The Doctor hurried through the basement of the department store, keeping away from the dummies that were already beginning to come to life, and cursing his poor timing. He'd hoped to get to the roof to blow the relay device up before the Autons activated, but had been waylaid by a human named Wilson. Wilson worked in this godforsaken place, apparently, and demanded to see identification from the Doctor. But he wasn't fooled by the psychic paper; no he had to go and be clever. Wilson had gone on and on about how he knew every health and safety employee in London (which was either a boldfaced lie or truly impressive; the Doctor was leaning towards the former) and he had never seen the Doctor before and blah blah blah. The Doctor had tried to go around him, or at least convince Wilson that he was mistaken, but the stupid ape was having none of it.
Then the dummies had started to move. The Doctor had tried to save Wilson, he really had; but in the end, Wilson just ended up being another person the Doctor had failed. He would deal with the guilt of that later; right now, he had to blow this place up.
As he was running, his sensitive ears picked up the sound of a distressed human female; he couldn't make out what she was saying, but it was loud and unhappy. The Doctor paused; why was someone still in the building? It was supposed to be closed! He hesitated for only a few seconds before Wilson's lifeless face appeared in his mind's eye; no one else was dying on his watch tonight.
He doubled back, finding the door that he thought led to the room where the trapped woman was. He muttered a curse when the door refused to open, and ran about trying to find a different entrance. He pulled a door open in time to see a blonde girl being backed into a corner by the advancing shop dummies. What surprised the Doctor was that she didn't look afraid; in fact, she looked downright furious. What was more was she wasn't backing down; she looked like she was actually going to try and fight the Autons!
'Stupid ape,' the Doctor thought as he ran towards her, 'thinking she can take on an Auton.' The Doctor skidded to a halt beside her and grabbed her hand on impulse. She looked at him, surprised. "Run!" He ordered, before turning back to the door he'd come through. She ran with him without question, something he was grateful for; he didn't want to have to drag her.
They practically flew into the elevator, and the Doctor quickly pulled out his sonic screwdriver to shut the door. The Autons were faster, now that they were fully awake, though, and the door closed on one's arm as it reached in. Before the Doctor could react, the girl ran forward, wrestling with the arm, and pulling it free of the Auton. "You pulled it' arm off," he said, impressed, but refusing to admit it.
"Yep," she said, blank faced and tossing the arm to him. He caught it on reflex. "Now how's about you tell me who the hell you are and where you got that," she demanded, motioning to his sonic.
He frowned; something about this girl was incredibly off. She should be frightened by the fact that shop dummies had just tried to kill her, not pulling their arms off. She should be asking how they're possible, not demanding answers about his sonic. And she sure as hell shouldn't be looking at him the way she was: like he'd killed her best friend and she was considering killing him as an act of vengeance.
"Don't see why I should tell you," he said gruffly, trying to cover up how thoroughly disgruntled he was.
She stalked closer to him and poked him hard in the chest. "Because I think you stole it. I think you stole it from someone I'm trying to find. And I think if you value your continued existence, you'll tell me who the hell you are and where you got the screwdriver."
The Doctor immediately bristled, and neither of them noticed that the elevator doors had slid open. How dare this little idiot of an ape threaten him? Him! "I did not steal it, I built it. It's my own bloody design and I'll thank you not to threaten me," he growled, giving his best Oncoming Storm glare.
The girl blinked, astonished. Not exactly what he was going for (he was rather hoping for fear, honestly), but at least she'd stopped with the glare; her's was almost as frightening as his. Almost.
"But that's not…" she whispered, trailing off. She poked him in the chest again, though this time it seemed like she was checking if he was real. "Doctor?" She asked, sounding hesitant, scared even.
"How do you know me?" The Doctor asked suspiciously. "Come to think of it, which me do you know? Obviously not this one…"
The girl didn't answer, only launched herself at him in what he thought was an attack, but once she locked her arms around his waist (this girl had a grip!), he realized it was a hug. "Oh, yes, hello," he muttered, awkwardly patting her on the back. She pulled away from him suddenly, and he was surprised to find that her eyes were angry again. Before he could even question the mood swing, though, she slapped him so hard he was pretty sure his last eight bodies could feel it. "Ow! Has anyone ever told you you're completely mad!" He snapped, rubbing his (red) cheek.
"You knew!" She yelled at him angrily. "You bloody knew!"
Okay, now she had really lost him. "Knew what?" He snapped, still sulking over being hit. Nine hundred years and no one had ever followed up a hug with a smack.
"You bloody knew this would all happen, and you did it anyway! Well that's just great. Thank you. Thank you very bloody much!" And with that she stomped out of the elevator, leaving the Doctor to splutter in confused indignation.
"Now hold on a tic!" He called angrily, running after her surprisingly quick form. "What the hell are you on about?"
She laughed, though the sound lacked any humor and seemed touched with madness. "Spoilers. Hasn't happened to you yet," she muttered, not slowing her pace.
"You're yelling me and hitting me for something I haven't even done yet?" He asked incredulously.
"S'not like I've got the chance to do it to future you. Might as well take whichever you I can get," she grumbled.
They walked out a fire door, letting them into an alley. Only when the cool night air hit him did the Doctor realize he still needed to blow up the relay device. He made an annoyed sound, and grabbed the girl by the arm. "I'm not done with you, but I need to be somewhere right now. I'll be right back, don't move," he ordered, before going back inside. He made it all of three steps before turning around and sticking his head out the door. "On second thought, wait across the street. Might get hurt if you wait here what with the…'boom' and what not. Back in a mo',"
He hurried inside and to the roof, planting the bomb. He set it to go off in a minute and a half, and ran back downstairs and outside, clearing the building just as the bomb went off. He hurried across the road, and looked up and down the street. There were confused and screaming humans everywhere, and he could hear a fire truck in the distance.
But nowhere in all the chaos was the blonde human he was looking for. He walked up and down the street, checked in a few stores and cafes, but she was nowhere to be found. He growled out a curse, and fisted his hands in annoyance.
Why was he getting so worked up over this blasted girl? He should be avoiding her, if she was from his future! But there was something about her…she was trying to find him, that's what she'd said. How had she lost him? And why was so she cross with him? They must've been close (would be close? Time travel made grammar difficult) for her to hug him like that once she'd realized who he was…
The girl had raised so many questions in him; and, what was more, he felt drawn to her somehow, like he was supposed to be with her. 'Temporal feedback, must be,' he thought to himself uneasily. There was no other reason he should feel drawn to her…right?
It was only after he'd given up and returned to the TARDIS that he realized he still had the Auton's arm.
The Doctor used the sonic once he was in the TARDIS to trace the signal coming from the Auton's arm to the main transmitter. He'd expected his ship to take him directly to the thing, but no, it couldn't be that easy, could it? Instead, he'd landed on a sidewalk in between a road and the Thames. He groaned, and started to go back inside for the arm so he could sonic it, but a voice called out and made him pause.
"You're thicker than I remembered."
The Doctor walked around the TARDIS until he found the blonde girl leaning against the side of the box. "How'd you get over here so quickly?" He asked, surprised. He'd blown the shop up only about an hour ago; there was no way she'd gotten over here that quickly!
She stared at him like he was dull. "You skipped a day, apparently. You blew up Henrik's yesterday. Thanks for that, by the way, now I'm out of a job." She scowled at him before pushing off the box and going to look out over the river.
The Doctor winced; he'd only meant to move in space, not in time. Woops. He followed the girl to stand next to her. "So why are you here?" He asked, watching her face.
She was quiet for a moment before she finally turned to look at him. "Same as you; looking for the Nestene Consciousness' transmitter."
The Doctor scoffed. "How? You haven't got the tech."
She raised an eyebrow. "Some of us don't need all the fancy buttons, Doctor. Notice how we're in the same place?"
He shifted uncomfortably. "Yeah, where is it then?" If she did know, then she could tell him and he could defend his methods of searching by pretending he already knew.
She smirked at him, though, seeing right through him. "You don't know, do you?" He remained stubbornly silent, refusing to give her the satisfaction. She shook her head, smirk still firmly in place. "Learn to rely a bit more on your eyes, and less on the screwdriver," she said with a slight teasing tone in her voice. She turned and looked across the river again.
The Doctor stared at her, waiting for her to tell him. She looked at him, then looked away again. Then did it again. Finally, the Doctor followed her line of sight until he saw the London Eye. "Oh," he breathed, starting to wonder if he was as much of a dunce as she apparently thought.
"There it is," she muttered almost inaudibly, before starting to walk away. "Coming?" she called back to him. He ran to catch up.
"So what exactly where you going to do when you found the Nestene Consciousness?" The Doctor asked curiously.
The girl pulled a small vile from her hoodie. "Anti-plastic," she said simply.
The Doctor blinked. "Where'd you get that?" He asked, checking his pocket surreptitiously to make sure his own vile was still in place.
She smiled slightly. "I have my ways," she said vaguely.
The Doctor studied her in silence as they walked. This girl was definitely more than he'd originally given her credit for; she'd managed to find the transmitter without any tech, and she had somehow acquired anti-plastic. If he'd been curious about her before, it was nothing compared to now.
They reached the Eye, and started looking for the entrance to wherever the Consciousness had set up shop. The girl found it quickly (because the universe was determined that he should look useless today), and they climbed down the ladder into the large room below.
The Doctor went down to talk to the Consciousness, but things went sour rather quickly when it accused the Doctor of being responsible for the destruction of its home planet, and then got even worse when the Doctor was captured by two Autons, who found the anti-plastic in his pocket.
The Doctor tried to make apologies, excuses, something, but he was being dragged closer and closer to the edge of the pit. As one toe slid over the edge, he wondered if he had enough regenerations left to climb out before he died.
But then the girl (whom he may have completely forgotten about) came swinging on a chain out of nowhere, knocking the two Auton's into the Nestene Consciousness, and the anti-plastic, too. He caught her as she came swinging back, surprised to find her laughing. She looked so different with the glares and the scowls gone. She was actually quite pretty.
He shoved those thoughts away, letting her go and grabbing her hand (what was with this regeneration and hand holding?), and, with a shout of "Run!" got them into the TARDIS (which the consciousness had brought down) and out before the whole place could blow up.
The Doctor guided the TARDIS away from the London Eye, and over to an alley near Henrik's, where he had first met the girl; he was careful to make sure that he stayed in the same day this time.
He turned to tell her they had landed, but was surprised to find her running a hand over the coral of the console room, with a small smile and tears running down her face. Now that he was paying attention, he realized that his TARDIS was humming contentedly, apparently pleased with the girl's presence.
He watched for a few more moments, trying to puzzle out the mystery that was this girl. "Who are you?" He asked finally.
She looked at him. "There is the long answer to that question and the short answer. The long answer is a story that I have lived and you have not. Someday you will, though." She paused, her eyes far away, then shook her head. "The short answer is Rose. Rose Tyler."
Rose…the name suited her, he decided. Pretty, but with thorns.
"I have to go…You'll see me again someday, Doctor. And, if I'm lucky, I'll see you, too." She turned to walk out, but turned again and ran to him, wrapping him in another bone-crushing hug that he actually returned this time. Then, sniffling quietly, she left, and the TARDIS seemed to dim a bit.