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.
Baiting the Trap
“What do I have to do?” She’d asked four hours ago, while the adrenaline was still pumping in her blood and the Doctor’s smile was still turning her rational mind to jelly.
“Guard my son.” he’d said, making it sound like such a noble act, making it sound brave and dangerous and exciting. “Here’s what you do in a worst case scenario,” he’d instructed, showing her what setting to put the sonic screwdriver on, being very specific on how to hold it, and which buttons to push. He’d hugged his son, told him to be brave and to listen to her at all cost. He’d kissed her goodbye, passionately, like a soldier going off to war. And then, he’d stashed them in a cupboard.
It wasn’t that she was claustrophobic or anything. In fact, if Rose was being honest with herself, she had to admit that this was really more of a storage “room,” than a storage “cupboard.” No, the problem wasn’t the size of the room, or even the fact that her lover and supposed partner had left her to save the day all by himself. It wasn’t the dusty air, the even dustier box she was using as a seat, or even the incessant clanging the tiny vent in the ceiling made as the rotary blades behind it pushed in asthmatic puffs of air. No, Rose thought as she leaned against the metallic wall behind her. The real problem was the cheeky little (sort-of) ten-year-old sitting on the box across from her, who hadn’t stopped smirking since they’d gotten in here.
“What?” she finally demanded, leaning forward and throwing her hands up in aggravation. “What is so funny?”
Tyler’s smirk turned into a fit of uncontrollable giggles and then into full blow guffaws as he held his stomach and almost tumbled off his cardboard perch. “I’m sorry,” he managed to get out between great gulps of air. “It’s just the look on your face.” he pointed at her rudely, “when I asked if you’d had fun with Dad.” The admission set him into an even stronger fit and this time he did fall off the box, right onto his backside with a decidedly loud thump.
Rose couldn’t help laughing then. The joy bubbled up from her stomach and just exploded out of her mouth in great gasps. She fell to her knees in front of Tyler and held her stomach, panting for breath. “You look pretty funny yourself just now,” she breathed, happiness running off her in waves. It had been so long since she’d laughed just for the sake of laughing.
Tyler’s giggles settled down a bit as he scooted himself back up against his box to look at Rose. “You make each other so happy,” he said, grinning from ear to ear. “I love it.”
Rose sat down in front of him and crossed her legs. “You can feel it, can’t you?” she asked, suddenly in awe of this amazing child. “You go around all the time, just feeling everyone else’s emotions. Doesn’t it drive you mad?”
Tyler didn’t answer right away, he just leaned forward to take one of her hands in his and close his eyes. “It didn’t used to be so strong,” he finally answered, a look of sublime peace falling over his charming features. “It was just a light inkling in the back of my mind, telling me if this person or that person was happy, or sad, or angry. The feelings surrounded me and fed a part of my soul I wasn’t even consciously aware of, but I knew they weren’t my emotions.”
“And now?” Rose asked him softly.
“And now,” He looked up at her, his large bespectacled eyes full of wonder, “now I feel everything. I know you’re kind of worried about fitting into this new family you didn’t expect to have to fit into. You’re not sure if you’re supposed to me my mum, or my step-mum, or just my friend. You’re really mad that Dad left you here while he went off to trap those emo ghosts by himself, and you’re a little worried about him getting hurt now that you’ve finally got him back. And I know these things because I feel them too, as if they were my feelings, not yours. I have to keep reminding myself where I start and everyone else stops. So yeah, “he chuckled mirthlessly. “I guess I am going a little bit mad.”
Rose pulled her hand back, feeling slightly violated and more than a little concerned. “Is there anything we can do?”
Tyler relaxed little and leaned back up against the box. ”Dad’s been trying to teach me to block most of it, like how you filter out the white noise in a room and only hear what you want to hear. And he can put up psychic walls in his own mind, so unless he lets his guard down, I can’t get in even if I wanted to.”
“Then how do you know how happy I make him?” Rose asked him tentatively.
“Oh Rose,” He said, once again sounding years older than he actually was. “He’s projecting his love for you so loudly it’s practically echoing in here. And besides,” he added, flashing that cheeky grin that reminded her so much of his father. “Your clothes were all rumpled.” He started chuckling again. “You two didn’t waste any time did you?”
Rose placed her hands over her face to hide the quickly deepening blush. “Oh God,” she moaned. “You act so adult for a while and then I forget how young you actually are.” Tyler just sat there giggling, his beautiful little face once again child-like. “You’re not supposed to talk about such things,” she scolded, grimacing when she realized how prudish that sounded. “He’s your father!”
“Yeah,” He laughed, “What do you think father and son talk about?”
Rose let her jaw drop in a surprised gasp. “No!”
“We see a pretty girl on the street, he makes a comment, I laugh…?”
“Oh my God!” Rose was laughing so hard tears were running down her cheeks. “There is no way you’re telling the truth.”
Tyler sobered up enough to answer. “He’s not human Rose,” he said mischievously, “but he is a man, and I’m fifteen years old.”
Rose smacked him lightly on the arm, “He said that emotionally and physically you were closer to ten!”
“It’s not an exact science,” he insisted, sounding absurdly offended.
Rose took deep breaths to quiet her laughter and moved back against the box she’d once been sitting on. Her backside had begun to go numb and she shifted to try and get the blood to circulate better. When she looked up her companion was staring at her intently.
“Tyler,” she asked cautiously, “How do you feel about me being here.” He looked startled at this so she quickly clarified. “I know you went back for me, but now that I’m actually here, taking up so much of your father’s time and attention, how does that make you feel?”
The boy flashed his father’s smile again, once more morphing into the adult he’d once be. “As I said before,” he answered, “he’s a man, and now he has his woman back. That makes him deliriously happy.” Rose couldn’t help the grin this answer caused. Tyler returned it and continued. “It makes you happy too Rose, and as I explained before, that makes me happy, literally.”
“So I guess everyone’s happy then.” Rose replied.
“It would seem so.” Tyler looked down at his wristwatch and sighed. They’d been stuck in this closet for hours. “Just one thing,” he said, catching Rose’s attention when she’d started to zone out. “When am I getting a baby brother?”
“Yes!” The Doctor whooped in triumph as the electrical board he’d installed into the
TARDIS’s main console finally buzzed to life. He raced over to the display screen and punched in the correct codes to bring up what he needed to see. “All right then,” he exclaimed, lightly stroking the gears. “Now we’re in business.” A second later a map of the ship’s interior popped up on the screen, complete with little blinking dots to indicate where all the life forms were. The Doctor heaved a sigh of relief when he saw the pink and green indicators in the center of the map; they hadn’t wandered off, for once.
He’d placed them in that storage room for a reason. It was in the center of the TARDIS and had a single door and no windows, perfect for hiding a ridiculously psychic little boy and an overly brave human woman. The walls of the TARDIS helped to dampen thought projection and he hoped this would mask his family well enough to keep the phantoms at bay. Now, if the Doctor could just integrate this new hardware into the ship’s main consciousness, he’d be able to track those as well.
“Brilliant!” He exclaimed when a few little gray blips appeared on screen. They were headed this way, just like he’d anticipated. “Just keep moving away from them,” he warned the screen, “keep walking into my trap.” He hurried around the other side of the console, checking and rechecking the energy field he’d installed just a few hours ago. One voice command to the TARDIS and that emotional baggage would be trapped until he could figure out a way to disperse them.
Impatient to have this over with he walked back around to the screen, staring at the two brightly colored spots in the center. The green dot was his son. It blinked steadily in perfect tandem with the boy’s heartbeat, telling him that Rose was doing a good job of keeping him calm.
Rose, she was that beautiful pink human dot next to Tyler’s, blinking just a little more quickly than its companion. The Doctor frowned, running a forefinger down the screen, wishing he could really touch her. Human hearts beat so much faster than most other species. He fancied it was a warning to other races of how short a time they had to live. The Doctor rubbed his face with both hands and rested against the controls for a moment. By all that anyone ever held holy, how was he going to stand loosing her again? He didn’t know if he could watch her die, no matter how old she was, no matter if it was her time. The universe would not be safe the day that Rose Tyler ran out of heartbeats.
Lost in his premature grief, the Doctor almost missed the unblinking gray forms change direction. There were only three large entities now, all moving towards the center of the ship. He frantically hit a few buttons, verifying what he already knew. In less than five minutes those things were going to combine to form a terrible foe and they were headed straight for his family.
Rose Tyler collapsed on the ground in yet another fit of giggles after performing a spectacular imitation of the Sycorax in their latest game of charades. Tyler sat a few feet away, once again perched on his brown storage box, lost in his own mirth. Rose wiped the tears from her eyes and sat up, groaning when her abused stomach muscles protested the movement. “Maybe we should try to be a bit quieter,” she suggested, rolling onto the balls of her feet to stand up. “We’re supposed to be hiding.”
“Naw,” The boy disagreed, moving his hand in a dismissive gesture. “Those things don’t have ears, remember. They only pick up life energy and these walls are insulated against that. The only way they’re going to “hear” us is if we were to perform some great psychic feat or something.”
Rose paused and turned to face the boy, apprehension slamming into her in bold waves. “You mean like when you held my hand and told me everything I was feeling?”
Tyler’s eyes grew round. “Yeah,” he admitted slowly, “just like that.”
Rose didn’t waste time scolding him and grabbed his hand to make for the door. “We have to get out of here,” she told him. “We need to find the Doctor.”
“It’s too late,” he whispered, pulling away from her and backing into the corner. “They’re here. Oh Rose,” he panted. “I’m so sorry.”
“It’s okay Tyler,” she soothed, moving closer but not yet touching him. “I need you to focus, all right, just like the Doctor said? Can you do that?”
Tyler nodded, his alien eyes glued to the door. Rose bent down to his level. “I need to know exactly where they are Tyler. Tell me where they are.”
The boy started to shake, his breaths coming in quick little gasps. He pointed towards the door, his little arm shaking so hard he had to support it with the other hand. “Don’t you see them?” he asked brokenly. “Rose!” he cried when she started for the door. He grabbed her hand, pulling her back against him. “We have to find a way out.”
The denial on the tip of Rose’s tongue tumbled out of her mouth in a startled gasp when Tyler’s hand made contact with her’s. Suddenly the cupboard was half filled with a gray smoke, pouring in from the gaps around the door. “Move!” she cried, shoving Tyler towards a stack of boxes in the back of the room and prompting him to climb. “Don’t look back!”
Tyler started to leave her, but hesitated half way up the pile. “You have to come with me,” he insisted, reaching down to grab her shoulder. “You can’t see them without me touching you.”
“Oh, I’m coming too; don’t you worry.” she said, turning him around and boosting him up onto a higher box. “Now shift!” Tyler obeyed this time, stopping only when he reached the ceiling and looped his fingers in the vent grate. Rose pointed the sonic screwdriver at it, stopping the rotary blade and loosening the screws. She started to climb up after him, but only made it about two thirds up when a portion of the tower collapsed out from under her feet.
“Rose!” Tyler’s terrified cry followed her down to where her head smacked against the wall in a sickening crack. The sonic screwdriver skidded across the floor and shattered into a dozen pieces. She lay there, crumpled on the floor in a daze. The room spun and faded in and out, but the pain was surreal, as if the memory of pain and not the real thing. “Rose!” she heard again, the sound barely penetrating the fog that had invaded her mind. “Please get up.”
It would be so easy to just go to sleep, she thought, to just close her eyes and go to sleep. But there was something she was supposed to do, wasn’t there? Someone was counting on her. “Rose,” she heard again. “Rose, wake up!”
Tyler, those phantoms were there for Tyler and she had to get up. Rose struggled against the fog, fighting to open her eyes. She sucked in a ragged breath when the dim light hit her pupils and then used all her strength to heft herself up into a sitting position. The pain in her head was real now, throbbing intensely in hyperactive waves. Leaning weakly against the wall she surveyed the room. It was empty; Rose couldn’t see the smoke by herself.
“Tyler,” she called out, wincing as she moved her head to gaze up at him. His portion of boxes had remained intact and he still sat near the open grate in the ceiling. “Where’s the ghost?”
The boy let out a quick sob. “It’s all around us, Rose. I don’t know what to do.” He pushed his palms against the sides of his head.” There is so much hate. Why does it hate us?”
You have everything. We have nothing.
Rose jerked back abruptly as a multitude of voices screamed in her mind, sending shock waves of pain through her entire body. “Who are you?” She demanded, struggling to hold back the tears at all cost. “What do you want?” She had to find a way to stall for time. The Doctor would come. He always came.
We are the destroyers, the scourge of the land, the bringers of death. We conquer worlds and stomp whole galaxies beneath our feet. We were trapped here, but now we have a way to continue, a way to be gods again.
Rose screamed in agony and shook violently as her battle against the tears was lost. “I’m not going to let you harm this child,” she told them bravely, not having a clue how to accomplish this, but determined just the same. She screamed again as the cacophony of malevolent voices laughed in her mind.
Fool, it scoffed. That boy glows in the darkness. But there is someone else who shines like the sun. Why would we settle for a meal when we can have a feast?
They wanted the Doctor, just like he’d said, but then why had they come here? “Are we just bait then?” she asked weakly, her limited strength draining away. “Are you setting a trap for the Doctor?”
The laughter was harsher this time, pummeling her, but Rose didn’t have the power to move with the pain. Hot tears poured from her eyes and dripped off her chin, hitting the floor below her. Silly child, the voices screamed, foolish, foolish girl. We will not have to fight the Time Lord for what we need. The gift of immortality lies before us, a goddess masquerading as mortal.
“I don’t understand,” she whispered as the darkness fell behind her eyes. She never heard their terrifying reply.
We’ve come for you.