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
Author's Note: I realize it has been a very long time since I updated this and I'm very sorry. It got put on the back burner for some other projects in my life, both real and imagined. Feedback is love, please let me know if you are interested in more. :)
Promises and Ultimatums
I’m so sorry.
The Doctor rehearsed the phrase over and over in his mind, letting it echo like a mantra as he compelled his son into a deep and well-needed sleep. It repeated ruthlessly as he entered the lab to mix an infusion of exotic proteins and vitamins from across the galaxy, and continued as he carried the hot, nutrient rich tea down the corridor. He paused for a moment at the door to the bedroom he shared with Rose, letting the heated porcelain warm his hands and leaning his forehead against the cool surface of the wooden door. He had to do this; it was the right thing to do. All he had to say were three little words; “I’m so sorry.” Extremely simple words when one took into account the three special ones he managed to say every day, the one’s it had taken losing Rose to learn.
He had to keep them safe, had to make it clear. Three simple words were all it would take, “I’m so sorry,” followed by three more; “you can’t come.” Emboldened, the Doctor straightened up. Six! Six words were easy. Six words rolled off the tongue like water, but could quickly bring down a government, destroy a hoard of angry Carrionites, and most importantly save his family. He could do this; he could manage six words. Oh, he thought, once again leaning against the door, this time rocking his forehead from side to side. He could do this; he could. But it was really going to hurt.
Mumbling the short sentence a couple of times under his breath for courage, the Doctor finally opened the door. Steeling himself for the confrontation soon to follow, he took a deep breath, and opening his mouth to say those three agonizing words, he…stopped.
Rose was sound asleep. She lay on her side in the center of the large bed, the four massive, coral-like pillars seeming to stand sentinel. Her legs were tangled hopelessly in the duvet; her arms protectively curled around her protruding middle. The warm gray, cotton trousers she’d changed into didn’t quite reach high enough to meet the lose fitting vest top, exposing a strip of creamy white skin at the top of her hip bone. The Doctor could just see some of the beautifully drawn Orombia Fertility Runes peaking out from under the hem of the white top. Rose’s golden pendant lay gently between her plump breasts, the little seal of Rassilon marking her as a Time Lady by marriage. It rose up and down with each deep breath she made, showing the Doctor that his wife had been asleep for quite some time. She was so beautiful, he thought, and as Rose would say, he was here to seriously “piss her off.”
Crossing the room in a few short strides he eased himself onto the edge of the bed, being careful not to startle her too quickly. He took another second to drink in her loveliness, easing a few soft, yellow strands of hair behind the shell of her ear, before leaning over to gently whisper, “Rose.”
Rose opened her eyes slowly; blinking against the dim light she’d left on for her husband. He was here now, whispering her name and touching her face, so she nudged her cheek into his hand, smiling at the contact. “Did you and Tyler have a good talk?”
“Yes we did,” he answered, his voice low and somewhat mysterious, “he’s sleeping now. Something I wish I could let you keep doing, since you need it so much, but you won’t sleep a full eight hours without drinking your tea.” Rose grimaced as he held the offending mug towards her. “Now don’t give me that face,” he complained, pointing at her with the index finger of his free hand, “You can’t deny you felt better today and you know you’ll wake up feeling ill and uncomfortable if you skip it. I worked hard to make this for you. These kinds of nutrients don’t grow on trees you know.” Rose rolled her eyes. “All right they do,” he quickly amended, “but not on any trees you’re familiar with, and none that are easy to get to.” With that he thrust the mug into her reluctant hands, careful not to spill any of the hot liquid on either her or the duvet.
Rose sipped the foul, tea-like substance tentatively, reluctantly admitting to herself that while it was quite possibly the most disgusting thing she’d ever had the misfortune to taste, she had felt a lot more like herself today. Perhaps all the Doctor’s experimenting with what would keep both her and the baby healthy was finally paying off. Deciding it was cool enough, Rose gulped the remaining liquid down with a shudder of abject revulsion, before setting the mug down on her bedside table.
She watched as the Doctor took a few steps away from her, keeping both hands in his trouser pockets and looking about as comfortable as a she had the first time he’d taken her off world. His whole stance screamed that something was terribly wrong, but she fought the desire to go and sooth him, waiting him out. “Did he tell you anything?”
The Doctor’s shoulders suddenly slumped, going from action-ready stiff, to absolutely dejected in a heartbeat, as if the weight of the universe had suddenly become too much for him to hold. Still facing away from her, he spoke to the wall. “Do you remember the Lord-Chancellor’s daughter from Neo Portus?”
“You mean the cute little ginger girl?” Rose lit up like a signal flare, quickly scrambling off the bed to go and face him, “the one that Tyler took a quick fancy to?”
The Doctor glared at her incredulously. “How is it that everyone sees these things but me, hmm? I raised that boy from a baby. I changed his nappies! How could I not have noticed him taking an interest in her?”
“Because you changed his nappies.” Rose’s voice was soft as she helped her husband remove his jacket.
“In here,” she tapped him lightly on the head, “he’s still your little boy. You don’t see the things that make him anything else because you don’t look. You don’t even think to look.”
He opened and closed his mouth a few times, but for once no words managed to escape his lips. Rose managed not to smile at the adorable expression of confusion and denial that transformed his features. He’d changed so much in the thirty years he’d spent without her. Sometimes, even with their child growing inside of her, the extent of his domesticity still shocked her.
The Doctor sat down heavily on the bed with a weary sigh. He pulled at his tie for a moment, but abandoned it mid tug in favor of ruffling his hair. “He’s growing up.”
He looked so dejected that the need to comfort nearly overwhelmed her. She scrambled back up onto the bed in order to wrap her arms around him. “It’s okay you know,” she told him. “Every parent gets like this. You should have seen my mum the first time I got my period. She thought the world was going to end because I wasn’t her ‘little baby’ anymore. ‘Course, she then felt an immediate need to pull a box of condoms out of her beside drawer and explain…”
“Stop!” The Doctor quickly held up his hands. “Just stop right there, Rose Tyler. Right. There.” He visibly shuddered before hopping up from the bed and again torturing his scalp with all ten fingertips. “As much as I would like to hear what promises to be Jackie’s incredibly,” he swallowed convulsively, “descriptive, explanation of the birds and the bees, I think we can skip it just this...oh!” He spun towards her, suddenly mad in his excitement. “He’s growing up!”
Rose just looked at him, at once confused. “That’s right. They all do it at some point. It’s nothing to get…”
“No Rose,” he interrupted. “Tyler isn’t human, and for all that he’s my son he isn’t a Time Lord either. I’ve been so focused on keeping you and the baby healthy I didn’t even see what was happening right in front of me. I know so little about his species, more than anyone else mind you, but still next to nothing, that I got it wrong.”
“What’s this all about,” Rose needed him to just spit it out. “What happened tonight? Who was on the phone?”
“Tyler’s abilities have been growing in leaps and bounds. Other peoples’ emotions have been bombarding him and he’s having trouble controlling it. He’s making telepathic connections within his family group, including the TARDIS, which is magnifying an already overwhelming amount of stimulus to a nearly unbearable degree. He’s inside your mind nearly all the time, experiencing your backaches and temperamental moods. He’s been keeping it a secret in a misguided attempt not to worry us.”
“Oh my God.” Rose’s tea threatened to come back up. She felt both guilty and violated at the same time.
“I thought he might be sick,” he continued excitedly, completely oblivious to his wife’s growing distress. “I thought he might have been infected with a parasitic Markovian Telepath Worm, or hypnotized by some type of super empathic megalomaniac, when all this time it was so much simpler, a basic biological fact.” He plopped back down on the bed again, leaning forward to dejectedly rest his head in his hands. “He’s been going through puberty.”
It was Rose’s turn to be frantic. She stood up from her place on the bed, her breaths coming in little pants as acid churned in her stomach. “All the time?” Her voice was sharp, leaning towards the wrong side of panic. “Our son, our sixteen-year-old son, who is closer to eleven by Earth standards, is inside my head all the time?”
“Oh,” The Doctor looked a bit sheepish. “I hadn’t actually intended to tell you like that; meant to soften the blow just a bit, so to speak.” Rose made an inarticulate whimper of distress and backed away from him. The Doctor reached out a comforting arm as he moved to follow her, but his wife evaded him. “Rose,” he said, attempting to sooth her, Rose, Love it’s okay.
Hot, angry, embarrassed, horrified tears streamed down her face as she had more and more time to consider the ramifications of the Doctor’s words. “Oh my God!” She covered her mouth with one hand and nearly doubled over as the red haze of panic threatened to overwhelm her. “This is NOT okay. Our son is inside my head. All. The. Time. What do you think he sees Doctor? We don’t spend all night doing our taxes! I don’t wear my sexy pajamas because the TARDIS likes them. I’ve probably scarred him for life. He’s going mad because of me.
“No!” The Doctor took two large steps and enveloped her in his arms. He cupped her cheek with one palm, tilting her head up to meet his gaze. “No Rose,” he said, his tone soft but inviting no argument. “When we’re together,” he faltered for a moment, as if unsure how to continue. “When we make love there’s no one in your mind but me. No one feels you but me. My mental shields protect you.
Rose took a deep, fortifying breath. “Yeah?”
Her whole body sagged in glorious relief at his words and she buried her face in the crook of his shoulder, letting him rock her back and forth for a second. Despite never having spoken of it, Rose had known for some time that something special happened between them during their most intimate moments. She’d felt stirrings of him in her mind, affectionate whispers that had no real sound. Lifting her head to gaze into his eyes, she asked, “Why didn’t you ever mention it before?”
“I didn’t want to upset you,” he answered softly, reaching up to caress her cheek. “Sharing emotions on that level is a natural part of intimacy for a Time Lord. I didn’t want you to miss something you could never have.”
“There you go again,” she teased him, lightening the mood as best as she could, “assuming you know everything.”
“What?” The Doctor’s big brown eyes grew impossibly larger.
“You sing to me. Well,” she amended, mimicking her husband’s tendency to digress, “Most of the time you sing, sometimes it’s more like a mantra, and usually I can’t understand a word.” She grew serious again, “but it’s always beautiful. It always feels like love, like home. I waited for you to tell me about it yourself and when you never did, I assumed you didn’t realize it yourself. I didn’t want to embarrass you.”
“Oh Rose.” He spoke her name like a prayer and she watched his face light up in pure joy. “My incredible, wonderful, impossible Rose, you can feel me. Do you know what this means?”
“More adventurous sex?”
“No. Well,” he waved his hand as if pushing the concept away for a second for a second, “maybe later. This means you have some latent psychic abilities. It should be just enough to teach you to build some personal shields. Not only will this help Tyler stay out of your mind, but anyone else who wants to invade it. You are absolutely, one hundred percent, brilliant.”
“Okay,” Rose beamed at him. “That’s wonderful, and you can start teaching me how to do it straight away, but you still haven’t told me what’s going on. Why did you bring up the little girl from Neo Portus?” She gasped as the pieces of the puzzle suddenly snapped together in her mind. “Tyler gave his mobile to her didn’t he? He fancied her, we took him away, so he left it in order to keep in touch. That was Kissarna who phoned us, wasn’t it? She needs our help.”
“Yes.” He answered, a wealth of meaning in the single syllable. “Can’t surprise you with anything can I?” Rose grinned smugly at him, but he missed it, gently pulling away from her once again to pace to the wall. He turned back towards her once he reached it, leaning his long frame against the smooth surface. “Tyler’s developed a telepathic link with the girl. Through it we were able to discover why she contacted us.”
“Her people were attacked; I’m not sure by whom. She sees them as monsters, and since I could only see what she sees, I didn’t get a very clear picture. Kissarna ran away, hiding herself in a crawl space too small for the invaders to find her in. I’ve cut off all possible communication between Tyler’s mobile and the TARDIS. She won’t be able to contact us again, which means we won’t get entangled in her timeline any more than necessary.”
Rose couldn’t believe what she was hearing. “We just can’t abandon her! We should be leaving right now, they could find her at any minute.”
“As long as we stay out of her timeline I can land the TARDIS within a few minutes after she made the call. She should be in the exact same condition she is now when I go find her.”
Rose’s blood grew instantly cold. “When you go find her?”
The Doctor didn’t flinch. “Yes. Tyler’s not stable enough to go with me. I’ve left him with a temporary psychic block, but it’s a bit like plugging up a hole on the Hoover Damn with a wad of chewing gum. If anything happens to that little girl I don’t even want to think about what he could do. I need you to take care of him for me, keep him safe.”
“This isn’t just about Tyler is it?” Rose bit the inside of her lip for a moment, trying to stifle the rage that threatened to surface. “You’re trying to keep me out of this and I won’t have it. What if you need me? What if you get into trouble and you can’t fix it on your own?” Rose’s eyes began to burn, a flood of angry, desperate tears held back by sheer will. “What if you leave us somewhere and then come back years later by accident? You’ve done it before. I can’t lose you again, I can’t.” She hugged her middle protectively as she choked back a sob. “I can’t have this baby without you!”
“Rose.” He was with her in a heartbeat, cupping her face between his palms and gently forcing her to make eye contact. “I can’t take you with me, I can’t. What I told you about Tyler is true; it’s too dangerous to put him in such an emotional situation right now. And I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, but you’d be as much of a liability as he is. You can’t run anymore. You’re tired and weak, and I know it’s entirely my fault and I’m sorry, but these people are armed. You wouldn’t be able to get out of the way fast enough.” Rose opened her mouth to argue, but he cut her off. “And regardless of your body’s incredible regenerative abilities, I very much doubt you could come back after being disintegrated.”
“I don’t care.” The words were a lie, but she couldn’t yet bring herself to admit it. “I’m not leaving you.”
“Yes you are.” His words were firm, absolutely adamant. “You’re going to take yourself and our children somewhere safe and I’m going to come back for you before you know it.”
“You can’t promise that.”
“Yes I can.” He answered, ignoring her shaking head, “because I can’t lose you either.” Rose squeezed her eyes shut, letting a single tear escape down her cheek.
“And even if something did happen,” he continued, “Even if I was…delayed. You Rose Tyler, would be just fine, better than fine in fact, you’d be magnificent. I’ve never met a stronger woman in my whole life.” He smiled, moving his thumb to wipe the tear away, “And that’s really saying something. You married a very, very old man.”
Rose let out a broken laugh, “cradle robber.”
“Does that make you my trophy wife?” She watched as the Doctor’s mouth stretched into a decidedly smug grin. “I quite like the sound of that.” He pulled her closer into his arms and Rose felt his lips gently brush against her ear.”
“Do you now?” Rose pushed the anger and desperation aside and leaned into his touch. If this was goodbye, even temporarily, she didn’t want to waste it. “I thought you had to be fantastically rich to get one of those?”
“I suppose that’s out then,” he answered softly, before moving up to kiss her temple. Rose gasped as her mind was suddenly flooded by a wave of intense longing. “Good thing I only want you.”
She cuddled into him, reaching up to kiss the side of his neck. “Yeah,” she whispered, “a good thing.”
Long fingers snaked up under Rose’s white, strappy vest top and skimmed up her back, causing her to stretch like a kitten begging to be touched. His voice was rough as he asked her, “Are you ready for your first lesson?” Rose just nodded against his skin as she felt herself melt a little more from his touch. “Just relax and open your mind. Let me in.”
Images flooded her mind’s eye, overwhelming her with different intimate possibilities all layered on top of one another. Rose felt herself grow warm all over and started breathing in little pants.
“Block most of it out, Love,” he whispered, his lips as soft as butterfly wings against her hair. “Choose the one you want and isolate it.”
It was easier than she’d imagined, the incentive to achieve so much better than anything she’d learned in school. Singling out just one image, Rose blocked out the rest, and reflected her choice back to her husband.
It was the Doctor’s turn to gasp, and Rose could feel the evidence of her success pressed firmly against her hip. “That’s very good,” he told her breathlessly, “very, very good.”
In a whirlwind of movement she was up in his arms, cradled in his strength as he carried her across the room. The lights dimmed even further as he laid her gently in the center of the large bed, the four coral like pillars towering over them as he climbed up beside her. Their lips met in a passionate kiss and Rose made her hands busy with removing his shirt, releasing each button in turn until she could run her fingers over the warm expanse of skin. Every touch, every movement was echoed back and forth, until she couldn’t tell where she ended and the Doctor began. The intensity of it should have frightened her, but instead, with Rose’s newfound ability to control it, she only felt empowered.
I love you. The Doctor’s silent words were accompanied by a fresh wave of matching emotion. I love you so much.
Reaching even deeper inside herself, pushing herself to the limit, Rose answered him the same way. I know.