The Tyler Factor
Chapter Thirty-Four: The Greatest Deal: Sacrifice
Disclaimer: I do not own Doctor Who or any of the spinoff material and I gain no income off of this story, just the satisfaction of playing with the characters.
“D-dad, November 7th
1987,” Rose said, her voice shaking badly. “What happened?”
Her father stumbled back with a confused and worried look on his face that gradually began to become both horrified and resigned.
“I… I was hit by a car outside of Sarah and oh what was his name’s wedding. I thought I was dying, I was dying and this… vision in a white cloak appeared. It frightened me at first, it didn’t have a normal face except for a toothy mouth, but it promised to help me.”
“The Trickster,” Rose realized with sharp painful intake of breath.
“He never told me his name,” her father confessed with a thick swallow. “But he offered me a chance to live, to survive the injuries and walk away.”
“What did he want in return?” the General demanded looking thunderous. “What did this alien want?”
“He just told me to be a good father,” Pete replied quickly, glancing towards the General and then turning his attention back to Rose as her face showed only despair.
Rose’s knees threatened to give out and her father reached out quickly to take hold of her arm. She heard him call her name, his voice thick with worry and had to struggle against the urge to break down crying again.
“Yeah,” she finally managed. “Yeah that was all that he needed. You lived and everything changed.”
“What are you talking about?” her father asked urgently. “What does it have to do with this?!”
“The Trickster… he’s well it was explained to me that he’s an extra-dimensional being who along with the rest of the Pantheon of Discord was banished from this universe. They liked chaos too much and their actions were dangerous to the fabric of reality. But he still has enough power to manifest himself within the universe for short periods of time. His goal is to create chaos which gives him power and allows him to do more. He’s called the Trickster because he offers people deals and uses the little power he has to alter something about the world. On the surface it seems like a good thing since he needs agreement, but it blows up in your face.” Rose pushed a strand of blonde hair behind her ear. “He’s an enemy of mine, he’s tried to get me to make a deal before.”
An explosion from the upper levels caused the room to shake and Rose risked a quick glance up at the ceiling as a thin layer of dust fell around them.
“And I made a deal with him,” Pete said carefully as he looked up fearfully. “But what was the point? What was it he was after?” Desperation was creeping into his voice and Rose wanted nothing more than to drop the line of conversation, but the distant sound of energy weapons alerted her that Apep’s troops were trying again.
“You didn’t die,” Rose admitted softly as she forced herself to look back at him, holding back the tears. “In her- my –our original life you died that day.” Rose reached out and gently touched her father’s chest with a shaking hand. “I didn’t have a dad growing up. Mum and I lived in council flats until I turned our lives around, but I-I never knew you.”
“Why would the Trickster want to make such a change?” the General asked sharply looking between them both carefully.
“Because my whole life was altered,” Rose admitted. “He couldn’t get me to make a deal so he went and made a deal to change an event that shaped my entire life. I never met the Doctor when I was eleven, I wasn’t there to save the Doctor’s life against the Nestene Consciousness and I… I’m not the Defender of Earth that I would have been.”
“Defender of Earth?” her father repeated in a stunned voice.
“Yeah,” Rose laughed bitterly. “In that life I’ve stopped a lot of aliens, the Doctor jokes that he doesn’t have to come to Earth anymore. It’s not true of course, but…” Rose shook her head, “But I have a pretty good reputation and aliens friends that I call upon when things get really dangerous: aliens that I’ve helped and saved in the past, but none of that happened.” She gestured towards the General and chuckled, “I actually work as a consultant for UNIT around the world. I was supposed to help stop the Bane and Apep was supposed to die before he ever had the chance to do this kind of damage.”
Rose stepped back feeling claustrophobic all of a sudden even though the room was large for the number of people inside. Her eyes were darting between the General and her father. She wanted to look at him, but at the same time felt utterly unable to keep watching him. The sudden cost of seeing him, the price of those happy memories was beginning to sink in. She could now remember the years of longing to know her father, wondering if she was like him and entertaining fanciful thoughts about what her life would have been like if he had lived. It was beyond all her imaginings. She could see herself, both versions of herself so clearly in him and had warm memories of a loving father and had enjoyed a privileged life.
But the Doctor was dead, her lover, her best friend and so much more was gone from this world. He’d been wheeled away while she watched and hadn’t even known just what she was losing. And the world… everything was destroyed. Maybe it could be rebuilt in time, but the wounds would leave scars and without the Doctor...
“Miss Tyler!” the General called, pulling her out of her troubled musings. “What can we do?”
“Right,” Rose managed with a quick nod before forcing herself to look at her father. He was pale and watching her with despair in his eyes.
“Rose?” he asked, reaching underneath his shirt and pulling out a chain that he’d worn for years. She’d stopped noticing it many years ago, but suddenly felt aware of it. She was certain that the original Pete Tyler had nothing of the sort. There was a small square charm made out of metal hanging from the chain that gleamed in the light. “The being gave me this when I made my deal with him.”
“What?” Rose repeated in confusion with a frown, her eyes narrowing on the small charm.
Pete lifted the chain off his neck, his fingers brushing the charm with a frown before he handed it to her. Rose held the thing carefully as if it might burn her at any moment. Nothing about it really stood out, it seemed very ordinary in shape with only a few small designs on it. If it was a language she couldn’t read it, suddenly very aware of her missing translator. Yet the shine of the metal seemed a bit off and she remembered the chronosteel that the White Guardian had once sent her to retrieve.
“I think that this is the conduit of changing the timeline,” Rose said carefully around a lump in her throat. “This and your agreement might be what holds the new timeline in place, anchors it.”
“So in order to set things right…. I have to be dead,” her father said carefully.
“Mister Tyler,” the General started to say, but Pete cut him off.
“Don’t worry General,” Pete said sharply, he looked ill but determined. “I don’t see another way out of this and…” he looked at Rose and managed a small smile. “I want to protect my little girl.” He stepped closer to her. “Rose… in this other life were you happy?”
“Yes,” she answered after a moment, aware of a fresh wave of tears down her face. “I was, am… whatever the proper clause is.”
“But you know about aliens-”
“Yeah I do, but its okay,” Rose tried to explain with a shaky smile. “We don’t really have time for me to explain everything, but… well he thing is that I’m actually involved with the Doctor.”
“What?!” the General snapped with wide eyes and Rose almost laughed at the expression.
“Relax Alistair, you know about it. Heck you were one of the people who suspected it before the relationship became public,” Rose looked back at her stunned father. “I love him, he loves me and we look after each other. My work with UNIT lets me look after Mum, I bought her a nice place in Ealing before I started university. She has good friends, actually likes to garden. We’re okay, we don’t have you,” she explained weakly, “but we’re okay.” A soft sob escaped Rose and she dropped her eyes, unable to look at him any longer.
There was another explosion and in the corner of her eye Rose could see a dark worried expression taking over the General’s face. He was eyeing her father carefully, his hand resting on his firearm, but Rose couldn’t even summon any real anger towards him. Not under the circumstances and barely contained another sob.
“I’m sorry love,” her father told her softly, reaching out and cupping her cheek.
Stepping closer to him, Rose let their foreheads touch as fresh tears slid down her cheeks. This had to work, it was their only chance, but… God she almost wanted it to fail. Another soft sob escaped Rose as her father gently placed the small cube in her hands.
“I didn’t mean for this to happen,” her father whispered. “But I want you to know that I’m very proud of you, both versions of you I suppose. I love you and I just wanted to be a good father.”
“You were,” Rose struggled to say around the knot in her throat. “You were and you are.”
“Will you remember?”
“I don’t know,” Rose whispered with slight shake of her head. “Maybe, but maybe not.”
“Well if you do then remember that I love you and that I did my best.”
Pete Tyler took a deep breath and stepped back from his daughter. For a moment he looked lost and uncertain, but then he straightened his shoulders as the General and the UNIT personnel looked on with hesitant expressions.
“Trickster!” Pete called his voice echoing in the room. “Trickster I withdraw my agreement!”
“Do not say such foolish things,” an oily voice declared, the voice seeming to come from all around them. “Would you abandon your little girl and your wife to a life of poverty and grief?”
“I’m trying to save my daughter and Jackie,” Pete declared, looking less nervous now as anger began to take over his features. “You used me to hurt this world.”
“Such chaos,” the oily voice declared with glee. “The Doctor is dead, Earth is in ruins and so many things left undone by Rose Marion Tyler. All the things she’ll never do. I should have tried this plan years ago.”
“Well it’s over now!” Pete snapped. “You need my agreement and I withdraw it!”
“You think it’s that simple?” the voice asked with a chuckle. “That my agreements are so easy to break.”
Pete turned towards Rose, doubt flickering in his eyes. Rose nodded to him and stepped closer, reaching a hand out to him, the charm dangling from it. Her father reached out and touched her hand, his fingers brushing the charm.
“I’m willing to die if it prevents this,” Pete said in a strong loud voice. “I want no part in your deal Trickster, I withdraw my agreement.” The charm in their linked hands flashed and there was a sudden roar of anger all around them.
A strong gust of wind began to fill the room and the charm began to flash over and over like a strobe light. On instinct, Rose tighten her hold on it and her father’s fingers. Their eyes met as the gust of wind turned into a whirlwind like a tornado in the small room. Then there was a white light so bright that against her will Rose closed her eyes and lost sight of her father.
Gasping for air, Rose tightened her grip on the small metal cube. The world seemed to be falling away around her and turning into a blur of color. It was hard to breath, she couldn’t see anything clearly. Voices were echoing around her, familiar voices saying familiar things.
“Nice to meet you Rose Tyler.”
“Stay out of trouble.”
“Do you Sarah Jane Smith take Johnny Chesterton to be your husband?”
“I love you.”
“Stop this wedding now!”
Her knees shock and Rose felt like she was about to faint when suddenly the whirl stopped. She sucked in a greedy breath and looked around. At first she thought she was in a different room, but after a rapid glance around the room she realized that she hadn’t moved at all. There were more boxes in the corner and the large table was stacked with smaller boxes and a few random tools and clipboards. She was alone and back in her regular clothes. Behind her ear she could feel the familiar shape of the translator, around her neck hung the sapphire from Queen Jane and her longer chain with the odd things she’d collected and her TARDIS key. On her wrist was her golden bracelet shimmering in the light. But Rose’s mind was focused on one thing: she remembered.
Tears ran down her cheeks as she stood in the quiet storage room. Sooner or later she’d have to move and alert UNIT that she was here, but not yet. In her hands she still cradled the tiny square charm that she thought might still carry a hint of her father’s warmth. Rose wanted to move, to reach for the mobile phone in the back pocket of her jeans. Her mind was a haze of what the date was, what was the last thing that had happened and the only clear thing was the over whelming sense of loss.
Rose started to shake badly, wanting to hug herself, but afraid of moving her hands. Her legs felt ready to give out when a wheezing sound began to fill the room. Rose opened her eyes, unsure of when she’d closed them and managed a weak happy smile at the wonderful sound. The TARDIS began to materialize just to the right of her in front of the room’s second door. A moment later the TARDIS doors were flung open and her brown haired Doctor in the pinstripe suit stepped out. His expression was pained and urgent as he rushed towards her. Rose didn’t even have a chance to make a sound before she was wrapped in his arms. Collapsing against him, Rose released a soft sigh of relief and inhaled a deep breath, taking in his scent.
He was real, he was alive and he was here. A soft kiss to her forehead made Rose tremble. For a terrible moment she was relieved that Pete had made the choice to save the world and restore time as she now had the Doctor back. The stray thought was followed by a wave of grief and guilt that made her shut her eyes against more tears.
“I’m sorry Rose,” the Doctor whispered in her ear, holding her close. “I’m so so sorry.”
Rose was about to reply when the light in the room rippled. Pulling back from the Doctor she looked around in alarm as a shadow swirled together just in front of them. The Trickster appeared, dressed in his long black robe with his featureless face. He grinned at her with a mouth full of razor sharp teeth and chuckled. Rose’s eyes narrowed on him as rage boiled beneath her skin so hot that she barely noticed a flash of white and black as the White and Black Guardians appeared in the room.
“You!” Rose snarled, lunging towards the grinning Trickster. She was caught around the waist by the Black Guardian who secured her in place, ignoring her protests. As she struggled against him, the Doctor stepped up beside them and wrapped his arms around Rose. Thankfully the Black Guardian released her, but the Doctor did not let her go.
“Rose Tyler,” the Trickster greeted with a chuckle. “I suppose that I was not able to destroy you, but at least I have some small comfort in knowing that I have hurt you.” He long bony fingers reached towards her, but he came no closer.
“You’ve done enough for today,” the White Guardian announced sternly, staring at the Trickster as if he was some vermin on the floor of a kitchen. “Be gone.”
“Reverted or not Guardians I gained power from that little adventure,” the Trickster mocked happily. “All that chaos, the web of time beginning to fall apart as life all across Earth was extinguished… glorious.”
“Trickster,” the Doctor growled in a voice so dark and angry that Rose forgot her own grief for a moment and looked at him in worry. “Don’t test my limits today. I am angry and that’s never a good thing for those that anger me.”
“For once I am in agreement with the Doctor,” the Black Guardian announced in a tight voice tat promised pain. “Be gone from here.”
There was a flicker of fear on the Tricksters features as he surveyed those glaring at him. He gave Rose one last toothy smile and began to shimmer out of view.
“Trickster!” Rose shouted angrily, “Whatever it is that you’re so afraid of me becoming- I will become and I will come for you!”
The Trickster vanished without another word and the Doctor gently eased his grip on her. Rose had to fight down the urge to snap at him for holding her, but a small part of her knew that she was in pain and not thinking straight. Instead the Doctor dropped his hand and gently took her hand in his threading their fingers together. Instantly Rose felt a tiny bit better and couldn’t repress a tiny shiver, remembering the feeling of knowing he was dead. She was gripped by a sudden desire to hold him and kiss him, but the Guardians were turning to look at them.
“Rose Tyler,” the Black Guardian said with small nod to her before he looked towards the Doctor. With a small sneer, he nodded to the Doctor and vanished in a burst of darkness.
The White Guardian sighed softly and shook his head, turning to look at Rose. “We are very fortunate that the Silver Lord’s plan in Utah was of use today.”
“What?” Rose asked, completely thrown by the words.
“The Silver Lord in Utah created a connection between your alternate selves and you Rose,” the Doctor told her gently, rubbing her hand. “At least that’s how you’ve explained it to me.”
“Indeed, that connection gave you the memories of alternate versions of yourself, something that could survive even time being rewritten and called upon when survival depended on it.”
“So other versions of me can remember my life?” Rose asked with wide eyes, her world suddenly tilting terribly.
“Potentially, but it will take just the right circumstances for them to ever become aware of the imprint. You… her… connected because you were a rewritten version of the same person in what should have been one reality. The Trickster’s ability to rewrite time is imperfect and leaves scaring, that’s why it is so easy to force to revert.”
Rose tensed at the suggestion that her father sacrificing his life was easy, but the White Guardian merely gave her a soft smile. “Be warned though Miss Tyler that the door in your mind to the memories of alterative lives has been opened. Other things may start to slip through now and again.”
The warning was just vague enough while his voice had a ring of certainty to it that Rose felt her hairs standing on edge. The White Guardian watched her for a moment, his eyes dropping to the small chronosteel square in her hands, but he didn’t comment on it.
“I leave Miss Tyler in your hands Doctor,” the White Guardian said politely with a nod before he looked at Rose. “My condolences Miss Tyler, but if I may be so bold you do now have the memories of a life with your father. That is more than most people could ever dream of.”
Rose wanted to hit the White Guardian now too even as she felt a little of the rage draining out of her. Suddenly her whole body felt weak and beat down. The Doctor’s hand began to rub her back and the White Guardian vanished in a flash of light. As soon as the Guardian vanished, the Doctor pulled Rose back against him in a tight hug.
“He saved the world,” Rose whispered into the Doctor’s neck, grateful for his arms around her. It was the only thing keeping her on her feet.
“Course he did,” the Doctor replied gently, pressing a kiss to her forehead. “He’s a Tyler, that’s what you do.”
A blended sob and chuckle escaped Rose and she inhaled the smell of the Doctor and the TARDIS. They stood there like that for some time until the tears finally ran out and she could breathe again. Without ever releasing her the Doctor began to guide Rose towards the TARDIS and softly whispered, “Come on let’s go home.”
“What happens now,” Rose asked in a soft almost frightened voice.
“You stay with me until you feel ready to go back to life on Earth,” he told her gently. “One step at a time.”
“Yeah,” Rose agreed with a little nod, finally stepping away from the Doctor, though she didn’t release his hand. “Once step at a time.” She looked down at the small piece of chronosteel in her hand and swallowed thickly. Then she turned the Doctor’s hand so it was opened. With a deep breath of determination, Rose placed the chronosteel square in his hand and closed his fist around it. “Keep this safe for me.”
“I will,” the Doctor promised her, leaning forward and kissing her forehead. “He won’t use it again, I promise.”
“Thank you.” Rose told him before she gave him a soft smile. “I love you. Even in a life with my father… I,” she couldn’t finish, but the Doctor nodded with a sad smile.
“Where do you want to go?”
Rose paused and swallowed thickly, shivering at a terrible memory. “London, I need to see my mother. I need to see that she’s alright… after that I don’t know, but let’s start there.”
“Your wish is my command,” the Doctor replied, stepping back and carefully putting the chronosteel into a jacket pocket. He retook her hand and tugged her towards the controls. With a dramatic throw of a switch the TARDIS shuddered and they were dematerializing into the time space vortex, leaving
behind an empty room with papers blowing in the wind.
The darkness in the room felt heavy, unbearable and the stale air was a struggle to breath. In her hands she was grasping some kind of weapon, the weight was familiar, comforting and terrifying all at the same time. Down the long dark corridor beyond where she could see she could hear the thumping of heavy footfalls.
“This is it,” a terrified voice whispered next to her, “We’ve lost. Earth is done for.”
She wanted to argue, wanted to demand an explanation. This… this wasn’t right, something was very wrong. She couldn’t remember what brought her to this point, but it was real. Every sense of tingling and her right arm was in terrible pain from some kind of injury. This wasn’t a dream, but how could it be real.
Behind her, Rose felt something brush her shoulder and heard a soft high pitched laugh, but when she dared a quick look back there was nothing there.