A Visitor

by Rishi_Diams [Reviews - 7]

  • All Ages
  • None
  • Angst, Drama, Het, Romance, Standalone, Vignette

Author's Notes:

I found this brilliant graphic by Tennantstiel and was inspired.

I ship Ten/Rose hard and almost exclusively, but this affected me so much the words just came pouring out. There's something about a hurting David Tennant that just makes me want to salve his wounds.

The room was decorated in pastels, with cartoonish dinosaurs and four letters carved from wood: J-A-C-K. The TARDIS looked horribly out of place and yet so right at the same time that it was a little scary.

He leaned over the cot. "Jack? Your name is Jack?" The baby peered up at him, his eyes dark brown and expressive. "Hello, Jack."

The Doctor picked Jack up and looked him over. "Let me tell you a short story, Jack. Your dad and I used to be the same person. We used to travel through the stars together with your mum. And, I kid you not, the stars are beyond beautiful. I wish I could take you for one trip, but I'm not sure your parents would let me."

Jack gurgled and he placed a kiss on the baby's head.

A sudden apprehension stole over him. "Jack... your dad is standing outside, isn't he?"

He moved to the door, dreading what he would find on the other side. His hand outstretched to reach for the handle, he had to jump backwards when it opened suddenly towards him.

The man now standing in the threshold looked him up and down. In fairness, the Doctor did the same. The other man wore jeans and a white Oxford, and was clearly upset, his eyes tinged with redness. "You've regenerated," he said finally. "I - I thought so, but I couldn't be sure." His eyes flitted nervously to the baby.

"And you're older," the Doctor replied, shifting Jack.

He ran a hand though his hair. He still wore the fringe long, but right at the temples there was a subtle hint of gray, possibly not even yet noticeable to Humans with their limited senses. The sideburns were gone. "That's what happens when you're Human."

Again his eyes lingered on the baby and finally the Doctor got the hint. "Oh!" He handed Jack over to his father, and then tried very hard not to be offended when the other man surreptitiously checked to make sure the baby was okay.

He muttered something, but the Doctor had already lifted his foot to turn back to the TARDIS when the words registered: "Would you like to come downstairs for tea?"

No, he wouldn't. He shouldn't have come at all. It had been a very bad idea he'd acted on in a moment of weakness, but now he was here, looking at Rose's son and husband, his mind supplied as the plain silver band on the other man's left hand ring finger finally registered. The pang of pain in his hearts told him eloquently how inappropriate his feelings were on that subject.

"Tea sounds good."

With a nod, the other man turned and headed towards the stairs, cooing softly to the baby in his arms. There were several family portraits hanging from the walls, almost like a timeline in reverse, and the Doctor's feet slowed a little more with each picture. The one closest to Jack's room was the three of them, with Jack a newborn in Rose's arms. Rose was radiant, and both parents were bursting with pride. The next was a wedding portrait, and he was not the least bit surprised to see that his Human clone had married in a morning suit rather than a tuxedo. The oldest of the pictures had probably been taken shortly after the last time they'd all stood at Bad Wolf Bay, a group shot taken at Christmas which also included Pete, Jackie and a little boy who could only be Rose's brother Tony.

By the time he finally moved on he'd been left so far behind that he had to find his own way to the kitchen when he reached the bottom of the stairs. The kettle was already on the stove and two mugs were waiting nearby. Baby Jack had been placed in a high chair near the table and was happily banging away on the tray. Uncertain what to do, but quite sure accepting the invitation had been a mistake, the Doctor hovered near the door.

"I shouldn't have come," he said at the same moment the other man told him to sit down.

He did, reflexively. It was not at all because he wanted to stay. He certainly had no desire to meet the one member of this family who didn't appear to be home. No, certainly not.

An awkward moment passed. What did one say to one's self?

"It's been six years," the other man said, breaking the silence.

He nodded. It had been three for him and though they'd not had the chance to discuss it at the time, he'd been able to tell how much time had passed for Rose when he had finally been able to see her again. There was no reason for him to mention this, though, this man would be fully aware of that.

A clock somewhere chimed the hour and he counted each peal of the bells. Six o'clock. As if on cue a door opened. "John, I'm home!"

He stood so quickly he nearly knocked the chair over, but the other man - John - hardly moved. He adjusted his bow tie nervously. The sounds were maddening: keys dropping into a ceramic dish, a jacket being shucked and tossed over the back of a chair, shoes being kicked off.


"In here," he replied and the Doctor became aware of just how close to breaking this Human version of him was. He'd been so wrapped up in himself that he'd ignored... well, himself. A quick assessment showed definite signs of distress: elevated heart rate, perspiration, the tightness in his voice.

Then he could smell her the instant before she rounded the corner and thoughts of the other man in the room fled his mind.

"You'll never believe what the team brought in today - oh, hello."

His first thought was that her hair was darker. She was wearing jeans and a t-shirt, and aside from an extra few pounds could have just stepped from the TARDIS all those years ago. The extra weight looked good on her, healthy, comfortable.

She gave him a wide berth, not enough to be rude, just keeping a polite social distance. "Who's your friend?" she asked, bending to give her husband a quick peck on the cheek.

"Hello, Rose Tyler." Was that his voice? That strained, strangled mess?

Rose straightened, taking a step closer towards him that really seemed involuntary. Her eyes bored into his, then her mouth set in a hard line and without warning she reached out and slapped him hard across the face.

"How dare you. It's been six years. You said it was impossible. And it's not Tyler anymore." She flashed a rose pink diamond ring at him. "Hasn't been for a while."

Suddenly, her eyes flew back to her husband. "And you --" Her words faltered as she took in with a glance what the Doctor had managed to ignore for the better part of the last few minutes. Rose cupped her husband's chin with one hand and turned it up so that he was looking at her. "John." The word was tender, forgiving and supportive at the same time.

A single tear spilled from John's eye.

"You big bloody git," she said, but the words held no malice as she grabbed him by his shirt front and pulled him to a standing position.

They stood close, with the obvious familiarity of lovers, but not touching. He could hear every word Rose whispered to her husband quite clearly and a part of him almost wanted to believe they were meant for him instead. Gradually, John's hands moved from his sides to rest on Rose's hips. The Doctor hadn't forgotten how tall he used to be or how Rose had fit so neatly into his arms, but he'd only seen it from the outside one other time.

When she ran out of words, Rose placed one hand firmly on the back of her husband's head and dragged his lips down to hers.

It had hurt then, too.

A noise escaped John which could have been a sob and his arms closed around her waist, pulling her closer. They stayed that way for so long it became almost voyeuristic to watch them.

It was Jack's happy squeal which finally drew them apart.

"Get rid of him," Rose whispered against John's lips. She turned then, a murderous look in her eyes as they fell on him. Then her gaze moved to her son and softened. Without another word, Rose picked up Jack and left the room.

The kettle whistled, startling John who moved it off of the stove but made no effort to make the tea he'd offered.

"It wasn't easy," he said, his back to the Doctor. He shook his head. "It isn't easy. There are nights I hardly sleep at all for fear you'll do exactly what you've done today. Impossible, you said, though you must have forgotten how well she and I know you. Things are only impossible for you if you choose them to be."

"I shouldn't have come," he said again.

John turned. "No, you shouldn't have. What did you expect, Rose to run back into the TARDIS with you?"

"No, I --"

"She left me," he blurted. "Fell to her knees as the TARDIS dematerialized and sobbed in the sand for what felt like hours. It took Jackie and me an eternity to get Rose off of that freezing beach, but once we did she pushed me away. I knew no one in this universe aside from the Tyler family and for an entire year I had to make my way alone. Thankfully Pete was kind enough to set me up with an identity, the documents I needed, some money to start off with.

"I established myself, got a job, a flat, and I loved Rose Tyler from a distance for a whole year. In the end I was grateful for it, but can you imagine --" his eyes flew back to the Doctor. "Yeah, I guess you can. The time apart did us good, though. I knew who I was by the time I saw her again. I wasn't just your biological meta-crisis anymore, I was my own person. Rose was more even more confident, if you can believe it. She'd taken a position at Torchwood, saving the Earth one displaced alien at a time. But it still took us a long time to get to this point."

"She loves you very much."

"I know." He took a deep breath. "But until a few minutes ago I still wondered if she didn't love you more."

"Nah. Of course not. Besides, you two have Jack now --"

"John. His name is John Noble, Jr. We call him Jack, but it's John."

"Of course it is. It's a good name. Suits you. Both of you."

A frustrated growl echoed through the house. Then, "John!"

John smirked. "I think Rose just found the TARDIS."

"I guess that means I should be going."

"That's probably a good idea."

John extended his hand and the Doctor shook it. "You have a beautiful family, John, congratulations."

"Thank you, Doctor."

He left John in the kitchen and made his way back up the stairs to Jack's room, expecting to be ambushed by an angry Rose at every open door he passed. He stepped into the pastel room, his eyes on the TARDIS when her voice pulled him away from his goal.

"For a long time I hated you more than I'd loved you."

He whirled and saw Rose sitting in a rocking chair in the corner of the room, baby Jack playing on the floor by her feet.

"Everything I'd done to get back to you, risking my own life to cross universes, and you brought me back here without so much as a by your leave. I had to push John away at first because in my eyes he was still you and I knew it wouldn't be fair to him for me to hate him solely on that basis. But we're happy together and maybe now that he's seen me reject you his nightmares will end. He doesn't even know that I know about them, but you haunt him still. And I want him free of you. Goodbye, Doctor. Don't come back."

He bowed. "Mrs. Noble, Jack."

Rose inclined her head slightly at him.

Without another word he walked into the TARDIS and set the coordinates for home.