darkbunnyrabbit: (One Times Infinity)
darkbunnyrabbit ([personal profile] darkbunnyrabbit) wrote on October 25th, 2010 at 10:53 am
One Times Infinity - Chapter 9 (10/Rose AU PG-13 fic)
Title: One Times Infinity
Author: [livejournal.com profile] darkbunnyrabbit
Rating: PG-13
Spoilers: Anything up to Doomsday, There will occasionally be canon elements included from any aired episode of Torchwood of Doctor Who, however.
Pairings: Doc/Rose, Rose/Jack
Characters: 10, Rose
Warnings: Flippantly AU
Genre: Adventure, Romance
Beta: None! Oh dear.
Summary: The walls between universes are more fragile than they seem. Once again it falls to the Doctor to save more than one universe...but can he fight what he wants the most? And who is this unseen enemy? A post-Doomsday reunion, of sorts.



Previous Chapters

Trailer



Disclaimer: Still not mine.

AN: And another update. With actual plot progression of a sort. Beware world, you may be ending.

--

One Times Infinity

Chapter Nine: Precondition


Shareen was easy to keep talking once she started. Which was a good thing, because her point of view on the situation was so limited, Rose needed all the information she could get. And it took doing to get answers without asking questions. Miss Jones helped as far as that went.

She'd come home after her 'travels' distraught, though she hadn't elaborated more than to make Shareen believe her 'bloke' had abandoned her (though she herself insisted he hadn't left her), and then a few months later vanished, packed up her things and left the country with Mickey.

And refused to ring anyone she could avoid.

Rose understood why, if she'd been trapped here, knowing the Doctor was dying somewhere 200,000 years in the future and there was nothing she could do, she wouldn't have been able to stay put for long. She didn't stay put, in fact. But what went wrong? How hadn't she managed to get the TARDIS back to the Doctor?

Of course, that was one thing Shareen wouldn't know, no matter how much she prodded the woman, so with a bit of hesitation, she'd let the woman go off to her work (where she'd been headed anyway), and made her way to the nearby playground, Adeola still in tow.

She sighed, and shook her head, sitting on the same bench she'd sat on a year and a half before, when she'd been searching for any way back. She'd found her epiphany then, maybe she would now.

“You've known the Doctor for awhile, then?” Adeola spoke up, sitting nearby on the bench. “In another universe?”

She glanced up. “Yeah. Not...this one, though. Another alternate one, actually. We used to travel together. Went through this exact same thing, even...but...it went differently.”

“Different choices?”

She nodded, and frowned across the cement lot. “But what choice? She didn't sound all that different from me, not the me then, anyway. I found a way back, I fixed things. This wasn't meant t'happen.”

“Could have been someone else's choice?”

She considered that, briefly. Could the Doctor have locked the TARDIS more tightly? Could he have locked out the controls more efficiently? Could she not have found a way into the console?

Could she...

She stared at the area around her. “Somethin's missing.”

“What?”

“Somethin' around here, it's missing.” She frowned, and stood, making a small circle of the place.

Adeola didn't move, she only directed a bemused smile at her. “Besides a shopping mall?”

“From my world.” Her gaze finally settled on the wall in front of her. Graffitti covered the most of it, as it did in her world...but there was something different about it. Through all the territorial markers and the scribbling, there were two words that didn't stand out. That didn't call to her like they should.

Bad Wolf. The markings were gone. And she'd known they should be there, they were one of the few markings still left up by the time she'd gone by the Powell Estate last, and she'd intended to keep it. A testament to how she'd made it back to the Doctor, how their life began anew.

It was gone.

“Bad Wolf.” Rose shook her head at Adeola's questioning look. “It's...hard t'explain. In my world, I made it back to him. We survived, yeah? Continued on, and to make sure I'd know, I sent back a message through time—sort've complicated, but I could then, think you read the report—tellin' myself I could. I sent it, and it's not here. That means it was never sent.”

“Well, you never did save him this time, apparently. You wouldn't have had the chance.”

She frowned, chewing on her bottom lip. “I...must not've known. It comes down to choices, not chance, yeah? So maybe...maybe Blon never returned, maybe the Doctor never told me about the heart, so I never thought to use it, and...”

Adeola seemed somewhat lost by her specifics, but spoke up anyway. “And now we're here.”

She nodded. “Yeah. Guess so.”

“Maybe we should go back and see if the Doctor's made any progress?”

Rose glanced over at the woman, and then at the sky which colored with the sunset. Had they been talking so long? “Yeah, s'pose so...” She frowned softly, then, and hesitated a moment. The Doctor might be finished with the TARDIS, or he might not. But there was something she wanted to see first. “Why don't you go on ahead. You remember the way, yeah?”

Adeola frowned a moment, but nodded. “Alright then. I'll tell him to stay put until you make it back.”

She'd like to think he wouldn't jump through universes without her anyway, but she appreciated the gesture, offering the woman a small smile in response, “I'll be there in a bit, yeah?”

The young scientist gave another nod, and started back toward the TARDIS. Rose only watched her for a few moments, before turning back in the opposite direction. Back toward the building that used to be her home. What never would be again.

It was further than she remembered to her flat, but that could have been the difference between universes. It didn't really matter either way. She had time.

It didn't occur to her to wonder whether her key would fit the door to the flat, of course it would, and it did.

Whether no one had lived in the flat since her other left, or whether it was simply in between tenants, she found the building empty. No traces of the home she remembered were left, and of course they wouldn't be, Jackie would have taken everything she could, and the land lords would have cleaned out the rest by now. Somewhere out there, in her universe, the flat must have looked like this. Shareen and Keira would have taken some of it, no doubt. Torchwood or UNIT would have kept the alien objects, and the ones displaced in time. The rest would end up binned, donated, or incinerated.

As it would, with everyone associated with it dead.

This hadn't been her home in years. She'd given it up willingly, and now...there was no looking back. But maybe there'd never been a choice to begin with. Where had the other version of her moved to? What was her life like? Had she moved on from the Doctor? How far did they run? Did they ever stop?

Could they?

She finished a slow circle of the living room, and spotted the Doctor standing in the doorway of the hall. How long had she been in here? Had she lost track of time? Those oddly blue eyes watched her with a deep sadness. Not sympathy, but understanding.

There was only one thing truly left of their home. One person, impossibly far away.

She wasn't entirely sure when she crossed the room, and she couldn't say at which thought she started to weep. Dimly, she thought she ought to be embarrassed, falling apart at the thought of an alternate version of herself out there who never made it back to her Doctor. At a Doctor who died alone, who died with the rest of humanity, two hundred thousand years in the future. In a future that should never have been.

In a future that had to be, because for every good choice, for every lucky break, there was a version of her out there who had to suffer the consequences of what it meant to miss that.

The Doctor said nothing. He simply held her close, chin resting on the top of her head. How much more difficult must it have been for him?

Or was it easier?

She couldn't believe that. Understanding these things had to happen didn't make it any easier to face. And to some small part of her she refused to acknowledge, it didn't make it any less frightening to think they might be that version who couldn't find the ones they loved, so others could.

He spoke, suddenly, as if he could hear her thoughts. Maybe she'd been thinking them loudly, or perhaps it was just that obvious a conclusion to reach. “We make our own choices, Rose. Even when they're the wrong ones, they're still the choice we made. There's nothing else out there to blame for those.”

There was a heavy sadness in his voice as he spoke. She didn't know if it was because of the choices this Rose made, or the choice her Doctor did.

“Can't we do anything?”

He was silent a few moments. “I can't save them, Rose. There are certain things that must happen, and in this universe, this is one of them. The Earth dies in the year two-hundred thousand. The Daleks win.”

She didn't miss the bitterness in his voice, but she'd known he'd say that. If they could save them, he already would have.

Yet, he spoke again after a moment. “But there's one last thing I can do.” He pulled away from her, but held out a hand toward her. “Come with me.”

He said nothing else as she followed, but he didn't need to. She'd know what he was planning once he started, so for now she simply fell in step behind him, hand clasped to his, as they made their way back from the Powell Estate to where the TARDIS sat. She only released his hand when they stepped inside once more. Finding herself once more within the TARDIS was like a sudden breath of cool air after a week in stagnancy. The light that was all-but-nonexistent before flooded bright in recognition.

When she first stepped into the TARDIS, when it first crept into her mind and translated the languages as the Doctor understood them, she hadn't noticed. When the walls of the the universes closed and cut her free, she'd lost so much so quickly, she hadn't noticed the absence amongst the rest of her loss.

The faint, almost undetectable presence of the TARDIS was something she didn't realize she'd missed until it returned. Her skin hummed with the ache of missing the familiarity of something she could barely comprehend, and for a few moments, she found herself barely aware that there was anyone else in the ship with her at all.

Someone scuffed the grating, and her attention shifted to where Adeola Jones stood, next to the jumpseat. The scientist looked curious, and still fascinated herself by the ship. The Doctor had made his way to the console, and stood watching her, a faint, understanding smile on his face. When she returned his smile after a moment, he nodded and turned back toward the console, setting the TARDIS suddenly into motion.

Rose took her position near the door as an opportunity to grab hold of the nearby railing. It wasn't the roughest ride she'd ever had in the TARDIS, but after the better part of a year amongst automobiles and zepplins, the lurching of the ship was jarring.

She needn't hold on long, wherever they landed wasn't far from where they left. She frowned slightly as the TARDIS settled and she straightened. “Doctor, where are we?”

He dug his hands in his pockets as he made his way toward her. “Helping.” He nodded over her shoulder toward the doors of the TARDIS, expression grim. “Out there is the other you. Probably still trying to figure out how the TARDIS just appeared in her living room, and whether she's really awake.” He squeezed her arm as he passed by. “We should get out there before she makes a decision.”

Before the Rose settled to fully into a false hope, he meant.

She turned and followed after him as he swung the doors open and took a step into the small living room. Another her stood staring in the middle of the room. She'd grown out her hair a bit, longer even than before the Game station. She still looked exactly like herself, though. The only differences Rose could see with this less fortunate version of her was that tiredness, the age that she felt only on her worst days.

That hopelessness permeated this Rose, even if she'd evidently moved on with her life, fled London—however far they'd ended up—to escape the memories. Of course she'd never get away from the memory of the Doctor.

Rose wondered briefly if she were looking at her own future, had she not met the Doctor she stood next to now.

“Who—what's goin' on?” Her other self shook her head. “How d'you have the TARDIS? And you...”

The Doctor spoke before she could. “We're from another dimension. Another universe. We're...travelers.”

She spoke up, then. “We're alternate versions of you. Well, I am, anyway. This...this is an alternate version the Doctor, even if he doesn't look like it. We're here to help you.”

The Doctor cast her a brief glance, before holding a hand out to the Rose. “Come with me, if you want. I can give you one more chance to see him. And I'm sorry, I'm so very sorry, but that's all I can do.”

Her other self looked between them for a few moments, evidently still unsure what to believe. Before Rose could speak up to say anything further, however, the Doctor did. “I'm only going to ask once, this time, Rose. When we leave, that's it. No second chances.”

The other her blinked, his words cutting through whatever doubt and excuses were no doubt running through her mind, and nodded, taking a few steps forward. “Right. Whoever you are, if you can take me to the Doctor, then let's go.” She marched between the two of them into the TARDIS, determinedly staring ahead, rather than at them.

Rose couldn't say she blamed her other self for needing to steel herself. If he couldn't save them, what could he do?

The Doctor favored her with a briefly sympathetic look, before turning after the other Rose and starting into the TARDIS. Rose paused only long enough to look over the room—sparse and full of nothing meaningful—before following after the both of them. Adeola spoke quietly to the other Rose, as the Doctor stalked in a circle around the console, flipping switches and turning dials.

When he sent the TARDIS into the vortex, he spoke once more. “I can't stop it. Not for you, and not for your Doctor. What happens two hundred thousand years in the future is meant to happen. He knew that when he sent you home.” He frowned over at the other Rose. “But I can help you.”

Her other self held onto a strut for support. “Help me how?”

He didn't immediately answer. Instead, he set the TARDIS down with a—surprisingly sharp—jolt, and dove under the console a few moments, rummaging through the wires and miscellaneous things he'd no doubt left piled there while repairing the ship.

“Doctor...” She spoke up this time, instead of her other self, and he peered up over the console at her briefly, before ducking underneath it again.

As she started up the ramp to ask him properly, however, he reappeared, a strange looking device in his hand. He looked directly at the other Rose as he spoke. “Outside it's three minutes since you went home. You've got one minute before the room is going to be flooded with Daleks. Go straight down the hallway from the door and you'll be there.” He crossed the room and placed the device in her hand.

“What's this for, then?” She didn't look down at it.

“It's a remote activator. Keep it in your pocket, press this button here when the time comes. You'll know when. It will activate the delta wave.” He hesitated only a moment, but the sorrow that filled his expression when he continued carried the wait of long minutes of pause. “It's still not refined. It can't be.”

Her other self shook her head. “But that would kill—“

“I'm sorry, Rose. I'm very, very sorry. But everyone on Earth is going to die, anyway. Everyone on that satellite will die, and nothing can stop that. Use this, and save the universe one more time. Save humanity from becoming Daleks.”

She spoke up then. “No, there's got to be another way!”

He scowled, and stalked back to the console, looking at neither of them. “There is. You can leave that here, you can go home...or you can go out there with him without it, and he can watch you die. He can die knowing the Daleks won.” Again, his voice held that bitterness, and he shook his head, studying the monitor of the console. “It's your choice.”

She made her way across the room to place a hand on his arm. “Doctor...” The grief in his blue eyes when he glanced over at her weighed down the words she meant to say, sticking them uselessly in her throat.

She didn't get the chance to say anything else, before her other self spoke up again, taking another step forward. “Right. Thank you, then. For the chance to see 'im again.” The woman nodded, and slipped the device into her pocket.

The other Rose hesitated at the doorway, glancing back toward them. “Whatever it is you're lookin' for...don't stop.”

With a soft click of the door, she was gone.

Ms. Jones spoke first. “She can't mean to--”

“Can't say. Don't see those details.” The Doctor spoke briskly as he swept away, twirling around the console once more. “Lets not test the TARDIS' shields against it.” He sent the TARDIS into the Vortex once more, still not looking up, but there was a forced cheer in his voice when he continued. “Still! We've got a supper to make! You, Adeola Jones, are going home.”

“Not in this?”

“Well, exactly in this. Now that we've got her healthy again, we've got no need for that Torchwood tech. And a good thing, that, because there is no Torchwood in this universe. Fancy that.” He smiled brightly over Rose's shoulder. “Pete's World, here we go!”

Rose could hardly blame the young scientist for lacking the enthusiasm he so forcefully displayed.

Of all the ridiculous things of the past few hours that she'd seen, what kept swimming back to mind was the image of her other self's tiny flat. For all intents and purposes, they'd just sent an alternate version of her to her death—fitting, in a way, that it came at the end of the world next to the Doctor, when that was when it all began—but that Rose, she'd died long ago. She hadn't fled the memory of the Doctor, she'd given up living.

There hadn't even been a phone in the other Rose's building. Not that she'd seen, anyway. No television, barely even an excuse at a couch. No decorations, and no boxes of things waiting to be unpacked. Rose knew if she'd gone looking there'd barely be enough dishes and flatware to serve herself with. There would be no dresser to keep clothing she wouldn't bother collecting.

The building was nearly as empty as the Tyler flat.

It looked exactly like the home she kept in Pete's World.
 
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