Hi! So I wanted to say real quick, because I have a hard time imagining faces and people, that I imagine Rose at this point to look a bit like Lily James.
Enjoy and remember to let me know what you think!
Edit: my dudes it has been over a year since I updated? I am so sorry? Holy shit. Well, I'm back into this. And again, I am lacking a beta for this as my sister understandably tapped out. If you're interested, please PM me or let me know in the reviews so I can PM you!
Also! I wrote this one… I'm not sure, but it was a good long time ago. I'm sorry I didn't get it posted. In the time between chapter 24 and posting this one, I focused on a different fic, a Harry Potter one, and I worked hard to improve my writing. Right now, I have up to chapter 32 already written. I'm going to post these, and from then on is what I'm writing now. I feel like perhaps I'm better, but try not to judge me too harshly.
ALSO also, I was asked to join the International Wizarding School Competition, and that starts in January, so I may be inconsistent as that goes on (but what's new?) Wish me luck! I'll be a full time student (writer) for Hogwarts.
Still Another Mile
The Doctor looked up as the TARDIS doors opened, confused. Rose had left only a few moments ago. Had she forgotten something?
There were quiet murmurs, and the Doctor pulled himself out of the grating. He'd set aside Rose's phone for later, more interested in the missing Exdolian rotators. He brushed off his coat and turned around, immediately on guard at the sight of an unfamiliar man and a very familiar woman.
He'd never seen her before, of course, but her eyes… her eyes were the only kind in the universe. "Rose?"
"Doctor," she breathed, looking immensely relieved. "It's okay," she muttered to the man supporting her. The Doctor heavily disagreed, meeting her halfway as she attempted to rush over to him. He grabbed her, picking her up in his arms as she began to fall.
"It's a really long story," she shook her head tiredly, resting it against his shoulder.
And then he reached out. He tried to connect, to touch her mind, and found it missing completely. He tensed, his eyes widening as he stared down at her tired face.
"It hurts," she muttered, understanding the realization he'd come to.
Silent, the Doctor held her tighter and carried her back to the Zero Room, uncomfortable with how familiar they were becoming with it so soon. She calmed immediately upon entering the room, and he set her on the bed.
"It's okay, Ross," she called, looking over the Doctor's shoulder. "Can you just… give us time?"
He smiled softly at her and nodded. "I'm going to find some tea."
With him gone, Rose let her head fall onto the Doctor's leg, her eyes closing. "I'm sorry, Doctor. I tried so hard to get back to you. I just couldn't."
"You don't remember?" she asked softly. He shook his head slowly but stopped abruptly as memories began trickling in, out of order and confused.
In his eighth body with Romana, running into Rose and River on Gallifrey. Saving them - and Ross - from UNIT in his third body on earth. Finding Rose and Ross during the trial, watching as Valeyard talked to her as well. An unfamiliar but nice feeling right before he stole the TARDIS in his first body. Making the mistake of sedating her in his second body and seeing her panic attack as she woke up. And then he saw it. His fifth body. The feeling of a bond mate and then it disappearing. Finding her possessed by the Mara and shooting her. Killing her. Helping her piece her mind back together slowly… and pieces that were blurry, too quiet to hear, as if someone had tampered with his memories.
The Doctor looked down at her and brushed some hair out of her face. "I… shot you." The feeling of disgust that filled him was overwhelming. He cared so much for her, more than he thought possible, and he'd killed her. It didn't matter that she regenerated, it had still happened.
She breathed out fast through her nose. "The Mara possessed me. It destroyed our bond, Doctor. It's not… you had to."
He touched her cheek lightly, horrified still as the rest of the memories available came back. Rose accidentally saving his seventh body and then finding his fourth body to take her to Jack. After that, though, he was lost. "I don't understand. How did you get back to me? Jack?"
"No," she replied flatly, startling the Doctor. Something was off, more than just what was going on. "He couldn't get ahold of you so I sent us away again. One of your future selves set us down before I landed us here in the TARDIS earlier and he left before we got here."
The Doctor fell silent for a long minute as he considered how much she had to have gone through. She was exhausted and in significant pain, which reminded him… "Your mind…. Our bond."
She opened her eyes and turned to look up at him, meeting his gaze. "You didn't… you acted like it would never happen, Doctor."
He could barely look at her. She looked deeply hurt and betrayed. "I didn't think it would. I'm so sorry, Rose. I didn't realize how much it would destroy if the bond was broken."
"I try so hard not to look at my memories," she whispered, her eyes closed once more. "I didn't want to do that again." The pain in her voice was obvious. It had been near torture for her, repairing her mind the first time, but to go through it again…
"I understand if you don't want to renew the bond," he assured her, though some part of him was screaming that he needed to bond with her immediately. "It could kill you if it's broken again."
She was silent for a minute, tapping her thumbs to her middle fingers as she thought. He gave her the time she needed. If she needed days, years, he'd give it to her. She was all he had, and he'd hurt her in so many ways already.
"I didn't think you'd want to do it again," she whispered finally. The words shocked him completely.
"Why not?" he asked dumbly.
She shifted, sitting up to look him in the eyes. Their hands were just barely not touching, so close as they both leaned on the bed. "Doctor… it was an accident. It was convenient. Bonds are supposed to be about… love, just like marriage. You kept it out of responsibility. Don't make a new one out of responsibility, too."
"No," she shook her head. "Look, Doctor. If you… if you really want to make the bond again, then okay. We can. But just take the time to think about it. Because you know better than I do that this is the rest of your life. I don't want to be this… this burden. I don't want you to stick around me out of responsibility."
"Rose," the Doctor held her face gently, looking in her eyes. "I care for you. I'd like to travel with you for the rest of my life if possible. This bond doesn't bother me in the least."
It was enough for Rose. She nodded slowly, relieved. So much in her wanted to confess her love, but it was too much, especially after everything that had just happened. Later, she decided. Before they got to Canary Wharf, she promised herself. He would know that she loved him. It might be selfish with the possibility of not saving herself from falling into the other universe, but she needed time with him, the time she'd been too scared to take in the first timeline.
"If you'd like to give your mind some time to rest, we can do it another time-,"
"No," she shook her head quickly. She'd been trying so hard to focus on other things, but it was getting harder. The pain was consistent, reminding her of the horrible loss she'd suffered.
"Okay," he sucked in a breath, sitting up straighter as he thought back to how to form a bond on purpose. "We have to enter one another's minds and… sort of envelope them at the same time. It connects them permanently. This is how it would've happened before."
"And it'll be the same as before?"
The Doctor hesitated. "You remember what I said? There are three stages? Well this time, it'll put us in the second bond stage - a practice bond. To make the preliminary bond, you have to have an official do it. The only reason I can think of that we had it before is that I wrapped my mind around yours but you didn't do the same."
"And you can't do it again?"
The Doctor shook his head. "It was dangerous, doing it like that."
"I don't mind," she assured him.
The Doctor stood, pacing in front of her as he considered his words. "The practice bond… we can hear each other's thoughts without touching, but there has to be intent. It can happen on accident, yes, but mostly only in moments of distress and danger."
"What do you mean by intent?"
"You have to mean to be talking to me," he explained easily. "It's more intimate than the preliminary bond, Rose."
"Doctor," she said, getting to her feet and standing in front of him to stop his pacing. "I don't care. I understand."
He nodded quickly and slowly reached out to grab her hands and sit down on the bed next to her again. "We'll touch each other's temples, and then do as I said. Do you understand?"
"It sounds simple," she assured him. "You're sure this is what you want?"
"I promise," he told her. "Are you ready?"
She nodded quietly and, together, they raised their hands to the others' temples and touched them gently. Rose gasped at the feeling of the Doctor's mind wrapped around her own as she did the same. She'd missed the feeling horribly. She felt as a light sparked not just within her, but within the Doctor, and she knew that the bond had been made once more.
She dropped her hands into her lap at the same time as the Doctor and kept her eyes closed nervously, thinking to him loudly. "Doctor?"
"I can hear you," he promised. She was overwhelmed by the comforting feeling of his mind brushing against hers, as well as his tangle of emotions in the back of her mind.
It felt as if a long time pain had disappeared, replaced by the most comforting feeling in the world. Her mind was sore, of course, but much better than before, and she was extremely grateful.
"How are you feeling aside from that?" the Doctor asked her gently, this time out loud. She opened her eyes to see him looking her over in worry, likely trying to figure out the giant mess of emotions she was experiencing.
"Physically, better," she assured him. "I'd really overdone it, but you were in danger and I had to help. Now that the TARDIS took the excess energy, I'm fine again."
The Doctor's eyes lit up brightly and he pulled her into a tight hug. "I'm so proud of you, Rose. You went through so much."
She let out a laugh, smiling brightly as she pulled away to look at him. "While I'd love to discuss this, we have someone wandering in the TARDIS."
The Doctor's eyes widened, and she realized he'd completely forgotten about Ross. "Right. Who the hell is he?"
She let out a laugh. "We met him on Gallifrey. You remember how you sent us to the council room? He was in there. His name is Ross."
"You kidnapped a Time Lord?" the Doctor exclaimed.
"I did not!" she yelled back defensively.
"I don't know," Ross chimed in, standing in the doorway, amused. "I wasn't given much choice in the matter."
"It was an accident," she told the Doctor firmly. "River told me to get us out of there so I did! I didn't know she was still touching him."
"And why didn't you drop him off?" the Doctor demanded. "You went back!"
Rose looked at the Doctor, exhausted. "We had bigger issues, okay?"
The Doctor looked to Ross and narrowed his eyes. "What do you know about Gallifrey?"
"I know it got put at the end of the-," he cut off at Rose's sharp glare. "I'm not sure I can say, actually."
The Doctor suddenly looked like he had a migraine, and Rose knew he was feeling overwhelmed. "You can stay until we figure out what to do with you."
"I'm not a stray dog," Ross laughed. "I can handle myself, Doctor."
"Just stay for a bit," Rose requested with a smile. "We don't bite."
"I absolutely do not believe you."
"Rose," the Doctor complained, following her out of the library. "Can't we come back to it later?"
She turned to frown at him. "Doctor, there are things I have to do to finish this whole mess. Talking to Jack is one of those things. He knows I'm upset with him. He has a right to know why."
"But you won't tell me why!"
"Timelines," was all she said in reply as they walked down the hall to the console room where Ross was installing a new chameleon circuit alongside the old one for optional disguises. "Done yet?"
"All good," he confirmed, wiping his hands on a nearby rag. "I still don't understand why you like this look so much."
"It's classic!" the Doctor defended.
"No, I'm not."
Rose danced around the console, shooting the Doctor a dirty look every time he tried to undo what she'd just done. Finally, she threw the last lever and sent them to Jack. The landing was her smoothest yet, and she couldn't help but feel a little proud for it.
She skipped out the door, turning around only when she noticed the Doctor following her. "Oh no. Go back in there."
"The TARDIS is huge. There is no possible way you've done everything there is to do in there."
The Doctor gave in with a true pout and turned around as she ran off, ready to get the conversation over with.
"I don't understand. What happened?"
"It was in the old timeline," she explained. "And I know you didn't actually do it, but also, you did. And if it came to it again, I have no doubt you'd do it again."
"How… do you know all this? Does it still work? I know you said it's supposed to be attached to your soul but is that even possible?" he asked her rapidly. He looked horrified and Rose felt sick. The entire situation made her feel trapped and out of control, something extremely uncomfortable to her.
"I don't know," she admitted. "Somehow, you've managed to avoid telling me to do anything that I wasn't already planning to do. I did some research on it and that's how it works - if you want me to do something but I don't plan on or want to do it, you tell me and it'll make me do it. I think it's supposed to be sort of like a shock collar. It hurt when you did it in the other timeline. Like…" she winced. "Like obedience training."
"Fuck," he whispered. "Do you want me to… try?"
She didn't. She absolutely did not. But at the same time, she didn't want to find out in the middle of an emergency. She nodded silently, and he paused to think before he spoke again.
"Rose, wink at me twice with your right eye."
She felt three painful shocks through her entire body and, without her consent, she winked twice with her right eye. When she was done, she doubled over and swiped furiously at the tears that threatened to fall. The pain leftover made her nauseous, and she hated how much stronger it was than in her memories.
Jack was silent, and when she finally brought herself to look up, she saw the devastation on his face as he stared at his best friend. "Rose-,"
"I can't… be upset with you," she told him gently. "But I am, and I hate it so much. You're my best friend, possibly the closest person to me."
"I don't know how to fix this."
"Just… promise me, okay?" she met his eyes, pushing away the uncomfortable pain she felt at looking at him. It got better slowly every time she saw him, but it was still there. "Promise me you'll never take my memories again."
"I promise," he replied immediately. "I promise."
"Rose!" Ianto called up from the bottom of the steps. "You told me to tell you if I saw-,"
"The Doctor coming," she rolled her eyes. "Thank you."
"Rose!" the Doctor rushed into the room, eyes wide with worry as he looked between the two. "What happened? Are you okay? Did he hurt you?"
"Oh my god, relax," she closed her eyes tightly, wishing away the remaining tears. "I'm fine. Jack would never hurt me."
The Doctor did relax, but not much. "What happened? There was this… pain."
She looked up at him in surprise. "You felt that? You can… you can feel that?"
"I can feel all your pain," he looked confused. She knew that. Her eyes drifted to Jack, who looked much more panicked than before.
"Rosie, we have to-,"
"No, not again," she snapped. "Don't take that choice from me again, Jack."
"If he can feel it, though," Jack reasoned while the Doctor watched them, a perfect mix of irritated at being left out, hurt that Rose didn't want him to know, and worried about whatever was hurting her. "Rosie, you've got no choice."
"I can't just… keep telling him," she shook her head, stressed. "His head will explode or something."
"Why is my head going to explode?" he finally cut in at her dramatic statement, mostly because she seemed so genuinely worried.
Both of them ignored him.
"I am not trying to take any choices away from you," Jack assured her. "It's just that it seems pretty impossible to keep this from him, okay? You've tried it twice now and it didn't work either time."
"I was hurt before," she defended. "It was different."
"Rose," the Doctor said loudly and firmly, grabbing her attention. "Tell me what's going on. Now."
She met his eyes and felt terrified. "Can't I just be okay for once?"
"You will be," he assured her gently. "But not if you keep things all bottled up. What aren't you telling me?"
"Sit down," she requested quietly as Jack leaned back in his chair, aware he wasn't needed at the moment. "So, um… I'm not sure how many times you can block the same thing out of your memory, but… there's no other way to tell you this.
"Darlig Ulv Stranden," she whispered, cringing the entire time. The Doctor's face froze for a long minute before he blinked, and she realized he was waiting for her to speak again. "Oh, um… you…?"
He nodded shortly.
"In the original timeline… you took Jack and I to New Las Vegas for my birthday. You couldn't go, so you left us there, and… something happened. We were taken and sold by traffickers to this woman, taken to this planet where women are slaves for men. Jack was allowed to leave but I wasn't, so they put this chip in my neck that… it makes me…"
"I've heard of it," the Doctor interrupted, much to her relief. "They're outlawed almost everywhere."
"He took away my memories," she continued, not able to look at either of them now. "You let him. And I didn't remember any of it until the Mara possessed me and broke our bond. It… I don't know, it knocked the chip or something and the memories came loose. You put them back for me, but… the chip still works. That's what that pain was, he was seeing if it still works."
The Doctor was silent as he processed her words, looking between her and Jack. "You wanted to talk to him because you're angry with him."
"Maybe I can find something," he offered, though they both knew he couldn't.
"You, the other you, the you from the old timeline said that it wasn't possible," she told him tiredly. "You told me it would be there forever."
"Then I didn't try hard enough," was his short, emotional response. She couldn't tell quite what he was feeling. Anger, worry, fear… something along those lines, she thought.
"Doctor, you can't," she repeated. "Just… leave it, okay? It's there, it isn't going anywhere, I get it." She met his eyes. "And don't even think of telling me to just stay away from him."
"I'll work on something," he said again as if he hadn't heard her at all. "I'll fix it."
"It's not your mistake to fix," she told him. "I was scared. I wanted to get out of there so I just accepted the first option because I trust Jack. I still do, and I always will, okay? It just scares me, someone else having such complete control over me. But if anyone does… Jack definitely isn't the worst person I could think of." The best she could think of, truly. She knew he always wanted what was best for her. Despite that, it bothered her that, having that power over her, he decided to use it even while she was begging him not to.
"Rose," the Doctor said, grabbing her face gently. "You were scared and you took the first option presented to you. That is more than understandable, but that doesn't mean that you have to just give up because a few people said it's impossible. I thought you hate that word."
Rose sighed. She did. He was right. But she also didn't want to have hope for something that seemed so hopeless. "I do."
"Just let me try," he requested. She shared a look with Jack and considered him.
"After Canary Wharf," she compromised. "You can't know about this right now. Once this is all done, once there are no more secrets, we can try."
The Doctor understood. In Rose's mind, there was still a large chance of her ending up in Pete's World, and she also knew that he couldn't keep those memories for more than a few days. It was genuinely getting dangerous. "What will you do for now?"
"I'm not sure there's much we can do," she shrugged. "Jack will just have to be careful what he says, I guess."
"I don't like it."
Rose scoffed at him. "And you think I do?"
Ross wandered down the halls of the Doctor's TARDIS. It was bigger than most after centuries of use. TARDISes weren't meant to be homes, but it seemed this one had adapted quite well.
And it didn't like him.
The TARDIS kept trying to distract him, confuse him and send him different directions, but he had spent years studying the machines and he knew how to navigate a broken one, or one with a grudge, as it was.
He was looking for something in particular. Rose's bedroom. He'd seen it briefly when walking with her a few nights earlier, so he knew vaguely what it looked like. A black bed with a blue duvet and purple walls with pictures scattered around, many of her and the Doctor and almost an equal amount of her and Jack.
It took him nearly an hour, but finally, he found it. He had been turning in circles for about thirty minutes, he knew, and it took him a bit to figure out how to distract the TARDIS from the way it hid Rose.
He just needed to know. Something… more. From the bits he'd gathered about her life while eavesdropping on multiple conversations and the random things she'd said herself, he'd gathered she was human when she was born and had turned into a Time Lady via Bad Wolf, which was the Goddess in her, the power she held.
Beyond that, she'd been in a very, very bad relationship as a teen that still had her a mess to the day. He knew she was in love with the Doctor and he also knew that she was keeping a very big secret from him.
His eyes settled on a little blue book lying on her bed with a pen marking her page. He grabbed it and flipped through, but it only held encounters she'd had with River Song. It looked like she was in the middle of explaining the recent events when she'd stopped.
Her dresser held nothing but clothing and, on top, jewelry. Not finding anything there, he moved onto the vanity, where he saw a notebook sticking slightly out of a drawer. Curious, he picked it up and flipped the page open randomly, beginning to read.
I saw you die today. Not you. I know it wasn't you. But he is you. He is exactly you, just from my universe. All I could think about was how I never got to say goodbye to you and I never will. You're my dad. The only one that ever cared to stay alive and take care of me. I didn't get to thank you for loving me when you didn't have to or for making mum happy again. I should've thanked you for giving her Tony, because let's be honest - I never planned to live long in that universe anyways.
The Doctor showed up. I spent so long crying. It hurt, grieving a man I know is still alive but that I can't ever see again, not really. So the Doctor showed up. Not my Doctor, not the leather Doctor but a future Doctor with green eyes and floppy hair. He met me the night I met him, too.
I still love him, Dad. It hurts how much I love him. I'd tear apart the universe for him if I could. I want things to go right, I need them to go right. If they do, I'll never end up in your universe. I'll never get a dad because I won't need one. I'll stay with the Doctor and someday, maybe, I can tell him how much I love him and just maybe, he'll love me back.
Wish me luck. I'm scared. It's hard, rewriting the timeline. I feel like I could tear everything apart. All I can think of is the reapers when I saved my dad from this universe in the first timeline. I'm afraid I'll change things too much in the wrong way and I'll destroy every chance I have to fix everything with the Doctor.
I love you, Dad. Until tomorrow.
Ross set the notebook down, his mind racing. It wasn't the information he really wanted, of course, so he felt it was only right to keep going. He had to know if she wrote about him.
He flipped back about twenty or so pages and found one with shaky handwriting. Closer, he thought to himself, leaning back to read.
Today was the Slitheen. I told you about them, specifically Blon Fel Fotch Passameer-Day Slitheen. She was the one that tries to blow up the world to escape earth. Evil.
It went a lot differently than the first time. Firstly, the Doctor heard mum's remark about Jimmy and ran back to one of his gigs where he hit me. He tried to make me tell him but I managed to get out of it for the most part. But then, later, I went for a walk and he found me. He tried to kill me again, Dad.
He doesn't get it. He says that I wanted to die anyway, but he doesn't understand that I want to die to get away from him. Him killing me… that's what I'm running from. But Jack saved me. Jack and Ianto. They took him to a cell and… well, that didn't go well. I talked to him. He said awful things, mentioning my cuts and the day I tried to kill myself. I left him with Jack to take care of.
I ended up having to tell the Doctor. He saw bruises on my throat and blood from when he snuck up on me and he asked me to tell him. I refused again. It's too much. I'm so afraid of Jimmy. I told the Doctor, and I really mean it… I'm not afraid of anything but Jimmy. Not Daleks, not Cybermen, not even the devil. Just Jimmy.
I'm going to go to sleep and hope for the best, but it'd be naive to think that I won't have nightmares. Maybe someday I can sleep without being afraid.
I love you, Dad. Stay safe.
Ross closed the notebook. He'd done as much research as he could for now in her bedroom, but what he really needed was a computer in that time. He had to do as much research as he could on Jimmy Stone. Where he came from, when he appeared in her life, and how.
Making his way from the room, he placed the notebook deep in his pocket as he raced to leave the TARDIS. The Doctor had rushed out without explanation and he had no clue how long the man would be.
It was surprisingly easy to find a library. He sat at the computer, annoyed at such old technology, and did his research. Jimmy was apparently four years older than Rose, and from the date she'd dropped out of school, he guessed they met when she was fifteen.
An hour later, he finished what he was doing - printing off a missing poster of young Rose to memorize what she looked like - and rushed back to the TARDIS. He got there five minutes before the Doctor emerged from a room deep in the TARDIS and found his way to the console room. He looked dazed, as if he'd somehow forgotten something important. "Ah, Ross. You weren't here when we got back. Where'd you run off to?"
"I was just checking out the technology of this age," he lied easily. "It's not impressive."
"We're only in the 21st century," the Doctor looked at him as if he was stupid. "Anyway, Rose went to bed for the night. I'm going to put us in the vortex and do the same."
"I'm going to do some reading."