Pairing: Rose Tyler/The Doctor
Fic Title: Watson's Ghost
Rating/Warning(s): Mature / minor character death
Genre: Supernatural, Angst, Romance
Why This Must Be Read: A murderer runs free as Rose and the Doctor are left to deal with the consequences. But this is not an ordinary death on an ordinary planet, here the dead are not really dead, and Rose Tyler is forced to walk with ghosts in order to prove their innocence. misscam has a true gift for storytelling, and this unique piece will have you at the edge of your seat anticipating what will happen next.
"Rose," he whispers against her ear, "take a deep breath."
"Why?" she whispers back, just as the elevator-thingy comes to a stop, and the doors open. She barely has time to draw breath before a wind knocks into her, feeling almost to rob her body of all breath. "What...?"
"This planet has a particular wind system," the Doctor says a little breathlessly too. "This is where winds go to die. And they're not alone."
"They're not alone," one alien agrees, the one she guesses is a senior guard just from how his dark clothes gleam a little brighter. "You stand with the blood of Berho's life on your hands and claim innocence. Is this your claim?"
"Yes," the Doctor says, lips tight.
"Only one voice can confirm your claim," the alien goes on, sounding almost as if he's delivering a sermon. "Only the murdered can speak the name of his murderer with truth. If you claim your innocence, you must find his ghost and bring it back to testify for you. Will you?"
"I will," the Doctor says, and Rose feels the taste of doom as metallic in her mouth and she knows what he's decided, what he's going to do instead of her. It wasn't his name that was spoken with a dying breath, and he knows it.
It's meant to be her.
"No!" she blurts out. "Doctor, no!"
"Shut up, Rose," he says harshly, a command. But though he is a Time Lord, she is not time and even Watson had his own will and his own choices.
She makes hers.
"The man who died, he asked my name," she rushes out. "He said I was to comfort his ghost. Rose, he said. That's me. Rose."
The aliens exchange glances, clearly not quite expecting this. The Doctor is, though, she can feel it in the way he breathes, almost a sigh, almost no sound at all.
"You never do what I tell you, do you, Rose Tyler?" he says, letting go of her shoulder finally. She dares look up at him and feels almost gutted by the expression on his face.
"Stranger Rose, will you walk with the ghosts until the murdered is satisfied?" she hears a distant voice rumble, but her eyes are on the Doctor, and he's shaking his head at her, eyes a little wild.
"I will," she says, and her voice sounds foreign.
"Oh, Rose..." the Doctor whispers, and his voice is painful to listen to.
"I'm sorry..." she offers, the only apology she knows.
He nods a bit, and she has no idea what to say to comfort him. She refuses to feel guilty, just as he would refuse to. She knows him well enough for that.
She doesn't know him at all when he puts his hands on her cheek and with a jolt she realises he's going to kiss her. Softly, ever so softly, parting her lips and taking her breath away, his fingers burrowing into her arms painfully. She lets him, feeling almost apart from herself.
"I have your breath, Rose," he says oddly, rubbing his nose slightly against hers. "Remember! Remember!"
She feels hands on her, tearing her away, but she keeps looking at the Doctor, looking at him fighting the aliens holding him back, fighting and failing, calling after her even as she's pulled away.
"Rose! Rose! Remember! I hold your breath! Remember that! Promise me! Rose! Rose!"
And then there's just the wind, whispering as strokes past her, blowing the way she's being led. She doesn't fight her escorts, letting them push her ever forward, until whatever is waiting. It can't be worse than a fleet of Daleks, she reasons, but the Daleks were predictable. This, this is constant night and not knowing where the next step leads.
She looks up when she sees a great gate, more guards waiting, all looking serious. The winds are picking up, and sometimes she thinks she can almost hear a voice in them.
"Do you walk willingly?" she is asked, and she tries to focus on the face. "Do you wish to prove the innocence of your friend and yourself?"
"Yes." She licks her lips, wishing her voice would sound more confident so maybe she could feel it too. "Yes, I do."
"Then you may walk and if the ghost speaks for you, you may walk freely."
She nods, watching the gates open to just more darkness beyond. Something is pressed into her hand, and she realises belatedly it is a sort of lamp, and one of the guards is looking at her. He looks young, smaller than the other aliens and even paler.
"Are you afraid, stranger Rose?" he asks, and it might be sympathy, resting a hand on her arm.
The alien nods, and looks at her, and she thinks maybe it's fear in his eyes too. "If you meet Milekka, tell her not to wait."
"What?" she mutters dumbly, following him as he leads her past the doors, into the darkness.
"Milekka. Tell her. Tell her... Wenhor isn't coming. Tell her to breathe."
She can just nod as he lets go of her arm, and then the doors close, and she's alone. She just stands still for a moment, trying not to shiver, trying not to feel anything. The light flickers as she steadies the lamp in her hand, but it doesn't die and she takes comfort in that.
Taking a deep breath, she starts to walk and the whispers, the whispers follow her.
The dead are talking and she can almost hear them.