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19 May 2007 @ 12:11 pm
Come Back To Me 12/15  
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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 12
A Moment in Time


“Come back to me.”

The words escaped Rose’s hearing as she emerged from the fog, like a fleeting whisper, or a leaf in the wind. She laid there for a moment, just feeling her surroundings and was comforted by the familiar vibration of the TARDIS under her back. Rose smiled in contentment. She was warm, and she was home.

Perhaps it was time to get up and start the day. The Doctor would be tinkering with the console, pulling out wires and checking gauges. His brown coat and suit jacket would be draped over a pillar, his shirt sleeves rolled up to the elbows, the sonic screwdriver clenched between his teeth. She’d watch him for a time, sitting on that worn old bench, handing him tools periodically, and chatting about where they’d go once he finished his task. She’d grow bored of his antics after a time it was a bit like watching Mickey fix a car after all, only slightly more complicated. She’d try to entice him away, encourage him to go for a swim, or have a cup of tea. He’d give in eventually, complaining the whole while that he had work to do, and she’d just inform her Time Lord, that he had plenty of time for that later. Where would they go today she wondered? Maybe they should go see her mum. It had been, how long? Rose wasn’t quite sure. The memories seemed fuzzy somehow. Pushing that unpleasant thought aside Rose decided she wanted to visit someplace beautiful; she didn’t want anything to mar this wonderful feeling.

Finally opening her eyes Rose looked around in confusion. This was the console room, and she wasn’t in her bed. She glanced down at herself. Instead of polka dot flannel pajamas she was amazed to discover a bright pink jumper and black slacks. Something stirred in the back of her mind; a little ping of fear stabbing at her, like a splinter you know is there but just can’t see. Looking from side to side Rose lifted herself up a little. “What happened?” she asked, half afraid to hear the answer.

“Don’t you remember?”

Rose gasped when she heard the heartbreakingly familiar northern accent. She sat up in a flash and scooted herself against one of the coral-like pillars in the console room. There he was, just how she remembered; all ears, and nose, and leather jacket. Tears stung her eyes when she realized what her next line was supposed to be. Deciding to play along she answered him, “Its like, there was this singing.”

“That’s right,” he replied with a mad grin, “I sang a song and the Daleks ran away.”

Daleks. Rose didn’t think she’d ever actually understood hate until she’d encountered the mortal enemy of the Time Lords. Worse than any Nazi or terrorist they wiped out whole planets for no other reason than the unshakable believe in their own superiority. Mercy and compassion were unfathomable concepts, as these genetically engineered mutants existed only to destroy. What really made Rose hate them though was not their unspeakable acts of genocide; she’d encountered plenty of conquers in her travels. No, the fact that really made her hate the Dalek hoard was that they scared him, the bravest man she’d ever met, would ever meet, and they had the power make the Doctor tremble in his plimsoles. And he didn’t just fear them; Rose had never seen the Doctor hate something until the day he’d held that huge gun in his hands and gone crazy with blood lust over killing that single metal drone in Van Staton’s museum. He’d grown angry and petty and taunting, things he’d always fought against, and his mercy had been nonexistent. She hadn’t understood his abhorrence then, but she did now. She’d lost the Doctor because of them, twice. Wait, how many times? There was the game station, the time she was reliving now, but what was the other one?

Torchwood! Suddenly the last two years came flooding back into Rose’s memory, forcing out the fog and replacing it with crystal clarity. Rose’s newfound lucidity was instantly accompanied by dread however. Where was the real Doctor? And Tyler? And what had happened to her in that storage cupboard?

Rose stood up slowly, uncertain how far to take this reenactment and reluctant to anger this specter before her. “I was home,” she said tentatively, “I was on the TARDIS.”

The man in the leather jacket smiled at her, his absurdly handsome face lighting up in the process. “Rose Tyler,” he said, that beautiful voice filling her ears. “I was going to take you to so many places.”

“Stop it!” she cried, putting a hand out in front of her as if in self defense. “This isn’t right. Why are you here?”

The man pretending to be her Doctor leaned foreword, running a hand down the left side of the console, and answered her frantic question with another of his own. “Why am I here?” He turned towards her, “fantastic question. Why are any of us here really? And for that matter, what do you mean by here?” He rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “Do you mean this control room, the TARDIS, the universe? You’ve got to be more specific if you want me to answer. But if you want to know the truth Rose Tyler, you’ve asked the wrong question.”

Rose cocked her head to the side, as if seeing this man from another angle would make his presence more plausible. “Who are you?”

He frowned, the manic grin fading into disappointment as he placed a large palm against his chest. “Now that hurts, Rose, after all we’ve been through together. We may not have made it to Barcelona, but we still had some pretty good times, don’t you think?”

“I did go to Barcelona,” she contradicted, “and ancient Rome, and pre-revolutionary France, and New Earth, and tons of other places. And you would know that if you were really him.” She was breathing heavy now and backing up to partially hide behind one of the organic pillars supporting the control room. For a split second she let herself remember where else on the ship these pillars were, but as much as she’d like to be in the Doctor’s bed right now, she was never going to be there again if she couldn’t focus. “Why are you doing this?” she cried, but he just he continued to frown at her. His concern was palpable but Rose wouldn’t let herself be sucked in by it. “Whoever you work for got it wrong. The Doctor doesn’t look like you anymore. He changed.”

The imposter moved to walk towards her but stopped abruptly when Rose flinched away. He put his hands up, palms out as if to show her that he meant no harm. “I know I changed,” he said firmly, “right here, right now, in a ball of flame.” He grinned again, his voice growing light once more. “I did it for you.”

Trying to regain the upper hand, Rose changed the subject. “I’ve been here before,” she informed him with a forced calm, “I’ve lived this before and you can’t be real.”

He did move towards her then, ignoring her hesitation, and laid a firm hand upon her shoulder to halt her retreat. He slid his other palm across her face to cup the softness of her cheek, letting her feel the familiar pattern of calluses as he stared down at her. “I am real,” he told her passionately. “In this time and place, I am the Doctor.”

Blue eyes met hazel and Rose stared up at them intently, as if trying to assess their owner. Whether they were ocean blue or chocolate brown her Doctor’s gaze always held a uniquely poignant combination of deep regret and mischievous joy. A tiny crack of doubt let hope filter into Rose and she leaned her face a little into his touch. “Why am I here?” She asked, her voice a little rough.

“Ahh,” he answered, dropping his hand from her face to step back a bit, “That, Rose Tyler, is the right question.”

“Then what’s the answer?” She all but shouted the words, her patience nearing its end.

“That,” he said, moving away to lean against the console, “is complicated, but first things first, tell me how I am now? I don’t get to remember anything past this day so satisfy my curiosity a bit before I satisfy yours.” His mad grin was back, and he crossed his ankles as he supported himself against the controls in an absurdly nonchalant pose.

Rose walked back around the pillar to approach The Doctor. This might be a hallucination, or some kind of time distortion, but this was certainly her best friend, and one day lover. She had nothing to fear. “I thought you weren’t supposed to know too much about your own future.” She chided him lightly.

“Doesn’t much matter if I’m dying in a few minutes now does it?”

Rose stiffened, “Well when you put it that way…”she let the cliché trial off, “what do you want to know?”

“Fantastic!” he exclaimed rubbing his palms together in glee. “Do I get to be ginger?”

Rose couldn’t help but chuckle at that. “No,” she said with a half grin, “You’re just sort of brown.”

The Doctor frowned and crossed his leather clad arms. “Figures,” he pouted a little and shifted his weight to lean on one foot, “and I bet, judging from the dreamy, glassy eyed look on your face, that I’m a bit pretty now aren’t I?” Rose blushed in spite of the situation and glanced at her feet. He chucked at her reaction. “You always did have a thing for the pretty ones.”

“Oi,” Rose exclaimed with righteous indignation, “I’m not the only one. What about tree-lady Jabe, and Lynda with a ‘Y’, and Madame du Pompadour?”

The Doctor raised an eyebrow at that one, “The Uncrowned Queen of France?”

“Yeah,” Rose replied, latent rage lacing her voice. “You just left me and Mickey in this space ship full of clockwork assassins and went swanning of with King Louis’s mistress. Then you come back half drunk, your tie tied around your head, and blathering on about banana daiquiris.”

“Now I know you’re joking,” he said, raising a single eyebrow in consternation. “I would never do that!”

“Which part,” she asked cheekily, “the beautiful courtesan, or the banana daiquiris.”

“Neither,” he answered, looking appalled, “The part where I let Rickey in to the TARDIS.”

Rose tilted her head back and belted out a laugh worthy of any previous trip with this man. It was just like old times. “He’s a good bloke Doctor,” she said sobering up a bit. “He’s saved us more than once, and he loves me quite a bit more than is healthy.”

“Well then,” he said sincerely. “He’s got good taste, I’ll give him that much.”

Rose beamed and moved a little closer, just enough to smell his aftershave. I think you liked him quite a bit in the end,” she told him frankly, “he proved himself to be a lot braver than we ever gave him credit for.”

“That or I get very soft after this regeneration,” he grumbled.

“You think that’s bad,” she taunted him, “You get along a lot better with my mum.” Rose continued, enjoying the horrified expression on his angled face. “She even nursed you by your beside while you were sick,” Rose frowned, “you gave us all quite a scare.”

“Oh well,” he shrugged his shoulders, “you’re not mourning me so I guess everything worked out all right then.” He turned to play with some switches on the console.

“I did mourn you,” she told him quietly, coming up behind him to lay a hand against his leather clad back. He froze as she continued. “At first I did. I thought I’d lost you, my Doctor. You were so different.”

The Doctor didn’t move, he just continued to stare at the console. “Different how?” he asked quietly.

“You’re lighter,” she replied moving around his body to look him in the eye, “It lots of ways. You’re a little thinner, a little paler, and a little less sad.”

The Doctor’s face fell and Rose could see all the sadness she’d just mentioned etched in every line of his features. “I got used to it though,” she told him saucily, “you’ve still got a mad grin.”

“What about my ears?” he asked playfully, flicking the lobes with his index fingers, “I think they’re my best feature.”

She laughed, pushing her tongue a little out the side of her mouth in a gesture that was purely Rose. “They’re a bit smaller,” she admitted moving to cup his cheek in her palm, “but sometimes I still miss this daft face, no matter how much I love your new one.”

The Doctor sobered as if remembering the task at hand. He took her fingers in his and rubbed his thumb gently across the neatly manicured nails. “How much do you remember about this day?” he asked, growing quite serious.

Rose stared down at the pink jacket she was wearing and bit her bottom lip in concentration. “I didn’t remember anything at first.” She replied after a moment’s hesitation. “But over the following months little fragments would come flashing back into my memory.” She covered their clasped hands with her other palm and continued. “I remember everyone was going to die and so you sent me away” She pointed a stern finger at him like a scolding parent, “That’s a trend with you by the way.”

“What?” he placed his free palm against his chest in mock horror, “and you expect me to apologize for that, for trying to protect you?”

Rose smiled up at him, pulling his palm away from the black jumper and clasping it in her own. “No,” she agreed, you’d never do that and I’d never ask you to.”

“What else do you remember?”

“Almost everything,” she admitted, “getting sent home, getting Mum and Mickey to help me break into the heart of the TARDIS, absorbing the Time Vortex. I don’t remember any of the forbidden knowledge she gave me, but I remember killing the Daleks, “Rose shuddered and he moved a little closer to lend her his strength. “I remember killing all the Daleks, every last one, well every one present at the time. I turned them all to dust.”

“I’m sorry, Rose,” he pulled her close, tucking her blond head under his chin and squeezing firmly. “You were never meant to know what it feels like to kill.”

“I’m not sorry.” She said firmly, pulling back to look him firmly in the eye. Her gaze held no remorse. “They threatened my race, my friends, and my Doctor.”

“I’m gone now,” he said solemnly, “so I’m not afraid to ask this.”

“What, Doctor?” She asked, curious and cautious at the same time.

He took a deep breath and closed his eyes. Resting his forehead against hers he asked, “Do I still love you this much?”

Rose’s eyes burned with unshed tears as she struggled to answer his question. “Yeah,” she finally replied, “yeah you do. But I don’t think it hurts you quite as much as it did.”

“Oh, Rose,” he said sadly, shaking his head against hers. “You are so wrong about that one.”

Rose pulled back in dismay, “how do you mean?”

“You asked me a question and I promised to answer it. Ask it again?”

Rose thought for a second before complying. “Why am I here?”

“What’s the last thing you remember before waking up here a few moments ago?”

Rose quizzed up her brow. “I was cold,” she answered, “and confused, and I was supposed to save someone.”

“Anything else?” he prompted.

“Pain,” she said, growing frightened, “a lot of pain.”

“That’s right,” he agreed, trying to draw her close to him again, “but whatever happened, whoever hurt you it doesn’t matter anymore.”

“Why?” She asked raggedly, frantically trying to pull away as apprehension grew inside her, “What’s going on?”

“You absorbed the Time Vortex, Rose and no one’s meant to do that, let alone survive it.” He released her to gesture frantically with is hands. “I didn’t even survive it fully. What you did was unprecedented!”

“What are you trying to say?” she asked, almost shouting in her anxiety.

“You’re brilliant,” he said grabbing her face in both hands and kissing her square on the forehead, “Absolutely fantastic!” Rose just stared at him in shock. “You placed little clues all through time and space to both warn us of what was coming and to lead you back to me. But while that vortex was swimming through your head you did something else.”

Rose was almost too afraid to ask, almost. “What did I do?”

“You planted me here.”

“What?”

“I’m a memory,” he answered matter-of-factly, “a little bit of me that you placed in the back of your mind to help you remember.”

“Remember what?” She asked, growing more horrified by the second.

“How to live!” he exclaimed moving back to spread his arms wide, “how to come back to me!”

“You’re not making sense!”

The Doctor grew serious again, moving close once more to take her hand. “You’ve stopped breathing,” he told her, watching reality dawn on her lovely face. “Your heart’s not beating.”

“No.” She pulled back once again to lean against a pillar, tears forming in her eyes. “That’s not true, stop it!”

“It’s true, Rose and you’ve got to remember how to wake up before it’s too late.”

“I don’t know what you mean!” she cried. “If I’m dead I can’t wake up.”

“Oh yes you can.” He insisted, striding towards her with abject determination, “and it’s time for you to go now.”

“Why?” she asked, terrified of leaving him, terrified of what was beyond this memory.

“Because I’m not really dead,” he answered, touching her face and tracing the full lips with his thumb, “and neither are you.” Suddenly his whole body began to glow with an ethereal magic light, causing Rose’s breath to catch in her throat. Was this how she’d looked that day?

“Yes,” he answered, suddenly at one with her mind. “You looked a lot like this,” he moved to embrace her, “only you were beautiful.” Rose reached her arms around his broad shoulders, pulling his body in close to hers. Then, in a reverse reenactment of their first kiss, he laid his lips gently upon hers, once again taking the burden onto himself, saving her. But this time, instead of the crippling power that was pulled out of her body, life rushed back in.

Chapter 13
 
 
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