Jack was the first to press his button, as planned, and he closed his eyes as he was transported across the void. He was immediately cold as he realized he had moved, and he opened them again. His blood rushed as he surveyed his surroundings. It was a city, but the buildings were all half fallen and looked like they had been on fire at some point, the black charring evidence of the terrible scene they had once been. It was eerily quiet, except for the wind, which chilled Jack to the bone. He looked in every direction, and at each turn he found more desolation.
"Oh, Rose…," He breathed, his breath creating steam in the cold air, as he thought of how Rose would react to this.
As if on command, Rose appeared next to him. Her eyes opened easily, as used to time travel and transportation as she was. Her mouth parted in surprise and horror, her hand coming up to cover it soon after as the tears begin to fill her eyes.
"Jack," She breathed his name like a prayer, and immediately his arms were around her.
He held her while she cried, trying to understand the terrible reality that she had come to. Something horrible had happened here, and she knew somehow that she was here when all this started. So, she cried, for she knew then that her family that had been over here, her Mum, Mickey, Pete, and Tony were all dead. There was no way they could have survived this. If only she could remember exactly what happened.
A moment later, the Doctor crossed over into the parallel world.
"Agghh," He groaned as he materialized there, his hands on his knees as he leaned over for balance, "I miss my Tardis."
Jack and Rose remained in each other's arms as the Doctor righted himself and immediately clutched his trench coat a little tighter, feeling the frigid cold temperatures right through the material. Then, he noticed his companions. Rose's eyes were glistening with tears as she buried her face into Jack's shoulder. Jack even had tears in his own. The Doctor understood, and immediately felt the cold more acutely, the pain more deeply. He also came to the same conclusion that Rose had, that her family was probably dead. He would try in vain to find them, for her, but he knew deep down that they were dead.
Rose slowly suppressed her tears and settled for standing under Jack's arm around her shoulders as she surveyed the city. They were standing on the roof of a smaller building, one that was still semi-standing, but they could see the devastation clearly. Her eyes looked for any spark of life, but there were none that she could see. Jack squeezed her shoulder and then let her go, moving towards the Doctor. Looking him in the eyes, behind Rose's back, he made a sort of 'say something' gesture, prompting the Doctor to think of something positive he could try to say, something to ease her pain, but he knew there was nothing. Finally, he settled for the only thing that he could think of.
"I'm so sorry, Rose," he quietly spoke as he moved to her side.
Rose fell to her knees, both in pain and loss, and tears streaked down her face, which would normally ruin her heavy makeup but she had gone centuries without wearing the annoying chalky stuff. She too searched the landscape, and found nothing.
"What happened here?" She spoke with a surprisingly unwavering voice.
The Doctor looked out over the scene, trying to think of any explanation for what they were seeing but found none other than something terrible had happened, so he chose not to answer. He considered doing a scan for some sort of alien tech, but he couldn't do that without his Tardis. He wasn't permitted to think too long about it, because out of nowhere Rose began to shake and her eyes rolled back in her head. Jack supported her with his body and she didn't fall but her eyes began to glow and her voice became ethereal once again. The Doctor knew he was speaking to Bad Wolf again.
"It's here. Buried in the rubble are the answers you seek. I've made sure you landed close-by, but beware, Doctor. When she sees the devastation, her memories will return. Don't let her burn," She warned him, her eyes glowing bright, chilling the Doctor to his core.
"'I won't. Lead us there," the Doctor answered.
Rose's head nodded, controlled by Bad Wolf. She pulled away from Jack and began walking through the rubble. Her companions followed her after sharing a nervous look. Jack pulled his coat closer to his body, feeling the frigid bite of the cold air. The Doctor seemed more concerned with finding whatever it was Bad Wolf was afraid for them to find, and seemed unaffected by the cold.
They walked a kilometer or so and Rose stepped through the threshold of a half-standing but mostly broken-down building. The lobby had been reinforced with steel as you could see clumps and strips of it coming through the concrete, but even that hadn't been enough for whatever had happened here. The Doctor looked around and happened to see a Torchwood symbol.
"We're in Torchwood," He murmured, mostly to himself but Jack heard him.
Rose continued walking to a large pile of rubble in the back of the lobby, which may have not even been part of the lobby. It was difficult to tell because some of the walls had collapsed. Rose knelt down and placed her hand on the large chunks of concrete, and several of them evaporated into nothing before their eyes. The Doctor just stared at her, unable to convince himself he was seeing her do something like this. No one he had ever seen had had that kind of power, except for Bad Wolf.
Once the concrete had cleared, there laid a few bodies which had obviously been crushed by the weight of the concrete. They looked like humans, but three of the four bodies were wearing strange suits that didn't look like they were from an Earth origin. The fourth body, however, was simply wearing a black jumper with gray concrete dust all over it and rumpled jeans.
"Here he is," Rose's voice said.
The Doctor stepped up beside her and knelt to examine the body, taking his sonic screwdriver out of his pocket. He scanned the body for origin, and then waited for the results. It was only a moment before the reading could be analyzed. 'Gallifreyan', it said. Well, that was that. Before him laid another dead Gallifreyan. How many more would he have to see before he finally was the dead Gallifreyan?
Bad Wolf still controlled Rose, and she knelt down with the Doctor. She didn't seem to be affected by the Doctor at all, unlike Rose. She placed her hand on the man's face reverently, almost lovingly. The Doctor paused in his actions, and looked over at her. There were tears running from her eyes, even though her expression betrayed no emotion. The Doctor tried to process all of this. Here was an all-powerful Goddess of a being and she was weakened to the point of tears over the dead Gallifreyan in front of them. He also tried to not be jealous.
"Doctor," She said softly. "His name was also the Doctor, but Rose knew his true name. They were married. The battle raged around them, Daleks and their half of the enslaved human race against the free humans that were still left. The war began five years ago here in London when Daleks invaded. Torchwood was the hub of resistance, and this is also where they made their last stand. Rose and the Doctor of this world were here, among the few left who were free. They fell quickly, but not before the Doctor did the unthinkable to try to save Rose."
The Doctor's head quickly looked to her. "What did he do?"
Bad Wolf looked back at him. "He killed his Tardis. He used the energy to push her through the small crack in the walls between the worlds. That's where Jack found her, and that's why I blocked the memory. Right before she went through, the Doctor severed his mental bond with her, making her head hurt when she is near you or any other Gallifreyan for that matter. Her brain and consciousness are bruised and hurt from that assault. You know the mind is sensitive to connections being severed, and this one wasn't slow and easy but quick and painful. Rose has never recovered from this great loss and she never will unless you help her mind to rest and stop searching for him. She doesn't even know that's what she's doing, but it is."
The Doctor was in shock. The man who laid dead before him had used his own Tardis's life to save Rose. He couldn't argue with the logic, he would have done the same, but he was in awe of the amount of love that went behind a decision like that. He knew it was a lot, because he loved Rose a lot, too. But, this…this was the love between a husband and his wife. He couldn't even articulate the words, not in English anyway, to make sense of what was going on inside his skull. Rose had been loved by him, sure, but this other Gallifreyan had loved her enough to literally doom himself to death in order to save her. Suddenly he felt like he paled in comparison to this man. With that thought, he felt himself not only a little jealous but also a bit worried. How would the real Rose react to all of this?
"You know what we have to do," Bad Wolf spoke again, snapping the Doctor out of his reverie.
The Doctor nodded. "Yes, mostly. How will Rose take this? I'm worried for her mind. I can only do so much."
Bad Wolf sighed and placed her hand on the Doctor's shoulder as they both still knelt before the parallel Doctor's body.
"You are her only hope now, and you must try everything you can to help her. Her life isn't done yet, and I've been waiting centuries for this terrible story to find its end. She will be crushed, devastated, and feel alone. But, you're here and Jack's here. Comfort her, console her, and Doctor…heal her. You're called the Doctor, so heal her. Her mind is fragile, but not as fragile as it was all those years ago. She can come back from this. He sent her away then because he knew that you existed and could help her. He wasn't sentencing her to die," She explained, her eyes bright and shining.
The Doctor nodded. "I'll do everything I can."
Bad Wolf nodded in acceptance and again stared at the body. She muttered something that caused the Doctor to gasp. In his native tongue, she had said the equivalent of "Until we meet again". It had been so long since he had heard his language spoken by someone else's voice and to hear it from Rose's voice caused him to feel lightheaded, to say the least.
Suddenly, the Doctor knew Bad Wolf was gone as Rose's back became rigid and her eyes stopped glowing. Rose's chocolate brown eyes stared at the body, and tears began to flow again. The Doctor knew she remembered.
"He…I think he…Is he…Oh, God," Rose gasped and collapsed. Her chest contracted as she tried in vain to breathe but her lungs failed her with each sob.
The Doctor came up behind her and held her tight, as did Jack. She clung to both of them desperately, the tears completely blurring her vision.
"Rose, I know, I'm so, so sorry," The Doctor whispered, his voice right at her left ear.
Jack just squeezed her tighter and tighter. Her head felt like it was going to burst from all the memories returning, and the more it hurt the more she could acutely feel the Doctor's presence next to her. He could help her, she knew that now. She wasn't sure how, but she just knew it. She turned her head and buried it into his neck. He accepted her immediately into his arms.