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.
Hope you enjoy!
PS: In answer to the most prevalent question. In strictly linear terms, as the chronometer flies, it's been approximately fifty Earth years since the events of Journey's End. For the Doctor, Rose, and Jack, it's been a bit longer, much longer, in fact. For Rose and the Doctor, around three centuries have passed. For Jack, given some of the things that have happened to him, it's been almost five hundred years.
As Its to Time
Part Two: Yesterday for Tomorrow
"So what's your brilliant plan to make us talk?" the Doctor asked as Jack led him into his office.
"Strip," Jack ordered, apparently ignoring him.
"No," said the Doctor, calmly. "You strip."
"Honey, if this was about me, I would, but it still isn't. Get your clothes off, now."
"Never happening. And besides, how's that going to help Rose and I talk things out?"
Jack rolled his eyes. "I'm not sure if you've noticed this, Doctor, but you're the Doctor."
"Ah. Finally cottoned on, have you?" the Doctor said sarcastically.
Jack ignored the flippancy, rummaging through his desk drawer instead. "And I'm not sure if anyone ever told you, but you can talk for a solid week without ever saying anything."
The Doctor tugged at his ear thoughfully. "Donna might've mentioned it, yeah."
"Clever girl, our Donna," Jack said. "Problem is, Rose can listen to you talk for weeks on end without doing anything more about it than asking an insightful question or two. I've watched her at it since she was nineteen years old."
"So you're saying what?" the Doctor asked.
"'Talking it out' isn't gonna work for you two, it just isn't. So I brought these."
The Doctor sighed. "Put the handcuffs away, Jack, it isn't going to happen."
"Sure it is. My room's free for your use. I even changed my sheets."
"You'll ruin the plan if you don't cooperate," Jack said.
The Doctor sighed. It wasn't that there was no appeal in Jack's so-called plan, it was just that it wouldn't work. Still, he did have a point or two. The Doctor sat down in the chair across from Jack's and tried to think of some sort of embellishment that might make the plan stand at least a Scintillion's chance in Brisbane of actually doing any good.
Then, all at once, he got the strangest sensation. "Jack," he said, "all the hairs on my manly hairy hand just stood up."
"Dunno if I'd call them... uh oh."
"You feel it, too?"
"Yes," said Jack, his green eyes huge with worry. "Run!"
There was a blinding flash of white light.
Rose felt it, and couldn't help the scream that erupted from her lips as the time lines abruptly shifted.
Gwen was at her side in an instant. "What's happened, dear?" she asked softly.
Rose looked into the aged face of her dear friend and shook her head. "I don't know, yet," she whispered. "But I have to go find out."
"Where are you going?"
"The Hub first, and then, I'm going to get my husband back." Her hands trembled with something very like fury.
She stalked for the door and Gwen smiled at her. "Come see us soon," she said. "Good luck."
"Thanks," Rose allowed, bitterly. "Whoever's taken him will need it."
"Where are we?" Jack asked, glancing around at the deserted streets.
"Not sure," the Doctor answered, "and that's usually a very, very bad thing."
"Superseded only by times when we DO know where we are."
"Shut it, you," the Doctor commanded, and looked around.
There was a wailing siren.
"Oh, you have got to be kidding," said Jack.
The Doctor was reading a notice on a nearby wall when Jack snatched his arm and dragged him into the closest stable looking structure. The two of them collapsed against the wall to breathe heavily for a minute and then began searching for a way to get under cover.
"The effing London Blitz!" Jack shouted over the sirens.
"Again," the Doctor agreed.
"If someone calls for anyone's mummy," Jack said, "I'm going to die on the spot."
"Where's my sonic screwdriver?" the Doctor asked, realizing that a paradox was going to be harder to avoid than he thought.
"In my coat," Jack said. "Which is, of course..."
"Back in your stupid office." The Doctor rolled his eyes.
"Oh, hell," Jack muttered. "You know, sometimes, I hate that Rift."
The Doctor sighed. "You think you've got problems? What about me running into the Storm King?"
Jack stomped around and kicked things and muttered. "Not immortal out there, and I can't stop him; I wouldn't miss it for the world, but sometimes..."
"Don't worry, Jack," the Doctor consoled, "Rose'll be here soon."
"How do you know?" Jack demanded, frantically. "We may have to do nearly two centuries before we catch up to her."
The Doctor shook his head. "Doesn't work like that," he said. "There's two things you don't get between. Mums and their children, and Time Lords and their partners. Between her and the TARDIS, they'll find me."
Jack ignored all of that in favor of making fun of him, since there really didn't seem to be a better way to handle any of this right now. "The TARDIS thinks you're her kid?"
The Doctor smacked the back of his head and they both got to work looking for a cellar.
Rose stared at the TARDIS console, hands still shaking. There was a potential paradox outside the door, a huge one, and she didn't have the technical data to avoid the thing unless it was more careful than she was. Nevertheless, she had to find the Doctor.
Somewhere, out there, hanging above London, was a very young and very confused human girl. Before the day was out, she would have three pieces of information she never had before, but only one would register on her addled young mind immediately. She also would have Jack, and how you described him in your head, she still didn't know, even with the entire vocabulary of the hundreds of languages available to her.
Well, there was no sense waiting until they got turned into gas-mask zombies. She opened the doors and went out into the inky and dangerous night.
The TARDIS phone was ringing but she ignored it. About a block away, the other TARDIS phone was also ringing, and the Doctor was complaining at it. She could hear that Northern accent ranting away and had to resist the nearly overwhelming urge to go after him. She had the current model to chase down, after all, and her first Doctor wouldn't know her from Adam's house cat. Although, to make matters potentially worse, she might register as a Time Lord to him, which would be very, very bad since, as far as he knew, there weren't any. She threw up every single barrier she had ever been taught to create.
She pulled out the Doctor's sonic screwdriver. For some reason, it had been in Jack's coat pocket, which wasn't on Jack's person, when the Rift had snatched them away. "See," she muttered, waving the screwdriver back toward the Time Lord she couldn't go talk to, "Spock."
She picked up the Chula tech and narrowed the parameters to exclude it. She picked up the two TARDISes. Didn't need them, either, she knew where they were. She picked up the younger Doctor. Sorta needed to know where he was, good point, as she had to avoid him. Then, she got it, the odd blip that registered the screaming anomaly that was Captain Jack Harkness, Fact. Nearly drowned by the louder signal, was Rose's own paradoxical Doctor.
She smiled to herself, memorized the signal, and went to track it down. She paused every few steps to make sure she did nothing to attract the attention of dark and stormy Doctor Nine.
She was half a mile away from the TARDIS before it occurred to her. There were three things that she'd learned that day. One, the obvious one, was that the Doctor danced, in both senses of the word (even if she had only got one sense of it that day). The other two though...
He was very intriguingly jealous of Jack and her sudden interest in Jack. That was one and it had been interesting.
He was a nine hundred year old alien and had been marvelously insulted at the idea that a nineteen year old shopgirl didn't consider him a candidate for any sort of dancing. That was it. The sudden knowledge, which she'd almost immediately forgotten, that, although the Doctor would go down fighting it to his last breath, he wanted her.
That wasn't a proper Time Lord thing at all.
"If I told you the number of times I've ended up in the Blitz, you'd probably murder me," Jack said, as he and the Doctor found a couple of packing crates to sit on and sulk.
"Why bother?" the Doctor asked, morosely.
"What's on your mind?" Jack asked. "You're certainly in a foul temper."
"Just thinking. There's a massive, tangled nexus out there. This is the worst possible place your Rift could have brought us."
"Thing that shocks me is we've hardly had any activity out of it in thirty years, and certainly nothing like this. It's almost like it was waiting for you."
"I had just reached that conclusion myself," agreed the Doctor, "and I don't have to like it. But there's a meeting scheduled to take place in the Albion Hospital, and I tend to prefer it if nothing interferes with that."
"You just don't want anything to interrupt your dance," Jack teased mildly.
The Doctor snorted. "You handled that nicely all on your own, thanks," he said. Then, he sighed, and his face got all wistful and distant. "She was so beautiful, Jack. She still is, you know. I thought, all the way back then, that she got more beautiful every day, and I've yet to be proven wrong."
"I'm in complete agreement, there," Jack said softly.
"You know, I don't think she even realized I was a male of any species until the conversation we had that night."
"Thought you were talking about dancing," Jack teased.
"In a way," the Doctor agreed. It was obvious to Jack, from the strange look in his eye, from the slow, uncharacteristic cadence of his voice, that the Doctor's mind was somewhere else, across London, looking back at this pivotal moment that changed all three of their lives, permanently. "She asked me if the Universe would implode if I danced, and then she bullied me into it."
"Did it?" Jack asked, smirking a little at the thought.
"Did the Universe implode?" Jack asked.
"Not much," the Doctor said. "Well, a little, of course. Doing impossible things tends to make it wobbly, anyway. And, at the time, me dancing with Rose Tyler was about as impossible as it gets. Feels like that's what I've been doing half my life, now. Trying to do impossible things to get through to Rose Tyler. It was so simple, back then, and it seemed like I was pushing a rock up a mountain. You're the only person I know who can understand this - falling in love with someone when you know you'll lose them to time."
He jerked his hands through his hair and sighed. "It'll always be like this, I guess. Losing her forever, because she's always just out of reach."
Jack looked up and spotted Rose's shadow, frozen on the staircase. He wondered how long she'd been there, how much she'd heard. At a guess, he would have to assume that Rose was shielding herself from the other Doctor, the younger Doctor who couldn't know she existed, and therefore the older Doctor couldn't sense her, either. "What would you do if you could have her back?" Jack asked.
"What ever she wanted," the Doctor said.
There was a jangling, chiming, soft noise from the staircase and the Doctor looked up, a weary, broken smile on his face, like Jack hadn't seen there since before Rose returned. He answered in the same language and Jack felt a bit like he didn't exist. He didn't care.
Tiny and full of trepidation, Rose moved toward the Doctor. Like a sleepwalker with no idea what was going on, the Doctor stepped toward her as well. Jack sat back and smiled lazily. Rose handed the Doctor his screwdriver. The Doctor smiled and lifted it, pressed a button and the TARDIS materialized behind them. Rose grinned.
Jack stepped inside, looking fondly at the familiar gold coral and blue-green lights. He smiled and stroked the console and the music began.
"What do you want?" Rose asked him.
"Just you," the Doctor answered, all the honesty and all the absolutes he could convey in those short concept-words. Just you, only you, always you, my Rose, just yourself, as you are and would and will be, nothing more, nothing less.
Walls began to crumble. He felt them giving way as she handed him the screwdriver. He summoned the TARDIS as the doors she'd closed between them began to open themselves up to him. He gave in to the wonder of it, his Rose, unfurling like the flower that gave her her name, blooming once again, in every corner of his hearts and his mind.
They stepped inside the TARDIS, time and regrets and secrets all falling away between them. The TARDIS would protect the paradox, and everything else was just the two of them. Jack set the coordinates, the TARDIS dematerialized, and two Time Lords, who would never be proper Time Lords, either one of them, wrapped their arms around each other and danced.
Jack sat alone in the console room, watching the Time Rotor rise and fall. "Funny, the things a trip down memory lane can accomplish," he commented wryly.
A bottle of very old bourbon and a single glass appeared on a small table next to his hand. "Thanks," he said, and poured himself a drink. "But that's not going to get you out of this one."
The console lights blinked at him, a pattern that looked, to Jack, to be decidedly sheepish.
"Have you always been able to manipulate the Rift?" he asked her.
The lights now flashed guiltily at him.
He chuckled. "Drink?" he offered.
A star-spun woman of light and shadows materialized beside him and smiled at him. "Why not?" she said.
A second glass appeared, so Jack poured her a drink. She raised it to him in silent salute. He took a sip, and thought for a moment. "To love that's like time," he said.
She clicked her glass to his in solemn, joyful agreement. "Endless."