The Doctor and the two Tyler sisters

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What if Rose had an older sister?  Two years older, Emily Tyler worked in a department store and was the one to meet the ninth Doctor, going off to travel with him but when Emily goes missing for a year, it's Rose's boyfriend Mickey who gets hauled in for questioning.  Rose never gets jealous, well a little until Christmas Eve 2005 when they hear the sound of the blue box Emily goes off in and see a stranger stumbling out.  After that, the two sisters get jealous of each other when Rose volunteers to look after the 'new' doctor and after his recovery, he asks Rose to go travelling with them.

What if Rose had an older sister?  Two years older, Emily Tyler worked in a department store and was the one to meet the ninth Doctor, going off to travel with him but when Emily goes missing for a year, it's Rose's boyfriend Mickey who gets hauled in for questioning.  Rose never gets jealous, well a little until Christmas Eve 2005 when they hear the sound of the blue box Emily goes off in and see a stranger stumbling out.  After that, the two sisters get jealous of each other when Rose volunteers to look after the 'new' doctor and after his recovery, he asks Rose to go travelling with them.

In this story, it's Rose who is the unwelcome guest in the Tardis, not Mickey and will cover the first few episodes of series two and only briefly until Rose joins in their travels.

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Chapter 1

Emily Tyler had got home from work the night of the explosion at the department store in town she worked in, Rose and her mother anxiously waiting and relieved she hadn't been caught in the blast.

"No, I'd just crossed the road, I had to take the lottery money to Wilson, then all these shop window dummies started walking towards me."

Rose laughed, sitting down and picking up a magazine.  "You've been watching too much sci-fi on TV Sis."

"Very funny Rose.  You'll see when they start doing it everywhere else."

Emily was not going to say what had really happened, that a man in a leather jacket, a northern accent and big ears had pulled her out and sent her home after he'd asked her name and told her to run.  The doorbell rang and Rose's part-time boyfriend was standing at the door.

"You okay Emily?  I just saw it on the news."

"I'm fine Mickey, thanks for asking."

"Come on Rose, let's take her down the pub."

"Is there a match on?" Rose asked, tired of being a football and pub widow.

"I'm hurt by that remark," he huffed, trying to pull her up.

Jackie had been on the phone, telling friends and family her eldest daughter was safe and sound.

"Here, Emm, you'll get 660 quid if you sell your story to the papers."

"Give it here Mum," Emily replied then pressing the 'End Call' button and folding the aerial away.

"Well you got to do something, you're out of a job now.  You should ask about compensation, me and Rose ain't keeping ya."

"I'll do something about it tomorrow.  Are you going out Rose?"

"Nah, go on Mickey, you'll catch the second half."

Mickey left and Emily playfully swiped at Rose's legs, her feet on the coffee table.

"Don't know why you bother with him."

"He's better than Jimmy."

"Rose, anyone is better than that poor excuse for a bloke.  Want to know a secret?"

Rose nodded while Emily made sure her mother was in the kitchen.

"That's not all that happened tonight, there was someone else in that basement."

"Who was that then?"

"This older bloke, says his name was The Doctor.  I think he's the one who blew up the store.  The dummies were really alive Rose, cross my heart.  He stopped them, said they were tryin' to take over and he pulled the arm off one of them, it's in our bedroom."

"It had better not be on my bunk Emm."

"Chill Rose, I'll show ya later."

The next morning, Emily got up, her alarm sounding as usual, Rose kindly reminded her sister she had no job to go to.

"Gee, thanks for reminding me," Emily groaned, yawning and pulling the duvet back over herself.  They had just got dressed when Rose heard a noise at the door.

"Mum, you said you'd got that cat-flap nailed down, you're such a liar," she called as it flipped towards her again.

Her sister was amused and stood behind her as Rose got down and saw a pair of legs at the other side of the door.  Emily suddenly realised who it might be.

"'Erm Rose, why don't you go check on mum?"

"What?  She's drying her hair, she'll be ages yet."

Emily had taken her place and saw the Doctor's head peering through the flap.  She got up hurriedly and opened the door.

"It's you," the Doctor stated, looking first at Emily then at Rose.  "What are you doing here and who's this kid?"

"Excuse me, I'm not a kid, thanks very much," Rose huffed.  "Who's this Emily?"

"I told ya Rose, the bloke I met last night.  I live here, what are you doing here?"

Jackie was still oblivious what her two daughters were up to.

"I was tracking a signal, it led me here.  Have you still got that arm from that dummy then?" he asked, staring at Rose again and swearing he'd met her before.

"In the bedroom, you'd best come in then."

Jackie picked that moment to stop her industrial sized hairdryer she used on clients, her being a home hairdresser, which supported her and her two daughters.  She looked up as the Doctor stood outside Emily and Rose's room door, Emily getting the plastic arm he'd thrown at her last night.

"Rose, what's that man doing in here?" she shouted, first fastening the tie on her dressing gown then tossing her hair.

"Something to do with the fire last night Emily said, she's just getting something."

"Oh.  I hope she's gonna get compensation then?"

"We're talking millions," the Doctor grinned, thinking he'd also met this woman before but he'd never seen Emily, whom he never had even asked her surname last night.

"There's a strange man standing outside my bedroom," Jackie declared, clutching her dressing gown.

"Yes there is," he replied.

"Well anything could 'appen."

The Doctor shook his head.  "No."

Jackie huffed and picked up her hairdryer again, after pushing the door to and seeing Emily coming out of her bedroom, the dummy's arm behind her back.

"Rose, make us a cuppa will ya?" Emily asked as the Doctor allowed her past and followed her into the living room.

She tossed the dummy's arm at him and went to join Rose in the kitchen failing to see him through the open hatch look at himself in the mirror, saying it wasn't bad he supposed then picking up a letter addressed to a Jackie Tyler and last of all picking up a deck of cards and them all falling on the floor.

"Is this a good idea?" Rose asked her sister, seeing the Doctor's back to them as she looked through the hatch.

"Chill Rose, I'll just see what he wants, speaking of which, I'd best not leave him alone for too long."

Rose was still waiting for the water to boil when she heard a crash and thinking nothing of it, carried on singing to herself as Emily and the Doctor were first trying to get the arm from around his neck then he was trying to get it off her face with his sonic screwdriver and almost destroying the glass coffee table in the process.  Rose finished making the tea and walked in, two cups balanced in one hand and one in the other.

She stood in the doorway as the Doctor freed Emily and tossed the arm away.

"What was all that about then?"

"Nothing," both Emily and the Doctor replied.

The Doctor decided it was time to leave but Emily wanted answers and went after him and none of their lives were ever going to be the same again.  

Later on, Jackie had decided she would take matters into her own hands and call and get a compensation form for Emily so she dragged Rose along with her.  They had just come out of the police station when Jackie got a call.

"Where did you get to?" she asked Emily.  "I got you that compensation form, you can thank me later, me and Rose are just gonna do a bit of late night shopping."

Emily was still stunned that after following the Doctor into a blue wooden box they had landed by the side of The Embankment, staring at the London Eye and trying to figure out how the Nestene Consciousness was controlling the shop window dummies.  Rose and Jackie were just talking as they came down the escalator of the shopping mall when they heard the sound of a shop window breaking and people screaming as childlike dummies smashed their way through the shop next door and one opened its hand to reveal a gun.

Jackie grabbed Rose and they got back on the escalator, running outside as they got to the top to find cars littered all over the street and a bus abandoned, people running everywhere.  Jackie still held onto Rose as they tried to get behind the bus but as Rose turned around, more dummies were heading for them.  One was about to fire at Jackie, Rose trying to pull her away when suddenly, the dummy toppled over as did the others. 

They clung hold of each other as police cars arrived, picking up their discarded shopping bags.  Rose's phone rung.

"Emily, where are you, don't go out, it's not safe."

She never heard her older sister let out a laugh of relief that her younger sister and her mother had escaped but what neither of them knew was that earlier on, Mickey had been nosing around and found himself caught up in the middle of it and when Emily and the Doctor had found the base of the Nestene Consciousness, he had been cowering in a corner claiming something was talking to him.

Emily had rescued the Doctor from the dummies and they had all got away in what the Doctor had called The Tardis.  Mickey had staggered out in disbelief.

"What was that thing?"

"If I told you Rickey, you'd never believe me," the Doctor told him.

"It's Mickey and you'd best not tell me, no-one would ever believe me, especially Rose.

"Cheer up Mickey, at least you didn't get turned into one of them," Emily laughed.

"So, you've seen what this box can do," the Doctor told her, leaning on the corner.

"Is it always like that?"

"Yep," he nodded.

"You're an alien?"

He nodded again.

"Don't Emm, think of your mum and Rose," Mickey pleaded with her.

"Yeah, he's right, what would they think?"

"Well, thanks again Emily, you saved me," the Doctor declared.

"Yeah, I did, good job me and Rose were champs in gymnastics at school."

She pulled Mickey up and they turned around to walk back to the flats, hearing a strange noise behind them and seeing the dust swirling around where the blue box had been.

"Come on Mickey, let's see if mum and Rose are back."

They heard the strange whirring sound again and Emily turned around.  The Doctor stood in the Tardis doorway.

"Did I mention it also travels in time?"

"Mickey, tell mum and Rose I'm going off for a while, see ya."

With that, she ran into the Tardis, leaving a stunned Mickey Smith standing there.

Mickey didn't know what to say when he got back to Rose's flat, she and Jackie trying to recover from what had happened and decided he'd best stay quiet.  Rose would never believe he'd been in a blue box that moved and Emily had said something about travelling in time.

For a while, Emily kept calling to say she was out looking for a job and staying with a friend but Mickey suspected she was still with that Doctor though he couldn't say anything, Jackie Tyler would slap him silly for not saying anything to her sooner but days turned into weeks, no-one on the estate had seen Emily Tyler and Jackie had been to the police twice to report her missing.

Rose and her mother were sat in the local police station, while a second report was being typed up but Jackie wasn't satisfied.

"We'll have to do this on our own Rose, we're not gonna get any help here.  I'll get Jimbo to print us some leaflets out and we'll pin them all around the estate and we'll find her ourselves.  Where's Mickey been lately then?"

"Dunno, says he's been working but I think he's just avoiding me, he doesn't know what to make of it.  I think he knows something Mum, he never said anything about that night those shop dummies were smashing up windows and shooting everyone."

"Rose, so ya think he's got something to do with Emily's disappearance?"

"No, he wouldn't do a thing like that, would he?"

"He was your boyfriend Rose.  Go find that officer and tell him we have a suspect."

Mickey was hauled in a total of three times over the coming months.  The months turned almost into a year and despite Rose trying to comfort her mother, Jackie had stopped taking bookings for her little home business, Rose had got a job at the local market working with her mother's sometime boyfriend Howard and they managed to keep their heads above water.

The 'Missing' poster of Emily was plastered on every door to every block of flats, on lampposts, bins and anywhere they could think of but it was approaching a year since Emily had been gone, they'd had a miserable Christmas and New Year, only going on New Year's Eve because Rose had dragged her mother out, then they'd had to walk home in the snow from the pub when the car they were getting a ride in got a flat tyre.

They'd wished each other a happy New Year and Jackie had gone off to some bloke she knew saying she was hardly likely to get a better offer at her time of life.

"Aw, don't say that Mum," Rose had told her, holding onto her arm.  "Don't stay out all night."

Jackie had let go.  "Try and stop me."

Rose had laughed as her mother had walked off, they were both missing Emily terribly but they'd tried to make the best of the festive season but neither of their hearts were in it.  Rose had gone towards the stairs but was passing a corner by a recycling bin when she heard a noise.

"Someone there?" she called out.

"Sorry, didn't mean to scare you," a London accent called back at her, Rose just seeing the shape of a tall thin man lurching forward and holding onto the wall.

If she and her mother had come into the courtyard from the other direction, they would have passed the very same blue box Emily had been whisked away in.

"Too much to drink?" Rose asked curiously.

"Something like that.  What year is this?"

"Blimey, you have had too much.  It's 2005, January 1st."

"Really?  Tell you what, I bet you're gonna have a really great year."

"Not really, not unless my sister comes back, she's been missing ten months."

"I'm sorry to here that."

"Why am I talking to a shadow?" Rose laughed, trying to get a glimpse of the man still hiding.

"Bit of a mess, you know how it is.  Anyway, what's your name then?"

"It's Rose and you are?"

"No-one, just forget about me, I'll stagger home now.  Go on, I'll be fine."

"Sure?  Do ya want me to walk you home?"

"Nah, just live in the next block, I saw you and another woman approaching and I didn't want to scare you both."

"If you're sure?  Night then and happy New Year."

"Yeah and you, been nice talking to you Rose."

"Yeah, see ya."

With that, she skipped the rest of the way, opened the door and ran up the stairs, thinking it was a shame she'd never got to see the man she'd just spent the best part of five minutes talking to.  Two months or so later, Rose never seeing any male on the estate who vaguely looked like the man in the shadows from New Years Eve or sounded like him (she had been looking) she was in the kitchen, the living room being overtaken by even more leaflets as Jackie was about to go further a-field to try to find her eldest daughter, she looked out of the kitchen window, sure she could hear a strange noise.

Jackie hardly got out of her dressing gown since the new year and she had just gone to join Rose in the kitchen when they heard the front door opening.

"Mum, it's me, got held up at Shareen's, you know what she's like.  Anyway, how have you two been?"

Emily stood in the kitchen doorway, Rose and Jackie dropping their mugs of tea on the floor.

"What?  It's not like I've not stayed away for a few days before."

Emily turned to the living room, seeing the  'Missing' posters in a box and scattered around.

"What's been going on?"

"I think I can explain that," a voice called from the front door.  "Emily, you've not been away for twelve hours, it's been twelve months, I got it wrong a bit."

"You’re telling me," Emily replied as Rose and Jackie recovered from the initial shock and were both now hugging her.

"What did I miss then?"
Chapter 2
After the shock of Emily being missing for a year, they had to get used to her coming and going with her new 'friend' The Doctor, whom Jackie had taken a dislike to for putting her and Rose through hell for the past year and not only that, the day he had brought her back almost turned into the start of world war three and both Rose and Jackie had been rescued by Mickey into the relative safety of his nearby flat as the police commissioner turned into a green bog monster. 

Every time Emily came back though, she would go on about where they had been and how many times they had escaped and every time she went away again.  Jackie couldn't bear to watch her leave so it had been up to Rose to walk her sister back to the blue wooden police box.

"How can you live like this Emm?" Rose asked her one day.

"How can I stop Rose?  You wouldn't believe half of it.  Do you want to come in and see?"

Emily got her key out and opened the Tardis door, the Doctor standing at the console turning various knobs and pulling levers.

"We'll be ready to go in ten minutes," he told Emily as he fished his what he called his sonic screwdriver out of his leather jacket pocket.  "So, did your boyfriend put that message online then?  The one saying that whole incident about weapons of mass destruction was a hoax?"

"Yeah, I think so, nothing's happened since has it?"

Emily looked at the Doctor.  She had asked him loads of times if her family would be safe while they were away and he had assured her they were and he'd asked if she wanted to bring her younger sister with them bit she had refused.  The Doctor was still sure he'd met Rose and Jackie somewhere before but he never let on to Emily about it.

"Right, we'll be off , say goodbye to your sister then," the Doctor grinned.

"Come on Rose, I'm not gonna go missing for another year, am I Doctor?"

"Nope, don't think so and how many times have I said I was sorry about that?"

Emily followed Rose outside, giving her a hug.  "I shouldn't say this Rose and you have to promise not to tell mum."

"Tell her what?  What sort of things have you been getting into?  Mickey was right, you've been time travelling, haven't you?"

"Yeah and I have to tell you Rose, I can't stop now but we just came back from 1987.  I saw dad Rose, I swear I did and I almost saved him that day he was knocked down and killed."

"Don't say that Emily, you were there when it happened."

"I was only two Rose, I barely remember the fuss and the police and ambulance coming along.  Don't get all sad on me but I had a few hours with him, before it happened."

"You're right, we can't tell mum, she'd be devastated.  You've no idea what it was like for us, you going missing."

"I'm sorry Rose, really I am.  I'll try not to stay away too long.  See ya little sis."

Rose watched her step back into the Tardis, then it faded from view but her mother was standing behind her.

"How can she just go like that Rose?"

"I don't know Mum, she just does.  Come on, I'll make ya a cuppa, then why don't we get those old photos out again?"

Emily kept coming home every few weeks, with piles of washing for her mother to do but it never got any easier and Rose found herself feeling a little jealous.  She had left the market and got a job in the newly rebuild department store her sister had worked in and Mickey was trying his best to get her to be his girlfriend again, going to meet her on Saturday lunchtimes until it got to November and it was too cold to sit outside.

On her day off though, at the end of November, Rose got a phone call.

"I'm in Cardiff Rose, can you come over?  I need my passport."

"What you need that for?"

"I just wanted to see ya and give you a day out."

As Rose was sat on the train to Cardiff Central, thinking some day out it was, Emily, the Doctor and a passenger called Jack Harkness they had picked up were doing some vital repairs.  Rose arrived and followed her sister instructions to make her way down to the bay, where the Tardis would be parked in front of the Millennium Centre.  Seeing it in front of her, she wondered if they were watching her arrival.  She knocked on the door and waited and was surprised when a tall handsome stranger answered it.

"Hello there, you must be Rose."

"Stop it," the Doctor's voice called from inside.

"I was just saying hello.   I'm Captain Jack Harkness and it's a pleasure to finally meet you, Emily talks about you all the time."

Emily pushed past him and greeted her.

"Hope you got an open return?"


"You could stay?"

"No, I should get back, I have work tomorrow.  Whatcha been up to then?"

Over lunch, Jack telling his famous jokes and Rose finding him quite charming, their mood was about to be soured as the Doctor recognised an old enemy on the front page of the paper.  Poor Rose was roped into visiting the Town Hall to meet the new Mayor of the city, otherwise known as Margaret Slitheen, whom they had encountered when the Doctor and Emily had been trapped in Downing Street, Rose and Jackie begging the Doctor not to get Emily killed.

They finally got the mayor back to the Tardis, the Doctor insisting they were taking her back to her home planet and she had challenged the other occupants to look her in the eye.

"Come on Emily, let's get out of here," Rose insisted.

"Go on you two, it's going to be a while before I finish with this," Jack insisted, indicating to where he was wiring in what he described as a pan-dimensional surfboard.

They walked around for a while, Rose saying she should be getting back to the railway station when suddenly, people began to run and scream as the ground beneath them started to shake.  They looked up to see what seemed like lightning coming from where the Tardis was parked.

"Go Rose, go back home, go catch your train."

"And leave you?  What do you take me for?"

They ran hand in hand towards the Tardis, dodging the cracks now appearing beneath their feet.  The Doctor, who had been out with Margaret, was close behind them.

"What's going on?" Rose asked.

"Oh, just little old me," Margaret declared as Jack tried to get things under control.

Suddenly, she uncovered her arm, revealing what was now a large claw and grabbed Rose, the claw almost piercing her neck.

"Let her go," the Doctor simply said, looking at Rose then at the console.

After enticing Margaret to look at him, a bright light now coming from a hatch that had opened, Jack got Rose away and was holding onto her, Rose not objecting after the shock.

"She's an egg," Rose declared as they all gathered around where Margaret had been standing moments ago.  " What are you gonna do with her?"

"Oh, just take her back home and pop her in the hatchery, maybe she'll be raised properly this time?"

"Is that what you do?  Save people?"

"Yep," the Doctor replied smugly.  We should get you home, you've missed the train."

"You happen to know the train times from Cardiff to London do you?" Rose laughed.

"As it happens, yes I do.  We can drop you off home, unless you want to come with us?"

Rose shook her head, looking at her sister.  "After what I've just been through?  No thanks.  Nice to have met you Jack."

"You too Rose but haven't we met before?"

"Some chat-up line that is," Rose laughed.

The Doctor managed to land Rose in the courtyard outside the flats and said goodbye.

"Any time you want to join us, feel free."

"Yeah, right, haven't you got enough with one Tyler?"

The Doctor looked at her and was about to say he had the strangest feeling he had the wrong one.  Maybe he had somehow found himself in an alternate timeline?

Rose thought nothing more about the earthquake, there was very little about it on the news the following evening and a few weeks went by before they saw anything of Emily again.

It was Rose's day off and she and her mother were talking in the kitchen when Rose suddenly got up.

"What's wrong with you?" her mother asked as she grabbed her jacket and ran out of the front door.

Rose was running in the direction of a familiar sound and found her sister sitting on a wall beside the now familiar blue box.

"I heard it all the way in the flats," Rose managed as she was out of breath.  "Is he still inside then?"

"No, he's gone."

"What?  How do ya mean he's gone?"

Emily quickly explained what had happened after they had dropped Rose off.

"So you left him and Jack with those Dalek things?"

"I'm not proud of it Rose, he tricked me, he wanted me to come back but I have to find a way to help him."

"How ya gonna do that?" Rose asked, sitting beside her.

"Remember that woman, Margaret?  She looked into the heart of the Tardis and got her wish.  If I can get it open, I can tell the ship to take me back to him."

"He meant for you to be safe Emm, why risk going back?"

"He'd do the same for me, or anyone, I have to try."

"Well come and see mum first."

Rose's phone rang.

"Mum, meet me and Emily at the café."

All was going well until Emily brought up the subject of her father.

"Dad wouldn't have given up," Emily declared, sitting back on her chair.

"Well we'll never know, will we?" Jackie asked.

"Well he wouldn't.  I went back and I met him, I told Rose, didn't I Rose?"

Rose nodded.   "She told me Mum, we have to help her get back."

"Emily, lord knows I hated that Doctor but he sent you home to me.  You'll have to settle down like the rest of us."

"I can't Mum, if you'd seen the things I had."

Jackie got up.  "Stop it Emily," she cried, running out of the café.

"Rose, can you call Mickey and ask him to bring his car and a chain?  I have an idea."

As Mickey was putting his foot on the accelerator of his black mini, Rose and Emily were encouraging him to give it more effort, resulting in the chain snapping.  Rose put her arm around her sister.

"I can't give up Rose, he and Jack may be already dead."

"I understand Emm, really I do."

Mickey got out of his car to join them just as a massive recovery truck came around the corner, Jackie at the wheel.

"Mickey, you've got until six o'clock so get movin'"

"Where did you get that from Mum?" Rose asked, amazed at seeing her mother handle such a vehicle since she had only just passed her driving test and convinced she had worn her short skirt in order to do so.

"Rodrigo, he owed me a favour and never mind what it was.  Now get moving.  Emily, you're right, your dad would never have given up."

After Mickey hitched the strong cables and chains to the console panel, he climbed into the cab and put his foot down.  Rose and Jackie were standing at the side of the cables, Jackie shouting for Mickey to give it some more  revs.

"I'm just gonna check on Emily," Rose shouted.

Going inside, Emily was willing the console to open.

"He must be something then, that Doctor."

"Yeah, he is Rose, you wouldn't understand.  You'd best leave 'cos when that panel opens, the Tardis will take me back to him."

"I hope it's worth it Emm."

Suddenly, something gave and the panel opened, Emily gazing into it as Rose stood by and stared, not daring to move.  Finding the courage, she ran for the door getting out just in time.

"Rose, she's still in there, get her out," her mother shouted at her.

Rose ran back as did Mickey but the door slammed in her face.  Try as she might, kicking and banging on the door, the force of the Tardis taking off flung them both back, Mickey just catching Rose.  She ran to her mother who was in tears.

"What's gonna happen to her Rose?"

"I don't know Mum, we just have to trust she gets back in time to save him and he brings her back."

"I hope you're right, come on Rose, I'll leave my car here and go take this thing back," Mickey pointed to the recovery truck blocking the road, its lights still flashing.

It was Christmas Eve day, Rose and Jackie had finished their shopping, not knowing if Emily was alive or not or where she was.  There had been no word from her since that time she had got the console panel open.  Jackie was just wrapping presents, paper and tape still on the coffee table.  Suddenly, she heard the front door being opened and seeing the back of Rose.  She grabbed her keys and ran after her, running down the stairs.

Mickey was just coming from the other end of the courtyard.

"I can hear it Mickey," Rose called out to him.

"Yeah, I heard it too."

"Tell me it's her Rose," her mother begged, looking up into the sky.

Suddenly, there was a loud noise and a glimpse of something blue then before they knew it, the Tardis was spinning out of control, hit a wall, just missed a postal van and landed in a corner by a trash can.  Rose stared in disbelief, she remembered that spot, it was the one she had held a short conversation with a man last New Years Eve.  Jackie had grabbed her arm by this time.

"Where is she?  Where's Emily?"

Rose let go and ventured forward towards the door.

"Rose, don't go in there," Jackie called after her.

She didn't have to as the door opened and they saw two hands clutching the door, then two arms dressed in a leather jacket that seemed to hang off the wearer.  Rose stood back as a head popped around the corner and it was not the Doctor they had met before.  The man came staggering out, looking around.

He lurched forward and putting his arms around Rose and Mickey, leaned on them.  Jackie stood to one side, not quite believing what had just taken place.

"Who are you then and where is my daughter?" Jackie managed to say.

"What?   Oh, here we are then, London. Earth. The Solar System.  We did it.  Jackie. Mickey.  Rose was it?  Blimey!  No, no, no, no, hold on. Wait there.  I've got something to say.  There was something I had to tell you, something important.  What was it?  No, hold on, hold on.  Hold on, shush, shush, shush, shush.  Oh, I know!  Merry Christmas!"

With that, Rose just managed to stop him bumping his head on the ground and Emily made an appearance.

"Emm, who is this man?" Jackie asked her, joining Rose and Mickey, Rose staring at the stranger but staring more as his t-shirt had ridden up and he was showing his belly.

Mickey had noticed – trust Rose to spot something like that and it wasn't him.

"Emm, where is he, where's the Doctor?" Rose asked her as they stood around.

"That's him."

"Don't be daft," her mother told her.  "How can it be him?"

"It's him Mum, so he says, I don't know, he just burst into what looked like flames and there he was."

"How could he do that?  Did he pull some sort of trick?" Mickey wanted to know.

Rose had managed to tear her eyes away from the man's bare middle.

"Well we can't leave him lying here, let's get him upstairs."

"Yeah, we should and if anyone asks he's got drunk and we're taking him home," Jackie declared as Rose and Mickey decided who was lifting what part of the prone figure on the ground.

Rose was doing her best to stop the stranger's t-shirt falling back into place, getting her a scowl from Mickey and her sister, Jackie had not noticed.

As they carried the stranger between them, Emily locking the Tardis door, Rose had the strangest feeling she had met the man before but brushed it off – how could she have?  According to what Emily had said, he was like the proverbial phoenix rising from the ashes.  They managed to get the man upstairs and into the single bed, Jackie had long since got rid of the bunks and had ruled that if Emily ever did come back, they would just have to swap rooms and buy another single bed.

"I'll get him changed," Mickey declared, seeing disappointment on Rose's face.

"Into what?" Emily asked.

Jackie went into the kitchen and produced a pair of pyjamas from the clean laundry basket.

"Since when has Mickey been staying over Rose?  Is that why there's only a single bed?" Emily asked, eyeing Mickey.

"Not, it's not, they belong to Howard, he comes and stays with mum sometimes."

"What have I been missing then?" Emily smiled as Mickey grabbed them and went off, closing the bedroom door behind him so Rose wouldn't peek again at the strangers chest or anything else but he decided he would leave the man's shorts on.

"Where's mum sneaked off to?" Rose asked as Mickey opened the door and the still strange man lay in Rose's bed.

They were just debating what to do when the front door opened and Jackie stood with a stethoscope in her hands.

"Tina's got a medical student staying with her, Martha or something like that but she was asleep."

"Give it here Mum," Emily insisted.

"Why, what's wrong with him?  You don't know where is heart is?"

Rose giggled out in the hallway.

"He's got two," Emily sighed.  "They're both working."

"Don't be so daft Emm, how can he have two?"

"He just has, he's not human Mum."

Jackie stared at the younger man.  "So, it's really him?"

"Has to be, there was only me and him in there, unless something grabbed him and replaced him with this one."

Jackie was still eyeing him.

"Leave him Mum, there's nothing we can do for him, he'll have to come out of it himself."

"You're just gonna let him die?" Rose  asked, stepping forward.

"What else can I do Rose?  His home planet has gone and we can't take him to hospital, they'll tear him apart to see what makes him tick.  I need a cuppa, you can take this back to Tina Mum."

Jackie snapped out of her gaze.  "Anything else he's got two of?"

"Mum, leave it."

"Well he's only got one belly button, ask Rose, she was staring at it when he was laid on the ground," Mickey grinned.

Rose dug him in his ribs with her elbow.

"Shut up Mickey.  Make yourself useful and get a damp facecloth and some towels."

"What for?" Mickey asked.

Rose watched her sister and mother disappear and assumed they'd gone into the kitchen.

"Someone's gotta look after him, Emm ain't gonna do it.  I swear I've seen him before though."
Chapter 3
Mickey went off to fetch a bowl of cold water and some cloths, seeing Rose feel the temperature of the man lying unconscious in her bed.  Things hadn't improved between the two of them despite Rose saying it was her mother who'd had him hauled in first for Emily's kidnapping then with her murder.  He and Jackie were just about on speaking terms even after all that time but he was never going to be Rose's boyfriend again, their whole relationship had been running hot and cold for a long time.

Rose was feeling the stranger's forehead again when Mickey got back, clearing a space on Rose's bedside table.

"So, do you think he's the same man then?" Mickey asked as Rose dipped a facecloth in the cool water.

"You saw him come out of the Tardis Mickey, I have to believe it's him unless Emm's right and he was just planted there but where did the other one go then?  People don't just vanish and a new one appears in their place."

"She said something about him being alien, she said that before."

"Before?  When?"

"When those shop dummies came to life."

"That was just a student trick gone wrong, I don't care what the other Doctor said and getting you to cover it up made you feel like you'd been part of it."

"I was part of it Rose, I never told you."

"Why not?" she asked, placing the damp cloth on the Doctor's forehead and feeling his left hand was all clammy.

Mickey's didn't want her laughing at him.  "I think Emm just went out."

"Don't change the subject Mickey.  I wonder where she's going?"

"Probably trying to find a shop still open to get some presents, not that she'll have any money.  I'll be right back."

He dashed out and opened the front door to see Emily turn the corner and ran after her, seeing her going around the corner of the stairwell.

"Wait up Emm," he called after her.

Emily stopped and he caught up with her.  "Where you going?" he asked, slightly out of breath.

"Just out Mickey, go back.  I can't stay in there, mum just interrogated me over what happened and I don't know how to explain it to her."

"Then tell me?" he asked, sitting on the step.

Emily sat down just below him and turned around.

"When I went back, well I don't remember much, it was like I wasn't in control of myself, you know?  All I do remember is a bright light and the next thing, I woke up on the grating inside the Tardis."

"Is that all?" Mickey half joked.

Emily hit his leg.  "No you plum.  He started talking all weird, helped me up and when I asked if we'd got away and how, he said he sang a song and the Daleks ran away and with his singing, I can believe him but that's not what really happened.  I think when I looked into the heart of the Tardis, it altered me and when I got back, I destroyed them all."

"Don't be so daft, how can you do that?"

"I don't know but it's gone now, I don't remember that much more.  Then the Doctor had this strange golden glow about him and he said he was going to change."

"So he warned you?  How come you don't believe it's him then?"

"Because he said he was the last of his kind and that Timelords have a trick to stop them dying.  If that was true, then why is he the last one?  He lied to me Mickey, I felt sorry for him so I went with him but he tricked me.  I think another Timelord has taken his place, what else could it be?"

Mickey shook his head – it was plausible.  "Let me get this right.  He died and another Timelord took over his body?"

"No, now you're the one being daft.  I meant he faded away and a new man took over, claiming to be the Doctor.  Don't you agree it's a reasonable explanation?"

"So how come he knew us?"

"Some kind of mental transference during the process?  How do I know?  Want to know what I think?"

Mickey nodded and she continued, thinking if anyone overheard them, she would get carted off along with this new Doctor.

"That when the real Doctor faded away, he went back to his people and this new one got a turn at being him.  He kept going on about the Daleks destroying his home world but what if most of them got away, the Daleks did, why not the Timelords?  Maybe most of them weren't there that day when the planet was destroyed, maybe a lot of them were travelling in their own Tardis and they settled somewhere else when their planet was destroyed?"

Mickey was taking it all in.  "So they settled some place else?  How did another one know when to take his place then?"

"Easy, he said they were a telepathic race," Emily answered smugly, getting up.  "Lend us twenty quid Mickey, I want to get mum and Rose a present, I'll just have time to get to the local shops."

Mickey was stunned yet her reason for the new man in Rose's bedroom seemed to have been answered.  He went in his jacket and pulled out his wallet.

"Don't let the moths get away," Emily joked, holding out her hand.

"Very funny Emm, what's Rose been telling you?"

"That she pays when you drag her to the pub to watch the football.  She also told me you dragged her along when the tennis was on so you could see all the female players' underwear when they reached for the tennis ball."

Mickey had a guilty look on his face – Rose wasn't so daft as to believe he was genuinely interested in watching tennis for only two weeks a year.  He handed her a twenty pound note.

"Am I gonna get this back?" he asked hopefully as Emily walked down the steps.

"Ask Rose, then I'll owe her instead," Emily called behind her.

Mickey turned and headed back to Rose's flat, letting himself in and standing in her bedroom doorway, watching her mopping the Doctor's forehead.

"He's getting worse Mickey, he's all hot and feverish, he should see a real doctor."

"Emily told you what would happen if anyone examined him, we can't risk it.  Just carry on with what you're doing but she said he may be a completely different man, he might not be the Doctor."

"So?  He's ill, he needs taking care of."

"Your mum used to tell me of all the sickly cats you brought home when you were twelve," Mickey smiled.

Rose looked up.  "It's not quite the same Mickey.  What do ya mean anyway?  Just because he changed his appearance?"

"Emily reckons another Timelord took his place."

"Then where did the other one get to?  Emily's in denial, of course he's the same one, don't you watch Highlander or Deep Space Nine?"

"What has that got to do with him?"

"The Trill change hosts and Highlander lives for thousands of years, re-inventing himself, it's no different."

"So he's got a giant worm inside him?" Mickey laughed.

"No but maybe his mind, his consciousness remains intact, all his memories are the same, he remembered us."

"He had to think of your name."

"That's beside the point, he was on the verge of collapsing, he could have easily forgotten your name, or mum's.  Where was Emily going then?"

"Shopping, to take her mind off things, like every woman does.  I lent her twenty quid, she said you'd pay me back."

"Well it will have to be next week now.  Why am I always the one to end up paying other people's debts?   What's mum up to, she's gone really quiet."

The Doctor was muttering something in his sleep, tossing and turning and that was the only way Rose knew he was still alive.  She looked at an old teddy bear lying in the corner and reached to pick it up, then smiling, she put it on top of him and got up to go make herself a drink.  Just as she reached her room door, the doorbell rang.

"I'll get it, Emm's not got her key I bet."

Rose opened the door to find a large Christmas tree, complete with decorations, standing on the walkway.

"Mickey, come and help me with this will ya?  How much did you say you lent her?"

They dragged the tree inside, Jackie was reading a magazine, letting everyone get on with things, she was having nothing to do with any of it.

"Where did that thing come from?  Did you order it Rose?"

"No Mum, Emily went out, it has to be her.  So, move the other one Mickey, put it in the kitchen or something.  This one looks lovely, I wonder how she got it here so fast?"

"She must have ordered it before she went away last time," Mickey suggested as he came back in the room.  "Either that or they were going out on the last delivery but why isn't she back yet?"

"What did she say to you then?" Rose asked, moving some of the baubles around but some wouldn't budge, they were well attached to the branches of the tree.

"That she was going shopping."

"I don't mean that.  I meant about that poor man lying in there and you Mum, I'm surprised at you, not helping."

"You used to bring in stray cats, Emily brings in strange men."

"He's not a strange man, he's the Doctor," Rose insisted.

"Well your sister has a theory about that, you should get her to tell you, you'd have me locked up if I told you," Mickey huffed, folding his arms.

Jackie reached for the portable phone or as Rose called it 'The brick'.  "Best tell cousin Mo Emily's back from trekkin' around outer Mongolia then."

When Emily had escaped from the block of flats, she got the bus down to the local shops and wandered around the few places in the shopping precinct that were still open.  She was confused and upset and she couldn't have stayed in there any longer, why had he deceived her?  She thought they had a special kind of friendship, she didn't fancy him or anything, they were really proper mates, having a laugh while he dragged her into all kinds of things such as confronting gas-masked zombies and the Slitheen chasing them.

As she was passing a few market stalls, she heard a band playing Christmas carols, the members all dressed in Santa suits but looking a bit odd wearing some kind of mask.  She continued wandering around but the band seemed to be following her then suddenly as she stopped in front of a stall, the band stopped and aimed their musical instruments towards her.

The Doctor had taught her one thing – always be suspicious so she started to run just as the instruments turned into flame-throwers, destroying a market stall she'd just been looking at.  She ran off toward the bus stop but instead, hailed a passing taxi, jumping into the back and telling the driver her destination.  She looked back then got out her phone.  Typical, her mother would be chatting to cousin Mo, wouldn't she?  She tried Rose's number but Rose had left her phone on silent in her bedroom, not wanting to disturb their unexpected house guest.

Emily paid the driver then ran across the courtyard and bounded up the steps, rushing along the walkway and tapping furiously on the door, forgetting about the sleeping man.

"Well guess who that is," Jackie muttered, holding her hand over the phone.

Rose got up and rushed to the door.

"Where's the Doctor?" Emily managed, still out of breath and pushing past her.

"Where you deserted him sis, how could you?"

"Not now Rose, I think something's after him.  Where did that tree come from?  It wasn't here when I left.  I tried to call you but you never answered."

"Mum's talking to cousin Mo and I left my phone in the bedroom.  Why didn't you call Mickey?"

Mickey was the last person she would think of calling in an emergency.  "I thought he might have gone home," she hinted, approaching the tree.  "So, where did it come from?"

"Ask Rose, she brought it in," her mother replied, finally pressing the 'End call' button on the phone and folding the aerial.

Suddenly, Rose swore she saw a branch moving on its own.  "We thought you'd had it delivered."

"Me?  How would I have got a tree delivered?  I've not even been out for an hour.  Where did you find it?"

"Outside, the doorbell rang and there it was," Mickey replied, trying to be helpful.

"Christmas trees don't ring doorbells Mickey," Emily told him sarcastically.  "Didn't that tree just move?  I told ya something was going on."

Suddenly, the tree began to spin, slowly, then it gathered speed as it began to play music.

"Everyone out, now," Emily shouted, grabbing her mother's arm.  "Get the Doctor, quick."

They all ran to Rose's room, seeing the prone figure, the teddy bear still tucked in with him.

"Ha, ha Rose, very funny," Emily quipped, throwing it back in the corner.

"I thought he might get lonely."

"Well you'd better wake him," Jackie called as the tree smashed through the living room doorway, leaving a tree shape hole in its wake.

They all crammed into the bedroom, Emily reaching for the Doctor's leather jacket and going through the pockets, finding the sonic device.

"What's that thing?" Jackie asked as the crashing outside became louder and Mickey was trying to move the wardrobe to block the doorway.

"A little help Rose?" he asked as he huffed.

"What?  Oh yeah, sorry.  Emily?  What is that?"

Emily was perched on the side of the bed, the sonic screwdriver in her hand, trying to put it in the Doctor's hand.

"A sonic screwdriver."

"Don't be daft, how can a screwdriver be sonic?  What else does he have, a laser spanner?" Jackie quipped, holding onto the wardrobe with Mickey and Rose.

"No, he said Amy Pankhurst stole it from him.  Doctor, wake up."

She got nothing out of the still regenerating Doctor until she whispered in his ear.  "Doctor, I need you."

He woke up with a start, Rose and the others turning around as the wardrobe gave way and the tree was facing them.  The Doctor sat up in the bed, raised the screwdriver and the tree exploded, its branches splintering and covering the floor, Mickey and Jackie, who were the nearest, Rose having already had the sense to move away from their destroyer.

"I'm gonna be killed by a Christmas tree," Jackie cried out as the branches exploded around them.  "It's destroyed half the flat, I want to know who had that thing delivered."

"Well I'd blame Rose, she told me to bring it in," Mickey replied, getting him a scowl from Rose.

The Doctor was getting out of bed, Emily passing him the dressing gown that had been laid on the bed.

"Remote control but who's controlling it?" he asked, getting up.

The Doctor put the dressing gown on and stepped into a pair of leather slippers Jackie had placed by the bed in their haste to get him settled.  Rose had opened the front door, the Doctor giving her a smile.  Gone was his northern accent and had been replaced by an Estuary English one which Rose thought suited him.  He was very slim and a bit taller and she was already admiring his thick head of hair that was a bit messy, since he'd been laid in bed for a good while.

They looked down at the courtyard below, three robots dressed in Santa outfits watching them, one holding a remote.  The Doctor pointed the screwdriver down at them and they vanished in a flash.

Mickey jeered after them.  "What rubbish are they then?"

"Pilot fish," the Doctor groaned, clutching his stomach.  "You woke me too soon, I'm still regenerating."

He staggered back toward the side of the flat, Rose grabbing his arm as he crouched down.  Emily was still staring at him in disbelief, thinking he hadn't heard her asking to help them, like she wasn't sure he was the same man, as she'd told Mickey.

The Doctor felt something in the dressing gown pocket and brought out an apple. 

"Oh, that's Howard's" Jackie admitted, blushing.

"He gets hungry in his sleep?" the Doctor asked, Rose thinking that would take some explaining to Emily.


The Doctor exhaled a kind of golden energy.  "They're after me, they can smell me a million miles away so they come here, eliminate you lot and cart me off.  They can run their batteries off me for years."

"Well we won't let them, will we Emm?" Rose asked, crouching down next to him and the Doctor gripping her hand for support.

The Doctor cried out, Rose looking at him.  "What's wrong with you?"

"I'm having a neuron implosion, I need…"  He let out another groan, gripping tighter onto Rose's hand.

"What do you need?" Jackie asked him, concerned the neighbours were going to start getting nosy.  "A cup of tea?  Aspirin?"

"I need."

"Out with it then.  Oh I don't know, a bowl of soup?"

"I need you to."  He let out another breath of golden energy.

"Indigestion remedy?" Jackie asked hopefully, thinking it wasn't a good idea to come out with every single one she knew of, which was quite extensive, having two daughters who like to gulp their food down quickly and a part-time boyfriend.

"I need you to shut up."

"Oh, he's still rude then?" Jackie huffed back at him.

"There's no time for this, they'll be back and they won't be alone.  It means…"

He exhaled more energy and Rose was getting more worried about him and about her sister, who appeared to be doing nothing useful to help her friend.

"Something is coming."

He collapsed onto Rose as everyone watched.

"Well help me get him back inside," Rose suggested.

"It's a mess in there you know," Emily finally spoke.

"Yeah and whose fault's that then?" Jackie asked as Mickey found he could actually move and went for the Doctor's arm as Rose tried to get up, the Doctor not obliging.

They got him back inside, Jackie going for a sweeping brush to try to clear some of the mess away from the doorway.

"How am I gonna explain this to the council when the rent office re-opens?" she wanted to know.

Rose got the Doctor's dressing gown off, catching a glimpse of his chest but saw Mickey watching her.

"What?" she asked innocently as she pulled the covers over the now sleeping Doctor, who seemed to have taken a turn for the worse.

"I saw you looking at him earlier, downstairs."

"So what?  We don't go out any more Mickey, so don't get jealous and besides, he's Emily's friend, not mine.  He's hardly gonna want me tagging along, is he?"

"More like she won't want you tagging along but I don't know about that now, she's got her doubts about him."

"Well she won't just desert him, will she?"

"I dunno Rose, maybe it's time for her to come home?"
Chapter 4
Emily was pacing the kitchen, things were going from bad to worse.  Jackie couldn't think of anything to say, for a change.

"I thought I knew him Mum," Emily was saying.  "I thought me and him were, you know, best friends?  Then he goes and does this to me."

"What if it's really him?  Won't he think you've deserted him?"

"He won't remember, will he?  Besides, Rose is there, you know what she's like, remember the sick cats she used to bring home?"

"Yeah but that man lying in her bed is a bit different to a cat Emm, I mean.  Hadn't you better go and check how he is?"

"Rose will call out if he gets worse.  How could he do this to me Mum?  The places we've been and the things he's showed me, what if he doesn't want me to go with him any more?  Do I want to go with him?  How can I settle back down but do you know what really gets me?"

Jackie supposed she was going to find out even if she didn't really want to.

"All the 'I'm the last of the Timelords' and the 'There's no-one left – I'm the only one'.  How can he say that now when there's another one, lying in the bedroom?"

"You're not thinking straight Emily, why don't you go in there and give Rose a break?"

"No, I can't Mum, just looking at him fills me with all these doubts.  I'll go lie down on the sofa.  What's been going on while I've been away?  Where's cousin Mo got to then?"

"She's in the Peak district now, I swear one of these days she'll settle down.  Hey guess what?"

Emily stopped her pacing and left the kitchen, going to the living room that looked like a battlefield, mess everywhere.

"That Harriet Jones?" Emily asked as she glanced at the TV that had been left on when they had been trying to avoid getting shredded by a Christmas tree.

"Yeah, she's Prime Minister now, I'm miles better off."

"What's this satellite thing she's on about?"

"I dunno, they were sending some spaceship to explore Mars.  Complete waste of time if you ask me, you should tell them about all the real aliens you've seen."

Emily turned around.  "You are joking Mum, didn't you listen to what I told you all earlier?  If they got hold of the Doctor, they'd dissect him.  He said something about a military organisation though, I think he called it UNIT, said he used to work with them back in the 70s and 80s."

She sat herself down on the sofa, which had miraculously evaded being shredded to bits while Jackie went off to see how much more damage had been done, cursing both Rose and Mickey for bringing that damn tree into the flat.  She'd heard the front door going, assuming Mickey was cowering off home now Rose had a new hobby and if according to what Mickey had said, Rose had her eyes on who used to be Emily's friend.

Over the past months since Emily had come back, she'd never noticed her two daughters had become distant, Emily spent less and less time at home and even when she'd been 'grounded' she'd insisted on going back to help that alien but now, she'd suddenly left it to her sister to take care of him.  She looked up when she heard the front door opening, meaning to tell Mickey to stop letting himself in all the time.  He closed the door and was holding a laptop, cables trailing out of it.

"I'm gonna use the phoneline Jackie, is that okay?" he asked, trying to avoid the pile of plaster on the floor.

"Yeah, keep a record of it, it's not cheap ya know?  What you doing anyway?"

"Something the Doctor said, about pilot fish."

"How would you know Mickey?" Emily called out from a pile of cushions on the sofa.  "You were a fat lot of good out there."

"Huh?  He's your friend Emm so why is Rose in there, worried about him?  You didn't do much yourself ya know?  He changes his face and it's like you don't want anything to do with him," Mickey retorted, plugging the modem cable into the phone line and opening the top of the laptop.

"Well I might, when he wakes up," Emily huffed back, aiming a cushion in his direction but it landing on the floor as it bounced off his arm.

Mickey began his search for pilot fish, not happy with the results.  Jackie stood in the doorway.  It was getting late, it was almost ten and she had no idea how long that man was going to be laid out flat in Rose's bedroom.  The last few hours had been tense, Mickey was typing away, looking up these pilot fish and had somehow wandered onto the tracking of the satellite that was approaching Mars.

Rose was dozing off and woke up suddenly, realising she was leaning on the man's arm.  She got up and put another cloth on his forehead, she swore he'd got hotter, how was he still hanging on?  Maybe he really was an alien after all, she'd only half-believed her older sister.  She wandered into the living room to see Mickey glued to the computer screen, Emily appeared to be asleep and Jackie was trying to catch up on her soaps she'd missed earlier, the Christmas edition she had taped when the commotion had kicked off.

Rose stood behind Mickey, resting her hands on his shoulder.

"Whatcha found Micks?"

"Shush Rose, Emm's asleep.  Look at this."

He flipped the screen back to the images he'd found earlier.  "See, pilot fish lure the big fish or as you could put it, we get them first, then that comes along."

Rose made a face as a shark or whatever it was swallowed the pilot fish. 

"So, we've had them Santas, what's coming next?"

"I've been tracking that satellite, you know, the one on its way to Mars.  Jackie, have you finished watching your soap?"

"A few minutes if you two shut it."

"Nice Mum," Rose signed, yawning.  "I need a cuppa.  You've not told anyone have you?"

"Told anyone what?" her mother asked, stopping the recording, Rose wondering how her mother had finally grasped programming the video recorder.

"About the Doctor, who da ya think?"

"Emily's convinced that ain't him."

"Yeah, I know but he still needs our help Mum."

"Rose, come and look at this," Mickey called out to her.  "Don't go telling me that's a satellite."

Jackie had turned over to the 24 hr news, since the Doctor, on one of his rare visits had got her the paying channels.  At least he'd been useful for something, she'd thought at the time.

"Well look at this then, they say that satellite has disappeared off the radar," Jackie commented.

"That's what I'm trying to tell you Rose, it just vanished," Mickey insisted.

"He said something is coming," Rose thought out loud.

"Well whatever it is, no-one's picked it up yet."

No-one but Jackie was taking any notice of the TV.  Rose went back to check on the sleeping Doctor, he was tossing his head, still letting out the golden energy every now and then.

"I wish you'd wake up and tell us what's going on," Rose sighed, sitting back down on the chair and yawning.

Mickey stood in the doorway as Rose wearily put her head on the side of the bed.  He knew he'd lost her for good when Emily had disappeared but now, she seemed intent on staying by this stranger's bedside and there would be no getting her away.  He let himself out, Jackie hearing him go and getting up herself, went to her wardrobe and dragged the spare duvet out, going back and putting it on the sleeping Emily.  She stood watching Rose, her and her strays, now she had a new hobby and it wasn't cats or fluffy animals.

It was gone midnight but at six, they were woken up by Mickey banging on the door.  It was Rose that stirred, letting him in.

"Mickey, what you doing here so early?" Rose yawned.

"Couldn't sleep so I went back online, he was right, something is coming, put the TV on."

They went into the living room, Emily still spark out, putting the TV on and keeping the volume low.  A man was declaring they had re- established contact with the satellite and they were about to receive live pictures from it at any moment.

"Wow, exciting stuff Mickey," Rose prodded him as he sat on the floor in front of her chair.

"Shush Rose, wait and see."

"Oh, so you know more than we do?  That'll be the day."

"Be serious Rose, just wait."

"What's going on?" Jackie asked, standing in the doorway in her dressing gown.

"They're gonna show pictures from that satellite Mum," Rose informed her, wondering if her sister was going to sleep through the entire thing and miss it or was she just faking it, her being in denial and all.

Jackie perched on the chair arm, moving Rose's elbow.  Suddenly, the picture on the TV went all fuzzy and when it cleared they all stared in disbelief.

"That ain't any Martian landscape," Jackie gasped, gripping Rose's arm.

They all jumped when the picture came into focus and saw three what looked like aliens with large bony heads.  One of them roared and the picture went off.  Mickey quickly got up and crossed to where he'd plugged the laptop back in, switching it on.

"It's coming in fast," he declared.  "I reckon it will be here in about two hours, the speed it's going."

"What you on about Mickey?" Rose asked, getting up.

"The spaceship," he replied, staring at her for not knowing.

"What spaceship?  So he was right, something is coming.  I'd best go check on him then.  Mum, are you gonna wake Emm?"

"Leave her, does she actually sleep when she's in that blue box?"

"No point in asking me Mum, is there?" Rose replied, leaving the disaster of a living room and going into the kitchen and filling the kettle with water.

Going into the cupboard, she brought out the teabags to refill the caddy and waited for the water to boil.  How on earth had they got mixed up in all this?  She'd not had time to think last night, being left to tend who had once been the Doctor, not that she'd had much to do with him except when Emily had conned her into traipsing to Cardiff to deliver her passport, that she didn't even need.  This new one though, he just seemed so familiar somehow.  Then she began to wonder if she'd been right, he was the man she had spoken to last New Year's Eve, the man in the shadows.

His voice had been a bit different but if he'd had too much to drink that night, it could be him but maybe he'd not been drunk, maybe he'd been injured somehow and she'd gone off and left him.  What if somehow, that had been when he'd become the Doctor?  Emily kept bragging about time travel, anything was possible.  She shook her head, made the tea and went back to her bedroom, putting the mug on the bedside table.  Then she went to the bathroom to freshen herself up, getting herself some clean clothes and taking a quick shower, feeling much better afterwards.

Coming out of the bathroom, Rose heard a loud sonic boom overhead and the sound of glass breaking outside.  Her mother and Mickey dashed out of the living room, almost knocking poor Rose over.

"What the hell was that?" Jackie asked, opening the door and seeing the glass partition at either side of the door shattered.

"I told you, its here Jackie," Mickey stated, looking upwards.

"Well if that didn't wake the Doctor and Emily, nothing else will."

"Did someone mention me?" a voice behind them asked.

They all turned around to see the Doctor in Howard's dressing gown, minus the slippers, which had been too small for him.

"What have I missed then?" he asked, seeing the shattered glass.  "And why are there tree shaped holes in the walls?  Oh, right, that would have been the Christmas tree that exploded last night then, sorry about that.  Where's Emily?"

He carefully peered over the glass partition and looked up, seeing what appeared to be a large rock above them.

"Who are they?" Rose managed to ask.

"No idea but whoever they are, they're after me.  Best go get dressed and you lot will be safer in the Tardis.  Who were you again?"

"Crikey, have you lost your memory?  It's Rose."

"Ah, yes, how could I forget?  Sorry.  What's this then?" 

He went in the dressing gown pocket and brought out a Satsuma, tossing it to Rose, who grinned and put it in her jacket pocket.  "Oh, your friend likes his snacks Jackie.  What are you all standing around here for?  Go get Emily and we'll all pop down to the Tardis, then I can find out who that lot is.  Have they made any demands?"

Mickey shrugged his shoulders.  "Not that I know of but they'd hardly phone us would they?"

"Mickey the idiot.  I didn't mean that, I meant anything they demanded of the government.  Who's the Prime Minister these days?"

"Harriet Jones," Rose managed to say as they followed him back inside, the Doctor being careful where he stood.

"Did that sonic boom wake you up?" she asked as he went back into her room to retrieve his clothes, which were now far too big for him but he thought they'd have to do, at a pinch.

"Nah, the smell of hot tea, a fusion of tannins and free radicals, nothing like it to clear the synapses.  Gather what you need then we'll go down to the Tardis, how's your sister sleeping through this lot?" the Doctor asked, noticing his companion still hadn't made an appearance.

"Beats me, does she actually sleep in that box of yours?" Jackie wanted to know, coming out of her bedroom, relieved that neither the killer tree or the sonic boom had destroyed it, like the rest of the flat.

Rose and Jackie went into the kitchen to give the Doctor some privacy to get dressed, Mickey was doing his best to wake the sleeping Emily.

"Come on Emm, you're missing all the excitement," he told her, shaking her shoulders.  "The Doctor's awake, you can ask him now, if it's really him."

Emily just stayed asleep, Mickey giving up.  He turned around as he felt someone was watching him.

"How long has she been asleep?" the Doctor asked him, now wearing black jeans that were held up by a belt, on its last notch but still a bit slack, a black jumper and a leather jacket, hanging off his now slender frame.  The shoes seemed about right, thankfully.

"Since around ten last night, nothing woke her up, Jackie going on about watching TV, nothing at all.  What's wrong with her?"

The Doctor stood over her, reaching for his sonic screwdriver that Rose had put back in his pocket after the tree exploded but changed his mind, thinking it would alert the aliens above them.

"She absorbed the time vortex, no human or Timelord is meant to do that.  I had to take it out of her, it's all gone now but it must have taken its toll on her, she's suffering from exhaustion, that's all.  We'll have to carry her down to the Tardis, they may know where I am, if those robots reported back to them or maybe they had nothing to do with it, maybe that was someone else controlling them?  Still, one problem at a time."

Mickey volunteered to pick up Emily, Jackie had two carriers of food, Rose leading the way then locking the door.  They got downstairs, having to wait for the lift but Rose and the Doctor choosing the stairs, the Doctor already looking around and opening the Tardis door.

"Some parking that was," Rose laughed, while they waited for the others.

"Thanks, I was on the verge of collapsing you know.  Thanks for looking after me."

"How did you know it was me?" Rose asked him, blushing the colour of her name.

"Emily's been asleep, she'll be fine in a few more hours and I couldn't see your mother staying with me all night, could you?"

"Oi, I heard that," Jackie objected as she entered the Tardis, Mickey behind her.

"Just lay her down for now or you can take her to her room if you want?" the Doctor told him.

Mickey went for the first option, she was surprisingly heavy.  He crossed over to the console, watching the Doctor, who was studying the various dials and knobs.

"I'm off to get some more food, don't go anywhere without me," Jackie declared, opening the door to see the place deserted. 

She'd been expecting people to be rushing around and screaming the aliens had landed but after the spaceship that had landed in the Thames had been declared a hoax, everyone was ignoring it.

"Can you get the football on that thing?" Mickey asked, pointing to the monitor.

"Yes, I get all the sports channels but it's hardly the time to be watching them, Rickey."

"It's Mickey."

"You only think it's Mickey and leave it alone."

Before he could be stopped, Mickey had turned the monitor on.

"Now look what you've done," the Doctor told him, looking annoyed. 

They felt a rapid movement then a thud as they landed on the alien spaceship.  Jackie had just come through the outer door of the flats to see the Tardis disappear in front of her, dropping the remainder of the bags she was carrying.

"Where are we?" Rose whispered.

"On board the ship I expect," the Doctor replied, looking at the screen since Mickey had turned it on.

"I don't suppose they'll think the Tardis is empty?" Rose suggested.

The Doctor raised his eyebrows.  "If they call us out, you two stay in here and look after Emily."

"No chance, you can't face them on your own."

"I'll be fine Rose, honestly.  I'll just talk to them, tell them to leave and that will be that."

"Yeah?" Rose laughed.

"You doubt my capabilities?"

"You think they'll be impressed?" Rose asked, trying not to laugh again.

"They'd better be.  Now both of you, stay here, I mean it."
Chapter 5
The Doctor moved Rose out of the way, she had got in front of him.

"Who are they?"

"No idea, I've not come across them before but they are not from Mars, I can tell you that much.  I'll be fine, really, it's safer for you in here, trust me."

"Did Emily always do as she was told?"

"Well, not all the time but that's beside the point.  While you're delaying me, they are getting inpatient."

Mickey was looking at the screen.

"Seems they've already captured some people."

Rose let the Doctor move her, his hands gently on her waist which made her feel a little giddy.  She crossed over to Mickey.

"It's Harriet Jones and she's with another man but look at that, there are a pile of bones on the floor.  Did they kill someone?"

The Doctor had moved Mickey out of the way, looking around.  Rose couldn't let him go out there so she grabbed Mickey's arm.

"I'm not going out there," Mickey whispered as she led him to the door.

"It's us or him, we can at least find out what they want."

Rose opened the door carefully and looked around but before she could stop Mickey he had opened it fully and they were both grabbed, the door slamming behind them.

"What did I tell them?" the Doctor asked himself, hearing the door closing.

"Emily!  What are you doing here?" Harriet asked her as she approached, holding her arms out.

"I'm not Emily, I'm her sister, Rose.  What's going on?"

"Who exactly are you?" the man beside Harriet asked her, looking at his data pad as who appeared to be the leader spoke in some unknown language.

"Who are you lot then?" Mickey scoffed.

"We are the Sycorax and you will be the next to die."

Harriet stood in front of Rose.  "Leave her alone."

"No, it's okay.  What do you want?"

"They want us, the Earth and the person who they say has the technology inside that box.  Where is he Rose?" Harriet asked.

"If you mean the Doctor, not coming, we're on our own.  Me and Mickey were messing about waiting for Emily when the thing just took off."

The Doctor was still inside, he knew he should go out there and rescue them but since he'd woken up, he'd had a strong feeling about this girl, like he'd been travelling with the wrong sister though at least he'd not had Mickey the idiot tagging along.  He looked across at the still sleeping Emily.

The man with Harriet was translating again.  "The girl with the technology will speak for the planet."

"Me?" Rose asked, looking at Harriet.  "Okay then, I'll speak for the planet."

She tried to remember all the species Emily had talked about and came out with them one by one.  "Oh and the Daleks," she finished.  "Now leave this planet in peace, in peace," she mumbled one last time, losing her nerve.

The leader of the Sycorax just laughed.  "Now you will all be enslaved."

"I heard what he said.  That was English."

"I heard it too," Mickey spoke up, still being held.

"I would never dirty my tongue with your primitive language," their leader insisted.

Rose had gone to stand by Mickey.  "Didn't Emm say something about the ship translating?"

"Yeah, I think so but why wasn't it working earlier then?"

"Don't ask me, unless he wasn't fully healed?  She said something about the ship getting into your head but what if he has to be there and he was still a bit out of it?"

Everyone suddenly looked beyond Rose and Mickey.

"Were you looking for me?" the Doctor asked, now wearing different clothes that Rose thought looked more like he should be wearing but she didn't know how she knew that.

The Sycorax leader brought his whip-like weapon in front of him, about to go for the Doctor but he just caught the end and tugging it out of the alien's hands, broke the thing in two.

"Right, first things first.  You can wait – I'm busy.  Hello, blimey, it's Harriet Jones."

"Who's this?" Harriet asked.

"It's him, he says he's the Doctor, who else could he be?" Rose told her.

"Who exactly is the Doctor?" the Sycorax leader wanted to know.

"Sorry big fella, well that's the question, isn't it?  Who is the Doctor?  First though, what do I look like?" he turned and asked Rose.  "Am I ginger?"

"No, just brown."

The Doctor was disappointed.  "Oh, I've always wanted to be ginger but never mind."

"Didn't you look in the mirror?" Rose asked.

"I was a bit busy and you, you did exactly the opposite to what I told you and came out.  Are you always going to be like your sister?"

"Well excuse me for tryin' to save your ass."

"He looks different," Harriet observed.

"Good different or bad different?" he asked.

"Just different," Rose told him, seeing the Sycorax leader was getting impatient.

"Right, down to business.  What are you lot doing here?"

"They're holding some of the population in a kind of trance," Harriet offered.

"Really?  Is that the best you can do?" the Doctor asked.

"You stand as this planet's champion?"

"You could say that I suppose but what have you to gain eh?  These people are just beginning to explore, there are much more interesting species out there, why come here?"

The Sycorax leader seemed through listening as he tossed a sword in the Doctor's direction.  He caught it deftly and took his jacket off, tossing it to Rose.

"I want that back," he called over to her.

He took his position, facing the alien.  "So, for the planet then?"

"For the planet."

"I win, you let everyone go and leave the solar system."

"Agreed but if you lose, the whole planet will be enslaved."

"Doctor, you can't do that," Rose called out.  "What about all those who are still under their influence?"

"Yes, about that, how are you controlling them?" he asked, spying a very large red button.  "Oh, a red button, I love red buttons," he grinned, striding over to it.  "What have we got here then?  Blood control?  I've not seen blood control for ages, I love it!"

Rose was staring at him.  He'd been all serious inside the ship but now, it was like he was running hot and cold.

"No!" Harriet yelled as he was about to push the red button.  "You'll kill them all."

"Nah, you can hypnotize someone to walk like a chicken or sing like Elvis but not to jump, if that's what you mean?"

"How do ya know they're gonna jump?" Rose asked.

The Doctor shook his head.  "I'm right though so if I do this?" he asked pressing the button as Rose, Mickey and Harriet, plus the man who had remained quiet all held their breath.

"So, did I kill them all then?" the Doctor asked.

"We allowed them to live," the leader told him, lifting his sword, which the Doctor had forgotten he was still facing.

Lifting his own, he defended himself as the hordes of Sycorax cheered.

"Oh, that struck a chord," the Doctor declared as he went backwards up some steps.  "Let's see what's out here then."

He pressed another button and found himself outside on a ledge, high above London.  Rose, Mickey and Harriet all followed as the Doctor continued but suddenly, he lost his balance.

"Watch out!" Rose yelled, stepping forward.

"Stay back, if you interfere, he wins," the Doctor warned her, regaining his balance.

The Sycorax leader roared again, hefting his sword at the now standing Doctor.  The sword fight continued but suddenly, the alien gained the advantage and the Doctor fell to the ground.  Rose called out again but his opponent lifted his sword and with one swift movement, chopped off the Doctor's right hand.

Rose wanted to run to him but Mickey held her back.

"Remember what he said Rose," Mickey warned her.

The Doctor looked up as the leader declared his victory.

"Now I know what sort of man I am," he stated, springing back on his feet, the alien turning around.  "As it happens, I'm lucky, I'm still in the first fifteen hours of my regeneration cycle which means I have just enough residual energy to do this."

As if from nowhere, another hand began to take shape.

"Witchcraft!" the leader declared.

"No, Timelord."

Rose turned and grabbed a sword from the nearest Sycorax and tossed it in the Doctor's direction.

"Doctor!" she called to him, hoping he'd catch it as she tossed it in his general direction.  He did and went after the leader again.

"See this hand?  It's a fightin' hand."

They continued a few more minutes, the Doctor lost his sword but so did his opponent but he had the advantage, striking a few blows as everyone watched on, cringing.  The leader fell to the ground and the Doctor picked up his sword.

"That's it, I win.  Now, swear on the blood of your species."

"I swear."

"Good, now we can all go home.  So, you believe it's me then?" he asked Rose as she handed him his jacket.

"No arguments from me, here, have a satsuma."

The Doctor caught it one-handed, fingering the soft fruit.  "Ah, that friend of your mother's," he laughed.

He heard a noise behind him and knew the leader was coming after him, he hadn't trusted him to keep his word.  He aimed the satsuma at a button and the rest of the platform gave way, sending the Sycorax leader plummeting back down to earth.

"No second chances, I'm that sort of a man."

They got back inside and the Doctor addressed the rest of the aliens, giving them a warning to stay away from the earth and as he got out the last of his words, they found themselves just around the back of the flats.  They saw the ship leaving and Mickey jeered.  Harriet stepped up to the Doctor.

"So, it's really you then?"

"Prime Minister.  When we were trapped in Downing Street, your only concern was your mother."

"You're absolutely the same man."

Harriet's aide received a call just as Jackie came running along the road.

"Rose, you're safe!  Everyone was on the roof, they were gonna jump.  Where's Emm?"

They all looked around at the sound of the Tardis door opening.

"What was I doing in there?  I was asleep on the sofa."

They all laughed as Rose and Jackie greeted her, Mickey and the Doctor hanging back but they all looked up when a beam aimed into space and the retreating Sycorax ship exploded.

"They were leaving," the Doctor snapped at Harriet, who had just given the go ahead.

"You said yourself Doctor, they would go tell others.  You're not here all the time, we have to defend ourselves."

"So I have to fight you as well?  I can bring you down with six words, just six."

"Does that make you an enemy?" Harriet asked him.

The Doctor walked past her and approached her assistant, taking the hands-free out of his ear.

"Don't you think she looks tired?" the Doctor whispered.

The Doctor walked back to the others, Rose taking his arm on one side and Jackie on the other, Emily and Mickey following behind, Emily trying to ask him what she'd missed.

"You slept through it all Emm, the Doctor having a sword fight with the alien leader."

"What alien leader?"

Mickey laughed and filled her in on the details as they got back to the flat, Jackie having retrieved most of the groceries she'd dropped on the floor on seeing the Tardis disappearing.

"I don't know what we're gonna have for Christmas dinner," Jackie declared as they all piled into the flat, which was still a mess.

"Ah, leave that to me," the Doctor declared, getting out of her grip.

"Need some help?" Rose asked, keen to find out if there was the remote chance he may actually ask her if she wanted to go with them.  Up until now, she was content to leave the adventures to her sister but now she had been on an alien ship, well two alien ships, she was developing a liking for it.

"Why not?  Well don't just stand there – allons-y!"

Emily stared after the Doctor and her younger sister, why had he asked her to go help him?

"Hey Emm, best watch out for Rose," Mickey goaded her as they left.

"Yeah.  Hell Mum, haven't you cleaned up?"

"Bloomin' cheek, you can help madam, sleeping all last night and then Mickey having to carry you down to that blue box."

"It's called the Tardis Mum, how many more times?  Hang on, Mickey carried me?" she asked, horrified at the very thought.

"Was I supposed to leave you behind?" Mickey huffed.

Rose meanwhile was trying to keep up with the Doctor, who seemed to walk twice as fast as she was.

"Keep up Rose," he called behind him as they went back the way they'd just come.

"Why didn't you move your ship before?" she yelled back at him.

"Oh, you sound just like your mother," he complained, reaching the Tardis and opening the door.

Rose followed him inside, wondering how she was going to carry all the bags back on her own.  The Doctor was standing at the console, watching her.

"Leave them Rose."

"Are you gonna carry them for me?" she laughed.

"No need, hold tight."

The ship jerked and Rose held onto the railing by the door, not realising it had closed behind her.

"Have you back home in a jiffy," he told her, picking up a rubber mallet and bashing one of the controls with it.

"Blimey, do you always do that?  Hold on, you're not moving this thing are you?"

The Doctor raised his eyebrows, not that she could see from where she was clutching the rail.

"Yes I'm moving this thing."

"Well you'd better not land it in my mum's living room, she's still mad over the tree.  Where you gonna get Christmas dinner from then?"

The Tardis landed with a thud. 

"Open the door," he told her, picking up a long light brown coat from one of the struts.

Rose did as she was told and they found themselves in a market place, quite old by the looks of things.  The Doctor took hold of her hand and dragged her from one stall to another, him getting a wallet out but Rose seeing no money exchanging hands but not daring to interrupt him as he piled vegetables in paper bags into her arms.

"Right, now for the turkey," he finally declared.

"You're joking?" Rose laughed, wishing she had a plastic carrier bag but not wanting to say it out loud, in case they'd not even been invented yet, judging by the way people were dressed.

They went to the furthest corner of the market to a food stall.

"Hello there, I'm the food inspector and I'm very sorry but I'm afraid I'm going to have to take that cooked turkey there away for a proper inspection."

The man stared at him as the Doctor pointed to a just cooked whole turkey on a metal plate, a cover just at the side.  He shoved the paper in front of the man, who just covered the turkey up and handed it over.  Rose thought apparently, they took more notice back then of food inspections than they did these days.  The Doctor put his psychic paper away in his pocket and accepted the now covered turkey.

"Merry Christmas," he grinned back at the man, indicating to Rose they should leave, quickly, before the man realised he'd just been conned into giving away the goods.

"What about some roast chestnuts?" Rose queried.

"Yes, wouldn't be the same without them around the turkey, would it?  Just reach in my pocket and get that paper out again."


"Rose, my hands are full.  Just get the wallet out and show them it."

"How does that work then?" she smiled as they reached the seller, who had just put some chestnuts into a brown paper bag as they approached.

"Do I have to explain everything?"

Rose grinned and carefully balancing three paper bags, reached into his pocket, pulling out the wallet.  The Doctor winked at her, Rose blushing bright red.

"Don't get used to that," she grinned back at him, flashing the psychic paper and accepting the bag, not being able to put the wallet back, thankfully.

They walked back to the Tardis, unsure how this was going to work.

"Ah, right, key.  Rose, sorry, you'll have to put those down and hold this."

He held up the turkey.  Rose did as asked and he let them in, picking up the bags she had put on the ground.  A few minutes later, they were gathering everything up and Mickey was waiting outside, Rose throwing the carriers from that morning into his arms.

"Where have you two been?"

"Ah, Rickey, make yourself useful and help Rose," the Doctor called, picking up the turkey he'd placed on the worn-out seat by the console.

They eventually made it back to the flat, Jackie letting them in.  She was surprised to say the least and Emily could only stare.  She pulled Rose into her wreck of a bedroom and questioned why she'd gone off with the Doctor.

"Seriously Emm?" Rose asked.  "You slept through the entire thing and you're asking me why I went off with him?  You're the one who couldn't accept who he was, remember?"

"Yeah, well I was tired, wasn't I?  I know who he is now."

"Yeah, soon changed your tune."

"What are you two on about?" their mother asked, reaching for a pan as the two sisters walked into the kitchen.  "Here, get these veg on while I put the turkey on a low light to keep it warm.  Where did you get it from Rose?"

"You wouldn't believe me if I told you Mum."

"After what happened today?  I'd believe anything now.  Get a move on both of you, or we'll be eating this next year."
Chapter 6
Once dinner was ready, the Doctor did the honours and carved the turkey, Rose holding the plates and handing them around.  Emily was looking daggers at her sister, who had claimed a seat just to the side of him.  While Jackie and Emily were clearing the plates and getting the Christmas pudding, Emily was asking her mother questions.

"Did I really sleep through all of it?"

"Well I wasn't there either you know, I got left behind when they went off in that Tardis thing.  You both had be worried to death, Mickey carrying you down to it and then it being carted off, to that bloody great big spaceship.  Didn't you see any of it?"

"You know when I woke up Mum.  I'm surprised at him taking Rose off like that, to get Christmas dinner."

"Well at least you're here for this one.  You've no idea what it was like for us this time last year."

Emily could imagine they hadn't had an easy time of it but she'd only been away for a few days, well not even that, how was she to know he'd land them a year out?  Why should she apologise for his driving skills and now, she had to get to know him all over again, if it was actually him.  In the back of her mind she still wasn't that sure another Timelord hadn't taken his place.  She'd only half believed his explanation over dinner.

"I imagine you have all kinds of questions for me?" the Doctor had asked her.

"A few like what the hell happened while I was asleep?"

"You're changing the subject Emm," Rose told her.  "I'd like to know what happened to you Doctor, you said something about cheating death?  Is that how Timelords do it?"

As the Doctor explained as simply as he could, Emily was watching Rose pay close attention to him and the jealous look on Mickey's face was a picture though she could imagine her own looked like that at present.  So when her mother had suggested she helped since Rose had done most of the hard work, she'd jumped up and was now bringing a tray of dishes and a jug of hot custard that looked a bit watery since she'd not been watching what she was doing.

Rose was still fascinated with what the Doctor was telling her about the places he'd been before he'd met Emily and also the people he'd travelled with.  Emily had not gone into such details, she'd not wanted to know who had been travelling with him, she'd not really cared as long as she was the current one but now, she was going to have a job persuading him not to bring her sister along, Rose would surely ask as since he was now the centre of attention, he was most likely to agree to it.

"Who was my favourite past companion?" he asked, repeating Rose's question.

Emily was losing her cool.  "That's a bit of a stupid question Rose, how do expect him to pick one out?  Am I not you favourite one so far Doctor?"

The Doctor would have blushed if he'd been able to. 

"Now Emily, it's a fair  question, you know some of the people who have travelled with me.  To answer Rose, I'd say Sarah-Jane Smith, she was with me in my third and fourth regenerations.  She was a reporter and she was brilliant but I had to go back home and humans weren't allowed there back then."

"So are they now?" Rose asked innocently.

The Doctor's mood darkened.  "My planet is gone Rose, that's why I keep travelling.  I have no home now."

"You've got Earth, this could be your home."

"Yeah, I sort of adopted it, it's the place I keep coming back to and why I have people with me."

"So you're not alone?" Rose asked, reaching for his hand and seeing a warning look on Emily's face.

Jackie came back in and picked up a handful of Christmas crackers, Rose and the Doctor breaking contact but him thinking this was what it should be, her holding his hand.

"Oi you lot, quit being miserable and pull some crackers will ya?  Anyone would think we just escaped an alien invasion."

Rose took a red and gold cracker and handed the other end to the Doctor, who smiled and pulled his end towards him, a loud 'snap' being heard.  He got the bulk of it and took out a pink paper hat and handed it to Rose, who beamed at him, accepting it and putting it on her head, the Doctor reaching out to straighten it.  Emily wasn't going to be outdone and held one out to him, the Doctor accepting it as Jackie pulled another cracker with Mickey.

The Doctor won again, this time getting a red paper hat and put it on his head, much to Emily's annoyance.  Their attention was broken when the phone rang and Jackie picked it up.

"Hey Mo, yeah, we're all having a great time.  Yes, Emily's home.  No, I didn't take much notice of what's been on the news, we've all be busy.  Think I'll put the TV on and catch up, those two can do the cleaning up between them."

She switched on the TV which thankfully hadn't been destroyed the night before.  Rose wasn't paying much attention as Mickey was determined he was going to win as he pulled the last cracker with Rose but the Doctor grabbed her wrist and laughing, they pulled on it together and Mickey almost lost his seat.

"Ha! We win," Rose cried with triumph, retrieving the hat and yet another tacky trinket, a plastic gold ring with a green stone.

Emily walked up to them and claimed the hat.  "Thanks Micks, I'll take that."

"Hey, that should have been mine, those two cheated."

"Shut up you lot and watch this," Jackie told them.

"That's Harriet Jones," Emily declared, forgetting her annoyance Rose and the Doctor were making nice with each other.

"No, I have no idea where these ridiculous suggestions are coming from, I'm perfectly capable of remaining in my office, thank you very much," Harriet was saying, being harassed by all the reporters.

The phone rang again.  "What?  Look outside?  Hey you lot, get your coats on and go outside," Jackie told them, hanging up.

"What for?" Emily and Rose asked together. 

"Just go."

The Doctor took off his specs, which Rose had thought made him look all cute and sexy though where that had come from was anyone's guess.  Why was she even thinking such a thing?  He was Emily's friend, not hers but the last few hours, it had just felt natural, talking to him and asking questions about where he came from.

They all dashed to the remains of the balcony, seeing what looked like snow falling.  Mickey was just about to grab Rose's hand when the Doctor beat him to it and he dragged her off, Rose looking behind at Mickey and Emily and laughing.

Emily hung back with Mickey.

"I don't like this Mickey, just look at the two of them, they're as thick as thieves."

"Yeah, makes me want to throw up just watching them.  Whatcha gonna do about them Emm?"

"Well I'm not gonna stand by and watch him ask her to go off in my place, that's for sure.  You have to talk to her Mickey, I can't let her come with us."

"Do you think she would?" he asked as they followed Jackie, who was half a staircase behind Rose and the Doctor.

That's what Emily was afraid of, that Rose would jump at the chance of travelling in a time machine.  So far, she'd not shown any interest but now the Doctor looked like some actor she'd seen recently on TV during one of her rare visits home, the prospect of sharing him was even more likely.

The Doctor and Rose burst through the door and into the courtyard, Rose looking around and having snow thrown in her direction.

"It's not snow," the Doctor declared, looking upwards and seeing what looked like green shooting stars.

"Yeah, guessed as much, it's that ship breaking up, isn't it Doctor?"

He let go of her hand as the others joined them, Emily had already noticed and was getting more livid by the minute.  The Doctor carried on staring into the night sky as Emily approached him.

"Does this mean you're ready to go?" Emily asked, unsure as to ask him if she could still go with him.

"Yeah, you know me, same old life."

"On your own?"

"Well no, I was hoping you'd still come with me?"

"You still want me to?" Emily asked.  "I thought 'cos you'd changed, you wouldn't want me to."

"Oh.  I thought because I'd changed you wouldn't want to come with me?  Rose said you weren't sure it's still me."

Emily could trust her sister to say something like that.

"I'd still love to go with you."

"Yeah, right, of course you can come with me, I'd love it."  He turned as Rose was about to go back upstairs.  "Rose, what about you?"

Rose turned back.  "What about me?"

"I'm asking if you want to come with us?"

"Really?  I can come with you?"

"Well yeah, you were a big help up there today Rose, you threw me that sword and don't forget, you tried to spare me from facing the Sycorax."

"She did what?" Jackie asked.

"You have a very brave daughter here Jackie, do you know that?  She was prepared to speak for the planet."

"She could have been killed."

"I'd never let that happen, I was watching the whole thing, she was never in any danger."

"You let me get in danger," Emily chipped in, stubbing her shoe on the ground.

"Jeopardy friendly you are but Rose deserves a trip with us, after what she did.  What do you say Rose?" he asked, holding out his right hand this time.

"Oh, I'm not too sure about that hand."

The Doctor smiled and wiggled it.  "It's fine, it's still me."

He took her hand and held it, Rose's fitting in it perfectly and him thinking more and more he was meant to travel with her.

"Not you as well Rose?" her mother asked.  "Doctor, don't take both of them?"

"But Mum, he told me he can take us places and we'd be back in what's only a few minutes for you."

"Like when Emily went missing for a year?"

The Doctor looked sad again.  "In my defence Jackie, that was the old me and it was a genuine mistake."

"Well I don't see what all the fuss is about."

"You should see it out there Jackie, all those stars and planets, I've not see them all yet and not with these eyes.  So, are you both coming?"

"You're asking me if I mind if my sister tags along?  Seriously?" Emily huffed.

"If it causes any bother, I won't come," Rose said, disappointedly.

"No, Rose, it's no bother, honestly.  There's plenty of room for both of you and your bedroom's a bit of a mess," he grinned, holding out his hand she'd let go of after seeing her sister's face turn green.

Rose turned to her mother.  "I'll never get another chance like this Mum, I'm going and we'll all be back before you know it, won't we Doctor?  So, where are we going first?" she asked, squeezing his hand and noticing Emily was keeping her distance.

Still holding onto Rose, he pointed up at the night sky.  "How about that one?" he asked, pointing to a bright star.

"That one?" Rose asked, grinning back at his infectious smile.

"Hang on a minute, what about his hand?" Emily asked, it suddenly dawning on her what had just been said.

"He lost it in a sword fight," Rose told her as Emily shook her head.

"What the hell did I go and miss?" she asked.

Mickey shrugged his shoulders and put his hand on hers.  "I'm sure they'll tell you while you're on your travels Emm."

"Well you could all at least stay the night," Jackie objected.

"My room's a mess Mum," Rose reminded her.

"Well we'll find you a new one, won't we Emily?" the Doctor insisted as he opened the door.  "You can go back for your things tomorrow, there's a huge wardrobe inside if you need anything and the Tardis will have already put a few things in a room for you."

"You were expecting me to go with you then?"

"Well the old girl seems to have taken a liking to you already and she doesn't often do that."

Emily knew she wasn't going to win this one – he'd already made his mind up when he'd asked her to go with him earlier to get the food.

"Oi you two, who's gonna clear everything up?" Jackie wanted to know.

"Ask Mickey, I'm sure he will," the Doctor smiled, allowing Rose and Emily in first.

Jackie huffed and dragged poor Mickey back upstairs as Rose once again stood in the doorway, the Doctor taking off his coat and throwing it over another strut.

"Don't you use the coat hanger?" Rose laughed as he stepped up to the console and Emily sat on the battered seat.

She managed to step towards him and carefully leaned on the console, being careful not to touch anything.

"I'll just park us around the back then you can get what you need in the morning.  Emily, why don't you help Rose find her room?"

Emily remained where she was, she had this feeling in her stomach and knew it was her jealousy getting the better of her.

"Don't I get to choose one?" Rose smiled.

"The Tardis will have picked one out for you and tried to make you feel at home, I'm sure you'll like it, it's probably done out in pink, like your room at home."

"The Tardis never picked one out for me," Emily objected, still remaining where she was.  "You said go find one so I did.  Why did you never tell me?"

"I can't remember everything," the Doctor answered, shaking his head and flipping a few switches.

"So, how does this ship move then?  How does it travel in time?" Rose wanted to know.

Emily shook her head, she'd heard it all before so she got up and wandered back to her room – this was going to be a long night.  As she went towards her room, she could hear the Doctor laughing at something.  Whatever friendship they'd had before was gone, things were never going to be the same now Rose was on board.  She should have known the last few times she'd been back that Rose was getting curious about where she'd been and she'd been stupid enough to tell her sister and her annoying sometimes boyfriend all about it and even the names of some of the species she'd met or heard about.

Worst of all, Rose had been there in Cardiff and met Jack, though she would never see the American time agent again, she'd rather fancied him until the Doctor had implied his shoe was on the other foot, so to speak.

Rose had finally run out of questions, the Doctor joking she'd asked more than Emily had done the whole time she'd been travelling with him, he knew Rose was just naturally curious but she'd gone all sad on him when he'd told her he was the last of the Timelords.

"I'm sorry Doctor.  So there's no-one else?  No chance any of them escaped or were somewhere else?"

The Doctor shook his head and finally stopped leaning on a strut and sat beside her.

"You know I've got two hearts?"

"Yeah, Emm sort of told us.  Apart from that though, you're just like a human?"

"Weell, a bit different I hope, not that there's anything wrong with humans, my best friend is a human."

"You have a best friend?" Rose laughed.  "You mean Emily?"

The Doctor tried to look serious but soon burst out laughing, nudging her.

"No, I meant you and Emily of course though she seems to have gone off me, can't think why, can you?"

"She thought you were a different Timelord, just standing by waiting to take your place."

"I told her there was no-one left, how could another one be waiting?"

"Well have you ever thought about it, that someone got away?"

"Don't Rose, I know you are trying to help but I would know, Timelords always do."

"Even if they were hidden?"

"What?  Have you even thought what that would imply Rose?"

"Well can they hide?"

"Well yes, they can if their lives are in danger and they can't regenerate but everyone got the call to go home, even I couldn't ignore it, everyone went back, no exceptions."

"Even if they didn't know they were a Timelord?"

The Doctor stared at her, how could she possibly know about that?  All she knew was what he had just told her and then he'd left some things out, things he wasn't proud of, such as being responsible for destroying his own people and the entire planet to stop the war.  Had he somehow missed something?  Every Timelord who had been killed during the war had been resurrected to fight again and it would have continued had he not put an end to it, it had been the worse decision of his lives and his punishment was he got to live and remember doing it.

Rose was looking at him and took his hand with her other as he stroked one of them with his thumb.

"I've got no-one Rose."

"You have me."

"Yes, I do, don't I?  Can I tell you something Rose?"  Rose nodded.  "I get the strangest feeling I already travelled with you, like it was meant to be you and not Emily."

"Why do ya think that?"

"I don't know, I just do, like that day, in the store basement, it was meant to be you there, you were the one I rescued and you saved me from the Nestene Consciousness or to you, the plastic shop window dummies."

"Was Mickey there?"

"Fat lot of good he was," the Doctor remarked.

"He never said much about it but I had this feeling he was and I got that other feeling as well, like I was meant to go with you."

"Instead of your sister?"

"Well not exactly but that time in Cardiff with that Slitheen, she seemed to know who I was and Harriet Jones, she thought I was Emily and we don't look that much alike.  Why is that Doctor?"

"I can't explain it Rose, I wish I could.  Promise not to laugh?"  Rose nodded again.  "I think somehow I'm in an alternate reality."

Rose couldn't help but giggle.

"You promised me you wouldn't laugh Rose," he said seriously.

"I know but it's so funny, I thought that as well."


"Yeah, when you took me to get the food earlier and you said allons-y to me, I got this strange feeling you were going to say it would be fun if you met someone called Alonso."

"I've always wanted to say that.  Time to go find your room Rose, do you want me to help you?"

He got up before she could answer him and led her down the corridor and stopped outside a pink door.

"Seems like this is yours," he told her, pushing the door open.  Rose stared at what she saw, her perfect room, all pink and white.  She turned to the Doctor, unsure if it was okay to give him a hug or not but he noticed.

"Ah, come here Rose," he told her as he held his arms out.

Emily hadn't been asleep and had heard the two of them talking as they had walked past her room so she had got out of bed and putting on her robe, had seen them stop a few doors down.  Then she had seen the Doctor holding his arms out and fold them round her sister, Rose leaning against his shoulder.  She closed the door quietly and flung herself on the bed.

Why had he gone and changed into prince charming and Rose was the princess, not her?
Chapter 7
What Emily hadn't seen was the Doctor leaving Rose at her new room door.  Rose had gone into the room and found mostly what she wanted and doubted she'd have to go make a trip to find the wardrobe she'd been told about.  She wondered what had come over her sister earlier and the way she had acted.  Emily had been all for the old Doctor but now, she still didn't seem to believe it was him and her saying she was tired, some excuse that had been.

The Doctor had gone back to the console room, he dimmed the lights and sat on the worn-out seat, not bothering to set off anywhere in case either of his guests decided to leave in the morning.  While he travelled with human companions, well recently, he tried to keep to earth time as much as possible, except for the unfortunate mistake of taking Emily back a year late but that concerned him more than ever now.

Would Rose and her mother ever get over that?  Would they forgive him?  Well Rose seemed to be doing so, at least up to press but he was letting his guard down with her, more than he had done with Emily or even Sarah-Jane, what was happening to him?  He shook the thoughts off and tried to concentrate on where to take the two sisters once it had been decided if they were both staying.  Maybe a trip to 'New Earth' might be in order?  Nothing like apple grass to impress his now two companions.

Something made him take his psychic paper out of his jacket pocket, the article had impressed Rose and had made her blush when his hands had been full and he'd got her to take it out of his pocket, he didn't normally keep it where it had been but he'd been in a rush to secure the turkey.  It made him smile thinking about it, until he saw a message appear on the piece of paper.

Who did he know who would be in a hospital on a planet he'd aptly named New Earth?  There was only one way to find out but he had to make this look like it wasn't planned.  Was it purely coincidence he was just thinking about the place and he'd got a message or was there something else to it?

The feelings he had been getting were now stronger than ever and it had only been since being on the Sycorax ship, why had Rose suddenly become so important that he'd gone against Emily's wishes and asked her to join them?  True, she did deserve a reward for helping save her planet and him, was she always going to rescue him?  Emily had her moments, she'd saved his ass countless times, he'd done the same for her when they'd got into trouble, he knew he'd have got himself out eventually but still, it counted for something.

Now he wondered how the two of them would get on, Emily being away from home all that time and them both being in close proximity.  He just hoped they wouldn't fight all the time, he didn't fancy having to break them up and sustain a few injuries in the process, like a black eye or two.  He smiled to himself at the thought though.

What was the next morning to Rose, she woke up and could smell food, realising she was hungry.  She got dressed, choosing some jeans and a pink t-shirt and not knowing which was her sister's room, followed the smell to find Emily and the Doctor laughing and joking over something in the galley, sitting at a large table laden with every breakfast item known to mankind.

"Wow, someone's been busy," Rose said cheerfully, sitting next to the Doctor as Emily was sprawled out.

"Good morning Rose, you slept well then?" he asked, passing a plate to her.  "Help yourself and no, it was waiting for us when we arrived."

"So you have a secret cook on board then?" Rose smiled, helping herself to anything that looked like it belonged on the plate.

"Weeell, not exactly, the ship sensed you'd both be hungry when you woke up."

Emily looked at him – before he'd changed and she had been grounded, it had been something that resembled shredded wheat topped with strawberries and bananas the other Doctor had placed out for her.  Why had the ship suddenly turned out to be a master chef?  She was still having trouble getting used to him without his northern accent and being so cheerful when she'd woken up and swore she was back in her mother's flat with the place smelling of bacon and eggs but when she'd seen the spread on the table, she'd almost fainted.

"So, where are you takin' us?" Emily asked, seeing the Doctor looked smug the ship had impressed Rose.

"Ah, right.  Nothing you two want to fetch from home then?"

They both shook their heads.

"Not even to say goodbye to your mother?"

"Why, how long are ya gonna keep us away?" Rose asked, forgetting about it being rude to talk with her mouth full.  She saw the Doctor smiling and realised.  "Sorry."

"As long as you both want to be.  I was thinking about taking you to another galaxy, M57 to be precise.

Rose giggled.  "Sounds like a motorway."

"It's nothing of the sort, I'll show you, Rose Tyler."

He got up and left, pretending to be in a huff but wasn't really, he just wanted to make sure he landed where he wanted to take them, not where the Tardis herself wanted him to go – for a change but since he'd got that message, he was fairly sure the old girl would oblige, even if he was only trying to impress his latest companion. 

He adjusted a few dials, pulled a few levers then released the handbrake – his first real trip since regenerating and he grinned at the thought but what got him the most was that same feeling and he was glad Rose had agreed to go along with them, this was going to be great!

Back in the galley, Rose was about to leave.

"Happy now?" Emily asked as she watched Rose.

"What's wrong with you Emm?  You've been like this since you woke up after missing all the excitement."

"Nothing, I'm surprised the Doctor didn't want to drag Mickey along as well."

"What did you expect me to say?  That I'd think about it?"

"Well you could have done."

"Yeah, then he might not have asked me again."

Emily thought maybe not, she'd been lucky he'd asked her again.  Rose had just got to the doorway when she was called back.

"Don't get used to it Rose, it will be tea and toast tomorrow morning, if we're even still on board. You never know where we're gonna be at any given time, not really."

"I don't mind, it sounds exciting."

Emily walked up to her.  "You two were getting cosy last night."

"What?  Is this what it's all about Emm?"

"I'm just saying.  Where did you both get to, when you brought that food back?"

"We just went to this old market, that's all.  That paper he has is good, we never paid for anything." 

Rose felt herself go slightly red, remembering having to retrieve it from his pocket.

"So did he see you into your room then?"

"Stop it Emily, you know you've changed?"

"I've changed?  He's the one who had to go changing, there was nothing wrong with the way he was."

"Yeah, you never took any notice of him then, did you?"

"That's not fair Rose, he was my friend and I thought I knew him.  We weren't like that, despite the police asking me all those stupid questions when I came back from what you called my kidnapping."

"That was entirely mum, not me.  How do ya think Mickey felt?  He got hauled in more than once, mum was convinced he'd done you in."

Emily forgot her jealousy for a minute.  "Well, I wasn't pleased he carried me down to the Tardis."

Rose burst out laughing.  "Stop it Emm, I'm not tryin' to hog the Doctor, honestly but what am I supposed to do?  Last night, he was just tryin' to make me feel welcome."

"Giving you a hug?"

"How'd ya know that?"

"I saw you, I heard you passing by my room."

"You could have said something then."

"Yeah, then he would have said something to me."

"This ain't solving anything Emm.  Lets just both make the best of it, I'm not fighting over him."

"You say that now Rose."

Emily pushed past her and headed to the console room.  The Doctor noticed her mood but didn't know whether to say anything or not.

"Where's Rose?" he asked after hesitating.

Emily shrugged her shoulders.  "How would I know?  She's probably wandering around the corridors, you left me to explore."

"I know I did, I just didn't think you'd want the guided tour."

Emily was about to say she wouldn't have minded when Rose entered.

"There you are Rose.  Right, off we go then, hold tight!"

Rose thought he was joking as the ship seemed to be struggling to keep upright but she soon found her balance and grinned.

"Is it always as rough as this?"

The Doctor just grinned.  "Nah, it's sometimes worse, right Emily?"

"Yeah, says a lot about your drivin' Doctor."

"Thanks for that.  See what Rose thinks."

"If we get there in one piece."

Rose was wondering if they were always like that or Emily was having a dig because she'd seen the Doctor hug her last night.  Finally, there was a 'thud' and they had landed, the Doctor bounding down the ramp.  Rose had gone off to get changed again, not happy with the t-shirt and had just come back.

"Come on Rose, you don't want to miss this," the Doctor called behind him, Emily almost colliding with him.

"What's that smell?" Rose asked as she joined them, the door closing behind her.

"Apple grass."

"Really?  This is great, thanks Doctor," Rose grinned at him, taking his arm. "I'm sure I'm gonna love travelling with you but how long can I stay?"

"As long as you want, eh Emily?" the Doctor grinned back, pulling her along and grabbing Emily's arm.

Emily just muttered a "Great" under her breath, convinced now Rose had travelled with them, she would be unable to leave or maybe she'd stay, just to annoy her and spoil everything.

They went to find a spot to sit down, the Doctor putting his coat down and holding onto Rose as she kneeled down but Emily just huffed and sat to one side, watching the hovering craft fly over them.

"So what's that place called?" Rose asked, indicating the large city across the river.

"That is new New York."

Rose nudged him with her elbow as she propped herself up, the Doctor now laid with his arms under his head.

"You're having us on."

"No, really, it's the city of new New York although technically speaking, it's the fifteenth so it's new, new, new…"

Rose stopped him.  "Okay, I'm convinced.  So how do we get over there?"

"Well, we'll get a lift but first we have to go there." 

He indicated to two identical buildings, one with a green symbol on the side.

"What's that place?" Emily asked, sitting up and taking notice.

"That's the universal sign for a hospital, I got this message, on the psychic paper."

He fished the wallet from his inner pocket and showed it to Rose.  'Ward 26, please come.'

"So, who are we gonna visit?" Rose asked, indicating for the Doctor to help her up, getting her a look from Emily, who just got onto her knees and got herself up.

"I've no idea, more fun that way."

"There was I thinking I'd get to see the city," Emily moaned.

After the Doctor complained there was no little shop in the hospital foyer, Rose staring at the cat nuns who were running the place, Emily missed the lift they had got into and had found herself in the basement, encountering Cassandra, who was out for vengeance from platform one and took over her body, Emily being helpless to resist. 

Rose and the Doctor had no idea what was going on until Rose called her sister, saying to the Doctor that Emily sounded weird.

"What do you mean by weird Rose?" the Doctor asked her looking at a man who was all red and placing his specs on his nose, Rose thinking he looked cute.

"She was talking all rhyming slang and laughed.  What's that?" she asked, looking at a large glass container near the window.

"That's The Face of Boe, come and say hi."

A cat nun approached them.

"Are they all cats around here?" Rose mused, wondering what was taking her sister so long and if she was stalling on purpose.

Emily finally stood in the doorway, looking around but Rose noticed there was something different about her.

"There you are Emm, where did you get to?"

"Nowhere, you two went off and left me."

"Sorry, the door was on automatic."

"Emily, you remember The Face of Boe, don't you?" the Doctor asked.

What had once been Emily laughed.  "Of course I do, who could forget that big old face?"

The Doctor looked at Rose, as if to say he got what she had meant about Emily sounding different.  Cassandra knew she'd been discovered and while the Doctor was looking at the entity who had called him there, she took the chance to escape and took over Rose, who was hardly in any position to stop her.  The Doctor turned around as Emily stumbled.

"What's going on here?"

"Nothing," Rose, or now Cassandra told him, grabbing hold of Emily.

"I feel weird," Emily admitted, sitting on one of the chairs, trying to remember what had happened and how she'd got there.

"Well I say something is going on around here," the Doctor told the two of them.  "Let's see what this lot are up to, coming Rose?"

"Oh don't bother about me, I'll just sit here," Emily complained, wishing someone would offer to fetch her a drink of water.

The Doctor led Rose to another part of the ward, watching her carefully.

"What's wrong with first Emily, then you?"

"I have no idea what you mean, I was just larking about, you know, New Earth and all that."

"Yeah, well I can talk, new, new Doctor," he grinned as Rose stepped closer.

"Mmm, aren't you just?" she told him, licking her lips.

Suddenly she grabbed his collar and pulled him into a passionate kiss, just in time for Emily to see.

"Rose! What the hell are you doing?" Emily demanded to know as Rose finally let him go, the Doctor still in a daze.

"T-terminal's this way," who the Doctor was now convinced wasn't Rose stuttered as she walked off with a satisfied look on her face, wafting her hand.

"Huh, still got it," the Doctor said out loud, well loud enough for an even more jealous Emily to hear.

After accessing the installation grid and gaining access to a secret part of the hospital, the Doctor looked down at all the cells after opening a few and Emily feeling sick, Rose declaring she had better not catch anything from the humanoids who had been infected with every disease in the universe.  One of the cat nuns, the one who was looking after whom the doctor had got the message from approached them.

After Rose had tried to find out a few things, the Doctor called time on Cassandra's little game.

"What have you done to Rose?"

"Nothing, I'm fine."

"Who are you?" he asked as Emily left with the cat nun to get someone in charge, Emily only just registering she had escaped being held hostage by whoever was now possessing her sister.

Rose approached him again, going for his tie and pulling it out, straightened it.

"I knew these cats were up to something but I needed a body and your mind to find out what it was."

"What?  Tell me who you are."

"The last human," she half whispered, spraying something in his face and him collapsing on the floor after saying her name.

She dragged him to an open cell and locked the door just as Emily came back followed by two other cat nuns.  After failing to negotiate with them, Cassandra reverted to plan B and opened all the cell doors, the Doctor being the first one out after protesting and Cassandra telling him to be quiet and that she'd been dying to get her revenge on him, a thousand times over.

The Doctor grabbed Emily and ran.  Rose, still possessed had been joined by Cassandra's assistant, Chip and was close behind them as the alarms sounded and Chip getting cut off by the infected hordes whom had been set free.  After making it back to where Cassandra had been hiding out, the Doctor turned on her.

"Give Rose back to me."

"I've nowhere else to go, my skin is dead," she half cried, indicating the empty frame.

"Not my problem."

"Very well, you asked for it," Cassandra stated, going back into Emily again.

"That's not going to work Cassandra, you can't have either of them."

"Spoilsport," she laughed, lurching forward and escaping to enter the Doctor, who looked surprised.

"Look at me, I'm a man.  So many parts, some hardly used.  You were looking at him, you think he's a little bit foxy, what was your name?" she asked Rose, who was trying not to laugh, unlike Emily.

"Get out of him, whatever your name is," Rose demanded.

"She's Cassandra, we've met before," Emily informed her.

"I remember you, Emily Tyler, I've been waiting for you and the Doctor to cross my path again and now I have my revenge."

Just then, the door opened as the infected patients had found them.  The Doctor saw a ladder and pushing Rose out of the way, ran for it, climbing up.

"Emm, quickly, go," Rose urged her sister, who remained where she was.

Grabbing hold of her she half pushed her up the ladder, climbing onto it herself.  They had got so far when one of the nuns caught up with them.

"You've destroyed all our hard work."

"Oh go play with a ball of string," Cassandra declared.

Suddenly the nun let go of Rose's foot and fell down, Rose seeing the infected people below.

"Cassandra, open the door," Rose urged as the Doctor was pulling a face.

"With what?"

"With that sonic thing."

He reached into his jacket pocket and brought the sonic screwdriver out.  "You mean this thing?"

"Yeah," Emily assured him.

"I don't know how."

"Then go back into me or Rose and let him open it."

"Hold tight."

A light mist floated downwards, missing Emily and landing in Rose.

"Now open it," Rose, now Cassandra demanded.

"Not until you leave Rose and not go into Emily."

Rose looked below her at a female patient.  "Oh I am so going to regret this."

The Doctor saw what was happening and hurriedly opened the door, pulling Emily up and waiting for Rose.

"Oh no you don't," the female patient called out, Cassandra going back into Rose again as she scrambled through the door and the Doctor caught her, just as it closed.

She sat down, Emily and the Doctor looking at her.

"They're so alone," Cassandra declared.

The Doctor held out his hand to help her up, Emily watching.  They got back to the ward, getting attacked by the assistant of the Duke of Manhattan and the Doctor came up with an idea.

"Get me every solution you can find Emily, you too Cassandra."

While they were doing that, he was making a rough pulley to get back down another lift shaft, then tying a cord around himself, they began attaching the plastic bags containing the various coloured solutions onto it.  He opened the door, making sure there were no patients around and leapt for the lift cable, using the sonic to attach the pulley.

"What do you think you're doing?" Cassandra asked, still in possession of Rose.

"You're so desperate to stay alive, why don't you live a little?" he asked, wiggling his eyebrows.

"On that thing?  Not in a million years."

"They're heading this way Doctor," Emily warned as the patients got nearer. 

She pushed Cassandra, who found herself with her arms around the Doctor.  Once they had reached the bottom and landed on top of the lift, he began opening the plastic bags and poured the contents into the tank.

"Hold that lever still," he told Cassandra.

"Why, what are you doing?"

"Just hold it still, I have patients to see, the Doctor is in," he declared, opening the hatch and jumping down.

He called everyone towards him, Cassandra struggling with the lever.

"Don't tell them," she called down.

When the solution had soaked him and those in the lift, they then spread the cure on to each other.  The Doctor helped Cassandra down, declaring a new sub-species.

"You can't deny it Cassandra, you helped create them.  Now, back upstairs, you can't stay in Rose."

Once back, he now had to deal with getting Rose back.

"Can't you just leave me?" Cassandra pleaded with him.

"It's time to give up, hand you over to the authorities, they'll make you a skin tag."

Just then, her assistant found them and Cassandra saw her chance, jumping into Chip and letting Rose go.

The Doctor just managed to catch her – twice.

"Whoa, steady on Rose.  Welcome back."

"Hi," she grinned back at him, stilling clinging to him, Emily rolling her eyes.

The Doctor said he could do one last thing for Cassandra, take her back home to die and after they left her, now as Chip, they got back into the Tardis, Rose wondering if he was going to take her home.  Emily got her to one side though.

"What was all that about, you snogging the Doctor?"


"Don't deny it Rose, I saw the two of ya."

"I was possessed at the time Emm."

"Well it looked like you were enjoying it."

"I was barely aware what was happening, you can't blame me for what she did."

"She said you'd been looking at him."

"Stop it Emily.  What would he want with me?"

"So you don't deny it?"

"I'm not having this conversation with you Emm."

The Doctor knew what they were talking about – him.  Rose would never had just gone up to him and kissed him, would she?  No, he'd never be that lucky.
Chapter 8
'School reunion' has been left out because Mickey was still in huff with Rose and never called her about strange events at a local school.  Sarah-Jane still investigated and K-9 disposed of the Krillatane.

The Doctor knew this was going to mean trouble wherever they went next.  He decided to lighten their mood and promised to take them both to a concert in 1989 Sheffield and neither of the sisters were that impressed when they landed in 1889 Scotland.  Having met Queen Victoria, whom Rose had bet the Doctor a tenner she could get the Monarch to say she was not amused, they escaped back to the Tardis to debate the finer points of being knighted then banished from the realm.

"Now we're in trouble," Rose laughed as the Doctor said The Queen's family may have been infected by a werewolf bite.  "I don't mean by that bite either, we might have been declared as enemies of the state."

"Mmm, good point Rose, we'll have to be extra careful," the Doctor grinned.

"You're always getting us into trouble Doctor, it's no different this time," Emily told him.  "What's gonna happen?  She'll have forgotten all about it by the time she gets back to London."

"Well you'd better hope so Emm," Rose told her.  "I don't fancy being a fugitive when the Doctor takes me home.  You said one trip to the future and one to the past."

"Oh," the Doctor said, disappointed his newest companion had got tired already and couldn't wait to get home.  "I thought you'd want to stay a bit longer.  What about you Emily?"

"Me?  Whatever, I'm off for a rest, that werewolf gave me the creeps.  You didn't see it change."

"If you've seen one werewolf, you've seen them all," the Doctor grinned, nudging Rose with his elbow as he perched on the edge of the worn-out seat.

"Hey, you still owe me that tenner, pay up Doctor," Rose grinned as Emily left.

"I don't carry any money on me Rose, in case you never noticed."

"Then I want an IOU note, you can pay by taking me somewhere else then."

"Fine, wherever you want."

"I always wanted to go to Paris, Emm went, mum couldn't afford to send me when my class went."

"Sorry to hear that Rose, next stop Paris, what year?"

"I get to choose?"

"Well yeah or do you want to see when we land?"

"Can I get some sleep first?"

"Sure, I'll just hover around somewhere until the two of you wake up.  Walk you to your room?"

"Nah, best not, Emm said something about the last time."

"Really?  What about?" he asked, getting up and putting the ship into his version of a holding pattern, around a nebula and letting the Tardis refuel from the energy.

"She saw you walk me to my room the Tardis picked out for me and you giving me a hug."

"Oh come on, it was just a hug, so what?  She was jealous of you?"

"Well yeah, probably but I said you were just making me feel welcome.  You were, weren't you?"

"Of course, that's all it was."

He was lying and he knew it, it had felt good and Emily hadn't hugged him like that, well maybe once or twice when they'd got out of trouble but not since he'd changed.  In fact, she had been very distant, even when getting chased by a werewolf.  Hugging Rose had been the best feeling since he'd come out of his regeneration healing coma, which he'd not had for a while and only because he'd absorb every last bit of the energy Emily had let loose.  He'd had to make certain nothing, not a single trace had remained.

Rose eyed him, thinking he looked like he was hiding something.  She got up and went to stand in the doorway.

"Night then Doctor, if it's really night here."

"I will try to keep to your own time as much as possible Rose, can't have your mum getting worried over you as well, can we now?"

"Doctor, can I tell you something?"

She turned back and walked towards him.  He just nodded and folded his arms.

"When Emily was away, we had a rotten time but I didn't blame you, it was her choice to go with you.  I just wanted you to know that."

"Thanks Rose, that means a lot to me.  Let me walk you to your room?"

"Did you give Emm that treatment?" she asked as he gestured to the doorway.

"She never gave me a chance.  I know she's still not so sure about me, even now.  We'll all have a nice day out in Paris tomorrow, no werewolves."


They arrived at Rose's room door, walking silently past Emily's room.

"Here we are then, safe and sound."

Rose smiled.  "Where did ya think I'd get to?"

"Just making sure.  You could give me a hug, if you wanted?"

"Yeah, that'd be nice.  Night then."

She reached up to put his arms around his neck, the Doctor putting his around her back.  He was feeling more and more at home with her as she pressed into him and stood for a few moments.  He supposed she just missed having a father to give her hugs, or a boyfriend, she'd not been that bothered about leaving Mickey the idiot, Emily had been more bothered the first time he'd asked her to go travelling with him.

He reluctantly let go and Rose observed him.

"I'd better go get some sleep then."

"Yeah, don't let me stop you.  No nightmares about werewolves eh?"

Rose smiled.  "I'll shout for you, if I do."

"Yeah, any time Rose."

It wasn't werewolves that were going to give her nightmares as she tossed and turned on her pillow.  The Doctor had decided to go to his own room for a few hours, the Tardis had been playing games and it was just opposite Rose's room, what was the ship up to?  Suddenly, he heard a shriek and leapt up, slipped his trainers on and ran out of the door, to see Emily standing at her door.

"Was that Rose?" he asked.

"Well it wasn't me, what's wrong with her?"

"She's your sister.  Stay there, I'll go."

Rose was as white as a sheet sitting up in bed and shivering.  Emily followed him and stood in the doorway.

"Hey, what's wrong?" he asked, sitting on the edge of the bed, Rose blinking at the light from the corridor.

"I had this nightmare, there were these silver things, like metal men and they were all flying past me."

He knew Rose couldn't possibly have any knowledge of the Cybermen.

"It's okay, it was just a nightmare, it's fine.  There are no silver men here, are there Emily?"

Emily yawned, he seemed to have things under control.

"No, no metal men.  If you've quite finished, I'm off back to bed."

"Sorry Emm, I didn't mean to wake you," Rose apologised, realising the Doctor was still sitting there, his hand on her knee and running his thumb over her leg gently.

She wished she could remember the rest of it, she could have sworn there was something else there but it was already fading fast.

"Do you remember anything else?" he asked as Rose tried to lay back on the pillows, forcing him to move his hand, reluctantly.

Rose shook her head.  "No, it's all going now but I think I was holding onto some kind of lever and something bumped into it and I let go."

"Well, you're safe now, whatever it was.  Do you want me to stay with you for a while?"

"Nah, I'll be fine, thanks for coming to the rescue."

"No probs Rose, any time.  Go back to sleep, we have a day in Paris tomorrow, remember?"

The next morning, Rose had forgotten all about her nightmare, well except for the Doctor being there but she knew she shouldn't go making a habit of it.  Getting into her jeans and a t-shirt, she found the Doctor eating pancakes and eggs, an odd combination she thought but they did smell rather good.  Emily joined them then they all went to prepare to land in Paris but got a shock when they landed on what looked like an abandoned spaceship.

"Trust you to get it wrong again," Emily groaned.

"Well it must have something to do with Paris, Doctor?" Rose asked him, the Doctor scratching his head and looking around.

He found some levers, Emily thinking that was just typical, him and his levers but Rose looked a bit alarmed.

"Doctor, I had a nightmare about levers."

"Ah, so you did but I somehow don't think they were the levers on a spaceship.  Ah, that's better!" he proclaimed, the lights going on.

"Hey, Doctor, come and see this fireplace," Emily called out to him.

Rose had stepped over and was looking out into space through a window.

"This is amazing Doctor, thanks."

He stepped up to the window, forgetting the fireplace.

"You're a long way from home again Rose.  What's that smell?"

"Smells like when mum burns Sunday dinner," Emily laughed, kneeling down to peer through the fireplace.  "Hello," she called out, surprised to see a young girl doing the same on the other side, considering they were in space.

"Hello, who are you?" the girl asked.

Rose and the Doctor wondered who she was talking to and joined her, Rose leaning on the Doctor's shoulder to take a look.

"Oh, hello there," the Doctor joined in, looking at the puzzled girl.  "We're just doing a quick fire check.  Where are you?"

"In my bedroom," the girl laughed.

"Yes but where is your bedroom?"

"Paris of course!" the girl exclaimed.

"Paris, you were right Rose.  What year is it?"

The girl laughed.  "Seventeen hundred and fifty seven."

"Ah, good year, August is rubbish, stay indoors.  Hope you enjoy the rest of the fire."

"Hang on, what's your name?" Rose asked her as the Doctor got up, Rose almost losing her balance.


"Aw, that's a lovely name.  See ya then."

"Goodbye Mademoiselle," the girl replied.

"That was Paris?" Rose asked innocently.

"Yes and she was speaking the right period French too.  Let's go have a look around this place then.  Coming Emily?"

Emily snapped out of her daze.  "What?  Oh yeah, why not?  Are we likely to get to see more of Paris then?" she asked as she trudged after him.

"Quite possibly but I wonder why we could see that particular bedroom?  Come on you two."

After doing a quick check of the rest of the ship, finding nothing much of interest, well not to Rose and Emily, they were back where they started.

"That fireplace, it has to be some kind of portal, a time window.  Let's get a better look then.  You two, no wandering off."

"Huh, don't you trust us?" Emily asked, feeling insulted.

The Doctor tapped the fireplace in several locations and finding the connection, the fireplace began to turn and he disappeared.  He returned five minutes later – with company in the shape of a clockwork droid and reaching for a fire extinguisher, froze it.

"What's that thing?" Rose asked, Emily debating if she meant the droid or the extinguisher.

"Must be one of the maintenance droids, dressed up to blend in.  Let's see what makes this thing tick then."

Rose was looking around, seeing just a mess of wires.

"Well they're not doing a very good job of repairing the ship," she observed, touching a bunch of wires.

"Tell me what you are doing here?" the Doctor was asking the droid.

"We do not have the parts," it replied to one of his questions.

Emily laughed.  "Typical."

Suddenly, the droid vanished with a swift movement of its arm.

"Where did it go?" Rose asked.

"To find its friends?" the Doctor suggested.  "There has to be a few of them.  Right, I'm going back to ask Reinette a few more questions, you two be careful."

"Doctor, she'll be better if me or Emm talk to her."

"Maybe.  Who wants to come?"

Emily shook her head and went to pick up the fire extinguisher.

"Be careful then, they don't freeze for long and stay out of trouble."

"Me?  Stay out of trouble?" Emily laughed.

Pulling Rose with him, he tapped the fireplace and they both vanished.

"Are we in the right room?" Rose asked, looking around.

"We must be, a few years must have passed, they are time portals Rose, keep up eh?"

"Doctor, I never said, thanks for being there with me last night."

"Think nothing of it Rose, I can't imagine where you got the idea of metal men from though."

He knew full well but wasn't going to scare her with tales of the Cybermen but where had she got the idea from?  It was still bugging him when he realised Rose was watching him and she touched his jacket lapels.

"Do you remember, back on New Earth?  When Cassandra took control of me?"

"Yes, 'erm why?" he asked nervously.

"Some of it came back to me, I think I might have snogged you.  Did I?"

"Like you said, you were possessed.  It's fine Rose, really."

"You knew it wasn't me then?"

"Of course, she was jumping from Emily into you when I rumbled her little game."

"How do ya know?"

"Come on Rose, you were both acting out of character.  I would have known if it was you who had kissed me but it wasn't you."

"No, worse luck, trust me not to be in control.  I wonder where Reinette is, this doesn't look like a nursery."

"You're changing the subject Rose.  Is that why you didn't want me to stay with you last night?  You were worried I'd bring up the subject?"

"Yeah, I somehow thought you knew I was startin' to remember."

"You thought I'd be mad at you for some reason?"

"Well you did say one trip to the future, one to the past and that was it."

"I didn't exactly mean it though, when we were walking to that estate in Scotland, you caught me off guard, so to speak.  I said you could stay as long as you wanted.  I was just pointing out that you'd had one trip to the future and that we were then in the past.  You're still here."

"I thought after that little demonstration, you'd changed you mind?"

"No, of course not," he replied, crossing to the harp in the centre of the room and plucking the strings.

"It's not one of those shop bells you know?" Rose laughed when he looked around, expecting someone to appear.

He grinned back and crossed to the fireplace where Rose was still standing.

"Seems there's no-one at home then."

"We should be getting back to Emm.  Just one thing though, the kiss?"

"You want to know how it was?" he smiled.

"Well yeah, it's not like I'm ever gonna get another chance and I'm so annoyed it wasn't really me."

"Could have been worse."


"I mean it could have been your sister, she doesn't seem to like me any more.  How embarrassing would that have been?"

Rose giggled as he turned back to the fireplace.  Suddenly he turned to face her.

"Care to find out?" he asked.

"Find out what?"

He leaned forward, slipping an arm around her then moved close.

"What it was like for me?"

Before she could answer he brushed her lips slightly and Rose began to melt as he tried again, this time Rose responding.  They were interrupted by a 'hmm' from the doorway.

"Fireplace man?  Rose?  What are you doing here and more importantly, it is rude to kiss in another person's bedroom."

Rose thought she'd never been to any parties on their estate then.

"Ah, well, Reinette," the doctor spluttered, having been caught red-handed.  "Goodness how you've grown.  We've been away for rather a long time, seemingly.  You remember us then?"

Reinette lifted her dress and walked towards them, glancing at Rose.

"How could I forget either of you?"

"Well, two strange people, kissing in your bedroom?" the Doctor grinned, Rose looking slightly red, tongue-tied and that 'just snogged back' look on her face.

"Strangers?  Well I have only seen Rose once but you've been visiting me since I was seven years old.  Still neither of you have changed at all, how tremendously impolite of you."

"Yeah, it's been a while, not sure how long."

"Doctor, you had some questions for her?" Rose reminded him as she regained her senses.

"Ah, yes, almost forgot about that."

Reinette turned as her mother called her.

"Then I must answer your questions another time.  Since I caught the two of you kissing, I expect you are together?"

Rose looked at the Doctor.  "Don't ask me, that was entirely him."

"I was just demonstrating," he half protested.

"So, this is something new?  I still cannot believe you are both here but you seem real yet reason tells me you both cannot possibly appear as you did all those years ago, in my fireplace."

"Ah, well, you never want to listen to reason, eh Rose?"

Reinette's footman appeared behind her.

"Mademoiselle Poisson, your mother grows impatient."

"A moment.  I have also some questions but they will have to wait.  Until next time and if you get tired of him Rose, I would be happy to take your place."

With that, she giggled and picking up the hem of her dress, ran for the doorway.

"Did he just say Poisson?"

"Yeah, I think so, why?"

"Rose, don't you know who she is?"

Rose shook her head, history had never been her strong point.

"You just met Madame De Pompadour!" he grinned, grabbing her hand and tapping the fireplace.  "I think if she'd not just caught us, she would have snogged me herself."

"And you thought Emily would have been bad enough," Rose managed to say as they went back to where they had left her.

"I would have been bad enough at what?" Emily huffed, still holding the fire extinguisher.

"Nothing, you stayed out of trouble then?" the Doctor asked, rather surprised and wondering if she had actually heard Rose's last remark or if she'd been watching them kiss through the fireplace. 

If she had, she would have been demanding he took her home by now.

"Right, you two, I'm off to see if there are any more time windows around here, stay together."

With that, he left, Rose going to get another fire extinguisher.  "Come on then, he said stay together."

"Shouldn't we wait here for him?"

"Nah, he'll be ages, he never said to stay here, did he?"

"Why are you grinning like that Rose?"

"Like what?"

"You look like, well, oh never mind."

They set off, Rose leading the way and Emily not so sure they should be doing this.  After getting a feeling they were being watched, she turned and saw what looked like a real eye on a long metal flexible shaft.

"Now that is creepy," Emily remarked.

"Hey, look at this," Rose called.  She gingerly pulled a small opening and looked inside.

"Is that a heart?" Emily asked, pulling a face.

"Yeah, what is this place?"

Meanwhile, the Doctor had found a door leading to a garden, well after he turned a corner and found a horse.  Wondering if it had come from the door he went through, he found himself watching Reinette walking with another woman.  He observed from behind a large plant pot, watching her walk away then he ducked as she turned around.

He didn't want her to think he was spying on her, she'd already said she was more than willing to take Rose's place.  What had come over him though, initiating that kiss back there with Rose?  It had been one thing she had been possessed by Cassandra but another to let her think he was mad with her for it.  He wasn't and he had needed to put the record straight but he'd set himself up for something now.  Did he want to get out of it though?

He went back inside, hoping the horse had stayed outside but it had followed him, nudging him when he stopped and saw the two sisters were gone.

"Every time, I tell them to wait and what do they do?"  Then he remembered, he'd only told them to stay together.  He supposed he'd left that one open to interpretation.  He caught up with them staring through a window at an elaborate room, just as Reinette entered.

"Who does she think she is?" Emily huffed to Rose, unaware the Doctor had joined them.

"The uncrowned Queen of France?" the Doctor offered.
Chapter 9
"Oh, here comes trouble," Rose laughed, hoping he wouldn't say anything about what happened back in Reinette's room.

"I think this is the night she meets the king.  Oh look, I was right," he laughed, nudging Rose as the king entered the room and walked around the blushing Reinette.

"The Queen must have loved her," Rose grinned.

"Oh, they got on very well together.  France – different world."

The King left and Reinette looked at herself in the mirror then something caught her eye and the Doctor saw it as well.

"Stay here, I mean it this time, there are still droids around."

With that, he pushed the window and grabbed Emily's fire extinguisher.

"Fireplace man!" Reinette called as he aimed the nozzle of the extinguisher at the droid.

After getting it to tell him what they were doing there, the Doctor turned to Reinette.

"Why her, why do they need Reinette?" Rose asked, her and Emily having joined him.

"That's what I need to find out.  You and Emily, follow them, find out where they're hiding.  Take Arthur with you."

Rose turned around to see a horse behind them.

"You're not keeping a horse in the Tardis are you?" Emily asked as it made a noise.

"Not now Emily, now go, I have to find out where the crew are."

"We saw a human heart and an eye," Rose told him sadly.

"Oh, they didn't have the parts, so they used the crew," the Doctor said as they all looked at him.  "They needed to repair the ship and no-one told the droids the crew were not on the menu.  Go on you two and be careful."

As they left, the Doctor smiled at Rose.  "Hey, watch yourselves."

"Yeah, we will and you be careful as well.  Come on Emm."

He turned to Reinette.  "Sorry, there's only one way of doing this, if there was another, well."

He put his hands to her temples, Reinette blinking.

"You are inside my mind."

"If you don't want me to see anything, imagine a door there."

"Like seeing you kissing Rose?" she smiled.  "Have you two got any further?"

"This is not the time to be asking personal questions.  I need to find out why they want you."

It wasn't long before Reinette had turned the tables on him and he stepped back.

"How did you do that?" he asked, surprised Reinette now knew all about him.

"A door opens two ways Doctor.  You were lonely but now, now you have Rose."

"It was one innocent kiss, I needed to assure her of something."

"That is what you tell yourself but she is someone very special to you."

"Yeah they both are."

"Ah but I think Rose is more so.  Do not waste it Doctor, tell her how you feel."

"When you are safe.  Now, you should go to the dance."

"Doctor, come and dance with me."

"I can't.  Tonight is the night you dance with the king."

"Then first I shall make him jealous.  Don't tell me that Timelords don't know how to dance?"

"You know who I am?"

Reinette took his hand.  "Come, I will teach you how to dance, then you must go back and dance with Rose."

"One dance, then I should go and find them."

Rose and Emily were walking through the corridors.

"So, that Reinette, she becomes famous?" Emily asked.

"I thought I was the one who hated history."

"What were the two of you talking about earlier?  Something about me?"

"It was nothing.  I thought you'd be mad at me again."

"Should I be?"

Before they could say anything else, Emily was grabbed from behind.

"Emm, watch out!" Rose called as something also grabbed her from behind and everything faded.

Meanwhile, the Doctor had just made up a cocktail and the king had entered the room, the Doctor fading into the background.  He looked around and not finding Rose or Emily, began to worry the droids had found them, not the other way around.  He went back to where the Tardis was, seeing a bunch of droids standing over something and deduced they had captured his two companions.

Concocting a potion that would stop a droid in its tracks, he took off his tie and put it around his forehead then tinted his glasses and put them on, not quite straight.  Then he made his entrance, singing.

"Oh look what the cat dragged in," Emily moaned.  "Where were you when those droids grabbed us?"

"You sound just like your mother Emily Tyler, do you know what?" he laughed, looking at the two sisters, who were fastened to tables, for what, he dreaded to think.

He explained his theory then getting close to one of the droids, tipped the red liquid over its head, after taking off its wig.

"If you believe Reinette's brain is 'compatible' you'll believe this is a glass of wine."

He quickly stopped the rest of the droids then released Rose and Emily.

"Okay you two?"

"Yeah, what was in that glass?" Rose asked, rubbing her wrists.

The Doctor grinned.  "You don't want to know.  Well, that's enough of you two lazing around then.  We should get the rest of the ship turned off now."

"I hope you've turned them off for good?" Emily asked, eyeing them warily.

"Well, hopefully.  The time windows are controlled from here, I should be able to close them.  Oh, one of them is still open, one of their friends must still be out there somewhere.  They must have found Reinette at the right age, they have an over-ride."

They droids started to move again as a bell rang from one of the consoles.

"One of your little friends?" he asked.

"She is complete, now it begins."

Before he could stop them, the droids disappeared.

"We need to warn her," Rose told him.  "I'll go find her if you want?"

"Thanks Rose, she may listen to you.  Emily, go with her."

"Don't you need help?"

"Okay   then, come with me.  Rose, I know where Reinette is, not the one in the future though, best give her time to get ready for it."

Giving her a quick hug, Emily pulling a face, Rose went off to find Reinette.  She pulled the tapestry aside as the Doctor had told her and the other woman jumped.

"Rose?  What are you doing here?"

"I came to warn you.  They find you in five years time, the Doctor said he'll be there, when the time comes."

"Then why could he not come and warn me himself?  There are five years."

"For you, for us it's not even five minutes.  Those droids are messin' with time, none of this was ever supposed to happen."

"Well it did and I would not have it any other way.  Has he told you yet?"

"Told me what?"

"I can see he hasn't.  He cares very much about you, why is he bothering to warn me?"

Rose sat down next to her.  "These droids, they are opening up windows to your time and in five years, they find you.  The Doctor will be waiting to stop them, for good."

"How do you know these things?  You are not from this time, any of you and who was that other girl with you all those years ago, where is she?"

"She's my sister, she's helping the Doctor in his plan to stop the droids."

Rose reckoned the woman should know at least some of the truth.

"Where we come from, there's this ship – a sort of sky ship and the droids are using it to open up windows to your world."

"So that is how you have been a part of my life, without you growing any older?"

"Yeah, you could say that and the Doctor's sorry he can't be here to warn you himself but that's how it's got to be."

"We both know Rose, the Doctor is worth the monsters."

Just then, Emily parted the tapestry and Reinette got up to examine behind it.

"We've found it!" Emily called out without realising.

"What is behind here?" Reinette asked, seeing bare walls with loads of wiring.

"Reinette, you can't go out there!" Rose called after her. "Emily, whatcha go do that for?"

"The Doctor told me to find you."

"Yeah, well ya should have been more careful."

She followed a rather confused Reinette.

"I know what must be done, you take the quickest route, to my future and I must take the slow path."

Rose took her arm.  "Blimey, he was right about you, he said you'd understand."

With that, Reinette parted the tapestry again and they heard a voice in the distance. 
"That's my voice, how is that possible?  That was me, in the future?"

"Sorry, you weren't meant to hear that.  Are you okay?"

"No, I'm very afraid Rose but if the Doctor said he will be there, then that is what I must face."

Rose turned to Emily.  "What has he got planned then?" she asked Emily, following her.

They caught up with the Doctor, who had wiring everywhere and Rose could hear screaming coming from the time window that showed the ballroom.

"You found it then?"

"They knew I'd be here, they blocked it off, I can't get there Rose."

"You'll find a way though?  We promised her."

"Do you think I don't know that?  There is a way but it's risky."

Rose was gazing through the glass, Reinette was being escorted in, followed by the king.

"We have to do something," Emily agreed.

"Well how did they get in there then?" Rose asked.

"You saw them, they teleported there earlier."

"Well can't we go in the Tardis?" Rose grinned.

"No, we're part of the events now."

"Well smash the window then," Emily suggested, getting her a frown from the Doctor, who had his sonic screwdriver held in his mouth and holding two bits of wire together.

"Here, hold these Rose."

Rose did as he asked, tearing her gaze from a kneeling Reinette.

"They're gonna kill her, to mend this stupid ship."

"I'm sorry."

"Well, if we had a truck we could smash it," Emily offered.

"We don't have a truck," the Doctor half yelled back.

Rose grinned. "No but we have a horse.  What do horses like to do?  Jump."

"Rose, you are brilliant!" the Doctor told her, dropping the wires and pulling her into a hug and kissing her.

Emily just stared – so that's why they'd been acting so strangely, when had that happened?  More importantly, why had it happened under her nose?  Was it that time on New Earth when Rose was possessed by Cassandra?

"Oi, you two, pack it in will ya?  Reinette's gonna lose her head and you two are snogging each other senseless."

"Sorry.  We didn't mean for you to see that."

"Obviously, you two have some issues to work out.  So what's your plan?"

Getting on the horse, the Doctor walked it back down the corridor then patted its head.

"Come on Arthur, we have royalty to rescue."

He pulled back on the reins, making the horse lift its hooves, which caught the glass and shattered it, Rose and Emily standing back to avoid getting caught by the shards.  The Doctor landed safely in the ballroom but as he looked back, the window had been bricked over.

"What are we gonna do now Rose?" Emily asked.  "He's trapped there now."

"He knew what he was doing Emm, what choice did he have?  She was supposed to die but not by having her head chopped off by those droids, she had a few years left."

"Yeah but how's he gonna get back?  He said if he ever didn't make it back, the Tardis would take me home."

"How long did he say to wait for him?"

"He never said, guess until there's no option but to leave, we should get inside, just in case the ship starts to explode or something."

"You go in if you want, I'm gonna wait for him."

"What's with you two all of a sudden?"

"I don't know Emm, it was about me kissing him while I was possessed, I never thought he'd mention it again.  Sorry, I never meant for it to happen."

"Well it's done now, I'm not happy about it, I was gonna try my luck with him."

"Now he's changed?"

Emily looked at her.  "Don't say that, he was still my friend before then."

"Yeah and looked what happened?  You couldn't even accept it was still him, you left me to look after him."

"I was upset, it wasn't easy watching him change.  You went off and left me in the Tardis."

"You were spark out Emm, we tried to wake you up.  I asked him about it, he said it was probably from when you absorbed the time vortex.  He said he'd taken it all out of you, that's what made him change."

"Oh, so I'm responsible?" Emily huffed, opening the Tardis door.  "Coming inside?"

"I'm off to see if there are any more time portals, you never know."

"Well be careful, they might still come back with her head, or worse."

Rose went off to check every corner of the ship, even the tapestry had gone, a wall in its place and the window they'd looked through into the palace bedroom had also gone.  There was nothing she could do but wait, she couldn't give up now, not after that second kiss had taken place, when he'd whispered when he came back they needed to talk.

Yeah, they needed to talk alright but what about?  Was he going to say he'd made a big mistake and was going to take her home?  If he was, she wasn't going without a fight or an explanation why this time, he had initiated it without any further discussion and in front of her sister, which she was hoping to avoid.

Back in Versailles the Doctor had rescued Reinette from the droids and since they couldn't get back to the ship, they had shut themselves down.  Reinette had led him to a quiet room as the guests had all left and handed him a goblet of wine.

"So, you trapped yourself here, did you know that was going to happen?" Reinette asked him.

"Yeah, pretty much so, there are no more windows or torn tapestries around here, they all got cut off when I smashed my way in.  I can't get back to Rose, or my own ship."

"You are in love with her?"

"I don't know, it's complicated.  Her sister wasn't very pleased before I came here, I kissed Rose in front of her."

Reinette giggled.  Perhaps if he were to remain, she would make a play for him despite being the king's mistress but his heart would always belong to Rose, she was destined to be his one true love.  She had been inside his mind and he had shut the door on his feelings for the young woman.

"So here you are, stuck on the slow path with me?"

"Yeah, here's to the slow path," the Doctor raised his goblet to hers.

"Oh, I don't know about that, come with me."

The Doctor put his drink on the mantelpiece and followed her, not taking her hand she offered.  If there was a slight chance he'd overlooked something and could still get back, Rose was waiting for him.  In the last few hours he'd thought about what had taken place before he'd jumped through that time window, having to choose to save Reinette or tell Rose how he felt about her.  Now, unless he was very lucky, it would take him a while to get back to her but it wouldn't be two minutes to Rose.

Could he live the slow life though, with no Tardis?  He had a feeling he was going to find out, even though he'd been grounded by the High Council once or twice and banished to Earth.

Reinette led him to her bedroom, the Doctor hesitating at first, thinking she had taken the fact he had left Rose behind that he was open to her advances.

"Reinette, don't take this the wrong way but when I get back to Rose…"

"Doctor, I may be the king's mistress but I can see you only have eyes for her.  I thought this might be useful."

She stood to one side and he stared at the fireplace from her old bedroom in Paris.

"The fireplace!  How did you get that here?"

"I had it brought here piece by piece and reassembled, in exact detail.  Can you use it to get back?" she asked, looking disappointed as he stepped up to it, a smile on his face.

"Well, it would have been severed from the ship and with the rest of the time portals when it was moved but if I'm very, very lucky, there might still be a connection."

He tapped a few places and cried, "Ha!"

The fireplace began to move as he stepped onto the hearth, Reinette calling out.


He stepped off on the other side and scrambled to look though the grating.  She was still there.

"Reinette, pack a bag then go to the window and pick a star, any star."

"Am I going somewhere?"

"I at least owe you a visit to one of them, stay right there."

Rose had been watching on the monitor, having been persuaded by Emily to get inside the ship, it had been five and a half hours.  She scrambled to her feet and headed for the door, almost knocking her sister over.


"Rose!  Hold on, I have to go get Reinette, I promised her a trip."

Rose looked disappointed, what had he been doing for over five hours?  She had to give him a chance to explain.  He disappeared after giving her a hug, Rose kissing his cheek.

"Yeah, I suppose she deserves to see what she's been missing."

"I'll be right back, promise."

Reinette had already met her fate in those few minutes he'd been gone and the king had handed him a hand-written note that he tucked into his pocket, to read later.

Rose went up to him when he returned alone.

"Were you too late?"

"Yeah, just a bit.  She must have died waiting for me to return, I keep on doing that."

"Sorry, do ya want to be on your own?"

"What?  No, actually.  I'm sorry I went off and left you, for however long it was."

"Five and a half hours.  I knew you'd come back."

"Oh, I had a reason to come back, didn't I?  Now I can close everything down and the ship will drift around for a while until its orbit disintegrates, then it will fall into a sun or a black hole."

"What's the name of it?"

"No idea, I never saw one, did you?"

"Maybe it was named after her and that's why the droids thought she could fix it, be the ship's brain."

"Yeah, maybe."

He aimed his sonic at the controls and taking Rose's hand, stepped back inside the Tardis.  He knew Emily would be watching so he just put his arm around Rose as they walked in.
Chapter 10
"So, we never really got to Paris, did we?" she asked him as he went to the controls.

"Well technically, no but we can try again.  Emily, just hold that button in will you?"

"Which one?"

The Doctor pointed to a red one, what was it with him and red buttons, Emily wondered.

He went to sit next to Rose, taking her hand.

"I hope you two aren't gonna keep doing that all the time?" Emily asked.  "Can I let go of this button yet?"

The Doctor had been telling jokes for the last ten minutes, very bad ones in Emily's opinion but Rose thought they were funny, joining in.

"What?  Oh, yeah, you can let go now."

"How long since?" Emily huffed, her finger now sore.

"A couple of minutes, five, well at most seven."

"You forgot about it?"

"No, 'erm, I was recalibrating."

"Yeah, I bet you were.  I'm off to my room if you two are gonna get all soppy on me."

Emily went off and the Doctor turned to Rose, closing his arm around her shoulder that had been on the back of the seat.

"I think she's mad at us for some reason," the Doctor grinned, kissing Rose's neck.

"Ya think?  What was that for earlier, when you went off to rescue Reinette?"

"I didn't want you thinking I was going after her for any other reason than saving her from the droids."

"Well I don't have the exclusive on you."

"No, that's true but maybe we can remedy that?" 

"With Emily still on board?  Mind you, she'd not as mad with me as I thought she would be."

"Good, nothing worse than a jealous sister, eh?" he asked, nibbling on her ear.

The ear nibbling got more intense as he continued down her neck and moving her t-shirt, then her shoulder, sending Rose dizzy with the sensation he was actually capable of such human mating rituals.

"Mmm, this is all very nice but maybe not here, in the console room?"

"Rose, what are you suggesting?" he grinned.

"Well I've never seen your room yet."

"Then we must put that right.  I put the Tardis on 'random via as slowly as possible'," he whispered, kissing her cheek.  "Come with me then but quietly so your sister doesn't hear us walking past."

"So it's okay to leave the Tardis to go off on its own?"

"Well yes, she'll just drift around for a while, don't worry, it's perfectly safe.  I used to do it all the time."

"Well I'll just have to trust you on that point then.  Can I trust you on anything else?"

He pulled her up and held her close.  "On no Rose, you definitely can't trust me on anything else."

Rose suppressed a giggle and silently they walked quickly to his room, which was still opposite Rose's door.

"That's my room," she whispered.

"Mmm, I think the ship is trying to tell us something but I have something I want to tell you."

"Can't wait."

Once inside, Rose looked around at the projection on the ceiling of gold stars and moons.

"Oh, that's beautiful."

"Yes, seems like the old girl likes the idea, of us."

"Is that important?" Rose asked as the Doctor took his jacket off and then his tie, throwing it on a chair.

"No, it's just she might try and avoid any interruptions, we don't want to be disturbed, do we now?"

"If you say so.  I didn't think Timelords were, you know, interested in human women."

"Some weren't but who cares?  I was never one to stick to the rules," he laughed, taking her hands that were now on his shoulders and steering them towards his shirt buttons.

Rose wasn't going to let it go to waste as she unbuttoned them one by one, the Doctor smiling at her.  He had been thinking about this, why shouldn't he have some fun once in a while?  So there might be consequences at some later time, he could deal with them if and when they happened, Rose was of age, single and very available since she'd made it clear she had already dumped Mickey the idiot.

He didn't normally pursue his companions but technically, Rose had just joined him so did it actually count?  He normally lived by a set of rules that didn't include relaxing with a very stunning young human female, who made him feel like he was a young Timelord again.  She already knew he could change again, at any time so there would be no surprises but she may leave him if he did but what of it?  He was used to people leaving him and if he told her he couldn't stay with her for the rest of her life, she might take it the wrong way.

He thought he'd best not say anything then as she slid his shirt over his shoulders, after running her finger down his chest, stopping at his navel then reaching to pull the shirt ends out of his trousers, all the while licking her lips that looked so inviting.  He couldn't resist any more and his own crashed into hers as he steered her towards the bed, which now had blue satin instead of what he could have sworn had been the normal sheets, the ship did indeed like the idea of them being together.

He pulled Rose's t-shirt over her head, revealing a black lacy low-cut bra then she took the hint and wriggled out of her jeans as he unfastened his shirt cuffs, grinning like the cat who had got the canary.  They fell onto the bed, Rose giggling as she pushed him onto his back, him going for his trousers zipper and Rose moving so he could pull them down, revealing Tardis blue shorts.

Rose finished taking her jeans off after kicking her trainers off, which landed halfway across the floor as he toed his own off and his trousers slid to the floor.  Rose crawled to the pillow as he let out a wicked laugh and he chased her, grabbing her waist, Rose shrieking and the Doctor shushing her and hoping the ship had made his room soundproof or that Emily wasn't at the other side of the door.

The Doctor pulled the sheets back as Rose went to ruffle his hair, still giggling.

"Doctor, are we gonna talk about this?"

"You want to talk about it?" he huffed, getting under the sheets, half on top of her and Rose hoping he was just like a human male, with all the right parts in the right place, so to speak.  Now wouldn't be a good time to find out if he was totally different in the bedroom department but he wouldn't have started all this is he was 'different' would he?

"Fine, don't talk then," Rose giggled as he reached for her bra strap then flung the article over the headboard.

Rose reached around his back and he dove down to kiss where her bra had been, placing soft kisses on her delicate skin.

"Mmm, no time for talking now Rose Tyler.  I can give you something, you know, just in case?"

"Nah, I'm covered thanks for asking.  I may not go out with Mickey any longer but I'm sensible."

He bit into her and she nipped his rear, making him jump.

"Oh, we're playing rough are we?" he grinned, waggling his eyebrows.

"Shut up and get to the serious stuff."

"Your wish is my command."

Rose didn't quite know what had hit her as he coaxed her out of her last item of clothing, then with a yank, she pulled his shorts down at the back and he shuffled out of them, all the while remaining laid half on her.  As she wrapped her legs around his, they both fell silent apart from Rose murmuring something he couldn't quite make out and he assumed he was perfectly fine with how human males 'coupled' with human females otherwise she would not be making contented noises.

With one last effort, well not that much of an effort, he could have carried on for hours without even breaking a sweat but he figured Rose was quite exhausted considering she seemed breathless and was scratching her nails into his back.  He came away from her gently and placed a kiss on her tummy and moved over onto his back, Rose noticing he wasn't as out of breath as she was.


"So, you were suitably impressed then?" he bragged as she rolled onto him.

"Yeah, are you always that impressive?" she giggled, kissing his chest as she clung to him.

He rubbed her back and kissed her neck.  "You could say that but I hate to brag about it.  What about you, are you okay?"

"Mmm, never felt better in my life, that was so good.  How do you plan topping that performance then?" she giggled.

"You've seen nothing yet.  I thought I'd best keep you fairly quiet, just in case your sister could hear us."

"She was probably listening at the door."

"Don't be so mean.  She wouldn't, would she?"

"Well if she goes and tells my mum when we get back, we'll know the answer.  That wasn't a one time only was it?"

"By no means Rose, if you want to continue another time?"

"Yeah, no objections from me, you'll be hard to beat.  It's hardly fair on other men, I'll be comparing them with you."

The Doctor wrapped his arms around her – this just felt right, like they belonged together but as he'd not so gently made love to her, a strange feeling had come over him that he couldn't explain, like when he'd convinced himself this was what he wanted that somehow, they were never meant to be like this.  Fortunately, he'd taken his own advice and didn't listen to his reasoning and now Rose was laying contented in his arms, having brought her to the dizzy heights of balancing on the edge of a cliff and falling over the edge.

He could tell she was still giddy from the feelings he had given her, it had been a very long time since he'd been able to let go like that, he'd never really found anyone to replace his first love, lost in the time war and he had sworn he would never even try but then Rose had come along and he'd changed into someone worth loving back.

Had he consciously willed himself to change for the better?  He'd never given Rose much thought before, when he'd been taking Emily back for home visits, well except for the error in judgement that time.

"Doctor, what are you thinking about?" Rose asked him, yawning.

"Nothing, have a rest love then we'll find somewhere to go eh?"

"Yeah.  Are we gonna tell Emm?"

"I'd be more worried about your mother."

"Oh, yeah, she might be a bit mad at first but she'll get over it, as long as you don't keep me away for a whole year.  The funny thing is though, that New Year's Eve Emily was missing, I had to drag mum out but on the way back, there was this bloke, in the shadows.  I never saw his face but now I come to think about it, he sounded a bit like you."

"Really?  How could it have been me?  I hadn't even regenerated then."

"Yeah and didn't you say something to Emily about going back in someone's personal timeline?"

"Yes, Timelords have a strict rule about that."

"Yeah, what rule would that be?" she asked, reaching up to kiss him.

"Oh, that would be the timey-wimey one," he laughed, making her giggle again as he ran his fingers up her leg, the one not wrapped around his.

"Get some rest Rose, I'm not going anywhere."

"Not even to check where we are?"

"Well I suppose it wouldn't do any harm to make a very quick check."

"Go on, then you can come back and wake me up."

"I look forward to it.  Where are my shorts?"

Pretending to peer down the bottom of the bed, he kissed her in several different places, making her squeal and tossing her knickers in her face, emerged with his blue shorts, Rose trying to grab them from him.

"Ah, ah, these are mine.  Would you like some help putting your underwear on?"

"No thanks, I want it on now, not next week.  You could take your time putting those on."

It was too late as he'd already started the process, sat on the edge of the bed.

"Next time eh love?"

Rose yawned again.  "I'll hold you to that promise.  See ya in a bit then?"

"You can count on it love," he called, picking up her trainers so he didn't fall over them and placing them by the bed.

He leaned over for one last kiss and left the bedroom, Rose sprawling out and smiling to herself.  How had she managed to have sex with the most fantastic man in the universe?  She just hoped it would last a while, Emily didn't seem that jealous, maybe the old Doctor had been more Emily's type but she couldn't understand why her sibling had not put up much of a fight.

When the Doctor emerged into the console room, Emily was waiting.

"So, you and Rose?"

"Your point?" he asked, flipping a few switches and checking the monitor.

"I'm not jealous, if that's what ya think?  I should be but you're not my type."

"I'm glad to hear it, not that I'm not your type, that you're not jealous.  I didn't mean for this to happen, it just did."

"You don't have to explain yourself to me but I'd watch out for my mum if I were you, she used to slap poor Mickey senseless if he kept Rose out late."

"Then I will be sure to heed your warning."

He took another glance at the readings, there was something he didn't like the look of and Emily noticed.

"What is it Doctor?"

"These readings, they are way off."

"Did you set the Tardis on a flight plan?"

"Not exactly, I just programmed her to drift around for a while but these stars, they're in the wrong place."

Emily went to look, not that she could understand the symmetrical writing of a Timelord.

He left the monitor and busied himself looking at dials after putting his glasses on, Emily wondering why he'd never worn them before he'd changed.

"That button you were holding in, did it try to resist you?" he asked her.

"Yeah, it did but you never said anything about it being funny."

"You should have said."

"How was I to blinking well know?"

"Sorry, it wasn't your fault."

"So what did it do?"

"Oh, just something I wanted to try, nothing to worry about," he tried to assure her, not too convincingly though.

"Doctor, tell me, is there something wrong?"

"Well yes and no."

"What sort of answer's that?"

"Exactly.  There might be, I have to complete these checks."

"So, why were your trying something?  You were trying to impress Rose, weren't you?"

The Doctor refused to incriminate himself.

"I'll take that as a yes then.  Come on, admit it, you're in love with my sister."

"Yes, I think I rather am and I don't know why she would even want anything to do with me."

"What?  A skinny man in a brown pinstriped suit that fits in all the right places?" Emily laughed.

"Since you so crudely put it, then yes.  Did she say anything to you, before, when I was out of it?"

"No, not really, not that I remember anyway.  Why?"

"Just wondered.  She said when you were away, last new year, she found someone in the shadows who sounded like me."

"That's not possible, is it?"

"Well no, not really, unless I broke the rules and went back to see her, from my future and no, you don't have to remind me what I've already said on the subject."

"You cheated once before."

"I know I did and I shouldn't have done but you telling me how heartbroken Rose was she didn't get that red bike for her twelfth birthday was a tearjerker."

"She loved that bike, you should have seen her face when the doorbell rang and there it was, all shiny and with a pink bow on it.  We all wondered where it had come from then suddenly, I knew it was you.  You're such a softie sometimes.  You break Rose's heart and I'll break your arm, got it?"

The Doctor did a mock salute.  "Yes Ma'am, got it."

"Good, just you remember that or my mum might get to know about the two of you having sex earlier and don't look at me like that, really, the Tardis walls are paper thin."

The Doctor gulped and tried to file away that piece of information.  "I should go wake her, I think we're in for a rough ride."

"Because of that button?"

"Partly, I don't like this one bit.  Keep an eye on that screen and yell if it starts going erratic."

"Don't be long then, no 'quickies'."

"Very funny Emily.  You're not upset are you?  About Rose and me?"

"Nah, I'm good but Mickey might still be a bit hostile, he was gonna try and get her back, until you two went off down the steps arm in arm, laughing.  Then he tried to get me to split you up."

"Did he recruit you then?"

"Nah, no worries.  Go wake her up then."

The Doctor gave her shoulder a pat then went to wake Rose but he had just reached his room when the lights all went out and it felt like the ship was falling.  Rose woke with a start, the room pitch black apart from a tiny glow from the moon and stars, which were actually luminous paint underneath.  The Doctor quickly fished out his sonic and lit the tip, just like a torch.  He found the handle and flung the door open.

"Rose, are you okay?"

"Yeah, I'm fine, what the hell was that?"

"I don't know but it wasn't good, I can tell you that much.  Can you find your clothes?"

"Just about, no peeking."

"There's no time for modesty, your bra's over the headboard," he pointed with the torch as she wriggled into her jeans, thankful she had retrieved her underwear earlier.

"Thanks, I think.  Where's Emily?"

"In the console room so hurry."

"I'm tryin' here, fasten this for me, it will be quicker."

He put the sonic between his teeth and fumbled with the strap, cursing the person who had invented it.  Rose donned her t-shirt and slipped into her trainers and they left arm in arm, Rose yelling her sister's name as the Tardis landed somewhere with a thud, the Doctor managing to wedge himself in the doorway and keep Rose from falling.

There was a bit of light coming from the coral so he handed the sonic to Rose, checking where Emily was. 

"Emily, where are you?" he called out.

"Who's Emily?" Rose queried, joining him at the console.  "Did you bump your head Doctor?"

"What?  No, she's your sister."

"Sister?  Very funny Doctor, I'm an only child, remember?  Are you sure you didn't crack your head?  Where are we anyway?"

"Yeah, were are we?"

The Doctor turned around to see Mickey getting up off the floor from behind a coral strut.  "Who the hell is Emily?  See, I told you Rose."

"Shut up Mickey and let the Doctor find out where we are."

The Doctor looked around, confused, his hand on the back of his head.

"The ship's dead, caput.  We fell out of the time vortex by the looks of it, we're going nowhere fast."

As if to demonstrate, he flipped a few dead switches, trying to figure out why Rose had been in his bed, having sex with him and where her sister, who now seemed non-existent, had disappeared to or had he indeed fallen down a rabbit hole?

"Well we had to land somewhere," Rose offered, eyeing him warily, trying to look at his head as he grabbed her hand.

"I'm fine Rose, we should see where we are, if we've not landed in the void, well not that we can land, not exactly, since there's nothing there to land on."

"Well the void looks funnily enough like good old London to me," Mickey called from the now open door.

The Doctor grabbed his coat from the strut by the doorway, not remembering ever leaving it there and allowed Rose to go in front of him.  Had he been imagining her laid beneath him, moaning his name and making contented noises or was it a really good dream he'd just been woken up from?  Either way, he didn't think he was that good at making things up that they'd seemed totally realistic.

So Mickey wandered off to find his gran when they realised they were in an alternate universe, Rose wanted to go find the live version of her dead father, which served him right for ever taking her back to see her real one he supposed but surely that had been Emily he had taken, not Rose?

They saved Pete Tyler from the Cybermen, which to the Doctor accounted why the Rose he'd just made love to had been having nightmares about, they had liberated London from the metal menaces but it didn't explain to him how the Cybermen had been floating past her and knocking a lever.

Once London was safe, having made a new friend in a man called Jake and Pete refusing to accept the possibility he had a daughter in another universe, Mickey had decided to stay and look after his gran and help round up all the stray Cybermen.  The Doctor had just enough power to get the Tardis back into the time vortex and once full power had been restored, he sat beside Rose.

"Are you okay?" he asked, trying not to call her 'love'.

She turned to him, tears in her eyes.  "Mickey's gone, we can't go back, can we?"

She buried her head into his shoulder as he reached out and he just let her cry.  Only a few shorts hours ago, she had been happily laid in his bed, then happy to see who could have been her father and now she'd lost it all.  Well this Rose obviously didn't remember the first bit and if she did, she was hiding it very well in view of what had happened between the two of them, then losing her sister.

All the time he had been with her though, he'd been getting those nagging feelings in the back of his mind, like they'd done things together instead of it being Emily.  He thought Rose had felt it too, especially when she had described what could have been him in the shadows that night but it must be in his future, maybe a bad time in his long life.

Something had made him break the rules of his people to go back and see Rose, before he'd really met her, maybe he'd been about to regenerate and he'd wanted to see her with these eyes.  He got up and crossed to the console.

"We're home Rose, I think this calls to land in your mother's living room, don't you?"

Rose got up and gave him a hug, delaying him going for what he hoped was a smoother landing than the last one, before he'd had his two hearts broken that would never be mended because now, there would be no more passionate kisses and Rose murmuring softly at his touch, or would there?

He should let down his guard, let her into his lonely life, what harm would it do if they were to get close?  He was sure he'd told her at some point that he couldn't spend his life with her but he could spend whatever time he had with her, before he had to change again.  Yes, he could live with that.

"Before we land, I have something to ask you."

Rose stepped back and looked at him, putting her arms around his neck loosely.

"Anything and I don't blame you for Mickey staying there, it's been heading that way since I first met you, in that basement."

Now he knew, it was Rose that had been there, not Emily, how had that happened, why did he remember all the things he'd done with Rose's sister when she didn't even have one?  Still, Rose was here, that was all that mattered.  Time to stop being lonely and let her into his life, well his current one anyway, who knew about the future but if he'd gone back to see Rose in her past, she must have left at some point but by the look on her face as she studied him, it wasn't without a fight.

"No, just hang on, I have somewhere else I want to take you first.  Hold tight."

A few minutes later, Rose hanging onto the console as he'd not been joking about the whole hanging on bit, he grabbed his coat, grabbed her jacket that was kept by the door and led her outside.  They were greeted by a barren landscape, giant birds circling above.

"You're at the dawn of creation Rose, no living being has ever seen this before."

"It’s amazing Doctor, thanks for bringing me but didn't you have something to ask me?"

"Yes, I did and I'm sorry about the confusion, goodness knows where I got the idea there was someone called Emily on board.  I must have banged my head after all."

Rose smiled, putting her hand in his, like it had always belonged there.

"So, out with it then," she encouraged him, not used to him beating around the bush, he was usually direct and to the point.

"You can say no."

"I might if ya don't get a move on, I don't like the way those birds are circling us."

The Doctor smiled.  "The Tardis is protecting us, they won't get any closer, I promise.  Do you remember, before we met, you were on your way home that new year and you talked to someone?"

"Oh yeah, I remember, some bloke who'd had that much to drink, he had to ask what year it was."

"Do you remember anything else?"

"Did I tell you about that?"

"You must have done otherwise how would I have known about it eh?"

"I suppose so, I expect you'll put it down to being timey-wimey or something," she laughed.

He laughed as well.  "Yeah, something like that.  Never mind, what I really wanted to ask you was, may I kiss you?"


"I said you could say no, never mind then."

"No, I mean yeah, if ya want?  What brought that on?"

"Oh, a few things have been on my mind lately."

"Such as?" she asked, squeezing his hand.

"I thought you might have given Mickey another chance but he's gone.  I think he knew and stayed behind on purpose."

"Yeah, I thought that as well.  I've not been his girlfriend since I met you, you know that, don't you?"

"Yeah, I'm a bit of a dunce in the romance department."

"Yeah?  Maybe you're only a bit rusty and need a reminder?"

"Possibly, I wouldn't mind if you helped me remember, maybe?"

"I can do that, come here."

He put his arms around her waist and pulled her close, then brushed her lips slightly.  Rose responded to the touch and the kiss deepened, just like before, when he hoped he'd not been imagining it.  Maybe somehow, falling out of the time vortex had brought him back to reality, that things were now as they should be – Rose and the Doctor, in the Tardis.

Rose caught her breath.  "Blimey, that was some kiss, where have you been hiding that?"

He was sure she would now come back for more.

"Told you I still had it.  How long are you going to stay with me?"

They kissed again then Rose let go, staring at the cloudy sky and the birds still circling.


So the Doctor took her into his shoulder and whispered to her.  "Yeah, for as long as you have to give me, eh?"

As they stood in their embrace, the Doctor thought back to that one time he thought he'd never have again, Rose had been in his bed once and there was nothing that said she wouldn't be willing, in this reality to be there again.

The End!