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Triggers for physical/sexual abuse.
Chapter Four: Remember
I threw open the door, sonicking at a level meant to send a lethal electric charge at my duplicate. I intended to stop his heart.
Instead, I aimed it at the doors of my TARDIS. We stood inside, near the control panel.
Lowering the screwdriver I wielded as a weapon, I stared at the doors in a daze. “This has never happened before. How do we keep…?”
An odd sound drew my attention and I turned. Rose sat with her back to me on the floor, hugging her knees with her face buried atop them. “Rose…?”
She stayed as she was, so I moved toward her and knelt down. What could I say? What were the words for this?
She raised her head, hesitantly, to face me. Then, she smiled at me and tipped toward me, allowing me to catch her and envelope her in my arms. “I really like that new face,” she whispered.
I unwound my legs and dropped down to sit flat on the floor, drawing her against me and rocking her. “Rose, my Rose,” I murmured, smoothing her hair. “If I’d known, I would never have—”
“I know,” she said quietly. “It’s not your fault.”
She yawned, relaxing more in my arms. “What can I do? Just say the word, Rose. Anything, anything at all, and I’ll do it.”
“Let me sleep,” she said. “That’s all I want. I want to sleep.”
She inhaled gently through her nose, nuzzling closer to me. “Mm, right here. I just want to sleep. Dream…something nice…”
I took off my jacket, laying it over her shoulders and upper body. “Then, sleep. You don’t have to worry about anything anymore.” I leaned over her, cradling her head with one hand and wrapping my other arm around her back. I whispered, “I’m here now. You’re safe now, Rose.”
When I looked at her face to see her expression, a tear slid down the bridge of her nose, falling to the fabric of my trousers. Her face grew peaceful, her breathing steady and even.
She fell asleep.
I rested my hand on her forehead, closing my eyes, and remembered all the good times she and I shared together. I sent them all to her, allowing her to reminisce of a time when the name Doctor meant something other than terror.
Gently, I moved her from my leg and laid her on the floor of the TARDIS. The dreams I sent her would keep her in a sound sleep for a good while, hopefully.
I stood, going to the control panel. “Why did you take us there?” I growled. “She didn’t have to see that again. Why did she have to see that again?”
The TARDIS hummed calmly back at me, silent as ever. I sighed, resting my hands on the control panel and lowering my head. While she slept, I would look for ways out of this Hell.
I pulled the lever, the coordinates set, and hoped for the best. Rose rolled as the TARDIS began struggling to free itself from the parallel universe, and woke up.
“Doc…tor,” she said, looking surprised. She blinked and rubbed her eyes, dragging herself up with one arm as the TARDIS rocked to and fro. “Did you find a way to get out of here?”
I grinned at her. “Keep your fingers crossed, Rose Tyler!” Twisting a knob or two here and there, she finally landed—silently.
She pushed her hair back from her face. “That didn’t sound too normal,” she pointed out.
Grimacing, I pulled up the stats on the display. “We’re in stealth mode,” I told her, pressing buttons to bring up a view of the outside. A small room with a full length mirror and a bench.
I heard her swallow and realized she stood just behind me. “Turn it off.”
“Please, just turn it off.” I turned back to the monitor, hitting a few buttons. It turned off just as Rose entered the dressing room, carrying a few outfits.
“What happens in there?” I asked her, speaking low.
“Does it really need saying?” she asked, a haunted look in her eyes. Tears sprang up in them again and she turned away. She inhaled deeply, releasing the breath slowly. “Why does it keep showing us…these parts?”
“I have no idea,” I said, scowling at the blank display. “Maybe she wants me to know exactly what happened.”
Rose turned to me with a look of outrage. “So I have to relive everything? That’s the TARDIS’s grand idea?”
I grimaced, rubbing my forehead. “No,” I said, smacking the console. “No, you don’t have to relive anything. If the TARDIS wants me to know exactly what happened, I can do that without you even needing to say or see a thing.”
“What?” she croaked, stepping back from me.
“She was just waiting for me to figure it out,” I said, realizing at last.
“What’re you talking about? How can you know…?”
With sad eyes, I appraised her carefully. “Rose, do you trust me?”
Trust. What a difficult trait that must be for her right now.
“What are you planning to do?” she hedged, eying me warily. Ah, I remembered the days when she readily agreed. The days when her faith in me never wavered.
But my duplicate changed those days to faded memories.
“I want to see your mind, Rose,” I said, not moving from my place at the control panel. When she gulped, I added, “But I won’t do it unless you tell me it’s all right. It’s entirely up to you, Rose.”
She watched me, apprehension marring her fair features.
“You can say no,” I reminded her gently.
She took a tentative step toward me. “I…”
“I trust you,” she whispered, a tear streaking down her cheek. “I trust you, Doctor,” she said very quickly, clenching her fists and bowing her head. She squeezed her eyes tightly shut.
She forced herself to say my name.
I puzzled over my feelings—whether I should be happy that she wanted to renew the name’s meaning, or hurt that she had to renew it at all.
Edging away from the control panel, I approached her guardedly. I monitored her for signs of fear, signs that she wanted to run, but she only lifted her face to mine with a smile when I stood before her.
“I trust you,” she repeated, nearly as a self-affirmation.
I flashed her a pained smile, caressing her cheek. “I know you do,” I told her, reaching up to place my hands to either side of her head.
She jolted and I froze, studying her frightened eyes.
“Will I…?” She began to shake. I frowned at her, and she finished, “Will I remember it all when you…?”
I kissed her forehead. “No, Rose. Oh, no, I’d never do this if you would.” I wrapped her in my arms, rocking her gently. “He will pay for this. I promise you, Rose. I promise you.”
Taking a deep, rattling breath, she pulled back from me and wiped viciously at her face. “All right, then,” she said, smiling again. “All right, then. Read my mind.”
I pressed my palms to her temples, closing my eyes.