Previous Chapter: 25 here, or here
Characters: Jack Harkness/the Ninth Doctor/Rose Tyler
Edited by: my beloved and irreplaceable dr_whuh. Thank you, dearest.
Author's note: In which our three heroes find each other, and the beginning of the end of the adventure commences to begin. Hello again, friends. It's been a long time, and I thank you for sticking with this, if you have. I believe the end is in sight.
Disclaimer: As much as I wish it were otherwise, no Whoniverse characters are mine. They are the sole property of the BBC and their respective creators. I do, however, love them all, and thank the BBC for letting me play in its sandbox.
ETA for LJ: Apologies for the lack of paragraph spacing. LJ insists the post is too large and won't let me edit. Stupid LJ ....
“Tenante, with all respect, you can’t be bringing —”
“Go ahead. Tell me what I can’t do.”
Fahrar had looked extremely impressive in her uniform as she’d prepared to wheel her vehicle into the juggernaut park, just as Jack had said softly, “Time, darlin’; sorry,” and had put the hood over her head. Rose remembered how Fahrar’s cap sat at an intimidating angle, how her jacket was tightly fitted and her pencil trousers sported a knife-sharp crease. The buttons on her epaulettes shone only slightly more than her boots. But Rose was betting it was the glitter in her eye that had captured Sargento Benito Celestino.
“Well …” Celestino trailed off, his objections failing; under the hood — Rose tried to ignore how stifling it was — she imagined his face. He probably couldn’t take his own eyes off Fahrar. He probably looked like a rabbit unable to move under a hawk’s gaze.
“Do you honestly think I’d be down here, wasting my time and yours, if these … people—” and here Fahrar undoubtedly shot her supposed prisoners a look of purest contempt, “—weren’t needed up the hill, quickly and quietly?”
“What … I mean, I know you have orders, but I’d be in trouble, too. I mean, I’ve got my own orders … I have reports I’ll need to — Tenante, you can’t bring people in this way without reporting who they are and who they’re being delivered to, it’s the rules!”
Rose discovered that her hood had slipped around her head and one of its seams had, almost providentially, developed a tiny split. It didn’t give much of a view, but she saw Celestino adjust his frayed collar, and hold himself a little straighter. Her heart sank; why did now have to be the time this man decided to grow a backbone? The whole gambit depended on him caving to the Tenante.
Well, this part of it, she thought. Then, once they were shut of the sergeant and his immediate crew, the whole gambit would depend on something else, and then something else, and (stop it now or you’ll lose it) … Rose swallowed, and started counting silently, to keep herself focused on something other than the hood and her claustrophobia.
She stood quietly behind Fahrar, along with a hooded Filomena, Jao and Nico. None of them could risk their faces being seen, even though Nico had apparently had surgery to change his appearance. Salvha and Hilda were acting as their guards, since their faces weren’t known, or so Fahrar had said.
Jack was kitted out in a full uniform that Fahrar had pulled from the boot of her ground car. Fahrar had simply told the group that she’d grabbed it before she came to the safe house, “just in case.” Both Jack and Nico had raised an eyebrow, but Nico had only said, “Isobel, you don’t disappoint.”
Salvha had been hastily outfitted with an aging Maldad uniform at the safe house; Nico had ripped off the insignia that might have identified him as something other than one of Fahrar’s grunts. Hilda wore a somewhat more presentable uniform top jacket, which Fahrar had also produced from her ground car. It didn’t quite fit — the buttons barely fastened — but Hilda had ruthlessly pulled her hair back into a military-style bun and scrubbed her face free of make-up. She was, as far as Rose could tell without looking, at the very rear of the group.
Fahrar spoke again. “The rules, Sargento, also require that one refrain from drinking on duty, and yet I am faced daily with you. And you are still here. A miracle, no? Perhaps, then, we can agree that I and my party will be going, and I will not put you on report for taking even one precious minute of my time.”
Rose heard the poisonous menace in her voice. So, clearly, did Celestino. He almost shook with the effort not to snarl when he said, “As the Tenante says.”
Rose felt someone push her, and she bit back on a curse, stumbling forward and trying to keep an unobtrusive hand on Filomena to help her stay upright. She hoped she could get the damned hood off her head soon.
She tried to remember the route she’d taken to reach the holding cells and the loading dock, work backwards, but after an initial three turns, she was baffled; she’d expected to wind up back in the stairwell, and had been bracing herself for the assault on her mind that had nearly floored her so badly only — oh lord, it was only a day or so ago, and it felt like forever — but she felt nothing.
“This place is empty,” she whispered to whoever was in front of her. “ I... I don’t feel —”
“They’re between shipments,” Fahrar murmured. “No prisoners, so no one’s wearing their psychic blockers. Might have been better for us if the cells were full.”
“No,” Rose hissed, her mind’s eye filled again with what she’d seen in the cages, in the blackness of the juggernaut.
“Shhh,” came the other woman’s voice. Rose subsided.
It took another confusing five minutes of stumbling against Fahrar and holding up Filomena as they inched their way through what seemed to to be some sort of sliding door, then up a short set of stairs, before she heard Fahrar sigh in relieved satisfaction. “As soon as we’re through this postern door, everyone can take off the hoods. No one uses this path to Central Command, and we’ll move faster if everyone can see.”
“Thank god.” Filomena didn’t quite whimper, but Rose wouldn’t have blamed her if she had. The little soldier was shivering, and she was tense with the effort to stand. Rose hoped being able to see would help steady her.
“You alright?” she asked.
“I’ll manage,” Filomena said, before coughing weakly. “Thanks for … for keeping me upright.”
Fahrar and one of the others posing as soldiers wrestled the rest of them through what was apparently the postern. Everyone tore their hoods off as soon as they could.
“What now?” Nico was trembling, too, Rose saw, but it was the same quiver she’d seen in the Doctor, or Jack, just before some breakout or escape during one of their jeopardy friendly adventures. It was repressed adrenaline, and Jack was almost vibrating with it as well.
“We move as quickly as possible along the route under Gel ‘Colinas, ‘til we get to the lift I’ve circled on the read-write,” Fahrar said. “We head up to where Inverno’s holding cells — they’re on the map as well — are and grab your Doctor.” She hesitated, looking at Jack and Rose. “Then he will, you assure me, get us to this TARDIS, or bring it to us, and we use it to get into the labs, where you will do whatever it is you plan to do.” She hesitated again, and looked at Filomena. “And you will do it with Mireilles’ help, with her codes. She is part of this.” Rose felt Filomena try to hold herself taller. “For now, though, let’s focus on retrieving the alien. And let’s hope that we don’t have to use your weapons. As long as they’re turned off, weapons alarms won’t sound. Activate them, though — ”
“Yeah, got it,” Jack said. “No weapons on unless absolutely necessary. You’re sure the system doesn’t register old fashioned projectile?”
“Not at all sure,” Fahrar said. “No one in the forces uses them, so I don’t know if they’ll think to look for them.”
As plans went, it was horrible. No one in the group had disputed that when Jack said so. No one had disputed that it was the only one they had, either. And it depended on speed at this point.
“No sense in standing there, then. Let’s go,” Rose said, realizing that she, too, was shaking with the desire to move.
Jao looked at her, then chucked his thumb at Filomena. “I’ll carry her,” he said gruffly.
“No, I can—” Filomena coughed again, and subsided. Sick she might be, but not foolish. “Alright.” In short order, Jao hoisted her onto his back. Fahrar got a look on her face that Rose couldn’t interpret.
After that, Rose didn’t have much chance to think; she was too busy running, which also militated against any successful route memorization. She could tell that they were covering a large amount of ground, although some of it was vertical, up stairs that were narrow and broad by turns. She cast one look over her shoulder at Jao, and was satisfied to see that the man was keeping up. That fireplug build hid a lot of stamina; he wasn’t even breathing heavily, despite his extra load.
“Here. Stop here.” Fahrar pointed the way down a broad hallway, painted in institutional green. “We go down this hall, to the lift at the end. That gets us to the rear of Inverno’s cell block.” At a look from Nico, she frowned. “We can’t risk another frontal bluff, not up here. We come in from the back, I still have keys, we get in and out with less chance of getting stopped.”
“As you wish,” he said. Rose couldn’t believe that he was cool enough to sound slightly sardonic.
The ride up in the lift was tense, and Rose couldn’t help thinking of all the ways everything could explode in their faces.
It would be a much faster operation if they knew precisely where the Doctor was, but all that Fahrar was certain of was the floor and the general block. Rose tried to cast her thoughts out, pictured them like a net cast out above the water, one she could drag through the water, back to shore, laden with fish. She wanted to catch the Doctor in that net, but this whole telepathy thing was so raw, so new, that she had no idea whether she was doing the right thing.
Nevertheless, she persisted. Doctor? Doctor? Can you hear me? Doctor!
There was nothing. So what else is new, Tyler? Instead of banging her head against the lift wall, she forced herself to focus her tension on the doors; she’d been in enough of these situations that she planned to plaster herself to one side of the lift or the other, in case they opened on someone with a weapon and a bad attitude. As she thought that, she realized that she was thinking the way Jack sounded, and it surprised a laugh out of her.
Everyone stared. “S’nothing,” she said. “Just—” She looked around her and shrugged. “Might as well laugh, yeah?”
There was silence. Then Filomena giggled.
The lift doors opened. Two men in uniforms stared at them.
Rose had to admire Fahrar’s calm. “Yes. What do you want? I’m on my way with these prisoners to see Assistente Inverno —”
For one breathless moment, Rose thought it was going to work.
“Sangre—” Both men reached for their holsters.
Quick as a snake, Salvha ducked out from behind everyone else. It looked to Rose as if he’d just run into the soldier to her left. The soldier grunted, then coughed, his eyes wide. Salvha moved again, to his right, and the first soldier coughed a second time, blood bright on his lips. He fell, first to his knees and then on his face.
“Salvha, no—” Nico hissed, but it was too late. The second soldier pivoted just as quickly as Salvha, brought up his weapon — not to fire, but to strike Salvha across the face. The little man staggered back, and Rose now saw the knife in his right hand.
Jack was almost as fast as Salvha, and a good deal more trained. He kicked the second Maldad in the knee, grabbed the man’s left hand as it was grabbing for its communicator and knocked it to the floor. A split second more, and the man was also flat on the floor, held there by Jack’s half-nelson. Jack did something that Rose couldn’t quite make out, holding his stiffened index and middle fingers against the side of the soldier’s throat. She saw the light go out of the man’s eyes … her own eyes caught Jack’s.
“He’s just unconscious,” he told her.
She nodded at him, trying to smile. She didn’t like killing, and didn’t like to be around it, although she’d reached the point in traveling with the Doctor that she knew death, at least by misadventure, was an occasional repugnant eventuality.
A siren sounded, and Jack grimaced, glaring at the communicator. “Shit. I should have stomped on it. Guess we don’t have to worry about weapons alarms now.”
Salvha grunted. “We wouldn’t have triggered anything if you—” He stopped, aware of Nico glaring at him.
Rose drew a breath, looking past Jack and Salvha, trying to determine which direction to run; the corridor ahead, or one of the corridors branching off it, just left and right of the lift doors.
“To the left,” Fahrar snapped, and for a moment Rose thought the woman had read her mind, until she said,“The holding cells are down the main corridor; we go this way to get to the back doors.” Then she eyed Jack. “You should have killed him.”
“You should be quiet,” he snapped right back at her. “ I don’t kill if I don’t have to. Let’s go. Salvha, sheath the damned knife.”
Salvha looked at Nico, who nodded. He wiped the blade on his trousers and put it away. For a moment nobody stirred. Jack cursed softly under his breath as he retrieved the two soldiers’ stunners and threw them to Nico. “Any particular shade of green we’re waiting for?”
Everyone took off after Jack and Fahrar; Salvha helped Jao keep up with Filomena and Hilda hurried Rose, with Nico bringing up in the rear. The featureless corridor seemed to lengthen with each passing second, but Rose told herself that was just her nerves.
The door Fahrar stopped in front of looked no different than the other dark green steel doors on either side of it, but Fahrar keyed the lock with no hesitation. It opened silently, and she waved the rest of them in, shutting the door behind them only after she peered out, checking both directions.
“Find your friend,” she ordered. “Check the windows when I open them.”
Beyond the door were two short halls bracketing a double line of cells, four cells opening on each hall. Fahrar put a finger to her lips, then shook her head slightly, obviously realizing that there was little room for secrecy with sirens wailing. She went to a small control board on the wall and flipped one switch. Rose, who had edged over to peer down one of the halls, saw tiny viewports near the top of each door slide open. She ran past Fahrar and peered through one of the viewports, and heard the others do the same, running past her down that hall, or down the second one.
No one was inside the cell.
“Not here,” she called.
“Nor in the first two,” Jack responded. Between them, Machado and Hilda shook their heads. Hilda’s expression was tight, but Rose recognized the look of panic. She’d seen it often enough on her own face.
“Jao! Anyone over there?” Nico shouted.
“No — all empty.”
“Sangre.” That was Nico, but Rose thought she heard the same curse from Salvha in the other hallway.
“What now?” Hilda was fighting to be calm.
At which point, everything went even more pear-shaped.
They heard him before they saw him.
“Eminência, before we go to the morgue — don’t worry, he’s not dead — we need to keep you safe until we find out what’s triggered the alarm. I — Fahrar?”
“I don’t care! Let your people take care of that, I want to see that xeno — what?”
A tall, thin man, his uniform as impeccable as Fahrar’s, his hair and lips thin above and below a long nose, stood at the far end of the hall beyond Rose and the rest. He’d stopped in mid-stride after swinging around the far corner from some unseen entryway, saying nothing more; possibly struck dumb by surprise.
To his right and slightly behind him was a much shorter man in what was probably this planet’s version of an expensive suit, Rose thought. When she saw his face — with that split second of clarity one can get in the moment before the car crashes — she saw drug or booze-generated erosion, time’s depredation, and, in his weirdly gray skin and heavy-lidded, frighteningly purple eyes, she was sure she saw nothing good at all. He’d been speaking over the first man in a bellicose manner, but he also fell silent as he rounded the corner and saw them
Everything seemed to slow down around them before anyone started to speak again. Once they did, Rose thought what she was hearing was nothing short of surreal.
“Inverno. Governor.” Expressionless, from Fahrar.
“Machado.” The tall man, equally uninflected, ignoring Fahrar and staring past her.
“Papa?” Rose didn’t recognize Machado’s voice at first. She looked back, and saw Nico, his face as grey as the shorter man’s.
“Nico?” The little man, starting, staring hard at Machado, then shrinking back in some sort of delayed recognition. “Nico … oh, Senhra’da Luz, I’m sorry, please don’t … don’t ….”
The sirens wailed.
“Guards.” The thin man, Inverno, (Now you know what he looks like, not that it does you any good) said it softly, and the three men standing to the rear of him reached for their holsters.
“Run.” That was Jack.
They did, back up the hall, Hilda dragging Nico with her and Jack hurrying Rose along, his arm keeping her head low as they dodged a first volley of stunner blasts. Salvha and Jao, the latter still half-carrying Filomena, almost collided with them at the door. Somehow, they managed to get it open. They shut it after them, then Salvha pulled another weapon, this one a gun, out from somewhere, and melted the lock with an unexpected heat beam. The door shook, and Rose could hear a gabble of angry voices behind it.
“Not a stunner then,” Jack got out.
“No,” Salvha said, then grinned, or at least Rose assumed it was a grin. Rose made to head back to the lift, only to be held back by Jack. “No. Follow her.” Rose looked at saw Fahrar pointing in the opposite direction. Over the screech of the siren, Rose heard her yell “Stairwell!”
All of them clattered downstairs. Rose resisted the urge to look above for enemies; they’d come soon enough, and she knew that looking would just slow her down.
“This is totally fucked,” Jao huffed out. “Where the hell is your Doctor?”
“Morgue,” Rose managed. “Not dead.”
“Don’t know,” Hilda said, “But I heard him say it, too.”
“You’re our guide —”
“Two levels further,” Fahrar said before Jack could complete his sentence. “If he’s not there, we … figure our next move.” Then she looked at Nico. “You alright?”
“He isn’t,” Hilda said, glaring.
“He can speak for himself,” Nico said. “And he’s not going to. Here. Two levels down? That’s here.”
They walked into a hornets’ nest. Men and women ran past them from both directions. None of them looked at the group who’d come in from the stairwell, but that probably wouldn’t last, Rose thought. Any advantage they’d had with Fahrar had disappeared. In fact, the woman was a liability now; easily identifiable as someone wanted by the authorities from whom she’d separated herself.
Sure enough, someone yelled “Wait … that’s them! There they are!”
“Shit!” Rose couldn’t tell who said that.
“Pistol,” Filomena said, holding her hand out. Rose was surprised at how strong her voice sounded. She was even more surprised when Jao handed the little soldier one of the stunners.
“You good?” he asked.
For answer, she took out the man who’d seen them, knocking him off his feet. He slid on his back and his head hit the base of the wall, hard.
“Real good,” she said, her grin as feral as Salvha’s. She changed her stance with the gun, winding up prone on the floor, resting on her elbows with the stunner’s haft wrapped firmly in both her hands. They only shook a little.
“No, wait! Filomena … are you —” Rose’s face would have gone pale, had she not been flushed with exertion.
Filomena shook her head, apparently seeing Rose’s fear in her face. “Not a last stand.” She smiled grimly at Rose, then looked at Salvha. “She called you ‘Vella. Stay here with me? Long enough to let them get their man?”
Salvha visibly twitched at the use of his dead wife’s pet name, but he nodded and crouched down next to Filomena, using his firearm to lethal effect. Rose twitched a bit herself. <i>This man is very dangerous</i>.
“Get going. Find the Doctor,” he said, without looking at her. “We — her and me — we’ll follow.”
“Go on, Rose. Don’t worry; we’ll get back together,” Filomena said.
“Right.” Nico appeared to have recovered his balance. “Check the morgue, find him, let’s all meet up back—”
“ —we’ve got to get to the basement” Fahrar interrupted. “Different lift. Neves, you recall the second freight lift?”
“Got it.” Rose was glad he seemed to know what she was talking about. “We get separated, I’ll get everyone down there.”
“Morgue’s that way,” Filomena said, jerking her head to the left. Of course she’d know that, Rose thought. She thought she might scream.
She, Jack, and the four Lizhbauans hot-footed it in the direction Filomena had indicated, hurled themselves around a corner. Fahrar pointed. “There it is.”
Jao and Jack reached the double doors at the same time, slammed them open and nearly upended a pudgy young man dressed in what appeared to be hospital scrubs.
“Sangre da Sen’hra!”
Jack reached for him, brought him to his feet. “Sorry — you OK?”
“Yeah, but why the hell — my pardon, Tenante Fahrar, I didn’t see you. Are you with the Governor?”
Without missing a beat, Fahrar nodded crisply and said, “We’re checking on the xeno.”
“What?” The boy looked completely befuddled. “Isn’t this a fire drill?”
“When did they bring the alien in here?” Fahrar continued, moving up past Jack to tower over … Rose looked at the badge … Valentim. “It’s of utmost importance. Those sirens aren’t a fire drill; haven’t you been paying attention?”
Valentim now looked terrified. “Tenante, I don’t know anything about — I mean, no one has alerted me to an, an … alien? I swear, nothing’s come in or out of the department, not since that accountant fellow got caught in the drawer!”
Wait. What? “What accountant fellow?” Rose pushed her way to the front, not caring that she definitely didn’t look official. “What did he look like?”
Valentim stared at her.
“Answer the woman.” Jack’s voice was a whip.
“Uh … tall, thin man, not much hair, I think he left a leather jacket here — it’s over there on the desk — he wasn’t wearing any shoes—”
Rose and Jack turned to each other, but before they could say anything, they heard the hiss and keen of energy weapons discharging.
“Tenante?” The young man eyed the door with dread. “What’s really going on?”
“Get out. Now. You, us. We’re under attack. We’ll take the back lift.”
“Aliens?” Valentim’s voice cracked.
“Why do you think I asked about the xeno, man? They’ve come to get him, and we need to get out, or some brave men will have died for nothing!”
Rose’s reluctant admiration for the rogue Maldad officer grew. She was cool as ice as she told the over-the-top whopper. Of course she’d be.
“Sera Lumina …. This way, Tenante.”
The double doors slammed open again, this time because of Salvha, half dragging Filomena. He waved off Hilda’s half-step toward him. “Too many to stop; they’re coming.”
Valentim took off to the rear of the morgue, apparently assuming that everyone would follow him, or possibly not caring at all, just trying to get away from whatever was going to be coming through the doors next. Rose darted over to the desk Valemtim had pointed out, snatched up the jacket, then sprinted after him; so did Jack and Hilda, trailed by Jao and Nico. As the doors once more swung wide, soldiers tumbled through, then down, as Jao and Nico stunned them, or worse.
Everyone raced down a narrow back hall in the morgue — Rose saw metal examination tables with at least one shrouded figure out of the corner of her eye — but just as she was getting up yet one more head of steam, she ran into Jack, who had stopped cold. Rose saw why.
“I told you! I said they’d be after the xeno, and I was right!” The Governor of all of Lizhbau sounded like a child demanding praise in front of his nursery class. Then he shook himself, turned and glared at Inverno, who said nothing, just looked disgusted. “Why didn’t you — ”
No one ever got to hear the rest of his question; a stunner whined as someone behind Jack and Rose triggered it. The governor’s eyes rolled up in his head and he collapsed, knocking Inverno over as he did. The next thing Rose heard was Jao, repeating what they’d heard from Jack only moments before: “Run!”
It’s what I do best Rose thought, fighting yet another urge to giggle. She didn’t have the breath left to do that.
With two hallways between them and any Maldads, Jack risked turning around. Rose was there, breathing hard, with Jao, Fahrar, Hilda and Nico. Salvha came last, Filomena in his arms.
"Good girl!" He pulled Rose to him, kissed her forehead. “Good everyone, but the rest of you don’t get kisses.” Then he cocked his head; the whines of beam weapons and stunners had fallen off completely. "No more firing; does that mean our pursuers have given up—"
"It means they're dead." Jao wasn't out of breath in the least. " I took out three —”
“Not including the governor, of course.” When he’d realized Jao had fired the stunner at Bohlver, Jack had checked Nico but found no change in the man’s expression. It was still agonized, but he’d let out no cry when his father had fallen, and he’d helped cover everyone’s retreat, using his own stunner.
Jao scowled. “Stunner doesn’t count, Harkness. He’s out of bounds, you know that.” He waited a second and started again. “But I don’t expect much of a respite. You haven’t seen your man, yet?"
Rose shook her head.
“We can’t wait much longer,” Jao said.
"Understood,” Jack said heavily, looking to Rose for her reaction.
“We can still keep an eye out as we head back,” she said. “We know he was alive and moving. That’s good news, yeah?”
“Yeah.” She’d reminded him to hope. He turned to Fahrar. “Let’s head to that freight elevator you talked about."
She nodded, took off, and they followed her.
“It’s down here,” she said, pointing to one more corridor.
“This place is a damned warren,” Jack complained, but he headed in that direction. The hallway he reached was far less featureless than those in the upper levels. There were doors on the left, slightly inset; and on the right, a third.
No; the door on the right was the opening to yet another corridor. “Warren,” he repeated. “How does anyone ever get out of here?”
Just as he said that, Rose gasped and stumbled.
"Rose?" Hilda caught her. "What's wrong?"
Rose shook her head, then held up a hand. "Shhh. Sorry, shhh."
Everyone stood silent, trying to hear whatever it was that Rose was hearing. Down here, the sirens were faint, making it a little easier to concentrate. Jack also tried to clear his mind as much as possible. Maybe she wasn't hearing anything outside her head ... he tried not to hope too hard.
Rose smiled, her face shining, and Jack's heart started pounding from something other than physical effort. "What's up?"
"He's close by, Jack, real close!"
"Where?" Jao was dividing his attention between Jack and Rose, and the hall behind them.
“Down there,” Rose said over her shoulder, as she ran to the opening of the corridor ahead. “Doctor!”
“Rose?” The voice was rusty, ill-sounding, and it might have been the most beautiful thing Jack had heard in days.
“Doctor!” Jack caught up with Rose.
That joy in his voice is for Rose, remember. Don’t get your hopes up.
The two of them almost collided with each other as they followed the voice.
And there he was sitting down on the floor, with his legs stretched out in front of him. He was barefoot, just as the morgue attendant had said. And he looked — Jack’s heart caught in his throat — like death warmed over.
Rose slid to her knees, ending up beside the Doctor. Jack got to his other side.
“Rose … oh, Rose, you found me.” Then he looked at Jack and managed a smile that squeezed Jack’s heart. “Captain, I’m so glad you’re here. Can you forgive me?”
“Nothing to forgive,” Jack said, understanding the question on some level and more than happy to grant benediction. “Look, Doctor, can you get up? Can you walk?”
The Doctor started to struggle to his feet, but sank back to the floor. “Not by myself.”
“You’ve got us,” Rose said, “You lean on us, Doctor.”
The two of them hauled the Time Lord to his bare feet. Rose put his leather jacket over his shoulders.
“Oh … there it is,” their beloved burden said vaguely. Then he shook his head and looked woozily about at the people surrounding him. His gaze sharpened when he saw Fahrar. “Seems you made your choice.”
She nodded, her face unreadable.
“Where to, then?” He turned away from her, turning first to Rose and then to Jack, his eyes greedy. They returned his gaze, neither of them willing to let him out of their sight.
Rose reached into the pocket of her jeans, and pulled out the screwdriver. Even before she spoke, Jack felt a buzzing in the back of his brain. He knew Rose must be feeling the same thing.
“Bring Her here, Doctor. She needs you as bad as we do.”
The Doctor swallowed, and almost laughed as Rose handed it to him. He didn’t ask her what she meant.
A moment and one quick screwdriver adjustment later, wind from somewhere else whipped through the hall. Rose and Jack laughed too, not caring that they were crying as they did so; the TARDIS, Her song suddenly there in their minds, materialized around them.
“Home,” Jack whispered.
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