Disclaimer: See Chapter One. In short, I don't own squat.
A/N: To be more precise in the timing: Two weeks of this story is happening between Chapters 23 and 24 of Command Key, and is also in the bit of time before the Doctor and Donna get to 'Shan Shen'. It wont mess with the Key storyline at all, but the Who one will be having some… 'issues'… so to speak.
The clock read 2:23, and the darkness indicated that it was night. Dawn's newly wide open eyes registered all of this, right before Candrima nudged her mind. 'Rose is distressed.' 'Any idea what it's about?'
she asked her.
There was a pause, and Candrima replied sadly. 'She's… questioning reality.'
“What's the matter?” Ronon rumbled, his arm tightening around her middle.
Dawn rolled over and gave him a kiss. “Rose needs me. Go back to sleep.” She watched him nod and roll over to face the wall.
Tossing her pyjama bottoms and an Air Force tee shirt on, Dawn padded barefoot down the halls rather quickly. Candrima prodded her again, and she fast walked the remainder of the distance. When she got to Rose's quarters, she could sense nearly out of control emotions. Shock was the most prevalent though.
The door opened before she got to it, and she heard Rose quietly repeating something in a muttering mumble. “It's a lie, I'm real. It's a lie, I'm real. I'm real. I'm real. It's a lie, I'm real.”
Entering the room, her eyes adjusted to see Rose sitting on her bed with her arms wrapped around her knees, rocking herself as she tried to convince herself of her existence. Just hearing the words made a pang of fear slice through Dawn, they were so familiar. Moving quickly to the bed, she wrapped her in a hug from the side. Rose didn't even notice the emotional support, and kept up with her mantra.
“Rose, honey, talk to me,” Dawn said quietly as she rocked with her. “What's wrong?” The muttering turned into a whisper, and the phrase changed to only 'I'm real,' over and over. “Honey, tell me what happening.” She reminded her distinctly of having to mind one of the teenagers she tended in that alternate timeline.
Rose finally looked up at her, still whispering that reaffirming phrase, and Dawn baulked when she saw the slight glow of gold in Rose's eyes. Instead of talking to her, she placed her left palm against the side of Dawn's head.
When she blinked, Dawn was somewhere else entirely. The edges of her vision were watery, and she assumed that Rose was showing her instead of telling. The room she was in was long and dark. She could see a set of desks and chairs at the far end. At her feet was a plethora of cabling. The other end of the room had that blue box that she'd briefly seen when they first touched. “Police Public Call Box,” she read aloud with a frown. Looking back, she could see Rose sitting with a man in a leather jacket. They were both doing something with the cables and talking quietly. The man jumped up and called Rose a genius, then nattered on about something that went over her head as he went past Dawn towards the blue bo– TARDIS. As they went by, she could see another man superimposed on him that was dressed in a pinstriped suit. She recognized that one. 'Doctor?' she thought to herself. They entered the box, then he came out of it again in a bit of a dash; only to stop with a look of dread on his face. He turned around and held up some sort of pen light at the box.
“It's a lie,” she heard from beside her. Turning, Dawn saw Rose standing next to her in her makeshift bedclothes.
“What's a lie?” Dawn asked. Rose looked at her, and Dawn could see that her eyes were still glowing. “Everything you just saw. All of it,” her voice broke, “and I believed it,” she whispered. “We both did. Everyone did.” The scene shifted and rippled. Nothing looked to be changed much, but she could see that man in leather working on the cables by himself. “Where'd you go?”
“I wasn't here,” Rose said under her breath. “I never was.” Knowing exactly what she meant, Dawn grabbed Rose's hand in complete sympathy. They watched as the man in leather, the Doctor, stand up slowly and turn around. “I'll never let them get you, old girl,” he said quietly as he held up that penlight. “Never.” Looking to their right, they could see the box slowly disappear with a very strange noise. “What?” Dawn asked, completely confused. The scene shifted again, and they were both standing inside a beige ball that was dotted with hexagon indentations, and had supports that looked like coral. In the centre was some sort of control console. It was completely round with controls that looked to be from someone's attic. “What's happening?” Dawn whispered.
“I'm… I'm being born,” Rose shuddered and pointed at that console. Seeing Rose's other hand shaking so much, Dawn took it too, then pulled her close. A creaking drew her attention to the console, and she saw one of the panels lift up. The light inside was beyond bright, and a keening wail started up. At first it sounded extremely far away. But as the particles of light streamed out of the panel, it grew louder. Dawn's eyes were wide open as the particles coalesced into a familiar feminine shape. Knowing where this was going, she wasn't surprised at all when Rose formed completely, then screamed “DOCTOOOOOOR!”
“I created myself,” Rose mumbled through her tears next to her. The scene changed again, back to the first room. Those robots she saw before in that other dream were there now, surrounding the Doctor. She could do nothing but watch as dream Rose turned them all to dust. “Is this real?” she whispered to the Rose that was next to her. Rose nodded. “Yes.” Seeing how the Doctor reacted to Rose, she could tell that whatever memory he had of her was already implanted and taking effect. Watching as he drew a lot of power from her through a kiss, she felt Rose hold on to her more tightly. “Oh, God… I
killed him,” Rose hissed as the stream of energy rushed by them to the TARDIS. They were back in the TARDIS again before Dawn could ask her what she meant. It wasn't long before she saw something absolutely crazy. The Doctor exploded and turned from the one she saw, to the one she knew from Rose's memories.
Rose let her hand drop from Dawn's head, then completely fell apart, sobbing loudly. Tears were falling from Dawn's eyes as well, and she held on to her as tight as she could without hurting her. Alarm went through her from Ronon, with what she was feeling, but she told him to stay away.
“I'm not real
!” Rose wailed.
,” Dawn said vehemently. “You're as real as I am!”
“How can you say that?” she gasped.
“I keep tellin' you we're the same,” Dawn said over her tears. “I was born eight years ago.”
Shocked, Rose was snapped out of her state, completely confused. “You're eight?”
“Yep,” Dawn said, still rocking her. “Eight, twenty three, or a few aeons. Take your pick. You're real, Rose. I saw it. You
saw it. Had a better start than me, though. Dunno how or why, but you came into existence for him
, while I was forced into it by some overzealous, jackhole monks and thrust into my sisters life.”
A somewhat wet and stifled snort came out of Rose. “Jackhole? The 'ell are they teachin' kids these days?”
“At least you're not really fifty,” Dawn offered with a grin.
“Like thirty one is so much better,” Rose scoffed.
Dawn pointed at herself. “Eight.”
“Baby,” Rose smirked, wiping her eyes.
Dawn frowned. “Just for that, we're sparring tomorrow. Uhm, today.” Even though she sounded upset at her, she was pleased to break her out of that spiral. “Want me to stay? Daylight's going to be a while. Or, we can go running or something.”
“Here's good,” Rose said. “I'm shattered.” Biting her lip, she looked up at her. “Stay?” she whispered. Dawn just nodded and leaned them back against the headboard.
“I'm real,” Rose breathed.
Dawn nodded. “Yes, you are.”
“I don't like this,” John complained.
Lexi turned to him. “What's not to like? We do this all the time.”
do,” he clarified. “Besides, I don't like the idea of adding dilithium to antimatter.”
“You watch Star Trek too much,” Lexi grinned.
“Dilithium regulates the antimatter flow,” Rodney complained. “Kirk.”
They were in the room that they'd adopted for training. John, Lexi and Teyla were sitting against the far wall. Rodney and Lorne were standing a bit away from them, watching Dawn, Ronon, and Rose warming up through the slow flexing motions of Tai Chi.
“Or,” John said after watching them in synch with each other for a while, “maybe she knows what she's doing.”
After quite a bit of time of nothing happening amongst the blur of motion, John noticed Sam leaning against the door frame, glaring at him. Well, it looked like glaring. Could've been astonishment, but he wasn't going to take any chances. “No bets, colonel. Promise.”
“How long have they been at this?” she asked, heading over to the now two teams. Lorne's came in after hearing about it through him.
“Thirty minutes, no hits,” Ronon rumbled.
Sam looked back at the blonde and the brunette. “You're kidding.”
“Not one, colonel,” Teyla said. “I've never seen such grace before.”
Hearing the bit of awe on both Teyla and Ronon's voices, Sam sat next to Lexi and simply watched them. After a bit, Lexi sighed. “What's wrong?” she asked her.
“They're dancing,” Lexi complained. “No real effort is being put through anything. They're just strike block, strike block. It's disgusting.”
The pair spun around each other, and Rose pivoted; ducked; then came up with a straight left hand. It barely touched Dawn's midsection, before the other followed and did a repetitious, thrumming jab up her right side with her fingertips.
“What the hell was that?” Dawn asked, backing up with her hand up, halting things. Her other hand holding her side.
Rose blinked, then looked at her hands. “I have no idea. That shouldn't have worked.”
“What did we just see?” John said, completely confused.
“It… There was…” Rodney motioned with his hands, “Big blur.”
“What was that like for you?” Dawn asked, catching a water from Ronon.
Rose sat down and grabbed a towel to wipe her face. “You slowed down. Everything did. How weird is that?”
Dawn handed her her water bottle. “That, my dear Rose, is what I call pro
gress,” she grinned wide.