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Mysterious Ways, part 14 of ?

Title: Mysterious Ways, part 14 of ?
Author: Aenaria/io_aenaria
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: "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." The Sonnetsverse reunion. Has gone totally AU after 'The Unicorn and the Wasp'.
Disclaimer: Alas, no. All I've got is a kitten named Fortuna, but she's not for sale.

a/n: Why did my text-less Sonnets icon get hacked to be some warped, Transformers like thing? Ugh, I hate it when that happens. Must get rid of that somehow. Anyway, moving on - a month and a half later I've finally got this part done! I hope it lives up to expectations. ;) It's so weird though, I've had this chapter and the song that precedes it in my head for over a year now, since before I started writing out the story, and now it's finally here on paper. Kind of exciting, but also rather strange...Many, many, many thanks to anepidemic and earlgreytea68 for the beta job and giving this part the beating over the head it needed.

Previous parts of Mysterious Ways and the rest of the Sonnetsverse found here.

Thanks for reading!

Fourteen: Last Chance on the Stairway

And sometimes I'm caught in a landslide
My beat's so in time
can you look at me
I'm out of reach I'll talk if it feels right
So nervous to say,
tell me can't you see
If you want I'll fall out forever
I can't say no more...
babe dance with me
And please don't say leave till later
I've had my last chance on the stairway.

- Last Chance on the Stairway, Duran Duran

Of all of the places Rose thought she would finally see the Doctor again, a service stairway between two floors at a party was the last place on the list. Really, it hadn’t even made the list at all. Whoever had done the decorations for the gala had tried to hide its ordinariness, with sheer draperies hung over the arches in the wall to her right, but all they did was block the view of all the workers rushing back and forth from the ground and first floors from the revelers below.

This is all in the back of her head, however, thoughts flittering by while she’s focused on something else. Her eyes never leave the Doctor, still standing frozen a few steps below her. She’s not quite sure what to say – she’s thought about this moment often in her head, but it usually consists of her hugging him so hard until they both fall over, and she doesn’t usually make it far past that. Her mouth opens, trying to say something, anything, even ‘hello’ would suffice, but her throat is so tight that not even a squeak comes out. ‘Great,’ Rose thinks, ‘I cross time and space to get to this moment, and I get stage fright.’ So she just smiles a bit, letting the spark in her eyes do the talking.

“You know, the universe is not usually a kind place in my experience,” the Doctor says, sonic screwdriver still clutched in his hand. “So what am I supposed to think when something that I want shows up out of the blue without any provocation or warning?”

(The signs were there, though, words on a page echoing throughout time and space. He knows this. He just has to be sure. Because he wants to believe that it’s her standing a mere few feet away from him, he really, really does. But what are the chances of that?)

“That you’re lucky?” Rose shrugs, still smiling. “You always were, as far as I remember.”

“Luck, or a very well crafted plot to get my attention, and not in a good way.” He moves backwards a step, going down just a little further.

Rose’s mouth tightens imperceptibly. ‘All of time and space to get to this moment and he doesn’t believe me. Bloody stupid Sod’s law in action.’ She should have seen something like this coming, she really should have, but the possibility had never even come to mind. So she’s not sure if she’s mad at him for doubting her or herself because she had never considered this outcome to her story. But that doesn’t mean that this is the end, does it?

She takes a deep breath, letting the air fill her lungs. ‘One last chance,’ she thinks. ‘One last chance to make this work. Come on, you can figure it out. You haven’t come all this way just to be knocked back by doubt. Come on, come on, come on. You’ve already done the impossible part, this should be a piece of cake compared to that.’

“Okay, fine,” she says, crossing her arms over her chest. “If you don’t believe that it’s really me, that I’m really Rose Tyler, you can walk out that door down there and I’ll never bother you again.”

‘Oh, please, please,’ she thinks, ‘let this work.’

With his mouth pressed into a firm line he spins on his heel and almost reaches the bottom step. But then he stops, and Rose can see his hand clenching around the sonic screwdriver.

(Sometimes he really is one daft alien. What was it that he was thinking earlier in the evening, feeling the urge to fall all over again as he looked out over the balcony? There were times in his long life where he knows he has to take that chance. Maybe this is another one of them…)

He glances back at her over his shoulder. “There’s a chance I might be overreacting. Just a bit.”

Rose raises her hand up and pinches her index finger and thumb together. “Little bit.”

Now there’s a glint in his eyes, a hint of mischief that speaks to a sudden change in attitude. “Prove it,” he says, buzzing the sonic screwdriver at the door and making the lock click into place.

She glances toward the ceiling, trying to come up with the perfect story to tell him. And then it hits her. It’s so simple, which is what makes it perfect. “The first time we ever met, the absolute first time when you had a different face, you grabbed my hand and you said one word.” She raises up her left arm, palm forward, fingers waggling just a bit, and lets the word on her wrist begin to bleed into existence. “Run.”

This time a true smile spreads across his face and he runs up the stairs, taking them two at a time. Before Rose can take a breath she’s wrapped in his arms. Finally, finally, finally. She squeezes him tight around his middle, feeling the familiar planes of muscle and bone beneath her palms. The sonic screwdriver is pressing uncomfortably against her spine, and she knows the feathers of her mask are probably tickling the Doctor’s chin, but she doesn’t care, not one damn bit. “It’s so good to see you,” she sighs into his tuxedo jacket.

“You, too,” he replies into her hair.

Even though she doesn’t want to let him go, Rose knows that her precarious position perched on the edge of the stair in flat sandals that have no grip isn’t the best for standing still for any length of time. Reluctantly, she untangles herself from him and sits down on the step instead, motioning for him to follow with her head. The Doctor sits down a couple of steps below her, back leaning on the wall below the railing. “You – how – w-what?” he eventually stutters, looking up at her with a look she can’t quite decipher because of that damn mask.

“I know!” she giggles, leaning her head in her hands. “All of the times I’ve dreamt of this I never imagined I’d be at a loss for words!”

“It’s true,” the Doctor muses, resting his wrists on his bony knees. “I’ve got a gob, and certainly can find the right words in any of five billion languages to fit the situation, but right now…” He trails off, shaking his head and giving her a bemused look. He reaches up and grabs Rose’s left hand, stroking the palm of it with his thumb. She squeezes it back. “How long has it been?” he asks her.

She thinks for a moment, counting back on mental fingers. When you’re going from one universe to another, going by sheer calendar dates doesn’t work. “’Bout eleven years,” she eventually concludes. “You didn’t regenerate,” Rose continues. “That’s always good.”

“I’m rather fond of this face,” he says, stroking his chin with his free hand. “Don’t want to give it up without a fight.”

“You’re not the only one,” Rose agrees with a nod.

“How did you get here?” he blurts out, looking back up at her.

“It’s amazing where you can get when you’re good friends with the hosts’ granddaughter,” she says, tugging on a lock of hair that’s slipping out of her up-do. “Got a room upstairs and everything.”


She pauses, the words dying on her tongue. She looks down at him then, her eyes filled with puzzlement and wonder. “You mean you don’t know?” she asks, squeezing his hand tighter. The Doctor just shakes his head, his thumb stroking the ink marks on the back of her hand now. “It was you,” Rose says, stretching out her legs so that they’re practically draped over his knees. Quickly she yanks the sari upwards so that her legs are bare. Then the ink marks flourish into life, covering her legs in the dark writing, as fresh as if they’d just been applied earlier in the day. “So many of these words you put here, the ones you couldn’t really decide why you were writing them out, I translated them from what you’d taught me. It took a while but I finally got it. They’re like a map, or a guidebook, telling just what I had to do to get back here. And it worked.”

Rather suddenly the Doctor whips his mask off, twisting to face her as her legs fall to his side. “Rose, that’s impossible,” he says, big brown eyes wide and staring up at her. “That’s practically beyond the realms of science, what you’re describing.”

“Impossible or not, that’s what happened!” Rose cries out, dropping his hand and pulling her own mask off. The feathers and elastic cord get tangled in her hair, but she eventually gets rid of it, tossing it on the steps. Her hands go to his face and pull it up, bringing his eyes back to hers. “Maybe the point of it is that we can’t define the science behind it. Maybe it’s not the science that’s important but the fact that we’re here, right now. ”

There’s a rattle from the door handle below them, followed by a rapid-fire pounding on the door. Neither of them notice, too absorbed in each other. The Doctor looks down at Rose’s legs and glides a hand up one of them, watching as the writing ripples beneath his touch. “Is it so bad that I want to understand exactly how I – how we did it?” he eventually asks, looking up at her again.

She rests her forehead against his and they both close their eyes, focusing on the touch of skin against skin. “No,” she whispers. “I can tell you all of the steps I went through, all of the places I went in order to get the pieces I needed to get back. But I don’t have the foggiest clue as to why those words.” Rose can feel his eyes on her face and she opens her own to find him staring at her. “I chose to look at it as a very precious gift. Obviously, it worked,” she giggles, breaking the somber mood.

“That it did,” the Doctor agrees with a grin.

The door handle rattles again, followed by indecipherable shouting. “You know, it’s occurred to me that this may not be the best place for this sort of conversation,” the Doctor says with a rather conspiratorial look on his face.

Rose glances behind her at the door at the top of the stairs. “Everyone else is up there. We go upstairs, we’re going to have a lot of explaining to do,” she sighs. “I’d rather keep you to myself, at least for the immediate future.”

“There’s enough people downstairs that we could probably slip unnoticed through the crowd and then out the back door,” the Doctor muses, reaching for his sonic screwdriver once more. “Come on,” he says, scrambling to his feet and pulling Rose with him. They hurry down the stairs and out the door to the ground floor, only to be stopped by the head waiter and the party planner.

“What the hell’s going on up there?” the planner blurts out, glaring at the two of them. “My staff has been trying to get into that corridor for the past five minutes. The waiters have had to go up and down the main staircase and have already lost three trays of drinks, one of which ended up on the bloody Duchess of Luxembourg!”

“Um, you don’t want to know,” the Doctor stammers, his free hand scratching at the nape of his neck.

“Seriously,” Rose agrees, smiling with enough teeth to make a shark envious. “I think it may have had something to do with aliens.”

“Oh, give me strength,” the planner groans, throwing his hands up in the air. Rose and the Doctor use that moment to make their escape, weaving hand-in-hand through the crowd until they slip off into the night.

* * *

“Where the hell is everyone?” Donna grouses as she stands in the middle of the dance floor, hand on one hip. She and Gemma had set out to find everyone, but no luck yet. Of course, the party is really rollicking by this point, the dance floor seething with bodies twisting and turning every which way. Gemma clings onto Donna’s hand as she stands on her tip-toes, trying to see through the crowd. Her wings are buffeted about, but she really doesn’t care either.

“I can’t see anything! Ow!” Gemma yelps as her slippered foot is trod on by a passing android and glares after it.

Finally, Donna manages to spot the table in the corner where they had been taking up residence for most of the night. It’s totally empty now, though, with chairs pushed back at odd angles, and half-full glasses abandoned on the surface. One of the glasses has fallen over and a stream of champagne is trickling over the tablecloth and onto the floor. So where did they go? “Let’s try upstairs,” Donna shouts over the crowd. “We’ll be able to see the whole floor from up there.” She pulls Gemma along, dodging the bodies until they make it to the service stairwell. Donna pulls at the handle, but it’s locked and doesn’t budge. She makes a face at the handle, idly thinking that maybe sheer will could get it to open. There’s no time to waste though. “Come on,” she sighs, pulling Gemma back into the crowd. Eventually they make it over to the other side, and practically tumble up the main staircase.

“Sorry, mate!” Gemma calls out as she crashes into a waiter, sending a shower of canapés over the crowd on the stairwell.

It’s a little less crowded on the upper floor, and the two pause briefly to take in some much needed air. “Okay, where could they be?” Donna asks.

“I dunno,” Gemma pants, scrubbing a hand across her forehead and leaving a wild smear of blue glitter behind.

They make their way around the balcony, stopping every few seconds to peer over the railings and hope that they could get a glimpse of their crowd. From this height, however, the chaos down below is even more insane. They’d be lucky to find an elephant in there, let alone a few small people. But rather suddenly, a sound cuts its way through the bustle. From around the corner, where the balcony stops and merges into a solid corridor, sharp voices rise up, and finally Donna can hear someone she recognizes in it. “Come on,” she says again, tugging Gemma behind her as they rush towards the noise.

As soon as they turn the corner into the hallway, they can both see the familiar crowd standing there. It takes a few seconds to for Donna to realize, however, that no one’s smiling. They’re not paying attention to her either, so it obviously wasn’t something that she’d done.

“Uh, no,” Louise nearly growls, standing practically in Martha’s face. “I don’t have the slightest idea what’s going on! Contrary to what you think I’m not exactly privy to everything that went on in her life!”

Martha groans and squeezes her eyes shut, her hands raised in exasperation. “Look, all I’m asking is if she ever mentioned anything like this at all – “

“And for the fifth time, no, she hasn’t.”

Neil and Priya have deemed it wise to stay out of the way and let the other two battle whatever it is out, so Donna sidles up to Priya. “What’s going on?” she whispers, making the other girl practically jump out of her ornate dress.

“Christ, don’t do that to me!” she gasps. “You missed all the excitement,” Priya mutters.

“Doesn’t look like it.” Donna glances over at the other two women, still arguing about something she’s got no idea about.

“You should have been here about five minutes ago. Oi!” Priya hollers, marking Lou and Martha quiet down and look her way. She jerks a thumb towards Donna. “Explain to her. Now.”

“Is everything all right?” Gemma pipes up, chewing on one thumbnail. It wasn’t quite sucking her thumb, but the movement makes Donna wonder if she had done it as a baby.

“I think so,” Lou says. “But I don’t even know what’s going on.”

“Nor do I,” Martha adds, shaking her head.

“Then just tell us what happened,” Donna sighs, rolling her eyes.

“Turns out the Doctor knows their friend Marion from a while back, and now they’ve gone and locked themselves in the stairwell.” Martha finishes with a shrug, as if not knowing what else to add to that simple statement.

“Oh, okay.” It’s really not all that surprising, given what Gemma had shown her earlier. She glances back at the girl, who’s standing there with her lips pressed tightly together and her hands clenched. Not a happy look on her face then, either.

(Gemma’s really trying very hard not to giggle. The same sort of giggle that you do when you finally begin to see the starts of that happy ending playing out right before your eyes.)

“Well, it can’t be all that surprising,” Donna continues. “Given his age and how much he travels about, half the population of the Earth can probably boast running into him at one time or another.”

“You didn’t see his face now, though,” Martha fires back with an arched eyebrow.

“The look on Marion’s face didn’t help either,” Lou mutters, scuffing her feet against the marble floor a few times.

“Okay, then what exactly are you arguing about?” Donna puts in again, really lost this time. “They know each other. Big deal. In fact, Gemma was just saying…” She turns to face Gemma, but then stops dead. The metaphorical spark is going off in her head, dragging up one teeny tiny little memory from the near past. She glances over at the door to the stairway, remembering what had happened on there earlier in the day. Just one little thing…She begins to squint then, and her arms cross over her chest. “Hold it,” she says, her head whipping back around to face Gemma. “When your sister fell down the stairs before.” Gemma freezes, the grip of her hands tightening. “When she fell down, you didn’t call her Marion. You called her Rose.”

“What?!” Martha practically yelps.

“Um…” Gemma says, eyes darting to look at everything but the people in front of her.

“Well, technically that is her real name,” Lou says slowly, taking in the looks on Donna and Martha’s faces. “She hates using it though.”

“Says it sounds too old fashioned,” Priya chimes in. “Why? Is that important?”

“Oh, yeah.” This time, it’s Donna who’s resisting the urge to smile. She always was a sucker for a good happy ending. Although it would probably be better for her not to show any sort of glee until after she found out exactly what was going on. “Come on,” she says, clapping a hand on Gemma’s shoulder. “We’ve got to have a little talk.”




( 79 comments — Leave a comment )
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Mar. 25th, 2009 10:27 am (UTC)
Oh lord. I'm so happy I have tears in my eyes.

I am so glad they are finally together, anything else can happen as long as they both know the other is there (that doesn't mean you can make it go all angsty though!!!)

I need to set aside some time so I can reread all that you have written for this so far. It's been so far and I've been so anxious that I've forgotten all that has happened.
Apr. 6th, 2009 11:52 pm (UTC)
Glad the story could make you happy, you know? And I'll just say this as to where this story is going - I am an admitted sap. If I have the choice, I stay as far away from the angsty stuff as possible. That is all. ;) Thanks for reading!
Mar. 25th, 2009 10:28 am (UTC)
Utterly perfect.

Completely worth the wait.

Love the interplay between R/D and love Donna with her glee at the realisation that Rose is Marion and Marion is Rose and...

Sorry... I have to go read it again.

(P.S. Hope life has stopped kicking you in the rear and things have settled down - if you need more of a tennant fix let me know, I have some new goodies)
Apr. 6th, 2009 11:54 pm (UTC)
Yay! I'm so glad you thought it worked. :)

And Donna had to be the one to put it together - after all, canon's blatantly established that she's one of us. *g*

(Life is still beating me over the head with a stick, is what it feels like sometimes. Argh. It's a little calmer now that this month's submission is done, but I'm still exhausted. So any Tennant goodies you have to share, please, I can has?)
Mar. 25th, 2009 10:44 am (UTC)

You've made my day all sparkly! Oh thankyouthankyouthankyou!

It was SO worth the wait!! I feel spoiled to know that Martha and Donna have worked things out aswell!
Mar. 25th, 2009 10:53 am (UTC)
Icon LOVE!!!!
(no subject) - io_aenaria - Apr. 6th, 2009 11:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - beckiebex - Apr. 7th, 2009 04:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - io_aenaria - Apr. 8th, 2009 10:31 am (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 25th, 2009 11:29 am (UTC)
So happy! It's so cute, how they finally do meet, and so them. Love the reveal of Rose to Martha and Donna, too. Though it is a bit of a laugh, Rose calling herself Marion because "Rose" is "too old-fashioned." Lou, you're not that quick, are ya?
Apr. 7th, 2009 12:02 am (UTC)
Cute is exactly what I was going for, so I'm glad you think it worked. :) I'm thinking the Doctor and Rose are both a bit too preoccupied in order to handle introductions, so it's up to everyone else to put things together...

To be fair, Priya was the one who said that the name was "too old-fashioned", even though it was Rose who was the one who told them that line of b.s. (and, yes, I've got to defend Lou a bit - I based her a lot on myself, even though I have my notorious idiot moments).

However, I'm 27 and I did go to school with a girl my age who was called Marion, the only one I'd met with that name. The person I know who is called Rose? My grandmother. Maybe my perspectives are just warped. ;)

Thanks for reading! :)
Mar. 25th, 2009 11:29 am (UTC)
I squeeeed through my coffee when I saw this!!! *loves*

But you are still an EVVVVIIIILLLLL woman!! HOW COULD YOU END IT THERE!!!!!

Apr. 7th, 2009 12:06 am (UTC)
I guess I'm like a zebra, I can't quite hide my cliffhanger stripes. I'm glad you liked it though! *g*

As for the reunion smut...I'm going to try and get it into the next chapter. I need to see how the writing itself flows, how the chapter itself progresses, but I think it'll work right there, in that time when they've made their escape and before they have to go back to the Grand Inquisition waiting for them at the palazzo. I have a feeling the Doctor may walk in with a hickey.
(no subject) - mkejenkins - Apr. 7th, 2009 12:08 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - io_aenaria - Apr. 8th, 2009 10:32 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mkejenkins - Apr. 8th, 2009 11:27 am (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 25th, 2009 11:30 am (UTC)
Yay! Finally! Everyone can bask in the glow of a Doctor/Rose conversation!
Apr. 7th, 2009 12:07 am (UTC)
LOL, it only took me forever to get there! As always, thank you. :)
Mar. 25th, 2009 12:02 pm (UTC)
AH! It figures you would post when I was sleeping...thou I have to say it was a nice way to start my day. I wanted to get this posted before you got to many comments so here it is the last part of my gift to io_aenaria:


Now I'm going to go read the chapter now *scrolls up and "barries nosie"*
Mar. 25th, 2009 12:21 pm (UTC)
*Sighs happily* Yah that was worth the wait...thou I was really hoping for a nice good snog for Rose and the Doctor...next chapter please *puppy eyes*

Love it Love Love it!!! Can't wait for more and hopefully life has gotten off your back a bit so you can write more soon.
(no subject) - io_aenaria - Apr. 7th, 2009 12:10 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - io_aenaria - Apr. 7th, 2009 12:08 am (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 25th, 2009 12:05 pm (UTC)
Oh my god I am SO HAPPY RIGHT NOW!!!!! That cliffhanger isn't nearly as evil as last chapters but ahhhhhh I can haz pr0n now please?

Can't WAIT for the next chapter. Again.
Apr. 7th, 2009 12:11 am (UTC)
I'm thinking the pr0n will be in the next chapter. It's not written yet, but that's the ideal place for it. :) Glad you liked it!
Mar. 25th, 2009 12:08 pm (UTC)
OH MY GOD YAY!!!! This is the best day. Not only am I now an Aunty to two beautiful babies (boy and girl twins, twins are awesome) but you updated!! This day should be proclaimed a holiday. I'm so happy.

Apr. 7th, 2009 12:11 am (UTC)
Congratulations Auntie! I'm always happy to add to the joy. :) Thank you for reading!
Mar. 25th, 2009 12:53 pm (UTC)
This was so worth the wait.
Apr. 7th, 2009 12:12 am (UTC)
Glad you liked it! :)
Mar. 25th, 2009 01:03 pm (UTC)
YES!! They're together! FINALLY. Obviously, things will happen, end of the world?, aliens invading, but whatever! It's Rose and the Doctor (and Gemma!)!


You have no idea how happy this makes me, and it will set me mood for the rest of today whilst at work (dealing with irate cell phone customers). I love you. :)
Apr. 7th, 2009 12:24 am (UTC)
Things will happen, you say? (Actually, I'm not sure. There's a gap at the end of the story that I need to fill in with something, but I've no idea what yet.) ;)

Glad to hear that the story put you in a good mood for the day - it's amazing what writing can do for the soul! :)
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 7th, 2009 12:26 am (UTC)
Please, feel free to be silly. I'm very silly myself. ;)

*pets the Doctor* I don't blame him for being a bit skeptical, but I'm very glad he pulled it around at the last minute and stopped being stupid. *g*

Glad you liked it! I'm trying to get the next chapter out as soon as possible...
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 7th, 2009 12:27 am (UTC)
*attempts to revive you* Would reunion pr0n help with that? Plz, no dying on my watch. *g*
Mar. 25th, 2009 03:15 pm (UTC)
I swear, I'm bouncing. Yay! Update! And they're finally together! -Glee-
Ah, thanks for that, this made an otherwise miserable day somewhat better.
Apr. 7th, 2009 12:28 am (UTC)
*hugs* I'm sorry your day was miserable, so I'm glad this was able to be a bit of a bright spot in there. Hope things are better now! And I'm glad to hear that you liked the chapter. :) Thanks for reading!
Mar. 25th, 2009 04:08 pm (UTC)
**explodifies with squee before she even reads it**
Mar. 26th, 2009 12:56 am (UTC)
Hurray! Yay! Reunion!
(no subject) - io_aenaria - Apr. 7th, 2009 12:29 am (UTC) - Expand
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