Authors: _thirty2flavors and goldy_dollar
Characters/Pairings: Ten2/Rose, Jackie, Pete, OCs
Summary: On Tony’s eighth birthday, the Doctor is kidnapped by a paramilitary group who will do anything to defend Earth from aliens.
Warnings: Aaaangst, violence, mentions of torture (offscreen)
Excerpt: He’d get out of here, somehow, eventually. Rose was waiting for him. There was always a way out. Usually.
Previous parts: Part One
The Doctor’s feet dragged across the floor as two men hauled him into a dark and dingy cell. There, they released him and he collapsed onto the floor, barely managing to break his fall with his hands. The two guards left the cell, the door sliding heavily shut behind them.
Outside the cell, the sounds of two voices, a man's and a woman’s, drew closer. The Doctor stilled, ears straining to listen.
“He held up well under the shock therapy.”
“Extremely well. I’ve never seen anything like it.” The woman’s voice paused. “He’s not human.”
“No,” said the man’s voice, with something that sounded like a smile, “no, we were sure of that.”
“Fascinating,” the woman murmured, “a man who looks human, but isn’t human. I’ll parse through the data we collected on him tonight. You’ll want to wake him for another round in a few hours?”
“Yes,” came the reply, “he held up well today, but he’ll break. They all do. Nice work, Inga.”
The sound of clicking heels disappeared down the hallway. The Doctor braced his weight on his forearms and pushed himself up in a sitting position, gritting his teeth. He looked to the entrance of the cell and was unsurprised to find Anders watching him.
They’d wanted him to hear their conversation, then.
“I am sorry about this, Dr Smith,” said Anders. “Will you not reconsider our offer?”
The Doctor scrubbed his hands over his face and then mustered up a smile. “Ooh, let me think.... no. Never.”
Anders’ stare was hard. “Then we will have to keep torturing you until you change your mind.”
The Doctor’s voice was steely. “Then you will torture me until I die.”
"If you die, you'll never see that lovely wife of yours again."
The Doctor shut his eyes, deciding against giving Anders the satisfaction of getting under his skin. He’d undergone his fair share of torture in 900 years—and so far AIF’s methods were nothing he couldn’t handle. Time Lords had ways of dealing with pain and so long as he knew Rose was safe, they could threaten him with whatever they liked.
“Get some rest, Dr Smith,” Anders finally said, sounding slightly disappointed, “we’ll start again in a few hours.”
The Doctor grunted in reply, waiting for a moment until he heard Anders walk away. When he was sure Anders was gone, he cracked his eyes open, squinting into the darkness of the cell. It was small and damp, with a cot pressed up against one side and a small bucket in the corner for waste. The door was a good three inches thick and locked with a palm scanner on the outside. There were no outside windows—the only light shone in from the bars covering the top of the door.
Grunting, he used the wall to hoist himself to his feet, wincing as his dry and burned skin screamed in protest. He shuffled over to the cot and then lowered himself onto it. There, he rested his elbows on his knees, thinking. AIF’s facilities were certainly impressive. He reckoned that there were at least another twenty cells exactly like this one lining the outside doorway, containing at least as many other prisoners. Prisoners, the Doctor now knew, AIF was experimenting on and torturing. That was how they had collected their information. If he strained to listen, he could make out a low murmur of voices crying out in pain that seemed to be a uniform sound of distress for all species.
He gritted his teeth. He would find a way out, and he’d make AIF pay for what they’d done.
He squeezed his eyes shut against a sudden wave of dizziness and then lay down on the cot, body beginning to go to sleep almost involuntarily. His thoughts drifted to Rose. It had been just over a day since he’d disappeared—surely she would have noticed. Was she safe? Would AIF have gone after her, too? They're only interested in aliens, he told himself. Rose was fine. She had to be. He couldn't allow himself to think about any other possibility.
The door to her flat squeaked shut behind her and Rose shrugged off her knapsack - stuffed full of weapons she'd nicked from Torchwood - and it hit the carpet with a thud. Then, fighting off a wave of exhaustion, she sank into a chair at the kitchen table.
She would get the Doctor back on her own. She had to. Besides, she'd built a dimension cannon, hadn't she? She'd travelled to another world to find him again. What was tracking down one part-Time Lord after that?
Rose did her best to push the exhaustion away. If she could just think...
"But how do I get there?" she wondered aloud.
A plane would be the fastest way - but it would be the hardest way to stay under their radar and surprise them.
She bit her lip, thinking. Her eyes roamed restlessly over the empty flat before finding and settling on the Doctor's discarded coat, tossed haphazardly over the back of a chair. She felt a pang. They'd had that coat specially made for him a few months after he'd arrived on Bad Wolf Bay. It wasn't exactly like the original - the brown was a little darker and the cut a little longer, but it was as close as they could get. The Doctor had even been working on expanding the insides of the pockets.
Feeling tears prick her eyes, she moved over to the coat and searched through the pockets until her fingers brushed the psychic paper he'd nicked from the TARDIS years ago. Feeling a small flash of triumph, she pulled it out.
She would drive, then. She would rent a car and use the psychic paper at any border checkpoints. Her best shot at rescuing the Doctor was surprising them.
Her plan was good, but she wouldn't be any help to the Doctor in her exhausted state. She hesitated - she could go back to the bedroom - their bedroom, but that would mean sleeping in their bed, on her own. Or... she turned back to the coat and then, nodding to herself, she pulled it off the chair and dragged it over to the sofa. There, she lay down in a ball, pulling the coat over her like a blanket.
She closed her eyes, breathing in - it smelled like hair gel and cut grass and sweat and something else that reminded her uniquely of the Doctor. Finally, Rose slept.
The Doctor woke up strapped to an examination table.
He opened his eyes slowly, expecting the darkness of his cell and finding a bright overhead lamp instead. He winced at the light and shut his eyes again, turning his head away and giving his wrists and ankles an experimental tug, unsurprised when he found them restrained. He ached all over, but with regular bouts of torture he’d begun to accept that as par for the course.
Opening his eyes to squint at the counter top across from him, the Doctor tried to work out where he was and how he’d got there. It looked to be some sort of lab, one Anders had neglected to show him during the friendlier version of the tour. He closed his eyes again. The last thing he could recall was screaming in pain; he must have blacked out.
That was bad—it meant he was getting weaker. It had been almost two days since the Doctor had anything to eat or drink, and though he was hardier than the average human, he could feel his body beginning to give under the stress. His body wasn't bouncing back as quick as it should be.
AIF, meanwhile, was growing more impatient. They were giving him less and less time between rounds of "coercion" and the torture itself was getting worse. He was permanently exhausted; he needed rest to recuperate and he wasn't getting it. Each time they returned him to his cell he knew he ought to try and think up a way to escape, but he could never manage much more than dragging himself to his bed and trying to catch an hour or two of sleep.
The Doctor blamed most of this on his human physiology. He was sure he'd been better at withstanding torture as a Time Lord. He still had more stamina than a human--enough to fascinate AIF, anyway--but by his old standards, he was positively weak. He wondered how likely it was that AIF would kill him by accident. One heart, no regenerations—the Doctor himself wasn’t sure where that line was, didn’t know exactly how much this new body could withstand.
He swallowed, trying to push the thought to the back of his mind. He’d get out of here, somehow, eventually. Rose was waiting for him. There was always a way out. Usually.
Something sharp pricked his arm, and the Doctor jerked his head up to see Inga taking a sample of his blood. She didn’t react as he flinched, and she kept her eyes trained on the needle as she spoke.
“You’re getting weaker,” she said, her voice clinical and matter-of-fact. “You blacked out this time. Anders doesn’t think you’ll last much longer.”
The Doctor didn't answer. Instead he craned his neck to try and watch her, irritated with his prone position. "A blood sample? Well, now you owe me a lollipop."
Inga removed the needle from his arm, still not looking at him. "We would be happy to feed you if you were to cooperate."
"Fish and chips for the low low price of mass genocide? I think I'll pass, thanks."
Inga said nothing. She stepped away from the table and crossed to the countertop, her heels clicking. The Doctor strained his neck to watch her but eventually gave up, resting his head back against the table and doing his best not to dwell on how uncomfortable it was to be someone's lab rat. At least, he supposed, being Inga's pincushion for the moment meant that some other poor creature might be getting a few more moments of rest. He wondered how many others had been in this very room, terrified and powerless and alone. Most of them wouldn't even have the ability to communicate with their captors; they couldn't beg for mercy if they wanted to.
The Doctor closed his eyes and clenched his jaw, curling the fingers of one hand into a fist. It was infuriating, being stuck there unable to help the people who needed it more than he did--
Something else poked his arm again, and the Doctor twisted his head to see Inga sliding some sort of IV into his arm. Within a moment he could feel the liquid creeping up his arm, making it feel heavy and useless. It burned in his veins, a sensation that reminded him unfavourably of regenerating.
"You're wasting your time cataloguing me," he told her, determined to stay conscious despite whatever drug she was administering. "My people aren't coming to tea, I promise you."
"You're a fascinating man," she said. She moved behind him, beyond where he was able to see. "I'm curious about you. No perception filter, no shimmer, but on the outside you're physically indistinguishable from a human. How is that? Are you a shapeshifter?"
"No. Actually, as it happens, we came first. This form really isn't as unique as you lot like to think."
Inga's heels clicked back towards him, and she re-entered his line of sight pulling a large machine on wheels behind her. On the top of the cart sat a monitor, but she twisted the screen away from him just as he lifted his head to look. "It seems unlikely that two identical species would evolve on two different planets."
The Doctor raised his eyebrows. "The universe is an unlikely place."
"Still," she went on, adjusting settings on the machine as she spoke, "something must be different about you, inside. If you were human, you'd be dead."
"Oh, no worries." He smiled tightly. "I'm sure you'll finish me off soon enough."
Inga bent down, unhooking a couple of wires from the side of the machine. "We aren't trying to kill you. We're looking for your cooperation."
"What, I design you a supervirus and then catch a first-class flight back to merry old England?" The Doctor laughed. "You kidnapped me because I'm a genius, do you really think I'm that daft? After all this, after I've seen what you do to people, you think I'd head on home and forget it ever happened? Oh, you'd have to kill me, we both know that."
Inga glanced at him, meeting his eyes for the first time, and then quickly looked away. She straightened up, wires in hand, and the Doctor noticed with a sense of dread that the ends of the wires were sharp. He clenched his jaw and looked to the ceiling just as she plunged the first wire into his arm. He drew a deep breath as she fed the second wire into his arm, closing his eyes and determinedly keeping his face impassive. Compared to other things he'd been through in the last couple days, it felt more like a mild discomfort, and in any case he didn't want to give her the satisfaction of knowing he was in pain.
It was as she fed the final wire into his skin that she spoke again. "Is your wife an alien too?"
The Doctor's eyes snapped open, a shiver creeping down his spine. He looked at Inga, who was staring at him with her arms folded. He didn't want to talk to her about Rose. He didn't want to think about Rose -- it made him panicked, wondering how she was doing, wondering if she was safe, wondering if he would get to see her again before he died. But he couldn't let AIF think of her as a threat, or as anything more than his rich blonde wife. He certainly couldn't let them think of her as a target -- or an alien.
"No," he bit out. "She's human."
He could feel Inga watching him curiously, her brow furrowed like she couldn't fathom the concept. "But she knows you're not human?"
The Doctor said nothing, taking a deep breath in a failed attempt to calm himself. He couldn't keep talking about Rose; he couldn't let them know what Rose meant to him. Instead he turned his head to Inga, letting his upper lip curl. "It bothers you, doesn't it, the way I look? It's easier when they look different, when you can think of them as things instead of people. Things are easier to abuse, aren't they? It's easier when they don't speak your language, when you can ignore their cries of pain, when you can pretend they're too stupid to feel angry and frightened and alone." Inga stood a little taller, her arms dropping to her sides, but the Doctor continued. "That's why you're so desperate to find something different about me. You need something to point to and label 'alien' so that it doesn't bother you when I scream."
For a moment Inga held his gaze, the mask of scientific indifference gone from her face. Then she turned abruptly back to the monitor beside her, feigning fascination with whatever she could see on the screen.
The Doctor carried on, aware that his voice was trembling with rage. "The work you've done here is genius. You must be brilliant. You could do so many things -- you could be making medical breakthroughs, you could be working on cures for the sick, you could be helping people, and what are you doing? Designing better ways to kill."
"It's protecting people." Her voice was steady, but her hands shook as she adjusted the machine's controls. "That's what it's about, what we do here, protecting people."
"No it's not." The Doctor shook his head. "Those prisoners you've got, the people you torture, the ones you keep locked up, injured and dying and alone -- they're the ones who need protecting."
She didn't reply right away, and the lab fell into a silence matched only with their breathing and the hum of the machines around them. Then she stepped back, looking down at her watch. "It will be another forty minutes until these readings are complete," she said, her voice cool. "I have things to do." Without so much as a cursory glance, she turned and left the lab.
The Doctor watched her go, his jaw still set in anger. He shut his eyes, trying to relax, trying to ignore the fresh pain in his arms and the pain lingering in the rest of his body. He tried very hard not to think about Rose or how desperately he missed her. It felt like such a terrible waste, all this time spent away from her.
This new body had so few years left.
Gravel crunched under the tyres of the jeep as Rose turned off the main road and pulled over. She was still a good click away from AIF, but she reckoned she would be less conspicuous if she approached them on foot.
Exiting the car, she gave a long stretch and then rummaged through the back seat. She tugged on her gun belt and then strapped on as many weapons as she could - two taser guns (set to 'stun'), three tear gas cans, several explosives, and one of Torchwood's own circuit disrupters, designed to cut out a building's electricity. Finally, she stored her mobile phone under the front passenger seat in case something went wrong. At least then Dad and Torchwood would have some way of tracking down her location. Satisfied, she locked the jeep and stored the car key by the side of the road, behind a boulder.
Then, adjusting her weapons belt, she set off down the road, moving at a half-jog. Despite the 16 hour car trip, she felt the adrenaline beginning to hit her system. The Doctor had been gone almost three days now - three days during which AIF could have been doing anything to him.
If they'd killed him....
Rose's chest hitched briefly before she got herself under control. Dad had said that AIF had wanted him for a reason - that meant he was probably still alive. But she also knew that the Doctor would never cooperate with them, and who knew how long AIF would be patient for?
Putting on a burst of speed, Rose ran the last half-kilometre or so, only slowing when the base came into view. It was relatively unimpressive as far as military structures went - the entrance looked like the back garage of a fire station and the building was small and painted a dark green/grey that blended in with the surrounding shrubbery. Most of the base had to be underground, then.
Rose hung back, hiding behind a nearby tree as she surveyed the place. There were a couple of guards outside the building, which either meant they had better security on the inside or they considered the chances of attack to be very low. Rose was hoping for the second one.
She grabbed one of the tear gas cans out of her belt. She would take out the two guards first and then, after cutting the building's electricity, go in after the Doctor. She knew from past experience that the voltage disrupters did an excellent job - with a little luck, she might be able to rescue the Doctor and get back out before they even got their lights back on.
Taking a deep breath, Rose ducked out from behind the relative safety of her tree.
Once she was out in the open, she yelled, "Hey, boys!"
The two guards looked over in surprise, but before they could react, she lopped the tear gas. They descended into coughing fits, one of them managing to get a shot off, which sailed harmlessly over Rose's head and into a nearby tree.
Rose strode forward, now pulling out the stun gun. In two quick shots, both guards were lying prone on the ground. They would be out for at least two hours, but would survive.
She pulled out the circuit disrupter and moved forward.
The Doctor awoke suddenly from a deep sleep. He tensed, certain that Anders had come back to take him for another round of torture—but then a loud blast rocked through building, shaking the floor. A second later, the lights flickered and then blinked out.
The Doctor was on his feet immediately, wincing as he stood. Part-Time Lord or not, AIF’s advanced examination techniques were increasingly effective.
Gritting his teeth, he mentally willed his pain away and hobbled to the front of the cell. He pressed his face to the line of bars covering the window and looked out. The rest of the hallway was similarly bathed in darkness. Something must have cut the power to the entire base.
Feeling a rush of excitement, the Doctor momentarily forgot his pain. This was it—his chance to escape. The cells opened from the outside, locked by the electronic palm scanner. But with the power down, he would bet Casanova five chickens that the lock was down too.
He wrapped his fingers around the the bars across the window, grunting as he threw his weight into pushing. “Come on, come on,” he hissed to himself. He felt almost faint with relief when the door groaned and then slid open by several inches.
He paused, heart hammering wildly in his chest. His hands were shaking when he placed them around the bars again, but he summoned his strength and pushed. The door slid open another few inches.
Feeling motivated now, the Doctor moved to the opened crack in the door, just managing to squeeze one shoulder between the door and the wall. There, he pushed again, a bead of sweat breaking out along his forehead.
Finally, panting and chest heaving, he was able to free his head. Squinting into the darkness of the empty hallway, he had just enough time to wonder why none of the other prisoners were attempting similar escapes when a torch light shone brightly in his eyes.
He winced, momentarily blinded. A cold bead of sweat rolled down his back. “Who’s there?” he croaked.
“Dr Smith,” came Anders’ cool and controlled voice, “did you honestly think we wouldn’t have a backup system in place?” He paused. “Most men in your situation would have given up all hope by now.”
He removed the torch light from the Doctor’s face and the Doctor squinted, able to make out a handful of his goons flanked behind him.
The Doctor’s heart sank. “What can I say, I was eager for another session with the esteemed Dr Inga. It’s starting to tickle.”
Anders chuckled. “Oh, I don’t think there will be anymore need for that. Mattias?”
A hand belonging to one of Anders’ goons clamped down on the Doctor’s shoulder as Anders punched in the code for the door. The door slid open and Mattias yanked the Doctor forward, grabbing both his arms in a vice grip.
The Doctor fought a growing sense of dread. Was this it—the end? Had Anders finally grown tired of trying to coerce him into cooperating?
Anders snapped his fingers. “How about some lights?” The overhead lights flicked back on, illuminating the hall in a bright glare. “There now, that’s much better.”
The Doctor was momentarily blinded from the suddenness of the lights. Spots danced in front of his eyes as his vision cleared and he looked around—unable to muffle his sharp gasp of surprise.
It was Rose.
They had Rose.
He stared, frozen half in horror and half in disbelief as Torbjörn pulled her forward. Torbjörn had one, meaty hand clamped over her mouth, but she squirmed in his arms. Seeing the Doctor seemed to renew her desperation and she struggled to no avail, her eyes seeking out his.
The Doctor’s next breath came out as more of a wheeze. No, this couldn’t be happening. Rose was supposed to be safe—she was supposed to be home and safe and far, far away from this.
“We believe she was trying to rescue you,” said Anders mildly. He pulled out a tear gas can and an explosive, setting them each down at the Doctor’s feet. He clicked his tongue in disapproval. “Surely Torchwood operatives are better trained than this. We expected an army to come after you—not a girl with some toys.”
At that, Rose elbowed Torbjörn in the ribcage who made an “oof” noise, but kept his grip around her.
Anders ignored her. “Now, Dr Smith, it’s very simple—you cooperate with us or we hurt your wife. Understand?”
The Doctor tried not to let his growing horror show. “You don’t hurt humans.”
“Well, we don’t know she's human for certain, do we? You look human, Dr Smith, just as your wife does. I am sure Inga would be happy to run some.... tests. For national security purposes, you understand.” Anders took a few steps closer to the Doctor, dropping his voice. “You remember those tests, Dr Smith, don’t you? How do you think your wife will hold up?”
With great effort, the Doctor looked away from Rose and focused on Anders. “Run the tests,” he said. “She means less to me than you might think. Do you know what I like so much about this planet? Rich people. And the Tyler family has enough money to bathe in. Do the math, Anders. It’s not hard to figure out why I married her.”
Anders’ eyebrows shot up, but it was Inga who answered. “I... I think he’s lying,” she said. She elbowed her way through Anders’ goons and came to stand at Anders’ shoulder, looking unusually harried and unsettled. “He’s just trying to protect her.”
The Doctor flicked his gaze briefly over to Inga who shifted uncomfortably and looked away.
“Marry into the Tyler family,” he only said, “what could be better cover on Earth than that?”
Anders began to sound impatient. “Well there’s only one way to find out. Torbjörn, break her arm.”
The Doctor had no time to react. Torbjörn grabbed one of Rose’s arms back and pulled. There was a snapping noise followed by her cry of pain. Her legs briefly gave out and she sagged back against Torbjörn’s massive chest.
The Doctor instinctively jerked forward, only for Mattias to yank him backwards again. His jaw clenched down and he sought out Rose’s gaze, seeking some reassurance that she was okay.
Her face was pale when her eyes met his and she tried to muster up a shaky smile. The Doctor felt sick.
“Dr Smith, what’s your answer?”
The Doctor looked away and didn’t respond.
Anders walked over to Rose and wrapped his hand around her broken arm, pulling it out of its socket. Rose cried out against Torbjörn’s hand, face contorting in pain.
“Stop!” the Doctor burst out. “Stop it, just... stop.”
Anders ignored his pleas. “How many bones are there in the human body, Dr Smith? 206? What if we broke every one of them? One down—” he released Rose’s arm, but then grabbed Rose’s hand, pulling back her finger.
“DON’T! Stop it, stop right now.”
The finger snapped and Rose cried out again. “Two down.”
“He asked you to stop, Anders!” Inga cried, looking pale and unsteady on her feet herself. “She’s human.”
“A human married to an alien,” spat Anders, but he released Rose. He took a few moments to collect himself and then turned around to address the Doctor. “This is your last chance, Dr Smith. What’s your answer?”
The Doctor’s eyes were glued to Rose—silent tears rolled down her cheeks, but she shook her head at him. He mouthed “I’m sorry” in her direction and then turned to Anders.
He wished he was the sort of man who could choose to put the good of the entire universe over one person. But he wasn’t. When it came down to it, he couldn’t bear to watch them torture her, entire universe be damned.
He took a breath. “I’ll do it.”
Anders’ eyes lit up with victory. “I knew I could bring you around.” He placed one hand on the Doctor’s shoulder. “I assure you, Dr Smith, your time with us will go far more smoothly now that you’ve decided to cooperate.”
The Doctor put as much hatred into his glare as he could. “Get your hand off me.”
Anders idly tucked up the corners of the Doctor’s collar and then drew his hand back. “Of course, Dr Smith. Is there anything else we can do for you?”
The Doctor looked over Anders' shoulder and at Rose who was watching him with wide and desperate eyes. “Yes,” he said, “help her.”
“Naturally,” said Anders and then, with a smug smile, added, “despite what you might think, we’re not monsters.”
“No, most monsters I like.”
Anders’ smile slipped, but Inga said, “I’ll look after her, Dr Smith, I promise.”
Inga's gaze was sincere and the Doctor bit down a remark about entrusting his wife to the woman who had spent the better part of three days overseeing his torture. "Thank you," he managed stiffly.