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The Torchwood party was going full bore by the time the Doctor, Hal and Rose returned to the Great Hall. Rose immediately merged into a stream of employees and their guests, all wanting to talk to, or be seen with, the Vitex heiress. At least ten couples were gathered in the centre of the dance floor, gyrating somewhat drunkenly before massive speakers mounted about the stage. Modern dance music blared overhead with a steady, pounding beat. Spinning a kinetic dance number that had several other couples joining the floor, the rather Rastafarian-looking DJ caught the Doctor’s eye with a big grin. Still holding Hal by the hand, the Doctor marched swiftly toward the dance floor, towing Hal along with him.

Confused by the Doctor’s unrelenting grip on her hand, Hal trotted alongside trying to keep up with him until she saw his trajectory. “No, no, no!” she yelped in a panic, setting her feet so that he was now dragging her toward the dance floor. “Oh, yes!” he smiled, grasping her hand more tightly than ever as he kept going. “This is my first Torchwood party. We’ve gotta dance!” Bucking fitfully like a frightened lassoed wild mustang, Hal almost managed to break his grip when he whirled her around to grab her other hand by the wrist. Swaying to the music, he led her into the middle of the dancing crowd, giggling in delight like an amused child.

“Doctor… ROSE!” Hal choked out, eyes wide in embarrassment. She moved half-heartedly to the music, keeping as much distance between their bodies as she could. It was obvious to the Doctor that she would bolt at the first opportunity. He kept a firm grip on her wrist and hand, almost tightly enough to cut off the circulation.

“What about Rose?” he asked innocently.

“You should be dancing with Rose, you idiot!”

“Huh… well, Rose is quite busy right now,” he responded blandly, undeterred by Hal’s struggles to break free and flee.

“Doctor??”

“Yes, Hal?” he asked pleasantly, twirling Hal around once again to the thrum of the steady bass beat.

“She’s gonna be watching us, you know,” Hal warned with a frown.

He gave her an evil smirk at the last. “Good,” he said. “I have my brainy specs on, just like you told me.” His gaze swept the room in search of Rose. A predatory twinkle in his eyes was all the warning she got. Before Hal could react the Doctor swiftly encircled her waist in his long, slender arms. Much to her consternation he pulled her up tightly against him. Feeling her stiffen and gasp, he ignored her reaction and closed his eyes. Swaying with her to the music, he felt her relax a smidgeon as ancient instinct took over. Their latent psychic connection flared above its normal background whisper at the close physical contact.

He had felt traces of it before. It was an urge known to every telepathic species that cajoled them to reach out and touch on a non-physical plane. There were huge gaping holes in both the Doctor and Hal, vacuous areas of bitter loneliness left behind by the dead and the impossibly distant. They ached with longing and grief, constantly throbbing and reminding them of what was no longer there, like the exposed pulp of a tooth. The yearning to fill that emptiness and to be filled, to touch a kindred spirit who would understand and not turn away, was beginning to leak uncontrollably through both of their psychic barriers. Hal shuddered, then began to tremble as she fought to keep her shields intact against the tentative mental brushing coming from the Time Lord’s mind.

Skillfully, the DJ merged into a slower dance number as several couples broke to leave the dance floor. Gazing quizzically into Hal’s eyes, the Doctor slowed their pace but didn’t release her. Hal sighed resignedly and tucked the top of her head, which barely reached the Doctor’s shoulders, under his chin. They knew simultaneously that something extraordinary was happening, but neither was sure of exactly what their feelings entailed. There was no burst of pheromones, no intense physiological response that give context to the situation. Neither felt any real physical attraction or romantic feelings toward the other, and yet the pull each felt toward the other was almost overwhelming. They knew they were on the cusp of change, but worried about how the change might affect their lives.

“This feels so… wrong,” Hal gasped in exasperation. A bubble of mirth burst through her as she softly giggled, unable to keep a serious face any longer.

“How so?” he asked, his face still serious as he struggled with his own emotions. The strong drive to push past Hal’s mental barriers disturbed him, but he couldn’t force himself to let her go. He feared a strong connection to Hal and what it might mean for his reconciliation plans with Rose, yet at the moment he was afraid of Hal’s rejection even more. A strong swirl of emotion, combined with the swaying of their bodies, threatened to induce a touch of vertigo. He clutched her body closer for support.

“It… it feels sorta like… a taboo, or something,” Hal chuckled again. “Sorta like… I’m dancing with my… brother.”

He looked down at her, flashing a teasing grin. “Really? Do you actually have a brother, Hal?”

“No, never had a brother,” she admitted. “But if I had one, I’m positive doing a slow grind against him would feel a lot like this.”

“Would you like one?” the Doctor whispered conspiratorially into her ear, still grinning madly. For some strange reason, he got a huge thrill in teasing Hal out of her comfort zone.

Hal leaned back, cocking one eyebrow at him. “A brother… or a slow grind?” she quipped cheekily.

“A brother, you nutter,” he smiled. “Although I’m up for either. Never had a sister, me, so I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to do a slow grind with her… if I had one, that is. Also pretty sure 99.9% of Time Lords never did a slow grind with anyone, so perhaps it never became a taboo on Gallifrey.”

“Shut up!” laughed Hal.

“No, seriously. Time Lords never do dirty dancing, they…”

“No,” Hal interrupted with a shake of her head, still grinning in amusement. “I meant literally. Shut. Up. You’re babbling again.”

“Oi, is this where you pull off my head and stick it in a box, like poor old Daryl?”

“If necessary,” Hal baited. Her entire body was beginning to quake with suppressed laughter at the idea of wrenching the Doctor’s head off.

They were laughing so hard that they accidentally nudged another couple, who happened to be a much potted Jackie and an only slightly more sober Pete Tyler. “Sorry!” they chorused to Jackie and Pete, who seemed barely able to remain upright on the dance floor.

“You two look so cute laughin’ and dancin’ t… to… together,” slurred Jackie, confirming the Doctor’s supposition that it was Jackie who comprised the weakest link of the dancing duo.

“Party’s far from over,” smiled Pete with a wink and a nod toward Jackie. With a barely controlled whirl that threatened to take Jackie to the floor, Pete put a few feet between the couples to prevent another collision.

“Blimey,” said the Doctor as he looked down at Hal again. “Hope Pete’s going to be sober by the afternoon. We may have to wait just a tiny bit longer than after breakfast for our meeting, or he may not remember it at all.”

Hal nodded. “I can stay a little longer, if that’s what it takes.”

“Good. And we’re literally dancing around our earlier conversation, aren’t we?” he asked gently.

Hal’s first inclination was to ask “what conversation,” but she thought better of it. A slightly sad expression dampened her smile, causing the Doctor to hold in his breath. The DJ spun another slow dance number, leaving Hal little choice but to respond.

“We’re talking about a psychic bond… a sibling bond, aren’t we?”

“Weell,” he drawled, “I suppose, although nothing like what you have with your sister, naturally.”

“That kind of bond isn’t possible, Doctor. Elly and I bonded in the womb long before either of us was born. That level of twin bonding isn’t voluntarily, nor is it severable. It’s rare, even amongst strong telepaths, unlike your common garden-variety sibling bond. Were Time Lords ever capable of sibling bonds?”

“Well, not so much Time Lords, but definitely Gallifreyans. Usually bonding occurred spontaneously between cousins reared within the same household. But Time Lords left for the Academy at age eight, so there was lesser opportunity for bonding to develop within the family. Occasionally it would happen between acolytes while in the Academy,” he added with an inexplicably sad expression.

“But with adults?”

“Rarely, I think. Probably because there were millions of voices in our heads already. From an evolutionary standpoint, it makes sense. If you’ve learned to cope without a sibling link by then, it’s most likely not necessary.”

Troubled, Hal looked away just in time to catch a glimpse of Rose at the edge of the dance floor. She was talking to someone, but distractedly watching Hal and the Doctor dance. Hal shot her a challenging look before turning back to the Doctor, who hadn’t noticed Rose on the periphery.

“Why would we do that to ourselves, Doctor? You’ll be here. I’ll be there, in Prime. Why do you think I’ve avoided attachments all of this time? Why would I want to trade getting my family in Prime back, only to leave a part of it behind again here in Pete’s World?”

“We’ll think of something, you and me. We’re both very clever, Hal. If we can figure out how to get across the Void and back, perhaps we can set up beacons in the wormhole that will allow communications between the two dimensions. Sort of like geosynchronous communication satellites, eh?”

“I don’t know,” she said reluctantly, shaking her head. She tried to ignore the crestfallen look on the Doctor’s face.

They stopped as the last song ended. A slight tapping on her shoulder alerted Hal to Rose’s presence.

“May I break in?” asked Rose politely with a smile.

Relieved, Hal broke into a huge grin before placing Rose’s hand firmly into the Doctor’s. “Certainly,” she said. “I need to get a drink anyway. Oh, and make him show you some of his moves! I get the feeling he’s been holding out on me,” Hal winked before darting away toward the beverage bar.

Oi!” protested the Doctor, too late for Hal to notice. He watched her retreating back, his brows knitted in irritation. “Oh, hello!” he finally said, suddenly aware of Rose standing patiently as the next song began.

“Hello! Would you care to dance with me, Doctor?” Rose asked demurely.

“I thought you’d never ask, Rose Tyler,” he drawled, giving her a heated glance that brought colour to her cheeks. He placed his other hand chastely at her waist and led her deeper onto the floor, never breaking his gaze.

“Sooo, what are these moves she’s talkin’ about?” Rose purred, her tongue suddenly appearing between her teeth. “You learn a few new ones since you were in leather?”

The mention of his last regeneration reminded him that they’d once used the term “dancing” as a euphemism for a less vertical, and far less public, activity. His voice dropped into a throaty growl at the memory. “Oh, you have no idea, Rose! My prowess on the dance floor was legendary, even back then. Just didn’t think it was quite… appropriate at the time.”

“Yeah? Didn’t see ya usin’ too much of that legendary prowess with Hal,” she grinned.

“That’s ‘cause she said dancing with me was like dancing with her brother!” he groaned with a wounded look. “And she doesn’t even have a brother.”

“Well, I got a brother,” she smiled, “but he’s a bit young and a bit short for the type of dancin’ I like to do on the floor.”

“Well… show me what you’ve got, Ms. Tyler,” he challenged her. Without another word, Rose locked her gaze with his and closed the distance between them. They moved synchronously in perfect step to the strong Latin beat of the Talking Heads, “Burning Down the House.Within a few seconds, Rose confidently placed her arms around the Doctor’s neck as he took over the lead. They let the thrum of the music move through them, following an ancient rhythm as old as life itself.

The first thing the Doctor noticed was how perfectly Rose fit against him, as if she were made expressly for him. Or rather, that he was made exactly to her specifications. A good three inches taller than Hal, Rose seemed to strike his frame at the right height for hips, arms and legs. She moved fluidly and sensuously in perfect cadence with him, almost as if she could anticipate his every movement to the heavy percussive beat of the music. Her warm amber-hued eyes met his at the perfect level, allowing his neck to relax rather than bend awkwardly to meet them. He was only an inch taller than in his previous regeneration, and yet he couldn’t recall ever feeling so exquisitely proportioned to match the pink and yellow girl who stole his hearts.

Heart. He had only one now. It was pounding out a rhythm that couldn’t be explained by his current level of exertion. Becoming acutely aware of his galloping singular heart for the first time in weeks, he swallowed noisily. Not only were his heart and respiration rates careening above the norm, but a fine sheen of perspiration was beginning to form on his upper lip. His keen Time Lord olfactory system registered a warm, enticing, and rapidly increasing scent wafting up from within his arms. He closed his eyes and smiled as he pressed his temple against Rose’s hair, taking a deep sniff of a mixture of strawberry shampoo, subtle floral cologne, and the sweet smell that was distinctly and uniquely Rose Tyler. His heart swelled painfully to almost bursting, unable to believe she was actually within his arms again.

Pulling back slightly and twisting, Rose turned in his arms to face away. She leaned back to rotate her pert, round bum against the Doctor’s hips and pulled both his arms tightly around her waist. She looked back coquettishly over her shoulder to judge his reaction. Surprise flashed through his slightly flushed features, but she noted with feminine pride that he never missed a beat. She turned her head back around in time to see her Mum standing by the refreshments, mouth gaping as her flute of champagne poured unnoticed from her hand. Pete, grinning and giving the Doctor a mischievous two-fingered salute, rescued the glass before it slipped completely from her grasp.

Uh oh, a panicky thought coursed through the Doctor’s mind. His blazing face and neck turned a deep crimson as his traitorous half-human body took control. He thanked all of the Eternals that he’d worn extremely tight denims to the party, while cursing himself for losing mastery over a specific, and apparently very excited, part of his anatomy. Getting slapped by Jackie was currently the least of his worries. Rose bolting and leaving his predicament exposed to view under flashing strobe lights was not a memory he cared to take away from his first Torchwood party.

Rose twisted back around to face him and grasped the Doctor’s bum with both hands. He gave a soft squeak of alarm when she hauled him back against her, seemingly determined not to leave an iota of airspace between them. Rocking her hips, Rose riveted him with a smoky come-hither look that was almost his undoing. Her wispy, shimmering short skirt and the sight of her ample cleavage, bursting from a clingy silk blouse while undulating against his chest, did nothing to allay the pressure building below his waist.

“Why, Doctor,” she mewed, “is that a sonic screwdriver in your pocket, or are you jus’ happy to see me?” She chuckled, her tongue once again poked out the corner of her mouth in mirth. Her eyes sparkled wickedly as they met his, which were almost black with barely contained desire.

“There is indeed a sonic screwdriver in my pocket, Rose Tyler,” he said deliberately, enunciating each syllable carefully in a gravelly voice. “But that’s not what you’re bumping against.”

Rose dropped her gaze, unable to meet the intensity of his eyes, which felt as if they were burning into her soul. The next song spun by the DJ slowed the pace a bit, allowing Rose to grant the Doctor a temporary reprieve by placing a few inches between them. His eyes shut as he tried to concentrate on the music, taking a deep breath to slow down what had rapidly turned into a pant. A smile crept over his face.

“Oh, Rose. It’s our song,” he breathed.

“Our… our song?”

“Tainted Love! By Soft Cell?” he prompted, opening his eyes again. “You do remember, don’t you?”

“Oh yeah,” she responded with a wondering smile. “Our first trip together to 5.5/Apple/26. You took me to see the end of the world.”

The Doctor’s face fell. “Rubbish first date, wasn’t it? Don’t know what I was thinking.”

“That was a date?!?

“Weeelll… guess I’ve always thought of it as a first date,” he said uneasily, a bit embarrassed by his Freudian slip.

“You might have mentioned that, yeah?”

“Yeah, well…” he said with a sheepish shrug, “I’ve always been kind of rubbish about that, too. Not mentioning things about myself or my past. Not telling people how I really feel about them. Changing the subject if the topic got uncomfortable for me. That sort of stuff. Was far worse as the other me, I suppose. Complete idiot, I was.”

“Sooooo… why didn’t you ever dance with me again after that first time? You know, after we met Jack for the first time?” she asked after a pause.

He stared at her, mouth slightly agape. His eyes roamed her features as the urge to bend down and gently kiss her washed through him. It seemed an eternity since his lips had touched hers; an eternity since that defining moment when he’d pledged all that he was to her.

She was older now. No longer was his Rose the pink and yellow little human girl whose hand he’d grasped in that shop basement so very long ago. Her face had become more angular; her eyes held a new maturity beyond her years; her posture, scent and grooming had all altered as she completed transformation into a woman during his long absence. She was still his Rose, and yet different.

Seeing the question in her eyes, he let his mind brush ever so gently against hers in a zephyr-like mental caress that held all of the love, hope, longing, and regret cascading from his heart. For the briefest of seconds, he felt as if he still had both his hearts, because one heart simply didn’t seem large enough to contain all that he felt for her.

He felt her shudder at the mental touch and could sense her curiosity, confusion, and hesitancy; but beneath, just out of reach, was a deep longing and a desire to connect with him. Much to his chagrin, her mind withdrew from his when he pressed slightly deeper. A few lines appeared between her eyes, letting him know that she was aware of him but not quite ready for such intimate contact. Sighing, he resolved to give her more time to get to know him again. He was still a Time Lord, after all. He would make Time do his bidding.

The Doctor leaned closer to her as they continued to dance, and whispered in her ear. “I didn’t dance with you again because I was afraid. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to stop with only dancing. I was afraid you were far too young. I was afraid I was far too old. I was afraid I would lose you. I was afraid you’d feel a sonic in my pocket and think I was this daft dirty old alien trying to get into your knickers. Last but not least, I was afraid of Jackie’s predilection for slapping.”

Rose leaned back slightly, eyes wide in shock. Her face crumpled as she burrowed her face into his jacket, trying hard to stifle the girlish giggles that threatened to bend her double. The Doctor chuckled as he reached up to hold her about the shoulders and rock her to the music. He knew that if he could tease her and make her laugh, he could find his way back into her heart.

Gasping for breath, Rose looked back up and fixed him with an enticing smile. “Soooo…, Doctor. We’re dancin’ right now, and my Mum is only a few feet away. What’s different now?”

“Oh, I’m still very much afraid of all of those things. Except, perhaps the last couple of reasons might be a bit truer,” he answered with a cheeky, wry grin. Rose’s breath hitched at the sight of said daft old alien, who wore a slightly haughty expression she was all too familiar with as he tilted his head back, tip of tongue firmly plastered to the roof of his mouth. With his glasses sliding down and magnifying his huge brown orbs, he was devastatingly gorgeously. Her eyes slid from his thick mane of wild chestnut hair down to his full, pouty lips.

Oh, that tongue, Rose thought to herself with a little shiver. That tongue had been the topic of many a conversation at Torchwood, and had featured in many a heated daydream for more than a few Torchwood employees. She idly mused if he knew just how provocative his unconscious mannerisms in this incarnation could be.

A loud squeal woke them both from their reveries as a couple whirled past them. They glanced up to see Hal firmly in the clutches of a smallish dark man in a three-piece suit, wavy black hair pomaded to perfection. He stooped to bump and grind lasciviously between Hal’s legs in time to the music. The petite blonde researcher had a huge sloppy grin on her flushed face as she dipped to maintain contact with her partner, obviously having given up her antisocial tendencies for the night.

“Who is that?!?” growled the Doctor, brows knitted in overt displeasure.

“That, Doctor, would be your mate, Hal,” Rose answered obliquely with a smirk.

“No, no, no!” he snapped, never taking his eyes off the couple. “Who’s that bloke she’s with?”

“The bloke? Oh, he’s Cynthia’s Meyers’ boyfriend. Cynthia from Weapons Research. Ronaldo is his name, I think. He’s from Spain.”

“So where’s this Cynthia?” His jocular mood soundly broken, the Doctor had stiffened and was barely moving to the music at all. Rose could detect the Oncoming Storm brewing in his dark eyes as he glared holes in the side of Ronaldo’s head. He was clearly taking umbrage at the unfamiliar man’s inebriated attempts to perform sex on a dance floor, fully clothed in a cheap suit, with Hal.

“Uhm… is there a problem? She looks like she’s enjoyin’ herself.”

“A bit too much,” he said through clenched teeth. “I’d say Hal’s probably had enough drink for one night.” He disengaged himself from Rose as the song ended. Marching over to the couple, he placed his hand none to gently on Hal’s shoulder and spun her around to face him.

“Doctor!” Hal exclaimed, giggling as she almost tipped over. She stopped immediately at the furious look on the Time Lord’s face.

“Having fun?” he hissed crossly, looking imperiously down his nose at Hal. Ronaldo wisely chose to scamper off wordlessly in search of his girlfriend… or shelter from the Storm… without so much as a by your leave.

“Was until you came over,” Hal muttered angrily. She wasn’t quite sure how she’d incurred the ire of the Doctor, but she resented how he was placing a wet towel on her unusually festive mood. They glared at each other in a stare-off, Hal’s dark blue eyes glittering in a hard challenge to the Doctor’s authority.

“How much have you had to drink, Hal?” he demanded, hand on hip.

Hal rolled her eyes. “Oh, so you’re channelin’ Carrie Nation now? How about this, your Lordship? I’m goin’ to the ladies room, and then I’m comin’ back here for another drink! Or two.” Throwing him another hard stare as she departed, she stalked off behind the stage and exited into the interior of the mansion.

Furious, the Doctor took a step as if to follow her when he felt a hand at his elbow. He looked down to see a very concerned Rose at his side, brows crinkled into a slight frown.

“Let her cool off,” Rose said sagely. “I could use a drink myself, after all that dancin’.” She stuck the tip of her tongue out of the side of her mouth with a little smile, breaking the Doctor’s attention from his altercation with Hal. He let her lead him from the floor over to a free-standing bar. She ordered two drinks, one of them a banana daiquiri for the Doctor. Silently, they took their drinks to sit in a row of chairs along the wall as he gradually calmed himself.

“What was that about?” Rose asked quietly while the Doctor took a slow sip of his frothy daiquiri. He looked away, abashed.

“I dunno,” he said finally. “Didn’t like the looks of him, I guess.” He grimaced and started gesturing wildly. “And why in Rassilon’s name did Hal suddenly decide to make a complete minx of herself at a Torchwood party? I had a dreadful time getting her to eat lunch away from her desk.”

Rose laughed. “Doctor, one might think you were a jealous lover based on your reaction. She wasn’t doin’ nothin’ out of the ordinary for a party. You should’a seen me Mum partyin’ when she was single.”

The Doctor did a double-take before pulling a face. “Ewww, I really don’t want an image of Jackie doing anything like that running through my head. Rather stick a fork in my eye,” he grimaced. “And it’s not jealousy, Rose, honestly.”

“Then what is it? It’s not how I expect people to act who are just mates, Doctor.”

He thought about it before responding, not quite sure how to say what he meant. “Well, it’s kind of complicated,” he lamely responded, nervously rubbing the back of his neck.

Rose’s face fell. Her cheeks began to colour as she stammered. “O..oh, I… I see. A friend with… with, uhm, with benefits… sort of thing.”

His face contorted in bafflement. “What?!? Friends with what?”

“You know… friends with benefits. Friends who aren’t boyfriend/girlfriend in a committed relationship, but who agree to have, uhm, casual… sex… from time to time.”

“Oh, nooo!” the Doctor said in horror, eyes growing huge. “Oh, no, no, no, no, no! Never! Never, ever, ever!” He gulped, trying desperately not to babble incoherently before he could gather his thoughts.

“Rose, I’ve never had sex in this body. Not this body, not the last, and not even the lifetime before the body I was in when we first met in that basement in Henrik’s. I don’t even know what casual sex is! It’s not part of who I am. And even if I were open to that, which I assure you I’m not… I swear, I promise you… it couldn’t be with Hal. You’ve got to believe me about that… I wouldn’t…”

Rose reached up and placed her fingers lightly over his lips to halt his panicked outrush of words. “’S ok,” she said. “’S really not my business. ‘S jus’ that the two of ya seem so chummy… so wrapped up in each other. I saw the two of ya together in a pub once, yeah? You… you went into her mind, didn’ya? You connected to her telepathically? I thought that was s’pose to be so intimate.”

“Yeah,” he said quietly. He looked down at the floor a little guiltily. “It is.”

She watched him, wondering what he was thinking. “Did’ya do that with the others? With Martha or Donna?”

Setting his drink on the floor, he rubbed his hands together in thought. “Just Donna,” he answered.

“But you never tried it with me, ever,” she said a little angrily. “I thought we were really close. We even slept in the same bed together sometimes. And when we got stuck on Krop Tor, I thought we might end up livin’ together. That’s jus’ how close I thought we were.”

He looked up again to see Rose’s eyes misting up with emotion. “Yeah, we were, Rose. We were very, very close. Too close. So close that I was too terrified to dare try.”

“Why? What’s the difference?”

“I wasn’t in love with them,” he said almost inaudibly. “I never wanted them, not the same way.”

Staring at him wordlessly, Rose’s eyes roved his face as she struggled to understand. “I still don’t understand how they got so close to you so quickly,” she said dejectedly. “I was with ya for two whole years, yeah? You’re not exactly the easiest bloke to get to know. I found out more about the Time War, and where you came from, in Hal’s proposal than ya ever told me. Ya never even mentioned the Time War or the name of your planet to me, not once.”

“I know, and I’m so sorry, Rose. I was a sodding mess when you met me. You truly made me better, and that’s not flattery. I want to tell you everything… everything that could ever be known about me. But, there are things about me you may not like. I’ve seen things, horrible things. I’ve… done things. Terrible things that may make you turn away,” he said as he wrung his hands pensively.

“What’s so terrible that you could tell them, but not tell me? Jus’ help me to understand this, ‘cause it’s not makin’ much sense to me. You say you were in love with me, but ya couldn’t tell me about a war that destroyed your home planet? But you could tell Donna and some woman you’ve only known a few weeks?”

“I didn’t tell Hal,” he offered. “She sort of took what she wanted in a psychic attack. That’s all sorted out now, but I would never have told her voluntarily on such short acquaintance. Donna was different. Donna and I grew very close, and she had a clever way of extracting information from me. Never did know when to give up, Donna. I grew to love Donna like a sister. She was brilliant, compassionate, loving, selfless, and oh-so-brave. You know that, because she literally sacrificed herself to save all of us, just on your word. She would have made a hell of a Time Lady, and I would have been proud to call her my sister. There was almost nothing I couldn’t tell her.”

He swallowed thickly. “Nothing except, what she really meant to me. I can’t believe I didn’t tell her how I felt. I had nothing to lose by telling her.”

“If you were as close as you say, she already knows,” Rose tried to comfort him. “She got all of your memories in the meta-crisis, yeah? You didn’t need to say it.”

“Does it need to be said?” he asked knowingly, echoing the full Time Lord’s question to her at Dårlig Ulv Stranden. Rose winced and paled.

“Yeah, it needed to be said,” he nodded in certainty. “And she almost assuredly doesn’t know, because I’m positive he had to wipe her memory. She wouldn’t survive the meta-crisis otherwise. She won’t remember one minute of our travels or who I am. I missed my opportunity to tell her the truth. I am determined not to make the same mistake twice.”

“So, Hal is like Donna? Sorta like a sister to ya?”

“Yeah, something like that. Although, Hal is a strong telepath like myself, so the instinctive urge to bond as compatible siblings is strong. I don’t think either of us truly understood what the attraction was until tonight when we started to dance. Hal sort of picked up first on feelings generated by the incest taboo inherent in all three of our species. Her psychic abilities are much stronger than my own. It might have taken me a little bit longer to suss it out.”

“You can be pretty oblivious sometimes,” Rose smiled.

“Oi,” he protested as he picked up his drink and took a sip. “I never had a sister before. How am I to know what it feels like?”

“Oookay,” Rose nodded in understanding. “That makes a bit more sense. You feel kinda protective of Hal, sorta like a big brother or somethin’.”

He shrugged. “Guess so. Didn’t really think about it, just reacted.”

Rose gave him a crooked little smile. “So’s that why you were so protective of me with Adam and Jack? You were pretty tough with both of ‘em.”

“No… no, I don’t think that’s what it was,” he said awkwardly, a blush creeping up his neck.

“Well, you weren’t in love with me back then, were you? When you still had blue eyes and leather?”

“Uhm…, oh…well,” he stuttered. His face suddenly went blank. He seemed to be staring into space as Rose looked at him expectantly.

“Doctor?”

“Something’s wrong,” he muttered. He craned his neck to search about the Great Hall. “Where’s Hal? She should have been back by now.”

“Maybe she went somewhere quiet… “ Rose suggested.

The Doctor’s eyes went round with alarm, as if he could hear something above the blare of the speakers around the stage. “Oh, no! Hal is in trouble,” he cried. He tossed his drink to the floor, unheeding of the splash and mess it made as he jumped to his feet. Bolting straight for the exit at the back of the Hall, he ran into the mansion corridors, Rose hot on his heels. He rounded a darkened corner as if he knew what he was looking for, like a bloodhound on an invisible scent trail.

In the hallway, up against the wall, was Hal. She had been pinned against the surface with her arms held above her head by Ronaldo, who was using his other hand to grasp the opening of her linen blouse as she struggled. With a lecherous and low snicker, he ripped at the blouse, sending buttons flying through the air and skittering across the highly-polished tile floor.

In only a few long strides of his long legs, the Doctor as behind the drunken Spaniard before he was even aware of their entrance. Grabbing the man by his shoulders, the infuriated Doctor yanked him clear of Hal and slammed him against the opposite wall. Quick as a flash, he was on him again. Lifting the smaller man off the floor by his lapels, his pupils completely blackened and features contorted in rage, he growled in a low voice through clenched teeth mere inches from Ronaldo’s terrified face.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing,” the Doctor hissed.



The Torchwood party is in full swing, and the Doctor dances.

Sorry for the two week delay in updating, but sometimes ya gotta do the slow path. Need to Know, Part III coming soon. Sorry for another evil cliffie. ;-) Ok, maybe not so sorry, but you won't suffer as long this time.

Title:
Wayward Son - Chapter 19:  Need to Know, Part II

Characters: Jackie Tyler; Ten II; Pete Tyler; Tony Tyler; Original Character
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

Comments

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biteymadlady58
Feb. 25th, 2012 09:47 pm (UTC)
{Blushing}

Awww, thank you, S! I'm so, so glad you liked it! {squee!}

OMG, I did struggle a bit with this chapter, for no other reason that I kept having to pen it in short fits and gasps over a long period of time. Consequently, it just didn't flow right, forcing me to rewrite portions of it. I'm still not too pleased with the flow, but it is what it is. Work and other personal commitments have been eating my lunch.

Yes, yes, it is so past due for Rose to finally start trying to give the poor man a break. Servers her right, though, if he holds out on the sonic for a few months. LOL! Maybe he wants to be courted. ;-)

I may have to put in an apology to the Spainards after Ronaldo, I'm afraid. It's not that I have anything against Spain or the Spanairds. Quite to the contrary! I and Mr. Bitey have even been to Barcelona a little over a year ago. (The city, not the planet, LOL.) It just seemed appropriate to make Hal's dance partner a little bit smarmy Latin guy with some nice moves, because underneath all that coldish exterior is a wild risk-taker. There's a hint of that in her choice of car, a Porsche 911. Unfortunately, she made a bad choice in Ronaldo.

But you're right, the end result of Hal's misfortune is that Rose gets to see the full-blown OS in Cloen for the first time. She almost wet herself when he had her against the wall, and that was just a taste.

What is goin on with LJ, anyway? I've seen some very strange behaviors this week.

Off to your wall to read Found & Forgotten right now!! Wheeeee!
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