How Long Is Forever?

Spoilers: This is a post Journey's End Reunion fic, so there are spoilers up until there.

Chapter 22: Home

A week later, the Children Of Time, with their newest member being Jenny, was back at the Torchwood hub. Well, it had been a week for them, but for Donna's granfather Wilfred it had just been a few minutes since he'd sent them off. This, of course, ended in more teasing about his 'constantly improving- not that they could get any worse- dirving skills' as Jack so eloquently put it. Laughing loudly at the sour face of the Last of the Time Lords, he stepped outside the Magic Blue Box, stroking her side as she laughed along with him, and organized everyone's arrival at the hub. Ianto was already on the phone, calling several taxis for their friends, and making sure they'd make it to the airport in time to catch their flight.

The Doctor watched silently from his position leaning against the TARDIS as Rose and Jenny helped the Jones family and Sarah-Jane with consorts to regroup, and check if they had everything. Not that they couldn't bring anything their friends might have forgotten on the TARDIS back to them. A small smile made itself known on the pinstriped alien's face, having witnessed the two blondes growing closer over the past week (which had fortunately been uneventful after the zoo incident- well, as uneventful as a different planet than your own could be). Rose was still a bit shy around his 'daughter', and Jenny wasn't quite sure what to see her as, this woman that was so important to her father, but they had already formed an admittedly still thin and fragile bond of friendship. And an understanding seemed to pass between them too.

"They're going to be alright," the Time Lord suddenly heard a familiar voice tell him in a bitter tone. "It might have confused her, hurt her even, but, seeing as it has happened before, we know that she's so completely in love with you that she'd forgive you anything."

"Mickedy-Mick-Mickey, my man," the Doctor cheered, trying to lighten the mood between them, which had been rather tense all throughout their off-world vacation.

"I'm not your man," the dark-skinned Torchwood Team member replied. "But Rose is your woman. She's always been yours…"

The Doctor didn't reply for a moment, choosing instead to just watch as his Lifemate, radiant with her happiness, danced around the hub. Sadness still took her in unexpected situations, when she thought about her husband, her family, her children. He remembered how she'd cried that first time they'd made love. He had told her that she didn't need to do it, that he could wait, but she'd assured him that it was okay- "No more dancing around it," she'd said- and they'd consumated their relationship. She'd been both, happy and sad, she'd told him, but mostly happy. And now, he could see it, clear of any bad memories, her happiness, making her more beautiful than ever.

Making her look like an elven-maid out of those fairybooks the humans loved so much.

And she was his. Had, by Mickey's admission, always been his, even when he had refused to acknowledge it. The Doctor knew that the other man spoke the truth. From the moment he'd taken her hand, and told her to run, there had been something that captured them both, some sort of bond, making him find her again. He ran into her so many times in those few days that it was obvious that the universe was trying to tell him something, but he'd refused to listen, had faked to be deaf. Because she, a mere human, didn't fit into his world, not really, and because he didn't want her tainted by his sins. Besides, he'd argued, she had a boyfriend, was happy in her relationship, so what was the point.

"You loved her first," the Time Lord finally said.

Mickey laughed humorlessly.

"Yeah, and she left me for Jimmy Stone," he snorted. "And now she's left me for an alien."

"Do you love her? Because if you do, then why is it so hard for you to watch her happy?" the Doctor retorted, anger slowly rising. "I love her. I do, and if she wanted to leave, really wanted to, then I'd let her go."

"Like when you left her on Bad Wolf Bay?" Mickey mocked.

"I did what I thought was best for her, what she'd want. A normal life, someone who'll age with her-"

"Only, she wouldn't have aged with him, right?…Don't look at me like that, I'm not the idiot you want to believe I am."

The Doctor was about to reply, when he was called over by a glaring Francine Jones. Shivering at the intensity of her gaze, he quickly followed suit, albeit quite reluctant in his last few steps toward her. Angry mothers were dangerous, after all. What if he got slapped again? What if he got slapped multiple times? His worries were soon erased as he found himself enveloped in her arms. He wasn't the type to hug mothers- too domestic, besides, the last time Jackie had forced him, and then kissed him, ugh!- but he wasn't going to offend the mother of one of his best friends, and so he loosely returned the embrace.

"Now, Doctor," Tish assaulted him as soon as her mother had let go of him, and thanked him for the nice holiday. Martha's younger sister gave him a short hug as well, before continuing. "These are all the dates, to which you've got to come back to drop off Rose."

"Why's that, then?"

"For my wedding, you plum," Martha snorted at him. "I'll need every hand I can get to help me organize it. And, of course, to choose a dress."

'There's a date?', the Doctor wondered, but chose to just nod outwardly. He then said his goodbyes to the Jones family, Sarah-Jane, Luke and Maria, smiling and laughing with them for a few more minutes, until the taxis arrived. Afterwards he turned to watch Jack give out orders to his team, so they would finally return to their positions- not without hugging both him and Rose, of course (although, in Jack's case, a kiss on the lips was due).

His eyes widened, however, when Jenny, too, came to say goodbye.

"But… I just found you again," the Doctor pouted.

"And now you know where to find me," Jenny said, laughingly. "Jack offered me a job here at Torchwood."

This earned Captain Flirt an 'Oncoming Storm' glare, to which the man grinned.

"You accepted?" Rose asked, surprised. She'd just started to get to know Jenny.

"Yeah, we think…you two need a bit of time alone together…"

"Now more than ever!" Gwen chimed in.

"Plus, I don't want you here during that conference," Jack added. "And if you're left alone with Rose, you'll be heavenly distracted, I'm sure."

The young couple blushed.

Torchwood Three laughed.

"Besides, Jenny can help us keep Donna out of alien trouble," Martha told him. "She seems to have a knack to get into it, still."

The Doctor turned to his daughter, asking her with his gaze if she was sure. The young woman smiled reassuringly, and encircled his waist. Her face pressed against his suit-covered chest in order to listen to his double heartbeat. When she lifted her eyes to his, her look told him so much. Her desire to see him again soon, her wish for him to find love and happiness, her hope to go on many adventures with him in the future- when he and Rose had sorted everything out.

"See you at the wedding, dad," she said, cheekily, and the Doctor was unsure if she really meant Martha's.


(5 months later)

It was late at night in the TARDIS' artifitial cycle. Almost hidden under the covers, Rose slept peacefully. While she was wandering around the land of dreams, she hadn't noticed how the Doctor had gently lifted her head off his chest. Kissing her brow, he layed it down gently onto the pillow they shared. Rough fingerpads traced the silky skin of her arm and shoulder, and she sighed softly at the contact. Her sleepy smile made the Time Lord chuckle. He found it to be extremely difficult to get up to leave her on her to her sleep, but his wonderful ship had been buggering him the whole night about having something to tell him.

'Alright, alright, I'm coming,' he thought as he received another mental nudge from the old girl.

Sighing, he reluctantly got out of bed, picking up his clothes and dressing as he followed the twinkling lights of the TARDIS, directing him to the med bay. Frowning, he wondered if anything was wrong with Rose. He'd persuaded her to get her blood tested every month, just in case the Time Vortex was not finished with her yet. She'd been exasperated by his constant pleas when she'd finally said 'yes'.

The Doctor said down infront of the monitor, pulling out his specs and putting them on to read the quickly changing pattern of complicated circles that were galliferyan letters. His frown grew when he could fins nothing wrong with the test results at all. He couldn't understand what the TARDIS had dragged him out of bed for in the middle of the night. Away from Rose.

His glare at the ceiling was met with a growl in his mind, as she urged him to keep looking at the monitor.

He turned his gaze back to the writings, even though he didn't really expect anything good to come of it. A moment later, the Doctor could've sworn that his hearts had skipped a beat- several, in fact. What he was reading just then, couldn't be right. It just couldn't. It was impossible! Then again, so was travelling between the universes without causing mass distruction, and he'd been proven wrong there, twice. This however, was so much more impossible that it bordered unbelieveable, even though he saw proof right infront of him.

The Doctor grinned.

He couldn't contain it. He was overjoyed, euphoria seeping through every fibre of his being at what the TARDIS was telling him. It was wonderful, it was a miracle. His miracle, their miracle. And he would make sure everything would go smoothly, this time. He'd lost too many people already, he wasn't losing any more of them. Jumping up, he danced around the corridors, skipping a step or two once in a while, like his hearts missed some beats. He was laughing so freely, like he hadn't laughed in centuries.

Now, how to tell his beloved Rose that she was pregnant…

The End

A/N: So, this is the end of How Long Is Forever. Maybe I'll write a sequel sometime in the future. We'll see...

For the time being I'll write an AU fic for Human Nature/Family of Blood with Rose. I know it's been done before, but 'The Nature Of A Rose' is going to be different. I promise. So, if you're intrested, the first chapter should be up in a few days, a week at most.

One more thing: I've written another JE alternative ending entitled 'Does Your Mother Know?', and I can promise that it's different from any other JE 'fix it' story- at least I haven't seen anything like it, yet.