Reunions and Wolf Cubs
I do not own Doctor Who!
…metal glinted in the light, sharp needles filled with whatever chemical they were going to shove into her veins this time…
…pain, so much pain flooding her system, awakening power that had lain dormant inside her…
…her head aching, feeling as if it were going to explode in a gory mess as her brain expanded inside it, swirling with information and empty space…
…a voice, calling her and drawing her in, so familiar yet completely different at the same time…
…running as far and as fast as she could without a hand to hold, without either of her Doctors by her side…
…a wolf howling all around her, calling for her mate, her best friend, her mother, her friends lost across the void in another world…
HELP! PLEASE HELP!
Rose Tyler lurched awake, tumbling from her bed aboard her ship. She was clammy and shaky, just as she always was when her nightmares brought up old, fragmented memories. The last bit was different from what was normal. She usually woke up when Bad Wolf howled.
Her ship, her TARDIS, hummed in concern. She patted the nearest wall.
"It's alright my girl, I'm okay." It was only a small lie. "Has someone sent out a distress call? That wasn't me in that last bit."
The TARDIS continued to hum, alerting Rose to what was going on. Rose made her way to the consul room, doing her best not to dwell on her memories.
The hallway from her room to the main room was covered in picture frames hanging from the walls. They were from a life she had been forgotten from. She might have pictures, but her little brother didn't even know he had a big sister. Mickey had been lost in a dimension jump attempt shortly before they'd taken her.
An underground part of Torchwood London had taken it upon themselves to make her a science experiment. They'd wiped her from an existence she'd just barely established. They'd also had a wreaked, badly damaged TARDIS near where they had kept her. More fools they, the Torchwood she had worked for. Six months was not long at all, but it was more than enough time for her and the TARDIS to form a connection and bring Bad Wolf into being once again.
They'd taken her because of something they had found in one of the blood tests she'd had done since being trapped in Pete's universe. Rose had become some sort of Gallifreyan/TARDIS hybrid and there was no one to help her understand the changes. The only reason she knew what she had become was because of the TARDIS she was now the pilot of. The ship had sensed her pain and come to her aid. They had escaped together, nearly died in the attempt but death was the better option over recapture.
It had been chaotic, the escape. They had barely made it, and stopping in Cardiff to refuel had nearly gotten them caught again. Six months wasn't entirely accurate, but saying the exact amount of time was something she rarely acknowledged. The cold anger that infused her soul was just as terrifying as the actual terror of the experiments and being forgotten.
"Where are we headed mi'girl?" Rose enjoyed how the inside of her TARDIS both did and didn't look like the Doctor's. The coral was welcoming and familiar, but she enjoyed having big screen monitors and an understandable consul. Not that anyone else would have been able to understand it. In order to completely rescue and heal each other, the two were deeply connected to the point where losing one might very well kill the other. It was a terrifying thought but one Rose had decided was worth it.
A blip appeared on the map screen, the image zooming in until there was a clear image of a star system. She frowned, something tickling at the back of her mind. It sounded familiar, but she couldn't think of why.
"Dracarious, fourth planet in the Fantanic star system in the Mesofore galaxy…what or who is there that could send such a signal?" Rose mused to herself aloud. The thought that she should find a companion went across her mind again but she, like always, pushed it aside.
Abandoned and forgotten, she didn't want to risk her hearts again. She tried to tell herself that this, the going around the universe and helping wherever she could, was enough. Simply traveling was enough. It was lonely, beyond lonely, but there was nothing else for her. She had no way to get home (and she meant her universe, not Earth), no way to return to the one person who held the missing pieces, and no family. Decades had passed for her, who knew with the Doctor? Even with the ability to go back in time, she'd still lived those years. Going back wouldn't change it.
The consul vibrated. Rose picked up the physic paper (which she had found on one of the many planets she'd visited) she had there. It was more of the same, cries for help. No further information, just the same 'help, please help'. The same message over and over again…
A question, however, was if it was a single person or something else. What did they need help with?
She was speaking out loud, registering the sounds her ship made as she did so. Being part TARDIS allowed her a deeper connection than even a Time Lord could imagine, but it still wasn't an actual conversation. Oh, sometimes there were distinct words but that was rare and usually only when Rose was at her lowest. It took an astounding amount of power for the TARDIS to communicate in something as complicatedly simplistic as mere words.
Information on Dracarious filled the screen. Rose wondered how this had never come to her attention before. Gladiator battles were nothing new to her. She'd seen some interesting ones when she and the Doctor had gone to New Rome. Several planets had such arenas and traditions, many where the participants were trained from childhood to partake or even slaves. The latter sat badly with her, and it wouldn't be the first time she'd landed just when a rebellion broke loose to change things.
Dracarious was one of those, but the images she was seeing weren't just of children being raised to be warriors for both battle and entertainment but of them actually fighting in the arena. Now, if free will was involved there wasn't anything she could do about it. People had to be able to make their own choices no matter her or anyone else's opinion on it.
She needed more information, and there was at least one person who didn't want to be there.
The entire planet of Dracarious was an arena, or close to it. What wasn't a part of a stadium was a training camp, and what space wasn't set aside for the planet wide sport were open air markets, hotels, and businesses. Further away from these centers were farmlands and homesteads apparently, but it seemed to Rose that most of the humanoid life was concentrated in and around the arenas.
Everything looked disturbingly normal and in place. There was nothing in the air to suggest rebellion was coming. If anything, it seemed as if the only disturbing thing were two very different sets of posters.
The first was calling for action to stop the underground fighting rings. It seemed to take precedence as everyone Rose asked about it had nothing good to say on the subject. Many people had stories about raids done by the local police. Some children had been returned to their families, others had been turned over to the local training camps because they had no families or at least none willing to claim them, and a few had been killed because it had driven them mad. It wasn't only children, but as was typical of many species it was the children that had the most impact.
It was the second, smaller one that seemed to justify her sense of unease. For one, there was a limited perception filter around it. Scanning it told her that only those who either already knew or were looking for it could see them. The poster itself looked innocent enough, announcing dates for fights in a place called the Reaper's Ring.
She had shuddered at the name. Reapers were something that she had no wish to ever encounter again. Once was more than enough.
Another odd thing about the poster was that the date, time, and place continually changed. It was in moments like these that she wished the Doctor was with her. He would know what it was.
Writing down the times from the poster on the little notebook she carried, she turned to make her way to the center market. Something else was going on here and she was going to figure it out.