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 Post subject: Doctor Who: Flipsided
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 10:31 pm 
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This story was won in the auction by Wiggiemomsi who requested a romantic 8th Doctor and Rose story. I said I don't do romance, but promised her a story with a sexy, sweet kiss in it.

It also ended up with the 8th Doctor, Rose, 10th Doctor, Jack, some old aliens, some new aliens, and some unexpected guests. And two sexy sweet kisses.

I hope you enjoy it. Let me know.

The 10th Doctor and the 8th Doctor have been accidentally switched in time. While Jack and 10, in 8's Tardis, try to figure out what happened and get back, 8 and Rose are confronted with some unexpected problems of their own.

Note: This story assumes that Jack did not die on the Gamestation and is still travelling with 10 and Rose.


Flipsided

He was a tall man of average height.

It was funny that that was the first thing Rose thought when she saw him standing outside the Tardis, because they were parked in 21st Century London, but he was dressed in a green frock coat, waistcoat and cravat, with a pair of soft grey trousers that did wonders for his legs.

The Doctor must have popped back to the Victorian Era and picked someone up, she thought. Typical, that was just like him. Pick some poor guy up out of his time then abandon him as soon as he landed. No doubt he was off somewhere having a nose round, or something had caught his eye.

"Hello, I'm Rose." She shifted the grocery sack to one arm and held out her hand. The man straightened up away from the Tardis. Yes, he really was a tall man of average height, he stood tall, and held himself well, and was beautifully proportioned. It was only when she saw someone taller pass behind him on the busy London street that she was reminded he wasn't actually as tall as he looked. He was yummy though, with sleepy seductive eyes and soft wavy brown curls.

His sleepy eyes widened alertly at her introduction and he gave her the most beautifully winsome grin. His hand engulfed hers and she felt a shock of awareness shoot up her arm. Oh yeah. Eat your heart out Jack, I saw him first!

"Sorry if you've been left standing," she slipped her key in the lock. "I'll just drop these off and we'll go find the Doctor. No doubt he's around here someplace."

"No doubt he is."

Rose entered the Tardis, the strange man right behind her.

"Jack! I’m back!" she yelled. No response. "Huh. He must have gone with the Doctor." she dropped the grocery bags by one of the supports and turned. "How long have you ... Whoa!"

The Tardis tilted, one edge lifting over, then the other, in the opposite direction. Rose staggered and fell. "What was that?!"

The stranger was standing braced, one hand gripping the console, his nicely muscular legs flexing like a sailor at sea as the Tardis kept tipping back and forth. He was frantically working the controls.

"Hey! You better not do that!" Rose protested. Just as he thumped the console in a jarringly familiar manner.

"I can’t dematerialize, they’ve slapped a dimensional inhibitor on us!"

Rose’s eyes widened. She ignored her first thought and moved on to the second. "Who did?"

With entirely too much familiarity, the green-coated man slid the scanner screen around and flicked it on.

A wide, hairy, brutish face looked out.

"Ugh! What is that?"

"An Ogron."

"It looks like a gorilla."

"Mercenary primate species."

"And they’re, what ...?" They rhythmic back and forth lurching of the Tardis gave her the clue.

"Oh you can’t be serious. They’re stealing the Tardis? Carrying it off right in the middle of London! Won’t anybody notice?"

"They’re using perception filters." He flicked long agile fingers through the sensor controls. He skipped a half step sideways and did something to the next panel.

There was a crackle and a loud spark from outside. Rose saw a brief web of blue electricity flash across the scanner screen. The Ogron snarled and jumped, and the Tardis hit the ground with a crash.

"Ouch!" Rose rolled sideways and cupped the knee the grating had rammed into.

"Are you all right?" he asked, still bent over the controls.

The Tardis shifted again and the floor heaved up. The Ogron’s face, and the hairy edge of his partner, reappeared in the scanner screen.

"It wasn’t enough. They’ll be taking us to their bosses." He stepped back from the console and slipped his hands in his pickets, effortlessly balancing on the heaving deckplates, glaring pensively at the scanner where the Ogrons grunted their way along, carrying them into an alley.

Rose was getting a very bad feeling about this. It wasn’t the Ogrons, she was used to aliens by now. No, it was the man. That entirely too familiar man, standing there in that entirely too familiar pose, his coat shoved back as he stood with his hands in his pockets glaring at the aliens.

"Who are you?" she asked, almost inaudibly.

He turned to her and smiled a gentle smile. "I think you know."

She shook her head. "How? What happened? I only went out to get milk! What could have caused you to regenerate?" she crawled up onto her knees, facing him.

"I didn’t regenerate."

"Where’s Jack?" she looked around frantically, wondering what had happened to the third member of their party.

"I don’t know who Jack is."

Her eyes widened. "How could you forget Jack? Nobody forgets Jack.

"Did you hit your head?" she asked. "Is this some post-regeneration trauma? Right, we’ve got to ditch these Ogron things and get back and find Jack. He’ll know what happened." She shoved herself unsteadily to her feet.

The floor abruptly stabilized and she had a suddenly weightless feeling. Her feet floated up a few inches off the floor, her hair spreading out in a nimbus, as if she was underwater.

"Now what?"

"Transfer beam. I assumed their ship would be close. The Ogrons are the least of our worries. They’re just foot soldiers, muscle for hire. We’re about to meet their employers."


Flipsided p.2


They were the most beautiful aliens Rose had ever seen. They just appeared in the Tardis. Two of them. Tall, slender, humanoid, hairless, and completely silver. But what was so strange was they seemed to be entirely encased in glass, like a necklace charm suspended in crystal. The glass flowed over their outline, moving like flesh.

"Doctor," said the one in front, "you are in violation of temporal protocols. Cross scanning has shown you have subluxed your own timeline. You know this is strictly forbidden."

"I know. But it’s only temporary, an accident, nothing more," the green-coated man said peevishly.

The other alien, almost identical to the first, stepped forward. "You are inordinately prone to such ‘accidents.’"

"We have been tracking you through three different timelines," the first alien said. "You are under arrest."

Another alien appeared behind the Doctor, this one completely metallic red under its glass. It grabbed the Doctor from behind. The Doctor arched and screamed, convulsing as if he was being electrocuted. He jerked and thrashed, half in pain, half struggling. From where Rose stood, frozen in shock, she could see the alien’s glass surface had fused all along the Doctor’s back, even to his hair. She’d never heard a person scream like that before, as if he was being torn out of his own flesh.

The aliens were ignoring her, focused intently on the Doctor.

"Rose!" the Doctor yelled, still bucking, as the thing seemed to try to absorb him. His voice was hoarse and raw with pain. "Hit the fast return switch," his voice keened upward on the last word and ended in a scream.

Terrified, Rose jumped forward and slammed her hand on the one switch on the console that was labeled.

The time rotor lit blue and started pumping.

All the aliens froze.

The Doctor fell forward, literally peeling out of his captor’s grasp, his imprint still visible on the red alien’s glass coating.

The Doctor knelt on all fours, panting, brown hair hanging in limp locks.

"Thank you," he gasped.

She ran over to help him.

He held up a warning hand. "Don’t touch me. Not yet."

She brushed his hair back out of his face. "Don’t be ridiculous. What happened?" She didn’t touch him other than his hair, but she could feel the icy breath of his skin, he looked up, she gasped and pulled back. His face was white-blue and covered in frost.

"Imbalance," he muttered. And toppled over.


Flipsided p. 3


Rose’s eyes were huge, her heart pounded painfully. She reached forward to touch him, to turn him over, but his whole body radiated a cold so hard it crackled the air.

"Blankets!" She jumped up and ran from the console room, dodging the motionless aliens, their presence not registering on her frantic mind.

He must be going into shock, she thought. You were supposed to cover people up when they were in shock, elevate their legs, keep them warm.

But what do you do with an alien that was literally radiating cold?

She’d seen the Doctor in bad shape before. After the Daleks, when he’d first regenerated, he’d lapsed into some kind of coma. When she’d wakened him too soon it had stopped one of his hearts.

What did she know about Time Lord first aid?

She grabbed the cartoon quilt off her bed and snatched the biggest pillow from Jack’s bed on the way back. Jack had way too many pillows.

She wished he was here. He’d know what to do.



"Gasp!" The Doctor grabbed his chest and slumped against the console.

"Doctor! What is it?" Jack jumped forward and caught him. He half carried the limp Time Lord over to the big easy chair in the library corner of the cavernous console room.

The Doctor panted, his freckles standing out starkly as he fell bonelessly into the chair. His breath rasped harshly, his eyes unseeing.

"Come on," Jack gently slapped his cheeks, trying to get him to come around. His skin was even colder than normal.

"Damn it, Doctor. Don’t do this to me. Tell me what’s going on!"

The Doctor gasped, his back arched, color and awareness flooded back into his face. He slumped back in the chair and blinked up at Jack with innocently surprised eyes. "Convergence."


The Doctor stared up at Rose, his face flushed, his hair in disarray, his skin damp and flushed under the quilt.

His eyes were dilated, suffused. "What did you do?" he asked in a hoarse, throaty voice.

Rose cupped his lean cheeks and gave him a smacking kiss. "Thank God! Are you all right?"

He pulled a hand from beneath the quilt and pushed back his hair, he looked at his hand, it was trembling.

She took the trembling hand and rubbed it between hers. He had nice hands, big and sinewy with sensitive fingertips. She rubbed it between hers, busking the life back into it.

The Doctor felt the last erg of golden energy stream into him from her touch, filling and settling him. He felt very relaxed.

Looking up at the eager young woman above him, he pushed back the heavy quilt and sat up. His coat was crumpled, and his cravat was hanging loose, but otherwise he seemed whole. He looked up at the motionless red alien that stood at his feet and his gaze automatically snapped to the time rotor. It was still pumping.

"They haven’t moved," Rose said. "How are you feeling?"

"What happened? What did you do?" He reached up and touched his own face, surprised at how warm he was. The frost from his coma had already melted and evaporated away.

"I just touched you."

He stared at her.

"I know you said not to, but you were so cold. I tried to warm you up with the quilt but it wasn’t working. I just meant to check your temperature." She reached out a hand toward his forehead, unconsciously imitating the motion she’s seen her mother do so often in her life. She stopped short of touching him and let her hand fall back in her lap.

"I’m sorry."

"I’m not. Thank you." He knelt and stretched upward, waking himself up, he felt all tingly. "Whatever you did obviously worked."

She didn’t mention the golden energy that had surrounded her hand when she’d touched him. She’d felt the power pass through her, into him, connecting him, her, and the Tardis.

The Doctor stood up and stretched, flexing his legs, He studied the motionless aliens, dispassionately.

"Who are they, anyway?" Rose asked, flicking her hair at the aliens, still kneeling on the floor by the discarded quilt.

"Zhleyzeen."

Her eyebrows went up. She studied the slim beautiful beings. "They don’t look like Slytheen."

He gave her an odd look. "No, Zhleyzeen, often called Zhaleen, they’re sort of self-appointed Time Cops. That glassy looking surface of theirs isn’t just glass, it’s the physical manifestation of a quantum time field. They’re born with it. They’re incredibly sensitive to temporal energies. Especially the different wavelengths of the different timelines."

Rose stood up and approached one of the silver Zhaleen. She studied the transparent surface coating it. She reached a hand forward to touch, then stopped and looked at the Doctor, he just smiled and nodded permission.

The surface was smooth, hard and cold. "It feels like glass."

"It isn’t, not completely, although it is partly a solid insulator."

"So, they’re frozen in time?" she nodded at the pumping time rotor.

"No. they’re not frozen. Just immobile."

"You mean they’re aware of us?" she stepped back from the creature.

"Yes. They just can’t move." She looked a question at him. "It’s rather like if you were immersed in water and it suddenly froze all around you.

"They’re in a working time field in here. As long as we’re in flight they can’t move."

The console chimed and the rotor stopped with a thunk.

The aliens started moving.

The Doctor jumped forward, green coat flying, spun the time wheel, darted around the console and yanked the reset hand brake on the other side.

The aliens froze again.

Rose let out a whoosh. "Honestly! Sometimes I think she does things like that on purpose!" She glared at the console.

The Doctor laughed.


"Anyway," Rose said. "What are we going to do with Tweedle-Dum, Tweedle- Dee and the Red Ranger here? We can’t very well let them arrest you. And what are you doing here anyway? If you didn’t regenerate then you’ve got to be an old Doctor, because I sure don’t recognize you."

"Nor I you. And I’m only a thousand, that’s hardly old."

"You told me you were 900."

He gave her a measuring look out of the corner of one sleepy eye, pretending to study the controls. "Time is relative, especially in a Tardis, and this one’s console room has obviously been redone," he said, changing the subject. "I like the design, but it’s not my best work." He flicked a hand at some of the jury rigged controls on the console.

"The problem is, they’re partially right. Something is wrong with my timelines. I keep having memories of things that never happened. First I’m traveling with Sam then suddenly I’m with Charley. I have memories of a war I know I haven’t fought, and for some reason I keep thinking I should be living on Earth, but that’s nonsense."

Roe stared at him and bit her lip, hard. A war. If he was in the middle of the Time War....

"It’s really irritating. I seem to be living in several different versions of me."

He looked around at the green-lit, orange-coraled console room. "Still, in all those memories I was never in this console room. Nor had I met a woman named Rose." He turned to look at her, his hands back in his pockets. "I can only assume I’m in my own future somehow."

He grinned a thoroughly charming whimsical grin at her, a grin that was achingly familiar, yet somehow even younger and more innocent than she was used to.

"Hello, Rose," he said, holding out his hand to her to shake. "I’m the Doctor. And I’ll be pleased to meet you."


"What do you mean, Convergence?" Jack said. The question was dead serious, but it still had the inevitable lecherous curiosity in the undertone.

"Jack, please!"

"You only have to ask, Doctor." Jack said coyly, fluttering his lashes at the Time Lord.

"Cut it out."

Jack sighed and rolled his eyes. Sometimes the Doctor had no sense of humor. "So what’s Convergence? It looked pretty intense."

"It is. And it’s not supposed to happen. Somehow I briefly converged with another self. I felt what he did."

"Think it has anything to do with..." Jack waved a finger at the console room they were in.

The Doctor shook his head and ran his fingers through his hair. "I shouldn’t think so. We’re temporally disparate. We’re not in the same timestream. Convergence requires parallax propinquity."

"I love it when you talk dirty."

The Doctor glared at him.


Jack had had a good poke around the Tardis when they first arrived, while the Doctor was busy at the console trying to figure out what had happened to bring them here.

Jack approved of this console, it was clean and uncluttered with polished panels and pristine controls, a bit old fashioned, but it suited the Doctor.

It was the rest of the place that looked like a jumble sale. There was a library wall stuffed and stacked with books, a nook for clocks of all kinds (each set to a different time, naturally) another wall of overflowing drawers, and a desk, crammed with old what-nots littering the surface, including a pair of binoculars, and a 500 year diary. He picked the diary up and leafed through it eagerly. Anything that could help him understand the Doctor....

A long fingered hand came round him and slammed the book back down on the desk.

"You can’t take anything. I might need it."

"So, you kept a diary did you?"

"I couldn’t be expected to remember everything."

"Do you still keep a diary? I bet you do. A pretty little pink one with rosebuds," he teased. "I bet you even keep the key on a chain, close to your hearts." He sighed dramatically, clasping his hand to his heart and fluttering his eyelashes with a sigh.

"Why has no one murdered you yet, Jack?"

Jack grinned. "Because of my manifold charms."

The Doctor rolled his eyes. "As Rose would say, ‘You wish!’ Now, if you’ve quite returned from your ego trip, do you think you could give me a hand with this?" he waved at the console.

"Ouch." Jack grinned.



"So how do we get them to not arrest you?" Rose asked, waving a hand at the glass coated aliens.

"Simple, we get out of their reach." He swung back over to the console, his velvet coat flairing behind him, his movements a smooth, controlled display of strength. She found herself watching this Doctor who was, in many ways, both more mature, yet more innocent than his older self. This Doctor hadn’t yet been scarred by the Time War, he wasn’t angry, like her first Doctor, nor as childishly gleeful as her present Doctor. He seemed quieter in himself, more sure of himself. And very sexy.

Rose grinned. Here she was, in a space machine, surrounded by motionless aliens, watching another alien diddling with the controls and expounding on about something. And all she could think was how good he looked. Yummy.

She’d watched a program one time, explaining how the sexes were attracted to one another by body language. Yet this Doctor’s body language didn’t match either of his other selves. Her first Doctor was all loose limbed, lanky strength, sauntering around in his bandy legged way, deceptively relaxed. Her current Doctor always jumped around like a flea on a griddle, flicking controls like he was turning on Christmas lights. But this one just strode confidently around the console, fingers working with unconscious grace as he talked. She cocked her head, watching him.

"The Zhaleen are a trans-temporal race, living on the edges and interstices of the timelines. They can’t exist within Time itself, not directly. That’s why they needed to hire Ogrons to bring us to their ship. Their dimensional ships are a lot like the Tardis. the exterior exists in the real universe, but the interior is in another dimension. The Zhaleen exist in the rarified atmosphere above the timelines, able to look down and watch, but unable to enter for fear the pressure would crush them."

His voice was even different than her Doctor’s. Her Doctor’s voice was all quick and hard, sweet, tart, like rock candy. This Doctor’s voice was slow and easy, melting over her like honey.

"You see?"

He looked at her expectantly.

"Huh?"

He gave her a strange look, obviously wondering why she hadn’t been listening.

"We’ve just got to get them back to their ship, then dive back into the timeline before they can catch us," he explained triumphantly, as if that was obvious.

Rose shook her lingering fascination out of her head and frowned at him. "But what use is that if they can just appear in the Tardis at will?”

The Doctor shook his head, dark waves floating around his lean face. “They could only do that because we were on their ship, in their dimensional space.”

“Then, won’t they just follow us through the vortex till they catch us again?”

Another shake. “No, completely different drive systems. They travel through the interstices. We travel through the Vortex.”

“Isn’t that the same thing?”

“No. The Zhaleen travel between alternate timelines - actually between them.” He ran two lean hands parallel. “The Tardis travels through Time, that’s different. You could say they’re sort of alternate Time Lords. And just as boring. All rules and regulations. Don’t do this, don’t do that. Though I suppose it’s only to be expected, as time sensitive as they are. It’s bad enough when someone like me comes crashing through like a bull in a china shop. It’s no doubt worse when you’re the china.”


“All right,” the Doctor said, leaning meditatively on the console, his black-rimmed glasses perched on the end of his nose. He reset one last contact point and rechecked the time vector display. Humanian Era, Earth, 2007. “Turn it on.”

Jack flipped open his arm band and flicked on his vortex Manipulator.

The Tardis went wild.

"Whoa!"


“Doctor,” Rose nervously scooted up close to the lean man where he leaned over the Tardis controls, one hand carefully turning the glass spacial coordinate map sphere, the other slowly running the time vector wheel forward and back as he tried to manually home in on the Zhaleen’s dimensional ship that was apparently tracking them in parallell.

“Hm?”

“He rippled.”

The Doctor’s head jerked up and looked at Rose, then to where she was looking at the red Zhaleen. It’s glassy surface was indeed rippling. He looked behind him at the silver two. They were rippling as well.

“This can’t be good.”the Doctor said. He started manipulating the sensor controls at hyper speed. A wash of Gallifreyan symbols flooded down the monitor, twirling their way across the screen.

“Oh, good grief. We’ve been flipsided!”

“What’s that?” Rose asked, nervously watching the aliens.

“Academy term, it means my alternate and I are somehow occupying contiguous timestreams. He must be trying to get back. Whatever he’s doing is interfering with the time field. You better hold on to something.”

As if on cue the Tardis started shaking. The Doctor held onto the console with one hand and set controls with the other. He grabbed a large round metal casing on one of the console dividers and attempted to turn it. It wouldn’t budge. He hit it with his fist. “Come on, come on.”

The Tardis was starting to sound distinctly sickly and the aliens were rippling like a lake in a stiff breeze.

Rose grabbed the mallet and gave the casing a solid whack! It cracked loose and slipped sideways. The Doctor gave her an affronted, disapproving look and turned it the rest of the way.

The Time rotor turned red, and stopped mid-pump.

The aliens came alive.


Flipsided p. 4

The Tardis shook, heaved, and flipped, knocking books from shelves, plant pots from cupboards, and the Doctor and Jack off their feet. Jack scrambled back upright and pulled the Doctor to his feet.

“I don’t think it worked.”


Flipsided p.5



“I am getting a huge headache,” Rose complained as she tested the restraints holding her to the Doctor.

They were sitting back to back in a cell on the Zhaleen ship. The walls were a coruscating ripple of pearlescent color, like oil on water, the floor didn’t look any more solid, although it felt like cold and hard like marble under her bum.

She twisted her wrists and the cartilaginous armcuffs tighten over her forearms hardening like bone until she stopped squirming, then they softened back into a more comfortable hold.

“It’s no use struggling," the Doctor said behind her, "the bands are keyed into our nervous systems. The tenser we are, the tenser they are. Just relax.”

“How am I supposed to relax? We’ve been arrested and thrown in an alien cell, the Tardis has been impounded, and the walls are giving me a migraine!”

“It’s not the walls. It’s the dimensional resistances.”

Rose sighed and tipped her head back, resting it against his with a clunk. “You’re as bad as your older self,” she grumbled, closing her eyes. It didn’t help.

“Nice to know some things never change.”

“So what are dimensional resistances? And why are they making me feel seasick?”

“You’re used to the flow of contiguous time. A single coherent timestream. The Zhleyzeen are creatures of transtemporal time. The time in here isn't running at a single rate, It’s meant to mimic the Interstices, several different layers of time, all running at slightly different speeds, all at slightly different relative positions.”

“I take it back, you’re worse than my Doctor.”

He chuckled. “I simply mean that, in here, you exist in several different temporal locations, right now, a minute ago, a few seconds from now.” His hands jigged, jarring hers, as if he was unconsciously trying to gesture to make his point. “That’s what’s making you ill. Think of it as laminated time, many different layers - all stuck together.”

“Well, if this was anything like what they were feeling in the Tardis, no wonder they were pi[color="#000000"]sse[/color]d.”

He twisted the armbands slowly and slid his cool hand into hers. “Don’t worry, I’ll think of something.”

“That’s what scares me.”

She sat up straight and scootched her hips back against his, their hands in the small of her back.

“So, we know they can move like lightning. I didn’t even see them move before they grabbed us.”

“That’s my fault, I’m afraid. Whatever I was trying to do must have set up a countertime field in the Tardis, it was enough like their transtime to allow them to break free.”

“But, you were just using the coordinate scanners, weren’t you? How...?”

“My other self,” he explained.

“Oh. So, we know these cuff things aren’t coming off.” She gave them an irritated yank. He grunted. “And we know they’re coming back for us. How about the sonic screwdriver? They didn’t take it from you.”

“It doesn't work in here.”

“Right. So. We know they’re coming back. We know they’re going to try to suck the Artron energy out of you and who knows what they’re going to do with me. Does that about sum it up?”

“Yes. You’re very good at this.”

“Practice.

“So, what, are you just going to sit there?” she groused, bumping him with her shoulder.

“I thought it would be rude to interrupt.” He took her hand he was holding and slid it sideways, out from between their bodies, their arms slid out of the cartilage cuffs as if they were made of marshmallows.

Rose gaped.

He let go of her hand and twisted around and stood up, his other forearm still locked to hers with the remainder of the restraint bands. He pulled her up.

“How did you do that?”

“Reflexology.”

She looked at him blankly.

“Pressure points. I said the bands were keyed to our nerve impulses. I just blocked the impulses.”

“That’s why my hand’s numb?”

He grinned, shaking out his own hand. “Now. To get out of here.” He walked over to the door, tugging her along behind him. The door was just a fainter oval of the swirling surface.

“I thought you said the sonic screwdriver doesn’t work?”

“It doesn’t. Do you trust me?” He looked at her with those uncanny blue eyes, his head tilted, the soft curls hanging around his lean hard face.

She sighed. He was so gorgeous. “I always have.”

He smiled. “Good. Don’t let your hand touch the wall.”

And he stepped into the wall.

Rose gaped.

Disbelieving, she held her arm down, perpendicular to the opalescent wall, still connected to the Doctor on the other side by the armcuff. She watched his shadow - like looking through an eggshell. He took two steps over to the oval door, tugging her along. It opened and she fell through into his grasp.

She looked at at him standing there grinning. She stood up, twisted and kicked the wall. “Ow!” She stubbed her toe, it was as solid as rock.

“How did you do that?! No, tell me later, run!”

Two Zhaleen, metallic purple under their glass, had turned the curve of the corridor behind them.

Clasping bound hands, they ran.



“How did you walk through the wall?” she asked as the curve of the corridor hid them from their pursuers.

“I told you. Laminated time. The wall existed there in three different times. I didn’t. I simply walked around them. It’s a handy meditation technique. You just let time flow through you, until you can feel when to move.”

"You know, it would be easier to run without these." She gestured to the bony plate that bound them together from elbow to wrist. "Why don’t you just numb this hand and take the cuffs off?”

“Because keeping you attached to me is the only thing keeping you functioning in this environment. You think you have a headache now. It’s nothing compared to what would happen to you in here without me to anchor you.”

He ducked into a cross corridor, dragging her behind him. "The Tardis is this way."



“Well, that didn’t work.” Jack dusted himself off.

“Something must have happened, some factor we’re not aware of. Reversing it should have worked. Flipsides will usually right themselves with a little help.”

“So what do you think has happened?”

“I don’t know, I can’t remember.”

“Is Rose safe?”

The Doctor gave him an aggravated look. “She’s with me, Jack.”

“That’s what I mean.”



Rose stayed hidden in the bubble, kneeling. The Doctor crouched over her, his green velvet coat partially surrounding her as they watched the searching Zhaleen through the opalescent walls, their glass outline giving them an oddly sparkling shadow.

Two purples, a red, and a metallic green scoured the hallways beyond their hidey hole, getting closer. Another indistinct Zhaleen appeared at the far end of the hall and yelled something to them. They all ran out after him.

Rose breathed a sigh of relief.

The Doctor eased back from around her, he’d been using his ability to manipulate his own timefield to cloak her from the aliens.

“I’ve been meaning to ask, “ Rose said, “what’s with the different colors? I mean, they’re pretty, but do they mean anything?”

He shrugged. “It’s just their version of uniforms. They’re naturally a wide range of silvery colors, from pewter to steel. They use the colors like you would clothes, or insignia.”

“But how do they get it under that glass coating? I thought it was part of them, like skin.”

“It is, they use chromatic filters to change the colors.” He saw her look. “They bend the lightrays to emit certain frequencies of color. Purple for guards, silver for administration, green for engineering, etc. Actually, I’m surprised he didn’t find us.” He opened the maintenance access hatch. They crawled out.

“And watch out for red,” she muttered.

Fortunately there was no red Zhaleen standing outside to grab them.

“So, which way to the Tardis now?”

“Up here.” He pointed down, at an angle, locked his legs and jumped through another oval hatch. They slid, upright, down a long spiral ramp, Rose stifled a scream and braced herself against him, still attached to him by one arm.

The interior of the Zhaleen ship was all shimmering opalescence, laid out in curves and spirals. The corridors all curved, the doorways were oval, the stairs were spiral ramps, and even the walls had a tendency to swirl. It was beautiful, like being trapped in a pearl, but it was no wonder it was giving her a headache.

And it was the very devil to sneak around in. There were no corners to hide behind. No warning before someone emerged into the hallway in front of them. They ran, and dodged, and backtracked. At other times they walked brazenly past open doors and occasionally it seemed like some of the Zhaleen couldn’t even see them properly. (She supposed that was something the Doctor was doing, like that cloaking trick.)

But it didn’t work all the time. Especially when they were come upon unexpectedly. The Doctor kept telling her the Tardis was just ahead, he could feel it. But apparently the weird topography of the ship was throwing him off, or it was the weird time energy in here that was messing with his senses, because the further they went, the less they seemed to get anywhere. They were going around in circles. Like a hound on a confused scent.

“What we need is a map.” Rose said as she kept pace with him. He had a long, ground eating stride, but fortunately he was shorter than her Doctor, she could just about keep up.

“That would certainly be useful. I don’t understand it. It feels like the Tardis should be right here.”

He turned through a low doorway, they hadn’t seen any Zhaleen in quite some time. This room was filled with them.

A metallic yellow Zhaleen jumped forward and grabbed her. Four other identical Zhaleen grabbed the Doctor. Two grabbed each of them and pulled them apart, stretching them between their bound arms. A red Zhaleen, obviously called, came running in through the far oval door, from what looked like a huge hangar space on the other side. Rose just glimpsed the straight blue edge of the Tardis beyond.

The Zhaleen held out a slim device and sliced it through the bands holding her to the Doctor.

“No!” the Doctor yelled, reaching toward her. The world fractured into sickening chaos, her head split with pain, her eyes teared up until everything multiplied into flowing liquid prisms and her stomach heaved.

Her mind tried to black out.

And couldn’t.


Flipsided p.6

“What do you mean they’re gone?” Jack demanded, leaning over and staring at the vector displays where the Doctor was working. He reached forward to rerun the coordinates and the Doctor slapped his hand away.

“I mean, they’re gone.” He skipped around the other side of the console. He gave Jack a withering glare as his hand crept out again. “Don’t touch anything.”

Jack stuffed his hand in his coat pocket.

“These are the last coordinates of the Tardis. Our Tardis.

"And it’s not here.”



Flipsided p.7

Back in the cell.

Rose felt something tap her cheek.

“Rose. Rose?”

She abruptly came back to herself staring fixedly at the swirling wall.

“Ohh. I’m gonna be sick.”

“I don’t recommend it.”

She realized she was laying in the Doctor’s lap. Their left arms were bound together by another pair of armcuffs. He was cradling her in that arm, tapping her cheek with the other. She leaned back and looked at him. “You look like hell. What did they do to you?”

His long, serious face was virtually gray, his strange eyes dulled and his hair hung in limp locks.

“They siphoned off more of my Artron energy. I won’t be walking through any walls soon,” he tried to make light of it.

She shifted sideways, his arm curved around her, supporting her back, their bound arms curved around her ribcage.

He looked so tired. She raised a hand and set it to his cheek. He inhaled, and his eyes dilated.

His eyes became the world. She felt like she was falling in, like the whole universe could fall into those eyes.

His hand came up and cupped her cheek as well. His thumb slowly rubbed her bottom lip. She shut her eyes as her whole body tingled, cuddling her cheek into his hand.

“I know you.”

Her eyes snapped open. For an instant she could swear his eyes glowed gold.

She snatched her hand away.

He sat and stared at her for several seconds, breathing heavily.

“I know you,” he said in wonder.

She checked his eyes again, they were normal, for him, ancient, wise and deep, full of awe, but no longer gold.

“What does that mean?”

He tilted his head and just looked at her, drinking her in, as if he’d found something precious. His face suffused with the smallest, most delighted smile.

He leaned forward and kissed her. Rose gasped in shock, unintentionally breathing him in. Sweetness flooded every cell of her body, a rich comforting warmth she’d never felt before. Him. She was suffused with him, drugged on the softest, sweetest, most sensually innocent kiss she’d ever received. Soft, tender lips. Cool but warm. His bottom lip brushed hers, velvety soft, and he sank into her.

Then she stopped thinking at all.

Time slowed. He pulled back slowly, rubbing his lips against hers, his cool lips warmed by hers. His tongue lightly skimmed her bottom lip and she woke with a jolt.

He pulled back completely.

She stared at him with shocked eyes. He smiled softly at her and drew up one knee, propping his elbow on it, tilting his head at her as he rested his head on his hand, watching her, smiling gently.

He held her securely in his other arm, as she sat on his other thigh, as close to him as she’d ever been.

“What was that for?” she asked, a bit breathlessly. He wasn’t out of breath, and he no longer looked gray, in fact, he looked very healthy. And happy. When was the last time she’d seen him like that? Not manic, not forcing cheerfulness, but just happy, quietly happy.

“I know you.”

“So you said. What does it mean?”

“Time Lord memory isn’t like human memory. We remember our pasts, but occasionally, just occasionally, we remember our future. And I know you, Rose Tyler.”

She sat up straighter. “I never told you my last name.”

“No.” He sat up straighter as well and gently touched a finger to her bottom lip. He drew his hand away slowly and sat up straight. He drew slightly away, looking at her with a deep, clear gaze.

“I don’t remember specifics, as such, but I remember you. I am going to be very happy to meet you, Rose Tyler.

“Now,” he said, breaking her gaze and getting back to practicalities. He started patting down his pockets. “About these cuffs.”

“Right. How were we captured? I don’t remember.”

“I’m not surprised. The shock of trying to interpret several different timelines without an anchor. You went catatonic. You must have a blinding headache.”

She thought about it. “No. I feel fine. Really fine.” She grinned at him with her tongue between her teeth. “I think you cured my headache.”

He grinned back. “You cured mine too.”

“Wait, now I remember. They were yellow, yeah? What does yellow mean?”

“Clerical.” He sighed. “We were captured by the office staff.”

“Figures." She rolled her eyes. She looked back up at him seriously. “But I don’t get it. Now that they know we’re going to cause trouble, why dump us back here together? Why not split us up?”

“They aren’t savages, Rose. They know, now, that you need me as anchor. So, they simply remanicled us in a position that would allow me to look after you, but make it hard to run.” He lifted his arm, and thus hers. They were joined together left arm to left arm. If they stood side by side, one of them would have to run backwards.

“So why just dump us in here? Usually the bad guys want to gloat and threaten you.”

“The Zhaleen aren’t bad guys. They’re just doing their job to protect the timelines, the same as I would.“

“So what are they waiting for?”

“They’re probably contacting the Time Lords.” He didn’t see her startled look. “No doubt they plan to turn us over to the High Council, let them deal with us.”

“Don’t you want to see the Time Lords?” Rose asked, knowing her Doctors would give almost anything to see them again.

“Boring, bureaucratic paper pushers? No thank you. they’ve got about as much imagination as a baloney sandwich. Besides, I don’t have the best history with them. They executed me once, banished me once, and elected me president twice!" he said, as if that was the worst. "No. I’d prefer to avoid any involvement with them, not to mention what they’d do to you. Wipe your memory and stick you back in your life on Earth with no memory of me. They’ve done it before,” he said grimly.

Rose stared, horrified at this pronouncement. “No one’s gonna wipe my memory of you, any of you!” she said fiercely. “Here, hurry up with these manacles. We’ve got to get out of here!”

“My sentiments exactly.”


Flipsided p.8

Alarms went off. Rose and the Doctor looked up. One of the Zhaleen guards stuck his head in the room and looked at them.

“No, they’re still here,” he said back over his shoulder to another Zhaleen outside before resealing the door.

“What do you think all that’s about then?” Rose asked.

“I don’t know, but it could be an opportunity. Here, stand up.” He helped her to her feet and feeling around, brought the sonic screwdriver out of his pocket. It was a different design than she was used to, but it was still obviously a sonic screwdriver.

“Hold on, I thought you said that thing wouldn’t work in here?”

“It doesn’t.” He held the screwdriver in his bound hand and used one extremely clean fingernail (his fingernails were even better cared for than hers, Rose noticed.) He pried out a small extension from the side of the screwdriver. He switched hands. “Don’t move.”

She stood to one side, facing him, their left arms bound together from wrist to elbow. But the armcuffs weren’t cartilaginous anymore, they were as hard as bone. She gave it an experimental tug. Then had to reach out and steady the Doctor as the unexpected motion almost jerked him off his feet. It was a shock to realize he wasn't really all that much bigger than she was.

“Sorry.”

He just gave her a grin and started working on the cuffs. “Why are they so hard this time? Can you do that nerve trick again?”

“No, they reset the cuffs to manual, no nerve interface this time.” He plied the extension on the screwdriver along the seam of the two joined armlets. She felt his fingers tickle her palm and slipped her bound hand into his. It was a bit awkward, holding hands backward, but they managed. “Keep hold,” he said, giving her a steady look out of those unusually hypnotic eyes of his.

She gripped his hand tightly as she saw the seam being sliced silently down the middle. She gritted her teeth and held still, anything that could cut that bone, could cut her. The cuff fell open.

He put the screwdriver between his teeth and grabbed her other arm. She was so surprised by the motion. She was used to seeing her Doctor stick the screwdriver in his teeth when his hands were busy, but seeing it in this completely different face was jarring.

He skinned the stiff cuff off her arm and onto the other, careful to maintain contact, while she just stood in a kind of shock.

By the time he took the screwdriver out of his mouth (he really did have totally kissable lips) he had the armlet snugged back on over her other forearm. He tucked the screwdriver in the top of his cuff and used his one free hand to search through a multitude of pockets until he found a bit of string. He put the screwdriver back in his mouth and held it still while he used it to cut the string. He tied the cuff closed snugly, (not that it was likely to come loose, considering how stiff it was).

“Putta finda a the lese,” he mumbled around the sonic screwdriver.

“Excuse me?”

“Pudda fa...” he glared at her around the screwdriver, his hand busy holding the string, the other cuffed to her arm. She grinned at his predicament and took the screwdriver out of his mouth. “Thank you. Put your finger on there, please.” He nodded down to where he was tying a knot in the string, one handed.

“Oh.” She put the screwdriver back in his mouth and held the knot down as he pulled it tight.

“There.” he said, taking the screwdriver out of his mouth. “That’s better. We can run easier this way, without worrying you’ll come loose.”

“No, thanks, not after last time. What was that thing you used?” she asked, craning her neck to look at the screwdriver. He held it up and showed her the small, hook like blade protruding from the side.

“Monomolecular blade. Cuts through anything.” He held the screwdriver in his bound hand, and carefully pulled the blade out, twisted it, and slipped it seamlessly back into the screwdriver, blunt side out.

“Huh. A Swiss sonic screwdriver.”

He put it away, tugged her over and pressed an ear to the door.

“So how are we gonna get out this time?” she whispered. “If you can’t go through the wall?”

“I think you may have recharged me enough to...”

He stared at something behind her. She turned to look.

A hand, a woman’s hand, was sticking up out of the floor, near the wall. It started contorting in odd spasms, as if its owner was being electrocuted. The Doctor watched intently.

“How is that...? Shouldn't we help?" Rose asked. “Why am I the only one around here who can’t walk through walls?”

The Doctor held up a long sinewy hand to hush her, still staring intently. The hand stopped jerking and pulled down out of the floor.

“Right.” The Doctor grabbed Rose’s hand and hauled her over to the spot.

"What? Are you going to try to go down through the floor?" Rose said, incredulously. "I don't think I could hold you."

"No. We're going to sit here and keep an eye on the walls." He nodded to where they could see the colorful sparkly shadows of their Zhaleen guards through all the eggshell walls. It wasn't long before the guards started to disappear.


Flipsided p.9


"That was too easy," Rose said as the Doctor pulled her down the hallway and ducked into another oval doorway. "And how was the door unlocked? You couldn't even use the sonic screwdriver on it, but it just opened. How does that work?"

It was like trying to talk to a brick wall. He was ignoring her. He pulled her onto another spiral ramp, heading upward this time. He seemed to know where he was going. She half scrabbled, was half hauled, up the slippery surface. He hit a blank patch on the wall beside the next doorway they came to. The gravity reversed, and suddenly they were tumbling and sliding head over heels up the Zhaleen "staircase."

They tumbled out into another corridor. He pulled her up, looking around. "Come on, we haven't got much time."

He dragged her down corridors, ducked through hallways, and across deserted rooms.

"Why are these corridors always so empty? Don't they have any crew?" Rose said in disbelief. With escaped prisoners loose they should have been swarming with searchers.

"They're busy elsewhere." He pulled her through another doorway, they seemed to still be going up, and into the first straight corridor she'd seen on this ship. It even had a large mirror covering the wall at the end. She could see their reflections in it, him on the right, her on the left, running toward each other.

Wait. Those weren't her clothes.


They ran right up to the mirror. Only there was no mirror. The corridor stretched on beyond them as the Doctor came face to face with himself.

They were perfectly identical, same hair, same coat, same mad grins.

"Oh my God!" Rose exclaimed.

There were two of them.

She turned and looked at the blond woman who wasn't her.

"Hello, I'm Charley," she looked back over her shoulder. There was a muffled explosion somewhere behind them. They staggered slightly as the ship shook. "I think we lost them," she said with a grin.

"So, you got the message?" Charley's Doctor asked. Rose's Doctor nodded and grinned a hello at Charley.

Charley smiled back. "We escaped while they were searching for you. It seemed only fair to return the favor."

“That explains it! I thought it was too easy." Rose said. "Half the time they weren’t even looking for us, they were looking for you!”

“That also explains why I couldn't locate the Tardis," her Doctor said. "There’s two of them, I assume you came in your Tardis?”

“Yes," the other Doctor said. "They caught us with a transdimensional tractor beam. I couldn’t break free.”

“Have you been having...”

“Memories? Sam? A Time War? Living on Earth?”

The first Doctor nodded. The second nodded back. He turned to look at Rose. “I don’t remember you though.” He glanced a question at his other self.

“This is Rose. I was flipsided, she’s from our future.”

“Ooh!” Charley said, reaching to shake her hand. “I’m extra excited to meet you then.” The Doctors turned to the side, starting an urgent, low voiced conversation. Charley rolled her eyes and dropped her hand as they were inadvertently pulled apart.

“So when are you from?” Charley asked as the two Doctors conferred over things timey and technical. Her husky, forthright voice and clean dictation marked her as both upper crust and old fashioned to Rose’s ears. Though she didn’t seem it. The young woman was slightly taller than her, solidly built, pleasantly pretty and blond. She could see why the aliens might mix them up.

“2005.”

“Almost a century after me. Do you have flying paving slabs yet?”

“What?” Rose said, laughing.

“They’re not very safe, but fun. Better than ‘air conditioning’ anyway, that made it rain. I don’t suppose you have that yet either.”

“Actually we do.”

The two women turned, realizing the Doctors had stopped talking. They were confronted with two identical indulgent grins. “Are you ready to go?” one asked.

“We think we’ve found a way out of here," the other said, finishing the thought.

“Lead on MacDuff,” Rose said.

“Actually it’s ‘Lay on, MacDuff,'” both Doctors said simultaneously, sounding like a weird echo.

“You always learn the most interesting things traveling with the Doctor,” Charley said dryly, as they started running, in pairs, still locked by their armbands and held hands.

“What’s the best thing you’ve learned with him?” Rose asked as she and her Doctor followed.

Charley craned her neck around, still running and grinned. “Always wear sensible shoes!”


Flipsided p. 10

They stood at bay in the Zhaleen control room. Both pairs of Doctor and companions surrounded on all sides by silver and red Zhaleen.

The silver Zhaleen stood back, the red Zhaleen crowded forward in a circle.

The two Tardises stood in the corner of the control room, they’d been transferred up here from the loading bay, as bait for the trap to capture the Doctors. The Doctors had understood and decided to spring the trap. Naturally, sneaking in hadn't worked.

“Doctor, “ Rose said as the circle of red Zhaleen crowded closer. “If they catch you this time, they might kill you.”

“I certainly seem to have annoyed them,” he agreed.

Charley and her Doctor attempted to flank the Zhaleen on their side and reach their Tardis, but they were cut off.

The red Zhaleen herded them back to the center of the room. They stood there in a row, the Doctors in the center, Charley and Rose at each end.

A silver Zhaleen stepped forward, Rose thought it might be the first one they’d met in the Tardis.

“Doctor. We have tried to be reasonable with you. We have taken into account the physical and mental needs of your companions, we have held you, unharmed, as we awaited your extradition.”

“Unharmed!” Rose yelped. The Doctor squeezed her hand and she clamped her mouth shut, glaring.

“And in return you have immobilized myself and my crew, caused damage and no end of disruption to my ship, and continue to sublux your timelines.” He gestured at the two of them. “And to top it off, your own people have refused to accept responsibility for you.”

“Thank Rassilon for that,” Charley’s Doctor muttered under his breath. Charley grinned.

“You have left us with no other alternative but to terminate one of your timestreams, to repair the damage.”

“What?!” Rose exclaimed.

The Doctor tensed beside her. She saw Charley and her Doctor shift forward onto the balls of their feet, prepared for action.

“You will be drained of your Artron energy until only one of your timestreams remains. We will do what we can to ensure the survival of the surviving companion.”

“Oh, I don’t like the sound of that,” Charley said.

The silver Zhaleen waved the metallic red ones forward. The Zhaleen closed in. One lunged forward and grabbed Charley’s Doctor by the free arm. The Doctor screamed and arched back, Charley yanked back with all her might on her bound arm and jumped up and kicked the Zhaleen in the chest with both feet.

The Zhaleen fell backwards into his companions with a clack, staggering them. Charley fell, yanked down by the Doctor’s weight on her arm. But then, as abruptly, was hauled upward by him.

Rose and her Doctor broke for the gap in the circle, toward the Tardises, Charley and her Doctor right behind.

The Zhaleen had finally had enough. With a frustrated roar, all the Zhaleen burst toward them, red Zhaleen and silver.

“Rose!”

“Charley!”

“Claps hands!” both Doctors yelled, spinning in place to bring their companions around.

Charley and Rose grimaced at each other in confusion, but swung and slammed their hands together, gripping tight.

A huge pulse of time exploded out of their clasped hands. The Zhaleen screamed and fell in a wave, their clear glass bodies turning murky black as they collapsed.

Something invisible tightened, and broke, with a resounding backlash, like braided rubber cords snapping under pressure.Rose and Charley, at the eye of the storm, stood stock still, frozen in shock, hands still clasped in a buddy salute.

“What just happened?” Charley asked.

“Yeah?” Rose looked around at the drifts of still, blackened Zhaleen, their metallic core bodies barely gleaming through their blackened glass surfaces. “Did we do that?”

Both Doctors beamed at their respective companions.

“Are they dead?” Rose asked uneasily. None of the Zhaleen seemed to be breathing. But then, she couldn’t remember noticing if they ever had. These hadn’t been bad guys, not the monsters she was used to fighting. She didn’t think she wanted to be responsible for their deaths. Even if they had been about to “undo” her.

“Don’t worry, Rose.” Her Doctor chucked her lightly on the nose, still grinning. “They aren’t dead. Just shocked, their insulation layer took the worst of it. Here, let’s get out of these things.” He pulled the sonic screwdriver out of his pocket and set to work on the armbands. She could already hear the other Doctor’s sonic screwdriver at work behind her.

The Doctor quickly unzipped the cartilage bands and started to skin them off. “I.... Wait!” Rose said. “ What about that trans temporal thing?” She waved her hand in the air.

He finished removing his armband. “That pulse you sent out knocked out the environmental controls, we’re running on a single timeline in here now.” He skinned off her stiff armband, the cut edge pinching, and she rubbed at her scraped, sweaty arm. He tossed the armbands away and the sound was echoed by the other pair of armbands following it.

“Now.” He clapped his hands and strode toward the Zhaleen's alien control banks. The other Doctor just ahead of him.

They plunged their hands into the glassy surface covering the controls. They tweaked and plinked and stretched and stroked the array of multicolored metal coils that made up the controls inside.

Rose left him to it and trotted over to the door, avoiding the piles of bodies, and carefully leaned out to check for Zhaleen reinforcements.

She felt a presence at her back and turned to find Charley behind her, checking the other way. Apparently all the Doctor’s friends learned the same lessons. Rose grinned.

“They’re all frozen,” Charley said in surprise, seeing the motionless Zhaleen in the corridor, locked in place.

“Yeah. something like that happened in the Tardis. Change their type of time on them and they can’t move."

Charley grinned and shrugged. “So long as we can. Much as I love the Doctor, he can be tiring to be chained up to.” She rubbed her arm reminiscently.

Rose stared at her. “You love the Doctor?” She could feel jealousy creeping in.

“Yes. Why? Don’t you?”

Put like that there wasn’t a lot she could say.

She suddenly grinned, feeling a weight fall off her shoulders. It was okay to love the Doctor. “Well, he can be a git.”

Charley shrugged. “Oh, that’s just him.” Her Doctor motioned to her from where he was elbows deep in the alien controls. Rose watched as Charley trotted over and, following instructions, stuck her own hands into the alien machinery.

Rose couldn’t hold it against Charley that she loved the Doctor. The man needed to be loved.

Her eyes were drawn to her Doctor, as he sauntered up to her, his hands in his pockets. Eyeing her warily for her reaction.

"So what about Sam, then?"

“Hm?” his eyebrows flew up beneath his hairline.

Rose nodded over to where the other Doctor and Charley were still working on the controls.

“You said you kept slipping between Charley’s timeline and Sam’s. So, is he waiting for you somewhere?”

“Sam’s a she,” he corrected. “No. that pulse you sent out untangled our timestreams. They’ve stabilized. Sam and I should be still in our own timestream. The Zhaleen may have been intending to arrest them too, but they hadn’t yet.”

"So why are they still here? Or us? Shouldn't one of us have faded out when things straightened out? And how does that work anyway? All we did was grab hands."

Rose took an abrupt step back. "And is it my imagination, or is their glass starting to clear up?" Rose nodded down at the Zhaleen piled around them. The once-black glass had lightened to a smoky color, allowing their metal bodies to be seen.

"The shock is starting to wear off." He raised his voice and yelled at his other self and Charley, "We've got to go!"

The other Doctor raised a hand in acknowledgment and made one last adjustment. "There. Transtemporal environmental systems will be restored in 15 seconds. Into the Tardises!" He hustled Charley ahead of him, and all four of them ran for the two Tardises parked in the corner.

Suddenly a wind kicked up, and a loud, familiar groaning sounded.

"What now?" Charley yelled over the tumult.

"I thought you said your other self and Sam were still in their own timestream?" Rose protested.

"They should be," her Doctor said. "Although, I always did have a ..."

A third Tardis materialized in front of them with a thud.

The door opened and a tall lanky man in a brown suit stepped out. "Here you are, at last! Do you have any idea how hard it is to track one of these Zhaleen ships? Especially when you don't know they're involved in the first place?"

"Eight seconds!" yelled Charley's Doctor.

"Fast return switch!" Rose's Doctor yelled.

"Oh, right!" The lanky Doctor ducked back into his Tardis and disappeared as both Doctors and the girls peeled around it and slammed into their own Tardises. They dematerialized.

The Zhaleen started to wake up.


Flipsided p.11


Back on the side of the road in London, three Tardises appeared where only one had been carted off by Ogrons not long ago.

Two identical Victorian gentleman stepped out of two of the boxes, each of them accompanied by an attractive young blond woman. A distinctly different man stepped out of the third box, tall, skinny, wearing a brown, pinstriped suit and accompanied by a tall handsome black-haired man.

"Charley!" yelled the skinny man in delight, running and catching up the young Edwardian woman, swinging her around in an exuberant hug.

"Doctor!" Rose yelled in exasperation, seeing the confused, and slightly alarmed, look on Charley's face. "You never can behave. Put her down. She has no idea who you are."

"You sound just like Jackie," Jack whispered to her as he strode past to work his charm on the young woman.

The Doctor abandoned Charley to Jack's tender mercies, after one last hug, and joined Rose and the other two Doctors.

He saw Rose's arch look. "Oh, she can handle Jack." He shrugged with a grin.

Behind them, Rose saw Charley give Jack a measuring look and stick out a firm hand to be shaken. Jack looked dumbfounded, and politely shook her hand.

"So, what did I miss?" Rose's tall Doctor asked his other selves.

"Just an arrest attempt," Charley's Doctor explained carelessly, waving it aside. "I reset their internal temporal atmosphere and set the navigation system to return them to base. We shouldn't see any more of them."

Jack walked up behind him and joined in. "So you gave the coppers the slip, huh?"

"Something like that." He turned to his companion. "Ready to go, Charley?"

"Yes. It was very nice to meet you all," she said in her sweet, uppercrust accent. She and her Doctor turned and reentered their Tardis. It faded away.

"I gotta admit, you've got good taste," Jack said to his Doctor, watching them go. The Doctor jabbed a brown-clad elbow in his gut.

"So how did all this start anyway?" the shorter Doctor asked his later self. "We were flipsided. What caused it?"

"He did." The taller Doctor pointed a long, accusing finger at Jack.

Jack pointed at himself incredulously. "Me? I'm as innocent as a newborn lamb."

The Doctor snorted. "Well, he would go tampering with the vortex manipulator inside the Tardis!" he accused.

"How was I to know the two-time fields would intersect and cause a time slip?"

The Victorian-clad Doctor grinned at Rose, she grinned back.

The taller Doctor saw the look and tugged on Jack's sleeve. "Come on, let's go see what damage I did to my Tardis."

"Your Tardis? I'm not the one who rebuilt it to look like a train station!" his previous self said.

"Well at least it doesn't look like an antique bookstore!" the taller yelled over his shoulder. The two Doctors grinned at each other and the Doctor and Jack disappeared around the edge of the Tardis, leaving the younger Doctor and Rose to their goodbyes.

The younger Doctor took Rose's hands in his own. "I was right you know."

"About what?"

He nodded back toward his other self. "I really am glad I met you," he said softly.

He leaned forward and gently pressed his lips to hers. She felt that warm comfort swirl through her again.

He stood back.

"Have a good life, Rose Tyler."

He started to turn away. She stopped him and caught his face in her hands. That dear, poetic face that she'd come to love as much as his harsher darker one, or his manic cheery one, a face not yet closed by war.

She pulled his head down to hers and kissed him, he enjoyed it for a moment then started to pull back. She held him firmly and continued, pressing close. He relaxed and his hand came up to the middle of her back and held her tightly to his firm, cool body, warmer now than it usually was.

She nibbled at his lip and pulled back. He slowly let her go, with a last nudge of his lip that sent starlight swirling down to her belly.

"What was that for?" he asked huskily.

"For just being you," she nodded toward her Tardis, "so he could grow up to be him."

He grinned.

She hugged him one last time. "You have a good life, Doctor. Have a brilliant life."

She turned and walked toward her Tardis. He watched her go, then turned and entered his Tardis.

With a wheezing groan it faded away.


Rose looked back over her shoulder and saw it go. She continued on around the edge of the Tardis and found Jack there. He looked back to where the other Doctor had disappeared. Then looked at her.

"I am so jealous."


Flipsided p.12

Epilogue:



Rose entered the Tardis to find the Doctor checking over the controls. Jack entered behind her and shut the door.

"So that was you, yeah?" she said.

"Yes."

"From before the Time War?"

"Yes."

She caught his eye and held it. He held her gaze, then looked away. 900 hundred years old, she realized, and he was embarrassed. She grinned. "He said he remembered me," she said, just to rub it in. Jack watched the byplay with fascination.

"Yeah, well, that incarnation was a bit more psychic than I usually am."

"Cute too," Jack put in.

The Doctor glared at him blackly. Jack grinned, virtually bouncing jovially at his discomfort.

Rose decided to have mercy on him. Wars, unfortunately, changed a lot of things. "So what did you mean that that pulse fixed the timelines? What did we do? And who's Sam?"

"Sam was another friend of mine. I met her before I met Charley."

"Hold on. I thought you said Sam and Charley were in different timelines."

"Timestreams. Different thing. Individuals have timestreams. Universes have timelines. Timelines are made up of all the billions of different timestreams in them. Sometimes one branches off and creates another timeline."

"So, hold on, so when we met my dad, that was a sort of alternate timestream?" she asked.

"An abortive one, yeah. That's what the reapers were trying to eliminate."

"So how comes you can have all kinds of different timestreams going at once?"

"Because he's a Time Lord," Jack put in. "Anybody else and it would have fractured off and started a whole new timeline. Only a Time Lord could hold it in balance enough to keep them all going at once."

"Very good, Jack," the Doctor congratulated.

"I try. What I don't understand is how could something like that get started in the first place? Quantum physics wouldn't allow it. Once a decision is made it's fixed."

"Because of the Master," the Doctor said.

"Who's that?" Jack asked.

"Old enemy of mine. Another Time Lord." He saw the questioning look in Rose's eye.

"Just after my sixth regeneration I was captured by the Master. He had used up all his regenerations and tried to steal mine. He opened the Eye of Harmony, fractured my incarnations and tried to incorporate them into himself. Problem was, I was still in the first 15 hours of my regeneration cycle, or just about. After we stopped him, my incarnations stayed fractured. I couldn't settle completely into one timestream. What Rose and Charley did was shake all those different timestreams and settle them out into one stable timestream. All three incarnations of myself coalesced into one."

"But how is that possible? We saw the other two of you from those other timestreams." Jack waved a hand outside, indicating their recent goodbyes.

"Elementary thinking, Jack."

Jack shrugged. "I'm only a Time Agent, you're the Time Lord."

The Doctor nodded, satisfied. Jack and Rose shared a little grin. "After the timestreams settled, the others simply became different points on the same timeline. For instance, I know I met Sam and Charley at about the same time, not long after I regenerated. But my memories say that I met them at different times, one after the other."

"So which came first?" Rose asked.

"The chicken or the egg? Doesn't matter. What matters is that my timestream stabilized."

"But how?" Rose held up her hand and looked at it. "All we did was clasp hands."

"Ah, well, that was a bit of a coincidence. Who would ever think I'd have two companions who both had such a special relationship with time? You, Rose, you looked into the Vortex, you were possessed, infused with all the raw power of Time."

"Good thing too," Jack said. "I was never so relieved as when I saw those three Daleks turn into dust. I thought I was a goner."

"And Charley," the Doctor interrupted, "doesn't exist in time. I rescued her when she was supposed to have died. If anything, she became the opposite of time, the gateway to anti-time if you will. That's why she could walk through the walls, even easier than I could. If she didn't want to acknowledge them they just weren't there to her."

"You walked through walls?" Jack said. "Wish I'd seen that."

"It was really creepy," Rose assured him.

"Anyway. That's how Charley was able to stick her hand up through the floor, while I had to walk around them," the Doctor said.

He laughed. "We had to climb up on the desk in the room below and Charley had to stand on my knee to reach the ceiling. I was strapped to her by one arm and using the other to show her what signs to make. It's a wonder we both didn't fall and break our necks."

Jack laughed at the image.

"So what did our holding hands do?" Rose asked.

Jack answered. "Come on, matter and antimatter, time and anti-time? Temporal annihilation!" He clapped his hands together with a bang. He turned to the Doctor. "But shouldn't that have blown you all to hell and gone? Time Lords, on a Zhaleen ship?"

"That's exactly why it didn't. The atmosphere aboard the Zhaleen ships is transtemporal. Timelines on timelines on timelines. It wouldn't have worked anywhere else. And what the pulse did was consolidate all the timelines. It fixed my problems and froze the rest of the Zhaleen in the one timeline until we could reset the subsystems and get away."

"I thought you said timelines and timestreams weren't the same thing?" Rose pointed out.

"Neither are watermelons and watermelon seeds," he said peevishly. "Who's the Time Lord here?"

Rose pulled a face and looked away from him. Jack glowered at him.

"Zhaleen temporal physics. Okay?" the Doctor said, in as much of an apology as she was going to get.

She looked at him out of the corner of her eye. He knew what she was thinking, what that same Zhaleen technology caused by her needing to be anchored to him in that cell. He blushed and turned away.

The cloister bell rang.

"What the hell?" Jack said.

The light went red and three Zhaleen appeared in the console room.

"Don't let the red one touch him!" Rose yelled, as all three Zhaleen converged on the Doctor.

"They all look red!" Jack protested, as he leaped forward in the emergency lights, ignoring the bone rattling tolling of the bell and pulled the nearest Zhaleen away from the Doctor.

The Doctor dodged and threw the emergency brake off, the time rotor started pumping.

The Zhaleen froze.

"You'd think they'd learn," the Doctor said, as he gingerly ducked under the outstretched arm of the Zhaleen closest to him.

Rose climb down off the back of the frozen Zhaleen behind the console as the blue of the time rotor shone out and the lights returned to normal. The cloister bell stopped.

All three Zhaleen were silver under normal light.

"Well that's a mercy anyway," Rose said, dusting her hands off. "So what are we gonna do with them?"

"Must have been a rush job. I set those controls to take them home. They must have overridden something." He was busy at the monitor. "Oh, that's clever! They transported down through the center of their own tractor beam. That's why they didn't need to take us aboard first."

"That's nice to know, Doctor," Jack said snarkily. "But what are we gonna do with them?"

The Doctor stood up from the monitor and shoved his glasses back in his pocket. "We're going to send them back."


"This isn't exactly what I had in mind when you said, 'send them back,' Doctor." Jack helped load the last of the Zhaleen onto the last of the three refrigerator dollies the Doctor had unearthed from somewhere in the Tardis.

"I thought you'd fancy them, Jack," Rose said from where she leaned against another Zhaleen, already loaded onto another dolly. "They are beautiful," she said, admiring the metal-encased-in-glass figure before her. It looked a bit like an American movie award dipped in Lucite. "You can call him Oscar."

"Nah, too cold for me." He "tinged" a fingernail off of the glass shoulder of the Zhaleen nearest him.

"So how are we going to get them back on their ship?" Jack asked. "Dematerialize around them?" They wheeled the Zhaleen over onto the door ramp, three in a row.

"Nah. The transtemporal field would just screw it up," the Doctor said. "I hate transtemporal geometry."

"Well, I'm not going back on that ship again," Rose protested. "One dose of 'laminated time' was more than enough for me."

"No need," the Doctor said, back at the console, flicking switches. "There's one place on the Zhaleen ship that doesn't have the transtemporal field."

"What? Where?" she asked.

He hit one last switch and the time rotor stopped with a "ding."

"The Ogron quarters."

He grinned evilly, clattered down the ramp and threw open the door. The Tardis was parked several feet above the floor.

"After you, Jack," he said grandly, waving a hand.

Jack grinned and tipped the first Zhaleen out into the surprised, but waiting hands of their Ogron employees.

Rose and the Doctor followed with theirs.

The crowd of Ogron's stood and stared at them stupidly, their hands filled with the unmoving statues of their masters.

The Doctor peeked out and wiggled his fingers at them.

"Bye!"

The Tardis faded away.


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