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Rose Cottage

July 13th, 2008 (08:04 pm)

Have a story... not the usual fare for this journal, but one needs to surprise oneself and one's readers occasionally.

Title:  Rose Cottage
Characters/Pairing: the tenth Doctor, the tenth Doctor, Rose, Donna
Rating: G
Not for those who haven't seen Journey's End.

It’s rare, he tells himself. It’s rare that he gives in and creates a transuniversal parallel-parked intranebular causal refraction of an occluded potentially dimensional-temporal disruptive warp hole. Very rare.

            Why, then, is the sensation of looking the wrong way down a telescope so familiar? Don’t answer that, a voice says, if you want to stay sane.

            Sane, the other voice says. That would be boring.

            – Watch it, spaceman.

            You again. You’re always going to be in my head, Donna Noble. I might remove myself from your memories, but I can’t take you away from me. That’s part of the curse of the Time Lords.

             – Don’t talk that poor-me-I’m-the-last-of-the-Time-Lords drivel. It’s like I said to this girl I worked with. Sonia, her name was. Just because your entire family were wiped out after you left the gas on it doesn’t mean that you have to spend the rest of your life avoiding cooking anything.

            Now you’re starting to sound like Jackie Tyler. Do I really find women from twenty-first century London so interchangeable?

            How could you ask that, says another voice. How could you think it?

            He was deceiving himself in pretending to be without direction. He had come to this region – right of the Horsehead Nebula, round the back of Metulla Orionsis Revivida, then up a bit (whom was he making these simplifications for?) -  because space and time were permeable here, just enough to look through into another universe, as if through a lattice.

            The picture couldn’t fill the scanner screen; the method used to obtain it defied all attempts at magnification. So, he had to peer at it. He’d been dealt long eyeballs in this regeneration, so peering was second nature to him. It seemed appropriate; to really experience the universe, you needed to look at it close-up. Behind glasses. No, not behind glasses, that would be stupid, like hiding all the time.

            Like running away.

            Oh look! There’s me.

            No, him. Well yes, me. The one in the blue suit. Except he’s not wearing the blue suit now. Still wearing the spare T-shirt, though, the one he kept in one of the stepladder roundels, just in case he’d needed to introduce someone from Raxacofallapatorius to some vinegar. That’s a thought. He’d still not replaced it. He didn’t think he could wear another blue suit though. Purple velvet came to mind – no, a bit flashy. Still –

            I’m washing up! In a little kitchen. Not that little, judging by the height of the ceiling. And the angle. The TARDIS must be using a mirror about eight feet away. Good old Xeron technology. Or was it Morok? Anyway, me doing the washing up. It’s sweet.

            ‑ Since when did you do the washing up? You left me with ten cratefuls of stinking crockery on Sepsis Magna.

            Did not! It was nine cratefuls. And that’s Stcepzes Minor, not Sepsis.

            ‑ Watch the spitting, spaceman. My fingers went black after washing six spoons. I was lucky my arms didn’t drop off.

            Pay attention. Look, you can see the window. It’s sunny outside. I knew it would be. Had to be. Better weather in England in a parallel universe. Always true.

            The light streaming through the window bounced off a gleaming white plate, and onto the sleekest blonde hair any woman could ever possess.

            There she was.

            Formal, though. She was wearing a black suit, white shirt. Management Rose. Executive Rose. Pete given her a job then? Or maybe Torchwood – a meeting with the President. Or maybe Rose is the President. Yeah… She passes me/him – he thought that he could have decided upon a pronoun, it wasn’t as if plural identity was new in his life – and grabs a tea towel, to dry a plate with firm, circular caresses. She is turned away from him, the him at the sink, and looking down on the plate while talking. There’s no sound on this thing, and he doesn’t want to lip read. Some knowledge it’s always best not to have. Then she looks up, and for a moment is staring straight at the mirror.

            She’s happy, isn’t she? It couldn’t matter; he had to bear it whether she was or she wasn’t happy.

            His gift to her was looking over towards him too, now. He could just see those eyes, his but with a confusion which he didn’t know. Or was it a resentment? He thought that he might want his counterpart to feel resentment at his fate, and was afraid.

            The picture slipped and recovered itself. The view was an exterior now, from a high angle, showing a redbrick house, late nineteenth or early twentieth century, with high windows and climbing flowers. The house was in the centre of a large garden, with woodland to its right and cultivated farmland on other sides. It looked idyllic. He’d always wanted a rural retreat. Perhaps he had had one once, on Earth, a long time ago. He wasn’t sure. Anyway, he was glad that Rose lived there. Lovely place. And the other feller.

            They were leaving the cottage, Rose still dressed formally. He’d never have expected that. The little shop girl in a suit. She turned and talked as if she was giving instructions. She gestured as if she was listing things to be done. The other him had followed her half-way up the path, and winced or nodded every so often. After five or six exchanged gestures like this, Rose reached up and ruffled his counterpart’s hair quickly, and left, passing out without a look back onto the road under an arched trellis through which roses grew.

            Roses – rose. Aww.

            ‑ You think that’s sweet, don’t you? Well, I think it’s desperation myself. I don’t see love’s young dream down there. Which of those two is happy?

            They’ve got each other. He knew how empty that sounded as he thought it. He could make up Rose’s profile. It seemed harder than he had ever known it.

            ‑ You thought you’d made a high fibre cake with organic flour and raw cane sugar, only to find you’d put in a bag of Tesco value white powder and aspartame.

            He was frowning at his other self now; and his other self was looking up, towards what must have been a street lamp (probably made of fluted iron, with lime green paint flaking off its metalwork, he hoped) and staring back.

            She wants to be with you, he was saying. Not here in this world with me. Can you blame her?

            I did what was right, he asserted. She had to be made to settle down, get on with her life. No matter what she thought she wanted. What I know and see is beyond her, and beyond you; the life I have given you is one which I would destroy if I had tried to share it with her.

The Doctor believed what he imagined himself telling his distant other self; his right-hand man, flickered an unwanted bitter thought. But in his head he could see a woman holding a man, tall and thin, tight as he burned and changed and melted and calcified and shifted and collapsed and grew bright again, defying all that time could do to both of them. At the end, she wreathed around him in dust as he drove on for ever amidst the stars.




Posted by: Virgers! How are we doing with those explosives? (tree_and_leaf)
Posted at: July 13th, 2008 07:30 pm (UTC)

That's exceedingly gloomy, but I like it: the voices make it (and the sort-off Donna voice is particularly good, especially the washing-up exchange)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: July 13th, 2008 11:11 pm (UTC)

Thanks - the voices could actually do with more work, because there's always a need to compensate somehow for the absence of the actors' characterisation.

Posted by: Penny Paperbrain (pennypaperbrain)
Posted at: July 13th, 2008 09:03 pm (UTC)

Fiction! See what the fangirls did to you?

You are the Doctor, so you get to write this kind of thing, I feel, particularly as you do it convincingly. I don't think you're quite as out of tune with your age as you claim. Ten should always be like this.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: July 13th, 2008 11:10 pm (UTC)

Ten (and that's something the fangirls did to me, though it still doesn't sit easy...) is someone whom I find very close to me in some respects.

As for fanfic, I used to write it a very long time ago; and it's probably a mark of how successful RTD's Who is in that he had a UNIT cloudbase attacked from the air by Daleks - it's the sort of thing I was co-writing over a quarter of a century ago, before many of today's fangirls' parents had even met.

Posted by: http://elevatormusic.space (sebastienne)
Posted at: July 13th, 2008 09:28 pm (UTC)

I can really feel the voices in this! And it's dark, encapsulating some of the things about that ending that I've not quite been able to come to terms with. Very interesting, and enjoyable - thanks!

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: July 13th, 2008 11:16 pm (UTC)


My reading of Doomsday is that the Doctor begins engineering Rose's exit at least from the moment he starts to persuade Pete that Jackie is his wife and Rose is his daughter. He's brokenhearted by it, but believes she'll be better off. Or so he tells himself most of the time, and keeps backtracking.

Posted by: eruvandeaini (eruvandeaini)
Posted at: July 15th, 2008 03:40 pm (UTC)

Completely agree with this...

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: July 15th, 2008 04:13 pm (UTC)
Hartnell words

I think it's present in the script and on screen, but it doesn't seem to be picked up normally; perhaps the audience has always been encouraged to share Rose's denial?

Posted by: eruvandeaini (eruvandeaini)
Posted at: July 15th, 2008 04:50 pm (UTC)

Well, the Doctor is clearly being manipulative when he brings up the wedding with Pete. That's the alien element of his behaviour, I suppose - the strangely detached fix-it mentality he has when it comes to this sort of thing. In some significant ways his behaviour to Rose in Doomsday is similar to the push-pull stuff he was doing with Martha all through series three.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: July 15th, 2008 05:15 pm (UTC)

His behaviour sent out all manner of mixed messages to Martha, I'd agree. Alien or not, I think that human beings are capable of comparable 'fix-it' strategies/fudges to the Doctor.

Rose is on notice from School Reunion onwards, really (though the ninth Doctor had mentioned to her that he'd travelled with other people, she seems to have blocked this out), and the Doctor goes along with her denial partly because he shares it himself.

Posted by: eruvandeaini (eruvandeaini)
Posted at: July 15th, 2008 05:26 pm (UTC)

Yes, there's an enormous amount of denial with the pair of them. And a certain amount of clinging desperation on Rose's part during series two; perfectly understandably, I think, given the regeneration and the fact that the Doctor makes it clear a number of times that he's quite prepared to be separated from her, despite everything.

I totally agree that humans are as capable as the Doctor of coming up with these kinds of strategies - I would have said Rose's behaviour itself underlines that. I guess I'm trying to judge why it is the Doctor often sees things like this in such simplistic terms (and forgetting that this is a fictional universe in the process.. forgive me for clogging up your comment-thread with waffle :-D! )

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: July 15th, 2008 11:17 pm (UTC)

Don't worry about the comments! They are welcome...

I think the Doctor forgets that he's actually involved with other people, and tells himself that he can detach himself from them painlessly, and vice versa; and though underneath he knows that isn't true, he keeps on deceiving himself.

Posted by: eruvandeaini (eruvandeaini)
Posted at: July 16th, 2008 10:08 am (UTC)

hmm, kind of like he has an internal emotional prime directive which he applies very poorly indeed :-D

Posted by: Freya (freya_9)
Posted at: July 14th, 2008 11:48 am (UTC)
Tenth Doctor

Rather good :)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: July 14th, 2008 12:08 pm (UTC)

Thank you! :)

Posted by: widsidh (widsidh)
Posted at: July 14th, 2008 05:46 pm (UTC)

...agrees with all of the above :-)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: July 14th, 2008 06:01 pm (UTC)

Thanks! I'm still waiting to see if anyone looks at the story once the who_daily link is posted...

Posted by: widsidh (widsidh)
Posted at: July 14th, 2008 06:27 pm (UTC)

fingers crossed :-)

Posted by: White Hart (white_hart)
Posted at: July 14th, 2008 07:28 pm (UTC)

I'm still waiting to see if anyone looks at the story once the [info]who_daily link is posted...


I really like this. Especially the Donna-voice, because it makes my broken heart feel a bit better to know that the brilliant Donna Noble lives on in the Doctor's head, at least.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: July 14th, 2008 07:34 pm (UTC)


She wasn't meant to be in the story at all, but once Donna turns up in one's head it's difficult to shut her up!

I'm not sure whether this is a fragment of Donna's consciousness or just the Doctor's imagination; and while he might tell himself that it's the latter, he fears, and at the same time sort of wants, that it's the former.

Posted by: firin (firin)
Posted at: July 15th, 2008 05:06 pm (UTC)

An enjoyable and convincingly plausible continuation. Thank you for sharing!

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: July 15th, 2008 05:10 pm (UTC)
Arthurian Logo

Glad you like it!