There was a curl of annoyance in her lip and a growl in her voice as Rose Tyler shoved wiry branches out of her way on an overgrown pathway in the forest. Either side of her, two wolves padded with silence, although on occasion there would be a shared gruff and huff between them. They were on patrol, she knew it; both acting on the orders of her husband to make sure she was safe. No matter where she was, in the orchard, in the kitchen, at market, in bed … they knew their duty, and they never wavered off that task – because her husband demanded it.
Her husband that was supposed to be travelling with them today. Her husband who had arranged for them all to go out together today. Her husband who got a call from the hospital and then abruptly cancelled their plans for the day. Emergency case from the Capitol…
She understood. She really did. But that didn’t mean that she had to be happy about it.
She felt a bump and kick underneath her ribs and stopped to circle her hands over her swollen belly, heavy with the child of the man she was currently cursing. She let out a moan of discomfort, and was immediately accosted by the female wolf, huffing and nosing at her bump to ensure all was okay. She petted the wolf’s head with thanks.
“The little one’s okay,” she assured her. “Just has restless feet like his dad. He’s running a marathon in there.”
The wolf nosed again to be sure, and finally satisfied, she turned back to resume her walk at Rose’s side.
This past couple of months had been without a doubt: very lonely. A staff shortage at the hospital, and a gastric epidemic from the Cerulean Chapterhouses had kept the Doctor and all of his staff extremely busy. On the rare occasion he did make it home, he almost immediately collapsed in bed and didn’t wake until it was time to leave again.
The epidemic had been winding down, and the Doctor had promised her that he’d be able to take a week with her and maybe take a trip to Southern Gallifrey for a last vacation before their child arrived. Alas, it wasn’t to be. They only hade it a half hour into his first day off before his phone started ringing and he had to transport away.
She sighed heavily. She’d seen more of Romana and of Braxietel than she had the Doctor, and while the pair of them were very fascinating company, they weren’t her husband. There was no way at all she’d be able to talk either of them into a foot or back rub like she could him – if he was awake long enough of course.
Tired of being housebound and alone, she decided to take a walk on her own. He’d promised her a picnic at Crystal Cascades, and so she was going to make sure she got there, and then, when he got home, she would regale him of her trip with the kids, and let him get all mad that she didn’t have either Romana or Brax accompany her….
…such was his protectiveness since they’d conceived seven months ago. Overprotective micromanaging of her entire life now more like it.
She was definitely frustrated. She was also sore and uncomfortable… and she was definitely very lonely.
She could hear the rushing waters of the cascades off in the distance, and immediately she imagined stepping into the water, sitting in the pool, and taking the pressure off for a while. Oh what kind of heaven would that be?
Her desire for such comfort moved toward a desperate want within seconds. She quickly increased her pace to get there as quickly as possible. At her side, her wolves also quickened their pace, walking much closer against her as though to urge her to slow down and take it easy.
“Oh come on, you two,” she muttered with a sigh of annoyance. “We’re on a safe path. We’ve been down here plenty of times before. What kind of trouble do you think we can possibly get in to?”
The universe answered that question for her. There was a loud, thunderous sound that she could only describe as rubber tearing hard against rubber. There was a loud hiss of escaping air, and then a wave of heat so powerful that it took her breath from her chest and burned at her light cotton dress.
Her instinct was to wrap her arms around her belly and protect her unborn child. The instinct of her wolves was to brace a protective stand ahead of her and snarl a dangerous warning growl to whatever it was that was threatening the safety of their mistress. Their growls were so threatening and intimidating, that even she was finding her slightly fearful of their wrath.
“Settle,” she asked them quietly.
The weren’t about to settle, and their attention was sharp, as a badly damaged airship howled loudly above their heads, its engines spluttering and flaming in a desperate attempt to remain in flight.
Rose and the wolves stumbled to remain standing in the strong wake of the failing engines, and as the engines finally gave up the craft fell to ground with an almighty thunderous howl that send out a massive shockwave that sent all three of them tumbling off their feet. Rose fell to an awkward knee and pressed her hand into a tree trunk to try and get back up to standing. There was a secondary shockwave as an engine exploded, its shockwave splintering the tree at the base and collapsing the hillside below it.
She yelled out loud as the moving rocks and soil took her along with it. She fell to one side, curled into a ball around her child and hoped to all that both of them would survive this tumble intact. The female wolf was caught in the slide at her side, but her mate was free and unharmed. He leapt nimbly left and then right, howling and barking out his own language of concern for them both.
The Doctor’s name was in her mind as she fell. She called to him. Pleaded for him to catch her, but that help didn’t come. The slip finally ended with a crash up against a rounded metal hull, and Rose followed quickly behind, her head colliding hard with the metal, he skin splitting against the pressure.
And then all went silent.
She didn’t pass out. She knew that for sure. The silence was merely the ending of disaster, and all that was left now were the occasional tinkle of random stones, and the crackle of angry flames.
Rose pressed both hands into the metal, hot to the touch, but not quite searing in intensity, and pushed herself backward. She was dizzy, and her eyes unfocused, and it took her all not to turn and retch out painfully.
“Kids,” she whimpered quietly. “Kids, are you okay?” She blinked in a struggle for focus and looked around for the bright blue-white fur of her beloved wolves. There was snuffling and a pained whimper from one, and the worried huffs from the other. She thrust out her hand to clutch at thick fur and scratched behind his ears. “You’re okay. Thank God you’re okay.”
A wet nose pressed up against her belly and was rewarded with a swift kick from the child within. Rose smiled gratefully and rubbed at her belly. “And you too, little one.”
She lifted her head high, still very unfocused, and tried to survey just where they were and what the hell had happened. Well. What happened was obvious enough: A ship had crashed.
But which ship, and just how many people would be injured.
“We have to help,” she sang out worriedly to the wolves. “People could be hurt.”
She petted her pockets in search of her phone. “I’ll call the Doctor. Maybe he can send out a team.” The petting of her pockets was paused as she lifted her hands to hold at her head. Oh, but it was swimming.
Blindly patting the air at her side for a wolf’s head to give her grounding, she was alarmed to hear the both of them ahead of begin to growl and snarl in that dangerous, threatening manner that scared even her.
“What is it?” she asked them worriedly, not surprised to feel one of them back up to push her backward with his rump. “What’s wrong girl?”
There was a familiar whirring. A whoosh. A pair of sounds that scared her more than any snarl and growl from one of the wolfs could emit.
“Oh no,” she breathed out worriedly. “Please. Please not now.”
A familiar, emotionless, gravelled robotic voice sounded out loadly from ahead. “Halt! You have entered the new territory of the Daleks. Identify yourself.”