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08 August 2006 @ 23:39
Warning: contains spoilers for series one and two, and casting spoiler for series three.

Disclaimer: Doctor Who and all related elements, characters and indicia copyright BBC 2006. All Rights Reserved. All characters and situations—save those created by the authors for use solely on this website—are copyright BBC.

Please do not archive or distribute without author's permission.

Author's Note: Written as part of the Tenth Doctor Ficathon for crediniaeth, who wanted non-sappy Ten/Rose/Jack, various rooms in the TARDIS, and a ficus tree. I may have completely failed on the sap front. Beta'd by the always lovely larakailyn.

by LJC

The first, of course, had been the worst.

Barbara had said nothing, when the door had vanished without a trace. Ian had followed her example, though he could tell he had been angry at being cheated out of his own chance to bid farewell as every trace of Susan had vanished. But he had not been able to bear the idea of being ambushed by something so simple and potentially dangerous as a bottle of familiar scent or a scrap of silk hair ribbon. His hearts ached at even the thought of coming across a maths text resting on the corner of a table, her place marked by a turned down corner despite how she knew abusing books in such a manner sent him into fits.

He was, truth be told, crap at good-byes. Always had been, since the very beginning. The TARDIS knew it and in her own way, took pity on him. Rooms disappeared, or were barren and transformed when he finally set foot in them again. Clothing found its way to the wardrobe, books to the library, and personal effects seemed only to magically appear when he could easily bear the reminders fondly, and without pain.

By the time Vicki had asked where she was meant to sleep, it was simply another door of many.

For Tegan and Nyssa's sake, the Doctor told himself, Adric's room was left as it had been. If asked, he would have vehemently denied it was a shrine of any sort. But that didn't stop him from standing outside it, during the sleep cycles when Nyssa and Tegan were tucked up in their beds and the TARDIS had dimmed her lights. Didn't stop him from lingering in the doorway, just staring inside at the neatly made bed, Nyssa having taken it upon herself to set the room to rights. A spare tunic was folded neatly across the chair, the stacks of advanced maths texts in neat square towers rather than strewn about every surface as the Doctor could see in his mind's eye so easily. And the dark head bent over their pages was just a ghost of memory, but enough of a presence that he could never quite seem to cross the threshold.

As the weeks and months went past, Tegan leaving and rejoining them, bringing a much-missed sparkle to Nyssa's eyes, the Doctor no longer stood at the threshold. He no longer paused in reverence while navigating the corridors between the console room and the wardrobe. The ghost faded until the shrine just became four walls.

By the time Turlough had asked where he was meant to sleep, it was simply another door among many.

There was a ficus tree in Jack's room.

It had been somewhat completely illegally removed from a 24th century office complex during a daring adventure that involved, as best he could remember, liberating a large number of highlighter pens, two service androids (whom Rose had named Ant and Dec for reasons only clear to Rose), and a confidential file containing the locations of cryogenically frozen 22nd century celebrities.

They had been after those clever little packets of soup that, when reconstituted with boiling water, resembled cups of salt water with tiny noodles that tasted like cardboard. The 'droids had been quite happy to remain on the Silver Star luxury liner, en route from Mars to the New Melbourne colony. Jack had kept the tree, despite the fact that it dropped leaves if he even so much as looked at it sidewise.

After Satellite Five, the tree had appeared in the Cloisters, where it continued to drop leaves for weeks until one evening the Doctor found it had grown 5 feet in height, and was suddenly covered in glossy purple leaves. He rather suspected some cross-pollination with the Elosian ivy had occurred when his back was turned.

The highlighter pens were still in a drawer, next to Jack's sonic blaster (battery depleted), three identical white tee-shirts from the Top Shop, and an autographed photo of someone named "Lola".

By the time Mickey had asked where he was meant to sleep, it was simply another door among many.

No-one had stopped him as he'd walked across the hangar to where the TARDIS sat on a flat, unmoved by the maelstrom that had surrounded her. He'd worried, when he'd first looked down and seen the grey-green swirls of void-matter floating around his hands. Worried for a flash of a second, when the lever had locked in place and Daleks and Cybermen alike had gone screaming into eternal darkness, that the TARDIS would be sucked through right along with them. But she was still there, his TARDIS. Waiting for him. All he had left that was his.

He'd stepped through the deceptively battered blue doors, and closed them, leaning his forehead against them for a long moment while the engines groaned to life and London, with its chaos and its long rolls of the dead, disappeared around her. He'd made this world. As surely as Satellite Five had become the Gamestation because of his actions, Torchwood had grown into existence from the seeds he'd planted in ignorance. He'd railed at Harriet Jones, but she hadn't opened the gates between two worlds and allowed the monsters to come through.

Less than an hour after he'd left Torchwood behind, with its thousands of shattered panes of glass and lifeless bodies stacked like cordwood, he'd just stood in the centre of Rose's room.

There was no sense of her presence--it was just a room, filled with clothes and furniture and souvenirs from a hundred worlds and times. He breathed deeply, but the air was just air, recycled by the TARDIS and carried no memory of scent. It was Rose' room. But Rose was Rose, and she was gone. And now it was just a room. Four walls, and ghosts of his own making.

He'd stood there, trying to believe that it was all right. Rose was with her family. The mother she'd left behind to travel with him amongst the stars, the father she'd never had and who had never known what his daughter might have become had his Jackie been Rose's Jackie, and the fates had been a little less kind. Even Mickey--no longer Mickey the Idiot now, but a hero in his own right. Rose would be fine, he told himself, needing to believe it as surely as he'd needed to believe Susan deserved a life with David Campbell oh so long ago. Rose would go on, and grow up, and live a life he couldn't give her.

He made a final good-bye, and like all the others, it was, frankly a bit rubbish. But he'd tried to learn, from first to last. He hoped he'd learned at least something, in 900 years of phonebox travel.

By the time Martha had asked where she was meant to sleep, it was simply another door among many.

They all were.

Or so the Doctor told himself.
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What the Monkey?svilleficrecs on 9th August 2006 05:02 (UTC)

OMG someone hug that poor emo timelord. Sigh. Lovely story, and love the exploration of other parts of the TARDIS (one of my personal whofic kinks)
ljc: tentaraljc on 9th August 2006 05:06 (UTC)
I spent a week sort of going "omg HOW CAN I DO THIS???" in terms of ROse being off in anotehr universe, Jack being MIA until Torchwood, and Ten all on his own for all of 5 minutes before The Bride shwoed up... and then once I got the idea of the different doors, then that sort of made me think I could mebbe make it work. I did end up losing the Romana bit, which made me sads.

Originally, the ficus was going to be what a neekid Jack hid behind in some escapade, but frankly, he'd just run away naked cos he's Jack, and I was just taken with the diea of them shamelessly stealing office supplies.
(no subject) - svilleficrecs on 9th August 2006 06:35 (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thedivinegoat on 9th August 2006 18:14 (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - acciochocolate on 9th August 2006 22:16 (UTC) (Expand)
Faith: doctorwho-text-lonelymobilevertrauen on 9th August 2006 05:23 (UTC)
You know what? Sap is ok. :)

This was wonderful. All of the old winding around the new like it was just meant to be. And I loved the tree bit! And that Jack snagged it! Oh, Jack... *grins*

This was worth the wait. Thank you. :)
ljc: useful icontaraljc on 9th August 2006 19:45 (UTC)
I'm so glad you liked it! I kept starting and restarting it, adn was worried it was too far afield of what you'd asked for. I had two focus trees (both named Fred) who died horrible ficus-y death, so I can sympathise...
Kattakattahj on 9th August 2006 06:31 (UTC)
This was lovely, and melancholy in all the right ways. Thanks for the good read!
ljc: dream (mirrormask)taraljc on 9th August 2006 19:46 (UTC)
glad you liked it!
(Deleted comment)
ljc: cheer uptaraljc on 9th August 2006 19:51 (UTC)
So glad you enjoeyd it. I've been sort of stuck on melancholy this year... One of these days, I'll find my groove again, I hope...
Camilla Sandman: Norwegian goodbyemisscam on 9th August 2006 06:54 (UTC)
Nice melancholy feel to it :)
ljc: lost (rose)taraljc on 9th August 2006 20:58 (UTC)
Neaneadods on 9th August 2006 10:42 (UTC)
Ohhhhh yes. Exactly. You've hit the right balance of melancholy and moving on (so very needed in all the "Roooooose is goooooone" wallowing going on right now).

And also with a sideswipe at the results of the Doctor's hubris, which have yet to come back and bite his lovely ass. I have hopes for that in S3...
ljc: steve (the happy alien) sez oh noestaraljc on 9th August 2006 21:00 (UTC)
I really wonder about RTD sometimes. I really do. I keep thinking that he intended us to want to bitch-slap the Doctor and Rose in T&C, and yet...
(no subject) - neadods on 9th August 2006 22:30 (UTC) (Expand)
HawkMoth: herovandonovanhawkmoth on 9th August 2006 12:59 (UTC)
Oh, yea!

And, lovely!

(Making me all sniffly for Five and his company of orphans.)
ljc: slutboi alien teasetaraljc on 11th August 2006 03:02 (UTC)
thanks, sweetie! and dvds are forthcoming, I swear...
100% Running With Scissors: tardisviridian on 9th August 2006 13:01 (UTC)
ljc: TARDIS (spinny)taraljc on 11th August 2006 03:02 (UTC)
glad you like it!
Lesley: Pleased by BuffyXparatti on 9th August 2006 17:49 (UTC)
ljc: lost (rose)taraljc on 11th August 2006 03:03 (UTC)
The Divine Goat: Doctor Who - Rosethedivinegoat on 9th August 2006 18:22 (UTC)
That was georgeous.
ljc: ten/rosetaraljc on 11th August 2006 03:03 (UTC)
thanks, sweetie.
nnwestnnwest on 9th August 2006 18:34 (UTC)
Oh, ow. Beautiful, gorgeous stuff.

Further, a lovely treatment of the ficus. And a very long giggle over the randomness of highlighters and soup packets. Do I sense shades of Red Dwarf there? *grin*
ljc: torchwood (jack)taraljc on 11th August 2006 03:04 (UTC)
I used to LIVE on those soup packets, nicked from work.
wiccagal_1996 on 9th August 2006 20:08 (UTC)
*Wipes nose*
Double Meh
*Ewww at snot*
Well there I was wandering along in cyberspace and I get hit with this rather spectacualrly sniffle making fic.
Thats my way of saying bravo btw ;-)
That kind of broke my poor already-doomsday-battered heart.
Dont you just want to hug him until all the angst goes away.
ljc: lost (rose)taraljc on 11th August 2006 03:04 (UTC)
*hugs* glad you liked it.
the silver lady: Ten hurts from Doomsday by martoufmartyacciochocolate on 9th August 2006 22:07 (UTC)
re: Doors
Love the use of repetition, for the end of each part. :) And just how good is the Doctor at lying to himself, hmm?
ljc: lost (rose)taraljc on 11th August 2006 03:05 (UTC)
Re: Doors
he's awful at it, honestly.
Amelie Tonks Winchester: {Doctor Who} 10 & Rosejsie on 9th August 2006 22:35 (UTC)
Aw. So sad.
That was an awsome fic darl. Well done.

I also loved the fact that you did include other companions in it, rather than just Rose/Jack/Mickey.

Really. Such a lovely little fic. :)
ljc: ten/rosetaraljc on 11th August 2006 03:05 (UTC)
thanks! And once I got the idea, I had to include Susan and Adric, to parallel Jack and Rose.
(Deleted comment)
ljc: slutboi alien teasetaraljc on 11th August 2006 03:06 (UTC)
thanks so much, glad you enjoyed it.