Author's Notes:

Author's Note: This is my first time playing with Dr. Who, and it's such a detailed universe I'm very worried that I missed something in my research. If I've made a glaring error, I would like to fix it, so please review and tell me off. I'm a big girl and I can take it.

Oh, and a plaster is British for a bandaid/bandage.

Top of Form

Bottom of Form

"Well?" Rose Tyler-Noble tapped her foot on the metal grating and fixed her husband with an impatient glare. "Aren't we going out?"

Doctor Sean Tyler-Noble stared at the bright white insides of the slightly-too-small doors of their growing TARDIS. "I'm contemplating the methods of removing a plaster. One could take Maya's method of quick and fast, or Matt's slow, methodical wearing away at the adhesive until the thing falls off. Or there's the method on Fasaigi III, where they stand on their heads and…"

"Doctor! You're babbling, which you know I love, but right now…" She gave him a half grin, shaking her head and breathing out a sigh. "With their knack for finding trouble, you can surely study the kids plaster preferences when we are back on Earth. Right now we are here, on Galli…"

"Coordinates 10-0-11-0-0 by 0-2!" the Doctor interrupted quickly. He still could not quite face the name of the planet that he'd destroyed uttering and completely, locked out of time and silenced forever. "There should be nothing here in the Kasterborous System, Rose. Nothing but a black smear of nothingness."

She stroked his arm lovingly, and he had no doubt that she would have taken him into an embrace. He'd have gladly accepted it, returned it, but he felt so poised on the knife's edge of giving up he was loath to get close to her, worried that he'd lose his considerable nerve and drag her back into their bedroom to continue the celebration of their tenth wedding anniversary.

She smiled at him full bore, that tongue between her teeth smile that made him flush with heat. "Naughty, naughty, luv. And if this weren't also our first trip off Earth in the new TARDIS and there was the distinct smell of the Bad Wolf about this entire mess, I'd be more than happy to take you up on the offer…"

"I said that last bit out loud, didn't I?"

"Nah, yer gob isn't to blame this time, luv. My talents seem to be getting better lately, and you weren't exactly thinking quiet-like. And those beautiful eyes weren't exactly focused on my face!"

He blushed pink, something that the full-Time Lord Doctor never would have had to deal with, but something he'd grown resigned to. Especially when Rose giggled and blushed right back at him, despite eleven years of exploring every inch of each other, acres of skins and miles of mind alike. He felt like in her, he'd traversed another universe just as vast and amazing as in all his many regenerations before he'd ever known her. He still ached in sadness for his other self who'd lost her. And sometimes in fear what he could still lose her.

'I'd stay with you. You know that. You are my forever.'

It was faint, but her thoughts were a clear sweet stream in the caverns of his empty mind, filling him with hope and happiness. Where once he'd been so utterly alone, he had his Rose, and though still on Earth, in another galaxy, Maya and Matthew were bright dots of restless energy, tied to him through more than bonds of blood, but love like he'd never known.

'Thank you so much, my Rose.'

She tilted her head at him with a smile, and he pressed a kiss to her lips, drawing from her own indomitable courage.

"Well then, wife of mine. Shall we go out and see if we can find trouble?"

"Allons-y!" she declared in her atrocious French, but he wrinkled his nose and pushed open the doors, ducked his head and stepped out into a landscape that really shouldn't be there at all.

The pebbles under his feet felt the same as they had when he was newly loomed. The squeeze of Rose's hand in his was the only thing keeping him tethered to reality as they both took in the view of the silver-leaved trees than chimed softly in the dry breeze of an orange-gold double sunrise.

"Empty." His voice was a mix of sorrow and awe and loneliness so ancient and profound that it was simply more than human.

"But at least something's here. And who knows what happens in its future? We haven't mapped…" Rose stopped suddenly and shook her head, wrapping her arms around him and pressing her cheek against his shoulder. "I'm glad I could see it. I'm glad that we came. It truly is a beautiful planet."

He tipped his head to rest against his wife's dark blonde hair and looked out toward what would have been called the Mountains of Solace and Solitude. No judgmental Council to pity him his newfound demi-humanity, no Citadel, no Academy, no Eye of Harmony, no Untempered….was there? He swallowed thickly, and for a moment he was filled to the brim with the desire to climb back into their far too smooth and stable baby TARDIS and run back to the simple pleasures of Pete's World and their two clever, troublemaking children.

In another universe, in another lifetime, he'd looked out into the Untempered Schism and into the Time Vortex, and he'd been filled, hearts and soul, with that desire to run that had made him the rogue Time Lord, an object of alternating derision and fear — and ultimately the death of his people as his world. He walked toward where it had once glimmered in shades of impossible infrared and glaring ultraviolet, hovered there and not there in the way that drew you in until you were forced to confront the impossible nature of reality.

"Where are we going, Doctor?" Her voice was falsely calm, but she stared at the glowing edges of the sky before them with a fearless resolution that made her the most beautiful thing in his universe.

He paused. Both he and Rose were more than human. He still part-Time Lord, and she altered by the Bad Wolf. But could either of them survive looking into the Untempered Schism? Would they collapse in death, or share insanity?

"I ran away from a tear in reality once. Just as I've run my entire life — until I chose you." He took a deep breath, but she knew him too well.

"The Untempered Schism. It exists in this universe?" Her voice was filled with awe and she stepped forward, seemingly drawn to it just as much as he was. And why not? If she was still part of whatever Bad Wolf was, what better home for such an entity than the heart of madness that had always lain at the core of Gallifreyan identity?

"It shouldn't. I thought I'd destroyed it all, wiped everything out of creation across every conceivable…"

She put a finger to his lips. "Shush. You may be the Oncoming Storm and the Dealer of Death and whatnot, but you are not all powerful. You did what you had to save a universe. But this is another universe entirely."

He nodded, the argument an old one between them. "A new beginning."

His eyes caught sight of movement and they narrowed in suspicion. There was a figure crawling out of the edge of the Schism. Impossible. "The TARDIS showed no sentient life signs on this planet."

"Well, it did the best it could. It still seems rather hollow though. Something's missing. It could have…"

"The scanners are fully functional. He wasn't there a few minutes ago."

She followed his line of sight and gasped. "Doctor!"

"Oh, it must be bad. Things always go cock-eyed when I'm wearing a cowboy hat. And a cowboy hat with a bow tie! And tweed. I bet he even wears braces. What is this one thinking?"