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Title: The Noble Girl – The End of the World

Rating: T

Author: tkel_paris

Summary: Jenny Noble and Mickey Smith's first TARDIS adventure? The Earth's Death. Time to see just how alien the universe is. Written for cassikat, concluding her 2012 Christmas present.

Disclaimer: Hugely AU. So no, I own nothing.

cassikat, of course. Happy birthday, my friend! :D And tardis_mole and bas_math_girl, for beta-reading.

Author's Note: This idea was floating around in my head because I thought that a certain character looked more like another character than the one who was her (sole) parent in canon. And I know
cassikat wanted a Nine story without Rose. So we both get our wish here! :D

Everyone has had the idea of taking a character and putting them into a different family situation. So, take one character from Who, transform the circumstances of her birth into something normal (or as normal as one can get in DW), and give her a different family. What do you get? Possibly this story. If you eliminate one other character...

Chapter One / Chapter Two / Chapter Three / Chapter Four / Chapter Five

CHAPTER SIX: Life After Earth Death

They had to compose themselves to help the wounded, and there were a few. People who hadn't been able to keep completely hidden from the rays. The burns were horrific. Jenny had seen third degree burns that looked better than what she saw on some of the aliens. She hoped no one would lose a limb from today, or any major function.

The Doctor walked briskly in some time later. He glanced at Jenny and Mickey, grateful they were unharmed. But he couldn't pause to talk to them. He had an important thing to do first.

Jenny looked up from the bandaging she was doing for the Moxx of Balhoon and felt relief at seeing the Doctor. But where was-? She cut her thought off as she watched their designated driver go straight to Jabe's companions, mutter a few words to them and then placed his hands on their shoulders as their faces fell.

Mickey had finished with some first aid on Mrs. Pakoo before going to join Jenny, having done all he thought he could. Or all the aliens would let him do. He watched the Doctor's actions, and his face fell. “Poor Jabe,” he whispered. Aliens were people, too, he'd seen that today. And one who seemed rather nice had died to save them all? He wondered if they should offer the cutting back.

The Doctor left Jabe's companions to grieve and walked back near Jenny and Mickey. She found her voice first. “You alright?”

Her tone said, as much as can be given today's events. The Doctor heard it plainly, and appreciated her quick realization that a good person had died today. A number of good people. Mickey's face shone with sadness and the same silent question.

He nodded. “Yeah, I'm fine. I'm full of ideas, I'm bristling with them.” He moved away a bit. “Idea number one - teleportation through five thousand degrees needs some kind of feed.” He strode over to the ostrich egg. “Idea number two - this feed must be hidden nearby.” He broke it open and wasn't surprised to find a device inside. He picked it up. “Idea number three - if you're as clever as me, then a teleportation feed can be reversed.”

Jenny stood as he twisted the feed. Cassandra appeared before them, her voice gloating and coming before her body. “Ah, you should have seen their little alien faces.” She stopped as she noticed her surroundings. “Oh.”

The Doctor glared at her. “The Last Human.”

The skin being who was once human grimaced. “So. You passed my little test. Bravo. This makes you eligible to join the er... the human club.”

Jenny's tongue couldn't be held back. “People have died, Cassandra! You murdered them!”

That depends on your definition of 'people'.” Her tone again reminded Jenny of a politician's. “And that's enough of a technicality to keep your lawyers dizzy for centuries. Take me to court then, Doctor! And watch me smile, and cry, and flutter...”

And creak?”

Only when the Doctor spoke did Jenny and Mickey notice there was a creaking sound in the air, like drying leather.

Cassandra evidently didn't. “And what?”

His tone was grim. “Creak! You're creaking.”

Jenny and Mickey's jaws fell as Cassandra's skin tightened before their eyes. They watched at the skin woman eyes became bloodshot and she got whiter and whiter, and smaller and smaller.

What?” She panicked. “Ah! Ah! I'm drying out! Oh, sweet heavens! Moisturize me! Moisturize me! Where are my surgeons? My lovely boys! It's too hot!” Red blotches appeared all over her skin.

You raised the temperature,” the Doctor reminded her.

She cried. “Have pity! Moisturize me! Oh, Doctor!”

Jenny's mouth trembled. She looked at the Doctor, pleading. She didn't like suffering. “Please, stop it,” she begged, shaking. “Isn't that too much?”

The Doctor looked sadly at Jenny. “Everything has its time and everything dies. This is mercy for her and her victim's families.”

Cassandra shriveled. “I'm... too... young!” She suddenly exploded. Jenny and Mickey covered their faces. They weren't the only ones. Though the body parts missed them.

The only person unfazed was the Doctor – his eyes were completely cold. “She would still be alive if she hadn't been greedy. So would the Steward and a number of the staff” He left the room without another word. He had to call the authorities so they would be able to help.

Shuttles 4 and 6 departing,” the computer announced. “Platform One now closing down for maintenance.”

The Manchester Suite was completely empty – apart from Jenny and Mickey. The lights had darkened. They stood in each other's arms at the window watching as the Earth continued to burn and rocks flew past the window. Both felt very vulnerable and sad – and it radiated from them.

Leaning in the doorway, the Doctor watched them. He couldn't tell if they really saw what the window showed. He could understand. The sight was hitting a little close to home for him. He took a deep breath and approached them, wanting to alleviate Jenny's pain. Which of course would then help Mickey's.

They didn't even turn around when she heard the Doctor's footsteps as he came to stand beside them.

Jenny's face was streaked with tears. “The end of the Earth,” she whispered. “It's gone. And we were too busy saving ourselves, no one saw it go.”

Sighing silently, the Doctor looked gently down at them. A child was upset, and he could be blamed for it.

Mickey swallowed. “All those years... all that history and no one was even looking. It's just...”

The Doctor placed a hand on her right shoulder and Mickey's left. “Come with me.” It took a moment before he was able to guide them away from the window.

Wilfred Mott was up in his kitchen. It was about time for Jenny to be home. He was counting on that Doctor to keep his word. It'd been hell trying to explain it to Sylvia and Donna. Mind, he had word that Donna had got a call from Jenny. He wondered where in time and space she was.

The grinding and wheezing noises he remembered from the previous morning came from nowhere. Somewhere outside. He rushed out as fast as he could, and beamed as he saw the blue box appear right in his front garden. To think no one else was around to notice! How could no one else hear it?!

The doors opened, and Jenny came out. Pale face, but looked unharmed. Wilf beamed. “Little Dawn!”

Jenny flew into his arms, and wept again in them.

Wilf blinked even as he held her close. “Oi! What's happened? What's happened?!”

Mickey emerged slowly, followed a moment later by the Doctor. The young man strolled up to join his girl in greeting Mr. Wilf.

The Doctor just leaned against the doors, watching the scene before him. He supposed he was stuck on Earth for a little while. If he wanted the two to keep traveling with him. And he certainly wanted her to. She intrigued him. And the two seemed a matched set.

Jenny and the others stepped out of the TARDIS and into Piccadilly Circus. She and Mickey looked around at the crowds, seeing them in a new light. Children walking and laughing and crying. Adults and teenagers minding their own business and not always minding where they were going. “Strange to think,” she muttered, “how I can now treasure what I used to consider noise.”

The Doctor stood beside them. He listened to the cacophony of sounds.

Wilf shook his head. “Earth Death? It's so hard to fathom it.”

One of the sellers called out, “Big issue!”

The four smiled. The Doctor's smile faded quickly. “You think it'll last forever. People, and cars and concrete. But it won't. One day, it's all gone. Even the sky.”

They all looked at the sky.

Well,” Wilf said, “then you treasure what you have. You never know when it'll be gone.”

The Doctor took a deep breath. He'd avoided saying anything earlier, but now he sensed that he owed Jenny and Mickey an answer for the questions he'd dodged. No one was listening to them, so he felt safe enough to speak. Flatly, he admitted, “My planet's gone.”

Jenny and Mickey stared at him, jaws slack.

Wilf stared, blinking at what looked to him like a bit of shell-shock.

It's dead,” the Doctor continued numbly, staring at the sky to avoid their gazes. “It burned like the Earth. It's just rocks and dust. Before its time.”

The males stared in shock. Jenny moved slowly in front of the Doctor, trying to catch his attention if not his gaze. She whispered, “What happened?”

He refused to meet her eyes. “There was a war. And we lost.”

Oh, Wilf thought. No wonder I can sense a war-weary soul in him. “A war with who?”

He couldn't answer. The memories had him lost for the moment.

Mickey swallowed. “What about your people?” he whispered.

The Doctor finally found the strength to meet their gazes. He looked slowly at each of them as he talked. “I'm a Time Lord. I'm the last of the Time Lords. They're all gone. I'm the only survivor. I'm left travelling on my own because there's no one else.”

Jenny's eyes watered again. Her mother's influence told her what to do next.

She threw her arms around him, stunning the Doctor. Had anyone ever just thrown their arms around him like that? It was Jabe's comfort, but it went further and deeper.

I'm so very sorry, Doctor,” she whispered. “If I'd had a clue, I wouldn't have asked about your planet. Puts my pain from yesterday into perspective.”

He slowly hugged her back. “I wouldn't mock your pain. Your family is your world.” He choked on his words, amazed that this little human girl was making his agony seem a bit less than it was before.

Mickey rested a hand on the Doctor's shoulder. Wilf did the same on the other. “I'm sorry, too, mate,” the young man muttered. “I don't like to add to anyone's pain.”

It was the first time Mickey seemed to look at him without suspicion, the Doctor realized. Like he'd decided that he would trust in Jenny's instincts because his own finally matched hers.

Wilf rubbed the shoulder he was touching, “I've seen war. I've seen soldiers come home and hide within all these protective measures. I'd hoped I'd never again see the look of someone who really had lost everything and everyone he knew.”

The Doctor felt an odd wetness in his eyes. He managed to blink it away. A Time Lord didn't cry. The reaction to Jabe's words notwithstanding.

Jenny pulled away, but placed her hands on his arms. “Is that why you asked us to travel with you? So you wouldn't feel quite so lonely?”

He nodded slowly, unable to look away from the compassionate girl. How could a human have so much to give?

She sighed. “Did you travel with any of your people?”

He swallowed. “A very few of them. Most of my assistants and companions were humans.”

Mickey blinked. “Why?”

The Doctor breathed heavily. “I disagreed with my people on a lot of things. They exiled me twice – once preventing me from using my own ship.”

Jenny and Mickey's jaws hung open again.

But I always sensed them, in the back of my mind. Time Lords could sense each other across space and time. We were all connected, no matter how distant the genetic link was.” He shuddered slightly. “Now I can't. They're gone.”

Wilf lowered his head, sending silent prayers for those souls. “How many years have you been alone, son?”

Son. If the Doctor could've, he would've laughed over the assumption. Lying was sometimes second nature to him – a defense mechanism, he believed Earthlings called it. But Jenny – she had figured out when he wasn't telling her the truth more than he liked. She'd called him on things he'd never thought about before. Perhaps he should be honest and see if she could handle it. “Almost 900.”

The trio thought their eyes would explode. Not even Jenny, who remembered Clive's words, could suppress her surprise.

The Doctor eyed her in particular. She would be the key one to read. “You've seen how dangerous it is. Do you want to go home?”

Mickey looked at Jenny, guessing what she would insist on, and turned back to the Doctor. “Not sure it's safe to leave you alone,” he admitted. “You nearly died without her help yesterday.”

Jenny blinked at Mickey. That was an almost 180 from his stance yesterday. He'd seen enough to know that the Doctor needed their help. She looked back at the Doctor for a few seconds. “I know we're not much of a consolation, but if we can help a little bit, I think that'd help you a lot.”

The Doctor found a genuine smile. “You give lovely hugs.”

She couldn't help it. She poked him in the arms and dropped her hands. “I only hugged you once!”

They felt like medicine for the soul.”

Jenny laughed. “I learned from the best.”

He tilted his head curiously at her. “Your mum?”

She nodded. “You know,” she added, suddenly really uncertain but feeling ultra generous nonetheless. “If you'd like...I could be a sort of...a sort of adopted daughter.”

He blinked, his jaw working but not making any headway in forming words.

Jenny cleared her throat. “I mean, I don't have a dad – for all intents and purposes. I could be like family to you – but only if you accept my choices.” She grabbed Mickey's hand then, letting him know that the two came as a matched set.

Mickey would've beamed under any other circumstances. But out of respect for the man in front of them, he held it a restrained smile – although his eyes shone.

Wilf grinned. Oh, he'd known almost the moment Mickey had first asked Jenny on a date that the young man might be his future great-grandson-in-law!

The Doctor had to smile at the closeness between the young couple. “Wouldn't your mum disapprove of me being a dad to you?”

Jenny shook her head. “Mum says there can't be enough people in the world who love me and care about me. I think she'd say to you, if she was here, 'I'll share her, but you can't keep her.'” She imitated her mum almost perfectly.

The Doctor laughed. “I think I'm going to like your mum when I meet her.” He got a big smile in return, and another warm hug. Oh, he could get used to this!

Mickey had to interject. “Although if we're going to keep travelling with you, we have to figure some things out. You know, juggling our lives and responsibilities here with all that weird travelling.”

Jenny nodded as she pulled away again. “Yeah, I need to get some source of income so I can keep helping Mum and Great-Grandy. Mickey's got his job and college to finish. And-” She cut herself off as a smell hit her nose, triggering a growl in her stomach. “Oh! Can you smell chips?”

The others sniffed the air. Mickey and Wilf grinned. The Doctor surprised them all – including himself – by laughing. “Yeah. Yeah!”

Jenny grinned at his sudden enthusiasm. “Right then. I need something normal for the moment. And I want chips!” She frowned. “Can you eat human food?”

He nodded. “Yes. I've built an immunity toward human food. I've been exiled to this planet twice, so it's not unfamiliar. And yes, I'd like chips, too.”

Mickey grinned. “Fine! Thank god I have today off. Doctor, we're not getting back in that box until we've eaten. Chips it is, and you can pay since you've disrupted our lives.”

The Doctor shook his head. “No money.”

Jenny narrowed her eyes as the others frowned at him. “Liar,” she declared.

The Doctor blinked.

I think you do have some Earth money. You've just never bothered to learn how to use it. Despite those two exiles.”

He squirmed. “Maybe I need to rethink this adoptive family thing,” he muttered, without any force behind it. “You're a lie detector on legs.”

Jenny snickered. “Come on! Maybe that money's still around. Do you know what bank?”

Moments later they stood by a cash machine. “The TARDIS says it's this bank,” the Doctor said, staring in confusion at the controls. Oh, he could make them work, but these companions were right – he did need to learn more about blending in if he didn't want people figuring out what he was.

Jenny leaned against one of the sides. “Go on, use that sonic thing of yours. Should help us see whether the account's still there.”

The Doctor pulled it out, and aimed it at the machine. Soon the screen was flashing information by them and settled on a screen listing several accounts.

Mickey released a low whistle. “Someone's been taking good care of your money, Doctor. That's a lot of pounds. And the most recent deposit was last week!”

Wilf nodded slowly. He'd never known anyone with that much cash at their disposal. To think someone wouldn't use any of it!

UNIT must still be paying me. I kept telling them I didn't want money, had no use for it, but they still paid me.” The Doctor shrugged off the memories of speaking with the Brigadier on more than one occasion. “Never had to use it even during my exiles. I had friends who helped me.”

Jenny snorted. “Well,” she declared, bringing up a withdrawal screen and calling on one of the smallest amounts it would let anyone take out. “Today you do.” She took the cash when it came out, handed it to the Doctor and got a receipt. “Now chips are on you, Ebeneezer.”

That made the Doctor smile. “Did you even read that book?” he teased as he put them away in his jacket pocket.

She smirked. “When I was six. Now come on!” Jenny grabbed his hand and tugged him on, holding Mickey with her other arm. “We've got...what, four and half billion years before the shops close?”

The Doctor was caught up in her laughter. He let her lead them on. It gave him time to think about ways to take care of the things that would keep her and her boyfriend on Earth and prevent her from travelling with him.

He had a growing plan...


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