14 October 2010 @ 06:26 am
One Times Infinity - Chapter 8 (Doctor Who AU D/R fic)  
Title: One Times Infinity
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: Need I say? I'm flattered you'd think it was mine, though.



One Times Infinity

Chapter Eight: Ratiocination

She honestly expected more. Some sort of surreal spinning tunnel or a moment of disembodiment, like the Preacher's teleportation devices, but when they stepped through the 'portal', there was only a flash of light, and she found herself finishing her step on ground suddenly uneven. If she hadn't been holding on to the Doctor's hand, she might have stumbled and fell.

Might meaning most likely once she saw where they landed. The Powell Estate. Pete's World, the other universe, had no Powell Estate—it was one long shopping mall, for the most part, and a few token parks. The familiar sight made her stomach lurch in a way that couldn't decide whether it was pleasant or unpleasant. Fortunately, she didn't have long to dwell on it before Adeola broke the temporary silence.

“This is...amazing.” The young scientist took a few steps forward and made a slow circle in place. “We're really in another universe?”

Completely different!” He grinned like a madman, hands dug into his pockets, but there was a distance in his eyes, as he scanned the area for something. For signs of his Rose? Of where they'd gone?

“S'pose we ought to go looking around, then?” She nudged him gently with an elbow, drawing his attention away from whatever he sought. “See what we can find?”

He smiled down at her briefly, before taking a step forward, and gesturing toward the sky, spinning on his heel. “A whole new universe to see before suppertime!”

Adeola, who'd wandered a few more steps forward, glanced back at the Doctor. “Where do we start?”

He pointed to a distant spot on the road. “I was thinking over there.” Before waiting for an answer, he started right in that direction, long strides taking him along fast enough that Rose had to pick up her pace just to keep up with him. Not that she minded, all that much, there wasn't much she could figure out just standing around in a home which wasn't hers anymore.

Could this be hers? How would they know? How could they find his Rose if she were there? Had she really just left her mother's universe, with little guarantee she'd ever return, and told her over mobile?

Adeola's sound of surprise snapped Rose back from her thoughts, and she had to stifle one of her own. Not two feet before her, a TARDIS stood. The Doctor stood with one palm flat against the door and something like a nostalgic smile on his face. But where had it come from? She was certain the street was empty before...


“She's retreated into herself, made herself unknown so she can fade away in peace.” There was sadness in his voice, and she suddenly connected the expression on his face. It wasn't nostalgia or even sympathy. It was that pained expression the Doctor tried to hide whenever the TARDIS suffered worse than an average crash, or the time it suffered through polluted time in the vortex. He felt the TARDIS' pain.

More than that, she knew why. Where the TARDIS sat, what he said, she held a memory all too distinctly the same as this one. She turned, then, to look for her alternate universe duplicate. She didn't exactly sit around for long before she'd returned to the TARDIS. If they'd ended up in the past, they wouldn't have much time to wait around before they might get a clue whether the Doctor's Rose were here.

“She won't be coming.”

Rose glanced up at him, frowning. “What?”

He nodded down the road she'd come from long ago. “She's not walking down that road. It's been four years since the TARDIS landed. I can feel how weakened she's gotten. In fact...” He turned, and jiggled the handle a moment, before the door swung inward. Grim satisfaction lined his smile when he glanced up at her. “Her pilot's long gone. She's on her last gasps. But I can help.”

She followed after him, lingering in the doorway as he walked into the unnaturally dark console room. Adeola stood to the left, peering into the ship with a calculating expression that questioned just how she could be seeing so much room in a police box. Rose didn't feel particularly in the mood for explanations. “You can help her?”

He knelt underneath the console rather than looking up. “Of course I can, if I can jump her psychic connection properly, give her a start, and enough time to recover...she could be as healthy as ever.”

She couldn't help a soft smile. Of course he'd help the TARDIS. He'd never let his ship go if he could help it...and now it seemed he was a Time Lord without a TARDIS, who'd just met a TARDIS without her Time Lord. But there was a pressing question, still. “What happened?”

He bounced down the steps of the ship, so full of energy he nearly startled her. She did startle when the sunlight caught his eyes. Blue. His eyes were the same icy blue as the first face her Doctor had worn when she'd met him. How hadn't she seen that before?

He nodded over her shoulder and smiled. “This will take awhile. Why don't you show Miss Jones around? Might get a few of those answers you're looking for just asking the right people.” He glanced back at her then, and smiled. “We'll be here when you get back.”

She worried her bottom lip a moment, and glanced between Adeola and the Doctor. She missed the TARDIS almost as much as she missed the Doctor. As terribly sad as the darkened interior looked, she still wanted to be there. She missed the humming of the ship under her hands, that imperceptible sense of company and belonging the tiny telepathic connection the TARDIS brought, that she hadn't noticed until that last crack closed.

She missed it all, but she wouldn't be much help for the Doctor in fixing whatever was wrong, and there were answers they needed. What happened to the TARDIS? Where was the Doctor, or the Rose, of this universe? Was his Rose here?

And she knew she couldn't just let Adeola wander on her own in a strange universe.

She smiled after a moment, and nodded. This was a Doctor who'd let go of his own lever, forsaken his own universe and almost his own life, just for a chance to stay with his Rose. She could believe him when he said he'd still be here when she got back. “You'd better be. Cos I will be back.”

He grinned, and shooed her off, before shutting the TARDIS door with a click. Briefly, she wondered if her key would work in the lock, before she turned toward her current companion.

“So! Miss Jones? Shall we go and have a look around?”

It was strange, really. Even though the streets she walked were familiar, achingly so, it was as exhilarating as looking at that doorway was, as it would be to travel in the TARDIS across planets again. Moreso, because now, after what felt like a lifetime, she was finally on her way back home. A part of her hoped her mother understood why, in the heat of the moment, she hadn't thought to do more than ring.

When she found her Doctor again, she'd ask this one to take them back to her other universe, just for a short while, so she could say goodbye to her mother properly. And maybe, just maybe, they'd find a way to make it through universes as safely as this, but guided enough that it didn't need to be goodbye after all.

She glanced up at the young woman walking next to her. “Bit different this place, yeah? This is closer to my world.”

“I wonder how many things are different...”

“Don't know...” She shook her head, and dug her hands into her pockets, scanning the familiar walls of the Powell Estate. “Could be all sorts of things. Must be. Every universe is based on choices. Different choices make different universes. They could have a Prime Minister in this Britain, could be they've got a King, even. People we know might never have been born.” Briefly, she wondered if that were the problem. Maybe she'd never been born.

Adeola nodded, “People could have been born who weren't, too.”

She glanced up, curious. “Someone you're thinkin' of specifically?” Honestly, she didn't know enough about the young scientist to know what her family was like, or if she had a love life outside of work. In retrospect, she felt a bit of shame at that. She hadn't paid any more attention at work than she needed to. She hadn't paid much attention to anything.

For a moment, she wondered if the woman would answer her, but then Adeola gave a small smile. “My Aunt. When I was a kid, she went out to celebrate her fifth anniversary with my Uncle, and took a posh Zepplin tour across the ocean. It stalled out halfway across.” A faint expression of sadness passed her face, but vanished before Rose could reach out to her. “It was that or a trip to the super casino in Blackpool. Could be in another universe, she'd have liked that better.”

Rose did reach out then, touching the woman's shoulder, and offering a sympathetic smile. “Could be, yeah.”

Before anything else could be said, a familiar voice spoke up. One she honestly hadn't thought she'd ever hear again. “Rose Tyler? Oh my God, it is you!” The smile on her old best mate's face quickly faded to a frown as she approached. “You haven't been answerin' my calls!”

“I'm sorry, Shareen, I've been...busy, yeah?” She offered the woman a hopeful smile. If anyone would know outside of Mickey or her mother what happened—at least in a vague, roundabout sort of way—this woman ought to, if not Keisha. But if the TARDIS were abandoned, it was possible Keisha would have had no reason to be in the loop at all.

“Busy for six months, and now you just pop in here again without warning? What's gotten in to you? First you take up travelin' all over creation and forget to ring even once, and then y'just up and leave with your Mum and Jackie and do you think t'say a word to me at all?” Shareen's hands were firmly planted on her hips, and she seemed gradually charging toward critical mass. Not unlike she'd expect her own Shareen to react.

If she didn't believe she'd died.

Rose swallowed quickly, and waved her hands to head the woman off. “I know, I know, and I'm sorry, I just. Needed to get away.” Apparently. She bit her lip. “For...six months. And now I just needed to see a familiar place, yeah?”

Shareen briefly seemed unconvinced, but then there was a flash of sympathy in her eyes. “You had to get away for a year and a half? That bloke of yours, who was travelin' with you...”

Adeola spoke up this time. “You two are mates, then?”

Shareen glanced over as if that were the first time she'd noticed Rose wasn't alone. “You'd better believe it. Best mates from childhood we are, not that you'd know it the way she acts half the time.”

“I said I'm sorry, yeah? And anyway, I'm here now.” Rose frowned slightly, before nodding toward the scientist. “Shareen, this is Adeola Jones, she's a...co-worker of mine.”

“You've got a job now?”

“Miss Jones, this is Shareen Costello, an old mate of mine.”

“Oi, watch who you're callin' old, you're two years my senior.” Shareen huffed, but shook her head, dismissing the subject. “Right. You two and me, we're having chips, and you're going to explain to me what you've been doing and where you've been working. No protests!”

Maybe that's why, amongst all the other reasons, they'd managed to stay best mates so long. No matter what, Shareen could bounce back from anything that happened, and go on like it hadn't at all.

Maybe she could even handle the truth this time.

He knew exactly how long he'd stood at the console fuming, after he'd hung up. She wouldn't change his past. She couldn't. It wasn't that easy to interfere with a Time Lord's past, and...and he was still connected to Gallifrey at that point, still protected by the things he disdained at the time. One human girl, even Rose, couldn't change it with a few words.

But she'd reshaped history and the universe with two, and this Rose...this Rose was a remnant, shielded by her own Doctor's last act, rogue in this universe and this time, and from a point of history where there was no Gallifrey any longer. He'd left her in a weak point, and they both knew it. He'd only expected her never to recognize his earlier selves, never to go looking, and to just accept the life he presented her with, the only thing he could offer her.

In retrospect he really should have known better, but he couldn't say he felt affection over that this time.

He would stop her, even if she was a Rose. She was right, he had choices, but none of them were any good for either of them.

Because he couldn't help her. Even if he wanted to, even if her world weren't already lost completely, he couldn't help her. The walls needed sealing, he couldn't allow them to simply collapse now. Not after Rose gave up everything—after he did—to make sure they still stood.

There was only resignation in her blue eyes when he opened the door.

Get in the TARDIS.” His voice was low and tight with anger. At her. At himself.

She said nothing when she stepped inside, and remained silent even as he input coordinates in the TARDIS, but he shot her a scathing warning look anyway. He wasn't giving in to her demands. She'd gotten her way, but he wasn't helping her. He couldn't.

In that moment, he hated equally himself and her for it. This was never what he meant for..

Even the TARDIS felt quiet as they landed with a solid thud. He strode past the Rose without a word, and shoved the doors open. The planet was devoid of sentient life, and so far removed from colonization, no one would ever come across it for twice her lifetime, but there were enough resources for her to survive, passably. He'd never arrived here before, and now he would never return.

Go.” He didn't look up at her. When she didn't move, he tried again. “You win, you're free of Earth, you're free of a life you never lived, and now you won't have to try and build another one, now get out. I won't ask again.”

She was silent for a moment more, before she spoke. “I'm not leaving.”

“No.” He spun on her then, the fury he kept careful reign on evident enough in his face to even give this frustrating, cold-hearted Rose pause. But he didn't stop there. He wouldn't fight down Tyler stubbornness, and he wouldn't—couldn't—suffer through this any longer than he needed to. He took two long steps to where she stood and grabbed up her closest arm. “We're not discussing this. You don't get to argue about who is right, or what I've got to do. You could have destroyed the world, the universe, and you didn't think twice about it. Right now, even if I could help you, I wouldn't.”

It was a lie, and they both knew it, but she said nothing. She felt so very frail and easy to break in his hand. So very unlike his Rose.

He took strength from that to propel her from the ship. She stumbled a few steps, and turned angry, bitter eyes back to him. “It's still coming. No matter what you do, it's still coming for this world, and hiding from it only means you'll destroy it just as much as I might have.”

He closed the door without comment, and refused to look back. He was, after all, very good at never looking back. There was no sympathy in the sound of the TARDIS' engines, and why would there be? He'd left a Rose behind, to live her life all alone (oh, and he knew it would be much shorter than it should be, on a planet like that), consigned her to a meaningless and empty death, and even if he'd had to, that didn't make it any better, any easier.

But he managed anyway.

He made it three days.

Whether it was his shout of frustration, or the book slamming against the far wall that shattered the pervasive silence of the TARDIS more, he didn't bother to consider, even if some part of his brain did register and file away the truth of it.

When he flung the doors open once more, she appeared far more worse for wear, but still healthy enough. She still said nothing, though there was a wariness in her eyes now, and lingering anger.

That was for the best, really. He found he was completely disgusted in himself, as well.
Current Mood: ecstatic
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[identity profile] who-in-whoville.livejournal.com on July 4th, 2011 02:09 pm (UTC)
I knew he couldn't just leave her.
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[identity profile] darkbunnyrabbit.livejournal.com on July 4th, 2011 11:19 pm (UTC)
She is Rose, after all, even if she's not blonde.
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