Title: A Yearly Obligation 2/?
Author: Nemesis, the rogue_planet
Summary: Torchwood Three guards the rifts, but this story is about Martha Jones.
Disclaimer: Doctor Who is copyright BBC. All Rights Reserved. No copyright infringement is intended, and no money is being made.
Spoilers for Utopia/Sound of Drums/Last of the Time Lords
Chapter Summary: Sometimes, you can go home again.
Timeline A, July 6th 2011
Ianto keyed himself back into the Hub. They’d all been sent home hours ago, but there was nothing at his apartment to go home to. There hadn’t been in a long time.
It was dark, and quiet. Even Myfanwy was asleep on her perch. He headed down to the Archives and there, sitting in a pool of light, was the leader of Torchwood Three, between a stack of files and a stack of dictionaries. “If you told me what you were looking for, you wouldn’t have to do this night after night.”
“It’s not something I can explain, Ianto. I’ll just…know it when I see it.”
“I wish you wouldn’t call me that.” Rose got up from the floor and stretched, hoping the feeling would come back into her toes any second now. “It makes me sound so… military.”
“Yes, Ma’am.” He hid the small smile when she sighed. “Message from UNIT. They’ve been assigned to take you to Norway for the yearly inspection. They’ll be here at 5:30 AM.”
“You didn’t have to come back to tell me that. You could have called.” She clicked off the reading lamp and came closer to him. “You’ve got dark circles, Ianto. If I take you to bed with me, will you sleep for a few hours?”
“If it’s an order, Ma’am.” This time, he doesn’t hide the smile.
She looped her arm with his. “Did he make it an order? Is that why you were so messed up about him?”
“No. No, it wasn’t like that.” He followed her up a floor, to her bedroom (Jack’s bedroom) and they slept together in her bed (Jack’s bed) until her alarm went off just before five. He wasn’t sure how to explain how things had been with Jack without sounding crazy and offending her.
He slipped out of her bed and opened the drawer of his clothes he kept here. It wasn’t domestic, it was practical. Gwen gave him sad looks when she saw him coming out of Rose’s room in yesterday’s clothes and she kept trying to *talk* to him.
Straightening his tie in the mirror, he could see her getting out of bed, still naked. “Who is UNIT sending, Ianto?”
“Captain Channing, of the Carrier Valiant.”
Five years. Five years since Dårlig Ulv Stranden, and five and a half years since the Battle for Canary Wharf. Sometimes, it felt like she’d been here forever and sometimes it felt like it had been only yesterday she’d stood on that desolate beach and said goodbye to the Doctor.
She’d felt trapped, always earthbound and so she’d learned to fly. Just small planes, two seaters, but it was enough to get her onto the flight deck of the Valiant without inconveniencing her ride. When she landed, the captain was waiting for her.
“Captain Channing.” She shook his hand and didn't ask him to call her Rose. After five years, having to use her mother's maiden name was still jarring, but to ask the Captain to use her first name would probably make her seem young, and that wasn’t the image she was going for. “Thank you for the use of your ship.”
“Always happy to go hundreds of miles out of my way for a group outside the laws of any government.” Oh, the sarcasm was thick with this one. “We’ll be to your bay in about two hours, Commander.”
“Thank you.” He retreated, quickly, leaving Rose standing there alone. “Next year, I go commercial.” She followed after her reluctant captain, inside, out of the howling wind.
Channing... Rose had memorized all the entries in the baby dictionary relating to wolves back when she’d thought it was still possible to escape, and she knew his name was Old French for wolf. She can’t seem to escape the Wolf. She’d done too good a job scattering the word.
There was a small cafeteria, and she got herself a cup of tea. Ianto had spoiled her for coffee, she couldn’t drink the stuff anymore unless he made it or at least supervised it's preparation. She nurses the cup for an hour or so and stared down at the surface. The GPS mounted to the wall was constantly updating latitude and longitude. At 8:02, when they were about fifty miles out, alarms started going off. The intercom clicked on. “Commander Prentice to the bridge. Commander Prentice, get the hell up here!”
Rose downed the last of her cooling tea and climbed up to the command deck. “What’s going on?”
“Your rift, that’s what’s going on!” Oh, the captain was angry. “The damned sky has split open.”
“That’s impossible. The whole of time and space would have split apart.” The Doctor had told her that, and she believed him. If the skies above Bad Wolf Bay had split open and the world hadn’t ended…
“Giant red gash in the sky, Commander. Unless of course, we’re experiencing one of those mass hallucinations you folks are so fond of.”
“Just shut up and let me think.” What had the Beast said, all those years ago? And the lost girl, so far away from home. The valiant child who will die in battle so very soon. Valiant… She was onboard the Valiant… “Captain, do you have a Rift Manipulator on board?"
“You’re joking, right?”
She started buttoning up her overcoat. “Call the Hub. Get my team out here with our manipulator. They’ll close it.”
“Going somewhere, Commander?”
“Home. I’m going home.” She wanted to run, but instead she walked calmly towards the door to the flight deck. Her hand on the handle, she paused, and looked back. “Tell Ianto Jones I hope whoever he’s waiting for comes back.” Then she was out on the deck and climbing into the cockpit of her little plane. Maybe she’d die, maybe not. They’d never found a body when Diane had tried it. Either way, she had to try.