Title: Applewood and Wormholes
Spoilers: Narnia - up through The Last Battle; Doctor Who - up to and including The End of Time
A/N: This story was written for the 2012-2013 Crossover Exchange on livejournal. It works as a stand-alone, in which Susan Pevensie was a companion to the Tenth Doctor but has finally left the TARDIS. It actually does continue off my two previous Narnia/Doctor Who crossovers ("To Be Left Behind" and "Tragic Comedy"), which detail some of Susan's travels with the Doctor. You do not need to have read either of these to enjoy this one.
Thank you so much to freudiancascade and rthstewart for beta work. Also, many thanks to everyone else I talked with in order to get my character feels straight!
"Time moves in one direction, memory in another." - William Gibson
On an evening as cold as this, Jack preferred the indoors. Even his heavy coat wasn't enough to ward off the chill, and he'd lost one of his gloves in the fight a few blocks back.
The alien he was trailing had no such qualms about the temperature. Large, muscular, and covered in a shaggy mess of fur, it appeared to be quite comfortable as it rooted about in the trash for food. Jack wouldn't have been so worried except he'd seen what this creature could do when provoked. There hadn't been much left of the victim when the creature had turned away, and leaping to the rescue had been a mistake. Tosh had suffered a nasty head wound, requiring a trip back to base for stitches, and Jack had died. But then, he always died. Ruined his second favourite shirt, but at least the claws missed the coat.
The alien grunted once and shied away from the other end of the alley. Jack tensed, hefting his weapon and expecting the worst. So far, he'd heard reports of only the one creature, although experience had taught that there might always be a nest of them around the bend. If that was the case, there wasn't much Jack could do tonight on his own. He didn't fancy waking up on the pavement for the second time in one night.
The shadows stirred but, instead of a second alien, it was a silhouetted woman who stepped into the light. The alien snuffled and scrapped a claw against the pavement. It turned toward her, lowered its head, and grunted once more in warning before crouching in preparation for a charge.
There was no time for hesitation. Jack rose from his crouch and whirled about the corner, shouting a warning -
The two shots sounded before the words were fully out of his mouth. The alien dropped with barely a whimper, reduced to little more than a tangled fur rug. Jack shifted his aim to the woman who had, in turn, directed her weapon at him.
"Haven't see you around these parts before," he said amicably behind a false smile.
The woman made a sound of recognition. "Jack," she said, and then, "Thank goodness. I didn't know you were here."
She moved closer, face finally passing into the light. Jack lowered his arms. "Susan Pevensie," he said with a grin. "Long time no sex."
He took her to a bar that was relatively close, where the owner owed Jack free drinks for dealing with an infestation of Smarks two weeks back. The table in the back was small and secluded, the drinks just what were needed. Susan slid her chair around beside him and didn't object when Jack stretched an arm across her shoulder, although he rather suspected she had chosen the position in order to keep an eye on the door.
"So," he asked finally, "Doctor parked across town? Would have expected to see him by now."
She huffed a breath and took a long sip. "The Doctor is off exploring the universe," she explained. "I asked him to drop me off back home and - well, I think the TARDIS got the year wrong."
Jack sat back to study her face. "You never did tell me when you were from. How far off are you?"
She stared into her drink. "Half a century, roughly."
He whistled low. "How long have you been here?"
"Long enough to adjust." She tapped a finger against the side of her jacket that hid her revolver. "What has Earth been up to, getting so much attention from alien species?"
He chuckled. "No more than usual. You've just become more aware of it."
Susan's face closed off in introspection and she fiddled with her glass. Finally, she admitted, "I've been moving around plenty since I last saw the Doctor and haven't found a place to stay. Anywhere you might suggest?"
"Bit late to do house hunting now," Jack replied. "Why not come over to the Torchwood office for the night?"
"Jack," she said later, watching him navigate the hub in near-darkness, "This is nice, but I can't stay."
Her face was cast in shadow and the glow from the screens between them interfered with his vision, but he understood. "Before you make your decision, it must be said that there is a position open here if you want it."
"I'm sure," she said dryly.
He bent down to study the alert that had appeared on the screen. It looked to be a false alarm, but he added a note to follow up on it tomorrow. "Will you stay in Cardiff?"
"Cardiff is very nice," Susan said diplomatically, "But I'd really rather return to England. It's closer to home, even if I am a… few years off."
He straightened up again but made no move to rejoin her. "And you're looking for a place to stay?"
"It would help."
Jack bent over the computer again. Sheets rustled and, a moment later, Susan padded across the floor towards him. "I'll assume you know someone?"
He found the message he was searching for and pulled it up on the screen. Susan leaned in close to read through it with him. "It's dated a month ago," she pointed out. "They could have found a tenant by now."
But Jack was not to be dissuaded. "Somehow, I think not." He reached for his phone, before remembering the time and the fact that it had fallen beneath the bed. He rubbed a hand through his hair, considering her. "You'd have to talk around your secrets, though."
Susan frowned. "I'd gotten the impression she knew about… all this."
"Once," he sighed. "Things happened. She forgot."