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The Next Adventure

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As the Toclafane flew away, the spell that had been holding Martha still broke. She screamed and ran towards Rose. She was vaguely aware of the people pouring out of the building, but she didn’t pay them any attention. She was too busy checking Rose for any sign of life, but there wasn’t one. It took nearly half an hour for anyone to pull Martha away from Rose.

“Don’t worry about a thing,” a man said to her. “We’ll give your friend a proper burial.”

“No,” Martha said. “I need to do it. Myself. For her and for the Doctor.”

“Are you sure?” the man asked.

“I’m positive,” Martha nodded, before asking for a shovel and some privacy.

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“Good morning Doctor!” the Master crooned, as he strode into the room. The Doctor just glared up at him from his wheelchair. “Oh, don’t look so glum. At least, not yet. My children had a lovely little present for me this morning. I thought you might want to take a look.”

Again, the Doctor didn’t reply, so the Master just pulled up a video on a screen. “My children are just so desperate to make me happy Doctor. And what they showed me this morning was just brilliant. Watch.”

The Doctor just looked listlessly at the screen, until he saw a familiar face. He sat up and watched Rose pacing around, outside some kind of warehouse. She looked stressed, and the Doctor felt a little guilty. He had asked a lot of her. He was just confused as to why she wasn’t wearing her TARDIS key. That became the thought farthest from his mind as he watched the Toclafane shoot Rose. He watched her fall to the ground, and his hearts stopped. He didn’t even breathe as he watched them get closer to Rose and scan her vitals. Even though he knew it already, the proclamation that she was dead sent him into shock. “No,” he whispered. “No, not Rose.”

“Aww, did I kill your favorite pet?” the Master asked. “I am sorry. I thought she’d be harder to get. After all, you did say she absorbed the time vortex. But I suppose not. Humans are such weak little creatures after all.”

Just then, some guards came into the room, dragging Jack. The Master clapped his hands and said, “Tell him Doctor. Tell him the news.”

The Doctor just sat there, looking down at his hands. He couldn’t tell Jack. It would break him. The Doctor knew how much Jack loved Rose. Not the same way he loved Rose, though. Jack could flirt with her all he liked, but the Doctor knew that Jack saw Rose as his little sister.

“Tell me what?” Jack asked.

“Aw, Doctor. Do you want Jack to have to watch it too? Do you want Jack to have to share your pain?” The Master asked.

“Doctor, what’s wrong?” Jack asked.

Slowly, the Doctor raised his eyes to look at Jack. “She’s dead,” he said, unable to keep the pain out of his voice.

“Who’s dead?” Jack asked, either unwilling or unable to comprehend it.

“Rose,” the Doctor said, dropping his head into his hands.

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Martha had finally given in and let some people help her move Rose’s body. They were in a nice, secluded patch of woods. Martha was making a note of memorizing every aspect of it, so that she could bring the Doctor here after everything was over. He deserved that. Rose might not have been able to see it, but Martha could. She could tell that the Doctor loved Rose with all his hearts.

She was about halfway done digging the grave when she heard a loud gasp. Looking around to see who was there, Martha nearly fainted when she saw Rose sitting up.

“Martha?” Rose asked.

“Rose?” Martha replied, hesitantly.

“Martha, what happened? The last thing I remember was a Toclafane shooting me. Now you and I are in the middle of nowhere, and you’re standing in a hole.”

“You were dead, Rose,” Martha said, still staring at the woman.

“What?” Rose asked.

“For hours. I’m sure of it. I gave you the medical examination myself,” Martha said.

Suddenly, Rose had a flashback to the Game Station. She remembered saying, “I bring life.” The Doctor thought she was talking about Jack, but she was also talking about herself. That was how she had managed to survive the time vortex so long. Bad Wolf had changed her so that she would be able to handle that—and anything else that should kill her. Bad Wolf wanted Rose to be able to fulfill her promise of forever. Even before she actually made it.

“Rose?” Martha asked.

“Sorry, I think I just realized. I’m the one that made Jack immortal. I think I might have done it to myself too,” Rose replied.

“What?” Martha asked.

“I had the entire vortex in my head. I could see all that was, all that had been, and all that could be. I probably saw this and decided that I needed to live through it. We’ll have to test the theory, but I think I’m probably as hard to kill as Jack,” Rose replied.

“Oh, no. We are not going to test that theory,” Martha argued, climbing out of the hole and moving to sit next to Rose. “I thought you were dead. I thought I was going to have to do all this on my own. We’re not going to risk that. Besides, we need to get back and let people know you’re alive. The Master had the Toclafane scan you, so I bet he already thinks you’re dead. We need to prove to him that you’re not.”

“No,” Rose said. “Let’s let him think he won.”

“What? You can’t be serious,” Martha replied.

“No, Martha. He’s crazy. He’ll sit and gloat for a little while. He’ll ease up the search for you, at least a little bit. That’ll make this easier,” Rose argued.

“But if the Doctor thinks you’re dead!” Martha exclaimed.

“I have a plan for that,” Rose replied. “You follow our normal plan. Take the regular route to Poland. I’ll take a faster one and get myself situated. When you get there, I’ll offer to start travelling with you. I can do a pretty convincing Yorkshire accent, and my roots have grown out enough. If I cut it all off so that only the dark parts are showing, then I think I’ll look different enough that no one will recognize me. And if they think I’m dead, then they won’t be looking for me.”

“How will that help the Doctor?” Martha asked.

“I’ve got something in mind for a name. A little clue to let him know I’m okay,” Rose replied.

“What’s the name?” Martha asked.

“It’s going to be really strange,” Rose replied. “I think it would be best if your reaction to it was genuine.”

“I don’t like this,” Martha sighed.

“I know, but it’s the best way to throw the Master off,” Rose argued.

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It had been two days since Rose had died, and the Doctor hadn’t said a word. Not since he had told Jack that Rose was dead. The Master had still made Jack watch the video, partially so the Doctor would have to watch it again. Not that he needed it. The image of Rose lying dead was seared into his brain. He would never be able to forget it. Not as long as he lived.

Watching Rose die had made him realize a lot of things. Most of all, that he was wrong. Keeping away from Rose didn’t make losing her any easier. It just made him think back to all the moments where he had pushed her away. The pain of her death hurt, but it was the regret that was really eating him alive.

If his plan worked, then time would reset itself. But he wasn’t sure if that would work for Rose. She had been on board the Valiant when the paradox had started. Would time still reverse for her, since she wasn’t on board when the reversal happened? It was a long shot, but the Doctor clung to that hope. And to the thought that if he ever did see her again, he wouldn’t waste it. He would tell her how he felt. Hopefully, she could forgive him for being an idiot.

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Martha packed up her stuff after spending the night in another slave camp in Poland. They hadn’t agreed on which camp, and Martha was getting worried. It had been two weeks since she had seen Rose. What if she had been wrong and had just hallucinated that Rose had been alive?

As she started to leave, she heard a voice yell, “Wait, Dr. Jones!”

“I’m not a doctor yet,” Martha scoffed.

“Right, sorry,” the voice said, as Martha turned around to see Rose standing there. “I just wanted to say, I want to come with you.”

Martha stuttered for a moment, trying to process that she had finally caught back up to Rose. “I-I’m sorry. I’m not looking for a travelling companion.”

“I know you lost your friend, Rose,” she said.

“I’m not looking to replace her,” Martha replied.

“And I’m not trying to,” Rose said. “I’m just trying to fight the Master. And you look lonely. Thought you might want some company.”

“What’s your name?” Martha asked.

“That’s a secret,” Rose replied. “As far as I know, my family is still out there, alive. I’m not going to go around telling my name, just so the Master can find them.”

“People have to call you something,” Martha shot back.

“Bad Wolf,” Rose said. “That’s what I’m going by.”

“Bad Wolf?” Martha asked. “That’s not a name.”

“No, it’s a message,” Rose smiled. “But can I come with you?”

Martha seemed to think about it for a moment. “I don’t live an easy life,” she said. “Already lost one friend.”

“I know,” Rose replied. “But I’m tougher than I look. They’ve trained me here in how to defend myself. Turns out I’m a pretty good marksman. Maybe I can keep you safe.”

Martha shot Rose a strange look, but then shrugged. “I’ll give you a trial period. I’m headed up to Russia to see what the Master’s doing there. You can come with me for that.”

“Thank you, Martha Jones,” Rose smiled.

“You better prove yourself though, Bad Wolf. Rose was a pretty good companion, so I’ve got high standards,” Martha said.

“Thought I wasn’t replacing her,” Rose said with a grin.

“Oh, come on. We’ve got a long walk ahead of us,” Martha said, turning and continuing on her way. Enough people had heard them that it was bound to get back to the Master.

Once they were far enough away from the camp, Martha turned to her. “Bad Wolf?”

“It’s the name I gave myself when I looked into the heart of the TARDIS,” Rose shrugged. “It’s a message to myself. One that the Doctor will recognize.”

Martha rolled her eyes. “It’s gonna be a mouthful to say Bad Wolf all the time, Rose.”

Rose looked around anxiously. “Don’t use my real name. Not till all this is over.”

“It’s just us now,” Martha said, handing Rose back her key. Rose had insisted on not having it, to make the whole thing more authentic.

“Still, let’s just make it a habit. So we don’t slip up accidentally when we’re with other people,” Rose replied.

“You sound paranoid,” Martha replied. “But fine. I’m not calling you Bad Wolf all the time though. I think I’ll shorten it to Wolf. That sounds enough like a normal nickname and won’t take me ages to say.

“Fine,” Rose replied. “Just not my real name.”

Martha shook her head. The two women were quiet for a while, until Martha said, “Wait, back there, you had a gun. Do you still have it with you?”

“Yeah,” Rose replied. “I don’t like it, but I’ve found I’m a pretty good shot. It was a bit of an accident really. I was outside, playing with some kids when a Toclafane found us. It killed the soldier we were with, and I was pretty sure it was going to kill the children. On instinct, I grabbed the soldier’s gun and fired at it. Turns out, there’s a spot on the sphere that will actually take down one of them. I got lucky and hit it. Saved the children. After that, some of the others in the camp decided I needed to actually learn how to shoot. Argued for a few days, but eventually gave in. I’ll never use it to protect myself. I don’t need it. But to take care of others? Yeah. The Toclafane can’t be reasoned with. They’re as crazy as the Master.”

“But Ro—Wolf. You don’t need that,” Martha argued.

“If it will save someone’s life, yeah, I do. You can save them with your skills, I can save them with mine,” Rose replied. “Besides, if my dreams are right, I’d have been a soldier at Torchwood in Pete’s World if I had ended up there. Seems like this is some sort of inevitability with me.”

“I’m sorry,” Martha replied.

“Thank you. Let’s just get through this year. Maybe after all is said and done, I’ll be able to go back to taking the moral high ground,” Rose said.

**********************************************************************************************************************

The Doctor didn’t even react when the Master came in fuming. He spent his time alternating between trying to tune himself in to the Archangel Network and mourning Rose. He barely registered anything the Master was saying until he heard those two fateful words. The ones that always made him fear for Rose’s safety, but now filled him with hope.

“I don’t know who this bloody, Bad Wolf is, or why Martha Jones would let them travel with her, but you need to find out. Anything you can,” he hissed in to the phone. “She was supposed to be less of a threat with Rose Tyler dead. But if she’s picking up friends… Just keep me updated.”

The Master took a deep breath to steady himself, then turned on the Doctor. “Looks like your precious Rose has been replaced, Doctor. It’s really quite a shame.”

The Doctor didn’t react. That might give something away. It was impossible that Rose was alive. He had watched her die. But who else would use the name Bad Wolf?