Previous Chapter: Four
Edited by: my beloved
Disclaimer: The Whoniverse belongs in its entirety to the BBC, RTD, and its various creators. I intend no copyright infringement. What's totally mine is little, except for the love I bear for all things Doctor.
"That man's ruining you!"
Rose shook her head, partly to negate her mother's accusation and partly to clear it. Something was in her eyes -
"Mum, that's just not true. He loves me."
Jackie threw herself into her favorite chair and glowered at her. "That's rich. Sweetheart, he's on the dole, his band kicked him out - great artist, my eye - and he takes your pay packet every week." Jackie tugged at her leather jacket. "And he's always taking you away in that...that contraption of his."
What on earth is she talking about? Has she got at the port again? Rose narrowed her eyes...damn, something's in them...she shook her head again. Couldn't think if she couldn't see. "Mum, Jimmy's got no car, 'less you count that rubbish Vauxhall of his dad's."
"Pffft - Jimmy Stones. I give that - " and Jackie was up now, off the chair, across the console room (what?) clicking her fingers in Rose's face " - for Jimmy Stones. At least when you were with him I could come 'round, check on you."
"Mum, what - " Rose was bewildered. The livingroom looked right, sounded right, even smelled right; too much White Shoulders battling with the tired smell of take away in the kitchen. Just like the day she came home and ended up crying on her mum's shoulder. She'd moved back in that very -this very - night. (Time's like that, a voice reminded her. You lot; you always forget the end can come before the beginning.)
Rose took a quick look around; everything still seemed normal; telly up against the far wall, curtains whispering in the slight draft -
"Mum, did you leave the door open?"
"No, I don't think so. It's the ship does that - when it displaces the air, the air has go somewhere, doesn't it?"
She twisted behind her to catch a glimpse of him (him? Doc- ) "Jimmy?"
"No, sweetheart. The Doctor. He's the one loves - "
(Rose? Where are you?)
The console had been quiet, but when She heard his voice, it started getting restive. Then She started to glow, and move, just the littlest bit.
"Who's your friend, sweetheart?" Mum had shucked the leather coat, but kept fishing about in her pockets, eventually bringing out the screwdriver.
"Who? You mean Her? The TARDIS? Mum, I'm not sure I'm Her friend."
"Nonsense! Girls have to stick together, don't they? She must like you, dear." Jackie came over and dropped a kiss on her head. Rose heard wind rushing somewhere. "I mean, he wouldn't lie about his ship. Didn't he tell you?" She frowned. "He does, God knows. Seen the way he looks at you, haven't I?"
Rose's bewilderment was becoming nervous anger. "Mum, stop it. I don't know who you're talkin' about. I just came over to talk about...about...and you're goin' on about the TARDIS - I thought you didn't want me to go with - "
"Not Jimmy," Jackie said patiently. "Don't you remember? You couldn't forget those eyes, could you?"
(Rose, can you...Rose, don't go...)
It hit her somewhere just under the ribs, something like a kick and something like the burn of a sudden flush from somewhere farther down.
"Oh." This wasn't where she should be. But she still couldn't see -
"That's it, sweetheart," she heard her mother say, but Jackie was flowing away from her. She heard the wind, and the console rotor pushed and pulled at time.
"Doctor?" Didn't he tell me, what, Mum? she thought. Mum, what do you know that I don't?
Unlike Rose, the Doctor knew what was happening to him. Centuries of study, training, and bad planning on his part had left him able to recognize any number of different types of drug, machine or disease-induced hallucinations from the inside.
Unfortunately, that hadn't helped him much. He hadn't had enough warning to employ any of the physical tricks rendered possible by Gallifreyan physiology, and polished over the years in fruitless efforts to avoid future bouts of his own stupidity.
He still had time enough to ameliorate the effects: stiffen his psychic defenses at least a bit, slow his carpio-pulmonary systems enough to slow the lamia's adsorption by a few precious seconds - more than enough time to reach out for Rose....
"You simply must improve your grammar, child!"
Dorothea stood in front of him, chatting with one of the Ark's human Guardians, and he couldn't be certain she was paying attention. It annoyed him, but she was a spunky little creature, quite as interesting as his Susan...Pity I can't stay. I have to look for Jo, he mused, looking at her with affection.
He shook his head to clear it, and his white locks thickened, curled a bit, darkened a bit. Jo means well, sweet thing, but look where it's got her this time. Taken by the Mutants, right when I have to convince the Marshal that I can fix the particle reversal apparatus...
No. Wait. It wasn't Jo. She'd gazed at him with that delightfully wide-eyed and unfocused intensity, and said she had something to tell him. He'd just known she was going to marry some fool, that she was re-entering mundane life.
He listened. He listened, heard his own hearts, and the wind (or was that blood through his veins and arteries? It was gone before he could identify the source.) This was not the right place, and it wasn't Jo that needed going after.
Well if it wasn't Jo, it had to be (Rose) Sarah.
Oh, Sarah. My Sarah Jane, he thought. "You can't come," he said, not looking at her, and wondering why he didn't just throw her in their lordly faces. You know, you coward. He had to do it before she- Go after her, before she gets herself shot, before she goes back to her aunt...he adjusted the scarf, grabbed his hat, and made ready to chase after Sarah Jane, just now whisking around a corner, intent on following Harry. Good man, Harry, should have talked him into staying a ibt longer -
Not Sarah Jane, not Harry, a trick of the damned drug he snapped at himself. No more than it was Dodo, he realized. Come on, man.
He heard people talking, their voices coming through in unintelligable bursts, and focused on them. Come on, you've got the ears for it, he thought, deliberately forcing himself to think slowly. That was one trick. Now to try for Rose again.
"Rose? Where are you?" No one answered and it was getting foggy. He shook his head and cursed in Gallifreyan. Damned pea-soupers. There was absolutely no chance he could find a fruit stall to buy an orange for Leela. Not in this section of Victorian London, certainly not after dark with this disease-ridden fog closing in...and we have to get to Li H'sen Chang's performance. Need to get to Greel before he sucks her life from her. Stage people, honestly.
There, finally, the mist was dissipating. Why on earth it should be in the Council chambers....he looked about for her, needed to say—
"Goodbye Leela. I’ll miss you too, savage.”
Wait. Wrong. Rose, he had to try to reach Rose, not Leela. He knew he was close to her.
But she never wanted to be close, at least not in that damned autocratic first regeneration. Paris, now, that was different.
You ran through the city, holding my hand and pretending to be young for me, though you were far too dangerous to love ...besides, you were the one who left. You left, didn’t you? She left, didn’t she ....
“You’re back from E-Space, Lady President?” She was covered in blood, and greasy dark smoke from the fires in the valleys outside the city — He shut his eyes, no, he wouldn’t think of her gone, couldn’t bear the memory of her eyes, couldn’t listen again while she ordered —
He heard the wind again, and his blood, and his hearts. The voices faded in and out in a most annoying fashion. He hated being annoyed, almost as much as he hated other people being annoyed with him. Couldn't be helped, though, not with Tegan's temper. Not that he didn't deserve it sometimes. He didn't blame her; it wasn't like Adric, so youthfully smug about his own mathematical abilities. He checked the celery. It was still there.
Adric wasn't (I'm so sorry) and even Nyssa was angry at him.
Peri snarled at him, and he snarled back...no. Not him, he wasn't him, would never be him again, if he could possibly help it.
"Come on, Professor," she said, hoisting her pack. Oh dear. It was probably full of Nitro-Nine. "Ace..." he called, but she ran on in front of him, and he sighed. Best that he let her go to the Prydonians. A wonderful chance for her.
"It's my fault, isn't it?" He looked around, and there she was, in the church.
He hadn't realized her eyes were so huge. He touched her face.
I've always loved the burn of human skin, yes, and the burn of salt tears as well. I've never seen her cry like this before, and he felt his own anger drown in her tears.
"Just - " he stopped for an unnoticeable moment, astonished at the pull he felt toward the gravity well she'd suddenly become. "Say you're sorry."
No. Wrong. He couldn't do that. She wasn't blood.
Not blood. Only blood can call to blood, and my blood are all (safely) gone (Killer! Damned!), and she'll be safe he thought.
Not with any others, not with any of them, sweet and brave and strong and stupid and brilliant and loving and helpful and comforting as every one of them were. No matter how they piqued his curiosity, challenged him to be better, occasioned his affection and even love. No matter how they came into his hearts.
And certainly not her. The gravity well beckoned with this one, no time to understand, (no reason, just fall) he simply had to -
He caught sight of her hair; gold in the dark, fanning out across her face. The wind rushed higher, and the voices threatened something...movement? He had to get to her, and she was retreating from him.
"Rose, can you..." his voice trailed off. His stomach felt hollow. She was going to stay with that mewling git of a boyfriend? "Rose, don't go...."
She turned her head.
Yes. Right. (No!)
The wind rushed higher, and he felt himself being lifted, pulled, swinging between two bodies, two worlds, then tossed into someplace else.
Time to wake up.
Jack could barely breathe by the time he'd pelted back to the TARDIS and shut the door behind him.
"Sweetheart, you have to help me."
The rotor moved, with a sound of wind.
(To Chapter Six)