Story: Redeeming the Tree
Word Count: 8943
Author's Summary: Dry and dying gardens, pain and precision; She was screaming, but would they hear?
Characters/Pairings: Jack Harkness, Rose Tyler, The Doctor (9th), The TARDIS
Recced because: Sometimes it seems like everyone has a "Parting of the Ways" AU, in which Rose and Jack go on to journey with the ninth Doctor after confronting the Daleks on the Gamestation, and many of these series are absolutely excellent. "Redeeming the Tree" is from rutsky's Beiji Sonho series, but it stands alone quite well; all you need to know is that it does take place in a "Parting of the Ways" AU, in which Jack took the time energy from the Doctor before it killed him, cancelling out his immortality. In other words, business as before—almost.
"What are you doing right?" Rose asked. It was perhaps a month later, in subjective TARDIS time.
"What do you mean, what am I doing right?" The object of her query looked suitably disgruntled. "I do everything right."
"Well, you're doing it extra 'specially right, then," she said. "We've landed exactly where you said we would, when you said we would, five times in a row now."
"Oho! She's keeping score," Jack said from across the console room. He grinned, and was about to go back to his sketch pad, then stopped and cocked his head. "She's also right. Tesla Prime, 1304 Common Galactic Era, spot-on. Then back to Earth in the 26th century, again on the dot – although I still think we could have gotten a better deal on your cybernetic gewgaw in one of the Proxima colonies."
"And when you promised us blue sand and silver sun, you delivered us right to Sellei Anchora's best beach hotel," Rose continued, ticking off the next stop on their most recent itinerary. "Don't know what year."
"Present time, at least in relation to your Earth chronology," Jack offered, increasingly intrigued.
"Well there you go. And there we went. No murders, no mysteries, just relaxation." She looked faintly disappointed. "And yesterday, 1860, Naples, Italy. Finally."
"Liked Cardiff better," the Doctor muttered mutinously. "What's your point?"
"Just that one proper landing's a surprise, and two in a row is a cause for celebration," Rose said. She walked over and put her arm around the Doctor, tilting her head up to look at him. She smiled, but she also looked as if something was bothering her. "Three is, what, a national holiday? And when we get to four or five in a row ... I dunno, I guess I'm wondering what you did to make the TARDIS so un-tardy."