The Wolf and The Flower @mia_marauder_potter
Army Of Ghosts

Army of Ghosts

It was a place they'd been to before - Woman Wept. It was also Rose's favorite place in the universe. She only held nice memories there. The first time she'd come had been the first time she'd travelled with the Doctor. He'd taken her, just as he had then, just before they'd gone to find the army of Cybermen. It was then that he'd asked her how long she'd travel with him for, and she'd said forever.

She didn't plan to break that promise.

The second time she'd come, Jack had been with them. It had been weeks of roaming the TARDIS after being kidnapped by Jimmy, and Woman Wept had been her first foray into the universe that the Doctor was comfortable with. They hadn't spent long there before they'd had to leave, but it had still been nice to get out of the TARDIS with her boys and go somewhere familiar and calm.

That day, she tried to revel in the comfortable familiarity the place held, but it was proving a difficult task. They were both distracted, not only by recent events but by what they both knew was to come. It was just them again - no Jack, no Ross, no Shireen. It was what felt right, really. It also meant that during the upcoming battle, their friends wouldn't be put at risk as much.

"Rose," the Doctor said softly. "Are you going to tell me?"

She stared out at the sunset and the frozen waves in front of it. "Soon, Doctor. It'll be over soon."

Secrets were something he felt more than anything else. There'd always been something a little off about Rose, something that he'd never understood. He hadn't noticed it as much until they'd reforged their bond, and he'd gotten the occasional tingle of something being held back. It hadn't bothered him until they'd run into Abbadon, and the Beast had taunted him about Rose and her secrets.

"Arkytior's secrets are beyond you yet."

It was driving him crazy. He couldn't get a single hint on what they were about. Her? Her past? Her future? Him? Their relationship? The TARDIS? Something else entirely? And the biggest question - why did she need to keep it from him? He only had one guess at that. "Is it about what's coming?"

Rose didn't answer for a long time. He could feel how afraid she was, and she gripped his hand tighter. "Yeah."

It took everything in him not to press the issue. He knew that wasn't what she needed. He knew he wouldn't get anything out of her without potentially damaging their relationship a bit. But it still bothered him greatly. Ignoring everything else, he hated when she was upset and he couldn't help, and if he didn't know what was going on, he couldn't help.

"You'd never send me away, would you?" she asked suddenly. He blinked at her in surprise as confusion overcame him.

"Why would I?"

She shrugged. "Would you?"

He stepped in front of her and her view and looked down at her seriously. "Rose, I never could. You and I, we're it."

Rose shook her head. "There's more Time Lords out there."

"No, no, no," the Doctor touched her cheek. "We're it. I'm keeping you right by my side, Rose Tyler, if you don't mind."

"Promise me," she requested softly. "Promise me you won't send me away."

Despite being confused, he spoke without hesitation or even much thought to her request. "I promise I won't send you away."

She seemed relieved, which was supported by her moving on her toes to kiss him. He returned it and wrapped his arms around her to pull her into a tight hug when their lips parted again. Whatever was coming, he got the sense Rose knew what it was. As much as he wanted to know, to be prepared, he trusted her.

He trusted her, so he held her as they watched the sunset and tried to pretend they didn't exist for a little while.

OoOoOoOoOoOo

"Oh, no you don't! Come here!"

Rose watched as her mother grabbed the Doctor and kissed him straight on the lips. She shook her head as he was finally released and raised an eyebrow at Jackie. "Don't manhandle the Doctor, Mum. Last time I called, you said you had something to show me?"

Jackie nodded excitedly. "Guess who's coming to visit? You're just in time - he'll be here at ten past. Who d'you think it is?"

"I don't know, Mum, Rob?" Rose guessed. Jackie shook her head.

"Try again."

Rose tilted her head back a bit in frustration. "You know I hate guessing, just tell me."

"It's your grandad," Jackie told her finally. "Grandad Prentice. He's on his way any minute! Right, cup of tea."

The Doctor and Rose both stared at her as she left for the kitchen. Once she was gone, the Doctor turned to look at her. "Rose, isn't your grandad-,"

"Dead?" she frowned. "Yeah, he is. He died like ten years ago… Mum? Grandad, he's-,"

"Any second now," Jackie interrupted excitedly.

"Grandad passed away, remember? We went to his funeral."

"'Course I remember," Jackie assured her.

"How could he come if he's dead?" the Doctor asked her, not one to skirt around the point.

Jackie shook her head at him. "Ask him yourself. Ten past, here he comes."

The space next to Jackie warped slightly, and out stepped a human-like blob. The sight of it made Rose sick, and it was tough not to tell the Doctor what was happening and insist Jackie leave.

But she couldn't. They still had work to do. Instead, she pulled out her sonic at the same time the Doctor did, and they both scanned it. When they'd finished, they exchanged a glance and sprinted out of the flat and then the building without a word to Jackie.

Outside, the place was crawling with the ghost-like beings. Kids were playing with them, people were walking around and with them, even talking to them. It was clear they'd fully gained the trust of the world.

"You haven't got long," Jackie warned when she got down to them. "Midday shift only lasts a couple of minutes. They're about to fade."

"What do you mean, 'shift'?" the Doctor asked in disbelief. "Since when did ghosts have shifts? Since when did shifts have ghosts? What's going on?"

"Ooh, he's not happy when I know more than him, is he?" Jackie joked.

The Doctor shook his head. "No one's running or screaming or freaking out."

"Why should we?" Jackie shot back. She glanced at her watch. "Here we go- twelve minutes past."

The ghosts faded until they disappeared, and no one blinked an eye, just as before.

They got back upstairs and the Doctor did the first thing he could think of - check the TV. It didn't tell him much more than that the world was well used to the ghosts, which he'd already figured out. "When did it start?"

"Well, first Peggy heard this noise in the cellar, so she goes down-,"

"Worldwide, Mum," Rose interrupted.

"Oh. That was about two months ago. Just happened. Woke up one morning and there they all were. Ghosts everywhere. We all ran around screaming and that. Whole planet was panicking. No sign of you, thank you very much. Then it sort of sank in. It took us time to realize we're lucky."

The Doctor made a face at her. "Why do you think it's your dad?"

Jackie looked to Rose with hopeful eyes. "It just feels like him. There's that smell, those old cigarettes. Can't you smell it?"

"No, Mum, I can't," Rose told her gently. "I know you want it to be him, but Grandad's dead. This is something else much more sinister, preying on humans."

"She's right," the Doctor agreed. "Of course, you want your old dad to be alive, but you're wishing him into existence. The ghosts are using that to pull themselves in."

"You're spoiling it," Jackie complained. She did look unbearably sad, like she knew he was right but couldn't face it.

"I'm sorry, Jackie, but there's no smell, no cigarettes. Just a memory." The Doctor meant it - he really was sorry. He understood better than most that memories could turn into ghosts, but those ghosts were certainly not what they wanted them to be. Whatever it was, it wasn't Jackie's father.

Rose sighed and fiddled with her hair, which had been put in two braids that morning. "They're human-like, but what are they really?"

"They're pressing themselves into the surface of the world," the Doctor told them, getting to his feet. "But a footprint doesn't look like a boot."

OoOoOoOoOoOo

The Doctor heard the door open and close again and poked his head out as Rose walked in, brushing off her shorts with a paper. She'd opted for an outfit that was easier to run in, which hadn't been very comforting - she wore shorts, fishnets, combat boots, and a dark blue jumpsuit with her leather jacket and locket on top.

"Doctor, they've elected a ghost as MP for Leeds. This is ridiculous."

The Doctor popped up from below the grating wearing a large backpack that had been haphazardly thrown together and was connected to a tube that he held in his hand. "Who you gonna call?"

Rose let out a laugh. "Ghostbusters!"

"I ain't afraid of no ghosts," he grinned as he led her out of the TARDIS and onto the empty playground where they began setting things up. "When's the next shift?"

"Quarter to," Jackie answered with a frown. "But don't go causing trouble. What's that lot do?"

"Triangulates their point of origin," the Doctor answered. The woman looked even more irritated than before.

"You're always doing this, reducing it to science. Why can't it be real?"

Rose grabbed her mum's hand and stepped between them. "Because it's not, Mum. Whatever this is, it's not good. It might not be hurting you now, but it won't stay that way."

"But you don't know that!"

"But I do," she insisted. The Doctor looked at her out of the corner of his eye and felt that familiar frustration. She knew something. She knew something and she wasn't telling him what. But why?

"Rose," the Doctor called as he started to unreel the cable and walk toward the TARDIS. She made her way over to help. She got into position and grabbed her sonic in the event she'd need it, gazing at the buttons around her. "Good?"

"Good," she assured him. "Fourteen B?"

"Fifteen B," he corrected before pausing. "Wait, no, fourteen B. Yours doesn't have the banana setting."

She let out a small laugh and he grinned at her triumphantly. She hadn't been smiling much lately, or laughing. He'd made it his very personal mission to change that. "Two minutes out, Doctor."

He rushed out of the TARDIS again and started working, rushing around the cones and scanning them with the backpack. "How's the line doing?"

"It's holding," Rose called back calmly. Jackie had come to stand by her side and watched her read the screen.

"You can read that? Those circles? It's nonsense, just shapes."

Rose didn't take her eyes off the screen. "It's Old High Gallifreyan. The Doctor's language. It says- well, it's a lot of technical stuff but it just means his scans are reading in correctly."

Jackie sighed. "You even look like him."

"I am like him," Rose told her, wincing at her sharp tone. "Come on, Mum. You can accept that I look like an entirely different person, but seeing us do our job… it's too much? Why?"

"I don't know, Rose," Jackie said. She was clearly frustrated, but Rose just waited. "When it's just us at home talking, you're you, my daughter that I know."

Rose frowned. "And here, you don't know me. But you do, Mum. I'm still me."

"But are you? You're so different. You're more confident, more assertive, you don't want to just listen to your old Mum-,"

"Mum," Rose interrupted. "I don't want to entertain the idea that they're ghosts because they're not, and I can't feed into that fantasy. As for the other things, those are good. I'm more confident, yes, and I know what I'm doing. The Doctor and I, we do this daily. I know more now than I could've dreamed of when I was 19 working in a shop."

"There's nothing wrong with working in a shop," Jackie argued. Rose stared at her. Her mum wasn't open to the conversation, so what was the point in trying? She just wanted to take her frustration at missing Rose growing into her own on Rose. Logic had no place in the argument.

She heard the Doctor yell excitedly, so she looked back to the screen. "Delta One Six, Doctor."

"Come on then, you beauty!"

Outside a forcefield formed as a ghost appeared. The Doctor put on his 3D glasses - modified, of course - and stared at the ghost as he fiddled with the machine trapping it. The ghost was soaked in Void radiation, which explained why it was barely a footprint of the real thing. It was still stuck in the Void, somehow forcing itself out and onto Earth. He laughed as the ghost struggled within the field. "Look at that, you don't like that much, do you? Who are you? Where are you coming from?"

The ghost hit at the forcefield and the Doctor jumped back. "Whoa, that's more like it! Not so friendly now, are you?"

The ghost faded away, and once it had, the Doctor rushed to pick up the cones and bring them into the TARDIS. He threw them on the jumpseat and came to join Rose, who was already working to follow the trail. "I said so! Those ghosts are being forced into existence from one specific point! Allons-y!"

They went flying into the Vortex and while Rose helped send them to Canary Wharf, she made sure he could feel how irritated she was. When he noticed, he stopped his ramble about Allons-y and looked at her. "What?"

"My Mum, Doctor," she said, nodding at the woman who was sitting on a platform behind him. He followed her gaze with wide eyes.

"If we end up on Mars, I'm gonna kill you," Jackie stated.

Rose looked back at the screen and sighed. "Guns, Doctor. I doubt they're here to shoot us - welcome wagon. Just to get control."

"That's a lot of guns for a hello," Jackie disagreed. The Doctor made his way to the door calmly.

"Still, cut to the chase," he decided. It was difficult to ignore the way Rose could easily guess the tactical retrieval. She shouldn't know that. She was a shop girl before he'd met her, and they hadn't really run into many military groups. "Stay here, take care of Jackie."

"I'm not babysitting my Mum," she told him in irritation.

"You brought her!"

"I was kidnapped! Aren't you worried about the guns?"

The Doctor grinned at Jackie. "They can shoot me dead, but the moral highground is mine."

With that, he stepped out of the TARDIS and stopped short with his hands up in front of the soldiers. A woman ran in excitedly and came to a stop with her hands clasped happily. "Oh, how marvellous!" She began clapping, which, admittedly, confused the hell out of him. "Oh, very good. Superb! Happy day."

"Um, thanks," he managed. "Nice to meet you. I'm the Doctor."

"Oh, I should say!" the woman started clapping again, as well as the soldiers. "Hooray!"

"You-you've heard of me, then?"

She nodded. "Well, of course, we have. And I have to say, if it wasn't for you, none of us would be here. The Doctor and the TARDIS."

The clapping was becoming extremely uncomfortable, so he shushed them and tried to get back on track. "And- and- and you are?"

"Oh, plenty of time for that," she assured him, brushing off the question simply. "But according to the records, you're not one for travelling alone. The Doctor and his companion, that's the pattern isn't it, right? There's no point hiding anything. Not from us. So where is she?"

The Doctor, for just a moment, was unable to hide how angry he was that they knew enough to ask after Rose. But he split into a grin quickly enough and answered. "Yes! Sorry, good point. She's just a bit shy, that's all." He reached into the TARDIS and grabbed Jackie to pull her out. "But here she is, Rose Tyler! Hmm, she's not the best I've ever had. A bit too blonde. Not steady on her pins, a lot of that. And just last week she stared into the heart of the time vortex and aged fifty-seven years, but she'll do."

"I'm forty!" Jackie denied loudly.

"Delusional," the Doctor told them. "Bless. I'll have to trade in. Do you need anyone? She's very good at tea. Well, I say very good, I mean not bad. Well, I say not bad- anyway, lead on! Allons-y! But not too fast - her ankle's going."

"It was only a matter of time before you found us," she told him as she led them through the building. "And at last, you've made it. I'd like to welcome you, Doctor. Welcome to Torchwood."

The Doctor sucked in a sharp breath. Torchwood? Was that how Rose knew? Because Jack told her? But if that was the case, why hadn't she said anything to him? His eye caught on something that pulled him out of his thoughts. "That's a Jathaa Sun Glider."

"Came down to Earth off the Shetland Islands ten years ago."

The Doctor looked at her in surprise. "What, did it crash?"

"No, we shot it down," she replied calmly, as if she hadn't done something horrific. "It violated our air space. We stripped it bare. The Torchwood Institute has a motto - if it's alien, it's ours. Anything that comes from the sky, we strip it down and we use it for the good of the British Empire."

"For the good of the what?" Jackie asked.

"The British Empire."

Jackie shook her head. "There isn't a British Empire."

"Not yet," she laughed. A soldier approached her and she took something from him. "Ah, now excuse me, if you wouldn't mind- do you recognize this, Doctor?"

He blinked at it. "That's a particle gun."

"Good, isn't it? Took us eight years to get it to work."

The Doctor looked at her, alarmed. Things were very wrong. Rose was right to be so concerned. "It's the twenty-first century, you can't have particle guns."

"We have to defend our border against the aliens," she said. The thought that she belonged in 2020 with a mindset like that flashed through his mind, but he pushed it away quickly and watched her hand the gun over. She leaned in conspiratorially.

"I think it's very important to know everyone by name. Torchwood is a very modern organization. People skills, that's what it's all about these days. I'm a people person."

The Doctor leaned forward. "Have you got anyone called Alonso?"

"I don't think so," she said after a moment. "Is that important?"

"I suppose not. What was your name?"

She gave him a sharp nod. "Yvonne. Yvonne Hartman." She watched him as he picked up a large metal device and nodded. "Ah, yes. Now, we are rather fond of these - the magnaclamp. Found in a spaceship buried at the base of Mount Snowdon. Attach this to an object and it cancels the mass. I could use it to lift two tonnes of weight in a single hand. That's an imperial ton, by the way. Torchwood refuses to go metric."

Jackie looked interested. "I could do with that to carry the shopping."

Yvonne didn't seem amused. "All these devices are for Torchwood's benefit, not the general public's."

The Doctor dropped the clamp and walked away to look at their other alien objects, generally horrified. Yvonne had absolutely no care for the lives of others, even if they were aliens. Shooting down a carrier? That put her firmly on his list of people he'd like to remove from any possible position of power. As he looked around, he started considering how exactly he could get her fired. Better yet, destroy Torchwood altogether. He could apologize to Jack another time, likely after interrogating the man about his own job. It made him wonder, really, if Rose knew the specifics of Jack's job. If she did, did he warn her that his company was doing something despicable? Did he warn her what was coming? Did she not tell the Doctor to protect Jack?

"Doctor?"

"Hm?" he blinked at Jackie and shook himself. "Right, yes. So, what about these ghosts?"

Yvonne hummed and nodded. "Ah, yes, the ghosts. They're what you might call a side effect."

"Of what?"

She laughed slightly. "All in good time, Doctor. There is an itinerary, trust me."

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the TARDIS being rolled past them. Jackie reacted before he could, and she did so loudly. "Oi! Where are you taking that?"

"If it's alien, it's ours," Yvonne reasoned simply.

"You'll never get inside it," the Doctor scoffed slightly and appeared more confident than he was. They had a warehouse full of alien technology, and he knew there were some devices out there that could infiltrate the TARDIS. He just had to hope they didn't have them and that Rose got out safely. He didn't expect her to stay in there - he knew she'd go looking around since he was getting his own, assumedly designed tour. With luck, her sonic, and psychic paper, she'd get around fine.

OoOoOoOoOoOo

Rose ran through the TARDIS to her room, slamming her door open. She walked to her bed and carefully pushed it to the side to reveal a safe that was hidden by her headboard. After her journal had gone missing, she'd asked the TARDIS for a safe to put anything related to her first time with the Doctor in, as well as anything from her time with Pete. Since she'd woken up in her nineteen-year-old body, she didn't have anything physical, but she'd still taken the time to make some things with help from the TARDIS and Jack.

She grabbed her journal out and flipped to the next available page. It took her five minutes to write the letter she wanted to write. Once she was done, she grabbed a notecard, wrote 'Doctor' on it, and left it on the journal, which she left on her bed. After that was done, she grabbed a couple of other things out - a Torchwood badge that Jack claimed had belonged to Suzie. He'd altered it for her until it had her face on it, but her old codename - Valiant. It was what had been on her badge in Pete's World, and she'd confirmed with Jack that freelancers worked the same way there, too.

And that would be her cover story. She was a freelancer that had special knowledge on the orb that contained Daleks. She knew she'd likely still get attention from Yvonne, but her story would hold up - Jack had gone so far as to put her in the system. She also knew the Doctor would have questions for her, but she couldn't warn him.

She attached the badge to her leather jacket and made her way toward the console room again, taking a look around. "It'll be okay." The TARDIS's song grew louder in her mind. She wasn't sure who was comforting whom. She patted the console lightly and sucked in a breath before walking to the doors.

She could do it. She had to.

OoOoOoOoOoOo

The Doctor stared up at the sphere floating in the air, completely unsure. He was vaguely aware of a man talking to him, so he just muttered a quiet 'yeah' and kept looking. He couldn't get a feel from it at all. He was able to stay calm until he reached out with his time senses and found that there was just… nothing.

"What is that thing?" Jackie asked Yvonne, who gave a slight shrug.

"We've got no idea."

"Well, what's wrong with it?"

The man in front of the Doctor looked to Jackie curiously. "What makes you think there's something wrong with it?"

"I don't know…" Jackie muttered. "It just feels weird."

Yvonne nodded with something nearing sympathy. "The sphere has that effect on everyone."

The Doctor made his way up the ladder before the sphere and only listened absently while he looked up at the sphere. He put on his void-glasses again and was unsurprised to find the sphere had void radiation on it, too.

"Well, Doctor?" Yvonne asked.

"This is a Void ship," he replied. He still looked at the thing hesitantly.

"And what is that?"

He spun around and removed the glasses. "Well, it's impossible, for starters. I always thought it was just a theory, but… it's a vessel designed to exist outside of time and space. Travelling through the Void."

"And what's the Void?" a man asked him. The Doctor thought it might be the man that had been talking to him, but he wasn't sure. Truthfully, he didn't care. He knew Rose would, though, so he tried to remember if the man had mentioned his name. After a moment of consideration he remembered it - Rajesh.

"The space between dimensions," he explained, sitting on the steps. "There's all sorts of realities around us- different dimensions, billions of parallel universes, all stacked up against each other. The Void is the space in between, containing absolutely nothing. Can you imagine that? Nothing. No light, no dark, no up, no down, no life, no time. Without end… my people called it the Void. The Eternals called it the Howling… but some people call it hell."

And wasn't that terrifying. In the past, the Doctor had scoffed at anyone that called the Void hell. He'd told them they were superstitious and suggested they read books on the science of it. He'd once even gotten into an hour long argument with a woman that wouldn't let the idea go, despite the proof he'd given. But now? Now, the Doctor wasn't sure. As much as he wanted to say that hell, that the devil didn't exist, he had those intrusive thoughts that reminded him that he'd met something that Rose was fairly certain was some form of a devil. And every devil should have a hell. What they'd found Abbadon in, that was no hell - that was a prison different to his hell. And even if Krop Tor was Abbadon's hell, who's to say there wasn't another devil out there whose hell was the Void? Who was the Doctor to say it was impossible when he'd so recently been humbled to the fact that he didn't know everything?

"But someone made the sphere," Rajesh said, shaking the Doctor from his thoughts. "What for? Why go there?"

The Doctor shook his head. "To explore. To escape. You could sit inside that thing and eternity would pass you by. Big bang. End of the universe, start of the next, wouldn't even touch the sides. You'd exist outside the whole of creation."

Yvonne looked at Rajesh triumphantly. "You see, we were right. There is something inside it."

"Oh, yes," the Doctor agreed. Dread filled him. He wasn't sure what had decided to hide in the nothingness of the Void, but he really wanted to send them back there.

"So how do we get inside it?"

"We don't," he said, jumping to his feet. "We send that thing back into hell! How did it get here in the first place?"

Yvonne crossed her arms as he moved back to Jackie's side, angry at the human race for being so greedy and reckless. "Well, that's how it all started. The sphere came through into this world, and the ghosts followed in its wake."

"Show me."

OoOoOoOoOoOo

Rose walked through the halls confidently, holding her head high. There were always stories, whispers about freelancers. Everyone thought freelancers thought they were better than the normal Torchwood employees. She knew she hadn't helped that rumor much. In Pete's World, she'd typical been short with others and impatient. She hated to admit it, even to herself, but she had thought she was better than them. Not as people, just at the job. She'd travelled with the Doctor for two years and it had been as if she'd gotten special training to deal with what Torchwood did.

As she reached the room she knew the sphere was in, she lifted her badge to the scanner and watched the door open. The room was, in Pete's World, used for training new recruits. She'd spent hours in there every week, lecturing them on the importance of diplomacy and what to do when that went out the window. Near the end, she'd also started helping train them to fight after the man that trained her nearly begged for her help.

Rose walked into the room and glanced at the sphere with a frown. It was even more uncomfortable than the last time as her time senses felt cut off from it. She tried looking for its timeline and cringed when she didn't find one.

"Can I help you?" She turned and didn't bother to smile. She grabbed her badge and handed it over. He made a face at her. "Valiant? What sort of codename is that?"

"Mine," she said shortly. "Tell me what you know about it."

"Who sent you?" he asked suspiciously. She raised an eyebrow.

"Jack Harkness, Torchwood Three. Give him a call if you like."

Rajesh shook his head and waved her over. They walked back to his desk and he typed at his computer for a moment before he opened up a video call. "Yvonne, we've got a visitor. She's got a verified Torchwood Three badge. Codename Valiant."

Yvonne's camera moved until it was pointed at the Doctor, and they heard her speak. "She one of yours?"

"Ma'am, you can call Captain Jack Harkness," Rose said calmly. "I'm a freelancer, but I work mainly for Jack. He mentioned you had something I may be able to help with and sent me over. If you don't want my help, I can leave."

The Doctor's eyebrows shot straight up in surprise, and she heard his question through the bond instead of the video. "When did you set that up? And how did you know you'd need it? Can hardly guess we'd be separated."

She didn't answer him.

Yvonne turned the computer back toward her as she tapped her earpiece to make a call. She only waited a moment before she spoke. "Harkness. Meddling in our affairs again?" there was a short reply before she shook her head. "Care to tell me how you knew about the sphere? ...you're sure she's legit?" Yvonne scoffed. "No need to threaten me, Captain, I won't touch a hair on her pretty head." She tapped the earpiece again and nodded at Rajesh. "Keep an eye on her, Rajesh."

"Yes, ma'am," he agreed. The screen cut off and he glanced at Rose. "We've already had the Doctor in here. Do you know who he is?"

"Mm," she hummed. She was verified - she didn't need to lie much. "Jack and I travelled with him for a bit, that's how I got started. I've learned a lot since then. Things the Doctor doesn't know and might not approve of. Now, do you mind?"

"Feel free," Rajesh waved at her. With that, she walked up to the sphere and waved her sonic at it slowly. There wasn't much she didn't already know about it, but she had to look like she was doing something. After a minute of that, she walked over to the terminal Mickey was at and watched what he was doing.

"Hey, Mick," she said without smiling. Rajesh was certainly watching her. "You look good."

Mickey kept working. He'd learned some things, too. "Well you look awful. I've never seen you look so serious. D'you know what's going on?"

She took in a breath. He might've grown, but he couldn't keep a secret to save his life. "No. I know that what's in there is really bad, and I've got a- a feeling about all of this, but… no. Also, you can't call me Rose. You need to call me Valiant. It's my codename, and they can't know me as anything else."

His response was cut off by the room starting to shake. Rajesh was yelling into his earpiece, and Rose and Mickey rushed to stand in front of the sphere. While Rajesh yelled about the sphere existing, Rose tried once more to look at it with her time senses. That time, she saw it. She felt sick seeing it track back all the way to Daleks that had escaped Skaro and stolen Time Lord technology. "All the way from Skaro, hiding from the Time Lords… and they end up here."

"What's Skaro?" Mickey asked, alarm. "R- Valiant, your eyes. Why didn't he question them? Why do they look… normal?"

She waved at her locket. "I turned it into a perception filter with some spare parts. Skaro is a planet that… it's bad."

"It's alright," Mickey assured her, stepping closer. "We've beaten them before, we can beat them again. That's why I'm here. The fight goes on."

"You have no clue," she muttered.

"Rose! This world is colliding with another, with Pete's World. You need to get to me now."

She grimaced. "I know, Doctor. Mickey is here. I can't leave, though, the doors closed. Rajesh is trying to get them open. The sphere exists now, and something's happening."

"We had them beaten, but then they escaped," Mickey told her, interrupting the panic she could feel from the Doctor. "The Cybermen just vanished. They found their way through to this world but so did we."

"Mickey, it's not Cybermen in there," she warned him. "They're the ghosts, but this is something entirely different. Cybermen have never been on Skaro."

"Fine, then what is it?"

Rose gasped as, for a moment, she could see and hear what the Doctor saw and heard - a warning.

"We are the Cybermen."

"The Doctor's with them," she breathed. "The Cybermen, he's with them now."

"How do you know?" Mickey's eyes widened. "We should get to him!"

"Someone has to be here when the sphere opens," she denied slowly. "Someone that knows them, their stories. I can't go."

"Achieving full transfer."

The sphere began to open. "Mickey, get back!" she called. He didn't move immediately, so she shoved him back slightly and backed up herself.

"Location: Earth. Life forms detected. Exterminate! Exterminate!"

OoOoOoOoOoOo

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