Disclaimer: Not mine.Fandoms: Torchwood, Babylon Five, Doctor Who.
Characters: Gwen Cooper, John Sheridan, Ten, Martha Jones Set: TW-post-series 1, B5-mid season 2, DW-handwavey post-Utopia (I still can't be bothered to watch the boring trainwreck. Sorry.
Genre: ... er. gen?
Length: 2,000+ Notes: So, I made another of those prompt thingies, and my first prompts were Gwen Cooper and John, which ended up being John Sheridan, and I totally had the first three paragraphs hit me upside the head. This wasn't going to be as long as it is, but certain people wouldn't shut up, nor would they stay away. I also had a very serious argument with myself about the ending. eyes playlist Finally, I blame Evergreen for everything.
No Time in the Hourglassby ALC Punk!
"When you say 'welcome to the future'," Gwen Cooper said, her voice almost calm, "you really mean I'm in 'the future'." Her fingers made air-quotes around the last two words, and her expression was one of disbelief.
"Yes." Smiling even in the face of adversity, John Sheridan held out a hand to her, "And on behalf of Babylon Five, let me--"
"But how did I get here?" demanded Gwen, uninterested in pleasantries when her life had just gone upside-down and sideways (again).
"Well, we really don't know just yet, but I'm sure--"
"I mean," she interrupted, ignoring his attempt at an explanation in favor of trying to lock down her possibly incipient hysteria. She could handle this. She'd done it before. It didn't help to remember that, "One second, I'm explainin' to Rhys that I won't be home until late, and the next, I'm here--" she almost laughed at that, almost. "Well, I'm gonna be very late then, aren't I? Where am I?"
"As I said--" Sheridan paused and changed tracks, holding up a hand to forestall her, "Why don't you have a seat? This could be a shock."
Gwen shifted on her feet, then huffed out a breath, feeling that this was bloody well par for the course and she was going to hand in her resignation the next chance she got--if she ever saw Jack again, of course. She supposed that aliens and Captain Jack Harkness might have prepared her for jumping rather suddenly to the future, but she liked to think that not everything should happen like clockwork, too. "All right. I'll sit." She dropped into the chair she'd been offered, and waited.
"All right." Sitting behind his desk again, Sheridan leaned forward, "As I said, we're not entirely sure about how this happened. But what I can tell you is that it was going to happen, because it's in our data banks as being about to happen--and your disappearance is on record as having happened." There was a slight pause, as though he were going to say something else, but then he continued on, "In fact, there's a notation that popped up this morning, warning me to expect your arrival. Now, our technicians have no idea where this message came from and even less idea how it appeared without any of our security protocols stopping it. But the fact remains that you are nearly three hundred years in your future, and if the message is right, you won't be going back there."
"Oh, won't I?" Gwen jumped to her feet, glaring at him. "This is kidnaping."
"I assure you, miss, we had nothing to do with your arrival."
"Gwen Cooper," she snapped. "Does your stupid note even mention my name, or am I just a 'mysterious arrival'?"
"It doesn't." Sheridan leaned back and looked up at her, "Sit down, Miss Cooper. Would you like something to drink?"
"Yeah, yeah, I would like a cuppa, unless you're planning to drug me? That's happened before, you know." She dropped back into the chair with a grunt.
"Sounds like you've led an interesting life," replied Sheridan. He raised his hand to his mouth and tapped the square on it, "Sheridan to Ivanova, our 'guest' has arrived." He clicked off and then opened a drawer in his desk, pulling out a cut-crystal decanter and several glasses. "I've been saving this for a special occasion..."
"Yeah?" Gwen slumped a little, then ran a hand over her face and looked earnestly at Sheridan. "Look, you're sure I'm in the future?"
"Very sure. This is the year 2259. And I don't know about you, but I'm definitely thirsty." Without waiting for her to say more, he poured both of them a drink and passed her one of the glasses. "To the past," he offered, raising his.
"To Captain Jack Harkness," Gwen muttered, not clinking his before she downed the whole in one go. It tasted pleasant, and didn't burn. Which was a bit of a let-down, all told. She set the glass down. "So, what happens to me now?"
"For now, you're going to relax and let us worry about it. You're perfectly safe here, Gwen Cooper."
"I'm going mad, aren't I?" Gwen asked. "It's Jack, isn't it. And Owen. I've been around those maniacs for too long and I've gone round the bend. God. What's Rhys gonna think?"
"Well, I'm afraid that's something I'm not able to ascertain," admitted Sheridan.
The absurdity of the situation made Gwen glare at him and snap, "Of course you can't, can you. It's not like you can send a message three hundred years back so he knows not to expect me back ever again, now is it? You can't even send ::me:: back."
Giving her a sad look, Sheridan leaned back in his chair, toying with his glass. "You know, I would have considered this a new opportunity--"
"To what, discover I'm even more thick around people from the future? Oh, what am I saying?" Huffing out a breath in irritation and despair, Gwen stared at Sheridan. "This is really real. I'm in the future, and I'm stuck."
"Unfortunately, yes," agreed Sheridan. He gave her an earnest look, "You never know, Miss Cooper, you might find that you like it here."
Gwen lifted her glass and said quietly, "I think I'd like another, please."
"Could I have one, too?"
Gwen spun to stare at the man who'd asked, not having heard him approach. A rather pretty young woman was with him, and both were wearing clothing that was very twenty-first century.
"Cor, I could use a drink after all of that," said Martha Jones.
"I'm sorry, can I help you?" Sheridan eyed both of them in surprise. "This is a restricted area."
"Oh, is it? I hadn't noticed. Sorry about that," the Doctor said back to him.
Martha elbowed him, "Doctor, manners. I'm Martha Jones and this is the Doctor."
"Doctor Martha Jones--"
Martha snorted and held a hand out to Sheridan, "We're actually a bit late. We're here to pick up--"
"Gwen here," said the Doctor, smiling cheekily. "She's become a bit displaced in time, and she's really not supposed to be. And unfortunately, catastrophic events will occur if we don't return her and all of that sort of thing, right, Martha?"
"Right. Plus, Jack will never speak to you again."
"You know Jack?" Gwen asked, latching onto the one thing that had made some sort of sense in all of that.
"We do. Well. Sort of. Look, it's complicated," said Martha. She smiled at Gwen, "But we really are here to take you home."
"I forgot--well, no, not me. I mean, not this--"
"Doctor!" Martha interrupted. She smiled at Gwen and Sheridan, "I'm sure you don't want to hear all the boring bits. Let's just say, he'd forget his head if it weren't attached."
"No I wouldn't!"
Martha gave him a Look.
The Doctor seemed to pause, then shrugged and blew out a breath, "Well, yeah, all right. I would. But I'd notice it was gone pretty quick."
"I'd hope so," Gwen said, voice tart, "You'd be dead."
"Something like that. Look, d'you want to go back home now? I'm sure that lovely Rhys of yours is just fixin' supper--"
"How?" Sheridan asked, interrupting them all. "How are you going to get her back, and how did she get here?"
"If I told you, I'd have to kill you." The Doctor said, his tone very serious. Then he cracked a grin, "Well, it probably wouldn't be that drastic. But something would happen. Come along, Martha, we have Gwen to return home."
"And a note to write?" Martha suggested, her eyebrows raised.
"I must be mad," muttered Gwen. She'd stood up and moved to join them. "How does this work, then?"
"You follow us into the corridor, we hop into the police box and presto, back on Earth in the correct time zone, ok?" The Doctor asked, beaming a smile at her.
"Police box?" Sheridan stared at the Doctor, "What is a police box doing on my station?"
"Loitering, probably, Martha!"
Martha looked after the rapidly moving Doctor, and sighed, "I'm really sorry. He's been cranky since he got up two months ago. It was nice to meet you, and your space station is very lovely. Gwen?"
She was insane. Only explanation. Gwen smiled, "I guess I'm coming with you, then. Bye, Captain Sheridan, thanks for the drink."
"It was the least I could do," Sheridan replied, his tone sounding resigned.
"MARTHA!" The Doctor bellowed from the hallway.
A sigh escaped Martha again, "I do wish he'd stop doing that. Come along, Gwen. I'm sure he'll only make it one trip," she added in a soft mutter.
One trip? Gwen shook her head, deciding not to ask. Not yet. First, she needed to pinch herself awake. Or maybe kick Rhys so he'd snore a bit more. Anything to wake up from the strange dream her life seemed to have become. There was, in fact, a police box in the corridor. It was old-style, blue model, and Gwen simply patted it on the door as she stepped inside after Martha.
"Well. This is new," Gwen muttered, staring around the interior of what was clearly an alien spaceship.
Martha took her arm, leading her up the steps, "You get used to it," she said, her tone reassuring.
"I'm not going to need to get used to it. Am I?" Gwen asked, eyeing the two of them.
"Well..." The Doctor fiddled with several things on one of the panels.
Martha rolled her eyes, "You really are useless at some things. Look, Gwen, we're not sure we can get you back at the correct time--we took some damage not that long ago. So you'll have to bear with us."
"But you're tryin'," said Gwen, her tone almost calm. "Which is more than I can say for Captain Sheridan."
"You can't exactly blame him," the Doctor noted idly, "He's not the one who got you sucked through the time vortex accidentally."
"No? Then who do I blame?"
The ship shuddered as it began to take off, the Doctor moving around the console turning knobs and pressing buttons and flipping switches. Gwen narrowed her eyes, recognizing the distraction for what it was. "Doctor," her voice was less calm, "Who did this?"
"Ah, that would be, ah..."
"Jack." Martha supplied, her tone dry. "He didn't mean it, of course, but he kind of got his wires crossed and you got caught."
"Stuck, rather." supplied the Doctor.
Honestly, Gwen was beginning to get used to the way life just seemed to occur around her, as though she weren't really needed for it to happen. She glared at him, nevertheless. "D'you mean he got me lost in time on accident?"
"Well." Crossing her arms, Gwen moved and sat on one of the chairs, "You just take me right back to him, and I'm going to give him a piece of my mind about the intelligence involved in mucking about with time without any sort of proper understanding or guidelines."
"Ah. Well. Yes. About that."
"You can't tell him," explained Martha, when the Doctor fell silent again. "If you do, you'll disrupt the time continuum."
"I'll disrupt more than that, once I'm done with him."
"No, we mean it." Martha shrugged, "I'm not real good at explaining this stuff, but if he's right, you telling Jack could fracture the continuum and cause the destruction of the known universe." She rolled her eyes, "At least, that's what he says."
"And he's never wrong?" guessed Gwen.
"Well. Not often, anyway."
It was ridiculous. Still... Gwen nodded, "All right. I won't tell him, then."
"Good," beaming happily, Martha patted her shoulder, then looked at the Doctor, "Are we nearly there?"
"Just about. And I think I've even got it mostly right. Might be off by an hour or two, though."
"I'll just tell Rhys I changed my mind, and we can stay in tonight," Gwen decided. "I've been to the shops, I just didn't buy anything."
"Good plan." Martha impulsively hugged Gwen, then stepped back. "Good luck."
Surprised and actually charmed, Gwen smiled at her, "Thank you. You, too." She glanced at the Doctor as he fiddled, then added, "I think you'll need it, with him 'round."
The ship gave a strange sound and then seemed to settle.
Gwen didn't need their urging, she turned and headed down the ramp, stopping at the door to look back, still not entirely certain she believed this was real. "Thank you."
Reaching the city street, Gwen stared at the box she'd stepped out of, then shrugged. It seemed as real as anything else in the world. With the thought that there were things she didn't know if she wanted to understand going on in the universe, she started down the street towards her flat. Hopefully, Rhys wouldn't have called the police to look for her, or worse.
When she'd gone, the inner TARDIS door opened and Captain Jack Harkness appeared. "Thank you," he said to Martha and the Doctor. "That would have been awkward."
"Yes, well," the Doctor harrumphed, "Don't make a habit of it."
"So, let me see if I've got this straight: for some reason, Gwen had to go to the future, so we could bring her back here, right?" asked Martha, looking between them. "How does that work? What does anyone gain by it? And what's with those messages we left on the station's computers a week ago?"
"Oh, let's just say it's a matter of faith, eh, Martha?"
The Doctor nodded, "Faith. In time travel, and the idea that things happen in a preconceived sequence of events. Did you ever hear of the Shadow War, Jack?"
"A little before my time, but yes."
For a moment, a gloom seemed to sink over the Doctor, then he shook it off and grinned, "Aw, it's a great story, one of those that's filled with myths and legend, and the irrevocable nature of time..."
Further note: Sadly, I do not have the brain to write Martha, Gwen, Ten and Jack as Team Tardis.