"Rose River" AU:
'The Desert of San Helios'

Chapter Ten

On Easter Sunday morning, the TARDIS took several small hops across a small area of North London, depositing the hapless passengers of the bus in relative proximity to their homes. Of those that went home, only two were given retcon: Angela and Christina. The former due to her lack of being able to handle the situation, and the latter because of her hobby. Some might say that Christina should've been left to remember, but John simply wasn't having any of it.

When they dropped off Carmen and Lou at their flat, though, things took a different turn. While Carmen had been very focused on retelling John all she saw, she surprised them when she abruptly turned to place a hand on the Doctor's chest. "She's alone."

"Who, love?" Rose asked, taking Carmen's shoulder in turn and squeezing gently.

Carmen looked into the Doctor's eyes, but didn't see him. "I can't... find her name. She's searching for you. So alone and afraid. Crying for you."

The Doctor's face was stuck between confusion and fear. "What does she look like?" he asked barely loud enough to hear.

Carmen closed her eyes and shook her head. "Blond, fierce, eyes like the sky, but so alone and afraid... her hearts beating so loud. Following you." Rose and the Doctor didn't miss the plural used with the word heart. He flinched while she inhaled sharply.

She opened her eyes and looked at him with a questioning face. "She's... An..." Carmen tilted her head in confusion. "Anomaly? Is that a name?"

The Doctor's breath caught in his throat, and Rose felt a stab of fear and hope rip through her from him. Her arm reflexively reached around to clutch his waist tight. "Doctor?"

John felt it too and turned from Lou, not having heard what she said. "What? What is it?"

The Doctor stared at Carmen. "Please. This is cruel. She was shot and I watched her die in my arms."

Carmen shook her head and smiled. "The sigh woke her."

The Doctor stumbled backwards against the TARDIS doors, images, sounds, faces, and that daft theology of Messaline burst through the mental walls he'd built to house his memories of her.

She... I like that.

I did it!

Oh, Thank you, thank you, thank you!



Rose tried to catch him as he slid down the doors to rest on his bum, but didn't do much more than follow him down. She knelt next to him, appalled at the mixture of joy and horror radiating from her husband. 'Theta... Say something. You're scaring me.'

"I left her there," he whispered pitifully, wide eyed and tears starting to spill out. 'Jenny.'

Rose's eyes widened with a gasp, and she gathered him up in her arms. 'We'll find her, I promise.' She had, of course, learned all about Jenny from when they had bonded, as all mental barriers were thrown aside from the process.

John, though stunned, placed a hand on the psychic lady's shoulder. "Carmen, please. This isn't funny. You're talking about my niece, his daughter. Are you sure?"

Carmen was startled out of the sight of the blond girl in her mind, to see the Doctor on the ground and his brother nearly in her face, shaking her slightly. "I can see her, John," she nodded. "She's afraid."

John wrapped Carmen in a nearly bone crushing hug and whispered "Thank you," in her ear. He then turned round, shook Lou's hand, then helped Rose pick up the emotionally obliterated Doctor. Even though he wasn't much better himself, there were things to do and people to return. As they were helping him inside, John looked round and gave Carmen a brilliant smile. "We'll bring her back to meet you two, I promise."

Carmen smiled and waved as the door shut. Lou hugged her from the side, and kissed her just above her right eye. When the TARDIS disappeared, Lou commented. "Remarkable men. You think they'll find her?" His wife looked up at him and nodded with a wide grin. He turned them towards the estates, and up to their flat.

At around nine thirty in the morning, the TARDIS was back at the motorway welcome break where they had picked up the Torchwood team. The Doctor had waved off everyone, including Rose, and left to go 'think'. So it was only the Torchwood team, John, and Rose in the console room.

Jack and Martha were stupefied to learn that the Doctor's daughter was alive, as was most everyone else. Mickey chose that particular time to be unusually silent on the matter. He didn't know the particulars of Jenny's creation, and was wondering where her mother was. He felt particularly disgusted over it.

Rose took that time to help Mickey and Gwen move their things back into the SUV. While they were packing them in the back, Mickey muttered something. Rose didn't hear it and tilted her head. "Hmm?"

"Sorry," he said a bit louder. "About before. The Doctor... your husband's right. I am an idiot. A whopping big one. Forgive me?"

His last sentence was hardly out of his mouth before he was grabbed around the neck in a tight hug, only to be let go and punched in the arm rather hard. "Don't do that to me again, Mick," she growled, then whispered. "That was worse than... Jimmy."

Mickey's whole body cringed with that statement of hers. Just remembering how he found her 'the morning after', would send him into a near blind rage. He'd pummeled Jimmy within an inch of his life, and would've beat the man to death were it not for the fact that a couple of mates pulled him off. To be compared to that... monster... "God, I'm so sorry Rose."

She gave him a hurt look, and was almost tearing up again. "Just... Don't do that again. Okay?" He nodded with a face full of guilt. "You're all I've got left, now that mum's..." she trailed off, unable to finish that line of thought. She missed his look of sympathy, then sighed and asked him what was probably the most important question she could at that moment. "Are we good, Mick?"

"Yeah, Rose. We're good." She hugged him again.

Jacks laughter preceded him coming out of the TARDIS. "Ask her already, damn. You're worse than he is." Mick turned just in time to see his boss rolling his eyes as he came out. "Kids these days." He thought that was rather cryptic, then saw the clo... John come out, rubbing the back of his neck just like the Doctor did when he was embarrassed over something. It was really strange just looking at him. He missed John's searching glance for him though.

"All right, fine. I will." John said right before stopping to turn around to the door again. Mickey didn't notice any of his team watching for the coming spectacle from the other side of the SUV. Had he seen them, he would've known something was afoot from their barely contained fits of chuckles and giggles. John had spun so fast, that he ran right into Martha. "Oh! Sorry! Uhm, Martha. You got a minute?"

Martha looked at him curiously, and Mickey could've sworn there was a hint of dread on her face. "Yeah. What is it?"

"Well, you see. Uhm," John stammered. "Well, I've got this problem. No, I mean... proposal. I-I mean question to ask you."

"Good lord, man. Spit it out." Martha said with a smile creeping across her face. "You're worse than the Doctor on coffee."

John's head reared back so fast that his gob shut with an audible clacking of teeth. "I am not!"

Martha laughed at him, putting a hand on his arm. "Oh go on. What is it?"

Mickey didn't know what was happening exactly, but his brow scrunched at the possibilities. He didn't even notice the knuckles of his fingers quietly cracking as his hands balled into fists. He wouldn't dare!

"Well, you see... Damn, this is hard." John complained. He blew out a breath, closed his eyes and tried again. "Martha, we live in a time ship, and I was wondering if you would like to com-mmmmph!"

Martha, fully expecting this from what Jack and John had concocted earlier, watched the Doctor's brother as he was doing an either piss poor job, or an exceedingly good impersonation, and she couldn't help it. He looked just like him. He acted just like him. Hell, he was him in a way. And, what with him looking so incredibly cute and boyish and so geekishly gorgeous all at once, not to mention remembering the "genetic transfer" his brother gave her when they first met... Well, her emotions got the better of her. Her only thought at that moment was This is my last chance, before she attacked him face first, in a snog that she hoped would make him regret this being just a laugh.

The smiles that Jack and the gang behind the SUV had, either dropped completely or got even bigger. However, even Jack's beaming smile faded when John wrapped his arms around Martha, and started giving back just as much as she was giving him. Either he was as good an actor as he was, or... "Uh oh," he said quietly. "I think this joke just jumped into a full on train wreck." He turned his head to look at Gwen's look of astonishment when she gripped his elbow like a vice. 'They're not playing,' she mouthed at him, and he could only shake his head in agreement.

Mickey was rooted to the spot. Both of his fists were vibrating with barely contained rage. It's happening again, he thought and he absolutely hated that blue box. She lied to him. Held his hand and wiped away his tears, and for what? This?

For her part, Rose was quietly amused at first. However, when Martha basically attacked him with affection, she actually moved backwards a step. She couldn't feel John like she could with her husband for obvious reasons, but the waves of emotions that came from him hit her like a ton of bricks. Desire being the foremost, with a combination of elation, joy, and guilt lacing throughout. She knew he was in trouble when she heard an unbidden thought slip out. 'Oh God, Theta's a moron for not doing this sooner. She tastes like cinnamon and sugar!'

Since she stepped backwards, Rose could see Mickey coming unglued from her vantage point. Having only seen him act like this one time previously, she knew he was nearly to the point of turning and walking away. Taking his shoulder in hand, she had to pull hard to get him to turn around. The look on his face almost made her feel sorry for him, but she kept her face hard in a mirror of his. "If you don't do something now, you'll never forgive yourself."

John was taken completely off guard. One minute he was going through with his brilliant plan, the next he had a gorgeous woman trying to find out if Time Lords had tonsils. Having to deal with an ever present undercurrent of wedded bliss from his brother, combined with the lack of attention to that particular bodily function of his... well, let's just say he lost control a bit there. Martha was pressed up against him in very nice ways, and her hands clutched the back of his head rather possessively. The final straw was when he heard her whimper and felt her nails starting to dig into his scalp at the same time. All thoughts of Mickey were abandoned, and he wrapped his arms around her. Her explorations of his mouth, the feel of her body, and the lack of anything similar happening in a rather long while, zeroed out everything else around him.

So, it was a real surprise when he was forcibly removed from the situation and summarily decked across the chin by an enraged Mickey. John fell backwards against the TARDIS and very nearly lost consciousness from the blow. As it was, he had double vision and he looked up to see two Mickey's glowering above him. "You're not doing this to me again!" Mickey yelled.

Martha tried to pull him away, but she was stopped by Rose and was pulled back herself. "Don't," Rose whispered to her. "Let him rant."

"Do what to you again, Mickey?" John said, and it honestly looked and sounded like he was confused. He was smiling on the inside though.

Mickey barely restrained himself from kicking John in the stomach. "Take someone I love away from me! I had to watch as you stole my girlfriend. Swaggering in with your big head, leather jacket, and big ears. Doing all that exciting alien stuff. Wooing the woman I loved away, and then you go off and marry her out from under me. And you're doing it again!"

John forced his eyes to focus. "I didn't do those things, Mickey. The Doctor did," he pointed out.

"That makes it worse!" he shouted. "Now there are two of you runnin' 'round and thinking your 'all that'. When's it gonna stop? You two gonna multiply and keep taking who I love? I'm not havin' it! Not this time! Never again, you bastard!"

Martha gaped at Mickey like she was seeing him for the first time. All those talks they had, he'd always reassure her about Tom. Hugged her while she cried. Mickey was always supportive of her, and did things to make her life a little easier. Coffee, lunches, and even simple listening. She didn't understand it before, but now that he said it for all the world to hear, her heart melted. Here was a man that not only loved her, but was willing to fight for her as well. She didn't know what to feel, but she'd never had someone do that on her behalf before.

Mickey felt a hand on his shoulder and he turned, fully expecting Rose to try to stop him. He blurted out a 'what?' before he did a double take when he saw Martha instead. "Did you mean all that? What you said... do you mean it?" He deflated and nodded with a 'yeah'. Her emotions were on a roller coaster from hell, but seeing how he looked at her pulled her heartstrings. Instead of shouting at him for decking John for something she did, she hugged him and put the side of her face against the top of his sternum. "Why didn't you tell me?"

He stood there, shocked that Martha was hugging him. Still though, it was nice and he rested his chin on the top of her head and put his arms around her. Her question about his feelings seemed ironically stupid to him, but he gave her a simple answer. "You had Tom."

John quietly got up and rubbed his chin, grinning. Motioning to Rose with his fingers, he opened the TARDIS door to let her inside. They both waved to Jack and the team, but Mickey and Martha didn't notice anything was happening until they heard the TARDIS engine start up. As they both looked at it and watched it fade, Mickey had a sudden epiphany. "That bastard did that on purpose!"

Martha surprised him with, "Yeah, he did. He didn't like what you said to Rose. Had I known how you felt, I wouldn't have gone along with it." She held him tighter. "Glad I did now though. You keep things so bottled up."

Mickey put his cheek on the top of her head and squeezed back. They were interrupted by Jack clearing his throat. "You two done yet? I mean, we can wait. Just don't hop on the bonnet. I'm all for it, but Easter Sunday in public might be a bit much."

Martha turned to give him a scowl when Mickey flinched, and Gwen whacked his arm. Jack took the hints and got in the SUV, quietly chuckling to himself. Ianto sat in the back and chastised him. "You know Jack, sometimes you just don't know when to shut up." Jack turned and gave him a look that nearly made Ianto melt into the seat. "Later," he whispered. "Wait till we get home." Jack's smile at that made him kick himself. God. That man can get away with anything, he thought.

A/N: And that's that. Thanks for reading! Comments are more than welcome, as well as highly encouraged. They're the only way I know how you guys like things, and it helps me improve my writing abilities. So please, comment and review. Thanks. =)

Still in the market for a Beta writer to help me out with proofing. I try to catch things, but I'm only human.

Up next, "Athenaeum": The Doctor searches for his daughter, and John convinces him to do something else along the way.