Rory had been in some tough spots during his time as a Roman soldier, but he'd never faced two grown bears. He didn't know what would happen to him if his head was knocked off, but he wasn't in a hurry to find out. It'd only been fifty years or so since he'd begun guarding the Pandorica and he refused to be taken out by two mindless beasts. Still, his future wasn't looking so hot at the moment.
There came a radiant song filling the air a moment before the bears disappeared in a flash of golden light. Gaping, Rory spun around only to find a figure standing regally on top of one of the monoliths. His grip on his sword went slack as the golden brilliance faded from her eyes and he was left staring at a very familiar face. Despite knowing he was Rory Williams who'd traveled with the Doctor and seen all manner of things supernatural, his Roman instinct had him dropping to one knee and bowing lowly to her-one hand over his heart.
"My lady Fortuna," he breathed in awe.
She arched one golden brow and laughed gaily, making him swallow. Her hair was pulled into a high tail on her crown, but still trailed halfway down her back. Dark gloves adorned her hands and she wore a vest that seemed to function as both armor and clothing. Tucked into black boots were multi pocketed cargo pants, giving her every appearance of a warrior. In one move, she leapt gracefully to the ground and further shocked him by leveling a golden light saber at his throat.
"Now, what is the Nestene Consciousness doing parading as a Roman soldier?" she asked pleasantly, though a threat laced the words.
Slowly, Rory lowered his hand. "That's a bit complicated."
Her eyes flashed gold again briefly. "Try me."
Whether it was his Roman training, her power, or something else, Rory found himself telling her his story. Eventually, she let him up, an unknown expression flickering across her face as the sun began to set.
"Forever finding trouble, that man is," she said with a sigh. "I'd wondered why I was drawn to this place."
Biting his lip, he shifted nervously and rubbed his neck. "Are you Fortuna?" he had to ask.
Shooting him a sly smirk, she disengaged her weapon and tucked it into her pants. "Well, those statues are definitely of me." Her face softened, however, when she turned to face him squarely. "You're a brave man, Rory Williams, and Amy sounds like she's worth the wait."
Looking down, he nodded. "She's amazing-the best thing that's ever happened to me."
When he ventured to peek at her, he found her eyes golden and staring at something he couldn't see. A haunting song filled the air before fading with the light. The woman focused on him with an inhuman intensity, freezing him in place. At once he could understand why the Romans might mistake her for a deity. He had to lock his knees to keep from dropping into another bow. This small woman was power incarnate.
"There is always a price for traveling with the Doctor. The price extracted from you and Amy is great and terrible," she warned. "You don't deserve to suffer as you will and neither does he."
Fear shook him to his core as she affirmed what he'd always suspected. "I-I'll follow Amy anywhere and she won't leave the Doctor."
The woman smiled sadly. "I know. Don't lose faith, though. I've been looking for the Doctor for a very long time. I can follow your Timeline to him. I'll do what I can, Rory, to spare you the despair I've seen, but you should listen to your instincts more. You're clever-make Amy listen to you if you feel something is wrong."
He snorted at that. "Easier said than done." Noting her intense look, he sobered and slowly agreed. "What's your name, really?"
A distinctly primal grin split her face. "I've collected quite a few over the years. You would know me as 'Fortuna' or the 'Bad Wolf'." Her eyes blazed golden again even as her face softened into something achingly tender. "The Doctor called me 'Rose'."
Then, she was gone in a flash of light and song.
The mysterious woman appeared several more times over the near two thousand years Rory guarded Amy. Each time, he was in a spot of trouble that she swiftly eradicated. After the first meeting, she merely smiled and nodded to him when the situation had been resolved, then was gone again. She kept his hope alive, because somehow, Rory knew she'd been fighting her way back to the Doctor for longer than even he'd lived. If she could do that, Rory Williams could hang on until Amy was saved. It helped knowing that someone besides the Doctor knew their story. It helped that he wasn't forgotten.
Rose did not, in fact, go directly to the Doctor when she left Rory for the last time. Instead, she appeared to a startled River Song, stopping the Time Loop by temporarily pausing Time for the briefest moment. It took nearly everything she had, but what she'd seen in Rory's Timeline of this woman told her that the professor deserved this.
River's jaw dropped when she felt Time halt. A half second later, she had her gun aimed at the other woman, despite her glowing eyes and the power rolling off her.
"Who the Hell are you?"
"I can't hold this for very long," the blonde woman gave a strained reply, "so listen to me. I know who you are, Melody Pond Williams. I know what they have made/will make you do and become. Time can be rewritten."
Fine tremors shook River's body at those words and her grip tightened on her weapon. "I know that," she snapped. "Who are you and how did you get on the TARDIS?"
"I'm someone who is giving you a choice. I followed Rory's Timeline here to you. I can stay hidden until this paradox closes, or I can step in now and rewrite everything. I can ensure the Doctor knows about the Silence and their plans."
Her face went distant as she stared into Time. "You could have the childhood you were meant to have and a life of your own making."
Swallowing, River lowered her gun. She didn't trust people-ever-but this woman breathed power and the Time flowing around her fluctuated with no deception.
"The Doctor's death is a fixed point," she grated out.
The blonde had the audacity to chuckle. "Yes, it will become one when the Doctor closes the paradox. However, he hasn't yet in his Timeline. It is still in flux."
That, more than anything, got the half Time Lady's attention. Her mind raced over every possibility; looking at every single angle. "Will I have the Doctor?"
"Not as you do now, but your choices will be your own, Melody."
So, it came down to that-the Doctor or her freedom. Holstering her weapon, she nodded to herself as sweat began to glisten on the woman's forehead. She was nearly shaking with the effort of holding back Time, yet she wasn't pushing for either choice. She was allowing River to decide for herself. Obviously, she was someone extremely powerful, which made the professor bewildered as to why she was doing this and who she was.
"Who are you?" she whispered a third time.
"Some call me the 'Bad Wolf'. Your father called me 'Fortuna'."
Shock registered on River's face. She could remember Rory telling stories about the mysterious woman who kept appearing to help him. Decision made, she nodded once more, that tidbit cementing it in her mind.
"I would very much like a life where I decide my fate."
Bad Wolf-Fortuna-smiled brilliantly. "You're so much like your father."
River could only briefly be pleased before the blonde released Time and disappeared. A moment later, River was gone as well.
The Doctor appeared in a museum and wrinkled his nose in distaste at using the Vortex Manipulator. As he took a step forward, he jerked. His memories were rapidly rewriting themselves. Something had changed and a different Timeline had just jumped to become the Main one. Dread settled in his stomach when he realized what had changed. River wasn't there anymore. Mr. Lux had given his life in the Library to download the survivors and the TARDIS had taken him to help the Bishop with the Angels. What happened?
A golden flash drew his attention as a familiar song momentarily filled the air. Snapping around, he felt his knees go weak at the sight of cherished brown eyes staring back at him. The blonde studied him, and then released a heavy breath, reaching up to rub a hand down her face.
"I've been looking for so long, I was beginning to wonder if I'd ever find you again," she half laughed. "Now, I don't even know what to say."
In two quick strides, he was before her, his hands fluttering as if they didn't know what to do.
"Rose Tyler," he whispered, floored.
She grinned and threw herself into his arms. "I know we've got a massive universe destroying situation raging around us and you're probably wondering what happened to River and how I'm here, but I've missed you."
The emotion that went into those last three words finally prompted his arms to wrap around her and hug her tightly to him.
Tears dampened his shirt. "I've missed you, I love you, and I promise I'll answer everything whenever this is over."
Chuckling through his own tears, he buried his face in her neck and inhaled her longed for scent deeply. "You're-you're in your correct Time," he realized with incredulous happiness. She'd found her way back to him again. Words failed him as he let that fact sink into his mind.
Drawing back, she laughed and nodded. "Yep, and I've got a fair bit to catch you up on, too. First, why don't we go save Amy and Rory?"
He grinned, pushing his questions away for later. Stepping aside, he wiggled his fingers at her. Without hesitation, she slipped hers between his and matched his beaming expression.
"Ready to save the universe, Shiver?" he managed to get out around the magnitude of his disbelieving hope.
Her tongue poked at her teeth. "Bring it, Shake."
Giggling like teenagers, they raced to find his astray companions. Sorting out past Amy and getting adult Amy out of the Pandorica took very little time; which was good since they had very little time. The Doctor was caught off guard when Rory glanced to Rose and gave her a very formal bow.
"Good to see you again, Rory," she smiled.
Amy was looking between them in confusion. "What's going on and who are you?"
"Another time, Pond," the Doctor cut her off. "We've a pressing date with the end of the universe, if you haven't noticed."
So, they took off-the Doctor finding a fez and hopping back to give Rory his sonic, then rushing to the roof. A quick conversation about the sun and they comprehended the terrible truth of the TARDIS exploding.
"She's holding a Time Loop," Rose told them, "but it won't last much longer."
Clenching his jaw, the Doctor nodded. "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" he asked her, wondering if they still fit after all this time.
"No," she eyed him. "My idea involves me coming with you."
He looked about to argue, before jerking his eyes to the bewildered couple behind him. "Right, the Pandorica—"
But, he and Rose disappeared in a golden light as a song faded in the air.
"What?" Amy growled, spinning around. "Where'd he go?"
Rory swallowed. "You heard him: the Pandorica. Let's go."
Rushing to keep up, the ginger questioned her fiancé in confusion. "Who is that woman, Rory?"
"That's Fortuna, the woman who saved my neck a fair few times while I was guarding you."
Astonished, Amy kept the rest of her questions until she wasn't running for her life.
The Doctor blinked and wrinkled his brow when he found himself in front of what was supposed to be his prison. "Well, yes-that's expedient."
Rose preened. "I thought so. Come on," she prodded.
Shaking himself, he agreed and opened the cube to begin hooking himself up to it. Rose stood close by, watching with fond eyes and ready to help should he need it.
"How long has it been for you?" he asked quietly.
She shrugged. "Dunno. After a while, I stopped keeping up with it. I kept getting drawn to temporal tipping points and you're a hard person to find, Doctor. Did you ever wonder why I named myself 'Bad Wolf'?"
Arching a brow, he finished his work and then turned his attention to her fully. "I tried not to think about that day, actually," he admitted.
"Did you think about me?" she wondered, nearly afraid of the answer.
Barking a desolate laugh, he met her eyes with an intensity he'd rarely allowed her to see. "You were everywhere I went. You became that voice in the back of my mind screaming at me when I went too far. When I regenerated, I went back to see you one last time. This body was born missing you." He paused when she took his bound hand, emotion nearly choking him and making his last word crack.
Rose moved to stand in front of him as he ran his free hand through his hair and sat heavily.
"I'm not the same girl that you saved from shop dummies, Doctor, just as I know you've changed without me. I've lived a very long time-had fantastic adventures and other lovers." Brown eyes lightened nearly to gold as the power of the moment wrapped around them. "But, I've never stopped searching for my home. I promised you forever; will you finally let me make good on that?"
His green eyes lit in a way they hadn't quite managed before then. A set of blue and brown had and often around a certain pink and yellow girl, however. She'd always had that effect on him and his hearts. Like her, he'd loved others, but his hearts had never been complete with anyone but her. She and the TARDIS were his shelter and peace. Now, something in this new Timeline whispered to him that nothing was taking her away again. He could finally have his forever and damn anything that tried to deny him that. He'd shred reality in a way not even Rassilon himself could have if the universe attempted to separate them this time.
Surging up, he cupped the back of her neck and captured her lips in an explosion of passion. All the madness and longing and desperation he'd buried when he'd been without her burst into the kiss. He'd had to keep such a tight rein on his darkness since she'd been gone, just to function. That all fled the moment she met him and opened herself completely. She was stronger now; she could handle all of him and he no longer had to fear damaging her.
Her hands drifted to his temples, nudging an invitation at him. He leapt on it before conscious thought, pouring into her mind and filling every part with his essence. Rose moaned and fell against him, causing him to collapse backwards, her in his lap.
Giddily he branded his mark across her mind, for once throwing caution to the wind. He'd given and given to the universe, so he was taking this moment to get his reward. Forget saying goodbye-he was binding Rose to him forever as his payment.
When he could feel no corner left hidden from him, he pulled her to return the favor. Rose's golden mind brightened in joy as she did so, lighting all the dark places in him. In her brilliance and radiant love as she marked him, the shadow of the Valeyard disintegrated. Whatever parallel world in which he originated, it wouldn't be this one anymore. The psychic wounds in his mind were lanced and closed-so long reminders of a race ripped cruelly from him.
Time's song wound around them, allowing him to see the fluid, multi-dimensional being Rose had become-her true self. The Doctor responded the only way he could: by dropping all his barriers and giving her his name. With that, the Timeline snapped around them, marking this event as a fixed point. Both of them groaned and Rose buried her fingers in his hair, nipping at his jaw and grinding down on him seductively.
"Rose," he whimpered, pulling back and pressing his forehead to hers. "My precious, impossible girl."
A lifetime had passed to them, but very little time had moved in the outside world. Rose's eyes were blazing golden light while Time churned, beckoning to her from the Time Lord's pupils. They were infinite and unmasked, outside of the universe for one brief instant. Eternals gasped in shock while the Guardians looked on in interest as the Oncoming Storm took the Bad Wolf as his wife. Across the universe, creatures one forgot as soon as one blinked felt an ominous chill run down their spines. A Storm was building and the Valiant Child was running once more.
An uncomfortable "Uh…" brought Time back into motion.
The Doctor growled and gripped her hip to make her keep her attention on him. Still, her song resonated in the air as she watched him, arching into his ministrations.
"I'll not let you leave again. You are mine."
That feral wildness transformed her into something divine as she snarled back. "So mote it be," and her mind seared his name into her soul, her true self into his being.
Golden light disappearing, she smirked and slid off of him to face his bewildered companions. Rory, the one who'd unintentionally interrupted them, was beet red but amused. Amy was gaping at them, totally lost as to what just happened. A moment later, her jaw snapped closed and she glared at the blonde, having seen that the Doctor was restrained.
"What have you done to him?" she demanded, advancing threateningly.
The Doctor shifted, wishing forlornly that he and Rose had better timing as he cleared his throat.
"Ah, Pond. May I introduce Rose Tyler," here he grinned, the expression truer and lighter than any they'd seen from him. "My wife. You'll have to excuse us; the last time we managed to find each other again, (the universe was ending then, too) we were separated for lifetimes."
Not giving them a chance to register that completely, he swiftly shifted gears to all business. He instructed them on what to do, and then he and Rose flew the Pandorica into the TARDIS. The two near immortals grinned and shared a brief kiss.
"You're mad," Rose told him.
The corners of his eyes crinkled in amusement, wondering how in Rassilon's name they had managed to get to this point.
"And you're impossible," he replied, holding her hand tightly.
He was happier than he could ever remember being and he was about to erase them both from existence. He should have felt terrified panic, but the excited, wondering gleam in Rose's eyes matched the one in his.
And the universe exploded into being.
Big Bang II.
Let it not be said that their wedding wasn't memorable.
Amy remembered the Doctor when a passing guest's TARDIS blue tie caught her eye. He, in turn, remembered Rose; though she was never truly erased as tied to Time as she'd become. They had a small window of time to themselves before they had to show at the wedding, letting them catch their metaphorical breath.
On the TARDIS, the Doctor's mouth was quirked in amusement as he twirled a small cylinder. "An encapsulated limited relay laser," he mused. "Why do you have a light saber?"
Face stretched with the joy of her smile, Rose snatched the weapon back while showing him the unusual watch she wore. "Because, my sonic watch isn't always enough for the situations I find myself in. Plus, it's cool."
Leaning against the console, he watched her in contentment. He'd seen her life when they forged the Bond-he should feel guilty and angry at what they'd each done to the other. But, he was so grateful to have her back and humbled at the idea that she'd never given up on him that he couldn't drum up anything negative. They were together-Rose Tyler and the Doctor in the TARDIS. Everything was as it should be and his eyes shone with love for her.
"You gave River a choice," he began.
Biting her lip, she nodded. "I saw her Timeline, Doctor. She deserved a choice that was solely her own. Did you see it? Her Timeline?"
He shook his head, settling his hands on her hips as she stood between his legs. "No, my Timeline was too tied to hers. Actually, I've never been able to see your Timeline until we Bonded, you know. Even before you agreed to travel with me."
That earned him a kiss, though he was at a loss as to why. When she pulled back, she sighed. "I know how her paradox would have played out and I can show you. Are you hurt by her choice?"
Covering her hands on his chest with his own, he smiled and rubbed his nose against hers. "No, not hurt-relieved. I was very fond of River, but something always nagged at me about her. From the first, I instinctively didn't trust her-which was rather odd for my tenth self, you know. I let a man I despised walk off with my sonic on the Titanic," he mused.
Leaning into him, she slid her hands up to either side of his temples. "Would you like to see?"
Brows furrowing, he agreed. Carefully, Rose concentrated on the other Timeline-plucking it up and gingerly holding it for him to examine. The Doctor tensed, his arms moving to pull her snugly against him as he watched River's life and what the Silence planned to do. When he came back to himself, fury was written into every line of his face. Amelia Pond, his friend and the girl who waited suffered unspeakably simply because she dared to trust a madman with a box. Rory Williams, the last centurion, helpless to save his baby and the woman he'd given everything for.
"Their daughter," he hissed, one hand clenching almost painfully on her hip as the other scrubbed at his face. More than ever, he was overwhelmingly aware at how undeserving he was of Rose in his life. Rassilon, that other Timeline proved that he could be thicker than he'd ever teased Mickey of being. Fooled by the same trick twice. How reckless could he get?
"What do you want to do about it?" His wife asked softly, grounding him back to the present.
Meeting her gaze, he pushed back her hair and kissed her forehead. "Let's see what we can dig up. I might have a few ideas and all of them include no one on the TARDIS getting pregnant."
Unable to help the chuckle, Rose swatted at him and rolled her eyes. "Well, before we gear up for an offensive attack, I have a bone to pick with you. Your new Rule Number One-I expect that not to apply to me, got it?" she poked him in the sternum.
Sheepishly, he held up his hands in surrender. "Of course not, dear."
With a snort, she pulled him down to kiss him. A sigh of satisfaction escaped her when he curled a hand under her shirt and left a trail of goose bumps up her back.
"I'll take you somewhere nice soon," he promised against her mouth.
Fairly purring her agreement, she licked over his pulse. "We need to change for the reception."
Groaning, he kissed her again before releasing her reluctantly. "Yes. Go on, then. The TARDIS has missed you letting her dress you up. I'll be along in a minute."
The blonde squeezed his hand, patted the console, and sauntered out of the room. Looking at the Time Rotor, the Doctor gave a quiet chuckle and crossed his arms over his chest.
"You knew she'd come back to us," he accused. "You could have said something."
The distinct feeling of his ship whistling innocently-too innocently to completely hide the smug undertones-came to him. Laughing, the Doctor rubbed his hands together and raced after his bride. He hoped the reception had cake. Ohh-with edible ball bearings, or really great icing. He smirked; icing on Rose after the reception.
"You're projecting!" Rose yelled at him, making him grin as he caught up to her.
"I know," he told her huskily, watching her eyes darken at his tone.
Well, maybe they had a bit more time before the party. Rose pulled at his bow tie slowly, her mind a tantalizing promise sliding against his.
"The Ponds can wait," he decided emphatically.
Later, only Rory would wonder exactly how long it had taken them to show up to the reception. One glance at the Doctor's possessive gaze and Rose's pleased grin, however, convinced him that some things were best left alone.
AN: There are a few discrepancies, I know (Vortex Manipulator, anyone?) but it's just an idea I had. I seem to have a thing for reunions, but Eleven keeps seducing my muse. This little slice of Eleven/Rose goes out to The White Leopard, who leaves awesome reviews and flatters my muse. I hope you all like it, implausible as it is. I wanted something a bit lighter than my others. Please let me know what you all think!
On another note: this is my ten year anniversary on FFNet and my twenty fifth story!If you have an idea that just won't stop nagging you, let me know that, too. I might just persuade my muse to gift a story. (She loves Eleven, it's almost embarrassing, really.) Thank you all-you give me so much that I feel the need to give back.