Disclaimer: I don't own Doctor Who or Torchwood.

Rose took a deep, bracing breath and entered the compound. It was her first day of work at Torchwood in her new world, and she was a little nervous. Not as nervous as she had been before talking to the Doctor, but nervous nonetheless. But as her new supervisor met her and walked her into her new shared office and explained the job one last time, she felt her nerves soothing. She would be fine—these people knew about aliens technology, yes, but she knew the origins of that technology. Everything was going to be fine.

"…and you'll be working with a partner, of course. Sharing the office and all that." her supervisor continued, snapping Rose out of her nervous daze. "Oh! And here he is. Rose Tyler, meet James McKinnon."

And Rose felt every bit of nerves she had been experiencing before return. The man offering his hand to her—the close-shaven, big eared, leather jacket-wearing man—she knew he couldn't be the Doctor, because that Doctor was dead, but he looked just like him…

"Rose?" he offered after an extremely awkward moment, bright grin falling from his face. He had a Northern accent. "You alright?"

"Sorry!" Rose gasped, snapping back into focus. "Sorry. Just—you look just like someone I used to know—"

"S'alright. I've heard all about you—came through the rift, right? I must be a shock to you. Don't worry a bit about it."

"All right," Rose said with her typical shy grin, "pleased to meet you then, James McKinnon."

It turned out that James McKinnon was, despite being an entirely marvelous man, completely human. Rose had been a bit disappointed, but not surprised. Amusingly enough, his personality was reasonably similar to her first Doctor's. They made a good pair on the job, and might have made a good pair elsewhere if James hadn't been a) homosexual and b) married.

At any rate, life went on for about six months before disaster struck.

Well, disaster in a certain sense of the word.

"Come on, Rose, it'll be fun. We always have a great time at these things."

"The Semi-Annual Torchwood Staff Party? Sounds like a chance for the tech guys to get drunk and tell lude jokes in binary. There's no way I'm going."

"No, no. We've got food and dancing and stuff just like a real party." James soothed. "You even get to bring a friend—you'll finally get to meet my John if you come."

Rose bit her lip and rocked on her heels slightly. She had always had trouble resisting a Northern accent…

And that was why she found herself in the middle of a rather enthusiastic party in the middle of Torchwood with Mickey hovering behind her. They hung back against a wall and chatted for a few minutes before something at the entrance caught Rose's attention.

"Mickey? Is that—"

"Rose!" James grinned from the doorway and pulled the man who was presumably his husband by the hand towards Rose and Mickey.

Rose stared at her partner and his partner in sheer disbelief for a moment before collapsing into laughter.

James looked to Mickey for help and received nothing in return but a stifled giggle.

"This—" choked Rose, "this is your John?"

"Well, yeah—"

"John Smith? He's John Smith, ain't he?" Rose demanded, tears of amusement running down her face.

James' husband, a thin man wearing a pinstriped suit and Chuck Taylors, drew himself up. "John Smith-McKinnon." he sniffed in an almost-hurt tone.

"You're—Mickey, he's—" then, seeing the hurt looks on James' and John's faces, "Oh God! No! That's not why I'm laughing! Oh, no, no. I think you're a wonderful couple—it's great to finally meet you, John—oh God. Ohhhh God."

Eventually, Rose managed to get good enough control of herself to explain why she was laughing, and John was familiar enough with the alien business of Torchwood to accept the concept of an alien that changed faces and took it all with good humor. The only other incident of the night was when Mickey had one too many glasses of "punch" and informed John in a rather slurred voice that gosh, Doctor, I always knew you were narcissistic but isn't this a bit much, at which point Rose decided it was time for them to go home.

Meanwhile, in Rose's original dimension, the real Doctor was experiencing a very disturbing feeling. His sixth sense hadn't tingled so badly since Rose and Sarah Jane had met.

"Martha?" he called uncertainly.

"What?" the woman in question stuck her head around the TARDIS console, where she had been perched on the Captain's bench reading her autographed copy of Shakespeare's Love's Labor Lost.

"Are you laughing at me?"

Martha slowly lowered her book and stared at the worried looking Doctor. "I think you'd be able to hear me if I was."

"Maybe you're laughing at me in your mind?" then, at Martha's negative response, "Someone is laughing at me! Martha, this is serious!"

Martha simply shook her head and went back to her book. Sometimes traveling with the Doctor was a grand adventure through time and space, and sometimes traveling with the Doctor was like living with her little brother.

And she kept telling herself that when the little brother days outnumbered the adventure days, she would leave.

"Marthaaaa! Are you sure you're not laughing at me? Not even a little?"

"I'm not laughing, Doctor. Must be an evil alien plot."

"That's it! Martha, you're a star! I bet it's those nasty folks on Ragglefraggleinopolis. Let's go check it out!" and before Martha could say anything else, the Doctor was off, racing around the console and pulling levers.

So if Martha could just figure out how to count the days that were both, she'd be set.