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: The big boss himself paying her a visit was at least more interesting than pacing the cell while she worried about the Doctor and wondered when—and if—they would bring him back to her.
Previous parts: Part One, Part Two, Part Three
“I don’t get it,” Anders announced, flipping his palms upward before he folded his arms and leaned back in his chair. He said it flippantly, like he was offering his opinion on a puzzling piece of modern art, but Inga knew him well enough to hear the hint of frustration and befuddlement in his tone. He didn’t get it, and he hated that.
Inga, on the other hand, was beginning to suspect the answer was a lot simpler than she wanted to admit.
She leaned forward over Anders’ shoulder, studying the screen in his office where he was watching the feed from the surveillance camera in Rose Tyler’s cell. Rose and her husband—her alien husband, Inga reminded herself—were squeezed together on the tiny cot. They were curled up together as best they could manage, and they were sound asleep. Reunited after being separated for days, and they were just... sleeping.
Inga looked away from the screen, feeling uncomfortable. They were just sleeping, but she felt like she was watching something incredibly private. She supposed she was.
"He's not even human," Anders went on, shaking his head, the disgust evident on his face. "That's like... bestiality."
"Well, they're physically compatible," Inga reasoned, though she flushed at the look Anders sent her. "I just mean..." She cleared her throat, looking back at the screen. "Nevermind."
Anders regarded her skeptically for a moment, one eyebrow raised, and then he shook his head. "You need to get out of the office more often. It's doing your head in." He gestured towards her rumpled blouse and wrinkled skirt. "Look at you."
Instantly feeling self-conscious, she reached up to try and flatten her hair. "Yeah," she agreed quietly. She looked down at herself, straightening her skirt. "Listen, I was wondering--"
"When was the last time you took a day off?" Anders pushed himself away from his desk, rolling his chair over to another set of drawers and rooting around in them.
Inga blinked. "I'm... not sure," she conceded, thrown by the question. "Anyway I was wondering... what happens when the virus is finished? I mean, what do we do with them?"
Anders didn't pause to think or stop what he was doing. "Kill him," he said simply. "He's an alien, isn't he?"
It was the answer she was expecting. What she hadn't anticipated was how uncomfortable that answer made her. "And her?"
Anders glanced over at the video feed, his gaze inexorably drawn to Rose Tyler. "We'll help her."
Whatever Inga had been expecting, it wasn't that. "I'm sorry?"
Anders' smile was patronizing as he returned to rooting through the drawer. "We've seen this sort of thing before, Inga. Women who become inexplicably infatuated with aliens - either because they've been brainwashed or drugged or both. You did say he was a low level telepath, correct? We have a duty to Rose Tyler; just like we have a duty to everyone else on this planet."
"Well... yes, I understand that, but...." Inga trailed off, not quite sure how to tell him that she strongly doubted Rose Tyler's feelings had anything to do with being brainwashed. She finally settled on, "And if that isn't the case? If she really does love him?"
"We'll kill her too, of course -" he slammed the top drawer shut and began rifling through the middle one, "I know I put it here somewhere..."
Inga frowned. "Anders, she's human. She's famous, she's rich, she's an heiress, we can't just kill her, people will notice--"
"She's eccentric. Appears out of nowhere in her twenties with her dead mother, shuns the media, marries a nobody who also appears out of nowhere..." He waved a hand. "So she drops off the face of the Earth again. By the time her family can convince the world they ought to care the bodies will be long gone. They can't prove anything. Besides, it's better than sending her home to rally the troops or talk to the media."
"That's making a lot of assumptions." She paused. "I could drug them. Both of them. Modify their memories. They wouldn't even know--"
"Too risky, especially with him... aha!" Evidently having found what he was looking for, Anders stood and turned to face her. She met his eyes hesitantly and he frowned, tilting his head. "You've gone soft on me, Inga."
She felt a flash of anger and drew herself up, straightening her shoulders. "I didn't start working here so I could kill people, Anders."
Both his eyebrows rose up, and for a moment she thought he was going to shout. But when he spoke, his voice was surprisingly soft. "No," he said after a moment, nodding. "Of course not." He gave her a small smile. "I'll do my best to help the girl, I promise you."
The way he said it was not the least bit comforting. Inga opened her mouth but hesitated, unsure what to say, and Anders took the opportunity to shove something into her hands.
"Hockey tickets! Next Saturday!" he explained, his tone light again. "You've been working too hard, Inga. You deserve some time off."
Inga stared at the tickets in surprise, running her thumb over the barcode. "I... thanks..."
Anders smiled. "Not at all." He lifted his wrist, checking his watch. "Two hours and five minutes," he said. "Naptime's over, back to work." With that, he turned and left the office.
Inga watched him go, then looked down at the tickets in her hands. She looked back at the screen where she could still see Dr Smith and his wife, curled together. Biting her lip, she shoved the tickets into a random drawer on Anders' desk and hurried out of the room.
Rose was beginning to find that being held captive against her will—and with a broken arm—was more than a little boring. For the most part, AIF paid her little attention—she only saw other people when they brought her meals or escorted the Doctor in and out of the cell for his scheduled rest breaks.
So when Anders appeared at her cell holding two mugs of tea and with one of his goons carrying a plate of biscuits, she was immediately curious, if a little wary. The big boss himself paying her a visit was at least more interesting than pacing the cell while she worried about the Doctor and wondered when—and if—they would bring him back to her.
“Ah, Ms Rose Tyler,” he said, by way of greeting, smiling in a polite and charming way. “You remember Torbjörn, yes?”
“Right, the bloke who broke my arm,” said Rose, “I have a vague recollection.”
“Excellent.” He moved into the cell, surveying her up and down in a way that made Rose’s neck prickle uncomfortably. He held out one of the mugs. “Tea? I’ve heard it’s quite the British custom.”
Rose stared at the mug of tea like it might bite her. “No thanks.” She paused. “But I will take a biscuit.”
Anders looked pleased. “Torbjörn, you heard her.”
Torbjörn offered the plate of biscuits to Rose who took the top one with her good hand, munching on it as she stared at Anders speculatively. “What do you want?”
“I came to see how you’re getting on, of course,” said Anders. After hesitating, he set both mugs of tea down on the floor of the cell. “I want you to think of yourself as a guest.”
Rose took another bite of the biscuit, idly wiping away some crumbs on her chin. “Funny, I don’t usually lock my ‘guests’ in cages and torture their husbands.”
Anders didn’t look particularly put out by the retort. “I am sorry that we couldn’t meet in better circumstances, Ms Tyler. I have wanted to make your acquaintance for some time.”
Rose snorted. “Sorry for finding that hard to believe.”
Anders smiled patiently. “You have quite the impressive resume, Ms Tyler,” he said. “Vitex heiress, high-ranking Torchwood agent, and beautiful at that. Why wouldn’t I want to meet you?”
Rose shifted, blushing under his intense scrutiny. Instead of responding, she reached for another biscuit, filling the silence with the sounds of chewing and swallowing.
Anders took a step closer to her, eyes flicking to the cast on her arm. “How are you feeling today? Inga tells me that the arm should heal just fine—good as new.”
Rose stared at him. Was he seriously trying to engage her in small talk? Instead of answering, she said, “Where’s the Doctor?”
A mild frown wrinkled his otherwise congenial smile. “He’s occupied.”
“You mean he’s building that thing—that weapon.”
“It’s only a defence mechanism, I assure you,” said Anders, now in a frostier tone.
“When are you bringing him back here?”
“You can’t just.... keep doing this to a person,” Rose pressed, her voice beginning to shake. “You’ve been torturing him from days, he needs rest, he needs—“
“I said later,” snapped Anders.
Rose flinched at his tone and Anders took a deep breath like he was mentally willing himself back together.
He considered her for a moment and then snapped his fingers. “A warm shower. That’s what you need, isn’t it? How shameful of us not to have offered you one earlier.”
Rose hesitated—as much as she didn’t want to accept anything from AIF, the idea of a warm shower did sound nice. “Yeah, okay,” she finally said, “thanks.”
Anders led her through AIF’s winding corridors, Torbjörn following behind them. He kept one warm hand on Rose’s back and she fought the temptation to wiggle away. It was obvious that he was enjoying having her as a captive audience.
“As you can see, our technology is far more advanced than what you have in England,” he said, leaning in close enough so that his breath tickled her ear. They came to a door and he held his free hand up to palm scanner. His other hand rubbed in a circle at her back and he escorted her through the door as it swished open. “That’s Torchwood’s problem—they’ve opened their records up to the public. And politicians bow to the will of the taxpayer even when it’s not in the best interests of the country. That’s the benefit to being secret, Ms Tyler. We have far more support from our government and I think, you will find, a far higher success rate.”
“Depends what you count as a ‘success,’” Rose said. “Kidnapping and torturing people isn’t the definition in my dictionary.”
“Our methods might appear extreme to some, but everything is done with a single purpose in mind—protecting Sweden and the world from the alien threat.”
“Yeah, but not all aliens are bad,” said Rose, “can’t you see that? You’re not helping anything by hurting them—how long can Earth survive if we tear down everything in our path?”
They came to another door. Beyond it, Rose could make out the shape of latrines and what she assumed was individual shower stalls. Instead of opening the door, Anders stopped and turned to look at her, his gaze dark.
Rose was beginning to regret agreeing to the shower field trip.
“He has done a number on you,” Anders murmured. He reached out, thumb stroking her cheek and Rose hastily backed up, banging onto the opposite wall. Anders’ gaze filled with pity. “If he’s done something to you, Rose—if you’re frightened, scared of him... we can help you. There might even be room for you here with us.”
“Oh my god, you can’t be serious,” she said even as the look on Anders’ face told her he was very serious.
“We’ve seen these cases before,” he said gently, “our experiments have revealed that Dr Smith is at the very least a low level telepath. You might not even be aware of his control.”
Rose’s jaw dropped. “That’s not....” she said, “he would never.... I married the Doctor because I love him. That’s it. That’s the only reason. And believe me when I tell you that much bigger forces than you have tried to split us up before.”
Before Rose could react, Anders’ arms shot out, pinning her to the wall. She yelped as her broken arm banged into solid concrete.
“Then you are a traitor,” he spat, his eyes suddenly sparking with something that was wild and uncontrolled. “You are nothing.”
“Boss—” began Torbjörn.
“Shut up,” Anders yelled over his shoulder. Torbjörn took a step back, silenced.
Anders' thumbs dug into the flesh of Rose’s arm, his breath panting on her face. “Tell me, Rose, how does he make you touch him?”
Rose swallowed hard and didn’t answer. Anders moved in closer, shoving her up against the wall with more force. “What sort of debasing acts has he made you do?” he spat. “What degrading, alien favours do you do for him?”
A sheen of sweat broke out across his forehead. “I just want to understand,” he rasped. “TELL ME!”
Rose mutely shook her head, feeling tears press against her eyes. Anders shook her one last time until her head snapped back, cracking against the concrete of the wall. Stars exploded in front of her eyes, but she remained silent.
Finally, with her broken arm screaming in pain, Anders’ grip loosened and then he released her. She stumbled and then leaned heavily against the wall, trying to get her breath back
Anders pressed his hand to the palm scanner and the door lid open. “I believe you wanted a shower, Ms Tyler,” he said, his voice mild once again.
With as much dignity as Rose could muster, she walked through the door, Anders right behind her.
Anders didn’t speak again until they came to a row of shower stalls. “You’ll have ten minutes—no more,” he said. “Get undressed.”
Rose stared at him. “Right here? In front of you?”
“I will be here the whole time,” said Anders, his lips pulling up into a smirk. “I can’t leave you unguarded. Surely you must understand why.”
“Then you can forget it,” she said, “I’m not gonna stand there and shower with you watching. I'd rather die.”
She could tell right away that she’d struck a nerve. She tensed, waiting for him to assault her again, but he only said, “If you would prefer Torbjörn to—”
“Yes,” said Rose.
Anders looked taken aback. “You would rather have Torbjörn—the man who broke your arm—than me?”
“Yeah, I would," said Rose. "And you know why? Torbjörn was just following orders, but you.... I've seen a lot of aliens in my time, and none of them even come close to what you are."
In two short steps, Anders closed the distance between them and slapped her clear across the face. The sharp sound of flesh hitting flesh echoed through the room and Rose stumbled, catching herself on the shower before falling.
Anders was breathing hard when he said, “We’re going to kill him, Ms Tyler. That virus is just delaying the inevitable. As soon as it’s finished, he will be gone and the world will be a better place for it. Torbjörn!” he hollered. “She’s all yours.”
Torbjörn appeared immediately, gun slung over his shoulder. “Tell Inga I want that virus finished now," he barked. "I want that man dead."
Without another word, he stalked out of the shower room. Rose breathed a sigh of relief once he was gone, gingerly pressing her fingers to her cheek. She hissed at the ensuing sting.
Torbjörn looked faintly embarrassed by his boss’s behaviour. “I have to... um....” he gestured at her and then blushed a deep red colour.
In another situation, Rose might have been amused at the giant Swede who had broke her arm getting flustered at the prospect of seeing her naked. As it was, she mustered up a reassuring smile. “I know. So I don’t hatch a dastardly escape plan, got it.”
“I... um... I did bring you this,” said Torbjörn. He held out a plastic bag and then inclined his head towards Rose’s arm.
“Right, keep the cast dry.”
She took the plastic bag and then slowly stripped off her clothes. To his credit, Torbjörn made an effort to keep his eyes above her neck, but Rose still felt incredibly self-conscious as she stepped into the shower spray. She winced as the water hit her now battered body and she twisted around to examine a purple bruise forming on her good arm.
The last thing she wanted was to give the Doctor another reason to worry about her. It was bad enough he’d agreed to built that weapon because of her. And now Anders had promised to kill him....
Even with the warm water pounding down on her back, Rose felt chilled. Anders believed—he really believed in what he was saying. Everything alien was evil—including her because she had chosen one of them over him. But in coming to the Doctor’s rescue, she had inadvertently hastened his demise.
Some wife she was. She closed her eyes under the hot spray as the first of her tears sprang into her eyes.
The Doctor had told Inga it would take one week to finish their weapon. The reality was that it would probably take a great deal less time. The genetic modification itself wasn't that hard - AIF had handed him their formula and he'd worked in the human DNA code. No, what was hard was pretending like he was immersed in a terribly complicated process that would take days to unravel.
He had no doubt that they would kill him as soon as the virus was finished. It wasn't exactly the most inspiring incentive in the book. But as long as they released Rose... as long as there was a chance that she could fight back...
He looked up when the door to the lab swished open and Inga entered. She had a clipboard tucked under one arm and a pair of spectacles pushed smartly up her nose.
"How is it coming today?" she said briskly, coming over to inspect his work.
She picked up the petri dish and a few of his scrawled notes, eyebrows knitting together as she concentrated. The Doctor eyed her wearily - she looked more rested and alert than she had in days. Her fingers tapped the sides of the page as she flicked through his work.
"Oh... oh dear," she murmured and the Doctor tensed, but she set the notes down. She turned and gave him a long look. "It looks like it will be a few more days at least."
The Doctor opened his mouth - ready to protest - before her words sunk in. He gaped at her, but she stared steadily back at him. "Yes," he finally said, "at least."
She heaved a long-suffering sigh. "I suppose it is a lot of work."
"Oh, it is." He paused and then added, "But it will get done."
"I have no doubt of that," Inga said coolly. "Now come along. Best keep you rested."
She turned, and after hesitating a moment, he followed her. She hit the palm scanner to leave the lab, turning to Mattias who was guarding the door. "Dr Alfredsson needs you in the biology wing with the Weevil family."
Mattias shifted his gun over his shoulder. "But Anders said the prisoner is to be watched at all times."
"I have combat training," said Inga. "And we have his wife. I'm sure he'll cooperate. Won't you, Dr Smith?"
"Oh, absolutely. Best behaviour."
Inga smiled winningly at Mattias. "There, you see? All taken care of. Come on, Dr Smith."
She took off again and the Doctor followed, sending Mattias a wave and a lift of his eyebrows as they went past him. He clasped his hands behind his back as he followed Inga down the halls. She was almost jogging, her lab coat billowing out behind her as she went.
"What's -" he started, but she stopped suddenly and he had to dodge around her to avoid crashing into her back.
"I almost forgot," she said loudly, "I have something that should help speed up your research. I've been working on the code myself." She turned and pressed something into his hand, enclosing his fingers around it fully before taking off again. She added softly over her shoulder, "Be careful with it. Wait for the right time."
The Doctor didn't have to look down to know that she'd just given him his sonic screwdriver back. He opened his mouth to demand answers before deciding against it - it was clear that Inga was operating under the assumption that they were being watched or listened to. Or both.
As inconspicuously as possible, he slipped the sonic screwdriver into his suit pocket. Was it possible that she was actually trying to help him? Or was this simply another trick - another way to toy with him to see how far they could bend him?
Finally they reached the cell. Inga pressed her palm to the scanner and the door slid open, revealing a tense Rose on the other side. She relaxed slightly when she saw who it was.
"Oh, it's you," she said, her eyes on Inga and the contempt obvious in her voice.
Inga's shoulders stiffened slightly and the Doctor shook his head in Rose's direction, hoping to indicate that it wasn't the time.
But Rose wasn't having any of it. "Your boss paid me a visit this afternoon," she spat in Inga's direction. "What a lovely man. You've really scored the jackpot with that one."
"He did what?" said the Doctor.
"I'm sorry for that," said Inga sincerely, "and every other way we've treated you. It wasn't right."
Rose looked like she didn't quite know how to respond to that, but Inga didn't wait for an answer. Instead she bent down in front of the cell's electronic palm scanner, muttering under her breath.
The Doctor barely registered Inga's actions. "Anders came here? When?"
"It was a few hours ago," said Rose, "after they took you away again. He... said some things."
"It was nothing I couldn't handle, yeah?" said Rose, but the Doctor could tell that whatever happened had got under her skin. She swallowed, eyes meeting his. "Don't finish the virus, Doctor. Please."
The Doctor opened his mouth to reply, but before he could say anything, Inga cursed and then yanked the palm scanner out of the wall. The wires sparked as she pulled at them. "Dr Smith, I could really use your help, if you'd be so inclined."
"Oh, right," he said. He pulled his newly returned sonic screwdriver out of his pocket and then bent down next to her. "There?" he said and she nodded. He buzzed the screwdriver at a red wire, which burst into a shower of sparks. A second later, the lights flickered out and they were plunged into darkness.
"That should do it," said Inga, with satisfaction. For a moment, the Doctor couldn't see anything at all, but then Inga flicked on a torch, illuminating the cell in a soft glow of light. She waved the torch in Rose's direction. "That's how you cut the power to a military base."
Rose looked like she was considering the best way to throttle Inga with one arm, so the Doctor carefully stepped between the two women.
"You'll need this," continued Inga, pulling out a second torch. "The power will be out for about fifteen minutes so you'll have to hurry."
The Doctor and Rose exchanged a look. "Hang on," said Rose, "you're helping us? You're letting us go?"
"Yes," said Inga.
"But why?" said Rose. "I thought you really believed in all of this stuff - that locking up aliens and experimenting on them was for the good of everyone."
"I want to help protect the Earth, Ms Tyler," said Inga sharply, "but I have no interest in killing innocent people."
"About time you learned something, then," said Rose, in a hard voice. She moved around the Doctor and took the torch. "Doctor?"
He didn't move. "I can't imagine that AIF takes too well to betrayal."
"I'm not betraying anything," Inga said. "We have enough of that weapon built to proceed with it. I've already set this corridor's video cameras on a delay - as far as Anders will know, you'll have escaped on your own."
"And then you can go back to it - burying your head in the sand and making excuses for your torture and cruelty." The Doctor stepped closer to her. "Even if they don't look like me - even if they don't look human - that doesn't mean that they don't have feelings, wives, families. I can't just abandon them."
Inga looked shaken, but she only said, "You're running out of time, Dr Smith." She dropped her voice. "I won't help you a second time."
"Come with us," said the Doctor, "help us bring this whole place down - free the species being held captive here. Inga Lindkvist, you have such a brilliant mind. Think of everything you could do - all the people you could help. And you're going to choose to stay down here, under Anders, building a weapon that will wipe out everything?"
"I believe in what I do."
"Do you? Do you really?"
She hesitated. "I thought I did..."
"Doctor," Rose hissed, "we have to go now."
"Come with us," said the Doctor again. "You won't regret it."
"I...." she trailed off and then hung her head, "I can't."
The Doctor felt a wave of crushing disappointment, but then Rose looped her arm around his, practically yanking him out of the cell.
"It's her choice," Rose said. "That's not on us. Now come on."
Together, they ran down the hall.