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[personal profile] timelord1
Title: Into the Howling
Rating: Teen
Pairing: 10/Rose
Category: Drama, Romance, Humor, Action/Adventure
SPOILERS: AU on end of Doomsday and points west.
Summary: What if things had happened just a bit differently there at the end, with the levers?
Notes: Special thanks to the mighty beta troika: [livejournal.com profile] kelkat9[livejournal.com profile] onabearskinrug and [livejournal.com profile] who_in_whoville for helping me keep this going! 

“Stop! Stop!” the Doctor cried, his head jerking wildly from side to side, arms and torso flailing as he and Rose wrestled for control of his body. “We look like Joe Cocker!”
“What am I supposed to do?” he cried, his voice taking on the cockney notes of Rose’s accent.
“I…whep…STOP IT!” the Doctor shouted, his fist hitting the control console. “Get back!”
“How?” he shouted at himself.
He rolled his eyes, still twisting at the waist and swinging his head around. “I am so glad we’re alone right now.”
“What did you do to me?” he cried, his voice thick with emotion. He slapped himself in the face with both hands and hung on to his hair. “Where am I? Am I dead?”
“Just settle down,” he whispered, taking back control of his arms to pat himself on the head. “You’re safe now.”
His eyes widened and he took a stumbling step backward. “You’re speaking Gallifreyan and I can understand you!” he cried, leaning forward.
“If you’ll…how…just…what did you…Rose, if you’ll only please…how did you..bglaflbgaaaarghlet go of my mouth right now and I’ll explain it to you!” He stomped his foot, lost his balance, and fell backwards onto the floor. He sat up a second later, one side of his face warring against the other to show both shock and annoyance. “I felt that! How can I feel things inside your body?”
“Just stop panicking and listen! Buiiftybfoojuuuust hangong abwaargsecoblibnd!” he shouted, gripping the sides of his head. The beacon that was Rose was shattered, pieces of it blown all over the inside of his mind. She was grappling with him for control of his nervous system, wrestling his mouth away from him to try to find an anchor to hold on to. If she couldn’t pull herself back together into one focused point, he was going to lose her, and possibly himself. The more she panicked, the further her essence spread through his consciousness, thinning and fading more by the second.
All right, talking isn’t working, he thought. Maybe now you’ll listen to me.
He felt her fear surging through him, racing his hearts. What’s happened to me? She asked.
The Void was killing you, and with the ship broken down there was no other way to save you. Doctor Whut said your body will survive, but everything that is you will die in the Void unprotected. So I brought you inside my mind to keep you safe until I can get us out of here.
So, I’m inside you the way Cassandra was inside me? She asked. Her memories of being smothered under the pressure of the Psychograft permeated the Doctor’s thoughts.
It’s different; very different. I brought you inside. It’s like sharing a sleeping bag rather than you shoving me down under the water so you can keep your head up. Except that this sleeping bag is much larger than you realize. You don’t have a lot of experience with this sort of thing.
“You don’t say,” Rose sassed through his mouth, rolling his eyes.
Don’t do that. Just…oh, this is going to be so hard. First thing, you’ve got to get your legs under you, so to speak. Can you tell the difference between what is you and what is me? Stop panicking and concentrate on that.
Instead of his heart rates slowing and calming, they got worse until he put his hand over his chest and took a deep breath. If this went on much longer, he was going to go into arrest. If he died and regenerated now, most likely Rose would either be destroyed or absorbed by the regenerative shift in his consciousness. She was clawing at the inside of his mind, frantic as a trapped animal. I don’t know…I can’t tell anything. Let me out, please.
You’ll die if I do, he answered. We’re just going to have to work through this together. I’m going to imagine a room inside my head. Can you see it?
The Doctor concentrated on the image of a living room; a couple of well-worn couches, a faded Persian rug, gleaming hardwood floors and some artwork on the walls. He added an end table with a lava lamp, and a coffee table scattered with books. Do you see it? He asked again.
I do, she gasped. He felt the light of her consciousness gathering back into one concentrated spot as she settled into the room. She withdrew from the forefront of his mind and his hearts slowed their pace. He paused to catch his breath and wait for the pain in his chest to pass. All that was Rose collected itself inside the room and, after a moment’s orientation, sat down on one of the couches.
Well done, he thought, still sitting on the ground to get his breath. Now, I want you to get comfortable with moving your consciousness around in that room. I’m going to close the door, as it were, so I can do some assessment on the ship. If you need me, I'm only a thought away.
Oh, don’t leave me yet, Rose said. I’m scared.
I am definitely not leaving you, he answered with a laugh. Honestly, we couldn’t be any closer than we are right now and still be two individuals. You need to acclimate. Just ask for me and I’ll be right with you. He closed the door to the room, pushing the room to his subconscious so he could get up and start trying to make sense of the dead ship.
At first Rose hadn’t been able to see except when she had control of his eyes, and that had been terrifying. The ground was further away than it should have been, and the barrage of information being fed into her mind by his super-heightened Time Lord senses was too much for her to process. Talking through his mouth had been the most awkward part. More than ever she understood what he had meant just after his regeneration when he’d commented on the weirdness of new teeth.
Once she saw the room inside his mind, she began to get a grip on herself. The more she calmed down, the more she could see the room, and more than that, she could actually feel the couch sinking under her weight. She couldn’t see herself, but she knew she was there and whole once more. Without a body she was just a ball of light and energy inside the Doctor’s mind, a part of him and yet completely herself. Once she’d grasped the idea of moving around inside the room, she tried to pick up one of the books on the coffee table. Sure enough, despite not having hands with which to lift it, she was holding the book and cracking the spine open.
Immediately she realized that the Doctor had not been paying attention to what was in the books when he left them out for her to page through.
She was looking at a picture of what had to be Gallifrey, with a wide silver tree spreading under a burnt-orange sky, nestled in the middle of some sort of courtyard. It took her a moment before she realized the leaves in the tree were fluttering in the breeze, and the clouds were moving slowly across the sky, like a picture in a Harry Potter story. A young boy of maybe twelve or thirteen was sitting underneath the tree, surrounded by books, lazily twirling an odd-looking device in one hand while he read from a massive, yellowed tome. She smiled inwardly as she understood the boy to be the Doctor, long before he called himself by that name. He was on the road to becoming handsome; a bit heavier-set than she’d imagined him to be, with golden-green eyes and brown hair not so different from the color it now was. The boy had it combed back off his face and was poring over the book he was holding with such intensity that he did not notice another young boy approaching him from behind.
This boy was a bit thinner, taller, with an untidy mop of blue-black hair and bright blue eyes. He was also dressed in what Rose guessed to be school robes; black wool with a button-flap high collar and a crest on the back that Rose had seen somewhere inside the TARDIS. The Doctor’s memories impressed upon her that it was the Seal of Rassilon, and the robe was from the Prydon Academy, where the Doctor was a student with his friend…
“Koschei!” the young Doctor exclaimed, dropping the device he was holding when his friend tapped him on the leg with his shoe. “I didn’t hear you.” Rose remembered the name from the Doctor’s fevered rambling when he was fighting off the Abzath virus.
“Gotta work on those reflexes, Thete,” Koschei answered, squatting in the red grass to look at the Doctor’s stack of books. “Do you do anything besides study?”
“Plenty,” the Doctor answered with a wicked grin. He picked up the device he’d dropped earlier and handed it to his friend, beaming with pride. “Look’a that.”
Koschei regarded the awkwardly cobbled device and gave it a shake. Part of it fell off. “What is it?”
The Doctor snatched it back out of his friend’s hand and snapped the part that had fallen off back into place. “It’s a screwdriver. I invented it.”
Koschei chuckled. “Um, not so much. Screwdriver’s been around for quite some time, my friend.”
The Doctor’s young eyes glittered. “But can a screwdriver do this?” He pointed the device at a robed woman who was walking along the walkway near the tree and pressed the button. Her robe unfastened itself and slipped off her shoulders, revealing to the world that she chose to wear nothing under her instructor’s vestments but a smile. Or, in this case, a look of stunned surprise. Koschei and the Doctor – Thete – rolled in the grass, howling with laughter, unaware that the woman had dressed herself again and was stalking in their direction.
“I should have known. Theta Sigma; at it again. Proving your timeline right once more, are you?” She glared into the Doctor’s eyes until he looked down at the grass, his cheeks turning dark red. She snorted her disgust and went on her way, the hem of her robe flapping in the breeze. Rose felt a hot surge of protective rage, and wished very much that she was actually there instead of looking at a memory so she could give the bitch what for.
“What was your timeline prediction? Horrifying cow? It came true!” Koschei jumped up and shouted after her. The Doctor’s shoulders tensed.
Koschei turned back to the Doctor and sat down beside him, squeezing the Doctor’s shoulder. “Don’t even worry about it, Thete. She’s just mad at the world because she looks like that with no clothes on.”
The Doctor was still looking at the grass. “Timelines can be rewritten.”
“Even Time Lords can’t do that,” Koschei said. “It’s against the rules.”
“Yeah, well, once I’m a Time Lord, I’ll make up my own damn rules,” The Doctor said as he began packing up his books.
“I like that,” Koschei answered. “Maybe I’ll join you, and we can save the universe together.” He picked up the device again, aimed it in the direction the woman had gone and pressed the button. The Doctor and Koschei exchanged grins when they heard the screaming and laughter in the distance.
“That’s got a great range,” Koschei said. “You’ve got to make me one. How’s it work?”
“Sonic,” the Doctor answered, twirling it once more before sticking it in his pocket.
The photograph shimmered back to the place where it had started, with the Doctor alone under the tree with his books, and Rose remembered that she was inside the Doctor’s mind, surrounded by books presumably filled with hundreds of snapshots of his memories. She knew she shouldn’t look any more than she already had; he would be mortified if he knew she was snooping around.
Just one more, she said to herself, and turned the page.
“Just one more what?” the Doctor asked the empty ship. He waited for an answer from either inside his head or outside, but when nothing came he shook his head and went back to work.
He was on his back underneath the control console, using the sonic to take off an access panel so he could check the inner workings for ion shock. Everything that had to do with keeping the ship in flight was offline – ion cannons were perfect weapons for disabling ships without having to kill the people inside. The shields were up and functioning and life support was working at peak efficiency. Presumably they should have dropped back to the surface of Qennda like a stone instead of being launched back into the Void, but such was his luck.
The panel came off and he craned his neck to look around inside the guts of the control console, shining the sonic inside. Everything was dead from the ion shock. They weren’t going to be going anywhere until things came back online. He punched the bottom of the console and laid back to stare at the curved ceiling.
He had no idea how long he could keep Rose tucked safely inside his mind before the edges of her started to fade into the edges of himself until both of them were lost and some new consciousness, a blend of the two, took hold. What comprised Rose’s consciousness would invariably be mostly eradicated in the process, hers being the less formidable of the two. But he would be no less gone, lost in the merged consciousness. A DoctorRose; part human, mostly Time Lord, both and neither at the same time. If he couldn’t get the ship moving once the systems recovered from the ion shock, all he could do was sit and wait for it to happen.
He knew it was reckless to take her into himself with his limited knowledge of what would follow afterward, but considering the only other option was to watch her wither and die, he couldn’t kick himself too hard. His exposure to the technique had been solely at the academy as a boy, in the context of ‘This is how you do this thing. Never do this thing.’ It wasn’t as if he’d practiced on willing subjects before then, to know just how it would feel and how to guide the subject into a safe corner of his mind for the duration of their stay. He’d probed enough minds and been probed often enough in return that he felt he had a fair grasp of how to help her navigate. Once he’d built the room and tucked her away, he hadn’t felt a glimmer of her presence inside his head, except for what must have been her voice a moment ago. He was beginning to miss her.
The sooner he got the ship back online, the sooner he would be able to bring her out of himself and back into her own body. He’d tucked her comfortably into the pod, covering her with a blanket and making her look as much like she was merely sleeping as he could. There was no denying the creepiness factor in having her empty shell lying close by. It was still breathing; as far as he could tell it was maintaining a coma-like state, idling in the absence of its pilot. He’d half considered sending the pod back into the wall so he didn’t have to look at it, but that felt even more macabre. Having spent more time than he’d like to remember on the wrong side of a morgue door himself, he wouldn’t put Rose through that for anything, even if she wasn’t in her body to experience it.
Rose, he called, finding the door in his subconscious. How are you?
I’m all right. How’s the ship?
Still broken, he sighed. We might have a bit of a wait before it can fly again.
With the door open, I can feel the things you’re feeling, Rose said. You’re exhausted. You’re scared, too. And I did whack your nose but good, didn’t I?
Beloved, you hit me so hard it made my hair hurt, he said with a chuckle.
What’s outside this room? she asked.
Please don’t go wandering around inside my head, he said. Just stay in this room and wait. It shouldn’t be long, once the systems come back online. I’m going to try to fix the navigation so we can tell one universe from another and get home faster.
You need to sleep, she said.
I’ll sleep when you’re safe.
Back inside the ship, the control panels flickered back to life. The Doctor and Rose both heard the hum of the computers rebooting, the ship coming back to life.
See? he said. Won’t be long now, my lacraidh. He zipped out the door and back to his conscious mind, returning a second later to mentally close the door behind him.
Rose was left alone again. She picked up the book she had been reading before and flipped through the pages. The last memory she’d watched had been a happy recollection of various escapades with Koschei, the two of them wreaking mostly innocent havoc on their instructors and fellow classmates at the Academy.  The Doctor was both an impeccable student and an incorrigible clown; shooting his mouth off in class, setting up elaborate pranks to the delight of his fellows and the annoyance of his instructors, and almost always landing in the top three for marks in any given subject.
She laughed to herself. Except English.
What did you say? The Doctor’s thoughts came to her as if he were shouting from another part of the house. The room flared white for a second and she heard a jolting, buzzing sound. Ow – stupid…watch what you’re doing!
Please don’t get electrocuted! she called back. I’m just talking to myself. Very, very boring inside your head, which is kind of a surprise.
You’re not technically inside my head, he answered, coming back to the door. You’re compartmentalized inside a bubble in my subconscious, separate from the rest of my consciousness because when you’re left to your own devices, you try to take over navigating my body which is extremely rude and presumptuous of you. You are, after all, a guest in here.
Please pay attention to what you’re doing, Doctor, Rose said.
Yes, of course. It’s just lonely out here without you.
The sooner you get it done, the sooner I can get out of this waiting room, she said.
Quite right. With that, he was gone. Rose went back to the book, paging through what looked to be boring memories until she came to a dark, faded image. She didn’t see the Doctor in it, and she had to look closely to make out any figures at all. It was night – she could see the dark orange of the Gallifrey night sky through vaulted cloister windows. The Doctor’s perceptions infused her thoughts and told her it was a room in the Panopticon, whatever that was. Three figures stood in the room. One was dressed in the high-collared robes of a Time Lord. The other two were more simply robed, and one was holding a squirming, babbling infant. The one holding the infant was a woman. She kept glancing towards the door. Rose couldn’t tell if that was because she was afraid someone was going to come in, or because she couldn’t wait to get out.
“You have given him no name?” the Time Lord asked.
“It would be more difficult to go forward with this if we had,” the woman said. She bounced the infant in her arms with the awkward coldness of a stranger.
“This is the eighth child your house has chosen to relinquish,” the Time Lord said, accepting the infant from the woman with a look of undisguised revulsion. Rose’s heart clenched as she understood. The baby was the Doctor.
“His timelines were predicted,” the woman said, already moving towards the door. “We’ll have another.”
“Timeline prediction is often inaccurate,” the Time Lord chided, nestling the baby in his arms. A pair of tiny fists shot out from where they were bundled as if to affirm the Time Lord’s proclamation, as if reaching for his mother one last time.
“Our house cannot suffer a disgrace,” the man that Rose assumed was the Doctor’s father said, urging the woman towards the door. “He will never know us, nor have any attachment to our family name.”
“But you will know him,” the Time Lord said, following the couple towards the door. “The eighth rejected son of the eighteenth generation of your house. You may watch the rise of Theta Sigma from afar and wonder if the disgrace that marks his timeline will be his, or if perhaps it was yours.”
The couple left without another word. The Time Lord strode out another door to meet another similarly dressed Time Lord. He passed the baby off, giving his little foot a farewell squeeze.
“Name?” the second Time Lord asked.
“None. Designation: Theta Sigma. Predicted disgrace. Take him to the Foundling House to be loomed.”
Rose slammed the book shut.
The Doctor had the sonic in his teeth and a look of manic concentration on his face as he drew yards of blue-lit cabling out of the underside of the control console. He had several panels arranged on the floor around him, hijacked from other parts of the ship. He would patch together a working navigation system from bits of the combat targeting system, the close-proximity planet sensors and a few bits from the entertainment system for good measure. Once that was done, he would get the main viewscreen working again, fire up the engines and get them the hell out of the Void and on their way home.
He was reaching for one last handful of wire when he burst into tears.
“What the-?” he sniffed, clapping his hand over his mouth as his shoulders shook with uninvited sobs. He slid out from under the control console and sat on the teleport platform so he could rest his head in his hands and have a good, long, inexplicable cry. He felt the full weight of the loneliness that had been his one lifelong companion dragging on his hearts with such acuity the pain was palpable. When he’d somewhat composed himself, he dove down into his subconscious in search of the door once again.
Rose, what are you doing? he asked, letting himself into the room. The beacon shone so brightly it burned away the lingering sadness in his hearts.
Nothing, she said. Just waiting for you. How’s it going?
Good, he said. Weird. You certain you haven’t done anything? Thought about anything particularly moving?
Nope, Rose said.
I wonder if emotional misdirection is a side effect of the transference, he said. I was just out there, working on the ship, and started sobbing like a ninny. No reason at all.
You’ve never had anyone inside your mind before, have you?
The Doctor chuckled. Not as such, no. A few peeks and probes here and there over the years; I was hooked up to the Mind Wipe device on the planet Mongo once – hail Ming! – but halfway through one year of memories I backfed so much information into its mainframe that it exploded. General Kala gave me this great speech all about how she was going to empty my mind like she was emptying my pockets. She had no idea just how deep my pockets were. Bigger on the inside.
You’re rambling, Rose said with a laugh. You’re nervous.
A little, he admitted cheerily. I hope I’m not going mad. Which is a distinct possibility, given the circumstances. I’m going to get back to work now. Do you need anything?
Just for you to know how very much I love you.
Oh, I do know that, Rose Tyler. Never doubt it. He vanished again from the room, leaving the door open behind him.
Rose took the opportunity to follow. 

Chapter 12

Date: 2011-12-05 06:34 pm (UTC)
ext_29986: (Wicked Clever Ten (4.07))
From: [identity profile] fannishliss.livejournal.com
I see whut you did there! Hail Ming! lolz :D

This was great. I like the way you worked in his namelessness and his childhood friendship with Koschei.

It's kind of heartwarming to imagine Rose paging through his memories.

Uh-oh! Rose is following him out the door!!!

Date: 2011-12-06 03:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] timelord1.livejournal.com
LOL yes!! Hail Ming! I was inspired by a certain awesome fic hee hee!

Yeah, Rose is about to cross a line, as if she hasn't already.

Date: 2011-12-05 07:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shadowneko003.livejournal.com
Such a nice read after taking a test.

The first part would have been kinda funny if it wasn't for the fact that Rose was dieing.

I love the history part.

Date: 2011-12-06 03:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] timelord1.livejournal.com
Thank you! The history was very fun to write. More of that coming soon...

Date: 2011-12-05 08:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] katherine b (from livejournal.com)
Very interesting! Of course having another consciousness inside your head would lead to complications. And poor baby Doctor... :'(

Can't wait to see what happens next!

Date: 2011-12-06 03:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] timelord1.livejournal.com
The wait should not be long this time. :) Glad you're enjoying it!!!

Date: 2011-12-05 10:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] country-who.livejournal.com
This is fascinating, in ways that really can't be described.

“Yeah, well, once I’m a Time Lord, I’ll make up my own damn rules,” The Doctor said as he began packing up his books.

He's like a mini Time Lord Victorious.

But, poor baby Doctor. :(

Date: 2011-12-06 03:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] timelord1.livejournal.com
The saddest part is, some part of him remembers that. Imagine that being your first memory. :(

Date: 2011-12-05 11:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] who-in-whoville.livejournal.com
Ruh roh... He is not happy, is he? Well buddy, you should hve been more careful what you left lying/laying (I always get that screwed up) around for anyone to see.

Rose, you were a wee bit nosy, dearie. Shame on you.

BUT... They will work it out. Right? Right?

Date: 2011-12-06 03:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] timelord1.livejournal.com
Well....perhaps. ;)

Date: 2011-12-06 04:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wander-realtai.livejournal.com
Oooh, BB!Doctor memories!

I admit, you shocked me with the Doctor pulling Rose into his body. (That sounded... different.... than it was intended.) Interesting twist!

Date: 2011-12-06 03:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] timelord1.livejournal.com
Lol I knew what you meant though....I do like to keep it twisty. That also sounds worse than I intended it to...oh dear. :)

Date: 2011-12-06 05:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wander-realtai.livejournal.com
*grins* Aren't double entendres fun? :P

Date: 2011-12-07 12:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] larxene-12.livejournal.com
Oh no, Rose, don't even think about it. Yeah, you're thinking about it. Oh, dear... you never did learn rule number one very well, did you?

Poor baby Doctor... no wonder he's so starved for attention. To let a newborn know it's unloved... *sobs*

Though... it would have been pretty hilarious to watch them flail about like that at first. I know I'd have been laughing.

And yay, I'm caught up! :D

Date: 2011-12-07 05:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] timelord1.livejournal.com
Rose is not a quick study when it comes to rule #1, no. Poor girl...

Yay caught up! :) Yeah, I personally would have loved to see DT do that flailing part for real... I would pay huge sums of money to see that, in fact. :)

Date: 2011-12-07 08:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] monkeyprincess7.livejournal.com
Rule one Rose, Rule One! Though I would have done the same exact thing so I can't say anything haha However, it WAS the Doctor's fault for leaving the door open, so he's asking for trouble there... xD

Poor bb!Doctor *coddles him with hugs and kisses* Timelines can be so cruel sometimes :(

Can't help it but I burst out laughing at the crying part. I'm horrible aren't I?

Date: 2011-12-07 05:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] timelord1.livejournal.com
No, not at all. I was laughing when I wrote it - what does that say about me? :)


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