The Doctor stood there, the orange-gold energy exploding out of him when…
"Doctor!" the Professor shouted.
He managed to glance over at her, seeing her holding his hand in a jar before her, braced and ready. He threw his arms at her, directing the energy at his hand, making it bubble and glow as the energy flowed into it. He stopped regenerating, stumbling backwards, breathless as the Professor set the hand down and eyed him carefully.
"Now, then," he grinned, "Where were we?" he darted back to the console, the Professor joining him as the humans stared on in shock. He dashed around when he noticed the hand was bubbling and patted it, "There, now," he blew on it gently to calm it down, "You see?" he looked at them, "Used the regeneration energy to heal myself, but as soon as that was done, I didn't need to change. I didn't want to, why would I?" he tweaked his tie, "Look at me! So, to stop the energy going all the way, I siphoned off the rest into a handy bio-matching receptacle, namely, my hand. My hand, there. My handy spare hand," he glanced at Rose, "Remember? Christmas Day? Sycorax? Lost my hand in a sword fight? That's my hand! What do you think?"
Rose edged forward slowly, Jack and Donna watching her from behind, the Professor watching from across the console, "And...you're still you?" she asked.
"I'm still me," he nodded.
Rose hugged him tightly, burying her face in his shoulder, her eyes squeezed tightly in joy.
Donna looked over to see the Professor tense and frowned, recalling Rose's words about wanting a second chance with the Doctor despite the fact that he might be with the Professor. Trying to break the tension she turned to Jack and jokingly remarked, "You can hug me, if you want," he laughed and she grew serious, "No, really, you can hug me."
Suddenly…the power cut out. The Doctor quickly pulled away from Rose and ran over to the Professor's side by the monitor. He tried hitting some buttons but it didn't work, "They've got us. Power's gone...some kind of…"
"Chronon loop!" they both shouted and the Doctor grinned, but then the TARDIS jolted dangerously to one side, nearly knocking them to the floor. Suddenly the monitor lit up, showing them to be heading towards a large planet-like ship.
"There's a massive Dalek ship at the center of the planets," Jack told them as he glimpsed it on the readings, "They're calling it the Crucible. Guess that's our destination."
"You said these planets were like an engine," Donna turned to the Professor, "But what for?"
"Rose!" the Doctor spun to her, "You've been in a parallel world, that world's running ahead of this Universe, you've seen the future, what was it?"
"It's the darkness," she replied.
"The stars were going out," Donna nodded, remembering that.
"One by one. We looked up at the sky and they were just dying. Basically, we've been building this um...this travel machine, this...uh...Dimension Cannon…so I could...well, so I could..."
"What?" the Doctor breathed.
"So I could come back!"
"No…not that," he shook his head, his hearts constricting painfully as a cold feeling spread through his veins, "A Dimension CANNON?"
She nodded, "Suddenly, it started to work. And the dimensions started to collapse…not just in our world, not just in yours, but the whole of reality, even the Void was dead. Something is...destroying everything..." she frowned, seeing the Doctor staring at her, horrified, "What?"
"A CANNON?" his eyes grew cold as the hard realization hit him. He glared at her, "So me telling you all that using the little tiny teleport buttons ripped holes in the Universe wasn't enough, no you think 'Let's make it bigger! Let's build a giant Cannon!'"
"Doctor I don't understand what…"
"How long have you been using it? Firing it?"
"A few months after the parallel world sealed."
His jaw tensed, "That Cannon has been blasting itself at the walls of the Universe for years? Rose that thing is the reason the Daleks got through! Did you not think that blasting the walls of the Universe would do nothing to them? They're walls! They can be demolished! I don't believe you. You...humans! You...you...you stupid apes!"
Rose gasped, hurt, but he didn't care. He was seething. All his work, all his sacrifices, everything he'd lost…everything the Professor had been through…and this...this miserable little human had destroyed all of it just because she couldn't let him go! He sent her away despite loving her because she would have had a better life with her family than with him. He sent her away because he cared about her that much. And she disregarded his wishes, spat it back in his face, defied him, and released the Daleks in the process! He was fuming.
"I can fix it," the Professor said from where she was standing by the monitor on the other side of the console.
He looked at her, breathing hard, and realized...she had suspected this. She suspected what Rose being there had meant, how she'd gotten there. And she hadn't said it, for love of him. Because if she had told him flat out that Rose was responsible for the release of the Daleks before he figured it out for himself he would have had a hard time believing her. But now…
"How?" he asked, trying to calm himself. He shoved past Rose and to the Professor's side. She brought up a plan in Gallifreyan on the monitor.
"When this is over I'm going to need whatever tech Rose was using to jump worlds," she replied, "If I can key in to the frequency and energy signature of it, I should be able to locate and seal the holes in the Universe with it."
He nodded, he knew this was hard for her. It was her device that had sealed the Time War, but even more so it was her creation, she had poured her hearts and soul into making 'The Moment.' And to have someone attack it, come so near to destroying it…even if it was used to a terrible end, leaving their world to burn within it, no one wanted to see their work destroyed and Rose had inadvertently nearly done that. They could only be thankful that the Cannon hadn't demolished the walls completely and broken the entire Time Lock.
"In that parallel world..." Donna cut in, thinking of something, Rose turned to her, tears in her eyes, grateful for the distraction, "...you said something about me. "
"The Dimension Cannon," she flinched as the Doctor shot a glare at her, "Could measure timelines, and it's...it's weird, Donna, but they…"
"All converge on you," the Professor finished. She had already seen the way the space, the temporal tipping points, converged on Donna. The Doctor had as well. It was one of the many reasons they had taken Donna with them.
"But why me?" Donna frowned, "I mean...what have I ever done? I'm a temp from Chiswick!"
The monitor beeped, "The Dalek Crucible," the Doctor remarked, "All aboard..."
A moment later the TARDIS landed with a crash.
"The TARDIS is secured!" they heard a Dalek shout from outside the doors.
"Doctor!" a deeper Dalek voice called, "You and the Professor will step forth or die!"
"We'll have to go out," the Doctor said, staring at the door, "'Cos if we don't, they'll get in."
"You told me nothing could get through those doors!" Rose cried, alarmed.
"You've got extrapolator shielding," Jack agreed.
He turned to them, a hard look in his eyes that seemed so at home on the Professor yet out of place on him. He was at his end, he was frustrated and angry beyond all belief to have an army of his nightmares facing him once more due to one of his former Companions, and he was not in the mood to be questioned or challenged, "Last time we fought the Daleks, they were scavengers and hybrids and mad. But this is a fully fledged Dalek Empire...at the height of its power. Experts at fighting TARDISes, they can do anything."
"Right now, that wooden door is just wood," the Professor called as Jack and Rose looked shocked.
Rose looked a bit sick as well, the full weight of everything crashing on her, though she still maintained in her mind that the Cannon couldn't possibly be the reason all this was happening. The walls had started to fall before the Cannon actually worked, not when it finally started working. To her, this just seemed like a big setup by the Professor, this regeneration of her seemed more than capable of it, turning the Doctor against her, taking him away from her…
The Professor's eyes narrowed, seeing the emotions cross Rose's face, knowing what she was thinking. She was denying the Cannon's responsibility in this, her part in it. But she forgot, just because the Cannon didn't seem to be working because she couldn't cross the walls didn't mean it wasn't working against the walls at all. It would take quite a while to breach even a small hole in the Universal walls, but once it did everything would fall apart…which it did. And that was what allowed the Cannon to finally start to work, working in terms of allowing Rose to cross, it was sending her through the cracks it had made.
"What about your Dimension Jump?" Jack turned to Rose.
"It needs another twenty minutes and anyway, I'm not leaving," Rose stated.
"We're not using it regardless," the Doctor snapped, "We don't need anymore walls coming down. As it is, we're lucky the Daleks were the ONLY ones to come through," he took a breath and turned to Jack, "What about your teleport?"
"Went down with the power loss," he shook his head.
"Right then," the Doctor swallowed hard, "All of us together...yeah?" he looked back to see Donna staring out into space, "Donna?" she didn't react so he walked over to her, "Donna?"
"Yeah?" she looked up.
"I'm sorry, there's nothing else we can do."
"No, I know."
He nodded and mouthed 'ok,' before turning to the doors.
"Surrender, Doctor, Professor, and face your Dalek masters," the deep Dalek voice called.
"Crucible on maximum alert!" another Dalek reported.
"Daleks," Rose laughed nervously, "Heh!"
"Oh, God!" Jack laughed tensely.
The Doctor looked around, "It's been good, though, hasn't it?" he turned to Donna, "All of us...all of it...everything we did..." she nodded, "You were brilliant," he told her as she smiled widely. He turned to Jack, "And you were brilliant," and then to Rose, his expression falling a bit, "And you were brilliant," she blinked back a few tears at the different connotation in his words. He looked at the Professor, "And you…" he shook his head with a smile, "You are bloody brilliant!"
"I better be," the Professor retorted.
"Blimey," he breathed, turning to the door, resigned. He walked towards it, Jack and Rose following him, Donna and the Professor after them, the Professor with her eye on Donna who was exhibiting odd behavioral patterns.
"Daleks reign supreme!" the deep voiced Dalek cheered as the Doctor, Jack, and Rose stepped out, "All hail the Daleks!"
The Professor paused by the door, Donna had stopped walking.
"Daleks reign supreme!" the Daleks chanted, filling the room, "All hail the Daleks! Daleks reign supreme! All hail the Daleks! Daleks reign supreme! All hail the Daleks! Daleks reign supreme! All hail the Daleks!"
The Doctor exhaled.
"Behold, Doctor," a rather large Dalek, the Supreme Dalek, stated, "Behold the might of the true Dalek Race."
"Donna," the Professor called, seeing Donna turn back to look at the console.
"Donna?" the Doctor shouted, hearing the Professor, "It's no safer in there…"
Donna turned to see the Professor at the door moments before it slammed shut on her.
"Doctor!" the Professor tried to shove the door open, unwilling to kick it down as it was the last TARDIS.
"Doctor?" Donna ran over, banging on it, "What've you done?"
"It wasn't me, I didn't do anything!" he shouted, trying to get the door open on his side as well.
"Oi! Oi, I'm not staying behind!"
"Professor!" he called, "What is it?"
"I don't know," she replied and his hearts froze, that was never a good thing, "The door won't open at all."
"What did you do?" he demanded of one of the Daleks.
"This is not of Dalek origin," the Supreme Dalek remarked.
"Doctor!" Donna banged on the door as the Professor ran to the console, trying to override the commands.
"Stop it!" the Doctor shouted angrily, "That's my friend and my Bonded. Now, open the door and let them out!"
"This is Time Lord treachery!" the Supreme Dalek yelled.
"Me? The door just closed on its own!"
"Nevertheless, the TARDIS is a weapon and it will be destroyed."
The TARDIS jolted violently as it dropped down through a trapdoor. Donna stumbled, grabbing onto the railing and trying to reach the Professor by the console.
"What're you doing?" the Doctor shouted, staring down the trapdoor in horror, "Bring it back!"
"Professor!" Donna called as she grabbed onto the railing. The Professor ran over, somehow managing to keep her footing, and hauled her up to the captain's chair to hold onto as she ran to the console once more.
"What've you done?" the Doctor demanded urgently, panicking, as his hearts raced, "Where's it going?"
"The Crucible has a heart of Z-Neutrino Energy," the Supreme Dalek replied, "The TARDIS will be deposited into the core."
"But you can't, you've taken the defenses down!" his eyes widened in horror, "It'll be torn apart!"
The lights around the console smashed, cutting the Professor's arm but she ignored it, working away as small fires sprang up around the grilling.
"But Donna's still in there!" Rose shouted.
"And the Professor!" Jack added, "Let them go!"
Donna fell off the chair as a small explosion near her made her jump.
"The females and the TARDIS will perish together!" the Supreme Dalek stated, "Observe," he brought up a holographic screen of the TARDIS, bobbing in white-hot energy, "The last children of Gallifrey are powerless."
The Doctor could only watch in horror, powerless indeed.
Donna coughed as the smoke began to choke her, glass smashing around her, sparks flying, absolute chaos. The Professor ran over, grabbing the side of Donna's jacket, and pressed it to the woman's mouth as a filter before turning to get back to the controls.
"Please," the Doctor pleaded, "I'm begging you, I'll do anything! Put me in her place! You can do anything to me, I don't care, just get her out of there! Please, I can't lose her! Not again!"
Donna moved onto her hands and knees, coughing and panting, but suddenly…stopped, catching sight of the hand, a heartbeat echoing in her mind. The hand started to glow and she reached out for it, touching it…
"Donna no!" the Professor ran over, grabbing her hand as though to pull her away, when the excess energy exploded at the touch of a second Time Lord, sending her flying back, headfirst, into the wall.
Donna flew back, hitting the console, as the glass shattered.
The Doctor watched the screen in terror, teeth gritted, panting, trembling.
"You are connected to the TARDIS and your Bonded," the Supreme Dalek cheered, "Now, feel them die!"
Donna sat up, unaffected by the destruction around her, watching as the hand lay on the grilling, the fingers twitching, glowing. Suddenly the energy spread outwards, into the shape of a man. As soon as it was fully formed it sat up and the energy was shaken off to reveal the Doctor, another Doctor, eyes wide.
"It's you..." Donna gasped.
"Oh, yes," the New Doctor nodded.
She glanced down before quickly looking away, "You're naked!"
The TARDIS jolted.
"Total TARDIS destruction in ten rels!" a Dalek reported.
Rose stepped forward to take the Doctor's hand but he yanked it away, his mind and hearts already blaming her for not only the destruction of the TARDIS but the death of his Bonded…if not for her…the Daleks would have remained trapped.
"Nine! Eight! Seven! Six! Five!"
The New Doctor reached for a button on the console with gritted teeth and wild eyes. He hefted himself up and glanced over at the Professor, still lying on the floor where she'd fallen by the wall, "Check on her, I have this under control."
Donna nodded and ran over to her friend.
"Four! Three! Two! One!"
The TARDIS faded away.
"Doctor!" Donna gasped, tears in her voice, "She's…she's dead."
"What?" the New Doctor's eyes widened as he ran over, kneeling down beside the woman and rolling her onto her back. He spotted the edge of a gash on her head as it lulled to the side facing the wall. He reached out, pressing a hand to her neck, no pulse. He ran to the console, grabbing the stethoscope and rested it on her hearts, no beats in either one. He looked at her, waiting for any sign of regeneration, but it never came.
"You said you could regenerate!" Donna shrieked, "Why isn't she? Shouldn't she be orangey?"
"Yes...she should..." he reached forward, lulling her head to the side, to face them, and spotted it, a horrible bruise forming around the gash…and the fact her neck seemed oddly angled. He swallowed hard, "She hit the wall too hard…the angle…it killed her before regeneration could set in…she's gone."
Donna's eyes widened in horror as she looked down at her friend's lifeless form, "No…"
"The TARDIS and your Bonded have been destroyed!" the Supreme Dalek cheered, "Now, tell me, Doctor...what do you feel?" the Doctor could only watch the screen, a dark expression clouding his face, "Anger? Sorrow? Despair?"
"Yeah," he whispered.
"Then, if emotions are so important, surely we have enhanced you."
"Yeah?" Jack scoffed, "Feel this!" he fired at the Dalek, but the bullets were harmless.
"Exterminate!" it shouted, firing a laser at Jack. He screamed and fell to the ground, dead.
"Jack!" Rose ran to his side, kneeling down, "Oh, my God. Oh, no..." the Doctor still stared at the screen, "They killed him…"
"Escort them to the Vault," the Dalek ordered, "They are the playthings of Davros now."
The New Doctor, now dressed in a blue suit with a red shirt, stood on the railings, mending the TARDIS by the door. He didn't have his jacket on, glancing over to see it lying over the Professor's body, covering her face as Donna sat on the captain's chair in shock.
"All repaired!" he jumped down, forcing himself not to look to the wall again, "Lovely. Shh! No one knows we're here. Gotta keep quiet. Silent running, like on submarines when they can't even drop a spanner. Don't drop a spanner. I like blue, what do you think?"
"You…are…bonkers!" Donna glared at him.
"Why? What's wrong with blue?"
"How can you be so calm about this!" she shrieked, "The Professor's dead! She's dead. And you're talking about your clothes!"
He looked at her sadly, "I can't…" he took a breath, "There's nothing we can do. But…I can't think about that now."
"What? So you're just gonna pretend she's not there! Rotting on the grilling?"
"Don't," he warned her darkly, "Don't you dare. Donna I need you to stand by me, we need to help the Doctor and the others. The Daleks are planning something and we can't let…we need to keep focused. Strong. We can't…we can't think about it till it's over or else none of use might live long enough to do it."
Donna stared at him, tears in her eyes. She couldn't just ignore the fact that one of her friends, for the Professor, despite everything, was her friend, had just died before her…but the New Doctor needed her to stay strong for him, no matter how disturbed she was by everything else. And she realized…this man, he was almost like the Professor, keeping to task, not letting his emotions distract him…the Professor would want her to do this, to forget about her for the moment and finish the mission.
She swallowed hard, "Is that what Time Lords do?" she asked him weakly, her voice shaking, "Lop a bit off, grow another one? You're like worms."
He nodded at her, thankful for the distraction, before launching into his explanation, "No, no, no, no, no, I'm unique. Never been another like me! Because all that regeneration energy went into the hand, look at my hand, I love that hand..." he wiggled his fingers, "But then you touched it…WHAM!" Donna jumped, "Shh...instantaneous biological meta-crisis. I grew...out of you. Still, could be worse."
"Oi! Watch it, spaceman."
"Oi! Watch it, Earth-girl. Oh!" he stared at her, shocked, "I sound like you! I sound all...all sort of...rough."
"Spanners, shh!" she pursed her lips, "Must've picked up a bit of your voice, that's all. Is it? Did I? No. Oh! You are kidding me, no WAY. One heart…" he felt his chest, "I've got one heart! This body...has got only one heart!"
"What?" she placed a hand on his chest, "What, like you're human?"
"Oh, that's disgusting."
"No, wait, I'm...part Time Lord, part human..." he looked at Donna, "Well, isn't that wizard?"
"I kept hearing that noise...that heartbeat."
"Oh, that was me. My single heart," he moved to the console, "'Cos I'm a…complicated event in time and space, must've rippled back. Converging on you."
"But why me?"
"Because you're special."
"Oh, I keep telling you, I'm not."
"No, but you are, you..." he looked at her a moment, realizing, "Oh...you really don't believe that, do you? I can see, Donna...what you're thinking. All that attitude, all that lip, 'cos all this time...you think you're not worth it."
"Shouting at the world 'cos no one's listening. Well...why should they?"
"But look at what you did...no. It's more than that, it's like..." he frowned, "We were always heading for this. You came to the TARDIS. And you found me again. Your granddad. Your car! Donna, your car! You parked your car right where the TARDIS was gonna land, that's not coincidence at all!" he spun around, his fingers on his temples, "We've been blind! Something's been drawing us together for such a long time."
"But you're talking like...destiny. But there's no such thing...is there?"
"It's still not finished. It's like...the pattern's not complete. The strands are still joining together. But heading for what?" Donna was silent a moment, a small, sad smile on her face, "What?"
"It's just…back then," her voice trembled, "When we were shouting and Oi-ing…the Professor would've told us to shut up and focus."
He nodded, "Yeah…she would've…"
"Activate the holding cells," Davros ordered and spotlights above the Doctor and Rose turned on, "Excellent. Even when powerless, a Time Lord is best contained."
"Still scared of me, then?" the Doctor asked, touching the edge of the cell, unable to get through the light. Rose tried the same on hers with the same result.
"It is time we talked, Doctor, after so very long…"
"No, no, no, no, no," he glared, "We're not doing the nostalgia tour. I want to know what's happening right here, right now, 'cos the Supreme Dalek said 'vault,' yeah? As in, dungeon. Cellar. Prison. You're not in charge of the Daleks, are you? They've got you locked away down here in the basement, like, what, a servant? Slave? Court jester?"
"We have...an arrangement."
He laughed mockingly, "No, no, no, no, no, no, no. I've got the word. You're the Dalek's pet!"
Davros moved away from him and over to Rose, "So very full of fire, is he not? And to think, you crossed entire Universes, striding parallel to parallel to find him again. Breaking down the walls of the Universe in the process," he grinned, "Giving us the chance to escape."
Rose swallowed hard. The grim realty hitting her. She really had been the reason for the Daleks escape. She'd tried to hope that it was just the Professor influencing the Doctor to that conclusion…but even the Daleks knew…
"Leave her," the Doctor called halfheartedly. He just couldn't muster the strength to truly defend her. Not when the Professor was dead because of her insane quest.
"She is mine. To do as I please."
"Then why am I still alive?" Rose asked.
"You must be here. It was foretold. Even the Supreme Dalek would not dare to contradict the prophesies of Dalek Caan," he pressed a button and the light turned on around Caan.
"So cold and dark," Caan laughed, "Fire is coming...the endless flames…"
"What is that thing?" Rose grimaced.
"The last of the Cult of Skaro," the Doctor replied, keeping to the facts. So this was why the Professor did that. It was much easier not to feel when one was only making statements or listing information, "He flew into the Time War, unprotected."
"Caan did more than that," Davros grinned, "He saw Time. Its infinite complexity and majesty raging through his mind. And...he saw you. Both of you."
"This I have foreseen in the wild and the wind," Caan agreed, "The Doctor will be here, as witness, at the end of everything. The Doctor and his precious Children of Time!" he giggled, "And one of them will die..."
The Doctor glared, his anger, his rage boiling up, "Was it you, Caan? Did you kill the Professor and Donna? Why did the TARDIS door close? Tell me!"
"Oh, that's it!" Davros smiled gleefully, "The end, the fire, the rage of a Time Lord who butchered millions of his own kind while his Bonded butchered millions of my children. There he is. Why so shy? Show your Companion...show her your true self as you have your Bonded."
"I didn't have to show her anything," the Doctor spat, "She already knew. She was there."
"Dalek Caan has promised me that, too."
"I have seen it," Caan nodded, "At the time of ending, the Doctor's soul will be revealed."
"What does that mean?" the Doctor glared.
"We will discover it together..." Davros replied, "Our final journey. Because the ending approaches. The testing begins," he turned away.
"Testing of what?"
"The Reality Bomb," he turned back to answer, "Behold...the apotheosis of my genius," he turned the controls on and a holographic screen of a testing chamber appeared, people standing inside it.
"Activate planetary alignment field!" the Supreme Dalek's voice shouted over the image.
"What do we do?" Donna asked the New Doctor softly, "Won't the Doctor be able to tell what's happened?"
"No," he shook his head, "The TARDIS is blocking us from everyone. He can't sense us while she's doing that. He won't know. And we can't tell him."
"He's facing the Daleks right now," he looked at her, "Can you imagine what he'd do?"
She fell silent, recalling the darkness in the Doctor, he and the Professor's unwillingness to leave one another. If they told him…he would either do something he would regret…or he'd fall to pieces, neither of which would help any of them survive. Yes, Donna thought, this New Doctor was very much like the Professor, perhaps he'd gotten a bit of her as well when…she swallowed hard and shook her head, she couldn't think about that.
The TARDIS shuddered.
The New Doctor ran to the monitor, "It's the planets. The 27 planets," he watched as they were bathed in a white glow.
"But that's Z-Neutrino Energy," the Doctor's eyes widened, "Flattened by the alignment of the planets into a single stream. No…" he turned to Davros, "Davros. Davros, you can't! You CAN'T! NO!"
The New Doctor frowned, trying to place the energy, the engine, when the answer seemed to come to him, that sort of white glow could only be…
"Single-stream Z-Neutrinos compressed into..." he faltered, realizing, "No. No way..."
The glow brightened.
The Doctor watched in horror as the prisoners on the screen were dissolved into atoms from head to toe.
"Test completed," a Dalek reported.
"What is it?" Donna asked, looking at the New Doctor, "Doctor? What did it do?"
He couldn't speak, just stare in shock.
"Doctor, what happened?" Rose asked, shaken.
"Electrical energy, Miss Tyler," Davros remarked as the Doctor remained in stunned silence, "Every atom in existence is bound by an electrical field. The Reality Bomb cancels it out, structure falls apart. That test was focused on the prisoners alone. Full transmission will dissolve every form of matter."
"The stars are going out..."
"The 27 planets..." the Doctor realized, "The Professor was right, they become one vast transmitter. Blasting that wavelength..."
"Across the entire Universe," Davros nodded, "Never stopping. Never faltering. Never fading. People and planets and stars will become dust. And the dust will become atoms and the atoms will become...nothing. And the wavelength will continue, breaking through the weakened walls of the Universe, through the rift at the heart of the Medusa Cascade into every dimension, every parallel, every single corner of creation," he laughed, "This is my ultimate victory, Doctor! The destruction of reality itself!"
The New Doctor dashed around the TARDIS, putting together some sort of device, "So, what is this thing?" Donna asked.
"It's our only hope. A Z-Neutrino biological inversion catalyzer."
"Yeah. Earth-girl, not time-girl, remember?"
"Davros said he built those Daleks out of himself," he explained, trying to assemble it, "His genetic code runs through the entire race. If I can use this to lock the Crucible's transmission onto Davros himself..."
"It destroys the Daleks?"
"Biggest backfire in history."
Donna was silent a moment, "The Professor would've had that built already."
He could only nod. He was barely able to piece together the information in his head to get it to work. The Professor would've had it done before he could finish explaining it.
A holographic screen appeared in the Vault, Martha on it, "This message is for the Dalek Crucible. Repeat, can you hear me?"
"Put me through!" the Doctor shouted.
"It begins as Dalek Caan foretold," Davros grinned.
"The Children of Time will gather...and one of them will die!" Caan laughed.
"Stop saying that!" the Doctor shouted.
"One of them will die Doctor," Davros remarked before grinning, "Or…perhaps she already has."
He looked at him hard, "Put me through!"
"Doctor!" Martha called, seeing him, "I'm sorry. I had to."
"Oh!" Davros remarked, "But the Doctor is powerless…my prisoner. State your intent."
"I've got the Osterhagen Key," she held up a small black chip, "Leave this planet and its people alone, or I'll use it."
"Osterhagen what?" the Doctor shook his head, "What's an Osterhagen Key?"
"There's a chain of 25 nuclear warheads placed in strategic points beneath the Earth's crust. If I use the key, they detonate and the Earth gets ripped apart."
"What? Who invented that? Well, someone called Osterhagen, I suppose, but Martha, are you insane?"
"The Osterhagen Key is to be used if the suffering of the human race is so great, so without hope...that this becomes the final option."
"That's NEVER an option."
"Don't argue with me, Doctor! 'Cos there's more than that. Now, I reckon the Daleks need these 27 planets for something, but what if it becomes 26? What happens then? Daleks? Would you risk it?"
"She's good!" Rose remarked, impressed.
"Who's that?" Martha frowned.
"My name's Rose. Rose Tyler."
Martha gasped, "Oh, my God...he found you..." and then she realized, "Doctor…the Professor…" she swallowed hard, a sense of dread filling her, "Where is she?"
The Doctor couldn't answer, but the hard, dead look in his eyes told her more than she needed.
Just then a second holographic screen appeared, this one with Jack, holding some sort of gem attached to wires, with Jackie, Mickey, and Sarah Jane behind him, "Captain Jack Harkness calling all Dalek boys and girls! Are you receiving me? Don't send in your goons or I'll set this thing off."
"He's still alive!" Rose gasped, "Oh, my God, that's…that's my mum!"
"Captain, what are you doing?" the Doctor demanded.
"I've got a Warp Star wired into the mainframe," he replied, "I break the shell...the entire Crucible goes up."
"You can't! Where did you get a Warp Star?"
"From me," Sarah Jane stepped up, "We had no choice, we saw what happened to the prisoners."
"Impossible," Davros gasped, seeing Sarah Jane, "That face...after all these years."
"Davros," she breathed, before glaring, "That's been quite a while. Sarah Jane Smith. Remember?"
"Oh, this is meant to be. The Circle of Time is closing. You were there on Skaro at the very beginning of my creation."
"And I've learned how to fight since then. You let the Doctor go or this Warp Star, it gets opened!"
The Doctor looked down, unable to look at them.
"I'll do it," Jack threatened, tweaking the necklace, "Don't imagine I wouldn't."
Rose laughed, "Now, that's what I call a ransom," but then she noticed the Doctor's face, "Doctor?"
"And the prophesy unfolds," Davros smiled.
"The Doctor's soul is revealed!" Caan cackled, "See him! See the heart of him!"
The Doctor just stood there, eyes down cast, alone, burdened with unbearable guilt. His Companions, his friends, his TARDIS, his Bonded…either turned into monsters or dead because of him…
"The man who abhors violence, never carrying a gun," Davros remarked, eyeing him closely, "But this is the truth, Doctor…you take ordinary people and you fashion THEM into weapons. Behold your Children of Time transformed into murderers. Even your Bonded became a weapon because of you. I made the Daleks, Doctor. You made this."
"They're trying to help," he muttered, quietly, unable to bring himself to fully believe it.
It was true.
He knew it.
Even…even what he said about the Professor.
He'd found files about the Academics, about their training, when he'd been in the Academy Archives. The training enforced on the Professor had been worse, more prolonged, more dangerous, more taxing than any of the other Academics, because of her ties to him. The High Council knew the only reason he would fight in the war, use everything he'd learned on his adventures, was if he was fighting for her, fighting alongside her. They turned her into a weapon, into a soldier, to get him to join, to get him to stay. She'd suffered because of him.
He'd told her about it when they talked about her training, after losing Jenny. She had simply said it was worth it in the end. He'd been completely disbelieving on that, but she'd just said it gave her a chance to see him again, and if that meant enduring an endless hell she would gladly do it. He'd shaken his head and asked her why on Earth she would endure something like that. She'd just given him a look as though the answer should be obvious, and it was. He knew, she'd done it because she loved him.
He would do the same for her. He would endure this, because when it was over, he would take the Daleks down with him, and then…maybe…he could be with her once more.
"Already, I have seen them sacrifice today for their beloved Doctor," Davros continued, "The Earth woman who fell opening the sub-wave network."
"Who was that?" he looked up.
"Harriet Jones," Rose replied, "She gave her life to get you here."
"How many more?" Davros asked, "Just think. How many have died in your name?"
The Doctor looked down, recalling those who had died for him, because of him. Jabe, the Controller, Lynda, Sir Robert, Mrs. Moore, Mr. Skinner, Ursula, Bridget, Boe, Chantho, Astrid, Luke, Jenny, River…
He trembled, utterly broken, and the Professor wasn't there to pick up the pieces like she always did, like they did for each other.
She was dead as well because of him.
"The Doctor...the man who keeps running, never looking back, because he dare not, out of shame," Davros finished, "This is my final victory, Doctor. I have shown you...yourself."
"Enough," the Supreme Dalek cut in, "Engage defense zero-five."
"It's the Crucible...or the Earth," Martha held up the key.
"Transmat engaged!" a Dalek shouted.
Suddenly Martha and Jack's screens went white and the two groups were deposited on the floor of the Vault.
"Martha!" Jack moved to help her up, "I've got you, it's alright…"
The Doctor remained silent.
"Guard them!" Davros ordered as Daleks wheeled forward, their lasers aimed, "On your knees, all of you. Surrender!" the Daleks forced them to their knees.
"Mum, I told you not to!" Rose hissed.
"Yeah, but I couldn't leave you," Jackie replied.
"The final prophesy is in place," Davros remarked, "The Doctor and his Children all gathered as witnesses. Supreme Dalek...the time has come!" his voice trembled with excitement, "Now..." he pointed upwards, "Detonate the Reality Bomb!"
"Activate planetary alignment field!" the Supreme Dalek ordered, they watched the screen as the planets began to glow, "Universal reality detonation in 200 rels!"
"You can't Davros!" the Doctor shouted, desperate, "Just listen to me! Just STOP!"
Davros merely laughed, "Nothing can stop the detonation! Nothing! And no one!"
The New Doctor ran to the console with his device, "Ready! Maximum power!" he kicked a lever upwards with his foot, briefly thinking that, if the Professor were there, she would have already gotten to it for him. He pulled another one and the TARDIS was off.
Everyone in the Vault looked up in surprise as the TARDIS began to materialize.
"But that's..." the Doctor breathed, stunned. And then he realized, the TARDIS had been trying to protect him from the impending pain of being destroyed by blocking the psychic link shared with the pilot and, by blocking her own, she blocked everyone within her. He felt like he could breathe again. The Professor was alive!
Caan giggled as Rose and Martha's mouths dropped open.
"Impossible!" Davros gasped.
The TARDIS door opened and the New Doctor stepped forward, framed with a blinding light.
"Brilliant!" Jack laughed.
Davros rolled forward and the New Doctor rushed towards him, "Don't!" the Doctor shouted.
But it was too late.
Davros pointed at him and an eclectic bolt flew from his fingers, hitting the New Doctor in the chest, knocking him backwards and the device a few feet away.
"Activate holding cell," Davros ordered and a light appeared around the New Doctor.
Donna ran out of the TARDIS, "Doctor!" she picked up the device, "I've got it! But I don't know what to do!"
Davros sent her flying back with another bolt.
"Donna!" the Doctor shouted as Davros grinned, "Donna! Are you alright, Donna?"
"Destroy the weapon!" Davros ordered and a Dalek fired a laser at the device, "I was wrong about your warriors, Doctor. They are pathetic."
"How come there're two of you?" Rose gaped.
The Doctor ignored her and turned to the New Doctor, "Where's the Professor?"
The New Doctor looked at him, swallowing hard, "In the TARDIS."
He shook his head, "Well why isn't she coming out?"
"What do you mean 'she can't?'"
"Fat lot of good she is," Rose grumbled.
"Rose don't," the New Doctor snapped, glaring at her fiercely, making her flinch.
"Detonation in twenty rels!" the Supreme Dalek shouted, "Nineteen…"
"Stand witness, Time Lord," Davros grinned, "Stand witness, humans. Your strategies have failed, your weapons are useless, and...oh, the end of the Universe is come," they watched the screen powerless.
The bomb powered down and the screen went dead.
An alarm sounded.
Everyone looked around in confusion.
"Oh...closing all Z-Neutrino relay loops using an internalized synchronous back-feed reversal loop!" Donna grinned, speaking with confidence as she flicked a switch by the controls, "That button there!"
They all stared at her, stunned.
"Donna, you can't even change a plug!" the Doctor shook his head.
She grinned, "Do you wanna bet, time-boy?"
"You will suffer for this…" Davros raised his arm.
Donna just flicked a switch and electrocuted his arm, "Oh...bioelectric dampening field with a retrogressive arc inversion."
"Exterminate! Exterminate!" Donna pressed a few buttons and flicked as switch and the Daleks powered down, their lasers twitching uncontrollably, "Weapons non-functional!"
"What?" Donna laughed, "Macro-transmission of a K-filter wavelength blocking Dalek weaponry in a self-replicating energy blindfold matrix?"
"How did you work that out?" the Doctor looked at her, amazed, "You..."
"Time Lord," the New Doctor cut in, "Part Time Lord."
"Part Human!" Donna grinned, "Oh, yes! There was a bit of a biological meta-crisis. Half Doctor...half Donna!"
"The Doctor-Donna..." the Doctor realized, "Just like the Ood said, remember? They saw it coming! The Doctor-Donna."
Donna flicked a few switches, "Holding cells deactivated," the lights disappeared, "And seal the Vault. Well, don't just stand there, you skinny boys in suits, get to work!" both Doctors ran to join her at the control panel, the Doctor glancing at the TARDIS, wondering where the Professor was, but unable to go just then or even call out in his mind as the TARDIS was still blocking all psychic links.
"Stop them!" Davros ordered, "Get them away from the controls!"
The Daleks advanced.
"And...spin," Donna flicked as switch and the Daleks began to spin in circles.
"Help me!" the Daleks cried, "Help me."
"And...the other way!" a few more switches and they turned the other way, their upper and lower halves moving in different directions.
"What did you do?" the New Doctor asked.
"Trip-stitch circuit-breaker in the psycho-kinetic threshold manipulator."
"But that's brilliant!" he beamed.
"Why did we never think of that?" the Doctor asked the New Doctor.
"Because you two...were just Time Lords!" Donna cut in, "You dumbos. Lacking that little bit of human, that gut instinct that goes hand-in-hand with planet Earth. I could think of ideas that you two couldn't dream of in a million years! Ah, the Universe has been waiting for me! Now...let's send that trip-stitch all over the ship. Did I ever tell you…" she gestured to herself, "Best temp in Chiswick?" she wiggled her fingers, "A hundred words per minute!"
"System malfunction…" a Dalek called, still spinning.
"Motor causing interference…" another reported.
Jack darted into the TARDIS to grab the guns, stopping short at the sight of someone lying on the ground, a coat over them and his mouth dropped open. He looked back through the doors to where he could just barely see the New Doctor giving him a firm look. He swallowed hard, dashing over to the chairs and grabbing the guns, they had no time to waste right now…though it killed him to admit it.
"Come on then, boys," Donna said, "We've got 27 planets to send home. Activate magnetron."
"Stop it at once!" Davros shouted.
Jack tossed a gun to Mickey, "Mickey!"
Mickey frowned, hearing a strain and thickening in Jack's voice, but took the gun and headed for Davros regardless.
"You will desist!" Davros glared.
"Just stay where you are, Mister," Mickey held him at gunpoint.
"Out of the way!" Jack kicked a Dalek, sending it spinning off down the corridor, towards Rose and Sarah Jane who shoved another away.
"Good to see you again," Sarah Jane remarked.
"Yeah, you too," Rose nodded.
Martha pushed one away as well.
"Ready?" Donna asked the Doctors, "And reverse!" they quickly grabbed two rods on each of the controls, easing them up as the planets disappeared one by one.
"Off you go, Clom," the Doctor called.
"Back home, Adipose Three!" the New Doctor added.
Donna flicked two switches and another with her foot, "Shallacatop! Pyrovillia! The Lost Moon of Poosh. Topping. Ha!"
"We need more power..." the Doctor remarked, moving to sonic a bit of wiring.
"Is anyone gonna tell us what's going on?" Rose demanded.
Donna gestured to the Doctor, "He poured all his regeneration energy into his spare hand, I touched the hand…" she gestured to the New Doctor, "He grew out of that, but that fed back into me. But, it just stayed dormant in my head 'til the synapses got that little extra spark, kicking them into life. Thank you, Davros! Part Human...part Time Lord. And I got the best bit of the Doctor. I got his mind."
"So there's THREE of you?" Sarah Jane asked.
"Three Doctors?" Rose gaped.
"I can't tell you what I'm thinking right now," Jack remarked distractedly as he glanced back at the TARDIS, knowing the horror that would be awaiting the Doctor within.
"You're so unique that the timelines were converging on you," the Doctor grinned at Donna, "Human being with a Time Lord brain."
"But you promised me, Dalek Caan," Davros shouted, "Why did you not foresee this?"
Caan just giggled.
"Oh, I think he did," the Doctor remarked, "Something's been manipulating the timelines for ages...getting Donna Noble to the right place at the right time."
"This would always have happened," Caan replied, "I only helped, Doctor."
"You...betrayed the Daleks?" Davros gaped.
"I SAW the Daleks. What we have done throughout time and space. I saw the truth of us, Creator, and I decreed 'no more.'"
"I will descend to the Vault!" the Supreme Dalek shouted.
"Heads up!" Jack called as the Dalek descended.
"Davros, you have betrayed us."
"It was Dalek Caan!" Davros pointed.
"The Vault will be purged! You will all be exterminated!" he sent a laser at the central column, causing sparks to fly.
"Like I was saying, feel this!" Jack fired his gun at the Supreme Dalek, cutting him in half.
"Oh, we've lost the magnetron!" the Doctor examined the column, "And there's only one planet left oh…" he laughed, "Guess which one. Look, we can use the TARDIS!"
He moved to run inside it when Donna grabbed his arm, "I'll do it."
He frowned at her, a bit confused, but shrugged and she ran off into the TARDIS and he turned to help his clone continue.
"Holding Earth stability..." the New Doctor remarked.
"Maintaining atmospheric shell," he nodded.
"The prophesy must be completed," Caan called.
"Don't listen to him," Davros shouted.
"I have seen the end of everything Dalek, and you must make it happen, Doctor."
"He's right," the New Doctor looked up, "Because with or without a Reality Bomb, this Dalek Empire's big enough to slaughter the cosmos."
"No," the Doctor glared at him.
"They've got to be stopped!" he argued.
"Don't you dare!"
"Maximizing Dalekanium power feeds…"
The Doctor ran around the controls…but it was too late…
"Blasting them BACK!"
The Daleks exploded, one by one, screaming.
"What've you done?" the Doctor cried, horrified.
"Fulfilling the prophesy," the New Doctor stated as the Dalek ships began to explode outside.
Everyone was sent flying around as the explosions rocked the ship.
"Do you know what you've done?" the Doctor glared, "Now, get in the TARDIS!" the New Doctor rushed over, "Everyone! All of you inside, run! In, in, in, in, in!" they all ran towards it.
"Sarah Jane!" the New Doctor ushered them from inside, "Rose! Jackie! Jack! Mickey!"
The Doctors stopped outside the door, looking back through the fire, "Davros?" he held out his hand, "Come with me! I promise, I can save you!"
"Never forget, Doctor," Davros howled, "YOU did this! I name YOU, forever, YOU are the Destroyer of Worlds!"
He screamed as he was engulfed by the flames.
"One still dies…" Caan called.
The Doctor turned and ran back into the TARDIS only to collapse to the ground as a crushing pain hit him in the chest and mind. The door slammed shut behind him as Donna and the New Doctor piloted the TARDIS off, the Crucible exploding behind them.
He gasped, looking up to see everyone's eyes on something against the wall. He shoved himself to his feet, dragging himself over, fighting against the crippling pain, only for his hearts to stop, seeing the Professor's body, lying on the ground, a coat over her face.
He didn't know how he did it with the pain coursing through him, but the next thing he knew, he found himself collapsed by her side, pulling the coat off her, to see the ugly bruise marring her beautiful face.
She wasn't breathing.
She was cold.
She was dead.
He let out a shuddering breath, tears in his eyes. He thought she died…but then seeing the TARDIS and Donna alright, he'd believed…but she was there, she was dead. He pulled her into his arms, holding her tightly to him, his back to his friends, he didn't want to see them. He didn't want to look at them.
"Oh God…" he breathed, tears falling from his eyes as he started rocking back and forth, clutching her tightly, willing her to grip him back but she made not a move, "I wasn't here…" he sobbed, "I left her again. I promised…" he hunched over, burying his face in her hair as he held her, "I promised I wouldn't leave her again…I promised…no…no!"
He sobbed horribly, the most heart wrenching sound any of his Companions had ever heard from him. Tears fell from the eyes of the women. The men looked on sadly, the beginnings of tears they refused to let fall growing in their eyes.
"Please," he begged her feebly, "Please come back. Come back, come back…please…I can't…I can't," he kept shaking his head, "Please. I need you…"
And then his words shifted to ones they couldn't comprehend and the TARDIS refused to translate. Rose recognized the beautiful, terrible language from when they had saved Chloe Webber, and, while they had never exactly told her what language it was, she just knew it was Gallifreyan, their language.
As he sobbed in the language only he, the Professor, and the TARDIS knew, a golden light started to glow behind them. They turned around, Rose's eyes widening as she saw a panel on the console lift and the heart of the TARDIS open. She stepped back, Jack putting an arm around her, as they watched the light float out of the compartment and over to the Doctor.
The TARDIS could do most anything involving time, except break though the Time Lock. She couldn't restore their people…but she could do this for her pilot, for he had never wanted anything more...
He looked up, startled, when the light swirled around him, terrified for a moment of what would happen, when it flitted over the Professor. He watched in awe as the bruise on her head faded...there was a snap and...
She gasped, sitting up suddenly, alive, very much alive.
The Doctor wasted no time, grabbing her and pulling her into his arms, holding her tightly as she clutched to him, breathing heavily as she returned his embrace fully and without any hesitation, for the first time since she regenerated.
"You're alive," he muttered into her neck as he clutched her, "You're alive," he pulled away and kissed her deeply.
Rose's eyes widened and she looked away.
"How?" the Professor breathed, knowing she had been dead, knowing she hadn't regenerated.
"The heart of the TARDIS," he cupped her face in his hands. There was a change in her, more emotion in her eyes than he had seen from this version of her, "She brought you back. She gave you back to me."
She simply reached out and placed her hand on his right heart, he blinked a moment, before doing the same. They clasped hands, "I did promise I would always find my way back to you," she reminded him softly, "This time, assistance was required."
He laughed, tears still in his eyes, but of joy this time.
Sarah Jane smiled softly at them, wanting to give them all the time in the world…but there was a pressing matter at hand, "Speaking of finding our way…" she called, "The Earth? It's stuck in the wrong part of space!"
"We're on it," the Doctor grinned, helping the Professor up. They ran to the monitor, Donna hugging the Professor tightly, laughing with joy when the woman firmly returned the hug, as the Doctor brought up the monitor, "Torchwood Hub, this is the Doctor. Are you receiving me?"
"Loud and clear," a young woman appeared, "Is Jack there?"
"Can't get rid of him," he looked at Jack and pointed at her, "Jack, what's her name?"
"Gwen Cooper," Jack replied.
"Tell me, Gwen Cooper, are you from an old Cardiff family?"
"Yes…" she answered slowly, "All the way back to the 1800s."
"Mm, thought so!" he nodded.
"Spatial genetic multiplicity," the Professor walked over to help him, thinking of the story he'd told her about meeting Charles Dickens. Donna watched her with a curious smile, she seemed far more at ease, and not a militant sense.
"It's a funny old world!" he laughed, before turning back to Gwen, "Now, Torchwood, I want you to open up that Rift Manipulator, send all the power to us."
"Doing it now, sir," the man with Gwen called.
"What's that for?" Martha asked.
"It's a towrope," he replied, "Now then, Sarah, what was your son's name?"
"Luke, he's called Luke," she grinned, "And the computer's called Mr. Smith."
The Professor nodded and typed in a code, "Calling Luke and Mr. Smith."
"Come on, Luke, shake a leg!" the Doctor called as Luke jumped up.
"Is mum there?" the boy asked.
"Oh, she's fine and dandy…"
"Yes!" Sarah Jane laughed in relief, "Yes!"
"Mr. Smith we need you to harness the Rift power and loop it around the TARDIS," the Professor told him.
"I regret I will need remote access to TARDIS base code numerals," Mr. Smith replied.
"Oh, blimey," the Doctor remarked, "That's gonna take a while."
"No, no, no," Sarah Jane darted around to them, "Let me! K-9, out you come!"
"Affirmative, mistress!" K9 rolled on screen.
"Oh, good dog!" the Doctor laughed, delighted, "K-9, give Mr. Smith the base code!"
"Master. TARDIS base code now being transferred. The process is simple."
"Simple?" Martha scoffed.
"Now then, you lot…" the Doctor turned to them. He directed Sarah Jane back to where she was standing, "Sarah, hold that. And Mickey, you hold that. Because, you know why this TARDIS is always rattling about the place?" he walked past Rose.
"It was designed to have six pilots," the Professor answered, "We have to do it single handed…well…I have to pilot and correct him," she nudged Marta to the side a bit more, "Martha, keep that level but no more than where it is. Jack, keep that steady."
The Doctor grinned at her interacting with the others, "Now we can fly this thing!" he turned to Jackie and hesitated, "No, Jackie. No, no. Not you," he patted her shoulder, "Don't touch anything, just...stand back…like it's meant to be flown! We've got the Torchwood Rift looped around the TARDIS by Mr. Smith. We're gonna fly planet Earth back home," he took his place at the console, the Professor across from him, "Right, then! Off we go."
He pulled a lever and they flew off, hardly shaking at all as they worked in a flawless team. Rose stood a bit to the side, by the railing, watching it happen, solemn, the Doctor didn't trust her, not anymore.
Donna smiled appreciatively at Jack as she and the New Doctor walked around, observing, "That's really good, Jack. I think you're the best."
Jackie giggled, moving to stand by her daughter as the New Doctor and Donna stood on the opposite side, chuckling.
And soon, the Earth was back.
They all whooped and cheered, the Professor watching with a bit of a smile as everyone hugged.
The TARDIS materialized on Bannerman Road and the Doctor, Professor, and Sarah Jane emerged, looking around.
"You know..." Sarah Jane eyed him as he stood before her, holding the Professor's hand, refusing to let go, "You act like such a lonely man. But look at you! You've got the biggest family on Earth! And…" she cast a suggestive look at the Professor.
"A fiancé," the Doctor grinned at the woman in question.
Sarah Jane laughed and hugged him tightly, "Gotta go!" she pulled back suddenly, giving the Professor a quick hug, "He's only fourteen! It's a long story. And thank you!" she turned and ran off down the road, waving back at them.
The Doctor stood outside of Cardiff with the Professor, disabling Jack's teleport with his sonic, "I TOLD you, no teleport. And Martha, get rid of that Osterhagen thing, eh? Save the world one more time."
Martha smiled, "Consider it done," she nodded, hugging the Professor, beaming when the woman returned the hug, and then him while Jack saluted them both.
They turned and walked away, the Doctor smiling after them when Mickey emerged from the TARDIS and made to follow.
"Where are you going?" the Doctor called.
"Well, I'm not stupid," Mickey remarked, "I can work out what happens next. And hey, I had a good time in that parallel world but my Gran passed away. Nice and peaceful. Spent her last years living in a mansion. There's nothing there for me now. Certainly not Rose."
"What will you do?"
"Anything! Brand new life. Just you watch," he knocked his fist with the Doctor, "See you, boss. Sergeant," he winked at the Professor. Donna had been filling those who hadn't been present for her regeneration in on what happened and what she had been like, "Hey, you two!" he turned and ran after them.
The Doctor just shook his head and they turned to head back into the TARDIS, walking up to the console. The Professor checked the progress the TARDIS was making on closing the holes in the Universe with Rose's device. He looked at her and she nodded, "Five minutes," she remarked, rubbing the side of her head.
The Doctor frowned, seeing the action, and opened his mouth, "I've got it," his other self cut in, seeing him about to speak.
The Doctor glanced at him but the New Doctor nodded subtly at Rose who was leaning against a Y-beam, her arms crossed over her chest, looking very much like she wanted to talk to him alone. He nodded at the New Doctor.
"Come on Professor," the New Doctor nodded, "Let's get you checked up quick."
"I'm fine," she replied.
"Oi," Donna turned to her, "You, up there, now!" she pointed to the gantry, "Med-bay! Hop to!"
The Professor shook her head, but headed up the steps, Donna and the New Doctor after her.
"Oi!" Jackie called, moving to follow them, "I want to see!" she hadn't gotten to see much of the TARDIS last time she was in it. She'd really thought there was only that one room, that the door at the top was for show, but now that she knew there was more, she wanted to see if the other rooms were like that one.
The Doctor watched them head up, waiting till the door had shut before turning back to the controls. Rose waited a moment, wanting to see if he'd say anything at all to her, but he didn't.
She pushed off the Y-beam and moved over to the console beside him, but he just walked around it, playing it off as checking the controls. So she followed him, "Are you going to talk to me properly or ignore me?"
"What do you want me to say Rose?" he turned to her, the hard look back in his eyes.
"I don't want you to say anything, I just want you to listen," she told him, he crossed his arms, waiting, "I'm sorry. I am. I'm so sorry. It was my fault, I know, it's my fault the Daleks got through and that the walls of the Universe were collapsing, I get that. But Doctor," she shook her head, "I was only trying to get back to you. I...I missed you."
He was silent, just staring at her.
She blinked, tears in her eyes, her voice breaking as she asked, "Did...didn't you miss me at all?"
He sighed, turning to face the console, bracing himself on it, "Of course I did."
No matter how angry he was with her, he was never good with tears.
Her expression hardened, "But not enough eh?" she was a mess of emotions and right now, all the hurt she'd been feeling from seeing the Doctor, her Doctor, kissing the Professor...it was shifting into anger. How dare he claim that he missed her when he was, right in front of her eyes, kissing another woman? "Tell me, how long did you wait after I was gone before moving onto her?"
The Doctor spun to face her at the sneer in her voice, "Rose, don't."
"No," she glared, "I think I have the right to know! I spent years with you, I was with you for so long and you never..."
"Of course I never!" he shouted, "Rose I told you once, long ago, things are different with humans...you..."
"Decay," she cut in, "Yes I know that, I heard that all before," she shook her head, "Humans die and you change. And she did, didn't she? She regenerated! You said it yourself, you're always different. What's to say she even still loves you? She certainly doesn't look like she..."
"Don't," the Doctor glared, a harshness in his voice as he actually started to tremble in rage he was barely containing.
"She's just a soldier! She's a shell! She's killed people! Don't think I don't know that! She can't feel anything Doctor. She's incapable of love! She doesn't love y..."
"ROSE!" he was breathing heavily now, finally managing to get her to stop her tirade against the Professor, "Don't you DARE finish that thought, or so help me Rose Tyler I will throw you out of the doors right now."
Rose swallowed hard, never had she heard such a dark promise in the Doctor's voice, seen it in his eyes. She took a step back, she'd crossed the line. He wasn't just angry, he wasn't fuming, he was furious...
"You don't know ANYTHING about what she's been through," he continued, his fists clenching, trying to rein in his anger, "You don't know how far she's come. You can't feel her, you can't hear her, you have NO idea about anything..."
"I know you could never love someone like her," she said quietly. He couldn't. The man she loved wouldn't ever love a soldier.
She seemed to be forgetting, in her quest to return to him, she'd become like one as well, her gun was testament enough of that.
"You know that do you?" his gaze hardened, "I loved her long before your ancestors even thought to use the name Tyler and I will love her long after you're dead and your family line has ended."
She flinched, her mind racing to try and reason out why he'd choose the Professor, a hardened soldier, over her, a feeling human...and that was it, wasn't it?
"You only picked her because she's like you," she tried to convince herself. It had to be why. Because humans died too easily.
"You truly believe that?" he let out a hollow laugh before shaking his head, "Do you want to know Rose, the real reason I Time Locked my planet?" she looked at him with a frown, he'd told her it was to end the war, "There were options," he said quietly, "There WERE options I could have taken, chanced crossing my own timeline to kill Davros when I failed the first time, assassinated the President and reclaimed the position I'd once held...I CHOSE to Time Lock the planet. I CHOSE to let my people burn."
"Why?" Rose breathed, tears falling from her eyes at his words. This was a Doctor she had never encountered before.
"They told me she was dead," he replied, the hard edge back in his voice as he recalled a terrible time in his life, when he'd lost the last thing, quite possibly the ONLY thing, that meant anything to him, "There were reports that the last Academic had fallen. The Daleks started it, spreading the rumor to draw me out, knowing the Professor was the last Academic left. The Time Lords didn't counter it, they thought I'd fight all the harder to avenge her," he shook his head, "But what was the point in fighting for my world when it was already gone?"
It had shattered him. Completely and utterly destroyed him when the report had reached him. Something inside him snapped. The war had turned into hell, his people transformed into blood thirsty savages willing to destroy the Universe to win, but with the Daleks growing in number and power and with the last Academic defeated there was no hope in a victory. The war had taken the Professor from him. He just...couldn't muster the strength to care anymore, about anything. He just knew, he had to stop it, quickly, before it could spread to destroy the same Universe that they had always dreamed of seeing together. He couldn't let them destroy something the Professor had cherished and dreamed of. The war had to end. Simple as that.
Before he'd even realized it, he'd found himself on a suicide mission to the Academy Archives, stealing 'The Moment,' hiding it and setting it up to be activated by sonic miles above the planet, sealing everyone away as the planet below burned. He had never thought himself capable of something like that, capable of that much destruction until he himself had been destroyed. A man with nothing left was a dangerous one indeed. His only comfort had been in the fact that the Professor's most prized creation had ended the terror that was the war and saved the Universe.
He turned to the monitor, looking blankly at the screen, "I let them burn because I thought she was dead," he admitted, "And I carried on, because she wouldn't have wanted me to die with them, she would have never forgiven me if I joined them. She would have wanted me to see the Universe, like we'd always planned."
Rose's eyes widened in horror at what he was saying. To burn your planet to the ground over one person...she knew, deep down, that he DID love the Professor...how much she had no idea...
"I didn't just 'move on' to her," the Doctor told her, "I Bonded to her. In your terms, I married her."
Her mouth dropped open as she shook her head, no, it couldn't be...
But before she could form any words at all through her shock, they heard the Professor's voice behind the door to the gantry, "The TARDIS should be ready for one final trip," she was saying, a moment before it opened, "The last hole in the walls, Dårlig Ulv Stranden."
The Doctor fixed a grin on his face, unwilling for the group joining them again to see his rampant emotions, to know what had happened between him and Rose just then. He turned to pull a lever, "Better known as..."
The TARDIS materialized on Bad Wolf Bay on a day like any other. Jackie stepped out first, followed by the New Doctor and Rose.
"Ugh, fat lot of good this is!" Jackie crinkled her nose, "Back of beyond, bloody Norway! I'm gonna have to phone your father. He's on the nursery run," Rose looked around as her mother turned to the New Doctor, "I was pregnant, do you remember? Had a baby boy!"
"Ah, brilliant!" the New Doctor nodded as the trio stepped out of the TARDIS, "What did you call him?"
"No, you plum. He's called Tony!"
"Hold on, this is the parallel Universe, right?" Rose turned to the Doctor.
"You're back home," he nodded.
"The Professor's rigged the walls of the world to close again..." Donna explained, "Now that the Reality Bomb never happened. It's dimension retro-closure as well," she grinned at the New Doctor, "See, I really get that stuff now."
"No," Rose shook her head, near tears, despite it all, she'd done everything she had to return, despite the row that had just gone down between her and the Doctor, the negative tension between them now, she didn't want to leave, this couldn't be it, "But I spent all that time trying to find you!"
"And you released the Daleks in the process," the Professor reminded her.
"I'm not going back!"
"You've got to," the Doctor agreed, "Because we saved the Universe, but at a cost. And the cost is him," he nodded at the New Doctor, "He destroyed the Daleks. He committed genocide. He's too dangerous to be left on his own."
He knew better than anyone what it was like to cause such destruction and be left alone after.
"You made me!" the New Doctor shouted, angry.
The Professor tensed slightly, she couldn't help but feel partially to blame for the New Doctor's actions. The soldier in her told her that he'd done the right thing, taking out the enemy. She couldn't help but feel like he had gotten a bit of the soldier in her to make him do that.
"Exactly, you were born in battle, full of blood and anger and revenge," the Doctor continued, forcing himself to look at Rose, "Remind you of someone? That's me when we first met. And you did make me better," he conceded that point, "And now you can do the same for him."
"It's better than that, though," Donna added, "Don't you see what he's trying to give you?" she looked at the New Doctor, "Tell her, go on."
Rose turned to him, "I look like him and I think like him...same memories, up to the Sycorax, well, with a few random ones scattered from the regeneration energy, but mostly the same thoughts, same everything. Except, I've only got one heart."
"Which means…" Rose frowned.
"I'm part human, specifically the aging part. I'll grow old and never regenerate. I've only got one life...Rose Tyler," he looked at her, it felt odd to look at her and feel his heart speed up and not with the Professor, it seemed they were just too similar now for her to have that affect on him, "I could spend it with you. If you want."
"You'll grow…grow old at the same time as me?"
Rose put a hand on his chest and felt his one heart beating when the TARDIS made a grinding noise.
"We've gotta go," the Doctor called, "This reality's sealing itself off. Forever."
"But it's still not right!" Rose shouted as they turned to leave, they turned back, she had given him up once without a fight, never again, she HAD to get through to him, bonded or whatever to the Professor or not, she couldn't let go, not now, "Because...the Doctor's...still you."
"She doesn't…necessarily…have to stay…" the Professor cut in, speaking haltingly, as though trying to overcome something.
"But the other Doctor…" Donna shook her head.
"I touched the jar," she stated, looking down a bit as she stepped away from the Doctor to explain, all the options needed to be examined before a clear decision could be made, despite how much she didn't want them to know this one existed, "It's what threw me against the wall. All our DNA got mixed up, Donna got you, he got Donna and I, and I got a bit of Donna as well…her humanity," she looked up, her eyes shiny, "Just enough that the worlds wouldn't fracture…" she blinked, "I could keep an eye on the New Doctor and…Rose could go…with you…"
Everyone looked at her, shocked, but for different reasons. Rose, that she would be willing to let go of the Doctor as she had once promised despite her regeneration; the New Doctor, that she was considered human enough to keep the worlds stable; the Doctor, that the meta-crisis had nearly killed her; and Donna…that the Professor, the stone cold soldier she'd come to know…was…
"Professor…" she breathed, "Are you crying?"
The Professor reached a hand up and wiped her cheek to see there was, in fact, a tear falling from her eye.
The Doctor blinked and realized she'd gotten more than just a dose of Donna's humanity, the humanity had broken the shell of her regeneration as well. He could see from the way she carried herself, she was still the militant person, but she wasn't ruled by logic and statistics anymore. She could express the emotions she'd kept bottled up and forced down, he could see that in her eyes and her voice.
And now…she was hurting…
"Could I?" Rose asked, a note of hopefulness in her voice. Without the Professor there, then there was a chance that they...
"No," the Doctor shook his head, his eyes on the Professor, "No…"
"Doctor…" the Professor began. She did not want Rose to go off with the Doctor, not by any stretch of the imagination, but it was an option that had to be put on the table for an informed decision to be...
The Doctor just reached out and put his hand on her right heart and she did his, meeting to clasp hands, "I promised you I wouldn't leave you, that works both ways. I'm not leaving you here."
She nodded, the decision had been made.
"It's not fair," Rose whispered, tears falling from her eyes, "YOU'RE my Doctor."
"And I'm him," he insisted, pointing at the New Doctor.
"Alright," she nodded her head, there was only one thing left she could think to say to try to get her Doctor back, just one, "Both of you, answer me this. When I last stood on this beach on the worst day of my life...if...if I had told you, that I…that I loved you, like I wanted to do…what would you have said to me?" she looked at the Doctor, her Doctor, "Go on, say it."
"It doesn't matter now," he told her resolutely, "I'm sorry Rose."
Rose blinked, her heart breaking all over again as he pulled the Professor to him, wrapping an arm around her waist.
She truly had lost him.
"My end," the New Doctor called gently, reaching out to whisper in her ear. Rose pulled away, looking into his eyes a moment before pulling him towards her by the lapels of his blue jacket, kissing him, able to pretend, just for a moment, that it was HER Doctor...able to sense from his words, from his gaze, that, one day, he just might be...
The Doctor nodded and they turned to walk towards the TARDIS.
'Are you sure you?' the Professor asked him just before the stepped over the threshold.
'I was just as sure 800 years ago as I am now,' he told her, smiling as he heard her in his mind. Before, she had been reluctant to speak in his mind, viewing it as a distraction when they were not split up or conveying secret strategies and information. Hearing her speak to him for any other reason made his hearts swell.
She paused in the doorway as he stepped past to the console, glancing back at Rose and the New Doctor. She hoped Rose would finally be happy now and remain in her new world. The memories the New Doctor possessed would help him and Rose both to grow closer and build up a strong relationship of their own. The hand had been from the start of the Doctor's regeneration, which meant he wouldn't have the experiences that drew her and the Doctor closer, but he'd have all the ones of Rose. The New Doctor had also absorbed her DNA as well as Donna's, which made him more like a half brother or a cousin to her now, something both she and the New Doctor felt. And she knew, her being Bonded to the Doctor wouldn't affect the New Doctor's relationship with Rose in the slightest. When someone with a twin married, it didn't automatically mean their twin had married the same person too. She had never Bonded to, never participated in a Bonding with, the New Doctor, only her Doctor, and that was the only way she wanted it.
She gave a small smile and nodded, shutting the door behind her.
The Professor stood on one side of the console, setting the controls while Donna adjusted the monitor on the other side, fiddling around as the Doctor leaned on a support, watching.
"I thought we could try the planet Felspoon...just 'cos," Donna smiled, "What a good name, 'Felspoon.' Apparently it's got mountains that sway in the breeze. Mountains that move. Can you imagine?" she twisted a knob.
"And how do you know that?" he asked her quietly.
"Because it's in your head! And if it's in your head, it's in mine."
"And how does that feel?"
"Brilliant! Fantastic! Molto bene! Great bit of Universe packed into my brain. You know you could fix that Chameleon Circuit if you just try and hotbind in the fragment links and superseding the binary, binary, binary, binary, binary, binary, binary, binary, binary, binary, binary, binary, binary, binary, binary…" she gasped, lurching forward, as the Professor came around to stand by the Doctor, "I'm fine!" they watched her cautiously, "Nah, never mind Felspoon. You know who I'd like to meet? Charlie Chaplin. I've heard he's great, Charlie Chaplin. Shall we do that? Shall we go and see Charlie Chaplin?" she picked up a phone, "Shall we? Charlie Chaplin? Charlie Chester, Charlie Brown. No, he's fiction, friction, fiction, fixen, mixen, rixten, brixton…" she gasped and doubled over again, grasping her head, as they went to her, "Oh, my God."
"Do you know what's happening?" the Doctor asked her.
"Yeah," she breathed.
"There's never been a Human-Time Lord meta-crisis before now," the Professor stated solemnly, "And you know why."
"Because there can't be," she said, her eyes moist, "I want to stay."
"Look at us," the Doctor called, but she refused, "Donna, look at us."
She looked at them, shaking, "I was gonna be with you...forever."
"We know," he whispered.
"The rest of my life...travelling...in the TARDIS. The Doctor-Donna," and then she realized, "No. Oh, my God..." she shook her head, backing away from the Doctor, her eyes filled with tears, when she ran into something. She looked back to see that, at some point, the Professor had walked around the console and gently grabbed her by the shoulders, an arm around them as she stood beside her, keeping her from retreating, "I can't go back. Don't make me go back. Doctor...please. Please Professor, don't make me go back."
"Donna," he looked into her eyes, so terribly sad, "Oh, Donna Noble. I am so, so sorry," she looked up at him, fearful, panicking, "But we had the best of times. The best," tears started to fall from her eyes, "Goodbye," he whispered, placing his fingers on her temples and closed his eyes.
"No," she pleaded, "No, please! Please! No, no! No!" memories flashed across her mind, of all their times together till right before her wedding, "NO!"
She collapsed, the Professor supporting her as she fell.
The Professor hammered on the door of the Noble house as the Doctor supported Donna in his arms, "Oh, that must be her!" she heard Wilf call from inside, "Donna?" he laughed, opening the door only to see them standing there, with Donna unconscious.
"Help us," the Doctor whispered urgently.
Wilf reached out to help, "Donna? Donna!"
The Doctor looked on as Donna slept in her bedroom, the Professor sitting beside her, hands on the woman's temples, leaving her with just a bit of protection against the hidden memories, the soldier in her knowing that precautions should always be taken, just in case.
"She took my mind into her own head," the Doctor explained to Donna's family as he and the Professor sat on the sofa, "But that's a Time Lord consciousness. All that knowledge…it was killing her."
"But she'll get better, now?" Wilf frowned.
The Professor shook her head, "He had to wipe her mind completely. Every trace of us or the TARDIS...everything we did together, anywhere we went...had to go."
"All those wonderful things she did..."
"I know," the Doctor murmured quietly, "But that version of Donna is dead," he leaned forward, "Because if she remembers, just for a second, she'll burn up. You can never tell her," thunder rumbled outside, "You can't mention us, or any of it...for the rest of her life."
"But the whole world's talking about it," Mrs. Noble shook her head, "We travelled across space!"
"It'll just be a story. One of those Donna Noble stories, where she missed it all again."
"But she was better with you," Wilf cried, upset.
"Don't say that…" his daughter snapped.
"No, she was!"
"We just want you to know that there are worlds out there, safe in the sky, because of her," the Professor told them, "That there are people living in the light, singing songs of Donna Noble, a thousand million light-years away...they will never forget her. While she can never remember."
"And for one moment..." the Doctor added, tears in his eyes, "One shining moment...she was the most important woman in the whole wide Universe."
"She still is," Mrs. Noble remarked shortly, "She's my daughter."
"Then maybe you should tell her that once in a while."
There were footsteps down the stairs and Donna burst in, oblivious, and holding her phone, "I was asleep, ON my bed, IN my clothes, like a flippin' kid! What did you let me do that for?" she glanced at the Doctor and Professor, "Don't mind me. Donna."
"John Smith," he stood up and shook her hand.
"Katherine Stewart," she added, shaking her hand as well.
"Mr. Smith and Miss Stewart were just leaving," her mother told her.
"My phone's gone mad!" Donna continued, "32 texts, Veena's gone barmy, she's saying planets in the sky, WHAT have I missed now?" she turned to leave, calling back vaguely, "Nice to meet you."
"Like I said, I think you should go," Mrs. Noble glared at them coldly.
Donna was on her phone in the kitchen, putting a jug of orange juice in the refrigerator, "How thick do you think I am? Planets? I'll tell you what that was, dumbo, that's those two-for-one lagers you get down the offy 'cos you fancy that little man in there with the goatee. Ha ha! Yes, you do! I've SEEN ya!"
"Donna?" the Doctor called as he and the Professor appeared in the doorway, "We were just going."
"Yeah," she called, careless, "See ya," the Professor squeezed his hand and they turned to head for the door, "I'll tell you what, though, you're wasting your time with that one, because Suzie Mayor, she went on that dating site and she saw him! No, no, no…no, listen, this is important...Suzie Mayor wouldn't lie...not unless it was about calories! Ha ha!"
It was dark and pouring rain, thundering, when the Doctor and Professor made it to the door with Wilf.
"Ah...you'll have quite a bit of this," the Doctor looked up.
"Atmospheric disturbance," the Professor murmured.
"Still, it'll pass."
Wilf watched them a moment as they turned and shook his hand.
"Bye then, Wilfred," the Doctor sighed.
He nodded as they stepped into the rain, "Oh, Doctor...Professor…" they turned, "What about you, now? Who've you got? I mean, all those friends of yours..."
"They've all got someone else. Still, that's fine," he looked at the Professor, just a hint of a smile, "I'm fine."
And he could believe it too. He'd come so close to losing her, he had lost her…to have her back…as long as he had her, he would be fine.
"I'll watch out for you," Wilf told them.
"You can't ever tell her," the Professor stressed to him.
"No, no, no. But every night...when it gets dark...and the stars come out...I'll look up. On her behalf. I'll look up at the sky and think of you two," his voice broke.
"Thank you," the Doctor nodded before they turned and headed to the TARDIS, disappearing into the night.
The rotor rose and fell gently as they stood there, soaked, tired, and so, so sad. The Professor reached out and helped him out of his sodden jacket. She eyed him a moment, seeing him looking at the console with a terrible sorrow in his eyes. He'd had to say goodbye to what felt like all his previous Companions in one go…she knew it couldn't have been easy for him, she could feel it now, inside her, Donna's never ending empathy...
She reached out and took his hand, tugging him to follow her. He did, letting her guide him up the gantry and through the door at the top, down the halls and to the room they shared before her regeneration had hit as she barely slept before, choosing to nod off a few hours every couple of days in the captain's chair by the console, wanting to always be alert and undistracted.
She shook her head, never again, and led him over to the bed, setting him down to lay, and moved beside him, just letting him take comfort in her presence, what strength she could offer. She didn't know if it was a leftover feeling from before Donna's humanity had fused with her, but she felt…like she could be strong for him without focusing so much on actually being so. Just being herself would make her strong.
And she would be strong for him.
She would support him in whatever he needed, in whatever he did, be there for him as he had always been for her.
Slowly, very slowly, he fell asleep to her brushing her fingers through his hair, comforted in the fact that she was alive, that she was still there with him, her heartbeats proving it, lulling him to his dreams.
To be continued in...Rebound!
A/N: My reasons for what happened in this chapter:
I've been waiting for 10 to be properly angry for a while, such a proper, deep anger that he slipped back into his 9th persona (been dying for him to use the 'stupid apes' line again especially because it's so not a 10 thing to say). But I also knew there needed to be something really BIG for him to get THAT angry. I figure having everything you'd lost and sacrificed thrown in your face by not only a member of the species you continually fight so hard to protect but a former Companion along with that person being responsible for the return of your WORST nightmares as well as having something dear to your lover nearly destroyed by that same person who also constantly insulted your lover before would be enough to do it. I don't know why, but as I was writing this, the Doctor just kept getting angrier at Rose. Watching Series 3 he always seemed to see nothing but the good in Rose and that, since she was gone, he'd basically idealized her in his mind, choosing to remember the best of her. I felt like, in this story, he might have repressed a lot of the things that Rose had done/said that hurt the Professor in Series 2 (almost like trying not to think about it and how little he'd done to stop her now that Rose wasn't there anymore) and hearing her actually voicing her thoughts to him (she was always so careful not to do anything in front of him) was just the snapping point. Especially after the Professor just DIED.
I figure, the TARDIS is telepathic and was able to turn Margaret the Slitheen back into an egg, reversing Margaret's time, so she might be able to reverse time for the Professor to just before she hit the wall, healing her. I also really wanted to show that despite how strong the Professor has been in this story, that she's not invincible, she can be hurt, she can be killed, she very nearly was a few times before. She's come so close but it never quite happened. Rose sees her as this stony warrior, but to the Doctor she's his Kata, I really wanted to show how he handled it, I wanted Rose to see how he handled the loss of the Professor, it would be a gateway to bringing up those memories of the war that he tells Rose about. I felt, he wouldn't normally go that far in talking about the war, but with the Professor having nearly died just then and having thought she died during the war, it would bring up too much for him to not speak of. I also needed an emotional reason for the Doctor to really kiss her in front of Rose :)
Ever since the beginning of the stories when the Professor didn't fight back, I've been wanting her to put Rose in her place about not being the center of the Doctor's world or having a 'claim' to him...but as I wrote, the Doctor just kept butting in, wanting to be the one to protect the Professor from everything, even Rose :) I thought it was about time he put on his big boy pants and finally said something to Rose about everything she had been doing/how she had been acting around the Professor. Remember, the Professor didn't fight back because of how much she'd been forced to fight in the war, the Doctor just didn't want to choose and hurt one of them (though deep down he already knew who he'd pick). HE needed to be the one to finally set Rose straight, Rose wouldn't have believed it from anyone else.
I know Rose seemed a bit back and forth, like she starts to back off when the Doctor kisses the Professor, and then when they argue, but just keeps coming back to trying to get the Doctor back despite knowing they're Bonded and all. But there have been people who do that, going after married men. And, I sort of see Rose as still being a child, she started off travelling with the Doctor at 19, grew infatuated with him, basically pined over him while in Pete's World, I could see her doing everything she can not to have to give him up/lose him again. Not stopping till literally EVERY tactic she tried failed her. That was also my second reason for making the Professor blonde. I wanted her and Rose to be similar, but for the Professor to be this cold, distant woman to show that the Doctor, despite that, would still pick her over Rose, still love her and not just a version of her.
As for the Cannon/Collapse of the Universal walls twist...I always thought it was odd that the Daleks came back around the same time as Rose and that the Cannon started to work so suddenly. I feel like, they would have HAD to test it for a while before agreeing to let Rose try it out. All that time spent blasting away at the walls of the Universe (what she'd have to cross to make it back) had to have an affect, an affect that the Doctor and Professor wouldn't have been able to notice right from the start as it was happening in a parallel world. I thought, what if THAT was why Caan managed to get through the Time Lock and let the Daleks escape? Rose said they were building a Cannon to get her back to him, not to get his help to stop the stars going out, so I felt that might mean they'd been working on it ever since she'd been trapped there. The Cannon would work once the cracks were big enough/the walls weak enough to send someone through.
And again, sorry that there will be no The Next Doctor posted today. There's so few chapters that the next story would have been done in like five days and that seems just a bit too short for me. But! I am pleased to announce that I've figured out enough flashbacks (most of which are Keta fluff/cute scenes which I am starved for) for all six chapters, and I think I will announce tomorrow (a day early so today is your last chance to vote if you haven't) whether you get a wedding chapter! Hopefully that will make up for it :) See you tomorrow!