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.
“Anywhere,” she’d said, and the Doctor had taken her literally. And then he’d taken her, literally.
Rose sighed in contentment as she rolled over on the massive bed, marveling once again at how soft the powder blue sheets were against her bare skin. She made a mental note to ask the Doctor what they were made of. When a twinge of pain interrupted her squirming, she stopping to lie back against the pillows for a moment. Rose cracked a self-satisfied smile; it had been a long time since she’d hurt in all the right places.
She took a moment to absorb her surroundings. He’d moved his living space to a completely different part of the TARDIS than where it had been when she’d lived here before. This new bedroom was massive, at least twice the length of the one he’d used before, back when he’d slept across the hall from her. It had the same organic pillars snaking up from floor to ceiling as the console room. Four of these beautiful structures acted as the posts to the huge bed in the center. There was stuff everywhere; little bits of alien worlds covering every horizontal surface in the semi-controlled clutter. Rose couldn’t even begin to say what most of the things were. The room fit its owner though, unconfined and indefinable.
Looking up at the Doctor’s face, Rose smiled at the innocent sight. It was amazing really, how even toughest, most capable men still looked like little boys while sleeping. He even snored a bit, sweet little breathy sounds that were more endearing than disturbing.
Rose reached up to smooth away an errant lock of his hair and marveled at how less than hour of sleep had almost completely erased the dark circles from under his eyes. Rose knew >she couldn’t recharge quite so quickly. The trouble was, Rose admitted to herself, that she just couldn’t sleep. Too much had happened in the past twenty-four hours, the emotional roller coaster leaving her spent, but shaken. She’d gone from depression to anxiety, from anxiety to sorrow, from sorrow to hope, from hope back to anxiety and then to passion and finally satisfaction. It was just a little too much for this human to take in stride. She kept half-expecting to wake up in her bed back in the mansion with her mum and dad down the hall. Any second now Charlie would start wailing and disturb the whole household. As much as she missed them, loosing the Doctor now would devastate her.
He was so beautiful, laying here, all the worry gone from his face in his repose. Rose laid her head down on that amazing hollow between shoulder and chest, that had obviously been created for just this purpose, and listened to his hearts beat.
“What are you doing awake?” her newfound pillow suddenly asked, his voice still rough with sleep. Wiggling a bit, the Doctor brought his arm around to rest against her back so he could stroke her hair.
“Can’t sleep,” she replied. “Didn’t mean to wake you up.”
‘Naw,” he assured her. “Time Lords don’t need as much sleep as you apes.” It was an homage to his former self and she laughed a little at the reference. “What can I do to help?”
Rose kissed the skin under her cheek before replying. “I’m not sure,” she answered, drawing imaginary circles across his chest. “What helps you sleep?”
“I don’t need any help,” he said, holding her close. “I’m more content in this moment that I have been for years.”
“Tell me why.” She demanded playfully, knowing the answering and yet desperate to hear it anyway.
“I have you in my arms” he answered sincerely, “safe and content, at least for the moment, and my son sleeps peacefully down the hall. Although,” he added, “I’m not sure what I’m going to do with him when he wakes up.”
“Tell me about him,” Rose said quietly. “Tell me about his mother.”
The Doctor sighed and moved his hand from her hair to pull the blanket up around her shoulders. “I was wondering how long it would take you to ask me that,” he admitted.
“You named him after me.” Tears burned at her eyes for the millionth time that day. She just couldn’t shut them off.
“Ha!” he scoffed playfully, “A universe full of Tylers and you assume I named him after you.”
“Come off it, Doctor.” She pinched his side, causing him to jerk. Delighted by his reaction, she pinched him again and again. “Is my Doctor ticklish?”
“Oh, you’ve asked for it now woman.” In an impressive act of strength, he rolled them both over, effectively pinning Rose to the mattress. “Surrender!”
“Never!” she cried, pure joy in her laughter. “I’ve got you where I want you now.”
“Hmm,” he said, pretended to consider this. “Then I suppose I should oblige.” He leaned in to kiss her, pushing her into the mattress and robbing her of breath. Rose returned the kiss for a few glorious moments, before necessity made her gently push him away
“Humans need air,” she reminded him with exaggerated breathlessness.
“Right then,” he said, flipping them back over and tucking her head back against his shoulder. “Where were we?”
“You were saying how you named your son after the millions of Tylers you’ve never met.”
“I named him after the best person I know.” he said seriously, “My Rose.”
She buried her face back against his skin for a moment, overcome with emotion. “Didn’t his mother mind?” She asked softly.
The Doctor took a deep breath, his voice grave when he answered her question. “She never knew what I named him, Rose. I never even met her.”
Rose popped up from her place against him, pushing his hand away to flop against the bed. “What?”
“It’s a long story,” he warned her, “are you sure you can stay awake?”
“For this,” Rose’s voice was incredulous. “Oh I’ve got time to hear this story.”
“Very well,” He said, reaching for her shoulders. “You lie down and close your eyes and I’ll tell you everything.” Rose frowned but obeyed, snuggling in close and resting her palm in the center of his chest where she could feel his hearts beat. “Ready?” he asked.
“Absolutely,” she assured him.
“Your eyes aren’t closed,” he scolded, “Close your eyes or I won’t tell you anything.”
Rose raised her head a little to look up at him. “How did you…never mind. It doesn’t matter.” The Doctor used his palm to gently guide Rose’s head back to his chest. He left his hand there to gently stroke her hair again until she reluctantly closed her eyes.
“How long has it been for you?” He asked her gently. “How long since Bad Wolf Bay? “
Rose squeezed him to her, as if anchoring herself before answering. “Almost a year.” she replied.
“It’s been close to thirty years for me.” He paused, as if expecting a negative reaction, but Tyler had already told her this, so Rose just waited for him to continue. “I’ve had companions since I lost you,” he told her. “I traveled with some incredibly brilliant people and some rubbish one’s if you really want to know. They all lessened the loneliness for a time, but none of them truly felt like family, not like you. I’d just given my latest companion away at her wedding, the whole ordeal making me wonder about how you had turned out. I wondered if Mickey had ever managed to get you to altar. I wanted to know if you were happy.”
“I’m happy now, that’s what matters.”
“Shh, “he scolded playfully, “I’m telling this story.”
“All right,” she agreed petulantly. “I’m shushing.”
“So I was getting myself slightly drunk and a more than a little depressed when I came across an intriguing advertisement in the hotel lobby. It said there was an exclusive zoo ship with rare and interesting specimens coming into orbit later in the day. And then it said invitation only. Now why, I wondered, would anyone advertise an event that was invitation only? I dislike zoos on principal of course, all those sad creatures locked up in little cages, but of course I had to go and see what all the fuss was about.
Armed with my psychic paper I arrived just as the first tour was about to get started. I must say that at first I was rather disappointed. They had dar-eating palinodes, and fire-spitting cantors, all very usual for an intergalactic zoo mind you, nothing to set off any bells. I wandered around on my own for a while, feeling sorry for the animals, but they were being taken care of fairly well so I didn’t complain. Then, I saw the door.”
“Ooh,” Rose said against his chest, “The Door. Was it big and menacing?”
“Absolutely,” he told her. “And it had one of those rectangular warning signs that read Authorized Personal Only Beyond This Point” The Doctor clicked his teeth together, emphasizing the ‘T.’
“Was it written in red?” She asked, giggling.
“Of course,” he said. “Then, my tour group, a very well dressed tour group for visiting a zoo I might add, met up at the door and went through.”
“I guess this was the invitation only portion of the place, yeah?”
“Right again, Rose.” He squeezed her on the shoulder. “Do you want to tell the rest of this story, because it seems you already know what’s going to happen?”
“No,” she acquiesced, “carry on.”
“So,” he started again. “I followed them through the door, pretending I was a missing member of the tour who’d been running late. The psychic paper really comes in handy in those situations don’t you know?”
“Grrr,” She exclaimed, “just get on with it!”
He gentled her by petting her hair again. “I followed the tour through the door Rose, and this is where the real zoo was.”
“What do you mean?” She asked.
“Rare doesn’t even begin to describe these creatures,” he answered animatedly, “These were beings most believed to be extinct. I walked up and down the corridors with the group, listening to fantastic stories of how these animals had been acquired. Most transactions were perfectly legal, an egg being bought at auction and so forth. A few of the stories were a little shady and some were downright criminal. People had died to make this zoo, not wanting to part with their beloved pets and being killed for it. I was disgusted and coming up with a brilliant plan to shut them down when we came to the last exhibit.”
“Oh my God, Doctor. Don’t tell me…”
“It was a baby, Rose.” His voice had grown quiet, “trapped behind glass, strapped into a tiny cot, and bathed in ultra violet light.”
“His eyes!” she realized.
“Yes,” the Doctor agreed gruffly, “his eyes. The ultra violet light allowed the patrons to see him, while still setting off his bioluminescence. I recognized his species before the tour guide ever said a word. Domrandians were cave dwellers, forced underground for millions of years due to the harsh environment of their word’s surface. The atmosphere had been damaged somehow, no one really knows what happened for sure, but it created an everlasting winter, incapable of sustaining life. The Domrandians created an entire civilization underground where the planet’s core kept the temperature nice and toasty. As a result, they developed those glowing eyes, as well as an impressive amount of psychic ability.”
“What happened to them?” She wanted to know.
“What happened to everything Rose?” he sighed. “War, famine, disease, they were all rampant and all just as deadly. I’d heard that a few refugees had made it out alive, but I’d never seen evidence of it before then.”
“What did you do?” Rose prompted, although suspecting she knew the answer already.
“Nothing at first,” he admitted, surprising her. “I just stood there, staring through the glass feeling the anger at this immense cruelty building up in my chest. They kept him drugged, Rose, so he wouldn’t cry, his little eyes glowing, but dilated. They used robotic arms to feed and change him, so that no other living being would ever have to enter the enclosure. Being that touch deprived would drive anyone insane, but it’s especially bad for one such as he. Domrandians need physical touch. They aren’t just telepathic, they’re extremely empathic. They don’t just know what you’re thinking, they feel what you feel.”
“That explains a lot about him.” she realized. “He was always holding my hand and knowing exactly what to say.”
“Exactly,” he agreed stonily, “and without that connection he would have fallen into madness, a feral beast for this zoo’s most exclusive exhibit. I couldn’t let that happen.”
“Of course not,” She agreed emphatically. “You wouldn’t be the Doctor if you did.”
“I wanted to tear everyone apart in that building. I wanted to shatter that glass and carry that poor child away forever, but I couldn’t.”
“Why?” Rose was baffled, she would have done just that and to hell with the consequences.
“As I mentioned before, he was drugged. I couldn’t get him out of there safely before I knew what they were dosing him with. I waited until the tour moved on and then used the sonic screwdriver to scan the wall panel’s built in computer. I couldn’t find any information on the baby, but I did get the location of the main office. I took the lift up to confront whatever madman had captured him. I found a pathetic little beast of a man,” he said. “He reminded me of Henry Van Stanton and his underground collection, all greed and power, but not too bright. It wasn’t too difficult to override the system and turn his office into a force cage, effectively turning him into an exhibit. When I finished downloading the files on his computer I contacted the proper authorities. He was still screaming about injustice when they carted him off. The zoo was sold at auction; I hear it has a fairly decent owner now.”
Rose smiled at the outcome; a happy ending was always good. “How did you end up with Tyler?” She asked.
“Once the authorities got there the zoo was swarming with police and animal rights agents. I ran down to the enclosure holding the baby and forced open the doors. After disabling the robotic arms I lifted him from the cot and held him close. I wouldn’t even let him go as the medics checked him over and neutralized the drugs. He didn’t make a sound, Rose. I don’t think he knew how to cry. I kept projecting soothing thoughts and feelings into him, trying to get him to respond but he just laid there, staring up at me with those fantastic eyes. The officer in charge approached me and took my statement. I told him what I’d discovered from the files. He’d been taken from his mother minutes after birth. She’d then been murdered for her silence, along with the rest of the baby’s family. The records showed no next of kin.”
“So he was all alone then,” Rose observed.
“Yes,” the Doctor confirmed, “not a soul in the universe who would miss him. I’d just told the commanding officer as much.”
“What did he say?” Rose asked
“He looked up and me and said, ‘I suppose I should call Child Services then,’ but his frown was so profoundly disturbing it have me chills.
‘Won’t they find him a good home?’ I asked him. He told me that the orphanages were overcrowded from the war, and that this little guy would probably fair better if some kind person felt led to take him. I knew where he was going with that.”
“So you said yes,” Rose exclaimed, “and just like that he was yours.”
“Not quite,” he corrected her. “I said no at first. I protested that my life was not suitable for a baby. I said I couldn’t possibly take care of him. But when the officer frowned and moved to take him away, I just couldn’t let the baby go. He’d lost everything, and no one else in the entire universe would know how that feels. No one else would be able to empathize with him, to give him what he needed. I felt an unbreakable psychic link click into place with that revelation, and at that moment he became my son.
‘I guess I’m keeping him then,’ I told the officer. The man smiled smugly at me, as if he’d somehow known I would change my mind, and said. ‘He’ll need a name then won’t he?’ And that, as they say, was that.”
“Tyler,” Rose announced jovially, “a right and proper name!”
“Yes,” the Doctor agreed, “brave, and strong, and true. There should be more of you in the universe.” he said, tapping her on the nose.
“Can there be?” Rose asked hesitantly.
“What?” the Doctor asked, as if he hadn’t heard her quite right.
“I mean,” Rose clarified. “I know you’re an alien and all, but you seem to have all the right parts for the job. “she lifted the sheet off him and pretended to inspect said parts.
“Oi,” he exclaimed, grabbing her to reverse their positions once again. “I think I proved just a little bit ago that my ‘parts’ work just fine. Do you need another demonstration?”
Rose looked up into his beautiful brown eyes. “If you put it that way,” she said, wiggling her hips a bit, “I’ll never be convinced.” Her expression turned serious. “But really Doctor, is it possible?”
“You mean,” he said, understanding. “Can we have a baby together?”
“Yeah,” she whispered.
“I honestly don’t know,” told her cautiously. “Sometimes it happens, but it’s really rare.”
“But it is possible?” she prompted him, hope shining out through her eyes.
“Yes,” he confirmed. “It’s possible, but it’s more likely that the genes just aren’t compatible. I’m sorry.”
“But that can happen to anyone,” she protested. “I had friends when mum and I lived in the Powell Estates that tried to have a baby but couldn’t, and they were both human.”
“Tell you what Rose,” he said, looking down into her eyes and stroking her cheek. “When the time comes, if we prove to be fruitless, I’ll find you a child. There are thousands of kids like Tyler in the universe, millions. I’ll fill this ship with babies if that’s what you want,” he frowned as if reconsidering. “Well maybe we won’t fill her with babies; she’s a pretty big ship.”
Rose felt the tears collecting in her eyes once again. Her feelings for this man just couldn’t stay contained any longer. “I love you,” she said, looking up into his eyes, “So very much.”
The Doctor let one of his own tears spill over and Rose thought she’d never seen anything more beautiful. “I love you, Rose Tyler, and I’ve waited almost thirty years to tell you so.” The Doctor sniffled and wiped at his face, trying to regain composure. “Okay, story’s over, its time for all good little humans to go to sleep.”
Rose let the Doctor rearrange them into a more comfortable position and tuck the blankets in. “Somehow I can’t picture you changing nappies.” she teased, trying to lighten the mood.
“Oi,” he exclaimed, in feigned offense, “S’not the first time I’ve been a dad you know, it’s just like riding a bike; you never forget.”
“I suppose not,” she conceded, not wanting to bring up those painful memories just yet. The Doctor began to caress her hair again. “I’m afraid to go to sleep.” Rose admitted.
The Doctor continued his ministrations, beginning to massage little circles into her scalp. “What are you afraid of?”
She sniffed and rubbed at her eyes, embarrassed by her childish anxieties. “I’m afraid you won’t be here when I wake up.”
“Oh Rose,” the Doctor exclaimed, gathering her body into his arms. “Come here.” She wrapped her arms around him and breathed deeply, memorizing. If he was gone in the morning, she wanted to remember every detail. “I promise,” he gently said against her hair, “that I will be here when you wake up. And I’ll be here the next day, and the next day, and the next. You’ll never be rid of me.” Rose finally let go then, opening the dam that had held her together for so long. Deep sobs wracked her body and the Doctor just held her close, rubbing her back and whispering sweet nonsense. When the sobs abated and she started to quiet down he said. “I’m going to help you sleep, all right?”
“All right,” she agreed.
He ran his fingers through her hair one more time, settling his fingertips at her temple. Rose was overcome with a rush of profound love and comfort. She felt warm, and secure, and safe, and then she felt no more.
Rose was wrenched from pleasant dreams by a loud incessant buzzing. Her eyes felt gritty from tears and sleep, and she was exhausted.
“Doctor?” She asked groggily, reaching across the bed to feel only blankets. “Doctor!”
“Shh, Rose.” She felt him take her hand. “I’m here. It’s just the intercom I had installed for Tyler. He needs me for something, all right?”
“Okay,” Rose took a moment to admire him wearing nothing but a pair of boxer-briefs before rolling back over to continue sleeping. She kept an ear tuned to the conversation across the room though, just in case.
“Calm down, Tyler,” the Doctor said firmly, but gently. “What’s wrong?”
Tyler’s voice came through loud and clear, unlike any intercom Rose was familiar with. “Dad,” he said. “There’s something in the TARDIS.”
Rose sat up in bed, holding the sheet around her and looked towards the Doctor, concern in her eyes.
“Tyler,” the Doctor soothed, waving a hand at Rose to imply that nothing was wrong. “You know that’s impossible. We both would have felt its presence as soon as it arrived, not to mention the TARDIS would have alerted us.”
“It fooled us somehow, Dad.” The boy was close to hyperventilating. “I don’t know where it came from. Maybe it’s from the ruins on this planet, or maybe I accidentally brought it back with me from the void, but all I feel is hate. I don’t know what it wants, but it hates. I’m so scared.”