darkbunnyrabbit: (One Times Infinity)
darkbunnyrabbit ([personal profile] darkbunnyrabbit) wrote on July 5th, 2011 at 06:26 am
One Times Infinity - Chapter 11 (10/Rose AU PG-13 Doctor Who 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


Disclaimer: Yep. Still not mine.



One Times Infinity

Chapter Eleven: Infecund

True to his word, the Doctor came back for Adeola once he decided the TARDIS had recharged enough from her jump to make another. She stood in the lab looking anxious, and Rose wondered whether the young scientist had actually been effectively studying anything before they arrived.

The Doctor was back to his chipper self, and she thought she did a good job of looking only excited herself. “Miss Jones.”

“...You came back.”

“I always keep my promises.” He smiled broadly and took a step forward, offering her a hand. “It was a pleasure meeting you, Miss Jones. And I don't say that often about Torchwood.”

“And you.” Adeola grinned, shaking his hand. “I don't say that often about aliens.”

“You've met terrible aliens, then.”


He smiled fondly, and Rose spoke up. “It's been a pleasure working with you, as well, Miss Jones.”

The scientist glanced between the two of them, and her gaze lingered on the TARDIS for a few moments. “You're...really leaving then? For good.”

“This isn't our universe, and welcoming as it is, we have homes that need finding.”

“Of course.” Again her expression was hesitant and disappointed as she nodded.

It didn't surprise Rose at all when he followed with, “of course...if you wanted to...you could come with?” He shrugged. “I'm afraid I can't promise you'll be back by supper. Can't promise you'll be back at all. It's completely understandable if you want to stay, but...”

“--You'll be visiting other universes? Like the one we saw?”

He nodded. “Well. Like that, and like this, and completely different. Some might be almost identical to this one, some might be so different they'll be completely unrecognizable. Might not even be able to step out of the TARDIS in some of them. It's the nature of parallel universes—they're all completely different realities.”

Rose knew what Adeola was going to say before she spoke. “I'll do it. I'll come with you.”

“--are you sure? I really can't promise you that I'll be able to bring you home.”

She shook her head. “I have a home that I need to find, too.”

He smiled, then, and held out his hand once more. “Welcome aboard, Miss Jones.”

It was strange, the way that the TARDIS would go from rough riding to get out of the universe to smoothly gliding once it hit the Void. She hadn't noticed the first time around, given they were too busy crashing, and she hadn't thought much of it on the trip back to Pete's World a short while ago, but this time...perhaps the trip simply lasted longer.

She didn't know where they were going, and his concentration looked so extreme she didn't want to chance asking him. She knew traveling universes had to be tricky—the Doctor, her Doctor, had said it was impossible himself. Naturally, even if a Doctor could find a way around that, it wouldn't be an easy one. In all likelihood, even the smallest miscalculation would result in their being shredded.

Whether Adeola realized that, or was simply anxious because of the TARDIS or her decision, Rose didn't know. Whichever the reason, she stole reassuring glances toward the sitting scientist whenever the Doctor wasn't giving out rapid-fire orders. This wasn't exactly the easiest 'TARDIS travel 101' to have.

It wasn't the easiest Experts course.

She knew they must have come to their destination (of the moment, she couldn't get her hopes up into believing they'd find who they were looking for right off) only by the way the ride became suddenly violent once more. She lurched forward as the ship suddenly jerked, and grabbed a hold of the console for all she was worth.

When they touched down she found herself on her back anyway.

Adeola was the first to make a sound this time, groaning from the spot on the floor she'd ended up, and slowly uncurling as Rose made her own way to her feet. “Could do with working on the landing a bit.”

The Doctor huffed. “She's tired still. Give her time to recover and she'll manage these jumps better.”

Rose made her way around the room to get a look at the monitor...but of course it was pointless. The information it displayed was complete gibberish to her. “Where are we?”

He rubbed at the back of his neck as he walked up behind her. “Don't know. Different universe. I was...following something, but the TARDIS isn't strong enough for that big of a jump yet. We'll be stuck here until she recovers.”

“Stuck here?” Rose blinked, and turned to get a better look at him. “How long's that?”

He grimaced. “A few hours? A day? Long enough to go out and explore, at any rate. It'll be healthier for her if she's able to shut down her interior systems, anyway.”

“We've come out to go exploring universes anyway, haven't we?” Adeola said, as she made her way over to where they both stood.

The Doctor beamed and clapped her shoulder. “That we have! So what do you say, Rose, shall we explore?”

She grinned. “S'pose we might as well, yeah?”

“That's the spirit! C'mon!” He skipped ahead and down the ramp, pulling the TARDIS doors inward in a grand and clearly showy gesture.

The gesture itself was really quite a bit more impressive than the view.

Rose blinked, and followed after him, staring out at the rock and...well...there was hardly even any brush around to be called 'brush'. There were just...rocks. Everywhere. “What's this then? The rock quarry universe?”

“I don't know about universe...I've seen a fair few of those in my own...” He took a few steps out of the TARDIS, spun, and sniffed the air. “Never in Cardiff, though.”

Adeola appeared at her side, leaning a hand against the other door. “This is Cardiff?”

He nodded and pointed past the TARDIS. “Bay's right over there.”

Rose shook her head and took a step out of the TARDIS. “The rift still here?”

“Eh. Not quite the same...but it's functional as far as speeding the TARDIS' recovery.”

Adeola spoke up then. “If Cardiff's just a rock quarry...what are we going to do for hours?”

He grinned. “Figure out what happened. C'mon! Rose, Miss Jones, if you would.”

Adeola didn't look entirely convinced by his enthusiasm, but she did take a few steps out after him anyway. For now, it was all the Doctor needed to beam happily at her and start off on the rocky path ahead. “So! A universe where no one ever thought to build a city around a weak point in space and time. Or, a universe where they did and something happened to completely obliterate it.”

Rose frowned, scanning the horizon for some sign of ruins. “There should be something, though, shouldn't there be?”

“Quite right!” He gestured grandly around them. “The ground isn't dug out. It hasn't been blasted away...it's simply not growing. Why? What prevents building and growing?”

Adeola spoke before she could. “Radiation?”

He clicked his tongue and shook his head. “I don't think so. Not this time. There's nothing left in the air, and if it were still preventing shrubs from springing up in Wales, there'd be a noticeable amount left. So what devastates plant life but leaves no traces of itself?”

Rose bit her lip in thought, and stared up at the sky a moment. An ash plume could block out the sun and choke out all the life in the area it remained...but there was clearly no ash in the area, and the sky was free of any clouds. Yet there was nothing, not even a single cloud in the blue expanse.

She flicked her tongue along her bottom lip, which felt unnaturally dry for having just been chewing on it in her thought. She blinked, wet her lip once more, and turned her attention back to the expanse of wasteland around them. “Water. There's no rain here.”

Yes!” His grin was far too satisfied when he turned back to her a moment. “Not the presence of something, the absence of it! And given the dryness of the air, I'm not so sure there's anything in the bay at all.”

Adeola frowned. “What could cause that?”

“Oh...anything. Chemicals, solar shifts, an extremely thirsty star whale...it might never have been here at all. Parallel universe. Just because we expect Cardiff in all of its Welsh glory doesn't mean the people of this planet will.”

“So...we'll be stuck in some sort of desert-world for hours until the ship recharges?”

He shrugged. “Oh, she won't be very long. Not long enough to worry about water, anyway. Now! Why don't we go and see if there's locals about?” He clapped his hands and smiled at them expectantly. For a moment, Rose was about to protest that a place like this wouldn't likely have any residents anywhere near where they stood.

Then she spotted the flashes of light coming from beyond a nearby hill. “Over there?” Even if it wasn't civilization, it might be a bit of metal that might shed light on the sort of civilization the universe had.

He glanced over his shoulder in the direction she pointed, and gave a small nod. “Over there!” Without waiting for any other response he started ahead, his long legs making for far more efficient strides than she. Still, she had practice keeping up with him, so even with his head-start she kept pace well enough. It helped that she was as curious as he about what they'd find on the other side of the hill. Even though it was perfectly reasonable to conclude the most likely cause of the flashes was a bit of debris, not a city, she couldn't help getting a bit of hope up for finding something truly new and unexplored.

As it happened, when the Doctor crouched behind a rock at the top of the bluff...she found her hopes weren't dashed after all. The flashing, as it turned out, was the metal of a conveyor belt reflecting the light of the sun, as large rocks were carried off into the distance by it. Far more interesting, however, were the people who carried and deposited the rocks. They weren't human—at least not in the sense Rose would have recognized—they looked like the rocks and ground of Cardiff had sprung to life and started walking around. Which was possible, given they now stood in a parallel universe...but still not very likely.

Smoke seemed to puff out of them with a regularity that Rose presumed must have been similar to breathing, but dissipated into nothing before it rose above the bluff...which explained why she hadn't spotted it previously. Though they didn't appear to speak, the group of them—perhaps a dozen—seemed to rumble like they really were the cliff side moving. But they couldn't be. Besides the smoke that rose from them, their eyes and—on the occasion that they opened it—mouths seemed to be full of fire, or something which appeared very similar. Whatever they were, Rose doubted very much they were as simple as animated rock.

She glanced toward the Doctor, who looked simply thoughtful, and then over her shoulder for Adeola, who ought to have caught up by now even if she'd fallen behind initially.

Somehow, she didn't find it surprising at all not to see her.

“Doctor...” Rose said, trying to keep her voice low. “Where's Adeola?”

“Mm?” He turned to look over his shoulder, as if he hadn't thought of the scientist at all until she pointed out her absence. When she failed to appear after a moment, he gave an annoyed 'tsk'. “Is it really so hard not to wander off? Parallel universe, no method of communication, you'd think at least then someone would listen!”

“...You never told her not to wander off, Doctor.”

He blinked. “It--was inferred. C'mon.” He held out a hand to help her up to a crouch, and then dashed back down the hillside. With the bluff once more between they and the residents of not-Cardiff, he apparently felt confident enough to raise his voice once more. “Miss Jones? Miss Jones!”

Rose sighed, and squinted against the glare of the sun. “Jones? Hello?” She glanced toward the Doctor briefly, who seemed to be scanning the ground, perhaps for footprints. “Do you think she could have gone back to the TARDIS?”

He made a noncommittal noise. “Could've tried. Let's see. Might even be able to spot her from there if she hasn't.”

Once more his steps were sure and long, and once more she was glad to be able to keep up with them. But with a specific goal in mind, she could afford to ask him less pressing questions. “Who d'you think those were?”

“The locals.”

“Yeah, but...d'you think they're friendly? Have you ever seen 'em before, in your universe?”

He frowned. “Could be. Might not have. Different universes, Rose, potentially nothing we know could hold true here.”

“Yeah, but we haven't seen anythin' that extreme yet. Just...quirks. Little differences, choices that went differently.”

“We've never been to a universe without Cardiff, have we? What if the choice in this universe is much further back than the choices we've seen before?”

Rose frowned up at him a moment, thoughtful. His questions sounded...leading. Like he'd reached a conclusion and was just waiting for her to catch up already so he could congratulate her and move on to more important things. “What sort of choice?”

He shook his head. “I don't know. But history is different in this universe. The points in time in this universe that are fixed aren't anything like the ones in the others I've seen. Mine, yours, the other. Things we take for granted never existed—never can.”

“Things like Cardiff.”

“Things like entire civilizations, Rose.” He stopped suddenly, and turned his attention to her. “Like an entire race of people wiped out before they even began to crawl.”

“...Doctor. What happened here?”

For a moment, those blue eyes of his simply stared down at her, and she began to wonder whether he were going to give her a straight answer at all.

As it turned out, when he finally opened his mouth to respond, those people—or very similar—sprung out from the rocks around them, wielding very unfriendly looking rifles.

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