Okay, someone really just needs to kidnap me, and lock me in a room by myself, and take away all distractions like tumblr and games and every other bloody website I end up on for something that isn't research. But, I am getting things out.

I'm nearly done with the next chapter of 'Through the Stars'. 'Histoy Repeats' is getting there slowly. And 'The Invisible Rose' is a decent way into the next chapter, and I am having a LOT of fun with the Master.

In the mean time, have fun with this one, because things are FINALLY starting to get interesting.


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Taking it's Toll

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The Doctor pulled over as he heard Rose whimper in the seat beside him. Quickly he reached for the water bottle as she woke. A groan escaped her lips as the light of day hit her eyes.

"Shh, shh, it's okay," the Doctor hushed her, pressing the water bottle to her lips. "Here, drink this."

Rose did so greedily, taking the bottle from his hands and drinking it all back at once, so the thin plastic crumpled in on itself from the suction. Tears leaked from the corners of her eyes as she dropped the bottle to the floor, and covered her face with her hands.

"I can't do this," she croaked. "I can't!" A sob escaped her lips, and the Doctor quickly took her in his arms.

"It's alright, it's alright," he soothed, rubbing circles in her back. "It's almost over. Just one more day, yeah? Just a few more. One more tonight, then you get a nice long break, and one tomorrow."

"But I'm so tired," she moaned exhaustedly. "I don't want to do this anymore."

"I know it's hard, but think of it like this," he grinned. "It's kind of like in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince." At this, a faint smile flickered across her face at his familiar antics. "When Dumbledore was drinking the draught of despair, it caused him excruciating pain, physically and mentally. But he has to go through with it to get what they want." She couldn't help giggle a little at that, if only for his reference.

"Yeah, I guess. The Doctor. I'm doing this to save the Doctor," she reminded herself. Of course, this was not the reason the Doctor beside her was helping her. He was doing it to save her. "Because he's broken," she went on, "and sadder than ever. And he's going to die if I don't stop it. I have to so this because he's wonderful, and strong, and brave and the one thing keeping the world safe. And he cars for everyone, no matter the cost… Even you." She smiled weakly at her Doctor. "Here you are, terrified that you're going to lose me, and you're sill helping me."

"I'd take a missing Rose over a dead Rose any day," he muttered.

"Except that you aren't going to lose-" She was cut off as the phone rung, and the Doctor picked it up.

"Hello?" he answered. "Pete! Hello. What's up? - Ah-huh… I see. - Yeah, course. - Sure, I'll be there soon. I'm just with Rose. - Yeah, will do. See you soon."

"Everything okay?" she asked. She knew she wouldn't be allowed to go along to whatever (most likely important) mission he'd been called into.

"Yeah, kind of. Sorry, Rose. Situation back at base. Aliens coming into orbit, trying to make contact. They need me to negotiate. I'll drop you home to get some sleep and some decent food, okay?"

"Sounds good," she said, unenthusiastically. She really wanted to be in on this one now. They hadn't had a proper alien contact job in months. She kind of missed the strange, wonderful creatures that could be out there.

"Aww, come on. Just think about it, this time tomorrow, you'll be able to go to any planet and see any species you want. I just hope this species is friendly."

"Well, if they're not friendly, you can always deny them planet access."

"True, but if they're not friendly, they might not care. Either way, we'll deal with them. I'll take you home now. There's just under four hours till the next one. You need to eat, sleep, relax, have a bubble bath or something. Doctor's orders."

Rose laughed at his cheesy joke, which made him smile. It had been days since he'd heard her laugh like that. A nice, proper Rose laugh. He only wished that he would still be able to hear it after all this was over, but he knew his song was coming to an end. Very soon.


?...DW...?


The Doctor stood patiently as he waited for the call.

When he'd arrived, they had shown him the message they had been sent. From that, he had identified them as a race similar to the Veraxis from the other world. They were still slightly different in appearance, like the way a European person was different to an Asian person or a Polynesian person. Their dialect was slightly different too, but thankfully he could still understand it. To him, it sounded more like they were foreigners who couldn't get their mouths around the word properly. They were the same species, but different. He wouldn't be surprised to find out that they once had been, but somewhere along the way their DNA and culture took a slight detour.

The video was simply a request for an audience with a leader of their race or someone of authority. He had sent a reply back as soon as he could, telling them that he would be glad to have a video-chat with them.

So now, he had no idea what to expect. Back in the other world, the Veraxis were neither here nor there on the peace / war side of things. They had their moments for both, and like many civilisations, their people had a mix of beliefs and morals. But here... here he had no clue. He didn't know their history, or what they were like. If the appearance and language was different, what else had changed?

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The screen flashed and a beep went off, indicating that the call was coming in. Someone signalled to him that the camera was on and they were about to start transmission. The Doctor squared his shoulders and turned tot he screen as a Veraxis like creature appeared on it.

"Hello, there," he said cheerfully. "I'm the Doctor. Earth. Human. Who might I be speaking to?"

"I am Tarander of the Verastis race, from Hedidronis. Are you the authority of this planet?"

"I'm the best for you to speak to, yes. Also, I'm the only one that can speak your language. I'm with the government agency Torchwood. We were created to help aliens if they need it, and deal with things the public can't handle. Alternatively, we are also here to defend the planet if there is an alien threat." The warning in his voice was evident. The last thing he needed to deal with right now was the threat of war.

"I assure you, we mean no threat to your planet. We indeed seek help."

"How so?"

"Our planet has run out of it's natural resources. There is one thing that can help restore it, and recently we've discovered that your planet has this."

"And what 'thing' would this be?" If it was resources they were after, it looked like it was going to be a long discussion. Depending on the resource, negotiations could go on for hours... weeks even. And he didn't have that time.

"I believe that it is not something native to your planet, and you would find it relativity useless. There would not be a word in your language that you could relate it to. It's extremely rare. We will send you through the data so you can see for yourself. Perhaps your machines have picked something up."

Internally, the Doctor scoffed. It didn't really matter if Earth didn't have a name for it, he would know. Still, it would be better to see all the data for himself. As the machines whirred to life, he went to the printer to collect the information, explaining the situation to Pete as he went.

Picking up the sheet, he looked at the data and froze. This data... this very familiar data. This was the same data he'd been looking at for weeks. They wanted Artron energy... They wanted Rose.

Schooling his features back into a neutral mask, he walked back to the camera.

"I'm sorry, you must be mistaken," he told Tarander. "We do indeed have machines that monitor for this sort of thing. I myself am a bit of an expert on this and similar types of energies. There has been no such report of this, and we would most definitely pick up something on this scale."

"I am certain it was on Earth," Tarander said, narrowing his large amber eyes at the Doctor.

"Well, despite how small it is in comparison to some of the places out there, Earth is still pretty large. There's been no activity in England, the country I am in now. We have other divisions around the world. I'll send out a message to them all for you. Perhaps it's from somewhere else on the planet."

"It is quite possible, but our trackers bought us here."

"Oh, that could have been us scrambling your circuits, sorry. We're the head division. We try to get most negotiations here. I'm afraid that is all I can do for you for now. Now, I'm terribly sorry, but I must cut this conversation here. My breed-mate is ill, I must tend to her. We will be in touch. You should hear from us tomorrow. Is your vessel alight to stay up in orbit?"

"Yes."

"Okay, good, sorry. Just protocol that we can't let any off-worlders have planet access until everything has checked out."

"I understand. Thank you for your help, Doctor of Earth." The Doctor forced a smile, then quickly turned off the transmission.

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"What was all that about?" Pete asked, slightly annoyed as the Doctor walked off, his hand running through his hair in frustration.

"I need to speak to you. Alone." Pete was used to the Doctor now. He trusted the man implicitly. He knew the look on his face well enough. He knew that he was worried about something... and even worse, he could tell that it had something to do with Rose.

Nodding, he led the Doctor down a few halls to an empty cupboard. Usually he would take urgent matters in his office, but he no longer trusted it in there. He had the distinct feeling that he was being watched, or listened in on. They had done a sweep and found nothing, but in the last few years, he had learnt not to underestimate anything.

When he was sure that they were alone and no one could hear them, he spoke. "What's the situation?"

"They're after Rose," the Doctor hissed, barely managing to keep his voice down.

"I-I'm sorry? Doctor, you said they're after resources!"

"They are. They're after a certain energy called Artron energy. It's the same stuff that runs through the TARDIS. The same stuff that I've been working with for the last few weeks. It's the same energy that is currently coursing through Rose and keeping her alive at the same time as it's slowly destroying her. They are after the energy. Rose is the source of that energy."

"Bloody hell," Pete grumbled. "Well, we're not giving her over to them."

"Of course not," the Doctor snorted. He would never stand for it, and the Doctor knew from the look on Pete's face that he was thinking of what Jackie would say... in other words, he looked slightly terrified.

"Well, how did the negotiations go? You hung up very quickly."

"I lied, I stalled, I sidetracked them. I told them that the energy wasn't coming from here. When he seemed adamant it was on Earth, I told him that it wasn't in England and that we'd contact the other Torchwood divisions to see if they picked it up. I ended up saying that I had to leave because my... - well, I said breed-mate, because they don't have relationship terms like we do- but anyway, I told him she was sick and I had to help her. He said he understood the situation, so I don't know how much time that will buy us. Rose leaves some time tomorrow. We just have to keep them away till then."

"Well, we haven't granted them planet access yet."

"Yes, but it doesn't mean they'll follow it. I have no idea what their standing is. For all I know, if they get suspicious, they could break contract and launch a full on invasion. Abiding planet access is an act of good faith. There's nothing stopping them coming down if they want."

"I know. I have people finding out how big the craft is and how many. Even trying to find out how many lifeforms, if we need to. I'll keep you informed, but you have to focus on Rose."

"I plan on it. I swear on my life, I won't stop until she's safe and where she needs to be."

"I know, Doctor," Pete said softly. "I never had any doubt. Now you go look after that girl. Tell her how much we love her."

A sad smile tugged at the corner of the Doctor's lips and he nodded before stepped out of the closet and headed home.

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The Doctor had been worried the entire way home. Just with everything that was going on, he was a little overwhelmed. He could only imagine how Rose felt. This all had to go right. He didn't want to think of the consequences if it didn't.

Peering into the house, he looked about for a sign of Rose. He could see her used and cleaned dishes sitting on the bench, but she was nowhere in the immediate area. At least she had eaten. She was doing as he had said... So that probably meant she was resting.

"Rose?" he called quietly as he walked down the hallway. Reaching the bathroom first, he looked in there. He could see her clothes in a pile on the ground, and near invisible coils of steam from the tub. It was freezing in here, and he still couldn't see... No! There was a hand hanging over the edge. She must have sunk down into... "Rose!"

He sprinted in, plunging his still clothed arm into the water. The shock of both his touch and the water in her lungs jolted Rose awake and she coughed and spluttered as he dragged her up.

He let out the breath he'd been holding when he saw that she was mostly okay, if not still trying to suck in deep breaths and a little shocked. She must have only just slipped under when he walked in. That, however, did not stop the panic and fear that had risen in him. Even now, as he was overcome by relief, he was scared. He could have lost her.

"Rose, are you okay?" he asked frantically.

Rose gave another cough. "Yeah, I think so," she croaked.

Letting out another ragged breath, he crushed her naked form to him, not caring that his clothes were getting soaked. He could feel her shaking and knew that it wasn't the cold.

"Come on, let's get you into something comfortable." He helped her out of the lukewarm water and bundled her up in the fluffiest towel he could find.

"I must have fallen asleep," Rose finally said. Her nose and eyes were red from the coughing, and she was still looking rather sick. This had really taken it's toll on her.

"Good thing I came home when I did." He led her into their room before drying her off and helping her into a nightdress and dressing gown.

"I would have woken up," she said, lying down and curling into the duvet. The Doctor went and sat beside her. "I mean, survival instincts, right? Your body jolts you awake when your heart slows down too fast, it would wake you up when oxygen goes, right?"

"Yes... but not if you're unconscious. In your condition, I wouldn't trust you not to be.

"How much longer till the next one?"she asked.

"A couple of hours. You have time to sleep if you want."

"Yeah," she yawned. "I might. But it's twelve hours till the last one right? Oh yeah, what did the aliens want? What happened?"

"You're not going to like it," he told her.

"Oh god, please tell me they don't want to invade. I don't think I could handle an invasion right now."

This made the Doctor chuckle a little. "No, no. They don't want to invade. They are searching for a resource that can restore their planet."

"How's that a bad thing?"she said in confusion.

"Because, technically, they're after you."

"Huh?"

"They're after Artron energy. There's only one source of that right now, and that's you. They don't know that it's being created by someone, so that may help a little."

"What did you tell them?"

"Oh, you know," he grinned at her cheekily. "I showed them a picture of you and said 'this is what you want. Come get her. She's free!'" Rose grinned and half-heartedly attempted to elbow him. "No, I told them we had no idea and that it's probably somewhere else. Your dad's stalling for us until you- we're gone."

Rose smiled up at him. "Thank you," she said softly, running her hand across his cheek.

"Well, it's my job to keep you safe," he smiled back.

"No, not that..."

"Then, why did you thank me?" he said slightly confused. By now he had curled in beside her and they were laying face to face.

"For saying 'we're'." Then, with a soft smile, she lent over and placed a kiss on his lips. Before a sad smile could appear on his face, Rose was already asleep.