aibhinn_fics: (DW Ten  Lover-Friend)
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Title: In Dreams
Author: [ profile] aibhinn
Spoilers: Through S2 (AU for S3 and S4)
Rating: PG
Summary: His eyes were wide and dark, so very dark, filled with the emotions he'd never quite managed to say out loud. "I'm going to come for you."
Disclaimer: Not mine. Not making any money. Please not to sue me.
Author's note: Written for round 1.08 of [ profile] writerinatardis. The prompt was an XKCD strip. Many thanks to all who voted!

Sometimes Rose Tyler dreamed. Everyone did, of course. But her dreams were different since coming to this universe. They were logical, not random; sense, not nonsense.

They were real.


He stood there before her, clear as day and much more solid-looking than he'd been on the beach last week. Her heart leapt, though she knew she was dreaming—knew this couldn't be true.

"Rose." That was his voice all right, like hot whiskey and honey. "Are you afraid?"

"Yeah," she said quietly, because she couldn't lie to him. Not here, not in this place.

"Don't be." His eyes were wide and dark, so very dark, filled with the emotions he'd never quite managed to say out loud. "I'm going to come for you."

"But—" She swallowed. "But you said it was impossible. Two universes could implode."

"Yes," he said. "But that doesn't change anything. I promised I'd always come for you, Rose. I swear, if there's a way somewhere, I'm going to find it."

"What can I do?" she asked, recklessly. "I'll do anything. Anything you say."

He smiled, that sad quirk of his lips that she'd seen on Bad Wolf Bay and that had nearly broken her heart. "Don't be afraid," he repeated. "Live a fantastic life until I get there. Believe."


She did.


Cardiff was no different in this Universe than it was in the other, really. A city growing into its own, creating its future out of its past, combining the best of tradition and technology. A city whose arts flourished, whose business was booming, whose culture flowed out of years of English rule and Welsh civilization.

The Director of Torchwood Three was a blonde man called John Hart. His second-in-command had been killed in a Weevil attack just a few days before, and Rose had put in for the position. Now she sat across the desk from him, watching as he swivelled back and forth pensively in his desk chair. His jacket, oddly reminiscent of an eighteenth-century military uniform, was unbuttoned, showing his white shirt beneath. "So let me get this straight," he said, his gaze piercing. "You're the daughter of the Director of Torchwood One, whom no-one has heard of until about a year ago. You rose through the ranks of Torchwood One like a rocket, and by all accounts on your own merits, not your dad's. And now you want to leave London behind and come work in Cardiff?"

"It's a promotion," she pointed out logically. "And a position I'd never get in London. I couldn't be Dad's second-in-command; he'd never allow it."

"Mm. True." Hart stood and walked around the desk towards her, leaning back against the desk's edge. She looked up at him. "You're young," he said. "Younger than everyone I've got working here. They'd think you were promoted over their heads."

She raised her eyebrows. "They'd be right," she said. "But none of them has the experience I do with alien life forms."

Hart's eyebrows went up as well. "Oh really?" he asked. "I suppose you can prove that."

"Yes." Rose reached over, flipped open her messenger bag, and pulled out a red file closed with a string wrapped around a cardboard disk. Huge black letters across the front read EYES ONLY. "You're one of four people in the world with the clearance to read this," she told him, and handed it over.

He took it, bemused. "And what's this?"

"My dossier." She rose smoothly, picked up her bag, settled its strap over her shoulder. "I'll go back to my hotel. When you've finished, you can choose to hire me or not. But I think you will."

"You've got balls," he remarked. "I like that. I may actually read this."

"I think you'll find, once you've started, you won't be able to stop." She smiled at him. "Same time tomorrow, then?"


"Of course he'll hire you," the Doctor said to her. This time they sat on his coat, the scent of apple grass filling the air as traffic whizzed by overhead. New New York sparkled across the bay from them, as bright in the dream as it had been in real life. "How could he not?"

"I know," Rose said. She wrapped her arms around her knees, one hand clasped loosely about the other wrist. The wind blew her hair into her face; she ignored it. "S'hard, though, being here. Cardiff, I mean, not New Earth. Remembering you, and Mickey, and Jack . . . ."

He reached out and tucked her hair behind her ear. "I'm sorry," he said gently. "But it's the only way."

"This got something to do with the Rift?" Rose asked. It was a question she'd wondered for some time, since the last time he'd appeared to her, suggesting she apply for the position. "That how you'll come through?"

The Doctor's smile was soft. "I wish it were that simple, but yes, in essence. If it works. When it works."

She scooted round and leaned against him, laying her head on his shoulder. He wrapped his arms about her. "You must be so lonely," she murmured. "I've got Mum and Mickey and Pete, but you've got no-one."

"I'm all right." His voice was rougher than usual; it was easy to hear, with her head next to his larynx. "I'm always all right."

She rested a hand against the lapel of his suit jacket, feeling the alternate beat of his hearts. "No, you're not," she said.

There was a pause, then his head tilted to rest his cheek against her hair. "No, I'm not," he said.


Rose slotted into her place at Torchwood Three as if it had been made for her. Gwen and Ianto soon became her good friends. Toshiko was friendly enough, she guessed, though a little stand-offish—shy, Rose thought, not rude. Owen she simply had to slap down a few times, both verbally and physically, before he got the clue, but eventually he came round as well.

It was a good life. A fantastic life, truth be known. She loved her job, she enjoyed her friends, she had a nice flat with a view of Cardiff Bay and was able to see her family every couple of months, and speak to them more often than that. Another year passed before she realised it.

And the dreams came less frequently, too.

At first she fretted. Had something gone wrong? Had the Doctor given up? Had the dreams only been creations of her subconscious after all, not real messages but simply wishful thinking by a woman who'd been torn from her life, from her love, from her world and everything she'd ever known?

She was horribly afraid they were.

But he'd told her to believe. And so she did, as hard as she could.


Most of the time.


"You'll know when I'm there," the Doctor told her, lying beside her in the spare bed at Chloe Webber's house. His freckles stood out against his pale, pale skin, and she wanted nothing more than to brush her fingers over them, connect them with her touch. "Not much longer now. I promise."

"I believe you," Rose said.


And then came the Riftquake.

All over Cardiff, the Rift was opening: creatures, people, technology, aliens—things were falling through and getting stuck, people were disappearing from city streets. The world was falling apart, and no-one knew why.

Except Rose. Like a dove to its cote, she sprinted down the street, dodging panicked people running the other way. Only one thing could have made the Rift open that way. Only one thing could have forced it open so far, and she pelted towards the centre of the disturbance, drawn there inexorably by a familiar golden song.

There, in the midst of a rocky field, standing at the centre of a huge swirling maelstrom of clouds and lightning, stood a blue wooden box. She skidded to a stop, staring at it, wondering if this was just another dream, or if it was actually real this time.

She decided she didn't care.

She broke into a run again, sliding on the rocks, nearly falling over as another Riftquake hit. Her ankle screamed a protest as it twisted awkwardly, but she ignored it, forcing herself forward. She couldn't stop now. Couldn't. Couldn't.

And then he was there, opening the door, and she flung herself into his arms, kissing him, kissing him, and he held on to her like the world was ending and kissed her back. Their teeth clashed together and she trod on his toe and he banged her into the doorjamb, but neither of them cared; they were too busy being overwhelmed with joy.

"You're here," she said, when they broke apart for air. "You came. You did it."

"I promised," he reminded her, resting his forehead against hers. "In dreams." Thunder boomed, and he looked up. "Better close the Rift again before this gets worse," he said. "This is it, Rose. We go now, or we risk two universes imploding. No time for notes or messages to your family, no time to tell anyone goodbye. You okay with that?"

She grinned. "Sorted. If I disappear for more than three days running, letters get sent to my family and my boss, saying I've found my way back to you. I set that up after I came to Cardiff."

"You believed," he said. There was awe in his voice.

"I always have," she replied.


Two weeks later, he gave her a way to talk to her Mum after all.


Jackie stared at the transparent image of her daughter standing in the kitchen of their old flat. "Rose?" she said. "S'that really you?"

Rose smiled softly. "Sort of," she said. "This is a dream, Mum. But it's real anyway. Remember how the Doctor told me to go to Norway that time, so he could say goodbye? Same sort of technology. But I'm not telepathic, not really, so this is the best I can do. That's why we're here, in the flat, because it's the place I remembered you best." She clasped her hands before herself. "He found me, Mum," she said. "He found me and he brought me back. I'm safe, and I'm happy, and I miss you so much, but I'm back where I belong."

Jackie's eyes filled with tears. "I know," she whispered. "I got your letter. But are you really safe, Rose? Can he keep you safe?"

"I'm as safe as anyone can be," Rose said. "And I'm so happy, Mum. I know you wish I was there, and I wish I could see you again, but this is what I've always wanted." A tear trickled down her cheek. "Can you understand that, Mum? Why I left?"

"Oh, sweetheart, of course I can." Jackie stepped forward, trying to put her arms around her daughter, but they went right through; Rose was only an image. Her heart dropped.

"We can't," Rose whispered. "I can't project hard enough, Mum. I'm not good enough."

"Yes, you can," the Doctor's voice echoed from nowhere, and suddenly there was Rose, solid as ever, and Jackie wrapped her arms around her only daughter and clung for dear life.

"I love you, Mum," Rose choked into her ear, holding tight. "I'll always love you."

"I love you too, sweetheart," Jackie managed. "And you just go live your fantastic life with your Doctor, you hear me? Don't look back, love. Don't ever look back."

The flat faded from sight.


Curled on their bed, the Doctor held Rose as she wept.
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