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Wayward Son, Chapter 11: Hopelessly Human


Rose’s mad bolt from the Tyler mansion was followed closely by the squeal of tires in the driveway.  She made a dash for the gates, startling the guards, who barely got the gate open in time to prevent her from careening through them.

The Doctor was still sitting on the couch, head in hands, looking as dejected as a kicked puppy.  The phone rang twice, then stopped.  Someone upstairs must have picked it up, he surmised.  Within seconds, he heard a rush of feet coming down the stairway.

Jackie appeared in the doorway, looking quite put out.

“What happened, Doctor?” she asked, a little out of breath.  “Did you two row again?”

“No, not quite,” he sighed.  He scrubbed his face before wringing his hands together in misery, not wanting to meet her eyes.

“Then what?  I thought I heard the door slam.  Then the gate guard called Pete to say Rose left here in a hurry.”

“She wanted to know why he never told her about Bad Wolf and what happened on Satellite 5.  She wanted to know why he left her here, Jackie.  What was I supposed to do?  I told her the truth,” he said softly, looking, if it were possible, even more miserable.

“I see,” she said quietly.  She sat next to him on the couch and put her arm around his shoulders.  “Is that it?  You just told her about the Bad Wolf thing?”

He took a deep breath and finally met Jackie’s gaze.  “I told her about River Song.  Tried to be as gentle as I could, but she reacted… poorly… to the news.”

Jackie frowned.  “What do you mean by ‘poorly,’ exactly?”

“Oh, it went over like a solid lead zeppelin, Jackie,” he groaned.  “Accused me of lying to her.  I wanted to show her.  Telepathically, you know.  I could have shown her my memory just as it happened; let her into my mind to see the event exactly as I saw it.  But she would have none of it.”

“And that’s when she stormed out?”

“Yeah,” he whispered.  “I’m so sorry, Jackie.  I’m complete rubbish at this.  Nothing I say to her is right.”

“It’s not you, sweetheart,” she reassured him.  “Let me give her a call and see if I can calm her down.  I didn’t expect she would take the news well, particularly the part about another woman.”

“So, once again I’ve managed to stick both feet into my big gob, then?” he said with a brittle laugh.

“She needed to hear it, Doctor.  She needs to know.  Lettin’ her go on thinkin’ he didn’t mean to leave her here will jus’ make it worse.  Stay right there while I call her flat,” she said as she picked up the phone on the end table.

#########################

The phone was ringing as Rose stomped into the flat.  Bending over the phone base, she took note of the CLID display and then walked away with a growl.  Tossing her purse onto the sofa, she threw herself down next to it and ran her fingers through her hair.  Her thoughts were almost incoherent, her emotions a maelstrom of feelings that she couldn’t put a finger on.  She drew her knees up into her chest and hugged herself tightly, rocking to and fro as a small, barely audible whimper started to make its way up from her chest, slowly rising into a crescendo. 

Once again, the phone began to ring insistently.  With a whining shriek, Rose threw herself across the room to the base on a small end-table.  Grasping the handset firmly in her hand, she snarled at it as if to force it into submission and silence, but the phone continued to ring.  “Leave me alone!” she shouted at the handset before slinging it with all her might into the opposite wall.  Paint chips flew across the living area like shrapnel, a small piece actually striking her in the face near an eye.  Panting as if she had run several miles, she never flinched.  It was as if she felt nothing, was incapable of any pain except the pain in her chest. 

“No,” she whispered, as she dropped limply to the floor and resumed her knees-to-chest position.  She rocked herself again, stopping occasionally to bump her head against the wall in frustrated agony.

Suddenly noticing the spray of rosebuds in its blue vase, she ran to snatch it up in a pique, ready to launch it against the window.  She moved twice to throw it by the vase, but aborted the swing each time.  Setting the flowers back onto the coffee table, she stared at it momentarily as if confused by her inability to shatter the glass into a million satisfying pieces.  Resuming her position against the wall, she drew her knees back up. 

Five minutes later, she buried her muffled howls of rage and sorrow into her lap and arms, rocking faster and harder than ever.  The tears, when they came, felt as if they’d been squeezed from stone and could bring her aching heart no relief.

#########################

“She’s not answerin’ the bloody phone,” muttered Jackie angrily.  “She should be home by now.  I’ll bet she’s sittin’ there all pissed off, lookin’ at the number and knowin’ it’s me!”

Concern started to creep across the Doctor’s face as he watched Jackie dial Rose’s number at least six times unsuccessfully.  “What if she didn’t get home, Jackie?” he asked worriedly.  “She left in quite a state.  She probably shouldn’t have driven herself home as emotional as she was.”

Jackie hit a speed dial number on the phone.  “Hello, this is Jackie Tyler.  I just need to know if my daughter, Rose, made it ok to her apartment.  I can’t seem to ring her up.”  She listened for a minute before nodding affirmatively to the Doctor.  “Ok, ta!  I’ll be there shortly.”

“She’s there,” Jackie assured the Doctor.  She’s jus’ not answerin’.”

“They actually told you?” he asked in surprise.  “Isn’t there some kind of rule against that?  Some kind of privacy policy?”

“We own the bleedin’ buildin’, so they’d better tell me!” Jackie said with a snort.  “We’re goin’ over there right now and make sure she’s ok.  And then I’m gonna knock some sense into her.  Come on… you can drive us.”

“Whoa, Jackie!” the Doctor started up in alarm.  “Should I go over there when she obviously doesn’t want to talk to me?  I don’t want to invade the sanctity of her home like that.  It wouldn’t be right.”

“That’s exactly what’s wrong now,” she said as she fixed him with a look.  “The two of you can’t seem to talk except like cats and dogs, and that needs to end.  Couldn’t slide a sheet of carbon paper between the two of you before.  And you’re with me, not bustin’ into her flat on your own.  I have a key, an’ I’ll use it if I hafta.”  Striding purposefully half way up the stairs, she shouted up to Pete.  “Pete!  We’re goin’ over to Rose’s.  I’ll be back as soon as she’s sorted.”

Retrieving her purse from a table in the foyer, she grabbed the Doctor’s arm on the way to the door leading to the garage.  “Let’s go.  I’ll tell you how to get there,” she told him before he could protest.

It only took fifteen minutes to get to Rose’s flat, Jackie instructing the Doctor along the way to let her do the talking, which he had every intention of doing anyway.  Once there, apparently Jackie’s face was all it took to get egress into the parking garage and building.  They took the lift to Rose’s floor and Jackie walked right up to her door and started banging away at it.  Flinching, he looked up and down the hallway hoping that no one would open their doors to look at them.  After three demanding knocks and a shout to Rose, Jackie whipped out her key and let them in.

Rose looked up from her position on the floor as Jackie and the Doctor entered and walked around the sofa.  Her eyes were reddened, but at the moment were dry.  She didn’t seem surprised to see her Mum, but when she saw the Doctor a few steps behind Jackie, her face distorted into rage.  Leaping to her feet, she pointed to the Doctor and confronted Jackie.

“How dare you bring him into my flat!” she declared in outrage.

Jackie faced her daughter with arms crossed and eyes flashing a warning.  “If you’d answered your soddin’ phone when I called ya, neither of us would be here.”

Rose advanced on the Doctor, thunder in her eyes as she screeched at him.  “Get out!  Get out of my flat right now!  You have no right to be here.”  Jackie grasped her by the shoulders to stop her advance as the Doctor stepped backwards, slowly backing up toward the door.  He did not appear the least bit intimidated, which only infuriated Rose more.

“Stop it, Rose,” Jackie said to her as she shook her slightly.  “He’s here with me.  He drove me here and he’ll drive me back, and I asked him to come.  We were both worried about you.”

“You could have left him in the car,” Rose said, turning her anger back to Jackie.

“Now listen here, missy,” Jackie started with fire in her eyes.

“No!” Rose shouted, stabbing Jackie repeatedly in the chest with a finger.  “You listen to me.  He’s a connivin’ liar.  You and Dad have taken him in an’ fallen for his crap… hook, line and sinker!  He’ll say anythin’ to try to turn us against the proper Doctor, an’ you’re too stupid to see it.”

Jackie’s face was growing increasingly red with each poke of Rose’s finger, and she suddenly sprang into action.  Grabbing Rose by the blouse, she swept her feet from under her in a perfect policeman’s defensive maneuver, swinging the startled Rose onto the couch with a plop.  The Doctor’s eyes widened as he moved as if to catch Rose, but then he brought himself up as he realized he was practically in the middle of a titanic war between mother and daughter.

“You don’t talk to me like that,” Jackie growled into Rose’s face.  “You don’t get t’talk to me like that.  I’m your mother and I brought you into this world, an’ I’ll do anythin’… anythin’ at all… for you.  But I will not let you talk to me in that tone of voice or call me stupid, d’ya hear me?”

Rose was slightly more subdued after being manhandled by her mother, but her eyes were still wild.  “But that’s it, Mum,” she said, not yet completely willing to back down.  “You didn’t bring me into this world.  This isn’t my world!  I wasn’t born here and I wasn’t meant to be here.”

“Neither was he born here,” Jackie pointed out with her finger to the Doctor.  “Neither was I, but we make do.  And so will you.”

Rose averted her eyes from Jackie’s sharp gaze, tears starting to form again along the borders of her lashes but refusing to spill.

Jackie looked up to the Doctor, who was standing still and silent with his hands in his pockets.  There was no hiding the pain in his eyes.  “Tell her, Doctor,” she said quietly.  “Tell her why you are here.”

He swallowed hard, and then walked around to stand in front of the couch, but he couldn’t quite meet the fire in Rose’s eyes.  He stared as her feet, trying to muster up the courage to say what needed to be said without sounding like he’d gone completely spare.  He cleared his throat.

“When I was shot by the Dalek and almost regenerated, I heard you say that you didn’t want me to change,” he began.  “I chose to channel the rest of the regenerative energy into my old hand almost on impulse, because… because I thought you wouldn’t…”  He halted, suddenly very unsure of himself.

“Go on,” Jackie urged him gently.

“Because I thought you wouldn’t… want to be with me… if I regenerated.  I thought you couldn’t take another change of face and body so soon after the last regeneration.  So soon after getting back to me.  It’s not as if it was easy for you the first time you saw me change.  Maybe it was just too weird and alien, or I’d end up with a face and body you didn’t like so much.  Even worse, I could have ended up female.  But I didn’t have time to think, and I never questioned where the thought came from to throw the energy into the hand.  No one has ever done anything like that, as far as I know.  No one has ever had one of their own body parts sitting around waiting to be a receptacle, I guess.  I never really thought about it again until the actual Meta-crisis occurred.  I don’t think it was really my idea at all in hindsight.” 

He took another deep breath, wondering if she would accept any of his explanation, even though he knew she had been there to see it for herself.

“When we were on the Crucible and Donna got locked into the TARDIS, I just assumed the Daleks locked her in.  I don’t know why I thought that at the time, because the Daleks couldn’t have controlled the TARDIS from within.  Donna was bolted in from the inside.  The TARDIS herself locked her in, I know that now.  She was an active principle in events.  She was in control the entire time.  The TARDIS prompted me to put the regenerative energy into the hand to set up the event, and when she thought the time was right she created me from the hand and the leftover energy.  It was literally she who sparked the Meta-crisis so that I would be created.  I guess you could say I’m properly a Child of the TARDIS, not exactly a duplicate or clone.”

He finally glanced up and noticed that Rose was actually listening.  A look of cautious disbelief was on her face, but at least she was listening.  “Why would she do such a thing?” Rose challenged with a frown.  “Why create another Doctor when there was already one right there?”

He held his breath for a long time as he thought of how to say the next.  “My creation fulfilled the Ood prophesy of the DoctorDonna, and Dalek Caan’s prophesy of the three-fold man and the destruction of the Daleks.  And I was destined to come here, so that there’s a Doctor right here, on this world, in this universe, to protect it.” 

Rose let out an ugly laugh of mild derision.  “So what’s so special about this universe, then, that it deserves its own Doctor?  So it’s got zeppelins instead of planes, an’ it has a President instead of a Prime Minister.  So what?”

The Doctor smiled for the first time since entering the flat.  “You are, Rose.  You and your family are what’s special about this universe.”  He pulled his hand out of his pocket.  Within his palm was the piece of TARDIS coral he always kept there, never very far from his fingers or his thoughts.  It was warmer than could be accounted for from merely being in his pocket, with an almost imperceptible inner glow.  It cast off small sparkles as he turned it in the light.  He could feel the life within it, although it wasn’t quite sentient.  It gave off a faint telepathic vibration, like an intro note at the beginning of a song.

“It’s supposed to be the Doctor and Rose in the TARDIS, the Stuff of Legend… here in Pete’s World.  The Oncoming Storm and the Bad Wolf.  Earth’s Defenders.  That’s what he envisioned, anyway.  He said as much when he gave us this piece of coral, a gift of the TARDIS.  He never meant for either of us to return to the old universe, and neither did the TARDIS.  He saw our timelines, and he saw the potential for us here was so much greater than in the old universe.”

Rose seemed calmer now, less combative as she struggled to make sense of the seemingly disjointed bits of information she’d just been given.  “But why would the TARDIS want to send me back here if she knew how hard I was tryin’ to get back to the Doctor?” she asked.  “What exactly have I got to do with any of it?  How’d she know I wouldn’t jus’ keep tryin’ to get back again?”

The Doctor absent-mindedly stroked the knobby coral before placing it carefully back into his pocket.  He knelt down next to Rose so that he was not towering over her as she sat on the sofa, trying not to be perceived as too intense, too desperate, too eager for her to believe him.  She had temporarily paused her attacks, her flights of denial, to provisionally entertain his ideas.  He couldn’t risk raising her almost impenetrable defenses with the wrong combination of words.

“Rose,” he breathed, “you are far more special than you believe.  No one can make you want to be a part of this.  It’s your choice.  But when you looked into the Heart of the TARDIS and became the Bad Wolf, I believe you formed a special bond with the TARDIS.  In many respects, it was a closer bond than anything I’ve ever had with her.  Together, the two of you were a more powerful being than anything I could ever be, and she protected you.  The Vortex energy, the same energy that you held within yourself long enough to return to me on the Game Station, killed me within seconds.  The TARDIS is a creature of Time and Space.  She’s not a machine, but a powerful sentient being in her own right.  It has been my privilege to travel with her for over 700 years, but her thoughts were frequently unfathomable even to me.  If anyone has a hope of deciphering the motivations of the TARDIS, it would probably be you.  You’re brilliant, Rose Tyler, and you always have been.  You will figure it out for yourself… eventually.”

Rising slowly to his feet, he backed away and walked toward the door of the flat.  He had glimpsed Rose’s timelines as he talked, and they were bending, twisting, splintering and weaving their way into a kaleidoscopic and dizzying warp and woof.  Something within her had changed.

Better to have more potential timelines than less, he thought.  Better quit while you’re ahead.  “I’ll wait for you in the hallway, Jackie,” he said quietly with a nod.

Jackie and Rose watched the Doctor as he left, waiting for the door latch to click.

Rose seemed lost in thought, picking at a loose string on her sleeve as Jackie watched her.  “I’m sorry, Mum,” she finally said.  “I’m findin’ it difficult to believe a word he says to me.”

“You can’t keep punishin’ him for tellin’ the truth, you know.  Just ‘cause you’re in denial don’t make him a liar.” 

“He told me that the Doctor found another woman, Mum!  He says that he’s destined to be with her.  I’m jus’ not buyin’ it,” Rose spat.

“Yeah, but it explains a lot, now don’t it?” Jackie added.

“What do you mean?”

“You remember what happened at Canary Wharf, Rose.  He tried to send you here with me and Pete, even then.  He was tryin’ to tell you something years ago, but you weren’t properly payin’ attention.  He didn’t want to hurt your feelings any more than he already was by sendin’ you here to be with your family.”

“Didn’t stop this one from tryin’ to hurt my feelings tonight.  Came right out and said it; married, kids and all.  Even said she knew his proper name.  I didn’t even know he had one.  He never told me he had any name besides the Doctor.”

“He didn’t want to tell you about the other woman, sweetheart.  He didn’t want to hurt you like that.  I was the one who told him to do it,” Jackie broke to her gently.  “I told him that you needed to know.  You need to know that the other Doctor has moved on.  He knew you weren’t gonna be a part of his life at some point.  He wanted you to have what he couldn’t give you, and he wanted you to have your family with you so you wouldn’t be as lonely as him.  Is that really so bad?”

The tears dammed up behind Rose’s eyes suddenly swelled and over-spilled their banks as choking sobs erupted from her.  Jackie leaned forward to embrace her.

“How could he move on without me, Mum?  What did I do wrong?  Who is this River Song archeologist cow who just swanned off with him like I was trash?  I thought he loved me.”

“He did love you, Rose.  That much I know.”

“How, Mum?  How could he love me and jus’ leave and not say goodbye?”

“You didn’t see his face when he left,” Jackie said as she drew back to look Rose in the eye.  “He looked like a man who’d jus’ had his heart ripped right out.”

“When?”

“You couldn’t see his face ‘cause you were too busy snoggin’ this Doctor’s face off,” Jackie said with a nod toward the door.  “But I was lookin’ right at him, and I can tell you I have never seen a man more devastated without cryin’ like a baby.  He couldn’t have said goodbye if his life depended on it.”

“Oh, no…,” Rose said, horrified.  “He told me that I’d broken the Doctor’s hearts when I kissed him.  That’s what he told me Friday night.”

“If the old Doctor loved you anything like this one does, his hearts were already broken.  It was jus’ the final blow.  Why’d you do that, anyway?  Why’d you kiss him if you didn’t want him?”

Rose stared at her mother, gaping silently, but no words ever came forth.

“That’s what I thought,” Jackie said with barely veiled disapproval.  “You know, Rose, you’re a bit old to be playin’ a man’s heart strings like that.  You hurt both of ‘em.  This Doctor is wonderin’ what he did wrong, ‘cause you kissed him on the beach like he needed CPR, then you rejected him.  An’ you wonder why he’s confused?  He’s got all the same feelings for you that the old Doctor did, but almost none of the hang-ups.  He can’t help what he feels.  Your playin’ him was jus’ cruel.”

“But Mum, I can’t help it if I still love the original Doctor.”

“So, what if the old Doctor were to come back and say he wanted to settle down with you, start a family, an’ go for spins in the TARDIS for family vacations?  Wouldya say ‘no’ to that?”

“I dunno, Mum.  I’d probably be ok with that, although I never asked for anythin’ like that.”

“Well, that’s what you got now, Rose,” Jackie said sharply.  “You’re jus’ bein’ thick an’ not acceptin’ it as the gift it was intended to be.  The other one isn’t goin’ to be alone like you thought, so no point in worryin’ about him any longer.  But it’s you who’s leavin’ him behind this time, not the other way around. One of these days he’s gonna give up on you, an’ yet some other educated cow with fancy credentials is gonna swan off with this one.”

Rose bit off a retort, choosing to stare down at her hands instead.

“It’s fairly late now, so I’m goin’ home, sweetheart.  Next time you go stormin’ off from my house, answer the blinkin’ phone when I call, ok?”  Hugging Rose goodbye, she walked outside to find the Doctor leaning against the wall with hands in pockets, staring staunchly at his feet as if there was something interesting crawling over his Converses.  She hauled him up by one arm and walked with him to the lift without a word.

Seven minutes into their drive home, Jackie finally broke the silence.

“I think it’s time, Doctor.”

A weary sigh filled the small cabin of the hybrid.  “Time for what, Jackie?”

“Time to start movin’ on with your life.  It’s time you started doin’ what you need to do as if Rose wasn’t a part of it.”  There was silence, followed by a long sniff as the Doctor gripped the wheel so tightly she could see the whiteness of his knuckles reflected from the streetlamps.  She placed a comforting hand on his shoulder.

“I know you love her, an’ I know you ain’t givin’ up on her.  No one will ever ask you to do that, sweetheart.  But it simply ain’t fair for you to wait on her to change her mind.  Start growin’ that TARDIS thing, for one.”

“That’ll take five years, Jackie.  Slightly less if I can figure out a way to accelerate the process more than Donna instructed.  But we’re still talking about years,” he said dejectedly.

“Then you’re three months behind, yeah?  What’dya need to do with it?  Do you put it in some water in a goldfish bowl, like Magic Crystals?”

The Doctor couldn’t help but chuckle at the mental image, in spite of his deep-seated gloom.  “Something like that,” he said.  “It will take some technology and facilities that I could probably find at Torchwood.  It’s not exactly a project I can shove under my bed.  Another reason, I guess, to take Pete up on his offer of a job.”

“Pete’ll help you, I’m sure of it.  Just ask him.  An’ it would do you some good to exercise that big brain of yours on something other than tryin’ to get Rose to break out of her obsession.  Let her see you through others’ eyes.  Not jus’ her Mum’s.  What do I know?”

He reached up and squeezed Jackie’s hand.  “A lot.  You managed to slap a little sense into a 900 year-old alien, didn’t you?”

She grinned.  “That’s right.  Now keep both those hands on the wheel,” she admonished him jokingly.

The Doctor’s saturnine mood grew more somber once he arrived home.  Stripping his clothes off down to his underwear, he slid into the bed without putting on his pyjamas.

“I don’t want to move on,” he whispered to no one at all.  For the second time in his lives, his soul knew inertia.  He couldn’t run; didn’t want to run.  It was roots he needed and wanted; something to hold onto, something to anchor him when the winds of change buffeted him.  He felt as if a restrictive force was squeezing his chest, leaving little room for his heart to pump. 

So this is what it’s like to be a proper human.  At least John Smith had Joan Redfern, the lucky sod.

Pulling one of the pillows from beneath his head, he clutched it fiercely within his arms and started rocking himself.  The loneliness, hurt and rejection he’d felt descending, after Rose left the mansion in a huff, seemed to envelope and suffocate him again.  Tears prickled at the back of his eyes, but he choked them into submission with another long and loud sniff.  He refused to let them fall.  He would not give in to them.  Not tonight.

He rocked himself until he fell into a fitful sleep filled with the howl of a lone wolf drifting on the wind.


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Urrrgh!  Sorry to my FList for spammage due to incorrect cut and paste.  I'll get the hang of LJ....one of these days.  LOL!


Jackie and the Doctor do a wellness check on Rose at her flat. 
Title: Wayward Son - Chapter 1: Hopelessly Human

Characters: Jackie Tyler; Ten II; Pete Tyler; Tony Tyler
Genre: Alternate Universe; Angst; Character Study; Het; Romance
Author's Description: Set mostly in the AU of Pete's World; TenII hits a big snag in his efforts to forge a new life with Rose and finds himself facing an unexpected identify crisis.
Length: WIP
Rating: Teen for slight swearing