[identity profile] milieva.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] milieva_fics
Title: Grounded (4/?)
Series: Lessons on Nesting
Author: [livejournal.com profile] milieva
Rating: Teen
Characters: Nine/Rose, Jack
Beta: The fabulous [livejournal.com profile] glory_jean.

Summary Following the news of Rose’s pregnancy, the Doctor and Rose are attempting to settle into a new routine, living life day after day on planet Earth, with a bit of adventure in between.



<< Previous Chapters

Chapter 4

Sarah Jane had to admit she was pleased someone new had finally purchased the house next door. It was about time someone fixed up that old place. The couple seemed quite pleasant. She’d met the wife a few times so far, and the friend. The husband wasn’t as interested in meeting the neighbors as he was working on the house, so she hadn’t met him yet, but she had seen him in passing.

The only thing unusual about the new neighbors was that a removal van never arrived with furniture from another residence. A few pieces were delivered from some shops, but not nearly enough to furnish that entire house. One delivery was for the little flat out back, even. So, she had wondered if they were just living in an empty house. That was a little suspicious, but she tried not to give it much thought. They didn’t seem to be up to any sort of mischief, so she wasn’t too worried.

There was one moment shortly after they started work on the house that Sarah Jane thought she was perhaps finally losing her mind. Very early one morning, she’d been half asleep when she could have sworn she’d heard the TARDIS materialize, but she couldn’t see anything promising when she glanced out the window. She’d passed it off as a waking dream. That was the only time she’d heard it, anyway.

After that, she might have kept a closer eye on them, but still there was nothing to suggest anything out of the ordinary except the lack of a removal van. At least that was what she thought.

Until the afternoon she heard it again.

*.*.*.*.*

They had a date.

The Doctor had promised her a proper just-him-and-her date like an ‘ordinary’ couple. Dinner, dancing, and all that was on the agenda for the night. It was going to be the first proper date they’d had since before the wedding, so Rose was more than a little excited.

She’d slipped out to the shops that morning and had come home with the most beautiful little blue dress. It reminded her of one she’d bought on their travels then subsequently ruined during a daring escape. Hopefully this one would survive more than forty-eight hours.

Upon arriving back at the house, she jogged around the house, through the gate, to where the TARDIS was parked under a tree in the back garden. Happily turning her key in the lock, Rose entered the console room for the first time in weeks. She could have sworn the TARDIS hummed a happy greeting at her as she walked by the console, giving the controls a soft pat.

“Yeah, I miss you too,” she told the ship before heading back to her room.

Rose sifted through her wardrobe. Somewhere in there she had the perfect pair of shoes to go with her new dress. They’d come from a bazaar on a little no-name trade planet they’d visited before she’d fallen pregnant. She and Jack had wandered with a pocket full of credits while the Doctor headed straight for the tech booths on the hunt for parts to repair the helmic regulator.

They were still safely stowed in the little canvas bag the merchant had put them in. Even though they’d been tossed into the back of the wardrobe and buried, they had survived unscathed. Triumphantly clutching her prize, Rose climbed back to her feet and headed for the door. Her hand had only just touched the door panel when the entire room gave a heaving shudder. The all too familiar groan of the TARDIS preparing to dematerialize made her heart nearly stop beating.

The Doctor was planning to move the TARDIS up to the attic that day, but he wasn’t supposed to until later in the afternoon. She’d asked him to wait in case she needed something out of her TARDIS bedroom for that night. Apparently he hadn’t listened.

Shoes forgotten as they fell from her hand, Rose bolted headlong toward the console room hoping to get there before it was too late.

“Doctor!” she shouted, running as fast as she possibly could. “Doctor! I’m still on-board!”

*.*.*.*.*

It was like something out of a dream. Sarah Jane was in the kitchen washing up when she heard it again. She definitely wasn’t dreaming this time. Dropping the dish back into the sink, she shot out of the backdoor into her garden. It was most certainly coming from her new neighbors’ house. Hoisting herself up she peered over the fence that separated their gardens to see an all too familiar blue box begin to fade from view.

Dashing out her own gate, Sarah Jane only had one thing on her mind as she rounded the Smiths’ house and barreled through their gate and into the garden. Trespassing was the furthest thing from her mind when that box vanished from view.

She was too late.

“Doctor,” she whispered despondently, “It’s me.”

Little more than a second had passed before the police box walls solidified in front of her and the door swung open, and Mr. Smith was practically pushing Rose out of the door. The expression on his face was a dangerous mixture of fear and anger.

“What part of ‘stay off the TARDIS’ did you fail to understand?” he growled.

“I’m allowed on-board after she’s been parked for three days, remember?” Rose shouted. “I’m not the one who moved her without checking for additional passengers.”

Mr. Smith held out his hand and harshly commanded Rose give him her key. Horrified, Rose refused with a hysterical, “No!”

“Give it me,” he insisted.

“I won’t. It’s mine. You gave it to me.”

“My ship. My key.”

Realization dawned. The Doctor had moved in next door.

“No. I won--”

Rose stopped mid sentence, her eyes rolled back as she swayed for a brief moment before collapsing into a heap on the ground. Sarah Jane couldn’t stand back any longer, she ran forward to help.

“Sarah Jane?” Mr. Smith asked. His northern accent was not what she was expecting, but the look of recognition told her that she was correct in her identification of him. The surprise in his expression lasted but a moment when the urgency of the situation reasserted itself and he picked Rose up off the ground.

“Into the TARDIS?” Sarah Jane asked, turning to push the doors farther open.

“No,” the Doctor snapped. “Into the house.”

That friend of theirs appeared in the TARDIS doorway, but he disappeared again when the Doctor sent him to the med bay for an instrument with a ridiculously difficult name.

Sarah Jane opened the back door of the house for the Doctor and followed as he carried Rose through the kitchen to a small sitting room, where he gently deposited her on a sofa. He pulled out a tool that must have been a new model of his sonic screwdriver and began to take readings off the young woman.

“Is she alright?”

Rather than answer, the Doctor sent her on an errand as well. “Up the stairs, farthest bedroom, right bedside table, top drawer. Bring me the small blue case.”

The urgency in his voice sent her running toward the stairs. Whatever had happened wasn’t good. Following the directions the Doctor had given her, Sarah Jane opened the drawer to find the blue case that contained a very odd little contraption. That must have been what he wanted. Taking hold of it, she ran back down to the sitting room, hoping this little thing would help.

The Doctor snatched it from her hand and snapped part of it on to a small screen in the corner of the room. The other piece, he placed against the skin of Rose’s stomach. Two tiny shapes appeared on the screen. It only took a moment for Sarah Jane to realise what she was seeing. By the time the Doctor seemed to have found two steady heartbeats and the other man had returned with the device the Doctor had asked for, Rose started to come back around.

“My babies,” she breathed, looking up at the Doctor with desperation.

“I have two heartbeats,” he assured her. “We’re about to see if any damage was done by the brief jump.”

The machine that had been brought in had to be some sort of compact scanner. Sarah Jane thought it looked familiar, though she had never seen it used, just taking up space in the med bay.

Moving the coffee table closer to the sofa, the Doctor unfolded a few parts and set the machine down in such a way half of it was over Rose’s belly. The two fetuses appeared in much greater detail than the little device had shown them. He studied the image closely, slowly increasing the magnification as he looked.

“Are they okay?”

The tension in the air was nearly palpable until the Doctor let out a sigh of relief. “They’re fine.”

“I thought children could travel in the TARDIS as long as the trip was short and within the same brief timeline,” Sarah Jane said, hoping she could find out what had them so worked up. She expected the Doctor to answer, but it was Rose that spoke first.

“Oh my god. You’re that Sarah Jane,” she gasped with a look of recognition. Turning toward the Doctor she asked, “Did you know?”

“No, I only just--” The Doctor’s words faded as he magnified the image once more. His relief was replaced with a renewed expression of worry.

The poor girl looked like she was on the verge of crying. “What is it, Doctor?”

“There was a small leap in development.” Again he increased the magnification. “They jumped ahead a few weeks since last night.”

“Will they be alright?” Unable to hold herself back, tears began to run down Rose’s cheeks. Sarah Jane couldn’t even imagine what she was going through.

“They should be. Yes,” the Doctor reassured her, with an affectionate pat on the knee. “We’ll keep a closer eye on them for a while.”

Rose wiped her eyes. “Okay.”

“Might be best if you rested for a while.”

“Yeah, probably a good idea. I’m a bit dizzy, Rose agreed, touching her hand lightly to her temple.

“Can you stand?”

“I don’t know.” Shakily, she swung her legs over and attempted to rise to her feet, only to sway unsteadily and drop back down on the sofa. “No. No, I can’t.”

The Doctor carefully picked her back up and carried her out of the room. Sarah Jane politely chose not to follow them. After all that excitement, she assumed they needed a few quiet moments alone.

That friend of theirs returned to the room carrying a tray of four steaming mugs that he set on the coffee table.

“She’ll be alright,” he reassured.”The Doctor will see to it.”

“I believe you’re right.”

He stepped forward with an outstretched hand and a friendly smile. “Captain Jack Harkness.”

“Sarah Jane Smith,” she answered, shaking his hand. “The Doctor and I are old friends.”

“Pleasure to meet you.” was the only response Jack managed before the Doctor reappeared in the doorway, with a warning tone in his voice.

“Jack.”

“I’m only saying hello.”

Sarah Jane laughed. Obviously there was something to the captain’s greetings she wasn’t aware of.

“Don’t you have somewhere you were supposed to be?” the Doctor reminded, forcefully.

“Oh right!” Jack remembered, laughing. “Nice to meet you, Sarah Jane Smith.” He winked. “Another time.”

With a wave he was gone. Well, he was gone for a brief moment before popping his head back in.

“Oh, and Doctor, if something happens, call me.”

He disappeared out of the room again, and this time the front door closed behind him.

“What happened to Rose?” Sarah Jane asked, sitting back down in a chair with a mug of tea. “We’ve had children on the TARDIS once or twice, and pregnant women. It’s not good for them, you’ve said, but I thought it was alright for short jumps in the same timeline.”

The Doctor took his time responding. Between the pained expression on his face and the lengthy pause before his answer, she was feeling a little guilty for asking the question in the first place.

“Most races, yes, but certain hybrids, especially those with Gallifreyan DNA, have such malleable gene structures in utero that levels of background radiation created during even the shortest trip can affect the development of the fetus or fetuses.”

“Gallifreyan DNA?” Sarah Jane clarified as the penny finally dropped. “You mean they’re yours?”

“Yes.”

“Get you, Tiger,” she teased, smiling as the tips of his ears turned red. “She’s a bit young, though, isn’t she? She can’t be more than--”

“She’s twenty,” he snapped, putting an end to that conversation thread.

She’d wondered briefly if the house and marriage were merely a cover, but the way he looked at Rose was enough to erase that idea from her mind. The fact she was pregnant with his children definitely proved it otherwise if she’d still needed convincing. This turn of events had to have one hell of a story attached.

And Sarah Jane wasn’t leaving until she found it out.

*.*.*.*.*

It was dark when Rose finally woke up again. Part of her wanted to just roll back over and go back to sleep, but at the same time she wondered if Sarah Jane was still downstairs. Switching on her bedside lamp, she looked at her clock. It was later than she thought it was. Rose sat up slowly and set her feet gently on the floor. The last time she’d attempted to stand hadn't gone so well, so she was more careful this time.

All went well. Her head didn’t decide to spin and the floor stayed where it was supposed to under her feet. Perhaps she could also manage to walk. One foot slowly in front of the other, she made it to the door. Feeling almost steady on her feet, she gingerly crossed the floor of the hallway, not sure if she wanted to chance going down the stairs, but she was spared the choice when she found the Doctor in the nursery.

He was standing near the top of the ladder carefully adding in details to the ceiling mural. Each star had to be tinted just right.

“Sarah Jane gone, then?” she asked, hoping she wouldn’t startle him.

“She went home a few hours ago,” the Doctor answered, setting his little brush aside as he stepped down to the floor. He closed the distance between them in only two strides before cupping her face in the coarse palm of his hand. “How are you feeling?”

“I’ve got a headache, but otherwise...”

She decided not to tell him that she was having trouble standing, because she figured her weak knees weren’t exactly a symptom of the misadventure that afternoon.

“Good.”

The thumb rubbing soft circles on her cheek only made the standing problem worse. She didn’t want to just write off his actions earlier. He was downright awful, and she’d planned to make him pay for it, but she was having a hard time even attempting to stand her ground. Any defenses she might have had left came tumbling down when he apologised without any prompting.

“I’m sorry I shouted at you.”

“I didn’t do anything wrong,” Rose declared, trying to sound firm, but feeling as if she were failing miserably. “I didn’t deserve to be spoken to like that.”

“No you didn’t,” he agreed. “I was wrong.”

“I’m not giving you back my key.”

“I shouldn’t have asked for it back,” he told her apologetically, in a voice barely above a whisper.

“You didn’t exactly ask,” she reminded. “More like, commanded. Might as well have told me to ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ while you were at it.”

There was true sorrow in his eyes when he apologised, again. She knew he meant it.

“When I heard your voice in the corridor...” he explained. “I thought....I thought I was going to lose you.”

The fear and the longing in his eyes was heart wrenching. He must have been more frightened than she. That didn’t defend his actions, but it did explain them. It wouldn’t have been the first time he’d lashed out when he’d feared for her life.

Wrapping her arms around him, Rose buried her head into the fabric of his jumper and breathed him in.

“We’re going to be okay,” she reassured him. “All of us.”

*.*.*.*.*

The next morning found Rose sitting in Sarah Jane’s reception room. She had wanted to assure Sarah Jane that she was indeed alright and that scans that morning had proven nothing serious had happened, then perhaps invite her to the housewarming party. What she thought would be a brief hello turned into the two of them spending a good two hours or more discussing their experiences with the Doctor.

“With you, did he do that thing where he’d explain something at like ninety miles-per-hour and you’d go ‘What?’ and he’d look at you like you’d just dribbled on your shirt?”

“All the time,” Sarah Jane replied. “Does he still stroke bits of the TARDIS?”

“Yes! Yes, he does.” Rose laughed. “Yeah. I’m like, ‘Do you two need a moment alone?’.”

They had a bit of a laugh at his expense before Rose finally managed to remember the other reason she had gone round Sarah Jane’s house in the first place.

“So, we’re having a housewarming party in a few weeks, because my mum insisted the Doctor meet the family,” Rose said. “I’d love it if you came. I‘m sure the Doctor would too.

“Thing is, I thought it would be a nice surprise to have a few of the Doctor’s other old friends there. Especially the Brigadier. He speaks so fondly of him. Do you know how to contact any of them?”

“Yes. And I’m sure Alistair would be more than happy to attend.”

They went over a list of names Rose knew and Sarah Jane added in a few more. She didn’t promise she could find everyone who was still around, but she would try. She’d kept in touch with a few, like the Brigadier, but some of the others had dropped off her radar. There were a few more from before her time, but she wasn’t sure how interested they would be.

Before they parted, Sarah Jane promised to let her know what the answers had been.


to be continued....


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