Pairing: 10/Rose, (with a little 9 in later chapters)
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.
A Chip for Your Thoughts
I have a message for you, Rose.
Rose paced back and forth in front of the windows in her office, occasionally glancing out at the tiny cars twenty-eight stories below. The kid hadn’t done anything extraordinary since broadcasting that thought to her twenty minutes ago in the lobby. He just sat at her desk eating her fish and chips and doing nothing useful whatsoever!
“This is great!” He mumbled between huge bites of food and an occasional finger lick. “It feels like ages since I’ve been to London. I love chips.”
“You said you had a message for me,” Rose prompted in a cautiously polite voice.
“Look, Rose,” Mickey interjected, before the boy could respond. “He’s obviously bluffing. He just wanted a free meal and quick look around the office. I bet he doesn’t know anything.”
The child opened his mouth to answer but Rose cut him off. “Mickey, give the boy a chance. I heard him speak in my head. I don't know anyone else on this planet who can do that, do you?”
“Rose, you want to believe so badly, do you think maybe you wished that thought into your head?” Mickey ducked a little as if expecting a blow. He wasn’t disappointed.
“So now I’m crazy!” Rose raised her voice another notch. “I know what I heard, Mickey and this kid has something to say."
“Well I think…”
“That you should ask me?” Rose and Mickey stopped arguing and turned to face the boy. The grease covering the lower half of his face ruined the intelligent expression. Rose couldn’t hide the small smile that slipped out.
“Sure,” she answered him softly, her irritation with Mickey dieing a quick death, “Let’s get you cleaned up first, yeah?” She reached into the takeout bag and handed the kid some napkins. He enthusiastically wiped the grease from his face and hands.
“I keep rehearsing in my mind how to tell you this, how to explain who I am and where I came from without giving you too much information. I suppose I should just go for it, seeing as how we are running very short on time.” The boy nervously glanced at his wristwatch before continuing. “You see, I come from another world.”
“Oh, come on!” Mickey exclaimed. “Like we haven’t heard that before?”
Rose’s patience was wearing thin. “Mickey, could you just sit down and let the boy tell his story, yeah?” Mickey scowled, but obeyed. She turned towards the child again and smiled encouragingly. “You said you had a message for me.”
“Well,” he looked a little nervous for a second. “Sort of, but really I just said that to get your attention.” He held up his hand to stave off any arguments and quickly continued. “You see, I’m really here to bring you back, to take you home with me.”
Rose’s heart jumped into her throat. Her response was guarded, an attempt at not sounding too hopeful. “Where’s home?”
The child shook his head, smiling up at her almost affectionately. “My first impressions of you are not living up to the hero worship that has followed me all my life. Rose the Brave, Rose the defender of the Earth, Rose the Dalek Killer, would at least have some idea of where I came from?”
Rose was close to tears, she couldn’t bear to be wrong. “Please tell me who you are.”
“Haven’t you guessed yet?” He reached into his pocket to retrieve a small silver object on a chain. He held it up for her inspection.
Rose stared at in awe before reaching beneath her blouse to pull up the pendant she always wore against her heart. She slipped it from around her neck and held it up next to its twin. This child had a TARDIS key. “You’re his new companion,” she stated.
“You could say that.” The boy answered cryptically
Rose became frantic. “Where is the Doctor? Why didn’t he come for me himself? She stood up to tower over the child, her breath coming in little pants. “If you or your people have hurt him in any way I’ll…”
“No!” The boy stood up abruptly and placed a hand on her arm. “I would never hurt him. He is the most important person in my life. As for why he didn’t come to get you himself, all I can say is that he couldn’t. You’re just going to have to trust me on that.”
Before she could answer, Mickey stepped between, gently ushering her away from the boy. “Do you trust this kid?” He asked quietly.
Rose lifted her gaze to meet Mickey’s lovely brown eyes. This man would walk through fire for her, had walked through fire for her, and Rose would do the same in a heartbeat. But his weren’t the eyes she wanted looking at her with so much love. It would have made everything simpler if they were, but Rose had never done things the easy way.
“I have to trust him Mickey. I don’t have a choice. If there’s a chance…” She let her voice trail off, unable to find the words to emphasize how important this was to her. “How else do you explain it? He knows things no one else should know.”
Walking around her, Mickey took the child’s shoulder in hand. “I want to know details little boy, specifics. Rose doesn’t go anywhere without me until I’m convinced you’re telling the truth.
A huge grin broke on the little freckled face. “You,” he stated jovially, “are exactly like he said you were.”
Mickey chuckled, his face breaking into an arrogant grin. “Okay,” he said, reluctantly releasing the boy. “Tell us how you got here.”
The kid sat back down and motioned for Rose and Mickey to do the same. “We’re running out of time, but if this is the only way to get you to come with me, I suppose I’ll have to tell you.” He took a deep breath and turned to look straight at Rose to tell his story. “You see,” he began. “I’ve been hearing stories about Rose Tyler as far back as I can remember. I know all about the Bad Wolf and how you saved the Doctor’s life on that space platform. I’ve heard about your adventures with Captain Jack and Mickey the Idiot.”
“Hey,” Mickey protested, leaning forward in his chair. “That’s not fair. I’ve held my own for a while now.”
“You know,” the boy continued.” the Doctor always uses the title with quite a bit of affection. I was under the impression it was some sort of inside joke.” Mickey seemed to accept that fact and relaxed. “He cared about all of you very much; Rose especially, but also you Mickey, and Jackie.” The boy looked over at Rose. “He was very happy that your Mum and Dad got back together. He told me about the baby. Congratulations by the way, when’s it due?”
Rose glanced at Mickey and then back at the boy, confused by the boy’s innocent question. “Charlie’s six months old now.” she told him. “I haven’t seen the Doctor for over a year.”
“Oh no!” the boy closed his eyes and slumped back in his chair. “I was worried something like this would happen. I’m not nearly as accurate with the TARDIS as the Doctor is, and sometimes even he makes mistakes. I tried to arrive just a couple weeks after your meeting on the beach, but I suppose it could have been worse. At least you’re not an old lady or anything.”
“Wait!” Rose interjected, staring at him incredulously, “You drove the TARDIS? How could you drive the TARDIS when you’re just a little boy? I could never even remember which button was which.”
“You’re not psychic are you?” The boy countered. “Projecting thoughts like the one I sent you in the lobby takes a lot of energy and I don’t do it very often. In fact, I can’t even do it at all unless I have some sort of physical contact. However reading thoughts is easy and touch makes it even easier. The TARDIS is alive remember, and she helps me to understand her and how she works. It still isn’t the easiest thing, but as you can see by my presence, I proved to be adequate to the task.
“How did you get here?” Rose interrupted. “He told me that the void between the two universes could never be crossed again. He said it would destroy everything.”
“It would have,” The boy continued. “There is no technology anywhere that can bridge the gap between our two dimensions, not with the cracks that Torchwood created when they brought over the Cybermen. There was no way whatsoever to reunite the two of you, or so we thought.”
“Well,” Rose prodded, “Tell me what happened to change that!”
“Okay, okay, just stop interrupting,” he chided. “The Doctor and I were visiting some friends on Ciafus IV when we heard about an archaeological dig on a neighboring planet’s moon. Apparently the ruins discovered there were even older than the Doctor has recorded history of.” The boy broke off and looked around nervously for a second. “You know,” he stated quietly, “I probably should be telling you this, it could damage time.
Rose rolled her eyes with impatience. “If you come from a different universe, does that even matter?”
“Oh,” the boy seemed to contemplate this. “I never thought of that. I’m just so used to following the rules I guess it just became a habit.”
“Right,” Mickey answered sarcastically, “until you tried to sneak into a secret government facility.
“Leave off him Mickey, or he’ll never finish his story.” Rose looked back at the child. “Go ahead.”
“Well,” he continued, his little face lighting up with excitement. “We decided to go to the moon to see the dig. Once we got there the old city was mostly uncovered and the head scientists there had many artifacts lying on tables for cataloguing. The Doctor spotted a strange crystalline object mixed in with a bunch of broken pottery. Amazingly, it emitted a faintly red glow. We were all very curious as to how after millions of years this device could still be holding a charge of some kind. We couldn’t imaging what could be powering it, let alone what it did. The doctor brought it back to the TARDIS for further study. What we found was unbelievable Rose!” The boy looked about ready to leap out of skin in his enthusiasm. “It was an inter-dimensional portal!”
Mickey looked at him skeptically. “So the Doctor decided to send a kid to come back here to get Rose?”
“Well, not exactly.” The boy looked down at his fidgeting hands.
“Not exactly how?” Rose asked, a little bit of trepidation working itself into her stomach.
“Not exactly in the fact that I stole the device and the TARDIS and decided to come and get you myself.” The words were spoken to the floor and came out in so much of a rush they sounded much like a single word.
Rose’s face turned bright red. “He didn’t send you for me? He doesn’t even know you’re here? How can you know he wants me back? You said you tried to pinpoint a time a few weeks after I left him. How long has it been for him and who are you anyway?” She could feel the room start to spin, her breath coming in little pants.
“Calm down Rose,” Mickey stood up. “Do you need a bag to breathe into or anything?”
“No!” Rose all but screamed. “I need some answers and I need them now.”
The boy stood up to reach deeply into the left front pocket of his jeans. He pulled out a glowing red glass marble and held it out in his palm. “This is the portal, Rose and it’s going to open in a little under four hours to take me back to the TARDIS. If you’re holding my hand at the time you come with me. If you’re not, you stay here forever. It’s a one-time use kind of thing; like those cameras you have in this time period, brilliant idea by the way.”
“Who are you?” Rose demanded at least this much.
“I can’t tell you that.” He shook his head sadly as he stuffed the marble back in his pocket. “You can’t know until you’re back in the TARDIS with me.”
Rose swallowed hard and continued. “That’s just not fair. How can you expect me to trust you when you can’t even give me your name?”
“That never stopped you from trusting the Doctor.”
Rose swallowed tightly; this little man had just thrown down the gauntlet. “That’s not fair either.”
“No,” he agreed, “but accurate all the same.” He reached over to take her hand. “But ask me something else, I’ll tell you what I can.”
Rose had so many questions. How was she to choose? “How long has it been for the Doctor since he last saw me and why didn’t he want to come get me himself?”
“I’m not sure exactly how long it has been, but if I had to guess I would say somewhere between twenty and fifty years or so.” He squeezed her hand gently when Rose finally lost her battle against the tears. Rose wiped at them in frustration, unwilling to lose control.
“It’s been so long. You’re sure he still wants me to come back?”
“Out of all the things I’ve told you and all the things I can’t, you’ve got to believe one thing, even if you decide you’re staying here. He loves you so much, so very much. It doesn’t mater how many adventures we go on or how many worlds we save. At the end of the day, I know he is wishing you were there to share in the glory. I know he loves me, I’m not debating that, but who he needs is you. ”
Rose sniffled a little and took the tissue Mickey offered her. “But if what you say is true, then why are you here instead of him?”
“There was still a risk.” He glanced anxiously at his watch again before continuing on. “Torchwood made a spider web of cracks in the fabric of this universe in the war with the Cybermen. There was still a chance, albeit small, that a larger breach or break could occur even while using this ancient device. I watched the Doctor struggle with whether or not to come and get you. In the end I think his decision had more to do with him wanting to give you a normal life than any fear of damaging anything.”
Rose wiped her nose and smiled sadly. “Sounds just like him,” she answered softly, “trying to protect me from my own decisions. He knows I’d choose him; I always choose him.”
“I know that, Rose.” He told her, watching sadly as a few more tears leaked out and slid down her cheeks. “There’s a reason I decided to defy the Doctor’s wishes and come back to get you. The night after we discovered what the object was he was in a strange mood. I was really worried about him, so instead of going off to bed like he told me, I watched him for a while. Now, normally he would have sensed my presence and sent me back to bed. The very fact that he was too distracted to notice worried me even more. I followed him into a part of the TARDIS I’d never seen before and into a room unlike any other. It was full of girly things. There were hairbrushes and stuffed animals, clothes scattered all around the bed. I’d never seen it before, so it couldn’t have belonged to any of the companions we’ve had along recently. I realized it had to be your room, Rose. He must not have changed it since you left him, not in all that time.”
“Really?” Rose croaked out through her tears.
“Really,” he confirmed. “And seriously Rose, how much pink does any one person need?”
She let out a watery laugh, distracted for the moment. “Pink’s nice. Don’t knock it till you try it.”
The boy smiled back, his freckled face transforming into one of cheeky masculine pride. “I’ll have to take your word on it.”
Rose took a deep breath, “So what happened,” she asked the boy, “I mean after you got over your pink overload?”
“Well,” he continued, “I watched the Doctor for a while. He kind of wandered around the room, touching this and that, before stopping in front a chest of drawers. Then, he opened the top and couldn’t see what he was doing for a moment, and then I saw you.”
“What?” She looked up abruptly, instantly startled out of her tears. “How is that possible?”
“He must have recorded your last conversation. He stood there and watched the whole thing. I think he needed to say goodbye again. I’ve been with the Doctor for forever and I can count the times I’ve seen him cry one hand without using all of my fingers. I knew he loved you, I just didn’t understand how much. He lost you all over again when he decided it was too risky try and cross the void. I couldn’t let him give up like that; he means too much to me. In the morning he was acting like his regular jovial self again. It made me wonder how long he’d been faking it and if he’d ever been truly happy as long as I’d known him. When he went out to see the ruins again I claimed a headache and stayed behind. Once I got to Earth, in what I thought was the correct time period, I stashed the TARDIS next to a blue dumpster about a block from here and activated the device. I thought that twenty-four hours would be plenty of time to find you, but I was wrong. I’ve never been on my own before, not really. First I got lost and then those security guards detained me.” He nervously glanced down at his watch again.
Rose looked up at a very stoic Mickey and contemplated what do next. “How much time did you say we have?” She asked the boy.
“We’ve got about three and half hours now Rose. Are you coming?”