All things belong to the BBC.
This is my first journey in the Who-verse, writing-wise at least. I don't know where this story came from exactly. It just popped into my head and demanded to be written so here is the result of a persistent idea. Originally it was meant to be a one shot but due to it being rather lengthy I decided to split it in two. So here's the first instalment.
Still Running is a fix-it story of kinds. I always thought – if there can be two Doctors then why not two Roses? It might get a tiny bit timey-wimey but all for a reason.
Without further ado. I hereby present:
I. STILL HUMAN
I'll wrap up my bones
And leave them
Out of this home
Out on the road
Two feet standing on a principle
Two hands longing for each others warmth
Cold smoke seeping out of colder throats
Darkness falling, leaves nowhere to go
It's spiralling down
Biting words like a wolf howling
Hate is spitting out each others mouths
But we're still sleeping like we're lovers
Still with feet touching
Still with eyes meeting
Still our hands match
Still with hearts beating
Because in the end, and at the very beginning, and all those times in between, it all came down to running. Often it meant running from things, perilous things whose intent was harm but there were times when the running meant running towards something.
It was probably ridiculously stupid and illogical, what she did, but a nagging thought was to be blamed. At age 19 she was, at least by society, considered an adult with personal responsibility for herself and others, too though her mother would gladly serve a counter argument.
It was January 1st, 2005 and Rose Tyler was just about to alter (or secure) the past, present and future of the entire universe though at the time she was utterly clueless. She stopped dead in her ascent of the stairs and turned. Usually she refused to believe her superstitious friend, Shareen's, gibberish about how she could feel when someone important and influential was in her presence but in the given moment Rose felt affected by… something. For the time being she wrote it off as a side effect of the booze she had already had that night.
It was New Year's, mind.
Turning she immediately spotted a dark figure against a white-ish background below the window. Despite it being new fallen snow it was already yellowing - as snow always did in the city.
The person was fairly drunk which she knew from speaking to the stranger. He had been quite mysterious but Rose figured it simply had something to do with the amount of alcohol he'd consumed. Still, he looked like he could use some help. The man was leaning on a wall for support as he staggered forward. Although he could be a murderer Rose couldn't help but feel responsible for the poor sod.
He was so drunk and clearly unable to make it home by himself. It was not exactly tempting to hear of a drunken man having died from hypothermia. Not on her watch, he wouldn't.
Just as she opened the door the man fell heavily to the ground. Rose set off running and reached his side in mere moments.
'Okay, you're clearly not all right. What'd ya take, mate? LSD, speed?' The man appeared to sober up instantly at the sound of her voice. Whereas before he'd been hidden in shadows he was now entirely visible.
About 35, Rose estimated, and quite oddly dressed. Maybe he'd attended a theme-party. Seemed probable if one was to judge by his pinstriped suit, the long, billowy tan coat and the messy hair. A 50s party maybe?
'Oh no, no drugs. Fit as a fiddle, me.' The man said as he tried to get back on his feet.
'Yeah right. Let me just call my mum, 'kay?'
'No! Not Jackie Tyler!' The mention of her mother's name startled Rose slightly. Maybe Jackie had already gotten rid of her most recent boyfriend and taken a boytoy. Well, this might be her future stepfather. Or something.
'You' her boyfriend or something?
'No!' he all but shouted, then paused as he watched her stunned face. 'Sorry that was rude, wasn't it? Eh. Happy New Year.' A pained moan escaped his lips and he curled up in pain.
It slowly began to dawn on Rose that these effects couldn't all be alcohol related. As she didn't feel particularly like giving out medical advice she spoke her mind instead.
'You really need a doctor.
'Something like that.'
'Let me help you to the hospital then.' With a cautious few steps Rose approached the stranger but he moved away from her quickly.
'Oh no really, there's no need. I'll just phone myself an ambulance.'
'You're not getting rid of me that easy. There's a phone box right there, yeah?' Out of the corner of her eye Rose had just spotted the blue phone box. Normally she wouldn't bother paying for a phone call with a mobile and all, but she'd left it at Shareen's earlier. The stranger backed away ever so slightly.
With a shake of her head she made it towards the phone box. Yes, it looked odd, it being blue and all, but at the moment her only concern was helping the poor stranger.
Oddly enough she felt a certain pull towards him, which made her all the more determined to help him.
Although he was obviously still in great pain the stranger staggered after her, seemingly determined to prevent her from aiding him. Yeah well, tough. Rose pushed towards the strange blue box only to find that her pace quickened with every step. Perhaps it was the sheer excitement of the situation; the prospect of helping someone and finally making just a little bit of herself.
Because to the world she was really just another girl. Rose Tyler of the Powell Estate, South London. She was a shop girl through and through, no real prospects with her lack of A-levels.
Little did she know the stars had her name written all over them.
By the time she finally made it to the box she barely halted to cast a glance over her shoulder. The man was still in pursuit but his obvious pain hindered him from keeping up with her. It didn't make sense, really, why he was so intent on refusing her help. Stubborn bugger. Shaking her head she pushed the door open and entered the phone box.
As it turned out it was bigger on the inside. Very much so.
A vast space spread out in front of her, all covered in a sort of golden hue. And something was humming, a constant but soothing noise that sought the farthest corners of her mind. Dragging steps alerted her to the presence of the strange man but she was too gobsmacked to pay him any attention. For the time being her initial purpose was forgotten.
A pained whimper escaped the man's lips. Rose immediately turned to face him. He regarded her warily for a moment with sad, sad eyes. This was a man, she thought, who had seen too much. Lost too much along the way as well perhaps? To her that was the most unnerving, not the strange phone box she had entered. All awestricken thoughts were pushed aside out of concern for the poor bugger.
He looked at her imploringly. 'You have to go. Please.' He spoke the words painfully through gritted teeth. Almost like he regretted having to say them.
''M not leaving you like this, mate.'
The hum in her head suddenly intensified. Soft tunes pulsated through her mind. It was almost like the music was crafted masterfully by the strange box but at the same time some of it seemed to arise from deep within her. Wherever it went the music soothed her, appeased her. Blimey, it felt better than any massage she'd ever had.
The man looked at her mournfully and suddenly she noticed the golden sparks flittering about him. He was glowing.
'Your hand.' She pointed, mouth slightly agape.
'I'm so sorry Rose.'
'How'd you know my name?'
'This isn't going to be pretty.'
Everything exploded then. Well, the man did. Everything turned golden as Rose's head split open and a piercing ache tore through her. If anything it felt like she was being torn in two.
A wordless song strung itself like a snake through the cloudy mist. Unseeing it spread out and called out to someone, so very gently. Effortlessly she floated through golden mist, fingers spread out as she tried to catch it but the mist caressed her skin instead. Strings of more solid gold ran past her but when she reached out to touch them they moved, twisted and turned and aligned themselves differently – always remaining out of reach though.
The song halted suddenly, interrupted by someone wooping. Git. Who did he think he was – interrupting her like that?
Rose pried her eyes open. A splitting headache had settled itself comfortably at her temples and it mocked her openly. Bloody thing.
'What happened?' The voice that spoke the words sounded all wrong, thick and croaky and dry.
'Uh, bit of firework gone awry. Yes! Bad, bad firework. Rather explosive.' That voice. She had never heard that voice before. Everything was a blur and even after blinking several times it didn't make things any better. Either she had hit her head really hard or it was time to get glasses. She really, really hoped it was the former.
Peripherally she could see the silhouette of a lanky figure moving ecstatically about, limps flailing. He was nowhere and everywhere at once. When her eyes suddenly started watering she finally noticed the smell of smoke.
'Really?' She asked sceptically. The figured halted for a brief moment, right at her side before a sudden shutter sent him flying again.
'And we might be crashing. A bit.'
'A bit?' The floor trembled again, this time more violently. Rose lost her footing and toppled over onto the grated floor. Rather roughly one might add.
'Yes. Better hold on tight,' the man shouted. Strangely enough he sounded elated. 'Geronimo!'
Crash they did indeed, good and proper at that. And blimey did it hurt afterwards. Her entire body screamed in pain, a pain way worse than anything Rose had ever experienced. And she had seen some rough times, mind. She wanted to scream and whine like a little child and curse so someone's ear would fall off. But she didn't.
Instead she watched in bewilderment as the completely daft man with whom she had crashed (exactly what had crashed?) stuttered and spluttered. He had just climbed out of the pool (pool!) which was filled with books (books?!). Honestly, what was this place?
The pain left her very much rooted to the one bloody spot but in turn that provided her with a decent excuse to watch the stranger roam about. Although she was hesitant to admit it he really wasn't half bad looking, a bit ragged in the torn clothes and evidently completely barmy but there was something about him still. Now there was a man with a chin and lots of great hair, all brown and floppy. However it seemed someone had stolen his eyebrows or perhaps they'd been scorched during the crash.
But where on earth did he come from? Last thing she could remember it was a different man she had been trying to help. One who had been in great pain but this one seemed perfectly fine. Then she remembered. The other man had – exploded? Because that was certainly possible. Rose smiled wryly at the though. She had probably hit her head – hard. Or maybe this was a hallucination and she'd really only had too much to drink. The mere thought of the hang over she would most likely suffer from caused her to wince.
The raving madman ran about the place with his head in the air. He appeared to be looking for something. Being this distraught soon meant he tumbled over a pile of books that the crash had caused to fall down.
'Your driving skills are rubbish,' she noted absently, rubbing her sore temples.
The heap of limps attempted to untangle themselves clumsily. Although he may be completely bonkers it was certainly a sight to behold. Rose had to struggle to force back a fit of giggles.
'No mocking the designated driver if you please.' Eventually he managed to untangle himself and rise, albeit not very gracefully. In many ways this strange fellow seemed to have been unexpectedly dumped in this body. None of his movements seemed coordinated. He stumbled again, struggling to keep his balance.
'Right. So where've we crashed?' She smiled then, unable to help herself. The man regarded her intently for a moment before a goofy grin split his face. Underneath masses of big floppy hair green eyes flashed delightfully. If he kept doing that she would soon turn into jelly.
'We haven't crashed persay. Just a common routine emergency landing. Highly common in fact.' Without another word he started climbing a rope which looked quite comedic. At least it did until Rose realised he was about to leave her there – in pain too. Git.
'Oi! You're not just going to leave me here, are ya?' She called out.
'Five minutes!' Came the reply from somewhere far above her. The man soon disappeared out of sight and so left Rose to fend for herself. Suddenly she could hear strange voices echoing through the vast space above where the man had recently disappeared.
'Can I have an apple? All I can think about – apples. I love apples. Maybe I'm having a craving. That's new - never had cravings before.' So he rambled too, evidently. Rose laughed but had to stifle it soon afterwards as it caused her chest to ache.
The man continued his conversation with someone for several moments. Frustrated Rose tried to zone in on what they were talking about but mainly it just sounded like muffled voices, almost indistinguishable. If she could just-
Closing her eyes, maybe that would do the trick. At some point in her uneventful life Rose could remember someone telling her that your senses would sharpen, sound and smell, if you closed your eyes. So she did. It happened immediately. Suddenly it was like she could feel everything everywhere. Sound, all clear. Her skin prickled at the sensation.
'Are you the police?' The Scottish accent was very palpable.
'Why? Did you call the police?' The man replied, sounding excited. 'What do you say, Rose? Are we the police? We could be the police.' She smiled. Despite the utter absurdity of the situation (and the pain) excitement coursed through her. The possibility of an adventure, of something actually happening to her – it made her giddy. Maybe, just maybe, something would allow her to have a life outside working in a shop, going to the pub to watch a match, hanging with Shareen and bickering with her mum. Blimey. Maybe there was more to life.
'Well we are in a police box, yeah?' She called back.
'Oh yes! Police it is then!' and with that the two voices disappeared, leaving her behind. Bloody hell.
Please review and I'll send you a pack of virtual Jammie Dogdgers.
Next chapter should be up soon.