Time and the Trickster
Chapter Twenty: Land of the Pyramids: Capstone
Disclaimer: I do not own Doctor Who or any of the spinoff material and I gain no income off of this story, just the satisfaction of playing with the characters.
Rose hit the ground hard, forcing the air out of her lungs. Her eyes slammed closed instinctively from the bright light surrounding her and her fingers searched the immediate area. A strong breeze whipped her hair around her head, pulling some strands from her hair tie. Sand blew across her hands and face and Rose slowly opened her eyes. Sunlight was glinted off of the smooth sand dunes that were around her and into her eyes.
Forcing herself to her knees, Rose lifted her right hand to shade her eyes and she looked around. In the distance, she could just see low brown buildings at the horizon and shimmering in the reflection of the sun off of the sand. Her body felt heavy and her senses dull, but Rose forced herself to bring her senses under control. The roar of the wind with the sand seemed to lessen and her eyes adjusted to the light of the desert after the dimness of the museum. Taking a breath slowly, while sheltering her face Rose mentally checked her limbs and the pain in her body. Her body was still aching from her treatment from the service robots, but she could feel everything and move. Her shoulder bag had slipped around to her back but was still securely on despite her sudden time travel.
Turning around, Rose gasped and took an involuntary step back. Dominating the space behind her, maybe five miles away was a massive pyramid with smooth gleaming sides. It was perfect, looking just like paintings and drawings of the ancient structures when they were new.
"Five thousand years," Rose murmured to herself softly. "It worked."
Rose raised a shaky hand to her face and felt the smooth skin, as silly as it was. Had the time tunnel actually aged her five thousand years she'd be dust. She pulled her eyes away from it and looked around the rest of the way. Another pyramid, only partially built with large earth ramps wrapping around it stood a few miles away. Rose's eyes traced the area, searching for Apep. A figure rose over a dune in dark clothing, but too far away for Rose to see closely. It was moving towards the pyramid under construction when it turned slightly giving Rose a view of the silhouette. A serpent hood stood out darkly against the golden sand and Rose started to run towards it.
The closer she got the harder it was to focus on Apep. The pyramid was surrounded by hustle and bustle and even from a distance, she could see huge stones being loaded onto sledges and pulled by large teams of men up the ramps that twisted around the pyramid. Rose was snapped out of her observations by screaming at the building site. She took a quick breath and forced herself to run faster towards the pyramid. A sudden scream and rising cloud of dust and sand told her just a few minutes that Apep had started to do whatever he had planned. She didn't wait for anything else and as soon as she reached the bottom of the ramp Rose began to race up towards the top of the pyramid.
Rose looked up towards the top of the pyramid, desperate to catch sight of Apep as another scream ripped through the air. The scream was followed by the sound of chanting from high above her head as the workers and guards started to chant Apep's name. Rushing forward, Rose duck and wove around those fleeing down the ramps. A guard slammed into her, knocking Rose back onto the earthen ramp as the guard also tumbled. His sword slipped from his hand, but he didn't bother collecting it as he scrambled to his feet and kept running. Rose rolled out of the immediate path of the stampeding workers. Another man hit her in the side, knocking her against the side of the nearly stone of the pyramid. Rose hissed in pain and leaned back from the crowd as far as she could against the warm stone of the pyramid.
The last of the fleeing workers passed within moments and Rose forced herself to take another breath. Her eyes fell on the curved blade that the guard had dropped and she scooped it up in her right hand. The balance wasn't very good, but she couldn't risk using her Star Knight sword against Apep so it would have to do. Tightening her grip on the sword, Rose looked up the ramp and started the climb to the top.
The serpent Orisian was waiting for her and holding the scarab above his head with the large platform of the pyramid lined with workers and guards. Each had a glazed look in their eyes and were chanting Apep's name. Rose stepped off of the ramp and was a bit startled when the chanting stopped and Apep's slaves parted to allow her into the middle of the square. Rose stepped forward slowly, her eyes tracing the assembled humans. Most were workers and not carrying weapons with only two armed guards among them. Looking back at the scarab, Rose was stunned to see that it seemed to be pulsing with energy and she could feel the temperature dropping as she moved closer to Apep.
"So Rose did you study my mythology on Earth?" Apep questioned without turning to face her. "These simple folks believed that I devoured the sun."
"Did you?" Rose asked. "Is that why Ra imprisoned you? Did you do something to Earth's sun?"
Apep laughed, his hissing echoed off of the smooth stones of the pyramid's top. "I suppose I shouldn't be surprised by such questions, you are far more clever than most of your kind." Apep looked over his shoulder. "And brave enough to follow me back in time."
"It's not my first trip in time," Rose informed him calmly as she took another step towards Apep.
The hilt of the sword felt slippery and Rose realised that she was sweating nervously. The snake's eyes dropped to the sword briefly before he turned his attention to the scarab.
"It's no matter," Apep replied softly. "Ra isn't here to stop me this time, none of them are! Strange that the only ones to survive were Sekhet and I because we were locked away." Apep raised the scarab towards the sun once again. "If Ra could see how things turned out, he really would hide his face."
The light of the sun suddenly dimmed and Rose looked up towards it in alarm. The bright golden glow of the sun was being dimmed as it darkened to a light blue.
"Energy," Apep breathed. "That was the only reason I came to this rock in the first place. The humans were too primitive to stop me and I thought Ra would never find me."
"Stop it Apep," Rose yelled. "You'll freeze the planet."
"Oh not that quickly," Apep replied with a dark chuckle. "I have use for your kind and a planetary history to rewrite." Apep made a gesture with his free hand and the humans started to move towards Rose.
Looking around in alarm, Rose slipped into a defence stance and tried to focus. Humans now stood between her and Apep, more importantly between her and scarab which was the key to what Apep was doing. She barely dodged a sword swing from one of the two guards and raised the Egyptian sword to counter the strike. One of the muscular workers tried to grab her from behind, but Rose roundhouse kicked him in the chest.
Rose tossed the sword away and raised her hands to catch a punch from one of the men and flipped him over her shoulder. He collided with another man and Rose released him, sending both to the ground with a hard thud. The Egyptians moved against her quickly, but the workers were untrained and focused on strength. A few quick punches took another one down and a leg sweep forced another to fall.
Rose ignored the five that hadn't reached her over their struggling comrades and grabbed the sword. She jumped over the fallen guard and rushed towards Apep. He swung around, still holding the scarab tight in his right fist and reached for Rose with his left hand. There was another wave of pressure against her head, nearly overwhelming her senses. The sword in her right hand became heavy, but she used the growing pain to tighten her grip.
"What are you?!" Apep hissed in pain, but he did not stop the attack.
Rose screamed as the feeling of a scalding point against her brain returned and blindly swung the sword with her right hand. Her vision was blurred with pain and her hearing was fading in and out, but she felt the sword collide with Apep's body. Everything eased and it was all Rose could do to keep from fainting. Suddenly her left side was struck hard by Apep's fist with much greater force than a human could manage.
Air rushed from Rose's lungs and she felt something crack inside of her body as she pulled away instinctively from the blow. Her grip on the sword loosened for a moment, but it did not fall from her hand. Forcing her eyes open, not realising that she'd ever closed them, Rose found the blurry shape of Apep and swung the sword again just above her shoulder level. Behind her, she caught a cheer and a scream along with what sounded like a prayer against evil. The sword sunk into flesh and caught, not simply sliding off from a minor hit. A panicked hissing reached her ears.
Rose blinked several times and did her best to force herself beyond the pain of Apep's attack. She shifted her stance and put her weight against the blade in her hand. The hissing turned to a groan mixed with gurgling sounds and Rose's vision began to clear. Apep's chest was slashed open from the first swing, but now the sword was embedded in the neck of the serpent head and he was twitching. Rose starred at Apep, their eyes locking in a moment of stunned silence. The scarab slipped from his hand and landed on the stone with a sharp metallic sound.
"I wondered-" Apep coughed, "Where the myth of Bast slaying me came from."
Pulling the sword out of his neck, Rose stepped back as Apep collapsed to his knees in front of her. His hands moved up to his neck desperately to stop the bleeding. Rose looked down at him for a moment, debating with herself as to what to do. He wasn't going to live, that much was certain from his reaction to the injury. She looked up at the sun to see that it was still blue and looked over at the scarab.
"How do I stop this Apep?" Rose questioned in an exhausted voice.
He glared at her and hissed, "You can't."
She didn't believe him at all. To her surprise, as he coughed up his own blood, Rose felt some pity for the dying creature. She raised her sword and braced herself for putting him out of his misery and hopefully saving the world.
"Then may you find mercy in whatever afterlife you believe in."
"You won't," Apep groaned as he looked up at her.
She brought the sword down as hard as she could on his injured neck. The resistance lasted a moment as the sword cleaved into the serpent neck. Rose flinched at the sound of the small spinal bones snapping under the force and pulled the sword back. Apep's body fell in front of her as she stepped back.
A burst of warmth on her skin made her eyes fly open and look towards the sun. She instantly had to look away as the bright glow began to return. Smiling, Rose lowered her eyes only to have them land on Apep's corpse. She looked away quickly and located the scarab. Carefully kneeling down, Rose picked it up and held it in her hand. She closed her fingers around it, letting it sit gently in the palm of her hand as she tilted her face up towards the sun with closed eyes.
"Daughter of Ra," she heard a voice whisper fearfully behind her.
Rose turned to find the Egyptians on their knees behind her. Sighing, Rose looked away from them for a moment and took a breath.
"Leave me," she ordered with as much authority as she could manage. "You may return to your work tomorrow."
Rose didn't watch them leave, focusing instead on the feel of the sun on her skin and the smell of the limestone under the feet. Once they were gone, Rose stepped away from Apep's body and clutched her left side gingerly. She'd never had a broken rib before, but the grinding feeling as she breathed made her think she did now. Looking down from the top of the pyramid, Rose frowned at the sight of the dead Egyptians and the chaos that the site was in. The nearest stone on its sledge was cracked and she could see the figures of the survivors rushing towards the nearby worker village. Taking another slow breath, Rose reached into her bag and pulled out her mobile phone, grateful once again that the Doctor made sure it was upgraded. She pressed the TARDIS speed dial and held the phone to her ear.
"Hello?" A cheerful and youthful voice asked, Rose, recognized it as the Eleventh Doctor's and smiled softly to herself. Oddly just the sound of the happiest version of him made her feel a little better about her day.
"Hello Doctor," she greeted as she did her best to keep the pain out of her voice, "Care to give a stranded girl a lift?"
"When and where is she stranded?" the Doctor asked with a teasing tone.
"Well if Apep got his time tunnel set up right five thousand years ago," Rose answered. "In Egypt near the Sphinx," Rose added, looking over towards the massive stature.
"The Great Sphinx huh," the Doctor said thoughtfully. "Are all the pyramids complete?"
"No," Rose told him as she carefully looked around. "I'm at the top of one that is about two-thirds done."
"Well then you're only 4,500 years in the past," the Doctor informed her. "The Sphinx and pyramids weren't around 5,000 years ago. Sounds like Apep got it a bit wrong." Rose could practically hear the Doctor rolling his eyes, "Osirians time travel was so awkward, not to mention dangerous."
"Maybe," Rose said. "But let's be grateful for Apep's alternations or I'd be dead." The Doctor was quiet for a moment so Rose added, "And I didn't have a handy toy to trap him in a time tunnel like a certain Time Lord."
"The benefits of a fully stocked TARDIS," the Doctor replied in a softer tone "Just let me adjust this and the TARDIS will locate you with your ring."
Rose's eyes dropped to the golden ring with the small purple gemstone that she always wore. "I forgot about your little tracking device," she chuckled weakly.
"Oh it's not a tracking device," the Doctor informed cheerfully. "Only the TARDIS can track you with that."
"Good to know," Rose breathed.
"I track you with the chip in your arm," the Doctor added. "Rather I will track you with the chip in your arm."
Rose blinked and was quiet for a moment. "The worrying thing Doctor is I'm not sure if you're joking or not."
"You have a talent for wandering off," the Doctor told her teasingly. "Alright, I've got your location," the Doctor told her before the phone went silent. Rose smiled and slipped the phone into her pocket and looked out towards the Nile.
The familiar wheezing sound echoed off of the stone layer of the pyramid she was standing on. Rose smiled as the outline of the TARDIS appeared and flickered into view with the light flashing. A moment later the blue box finished materialising on the top of the nearly completed pyramid. The door opened inward and the Doctor stepped out with a wide smile. He wasn't wearing his tweed coat and the sleeves of his shirt were rolled up to his elbows, but his bow tie was still neatly tied under his chin.
"Hello Doctor," Rose greeted softly, ignoring the pain in her side.
"Hello Darling," the Doctor said gently as he stepped forward and kissed her forehead. "What hurts?" he asked a moment later, cradling her head.
"My side," Rose replied honestly around a hiss of pain. "I think I may have a broken rib."
"Then medical bay for you missy," the Doctor ordered gesturing towards the TARDIS.
"Am I inside?" Rose asked as she looked back at the TARDIS.
"No, I dropped you off before I came by," the Doctor assured her. "Positive side is that I got out of a shopping trip."
Rose chuckled lightly for a second but stopped when pain rippled through her side. "Inside inside," the Doctor urged with his expression darkening with concern.
Rose entered the TARDIS and smiled at the sight of the smooth metal and glass console room. "Medical bay is where?" Rose asked looking over her shoulder at the Doctor.
"Right," the Doctor said mostly to himself. "You don't know this version." He held out a hand to Rose which she happily took. The Doctor led her up a set of stairs and into the corridors of the TARDIS. Rose noticed that the corridors were very different than what she knew with the coral theme being completely gone in favour of the smooth curved halls of the new setup of the TARDIS.
The medical bay wasn't far from the console room, a very good design on the TARDIS' part in Rose's opinion. She released the Doctor's hand when he gestured her to sit in a chair and did so as the Doctor picked up a device that looked a bit like his sonic screwdriver with a green tip and a white handle.
"Bag off," the Doctor ordered, turning back to Rose.
He gently helped her shrug off the shoulder bag and set it aside. Rose finally released her grip on the scarab which the Doctor carefully took from her palm and placed on a tray. Then he knelt in front of her and tenderly touched her side. Rose hissed at the contact and the Doctor raised the device to her side.
"Take a breath and hold it," the Doctor instructed gently. Rose did so and a soft humming noise filled the room. The pain intensified for a moment before easing. "Let out the breath." She let out the breath slowly and then took another breath, smiling when there was no pain. The Doctor grinned at her and set the device to the side. "That's better," he said cheerfully before leaning up to catch her lips in a soft kiss.
Rose lifted a hand to his head and tangled her fingers in his hair as she returned the kiss. His lips were soft and warm against hers and his familiar smell filled her senses. After the whole mess with Apep, this moment finally reassured her that it was over, the snake was dead. She forced herself to pull away from the Doctor.
"What about Apep's body?" she asked. "Probably not a good idea to just leave it."
"There's a mood killer," the Doctor teased, but he answered her quickly. "I'll take care of cremating it," he promised.
The Doctor stood up and held out his hand to Rose. She accepted his hand and let him pull her to her feet. Rose grabbed her bag and slipped it back on before the Doctor led her a few doors down to the kitchen.
The TARDIS kitchen had changed quite a bit from the one Rose had become familiar with in the Tenth's Doctor's TARDIS. Where the old one had been dominated by an automated meal bar machine that she blamed on his Ninth self with cabinets and appliance lining the walls around it, this kitchen was sleek and dominated by appliances and cabinets with a large dining island in the centre. It looked a lot like a commercial kitchen with a lot of counter space, exactly the sort of place that Rose would enjoy cooking in.
"This is a nice change," Rose remarked with a growing smile. "I'll look forward to this."
"I think she did this for you," the Doctor answered with a shrug. "You did fine in the old one, but you never disguised that you didn't like the setup."
"That was sweet of her," Rose beamed. "Why are we here?"
The Doctor went over to the refrigerator and pulled out a plate and a jug of water. He set both on the island. "Eat and drink all of this," the Doctor told her. "Knitting bones back together is hard on a body." Rose sat down and the Doctor kissed her forehead again. He hung by the door for a moment to make sure that Rose started to eat before he left.
The jug was water, but given the taste, Rose was sure that something extra had been added to it. The taste wasn't bad in fact it had a bit of a cherry flavour, but it was noticeable. The food took her a moment longer to try as it was small beans in a strange sauce, but the beans were a purplish colour. Once she tried it, Rose discovered that it tasted really good and the strange thought that she might have cooked them for herself occurred to her. Shaking her head, Rose dismissed the thought and finished the meal. She stood up from the island and took her dishes the sink. Rose was pleased to discover a sponge and normal dish soap. Either this version of the Doctor liked using human things or her future-self kept a firm grasp on her roots.
Moving slowly through the corridors, Rose found a few doors with names on them: Aurora, Alistair, Arthur and a few other names leading down one way. She was tempted to explore the living corridor further, but sounds from the console room drew her attention that way. When she entered the console room a moment later the Doctor was pulling on his tweed coat.
"Time to go," the Doctor announced. "Judging from the dust cloud coming towards us, I'd say the Pharaoh's army is heading towards us." He looked over at Rose and grinned. "Well the workers did see a woman fighting a god and then a pillar of smoke rising from the pyramid," the Doctor said with a shrug as he adjusted a few controls on the TARDIS. "Can't really blame them now can you?"
"Pity though," Rose remarked. "I would have liked to see Ancient Egypt."
"I'll bring you here again, don't worry," the Doctor promised as he flipped a lever.
The TARDIS shuddered and Rose grabbed the railing as they dematerialized from the top of a pyramid. Grinning, Rose watched the column colours change and pulse as they moved through time. They stopped with a shudder a moment later and Rose laughed as she was tossed slightly to the side.
"I love the TARDIS," Rose cheered as she righted herself on her feet. Releasing her grip on the rail Rose stepped forward to join the Doctor who was watching her. Leaning up, Rose kissed the Doctor quickly on the lips. "And I love you."
"There's my girl," the Doctor beamed. He kissed her quickly. "I love you too." He gestured to the doors. "Back to your own time Miss Tyler."
Rose looked over at the door and sighed softly. "Yeah…"
"It'll be alright," the Doctor told her gently. "Apep is dead now, he can't ever hurt anyone again."
"I know," Rose replied with a nod. "But he did a lot of damage."
"You can't change that," the Doctor reminded her. "But I know the feeling."
Rose looked up at him and nodded a moment later. "I know you do," she sighed softly.
"Right then Rose," the Doctor said clapping his hand together as he moved away from her. "Off you go then."
Rose nodded and adjusted her bag back across her chest before walking down to the door. Reaching the door, Rose set a hand on the door handle but turned back to the Doctor. He was smiling at her and his green eyes were twinkling. It made Rose very suspicious. She walked back up to the Doctor and used his bowtie to pull him down so she could kiss him. Rose's other hand wove through his hair as she snogged him. His hand came up and gently cupped her cheek, softening the kiss.
When they parted, Rose managed to whisper, "Until next time Doctor."
"Until next time Rose Tyler," the Doctor returned, sounding a little out of breath which made Rose smile smugly.
She turned on her heel and walked to the front door of the TARDIS and exited it, fully expecting the heat of Cairo. Instead, she shivered slightly as she stepped out into a cool breeze that smelled like the sea. Rose's eyes widened as she looked out over a city towards the ocean. Spinning back to the TARDIS Rose groaned as it started to dematerialize. Rose's groan turned to a gasp as the TARDIS vanished and she was suddenly looking up at the Athena acropolis.
She gave herself a few moments to properly take in the sight before she pulled out her mobile phone and checked the date. It was two weeks before she had gone to Egypt and three weeks before she was due back at Cambridge.
"Okay," Rose laughed to herself as she slipped her phone back into her bag. "I've got my passport, emergency money and access to my bank account." She smiled and glanced up at the acropolis, "Not bad Doctor, my day just greatly improved."
She was tempted of course to call the Egyptian Unit branch, the death of Colonel Mostapha and the others could be prevented…. Only Rose also knew that they couldn't be prevented. She couldn't change her own history. Shaking her head, Rose forced the idea from her head and decided to focus on her present. She'd enjoy Greece for two weeks and deal with the aftermath of Apep when she was back in synch with UNIT. Rose glanced back at the acropolis and then down towards the city and then back towards the ruins. She wasn't really that cold anyway Rose decided as she started walking up towards the ruins.
Two days later Rose was sitting on a bench in the agora with a new sketchpad in her hands drawing the acropolis. Next to her was a container of chips from a small stand that she'd located in the tourist district. She'd paid way too much for them, but at the moment she really didn't care as ate another one. They weren't as good as home, but still lovely. The area was quiet and peaceful since January wasn't the major tourist season and the locals found the 55-degree weather on the cold side. Rose herself was dressed in a new t-shirt with a hoodie that she'd picked up the day before while hostel hunting.
"Excuse me," a warm voice called behind her.
Rose turned to see a smaller man dressed in a loose black suit with a white shirt and black bowtie. He had black hair and dark eyes but was smiling at her gently. As their eyes met Rose saw a hint of surprise in his eyes.
"Yes?" Rose asked, brushing a strand of hair that had escaped her ponytail behind her ear.
"Have you seen a young man in a kilt and a girl about your age with brown hair about?"
"I'm afraid not," Rose answered honestly. "What are their names?"
"Jamie and Victoria," the man huffed and Rose had to bite the inside of her cheek to keep from grinning at him. Judging from his appearance this was the Second Doctor who had travelled with Ben, Polly and Victoria for a time. "Honestly," the Doctor huffed. "How hard is it to not wander off?"
Rose smiled at him and picked up the small tray of chips, holding it out to him. "I'm sure that they were just excited by the beauty of Athens. Chip?"
The Doctor smiled at her and took a chip from the tray. "Thank you," he said before popping the chip in his mouth. He sighed and shook his head. "You're right I'm sure. I'm just not certain that they'll stay out of trouble."
"Do they have mobiles?" Rose asked as she barely contained a grin, "You could just call them."
The Doctor chuckled as if enjoying a private joke. "I don't think that would help, even if either of them had a mobile they aren't exactly skilled with that technology."
Rose chuckled, understanding the joke. After all, Jamie was a Scottish highlander from the 18th century and Victoria was much younger than Rose knew her and probably hadn't learned much about modern technology.
"They'll wander back I'm sure," Rose assured him as she picked up another chip.
The Doctor snagged another one himself as he sat down next to Rose and looked over towards the acropolis. They sat in silence for a few minutes and Rose picked up her sketchbook once again. She became aware of the Doctor leaning forward to look at the sketchbook. Normally having someone lean over into her space to watch her draw would bother her, but the usual rules never seemed to affect the Doctor. Rose didn't mind at all and could smell the faint hint of time that always hung around him.
"Are you an artist professionally?" the Doctor asked her.
"Not professionally," Rose answered with a smile. "Though I'm flattered you'd even think so. I just enjoy taking a break from my studies."
"Ah then you are on holiday," the Doctor observed and Rose wondered what language she was speaking with him.
"Yes," Rose answered, hoping she had been speaking English, "I'm a student at Cambridge."
"Wonderful," the Doctor cheered. "Good for you. What subjects?"
"Computer science and physics," Rose replied giving him a happy grin of her own. "The school agreed to let me do concurrent."
"Doctor!" A sudden shout interrupted and the Doctor turned his head quickly towards the shout.
Rose chuckled as a dark-haired man in his twenties rushed up with a much younger Victoria wearing a long skirt with a simple blouse. Both looked out of breath and Jamie had a worried look. The Doctor nodded to them and turned to Rose.
"Lovely speaking with you, my dear," he said pleasantly. "But it appears that they have indeed wandered back."
Rose nodded and grinned when the Doctor snagged one last chip before standing up and gesturing to his companions. Unable to resist, Rose waved to Jamie and Victoria before saying, "Nice to meet you as well Doctor."
The trio rushed off towards the acropolis with Jamie speaking rapidly and quietly with the Doctor while Victoria added a few words here and there. Quickly, Rose pulled out her mobile and took a quick picture for the trio, sending it to Victoria before she could change her mind. Then Rose leaned forward and rested her chin on her hand and contented herself with watching them go. She smiled to herself, it was probably a good thing she saw the acropolis yesterday because she knew that look on the Doctor's face. Looking back down at her sketchbook, Rose shifted it back into position and resumed her drawing.