Disclaimer: Characters contained within do not belong to me.
Author's Notes: Thank you so, so much to everyone who's taking the time to read and/or review. I appreciate it more than I can say. Enjoy!
All These Things That I've Done
by Kristen Elizabeth
The TARDIS landed in Hyde Park, only a few blocks away from St. Alban's Court. It was summer in England and the fresh air carried the scent of blossoming flowers and sweet grass. Only the faintest tinge of exhaust fumes served as a reminder that they were in the middle of one of the biggest, busiest cities in the world.
"I forget sometimes, being away, how much I love London." Stepping out of the blue doors, Martha turned her face up to the warmth of the sun. "Mickey and I really should come home more often."
John turned around, the long tails of his brown coat billowing around his legs, until he got his bearings. "We should head that way." He pointed to the high, stone gates that led out onto the street.
They were an odd, yet undeniably good-looking trio as they walked the stone path out of the park. Strangely enough, it was Amy who took the lead, while Martha hung back at John's side.
"Do you really think Donna can help?" she asked him, keeping her voice low.
John dug his hands into his coat pockets, exactly as the Doctor always had when he needed to stall for time. "'Course I do!" he replied, a bit too brightly. "She's got a part-Time Lord brain, she does. Who better to figure this all out?"
"Well...your brain is part-Time Lord with all the memories of the Doctor, right? And you've got a TARDIS." Martha cleared her throat with great delicacy. "So...what's Donna supposed to do that you can't?"
"She's got the human imagination in her, remember?" John paused. "Which I have, as well, come to think of it." Martha said nothing, but he gave in with a sigh. "All right, honestly, I have no idea. I hate to admit it, but I'm grasping at straws, hoping something comes to me." He looked at the back of Amy's red head. "Maybe I really just want to see Donna again."
"Nothing wrong with that." Martha slipped her arm through his as they walked. "Old friends are good. Speaking of..." She hesitated. "How's Rose?"
The smile that lit up his brown eyes at the sound of her name was enough of an answer for Martha, but she waited for him to reply. "She's...huge."
Martha coughed and recovered. "Excuse me?"
With a wink, John added, "She's pregnant."
"Oh. Blimey..." Taking a deep breath, Martha shook off her shock. "Um...congratulations? I assume you're the..."
"Yeah," he confirmed. The fatherly pride his tone faded a second later as he realized who he was talking to. "Martha, I didn't mean to..."
She waved her hand dismissively. "It's all right. No offense, but I got over you a long time ago."
A shadow crossed his face. "You were badly treated. And I am sorry. I am so sorry."
"Badly treated? Are you joking? I saw the year five billion! Shakespeare wrote a sonnet about me! I saved the entire world with a single word!" Martha forgave him with a smile. "Hardly mistreatment."
He looked down at her. "You know what I mean."
"I found Mickey. Or he found me. Either way, whatever else happened...it was meant to happen. To bring us together. So stop apologizing because I wouldn't change a thing." She thought for a second. "Except for that quicksand on Messaline. I could do without that memory."
"Sorry, I don't have the power to wipe memories anymore." A cold shiver suddenly ran down his spine. "Wipe memories..."
Amy turned around to face them. "Having a nice chat back there?" Sometime during their talk, they had left the park and were now on the bustling sidewalks of Kensington. "I think I know where we're going, but I'm the only one here who doesn't know Donna Noble from the next girl. Maybe one of you should take the lead now?"
"Do you talk to the Doctor like this?" Martha wondered. When Amy just smirked, she nodded her approval. "Good. He needs it every now and then."
Instead of protesting, John let the comment slide. His brow was furred, as if he was working through something complicated in his mind.
"Oh, you know it's true," Martha teased, hoping to coax the frown off his face. "You know it better than anyone."
Amy shook her head. "Like an old, married couple, you two are."
Martha quickly cleared her throat. "So, I'll lead then, yes?" Without waiting for confirmation, she detached herself from John's side and set a brisk pace until she was ahead of Amy.
Glancing back at John, Amy asked, "You okay?"
"Um...yeah. Yes." He shook his head to clear it. "Nothing. Everything's fine. Just..." He nodded, but it was more for his benefit than for hers. "...fine."
"All right..." Unconvinced, but unwilling to press any further, Amy started after Martha, only glancing back to make sure John was following.
He was, but his frown wasn't going anywhere.
They took a left down Victoria Road, heading further into the posh neighborhood. The townhouses were picturesque, the trees and shrubs were expertly pruned and even the streets themselves were clean and free of trash.
"I could live here," Amy decided as she caught up to Martha. "Donna must do well for herself."
"Actually, I thought she said she was a temp," Martha admitted. "Not that a temp can't do well for herself, but I wonder now if I misunderstood her."
"Maybe she married up."
Martha smiled. "If so, he must have completely swept her off her feet. She told me once that she was going to be with the Doctor forever."
Suddenly, Amy stopped and pointed. "There. That's St. Alban's Court."
But rather than the street sign, Martha stopped short at the sight of something else. "And there's Donna."
Following Martha's stare to the other side of the busy street, Amy saw a woman with a brilliant mane of copper hair standing at the corner, waiting for the light to change, one hand firmly on the pram by her side.
"I don't believe it! She went and had a baby!" Raising her voice to be heard over the traffic, Martha shouted. "Donna! Donna, over here!"
"Martha, don't!" Out of nowhere, John barreled into Martha, forcibly spinning her around until she was facing away from the street. Amy watched as Donna, who had looked up at the sound of her name, searched for a familiar face in the crowds. Finding none, she turned her attention back to the light. It just changed right then, allowing her to cross to their side of the street.
When it became clear that Donna was going to pass right by them, John dragged Martha into the recessed doorway of a townhouse, plunging them both into the safety of the shadows.
"Amy!" John's voice was dark with warning. "Do not say a word to her."
The Amy who hadn't yet traveled with the Doctor might have ignored him. But this new Amy knew better. She smiled at Donna as the older woman passed by, the way anyone might acknowledge a total stranger who was walking with a cute, plump baby. Donna returned the faint, impersonal smile and kept going, leaving only the lingering scent of baby powder and expensive perfume.
In the doorway, Martha shoved John away from her. "What are you playing at? That's Donna! We need her to..."
"No!" His eyes were huge, like they only became when he was at his most frantic. "We can't talk to her! We can't even let her see us, Martha!"
She hesitated. "Why not?"
"The meta-crisis." John cursed at himself. "I'm thick! So thick that I nearly destroyed my best..." He stopped to catch his breath. "Donna took on a Time-Lord consciousness when she made me. No human can handle that, not even someone as strong as her." When Martha only shook her head, clearly not understanding what he was saying, John went on, "It would have destroyed her. Literally burned out her brain." A beat passed. "He would have known that. He would have stopped it. By wiping her memories."
"You mean...Donna doesn't remember anything about you or him?" Martha swallowed. "She wouldn't know us at all?"
John grimaced. "Worse. If she had seen us, if she had remembered anything about us..." He didn't need to finish the thought. "She's just Donna now. Like she was when he first met her, on her wedding day. Donna before the Doctor. A much different woman than the one you knew."
"Oh, Donna..." Martha lowered her eyes. "I don't think I realized until right now...how much that time in the TARDIS meant to me. It's made me who I am. If it was ever taken away from me..." She sniffed and looked up at him. "I would be so much less if I had never met you."
"Met him," John corrected.
"Do you remember standing with me on that hospital balcony, on the moon, looking at the Earth?" When John lowered his chin in acknowledgement, she surprised him by leaning forward and kissing his cheek. "Then...thank you."
Amy interrupted their hug a second later. "I really hope one of you explains why we just let the person who could bring the Doctor back go right past us without a word."
"Because." Stepping away from Martha, John's lip curled up in a dangerous snarl. "This is life in the TARDIS, Amy. Life with the Doctor. Good people get hurt. Get used to it!" With his hands plunged so deeply into his coat pockets that they threatened to tear out the lining, John stalked away in the opposite direction that Donna had taken.
"He lied to me," Amy said a moment later. "He does hate the Doctor."
"I think," Martha eventually replied, "like with everything that has to do with this crazy life we chose, it's not nearly as simple as that."
Amy scowled. "You know, I'm just praying that the real Doctor is on the other side of the crack, working things out, because he sure as hell isn't going to be getting any help from this side!" Martha watched as she darted out into traffic, weaving through the cars to get back to the TARDIS as fast as possible.
The universe is like a safe to which there is a combination. But the combination is locked up in the safe. - Peter de Vries
"Non-human. Unknown species." The automated voice that emenated from the full-body scanner into which the Doctor had been ushered upon his arrival at Torchwood's head office was surprisingly pleasant as it announced, "Containment field will activate in three, two..."
"Cancel that." The Doctor turned around in the scanning chamber until he saw Jake Simmonds, still all spiky hair and dimples, standing on the other side of the security station. "Let him pass through," he ordered the guard. "He's the Doctor."
The scanner's technician frowned. "Are you certain, sir? The images we have of the Doctor..."
"Are wrong now," Jake finished. "We'll need to update our memory banks. Let him pass."
The Doctor breathed a sigh of relief when the sliding door opened and he was able to step into the fresh air. "That's more like it," he declared, adjusting his bow tie. "I don't do well in small spaces. I tend to do whatever's necessary to make them bigger." He crossed to Jake. "Are you in charge of them, Jake?" He gestured to indicate the soldiers that flanked Jake on either side.
"I'm head of security, yeah," Jake admitted with pride.
"Then could you tell them to lower their weapons? You've just heard what I do to small spaces. Imagine what I can do to a gun when it's pointed at me."
Jake glanced at his guards. "At ease, mates." Looking back at the Doctor, he shrugged in apology. "You understand it's not every day that an alien walks into our lobby."
"And if this is how Torchwood greets them, it's no wonder they stay away."
"Fair enough," Jake conceded a second later. "It's good to see you again, Doctor. Interesting trick with your face."
The Doctor patted his new cheeks. "Keeps things fresh. Now, did Pete tell you..."
"He called while you were on your way here. I'm to take you straight where you need to go, no detours, no delays. His exact words."
"Good old Pete. As trusting as ever." The Doctor turned around, searching the lobby. "Which way?"
Leaving the guards behind, Jake and the Doctor took an elevator to the fifteenth floor. The doors opened, revealing yet another security checkpoint.
"This is all top-secret. Classified," Jake explained as he flashed his ID card at the guards. "Even I have to have special clearance to be up here. "Every new piece of technology we develop comes out of this department."
As they started towards a set of guarded double doors at the far end of a long hallway, the Doctor glanced back and forth at the placards on the doors they passed. He took note of each of them, but only one made him stop dead in his tracks.
"Jack Harkness, Acquisitions and Requisitons." The Doctor shook his head in disbelief. "It can't be him..."
If he'd been a betting man, he would have laid large amounts of money on the notion that Jack Harkness was an assumed name and that "The Face of Boe" was the only real name Jack had ever given him. So to assume that his parallel universe doppelganger had the same assumed name was improbable, if not out right impossible.
Jake, having just noticed that the Doctor had stopped, turned back around. Upon seeing which door had caught the Time Lord's attention, he said, "That's Captain Jack's office."
"Captain Jack," the Doctor repeated in befuddled awe.
"'Course, that's not his real rank," Jake added. "He's a civilian contractor. Rose hired him a few years back. She knows her stuff, she does. There's no one better when it comes to negotiating with alien races than the Captain."
The Doctor reached for the door knob only to find it locked.
"Oh, you won't find him in the office on a Saturday morning." Jake shook his head. "Real family man, Jack is. Got a wife, a husband, kids...the whole lot."
A snort of laughter escaped the Doctor. "Of course." He affectionately patted the wooden frame of the door. "Quite right." Stepping back, he looked at Jake expectantly. "Moving on?"
The hallway ended in heavily fortified double doors. Once again, Jake produced his ID card, only this time, before they were allowed by, they were each handed a pair of blue paper booties to slip on over their shoes.
"Lot of residual energy build-up in there," Jake explained as he covered his combat boots. "These keep us from tracking it all over the building."
"Ah, humans," the Doctor said with great affection. Once they were inside, past the guard, he removed his booties, wadded them up and stuffed them into the pocket of his tweed coat. "You're so adorable sometimes."
True to Jake's word, there was a lot of energy buzzing around the research laboratory. The ceiling lay fifteen feet above their heads, yet every inch of space was fairly buzzing with low, benign levels of particle radiation. The truth was, they could cover themselves from head to toe, but it wouldn't help. The energy, while fortunately not dangerous, was never going to be full contained.
Because it took an awful lot of power to breach dimensional walls.
Jake crossed to a locked vault at the far end of the room, pressed a few buttons on the keypad and waited for the metal door to swing open. From inside, he withdrew what could have passed for a smart phone back in the regular universe.
"Here you are." He offered the device to the Doctor. "Your remote control to the universe."
The Doctor stared at it for a second before reaching for it. "This should be impossible," he noted for the record.
"Hey...you designed it." Jake shrugged. "Sort of."
"Does Rose know about this?"
"No," the younger man admitted after a second.
The Doctor frowned. "He's keeping it a secret?"
"John's just being cautious," Jake came to his friend's defense. "He doesn't even know if it fully works yet. He took the idea of the Dimension Cannon and combined it with the..."
Closing his fist around the dimension-jumper, the Doctor tone grew heavy. "Why? She's happy here, isn't she? Having a baby...having a life!" He took a menacing step forward. "Why did he do this?"
"Because." Jake lifted his shoulder again. "He loves her." He paused. "But if I might say just one wee thing?" The Doctor eyes never left his as he went on, "You two can't keep passing her back and forth, you know? One of these times...you've got to let her decide for herself."
"I'm only using this to bring him back to her. Where he belongs." The Doctor's Adam's apple bobbed as he swallowed a sudden lump in his throat. "Not to change anything."
Jake nodded slowly. "I know. And that's the only reason why I'm going to tell you how it works."
To Be Continued