Chapter One: Read the Signs
Disclaimer: I do not own Doctor Who.
AN: This is an older story that I have cleaned up a bit. It is not as polished as my newer works, but hopefully you will enjoy reading it as I continue to churn out Guardians of the Universe.
The Doctor glanced over at Natalie Wong as she lounged in the flight chair with a magazine. A small smile tugged at his lips as he watched his companion of six Earth months chew on her gum while immersed in a Xtholar magazine. She was a young woman from upper London of Chinese descent. Despite going to all the right schools and passing her A levels with flying colors, she had set off to hike from France to Greece rather than start at university. He had found her in Northern Italy in the middle of a rather silly alien plot which had consisted of Natalie yelling at a small group of Peanar separatists. After he'd sorting everyone out, Natalie had invited herself to travel with him. Reminded him a bit of Peri really, but it was nice. Most of time Natalie reminded him of Ace and Donna, all stubbornness and unorthodox intelligence, but she has also demonstrated a great capacity for compassion during their last few adventures.
"Where are we going now, Doctor?" Natalie asked, breaking into his thoughts.
"How about we put her on random and see where we end up?" he suggested calmly, already reaching for the lever.
"Sounds smashing!" Natalie laughed as she stood and joined him at the controls.
"Good! Hold down that button," the Doctor commanded, gesturing to a small blue button as he held down a pair of levers.
The TARDIS jerked and began spinning through the Vortex in the opposite direction. The Doctor laughed, joining Natalie's soft giggles as they held on.
"I love this! Traveling with you, I love it!" Natalie cheered as the TARDIS tumbled about.
He didn't mean to, but the Doctor frowned at the familiar words. Natalie noticed right away and her grin dropped away. Instead she offered him a small and slightly nervous smile for a moment before turning to look at the controls instead of him. The Doctor banished the thoughts of Rose from his mind and gave Natalie a grin, hoping to reassure his companion.
The TARDIS materialized in a tight space between two tall buildings built from soft blue colored wood. Stepping outside, Natalie laughed as she turned to look at the TARDIS between the blue buildings.
"Do you think we'll be able to find the TARDIS again?" she asked as she looked around the alley they were in, "I mean all the buildings are this blue."
"Must be on Feleup. The trees are this shade on the inside and they build everything with it," the Doctor explained, closing the TARDIS door and patting her side fondly.
"Are they peaceful?" Natalie asked, taking a tentative step away from the TARDIS.
"Yeah," the Doctor rubbed the back of his neck and looked over at Natalie, "I've just accidently brought you to one of the biggest tourist traps of the 67th century."
"That's great!" Natalie cheered as she grabbed his hand and dragged him down the alley, "I can pick up something for Lee and Daddy."
"How are you going to explain them to your father and brother?"
"Time I visited them and told them that I'm traveling with you," Natalie answered with a shrug.
The Doctor dug his feet into the ground beneath them, stopping Natalie in her tracks. She turned to the Doctor to find a sad and far off look on his face.
"Natalie, I'd rather not visit London," the Doctor told her in a tight neutral tone.
"Rose, right?" Natalie asked.
The Doctor blinked at her and began to mouth his question. Natalie pushed some of her long black hair behind her ear and shrugged.
"Jack told me when you helped Torchwood with that Rift problem," she explained gently. "He and Martha pulled me aside, they thought I should know." Natalie paused, "Next time you need to see them or refuel the TARDIS can you give me time to run to London on the train?"
The Doctor nodded and swallowed, "It isn't really London, Natalie. I just don't have much luck with companions' mothers. In the old days companions never visited their families. Martha's mum hit me when we first met," he added trying to lighten up the mood.
"All right," Natalie said as she started pulling on his arm, "Don't worry about it Doctor. I can stash the presents until I go home again."
"When will that be?" he asked curiously and cautiously.
"I don't know," Natalie laughed, "But I can't travel with you forever. Got plans for university and being an architect after all."
The Doctor didn't say anything more on the subject. Instead he slipped into tour guide mode and showed Natalie the way to the main Old Market of the planet. He showed her all the famous and well known shops and showed her odd little mice like creatures that the natives kept as pets. What he didn't show her and what he didn't see was the sign for the Fell Vireo festival, translated to English as Bad Wolf.
Captain Jack Harkness grinned as he looked out at his office as Mickey worked his magic on the computer. The new addition wasn't as refined as Tosh had been, but he got the job done and fast. Mickey had adjusted to the new Torchwood very quickly, even if the one he had worked at for five years had been above ground with a much larger staff. Jack was just as glad that he only had to worry about a small team of people and didn't have to worry about things spilling over into London.
His eyes moved over to Martha who was walking up from the med bay. She had been a little slower in adjusting to Torchwood. Her experience at UNIT and with the Doctor made her valuable to his team, but she had met Owen and Tosh before she joined the team. There had been some lingering doubts over taking Owen's place on the team which he understood. Nearby, Gwen was flipping through the files with Ianto and charting a possible pattern on one of the machines.
There was a calm hanging over the Hub which made the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. It was too quiet out there in the world, too normal and too… something. It had Jack dreading the next moment. He could almost taste that something was coming. He glanced around the Torchwood Hub again before picking up the phone and dialing Sarah Jane. Maybe she had heard something through her connections, checking with an ally never hurt even if she wasn't the most friendly person he'd ever met. Maybe that was just the guns and her having a pair of kids.
Gwen reached over and turned on one of the radios with her normal wide smile. The sudden blast of music made Jack, Mickey and Martha jump, but everyone shook it off. Martha grinned at Gwen as the other woman began to drum her fingers along with the beat of the song. Standing up, Jack stretched out his legs and wandered out of his office. He gave a flirty smile to Ianto who nodded in return, but couldn't hide the tug of a smile on his lips. Jack paused to listen to the song, but couldn't place it.
"I haven't heard this one before," Jack said with a glance at the radio.
"I have," Ianto replied with a shrug, "It is a new group."
"You need to turn on the radio more often," Gwen joked, "It's on all the time." She turned back to her work and started to sing along, "Now the Big Bad Wolf returns to finish the story with a twist. Watch out! Watch out! The Bad Wolf draws nearer to you."
Blinking at Gwen, Jack caught Mickey turn and frown at the radio with a look of intense worry and consideration. A moment later Mickey shook his head and went back to his work, but he kept glancing toward the radio even after the song ended. Crossing his arms over his chest, Jack walked over to Mickey and leaned against the corner of his desk.
"I saw that look Mickey. Those words still got you jumping," Jack asked in a teasing tone, but unable to disguise his concern.
"You know as well as me what they used to mean," Mickey answered without looking up. "I told you all about it myself."
"Used to," Jack stressed, "Rose already led herself to saving the Doctor. The words are done."
Mickey chuckled and shook his head, "No, they're not. Thing is that while we were building the Dimension Cannon Bad Wolf popped up all over the place. We started to notice it more and more until the last piece of equipment that we needed for the Cannon came in a box from Bad Wolf Electronics and sent via Böser Wolf shipping from the French city Mal Loup."
"You are kidding right?" Jack asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Sorry, but no," Mickey sighed as he slumped back in his chair. "I don't claim to understand what Rose became for those moments, but I do know that she saved the universe from the Daleks and I do know that if we hadn't been in that alternate world a few years ahead of you, the Doctor wouldn't have been able to stop Davros. There was a plan." Mickey shook his head, "And frankly Captain Flash I don't think she's done yet."