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Fic - "Footsteps" (1/1)

April 5th, 2008 (01:24 am)

Title: Footsteps
Fandom: Doctor Who
Pairing: Doctor/Rose. Donna, Jack and Martha feature very briefly.
Rating: PG
Summary: Little by little, Rose is making her way back into this world.
Warnings: Spoilers for series four.
A/N: Last year, I did this - thirteen unconnected stories, one posted after each new DW ep without Rose aired. This year I'm crazy enough to do it again, and this is the first.

The first time she fights her way back into his world, she can’t move. She can’t even speak. She feels like a pair of eyeballs floating uselessly in space, the transportation device they’ve all worked so hard on clutched desperately in her hand and she thinks, I came all this way for this? No-one had warned her that this could happen.

And worst, worst of all, there he is. Talking away on the other side of that magical blue box, not even ten steps away, and she can’t even call out his name. Turn around, she thinks. Please. Please, come back here. Know it’s possible. Know that I can get back to you.

"Crossing into established events is strictly forbidden," he says, "Except for cheap tricks," and when a woman’s voice replies, she knows he’s given up.

Please. Please, just let him see me. Just for a second.

The TARDIS fades away, a new companion housed inside her halls and corridors, and there Rose is left. Frozen, still as a statue, stuck in this awful limbo until her time runs out and the Void pulls her back through again. She never wanted him to be alone, but she’d always assumed she could come back and they could pick up exactly where they left off. Now, she can’t help but feel like her place with him has been lost.

She will never again wish for her oh-so-short time to speed up like she does in this lonely moment.

--

The back streets of central London fade and blur into a soft yellow until she finds herself in her parents’ kitchen. The tears have been building up from the second she saw that wonderful ship, since she took a step towards it and found herself helpless and stifled against a solid block of air, but the lack of technology preventing her movement had even suppressed her physical emotion.

"He’s found someone else, mum," she cries into Jackie’s shoulder, and if Jackie’s wondering how Rose knows this or why she just faded into existence in the kitchen when she was supposed to be in her own bed upstairs, she keeps her comments to herself. "He’s moved on."

Jackie Tyler may have made the conscious decision to disengage herself from all things Torchwood and its projects, but she knows how hard they’ve all been working on this across-the-universe-travel stuff and she’s not about to let Rose throw that away. She’s seen her act as a test subject again and again, never knowing where she’s going to turn up or what state she’ll come back in, never letting anyone else take on the dangers of a technology she has been pushing for since day one. She’s seen her daughter come back in worse condition than this, bloody and bruised and broken-hearted, every day fighting for this very moment when she’d see him again and now that she has, Jackie is not going to let her walk away from it.

"Oh, Rose. Don’t be silly, sweetheart. You’ve got yourself a new job, a new life, does that mean you care about him any less? Course it doesn’t. Don’t you dare go giving up. He’d want you to keep fighting."

Rose isn’t sure she believes it, but maybe it’s enough that her mum does. She straightens up and wipes her eyes, and when she goes into work the next day, she knows it’s to find a way back to him again.

--

She can’t tell if he’s been here. She hopes so.

She’s on a beach, she’s not sure where, but her bare feet can feel the sand sneaking between her toes – the transportation was an accident, this time, and she’s left her shoes under her desk at work because she never can wear them for more than half a day at a time – and the air tastes of salt and adventure and him.

She doesn’t dare mention the way her own universe is growing in reality lest she banishes it to the stuff of dreams once more. But with every trip, the very air in the parallel world once again seems wrong, just like it did when she first came here, and she catches glimpses of mop-haired men in too-too familiar pinstripe suits around every single corner until she’s almost bored with the teasing games of the universe.

And then she catches a brand-new same-again never-him flash of brown and she hopes once more, because she knows he always liked hope.

--

It’s not until the first time she can move that she realises she’s completely invisible.

They’re watching a memorial service, him and the girl, and as much as it hurts to see someone else pin the poppy to his coat, at least she knows he’s being looked after. She was never sure before. He still looks sadder than she’d like.

She slips her hand into his pocket. He twitches and pulls his own hand out, scratching his nose in distraction. He turns his head and looks right through her, just for the tiniest of seconds. His hand does not return to his pocket.

When she kisses him, he shivers and calls it the wind.

--

They’re in a forest and he’s running, always just too far ahead, always rounding the corners seconds before they enter her sight. She calls out, reaches out, but her limbs are useless and heavy and her voice only echoes in her own ears. When he stops for breath and she finally catches up with him, he is blind to her, and though she manages to grab a fistful of his jacket, she opens her eyes moments later to find nothing but duvet clutched in her hands.

She still thinks she’s dreaming when she wakes to find herself in a corridor just off the console room on the TARDIS. Rose is quite happy to simply stand there, eyes closed, breathing in the all-too-real smell of the metal floors and organic walls until she looks down and realises that she’d gone to sleep with the transporter still in her hands. This isn’t a dream.

And he’s there, right there. No more than a couple of metres away. She briefly reflects that she’d always hoped their reunion would be sort of glamorous, or at the very least conducted in the midst of danger. She’d never expected to be here by accident clad in a Winnie the Pooh nightie.

How much time does she have? How much has she wasted? She can hear the rise and fall of his chest, knows he’s fallen asleep in the console room. Sure enough, when she races across the few steps into the console room, almost able to convince herself that her feet are echoing ever-so-slightly on the grating, there he is – sonic screwdriver held limply in his hand, glasses pushed up and stuck in his hair, a random part abandoned at his feet.

Some things never change,
she smiles, lips trembling along with her fingers as she reaches a tentative hand out to his face. He’s not as peaceful as he should be. Her eyelids fall shut as her fingertips make contact with his hair, brushing along his forehead, and she’s sure her sharp intake of breath will be enough to wake him.

He opens his eyes. He is alone.

All that’s beneath her fingers is the cold, solid wood of her desk at work, and she knows that she wasted far too many seconds of her short and precious time. She vows never to take a situation for granted again.

--

She’s been aiming for Cardiff, recently, knowing that the Doctor will need to stop there one day to refuel and hoping that the power of the Rift can improve the transporter’s technology somehow.

Today, she’s pretty sure she’s solid and real (and if not, the bruises she gets from stumbling dizzily to the floor upon her arrival are decidedly unfair). As soon as she straightens up she spots them, the Doctor and the new girl whose name she doesn’t know walking around one corner and Jack over to another and she doesn’t know who to follow. She scrambles up and takes a step towards the Doctor, cobbled stones under her feet, calling out his name, but when she breaks into a run it’s over the smooth, cold floor of Torchwood London once again.

He turns, finally, but the street behind him is empty.

He learns, after a while, not to turn around when her voice seems to whisper his name through the wind.

--

Now here she is again, almost six months later, a fully visible, fully audible and fully disappearing genuine human in her own world. In his world.

She thought he’d be here, big alien event like this, but the seconds are ticking by and she hasn’t got long left. Where are you, Doctor? She scans the sky, still holding onto some of that hope she’s learnt to live by even when she knows the time constraints upon her render it useless to keep looking. What could she do even if he saw her now?

A tall red-haired woman spots her, excitedly asks her a favour Rose knows she won’t be here to carry out. Who knows how long it will be before another crack in time opens and allows her to fall through? The important thing is, though, she realises as she walks away, she can be seen. Someone’s seen her, spoken to her like she’s really here. And she is.

And one day, she knows, one day, he’s going to see her too. Because she promised him forever, and she meant it.




Comment?

Comments

Page 1 of 2[1][2]
Posted by: Tina (thatlibrarylady)
Posted at: April 6th, 2008 12:38 am (UTC)
S4

Brilliant! I just don't know what else to say. Well done.

Posted by: Rach (hippiebanana132)
Posted at: April 6th, 2008 12:39 am (UTC)

Thank you! =) Hope you're enjoying/will enjoy S4!

Posted by: Tina (thatlibrarylady)
Posted at: April 6th, 2008 12:43 am (UTC)

Posted by: Rach (hippiebanana132)
Posted at: April 6th, 2008 12:45 am (UTC)

Posted by: nyaaaaaauuuuuuu (nyaaaaaauuuuuuu)
Posted at: April 6th, 2008 12:52 am (UTC)

YES.

This is puuuuuure happiness. In an angsty sort of way, but still!

And I have to say, not only are you brave (for doing a fic-per-episode again), but you're pretty amazing - did you really write this whole piece just since seeing Partners in Crime?!

:D

Posted by: Rach (hippiebanana132)
Posted at: April 6th, 2008 01:02 am (UTC)

This is puuuuuure happiness. In an angsty sort of way, but still! - Thank you! That's exactly what I was hoping for.

did you really write this whole piece just since seeing Partners in Crime?! - Haha, it sort of dashed itself out, yes. Admittedly I have now watched it twice, which I think helped. *grins*

(Deleted comment)
Posted by: Rach (hippiebanana132)
Posted at: April 6th, 2008 01:03 am (UTC)

Thank you so much! It's lovely to think people even remember me doing this last year.

Glad you to seem to be enjoying S4! =D

Posted by: was not born under a rhyming planet... (roxyk630)
Posted at: April 6th, 2008 01:07 am (UTC)

*sigh*

I love you. I really do. In that purely platonic yet friendly nerdgirl way. :3

Lovely piece. I eagerly await the next to follow!

Posted by: Rach (hippiebanana132)
Posted at: April 6th, 2008 01:09 am (UTC)

Hee, thank you =D Hopefully it won't all fall to pieces next week, because as yet I have no clue what I'm writing!

Posted by: meg (meggitymeg)
Posted at: April 6th, 2008 01:22 am (UTC)
+ dw : bad wolf bay

Gorgeous. :D I'll definitely keep an eye out for your post-eps this season!

Posted by: Rach (hippiebanana132)
Posted at: April 6th, 2008 01:37 am (UTC)

Thank you!! =)

Posted by: countrygirl_914 (countrygirl_914)
Posted at: April 6th, 2008 02:19 am (UTC)

*sigh*

Oh, this was beautiful. Thank you.

ROSE!!! *FLAIL*

Posted by: Rach (hippiebanana132)
Posted at: April 6th, 2008 02:33 am (UTC)

Thank you!

ROSE!!! *FLAIL* - AHH, I KNOW!! =D Every time I see her name I bounce. Made writing a little difficult. *grins*

Posted by: CC (midnightzstorm)
Posted at: April 6th, 2008 03:27 am (UTC)
Rose

brilliant! brilliant!

Posted by: Rach (hippiebanana132)
Posted at: April 6th, 2008 03:35 am (UTC)

Aww, thank you! =)

Posted by: Salienne de Lioncourt (salienne)
Posted at: April 6th, 2008 03:33 am (UTC)

Now that was just lovely. A great tie-in with the end of the episode, IC, well-written, and just incredibly touching. I also love the idea behind it, the way she volunteers to use the device and the way it pulls her through more and more concretely each time. It's a plot device that makes a lot of sense and works very well in this fic (the not being able to move at first was brilliant). The fic as a whole feels complete, but at the same time, there's so many places where it could go.

And lines like this one: He learns, after a while, not to turn around when her voice seems to whisper his name through the wind.

Beautiful.

Although I do have one question: why is Torchwood letting her carry this device around? And does it just randomly pull her through, or only when she wants it on some sort of level (a psychic link), or when time cracks open up? Also, is it tied to the Doctor's genetic code or to her thoughts of him, or does she just happen to end up near him? The details of how this device worked were a bit confusing.

Again, wonderful fic. IC, really shows Rose's dedication and, as I said, very well-written. I can't wait for the next one. :)

Posted by: Rach (hippiebanana132)
Posted at: April 6th, 2008 03:38 am (UTC)

To be honest with you, I wrote it so quickly that I didn't have a concrete idea of how it all worked. I know I thought she'd nicked off with the device at least a couple of times, rather than being allowed to carry it around, and I could see her taking it pretty much everywhere with her just in case it happened to go off and take her somewhere (I sort of assumed it allowed her to be pulled through when a crack in time/the walls of the universe opened up, and allowed her to be pulled back again when the crack was closing).

As to how she ends up where the Doctor is, I honestly have no idea. I really didn't think it through that deeply. Perhaps I can invent a reason. *grins*

Posted by: starlightmoonla (starlightmoonla)
Posted at: April 6th, 2008 03:52 am (UTC)

Wonderful! Absolutely wonderful as always! I'm so going to be looking forward to your post episode fics! :D

Posted by: Rach (hippiebanana132)
Posted at: April 6th, 2008 11:26 am (UTC)

Hee, thank you!! =D

Posted by: earlgreytea68 (earlgreytea68)
Posted at: April 6th, 2008 03:56 am (UTC)
Ten/Rose

Oh, yay! I loved these last season! And I'm excited for them this season. This one gives me such marvelous hope. Much like the episode did!

Posted by: Rach (hippiebanana132)
Posted at: April 6th, 2008 11:23 am (UTC)

Much like the episode did! - Wasn't it wonderful?! I sat on my sofa and thought, for the first time since S2 ended (excluding the wonderful Blink, obviously) - this is it, DW is BACK!

Thanks so much for reading =D

Posted by: Not meant to be taken seriously. (maypanic)
Posted at: April 6th, 2008 04:09 am (UTC)

"This year I'm crazy enough to do it again, and this is the first."
Ok, that's as far as I'm reading tonight. Tomorrow I get to watch the ep and then this'll be the first thing I'll read. So happy you're doing your own series again! Yay!

Posted by: Rach (hippiebanana132)
Posted at: April 6th, 2008 11:21 am (UTC)

Thank you!! It means a lot that people are excited I'm doing this again (though it's a little scary, haha! I don't want to disappoint anyone). Enjoy the episode!! I'm sure you'll love it =D

Posted by: Not meant to be taken seriously. (maypanic)
Posted at: April 15th, 2008 06:24 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Rach (hippiebanana132)
Posted at: April 15th, 2008 06:27 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Anne (cookie2697)
Posted at: April 6th, 2008 04:28 am (UTC)
Doctor Squee

YES. Absolutely YES!!! I love this. It's perfect. I have this image in my head of it being just like this, and I love the idea of Rose following him like a ghost, and him wondering, but not being able to believe or accept it because it seems too much like his own brain playing tricks on him. Fabulous.

THANK YOU for writing this so soon after the eppy. It absolutely hit my mood spot-on today!

Posted by: Rach (hippiebanana132)
Posted at: April 6th, 2008 11:20 am (UTC)

THANK YOU for writing this so soon after the eppy. - Thank you for leaving such a lovely comment! I actually squealed.

Posted by: this girl's mostly fiction (anti_social_ite)
Posted at: April 6th, 2008 06:09 am (UTC)

Wow. Brilliant. Just brilliant. I'm glad you'll be doing the fic-an-episode - your fics are always fantastic. :)

Posted by: Rach (hippiebanana132)
Posted at: April 6th, 2008 11:16 am (UTC)

Aww, thank you! I think I might be a bit crazy to take this on again, but it's comments like that that make me glad I'm doing it all the same =)

Posted by: this girl's mostly fiction (anti_social_ite)
Posted at: April 6th, 2008 11:59 am (UTC)

Posted by: Rach (hippiebanana132)
Posted at: April 6th, 2008 12:10 pm (UTC)

Posted by: this girl's mostly fiction (anti_social_ite)
Posted at: April 7th, 2008 02:35 am (UTC)

Posted by: Rach (hippiebanana132)
Posted at: April 7th, 2008 06:46 pm (UTC)

Posted by: this girl's mostly fiction (anti_social_ite)
Posted at: April 8th, 2008 05:23 am (UTC)

Posted by: Rach (hippiebanana132)
Posted at: April 8th, 2008 09:16 pm (UTC)

Posted by: this girl's mostly fiction (anti_social_ite)
Posted at: April 9th, 2008 03:45 am (UTC)

Posted by: Rach (hippiebanana132)
Posted at: April 9th, 2008 04:47 pm (UTC)

Posted by: this girl's mostly fiction (anti_social_ite)
Posted at: April 9th, 2008 11:20 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Marina (javabreeze)
Posted at: April 6th, 2008 07:05 am (UTC)

This is great. It fits perfectly into the episode.

Posted by: Rach (hippiebanana132)
Posted at: April 6th, 2008 11:14 am (UTC)

Thanks!

Posted by: don't worry, you're just as sane as i am. (falulatonks)
Posted at: April 6th, 2008 09:37 am (UTC)
doctor who - rose

Oh, but wasn't this absolutely fantastic? I adored this. I loved your tiny series from last year, but since I only watched the third season sometime in December, I wasn't reading it as the episodes aired, but reading it as a whole - for some reason this has a harder effect on me. And I love that.

♥ Gorgeously written - her hopes, her dreams, her nightmares, and how she always fades, or he just can't see her - almost chilling, kind of like she's a ghost? And I adored the hope that that last segment filled me with - she's real! The episode made me grin, her appearance made me wonder if I should smile or cry, and the expression on her face kind of broke my heart - but this fic has made me smile all over again. he's going to see her too - thank goodness.

Posted by: Rach (hippiebanana132)
Posted at: April 6th, 2008 11:13 am (UTC)

kind of like she's a ghost? - Mmmhmm. I just had this image of her being there at certain moments but no-one ever knowing, this invisible sad little ghost flittering through his life.

her appearance made me wonder if I should smile or cry, and the expression on her face kind of broke my heart - but this fic has made me smile all over again. - I had the exact same reaction as you to the episode, so I'm glad I managed to give you some hope! =D

Thanks so much =)

60 Read Comments
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