Seed Pearls

by HonorH [Reviews - 232]

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  • Teen
  • Explicit Sex
  • Action/Adventure, Het

Author's Notes:
In Which Our Heroine Makes A Surprising Acquaintance

“Perhaps the oddest thing about parallel universes is not how much is different, but rather how much is the same. One would think that with all the branching-off points, each world would be radically different. Yet the same people get born, the same wars get fought, the same politicians get elected, the same scientific discoveries get, well, discovered. Time has a will of its own, and it makes certain that particular events do happen in each world.

“Some of these events can be quite surprising. Particularly so when Time has been forced to make room for a person like Rose Tyler. Not that she knew it at the time, but a trip to Cardiff was about to give her back something she never knew she lost.”


***

Having to go down to the Cardiff Torchwood Hub for a week on an exchange was a welcome distraction for Rose. She decided, on impulse, to take Captain Jack with her for company on the long drive. Her dad had offered her the use of his zeppelin for the journey, but she felt like driving. Decision made, she loaded up her car for the journey, ushered Captain Jack into the passenger-side seat, and headed down.

Everything was fairly routine in Cardiff after a minor invasion by the Morda, a nasty-tempered race that would’ve been terribly hard to deal with if they’d been any larger than Rose’s hand.

“I caught a whole herd of them running from a bullmastiff,” said Toshiko. “Turns out their energy weapons have absolutely no effect on dogs.”

“Sounds a bit Douglas Adams,” said Rose, laughing. “Anything else?”

“A few odd energy fluctuations from the Rift right before you arrived. We’re watching it carefully. So far, it doesn’t seem to be anything threatening. It sometimes acts up in the wake of alien activity. We’re not worried.”

The rest of the week consisted of taking energy readings on the Rift, attending meetings, deciding Owen was a right bastard, and thwarting an attempt by the Norosaii to wipe out humanity with a virus so they could eat all of Earth’s metal. Rose decided to stick around for the weekend and head home Sunday.

Saturday dawned gray and cool, and after breakfast, Rose headed down to the shore with Captain Jack. For some reason, ocean beaches always made her a little melancholy, but in a strangely nice way. She and Captain Jack played together on a lonely stretch for quite some time before she saw anyone else.

Captain Jack was the first to notice they had company. He froze suddenly, lifting his ears a little, and gave a soft “Whuf!” Rose followed his eyes and spotted a jogger coming toward them.

More of a runner, she decided, given the man’s quick pace. He was tall and lean, wearing a gray tee and matching shorts, almost blending into the day.

Captain Jack barked again, louder, and Rose quickly grabbed him in order to attach the leash to his collar. It wouldn’t do for him to go leaping on a perfect stranger (as he was wont to do) and lick him half to death. By the time she’d gotten the squiggling dog under control, the runner had come quite close. Rose saw his face, recognized him, and gave him a glad smile and a “Hi!”

--no, wait, she didn’t know him. He didn’t even look like anyone she knew. He had to be pushing forty, very short hair, raw-boned face, not unattractive, but a face she didn’t know. Why had she thought she recognized him?

He pulled up short, returning her smile and greeting before his brow furrowed. “Do I know you?” he asked in a Northern accent.

“Not sure,” she said. “I thought I recognized you.”

“You’re from London?” he asked.

“Easy to tell?” She rolled her eyes, still smiling. “Yeah, born and raised. You’re from the north.”

“Fellows--it’s a little village near Blyth--originally, yes,” he said. “Though I’ve been living in Leeds for the past few years until I moved to London six months ago. Who’s this?” He indicated Captain Jack, who was straining at his leash, nose working madly.

“This is Captain Jack. Don’t worry; he’s a lover, not a fighter.”

The man let Captain Jack smell his hand and gave him a pat. “So, what’s a girl from London doing in Wales?”

“Business trip,” said Rose. “You?”

“Conference,” he said. “Five hundred medical professionals being systematically bored to death by twenty experts.”

Rose laughed. “You didn’t stand a chance.”

“Bad odds, all right. I suggested rising up and overthrowing our oppressors, but couldn’t get the popular support.”

“Perhaps they were too numb with horror.”

“Excellent thought. I should have set fire to the place.”

Rose laughed again. For some reason, this all felt very familiar and comfortable. She met his gaze briefly. His blue-gray eyes were fixed on her in the most penetrating look . . .

“Um, I should let you get on with your run,” she said, trapping Captain Jack between her knees.

The man seemed as struck by the moment as she. “Have a lovely day, then,” he said, and he resumed his run.

A moment or so later, he turned, ran back to her, and said, “I’m Doctor John Smith, by the way; what’s your name?”

“Rose,” she said.

“Nice to meet you, Rose. You, too, Captain Jack.” And he ran off.