Fic: The Doctor’s Rib (DW, girl!Doctor/Nine)

Disclaimer: The only ones who are mine are the two small (heh) cameos at the end. This particular Girl!Doctor is the product of the brilliant imagination of Raven (singlecrow), and Doctor Who belongs to the BBC.

Spoilers: Futurefic, but no specific references to anything past “The Christmas Invasion” since this was written before season 2 of the new series aired.

Acknowledgments: Becca for getting the idea stuck in my head in the first place, Medie for encouraging it, and pbristow and orimornie for the betas, and for making sure I didn’t totally botch the references to old series canon that I’d never actually seen at the time.



Part I: Frogs and Time Lords

It had been Jack’s idea, of course.

Not that anyone could really blame him under the circumstances. The Doctor had been hormonal and in her cups, which was always a bad combination but especially when it got her to thinking about the Time War and being the Last of Her Kind. Now, most of the time she considered herself very well adjusted–far better so than either of her two previous incarnations, if it must be said–but for some reason on this particular night she found herself pouring her heart out to her two companions.

“It’s not even being the last, really,” she sighed, dropping her chin into her hands and puckering her lips into a pout that she would have been far too dignified to ever attempt whilst sober. “But here I am, on my tenth regeneration. I’ve only got two more, and when I’m gone…a great, proud race will be no more. Erased from time as though we’d never existed, no more than a legend or a distant memory. It’s quite sad.”

Rose laid a hand on her shoulder and made comforting noises but Jack shook his head.

“Not necessarily.”

The Doctor shot him a look. “Time Lords may have the ability to regenerate, but we’ve yet to develop the ability to reproduce asexually. Unless you’re suggesting I clone myself–which would be a dubious proposition at best and I’m not the least sure I wouldn’t turn out psychotic–it does still take two to bring a child into the world. One male and one female.”

Jack grinned broadly. “So what’s the problem?”

She shot him a sarcastic glare. “If you’re volunteering your services, thanks, but while our species are compatible enough to reproduce, I speak from experience when I say that would not result in a Time Lord. I was a father once, remember–and a grandfather too.”

He wagged his eyebrows. “So that just means your options are limited…to, oh, say ten possibilities.”

It took only a milisecond for his meaning to penetrate, and even half pissed it gave her pause…not to mention food for thought. “Oh…”

Rose frowned, glancing at Jack, then back to the Doctor. “I don’t understand.”

“Oh!” the Doctor repeated with even more interest this time, the idea rapidly burning the alcoholic haze from her brain.

“There are no other Time Lords left…but there are ten male incarnations of one Time Lord,” Jack explained when she failed to.

Rose blanched, finally making the connection. “But wouldn’t that be…I don’t know, incest or something? They’re the same person.”

“Yes and no,” the Doctor corrected. “The physical regeneration, when it happens, is total–about the only genetic relationship I have to my predecessors is that we are, in fact, the same species. Everything else is quite literally brand new.”

“Maybe that’s why you regenerated as a woman this time,” Jack pointed out. “Some sort of pre-programmed racial survival instinct. Certain species of frogs have been known to spontaneously change gender under similar circumstances.”

“So you’re saying all this was so she can go back in time, shag herself–himself–and be her own grandmother…and grandfather?” Rose asked, still looking mildly appalled.

He shrugged. “Why not?”

“Why not indeed,” the Doctor murmured.

“How’s about you’ve got us. Isn’t that good enough?” Rose asked, her voice just the teensiest bit plaintive.

The Doctor looked up sharply at that, snapping out of her reverie with a gaze as clear and alert as if she’d never tasted alcohol in her entire thousand-year life. “Rose…” She reached for the other woman, but Rose pulled away from her touch, a look of sharp betrayal in her eyes. Before the Time Lord could say another word, she stood and left the table.

“Oh dear…” the Doctor murmured, watching with hooded eyes as her lover hurried away as fast as she could weave her way out of the crowded bar. “It appears I’ve made a proper mess of things this time, haven’t I?”

Jack’s eyes followed hers, his mouth tucking into a rueful frown. “I think you mean we have. Doctor, I–”

“No, Jack,” she disagreed, covering one of his hands with her own and squeezing it gently. “You opened my eyes to a possibility even I’d not considered; you gave me reason to hope that maybe the universe hasn’t given up on Gallifrey after all, and I’ll not have you apologize for it. Besides, it’s not as though I’ve agreed to this mad scheme of yours. Rose will realize that.”

“But you’re thinking about it,” he pointed out astutely.

She hesitated a moment before answering, “Yes, I suppose I am.”

~+~+~+~

Rose didn’t really feel like going back to the TARDIS. Unfortunately, while they were yet again in Cardiff, the year was one she hadn’t visited before, so aside from the TARDIS and the bar she’d just left, she didn’t really know where to go. So, only twenty minutes after fleeing her lovers’ presence, she found herself turning the key in the door of the anachronistic blue police box. She hesitated before stepping inside, though, not really sure what she would do if the Doctor were waiting for her on the other side.

God, it shouldn’t hurt this much. It wasn’t as if the Doctor had actually said she was going to do…that. Jack had just been trying to cheer her up, and from the look of it he’d bloody well succeeded–at least until the brilliant Rose Tyler decided to bring her own private pity party to the table. It was naive, she knew it was. It was more worthy of the nineteen-year-old without her A-levels to believe that she alone–or she and Jack–could make up for the loss of an entire world, an entire race. Still, that hadn’t stopped her when she was nineteen, and apparently it didn’t stop her now either.

“Bloody hell,” she muttered to herself. “Just go on and get it over with already.”

Rose opened the door.

The Doctor wasn’t waiting for her in the control room. There was a pair of legs sticking out from under the center console, but they were distinctly male. So, unless the Doctor’d somehow regenerated again in the time she’d been gone, it wasn’t her.

“Jack?”

He sat up suddenly at the sound of her voice, smacking his head on the underside of the catwalk and letting out a curse that must’ve come from the 51st century because she’d never heard it before the day they’d told him that the Doctor was now a woman.

Rose winced. “Sorry ’bout that.”

“It’s okay. It could be worse–I could’ve banged something really precious.” This with a lascivious waggle of his eyebrows. “And that would be bad for all three of us.”

She forced a smile.

“Speaking of which…” Jack glanced up at her, the playboy temporarily replaced by the genuine love and concern for his two partners that always hovered just beneath the surface. “Are you okay?”

“I don’t know,” she admitted honestly. “I know it’s stupid, but I just…” Words trailed off into silence as each one was turned over in her mind and found wanting. She looked at him, frowning as a realization came to her. “You were jealous. Of me and the Doctor, when you found out we were…together. You wanted in, and you didn’t think we had room for you. So why doesn’t this bother you? How could you just sit there and so calmly suggest that she…she…” This time it was her throat tying itself into a knot that stopped her.

Jack crossed his arms and leaned back against the console, his eyes never leaving her. “The Doctor masturbates,” he stated.

Rose stared at him, baffled by the non sequitir. “What?”

“You didn’t know that?”

“Doesn’t matter whether I knew or not; what’s that got to do with the price of eggs?”

“Does that make you jealous, to think of her pleasuring herself when you’re not around?”

Rose shook her head–really, Jack took the stereotypical male preoccupation with sex to entirely new levels. “Of course not, you git, I’m not completely daft. The Doctor can do whatever she likes in her own comp–oh.”

He nodded. “Exactly. And what about the Doctor and me? You’ve watched us together. Did you ever doubt for a moment that enjoying each other meant we didn’t love you?”

“No,” she admitted.

“So. We both know without question that the Doctor loves both of us. That she did even when she was a he, back when we first knew him.” He stood then, placing one hand tenderly on each side of Rose’s face. “Her hearts are big enough for both of us–that certainly won’t be changed by a little fling with the past.”

Rose smiled again, and while the smile was still shaky, it was genuine this time. “Thanks, Jack.”

“Anytime.” He leaned in to give her a quick, soft kiss on the lips, not unlike the first one he’d given her all those years ago. “The Doctor’s in the wardrobe.”

That was all, but then he didn’t need to say the rest: go to her.

Rose didn’t hesitate.


Part II: Stolen Moments

She found the Doctor flipping through a selection of ladies’ styles from the early twenty-first century.

“You’re going, then?”

The Doctor’s hand stilled on a pin-striped suit which, ironically, was almost the same fabric that her tenth incarnation had fancied. “Yes.” Big brown eyes lifted to meet hers. “I would very much like to, yes.”

The implication being that, despite that desire she wouldn’t do it without Rose’s blessing: that alone said more than the most eloquent declaration of love could have.

Rose swallowed hard, her heart making one lurching flip within her chest. Then she smiled. “Far be it for me to stand in the way of repopulating a great and noble species,” she quipped.

The Doctor took a wary step towards her. “You’re sure?”

Rose nodded. “I don’t…I can’t understand how lonely you’ve been, I know that. But I caught a glimpse of it: on Satellite One, listening to a bitchy trampoline call herself the last human on Earth. I just wish I could go with you–maybe make up for a few missed opportunities of my own. We had some good times, me and him.”

The Doctor smiled. “Yes, we did.”

“But don’t worry, Jack and I’ll stay snug in the TARDIS–don’t want to go bumbling into myself, seeing as how I haven’t got a new face. Or Mickey or Mum, and confusing the hell out of them.”

“You’re truly all right with this?” the Doctor asked, her voice low and earnest as she reached–as always–for Rose’s hand.

“I truly am,” Rose promised. She smiled then, her tone turned teasing. “Long as you don’t do something stupid so’s you can’t come back to us.”

The Doctor snorted. “Oh, please. I’ve been traveling in time since before your great-grandmother was a gleam in her great-grandmother’s great-grandmother’s eye. As the Yanks would say, ‘careful is my middle name.'”

Rose laughed, her smile broadening with the restoration of their old easy banter. “You haven’t got a first name. Or a last one, for that matter. Just ‘the Doctor.'”

Full, feminine lips bowed into a suppressed smile as dark eyes danced lovingly in the space where they met her own. “‘Just’ the Doctor?” the Doctor echoed.

“No. You’re not ‘just’ anything,” Rose corrected. This time it was her turn to lean in and bestow a kiss that was light but far from chaste, murmuring against her lover’s lips, “You could never be ‘just’ anything. Not my Doctor. You’re the last of the Time Lords–go be the first too.”

~+~+~+~

Despite what Jack had suggested, when she really thought about it she realized that her options were far more limited than ten. In fact, it had not been difficult at all to decide which of her previous incarnations to broach the subject with: eight of them she’d approached for advice when she’d first woken with this body, and she knew herself well enough to know that they were very capable of putting two and two together if she visited them again. Which meant that explaining why she was there this time would necessitate telling them about the Time War, and that was a line even she wasn’t willing to cross. The eighth…well, he certainly would know about the Time War eventually–he’d fought in it–but he didn’t know the outcome. Might not be able to do what he’d been forced to do to end it if he should know. She wouldn’t expose herself to that temptation–despite the cost, it had to be done and she wasn’t willing to rip apart the space-time continuum to assuage her own guilt.

As for the tenth…well, he was going to have quite enough to deal with when he regenerated without adding the trauma of having recently shagged the face in the mirror into the mix.

That left one. One who knew the stakes: one who needed the hope she could offer with a desperation she could still recall clearly. The Time War had not been kind to his psyche that time around, she remembered, so maybe–hopefully–he was just mad enough to leap at the chance to rebuild what he had so recently destroyed.

She would give him the choice, though. As tempting as it would be to pose as Romana and pretend she had survived, it wouldn’t be fair to deceive him–make him believe that he wasn’t alone only to discover the truth in two lifetimes anyway. If he said no, she would accept that, and with it the doom of her people.

She didn’t think he would say no.

Choosing a time hadn’t been difficult, either: after he met Rose so that there was something in his life worth fighting for, worth seeing that the Time Lords were still around to continue to protect, but before the Dalek–before that first ominous hint that what he’d done had been for nothing. Yet it also had to be a moment when Rose wasn’t there: she didn’t yet know about the regeneration and therefore would understand even less than her Rose had why the Doctor had to do this. She might even decide to stay behind if she caught them together, and that was not a risk this Doctor was willing to take.

When she landed–being careful to park the TARDIS where she knew neither Rose, Jackie nor Mickey would stumble upon the wrong one–the nineteen-year-old Rose was upstairs in her apartment with her mother. She was packing, having just been lured by the Doctor’s past self into returning by the promise of wonders the likes of which she’d never dreamed. Looking back, it had been a frightfully manipulative move on his part, and the Doctor was rather ashamed of herself in retrospect, but it couldn’t be helped now. Besides, all that mattered for her purposes at the moment was that her past self was in the TARDIS, alone and waiting. Rose might be packing as fast as she could, afraid he would leave without her, but there had never been any real danger of that–there were people the Doctor would wait for forever, in any incarnation, and Rose was one of them.

The Doctor knew exactly how much time she had before Rose finished. It wasn’t long enough for some elaborate seduction, but that was hardly the point of the whole enterprise. It would be long enough.

“Well, here we are then,” she declared cheerfully. “Be back in a tick.”

“That fast?” Jack teased. “Doesn’t say much for your predecessor’s stamina.”

She raised an eyebrow. “Wouldn’t you just love to know?”

He grinned and raised both hands in a gesture that was somehow innocence, supplication and invitation all at once. “Hey, I made the offer. Repeatedly. Not my fault you insisted on being courted properly.”

The Doctor flashed him a wicked smile. “But just look how your patience was rewarded. Now, if you both will pardon me, I’ve a schedule to keep.”

“So we’ve a schedule now, have we?” Rose commented dryly. “Pencil us in for when you get back?”

The Doctor glanced at Jack, one eyebrow raised. “You’ve been a terrible influence on her, you know that?”

“All things considered, shouldn’t you be thanking me for that?” he shot back.

She shook her head and kissed them both, then slipped out. Closing the door behind herself took just long enough for her to overhear Jack admitting to Rose, “On second thought, maybe I am jealous: not of him, but of her.”

That fixed a smile on her face that didn’t fade until she reached the door of the other TARDIS.

She briefly considered knocking, but thought better of it. Rose had a key, and he was expecting her–by the time he realized she wasn’t Rose, she would already be inside and that was half the battle right there. There were things she had no desire to say in the middle of London, and knowing her own penchant for choosiness about who was and was not allowed to set foot inside her TARDIS, she’d rather not take the chance of being dismissed before she could make her case. In all likelihood, it wouldn’t be an issue as soon as he recognized her nature for what it had to be, but there was always the possibility he would miss it under the weight of his own solitude.

As expected, his first reaction to the sound of the door opening was not alarm but rather relief. His shoulders and his voice shifted quickly into the tone of manic cheerfulness that had come naturally to his fourth incarnation, but was more of a disguise for the battered soul of this one. He spoke jauntily as he turned to face her–“So, you decided to come after–“–then stopped with a frown. “You’re not Rose.”

The eleventh incarnation smiled. “No, I’m not. Not to worry, though–she’ll be along shortly. Just gathering a few things together, and I have to say I don’t blame her. Have you seen the state of the wardrobe lately?”

Her past self frowned, and she experienced the peculiar but not wholly unfamiliar sensation of knowing exactly what he was thinking because she suddenly remembered it. “Do I know you?”

“You will,” she stated, her lips curling into a smile. “Come on. I know it’s on the tip of your tongue–you’re just afraid to say it because you’ve almost forgotten what hope feels like. Or at least you had until you met her,” this with a nod towards the building where Rose was cramming as much of her life as she could into a small duffel.

He fixed her with an inscrutable stare, eyebrows drawn together over that beak of a nose that was surprisingly rakish, whilst she just stood quietly, waiting for the pieces to fall into place. First, what he wanted to be true…

Shock and wary hope flooded his eyes. “I…it can’t be. I thought I was the last. I was sure of it.”

“I am,” she stated sadly. “I’m sorry: I very seriously considered lying to you on that point, but decided it would be unecessarily cruel, since you would discover the truth eventually.”

Then what he knew to be true.

“Ah.” Resignation now, but with a hint of amusement. She would have been surprised that he took it so calmly, if not for the memory that her Ninth incarnation had been somewhat fatalistic as a result of the Time War. Being doomed to wake up as a woman was hardly the worst thing he anticipated from the future at that moment in his life. “So I’ll get to experience how the other half lives. Romana would be amused.”

She felt felt all four of their hearts contract painfully with the truth of that. “Yes, she most certainly would.”

“I can’t see myself coming all this way to warn me about that, though,” he concluded next with a sharply intuitive glance. “Although…wait, no, I do remember you! We have met before–more than once, if I recall. You always asked the same question.”

“Really, do you blame me?” she asked, cocking an eyebrow.

His eyes gave her a brief, clinical inspection. “No, I suppose not. Nothing wrong with the package, but it would take some getting used to. Was I really so arrogant as to just assume it would never happen?”

“Yes, I was,” she answered dryly. “I’ve adjusted, but you’re right–it took some doing.”

“Not here for advice, then?”

One Doctor shook her head while the other regarded her with arms folded across his chest and his head tilted just slightly to one side. “No,” she confessed. “I’ve come to give you hope: not the false kind that playing Romana would have been, but a true, honest hope that something might be salvaged from the ruins of our world.”

She had his attention now–even without the constantly shifting tide of memory within her, she would have known by the way his shoulders straightened, by the light that came into his eyes. His voice was raw when he spoke: “I’m listening.”

Now that the moment had come, she felt suddenly tongue-tied. How exactly did one proposition oneself without sounding absolutely absurd and probably touched as well? She’d foolishly failed to plan out her words in advance and now had absolutely no idea what to say, which was doubly ridiculous because their time was limited, after all.

“Or I would be if you were saying anything, rather,” he supplied unhelpfully and she experienced a burst of irrational, very female irritation that loosened her tongue.

“You and I. I remember being you, and you know now that one day you’ll be me, but if we could just put that aside for a bit…just be a man and a woman, the last of our kind…maybe we could start to rebuild.”

Eyebrows shot up and blue eyes widened in shock. “Are you suggesting–?”

“Yes, I’m suggesting, and yes, I know it sounds dreadful,” she interrupted before he could finish the thought. “But if humans can believe that the first woman of their kind began her life as one of her husband’s ribs, then why not, damn it? It’s certainly no more peculiar or implausible than that.”

“Not terribly, true,” he admitted, beginning to catch the same curiosity that Jack’s words had first infected her with. If nothing else, it was an unexplored horizon, and the Doctor had never been very good at resisting the lure of an unexplored horizon. Not in any incarnation: it was one of the few things they all had in common. “D’you really think it’ll work?”

It will, not it would. The choice of tense was no coincidence; he hadn’t realized that yet, but she remembered and the memory pleased her enormously. “Well, the timing is certainly right for it.”

They took a step closer to one another in perfect synchronization, as if mesmerized. “Just one question further–you’re not…next, are you?”

“Goodness, no,” she scolded, glaring at him. “I didn’t become a masochist when I became a woman. Really!”

“Fantastic!” the ear-to-ear grin she’d been hoping for finally appeared as the distance between them closed still further. “So. How d’you want to go about this?”

She was surprised to find how charged she was, both with adrenaline and with hormones. Damn it, she had been a handsome fellow, no matter what some might have thought of the ears. Handsome in a devilish sort of way. “Well, we could both close our eyes and think of Gallifrey, I suppose. Or we could make the most of this unique opportunity.” Her eyes twinkled as she let her voice drop into a throaty alto register and ran one finger down the front of his jumper. “Seeing as how I remember everything that turns you on. Very clearly.”

~+~+~+~

In the end they’d decided to pop off to Paris in 2035 for the duration, just in case, setting the TARDIS to return a minute after it left. Not that the TARDIS had ever been one hundred percent reliable about such things, but this time the Doctor figured the ship had as much of a vested interest as they did.

She knew the moment they succeeded; the felt two tiny flickers of life curl into being within her like newborn candle flames, and marveled at the sensation. She didn’t tell him: it would be months, even years yet before this tiny spark of hope they’d kindled was fanned into a steady flame big enough to rebirth a world. But she also hadn’t kept her gratitude out of their goodbye kiss, or rejected his invitation to “bring the kids round to meet him sometime.”

~+~+~+~

The first shout shouldn’t have caught his attention at all. A child’s voice shouting, “Mummy, AJ, look!” in the middle of Cardiff wasn’t precisely unheard of.

It was the voice that answered that made the Doctor stop stock still in his tracks, causing Rose, Jack and Mickey to stop as well and fix worried eyes on him. Because it was a voice that he would one day know as well as his own: “Romana Rose, come back here! What have I told you about running off in the middle of a strange twenty-first century city?”

When he turned, the face of his future was walking quickly towards the TARDIS, in pursuit of an exuberant eight-year-old girl with long brown curls. A curly-haired boy of the same age clung tightly to his mother’s hand, and behind her were two figures he didn’t have to be able to see clearly to recognize: one short and female with straight blonde hair spilling from under a hat, the other tall and male with a swagger he would know anywhere.

He watched as his future self reached their daughter, crouching down to scoop her up in her arms. They turned, and for a moment two pairs of eyes harboring the same soul met across the courtyard, sharing the silent knowledge of a promise kept. Then little Romana Rose’s mother leaned in to whisper in the girl’s ear, and while he couldn’t hear what she said, a bright smile spread across his daughter’s face and she began waving joyfully in his direction, her brother following suit after Mummy leaned down to whisper to him as well.

“Doctor?” Rose’s voice broke through his reverie, drawing hs attention back to the present. “Is something wrong?”

For once, his heart felt as light as the smile he turned back to her and Jack, ignoring Mickey’s suspicious stare. “Not a thing. Perfect day, if you ask me.”

And it was. There’d be time enough to get to know his children later, as their mother. For now, it was enough to know that little family was in his future.

It was enough to know that Gallifrey had a future.


End note: Well, it’s done! There was a remote possibility at the beginning that it could have been longer, but in the end there were two things I just couldn’t bring myself to write–the actual sex, and pregnant!girl!Doctor. Those tasks, I’m afraid, would be best left to braver souls than me. *grin* That being said, there’s still a chance you haven’t seen the last of Romana Rose Harkness or Alistair John “AJ” Tyler–I’ve got at least one more plotbunny for the twins simmering on a (very) back burner. We’ll have to see what, if anything, becomes of it. 🙂

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