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AN: Not really happy about this chapter, but I wanted to wrap this story up and I'm more looking forward to the sequel anyway; now that is where things get really interesting...
Old Faces, New Hopes
A few minutes later, Leela sat in the conference room with the Doctor, Martha, and the Torchwood staff, looking at the small group with a slight smile.
"So... you work as 'defenders of Earth', correct?" she asked, the smile on her face an ambiguous one that a part of the Doctor couldn't help but think she must have picked up from his own past self; it somehow managed to avoid being either approving or condescending while simultaneously leaving the person Leela was addressing without any clear idea how she felt about them.
"We do that from time to time, yeah," Owen replied, smiling nonchalantly at Leela before he glanced back over at Tosh with a slightly apprehensive expression.
"That is good," Leela said, nodding at the doctor with an approving expression as she looked over at Jack with a slightly curious smile. "You have travelled with the Doctor?"
"From the Blitz to the year 200 100, with a few interesting stops along the way," Jack replied with a nonchalant grin. "Then... well, I ended up here after a bit of a... complicated... diversion, and I've been working for Torchwood ever since."
"Hold on; 200 100?" Gwen said, looking between Jack and the Doctor incredulously. "You've gone that far...?"
"Oh, that's nothing; I once travelled so far into the future that I reached the point when it was starting to approach the Big Crunch..." the Doctor began, the smile briefly fading from his face as though at some painful memory before he shook it off and turned back to his more recent old companion. "Anyway, you never actually told me; what have you been dealing with here?"
"Oh, just a few little things," Jack said, a nonchalant smile on his face as he spoke. "We've tackled a few bigger problems such as a non-corporeal alien that fed on orgasmic energy, another- slightly more solid- non-corporeal alien that was killing people to maintain its host while it tried to find a way home, a Brudyac warrior that was using humans as hosts to get fuel for its ship, a demon-like monster from the Rift that fed on life, a bunch of alien sleeper agents..."
He shrugged casually. "It's an interesting time, really; a few cases have been more... down to Earth than others- we checked out some odd occurrences with alien tech that turned out to be relatively human in origin, but it's never been anything too major."
"Aliens feeding on orgasmic energy?" the Doctor said, looking at Jack with a slightly raised eyebrow. "Why do I get the feeling that might have been drawn here by you, Captain...?"
"Hey, the thing only met me when its host was unconscious-" Jack protested with a smile as he looked over at the Time Lord.
"I wish to clarify this," Leela asked, raising her hand as she looked between the Torchwood team. "Captain Harkness is your leader, Miss Sato is your... technical person, Mr Harper treats injuries, Miss Cooper primarily confronts your enemies, and Mr Jones..."
"Essentially, I clean up the paperwork," Ianto said with a shrug.
"And I do a bit more than just point a gun at people-" Gwen began, looking at Leela in an offended manner.
"I did not intend to imply otherwise," Leela said, raising a hand to halt the former policewoman with a reassuring smile. "All I wished to clarify is that you have faced all these dangers- and will doubtless face many more... and you have no one on your team to uniquely act as the warrior for your group?"
"Well, we all do our bit-" Ianto put in.
"And yet, of all of you, only two are actual fighters; you others merely... do what you can... when the time comes," Leela stated, indicating Jack and Gwen with brief nods as she turned to the Doctor. "While I understand and appreciate your methods, Doctor, it is clear from their tales that these people face a more difficult task than you; you confront foes in public positions with clearly defined plans, but this group must handle matters in a quieter manner and remain to live their lives in that place afterwards... and they have few people capable of confronting these enemies when the situation becomes physical."
She smiled reassuringly at her old friend. "As... exhilarating... as it would be to return to the TARDIS with you, I feel that I can be more help here, where they need someone who can physically confront their enemies quickly and silently; you cannot deny that I have... experience... in that area."
"Tell me about it; you and those Janus thorns..." the Doctor muttered, a slightly wistful smile mixed with a hint of exasperation as he looked at his old companion, before he nodded in a decisive manner. "You're sure that this is what you want?"
"If Torchwood will permit it, I feel that I can help them," Leela confirmed, glancing over at Jack. "Do you wish me to remain?"
"Hey, a chance to help out someone who actually lived on Gallifrey?" Jack said, grinning broadly at the Sevateem warrior. "Trust me, after everything I've heard about that place in the legends, if you spent any time there, you've probably got some very interesting stuff to teach us..."
"Thank you," Leela replied, looking around at the rest of the Torchwood team as they all nodded their assent at her offer, before she turned back to smile slightly at the Doctor. "Besides, I have a feeling that, should I remain with you, as pleasant as it would be to see other worlds again, I would be more of a... 'fifth wheel', I believe the phrase is?"
The Doctor started slightly at that.
"What-?" he began.
"You have been holding Martha Jones's hand for all of this time and rubbing the back of her wrist with your thumb without either of you noticing that you are doing so," Leela said, smiling slightly at her old mentor and travelling companion as he looked down at where he was doing what she'd just described. "I felt that it was a safe guess."
"Uh... right," the Doctor said, looking slightly sheepishly down at his hand before exchanging an embarrassed smile with Martha as they both stood up. "Well... if you're sure...?"
"I am sure," Leela replied, nodding at the Doctor with a brief grin.
"Good," the Doctor said, before he turned to look at Jack. "Oh, and Jack, if you ever do anything to hurt her-"
"It'll make what the Master did to me seem like a picnic, right?" Jack replied, a brief twitch in the corner of his mouth the only sign that the comment he'd just made affected him more than he would like to admit it did.
"The Master?" Owen asked.
"Long story," Jack said simply, his tone and stare making it clear that Owen could pursue that line of inquiry at his own peril, before turning to look at Toshiko. "Tosh, if you could just go and help Leela see about setting up an identity for her here...?"
"Of course," Toshiko said, smiling briefly at Jack before she looked over at Torchwood's newest- if still-unofficial- member. "If you'd just come along...?"
"Well," the Doctor said, standing up and looking at the remaining members of the team with a slight smile as he indicated Martha, "as great as it's been meeting you all- and it has been great, really; absolutely fantastic-, we really have to be going now..."
"Tell me about it; I've still got exams in a couple of months that I need to revise for," Martha said, smiling teasingly at the Doctor. "Plus, of course, you've got your students to think about..."
"Students?" Gwen said, looking at the Doctor in surprise. "You're... teaching?"
"Well, had to do something while I'm hanging around here," the Doctor said, glancing back at Martha with a warm smile as he spoke. "After all, TARDIS travel's all well and good, but you've got to be supportive when your girlfriend's got exams she needs to pass..."
"Oi!" Martha said, turning to poke him in the chest as they walked back to the TARDIS. "Keep up the condescending attitude and you're not getting steak tomorrow!"
"Aw, come on; you really think that's going to hold up?" the Doctor countered. "You withhold the steaks and we both lose the chance to test out those extra little herbs..."
Oh dear God... he reflected with a suddenly dazed revelation (He'd stopped invoking Rassilon ever since that mess with anti-time; nothing ruined your 'vision' of your god more than him trying to turn you into his assassin) as he entered the TARDIS, his mind continuing to automatically chat with Martha even as the current train of thought occupied his mind. I've gone domestic...
The one thing he'd vocally stated that he did not do in only his previous body (He might have done it when he adopted Miranda in the body before that, but that had been when he didn't even know who he was; it couldn't really count as him), and here he was, living with someone in a flat...
The weirdest part of it all was that he didn't actually mind that much.
He still greatly preferred the freedom that came from regular travel in the TARDIS to anything that a single planet could offer him, of course- Earth was fine for visits but the bureaucracy of living there alone would probably drive him to frustration eventually-, but he had to admit, after so long constantly being on the move ever since he got the TARDIS back after his century-long exile in his eighth incarnation (Barring that whole mess with those apes when he first met Sabbath, of course; hitting that dimensional anomaly and waking up in the eighteenth century without the ship, Fitz or Anji had not been fun...), he'd almost forgotten how comparatively relaxing it was to have a fixed routine where you could be a bit more certain that people wouldn't try to kill you all the time...
He shook that train of thought off instantly; his 'break' on Orbis might have been nice, but he was past that particular near-mid-lives crisis, thank you very much.
He might be sticking around to allow Martha to finish her exams, but once that was done...
The Doctor smiled slightly at the thought of what was waiting for them once they were done here.
After that, the universe was really going to be the limit...
Right now, though, he was just going to enjoy the domestic experience as it went along; the TARDIS was in good shape, he was dating (dating! He still couldn't quite believe it; a few of his past selves still wondered how he'd come to this...) a brilliant young woman, he'd actually made a decent normal- if somewhat dull by his standards- life for himself, and he'd just rescued an old friend from almost certain death after being certain that she was dead.
Life is good...
AN 2: Next up, the story that I've been wanting to write ever since the new series began; "The Legacy of Gallifrey", featuring some very familiar faces...