Receding Waters by Queenrikki

Summary: The Doctor and Rose travel to the planet Artesia for a galaxy renowned festival but find a massive and maybe not so natural disaster.
Rating: All Ages
Categories: Tenth Doctor
Characters: Other Character(s), Rose Tyler, The Doctor (10th)
Genres: Action/Adventure, Mystery, General
Warnings: General
Challenges: None
Series: None
Published: 2007.05.03
Updated: 2007.05.06


Chapter 1: Chapter 1
Chapter 2: Chapter 2

Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Author's Notes: Originally posted for the Rose Tyler Ficathon on LJ late last year. However, I lost the following chapters in a *ahem* while reinstalling my OS. Luckily, I recently found a disc with an earlier draft of the rest of the story and decided to finish it and post it here. This was written for handful_of_sky. Each chapter features a corresponding prompt which will be listed in the AN of each chapter.


A natural disaster

“Are you sure this is right? Maybe the TARDIS landed in the wrong place.” She gestured to the debris-strewn beach. The Doctor had said that Artesia held an annual celebration to commemorate it's people's survival of a catastrophic flood, though by the time period they had planned to visit it had become little more than an elaborate beach party.

“This definitely doesn't look like a 'Festival of the Seven Waters' to me. I thought you said we were going to have a bit fun this time?” She scrunched her nose. “Not that running from aliens and monsters who are trying to kill us can't be fun...”
Rose glanced over at the Doctor to see if he was listening.

He wasn't. Rose jogged along to keep up all the while wishing that she was several inches taller and several degrees brighter. Maybe then she could guess what was going on in that head of his. Or at least keep up with him.

“Now this isn't right,” the Doctor muttered. He started to walk faster and kept looking around as if he expected someone to appear out of thin air. "Something is wrong with time here.”

“What do you mean, something's wrong with time?” Rose called out. The Doctor kept walking, muttering as he went. She ran out in front of him. “Do you mean that we've landed in the wrong time? That's nothing then, we've done that loads of times. Why are you so worried about it --Oi! What you go and do that for?” She glanced down at the long fingers wrapped around her arm.

He jerked against him and pointed down at the sand. A sharp, jagged piece of debris stuck out of the sand. The Doctor shook his head, not so much at anything she'd said as he was trying to clear his head. “You should be a little more careful, especially when you're barefoot.”

Rose huffed. “Well, if you'd been paying attention then I wouldn't 've had to run and then I could have looked where I was going. Now what's so bad about landing in the wrong time?”

The Doctor bent down to examine the object. He held it up and looked at her through it. "Glass. Looks like it washed up here." He gestured to a lone shack in the distance. "Doesn't look like it came from there, does it?"
Shaking his head, he turned to her. “We're not in the wrong time, Rose. That's the problem. This is the right place, the right time, but there's something very wrong here.” Her confusion must have been evident because the Doctor sighed and looked around.

“It's like when you go to a shop. Every time you're there it's the same. Until one day it's not and you can't quite tell what's different. Maybe they changed the paint colour or added more lights. You just know it's changed. Now take that feeling and add an overwhelming sense of dread and you've got something close to what I'm feeling.”

Rose shook her head. “You know, that really wasn't much help.”

The Doctor shrugged and held out his hand. “Didn't really think it would be. Come on; let's find someone to talk to.” Rose slipped her fingers into his and they hurried off towards the city center.

“Are you sure that there's anyone in there,” Roses asked pointing at the large building. It was on top of a hill, set apart from the rest of the buildings. Rose would have guessed that it was some sort of government building or community meeting place. It had the look of a public space, impersonal and not very inviting.

“Well, I'd figure that it's more likely that people would be in there than any of the surrounding buildings.” Rose glanced around and agreed. These buildings looked much like the structure that they had found near the beach, rotted and stinking. The Doctor had examined them and found evidence that there must have been some sort of flooding in the area.

“Which is wrong. There hasn't been a flood in this area for 200 hundred years. Or at least there shouldn't have been but since there was obviously a flood of sometime recently.” The last part was low and muttered to himself.

They walked up so many flights of steps that Rose's knees began to ache. She was about tell the Doctor that when a figure shot out of the building and down the steps. It moved a great deal faster than Rose could track clearly. Something literally flew out of the building though not quite as fast as the first person ran. The Doctor moved into the path of the smaller individual and wrapped his arms around its middle.

“Let go! Let go!” It struggled and shouted. The voice was high pitched and small. Rose couldn't be quite sure but her first thought was that it was the voice of a child. The Doctor however, did not let go.

“Calm down,” he said soothingly, “No one is trying to hurt you.” Just then, the larger figure landed beside them.

“What exactly do you think you're doing to my child?” The woman's voice and Rose was sure that it was, indeed, a woman. She was tall and had thick brown fur. Rose thought that overall, she looked something like a giant otter with wings.

The Doctor let go of the child and bowed a greeting towards its mother. “My apologies. It seemed like the thing to do since you were obviously trying to catch him.” Rose glanced back at the child quickly, wondering how he was able to tell if the child was a boy. There didn't seem to be any distinguishing features from her point of view.

The mother's ruffled fur smoothed down as she relaxed. “Well, one can't be too careful these days. So many strange things...” she cut off abruptly and looked at the sky. She flapped her wings about and grabbed the child flew back towards the entrance. “We have to go. You should do the same. Leave now before it comes.”

The Doctor hurried after leaving Rose to do the same. At that particular moment, she would have been quite happy to never see another set of stairs again, but they managed reach the top of the step just as the furred woman reached the building's entrance. The Doctor grinned and ran a hand through his hair “Ah, hello again. You mentioned that something about strange things and then of course there was the obligatory cryptic warning (not the best one I've heard, but full marks for effort). So we were wondering, what exactly is going on?”

The woman ignored them and pounded at the door. “Please let us in!” No answer came.

Rose walked over and placed a hand on her shoulder. “Please tell us what's wrong.”

But the woman wasn't listening to Rose; she wasn't even looking at her. Her gaze was fixed on something behind them. Rose whipped around. A huge wall of water had appeared out of nowhere and was raging towards them. The Doctor whipped out his sonic screw driver and pointed it at the door which flew opened. “Inside. NOW!” he yelled. Rose complied immediately, but the furry woman continued to stare. The Doctor ran behind her and pushed her and the child through the giant doors.

The woman collapsed to the floor, her arms wrapped around her child. The Doctor grabbed one of the latches and began to pull the door shut. Rose saw him and moved to do the same. They managed to get them shut just in time as the waves crashed against the door. Rose leaned against the door and took a deep breath. The Doctor came over to her and they embraced. “Highly advanced people, the Artesians though it might not look it. They have the technology to do it, though I never would have thought...”

She looked up and was surprised to see a wide grin on his face. “Now I know what's going, ha! And it's brilliant absolutely brilliant.”

Rose began to think she should be annoyed by his behaviour. “What's going on, Doctor?” she asked patiently. It would be nice if he could give a straight answer this once.

Best not to start down that slippery slope.

He let go of her walked over to the “I'll explain later. It'll make more sense to you after we've talked to a few people. Nothing we can do until tomorrow. Anyway, we've got to help these people to help.” He gestured towards the room's interior. Huddled together were dozens, maybe even hundreds of people-all winged and furred just like the woman. He winked at her and smiled "Besides, it will be a lot more dramatic this way."

Rose rolled her eyes and followed him into the crowd.

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Chapter 2: Chapter 2

Author's Notes: I'd like to note that this fic is not only grossly overdue but it's also unbeta'd so if you find a mistake, please point it out.

Prompt #2: Rose helps the Doctor out of his coat (I thought this was a pleasant image too, but I had a hard time working it in to the story). I finished this about a week ago but some pretty serious personal problems interfered with me posting this.

“So you really have no idea how any of this happened?” Rose asked. She was sitting against a wall along with the hysterical mother they'd rescued. She was now quite a bit less hysterical and had revealed her name to be Arvell. The boy w
as named Lyem and was now quietly curled underneath one of his mother’s wings.

Arvell’s huge brown eyes glistened as she answered. “None at all. Six days ago, the floods started. They come everyday around dusk and the destroy everything in it's wake. Then, around midnight the waters disappear. The damage and the debris remain, but the water itself just vanishes.” She turned to her son and handed him the cup. His little claws clacked against the earthenware cup. Arvell focused on her son's hands. He sloshed some of it down his front. The fur was now smooth and oiled so it simply rand down his front. Rose thought that was a rather nifty evolutionary trait.

“So, why'd he run out of the building for that? Didn't he know that it would be dangerous?”

Arvell nodded. “Yes he knew it was dangerous. But he'd left his favourite toy in our home. Silly little thing.”

“That's not--” the boy started.

“Shush child. And drink, I don't know when we'll be able to get more.”

Rose glanced at the child but said nothing. She wondered what he’d been about to say but continued to question Arvell. “But if the flooding has been going on for days, why did he wait until today to go back for it.”

She shifted and tried to disguise the move as discomfort, which didn't quite work. If she had been human, Rose would have guessed that Arvell was nervous about something. As it was her suspicions were leaning in that direction.

“We were some of the last to seek shelter here. I was sure that the force dome around our house would be enough to keep us safe from the waters and for the first few days it was. But I miscalculated and yesterday the shields failed. I grabbed my son and came here.” She stared at the cup in her child's grasp.

“You see what we've been reduced to? I don't Lyem's ever held anything so plain in his life. Neither have I, come to think of it. Few of our people still living have ever suffered more than a moments discomfort. That's sort of sad actually.”

She gestured to the room around them. “This is the Remembrance House. It's a sort of museum from the days of the Great Flood. It's the only building that survived the flooding entirely. So it's been kept just the same ever since. That’s my job you see, I’m the curator.”

Somehow this didn’t really surprise Rose. Arvell had the air of someone who was used to lecturing others. The woman continued. “It’s ironic that this is the only safe harbor from the current flooding. Sometimes I think we should thank whoever did this. Everything this place once stood for has been denigrated over the years. Our ancestors' deaths no longer mean anything but an excuse to party. Maybe this is some sort of retribution”

Rose didn't think that causing death and destruction was ever a reason for thanks, but she decided that it was best that she not mention that. Instead she latched on to the last thing that Arvell had said.

“Retribution for what?” But before she Arvell could answer they were interrupted.

The Doctor hurried towards them. “Rose! You know, I've just been talking to some of the people here and...”

“You've learned that the flooding started six days ago and last from dusk until midnight at which time the floodwaters disappear” she said in a deadpan voice.

“Well, yes, that too. But that wasn't what I was going to tell you, Miss Know-it-all. Hmmm, remind me to never call you that again.”

“Will do. So what is this amazing thing that you've discovered? I've discovered something too.”

The Doctor ignored her but took her hand and the two of them walked over to an empty (or as close to it as they could get) corner of the room. “Well, I found a woman here who was alive during the original flooding and she said something interesting.”

“What? What did she say?”

The Doctor shook his head. “No, I want you to talk to her for yourself and then tell me you think.”

Rose nodded. “All right, but I think you should know something.” She proceeded to tell the him about the conversation she’d had with Arvell and about Lyem’s attempt to tell her why he had really run out into the city. The Doctor nodded.

“That makes sense,” was all he said as he led her to the old woman. By now she was somewhat used the otter like features of these people and she thought this woman was a rather handsome example of her kind. Her fur was dark brown, shot with grey and her eyes were somewhat clouded. Despite the difference in their species, Rose would have known that this woman had lived a long time.

The Doctor bent down to where the woman was seated and spoke softly to her. “Myen. I told you that I would bring someone else for you to talk to.” He gestured for Rose to step forward.

She did and bent leaned down just as the Doctor had. “It's good to meet you ma'am.”

The old woman's nose twitched as she turned to look at Rose. “Oh, another Visitor. We haven't had many of your kind to visit us. The last one had to have been over fifty years ago.” Rose shot the Doctor a look.

“Human survey teams. Scout planets for resources, etc. They landed, saw that the place was inhabited and left.”

Rose shook her head. “That doesn't sound like us.”

“Well, they also realized that the Artesians were much more technologically advanced than they were. Usually a good reason not to upset the locals.”

“That’s more like it.” Rose nodded and turned back to the old woman. “The Doctor told me that you could tell us something about the last flood that occurred in this area? The one from two hundred years ago?”

Her nose and whiskers twitched, maybe in annoyance, Rose couldn't tell for sure. “Really, I don't know why he couldn't have just told you what I said instead of dragging you over here and bothering me again.”

The Doctor smiled. “Oh, Myen, you know you like it. It's good to have someone to talk to, even if it's just if it's just a pair of aliens.”

“Hmm.” A shiver ran down Myen. “It's quite cold in here.” Rose looked at the Doctor curiously. It was surprisingly warm in the stone room and that was without the benefit of a fur coat. The Doctor shook his head, telling her not to inquire any more deeply. She looked around for a blanket but she didn't see one, at least not one that wasn't already in use. And those who had them looked like they need them every bit as much as Myen. Rose gestured to the Doctor. He met her eyes and she motioned for his coat. He raised his eyebrows then shrugged. Rose straighten and gripped the coat on either side as the Doctor slid his arms carefully out.

“This should keep you warm for the time being. If things go the way I'm expecting, then you won't be here much longer.”

Myen nodded as she took the coat. “I suspect that even if things do not go as you expect, I still won't be needing it very long.” Rose looked at the Doctor who was staring at the old woman sadly and then Rose realised what was going on. Myen was dying. Somehow the Doctor knew that and the old woman did too.

“So...” the Doctor started, “The flooding?”

Rose glared at him. “You remember that little rudeness problem of yours? Well you're letting it show again.”

Myen simply shrugged. “Don't worry, child. I don't take any offense. There's really nothing that can be said to me that I haven't heard many times before.”

The woman took a moment to settle the coat around her. “A bit narrow, but I suppose it will have to do.” Rose glanced at the Doctor who was scowling. She grinned and gestured for Myen to begin.

“Well, on the second day of the flooding, when were still able to access some the satellite records I noticed something about this flood. Before it disappears, the waters cover the same area as the Great Flood. Not just a similar area; that would be understandable. I took the current images and overlaid them on the old pictures and I found that the boundaries matched perfectly. Not even a tiny bit of deviation. I mentioned this to some of my former colleagues but no one was inclined to listen. They were too busy discussing scenarios of, excuses me, alien invasions and the such. I could have told them that they should have been looking a little bit closer to home.”

Rose’s eyes narrowed. “Do you mean to say that whatever's going on is being done by someone here?”

Myen tugged the Doctor's coat tighter around her body. “Just so. I can't imagine why but I do believe that is the case.” She glared out at her fellow refugees. “People are suffering. People are dying. How can that not affect this person?” She just sort of collapsed into herself. “I just hope someone stops this.”

Rose took her hand into hers. “Don't worry, that's what we're here to do.”

Myen's eyes shone brightly as she stared into Rose's. “Well child, I think that you just might. Mind I don't see how when you've got this lump to deal with--”

“Oi!” the Doctor cried. Rose glared at him and he looked

“--but I'm sure you'll find away.” she continued as if there had been no interruption at all. “Now I'm tired and I think that I'll take a nap. You two go and do something constructive.”

Rose stood up slowly, her legs having stiffened. The Doctor held out a hand and she took it gratefully.

As they walked away, Rose put her head on the Doctor's shoulder and asked “So are you ready to tell me what's going on or is it still not dramatic enough for you.”

The Doctor nodded. “I reckon the confrontation will make up for any lack of drama.” He put and arm around her waist and leaned closer. “Someone here is an absolute genius. Besides myself, of course”

Rose resisted the temptation to roll her eyes. “And how do you figure that?”

“You remember what Myen said about overlaying images?”

Rose nodded. “Yeah, what about it?”

“Well, that's what's happening here. Okay not exactly but it's the best analogy I can think of. I said there was something wrong with time her and I was right. The events of the original flood has been temporally displaced and laid over this time.”

Rose nodded a felt strangely relieved. There had been an underlying fear that this may be some natural if strange even. If that had been true then there was nothing for them to do, no way to help. But this, they could do something about this.

“We’re going to stop whoever’s doing this,” Rose said harshly. The Doctor pulled away and stared into her face. His eyes were flat and quite serious.

“Was there every any doubt?” His arm slipped around her waist and he pulled her close.

She shook her head. “Never.” The Doctor would never let people suffer if there was a way to for him to help. That was one of the things Rose admired most about him. She let out a small yawn. She tried to stifle it but the Doctor noticed led her to a patch of floor between a pair of ancient vases.

“Come one, get some sleep. We’ve got a big day tomorrow.”

Rose settled in next to him, her head resting on his chest. “What are we doing tomorrow?” She was beginning to feel more than a little sleepy.

“Well, I figure whatever’s creating the effect is somewhere people aren’t likely to find it, which is definitely not in here” The Doctor’s voice rumbled pleasantly in his chest. Rose closed her eyes and let it soothe her.

“So, tomorrow, we’re going to search the city.”

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Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.

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