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.
We’ve come for you.
Tyler’s frantic crawl through the ventilation shaft halted abruptly when he heard the phantoms’ unbelievable reply scream though his mind.
“No,” he panted. “No!” His breaths came in terrified little gasps as he debated what to do. He’d thought that the entities would follow him and planned to lead them straight to his father, ensuring both his safety and that of Rose.
Oh God, what if she was dying? He’d gone too far, done too much to bring her back to lose her now. Tyler hung his head in shame. All his life he’d heard heroic stories about his namesake, only to be a little disappointed by the real thing. She wasn’t a superhero; she was a woman, with all the fears and anxieties that came with that. But now he could see what his father always had. She was human, vulnerable, and completely mortal. It was because of that humanity that her bravery was so impressive. She gave of herself completely and didn’t look back despite the consequences. He’d only known her less than forty-eight hours and she was down there dying for him, willing to give up everything, even the chance of a life with his father, just to let him get away.
His dad had never told him much about his biological mother, only that she’d been killed immediately after giving birth to him. He’d always pictured Rose in that role, the three of them, traveling through time and space, a family. Tyler dug his fingers into the grate beneath him, feeling the metal bite into his hands. There was no way he was giving up that dream when it was so close to coming true. He wasn’t sure why they were after Rose, but if those things wanted his mum they were just going to have to stand in line!
The Doctor ran; he ran like the hounds of hell were nipping at the heels of his trainers and then he ran faster. Adrenaline poured like hot lava through his blood, threatening to cripple him as it burned a path through his vigorously pumping arms and legs. Twin hearts galloped in desperation, pushing his respiratory bypass system into overdrive in order to keep supplying oxygen to his starving cells. Rhythmic sounds of rubber smacking metal echoed through the otherwise eerily silent ship as the Doctor competed in the marathon of his life. Second place was not an option. If only he had more time!
Time, the one thing he was supposed to be able to control and it was forever falling through his fingers like water in a drought. He hadn’t felt this helpless in so long, not since losing Gallifrey, not since losing Rose. His entire world and all his people had been destroyed in an instant, leaving guilt and emptiness in their wake. Rose had been a salvation, one brave young girl who’s very smile could banish the demons for a time. He’d watched her mature, beautiful girl into beautiful woman. He’d tried to resist her, tried to tell himself that he should be a father figure, just a friend, never loving too much. But Rose had infiltrated his hearts with all the skill of Chula warrior, to the point where he could listen to her promise him forever without complaint. She’d been sunlight to his darkened soul and then she was gone, and he’d lost his entire world again.
The truly ironic part of it all was that he’d been prepared to let her go. He’d placed one of his hearts around her neck with that device when he’d tricked her into going away to Pete’s world without him. It had hurt like hell but at least he’d known she’d be safe, away from the Daleks, away from the Cybermen. Plus there had been some consolation in the fact that he wouldn’t have to watch her grow old, watch her die. But she wouldn’t have it, no, not his Rose. She’d come right back and told him straight out she wasn’t leaving him, not ever. She’d wanted to give up everything: her mum; Mickey; a place to call home; and for what, a broken Time Lord, A false promise of forever with a man who couldn’t grow old with her?
In the end, it hadn’t been her choice. Once again he’d been helpless, screaming her name in terror as the void sucked her towards hell. He felt that same panic now as he raced through the corridors, almost upon the spiral staircase that led to the middle level. This time there would be no Pete Tyler to pop in and save the day. No, as usual it was up to him to save the universe, because not only was his family in jeopardy, but the families of everyone else alive would be at stake if those phantoms made it out of the TARDIS. God help the universe if they figured out how to control the ship.
But that wasn’t going to happen, not now, not ever. He’d saved the universe too many times for it not to owe him one and he was cashing in the favor now. This was going to be one of those days where everybody lived, even if he wasn’t included in that tally.
Tyler crawled painfully back through the grated air vents, his flannel pajamas catching on the metal with every other movement. Just a littler further and he’d be there. He wasn’t sure exactly what he was going to do, but if he could just distract the phantoms long enough, it might give his dad time to show up. He hadn’t been able to sense Rose for a few minutes now and that fact alone terrified him. Even if she were sleeping he should be able to pick up a basic emotional reading. She’d hit that wall so hard after her fall that he’d felt the pain radiating through his own skull, a phenomenon he’d never encountered before. The pain was gone now, replaced by an aching dread in the pit of his stomach. Who knew what those things were doing to her? He wouldn’t be able to face The Doctor if he let her die, not after seeing how completely happy she made him.
He could see a strange flickering coming from the opening at the end of the shaft, like shadows in a candlelit room. The voices were silent now, replaced by a psychic white noise that permeated the cupboard and drowned out any other sound that might be present. Tyler slid towards the entrance and peered into the darkness below; his glasses preventing his effervescent eyes from giving away his location. The gray smoke had grown thick and black as if an inferno blazed directly beneath it. Tyler rubbed at his stinging eyes, trying to convince himself that it was only his imagination, for surely ghosts could not contaminate the room’s oxygen. He could just make out a pink and blue figure in the far corner of the closet. Rose. Her T-shirt and blue jeans were just and rumpled as when she and his father had come to comfort him in his room earlier. She wasn’t moving. Tyler shoved a hand between his teeth to stifle a horrified gasp when he realized that the smoke had claimed her. The ghosts were invading her body, forcing themselves through her eyes and mouth, exiting through her pores before starting the process over again. Her skin was pale and fading fast. Tyler shuddered as he felt hot tears spill over his cheeks to splash onto the hand he still held clenched in his teeth. He was too late. He’d been too slow.
Moving back to lean against the cold wall of the shaft Tyler ripped off his glasses and squeezed his eyes shut. Silent sobs wracked the small frame and he rocked back and forth. He never should have brought her here. The Doctor was right; one should never mess with time and space. It was all his fault, all his fault, all his fault….
Wait! A loud clanging penetrated Tyler’s despair. It rang through the room, causing the grate below his knees to vibrate in its intensity. Tyler reached out a telepathic hand and smiled thorough the tears as hope bubbled up inside. Everything was going to be okay. His dad was here.
“Stupid door!” The Doctor screamed between bouts of slamming his makeshift battering ram into the closet. “Stupid ship let me in!” The fire extinguisher was made from Titanium alloys and had been conveniently stored in an alcove directly beside the storage room he’d stashed Tyler and Rose in. The entities must have sealed the entrance somehow. Once discovering the door to be locked from the inside, he’d grabbed the device and in a brilliant flash of ingenuity, froze the handle to make it more brittle. Only this was a Time Lord ship, and it wasn’t that easy to break into.
He continued to plead with the TARDIS in desperation. “My family is in there, our family,” a resounding bag resonated each time the device hit the handle, “Tyler and Rose,” Bang. “Are in trouble,” Bang, Bang. “My life is in this room!” The handle fell off and clattered to the floor but the door remained shut. Dropping his tool the Doctor reared back to gather his thoughts. Breathing heavily and scratching panicked fingers through his already messy hair, the Doctor frantically searched his surroundings for another option, another way in. If only he still had the sonic screwdriver!
Screwdriver! What about one that wasn’t sonic? The Doctor spun around to rifle through the emergency alcove where he’d found the extinguisher. “Ha!” he cried upon finding exactly what he needed. Locating the tiny screws on the exterior of the device the Doctor carefully inserted the philips head and began to extract them. The gun was filled with glacialan, and was designed to expel the gas from its nozzle. However, the interior should be filled with the substance’s pure form, a liquid so cold it could eat through just about anything. He just had to make sure all the volatile substance got on the door before the air turned it into gas and it froze him to death. Easing the protecting covering off he located the safety lock marked with a distinctive warning to go no further. Ignoring the sound advice he started dismantling the interior section. Holding the last barrier in place between himself and a deep freeze, the Doctor carefully stood to take aim.
The glacialan hissed as it flew through the air, creating a fine mist before attacking the door. The metal barrier cracked and crystallized, but failed to fall. Spotting a support bean directly overhead the Doctor leapt up to clasp it in both hands letting his feet hang about a foot off the floor. Pumping his legs like a child on a playground the Doctor swung higher and higher, back and forth. He gritted his teeth against the chafing in his hands and grunted in exertion as he poured all his strength and desperation into building up enough momentum. Then, letting out a resounding battle cry, the Doctor hurled himself forward.
Tyler hid in the shadows, putting up every mental barrier he’d ever been taught to create and making sure the light beam from his eyes didn’t make it out of the air duct. What was taking his dad so long?
He nearly jumped out of his skin when a hideous crash resonated through the room, somehow loud enough to be heard over the psychic tempest pervading the small space. He searched frantically through the fog only to see his father crumpled on the floor surrounded by needlelike pieces of the demolished closet door.
“Get up!” he whispered frantically despite knowing he couldn’t be heard. “Please get up!”
The Doctor pushed himself to his feet, brushing pieces of debris off his sleeves; his face flushed with rage and righteous determination. He screamed something Tyler couldn’t make out and pointed towards the crumpled form of Rose in the corner. Every gesture he made called for action, every expression demanded obedience. Tyler felt his eyelids grow wide; this was the Oncoming Storm in all his glory.
Tyler mentally danced for joy. Everything was going to be okay. Nothing could beat the Doctor, the Last Time Lord. His joyous smile faded before reversing completely into a terrified frown. The smoke rushed out of Rose, causing her limp body to buck and convulse with the trauma. It gathered in the center of the room, swirling together in a small tornado. The entity was strong enough to manipulate matter now, swirling the air around in violent gusts that smacked debris from one wall to the other. The hate in it penetrated through Tyler’s shields, terrifying him in its intensity. The Doctor just stood his ground, hair swirling, clothes flapping, and faced his enemy head on. Tyler didn’t think things could get any worse, until the smoke formed a face and screamed.
The Doctor's whole body smacked painfully against the wall as he was shoved back from the mental push. Regaining his balance he firmly addressed the entity again. “Where is my son?”
The phantom’s ghostly body shifted in and out of solid form. Its face was a hideous composition of features, like a reflection in a shattered mirror. Its fractured eyes glowed red in the psychic darkness. We want nothing of the moonchild, it screamed into his head, forcing the Doctor to manufacture some pretty impressive psychic shields. He is of no consequence.
Storing that tiny bit of relief away in his mind ,the Doctor forced himself to look over at Rose. She was so pale and still he had to grit his teeth to keep from crying out. Oh God, was that blood on the wall? “What have you done to Rose” he demanded to know. How had they become powerful enough to project a body in such a short amount of time, and without Tyler?
She gives us life and we drink it thirstily.
“She is just a human; she doesn’t have that much life to give. Now tell me what you’ve been doing!”
Fool! It screamed, the crimson light from its eyes growing in intensity. Your people were so arrogant. You believed yourselves to be gods and it proved to be your downfall. How fitting that your goddess’s destruction will restore us to power. Your infantile species had barely begun to crawl while we were creating empires.
Fear bubbled up in the Doctor’s throat but he managed to swallow it back down. “She is not a goddess and she can’t feed you if she’s dead. She can’t take much more of this.”
How pathetic that you do not even know your own woman.
“What do you mean?” He glanced back over to Rose, willing her to show some kind of life, a breath, a twitch, anything.
A Time Lord holds the very fabric of Time in his hands, but he cannot even recognize it when it shares his bed? There is enough life in that woman to bring back our entire army.
The Doctor stared at the creature in astonishment, reality dawning in painful clarity. Was it possible? Could Rose have been carrying dormant traces of the time vortex in her body all this time? It had never even occurred to him to check. He’d been so sure he’d taken it all into himself, and then after the regeneration the possibility of any consequences had never crossed his mind again. How could he have been so careless? His lack of foresight might cost Rose her life, and as of right now, he didn’t have a plan.
“Take me instead.” The words were out of his mouth even before he realized he was going to say them.
You cannot entice us away from our prize. She is the key to our sentient immortality.
The Doctor thought fast, inching his way back towards the corner where Rose was crumpled on the floor. “Despite what you say she can’t have much left in her,” he said, exuding rationality when all he felt was raw panic. “But a Time Lord has the power of the ages in his blood. And unlike Rose, we know how to use it.” The entity turned its gaze to follow his movements, but didn’t come any closer. “You could have the benefit of that experience soaking up into your consciousness as you absorb me.” The entity paused, as if to consider this proposal. It didn’t comment as the Doctor knelt down beside Rose. He moved a hand to caress her cheek and stifled a gasp. She was so cold.
</i>You would trade yourself for her? Why should we accept that when we can have you both?</i>
“Because I’d be willing,” he replied, brushing silky blond strands away from her neck to feel her carotid artery. “There are things inside my mind that cannot be accessed through force.” The Doctor manufactured a crack in his mental shield and willed the bastards to take the bait. Once they made contact he’d be able to rip their consciousness apart. The Doctor pulled his attention back to Rose. Relief poured through him like cold rain. Her pulse was weak and thready, but definitely there.
The phantom moved closer, its feet gliding in the floor in strange contrasting shadows. We accept your proposal Time Lord. But once we drain you dry we will finish off your woman. The doctor screamed in agony as one giant hand forced its way though his skull to engulf his mind in ice. Internalizing the pain he started the arduous process of reversing the pull. Just a little more, he thought inside the last shielded corner of his brain. Just a little…
The pain stopped abruptly causing the Doctor to stumble back and land in a heap on the floor. His eyes flew open wide in terror when he discovered what had interrupted the signal.
Tyler felt all but crushed under the onslaught of violent emotion and terrible energy. He stood in the middle of the floor, arms outstretched, and was burning massive amounts of psychic energy to keep the entity at bay. The black smoke once again swirled in a macabre dance around its master; illuminated only by the purple glow of Tyler’s nocturnal eyes. His father moved to stop him, only forcing Tyler to erect a barrier around both him and Rose. He wasn’t quite sure where the power was coming from, but it certainly seemed to be there when he called for it.
“Tyler don't do this," his father cried from behind the mental force shield. “You haven’t been trained for this, you’re going to burn.”
Tyler had known that was a possibility going into this, but he couldn’t have lived with any other decision. He’d sat there in the ceiling, watching his father touching Rose’s cheek, seeing his face nearly crumble in relief in the knowledge that she was still alive. His father’s love and willingness to sacrifice himself had been such a strong emotion it had penetrated the hate pervading the room. It was beautiful, and sacred, and he couldn’t just sit there and let it die.
The entity howled losing form as it spent more and more time away from its power source. If he could just hold it long enough it should dissipate completely, or would it? The entities might go back to their original form but there was nothing to kill them off completely. Unfortunately there was no way to rethink his decision to intervene now. Standing his ground, he addressed his father. “I have to do this Dad.” he stated with much more confidence than he was feeling. “You two deserve to be together. Your love is so beautiful, it cuts through the hate.”
“We need you too Tyler.” His father’s voice had grown rough. “I can’t loose you.”
“Take care of Rose.” Tyler replied, ignoring his father’s plea. The pressure was getting too great to sustain and Tyler fell to his knees, but didn’t let up on the force shields he was sustaining.
“Tyler!” The Doctor was all but screaming now. “Stop this right now. We’ll cut through the hate together. Just you and I, like always.”
Tyler shook his head painfully, not risking a reply. Just then, a spark of inspiration ignited in amazing clarity. What was it love did? Could that possibly be the answer?
The Doctor beat against the impenetrable barrier his son had erected in front of him, both desperate to rescue him and in awe of his abilities. This boy’s power was unprecedented, and it was going to kill him. He let the tears fall in rivulets down his cheeks as he watched his child sacrifice himself for him. He wasn’t worth it.
The wind picked up in the room again, spurred by the entities’ rage and growing desperation. He could barely make out his son, kneeling on the floor, arms stretched out above him like man in supplication, purple light illuminating the hideous creature disintegrating before their eyes.
The Doctor ran to Rose, the one person left that he could protect and laid his body down atop hers. The large pieces of debris were bouncing off of Tyler’s barrier, but any second now it could collapse. Gathering her into his arms he realized she was still freezing cold and he wrapped himself more tightly around her body. Placing a hand under her skull the Doctor was startled to feel the sticky wound that must have caused the bloodstain he’d seen on the wall when he’d first come in. The discovery hollowed out a section of his soul. He could quite possibly lose them both tonight. He could be alone again.
Tyler felt like his skull was splitting in two. He didn’t know how much more of this he could take. The key to defeating these creatures was love, it had to be since they were made entirely of hate. Pure love, unconditional love, that’s what he needed, something these things couldn’t possibly understand. The problem was, that in order for him to channel that love into the phantoms he was going to have to drop his shield, both the internal ones keeping him sane, and the external ones keeping his family safe and the enemy contained. If he didn’t do it soon it would be too late. He was growing so weak. Tyler glanced over at his father lying prone over Rose, protecting her with his very self. It was so beautiful, and perfect for what he needed. Channeling those impressive emotions into himself, Tyler prepared for the fight of his life. After that there was no more thinking.
The Doctor screamed as all hell broke loose and the entity attempted to crawl back into his mind; if the barriers were down that meant that Tyler was either gone or too weak to continue. It was up to him now. Holding Rose close for reassurance he fortified his internal psychic shields and reached out with his mind. What he felt blew him away.
Love, beautiful, unadulterated, innocent love. It permeated every inch of the room and beyond. Opening his eyes he looked up to see his incredible son, still kneeling on the floor, wearing a look of unsurpassed bliss over his tiny freckled face. The smoke thinned, dissipated, and then dissolved completely. The quiet in the room was a shocking as the clamor had been.
The Doctor was on his feet in an instant and in an impressive burst of speed, reached his son just in time catch him in his arms as he collapsed. Gently lowering Tyler to the floor he placed his fingertips at the boy’s temple scanning his mind for any psychic burnout. Incredibly there was none, only an intense, all encompassing exhaustion. Tyler’s whole body shook with fatigue as he stared up as his father. The Doctor reached down to wipe away his son’s tears. “You scared me to death.” he gently scolded, pride and relief warring, with unmitigated rage.
“Sorry,” the boy managed through chattering teeth. “Couldn’t let anybody hurt you or mum?”
The Doctor’s eyes burned with his son’s reply, he hadn’t realized he’d felt that way about Rose. He supposed he couldn’t stop Tyler from trying to be a hero. After all, he was his son. “Discuss the plan with me next time okay?”
Tyler broke into a weak smile, “You too.”
The Doctor let out a quiet laugh, “Deal.” Sparing a moment to send his son firmly to sleep, he then raced over the still form of Rose Tyler. He had absolutely no idea how to deal with her condition. What could the Time Vortex be doing to her? And how could he have not known?
Kneeling by her side he once again smoothed a hand across her delicate cheek. “Rose.” he called out gently. “Rose, sweetheart it’s time to wake up.” She didn’t reply and he grew increasingly concerned. He had to get her to the infirmary. Reaching under her neck to gently lift her by the shoulders he accidentally jostled her head, causing it to fall sideways across his bare forearm. The hairs there didn’t stir.
Dread filled every cell of the Doctor’s body as he laid her back down to feel for a pulse. It wasn’t there. “No!” he cried, leaning forward to gently force his breath into her lungs. She’d been alive just a few moments ago. He’d felt her breathing as he’d held her in his arms. “Don’t do this to me,” he cried out, beginning the compressions on her chest. He couldn’t lose her, not this soon, not when he had begun to rely on her presence again. “Wake up Rose!” he commanded before giving her two more of his breaths. “Wake up!” Desperation filled him to the brim, causing the tears to spill over once more. He’d been empty for years and now he couldn’t shut them off. “Please Rose.” he cried, pushing on her chest again, willing life back into her unresponsive body. “Come back to me.”