Chapter 15

The others staggered out of the cleft in the rocks as the first of the explosions began behind them.

"We better get away from here quickly, the whole thing could come down on us," Johnny said, helping Alex support Stillson and moving a little faster down the path. Rose was finally starting to come around as they reached the vehicles but the Doctor clung to her as if afraid to let her go. The whole area began to shake with the destruction of the underground base.

"What happened?" Rose mumbled.

"It's over, that's all that matters," Alex answered, patting her hand.

The Doctor gave Alex a strange look at her answer to Rose's question but seemed preoccupied and unwilling to pursue it. Johnny started opening the vehicle doors and managed to wrestle Stillson into a back seat and get him belted in.

"Everybody in," Johnny said. "We're not in the clear yet."

They all climbed quickly into the SUV and Johnny floored the gas and drove the SUV at top speed back to the main road.

It seemed to take hours to explain everything that had happened back at Ace's headquarters but finally it was understood that the danger was past and they were allowed to leave. They left Stillson in the care of the medical facility. There was considerable damage to his memory and Johnny breathed a small sigh of relief that Stillson wouldn't remember anything. It seemed that Rose also couldn't remember much from the bump on the head she'd received during the fight. Surprisingly, the Doctor looked relieved.

They were all quiet as Johnny drove them back to where the TARDIS was hidden. When they got there the Doctor pulled Johnny aside.

"Do you think she's okay?" the Doctor asked.

"Who Rose? She's fine I think," Johnny began.

"No, not Rose. I know she'll be okay, especially if she doesn't have to remember most of this nightmare. I'm talking about Ace," the Doctor broke in.

"Well…" Johnny hedged, not sure if he wanted to answer or not.

"Tell me, please," the Doctor nearly begged.

"She's alive. That's all I know. I had a vision and if she hadn't done what she did we would all be dead right now."

"Do you know where she is?"

"No, not exactly, only that she's on the other side of that portal wherever that is, but alive."

The Doctor sighed. "At least there's that."

"You can't help everyone Doctor. I've learned and had to live with that if nothing else."

The Doctor looked at him and seemed about to make a comment and then thought better of it.

"Yes, I guess you would." He heaved a great sigh. "Well, I guess it's time to get back out there."

"Thank you for your help Doctor. I'm not sure I would have managed this otherwise."

"I think you could have. You still would have had Ace helping you I would imagine."

"Maybe, maybe not, Doctor," Johnny said. He looked over at where Alex and Rose were exchanging tearful goodbyes and phone numbers.

"It was nice meeting you Johnny, even if I can't remember a lot of it," Rose laughed. She made as if to hug him, paused and then shrugged and hugged him anyway.

"It was nice meeting you too," he told her when they'd parted.

The Doctor opened the door of the TARDIS and looked expectantly at Rose. "Ready?"

"I am so ready," Rose replied, bouncing over to the door.

"Take care, both of you," Alex said.

"We will," Rose replied and the Doctor rolled his eyes at her tone and shook his head.

"Watch out for the bad wolf," Alex and Johnny both blurted out at the same time, earning them strange looks from Rose and the Doctor. They looked at each other and then back at the Time Lord and his companion. They both shrugged.

"No idea where that came from," Johnny remarked.

"Huh-uh," said Alex, just as confused.

The Doctor and Rose gave one last wave and went into the TARDIS and shut the door and a few moments later the TARDIS came to life and faded away.

"Well," Johnny said with a great sigh and turned to Alex. "THAT was interesting."

"To say the least." Alex giggled. "That's probably been one of the most bizarre times in my life, and I have had a few."

Johnny smiled back at her.

"Do you think we'll ever see him again?"

Johnny noticed that Alex didn't include Rose in the question but chose to ignore it.

"I have no idea," Johnny paused, "and I don't actually want to know." He took her by the hand. "And now," he said expansively, "I think what we really need are a couple of seriously huge cheeseburgers."

"And chocolate shakes," Alex smiled and they walked back to Johnny's vehicle with their arms about each other's waists.