Disclaimer: I do not own Doctor Who or any of the characters therein.
There she was: Rose Tyler. I don't understand how or why the TARDIS managed to cross into this universe or the reason it brought me here. I also did not understand why I reverted back to my tenth generation upon leaving the police box. I stepped back inside, and I was myself, but when I stepped back out again, I changed back to my tenth incarnation.
Even more shocking than that, however, was the fact that I watched Rose Tyler crossing the supermarket parking lot.
I saw which car she headed toward and then I slowly crept between the rows of parked vehicles. I reached the other side of her red sports car and crouched there, feeling mischievous. When she began fumbling for her keys in her purse, I straightened upright, smiling at her over the roof. She glanced up, then back to her purse, then back to me with wide eyes.
"Joh—Doctor, sorry. I meant Doctor," she stammered, smiling. "I picked up something good for supper. Want to follow me home or—"
"Don't you want to know why I'm here, Rose?" I asked, tilting my head to the side. Maybe she hadn't quite understood that I was the real Doctor yet.
"Of course. Yes, of course." She bit her lower lip, looking off to the side. "For me?" she finally tried, meeting my eye beneath her mascara-laden eyelashes.
"I'm not really all that sure, myself," I told her, grinning. She swallowed, her smile flickering like faulty electrical wiring.
"Maybe you want to go out to eat...?" she said carefully, watching me with suspicious eyes.
"You're really interested in dinner, aren't you?"
She opened her mouth to reply, but then closed it immediately.
"Yes. Yes, let's go talk over a bite to eat, then, Rose," I invited, sonicking the car door and unlocking it.
"Oh," she gasped, eyes brimming with tears. She raised her head to face me, full on. "You're...you're the..."
I smiled, spreading my arms wide to either side in invitation. She remained standing where she stood.
"But how...?" She shook her head. "Never mind. Where's the TARDIS?"
Her phone rang just as I began to answer. She scrambled to withdraw it from her purse, checking the display, and quickly answered. "Doctor?" She waved to me, sending me a brief smile. "I'm on my way home right—yes, right. Yes, I know. Okay. Okay, I'm coming. I'll be there—hello? Doctor? Hello?"
She sounded highly distressed. "Rose? Is everything all right?"
"Yes, sorry. Yeah, everything's fine," she said, smiling and inhaling deeply. "He was just worried about me. Guys, right?"
"Well, how about that bite to eat, then?" I offered, opening the car door and sliding into the passenger seat.
She opened the driver's side and bent down to look inside. "Doctor, about that?"
"Yes?" I opened the glove box.
"I...I think I might have to take a raincheck, just this once."
I turned to her, my eyebrows shooting up. "A raincheck?" I tilted my head to the side at her. Then, I smiled. "You two hitting it off well, then?"
"Yeah, yeah, we are," she said, sitting down in the driver's seat, but facing her back to me. "He's making me into a real proper housewife, that one."
"Well, that doesn't sound like me at all," I mused aloud, laughing. "Doesn't quite sound like Donna, either, come to think of it."
"He's not like either of you," she replied quietly. Then she turned around in the driver's seat and put the keys in the ignition. I watched her, my spidey senses tingling.
"Rose?" She turned to me with an expectant smile. "Is anything the mat—"
Her ringtone played again and, again, she scrambled to check the display. I noticed it this time.
"Doctor? Yes, I'm on my way home right now. I'll be there in no—" She stopped speaking abruptly, swallowing. Glancing in my direction, she scooted off her seat to get out of the car.
Scowling, I activated my sonic screwdriver, and my incarnation's voice filled the car.
"—THREE HOURS. IT DOESN'T TAKE THAT BLOODY LONG TO BUY VEGETABLES. I TAUGHT YOU BETTER THAN THIS, ROSE! GET HOME NOW OR I'LL—"
"YOU'LL WHAT?" I bellowed, slamming my hand against the dash.
"WHO IS THAT? WHO ARE YOU MESSING AROUND WITH THIS TIME, ROSE?"
"This is the real Doctor, John Smith, and I'm about to pay you a visit." I sonicked and the phone shorted out. I grabbed Rose by the arm and pulled her over toward me. "What is going on, Rose? Tell me now." Her brown eyes swam in tears.
"L-let go, alright? Just..." She carefully pulled on her arm, evaluating me, and released a bated breath when I loosened my grip.
"You're scared of me," I realized aloud.
"What? No, I'm not," she protested, tucking a strand of her flaxen hair behind her ear. When I continued to stare at her. She sent me a placating smile. "I'm not, all right? Just, where's the TARDIS? There should be some kind of light show going on a million lightyears away or something, right? Let's—"
"Rose," I whispered softly, frowning. She stared out the windshield, at shoppers pushing carts to their respective cars. "Rose, what happened?"
"Nothing, he's just—" Tilting her head back, she closed her eyes. "You said he needed to stay so that I could sort him. Because he was too angry, like you used to be."
"And he stayed angry. I couldn't..." She rolled her head to face me, grimacing. "He's not like you at all. Something's not right with him. Something went wrong."
"How wrong, Rose? This is important. If he—" A lock of her hair fell away from her neck, revealing something red and black and purple. Clenching my jaw, I reached out to move more of her hair.
She started and moved away. "Um, sorry. How about we go see the TARDIS now, huh?" She started the car and I sonicked it off. She scowled at me, but it quickly fell away. The fire died. All her fire died.
"You want to escape," I realized aloud. "What has he been doing to you, Rose? How long have you been here with him? Tell me, Rose, what has happened to you."
Something slammed against the hood of the car. I spun around to see...me.
A red faced, wild eyed me with a vein protruding from its forehead. "ROSE! Get out of the car!"
She started to move, but I gripped her hand and dragged her back inside. He started toward us and she shut the door. Sonicking her door lock, I met her eye and said, "Stay. In the car."
She nodded, so I opened my door and locked it behind me.
"How are you even here?" my duplicate demanded, striding toward me and grabbing the front of my shirt. I easily overpowered him, pinning him to the hood of the car.
"Because I am the Doctor. Not you. And I am much stronger than you, as well, for future reference." I leaned down close to his face; he stopped struggling, meeting my eye with fear. "Does Rose look at you with that same fear? What have you done to her? How long?"
"Isn't that why you cast her off to me, Doctor?" he said the word with utter sarcasm. I never hated the sound of my own voice more. "She was wild and disobedient and never listened to anyone. She doesn't even know how to cook, the worthless—"
I picked him up by the collar and threw him against the hood again. "Worthless? Neither I nor you would be here today if not for her. What are you? What makes you so special?" I countered, incorporating the same sarcasm. "I will ask you one last time. What have you done to Rose Tyler?"
My duplicate's nostrils flared, and then he grinned. With a jump of his eyebrows, he replied, "I trained her."
Furrowing my own eyebrows, I asked, "Trained? Trained how?"
"I suspect since I'm you and you're me, you'll be taking her now."
"I'm also considering ending your life," I responded breezily, a dangerous urge overtaking me. I had been without a companion for twelve months—and as Pond once told me, that tended to make me a bit more dangerous.
"And Rose thought something went awry with me? You sound just like me. We both crave power. And power is attained through...?" He slanted me an expectant look, quickly abandoning it for one of dejection. "Come on, Doctor, I know you know this one. You know every—"
"Fear? Is that what you want me to say?" I growled, shaking him. "Is that how you attained power over Rose? You made her fear you?"
"There's plenty to be accomplished through fear, Doctor. I suspect after you take her with you, even you will..." He grinned at me.
I restrained myself from socking him in the face. "What. Did. You. Do?"
"Better to see for yourself, right?" I glared at him, patience wearing thin. He grinned, winking, and vanished.
"What? Wait, what?" I turned around in a circle, then sonicked the place he disappeared, checking the readings. I kicked Rose's car, then raised my hands in apology when I saw her through the windshield.
Sonicking open the door, I climbed back in the car. "The TARDIS is that way," and I retreated into dark thoughts.