country_who: (Default)
Title: Mother Time
Author: [livejournal.com profile] country_who
Rating: PG
Characters/Pairing: Ten/Rose, Jenny/Jack, Idris
Genre: Adventure, Alternate Universe, Romance
Summary: The Doctor, Rose, Jenny and Jack are planning on going to see Donna, but when the TARDIS starts acting up and the Doctor receives a message, they have no choice but to investigate. (The Doctor's Wife, AU). Sequel to The Doctor and His Time Ladies. 




The floor of the TARDIS wardrobe was covered haphazardly with various clothes and accessories in every color Jenny could imagine. She stared curiously at Rose who was rummaging through one of the Doctor’s trunks marked Twenty-First Century Ape-Wear in the Time Lord’s previous incarnation’s hand writing. The thought of an ape wearing clothes humored her, but she was baffled as to why Rose would ever want to wear something that belonged on an Ape.

“Do apes wear clothes in your time, Rose?” Jenny asked, innocently, causing Rose to bite back her giggles and shake her head.

“No, Jenny,” Rose told her, as she leaned back and crossed her arms and stared at the ceiling in nostalgia. “It was something you’re father did in his last regeneration. He didn’t mean it by the time he wrote that, it was just a joke.”

“Does regeneration change him much?” Jenny asked, crossing her legs and sitting on the floor next to Rose, while she picked through more clothes.

“Not really, I mean look wise, yeah, and a bit in personality, but inside, he’s the same. He’s my Doctor.”

“What did he look like?”

“He was handsome,” Rose admitted with a bit of a blush, “a bit more strong and muscled than him now, shorter hair with a bit more of a worn look about him, and big ears. I’ll show you some pictures of him in previous regenerations, sometime while he’s not around. They’re good for a laugh.”

“Really?”

“Yeah.” Rose giggled. “Granted his Sixth Regeneration’s coat could blind you and scare small animals.”

Jenny laughed softly, looking at all the clothes around her. A great majority of them looked more like they were for looks or dress-up instead of actually wearing in public. She could have sworn that one suit in the distance looked like it was made of metal.

“I don’t understand, Rose,” Jenny stated, while she carefully sorted the dresses that Rose had tried to insist she try on and placed them back on the racks.

“What?”

“Why there’s so much stuff,” Jenny asked. “My clothes are functional; they’re good for stuff like running or—promise you won’t tell my dad—fighting.”

“I know, so are mine,” Rose said motioning to her zip-up hoodie and jeans. “But, sometimes it’s a bit fun to, y’know make boys go a bit crazy.”

Jenny furrowed her brow and looked at the converse sneakers that Rose had convinced her would be far better for running in. She did like them, quite a lot actually, but she couldn’t see the point of some of the other clothes she had insisted on. There were dresses, that surely could have been shirts and skirts that wouldn’t work for running at all. Why would men like that? And, why did it matter, she had Jack. Would a skirt drive him crazy? She didn’t think so— he might laugh. It wasn’t even worth mentioning that some of the shoes that Rose had suggested appeared to be absolutely deadly. Would regenerating make Jack like her more?

“Jack says that a lack of clothes does that,” Jenny pointed out logically, pushing the glasses her dad had made for her up her nose and sniffing. She didn’t like them much either, but he—like Rose— had been very insistent especially after he noticed her nose brushing the book she had curled up with last night next to Jack. Back on Messaline, she thought that they would have been able to make her a microfilm to correct her vision, but her father insisted this was much cooler; at least they did seem to make Jack a bit more affectionate—weirdly.

“Well, he would,” Rose said with a laugh, and pushed some jeans in Jenny’s direction. “Here, these are your size, the TARDIS says so anyway, that way you can put them in your room and you won’t have to root through here every time you get dressed.”

“Thanks,” Jenny said gratefully, noting that all the jeans were quite comfortable looking and very much like her old ones.

“Don’t thank me,” Rose said, leaning against a strut of coral and grinning. “The TARDIS is the one who made them, not me. She says that I need to go easy on you.”

Jenny grinned sheepishly setting the jeans aside and moving to the new crate that Rose had been fishing in. “What’s in here, then?”

“Mostly t-shirts, you should have a look,” Rose said, while she moved over and ducked into a dresser and pulled out began to search around. “You might find some ones you like.”

Jenny nodded and pulled out a few solid colored t-shirts and laid them carefully aside, before walking over to Rose, feeling the slight spring in her new shoes. She could grow to like these, she thought. Plus, Rose had told her than black goes with everything, so she assumed she could wear them with anything.

“What’s in there?” Jenny asked, while she knelt beside Rose and peered into the box. She pulled out a long green dress and held it up to Jenny. The satiny fabric glistened in the warm golden glow of the TARDIS. The short sleeves would fall a couple of inches above the wearer’s shoulder and was cut to fit a slim figure.

“See for yourself,” Rose said getting to her feet and motioning for Jenny to do the same while she placed it up against her front and watched as the fabric just touched her knees. Jenny ran her fingers down the fabric, thinking of how stunning it looked despite how much she was trying to avoid Rose getting her into a different style.

“It’s beautiful,” Jenny told her honestly. “Really, it is.” She took the dress from Rose and held it up against her. “D’you think Dad, would mind if I, you know… tried it on?”

Shaking her head, Rose said, “Of course not. I think he’d like to see you in this. Jack too, of course. But, your father does have a thing about seeing girls appear in his console room in dresses.” She ran her fingers down her ponytail hanging slightly over her shoulder. “I could do something with your hair as well.”

“Really?” Jenny asked, looking almost fearfully, while she backed away and bit her bottom lip. “Like, dye it, or…”

“No, no,” Rose said with a laugh. “I was just gonna brush it down for you, maybe trim your bangs a bit. I could curl the edges so they flip in a bit.”

“Umm.” Jenny paused, rubbing the back of her neck and looking down at her hair. She liked it the way it was, it was functional, a bit fun, but it wouldn’t be so bad to have a trim. Her bangs were beginning to get in her face a bit. “Okay, but no curling… sounds… strange.”

“Alright, then,” Rose said, giving Jenny a winning smile and taking her by the forearm in a friendly gesture. “It’s going to be fun, trust me.”

Jenny forced an unsure smile, while she followed Rose and hoped that she was right.

~o~

Three burns, four cuts, and one near death on the Captain’s part, and the Doctor still couldn’t get the TARDIS to function normally. She was almost jumpy, not wanting to go back to Earth to get Donna. Instead she was insistent that she stay floating in the exact place that she had randomly decided to exit the Time Vortex. She had completely shut down for a few minutes, only keeping the barest of the functions running while she ticked over, ignoring the multi-lingual curses her Time Lord had thrown her direction. He pouted all the time, why couldn’t she?

Sighing, the Doctor slid out from under the console with his first three fingers of his right hand in his mouth. His eyes settled on Jack staring at him, as he slowly slid his fingers from his mouth and putting his injured hand in his pocket.

“Wha’d’you think’s wrong with her, Doc?” Jack asked trying to make sense of the readings on the computer screen, but for some reason the TARDIS was only using Gallifreyan. He shook his head as he leaned back on the Captain’s Chair while the Doctor stroked the edge of the console.

“Dunno,” the Doctor muttered, looking at Jack and biting his lip. “I’d say she was reacting against you, but she says she’s not, so. She’s just so nervous.”

Jack looked away, and the Doctor mentally kicked himself several times. Looking at Jack wasn’t so bad for him since the Year that Never Was, but every now and then it would catch him off guard. It gave him the same sensation of when he was on Gallifrey, wrapped up in his bed, but thinking of the Toclafane. He remembered distinctly, staring at the walls and waiting to see them ready to jump out at any moment from under his bed. Something so terrible ready to come from something so safe and trusted.

“Jack, I—”

“Don’t be,” Jack said, putting his head down and giving a mirthless laugh. “Even Jenny noticed, you know? She said she knew all along, but was waiting for me to tell her. At least, that’s what she told me yesterday.”

Nodding the Doctor concurred. “Yeah, she would have. I didn’t think she would be able to interpret it, but I guess she’s even cleverer than she looks. Hmm cleverer, is that right?”

“I think so,” Jack said distractedly. “She made me tell her though. Said that she didn’t want me to ‘lie’ to her.”

The Doctor gave a small half smile and pushed his way onto the captain’s chair, causing Jack to relocate by leaning on the edge of the console. He crossed his arms and began to roll down his shirt sleeves after he had rolled them up to help the Doctor.

“Mhm… Do you love her, Jack?” The Doctor asked the question out of blue, surprising even himself slightly as he gave the Captain a hard stare. He wasn’t there for her when she regenerated, or when she traveled, but he could be here for her now. Jack Harkness was a good man, he’d give him that, but he was still just a man, and he was prone to temptation. Jenny couldn’t possibly be ready for a man of his… experience.

“What?” Jack stuttered, obviously caught off guard.

“Do you love her,” he repeated, getting up from the chair and standing in front of him. Somehow, the lanky Time Lord managed to look threatening as he leaned forward towards Jack but didn’t touch him. “Will you always love her? Even if you know you’ll lose her?”

“Yes,” Jack said instantly.

“Because, I know, Jack, how hard it is. Watching them grow old, you know that Jenny will wither and die in the end, she only gets to regenerate ten more times, and then that’s it. I’ve left companions without looking back, and I don’t want you doing that to my daughter.”

The words seemed to pour from the Doctor’s lips on their own accord, as he stared at Jack. He knew they sounded hypocritical, and presumptuous, but he couldn’t help it. If Rose had never helped him, he might still be leaving companions, or never letting them get close. He knew from experience that a man could be made better by the right person. Rose had proven that, but it took time. Jenny would have to wheedle her way into Jack’s heart like his Rose had done, and she would have to hold him back when he went too far, and she would have to push him forward when he thought that he could no longer take another step.

And, he would have to take Jenny’s hand and hold it when she reached out. Not hold anything back, like he had done for too long and finally vowed to cease doing with Rose. He would have to run by her side when there was trouble and when she just wanted to feel the breeze run through her hair. He would have to be there for her when all he wanted to do was run away.

“Promise me, Jack.”

“I promise, Doctor,” Jack told him. “She’s my wife. The stupid computer just had to go and crash. I should have known that it would have thrown me back to a section of the library she wouldn’t have been in.”

Raising an eyebrow, the Doctor looked like he was about to question him, but he stopped. “Don’t Jack, just don’t.”

“Whatever you say,” Jack joked, as he slid to the right and the Doctor receded back into his chair.

“You’re not married, not really.”

“We are,” Jack said with conviction, his voice rising slightly. “Six years together, and two-”

“Six assumed years together in a computer’s hard drive. It altered both of your ways of thinking. You made each other into the perfect spouse, but you skipped the fights, the late nights waiting… the searching.”

Biting his lip, the Doctor forced himself to stop. He was getting too emotionally attached. He needed to back up, catch a breath and think this through logically before he said something stupid, but in judging the anger in Jack’s voice it was already too late.

“I do love her,” Jack told him harshly, while he turned on his heel balling his hands in fists before turning back to the Doctor, eyes blazing. “You know it’s been a couple thousand years since I last saw you?”

“Yeah, so?” he asked quietly, while he looked over to Jack and tried to ignore the pain that he thought could only come from his own reflection. He had seen so much, maybe even more than the Doctor in some respects. He had been tied down like he had never been before and forced to take the slow path.

“I’ve changed. I lost everyone at Torchwood; I left the organization completely eventually, when I couldn’t stand it anymore. I’ve met more people, floated around, and tried to move on.”

Jack paused for a moment, offering the Doctor an opportunity to jump on him, but he didn’t take it.

“I’m not going to lie and say that I was completely detached from everyone, I wasn’t, but it stopped being what it used to be, Doctor. It wasn’t fun anymore. It was trying to catch what wasn’t there, what used to be.”

Looking up, the Doctor gave him a questioning look. “Until you met, Jenny?”

“Yes,” Jack said emphatically. “She was different. When I was with her I didn’t want to wander. I didn’t want to run away, and that was even before I found out about her being part Time Lord. Something about her was right.”

“That’s what she said,” the Doctor mumbled, “well, something to that effect. She even said that when she noticed you were a fixed point, she only found it… endearing.”

“Can you blame her?” Jack asked, flashing his winning smile. His eyes however remained serious and completely sober. “I promise, Doctor.”

“I believe you,” he paused, pointing a finger in his direction. “But, I swear, if you hurt her… I’ll… I’ll…”

Jack held up his hands. “I know. I know, airlock, right?”

“Right,” the Doctor confirmed.

Jack grinned, knowing that he would never give Jenny’s father a chance to hurt him. “You were sort of right though, about her not being really married to me. But, I was going to mitigate it. With this.”

Watching as Jack’s hand went into his pocket, the Doctor braced himself for what was to come. He knew that look. He had one night, after letting alcohol take its effect on him, considered giving Jackie Tyler that look. He still might have given it to her, if it were not for her being trapped in a parallel universe. The look when someone asked for their child’s…

The box was covered in the tradition red velvet, as Jack opened it briefly to show his hopefully-future-father-in-law the ring. He clicked it shut after a few moments, as if he didn’t want to let anyone but Jenny get the full effect of the item. It seemed wrong to see the reflection of the open box in anyone’s eyes besides Jenny’s.

“Can I ask her?” Jack asked, softly, as he tucked the box back into his pocket quickly, as he glanced over the Doctor shoulder and suddenly his whole expression changed. “Can I ask her if she wants me to show her around Earth, while you and Rose visit Donna? I’ll have her home by midnight.” He forced a cheeky grin onto his face, but it was somewhat strained.

The Doctor whirled around to see Jenny and Rose standing there. Rose looked rather smugly at Jenny, who was completely decked out, except for her new black converses. A small amount of makeup covered her cheeks in a soft blush and brought out her lips against her soft-toned skin. She smiled sheepishly, while she stepped forward and twirled around.

“Of course,” the Doctor said, quickly turning back toward Jack for a brief second to throw a wink in his direction.

“Thanks,” Jack mumbled, as he walked past the Doctor and towards Jenny

Her cheeks blushed a bit, as she stared down at her feet and turned them in and out at the ankles. She ran her fingers through her loose hair and brushed away her freshly trimmed bangs. His hands found their way to her sides where they rested for a few brief seconds as his eyes sought hers.

“How does that sound?” He asked, referring to the walk around London.

“I’d like that,” Jenny told him, not noticing that Rose had gravitated back towards the Doctor on the Captain’s chair and was leaning across his chest, reaching up and pecking him sweetly on the lips, tap her temple and say something to the affect, of ‘the TARDIS told me.’

Instead, Jenny just kept staring at Jack, his cool blue eyes filling over with too many emotions for such a simple task. None the less, she looped her arms behind the back of his neck and brought him down to her level. Their foreheads brushed against one another and she stole a soft kiss.

“You look gorgeous,” Jack said, with a soft chuckle, before turning over to Rose. “You couldn’t put on a dress too. The more the merrier,” he joked.

“Rose is showing me, how to… erm… adjust my style,” she told him, and motioned to her shoes. “Did you know that black goes with anything? Strange customs color coordinating.”

“Well, you know, it alters as you move through history,” the Doctor put in while he stood and put a hand on his daughter shoulder. “You do look lovely. Love the shoes, especially. Good for running.”

“Running,” Rose said with a soft laugh and took the Doctor’s hand, a previous memory ghosting over both their faces nostalgically.

“Love the running,” Jenny said, giggling.

Jack grinned, putting his hand on Jenny’s waist and pulling her closely, feeling the smooth fabric beneath his fingers. His eyes skimmed over her, stopping to linger on every curve perfectly hugged by the dress, over her face, and to her freshly trimmed hair.

“Well, might have to wait for a while to get Donna,” the Doctor interrupted, as he walked over to the console and tried to type in another destination, but only elicited a pained groan from the TARDIS, causing Rose to rub her temples in discomfort.

“Don’t do that,” Rose muttered, looking at the Doctor with distaste for the first time. “She hates it.”

The pain wasn’t terrible, no worse than an average migraine, but when it was coming from the TARDIS’s discomfort she became worried.

Stepping forward, the Doctor put his hands on her shoulders and guided them down to her hands. “What is it? What do you feel, Rose?”

Rose shook her head, leaning over the TARDIS console and walked around it, while her hand trailed along the edge. “I dunno. It’s wrong, so wrong.”

The pain was increasing now, and everything was starting to spin. The TARDIS was screaming at her, trying desperately to get her attention, but she couldn’t understand her through the pain and confusion.

“Rose, focus.”

“They’re calling,” she muttered, looking at the Doctor fearfully. “Doctor, they’re calling. They’re calling from nowhere.”

“Who is? Rose.” His eyes were growing in concern, as she visibly began to shake in front of him. Jack and Jenny moved in as well, Jenny putting her hand on her friend’s shoulder and Jack getting ready to catch her should she start to fall.

“The dead, the dying, the missing, the impossible,” Rose said, looking up at the Doctor. “The boxes, the box with the most impossible message. It’s so sad. They’ll make you so sad. Oh, Doctor.”

Rose practically threw herself towards the Doctor, as she wrapped her arms around his neck and held on as if her life depended on it. Her hands clawed at the fabric of his jacket and held on almost painfully, while he clung back. He looked over her shoulder to see Jack and Jenny staring at her silently, while Jack’s hand slowly threaded its way through Jenny’s.

“Rose, tell me what’s wrong,” the Doctor demanded gently, pulling back from her slightly, so he could look in her eyes. “Take your time and just tell me.”

Rose shook her head, trying to clear her thoughts before nodding. She drew a deep breath and released her hands from around the Doctor so that they fell limply at her sides. She looked away from the Doctor and back at the console.

“She’s scared,” Rose whispered, looking at the Jenny and Jack. “Don’t let them trick you.”

“Who?” Jack asked, stepping towards Rose, but she drew back shaking her head and blinking several times.

“Sorry,” she muttered, as she looked at the Doctor and grinned. “Don’t know what came over me. Must be tired or something. So, back to Donna, right?”

The Doctor looked at Rose with deep concern, letting his eyes wander over her as if whatever was ailing her would jump out from nowhere. She looked healthy, and the fear from her eyes was almost completely gone. He touched her cheek with his hand and gently skimmed over her cheekbone with his thumb, letting her warmth spread through him and offer him some confidence.

“Yeah, was about to tell you and Jenny. The TARDIS won’t let us move for the time being, it’s like she’s waiting for something,” the Doctor said, addressing Jenny as well, before she began to try he own hand at the computer system since her father seemed stumped. “Rose, you’re connected to the TARDIS, do you feel anything?”

“Not anymore, no,” she said shaking her head, trying to grasp at the emotions and ideas that had filled her head before, but finding that it was hidden from her. Thinking hard, and touching the central column for support, she reached into the TARDIS, letting the Bad Wolf in her seek out its mistress. “She knows it has to happen, but she doesn’t want it to happen. She doesn’t want it to.”

“Doesn’t want what?” the Doctor asked, looking away from Rose and at the ceiling of his ship, letting his hand fall back and touch one of the coral struts. “It’s okay,” he whispered, letting his mind fall back as well and touch her gently. “I’ll handle it.”

Whatever it was he would handle it, he had too much at stake now to not try to figure it out.

“Doctor,” Jack spoke loudly catching his friend’s attention, before letting his voice drop. “Do you hear that?”

A soft knocking came from the double doors at the bottom of the ramp, immediately, Jenny walked over quickly to open it, but Jack caught her arm. “We don’t know what it is.”

“Does it matter?” Jenny asked, releasing herself from Jack’s grip and looking at her father, who was walking past her with Rose at his side.

“Someone’s out there,” the Doctor muttered, while he looked at Rose, “was that what she meant?”

“I don’t think so, something about a house, she’s saying now,” Rose stated softly.

The Doctor nodded, putting his hand on the door before looking back. “You know that it’s impossible for anyone out there to be knocking, right?”

“You like impossible,” Jack reminded him with a grin, while he leaned back nonchalantly on the railing.

“Yeah, plus, we’ve got shielding, so anything that’s out there, the TARDIS would have had to let in,” Jenny added.

“Right, so this can’t be what she’s afraid of,” the Doctor reasoned as he cracked a smile. “On we go then.” He pushed the doors open with a flourish as a small white box flew past him and landed in Rose’s hands before leaping out and landing back into the Doctor’s.

“What is that?” Jenny asked, pushing her glasses further up her nose as they annoyingly slid down again.

“It’s a hypercube,” the Doctor replied mystically, wonder clear on his face as all his outer worries seemed to melt away.

Jack reached out carefully, as the Doctor let it fall into his hands. “I only read about these in school. They’re like advance alien communication.”

“Oi!” the Doctor protested, while he took the cube and stroked it a bit with his fingers. “Advanced obviously, but you’re on my ship and Time Lords are not aliens here. Besides, if you count Time Ladies, we out number you, Harkness. You are technically the alien.”

Sniffing, the Doctor lounged back on the captain’s chair, while Rose and Jenny snickered.

“Fine, but that means there’s another Time Lord out there,” Jack said, while he watched the Doctor turn the box over in his hands and reveal an insignia of a snake eating its own tail. Jack watched the smile grow on his face. “What is it?”

“It’s an Ouroboros,” the Doctor said wistfully, as he trailed his finger down the image one more time before sonicing it once with his screwdriver and plugging it into the console, as a beeping was emitted from the device and the Doctor looked onto the screen to see the TARDIS had finally decided to behave herself. “I had an old friend of mine. He regenerated and kept that tattooed to his arm, even turned into a women once, still had it. She liked to flaunt that,” he said, his voice raising an octave as he began to fervently punch in commands into the TARDIS, as it began to rattle around uncontrollably.

Jack reached out to steady Jenny against, him, while the Doctor took Rose’s hand with one of his, while the other still punched away at the controls.

“But, Doctor,” Rose shouted over the din of the ancient ship. “You said that you’d feel if there was another Time Lord. You said it felt empty.”

“It does,” the Doctor exclaimed. “They’re not in this universe, though. They’re outside of it, according to this signal. It’s leading me to loads, there’s dozens of them, Rose! More Time Lords.”

“What if they’re like the Master?” Jack yelled grimly.

“I’ll handle it,” the Doctor shrugged off, as the next shake nearly knocked him off his feet.

“What’s that?” Jenny asked.

“I’m burning rooms for fuel,” her father answered, running his hands over his face briefly. “There goes Jack’s, the library, the swimming pool—which is in the library, so I don’t know why I listed that, Rose’s room, Jenny’s room, my room, kitchen, extra rooms, and all the other rooms I can’t remember.”

“All of them?” Jenny asked.

“Nahh, just seventy percent, really,” he replied, as he gripped the console as the knocking turned into a constant shake. “I’m letting the TARDIS choose mostly.”

The clattering continued, as the Doctor sobered slightly, as the cloister bell began to sound. He gathered Rose into his arms and smiled, touching the pendant around her neck briefly before mumming, “I love you,” in her ear. She looked up at him about to reply, but the fear in his eyes made her hesitate and the next thing she knew was the Doctor’s lips against hers, then darkness.

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