Time in Her Eyes
Author: Milady Dragon
Disclaimer: I don't own anything here really. Just mashing them together to see if they fit.
Author's note: Okay, ever since watching the last Agents of SHIELD episode, "Seeds" (there are spoilers here for that episode, so beware if you haven't seen it yet!) this idea began percolating and it wouldn't leave me alone. And so, here it is. If you don't like MPreg, then you might not want to read this since it's implied here. This is my fandoms colliding, and it wasn't very pretty!
I would like to thank Totally4ryo for the read over for for enabling the bunnies. Like they need any help!
Skye stood on the corner of the busy Chicago street, chewing on her thumbnail worryingly. She stared across the intersection at the diner that was two doors down from the corner, appearing slightly worn down with its fading green awning and not at all like the place that could possibly become the first step of Skye's finding out the truth about herself.
Really, she didn't know what she was doing there. Okay, maybe that was an exaggeration and maybe she was grasping at straws, but Coulson had sworn that this contact of his might actually be able to help her find something out about where she'd come from, and if she couldn't trust Coulson, who could she trust?
She could see him, sitting in a booth next to the window with his coffee and newspaper and acting as if he were some sort of innocent businessman, and Skye knew her boss well enough by now to know that he'd feel pretty exposed in that position, but he'd told her she would be able to see him at all times, and that he'd signal her if and when his contact showed up and if he was willing to talk to her. Coulson had described the person he was meeting as flighty and more of a genius than Tony Stark, which really wasn't enough to go on but Skye figured she'd find out for herself when the guy actually got there…if he was coming.
There was a part of her who wanted to know who her birth parents had been, but there was an even larger part that wanted to forget about it. They'd abandoned her, hadn't they? Skye was still processing the fact that her entire life hadn't been a succession of being dumped because no one had wanted her, but instead had been arranged in order to protect her. That was a difficult notion to wrap her head around, and she thought she was coping pretty well.
That was, until Coulson had come to her and told her of this contact of his, and that he'd be willing to get a message to him. He might possibly be able to tell her more about her heritage, Coulson had said. It was worth a try, he'd added, and Skye couldn't argue with that.
Sure, she was curious. Being classified an 0-8-4 as a baby had come as a shock, and Coulson had been correct: there were things worse than she could possibly imagine.
And Skye had a really good imagination.
Despite her misgivings, Skye had to admit that Coulson was right about needing to know more. She just wasn't sure she was up to it.
Jack Nicholson shouting, "You can't handle the truth!" was playing over and over in her head. Skye told him to shut up.
She was just distracted enough by that stupid inner voice that she almost missed the man going into the diner.
Her eyes were drawn to him as he practically threw the door open. He was tall and skinny, and was wearing a long coat that looked almost purple in the afternoon sunlight. His trousers were too short, revealing what looked like boots, but he was too far away from her for Skye to make out any other details.
But she knew immediately that he was the one Coulson had been waiting for, when he approached the SHIELD agent at his chosen booth.
Coulson looked up, and he must have greeted the other man because he sat opposite Coulson, sliding into the seat and sprawling across the red fabric as if he'd managed to lose his skeleton along the way. Skye watched as Coulson folded his paper, and the man was saying something, gesticulating wildly and almost knocking the coffee carafe out of the approaching waitress's hand. He must have apologized because the woman didn't dump the coffee all over him in retribution.
Skye watched as Coulson leaned forward, his hands folded on top of the newspaper, and he began to speak.
Her nails were gonna be chewed off if this was going to take much longer.
The gangly man appeared to be listening, which to Skye was a very good thing. She wondered just how Coulson had met this guy, because he didn't seem the type that her favourite agent would actually hang around with. For one thing, he didn't look like he could sit still; despite how he was sprawled along the bench seat, even from the distance she was at Skye could tell some part of him was constantly moving, whereas her boss was almost like a statue sitting there. Plus, he stood out like a sore thumb while Coulson was the King of Not Being Noticed. Skye didn't get it, but then she supposed it took all kinds of contacts to get the information SHIELD would need.
Suddenly, the man sat up, and Coulson was turning toward the window. Even from across the street and through the afternoon crowds Skye could feel his eyes on her, and she was making her way to the other side before his hand had even gone up.
She was almost hit by a sports car as she crossed against the light, and Skye unconsciously flipped the driver off as she stepped up onto the curb. She was suddenly just on this side of freaking out, but she couldn't do that…this was way too important to her to let her nerves get to her. If this guy could help her then he could be as weird as he wanted to be. Nothing would matter but what he could tell her about her true origins.
The bell over the door rang as Skye practically barged in, heading right to the booth where Coulson and his contact were. Her boss looked up at her as she approached, and she didn't even have time to acknowledge him before the other man was standing and looming over her.
"This is her?" he asked, in a very distinct British accent. Skye got a really good look at him, and found she just couldn't figure him out at all.
He had a very mobile face, dark hair flopping over a forehead high enough to put Coulson's to shame and without the benefit of her bosses' receding hairline…not that there was a thing wrong with that, nothing at all, especially because it looked good on him, making him appear distinguished. Plus Skye didn't dare diss Coulson, not even in her thoughts, because he could be downright scary and there were times when she swore he was telepathic despite his assertions that mind powers actually didn't exist despite all of those Tomorrow People rumours she'd once dug up. She was pretty certain that Coulson was so awesome he could really kill people with his brain.
The man didn't look all that much older than her, but there was an aura about him that Skye couldn't ignore. Like he was a lot older than he appeared, and it gave her a shiver.
The man's eyes were green…or were they grey? She couldn't decide, even though they were staring at her intently as if he was trying to look into her brain or something. His clothes were strange, but in a way they suited him, although Skye couldn't say how. The bowtie though…that put the entire ensemble over the top. She was about to make a snarky comment about it when the stranger's eyes went wide and he gave her a smile that was so bright it put the sunlight to shame.
"Oh, you are beautiful," he breathed.
Skye blushed at the compliment, but her pleasure at it was overwhelmed by the sheer surprise of him grabbing her hand in long-fingered, cool hands and pulling it toward his face. He practically glared at the back, and then flipped her hand over, exposing the inside of her wrist.
For a split second, Skye thought he was gonna lick it or kiss or something, but then he dropped it and, grabbing her shoulders, pulled her forward and stuck his nose squarely behind her right ear.
Oh my god, was he sniffing her?
Skye wriggled backward, exclaiming, "Ew!" as she pulled free. She glared up at him, but he was simply grinning at her even more widely than before.
"This is the one, then?" he asked, glancing over at the still-seated Coulson. Damn, the least her boss could have done was get up and come to rescue her from the raving lunatic!
But no, Coulson was simply looking amused. Skye barely smothered the impulse to kick him or something. "Yes," he answered, "she's the one. Skye, this is the Doctor. Doctor, this is Skye."
The Doctor? What kind of name was that? A codename, maybe? Just who was this reject from an historical cosplay? Cause that coat was something out of a period drama, and Skye had seen quite a few of them.
So sue her, Colin Firth was hot.
The Doctor slid back into the booth, and Skye warily did the same, sitting next to her boss. At least Coulson was safe…well, relatively safe. Although she did have that issue of him not getting her away from the madman in the bowtie…
"So," Coulson went on, "I'm assuming that little show had a purpose?"
The Doctor nodded. He had his hands up on the table top, his fingers tapping absently. "Whenever have I done something that didn't have a purpose?"
Coulson didn't say anything, but he did bring out the Eyebrow. Skye had been a recipient of the Eyebrow enough times to know what it was like to be on the receiving end of it, and she didn't envy the weirdo one bit. But at least it wasn't the Finger.
The Doctor slumped down in his seat, looking contrite. "Okay, yes…there was that time with the cow and the Arcateenian soothsayer, but that wasn't at all my fault."
"If you say so, Doctor," Coulson said calmly, very obviously humouring him.
What the hell?
"I do, yes. But that's not why you called me, Agent Coulson." Those eyes were back on Skye, and she tried not to fidget. "You want to know if I can help find out where your companion came from."
That brought Skye immediately back to business. "Can you help me?" she asked, perfectly willing to forget the sniffing if this Doctor guy could actually give her some answers.
Before the Doctor could answer, the waitress came to their table, setting coffee down in front of Skye as well as a plate of unsolicited and yet very welcome chili cheese fries. Another mug went down near the Doctor's moving fingers, and he looked up and said, "Thank you, Wanda."
The waitress smiled at him sweetly, and then left. Skye wondered for a split second where he'd gotten her name, but then barely kept herself from smacking herself when she recalled that the waitress wore a nametag and that it hadn't been some sort of mysterious naming power or something.
"Ooo…chips!" the Doctor crowed, reaching into the mess on the plate. He grabbed several, stuffing them into his mouth and chewing enthusiastically.
"Didn't your mother ever teach you to chew with your mouth closed?" Skye snapped, kinda grossed out by the view.
"That was ten lives ago," the man answered, after he swallowed. "Don't remember. But this isn't about me!" He clapped his hands together, and then reached into his coat. Skye tensed, but beside her Coulson was contentedly sipping his coffee and munching on his own fry, so she knew he couldn't be going for a gun or anything.
Instead, what the Doctor brought from his coat was a long, metallic cylinder, and Skye was intrigued by it. "Let's see what we can see, shall we?"
He pressed something on the cylinder, and the top of it opened to reveal a green light. He began waving it in Skye's direction and she couldn't help but flinch back, even though nothing happened except from a loud humming coming from it. "It's not nice to point weird things at people!" she exclaimed. First the sniffing, and now this? Just where did Coulson dig this guy up from, anyway?
She felt a hand on her arm, and she turned to look at her boss. He was smiling reassuringly. "It's fine. Despite appearances the Doctor does know what he's doing…most of the time."
"OI!" the Doctor cried as he brought that device toward his face, looking at something Skye couldn't see. "I know what I'm doing all the time…even if it doesn't look like it!"
The Eyebrow went up again.
"Yes, yes…I remember the thing about the alien pollen. I wasn't the one who exposed most of SHIELD headquarters to it!" He began pointing that thing in Skye's direction again, but this time she managed to stay still for the indignity. "And what happened to that nice young man you were trapped with, anyway? What was his name again? Bartlett or something?"
Did Coulson just blush?
No, it had to be the sunlight coming in through the window, even though Skye knew the awning kinda blocked it out.
"There were twenty-two babies born nine months later," her boss accused calmly, taking another sip of his coffee as if whatever the hell the Doctor had meant hadn't just embarrassed him.
"Twenty-two future SHIELD agents…Fury must have been pleased."
"He became a godfather twenty-two times, of course he was pleased. Is that thing telling you anything, or are you just enjoying waving it around?"
The Doctor looked disappointed, but he did finally put the cylinder away. "As a matter of fact," he said primly, "it confirmed a few things I'd surmised from my initial examination."
"You mean the sniffing thing?" Skye asked.
"It wasn't just sniffing!" the Doctor answered primly. "I was checking for the presence of pheromones."
"And did you find them?" Coulson asked.
"I did, yes."
"Just what does that mean?" Skye wanted to know. This was her life they were calmly discussing, and she wanted every detail she could get even if she didn't understand it.
"Currently, human pheromones aren't strong enough to really affect much," the Doctor answered, sounding like he was giving a lecture. "But, in the future, they become fairly important when humans and aliens are mixed together, as a way to differentiate between them and other human-like species. And, you," he pointed toward her emphatically, "have some fairly strong pheromones. Stronger for this time period, anyway."
"Are you saying I stink?" Skye let her outrage fly.
"Then you're saying Skye is from the future?" Coulson demanded, and it wasn't fair that he totally ignored her righteous indignation.
"That, and the Vortex particles in her tissues, indicated it, yes."
Skye couldn't believe what she was hearing. Sure, she'd known that she'd been identified as an 0-8-4 as a baby, but nothing had been said about time travel!
"Okay, wait," she interrupted the two men, waving a hand in order to get their attentions, "how do you even know that? I mean, you sniffed me and looked at my hand! Did that gadget thing tell you?" This was getting surreal. She'd be accusing Coulson of playing some sort of practical joke if he was the kind to actually do that about something this important.
May, yes; Coulson, no.
"The sonic?" the Doctor clarified as he took another handful of fries and chewing on them thoughtfully. "Well yes, it confirmed a few things, but I could tell you had the Vortex in you almost from the moment I saw you."
"The Vortex?" Her head was spinning.
"Time Vortex, yes. I could see it, plain as day."
"But wouldn't it have faded away after all this time?" Coulson asked.
Skye was very glad he was there at that moment, because she was too busy trying to deal with this shit and wasn't feeling very coherent at the moment. She willed him to keep asking questions because she really couldn't, not then.
"Usually, yes." The Doctor rubbed the back of his neck, looking concerned. "But the Vortex is in her very DNA, and there are very few ways that can happen. In fact, I can tell you with certainty that I know exactly who she is, and where and when she's from, just from the scans I took."
"You can…wait." Skye was shaking her head in denial. When Coulson had claimed he had someone who might shed some light on her true origins, she'd thought it would just lead to more clues and another mystery. But this…
Suddenly the Doctor's expression changed to something that bordered on caring, and he reached across the table, pushing away the congealing fries, to grab her hands in his. She once again noticed they were cool and dry, but in that moment she really needed something to cling to, so she ignored it and held on. "I'm so sorry," he murmured, and he sounded completely sincere about it. "I know this is a lot to take in, but you deserve to know the truth. That's why Agent Coulson contacted me, to get to the bottom of what happened to you and how you ended up where you are. He couldn't know that I'd guess pretty much right away."
"It's true," Coulson added, his own hand back on her arm in comfort. "The Doctor is a consultant for SHIELD at times, and I knew he had knowledge that the rest of us lacked. If anyone could figure it out, it would be him." He snorted. "But he surprised me because apparently he knows what's going on."
"It's sheer coincidence," the Doctor answered, sounding embarrassed. "It's the best kind of coincidence really. But yes, I know who you are, and who your parents really are." His eyes were kind. "And I know they miss you very much."
Skye couldn't stifle the sob that rose up in her throat. Her chest heaved as she struggled to draw breath past it as she processed everything that had happened since she'd walked through that door. Here was someone she'd thought could give her some hope, but he was offering her everything. How could she possibly repay that? And to repay Coulson, for contacting him?
"Please," she murmured, looking the Doctor in the eye.
Those eyes were sympathetic, but he was smiling. "Your name is Branwen. You were born in the 38th century, on the planet Veredian."
Branwen. Skye tried it on for size and wasn't all that fond of it, but it was hers and she would cling to it with both hands. "So I'm an alien?" She wasn't sure about that either. She didn't feel alien or anything…
"No, more like…human-ish. The planet was made up of human colonists, with a smattering of aliens here and there. Your parents were human-ish. Well, more human than ish."
"Did you…" she swallowed hard. "Did you know them?"
The smile went from sympathetic to impish. "Oh yeah. Your fathers are a pair, believe me. "
"Fathers?" She never imagined having two fathers.
"In the future, men can get pregnant." The Doctor made a face. "Sounds really unpleasant if you ask me, but your birth father was so very proud when he got pregnant with you. There was a party and everything. I think half the galaxy was invited." He shook his head, laughing. "It went on for days. I'm sure there are pictures of it around…"
Suddenly, Skye wanted to see these pictures, to see what her two fathers looked like, and how happy they'd been when they'd known she was going to be born. Tears made her vision go all blurry, and she took back one of her hands to wipe them away.
A handkerchief appeared, and she turned and thanked Coulson for it. Trust her boss to carry around a handkerchief around with him. One of these days she was going to ask him if he'd ever been a Boy Scout, since he always seemed prepared.
"And then you were born," the Doctor continued. "I missed that, and I'm so very sorry I did, because it was barely two weeks afterward that the Daleks invaded, and if I'd been there I might have been able to stop it."
There was such a tone of old pain in that statement that even though Skye had no idea what Daleks were, she knew it had to have been terrible.
"The Daleks?" Coulson demanded. "The same aliens that attacked Canary Wharf and stole the Earth?"
Skye had read about Canary Wharf on the internet, but it had been merely speculation and conspiracy theories. To know that it had been an alien invasion that had killed all those people not some sort of terrorist group…well, she wasn't sure how to feel about that, quite honestly.
As for the planets in the sky thing…that had been the catalyst of her becoming what she was today. It had been too big a truth to be hidden from humanity, and yet it seemed as if a massive disinformation campaign had gone on, and today not a lot of people even remembered it. She hadn't understood at the time, because Skye could vividly recall all those extra planets and death raining down on the planet from spaceships. But now she'd come to the realisation that normal people just couldn't cope with some things, and that they would accept the strangest explanations as long as it fit into their worldview.
Hell, even now there were a lot of people out there who refused to believe that the Avengers actually existed…and she hadn't even seen it until she'd joined Coulson's team. It put what she'd done with the Rising Tide into a weird sort of perspective.
The Doctor glanced over at Coulson. "Yes, the same. Veredian was peaceful, and the defences that they had had weren't enough to stop them." Then he turned back to Skye. "Your parents were fairly important within the colony." He smiled slightly. "They were doing me a favour really, by keeping an eye on the Veredani's research into time travel. That's what drew the Daleks…sure, they might have their own time travel technology, but they're always looking to improve it. There Veredani didn't stand a chance."
Grief made it hard for Skye to breathe. "Then, my parents…?" She was just learning about them; she didn't want to think they were dead or worse.
The Doctor looked confused, but then he smiled once more. He seemed to smile a lot. "Oh no, they made it. The pair of them are pretty impossible to kill, actually, considering they're immortal. Which is why you have the Vortex written into your DNA, and since being immortal like that is rare, in fact there are only two immortals like that in the entire Universe..."
Okay, did he just use the word 'immortal' when talking about her real folks? She wanted to ask so many questions, but the only one that came out was, "Does that mean I'm immortal too?"
"No, not at all," the Doctor assured her. "Just really long lived, maybe like thousands of years but we don't really know. But don't go throwing yourself in front of bullets or a train or something, okay? You might be a bit tougher than the average human but you can still be killed and I don't want to have to tell your dads about it."
"Immortal?" Coulson demanded, his voice hard. "Do you mean –"
"Spoilers," the Doctor interrupted, tapping the side of his nose. "We can't have a paradox, can we? We all know what happens when you have paradoxes."
The expression on Coulson's face was easily readable as, 'Hell no,' which meant he knew exactly what the weirdo was talking about.
Well, Skye didn't, and she wanted some clarification so she asked for it.
"Oh, all sorts of nastiness," the Doctor waved his hand airily. "Reapers usually, and trust me when I say you don't want to run into one of them."
He might not be telling her what a Reaper is, but just from the tone of his voice Skye thought that no, she really didn't.
"Back to the subject at hand," he went on, "your parents tried to get you and some of the other colony's children to safety by attempting to use the very experimental time travel device the Veredani scientists had come up with. But by the time they'd gotten to the lab where the machine was, most of the planet had fallen and they had no choice but to try to get you away on your own." The Doctor sighed, leaning back against the booth back, the purple of his coat clashing horribly with the red of the upholstery. "They'd planned on sending you into the future with a letter, where they could come and find you, but a stray energy blast destroyed the time capsule…and took you away."
"And I ended up on a planet in the past," Skye finished.
If Skye hadn't been seeing the impossible nearly every day since she'd signed up for Coulson's Magical Mystery Tour she would have called the man crazy as a bag of cats and had dismissed his unbelievable story. But now…now she knew differently, and while what the Doctor had said did seem impossible Skye actually believed him.
"They never gave up on finding you," the Doctor murmured, eyes intense in his disproportionate face. "But they've been searching the future…not the past. And I can take you to see them if you want." The he winked at her. "It would be my honour to take you home, and Jack would owe me big-time!"
Skye felt her boss shift beside her, but she was too busy concentrating on the name 'Jack'. "That's one of my dads?" she asked hopefully.
"Yep," he answered, drawing out the word and popping the 'p' at the end. "Your other dad's name is Ianto. He's Welsh, which is what earned you your name. He kinda insisted on a Welsh name, although Jack didn't fight him too hard on it."
Skye could practically feel the tension bleeding off her boss, and she promptly jabbed him in the side with her elbow. "Catch a chill pill, AC." She didn't know what was going on with him, but Skye wasn't that self-absorbed to have noticed that Coulson had been wound up since that whole 'immortal' business. Sure, she wanted to know what that was all about, but she wanted to know about her folks even more. It wasn't like he wouldn't tell her eventually if it was important.
"Wait a minute," she said suspiciously, as a terrible thought occurred to her, "how do you know all this, anyway? If I really was born in the 38th century where the hell did you hear this from? I can get I time travelled, but come on…are you really saying that you were in the future and you came back here just to tell me who I am?"
The Doctor spat a raspberry with his entire mouth, which would have been entertaining if not for the fact that Skye was suddenly certain that this was all some sort of horrible joke, that for some unfathomable reason someone was yanking her chain and that Coulson was in on it…no, not Coulson. He wouldn't do this to her, not after everything that had happened in the last several weeks. He might have lied to her in the beginning, and after Skye had gotten over the hurt of that she'd kinda understood why he had. But he wouldn't ever go this far.
He leaned forward as if he was about to impart a secret, looking very smug…kinda like Ward did when she managed to completely fail at something he'd tried to teach her. "I'm a Time Lord," he whispered. "Would you like to meet my time machine?"
Okay, this wasn't what Skye had been expecting at all.
After the three of them had left the diner, they'd headed up the crowded street, the Doctor striding ahead with really long strides and Skye found herself wishing that he'd trip or something. She and Coulson had followed at a slower pace, and despite herself she linked her arm through his. It said a lot about the current state of their relationship that he didn't object to the familiarity.
"So," she said, "is this guy on the up-and-up?"
Coulson nodded. "He's a Time Lord, and he has an actual time machine. If he told you all of that, then you can bet it's the truth, although never doubt he's not above hiding things."
That made sense…well, as much sense as anything else in this screwed up situation did. "But you know something about my parents, don't you?"
He shrugged. "The Doctor is right about one thing…we can't risk a paradox. All I'll say is that your real parents really are immortal, although I didn't know about the one even though I'd heard rumours about some miraculous survival during an alien invasion."
That's when it struck her like a brick to the frontal lobe. "They're here, aren't they? In the past?"
"It's their present. And I really can't say more than that."
Skye was about to say something that would have been amazingly intelligent but it was at that point that she noticed the rather tall blue box standing on the sidewalk about a hundred feet away…one that no one else seemed to be aware of.
"Perception filter," the Doctor said breezily, and Skye started wondering about that whole telepathy thing again because she'd been just about to ask why nobody was making a big deal out of a blue box taking up most of the sidewalk.
"So it's invisible?" she asked as they got closer.
"No, not at all! But people just seem to…ignore her, if that makes sense." The Doctor fiddled with one side, which turned out to be a door, and he flung it open with a flourish. "Agent Coulson, can I interest you in a trip in my TARDIS?"
Coulson smiled slightly. "No, thank you Doctor. Perhaps another time."
The Doctor waggled a finger at Skye's boss. "I'll hold you to that." He turned to Skye. "I take it you'd like to meet your parents."
Skye really did. She wanted to know the two people who had wanted her, but who had had to send her away in order to protect her from an invading army; the parents who had never given up searching for her, and who missed her and would want her back. It was such a different picture from the one she'd imagined all these years that she wanted it with all her heart and soul.
"Go on," Coulson urged. "The Doctor will bring you back once you're done…if you want to come back, that is."
The Doctor looked solemn. "I'll be bringing her back, Agent Coulson. She still has a lot to do before she can spend the rest of her time with her family." He stepped forward, right up into Coulson's personal space. "You have a lot to do as well." His eyes were sad. "I know what they did to you, and if I'd been there I would have told them to stop. But there is still so much good you have to do, and you can't give up on the world despite what it's done to you. Agent Coulson…Phil…I promise you, it will be worth all the pain."
A shadow that Skye hadn't even noticed was there vanished from Coulson's eyes at the Doctor's words. It looked as if she had one more thing to thank the weird alien for. "Thank you, Doctor," he answered, nodding.
"You're quite welcome." The Doctor stepped back, motioning to Skye. "Come on in and meet the TARDIS. She's looking forward to meeting you."
Skye fell in love with the TARDIS from the moment she set foot inside the Doctor's fantastic time ship, and she couldn't help but wonder what Fitz's version of the Snoopy Dance he'd do if he was in her shoes.
But then, who could blame her? The TARDIS was just about the most wonderful thing she'd ever seen and, from what the Time Lord said, her dads had travelled in it as well.
As soon as she thought 'it' Skye realised that she really should have considered the ship 'her'.
So much for that 'telepathy didn't exist' bullshit.
The less said about the ride, the better. Skye had found herself sprawled across the floor as the time machine shuddered its way into the future, and while she couldn't help but laugh at the sheer adrenaline high she was currently riding she was going to have bruises by the time they'd made it to their final destination.
Skye wondered if the TARDIS did it on purpose. It would funny if she did.
When the TARDIS finally stopped dancing around like a nerd in a dancing competition, Skye picked herself up and dusted herself off, glaring at the Doctor. "You could have warned me about the turbulence!"
He didn't look at all bothered by the fact that Skye had managed to lose her dignity at least half a dozen times on their jaunt to the future. "Things can get a little bumpy," he said absently, messing with a few of the controls on the console.
Skye's hands were literally itching to get her hands on the TARDIS' mainframe. Down girl…
The Doctor gave her one of his grins that Skye labelled as 'manic' and then moved his way around the console and toward the doors. "Come on then! Let's go and surprise your parents!"
Now, that sounded like a plan!
Skye followed him like he was some sort of lodestone and she was a magnet, but the attraction ended the moment she stepped foot outside the TARDIS.
She was in space.
Well, technically, it was a space station, but there were windows all around the open deck they were on and all Skye could see were the stars outside, along with a few ships that floated around.
She couldn't help it; her mouth fell open.
They were in the freaking future.
Okay, in the abstract Skye had known that was where they were going. But seeing it in the reality…was this some sort of heart attack?
No, Skye was just completely overwhelmed.
Not only was she in a space station, there were all sorts of beings around her. Tall aliens, short aliens, aliens with antenna and with tentacles and feathers and…no, she couldn't process it all. Maybe if she had a hundred years…oh wait, she did, if the Doctor was right about all that Vortex stuff.
She really didn't have a reason to doubt him…yet.
"Come along," the Time Lord urged her, and Skye had no choice but to go along with him. She was so beyond her comfort zone, and it was all she could do not to reach out and grab the tail of his coat to keep from getting separated from him because she was too busy rubbernecking like a tourist, which she really was.
"I thought we were going to a planet," she complained over the low-level sounds of multiple conversations.
"Jack and Ianto decided to travel after what happened on Veredian," the Doctor answered. "They were hoping to find some sort of sign of you, and were afraid if they stopped too long they'd miss a clue." He laughed. "I can't wait for them to see you. It's going to be fantastic!" He sounded incredibly pleased and happy.
"You really are a friend of theirs," she said, wondering when she'd gotten to slow witted…oh yeah, somewhere around the whole 0-8-4 thing.
"It didn't used to be that way," he admitted sadly. "There were several years when we didn't get along at all, and it was my fault…well, mostly my fault." He twitched, and Skye read that as guilt. "But now we're all tight." He made a move like he wanted to fist bump, but changed his mind which Skye thought was a good thing. "So you can imagine what it means to me that I can bring their long-lost daughter home."
Yeah, Skye could see it. She knew all about redemption, having learned that hard lesson over what had happened with Miles. She'd had to fight to earn her place on the team for a second time, and it hadn't been all that easy. She'd despaired a couple of times, but in the end it had been worth it to see the trust that Coulson and the others had in her once more.
They made their way through the crowds of the busy space station. "What is this place?"
"It's Station Beta Twelve, the hub for travel to the outer galaxies. It's run by Torchwood." He said it like she should have known what that meant, which she didn't but maybe she should have, which meant a date with her laptop when she got back to the Bus. "There are a string of stations all throughout Federation space. This is the one farthest out, and it's a crossroads for all sorts of races. One big melting pot," and he threw his hands up as if to embrace everyone in the room, "it's just a tribute to humanity and their expansion into space."
He was certainly enthusiastic, and Skye found it very endearing.
She would have said something, but she found something else to stare at, and somewhere inside her head she felt as if she'd developed alien-induced ADD. All she needed was the proverbial squirrel to make it complete…
Oh, was that a red dolphin floating in some sort of really big soap bubble? How cool was that?
They eventually left the crowds behind, and Skye couldn't help but be disappointed. When asked, the Doctor explained that they were within the main docking ring, where the space ships were attached to the station. There were small portholes in the side of the hallway, and Skye wanted to stop at every one and look out, but the excitement over the fact that she was getting closer and closer to her real parents kinda pushed her need to poke her nose everywhere and anywhere she could to the side.
Coulson would have been impressed.
The Doctor suddenly slowed down, and Skye found herself walking beside him instead of following him around like a lost puppy. "Their ship is just up there," he pointed toward an open door in the metal wall. He turned to regard her. "Let me talk to them first, alright? We don't want them freaking out or anything like that."
Skye felt that they were gonna freak out anyway, so she wasn't sure what the point was.
Yeah, like she wasn't going to do the same.
The Doctor walked right up to the open port, knocking on the metallic side. "Oi! Jack! Ianto! Anybody home?" he shouted.
Skye had to rub her ear to stop it from ringing.
"Doctor?" answered a voice from within the ship. "Is that you?" The voice had a definite American accent.
The man who stepped out from the ship was tall, and handsome despite the smear of what looked like grease on his cheek. He had dark hair and blue eyes, and the coverall he was wearing did nothing to hide the fact that Skye's dad was in shape.
Oh, ew…did she just think that about her own dad?
She was going to need serious therapy, damn it.
"Jack!" the Doctor exclaimed, throwing his arms wide, and the man – Jack – took him up on the offer and hugged him.
"It's been ages," Jack laughed. Skye quite liked that laugh. "What brings you out all this way?" His eyes found Skye, and he backed away from the hug to get a better look at her. "And you have a new companion? What happened to Clara?"
"She's off visiting her family," the Doctor answered, and Skye wondered about this companion stuff and just who was this Clara anyway? "This is Skye. Skye, this is Jack Harkness, a very old friend of mine."
"Hey, not so much of the old!" Jack exclaimed. He reached out and took Skye's hand. "It's nice to meet you, Skye."
Oh my god, did her dad just come onto her?
Therapy was definitely on the agenda.
"Jack," the Doctor warned.
"I don't know why you just won't let me say hello," Jack actually pouted.
"Because even your hello is an innuendo," a pleasantly accented voice answered from within the ship. Another man stepped out, a good-natured smile on his cute face.
Oh geez…this better not be her other dad because there was just something inherently wrong with thinking your male parental unit was cute.
"Please excuse Jack," the other man, who must have been Ianto, smiled at Skye, "he tends to be a little too friendly…"
His voice suddenly faded out, and Skye saw him go horribly pale. "Ianto?" Jack asked worriedly, slipping a hand under the other man's elbow as if he were afraid that Ianto would pass out.
Skye was actually a bit afraid of that herself. "You okay?" She didn't want to see her dad hit the floor, although she felt that fainting would have been an acceptable response after the Doctor had busted out with her true identity mainly because there was a distinct possibility that she would do the very same.
Ianto didn't say anything. Instead, before Skye could even react, she found herself in a hug so fierce she was really afraid her ribs were going to crack. She couldn't help but hug back, and a gibbering voice in her head kept chanting, 'I'm hugging my real Dad…I'm hugging my real Dad…this is my Dad and he's hugging me and I'm hugging him back…'
A sob broke free of her, and she held on tighter, her face planted into a strong chest that was heaving under her cheek. She really was glad that he was as emotional as she was, because Skye would have really hated to have come all this way and be the only one crying.
"What's going on?" she heard Jack ask.
She felt Ianto shift against her, and his voice had gone from really nice to croaky as he answered, "Jack, it's Branwen. The Doctor's brought our baby back to us."
Skye didn't hear Jack say anything, but she certainly felt him join in on the embrace. She was cocooned between the two people she'd wanted to know her entire life, and for the first time in she didn't know how long Skye felt completely and utterly safe.
Skye was finally home, because it didn't matter if she was on a space station in the far future…where her dads were, was truly home.
This was where she belonged.