So obviously, this piece still needs a title. It was also rather heavily inspired in parts by the finale of Life On Mars, and if you know anything about that show you'll definitely see the influences. Enjoy, and I hope it does the picture worthy!
Like most stories, this one started out with a word. Or rather, a few words. Well, really, it was a collection of words, in various combinations and languages, written on the wind and scattered around, slowly insinuating themselves into Rose Tyler’s brain.
1. All Turns to Yesterday
Rose just sighed and pushed her sunglasses further up on her head, using it to keep the sticky and sweaty blonde strands off her equally sticky and sweaty forehead. She looked over at Mickey who appeared to be just as hot and agitated and currently pounding out a message with the tiny keypad of his mobile. She leaned over to whisper to him, not wanting to interrupt the tour guide. “Whose bright idea was it to take a tour of Italy in the middle of the hottest August on record?” she asked, gritting her teeth.
Mickey shot her a glare that, if glares could carry poison, would have had her going into convulsions in about three seconds flat. “If someone hadn’t worked herself into the bloody ground and ending up in hospital for exhaustion, Pete wouldn’t have given us this mandatory vacation.” The mobile vibrated in his hand, and he brought up the SMS that had just arrived. “Jake, where the hell are you?” he muttered.
She tuned Mickey out and turned back to the tour guide, who was now spinning an interesting yarn. In the massive fresco that was spread across the wall, the guide explained, one of the soldiers was rumoured to be waving a banner that bore the words ‘chi cerca, trova.’ According to the legends, the artist who was commissioned to paint this wall had to paint over a previously existing picture, a masterpiece that was done by one of this world’s geniuses. The artist didn’t want to lose the work of the great genius, however it wasn’t within his power to go against the Dukes of the city. So he covered up the masterwork with his own, and left behind the flag-bearer to mark where, if someone wanted to, could find the other picture. “Now, for those of you who don’t know Italian,” the guide said in his accented voice, “the words ‘chi cerca, trova,’ translate into ‘he who seeks, finds.’ Rose bit back a smile, thinking that the phrase aptly described someone she used to know quite well.
“Sorry ‘bout that,” Jake said, coming up behind them and wrapping his arms around their shoulders. Mickey just grunted and tossed the arm off, grumbling something about it being too damn hot for human contact. “Got a bit lost on my way back from the loo.”
“Of course,” Rose grinned.
Another stop on their viaggio d’Italia had them in Padua, stopping off to see the university and the Basilica of Saint Anthony. Neither Rose nor her two traveling companions were all that religious, but a good portion of the tour group wanted to visit there for various reasons of art and faith, so off they went.
Mickey and Jake went off to see the relics-apparently the saint’s tongue was there and in rather good condition for being eight hundred years old. No matter how many Cybermen they had taken care of, as soon as something slightly gory was waved in front of their faces they were acting like seven year olds all over again. While they did that, Rose took a stroll around the massive and ornate tomb of the saint.
She wove in and out of the pilgrims there, kneeling and praying around, until she reached the flat marble back of the tomb. The stone there was covered in writings and notes, pictures and medallions that the faithful had left behind. “He’s the patron saint of lost things,” an American voice whispered from somewhere behind her.
“So that’s why every time you lose your car keys you start mumbling to Saint Anthony,” someone else replied.
“Don’t knock it; it works.”
A scrap of paper tacked to the tomb fluttered in the breeze of moving people, and caught Rose’s eye in the process. She moved closer, shuffling in next to a woman kneeling with her head bent in prayer, desperate and unintelligible words falling from her lips. Her fingertips went up to the paper, holding it down and feeling its aging and crumbly texture beneath her fingertips. ‘I will find you,’ the paper said in small delicate writing. The words ran over and over in Rose’s head until another strong gust of people-induced wind came by and swept the scrap into the air, raising it higher and higher until it disappeared into the ether. Rose watched it until she couldn’t see it anymore.
3. Life on Mars
She kept seeing the words, but not quite understanding yet. They’d just catch her eye here and there, whether mumbled in her ear in the corridors at work or a brief glance on a pamphlet at the local Chinese takeaway. Random little moments here and there, enough to set up pathways in her brain, but not so obvious that it was the equivalent of hitting her over the head with a rubber mallet.
Rose sat on the couch in one of the many reception rooms in Pete’s mansion, sipping at a glass of wine and watching the crowds around her. It was her brother Lucas’s third birthday, and the party was in full force. The kids were out back being entertained by something or another, while their parents were in this posh room indulging in more sophisticated snacks. Jackie was holding court over them all, finally the mistress of the manor that she was always meant to be and never got the chance to.
They used to talk, she reflected. Back when they had first ended up in this universe they had talked about lost loves and changes, and how to survive them. Jackie was nothing if not a survivor, and wanted to make sure that her daughter would be the same way. But as Lucas got older and demanded more and more attention, the conversations slowed down. Eventually Rose moved out of the big mansion into a flat of her own. She still stopped by their place frequently, and loved her little brother beyond all belief, but now she had some place to escape to when things got to be too much. Their little world was changing and sometimes she felt as if she just didn’t fit in properly.
It was harder to find a place for Rose in this world than it had been for Jackie or Mickey. They just took over the spots their dead doppelgangers had left behind, and that was that. But Rose…she didn’t exist in this world at all (that damned dog didn’t count, she felt). So they made up a story saying that she was a slightly illegitimate child from Jackie’s teenaged years who Pete eventually adopted…and given her his name, a job, and bucketloads of his money, as the whispered gossip continued, not going unnoticed to Rose’s ears.
So when the parties came she attended, for Jackie’s and Lucas’s sake, and sat back and watched the people in this adopted world of hers.
Jackie lurched over to where she was lounging on the couch, a drink in one hand and a rather handsome young man in the other. “Rose, this is Steve, his daughter is in Lucas’s nursery class. Steve, this is our daughter Rose.” With a wink and thumbs up, she left the two alone.
“I’m so sorry about this,” Rose said. “She’s about as subtle as a brick through a window.”
Steve chuckled, a nice and warm laugh, and sat down on the settee next to her. “No, it’s all right. Nice to talk to someone where potty training and its associated agonies aren’t the first words on everyone’s lips.”
He was nice, and pleasant to talk to, and single, and quite good looking-tall and blond and broad shouldered, looked nothing like…so when he asked her if she would like to go to dinner with him later on in the week, Rose easily agreed.
The place they went for dinner was best described as eclectic, with vintage doo-dads and posters adorning walls painted in pastel blues and greens. The wall right next to them had a large metal sign swiped from some long ago petrol station tacked to it. Affixed to the sign were magnetic letters, the kind often seen in a nursery class as a way to teach the alphabet. Rose played with the letter ‘T’ as Steve prattled on about something. David Bowie’s greatest played in the background.
“So then I said to the customer ‘You can’t do that; it’s illegal in five countries!’”
Rose laughed politely, part of her mind focusing on the intricacies of investment banking that Steve was regaling her with, and the other half was off in the clouds somewhere. Her fingers started to arrange the brightly colored letters on the wall into patterns. Just pushed and prodded, not seeing what she’d written until everything was in place.
“’I will find you’,” she read, her voice only a slight step above a whisper. “Who’s trying to find me?” Something at the base of her neck pricked and started to make a march down her spine.
“What was that you said, Rose?” Steve asked.
“Nothing,” she said, with a smile as bright and fake as cut glass trying to pass itself off as a diamond.
Things had settled down, and Rose was finally having a pretty good time, when the feeling struck again. It was like an icy wave of salt water had suddenly rushed over her, followed by all the little pebbles caught in its wake.
“I’m sorry,” she gasped, pausing to catch her breath on the middle of the sidewalk, everyone flowing around her and totally ignoring the girl who looked like she was about to fall over any second. “I’m so sorry,” she repeated, then turned tail and ran, leaving a bewildered date in her wake.
She ran until her lungs burned and her legs ached, her body so stiff that she all but collapsed on the doorstep to her flat. Throughout the run she kept glancing behind her, feeling possibly but maybe not imaginary eyes on her back, following her through the crowds and darkened London streets. They were out to get her, and she had to get somewhere safe. Her flat would work-the door was heavy and she could have a team from Torchwood there in a matter of minutes.
Not even bothering to change out of her jeans, Rose buried herself under the covers to her bed, and stayed there until early the next morning when Jackie came over and succinctly asked “What the hell is going on with you, Rose?” Rose just shook her head, stuttering something about being followed that Jackie could barely make heads or tails of.
Leaving her daughter curled up on the bed chewing on her fingernails, Jackie took it upon herself to call up Steve and apologize for Rose’s actions the night before. Rose listened as she spun a tale of a boyfriend of hers that had disappeared suddenly four years ago, and that losing him had really done a number on her poor daughter. ‘Not that far off from the truth,’ Rose thought. When Jackie passed along the message that Steve wanted to try going out again despite her little freak out, Rose said all right, feeling that he did deserve a chance to see her when she wasn’t losing it.
After Jackie left, Rose set herself up with a bottle of wine and a stack of note paper. If someone was after her, because God only knew that in her time with the Doctor and with Torchwood she had gotten in the ways of some very powerful people and disrupted some very powerful and important plans. But if someone was after her that could kill her at any minute, she wanted to leave something behind. So she spent the rest of the day writing, leaving letters behind to her mum and dad, to Mickey, and to Lucas, imparting all of the dodgy wisdom that big sisters give to their younger siblings.
4. Ardera Sempre
‘Why was it that Cardiff always seemed to attract humans or aliens bent on destroying the world?’ Rose thought as she huddled on a landing with a group of her co-workers, cringing back in fear from the firey maelstrom in the stairwell below them.
The Cardiff branch of Torchwood had gotten readings of a power source that was a bit strange. Correction, they would have gotten readings, except the power was so strong that it was registering off the bloody charts. So Cardiff called in London to help investigate, and after a bit of a whirlwind the crack investigation team found themselves in that stairwell with the fire nipping at their heels.
Rose wiped her forehead down with the sleeve of her heavy black jacket. Between the fire and the combat gear, she felt like she was burning up inside. Flames inside and out, and she just wanted to scream. She hated to admit it, but things were beginning to look a bit hopeless. The power source was buried within the fire, carried along by its mad creator until his hands were burnt black and he dropped it in the stairwell. Unless they could reach it, the source would overload and the building would blow sky high. She propped a shoulder against the wall, keeping one eye on the fire and the other on Mickey who currently had the creator of said power source by the lapels of his jacket.
“What the hell were you thinking?” Mickey said, giving him a shake for good measure. The older man didn’t reply. “Look, you’ve got to give us something, or we’re all going to roast here!” Rose whimpered and leaned her head against the graffiti covered cinderblock walls. He wasn’t going to give them anything. This project was his baby, and he would rather see it get totally out of control rather than let Torchwood destroy it.
But then, proving that things happened when you really did least expect it, some of the graffiti jumped out to Rose’s eyes, the vibrant green color of the paint a contrast to the flames licking up towards them. “’Chi cerca, trova,’” she read, pulling off one of her gloves to run her fingers along the paint. It had been many, many months since she had seen those words, but their tale wasn’t one easily forgotten. They meant something, though; she could almost taste it in the air, feel it on her face like the flames from fire.
“If that thing blows, how strong is the explosion going to be?” Rose asked, turning to the rest of her team, most of whom were surrounding the mad scientist. He hesitated, and Rose nearly growled, storming over to them. “How strong?” she repeated, barely inches away from his face. Part of her felt bad, the man obviously was a bit scared and lost, but it was her responsibility to get them all out of the mess he had made, and so she pushed that small part away in order to get the job done.
The scientist sighed, pulling off his reading glasses and shoving them into a pocket. “You know how they say in five billion years the sun is going to go nova and burn everything in its path? Well, if that thing goes critical the resultant force will most likely be something similar to that.”
“Oh, fantastic,” Jake muttered, slumping back against a wall. Rose didn’t hear him though, her mind shooting off in all other directions. She paced around the small landing, trying to figure things out in her head. Things about supernovas and holes into voids and the end of a parallel Earth five billion years in the future and a chance, just the merest hint of a brief chance of it working and the planet being safe and not turned into a hunk of charcoal. Someone had to save the planet, and it might as well be her. She was Rose Tyler, defender of the Earth, after all.
“What are you thinking?” Mickey said in a hushed voice, coming over to her.
“If I can get down there I can disable the source,” she said, chewing on her thumbnail. “Once it’s shut off it’s harmless, and the fire can destroy it. If we’re lucky the only casualty will be this decrepit old building.”
“And you,” Mickey pointed out, grabbing her arms roughly and pulling her to face him. “Rose, that’s suicide; there’s no way you could survive that!
She shook her head. “Mickey, you and I both know that this world isn’t meant to die anytime soon, not before they get out there and fly amongst the stars. And if me doing this means that Lucas is going to have a safer planet to grow up in…well, it’s worth it then.”
“What’s Jackie going to say once she hears about this one?” Mickey pleaded. “Hell, if the Doctor ever comes back, what’s he going to think about you offing yourself just to maybe save a few people?”
“Oh, now you’re just playing dirty,” Rose winked back at him. A sense of calm had settled over her, and for the first time in a long time, it seemed that things were startlingly clear. Off in the distance, she heard her team make noises of protestation, but the sound blended into one whirling blur and was whisked away by the flames coming closer and closer. “You know he would want me to do what it takes to save this place; to save my family and make sure that they’re safe.” She stripped off her gloves and tossed them to the ground. “There’s some letters in my night table drawer, one for you, my mum and dad, one for Steve, one for Lucas. Make sure they get them, please?” She pulled off the heavy jacket and long sleeved shirt beneath it. The belt that held her service pistol was unbuckled and laid on top of the jacket. There was a brief mental debate as to whether she should take the combat boots off, but decided to keep them on. Suicides took their shoes off before they jumped. This was saving the world.
When she was down to her vest top and cargo trousers, she turned to Mickey, pulling him into a tight hug. “Thank you for everything, Mickey Smith,” she said. She kissed him hard on the lips.
“You’re crazy, Rose,” he said, even though the tiniest of smiles was breaking across his face.
“Sometimes it’s the best way to live,” she grinned back. As she backed up a few steps, she caught the green graffiti again, but then paused as it began to shift, just slightly. The Italian words blurred then shifted, translating themselves into English for a brief moment-‘who seeks, finds’-then shifted back to how they had been. Rose shook her head, figuring the smoke was making her vision go funny, but again that feeling at the back of her neck quietly spoke up again. She shook her head, and pulled her hair out of its ponytail, letting the strands fall loose and frazzle around her head.
When the far wall was against her back, she pushed off and began to run. There weren’t many steps to be taken across the small landing, but she made the most of them. As soon as Rose made it to the top stair she leapt off, falling fast into the flames below.
And she burned like the sun.
5. The Arrival and the Reunion
Oh God, she was burning everywhere. Inside and out, just heat and flames and near agony were the only noticeable things. She couldn’t even squeeze her eyes shut to block out the sight of the dancing orange and yellow fires. All Rose could do was let herself be consumed.
Then, there was nothing. The flames stopped as if a switch had been flicked, plunging her into total darkness. It wasn’t just darkness though…rather, it was best described as absence. Absence of everything, of light and life, but also of evil and stress and other harmful things. Rose unclenched her fingers, letting the power source float away from her. It was almost amazing that something so small had the power to destroy the entire Earth. The source descended into the blackness, and she could see it splitting apart and disintegrating, becoming harmless fragments of nothing.
Below her though, there had to have been something other than nothing. Her gut feeling was telling her that something was out there, roiling and boiling just out of her sight, something she didn’t want to encounter.
The choice to explore further or run away or look for something different was quickly taken away from her though. If Rose hadn’t been so shocked by the sudden force, she would have realized that it felt like a hand grabbing onto the waistband of her trousers and pulling hard. All she could do was scream…
…And scream and scream and scream…
…until she hit something hard. The wind was knocked out of her with the impact, and her voice cut out. After a couple minutes of being inert to dull some of the pain racing through her bones, Rose felt confident enough to raise her head to see just where she had ended up. The last thing she had expected to see was the same stairway she had just been in, down to the same dim florescent lighting and graffiti scrawled on the dingy cinderblock walls. That was exactly what she had found though. The only difference was that now she was at the bottom of the flight of stairs, rather than back on the seventh floor landing where she had leapt from. This stairway didn’t bear any signs that a fire had recently raged through the place as well. While the walls were grimy, there was nothing at all that spoke to fire damage or damage by rogue power sources created by Welsh madmen. That burned smell was most likely coming from her clothing.
‘What-the-hell?’ she thought, attempting to push herself up. Pain lanced through her arms and she hissed. They didn’t look that hot either. Her flesh was mottled with patches of ash and first degree burns, and her formerly white vest was now a dirty grey. She didn’t even want to think about what her hair looked like. At least she could still feel it on her upper arms. Without warning yellow sparks danced on her skin, racing up and over her arms, and surprising her so badly she collapsed back to the ground again. She had definitely felt the sting that time.
Rose had once heard that you know you’re alive if you can feel pain. If she was to go by that theory then she was most certainly quite alive because her whole body still felt like it was on fire and apparently now sparking and giving off a charge like some sort of cut wire. Every muscle ached, and what would have really been lovely then was to soak in a lavender scented bath for about four days.
She wanted to call out to Mickey, see if he could help her up, but her tongue just didn’t want to work. Maybe, if she could just get to the top of the stairs, she could find the mobile in the jacket she’d left behind and try and call for help. Slowly, as if she were a baby just learning how to crawl (forget about walking at this time, if she stood up she was sure she’d end up back on the ground in a second flat), Rose hauled herself up, one step at a time.
Going down the stairs had felt like it had passed in mere seconds, but this time it could have taken a near eternity to get back up to the top. Worlds could have formed and lived and died in the time it took to get to the seventh floor landing. She had to stop a couple of times as well when the sparks raced through her again, the golden yellow bolts of electricity coming off her fingers and embedding themselves in the concrete below her. But she was a survivor, always had been, and didn’t stop until finally, finally she had reached the landing.
With wobbly arms she hauled herself up and leaned against the wall, gasping for air. Her hands had been scraped raw, the concrete leaving them torn and bleeding. But she made it, and she was sitting upright. Then Rose noticed that her jacket was nowhere to be seen. Same as at the bottom of the steps, there was no sign that any fire or Torchwood employees had been there trying to save the world. ‘Well, scratch that idea then,’ she thought. She was about to rest her head against the wall to plot her next move, when she saw that damned green graffiti again.
Rose tilted her head up to look at the words a bit above her head. Same green paint, same scrawled handwriting, just definitely in English this time-‘who seeks, finds’. No wobbling back and forth between a foreign tongue and hers. Almost like it was the same, just an alternate…
No way. She didn’t even want to entertain the thought, but it still began to march through her head anyway like a bloody parade. The crucial factors were all there (she may have been a bit distracted during the Doctor’s last message to her, but she remembered every single word they had both said). Massive amount of power, something strong enough to create near nova forces, a rift-no matter what universe, there was always a rift in Cardiff. Maybe that explained the unusually large amount of crazies that came out of there. And the last piece, a woman crazy enough herself to grab a hold of that power source and toss herself right into the fire in the hopes that it would save that world and her family.
She had to have ended up in the Void. No other word could best describe that blackness, that place of nothingness. It was beyond hell, at least in hell there was always hope that one could leave. Not even hope could thrive in the Void. But then how did she get out of there? Rose slouched back against the wall, hissing as the cinderblock scraped against her raw skin and set off another round of the sparks. She shouldn’t have been able to leave there, should have been stuck there with whatever Daleks and Cybermen were still in there until time ended or she disintegrated and ended up nothing more than a lost memory. Somehow though, something had grabbed onto her and hauled her out. It wasn’t really the time to think about that though. First priority was to find out exactly which out of the many universes out there she had ended up in, and then see about getting herself cleaned up.
If she could have laughed, she would have, something loud and long and just happy to be alive. As it were, her throat burned from swallowing all of the smoke, so she sat slouched against the wall with a silly smile on her face.
The smile faded when she heard footsteps pounding up the stairs a flight down from her. They could be friend or foe, not quite human, or God only knew what. And she didn’t even have her gun with her. Rose pulled her feet onto the step below her, trying to make herself as small a package as possible, and waited for whoever it was down there to come into view.
Of course, she saw the last person she would have ever expected.
“Yeah, something’s gone funny with the readings on this floor. I’m heading up to seven now to take a lo…” Rose’s eyes widened just as the Doctor’s voice trailed off, pausing in his steps as he caught sight of her. “I’ll call you back,” he breathed into the mobile he was carrying, clicked it off, and slid it into his pocket, never once taking his eyes off of her.
6. Last Chance on the Stairway
“You can’t be here,” The Doctor said, only moving enough so that he could pull the sonic screwdriver out of his pocket.
“I shouldn’t even be alive, I suspect,” Rose said in a smoke-roughened voice. She coughed, trying to clear her throat and make herself sound somewhat normal.
The screwdriver whirred and he took a couple of careful steps up towards her. “It says you’re human, even a DNA match for Rose Tyler,” he said slowly, “but there are species out there that can replicate and copy stolen DNA to pass themselves off as someone else.”
Rose had expected this. She didn’t blame him one bit for being suspicious, especially since she shouldn’t even be in this universe. “Can they copy memories too?”
He paused in his slow ascension of the stairs. “No.”
She smiled faintly back at him. “Then I’ll tell you the same thing you told me once. The first time we met, in the basement of Henrik’s, surrounded by shop window dummies, you grabbed my hand, and said one word.” Rose leant forward, bracing an arm on the step beside her. Her smile grew wider, more manic, and her eyes gleamed. “Run.”
And run he did, scaling the stairs impressively fast. She barely had time to think before she found him perched in front of her, kneeling precariously on the step below. Before either of them could speak however, another series of sparks coursed through Rose’s body, making her gasp and go rigid as the electricity crackled.
“What was that?” The Doctor asked, his hands coming to rest on her knees. “You’re really real,” he whispered, so low it was entirely possible that she had imagined it. “Does it have something to do with how you got to this universe?” he continued, louder.
“Maybe…I think so.” She told him what had happened in Cardiff, with the power source, its explosion and where she’d guessed she’d ended up. “I honestly didn’t think I was going to end up here, or in the Void. I just wanted that thing shut down so everyone would be safe.”
“At the cost of your own life though?” There was a look of pain in the Doctor’s eyes, staring down at her. She straightened up and met his gaze.
“I’ve already lived. My little brother hasn’t. Wasn’t a hard choice. And I know the source is destroyed. I saw it fall to bits. They’re safe, and that’s what matters.” Rose sighed and leaned against the wall again, attempting to rub some of the grime off her arms. The Doctor moved to sit next to her, their legs pressed tightly together, telling both of them that this was no mere dream.
“So Jackie had a boy then?” he asked.
“Yeah. Lucas; he’s three now. A real sweetheart too.” Deep down, Rose knew she wasn’t going to be able to see her sweetheart of a baby brother grow up now, and it hurt to think that. But at least he was going to be able to grow up, and that made it all worth it. There would be a time for regrets later.
“Four years…I’m so sorry you were taken away from them again.”
“S’not your fault. I made my choice. They’re safe, and I’m…I don’t know where the hell I am. Am I still in Cardiff?” she asked with a slight giggle. Maybe those electrical sparks were making her a bit loopy, she thought, watching them jump from fingernail to fingernail.
“Yes, you are definitely still in Cardiff, Cardiff 2009 to be precise. No Gelth coming through the rift this time though, just a slightly scorched Rose Tyler,” he winked back.
“Ah, good,” she nodded. It was strange, how they were falling back into the banter after being apart for so long. It felt natural though, somehow right, so she wasn’t going to even think of fighting it. “Is that why you were here? Were you getting readings of power stuff gone wonky as well?”
“Well, the phrases used were a bit more technical than that, but yeah, pretty much. What the sensors were picking up were probably whatever was sneaking through the cracks that power source of yours made. They were faint, but noticeable enough for the TARDIS to pick up on it,” the Doctor said.
“While on my side, things were off the charts,” Rose continued. The Doctor’s mobile rang, interrupting whatever she was going to say. It wasn’t all that important anyway, just repeating what she had said earlier. To her surprise, he flipped open the phone, said an extremely fast “Not now!” and hung right back up again.
He reached out a slightly shaky hand (only very slight. Could have been written off as a passing breeze from a fly’s wings. In any other situation he might have passed it off as such too) to cup her face. “This should be impossible. You shouldn’t be here.” Rose just leaned into his palm, shutting her eyes for a moment and letting him ease away some of the tension that was still rippling through her system.
“I thought you said you liked doing the impossible,” she said.
“I think I like it even better when you do the impossible,” he replied, making her eyes snap open. He just grinned down at her. “Usually when things come back, it’s never the ones you want.”
“Very long story. It’s been an interesting two years, I’ll tell you that much.”
“Sounds like you’ve got some tales to tell,” Rose said. And at some point, it would be time to talk about everything that had happened, the good and the bad, and they’d fight and scream and then pick themselves up and come back together again. But this wasn’t that time.
“I do. I’ll have to tell you all about them.”
This next round of sparks centered around her ankles, and Rose slapped at them while they stopped glowing. “I really hope this isn’t a permanent side effect,” she sighed.
“On the bright side you’ll always have a Christmas tree with you,” he smirked.
“Oi!” She went to smack at him playfully, but the Doctor just pulled her in close and wrapped his arms tight around her. She sighed again and embraced him back, holding on to his skinny waist as if her very life depended on it. She felt him bury his face in her hair and had a brief moment of panic about how bad her hair must look at the moment, but then his hands moved on her back and it didn’t really matter anymore.
He pulled back, but then…oh yes, he definitely did just lick her forehead. “You probably shouldn’t have done that,” she said, taking in the wrinkled nose look he was currently sporting on his face.
The Doctor smacked his lips a few time, the moue of distaste growing. “You never tasted like that before. What’s the best way to describe it…?”
“Ashtray?” Rose suggested with an arched eyebrow.
Rose giggled. That was real life for you-mad, bad, and beautiful. Sometimes, when things go totally pear shaped and look more bleak than ever imagined, the universe tosses something good back. The Doctor brought both hands up to her face, tilting until their eyes met. “I don’t care,” he said, right before he brought his lips firmly down on hers.
God, it had been four years, but she could never forget something like this. The urge to fall and the urge to fly, translated through lips and tongues and stroking fingers. She reached up, hands going to his shoulders and sliding into that hair, re-learning the texture after going for so long without. She knew he was doing the same thing too, his tongue dancing against hers, and one hand moving down to settle at the small of her back, carefully brushing against the tender skin.
“Well, that’s one way to get the sparks to stop,” the Doctor mumbled after he pulled back just slightly. He was still close enough to lick her nose if he wanted to-which of course, he did want to. It would have to wait until later though. Sure enough, as soon as those words slipped out of his mouth more electric lights flew from her scalp, making Rose wince and the Doctor lean away.
Rose groaned and pressed her face into her chest. “This is total bollocks,” she sighed.
“We can head back to the TARDIS,” the Doctor said, hopping to his feet and moving a few stairs down. “I can get a better idea of what’s going on there. ‘Course, I can also make sure that you didn’t pick up anything nasty in your travels back here too.” His voice lowered, and his eyes drifted away from hers. “Then we can then get you set up with a flat; could be here, London, wherever you want, and you can get on with your life.”
Rose held her hand out to him, silently asking for help getting up and so much more. “Or could I stay on the TARDIS, go see the stars with you?”
His eyes snapped back up to hers, that manic grin lighting up his face. “Oh, I’d love it if you were to come with me.”
“I’d love it, too.”
The Doctor grabbed her hand and hauled her to her feet, catching her when her legs gave out after the first step down. He wrapped an arm around her waist, gladly acting as a sturdy support for her as they continued on down the stairway. Just as they reached the bottom, his mobile run again, and he fished it out of one of the transdimensional pockets in that coat of his with his free hand. He flipped it open and quite a few voices echoed out of the ear piece towards him. “Yeah, I’m here. I’m all right.” He looked down at Rose again, winking and shooting her a rather cheeky grin. She smiled back, with just a hint of tongue poking through her teeth. “Weeeeell…” the Doctor continued, “Let’s just say that something found me here…you’re really not going to believe this one…”