rynne: (the tenth doctor)
[personal profile] rynne
The second chapter will be posted in a few hours, after I'm done fiddling with it. :p

Title: With a Little Help from My Friends
Author: Rynne
Rating: PG-13
Fandom: Doctor Who
Characters: Ten I, Rose, Ten II, Jack, Martha, Mickey, Sarah Jane, Jo, Tegan, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, Liz, Grace, and Donna
Summary: Jack drags the Doctor to Martha's wedding, and at the reception he sees...more than a few familiar faces. Post-Journey's End, Ten I/Rose/Ten II.
Warning: For fix-it fic, implied trio, cracky premises, blue suit bashing, and David Tennant's fashion sense. :p
Notes: This was intended to be crackfic, but then it expanded and got less cracky, so now it's just fic with a cracky premise. Still, it's not meant to be taken entirely seriously. :p It also disregards any spin-off canon and assumes that Rose and Ten II did not get a piece of TARDIS at the end of JE. Thank you to [livejournal.com profile] shinyopals, for inspiration and encouragement, the loan of a few lines, and betaing. :) The title comes from the Beatles song of the same name.

Chapter One: The Past


When Martha called him and said she needed his help, the last thing the Doctor expected when he emerged from the TARDIS was for Jack to grab him, cuff him, and stuff him into a car. (Well, maybe not the last thing. It was rather less likely to have Jack show up and turn into a giant pudding, for instance.)

"Jack!" he sputtered. "What the--"

"We're going to Martha's wedding," Jack said cheerfully, climbing into the driver's seat and throwing a wink over his shoulder before starting it and heading out a ridiculous speed.

The Doctor stared at him. "You couldn't have just asked me to come? You had to--to trick me and handcuff me and shove me in a car--" The car went over a speed bump (without slowing down), and the Doctor bounced, and added, "And not even put my seat belt on?"

"It's not very far," Jack assured him, as if that were the main issue. "Besides, if we'd actually asked you, you would have said you were too busy moping to come."

"I would not!" the Doctor replied indignantly. "I'd never say that!"

"Well, maybe not that specifically," Jack conceded. "But that's what it would have amounted to."

"I do not mope," the Doctor muttered, shifting on the seat and trying to push himself upright with his hands cuffed together.

Jack snorted. "Doctor, you are the king of moping. I've never met someone who mopes as much as you do. Which reminds me--none of that at Martha's wedding, thanks. This is supposed to be happy."

"Oh, happy," the Doctor scoffed. He'd finally managed to pull himself up using the door handle and was currently fumbling around in his suit jacket for the sonic screwdriver. "I'm not typically happy about getting kidnapped, you know."

He pulled the screwdriver out of his pocket, but then Jack made an unexpected sharp turn and it flew out of his grasp.

"Such a harsh word," Jack chastised. "I was thinking more along the lines of making sure you got to see one of your best friends on the happiest day of her life."

The Doctor felt a pang of mingled guilt and frustration. Jack was right. He probably wouldn't have come if they'd just asked him. He'd driven them to this extreme.

"Hey, none of that," Jack said sharply, looking up at him through the rear-view mirror. "I said no moping, didn't I? Think happy thoughts."

Happy thoughts. Well, Martha getting married was nice, though he wasn't sure he wanted to see it, not when he couldn't help but remember the two weddings he went to with Rose. And then he couldn't help but think of Rose at another wedding, one where he'd be waiting for her--except not him. Him, but not him.

Bloody duplicate. Had to go and ruin everything.

The Doctor eyed the sonic screwdriver rolling around on the floor, calculating his chances of grabbing it and escaping before Jack could notice and stop him (probably by making more sharp turns and throwing him against the sides of the car), factoring in the speed of the car, the distances between the screwdriver and his hands, and his body and the door, plus Jack's instincts and training.

He decided he had a twelve point oh-two-five percent chance of getting away clean, which was enough for him to risk it. As they stopped at a light, he prepared to dive to the floor, but then Jack--without even turning around--said, "Don't even think about it."

Well, that wasn't fair. But--happy thoughts! He glared at the back of Jack's head, willing it to explode. Then he wouldn't have to go to the wedding, and Jack could still live.

Though, wait. Could he grow a new head? Recovering from bullets and electrocution and stray javelins was one thing, but recovering from dismemberment was another thing entirely (unless one could regenerate, but that wasn't what Jack did).

And Jack didn't really deserve to have his head explode (especially not if it was permanent). The Doctor would be uncomfortable for a few hours, but that was nothing, really. He briefly felt guilty for wanting to explode Jack's head.

"Do you never stop?" Jack complained suddenly, and the Doctor jumped.

"How did you--"

"You have a very memorable 'guilty' face," Jack informed him. The Doctor could see him rolling his eyes in the mirror. "Everyone who travels with you learns to recognize it quickly."

"That's not true!" He paused. "Is it?"

Jack laughed. "Self-preservation," he said. "You're much more fun when you're not moping. And less likely to bite someone's head off."

The Doctor thought about protesting once more that he didn't mope, this time adding that he also didn't bite people's heads off (even figuratively), but he figured Jack would laugh at him again. "I should never have told you about Rose and Donna," he muttered, quietly enough that Jack couldn't hear.

Or at least, that was the idea. Apparently Jack had ridiculously good hearing, because he said, "Deep down, you're glad you did. We would have tried calling them to get them to nag you into coming, and they wouldn't have gotten our messages, and then you would have missed the entire thing."

The Doctor eyed him, wondering once more about his sanity. "That's a bad thing?"

"Trust me," Jack said, making another sharp turn into a car park beside a church, "you're going to be glad I got you here."

The Doctor prepared himself to grab the screwdriver and make a break for it when Jack opened the door (handcuffs were only a minor inconvenience, after all, and easily taken care of once he was far away from here), but Jack was too quick; he picked up the screwdriver first.

Then he took off the handcuffs, and while the Doctor was surprised at this development, he wasn't about to miss his opportunity--the screwdriver was a necessary sacrifice. Besides, he could make another one.

Though that would leave Jack with a working sonic screwdriver, which was not good by any stretch of the imagination.

As the Doctor briefly debated his options, Jack took something else out of his pocket, then grabbed the Doctor's wrist and slapped something else on it. The Doctor held it up, then tried not to groan. Something in the universe definitely had it out for him.

"Bondage cuffs," Jack said cheerfully. Even smugly. "You know how these work, and they're a bit more inconspicuous than regular handcuffs."

And he didn't even have the sonic screwdriver so he could disarm them! "I could get killed," he pointed out. "Ten thousand volts is a lot, you know."

"You'll just regenerate," Jack said, which the Doctor felt was somewhat missing the point.

"Some friend you are," he muttered, this time deliberately loud enough to be heard. "Aren't people supposed to want to spare their friends pain? And besides, some of us are limited in how often we can come back from being killed."

Jack rolled his eyes, then said, "Sometimes you're ridiculously gullible. I turned down the voltage, of course. It's not going to kill you."

"How strong is it now?" Weak enough to risk running anyway? But no, that would still leave Jack with a sonic screwdriver.

"Strong enough." Enough for what, though, he didn't say. The Doctor gave up; Jack obviously wasn't in a very divulging mood. It looked like he was going to a wedding.

This time he did groan.

--

The wedding was, mercifully, over rather quickly. He and Jack were some of the first to arrive, which he didn't much like, but Jack's Torchwood team showed up soon after. The Doctor was pleased to see Mickey among them, since he rather thought Mickey would fit in better there than wherever it was he had been before he went to the other universe; but all the same, he kept several people between himself and Mickey. It was very hard to see him and not think of Rose.

Seated between Jack and Gwen (so close to Gwyneth! It really was fascinating, the way time could ripple like that), he was kept busy with listening to stories of some of their cases. (And trying not to laugh at their incompetence. Something inside him--though he couldn't decide if it spoke with a Chiswick accent or a South London one--told him it would be rude, and it would be better not to antagonize people who locked up aliens for a living.)

The church was mostly full when he felt something a bit odd in the back of his mind, something sort of...buzzing. He'd about made up his mind to go investigate it when Jack squeezed his knee, the bondage cuff displayed prominently when the Doctor looked down. Then Gwen and Ianto launched into a new wave of stories, and he let himself be distracted. Well, for now. Later he'd find out what was going on, and what Jack obviously didn't want him to see.

Then the wedding started, and while the Doctor didn't really pay that much attention, he did like seeing Martha. She looked absolutely beautiful in a simple yet elegant ivory dress, and he recognized her stride--purposeful, yet eager. She also looked happy, and he had to smile, seeing her like that. It was all he'd ever wanted for her, after all. She'd already been beaming as she walked, and then briefly her eyes met his and her smile grew even wider; she was clearly pleased to see him.

And, all right, being here wasn't that bad. He had no clue why it would make Martha so happy to see him, after all the ways he'd ruined her life, but he could indulge her a bit in this. He could disappear after it was over, and until then he would enjoy seeing her so happy.

Except when it was over, Jack refused to get rid of the cuffs or give him back his sonic screwdriver. "Reception," he said, winking at his team. The Doctor was frustrated; he was sure that Jack was planning something, and wanted to know what it was before it backfired on everyone.

"I went to the wedding," he complained. "Martha even saw me at the wedding. Why do I have to go to the reception as well?"

"It's a party," Jack said, grinning as they walked back out to his car. "It'll be fun. Trust me."

"I wish you'd stop saying that."

"Do you not trust me, then?" Jack raised an eyebrow, still grinning.

"With my life, yes. To judge whether or not I'll think a party's fun, no."

"Aww, Doc, I'm hurt." But though he made a big show of frowning, the Doctor could still see the teasing light in his eyes. "You'll like this one, I promise."

The Doctor stopped walking, not even caring if he got shocked anymore. But Jack stopped as well, walking back to stand next to the Doctor.

"What are you planning?" the Doctor demanded. "And don't tell me you're not planning anything; it's very obvious you are."

"You'll see when we get there," Jack replied calmly. He started walking again, and the Doctor sighed and joined him. "But it's not anything bad, promise."

"I think you and I have different definitions of 'bad'," the Doctor commented, remembering the time last incarnation when Jack had promised they weren't going anywhere bad and they'd ended up at a multi-species, multi-gender strip club. Rose had about laughed herself sick at the look on his face when he'd seen where Jack had taken them.

They got in the car (the Doctor managed the passenger seat this time, and got to put on his seat belt), and Jack started it and headed off with the rest of the traffic to wherever the reception was. The Doctor didn't much care; thinking about Rose had reminded him of the last reception he'd attended. He'd been freshly bereft of her, and had only begun to realize that the ache of missing her was only going to get worse as time went on.

And now he was without Donna as well. His brilliant Donna, so good at thinking on her feet even when she'd only just begun to expand her horizons. She'd deflected her family's questions when he'd had no idea what to tell them--she was so good at knowing what to say, what to do.

"You're moping again," Jack commented.

The Doctor sighed, not up to fighting with him about whether or not he was moping. He was so tired of this day and this ordeal, for all that it was supposed to be happy. "Can't I just go back to the TARDIS?" he asked. He tried to sound even, but his voice must have betrayed him, because Jack gave him a sharp look that quickly became sympathetic.

"Hey," he said softly. "I'm not doing this to torture you, you know. There are some people there I think you'd like to see, that's all."

People? What kind of people would Jack want him to see? He'd already met Jack's team at Torchwood--who else would Jack know that he'd want him to meet?

Well, at least he had the beginnings of an explanation. "If I promise not to run away, will you get the cuffs off and give me my sonic screwdriver back?" he asked, deciding to compromise.

They were stopped at a light, and Jack turned slightly to look at him. He tried to project earnest sincerity; it must have worked, because Jack said, "Oh, all right. When we get there."

--

There was a fair crowd there already when they arrived (the Doctor without the cuffs and with his sonic screwdriver, thankfully), but Jack steered the Doctor to a large empty table and told him to wait there. And he was curious about who Jack wanted him to meet, or he would have gone exploring. The wedding cake, in particular, appeared delicious, and he wanted a second look, and maybe a taste--

"Hello, Doctor," said a familiar voice from behind him, and he turned to see Sarah Jane. She seated herself next to him with a smile, and he smiled back.

"You're looking good," he said, taking in her nice semi-formal dress. She definitely didn't look like a human woman in her late fifties. "Did you bring your son? Luke, was it?"

"I did, yes," she said. "And one of his friends, a girl named Maria. They're talking to some of Martha's younger cousins--Maria's trying to get him used to being around normal humans. Did I tell you how I found him?"

"No, you didn't," he replied, intrigued. Normal humans?

Sarah Jane was just finishing up her story about the invasion of the Bane (which she quite handily thwarted, with the help of Luke and Maria--he was so proud of her!), when another voice behind him said, "Hello, Doctor."

This voice was not as familiar, and when he turned to look at this new woman, it took a few moments to recognize her. When he did, it felt like he'd been hit with a two-by-four; he just stared at her in shock.

"Jo," he breathed, once he'd got his voice back. Smiling calmly, as if it hadn't been years since she'd seen him, Jo took the open seat next to him and said hello to Sarah Jane like they were old friends, though he knew he'd only met Sarah after Jo had left.

"You look tired," she said, studying him. "Most of you looks younger, but part of you looks older."

He couldn't say the same for her--he guessed she'd be about sixty now, her blonde hair streaked with grey. She had the beginnings of wrinkles, and she was very thin. But she was still lovely and elegant, and her eyes laughed at him--they, at least, still looked young.

"Jo," he said finally, "what are you doing here?"

"Martha invited me," she replied, as if were completely unexceptionable.

"How do you even know Martha?" he asked, feeling the strange urge to start pulling at his hair. "For that matter, how do you know Sarah Jane?"

She regarded him with amusement. "UNIT, of course," she said. "Those of us who knew you kept in some sort of contact throughout the years, and we heard about Martha's travels with you fairly soon after she'd joined. You may not have been interested in seeing us again, but we were still your friends, and we wanted to know how you were doing, so we started talking to her."

"It's not that I wasn't interested!" he protested. "I just wanted to let you live your lives! And who's 'we', precisely?" He was suddenly suspicious--were there more of his old companions about to descend on him?

"Liz Shaw and the Brigadier, of course," Jo said blithely.

"Harry Sullivan," Sarah Jane added, from his other side.

"And that's just from UNIT," Jo continued. "I don't know who else Jack Harkness of Torchwood might have been able to contact."

"Of course, Jack," the Doctor said, wearily. Torchwood, with all its various files on him--and combined with UNIT and all its files...

He was doomed.

--

He reaffirmed that feeling of doom later, staring dumbly at the table where he was seated with not only Jo and Sarah Jane, but also Liz, the Brigadier, and Tegan and Grace, who didn't even live in Britain. They'd come all the way from Australia and America to attend this wedding. Harry Sullivan hadn't been able to come, but Liz assured him that Harry sent his best wishes.

At least Jack was currently sitting with him as well--and kept getting him more champagne.

They were--old. Well, not old, but older. Grace was the youngest, but it hadn't even been ten years for her since he'd met her. And the Brigadier was the oldest, but the Doctor had almost gotten used to him aging, now that they were no longer working together on a regular basis and only saw each other once years had passed.

But the others... Sarah Jane's youthful image in his mind had years ago been replaced with that of this older woman, still beautiful but with redder hair and more lines on her face. Now the others received the same treatment as his memory updated itself. Schroedinger's cat had been let out of the box, and it was noticeably older and very clearly mortal.

Had Jack really said he was going to like this?

He'd especially been surprised to see Tegan--he'd thought she made it pretty clear she hadn't wanted to see him again. But when he'd asked her, she'd said, "I didn't want to travel with you anymore. I couldn't do that. But that doesn't stop me from being your friend, or caring about you, and when Martha and Jack said you needed your friends, I wanted to come."

She'd smiled at him then, but he'd been too startled to smile back, even if he'd earlier heard something similar from Jo. She'd then briefly touched his hand and said, "Brave heart, Doctor," before walking away and striking up a conversation with Liz.

And Mickey was there, walking around, talking to the Brigadier and laughing with Grace (the Doctor was sure he didn't want to know about what). Jack was flirting with Sarah Jane, who was trying to hide how flattered she was. Martha was mingling with the guests and dancing.

It was incredibly odd, the juxtaposition of his older companions with his newer ones. But in time, Mickey and Martha too would grow old. When that happened, would he have other companions who they would meet to laugh and share stories with?

He wasn't sure whether to be terrified or pleased at the thought.

They got through the main part of the reception, including the cake (which was not as good as it looked), as well as the strange customs of throwing the bouquet and the garter belt. Martha's sister Tish caught the bouquet, but the Doctor (who'd been standing off to the side, not interested in participating in odd human rituals) ended up having the garter smack him in the face. Apparently Martha's new husband had very bad aim.

Eventually Martha came and dragged him to the dance floor with her, and he went quietly, happy at getting away from everyone else. It was a bit...overwhelming, seeing them all there.

"I'm glad you came," she said, speaking up a bit to be heard over the music. She was a superb dancer, he noticed--well able to keep up with him.

"Jack kidnapped me," he confessed, now feeling a bit sheepish about that. Martha deserved to have her friends at her wedding, without them needing to be coerced.

She giggled. "I thought he might have to." She didn't sound angry, at least.

They danced in silence for a bit, then, unable to stop himself, he asked, "Why are they here? My old friends, I mean. Since it's your wedding, and Tegan and Jo both told me that they were here to be my friend, I was just wondering why you invited them. Isn't the focus here supposed to be on you?"

"I was wondering when you were going to ask that." She smiled at him, and squeezed the hand she held in hers. The music changed, but she didn't let him go, so he continued to dance, only changing his pace to match the tune. "But you know, Doctor, it's only because of you that we're all here. And I don't just mean alive, though of course that's thanks to you as well. But I'd never have even met Tom if it weren't for you."

He cleared his throat, not sure what to say. "Oh, you never know--" he started awkwardly, but she shook her head.

"My happiness today is partly because of you," she said firmly. "I wanted to thank you for that."

He raised an eyebrow. "By hunting down my old friends and asking them to meet me at your reception? What happened to a box of chocolates and a card as a thank you? I wouldn't have said no to a box of chocolates, especially the ones with the tasty fillings."

She studied him for a moment, then took a deep breath and said, "It took me a bit to realize this, because I hadn't thought even you would be so stupid, but once I did, I wondered why it hadn't occurred to me before. Doctor, you do know that Davros was wrong about you, don't you?"

He stopped dead on the floor, and another couple bumped into them before he let Martha start them dancing again. "What do you mean?" he asked, feeling slightly stunned. What did Davros have to do with anything?

"All that nonsense about your soul." She searched his eyes, and he tried not to flinch. He didn't like remembering that bit. "Doctor, you don't turn us into weapons, you know."

"Of course I know!" he said, knowing that was what he was supposed to say. He had to disagree, though--Martha had been willing to destroy the Earth rather than let the Daleks go through with their plan. Jack and Mickey and Sarah Jane and Jackie had been willing to destroy the Crucible, with all of them inside it. They wouldn't have done that, before they'd met him. They would never have had the opportunity. They'd have lived nice, safe, oblivious lives.

"Do you?" she said, then continued before he could assure her. "Because I think you're just saying what you think I want to hear. When Jack told me about Rose and Donna, and his theory on why you did that to Rose especially, I agreed. I know you, mister. You take too much blame on yourself. From what I hear from Jack, I don't think Rose would have let you turn her into a weapon even if you tried."

Finally they moved away from the dance floor, but when he would have left her to go back to her mingling, she wouldn't let go of his hand. Instead, she faced the table that was full of his companions, older and newer, and he did as well.

"Look at them, Doctor," she said softly. "Look at all those people whose lives you did not ruin. They're here and they're laughing and they're happy, and so am I. And all of us who are lucky enough to have you consider us friends--we want you to be happy too."

"Martha..." he began, but didn't finish. Instead, he looked. Alistair was raising an eyebrow in bemusement (he recognized the expression from long experience) at one of Jack's stories, which Jack was telling with great zeal. Jo, Liz, and Sarah Jane were huddled at one end of the table, nearly empty flutes of champagne in front of them, laughing about something. Mickey was gesticulating wildly at Tegan and Grace, who looked amused.

"You didn't turn us into soldiers, Doctor," Martha said, looking at him again. "You turned us into people who can take care of ourselves, and other people as well. You gave us wonderful experiences that enriched our lives. We're happy with who and where we are today, because of you." Now she looked past him, and smiled; then she turned back to him. "You think about what I said. I'm going back to Tom."

Then she left, after giving him a kiss on the cheek. He stood there for a moment, then decided to go back to his friends. Some of them were probably laughing at him, but he could deal with that.

Well, he thought he could. When he reached the table, Mickey came up to him and reached up to sling an arm over his shoulder, making him bend over a bit. Not very comfortable. "You," Mickey announced, "are a big liar."

The Doctor tried not to make a face, though he could smell the alcohol on Mickey's breath. Definitely tipsy, though perhaps not drunk yet. "What did I lie about?" he asked warily. There was no telling what manner of things Mickey had been hearing about him.

"Nine hundred years, you told Rose," Mickey said. Now the Doctor winced--he knew where this was going. "But I was just talking to Mr Lethbridge-Stewart there, and he said that you'd been over nine hundred more than three bodies ago!"

Now they had the attention of the entire table, and the Doctor wanted nothing so much as to run away. Somehow, though, he knew it wouldn't do any good.

"You lied about your age?" Grace asked, now showing even more amusement.

"I didn't lie!" he protested, ducking out from beneath Mickey's arm. He dropped into his chair, and downed the nearest glass of champagne. He didn't really care whose it was.

"Oh?" the Brigadier asked, in his best 'can I have an explanation now, Doctor' voice. "Do Time Lords age backwards now?"

"I never said that." Was there a way of winning this conversation--or at least getting out with his dignity intact?

Probably not. He sighed, and briefly considered giving in and just telling them. But that would definitely result in mocking, and he might still somehow avoid it if he kept putting them off.

"What else is there?" That was Liz. She had her eyebrow raised--she always did have a very expressive eyebrow. This one conveyed an amusement to match Grace's.

He sniffed, deciding the best way to get out of this was to be above it all. "You're not the only planet with a year, you know," he pointed out. "By the standards of some, I am nine hundred and three years old."

"And how old are you according to this one?" Grace asked. She still looked like she was about to laugh at him.

"Doesn't matter," he assured them.

They didn't buy it. "Oh, come now, Doctor," Alistair said. "Normally you're all for satisfying your curiosity. Why not satisfy ours?"

Because that's me, he thought, but did not say. He was smarter than that. "Oh, what's a few years here and there?" he replied, trying to act blasé.

"You do know you're just making us more curious than if you'd just told us straight out," Tegan pointed out. And he had to agree, now that he'd thought about it. He probably could have handled this better.

He sighed. "Fine. I'm closer to twelve hundred than nine hundred. Happy?"

"Ecstatic," Tegan assured him. She was smirking. In fact, most of the people at the table were. He thought that wasn't quite fair.

"So what's with the few centuries here and there?" Mickey asked. He was one of those smirking. Of course, he always had liked seeing the Doctor discomfited. "Bit more than a few years, mate."

The Doctor shrugged. "Four digits is a lot," he explained. "It made me feel old."

"It's all right, Doctor," Jo said, clapping a hand on his shoulder. Her eyes were sparkling, but she wasn't smirking, for which he mentally thanked her. "We know you never act as old as you are."

He frowned. "Was that a compliment or an insult?"

But Jo just grinned at him and didn't say anything else--unlike almost everyone else, who seemed very happy to mock him.

Still, somehow it didn't feel as bad as it could have.

Chapter Two: The Future
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