Chapter Nine

While Clara was with Gaz, Rose was trying to get the Doctor to talk to her. He had turned his back on her and walked into the forest so Rose followed him, calling his name as she trailed after him.

"Damn it, Doctor, turn around and face me!" she finally growled at him.

She stopped a few seconds after he didn't turn around and for a moment, Rose thought he wasn't going to. But then he slowly turned and Rose backed up slightly at the raw anger on her former lover's face.

"Why can't you just stay put?" he growled at her.

Rose was struck dumb for a few seconds, not sure if she heard him right. Then anger welled up within her and her expression matched the Doctor's.

"It wasn't my idea," Rose growled back. "My husband and I wanted to explore. We built a bloody TARDIS for that purpose…"

"And you could have destroyed two universes when you crossed over the void, Rose!" the Doctor bellowed at her. "You never bloody think things through! And now I doubt if the two of you can ever go back!"

"We don't wanna go back!" Rose yelled back, knowing she sounded like a petulant child but anger had overtaken her and she didn't care. "You think you can do what you like to anyone you wish! Neither of us wanted to go back but no, the high and mighty Time Lord made the decision for us! Well, things don't always go your way, Doctor!"

Now it was the Doctor's turn to be stunned. He tried to say something to Rose but she stomped off to the left, further into the forest while she wept softly. By now, Gaz and Clara were just inside the tree line. Clara was staring at him with mouth agape and Gaz had a look of silent fury on his face. Their expressions were enough to calm him down and bring him to his senses and he quickly turned and ran after Rose, trying to explain his behavior. While he was doing that, Clara half stumbled over to the fallen tree while Gaz watched her. He glanced over at the Doctor, his eyes narrowing, and he was about to follow him when he heard Clara muttering to herself about what could be wrong with the Doctor. Curiosity got the best of him and he decided to find out what she meant and calm down at the same time. He slowly approached Clara who was sitting on the fallen tree, staring at the ground with a bewildered look on her face. When he got close, she looked up at him.

"Is this what happens when Time Lords change?" Clara asked Gaz. "Their personality changes?"

"Sometimes," Gaz said, putting his hands in his pockets while he studied her.

"He wasn't like this," Clara said, raising her head and watching while the Doctor spoke to Rose about thirty feet away, "he was more fun to be around and he didn't have a temper like this. The Doctor I knew didn't yell like that, at least not to me. He's changed and I don't think I like the change."

"How long ago did he change" Gaz said gently.

"About a day or so, maybe less. It's been a blur to be honest."

"Look…Clara, there's a period of adjustment…for both him and you. He's trying to sort himself out and find out who he is. I know it's confusion and scary but…I'm sure he'll adjust and you'll like him just as much as you did the other Doctor."

"But he left you behind, you and Rose. How could he do that?"

Gaz sighed, trying to keep his slowly ebbing anger from spouting up again.

"He…had his reasons," he said, trying to convince himself as much as her, "He means well. He may not always make the right choices but he means well in the end. I wasn't a saint but then neither is he. Perhaps the universe isn't big enough for two Doctors, at least in his mind. And he loved Rose deeply, still does I wager. It was better to pretend to forget and not speak about it rather than dwell on what he did and bring up painful memories. I suspect that's why he never told you about me. Because telling you about me would mean he'd have to explain about Rose and that's the last thing he wanted."

"So what happens now" Clara said.

"Dunno. I suppose me and misses will swan off in search of adventure and keep our distance from you lot. If we do that, perhaps he'll be able to forgive us and move on with his life. But don't let this stop you from traveling with him. Just give him time, Clara. He'll sort himself out in time and you'll get along with him like a house on fire. You'll see."

Clara nodded. He told Gaz about Eleven phoning her and saying the same thing and Gaz chuckled at that.

"Yup, he's a clever one. He knew you'd have a difficult time. Just trust him, the other him and listen to him. I'm sure he'll be alright."

Clara nodded and Gaz sighed as he sat down beside her and watched the Doctor and Rose.


Meanwhile, the Doctor had caught up to Rose, grabbed her arm and forced her to look at him.

"Rose, I'm sorry. I never should have yelled at you but you keep on making foolish, reckless choices and one of these days the universe really will collapse. When I told you that at Bad Wolf Bay, I wasn't saying it just to keep you in the other universe. I meant it!"

Rose wiped at her moist cheeks.

"I know, I just…that time when we built the cannon. I did want to find you but we also had an emergency. The stars were going out."

"Yes, I understand that but we sorted that out and I sent you back there with him so you could be with your family and also have a version of me you could grow old with. Why couldn't you have explored your own universe, Rose? Surely, it was big enough for the both of you."

"I know that, Doctor, but Gaz…he had a premonition and he had to find you before it was too late."

"Premonition of what, exactly?"

"Someone called the Valeyard, he saw it happening."

Rose's mouth dropped when all the color drained from the Doctor's face.

"Doctor," she said as he suddenly spun around and hurried back towards Gaz and Clara. "Wait!" she said, hurrying after him.

Gaz stood up and narrowed his eyes again when he noticed the Doctor was making a beeline for him with a determined look on his face. Clara jumped up, insinuating herself between him, fearful of a fight between the two men. The Doctor stopped a few feet in front of Clara, looked at her for a moment and then turned his attention to Gaz.

"I want to know about this premonition that led you to come here and you'd better explain everything to me," he said to Gaz.

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