Chapter 3: Trust Me, I'm A Doctor
The Doctor and Rose finally made it to the top of the building. The elevator was out, so they had to climb the stairs, and by the time they reached the penthouse, Rose was panting heavily. The Doctor, on the other hand, looked perfectly fine.
The first thing Rose noticed when she entered Stark's penthouse was that it was nice, even when completely destroyed. The second thing she noticed was that the portal-light thing was coming from outside and the Doctor was already on his way toward it. The third thing she noticed was that there was an oddly dressed man lying on the ground, unconscious.
Out of habit (really, with the Doctor, this sort of thing was par for the course), Rose rushed directly towards him and checked for a pulse. He was still alive, but badly beaten up. "Doctor, what's wrong with him?"
The Doctor peered closer and then shook his head. "Nothin' we can do for him now, Rose. C'mon."
Rose reluctantly got up and took the Doctor's hand as he lead her outside. "Why was he wearing those clothes."
"It looks like he's from Asguard," the Doctor said.
The name tickled something in Rose's memory. "Isn't that a Norse thing?"
"Somethin' like that," he muttered, but his eyes had gone wide at the sight of the portal. It was even more massive up close, and now the Doctor had a good view of the device that was keeping it open.
To Rose's surprise, there was already somebody there: a woman (red-head) dressed in all black, looking at the device with an incredibly frustrated expression, she approached it slowly and reached a hand out, only to jerk it back when some sort of shield surrounding the device shocked her.
"Oi! Don't do that!" The Doctor reprimanded, walking around to where the woman was. When they made it to the other side of the device, Rose noticed another man lying unconscious on the ground. This time, he was older and dressed more normally.
Running to him, Rose muttered, "It's like a bleedin' epidemic!" Rose checked for a pulse, again. He seemed okay, save for a massive bruise on his head.
The Doctor, on the other hand, found himself on the bad end of a gun. The red-haired woman didn't seem to pleased with his advice.
"Who're you?" she demanded.
"I'm the Doctor," he said, watching Rose out of the corner of his eye and the device out of the corner of the other. "I'm here to help."
"I don't believe you," she said firmly.
"Doctor, he's waking up," Rose called over, helping the older-looking man sit up. He held his head. The woman pulled out another gun and pointed it at them. Rose looked at it nervously, but then turned back to the man. "It's alright. You're okay."
"No," the man said, looking horrified at everything happening around him. "I don't think I'll ever be okay again."
"Doctor," the woman began, addressing the old man, "Can you close the portal?"
"Might do," the Doctor answered cheerfully, "But you're pointing a gun at me."
"I think she meant me," the older-looking man offered, carefully standing up with Rose's help. He swayed a bit, shaky on his feet. The Doctor looked highly put out.
"I could do it, too," he muttered gruffly.
"I'm sure you could, Doctor," Rose placated.
The other doctor added, "Any help would be much appreciated- this portal really wasn't built to be operated by only one man."
The woman finally lowered her gun and nodded. "Fine. But I'm warning you. One wrong move-" She let her threat hang, but the Doctor didn't look bothered. "How do we shut this thing down, then?"
"There's a fail-safe system," the other-doctor said. "In Loki's scepter."
"Where's that then?" the Doctor asked.
"I think I'm looking at it," Rose offered, peering over the edge of the building. She could see Loki's staff on the floor below her. Rose was prepared to have to climb down a few flights of stairs to get to it, but the woman (who still hadn't introduced herself, Rose noted) beat her to it.
She ran in front of Rose and leapt easily from the the floor they were on to the one below. Grabbing the staff, she then used the windows to pull herself up. Rose ran over to help her climb, but the woman refused Rose's hand. She straightened and smirked at the Doctor.
The other-doctor was already typing away at the computer, the Doctor looking over his shoulder, occasionally muttering a suggestion or pointing his screwdriver at something. When he heard the woman ask, he gestured to the bright beam of light coming from the machine.
"On my cue," he ordered, "You're going to put the staff into the beam, alright? Right at the crown."
The woman nodded and readied herself, struggling a bit with the weight of the staff. Rose, wanting to be useful, came up behind her and helped her lift the staff up. The woman shot her a look over her shoulder.
"We're on the same side here," Rose argued. The woman nodded curtly and turned back around. Rose said, "I'm Rose, by the way. What's your name?"
"Agent Romanoff," she said curtly. Before Rose could answer, Agent Romanoff was reaching up to her ear and touching it. Rose noticed that she was wearing some sort of ear-piece. Agent Romanoff spoke into it and said, "I can close it. Can anybody copy? I can shut the portal down!"
Rose didn't hear what was said on the other end, but she did hear the Doctor yell, "You're good to go!"
Rose was ready to push the scepter forward, but Agent Romanoff didn't move, although Rose did see something change in Agent Romanoff's face.
"What's happenin'?" Rose demanded. "Why aren't we going?"
"They're sending in a nuclear missile." She said, emotionless. "Stark is going to attempt to divert it."
"Into the portal?" The Doctor demanded. "He won't make it back."
"He knows," Agent Romanoff said. She looked back at Rose. "Be ready to push the spear in. Rogers is giving the signal."
Shooting in anxious glance at the Doctor, Rose got herself ready. Keeping an eye on the portal, Rose could only watch, horrified, as a man in a red suit (Tony Stark, Rose assumed) pushed a large missile up and into the portal. In front of her, Romanoff tensed, waiting for the signal.
"Come on, Stark," Agent Romanoff muttered. A few seconds later, though, with no sign from Stark, she yelled back to Rose, "Now!"
Rose and Agent Romanoff pushed forward on the scepter with all the strength they had in them, sending it slicing straight through the shield. For a moment, the beam shone stronger than before, before fizzling out suddenly. The staff was pushed backwards and, while Agent Romanoff managed to keep her footing, the sudden shift in weight startled Rose. She lost her balance and flew backwards, hitting her head hard on the concrete.
"Don't try to sit up!" The Doctor ordered, running over to her. Agent Romanoff was too busy barking questions into her earpiece. The Doctor knelt down next to her. "Are you alright?"
Later the Doctor would examine Rose and confirm she had a slight concussion, which is probably why she did what she did next, but she never regretted it.
She reached up and grabbed the lapels of the Doctor's jacket, pulling him in for a kiss. He almost fell on top of her, but braced himself on his arms just in time. Rose was just so glad that they were alive. For a second, he was just still above her and Rose worried that she had broken him, ruined everything between them, earned herself a one-way ticket back to London.
Then he started kissing her back.
It was quite nice, actually, and they probably would have continued their newfound favorite activity if it wasn't for a voice calling their names from inside the tower.
Rose and the Doctor pulled apart. Rose took a deep breath and sat up carefully, the Doctor helping her. "We should-"
"Yeah," he agreed.
"But later we could-" Rose began, gesturing between the two of them. The Doctor looked quite pleased.
"Pick up where we left off?" He guessed.
This time it was Rose who said, "Yeah."
She was rewarded with one of the Doctor's daft grins. "Fantastic!"
Rose, the Doctor, and Agent Romanoff all headed back inside the penthouse, where it seemed as though all the other Avengers and Jack had gathered, standing guard over the man Rose had seen lying on the floor earlier. When she saw Jack there, too, she ran to him.
"Jack!" she said gleefully, thrilled that he was alright. She ran towards him and threw her arms around his neck, laughing as he picked her up and spun her around. When he set her down, she planted a quick, firm kiss on his lips (she had promised, after all), before she went back to hugging him tightly.
Unbeknownst to her, Jack was looking over her shoulder at the Doctor, who was staring at him with an annoyed look on his face. Jack would've bet his sonic blaster that it was because of Rose's kiss, but it's not as though it had been Jack that started it, so he just shrugged and went back to trying to squeeze the life out of Rose.
When he let go, he turned to the Doctor. "You two alright?"
"Just fine," the Doctor assured him.
"And you?" Rose asked, looking him over.
Jack shot her one of his best grins. "Never better, doll. Saved some lives, met some heroes. All in all, a good day."
"A good day?" came a voice from behind them, sounding rather upset. Rose looked over Jack's shoulder to see a man dressed in red, white, and blue spandex (Captain America, she guessed). He had turned away from the others, who continued to surround the man on the floor (now awake and not looking very happy). "Countless lives were lost today. Including one of our own. You call that a good day?"
That's when Rose remembered that Tony Stark had died. She bit her lip. Rose didn't know much about Stark, but she knew enough to know that he was some sort of genius, and what he did today- sacrificing himself- was just.
Rose looked at the Doctor. "Doctor?"
He knew what she was asking him and met her gaze squarely. For a moment, neither of them said anything, then he said, "You sure?"
Rose hedged, "If Reapers won't show up or nothin'-"
"The portal let out far enough away," the Doctor assured. He turned to the Avengers, who were once again occupied with their newfound prisoner. Satisfied that they weren't paying attention, the Doctor nodded, and he, Rose, and Jack slinked off back to the TARDIS.
Rose was just shutting the door firmly behind her as the Doctor dialed in some coordinates. She walked up behind him and watched over his shoulder. "Will you be able to find him?"
The Doctor scoffed. "With that arc-reactor on his chest? I could track him half-way across the universe, that thing emits a signal so big."
"Oh, and I supposed you could come up with a better design," Rose nodded sagely.
"In my sleep," the Doctor said proudly, chest puffed up. "Smaller, too, with more energy output, but little signal. That man needs to learn a thing or two about subtlety."
"We live in a bigger-on-the-inside spaceship that looks like a police public call box," Jack pointed out from the other side of the console. He was helping the Doctor dial in some coordinates. "You're hardly one to talk about subtlety."
"I don't go 'round telling people about it," the Doctor huffed.
"You told me," Jack argued.
"And me," Rose added. "And Mickey, and my mum, and Harriet Jones-"
"Alright," the Doctor snapped, clearly in a mood now that they had riled him up. "What is this? Gang up on the alien day?"
"It could be if you wanted," Jack said innocently.
"Watch it," the Doctor warned. He pulled a lever on the console and the TARDIS jerked, launching herself into the time vortex. "Right. According to SHIELD's records-"
"You can access those?" Rose asked, but it really was a stupid question. Of course the Doctor could.
"And a few calculations from myself, the nuclear missile is set to go off 3.5 seconds after Stark passes through the portal. If we get there right before then and open our doors, Stark will fall back into the TARDIS and we can get out before the blast hits."
"Sounds like a plan," Jack agreed. He and Rose went over to the man the TARDIS doors, each gripping a handle and waiting for the Doctor's signal to open them. The TARDIS rattled and shook and it took everything Rose had to keep her balance.
Just when Rose thought that she couldn't hold on for much longer, the Doctor yelled, "Now!"
Rose and Jack pulled the doors open and Rose was greeted with a sight that would most likely haunt her for the rest of her life: space, but not space as she knew it. This was not blackness punctuated with the shiny glow of a million galaxies. Ships like none she had ever seen before floated before her- dozens of them.
And straight toward those ships was headed a missile.
And headed right for the TARDIS was Tony Stark.
He landed on the TARDIS with a crash, straight into the coral struts. Rose couldn't be sure, but if she hazarded a guess, his suit would be dented (even more so). The TARDIS was strong.
Remembering the Doctor's instructions, Rose quickly shut the door. As she did, she felt a brief rush of heat filter in through the cracks. The missile had gone off. The TARDIS, thanks to the Doctor's impressive driving (in a we're-all-going-to-die sort of way) was already back in the vortex.
Rose rushed over to Tony Stark and, with a grunt of effort managed to roll him over. His eyes were closed and that thing on his chest- Rose had some vague recollection of a newspaper article she had read about how it was keeping him alive- was turned off. She shook him as though he were simply asleep and she needed to wake him up.
It (obviously) had no effect.
"Doctor!" Rose called, but there was no need. The Doctor was already kneeling down next to her and Jack (When did he get here?), sonic screwdriver in hand.
"Is he dead?" Jack asked bluntly. Rose paled and the Doctor glared at him harshly for upsetting her.
"Don't think so," the Doctor assured, fiddling with his sonic. A pleased grin made his way onto his face when he found the right setting and he pointed it at the arc reactor. The low and familiar buzz of the sonic screwdriver filled her ears and, within seconds, the light on Tony Stark's chest flickered back to life.
The Doctor's pleased grin transformed into a smug one. "I told you so."
Rose, choosing to ignore him, worried, "Will he be okay?"
"As okay as somebody can be with a piece of metal trying to claw its way into his heart," the Doctor shrugged. Jack reached over and helped lean Stark and his suit against one of the struts, trying to make him more comfortable. Meanwhile, the Doctor stood up and walked over to the console. More to himself than anybody else, he muttered, "Right. Let's get Stark home, then."
The TARDIS, perhaps realizing that they were carrying somebody who was not in the best of shape, seemed to make sure that her ride was smoother than normal, and there were no mad jerks when they landed. Rose, who had stayed kneeling by Tony in case he woke up, stood up and stretched now.
"How do we get him out of here?"
"I get his legs, you get his head, Doc?" Jack offered. The Doctor scoffed.
"Try the other way around, Harkness. I don't trust you anywhere near his legs."
With a completely unashamed laugh, Jack walked over to Stark's head and reached down to pull him up from under his armpits. The Doctor grabbed Stark's legs and lifted him up. Rose figured that it was up to her to get the door.
She opened it and stepped outside. The other Avengers were all staring gobsmacked and didn't seem to have moved from their positions at all. Even the Hulk was still, well, the Hulk.
"How in the-" Captain America began and Agent Romanoff pulled her gun out and Hawkeye his arrows, but all three were stopped when the Doctor and Jack carried Tony out of the TARDIS, arc reactor glowing brightly as a testament to his living. They placed him down gently. The others rushed toward him, all except for Thor, who stood guard over the man on the floor and looked at the TARDIS curiously.
"How did you do that?" Captain America demanded.
"I have my ways," the Doctor said easily.
"Time Lord," Thor said suddenly. Everybody looked at him. The Doctor, in particular, was surprised.
"I recognize this device. When I was young, many years ago, a man came to visit Asguard in a blue box such as this. He was a Time Lord, from the planet Gallifrey. The Time Lords were a powerful race and old allies of the Asgardians. The name of this man's name was the Doctor."
"Hello!" the Doctor waved. Behind Thor, Agent Romanoff was gaping incredulously.
"The Gallifreyans perished in the Time War," Thor said solemnly. "I didn't realize any had survived. Least of all the man I remember from my childhood."
"Well, I did," the Doctor said curtly. The Time War was still a sensitive topic for him. "And I best be leaving. Anything else I can do for you lot?"
"You've done more than enough," Thor replied, speaking for all of the Avengers now. "You have our eternal gratitude."
"Right o', then" the Doctor said. Rose opened the door to the TARDIS and gave everybody as she stepped inside. Jack followed her. As the Doctor stepped through, he was called back.
"Will we ever see you again?" It was Agent Romanoff, of all people.
The Doctor shrugged. "Depends on how much trouble you get into. Now, if you'll 'scuse me, I promised Rose the 28th century."
The Doctor left the Avengers stunned.
Inside the console room, Jack groaned loudly. "I never got my Captain America lunchbox signed!"
"Maybe we'll see them again," Rose said, trying to make him feel better by rubbing his arm soothingly. He grumbled, but leaned into her touch. The Doctor glared as he entered in the coordinates and sent the TARDIS into the Vortex with a jerk.
As the TARDIS disappeared, for a moment, none of the Avengers outside said anything. Then, out of nowhere, Tony Stark let out a deep gasp and opened his eyes.
He blinked as he took everybody in. Tony cleared his throat.
"So, what'd I miss?"
AN: Yay! A final chapter! I have no plans for a sequel, but I made sure to leave that possibility open if I ever change my mind. Regardless, I hope you enjoyed this little story! Be sure to review!