Hello. Just a short one this time. The next chapter shouldn't be too far behind, though. It's already half typed up, and the other half is in my notebook.


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Tests and Promises

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Rose, once again, found herself somewhere completely different, with no memory of getting there. She went to look at her watch, only to find she was hooked up to a machine. She gasped and began to panic, reaching to take all the needles and electrodes off.

The panic sped up her heart rate, causing a machine to beep wildly. This must have grabbed someone's attention, because someone came running in.

"Oh, Rose, thank god!" she heard the familiar voice say. She looked up in time to see the Doctor envelop her in his arms.

"What happened?" she asked. "Did I…?"

"Did you…? Oh. Oh, no. You collapsed. You had me so worried! I thought I was going to lose you!"

"Why am I…" She poked her head up to see where she was. "…In your lab?"

"It was the only place I could do anything to save you if it got worse," he told her. "And after what's been happening, I wanted to run a few tests. I started most of them when you were unconscious."

"And no one noticed you carrying an unconscious woman through the lobby?" she said. He just nodded to his car, which was parked in the loading area of his basement level lab. "Ah, we snuck in."

"I didn't want anyone else knowing about this. Not Torchwood. Your mum and dad, yes. But I don't know if we can completely trust the rest."

They were interrupted as the door to the lab opened and Jack snuck in. He paused for a moment when he saw Rose, still hooked up to all the machines. Then he ran to them, a look of panic on his face.

"Rose! What happened? What's wrong?" he cried.

"I'm fine, Jack," she said tiredly. Jack raised a sceptical eyebrow.

"She collapsed from exhaustion. I was worried," the Doctor said. It wasn't a lie. Jack still just gave them a sceptical look.

"Right," he drew the word out. "Look, there's something I need to talk to you about. I don't really want to tell anyone else, I don't know what they'd do."

"What is it?" The Doctor asked, shifting Rose to a better spot beside him, but not letting go.

"Could either of you tell me what this was doing at the latest spike spot?" He held up a very familiar necklace with their house key on it (a personal joke between the two of them) and Rose raised her hand to her bare throat. "Rose wasn't there, so why was this?"

"Jack, it's…"

"Look," he said gently. "I know that something is going on. Something to do with the spikes. We can never reach her when they're happening. The person seen at the big spike was a short blonde woman, size five and a half shoe. She had ash on her face and gold dust in her hair when she only just arrived. And I found her necklace when she wasn't there at all. You're lucky no one else noticed these. I just want to help."

The Doctor sighed. They knew this Jack was a lot like the one they used to know. They knew he could be trusted. "We're not too sure at the moment, Jack." When Jack opened his mouth to argue, the Doctor cut him off. "Yes, you're right about all that. The thing is, Rose doesn't remember it. Something happened to her a while back, I've just run some tests to see if they're connected."

"Have you checked her for Artron energy?"

"Jack, she travelled through time and space for two, three years. Of course she's going to have Artron energy. She's also most likely seeped in Void stuff, and probably Temporal energy too."

"Yeah, but if she's using bursts of them, then wont it be using up her supplies?"

The Doctor's eyebrows skyrocketed, surprised by the idea. Kissing Rose's head, he moved her to the side and jumped up, grabbing his new sonic-screwdriver. He had finally been able to finish it when Jack leant him the Vortex Manipulator. - Actually, he'd gotten a lot of things on that trip, including his own Vortex Manipulator. His plan was to find a way onto Gallifrey (if it existed here) and steal another TARDIS. - Changing the setting, he pointed it at Rose and scanned her. Once again, his eyebrows practically rose into his hairline when he saw the results.

"Crap! You don't just have Temporal and Artron energy, you're radiating mass amounts of it! It's not depleting because you're only making more."

"Doctor, what is this connected to?" she asked.

"The Time Vortex. I think it has to do with the time you absorbed the Time Vortex."

"But how could this be possible?" she said. "That was years ago, and nothing else has happened. I - I've been fine. We would have noticed on the TARDIS, right?" The Doctor looked at the ground, not saying anything. "Right?"

"I don't know, Rose," he said. "We never ran tests. We barely paid attention. At first we were too preoccupied by my regeneration, and we never really noticed anything after that. But why would we. You don't seem to remember these things and at the time, I was trying to pay as little attention to you as I could. - You know how denial works. - Not to mention the fact that we did seem to get separated a lot that year. New Earth - it was a wonder you held out so long with Cassandra in your head. Torchwood Estate, the ship with prerevolutionary France, the first time we came to this universe, Krop Tor, the Queen's coronation, 2012 Olympics, the other Torchwood. Then there was all that time here when no one else would have known what to look for."

"But the gaps in my memories only started a few weeks ago!"

"There could have been many times you wouldn't have noticed it, Rose," the Doctor said. "When you were asleep, when you weren't paying attention. It might not have even been something strong enough to make you go MIA like you have been."

"But what… what have I been doing? I mean, I'm making these spikes, for some reason in time based circle… but for what?"

"I don't know… some sort of… power spot? The energy you create at each point will eventually focus on the center spot, making it weaker and-" He cut off as some sort of realisation came over him. His mouth just hung open for a moment. "… You said… you needed to help him…"

"What?" Rose said in confusion.

"Doctor! You better come look at this," Jack said. While they were talking, they hadn't even noticed that he had gone off, and was now looking at the finished test results. The Doctor stood and made his way over to their friend.

"What is it?" he said.

Jack said nothing. He just handed over the paper that held her test results with a rather solemn expression. The Doctor took them and scanned over them, his face falling with each page. Then he went back and reread it, making sure he'd gotten it right.

"What's wrong?" Rose said in concern. The Doctor just looked up at her with sad eyes. then he walked back over and held her by the shoulders.

"Rose," he said. "I know what you're trying to do when you cause the spikes. You're trying to weaken the walls of the universe so you can crack through and save the other me from whatever you saw in that dream. And-" He stopped and sighed deeply. "You have to do it. You have to go back."

"But… but then I'd be separated from you…" she said, confusion strong in her voice. She looked up into his serious sad eyes, and the realisation dawned on her. He knew that. He knew that if she went back, she probably wouldn't be able to make it back to this universe again. She'd never see him again. "No!"

"Rose-"

"No! No, I'm not going to! I am not leaving you!"

"Rose, you have to."

"No I bloody well don't! You said so yourself, he'll only regenerate. It's horrible and I don't like it, but he knew it would happen some time. As much as I care for him, I'm not going to leave everything I have, everyone I love to prevent something that there is no way of stopping!"

"This isn't about him anymore. If you don't get back to the TARDIS soon, you will die! Your physiology has changed, still is. And what you're doing is slowly draining you of energy… Not Temporal and Artron, but… never mind. The point is, I don't want to lose you either, but I would rather never see you again, knowing that you are safe with someone I trust, than have you die in my arms!"

Rose blinked at him, not saying a thing.

"Then I'm taking you with me," she said eventually.

"I don't think that will work..."

"If I can break the walls of the universe, then I can bloody take you with me... I'll find a way." She nodded determinedly, even though her voice sounded unsure. The Doctor smiled at her weakly.

"You are so stubborn."

"And you love it," she teased. Then she sighed. "This means I'm never going to see everyone here ever again, am I?"

"You never know, we might be able to figure out a way back... but we'd never be able to stay here." He only put in the 'we' for her benefit. Something was telling him that he wasn't going to make it over with her.

Jack, after letting them have that moment, finally came over. "So, Doc," he said. "How much longer till she gets too bad?"

"At this rate... two weeks, max," the Doctor said.

"But the spikes have been going longer than that. She's only half way through!"

"I don't know, Jack!" he cried, frustration clear in his voice. His hand was running through his hair, making it even more wild than usual. "Maybe it won't take as long for the second half. She did two spikes today, maybe her body knows it has to speed up."

"I don't even know how I do it," Rose told them.

"I might be able to help with that. I'm still half Time Lord. I haven't tried it yet, but I don't think I've lost most of my telepathic skills. I could go into your mind and try and trigger it."

"We'd have to monitor her, so she doesn't collapse again."

"Yep!"

"So.. that's it?" she said. "I don't really get a say? I don't get to try and find another way around this? I just have to go?!"

"I'm sorry," the Doctor said. He sat down beside her again and cupped her face in his hand. "But I would do anything to see you safe. I want you to promise me that whatever happens you will get back to the TARDIS, okay?"

Rose hesitated too long for him to be comfortable, but he was reassured by her answer.

"Okay."