Title: All Chapters End Eventually
Author: kareswen / NatalieJ
Summary: She sees out that life, then heads back to her old one.
SPOILERS FOR JOURNEY'S END, 4x13
John had lived to the age of seventy-three, given that he'd decided to be thirty when he'd arrived in Pete's World. His wife had loved him and was everything he needed – all he needed, but she hadn't been able to give him all he wanted. She couldn't bear him children, and she couldn't grow old and die alongside him. Even John had appreciated the irony, and gave her his blessing to go out and find him.
And so, after her husband's funeral, Rose had said a farewell to Tony and Jean, to her nieces and nephew, and had fired up the Dimension Cannon she'd had fixed on a tiny tear for twelve years now. He'd helped her tinker with it since they'd realised that he was aging and she… wasn't.
Unlike last time, Rose had things to take with her on her search for the Doctor. She took her photo album, with snaps of her life with John Tyler and their family. She took a blanket she'd made from her wedding dress, knowing she'd have no daughter to pass it on to, and she took all the information she had on the Dimension Cannon. She wasn't prepared to trust anyone with that machine, now.
Rose didn't expect to get the right universe straight off, but as she concentrated hard on the thought of getting to her Doctor, the love of her life that wasn't John and yet had been once, she found herself at Canary Wharf in a zeppelin-less sky. Better yet, it was a zeppelin-less sky next to a memorial site, and Rose thought she may be having some good luck after all. Having gotten Martha's number before leaving the TARDIS forty-three years ago, she hoped that time hadn't moved so quickly that she had no-one to contact straight off. She flipped open her super-phone (a replacement John had presented her with for her last birthday with a flourish and a smile that didn't reach a pair of sad eyes) and dialled.
No suck luck, as an automated message informed her that the number was no longer in use.
"Right then," Rose muttered, "I suppose I have to get to Cardiff."
This, unlike most things, was easy after she'd wandered for half an hour to give the jumper time to charge. She found a newspaper which bore the date: it was the seventeenth of September, in 2037.
She appeared right outside the tourist office Jack had told her oh so long ago functioned as a front for Torchwood Three. A woman in a trouser suit with dark hair and blue eyes welcomed her with a smile. "Can I help you?" She was very Welsh.
"I'm looking for Jack Harkness, though he may have moved on by now," Rose added sardonically. After thirty years in this universe, there was no telling if Jack was still here. The woman was looking wary, so Rose put on her best reassuring smile. "I know this is Torchwood – I'm an old friend of Jack's."
The woman relaxed a little. "Jack isn't in today, but I can take you to Jenny."
Rose tried not to let her puzzlement show as the woman showed her through the Torchwood entrance. "I'm Rose, by the way."
"My name's Lily," the woman replied.
Rose smiled, "Two flowers together, then." Lily replied in kind, briefly. The door opened on the hub and Rose took in the view as she followed Lily up some steps, around the central column and up some more steps. "Oh, you are beautiful," she couldn't take her eyes off the …rift manipulator? Must be, Rose thought. Someone snickered, and Rose was aware that she was being stared at.
They'd reached an office, and Lily held open the door. "Jenny, there's a Rose to see you." Rose's hopes for John we dashed when the woman in the office could be heard gasping and moving away from her desk quickly.
She wasn't what Rose had expected, and yet was in every way. John had described her so perfectly, but Rose hadn't really captured for herself, from that, just how like her father Jenny was. Her heart clenched, knowing he died thinking Jenny was something else he'd lost forever.
"It is you," Jenny breathed. "And you look…" Jenny's eyes roamed Rose's frame for a few seconds and just as Rose was beginning to feel like an exhibition, Jenny stopped and pulled her into the office. "Sorry, it's just-"
"I can imagine," Rose interrupted, remembering the times John had just stared like he couldn't believe his luck, like she was going to disappear any moment and he wanted to imprint her on his brain in every detail. She took off her bag and set it on the floor.
Jenny gaped at her a little rudely from behind her desk, very much the same as John had so often and Rose's heart ached. "Do you want me to get my Dad?" She blurted. "'Cos he's off with Jack for a few days and I can just call Jack and get him to come home." Jenny even rambled like her father, Rose noticed. "I mean, he should, provided they're not off running here, there and everywhere for their lives. And anyway, he'd know he'd never hear the end of it if he didn't get back as soon as he was asked, even if it would be all Dad's fault, I mean his driving! …I can call, if you like."
Rose grinned, and tried to let go of the fact that John hadn't seen Jenny, alive and well. The Doctor had, and that was what mattered now. "Yes, please," Rose asked, and Jenny reached into one of her drawers. A phone came out, and Jenny grinned at Rose as she dialled and held the phone to her ear.
"Jack, hi. No, nothing's wrong," an eye-roll, just like her father's, "but something has come up and I need you back right now – Dad too." A sigh. "No, I can't tell you, not over the phone," Jenny maintained eye-contact with Rose. "Just hurry up. Love you too." She rang off and set the phone back down. "They'll be here in a minute. I think I was mysterious enough to make them interested, so it won't be a week before they show. I hope."
Rose's luck was obviously running hot and cold, but even she heard the distant, long-missed strains of the TARDIS materialising downstairs. "What do you want me to do?" Jenny asked.
"Could you not tell him, and just… send him up?"
"Dad? Not Jack?"
"Yeah," Rose said, "Just for now."
Jenny nodded and moved quickly out of the office. Rose had her back to the door, but Jenny had left it open and could hear John's – the Doctor's – voice, and Jack's. After some 'hello's and the Doctor's insistence that Jack put his daughter down, Rose heard Jenny say, "There's someone in Jack's office for you, Dad."
"Who?" the Doctor asked.
Jenny sighed, annoyed and gleeful, "Go up and see!"
Rose heard the grating she'd come up on creak a little as they bore the weight of a person, and then the light in the office was obscured by a figure at the door. She knew he wouldn't recognise her straight away, after all he never expected to see her again, but she hoped that she at least stirred a reminder – a young blonde in a Torchwood facility. She imagined she could hear him swallow before he said, "Hello. I was told you're looking for me."
Instead of saying anything, she just stood up and turned around, watching the expressions flit across a face she still knew. He still looked the same! She couldn't believe it, that he looked just like John but… oh, older. Not the greyed man John had become but his eyes were full of more pain than she'd seen in them for so long, and this suit was black. She watched as he went from disbelieving, to joyful, to angry and as the three warred on his face. "Rose," he choked out.
She couldn't speak, taking in the changes, and wondering how long it'd been for him. She nodded, it was all she could do.
"How are you here? You shouldn't be here, it's impossible! What about," she cut him off, placing her finger on his lips. She'd wondered how to do this, how to explain when she saw him, and in the end, she knew she could do it with six words. Just six.
"I am sixty-seven years old," Rose said, her voice only a little shaky.
"Oh," he replied, his eyes wide and his voice sad, guilty and amazed all at once. She knew in that moment that he understood – the hows and the whys of it all.
Rose nodded as tears pooled in her eyes and she was pulled into his arms. "Yeah, 'oh'."
"Oh Rose," he whispered. "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry."
She shook her head, pulling away. "Don't be, Doctor - we had a fantastic life." She took a deep steeling breath. "How long? Since…"
"Ten years, around about." She knew he could have told her exactly, down the very second.
"Ten," Rose repeated, feeling a little relieved that it hadn't been for him as long as it had been for her. It really was the slow path. "And Jenny," she added with a grin.
He nodded with a watery grin, "Yeah."
She looked at him carefully, taking in the differences and knowing he was doing the same and that he'd find very little. And when she was finished, she pulled him back into a hug. "I told you," she whispered into his shoulder. "Never gonna leave you."