Nemo Sum asked for this one for July II. I was asked to alter the events of Journey's End and make Rose end up a Time Lord. From there, years to ages later, the official couple of the Last of the Time Lords is to endure her first regeneration. Story is to take place several months to a year following. A former companion from the new series was invited, with the exception of Donna. Rating was to be no higher than a T (within Jack tolerances, if Jack was attending). The Doctor was to quote or otherwise reference Shakespeare. One of the pair must embarrass the other. Rose must remain Rose, within regeneration parameters. And I don't have to tell you how she died unless it's important.
That seems a bit like a potential novel, normally. Unfortunately, it was given to me and, as you all know, I'm a LITTLE bit mad, so there should be two chapters and I will update it probably Tuesday.
The title is from an ee cummings poem: "being to timelessness as its to time / love did no more begin than it will end..."
Hope you enjoy!
As Its to Time
Part 1: Outlining the Issue
Jack only noticed that his team seemed to be unnaturally quiet that afternoon when the door to the Hub opened and every alarm in the place went off. Instead of what he would have shouted twenty-five years ago, when his team was normal, he shouted, "What the hell have you done!!"
"CAPTAIN JACK HARKNESS!" a loud, feminine voice bellowed from the doorway.
Jack turned white and turned toward the door of the Hub, where the tiniest Fury he had ever laid eyes on was blazing in terrific anger toward him. "Shit!" he shouted. "What have you morons done?"
Jack's three team members, Jim, Lauren, and Harvey, all appeared to look at him with hurt and puzzled expressions. "We caught an alien," Harvey commented.
"He's in the vault," Lauren added.
"We were questioning him," Jim finished, proudly.
"WHERE IS HE?!" the girl roared, and she reminded Jack of someone. Unfortunately, he didn't have time to place who exactly it was, because he felt the sudden urge to run for his life. That was decidedly odd, because, honestly, he didn't have to worry about that sort of thing.
The girl stormed up to him - that was who she reminded him of, the Oncoming Storm version of Jack's normally happy alien friend - and slapped him with all the brute force of a tiny woman who was used to being mistaken for a little kid. In other words, Jack rocked under a blow strong enough that he was sure he'd never been hit harder by anyone. "What was that for?" he whined, a hard wired response that he'd tried to break himself of, but couldn't manage.
"You need to keep your pets on a leash!" she shouted. "Where the hell have they taken him?"
"Who?" he demanded. "Who are you?"
Her hands folded across her chest and she leaned back. Reminded him of someone, dammit, but he really, really couldn't place it. She glowered at him, and then, as if omitting him from the conversation altogether, she rounded on his team. "What have you stupid apes done with my husband?" she demanded.
"Your... husband?" Harvey said. "But you're an alien!"
"Human, please!" she shouted, in the most familiar and exasperated tone. "You think you have the pan-dimensional patent on gender relations or something? I'll grant Jack here might have one, but you certainly don't." She eyed Harvey contemptuously, and Jack stifled a laugh because there was a little niggling impression in his head that Harvey ought to be her type.
Harvey reminded Jack of Mickey, which was one of the two reasons he'd hired the silly thing. He'd sort of hoped he could bring out the brilliant in Harvey the Idiot. Three months employment hadn't seemed to get him anywhere on that.
"Who did you catch, and why the hell didn't you tell me before his mate came for him?" Jack asked Lauren.
"We caught the Doctor!!" she exclaimed, proudly. "Isn't it brilliant, Jack? We're the best, aren't we? Well, I guess, we'll have to catch this one, too... Jim, get the rope."
Jack was already running. That little terror had just called him her husband and she had better be making it up because if she wasn't, he was going to murder the Doctor, plain and simple. He might be the only person in the Universe who knew it now, for all he knew, but the Doctor was already married. His wife wasn't a miniature valkyrie, either, if he remembered correctly, which he did, as he'd performed the ceremony himself.
And it had been a fiasco from the get go, that whole damn relationship. Dancing around the console, dancing around each other, dancing around the truth about their feelings, dancing around dancing. And then he'd lost her, and Jack had lost her, and then she'd come back, the harbinger of a screaming horde of Daleks and the end of the Universe.
There'd been a short, vicious war, and they'd all managed to get out alive. Donna Noble, the Doctor's companion at the time, had lost her memories, but gained a strange twin brother. Meanwhile, she had emerged from the ordeal a full Time Lord.
And then there'd been more dancing. Dancing around the fact that the Doctor wanted her to stay that way more than he wanted to breathe, dancing around the fact that she had brought this on herself, dancing around her mother finding out the truth, dancing around Jack to get him to give in on his resolution that he would keep her if the Doctor wouldn't, dancing around the TARDIS trying to coax her into helping the Doctor "fix" it, dancing around the knowledge that she was supposed to have been born that way, and finally back to dancing around the console.
Eventually, they'd both given in. Jack saw them from time to time. Occasionally, it had been centuries for him, usually it had been decades for them, and they were always wrapped around each other like a paired love-knot. They were beautiful and terrible, and so painfully in love you could practically feel it in the very air of any room they stood in. Him, tall and brown and easy on the eyes, her pink and yellow and lovely enough to strike a man blind.
And now that girl upstairs, who was still beautiful enough to strike you blind, was also claiming to be the Doctor's wife. But she wasn't blonde and she wasn't pink (more a sort of ivory), and she was absolutely not Rose Tyler.
He threw himself into the vault, wrenched open the Doctor's cell and, before the Time Lord had even gotten his relieved grin in place very well, Jack threw back his fist to punch him. A tiny hand closed, strong and powerful, on Jack's wrist. "I think that's mine," she said quietly, in a voice like ringing wind chimes.
The Doctor smiled at her, a fond, tender smile, the one he had always reserved just for Rose. Jack still wanted to hit him.
"I thought I'd lost you," she said softly.
"You're stuck with me," he answered, and reached for her. With an anxious, wretched sob, she threw herself at the Doctor and he enfolded her in his embrace, meeting Jack's eyes gravely over the top of her head.
"What the hell is going on?" Jack mouthed at him.
"Like I know!" the Doctor mouthed back.
"What have I told you about wandering off?" the girl demanded.
"You caught them both, Jack!" exclaimed Lauren, enthusiastically, from behind him. "Oh, that's just brilliant!"
Jack suddenly wondered if his entire team's IQ put together was even as high as his shoe size. "No, I didn't. Get back upstairs before I retcon the lot of you and leave you in Miami or something."
"But..." said Harvey.
The Doctor looked up at the Torchwood team, his positively ancient eyes blazing with all the power and the righteous fury of the Storm in full thunder. They scampered.
"Sorry," said Jack. "It's impossible to get good help, these days."
The girl snorted. "Good help? Jack, they're absolutely stupid. How'd they catch you anyway?" she asked the Doctor. He mumbled something into her hair, and refused to detach himself from her. "You what?" she demanded, trying to pull away from him.
"I wasn't looking where I was going," he muttered, his face turning a delicate, rueful sort of pink. Jack thought the look suited him.
"What were you doing?" she demanded. "Looking for bananas?"
"For a place to hide one, more like," Jack muttered. The Doctor shot him an exasperated glare, obviously catching the innuendo.
The girl giggled and turned to him, but still with the Doctor's arm around her narrow shoulders. "You haven't changed a bit," she said softly, gently. "You never do. I'm sorry I hit you."
He snorted. "Who are you?" he asked.
She stared at him in disbelief. "Immortal, please!" she exclaimed.
The Doctor chuckled. "Works on Jack, too, humm?"
"Time Lord, please," she said, and held up a hand in a gesture of disdain.
The Doctor rolled his eyes, a sparkle of mischief in their dark depths. "Absolutely," he murmured.
The girl blushed a vivid crimson this time. "Stop that," she said.
Jack couldn't help himself laughing a bit. They were just like Rose and the Doctor had always been, teasing and flirting and joking. Wait. "Rose?" he demanded.
"Took ya long enough!" she exclaimed. "God, your team are rubbing off on you or something." She looked adorably startled at a sudden thought. "Please tell me you're not shagging any of that lot, Jack, you can do so much..." her hand flew up over her mouth and she turned to the Doctor, her golden eyes huge. "Sorry, sorry!" she said. "Didn't mean to say anything like that, sorry."
"Rose, wait!" the Doctor yelped, but she was gone, out the door, slamming the vault door behind her as she went.
"What the hell was that?" Jack asked.
"My fault," the Doctor said, and crumpled to the seat in his cell. "Just shut the door and leave me here, I don't care."
"She died, Jack, as you might have noticed."
"Yeah, I kinda figured. But she's obviously still in love with you. She came storming in here like... well, like you."
"Yes, I know." He tapped at his head. "She died and it was something stupid, something her Time Lord physiology is perfectly capable of handling, if she'd only known. I almost lost her, Jack, and it scared the hell out of me."
"I'm with you, so far," Jack agreed. "It would have scared me, too."
The Doctor pulled the sonic screwdriver from an inside pocket and flicked it at the CCTV cameras. Jack thought he could hear the howls of anguish from upstairs. "Why didn't you just leave if you had that?" he asked.
"Didn't know where you were, and they seemed mostly harmless. I didn't want to hurt them unless I had no choice. They didn't take her, after all."
Jack nodded and shuddered. If they'd taken Rose... well, he'd've probably found them in the cells, if they were lucky. He was starting to think he'd be lucky if they all three just took a long walk off the pier into the Bay. He really couldn't wait 'til Gwen's daughter's kids were grown. He was starting to hate this place again.
"This was about eight months ago, linear time. Six months, eight months. Whatever. But I messed up. I panicked. The second she woke up, I sat her down and spent a week going over everything there is to know about Time Lords. And you know how I get when I get to talking, and you know how she gets, when she gets to listening and well, that hasn't changed, she's brilliant, Rose, and so clever, and I really do like her new persona and everything, not much different, more like a normal regeneration, not this crazy variety show I've done over the centuries and..."
"So she found out what?" Jack interrupted. The age of their friendship was the only reason the Doctor talked to him, he knew that. Well, the Doctor had blamed the marriage ceremony for it, because Jack had given the charge that everyone present was to help the new couple. He'd claimed, the first time he sat down in front of Jack with a head full of ideas and the urge to talk them out, that Jack had brought it on himself. Jack didn't mind, enjoyed it, in fact, but he'd had to learn early how to stem the flow of distraction words.
"I told her absolutely everything. And she's gotten this idea into her head that I expect proper Time Lord behavior out of her or something. She's shut so many doors in her head that what she's really thinking and feeling is a maze I can't get to, never mind through, and I just don't know! WHAT! TO DO!!" The Doctor's hands shot through his hair, creating a chaotic disarray of what had been a completely neat arrangement. Which, come to think of it, was odd.
"What have you done?" Jack asked.
"Lots of things. Everything. Everything from romantic dates to trying to act like she thinks I think she should. I even combed my hair this morning, did you see?"
"Yes, I noticed," Jack agreed. "And that's what's wrong?"
"Every thing's wrong from it. She doesn't trust me anymore, I don't think. I can't trust her, because she won't tell me what she's thinking and won't let me see either, and any time I get close enough to her - like just now - she pulls away and runs like hell. My Rose is still in there, I know she is, we both just saw her, but she's trying to be a Time Lord, and they're all dead and she's supposed to act like her, not them!"
Jack frowned and nodded, a plan beginning to formulate in the back of his mind. "How far are you willing to take this?" he asked the Doctor.
The Time Lord stared at him, stared into him, dark eyes hurt and blazing. "Even to the edge of doom," he pronounced.
Jack grinned. "Good," he said. "Then trust me."
"With her life," the Doctor agreed.
Much more imperative than trusting him with the Doctor's own life, and they both knew it. Jack nodded and, just because it was important, completed the gesture Rose had stopped him from earlier. As the Doctor slumped, unconscious, to the floor of the cell, Jack smiled. "That's for not calling me sooner," he said.
He pulled out his small cell phone and dialed the number of an old friend. "Gwen?" he said. He listened to her precious, familiar voice and grinned. "Oh, she's there, good. What's she doing?"
He smiled. "Yeah, she would be looking a bit panicked at the moment. Tell her every thing's fine, honest, he just doesn't know where to find her. Give her some tea, that'll calm her down. No, don't tell her it's me. Blame Rhys, I don't care. But listen, I have to go send the losers out on a wild goose chase and then I'm going to call you."
They talked for a few more minutes, and then Jack hung up. He reached into the Doctor's pocket, stole his sonic screwdriver, and used it to seal the Time Lord in. Then, whistling Dixie quite happily to himself, he went upstairs and ordered the three stooges off to find something that didn't exist in a place that didn't exist.
"Good luck," he told them gravely, as he bundled them off into the SUV. They nodded, thinking they were off to save the world without him, and as soon as they pulled away, he collapsed, chortling merrily.