Title: Defender of the Earth
Story Summary: There's no Time Lords in Pete's World. But the universe can't function properly without them, and the closest thing in existence to one is Rose…
Setting: After Series Two.
This is a remix of the fic, 'A Week In the Life,' by Jessa L'Rynn. You should go read it. It rocks. This fic is a bit more detailed, and longer. Most of this first chapter is from her story, but re-written. It was done with permission from the author. Please note, this will be a multi-chapter fic.
DEFENDER OF THE EARTH
A WEEK IN THE LIFE
Rose straightened her shirt, shrugged on her jacket, checked her mascara and lipstick. Satisfied on both points, she grabbed the chain with her TARDIS key on it and threw it over her head – useless or not, she was still used to taking it everywhere with her, like a talisman for good luck – grabbed her bag, and headed out. Down the hallways, down the stairs, by the kitchen for some breakfast to eat on the way to work, and into the main hall. She was almost to the door when she heard her mother's voice behind her.
"Rose? You're not going yet, are you?"
Mentally, Rose ran through a bunch of curses, and turned to face her Mum. She'd almost made it!
"I'm Torchwood One Director now, Mum," she told Jackie. "I can't afford to be late any more."
"As though things weren't dangerous enough for you already," Jackie complained. "Is that your excuse for leaving without saying hello to me and Tony?"
Rose came forward and hugged her mother.
"Good morning, Mum. Can I go now?"
"You call that a hello?" Jackie was on a roll. "And what about your poor brother? I don't think he knows he has a sister. He just sees some blonde stranger coming in and out sometimes."
"I'll say hello to Tony when I get home," Rose said. "Now I am going, Mum, because I run Torchwood, and if I'm late they do things like arrest alien diplomats and set off explosive devices while I'm not there. See?" Rose demonstrated, "this is me, going." She shut the front door firmly on her mother's continuing complaints.
Domestic, a Northern voice quietly snorted at the back of her mind.
"Definitely," she muttered to herself.
it had been two years since Rose had farewelled the Doctor at Bad Wolf Bay. Ever since then, she'd been working with Torchwood. Her unparalleled experience in dealing with aliens and her ability to deal with things as they came, meant that she was soon moving up the Torchwood hierarchy. When Pete Tyler wanted to retire as Acting Director – he still had his businesses to run, after all, as well as a family to spend time with – Rose was by far the best choice for the position.
Most of it was either dealing with alien representatives and diplomats and all their politics, or making sure that no one else in Torchwood did something stupid. This happened with monotonous regularity.
The problem was, Torchwood tended to attract a certain type of person; intelligent, curious, and with an unfortunately impaired ability to foresee , Torchwood employees were forever forgetting to be diplomatic and causing interplanetary incidents, or tinkering with alien devices (just last week, a bloke had accidentally teleported himself onto a passing spaceship), or inadvertently advertising the existence of a top-secret organisation (i.e., Torchwood) by doing things like ordering pizza in its name. Or having 'TORCHWOOD' painted on all the SUV's.
Rose had really reamed out the idiot responsible for that one. They were forever coming up with new stupid things to do.
"If there is a God," Rose said out loud, "please, don't let them have done anything stupid while I was at the national security conference all weekend."
Sadly, the moment she entered the office, she knew her prayer had gone unheeded: it was full of purple aliens. She sighed and switched on the Universal Translator sitting on her desk. She'd perfected the device a few months ago, and no one knew how she'd done it. Rose didn't tell anyone that she would have liked to know that herself.
"What can I do for you beings today?" she asked the aliens. She generally avoided the use of gender-specific nouns and pronouns these days. The question had once caused an asexual race to stand debating in her office for several hours, before finally deciding that they would be gentlemen – unless it was raining.
"We are Navareenos," one pronounced. "We demand 1950."
"I'm afraid Earth doesn't have time travel technology, so I can't help you there," Rose replied patiently.
This led to repeated demands for 1950, interspersed with yells for scones and cricket. Rose tried to explain that cricket was in fact a game, and not a food product, but eventually sent Mickey out to get some crickets from wherever you got that sort of thing.
The Navareenos wouldn't let go of the 1950 issue, though, and wouldn't accept Rose's denials of any ability to assist them.
Eventually she lost her temper.
"I cannot get you to 1950!" she bellowed, startling them all into silence. "Do I look like a bleeding Time Lord to you?"
As one the aliens blinked, stared, and blanched pasty lavender. Apologies were stammered out as they almost fell over each other in their haste to leave. Rose was left staring in bafflement.
Mickey arrived with a small cage of tiny chirping insects.
"That one's going on my list of weirder alien encounters," she told him. Mickey frowned at her.
"D'you know your eyes have gone all sort of gold?" he asked, staring at them intently.
"Don't be ridiculous, Mickey," Rose told him. "And the Navareenos left, so I don't need the crickets."
She left her office to find out who had left the aliens in there, while Mickey looked at the cage in his hand.
"What the hell am I meant to do with you?" he asked the crickets.
The rest of the day was mostly routine, so Rose was able to leave by six. She left the crickets sitting on her desk; no one had known what to do with them.
As promised, as soon as she got home Rose went to play with Tony. He was sitting on the floor of the nursery, playing with a big clunky train engine.
"What are you up to then, kiddo?" Rose asked him, with a big grin.
Tony squealed with delight and put his arms up to be held, train forgotten. Rose swept him up into her arms and hugged him, swinging him gently from side to side and making mock-growling sounds at him.
Tony giggled and licked her nose.
"You cheeky baggage!" Rose laughed, and licked him back, across one cheek. Tony squealed with merriment.
"Blah!" he said loudly, in exaggerated disgust.
"Rose," Jackie appeared suspiciously in the doorway, "you're not licking him again, are you?"
"That's gross, Mum," Rose made a face, "what, you think I'm in here licking my brother?"
"Well you did once." Still suspicious, but seeing nothing but apparent innocence, Jackie drifted away from the doorway, "I swear, you picked it up from the Doctor."
"What are you on about?" Rose called back, but Jackie was gone.
"I liked your innocent face," Rose told Tony, "that was good. We fooled Mum, didn't we?" Tony chuckled. "You're getting a bit heavy now, so I'm going to put you down."
Tony stopped chuckling and went 'aearghhh!" in complaint.
"Oi, quit complaining," Rose warned, "I get enough of that from my mother. Now, what do you think looks like an entertaining and educational pastime?"
When Pete arrived home, after greeting his wife, he went in search of his offspring. He found Tony and Rose dancing to Tony's piano; instead of the pre-set melody of 'Mary Had a Little Lamb,' it was now playing the tune of 'Rock Around the Clock.'
Tony gabbled at his father in welcome.
Pet just raised his eyebrows. Rose grinned at him.
"Don't tell Mum."
"I think she's going to notice next time Tony plays with it," he observed.
"Mm, wonder what could have happened there? It's very mysterious."
Tony pulled on his father's trouser leg impatiently.
Pete looked down. The hard lines around his eyes softened and crinkled and he smiled at his small son.
"How's my big boy then?" Pete hoisted him up, and lifted him into the air. Tony squealed happily. "Had a good day, have we?"
Tony licked him across the cheek.
Rose tried to keep a straight face.
"No licking Daddy, Tony," she said, doing her best to sound stern. "Bad boy."
Tony chuckled gleefully.
Pete put him down and pulled out a hanky to wipe his face. He looked at Rose dryly.
"I have a feeling there's more to this scene than I know about."
Rose tried to keep the grin in, but failed.
"Don't tell your mother," Pete advised.
"I'm not stupid," Rose pointed out.
"Just don't tell her."
Rose grinned, and left Tony trying to convince his father to pick him up again.
The next afternoon Torchwood dealt with one of its specialties: alien invasion. No one realised at first that an invasion was what it was, as the aliens themselves resembled an unseasonable weather pattern. Millions of three-inch-wide snowflake shapes stormed Downing Street and cornered the President.
It was at this point that Rose, Jake and Mickey burst in brandishing flamethrowers. Handy things, flamethrowers. Rose demanded parley.
Unfortunately, things went rapidly downhill after the President and the Scintillion leader started shouting at each other over the telecommunications link set up on Mickey's laptop.
Rose decided that enough was enough after the President called the Scintillion leader an overgrown snowball and the Scintillion leader responded with a remark about inadequately-evolved phylums.
"Oi!" She made sure she had their attention, although with Scintillions it was kind of hard to tell. "By the authority vested in me," she ordered grandiloquently and untruthfully, "I order you to leave this solar system and not return."
The Scintillion took exception to this.
"And who are you, pink and yellow thing?"
Pink and yellow thing?
Rose stared into the webcam with a look of granite, letting the blaze of her anger show in her eyes, as the Doctor had done so many times.
"I am Rose Tyler, Defender of the Earth."
The oversized snowflake abruptly went fuzzy at the edges.
"We weren't aware such an appointment had been dispensed. Our apologies."
Every snowflake winked out in a circle of blue light.
Jake tracked them on the laptop.
"Yep, they're leaving alright," he reported, "They're going past Mars, past Jupiter… bloody hell, they've crossed the Oort Cloud and gone. Buggers move fast."
"Scintillions," Rose corrected morosely.
Imagine how you must look to them, all… pink and yellow.
She'd thought that the Doctor had been making a point, that's all. But no. All pink and yellow. God, how depressing.
Pink and yellow.
"So what was all that about," Jake began carefully, "that defender of the earth stuff, and the way yours eyes went…" but Mickey caught his eye and shook his head vigorously.
Rose didn't notice. She was too busy wondering how her life had ended up where it had.
That evening she got drunk, after what seemed far too many drinks trying, and passed out over her bed. She dreamt of Time Lords and TARDISes, and of golden light and ethereal music.
She regretted this the next morning when she was woken by a cheerfully amorous Time Agent and a massive hangover. Fortunately, Jackie was out shopping, and wasn't there to complain about mysterious men in her house.
Or hit on them, for that matter.
"Good morning beautiful," Arix greeted her.
"What time is it?" and as Arix opened his mouth she added, "without the smart-arse Time Agent 'time is relative' bit, thanks."
Arix's face fell.
"Eleven," he replied as Rose staggered from her bed looking for clothes, "and I think it's a good speech."
"Once was enough, pretty boy. Tell me about Time Lords."
"Time Lords?" he echoed as she vanished into the bathroom, "that old myth?"
"That's the one." The sound of the shower running carried through the door.
"Well, it's sort of half-forgotten isn't it? From what I remember they were said to be the first sentient race to evolve in the universe. They looked more or less human, which is why so many species all over the universe do, thanks to morphic resonance or something."
He gave a shrug. Probabilities wasn't one of his areas of interest.
"Supposedly they had these, super-powers over time and space, which is how they got their name. That's about it, except that a few really, really old planets claim to have dealt regularly with them early in their histories. No one can say what happened to them, though."
The shower was turned off.
"Any idea what's in the constellation of Kasterborous?" Rose called.
"Besides space gas and rocks? Can you be any more specific?"
"Try Galactic Coordinates 10-0-11-0-0 by 0-2 from centre. I think?"
He checked his 'wristwatch.'
"Big ol' black hole," he reported. He squinted at the data. "Weird big ol' black hole, actually. There's a star caught in the event horizon. Not doing anything, no gases, x-rays, anything, just sitting there. The event horizon, by the way, is…"
"I know what it is," Rose said testily.
"Sorry." He held his hands up in surrender. "I forget you're not just beautiful. It's just that last time I was here, I was watching this program on the TV, right. And it had all the astrophysicists going on and on about how shocked and surprised they were that galaxies had black holes in the centre. Like, what else could a super-star cradle have, right?"
"They haven't made the connection between macro and micro yet," Rose said with a sigh. "Don't worry about it. They're getting there."
"I hope so. I mean, saw this other thing, about how Einsteinian relativity and quantum mechanics conflict, right, and which scientific view is correct, and I was all, 'People. Man, that is so obvious.' "
"Well, I know they're definitely getting there on that one," Rose assured him. "Just a couple of months ago there was this article about how time shouldn't be calculated into quantum physics the way they're doing it and that's whee the conflict's coming from."
"Great. Listen, I got that thing you asked for." Grinning, he held out a small box. "One sonic screwdriver, as ordered. Of course, I'm not allowed to give such a piece of advanced technology to a mere 21st-century civilian. Hey!"
Rose had snatched it off him.
Rose smiled in satisfaction at the familiar hum and blue glow.
"Fantastic enough to deserve a kiss?" Arix wheedled.
"'Fraid not." But he was handsome and fun and reminded her a bit of an younger, more innocent Jack Harkness, so she added, "though I tell you what, if I ever change my mind you'll be first on my list. As long as you buy me a drink first."
"You're such hard work," he pretended to whinge.
"But worth it. Now go flirt in a bar somewhere while I go back to bed."
He took himself off, and Rose went back to bed to sleep off the hangover.
She dreamt of burnt-orange skies and the wild, fresh scent of different grass upon the wind.
The next morning Rose was woken by a very faint, yet consistent humming. After searching all over her room, she finally tracked it to its source: her TARDIS key.
It was definitely humming, but now she was close to it, she realised that the humming wasn't reaching her brain via her ears; apparently, her TARDIS key had gone telepathic on her. Rose examined it closely. It was glowing slightly, and something that sort of resembled coral seemed to be growing from one end.
Rose stared at it, knowing instinctively what it was. It was barely formed, with no awareness to speak of, but alive enough to hum mindlessly in contentment. A fetal TARDIS.
Rose stroked it gently and put it safely away in a jewellery box that had all the jewellery cleared out of it. She left it there, humming away at the back of her mind as she went downstairs to breakfast.
Since today was Sunday, technically she had the day off, but as often happened she received a call from Torchwood telling her that she was needed urgently.
Ellie and Gwen had brought in a bloke they'd found wandering around the British Museum, looking lost. That fact that he was wearing brown robes, carried a lightsaber, and according to witnesses had appeared abruptly standing on an ancient piece of rock carved with undecipherable runic symbol all over it was what had attracted their attention.
Thrace Ak'lay apologised profusely for his startling appearance in their reality, explaining that something had gone wrong with the teleport he'd been testing for the Temple engineers.
Rose had taken a look at it, scowled, adjusted it with her sonic screwdriver and given him a lecture on playing around with spacetime that he promised to pass on to his superiors. The team she sent out to the museum afterwards not only deactivated the Hyydrean telepad, but discovered three pieces of damaged alien art and an obsolete scoop interceptor that the museum's experts had taken to be a Mesopotamian artefact.
Rose said she didn't care about them being in the museum as long as no one could use the damn things.
That night she slept well, comforted by beautiful singing in a language she couldn't remember.
Monday morning Torchwood got an urgent call: the President had just vanished. Judging by the CCTV footage, someone had used a transmat beam. Rose wasn't really surprised; it was turning out to be that sort of week. She used her sonic screwdriver to fiddle with the teleport in the Ghost Room until she found the frequency she wanted and suddenly materialised aboard an Arvandan spaceship.
She was immediately captured; so far, so good, because hopefully she'd end up in the same area as the President. The not-so-good part was that she was stripped to her undies before being brought into the presence of the Arvandan leader and the British President.
"Hello," she greeted them cheerfully, to cover her embarrassment at being seen by the President in her bra and knickers. They were pink and had little yellow bananas on them. The President himself didn't look too good. Clearly he was having a bad week.
Rose had to admit that even by her standards, being held captive by aliens twice in four days was a bit much.
"If I were you I'd consider a career change," Rose said to him. "Something a bit more low-profile. They treating you all right?"
Without waiting for an answer she turned to the largest Arvandan with a grin.
"What're you lot doing out here, hanging round Earth? Bit out of the way, isn't it?"
"We require a resource available only on this planet. We will conquer this planet by force and you will provide this resource immediately!" it bellowed at her.
The bellow had no effect on Rose, except to make her slightly raise an eyebrow during this speech.
"Not a chance," she told it. "Sorry, we're humans, and we don't come quietly. More likely to give each other a poke in the eye. What d'you want, maybe we can workout some kind of a trade."
"You're not human," the Arvandan said skeptically, ignoring the second part of her speech completely.
"Right," she agreed cheerily, ignoring her inward 'what-the-hell?' and the way the President goggled at her, "but the rest of the planet is and trust me, you're better off dealing with me."
"What are you?"
"None o' y'damn business, now why don't you talk?"
The Arvandan leader stalked forward and grabbed her roughly by the shoulder.
Rose moved too fast for anyone to see what exactly happened, but next thing everyone knew the Arvandan was flying into the nearest bulkhead.
"I don't know what the hell is going on any more or whether you're human or not, but I'm damn glad you're on my side," the President said.
Rose dusted herself off and pretended she knew how in Rassilon's name she just did that. She whirled on the other Arvandans.
"Well?" she demanded. "He'll live, and we have a lot to talk about, like exactly what resource's got you so desperate you're willing to conquer Earth for it."
The other Arvandans all looked at each other, but right now they didn't have a leader, and Rose was the most commanding person still conscious in the room right now.
"Heptoperinamite," an Arvandan admitted. "The plague wiped out all the plants on our word that produced it, and we haven't been able to find an alternative until now."
"You're after ragweed?" Rose exclaimed. "Why on earth didn't you say so?"
The aliens all exchanged looks again, apparently surprised that Rose thought that they could get a heptoperinamite-producing plant from Earth with so little trouble.
"It is a valuable resource," one of them said.
"Not here, it isn't. Maybe next time you should read up a bit about human physiology before you go conquering their planet over something," Rose chided. "Bit o' diplomacy helps too, y'know."
"Ten small plants should be enough for us to close and cultivate our own," one of the Arvandans said hopefully.
"Right. Gimme a minute, shouldn't be a problem." She turned to the President. "You gotta phone on you?"
He handed it over to her, and she pulled out her sonic screwdriver from where it was hidden, with some difficulty and discomfort, in her bra, and used it to alter the phone.
"Sorry about this," she said as she dialled, "I don't think there'll be any roaming charges, but if there are, let me know."
"Sure," the President said faintly. Rose pretended not to notice the way he was staring at her bra. She hoped he didn't ask how she'd hidden the screwdriver in it, because she really didn't want to go there right now. Or ever.
"Ah, Jake," Rose greeted him as he answered the phone, "I'm up here on the spaceship with the President, he's fine, maybe a bit shell-shocked, I think I've sorted everything out but I'm gonna need you to get me some ragweed. About ten to fifteen plants should do it."
She listened as Jake demanded to know what ragweed had to do with anything.
"Just get me fifteen plants and as many seed heads as you can find, there's a good man." Jake shouted that she wasn't making any sense. "Jake, you stupid ape, just do it. Now."
She hung up.
"Well, that's settled," she told the Arvandans, "we'll get that stuff up to you within the hour and then I'll ask you just to bugger off or something, ok?"
They all nodded.
"Good. Make sure that you do. Right." Rose grabbed her clothes off one of the aliens and put them back on. "Now, just a bit of jiggery-pokery and…"
She fiddled with the sonic screwdriver and aimed it at the main control panel.
"That should do it."
Next thing Rose and the President were back in the Ghost Room. Rose turned to him.
"Make sure they do what I said, 'kay?"
Then the nausea and the darkness crowding the edges of her vision rushed in to meet her.
She was Space. She was Time.
She was All.
Everything that could be, was and had been, that might have happened or might still happen, all the futures and pasts and possibilities, spread before her in a glowing burning web of intricacies and events as delicate as a butterfly's wing. Wherever she turned her gaze, two words swirled into existence, a warning, and a promise: Bad Wolf Bad Wolf Bad Wolf…
She narrowed and focused her attention down, down, until it was a tiny beam, gazing around at one event only.
Creatures, so insignificant, but convinced of their superiority and importance, convinced that they could dominate the universe, little blips on the tapestry of existence…Other beings, frightened and just as small, one of them beloved all the same, but it wasn't he she looked for -
And there he was, frail and as fragile as a reed in a thunderstorm, but here, with these eyes, stretching across all of time and space, changing, renewing, destroying, a billion billion threads racing out from the heart of him, twisting like ripples across all of reality…
"My Doctor," she whispered, full of pride and love, seeing at last who he was, and loving him more than she ever had.
And she destroyed every possibility without him, wove him further into reality with a loving touch.
When she woke up, Rose was in the Torchwood infirmary with a splitting headache. She opened her eyes and groaned.
"Painkillers," she moaned at Mickey. He went through the things on the small table next to her.
"Better not. Any paracetamol?"
Mickey went off to find the nearest doctor, and returned with a glass of water and two tablets.
Rose sniffed them – yep, paracetamol – before downing them both. Then she looked back at Mickey and took a deep breath.
"Tell Mum and Pete to be home at eight," she said. "You too. There's something I need to tell you."
END CHAPTER ONE