It should have been a relaxing trip for a change. The Doctor and her companions only came to Anaviadva for the local delicacy and the intergalactic museums the Doctor liked to keep track of. Unfortunately, a particularly old and particularly controversial artifact had been stolen a few weeks prior, resulting in a battle between the two main religions of this planet.
Like every so often, the Doctor’s plan A didn’t work out, and neither did plan B, making the Doctor jump right to “Okay, plan Z: According to the plans there is a secret bunker over there, probably empty, do you see it?”
In the middle of the night, they were standing behind a wall that only barely shielded them from the shooters, but they were stuck there. The Tardis was nearly a mile away, the controls for the city’s lights and sound systems the Doctor needed to reach were in a building a few hundred metres to their right, the spot the Doctor was pointing at probably about 50 metres to their left.
“We can’t split up, Doctor!” Yaz exclaimed silently.
“We have to. I have to reach the controls to pause the fighting, but you lot can’t help me. I’d rather have you safe than waiting for me.”
“You can’t run through there, Doc, it’s completely out in the open! They’ll shoot at ya!” Graham argued.
“I’ll be fine. Worry about yourselves, your way’s not quite as exposed, but someone will probably still see you. Just run as fast as you can and try not to get hit.”
Ryan nodded solemnly, “Very encouraging.”
“I am so sorry to have you stuck in this situation, but we’ll have to make the best of it.”
Yaz went to hug the Doctor quickly. “Good luck.”
“You too, see you later.”
“You better,” Graham answered.
The Doctor ran off and was immediately shot at. They watched her dodging bullets for a few seconds, before turning in the other direction.
Ryan said, “Let’s not all run at once, we’ll just be more obvious.”
“Agreed.” Yaz nodded. “Graham, will you go first? You’re not as fast as us, you’ll need the element of surprise.”
He nodded seriously. “Alright. See you both in the bunker. Good luck.”
“Good luck, gramps.”
With that, he took off and Yaz and Ryan watched anxiously. He reached the entrance without even being noticed. After a few more seconds, he opened what seemed to be some kind of trapdoor and went down.
“You’re the fastest, right?” Ryan asked and prepared to run over.
“Yeah. Good luck.”
“I really hope I don’t trip.”
“You won’t. I believe in you.”
“Thanks. See ya.”
“Yes.” Ryan didn’t hear her answer. He was already on his way.
To Yaz’s terror, she heard a shouted “Enemy!” and watched a bullet ricochet off the ground behind her friend and a moment later a few more, thankfully never seeming to hit him. He was pulled into the bunker by Graham, now safe.
She exhaled. Yaz couldn’t run right away, they were prepared now. So she waited a minute and another one. And as she started running to safety she caught a wisp of blue in her peripheral. She ran as fast as her feet could carry her and she heard the gunshots aimed at her, but she forced herself not to be startled by it. Suddenly, pain exploded in her foot, sending her to the ground and she thought, this is it , but she wasn’t hit again.
There was a person standing over her. Yaz’s survival instinct kicked in and she got up again and ran the last metres, the pain seemingly having disappeared. When Graham opened the trapdoor for her she registered the person had come after her, so Graham let them in too.
As Yaz’s foot touched the ground she saw the blood and felt the pain hitting her with full force. She collapsed to the ground.
“Oh my god, Yaz, are you alright?” Ryan shouted as he saw her.
She couldn’t answer, just whimper and sob.
“She got shot in the foot,” a weak female voice said next to her. The woman sitting beside Yaz had long honey coloured hair in a tight ponytail and wore a blue leather jacket. The most extraordinary thing about her were her eyes. They were glowing golden and gave her a nearly ethereal look.
Although Graham had let her in, he didn’t really trust her yet. “And you are?” he asked as Ryan carefully removed Yaz’s shoe, which made her cry out in pain. When he noticed how tired the woman looked, he immediately regretted being so harsh. Her eyes didn’t even glow, he then saw, must have been a trick of the light. They were actually an ordinary brown and just about to close. “Hey, don’t fall asleep, are you okay?”
She didn’t listen to Graham, not that she seemed to have much of a choice. Her head fell onto Yaz’s trembling shoulder. The brunette’s foot was not pretty to look at. A pool of blood formed on the ground beneath and the flesh was jagged on the arch of her foot.
“Do you reckon the Doctor can treat that?” Ryan asked, worried.
“I’m sure she can, as soon as we get Yaz to the Tardis,” Graham mused.
“What about her?”
“Don’t know. Followed Yaz inside, probably just a victim too.”
“No,” Yaz bit out. The other two turned to her. Sobbing, she explained, “Saved … my life. Don’t know how she’s … still alive though.”
Suddenly, it went quiet above and dark around them.
“She did it!” Ryan exclaimed, as they faintly heard the Doctor monologuing over the speakers.
They had to wait in the dark for an hour, Yaz still whimpering in pain, but besides that getting a bit better. They had wrapped Graham’s shirt around her foot, which seemed to have stopped the bleeding for now.
They were mainly conversing, when Yaz hissed in pain. The woman had moved and was waking up.
“I can’t see,” is what she said.
“That’s alright. We can’t either. The power’s off,” Ryan assured her.
“Are you alright? You were gone for, I don’t know, maybe an hour.”
“Yeah, I was just really exhausted.”
“You saved my life,” Yaz told her.
“Course, couldn’t jus’ leave you to die.”
“If you don’t mind me asking. How are you alive? You stood in the middle of the fight.” Yaz still had trouble speaking without bursting into tears again.
“Lucky, I guess,” the woman replied hesitantly.
“Yeah, I somehow don’t buy that.”
“Guessed you probably wouldn’t. I’m easy to miss an’ quite resistant, let’s put it that way.”
“You’re what? Easy to miss?” Graham asked in disbelief.
“To put it simply, yeah.”
“What are you then? Not human, I presume,” Ryan said.
“Are you human? Not a lot of those around here.”
“Yeah, we are.”
“You from Earth?”
“Of course,” Graham replied.
“Don’t say ‘of course’. Nothin’ definite about it. Lot of human colonies in this day an’ age.”
“Colonies?” Yaz asked, shocked.
The woman’s voice had a suspicious tone to it, but not like she didn’t trust them. “Yeah, where have you been livin’? Nothing bad about it, it’s not the 1700s anymore.”
Ryan agreed, “Yeah of course. It’s just Yaz here lived quite a bit of time in isolation, didn’t really have much besides history books.”
Yaz went with it. “Yeah, very heavy books. Each took ages to read, only came as-”
“Sorry, love your excuse for time travel,” the woman interrupted, obviously amused.
Ryan was shocked. “Sorry?”
“Don’t need to hide that from me. I can see it.”
“What do you mean you see it?
“The same way I meant it when I say I’m quite resistant.”
“Sorry,” Graham said. “I don’t think I caught your name. I’m Graham, by the way, this is my grandson Ryan and our friend Yasmin.”
“M’names Rose. Rose Tyler.”
“Nice to meet ya,” Ryan said.
“Yeah, you too. How come you landed in the middle of a war zone?”
“We didn’t know there was one. Came here to visit the museum, or our friend did, anyway.”
“But how did you get here in the first place? Vortex manipulators?”
“Yeah,” Graham lied, remembering the device from the incident with Rosa Parks. He didn’t know if the Doctor was okay with people knowing about the Tardis.
“But they must have warned you that this date isn’t safe! Or did they send you on a mission here?”
They didn’t know she was talking about the Time Agency and Yaz thought of something so they wouldn’t get into more trouble. “We travelled somewhere different, then came here.”
“But they shut off the teleporters after the civilians fled. Did you fly a space ship into a war zone?”
“Our friend’s not a very good driver.”
“Yeah, apparently.” She laughed. “Flyin’ a space ship into a war zone, blimey, reminds me of my husband.”
“Hang on, you said the civilians already fled. Not a civilian then, are you?” Graham wanted to know.
“No, not really. I came here looking for someone, they never showed so I’m in the Military now.”
“You’re in the Military?”
“I won’t do anythin’ to you, if that’s what you’re worried about. I’m a sort of double agent. I’m manipulatin’ the fighting as much as I can, had a bit of success already too. But if you ruin big missions, turns out people don’t really trust you anymore, so I’m mostly on the run now.”
Ryan asked, “And your husband?” to which she didn’t reply for a long moment.
“He died. But not in this war, if that’s what you’re thinkin’. It was … a few years ago. It’s alright. I should be over it by now, but … I don’t know.”
“I don’t think that’s just something you get over,” Graham said, understanding her.
“Yeah,” she quietly agreed. “Apparently not even in a few decades.”
“Decades?” Yaz exclaimed.
“You don’t look a day over 25,” Graham added.
Rose snorted. “Agin’ is complicated, believe me.”
“How old are you then? You’re not human after all.”
“I don’t know about human. Was born on Earth, we guessed I was human up until 19 or 20. Just stopped agin’. I’m 97 now.”
“97?” Ryan asked. “You’re not the oldest here anymore, gramps.”
“Oi, I never was. The Doc’s way older, have you forgotten?”
Before Rose could think about what Graham had just said, the lights turned back on.
“Speak of the devil,” Yaz said, her voice strained from the pain. “Do you think she stopped the fighting?”
“Oh you know her. Probably worked out a ten year peace plan or something. She had more than an hour after all”, Ryan mused, looking at his watch.
“I can’t wait to meet that friend of yours. Sounds like one hell of a woman.”
Graham shook his head. “Oh no. That doesn’t fit her. She’s just …” He looked at the other two. “I don’t even know how to describe her.”
“She’s … unique?” Ryan proposed.
“Yeah.” Yaz nodded. “Unique’s a good word. Really clever though. And she never stops talking.”
Rose snorted again. “Yeah, she really does sound like my husband.”
There was a pause in the conversation then, but not an uncomfortable one.
“Do you think it’s safe to go out?” Rose asked.
“Probably, but I’d wait for our friend to tell us it’s safe.”
“Yeah, knowing her, she’ll come bursting in any minute now.”
Rose furrowed her brows. “Maybe don’t tell her about me, if that’s alright. The less people know about what I did the better.”
“You had no problem telling us.”
“I trust you. And I didn’t tell you much anyways. Okay?”
“Yeah, sure,” Yaz promised.
The trapdoor opened, startling everyone. The Doctor jumped down, a sad smile on her face. “It’s safe now. I could get them to talk to each other and clear the whereabouts of that missing orb. But there were casualties. Many of them. Are you guys okay?”
“Yaz is injured. She got shot in the foot.”
“Oh no!” The Doctor crouched down, not paying the slightest bit of attention to Rose. “I can treat that. But we’ll have to get back to the Tardis. I can carry you.”
“The Tardis?” Rose whispered.
The Doctor glanced at her, but continued speaking to the others. “How’d you make it over here with that injury?”
“Rose,” Yaz said.
The Doctor flinched. “Sorry?”
“She saved me.” She nodded to the woman next to her who stared at the Doctor in shock.
Now the Doctor looked at the blonde and back at her companions in disbelief. “You see her too?”
Graham frowned. “Of course we can see her.”
The Doctor turned back around. “Rose Tyler,” she whispered and out of her mouth it sounded like a prayer.
Rose threw herself into the Timelord’s (lady’s?) arms, making them both fall over.
“Rose,” the Doctor repeated, holding her tighter. “You’re here!”
“You’re a woman,” Rose blurted out.
“Oh. Yes, I am. Is that a problem?”
Rose burst into tears, but laughed at the same time. “No.”
“No crying! You’ll make me cry too.” And true to her word, there were tears glistening in her eyes. The companions watched the exchange in disbelief. They had been caught in the most devastating and the most joyful situations, but never once had the Doctor even come close to crying.
“Sorry, I’m not sure what’s going on, but I think we really should get Yaz back to the Tardis,” Graham interrupted.
“Yes.” The Doctor tore her eyes away from Rose and pointed a finger at him. “Good thinking, Graham.” She looked at the opening in the ceiling and back at Yaz. “Here’s what we’re gonna do. I’m climbing up and Ryan lifts Yaz, I grab her and pull her up, then carry her to the Tardis. Is that alright?” she asked the girl in question.
“Yeah. As long as we get out of here.”
“Great. Chop chop.”
So it was done as she said and Graham and Rose were the last to climb through. The Doctor and Yaz made a piggyback. Rose walked beside them and Graham and Ryan trailed behind.
“How are you here, Rose?”
“I’m not sure. We made the dimension cannon work again, but only for one extremely unreliable jump. I’ve been here over a year already.”
“See! It’s really easy to be a year off!”
“Mum never forgave you for that,” Rose teased.
“Of course she didn’t! Your mum hates me!”
“Oh don’t be daft. No, she didn’t. She and John got along quite well after only a week.”
“Rose.” The Doctor got serious. “You’re using past tense.”
“She died. Pete too. And … John eventually. Tony’s 72. Has a husband, Nick, a daughter, Nora, who has three children of her own now, Mary Nicole, Matthew Tony and,” a tear ran down her face, “Meghan Rose.” She wiped it away. “They had a thing for names with M.”
“You didn’t have kids?”
“No.” Now Rose was really crying. “We tried. We were goin’a call her Donna or Susan.”
Yaz didn’t know whose names they were, but the tears spilled on the Doctor’s face now.
Rose nodded. “She was never born. The biology … was just too different.”
“Don’t be. We were alright in the end. Babysat a bunch of times. Travelling. We had a good life, Doctor, so don’t be sorry.”
They walked in silence after that. They heard Graham and Ryan talking in the back and Rose looked around. Although the lights were back on, she wasn’t able to see much, but she recognized a few of the dead soldiers. She hardly knew anyone by name, but she knew what they fought for, who they fought with.
She watched the Doctor for a bit, but her face was guarded and if Rose would have been anyone else she would have thought of her as calm and collected. But Rose wasn’t anyone else, she was her wife (it would take time to get used to that) and she saw the guilt and sadness that came with the revelation of her failed pregnancy.
“You haven’t aged,” the Doctor stated quietly.
“‘M 97 ... John died 23 years ago.”
“I’m so sorry. I didn’t know you wouldn’t age.”
“You couldn’t have. We only noticed after a few years ourselves.”
“What happened?” was all the Doctor asked.
“Bad Wolf.” Rose’s eyes flashed golden and Yaz gasped. The Doctor nearly stopped, but caught herself quite quickly.
“I pulled it out of you!”
“Apparently not all of it. And be glad you didn’t or Yasmin would be dead now.”
“She saved my life, Doctor. I fell and she, I don’t know, … protected me from the bullets.”
“You did exactly that. All those years ago on Satellite Five. The bullets just disappeared in front of you.”
“What do you mean, you know? You shouldn’t be able to access those memories!”
“Doctor, can we not talk about this right now?”
“Of course, sorry. It’s just …” The Doctor laughed. “You’re back, Rose, and I honestly can’t wrap my head around that. My Rose Tyler. Back here with me.”
Rose smiled. “I don’t really believe it either. But that’s you and me. Making the impossible possible since 2005.”
Their eyes met. “I love you, Rose.”
The Doctor first didn’t know how to respond to that, until she got it. “Bloody Star Wars! You’re a geek, Rose Tyler, and you can’t deny it.”
“No, I really can’t, can I?” She laughed. “I love you too.”
“Hang on. Sorry for listening in, but in my position I really can’t help it. Weren’t you just talking about her deceased husband?”
“Oh that’s really complicated,” said the Doctor.
“When she was still a man, he accidentally made a human clone of himself and dropped him off with me and my family in a parallel dimension, so we could grow old together,” said Rose.
“Huh, not so complicated after all.”
“You’re her … clone’s wife?”
“Yes, exactly, smart girl!”
Rose shook her head. “Doctor, I think we’re leaving out important information. I’m not her clone’s wife only. I’m hers as well.” She showed her ring to the brunette.
“You’re the Doctor’s wife!”
“I’m sorry, did I just hear right?” Graham called. “Rose is the Doctor’s wife?”
“Yes!” The Timelord turned around to her male friends, careful not to move Yaz too suddenly. “And I missed her very much. And because I also love her very much, I’m reintroducing a rule for travelling with me.”
“Yeah, what’s that then?” Rose asked, smiling at her wife.There was no doubt this was the Doctor she loved.
“Hands off the blonde!”
Rose burst into laughter, remembering her time with Jack and how the Doctor reacted to everyone who was looking at her a bit too long.
The Doctor turned back around and gave Rose a huge smile. Then she laid eyes on something in the distance and told her, “I’m so glad you’re home.”
Rose followed the Doctor’s gaze to see the Tardis and couldn’t help but to start running towards the familiar ship. She lay a hand on the new black sign and ran around the box to admire the colour that was slightly off compared to when she had last seen her.
“Old girl, you’re beautiful!” She pulled the long necklace out of her t-shirt and over her head. She wanted to put the key in the lock but the Tardis door already swung open. Stepping inside, she couldn’t believe her eyes. “Oh … it really suits you. Although I miss the coral.” She stroked the console, something, she noticed, for which she had made fun of the Doctor before. “But the new console! A miniature you! You’ve outdone yourself, old girl.”
“Oh god. We’ve got two of them now,” Ryan joked and Rose looked up at them. She hadn’t even noticed she had company.
“Don’t make fun of my wife!” the Doctor called.
“Don’t you get jealous of each other and the Tardis?”
“Oh it’s a threeway relationship, really,” The Doctor said, making Rose giggle.
“Now, let’s check out your foot first.” The Doctor carried Yaz down the hall and Rose followed the four of them.
On her way she thought a bit about the Doctor. She had regenerated. How often? And how old was she now? How many companions has she had? And how many of them had she lost?
They passed the library on their way. It looked mostly the same, but the structures weren’t as curved anymore. The walls were now crystal and the shelves made of metal.
The Doctor lay Yaz on one of the beds in the infirmary.
“Huh. This place hasn’t changed.” It was still white walls, white wooden beds with thick comfortable mattresses and many colourful pillows. Rose sat down on one of them.
“It’s an infirmary, it doesn’t need changing.” The Doctor jumped up to the ceiling and pulled down a sling she then placed Yaz’s foot in.
“You’re not as tall anymore,” Rose observed.
The Doctor was giving Yaz pain medicine. “I am quite sensitive about that, you know.”
“I can imagine.” She watched her wife pulling some medical device Rose vaguely recognized out of a cupboard. “I think I might even be taller than you now.”
“Oi, stop it!” the Doctor whined and then addressed Yaz seriously, “We can do this two ways. This cell replicator can heal your foot overnight with moderate pain, like … knocking your knee into the desk. Constantly. Or we can do it in a few seconds, but it will hurt very much. I’m thinking boiling water.”
“Can I walk normally after that?”
“You will be able to jump around like a young horse. Or a Milleralum, horse-like creatures which can jump up to six metres high.”
“Fine. Then do it fast. Like a band aid, yeah?”
“Right.” The Doctor pressed a few buttons and aimed the machine at Yaz’s foot. “Can someone hold her leg still, please?” Ryan moved and grabbed her calf awkwardly. “Let’s do this.”
Rose nodded. “Allons-y,” she muttered under her breath.
The machine made a whirring noise and Yaz cried out, tears spilling over her cheeks. It was horrible to witness - and then it was over.
“Blimey.” Yaz’s breath was still going fast, but her foot was intact. “That was horrible, Doctor!”
“I told you! You had a choice! And look how much better you are!” The Doctor grinned at her friend, pulled her foot out of the sling which in turn pulled itself back to the ceiling. Then she put the strange device away and gave her companions a look .
They glanced at Rose and all made up some excuse why they should be somewhere else right now and left. She giggled.
The Doctor smiled at her wife softly and took her hand to pull Rose off the bed. They stood there for a while, simply gazing into each other’s eyes, because they were both here , together and real .
“I missed you,” the Doctor whispered.
Rose sniffed. “I missed you too.” She didn’t dare to raise her voice to a normal volume.
“Oi, no crying.”
“You’re crying too,” Rose sobbed.
The Doctor rubbed at her eyes and sniffed. “No, I’m not.”
They both laughed quietly.
The Doctor then pulled Rose into a bone-crushing hug, whispering her name, “I missed you”s and “I love you”s into her ear.
Rose on the other hand whispered the Doctor’s name, over and over, and although she was positive her ability to speak Gallifreyan had slightly improved over the years, her pronunciation couldn’t be right. But the Timelord just pulled her in even more, pressing soft kisses to her neck.
Rose pulled away a bit to look into the other woman’s eyes. “I love you.”
The Timelord raised her fingers to Rose's face. "Can we ...?"
Rose nooded. They touched each other's temples and felt their minds flooding into each other just like on their wedding day.
And they kissed. Hesitantly at first, because Rose wasn't used to kissing women, because the Doctor wasn't used to kissing anyone at all. But when Rose found the differences (her hair was longer, her chest was bigger but softer and her chin had no stubble) and the Doctor remembered how kissing worked , they grew bolder, nibbling on lower lips, tongues exploring, teeth clacking.
It probably wasn’t pretty, but it was them . And they were in love.
And the Doctor swore she would never, never let Rose Tyler go again.