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." Has gone totally AU after 'The Unicorn and the Wasp', so is safe for people avoiding spoilers for the end of s4.
Disclaimer: Alas, no. All I've got is a kitten named Fortuna, but she's not for sale.
a/n: Okay, so Friday morning turned into Friday night, but at least I'm getting this out. :) However...cliffhanger ahead. Major one this time. Good thing I'm posting this from a hotel and not my home so you guys won't be able to find me. I've known exactly what was going to happen in this chapter for nigh on a year now, so I'm rather eager that it's finally out there. Still hiding from you guys after this chapter though, make no mistake! *veg*
Many, many, many thanks to anepidemic and earlgreytea68 for doing especially quick betas on this part. They've helped me out so much, and it's always appreciated. And, as always, to Paige, for putting up with my insane rambles about this. Love ya, hon.
Previous parts of Mysterious Ways and the rest of the Sonnetsverse found here.
Thanks for reading!
“So reel me in, my precious girl
Come on take me home,
‘Cause my body’s tired of travellin’
And my heart don’t wish to roam…”
Love Don’t Roam, Murray Gold and Neil Hannon
“No, Gemma,” Rose insists from her seat at the table. The drums are going faster and faster as Gemma tugs at her hands, attempting to pull her onto the dance floor.
“Pleeeeeeease?” Gemma wheedles with a grin, glitter flying about as her wings are knocked by a passing dancer. “Come on, it’ll be fun,” she says, pulling at Rose’s hands with her own. Donna’s already joined the crowd, and Rose knows Lou is headed for the melee as well. Priya and Martha have gracefully refrained, both a bit hampered by the unwieldy gowns they sport. Which just leaves Rose.
“Seriously, no,” Rose repeats as the first horns start up, drawing a cheer from the crowd.
“Come on,” Gemma says, and then leans in close. “The world doesn’t end just because Rose Tyler dances,” she whispers to her, low enough that only the two of them can hear it.
Rose groans and rolls her eyes. “I should have never told you that story,” she mutters. They seem to be the magic words, though, as she allows Gemma to pull her to her feet and into the dancing crowd, laughing all the way.
The dance is chaos defined, as much as one can define chaos. “What the hell sort of song is this?” Rose laughs as Louise barrels into her, taking her by the arms and pulling her into a spin.
“Beats the hell out of me!” Lou shouts back over the drumbeats and horns and hollering crowd. “I know there’s a traditional name somewhere for it, but search me if I can remember it right now.” The girls twist around again and then Lou spins off, disappearing into the crowd.
Amidst the beats and patterns of the semi-traditional song, Rose can see people are dancing however they wish out on the dance floor. There’s a group waltzing to and fro as someone does a tango nearly into their path. In one corner is a girl executing the most perfect grand jetes, and somewhere in the middle of the crowd Lou is leaping about, her minty skirts flying out around her, as she tries (and fails, mightily, but doesn’t care) to recreate the moves that she suspects are supposed to go with this dance. She thinks she can also see the flash of Donna’s red hair moving about in the masses, but she isn’t sure. There are other things that are more important at the moment.
Rose is a whirling dervish, just spinning around faster and faster as the music whips around her. The silk of the sari flies up around her knees, brushing against the people around her. No, she didn’t want to dance, initially, but there is something so very liberating about it. As she spins she can almost forget the world around her, forget all of the hassles and stress and the wasted years. All that matters at this moment is the dance.
Her mind disassociates from the now a bit, with flashes of the past coming over her as she moves, her arms twisting above her head. Images pass through her mind, ephemeral and fading back into memory as quickly as they arrive. But there’s meaning in all of this madness, and she just closes her eyes and takes them as they come.
Inevitably though, reality must come back with a crash, and as the music ends she opens her eyes to see Gemma in the midst of a heated argument with Luca yet again. She can’t make out what’s being said over the applause, but from the way Luca’s pointing at Gemma’s face and laughing Rose knows it can’t be good. From practically out of nowhere Donna’s voice asks in her ear “What’s going on?” With a tilt of her head and a grimace on her face she nods towards the two kids, watching as Gemma smacks Luca’s hand out of her way. Rose’s head still feels a bit dizzy from the dance, and one hand goes up to rub at her temple through the feathers of her mask.
She’s just about to move forward, to try and break up the fight, when Gemma shoves Luca away from her and with a shout darts through the crowd. Rose loses track of her for a few seconds, but then manages to find those black fairy wings bobbing their way past the band and up the staircase. “Oh, great,” she sighs, picking up her skirts and getting ready to run after her, but another wave of dizziness comes over here, making her pause again as she breathes in deeply.
“Let me go talk to her,” Donna says, placing one hand on Rose’s shoulder. “You’re not looking all that great again. Maybe you overdid it with the dancing a bit?”
Rose shakes her head, ignoring the sudden and persistent buzzing taking up a place in her head. “She’s my sister; I have to go see if she’s okay.”
“Maybe she needs a friend more than a sister right now,” Donna wisely points out. “Go sit down and give me five minutes to work my magic,” she grins, pushing Rose gently in the direction of their table.
“All right,” Rose concedes. “But if she needs me, please, come get me,” she insists as she takes a couple of slow steps in the direction of the table.
“Will do,” Donna nods, then heads up the staircase herself. Rose watches her until she disappears at the top, then slowly makes her way under the overhang to where Priya and Martha are discussing something medically related at the table.
“You all right?” one of them, she can’t tell which, asks her as she drags out a chair and nearly collapses into it.
“Yeah,” Rose says, hands reaching under the mask to rub at her temples again. “S’just a headache.”
* * *
Donna jogs up the stairs and looks around. There are plenty of people milling around up here as well and doing their own party things – she thinks she even spots the Doctor in a crowd of people having a discussion about…something, she can’t tell what. Knowing the Doctor, though, it’s got to be something that’s certifiably weird. Moving past that she spots Gemma a little further down, sitting curled up in the window ledge with the look of a very disgruntled thunderstorm on her face. Nodding once to herself she walks over to Gemma and hoists herself onto the ledge next to her. “All right, what did the jerk do this time?” she whispers to the young girl.
Gemma looks up at her and frowns, her small fists clenching in her purple skirts. “He was teasing me. Again. Doesn’t he have anything better to do?”
“Maybe he likes you?” Donna suggests. It’s not unheard of – she had even been on the receiving end of it a couple of times herself in primary school. Of course, she may have once punched a boy in the face who showed interest in her like that, so who was she to talk? She knows she’s matured since those days.
The grimace of disgust at that statement is quite clear on Gemma’s face. “Ugh. No. He’s stupid. All boys are.”
“Not all of them are. My granddad’s a good guy,” Donna points out, tapping Gemma on the knee.
“But he’s old. That’s different than being a stupid boy.”
“Not always.” She thinks for a moment then rolls her eyes. “Sometimes the older they are the more immature they can be.” And she can think of a good example of that – it’s not always true, but he’s had his moments, that’s for sure. “Hmm, some of the not so old ones as well.” She looks down at Gemma again. “All right, most of them are stupid,” she concedes, making her giggle. “But there are always some good ones out there.”
“My dad was a good one too,” Gemma says, her gaze turning back to the window. At that moment Donna can easily see the resemblance between the sisters – they both brooded in the same sort of staring into the distance fashion. “Luca’s an idiot, though.”
“Well, he just doesn’t know what he’s missing then,” Donna says, which brings a grin out of Gemma.
“If he only knew all the things I’ve seen,” she nods back. “I’m a better traveler than he is. Seen lots of places he hasn’t.”
“So what’s all this then?”
For the second time that day Donna looks up to find the Doctor ambling over her way, and she smiles at him. “Just reassuring this one here that not all male members of the species are a total waste of space.”
The Doctor stares at Gemma, who’s giving him a puzzled look back. “Isn’t she a little young to be having that sort of a crisis?”
“Kids these days,” Donna just clucks. “Gemma, this here is the Doctor, one of the better males, even though he has his moments - and there are many of them - of stupidity.”
Donna ignores his interjection and continues on with the introductions. “Doctor, this is Gemma.”
“Nice to meet you,” the Doctor smiles. “Hold on a tic, I’ve seen you somewhere before.” He whips out his glasses and leans in to get a closer look, making Gemma lean back against the windows. Finally the Doctor snaps his fingers. “That’s it! The British Museum, in the Roman Statuary hall. You had wandered off from your tour and were talking about your sister.”
Donna just sits back and watches, bemused. This is a funny turn of events, for sure.
“Uh-huh,” Gemma agrees, her voice little more than a squeak for some reason Donna can’t fathom.
“How is she doing?” the Doctor continues.
“F-fine,” Gemma stutters, pushing herself back some more, so much so that she slips off the ledge and lands on her feet with a wobble. “I, uh, I gotta go,” she says, the look in her eyes reminding Donna of a frightened rabbit. It’s the last expression she’d ever expect this strong little girl to have, and she opens her mouth to ask what’s going on.
Before Donna can get out a word, though, Gemma takes off, practically skidding into the stairwell that goes up to the top floor of the palazzo. The Doctor and Donna trade a very puzzled look – it’s obvious that neither one knows what exactly inspired that sort of a reaction. “I’m gonna – “ Donna starts, waving after Gemma.
“Yeah,” the Doctor agrees, dark eyes staring after the metaphorical trails of dust Gemma left in her wake.
Donna takes off at a run, pulling on the door to the stairwell so hard she practically pulls it off the hinges. Luckily she doesn’t have to go much further than that, as Gemma is halfway up the staircase. She’s pacing back and forth, her hands clutched together and muttering “I’m in trouble, I am in so much trouble,” over and over and over.
“Gemma, what’s going on?” Donna asks, making Gemma gasp and look down at her. She bites her lip and shuts up, even though her hands are still folded tightly in front of her. Donna takes another step up. “Gemma, you can tell me,” she prods further, wanting to know just what had made her react like that.
“That – that was the Doctor, right?”
“Right,” Donna says, still not sure where this is going.
“THE Doctor, nine-hundred-year-old alien, Time Lord, travels around time and space in a big, blue box?” Gemma continues, eyes still worried.
Taken aback, Donna asks, “Did he tell you that the last time you met?” Because while lots of people have encountered the Doctor in their lives, not many of them know the actual truth. And why is one of those people a nine-year-old girl?
She shakes her head. “No. My sister…” Gemma trails off, eyes searching around the narrow stairwell, apparently not quite sure how to say this one. She gives up in due haste, however, and leaps down the few stairs to grab Donna’s hand. “Come on, I gotta show you something,” she says, pulling Donna up after her.
* * *
The Doctor just shakes his head as he walks back to the table. People have had many strange reactions to him over the years; Gemma’s was rather mild in comparison. He’s actually surprised that he remembers her, though. After 900-plus years of encountering people there’s no way he can remember all of them, but he suspects the location of where they met may have something to do with it.
Before he can go any further something sharp and bright flashes through his head, making him squeeze his eyes shut and sending him to his knees on the cold marble floor. Oh God, his head! He can barely describe the feeling; it’s like nothing he’s ever felt before. It’s strong and green, a bolt of cold fire going at the speed of light around his synapses. He grimaces, the cold fire morphing into a psychic call, as if another consciousness is trying to reach his.
Suddenly his eyes snap open, hands clenching on the floor, and through a haze of glistening green he can make out Martha’s masked face staring at him. She’s saying something but he doesn’t know what. The image blinks away before he can figure it out, and the call fades into the background, leaving him gasping for breath on his hands and knees.
He can feel hands hauling him back to his feet. “What the hell was that?” he can hear Neil ask close to his ear. The Doctor glances over at Neil’s disheveled appearance, the strap of his toga falling down his arm and his crown of laurels barely on his head anymore. His eyes are a bit clearer though, as if the sudden shock of his collapse managed to sober the young man up a bit.
“I don’t know,” the Doctor says, hands dashing back through his hair only to be stopped by the elastic of that damned mask. “It almost felt like…like some sort of psychic howl.” Odd choice of words, that…
“Psychic,” Neil repeats in a deadpan voice, the sceptism clear.
The Doctor shrugs weakly, his equilibrium still a bit off. “’There are more things in heaven and Earth…’”
“’Than are dreamt of in your philosophy’, yes, I know,” Neil completes. “But still – “
He’s cut off by the sudden arrival of Martha, barreling straight at them, her dress fanning out in a train of silver behind her. “Doctor!” she yells, coming to a halt.
“What is it?”
“You know how I said before that the girl falling down the stairs had nothing to do with aliens?”
“Yeah, I might have been a bit wrong about that.”
*this is me, running away at top speed*