continued, making no move to step forward again, though she slowly took off her lab coat, "Think about it, how can I know that? A human...who knows about the Daleks. And the Time War. If you wanna know how, then keep us alive. That's all I'm asking. Me and my friends."

"Yeah, Daleks," Mickey nodded, "Time War. Me too," the Daleks' eye pieces swiveled around to look at him.

"Yeah," Rajesh added, "And me."

"You will be necessary," the first Dalek, whom the Professor recognized as Dalek Sec, stated, observing Rose for a moment before turning to Dalek Jast, "Report, what is the status of the Genesis Ark?"

"Status: hibernation," it reported.

"Commence awakening," Sec ordered.

"The Genesis Ark must be protected above all else," Dalek Thay agreed, turning to the Genesis Ark which had also emerged from the sphere, looking like a lump of metal in Dalek form. It clamped its suction arm to the side of the Ark.

"The Daleks," Mickey whispered to Rose, "You said they were all dead."

"Never mind that," Rose waved him, "What the hell's a Genesis Ark?" she looked over at the Professor who was shaking and quickly put her arm around the woman, trying to calm her down.

Though she hated to admit it, she was out of her depth here. If they had any chance at survival without the Doctor present, they would need the Professor focused and calm.

~8~

"What's down there?" Jackie turned to the Doctor who was leaning against the wall, trying to reach out to the Professor, "She was in that room with the sphere. What's happened to Rose?"

"She's alright," he promised, "Whatever's down there, the Professor is too. She'll protect Rose…she'll protect her…"

He swallowed hard, realizing he was coming close to breaking his promise, he'd promised himself since he was 10 and first met her that he would always protect her…bang up job he was doing so far.

Despite his words Jackie sniffled, still fearing for her daughter's life.

The Doctor walked over to her, "I'll find her. I'll find them both. I brought you here, I'll get you all out. You and your daughter. Jackie, look at me. Look at me," Jackie looked up at him, tears in her eyes, "I promise you. I give you my word."

A Cyberman approached them, heading straight for Yvonne who was sitting at her desk, "You will talk to your central world authority and order global surrender."

"Oh, do some research," she remarked, not seeming at all fearful, "We haven't GOT a central world authority."

"You have now. I will speak on all global wavelengths," the Doctor put on his 3D specs again as the Cyberman began to broadcast, "This broadcast is for human kind…

~8~

The Doctor, Jackie, Yvonne, and one of the Cybermen stood, observing the proceedings of the City below, watching as fires and explosions went off.

"I ordered surrender," the Cyberman stated.

"They're not taking instructions," the Doctor turned to him angrily, "Don't you understand? You're on every street, you're in their homes. You've got their children. Of course they're gonna fight!"

~8~

"Which of you is least important?" Sec turned to the small group.

"What's that supposed to mean?" Rose asked.

"Which of you is least important?"

"No. We don't work like that. None of us."

"Designate the least important!"

"This is my responsibility," Rajesh said quietly, taking a step forward.

"Don't," the Professor warned, having calmed down enough to at least be coherent.

Rajesh just ignored her and stood before the Daleks dejectedly, "I er…I represent the Torchwood Institute. Anything you need, you...come through me. Leave these three alone."

"You will kneel," Sec ordered.

"What for?"

"Kneel!" it shouted. Rajesh kneeled as three Daleks surrounded him, directing their eye stalks as one remained behind focused on Rose, Mickey, and the Professor, "The Daleks need information about current Earth history."

"Yeah, well, I can give you a certain amount of intelligence but nothing that will compromise Home Land security…"

"Speech is not necessary," Sec interrupted, "We will extract brainwaves," the three Daleks advanced upon him, positioning their suction arms around his head.

"Look away," the Professor whispered to Rose and Mickey.

"What?" Rose looked at her, startled, "Why?"

"Don't..." Rajesh pleaded, "I…I'll tell you everything you need!"

"Do it!" she reached out and turned them away with her.

"No!" Rajesh shouted, "No!"

He shouted out in agony as the Daleks literally crushed his skull between their suction arms. Rose and Mickey closed their eyes tight, trying to ignore his cries.

~8~

"Scans detect unknown technology active within Sphere Chamber," one of the Cybermen said suddenly as the Doctor looked up in concern.

"Cybermen will investigate," a second one agreed, before pushing a comm. device open, "Units 10-65 and 10-66 will investigate Sphere Chamber."

"We obey," came the reply.

~8~

The Daleks released Rajesh's blackened corpse, letting it fall to the ground.

"His mind spoke of a second species invading Earth, infected by the superstition of ghosts," Sec stated.

"You didn't need to KILL him!" Rose shouted.

"They kill what they don't need alive," the Professor muttered darkly.

"The female is correct," Dalek Caan stated.

"Dalek Thay, investigate outside," Sec ordered.

"I obey," Thay agreed, wheeling out.

Mickey looked over at the Professor who had moved past shock and into anger, "Couldn't you have stopped them?"

She shook her head, "They couldn't know I'm Time Lady. My knowledge could jeopardize everything if they absorbed it."

~8~

"Units open visual link," a Cyberman, the Cyberleader, ordered as the Doctor spotted a visual of the corridor appearing on Yvonne's laptop, "Visual contact established."

~8~

"Establish visual contact," Sec ordered, "Lower communications barrier."

A projection appeared on the sphere, showing the corridor from Thay's view as two Cybermen appeared, the trio watching.

~8~

The Doctor stared in horror as a Dalek appeared on screen.

"No…" he breathed.

"Identify yourselves," the Dalek demanded.

"You will identify first," one of the Cyberman replied.

"State your identity!"

"You will identify first."

"Identify!"

"...illogical, you will modify."

"Daleks do not take orders!"

"You have identified as Daleks."

"Outline resembles the INFERIOR species known as 'Cybermen,'" another Dalek voice spoke over the monitor.

The Doctor lost his breath, there were more of them.

"Rose said about the Daleks," Jackie whispered to the Doctor, "She was terrified of them. What have they done to her, Doctor? Is she dead?"

"The Professor wouldn't allow it," he shook his head, before closing his eyes.

"Oi!" Jackie smacked his arm, "Now's not the time to be napping!"

"Quiet," he hissed to her, putting his fingers on his temples, concentrating hard.

'Kata!' he nearly shouted.

'I'm here,' she replied after a moment, 'Rose and Mickey too.'

He let out a breath of relief, "She heard me," he looked over at Jackie, "Rose is alive," Jackie clapped her hand over her mouth, relieved, "Why haven't they killed her?"

He could understand why the Daleks might keep the Professor alive, scores of reasons not to kill her yet, but a human?

"Well, don't complain!" Jackie shouted.

"They must need her for something…they need one of them…which one will they keep alive…" he shook his head, not willing to think about that, and put on his 3D specs again, looking at the laptop, at the Dalek.

"Our species are similar, though your design is inelegant," a Cyber offered.

"Daleks have no concept of elegance," the Dalek replied.

"This is obvious. But consider, our technologies are compatible. Cybermen plus Daleks, together, we could upgrade the Universe."

"You propose an alliance?"

"This is correct."

"Request denied."

The Cybermen held out their fists, ready to attack, "Hostile elements will be deleted."

They shot at the Dalek, but the rays simply bounced off its armor, "Exterminate!"

The Dalek took aim and shot both Cybermen, one after the other, destroying them.

"Open visual link," the Cyberleader stated, tapping into the camera systems to open the view of the Sphere Chamber, "Daleks, be warned: you have declared war upon the Cybermen."

Jackie's eyes widened in horror, seeing Rose standing there off to the side, Mickey and the Professor there as well. The Doctor couldn't help but close his eyes in a moment of relief.

"This is not war," the main Dalek replied, "This is pest control."

"We have five million Cybermen. How many are you?"

"Four."

"You would destroy the Cybermen with FOUR Daleks?"

"We would destroy the Cybermen with ONE Dalek. You are superior in only one respect."

"What is that?" the Cyberleader asked just as the Doctor leaned around to glance at the screen.

"You are better at dying!" the Dalek shouted, "Raise communications barrier!"

The screen went blank.

~8~

"Wait!" Dalek Jast cried as the static appeared on screen, "Rewind image by nine rels," the feed played back, pausing to the moment the Doctor leaned over, "Identify grid seven gamma frame," it zoomed in, "This male registers as enemy."

Rose beamed.

Sec spun around and aimed his eye stalk at her, "The female's heartbeat has increased."

"Yeah, tell me about it," Mickey muttered.

"Identify him!"

"Alright then..." Rose smirked, "If you really wanna know...that's the Doctor," the Daleks rolled backwards sharply, "Five million Cybermen, easy. One Doctor? NOW you're scared."

The Daleks quickly turned away and began to guard the Ark.

"How come they haven't recognized you?" Mickey asked the Professor quietly as he eyed the Daleks, "You've got two hearts."

"I'm forcing them to beat one side at a time," she murmured, "It sounds more human."

"You can do that?" he looked at her, impressed.

"With effort," she smiled, "I'll have a bit of heart burn later though."

He just laughed.

~8~

"Quarantine the Sphere Chamber," the Cyberleader ordered, "Start emergency upgrading. Begin with these personnel."

Two Cybermen strode forward and grabbed Yvonne, dragging her and Jackie away as they struggled, "No, you can't do this!" Yvonne shouted, "We surrendered! We surrendered!"

They grabbed the Doctor, pulling him away when they stopped, "This one's increased adrenaline suggests he has vital Dalek information."

Jackie squirmed, struggling to get back to the Doctor, "You promised me! You gave me your word!"

"I'll think of something!" he shouted after her as she was dragged away. This was one of those times where he wished he had the Professor's knack for making plans at a snap of the fingers.

~8~

Dalek Thay entered the Sphere Chamber once more, "Cyber threat irrelevant. Concentrate on the Genesis Ark."

Sec turned to the Ark, pressing his suction arm to it.

"Why are we being kept alive?" Mickey asked Rose quietly.

She paused in thought a moment, "They might need me."

"Need us," the Professor corrected.

"What?" Mickey looked between them, "What is it?"

Rose just stared at the Daleks, fear in her eyes. The Professor reached out and took her hand, much like Rose had done for her.

~8~

The Doctor was sitting on the windowsill in silence, looking out at the City when the Cyberleader approached him, "You are proof."

"Of what?" he asked, not even looking at it.

"That emotions destroy you."

"Yeah, I am," he agreed, glancing at it, his attention being drawn just to the side, "Mind you, I quite like hope. Hope's a good emotion. And here it comes."

The Cyberleader followed his gaze to see a group of people, dressed in black suits, wearing gas masks, and carrying guns, appear out of thin air. One of them shouted to the others and they all shot at a row of Cybermen, destroying them immediately. The Doctor rolled out of the way and crouched down in the corner as the Cyberleader strode forward only to get its head blown off.

"Doctor, good to see you again!" the leader of the group shouted, pulling off his mask to reveal none other than Jake from the parallel world, "Where's your friend?" he grinned, "We gotta thank her for these guns!"

"Jake?" the Doctor gaped.

"The Cybermen came through from one world to another and so did we," he nodded as the Doctor looked at him, more concerned than pleased. Jake turned back to the team, "Defend this room. Chrissie, monitor communications," the Doctor quickly put his 3D glasses on and looked at the group, "Kill one Cyberleader and they just download into another. Move!"

The group hurried from the room as they were told, leaving the Doctor alone with Jake, "You can't just…just…just HOP from one world to another!" the Doctor exclaimed, "You CAN'T."

"We just did, with these," he chucked a large, yellow button on a chain over to the Doctor.

"But that's impossible. You can't have this sort of technology."

"We've got our own version of Torchwood. They developed it and these," he held up his gun, "Took a look at the Professor's device and replicated it. Do you wanna come and see?"

"No!" the Doctor shouted, but it was too late, Jake pushed the button.

They reappeared in the parallel world, standing in the same spot, in the same building, but it was dark and more abandoned. There were wires and equipment strewn all over the floor.

"Parallel Earth, parallel Torchwood," Jake explained, "Except we found out what the institute was doing and the people's republic took control."

"I've gotta get back," the Doctor turned to him, urgent, "The Professor's in danger. Rose is in danger. And her mother."

"That'd be Jackie," a voice said. The Doctor looked up, surprised, to see Pete Tyler enter the room flanked by two soldiers, "My wife in a parallel Universe. And as for you, Doctor, at least this time I know who you are."

The Doctor ran over to him, "Right, yes, fine, hooray. But I've gotta get back. Right now."

"No, you're not in charge here," Pete told him, a quiet authority in his voice, "This is our world, not yours. And you're gonna listen for once."

The Doctor had no choice but to fall silent.

~8~

Mickey glanced over at the Daleks surrounding the Genesis Ark before he pulled out a small, yellow button on a chain and showed it to Rose, "I could transport out of here, but it only carries one and I'm not leaving you. Either of you."

The Professor reached out and took the button, frowning as she scanned the tech inside it.

"You'd follow me anywhere," Roes remarked lightly, "What did I do to you all those years ago?"

"Guess I'm just stupid," Mickey shrugged before the Professor gave him a whack on the arm.

"Told you to stop saying that," she muttered, smiling at him just a bit.

Rose reached out and squeezed his hand as well, "You're the bravest man I've ever met."

"What about the Doctor?" Mickey asked.

"Oh, alright," Rose rolled her eyes, "Bravest human."

"I don't know," the Professor commented, "I think you might actually be the bravest man…alien, human, or otherwise…I've ever met."

He nearly beamed at that before laughing, "Well, I can't think what the Daleks need with me. I'm nothing to them."

"You could be..." Rose sighed, glancing over at them, "Whatever's inside that Ark is waking up and I've seen this happen before. The first time I saw a Dalek, it was broken. It was dying. But I touched it. The moment I did that...I brought it back to life. As the Doctor said...when you travel in time in the TARDIS, you soak up all this...um...background radiation. It's harmless, it's just there. But in the Time War, the Daleks evolved so they could use it as a power supply."

"I love it when you talk technical."

"That's not why they evolved," the Professor corrected lightly, earning a look from both Rose and Mickey, "They evolved so I couldn't destroy any more of them."

Mickey blinked, stunned by that remark, "And what happened then?"

She shook her head sadly, "I got more clever."

Rose nodded, "If the Daleks have got something inside that thing that needs waking up..."

"They need you," Mickey said, "The both of you."

"YOU'VE travelled in time," the Professor reminded him, "Any of us would do."

"But why would they build something they can't open themselves?"

"They didn't build it."

"Then who did?" Rose asked.

"The Time Lords," she answered, looking back at the Ark.

"What's inside?"

The Professor turned her gaze on Rose, "What would the last of any race want?"

"Their people back," Rose guessed before her eyes widened in horror, "It's filled with Daleks?"

"It's bigger on the inside," Mickey swallowed hard, "Isn't it?"

The Professor could only nod.

~8~

The Doctor pressed himself up against the white wall of the parallel Torchwood, as though he were trying to hear something.

"When you left this world," Pete explained, "You warned us there'd be more Cybermen. So we sealed them inside the factories."

The Doctor stepped away from the wall.

"Except people argued," Jake rolled his eyes, "Said they were living. We should HELP them."

"And the debate went on. But all that time, the Cybermen made plans. Infiltrated this version of Torchwood, mapped themselves onto your world, and then vanished."

"When was this?" he looked at them.

"Three years ago," Pete answered as they turned and walked back down the room.

"It's taken them three years to cross the Void. But we can pop to and fro in a second. Must be the sheer mass of five million Cybermen crossing all at once."

"Yeah, Mickey said you'd rattle off that sort of stuff."

"Oh, where is the Mickey-boy?" the Doctor glanced around as though Mickey would pop out.

"He went ahead first. Any chance to go and find Miss Rose Tyler."

"She's your daughter. You do know that? Did Mickey explain?"

"She's not mine, she's the child of a dead man," they came to a window, looking down on the world below, "Look at it. A world of peace. They're calling this 'The Golden Age.'"

"Who's the President now?"

"A woman called Harriet Jones."

The Doctor exhaled, "I'd keep an eye on her."

"But it's a lie. Temperatures have risen by two degrees in the past six months. The ice caps are melting. They're saying all this is gonna be flooded. That's not just global warming, is it?"

"No."

"It's the breach."

"I've been trying to tell you," the Doctor told him, seriously irked, "Travel between parallel worlds is impossible. Then the Daleks break down the walls with the sphere..."

"Daleks?"

"Then the Cybermen travelled across. Then you lot, those disks, every time you jump from one reality to another, you rip a hole in the Universe. This planet is starting to boil. Keep going and BOTH worlds will fall into the Void."

"But you can stop it, the famous Doctor...you can seal the breach?"

"Leaving five million Cybermen stranded on my Earth?" the Doctor raised an eyebrow.

"That's your problem. I'm protecting this world, and this world only."

The Doctor laughed softly at that, eyeing him, "Hm...Pete Tyler...I knew you when you were dead. Now here you are, fighting the fight...alone..." he took a step closer, "There is a chance...back on my world...Jackie Tyler might still be alive."

"My wife died."

"Her husband died. Good match."

"There's more important things at stake. Doctor...help us."

He took a step back, "What? Close the breach? Stop the Cybermen? Defeat the Daleks? Do you believe I can do that?"

"Well…" Pete trailed, "Maybe not just you…" the Doctor eyed him curiously, "That friend of yours, the Professor, she's helped us so much and she isn't even here…" he paused in thought, "The two of you…you can save everyone."

The Doctor smiled, "Maybe that's all I need…" his smile grew to a full blown grin, "Off we go, then!"

He slapped his button, the three of them appearing back in the invaded Torchwood. The Doctor slipped the button into his pocket and rushed to the phone, "First of all, I need to make a phone call. You don't mind?"

Jake turned to the soldiers, "You two, guard to door."

Pete watched as the Doctor hurriedly dialed Jackie's number on the phone, "Help me!" Jackie cried, answering, "Oh, my God, help me."

"Jackie, you're alive!" the Doctor breathed quickly, "Listen…"

"They tried to download me but I ran away!"

"Listen, tell me, where are you?"

"I don't know! Staircase."

"Yeah, which one? Is there any…any sort of sign? Anything to identify it?"

"Yes! A fire extinguisher!"

"Yeah, that helps..." he muttered sarcastically.

"Oh, wait a minute, it says 'N3!'"

"North corner, staircase 3. Just keep low, we're trying our best."

"No, don't leave me!"

"I've gotta go, I'm sorry," he hung up and turned to Pete, "Jacqueline Andrea Suzette Tyler."

"She's not my wife," Pete insisted.

"I was at the wedding," the Doctor said, pointing at him accusingly, "You got her name wrong," he moved to Jake's side, taking his gun off him, "Now then, Jake-y boy, if I can open up the bonding chamber on this thing, it could work on polycarbide."

"What's polycarbide?" Jake frowned.

"Skin of a Dalek," the Doctor answered, getting to work, "It won't nearly be as good as the Professor's…" he muttered as they watched him work, "The things she did to stop them…" he shook his head.

It was another thing she hadn't told him on Gallifrey, though now he understood her reasoning.

~8~

The Daleks backed away from the Genesis Ark, "Final stage of awakening!" Caan shouted.

"Your handprint will open the Ark," Sec turned to Rose.

"Well tough, 'cos I'm not doing it," Rose replied.

"Obey or they will die," the other Daleks turned their laser arms at Mickey and the Professor.

Rose quickly moved towards the Ark, "I can't let them."

"Rose, don't," Mickey called, running after her.

'Theta?' the Professor called out.

"Place your hand upon the casket," Sec ordered.

"Alright!" Rose shouted, turning to the Ark, "You're gonna kill us anyway, so what the hell?"

'Kata!' he shouted, 'We're on our way just…'

Rose paused a moment and turned to the Dalek, moving to stand right in front of it, "If you um...escaped the Time War...don't you want to know what happened?"

'There's not enough time,' she cut in, 'They'll kill Rose and Mickey. I have to stop them.'

"Place your hand…" Sec began to repeat.

"What happened to the Emperor?" Rose finished.

'Kata don't,' he pleaded, 'Please…just…just a little longer and we'll…'

"The Emperor survived?" Sec nearly gasped.

"'Til he met me..." Rose smirked.

'I need you to promise me one more thing,' she interrupted again.

"'Cos if these are gonna be my last words, then you're gonna listen."

'Don't do this,' he nearly begged.

"I met the Emperor."

'Take Rose to all the places we ever talked about, yeah?' she asked, blinking back tears, 'To meet Shakespeare. To visit Rome. To see Venice…'

"And I took the Time Vortex and I pulled it into his head and turned him into dust."

'Kata…'

"Do you get that?"

'Promise me,' she insisted.

"The God of all Daleks...and I destroyed him," Rose gave him a gloating smile and laughed in his stalk.

'I will,' he agreed.

"You will be EXTERMINATED!" Sec cried furiously.

"Kill her and I will destroy the lot of you!" the Professor shouted, stepping forward.

The Daleks spun to face her, to see who had threatened them, "Daleks do not take threats!" Sec shouted, all of them moving their laser arms at her.

She swallowed hard, "Think about it," she cut in, eyeing them, "The Cult of Skaro destroyed."

The Daleks fell silent a moment, "How do you know who we are?"

"How else?" she asked, allowing her hearts to resume their normal rhythm.

"Time Lady!" Caan screeched.

"That's right. I know who you are, just like I know what that is," she nodded at the Ark, "And how to destroy it!"

"Protect the Ark!" Sec shouted, "Exterminate!"

"Oh now, hold on, wait a minute," a voice said from behind them.

They turned to see the Doctor standing in the doorway, looking just a bit out of breath as he had run halfway there.

"Alert, alert, you are the Doctor!" Sec scanned.

The Doctor just sauntered into the room, his eyes locked on the Professor's through his 3D specs.

'Don't you dare do that ever again,' he threatened her lightly, 'Never ever!'

She smiled lightly at him, 'Never say 'never ever,'' she repeated his words back at him.

"Sensors report he is unarmed," one of the Daleks assessed.

"That's me," he grinned, "Always."

"Then you are powerless," Sec stated.

"Not me," he shook his head, taking off his specs with a flourish, "Never. Neither is she come to think of it," he nodded at the Professor before glancing at Rose, "How are you?"

She grinned widely, "Oh, same old, you know."

"Good!" the Doctor smiled, "And Mickity-McMickey!" he held out his fist, bashing it with Mickey's, "Nice to see ya!"

"And you, boss," Mickey nodded.

"And you…" he turned to the Professor, holding an accusing finger at her, "We are gonna talk about this later."

She just grabbed his finger and pushed it down.

"Social interaction will cease!" Jast shouted.

"How did you survive the Time War?" Sec asked the Doctor, more concerned with their enemy than the random Time Lady.

"By fighting," he stated, "On the front line," Mickey looked over at him, shocked, never having thought of the Doctor as a real fighter, "I was there at the fall of Arcadia. Someday I might even come to terms with that," he shook his head lightly, "Gotta say though…the sight of thousands of Daleks imploding in on themselves, showering us Time Lords in falling debris and burning flesh…" he shuddered, "Doesn't that make you wonder what could have created that much devastation in a single moment?" the Daleks were silent. The Doctor let out a feral grin and pulled the Professor forward by the finger she was still holding, his hand moving to the small of her back, "Let me introduce to you, the Professor."

The Daleks quickly backed away from them, Mickey was shocked to see it was quite a bit more distance for her than the mention of the Doctor.

"And that wasn't the first time I took you out in vast numbers," the Professor eyed them, she hated it when the war was brought up. It just reminded her of what she had done, what she had become. The Academics...they were forced to fight, to stand against the enemy, to take action. It had been, she believed, one of the reasons she was so reluctant to tell Rose off in this body. She'd been forced to defend herself when she didn't want to and now, she just didn't want confrontation at all. It was hard, because it hurt, Rose could be very barbing when she wanted to be, but she couldn't seem to muster the will to fight back, not after being forced to for her life.

"Your fellow Daleks," she shook her head, returning to the matter at hand, the Daleks that surrounded them, "Destroyed by a single simple device…"

'Which was?' the Doctor egged.

'A DNA seeking sort of ray gun,' she replied, 'Keyed into Dalek DNA since they shared the same. It sought them out, passed through them, destroying them from the inside out.'

She shook her head, "But you lot, you ran away, you abandoned them!"

"We had to survive," Sec argued.

"The last four Daleks in existence," the Doctor eyed them, "So what's so special about YOU?"

"The Cult of Skaro," the Professor stated.

Rose nodded, "They've got names."

"I am Dalek Thay."

"Dalek Sec."

"Dalek Jast."

"Dalek Caan."

"So THAT'S it!" the Doctor nodded as though it all made sense now, "At last...the Cult of Skaro. I thought you were just a legend."

"I wish they were," the Professor muttered.

"Who are they?" Rose frowned, the Professor hadn't really mentioned what the four Daleks were till just before.

"A secret order," she explained as the Doctor strolled past the Daleks, observing them as they cautiously edged back from him, "Above and beyond the Emperor himself. Their job was to imagine. Think as the enemy thinks. Even dared to have names. All to find new ways of killing."

"Oh, ho, ho," the Doctor smiled, seeming to catch sight of the Ark, "What is this beauty?"

"You don't know?" Rose frowned, the Professor had recognized it so easily, "It's Time Lord."

"Both sides had secrets," he shrugged.

"It's a Prison Ship," the Professor explained, "Meant to hold millions of Daleks in stasis."

The Doctor spun to face her, stunned, "How do you know?"

"Because the Academics built it."

~/~\~

"...just a bit more..." she muttered, her hands shaking as she tweaked the wires behind the final casing, "Got it!"

She glanced up to see the other Academics letting out a breath of relief at her success. It had taken them ages to build, hours of planning, sneaking around, constructing in secret...but it was finally done. A way to end the war without bloodshed!

"It's brilliant!" someone breathed, the joy among them actually palpable.

"The skematics are genius!" another cheered.

She couldn't help but smile, seeing the fruition of her plans. A Prison Ship, one that could hold millions, if not billions, of Daleks within them, trapping them indefinitely. All they had to do was capture just a single Dalek for its DNA and the Prison Ship would literally suck in all Daleks within a 13 mile radius and seal them away.

Suddenly...someone behind them started clapping.

They spun around to see President Rassilon himself in the doorway to their meager rooms, basically rows of enlarged bookshelves with a single blanket for each of them.

"It IS brilliant, isn't it?" Rassilon smirked, eyeing the device as he walked closer, the Academics parting to give him a clear path, "Whose idea was this?" he looked up at them, they tensed, clearly they had noticed his body language was nothing at all like his words implied, they saw him as tense, angry, dangerous...and well they should.

They kept glancing at each other, not wanting to reveal that she had organized the whole thing. From the skematics, to the collection of parts, to getting them all on board and working on it, keeping it from their overseers...

"Tell me!" he shouted, a rage in his voice. This was not what they were meant to be doing. They were meant to be building weapons! Training to use them! Learning to be soldiers! Not hiding away, building Prison Ships. The Daleks had to be destroyed! Not imprisoned!

He glared at them, "Tell me now and I shall be lenient..." still they were silent, "Oh, not to the one who is responsible for this," he gestured at the device, "I shall be lenient to the rest."

They tensed, knowing what that meant. It would be hell for them all. Increased training, less food, less sleep, brutal beatings for failure, harsher punishments for the most miniscule of mistakes...and that was for everyone but the creator of the device and only if they revealed themself.

She swallowed hard and stepped forward, she couldn't let the others be punished for her doing.

Rassilon turned to her, "My Lady Professor," he sneered, "I should have expected this," before reaching out and grabbing her by the neck with his gauntleted hand, electrocuting her terribly. She fell to the floor, panting, as two other Time Lords ran into the room, grabbing her and dragging her to the door.

"Get this out of here!" Rassilon shouted, nodding at the Prison Ship.

"What shall we do with the device?" one of the Time Lords asked, pushing it out.

"Store it away," he decided, "Perhaps it shall prove useful in the final stage of their training..."

"Yes sir," the Time Lord departed, disappearing down a hall with her device.

He turned to glare at her, "Take her to the Core!" he ordered the Time Lords.

She let out a sob at that as she was dragged down the hall, Rassilon following. The Core was a specially devised room meant to test them, push them. At times it cut off all senses, at others flooded them. It went from frigidly cold, to the point where, after only a minute, to move hurt, to blisteringly hot where you could scarcely breathe. And it kept changing, it always changed, hot to cold, dry to flooded, radiation levels increasing, air depleting...it was meant to condition them for the extremes...but also to punish them to within an inch of regeneration.

"Shall we set the levels up to maximum?" one of the scientists who controlled the Core asked as they approached the dreaded door.

"No," Rassilon answered a moment later, "Not yet...this one..." he eyed her, reaching forward to take her face in his hands, squeezing her cheeks as he appraised her, "This one is different...special..." he shoved her back, "She single-handedly convinced thousands of Academics to work on this little project of hers, built it in secret, kept it's creation from us till only recently, giving away no outward hints about its construction..." he smirked at her, "She will be something entirely new..."

And then she was shoved into the scorching hot room, burning the palms of her hands as she fell to the blazing floor...

~/~\~

She shook her head from the memories, she would not tell the Doctor the Prison Ship was HER creation, he did not need to know the extent of what the High Council had done to her for it.

"Before our training was complete," she continued, "We didn't want genocide. We thought we could capture them and just lock them away."

He nodded slowly. He knew what she meant by the completion of training. They carried things over from one life to the next and when the Academics finished their training, all their new military learnings and skills were the freshest thing in memory. The High Council had authorized a forced regeneration on all Academics who completed the program, literally killing them to make them regenerate into the perfect, cold, warriors.

That had been the Professor he'd encountered during the War.

He had looked up during the Battle of Arcadia to see her standing on the ledge of a small mountain, a device in her hand. As his fellow Time Lords cheered their victory he'd tried to make his way towards her, only to be stopped by some of the few friends he'd managed to make in his platoon. They'd explained what had happened to the Academics, to her. He'd snuck out later and gone to find her, coming face to face with a hardened version of his friend, lacking almost any and all of the compassion and life he knew her for. But deep underneath, it was still his Kata. He'd only gotten to spend a few hours with her before she'd been extracted and moved to another ongoing battle as all Academics were.

He'd found out...just before he'd decided to stop the war...that she was the last Academic left, the others had fallen but, somehow, she had survived, surpassed all of them, truly been the best of the best…

And he knew it killed her to be that way…

"Time Lord science will restore Dalek supremacy," Dalek Sec cheered, pulling him back to the present.

"They said one touch from a time traveler will wake it up," Rose warned the Doctor.

The Professor nodded, "It was a failsafe, to use technology involving the one thing a Dalek can't do."

"Touch," he realized, "Sealed inside your casing. Not feeling anything...ever...from birth to death, locked inside a cold, metal cage," he leaned forward to whisper to the Dalek, "Completely alone. And that explains your voice. No wonder you scream."

"The Doctor will open the Ark!" Sec shouted, none of the Daleks even wanting to attempt forcing the Professor.

The Doctor laughed contemptuously, "The Doctor will not."

"You have no way of resisting."

"Well...you got me there. Although there is always this," he pulled out the sonic.

"A sonic probe?"

The Professor actually snorted with laughter at that. Despite the situation, and the fact that she couldn't seem to stop shaking despite her bravado, to hear the Doctor's beloved screwdriver called a probe…

"That's 'screwdriver,'" he corrected, offended.

"It is harmless," Sec stated scornfully.

"Oh yes. Harmless is just the word. That's why I like it. Doesn't kill, doesn't wound, doesn't maim. But I'll tell you what it does do, it is VERY good at opening doors."

He flicked it on and the doors exploded inwards. Jake, his men, and Cybermen leapt into action, firing their guns and lasers at the Daleks.

"Delete!" the Cybermen called, "Delete! Delete! Delete!"

"Alert!" Caan shouted, "Casing impact, casing impact!"

The Doctor, Mickey, Rose, and the Professor flung themselves to the ground, trying to avoid the guns.

"Get out!" the Doctor shouted.

Rose made for the door but stumbled only to be helped to her feet by Pete.

"Fire power insufficient!" Sec cried, "Fire power insufficient!"

They made for the door, Mickey grabbing a gun and firing to cover them.

"Daleks will be deleted," the Cybermen cried, "Delete! Delete!"

The Doctor and the Professor met up with Rose and Pete at the doorway, safe, "Mickey, come on!" Rose shouted.

"Adapt to weaponry!" Thay ordered.

"Fire power restored!" Sec shouted.

The Daleks fired at the Cybermen, immediately destroying them as Jake managed to reach the door as well, all of them calling for Mickey who fell but dashed towards them a moment later.

"Cybermen primary target," Sec called.

The rest of Jake's men managed to slip through the door before the Doctor and Professor pushed it closed, sealing both the Daleks and Cybermen inside.

They turned and ran down the hall, "Jake, check the stairwell," the Doctor called, "The rest of you, come on!"

"I just fell," Mickey shouted as they ran, basically telling them that he'd touched the Ark, "I didn't mean it!"

"Mickey, without us, they'd have opened it by force."

"To do that, they'd have blown up the sun," the Professor added.

"You've done us a favor!" the Doctor kissed the top of Mickey's head before reaching out and taking the Professor's hand, "Now, run!"

"You will be upgraded!" they heard a Cyberman say from down around the corner.

They were about to turn around when they heard someone whimper, "No, but you can't!"

"Mum!" Rose called, dashing off with the rest of the group. They skid around the corner to see Jackie cowering before two Cybermen.

"Please…" she begged.

Suddenly Pete strode forward and grabbed Mickey's gun, firing at the Cybermen. They fell down, dead, to reveal Jackie standing there through the smoke. She squinted through the cloud, not sure who they were, when it cleared…

"Pete!" she breathed, her eyes on her husband, completely ignoring everyone else.

"Hello, Jacks," he smiled.

"I said there were ghosts, but that's not fair. Why him?"

"I'm not a ghost."

"But you're dead. You died twenty years ago, Pete."

The Doctor stepped forward tentatively, attempting to explain, "It's Pete from a different Universe. There are parallel worlds, Jackie. Every single decision we make creates a parallel existence, a different dimension where…"

He was pulled back suddenly by the Professor who was just shaking her head at him…he was an inch away from ruining the moment. He nodded and stepped back to her side, watching.

"Oh...you look old," Jackie breathed, still looking at Pete.

"You don't," he replied.

"How can you be standing there?"

"Just got lucky...lived my life. You were left on your own. You didn't marry again, or..."

"There was never anyone else. Twenty years, though. Look at me, I never left that flat. Did nothing with myself."

"Brought HER up," Pete nodded back at Rose, "Rose Tyler. That's not bad."

"Yeah," Jackie agreed in a whisper.

"In my world, it worked. All those daft little plans of mine. They worked. Made me rich."

"I don't care about that," she said, before pausing a moment, "How rich?"

"Very."

"I don't care about that," she decided, "How very?"

He laughed, "Thing is though, Jacks, you're...you're not my wife. I'm sorry, but you're not. I mean, we both..." Jackie nodded as he looked at her, fighting it, "You know, it's just sort of..." he tossed down the gun, giving in, "Oh, come here!" they ran towards each other, Jackie crying as she ran, until they both met in a huge hug where Pete swept her off her feet.

The Professor smiled fondly at them, Rose was lucky, so lucky to have parents like that.

~8~

The Doctor opened the door to the factory floor to see the battle between Cybermen and Daleks taking place within. He moved, about to dive into the room when he was suddenly pulled backwards.

"Oh no you don't," the Professor said, moving to take his place by the door.

"But…" he began.

"No," she told him firmly, "I've got far more experience than you at dodging and avoid that mess…" she nodded towards the door. He frowned at her. She sighed, "Training involved avoiding lasers, not just laser fields but bullets as well."

His expression morphed into one of sad understanding. She nodded, taking a breath before turning and rushing into the room. He immediately turned to the door, Rose looking over his shoulder, watching as she jumped back, avoiding a beam before doing some sort of roll to avoid another shot just overhead, pushing herself up onto her hands and springing over another bolt before reaching the box. She quickly grabbed the Magnaclamps and ran back, jumping over a beam before sliding towards the doors on her knees, the Doctor helping her up as Rose shut the door.

"Again," the Doctor muttered, taking one of the clamps, "I'm so sorry you can do that."

She just let out a breath, trying to make him feel better, "...it's a bit fun actually."

He laughed at her trying to make light of the situation for his sake, "Oh!" he shouted, pulling his 3D specs out, "Just a tick…" he turned and opened the doors, glancing out quickly at the fight.

Rose turned and peered over his shoulder just as the roof started to open, "What're they doing?" she asked as Sec started to rise with the Ark, "Why'd they need to get outside?"

"It needs a wide area to activate," the Professor explained, "At least 13 square miles."

The Doctor nodded, quickly running off with the group.

~8~

They stood in Yvonne's office, looking up as Sec rose with the Ark which slowly opened, spinning as it shot out Dalek after Dalek.

The Cybermen in the street stopped and began to fire their weapons up into the air at the Daleks who were unaffected and began to retaliate, causing mass chaos and destruction everywhere.

"I'm sorry, but you've had it," Pete shook his head, turning away from the window, "This world's gonna crash and burn. There's nothing we can do. We're going home. Jacks, take this," he tossed her one of the buttons.

"But they're destroying the City!" Jackie cried.

"I'd forgotten you could argue," he commented affectionately, looping the button around her neck himself, "It's not just London, it's the whole world," he took her face in his hands, making her look at him, "But there's another world, just waiting for you, Jacks. And it's safe. As long as the Doctor closes the breach. Doctor?"

The Doctor turned away from the window with his 3D specs and a big grin on, "Oh, I'm ready. I've got the equipment right here. Thank you, Torchwood!" he dashed over to a computer the Professor was standing at checking the numbers, she nodded and he smiled, "Slam it down and close off both Universes."

"Reboot systems," the computer announced.

"But we can't just leave!" Rose argued, "What about the Daleks? And the Cybermen?"

The Doctor stood up, "They're part of the problem. And THAT makes them part of the solution. Oh yes!" Rose laughed nervously at that, "Well? Isn't anyone gonna ask? What is it with the glasses?"

Rose grinned, "What is it with the glasses?"

"I can SEE! That's what! 'Cos we've got two separate worlds, but in between the two separate worlds, we've got the Void. That's where the Daleks were hiding. And the Cybermen travelled through the Void to get here! And you lot, one world to another, via the Void! Oh, I like that. Via the Void! Look!" he turned and pressed the glasses onto Rose's face, "I've been through it. Do you see?"

He dodged around so Rose could see, with the aid of the glasses, that he was surrounded by floating green and red particles. She reached out to try and touch them.

"Reboot in three minutes."

"What is it?" Rose asked.

"Void Stuff," he replied as the Professor shook her head at him, he knew exactly what it was called and chose not to use the proper words.

"Like um...background radiation!" Rose guessed.

"That's it. Look at the others," Rose turned to look at Jake, Mickey, Jackie, and Pete, catching sight of the Professor off to the side by the computer. All of them, save her mother, were surrounded by the particles, "The only one who hasn't been through the Void, your mother. First time she's looked normal in her life."

Rose laughed as her mother cried out with an indignant, "Oi!"

The Doctor turned and dashed to the white wall, Rose following.

"The Daleks lived inside the Void," the Professor explained to Jackie and the rest of them, the Doctor and Rose hearing her as well, "They're bristling with it. Cybermen, all of them."

"We just open the Void," the Doctor called, "End of verse. The Void Stuff gets sucked back inside."

"PULLING them all in!" Rose cried, enthusiastic.

"Pulling them all in!"

"Sorry..." Mickey shook his head, "What's…what's the Void?"

"The dead space between worlds," the Professor explained.

"Some people call it 'Hell,'" the Doctor threw in.

"So..." Mickey looped the button around his neck, "You're sending the Daleks and Cybermen to Hell," he grinned and turned to Jake, "Man, I told you he was good."

"But it's...like you said, we've ALL got Void Stuff," Rose said, looking down at herself with the glasses, seeing the particles there as well, "Me too, 'cos we went to that parallel world," she pulled them off and looked up at him, "We're all contaminated. We'll get pulled in."

"That's why you've gotta go," the Doctor told her.

"Reboot in two minutes."

Rose just stared at him, uncomprehending, "Back to Pete's world," he added, pointing at Pete, "Hey, we should call it that, 'Pete's World.'"

"We can only open the Void on this side," the Professor called, getting Rose to look at her.

"You'll be safe on that side," the Doctor agreed as Rose turned back to him.

"And then you close it?" Pete asked, looking between the Doctor and the Professor, "For good?"

"The breach itself is soaked in…" the Professor sighed, "'Void Stuff…'" she shook her head, "In the end, it'll close itself."

"And that's it," the Doctor finished, "Kaput."

"But you stay on THIS side..." Rose said quietly, realizing exactly what he was talking about, "The both of you?"

"But you'll get pulled in," Mickey frowned, turning more to the Professor than the Doctor.

The Doctor held Rose's gaze for a moment before running over to the desk the Professor had been working at, where they had placed the Magnaclamps. Rose stayed put, looking as though she'd been slapped across the face.

"That's why...we got these," he patted the clamps, "We'll just have to hold on tight," he cast a glance at the Professor, "I've been doing it all my life."

He frowned in thought, turning to the Professor fully, "You've got to go through too."

"No," she said, not even looking up from the computer.

"Look," he walked over to her, putting his hand on her shoulder to get her to face him, "If anything went wrong, if it doesn't work, you'd be trapped here."

"No."

"With the Cybermen! With the Daleks!"

The Professor just put her hand on his right heart, startling him. She looked up into his eyes as he slowly placed his hand on her heart as well, both of them moving their hands to grip the other's, their handshake, "We promised," he blinked at her words, "And you've come far too close to breaking it too many times."

He nodded slowly, recalling the first promise they had ever made each other during a school trip to see a star being born, that they would never leave the other, and if, for any reason at all, they were forced to, nothing would stop them from returning to the other.

"And you know very well that the parallel world can't handle even one of us," she reminded him quietly.

"So…she's staying here," Rose began, swallowing hard, "And I'm supposed to go."

The Doctor turned around to face her, letting the Professor get back to her work at the computer, "Yeah."

"To another world, and then it gets sealed off. While you and her stay here?"

"Yeah."

The Professor looked down, the Doctor hadn't seemed to notice it, but she certainly did. Rose would have much rather she go to the other world instead, let Rose stay here with the Doctor. But it couldn't work. That world…it had no Time Lords. None. She had felt it when they were stuck there, all of them had died in the war in that world. If one of them permanently slipped through, it would upset the balance, throw the Universe into chaos. They both had to stay here, though Rose may doubt it. She didn't blame the girl either…

The Doctor walked around the desk to stand beside her, looking at the program over her shoulder.

"Forever," Rose laughed at the absurdity of it, "That's not gonna happen."

There was a crash outside that shook the building.

"We haven't got time to argue, the plans works, we go in," Pete stated, taking charge, "You too. ALL of us."

"No, I'm not leaving him!" Rose shouted angrily.

"I'm not going without her," Jackie stepped toward her daughter.

"Oh, my God," Pete scoffed, "We're GOING."

"I've had twenty years without you, so button it. I'm not leaving her."

"You've GOT to," Rose turned her mother around.

"Well, that's tough!"

"Mum..."

"Reboot in one minute."

The Professor looked up at the Doctor as he gazed sadly at Rose while she faced her parents.

"I've had a life with you for nineteen years," Rose continued, her voice soft and choked with tears, "But then I met the Doctor and...all the things I've seen him do for me. For you. For all of us. For the whole...stupid planet and every planet out there. He did it alone, mum."

The Professor reached out, taking the Doctor's hand as he watched Rose give up her family with a terrible sadness in his eyes. She sighed, pulling up a piece of yellow post it and sticking it to the table before him. The Doctor looked down, seeing the color, and looked down at his pocket. He slowly pulled the button out.

"But not anymore," Rose continued, stepping back from Jackie, unaware that the Doctor was quietly moving towards her, unaware of the button her father was pulling out of his jacket as well, "'Cos now he's got me," the Doctor dropped the chain around her neck, "What're you…"

Pete quickly pressed the button and they all disappeared…

They quickly got to work checking the clamps when...a moment later...

Rose reappeared, "I think this is the on switch..."

The Doctor looked up to see her standing there again and strode towards her. He grabbed her roughly by the shoulders, stooping so he could look her straight in the eyes, "Once the breach collapses, that's it. You will never be able to see her again. Your own mother!"

"I made my choice a long time ago," Rose said calmly, though her voice trembled, "And I'm never gonna leave you," he stared at her, stunned, and backed away, "So what can I do to help?"

"Systems rebooted. Open access."

"You can start by thinking about this," the Professor stepped forward. Rose opened her mouth to argue but the Professor kept going, "You will lose your entire family Rose, your family. Once they're lost…they will never come back."

She swallowed hard, trying so hard to keep from outright yelling at the girl. To have a family, an actual family…one that loved her, parents that loved each other and loved her, and she knew Pete loved Rose, ones that would be there for her, protect her…to give that up willingly…it made her angrier than she could remember feeling in a long time.

"I know," Rose said.

The Professor blinked and shook her head, "I can't even look at you right now," and with that, she turned and grabbed a Magnaclamp, moving to set it up against the wall.

Rose's mouth dropped open in shock at the Professor's words and she looked at the Doctor for some sort of comfort, but he said nothing, just turned and grabbed the other clamp. Even he didn't agree with her decision. His entire family was dead, he would give anything to have them back, and Rose was willingly walking into the same situation.

"What can I do?" Rose asked again.

The Doctor tensed, closing his eyes before calling over his shoulder, not even looking at her, "Those coordinates by the computer, set them all at six," Rose nodded slowly and moved to do as he said, "And hurry up," he added, almost angrily.

She flinched and leaned over the computer, taking her button off and tossing it aside.

~8~

"We've got Cybermen on the way up," Rose called as the Doctor and Professor finished with the clamps.

"How many floors down?" the Doctor asked.

"Just one," she swallowed, staring at the image of the metal men marching up the stairwell.

"We need to hurry," the Professor called, running over to the computer Addy had used and typing in a command.

"Levers operational," the computer announced.

The Doctor grinned but Rose said nothing.

"Get to the clamps," he called to Rose, dashing off to the clamp on the left, leaving Rose to take the one on the right. She assumed the Professor would join the Doctor…which was why she was startled when the Professor moved to stand beside her.

She looked up questioningly and the Professor only sighed, "I made a promise."

"When it starts, just hold on tight," the Doctor called over at them, "Shouldn't be too bad for us but the Daleks and the Cybermen are steeped in Void Stuff. Are you ready?"

They nodded, Rose glancing over to the window to see Daleks flying towards them, fast, "So are they."

"Let's do it!" he shouted.

He ran to his lever, pushing it up as Rose and the Professor tackled theirs, running to take hold of the clamps.

"Online."

The area filled with a white light once again, though this time a strong wind also blew around them. Moments later the Daleks were sucked through the window, smashing through the glass as they were pulled into the light and back into the Void. Rose and the Professor held tight to their clamp as did the Doctor, all of them struggling to hold on.

"The breach is open!" the Doctor shouted over the wind, "Into the Void! Ha!"

Rose smiled as Cybermen flew through the room along with the Daleks. Suddenly...there was a small explosion and sparks shot out of the lever on their side, the lever moving back into the off position.

"Offline."

"Turn it on!" the Doctor shouted.

Rose moved to try and reach for the clamp as the suction started to ease but the Professor grabbed her arm and put it back on the clamp. A moment later she let go, falling into the lever. Rose looked over at the Doctor who was watching the Time Lady, eyes full of dread, as she struggled to get the lever up again.

"Don't!" he yelled.

"We've gotta get it upright!" she called back, groaning with effort as she pushed.

"You won't be able to hold on!"

The Professor ignored him and just managed to get the lever back into place.

"Online and locked."

The suction increased once more, only this time the Professor was barely managing to hold onto the lever.

"No!" the Doctor shouted, "Hold on!"

"I am!" she screamed.

"I…I'll think of something!" he promised, "Just, please, hold on!"

She struggled to do so, but the force of the suction was making it near impossible, she winced and cried out in effort, "Doctor…" she gasped, looking at him over her arms, "I…" and in one split moment...she glanced over at Rose...before looking down and away from the Doctor, crying out as the wind made her twist, her knuckles turning white, trying to keep her grip. And in that single second, Rose realized...the Professor had been about to tell the Doctor she loved him in case she slipped away…which seemed a very real possibility...

But she hadn't…

For Rose…

"HOLD ON!" the Doctor screamed, actually reaching out towards her.

"Grab on!" Rose shouted, her heart pounding in her throat as she watched the Time Lady struggle and the Doctor grow more fearful. She reached out to the woman, wanting to pull her back to the clamp.

"Rose don't!" the Professor looked up at her, tears in her eyes from the force of the wind, "Hang on to the clamp!"

"Reach!"

"Rose, don…" before the Professor could even finish, Rose's other hand slipped off the clamp. The Doctor shouted as she flew towards the Void, when she suddenly found herself suspended.

She looked up to see the Professor had grabbed her hand and was now trying to hold onto the lever with one hand as she also tried to keep Rose from being sucked in with the other.

The Professor moaned, her strength nearly spent and fading fast as she tried to hang. The Doctor watched in absolute horror and terror, utterly powerless to help.

"…not again…" he breathed, shaking his head.

Somehow, Rose had heard his whisper and looked up to see him looking not at her, but at the Professor.

The Professor grunted, jolting as her hand began to slip, her fingers just barely hanging on. She wouldn't last much longer.

And Rose made her decision.

The Professor was wrong.

The Doctor would be sad to lose her, yes, but he'd be heartbroken if he lost the Professor again, and to lose the two of them to the Void…

She reached up to the Professor's hand holding her own, snapping the Professor's gaze to her, "What are you…" the Professor began, but Rose just grabbed the woman's fingers and started to pry them away, "Rose no!"

But the Time Lady was powerless to stop her as Rose pried her fingers away, pulling her hand out of her grasp so she was holding onto the woman's wrist herself. She looked up at the Professor before closing her eyes and letting go.

"No!" she could hear the Professor shout at the same time as the Doctor called, "Rose!"

She felt herself pulled towards the Void when suddenly...

She crashed into something.

She opened her eyes to see her father had caught her a moment before she reached the breach. She looked back at the Doctor moments before Pete hit the button, disappearing.

And a second later, the breach closed.

The Doctor ran to the wall, laying his hand on it, palm flat against it before leaning against it, as though he might feel Rose on the other side…he rested his head against it a moment, absorbing everything that had happened when…

He heard a small, stifled sob. He lifted his head and looked back to see the Professor had collapsed near the lever, curling in on herself, her hand pressed against her mouth, eyes screwed shut, as though trying to keep quiet.

He slowly stood up and walked over to her, kneeling beside her. He placed a hand on her shoulder but she flinched away, "I'm sorry…" she sobbed, her voice thick with tears, "I tried to hold on…I tried…I'm sorry…I'm so sorry…"

He leaned forward and pulled her up, hugging her close as they both cried for what had happened.

"…please forgive me…"

He gripped her tighter.

~8~

Rose Tyler stood in the middle of a beach in Norway, her mother, father, and Mickey back a ways, giving her space as a ghostly whisper called over to her, "Rose…"

She stopped, looking around, waiting, when, a short ways to her left, the Doctor faded out of thin air, slightly translucent.

"Where are you?" she breathed.

"Inside the TARDIS," he said, his voice sounding distant, "The uh, the Professor found one tiny little gap in the Universe left, just about to close. And it takes a lot of power to send this projection, I'm in orbit around a super nova," he laughed softly, "I'm burning up a sun just to say goodbye."

"You look like a ghost."

"Hold on..." he pulled out the sonic screwdriver and pointed it as something only he could see, becoming a bit more solid, looking almost as if he were really there.

Rose walked over to him and raised a hand to his face, "Can I t…"

"I'm still just an image," he told her regretfully, "No touch."

"Can't you come through properly?" she asked, her voice trembling.

"The whole thing would fracture. Two Universes would collapse."

"So?" she asked, only half joking.

He smiled, the two of them watching each other a few moments before he looked around, "Where are we? Where did the gap come out?"

"We're in Norway."

"Norway. Right."

"About fifty miles out of Bergen. It's called 'Dårlig Ulv Stranden.'"

"Dalek?"

"Dårl-IG," she enunciated, "It's Norwegian for 'bad,'" he stared at her, brow furrowed, "This translates as 'Bad Wolf Bay,'" they laughed at the irony of it all but sobered almost immediately, "How long have we got?" her voice cracked.

"I would've said about two minutes..."

"Would've?" she frowned.

He smiled softly at her, "The Professor set it up, managed to prolong it a bit, Academics and all, gave us an extra minute."

"Where…where is she?" Roes asked, glancing at him as though the Professor would appear behind him.

"Giving us privacy."

"So three minutes then?" she asked, he nodded and she laughed at the absurdity of it, "I can't think of what to say!"

He laughed too and glanced over to where Jackie, Pete, and Mickey were standing, "You've still got Mr. Mickey, then?"

"There's five of us now. Mum, dad, Mickey...and the baby."

"You're not..." he began, a bit taken aback.

"No," she answered quickly, laughing, "It's mum," he nodded and looked over at Jackie, "She's three months gone. More Tylers on the way."

"And what about you? Are you..."

"Yeah, I'm…I'm back working in the shop."

"Oh…good for you."

Rose laughed at that, "Shut up. No, I'm not. There's still a Torchwood on this planet, it's open for business," she teared up again, "I think I know a thing or two about aliens."

He smiled at her, so proud, "Rose Tyler. Defender of the Earth," he swallowed hard, "You're dead, officially, back home. So many people died that day and you've gone missing. You're on a list of the dead," she began to cry quietly, "Here you are," he smiled again, "Living a life day after day. The one adventure I can never have."

"Am I ever gonna see you again?" she sobbed in earnest now.

"You can't," he said quietly, so very sorry.

"What're you gonna do?"

"Oh, I've got the TARDIS," he tried to wave off her concern, "Same old life. Me and the Professor, Last of the Time Lords."

"You and her? On your own?" he nodded. She swallowed hard, "Has she…has she said anything?"

His gaze turned sad, "Just that she's sorry she couldn't save you…" he blinked a few times and Rose realized it was because there were tears in his eyes, "And that, she thinks it should have been her. That she should have fallen into the Void, instead of you getting trapped here."

Rose looked down, her heart pounding, "She hasn't told you?"

"Told me what?" the Doctor asked, confusion in his voice.

She looked up, tears in her eyes, "And she won't tell you. She won't ever say, because of me."

"Rose…" he shook his head, utterly confused.

Rose bit her lip, her heart breaking with what she knew she had to do, "…she loves you," she cried saying it.

"What?" he breathed, eyes wide.

She gasped for air, looking at him, she had to tell him. She hadn't wanted to leave. Life or death, she would have always given her life to save someone else, something, it seemed, she'd picked up from the Doctor. But she would have rather died than been trapped away from him. She almost hadn't been...the Professor had been willing to risk her life, yet again, to save her. And she knew, she needed to do something to make up for all that she had put the Professor through, and if she could finally do one truly good thing for the Professor, it was telling the Doctor now, when she could, that the woman loved him. She would never tell him herself, because of her promise to Rose.

"She's always loved you, so much that she let you go to make you happy. She would have given you to me, to make you happy."

And her heart shattered.

The Doctor looked up suddenly, as though he'd heard something, "We don't have long left," he told her quietly, everything happening so fast.

Rose nodded, "Will you say goodbye?"

"Oh it's not…"

"Please. I don't wanna end up like Sarah Jane…"

"I suppose," he agreed, nodding slowly, "Since this is my one last chance to say it..."

Rose smiled just a bit, "Goodbye Doctor."

"Rose Tyler," he smiled down at her, tears filling his eyes, "Goo…"

And he faded away into nothingness.

Rose collapsed to the ground, sobbing into her hands. She'd just let the man she loved disappear without even telling him…because she couldn't bear the thought of him suffering with the knowledge that she returned his feelings, for obviously he had them for her, and unable to be with her again. She screamed out, the pain in her heart was almost unbearable.

~8~

The Doctor blinked, finding himself in the TARDIS once more, tears spilling down his face, his mouth open to form the last thing Rose had wanted him to say…and he couldn't even do that.

The door at the top of the gantry opened and he glanced up to see the Professor look down at him for only a moment before she was running down and pulling him into a comforting hug, not even commenting on how tightly he clung to her…

~8~

The Doctor and the Professor sat on the seat by the console, both leaning on each other, taking comfort in each other. The Doctor rubbed a hand over his eyes, the tears he'd cried already wiped away by the Professor's sleeve the moment they fell. He looked down at his other hand, sitting on his lap, entwined with hers. He smiled just a bit at the sight before taking a deep breath and standing. The Professor stood as well, squeezing his hand once more before moving to the console, knowing instinctively that he wanted to get away.

They both absently pushed a few buttons and twisted a few knobs when the Doctor looked up, his eyes wide with shock at the sight before him.

Standing by the door, with her back to them, was a bride.

"What?" he gaped.

The Professor walked back around the console to his side as the bride turned around and yelped with surprise at seeing them.

"What?"

"Who are you?" the bride demanded.

"But…" the Professor shook her head.

"Where am I?"

"What?" the Doctor shouted.

"What the hell is this place?" the woman yelled.

"WHAT?"

To be continued...in...Recuperation!

A/N: Sorry to say, you'll have to wait just a teensy bit more for real Doctor/Professor action to start up, but I guarantee...the end of Runaway Bride will be...fantastic (and I hope you think so to)! It made me squeal just writing it ^-^

Speaking of which...it should be posted in...6 hours and counting! lol, I know, I'm evil :)

Oh, just a quick note, I looked up K9's history ages ago and, for some reason, I remembered it as the first K9 just disappearing from the series, but a review made me question that and I double checked. According to wikipedia, he goes back to Gallifrey with Leela. So...to fit in with the story, Leela brought K9 to Gallifrey to give to the Professor on request from the Doctor as a surprise :) Thanks for pointing it out!