"Rose River" AU
'Four Five Six'
A/N: This is the last chapter. The story will move smoothly into the next, and will pick up where we left off. I would like to thank everyone for your kind comments. Knowing how my scribblings are received is a real boost that keeps me writing. Thank you so much. ^_^
And now, the Epilogue! Allons-y!
"Uncle John? What're you doing?" Jenny had come into the infirmary to relieve her Uncle in watching their little patient at ten pm sharp. He'd volunteered to stay with her while everyone else tended other things, and she had found him behind the head of the bed with his hands at her temples. That part wasn't surprising. What was, was the sight of tears streaming down his otherwise blank face. His eyes were closed, and it appeared that he was deep in the poor dear's mind.
John didn't even look up, and his voice was quiet and breaking. "She is fifty five years old, and spent forty four years of her life strapped to that Tripax as nothing more than a drug siphon. Nearly all of her memories are of pain and madness."
Frowning at that horrifying thought, Jenny walked over to put a hand on John's shoulder. Looking down at the stunted growth of the woman, she placed her other hand on the top of her chest, just under her neck.
"Can I do it?" John whispered. "Should I do it?"
"Do what?" Jenny asked.
John swallowed. "Get rid of that horrible waking nightmare of hers. You were in detention for seven months. This poor dear as been restrained nearly all of her life, being crooned to by an insane person."
She didn't even have to think about it. "Do it. No one deserves that much pain."
An involuntary whimper escaped John's lips, just before he dove inside her memories.
The Doctor and Rose had their arms crossed and were resting against one of the railings, staring at Jack - who was looking more than a little uncomfortable. They'd been doing it for the better part of fifteen minutes before Rose broke the silence. "You were our friend for a long time, and you never said? Didn't you trust us?"
Jack winced at the hurt tone of Rose's voice. "I wasn't supposed to. And no, I don't know why. She never said."
"Who never said?" the Doctor blurted rather testily.
I never said, Beloved.
Wide eyed, both the Doctor and Rose shot their heads up to stare at the ceiling. While the Doctor's expression was of shock, Rose's mouth was hanging open. "You did WHAT?" she shrieked.
Technically, it is still too soon, the TARDIS said. However, some leeway can be allowed.
"Leeway," Rose echoed, glowering.
The Doctor took her hand and squeezed it, giving her a mental hug. "Start with what you can tell us, Jack."
"Well, I'm telepathic," Jack deadpanned, earning an over-the-glasses stare from the Doctor. "Yeah, okay." Turning, Jack started to pace around the console, thinking. Looking up, he had a small and annoyingly private conversation with the ship. This made Rose and the Doctor look at each other, exchanging ideas on withholding maintenance for a while.
An aggravated sigh came out of Jack. "I don't know. All right? All I know is that I was born this way. Me, a full blooded human from the fifty first century! The rest of my family wasn't, and I was considered a freak for years before I finally got some training off planet on how to block other people out!" He sat in the jump seat and crossed his arms. "I really wanted to tell you, but she said not to," he said quietly. "I'm sorry."
Rose was going to walk over and give him a hug, but Jenny came in at a full run with a look of panic on her face. "What's wrong?" she half shouted. "Dad? What're you doing to him?"
Eyes wide, Rose couldn't help thinking about what she saw of their mental fields blending, and the Doctor heard it quite plainly. Glaring, his senses went out fully and he could see the tightly woven time line between them.
No one saw him move. The Doctor was standing next to Rose one second, the next there was a bang and he was over Jack's prone form on the grating of the floor – with his forearm pressing into Jack's larynx. "Rule One!" he bellowed.
"Dad, stop!" Jenny shrieked as moved to pull him off. However, she was held back by her mother, whom she didn't register moving either. She turned to her, and they simply glared at each other while the men had at it.
Grunting, Jack gaped up in actual fear into the Doctor's pitch black eyes, crackling with red. "Don't... wander off," he managed to get out.
"No, you stupid ape," the Doctor growled in a rather northern accent. "Your rule one. Say it!" he shouted.
Face wincing from the bruising to his voice box, Jack ended up whispering. "Don't touch the blond." Rose's eyes went wide when she heard that. Jenny's too, for that matter.
"Rule Two!" the Doctor thundered.
"Do exactly what you say!" Jack shouted back.
Nose to nose with Jack now, the Doctor glowered. "Where, in either of those two rules, was permission granted?"
"What do you want me to say?" Jack asked, looking as if he were about to soil himself.
"It was an accident!" Jenny blurted.
Eyes wide, the Doctor seemed to vibrate. "An accident? What happened? You trip and defile my daughter?"
"It wasn't like that!" Jack shouted.
"He was trying to protect me from the Macra!" Jenny shrieked.
That brought the Doctor up short, and the blackness of his eyes receded to his iris. "Do what?" he said in an octave that shouldn't have been able to come out of his mouth, it was so high.
"It was right before they showed up!" Jenny said, still struggling against Rose's hold on her. "He tried to shield me, and I latched onto his mind. It just happened!"
Glancing back to his daughter, the Doctor thought about what she said, then looked back down at Jack. He moved his arm off the man's throat and held his hand over his temple. "Let me see." Jack just nodded his head rapidly, and the Doctor touched his temple, diving into his mind.
While her father was in Jack's mind, Jenny finally broke Rose's grip on her. "What the hell is his problem?" she hissed at her. "And yours?" she added.
Sighing, Rose explained. "Jack's from the fifty first century..."
"I know that," Jenny huffed.
Lips pressed together, Rose tried again. "The morality of that period isn't all that defined as it is here. People switch from relationship to relationship, and don't really care about long term commitments."
Jenny's hands went out in frustration. "Hello! Fifty Third here! I haven't been a virgin for some twenty years now."
Head rearing back from that statement, Rose baulked. "You're eight though! I saw it!"
Jenny's eyes went up to the ceiling, and sounded like John. "Oh, my flippin' God." Taking a hold of Rose's shoulders, she locked eyes with her mother, "On Gallifrey, I'm eight. On Earth, I'm twenty four! You on the other hand, will be eleven in just a bit." All Rose could do was work her mouth open and shut as that morsel of information stunned all the sound out of her.
The Doctor stood up, then helped Jack up as well. "It's all right. I'm sorry, Jack. This is easily fixed..."
He didn't get the thought out fast enough, because he was instantly slapped by Jenny, who somehow got right in front of him. "Don't you dare! Don't you dare try to break this!"
"Doctor," Jack said quietly, "please trust me when I say that I've been looking for someone just like her for longer than I thought possible. I absolutely will not betray her."
Both the Doctor and Rose turned shocked looks at Jack, whom just said that declaration in perfect Gallifreyan. All the Doctor could get out was a rather garbled and somewhat stuttered, "How?"
John's chuckling drew everyone's attention to the door. He was standing there with his arms crossed, and leaning on the door frame with his left foot crossed over and resting on the floor by the toe of his trainer. "You done being an arse yet, brother?" He watched as the Doctor was doing mental logic loops, then motioned him over with a finger. He didn't let on that Jenny went over and hugged Jack though, when he left his side.
When the Doctor was in front of him, John put a lock over their minds. 'I want you to really think about this, Theta. Ask yourself two questions: What can't possibly happen, and what does that mean for our dear Captain?'
The Doctor's mouth hung open in wide eyed shock. 'We have to find it!'
'There it is, that brilliance.' John smiled at him, right before he hugged the Doctor. 'We will find it, our old girl said as much. Just not for a while yet. And to her, a while could be tomorrow or ten years from now, so there's no telling. Leave them alone, and be happy that someone of his standing came into Jenny's life. Our old girl did say that this was always coming, in case you didn't know.'
'I don't have to like it!' the Doctor groused.
'What father does?' John countered with a mental chuckle.
The Doctor glared at him. "How are you okay with this?" he said aloud. "You're as much her father as I am!" That of course, gathered everyone's attention.
John just smiled at him. "Because. Simple as that."
"Husband," Rose spoke up, getting his attention. "I think I miscalculated, or something."
Turning around, he looked at her in confusion. "What do you mean?"
She waved a hand over at Jenny, who was clinging to Jack tightly. "Jenny's eight, all right. Just not here. Here she's twenty four. And how weird is it for you to be married to someone who's eleven on your home planet? Plus, all that talk of nine hundred and five. It's really closer to three thousand isn't it?"
Jenny took that moment to speak up. "He lied about his age, mum. He's fourteen hundred and fifty six on Gallifrey. Do the Math."
Rose's eyes went wide, feeling the complete embarrassment from her husband. That validated what Jenny said, and her head went back as huge cackling laughter rang out of her. Jenny got the giggles on hearing that, and Jack couldn't help laughing either, despite what happened just a few minutes ago.
"Stop it," the Doctor protested, looking appalled.
John stepped up and put an arm around his shoulders. "Told you that was going to catch you up," he chided with a wide, cheeky grin on his face.
Rose had to sit on the jump seat from laughing so hard. "Four thousand, three hundred, and sixty eight?" she managed to get out. "You're older than Methuselah!"
John couldn't help but join in on the laughter after hearing that, and the Doctor's elbow to his ribs didn't stop it either.
The next morning, Martha and the Doctor brought their patient out of the TARDIS on a trolley. A few quick words to the medical personnel from UNIT, and she was wheeled off. Prince Harry was in attendance, and the Doctor walked over to him. "A small favour if you please, your majesty."
"After everything you've done for us, Doctor? Name it."
"Christine Annabel Wells has no family, but there is a friend of hers from childhood," the Doctor said. "He goes by Timothy White, and is under care at Digby York Hospital, in the East Grinstead mental ward. He's not technically unbalanced by any means. He was the twelfth child that was to be taken in 1965, but ran before he could be taken. In every respect, he's still mentally as much of a child as Christine is."
Prince Harry nodded. "I can see to it that they can visit. How much do you think she will remember?"
"None of it," the Doctor said flatly, surprising him. "My brother took it upon himself to remove those memories from her. And, I can't fault him for it. Forty four years of nothing but pain and being chained up to a mad alien. Honestly, she's better off."
The Prince relaxed on hearing that. "Good," he said simply. "She will have the best care."
"Thank you," the Doctor said, shaking his hand.
By noon, the Time Lords had the chamber vented of the poisonous atmosphere, with the carcass of the Tripax Macra hauled away for incineration. The Doctor was very specific about that and got Alistair to swear to it. He got that promise on the condition that they wait before taking the others back to Cardiff, and disappearing again. He reluctantly agreed and went back into the TARDIS. At one thirty in the afternoon, Alistair called him on his mobile to ask him and the others out.
After everyone was in the room, the Brigadier smiled at the Doctor. "Now, old boy. Do me the honour of not embarrassing me, would you please?"
Frowning in concern, the Doctor simply nodded. Then he and the others all registered differing levels of surprise when Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second came into the room. She was followed by her Consort, her son and his wife, and her grandsons, who were both smirking in the back.
Rose, Gwen, and Martha immediately curtsied. Jenny only doing so after being pulled into one by her mother. The men all gave half bows.
"Doctor," the Queen said with a smile. "Unlike our ancestor, We are not going to banish you. Instead, We are to reverse the entire charter of Torchwood to include you as the most respected defender. However, We will be honouring you and your bride again, as well as knighting the others that defended us so remarkably well. Seeing as how knighting you would be quite redundant, you are to be given a proper title, instead."
"Mum, that is hardly necessary," the Doctor protested rather quietly.
"Nonsense," she chided. "We heard you," she paused and turned to John, "or rather, We heard you say that you have adopted Earth as your home planet." The twins nodded at that. "What sort of people would we be if we didn't accept you with everything you have ever done for us?"
Rose had her hands over her mouth and nose, with tears going down her face. Just feeling her husband's outright awe from the Queen's words, made her want to hug him tightly. She restrained herself though, just barely.
"In that vein," the Queen continued, "We hereby grant you citizenship of Great Britain, and award you hereditary titles of Baron and Baroness Tyler," she turned to John, "And to you, Baron Storm. This is with all rights and privileges."
"I don't know what to say," the twins echoed in stereo.
"I'm not finished," the Queen gently said with a smile.
The Doctor bowed his head. "You're Majesty, please. We are completely overwhelmed by your generosity, but we quite literally live in that blue box behind us. There is no need for any land grants."
She stepped forward and looked up at him. "Be that as it may, Doctor, there is a rather quaint mansion in the Powell Estate that has no occupants."
"The Walsh Mansion?" Rose blurted, then blushed profusely when the Queen smiled at her, nodding. Grabbing her husband's hand, Rose gave him a rather hopeful look which was punctuated by a slight 'mmph' of a noise.
"It will be maintained as it has been," the Queen said. "And, if you have need of it, it will be yours as a place of refuge."
The Doctor groaned at the look Rose was giving him, then started to chuckle. "I can't refuse you anything, dear." She smiled on hearing that, then he turned to the Queen and nodded. "We accept."
Jack ended up being Knighted as well, both for over a century of dedicated service to the country, and for his part in defending the planet from the Macra. Jenny was awarded her mother's previous title of Dame Tyler of the Powell Estate. All in all, it was a rather good day.
In a secluded hospital room on a UNIT base, an elderly gentleman was escorted to the small patient by his favourite nurse. The large man helped him into a chair next to the bed, then stepped back.
Clem reached over and took a small hand in his, briefly sniffing it. "Chrissie?" he said with wide eyes. "Oh, my dear," he said with a warbling of his voice. Holding her hand to his cheek, he cried tears of joy.
A tiny whisper came from her lips. "Clement?"