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A Phone Call – 3, Girl Talk

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AN: Actually, it was only going to be one chapter and the little epilogue-thingy, but this explanation here was bugging me yesterday, so I decided to write it down and get rid of it. So, here you are, second and last part of “A Phone Call”. I hope to get my other pieces updates soon…

They were sitting quietly in the control room, each nursing a cup of tea, decidedly not looking at the other. Finally he put his down and turned to her in his swivel chair. He studied her profile – pursed lips, small nose, forehead covered by a bandanna, backswept hair held in a high ponytail – and saw every little symptom he sought for. The slight widening of her eyes, cheekbones a bit higher than before, lips just a tad thinner…

“Did it hurt?” he blurted suddenly.

She looked at him, not understanding.

“TARDIS said it rebuild… it rebuild you. She said it reconstructed the most crucial pieces.”

“I don’t really know” she sighed. “I have had so many accidents, near-death experiences and bouts of simple illnesses gone wrong that you could have probably covered transmutation into an elephant by these. Only, the elephant would be easier to notice” she smiled insolently. “Being a… being this was not so much different from being a human. I just don’t know. Why?”

“TARDIS… she scanned you before you – you two – before we left you. She says she didn’t alert me at this time, because there was nothing to alert me about.”

She sat up.

“What?”

“I say, she saw something. Perhaps, like Donna, you needed a kick-off, one stimulus, to start the transformation. Apparently…” he looked at the control tower “… she saw the beginnings. She says… Oh my. You should hear her now. Do you?”

“How?”

“Telepathy, kind of.”

“Never tried it.”

“Here, hold my hand” he reached for her and put her cup down, catching her fingers. “Now, close your eyes and relax. Think of the heart of TARDIS…”

She did as he asked, but at first all she could see was… kind of pink, actually. As she began to say something, the pink – candyfloss – fog parted and acquired a golden glow.

Welcome, Rose Tyler.”

She tried to catch the shape of the being, but it shapeshifted constantly and she had trouble focusing her eye – or her mind eye – on anything concrete.

Don’t try so hard, dear.”

The being suddenly solidified and smiled. She – as it was definitely a humanoid female – stood in front of them, looking questioningly.

Why this way? Don’t you think she should be able to do it by herself?”

Not yet, I’m afraid.”

You underestimate her” TARDIS turned towards Rose and reached out. “Come.”

Rose looked at the Doctor at least and gasped – probably in both worlds – at the sight.

He was not wearing his suit anymore, and his face… He didn’t look like himself, at least not exactly. Hair longer, and combed back, a bit grayer at the sides, no sideburns, nose somewhat wider… Still looked like her Ten, but she could see distinct traces of Nine. So the other parts are from the previous versions, I suppose.

Yes. This is the compound view of the Doctor, as the effect of his all personalities through the last thousand-and-something years.”

I thought it was nine hundred and something” Rose answered, not taking her eyes off him. The ears!

He may be a Time Lord, but I would not call him proficient in counting his own age.”

Oi! You are bruising my ego!”

You know it, I know it, why should she not know it? She would find out soon enough.”

He smiled, and the smile was his, only his. She could have kissed him there and then, only for this smile.

And she didn’t mind the new – or old – clothes at all. They were, in short, dignified. Of course, a suit was good, formal enough even when slightly rumpled, but still he looked like a skinny boy and combined with his hair gave him a general air of a crazy maths professor. This Doctor, here, was… elegant. Dignified. Yes, definitely this. And stirring something inside her – before, she would call him dressed up, just to make him angry, but these clothes, the combination of dark colours, clingy, soft cuts and a cape-like outer layer, high collar and a bit of trailing sleeves made him look like a symbolic great magician – without the tawdriness usual to such characters. And probably getting him out of these would be nice, too.

Getting back to the topic. Rose, let go of his hand, please. You need to be able to talk to me without his help.”

Why?” he was a bit angry.

Because we are going to have girl secrets, you dumb male.”

As TARDIS reached for her, Rose stood on her tiptoes and pressed a quick kiss to the Doctor’s cheek, trying very hard not to linger too much.

Be right back.”

And she opened her hand, losing contact with his fingers, which finally felt warm for her.

And the world around her didn’t disappear.

Come, Rose.”

They moved, floated, walked through the mist until TARDIS deemed it safe to talk.

He told you the truth” she began without any additional ado. “I scanned you before we left you and I deemed it proper to leave you there.”

Why? It hurt so much…”

That is the life of a Time Lord, Rose.” TARDIS looked at her sorrowfully. “It may sound harsh, but you were not yet a grownup then. At least, not a grownup by Gallifrey standards. A Time Lord is not only the flesh, not only the physiology – although it is nice to have it, as you already know – but being a Time Lord means being one in heart and soul. Your soul was…” she was actually searching for words. “I’m sorry to say, but your soul was too innocent. Too childish. I was afraid living here, with him, and trying to cope with your body at the same time may destroy you.”

How? He would never have hurt me!”

TARDIS looked away, looked up, looked at her hands, fingers twisted and entwined in her lap.

Not intentionally, no. But look, he was about to loose Donna – I knew he had to, she was already dying – he had just seen his clone committing a genocide, or rather, a xenocide, and if I told him you were at the beginning of a transformation into a Time Lady, he would have taken you, wrapped you in cotton wool and kept you in here until you went through all physical changes. And only then he would find out that you are… Not what he needs.”

She finally raised her eyes to Roses and sighed heavily.

You, living in here, your changes taking place in controlled environment, no contact with outside, only Doctor for company, no dangers, no duties, no obligations… What does it sound like?”

Shelter.”

Sheltered childhood. And terrible, overwhelming spoiling. He would not plan it, he would not mean it, but he would spoil you silly and I mean as literally as it comes. You would be a pampered, absolutely useless Time Lady. Child in adult body, with all the powers but no responsibility. Like a five-year-old with a gun.”
“Do you think I would allow him?”

Do you think you could actually have stood up to him? You have been ill for long periods of time in your life on the other side, weren’t you? So imagine having a flu here, or a cold… And Doctor hovering at your side, all the time, careful, delicate, all the time around. You would have gotten used to it, to his constant attention and caring. And then you would be unable to undertake any serious responsibilities. Or at least that was what I was afraid of.”

They were silent for a moment, as Rose tried to digest what she heard and process the vision of Doctor as the overwhelming nurse. It could be true. She shuddered.

Another thing is, he needed you there. The other one. Toby. He was desperate and he would have perished without you. And look, he let you grow. You were partners – your life as equals is what now makes you able to stand up to the Doctor and give him an earful when needed. If you have stayed here, you would have always been a child, a dependant. Not you are a grownup, both in the matters of gallifreyan physiology and in the matters of psychic. You needed to live this life in order to become complete.”

They stared at each other for a moment.

So you say I had to go through an almost-normal human life, to experience all I could, in order to be… adult?”

The most important thing about being a Time Lord – or a Time Lady – is what you probably already know.” the being’s eyes fired up slightly. “It is the conscious awareness of the fact that you are, indeed, unique and quite alone in the universe of mortals. You had to live through all this, because you would not have been able to understand him otherwise. You have lost your family, your husband, your world and life here. He has lost his entire planet, his entire race and everything except for me. You are now equal to him – or as good as I could predict. I hope you understand.”

In order to be able to live with him, here, I need to be able to relate. The only way to be able to relate to personal loss… is your own personal loss.”

I’m afraid so.”

Rose pushed her ghost-hair from her eyes.

I’m happy now. I think. I know that Toby was happy there, he got to live a fulfilling life and he died… Died, knowing that I would be having a fulfilling life thanks to him. Oh, this is twisted.”

You will be able to see, soon. Your real time senses are coming to you now, bit by bit.”

How did you know that I was changing, back then?”

Rose closed her eyes, secure in the feeling of safety in this place-no-place.

You had a spark. And your blood vessels were already a bit… changed, yes. They were preparing to accommodate for second heart and other changes.”

And… If there was no Toby, what would you have done?”

Fire being reached out to her and touched her cheek.

I would have told you. And I would have protected you from the Doctor’s trying to protect you too much. I can only hope we would have won and grew your soul and mind in the right way. I’m sorry it took so long for you, but you must see, now you have a whole new life – not aging together, not getting old, and definitely not getting left behind. In fact, now you will be a co-pilot on equal rights here. We two will be able to finally communicate directly. I’ll teach you anything you wish.”
For a moment, Rose looked away.

I hope you can forgive me someday. Or at least, stand me. I love you, Rose. After all, you are my daughter. In a way.”

Her head snapped back.

What!?”

TARDIS nodded.

Your transformation didn’t begin at the Bad Wolf Bay – neither time – or on board of the Crucible. It began with the death of your first Doctor. Remember the day?”

Rose only closed her eyes.

But I don’t think you remember exactly what happened. You said you have a headache. That was the point when the Vortex couldn’t cope, it would not stay inside, it would soon have burned you. And Doctor took it away. But he was not very accurate in this. After all, he knew he was going to die and regenerate, so he hurried the procedure up. And he left the spark inside you. I didn’t see it then – didn’t look. I was still mourning him, as I mourned all the previous ones. Even more, as he had just found some kind of happiness, after all these years of travelling alone. You gave him a reason to love life again. And he loved you for this so much that he… He too didn’t look too close. And when he regenerated, the last thoughts of the previous body were lost, or muddled, and he didn’t look neither. So you were both growing together – he, as the new Doctor, and you – the new Rose” she shifted in her place and stared at Rose with her fiery eyes. “Doctor, as he is now, is your creation, Rose. You helped the previous one, he gave his life – not something he would have done only a year earlier – for a single being. And when this one was… more or less born, the circumstances of his death impressed the new incarnation. Your presence there, the fact…” her voice trailed off. “Um. You were… You know. Kissing. So when he regenerated, he…” she stopped. “This will be embarrassing. He was almost instantly conditioned positively towards your presence.”

Rose blinked.

In English, you mean, the fact that I was just a second earlier smooched by him left an impression on him, not only on me? And he was immediately in love with me as soon as he became the new one?” her eyes grew wide.

I know, it sounds weird, but some… residue, was left. It was by no means only him smooching you, I assure you. It was a full, two-way transfer of…” she coughed “…fluids.”

You make it sound nasty, really.”

Sorry. Think about it from the scientific point of view – he got a bit of you in the regeneration mix and the regeneration energy didn’t burn it up, but allowed him to absorb it. If it was something hostile, it would have been rejected, I assure you. And then, it turned out, you got a bit of him. The wisp of my Vortex, the small trace of his DNA, your natural aptitude for craziness and accepting the weirdest things in life and boom, here we come, a new, human-born Time Lady. Of course, when a natural member of this race is born, he or she grows in his – or hers – natural speed and without the painful side effects. As you were already grown as a member of other – although at least humanoid and physically compatible – species, the process took longer and must have been painful. Also, the fact that you began your change in his presence, in his constant presence, made you the ideal partner for him. As he is the ideal partner for you.”

I am partly related to him. He is somehow related to me. So, what are we going to do about this mess?”

TARDIS smiled slightly.

Rose Tyler. You are going to become the first Time Lady since the fall of Gallifrey. Is this a challenge enough for you?”

Oh, yes” she whispered. “So, where do I start?”

TARDIS laughed.

You already have. Since the moment you came on board I have seen your time senses growing, your awareness, your way of feeling the life around you. I have scanned you – a breach of privacy for which I am not going to be repentant – and if I didn’t know you before, I would declare you to be a healthy, natural Gallifreyan female in her fourth or fifth regeneration.”

WHAT?”
The spaceship being tapped her cheek, looking for words.

Apparently the transformation used up some… I can count regenerations basing on the level of specific kinds of energies. I’ll show you later on him” she paused. “Did you say ‘near-death experiences’?”

Yeah. A few of them, actually.”

Can you list them for me?”

Rose concentrated.

Well, not counting the Void-jumping – there was danger, but not real effects on me – I got almost poisoned to death on one of the missions. Some kind of nerve gas. Then there was the shooting in our office, one of the employees got infected by Reylqians and went mad. Planned to shoot us all, actually got me in the spine. Nobody could explain how I recovered” she bit her nail. “Toby could. Oh, Toby… Well, then there was exposure to radiation, whole-body burns, took three days of lying in ice and it disappeared. And last, drowning. Not in water, but in some oil. Not only I almost died of asphyxiation, but I was sick for days before they managed to get the stuff off my skin. So, four, really.”

That means fifth incarnation.”

Bbbut I still look the same!” Rose protested.

That is interesting, indeed, but it might have been the fact that the rebuilding process was in progress. It used up the regeneration energy to fix you, revive you and to further the changes.”

Rose stood up, feeling uneasy in her own body.

Shouldn’t we be joining him?”

Oh, he disconnected and is now strolling the corridors, waiting for us to finish. Don’t worry, he will be fine. There are things he would have never told you and I think he knows you are better off with someone actually explaining you the facts.”

I’m… I’m grateful, I suppose.”

Don’t worry. I know it is much to take in, and if you have any new questions, just ask. I’m not going anywhere.”

They both laughed.

Rose, before you go to find him, there is this one other thing…” she licked her lips. Apparently, this avatar of TARDIS had some human – or Time Lord – habits, to facilitate communication. “This… Oh my. I have never had this talk, you know. You are a grownup, he is a grownup…”

You want to have the birds-and-bees talk with me, now?”

The fire being became a bit redder than before. Another pseudo-human trait.

I don’t want to seem intrusive, but you both seemed almost overly enthusiastic. About… I mean, this is not the way it was done on Gallifrey. The children were carefully crafted by a team of specialists, the biologies of parents matched to find the best combination. The parents didn’t even have to like each other. I’d say, it was all biology, no personal chemistry. Usually they didn’t create personal relationships between sexes. There were… There was not much physicality in their social life.”

You mean, they didn’t have much sex, yes? They made kids in test tubes – or whatever they used – and then brought them up to be the same distant and cold people they were?”

No sex at all, actually. Sometimes, with someone of another species. Compatible, like humans. And unable to conceive offspring. Not between each other, it was simply not done. The proper way was to have a child with someone of maximum compatibility in intellect and biological features, to bring it up kindly and wisely, and to make it a useful member of society.”

So, why is he so different?”

For one thing, he was an anomaly from the very beginning. A rebel. He stole me – not that I protested, he felt nice – and ran away, with his granddaughter as a companion.”

Rose would have choked if not for the fact that she was not in her real body.

Long story. I’ll tell you someday. So, he was a rebel, he became an outcast… and now he has been alone, in the meaning of having one’s people around, for the last… twenty or so years. Give or take ten, as I don’t really know how to count this properly. Never cared. And now, now there is you, and you are compatible, you want him, and he wants you, as because of you he has just this little bit of human inside him which tells him to rebel again. And so he does, as you have seen.”

So, what’s the problem?”

TARDIS straightened and combed her firehair nervously.

None of us knows a thing about… about the natural way of Time Lord… reproduction. Nothing in my memory or my data banks has prepared me for supporting such an event. To tell the truth, Rose, I’m terrified. This will be the one time when I will be completely and absolutely useless for you. If you get pregnant at some point, and feeling this hormone war on board, there is no escaping this, we will be inventing everything as we go.”

Isn’t this the best way?”

“They only I know” he said, catching her as she slid down from her chair. “You two ladies finished dissecting my character?”

“We weren’t really talking about you, you git. Girl talk does not have to be about men.”

He looked at her doubtfully, but took her hand without further questions.

“So, Rose Tyler. Where do you wish to go today?”

She smiled at him dazzingly.

“Let’s go… Somewhere. TARDIS?”

Yes?”

“Pick the destination. I’m going to be distracting the main pilot, so you are on your own for a bit.”

Yes, ma’am!”

“Distracting…?”

“Oh, shut up, timeboy.”

Hormones, chemistry or early imprinting. She didn’t care.

He liked this kind of distractions.

And no phone call would disturb them now. He unplugged the stupid device and hid it in the pocket of his black leather jacket, hanging in the wardrobe.

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Written by Srebrna

2013/07/29 at 01:20

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