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Second Time Around

Chapter Text

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October, 1916

Farringham

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Rose stood in the open doorway of the TARDIS and watched with a smile on her face as the Doctor bounced up the platform to the console.  The TARDIS hummed happily while he flipped her power supply back on and the lights burst brightly into life.  

"Hello old girl!" he called out joyfully, stroking the edge of the console as he danced around her, trying to prepare her for flight.  "Oh, I've missed you! Home sweet home!"  He looked up from his task to where Rose was standing at the entrance and his voice sharpened a bit.  "Are you going to stand there all day?  Onwards and upwards.  Time for us to move on."

Rose didn't answer him.  She turned and pulled the doors shut behind her, before making her way up the ramp to meet him.  

"Had enough of history?" the Doctor asked her curiously.  "I've been thinking about Agatha Christie lately. I'll bet Agatha Christie would be brilliant.  Or we could go to the future.  I could show you the New Westminster Abbey, built in the year 3268 after the old one was hit by a meteor! Fascinating place, that one.  Speaking of meteors there's a lovely meteor shower in the sky over the planet Twondok.  Of course, a few of them hit the planet.  Big disaster.  Lots of fire.  On second thought, maybe not-"

"Doctor." Rose interrupted with a sigh.  "I'd love to have an adventure, but first I'd just like a shower and a nap.  And to get out of this damn dress.  I haven't worn a pair of jeans in three years.  Could we maybe just...rest first.  Travel tomorrow or something?"

The Doctor suddenly seemed very still. "Yeah," he replied.  "Right.  Rest is important."

"Okay," Rose mumbled.  "Then I'm just gonna-" She gestured towards the walkway, and turned to leave.  The Doctor didn't say another word, so at the doorway she turned to look back towards him.  He was now sitting on the jumpseat, staring blankly into the time rotor.  She wondered suddenly if he was okay, or if there was something bothering him too.  Running into an adventure was his choice way of coping, but she needed some alone time first, to think.  She wasn't sure how long she'd be able to avoid his efforts to move on though.

When Rose awoke hours later, she sensed that the TARDIS had landed somewhere, and found herself curious to learn where the Doctor had taken them.  She climbed out of bed and slowly dressed, before making her way out to the console room to find him.  He was sitting there silently, with his legs kicked up on the console, and his arms folded behind his head.  His eyes were closed as if he were sleeping, but when Rose approached they quickly opened and he turned to look at her.

"You ready?"

"Where are we?" Rose asked him curiously.

"Step outside and see," he replied mysteriously.  She turned and headed down the ramp.  "Rose?" the Doctor called as he pushed himself to his feet.  "No more than a step or two outside the door."

His last comment made her even more curious, so she opened the TARDIS door and very cautiously took a step outside.  She gasped at the sight before her eyes.

The TARDIS had materialized at the edge of a massive chasm.  It was easily hundreds of yards across to the other edge and miles deep.  It reminded her of what the Grand Canyon must be like, only deeper.  Much, much deeper.  It was so impossibly deep, that she couldn't even make out the bottom.  Like the Grand Canyon, the cliffs were layered, only in a variety of shades of rock: red, green, blue, and brown layers were apparent, only broken up by the occasional streaks of black, as if the rock had been scorched by a great fire.

"What is this place?" Rose asked quietly.  The Doctor had stepped out of the TARDIS beside her, and she glanced over to see his face blank and serious.  

"The story I told you earlier about the meteor shower over Twondok reminded me of this place.  It's called Farosma Canyon.  It's the greatest chasm in the universe.  It was created when a massive meteor struck this planet thousands of years ago, rendering it completely uninhabitable on impact.  In its deepest spots the chasm reaches down to the very heart of the planet."

"It's a dead planet?" Rose asked sadly.

"No," the Doctor disagreed.  "This planet is broken, but it's not dead yet.  There is a crack in this planet, so deep, that even its heart is shattered and broken.  But guess what, Rose?  Because its heart broke open, the hot core of this planet is exposed.  Do you know what that means, Rose?"

Rose thought about his words for a minute.  "Is it kind of like a volcano?" 

"Similar, yes," he agreed.  "Volcanoes explode though, because the fissure to the planet's core is capped off by a mountain.  The planet is under constant pressure until it can't take it anymore and releases that energy in the only way it can.  This planet isn't under that pressure though, because it's cracked open.  So the core of this planet is boiling, and slowly, but constantly, replenishing the rock at the very bottom of the chasm."

"It's healing itself." Rose realized, staring in awe at the chasm before her.

"It's healing itself," the Doctor agreed.  "And in time, millions of years from now, this planet will be whole again."

He took a step closer to her, and silently held out a hand to her.  She looked at it cautiously for a moment, but knowing that this was right, slid her own hand into his. Hand-in-hand, they stood together on the edge of the greatest chasm in the universe, and watched for a while, knowing that somewhere, deep down inside of the planet below them, there was the potential for this planet to come to life again.  

Rose silently made a wish that maybe, just maybe, the same would become true for the two of them.

 

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September, 1914

London

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It took nearly two months for John to get them an appointment at the local church.  With the war starting on the continent, people were eloping left and right, marrying their girlfriends before being shipped off to war.  Still, on a cool, rainy day in early September, almost a full month after Great Britain had declared war, Rose Tyler stood alongside John Smith in an empty church, while a priest declared them man and wife.  

Due to the limitations of both of their simple lifestyles, they didn't rush away on a fancy honeymoon.  Instead, together, they walked from the church to the boardinghouse where Rose had lived for the past 10 months to pick up her packed bags and move them to John's flat, just a few blocks away.

This time, as John opened the door for her, Rose stepped into his flat with a different set of eyes.  Rather than glimpsing the simple life where the Doctor's human counterpart lived, Rose examined the place that she would now call home.  It was more comfortable than her simple room at the boarding house.  Rather than a single room with nothing but a bed, desk, and chair in it, John had an entire flat with a bedroom, sitting room, and kitchen.  There was more space for her to breathe in.  Plus, here she had the presence of a man that she loved.  Rose did not doubt that she could be happy here.  

John was practically bouncing with excitement as he took her bags into the bedroom, and he showed her the space that he had cleared for her things in the wardrobe. Together they unpacked her clothes and stored her bags away.  Then, as simple as that, Rose realized that she had moved in with John Smith, her husband. The sheer thought of it almost brought her to her knees.  

She sank down on the bed instead, and looked up at him.  He was standing over her watching her with a worried look on his face.  

"I know it's small, but I hope it will do.  Work has been scarce since the school burned down, and I'm afraid I'm living a simpler life these days than I would like to be able to give you.  Perhaps someday, in a few years or so, I'll be able to buy us a house."

Rose stood, and reached up to caress his cheek.  "I don't need a house," she told him.  "I just need you."

"You've got me," he promised, before leaning in to kiss her.  The kiss started out soft, gentle, and innocent, but it quickly escalated into something more, filled with longing, need, and a desperate desire to be as close to each other as possible.  John pulled back suddenly, and Rose looked up at him inquisitively.  

"Rose...I know you're not the most traditional of girls.  But if you are willing, I would very much like it if we could maintain one marital tradition..."  he trailed off, his words lost, as Rose reached up and started to undo the buttons on his shirt.  

"Don't worry," Rose whispered.  "This is one tradition I am fully willing to fulfill.  Let's go to bed."

He didn't hesitate for another moment.  Rose could tell he was eager as he started to undress her, but was holding back a bit, perhaps worrying that he would push her too quickly?  Rose, on the other hand, was equally hesitant.  She was a modern girl of her time, and certainly not a virgin, but admitting that would be scandalous to John.  So she let him take the lead as far as he was willing.  And slowly, reverently, he made love to her.  There was something in his touch that set her blood on fire, and made her feel perfectly cherished by this man all at once.  The beauty of it made her heart want to burst, and in that moment, for the first time in the year that she had been stuck in the past, Rose managed to forget about the Doctor, and the future, and instead just lost herself in the embrace of her new husband.

Later, they lay together in bed, and Rose felt John's gaze weighing on her naked body. She blushed, and looked up at him quizzically.

"What?" she asked him with a laugh.

"You just look so beautiful lying there.  I want to remember this moment forever.  In fact...wait here!"  John rolled from the bed and rushed from the room.  Rose heard him rustling around in the living room for a moment, and then suddenly he came back with a blank sheet of paper, a pencil, and a book to write on. 

"Stay there!" he ordered.  "Don't move a muscle."

"Are you drawing me?" Rose asked as she watched him take the pencil to the paper.

"I insist.  A lasting memory of our wedding night.  Seeing as we don't have any photographs, I need something to remember this by!"

"Well..." Rose laughed.  "If you insist!"

She watched him and waited as he studied her with a lowered gaze while translating whatever his eyes saw to the paper hidden from her sight.  Something about the way his eyes studied her made a warmth rise within her.  Rose desperately wished that he was sitting closer so that she could reach out and touch him.  She shifted once, hoping to get closer, but his eyes narrowed at her, and she relaxed back into her comfortable pose.  Eventually, his pencil stopped moving, and he lowered the book in his hand.

"Done?" she asked him softly.

"Done," he affirmed.

"Then please, come back to bed," Rose whispered. 

John placed the book down on his chair, and in his rush to return to the bed, Rose distantly noted that the loose page had fallen to the floor.  But John’s lips were soon exploring her body again, and the moment was forgotten for the night as they made love for the second time as a married couple.  

The next morning when Rose awoke, she carefully rolled out of bed and made her way to where the errant drawing had fallen the night before.  She retrieved it from its resting place, and gasped, as she flipped it over and looked at her husband's work of art.  Her eyes flickered from the drawing, back to the man asleep in the bed, and tears filled her eyes as she marveled at how he could possibly see her as beautiful as the drawing showed. Rose knew the art needed to be preserved, so she carefully made her way out to the living room to place the drawing safely on her husband's desk. 

Like on her previous visits to his flat, the desk was a mess of papers and books, and once again she was distracted by his errant scribbles visible when she approached.  A shape that clearly resembled a Judoon caught her eye, and another that looked suspiciously like an Auton, a faceless man.  Rose's breath hitched in her throat at the memory of her lost Doctor, but she forced it away.  The Doctor was gone, and no matter how many memories appeared in her husband's dreams, they didn't change the fact that he was never coming back.  This was her life now.  A shop girl, happily married to a teacher, living together in their simple flat in London...during World War One.