Character/Pairing: Ten/Rose, Gemma (an OC), with appearances by Jack, Martha, Donna, and a bunch of other OCs
Rating: This part is PG, however rating is more than likely to go up by the end of it...
Summary: The Sonnetsverse reunion. "She's been lost, found the key, unlocked the door to the universe, wandered about, took a detour, stopped, stopped some more, then started again. Now, finally, Rose Tyler is on her way home."
Disclaimer: Alas, no.
Author's Notes: Many many thanks to galadriella1 for her beta job, and, as always, to Paige for being my sounding board with this epic monster. In this bit we return to Rose's point of view, who's trying a different way of looking right now. Prior knowledge of the Sonnets stories and the previous parts of Mysterious Ways can't hurt, and all of them can be found here. Enjoy! :)
Four: "Your lamps will call me home...
And so it's there my homage's due."
- Loreena McKennitt, The Mystic's Dream
A quick peek into Gemma’s room tells Rose that the little girl is safely and soundly asleep. They have both developed the ability to fall asleep just about anywhere and in nearly any sort of conditions, given their travels all around this universe and the parallel one. However, Gemma has the luxury of the sleep of the untroubled, her young mind not kept awake at nights by all of the worries of the world. Rose isn’t as lucky, although the insomnia is nowhere near as frequent as it used to be.
Tonight she is wide awake, her mind buzzing with possibilities. She pulls Gemma’s door shut carefully, not wanting to disturb her sleep. Nodding to herself she does the rounds of the small apartment, making sure all of the lights are off and the front door is locked. For what she’s planning, privacy and silence is going to be necessary. She heads into her own bedroom, closing the door behind her.
Even a month later, the odd not-quite-a-dream she’d had while at Louise’s house is still haunting her. Not in a bad way though, but rather in an intriguing way. If that really had been the TARDIS she was dreaming about and connecting with, who’s to say she couldn’t connect again? What had happened felt so real, not just some collection of pictures her head dreamed up in the midst of a sound sleep. Rose lights the few small candles she had set out on her dresser – Priya says that they help her focus while meditating, so Rose figures it’s worth a shot now. Anything to help her concentrate on that one single thought of connection will be a benefit. There’s a stack of books on the bedside table, borrowed from the local library and filled with dodgy information about so-called psychic abilities (they’ve been collecting dust for the past two weeks, not touched since Rose discovered that the information inside was too far-fetched, even for her).
Rose walks over to the window in her bedroom, staring out for a few seconds. Below her she can see Commonwealth Avenue, buzzing with activity even at nine at night. Stores and bars are still lit with neon signs of all colors, doors swinging with invitation, and even in the cold Boston January people are spilling out of places and walking to their next destination. Cars whiz by below her, and the public train passes by, the green and white outside highlighted by the dull florescent lights coming from within. She twists the rod on the blinds, shutting off the outside view and leaving her alone in her small bedroom, lit only by the tea lights reflecting in the mirror propped up in the corner of the room.
Rose had never considered herself remotely psychic before, but so many odd experiences over the past years make her wonder just what had happened in her head. Was this the result of spending years living on the TARDIS? It’s possible. The Doctor had said more than once that the ship was alive and could get inside her head. Maybe living in the TARDIS for a while made the connection more permanent? She also suspects she may have done some serious damage to the TARDIS once by ripping her open and looking inside of it ages back, but the memories are fuzzy. All she can recall is an odd sort of singing. But it hadn’t seemed to do her any harm.
Funnily enough, she can hear that odd and ancient singing ringing through her head at this moment, having appeared seemingly out of nowhere. She wrinkles her brow and walks over to the tea lights, watching as a sudden breeze sends the flames horizontal. ‘Oh, now that’s weird,’ she thinks, backing up a couple of steps until her legs bump into the bed. A quick glance to the side tells her the window is firmly shut, and whatever’s coming from the heater is sluggish and not all that warm, nothing like this summery breeze currently whipping around her. Thinking fast, she relaxes her mind, attempting to let her consciousness stretch wide and reach out past its usual fleshly barriers. Without any sort of warning the music surges and consumes Rose, making her eyes roll back and her body lose the will to stand upright. She’s unconscious before her body hits the bed, her mind wandering somewhere off in the stars…
This time Rose finds herself standing on a flat, grassy-green plain, with a few decorative rolling hills off in the distance. It’s night time again, but instead of thunder and lightning the sky is a deep black blanket, scattered with stars and unrecognizable constellations. Reminds her of England, she thinks with a slight bit of amusement, although not the England she grew up in. “That was fast,” she murmurs to herself, not quite believing that she’s made contact this quickly. Of course, it may not have been the TARDIS she’s reached – she could have found something far more dangerous, which wouldn’t be all that surprising to her jeopardy-friendly self. It doesn’t feel harmful at the moment though, so going with the flow of things seems to be the best option.
She pulls her eyes away from the horizon and begins to spin on the spot, seeing what’s all around her. It’s when she turns around fully does she see the garden wall behind her. It’s about ten feet high, made of bricks, and curving off into the distance. It’s draped in a dark green plant that could be but most likely isn’t ivy, curling over the top of the wall like tendrils of hair caressing a bare shoulder. Rose takes a couple of steps towards it, hearing a faint humming coming from somewhere beyond it. ‘This had better be the right place,’ she thinks, slightly nervous with each soft step.
When she gets to the garden wall she reaches out a tentative hand to pull some of the ivy-like plant away.
And then she laughs.
(Loud enough to shatter the stillness of the night, in any case. But anyone would laugh with happiness if they’d found themselves in Rose’s position.)
When she pulls back the leaves, she finds a door set into the brick wall. If it were an ordinary wooden door, she probably wouldn’t have had that reaction. However, while this door made of wood and iron fixings does have an ordinary look about it, the bright blue colour it is painted speaks of something far different than ordinary. And so Rose laughs, slouching against the door with a rush of giddy joy.
Eventually she bites back the giggles and reaches for the brass handle on the door. A quick twist and she finds herself inside the wall. There’s ivy covered paths stretching off to either side of her, and barely a meter from her nose is another wall – like a maze or a labyrinth , she thinks. Rather appropriate for the TARDIS. Every so often a torch with orange and red flames peeks out from the ivy, lighting the way. Rose shrugs once, and spins on her heel a few times, enough to make herself dizzy. When she comes to a halt she’s facing the path that is to the left of her, and begins to walk down it. It’s as good as any.
She follows the path along the twisting roads of the labyrinth, feeling the tendrils brush against her back and snagging on her nightgown, the one Louise had given her for Christmas, all long and white and flowy (there was the unspoken hope in Lou’s present that Rose would use it on a night when she had a date who was worthy of being taken home. In Rose’s head a night to meet the TARDIS is as good an occasion as any, so maybe it’s a sign that she imagines herself wearing this). The nightgown is too delicate to withstand much more of this though, so she pauses a minute and imagines herself a coat. With a blink she finds herself wearing a floor length duster that bears a remarkable resemblance to the Doctor’s usual coat, but it’s a little more appropriate for a feminine figure. Rose giggles to herself and continues on, making a right when she sees a gap in the ivy leading to another branching road lit by those torches.
Not long after that, she comes to a bridge in the middle of the path. It’s a skinny, arched, grey stone structure, about three feet in length with knee high railings. Rose crouches down to peer beneath the bridge and finds a stream beneath it. It’s running somewhere, flowing through a small hole in the ivy, and feels fresh and cold against her fingers. ‘Water again’, she thinks, gliding her hand across the top of the stream. ‘Popped up last time too, but it’s different now, more controlled, or restrained. Water here, water there…plants, greenery as well. No lightning or a storm, but we’ve got fire. They’re similar, right? I’ve got to keep going. There’s no other option.’
She straightens up and extends one bare foot towards the bridge, feeling the stones slick and worn beneath her feet. Up and then down the short arch, sliding the last foot onto the grass. “That wasn’t so bad,” she nods. With a quick shrug of her shoulders she continues on, taking the path further and further.
The more Rose walks, the more she notices that the path is moving in a vaguely circular pattern, possibly drawing her towards what could be the centre of the maze. The music is still at a low hum and permeating the night air around her, but it’s a comfort rather than unnerving. There’s something so familiar about it, but she can’t put her finger on it just yet.
‘That’s right, I sang a song and the Daleks ran away.’
She mulls over that line as she crosses yet another small stone bridge. She hadn’t had the time to think about it at the time, barely two minutes after that did the Doctor explode and regenerate in front of her and by the time her world had been righted again the words had flown right out of her head. Rose stops and falls to her knees, nearly slumping face-forward onto the grass, her hands tugging at the roots of her hair. There’s so many tiny little pieces floating around, all these bits of information that could make a coherent whole, but she can’t figure it out. God, she knows she’s so close, but it’s just not fitting right yet! She screams through gritted teeth, feeling the frustration wash over her.
Eventually Rose turns her head up and stares into the flickering flame of the nearest torch. No, she can’t break, not here. Of course she’s close – this is the TARDIS, or something very close to it. She may not know the whole yet, but she’s got some of the parts, and there’s no safer place in the universe than this. She pushes to her feet, scrubs a stray tear off her cheek, and goes forward once more. Just a minor setback; it was an understandable occurrence. Almost expected, really. No one, not even the Doctor was perfect, and sometimes there are little roadblocks tossed into the way that they just have to move past.
And so Rose smiles to herself, and starts to walk again. Then her pace picks up and she runs over grass and stone, taking the curves of the maze at top speed. The circles are growing smaller and smaller, making her a bit dizzy, but also giving her the sense that she’s coming close to the centre.
Finally she slides down one last stone bridge, coat and nightgown flying out behind her, and comes to a stop at another door. There’s nothing beyond this – no alternate path, no turn in the road or gaps in the leaves. This last door, a sheet of a silvery metallic material glinting at her through the leaves, is all there is. So what else is there to do than to go through it? “Here goes nothing,” Rose mutters, reaching out to grab the ornately carved handle. With a deep, fortifying breath, she pushes the door open.
The door opens into the sky, and as soon as it’s fully open it disappears, leaving Rose standing on a mountainside. There are traces of snow and red grass beneath her toes, while a chilly wind tears at her clothing and her hair. She squints into the orange sunlight cast by twin suns, staring over the hills and slopes covered in silver-leafed trees until her eyes light on a city enclosed in a massive glass dome.
Rose gasps, the sight before her triggering a precious memory in her head. “I recognize this place,” she says, reaching a hand out to touch the silver tree nearest to her, with the touch of one finger making a sound that could have been bell-like but was far more alien. “This is Gallifrey, isn’t it? The Doctor had told me about it, described it in detail, but I never imagined…”
And then it really hits her, so much so that she has to sit down on the grass beneath the tree and just stare out at the vista. “This is your heart, isn’t it?” she says, petting the grass as if it were a sentient creature (well if this is part of the TARDIS, it would be alive, so she didn’t feel at all bad for her petting). “The last place in the universe for Gallifrey to truly exist, and it’s right inside of you. Your heart and your home.” She looks down at the grass and smiles. “You’re brilliant, you know that?” There’s a little feeling inside of her head, nothing strong and overwhelming, but it’s there. And it’s radiating something akin to pride with just a touch of smugness. It was a merited collection of feelings, as this was so fantastic a sight that it could only be real, not just some figment of her imagination. “You’re welcome,” Rose replies.
“Can you understand me?” she asks, this time directing her gaze outward. There’s no people moving around out there, the city appears to be abandoned, but she wonders if the Doctor, in one of his many regenerations, had sat on this very same slope and stared out at his home planet in ages past. Oh, she really hopes that this isn’t just some terrifically real dream. She doesn’t know what she’d do if it were. It was the time to make the best of it though, that was for certain.
Another feeling that appears to answer in the affirmative echoes within her head. There are no words in the feeling, nothing concrete for her human brain to grasp onto, but she thinks she’s got the translation down. It wouldn’t be the first time she’s worked at figuring out the nearly untranslatable; she’s got the marks all over her body to prove it. “Where are you?” Rose asks, thinking that possibly the TARDIS and the Doctor are somewhere on Earth in her time period and that maybe, just maybe, she could hop on a plane and see him by the week’s end.
Much to Rose’s chagrin, the only answer she gets could best be interpreted as ‘give it time’.
“I’ve spent time, thank you very much,” Rose says with a grimace. “Don’t know how much more I can give.” It’s a bit of a lie though – she knows she’ll keep looking until her dying day, even if it’s all for nothing. The hope of possibly finding him again gives her something, keeps her going and she can’t give that up, not for anything.
‘Give it time,’ echoes through her head again, however she notices that the smug tone is back, making her shoot the ground a very sceptical look.
“All right, can tell I’m not going to get any more out of you,” Rose sighs, looking up at the silver leafed tree above her head, watching as it gleams and shimmers in the orange sunlight and hearing the music that followed her all throughout the maze float through the branches. “Well, if you can’t tell me where you are, maybe you can pass along a message for me?” she asks hopefully. Not waiting for a response from the TARDIS, she relays her message. “Tell him—tell him I’m here. I made it back, and he’ll never believe how,” she laughs, thinking of everything that they scrawled over her skin and just how meaningful it eventually turned out to be. “And tell him that one of these days, not long now because I’m stubborn like that, I’m going to find him. I promise,” she vows, smiling out over the Mountains of Solace and Solitude, towards the Citadel and beyond.
And with that, she knows that it is time to go. She kisses her fingers and presses them against the grass, a (temporary) farewell and a reassurance of her promise. “My love to you both,” she whispers. With a nod of her head, she tosses herself back into the physical world.
With a shuddering gasp she sits bolt upright on her bed, blinking at the sudden darkness. A couple of the tea lights have gone out, however the pale turquoise-green colour emanating from her eyes again provides gives an eerie sort of glow to the atmosphere. Rose leans forward to check out this development in the mirror, however she misjudges the distance and quickly falls smack onto the carpet.
“Ow,” she winces, rubbing at her now-sore hip. She glances at her hand on the way back up, seeing her skin highlighted by the green glow from her eyes, and realizes that no marks came out this time, unlike the last dream she had while at Lou’s house.
Definitely not a dream, she assures herself. Even if she imagined all of that, there’s no way she could even comprehend imitating that attitude of the TARDIS. Rose pushes herself to her feet and stares at herself in the mirror, watching as her eyes glow and a confident grin spreads over her face. Whatever had happened, she was there, and had managed to reach the TARDIS.
Feeling suddenly exhausted, Rose throws herself backwards on the bed, not bothering to take her jeans off as she crawls under the covers. She supposes that psychic connection over a vast expanse of miles and years would take its toll even on the most experienced of Time Lord, let alone her own human body. Still, it was an unparalleled success. It may not have had the ideal outcome of being able to reach the Doctor directly, but it was at least something.
Not long after that Rose slides into sleep, the soft smile never leaving her face as the green haze fades from beneath her eyelids.