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A Flash of Gold

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The moment she was inside the TARDIS, Rose felt better. She let out a sigh of relief and made her way toward the console, where she ran a hand along the time rotor in thanks. Rose had no idea how the TARDIS was doing it, but she knew that the Old Girl was the reason she was feeling better.

“Okay Donna,” the Doctor said. “Where to?”

“Home,” Donna replied. “My family will be worried sick.”

Once he had the address, he set the coordinates and landed them outside the Noble’s house. “Here you go, home sweet home.”

“Before I go in there, are you sure I’m okay?” Donna asked.

The Doctor gave her a quick once over with the sonic. “Yeah, all the Huon particles have gone. No damage, you’re fine.”

“Yeah, but apart from that, I missed my wedding, lost my job, and became a widow on the same day. Sort of,” Donna said.

“I couldn’t save him,” the Doctor said.

“He deserved it,” Donna said. After a pause, she added, “No, he didn’t. I’d better get inside. They’ll be worried.”

“Best Christmas present they could ever have,” the Doctor said. “Oh no, I forgot. You hate Christmas.”

“Yes, I do,” Donna said.

“Even if it snows?” He asked, raising an eyebrow before turning around and messing with the TARDIS. A bolt of energy flew from the top of the TARDIS into the sky, and it started to snow.

“I can’t believe you did that!” Donna exclaimed.

“Oh, basic atmospheric excitation,” the Doctor shrugged.

Rose hugged his arm, “Much better than the snow I got last year!”

“Hey,” he argued. “Technically that wasn’t me.”

They all laughed, and Donna said, “Merry Christmas.”

“And you,” the Doctor said. “So what will you do with yourself now?”

“Not getting married, for starters. And I'm not going to temp anymore. I don't know. Travel. See a bit more of planet Earth. Walk in the dust. Just go out there and do something,” Donna replied.

“Well, you could always…” the Doctor started.

“What?” Donna asked.

The Doctor looked at Rose and she smiled and finished the rest of his sentence, “Come with us?”

“No,” Donna replied quickly.

“Okay,” the Doctor said, slightly taken aback. Donna had seemed like the kind of person who would make a great companion, so it was surprising to hear her say no. Almost as surprising as when Rose had said no the first time. But the Doctor never asked
twice, and he was determined that Rose would be the only exception to that rule.

“I can’t,” she added.

“No, that’s fine,” the Doctor replied.

“No, but really. Everything we did today. Do you live your life like that?” Donna asked.

“No,” Rose said. “Trouble’s just the bits in between.”

“I think you do,” Donna argued. “And I couldn’t.”

“But you’ve seen it out there. It’s beautiful,” the Doctor countered.

“And it's terrible. That place was flooding and burning, and they were dying, and you were stood there like, I don't know, a stranger. And then you made it snow. I mean, you scare me to death,” Donna said.

“Right,” the Doctor said, unable to argue that point. He had let himself get carried away. He could have shown the Empress some mercy, but after she refused his offer, which he knew she would do, he showed none. After she took Rose away from him, even temporarily, he wasn’t prepared to give her any second chances. That was just the kind of man he was.

“Tell you what I will do though. Christmas dinner,” Donna said. “Oh, come on.”

“Oh, no. We couldn’t,” the Doctor said.

“You did it last year. You said so. And you might as well because Mum always cooks enough for twenty,” Donna argued.

“It’s me,” Rose said. “I just lost my mum. I’m not ready for all that domestic stuff, like Christmas dinners, without her.”

“Oh, Rose, I’m sorry. I didn’t even think,” Donna apologized.

Rose shook her head, “It’s fine. You were just trying to be nice.”

“We should get going,” the Doctor said. “It’s been a long day for us.”

“Am I ever going to see you again?” Donna asked.

“If we’re very lucky,” the Doctor smiled.

With that, Rose and the Doctor walked back into the TARDIS. Rose stayed in the door to wave at Donna until the very last moment. Once they were in flight, Rose yawned.

“I probably should get to bed,” Rose said.

The Doctor shook his head, “Not so fast. Something happened to you out there today. I need to do a full medical checkup.”

“I’m fine Doctor. Just tired,” Rose argued.

“Please, just a quick check up. Then we can float around in the vortex for as long as you like,” the Doctor said.

“Fine,” Rose said, making her way to the med bay. She hopped up on the exam table and let the Doctor poke and prod her with various instruments. “I don’t want to just float in the vortex though.”

“What?” the Doctor asked.

“Today was good. I felt like me for the first time in weeks. Moping around here isn’t helping anything. I want to get out there and save some planets. I think that’s what I need right now,” Rose said.

“Rose, are you sure?” the Doctor asked, setting down all of his instruments.

“Yes. There’s just one thing I want to do first,” Rose replied.

“Anything,” the Doctor said, moving over to the monitor to check out Rose’s results.

“I need to keep my promise to my mum. Keep myself grounded on Earth.”

The Doctor looked up. “I thought you—”

“I don’t want to go back to the Estate. My life isn’t there anymore. It’s here. But I was thinking, and there’s someone that kind of bridges those two worlds,” Rose explained.

“Who is it?” the Doctor asked.

“Do you think Sarah Jane would mind if I came to visit her sometime? I mean, she did say if I needed anything I could call, but I wasn’t sure if she was just being nice,” Rose said, looking down at her hands.

“I think Sarah Jane would be thrilled if you called,” the Doctor said. “She needs someone to talk about her adventures with just as much as you do.”

“Ok, good. I think I might call her in the morning. If I can ever go to bed, that is,” Rose said, pointedly looking at the Doctor.

He looked back at the monitor. Everything said she was in perfect health. The TARDIS had even run some scans on blood count that he hadn’t thought to yet. There was no explanation for why she had passed out earlier. “Everything looks perfectly fine,” the
Doctor said.

“I told you,” Rose said, hopping off the exam table. She pressed a kiss to his cheek and took off down the hall, yelling a quick “Goodnight!” before disappearing into her room.

“Goodnight,” the Doctor whispered back, placing a hand to his cheek. This woman was making it impossible to stick to his rules.

**********************************************************************************************************************

The next morning, the Doctor was already in the kitchen making breakfast by the time Rose woke up. “Morning Rose,” the Doctor said. Rose grunted in return, and the Doctor handed her a cup of tea. It was really appalling how addicted to the stuff she was.

About halfway through the cup, she regained the power of speech enough to say, “Thank you.”

The Doctor rolled his eyes. “So what do you want to do today?”

“I’m going to call Sarah Jane as soon as I finish this,” Rose replied.

“Are you sure you don’t want to just float around the vortex for a few days?” the Doctor asked.

“I’m sure,” Rose said. “I’m ready to get back out there. I didn’t choose to stay here so that I could mope. I chose to stay because of everything we do, whether it’s saving planets or seeing what all is out there. I’m ready to get back to it.”

The Doctor smiled. “As long as you’re sure.”

“I am.”

“Then go ahead and call Sarah Jane. I’ll finish breakfast up while you two talk,” the Doctor said.

Rose picked up her mobile and scrolled through the contacts until she found Sarah Jane’s number. The woman had said to call if Rose ever needed anything, but Rose still hesitated. What if the Doctor was wrong, and Sarah Jane had just been being nice?

The Doctor looked at her and was about to ask if she was sure, so Rose pressed the button to call Sarah Jane so that she wouldn’t have to keep convincing the Doctor that she was ready. The phone only rang twice before she heard Sarah Jane say, “Hello?”

“Sarah Jane?” Rose asked hesitantly.

“Rose?” Sarah Jane replied though Rose thought she almost sounded like she had seen a ghost.

“How are you?” Rose asked.

“I’m good,” Sarah Jane asked. “How long has it been for you since Deffrey Vale?”

“Oh, a couple of months I guess. How long has it been for you?”

“Oh, about a year, I guess,” Sarah Jane responded nervously.

“A year? So Canary Wharf already happened then?” Rose asked.

The line was silent for a minute before Sarah Jane asked quietly, “You know about Canary Wharf?”

“Yeah, we were there. Wh—you think I died, don’t you?” Rose asked.

“I saw your name on the list,” Sarah Jane responded.

“My mum ended up in a parallel universe. I decided there wasn’t much left for me in my old life, so I let them count me as dead. But I am very much alive,” Rose replied.

“Oh thank God!” Sarah Jane replied. “When I thought you were dead… It was just awful. I didn’t know how the Doctor would take it.”

“We’re both doing okay,” Rose replied. “But I was wondering if I could ask you a favor?”

“Of course,” Sarah Jane said. “Anything.”

“I got to talk to my mum yesterday, one last time, and she made me promise her I wouldn’t forget where I came from. And I already faked my death on the Estates because there isn’t anyone that I really need to stay in touch with there. So I was wondering if I could come visit you, from time to time? Just so that I could kind of stay grounded to Earth. And you know what it’s like travelling with the Doctor, so I wouldn’t have to make anything up about where I’ve been, and—”

“I would love it if you came to visit. I lead a pretty lonely life, since there aren’t many people that would understand everything I’ve seen, and it would be nice to have someone to talk to that gets it all,” Sarah Jane replied, cutting off Rose’s rambling. “And besides, I think we both owe each other a couple of stories. You said something about werewolves last time we met.”

“Thank you,” Rose replied.

“So, were you wanting to come visit soon?” Sarah Jane asked.

“As soon as you’ll have me,” Rose replied.

“Why not today? I’m not really doing much. There aren’t any pressing stories for me to go investigate,” she answered.

“Really? Ok, wonderful. When is it, for you?” Rose asked.

“Oh I’ve missed questions like that,” Sarah Jane laughed. “And it’s the thirtieth of March, 2007.”

“See you soon,” Rose said.

“Looking forward to it.”