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.
So, I'm not planning on writing any more of this – it's been years, and I've lost my knack for writing Rose – so I figured I'd post this unfinished chapter, just so it's all out there. If I do ever get back into writing Rose, I might work on this fic again, but at this point, it seems unlikely.
DEFENDER OF THE EARTH
Rose stood underneath a tree, looking up. She was wearing yellow gumboots with pink hearts on them, which kept her feet nice and dry, but wasn't really helping the rest of her.
"Tony," Rose told the tree, "I know you're upset about Anaximander, but if you don't get down here right now you're gonna be in a world of trouble."
A small face peered down through the branches. It was tear-streaked, apprehensive, and defiant.
Rose sighed and leant against the tree.
"Y'do know it's raining, yeah?"
Rose closed her eyes and let her face rest against the bark. She was soaked through, but it didn't really bother her. She was more concerned about Tony.
"Anaximander was a good guineapig. I know you're gonna miss him. Coz he was more'n a guineapig, he was your friend. A fantastic friend, who'd cheer you up when you're down, who'd cuddle up to you when..."
There was a wail, and Rose caught Tony just as he launched himself out of the branches, holding him close as he buried his head in her neck and clung. He was as wet as she was.
"I don't want him to be dead!" Tony sobbed.
"I know," Rose said softly.
"Why'd he have to die, Rose?"
Rose rocked back and forth, holding him tight.
"It was his time," Rose told Tony, her voice full of sorrow and resignation. "Everyone's got a certain amount o' time in this universe, Tony, and when it runs out, they need to move on. I know it hurts, but it's how the universe works. If it didn't happen, the universe'd go all wrong and terrible things'd happen. People die so that everyone else can go on living, and new people can be born. Somewhere, a tiny and new little guineapig has been born, and Anaximander died so that it could happen, and so that all of us could keep on living."
"I wish the universe'd gone wrong instead," Tony said into her neck. "I don't want a baby guineapig born, I want Anaximander. How'd you know, anyway?"
Rose sighed, and sat down, settling back against the tree with Tony in her lap.
"Do you remember, Tony, how I told you me an' Mum are from another universe?"
"Doctor's universe," Tony affirmed.
"And you know how I call Dad Pete, instead of Dad?"
Rose worked out what to say in her head as she went, so that Tony would understand.
"And you know how a lot of people have another version of them in each universe?"
"Well, I call Dad Pete because he'd not really my Dad. My Dad was the Pete Tyler who lived in the universe me and Mum come from."
Tony was listening intently now, his sobs reduced to sniffles.
"When I was a baby, my Dad was hit by a car, and died. So I grew up without meeting him, and I only knew him from photos and the stories Mum used to tell me about him. I was always very sad that he'd died when I was little, and I missed him a lot. Then, when I was nineteen, I started to travel with–"
"The Doctor!" Tony interrupted, pleased that he knew this bit.
"That's right, the Doctor. Anyway, I wanted to see my Dad, so the Doctor took me back in time to when I was a baby and he was still alive. And because I asked, he took me to the actual day my Dad died. And I watched."
"Were you sad?"
"Very sad," Rose agreed. "And I made the Doctor take me back a second time, so I could watch it again–"
"Because it happened so fast that I had trouble taking it in."
"Anyway, the second time, I thought, 'why do I have to let this happen?' and I pushed my Dad out of the way so he wasn't hit by a car after all. He was alive."
"But he wasn't supposed to be alive, he was supposed to be dead, and the universe started to go wrong right there. The Doctor was so angry at me that we had a huge fight and he went away."
"He left you?" Tony couldn't believe it.
Rose smiled. Talking about this was hard, and her eyes had filled with tears, but even now the realisation that her Doctor had come back for her made her happy, in a bittersweet kind of way.
"He did, yeah, but only for 'bout half an hour. Then he came back, because he didn't really mean it. Anyway, these things called Reapers started to appear, big black things with teeth and wings, and they ate everybody they could."
"Urgh!" Tony was fascinated.
"So me and Dad and Mum and the Doctor and baby-me hid out in an old church with a bunch of other people, hiding from the Reapers, while they flew around the church and tried to find a way in." Rose took a wavering breath. "Anyway, my Dad realised that this had all happened because he was supposed to die. The car that had hit him just kept driving round and round, see, and he could see it from the window. So he ran outside and let it hit him."
Tony gazed at her in consternation and concern as the tears spilled over.
"So he died, so that everything would go back to normal, while I held his hand and watched him. And he told me that he did it for me, because he didn't want the Reapers to get me, because he loved me and I was his little girl. But coz I'd tried to save him in the first place, I'd nearly destroyed the world. That's how I know, Tony."
They sat there a little while longer, soaked and muddy. Rose could feel that Tony's skin had chilled, matching her own. Time to get him dried off and warm.
"Come on, let's go inside and get changed, and then we can have a hot chocolate, yeah?"
Tony still looked miserable, but his face was thoughtful now. He took Rose's hand and they went back inside the house.
oo o0o oo
Rose was in her office taking care of paperwork – being director meant an appalling amount of it, which really wasn't fair, because no one joined Britain's premier extraterrestrial agency for the paperwork – when her secretary sidled in and cleared her throat nervously.
"Jennifer?" Rose greeted her.
Jennifer sidled closer.
"Ma'am, I think you should read this." She held out one of the tabloids.
Rose raised her eyebrows and took it. Jennifer usually only called her ma'am either if they were at an official function, or if she wasn't sure how Rose was going to react to something.
Rose looked at the paper.
There was a photo of herself, from one of the conferences last year.
'JACQUELINE TYLER'S ALIEN LOVE CHILD!' The headline screamed.
For a moment Rose stared at the article.
Jennifer tried not to twitch nervously.
Rose bit her lip.
"Thank you for bringing this to my attention."
Her secretary looked relieved at the laughter she could hear in Rose's voice.
"You're welcome, Rose."
She left Rose alone in her office.
Rose stared thoughtfully at the article, eyes bright with amusement. The headline really did sound ridiculous.
To be honest, she was surprised that they'd come so close to the truth. She frowned slightly as a tiny niggling thought made its way out: was it possible that they'd been fed that information, somehow? The fact that she wasn't human any longer wasn't common knowledge, but it wasn't exactly a highly-protected secret, either; apart from anything else, Jackie was one of the people in the know, and Rose loved her Mum, but honestly, she had no discretion.
If it became common knowledge that Rose Tyler, head of Torchwood and Vitex heiress was an alien, it would cause all kinds of problems.
Rose picked up the phone and dialled the head of the chemistry research department.
"Frank, it's Rose. I don't s'pose you've been working on anything that might be able to block or alter memory, have you?..."
oo o0o oo
Rose stood on the building's roof, looking down at the courtyard, which had been sealed off.
Down below was a seething mass of… well, Rose wasn't sure what they were to be honest, apart from sincerely irritating.
"So they don't know what they did to start them spawning?"
"Nope," Verity agreed. She was a xenobiologist from the 22nd century who'd hitched a lift with a time traveller a few years back, and ended up falling in love with a local and staying. Torchwood had seemed like the natural place to work.
"Great," Rose grumbled. "What were they doing with them, anyway? Where'd they get them from?"
"According to Jake, they found a nest of about five of them," Verity said grimly, "and decided that it was unfair that Torchwood had the monopoly on studying aliens. They brought them back to the university, something happened, we don't yet know what, and… here we are."
Rose sighed and scrubbed at her eyes. People never wanted to believe that there was actually a good reason why Torchwood automatically dealt with all alien incidents, and things like this ended up happening as a result.
"Charge them with obstruction of Torchwood's charter and endangerment of Earth citizens," Rose said wearily. The charge had originally been 'endangerment of the human public,' but Rose had finally talked them into changing it on the grounds that a number of Earth's citizens were, in fact, non-human. "God, I hate this. They've always got to… Anyway, these creatures, they intelligent? Sentient?"
"Neither," Verity assured her. "We've done a pretty detailed examination of ten of them, and they seem to be fairly mindless, even the adults."
"And do we have any idea how to stop them breeding?" Rose really didn't want to have to do what she thought she might.
Verity shook her head sympathetically.
"No one has a clue, and their numbers are increasing exponentially."
Rose closed her eyes for a moment, and when she opened them again, they were hard and unfeeling as glass. She reached for her communicator.
"Jake? You there? Yeah. Tell Mick I authorise the use of flashpoint explosives. Double-check the area is completely evacuated first, don't want some absent-minded student wandering out into the court at the wrong moment."
Rose stayed up on the roof until she saw the small globular devices thrown. She turned her head away from the flash of brilliant light, and wondered why people had to be so stupid sometimes.
Regret was a hazard of her job. Sometimes there just was no right decision.
oo o0o oo
A couple of months later Rose found Mickey in his office. He looked up in surprise to realise there was someone loitering his doorway.
She grinned at him.
She knew she was giving him that lunatic grin that her second Doctor had given whenever he knew something that someone wasn't telling anyone, that really annoying nyah-nyah-I-know-your-secret grin that always irritated the hell out of everyone else, but she really couldn't help it.
Mickey looked wary. He recognised that grin, too.
"What you grinning at me like that for?"
Rose kept grinning.
"I've noticed you've been busy lately. Getting a lot o' texts, too."
Mickey frowned, clearly wanting to end this line of conversation.
"Yeah," he said uncommunicatively.
"So I thought to myself, 'what could be taking up so much of old Mickey-Boy's time?' " Rose made a pantomime of frowning in thought. Then she grinned at him. "Does she have a name?"
Mickey gave a sigh.
"You're not gonna leave me alone about this, are you?" he asked resignedly.
"Nope. Not a chance."
"Her name's Martha," he admitted. "She's a doctor. Met her when we were dealing with the Arctura, she was working at the hospital that day. We've been going out a couple months now," he added, a little bashfully.
Rose grinned like a madwoman.
"Do I get to meet her?"
"You're gonna be embarrassing, I know it," Mickey grumbled.
"Yep," Rose agreed cheerfully. "You should invite her to come with us for lunch."
Mickey groaned, but got out his mobile.
oo o0o oo
Martha turned out to be a beautiful young black woman with huge, luminous dark eyes, and a practical, matter-of-fact manner that made Rose like her instantly.
"So you're Rose," Martha said, as they shook hands, eyebrows shooting up her forehead as she took in Rose's professionally-dyed blonde hair and vivacious smile. "Mickey's ex-girlfriend-turned-boss."
Clearly Martha hadn't been expecting someone so attractive.
"Yep, that's me," Rose said, eyes sparkling. "An' you're Martha, the mysterious love of Mickey's life."
"Rose," Mickey protested, but with resignation.
Martha glanced at her boyfriend with an amused raised eyebrow.
"She snoops," Mickey said weakly. "And acts all embarrassing. I didn't want to give her ammunition."
"Yeah, well someone has to be all embarrassing for you," Rose pretended to explain with solemnity, but with her eyes full of mirth. "It's traditional that when you get a new girlfriend, your family has to embarrass you, Mickey. That's how it works. I'm just being, like, the family substitute for you."
Mickey grumbled something under his breath, but Rose could tell it was just for appearances.
Martha looked between the two of them.
"Okay, you two definitely don't have the normal ex-boyfriend-girlfriend relationship," she observed, trying to figure the two out. They acted almost like siblings, but there was an edge of almost-flirting that was definitely not at all like a sibling thing.
"Not for your given value o' normal, no." For a moment her accent was overlaid with another, vowels shortening and her speech becoming curter. Martha blinked.
Mickey could see his girlfriend trying to work the two of them out, and shook his head.
"Come on, let's find our table and work out what we're having for lunch. I'm starving."
"Oh, me too," Rose agreed.
"You're always starving," Mickey told her.
"It's coz I don't sleep."
"'Course you sleep. Tony says you snore like anything."
"Time Lords don't sleep, and they definitely don't snore," Rose proclaimed, with the same kind of outraged dignity Mickey had seen in the Doctor, only there was an undercurrent of laughter in Rose's voice that said she knew how ridiculous she sounded.
"Yeah, well tell that to Tony. He says it's like a plane taking off."
"Time Lords?" Martha interrupted, totally lost.
Mickey glanced at Rose, who gave him a 'go ahead' look. Mickey trusted Martha, and that was all Rose needed to know.
Besides, if things went bad, there was always retcon, she told herself, very quietly.
Hopefully it wouldn't ever come to that.
"It's sort of secret, but a few years back Rose turned into an alien."
Martha stared at Rose. Rose beamed cheerily.
"You look just like Big Ears when you do that, you know," Mickey told her.
"Well, in a way, I sort've am." Pause. "God, that's disturbing."
"You're telling me," Mickey agreed.
"She's an alien?" Martha asked Mickey skeptically.
"Yep, same species as her old boyfriend," Mickey explained. "She did this thing, a causal-whatsis thing, and started turning into an alien."
Martha gave up on Mickey and turned to Rose.
"You turned into an alien?"
Rose let out a puff of air.
"Yeah, I did. I played with cause and effect, and my DNA started changing, and here I am, Rose Tyler, Time Lord. That's the kind of alien I am," she added. "But don't tell anyone, coz can you imagine the fuss if people found out the Director of Torchwood and Vitex heiress – an' I don't know which one they'd think was more important, honestly – was an alien? Humans." She shook her head.
Martha was feeling slightly out of her depth.
"Anyway," Rose looked at her menu, "I think I'll have the bouillabaisse, what'll you lot have?"
Rose smiled to herself as Martha examined the menu, her face still a picture. Whatever she'd expected, Rose clearly wasn't it.
Rose met Mickey's eyes with an amused look. He scowled at her with a 'shut up' look.
"Alien ex-girlfriends," Martha said suddenly, putting down her menu. "Right. I can deal with that. It's nice to meet you, Rose."
Rose grinned back.
"Same here. So, Mickey says you're a doctor?"
oo o0o oo
By the end of the night, Rose had decided that Martha was fantastic. The two of them got on like a house on fire.
Martha was fiercely intelligent, and some people might have thought her relationship with Mickey was odd for that reason, but Rose knew better. Travelling with the Doctor had shown Rose that people were smart in a multitude of ways, and the trick was to find out where their intelligence lay.
He might not have had much of an education, and wasn't exactly the intellectual type, but Mickey was smart enough. He was practical, and unexpectedly shrewd at times, and had a certain sense for people and situations.
He and Martha were well matched; Mickey would ground her and act as her support, and Martha would brighten his life and broaden his mind. Together they'd complement each other's strengths and give each other different perspectives