Fandom: Doctor Who/Inspector Spacetime. Yeah, I did.
Characters/Pairings: Ten2/Rose, the Inspector, Lily
Summary: The Doctor and Rose meet two strangers who are oddly familiar.
It was a perfectly average day for the Doctor and Rose in the parallel universe they called home until a red telephone box materialized in front of them with a familiar wheeze.
For approximately ten seconds they both stared at it in open-mouthed bafflement, and then, as though in sync, sprinted forward. As they ran, a man in a trench coat and bowler hat emerged and looked left and right, surveying St James’ Park.
“Oh, hello, citizens!” he said cheerily as they both skidded to a halt in front of him. A tall young woman with dark brown hair stepped out behind him, looking mildly harassed. The man frowned in concern. “You look alarmed, is something wrong? Is the planet in danger?”
Of the two of them, the Doctor found his voice first, if only to squeak, “What?”
Rose cleared her throat. “Right, um, sorry -- who are you?”
The man seemed to puff up with pride at the question. “I’m the Inspector,” he announced, “and this here is my associate, Lily Taylor.”
Rose’s eyebrows shot even further up her forehead.
“What?” repeated the Doctor, this time in a slightly higher register than before.
“Hi,” said Lily, sounding vaguely disinterested. She rubbed a spot just below her ribcage and scowled at the Inspector. “You elbowed me again! Honestly, I swear sometimes the DARSIT seems smaller on the inside.”
“The DARSIT?” repeated the Doctor, whose voice seemed to be stuck on one incredulous pitch.
“Yes, the DARSIT!” said the Inspector with a beaming smile and a gesture back towards the red phone booth behind him. “Dimension and Relative Space in Time! My magnificent time machine!” He lowered his voice and leaned forward with a wink. “Don’t go telling everyone, though. It’s meant to be a secret.” His face turned pensive and he stroked his chin. “It’s strange, actually, that you even noticed it. The Observation Screen usually means people don’t pay attention.”
The Doctor opened and closed his mouth a few times, but seemed to have lost the ability to make any noise at all.
Rose, on the other hand, was simply finding it harder and harder to keep a straight face. “It’s not... bigger on the inside?”
“God, I wish,” muttered Lily.
“Of course not, don’t be ridiculous,” said the Inspector with a dismissive wave of his hand. “That sort of technology is beyond the reach of even the noble and ancient Space Masters.”
“The Space Masters?” repeated Rose, and this time she couldn’t help but laugh at the end. She coughed, trying to adopt a serious expression, while the Doctor wordlessly moved around Lily and the Inspector to stare in wonderment at the DARSIT. “That’s...?”
“My people,” said the Inspector solemnly. “Lost to the winds of time, I’m afraid. I am--”
“The last of the Space Masters?” prompted Rose. “Sorry to hear that.”
The Inspector tipped his bowler hat. “You are kind. What’s your name?”
“Rose Tyler,” she said, “and that’s...” She trailed off, watching as the Doctor prodded the windows of the DARSIT with utmost suspicion. “You know what, never mind.”
The Inspector shook her hand. “Enchanté, Rose Tyler!”
“Nice to meet you, Inspector,” said Rose, grinning as she shook his hand. “You’re from Torchwood, aren’t you?”
The Inspector frowned. “I’m sure I don’t know what you mean.”
“You’re having us on,” said Rose. “How much did Jake pay you?”
“I don’t know a Jake,” said the Inspector with utmost earnestness. “Though perhaps I will do. Time travel, you know. Gets complicated.”
Rose snorted. Well, he was dedicated, she’d give him that.
“Speaking of time,” interrupted Lily, sounding irritable as she checked her watch, “we need to go, Inspector. Mum’ll be furious if we miss dinner again, and we’re in bloody St James’ Park.” She pointedly raised an eyebrow. “Why do you always drop us off so far from the estate, anyway? It’s like you’re embarrassed.”
Rose turned to Lily, her eyebrows once again disappearing towards her hairline. “You live on a council estate?”
Lily laughed. “God, no! I mean the Taylor estate.”
“Oh,” said Rose, who couldn’t help the disappointed fall in her voice. “Right. Of course you do.”
“Lily is right, I’m afraid,” said the Inspector sadly, “we must be off. Unless perhaps...” he paused for dramatics, and Rose was quite certain she knew what he would say before he said it. “You’d like to come with us? Voyage through history itself?”
Rose grinned and looked over at the DARSIT, the doors of which the Doctor was now trying to pry open. “Isn’t it a bit packed in there already?”
“Nonsense!” chimed the Inspector. “There’s always room for one more!”
“There really isn’t,” added Lily with a shake of her head. “Believe me.”
Rose grinned. “I appreciate the offer, Inspector, but I’ve got...” She looked over at the Doctor just in time to see him lick the side of the DARSIT. “...Things to look after here,” she finished.
The Inspector glanced at the Doctor in perplexity while Lily cringed in disgust. The Inspector turned back to Rose with a renewed look of hope. “Have I said yet,” he went on, “that it can also travel through space?”
Finally, Rose outright laughed. “Sounds amazing, but no. I’m all right here, believe it or not.”
He looked disappointed, but finally the Inspector nodded. “If you say so, Miss Tyler.” He tipped his hat to her once more. “May we meet again!”
“Sure,” said Rose with a chuckle. “You say hi to Jake for me.”
“When I first meet him, I shall!” With a grand flourish he took Lily’s hand in his and started down the pathway. “Follow me, Taylor!”
For a moment Rose watched them go, still grinning at their commitment. Whatever Torchwood had been hoping to accomplish, it had certainly brightened her day. She turned back towards the phone booth; the Doctor had finally soniced the doors open.
“Rose,” he called from inside, “come look at this.”
With a laugh she walked over and leaned against the side of the booth. “Oh, I dunno. Seems a bit cramped in there, really.”
“It’s just a phone booth!” He picked up the receiver and waved it at her through the glass. “I don’t--how--”
“It’s Torchwood having us on, Doctor, that’s all.”
The Doctor shook his head in disbelief. “But it materialized! We saw it materialize! Telephone booths don’t materialize, they--”
“Torchwood here’s had teleportation for ages,” she said, finally reaching through the doors to grab him by the arm and pull him out before he could start dialling. “Now get out of there, we’re going to be late to my mum’s dinner.”
“Leave the DARSIT alone, Doctor.” She slipped her hand into his and pulled him towards the path, opposite of the direction Lily and the Inspector had taken. “Allons-y!”