“Captain, the Queen requests your presence. Immediately.”
The line went dead. Jack swung the SUV around, ignoring the honks and squeals around him.
“What are you doing?” Gwen cried out, grabbing the JC bar for support.
“The Queen needs me,” Jack said.
Gwen took the comment in stride, after a brief commentary on his driving skills, and went along for the ride.
They had been investigating another haunting, which proved to be no more than an over-anxious teenager with a hormone imbalance. The parents were advised to take their daughter in for counseling.
Gwen shook her head and re-oriented herself to the speed and traffic-dodging.
“Is Ianto cooking tonight?” Gwen asked as she typed her report into the screen that swung over her lap.
“Take-out,” he said. “Did you want something specific?”
“No, luv, just wondering,” she said with a smile. Jack returned the smile as the warm fuzzies spread through him. It had been a long time since someone (other than Gwen or Ianto) had used an endearment on him and meant it. The first time Gwen used it, he had been stunned into silence. No one had called him ‘luv’ in ages. Other than an old granny or two after helping to carry groceries.
Ten months of togetherness had smoothed out a lot of rough edges between the three. Gwen and Ianto would both sleep with him, but playtime had a tendency to be one or the other. They had no interest in each other except as friends.
Sometimes watching occurred, usually Gwen watching; she was a little uncomfortable with Ianto watching. Jack was ok with it. If either of them wanted more time, they discussed it among themselves before going to Jack for his opinion. Both men had learned to heed the ‘monthly’ warnings and give the lady whatever she wanted during that time.
“Which queen are we going to see?” she asked, saving her report.
“Of the gypsies.”
Once more, Gwen accepted it. He had once taken them to meet the queen of the local motorcycle club; the queen’s name was Beauregard and he had a thick, snarled beard and beautifully manicured, red fingernails.
“Should we bring anything?”
“No,” Jack said. “I don’t know if she’ll see you, so just hang tight. I don’t know what she wants.”
“How’d you meet her?” Gwen asked.
“By accident,” he said. “About 120 years ago.”
“One hundred…. Jack, is she human?” Gwen asked suspiciously.
They reached the old tavern, parked, and went in. Jack moved through the crowd who had turned to watch them enter. Every one of these people would try and kill me if I so much as looked at one of them wrong, he knew. They did try. Once. Old timers whispered to the up-and-comers; bodies drew away from him and many
evil-eye signs were sketched in the air with superstitious fingers. Jack came to the curtain and he was stopped. The guard looked past him at Gwen.
“She’s with me,” Jack said.
“Let them both in,” came a young voice from within. The guard stood back and let them through.
A young girl sat at an old wooden table, a deck of cards spread out before her. She picked one up and looked at it. Jack saw the picture; a woman with a leafy wand. A Queen. The girl looked at the card and then at Gwen.
“She is the one,” the girl said.
“I know.” Jack sat across from the girl.
“The time is near,” the queen said, turning over another card. A reversed Universe. The next card was a reversed Castle.
“I know.” Jack leaned forward, waiting.
“Lost avatars. I’m sorry for your loss.”
“Thank you,” he said.
“This is an unexpected weakness in the link.”
“I know.” The loss of Owen and Tosh was keenly felt. The little queen was frowning at her cards.
“And yet…. Not lost,” she said, shaking her head in confusion. “One will return in a different form.”
Jack leaned forward, feeling Gwen leaning in over his shoulder as they looked down at the cards on the table.
“What do you mean?” Jack asked, looking sharply at her.
She shook her head. “I… don’t know yet. I haven’t seen this configuration before. The dead –rising. Other than you, I mean. I will need to meditate on this one.”
“The Magician will be here when he is needed,” she continued. Jack could see that she had been spooked by whatever she had seen. “He has a new companion. He fears you, captain, and yet he will be at your side when you call.”
“Why would he fear me?” Jack asked, not imagining the Doctor fearing anything.
“Because you should not Be.”
Jack gave a nod. “Oh, that. Yes, he’s mentioned it. What about a new crew? Anything I should know before I start bringing people in?”
“The information is scattered,” she said, putting more cards down. “This timeline was not supposed to happen. Do as you can; fate is now in control.”
“Great,” Jack muttered. “What about you? Will you be secure?”
“Don’t worry about me,” she said. Her smile was out of place on the face of a child. This was no child, though. “You have two more due to come your way; one is present but the placement is unsure. Be careful there. Your Knight of Swords is female, so keep on the lookout for her. She will be an essential part of this future.”
She sat back and studied the two before her.
“This was unexpected, also,” she said with a thoughtful nod. “The bond, though, brings a more stable strength. Excellently played.”
“Not my doing,” Jack said. “I found it unexpected, too.”
They returned to the SUV and continued back to the Hub.
“Why does she look like a child if she’s 120 years old?” Gwen asked.
“That’s the normal appearance of her species,” Jack told her. “They have a lifespan of about 300 years, and they all look like human pre-teens. What I wouldn’t give to look that young again.”
“What’s that thing she’s doing with those cards? Tarot cards, yeah?”
“Yes. The cards are just a focus tool,” he said, jumping into a left lane ahead of a slow driver. “Her species senses time waves; the more likely an outcome, the stronger they can sense it. A few humans can do it; most are too insensitive.”
“Oi!” she frowned.
“I mean, most humans aren’t sensitive enough to feel time on a conscious level,” he continued. “Don’t look at me, I certainly can’t do it.”
“And how good is she?” Gwen asked, glancing up from her laptop.
“I’ve never known her to be wrong.” She pushed the laptop away, frowning in thought.
“Jack, how much has the future been changed because of… Owen and Tosh? Are we in
“I don’t know.”
He honestly didn’t know; most planets knew their own history, especially major events even if they were thousands of years in the past. Jack had jumped around enough in Earth’s timelines, besides peaking at histories in the TARDIS, to know where to go and what not to do. He remembered future Earth. The one they were entering wasn’t it.
“What can I do to help?” she asked.
He glanced at her. “With what?”
“Don’t pull that with me, Jack Harkness,” she informed him. “We’re going to need help; how do we get it?”
“No! Everything is up for grabs, now, so there’s no use pulling that no changing the future crap! Tell me!”
Stopped for the light, Jack rubbed his palms on his thighs, feeling the sweat breaking out. He didn’t know why Gwen brought it out of him; anyone else he would have tossed over a cliff. “Look, their deaths were expected, ok? Just not now! Tosh should have had about another year, and Owen should have had another
seven or so; their replacements aren’t ready! The kid who’s supposed to take Tosh’s place is only 14, at this point, discovering his new boner! I don’t know what to do next, any more than anyone else on this fucking planet!”
Gwen took a deep breath, calming herself. She put a hand on his leg. “Then we’ll do it the old fashioned way –one day at a time. Yeah?”
Jack took a few deep breaths of his own. “Yeah.” He squeezed her hand and continued in traffic when the light turned.
“Let’s do this, shall we?” she said. “Have Ianto take over the tech desk until we find someone else, and we bring in someone to take care of the office. That would be easier than finding a techie to break in. We’ll ask Martha to come over and be doctor while we are finding that position, too.”
“She’s in America. Re-assigned.”
“And? Have her re-re-assigned. Call in a few favors. She’s the only person equipped for this job.”
Jack had to agree; of all the medical personnel he knew only Martha Jones had the knowledge to deal with their type of emergencies. Ianto could certainly do the job of their tech specialist; he was excellent with the computers and had often helped Tosh straighten out alien devices. They needed a coffee-boy and someone to run interference up top.
“What about your buddy Andy?” he asked. Gwen was blank.
“What about him?”
“How’s his coffee?”
Gwen turned in her seat to face him. “Are you serious? Andy??”
Jack shrugged. “He knows you’re up to something, more than Special Ops, knows it’s probably aliens, he hasn’t said anything, he’s started to accept your authority whenever we invade his scenes, and he’s careful about not contaminating scenes. Can he handle it?”
Gwen was surprised that Jack had noticed all that. But then, maybe she shouldn’t be surprised. Jack notices more than he lets on.
“Perhaps,” she said thoughtfully. “I’ll take him to lunch. Keep your hands off him, though, he’s very protective of his bum.”
Jack smiled. “Not my type.”
Gwen looked disbelieving. “You have a type?”
While Gwen was taking Andy to lunch, Jack jumped onto the internet to call Martha in the States. UNIT had transferred to her New York to head up their medical section. Getting her to step away from it would take some persuasion.
“You want me to do what?”
Jack stared at the incredulous young woman on his screen.
“Jack, I’m sorry for your loss, really I am, but you want me to resign from UNIT, as their CMO, to come and work in a damp hole in the ground? David will kill me! We like New York!”
“Well, so do I,” he said. “The shopping is fabulous. I’d like to keep it in one piece, and I need a team to help me do that. Is there anyone else you can recommend for this job?”
Martha’s mouth moved like a fish as she grabbed her hair.
“What does David do? I’ll hire him, too,” Jack graciously offered.
“You are insane,” she informed him. “Bloody insane.”
The screen went blank. Jack stared at it for a moment. Nope, she was gone.
“David is a teacher,” Ianto informed him from across the room. “Primary school. He is currently testing for a US certificate.”
Jack swiveled his chair around.
“And you know this how?”
Ianto gestured toward his computer. “Email. Sometimes Martha wants tips on what to do with a man’s body. We chat.”
“Why didn’t she ask me?” Jack wanted to know, slightly put out. Not just gender but also species experience. For a hundred or so years. Alright, almost two hundred…. One hundred and eighty minus 14 is…..
“Because I’m cuter.”
“What did you tell her?”
“Jack, contrary to your own popular opinion, not everything is about you,” Ianto said. There was a ghost of a smile around his lips.
“Well, who else have you been telling her about? I can bring up your emails, you know.”
“I deleted them from the hard-drive. Maybe I was telling her about things I like to have done to me.”
Jack smiled. “Such as?” he purred.
By the second sentence, Jack had Ianto bent over the desk.
Ok, so things had been a little dull lately. Romping around the office with Ianto and Gwen was certainly a lot more fun than chasing down bad guys, but still –Jack was bored. It was as though the universe had realized that taking Tosh and Owen was a breaking point and It was giving Jack some time out. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time he had spent many years with nothing better to do. He needed the work, though, if nothing else than to take his mind off his missing team mates. It would also take his mind off his little brother, laying in a cryo-unit in the lab.
Jack couldn’t blame Gray for any of the events, not even for killing Tosh; Jack blamed the brainwashing from those bleepin’ slavers and he blamed himself for not looking harder. After so many years, he honestly thought Gray was dead. It had never occurred to him that someone would not only find Gray but also bring him back through time to face Jack and take his revenge. Jack was having a few thoughts of revenge, himself.
For the first few weeks, Jack would sit on the floor, staring at the door of the unit, willing Gray to hear his thoughts and listen to Jack’s heart crying out in pain. Gwen finally came in and informed Jack that not only was eating a good thing, so was a shower.
Jack considered calling the Doctor. He also considered retconning Gray. That one was a serious temptation. But how deep did the conditioning go? There was a good possibility that the retcon wouldn’t take.
After romping with Ianto, the guys cleaned up and went about their tasks. Ianto was cleaning something they found at an estate sale; Jack had taken one look at it and had the building closed down for a ‘gas leak’ until he could get a close look at everything that was left from the sale. He brought back a box filled with souvenirs from a crash site that someone had collected. Thankfully, none of them were dangerous and visitors wouldn’t look twice at them if they were sitting out in the open as decorations; they’d think the stuff was interesting art. Most of it was kitchen ware and maintenance tools.
The phone rang and Ianto answered it.
“Jack, Gwen’s bringing Andy in, alright?” he called out.
“Yep!” Jack wondered how PC Andy would deal with feeding their office pet.
Five minutes later, the doors opened and Gwen was ushering the spooked young man into the Hub. Andy’s strawberry blond hair was practically standing on end and his eyes were as wide as saucers. Jack had retcon in his pocket, just in case. Just then, there was a familiar whirring sound echoing through the Hub. Jack whipped his head around, waiting. A blue box appeared in the middle of the room.
He waved at Gwen and Ianto who had drawn their guns.
“Doctor!” Jack shouted in joy. The door opened and a lean man with spiked brown hair stepped out.
“What the hell have you done, Jack!” he demanded, stomping across the room toward Jack. Jack frowned.
“What?” He was honestly confused; as far as he was aware, he didn’t do it. Whatever IT was.
“There is a mess out there,” the Doctor told him, pointing at the ceiling which was a long way up, “and it all stems back to here.” He was pointing at the floor. Another person came out of the box, a buxom woman with red hair. Jack would have rolled her in an instant, if he didn’t have two lovers looking pointedly at him.
“Oooh, cute,” she said, looking over Jack’s form from head to foot. “Listen, gorgeous, he’s trying to tell you that we’re a little tired of putting out the fires that have suddenly sprung up. He seems to think you have something to do with them. Do you?”
Gwen and Ianto had come to stand next to Jack. Gwen made Andy sit down before he fell down, and keep his mouth shut.
“There’s been nothing serious happening recently,” Jack said. “We went to a yard sale and found some Phonorus kitchen ware.” He shrugged in his confusion. “You want it?”
“Jack,” Gwen leaned in toward him. “Is this….?” She tilted her head at the angry man.
“Oh, sorry; Gwen Cooper, Ianto Jones, this is the Doctor. I don’t know the lady’s name, I’m sorry. And that’s Andy, over there; he’s here to interview for a position.”
The Doctor looked at Jack.
“Not that position,” Jack clarified. Andy was shaking his head quickly in agreement.
“That’s my position,” Ianto said. The red-haired lady laughed and then put a hand over her mouth when the Doctor glanced at her.
The Doctor took a deep breath, ran a hand through his spiked hair, and calmed himself.
“Alright, let’s start over, shall we?” he suggested. “Let’s assume you don’t know what I’m talking about, Jack. Pleasure to meet you all, this is Donna Noble; Jack, let’s talk.”
He turned and walked back into his blue box. Jack took Donna’s hand, kissed her knuckles, winked, and followed the Doctor.
The inside of the TARDIS was as Jack remembered it, looking like a very old tree with lots of branches and roots growing from ceiling to floor and back again around the main heart of the living machine.
The Doctor pressed a few buttons and levers, bringing up images on the monitors; different planets with different catastrophes happening. Mostly human colonies, Jack noted. He read the attached notes, generated by the TARDIS, listing all the sudden changes in time and history that were taking place.
“If we did something to cause this, I don’t know what it was,” he told the Doctor, his voice sober. “I swear to you.” He held up a hand.
The Doctor looked at him for a moment and then gave a nod. He sat on the bench near the consol, his long legs stuck out in front of him as he slouched.
“Tell me about your last couple of years,” he said. “Since you returned from our last outing.”
Jack quickly organized his thoughts and memories into a cohesive order, and began to talk as he brought up another monitor where he logged into his office computer. The TARDIS immediately downloaded the files. He knew the Doctor was reading through a report that contained Rose’s involvement when the man stilled and studied the screen more intently. While Jack was reporting on one incident, the TARDIS red-flagged a file. The Doctor jumped to his feet, slapped glasses onto his face, and scanned the report. Jack leaned over his shoulder to see. His heart fell.
“That was five months ago,” he said. “Lost two good people. I know they’re supposed to be part of Earth’s entrance into the galaxy but….”
“This is it, Jack,” the Doctor said, taking off his glasses and tapping the screen with them.
Jack’s mind was racing. “Can’t you go back and…?”
“No,” the man shook his head emphatically. “And you know that, Jack. If I go back and rescue them, we’d need to go back even farther to the events that led up to the reasons which placed them in those positions and on and on back. No, we can’t do that; what’s done is done. Let’s deal with this timeline.”
Jack stuck his hands under his arms while he watched the Doctor pace in thought.
“How long until Colin Wilson is available?” he asked.
“He’s a kid; only 14, at the moment,” Jack said, shaking his head. “No where near ready.”
“And Clara Burbank?”
“First year medical student.”
“Every thing else is still on its proper time schedule,” the Doctor muttered to himself. “How close is Miz Cooper?”
“Very,” Jack was pleased to tell him. “Still a little wet behind the ears, but she’s getting it.”
The Doctor scrolled through the reports on the screen. “I would never have thought it, but you’ve changed Torchwood,” he commented. “Never did understand why its existence was important; I do now. You might need to take over the London office before scheduled. If you need to leave here, can Ms. Cooper handle
Jack thought about it, pinching his lower lip. It had been a long time since he had someone to talk future histories and time with, without the person threatening to commit him to the loony bin. “I think so,” he said. “She dealt very well with things while I was gone for a year with you. Although, it was only a couple of months for them.”
“I can see that,” the Doctor said, reading a summary report. “Jack, I’d like to take Gray to Hippocrates 4 for treatment.”
Jack stopped breathing for a moment at the unexpected comment. “You think there’s a chance of saving him?”
The Doctor straightened up from the console and put his hand on Jack’s shoulder, giving it a squeeze.
“I think so,” he said with a nod. “They’ve dealt with these situations before with excellent results.”
“I’ll have him ready for you when you leave,” Jack promised. The Doctor looked closely at him while shoving his glasses inside his jacket pocket. Jack was convinced that the pockets were made of the same stuff as the TARDIS.
“You’re happy,” the Doctor stated after a moment. The corners of Jack’s mouth lifted.
“More than I’ve ever been before,” he said. On an off-chance, he held out his left wrist which held his time watch. The last time he saw the Doctor, the man had hexed it so Jack couldn’t use the jumper.
“I don’t think so,” the Doctor said cheerfully.
“Do you want to hear about…?” Jack tilted his head toward the screen.
“No,” the Doctor stated. Jack didn’t think so; the subject of Rose was a touchy one. The first woman the Doctor had fallen in love with in thousands of years, and he couldn’t have her. Shakespeare would have loved it.
“If my partners have been trying to teach me anything,” Jack said, “it’s that hugs are a good thing.” Without waiting for the Doctor to jump away, Jack grabbed the man and pulled him into his arms. He kissed the tensed man, refusing to let go. After a moment, the Doctor relaxed slightly. The Doctor pulled his mouth away and leaned his hands on the consol behind Jack, resting the top of his head in the center of Jack’s chest. Jack touched the sides of his head and bent down to press his mouth to the brown hair.
“She said I’m the closest thing to a Time Lord after you,” Jack said softly. “That makes us family.” He ran his hands over the Doctor’s back before pulling him up. “Like it or not.”
The Doctor frowned but Jack didn’t buy it.
“I’ll consider it,” the Doctor grumped.
Jack grinned. During their time together, with Rose, Jack had seen a side of the Time Lord that few others had –the hearts he hides from the universe. A grumpy Doctor no longer worried Jack.
“Stick around a while?” Jack invited him.
The Doctor stepped back, shaking his head.
“No, we need to go,” he said abruptly. “Get Gray for me.”
Jack nodded. He hoped that this incarnation of the Doctor was going to be around for a while because there’s no telling what personality the next incarnation would hold; for all Jack knew, the next Doctor would be an asshole that he wanted nothing to do with. This Doctor was fun and loveable. And a really great bed-buddy. He also knew they were destined to continue crossing paths until long into the future, which meant that Jack would have a playmate for a long time until his body began to break down. They had a few million years before than happened.
“Ianto!” Jack called when he stepped out of the box. “Have Gray’s cryo prepared for travel.”
Startled by the request, Ianto hesitated for a moment. “Yes, sir,” he said. He pulled Andy along with him to the lab.
“Jack?” Gwen asked, her eyes going back and forth between Jack and the Doctor.
“Hippocrates 4 has first class medical facilities,” Jack told her.
Gwen stepped up to the Doctor, looking carefully into his eyes. He returned the look.
“Have we met before?” she asked in confusion. A feeling of déjà vu kept rushing over her whenever she looked at him.
“No. And yes. I glad to see you again,” he unexpectedly told her. “I was hoping you’d return.”
Leaving her with that cryptic message, he turned and quickly opened the TARDIS door for Ianto and the hovering cryo-coffin.
“This won’t fit into that box,” Andy hissed at Ianto.
“You, Andy, hold this open,” the Doctor said, waving a finger at the man as he opened the second door. Andy huffed and went to the blue box. He stepped inside to hold the doors. When he glanced inside, expecting nothing more than a cramped box, he yelped and jumped out.
“It….! It….. what?! How….?!”
“Will you just hold the door?” the Doctor asked with extreme patience.
Ianto paused at Jack. Jack squatted, brushing the frost away from the window plate to look at his brother’s sleeping face. He touched the plate for a moment and then stood.
“I’ll take him,” Jack said. Ianto gave a nod and stepped away. Jack took the chamber and continued the walk across the room while Ianto and Gwen stood respectfully by.
“Who is that?” Donna whispered, watching the men maneuver the tank into the blue box.
“Jack’s little brother,” Gwen said softly. Donna stepped back.
Inside the TARDIS, Jack watched the Doctor connect the tank to the power feeds.
“I’ll take good care of him,” the Doctor promised Jack. Jack gave a nod and the Doctor squeezed his arm for a moment. Without looking behind, Jack pointed. Andy, wide-eyed as he stared around the large cavern, rabbited out the door.
“I was contemplating earlier today to call and ask you to take him,” Jack commented.
“You should have,” the Doctor said, kindness in his brown eyes. “This would have been important enough.”
Jack turned and put his arms around the man. He was held for a moment and then he pushed away to walk out the door.
“Donna!” The yell came from inside. Donna jumped and then hurried to the TARDIS.
The doors closed, the warning light above came on, and the box disappeared in a whoosh of sound.
Jack watched, continuing to stare even after the space was empty.
“Can he help?” Gwen asked gently, touching his stiff back.
“If he can’t, no one can,” Jack told her. “Andy! Coffee!”
Jack turned on his heels and went to his office. He pecked hard at his keyboard, causing it to jump, and brought up the files for Torchwood 1 in London. Jack needed to be distracted; his brother was in safe hands. Let it go.
The London office was new, only a couple years old in its rebuilding. After the Canary Warf incident, it had taken Jack quite some time to get the place back together, people it, and institute new protocols. Politics took Jack out of the picture after his hard work, and replaced management with people who were a little more ‘flexible’ when it came to kissing ass. Jack didn’t care; he’d have no problem taking over if things became necessary for that type of action. He didn’t want the responsibility, but he could do it. They still hadn’t realized
that he had long ago hacked their system to keep a close eye on things. Tosh would have noticed right away.
Jack pushed the keyboard away.
Jack jumped and put a hand to his chest. “Christ, Ianto, wear a bell or something.”
“Where shall I hang it?” Ianto asked, a ghost of a smile around his lips. A plate containing a sandwich was placed on the desk. Jack hadn’t even noticed the cup of coffee which was now cold.
“Is Andy surviving?” he asked. He picked up Ianto’s hand to play with the long fingers.
“Relatively,” Ianto said. “He’s still hyperventilating over that police box. I think I’m still hyperventilating over that police box.”
“Was this any good while it was hot?” Jack asked, indicating the cold coffee.
“Not bad,” Ianto admitted. “It’s a little weak; spoon doesn’t stand up on its own.”
Jack pulled Ianto in closer and laid his head against the man’s stomach. He smiled at the sounds beneath his ear.
“Time and relative dimensions in space.”
“What?” Ianto leaned back to look at the top of the chestnut colored hair at his stomach.
“The blue box,” Jack mumbled. “TARDIS. Anagram for Time And Relative Dimensions In Space. It’s a ship. It’s alive, it had to be grown, but it’s still a ship.”
“Time travel?” Ianto commented. Jack noticed that Ianto made the immediate leap based on nothing more than the name of the ship. “Cool. Like what your watch used to do?”
Jack smiled and leaned back in his chair. “I wish,” he groaned. “My watch only jumped me around, and I could only hope to land in the correct place. The TARDIS is more exacting. Like the difference between a scooter and a Jag. The Doctor doesn’t need to know I said that.”
Ianto smiled and pulled away. “Gwen wants cuddle time tonight.”
“With you? Ok.”
The man shook his head and picked up the cold coffee. “No, with you,” he said.
“I’m going out with mates.”
The door opened again. Jack was glad he was sitting.
“Rose,” he acknowledged. “This is getting to be a habit, honey.”
The black leather pants and vest were almost as interesting as the saber at her side. Since when did Rose know how to use a sword? What the hell were they doing over there?
Ianto escaped the hand on his upper thigh and excused himself.
“Not that I’m not ecstatic to see you, but I thought you were going to stay on your side of the dimensional highway?”
She tugged his chair around and made herself at home on his lap. Jack became even more concerned when he felt the slight tremor in her body.
“What’s wrong?” He wrapped his arms around her and held her.
She curled up into his chest, hiding her face in his neck. Gwen stuck her head in the door, a question on her face. He could see Andy across the room; his face was white. Rose must have appeared out of thin air in front of the man’s eyes. Jack shook his head and Gwen quietly shut the door.
“He’s been here,” Rose said commented.
Jack thought about it.
“What makes you think that?” he asked.
“I can smell ‘im,” she said. She fiddled with a button on his shirt and gently snapped the red suspender against his chest.
“You’re scaring me, Rose,” he told her. Were they invaded or something? What the hell? How could she smell the Doctor?
“I passed out,” she said. Jack pulled away to look at her. “After the third time, they did all sorts of tests. My DNA changed.”
“Third time? What? Rose, DNA doesn’t change,” he told her, arms splayed out as he attempted to reason with her.
Ok, he would give her that one.
She slid off his lap and wandered around the office, picking things up and playing with them before setting them back down. “The doctors wanted to study me,” she said. “I’m not a lab rat.”
“I understand, I really do,” he said, “so is that why you’re here? Hiding out? It’s ok, you can hang.”
She turned to face him. “I think I’m a Time Lord.”
Four hours later, Martha glared at him on her way into the Hub. He had managed to find a way to get her into his lair again.
“And this is Rose?” she hissed in his face. “Actually Rose? The blond? She thinks she’s a Time Lord??”
“In the conference room,” Jack said, giving his head a tilt toward the room.
“Communing with Myfanwy.” She started across the Hub. “Gently, Martha. Please.” Martha paused and took a deep breath before continuing.
It was late in the evening, almost midnight. Jack had sent Andy home, and Gwen and Ianto were reading through the files on anything concerning the Doctor, the TARDIS, and Time Lords. There wasn’t a lot of information.
“What do you think, Jack?” Gwen asked him when the door to the conference room closed. Jack puffed noisily and stuck his hands under his arms while he paced.
“I’m not sure what to think,” he admitted. He took a tall stool and brought it close to them. “Here’s the thing –Rose made me ….. as I am.”
The two stared at him while they processed the statement.
“I don’t understand,” they said.
“She looked into the heart of the TARDIS, it downloaded into her brain, I had been killed by Daleks, and Rose brought me back to life. Like this.” He made a gesture at his chest and then waved his hand. “Then the Doctor forced the TARDIS back where it belongs, he died again, and …… Never mind, that part isn’t necessary. But Rose made me immortal. Sorta. Well, the TARDIS did through Rose.”
“The power of God coursed through every cell in her body,” Gwen said, “possibly her entire genetic structure, and no one thought to wonder what it might have done to her?”
Jack tilted back, cracking his spine as he scrubbed at his face and groaned into the palms of his hands. “No,” came the muffled reply. A balled-up piece of paper hit his head.
How could they have been blind to that? His mind was racing with all the permutations they should have thought of before. Where Rose was concerned, the Doctor had a tendency to blind himself. And Jack didn’t know enough to consider ramifications of the event.
The conference room door opened and Martha ushered Rose out. “Lab,” Martha told them. The look of jealousy had been replaced by a look of concern. And fear. Jack, Ianto and Gwen followed the women to the medical bay. Martha found a gown and handed it to Rose. Rose grimaced and went to change.
“See? Lab rat,” she told them.
“What’s going on?” Jack asked quietly when Rose stepped out. Martha pulled a small scanner from her pocket and showed him the recorded data.
“Her DNA has a few extra links,” she said. “It looks more like yours and the Doctor’s, instead of human normal.” She hooked the reader into the equipment. “I need to get her brain on the screen, see what kind of pathways have been opened up.”
The screen showed four separate patterns; Jack knew his own, guessed at the Doctor’s, and the third was labeled with Martha’s name. The fourth was blinking with a red warning.
“This section is new,” Martha said, pointing out the new section on the double-helix. “It has a few of the same chromosomes of his. Here and here.” The team studied the screen, matching the small section in Rose’s DNA to the larger sections of the Doctor’s.
“What does this mean?” Gwen asked.
“She’s no longer completely human,” Martha told them.
“Show me mine?” Gwen asked.
Since all the Torchwood members were already in the database, Martha brought up Gwen’s medical records. Another click merged the genetic record with the four already on the screen.
“You are completely human,” Gwen was happy to hear. “A chromosome is a very long DNA molecule and associated proteins that carry portions of the hereditary information of an organism. Chromosomes are organized structures of DNA and proteins that are found in cells. A chromosome is a singular piece of DNA, which contains many genes, regulatory elements and other nucleotide sequences. Chromosomes also contain DNA-bound proteins, which serve to package the DNA and control its functions. The human haploid genome contains 3,000,000,000 DNA nucleotide pairs, divided among twenty two pairs of autosomes and one pair of
sex chromosomes, making 23 pair in all.”
Martha tapped the screen. “Rose has 25 pair.”
Gwen and Ianto counted Jack’s record. Twenty-nine pair. The Doctor had an astounding 45 pair of chromosomes.
“But he looked human,” Gwen said, recounting the Doctor’s chromosomes. Martha glanced quickly at Jack. He shrugged.
“He stopped by this morning.”
Martha perked up. “Oh, really? How is he?”
“A little miffed at some issues that have come up. This time, it wasn’t my fault. His new friend has a nice cushy chest that I….” He stepped back quickly, looking at his partners who returned his look. “Never mind.”
Rose came out, holding the back of the gown closed. Jack lifted her onto the exam table while Ianto and Gwen stepped out. Martha hooked her up to the scanner and brought Rose’s brain online. More red warnings immediately showed up. Martha and Jack looked at each other. Blood and tissue samples were taken.
“I could really use samples from your parents,” Martha told her, frowning at the vials. “As well as DNA from you prior to your entering the TARDIS for the first time.”
“I can get you her DNA from before,” Jack said. “Torchwood confiscated her ‘worldly remains’ a while ago.”
Rose was thoughtful before reluctantly jumping off the table. “Ianto! Coat, please!” she called up the stairwell. A moment later, Ianto poked his head over the railing. He had Jack’s greatcoat in one hand.
“This one?” he asked in confusion. Rose held out her hands and he dropped it.
She put the coat on, almost completely hidden in it, and picked up two sets of sterile DNA collectors. She looked at Martha and Jack, a somewhat embarrassed look on her face, and braced herself. Rose disappeared.
“Shit!” Martha jumped back. She went to the computer and rapidly pounded on it for current readings.
“Ianto! Get me readings on the lab for temporal shifts!” Jack shouted as he took the stairs two at a time. “Compare them to this morning’s shifts in the Hub!”
“Almost identical!” Ianto shouted back as the two readings were put side by side.
“Close to the same shifts as Bilis Manger,” Gwen said, looking over Ianto’s shoulder.
Jack looked at the readings and felt his heart racing. First himself, and now Rose; more anomalies for the Doctor to deal with.
He spun to glare at Martha. “This does NOT leave this office,” he warned her.
“Not UNIT, not anyone. Understand?”
“Yeah, sure,” she said quickly, her head bobbing swiftly, dark eyes wide. Jack studied her.
“Martha?” His voice had warning in it.
She glared back at him. “I got it, Jack! Leave off!”
Jack scrubbed at his face, groaning to himself.
Chapter 6: Anomalous
By Michele Briere
Summary: Torchwood 3 gets unexpected visitors, Martha is playing hard to get, and Rose has a problem.
Note: I really hated the season ender of Doctor Who, so I’m ignoring it. I thought the writing was seriously lame; characters were completely out of character. Since when does Jack grab his partners to his generous bosom and whine about the sky falling instead of picking up a gun and doing something about it? So I’m doing this my way, as usual.
I never got around to finishing this series, so this is the final chapter. Thanks for reading!