"Rose River" AU
In the relative quiet of the vortex the TARDIS spun about rather lazily, quietly drinking in energy. While it wasn't near as fast as absorbing rift energy, the background radiation was being funneled into the converted scoop for later use as fuel. Normally, it would take the ship at least four months to top off in the ambient energies of the vortex. However, with two students of time and space - as well as two more than capable teachers - the ship was nearly full in less than half that.
These nearly two months spent 'lollygagging', as the Doctor put it, was put to good use for Jenny's education and recuperation. Copious amounts of protein shakes as well as four square meals a day had her nearly in top form.
The Doctor noted that she was a 'most stubborn person', which was pointed out that it came honestly... much to his chagrin, and minus one incident with a torn bicep, she was almost back to her normal physical routine. She wasn't one hundred percent just yet, but she was a damned sight better than the skin and bones she was when she first came on board.
Interestingly enough, she began teaching her mother some combat routines. This evolved when the Doctor found out about it. He and his brother morphed this physical education with Venusian Aikido. Jenny was quick to pick that up, but Rose had some problems. Instead, she focused on the simple by comparison Messaline combat techniques with only a smattering of Venusian moves.
Since sleep wasn't that much of a presence anymore due to their Gallifreyan physiology, down time consisted of doing whatever came to mind. John painted almost constantly; Rose spent the time reviewing information that was brainbuffed with the Doctor; and Jenny mostly spent the time either meditating or going through different lessons that the TARDIS gave her. She was relentless in discovering everything there was to her heritage.
This 'night', if you could call it such on a timeless ship, Jenny got an almost irresistible urge. With a brief conference with the ship, she had a room done up with multiple marker boards and a computer that responded to both voice as well as input from the whiteboards. She couldn't put her finger on exactly how or why she got preoccupied with multidimensional math, but something her mother said a while back got the smatterings of an idea started. It festered for a while before she had to get it down.
The Doctor and Rose were 'busy' with tea and a cuddle in the sitting room. Well, maybe a bit more than a cuddle, but they were interrupted by their daughter speaking up in their minds. 'Dad, do you have a minute?' Looking at each other, her parents shrugged. "Sure dear, what can I help you with?" the Doctor asked. There was a pause, which they took to get themselves somewhat squared away in sitting up and minding their clothes. "Jenny? What is it?" he prompted.
'I think... no. Can you check my arithmetic? I don't want to get any hopes up just yet.'
"Where are you?"
'Had the ship set up a room for me. TARDIS? Would you mind either leading Dad here, or putting the rooms close together, please?'
Of course dear, they heard the ship say. A rumble and a shudder later, and the room Jenny was in became situated across the hall from the sitting room. Rose took the Doctor's offered hand, and they walked over.
When they came in, Rose saw all the equations on the whiteboards and whistled. "Good Lord, Jenny. What have you been up to?"
Jenny turned around. Her light blue button up shirt had the sleeves rolled up to the elbow. Dry erase markers of various colours were smudged here and there on her skin and shirt, mostly on her fingers, but also in spots on her face where she had various itches. Rose smirked, stifling a chuckle, and grabbed a damp washcloth that appeared on the table next to the door. "Oh, swee'hear'," she clucked with a smile.
"What?" Jenny asked right before she was beset with an impromptu cleaning of her face. "Oh... that. Yeah." She frowned as Rose wiped her face. "I can do that myself, you know," she protested.
"Nah," Rose said while shaking her head. "I like doing it. Besides, I got robbed of doing this for you when you were small because you were never small. So let me indulge myself, yeah?" Jenny pursed her lips in annoyance, but let her continue with a heaving sigh. She fought the grin that was threatening her when she saw the look Rose was giving her, though. They ended up laughing at her predicament.
While Rose had Jenny distracted, The Doctor wandered around the room with wide eyes. He recognized these equations, as he did something similar when he and Rose were separated by the void. Remarkably similar, in fact. These were the same damned equations that he went round and round with all through the time that both Martha and Donna were traveling with him. However, when he got to the whiteboard on the far side of the room, he simply stared at it completely gobsmacked. "You... You cracked it?" He turned around to look at his daughter in awe. "How?"
Rose looked over at him, confused, but Jenny was smiling wide. "It lines up? I didn't botch it?" she asked with bright eyes.
The Doctor turned back around and went over it again. As he was rechecking it, Rose slid her hand into his and he unconsciously clutched at it tightly. "What is it?" she asked. "What'd she solve?"
There was about a minute of silence as the Doctor went over the whole board, looking for errors. Jenny came up on his opposite side and clutched his other hand. He had a beaming smile on his face when he couldn't find anything wrong. He let go of Rose's hand and wrapped his daughter up in a hug. "You're Brilliant!" he squeaked, "simply brilliant!"
Throughout the TARDIS, the Doctor's thoughts could be heard shouting, "My Daughter is a Bloody Genius!" This nearly caused John to streak his current painting with a line of red paint. He looked up and frowned, then set his paints down to go find out what all the hubbub was about.
Rose tried to understand what was going on, but math still was one of her problems despite brainbuffing. She really didn't like dealing with figures. However, the images of seeing herself fall; being caught by Pete; and several images of the Doctor going over various equations in a room similar to this one; all of which coming from her husband with a hell of a lot of joy and pride, she began to catch on. Wide eyed, she pulled the two of them apart, so she could take a hold of Jenny's shoulders and look her in the eyes. "Tell me this is void math," she demanded with a quiet voice.
Jenny's smile mirrored her fathers when she nodded. "I did it," she said simply and just as quietly. Rose squealed and hugged Jenny tightly.
The Tyler mansion was quiet this Saturday morning. Pete had one hell of a week dealing with the latest alien fiasco, this one being more of a diplomatic exchange of knowledge than an invasion.
Honestly, he would have preferred the invasion. Quartering the details of protocol, politics, and such made him positively insane. He took this weekend morning's reprieve to heart and flat out demanded to not be roused till noon.
Jackie spent that morning browsing the internet on her I-padd, and enjoyed her husband's sleepy cuddles with her back. She'd had breakfast already, and simply relished what time she had with Pete... awake or not.
Tony was in the middle of showing his sister how to conquer Tiamat's castle with his gamestation in the main living room, when the game paused by itself. The more than annoying beeping ring of a call caused him to sigh heavily. "Sorry, Laura," he said to the small pink and ginger bundle of a three year old in his lap. Setting his controller down, he spoke up to the screen. "Answer."
The smiling, blond haired face in the screen caused his eyes to bulge out almost comically. "Rose?"
"Hey Tigger!" Rose said. "I don't have a lot of time here, can you set the main computer up to receive a databurst?" The boy nodded and slapped his fingers across the keyboard that was sitting next to him. "Who's that?" she asked.
"Laura," he said in a whisper. "My... Our... baby sister. Computer set to receive."
Rose's mouth dropped open. "I have a baby sister?" Someone from off camera muttered, "Hit send, dear." She shook her head and looked down. "Right... Transmitting." The picture froze as the data came across the same transmission.
While the data was coming through, any communication between them was completely disrupted. Tony finally came to himself and started shouting at the top of his lungs. "MUM! Mum! Come Quick!"
Jackie bolted out of the bed, only slightly disturbing Pete's deep snoring, and came down the stairs in just her light blue, satiny pajamas. "What's all the noise? Wha... Rose?" She came to a halt at the base of the staircase and simply stared at the frozen image of Rose on the main screen. "When was that taken?"
Tony turned around to look over his shoulder. "It's Live mum!"
"Live? Don't be stupid. It's just a picture," she said rather quietly. Jackie tried to get her heart to slow down, but was failing rather badly. "If this is a joke, young man, you're going to be grounded for the rest of your life!" she shrieked.
Tony pointed to the percent marker at the bottom of the screen, which was at eighty seven percent. "Why would I joke about this? Look!"
Jackie walked slowly across the main living room so she could see what her son was pointing at. She shook her head when she saw it. "So? You're downloading something... right?"
Tony heaved a huge sigh. "Mum! That's a live picture, and she's sending us a databurst. Said that there wasn't a lot of time."
Jackie sat on the footrest that Tony was leaning against, and held her breath while she watched the percentage bar fill. It didn't seem to be going fast enough to suit her.
When it hit one hundred percent, the picture jumped from the still of Rose looking down, to two blondes staring out at them. Apparently they were in the middle of a conversation. "... your Uncle Tony, and that little girl is your Aunt Laura. I can't believe it!" Rose noticed that the picture on her end changed. "Mum! Mum, we don't have a lot of time so just listen. We sent you a video that will explain everything." Jackie heard the Doctor say 'ten seconds' which caused both women to look to their left briefly. "Okay, you heard the man. Say hello Jenny." The other blond spoke up with a slight wave, "Hello, grandmother!"
It was Jackie's turn to have her mouth drop open. "How long has it been for you?"
Rose shook her head. "Time's up. Watch the video we sent. I love-" she was cut off and the picture froze on both of their faces.
Tony turned around to see tears running down his mother's face. Picking up his sister, he got on his knees and turned so that the three of them could hug. "It's okay, mum. She said she sent a video."
Jackie took Laura from Tony, and spoke in a whisper. "Go get your father." Seeing the wide eyed look of fear on her son's face, she sighed. "Oh all right, I'll wake him up. Just get whatever she sent queued up, yeah?"
It was ten minutes of haranguing Pete out of bed before Jackie nearly shouted the place down. Tony, in his thirteen year old wisdom, fetched some coffee for his old man and had it ready for him when he came downstairs. That got a sleepy hand ruffling of his hair and a 'thanks, kiddo'.
"What am I looking at again?" Pete asked a bit blearily, as he sat down. He grunted as he adjusted his dressing gown.
Jackie sighed and looked at Tony. He got the hint and ran the video file. A video window came up to show either the Doctor or that strange twin of his in front of a oddly curved wall of beige like orange. Pete's eyes jumped wide open at that point, and he downed his coffee in one huge gulp. "Play it," he said.
Tony hit the button and the video started up, slightly staticy. "Hello there, this is the Doctor speaking. I know you want to hear from Rose, so I'll be as brief as I can."
"We have a way of communicating now, even though it's a bit primitive. Some advanced math was discovered so that we can open a small crack between universes. Not near big enough for us to come through personally, mind, but good enough for transmissions. However, the window is only good for three point eight six minutes."
"Since it's so short, we thought it would be better to send videos, pictures, and the like. That way we can talk more, even though it's mostly one sided. The way this works is that we can open a crack, send you information, maybe say hello, then the crack closes. Oh, and don't worry Pete. This is far safer than those cannon thingies your Torchwood came up with."
The Doctor looked to his right and nodded. "I'm being pestered to hurry up, so I'll finish this off with a message to Jackie: Jackie, I give you my solemn vow that I will protect Rose with my very life. If anything happens to her, I don't know what I would do with myself or to myself."
Rose's hand came into the picture and rubbed his shoulder. "Oh, and I'm very sorry I won't get to see your initial reaction to this: I'm your son-in-law," he said with a cheesy grin.
"WHAT?" Jackie screeched. Pete snorted, which got her to turn towards him with a scowl. Tony hit the pause button.
"Like you didn't know that was going to happen, love," Pete said, grinning ear to ear.
Tony nudged her shin from the floor. "Well, I think it's a good thing, seeing as how they made you grandparents and all."
"What?" Pete said, looking down at him.
Jackie came to herself. "Oh... right. Damn. I wanted to be there for her wedding!" she wailed.
"You want me to hit play again?" Tony asked. His parents looked back down, and he noticed that Laura had fallen asleep in his dad's arms.
"Yeah, kiddo. Go ahead." Pete said, nodding.
The picture unfroze to show Rose's hand coming away from the Doctor's shoulder to cuff the back of his head. "That wasn't how I was gonna say that, you prat." There were some other chuckles from off camera, and Rose shoved the Doctor off the stool to sit in front of the camera.
"Hello mum! God, I hope this works. And yeah, we got married. We did it initially the way they did it on the Doctor's home planet. But after we find River, we're gonna have a proper Earth wedding as well."
A voice sounding like the Doctor sounded off from the background, causing Rose to look to her left. "You didn't tell me that, Brother! Why are you waiting?" The same voice answered back, and Rose looked to her right. "Because we didn't want you to be left on the sidelines." Rose looked to her left again. "You don't have to do that!" And Rose spoke up. "Boys! Trying to talk to my mother, here!" That got a "Sorry" from either side of her.
"Right, like I was saying. Yeah, we're married. And, I wanted to tell you that you were right. Remember when you and I were in the TARDIS, when the ghosts happened just before you and I got stuck where you are? Remember what you said to me? You were right."
"That's why I didn't show my age when I was there for ten years. What I did to save the Doctor changed me. And... I'm sorry. I'm still me, but I'm not human anymore. I'm like him. Don't get upset or anything, because I'm still me. I promise. Yeah, I'll probably look different like he did that Christmas after a while. But I'm going to live a very long life, so don't be sad for me. I love you."
Tony felt his father poke him, and he hit the pause button again. Looking back, he saw that his mother had her face buried in his father's shoulder, quietly crying. Pete motioned him to take his sister, and mouthed 'Put her to bed, please. We need a moment.'
After taking his sister to her room for a proper nap, Tony sat quietly at the foot of the stair for a bit, while his parents talked quietly. He didn't fully understand what Rose meant, but it had upset their mother greatly. He wasn't sure how to take that. She still looked like Rose, so what was the problem?
Tony sat there and fidgeted for what felt like a long time, until Pete spoke up again. "All right, you can come in now. I can hear you wigglin' back there."
He wasn't sure he wanted to hear more of this, but it was his sister...