Seed Pearls

by HonorH [Reviews - 232]

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  • Teen
  • Explicit Sex
  • Action/Adventure, Het

Author's Notes:
In Which Our Story Is Brought To A Conclusion

“And that, I suppose, would be the end of our story. Well, nearly the end, anyway. Rose and John do get married--I’d imagine after Rose fights World War III with her mother over wedding preparations--and almost immediately start popping out kids. They have three, in total: Susan, Grace and Jake. Well, Susan, Jake and Grace, if you go by birth order. Those children, those absolutely brilliant children, grow up and have kids of their own, and so on and so forth until we end up right here with the bunch of you.”

The Doctor looks around the auditorium. From every angle, young Time Lords watch him with rapt expressions. They are, he reflects, an excellent audience--able to pay attention for long periods of time, incisive enough to ask good questions . . . and they appear to have something of a romantic streak as well, given the general response to the tale he’s just woven for them. He likes them quite well indeed.

“So there you have it,” he says. “The story of your ancestors. You can ask Professor Violet her impressions of them as well, if you’d like; she enjoys talking about it any chance she gets.” He whips around and points at one young man. “And to think you, Alexander, whined about my endless Rose stories. I should take you back to the twenty-first century so you can apologize to her. Worse yet, I ought to take you back to meet Jackie Tyler; she’d give you an earful or two.”

“Well, if you’d just explained,” protests Alexander.

“I did. In my own time. You just didn’t have faith. Really, how can you expect to learn anything with that attitude?” He spots an upraised hand. “Question, Jacinth?”

“You never did say exactly why you asked Rose to come along with you in the first place,” says Jacinth. “Did you know how extraordinary she was when you first met her?”

“Oh, but she wasn’t!” says the Doctor with relish. “Brave and clever, certainly. She seemed like good company and was just adventurous enough--and perhaps foolhardy enough--to run off with an alien she’d known for barely twenty-four hours; but I wouldn’t have called her particularly extraordinary. Rose was human, through and through, very average in most ways; and like almost all humans, she had so much unrealized potential just boiling right under her skin. It was beautiful. Mind you, I think she turned out to be fairly extraordinary, but all I was really looking for was someone who wanted more and dared to take it. And oh, how she did.” He shakes his head, smiling at the memories. She can still do that to him, even after all this time.

Artemis, a girl who reminds him strongly of Romana as she’d been when he first met her, raises her hand next. “So, Doctor, beyond the history lesson, was there anything in particular you wanted us to take away from this?”

The Doctor nods at her. “Fair question. I suppose I hope you’ll all take different things away with you, but, let’s see, can I narrow down the most important lessons?” He rocks back and forth on his trainers a few times. “All right. I’ve got it. The top three lessons all of you can take away from this story are as follows:

“First, while you may be the next evolution of the human race, always remember that you came out of them. Never underestimate what those silly apes can do or be. You’ve developed in an extraordinarily short amount of time. A bare second in terms of the universe. Get smug about it, and those ‘mundane’ humans you fancy yourselves better than will outlast you.

“Second, make it a practice to break a rule every day. My people were so hidebound with their rules that they stopped thinking about where those rules came from and why they originated, and they never thought that perhaps some of them should be changed or done away with entirely. In the end, they couldn’t change enough fast enough to survive. I’m what’s left. I’m all that’s left.

“Third, remember that time, contrary to what I was always taught, is not the most powerful force in the universe. Love is. Rose loved me, and she saved me by taking in the Time Vortex. I loved her enough to wish myself into existence in another world. Rose and John loved each other, and their love created you. My people thought it best not to get attached. I’m telling you, get attached. Get your hearts broken, and then dive right back in. It’s worth it.” He thinks about Rose. “It’s always worth it.

“Oh, and don’t give up sexual reproduction. It introduces a nice element of chance into the passing of genes, and aside from that, it’s just plain fun.

“Thus endeth the lesson.” The Doctor leans casually against the podium. “Remember, I can’t be here all the time, so it’s up to the lot of you to look after your own universe. Try not to mess it up. All things taken together, I’m rather fond of this place. Class dismissed.”

The class begins to leave, seemingly reluctantly. The Doctor puts it down to this lesson having considerably more sex than previous lectures.

Jacinth approaches. “Doctor, can I ask one more question?”

“Certainly,” he says, curious as to what she wanted to know that she couldn’t ask while the rest of the class was around. He likes Jacinth especially well. She takes more chances than her classmates, something he can identify with. He never did blend in with the other Time Lords, after all, with his habit of ignoring the probability tree. Honestly, the thing deserves to be ignored most of the time.

Jacinth tilts her head in a way that reminds him strongly of Rose. “Do you--do you envy them? John and Rose?”

“I’m glad they found each other,” says the Doctor. “Rose lived a long, happy life with John. That’s all I ever could have wanted for her.”

“That didn’t exactly answer my question,” Jacinth points out.

“No, I suppose it didn’t,” says the Doctor, giving Jacinth an enigmatic smile and grabbing his coat. “I’ll see you next time I lecture, then.”

Outside the lecture hall, he gives in to impulse, moving to one side of the doors and waiting just out of sight. In a few moments, Jacinth exits, starting when she sees him.

“Of course, it has been a very long time since I’ve traveled with another Time Lord,” he says, as if continuing a conversation. “Not that I’m not doing my best to corrupt young minds in the lecture halls, but there’s something about real-world experience you just can’t replicate even at this fine academy. Wouldn’t you agree?”

Jacinth’s hazel eyes widen, and she looks very much like her ancestor. “I’d--I’d definitely agree,” she says breathlessly.

“Good. Because in my opinion, you could benefit from a little practicum. If you’re game, of course.” He waits for her answer, his smile growing with hers.

“I’m game,” she says. “You seriously want--”

“Absolutely! Although I must warn you that Kitty will do her damnedest to domesticate you, and my TARDIS occasionally has her own ideas of where we should go, and those places may not be the nicest. I can promise you only that it may be dangerous--but never dull.” He winks. “Oh, and we might even meet up with the infamous Captain Jack. So, if you still want to go with me--”

Jacinth is practically bouncing with excitement. “I do. Very much!”

“--then go grab anything you think is especially important, say your goodbyes and join me back at my TARDIS. Don’t take too long.”

He watches, chuckling, as she all but flies out of the building, and then he leaves the building and the Bad Wolf Time Academy. He doesn’t always know why he takes companions, but he feels very strongly that Jacinth will be a good one. She has things she can learn from him--and perhaps he has a few he can learn from her. With his help, the human Time Lords will hopefully be able to avoid the worst errors of the Gallifreyans. The sooner bright young things like Jacinth learn that the universe is practice, not theory, the better off they’ll be.

They’re not yet up to Gallifreyan standards, these Time Lords. They’ve developed telepathic abilities, if not the full range the Doctor has. Like him, they have seven senses--the usual human five plus his time sense, the ability to perceive time as it really is, and they can detect energy fields. Their bodies are stronger than those of garden-variety humans, with more efficient muscle mass and circulatory and respiratory systems. They recover from illness and injury swiftly, thanks to enhanced cellular regeneration. The average lifespan for this generation will be easily four or even five times that of their ancestors Rose and John. Sometime within the next hundred generations, the Doctor estimates, they’ll master the art of total physical regeneration.

He doesn’t know whether to pity or congratulate them for that.

He finds his TARDIS sitting among the models used by the human Time Lords. The new models are, in their default appearance, sleek blue boxes with an almost art deco feel to them. He knows it’s a tribute to the original blue box.

“I still think you’re the prettiest girl at the ball,” he reassures his old friend, running a hand over her doors.

A young couple is headed his way. Back in 1953, the Doctor thought Tommy Connelly had the makings of a first-rate companion. When they ran into each other again the following decade, after Martha found her calling and her soulmate on a frontier world in the twenty-fifth century, the Doctor invited Tommy and Kitty, his vivacious new bride, to come along for a spell.

They’re brilliant, both of them, and even more so together, the way all loving couples should be. The Doctor likes to see it. It reminds him of what has been, and what might be again if he’s very, very lucky.

As Tommy and Kitty reach him, Jacinth comes sprinting toward them. He’s not surprised at how quickly she gathered together a few things and came to him. She’s breathing hard as she skids to a stop.

“Tommy and Kitty, this is Jacinth,” he says. “She’ll be traveling with us. Jacinth, meet Tommy and Kitty Connelly.”

“Pleased to meet you both,” says Jacinth, shaking their hands.

“Likewise,” says Kitty. “Are we off again, then, Doctor?”

“We are,” he says. “Let’s ride our way out of here and see where we end up. Anyplace you want to go, Jacinth? You’re the new crewmember, after all. All aboard, everyone! We don’t have all the time in the world. Well, actually, we do . . .”

And they move on.

***

Thousands of tiny white lights festoon the Tyler mansion, making it glow as John pulls up outside. He glances over at his wife, and she’s glowing as well.

His wife. Even after a year, it still feels wonderful to be able to call Rose that.

She smiles at him as she opens her door and disembarks. John gets out as well and opens the back door, and his father steps out of the car. The two men gather up a number of brightly-wrapped parcels while Rose retrieves far more precious cargo.

Susan Joy Tyler-Smith was born just two months ago. She has her father’s eyes and her mother’s smile. Rose’s pregnancy was a surprise--or so she claimed, though John suspects she might have been careless with her birth control on purpose, knowing how badly her husband wanted to be a father again. He doesn’t inquire too deeply into these things. Not when the results are so beautiful.

Scarcely are they inside before Jackie descends upon them.

“Where’s my granddaughter?” she demands. “There you are, little Susie! Come to your Grandma!” She swiftly extracts Susan from her car seat before so much as acknowledging the rest of the party. “Happy Christmas, sweetheart,” she says, kissing Rose. “You, too, you lovely man!” She grabs John and plants a good smooch on him. The moment he got Rose pregnant, he became Jackie’s favorite person in the world. He’s not sure it’s much of an improvement over the suspicious glares she used to throw his way before.

Thomas presents Jackie with a bottle of good wine. “For you, Mrs. Tyler, and a very happy Christmas.”

John silently blesses his father for distracting her; Jackie’s liked Thomas ever since he marveled that she was far too young to be Rose’s mother at the wedding. Pete and Mickey approach, looking a bit bemused in Jackie’s wake.

“Wose!” yells Pete Jr., and he’s immediately scooped up by his big sister.

In a few minutes, they’re all comfortably ensconced in the parlor. Jackie’s still dominating little Susan, Pete Jr. clambers up into John’s lap, and Mickey’s Gram has imperiously demanded Thomas Smith’s presence beside her. Wine is poured for everyone except Rose, who’s nursing, and it’s all very boisterous and loud and just about perfect. The room is rich with memories. Pictures of Rose and John’s wedding (which was lovely in spite of the fact that Rose and Jackie fought World War III over the preparations) sit alongside pictures of Pete Jr. and Susan, Mickey and Rose and Jake, Pete and Jackie’s twentieth-anniversary party--family pictures, all.

Dinner is eaten, crackers are passed around, and presents are opened. As Thomas launches into an ancient Christmas tale, Susan gets fussy, leading Rose to reclaim her daughter from her mother and retreat to her old bedroom for a little quiet.

Some time later, John follows her. He pauses in the doorway, his heart constricting at the sight of Rose nursing their daughter. Before that day in Cardiff, he’d given up on ever having a family of his own again.

Rose smiles at him, eyes alight. Her heart’s been broken, too. He remembers awakening in Norway to her sobs as the memory of her loss crashed over her with brutal force. He remembers holding her as she shook with emotional pain so great it became physical. Perhaps she believed at the time she and the Doctor were separated that she’d never love that intensely again.

Rose isn’t Paula, and no matter how many children they have, nothing will ever replace the one he lost. But then, John isn’t the Doctor; he’ll never be Rose’s first love.

They’re not replacements. They don’t have to be. What they have is each other, and the here and now. It’s enough. More than enough.

“Think Mum might’ve had a nip too much eggnog,” says Rose.

“I think she got started early,” says John. “I also think Mickey’s Gram might have designs on my father.”

Rose laughs. “He is quite the catch. It’d never work, though. Gram won’t leave London, and your father won’t move here.”

“Another romance doomed to failure.” John shakes his head with mock sadness.

“Geographic incompatibility. The death of so many great loves. Pity, really.” Rose looks down at Susan, who appears to have finished her meal. There’s a bittersweet smile on her face--she lost her first great love to the ultimate geographic incompatibility, after all. If she has any regrets, though, they don’t show in her eyes.

John pushes away from the wall and sits beside Rose, wrapping one arm around her. She leans into him, and he holds his wife and child close, heart full of them and love.

There’s still a celebration going on downstairs, but John can’t imagine any gifts greater than he’s already been given.