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06 January 2009 @ 09:41 pm
The Blue Rose 2/3  
Title: The Blue Rose
Fandom: Doctor Who
Characters: Tenth Doctor (10/Rose implied)
Rating: PG
Spoilers: Doomsday, Evolution of the Daleks, and a teeny-tiny (blink and you'll miss it) spoiler from S2 Torchwood.

Summary: After risking everything to find Rose, the Doctor must face the terrifying possibility that everything he believes is an illusion.

Part One


Part Two



“Please,” he begged, his words slurred from the levels of sedative in his blood. “Lemme out . . . lemme out of here.”

The psychiatrist shook her head and tried not to make a face at the stink of antiseptic and urine that filled the air in this ward. “You tried to attack an orderly last week, Mr Smith. I'd hardly call that progress.”

“Well, what d'you expect? You're holding me prisoner, 'gainst my will.” In demonstration, he jerked against the restraining field that held him to the bed and didn't even wince at the scrape of electrically charged particles against burnt flesh.

“You're not a prisoner, Mr Smith. You're a patient.”

“Looks th' same from where I'm lying . . . tied up. Did I mention that I'm tied up?”

She watched him for a drawn out moment, then prepared another dosage of sedative. “We're planning another set of treatments for you, but there's only so much physical science can do. The longer you hold onto this fantasy, the more difficult it will be for you to let go and get better.”

“I b'lieve in something that you don't,” he replied, “and that scares you to death . . . doesn't it?”

With a quick jab, she administered the drug. “Good day, Mr Smith.”

“M'name's not . . . not Smith . . . 's the . . . the Doct. . . .”

-=-=-=-=-=-=-


Daleks. Hundreds of them, thousands. All shouting with their metallic voices, “Exterminate!”

He couldn't escape them. He couldn't run, not without Rose. Where was she? Where was Rose? His hand felt so empty.

“Doctor?”

He turned, but instead of a Dalek behind him, there stood Rose. Relief flooded him, almost painful in the release of pent-up anxiety. He reached out to her, but stopped in horror when she looked at him with dead eyes. Tentacles twined around her head and neck, pale gold like the colour of her hair, but thick and disgusting. A Dalek-human hybrid. They'd taken her beautiful body and twisted it into a parody, not quite Dalek, not quite human.

Her eyes glowed, and for a moment he thought she was resisting, that Bad Wolf had emerged to free Rose from the horrors of this existence. But her eyes flashed again, four times, to match the syllables of the word she spoke: “Ex-term-in-ate!”

He woke, screaming.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-


“What is this?” asked Dr Cole, staring at the nurse whose nose dripped blood.

“This? This is that damned John Smith, the nutter in ward forty-two. He's adapted to his medication, again. Got out of the restraining field and nearly took my head off with some sort of fancy martial arts. Took six orderlies to hold him down long enough to sedate, and with him screaming the entire time. The things he says . . . worlds burning, monsters unleashed on the galaxy. It's enough to make me have nightmares.”

“They are nightmares. His nightmares.” Dr Cole sighed. “He adapts too quickly. I've seen it happen before, but this—? The treatments simply aren't working. We'll have to change to something different. They've been experimenting with a new class of anti-psychotic drug in the capital. Perhaps we'll get better results with that. We might even need to try combining medications. Meanwhile, I think we ought to schedule him for another round of electro-therapy. I'll make the arrangements.”

-=-=-=-=-=-=-


“Doctor.”

The gentle voice roused him from a drug-induced sleep. He murmured something in reply, not truly aware. At least, not until the speaker repeated his name and he recognized the voice. In that instant, his eyes flew open and he tried to sit upright. The restraints held him back, prevented him from sitting up, but he struggled against them . . . until she touched his shoulder and whispered, “Shhh. Don't hurt yourself, Doctor.”

“But . . . Rose.” He jerked his arms once more, then fell back with a groan. “What are you doing here? You shouldn't be here.”

“It's all right,” she said, and her fingers smoothed the wrinkles from his forehead.

“What am I saying? I shouldn't be here, never mind you! Speaking of . . . what are you doing here? How'd you get in? More importantly, why aren't you turning off these restraints? We can get out of here, if we hurry. I know where they're keeping my things. Won't take a jiffy to grab the sonic screwdriver and TARDIS key, and we can be off watching the sunrise on Praxallis VII before they even notice we're gone. Beautiful sunrises on Praxallis. All seven worlds have different coloured atmospheres. Seven's at the end of the spectrum—turns to a lovely shade of vermilion when the sun comes up. Interesting word—vermilion, don't you think? Ver-mill-ion. . . .” He repeated it a couple of times, drawing out the sounds. Finally, he gave up and sighed.

“I'm sorry,” she said, still stroking his brow.

“What for? Not your fault, this.”

“Oi! Is that it, then? You just giving up? Letting them win?”

He shrugged, feeling the sting of the restraining field against his shoulders.

“Why aren't you trying to get out of here?” she persisted. “Why aren't you trying to find me?”

“Not much point if you're not real, is there?”

“And who says I'm not real? They do. That isn't you. That isn't what you believe. Is it?”

Finally he looked at her. He'd almost forgotten how beautiful she was, his Rose. All pink and yellow, soft curves and intelligent eyes. He loved her. He'd always loved her, his brave, beautiful Rose. But like all dreams, she began to fade with the morning light. As the sun rose, the room slowly lightened, and the grey mists stole Rose away.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-


The Doctor woke slowly, his mind filled with cotton wool. He had no idea what time it was, and that frightened him. He couldn't tell how long he'd been here, in this hospital, on this planet, whatever it was. They kept injecting him with drugs: sedatives, anti-psychotics, anti-depressants. His body tried to metabolize them, but it couldn't adjust quickly enough, not when they continued to change the medications, and while under their effect, his sense of time all but vanished.

They'd moved him to a different room. The padded cell, again. Vaguely, he supposed it made sense. His wrists carried scars from the restraints, and on at least three occasions he'd ignored the pain long enough to break through the electrical field. Of course they'd move him somewhere more secure.

The straitjacket felt claustrophobic, but he could deal with it. Being alone in the cell, that he approved of. No other patients to stare at him with vacant eyes, to interrupt his musings on escape with their babbling and screeching. On the other hand, he was rather securely bound and it would be much more difficult to get out of here. The room stank, offending his acute senses. And the reason for the nauseating odour offended him even more. The last of the Time Lords, reduced to a dribbling loon, not even allowed toilet privileges.

Oh, yes. He also had an itch, right between his shoulder blades.

How could this have happened? How did he end up here in the first place, and why did they insist on questioning his sanity?

A terrifying image flashed before his eyes, that of a sun collapsing in on itself. Garish colours swirled around, reds and oranges, like blood circling the drain of an obsidian bath. Beside it flared another sun, copper and white, so bright that it hurt his eyes. A binary system in its death throes. But such an event, one sun going nova while the other became a black hole . . . he'd never seen such a thing happen, wasn't even sure it could happen. And supposing, theoretically, that it could actually occur, for anyone to be near enough to witness it would be suicide. Madness, indeed.

He felt himself teetering on the brink between those two stars—one pulling, reaching for him with Death's grasp, while the other pulsed with all the energy and life of the universe.

Just for a moment, he wondered if they were right. If he'd gone insane and invented Rose and all of his other companions as a coping mechanism. It didn't seem so far-fetched. The human mind was capable of taking extreme measures to protect itself, after all.

But he wasn't human. And Rose was real.

She had to be. Or he truly had nothing left.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-


“And how are you this morning . . . Mr Smith, is it?”

From his place on the floor of the padded room, he groaned in response to the sudden flood of light that heralded the psychiatrist's visit. The straitjacket wouldn't allow him to raise his arms to cover his face, so he had to settle for screwing his eyes shut.

“Sorry for the lights,” the man said, and a moment later the room dimmed to a tolerable level. “There, that's better, isn't it? My name is Dr Gray Franklin. I've been assigned to your case, now that Dr Cole has retired. Do you mind if I sit?”

“I'd offer you tea,” he said in a voice rough from disuse, “but I haven't been to the market in some time, I'm afraid.”

To his surprise, Dr Franklin laughed. That gave him reason enough to try to sit up. The straitjacket made it difficult, but he managed to get upright enough to lean his head against the padded wall.

“I've read your file, Mr Smith—may I call you John?”

He shrugged. “Doesn't seem to matter what anyone calls me, here.”

“Yes, I understand that you claimed to be a doctor when you arrived. May I ask what speciality you practised?”

Suspicious, he narrowed his eyes at this new psychiatrist. “A bit of everything, actually. Science, literature, history, philosophy. . . .”

“I see. How interesting. Well then, would you prefer it if I called you Dr Smith?”

He shrugged again, losing interest. What difference did it make what anyone called him? He didn't exist anymore. Not really.

The psychiatrist lowered himself to the padded floor and crossed his legs in front of him. “I understand that you've had some difficulty with the medications Dr Cole tried. Are you still experiencing hallucinations?”

“That depends,” he drawled, “are you really here?”

The doctor laughed again, a nice enough sound. Better than the screams he heard at night, the tortured pleas for mercy, the accusations and damnations of all those he'd failed to save. He saw them, every time he opened his eyes. He felt their hands grasping at him, pulling him into a hell that he deserved. And he saw her . . . Rose. Whenever he closed his eyes he saw her standing before him, wearing a black leather jacket that reminded him of the one he'd worn a lifetime ago, and with tears filling her beautiful eyes because he hadn't been able to save her.

“. . . Mr Smith?”

“She isn't real, is she?” he finally said, quiet and broken.

“She's real to you,” the doctor replied, just as quietly.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-


“I want to see the stars,” he said to Dr Franklin. “You asked if there was anything you could do for me—I want to see the stars. I appreciate all that you've done. Letting me have a bed, instead of a padded cell. Reducing the restraints. Scaling back the medications. All of that. I just . . . I need to see the stars.”

“We'll see. Perhaps later this month, if you continue to make improvement.”

He turned his head away, the only sort of privacy allowed in this place. At least in the padded cell no one had been watching him . . . no one except for the ghosts of his imagination.

Dr Franklin sat beside the bed. “I've brought you something, John. A bit of research, to help convince you of reality.”

“You've already convinced me,” he replied without emotion.

“Perhaps. Still, I've found that sometimes concrete evidence can make a difference to the subconscious mind. Here.” He took a printout from his coat pocket and handed it to John Smith. “Records from Earth, specifically London of the twentieth century, supporting the fact that a military organization known as UNIT never existed. Likewise for the girl you call Rose Tyler and her friend Mickey Smith. The Time Agency says they've never had an agent by the name of Jack Harkness. My brother is an Agent, and—don't tell anyone, but I asked him to check even the classified records. I also looked for signs of an unusual blue box anywhere in the city, but no one's reported anything like that.”

The words “perception filter” ran through his mind, but he shoved them away. Instead, he nodded. “Right. I'm not an alien, I'm just like everyone else here. I haven't got two hearts—only a congenital heart defect. Everything I said about aliens and monsters and other worlds . . . it was all a fabrication. A lie. I believe you,” he said, and he meant it.

“What I can't figure out,” he continued, “is where did I come from? Where've I spent my life, if what I remember isn't true? Who am I, if not the Doctor?”

Dr Franklin shook his head. “Your identity isn't on file. We've checked your fingerprints and retina scans, even your DNA code, but they match nothing in the database. In all likelihood that means you were born on one of the outer colonies. They don't register their births as often as they should, so it's possible that you slipped through the cracks. We do have a likely candidate, however. The Empire lost communication with the Theta colony about twenty-five years ago. When they finally sent someone to investigate, they discovered nothing but a wasteland. A few of the ship-to-surface shuttles were gone, so they assume at least a handful of survivors, but no one's been able to locate any of them. You would have been a child when it happened, but if you could remember, it would mean a great deal to the families still on Earth.”

“But I don't,” he answered harshly. “I don't remember anything except for a handful of lies and delusions.”

“Well. In any case, I thought you should know—the ship that brought the original colonists to the planet was called The Blue Rose.”

-=-=-=-=-=-=-


“Rose? Where are we?”

She stood in front of him, her arms tucked around herself in defence of the cold breeze. Strands of her hair blew about, obscuring his view of her beautiful face, but she made no move to control them. He did it himself, tucking the dancing bits of hair behind her ears with quick fingers. Her hair was longer than he'd remembered, the colour a shade darker. But still yellow. Yellow and pink, that's his Rose. Or was she blue?

“Where are we?” he repeated, though he knew the answer. This place haunted his nightmares more often than Arcadia. Dårlig Ulv Stranden . . . the place he'd last seen Rose.

She unfolded her arms and reached one hand out to him. He stared at her fingertips as they neared his face, until he jerked away. “No. No touch. Only . . . only a hologram. Remember? This . . . all of this is a projection, through the last crack in the barrier between worlds.”

He could only see her—he couldn't touch her. Couldn't hold her as she wept. Couldn't cling to her as they both so desperately needed. It was only a projection, a hologram, an illusion.

Could it really be so simple? An illusion. Nothing more? After the Time War—no, after the colonial disaster—he'd needed someone; at the height of his reckless despair, he'd found her: someone to give him strength, someone to hold his hand, someone to save him. How many times Rose had saved him!

Now . . . now he had to save himself, by letting go.

“Am I ever gonna see you again?” Rose asked, her voice cracking with sorrow.

He hesitated, so very afraid. The grief in her eyes nearly broke him. Still, he shook his head minutely. “You can't.”

He stood there and watched her heart break, to save his sanity. And then he left her crying on a deserted beach that existed only in his mind.

To Be Concluded. . . .



 
 
 
( 15 comments — Leave Feedback )
capemaynutscapemaynuts on January 7th, 2009 05:45 am (UTC)
Oh no! Don't give up Doctor!
orianna2000orianna2000 on January 7th, 2009 08:38 pm (UTC)
If there's one thing I've learned, it's that sanity is fleeting. And when the world is against you, sometimes it's easier to give in than to keep fighting a losing battle. But there will be a happy ending, of sorts.
jellybean728: 10th Doctor - Sad-Midnightjellybean728 on January 7th, 2009 03:12 pm (UTC)
What?!

What?!

WHAT?

No, Doctor, don't give up on Rose, you rude, not ginger fool. She's real.

She is.

Right?
orianna2000orianna2000 on January 7th, 2009 08:35 pm (UTC)
*whistles innocently*

;)
postverta: poutpostverta on January 7th, 2009 04:55 pm (UTC)
Poor poor Doctor :(
orianna2000orianna2000 on January 7th, 2009 08:36 pm (UTC)
I know. I hated writing these parts of the story, because I felt so terrible about putting the Doctor through this!
togetheragain21 on January 7th, 2009 08:33 pm (UTC)
Don't give up Doctor.If theres one thing you should believe in it is Rose.
orianna2000orianna2000 on January 7th, 2009 08:37 pm (UTC)
Yup, she is his "shining star" . . . ooh, I should've found a way to work some of the lyrics into the story. Oh, well.
sunnytyler001: Bad wolfsunnytyler001 on January 7th, 2009 09:39 pm (UTC)
Awww!!!! Bad wolf, where are you when you are SO needed?
orianna2000orianna2000 on January 8th, 2009 01:00 am (UTC)
Bad Wolf . . . now there's a fix-it that I hadn't considered! :)
sunnytyler001: Bad wolfsunnytyler001 on January 8th, 2009 06:11 pm (UTC)
Welcome to the cult of the Bad wolf!
*worships*
(Lol!)
earlgreytea68: Doctor/Roseearlgreytea68 on January 8th, 2009 03:47 am (UTC)
Gah! This is amazing! I want the rest!
orianna2000orianna2000 on January 8th, 2009 05:03 am (UTC)
I'll try to put the last chapter up tomorrow (Thursday). Sorry the second chapter was so late in coming, but construction crews accidentally cut the cable line and I couldn't get online for two days!
tempusdominus10tempusdominus10 on January 8th, 2009 12:02 pm (UTC)
He's just faking, damn it.
orianna2000orianna2000 on January 8th, 2009 06:52 pm (UTC)
Faking . . . inside his own head?

;)
( 15 comments — Leave Feedback )