Title: Falling For You, All Over Again
Author: Jinni (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Disclaimer: All things Doctor Who belong to the BBC, et al.
Author’s Note: This has been in my head since I woke up this morning. I must write it. I must.
Summary: It wouldn’t make sense for there to be a Doctor in this reality. Then again — when did things have to make sense?
It wouldn’t make sense, of course, for there to be a Doctor in this reality; but that had never stopped Rose from believing before. After all, she had seen some pretty nonsensical things during her travels with the Doctor. Like a consciousness that could float from body to body, inhabiting them for periods of time — like Cassandra had done… repeatedly. Or like the Gelth — aliens that needed corpses to survive. Or …
Lots of things that made no sense, yes. Not to her. Maybe to the Doctor.
Probably to the Doctor, that was.
And he would say that it was impossible, there being an alternate him in this universe.
But the Doctor had been wrong before. In fact, he seemed to sort of like it when he was wrong. It made him a grinning, giddy fool.
He had taught her well, too. To question, not to discount. To look into things more than just the surface showed.
So when she first stumbled upon the references in the Torchwood database — quite by accident because she hadn’t even been looking for them to begin with — she didn’t immediately dismiss them as being impossible; simply because that was not what the Doctor would have wanted.
Because being impossible had never stopped anything from happening before.
Rose licked her lips, staring at the screen. Her eyes flitted back and forth, reading word after word, absorbing sentence after sentence. Just one account at first. About when the Doctor — her Doctor — visited from the alternate universe. But there was a reference, to another file. An older file.
Hesitantly — almost reverently — Rose clicked the link to that file.
Her breath caught in her throat. There he was. Her Doctor.
Her original Doctor.
She reached out, unthinking, and touched the screen in front of her; tears lodging in the back of her throat. Leather jacket, almost-shaved head. Intense eyes. Yes, this was him. The picture was old, from the fifties or thereabouts she would hazard a guess — but it was him. The breath she had been holding was let loose in a sigh so loud that it seemed to fill the room.
It took her ages to come up with a plan to get him to take notice. Couldn’t just wait around, hoping that he decided to pop back by Earth — because no matter how often he did that, how often he returned to London or Cardiff — there was the chance that he would miss her. She had to make waves. Make ripples in all of time to get him to take notice of her, or at the very least — Torchwood.
So she did the one thing that she would never have otherwise considered — trusting that the Doctor would be able to fix it all when and if he found her.
She betrayed him.
In absolute detail, Rose set about making an account of not only her travels with the Doctor of her world, but everything she knew about him. It wasn’t much — but it was more than the people of Torchwood — or this world — should have known. It was enough, she hoped, to set off flags somewhere in the tardis’ consciousness that this was wrong that it needed to come here and now to make it right. The Doctor would step out, thinking he’d landed in one place as usual — and find himself here.
Still, she felt as if this was a betrayal.
She hoped he wouldn’t see it that way. Hoped that he wouldn’t take it as a threat to himself.
No. He wouldn’t. He would be curious. Curious to a fault, even.
”Always so curious,” she whispered under her breath, typing out the last of her words. The accounts would be different. The Doctor in this universe would never have had those travels with her that she’d had with the other Doctor. But she trusted that the basic facts remained the same. Things like Gallifrey and Time War.
Things that should not be told. Not here. Not now. Not to the people of Torchwood.
She just wanted to talk to him, she told herself. Whether or not she could ever travel with him again, she wanted to see him. Compare him? Yes, she wanted that to. In a morbid way, she wanted to compare him to her original Doctor. Wanted to see if some things had remained the same. Was he still bitter and hard? Had he found someone to work through that with, as her second Doctor had once told her he had done with her?
There was no way to know for sure without doing it.
Still, her fingers trembled as she finished the last of the new file. The one that she would send to her superior for review and inclusion into the Torchwood database. Her heart raced and her blood pumped furiously in her chest. Loud. Fast. Hard. Too fast. She was getting lightheaded, hyperventilating just at the thought of doing this.
With the push of a button, Rose set off what she hoped would be a red flag in all of this reality’s space and time.
She wasn’t sure what she had expected to happen — but the near immediate sound of the tardis materializing in her office was not it.
Rose scrambled to her feet, backing up a couple steps; watching as the familiar blue box appeared slowly in front of her. She ran her hands along her pants, trying to rid them of the film of sweat that suddenly appeared.
Of course. He could be there at any second in time. It made sense, then, that he would be here to quickly. That he would choose this moment to come and undo the damage that she had done.
The whining groan of the engine faded to nothing. Until there was just her and the tardis, face-to-face, so to speak. And her waiting for the Doctor to pop his head out and ask her how she knew so very much about him, of course. Was he in there, right now, watching her watch the tardis? Was he looking her over, trying to place her?
Or had he already researched her and found out what little there was to know about her in this reality? Adopted daughter of Jackie and Pete Tyler — that’s what she was officially, set up through all kinds of legal channels. Adopted daughter, because in this world the Tylers had never had a daughter Rose.
No past beyond that. Just her time here, at Torchwood. No past beyond when she had been sucked into this reality, by her father, to save her life. Only then had she become a permanent part of this timeline, she reasoned. Only then had her past, present, and future truly begun here and ended there.
By the time the door opened, she was faint in the legs from nervousness. It didn’t open slowly, either. It was opened just as he’d always opened it — like he had a purpose. Then again, he usually did. Rose sucked her lower lip into her mouth and bit down, doing her best not to whimper.
Not her Doctor, she reminded herself; just in case the urge to run over and hug him overcame him.
There he was.
Rose leaned back against the wall behind her as suddenly her legs were too weak to hold her any longer. He was there. In front of her, watching her curiously.
”Doctor,” she whispered.
The corner of his mouth twitched. “Rose Tyler, I presume?”