He stares forward, worry flooding through him like an angry storm. He blames himself for their arrival here, despite the fact that he knows he couldn’t have stopped it. All the things he could and should have done race through his mind at the same, frantic pace as his heartbeats.
He should have protected Rose from this. As soon as he saw that poster when they arrived, he knew there would be trouble. She isn’t old enough or experienced enough to cope in this world — not where her father is alive. He should have protected her from the alternate doppelgangers because it’s going to hurt so much more when they leave again. It’s not her father. Not her mother. In this world, she doesn’t even exist. Mingling in the wrong world can have dire consequences.
He stares into the face of an emotionless Cyberman, each one looking identical to the next. He thinks of the real, living humans these things once were and pities them profoundly. Rose’s words echo in his mind.
Why no emotions?
Because it hurts.
He was as right then as he is now, warily taking in the scene around them. Surrounded by Cybermen and about to be ‘deleted’ — he has faced worse than this, surely. The beacon from the TARDIS pulses in his hand and he weighs up his options. He knows he can use the power of the vortex to disintegrate the Cybermen, but only one or two ...and he can’t promise that by doing so he won’t trap them here forever, that the power won’t be sucked out completely.
He can’t even promise that by using it he’ll save Rose, himself, and the rest of them: there’s no guarantee the vortex won’t just burn them all up as well.
His heartbeats quicken further as the death call of the Cybermen ring out around them. If he doesn’t do anything, they’re all going to die anyway. This life is all about risks. It was a risk to visit Pete Tyler in the first place, a risk to bring Rose here, a risk to allow Mickey to wander off (somehow it doesn’t surprise him that the Idiot managed to stumble onto his parallel) and a risk to try and find out what was going on.
Because he wishes he didn’t know. He wishes he was back in the TARDIS, with Rose, and that they were safe and happy and not staring down reality in the form of a cold, hard face.
The risk of using the small piece of the TARDIS almost isn’t worth it — but the risk of death, especially of those he is supposed to be protecting, is so much worse. The decision has already been made, really.
Besides, he swore to Jackie — the real Jackie — that he would do everything in his power to protect Rose and he still stands by that. He will get her home, safe and sound, even if it means sacrificing himself in the process.
His hand tightens around their only salvation as he prays to whatever God he doesn’t believe in that she won’t be harmed; that they’ll all get out of this alive.
It’s amazing how much can go through a Time Lord’s mind in a split second.
He activates the sphere in his hand and jabs it towards the nearest Cyberman.
Please, he thinks as the gold light shoots from it like a stream of fire. Please. Save her.
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