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The ghosts of Christmas past

 

The ghosts of Christmas past

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After Doomsday, The Doctor is missing Rose and not handling it very well, then seeing her fleetingly at Bad Wolf Bay makes him even worse.  Rose Tyler is now in Pete's World and is missing him just as much when it comes to Christmas parties and pink paper hats.  He is busy trying to find a way to get to her but as usual keeps getting distracted.



After Doomsday, The Doctor is missing Rose and not handling it very well, then seeing her fleetingly at Bad Wolf Bay makes him even worse.  Rose Tyler is now in Pete's World and is missing him just as much when it comes to Christmas parties and pink paper hats.  He is busy trying to find a way to get to her but as usual keeps getting distracted.

Chapter 1

The Doctor had a tear in his eye after saying goodbye to Rose on a beach in Norway so he shouldn't have been surprised to see a feisty woman with ginger hair being annoyed with him and demanding he took her home.  After the woman, who was in her wedding dress had opened the Tardis doors whilst they were hovering around burning up a sun, she had noticed Rose's jacket.

"So, where is she then?" the bride had demanded to know, having introduced herself as Donna Noble.

"She's gone, I lost her," the Doctor had to admit.  "Before you say anything else, I don't want to talk about it.  I was saying goodbye to her when you appeared."

The Doctor dashed around the console, mainly to avoid Donna's stare.  It didn't however stop Donna being sarcastic.

"Saying goodbye to who exactly, spaceman?" Donna wanted to know, The Doctor taking the mauve jacket from her and tossing over the rail.  "A ghost?" she mocked.

The Doctor hoped she wasn't going to keep calling him that, or something else like a long piece of alien nothing, since she'd noticed already how skinny he was as he'd put his jacket over her shoulders and she'd shrugged it off.  He thought she should be grateful the clever Tardis had stopped her falling out.

"So, getting married?" he asked her.

"No, I'm going tenpin bowling, whatcha think?" Donna replied.  "Just hurry up and get this thing on the ground, on planet Earth, Chiswick to be precise," she demanded.

The Doctor went back to the controls.

"Yes, right, Chiswick here we come!" he tried to sound enthusiastic.

He wasn't feeling enthusiastic.  They finally landed with a 'Thud' and Donna couldn't get out fast enough, flinging the doors open after gathering up her wedding dress.  The Doctor put the handbrake on and forgetting his coat went chasing after her, almost colliding with her as she'd turned round.

"It's just a wooden box," Donna told him.  "How the hell did we both fit in there?  I said take me to the church."

The Doctor didn't recall her mentioning a church but she was in her wedding dress.  Donna had finished her tour around the outside of the police box then without any warning, she ran off.  The Doctor slammed both doors shut and ran after her.

Before he could get any money from the cash machine when Donna wanted to get a taxi, having been thrown out of one already, Donna had been captured by a robot Santa and he was chasing after them.  They were now on top of a tall building, looking down below as Donna looked at her watch.

"Go on then, robot Santas, wots all that about?" Donna wanted to know as The Doctor sat beside her on the edge of the building.

The Doctor wanted to change the subject.

"I spent last Christmas over there, the Powell estate," he nodded in the general direction of where Rose used to live.

He'd landed the Tardis in the precinct outside her old block of flats after losing her, thankful Pete had appeared at the last possible second and grabbed Rose and in the early morning had let himself in using his sonic screwdriver and grabbed what he could before their relatives found out Rose and her mother were more than just missing and they had to clear the place.

He had stopped as he'd gone in Rose's old room and had seen her trophy she'd won at school for gymnastics.  Now, Donna was snapping him out of dwelling in the past.  Rose was just a memory now and it saddened him he'd never told her how he felt about her, even just a few hours ago on that beach in Norway.  How had he managed to make the gap come out in Norway?

He bet Jackie had been annoyed with it, since she was pregnant, she would have had plenty to say but she would have been comforting poor Rose.  He wondered if it was Christmas where she was now?

"It's too late now," Donna told him as he offered his jacket to her again as he got up to get his sonic screwdriver out of the inside pocket.

This time she took it.

"Why get married on Christmas Eve?" the Doctor was curious.

"We got a good deal and a cheap honeymoon," Donna was reluctant to tell him.  "Come on Martian, you have some explaining to do for kidnapping me," she then told him.

"I'm not from Mars," The Doctor reminded her.

They finally got to the wedding reception, where the celebrations were in full swing, her intended groom dancing with her friend.  After a tearful reunion, Donna faking the tears, he stood at the bar and asked to borrow a mobile phone to look up the company Donna was temping for.

He learned that it was a subsidiary of Torchwood, whoever they were then handing the phone back, turned to watch the dancing.  It was too much when a couple were dancing close, the man dressed in a suit similar to his own and the woman, who had blonde hair and was wearing purple, like Rose had been doing the last time he'd seen her fell into the man's arms in time to the music.

He shook his head to clear the thought of him catching Rose when she'd been taken over by Cassandra and had just been recovering.  He smiled at the thought of catching her and he should have done something about it other than take Cassandra back to when she was Human.  The moment had been lost and before he'd known it, Mickey the idiot was travelling with them and he'd almost been tempted to stay with Reinette.

What had he been thinking back then?  The Frenchwoman had assumed he was available and he should have told her he wasn't.  Maybe she wouldn't have let him save her though?

The Doctor then decided to have a look at a video of what had happened prior to Donna landing in the Tardis since imagining Rose was there wasn't doing him any good.

"Good trick, I was clapping," the photographer grinned as The Doctor put his specs on for a closer look.  "They should send it to 'You've been framed'."

"They're Huon Particles," The Doctor declared as Donna was fading away.  "That's ancient, they're impossible."

He ran off to warn Donna she wasn't safe and caught a glance of a row of robot Santas outside then he turned to see all the children gathered close to the Christmas tree.  After disposing of the said robot Santas, he got Donna's intended husband to drive them to HC Clements.

After taking Donna to the dawn of time and draining the river Thames, he managed to take her home.

"Come and have Christmas dinner," Donna tried to tempt him.

"Ah, I don't do Christmas, not any more," he refused her.

"You did last year, you told me," Donna insisted.  "Who was she?  What was her name?"

"Her name was Rose," he told her sadly.  "She was…."

"You don't have to tell me, spaceman," Donna smiled.  "Why can't you find her?"

"She went to where those Cybermen came from," he told her, having asked earlier why she didn't remember them, Donna saying she'd been in Spain at the time.

"You've got a spaceship," she pointed to the Tardis.

"It doesn't work like that Donna," he tried to explain.

"Well make it work like that then," Donna suggested.  "Was she special?"

"Yeah but I have to face it Donna, she's gone, I can't change events," he replied sadly.

"Well only you can do something about it, spaceman," Donna reminded him.  "So, Christmas dinner?"

"I should move the Tardis, before she drifts off," he made the excuse as he opened the Tardis door.

"You're not coming back, are you?" Donna was pretty sure he was going to sneak off.

"You got me," he admitted.  "There is something I can do though," he added, reaching to the top of the Tardis.

Donna laughed as suddenly snow started to fall.

"Promise me you'll find someone," she urged him.

"I don't need anyone," he protested.  "Not after Rose."

Donna thought for a moment, the snow melting on her.

"Well I think you do, you need someone to stop you.  I can't go with you," Donna reminded him.  "Go on then, we might see each other again," she smiled.

"If I'm lucky," The Doctor smiled back.

"Rose will be okay, Doctor," Donna tried to assure him

"Yeah, she has her family," he agreed as he stepped inside the Tardis but Donna called after him.

"Doctor!" she yelled.

"What now?" The Doctor answered her.

"She'll be just as sad as you are."

"Nah, she'll cheer up," he tried to convince himself.

He watched Donna on the monitor and decided to show off as he took the Tardis into flight.  He had no idea where he was going but he would maybe go somewhere where it wasn't Christmas.

In the parallel universe, AKA Pete's World, Jackie Tyler was putting the finishing touches to the large table as the serving staff had brought everything into the family dining room, not the one she'd decided was for dinner parties.
Three Christmases they'd spent there, her and Rose and now a toddler running around, whom Rose was trying to get him into his baby chair.

"He's gettin' too big for this Mum," Rose warned her as she fastened the strap and gave him half a breadstick to chew on while they waited for Pete and Mickey to join them.

They'd had a big party last night, everyone from Torchwood who Rose was friends with and some from Vitex Pete still kept in touch with.  He had put someone in charge of making sure both places had their own Christmas parties a few days ago and Rose had represented him at Vitex and they'd both stayed a while at the Torchwood one.

The only thing that had put Rose off was party hats – of the pink paper type.  Mickey had to rescue her a few times when someone at Torchwood was trying to place one on her head by saying she'd left one on another table, for which Rose had been grateful to him.  Mickey had thought she might be grateful enough to start going out with him again but so far, it hadn't worked.

When they'd got out, Mickey had tried to bring up the subject as he was dropping her home.

"Come on Rose, we've been here three years now," he'd reminded her as they'd sat in his car outside the mansion, snow starting to fall.

"Ya'd best get going Mickey," Rose had tried to avoid answering him.

"Yeah, I know but ya can't avoid the subject Rose.  You avoid all the men at work, like The Doctor's gonna suddenly appear from nowhere or come through that rift in Cardiff."

"Very funny Micks," Rose had replied as she went for the door handle and missing it in the dark.  "You said that, not me."

"You have to face it Rose, he would have found a way by now," he'd had to remind her.

She hadn't wanted him leaning over to open it so she'd hinted for him to put the interior light on.  She had watched him drive off in his flash car, which was a far cry from the yellow Beetle he'd had in their old world.  He was still disappointed she'd not agreed to start going out with him but they were both different people now.

Rose had responsibilities of representing Pete and heiress to Pete's estate and Vitex, after her mother was taken care of, then Tony when he reached 21.  She came out of her daydream back to the present as Tony was trying to hand the soggy breadstick to her.

Jake was joining them for a small party later, just a few friends were attending this one though.  Rose sat next to her baby brother, no-one was going to try to explain to the young boy he was only her half brother, there was no question about it that he'd be treated as such.

She'd argued with her mother but Rose had insisted she would sort him out so Jackie could have a break and sit at the side of Pete.  Jackie had married him within a few months, at a private ceremony at the registry office and Rose swore he'd got Jackie's name wrong like her real father had done.  The whole thing to Rose had been freaky to say the least.  At least Mickey had been there this time though.

Tony, her baby brother was learning to talk and could say 'icky' and 'Roe' to which they would laugh at his attempts but he had trouble saying Jake's name.  Mickey entered, followed by Pete.

"Hey Rose, coming to visit my gran later?" he asked hopefully, since his grandmother always asked about her.

"As long as she doesn't ask me if we're still going out together," Rose agreed.

"I've tried telling her Rose," Mickey replied, ruffling Tony's hair and making the boy laugh.  "It's better than her thinking I'm going out with Jake."

That made Jackie start laughing.

"You got yourself in a right mess there Mickey," Jackie told him as she sat down, Pete holding the chair for her.

She had often wondered if her Pete would have got manners like that, if he'd been a success back where they came from.  Why did she still think about it?  She was just as bad as Rose when it came to ghosts from the past.  No, she didn't want to think about ghosts, well not silver ones anyway.

She had felt so stupid thinking one of them had been her father.  

They all tucked into the food, Jackie telling the staff to go get theirs and leave them to it.  Jackie was never bossy with them and mostly left them to get on with it except going to join them in the kitchen for tea and gossip.  Mickey was handing out presents, teasing Rose she still owed him from Christmas 2005 in their old world when he lent her twenty quid to buy her mother something.

"Ya know I'm good for it," Rose replied shyly, Pete asking what all that was about.

"Don't they pay ya enough?" Jackie wanted to know.  "Anyway, that was a Christmas and a half, that was," she reminded them.  "Glad ya left me behind when ya went on board that spaceship."

Pete had learned all about The Doctor from them all, well most of it but he still hadn't asked Rose what their relationship had been like.  He knew from all the complaining Mickey used to do that they used to go out together before the Timelord had come along, even if he had been in a different form.  Then he'd learned that the one he'd met hadn't looked like that originally and wondered how Rose had felt about that one.

He had known by her reactions that she'd been in love when they'd visited before, partly from the way they'd hugged and the look on Mickey's face as he'd left them.  He had known how hurt Rose felt being parted from the man he was sure she was in love with, even now.  He expected it would still take her a very long time to get over him when there were things that reminded her all around her.

Mickey had talked Rose into going to see his gran, whom he'd got out of that dreadful place she'd been living in and into a complex with her own room and bathroom/kitchen area but someone to talk to in the communal living area.  He had wanted her to move in with him and Jackie had even offered for her to move in with them but he'd not been able to talk her into either so far.

On the way over, presents in the back of Mickey's car, Rose reminded him the offer was still open.

"I tried Rose, she's not having any of it," Mickey replied.  "You talk to her then," he suggested.

"Mickey, she'll think you live with us if I do," Rose laughed.

Mickey thought that wasn't such a bad idea but his gran would assume they'd been living together all along, Rose wouldn't be happy about that, would she?

"Rose, ya have to face reality," he reminded her.  "It's not that you're ever gonna meet either a Doctor look-alike or he's gonna split himself in two and send another version of him to live here."

"Stop it Mickey," Rose didn't want to be reminded of the fact either of the two were never going to happen.

"Ya have to accept it, then move on," he didn't give up as they approached the sprawling retirement complex, since there was only the one level.

Mickey had been haunted by the fact his real gran had tripped and fallen in their old world, resulting in her death a few days after from her injuries.  No-one had expected it at the time, she had been such a great woman considering her age.  This one reminded him so much of her, he'd not been able to walk away and leave her to the same fate.

They checked in at reception and found her with the other residents watching an old Christmas film on TV.  It made him smile since she could only listen to the audio commentary through her hearing device, glad they'd done away with Lumic's invention.  One of the staff approached her to say Rose and Mickey were there and led her into another sitting room.

"Hi Gran," Mickey greeted her.

"Ricky?  You're late," she chastised him as she was guided to sit, making Rose and the woman who'd helped her smile as she tried to find Mickey's arm to hit.  "Have you two got married yet?"

"Gran, we're not getting married," Mickey reminded her for the hundredth time, wondering how she knew Rose was there.

"Well it's about time you did," she replied, turning towards Rose.  "Rose, I like your perfume dear, you always smell so nice, unlike my grandson," she turned back to Mickey.

Rose went to sit beside the woman and took her arm, Mickey sitting on the chair just at the side.

"How's your mother Rose?" Rose was then asked as Mickey put the presents on the coffee table.

"She's fine and sends her love.  She wished you'd been able to join us," Rose told her.

"She doesn't need me there," the woman reminded Rose.  "How's your baby brother?  He must be getting big now?  I bet he's bigger than Ricky was at that age?"

"Stop bringing up the past Gran," Mickey objected.  "We brought presents."

"I'm sure Rose wants to hear about it, don't you Rose?  I still don't remember you from all that time ago, Ricky said you'd known each other a long time."

Rose was wishing Mickey would keep his big mouth shut concerning the past.  She swore he would blurt out that the reason his gran didn't remember was because it had been on another world.

"Yeah, I lived a long way away, that's why," Rose had to cover for Mickey.  "Hope ya like the presents."

The woman shook and smelled at each present in turn and Rose helped her unwrap them.  She just hoped they wouldn't be asked any awkward presents like when they were going to present her with some great-grandchildren.  The woman was going to be sorely disappointed, that was for sure.

On the way home, Jackie had asked them to see if any stores were open to get a few last minute things but Mickey knew Rose was disturbed that his gran still expected too much of them.

"Come on Rose, she's not getting any younger," Mickey reminded her.  "If it makes her happy to think about it?"

"It's not fair Mickey," Rose objected.  "What if I do meet someone one day and she finds out?  It's gonna be heart-breaking for her.  Ya can't let her keep hoping like that."

"Like you keep hoping that The Doctor will find his way here?" Mickey replied.

"Stop the car Mickey," Rose demanded, Mickey knowing she meant it but carried on since he knew they were approaching an open store they'd passed earlier.

"You know that's different Mickey," Rose sounded angry.  "He sent a message, who says he won't discover a way here?"

"Rose, don't go on about it," Mickey told her as he pulled into the small parking area.  "He would have done so, we're three years in front."

"I know that.  Who's going in the store?" she huffed, folding her arms that meant she wasn't going in with him.

"Afraid someone will tell my gran we were shopping together?" Mickey joked as he took his seatbelt off.

Rose smacked his arm in response.

"You two fallen out again?" Jackie asked them as Mickey handed her the bag with the items she'd wanted, Jackie noticing a different brand than she normally got.  "Don't think I don't know when you've chosen something, Mickey Smith.  What was it about this time?"

"What is it with you two?" Pete wanted to know as he sat playing with a toy Tony had been given.  "Isn't it time you forgot the past?" he aimed at Rose.

"I have to do it in my own time Dad," Rose replied.

"Well Mickey's only trying to help.  We all are," Pete reminded her.  "You have to shake the ghosts off Rose."

Why did she, she wondered as she went to sit next to Tony.  If non of them had come here, her little brother wouldn't be laughing as she tickled him, Pete wouldn't finally have a version of his wife who wasn't threatening to divorce him every five minutes and all the hard work Jackie had done raising herself on her own had finally paid off and she had her husband back, her successful husband.

Maybe Pete was right and she did see ghosts everywhere of The Doctor?  She wasn't ready to give them up yet.

The Doctor had gone back to the nebula he'd been hiding in while talking to Rose, opening up the Tardis engines to soak up more power in one last attempt to finish the conversation he'd been having with Rose, whenever it had been for her, or him for that matter, time being as it was, he thought.

He opened up communications and concentrated so what he was about to say went forward three years, hoping it would work.  He'd been connecting wires together after he'd dropped Donna off outside her house and figured Rose was worth another attempt, even if it meant he'd have to stay where he was for longer to build up power again.

He'd closed everything down that didn't need power and stood in front of the monitor again, pointing his sonic screwdriver and hoped he'd put in enough work to be rewarded by seeing Rose.  He wouldn't be able to appear on a beach again but he hoped his calculations were right and he'd pinpoint her in Pete's mansion and the clever Tardis would lock onto her.

He knew he shouldn't have waited until the last possible second to tell Rose he loved her.  He'd kept her waiting all that time and he still couldn't face the fact he did love her.  He knew it had been three years so he was trying to work out the time difference, since where he was presently had no concept of time.

Rose had just escaped to get ready for the evening party and had gone back to her room.  

"Where are ya sneakin' off to?" her mother had wanted to know as she went upstairs.

"I just need a rest before tonight Mum," Rose tried to get away with it.

"Seriously, you and Mickey need to stop falling out," Rose was reminded.  "Ya can't keep blamin' him all the time."

Rose lay on the bed and began to think about the night she'd heard the Doctor's voice calling her name and they'd driven up to Norway to see him, well sort of see him.  She'd thought at the time it had been the same as a fan chasing after a favourite band or actor to see them in person.  Well that may have been a little extreme to travel all the way up there.

She closed her eyes, wishing she could hear his voice one more time but what if she did?  Pete wouldn't thank her for dragging him to Norway again and she'd just argued with Mickey so he was unlikely to volunteer to go with her.

The Doctor thought it was now or never but what if she'd forgotten about him or she wasn't even there?  A lot could have happened, she could have a boyfriend or made up with Mickey the idiot for all he knew.  Well either of them shouldn't really surprise him.  If he were able to, he'd happily split himself in two and send a part of him to be with her.

Maybe there was someone out there who looked like him and Rose may meet them one day?  He wished he'd thought about it sooner, he could have looked anyone up and made sure they'd meet.  He knew he had to stop delaying before he ran out of time again but in preparing for this, he'd made sure he'd have enough time to finish properly, instead of leaving her wondering what he'd been going to say.

"Rose!" he called out, hoping she could still tell he could reach her telepathically and putting extra effort into it.

Rose's eyes opened wide and she sprang up off the bed, shaking her head.  Had she been thinking of the time he'd called her just after they'd been left here?

"Rose!" he called again, thinking she may be shocked to hear his voice.  "Rose!"

Rose waited for confirmation it was not her imagination playing tricks on her, if it was, she wouldn't hear her name three times.  The last time she had thought she'd been dreaming and everyone would have thought she was mad.

"Doctor?" she answered quietly in case her mother was passing her room and called a therapist.

"Rose!  I had no idea this was going to work!" he exclaimed.  "Are you in the mansion?"

"Yeah, the same room I was in last time," Rose replied, thinking it was odd to be having this conversation with him.

"My aim was right for once then?" he laughed.  "I have so much I want to say to you, I'm sorry I faded away the last time.  I know I kept you guessing?"

"Guessing what, Doctor?" Rose pretended she didn't know.

If he was going to do it to her again, her heart couldn't break any more that it had already done.

"Now Rose, you know what I meant," he insisted.

"Can't I see ya this time?" she changed the subject.

"Well I can try but it may shorten the time we have.  I can make it so you can see me though?" he offered.

"It's not fair if it's not both ways," Rose replied sadly, The Doctor hearing it in her voice,

"It doesn't matter about me Rose.  Hold on."

He aimed the sonic at the controls and twisted a dial setting, thinking maybe later he should update the screwdriver to digital.

"Is that better?" he asked as he appeared faintly in front of where he guessed Rose was.  "Did I get it right?"

Rose felt tears running down her cheeks.  She had thought she would never see him again after the last time.

"Yeah, just about.  Ya still look like a ghost.  Why have I been thinking about seeing ya again and ya just contact me?" she cried.

"Rose, please don't cry?" he felt sad about what he was doing to her again.  "We can just talk if you want?"

"No, I'll be fine," Rose bluffed.

"Best not let your mother see you or she'll be putting you in a spa retreat for a week!" he laughed.  "Rose, promise me you're okay."

"I was.  Mickey's been tryin' to get me to go out again," she had to admit.

"Ah, still got Mister Mickey then?" The Doctor tried to be serious.  "You should.  Go out with him, I mean."

"I just can't, although his gran thinks we are," Rose tried to smile.  "Don't go there Doctor, please?  How've ya been anyway?  Have ya been looking after yaself?"

"I try," he tried to convince her.

"Did ya get anyone else to travel with ya?" she wanted to know, hoping they had a bit longer than last time and her mother really wouldn't catch her.

"Actually, I just dropped someone off," he assured her, trying to change the subject of Donna in the Tardis just after he'd spoken to her the last time.  "Is it Christmas where you are?"

"Yeah, how did ya guess?" Rose smiled as she still had her fluffy white Christmas jumper with a star and a snowman on it.  "Tony loved all the excitement earlier."

"That would be the baby your mother was expecting then?" he tried to work out, hoping it wasn't Rose's but that was up to her.

"Yeah, he's a cheeky little rascal," Rose really did laugh this time.

"He makes you happy?" The Doctor wondered, glad something good had come out of them all being stuck in the wrong world.

"Yeah, he cheered everyone up when there was no way back.  Doctor, what happened when we disappeared?" she wanted to know.

"Rose, you know I can't tell you much," he reminded her.  "You're just on the list of the missing, that's all.  I retrieved a few things from your flat, personal stuff, just in case I could ever get it to you."

"Aw, thanks Doctor, that means a lot," she thanked him.  "You're fading a bit more," she admitted.  "You've no idea how good it is to see ya again."

"I wish I could see you again," he admitted, looking down.  "If I did, it really would shorten the time we have.  Rose, you said something, the last time."

"Yeah.  I meant it Doctor and I should have told ya but I was too scared," she admitted.  "I love you, Doctor and I've been trying to imaging what ya would have said if ya'd not faded away."

"I know, I took too long but I couldn't have left you holding on, it wasn't fair.  Rose, I promise I will work on a way to come through properly or get you back here.  Don't give up," he begged her.

"I won't Doctor but ya'd better hurry up and say what ya meant to say the last time before ya fade away again," she urged him.

"Yes.  Well," he faltered.  "Best get on with it.  Rose Tyler, I know how long you've waited to hear me say this and I truly mean it.  I love you, I always will do, no matter how many times I change."

"Doctor, I still love ya too," Rose tried to hold more tears back.  "Thank you, for all the times we spent together."

"It was my pleasure," he replied.  "I'm going to disappear again but watch out for me, promise?" he added as he disappeared from her view after he had got more ghostly.

Rose sat on the bed, her fingers trying to wipe her tears.  Jackie was just passing having said goodnight to Tony and leaving him with his nanny for the night, in view of the upcoming party.  She was sure she'd heard voices earlier and had stopped, knocking on the door.

"Rose, are ya on the phone to someone?" she wanted to know as she opened the door slightly.  "Rose?" she then saw Rose leaning over.  "What's wrong sweetheart?"

She dashed over to sit next to Rose, putting her arm around her shoulder.

"I saw him again Mum," Rose tried to tell her.

"Rose, it was just your imagination," Jackie tried to convince her.

"I knew ya'd tell me that," Rose tried to smile.  "I wasn't, he really did appear to me, it wasn't a dream.  Does it look like I'd been asleep on the bed?"

Jackie turned to the pillows and saw no impressions of Rose's head on either of them.

"Well?  I have to believe ya then?" Jackie had to give in.  "What did himself have ta say then?"

"What I was waiting for him to say the last time but he left it too late, as always," Rose replied.

"What was that then?" Jackie wanted to know.

Rose thought it was best not to admit he'd said he loved her.

"Just that he missed me as much as I miss him," was all she wanted to admit.

"Are ya sure that's all?" Jackie didn't believe her.  "I think it was more than that Rose, it must have been important for him ta contact ya again.  Did he say where he was?"

"In a nebula, probably?" Rose couldn't remember if he'd mentioned it or not.

She thought it was best not to tell her he'd mentioned he'd had someone else with him recently, who he'd just dropped off.

"Well I hope he said more than last time," Jackie remarked.  "Are ya gettin' ready for the party?"

Rose knew she'd have to make an effort so she got up and went to choose something to wear.  After the visit from The Doctor, she had to keep hoping he'd keep his promise to her.  She never told Mickey about what had happened, she thought it would be just one more thing for him to torment her about.

The Doctor swore he would keep his promise to her but one thing led to another, as always.  He'd tried his best to find a way but when he met up with Jack again and got his hand back that he'd lost in a sword fight the Christmas he'd regenerated, Jack gave him an idea.

They were at Martha's flat and she had gone to her room to get some more clothes to take with her.  Jack was surprised she hadn't told them she was staying put after they'd been flung to the end of the universe and they'd found another Timelord, who had been hiding there and who had stolen the Tardis from under their noses.

"So Doc," Jack tried to sound cheerful and trying to get used to the new look Doctor without wanting to snog him as this one was even more appealing than the last version.  "Want to hear about when I went back to see Rosie?"

"You know I'm not allowed," The Doctor replied sadly.  "Don't you think I could have done the same, if it was allowed?"

"Who's gonna stop you?" Jack wanted to know.  "It's not like anyone's gonna report you."

"That's not the point," came the reply as The Doctor picked up a woman's magazine and scanned through it, throwing it on the coffee table, thinking they hadn't missed much while they'd been away.

"Come off it Doc," Jack told him.  "You know you wanna hear about her.  Think of something to get her back."

"I can't, not without breaking the laws of time," The Doctor insisted.  "I was trying to think of a way, without splitting myself in two and sending a part of me to be with her.  Even if it were possible, she may not want the part of me I send anyway.  Forget it."

Jack let out a laugh at the thought of there being two of the current Doctor.

"Hey, that might not be a bad idea Doc," Jack teased him.

"What's not a bad idea?" Martha wanted to know as she came out of the bedroom with a suitcase.

"Got enough?" The Doctor hinted, pointing to the overstuffed case and an overnight bag.

How long was she planning on staying with him, he asked himself.  To Martha, he dare not say anything but if she planned getting romantic with him, he'd have to drop heavier hints about it never happening.  How could he, when he'd promised Rose he'd find a way to get her back?  Rose would be in the other universe wondering when that was going to be.

"You never answered," she accused them both, Jack looking away.

"Nothing," The Doctor tried to play it down.

"Huh, don't tell me then," Martha huffed, putting the luggage in front of him, expecting him to pick it up for her.

She thought maybe she'd have better luck with the ex time agent, even if he was on the other bus.

"Shush you two," Jack told them as he'd turned to the TV in the corner.  "Well look who it is, Doc?"

"How can it be him?" Martha wanted to know, not entirely sure what was going on.  

"He can't have been here long," The Doctor insisted as he turned the sound up.  "I managed to lock the Tardis controls between the end of the universe and now."

"He's been around for ages," Martha scoffed back.  "Unless he's made it all up?"

"That's it!" The Doctor shouted with excitement.

Martha grabbed her laptop as Jack had neglected to tell them The Master, AKA Harold Saxon had an official website.

"He's got a whole life," Martha pointed out, keeping an eye on the man himself being interviewed earlier.

"And now, we go over live to Number 10 Downing Street," the commentator declared.

"He's married," Jack also pointed out as Harold Saxon kissed the woman with him.

No-one took much notice as The Master went through a list of everyone he was standing for but they all gasped as he said "Every medical student."

Jack grabbed the laptop as The Doctor was about to drop it and dashed to the portable TV, turning it around and seeing several sticks of explosives attached to the panel.

"OUT – NOW," The doctor shouted, Martha leaving her luggage, Jack taking the laptop with him and The Doctor grabbing his coat.

They had just got the downstairs neighbours out when there was a loud explosion.  After that, all hell broke loose.

Everything returned to normal after the year that never was.  Jack and The Doctor had now rid the Tardis of everything The Master had done to her and were waiting for Martha coming back.

"Well, I'll be off," Jack reckoned the two of them would want to talk when Martha showed up.  "Go find Rose but tell Martha the truth."

"I can't go find Rose, not just like that.  Don't you think I've been trying?" The Doctor replied.

"Well don't go forgetting about her," Jack reminded him, giving a mock salute.

The Doctor gave one back just as Martha opened the door.

"Are you leaving?" Martha asked him.

"See ya around Martha," Jack grinned at her.

The Doctor, as usual, couldn't think of anything to say to her so it was a good thing Martha had plenty to say to him.  They parted on fairly good terms, Martha giving him her mobile phone so she could keep in touch with him, well at least it had the 'Universal Roaming' feature after he'd tweaked it up a bit.

He went off with thoughts of what he and Jack had mentioned about the hand and splitting himself in two.  Could he make a clone of himself and somehow get to where Rose was?  She may not accept a clone anyway and he was rather stuck for ideas how to make one.

As usual, things got out of hand and he bumped into Donna again, who'd been annoyed with herself she'd not taken him up on the invitation to travel with him.  He'd met up with Martha, who had seemed to have moved on from him but he had no idea that another version of him was actually going to happen, thanks to Donna.

Rose had pleaded with her stepfather to gather all the experts and get the devices they'd used before to cross dimensions working again and several teams had worked around the clock, seven days a week to get something Rose, Jake and Mickey could use to cross dimensions and not alert the Daleks or the Cybermen as they did.

"Rose, let Jake and Mickey go first sweetheart," her mother was trying to persuade her after Rose had insisted she tried first after seeing The Doctor on screen several times and seeing he had someone with him.

"I can't Mum," Rose insisted.  "You should have seen him."

"You're mother's right," Pete had agreed.  "At least don't go on your own."

They both knew there was no persuading her when all the stars started going out and the army had been alerted in case of alien threats.  The best way to contact The Doctor was through Donna.

When he'd seen Rose standing in the middle of the deserted street after Donna had told him about a world that had been created around her, he knew he couldn't leave her ever again.  They escaped from the Dalek ship just as it was blowing up, thanks to the newly created clone Doctor, Rose hardly believing it when another version of him stepped out of the Tardis and made a run at the leader of the Daleks.

Rose also didn't believe that the real Doctor was going to punish his twin for wiping out all the Daleks, except Davros and Dalek Caan, who had been manipulating all the timelines to gather them all together.

Once back on Earth, The Doctor was saying goodbye to Sarah-Jane.

"Don't let her get away Doctor," she was advising him.

"I already did," he admitted.  "It was only the last events that brought her back.  She has to go back home."

"Then don't leave her alone, send your twin with her," Sarah-Jane suggested.

"She may reject him," The Doctor sounded sad.

"I think you're wrong, look at them," she nodded back inside the Tardis.

Jackie was talking to Mickey, who said he was staying.

"Rose doesn't need me now," Mickey told her.

"Of course she does," Jackie replied, seeing Rose and the new Doctor across the other side of the console.

"What do you bet he goes back with her," Mickey nodded in their direction.

"Well I can't handle two of 'em," Jackie joked.

"So, what are you doing now?" the other Doctor was asking Rose.

"Staying here, whatcha think?" Rose answered him.

The real Doctor had stared at Mickey as he left.

"There's nothing there for me now, especially not Rose," Mickey explained.  "My old gran died, spent her last years in comfort.  See you around, Boss," he laughed.

"Take care – Mickey the idiot," The Doctor laughed back.

The Doctor went back inside, Donna now talking to the clone as Rose talked to her mother.

"Rose, come back with me," she was telling her.

"I spent all this time tryin' to get him back, Mum," Rose reminded her.

"Well, there's two of 'em now," Jackie pointed out as The Doctor took off the handbrake.

"Time for one more trip," he tried to sound okay.

"What?" Rose wanted to know.  "You can't send me back Doctor, you promised me you'd find a way and now, ya have."

"Rose, what if I went with you?'"the clone approached her after Donna pushed him.

He'd been getting a lecture from the person he'd partly merged with.

"Don't let her get away this time, spaceman," she'd told him.  "Don't you see what's happened?"

"Nah, she wants him," the clone still insisted before he realized the Tardis was in flight.

Rose as trying to get her head around the idea.

"You mean it?" she wanted to make sure.  "The last time I saw ya, ya looked like a ghost and now there's two of ya."

The real Doctor went to join them.  He'd hugged Rose a few times during the celebrations after they'd succeeded sending all the 26 other planets back where they belonged and towing the Earth back.  He'd also seen the way his clone had looked at Rose, since he was now half human.

"I have all his memories," the clone nodded.

"Then what's the difference?" Rose wanted to know.

The Tardis landed, The Doctor leaving them to do so.  He knew what was going to happen and he'd be all on his own again but what did it matter as long as Rose was happy?  They all got out, Jackie complaining they were in Norway again.

"Last time we were here, you were a ghostly figure," Jackie looked at both of them, Rose in the middle and Donna in the doorway.  "Hey," she nudged the new Doctor.  "I was pregnant, remember?"

"Yeah, what did you have?' the clone wanted to know as Rose faced the other Doctor.

"Had a boy," Jackie replied proudly.  "I wanted to call him Doctor."

"Really?" she was asked.

"No you plum.  He's called Tony," she laughed.

"So are ya leaving me here?" Rose was asking, as if she didn't already know the answer.

"You belong here now," she was reminded.  "He wants to stay with you, doesn't he?" The Doctor nodded to his clone.

"I already told her," his clone admitted.  "See, you don't know everything, Brother."

"We have to go soon," Donna shouted over from the doorway, then she joined them.  "You have the chance you always wanted.  You can stay with Rose and still travel," she smiled.

The Doctor thought she'd not got the concept right yet of being part Timelord or lady, whatever.

"Doctor," Rose turned to the original one, then the other one.  "When we were last on this beach, you said something but never finished it.  What were you gonna say before ya faded away?"

"Does it need saying?" the first one told her.

Then she turned to the other, who went to whisper in her ear.

"I said I love you, Rose Tyler, I always have done."

Rose turned to him, grabbed his jacket collar and kissed him, the other Doctor turning back to the Tardis, who by now was screeching they should leave.

"You did the right thing," Donna told him.

"Did I?" he questioned her.  "He was too dangerous to be left on his own, I've only left her with someone who is more like what I used to be – all angry and full of revenge."

"Rose won't think that," Donna smiled as she watched them still kissing and Jackie trying not to watch them.

She thought it would be great for a scene in a romantic movie.  They broke apart at the sound of the Tardis disappearing and Rose ran forward, the clone catching up with her and holding her hand.

"No more ghosts, Rose," he told her as the noise faded away.  "Hey, is it Christmas here?" he grinned, turning to Jackie, who was trying to un-see them kissing.

"No, you plum, it's not," she replied.  "So am I stuck with ya then?"

"Mum," Rose objected, the clone putting his arm around her.

"Whatcha wanna know for anyway?" Jackie asked him, knowing she'd regret it.  "I called Pete, he'll send a car for us to take us to the zeppelin port.

"Zeppelin?" the clone asked.  "I've never been on one of them.  Never trusted them after that big one burst into flames."

"Stop it," Jackie warned him.  "We use them all the time.  Well, why did ya want it to be Christmas?" she asked him again.

"I missed Christmas with both of you," he admitted.  "My last few have been a disaster.  I'd much rather have one with killer Christmas trees and waking up in your bed, Rose."

"Oi, that had better refer to the time ya'd just woke up from regenerating?" Jackie further warned him.

"Oops," he grinned and Rose bursting out laughing.  "I also missed parties and pink paper hats."

"So did I, Doctor," Rose agreed, kissing his cheek.  "I love you, Doctor.  No more talking about ghosts and this Christmas, it's pink paper hats for everyone."

The clone Doctor couldn't have agreed more as a car was making its way towards them to take them home – now he'd found one, with Rose.

The End!