Chapter 1: How Eight learned his Fate
He had walked for miles, she had seen, even if she wasn't really there. Just a part of her, a small one, wanting to keep him safe, protected, to help him through the impossible now that she knew what the impossible was. Or maybe she always knew? Tenses were trickier now that she was a creature of time, even if it was only temporary.
And as he came to the shed where he would dump the box she latched her mind to, his curly brown hair clinging to his face from sweat and his green long coat looking too heavy for the desert heat a trill of excitement came over her. She's wanted to meet this version of him, or will want to one day, and here she was waiting for him.
He stepped inside, closing the door behind him before carefully setting down the box, pulling the burlap off of it like it was a precious object. Though, she supposed, a weapon as powerful as that should be handled so carefully.
He examined it with care, looking it over and tilting it gently, flinching slightly when he bumped a gear and something inside it began to tick.
"Couldn't include an obvious 'on' switch, now could they?" He muttered to himself, the fatigue of the war clear in his voice. If she had a heart it would break. But since she didn't, she simply ached for him.
Something outside rustled, and as he moved to investigate the noise she suddenly found herself sitting on the ornate box that was meant to destroy two races in one swoop. She felt as though she may now have a tangible form, now. Maybe he'll see her.
"Hello?" He called politely through a crack in the door, though no one replied.
"'S just a wolf," She replied, startling the gallant, almost Victorian looking man as he turned abruptly to look at her.
"Who are you?" He asked, frowning. "And why are you sitting on that? It's a dangerous weapon, not a stool."
"Sorry, she said, standing quickly and stepping out of the way, only to have him partially circle her as she did. He looked her over, his blue eyes studying her thoroughly, and if she had blood she'd have blushed. "You don't have to look so hard, mate. You'll see me soon enough."
"You still haven't answered my first question. Who are you, and while you're at it, why are you here?" He asked, coming to a stop as she did, the weapon between them.
"Who am I? Now that's a question that has a few answers. How about you just call me … the Moment. That is what your people called that thing, yeah?" The Moment asked gesturing to the beautiful box between them.
"You're the Moment?" He asked, look between her and the box.
"They must have told you it had a conscience." She smiled, her tongue caught between her teeth.
He smiled at her, a genuine one that took years off his face. "I didn't think it would look like a girl from the twenty-first century." He quipped.
The Moment looked down, taking in her pink zippered jumper and her black pants.
"So I'm not the Moment, exactly. But it does have a conscience and it chose me. Or, I chose it. I'm not sure how it works. Point is, I'm from your past, no, sorry, future, and I've come to help."
He gave a snort of derision, shaking his head. "And what future do I have, if any? Certainly not one that would allow for a young woman such as yourself to be a part of it."
The Moment grinned again. "I'm more a part of your future than you can dare to imagine, Doctor." She said with a shake of her head.
"I hardly think so." He said, looking down at the beautiful box mournfully. "I should think that when this is all over I will keep to myself for the rest of my days. Maybe regenerate repeatedly, I've only got another five left. Can't be too hard to find a few ways to end it all."
"That's not you," She said, shaking her head, moving toward him. "You'll feel that way for a while. Until you meet me. Well, not me, but her, the girl, the one I'm a part of. You'll see." She said nudging him and making him sway a little on his feet. When his sad, beautiful blue eyes met hers, looking familiar in a way she couldn't explain yet knew how, an idea came to her mind. "Pick a number." She said, and he looked at her like she was being foolish. "Go on, pick, between one and five, pick a number."
"Three." He said with forced amusement. "Let's go with three."
"Alight, then" She said, looking above their heads as swirling, golden circle appeared before them.
"What are you doing?" He asked her, looking between her and the fissure she opened.
"You have a wonderful future, Doctor. The time war ends, and you are the one to end it. Things will look bad for a time but what I'm going to show you … I'd like to think it will give you strength."
He chuckled in his throat before it emerged loud and full, and she still couldn't help but love the light his smile brought even when it came during dark circumstances. "Strength?" He mocked. "I'm about to burn my planet, my home, my people. It's a task that's fallen to me, and I'm now being told I'm going to have to survive it. What is in the future that is so worth living for?" He railed.
Almost as if it were supposed to be the answer, he was hit on the back of the head with a fez.
The moment sighed. "Certainly not that." She shook her head before looking up, smiling as warmly as she could to the poor, worn Doctor. "But something amazing, something you'll need to see to believe." She stretched her hand out to him, "What do you say, Doctor? You're going to have to do this either way, wouldn't you rather do it knowing the good that is yet to come?"
"I'm not sure good will be possible. I'm sure I'll be cursed to suffer for the rest of my days," He said sincerely before his eyes fell to her hand. "But who am I to disappoint such a lovely, sentient device?" And with that, his hand clasped around hers before bending down and picking up the fez. Tossing it in to the fissure, he looked down at the lovely pink and yellow human-like creature beside him. "Shall we?" He asked, and together they jumped.
Chapter 2: How Eleven arrive
"Have we heard from Clara?" Rose asked from her spot on the jumpseat, twisting one of her blonde curls around her fingers as she devoured a late fiftieth century novel she recently picked up. She glanced over at her husband who was more comfortable sitting on the steps, his round glasses perched on his nose, and his brown floppy hair brushed to the side and out of his face.
"I have," He said, turning a page in his Advanced Quantum Physics book. "She'll be here after work. Apparently she was promised cocktails on the moon." He said that last part a little louder, turning his head toward the corridor so his voice would carry.
Rose smiled as the "sorry" echoed down the hall, then laughed as the Doctor rolled his eyes and shook his head. Closing his book and setting it on the steps, he took off his glasses and put them in his tweed jacket pocket before coming toward her.
If she had to be honest, Rose much preferred the waist coat and the pocket watch. It may have made him look older than he had when he sported suspenders, but she kind of enjoyed that. Before there were days when she worried he looked too young for her, something that happens around your three-hundredth birthday she supposed. Now, well, the bit of vanity Rose could admit to having wasn't so challenged.
He adjusted his jacket before lifting her feet and sitting beside her, resting her legs on his lap before looping his arm around her.
"Three girls, three! Four, when Clara's here, five if you add River, and I'm starting to really feel outnumbered." He complained, and Rose closed her book to meet his green eyed gaze with as much sympathy as she could muster. "The next time we pick up a companion I demand that it's a male."
"You're the one who picks 'em," Rose teased with a tongue touched grin, and the Doctor's lips twitched up slightly at it. "And there was Rory, and Jack still pops in once in a while."
"Rory," The Doctor shook his head. "Yes, there was him, wasn't there? But Jack does not count."
"Since when?" Rose asked.
"Since River, that's when. We both know the reason he usually comes around, and I made a promise to the Ponds."
"And River's a grown woman who can take care of herself, yeah?" Rose cut him off, reminding him firmly that just because Amy and Rory were gone did not mean ….
She closed her eyes, taking a deep breath as she thought of her lost friends. Admittedly she was always closer to Rory than Amy, and the reverse was true for the Doctor, which is probably why it hurt so much for both of them when the angels took them. It wasn't until Rose was away with River, giving the Doctor space, that she understood the painful coincidence that he'd gone to see her past self at a time they were also trapped by the blasted creatures.
Shoving those thoughts aside, she took another deep breath and opened her eyes, meeting his green ones once more. "A boy next time," She agreed. "I can deal with some testosterone if it'll make you happy."
"Good," He said with a grin, leaning in and kissing her gently. Just as his fingers touched her cheek the TARDIS shook about. "Oi, not like anything more was gonna happen, all things considered." He shouted toward the time rotor.
"She's not the one causing that." Rose said as the TARDIS hummed a few growls at the Doctor. They got to their feet, the Doctor having a harder time keeping his balance as they moved to the doors.
"Mum, Dad, what's going on?" Jenny asked, entering the console room from the corridor dressed in one of Rose's black jumpers and blue jeans.
"Seems we're being air lifted," He said as he popped his head in a moment before sticking it back outside and attempting to reach for the outer phone.
"No!" Rose said firmly, grabbing both his oxford and tweed jacket collar and hauling him back inside, closing the doors firmly before looking at him sternly. Digging in her pockets while he looked chastised, she pulled out her cell phone and forced it in his palm. "Nearly three hundred years in that body and if you think for one second I'm gonna let you risk regeneration by falling for the sake of a phone call than you have another thing coming." She snapped, and he swallowed as he coward a bit.
"Right, sorry." He said, backing up a bit. "I'm just gonna call Kate using this, alright?" He said, wiggling her phone between his fingers before unlocking the device.
And then it hit her, memories piling on hard and fast, and not entirely fully formed as the Doctor called the UNIT science adviser. What ever was about to happen she couldn't be there, not yet. She would come in at the end, she understood, though she wasn't entirely sure she understood how.
"Jenny," She called, and she felt the slim, cool hands on her bare arms. "Why don't you go with Dad today, yeah? Been a long time since you two have had some bonding time."
"Mum, you alright?" She asked, and Rose looked up to meet the brown eyes so like the Doctor's last body that it almost hurt. Almost.
"Yeah," She said honestly. "Just can't go with you two right now, 's all." She reassured as she was managed to tuck the half-formed memories into the back of her mind. "Doctor," She said as he lowered the phone from his ear and spun on his heel toward her. "You're spending time with your daughter today," She said simply.
"Okay," The Doctor said, seeming confused but knowing better than to argue. "Come along, Jenny." He said as the TARDIS seemed to have come to a stop. He jogged over, giving Rose a peck. "Anything I should know about?" He asked quietly near her lips.
"Just that I'll see you later." She replied, and he kissed her again, a little longer this time.
"Dad!" Jenny said impatiently by the doors, causing him to smile.
He winked at Rose before he he lead Jenny out of the TARDIS, and Rose heard Kate greeting him before the ship's doors shut tight behind him.
"So, Old Girl," Rose said with a sigh as she stroked the console. "How long do I have to wait for them to get back? Got time to finish my book?"
The TARDIS hummed, sending Rose the image of the other three books she picked up on their last trip.
"Well then," Rose said. "Best make myself a cup of tea as well then, yeah?"
The TARDIS hummed in agreement, and with a chuckle Rose headed up the stairs and made her way to the galley.
Jenny was excited. It wasn't often that her parents let her come along on adventures, preferring she study and learn of the Universe outside of the basic war knowledge she was created with. And it was even more rare that she got to do something with just her father, even if he was her primary biological parent, if not her only (though that was always up for debate). So as she stood in front of the blonde human who seemed to know him quite well she beamed like she was ten and not a hundred and four.
"Doctor, as Chief Scientific Officer, may I extend the official apologies of UNIT?" Asked the Blonde human. The adorable little brown haired one with big glasses and a ridiculous scarf took a deep breath with something to her mouth.
"Kate Lethbridge-Stewart, a word to the wise. As I'm sure your father would've told you, I don't like being picked up." The Doctor said, taking a few steps closer to her.
"I'm acting on instructions direct from the crown," Kate said, as the adorable brown haired girl stepped up and pulled something out of her pocket. She handed it to Kate who in turn handed it the Doctor. A piece of folded paper with a thick, red seal that looked quite elegant and very old. "Though if I was following those instructions to the letter, I would have handed that to Rose. Where is she?"
"She's decided to sit this one out for a bit." The Doctor replied, rubbing his finger over the seal as he gestured about with his other hand. "May I introduce Jenny who will, in fact, be with me on this." He turned to Jenny. "This is Kate, she's the daughter of an old friend and, as I'm sure you heard, the Chief Scientific office of UNIT."
"And what's UNIT?" Jenny asked.
"Unified Intelligence Task Force." He said as if that would explain everything. At Jenny's blank look he leaned in and whispered. "They investigate alien stuff, anything alien."
"Like 'us' alien?" She asked nervously, clenching and unclenching her firsts at her side.
The Doctor smiled fondly down at her. "No, Love." He said in hushed tones. "Not us." He then turned sharply away, looking to Kate. "You said you were acting on instructions direct from the crown?"
"Yes," Kate said with a nod then gestured behind her. "If you'll follow me." She turned, and as the Doctor and the brown haired girl followed Kate, so did Jenny.
Admittedly there was so much for her to see that she wasn't sure where to start. Her parents hardly ever took her to the London of her Mum's time, usually saying it was for the best but without ever really saying why. It was strange and beautiful, if not a little gray and damp, and the structures all varied as to what time period they could be from. In fact, Kate was leading them up the stairs to something that looked like it was trying very hard to be Roman but didn't quite make it. Framing the the large entry way were two red banners that stated it was theNational Gallery, what ever that meant.
The answer was quickly revealed as they stepped inside and were surrounded by beautiful paintings. Art from all kinds of different time periods pulled Jenny's attention this way and that.
"You'll have to forgive me, Doctor, but I'm not sure we can let your companion be a part of this, even with your clearance." Kate said as they stopped in front of a covered canvas.
"Companion?" Jenny said indigently, crossing her arms and looking expectantly at the Doctor.
"If there is one thing I begrudgingly allow UNIT to do, it's catalog my companions. There's a reason you haven't even heard of Jenny before today, and orders by the crown or not, I will leave right now if you think I will either let you add her to the collection or not let her stay with me." He said smooth and even with just a hint of a threat to his otherwise cheerful voice. "Now, what's this?" He asked as he gestured to the covered canvas.
"Proof that the letter is from Queen Elizabeth the first," Kate said, nodding to one of the two men standing at either side of the tarp covered piece.
At the gesture, they pulled the sheet away, and both Jenny and the Doctor's breaths hitched for different reasons.
"Is that Mum?" Jenny said, pointing to the painting as she slowly stepped closer.
"Yes," The Doctor said, eyes raking over the piece before them.
Rose stood looking directly at the painter, her eyes captured perfectly as they reflected the mischievous smile on her face.
"I made her laugh," The Doctor commented as Jenny admired the golden dress Rose had been painted wearing, the way her blonde hair, looking more like Jenny's shade of blonde than the one she often saw her Mum with, was pinned up intricately. Sitting in the background was the Doctor in his previous body wearing his favored brown suit, hand propped up on the hilt of a sword that was driven partially in the ground. And on the other side of the painting, barely hidden in the background, was the TARDIS. "She had a harder time laughing at that time, though she still smiled freely."
"Elizabeth had told us where to find it, and upon seeing the subjects we immediately understood why this would serve as proof." Kate said.
"Why is it proof?" Jenny asked.
"Your mother and I in a painting from the sixteenth century? The TARDIS openly depicted. Not a common occurrence, and we wouldn't let just anyone commission it." He gestured his hand in circles at the painting before cracking the seal of the letter open, unfolding it and positioning himself to allow Jenny to read the letter with him.
My dearest and most trusted confidants,
I trust that the painting titled "The Wolf and the Storm" will serve as proof that it is your dear friend that writes to you now. You will recall that you pledged yourselves to the safety of my kingdom, and in this capacity I have appointed you as curators of the Under Gallery where deadly danger to England is locked away. Should any disturbance occur within its walls, it is my wish that you be summoned.
Dearest Rose, Doctor, I trust that you will come when that danger arrives, and you have my most sincere gratitude for upholding your word to me.
God speed, treasured ones.
"What happened?" The Doctor asked as Jenny took the letter to read and re-read. She was familiar with some of Earth's history, the royalty of England drawing her interest the most considering her parentage. She was fascinated and gob smacked that her parents were considered close friends to one of the country's most famous Queens.
River will never hear the end of it when she sees her again.
"Easier if I show you," Kate said, beckoning them to follow her. They did so, led up to a painting of good Queen Bess. It was pulled aside, revealing a hidden door where Kate put in some codes. As the door popped open, Kate beckoned them to follow her once again. "Welcome to the under gallery," She said as they followed her inside, the lights not as bright as they could be. Jenny suspected the tall statues covered in tarps had something to do with it, blocking the lights above from properly working.
"Little creepy," She confessed, turning to the Doctor only to see him kneeling on the floor and scooping up the white sand off the floor. He let it run through his fingers, examining the particles as they returned to the floor. "What is it?"
"Stone dust." He said, brushing his hands together as he stood up.
"Is it important?" Kate asked.
"In twelve hundred years I've never stepped in anything that wasn't." He remarked.
"So this isn't common, then? Sand in places with breakable statues?" Jenny asked. The Doctor cocked an eyebrow as his nostrils flared, and Jenny glared at him. "It's a thing other places." She tried feebly, but thankfully her father said nothing.
As he looked away he seemed to spot the adorable little brown haired human who hovered in the doorway and stared at him with reverence.
"Oi, you! Are you sciencey?" He asked her.
She immediately darted over, wringing her hands nervously. "Oh, erm, well, yes." She stuttered.
"Got a name?" The Doctor asked.
"Yes," The brunette replied, turning a deep shade of red.
"Good, I've always wanted to meet someone called Yes."
"Dad," Jenny said, drawing the attention from everyone in the room. "Rude."
"Right, sorry, what's your name?" He asked the brunette again.
"Os-Os-Osgood." She stuttered, taking an inhaler from her pocket and taking a pull from it.
"Osgood, excellent. I want this stone dust analyzed." He said, bending to scoop up some sand and pouring it into Osgood's hand. "And I want a report in triplicate, with lots of graphs and complicated sums tomorrow morning, ASAP, pronto, LOL."
"Dad," Jenny said again, getting her father's attention. "Stop being so uncool."
"I am very cool," He tried to argue, straightening his bow tie.
"Not particularly." She said with a shake of her head, trying not to grin at the Doctor's fake hurt expression.
"Dad?" Kate said, and the look on her face made Jenny think it had taken her awhile just to form that single word.
"Yes, I'm her Dad," The Doctor jumped in, flapping his hands about as he gestured between Jenny, himself, and Kate. "Biological and everything, although the jury is still out on whether or not Rose is her mother. Never bothered running the tests to find out, don't see much point after a century, but here she is, my daughter. Mostly Time Lord, though we don't know for sure just how Time Lord, and how she came about is all very complicated, but that's neither here nor there. What is important is why I'm being summoned on the request of a woman who hasn't been around in nearly four hundred years?"
Kate gave her head a shake as if to clear it. "Right, Osgood, get a team to analyze that dust." She said pointedly before turning and heading into the next part of the under gallery.
Jenny kept pace with her father, looking around at all the wonders hidden away from the public until he stopped suddenly. Whipping around, she barely managed to stifle a groan as she watched the Doctor open a display case and place the bright, red fez that was contained within on his head. He smiled widely, arms out to the side as if to ask her how he looked.
Jenny merely shook her head, ignoring his pout of disappointment as they moved to catch up with Kate.
They entered the next room, much more brightly lit than the last two, where a man in a lab coat and two armed guards stood by.
Odd, Jenny thought, since the only things in the room were large paintings and shattered glass.
"This is why we called you in," Kate said as she gestured to the room.
Jenny stepped in, looking at the paintings, trying to figure out why they looked off when it hit her.
"Are those …?"
"Three dimensional, yes." The Doctor said as he came up beside her. "Time Lord technology, bigger on the inside. Likely stolen in the early days of the Time War for it to have survived, but that's not the interesting part." He said, kneeling down and picking up a piece of the broken glass.
"And that is?" Jenny asked, pointing to the shard in her father's hand.
"Yes. Because this isn't just broken glass, it's glass that was broken from the inside. The shatter pattern, look at it, see how it starts from the wrong direction?" He pointed out, and for as smart as Jenny was she had no idea what he was talking about. Simply nodding, knowing from experience she'd understand eventually, she let it go as the Doctor tossed the shard he was holding over his shoulder.
"As you can see the paintings are all landscapes, no figures of any kind." Kate said as she came to stand beside him, looking at the paintings.
"So?" The Doctor asked.
"So there used to be." Kate said, holding up a tablet. Peeking over the Science officer's shoulder, Jenny saw what was no longer there: A silhouette of a warrior that should have been emerging from the mist depicted in the picture.
"So where are they now?" She asked.
"Out." The Doctor said. "Escaped and hiding."
"The place has been searched, and there's nothing here that shouldn't be and nothing's gotten out." Kate said with a baffled shake of the head.
A golden flash appeared above their heads, and Jenny and her father turned to see a swirling golden whirlpool of light beckoning to them.
"Oh no, not now! I'm busy." He whined.
"What's that?" Jenny asked.
"A time fissure." He waved it off, staring at the golden pool.
"Does it have anything to do with the paintings?" Kate asked.
"No, not that I remember. Because I do remember, almost remember. Rose likely already remembered which is probably why she stayed back." He went to scratch his head when his fingers came in contact with the fez. A light came on in his eyes, and his smile pulled. "Oh!" He said as he took off his fez, looking between it and Jenny. "This is where I came in." He grinned, giving the fez a little toss. It disappeared into the light. "Stay here." He said to Jenny before he backed up a few large steps. "Geronimo!" He exclaimed as he took a running leap and disappeared into the light.
"Mum's gonna kill 'im." Jenny sighed, shaking her head.
"Is he really your father?" Kate asked behind her, and Jenny met her disbelieving eyes.
"Is it easier to believe I was born from his last body?" She asked.
Kate considered. "Only a little." She replied with a grin, and the two of them turned to look at the light, hoping to gain some insight as voices started coming through.
A lot of them.
Chapter 3: How Nine came in
It hadn't been a good week, not by a long shot.
In the span of 7 Earth days, 7 cycles of his human companions falling asleep and walking up either on the TARDIS or somewhere else, he didn't seem to catch a break. First there was that terrible, stupid planet that was supposed to be relaxing where instead Rose went a tad mad, had half her brain numbed, and was nearly arrested (or maybe worse) after they started a riot. And Jack almost had a lobotomy, but the Doctor kind of wondered if maybe that would have been an improvement.
The second attempt at relaxing was less good for him (and maybe Jack, jury was still out), but at least it hadn't put Rose in danger. Matriarch planet, nearly amazonian in their nature and looks. Humanoid females with long dark hair and gold skin who used men only for mating purposes and perhaps mild amusement. He and Jack were rounded up like stray dogs and locked up for "adoption" in a six by four foot cages, and the Doctor had to snort how all the males acted exactly like animals wanting a home whenever a woman was lead through. When Rose finally managed to find them it was while four of the planets natives had been arguing over the Captain. After slipping her the psychic paper, the Doctor watched with a touch of pride as Rose played apologetic for letting her men out with out her around. The paper would have shown amazonian like women her permits for he and the Captain, supposedly, but no one bothered checking. Really, if she wanted to, Rose could have walked out of there with any number of additional pretty boys. She was fawned over for her pale skin and golden hair, told repeatedly she was like some sort of Wolf goddess. He was fuzzy on the details, too eager to just get out of there.
Third time was the charm for actual relaxation, at least for his companions. A place known as a pleasure planet was not high on his list of places to visit, too domestic. But the second Rose heard the word 'beach' she was running down the corridor shouting about bathing suits. And if there is one thing he was only ever willing to admit to himself it was that he couldn't deny Rose Tyler anything that might make her happy. So he shed his leather jacket and boots and lounged about a bloody beach while Rose ran about the sand and the water in a bathing suit that barely kept her modest. And while her pure, wondrous joy brought a small smile to his face, Captain Jack trying to convince her to allow him to apply unnecessary sunblock and touching her as often as he feasibly could did not. That had driven the Doctor mad enough as it was, even though he knew deep down his possessiveness of Rose was unfounded. She wasn't his, not really, not simply because he felt that way. But seeing the slight tent to the Jack's swim trunks had been the last straw, and he was quick to ask Rose to go for a walk with him, something he was glad she agreed to. Walking hand in hand over the sand hadn't helped ease his desire to remind Jack that 'hands off the blonde' was still a rule, nor had sharing a banana split on Rose's insistence. She cooled him down enough that he no longer wished to leave Jack on the planet while he took her to some place fantastic, but every time he saw that stupid, pretty face he wanted to make it just that bit less perfect.
By the time they'd returned to the TARDIS he was no less relaxed and found staying in the console room would be ineffective. Where it used to be a space he could tinker with his time ship with only Rose for company, it was now an area considered communal. Which he supposed was true, he just didn't want Jack trying to help while flirting mercilessly with Rose. So the Doctor hid in his library, got comfortable on a sofa with a book, and forced himself to read slowly and not think of anything else but the story before him. A task that was growing more difficult the more his habit of brooding tried to take over.
"What're you doing in here?" He looked up from his book at the sound of Rose's voice, and he couldn't help but smile back at her. A curse and a blessing that.
"I'm hiding from Jack," the Doctor confessed, tucking the ribbon bound to the book between the pages before closing it and setting it aside.
Rose came into the library, the door closing behind her before it disappeared. Of course the TARDIS would lead Rose to him, the Old Girl seemed instantly taken with the pink and yellow human from the moment she stepped inside the TARDIS for the first time. It was part of what distracted him from making sure the Auton head of Mickey the Idiot didn't melt. His ship had hummed giddily, something akin to a squeal. Not the sort of thing a magnificent Time Machine such as herself should be doing. And then there was going back for Rose a second time. He'd gone a couple months without her after she said no when suddenly the TARDIS had coordinates set for ten seconds after he left her in that alley and he had the inexplicable urge to go back to her.
Not that he complained too much. As she had once said, 'better with two', but he was certain that it was just better with her. She'd reminded him that he was a good man, that he wasn't a cold, harden soldier. That one could still want to dance with the right partner.
Rose sat beside him, snuggled into him and catching him off guard even though this wasn't the first time it happened. She snaked her own slender limbs around his arm, and he immediately forced himself to steady his hearts beats as she sighed softly with contentment.
"And why are you hiding from Jack?" She asked as she rested her head on his shoulder.
"'Cause he annoys me." The Doctor said, a toss away explanation at best, but it was still better than admitting he wasn't sure he'd be able to refrain from punching the former Time Agent after earlier events.
"Men," Rose said with a chuckle. "Doesn't matter what the species, you're all the same."
"Oi," He said, and while she giggled and bit her lip he smiled through the slight jab to his hearts.
He knew she wasn't a Time Lord, couldn't even pretend she was if he tried. She was human, so very human. Fragile, delicate, and a lifespan that would end in a blink. But no matter how hard he tried to keep them away from her, she somehow stole his hearts. He was fine with that, really. There was certainly no better creature in the universe to take care of them, but that was all he could afford himself. Anything more would be painful, and he already endured enough pain to last the rest of his regenerations.
There was an inkling in the back of his mind, like a memory or something, that told him she wasn't all she appeared to be but he ignored it. Chalked it up to wishful thinking and moved along.
"Been a bit since you've asked to see your mother." He noted, distracting himself.
"Mmmm," Rose hummed, her tone sleepy. "Maybe later." Was all she managed to say before he sensed her slipping into sleep.
The Doctor picked up his book, taking a quick glance at the library wall where the door should be and noted it still wasn't there. Smiling, he got as comfortable as he could and continued reading.
The slow pace at which he forced himself to take in the words lulled him. How long had it been since he slept? A couple weeks? Probably longer since it had been nearly a month since Jack came aboard. One couldn't watch Rose Tyler's bedroom door if one was asleep, nor can one stop randy Time Agents from sneaking in. But Rose was here, warm and curled against him, and as he shifted so did she, getting just that bit closer. By the time the Doctor got settled into a new position her head was on his chest, resting between his two hearts, and her arms were loosely draped around his torso.
Hesitantly, he dropped his arm around her before tucking the other one under his head. The TARDIS adjusted the sofa, making it a touch more roomy and angled better for sleeping.
"Thanks." He whispered out loud before closing his eyes, the smell of Rose so near that she eased him into sleep with a smile on his face.
It didn't stop the nightmares from coming.
He was there when Arcadia fell. A different man, one far more elegant, one that looked entirely out of place among the men and women who looked like soldiers. He was fortunate, he hadn't regenerated since before the war began. Though there was the foolish sisterhood of Karn who actually had the audacity to try and make him believe he had died so they could could force one on him. Time Lord science may have been advanced there, but their ability to lie seemed woefully primitive. He still tried to stay out of the war a little longer but is joining was inevitable. And it was that joining that forced him to be there in the middle of the worst battle to date.
It was supposed to be the most secure place on all of Gallifrey, was supposed to be impenetrable, but the Daleks proved as they had so many times how wrong the Time Lords were. He saw children running toward or away from parents, depending on where the danger was, saw soldiers fall or run scared or maddened. He recalled his hearts pounding as he ran to his TARDIS, using his beloved ship as he never wanted to: as a weapon.
Daleks shouted their one word warning of impending death, but he couldn't silence them all. He attempted to get families away from the danger, but so many were simply too scared to know what was best for them.
So much blood. So much death. So much of both still to come, and he was beginning to understand that Ohila was at least right about one thing: he'd be the one to end it all. And the only way he knew how to end it ….
"Doctor," Rose's calm voice pulled him from his dark dreams, and he woke to find his hands gripping her arms in a bruising way, his hearts pounding fast and wild in his chest. "'S okay, you're safe." She reassured, her thumbs grazing his shoulders.
He let go of her immediately, pushing himself up so she wasn't half straddling him anymore. His eyes fell to where he gripped her tightly, but her jumper hid if he'd left a mark.
"Sorry," He said, running a hand over his hair as he pushed the nightmare to the back of his mind.
"Wasn't as bad as they normally are." She said softly, and he shifted his gaze to see the half hearted grin she was offering him.
"Yeah," he agreed, but only because his physical reaction to it wasn't as extreme as it could sometimes get. "How about that trip to see your Mum?" He asked, a diversion tactic that he could tell she saw through but didn't care.
And playing along as Rose often did, she nodded slightly. Hesitating, almost as if she had a mind to do something else, she eventually got off the couch mumbling something about making some calls.
The Doctor took a moment to gather himself, pushing the nightmare and the partial memories it drudged up to the back of his mind. When he felt composed enough, he got up and left the library, heading for the console room to land the TARDIS at the Powell Estates in 2006.
"You sure you don't want to come with me?" Rose said, lingering longer by the doors than she normally would.
"Sit around while a bunch of apes drink too much? Nah, thanks." He replied instantly, shaking his head as he crossed his arms. He grinned, but he wasn't happy. He hated when she went out with her mates, never knowing for sure if she'd come back to him at the end of the night or if she'd be safe out there at all. A part of him was thinking protectively, but it was mostly jealousy that spurred his thoughts. Bad enough he was still entirely unsure where she and Mickey the Idiot stood in terms of human relationships, but any other grubby male out there might try to put his hands on his precious girl, and that enraged him more than anything else.
"Alright, suit yourself." She said, still not moving. Maybe she would change her mind, maybe she wasn't really going to go out. "Jack!" She yelled out, and the pretty boy Captain came flying out the corridor wearing 21st century clothing he clearly nicked from the wardrobe.
"Ready," he said, and the Doctor clenched his fists as he noted Rose giving the Captain and approving once over. Jack turned to him, smiling and waving. "Later, Doc. Promise to keep her safe."
"You'd better." He said sternly, the oncoming storm coming out without his really meaning to.
Jack only laughed and shook his head before capturing Rose's hand and heading with her out the door.
That was his hand to hold.
But he chose to stay behind. Because it was smart, because drinking with his companion's mates was too domestic. Because he was a bloody git who couldn't admit that he lo….
The Doctor threw himself under the console and tried his best to lose himself in repairs that weren't necessary, and the TARDIS knew exactly what he was doing. After she shocked him a half dozen times in various strengths he eventually emerged. Nope, he would not cave. He would not follow her. But … what was the harm of seeing how far away from him she was?
He changed the setting on his sonic, having a listen, picking up that her cell phone (and therefore Rose) was only a couple blocks away. He tried three times to talk himself out of heading to the pub, but … oh he could picture it. That smile, that wonderful tongue touched grin that he was one hundred percent positive that she'd give him when he walked in. That would be worth it, that smile was always worth it.
Without a second thought he left the TARDIS, pocketed his sonic, and followed the signal that only he could hear.
He was only a block away when a flash of light stopped him, and stupid red fez rolled on the ground at his feet. Picking it up, looking it over, he continued walking without paying attention to where he was going. Light flashed around him, and he felt a shift in the time and atmosphere around him.
Looking up, he instantly noticed that not only was it daylight, but he was in some sort of wooded area. And there before him was Rose in a gown meant for nobles of the sixteenth century and looking positively surprised to see him.
"Rose?" He said, unable to mask the shock on his face even as he forced himself to look at the man a few feet away from her. He felt the mental signature of the pin stripped pretty boy instantly and tried not to both cringe and smile. The former because why, why, why did a future regeneration have to be a pretty boy? The latter because Rose Tyler, his precious girl, was still with him after it happened.
Just as a smile started playing on his Rose's face, the light flickered behind him and drew her attention just before he felt something or someone crash into his back.
Chapter 4: Where Ten and Rose found them
"Another morning discovered in the Doctor's chambers, still in his bad. The maids are all a flurry and the ladies at court are beside themselves. Dear Rose, you will certainly scandalize them all," Elizabeth said as she and Rose strode arm in arm through a small meadow.
Actually, if Rose was to allow herself any amount of giddiness, she'd have to remind herself that this was Queen Elizabeth the first, and the Queen had taken such an instant liking to Rose that they'd been joined at the hip since their arrival a couple weeks ago.
It wasn't supposed to be this long, or so she was told. Two, three days tops posing as traveling nobles from Ireland (Gallifrey region, to be precise. Practically royalty there, they were), and then they'd be back among the stars. Only the creatures the Doctor was certain to be here weren't as easy to detect as he made them out to be and they were practicing a domestic approach for the sixth time in five years. At least this time they got to live a more posh life.
"Well, we are as good as married," Rose said with a giggle, leaning into the ginger queen in a conspiratorial way though the only ones near to hear was the Doctor, a man named Robert, and a few of the Queen's ladies.
"But to the his bedchamber every night? Many from the court do not even believe you are his betrothed, but merely his mistress. Five years is a long time to put off a wedding."
"Not where we come from," Rose reassured her new friend as they came to rest on the blankets and cushions laid out for them once more. "Sometimes the couples don't even bother marrying at all, simply stay engaged, betrothed, and live out their lives like that."
Elizabeth grinned, shaking her head as she leaned back on a pillow. "Oh to live the lives you do." She said wistfully. "All the power of the realm, all the admiration, praise for being a strong ruler, and all people want to know is when I will wed."
Rose shrugged, fully aware of the customs for 1562 England as the Doctor had explained them to her the first time a maid caught them in bed and was blushing quite fiercely. "You could always take a lover. You don't need a King to secure your throne, just an heir."
Elizabeth laughed, and Rose laughed with her, smiling as her friend blushed.
"Indeed," Elizabeth said with mock seriousness. "I was considered a bastard once and I am on the throne of England. Perhaps it can be a new family legacy."
Rose shook her head, grinning. "But in all honesty, Lizzy, a gorgeous woman like you must have blokes beating down the door for your hand."
Elizabeth's attention was turned to Robert as he strode a few feet away in a pacing manner, occasionally glancing over at the women spread out on blankets and surrounded by luxuries. "There are many," The Queen said wistfully, but none that I desire."
"And," Rose said, toying with a string on the blanket beneath them. "Have any made it clear that they desire you?" She asked, holding Elizabeth's eye in a meaningful way.
The Queen blushed. "I wouldn't, couldn't engage in such a thing outside marriage. I know you say it's wonderful, dear Rose, but I do believe God wants me to retain my virtue."
"Then do me a favor," Rose said, clasping Elizabeth's hand. "I knew a Queen once, a great Queen even if she didn't like me much in the end. But she was wise and knew to keep a weapon on her."
Elizabeth's eyes widened. "I have no place to keep one."
Rose smiled. "I had something made for you." She said, looking toward the Doctor. "Oi, tight suit." She teased, and his head whipped up and looked at her with disgruntlement. Rose ignored him, beckoning him to come over from his place near the tree line. He strode over, kneeling down beside Rose caressing her cheek with his free hand and sent her a nudge of curiosity through their contact.
She reached in to his trans dimensional pockets and pulled out a small, wrapped bundle. Kissing him on the cheek she said, "You may return to your jiggery-poke."
"That's not what I was doing," He said indignantly. "I was scanning."
"Well, what ever it was you were doing, you may return to it." She grinned at him with her tongue in the corner of her mouth, and was rewarded with a wave of affection that paired with his smile. He kissed her quickly and got to his feet, moving a shorter distance away than he was before while staring intently at the device in his hands.
"He is an extraordinary, if not odd man." Elizabeth remarked as she often had over the last few days. She then turned her attention to the bundle in Rose's hands. "The gift you had made?"
Rose nodded, handing the bundle to Elizabeth who promptly unwrapped the small dagger with a tiny sheath. "You wear it on your ankle." Rose told her. "The blade's small, but aim it right and it will still kill anyone trying to kill you."
Elizabeth caressed the hilt gently, fingers lingering on the tiny wold head. "I don't think I could carry such a weapon on me. I have a dose of poison in my ring, and guards with me when needed."
"Consider it," Rose said, putting a hand on Elizabeth's shoulder as the Queen tucked the weapon under one of the many cushions. "I want you safe, my Queen." She added with a grin that Elizabeth returned liberally.
"Ah ha!" The Doctor exclaimed, and Rose turned to stare at him with a glare. He smiled back manically, seemingly so proud of himself, before it fell and he charged toward the blankets. "Rose, get away from her." He said as he grabbed her arm and pulled her to her feet and behind him.
It was everything she could do not to roll her eyes at the protective gesture, and even then a small part of her failed.
"What're you doing?" Rose asked, shifting so she was at least beside him.
"She's a Zygon."
"Is she?" Rose asked, hands on her hips.
"Yes, and they have barbs in their hands. Poisonous barbs. They can kill you." And as he said it, she cocked an eyebrow. "Well," He said, pulling on his quickly reddening ear, "maybe notyou."
"Rose, what is your Doctor going on about?" Elizabeth asked, looking between the two, hurt and confused.
"There's a creature here, Elizabeth." Rose replied, letting her irritation at the Doctor show. "One that takes forms of others. He thinks it's you."
Elizabeth's jaw dropped, a scowl marring her pretty features. "How dare you think of me as anything but the Queen. On your knees and apologize for your outlandish claims!" She commanded as she scrambled to her feet, looking as intimidating as she could considering being at least a foot shorter than the Doctor.
Of course, while Rose noted the hostile way that Elizabeth was now threatening the Doctor, and thereby allowed the natural impulse to try and protect him take over as she stepped between them, she also couldn't help but notice Robert.
Robert, the Queen's favorite, who wasn't a terrible looking bloke though Rose had seen better, was beginning to look a little more than a bit grotesque. His skin was growing redder, and welts seemed to form like burns. It looked as though he vomited some sort of red slim, making Rose's stomach churn a little before he fully changed into what Rose could only assume was a Zygon.
"Doctor?" She asked, not taking her eyes off the creature that used to be Robert.
Elizabeth seemed to note that Rose was looking behind her. After looking over her shoulder, the Queen let out a yelp and dashed behind the Time Lord and his mate.
"What is that, that, that thing! And where is poor, sweet Robert?"
"I'm afraid he was probably never here, Elizabeth," The Doctor tried to reassure thought his voice sounded too panicked for that.
"What do we do?" Elizabeth asked, her voice shaking.
"Run," Rose said, turning just as the two behind her had and they all took off toward a wooded area. They spotted a stone wall and all three headed for it without a single word passing between them. Darting through the door, they all pressed themselves up against the wall, Rose with Elizabeth though looking at the Doctor.
What she wouldn't give to know what he was thinking right then, but out of reach for her to touch him it was impossible to know.
"Lizzy," She said to the Queen, turning to place a firm grip on the Queen's shoulders. "Head back to the castle, alert the royal guard that something is wrong. Go quickly."
"And what of you, my dear Rose?" She asked, gripping Rose's arms.
Rose smiled coyly, "We both know I'm more than capable of taking care of myself." She said to Elizabeth who honestly had no idea what Rose was capable of. "Now go, quickly." She said, and Elizabeth pulled her into a quick embrace before taking off toward the castle.
"Lizzy?" The Doctor said, scrunching his face before reaching over and grabbing Rose's hand. Despite his outward reaction, she could feel the hum of humor radiating from him. "It's Bess, good Queen Bess, how many times must I say this?" He lectured with a growing grin. "Leave it to you to change history." He added with a mumble.
"And how many times do I gotta say that Lizzy likes it when I call her that?" Rose teased back as they darted deeper into the woods. "Besides, if either of us are bad at changin' history, 's not me."
She was pulled short, hearing something click, maybe ding, and the Doctor took his hand away from hers and turned to a small, fluffy rabbit which had been minding its own business before hand. It froze, remaining perfectly still.
"Whoa, whoa, whoa," The Doctor said, circling the rabbit. "Oh, very clever. Whatever you go planned, forget it. I'm the Doctor, I'm 907 years old. I'm from the planet Gallifrey in the constellation of Kasterborous. I am the On Coming storm, the bringer of darkness, and you … are basically just a rabbit aren't you?" He said, kneeling beside it.
"Ya done?" Rose asked, and the bunny leapt and darted deep into the woods before she finished her first syllable.
The Doctor looked at her, embarrassment showing though his mask of indignation. "Oi, like you knew it was just a rabbit."
"Wolf," She said in way of explanation, causing him to roll his eyes as he got back to his feet. He took her hand once more, flooding her with his embarrassment over the bunny's mistaken identity to the point that she blushed for him.
"What are you doing?" She asked as he checked the odd device thing that he had in his hand.
"Checking my Identity tracker. Made it myself, lights up in the presence of shape-shifting DNA." He explained as he pulled the antenna out with his teeth and pointed it in an aimless direction.
"'Splains where you go everyday, then. Back to the TARDIS told build another gizmo."
"Oi, let me remind you, Rose Tyler, that over the last couple years my gizmos have helped us on numerous occasions."
"Uh huh," She said as she allowed the Doctor and his device to guide them through the woods, though it felt more like aimless wandering. "What else it do?" She asked him
His hand twitched against hers as if he meant to pull away. "Microwaves frozen dinners from up to twenty feet and downloads comics from the future." He admitted with a cough and clear of his throat.
"Well," She sighed. "Better than the last one that also acted as a camera. Convenient that you only knew this after it happened to be in our bedroom."
The Doctor tried his best not to grin, maybe even appear innocent, but the waves and images that hit Rose through their contact, images seen on the gizmo post discovery, tipped her off that the last thing he was at the moment was sorry.
"You got rid of those, right?" She asked.
"Of course," he said, the trace of a fib coming through before he could block it.
She stopped them, looked him dead in his smug gaze and said, "Jack Harkness."
The Doctor paled. "Right, yes, as soon as we get back to the TARDIS, they're gone."
"Don't know why you even needed them anyway." She grumbled as the resumed their search.
"Well, the two months you spent with said conman afterward was a good reason."
"I was angry." She retorted. "And if you keep this up, I'll be visiting him again soon."
His machine dinged.
They stopped looking around, and as Rose spotted her friend with a smile she heard the Doctor say in time with her "Elizabeth!"
Both she and the Doctor whipped their heads toward each other, looking past one another to see a second Queen of England.
"Damn," Rose said.
"Rose, Doctor, it's … it's the thing?" The Elizabeth at the Doctor's side said, pointing to the one on the other side of Rose.
"The thing?" The Elizabeth near Rose scoffed. "I am the Queen of England."
"Queen? I hardly think. You may have made an exceptional attempt at copying my likeness, but there can only be one Queen and that as I." The one by the Doctor retorted.
At this point the Doctor desperately started fiddling with the device in his hand, beating it roughly and mumbling to himself in Gallifreyan.
"On the contrary, you must know that it is you who have made the exceptional attempt at duplication but there is only one true Queen and it is me. My dear friend Rose will attest that it is I who is real, and you who is not."
Both women looked expectantly at Rose, and she whipped her head back and forth between the two finding that there was no way to tell the difference. Her mind raced, giving her a headache as she tried to catalog and calculate every detail of both as fast as possible, looking for a difference that may tell the two apart.
She closed her eyes a moment, and the gold light that flashed behind them made her jump, her heart leaping then racing. She forced her lids back open, taken aback and relieved when the golden light was not in her but hovering a tiny bit above the ground like a doorway.
"Back, all of you, now!" The Doctor jumped in alarm, arms flying out to the side in warning.
In typical fashion, while the Elizabeths heeded the Doctor's warning, Rose ventured closer.
"What is it?" She asked, unconsciously placing herself between the swirling pool of golden light and the Doctor.
"That's a time fissure," The Doctor cautioned apprehensively. "A tear in the fabric of reality. Anything or anyone could come through that thing." She watched it carefully, getting a sense that what ever was to pass through was actually quite safe, despite the Doctor's unease. "Elizabeth, both of you, need get back."
"Not until one of you proves that I'm the real Elizabeth." One said firmly.
"I'll have you know that I am the real Elizabeth." The other retorted.
"Elizabeth," Rose turned and faced the two Queens who had crowded in on the Doctor. "You, the real you, knows I have another name. Dame Rose Tyler has another name. Bring me a talisman that represents that and we will know. Now go!" Rose instructed, and the two Queens stepped away from the Doctor.
"I will prove it to you, dearest friend," The one on the left ran up and clutched her hands before taking off to the right.
"And I will show you that no one knows you as much as I," said the second, also taking a moment to clutch Rose's hands before disappearing to the left.
"Talisman?" The Doctor smirked at her, taking a couple steps toward her.
Rose smirked and shrugged. "Had to have been something with a wolf on it around the palace." She said as the gold light behind her flared. She turned sharply around.
She'd be lying if she said her heart didn't stutter the moment that surly, gorgeous body walked through the portal looking more interested in the red fez in his hand than he was in his surroundings. She'd also be lying if she said she wasn't the tiniest bit thrilled to see how his eyes raked over her in her period dress before meeting her eyes.
"Rose?" He said, clearly just as surprised to see her as she was him, and she started smiling.
There was a flash of light again, and a dark figure came tumbling out of the light toward her leather clad Doctor in an ungraceful mess.
Instinct took over instantly, and just as the figure crashed into the ninth Doctor she grabbed it, tossed it against a nearby tree, then pinned it there with her right forearm while her left hand started forming into a fist.
"Hello, Sweetheart." The figure said as a flood of warm love and affection washed over her. She took a breath, realizing she was looking into the ancient green eyes of a young looking man with floppy brown hair and prominent features.
Memories that had been fuzzy since being trapped in 1969 with the Doctor and Martha Jones suddenly became crystal clear, and she smiled back at him.
"Hello, Doctor." She said, returning the flood of emotions and as she eased her arm back.
"Fantastic," the ninth Doctor said sarcastically. "Not only do I regenerate into a pretty boy with poor style, but a chinny professor with a stupid bow tie. Must have a mid-life crisis."
"Now, now, play nice." Rose chided him with a tongue touched grin. "He's the one who's supposed to be rude and not ginger, not you." She said, gesturing to her current Doctor.
"Oi," He protested. "Ol' big ears may be wrong about my style, but he's certainly not off on chin-boy."
"Chin-boy?" The future Doctor replied indignantly.
"Stop," Rose said firmly, chastising hers and the future Doctor and earning a disgruntled glare from her first Doctor.
"Da-Doctor?" A girl's voice echoed from the portal, sounding not like a stutter but like she caught herself from saying something else. "Is that m … Rose I hear?"
"Yes, a past version of her." The Future Doctor called into the portal.
"Where are you?" She called back, and the Future Doctor looked between Rose and her current.
"1562," The tenth Doctor called through it.
"Oh!" The girl's voice sounded happy and surprised. "So you're talking to yourself, then?"
"My selves, actually. There's another one of me here, one from before you were … brought on the TARDIS."
"He's trying to conceal information." The ninth Doctor noted, crossing his arms and approaching the future Doctor, looking him up and down. "Keeps avoiding words, and so's she. I know he's me, can sense the mental signature, but his walls are high."
"Quite high." The tenth Doctor said as he came up, trying to look as intimidating as his last self, but it just didn't have the same effect. "Rose, can you get anything from him?"
Ninth scoffed. "Case all those hair products seeped into your skull, she's not a telepath." He rolled his eyes at his next regeneration.
"Hey," Rose said, reaching for and taking his hand without thinking about the action. Her hand jerked away from him like she'd touched something searingly hot, unable to take his unguarded emotions.
He felt so much. Hatred for himself, present and future, pain and loss that must have echoed even still from the time war. Loneliness, a lot of loneliness inside his mind where so many Time Lord minds once brushed against it. And love, so much love and adoration for her even in that body that it nearly brought her to tears.
He stared gapping at her, and in the corner of her eye she could see the other two Doctors looking smug as if they had something to do with what she just did to their ninth self.
"Doctor," Another female voice came through the portal, one familiar to Rose in a way she couldn't place. "Can you come back through?"
"Umm, hold on," Future Doctor said, looking around before his eyes fell on the fez still in his ninth self's hand. He was still too gob smacked to notice his older self pull that hat from his fingers, and Rose couldn't take the intensity of his eyes on hers and chose to watch the future Doctor toss the hat into the portal instead. "Fez incoming!" He shouted, and then waited few seconds past. "Anything?"
"Nope." The younger of the two female voices replied.
"So where did it go?" The tenth Doctor said, coming to stand beside Rose and snaking his arm around her waist, his hand resting habitually low on her hip.
"Getting a little handsy with the companion there, aren't we?" Ninth said behind them with unmasked aggravation.
The tenth Doctor smiled smugly, throwing it over his shoulder to his past self. "Oh, do a lot more than get a little handsy." Rose smacked him, hard. "Oi, was just telling the truth." Future Doctor snickered. "Yeah, chinny?"
"Nothing," he chuckled as he put his hands on his hips. "Just the smug way you say that when you have no idea what the future holds for you." He said, looking to Rose and winking before turning back to the portal.
She cleared her throat, trying to fan away the blush as she slipped out of her Doctor's slacked grip. "And they say I'd scandalize England now." She huffed, unable to look at any of them right now.
"Right, so, I'll be honest, I have no idea what happens next," future Doctor said, and it sounded like he clapped his hands together. "So either one or both of you aren't remembering this very well, or…"
"Or your remembering could alter events here and cause a massive paradox," the gruff northern accent cut off the lighter, younger voice.
"Right, that." Future Doctor said, and a flickering of light caught Rose's attention as the red fez rolled on the ground before someone stepped through.
Her heart stopped. She knew that face, even if she hadn't ever met him. The TARDIS, cheeky little ship that she was, sort of planted him in her head when she went through her period piece binge five or six years ago. He was a little more worn looking than she remembered seeing, not quite as Victorian looking, but still very gallant and dashing. His hair was shorter, too. His gorgeous curls were closer to his head instead of free-flowing like she remembered from those images.
He looked around, doing a double take as his eyes fell on her and ignoring the tension radiating from the other three Doctors.
"Oh," He said, his blue eyes widening, a ghost of a smile playing on his lips. "Hello."
"Hello," Rose smiled. "Never thought I'd meet you."
He smiled a little more sincerely. "I'm afraid I must confess I was directed to meeting you." He paused, looking about at the three men who stood a few feet away from him, all standing in varying degrees of hostile. "Pick a number." The formally Victorian Doctor said quietly. "I chose three."
"You're not making much sense," The ninth Doctor said gruffly.
The youngest of the Doctors smiled thinly. "Yes," He said, glancing at Rose. "Suppose I'm not."
"Halt!" A voice came from the woods, and before any of them could full turn a head to see what was going on they had been surrounded by palace guards, Robert seeming to lead them. "More than I anticipated," He said, clearly having been the one pulling the strings despite not really having the authority to do so. Every single guard had pikes pointed at the group, and Rose shifted around, unsure who needed the most protecting. "I am here for Rose and the Doctor."
"Good to know some things don't change." A Northern accent said a little too cheerfully, causing her to snicker and stand a touch closer to him.
"I will have silence!" Robert yelled, and the gold swirl flared.
"I think there's four of them," The younger of the two females who spoke before said, causing the guards all to startle.
"There's a precedent for that," the older, familiar one said.
"What sort of Witch craft is that," Robert gestured to the portal.
"Like you dunno," Rose rolled her eyes.
"I said silence!" Robert growled, looking between Rose and the portal.
"Then how are we supposed to 'splain it then?" She retorted, hearing the unfamiliar laugh behind her. She turned, seeing the youngest Doctor smiling at her with admiration and wonder.
"Cheeky one, aren't you?" He asked, earning a tongue touched grin from Rose and a slight shift of her in his direction.
"It's the scariest form of witchcraft!" The oldest Doctor said, stepping up to get somewhat in Robert's face, hands flailing about as he spoke. "For that, that is witchiest-witchcraft you will ever see. For through there is the terrifying … witch. Of the West. Well." He said, and Rose groaned internally, closing her eyes and covering her face.
"Good to know you're in no rush to get rid of me," She heard her Doctor say softly as he came up to stand beside her.
"Not sad to see you go though!" Future Doctor countered over his shoulder before turning his attention back to the portal. "Jenny!"
"Oh? Me. Right." There was a pause from the younger female, before Jenny continued. "Umm, oi Mortals! Leave'em be or I'll … smite you with my witch powers!"
"Smite!" The oldest Doctor turned, flailing his hands toward the guards. "You heard her, so leave us to our …" He looked to Rose. "What was it we were doing?"
"Zygon hunting." She replied, trying to hide a smile at how ridiculous this version of her Doctor seemed to be. Not at all like the impression she got from him all those years back.
"Right." He said, eyes shifting as if he somehow knew that but only just remembered. "So, if you'll …." A spike came toward him and he back up, Rose moving to his side and putting a hand on his chest to push him back a little more aggressively.
"I think these fools all need some time in the tower of London," Robert declared.
"Yes!" The oldest Doctor yelled excitedly, causing Rose to jump and shoot him a stern gaze. It was either something he was used to, or he didn't care, because he took one look at it and kept going. "Brilliant place, the tower. Breakfast at eight, and will there be wi-fi?"
Robert laughed. "You make the tower sound like a guest chamber. It should not be taken lightly as few emerge, and those who do often don't retain their head long."
"Yes, well, you may find some of us harder to dispose of then others." He said with a grin to Rose. He then turned to Robert. "I demand to be incarcerated along with Rose and our co-conspirators, big ears, fly hair, and curly-sue."
Chapter 5: Clever Runs in the Family
Jenny wasn't sure why her Dad was being considered so clever at the moment, what with having himself, three of his past selves, and an early version of her mum all locked up. She also didn't know if he noticed the obvious before he jumped into the swirly gold light. That they had walked by statues on the way to their way to see the shattered paintings missing figures, and there was so much stone dust around for there to be no damage to those pieces of art.
But Jenny hadn't the opportunity to travel with her parents as often as she would like, and therefore felt it important to allow her father to do his thing without being shown up by his only child. Well, biological child. And she supposed River was a touch too old to really be needing parents, but still.
So when Kate announced her father's idea to be a good one, beckoning her to come along, she followed. Briefly she considered taking out the primitive device her mother insisted on using and considered sending her a message on it. Instead she held her hands behind her back until she climbed into the car with Kate and they were off.
"Where are we going?" She asked once the vehicle started moving.
"Tower of London, where your … Dads are being held back in 1562."
"And mum." Jenny was quick to put in, smiling warmly.
"Yes," Kate said slowly. "I didn't even know your mother was alive until three years ago. I was acquainting myself with a couple your father was traveling with and caught sight of her." Kate took out her cell phone, a little more primitive looking than the one Rose used, and glanced up at Jenny before dialing. "How old are you?" She asked.
Jenny shrugged. "Hard to keep track, my mum and Dad say I'm a hundred four. Could be as old as one hundred ten but it weirds my boyfriend a little when he's reminded I've got about seventy years on him." She ignored the way that Kate paled, turning her head sharply to take in just a little bit more of her Mum's London while Kate chatted away on her phone.
"Yes, this is Kate Lethbridge-Stewart," Kate said, her voice and authoritative tone both making Jenny startle and look back at the woman. She was all business, cold features and stern face. "I need you to investigate the holding cells inside the tower of London. Look for a string of numerals from around 1550, approximately, and maybe a word or two thrown in there. Priority one. Let me know when you find it." She lowered the device. Oh, what was it her mother called it? Cell phone, yes. Kate lowered the cell phone and Jenny smiled politely. "The Doctor would have likely left us a message of some kind, told us when they are or how to get them back."
"Mum would know." Jenny said absently.
"Can't bring your mother by, I'm afraid. She's on record as being dead, and so few people know the truth about her being alive it's for the best we don't drag her into this unless absolutely necessary." Kate reaffirmed as the car slowed to a stop. She lowered the window, looking at a guard. "I'm going to need access to the Black Archive." Kate told him.
The guard peeked inside, and Jenny gave him her best disarming smile when he met her eye. "I'm sorry, ma'am, but she's…."
"A new associate of the Doctor." Kate cut him off.
"Right, Ma'am." He didn't say anything else, nodding to someone Jenny couldn't see. The car inched forward slightly, eventually coming to a stop. Kate climbed out, and Jenny took this as her cue to do the same. Following Kate inside the castle-like structure, she nearly gasped out loud at the dark, modern interior that Kate lead her through. There was hardly any light, only that which came through ventilation shafts and maybe the odd lantern. Their footsteps echoed off metal instead of stone, and Jenny was vaguely reminded of the place she was born. Suppressing the shudder, she looked to Kate.
"The Black Archives." Kate replied. "Highest security rating on the planet. The entire staff have their memories wiped and replaced at the end of every shift." She pointed up. "Automated memory filters in the ceiling."
"So then how do you know about it?" Jenny asked.
Kate grinned. "I'm not Black Archive staff," She said coyly.
"Loop hole, gottcha." Jenny replied, nodding as the approached an old guard sitting at a basic desk without much on it.
"Access, please." Kate said kindly despite that cool sternness coming over her again. She held up something that Jenny couldn't see, and felt the corners of her mouth turn up as she was reminded of her parents using psychic paper.
The old guard smiled, as if he had some sort of sense that he knew it was a facade. "Ma'am." He greeted, going to the door behind him and searching his ring for a specific key.
Kate reached into her pocket and pulled out a key as well. "Atkins, isn't it?"
"Yes Ma'am, first day here." He said as he took the key, seeming genuinely pleased that someone of such high authority knew his name.
Kate turned to Jenny. "Been here ten years. Thinks he's been working the gate at parking." She whispered in Jenny's ear as Atkins opened the door for them. He smiled and nodded to him as they walked through, closing the door behind him.
"No thumb print scanners or retina readers? Lock and key?" Jenny asked as they headed down the hall, past shelves and shelves of artifacts. Some she recognized, others she was sure River would.
"Both can be faked or worse. Electronic security of nearly any kind can be overridden by the Doctor, and it's best he not find a way in. The whole tower is TARDIS proofed for that reason. He really wouldn't approve of the collection."
"But two people with adequate lock picking skills and a look out who is trained in martial arts and is an excellent shot could easily get in, sonic screwdriver or not." Jenny vaguely hinted at how flawed the security system still was.
That brought Kate up short, turning and looking at Jenny with a curious gaze. "Huh," was all she said before they continued on.
Around the next corner they entered a larger room, with many of the artifacts sealed withing confines big enough for about eight people to move about and examine it. Looked like glass, but Jenny figured something stronger had to be in use here. Looking around, she caught sight of the boards on the walls containing nearly a hundred different photographs of people with notes adjacent.
"What's this?" She asked as she got closer and instantly recognized many of the faces. Clara, Aunt Donna, Uncle Jack, a younger version of Aunt Sarah, Uncle Mickey and his wife (though not photographed together), Tim, Amy and Rory (but oddly no River), and a much, much younger version of her mother.
"All your father's known associates." Kate said as she came up beside Jenny. "We screen them all. Can't have information about the Doctor and the TARDIS falling into the wrong hands. Though given everything I've learned from you and he today, may have to expand this inquiry to anyone who knew your mother as well."
"And I suppose I'll be added to this," Jenny said, doing well to keep the discomfort out of her voice.
Kate snorted. "Oh I'm sure if I tried he'll have a few choice words with me, and so would your mother."
Jenny nodded once, accepting the honesty in the answer as she turned with Kate and followed her until they got to a specific encasement, and they stopped and peered inside.
She instantly recognized the device inside, though wasn't sure if perhaps she should.
"Time Travel," Kate said, possibly mistaking the uncertainty on Jenny's face for lack of understanding. "A vortex manipulator, bequeathed to the UNIT archive by Captain Jack Harkness on the occasion of his death."
"Really?" Jenny asked, a wave of mistrust coming over her. She knew very well who Uncle Jack gave his manipulator to and it certainly wasn't UNIT.
"No one can know we have this, not even our allies." Kate said as she punched codes into a panel and a door was released with a hiss.
As they entered, Jenny circled it and knew immediately that while this was a manipulator it wasn't Uncle Jack's. This one was plain, simple. His had his initials on the leather band, which was more worn than this one was. Jenny smirked, chuckling to herself a little as she realized that he'd played UNIT at some point. Conman to the core.
"There should be enough power for a two way trip, though whether it can bring all five of them back to this point in time, I don't know." Kate went on to explain, a nervous edge to her tone. "The Doctor knows we have this, so he's always kept the activation code from us. Let's hope he changes his mind today." Kate's cell phone made an obnoxiously loud ringing noise which she didn't take long to silence before putting the device to her ear. "Yes? Well if you've found it, photograph it and send it to my phone." She huffed, setting the device down next to the manipulator.
With her back turned, Jenny picked up the manipulator. It was so much like Uncle Jack's that maybe if she….
Typing in the activation code, she was greeted with a screen that prompted her for a date and location. She smiled to herself as she heard the cute brunette, Osgood, inform Kate that they Under Gallery was secure.
Head whipping up so quick her ponytail smacked her in the face, Jenny stared disbelieving at the two scientists who were supposed to have been examining the stone dust standing outside the little cubicle with matching smirks.
"Secured?" Jenny asked. "From what?"
"Oh, just the humans and their meddling." Kate waved it off, barely looking over her shoulder at Jenny as she explained. She tensed as Jenny did. "Dear me," Kate chuckled. "I really do get into character, don't I?" She asked, and Jenny noted how Kate, all of Kate, clothes and all, was changing color.
Just as she longed for something to distract her, the cell phone made an obnoxious chirp and an image of numbers carved in stone popped up on the screen. Numbers Jenny instantly recognized as what she'd need from the times her parents had taught her to fly the TARDIS.
Without hesitation she punched them into the manipulator, looking up at the pinkish-red creature covered in barbs and suckers before she hit enter.
"Two way? See who I can bring back with me." She winked before hitting the enter button, the thing in front of her looking panicked before she vanished.
She'd heard stories from Uncle Jack and River about what time travel without a capsule was like, an experience her father had forced her to avoid. The gut punch feeling wasn't the most unpleasant thing she'd ever experienced, but she wasn't exactly looking to repeat it any time soon.
As she got her senses about her, the musk and damp scent of where she wound up hit her nose and made her face scrunch. It was dark and dank, but she heard voices both familiar and strange coming from down the corridor. She jogged, eager to be reunited and introduced to the two most important people in her life. The voices got louder, more jovial as she got to the prison cell, pleased to see a key was left in the lock but didn't think to question why. Turning it, she threw open the door and looked in with a huge grin that was only returned by one of them.
"Dad!" She exclaimed, because how could she not be happy to see him after he disappeared.
"Dad?" Two of the other Doctor's said, and her eyes fell on the one she knew. Wide eyed and scared, he gazed at Jenny with the eyes similar to hers, looking between her and Rose, her mother, in utter astonishment.
"Suppose we'll have to explain that one," Her father's current form said, his hand wringing as he grinned ruefully at the others in the room.
Maybe it was because she was a lady that Rose was the only captive not shoved into the cell, though it did cause her to fight off the need to rip the guard's head off for so much as touching the Doctor, any of them, roughly. Once the door was slammed shut behind them, she took a fallen brick and threw it hard against the barred windows, knocking a couple of the metal bars out as the brick took off into the sky.
Two out of four Doctors stared at her in disbelief as her chest heaved, the oldest almost shrugged it off, and her current Doctor came and gripped her shoulders, pressing his forehead to hers and forcing her eyes shut. Love and calm came over her, and she focused on that feeling as she let her rage ebb.
"We're fine," He whispered as he stroked her exposed shoulders with his thumbs. "We're fine, we're safe, none of us are hurt." She nodded against him. "It's okay, Precious Girl," He said, pecking the tip of her nose.
"Mind explaining to me exactly what happened to Rose that's turned her into a touch telepath with inhuman strength?" Nine asked gruffly, and Rose opened her eyes to see him looking between them and the older Doctor who was searching the floor for something.
"Not sure you really want to know," Her current Doctor said, his tone somewhere between aggravated and sympathetic.
"But I do," The youngest Doctor said, coming to stand by Nine.
The oldest Doctor in the room stopped to pick something up, flicking it with his fingers and causing a ting to reverberate around the quiet room before he sauntered up to a stone column and started etching. "We could tell them, though I'm not sure it will matter." He said. "We all know you three will forget this because I don't remember it. What's more, Rose will end up suppressing the memory the way she always does, only to her it will feel like a dream." He looked over his shoulder and smiled at her. "Fuzzy thoughts once again, Sweetheart."
"Okay, fine," her current Doctor said, "But I'm quite curious as to why you want to know." He said to the youngest Doctor.
His eyes shifted off to the side as if he was looking at something, but when Rose went to look she didn't see anything but the door. "You know what I'm about to do," he said simply, though Rose could sense the shake to his voice. "There's no other way, as you are well aware, but … but maybe I would like to be enlightened as to what good could possibly come afterward. What there is in the Universe that could make life worth living again? Why it all seems to be tied to a beautiful, human girl?"
Rose's heart ached just then as he seemed to only be able to meet her eye fleetingly before he looked at the two oldest Doctors in the room.
Looking again to where he had glanced to before she thought she caught something pink but couldn't be sure. Shaking her head slightly she looked back at the four Doctors before her.
"They don't see me," The Moment said to him from behind Rose, and the eighth Doctor understood now why he was having a hard time looking right at her. "They all have their own Rose, even if she's not here like this one is. All of them in different states of the same relationship." She walked over to him, her eyes lingering on the Ninth Doctor as she said. "Some don't even know what they have yet."
The Tenth Doctor sighed, looking at Rose in his arms. "She saved us."
"Usually does," The Ninth Doctor snorted.
"Yes, but this was different," The Eleventh Doctor said, still digging into the column. "Imagine, if you can, facing a full fleet of Daleks when all you have at your disposal is a dozen willing human volunteers, Jack Harkness, and Rose." He paused, brushing his hand over the stone, clearing it of dust and examining his work before asking. "You are with Harkness now, aren't you?"
"Yeah," Nine bit out, causing Rose to laugh. "What's so funny?" He asked, barely suppressing the grin that alway came out when Rose Tyler laughed, and the Moment smiled warmly.
"Captain Envy," Rose replied, earning an 'Oi' from the three oldest Doctors.
"So how does this all play out that Rose becomes this?" Nine asked, gesturing.
"Bad Wolf," Rose and the Moment said in unison, and for a moment the Moment could feel Eight's eyes on her. She grinned at him fondly as Rose went on to explain. "Two words scattered across time. I put them there, they're me. My … calling card." At that, Rose deflated.
"No," Ten chided. "No, you don't go there."
"Sorry," Rose said meekly, lifting a hand for Ten to clasp tightly. Visibly she seemed to be soothed by the simple gesture.
"They meet the Master again," The Moment explained to Eight while Ten and Rose explained what happened on Satellite 5. "Five years ago for them now, but you know how easy and quick time will pass in the TARDIS. He's tried everything he can think of to make her not feel like a monster for the things she'd done. A year lived out and lost to the people of Earth except for very few. You'll burn your planet, that is inevitable, but she learned a little of what that felt like in that time. She became Bad Wolf once more, but in a new way. She died many times for those she wanted to protect, but she ended up killing so many more." The Moment stood to stand in front of Eight in such a way that he was looking her in the eye while he'd still appear to be paying attention to the others. "She took a broken you," She said gesturing to the Ninth Doctor who looked shell shocked and scared, "And put him back together. You are as gruff as you look fresh out of the war, out of surviving that which you do not want to, but she helps you. And now at this point in your life," She indicated to Ten who looked to Rose like all he wanted to do was hold her tight and never let go, "Now you are trying to make her better too."
"How could you not remove all of the Vortex?" Nine half growled, too flabbergasted to really settle on a tone.
"'Kay, first of all, it was you who took it out of her, not me. I was born because of that. Second, we would never have been able to get to that, our ship wouldn't let us."
"She's no less traitorous in the future," Eleven chimed in, and the Moment smirked.
"And our Precious Girl, you let her, what? Become us?"
Nine's words pulled both Ten and Eleven up short, and the Moment stepped away as Eight took a couple of large steps away from Nine.
"I didn't let her become anything." Ten said to Nine through his teeth.
"If anything it is the very last thing we wanted to have her go through." Eleven said, low and dangerous.
"And until you've walked in these shoes and experienced the things we have," Ten growled.
"And have yet to experience." Eleven added.
"Then I suggest that maybe you not be so quick to judge. It is your choices after all that bring us to where we are now." Ten finished, and after giving Rose a quick kiss on the cheek he turned away, pacing a great distance away from her with tense shoulders to a slouched posture. Eleven held Nine's eye longer before turning away and returning to his etching, leaving Nine and Rose alone.
"'S not your fault," She said soothingly, reaching out and touching his hand.
Nine closed his eyes against it, the breath in his lungs released slowly. "Course it is." He said. "Mine, theirs, all of us. Now you're bound to suffer for the rest of your life like us, with us." He opened his eyes, and had the Moment had a soul she'd have felt it tremble at that look. As it was, that tiny part connected to Rose Tyler sensed it, causing the entity to shudder lightly. "How could you want that?" Nine asked desperately.
Rose laughed, her smile light and pained. "We've had this conversation before." She said, reaching up and stroking his cheek. "You just don't remember."
The Moment let them have their space despite feeling a little possessive of that particular body. Likely due to the Bad Wolf portion of her, and how it was born. She looked to Eight, seeing him look back at her as bits of a conversation between Ten and Eleven met her ears. Well, it would if she had ears.
"I need you to be honest with me." Ten said gruffly. "What happens to her when we regenerate?"
At this, Eight's brow knitted, and the Moment could tell that he was hearing the conversation as well.
"Nothing." Eleven replied, immediate and evasive.
"Don't do that." Ten ground out. "I know you're lying, that look hasn't changed once in over nine hundred years so don't you dare try to pull it on me. You look at Rose, my Rose with fondness and I notice you came here alone. No voice that came through that portal belonged to her so I need you to tell me the truth: what happens to Rose when I essentially die."
The sounds of scrapping stopped, the nail hitting the stone floor.
"Nothing terrible," Eleven said sympathetically. "It does effect her, of course it does, how could it not? But I swear she does not die."
"So what does happen?" Ten asked.
"I don't want to know," Rose's voice halted the conversation, and the Moment looked back at those behind her. Rose had stepped away from Nine, looking pleadingly at Ten. "I know we'll forget anyway, but even now I don't want to know."
Ten nodded. "Okay. Okay we will let it remain a mystery. Until the time comes." He paused. "But, out of curiosity, how old are you now?"
Eleven shrugged. "I think I'm somewhere between 1200 and 1300. Rose knows."
Silence came over the room.
"Four hundred years," Eight said. "I'm seeing four hundred years into my future."
"You said three," the Moment said as the other Doctors looked at each other with cautious curiosity. "These are your next three regenerations."
"Why are you here? Looking into your future?" Ten asked, shifting to look at Eight with his arms crossed. "Four of us in one cell could cause some massive anomalies, bad enough even if there's just two of us in the same room by accident. But you, you sought us out. You seemed to know Rose, and most of all you've been very quiet this whole time."
"Unlike some of us." Eleven jabbed.
"Oi," Ten said indignantly, "Better born with a gob than a chin like that. Hate to see that thing flapping in the wind."
"The both of you, hush." Nine growled, and the other two fell silent.
They looked at Eight expectantly, and he glanced to the moment who was conveniently placed in front of the pink and yellow human off to the side from his three futures.
"Not sure if I should say," He said. "But I do know that we are, as the twig said, at risk of anomalies. Add on the fact that we have a beautiful woman in a cell she certainly doesn't belong in, and we should have been trying to make our escape ages ago."
"Don't suppose you could have hurled that brick at the door, could you?" Nine said to Rose with an eye roll that Eight had no way of knowing was in good humor.
"Good to know I lose my manners as well as my good looks when this is over. Appears I'll be punished in more ways than one."
"Is every regeneration of yours rude?" Rose asked them as a collective. "All rude and not a ginger among you."
"It does seem we have a certain fondness for brown hair, don't we?" Eight remarked as he looked over his future, eyes falling on Nine. "Though some of us have considerably less of it than others."
"Don't pick on him," Rose chided, heading over to Nine and looping an arm around his waist, dropping her head on his shoulder. "And don't listen to them. You're gorgeous."
"This daft face?" He looked at her incredulously, gesturing at his prominent nose and large ears.
"Far sexier than you think," Rose replied, smiling at him with a tongue touched grin.
"Oh good, somehow still a charmer than," Eight teased.
"I love how you've yet to pick on me," Eleven remarked, smiling widely. "Guess I've finally reached perfection."
To that, Eight laughed. "To the population of Easter Island, perhaps. Have you visited there this regeneration? Did they worship you like a God?"
The Moment looked on happily as they laughed at themselves, seeing the hope start to form in Eight's eyes as they fell to Rose. The entity sensed the shift in time and space a little ways outside the cell, and smiled herself as she could see that they next phase of the Doctor's future life was about to be discovered.
Chapter 6: What the future holds for Eight
When the door opened behind them, Rose turned and was instantly on the defensive despite the fantastic laugh she just had. So ready for confrontation with palace guards was she that when the cute, petite blonde with familiar eyes came through wearing her old clothes and a vortex manipulator Rose didn't know what to make of it.
The petite blonde's eyes seemed to fall on one of the Doctor's immediately, and she beamed.
"Dad!" She exclaimed happily.
There was absolutely no way Rose could have stopped her mouth from falling open, nor could she pull her scrutinizing gaze away from the girl that just used that name in regard to the Doctor. Even as the two regenerations she knew repeated the word with fear and disbelief, she could barely blink for fear of missing some strange trap set by the Zygons.
"Suppose we'll have to explain that one," The Future Doctor said from somewhere behind her, and she sensed him rushing to the blonde's side. "Allow me to introduce Jenny, who quite obviously forgot herself.
"But, Mum knows me, and so does, umm, previous Dad." The blonde said, gesturing to Rose and her current Doctor.
A wave of dizziness came over her, and she wasn't entirely sure if it was all hers as she felt the familiar slender hand wrap tightly around hers.
"Jenny, darling, this is them before you came along." The now understood to be eleventh explained in a gentle yet reprimanding way. "They'll have to forget this, all of them, of course, which is why the slip up is alright but you must try to remember that time lines matter in the future." He took a deep breath, "No matter what River tries to say to the contrary."
"I can't have children." Rose finally managed to find her voice.
"You what?" A Northern accent growled angrily.
"Can't. Vortex. The cost of becoming what I am for you. So how?" Rose stammered, unable to look away from Jenny at the moment. Now she could see why those eyes looked familiar.
"Yes," Her current Doctor said, his voice cracking and catching. "How. Because I would never, not once …" He stuttered, and when Rose looked up she saw the panic in those beautiful brown eyes. "She said I was her Dad, but there's no way, no way I would ever … with anyone but you."
"No way you should have been doing anything with Rose that would result in that in the first place." His previous regeneration growled.
"Your lose, believe me." The tenth Doctor retorted.
"Ah!" Jenny exclaimed, hands waving frantically as she ducked her head and tried to cover her ears with her elbows. "Here. I'm right here! Don't need to hear it. Don't, at all, ever."
"Jenny," The eleventh Doctor said, clearing the laugh from his throat. "Is our biological daughter, though the jury's still out on whether or not Rose is her mother."
"What are you saying?" The youngest Doctor said, more amused than anything. "Are we missing a regeneration from the collective, did I become a woman at some point?"
"Genetic Anomaly." Eleven said, eyes narrowed on his youngest self. "Hence, Jenny. Don't need to know the details of how she came into existence, just that she's our daughter and that is all that matters."
"Umm," Jenny said, tugging on the oldest Doctor's tweed coat. "There was a key in the door. Should we worry about that?"
Rose furrowed her brow, looking at the Doctors in the room and finding they all had the same look of puzzlement.
"No, you shouldn't." Queen Elizabeth said, entering the doorway of the cell. "I was about to get you out when I heard saw the young girl appear out of nowhere. I assumed it had something to do with you two." She said, pointing to Rose and Ten with a grin. "Interesting conversation you've had, makes creatures from another world seem plausible."
"How do we know you're not one of them?" Ten asked, stepping away from Rose and looking sternly down at Elizabeth.
She pulled blade from a sheath on her ankle, traces of white liquid on the gold colored metal. "Because a good friend told me only just this morning that I should be armed, and while I feared carrying such a blade wouldn't be wise I now believe she truly only had my best interests at heart."
"I knew there would be a way for you to show me." Rose said with a wink, earning a giggle from Elizabeth.
"Come, quickly." Elizabeth waved them along as she headed for the door. "The foolish creatures still believe me to be their commander in disguise. I know why their here." She said as she lead them through the tower.
Rose wasn't far behind Elizabeth, keeping her Doctors and their daughter at her back, ensuring that should they be met with something dangerous head on she could protect all five of them. The longer she was Jenny the strange sensation that she could only call maternal instinct started creeping into her system. It was one thing to hurt her mate, but another to hurt her child, and Rose wondered just how like a wolf she made her psyche become.
As she followed Elizabeth into what should have been the guards quarters, she put her arm out to halt Jenny and the Doctors as they came into a room filled with Zygons. And paintings. "What in the?" She said, out loud but softly.
"From what I've gathered, the Zygons lost their own world in the first few days of the Time War. These are the ones who weren't there when it happened, and they are looking for a new home."
"And they've chosen Earth," The Ninth Doctor said bitterly.
"Earth is where they ended up," Elizabeth corrected. "And while they know enough our planet's future to know that it will apparently be remarkable, they do not wish to try and conquer it until it is no longer primitive." She said the last word like it left a bad taste in her mouth. "Regardless, watch. What they do is nothing of this world, much like the creatures themselves."
Rose watched as a Zygon approached a small, crystal cube and put it's hand on it. Slowly, then all at once, it disappeared.
"Dad," Jenny said, pointing to a painting.
"What?" The tenth Doctor said, and she glanced up to see him looking between Jenny and his future self.
"We were called in to look at this in the future," Eleven explained. "The Zygons have gotten out of the paintings by that time."
"But how is it possible?" The ninth Doctor said as he squinted his eyes, seeming to be following a Zygon with his eyes. "That's Time Lord technology. Nothing survived."
"And how old are you again?" The youngest asked him.
Nine looked the other one up and down. "Nine hundred 'n' one." He replied.
The youngest snorted. "About two years older than me and you've already forgotten? Must become senile in my old age." He teased, much to the confusion of Elizabeth.
Nine looked at the youngest, now known to Rose as the eighth Doctor. "Suppressed as much of the war as I could." He replied.
Eight nodded in understanding, looking to his feet before turning his gaze to the painting. "Early days we had a small problem with other species trying to steal artifacts and technology from us as means to escape," He reminded them, educating Rose in the process. "A few of those stasis cubes went missing, but what was a little suspended animation of lower species to the almighty Time Lords when war with the Daleks raged?"
"And now that we're the only Time Lord left," Ten said, moving his head from side to side.
"Well, not really the only…." Jenny started to say.
"D'ah!" Eleven growled, looking at his (their?) daughter with a reprimanding scowl. "What would River say right now?"
Jenny sighed. "Spoilers." She spat out, looking more annoyed than chastised.
"Exactly." Eleven then turned to the rest of them. "Ignore her."
"What does she mean not exactly the last?" Ten asked suspiciously.
"She's our flesh and blood," Eight said with exasperation. "What do you think she means?"
"Alright, enough tongue flapping." Nine ended the discussion for all of them. "Elizabeth, is there anything more you can tell us about the Zygon's plan?"
Rose turned to Elizabeth who caught her eye. "Rose, dear friend, I do not understand what is going on, but I trust you and your judgment in these unearthly matters. Who among them can I trust?"
Rose grinned. "As hard as this is to believe, they are all the same man and I trust him more than I can ever explain."
Elizabeth startled, looking at each and every face before her carefully. "I suppose I do see some similarities." She said slowly. "If I were to squint." She took a deep breath. "But what more there is to tell I do not know. But I do believe that they should be kept somewhere safe, out of public viewing once all of these creatures are … placed inside these art pieces."
"And I trust you will do just that," Eleven said sweetly.
"But they're invading now, right now, in the future." Jenny said urgently. "Kate, she and a couple of her people were actually Zygons. I saw them. And the statues …."
"Yes, I figured what ever was in the paintings likely smashed the statues." Eleven nodded, looking down at Jenny's hand. He picked it up, pushing back her sleeve to get a better look at the manipulator on her wrist. "Not Uncle Jack's then?"
"Uncle Jack," Nine looks to Rose, and while he's trying to look painfully annoyed (a look she was very familiar with when it came to all discussion of Jack), she could see the teasing smile behind it. "Is that what having you around does? Domesticate me? I said I don't do families."
"You'll find in time that you will let Rose Tyler do a lot to you, and that all the things you thought you dreaded become the best things that ever happened to you." Eleven said. "Even if they cause you a little bit of pain."
There was a heavy pause before Jenny inhaled sharply. "No, not Uncle Jack's, though UNIT was lead to believe that. They had it stored in the Black Archives."
At the mention of this location, every single Doctor in the room tensed.
"'Kay," Rose said calmly, "What's that."
"Trouble, that's what it is." Nine half snapped, though not at anyone in particular.
"It's entirely TARDIS proof so we can't use her to land inside." Ten added.
"And I don't imagine a vortex manipulator will bring the six of us through." Eight said thoughtfully, looking to something off to the side once more. "Although," He smirked, "We can use the TARDIS to give it a bit of a power boost."
"Yes, but even with a power boot, that many people on one manipulator? Trust me when I say going through time with four people on it is like slamming yourself against a brick wall. Six of us may take an hour just to move again." Ten cringed.
"But we can use it as a teleport," Eleven said eagerly. "Fly the TARDIS to good ol' London 2013, then hop outside and use the coordinates from Jenny's originating location and boom! We are inside the black achieves to stop the Zygons from doing terrible damage using all those weapons and do-dades we kept saying weren't safe to keep."
"That's … actually … quite." Ten stuttered.
"Brilliant." Nine said, eyes narrowed on Eleven. "May dress like an idiot but you certainly don't think like one."
Eleven glared, mindlessly reaching up and adjusting his bow tie. "Alright then, where's the nearest TARDIS?" He asked, looking to Rose.
"She's outside in the Garden," Rose grinned before turning to Elizabeth. "It's still there, isn't it? Our blue box?'
"It is, dearest Rose, just as you left it when I had you and your Doctor painted yesterday." She replied with a nod.
Eleven jumped like he was startled before he and his gangly limbs moved toward Elizabeth. It was only as the Queen flinched a bit at his movements did Rose notice she still had the dagger clutched in her hand, and fought of the instinct to step between them.
"Your Majesty, may I make a suggestion?" He asked, and she nodded once. "I believe that you should keep that painting in the same place you'll locate these ones. Leave instruction that when the time comes for the creatures, as you call them, to come out that Rose and the Doctor are summoned and use that painting as proof that it's by your order."
"I can not do that to my dear friends," She said firmly, "Not when they are not from my Kingdom."
"Elizabeth," Rose said, finally stepping between the oldest Doctor and the Queen, then tension leaving her before she took Elizabeth's free hand. "You can be assured that we would come as soon as possible. We'll protect England and the world, we promise." Elizabeth looked over at the Doctor she knew to be the Doctor.
"You have our word." He said, coming up to stand beside Rose. "Earth is protected so long as we live."
"You have quite the storm brewing in your eyes." Elizabeth said, nearly breathless at the sight. "To see such power there, in both of you, I know you are true to your word." She nodded, looking past them to Eleven. "Your words are heeded, strange man. I will do as you suggest."
"Excellent, now, let's go! Of to the TARDIS! Geronimo!" He clapped and flailed, pointing toward the nearest exit.
They all looked silently at him.
"Geronimo?" The eight Doctor said with near disgust.
"Bloody fantastic." Nine said sarcastically, rolling his eyes.
"Yes, well, let's be off then," Ten said, clearing his throat and taking Rose's hand. "Elizabeth, I'm afraid it's likely we will not see you again for quite some time if ever."
"Then it is with my deepest thanks and fondest thoughts that I bid you farewell." Elizabeth nodded. "I will miss you company greatly, my dear Rose."
"And I yours," Rose said sincerely, her heart breaking a bit at the thought of leaving such a magnificent woman. She reached to give Elizabeth a one armed embrace before allowing her Doctor to pull her away and lead her and the rest of them out into the garden where the TARDIS awaited.
The hum of the Old Girl was happy but startled, and Rose could already feel the buzzing in her mind as the TARDIS frantically tried to sort out how she was going to be able to compensate for so many of the same person.
Once inside and the door closed, she moved up the console to the jumpseat, seeing the folded black jeans and blue jumper sitting on top, a pair of white trainers underneath. A glimmer caught the corner of her eye, from under the console. She paid it no mind, but noticed the nervous glance the Eleventh Doctor had in its direction.
"I forgot she used to look like this." Jenny said with a smile in her voice.
"Good to know that you didn't change her." The Ninth Doctor said as Rose reached around and unlaced the ties of her dress. "Rose!" He exclaimed, and she tried not to smile as she looked over at him. His ears were burning badly. "What are you doing?"
"Changing," She replied with a tongue touched grin. She laughed when his mouth just continued to hang open. "Please, she's a girl, those two have seen worse, and don't you dare act like you haven't seen this much of me before, mister." She teased as the dress fell to a pool around her feet, leaving in her bra and knickers that were far more practical than sexy.
The eight Doctor cleared his throat, getting her attention as she shamelessly pulled on her jeans.
He looked at her with a cheeky grin. "Quite the modern girl, aren't you?"
"Oi, you shouldn't be looking," Nine gruffly said to his past self as Rose fastened her jeans and reached for her jumper.
"She's my future, I'm sure there isn't really a rule against it." He said, his eyes once again falling off to the side and smirking like he shared an inside joke with someone only he could see.
As Rose pulled on her trainers, the Doctors made work of putting the TARDIS into the vortex.
The second they did, sparks flew from the console, and suddenly the TARDIS interior changed to something that looked very much like a gothic library.
"She's compensating." Ten said, and Eleven suddenly had a panicked look.
"You don't have anyone inside your TARDIS, do you?" He asked Nine, hands wringing a little.
Rose got up from the jumpseat, moving to stand between the tenth and eighth Doctor as Nine looked at Eleven with confusion.
"No, Rose and Jack are gone, why?" he replied as the console sparked again, and it was back to the way it was before. Except now the dress Rose had stripped out of was gone, and a magazine of some kind sat on the jumpseat.
"Oh, no reason," Eleven replied, a glint in his eye as the console sparked once again and the room became very … Spock. Shiny and glimmering, and oh so high tech that Rose couldn't help but marvel at the beauty of it.
"'Bout time you got here." She heard her own voice say, sounding off from having been heard outside her own head, and she turned toward the jumpseat to see herself sitting there. Well, not her exactly. She didn't have curly hair, and it wasn't long after the Master was stopped that she changed her hair back to bottle blonde. The Rose on the jumpseat had dark blonde hair, was wearing blue jeans and a jumper nearly identical in color to the jacket the eleventh Doctor wore.
"Sweetheart!" He exclaimed, bounding over to her and pulling her from the jumpseat into his arms. After a spin he placed a firm kiss on her lips. "Father/daughter bonding, that's what you said, wasn't it?" He teased her, and she gave him a tongue touched grin.
It was all like looking into a very strange mirror, the person reflected back being you but not.
"Wow," the tenth Doctor said slowly, dragging out the word. "You look really good for over three hundred years old."
"I'll say," Nine said, and Rose couldn't help but take in his slack jawed gaze. He didn't look at current her like that, but then again she supposed there was a big difference between twenty-seven and three hundred something. "How do you not look …?"
"I moisturize," Future Rose replied with a wink. She then turned her eyes and met Rose's. Er… her own. "We both remember what happened last time we came in contact with ourselves."
"Reapers," Rose nodded.
"Right," Future Rose smiled. "So perhaps it's best we keep a bit of difference between us, yeah?"
Rose chuckled. "Blimey, I'm so glad I don't change that much."
"Why change perfection?"
"Oh would the two of you stop getting along so well?" Eleven asked, a frown firmly in place. "Honestly, the pair of you. No need to show us up all the time."
"Maybe you'll learn something," Rose teased.
"1248 years old and still acts like a child. Wish I could tell you he learns, but he really doesn't."
Ten groaned. "This is worse than just you and the TARDIS gaining up on me."
"Wait about a hundred years or so." Eleven said absently as he returned to the console. "We get outnumbered, five women to two men."
Nine grumbled something, but no one seemed to want him to repeat it.
"Alright, boys, I seem to vaguely recall what was about to happen. Better get us there, yeah?" Future Rose said, dropping her arm around her Doctor, the ring on her finger catching in the light of the Time Rotor. It made current Rose smile, twisting her own ring around her finger before glancing at the eleventh Doctor's left hand. The pang at seeing his lack of band was too strong to hide. "He just doesn't like them." Future Rose said in response the words Rose held back. "It's a human custom, after all. Don't worry," She said, tapping her temple, "Things go the way he said they would."
Rose smiled, and while she could feel the eyes of the three youngest Doctor's flickering between their two girls, she ignored them.
"Alright, let's get the Old Girl where we need to be then teleport inside, shall we?" Eleven said. "Especially before the Roses can communicate much more."
When the Doctors appeared in the war room where humans and Zygons were having themselves a bit of a face of, the Moment was there too. She stood at the Eighth Doctor's side as he watched the three men and women from his future stand in a triangle formation, the two Roses with their hands behind their backs to prevent from touching one another. Jenny was at the back, watching it all while his three future selves stared down the pairs of people at the table.
Frankly even for a sentient machine it was almost a little too much.
"Kate Lethbridge-Stewart, what in the name of sanity are you doing?" Eleven demanded as all three of the future Doctors folded their arms and looked between the two Kates like she was petulant child.
"You know full well what the protocol for such an invasion is, Doctor." One of the two Kate's said. "A nuclear warhead buried twenty feet under, ready to detonate at my command should Earth be in danger. Which, I think Doctors, we can all agree it is."
"You'll destroy London," Nine said, taking up the same tone his older self had used.
"And I do believe you once blew up Downing street." The other Kate countered.
"That was different," He countered. "Only ones who coulda been killed were me, Rose, Harriet Jones and a dozen Slitheen. This would wipe out millions."
"But save the world." The first Kate countered. "And how many times have you calculated to the loss to saves and decided it was worth it?"
"Oh, I've made the calculation many times," Ten said, a slight shake of his head, leaning forward to support himself with his hands on the table ledge. "Never have I considered the loss worth it."
"We often don't have a choice," Eleven said, shifting his stance to copy his predecessor. "It's usually a life or death situation but this, this is not."
"You could negotiate," Nine said, leaning just as the other two were. "Find a way to co-exist. Centuries from now you lot go out and explore the Universe, inhabit worlds that don't belong to you. How is what the Zygon are doing any different?"
"They're acting more peacefully than you are, really." Ten remarked. "Because I'm willing to bet it's not Zygon Kate who started that countdown." He said, nodding to the timer as it counted dangerously close to the minute mark.
"And maybe it would be beneficial to all parties, humans and Zygons, if you all forgot who was who for just a little while." Eleven said, reaching into his pocket and pulling out his screwdriver. Ten and Nine did the same, and the three pointed them at something on the ceiling. Sparks flew, the six people at the table blinked and shook their heads before the two Kates looked at each other in terror and both halted the detonation with only seconds left.
"Sorry, Rose, Rose, you'll have been affected by it too since you're both human, but since one is older it will only last a few minutes while we get your memory sorted out."
As their respective Doctors took their proper Roses by the arm and led them a healthy distance apart, and Jenny went back and forth between the two, Nine came over to stand by Eight.
He had his arms crossed tightly over his chest, and the part of the Moment that was Rose desperately wanted to wrap her arms around his neck and comfort him.
"I sense you're getting as big a glimpse of our future as I am." Eight said as Nine leaned on the wall beside him. He said nothing. "Why are you alone? Where is your Rose?" Eight tried that angle, eyes flickering to the Moment as she stood beside Nine.
"My Rose," Nine snorted, shook his head. "My Rose is twenty years old. Only been with me a year, from not long after …." He glanced over at Eight. "She was literally the first person I met after the Time War. Spent months and months aboard the TARDIS, locking away all the bad, remembering only what I did so I would know that the days of being happy and carefree were done. I know how I did it, but I don't remember physically pushing the button."
"There wasn't one," Eight sighed. "Least not one yet." He let the silence linger for only a moment. "Still haven't answered my question," he said. "If Rose is so important to us, and you clearly know who she is, then why isn't she here in some capacity?" The Moment sensed that Eight knew why she looked the way she did, and why she seemed so found of the body she lingered near.
"She's out with her friends." Nine replied. "Don't do domestics, me. No families, no drinks with friends." He said, eyes lingering on his future selves. "At least this me doesn't."
"Are we really so broken that we can't even find pleasure in the company of others?" Eight asked, sounding like he was almost afraid to know the answer.
Nine hesitated, opened his mouth a couple times before he finally shook his head. "Not that broken, just that damaged. Like I said, Rose was the first person I met after the Time War, and I did it while saving her life. Kept trying to let her go, but she kept cropping up everywhere. Finally I just resigned to the fact that maybe we were meant to find each other. Said no at first, but then something … something made me go back." He said, and Eight glanced at the Moment.
She shook her head, smiling, knowing it wasn't the Bad Wolf that caused the Time Lord to change his mind but the woman herself.
"And now?" Eight said curiously. "I can see she becomes our lover," He said, and Nine snorted and shook his head while his ears turned red. "And from the way those two have had a very silent conversation I would say she bonds with us. But in your time what is she?"
"A friend," Nine said with a light smile. "Our Best friend. Rose has shown me I am still a good man. Knows what we did, stayed with us anyway. Corrects us when we're about to do wrong. She's our companion but she is so much more." He looked ahead, and a softness that Eight hadn't seen on that body washed over Nine as he swallowed visibly like his soul hurt.
The two older Doctors were called over by the humans and Zygons, and as they left their Roses unattended Nine stepped away.
Eight and watched as he made a b-line to the eldest of the two Roses, watching as he tried very carefully not to touch her and smiled as he watched Rose with curls brush her fingertips along the surly man's cheeks unabashedly.
"I feel like we've been ignoring you," The younger Rose startled him, and the Moment found it endearing that he would blush as she smiled at him with a tongue touched grin. "I don't mean to be as rude as, well, you."
"Quite alright." Eight replied with a gentle smile, a bit of adoration coming out. "I know it's impolite to ask a woman her age, but given the circumstances."
Rose laughed, and Eight's face lit up just a little more. "I'm twenty-seven." She replied. "I've been traveling with you for eight years now. Though, I think more of the last seven years as simply living with you."
"And, may I ask, how long have we been … involved?" He asked innocently, but somehow his tone still sounded slightly suggestive. Enough that the Rose in front of him blushed.
"Almost six years." She said.
"And you're … happy. With me? Despite all I've done?"
"I'm not so innocent myself." She replied, bowing her head. "Done some horrible things me. Doesn't matter that it's all, I dunno, wiped from history, 's just …." She took a deep breath and looked up to meet his eye. "Loved you regardless of what you did 'cause that's your past and I never let someone's past define who they are. People don't always get the best starts or middles, 's not how life works."
"Then maybe you should look at what you've done as your 'middle', and allow yourself to be happy." Eight said, placing a hand on Rose's shoulders and taking care not to allow any skin contact.
Rose looked at it with a smile before turning her attention to someone else in the room. "Suppose at some point I do." She said, and Eight followed her gaze as it fell on Jenny. "I'd have to if I'm willing to become a mother, yeah?" She said with a grin that he returned in full.
As those two started to chat about mundane things, the Moment moved across the room in a blink, returning to Nine's side, listening to his conversation for a bit.
"Let me understand this," He said. "We have a family."
"Yep," Rose replied, popping the 'p'.
"And not just Jenny, we have another daughter?"
"Sorta." Rose replied cheekily.
"And Harkness is involved."
"Very much so."
"And then there are … more?" Nine said, the disbelief coming out fast.
Rose laughed, and it seemed no matter how pale he'd gone that laugh would still bring a smile to his face. She shook her head, crossing her arms over her chest. "Completely forgot how terrified you are of 'domestics.'" She teased. "Yes, we have quite the … pack, as you sometimes call it."
"Yet you haven't mentioned Jackie." He pointed out, and it seemed he regretted it instantly as Rose paled. "Oh Rose," he said, reaching out and placing a hand on her cheek, forcing her to close her eyes as her breath hitched. "Forgot you're so old now. She's been long gone, hasn't she?"
Rose laughed humorlessly in her throat. "In ways you'd never believe." She replied. "You and the TARDIS were my only immediate family until Jenny came along. But the rest of it, we compiled that through our most loyal and cherished friends. We've touched so many lives, you and I, have seen and met so many people, but not all of them travel with us, and not all who travel become part of our family. Don't panic, 's not like we do Sunday dinner all the time. Just that when we find ourselves in a spot we know exactly who to call, and when they need us we run to them without hesitation."
"Doesn't sound too bad, then." Nine relented, and the Moment sensed suddenly that they hadn't been alone in their conversation for a while.
In a blink she was facing Eight who held the younger Rose's hand, looking almost as disbelieving as Nine had upon hearing all he learned.
"Your future is full of wonderful things," The Moment said to him, and he met her eye fleetingly. "Full of love, and hope. It's full of darkness and loss as well, and there will be nights where your dreams are filled with bad memories. But she will be there through most of it, more than you can imagine. More than that you will be willing to let her." The Moment gestured to Nine. "You'll learn to heal together." She said, noting as Ten came to stand on the other side of younger Rose, taking her hand and sighing with happiness as she leaned against his arm. "And by the time you become him you'll have nearly forgotten why you hated yourself so much because she has given you so many reasons to love yourself." She said as she gestured to Eleven. "Sometimes a little too much, but that is a future you'll face together. Head on."
Eight held her eye, and in his eye laid the question. What about the following regeneration?
The Moment smiled. "You only said three." She said with a wink, and he seemed to understand that that future was just as hopeful.
Eight let go of Rose's hand. "I'm afraid my time is up." He said, and the Moment raised her hand and formed a portal behind him. The golden light swirled and flashed until it settled on the right time frame. "I've learned all I needed."
"Why were you here?" Ten asked him suspiciously. "Seems odd that the four of us be brought together when only Rose and I were really needed to solve the Zygon problem. Well," He looked to his future self and the future Rose. "We'd probably have run into each other, considering, but you? And Big ears?"
"Let's just say I was offered a moment of light before the dark." Eight said, smiling at the two Roses before turning and walking into the portal.
Before she followed him, the Moment looked to Nine who suddenly seemed to see her. He opened his mouth to say something as the couples spoke but she silenced him with a finger to her lips quickly.
"You needed to see this, too." She explained. "Because your time is almost up, and while you won't remember any of this you may find you're more willing to hope. To smile." She grinned. "To Love." She gestured to the portal, and Nine nodded once.
"Right, I'll be off too." He said to the five remaining.
"Are you?" Eleven said.
"Yeah." Nine replied. "Best not to linger here longer than I have to." He looked at each Rose one last time, a ghost of longing and a dozen things unsaid in his eyes before turned and marched through the portal.
And as the last two Doctor's both had their TARDISes, and their Roses, the Moment closed the portal and disappeared.
"So now you know," She said as Eight stood in front of that beautiful, intricate box that now had a big, red button on the end of a short pole. "Today is a dark day for you, Doctor, but not your last. There is no other choice but the one before you, no other way this can end, but at least now you know you won't remain alone."
"No." He said, unsure if he should be happy about that. "I find love and family again. But the cost …."
"The universe depends on you doing this." The Moment said as she wrapped her arms around the Doctor from behind, holding him tight as she pressed her forehead between his shoulder blades. He seemed to feel it, shuttering a sigh as some of the tension relaxes. "I wish I could have shown you another path, a way out, but there isn't one."
"I know." He said. "Well," He sighed, shaking his hand before placing his palm firmly on the button. He took a few deep breaths, closed his eyes, and tried imagine all the hundreds of thousands of planets he was saving, the lives that would be spared, then pushed.
Chapter 7: How Nine gets a little nudge
He could have sworn he was holding on to something, but as the Doctor paused on the street and looked at his empty hands he couldn't honestly think what that could have been. He took a moment to scan himself internally only to find that there were suppressed memories, and he wasn't the person who suppressed them. In fact, he wasn't sure a person did it all. It looked and felt more like he crossed his own time line and had just returned to this point in time. Or …. No, if he concentrated he could feel the TARDIS exactly the distance away that she should be.
It didn't matter. Not really. Not when Rose was close.
And coming closer.
He whipped his head up and caught her startled expression as she rounded the corner and oh, oh there it was. That smile, the one where her tongue touched the corner of her mouth between her teeth and he only ever wanted directed at him.
"What're you doin' here?" She asked, walking quickly over to him but stopping with a foot between them.
In the back of his mind, he didn't know why, but the Doctor didn't think there should be any distance at all between them. He should be able to put his arm around her waist, kiss her nose when she needs to be calmed. He should have been able to scoop her up in a spinning hug after not seeing her for … how long had it been? Half hour? Forty five minutes since he last saw her? It didn't matter. All the Doctor knew was that somehow he'd figure out a way to let Rose know how much she meant to him without him needing to come right out and say it.
"Doctor?" She said, worry creeping into her voice, and he remembered she asked him something.
"Comin' to find you." He said, unable to keep the smile from tugging at the corner of his mouth when joy lit her face. "What're you doing out here?" He asked, glancing around as it hit him that she could have been meeting someone.
"Actually," She said, reaching across the space between them and taking his hand. Why did he feel like he should have felt her in his head? He mentally shook off the curious disappointment and focused on Rose. "Came lookin' for you." She said shyly. "Jack kinda has the girls hanging off his every word."
"And Mickey?" He asked cautiously, taking her hand more firmly in his.
"Mickey's not there," Rose shrugged. "Didn't let him know we were around." She confessed.
The Doctor nodded, "'Kay."
""S just," Rose said, reaching up and playing with her earring. "I realized I'd rather be spending time with you anyway, yeah?"
He beamed at that, and she smiled back in relief. "I know just the place." He said, tugging her hand to ease her in a run back to the TARDIS.
"What about Jack?" She asked as they arrived at the Blue Box, and he paused to unlock the door.
"We'll be back 'er before the Captain even knows we're gone." He said, holding the door open for his companion, his best friend, and watched her run up the ramp with warmth in his chest. He followed close behind, letting the TARDIS door shut behind him as he ran to the console and prepared to fly her to the destination he had in mind. Oddly enough, the Old Girl already had the coordinates put in, and he glanced up at the rotor as it glowed just a little brighter.
The TARDIS whirred and ground, flying through the Vortex with enough time for the Doctor to truly appreciate Rose's anticipating glee.
When the beautiful ship landed with a shudder, Rose darted for the door, and he was beside her a breath later.
The cold washed over them, but she laughed. "Where are we?" She asked.
"Woman Wept." He explained as they stepped out into the cold, feet crunching in the snow. "I'll show you the planet from above when we leave, a whole continent is shaped like a woman, well, weeping." He watched as she took a few steps further away from the ship, marveling at the frozen waves. "An affect of the Time War," he said regretfully. "Blew out the sun and the waves flash froze at the sudden loss of heat. Whole planet is an icy wasteland. But …."
""S beautiful," She agreed with him without even knowing what he was going to say.
And there she stood, the frozen waves a back drop to this golden light in his life. The small bit of beauty he managed to find in the destruction he caused a lovely contrast to the beauty that had been healing his soul since they first met.
"Can we go on the waves?" She asked, biting her lip and tensing around herself.
"Course." He said, stepping up to her. "But you might catch cold dressed like that. Here," He said, removing his leather armor and wrapping around her shoulders.
She stared at him in disbelief a moment before she hurriedly put her arms in the sleeves. "But won't you get cold?"
"Superior being, me. Don't get cold easy." He partially lied. He wouldn't admit even to himself that he loved the way she looked in his jacket, and how happy it made him to know it would smell like his precious girl long after she'd return it him.
"Alright," She said, grabbing his hand. "You think you're so impressive, let's see if your able to stay on your feet.
And then she dragged him toward the wave, and he let her. He was sure he'd let her drag him into anything whether he wanted to or not. He was sure that as long as this girl lived he would do anything for her.
Chapter 8: How Eleven appreciates his girls
Rose helped her Doctor and their past selves land the TARDIS next theirs, the console room reverting back to the coral of that regeneration's preference.
"Here we are," She smiled, "And reaper free."
"Oh would you stop," her husband teased her, and she giggled in time with her past self before she and her family turned and headed outside.
London was cold, and it had started to rain since they'd last been outside. She stepped away from them all, tilting her head back and welcoming the cool droplets on her skin with open arms.
"Mum, it's freezing!" Jenny called behind her. "Come on, we have to head back to where we were. I told Clara that's where we'd be." And with that she heard a snap of fingers, then the door closing shortly after.
Footsteps came up beside her, and since she didn't feel the tickle of a mental connection she knew who it was and lowered her arms.
"What's it like? Being a mother?" Her past self asked, and she opened her eyes to see the nervous way she played with her fingers before reaching up to play with her earlobe.
She considered her answer. "Different." She reasoned was a good place to start. "She's ours, but not, so we don't … we can't connect to her the same way the Doctor can. But she's everything. We'd do anything for her, we've died for her, we will do it again and again." Rose smiled as she could see the apprehension in her younger self's eyes. "May sound self assured, but I think we make a damn good mother, all things considered."
That got a chuckle out of her younger self. "Yeah," She said, looking at her feet.
And then it hit her, like a ton of bricks that she should have known was coming but didn't. When they were in her time line, what she was still dealing with, what it had been liked.
"We're not evil." She said firmly, getting her younger self's attention once again. She held her eye, hoping she showed the truth in hers. "We're not dark or damaged, we just need time and a friend. Someone with us to prove we are still human despite all the changes we've been through. Someone who doesn't know what we did, and may only find out later."
"Don't know if I can. Though, suppose you do." She quipped with a smirk, causing her future self to laugh.
"Quite right." She said, calming. "You'll see, promise." She waited for her younger self to give some acknowledgment that she heard, and was rewarded with a single nod. "I'd hug you, but I think we both know how badly that will turn out." She said, and younger her laughed.
Nothing more was to be said, she both remembered and knew in her gut that there wasn't anything she could or would add to help herself. So she turned, heading back toward her TARDIS where the two Doctors stood.
"Kinda missed the suit for a while," She said as she looked over her husband's former body. "Especially miss that mole."
"Oi, don't start." Her husband said as his previous self adjusted his tie cockily.
"Yes dear," She teased, tongue between her teeth before flashing his previous self a wink. "We should be off. Apparently Jenny promised a place and time for Clara, and I don't think she'll appreciate finding we've gone. Again."
"Right, yes," her husband said, hands moving about. "I'd say until we meet again, but it's best that doesn't happen. And be patient with Rose, I know you will be but it doesn't hurt to hear that she will return to, well, herself. In time. And with help." He said, and it seemed his previous self was actually willing to take the advice. "Don't hesitate to take on a new companion, whether she is there to give immediate approval or not. I promise, you'll never have another Martha Jones situation."
"Not what you said about Amy," Rose reminded him, and he blushed.
"Right, yes. Not another long term Martha situation." He amended, and his previous self snorted before paling. "This body, not yours." He added, and some how that eased his past self. "Well," he grinned. "So long." And with an arm around her waist, the Doctor turned Rose toward their TARDIS, snapping his fingers to open the door and led her inside.
"We're gonna be late!" Jenny whined, already in place at the console.
"Time machine, Jenny." The Doctor said with a grin. "Never late." And before she could open her mouth, the Doctor pointed firmly at Rose. "Not a word."
She sucked her lips in her mouth to stop the smile as she helped her husband and daughter get the TARDIS back to where it had been parked on the side of the road.
It wasn't long after they landed that they heard the honking of a horn, and the Doctor snapped his fingers to allow the doors to open.
A beat later, Clara flew inside on her bike, parking it at the end of the ramp and taking off her helmet. She snapped her fingers and the doors closed.
"I was told there would be cocktails on the moon," She said with a deadpanned expression.
"Or Mars, if you prefer." The Doctor said as if weighing his options.
"Moon'll do." Clara cracked a grin.
A moment later, Jenny cracked first. She ran around the console and wrapped her arms around Clara, and the two disappeared down the corridor gabbing away, Jenny eager to tell her friend all about the adventure she just went on.
"And I thought companions were supposed to be our friends." The Doctor smirked.
"Sometimes," Rose said, shrugging one shoulder. "Wanna go get Jack or Tim?" She asked, and his face darkened slightly at the latter's name. Rose laughed. "Okay, no Tim. But what about Jack?"
The Doctor sighed, moving to stand in front of her, hands resting on her hips. "I think I've had quite enough male companionship for now." He said, looking weary. "Dealing with myself can be tiresome to say the least."
"Now you know how I feel." She quipped.
"Oi," he said, frowning adorably until she kissed him. She loved how he still melted against her after all these centuries, and hoped it would be like that for a few centuries more. "You know it will be." He said, answering her thoughts out loud before giving her another deep though brief kiss.
Chapter 9: How Ten and Rose move forward
She stood looking at the National Gallery without any clue how she got there. Last thing she remembered was being in 1562. They'd been hunting something. Did they get it? Must have. Had to have. There's no way they'd have left without fixing the problem.
"Please tell me you're as lost as I am," The Doctor said as he came up beside her, snaking his arm around her waist.
She covered the hand resting on her hip with her own, "'Fraid I am." She said, taking a deep whiff, "Though I swear I smell chips."
He laughed. "Course you do." He said, turning toward her. "But I think we've had post 2010 chips before and you said they weren't quite as good. Everywhere's trying to be health conscious."
She hummed in agreement. "Probably a good idea not to stay here anyway, yeah? Can't remember why it is we are, might be a good reason for it."
"Yep," he said, popping the 'p'. "Likely crossed time lines with ourselves. Although," He said as she turned them toward the TARDIS. "I do vaguely recall chasing a Zygon through the woods with Queen Elizabeth." He glanced around. "Can't see anything different so what ever was going on we must of stopped it, right?"
"With our future selves." Rose mused. "Past selves and we'd remember, yeah?"
"Exactly," He said as she opened the TARDIS door and waved her in. "So what do you say, Rose Tyler? How about, oh, 2008. London. Get us some chips and see what kind of trouble we can get into." He paused, hand over the switch that would send them into the Vortex. "You are ready to go back, aren't you?"
Rose considered it.
"Yeah," She said with a nod. "Yeah, I'm ready."
He smiled, flipping the switch and sending them into the vortex.
She closed her eyes, reminding herself that no one but the Jones and a few guards remembered what had happened. Five years for her and the Doctor, one for everyone else, but it was entirely unlikely she would ever see anyone but the Jones' again.
No one remembered, even if she could never forget.
The TARDIS landed and the Doctor slipped his hand in hers. Calm and love came over her, and she opened his eyes to see his encouraging smile. "Allons-y," He said softly, squeezing her hand before bringing it to his lips to place kisses on her knuckles.
He landed them next to a chippy, and as they sat and ate he poured over a newspaper, his brow furrowed.
"Last time this sorta thing happened turned out to be hell." She noted, and he glanced up at her with an arched brow, adjusting his specs before showing her the article he'd been reading. "The fat just walks away." She said, looking at him with a cheeky grin. "You don't have any fat to begin with. I know, I've check."
"Cheeky thing," he said as she took the paper back. "But they're making headlines because millions of people are dropping a kilo or two a day with no side affects, no exercises, no changes."
"Sounds lovely," Rose mused.
"Sounds suspicious." He said, a smile pulling on his lips. "Kinda like maybe we should check it out?" He suggested with a twitch of his eyebrows.
"Fine," She said. "But I'm tellin' you right now, you're asking for trouble if you want me to play client."
"Nah," he said. "I think I have a far better idea than that." He reached across the table, and as his fingers touched hers and the idea he had in mind seeped into hers.
She smiled. "Could work. Think maybe you just want an excuse for me to wear those glasses again."
He played innocent. "Doesn't hurt. So whaddya say, Shiver? Shall we investigate?"
"I think we shall Shake." She agreed. "After chips."