Title: Foreman & Tyler
Setting: After Series Two.
Summary: Stuck in Pete's World, Rose discovers Torchwood has a Time Lord on staff. And it's going to be the start of a beautiful friendship, even if it sends Mickey deranged.
This has been floating around on my hard drive for years now, so I thought I might as well post it, finally. Will there be more chapters? Hopefully.
FOREMAN AND TYLER
Rose Tyler, billionaire heiress, one of Torchwood's top executives, and impossibly brilliant when it came to all things alien. It was after another meeting with foreign counterparts that Rose decided that she needed to forget, for a while, all the things she was in this universe.
She needed chips.
Accordingly Rose headed down to the Torchwood refectory. It wasn't too bad, for a refectory, but all the senior members of Torchwood usually headed out to one of the nearest restaurants for lunch. Rose herself sometimes stopped by a place called Smollensky's, or went to Café Rouge for their onion soup. Occasionally she and Mickey would eat lunch at one of the Indian or Chinese places, when they could both spare the time. The refectory, though, was usually used only by the junior members of Torchwood who couldn't afford to eat out every single day. The one thing it did well was chips.
Rose ignored the boggled stares she got – one of Torchwood's most important people, in the refectory? – and got herself a big bowl of chips. She sighed happily as she bit into them, all crunchy on the outside, warm and fluffy on the inside. God, she'd missed this. She closed her eyes, remembering how chips had been a tradition, first with her and her mother, later with the Doctor, back when she was a London shop girl with too much makeup and stars in her eyes and a chance to see all the life and beauty of the universe…
Sometimes she missed that Rose Tyler.
"Mind if I join you?"
Rose's eyes popped open at the voice. Suddenly, disappointingly, she was back at Torchwood. She looked around to see a small dark-haired woman smiling hopefully at her.
"Sure," Rose invited. The woman sat down happily, and Rose watched her as she ate. She was wearing a grey skirt and grey suit jacket over a black blouse, with stockings and black Mary Jane flats with rounded, closed-in toes. The woman herself had dark brown hair cut in a chic bob and wide, innocent-looking eyes. She looked to be more or less about Rose's age, although somehow it was hard to decide exactly how old she probably was.
"I say," the woman said suddenly, "don't you sometimes just wish you could visit other universes?"
Rose choked on her chip, eyes snapping up to meet those of the other woman, wary and prepared to lash out angrily. But all she saw was a look of wistful sincerity, so instead of getting angry she simply said,
"Sometimes, yeah," and wondered what had prompted the question. Hardly anyone knew of Rose's background, so the question was, did this woman ask her deliberately, or was the question innocent?
"Who're you?" Rose asked her. Instantly the woman looked friendly and apologetic.
"Oh, sorry, I'm Suze Foreman," she explained. "I was forgetting that you wouldn't have heard of me. I was working with UNIT until a short while ago, and somehow it got out that I was looking for work and next thing I knew Torchwood was offering me a position. I talked to your Dad this morning, he says I'll probably be in your department. I mean, you are Rose Tyler, aren't you?"
"Mmm, that's me," Rose agreed. "My department? What do you do then?"
Suze looked down.
"Well, I used to travel a lot, you see," she said, not meeting Rose's eyes, "so I got to know a fair bit about alien cultures and things. I left UNIT, actually, because I'm more of a pacifist than they'd like and we didn't really get on." A brittle little laugh.
"Tell me about it," Rose snorted, "they're always wanting to shoot people out of the sky, or something. I mean, it was different in the old days, I guess, but we deal with aliens all the time now, you've got to be all diplomatic and everything. Mind you, before Dad and his lot got into it Torchwood was even worse, completely medieval, into torture and interrogation and everything. 'If it's alien, it's ours.' No respect for rights or anything. Completely horrible." Rose wrinkled her nose in disgust, and noted the way Suze shivered a little.
"So, how come you want to visit other universes so much?"
Suze looked away, giving the sad, brittle little laugh again.
Rose thought that she wasn't really going to answer again, but suddenly she looked up, meeting Rose's eyes, and leaning forward to seize Rose's hands in her own.
"I tell you what, I'm sure I can trust you though, can't I?" she asked with appealing earnestness. She momentarily reminded Rose very much of Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's. "You feel like the sort of person I can trust. You've travelled too, haven't you? I can tell. You're still soaked in artron energy. To tell you the truth, I'm not actually from this universe at all. Back home, there was a – war, you see, and I was fighting in part of it, but the… ship I was in was damaged and I was knocked into this universe, and somehow the walls between universes have closed up completely so that I can't even contact anyone else, let alone get home." Suze sighed.
Rose could feel her heart pounding in her ears, obscuring all other sound as suddenly she was only aware, terribly aware, of the way she couldn't breathe and the sad look on Suze's face and how everything Suze had just said fitted in with something scarily familiar.
"Sorry," Rose said, barely knowing what she was doing, putting her hands forward, "I know this seems weird, but…" and she pressed a palm to the spot next to Suze breastbone to feel familiar twin flutters.
Rose drew back slowly and looked into the knowing brown eyes.
Suze sat unmoving, just looking back into Rose's own eyes. There was a weariness and so much knowledge in them now, that Rose would have wondered how she could have thought them innocent, except that the Doctor had been just as good at hiding himself when he chose.
"You were in the Time War, weren't you? Like the Doctor."
Suze's reaction to Rose's remark was unexpected.
Suze's eyes went enormous and for a moment she simply stopped breathing. Next moment Rose was seized by the shoulders and Suze's eyes stared into her own, full of desperation and hope and worry.
"He's alive?" It was shrill almost to the point of a whistle. Rose hadn't known voices could be that shrill. "They're alive? We won?"
Rose felt her stomach sink. She gently disengaged herself and leaned back a little, still meeting Suze's eyes.
"You won, yeah," she said softly. "But so did the Daleks. You died. All of you. Everyone but the Doctor. Everyone on both sides, gone, 'cept for him."
Suze's eyes turned hollow. She slumped back in her chair.
"Everyone," she repeated. "Everyone gone. Gallifrey?"
"Gone," Rose agreed.
When Suze's eyes started overflowing, to her distress and bewilderment, Rose held her and glared fiercely at anyone who glanced at them.
"Come on," Rose said eventually, "let's go up to my office, yeah? Bit more privacy there."
After a while Suze sat sniffling into a lavender-edged handkerchief in Rose's office.
"I'm so sorry to break down on you like that," she began, wiping at her face. "I knew it was possible, but…"
"…now it's real," Rose said for her. "It's different from not knowing. Don't feel you have to pretend. You've just found out you lost your planet. Whatever you thought might have happened, that's different from knowing it."
Suze laughed. Despite the grief and the pain in it, it was somehow a little less broken, more genuine than the others.
"You're remarkably understanding."
"Well, I sort of know what you're going through. And the Doctor went through it too."
"The poor dear," Suze said fondly. "But you look after him?"
"I'm glad. So. How is he? When you last saw him, I mean."
"Rose?" Mickey opened the door to her office. "You in here?"
Feminine laughter greeted him.
"A whole room full o' different types o' tea?" Rose gasped out between laughs.
Suze sat there giggling.
"Oh, that was one of the least outlandish things he had in there. Did you ever find the room with the fish pond?"
"Oh God yes." Rose made a face. "This thing like a sort of water-lizard crawled on me."
"Rexie!" Suze exclaimed in delight. "I'd completely forgotten."
"Rexie?" Rose raised an eyebrow.
"Yes, my pet salamander," Suze explained. "He was from the Mesozoic, but he got so lonely we went back and got him some friends, only they had children. Baby salamanders everywhere." She giggled at the memory. "After that, Grandfather said no more pets, and I managed to shut them all up in the pond room except for this one little spotted one that somehow found its way into his bathtub. I think the TARDIS did that on purpose."
"Well, it seemed like a normal sort of name at the time. It was only later that I realised that's more the sort of name you give a dog, not a prehistoric amphibian."
"Oi, Rose," Mickey tried to get her attention.
Rose beamed at him.
"Oh, this is Mickey, you remember I mentioned him? Mickey, meet Suze."
For some reason she was grinning at him.
"Hello. Don't worry about Grandfather calling you an idiot and getting your name wrong. He was just the same with Ian at first. He doesn't mean it really."
"What?" All the pieces were there, but Mickey couldn't believe the picture they made.
"The Doctor," Rose explained. "He's her grandfather. She's stuck here, like us. She's been here since the Time War."
"Oh." Mickey stared at her. "You a Time Lord, then?"
"A Time Lady, and yes I am."
"Right." His gaze went back to Rose. "There's some weird thing going on out by the Rift, and Torchwood 3 want you to come out and take a look at it."
"Oh god, do they need me for every little thing?"
"Yeah, I know, but we sent Ianto Jones out there a month ago, and he agrees with them. And you know Ianto, he'd never think of calling you in unless he though there might be a real problem."
"Right, tell Chase to get a team ready." She glanced at Suze. "It isn't exactly what you're being paid for, but we never pay to much attention to that around here. You want to come along?"
Suze grinned in a way that reminded Rose heart-stoppingly of the Doctor.
"Oh, yes. UNIT never let me actually go out and inspect things if there was any danger."
Rose grinned back after a moment, and the two women left the room.
Mickey wondered if Pete knew he'd just put a Time Lord on staff, and more importantly, whether or not these two together were going to be just as much trouble as the Rose + Doctor combination had been.
"I don't get appreciated enough," he muttered, heading after them.
Someone had to stop them getting into danger.
Suze emerged from the zeppelin looking a little the worse for wear.
"If I drew up some schematics for an aeroplane or a helicopter, do you think anyone would be interested?" she asked weakly.
"I'd back you financially," Rose offered. "Zepplin travel always makes me a bit sick, too."
"You'd make a heap from the patents," Mickey observed, grinning a little. "Revolutionise air travel. Everyone'd talk about how the daughter of billionaire inventor slash businessman Pete Tyler had inherited his talent. You'd probably make the cover of Fortune 500."
"Sod off," Rose said. Mickey winked at Suze, who couldn't help smiling back.
Rose turned to greet Ianto Jones. He was a good-looking, very well-dressed man with impeccable manners and a certain dry, sarcastic sense of humour that few people were privileged enough to be exposed to.
"Ianto, it's Rose," she reminded him, smiling.
"Of course, Miss Tyler," he said seriously. Rose rolled her eyes.
"So, what's going on out here?" she asked him. The hidden gleam in his eyes vanished.
"I have no idea," he said soberly. "It's like nothing any of us have seen before."
"I hate it when people say that," Mickey grumbled. "It turns out to be Cybermen or Daleks or something."
"Oh, I hate that." Suze's voice sounded somewhat forlorn, but anger blazed in her eyes for a moment. It wasn't the Oncoming Storm, or even particularly like it, but it was… something. Rose frowned and put the observation away to ponder later.
"Alright then, lead the way."
Ianto turned, and the others followed.