After chatting with the blue plumber lady, Rose had almost managed to ease her heart. She then trailed back to the TARDIS, or tried to anyway; when she reached the deck they had arrived in, a group of little people dressed in black were dragging it away through the corridor. She tried asking where they were taking it, but they spoke in such squeaky pitch she couldn't understand much other than something about 'parking'.
So she sat on the steps of the now empty deck, all alone with the empty planet below, the sun that was about to swallow it out of existence, and her thoughts… Rose wasn't sure which one was worse. But it helped a bit, somehow. To stay quiet and on her own for a while, just organizing the chaos bubbling inside. It was also when she realized just how tired she was, and with reason now that she thought of it; what time would it be now, back home? She pulled out her phone from her pocket. Almost 11 pm, that explains it. Especially considering all the running and emotional rollercoasters the last few hours had been.
The door behind her slid open. She looked over her shoulder, tense at first to have been followed by one of the guests, but relaxed once the Doctor came into view, hopping to sit in the step beside the one she was in. She gave him a stiff smile, glad for the familiar company - but not yet sure she was ready to face him.
Truth be told, Rose was ashamed of herself. For just running off with someone she had just met on a whim, again. For needing to run away from the party room, after having been the one to edge the Doctor onto impressing her in the first place. For feeling like a coward now after how resolute and certain she had been about flying off just a few minutes ago.
After that whole mess with the Nestene, she had thought nothing else could possibly frighten her. Pfft. Some adventurer you are, Rose Tyler… She sneered at herself. Despite knowing part of that vulnerable reaction was likely because of exhaustion and Jimmy Stone flashbacks.
She looked away as the Doctor clicked the door shut, trying to quickly breathe deep and school her features. Even though Rose knew he’d noticed it, considering the gentle and careful look she could feel him throwing her. And, as thankful as Rose was for the familiar company and lack of mockery, Rose wasn’t sure she was ready to admit to him she’d just had a breakdown.
“So what’d ya think, then?” The Doctor chirped, blue eyes glimmering like a childs.
Rose chuckled nervously, shifting her weight before nodding.
“It’s great! Yeah,” she tried her best to beam him a smile, “Once you get past the ‘slightly psychic' paper...”
The Doctor chuckled, leaning forward and looking out the window. If he noticed her effort, he was being kind enough not to point it out, which she appreciated. They both looked at the planet, glowing orange thanks to the expanding sun rays that were slowly approaching, closing in with each small movement like waves crashing against a beach.
“They’re so… Alien,” the words tumbled out of her suddenly, and the Doctor gave her a surprised frown. "The aliens, I mean. They're so--"
With a heavy sigh, Rose stopped herself and rubbed her face, reminding herself that not only the Doctor but the Plumber she had just spoken to were both also alien. She should be more considerate.
"Sorry, I… I'm sorry. I suppose that’s racist.” she grimaced apologetically.
“A bit, yeah." he said bluntly, eyeing her up and down. " You're the alien in their point of view, you know. For me, too.”
Rose winced when the Doctor's disappointment melted down his smile. There it was… The shame. The angry, embarrassed shame that almost got away from her and exploded at him for pointing it out so flatly. But Rose held it back, biting her tongue. She was no longer on Earth, after all… And as much as it felt obvious for Rose that he should cut her some slack after the day she had gone through, this was his reality. His world, she was the visitor. Rose owed him that respect, since she demanded that of him a few hours back when she had been mistakenly mourning Mickey, and the Doctor disregarded her feelings coldly.
“Good thing I didn’t take you to the deep South...” He mumbled with a humorless laugh.
Rose frowned, indignant. Sure, she was not nailing this, but how was he so used to this kind of pace? Did he need to rub it in like that?
They remained silent for a long moment, before Rose sighed and decided she was too tired to argue about his arrogance.
“They all speak english.” she commented questioningly instead, curious.
The Doctor brightened up a bit.
“Oh, no. you’re only hearing english,” he explained giddily, “It’s the TARDIS translation matrix. Telepathic field, get inside your brain and translate.”
Rose’s eyes widened, pointing at her own forehead. “It’s… inside my brain?”
The Doctor nodded, though feeling her fearful tone his enthusiasm sunk a notch.
“Well, in a good way.” he retorted, gently.
Rose fought the urge to give him an earful, considering the worried puppy eyes he had fixed on her. He seemed careful, as if judging her reaction… but also worried. And, having already disappointed him once, she didn't want to risk him reconsidering the travel offer - especially while still light years away from home. As invasive as it seemed, the Doctor had given her no reason to doubt him so far… And, if the machine was able to do anything else, he’d likely have already done something bad to her if he wanted. Right?
“Ok...” she forced herself to nod, looking away.
Not her reality, she reminded herself once more, not her rules. She had to accept it. While standing billions of years in the future was not a good moment to let her inner Jackie out and argue with the designated driver.
“It doesn’t do any harm, promise. It's in my head, too.” The Doctor chirped after her silence spread too long, and Rose peered hesitantly at him before sighing; the worry in his eyes did seem genuine. She nodded, smiling slightly before looking out again.
“Okay,” she nodded, relaxing a bit. “Well. Uh… Just a note? In the human view of things, anything that gets into your head is a bit invasive if, you know, you don’t ask first.”
The Doctor’s eyes widened.
“If I’m not being brainwashed or having my thoughts read, I’m good though.” She quickly added, panicking a bit. “It… can’t do that, can it?”
“Oh, no no. Not at all, just translation.” he clarified, raising his hands in surrender before leaning back again. “I'd not have taken you here if it had been reading your thoughts. And it’s her that does it, the TARDIS, not me. If that helps. Like I said, she does that for me too. Just standard procedure.”
Rose smiled a bit.
“It does, yeah.” she nodded, shyly, but then a thought stroke. “Hold on, does that mean you can though? To read thoughts and such? you a telepath?”
The Doctor shifted in place, looking away before shrugging and looking at her.
“Well, I can but I don’t make a habit of it, not that good at it to be honest even if I wanted to,” he quickly added, and seemed honest. “Plus, it’s not just humans who have a ‘keep out of my head’ policy as etiquette, y’know. So don't worry, I know nothing that’s going on in there and I don’t plan on peekin’. I’d have to make physical contact with your head to do it, too, and you’d notice if I poked in even without that, so... ”
Rose kept looking at him, unsure of how to take that news for a bit, but… Somehow, she concluded she did believe him. He seemed awkward enough with saying so, which to someone who liked to put up so much in front of a badass know-it-all like that, Rose supposedly made the topic already visited before.
“I trust you.” she said, finally relaxing. He smiled at that, easing down too. “Thanks.”
The Doctor shrugged a ‘no problem’ gesture and they both looked down into the planet below them. They stayed like that for a bit, just silently observing the flaring planet, before their eyes met by accident - both peeking at each other. The Doctor seemed worried, almost judgingly so… Rose chuckled nervously, sighing and rubbing her face before deciding to just be honest.
"Sorry," she began, looking away awkwardly. "Thought I’d be fine with anything, after that Nestene business...”
"S'all right, happens to the best of us," The Doctor cooed after a bit, his tone patient and kind to her surprise. Almost… Relieved? “For a 2005 human your age, you’re doing surprisingly well actually.”
Rose arched an eyebrow at him, hesitantly. But he simply smiled at her with a calm expression, almost relieved even; despite how the way he used the word ‘human’ made her think otherwise. With a sigh of relief and a thankful small smile of her own, Rose looked back at the planet below them again. And then it hit her. It felt stupid to admit it, but…. in the rush of those last few hours she had kind of forgotten she was traveling with an Alien. An actual, fully fledged alien.
The afternoon she spent at Clive's place came to mind once more, all the files she had seen in his shed and his enthusiastic theories and explanations. Inspired, Rose turned to him with renewed purpose… but then halted. As she sorted through the questions she wanted to ask him, their little half fought in the banks if the Tamse also came back. Alongside the dark, sad expression the Doctor had when mentioning of the war, and his anguished pleas to the Nestene Consciousness. Like it was a raw wound, spewing out in the heat of that moment… Whatever had happened, it was sensitive. And the Doctor clearly didn't seem the type of guy to do heart to heart, especially about himself. Whatever she wanted to ask him, she'd have to do it carefully.
“Uhm. Would you mind if I ask you about a few things? About you, I mean?” she began after a bit, feeling suddenly a bit shy. “I’m, uh, I’m not sure how rude it might be though...”
The Doctor seemed uncomfortable, but nodded, turning towards her. “Ask away.”
“How,” Rose started but then thought better and reworded it. ”I mean, why do those… people look so different, and yet you look just like me? Is it some sort of disguise, like the TARDIS? Or is your kind somewhat related to humans?”
“Nah, my lot is far older than humans. If anything, you all are like us , actually." He chucked, though his eyes looked sad now. Haunted, as he peered down at the sun outside for a long moment. "Kinda like monkeys in relation to humans, though I didn't even come from this galaxy."
"Right," Rose sighed, ignoring the fact he just called her a monkey. “What are you called then, your... Species?”
The Doctor’s smile dropped further, like she had just punched him.
“Does it matter?” he mumbled coldly, looking away again.
“It does to me,” Rose retorted, though not unkindly - Rose knew she had hit a nail.
He arched an eyebrow.
“Coz on a whim I came here with you, yeah, but I’m not a kid. I feel safer if I knew the friends I am traveling with,” Rose shrugged, frowning at his arrogant stare at her. “We saved London together, sure, but I still know near nothing about you.”
The Doctor rolled his eyes.
“What does it matter to know my species though? It’s not like you’d understand or know anything about it if i told you a name,” he spattered, scoffing each word, then slapping his chest. “This is who I am, what you see in front of you. Isn’t that enough?”
Rose frowned, losing the previous control she managed to hold so far.
“You just agreed to answer questions!” She laughed acidly.
The Doctor just huffed and got up, striding closer to the observation deck’s glass so he’d have his back to her. She thought back on the way he stared at the stars when they talked about some sort of war, sitting on the bench by the Tamse. She could tell it was a sore topic, but this put a dark idea in her mind as to how much. Rose sighed, wondering if she should drop it.
“The Nestene… I heard they call you Time Lord.” she mumbled soon after, speaking the words carefully. No use running from it now. “Is that what you are?”
The Doctor took a long moment before he looked back at her, his eyes ice cold - but not in anger, not really. Just… Hurt, and it didn’t seem to be particularly at her either. Rose waited, meeting his eyes with patient kindness. Then a long moment later he sighed and nodded, looking away to the planet again.
Rose nodded and looked away as well, giving him a moment.
“I am traveling with a 'Lord', huh… Well, now I know where your ego comes from,” she chuckled, arching him an eyebrow. To her relief, Rose heard the Doctor snort a weak smile. She decided to shift the topic. "But, in what way are you different from me, then? I mean, humans to ‘Time Lords’? You do look the same."
"Lots of ways," the Doctor shrugged, still seeming stiff and pale, but finally turning back to look at her. “Two hearts instead of one, our senses are sharper than humans… We can feel time, hence the name, our lifespan is a lot longer… the list goes on."
Rose’s eyes widened as he spoke, baffled.
“Two hearts? Really?”
The Doctor approached and took her hand, then slowly he put her palm against the left side of his chest. Rose could feel the slight beat of his heart, as expected… but then the doctor slid her hand to the right side of his chest, and there it was again! A heartbeat, clear as the one on the left.
“Oh, wow,” Rose gaped through disbelieving chuckles, baffled as she looked up at him with wide eyes. The Doctor had a huge presumptuous grin on his face, eyebrows raised in a clear ‘told you so’ note as he let go and sat back down where he was before.
“How long do you live for, then?” Rose asked, though she frowned and quickly added as the thought sprung to her, “Wait, no. Before that. How old are you?”
“900 years,” he complied. “No clue how long I can go for though.”
“Nope,” The Doctor shook his head, no sign of mockery in his expression. “That’s my age. And each regeneration barely ages, mostly - so it’s hard to really tell how far we can overall end up hanging around.”
Rose physically gawked, staring at him.
“You’re 900 years old?” she blinked. The Doctor nodded, observing her clinically. Almost worriedly. But Rose, on her end, could only laugh. “Blimey. That is-- one HELL of an age gap.”
She chuckled, and once again he relaxed, even snorting a laugh too. That made her smile - she prefered him that way. Not scared of speaking about things, not wary or secretive, all about his bravado. She felt at ease to see him laughing, retorting back at her antics.
Other memories came back to her, about the files Clive had shown her back in the shed - and his theory about the Doctor having many different faces. God, if he could see this now… Rose felt a pang of guilt, remembering how pitiful she had thought he was then. And she supposed that was what she was doing now, too… Frowning on things she couldn’t promptly understand or believe.
Rose vowed right there and then, as she looked at the Doctor and the dying planet below them, to be better. Better than that close-minded self she still was, better than all those people who laughed and judged Clive Finch for his courage to believe in what everyone else found ridiculous. It wasn’t fair, even if she could understand it.
“So, I-- Before we met in the pizzaria, I talked to this bloke named Clive. I was trying to find out more about you, and he had all this research done about you.” She started, and the Doctor frowned at the word ‘research’ curiously.
“Research? On me?” The Doctor repeated, tense. “What kind of research?”
“Nothing much, really. Just loads of, like, pictures and drawings of you. Different times and places, he didn’t even get what the TARDIS was. He thought it was a portable fridge.” She chuckled, and the Doctor frowned indignantly before snorting and relaxing a bit. ”Was kind of his obsession, ‘coz his dad died in some odd situation somewhere the TARDIS had appeared.”
“Oh. Who was him?” The Doctor asked. “His dad.”
Rose tried to search hard in his mind for a name, but she couldn’t find any. Had he mentioned it? She felt guilty, but sighed and shrugged.
“Dunno… Some sort of cop,” she said, “He said he was killed by an alien war machine, back in the early 60’s.”
“War machine…” The Doctor frowned, looking at nothing thoughtfully.
“D’you remember him?”
“No, sorry.” he shook his head, apologetic. “Lived a long life, a lot has happened.”
Rose nodded, sympathetic to the feeling.
“Back then I reckon he was mad, just some sad conspiracy theory nutter…” she admitted, fiddling with the zipper of her jumper before she could gather her thoughts back to the why she had mentioned him in the first place. “He had all these folders, full of pictures of a dozen different men. And he thought that either 'The Doctor' was a title passed on through family, or that they were all actually you. Was he right then? Can you, like, shape shift or...?”
“Not exactly,” the Doctor finally said, cocking his head to the side. “It’s, uh, well it’s complicated."
"Tell me," Rose turned further around to face him, pushing her leg under her.
“Why does it matter?” he shifted, frowning uncomfortably. “Again. It’s not like you’d understand.”
“Well, again , It matters to me. Blimey, for someone who wants to have questions asked you sure suck at giving answers… If I might not even understand it then what’s the bloody harm in telling me it's gonna be?!” Rose spat a little more impatiently this time, rolling her eyes. “Plus, if I wanna be better I gotta start learning somewhere, don't I?”
That seemed to push back the Doctor’s tense defensiveness a bit. For a long moment, all they did was stare back at each other, until finally he sighed.
“It’s nothing you should worry about unless you got murder on your agenda," The Doctor sighed, still seeming uncomfortable. Rose felt a cold lump of disappointment swell in her throat, but then the Doctor cleared his throat and continued.
“It’s a thing our bodies do when we die, when we get too old or injured. Our cells regenerate, change entirely from brain and organs to skin and looks, into new ones." He explained slowly, still seeming to be trying to find the right words. "It’s… Sort of like being reborn, in a way. We still die, but the main part of us - our memories, sense of self, name - lives on with a different face, personality, voice...”
Rose frowned as she tried to wrap her mind around the concept, unsure of how the contradicting change but staying the same part could correlate. The Doctor seemed to see her struggle, but waited a bit before sighing and looking away.
“Told you you wouldn’t get it.” he sighed, disappointed.
“But… Isn’t your personality basically who you are?” Rose interjected before he could change the topic, leaning forward. “How then can your sense of self be the same?”
Something in the Doctor’s eyes sparked her question, and he looked back at her carefully.
“Not exactly, personality is like… Like an accent. Just the way who you are comes through to the outside world,” he began a bit thoughtfully, sitting straighter again. His voice was back into the scientific, textbook teacher mode. “Think about it this way, if you look back at yourself five, ten years ago, you acted and thought differently than you do now, didn’t you?”
Rose nodded, listening carefully. “Well, yeah.”
“But you were still you, weren't you? Still Rose Tyler?”
“Regeneration is the same - just on a bigger, depper scale. Even though everything changes, our memories, thoughts, and feelings about things, which makes us who we are, remain the same. Well, for the important things, anyway.” The Doctor said, frowning at the last bit as if a sour memory had come back to the thought. “I mean, fashion sense, food taste, hobbies... those all come and go, but my hopes and dreams, my principles and memories - all that ultimately makes me me are still the same every time.”
Rose remained quiet for a while, looking at him as the words sank in. The Doctor waited, before raising an eyebrow. “You alright?”
“Yeah,” she nodded quickly, still lost in thought.
“Got it this time?”
“I… I think so,” Rose nodded after a little moment trying to confirm it with herself. Yeah. Though confusing, it did make some sense. “But, then… If that’s the case, you're basically immortal."
“Nah. I can’t do it forever, I only got about 12 shots. 13 versions of me, then I just die.” he said. Rose felt a little proud to notice he seemed ever so slightly impressed, not talking as carefully or condescendingly slow as before. “I did one recently actually, right before we met.”
Rose gaped for a second, remembering then the moment she had dragged him into the flat - the odd way he had been checking himself in the mirror while she tried to talk him into talking to the police. So that's what he was on about then! Had he really never seen what he looked like before then? That, uh, version of him at least. The concept made Rose chuckle to the memory, awestruck.
“What were you like before?” Rose asked, curious.
But immediately, the Doctor’s expression darkened and he tensed.
“... Different.” It was all he said, his voice cold and heavy as he looked away from her.
Rose frowned, caught off guard at the sudden change, but despite her waiting for him to say more, all the Doctor did was clear his throat uncomfortably and continue to stare down at the planet and the sun in silence.
Still determined to keep the conversation going, despite feeling he wasn’t as willing to go through with it anymore, Rose decided to try and change how she approached the question.
“How many times have you done it?”
“About nine,” He spat with an exasperated sigh. “Look, are you done with your biology lesson?”
“Sorry, geez...” Rose scoffed, a bit hurt.
They remained silent for a bit, before the Doctor sighed.
“Sorry,” he huffed, quietly. “It’s not-- I haven’t done this in a long time.”
Rose looked at him, thoughtful, then nodded gently.
“S’alright.” She mumbled.
How long had he been alone, she wondered… Now looking at him properly, the Doctor reminded her of old man Withers, back in the state; he lived a few doors away from them, a grumpy and lonely retired World War soldier. He was kind enough despite his quietness, always walking around the State at night whenever there was noise outside out of the usual, like a self-employed night watch. He had saved single moms and teens from muggers and creeps many times while doing that, and ever since all the neighbours had got upon themselves the habit of keeping him company or checking up on him once they realized he had no family ever visiting.
He was stoic and had a cold sort of stare usually, but was an adorable awkward mess of shyness and relief whenever any of them attempted conversation. Though, sometimes, things like that happened - someone would mention something, or ask him about this or that… and his whole face would shut back, like a wounded animal growling. It wasn’t easy for him, to talk, to open up. Rose wondered what kind of position the Doctor had had in this war he mentioned, what kind of horrors he had seen or maybe been part of, to make him this sensitive about himself…
She recalled what he had said before, ‘I had a bad day - the worst day. I lost everything. I lost everyone. I lost MYSELF.’, then his screaming pleads to the furious Consciousness, ‘I couldn’t save your world, I couldn’t save mine! I couldn’t save any of them!’.
More silence, then he smiled a bit tightly.
“Go on then,” he sighed, turning to her again. “What else do you wanna know?”
The Doctor was clearly uncomfortable, but Rose noticed yet again that contradiction - he didn’t wanna answer, but he knew she needed to ground herself a bit, needed to trust him somehow. So he was willing to do so, this once. The kindness once more breaks through his tough facade.
He nodded, breathing in then sighing. Rose thought for a bit, before beginning again hesitantly.
“So… Well,” she cleared her throat. “Does that mean you really were all of those men? The people Clive showed me.”
“That was something I wanted to ask more about, actually,” The Doctor had a curious frown in his face now, leaning forward to the name. “What kind of pictures did this Clive have?”
“Like I said, it was all pictures and drawings, separated in folders by face. There were about 16 folders or more though, I think.” She began carefully, seeing the Doctor frown at the number, “He had a theory about the order they appeared in, too. Insisted on showing me them all before telling me more about you.”
Rose thought hard, searching her memory for all the faces and numbers Clive had theorized and showed her in that afternoon - that felt so damn long ago now, even though technically it happened just a couple hours ago.
“First there was this old man, really old, all white hair, short, dressed in a frock coat.”
The Doctor’s expression mellowed into a soft one of surprise and reminiscence, and admittedly some amazement. He frowned for a second, but thought better of it and nodded, urging her to continue. Rose Chuckled, gaping and pausing for a moment.
“That really was you?” she arched an eyebrow.
“Mhm, first one. Kept postponing regeneration until the body couldn’t cope anymore, hence the age. Although… To be honest, the scrooge looked kinda suited to me back then. I was so arrogant and grumpy...” He frowned embarrassedly, scratching his neck.
“You, arrogant?” Rose laughed, raising an eyebrow.
“Oi!” he nudged her playfully with his foot with a wounded pout.
They both chuckled, before catching their breaths and moved on.
"So you also do age as well?"
The Doctor nodded.
"Of course, all living beings do." He explained with a shrug, but then tilted his head. "Mind you, it's a lot slower than humans though. I was what… more or less 450 when I got like that?"
Rose's eyes widened.
“Anyway. The next one was also old and kinda short, but more like, I don't know, an old uncle? Funny looking. Bowl cut, checkered trousers and suspenders...” Rose trailed off, and the Doctor nodded once more. “Then a tall one, white hair, all curls and buffon sleeves. I…. Don’t remember the other one, but I think it was not white hair and a really big scarf?”
The Doctor frowned, with a mix of respectful amazement and wariness.
“Huh, this Clive did his homework...” he mumbled, before nodding again. “Right so far, order and faces.”
“You were really all of them?” Rose chuckled, amazed.
The Doctor nodded, half worried - half confused.
“You keep getting younger, why is that?” Rose wondered, curious. “Is it like a rule, or that’s just you?”
The Doctor shrugged, nonplussed.
“No clue. Some Time Lords were always the same age, through all their regenerations, others varied often.” he said, vaguely. “In my case, I guess back in my teens I was more interested in looking respectful and being important, but now I kinda just want to have fun.”
Rose nodded, staring at him for a moment. It did make sense… And now, looking at him with all that new information in mind, she could kinda see it. The age and the youth, colliding in his eyes and expression. A rebel with an old soul, soldier but also Doctor… It did explain a lot about his comings and goings. It was fascinating how it made sense, even though it was such a ridiculous concept.
“You’re staring,” the Doctor commented, snapping Rose out of her thoughts.
“Sorry,” she mumbled quickle, shifting her eyes with a small smile before clearing her throat. “If you can change like that, can’t you just-- I dunno, pick the same face every time?”
The Doctor shook his head, and for Rose’s relief, he didn’t seem that uncomfortable or troubled this time around about answering her.
“I wish. Can’t control it, you get what you get.” he shrugged, “Hair, height, quirks, age, gender… It’s a lottery. Some had theories that some things came from needs or deep wishes rooted in our subconscious when death happens, like for example, what I just said - wanted to be respectable, got old, stopped caring for that, got younger… But that’s as far as ‘choosing’ goes. It still doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll like or want it, and it's mostly just speculation too.”
Rose’s eyes widened, the image of a woman with the Doctor’s buzz cut and tough soldier personality flashing through her mind. But then, at the mention, Clive’s files once more came into her mind, and she could vaguely remember a picture of a blond, short haired woman amidst them.
“Actually, there were some women there. On the list.” Rose chirped, thinking back hard. “A blond short woman, and a black tough looking one. They were on the bottom of the list.”
“Really?” The Doctor gaped. “I haven’t been a woman. Well, not yet at least.”
“Yet?” Rose raised an eyebrow.
The Doctor shrugged.
“He might just have gotten it wrong, sure, or just seen what’s ahead of me,” he explained. “That’s a thing with Time Travel; if you look back at history in the right order, people find out yours in the wrong one. Can be either your future or your past. It gets tricky sometimes.”
Rose gawked, nodding as she took the words in. Both options did make sense, in their own way. Clive had really been just an average guy doing deep dive internet research. There was bound to be stuff about the Doctor he might have gotten wrong. Though Rose had been relying on it so much this far, it caught her off guard to realize it.
“Anyway,” she shook her head, leaving the notion aside before she confused herself too much thinking of it. “The next one was a young guy. Blond, about 30, cricketer suit… Quite handsome.”
The Doctor chuckled when she raised her eyebrows playfully to the last bit, both looking away as they laughed before he cocked his head to the side with a ‘what can I do?’ smug shrug. So, also him. Rose felt oddly happy to know for some reason.
“...Then the rainbow kinda possessed you, and it was all curls and patchwork clothes.” Rose chuckled, and it became a laugh when the Doctor visibly cringed with embarrassment. “Seriously, how did that even--”
“We all have our moments,” he sighed, uncomfortably. “THAT was not my best one. In many ways.”
“You actually went around dressed like that?”
“I was hanging around a lot in the 80’s back then,” he groaned defensively, though his tone clearly agreed with her disbelief. “There is plenty you can get away with in that era, pretty much in any galaxy.”
“I’ll take your word for it,” Rose snorted, unconvinced. “Anyhow, the next one was a short man with an umbrella I think, not sure… Then there was another younger bloke, brown hair, Victorian clothes. Then you.”
The Doctor nodded, but he was frowning again.
“On the spot,” he sighed, like the words hurt him to admit. “But he had other files? On the sequence?”
“Around four or five others I think,” she tried to remember, cursing herself for not paying them enough attention at the time. “The next one was… I don’t remember much, but Clive said something about two suits, then a bloke in his 20s dressed in a tweed coat and bow-tie, an angry-looking old man and then a woman. Blonde, short, in an overcoat and suspenders.”
The Doctor remained silent for a long moment, deep in thought.
“Were they you as well?”
“I don’t know.” he eventually said, shrugging.“Again - I haven’t been yet, but I could be. Time will tell.”
Rose felt lost with the absurdity of the thought for a moment, equally amazed and confused about all she had just heard… But definitely feeling a lot calmer as well.
Before she could say anything though, above them the speakers burst to life.
EARTH DEATH IN 15 MINUTES. EARTH DEATH IN 15 MINUTES
Rose felt a chill down her spine. And, as if to further make a point about her planet’s impending doom, the walls and floor shook under them. Like an earthquake, or a plane going through turbulence. She didn’t think much of it, until seeing in the corner of her eye the Doctor frowning oddly.
“That’s not supposed to happen,” he muttered, more to himself than her with a growing, suspicious grin.
Then he shot up and ran out, Rose panickedly following close behind.