Okay, I've had this one rattling around in my head for a while now, but never got around to writing it. Since I annoyingly seem to have gotten a minor case of writers block on some of my other stories (struggling to get them from point B to point C), this one decided it wanted to be written.
It's set in the parallel world, post Journey's end. I know that some of you aren't huge fans of the Metacrisis, but the Time Lord will come into it eventually too.
Hope you like it.
Rose woke up with a gasp. It was freezing! Had the Doctor opened the window agai-
She looked around in shock. In the hazy light of dawn she could see the small lake that was clearly not part of her bedroom. Surrounding her were trees and stretches of long wild grass, not the walls of her house. Where the hell was she?
She stood up, shivering as the cold air whipped her tiny silk nightdress about her thighs. As she did, she noticed something odd. She was right in the center of… some kind of explosion? The long grass she was in had been blown outwards from her for a good two or three meters. The closer to her it was, the flatter, and eventually the more burnt it became.
How the hell had she gotten here? Did this have anything else to do with…?
Shaking her head, she turned and ran. She didn't really know where she was going, but eventually she stumbled into a car park. Quickly, she spotted her own car. It was the only one there. Somewhat panicked, she jumped in and started the car.
It wasn't until she was out on the road that she recognised where she was. She was in the London Farmlands. It hadn't existed in her original universe, but here there had been a whole area of London that it was illegal to build the city on. It was kept as wild as possible, aside from the actual farm and a few nature trails.
And it was a half hour drive away from her home… There was no way that she could have driven here in her sleep, was there? Maybe it had something to do with the gaps…
She was actually starting to get very scared. There were moments of her life where whole hours were missing. Thankfully nothing of her past. But she would suddenly find herself somewhere, a few hours after the last time she had looked at a clock, with no memory of how she got there.
At first she thought it was nothing. She hadn't bothered to tell the Doctor because she didn't want to worry him. Then as it happened more, she thought it might have been a problem with her brain, but a visit to the doctor - a medical one - proved that theory wrong. But now this… this was something else.
Now, this was getting out of hand. She should really tell the Doctor. She had to.
By the time Rose got home it was quarter to six in the morning. She crept in as quietly as possible; she knew that the Doctor liked his sleep in the mornings. But as she pulled back the covers and climbed in, the movement woke him up.
The Doctor grumbled a little as he turned over and looked up at her with bleary eyes. "Hello," he mumbled. "Having trouble sleeping?"
"What?" she said, a little puzzled. He had known she had been gone for hours in the middle of the night and he wasn't worried?
"You woke me up one of the other times you got up last night," he said, his voice still sleepy. "How many times have you gotten up now?"
Suddenly he started when he touched her skin, the coolness of it jolting him into full awareness. "Geez, Rose, you're freezing!" he cried, pulling the duvet up around her more and drawing her into him. "Were you outside?"
"Ah… Doctor," she said hesitantly. "There's something… I need to… I need to tell you something… And-"
She was cut off as two ringtones filled the room. Normally, they would have let it go. The Doctor was slightly worried about the way she was acting right now. But their phones only ever rang at the same time for one reason.
An important Torchwood call.
"The Doctor and Rose," the Doctor answered his phone first. A second later Rose's stopped ringing. "Is it serious?" he asked, clearly a little frustrated. "Right, well, you're lucky we were already awake. Where did this spike happen? -…- I see. Okay, pack my equipment. We'll meet you there."
"What have we got?" Rose asked.
"Strange energy spikes. Reports of sightings. They want us there now while the readings are still fairly fresh."
"Alright," she groaned, getting up again. She started to get changed into her usual mostly black Torchwood gear. A tight fitting three quarter top, a… top far too big for her? "Shirt," she called to the Doctor, tossing it over to him.
He spun around and caught it. At the same time he tossed a bundle at her and called, "Pants."
She caught the dark blue denim and pulled them on. Then she put on her leather coat and all the things she would need for a field mission. She looked over at the Doctor, who was wearing a black pinstripe suit. It was a little more casual than the ones he favoured, but he liked it. She had made sure that he at least attempted to get a bit more of a widespread variety of clothing. He was a little sad that he no longer had his coat, but she had found a similar black one that he wore on missions.
He still downright refused to wear any shoes other than chucks.
In a way this made her happy. It remind her that things really were how they used to be… only minus the TARDIS… It had taken him a while to get of the loss of his ship. But he said she was worth it.
"Miss Tyler," he smiled, holding an arm out to her.
"Mr Tyler," she replied, looping her arm though his, and they made their way to his car. This made the Doctor chuckle.
"Why am I Mr Tyler all of a sudden?"
"Because we are getting married in two months, and Chris Meta isn't even your real name."
"So I'm changing my name to Tyler? But then the Metacrisis joke doesn't work!" he complained.
"Tony says you have to," she said with her tongue in teeth grin.
The Doctor sighed in defeat. "Damn. A 905 year old Human / Time Lord Metacrisis, stumped by a three year old."
"You're just a big softy," she laughed as they got into the car.
If anything, Rose was more than happy with her life right now… Well, aside from the gaps. If anyone had asked her a year ago, she would have said she was confused as hell.
At first she had been hurt and angry that the Time Lord Doctor hadn't wanted her. She had accepted very quickly that the Metacrisis really was him. She knew he was. She was just very upset.
To his credit, her Doctor had been patient and understanding for that first week. They never really sat down and just talked about it, thankfully - she didn't think she would have been able to handle that. But they did both say what was necessary.
He had told her how hard it would have been for the other him to just walk away. When she had been upset that he hadn't even said goodbye, he had started with 'you know he doesn't like goodbyes', but had then changed to 'I don't think he could handle watching us. I wouldn't have'. She really wasn't sure weather this made her feel better or worse.
But in time she had come to accept that the Time Lord Doctor had done what he thought was right, even though it wasn't at all what he wanted… just like always. And she was happy here. Even though she sometimes still missed the Time Lord, she loved her Doctor just as much… Perhaps even a little more considering.
He had started working with her at Torchwood not long after they got settled down in a new house. He had said he needed something to stave off the insane boredom. And at least at Torchwood he could put his knowledge to good use without feeling he had to hold back.
He had proposed to her a few months back. It wasn't a big thing. That was never his style. In fact, they had just been lying on the sofa together, just enjoying cuddling each other, when he had casually asked her.
"Marry me?" he had said as he played with her hair.
She had turned in his arms and blinked at him in bewilderment. "W-what?"
"Marry me," he repeated with a shrug. She had kissed him then and he had laughed. "So, was that a yes?"
By the next night she had a ring. Just a simple, thin band of silver. It had a nice sized sapphire with two small diamonds either side. On the sapphire a tiny pattern of circles had been etched… It was Gallifreyan. He refused to tell her what it meant. He would tell her later.
But she did recognise it. She had seen it in a book she had found in the other universe. She had seen it while she was travelling dimensions and had ended up a few years in the future. There was a book called 'A Journal of Impossible Things'. She had seen the Doctor mentioned and bought a copy, only to discover his months as John Smith. There were images of pages from his journal, and there, beside her image, was this symbol.
She looked about, slightly startled that she had slipped so deep into her thoughts. But not as startled as when she saw where they were. They were passing through the country roads of the London Farmlands.
"W-What are we doing here?" she asked him.
"I thought you'd fallen asleep," he chuckled. "We're in the Farmlands. That's where the spike came from."
"…What kind of spike, exactly?" she asked warily.
"Not sure. That's what I'm hoping to find out. Apparently there's a witness. Said he saw something strange. Suzie and Jake are questioning him. I'm just glad they didn't let Owen do it. You know, I think they've finally learnt their lesson."
"Mmm, too bad he hasn't," she muttered, making the Doctor chuckle again.
She mentally crossed her fingers and hoped they weren't going where she thought they were going… but of course they were. She suppressed her groan as they drove into the car park she had left little over an hour ago. This time it wasn't empty, save her car. There were already two Torchwood cars and a truck.
She started walking towards the path she figured she'd stumbled up when she noticed the Doctor looking between the paths, unsure as to which one had been taken.
"I think it's this one," she told him. "All the cars are by it," she reasoned. It was better than saying, 'I was on this one this morning when I woke up in the center of a mini explosion with no memory of how I got there'. No, that could wait.
As they walked down the track, it became clear there was an investigation going on. There was tape and signs and people stopping others from entering.
"Hello, Ross," the Doctor greeted the guard as he let them through. He then turned to Rose. "Good guess," he grinned. Rose said nothing.
As they came out by the lake, Rose could see the full extent of what had happened. The hazy beginnings of morning didn't show her half as much as this.
Not far from the edge of the lake was the spot she had woken up… it spread much further than she originally thought. The burnt patch was just a little bigger than the spread of her outstretched arms, and the flattened grass around it went for at least three meters. But that wasn't all. Powdering the ground around the area was a thin layer of what looked like golden dust. It made the grass shimmer and where it floated on the water, it glistened.
Rose shook her head in disbelief and found herself staggering when the action made her lightheaded. She had a really horrible headache, and it was only really catching up to her now, but she was exhausted.
"Whoa, you okay there, Rose?" a familiar voice said as strong hands caught her.
Blinking, she smiled up at Captain Jack Harkness… Well, this universe's version of him anyway. He wasn't immortal here. They had found him trying to scam some teenagers with faulty future tech and had convinced him to join Torchwood.
"Harkness, hands off my fiancé," the Doctor growled.
"I was just making sure she's okay," he replied.
"I'm fine, Jack," Rose told him. "I'm just really tired."
"He been keeping you up all night," he teased, wagging his eyebrows. She just rolled her eyes and gave him a punch on the arm. She didn't deny it… but she knew that was not the reason. "Oh, you got a bit of dirt on your cheek." He wiped at it for her. Turning away, Rose began to rub vigorously. Crap… dirt on her cheek could only have been from lying on the ground.
"Anything new?" the Doctor asked.
"Well, there's the gold dust for one thing," Jack told him. "And the spike was bigger and longer. But there's just… I don't know, something about this one is different to the others."
"Others?" Rose cried in alarm.
"Yep," the Doctor said, popping the 'p'. "This isn't the first… actually, it's about the… thirteenth."
"And why wasn't I told about this?"
"Well, we tried at the time. But your cellphone always goes right to voicemail," the Doctor replied, scratching the back of his neck. "You seem to be going AWOL a lot, lately."
"And you couldn't have told me later?" She was panicking, and she realised that it was almost sounding like anger. Thirteen. There had been thirteen of these strange… things. She hadn't exactly been counting these gaps, but she would bet anything that there had been around thirteen. Could she really have done this?
No. Don't be stupid.
"This one's different from the other's," their team mate, Ana, called out.
"Told you," Jack grinned. "Why's that, Sweetheart?" he called back.
"Look at this," she replied pointing to the ground. She was the teams tracking expert. "At the others there were no tracks at all, like they were too light to make any, weren't really there, or just didn't touch the ground. This… it has marks all over it. They've lain down here, curled in a bit of a ball. Humanoid, fairly small. Footprints look human too, about a woman's five and a half in size. Then they've gotten up, and they've run in this direction… and up the path," she sighed, knowing it meant they had an alien on the loose.
"Five and a half?" the Doctor questioned. "You can tell the shoe size?"
Ana shrugged. "The prints are about the same size as my feet. I'm a five and a half."
"Well, that matched the description," Jake said, walking over. "A farmer saw it from a bit of a distance, came a bit closer. Couldn't see what she looked like, but he said that it was a woman. Golden hair, tiny dress. Did some big light show then fell unconscious. Woke up, panicked and bolted. He tried to follow her, but she drove off in a car."
"So it's human?" Jack said in surprise.
"Could be Rose," the Doctor teased.
"What?" Rose squeaked and froze.
"You've been touching your hair," he rolled his eyes and started dusting at it. "You've got gold all through it… and you are size five and a half." Rose smiled nervously. She didn't want to tell him. Not with everyone else here. Yes, she trusted them - well, she had her doubts about Suzie - but she wasn't ready for the scrutiny she would get from them all.
"What I don't get," the Doctor said loudly to them all, "is how out of place this one is."
"Yeah, genius, we've already figured out that this one's different," Owen scoffed.
"No, I don't just mean the prints and the level and the… really weird gold dust. It's out of pattern. All the other spikes have only lasted a few seconds. It happens exactly on the hour."
He pulled out an electronic pad and used his hand to pull up a holographic map. "3am. 12am. 11pm. 1pm. 9am. 7pm. 4am. 10am. 10pm. 12pm. 5am. 7pm. 5pm," he listed them in order of happening as he pin pointed them on the map. "But this one. It lasted minutes, from Tosh's readings, it went for at least twenty minutes around four, five am. Right here." He put another dot on the map. "Anyone else starting to see the pattern."
"It's in the middle," Rose said.
"Exactly. It's in the middle. But not just in the middle, exactly the middle. These other ones are starting to form a perfect circle around here. They're all exactly two miles away. And look at the pattern."
Rose did a quick count. "They're going in order… like a clock."
"Uh-huh," he nodded, happy she got it. "And it goes up to 11pm, therefore we can assume-"
"It's a twenty four hour clock."
"Which means," he grinned. "There's going to be about twelve more."
Dun dun dun! What is Rose to do? Will she tell the Doctor?