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19 May 2007 @ 12:20 pm
Come Back To me 14/15  
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Pairing: 10/Rose, (with a little 9 in later chapters)
Rating: Teen
Spoilers: This is an AU, Post-Doomsday Reunion Fic. Spoilers include any and all episodes in Series 1-2 of Doctor Who.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything, If I did you'd be watching this story on TV
Synopsis: Rose gets a strange visitor who may hold the answers to all she seeks. A romantic Doctor/Rose reunion story, with some action thrown in for good measure.

Chapter 14
Family


All over the both of them…

The Doctor grimaced at the memory as he quickly made his way to the control room; she’d thrown up all over the both of them! The thought of Rose gagging and heaving the contents of her stomach onto not only his suit and trainers, but all over her clothes as well was not a pleasant one. Judging by the pungent smell, which had suddenly permeated the room, Rose’s last meal had consisted mostly of very salty chips and some kind of greasy meat. The chuckle this thought inspired was genuine despite his concern; some things never changed.

Rose’s untimely bout of sickness had delayed his plans for her medical examination as neither of them could stomach standing around in vomit covered clothes for very long. His shower had been brief, taken in one of the many spare bedrooms to give Rose some privacy in the bath that adjoined theirs. Theirs, the Doctor smiled, warmth enveloping his hearts despite the anxiety lodged there. He never would have thought it possible.

That pleasant thought sparked a rather unpleasant one though and the Doctor glanced down at his left wrist for the fifteenth time as many minutes. There had been no way he was letting Rose out of his sight long enough for her to get cleaned up without some way of monitoring her. Not only had she just up and died on him half an hour ago, but now she was experiencing dizzy spells and vomiting. Rose’s injuries may have somehow spontaneously healed, but there was something going on inside her, something bad enough to make her sick, and it had the Doctor very worried. Luckily the infirmary was rather close to the bedrooms and he’d insisted they take a little detour before he’d let her go change. The silver bracelet he’d slapped on her wrist was comfortable and fashionable, but also rather functional. It monitored her vitals and sent a constant signal to its twin. The only difference between the one the Doctor was wearing and the one he’d given to Rose was that his had three tiny indicator lights that would go out if Rose’s health began to fail. If there was any negative change in her heart rate, respiration, or blood pressure, he’d know about it. The only problem the Doctor had now was having the will power to not look at the damn thing.

Finally entering the console room the Doctor flipped a couple switches and listened in relief as the TARDIS slowly dematerialized. He was not putting this moon on the list of places to come back to for a nice visit. Well, he amended, remembering the spectacular view of the planet the moon’s rocky horizon had inspired, at least not at the top of the list.

The Doctor quickly set the controls to float the TARDIS safely through the time vortex for a while and leaned his blue clad forearms against the controls for a much needed breather. He ran restless fingers though still damp hair as he contemplated his next course of action. He had a son to put to bed, a cupboard to hose down, and a very sick and cranky Rose to heal. This Time Lord had better stop wasting time.

Almost as an afterthought he spotted two duffel bags thrown half-hazardly in a corner and hefted them up into his arms. Blimey, he thought, redistributing the unexpected weight to better balance himself, had Jackie stowed away in one of these things? He made a mental note to check later, just in case. Then, taking another glance at his wrist for peace of mind, the Doctor made his way back down the corridor.

***

Rose leaned her head against the wall of the shower and sighed as the tile cooled her overheated skin. The most amazing thing about the TARDIS, besides the whole traveling in time and space thing, had to be the fact that the water never ever, even if you let it run all night without stopping (as she’d once done by accident), went cold. Rose held up a hand for close inspection and played with the monitoring bracelet, twisting it round and round. She had no idea how long she’d been standing under the scalding spray, but her skin was starting to grow quite pruney. Rose frowned at the realization that she’d have to get out soon. She’d always found a hot shower to be quite soothing; a type of sensory deprivation where all one could hear was water against tile, and all sight was confined to one small cubical of space. It was the perfect haven for sloughing off the day, taking an emotional step back, or having a proper sob fest where no one could see you. Not that Rose was in danger of breaking down or anything, she just wanted a few more moments under this heavenly warmth, to have just a little bit longer without having to think about anything.

Okay, she admitted to herself, she was currently the definition of procrastinator. Yup, look up coward in the dictionary and you’d see a picture of Rose Tyler, cheeky grin and all, staring back at you from the black and white pages. To be fair though she had a pretty good reason for being craven; Ever since waking up in the Doctor’s arms, ever since dying, Rose had begun to piece all the bits of the puzzle together. She had a fair idea what her lover was going to find when he examined her, and even though it was cowardly, the prospect of delaying that confirmation was too tempting not to give in to. It had taken three cycles of rinse and repeat to get all the blood and muck out her hair and the sight of all that red tinged water washing down the drain still gave Rose the chills. Her wound was completely healed though, a fact that puzzled her Doctor, but now that she’d had time to dwell on it, seemed perfectly reasonable to her. The man in her memories had explained it, not in detail mind you, The Doctor, in his previous incarnation had been vague at his most talkative, but she’d gotten the point. Her mum had been right, those many months ago, on that last fateful day before she’d lost the Doctor, seemingly for forever. Rose wasn’t quite human anymore.

Scolding herself for being so maudlin Rose shut off the water and jerked the shower curtain aside. Stepping out onto the plush blue mat, she wrapped herself in a huge fluffy towel of the same color and approached the sink. Her hand squeaked obnoxiously across the mirror as she rubbed off a streak of condensate to better see her reflection.

“Oi,” she said, flinching slightly. “It’s like mum in the morning after a bender.” The yellow haired girl staring back at her was pale, really pale, like someone afraid of sunlight and without the means to buy fake tan. The word alabaster might have come to mind if it weren’t for the fact that her current complexion made the dark smudges under each eye seem that much darker. Her hair stood out at all angles, wrapped in horrifyingly ridiculous tangles and knots that Rose despaired of ever brushing out. A groan of frustration escaped her lips; she’d left all her things two floors away in the control room yesterday. And since she was in the Doctor’s bathroom, beautiful and massive, but hardly female friendly, there wasn’t a hairbrush in sight, only a black plastic comb and a large bottle of mousse. “Well,” Rose chuckled to herself, that certainly explained why his hair stayed sticking straight up every time he went crazy and messed with it.

Rose was just about to tackle the daunting project of combing her own mad hair when something caught her attention. About an inch of dark brown was showing beneath the expensive hair dye she’d been able to afford with her Torchwood salary. And since she’d been so well off, keeping up with the styling hadn’t been a problem. Rose’s hair had been dyed just three days ago, a fact that should have kept her out of the salon for at least six weeks. Rose touched the delicate strands with shaking fingers and gasped, she hadn’t noticed in the shower, but her fingernails had grown too.

***

The Doctor grunted slightly as he managed the monumental act of sliding his very limp son into the bed without dropping him on the floor. He was just smoothing the duvet up to the boy’s chin when a small hand jerked up and clasped his. Twin purple eyes snapped open in abject fear, suddenly casting the room in their hazy light.

“Hey,” The Doctor soothed, switching on the lamp and pulling up a chair to sit alongside the mattress, “It’s just me.”

Tyler’s breathing calmed as his sleep deprived brain finally took in the familiar surroundings. “Hi Dad,” he said with a weak smile, “s’been a long time since you’ve tucked me in.”

The Doctor chuckled slightly and laid a palm against his son’s head, smoothing the chestnut hair back in comforting strokes. “It’s been a long day,” he said lightly, “let me baby you a bit?”

“Okay.” Tyler yawned dramatically, his mouth open wide enough for the Doctor to get a quick view of the boy’s molars, before settling down and once again closing his eyes. “Love you.”

“Love you too Puppy,” his father answered, using a nickname he hadn’t spoken in years.

Tyler smiled broadly, but kept his eyes firmly shut. “I’m not that tired.”

“Yeah,” The Doctor replied, an answering grin plastered across his face, “but you’re still a cheeky pup.” With that he leaned over and placed a gentle kiss on the boy’s brow. “Sleep tight, no bedbug biting and all that.”

Just as he was getting up to go however, Tyler’s hand snapped out again and clasped his arm. “Wait.” He said, suddenly sounding quite alert. “How’s Rose?”

The Doctor quickly reinforced his mental shields as a wave of anxiety rippled though him. He glanced down at the steady lights on his wrist, before settling himself back in the wooden chair. He reclaimed Tyler’s hand before formulating an answer. “Rose, he said emphatically, “is going to be fine, right as rain in no time at all, you’ll see.”

Tyler rolled over with what appeared to be enormous effort and looked his father in the eyes. “Tell me the truth Dad,” he said, his voice low and sincere, “Despite my current lack of energy; I’m not a baby anymore.”

The Doctor rubbed a palm across his handsome face and pinched the bridge of his nose before leaning forward to address his son’s concerns. “Can’t you just pretend for a minute and say ‘okay Daddy, I trust you unconditionally to know what’s best and do what’s right.’”

Tyler chuckled, “Did I ever act like that?”

“Not since you’ve been out of nappies, and even before that it’s debatable.” They shared a moment of levity before the Doctor continued. “I’ll be honest with you son,” he said softly, “Something’s not quite right with her, and I’m not sure what it is yet.” The Doctor waved a hand to shush his son before he could interrupt, “but I will figure it out.”

“But,”

The Doctor cut his son off and smiled, remembering a game they hadn’t played in a long time. “Who’s the best Doctor in the universe, hmm?”

Tyler giggled, and despite the boy’s earlier claims it made him sound quite young. “My Daddy,” he answered, squeezing his father’s hand, “My Daddy can fix anything.”

“Right you are,” The Doctor agreed, jumping to his feet in glee, “And now it’s time for all good boys, and girls, and monsters, and puppies,” Tyler laughed at that, “to go to sleep.”

He was just about out of the room when a small voice called him back to attention. “Dad?”

“Yes Tyler,” the Doctor’s voice was borderline exasperated, “What is it now?” He made his way back to the bed and settled back in the chair. He moved both hands around, palms up in exasperation, “What is sooo important that it can’t wait until you’ve had a few hours sleep?”

Tyler looked up at his father, all vestiges of childhood suddenly missing from his freckled face. “You should marry her.”

“Excuse me?” The Doctor could actually feel all the blood leeching from his head.

“Seriously Dad,” the boy scolded him lightly, “What is the most important thing in all the universe? What does everybody need?”

“Life,” The Doctor suggested.

“Besides that.”

“Three square meals a day.”

“No,”

The Doctor rubbed the back of his neck and looked towards the ceiling as if in serious contemplation, “A time ship, a trip to Disneyland, a case of vinegar for all those pesky Slitheen invasions?”

“Dad, be serious!”

“Oh,” The Doctor announced, holding up a finger as if to point at the lightbulb that his brain had just turned on, “I know, a sonic screwdriver!” Tyler just rolled his eyes. “The one thing that I need in all the universe is shattered all over storage cupboard seven and now I have to make a new one; thank you very much.”

“Dad,” The Doctor finally sobered when he heard the solemn tone of his son’s voice. “You know what the most important thing is. You lived without it for far too long.” The Doctor’s face fell, all pretenses of levity gone in an instant. “We have each other, but Rose doesn’t have anybody, she left her family behind. She loved you enough to do that, love her enough to give her a new one.”

“Tyler,” his father said softly, “we are her family. She knows that.”

The bright eyed boy on the bead took a deep frustrated breath and continued his argument. “Think of it this way Dad,” he retorted, “In fifteen years when we land on some planet somewhere and they ask you who she is, are you still going to be calling her your ‘companion,’” The Doctor stroked his chin and blinked a few times, unable to come up with a suitable reply, “or are you going to call her your ‘wife?’

The Doctor leaned in to once again kiss his son on the forehead. “When did you get so wise?”

“Not wise,” he said, once again sounding quite sleepy, “just selfish,” His father looked up, startled by Tyler’s answer. “I want a mum, never had one before. I think Rose will do nicely, don’t you?”

The Doctor chuckled, “I’ll see what I can do.”
***

Rose emerged from the bathroom wearing a brown dressing gown so large it almost enveloped her completely. After a quick chuckle at the garment’s color she made her way into the room and glanced over at the beautifully pillared bed. The bedclothes were rumpled, just as they’d left them hours ago, and right on top of the sheets were two large travel bags. The smile that stretched her lips was matched only by the warm glow that instantly enveloped Rose’s heart. He’d carried them in all the way from the control room.

Opening the bags and scattering piles of clothing across the bed, Rose assessed her options. She selected a simple pair of gray, drawstring pajama bottoms and a t-shirt, opting for comfort over vanity, before slowly making her way down the corridor towards the infirmary. She had to adjust her trousers a couple times on the way, surprised by the slight pull of the fabric when it used to sit loosely on her hips. Rose dismissed the thought as nothing unusual. Ever since the Tylers had changed dry cleaners, their clothes hadn’t been coming back quite right. Rose shrugged; it wasn’t something she had to worry about now.

When she actually thought about though, Rose had never done a whole lot of washing. Before the novelty of having staff to wait on her, Rose’s mum had always done it like a sort of maternal ritual she and Jackie had never quite grown out of. Even after Rose had started living on the TARDIS she’s brought her dirty clothes home instead of cleaning them herself, despite the ship’s more than adequate facilities. It was a way of keeping her Mum close even when she was billions of miles away, all the love and comfort of family wrapped up in the scent of dryer sheets and detergent. Rose’s lips stretched into a sad smile, she was going to have to learn to do that one particular task herself. Maybe she’d have the Doctor land in London so she could pick up the same brands Jackie had always used, keep that one little memory alive. Then Rose could hug her mum every time she pulled a batch of towels out of the dryer.

Rose sighed and passed through the arched doorway, her slippered feet brushing soundlessly along the metal floor. The infirmary was not a room that Rose was unaccustomed with; running for your life on a daily basis did lead to the occasional bump and scratch. The single cot in the center of the room was flanked on one side by a large, complicated panel of electronic machinery, but was comfortable enough when one got used the idea of being in hospital. Rose settled herself down on the forgiving surface, squirming a bit to find a comfortable position, and covered herself with the fleece that she’d pulled from a drawer.

Closing her eyes, Rose was suddenly struck with a powerful wash of fatigue, accentuated by the fact that she’d just spent the better part of an hour relaxing in a hot shower. It wasn’t long before the soothing hum of machinery lulled her into a deep sleep.


***

The Doctor rounded the corner and entered the infirmary cautiously; scanning the room for occupancy and smiling when he spotted his beloved, sound asleep on the room’s single cot. She was curled up, knees bent almost to the chest, hands curled innocently beneath her beautiful chin. It made her seem so very young; not that much older than Tyler really. The thought made the Doctor grimace, especially when accompanied by the memory of their entwined bodies all those hours ago, the Doctor sighed; a lifetime ago. He suddenly felt like a dirty old man. Oh well, he pushed the thought aside for now, bit late for that.

He gently caressed the curve of one delicate cheekbone with the knuckles of one hand and marveled at the lack of makeup adorning her face. She was so beautiful, despite being a bit pale. Her hair had begun to dry and curled randomly on the pillow. He picked up a strand and worried it between two long fingers. Her pink lips were parted, as if waiting for a kiss, but the Doctor restrained himself, deciding it was better to take advantage of her slumber and get a few tests done. He wrenched his gaze away from the temptation and turned to ready the equipment

***

Rose awoke slowly, stretching lazily as she basked in heavenly comfort. Sometime between now and yesterday she’d finally gotten warm. Her hazel eyes were met by soulful brown ones when she finally opened them. “Hello.” She said, grinning madly. The owner of those beautiful brown eyes took her hand and answered back, his returned smile was genuine, but seemed a bit strained.

“Hello.”

“Hmm,” Rose sighed in contentment, “did you miss me?”

The Doctor frowned, the sadness reaching all the way into the eyes she’d just been admiring, extinguishing the light from them. “Every time you leave,” He answered gruffly.

“I’m sorry,” she pleaded, squeezing his hand before running her thumb across the light spattering of freckles, “I didn’t think,” He glanced at the floor then, as if to regain his composure, so Rose quickly changed the subject. “I like your new suit.”

Given the excuse to preen, he stood up from the stool he’d just been occupying and ran a hand down the front of his blue jacket. “It is rather smart isn’t it?”

“Always,” she replied with a slight giggle, attempting to sit up.

The Doctor placed a palm against each of her shoulders and gently urged her back onto the cushion. “We’ll have none of that Rose Tyler,” he said firmly, “I’m not quite finished with you yet.”

“Well I certainly hope not,” she retorted, mock horror displayed across her features.

“Don’t be cheeky,” The Doctor whined, “Why does everyone have to be cheeky all of a sudden, hmm? I can see I’m going to have my hands full with both you and Tyler on board the TARDIS? I should have known what would happen when I named him, shouldn’t I?” He placed both palms against his chest, “Forget the Gelth, pity me!”

“Poor baby,” Rose cooed, sarcasm oozing from every syllable. “Stop stalling, that’s my trick, and tell me what you’ve been up to while I was having my nap.”

The Doctor sat back on the stool, both trainer-clad feet propped up on the middle rung, and rested his chin on one fist. Rose thought he looked absurdly like Rodin’s The Thinker. “I ran some tests.” He said simply, head bouncing with each word as his jaw moved against its supporting fist.

“And?” She prompted him, desperate to know more despite the consequences. The Doctor just frowned, his face once more a study in deep sorrow, or perhaps regret. “Doctor, you’re scaring me,” her voice rose in pitch as panic threatened, “You look as if I’m dying!”

“You’re not.” He said the words so softly she might have missed it.

“What?” Rose wasn’t quite sure she’d heard him right.

“Everyone is dying Rose,” he answered her, his voice once again dark and serious. “Every species in the universe except for mine ages gradually; even Tyler in his bedroom down the hall. You all have two types of cells. There are those that die every day and get replaced by ones that are a little less strong than the last batch. The other type of cell, the ones that are supposed to last a lifetime, eventually wear out as well. That’s why you grow old, that’s why your organs fail, eventually the long-lived cells die, and the renewable ones can’t grow new cells with a high enough quality to support life.”

“But you said I’m not dying?” Rose was starting to form a pretty clear picture in her head of what was going on.

“No,” he answered her, “You’re cells replace themselves just like everyone else’s does, only your’s grow back perfect.” Rose continued to stare at him, her pale face growing even more ghostly as his explanation progressed. “I know the why. I’m not exactly sure of the how yet, but...”

“I know how,” she cut him off. “I know exactly how.”

“What do you mean?” His expression was doubtful and cautious, as if he feared for her sanity.

“We never talked about that day again,” she continued, “after you took the time vortex away from me. You changed, and that was so traumatic we never reflected back on what had caused it.” Rose squeezed her lover’s hand again for comfort, and drew in a fortifying breath. “I don’t really remember this,” she admitted. “I just sort of know it, like how a bird knows how to fly. You wake up one morning and the information’s just there, jump and soar.” She looked up at him, her eyes round and pleading. “I am the bad wolf. I create myself.”

The Doctor flinched; he’d never expected to hear those words again. “I’m sorry, Rose,” he said, bringing her fingertips to his lips, “I’m so sorry.”

“S’okay,” she said, smiling a bit. “I never figured it out either, despite how many clues there were. We thought we’d put the whole thing behind us, but where did we say good-bye Doctor?” His eyes grew wide at the realization, “That’s right,” she said, “Bad-wolf bay; a message, just like the first time, that I could get back to you, and I did.” She grew more animated, “And that wasn’t the only time. The werewolf at the Torchwood estate saw it! He looked at me as the moonlight drifted in and said I burned like the sun. How could he have seen it when we couldn’t?”

“I don’t know Rose,” he said, guilt lacing his voice, “but I do know what it’s done to you.”

A tear slipped from Rose’s luminous eyes and slid down her cheek. “It means I’m not human anymore, just like mum said.”

“No.” he said emphatically, “you are still human; super-human perhaps, ultra-human maybe. You, Rose Tyler,” he stated jovially, “are one-hundred percent human with one teeny-tiny superpower.” He held up two fingers, millimeters apart to illustrate just how small her newfound ability was. “It’s nothing really when compared to the stunning attributes of a Time Lord.”

Rose giggled and wiped away her foolish tears. “I guess I’m being silly,” she stated, sniffing a bit and rubbing at her nose until the Doctor produced a clean handkerchief, “Give me zombies, ghosts, or monsters and I take it in stride, but something goes weird inside my body and I get all panicky.”

“Now that,” the Doctor told her sincerely, “sounds almost normal. In fact,” He added playfully, “one could almost call it human.”

Rose beamed at him, her watery smile illuminating the room, “So I can spontaneously heal,” she announced, wiping her eyes with the Doctor’s hankie, “fancy that.”

The Doctor leaned in, cupping her cheek with one hand, to place a quick kiss on pink lips. “I fancy you, Rose Tyler.”

“Okay,” Rose said confidently, determined to get back on track, “so I told you how I acquired my little super power, you promised to deliver with the why.” She blew her nose as the Doctor turned to fiddle with some the controls behind him. The display showed a spinning image of twisted lines.

“This,” he informed her, “is your DNA.” Rose looked on with interest. “This,” he announced magnifying the image even further, “is your DNA spliced with time.”

“Doctor,” Rose said sweetly.

“Yes love,” he answered, his voice high.

“I didn’t pass biology.”

“Right!” He exclaimed, spinning back around, “Well then,” he stabbed both sets of fingers though his hair and rubbed vigorously. “Tiny particles of the time Vortex, presumably stashed there while you were under the influence of the Bad Wolf, have encoded themselves into your DNA. Now, “he continued, “This hasn’t changed the structure of your cells in any way, other than to make them stronger, and as I stated before, grow back new cells identical to the ones that die off all the time, and ones for those that aren’t supposed to grow back. So when our lovely guests, whom Tyler effectively evicted a few hours ago, decided to steal your life force, instead of dying instantly, your body started making new cells at an alarming rate, refusing to let you die.”

“So I’m immortal then?” Rose’s voice grew very quiet, afraid to get her hopes up. “I never have to leave you, ever?”

“Everything dies Rose,” he cautioned, “even me. Eventually this little gift will run out, but it’s going to take a good long while, a few hundred years at least.”

Rose blanched as that information sunk in, “But I did die,” she remembered suddenly, “I stopped breathing, my heart stopped beating.”

“Only for a few minutes.” He insisted, shuddering at the memory. “The phantoms were sucking out your life energy, causing every cell in your body to die and quickly regenerate,” he paused for a moment and frowned, “wait a minute. Where have I heard that before?” Rose glared at him, but the Doctor just waved a hand to dismiss the problem and continued. “Right, so once the cell growth got all caught up you started breathing again. Brand new cells for your skin, hair, heart, liver, everything really. Your head wound even healed up. And Time Lords thought we had the patent on that little trick, you even managed to do it while keeping the same face.”

“Okay, Mr. Impressive,” Rose smirked at him. “Tell me something I don’t know.”

“What?” His face fell at having been cheated out of his big reveal.

“I worked that out hours back,’ she said, holding up a hand, fingers spread wide to display her newly long nails. “My tan’s disappeared, and it made my nails and hair grow. I’m a bit put out about it,” she added nonchalantly, pointing to her dark roots, “as now I have to go back to the salon.”

The Doctor just gaped at her, clicking his jaws together a few times before finally coming up with a suitable retort. “Well,” he blew air out though clenched teeth, causing his lips to vibrate, “I suppose there is one little thing I can add to that.” He turned back to the controls and pushed a few buttons. “The vomiting concerned me, as it shouldn’t have had anything to do with your little regeneration trick, so I did a complete scan of your body while you were sleeping.” The Doctor took a deep breath and glanced back at her, his form tense, his soul back in his eyes. “You’re hair’s not the only thing that’s grown.”

Rose felt what little color her skin now possessed rush out of her body like low tide. She slid a single hand down her abdomen and placed it under her t-shirt to cup the gentle curve of her belly. Rose had the sudden absurd thought that maybe she owed mum’s dry cleaners an apology, because there, next to the Doctor, magnified to fill the screen, was a little being: ten tiny fingers, ten similar toes, two eyes, one beating heart.

Rose was pregnant.

Chapter 15
 
 
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