They didn’t discuss it in the morning. As soon as Rose entered the console room, the Doctor was bouncing around, setting in coordinates.
“But where are we going?” Martha asked, having gotten up earlier than Rose.
“Picking up some weird signals around your time. Thought we ought to go check them out,” the Doctor said. Then he looked up and noticed Rose. “Ah, good, you’re up. Stuff to do! You humans waste all your time sleeping!”
The next few minutes all happened so fast that Rose couldn’t process them. One minute, she was in the yard of an abandoned house in 2007 London. The next, she was sitting in an alleyway in 1969.
She vaguely came to when someone else appeared next to her. “Rose? Are you alright?” the Doctor asked next to her.
“My head hurts,” she grumbled.
“Time travel without a capsule. Nasty. Catch your breath. Don’t go swimming for half an hour,” he laughed.
She turned to glare at him, and then Martha appeared next to him. He told her the same joke about not swimming and it wasn’t any funnier the second time around. “What happened?” Martha asked.
“We were touched by a Weeping Angel. The only psychopaths in the universe to kill you nicely. No mess, no fuss, they just zap you into the past and let you live to death. The rest of your life used up and blown away in the blink of an eye. You die in the past, and in the present they consume the energy of all the days you might have had. All your stolen moments. They're creatures of the abstract. They live off potential energy,” the Doctor explained.
“So what do we do?” Martha asked.
“I don’t know,” he replied. “The TARDIS is still in 2007, and we’re stuck here in 1969…” As soon as he said that, he started digging around in his pockets.
“What are you looking for?” Rose asked.
“Martha? Do you remember that woman we met? When we were trying to stop the red hatching?” the Doctor asked.
“The four things and the lizard?” Martha asked. “Vaguely, yeah.”
“She gave me,” he pulled a purple folder out of his pocket, “this. Said we were gonna get stuck in 1969. Honestly, I forgot all about it until right now.”
“That doesn’t answer the question of what we’re gonna do or how we get back to the TARDIS,” Martha grumbled.
“1969, you should be around here somewhere, shouldn’t you? At least soon?” Rose asked. “We could intercept a previous regeneration and ask him for a lift?”
“No no no no no. Absolutely not. I don’t get along well with myself,” the Doctor replied absently as he flipped through the folder. “Besides, we’re stuck in a time loop. This folder tells us everything we need to do. The woman that gave it to me, Sally Sparrow, she had lived through this. Now we have to make sure it does happen, so that it can happen to her, so that she can give this to me. Looks like we’re stuck here for a little while. At least until a man named Billy Shipton gets sent back here.”
“How are we going to live until then?” Martha asked.
“Yeah,” Rose snorted. “You never seem to carry any money on you.”
“I’m so, so sorry. But you two are gonna have to get jobs,” the Doctor replied.
“Jobs?” Martha asked.
“Yeah, in a shop,” the Doctor replied. Then he turned to Rose. “I’ll try not to blow it up this time.”
“You don’t mean?” Rose asked, then he handed her the transcript. She saw her name and read the sentence next to it: Never thought I’d end back up in a shop. Especially not this shop. It’s strange, knowing that in 36 years, he’s gonna blow it up while I’m working there. But hey, that’s time travel for ya.
“What shop is that?” Martha asked.
“Do you remember when Henrik’s blew up in 2005?” Rose asked.
“Yeah, that was right before that student prank got out of hand with all the kids dressing up as shop dummies,” Martha replied.
“Wasn’t a prank,” the Doctor said. “It was these creatures called Autons. Living plastic. Had to blow up Henrik’s, and I met Rose in the process.”
Rose stood up then. “Well, there’s no time like the present,” she sighed. “Sooner we get all this done, sooner we can get back to the TARDIS.”
“Nah,” the Doctor replied. “First, we need to go flat hunting. We’ll need an address before you to get jobs.”
“Why is it always the past?” Martha grumbled as they all followed the Doctor to go look for a flat. She reached around her neck to grab her TARDIS key, a nervous habit she had picked up from Rose in 1913, only to realize it wasn’t there. “Doctor?” she asked, sprinting to catch up to him.
She continued in to the kitchen where she saw the Doctor sitting at the table, fidgeting with something. “Whatcha working on Doctor?” Rose asked, trying to be as casual as possible as she leaned against the door frame.
“I’m trying to get back to my ship,” he growled, not glancing up.
Rose’s heart sank. He had used the word “my.” Not “our.” Logically, Rose knew the TARDIS was his ship. But over the past few years, she had started to consider it her home. So much so that she was willing to let everyone she knew end up either in a parallel universe or thinking she was dead. She had thought he considered it her home too, but maybe that had been wishful thinking. That would explain a lot of things. Most of all why he didn’t care about her opinion on Martha. If he still thought of her as just a passenger, then she had no right in saying who else could or could not come along. With this realization in mind, Rose whispered, “Well, I’m knackered. I’ll leave you to it. Goodnight, Doctor.”
The Doctor looked up just as Rose was leaving the room. Something seemed off about her, but he couldn’t quite place it. Mostly because his stupid timey-wimey detector wasn’t working, and he couldn’t figure out why. He had rebuilt it four times that day. He knew he had to get it right, though, because they needed to know where and when Billy appeared so that they pick him up and explain everything.
In her room, Rose sat on her bed and pulled out her phone. It was moments like that when she needed to talk to Sarah Jane. The older woman always knew exactly what to say. But Rose was worried that without the TARDIS there, that the call would not get redirected to the right time. And somewhere, there was a much younger Sarah Jane running around. One that hadn’t even met the Doctor yet. So instead, Rose put her phone down on her bedside table and curled up in bed, knowing it would be hours before she finally managed to fall asleep.
“What’s up, Susie?” Rose asked.
“A couple of us were going out for drinks and dancing after work today, thought you might want to come,” Susie replied.
Rose hesitated. Normally, she would say no because she wanted to get back to the Doctor. But in the past two weeks, he had barely said ten words to her. And Martha wasn’t much better, always hanging around the Doctor. Rose missed having friends to talk to. And the girls at the shop weren’t the most interesting people Rose had ever met, but they could have been worse. They reminded her a lot of her old friends from the Estate. So, Rose called back, “Sounds like fun, yeah.”
“Great!” Susie replied. Then she turned toward the other end of the store and yelled, “Polly, Amy, she said she’d come!”
“Girls! You are working. This is not social hour,” Mr. Robertson, their pudgy, red faced managed huffed. When the other girls started giggling, Rose found herself laughing along with them. It felt nice to not feel like the dumbest person in the room.
Martha rolled her eyes, and Rose sighed. She had thought being stuck in 1913 with Martha was bad, but this? This was torture. Since they were no longer having to work together to protect the Doctor, any cooperation and mutual understanding they had built up had vanished. Martha thought she was too good to be working in a shop, so she never made any effort to make friends. She spent all her free time at the kitchen table with the Doctor, asking him to explain everything he was doing to her. But when Rose had tried, he had looked around nervously and stammered something about it being extremely complicated, and difficult to understand. Rose had quickly got the message that he didn’t think she was smart enough to understand, so she didn’t try that again.
That night, when they were all packing up to go home, Rose followed her new friends from work out, and Martha went home alone.
The moment she walked in the flat, the Doctor’s head shot up and he smiled, then Martha saw it turn to a frown. “Where’s Rose?”
“She went out with some of the girls from the shop,” Martha shrugged, hanging up her coat and throwing her keys in the bowl.
“What’d she do that for?” The Doctor asked.
“Dunno. They asked her to go, and she said yes,” Martha replied.
“And you didn’t go with her?”
“They didn’t invite me,” Martha replied. “Doubt I would’ve gone anyway. They’re dull. All they talk about is clothes and boys and stupid things like that. You won’t get a stimulating conversation out of any of them.”
“They can’t be that bad,” the Doctor replied. “Not if Rose wants to be friends with them.”
Martha sighed. It was always like this when Rose wasn’t home. He would go on and on about her, and then the moment she walked through the door, he’d pretend like she didn’t exist. Martha almost thought he was trying to play hard to get, but that didn’t make much sense. If he was interested in Rose, he could have her. Rose had made that very clear in 1913. But he would hardly look at her. Martha decided to ignore it and just chalk it all up to his being an alien. She wouldn’t lie and say that it didn’t sting a little though, knowing he wasn’t interested in her. But she at least could try to learn as much from him as she could. He might not be a real doctor, but it never hurt to learn new things.
But he couldn’t do anything about it. She was human, with a human lifespan, and he would one day lose her, and if they got any closer, he wasn’t sure he’d survive that. And on top of that, he didn’t deserve her. She was too good. She made him better, but he didn’t think there was anything he would ever be able to do to be worthy of her.
The Doctor had always known he was bad at dealing with his emotions. If the TARDIS were there right now, She’d be shocking him every few minutes. But the only way the Doctor could manage to stay away from Rose was by pushing her away. It was the only way to keep them both safe. So, he didn’t ask her about her day, didn’t explain what he was doing, and tried to spend all his time talking to Martha so that he wouldn’t lose his resolve. He wanted to get home to the TARDIS, but he didn’t know how he was going to do it when he got there. The TARDIS had made her feelings on his plans very clear, but the Doctor was convinced She was wrong. He was just trying to do what was best for everyone. Or so he told himself.
When he heard the door open that night, he forced himself to continue working on the autocue. Rose came in quietly after her night out with the girls from the shop. She didn’t even try to stop In and talk to him. He tamped down the flare of hurt he felt, saying this was what he wanted after all, but it felt hollow, even to him.
“Sorry, Martha decided to take an extra shift,” Rose’s voice answered.
“So you don’t want to come?” The Doctor blurted out without thinking. He had spent two months trying to avoid any one on one time with Rose, and it was driving him mad. Still, he would later blame his excitement over finally finishing the Timey-Wimey Detector for breaking his newest rule of no alone time with Rose.
Rose looked sideways at him and raised an eyebrow skeptically, “Do you want me to come?”
“If you want to,” the Doctor replied nonchalantly.
Rose looked at him for a second and then shrugged her coat back on. “Okay, let’s go.”
“I can’t believe you blew up a chicken!” Rose gasped out.
“I did not blow up a chicken,” he protested. “It just appears that this thing can boil an egg at thirty paces.”
“Whether you want it to or not!” Rose giggled. “I’m going to go get cleaned up, and you keep that thing away from the fridge.”
“What is going on?” Martha asked once Rose had disappeared down the hall.
“Oh, Martha!” The Doctor exclaimed. “You’re home. Rose and I went out to test the Timey-Wimey Detector. I finished it this afternoon.”
“And you blew up a chicken?” Martha asked.
“Not on purpose,” he whined.
“Well, for once, I’m with Rose. Keep that thing away from the fridge,” Martha sighed, going to her own room.
Then days like today happened, and Rose and the Doctor fell right back into place. They were together, and everything felt right with the world. But it wouldn’t last, and Rose knew it. Tomorrow, he would probably be back to avoiding her. Rose buried her face in her hands and flopped back on the bed with a groan. What was she supposed to do?
“Nah, not tonight,” Rose smiled.
“Oh, why not?” Polly asked. “You been spending too much time with Martha? Think you’re too good for us now?”
“Stop it,” Rose protested. “And you know I don’t. I just have things to do tonight, that’s all.”
“Fine, you go do your things, and we’ll all be out having a glorious time without you,” Polly said, turning on her heel and leaving.
Rose chuckled and shook her head. She was actually going to miss those girls. They had been nice to her and made her time in 1969 bearable. Even with the Doctor being as confusing as he had been.
“Ready to go?” Martha asked.
“Yeah,” Rose said. “Let’s get back to the flat.”
“What did Polly mean? When she asked if you’d been spending too much time with me?” Martha asked.
“Nothing,” Rose said, shaking her head.
“I’m not stupid, you know. She asked if you thought you were too good for them,” Martha replied.
Rose sighed, “Sometimes, the girls think you think you’re better than the rest of us.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Martha asked, affronted.
“It’s just, sometimes, if someone doesn’t know something, or they make a mistake, you’re quick to point it out. And you roll your eyes when we start talking about certain things, like the latest gossip or what’s in the tabloids.”
“When we talked about going to the moon, all they could talk about was how cute Neil Armstrong was!” Martha exclaimed. “One of the greatest scientific achievements of the human race, and all they can talk about is how cute one of the astronauts is.”
“Not all of us have an extensive scientific background, Martha,” Rose snapped. “We don’t all know what the Doctor is talking about, and we can’t all do maths in our head. I’m sorry you’ve had to spend so much time with us poor uneducated peasants, but you’ve got to understand that it isn’t fun to be looked down upon all the time.”
“I don’t look down at anyone!” Martha retorted.
Rose shook her head, “No, you don’t mean to. Doesn’t mean you don’t do it.” Then she turned and walked faster down the street toward their flat.
“Rose!” Martha called, but Rose wasn’t listening.
Two hours later, the Doctor, Martha, and Rose were all in Wester Drumlins. The Doctor was busy setting up the camera and his autocue and painting the warning message on the wall. Rose was sitting just outside until he was ready. Martha came out and sat next to her.
“Hey,” she started feeling vaguely uncomfortable. Over the past two hours, she had had plenty of time to think about what Rose said, and she realized Rose was right. She did sometimes get annoyed at how silly the rest of the girls in the shop could be. She didn’t mean to be rude to them, but she was supposed to be training to be a doctor, not working in a shop. And she wasn’t very happy about being stuck in 1969, so she supposed she could have been taking it out on those girls without meaning to. But Rose wasn’t like them. She had travelled with the Doctor. She knew better, and Martha had never really grouped her in with them.
“Sorry about earlier,” Rose sighed. “Didn’t mean to go off like that.”
“Do you really think I think I’m better than you?” Martha asked.
Rose shrugged. “You’re a few exams away from being a doctor. I never even got my A-Levels. And the Doctor won’t even waste his time trying to explain the technical mumbo jumbo to me anymore. Not since you showed up and might understand.”
“Rose—” Martha started, then stopped, not sure what to tell her. That the Doctor only ever pays attention to Martha when Rose is around to see it? That she’s heard him go on and on, multiple times, about how brilliant Rose is? Would Rose even believe her at that point?
Before Martha could decide what to say, the Doctor yelled, “Rose! Martha! Everything’s ready. Let’s get this filmed so that we’re all prepared when Billy arrives.”
Martha started to say something, but Rose just shook her head. “It’s fine. Let’s just go film this ridiculous conversation so we can get back to the TARDIS.”
As soon as both girls were in there, the Doctor turned on the autocue. “Yep, that’s me.” He paused. “Yes, I do.” Another pause.
“Yep, and this.” And another. “Are you going to read out the whole thing?” One more pause. “I'm a time traveller. Or I was. I'm stuck in 1969.”
Martha then leaned into the frame. “We’re stuck. All of space and time he promised me. Now we’ve got jobs in a shop, working to support him!”
Rose leaned into the frame then, “Never thought I’d end back up in a shop. Especially not this shop. It’s strange, knowing that in 36 years, he’s gonna blow it up while I’m working there. But hey, that’s time travel for ya.”
“Martha, Rose,” the Doctor admonished.
“Sorry,” they replied in unison, not looking sorry at all, but getting out of the frame nonetheless. Now that their part was done, they went back outside to let the Doctor finish filming in peace. They had heard it all a thousand times as he practiced, trying to make sure he could get all the pauses right. A few minutes later, the Doctor called them back in to help him pack up, and they made their way back to the flat that hopefully wouldn’t be theirs much longer.
“Oh, thank you sir,” Rose smiled running off to pick up the phone. “Hello?”
“Rose, come back to the flat. Billy just showed up. It’s finally time to go home,” the Doctor said.
“Alright, be there in just a minute,” she replied.
“Everything alright Tyler?” Mr. Robertson asked.
“Actually sir, my Doctor says I need to go see him right away. Something important has come up,” Rose replied, giving him her most winning smile. The man was a creep, but it was well established that if you smiled at him, you could do just about anything you wanted.
“Hopefully everything is just fine,” he said, but he nodded, indicating she could leave.
Rose stopped to scribble a quick note for the girls, apologizing for not being able to say goodbye, then slipped out the door. She sprinted back to the flat and opened the door just in time to see the TARDIS materializing.
“Oh, hello Gorgeous,” she sighed, placing a hand on the wood as soon as she was inside.
“The same could be said to you,” a man in the corner of the flat said.
Rose chuckled and said, “You must be Billy. I’m Rose.”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you Rose,” Billy replied. “I couldn’t talk you into staying with me, could I?”
“Sorry,” Rose laughed. “But no. 1969 is not for me. I’ve already seen the moon landing 4 times. I’m not in any rush to see it again.”
“That’s what the lovely Miss Jones said,” Billy flirted.
The Doctor cleared his throat. “Well, it’s been nice to meet you Billy, and thanks for everything you’re about to do. But it’s about time we got going, don’t you think, ladies?”
“Definitely,” they responded in unison, Rose bolting to the door and opening it. The moment she walked inside, she just felt an overwhelming sense of joy that she knew was coming from the TARDIS.
“I’m going to run to my room real quick. I need to talk to Sarah Jane,” Rose said, not waiting for an answer before dashing off to her room.
Still in the console room, Martha turned to the Doctor. “Any way we could stop off at my flat for a moment?”
The Doctor looked at her, confused, as he put the TARDIS into the vortex. “Your flat? Why?”
“I just want to see home for a few hours, Doctor. You’re back in your home now, why can’t I pop in and visit mine?” Martha replied.
“Do you want to visit your mum?” The Doctor asked, rubbing his cheek at the memory of the slap he had gotten from her when they met.
“Nah, she’s still not too keen on me travelling with you. I’ll just call her later,” Martha replied.
The Doctor put in the coordinates and landed in her flat. “Here we are, then.”
“Thank you, Doctor. I’ll just be like an hour or so,” Martha said. “Just need to get regrounded in my own time, you know?”
The Doctor nodded. “I’ll just pop into the future then. No need to wait around here. Waiting’s boring. Like Sundays,” he rambled.
“Just make sure you get the time right, mister,” Martha admonished him.
“Hey!” He protested. “I am an excellent driver. When She decides to cooperate.”
Martha laughed and shook her head. “See you in an hour, Doctor.”
"Oh, Martha?" the Doctor called before she could leave. "Forgetting something?" Martha turned around to see the Doctor holding up her key, the one that the Weeping Angels had stolen. She grabbed it with a quick smile and headed out the door into her flat.
Her phone slipped in her hand, and she accidentally hit the call button as she tried to catch it. When she heard a familiar voice say, “Hello?” she decided that the universe was telling her just to get on with it.
“Sarah Jane?” Rose asked.
“Rose! Hello, how have you been?” Sarah Jane asked.
“Oh, you know what travelling with the Doctor is like,” Rose laughed nervously. “How long has it been for you, since the last time I called?”
“About a month, but I’ve got some big news for you,” Sarah Jane replied.
“You do?” Rose asked.
“Yes, but I can tell from your voice that you have something you want to say, but that you’re scared to say it. So just get on with it, and then I’ll tell you my news,” the older woman replied.
“Oh, no, it’s nothing,” Rose lied.
“Rose Tyler don’t lie to me,” Sarah Jane chastised her. “How long has it been for you?”
“About six months,” Rose replied.
“That’s a long time,” Sarah said. “You must have seen some incredible places to go so long without saying a word.”
“Actually, we spent two months stuck in the countryside in 1913, and then a little over three months stuck in London in 1969,” Rose sighed.
“Stuck?” Sarah Jane asked.
“Believe me, I’ll tell you the full story another time. It’s a long one,” Rose replied.
“Alright,” Sarah chuckled. “Now what’s on your mind?”
“Can I ask you for a really big favor?” Rose asked, biting her lip.
“Of course, Rose,” Sarah Jane replied without missing a beat.
“No, I mean it’s a really big favor,” Rose emphasized.
Rose could practically hear Sarah Jane rolling her eyes at her. “Just ask.”
“Can I come stay with you?” Rose exhaled quickly, needing to get it out before she lost her nerve.
“What?” Sarah Jane replied.
“Can I come stay with you? I think it’s time I leave the Doctor,” Rose answered.
“Leave the Doctor? What are you on about?”
“If there’s anything I’ve learned in the past six months, it’s that he doesn’t want me here. He’s just keeping me around because he feels guilty. He thinks he’s ruined my life, so he won’t throw me out,” Rose said, flopping down on her bed.
“Now where would you get a ridiculous idea like that?” Sarah Jane laughed.
“It was obvious ever since Canary Wharf,” Rose replied. “I was just too blind to see it. He tried really hard to send me to the other universe. Then he tried to talk me out of faking my own death. Then he invited Martha along, so he wouldn’t be stuck with just me. He didn’t see me for weeks, then acted as though nothing had happened when I reappeared. Then over the past three months, he’s made little comments here and there that made it clear he didn’t see the TARDIS as my home. And he’s hardly spoken to me in all that time. I might not be an almost-doctor, but I’m not stupid. I can tell when I’m not wanted.”
“Rose, I’m sure he doesn’t—” Sarah Jane started.
“Sarah Jane, please. You warned me of this this first time we met. You said, ‘Some things are worth getting your heart broken for.’ Well, this is it, for me. I’m not going to put myself through any more pain when I know better,” Rose sighed.
“If you’re sure about this—”
“I am,” Rose interrupted.
“Then of course you can come stay with me. We’ll get UNIT to help you come up with some kind of backstory and a life. We can go investigate together. Take care of Earth when the Doctor isn’t around,” Sarah Jane said, smiling.
“Oh, thank you!” Rose exclaimed. “How can I ever repay you?”
“You can babysit,” Sarah Jane replied, waiting for the penny to drop.
“Yeah, of course I’ll—wait, what?” Rose asked. “Babysit? Babysit who?”
“My son, his name is Luke,” Sarah Jane laughed.
“You said it had only been a month!” Rose gasped.
“It has,” Sarah Jane answered. “But it’s a long story. If you’ve got time?”
“I’ve got all the time in the world,” Rose replied, sitting back against her pillows. As she listened to Sarah Jane tell the story of the Bane and how she suddenly ended up with a 12 year old son, Rose decided that telling the Doctor her plans could wait until the morning.