DISCLAIMER: Dr Who belongs to the BBC and the genius that is Russell T Davies. I'm just a lifelong fan.
SPOILERS: Alternate ending for "The Girl in the Fireplace"
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

By Celievamp


Rose was on her hands and knees in front of the fireplace. "Doctor? Are you there? Doctor? Mickey? Are you there? Please…"

Flames danced in silence. The link was broken. She was alone. Lost in the past. He had abandoned her. Just like…

A slender hand touched her shoulder. "Rose, stop that now. Come, rest, eat. It has been days. You have not eaten nor rested in that time. Please, come now."

She was right. If the Doctor could return for her he would have by now. Rose allowed Reinette to help her to her feet. The doctor had told her once that time was not a straight line that it could assume any shape. There was nothing that could be done. The link with the future was broken. And she was on the wrong side of it. On the upside all of the homicidal clockwork people had been deactivated. The seventeenth century was back the way it was supposed to be. Except that Rose Tyler was now an honoured guest of Madame de Pompadour, the King's most favoured mistress, the most powerful woman in France.

"I've lost him, haven't I," she whispered. "Lost him forever." She wasn't so selfish or jealous that she didn't remember the heated looks exchanged between the courtesan and the Doctor. As far as Reinette was concerned the Doctor, or at least her idea of him, had always been there for her, always looking after her. "We have both lost him."

"The Doctor knows when and where you are," Reinette said warmly. "If he can make his way back here, he will."

"And Mickey… I hope the Doctor looks after him all right," Rose worried. Mickey wasn't used to this sort of life. If anything happened to him, she would never forgive herself.

She allowed Reinette to lead her towards the suite of rooms that had been assigned to her. They were a strange mixture of palatial and crude. Washing facilities were a porcelain bowl and a jug of hot water brought on her command by one of the seemingly limitless number of servants at her beck and call.

The clothing she was now expected to wear would take longer to get used to. There seemed to be so many layers of it, boned corsets, petticoats, stockings with fastenings that looked straight out of the Ann Summers catalogue. She was glad in a way that she hadn't had time to top up her tan recently, her pale skin meant she didn't stand out and that she didn't need any powder or other cosmetics on her skin.

Her link with the TARDIS meant that she never had to bother to learn French. Half the time she didn't know what she was speaking. Reinette found her recollections of her own time, her family, her life endlessly fascinating. And she wasn't as bored as she expected to be. At first, Rose tried to be circumspect, tried not to tell Reinette anything that might change the future. As time passed she realised that she was just one voice, that though Reinette knew the truth, anyone else would think she was just making up a rather strange fantasy adventure. Her lack of knowledge frustrated them both some times. Rose could say the word `computer' for example, could describe what it did, but had no idea how to construct or power one given the technology of the day. Though she was from the future there was much about the time and place that she found herself that she did not know. Reinette proved an excellent teacher as well as a consummate guide through the maze of court protocol and intrigue. As the years passed their mutual love for the Doctor, their belief that one day he would return became just another link between them.

Rose nursed Reinette through her final illness. Every day they prayed for the Doctor to come, for a miracle to occur. Rose knew enough to know that the medicine of her time could probably have saved Reinette's life or at least prolonged it. But she didn't know enough to be able to help. Reinette did not blame her – or the Doctor. She told Rose almost with her dying breath not to despair. He would come for her.

Rose watched from the window as Reinette's coffin was carried through the gates. It was raining hard. She felt his presence behind her, knew instinctively without turning around that it was the Doctor. She should be happy, at last she was going home, but the loss of her weighed too heavily. Rose turned at last and saw that loss mirrored in his eyes.

The End

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