country_who: (The Doctor and the Library)
Title: The Broken Link
Author: [livejournal.com profile] country_who
Characters/Pairings: 10.5/Rose, The Doctor (11), OC's, The TARDIS
Genre: H/C, Romance
Rating: PG
Word Count (this chapter): ~3700
Summary: How long was the Doctor really gone when he returned for Amy? Because, Rule one is "the Doctor lies?" The Human Doctor has been living a happy life in the parallel world with Rose for nine years and their two kids. But, something the the Time Lord Doctor does back in his universe is threatening to end all that. How are Rose and the human Doctor going to cope?
Author's Note: Sorry it's been so terribly long since I've updated, real life seems to be getting a habit of getting in the way of writing, but one more chapter to go, so yay!

Catch Up Here:

Chapter 1Chapter 2Chapter 3Chapter 4Chapter 5Chapter 6Chapter 7| Chapter 8




John sat with his legs crossed, feet propped on the console, and his head lolling backwards. His eyes stared blankly into place when the sound of footsteps entered the TARDIS. Tilting his head farther back, he caught sight of a sad-looking Jack walking on the ceiling.

Turning himself the right-way around, John offered him a small grin, but Jack ignored him and continued walking. His hands were shoved deeply into the pockets of his pajamas, a habit that he must have gotten from his father, John recalled. He circled the console and began to walk in the direction he had come, but John stopped him with a firm grip on his shoulder.

“Hold up there, Jack,” John said, grabbing his shoulder. “What are you doing, walking around my ship in the middle of the night?”

The three-year-old shrugged his shoulders and tried to be on his way, but John kept holding him back. This incited a glare from Jack, but he didn’t say anything.

John picked up Jack easily and set him down in one of the console room chairs. Kneeling in front of him, John saw the pain being carefully hidden beneath Jack’s glare. The Doctor has told him that Jack liked to hide himself at school, but he didn’t expect for him to be hiding within the TARDIS. There was nothing to hide from him. He knew the pain of loss, but not this young. John had assumed it would have been easier, but looking into Jack’s eyes right here, right now, there was no chance of that. If anything, Jack was hurting over the loss of his father more than he had mourned Gallifrey.

He remembered the saying, ‘the death of one is a tragedy, but the death of one million is a statistic.’ There was no way to fathom the death of an entire planet, even for John. He didn’t think about the millions of lives he slaughtered when he thought about home. He thought about the few people left on that planet that still loved him, after everything. It was their loss that made John grieve.

The Doctor had died, and that was Jack’s world—his Gallifrey.

“C’mon, Jack,” John coaxed, rubbing his arm slightly. “We’re mates, remember, the syrup?”

A grin spread its way across John’s lip and covered sorrow, while he smoothed back Jack’s sleep mangled hair.

“That was before,” Jack said harshly. “Friends don’t break promises.”

John shrank under the child’s caustic words, but tried not to show it outwardly. “Don’t be like, Jack.” John said, taking on an edge to his voice. “You know I did everything I could, but there are some things I just can’t do. I’m still getting used to this body, and you know what?” John’s voice softened again, when he placed his hand on the boy’s knee. “That’s fine, the world moves on. I’m proof of that.”

“I want my dad,” Jack whispered, staring at John with a mixture of challenge and pain.

John nodded, his hair flopping down to cover his eye brows slightly.

“I know you do,” John murmured, and then paused for a moment. He hadn’t done this in such a long time. Daleks and Cybermen are so much easier than little boys. “I don’t want to replace him, you know that, right?”

A shrug came over Jack’s tiny shoulder’s as he pushed his glasses up his nose. They threatened to come teetering off his nose at any moment. John wondered if it was a sign that Jack’s defenses were falling.

“Let me be your friend?” John asked softly.

Jack nodded, and sat back in the chair, staring at his hands and watching where John had his grip. His hands looked soft, and new, not like his father’s. They were worn, slightly rough from Torchwood missions with scars dotted areas. Could they really have been the same person at one point?

Inwardly, Jack shook his head. He didn’t care about the stories that had been told to him since he was born. He didn’t care if everything in the world said they were the same because they weren’t.

At that moment, Ava walked into the console room, looking pale as she stepped over to John and Jack.

“Not you too?” John’s voice was no longer serious, it lilted, while he got to his feet and jumped vertically into the air. “Sleep’s important you know. Well, that’s what I’ve been told, I never sleep, well I say never, more like seldom.”

Ava offered him a soft smile as a form of reply, and glanced over her shoulder at Jack. He shifted a melodramatic glare in John’s direction to get his point across to Ava, but she raised her eyebrow up a fraction to tell him to cut it out.

John’s gentle gaze studied her closely, and suddenly there was no mirth in his voice. He reached out a hand, but she skirted away. She didn’t understand what was going on herself, but she didn’t want John to worry, or her mother. They had enough going on with the loss of her father and the upcoming birth of her brother.

Ava shrank away further, when John reached out his hand as if she were a frightened dog.

“Ava, come here,” he requested with a soft tone. This time she approached him cautiously. Her head was bowed as she stared down at the item clasped in her hands. The journal she had given her father was clutched tightly in her hands, like an anchor. Her knuckles were white where she gripped it fiercely.

John gently placed a hand on her forehead and stared intently at her flushed face. His hands were like ice beneath her face. Ava had known that Time Lord’s body temperature was lower than a human’s because her father had a slight difference, but this was ridiculous. She jerked her face away and stared at the man with spite. The stare vanished when he knelt down and caught her shoulders gently. The touch was too similar to her father’s for her to deny it.

“What’s wrong,” John asked, moving his hand up and down her upper arm in what was supposed to be a comforting motion.

Ava shook her head. “What isn’t?” She shot the question back at him.

John gave her a small grin. “So much more than you think,” John said letting his hand go to her hair as he lifted her into his arms. She gripped him around his neck and buried her face into him. She was so confused. She wanted his comfort, but she didn’t. His smell was wrong, his hair was wrong, his voice was wrong, but his touch was so right. It had all the comfort that she had grown up loving.

John jerked his head around and placed a hand on Jack’s shoulder. He stared at him with a stare that was unsure. The Time Lord offered a slight tilt of the head and began to walk off in the indicated direction. Jack followed dutifully out of the console behind John and Ava.

~//~

Rose awoke from a fitful sleep on the couch in the TARDIS sitting room. Her hand gently skimmed across her stomach and caressed the life growing beneath. Her heart clenched at the thought of the Doctor never being able to see their son. An even stronger pang of fear ran through her, as she thought about her husband not being there for her. He had held her hand all the way through Ava and Jack’s birth. She almost thought that he had been giving her strength directly through her grip.

“You’ll be fine.” A voice so familiar that it was mocking came into Rose’s ears, and she didn’t dare look up. She refused to be made a fool of through false hope. There was no hope, all hope did was hurt you in the end. She couldn’t handle this now, all she ever wanted was gone and her heart was broken, and now even her mind was working to bring her more agony than she could bear. He heart was racing with fear that she was losing her mind, and she tried to curl in on herself. However, a gentle hand on her shoulder, and another on her cheek caught her and drew her gaze in its direction.

His eyes were gentle, pools of brown that seemed to glow in the dim light of the ship. She reached out to touch his cheek, but she stopped short. Just a projection she thought to herself, just a dream.

The image of her husband saw her hesitation and took her hand in his and brought it up to his cheek. The stubble on this face, the slightly cooler temperature, the terrible skin, all pointed towards this image being real. A strangled noise that could have been a cough escaped Rose’s lips, while she moved her hands up from his cheek to reach easily through his hair. The stiffness of the product he kept in it was tangible, the softness that ran deeper was welcoming, but Rose still wasn’t sure. He couldn’t be here, she reminded herself, yet again. He was not—could not—be standing here. It was impossible.

She liked impossible.

Gently, Rose cupped her hand behind the man’s head and drew him in. She kissed him deeply, examining him, piece by piece, recognizing his taste. “Doctor,” she mumbled against him, while he returned her kiss.

With her one hand cupped behind his head, she raised the other to gently touch his chest. The single beat was strong beneath the pressure of her hand. It was free of the flutters and spasms that had gripped it when he lay dying in his bed. His breaths were strong, sure without a detectable rasp. Even his eyes seemed to be renewed; they glowed with strength and love directed at Rose.

“Always,” he murmured, even his voice was the same, the slight lilt was there. Even in the low light, she knew he was smiling. His dimples must be coming out now. The youthful feature betrayed years of wisdom and experience.

“How?” Rose muttered softly, but she stopped herself short of murmuring the full question. Thos was a miracle---one does not question a miracle. “No, don’t tell me. I don’t even want to know.” Her heart was racing even faster now, elation raced through her veins like blood. He was here, and he would never leave her or the kids. He promised this years ago.

The Doctor faked a sigh of relief and brought her head into the crook of his neck. “That’s good,” his said through a small laugh. “Because, I haven’t got the faintest idea.”

The words fell on deaf ears, when Rose wrapped her arms around the Doctor’s waist and breathed in his sent. He still smelled like him too, the smell of crushed cloves and ginger, with just that slight hint of oil from whatever he was working on at Torchwood. His single heart sounded in her ears and she let the rhythm calm her. She hadn’t felt so much bliss since she had come back onto the TARDIS.

“Rose, you have to be strong,” the Doctor whispered, his voice was pleading. “For me?”

“As long as you’re here, I will be,” Rose said with a smile, she pulled back to get a proper look at his face, now that her eyes were finally adjusting. She kept her hand cupped against his cheek, and he leaned into it. His hand covered hers with a fiercely, desperate grip. There was something eating deep in his stomach that he couldn’t quite put his finger on, but Rose could feel it. She gave him an encouraging look, but with every passing second, the Doctor’s eyes became less and less sure. There was a touch of an ache coming into view that Rose knew has been carefully concealed before.

He wasn’t going to leave him. He promised.

“Doctor, what…” Rose trailed off when the Doctor raised two fingers to her lips. His touch was gentle but she couldn’t accept it as such. It felt too much like a goodbye for it not to be a violent move in her mind.

“I love you,” was only thing the Doctor managed to say. And, soon, his touch was no longer there. He couldn’t feel her contact any more than she could feel his. She didn’t even have time to reply to him, when he faded completely. There was no sound of static crackling like when he vanished from the beach. He was just gone.

Her Doctor was gone.

~//~

Sound whirred all around Ava as John moved around her and scanned her over with the same metal-detector-like machine that she had seen he had used early to look the three of them over. She felt the same shivers that had hit her when she was first scanned, but now instead it was Jack leaning on her shoulder rather than her father pulling her into his lap.

Jack was far quieter than their father was, but the comfort was still there none the less.

The Time Lord performing the tests on the other hand was far more of a bother. He was constantly bouncing from foot to foot as he distracted himself with stories from his previous lives.

“A scarf that nearly touched the floor—can you believe that?” He said giddily, as he
ran a hand through his hand elongated hair and shook his head. “And, you two dare mock the bow tie and what about my leather jacket? Did your dad tell you about that?”

Ava and Jack didn’t look at him, but John didn’t seem to notice while he took away the scanner and pushed Ava onto her back and lifted Jack from the bed and onto a chair next to it. Ava recognized the machine as something that John had used on her dad earlier. He had joked about the vibrations that it made tickling slightly and eventually he had engulfed the room in laughs.

His laugh…

She longed to hear it. It meant that everything would turn out fine in the end, that nothing would ever go wrong as long as it rang in her ears.

Now that it was gone, did that mean everything would be wrong? That everything would collapse?

Part of Ava wanted that to happen more than anything. Jack would start talking like he used to. Mum would stop hurting, and maybe she’d see her dad again in some or other.

Ava sighed and pushed the thoughts out of her mind and focused on the machine that was circling around her. The vibrations were far from causing a tickling sensation it was downright uncomfortable. It felt like her teeth were going to be shaken from her head and her bones shook down to their soft marrow centers.

The last thing that Ava expected now was John’s hand running through her hair. She had barely noticed that he had stopped his incessant rambling and was perched on the side of the bed. In his hands were a few pieces of translucent papers that he was layering on top of each other.

He furrowed his brow and a look of worry passed over his face. Ava was sure that John was seeing something wrong when a smile spread across her face. There was a dubious feeling that ran through her stomach, but she didn’t want to believe anything was wrong, so she let it pass.

“You’re fine, absolutely fine,” John assured her, switching off the whirring machine and letting it sit on the table. “Must just be catching a cold.”

Ava nodded and moved to slide off the table, but John caught her arm and held her on the table with a gentle smile. “Hold it right there, Miss Ava. We can’t have you running around my TARDIS with a cold, what would the TARDIS think? Hmm? She hate’s sick passengers, can’t stand them. Always worried you’re going to sneeze on a thermo-coupling and throw us into a supernova. That would be very painful, or maybe it wouldn’t. I’ve never been thrown into a super nova before.”

Once again, John was bouncing on his feet like a small child his eyes were wide with wonder.

“You wouldn’t know either, I’m sure, but what if you did and lived? That would be a story for the grandkids, some day right—or your kids I suppose. You two don’t have any o those yet do you?”

John gave Jack a hard stare, and the young boy turned his head as a soft smile came over him.

“Ooo! Look a smile!” John said with awe. “I didn’t think they existed with you anymore, Jack.”

Jack looked away and didn’t say anything, but Ava could tell the smile had grown. Suddenly, there was a new respect or this Time Lord in her heart.

“Ah, well,” John said with a shrug. He turned to Ava. “Now, ma’am, if you would please lift your sleeve and show me your arm.”

Nodding shyly, Ava complied and waited while John pulled a vial and a syringe out of a jar. She watched as John slowly filled the syringe with the clear liquid and walked over to her. He murmured an ‘it won’t hurt a bit,’ before he gently pressed the needle into her arm swiftly and covered the injection site with a cotton ball.

“There, now, hold that in place.”

“Okay,” Ava murmured, pressing her finger on the fluffy material.

John returned with a bandage and taped the cotton ball into place.

He carefully rubbed her other arm and briefly considered giving her a hug, but decided against it. Instead he picked her up and set her on the floor, while Jack scampered down next to her on the floor.

He inspected Ava’s arm and looked at John with suspicion, but Ava elbowed his arm hard.

“Ow, Ava!” Jack yelped.

“John’s being nice, so quit being mean,” Ava said pointedly.

Jack glared at her, but murmured an apology to John, who was standing awkwardly to the side. He couldn’t remember a time when he had to deal with children so young without their parents threatening to slap him, or maim him, or call the police, or lock him in a basement and never let him out until he was a shriveled old man.

He knew he shouldn’t have tried to visit Rose Tyler as a three-year-old. Jackie certainly didn’t have her daughter’s habit of trusting a strange man.

“That’s fine,” John assured them eventually. “I understand. It takes time, right?”

Ava nodded, and without saying anything she wrapped her arms around his leg and breathed him in. John reciprocated after a beat and bit his lip, when he found Jack had decided to join in.

~//~

Lights turned off when Rose stepped out of the bathroom. Her eyes were red and puffy from the tears she had shed. She felt the child in her womb beginning to kick as he woke, and she brushed a gentle hand over him. Soft words fell from her lips as comfort to the growing child.

Rose couldn’t help thinking that the baby had such strong legs. He would grow up running to love like his father, brother and sister. Who knows? Maybe he would even sweep some young girl off her feet with the word.

“Like father like son, right little one,” Rose murmured mournfully.

The Doctor coming and disappearing, his words and the look he gave her filled her mind and every aspect of her conscious. Squeezing her eyes shut, she walked out of the TARDIS sitting room and into the hallway to see John standing with Jack and Ava in the hallway. She was grinning at them while he ruffled each of their hair.

“Hey, John,” Rose greeted, walking over to him, but stopping short, by two toddlers dislodging themselves from John and wrapping themselves around her legs. She smiled at them and whispered a greeting to them.

“You two are up early,” Rose said, but she knew better than to be surprised.

“Ava got a shot,” Jack said blatantly, and Rose’s eyes grew wider when she carefully knelt down and took Ava’s arm in her hand.

“What happened?” Rose asked, directing the question at John, but not taking her eyes off her daughter.

“Just a cold,” John assured Rose. “Just a small prick, she’s fine.”

Pinching her nose between her fingers, Rose nodded.

“Okay,” Rose kept her voice leveled, but John could tell that he had gone wrong. “Just ask before you pump my daughter full of alien drugs next time, alright.”

John smirked. “Rose Tyler, since when do you refer to any of my concoctions as ‘alien.’ That’s not like you.”

Rose gave him a short laugh. “Since you started referring to them as ‘concoctions.’”

It was Ava’s turn to speak up. “It didn’t hurt, Mummy. Daddy said we can trust him.”

Rose agreed by pressing a kiss into the top of her head and giving her a tight hug. Jack stood back with his hands shoved deeply into the pajamas that he was still wearing. Rose took careful note of both her children’s attire and was soon corralling them into the bedroom the TARDIS had provided them with.

~//~

Rose sat on the edge of one of the twin sized beds in the bedroom. She was combing Jack’s hair with limited success while, Ava was brushing hers out to get it ready for Rose to braid once she had tamed Jack’s.

Eventually, the larger tangles were out, and Rose released him, so he could climb up to sit beside her side. With her hands free, Rose took her legs and curled them up cross legged with Ava sitting in front of her on the bed. Her fingers gracefully made a simple braided pig-tail on the side of her head. She tied it off with a blue scrunchie and did the same with the other side o her hair.

“There now, everyone’s dressed,” Rose said, her voice was tired, but satisfied as she got to her feet, but as she did so a sharp pain ran through her stomach.


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