Sometimes, on those rare quiet nights when the Doctor decides that he needs to rest, recharge, and just flat out relax (and these are very rare nights – she suspects that he believes that if he stops moving he’ll die, as if he were a shark) the TARDIS sleeps as well. Not a full sleep, nor is it sleep by any recognizable sense of the word, but her internal parts curl up like a slumbering kitten and doze for a little while. Her circuits can reset themselves and repair some connections. A ship of her dignified stature needs these brief periods of beauty sleep.
She’s not shut down totally though. Life support systems are still whirring, keeping her inhabitants comfortable. It is always important that the Doctor’s companions are comfortable, and Martha and Donna are two of the better companion’s he’s had in his long life, so she wants to make sure they’re happy as well. And her sensors are still sensing, their tendrils of feeling reaching out into the very fabric of the universe, keeping one sleepy eye open just a crack in case anything catches her attention.
* * *
Somewhere in the Northeast of the United States, a train speeds along through the night, clacking over well worn tracks. It’s not a long ride, but the girls take the time to sleep anyway. Gemma’s head is pillowed on her big sister’s lap, while Rose leans against the window as the Connecticut coast passes by outside.
While her body sleeps though, Rose’s brain is going at a million light years an hour. Maybe over the course of her not lengthy but certainly interesting life, some odd things have happened in her body. Maybe one specific instance, a time when she ripped open the heart of an ancient time ship to save the man that she loves, set up miniscule pathways in her brain connecting her to that ship that never went away. And maybe over time they have become stronger despite all odds, until one night on a train a silly and strange dream that she has echoes through the fabric of time and space like a psychic howl.
* * *
When the howl reaches the TARDIS, she wakes up. The circuits start firing again, the kitten springs to its feet and arches its back, and if the Doctor wasn’t asleep she’d have set the Cloister Bell chiming.
Against all impossible odds (it seems the Doctor’s usage of that word has rubbed off on her. At least she’s never really believed though that anything was impossible. Improbable, yes, but never impossible) she recognizes that howl. The little blip that she had been keeping a tiny corner of her consciousness on for over two years now has suddenly flourished into sharp recognition. She doesn’t know quite where or when it’s coming from, but she knows for sure it’s Rose. That Rose, who she had opened herself up to and exposed the most dangerous part of herself to just to save the life of one silly Time Lord.
For the slightest moment she metaphorically kicks herself, wondering why the hell she hadn’t felt that it was Rose before. It could have saved them two years of bloody agony and angst. But the more sensible part of her knows that maybe it just wasn’t time yet. As fluid and wibbly-wobbly as time can be, sometimes things just have to happen when they’re ready. If she hadn’t noticed it earlier, well, maybe she wasn’t meant to notice it. It could be a nice platitude to say that to herself, to comfort her spirit for this massive, glaring oversight, but no, she knows that this is exactly how it is supposed to happen.
Off in her corridors she can feel the Doctor, still sleeping away. She’s not going to disturb him though, he doesn’t get enough sleep as it is, any why should she wake him just for a feeling she couldn’t follow...
If the TARDIS could grin she would, the manic teeth and curls of his fourth incarnation. The connection’s there, and it’s not going away. While the howl’s faded to a low background humming, she can still easily feel the presence of one Rose Tyler. And if she can feel the presence, maybe she can connect from her side. It couldn’t be a random chance of a connection either. It’d have to be planned out, made doubly strong so she could glean some sense of time and place from Rose’s mind. Then, with that knowledge and Rose’s help, maybe, just maybe, she could make things happen.
She could live with that. With a spark like blue electricity she sets some circuits firing and starts to collect information. The TARDIS has work to do.