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Triggers for physical/sexual abuse.
Chapter Five: New Paint
The content of Rose’s mind overpowered me with rage and disgust. Simply sorting through the last fifteen months of her life threatened to nearly undo me, sending me reeling. Training? I snarled, watching every instance where he held her down and had his way with her. Eventually, she stopped struggling, because when she struggled he made it hurt worse.
I focused on one instance where she smiled and laughed, almost easily, with him. A long while passed since he last showed her anger—almost two weeks—and she felt safe.
Then, she called him John.
He took her home and strapped her to the bed, brutally forcing himself on her. He caused a dark, ugly hickey on the side of her neck. The same hickey I noticed earlier.
The memories of her time with him stopped and I began to untangle myself from her mind, but then sudden elation overwhelmed my senses. I paused, focusing, and found myself looking through Rose’s eyes.
I sonicked the passenger side door of her car and she wanted to cry with joy, but quickly stifled it. She wondered if it might be some sort of trick, to test her loyalty, but her phone rang and she saw it was him. She breathed a sigh of relief.
Her Doctor was back.
She could escape.
I retreated from the memory, letting my hands fall from either side of her head, and Rose opened her eyes and blinked up at me. “Um…you changed your mind?”
“No,” I told her quietly, expecting this reaction. “It just felt like no time at all to you since I blocked you from seeing anything.”
“Oh,” she said softly, scratching her nose. “You’re done then?”
“Yes, I’m done.” Walking back to the control panel, I flicked on the monitor again. Nobody stood in the stall anymore. I pressed a few buttons, inputting the coordinates again, and dragged down the lever.
I know now, I told the TARDIS, so help me get her out of here.
It tossed and turned for several minutes this time, landing roughly, and the two of us toppled to the floor. I reclaimed my footing, stone-faced, and checked the monitor. The year popped up, as well as the location and several other stats.
“Well?” Rose prompted gently, pushing her hair back.
“We’re out of there,” I told her quietly, my voice a stark monotone.
“Aren’t you going to ask why I wasn’t worried about leaving my mum or Rickey?” she asked softly, almost reluctantly.
“I know why.” They were dead. I knew. I saw.
Rose Tyler went through utter Hell in that universe, and I put her there.
She cleared her throat uncomfortably, then crossed the control room to lower herself into a chair. “What now?”
I faced her, lacing my fingers over my stomach. “Whatever you want,” I told her. “Anything you want, Rose.”
She shook her head, drumming her fingers on the arm of the chair. “I want to stay with you,” she murmured at the floor, biting her lower lip.
Sympathy washed over me. Of course she chose that, having been robbed of all else. “Are you sure?”
“Told you,” she said, raising her head to send me a sheepish smile. “I missed all this.”
I grinned back at her. “Then let’s go check out a nebula off the course of Saicharon 5, eh?”
She returned the smile, alighting to her feet and striding toward me as I went for the controls. “What’s happening on Saicha—?”
I pulled the lever, but when the engine started up, the walls began to vanish. “No, no, no, not again!”
“What’s happening?” Rose demanded, staring wildly around us as the TARDIS completely vanished.
“Aw, come on!” I shouted. A pedestrian passed by the mouth of the alley we stood in, darting us a suspicious glance. I waved dismissively at him and he hurried down the sidewalk.
I took Rose’s hand in mine. “Doc?”
“The reading read Earth. Our Earth,” I mumbled, nearly to myself. “I don’t understand what she’s doing.”
“Doc,” she repeated, tugging urgently on my hand.
I frowned teasingly at her. “What happened to Matt?”
“Doc, look!” she ordered, exasperated. I followed the direction in which she pointed and my mouth fell slightly open.
It was like the Master all over again. Except my tenth incarnation’s face was plastered everywhere instead. There was no way he could have gotten out of that universe—I barely managed it, myself. The universal reboot was the only way the TARDIS found the opening to enter into Rose’s dimension; it was also a one-time only round trip ticket. Nothing could leave or enter that parallel universe again.
“Doc, how can he be here? Are you sure that we’re—”
“I’m sure, Rose,” I told her bluntly. Then, softening, I coiled an arm around her shoulders and kissed the crown of her head. “But that’s just bad news for him. Don’t you worry, all right?”
“You’re…” She pulled back from me to look up into my face, her full lips a thin line as she studied me. “You’re going all Oncoming Storm, aren’t you?”
I grinned, but my eyes felt dead even to me. “To punish the man who dared to tame the Wolf,” I told her, rubbing her shoulder. “He made a dangerous enemy, and he really should’ve known better.”
“Doc, don’t,” she said, wriggling away from me. Confused, I cocked a brow at her. “Every time you go looking for revenge, something terrible happens. You’ll get guilty and—”
“Rose, I will not feel guilty,” I reassured, darkness broiling in my two hearts.
“You say that now, because you’re angry,” she said, grasping both my hands in hers. I met her eye steadily. “But you will later. You always feel it later, Doc. I know.”
“It’s worth it,” I deadpanned, releasing one of her hands and starting forward with her. “First thing’s first, I need to find somewhere safe for us to lay low. No sonicking or anything timey-wimey until I can figure out what’s going on.”
We turned the corner.
My TARDIS sat there, painted a fresh coat of red.
“Well, hello,” I said, smiling at her.
The doors opened on their own, and out stepped…John Smith.
Rose actually cowered behind me. She never cowered. In all the time I knew her, she never cowered.
“I’m going to kill you,” I told him calmly.
He nodded. “Problem with that,” he answered breezily, another man stepping up behind him in the TARDIS. My duplicate grinned back at the Master, then to me. “You’re really bad at killing people.”