24 days earlier and 4 years later
Now he was torturing himself. Well, he was also running away. He was very good at running away. His song was ending. Over and over he kept hearing that message, and to be honest he was scared. What if this meant he was going to be dead and gone forever?
Right now, more than anything he wanted to see Rose again. He was going to die, and he just wanted to see her smile once more. It had been 16 months, three weeks, one day, three hours and twenty-nine minutes since she had left him.
No, that wasn't fair. In all honesty, he knew that if he had given her a choice she never would have left him. No, he had taken away her choice and dumped both her and the metacrisis back in Pete's World. And he regretted it, he regretted that he would never see the girl he lo... He swallowed hard, never again see the woman he loves, will always love. He didn't deserve to either, stupid git that he was for giving her up in the first place.
So now here he was, the Doctor, last of the Time Lords, stalking his past self. Or at least he was trying to. He had set the coordinates for the family friendly pleasure planet Crupta, for the time his Ninth self had brought her here.
She had been so happy then. There was no way he could go to her, to tell her how he felt. He had just wanted to see her again, to see her happy. Rassilon, he hoped she was happy now.
Of course the TARDIS had landed him in the wrong time, again. Then to make matters worse, his old girl had locked him out. That's where he was now, trapped on some pleasure planet, about to die, and still no Rose.
Rounding a corner down a deserted hallway, he heard it. Rose's laugh. It was unmistakable. She was giggling. Running through his mental index he tried to remember bringing her here. Nothing. Maybe he had had to suppress the memory because he met a future version of himself. Both his hearts fluttered as he thought about the possibility of seeing and talking to her again, touching her again.
"Stop it," she said with a breathy laugh. "We can't do this here. Someone could walk in at any minute. We're not exactly hidden in this alcove."
"You're such a killjoy, my love," a new voice, a man's voice, one he didn't recognize, said. It was followed by more giggles and the sound of lips on flesh.
"And you are more than a bit of an exhibitionist," Rose said. "Are you trying to give me a hickey?"
There was a low growl from the new man. "I want the universe to know that you are mine."
A sudden flash of rage hit the Doctor. Rose Tyler was his or at least the other Doctor's, not this idiot's. Stepping forward, the Doctor peered through a lush green plant to spy on the couple. It took everything he had to not go and deck this new man.
Said man had floppy brown hair and was wearing a tweed jacket with trousers that were far too short for his long legs. Probably another one of Rose's pretty boys, one who was currently trailing kisses down her neck. A pretty boy who would very soon be wishing he was never born if the Doctor got his hands on him.
Rose tilted her head forward and opened her eyes. He knew the instant she saw him, her eyes went wide in recognition, and she was suddenly tugging the new lecherous man up. "Can you please get me a fizzy drink, love? My stomach is suddenly churning."
"Are you alright? It's still too early for you. Is there any pain?" The floppy haired git was suddenly in a panic, and he pulled something out of his pocket. A familiar humming noise filled the air. The man's back was still to the Doctor. "Scans are fine," he mumbled and leaned over her stomach.
"Doctor," Rose said, brushing the floppy hair away from this apparently new Doctor's face. "I'm fine, she's fine. I just need a fizzy drink, sudden onset of cravings."
The Doctor in the bushes gasped. Rose was here with some future version of himself. How? This was impossible. Of course, Rose Tyler seemed to eat impossible for breakfast.
"Will you be alright here by yourself? I can send one of the kids," the other Doctor said, shifting nervously from one foot to another.
"Love, I'll be fine," she said as she reached a hand up to his temple. "Just the drink, please."
"Be back soon." He leaned over and kissed her lips and then bent lower. "No giving mummy any problems while I'm gone, alright?" Standing up straight, he turned and left.
Both his and Rose's gaze followed him out the doorway, and the Doctor turned to watch him traipse down the hall away from them.
"You can come out now," Rose said in a soft voice. "It's okay."
The Doctor stepped into the alcove where Rose and her Doctor had been hidden. "Hello," he said timidly.
"Hello," Rose replied with her brilliant smile. Holding out her hand to him, he all but ran to take it. His eyes dropped to her prominent stomach.
"You're pregnant." The words fell out of his mouth before he even processed the thought.
"Yes, I am. We're having a girl. I'm eight months gone, another four to go. At least I hope it's only four." She gazed deep within his eyes. "Where are you? In your timeline? Have you done the 27 Planets yet?"
His free hand twitched wanting to touch her stomach. He could feel the wedding ring on her left hand and she had called the other man Doctor. Could she really be pregnant with his baby? How was she even here? Was this a dream?
"I'm really here, this is real, and yes, she is yours. It takes you a while to get back into the whole telepathy thing," Rose said gently as she took his free hand and laid it on her stomach. He felt a small thump against his palm.
"She kicked." His eyes went wide in wonder and he smiled. "Wait, what telepathy thing?"
Smiling brightly, Rose said, "Oh, you'll find out. For so long it was so lonely up here for you." She brushed his temple. "Soon it won't be." Once again she studied his eyes as he felt the steady kicks against his hand. "After Bad Wolf Bay the second time, then. Have you been to the Planet of the Dead?"
"Bowie Base I, I just got back from Bowie Base I," he said softly.
"Adelaide Brooke… I'm sorry, my love. I know you were just trying to help."
"Rose, this is impossible," he said with her name on his lips like a prayer, "How are you here and what happened to my metacrisis?"
Rose smiled sadly. "Don't call him that. I hate the word metacrisis. Just call him Doctor, or James, if it's easier to keep him straight from the future you upstairs. And both of those are long stories. We had a great life, James and I. Together we raised a family, three beautiful children, three grandchildren and another one on the way. He passed away more than seven years ago now." A solitary tear slipped down her cheek.
Lifting a hand, he wiped the tear away. "I'm sorry."
"I know, and I am too. I will always miss him. As for being back in this universe, the easiest explanation is Bad Wolf. And before you say anything, I know you thought that you got it all back on the Game Station, but you didn't. It's okay; see, I'm fine."
So many things were running through the Doctor's head at this very moment. Rose was here with him, but not this him, a future version. She was a grandmother, yet she looked no older than the last time he saw her. So many questions that he was sure he'd get answers to when their timelines matched up. "How long? How long before I find you again?"
"Oh, my love, if you've already been to Bowie Base I, a few weeks at most. Your song is ending." He flinched when she said it. "I know what you think those words mean, Doctor, and yes, I'm sure you've guessed that you will regenerate soon. But it's not the end. I promise it's not the end."
Whatever resolve he had left broke, and suddenly he was sobbing. All of his fears for the future, all of his regrets, all of his feelings for her came bubbling up. "Rose, I … I…" He couldn't form the words for all the things that he wanted to tell her.
"Shh, it's okay," she said, pulling him as close as she could with her stomach protruding. "It's okay to be scared."
Burying his head in her neck, he muttered, "I thought I was going to die for good. I thought that that's what my song ending meant. I tried to come see you one more time, a past you but the TARDIS got the date wrong."
"Nah, she just brought you to where you needed to be. She brought you to me now so I could help." Her fingers were running through his hair. "I love you so much, Doctor. I will always love you, every you, no matter what you look like. Although, I'm not sure what I'll think if you regenerate into a girl."
He laughed; honestly, he couldn't help himself. Rose was always able to do that, to make him laugh or feel better no matter how bleak things seemed. "Rose, I …" miss you. I love you. I'm an idiot who doesn't deserve you. All things he wanted to say. All things that were very true. All of them words that refused to form on his tongue, no matter how hard he tried.
"I know, Doctor, I know, and when you see me next you'll be ready to say them." Rose continued to stroke his hair.
Someone cleared their voice from a few feet away. The Doctor looked up to see a young man with brown hair and Rose's eyes standing there.
"Sorry to interrupt, but Dad said it was time." The young man rocked back on his heels. "Oh, and this is for you, Mum." He handed Rose a glass of fizzy, purple liquid.
"Thank you, Rory." Rose took a sip. "I really did need that. I take it Dad remembers this then."
"Yep," young Rory said, popping his 'p' and rolling his eyes. "He also said that next time you run into a younger or older version of himself that you shouldn't scare him half to death while telling him to get lost."
"Occupational hazard of the lifestyle, I suppose. So where is he now?" Rose asked before finishing the drink.
"Everyone is upstairs awaiting our arrival," Rory said, gesturing to a bank of lifts not far away.
"Everyone?" Rose asked, lifting an eyebrow.
Rory shook his head. "Just the people Dad remembers being there."
The Doctor, while still listening to the conversation, was intently studying the young man in front of him. He could see the genetic similarities not only between Rory and Rose but also between Rory and him, this incarnation of him. Looking up to the boy's face he found Rory staring right back at him.
"Sorry," Rose said suddenly. "Doctor, this is my son Rory."
"Nice to meet you." The Doctor held out a hand and Rory promptly shook it.
A grin was plastered on Rory's face as he pulled the Doctor into a hug. "Much nicer than the last two times I met you. No aliens bent on destroying Earth or you jumping out of a cake, and this time I'm not yelling."
Pulling a face, the Doctor asked, "Why on Earth would I jump out of a cake? And why were you yelling?"
Rose giggled and Rory winked. "Spoilers, Doctor," the young man said as he started down the hallway towards the lifts.
Grabbing Rose's hand, the Doctor followed and offhandedly he said, "Now you sound like that River Song."
Rory hit the up button and leaned against the wall. "Well, she is a brilliant woman, my daughter."
"What?" the Doctor said in disbelief. Had Rory meant that River was his daughter? River Song was the daughter of Rose Tyler's son. He looked between Rose and Rory, neither offering any additional information. "What?" he tried again.
The lift doors dinged open and the trio stepped inside. "River Song is my granddaughter, Doctor. She's Rory and his wife Amy's oldest child."
"But the Library," the Doctor said lamely. "Your granddaughter," his knees felt slightly weak.
Grinning, Rory said, "Oh, don't worry, that's all sorted, you're not the genius in the family. My TARDIS took a beating in the rescue… Ow!" Rose had thumped him hard on the arm.
His mother was looking sternly at him. "You're gob is worse than your Aunt Do… never mind. You can't just tell the Doctor everything. Even if he forgets, it leaves an echo. And before you say anything, this is nothing like the time Dad and I ran into the Doctor in his Ninth form. That time the Doctor needed more information to understand what was going on."
"Still, that hurt," Rory whinged as he rubbed his bruised arm.
Rose shrugged. "We Tylers are mean when we're pregnant."
"Tell me about it. I have my own to deal with and she is not happy about the 12 month pregnancies," Rory said with a laugh.
Something wasn't adding up for the Doctor. "How long has it been? How far in your future am I?" He asked.
Squeezing his hand, Rose said, "About four years in your personal future, but it's been over thirty since the Twenty-seven Planets for me." With an open mouth, he gaped at her. "And I think I look good for someone pushing 60."
"Like you actually have any idea how old you are," Rory laughed.
Before the Doctor could say anything or ask another question the lift doors opened. Rose tugged his hand as they left the lift. Immediately, the Doctor was almost knocked down as a petite blonde collided into him at a full run.
"Hello, Dad!" The woman looked up at him beaming.
"Jen... Jenny? How? How are you here? You died on Messaline. I waited five and a half hours and nothing, no signs of regeneration." The Doctor was dumbfounded.
"We only wait five and a half hours for someone else to rescue us, after that it's up to us to rescue ourselves. Right, Mum?" Jenny asked, looking back at Rose.
"Absolutely, Sweetheart," Rose said with a broad smile. "It's a story for later, Doctor. Come on, I'll introduce you to everyone else."
"Dad said you have thirty seven minutes," Rory said to the Doctor. "Then it's time to go."
Across the room from the Tenth Doctor, the Eleventh Doctor watched as his wife introduced his past self to their current family. It was a bit surreal since he remembered being there with her and now he was watching it happen, a bit of an out of body experience.
"Are you hiding back here, Doctor?" Jack asked as he came to stand next to the Doctor's secluded location.
The Time Lord shrugged, "I don't remember seeing myself when I came up here, just the back side of me when I was downstairs."
"And what a lovely backside that is," Jack said, leaning back to ogle him.
"Jack," the Doctor said with a sigh. "You never stop, do you?"
"Not when I can help it," Jack said, and the two friends lapsed into an amiable silence. They simply watched the joy on the Tenth Doctor's face as he made his way across the room.
Breaking the silence several minutes later, Jack asked, "Did you remember any of this before today?"
"Not as such," the Doctor said softly. "Never do when I suppress a memory, no details. I was genuinely shocked to find out that Amy's fiancé was Rose's son and when Jenny found us again. I had no idea. But parts of it kind of resonated through. Like when I was regenerating, I could hear Rose's voice saying a few words she just said to that me downstairs. I think it's why I was so ready for this family. Part of me knew it was coming."
"Another circular paradox, then?" Jack asked with a laugh, knowing how many of those they had dealt with in the past few years and knowing the big one still yet to come.
"Exactly," the Doctor said, clapping his friend on the back. The Time Lord smiled. "It seems to be the story of our lives lately."
Grinning back, Jack said, "At least if there are open ones you know you have a future."
The smile faltered on the Doctor's face. "Maybe, at least until you close them."
Jack nodded as if he knew exactly what was going through his friend's mind. "Thinking about Utah again, Doc?"
"Hmm, could be," the Doctor said enigmatically. "Two Doctors in the same room running away from the same thing, their deaths. And now it's time for him," Eleven gestured at Ten, "to stop running."
"Yeah, about that," Rory said, coming up beside them. "It's time for you to stop running as well. There's someplace you need to be, and soon by my calculations."
"Lake Silencio?" the Doctor asked in a resigned voice. "Can't it wait until after the baby is born? I'd like to at least meet my newest daughter."
Rory gave him a knowing smirk, "Don't worry, Dad, you will. I've had years to figure out those cryptic clues you're about to give me, well, past me. Just trust me, the plan I've got cobbled together is brilliant." Rory started to walk towards where their TARDIS was parked and motioned for Jack and the Doctor to follow. "Come on then, we have some invitations to deliver."
Tyler Family Adventures continues in the story Life as a Circular Paradox that you can find on in my stories.
Huge thanks and hugs to LastIncurableRomantic for helping me go back through this and re-edit all the chapters. Grammar and punctuation (especially commas) are not my strong suit. And for all of her help with the sequel.
And if you haven't read her story Part Human, you don't know what you're missing.