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End of the Road 4/4

Title:End of the Road 4/4
Authors: glory_jean & achuislemochroi from a concept by 2cbetter2
Rating: PG-13
Spoilers: S3
Summary When the Doctor decides to take Rose on a trip down memory lane trouble follows.
Notes: Gridlock dialog referenced from Doctor who transcripts 2005+




[Unknown LJ tag]



The Doctor looks over at the other man who is staring in wide-eye horror at the creatures below.

“They are the Macra, ” he begins. “They used to be the scourge of this galaxy. Gas. They fed off gas, the filthier the better. They built up a small empire using humans as slaves and mining gas for food.”

“They don't exactly look like empire-builders to me.”

The Doctor shrugs a little, conceding that point. “Wellll, that was billions of years ago. Billions. They must've devolved down the years and now they're just beasts. But they're still hungry and my — Rose is down there.”

A noise over their heads causes both of them to look up. A pair of feet clad in dark tights and silver ballet flats appears.

“Oh, it's like New Times Square in here, for goodness's sake!” The man grumbles.

A cat woman dressed in a grey nun’s habit drops into the car with them.

The Doctor is delighted. “I've invented a sport!”

“Doctor, you're a hard man to find,” the nun tells him. “You've got to come with me.”

The Doctor frowns at her. “Do I know you?”

She smiles and moves in front of him. “You haven't aged at all. Time has been less kind to me.”

“Novice Hame!” the Doctor exclaims happily and embraces her with a grin. Then a thought strikes him and he recoils. “No, hold on, get off. Last time we met, you were breeding humans for experimentation.”

Novice looks away sadly. “I've sought forgiveness, Doctor, for so many years, under his guidance. And if you come with me, I might finally be able to redeem myself.”

“I'm not going anywhere. You've got Macra living underneath this city. Macra! And Rose is stuck down there!”

“You've got to come with me right now!” Novice Hame insists.

“No, no, no -- you're coming with me!” he counters. “We've got three passengers now.”

She shakes her head sadly. “I'm sorry, Doctor. But the situation is even worse than you can imagine.”

Before he argue further she grabs his wrist and presses a button her lighted wristband.

“Don't you dare! Don't you dare!” the Doctor shouts at her. But in that instant they are covered in a flash of white light and vanish.

In a large room filled with debris and lighted by filtered sunlight, the Doctor and Novice Hame reapear.

The Doctor groans as he picks himself off the floor. “Oh! Rough teleport. Ow. But you can go straight back down and teleport people out, starting with Rose.”

“I only had the power for one trip.”

“Then get some more!” The Doctor demands. “Where are we?”

“High above, in the over-city.”

“Good!” the Doctor rages. “ 'Cause you can tell the Senate of New New York I'd like a word. They've got thousands of people trapped on the motorway! Millions!”

“But you're inside the Senate, right now.” Novice Hame’s voice quivers. She touches her bracelet and the lights come on. “May the goddess Santori bless them.”

The light reveals a vast room with rows and rows of elevated seating rising up toward the high ceiling. They are standing on the Senate floor. Still seated in the chairs are dozens and dozens of skeletons.

Her voice dropped to a near whisper, “They died, Doctor. The city died.”

Despite his fears for Rose, the Doctor feels a morose calm come over him. “How long's it been like this?”

“Twenty-four years.”

The Doctor kneels beside a skeleton, anger subdued into sorrow. “All of them? Everyone? What happened?”

“A new chemical. A new mood. They called it Bliss.”

She kneels next to him and and pulls a small disk labeled "Bliss" from the skeleton.

“Everyone tried it. They couldn't stop. A virus mutated inside the compound and became airborne. Everything perished — even the virus, in the end. It killed the world in seven minutes flat. There was just enough time to close down the walkways and the flyovers, sealing off the under-city. Those people on the motorway aren't lost, Doctor. They were saved.”

The Doctor jumps to his feet. “So the whole thing down there is running on automatic?”

“There's not enough power to get them out. We did all we could to stop the system from choking.”

“Who's 'we'? How did you survive?”

The Doctor turns as a deep rumbling voice calls his name.

“I knew you would come,” the Face of Boe says.

“He protected me from the virus by shrouding me in his smoke,” Notice Hame explains. "But with no one to maintain it, the city's power died. The under-city would have fallen into the sea. The Face of Boe wired himself into the mainframe. He's giving his life force just to keep things running.”

“But there are planets out there. You could have called for help.”

She shakes her head. “The last act of the Senate was to declare New Earth unsafe. The automatic quarantine lasts for one hundred years.”

The Doctor looks at them both in amazement. “So the two of you stayed here — on your own, for all these years.”

“We had no choice,” Novice says mournfully.

The Doctor places a hand on her shoulder. “Yes, you did.”



@}-,-‘-



The three of them sit silently in the dark car. Milo and Cheen are lost in hopelessness and Rose is desperately wracking her brain for a solution. Oh, if only the Doctor.... She pushes the thought away.

“How much air’s left?” she asks instead.

“Two minutes.”

“The Doctor’s working on something right now. I’m sure of it. We just have to hold on until then.”

“Rose, no one's coming. There’s no one out there.”

Rose feels a tinge of angry frustration. “He is. And he’ll never give up, so I won’t let the two of you.”

Cheen gives her a shy smile. “He looked kind of nice.”

Rose finds herself grinning back in spite of herself. “Yeah, he is.”

“Are you and him … ?”

Rose drops her eyes shyly, nodding.

“I never even asked. Where's home?”

Rose hesitates, a stab of sadness and longing shooting through her heart. “Home is wherever he is.”

“So, um, who is he, then? This Doctor?”

Rose looks from one to the other and sits up straighter. “He’s... He’s the Doctor. And he helps people. Even those that may not deserve it. And for a long time, he did it all on his own. You wouldn’t believe the things he’s done. Saved whole planets before tea time and on to the next. I may not know all that much about the universe, but I know him. You've got your faith; your songs and your hymns. But I've got the Doctor.”

Milo looks at her and nods. “Right.”

He turns the car’s systems back online. As the lights come back on, he grips Cheen’s hand. Outside the crabs awaken and begin attacking. Milo sets the speed as fast as he can and tries to keep car Four Six Five Diamond Six dodging around them.





-‘-,-{@




The Doctor slides his specs on and stares at the screen. “Car Four Six Five Diamond Six — it still registers! That's Rose! I knew she’d find her way.”

He leaps away from the screen and begins chattering to himself rapidly as he works. “Okay Rose, just hang on a little longer. Think, think, think. Take the residual energy, invert it, feed it through the electricity beds.”

“There isn't enough power,” Novice Hame wails.

The Doctor dashes back and forth. “Ah, you've got power! You've got me! I'm brilliant with computers, just you watch. Hame, every switch on that bank, up to maximum!” He moves to a control box on the floor aims his sonic at it and turns knobs. “I can't power up the city, but all the city needs is people.” He pounds on the console one last time for good measure and jumps up.

“So what are you going to do?”

“This!” he shouts and pulls a large lever. All the lights go out. “No, no no no no, no!” the Doctor wails, aiming his sonic at a junction box. “The transformers are blocked. The signal can't get through.”

“Doctor …” the Face of Boe calls.

“Hold on, not now,” the Doctor calls back in frustration.

The Face of Boe shuts his eyes and gasps, “I give you my last …”

Suddenly everything reactivates and power is flowing once more.

The Doctor bounds across the room shouting, “Hame, look after him! Don't you go dying on me, you big old face. You've got to see this.” He pulls on the lever again. “The open road. Ha!”


@}-,-‘-



The people in the cars below start as a loud thud sounds overhead. Then the ceiling of the motorway opens and light spills into the cars highlighting every startled face.

Far below, Car Four Six Five Diamond Six is still dodging and weaving around Macra claws. It narrowly misses getting crushed when a Macra causes one who catches hold to lose it’s grip.




-‘-,-{@


Inside, the Doctor’s face appears on the monitor.

“Sorry, no Sally Calypso,” he says, “she was just a hologram. My name's the Doctor.”

Rose hoots in joy and surprise. It almost feels like that rocket ship pointed at a black hole all over again. “It’s him! I told you! It’s him!”

“And this is an order, “ the Doctor is saying. “Everyone drive up. Right now. I've opened the roof of the motorway. Come on. Throttle those engines. Drive up. All of you, the whole under-city. Drive up, drive up, drive up! Fast! We've got to clear that fast lane. Drive up and get out of the way.”

The cars begin to follow his instructions, streaming up and out of the motorway.

“Oi! Car Four Six Five Diamond Six! Rose!! Drive up!”

“Do it!” Rose yells over the noise. “Do as he says!”

“You've got access above! Now go!” the Doctor says.

At last, Milo steers the car away from the deadly claws and joins the crowd of exiting cars.



@}-,-‘-



In the Senate, the Doctor is watching everything from a monitor and smiles as Brannigan’s voice comes over the radio.

“Did I tell you, Doctor? You're not bad, Sir. You're not bad at all! Oh, yee-hah!”

“You keep driving, Brannigan, all the way up! 'Cause it's here, just waiting for you.” The Doctor carries his microphone over the the window to look out into the city. “The city of New New York. And it's yours. And don't forget — I want that coat back.”

“I reckon that's a fair bargain, Sir,” Brannigan answers.

“Car Four Six Five Diamond Six, I've sent you a flight path. Come to the Senate.”

Rose’s gleeful voice comes over the line, “On my way!”

“And about time, too! That was quite a lot of wandering off, Miss Tyler.”
"You know me: jeopardy friendly."

He is abruptly interrupted in the midst of the happy exchange.

“Doctor!”

He whirls at the sound of Novice Hame’s anguished cry. The Face of Boe’s tank is cracking; fissures travel from the center in a network of spiderweb fractures. Novice Hame spreads her hands over the glass as if she can hold it together with shear force of will.





-‘-,-{@




Rose runs into the Senate building, anxious to throw her arms around the Doctor and not let go until it becomes absolutely necessary. She passes through the ornate halls of the building then, as she enters the Senate floor, she halts and takes in a gasping breath. All around her are skeletons. The room looks long abandoned.

“Doctor?” she calls shakily

“Over here, Rose,” he says, closer than she might have thought. She turns a corner and finds him kneeling beside the Face of Boe who is lying in front of his shattered tank. He looks somehow smaller and so very weak. Rose freezes and her hand shoots up to cover her mouth in horror.

“Rose,” the Doctor says softly, holding out his hand to her. “It’s all right. Come here.”

She moves to his side and kneels also.

“You remember Novice Hame.” He waves a hand toward the nun.

Rose manages a thin smile. Novice Hame only gives her the smallest nod of recognition. The cat nun looks lost and devastated. Rose's heart goes out to her.

“It was the Face of Boe,” the Doctor continues in that same soft voice. “He's the one that saved you, not me.”

“My lord gave his life to save the city,” Novice Hame murmured. “And now he's dying.”

“No, don't say that,” the Doctor protests. “Not old Boe. Plenty of life left.”

“It's good to breathe the air once more,” the Face of Boe says.

“It’s nice to see you again,” Rose says with false cheer. "Thanks for..." words suddenly seem inadequate. "Thank you."

“Legend says the Face of Boe has lived for billions of years," the Doctor says fiercely. "Isn't that right? And you're not about to give up now.”

“Everything has its time. You know that, old friend, better than most.”

"The legend says more," Novice Hame murmurs unexpectedly.

"Don't," the Doctor cautions her. "There's no need for that."

But she continues as if she hadn't heard him. "It says that the Face of Boe will speak his final secret to a traveller."

"Yeah, but not yet. Who needs secrets, eh?"

Rose moves closer to the Doctor, sliding her hand into his, tears starting to fill her eyes. But whether she is grieving for the Face of Boe or the Doctor, she cannot say.

"I have seen so much. Perhaps too much. I am the last of my kind — as you are the last of yours, Doctor."

"That's why we have to survive. Both of us. Don't go." The Doctor's words are low and urgent

"I must." The Face of Boe's voice weakens, "But know this, Time Lord. You... are not.... alone."

The Doctor stares, speechless and bewildered as the Face of Boe’s eyes close in death. Novice Hame begins to sob.

Silent tears are wetting Rose's cheeks, but she doesn't move to brush them away. The Doctor half turns to her and pulls her tightly into his arms. How long they stay there, each wordless in their grief, they could never say.


@}-,-‘-



By the time Rose and the Doctor return to Pharmacy Town, night has fallen. She walks at his side, fingers threaded firmly through his lest there be any more would-be kidnappers lurking. The carts where the pharmacists were selling moods are standing open and abandoned.

“All closed down,” the Doctor comments.

“Happy, now?”

“Happy, happy,” he answers with a slightly cheeky grin.

Rose smiles.

“New New York can start again. And they've got Novice Hame. Just what every city needs –cats in charge!” He bumps her shoulder with his and she rolls her eyes.

“Over your dread of cats now?”

He glances up, tongue pressed to the roof of his mouth thoughtfully, “Could be, yeah. Come on, time we were off.” He begins to lead her toward the TARDIS but Rose holds him back.

“But what did he mean, the Face of Boe? ‘You are not alone.’”

“I don't know.”

“You've got me. Is that what he meant?”

He won’t meet her eyes. She cups his face with her hands and he can’t help but look at her.

“Talk to me. Tell me,” she implores softly, her brown eyes large and earnest.

“Oh, Rose,” he whispers. His hands lift to splay across her back of their own volition.

A small sound trembles in the air around them. As it rises in volume, they realise it’s music. The people of New New York are singing again.

Fast falls the eventide
The darkness deepens
Lord, with me abide
When other helpers fail....


“I told them, Cheen and Milo, I said: 'you have your faith and your hymns, but I don't need all that.'”

“No?”

Rose shakes her head. “No. I told them I had you.”

The Doctor’s eyes shut tightly and he crushes her into a hug. Where his cheek is pressed against hers she can feel a slight moisture.

“Ask,” he whispers in her ear.

Rose holds him a moment longer than moves away to retrieve a pair of chairs from a rubbish pile, setting them close together, facing each other. She pointedly seats herself on one of them and folds her arms. He hesitates only a second before seating himself on the other. He swallows and nods for her to begin.

“Do you think the Face of Boe meant another Time Lord?”

He shakes his head. “No. I told you before. I’d know. I'd feel it in here.” He taps his temple.

"What about someone from the past? They must still be knocking around. Maybe you could bump into some old friends sometime. Or... “ she pauses nervously, “family.” She almost fails to get that last word out.

“No.” He shakes his head again. “I - lied when I said we could visit Gallifrey in the past, Rose. The entire war is time-locked. My planet is at the center of that time-lock – past, present, and future. It's little more than myth now. Stories echoing back through time.”

Rose furls her brow but says nothing, silently willing him to continue.

“Just... imagine what a time war means, Rose. It's the ultimate paradox. We defeat the Daleks on this planet so they simply go back and change it. Then we go back farther and alter that. Then they do the same. On and on across time and space. Until time itself warps and trembles and breaks. The madness... the absolute madness...." He shakes himself out of the memory. "No. I had to stop it. I had to lock it away for all time. "

At some point, they have twined both their hands together. Both drop their eyes to their joined fingers as Rose grips his tighter in a gesture that, for them, is almost more imitate than a kiss. For a moment, both are silent.

"You have any other questions?”

“Gallifrey," she says, finding her voice at last. "So that’s what it was called? It’s beautiful.”

The Doctor sniffs. “Yeah, it was beautiful. Quite beautiful, actually. Oh, you should have seen it, Rose, that old planet. " His gaze turns inward and a look of wistful longing overtakes his face. "The second sun would rise in the south, and the mountains would shine. The leaves on the trees were silver, and when they caught the light every morning, it looked like a forest on fire. When the autumn came, the breeze would blow through the branches like a song.”

His eyes shining with unshed tears, the Doctor turns his gaze upon her. He moves his chair closer to hers. "Come here," he murmurs. "Let me show you."

Rose swallows uncertainly and moves close to him, resting her head against his forehead as his fingers find her temples.

At all at once she is transported somewhere else. She is a small child running through fields of red grass. At her back she can feel the heat of the distant twin suns. She feels a giggle rising in her throat as she races down a hill, throwing herself into the resisting wind. A voice calls out to her and she turns her head. A little boy is running on the ridge of the hill. She increases her pace to outrun him. The boy's playful taunts cease as he dedicates himself to the race. Soon they are tearing through the fields at a reckless breakneck speed; running with the single minded abandon only a child can possess.

They run beyond what she expects two small children to be capable of; the grass tangles their legs as they hop over a rivulet of water and through groves of shining, silver-leafed trees....


The vision winds to an end and she finds herself cradled in the Doctor's arms. His fingers have slid down from her temple to caress her face. Rose feels as though she has been asleep for hours, caught in the Doctor's dreams. And perhaps she has.

She shifts a little in his arms so she can see his face.

"Who was that boy?"

"Oh," he says a little dismissively, "just an old friend from long ago."

Then he is standing and pulling her up with him. He stretches, cat-like, a thought which Rose keeps to herself.

"Blimey those chairs are miserable. I fancy a walk on a beach somewhere, what do you think?"

Rose blanches a little. "Yeah, not sure about beaches just yet."

The Doctor swallows hard and nods, "Wellll, maybe not a beach, yeah. But...." He leans over and gives her a mischievous grin. "To quote a very clever person, well brilliant really, if I do say so myself: 'there are worlds out there where the sky is burning, and the sea's asleep, and the rivers dream; people made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice, somewhere else the tea's getting cold.'"

"Hmm, wonder who this clever person could be," Rose smirks.

The Doctor doesn't answer. But his hand finds hers.



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