Disclaimers: All characters in this narrative are the property of the British Broadcasting Company.
Summary: It's the day after Christmas 2005 and the Doctor has some unfinished business at Ten Downing Street.
AN: This is just a vignette I had in mind for awhile. I had some mild issues with the way the Doctor endangered Harriet Jones' political career out of anger, especially after his claiming (in World War III) that she would bring a new Golden Age to England. So I decided that something had to happen after Christmas Invasion and before New Earth. Also keep in mind that I live in the States and as yet haven't seen "The Runaway Bride", so I have no idea if Harriet Jones was mentioned or if my story is negated by the new ep. So consider it an AU for the time being.
December 26, 2005;
The Doctor looked over his controls once more as he selected his next destination; New Earth, over five billion years into the future, further than he had ever traveled with Rose. Yeah, that's a Christmas gift she'll remember for a long time, he smiled devilishly.
While waiting for Rose to meet with him to let him know she was packed and ready for the next leg of their ongoing adventures together, he flipped on the monitor, just to observe the outcome of what the media had dubbed "the Christmas Invasion". The threat of the Sycorax was rather permanently neutralized when Prime Minister Harriet Jones ordered the destruction of the retreating warcraft, but the Doctor still felt something was missing. He switched to BBC-One and watched the news broadcast.
Bedlam reigned at Ten Downing Street as a pack of reporters continued to assault Harriet Jones with questions concerning her physical and mental well-being, and her fitness to govern Great Britain. Some reports even indicated that Parliament might call for a vote of no confidence, essentially ending her term as PM.
All because of six words, spoken by the Doctor to her aide; "Don't you think she looks tired?"
And just over a year earlier, he had told Rose that Harriet Jones would be elected to three terms, and establish England's new Golden Age.
"Good job, Doctor," the Time Lord muttered to himself. "Endanger the timeline out of a fit of pique."
Just at that moment, he heard a knock at the TARDIS door. Flipping off the monitor, he opened the door, to be greeted by the beaming smile of Rose Tyler. "Well, Doctor," the young blonde woman chirped happily, "I'm ready to go! Where are we off to now?"
The Doctor stroked his hands through his hair thoughtfully. He was still getting used to having longer hair after the close-cropped pate he sported in his previous regeneration. "Well, Rose," he answered as he considered recent events, "actually, before we go, I have some unfinished business that needs to be attended to."
"Can I help?" Rose asked brightly.
The Doctor shook his head reluctantly. "Not this time. It's more of a diplomatic matter."
"Oh?" Rose arched an eyebrow at the Doctor's statement. "Does this involve your little dust-up with the PM?"
"Something like that," the Doctor nodded. "And since I'm largely responsible for her being stuck in this political brouhaha, it's up to me to fix it. So, tell you what," he fished through his pockets and withdrew three large gold coins and dropped them in Rose's waiting hands. "Here we are, three gold sovereigns, nearly a hundred years old each, probably worth at least a hundred pounds each on the open market. Go spend some time with your mum and Mickey the Idiot, treat them to a nice dinner, and I'll meet you here at eight."
"Eight?" Rose's eyes narrowed; as close as she felt to the Doctor she still bristled slightly when he put Mickey down. "That's eight o'clock tonight, not a year from tonight, right?"
The Doctor scowled in mock-indignation at her jest, remembering when he returned her to her own time after their encounter with Charles Dickens. "Trust me, Rose. I'm not even taking the TARDIS for this junket. And you still have the key, right?" Rose nodded, her right hand absently fingering the TARDIS key she still wore around her neck. For her, the key was a badge of honor, silently testifying to anyone who saw it, "I am friends with the greatest man in the universe."
"So you and your family have a good time," the Doctor answered as he ushered her out of the TARDIS and closed the door behind them. "I won't be long. And then, the universe beckons."
"Sounds like a plan, Doctor," Rose answered. "So I'll see you this evening." She stepped up on her toes slightly to kiss the Doctor on the cheek. "I'll tell Mickey you said hello."
"And I'll send your love to Harriet Jones," the Doctor answered as she skipped off to her mother.
With a last glance at her retreating form, the Doctor turned to the direction of Ten Downing Street
"Are you considering resigning as PM, Miss Jones?"
"Will you challenge a no-confidence vote in the House of Commons if it comes to that?"
"Do you feel that you can still effectively lead the nation?"
The rain of questions battered at the door of the Prime Minister's abode like a siege of arrows. Harriet Jones, the beleaguered PM, sat dejectedly in the sitting room, her eyes riveted to the television. Each question, each commentary from BBC, each barb and statement from both her opponents and her allies, weakened her ability to govern the nation. The Doctor was right, she shook her head angrily. With six words, he brought her down.
With a sigh of defeat, she reached for pen and paper, and began composing her resignation speech.
A sudden flurry of activity from outside Ten Downing Street interrupted the latest reports on BBC1, catching Harriet's attention. A slim figure strode confidently through the crowd, gently pushing aside the wolfpack of reporters that hounded the door. Finally the figure stood on the steps in front of the PM's residence, and cleared his throat dramatically, silencing the crowd.
Harriet seethed when she recognized the face on the screen; the short wavy brown hair and wide expressive brown eyes. "Doctor," she whispered through clenched teeth.
"Excuse me," the Doctor announced to the crowd in a calm, friendly voice, "I am here to make a statement on behalf of Prime Minister Harriet Jones, I will not be taking questions afterward, and neither will anyone associated with PM Jones at this time. My name is Doctor John Smith, here are my credentials," the Doctor flashed open a small leather folder, showing a piece of fine-milled paper to the crowd of reporters which effectively silenced them.
"I am a general practitioner," the Doctor continued, "and have served as the PM's personal physician for several years. Yesterday afternoon, following the Sycorax invasion, I came personally to Ten Downing Street to perform a physical and psychological evaluation of the PM, and I have the results of those tests with me at this time. I am pleased to report that, despite the traumatic events that she, along with everyone else on Earth, witnessed yesterday, Prime Minister Harriet Jones is physically and emotionally fit to perform her duties. The only thing I could prescribe for her is an evening's uninterrupted rest, and I hereby request that you give her that rest at this time. In other words, bugger off and find something important to fill your airtime, eh?" The Doctor closed his leather folder and smiled with satisfaction as the once-boisterous mob of reporters dispersed quietly.
From her vantage point, Harriet Jones sat thunderstruck as the man who had nearly cost her the office of PM had given it back to her with a single pronouncement. So dazed was she by this turn of events that she didn't even notice that her chief aide had entered the den and was now standing near the door, a respectful distance behind her. "Madame Prime Minister," Alex announced, "a Doctor John Smith wishes to speak with you. Shall I send him away?"
"What?" Harriet Jones stammered as she shook the cobwebs from her head. "Oh, no, no," she replied. "Send him in, please."
Alex left, and after a few nerve-wracking seconds, the Doctor stepped lightly into the Prime Minister's private residence.
"Before you say one word, Doctor John Smith," Harriet snarled slightly, "just answer me one question; how did you get that mob of bloodhounds to clear off the way you did?"
The Doctor produced his leather folder, showing the blank cream-colored swatch of paper inside. "Psychic paper, mum," he grinned boyishly. "Don't leave home without it." His smile faded as he regarded the stern expression on the PM's face. "Prime Minister Harriet Jones," the Doctor bowed formally, "I come to extend my apologies for causing this little argie-bargie."
Harriet snorted. "Argie-bargie? Oh, we passed 'argie-bargie' at least two hours ago! And then you saunter in here and just wave your wand and make everything better?"
"Well," the Doctor demurred slightly, "it was a little more complicated than that, but..."
"You have some brass ones, don't you?" Harriet shook her head in disgust.
"I've been accused of worse," the Doctor answered levelly.
"I witnessed the deaths of friends yesterday," Harriet shouted. "I was thrust into a war that nobody foresaw, and yes I acted out of a need for revenge—there, I said it, happy now? I will never be proud of that decision, but don't you dare suggest that I should regret it for the rest of my life! Whatever happens in the future I will live with the consequences of my actions!"
The Doctor nodded gently and smiled. "And that, Prime Minister Jones," he answered, "is why I returned. To take responsibility for my actions. You ordered the destruction of the Sycorax vessel out of anger, and I responded out of anger. But while I was able to fix my mistake, you don't have that luxury."
Harriet Jones regarded the Doctor with a more charitable eye as he spoke. There was something about his posture, his speech, his tone of voice. The flip arrogance of his past persona was missing. He was still recognizable as that alien expert who had routed the Slitheen plan to destroy the world over a year ago, but a different man at the same time. There was more of a youthfulness to him, but at the same time a sense of agelessness.
Harriet strolled to a nearby cabinet. She withdrew a decanter of single-malt scotch and two crystal tumblers. "I don't suppose that you partake of the grape and grain, do you?"
"I've been known to," the Doctor answered, "but I'm driving, so I'd better not. Thanks anyway. No need to stand on ceremony though if you want a dram."
As she poured herself a half-glass of scotch, she commented, "War is a terrible thing, Doctor. It makes us do terrible things. I don't suppose you've been spared the hand of war in your travels, have you?"
The Doctor shook his head sadly. "I am the last of my people. The rest died in a terrible war. Both sides lost that one."
"I'm sorry to hear that," Harriet answered. "I wish there was something more I could say..."
"You already did, Miss Jones," the Doctor answered, "when you said that you weren't proud of your decision to destroy the Sycorax vessel. You were not proud, nor do you regret, and you will accept the consequences. If you can keep in that mindset, then I would say you are more than capable of leading this nation, and by example the Earth."
"A job, I'm afraid," Harriet Jones mused as she sipped her Scotch, "that just became infinitely more complicated twenty-four hours ago."
"Just keep in mind that you are being watched," the Doctor answered, "and not just by that pack of newshounds I shooed away earlier. The galaxy knows that the human race is there. For over a century you've littered space with your radio signals. Right now there's at least two hundred different races looking at this tiny blue-green ornament in the Western Spiral arm and wondering whether to greet you with open arms or with firearms. The next twenty years or so will be critical for your world, Harriet Jones. Keep that in mind, whatever the situation, and I have no doubt that you will succeed."
Harriet nodded once. "Thank you Doctor. Oh, would you care to stay for supper? I think we still have some leftover prime rib and new potatoes from Christmas dinner—"
"I'm honored, Mum," the Doctor answered, "but I promised Rose I'd meet her at eight. Maybe a rain-check?"
"You'll always be welcome here, Doctor," Harriet's smile was warm and genuine. "And thank you again. You've given me much to think about."
"Then I'll leave you to the business of leading England," the Doctor turned around and made his way to the front door. He noticed Alex standing silently near the door, and then flashed a mischievous grin toward Harriet. "Six words," he intoned, before turning back to Alex and saying gently; "Don't you think she looks better?" He nodded once toward Harriet and then left.
Alex glared in stunned silence for five seconds before he turned to the Prime Minister. "I swear," he stammered, "I won't tell a soul—"
"It's quite alright," Prime Minister Harriet Jones smiled gently at her befuddled aide. "For now, a night's rest as the Doctor suggested, and then back to work tomorrow. We have a nation to lead."
As she glanced out the window toward the night sky, she added silently to herself, "And an example to uphold."