Hopes and Boundaries
Rating/warnings: T; mild swearing, sexual references, and some violence.
Genre: Romance, angst, fluff.
Original Characters: The (Tenth-Duplicate) Doctor, Rose Tyler, The (Eleventh) Doctor, Owen Harper, Jack Harkness, Jackie Tyler, Pete Tyler, Tony Tyler, Mickey Smith.
Author Created Characters: Amy Bradshaw, Ted Barlow, others.
Spoilers: For Doctor Who;Journey's End, The casting of Eleven. For Torchwood; Just series one.
Summary: Ten2/Rose, Eleven/Rose. The Eleventh Doctor finds himself in a place he never thought he'd be again. He is soon looking for a familar blond, and the half timelord she was left with. But when he sees them again, will the Doctor be able to leave?
Disclaimer: Doctor Who© BBC. I am borrowing; I'll give all original characters back in a (relatively) good state when I'm done with them.
Timeline: Uhm, this story is set in all kind of different times for different people. It's set a while after Journey's End (the eleventh Doctor's time), two years exactly after Journey's End (Ten II/Rose's time), and during series one of Torchwood (I'm thinking episode seven) for Owen and others. But, hey, like the Doctor says – time isn't linear.
Author's Note: I should add that, for the purpose of this story, Ten II didn't get get given the coral to grow a TARDIS... not that that really happened on the show anyway, but it was one of the deleted scenes and some might believe it to be cannon.
Do it, do it, DO IT!
The Doctor ran a hand through his dark hair, his teeth biting absentmindedly on the right corner of his bottom lip, small dark eyes studying the house in front of him. Every atom of him wanted to march forward and knock on that impossibly grand, greenish-blue door. It was like a whispering chant rolling around his head.
Do it. Do it. Do it. Do it, do it, do it, do it, doitdoitdoit DO IT!
Over and over and over, faster and faster and faster, like some sort of ridicules alarm bell ringing and ringing inside his mind.
He had been stood, staring at the house, for one hour, fifty-three minutes and thirteen seconds now. And still, with the chanting alarm in his head and the mysterious glances of onlookers, he couldn't move his feet forward to knock.
He knew there was a woman (large pink dress, in her mid-fifties, hair style similar to his own in his forth form) peeping at him through the curtains of the window of a house near by. She had been for ten minutes and thirty-five seconds now; probably with her fingers hovering over the telephone, wondering whether to call the police and tell them there was a strange, young man (Heh! He got that a lot now; young indeed! No matter how many times he told them he was nine-hundred-and-six years old...) who'd been hanging outside the Tyler's for almost two hours. Honestly, people would call the police for anything around here.
Well, let her stare. Let her call the police. Even if they turned up he didn't think they would be able move him. He was frozen so still, studying the giant house in front of him, he didn't think a bulldozer could have moved him.
He wasn't entirely sure those occupying the house were even home. There were no cars parked in their driveway... but did they even have a car? Or did they travel by bus? The house showed signs of a high income though; did they get a taxi everywhere instead? Or walk? Were they out, still at work perhaps; it was seven-forty-nine pm, but who was to say what time they worked? Where did they work anyway? Still Torchwood, or did they not want to work there? The Doctor tried to imagine himself – even in a previous, part-human, incarnation of himself – working at a place full of so many bad memories. He couldn't do it.
The Doctor stared harder at the house, as if trying to x-ray it with his eyes would somehow buffer him the courage to enter it. They would not want him here; certainly not the half-human, and probably not the full blooded humaneither. Why would they? And yet... he couldn't let it go! Why couldn't he just let it go? Why couldn't he let any of it go? And why, why oh why, couldn't he let her go?
"Are you lost?" The accusation of a female voice asked from behind him. Her tone was terribly upper class.
The Doctor allowed his eyes to shrivel briefly round to see a short, dark, middle-aged woman frowning at him, but his head didn't turn and he continued to stare at the house in front. "Sorry?" he murmured distractedly.
"You appear a little... lost. Are you not from around here?" the woman asked, and there was a further sense of accusal in her tone, as though anyone who did not live on this estate, did not belong on this estate. He didn't turn, but he knew she was staring at him. His back burnt with the ice of her gaze.
"No, no, I know perfectly well where I am," he said dryly, his dark eyes still on the house, before he quickly added, "Thank you very much." His tone was deliberately, almost entirely, toneless, leaving the woman to wonder if he was being sincere or not.
She continued to stare at him for several moments before turning to leave, but before she could get within a few meters away, the Doctor turned to stop her. "Wait... Do you know if the– the Tyler's are home?"
He pointed to the grand house he'd been ogling at and the woman frowned at him. "Why? Do you know them?" she asked suspiciously.
"Old friend," he replied, with a wry smile.
The woman narrowed her eyes. "I should suspect they are. I believe I saw them arrive home three hours ago," she spoke quietly, with still steady suspicion.
"Thank you," he said, making sure to be clear in his sincerity this time.
The woman simply pursed her lips and turned on her heel, to leave him standing alone in the street. He sighed. Then, finally, he walked slowly towards the house. As he walked though, a thousand different excuses not to go any further crept unbidden into his mind. He frowned, but did not slow. When had he become such a coward to things like this? He had encountered Slitheen, Cybermen and the Forgers (a nasty blue alien race that shot a rather disgusting amount of yellow blood from their noses) just last week, and yet when it came to his feelings, the instinct to run and hide sprinted through his legs like a cheetah.
He somehow managed to reach the front door though, and his pale knuckles hovered over the clean, greenish-blue paint, but before he knocked he realized that he didn't have a clue of what he was going to say. Not a clue...
But really though, what could he say?
'Hello there! It's me; the Doctor! Yes, the man who abandoned you on that beach in Norway two years ago! Missed me much? Look, I've had work done and everything!'
Well, that certainly wouldn't do. Should he even say he was the Doctor, at all? All he really wanted was to check up on them... just to see if they were all right. That's all. Quickly, get in, get out. That's all, that's it...
Except... he knew that wasn't it. A quick peep into their forever and move on? Just like that? Heh, unlikely.
He sighed, hovering by the door and still with nothing thought up for an excuse. His psychic paper wouldn't work on either of them, and they'd be hostile if they know who he really was, wouldn't they?
But before he could come up with anything useful, the door was swung open and he was looking at a small, dark haired woman in her early twenties, wearing a black dress and white apron. "Oh. Hello," she said timidly. "Can– can I help you?"
"Yes, yes, I think you can..." he stalled for a moment. "Are Rose Tyler and... and her partner here? Do they live here?"
"May I ask who it is?"
Damn, who the bloody hell was he? Quickly, he whipped out the psychic paper, flashing it briefly at her, "Lake; I'm Jackson John Lake."
"Oh." She smiled broadly. "You're the new gardener!"
"I am?" He stared at the psychic paper. "Heh, well look at that. I guess I am."
"Come right this way Mr Lake," said the young woman shyly.
The Doctor followed her into the, very white and rather large, foyer. It was a large house; even larger than it looked outside. And they had a maid? Must be doing pretty well, he mused to himself.
The maid led him to an open door to their left, peering in nervously. "Uhm, Ms Tyler, the gardener is here."
Much too soon and with severe thumps that stalled both his hearts, the Doctor was suddenly looking into the big brown eyes of Rose Tyler. She hadn't changed. Strange, he thought she would have; almost like he had changed so... so should she? Which was totally ridicules. Totally ridicules! Why would she?
She was sat on a brown sofa in the ornamentally decorated drawing room, reading a leather bound book. He had to heavily resist the urge to run over, hug her tight and not let go for a long, long time. Practicality and logical reason won over though, of course, and he did not run over and hug her like she was his oxygen. The stranger that he now was to her, doing that might have been a little frightening for her.
Rose closed her book abruptly and stood up, walking over to join them. The maid leaves with mumbled word and bow of her head, but the Doctor didn't notice. He just... stared at her. He didn't seem to be able to stop. Which was rather worrying, he supposed.
"Hi," said Rose with a smile. "So you're the new gardener? Nice to meet you." She held out her hand. The Doctor didn't move. He was still staring at her face. After many, many seconds of this, her head bent away from his gaze, but not before she frowned at him. "Mr Lake? Are you... feeling okay?" She appeared generally concerned for his sanity.
Abruptly, he blinked and grabbed her outstretched hand, shaking it loosely and amazed at how it felt so much... the same. It still fitted. His hands were softer now, a little smaller, yet it still fitted! He beamed. "Yeah, yes, sorry. Hi – hi there, I'm... well, I'm Jackson Lake."
"Hi Jackson. I'm Rose."
"Rose," he said, grinning so widely his jaw hurt. "Hello, Rose!"
Rose just smirked, hiding a laugh, as if she got this kind of behavior all of the time. Which, thinking of her partner, the Doctor decided she probably does. "So, do you wanna to go to the garden? I can show you around a bit, let you know what needs to be done, yeah?"
The Doctor blinked at her stupidly for a moment. "Garden?"
Rose frowned at him. "Yeah, you know, where you'll be doing the... gardening." She eyed him worriedly, "Are you sure you're feeling alright?"
The garden! Of course – the garden, you idiot! he chided himself. "Oh, of course, the garden. Yeah, right. Lead on," the Doctor said in a rush.
Rose smiled at him and leads him out into the hallway, heading further into the house towards the back door.
"Is your husband home?" he asked, his eyes moving swiftly over the white cabinets and table of the kitchen as they are passing through. It was only a second later he realized what he'd said. Husband? Was he her husband yet? It had been two years; was that enough time to settle down and marry?
"The Doctor's just upstairs," Rose answered with a fond smile.
The Doctor started, taken aback. He waited a moment, frowning hesitantly behind Rose, as they headed through the conservatory. "The... Doctor?" he said tentatively. "That's his name?"
"Oh. Yeah," Rose laughed lightly. "That's what he likes to be called. Just the Doctor." She grinned, nodding, then her smile fell slightly. "Bit unusual, I know," she added quickly, as if she thought being too adapt to having a partner with a title for a name would cause him to be worrying for her sanity.
He wasn't sure why he hadn't been expecting his other self to call himself 'the Doctor'. Why not after all? That was what he had been known as for centuries; what name could even compare? Besides, he couldn't be taken to a 'normal' name at all. It was only right really.
"Sounds perfect to me," he said with a small smile.
"Yeah." Rose smiled, as they exited the house, coming out onto the patio of a large garden exterior. It had a varied array of soft grass and colorful flowers around the side, as well as a number of high trees at the back. They both looked out at it, and the Doctor had to admit it was a nice garden. Hmm, very nice, of course. But, to be honest, he'd much rather be looking at Rose than at this too-green grass. Best not though – he really didn't want her to suspect... things. "Well, this is it. We haven't done much to it; just bought the place, but the Doctor reckoned we'd need someone to tidy it up, look after it... stuff like that." She turned to him. "That okay?"
"Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah," he played like some sort of broken record. Oh Rasilon, you idiot genius, don't hurt yourself. "I mean yes, it's –"
"Rose!" a loud cry, with a very familiar voice, interrupted from within the house.
"Out here! I'm with that new gardener," Rose shouts back, giving the Doctor an apologetic smile.
Within seconds a messy, brown haired man, with tiny freckles and dark brown eyes, was walking out to join them. He was dressed in dark trousers and a casual blue shirt, something the Doctor could never remember seeing on that incarnation before. How odd. Before he stepped foot outside though, his gaze caught the Doctor's and he stilled. Their eyes locked and it became achingly obvious that this clone knew. Oh, he knew who he was alright. Still being able to access an (however small) telepathic ability, he knew almost right away who this 'gardener' was.
The Doctor swallowed heavily, his eyes dark, searing into this other man's and warning him off telling Rose anything. Rose's husband was the first to break it, blinking suddenly and flicking his head abruptly in Rose's direction, bounding down the patio to them both. "So! The gardener, you say?" he asked Rose.
Rose, having been frowning at their odd glances, blinked and nodded at him. "Yeah, Jackson Lake."
His previous self eyed the Doctor up and down. "Bit young aren't you?"
"Doctor!" Rose abolished, hitting her husband playfully on his arm.
The Doctor smirked; he'd been expecting that. "I'm older than I look," he told him, with a tiny tell-tale smile.
Rose's husband just gave him a bit of a withering look, frowning slightly as he tore his gaze away from the Timelord and turned to Rose. "Rose, I think Charlotte wants you. She doesn't seem to have the will to stop crying for me."
"Oh, right. Okay. I'll leave you to tell Jackson the rest then." She turned to the Doctor, "It was nice meeting you. I'll see you again." She smiled at him.
But the Doctor, despite staring avidly at Rose, his eyes practically aching with the intensity, wasn't really listening. His mind was reeling; Charlotte? Who the bloody hell was Charlotte? Their daughter...? Their daughter! They'd had a child? A little girl...?
Rose had soon disappeared back into the house and the Doctor casually leaned back on the railings separating the patio from the garden. His other self watched him with dark eyes, saying nothing, his arms folded. The Doctor looked over the garden, "Nice place. Those weeds could do with picking though, and maybe plant some lilies, right at the end there, they'd be nice. Rose likes lilies, doesn't she?" He looked up at the man next to him. "You'd better tell the gardener that when you get one, heh?"
The other Doctor stared at him, eyes flashing with anger. "What are you doing here?" he asked in a deadly quiet voice.
The Doctor looked away. "Just passing through. Thought I'd pop round."
The other snorted loudly, his eyes going slightly wild as he gave the Doctor the sarcastic 'I'll bloody bet!' look. "Passing through? Really? So, you crossed dimensions, just happening to come across this world where you just happened to have left Rose with a human version of yourself, and decided that since you were just passing through, you'd pop by for a friendly chat?" He practically spat the last word at the other man.
Wow, talk about your overreaction. He was possibly (well, nearly) turning purple with anger. Steam would be blowing from his ears if this were a fictional cartoon. Then again, the Doctor thought to himself, hadn't he rather been expecting a hostile greeting?
The Doctor shrugged, his gaze out on their garden. "Something like that."
He could feel the half-human's gaze burn into his back, but nothing was said for a long while. Eventually, just as the Doctor was beginning to let his thoughts wonder, enjoying the gentle breeze against his face and hair, the man behind him spoke, and his voice had lost some of its hostility, becoming curious. "So, Doctor, tell me... how exactly did you get here?"
The Doctor turned around to face him, much more acute to having a conversation with him now he'd calmed down. "Bit of a nightmare that was," he admitted. "There was a teeny, tiny crack and I was fixing it up, but ended up falling through instead. Hell of a crash landing, I tell you."
The other Doctor raised an eyebrow. "And how will you get back? It's still open? Safe?"
"Yeah, if I get back to the TARDIS within the next twenty-nine hours or so."
"Where is she?"
"Oh, I parked her –"
"Hmphh, crashed her."
"– next to some sort of church in town. And I just wanted to... you know, explore before I headed back to my universe."
"Bit dangerous, isn't that?"
The Doctor shrugged, "Adventurer, me. Practically live in danger."
"Not danger that could collapse the whole of two realities. I see I've become shoddy in my old age." He gave the Doctor a distasteful look.
"Don't worry," the Doctor insisted, "I know what I'm doing. The universe is safe. I wouldn't've come otherwise."
"The universe is never safe," the other murmured, leaning against the railing next to him.
"True," the Doctor admitted. "But I've made sure neither universe will implode, so we and the rest of them are safe in that respect."
The man next to him gave a "hmmph" of still clear disapproval and mistrust.
The Doctor watched him in amusement and smiled widely. "You need to learn to trust yourself, old friend!"
The other looked the Doctor, his eyes piercing, "You're not me. Not anymore."
The Doctor looked down at his (nearly) newly regenerated self. "Suppose not," he said quietly. "Not in appearance," he looked up at the messy haired man next to him, "but I'm still the Doctor, and so are you. We're the same in that respect in any case. Sort of."
He nodded, and looked away. "You abandoned us," he said eventually, after a pause. "I'm only part human." His gaze swung and struck the Doctor sharply, "Do you have any idea idea how hard it was to be without the TARDIS?"
The Doctor nodded apologetically, "I know... I'm sorry." He looked at the other, as he through him a cold glance and looked up at his grand house. "You have Rose," said the Doctor quietly. "I never... I mean, you have her."
The other man looked around and gave the first true smile the Doctor had seen on his face since he'd arrived. "Yes," he said fondly. "I do." He hesitated. "...Thank you. For her."
The Doctor nodded.
"But you should leave. You shouldn't be here; it's not fair. It's not fair on her." The other crossed his arms. "I'm sorry."
Before the Doctor could reply, there was the sound of falling footsteps and Rose appeared beside them. "Hi," she smiled at the Doctor, "Jackson, everything alright?"
"Yeah. Yes, the garden is really," he looked back at the garden behind him – it was really green more than anything else actually, but that probably wouldn't do, "well, it's great. Should be a lot of..." he turned back and his gaze caught Rose's, "well, a lot of fun, working for you." She grinned at him. "Well, I'd... I better go." He looked at his former self. "I've taken enough of your time."
Rose's husband nodded once.
"We'll see you tomorrow then, yeah?" said Rose, following him inside the house. "Your first day?"
"Yes. Sure thing." At the front door, one foot outside, one still lingering longingly in the hallway, he stopped and stared long and hard at Rose. She smiled gently at him, but said nothing. She was just waiting. Waiting for him to leave. And why would it ever be anything else other than that ever again? It wouldn't. She would no longer wish for him to stay because he was no longer an important part of her life. And, even though he knew he was only Jackson Lake – the gardener – to her, that still hurt. He looked at her husband, "Bye... Doctor." And then at Rose; her brown eyes tinged with the gold glittering in the sunlight. "Goodbye Rose Tyler."
And then he turned on his heel, and was gone.