Title: Everything has it’s Time (3/8)
Spoilers: Set after ‘Age of Steel’
Genre: Angst, Hurt/Comfort, Mystery
Rating: Teen for mature writing style
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters and make no financial profit from this writing, just other kinds of profit!
Summary: Rose realises that it isn’t the loss of Mickey that’s hurting her but the feeling that she’s lost the Doctor. One random morning on board the good ship T.A.R.D.I.S., Rose says the one thing she never thought she would ever say.
Part of Rose’s reason for leaving was the building feeling of doom that settled each time with the materialising T.A.R.D.I.S. that the Doctor would open the door and she’d be ‘home’, no explanations or proper good-byes; he’d feign it was accidental but at some point he just wouldn’t come back. That was the sort of man he was.
But now she called for him.
How instinctive that word was, even saying it made her feeling better. She coughed and tried again. There seemed to be a lot of dust particles wafting in the atmosphere. Where was she? What happened?
Fear seized in her chest as she remembered and ironically it wasn’t the fear that the Doctor would fulfil her request, that this was some sick parting shock, her Aberdeen but rather that the Doctor hadn’t left her but hadn’t come to her either. How long was she out? Was he ok? Where was he?
She realised then that she still trusted him a lot more than she wanted to believe. It was easier to demonise him, after all he’d left her on a rust bucket of a space ship, left Sarah-Jane even left Reinette. He didn’t care and she couldn’t keep caring.
Sitting up hurt a lot more than was reasonable. The blood pumped and echoed in her ears in sympatric rhythm to the throbbing of her head. She swallowed down the bile rising in her throat and steadied herself letting her head droop again a little.
She could see faint green lines emanating from through the door, still ajar, and if she concentrated she could just hear the soft fizzle of static neon gases. She edged on hands and knees towards the light keeping her head low to fight off the dizziness and her sluggish movements.
She followed the parallel glow, like aeroplane emergency strip lighting, for what seemed like hours shuffling heavily with rasping and congested breaths.
Everything smelt burnt and singed with a metallic tang in the air though also the taste and odour of something almost organic hung like soot above her.
As endorphins and adrenalin started to kick in she quickened her pace, pausing less, thinking less and yet still too much.
She remained low as trying to stand hurt but also the thickness in the air made it harder for her breathe and deflected and obscured the light leaving her blind.
After what seemed like an eternity she saw real, natural light up ahead and so stood and urged herself towards the source.
In moments she was in what used to be the console room. Sparksscattered like rain upon machinery, everything was dim, charred, breaking or broken and a smell like wet dog hung in the synthesised atmosphere. Several empty buckets and spent fire extinguishers littered ruptured, jawed gratings. Something hissed and belched smoke but was hidden by the eerily still Time rotor.
The light was coming from the open doorway. A glaring mid-winter sun was low in the sky, rays falling halfway down the Bobbie blue wooden frame. It cast a long, sleek shadow of a crouched man, the weirdly elongated portrait not quite distinct or evolved enough to paint in brown pin stripes but still familiar.
Barely breathing she took a couple of steps toward him, shuffling and tripping through wild serpentine cables with hissing electric tongues and random unrecognisable debris.
He didn’t turn but after a moment he did speak.
“I can’t take you home, Rose.” Oh how often she’s dreamed that these words would be the climax of an argument they were always destined to have.
Even in this abject chaos her body reacted first with hope until the dejection and despair in his weary timbre shook her again back to reality.
As in her fantasies though, she moved closer and uttered that one word which was usually laced with expectation and excitement, now in concern and sympathy, “Why?”
He didn’t answer. She wasn’t sure he had even heard. He just kept staring stoically forwards.
She drew up behind him placing a reassuring hand on his shoulder and followed his gaze.
Ambers and muted yellow sunbeams danced off a wet, dappled path that looked to be in the middle of a small park. Deciduous trees, naked and bare, lined the square while grey metal railings blocked it in. An old stone statue of a mossy angel stood trickling water into the surrounding basin, the centrepiece where the four paths terminated and a light drizzle moistened the air, weather beaten flowers and shrubs.
“She’s dying.” These quiet words of a lost boy diverted her gaze back to the top of a head of tussled brown hair.
The Doctor sniffed and stared at the ground.
“What happened?” Rose began, softly yet engagingly with parental patience and encouragement.
“Oh, she’s been running on emergency power pretty much since I stole…liberated her.”
“You stole her?”
“Convicted felon me! What would your mother say?” He chuckled mirthlessly at his own joke and then realising the irony in his own words, repeated again with a sigh, “I can’t take you home, Rose. I promised I’d always…”
He shook slightly like an involuntary spasm had taken control of his body.
“Last stop! Final destination. Everybody out. Ding ding!” His shoulders slumped his hands right into his waiting pockets and finally he turned to look at her.
“I’m sorry.” What else could she say?
His chagrined hysteria shifted immediately as concern and affection washed over his face. He reached out tentatively to stroke her locks and than bolder.
“You’re hair? You’re bleeding Rose?”
His tone was almost accusatory, a ‘why didn’t you tell me’, as the trusty sonic was unsheathed and adjusted. She tried to bat it away but he was back to business and she indulged him with this distraction.
Her eyes were wide and piercing. “I’m fine, honest.”
She wasn’t; she still felt nauseous and her head was killing her but relatively speaking, given the situation, she was fine.
“I can’t see properly in this light.”
Frustrated he strode into the overwhelming darkness of the T.A.R.D.I.S., flicked a few switches, set off something that whirred and wheezed and emerged again carrying her back pack. He pulled out the first mismatched set of clothes he found and handed them to her, averting as eyes.
“We have to get out of here. Find a base of operations, somewhere to stay so I can take a proper look at you.”
It was then Rose finally realised that she was still in her pyjamas though as she looked down she registered that they were now almost indecently torn, blackened and bloodied. She felt a little sickened herself at the sight of her own state and quickly pulled on the clothes as a block and reassurance for both their sakes.
She lighted her hand gently on his shoulder to signal she was ready and without another word the travellers, a misnomer as they were now contradictorily grounded, exited their home and locked the door. The lonely, empty T.A.R.D.I.S. sighed a mournful groan.