Chapter 01 - Who are you?
He was moving around the console, whoever he was. Rose hid herself slightly behind one of the coral struts and hugged it as if it where her lifeline. She could not understand what had happened. Rose looked at the brown haired man with uncertainty as to who they were. Then she caught a glance at something golden and looked at his hand. This man was wearing John's wedding ring! The one she had placed on John's finger that the Doctor had stopped wearing practically the second he changed back into a Time Lord. Rose was feeling a whole host of emotions bubbling to the surface as this man mucked about with the TARDIS, their TARDIS! She felt confusion and fear as to who this stranger was and the damage they had or could do. She felt the pain and sadness that came with being reminded that the Doctor had stopped wearing the symbol of their bonding. And lastly anger with a double serving of outrage was starting to flicker to life that this stranger was wearing her John's wedding ring. How dare they, where had they got it from? She wanted to rage at them but she was still too afraid as to what this person would do to her or what they could do or had already done with the Doctor. She was worried that enraging them might put the Doctor in more danger.
The brown haired man dashed to the console and flicked a few switches and checked the monitor. He was very involved in his task and did not seem to notice or care that Rose had just gone through the traumatic experience of watching her husband burn up and explode in a fiery ball of something. Rose had to fight back a hyperventilating breath as her mind still struggled to make sense of what just happened. She wanted to express some form of emotion but there were so many she couldn't decide which first, so she just watched the odd man instead.
"6 PM... Tuesday..." Said the man as Rose continued to watch while still half concealed by the coral pillar she clung to. The man turned a knob setting the time and date of the week and now it was onto the year and month.
"October... 5006... on the way to Barcelona!" Smirked the man as he straightened up and faced Rose, feeling quite proud of himself. He was grinning and couldn't wait to show his wife the honeymoon location he had picked. He had been given more time to spend with Rose thanks to her brave and crazily mad rescue. He knew that Rose deserved a reward for saving him and he was going to give her everything that she deserved and he had denied her for over half a year. They would make new memories as his new self because thankful, even though he had changed, he was relieved to find that he still loved Rose and wanted to be with her and their child. They were still the center of his world! Good, he was worried the change might have had a negative impact on his emotions. He would worship her like a goddess for as long as they had left together. His brain had no desire to think of or acknowledge her mortality or the likely mortality of their offspring. It would only stop him from what happiness he stood to have with his family. There was only one thing left, finding out what he looked like so that he would recognize himself in pictures and any mirror they happened on. As dreadful as this event usually was it could also be fun when he was adjusting to the new him. It was like getting a new surprise suit and trying it on for size. He had been trying to think only of Rose so he hoped that whatever he looked like was at least a bit more handsome than his last form. 'Oh, there was Rose.' He thought as he finally caught a glance at her tucked away and staring at him. And didn't she look just as interested as he was with his new form?
"Now then... what do I look like?" Asked the man of Rose, but he was too excited to give her a chance to reply before holding up a hand to silence her. Rose looked startled by the man but the man still engrossed in the new him declared,
"No, no no, no no no no no no no. No. Don't tell me." Rose looked completely beside herself on what to do, should she just keep watching to see what happens? The man started talking again and Rose focused back on him again, wary of any rapid movement he made, and he made a lot.
"Let's see... two legs, two arms, two hands... Smaller nose, thank Rassilon…ears, ehh, well it's all relative." Said the man as tweaked his ears and then tested his wrist and continued,
"Slight weakness in the dorsal tubercle." He then placed his hands on his head and realized that he no longer had cropped hair and that it was in steady supply.
"HAIR! I'm not bald!" He cheered thinking that Rose would like that, it meant he might be a bit younger looking. 'Good, we might not get odd stares at the chippy anymore,' thought the man as he ran his hands through his hair. He preened and puffed out his chest to strut a bit. Rose did not look happy, the man did not notice, but continued to run his hands through his hair gleefully and felt the hair along the sides of his face.
"Oh - Oh! Big hair! Sideburns - I've got sideburns! Or really bad skin." The man then placed his hands over his body and noted that he wasn't as built as he used to be. Hopefully Rose wouldn't mind, he had very specific memories of Rose's fondness for his last body. But he could compensate for that in other ways. He felt tons of energy in this new body and that would have to make up for less of a frame for her to cling to, he thought saucily.
"Little bit thinner..." He said as he slapped his stomach and then noted,
"That's weird. Give me time, I'll get used to it." Then as he shifted his weight he realized that something was extra on his skin he did not notice before! And with the air of someone making a most wonderful discovery, he announced to Rose,
"I... have got... a mole. I can feel it." Rose started breathing heavily. The man's comment was making her scared and she didn't know what this man would do next. The way he just spoke made her very uncomfortable, like something scary in an alley way at night uncomfortable. Who was this person crazy and would they hurt her too, like they might have done to the Doctor? Unfortunately the man seemed to continue not to notice Rose's plight and persisted in unknowingly freaking Rose the hell out as he rotated his shoulder blades.
"…Between my shoulder blades, there's a mole. That's all right. Love the mole." Grinned the Doctor, he was 100 percent pleased with himself and didn't see how Rose would be anything else. You never know what you will get but he bet Rose would have nothing to complain about him in looks. He then finally turned his attention to Rose, which surprised her. Seeking her approval which he had no doubt that he would receive, he asked with a grin,
"Go on then, tell me. Tell me how fit I am." Still sure she would be pleased he stood straight up before Rose, ready for assessment. Which he was sure would be positive even with his hair was all ruffled.
"What do you think?" Smiled the man. He was finding that this body was quite optimistic and surely Rose was going to love the changes, how could she not? It's me, after all.
"Who are you? Asked Rose, more quietly and timidly than she probably wanted to sound in front of this stranger. 'Ohhh…' Thought the Doctor who seemed crestfallen, and slightly surprised at her remark. He had a panicked moment where he feared what was going to happen next, but optimism and survival mechanisms tamped down that fear. Trying to make her see the obvious was priority to any fears.
" I'm the Doctor. Your…" He held up his left hand and wriggled his fingers showing off the ring. This was no time for silliness, he was alive they should be celebrating. Perhaps the Doctor, in his regenerative haze had forgotten that unlike Time Lords, human identification was based on mostly visual and vocal aid. Rose could not sense the mind of a fellow Time Lord and identify them that way, no matter their form, like a Time Lord could. This was why it came as such a hard emotional blow to him when he saw Rose's reaction. He was then reminded of every time a companion had left him and began to fear.
Rose shook her head, not believing him and corrected the stranger,
"No... Where is he? Where's the Doctor?" Where was the man that she loved? Who was this person really? Where is her lover that she had been setting herself up just moments ago to snog the life out of, grab by his big ears and then take on the jump seat? There were too many questions and how dare this person call themselves the Doctor when he clearly was not? He didn't look a thing like him and she wanted him back! She wanted her mate and father of her child right now and in a voice steadily rising she interrogated,
"What have you done to him?" The Doctor was almost speechless at the rejection and needed, more than the air he breathed, to convince her that she was not being tricked and he was who he said he was. He just needed to explain things and make her see sense. It was very simple and he reminded her in a vulnerable voice,
"You saw me, I- I changed..." as he indicated over his shoulder to the spot where he regenerated as a visual aid.
"... Right in front of you." He finished in a voice hinted with insecurity.
'This is ridiculous' thought Rose. She might be a lower evolved human, but she had seen many things in her travels and she was not going to be fooled. She was not a naïve little girl and she was not going to be tricked by some alien who thought that he could pull a fast one on her. Whoever this person claimed to be, they were most certainly not the Doctor and they had done something to him. Stolen his clothing and was trying to replace him for who knew what reason, but it was most likely to do evil. Did they really think that just wearing his clothing would fool her? She had to save the day, the Doctor and the TARDIS from this invader. She vowed that she would have her Doctor back in her arms and rescue him yet again from this interloping thing that had... What had she seen by the way? She thought back to a few moments ago when she witnessed what looked like her husband burning to death and said,
"I saw him sort of explode, and then you replaced him, like a... a teleport or a transmat or a body swap or something. And now you're wearin' his ring. Where'd you even get that? I haven't seen it in months and the Doctor never wore it!" The last part sounding outraged and indignant. 'Right,' thought the Doctor embarrassed by his idea earlier that this would be an easy transition. His wife was a human and this was a new concept that would be even harder to explain than he had wagered. Humans did not usually like sudden changes as a rule and needed warning to prepare. And he had just started wearing the ring again out of nowhere, of course she would be suspicious of it on a 'stranger's' finger. What a pity if she had seen the ring on the old him's finger she probably would have been thrilled about it. Now it just seemed to be hurting and or teasing her by seeing it. Not exactly the reception he had been hoping for, but he had not been planning on living when he put it on, let alone Rose ever getting a chance to see it on him again. This added another level of trouble since wearing it had been so against his behavior. He wished things had not been so busy and fast before or she might have had time to notice the ring on him earlier, before he 'exploded'. The Doctor had hoped that this would go off without a hitch, but now he knew he had been too optimistic. Rose would of course naturally be loyal and faithful to the previous him and find it hard to just abandon the memory of the old him for the new him right away.
Rose did not believe that he was who he said he was, and she approached The Doctor as she gained confidence born of the fury of being denied her mate and friend. He did not interject; he was worried that any sudden movements would only upset his poor Rose more. He seemed lost for words. Rose took a few steps closer towards him and at arm's length; she pushed him in the chest.
"You're not fooling me." Glared Rose at the man she did not know, but she was obviously looking more vulnerable by the second as her fears began to pile up. The Doctor rocked back on his heels from Rose's push and just looked at her. Despite his earlier logic he still could not believe what he was hearing. Surely Rose would be able to put the pieces together and recognize him, even in one of his favorite Disney films, the girl had come to recognize her prince in just a few moments. And that had been a far greater transformation than he had just gone through in his opinion. But that was a fairytale, wasn't it? This was real life. He realized that he had changed and that alone would be hard to process, but he had hoped that his own wife would at least know that it was him, no matter what. This of course was an unrealistic expectation of Rose, but it still hurt the Doctor to be rejected by his wife based on his appearance alone. It wasn't like he usually got a say in how he looked, but he was still him, still the same man.
"I've seen all sorts of things. Nano genes... Gelth..." Explained Rose to the person she assumed was trying to pull a fast one on her. How dare he assume that the little human from the Level 5 planet would not notice that her husband had been swapped out with a pretender! And the ring was a nice touch to play on her sentiments, but she wasn't buying.
"Slitheen..." She said darkly as she took a step closer. That was the silliest thing that the Doctor had heard all day. And he raised his eyebrows at her as if to question 'Really?' However his jester was misread and in a panicked voice that she had nailed it on the head asked,
"Oh, my God, are you a Slitheen?" That would mean horrors for Rose because not only did that mean that her husband was dead but was having his skin worn by a monster! A monster that could kill and eat her and her child! And those aliens always had bright lights about them when they changed out of their suits. 'Was that what she had seen? Was that how they took over a body or whatever they did?' panicked Rose. Calmly, so as not to upset Rose any further the Doctor firmly declared,
"I'm not a Slitheen." Rose was now just being ridiculous. He was even thinner than he used to be now, even a baby slitheen would never fit in him. Rose was not taking any crap, she knew he was lying, even if he wasn't a slitheen he was something and not the Doctor. She wanted her Doctor back and in a voice that rose to a shout demanded,
"Send him back. I'm warning you, send the Doctor back to me right now!" Under other circumstances he would have been touched by this devotion and loyalty in Rose, but this was getting out of hand. He needed Rose desperately to understand what was going on and that he was who he said he was. He couldn't lose her to this, not after he just got her back and defied death to be with her and their child. Pleadingly the Doctor entreated,
"Rose, it's me. Honestly, it's me. It's old big ears me, can't you tell?", as he leaned forward in his urgency to make her believe him. Rose stared at him, her chest rising and falling very fast from the exertion of her shouting. It couldn't be, what he was implying was impossible and she wanted her handsome Time Lord back. Sure this guy was easy on the eyes too but she wanted the man that at least looked like the man she fell in love with and then fell in love with again. In a gentle voice the Doctor conveyed the critical information that would determine, based on Rose's reception, where their relationship went from here. The fear that she would never come to accept him was becoming very real now.
"I was dying. To save my own life I changed my body. Every single cell, but... it's still me." Rose didn't know what to think. She knew the Doctor said that he was dying and if what this man said was true then the Doctor was standing in front of her with a new face and even all new cells. If what he said was true then the man she knew and loved was gone. Or was he, was it just that he was gone and this he was here now? Oh, this was a headache to get one's mind around. Not knowing what else to do or believe Rose looked at him with the most timid and vulnerable face as she whispered,
"You can't be." The Doctor could see that his words were starting to get a little through to her, but there was still some denial and he needed to drive the point home that he was who he said he was. The Doctor took a few steps closer to his wife and looking straight down into her eyes, he asked solemnly,
"Then how could I remember this? As a human, I saved your life with a cricket ball and the word I said to you when you were trapped in that cellar. Surrounded by shop window dummies... oh..." He looked away for a moment, reminiscing and lost in the memories of all the times they had spent together. Then he looked back into her eyes lovingly and with such devotion,
"... Such a long time ago. I took your hand..." And to emphasize this point, he took his wife's hand just like he did when he had saved her from the plastic dummies. Rose glanced briefly down at their joint hands, both wearing a ring, and how despite the unfamiliarity, how familiar it felt. She then looked back up into the man's face who claimed he was the Doctor.
"I said one word... just one word, I said... 'Run'." He said as he gazed at her. Rose looks into his eyes, her own full of tears. That was the word that she had heard and heard all the time from him. That was the word that only the two of them would know when it was first used. This man somehow and against all of her logic was most likely her husband, the…
"Doctor." She asked the man in disbelief with a searching look on her face. Her eyes darting to the ring and then back to his face. She was looking for a resemblance in the seemingly ancient eyes that this younger man was looking at her with. Were they the same? Maybe, she didn't know, she wasn't thinking clearly. She just needed time to process. She was trying to see her blue eyed hero somewhere in that big haired, brown eyed body he was now claiming to be inside. His mannerisms were just so different now. Happy that it looked like she was finally getting it and coming around to the fact that he was who he said he was, The Doctor grinned and replied with a simple and heartwarming voice,
"Hello." Rose sighed in an almost exasperated fashion as she stumbled backwards. The full impact of what had just happened finally hit her, it was just so hard to believe. This was as alien as it got, and Rose didn't know where to bring her thoughts first as she pondered what this meant and implied about her future. The Doctor was in there, she thought, but was a completely different looking man. It was a good thing that they lived in the TARDIS now, what would people say if they saw a different man living in their house at the university. Why was she thinking of something that stupid now? She had other concerns than what the neighbors thought. How could he do this to them, and if he had to why couldn't he have at least warned her that this was a possibility. Well maybe that was too harsh, no one usually knew when they were going to be fatally wounded… But she was fast realizing how little information that the Doctor ever entrusted to her. She knew more about his fake and manufactured life as John then she did about the Doctor's real life or nature. That realization hurt her. Maybe this was appropriate, since he was, in every bit a virtual stranger to her, then maybe he should look like a stranger from John too. What would it have been like for them if he had done something like this the second he had gone back to being the Doctor? Would she have followed him then? Would she have thought John was truly dead? All of this was circling in her head as her brain fought between the idea of accepting this was the Doctor and flat out denying it. The Doctor didn't give her time to react or rather time to see her reaction to that bit of news. Perhaps The Doctor wanting to give Rose a little air to breathe took off around the other side of the console and began fiddling with it. No time to think about the glaringly obvious problem they had to face, they should be off into the next adventure right away! Before Rose realized that she could and probably might want to leave.
"And we never stopped, did we? All across the universe. Running, running, running…One time we had to hop. Do you remember? Hopping for our lives." Asked the Doctor as he finished with the console controls and began to hop on one leg. He hopped madly up and down on the spot, he was excited but Rose clearly was not. Just confused on how to feel. Her husband was dead and not dead. She was clearly in no partying mood like the Doctor and Rose leaned her back against the coral pillar next to her for support as she just watched him move about. She needed air and she really wanted her leather clad Doctor with the cropped hair to magically appear and hug her.
"Yeah? All that hopping? Remember hopping for your life? Yeah?! Hop? With the..." Cheered the Doctor but his wild enthusiasm ebbed from his voice at Rose's lack of reaction. This very quickly put the wind out of his sail and he settled down. His hopping subsided too.
"... No?" questioned the Doctor meekly.
"Can you change back?" asked Rose very carefully with her heart in her throat and in a scared voice. She loved the Doctor but this was a big surprise and even bigger than when he had turned into a Time Lord. At least then he still looked the same and now she wanted her familiar Doctor back if it could be managed. She didn't know if she could take it otherwise. She might fall apart already thanks to the situation. She needed to see her blue eyed man again, how could she lose him twice? He couldn't leave her and the baby… and change, even more so than the last time, again! Could he at least have warned her that this could happen?
"Do you want me to?" Asked the Doctor in an insecure voice, wanting to calm and put her heart at ease.
"Yeah." Said Rose a bit too quickly to not hurt the Doctor's feelings. She just wanted things back to 'normal'. Well as normal as they ever were. She was just so scared and confused. She had never been told to expect this sort of thing to happen she parroted in her head again. The Doctor had never mentioned it to her even in passing. So understandably she was acting on instinct to protect her mind from unlikely and unexpected events of the 'death' and 'rebirth' of her husband.
"Oh." Answered the Doctor a little hurt and disappointed that he wasn't good enough as he was. He had naively hoped that she would like the new him, but again humans couldn't read minds like Time Lords. All the Time Lord cared about was the mind and the casing was irrelevant. No more a dramatic thing than putting on a new suit. 'Guess we really did love each other for our minds.' Mused the Doctor. But it wasn't about him it was about Rose and making her comfortable, he had to do what he could to put his human bride at ease.
"Can you?" Asked Rose with hope and vulnerability in her voice. Perhaps the Doctor could pull through and put himself back in the proper order. The Doctor could do anything. Surely, he could bring back the body with the blue eyes that she knew, loved, and had made love to. The Doctor saw and heard the hope in her being and he desperately wanted to please his distressed wife. He wanted her smile back so they could get on to the business of traveling through time and space together…and making plans for the little one. Who still needed a checkup.
The Doctor tried to do just that, put himself back to the way he was. He looked about in his mind and body for a means to accomplish what his love wanted him to do. He in the course of seconds, checked half a million times and found no way to get his old big ears body back. Female Time Ladies had always seemed to have more control over how they looked after regeneration, but he had never seen one of them change back to an old form. That was a bit like putting on a worn out old dress and they had never wanted to do that. Where was the fun?
"No." The Time Lord had to admit to Rose. At this news Rose despaired now that knew she would never see her big eared hero again. She was an emotional train wreck, she lost her husband twice now and she didn't know what to expect from his supposed replacement.
The Doctor was very disappointed when he realized this. He had never really thought about changing back or trying to in the past, he had never really wanted to. It was always fun getting a new body to try out. Well a few times it had been scary but for the most part he usually liked the results once he got use to them. He glanced briefly down at the floor. Very depressing thoughts began to circulate in his head. She didn't want him this way. She wanted the old him and to change back, which he couldn't do for her. It was beyond his power to do so in order to make her happy. That body was burned up and gone and that was the one she was longing for, whatever he looked like it obviously wasn't what she wanted to see. And this personality as she had seen it now was not what she wanted either. With heavy hearts he asked her the most painful question. He didn't want to ask it but for her sake and happiness he wanted to get it out of the way, since this him was probably only upsetting her more just by standing there. In her Doctor's clothes and wearing her husband's wedding ring. In his place where she wished another man was.
"Do you want to leave?" He asked quickly and too scared to hear the answer.
"Do you want me to leave?" Asked Rose shocked and a bit hurt that he might want her to leave now that he had changed again. Maybe now that he had changed she wasn't good enough for him. Maybe her struggle to accept him was too tasking for him… What was going to happen to the baby now? She was confused but her instincts were telling her do not leave the TARDIS. The TARDIS might have also been giving her some comforting vibes, though a bit diminished since she had been through a big ordeal too and was currently navigating through time and space.
"No! But... your choice... if you want to go home to Mum..." Assured the Doctor very quickly, he didn't want her to get the wrong idea. He in no way wanted her to leave. He wanted Rose to stay but he didn't want her to be trapped or feel like she was being held captive by a stranger. He wanted this transition to be as easy as possible for her. And above all he wanted her to, in the end, decide to stay with him and continue on loving him. As he wanted to continue loving her.
Rose still looked upset at the mention of home. It was like she didn't know what to feel or think. She was conflicted she wanted to stay on the TARDIS with the Doctor, but she was still feeling like she should be asking herself, where was he? Even though he was supposedly right in front of her. The Doctor didn't want to distress his wife any further. It didn't do him any good to see her so upset, it didn't do her any good to be upset and it certainly didn't do the baby any good. Resolutely he turned to the console and began to reverse direction of the TARDIS. The Doctor ultimately determined that Rose probably was no longer in the honeymooning mood. Which was understandable since she was still looking at him like he was a stranger. 'No one wants to honeymoon with a stranger.' Thought the Doctor with pain that Rose no longer recognized him or at least was struggling to. What if they were never the same again? This must have been how Rose felt with him when he first changed. You don't know what to expect or hope for. What if Rose never wanted to hold hands again, or kiss, or other married things with him again? He had been starting to warm up to that idea of married things. What if they could no longer raise their daughter together like he had hoped for before he had changed? 'Poor Rose, this must be devastating. To her it must have been like replacing your husband with another man…which I sort of did…maybe…it was complicated.' Pondered the Doctor as he gazed at his Rose still floundering at the situation. Anyway, Rose needed familiarity now and as much as he 'loved' checking in on Jackie, he knew that Rose needed her mother now more than anything at this moment…even him.
"Cancel Barcelona. Change to... London... the Powell Estate... ah... let's say the 24th of December." Said the Doctor softly as Rose quietly approached him, he then looked at her and timidly smiled,
"Consider it a Christmas present." Rose continued to edge slowly closer to the console as the Doctor put in the last coordinates. He had all the sadness and insecurities of a wet puppy in the rain.
"There." He announced to the room quietly. He then stepped back, his arms tucked under his armpits in an almost defensive manner. He was trying to protect himself from something. Was it his own emotions that wanted to cry for Rose to accept him? Was it the fear that things would never be the same again? Would this interfere in him being able to help raise his child, well technically his last body's child, but it was still all his. And he loved it and wanted to be there for it. Or was the real reason that he was bracing himself was for his fear that as soon as the TARDIS landed that Rose would bolt out of the TARDIS and never come back? Would he have to chase after her and beg her to give them another chance to see if she could eventually come to love him as he was now, with whatever new quirks he had? Would she want him to chase after her? Maybe she might need some air but she might still want to talk…but what if she didn't? Well they were going to find out soon enough, the TARDIS was on her way. Rose looked at him, then back at the console. The TARDIS shuddered as it changed direction.
"I'm going home to Mum?" Asked Rose in an unsure voice. Was he sending her home now? Was this goodbye? These thoughts flashed across her mind, but then the Doctor started talking again. The Doctor finished the coordinates and crossed his arms. He felt like he wanted to cry from just the thought of what was possibly and most likely to follow. If only they could have read each other thoughts, they would have realized just how much their fears were on the same page.
"Up to you. Back to your mum... it's all waiting. Fish and chips, sausage and mash, beans on toast- no, Christmas! Turkey! Although... having met your mother... nut loaf would be more appropriate." Joked the Doctor, keeping the mood light and holding himself with his arms. He was afraid of what was to come. Completely terrified now that Rose was going to leave him, just step out of those doors and they would then part ways forever. The same poisonous and insecure thoughts kept circling in his large mind. What if she didn't want him to be around the baby? What if this was it? He hid the hurt inside him as best as he could, he had to put his own feelings aside for whatever made Rose happiest. This was the curse of regenerating, some humans could not take it and would simply leave him. Oh he prayed to whatever would listen that she would stay with him. He could not lose Rose, not like this. He loved her and their baby too much to lose them just because he was forced to change when he didn't want to. He needed to make a connection with Rose, like they used to, a link to the past and his past self that they could latch on to. He saw a hint of hope when his last comment about her mother made Rose divert her eye down quickly, to hide a smile. 'Got ya, made ya laugh! Time for some of the old Doctor and Rose cheerful banter, maybe see if an innuendo can't be slipped in too.' cheered the Doctor to himself as he asked with a lopsided grin,
"Was that a smile?" Rose, like it or not, was still more in the mindset to reject and not connect or interact with this 'new Doctor' like she had with the old one. It was a defense mechanism against the sudden change, but she had to acknowledge to herself that in spite of the situation, that had been a funny and very Doctory comment about her mother. Stubbornly and dismissively she answered the negative. The Doctor was having none of it now that humor was helping to save their connection to each other and he knowingly stated,
"That was a smile..." Rose still not wanting to admit that the mood and attitude towards the two of them was changing, she denied again that she had smiled.
"You smiled..." Smirked the Doctor teasingly. He would have her see that they could still go along as they always did.
"No I didn't." Said Rose again with a guarded expression on her face. She just wasn't ready to accept the situation yet which also meant accepting that her blue-eyed northern sounding Doctor was gone forever. The Doctor was now getting a little impatient, despite his decision to be patient with her, for Rose to put it together. He was who he claimed he was. And she was just being stubborn now in his eyes, forgetting for a moment how odd this all was for a human, he almost whined,
"Oh, come on, all I did was change, I didn't—" but he could say no more. He suddenly gagged as the TARDIS began to shudder. Rose looked at him questioningly, she knew that her thoughts were distracted but she had not caught that last bit. It had sounded like gobbledygook.
"What?" Questioned Rose for clarity, the last thing she needed now was a communication error with this man. She was having enough of them as it was. The Doctor didn't know what that was before either. Must have been a fluke. More clearly he tried to say,
"I said I didn't—," only for the same thing happen again, but this time more violently. The Doctor started to make a nasty retching noise and he was becoming increasingly worried. This could only mean one thing and he had hoped to avoid it or at least hold off something like this for a bit longer. At least long enough so that Rose wouldn't be left feeling alone, confused and completely scared out of her mind at him or for him.
"Uh oh." Groaned the Doctor as Rose edged cautiously around the console towards him. She wasn't completely sure who this person was or what they were about, but her concerned nature and desire of being helpful powered through. Despite all the strikes against this person as far as trust went, because if this was the Doctor then not telling her that he could turn into a completely different looking person was a breach of trust, she was still concerned for his well being.
"Er... are you alright?" She asked taking a step forward toward the Doctor. A strange looking golden vapor, which was in fact a piece of golden time vortex, issued from the Doctor's mouth. It then dissipated into the air in front of Rose. Rose observed it curiously and with confusion.
"What's that?" She asked again, having no clue what was wrong. The Doctor now knew without a shadow of a doubt that he was starting to suffer from regeneration sickness and it was most likely only going to get worse.
"Oh... the change is going a bit wrong and all." Sputtered the Doctor in fear. He gagged again and fell to his knees, his face contorting with pain. Rose's eyes filled with concern for the man and she longed to have someone else who might know more about Time Lords, aliens, anything more than her. She wanted the man who was like her big brother, and had been such a source of comfort, to be here to help and make her feel better. To assure that everything was going to be okay.
"Look... maybe we should go back. Let's go and find Captain Jack, he'd know what to do." Suggested Rose as she tried to be the voice of reason.
"Gah, he's busy! He's got plenty to do rebuilding the Earth!" Stated the Doctor impatiently and indignantly. Why was she suggesting going back to Jack when they were so close to reaching their new destination?
"I haven't used this one in years." Mused the Doctor as he flipped a lever on the console that suddenly caught his eye. As soon as he flicked it, The TARDIS shuddered violently and they both were nearly knocked off their feet. Rose was violently thrown against the console but had managed to land on her side. Rose was now worried not only for the Doctor in question, but for herself and her unborn child. Angry that the Doctor could be this thoughtless she growled in both shock and anger,
"What're you doing?!"
"Putting on a bit of speed! That's it!" Said the Doctor crazily and almost not even paying attention to Rose. He turned more knobs while Rose tried with all her might to maintain a more secure grip on the console. The Doctor was not pleased with how his TARDIS was performing and flipping more switches he spoke to the TARDIS,
"My beautiful ship! Come on, faster! That's a girl!" The TARDIS began to violently pick up speed as the Doctor fiddled at the console. Rose began to look distinctly alarmed as she noticed just how much The Doctor looked and sounded violent and crazed. She was afraid of him and she didn't know what he would do next. She had never been so afraid of him in her life and it chilled her to the core. Oh, how she felt alone and helpless right now. She was completely at this crazed person's mercy and she just had to pray that he didn't kill them all.
"Faster! Wanna to break the time limit?!" Growled the Doctor in excitement. Rose had to try to gain some form of control over the situation and the man in front of her. Maybe if he saw how angry and scared she was then he would stop if he really cared.
"Stop it!" Screamed Rose in anger and fear. The Doctor did not seem to be moved or paying her much attention.
'Why was Rose being such a wet blanket?' Thought the Doctor through a crazed haze. 'I wouldn't have married such a timid creature even as a daft human!' he scoffed to himself. They were both alive and should enjoy it by throwing themselves into a situation that might kill them. It only made sense. Besides the TARDIS would never let Rose or their baby get hurt, what was the worry? She was just getting all excited over nothing when the speed was what she should have been excited about.
"Ah, don't be so dull - let's have a bit of fun! Let's rip through that vortex!" Shouted the Doctor slightly nastily and still crazed. Suddenly the Doctor felt the mind of the little tendril of life that Rose carried inside her. It was sensing that its mother was distressed as well as its father. He was choked up at how it was grasping at their minds for reassurance. He was sad that at the moment he was in no state to offer such mental comforts to his upset child. The Doctor turned his head to Rose, finally managing to catch her eye for a moment through his regeneration haze and saw that she was indeed scared and his hearts ached with guilt and concern for her as well. His voice calmed and in a moment of clarity he warned his Rose,
"The regeneration's going wrong. I can't stop myself. Tie yourself down! Things will be too rough for you or the baby otherwise." The Doctor then grimaced in pain. His head felt like it might split in two and clutching his hands at the console he groaned,
"Ah, my head..." Unfortunately the Doctor had now lost all his control and he violently sprung up into a standing position again. His voice had gone back to being crazed with a thirst for speed. His eyes were wide and crazy with the whites of his eyes as exposed as they could be without popping out of his head. They couldn't go fast enough, he was obsessed with that idea, and it was all he could think of. Faster, faster, faster!
"Faster! Let's open those engines!" He crowed with his arms stretched out wide. Suddenly Rose heard a bell ring that she never had heard the TARDIS sound before. Rose looked around, frightened and confused she asked what that sound meant. The Doctor all too delighted to answer, laughed manically as he appeared next to her,
"We're gonna crash land!" He continued to laugh which Rose did not find amusing at all and terrified at the idea of crashing in a time and spaceship when an airplane crash was bad enough.
"Well then, do something!" Shouted Rose over the warning sounds of the TARDIS as she scrambled over to the jump-seat which now appeared to have a seatbelt on it that resembled one you might see in a race car. There was nothing she could do now, but buckle up and protect their baby as best she could. She silently thanked the TARDIS as she strapped herself in and watched the Doctor manically move about the TARDIS seemingly happy that they were about to possibly die in a TARDIS crash. Was this how crazy the Doctor could get if he just changed his face? She knew she married a mad man but this was just nuts. Raising his voice to a hysterically level than Time Lord explained,
"Too late! Out of control!" He then started running around the console, giggling like a little boy.
"Oh, I love it! Hot dawg!" He cheered as he hopped in the air excitedly.
"You're gonna kill us!" Screeched Rose in fear and disbelief of the Doctor's actions. If it really was the Doctor left in there. Rose braced her stomach and prayed that somehow they might survive this.
"Hold on tight, here we go!" Cheered the Doctor like a little boy at the sweets shop. Their eyes met across the way, the Doctor was grinning madly, and Rose was looking back at those eyes very scared.
"Christmas Eve...!" The Doctor manically grinned as they came in for a crash landing. Rose realized that if she wanted to have any hope of survival she would have to start believing that this crazy man was the Doctor very quickly. Because only the Doctor could get them out of this situation alive now.
Hope I got this right, starting a new story always makes you a little nervous. Rose spent enough time working to get the Doctor and her relationship back to the way it was. Only fair that now the Doctor should have to work for it too in this relationship. Jeez I hope they survive the crash, oh but we are early for Christmas in July aren't we? Holy cow I've been writing fanfiction for over a year now… I don't know what's more amazing…The fact that I've been doing this for so long or that I was able to keep an audience for that long. Well I hope that I made your lives nicer for a year just a little bit. Oh, who am I kidding I probably just made it more frustrating when you had to wait for updates. Well at least they came pretty frequently. If anyone would like to tell me what they liked best about the last story I told, I wouldn't mind.