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
Call for Help
Rose stood frozen for a moment, letting her husband’s ominous words echo through her mind, as something poisonous started churning in her gut. The ache intensified when her daughter decided to wake up and continue her usual gymnastics inside her womb.
“Who is this?” The Doctor’s face scrunched up in an impressive display of confusion as he leaned in closer to the receiver and used a finger to pinch his other ear closed. “What do you want?” He paused for a second, his agitation obviously growing. “How did you get this number?”
Rose strode across the room, her white, diaphanous skirts billowing out around her as she approached her husband, all patience suddenly lost. “What!?” The Doctor stood immobile for a moment, his arm outstretched towards the phone that his wife had just so rudely snatched out of his hand. “What!?”
Rose ignored his protests as she placed it against her own ear and motioned towards the TARDIS console. “See if you can track the signal,” she called to him; catching a glimpse of his startled expression, before turning all of her attention to the strange, static filled sounds coming from the receiver.
“Please…” another unintelligible, rumble of static, “taken…” more static. The signal was so weak she couldn’t determine anything descriptive about the caller; not sex, nor age, nor accent. Rose pressed the phone closer to her ear just as The Doctor had done earlier and tried to make out as much of the message as possible. She only managed to understand three more words, but they chilled her to the bone, “trapped…help us.”
Rose looked up, wide-eyed, at her husband, who was frantically circling the console, pushing buttons and turning levers. “Try to keep them on the phone,” he called out. “I’ve almost got a lock on it.”
“Can you hear me?” She asked, raising her voice in an attempt to get through, “Where are you?” Rose took a deep breath when all she heard in reply was white noise. “Please,” she tried again, “we can help you, but you need to tell us where you are.” Rose bit her bottom lip in instant despair as the signal cut off, leaving her with nothing but the mournful dirge of the dial tone. “I’ve lost them,” she told The Doctor dejectedly as she placed the device back in its cradle above the console.
“Well,” The Doctor said with enthusiasm as he raced around to the display screen, “That’s perfectly alright Love, because I…,” he drew the word out triumphantly as he tapped the screen, “…haven’t.” Placing his reading glasses securely on the bridge of his nose, the Doctor then proceeded to type something into the keypad; his fingers a blur as they worked their usual technological magic. Rose walked around to join him, placing her palm against the center of his back as she leaned in to look at the screen. He winced as her hand made contact with the brown fabric and she pulled back, concern immediately shadowing her expression.
“Sorry,” he said, straightening up a bit and flashing her a sheepish grin, “it’s nothing.”
Not believing that for a second, Rose reached out a hand to inspect him further. “Don’t say that…”
“Rose,” The Doctor’s voice was slightly frantic and he stopped her hand in mid reach, “fading signal, desperate cry for help; it’s a bit more important that my little aches and pains.” Noticing her frown he sighed and interlaced his fingers with hers. “We’ll talk about it later, alright?”
Rose nodded, accepting that answer for now. “What did you find out?” She asked him, gesturing to the geometric patterns flickering on the screen. “Who was it?”
“I’m not sure,” he replied; pushing the tip of his tongue up against the edge of his top teeth, “but the TARDIS should be able to work out where the call came from.”
She squinted at the intelligible writing, frustrated once again that the TARDIS absolutely refused to translate Gallifreyan. “Well how long is that gonna take?”
“About twelve hours.”
Rose let her jaw drop. “Fat lot of good that does whoever’s crying for help!”
“Oi!” The Doctor turned to his wife. “Time machine remember? As long as we don’t get ourselves entwined in their timeline we can arrive just after the message was sent. Well,” he said, rubbing the back of his neck distractedly, “within a reasonable margin for error.”
“Right.” Rose didn’t look convinced.
“Oh ye of little faith,” he chided her, pointing the finger at her skepticism, “you just watch…” He trailed off as the images on the screen started flickering around like mad. “Oh yes!”
Rose took one look at the excitement running through her husband and flashed him a cheeky grin, “Well that was a fast twelve hours.”
The Doctor didn’t look phased, “the process just went a bit faster than I’d first anticipated.”
Rose just smiled wider, “a bit yeah.”
“Now hold on,” he said, confusion once again coloring his words. He pushed up his glasses with a forefinger and squinting down at the display, “The TARDIS recognizes the technology that was used to send the signal.”
“So, that’s good then right,” wasn’t that the point of this little exercise? “We can find them sooner.” Rose rubbed a palm in little circles against the small of her back, massaging the tired muscles there. Their daughter churned in her womb, reminding her of the sleepless night ahead. “Might as well save a world tonight, not gonna get much rest anyway.” Even if the Doctor could quiet the baby again, Rose was just too wound up.
“The TARDIS still needs a few hours to calculate the exact time of the call,” he said, turning to face her completely, “and you aren’t going anywhere until you’ve had some rest.” Rose scowled but the Doctor continued. “You’re no help to me, or to whoever was on that phone, if you’re dead on your feet.”
“I’ll go to bed,” she said suggestively, reaching out to caress his beloved face, “if you come with me.” Rose flashed him a cheeky grin, an obvious ploy to get what she wanted, but the request was genuinely heartfelt. Rose only got the pleasure of truly sleeping with her husband every once in a while; his biology only requiring a fraction of the sleep that hers did.
“Hmm,” he groaned softly, turning his face into her touch and gently kissing the soft skin of her palm. “I just might do that.”
Rose giggled, delighted when his tongue darted out to flick against her skin. “Shall we make the most of these next few hours then Sir Doctor?”
“Absolutely Dame Rose,” he agreed, seducing her with a heavy lidded gaze. “But first,” He said suddenly, all traces of desire instantly gone from his voice, “I have a certain young man I need to question.”
Rose didn’t miss a beat, used to her husband abruptly changing the subject. “But why,” she asked, glancing towards the interior door, “he’s gone to bed; like we should being doing right now.”
The Doctor fished a black mobile phone out of his left trouser pocket and held it up for her inspection. “The TARDIS,” he explained, waving the little bit of plastic and metal around, “didn’t just identify the source of the signal, she recognized it. There are only three devices in the whole universe that send out a signal like the one we just received. This is one of them,” he said before crossing the room to search through a denim jacket that Rose had thrown over the railing. He pulled out her pink mobile and waved it around. “This is the second.”
Rose raised an eyebrow as the pieces of the puzzle finally came together. “Oh.”
The Doctor frowned and cocked his head in the direction that their son had run down not too long ago, “exactly.”
Tyler was sitting up, cross-legged, in the center of his bed when The Doctor quietly peeked his head in just inside the door. “You,” he said chidingly, “are supposed to be asleep.” He sauntered into the room then, hands in his trouser pockets as he approached the edge of the mattress. He peered down at the boy over the edge of his glasses, which had slid down towards the end of his nose. “What are you doing up?”
Tyler shrugged nervously and looked away, the perfect example of an evasive youth, “mum was scared about something.”
The Doctor took off his glasses to pinch the bridge of his nose, sighing wearily at this revelation. “Tyler,” he said softly, pulling over a small wooden chair to sit alongside the bed, “you need to learn to block out other people’s thoughts and emotions. You can’t just keep rooting around in someone else’s mind like that; it’s an invasion of privacy and isn’t healthy for you.”
“I know.” The voice was small and the boy on the bed still refused to meet his father’s eyes.
“I’ve taught you how to block it out Tyler and we’ve been meditating together to help you increase your skill.”
Tyler’s tone was so dejected that The Doctor felt a ball of guilt well up inside his chest, adding to the apprehension he still felt about their upcoming mission. He’d been so distracted lately that he hadn’t noticed his son growing distant until it was too late. “You know you can tell me anything.” The Doctor offered an affectionate smile but Tyler missed it, his gaze locked on the apparently fascinating duvet. “We used to talk.”
“Although,” the Doctor continued, “I could talk for both of us you know. You’re mum’s always saying how I’ve got a gob the size a solar system.”
Tyler snorted, “Well, you do.”
“Which solar system do you think she means by that hmm?” The Doctor rubbed the back of his neck as if deeply concerned, “The Novarian system only has two planets, four moons, and a red dwarf star; not a very impressive comparison when demonstrating the awesomeness that is my talent of elocution.”
Tyler’s response was laced with sarcasm,” You’re upset because mum’s insult wasn’t clear enough?”
The Doctor took a deep breath, pleased to see that Tyler’s gaze, while still guarded, was now fixed on him. “That’s right Tyler,” he continued, “One has to be clear on these things so as not to bruise feelings. You see, the Novalians, the Novarians’ nearest neighbor by the way, boast a binary star system with twenty six planets; ten of which would make the earth look like a small glass Christmas bulb. They’ve also got one hundred and eight moons, sixty thousand orbiting meteors, eleven hundred thousand amusement parks, fifteen hundred thousand water parks, (not the best mind you it’s rather cold in the Novalian system), five hundred million pubs, and about a billion cinemas.”
Tyler gaped incredulously at his father, “Does this story have a point?”
“You see Tyler,” The Doctor said confidently, as if this speech had made any sense whatsoever, “If someone says to you, you’ve got a Novarian gob, that’s nothing to sneeze at. But if someone says, Oi mate, you’ve got a mouth the size of the Novalian system, well then,” The Doctor pointed at his son, a look of sheer pride encompassing his face, “that would be impressive.” The Doctor grin faded with his son’s total lack of response, “and is any of this cheering you up at all?” Tyler just stared. “No? Not even the smallest bit?”
“I’m not a kid anymore Dad,” Tyler’s small face belittled the words, but the tone of his voice and the look in his eyes vouched for them. “You can’t make me forget about anything with a bit of a laugh.”
The Doctor frowned, wishing desperately that he could just take his child into his arms and hug all the pain away; make it all better with a kiss just like he used to. Instead he offered Tyler a narrow smile, “I know.”
“Mum’s upset about something, again.” He slapped his palms down on the duvet in exasperation, “She was happy all day, we were happy all day and now it’s all ruined.” The boy’s voice cracked a little with his next words, “what happened?”
“Tyler, she’s pregnant,” The Doctor reached out to take his son’s hand, letting out a long suffering sigh when the boy flinched away, “There are enough hormones running through her system to bring a Cyberman to tears and on top of that she’s carrying a child her physiology isn’t prepared to carry. Her back hurts constantly, she’s tired, she’s cranky, she’s stressed, and she doesn’t feel well.” Tyler looked even closer to tears so the Doctor laid a hand on his shoulder, ignoring the boy’s silent protest, “but she’s also going to be fine.”
“How can you be sure?” Tyler sniffed and rubbed frantically at his nose.
“Because she’s the only one in the universe married to me,” he said cockily, “and I’m not going to let anything bad happen to her. Over the next few months it’s going to be easy to upset her Tyler, that’s normal,” The Doctor took a deep breath, “difficult, but normal.”
Tyler just looked down to stare at the duvet again, his freckled face growing pink with the effort not to show any emotion.
“What’s this all about?” The Doctor asked, finally attempting to get the heart of the matter, “Rose has been sick since shortly after she came back to us and we both know that the likelihood us of losing her is very slim considering her newfound regenerative abilities, so what’s gotten you so worried all of a sudden? And what, if anything, does it have to do with your missing mobile phone?”
Tyler looked up, once again giving his father full view of his face, but this time his carefully held together composure had cracked a little. His glorious purple eyes were red rimmed and just a bit too bright. “It’s getting worse Dad,” the words were tiny, almost inaudible, and noticeably unsteady. “I can’t control it anymore.” Tyler blinked and the tears he’d been holding so determinedly in check spilled over onto his freckled cheeks.
The Doctor felt his hearts wrench; his boy had been hurting for quite some time and he hadn’t even realized it. Relying on instinct and pure love, the Doctor quickly moved onto the bed, easing himself into a sitting position beside his son. Gently wrapping an arm around the trembling shoulders, he pulled him into a comforting embrace. “Okay,” he said, leaning down to kiss Tyler’s chestnut hair, “start from the beginning.”
Chapter 3, Part 1