Character/Pairing: Ten/Rose, plus Martha, Donna, and a whole bunch of OCs
Rating: PG for right now, but could possibly go up at some point...
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: I'll spare everyone a lame summary and just get to the meat of it: the Sonnetsverse reunion. 'Nuff said. (I'll probably come up with something better and more coherent a few parts in, but until then, the above stays. ;))
Author's Notes: With a rather interesting season four looming in the distance, I felt compelled to start getting the actual reunion story in this world out, which is why it's being posted as a WIP, something I never do and am really, really nervous about. But I think it's fun, and I hope everyone reading it thinks so too. :) As always, prior knowledge of the sonnets stories is a good idea (found here). Huge, huge thanks to galadriella1 for her smashing beta job and britpicking on the fic, and to paiger1218 for her eyes on this fic as well. Thanks for reading!
*gulp* Here goes nothing...
The little girl sits down smack in the middle of the path with no care for the rotting pieces of corn getting on her pink skirt. “Rose, stop, please!” Gemma cries, smashing her fists on the ground.
Rose stops and turns to face her sister, staring down at the girl with sudden tears dripping down her face. It isn’t the best location (they’re in the middle of a corn maze somewhere in Southeastern Massachusetts, and the weather’s just a bit cold and the corn doesn’t exactly smell the greatest) for a breakdown, but she’s used to dealing with things as they come along by now. “What is it, Gem?” she asks, crouching down in front of her.
“I’m tired,” she whimpers. “I wanna go home.”
Rose freezes. This is so not what she had expected to hear. Her mind whips through the possibilities, not sure what she should do. “Are-are you sure?” she asks. She still has the gate key and the key to their old mansion, so it’d be possible to get back there…she thinks. But she would then want to come back to her home universe, and that is the hitch. She isn’t sure that trip can be done twice.
Gemma looks up at Rose, tears glistening like ice shards in her eyes. “No. I want Mum and Dad back. But they can’t come back, can they?”
“No, love, they can’t,” Rose says, pulling her into a hug. “No one can come back from the dead; it’s against the rules of nature.” A tiny little voice that pops up in her head occasionally butts in with a thought, saying that in rare and special occasions, sometimes they do come back, but it takes a strong person to deal with the harsh consequences of coming back. Someday she’ll figure out where that voice is coming from, that voice that calls out to her from somewhere in the universe, but there are more important things to worry about today.
“I’m tired,” Gemma sighs, snuggling into Rose. “Travelling’s fun and all, but I miss having my own bed. I miss having a house that’s all ours and not have to share a loo with whatever stranger’s got the room down the hall.”
“All right.” And while Rose knows she’d love to keep travelling and not stop until she’s found just what she wants – it’s not just about her anymore. That was part of being an adult, she supposed, doing what you had to do to make others happy even if it doesn’t make you so. “We’ll stop.”
And so they stop.
* * *
One: “I’m going down to Thimble Island to find my true love there. I’m sure that I can find one long of limb with time to spare…”
One year later…
Once upon a time, Jackie Tyler told her daughter that one day she’d come home and she wouldn’t recognize her anymore, that she was becoming a totally different person. Years later, as Rose stands in the bathroom of her friends’ apartment and stares at herself in the mirror, she wonders how right her mother was. It’s not just the looks that have changed - a darker hair colour and a thinner, more angular figure. In those years, innocence has given way to experience, and a hard and cynical shell has formed around the soft casing of her soul. It’s had to form, it’s the only way for her to be able to survive and keep moving. The Doctor probably wouldn’t recognize her now either. Would he want this Rose? She’s not the valiant child he said good-bye to on the beach so many years ago. Maybe the person she is now wouldn’t get along with the person he is now. Still, though, if or when the chance comes up, she’ll have to take it, to grab hold and not let go until she’s satisfied. Her lips quirk at her reflection, and a glimpse of the old Rose Tyler sneaks out – no matter what happens, for some reason she just can’t seem to shake that damn optimism that she’s had ever since a little girl. Jackie would recognize that, the girl who believed in the impossible and had hope for all things.
Rose shakes her head, clearing the cobwebs and dragging her mind back into the present. While she’s in here dwelling on what had been she had two good girlfriends out there waiting with wine, food, and songs to soothe the soul. It may not have been what she had expected of her life, they had no idea at all about her previous life with the Doctor, but it was a good place for her to be. She slips out of the loo and heads back down the hall. “Hey, Marion, where’s Gemma tonight again?” One of her girls asks her, and she has to remind herself of the alias they’ve adopted here. Her middle name is in use, and they’ve decided to become Marion and Gemma McCrimmon, at least in public. It wasn’t their usual m.o., but it was hard to establish a steady life under a name that had been declared deceased a few years back.
“One of her schoolmates invited her to a birthday sleepover, so I’ve got the whole night free,” Rose sighs happily, sliding into a chair at the eclectically set dining table. Her two friends, Louise and Priya, weren’t exactly the best at interior decorating, and so they were lucky that they had enough plates and utensils to set the table with. Making sure they all matched wasn’t a priority. It fit with the theme of the rest of the apartment, a dishevelled two-bedroom, fourth floor walk-up in an old brownstone. She turns her head and stares out at the lights of the city, shining in orange through the windows. They’ve been in Boston, Massachusetts for over a year now, the last place she expected to stop. Gemma had been tired of travelling though (Rose admits now that she had probably pushed the little girl far too hard in her search, so absorbed in the hunt that she didn’t remember that Gemma needed someplace to call home) and Boston was the nearest city.
Louise, a loudmouthed and bubbly American girl from a few states south grins at her and tops off her wine glass. “Which means we can eat, drink, and be merry until we pass out on the floor.”
“Sounds like a good idea to me!” Rose says and they toast. “Oi, where’s the food?” she calls out playfully, then ducks as a tea-towel comes flying out of the small kitchen aimed straight for her head. A few seconds later Priya comes out of the kitchen, a large platter with fragrant steam coming off of the top in her hands.
“All right,” Priya says with a London accent just as thick as Rose’s, “this is Indian cuisine as it was meant to be eaten, not those dodgy curries you get after getting pissed at the local.”
“I dunno, those dodgy curries can get you through a long night when you need it,” Rose muses, thinking back with bemusement many, many years to a time before she had met the Doctor.
“Yeah, and about thirty minutes after you eat them they’re decorating the pavement with whatever else you’d drunk that night,” Priya fires back, thunking the platter down on the table and pulling out her own chair.
“And to think that all we did here in the states in college while blitzed was order crappy pizza from Domino’s at one in the morning,” Louise says, grabbing a spoon and dishing some of the delicious smelling mixture onto her plate.
“One day when we go to London then, we’ll have to introduce you to the wonder that is a donar kebab then,” Priya says, making Rose groan in remembrance.
“You’ve got a stronger stomach than I do then,” Rose says. “I’ll stick with chips, thank you.”
“It’s tradition!” Priya insists. “All part and parcel of the student experience in England.”
“I don’t know,” Louise chimes in, a slightly evil glint in her eyes. “For some strange reason I don’t know if I can believe any of the stories about your school days. They always come off as a bit far-fetched to me.”
Priya jabs her fork in the other girl’s direction. “I told you, and it’s the honest to god truth. The British government’s got it all documented that the hospital where I was doing my medical training ended up on the moon once. Go online and check the papers; it’s all there.” Rose believes her story without question; after all, she’s had her own share of strange experiences. She thinks that a certain someone was on the scene with this event as well, nothing provable, just a strong feeling. She doesn’t want to ask her though if she had seen a bloke in pinstripes there – it’d shatter this peaceful bubble that she sort of wants to preserve right now. It’s a rarity for her to feel this calm and content these days, so when it happens she takes hold of it and enjoys it to the fullest.
“And where exactly were you when this unplanned voyage to the moon occurred?” Louise asks, dark eyebrow arched, and they both watch as Priya’s mocha colored skin flushes nearly imperceptibly.
“All right, I was stuck in a bed with a sprained ankle.”
“And how exactly did you sprain your ankle?” Louise needles further, knowing just how to push her roommate’s buttons. Priya doesn’t answer immediately, at which point Louise starts flicking bits of naan bread at her.
“Stop it you lunatic! All right, I sprained my ankle tripping over a dog on my way to hospital that morning. Doesn’t matter though! Out the window was moon rocks with one hell of a view of the Earth.” The two turn their expectant gazes towards Rose.
She shrugs. “I’m with Pree on this one. I got attacked by walking shop window dummies once in London.” Rose doesn’t elaborate beyond that, but she can feel that small part of her head slipping back in time to that moment…
A cool, firm hand grabbing hers. She turns to see a stranger’s face there, blue eyes boring right into hers, and a word, just one word, is said.
“So if I ever go to London remind me to bring dummy repellent then,” Louise says, dragging Rose back into the future once more.
“Alien repellent might be a better idea,” Priya says. “Not sure what repels aliens, but there’s got to be something.”
“You could always try vinegar,” Rose comments idly as she takes a mouthful of the curry. The two other girls shoot her a puzzled look, at which point she just shrugs and says “Never mind.”
They eat in silence for a few minutes, until Louise puts her fork down with a clatter and begins to speak. “All right, ladies, I have a proposition for you.”
“Is it going to involve us getting into trouble?” Priya says, an unholy gleam in her eyes, getting all too much pleasure out of the prospect.
“Only if you get drunk and fall into a canal,” Louise says with a roll of her eyes. “Seriously, listen up. Every year, usually around February or whenever Carnival is going to be next year, my grandparents hold this big ol’ costume ball.”
“Are these the grandparents who own, like, a castle in Italy or something like that?” Rose asks, leaning forward to brace her arms on the table. This is getting good, now.
“Oh yes. Well, technically it’s a palazzo, but same difference,” she shrugs, picking up her fork and dragging it idly through the curry and rice on her plate. “In Venice, which is where they live, Carnevale is a huge deal, has been for ages. So every year they go all out, between the costumes and the decorations and the food and the music and it’s absolutely amazing. I’m going to head out there come February, and I was wondering if you two lovely ladies would like to accompany me?” She looks at Rose and then at Priya, hands spread out in offer and a big grin on her face. “Nonna’s got plenty of spare beds for you. Oh, and yes, you can bring your sister, Mari – I already asked and it’s more than fine.” Louise winces just a bit. “There’re usually more little kids there than I care for, and at least Gemma’s a sweet one and not a total brat. And Pree, if, by chance, you wanted to stop off in London to see your family before hand as well, we’ve got time for that too.”
Rose and Priya trade a look, then shrug in unison. “Seems like you’ve got it all planned out, huh?” Priya says.
“No reason to say no then, is there?” Rose smiles. Maybe this would be just what she needs to shake that feeling from her feet, that itchy little voice screaming to keep going and keep moving. She hasn’t travelled at all since she and Gemma had landed in Boston. A little travel and a big party may be just the thing.
* * *
At her own little party that evening, Gemma sits in her sleeping bag and watches the giggling girls as they shovel popcorn into their mouths and watch some inane animated flick. It’s a night like this when it really hits her that maybe this sort of normality is overrated. She had the entire planet at her fingertips because Rose could give it to them, but because of her they had to stop and now they had been stuck in one place for over a year.
When they first stopped, it was nice. She could go to school, meet cool people, take dance lessons, come home, have dinner with Rose and sleep in her own bed every night. But now…now she’s getting those itchy feet again. She didn’t realize just how much she liked travelling until she stopped. Maybe she could convince Rose to go somewhere for Christmas. Rose’d like that too. She’d given up her searching for the Doctor because of her, and now that just made Gemma feel terrible. Rose needs to search and Gemma needs an adventure, and that’s what it comes down to.
Besides, Gemma thinks, shooting a disdainful glance at the backs of the girls in front of her, none of these girls believe in aliens. Anyone with the smallest amount of sense knows that aliens do exist, and if they didn’t believe, then Gemma’d be happy to enlighten them.
* * *
The next day, after Gemma’s returned from her sleepover and they’re comfortably ensconced in their own living room of their little flat, Rose asks her the question.
“Would you want to go to Italy for this party then? You’d have to miss a few days from school,” she says as Gemma works on her homework for the next day.
To Rose’s utter and total surprise, Gemma grins and nods eagerly. “Where in Italy is it? I know we were in Rome before; is it near there? Can I get dressed up too? It’s fancy dress, right, that means I can wear wings or something, right?”
Rose laughs, falling back on the couch. Definitely not the reaction she had anticipated, given that the girl just didn’t seem to want to travel anymore, but she certainly wasn’t complaining. “Yes, you can wear wings or whatever else you want. It’s not until February, so we’ve got time to find you a costume. And Louise’s grandparents live in Venice, so we’ll be headed there.”
There was something very important about Venice, something hidden all the way back in the deep dark clouds of her memory, but she couldn’t seem to put her finger on it. She should have remembered it, but for the life of her it wasn’t coming to her. Time would tell.
* * *