Chapter Seventeen

A few hours later, the Doctor led everyone inside the TARDIS so they could spend the night in comfort in one of the guest rooms. He led them to a corridor and showed them several rooms with adjoining bathrooms and showers. He showed them how to request anything from his ship, asking the TARDIS to provide what they needed by requesting some shampoo in front of them and pointing to a full bottle when it materialized on a table in one of the bedrooms. When he was satisfied that they would be alright, he left them and walked back to the console room.


Rose went to her room and freshened up. She considered taking a shower but she looked at the rusty chain around her neck and worried that it might rust further if she got it wet. She decided to just lie down and relax. She took off her shoes and socks and got into bed, trying to relax with the collar around her neck. She finally got comfortable and closed her eyes. She was just about to drift off to sleep when she felt someone stroking her cheek. She opened her eyes and gasped when she saw the Doctor standing above her in his own body.

"You're back to normal?" she said.

"No. I decided to accept the TARDIS's offer to make me an android body. I hate being in that old body, I'd rather be in here and just use a shimmer to disguise myself."

"And what happened to Jarvik?" Rose said.

"He's in my interrogation room. I was going to interrogate him but I wondered if you wanted to help me."

"Of course," Rose said.

She was about to get up when the Doctor put his hand on her chest. Rose watched while he pulled out his sonic screwdriver. Rose sighed when he used it on the collar and it opened up.

"Forgive me," he said to her as he took the collar off and put it on her bedside table.

"For what?" Rose said, rubbing her slightly chafed neck.

"For leaving you unprotected," the Doctor said, stroking her cheek.

"Doctor, this isn't your fault," Rose said. "You didn't know this was gonna happen."

"No, but I should have done something so I could track you," the Doctor said. "I left you vulnerable but I won't make the mistake again."

Rose watched while he pulled a small syringe out of his jacket pocket.

"What is it?" Rose said.

"It's a tracker chip," the Doctor said, showing her the syringe filled with saline solution. "It's microscopic but it's in there. I'm going to put it under your skin so if this happens again, I can locate you straight away. Is that alright?"

"Yeah, do it," Rose said, nodding her head.

"You trust me so much, Rose," the Doctor said as he stroked her cheek. "Sometimes I don't feel like I earned that trust, especially when you and your mum land up in trouble like this."

"But you come for me, you always come for me," Rose said, putting her hand on his arm. "I knew you'd come for me this time."

"But one day I might not come for you," the Doctor said. "It could have been much worse, you could have been raped or abused or sold somewhere where I could never find you. I put your life in danger all the time and yet, you still trust me."

"I always trust you, I know you'll be there for me when I need you the most," Rose said. "Please stop tormenting yourself, Doctor. You're here and I'm safe."

The Doctor nodded. Rose could tell he wasn't entirely convinced of that and she knew he was still silently berating himself for what happened but he said nothing and helped Rose to sit up. Rose watched while he hitched up her shirt sleeve and inserted the short needle of the syringe into her arm.

I trust you, my love, I always will, Rose thought while she watched the saline solution going into her arm.

He finished and withdrew the syringe. He held it up in the palm of his hand and there was a flash as the TARDIS took it away and replaced it with a small plaster bandage. He put the plaster over the needle hole and then he kissed her cheek tenderly while he put her sleeve back down. Rose was astonished at how realistic the android was. Even though it was a duplicate body, Rose felt warmth coming from his lips and even wetness. He finished the kiss and was drawing back, but Rose cupped his face and pulled her back to him, kissing him again. The Doctor embraced her and put his hand on the back of her head while he deepened the kiss. When they finished, Rose laid her forehead against his and again she was astounded when she felt hot breath on her face.

"It's so realistic, I can feel your breath, hear you breathing," she said as they kept their foreheads together.

"It's sixty first century technology. By then they were able to design a completely realistic body," the Doctor said. "Actually, that became a problem since the humans couldn't tell who was real and who was android."

"Like the Terminator?" Rose said.

"Sorta," the Doctor said. "The TARDIS replicated the design and fixed it so I could inhabit the body and control it as effortlessly as my own body."

Rose pulled her head back and touched his cheek. Again, she was amazed at the warmth of the flesh and the realistic feel of it. She put her fingers on his jugular vein.

"I can feel a pulse," she said.

"Told you, it's completely realistic," the Doctor said. "I feel more comfortable in here. I hated being in Jarvik's body. He's old, he's out of shape and his memories are a bit unsettling. I went through some of them and witness cruelty of numerous slaves over the years. All the horrible things he did, I had to keep blocking out the flashes of memory so I wouldn't have to see them."

Rose felt a jolt of anger from that.

"He's done this for so many years," she said. "He doesn't deserve prison, he deserves to be a slave himself, give him a taste of his own medicine."

"I agree but then we'd be no better than he is," the Doctor said, stroking his cheek. "But I do need information because I had to lock away some of his mind with him when I took control of his body. So will you come with me?"

"Yes," Rose said.

He kissed her lips one more time before taking her hand. Rose got up from the bed and he squeezed her hand before they left her bedroom.

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