Aw - it's all over! It has been great fun writing this, thanks to all of you for reviewing.
"Here you go, three portions of chips," Martha Jones announced, settling herself on the end of the bench and handing them out.
The Doctor and Rose unlinked their arms and accepted their food. Rose tore hungrily through the paper holding hers and dug around for a chip. She shoved it in her mouth and moaned with delight.
"Lush!" she decided, around the mouthful.
"Anyone would think you hadn't had chips in years," the Doctor told her.
"We haven't been back to Earth for ages," she replied. "It feels like years."
"You've been back with me for nearly a year," he reminded her. "We've visited Earth at least -"
"Seven times," Martha told him, holding a chip daintily with her wooden fork. The Doctor smiled at Rose triumphantly. "But only three of those times were in an era where we could get decent chips," Martha added.
"Ha," Rose countered. "See? I'm right. Thank you darlin," she grinned at Martha. Sometimes it was so good having another girl around. Martha grinned back and nibbled at her chip, holding back a strand of silky black hair that the autumn breeze was trying to whip in to her mouth.
"Shakespeare offered us chips," the Doctor complained. "Well," he added, and the girls rolled their eyes, knowing with certainty what was coming, "when I say chips, they were more like lumps of potato. And when I say lumps of potato -"
"They were lumps of potato," Rose confirmed. "And they weren't decent. They were green."
The Doctor sulked and the three of them ate in silence for a moment. It was a chilly early evening in October and the sky was darkening rapidly. Strings of coloured lights swung gently above them.
"So," Rose said finally, gazing out over the water and watching the boats bob up and down. "Why are we in Cardiff exactly?"
"I told you," the Doctor said, motioning over his shoulder with a chip to where the Tardis stood a little way behind them. "Rift."
"I don't buy it," Rose told him. "You're being -"
"Cagey," Martha finished for her.
"That's it, cagey," Rose agreed.
The Doctor scowled. "I knew it was a mistake to invite you along," he told Martha. Both girls laughed.
"Come on," Rose said, nudging him with her shoulder, her chips momentarily forgotten. "What's going on?"
"OK," the Doctor conceded. "I do have another reason for coming here."
"I knew it," Martha cried.
"And?" Rose asked.
"Actually," the Doctor said. "He's a bit late. I thought he might have found us by -" He was cut short by the sound of a vehicle screeching to a halt some way behind them. The three of them stood, turned and watched as someone jumped from the large black car that had pulled up in front of the Millennium Centre, and ran full pelt towards the Tardis.
Rose took a shaky step forward. Her chips fell like confetti at her feet.
"I tracked down an old friend," the Doctor said softly, suddenly appearing at her shoulder.
"Jack," she whispered.
And then she was off, running towards the Tardis and not stopping until he saw her and she threw herself in to his arms.
As the Doctor and Martha ambled over, he explained who their mystery friend was. Up ahead Jack and Rose were glued together, foreheads touching, words tumbling from both their mouths. When they reached the Tardis the Doctor was surprised to be gathered up in Jack's arms. The former time-agent planted a massive kiss on the Doctor's cheek and set him down.
"Didn't think you'd recognise me," the Doctor told him.
"I work for Torchwood now Doc, I've seen the new pretty boy image in the tapes from the battle for Canary Wharf."
"Ah," the Doctor replied. "That's what they're calling it is it?" he muttered.
"How come you're working for Torchwood?" Rose asked, intrigued.
"It's a long story," Jack told her.
"Here, in Cardiff?" she asked. "Where's your base?"
"Actually," he replied, grinning broadly, "you're standing on it."
"And you drove because -" Rose began.
"Still a smart-ass ain't she?" Jack asked the Doctor.
"Some things never change," the Doctor agreed, smiling at Rose fondly.
"And this is?" Jack asked, taking Martha's hand and kissing the back of it like some kind of fairytale prince.
"Martha Jones," she told him briskly.
"A pleasure," he replied, a familiar glint in his eye.
"Don't mind him," Rose told her. "He doesn't bite."
"I can if you want," Jack added, grinning wickedly. "You guys eaten?"
"Sort of," Rose said. "But we only had a couple of chips before you turned up."
"Then let's eat out - I know this great little restaurant, my shout," Jack offered.
"Not the one I took Margaret too?" the Doctor asked quickly.
"Nah, don't worry!" Jack assured him. "But after that, you and me have got to have a talk," he told the Doctor sternly, and the Doctor had the good sense to nod quickly.
"I rather thought you might say something like that," he told his friend. "In fact, I think I'm getting off rather lightly, all things considered."
"Yeah well," Jack told him, gazing at Rose intently. "You're talking to a guy who found the name of a good friend on a list of the dead - guess seeing Rosie here alive and well has softened me up a bit."
The Doctor nodded in grim understanding, but Jack's grin was soon back. "May I?" he asked Martha, holding out his arm. She took it somewhat warily and they started off, walking a little way ahead of the Doctor and Rose, who began to amble behind them.
"How did you find him?" Rose asked, watching as Jack walked confidently ahead, tugging on Martha's arm and pointing out stuff around them.
"I've been keeping an eye on Torchwood ever since... Well, he popped up. Couldn't believe he was here."
"I guess he thought we might come back here one day. Maybe he wanted us to find him."
The Doctor hadn't thought of that. He smiled. "Hope so."
"Thanks," Rose told him, stopping and pulling gently on his arm so that he stopped too.
The Doctor smiled down at her. "No problem," he told her.
Rose stepped closer and rewarded him with a gentle kiss. When she pulled away, the Doctor tugged her soft, purple scarf straight and slid his arm around her shoulders.
As they moved off again, Rose watched Jack and Martha climb the steps to the higher level ahead of them and disappear around the corner.
"Come on," she said. "We're losing them!" she grabbed the Doctor's hand and they took off across the plaza.
And they ran on like that together, up the steps and along the walkway.
Hand in hand.