This is the sequel to my AU post-Doomsday reunion fic Come Back to Me
Synopsis: Tyler and a rather pregnant Rose go on holiday in Cardiff, where they run into a bit of trouble. Meanwhile, the Doctor attends a seriously un-peaceful peace conference. Crossover with Torchwood in later chapters.
Spoilers: This is an AU story that takes place after series 3 of Doctor Who and episode 2.05 (Adam)in Torchwood.
Disclaimer: If I owned Doctor who you'd be watching this story on TV
The Doctor watched, awestruck, as Rose Tyler bounded up the metal ramp leading into the console room of the TARDIS, the bells wrapped around her ankles jingling with each delicate step of her bare feet. She twirled once, arms outstretched, her white, diaphanous skirt billowing out as if in slow motion. Her glorious breasts, swollen slightly from her pregnancy, were barely constrained by the matching sash; the remaining length of which flared out from its knot in the back, caught in her spontaneous pirouette. The multitude of golden braids woven into her hair clicked rhythmically as wooden beads on the end of each strand hit and rolled together. Her garments were designed to display the reason for the recent celebration; their unborn child, who rested in the gentle swell of a woman just about to enter her third trimester. The soft skin protecting the baby’s temporary home was covered in the protective runes honoring the fertility goddess of the Orombia Tribe. Rose moved again, once more delighting in the dance motions their newfound friends had so recently taught her.
Tyler, their beloved adopted son, his sixteen years the equivalent of an Earth child at just eleven years of age, danced alongside his mother, laughing with joy, high on living. His bare chest was covered in similar symbols, but unlike Rose, whose decoration was meant to last a month, his would wash off the next time he bathed. If it weren’t for the denim shorts and blue trainers he wore, he might just look like a native child, lost in the movements of this traditional art.
Yes, the Doctor was awestruck; he who had seen planets born and planets burn; he who had spent so many lonely years saving everyone else, was finally saved.
He walked slowly up the ramp, trailing his long fingers along the length of the railing, reluctant to interrupt the show he was so enjoying. This had been a good adventure, for once not filled with death or destruction, but a celebration of life, of hope. The Doctor sighed, his contentment disturbed by one black spot clouding the lovely day. He recalled it back into his mind, replaying the events of the last few hours…
“So where are we then Doctor?” Rose asked her husband as he motioned towards the police box doors.
The Doctor looked up, one eyebrow raised, his cocky smile ready to tease her, “Why don’t you go take a look, hmm?” He walked determinedly over to her then and led her towards the double doors, one hand placed firmly on the small of her back. Rose looked doubtful; their last few trips had been less than perfect. “Go on,” he prompted her, it’s a surprise.” She frowned, crossing both arms above the gentle swell of her pregnancy. “You’ll love it,” he insisted gently pushing her towards the door a bit more. “I promise.” The last two words came out in a kind of sing songy voice, and as they were accompanied by his million watt smile, Rose didn’t stand a chance.
“Okay Mr. Impressive,” she agreed reluctantly, her own gorgeous lips turned up for the first time in days, “Let’s have a go, shall we?” Rose pushed both doors out at once and gasped at the splendor before them. “Oh it’s warm!” She exclaimed almost reverently, stepping out into the sunshine and spinning about a bit. She giggled with joy, reminding the Doctor once more of how young she actually was.
“Thought you might appreciate that,” He answered happily as he followed her onto the grassy plain, both hands stuffed in to his trouser pockets. He watched his wife bask in the sunlight, her powder blue jumper and black slacks contrasting strangely with the tropical weather. He was so relieved to see her like this. She’d been so cold lately and it had been destroying her mood and the mood of everyone around her (including the TARDIS, who had been sputtering and shifting funny for weeks). He’d checked and rechecked her vitals, going over every little bone, blood vessel, and hormone, and as usual, everything was fine; better than fine, perfect. They’d discovered just a little over six months ago that due to Rose’s selfless act of absorbing the Time Vortex little bits of it had actually encoded themselves into her DNA. The result of which induced a rapid cell regeneration that had virtually stopped her aging, and triggered a burst of spontaneous healing whenever she was seriously injured. One side effect of the rapid healing however was the accelerated growth of everything in Rose’s body; like her hair and nails. Unknown to either of them at the time, their daughter’s first tiny cells had already begun to divide, and following a life threatening injury on Rose’s part, had accelerated all fetal development to just past the first trimester. Since then the baby’s growth had been back to normal, which unfortunately for Rose seemed to be the average for a Gallifreyan pregnancy; eighteen months during ideal conditions. Rose it seemed, had another six months to be go.
This fact seemed to be rapidly taking its toll. Human/Gallifreyan pregnancies were as rare as they were complicated, and despite his wife’s amazing body, both in form and in function, the Doctor just couldn’t find the right formula of vitamins to keep her vibrant. She’d been listless, grumpy, and had been sporting what Rose called ‘raccoon eyes.’ Another side effect of her poor health seemed to be the irrational cold she’d been feeling for weeks. He and Tyler had subjected themselves to almost sweltering heat on the time ship just to keep Rose in minimal comfort. Tyler had taken to wearing nothing but his denim shorts while they were in the TARDIS and the Doctor had been forced to leave his suit jacket hanging on its peg in the wardrobe room. To confound the problem, the trio had done nothing but run for their lives since he’d been reunited with Rose six months ago. She was tired and she was pregnant and he was doing a terrible job of taking care of her. The Doctor grimaced and ran a restless hand across his brow, good grief he was rubbish.
“Why the long face?” The Doctor looked up suddenly, startled at being pulled out his musings, and gazed at his wife’s lovely concerned eyes.
“I was just thinking,” he told her, smiling broadly to dispel any inkling she had of his anxiety, “that we should go and visit the natives.” He reached for her hand, drawing Rose’s unresisting body against his chest. “Maybe they know what’s fun around here.”
“Hmm,” she said lightly, wrapping her arms around her husband, leaning in to nuzzle his neck. “Maybe we could just make our own fun.”
Desire bubbled up inside the Doctor, threatening to destroy all his good intentions.
‘Hmm,’ he groaned, “Someone’s feeling better.” It had been weeks since she’d approached him with any intimate intentions whatsoever. He drew in a sharp breath when her roving hands delved up under the crisp white shirt to skim low on the skin of his belly.
Rose leaned up, nuzzling the edge of his jaw and simultaneously reaching for the clasp on his trousers. “I don’t know what it is,” she explained, nibbling her way down her lover’s neck, “maybe its this place. Maybe it’s the warmth, or the sunshine, or something in the air, but, “she looked up into his eyes, love and desire emanating from her in a healthy glow, “I need you. Now.”
So much for good intentions. The Doctor let every rational thought in his head just rush out and disappear as his lips converged on his wife’s. She moaned into him, attacking the buttons on his shirt while simultaneously exploring his mouth with her tongue. The Doctor pushed her hands away, frantically removing his own shirt before pulling her jumper up over her head and flinging it to some unknown destination. The golden pendant she wore, the seal of Rassilon proclaiming her as his wife, reflected the sun’s rays for a moment as it bounced against her skin. He lowered her into the tall grass, taking special care to protect their unborn child; not caring if they were out in open, not even thinking about the fact that their son could come out of the TARDIS at any minute and find them. If Rose wanted sunlight, The Doctor was going to give her sunlight.
He blazed a trail of kisses down her throat, across her collarbone, and down the center of her chest to the gentle swell of her stomach. He lingered there, placing his hands on either side of her, his long fingers encasing, surrounding the child within. “I love you.” He whispered reverently, not even knowing himself if he was addressing the life within or without,. “I love you.”
“Doctor,” His wife’s pleading voice barely registered inside his passion filled brain.
“Hmm,” he answered thoughtlessly, all the while continuing his sensual assault.
“Doctor!” The frantic cry finally snapped him to attention, the realization finally dawning that perhaps something was wrong.
“What?” he asked quickly, a slight annoyance coloring the words.
Rose flashed him a cheeky smile, her arms suddenly moving to conceal her pink cotton bra, “the natives don’t seem to like our brand of fun.”
The Doctor rolled over, his whole body coming to rest on the ground beside his wife. Ten huge muscular men stood in a circle around them, their skin bronzed, their garments consisting only of very brief loincloths. Each had a very sharp looking spear pointed directly at the couple. “Aww,” the Doctor whined, throwing his hands up and flopping his head down onto the ground, “Did you have to?”
Rose smiled nervously at the troop of men standing menacingly above them and looked around frantically for her blue jumper. “So do you think public indecency is a crime on this planet?” she asked her husband through clenched teeth.
“Well,” The Doctor answered, his own teeth clenched into a comical smile, “judging from their own garments I’d guess that it isn’t; at least for the men.”
Rose snorted indelicately, “Fat lot of good that does me.”
“Right.” The Doctor put his palms up in the universal ‘please don’t kill me, I’m unarmed’ sign and slowly started to rise. “Hello fellas,” he greeted them jovially, “sorry to bother you. The wife and I are just on bit of holiday really. We’ll be going now.” The men snorted distrustingly, but didn’t make any more threatening movements. Taking this as a sign of good faith he leaned down to help Rose up. “Didn’t happen to see a blue jumper lying around here someplace? No? Well then, see you.” The couple inched away then, Rose still holding one arm over her breasts, the Doctor pulling her gently with the other.
The biggest of the warriors quickly reached out a hand to grab Rose's upper arm, abruptly stopping their retreat. Her husband’s smile disappeared, all angles on his lovely face turned down, the light in his soft brown eyes grown stormy, “You really might want to rethink that.” His voice was gruff, barely concealing the instant rage the warrior’s unthinking gesture had created.
Unmoved by the Doctor’s threat, the warrior moved his other hand to caress the swell of Rose’s belly. She gasped, surprised by both the gentleness of his touch, and the sudden movement of the child within her. “Wait,” she cautioned her husband quickly, releasing his hand to lay it against his chest, stopping him from charging, “He isn’t hurting me.” The Doctor looked as if he’d pounce at any minute, but he backed down a bit for now.
The warrior continued his caressing, a reverent smile transforming the massive man into someone much more approachable. “Thank the Goddess,” he whispered, kneeling before her, his arm outstretched to keep in contact with her skin. “All hail the chosen one!” Simultaneously, all nine of the remaining warriors knelt down in a circle around Rose, their chants echoed across the plain.
“All hail the chosen one!”
Tyler sat perched on the lone bench inside the console room and thumbed through one of Rose’s fashion magazines. His mum and dad had disappeared about twenty minutes ago, and to be honest he was actually quite relieved that they’d left him behind for a little while. They needed some time together and he needed some peace and quiet. The two of them had been treading on pins and needles lately, and while the Doctor could block his mind from others, Rose didn’t have that skill. Tyler had trouble shutting out the emotions of others in normal circumstances due to his incredibly powerful psychic empathy, and Rose’s moodiness lately was enough to drive him mad. He’d been careful to never let it show though; she didn’t need one more thing to upset her. His mum didn’t know it, but the baby could tell when she was upset too; his sister had been a bit scared these last few weeks.
Tyler cocked his head to the side as he stared at the glossy image of a particularly attractive supermodel. Her long red hair reminded him of that girl he’d met on one of their last adventures; Kissarna. Tyler sighed; she’d been the young daughter of the planet’s highest ranking government official; out of reach, out of touch, and beautiful. Didn’t matter now though, he smiled sadly, flipping the page to the ‘fashion do’s and don’ts’ page, he wasn’t going to see her again anyway. The TARDIS never really made return trips.
“Hey Tyler?” The boy closed the magazine quickly upon hearing his father’s voice just outside, crinkling its glossy pages in his haste. He looked around frantically for a hiding spot, before simply lifting up for a second to sit on it. The TARDIS door creaked open a split second later and the Doctor’s jovial face poked in. “You ready to go?”
“Um Yeah,” Tyler’s face was a perfect reflection of innocence. “Are we going anywhere in particular?”
“As a matter of fact,” his father answered, rubbing the back of his neck with one hand, “It seems that we’ve landed on a fairly primitive planet whose inhabitance worship a benevolent fertility goddess.”
Tyler raised an eyebrow at this information. “Okay?”
“So every ten years,” The Doctor continued, “They honor the pregnant woman in the tribe, as their fertileness directly reflects the tribe’s favor with the goddess. So the problem this time seems to be that nobody’s pregnant right now. Chief Oonooka, nice man once you get used to his massive size, says it’s the first time this has happened in four hundred years. They think Rose has been sent by the goddess as a sign that she hasn’t found fault with them.” He smiled triumphantly, “they want to honor her.”
Tyler stared at his father anxiously, the situation too good to be true. “You sure they don’t want to sacrifice her to said goddess?”
“One-hundred percent,” he assured his son, “well, ninety-nine at least.” Tyler had to chuckle at that one. “I remembered to check this time,” he assured him, “No sacrifices of any sentient life at this ritual. So unless you can die from too much pampering, and she’s a woman so you can wipe that smirk off your face, then everyone is going to have a great time.”
Tyler sighed and slumped his shoulders, causing the Doctor to mimic the gesture in disappointment. “Come on son,” he pleaded, stepping fully into the console room. “It’ll be fun. How often to we have a day where get to,” he held up a hand and counted out one finger at a time, “save the day, make your mum extraordinarily happy, hang out with a bunch of huge warriors, dance around a ceremonial fire, and do it all without having to run for our lives?”
The boy giggled, once again looking like the child he was, and hopped up from his place on the bench. “Okay, okay,” he answered breathlessly, “I’m coming.” He made his way across the room, plucked his glasses from the console to tuck in a pocket, and eased past the Doctor. He stopped abruptly when his father’s heavy hand landed on his shoulder. The magazine made a crinkling sound as The Doctor peeled it off his jeans.
“Nice.” His father said simply, eying the ginger supermodel. “But next time,” he added, smiling with masculine pride, “don’t sit on a magazine you’ve just been holding with sweaty hands.”
Tyler’s freckles almost got lost beneath the deep blush, “right.”
The Doctor leaned against an outside support pole for one of the many tents in the village and watched his son learn the tribal dances with the other children near the bonfire across the field. He was glad that Tyler had brought his glasses, as night had fallen early in this place. He didn’t want to see these people’s reaction to a boy who’s eyes project purple light in the dark.
He’d checked on Rose in a nearby tent about twenty minutes ago. The woman of the tribe had been simultaneously braiding wooden beads into her hair, painting semi-permanent protection runes on her belly, and massaging her feet. The Doctor wasn’t entirely sure she’d noticed his presence at all. He thumbed the Gallifrayan writing on the platinum ring he wore on his left hand and smiled. He’d done good with this trip.
The Doctor sipped his warm drink contentedly and contemplated the unique taste, rolling it around in his mouth. It was something like tea he supposed, although there was a certain tartness to it, fruit perhaps? He never got the chance to ponder further however, because a very large, very strong hand clamped down over his shoulder.
“Oh.” The Doctor exclaimed happily when he recognized Chief Oonooka. “Hello big fella. What can I do for you?” The chief’s body was almost completely covered in those same scrolling tribal patterns that were slowly being painted on everyone in the camp.
“It is time for you to visit the shaman,” he said simply, gesturing towards the tent’s entrance.
“Oh yeah,” The Doctor asked, pulling lightly on one ear. “Is this where I find out my part in the ceremony?”
“Nope,” he said, his deep voice resonating with humor. “It’s time for your paint.”
“Oh well,” the Doctor held out his hands, desperate to come up with an excuse. “I’m not really into bodily expression,” he squeaked out, “A bit modest this time around don’t you know.”
The Chief placed his massive hand on the back of the Doctor’s neck and applied a light pressure, making it clear he could snap the bone if he so chose. “To deny the runes is to dishonor the shaman, the Goddess, and your woman, who has found favor with the Goddess.”
“Yeah, Okay,” The Doctor managed to choke out as the warrior led him into the tent by his neck, “I could use a little decoration.” He was unceremoniously stripped of his dress shirt and vest, and plunked down on a tiny stool by a small fire. There was a gently sloping, cushioned table in front of him and he leaned against it, exposing his back to the elderly man behind him.
The first touch of the brush was cool, and the Doctor flinched a little before stilling purposely under the watchful gaze of the chief. He looked up to watch the shaman’s movements through the reflecting glass hanging from the roof. He supposed it was placed there for just this reason. The gray haired man painted detailed strokes with a long handled brush, starting directly between his shoulder blades. He made interlocking concentric circles, using the Doctor’s natural mole as midpoint. Never one to remain silent The Doctor attempted to strike up a conversation. “So,” he said, jovially, “Had this job long?”
The old man continued to paint, his face down in concentration, his long gray hair concealing most of his features. “I have been a shaman since birth. It is not a choice, “he told the Doctor, his voice soft and full of wisdom, “But a destiny. Something I think you understand quite well.”
The Doctor frowned, thinking about everything he’d been though, everything his family had been through to get to this point, “Maybe.”
“Your family is happy here.” The man continued, ignoring the Doctor’s obvious discomfort. “Your woman is healthier than she has been for weeks, your son is playing with children his own age, and you…”
“Don’t belong here,” the Doctor interrupted him, unwilling to take this conversation to its obvious conclusion.
“But you could,” the shaman continued, starting to color in some of the circles, “We would welcome you with open arms. You and your family are small and pale but you are obviously touched by the Goddess and,” he continued seriously, “no man can be a nomad forever. Even my people, who were travelers for many eons, had to learn to stop, to stay.”
The Doctor smiled mirthlessly, “my home is the open road as they say,” he told him, his attempt at levity falling a bit short.
The wise man had finished his central design and was starting to make broad strokes over towards the Doctor’s shoulder blades, and down his spine. “I knew you would refuse the offer,” the old man admitted, adding little flourishing squiggles, “but I felt compelled to ask anyway. You are blessed by the Goddess, and she blesses those who take care of her own.”
The Doctor did smile then, a genuine stretching of the lips that made it all the way to his soft brown eyes. “I have my own goddess,” he told the shaman, once more fingering the ancient letters on his wedding band, “and she most certainly blesses me.”
The old man chuckled, a strange sound coming from such a wise man. “You speak of your woman,” he said, reaching for a cup of clear liquid. “She is blessed by more than just our Goddess,” he paused as if considering something weighty, “And the child within her is blessed by everything.”
The Doctor stared at this mysterious man’s reflection in the hanging glass as those words spun around in his mind. “You saw all that did you?” He asked him tentatively, unsure of the answer he wanted, “just now as you were painting my back?”
The gray haired man spread the clear jell-like substance over the intricate design. “I see lots of things,” he said ominously, looking up from his completed task. The Doctor’s eyes grew wide at seeing the shaman’s face for the first time. The old man’s eyes were clouded over with thick cataracts, the lids covering them not even bothering to open all the way. This man was blind.
“I’ve given you the symbol of protector,” he said, “and the coating will make it last for at least one full cycle of the moon. You’re mate has had the same treatment, but your son’s should wash off with his next bathing.”
“Thank you.” The Doctor sat dumbfounded, for once at a loss for words.
“Know this,” he continued, “I do not choose the symbols to paint, the Goddess chooses them for me. You are The Protector; I felt it as soon as you entered this world and I will feel your leaving. Your woman is very very special, and the life she carries has a destiny; one that cannot be measured by tired old men who paint pictures. The boy can help, but be wary. Something carries on the wind.”
The Doctor was startled back into the present when the console room was abruptly filled with a loud crash. He looked up to see Tyler, sprawled on the floor, obviously having just twisted his own feet together in the dance. He laughed hysterically, one arm wrapped around his stomach in joyful pain at his own clumsiness. Rose, having quickly determined that he wasn’t hurt, shared in his mirth.
The Doctor pushed all negative thoughts away. There was nothing to the old wise man’s tale. Everything was fine. He’d know it if something was coming; he always did. He strode forward into the room, ignoring the slight itching between his shoulder blades.
“Okay Puppy,” The Doctor called out, the old nickname causing his son to groan. “It has been a glorious day for time traveling, but its time for bed. The boy looked as if he was going to protest for a moment but then thought better of it. He jumped up to tightly embrace his father. “Night dad.”
“Oh you’re getting heavy!” The Doctor exclaimed as he lifted his son off the ground for a second. He placed him back on his feet with an exaggerated sigh. “Go kiss your mum goodnight.”
Tyler exchanged hugs and kisses with Rose who despite having just met the boy six months ago, was as loving as if she’d raised him from infancy like his father. She was frustrated sometimes with how to act or what to say, but her inherent compassion didn’t usually lead her astray. For the millionth time since he’d gotten her back he wondered at the miracle of her existence, and that of his whole family.
Tyler broke away from Rose and laid his palm against her stomach in their nightly ritual. He closed his eyes for a second, his freckled cheeks pinching up in soft smile, “Goodnight baby,” he whispered. Rose laid a hand on his head for a moment, ruffling the unruly chestnut strands before gently pushing him towards the door. His rhythmic footsteps echoed down the hall.
The Doctor called after him, having almost forgotten the symbols painted all over Tyler’s chest. “Shower first, then sleep!”
Tyler’s voice was faint, but his begrudging frustration could be heard nonetheless “Yes sir.”
Rose sighed, rubbing a hand over the delicate runes painted all over the swell of her belly. “He always gets her wound up,” she told The Doctor as he enfolded her into his arms. “I know he needs to feel her, touch her mind, let her know he’s part of the family, but it gets her so excited that she doesn’t sleep when I want to.”
The Doctor moved his hand down over his daughter, the long fingers rounded, as if palming a basketball. He marveled at her movements for a moment, before closing his eyes and concentrating. The child within Rose’s womb instantly quieted. Rose leaned into her husband, suddenly exhausted from the day’s activities. “How is it that you can do that?” she asked him, chuckling softly. “Do you say something to her, tell her to save gymnastics for a bit later, warn her to stop punching mummy?”
The Doctor held his wife closer, rocking them gently back and fourth. “I sing.” He answered, “I sing her an ancient lullaby that she instinctively recognizes and it calms her down.”
Rose smiled against the cotton of his shirt, “that’s lovely,” she yawned as his gentle movements soothed her as easily as any lullaby. “Will you sing it for me sometime?”
The Doctor rubbed his chin against her hair, feeling her tiny braids get caught in the day old stubble there. “Yeah,” he answered noncommittally, “sometime;” Sometime when she wasn’t dead on her feet. The old concern flared up inside him again. She’d had a tiny reprieve, but was far from energetic. He flinched slightly, the design under his shirt starting to burn. What was in that ink? Rose seemed perfectly fine on that score. He pushed the thought aside, maybe he just needed a shower like Tyler.
“Time for bed for us too.” He told his wife, leading her towards the hall, we’ll start a new adventure tomorrow." The Doctor frowned, for some reason the thought of starting a new day allowed a trickle of unease into his gut.
“Okay,” Rose answered, the word muffled by a huge yawn. “Tomorrow’s good.”
The Doctor suddenly turned, causing Rose to wobble for a second from losing his support. The symbol on his back ached in earnest now, the twinge in his gut flaming into a new intensity. His gaze scanned the room, his fingers raked through his russet hair, disheveling it. Something niggled in the back of his skull, something was out of place. Both he and Rose nearly jumped out of their skin as the telephone on the console began to ring, its mechanical bell as mismatched as the rest of ship.
“Doctor?” Rose had moved the few feet to stand by his side, gently laying her hand on his arm. “Who’d be phoning us? Nobody has this number?” she got a little agitated. “And even if someone did, who’d have the technology to reach us here?”
The Doctor’s mind raced as he slowly approached the ringing little bit of low tech incorporated into the rest of the ship’s mismatched parts. Something was wrong, Something was out there, Something was waiting.
Rose’s voice grew a bit frantic, his silence disturbing her. “Doctor?”
He reached the phone and placed his hand upon the receiver, ready to lift it from its cradle should it dare to ring again. It did. The Doctor gripped it in his suddenly sweaty palm, the throbbing in his back and the twinge in his gut intensifying with the motion. He turned to face Rose; watched, as her beautiful face turned into a mask of fearful anxiety, and moved to place the phone against his ear.