kaydeefalls: turnleft!rose is fierce in front of TARDIS: "further to fly" (further to fly)
[personal profile] kaydeefalls
So, this fic. Let me put it this way: if you only ever read one Christina/Jenny fic, let it be this one.

In fairness, it's probably your only choice.


To Her Coy Mistress
by kaydee falls
fandom: Doctor Who
characters: Lady Christina/Jenny, Jack, Doctor, Reinette
rating: pg-13
disclaimer: not mine, no profit, don't sue.
summary: In which there are interrupted heists, chance encounters, snogging, and headaches over verb tenses. A non-linear love story.
notes: Written for [livejournal.com profile] tricksterquinn in the [livejournal.com profile] help_haiti auction. Huge thanks to [livejournal.com profile] such_heights for looking it over. Spoilers for "Doctor's Daughter" and "Planet of the Dead", but that's about it.

Had we but world enough, and time,
This coyness, lady, were no crime.



3

The first time she meets the old lady is the day Christina makes her bid for freedom in St. James's Park. She chooses her moment carefully, lulling her nanny into complacency by tying lanyards of grass until Nanny is thoroughly engrossed in her magazine. Then she bolts.

Her meandering route takes her to the duck pond. Christina eyes the ducks suspiciously. They might be fun to play with. Or they might bite her.

"They love biscuits," someone says. Christina looks up to see an old lady crouching beside her. The old lady smiles at her. "And as it so happens, I've got some in my pocket. Would you like to help me feed the ducks?"

Christina just nods, uncharacteristically shy. The old lady reaches into her jacket pocket and pulls out a box of digestive biscuits. The box looks far too large to have fit into her pocket, but that's okay because clearly the old lady is magic. Christina has met many old ladies before, great-aunts and grandmothers and the like, and they're always bent and wrinkled and croaky. This old lady is beautiful, like a princess in a fairy tale, and that must mean she has magic. Maybe she's a witch in disguise. That's okay, Christina decides. Witches are always more interesting than princes and princesses anyway.

They break off bits of biscuit together and toss them into the pond for the ducks. Christina surreptitiously shoves a biscuit into her own mouth. The old lady makes no comment, just winks at her.

Once they run out of biscuits, the old lady straightens, holding her hand out to Christina. "Well, Christina," she says, "this has been a lovely morning, but I think it's just about time--"

Right on cue, Nanny comes dashing down the path, screeching for her. Christina sighs heavily. Maybe tomorrow she'll escape for good.

"Hello!" the old lady calls to Nanny. "I believe I've found your charge. Or, rather, she found me."

"That's the little horror all right," Nanny says grimly. "Thank you so much for keeping hold of her; I was sure I'd be fishing her out of the pond again."

Christina smiles in fond reminiscence.

Nanny snatches her hand. "What a nice young girl, to be so kind to a rascal like you. You're in trouble now, little miss..." She goes on scolding, but Christina doesn't care. She's used to that. She twists around to wave goodbye to the beautiful lady with such old eyes.

The old lady smiles and waves back.

*


31

It's been four years. Christina is entirely unsurprised that Jenny doesn't appear to have aged a day.

"Hello, Christina," Jenny says, slipping onto the barstool next to hers. "I've got a job for you."

Christina tilts her head to one side, considering. She wonders where this Jenny is on her own timeline, and if it bears the slightest relation to Christina's. It so rarely does. That's what keeps it all so interesting. She doesn't bother asking how Jenny knew to find her here, in this upscale Belfast club. The ambient noise covers their conversation quite nicely. "What sort of job?" she asks instead.

"Oh, you know, the usual prevention of paradox and disorder," Jenny says airily.

"Did the French president's wife get her hands on another Liajanian crystal?"

Jenny laughs. "Now that was fun. How long did it take the scratches on your cheek to heal?"

"Two and a half weeks," Christina says, long-suffering. So Jenny remembers that. She must be older than Christina originally thought. She orders another round of drinks -- neat gin and tonic for herself, and a banana daiquiri for Jenny, with a little umbrella in, ridiculously girly and hopefully still her favorite. "So what's the loot this time?"

Jenny grins and pulls up her sleeve, revealing a well-worn leather strap around her slender wrist. "This. Or, more specifically, the Vortex Manipulator that used to be attached to this."

"Vortex Manipulator? You mean the thing you've got jerry-rigged to your ship that enables you to travel through time and space? That thing?"

"Got it in one," Jenny says cheerfully. "Think of all the fun we wouldn't have had if you weren't about to steal it for me."

The tenses make Christina's head hurt. She ignores them. "Where -- sorry, when am I stealing it from?"

"Well, technically it's early 51st century manufacture, but you're going to be picking this particular model up from the 27th. In Cardiff, of all places. It's there right now, actually, but it's rather buried under quite a lot of rubble, and that's a little too much digging and not enough heist for your style. There was this visitor, see, and he caused quite a lot of damage in the city -- although that was a different set of explosions than the one that buried him, I think he was in cold storage at that point -- but anyway, I was stranded in the 27th century when I first got to Earth, and that's how I got out, so there we go."

"Too much information, too little of it relevant," Christina murmurs, and Jenny laughs. There's something surprised and broken in the sound of it, but Christina decides to ignore that, too. She's used to it. "Who has the device in the 27th century, then?"

The drinks arrive. Jenny smiles and shifts closer, her thigh brushing Christina's, eyes bright in the dimly lit bar. "Same people who have it now, though they don't realize it at the moment. They're called Torchwood."

*


27

Christina doesn't recognize him at first; well, of course not. He's in an entirely different body, after all, too young and gangly, with monumentally ridiculous hair. But his eyes are the same.

"Oh, hell," Jenny says, in a tone of voice familiar to parents of teenagers everywhere, and that clinches it: bad news.

And so it comes to pass that Christina finally gets a ride in the TARDIS. It's rather anticlimactic. She's seen the wonders of space now, with Jenny and her ridiculous little ship with the Vortex Manipulator rewired into the nav systems in a flagrant disregard of safety protocol. She's explored planets with three suns and outsmarted coppers in the 36th century; nicked jewels from the Grand Poobah of Betelgeuse and kissed Jenny in the starlight of Andromeda.

The Doctor will only take her home, and what's the fun in that?

Jenny doesn't come along for this ride. Christina can hear the two of them arguing before they set off, just outside the TARDIS doors. It doesn't count as eavesdropping if no one's bothering to keep their voices down, after all.

"You've cheated long enough," the Doctor is saying. "And I certainly don't begrudge you it, but there are these pesky little things called paradoxes and reapers and all sorts of fun scary apocalyptic stuff that you don't understand yet, but you're skirting dangerously close to crossing your own timeline -- not to mention hers -- and I don't want you to have to find out the hard way. Or have to clean up the mess afterwards, for that matter."

"Is that all we are to you?" Jenny demands, outraged. "A mess? So I'm just the child you're constantly forced to pick up after?"

The Doctor sighs. "You know that's not what I think. You're brilliant, Jenny, and so very clever to have figured out -- but there are rules, and you can bend them but you can't break them, and you've already pushed this one far enough. You have no idea how lucky you've been so far."

"But if I could just--"

"'Had we but world enough, and time,'" the Doctor murmurs. "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry, and I understand, I do, but you can't outrun this forever."

"But we're Time Lords," Jenny persists. "Doesn't that mean anything at all?"

"Yes, Jenny," the Doctor says. It's the first time he's really sounded old. "It means we know that no matter how much time we have, it's never enough."

Christina pulls back. She runs her hand lightly across the console, careful not to flip any switches, and listens to the ship hum around her.

When they go, Jenny refuses to cross the TARDIS's threshold. She just gives Christina a swift, tight hug at the door. "It's all right," she says, with a bright smile that doesn't reach her eyes. "I'll be seeing you."

And she's gone.

The TARDIS feels very large, with just the Doctor and Christina. He did say he preferred to travel alone. She thinks he was lying.

It's a quick trip, fortunately. Before she steps back out onto her own planet, her own time, she turns back and proffers her hand. There's no reason to part on bad terms, after all.

"We could have been good together," Christina tells him, as he grasps her hand in his. "But Jenny and I, we were great."

"You were," the Doctor agrees. There's something strangely gentle in his tone. "And you will be."

This is Christina's least favorite thing about dealing with time travelers: paying attention to verb tenses.

*


26

They're running, of course. They've just averted a war on a small human colony world through the strategic placement of a few stunbombs. The stunbombs are Jenny's particular invention, though the gold filigree (effectively disguising them as semi-precious Elysian Orbs) was Christina's touch. The plan went somewhat awry, as per -- Christina had rather underestimated the going rate for Elysian Orbs in this backwater system -- which is why they didn't get entirely out of the blast radius in time and, therefore, why she's currently dragging a half-stunned Jenny along as they dash down the marble halls of the Parliamentary Citadel, blaster in hand.

Jenny's the better shot by far, but again, stunbomb.

Christina rounds a corner to find a dead end. Shit.

Fortunately, the wall in front of her chooses that moment to vaporize, revealing the alleyways behind the citadel. "This way!" a man in a long coat shouts, and she follows blindly, yanking Jenny along behind her.

Jenny giggles madly, still more than a bit stunned. "Hello, Captain!"

"Always a pleasure, Jenny," the man replies with a movie-star grin. "Nice work on the stunbombs, by the way." She giggles again, and his eyebrows lift. "Possibly too nice."

"Where are we going?" Christina gasps out, dodging through the labyrinthine alleys. Jenny's the super-soldier and this new bloke only just joined the party, but she wasn't trained as a long-distance runner and she'd like a breather now, thank you very much.

Provided the angry people with guns aren't still following them, of course.

"Your ship," the Captain says. "I'd recognize that energy signature anywhere. It should be just around -- oh, hell."

The narrow street forks up ahead. Jenny's puddle-hopper is clearly visible down the left branch. The inevitable angry people with guns are coming around from the right.

"Better make a break for it," the Captain suggests, pulling out his blaster. "I'll cover you."

Jenny shakes her head violently -- to clear the remaining effects of the stunbomb, Christina realizes. "Thanks," Jenny tells the man warmly. "I owe you one."

"Actually, I think it's my turn this time. Whose chronology are we following now?"

"Depends. Still living in linear time?"

"It has its perks. I generally meet people in the same order they meet me, for example. Much less confusing all around. Lady Christina, isn't it?" The Captain flashes that grin again, this time directed at her. He's a very handsome man, Christina thinks absently -- great smile, electric blue eyes, hair just starting to go grey at the temples.

"There's a time and a place, Jack," Jenny chides. "Introductions later. Or before. Whatever. Ta very much again!"

They dash toward the left fork, to their transport and freedom. The Captain squares his shoulders and points his blaster at the swiftly approaching mob.

Just before their puddle-hopper teleports them back to their ship, she hears the unmistakable crackle of blaster shots, reverberating oddly in these narrow alleys. Christina glances back to see the Captain crumple to the ground.

"Oh, shit," Christina says. "Is he--"

"Don't worry about it." Jenny taps out the correct sequence on the tiny console, efficient and impassive, the perfect soldier that Christina sometimes forgets she was born to be. The planet dissolves around them. "We'll be seeing him."

*


25

They lie side by side on the soft, mossy slope, watching the dance of the starbirds in the air above them. The world is tinged the blue-grey of false dawn, and the starbirds leave multicolored luminescent tracks across the gradually lightening sky. Christina has never seen anything so exquisitely lovely.

Jenny's eyes have never been so blue, illuminated by the light traced by alien avians. She smiles brilliantly, then leans over to press soft kisses down the arch of Christina's neck.

She'd become a criminal because it was less boring than being a peer of the realm, all of those stultifying teas and obligations. Lots of money, easy living, deadly dull. No wonder so many of her cousins wound up plastered all over the tabloids after falling out of some exclusive club or impregnating twelve parliamentary aides. When she met the Doctor, she'd envisioned constant adventure, excitement, the adrenalin rush of a good heist multiplied by escapades on hundreds of alien worlds.

With Jenny, she has all that, only better. Because she also gets moments like this: quiet, lovely, and perfect, just the two of them alone under an alien sky, and Jenny's touch light and warm across her skin.

The sun breaks over the horizon, and the starbirds soar off and away, the glowing lights dissipating into the dawn. "I wish it didn't have to end," Christina sighs.

For some reason, Jenny stiffens at her side. "There's no such things as endings," she says, weirdly forceful, as though she's trying to convince someone. "Just different beginnings."

Maybe that's when Christina realizes Jenny's already lost her.

*


25

It's no great surprise that Christina longs to visit the Palace of Versailles in its heyday. She suspects Jenny is secretly relieved by the request -- after all, Christina can't exactly make off with an entire palace. Although plundering the wardrobe of some countess or another is great fun for the both of them (they do have to fit in, after all).

The gardens are lovely and the Hall of Mirrors is gorgeous; but the ladies of the court of Louis XV are the most exquisite artifacts of them all. After a full morning exploring on their own, Christina and Jenny stumble into a garden party of a sort, ladies only, and it's as if a flock of butterflies has descended upon them. Christina is surrounded by beauty, slim waists and elegant coiffures and lavishly embroidered gowns; she's never been quite so thoroughly enchanted. Jenny's eyes glow, equally enraptured.

One marquise in particular, a vibrant woman in her late thirties, takes a shine to them. She fairly whisks them away from the others, leading them on an extensive tour of the gardens. When they're out of earshot of the rest of the court, she turns to study them both with a shrewdly appraising eye. "You are strangers to these parts," she says, voice low and rich. "Where did you come from?"

Christina is a good liar, but Jenny speaks first, with her usual frank honesty. "The wardrobe in your ladies' chambers."

The Marquise raises a delicate eyebrow. "I thought I recognized those gowns."

Christina blinks. "You're not--"

"As long as you return them when you're preparing to leave," the Marquise says, waving her hand airily. "I certainly don't mind overmuch, but Celeste and Katherine might. Once they notice, of course, which could be months."

Jenny and Christina exchange a glance. "You don't seem particularly surprised by -- well, us," Jenny remarks. "Usually people are more surprised."

The Marquise smiles, almost ruefully. "I've been seeing strangers in my fireplace all my life; it's hardly startling to encounter them in my wardrobe as well."

"Madame--"

"Reinette," the Marquise corrects archly. "'Madame' sounds so terribly old and matronly, don't you agree?"

Christina really likes this one.

Hours later, after far more dancing and wine than should really be allowed, Reinette escorts them back to her ladies' chambers. She hardly blinks twice at their little transport vessel parked amongst the divans and drapery. "It's rather smaller than I'd expected," is her only remark.

"It's just a puddle-hopper," Jenny explains cheerfully. "The ship itself is in orbit--" she waves in the general direction the open window -- "out there, somewhere."

"Of course it is." Reinette looks out at the night sky, starlight reflected in her clear blue eyes. There's a wistful expression on her face, distant and not quite sad. "Well," she says, turning back to them. "Bon voyage."

Then, unexpectedly, she cups Christina's face in her soft hands and kisses her full on the mouth. Her lips are full and warm, lingering on hers. Christina can't help but respond in kind, breathing in the sweet, rich scent of her. It's hard to let go when Reinette pulls away to bestow a kiss upon Jenny as well; but that's almost better, Christina thinks, breath catching in her chest. God, they're gorgeous together, all creamy skin and golden hair glistening in the lamplight.

"For luck," Reinette says huskily, and leaves them.

They just stand there for a moment, in the bedchambers of the King's mistress in the Palace of Versailles, staring at each other.

"Oh, my goodness," Jenny finally breathes.

"You know," Christina says, more than a little breathless herself, "I do believe we just snogged Madame de Pompadour."

*


24

Christina is casing the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin when the time comes. She's admiring the interlacing on the Tara Brooch when the gallery abruptly reverberates with the dulcet tones of the security alarm.

Her first reaction is disbelief: she hadn't touched anything, she wasn't even here to nick anything (well, not today). Had she been spotted? The incident at the British Museum last month hadn't made the papers, and the Garda aren't particularly friendly with her old chum D.I. McMillan, so who would think to--

Then the girl comes barreling down the gallery corridor, a chalice clutched in her hand, blonde hair tousled and cheeks glowing. Oh, Christina thinks.

"Lady Christina!" Jenny cries, beaming. "Excellent! You're coming with, you are." And she grabs Christina's elbow with her free hand and pulls her along down through the galleries, alarms still screeching around them.

Christina shoots a pointed look at the chalice. "Infringing upon my turf these days, Jenny?"

"Oh, it wasn't theirs in the first place," Jenny replied airily. "And it's vitally important that we return it to the Aleuzi monarchy at once. We have a civil war to avert!"

For half an instant, Christina takes in the manic edge to Jenny's grin, the ever-aging eyes in her unchangingly youthful face. It finally clicks.

They hurtle out a fire exit. More alarms blare, but what's another security breach now? "Ever run across a bloke called the Doctor?" Christina asks, as casually as a lady can when she's currently running hell for leather away from a burgled museum. (She has ample practice.)

"I thought you'd never ask," Jenny laughs. "He's my father."

Christina considers this. It makes perfect sense, actually. "He helped me steal a flying bus."

"Dad's generous like that. Catch!" Jenny tosses her the chalice, which Christina catches deftly. "My ship's parked just around the corner. Or, well, technically, my ship's parked in orbit around your moon, but my puddle-hopper -- which is the little ship that teleports us to the real ship, 27th century Galatean technology, very nice -- anyway, that's parked right over here. Come on!"

It hardly matters, but Christina asks anyway. "Where are we going?"

Jenny tosses her a dazzling smile. "Everywhere!"

*


21

She doesn't do it for the money; God knows Daddy left her enough of that. She does it because she loves old things, beautiful things; above all, she does it because it's fun.

Especially the running bits, when she's got the priceless whatever clasped tightly in her hand (or backpack, or pocket, or on one memorable occasion nestled in her bra), making good her getaway. That's the really dangerous part. It's fantastic.

So she's already in a pretty good mood when she runs into the girl in her mad dash around the curb from the private gallery of a very rich old man who didn't fully appreciate the coronet in his accidental possession.

Runs smack into the girl, actually, who grabs Christina's arm to keep herself upright and then gapes at her with sudden recognition. Actually, she looks as though she's just seen a ghost. "Christina?"

"Oh, it's you!" Christina says, heart still racing from the adrenaline rush of the minor heist. It takes a moment to drag the name out of her memory -- "Jenny, right?"

They'd crossed paths during Christina's gap year travels, which had been a right lark for a time, then parted ways in...Algiers, wasn't it? Yes. That's where Christina had split off to join up with another group of European students because of that French boy. His name was Claude and he probably hadn't been worth it, but God, those biceps. "Sorry," Christina says, and then by way of explanation, "I was seventeen."

"We were both very young," Jenny agrees, a little breathlessly. But that's an odd thing -- she looks exactly the same, even though four years have passed. Four adolescent years, when features are still developing and changing at a drastic rate. But Jenny's face hasn't changed at all.

Just her eyes, which have aged decades.

"Oh, God," Jenny whispers, "I really, really shouldn't. And it's really not time yet."

"Time for what?" Christina starts to ask, but doesn't have the chance to finish, because that's when Jenny reaches up and kisses her.

She feels as though this has all happened before, even though it hasn't, of course it hasn't. The kiss is fleeting, just the warm press of lips against hers, soft as silk -- and then Jenny's pulling back, wrenching herself away.

"I'll be seeing you," she breathes. And then she's gone, leaving Christina with the bag of loot in her hand and the impression of velvet against her lips, impossibly soft.

*


35

She's never seen a sky so beautiful. Twilight is settling in like a gentle blanket, twin moons shining in the reddish-purple sky. Starlight, star bright, first star she sees tonight, a pinpoint of a spark against the heavens, and the coldness is creeping up her legs--

(They were running, of course, breathless and laughing as they raced across the fields of silver-edged grasses, chased by the angry ex-owners of the ex-slaves Jenny had connived to set free. Someone was shouting after them; several someones were throwing several somethings, darts or arrows or God knew what, it didn't matter, Jenny's hand was warm in hers and they ran--)

"Hey," Jenny says, leaning over her, golden hair brushing Christina's cheek. Her eyes are wide and frightened, and that's not right. Nothing scares Jenny. She was born to be a soldier. "Hey, hey, please--"

The coldness reaches her thighs.

(Something stung Christina's calf but she hardly noticed it, a thorn in the flowers they were dashing through now, and she laughed aloud as they reached the trees and disappeared from their pursuers' sights--)

It's nothing like Christina expected. It's soft and cold and Jenny's beautiful face framed against a beautiful sky. "It's all right," Christina tells her, because it is, it really is. She always knew this was coming. She hadn't expected it to be so lovely.

Jenny's cheeks are wet. She's a soldier up against something she can't fight. Christina wants to kiss her. The coldness is pooling in her abdomen.

(They were well away when they hit the clearing, when the sky opened up above them in the sudden space between the thick trees, and that's where Christina stumbled. Her feet felt cold, like blocks of ice, and she stumbled.)

"Please, don't, there's still time--"

"'Had we but world enough, and time,'" Christina murmurs, and wonders who wrote those words. It's just one of those lines from poetry that everyone knows without knowing where they heard it or why. She wonders if the rest of the poem is as beautiful as that first line. Maybe Jenny can learn it for her. "It's all right," she says again, in case Jenny didn't hear her the first time. "I'll be seeing you."

It's the perfect truth.

The coldness slips up her spine.

(There was a tiny dart in her calf, where one of the slave owners had shot it. It was such a silly little thing. The poison was cold and painless. She hadn't run quite fast enough.)

A third moon rises, a pearl set in the purple velvet sky. Jenny cups her cheek in one warm hand, eyes very blue and shining. God, she's gorgeous. The coldness wraps itself around her heart like an old lover, like Jenny's achingly gentle touch on her face. "Hey," Jenny says again, and she's so beautiful and the sky is beautiful and Christina takes a breath to tell her how very beaut

*


34

"Look, we don't have time to explain," Christina says in exasperation, yanking him into the escape pod. Jenny covers them both, firing a few warning shots down the curving corridor of the space station. "But it's about to get really ugly here, and you were conspiring with the separatists."

"If you think running a few supplies through blockade lines is a conspiracy--"

Christina throws up her hands. Or, well, she would, except she's kind of busy rewiring the pod's control panel just now. "It is, and you did, and they'll have your head for it."

He grins, dark and reckless. "I've had worse."

"Just because you'll survive doesn't mean it'll be fun," Jenny chides, hopping into the pod with them. A stray blast strikes sparks off the hatch just above her head, but she doesn't even flinch. This Jenny hasn't left her military imprint as far behind as the woman Christina first traveled with. She was older then. "Come on, Christina, cut us loose!"

"Working on it," Christina says through gritted teeth. She cuts another wire with delicate precision, and the pod hatch slides shuts with a bang. "There! Nav systems?"

"This sort of pod doesn't have--"

"Already taken care of," Jenny interrupts him breezily. She reaches over and types out a rapid pattern across the control panel, and the pod detaches from the station with a burst of acceleration.

"Whoa!" Their impromptu guest glances between them, curiosity mingled with something like respect in his eyes. "You gals aren't from around here, are you? The technology you'd need--"

Jenny flips open the control panel and points to the Vortex Manipulator they've wired into the console. "It's not quite a TARDIS, but it'll do. I assume you're familiar with this model, Captain?"

Captain Jack Harkness's eyes widen, and he stills, uncharacteristically pensive. "That can't be -- but you're not Time Agency."

"Of course not," Christina says disparagingly. "She's just showing off now. I think the Doctor's told her too many bedtime stories about the dashing captain and his...banana."

"Daddy does go on, sometimes," Jenny says with a shrug.

Christina laughs. "He does indeed. You know, Jenny, I don't think I ever mentioned -- I snogged your Dad once."

"We will never speak of this again," Jenny informs her, then turns back to the Captain. "My goodness, Jack, does this mean I'm finally meeting you for your first time? It's been so long since anyone's been a first for you, I'm quite flattered. Anyway, I'm Jenny, and this is Lady Christina de Souza."

Christina rolls her eyes, then holds out her hand to Jack with exaggerated delicacy. "Charmed, I'm sure."

"A lady, huh?" Jack pulls away from his intent study of the Vortex Manipulator to kiss her hand, a little too long for propriety. That's the Captain, all right. "Two ladies, actually, if I don't miss my guess. So, Time Lady Jenny and Lady Christina, where exactly is this chronologically displaced nav system taking us?"

Christina and Jenny exchange a smile. "Back to my ship," Jenny says, "and after that -- anywhere you like."

And they're off.

*


32

In all honesty, Christina's surprised she managed to hold out this long.

It's just that -- they've just slipped their way through one of Jenny's classic very-near-misses, and the shipboard computer's interface with the Vortex Manipulator needs a tune-up before they can chance another trip, so they're both high on adrenaline without anywhere for it to go. And Jenny's just so glorious, bouncing around the small ship's bridge aimlessly and rattling off words a mile a minute, thrumming with energy.

They've got at least four hours before the computer finishes the synchronization program. And it's just to shut Jenny up for a moment, really.

Really.

Christina reaches out and clasps Jenny's hand, tugging her in. Jenny breaks off mid-sentence, brow furrowing, eyes bright and bemused. "What are you--"

And Christina tilts Jenny's chin up and kisses her.

She tastes of starlight and metal and Vortex energy. Her lips are warm and soft as velvet. After one surprised moment, Jenny makes a soft sound in the back of her throat and opens her mouth, deepening the kiss.

It's quite an effective method of shutting her up, as it turns out.

"Oh," Jenny breathes against her lips, like a marvel, like a prayer; like it's the first time Christina has ever kissed her.

Which, of course, it is.

Christina slips her hands down to Jenny's waist and applies herself to ensuring it won't be the last.

*


31

There's a fresh breeze off Cardiff Bay; Christina leans against the rail and wonders if Jack can see her right now. If he notices her here. He has no reason to, not in this timeline. She's just another tourist.

A chronologically displaced tourist, to be specific, but that's only temporary. Really, she should've known better than to trust any dates preprogrammed into Vortex Manipulators.

"Rome, huh?" someone says from behind her. "Lovely place. Very old."

Christina smiles to herself. She doesn't turn. "I thought you might like it."

After a moment, Jenny leans against the railing beside her, not quite touching, warmth in the scant centimeters of air between them. "I thought you were my fairy godmother, you know," she says conversationally. "The way I kept bumping into you. Maybe a guardian angel, except Dad's told me stories about angels and I'm fairly certain I don't want to run across any of those."

Christina snorts. "Besides, what sort of angel gets herself stranded in 2002? I'll have you know I'm crossing my own timeline because of you."

"You're off traveling the world right now," Jenny scoffs. "It's not like you're in any danger of running into yourself in Cardiff."

"You'd be surprised where you run into people," Christina says dryly. She glances sidelong at Jenny, appraising her. Much older than the last time they met, but still younger than the Jenny she'd traveled with. Maybe it's not time yet.

It's not something Christina worries about anymore. She's learned that time has a way of playing out in its own fashion, no matter what she -- or any Time Lady -- tries to do with it. Besides, it's more fun like this.

"I assume you've figured out how to work the Vortex Manipulator by now," Christina finally says. "Mind giving me a lift back to my proper time?"

"Could do, yeah," Jenny says absently, studying her face intently. Then she breaks out grinning, wide and reckless, and Christina's stomach twists in that weird, plummeting way, like every time they jumped through time and space, every wild adventure. "Or you could travel with me for a bit. You know. If you think you'd like that."

Christina laughs. "Yes," she says, breathless and free. "Yes, I do believe I shall."

*


17

Lady Christina is an independent young woman, but she's certainly not above using the family money to finance her gap year travels. She starts with the Continent, of course; not that she hasn't already been, but this time, it's different. She's traveling alone, and she can set her own pace, select her own destinations.

And so off she goes, from the Louvre in Paris to the Prado in Madrid; the National Archaeological in Athens and the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. Christina has a healthy respect for history; she covets the very old and very beautiful.

She runs into the girl in the Roman Forum, surrounded by more than two millennia of history, crumbling shrines of opus caementicium and long-departed gods. She's gazing up at the time-shorn columns of the Temple of Vesta when the girl literally smacks right into her.

"I'm so sorry!" the girl says at once, catching Christina's arm. Her blue eyes widen. "Oh, it's you!"

She's very cute, Christina thinks, looking the girl over; slender and blonde, with an infectious smile. She's only perhaps a few years older than Christina, but her eyes make her look younger still. Her face strikes a distant chord in Christina's memory, like a long-forgotten childhood fantasy.

"My name is Lady Christina de Souza," she introduces herself, holding out a hand.

The girl studies it for a moment, then giggles and clasps it in a quick, uncertain handshake. "I'm Jenny."

They spend the entire afternoon wandering the Forum -- Jenny has a keen eye for architecture, but her grasp of history is appallingly slim, so Christina spends hours regaling her with explanations of ancient Roman culture. She drags them both to the Colosseum as the sun sinks low, the monument stark and solemn against the wide red sky, and Jenny listens delightedly to tales of the gladiators.

"It's so old," she finally says, running her hand along the ancient stones wonderingly. "I had no idea things could be this old."

Christina shakes off the strangeness of the remark. Jenny seems to be a bit off-kilter, but Christina likes her. There's a certain charm in her odd naivety. "There are much older places than Rome."

"Well, then," Jenny says, eyes bright. "Where to next?"

Christina considers the history in her head, the maps of ancient civilizations, the plundered treasures of Babylon or Persia, or Alexander's once-great empire. Yes.

"Fancy violating the tombs of the pharaohs?" Christina suggests with a sly smile, and is rewarded by Jenny's answering grin. She books them both on a flight to Cairo the very next morning.

*


31

The Torchwood Archives reside in an imposing structure along New Cardiff Bay. And under the Bay, actually. Which is why Christina's point of entry involved the wetsuit and waterproof Corroding Goop. She's missed the time traveling -- toys in the future are much more fun.

It definitely ranks as one of her more creative heists.

The blueprints Jenny gave her are extremely accurate, which is good, because Torchwood is a bloody labyrinth. She reaches the correct vault in record time, then types out a quick passcode on the corresponding data port.

Nothing happens.

This is slightly troublesome. Christina frowns and types the code out again, slowly and carefully. Jenny taught her how to hack into this model before, back when they were still traveling together. Probably in preparation for this very day, Christina now thinks. It should work. It has to work.

On the third try, it does, and the drawer opens with a faint hiss. The empty drawer where a Vortex Manipulator ought to be.

"Very nice," someone says from behind her. "You always did know all the right moves, Lady Christina."

"Captain," Christina acknowledges, once her heart resumes beating. She crosses her arms and eyes him warily. He was on their side before, but that doesn't mean anything now. At least this Jack has met her before. That's something. "I thought you abandoned Torchwood back in the 21st century."

Jack shrugs. "It's a bit like the hotel -- what's that old song? You can check out, but you can't leave? Anyway, I do some consulting work for them every now and then."

"Consulting," Christina echoes. "Such as...?"

"You know, alien expertise. Chronological displacement." Jack flashes her a feral grin. "Theft prevention. You know, you're looking for something that once belonged to someone very close to me."

Christina glances reflexively down at his wrist. He's wearing the thick leather band there, as always. It's not the one Jenny showed her.

"No, this is mine, and it's not much use to you anyway," Jack says, catching her look. "I believe this what you were looking for."

He pulls it out of his greatcoat pocket. It is indeed.

Suddenly, Christina's tired of this game. "What are you doing here, Jack?"

He studies her for a long moment, then holds out the Vortex Manipulator. "Preventing a paradox."

She takes it, uncomprehending.

Jack sighs. "Theft prevention, Christina. There are sensors and infrared retinal scanners lining all these vaults. If an unauthorized individual had tried to remove this thing from its drawer, it would've set off alarms all over New Cardiff and in all of UNIT's bases across the planet. Fortunately, as a senior -- extremely senior -- Torchwood operative and consultant, I pass muster. Now take it and get out of here."

Christina isn't one to look a gift horse in the mouth. She pockets the strap. "But where--"

Jack taps his personal data port, bringing up what looks like...a timetable? "Her transport just docked in Cardiff Central Spaceport," he says. "That's a five minute hovercab ride. If you hustle, you can get there while she's still gawking at the archaic newsstands." He gives her a quick smile. "I've programmed a one-way trip into the strap, to get you back home. Just one, mind, so you'd better bring her along. She's going to have to sort the rest out on her own."

"Thank you," Christina says, heartfelt, and hustles.

The hovercab takes exactly three minutes and fifty-two seconds to get to the spaceport, and she's not difficult to spot. Blond girl with too-young eyes and anachronistic clothing, staring mesmerized at a kebab cart -- yeah, that'll be the one.

Christina grins and starts heading in her direction. She wonders how she'll convince this Jenny to trust her, to take Jack's one-way trip. What tactics should she try? How much information should she give? Once they get back to the 21st century -- should she point Jenny straight toward Rome and a restless teenager on her gap year, or let her get there on her own time?

Well, Christina decides, she'll figure it out as she goes. After all, she's already succeeded.

*


34

They've spent the past fortnight in the docklands neighborhood of Andavar City on Galatea, fixing up the latest bit of flotsam that calls itself a spaceship. The Vortex Manipulator's on the fritz again; Christina thinks they might be roughly mid-27th century, Earth time, but it's hard to be sure. She surreptitiously pockets a handful of nanosynchronizers from a stall while ostentatiously admiring the new puddle-hopper on display. She's used this model before. Jenny hasn't, not yet.

A small transport vessel is docking half a block down -- by the silver and yellow markings, it's bound for the Milky Way. Christina smiles and turns away, and that's when she runs smack into her.

Christina's first thought is: I thought she was scrounging for zirconium alloys on the other side of town.

Her next is: oh.

"Sorry!" Jenny gasps, eyes impossibly young. "It's just, I think I might be late. Or early. It's all much the same, isn't it?"

"'Had we but world enough, and time,'" Christina agrees, voice husky. Jenny just tilts her head and regards her with curiosity. Maybe she's never heard Earth poetry before. Christina clears her throat. "What are you late or early for?"

"That depends! I think I'm trying to catch a ship -- my last one kind of burned out, you see, when I hit this sort of time wormhole thing, but I made it to this enormous spaceport out in Andromeda, so then I kind of snuck onto this really gorgeous cruiser, but they discovered me last week and booted me so here I am. It's a lovely planet, really, but there's just so much more to see out there, you know?" She beams. Her eyes are like starlight.

"Where to next?" Christina asks, though she already knows the answer. Everywhere.

"I have no idea!" Jenny ponders the docks, then points to the silver-and-yellow transport. "Where's that one going?"

Christina's breath catches in her chest. "Earth," she says.

"Earth!" Jenny's face lights up. "Oh, how marvelous! I've never been."

"Well, then," Christina says. "They're boarding now."

Jenny only has eyes for the ship now, though she tosses Christina a blinding smile. "You think I should?"

"Oh, honey," Christina breathes, grinning so widely her cheeks hurt. "I think you're going to love it."


Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.
("To His Coy Mistress", Andrew Marvell)


Chronology of storytelling is Jenny's linear timeline, backward.

Date: 2010-04-02 03:38 pm (UTC)
ext_17679: (Default)
From: [identity profile] netgirl-y2k.livejournal.com
Oh, I adore this. Clever and funny and sad. Very well done!

Date: 2010-04-04 03:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kaydeefalls.livejournal.com
Thank you so much!

Date: 2010-04-02 03:54 pm (UTC)
troisroyaumes: Painting of a duck, with the hanzi for "summer" in the top left (Default)
From: [personal profile] troisroyaumes
Hah, for the first time, I am able to comment on your fic! (Recently watched Doctor Who, seasons 1-4.) What a perfect pairing! It never would have occurred to me to put these two characters together, but they make a great team. Also very impressed by how you managed the time traveling.

Date: 2010-04-04 03:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kaydeefalls.livejournal.com
Welcome to the fandom! It is very very shiny. :D And thank you!

Date: 2010-04-02 03:55 pm (UTC)
ext_425300: (Default)
From: [identity profile] mayireadtoday.livejournal.com
Really, really interesting.

Date: 2010-04-04 03:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kaydeefalls.livejournal.com
Thank you!

Date: 2010-04-02 05:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] samfeasor.livejournal.com
Hi! I was sent to read this by my friend who knows my love of Jenny, femslash, and non-linear storytelling.

It's really marvelous. You've done an amazing job, not only with the characters but also with their timelines. The moments with Jack and Reinette are perfect, and the interactions of Christina and Jenny were fun and funny and heartbreaking annnnd lovely. It was very lovely.

Date: 2010-04-04 03:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kaydeefalls.livejournal.com
Thank you so much! I'm so glad you enjoyed it.

Date: 2010-04-02 06:49 pm (UTC)
ext_22487: Fangirl and proud (Default)
From: [identity profile] glinda-penguin.livejournal.com
Whoniverse rare-pair femslash! With timetravel! My favourite genre of fic, and so well executed too. I love the stuff with Christina figuring out where she is in Jenny's time-line by her eyes. (Also, bonus Jack is much appreciated.)

Date: 2010-04-04 04:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kaydeefalls.livejournal.com
Thank you so much! I'm glad it worked for you. And, well, time-traveling lesbians -- Jack was gonna be hard to avoid, there. ;)

Date: 2010-04-02 09:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nebularific.livejournal.com
This is really... Marvelous. I'm definitely bookmarking it!

Date: 2010-04-04 04:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kaydeefalls.livejournal.com
Thank you so much!

Date: 2010-04-02 11:36 pm (UTC)
nonelvis: (DW blue TARDIS)
From: [personal profile] nonelvis
This was absolutely terrific. I never knew I wanted to read Christina/Jenny, but they worked so well together.

Date: 2010-04-04 04:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kaydeefalls.livejournal.com
Thank you! I never knew I wanted to write Christina/Jenny, but then this happened, so. :)

Date: 2010-04-03 01:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kalichan.livejournal.com
My god, this is like, the best fic ever. I'm here from a rec by [livejournal.com profile] such_heights and I'm so unbelievably glad I came -- the time travel for one ("had we but world enough and time!") and Christina/Jenny which is, you know, awesome enough on its own, but then there were all the multiple moments, from all the different angles and new-old eyes, and new-old worlds, and just, OMG best thing I've seen in a long time.

Date: 2010-04-04 04:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kaydeefalls.livejournal.com
Thank you so much! I'm so very glad you enjoyed it. :D

Date: 2010-04-04 04:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kaydeefalls.livejournal.com
Thank you!

Date: 2010-04-03 04:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tricksterquinn.livejournal.com
Basically you are my favoritest ever. I can not BELIEVE this. I knew you would make it gorgeous and amazing and perfect, but I am still completely blown away. My god, you're awesome.

Thank you so much for this. It's kind of beyond amazing in all sorts of ways (not the least that I didn't even have to give you a prompt).

*flails giddily*

Date: 2010-04-04 04:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kaydeefalls.livejournal.com
We don't need no stinkin' prompts. :D I AM SO GLAD YOU LIKED IT.

(no subject)

From: [identity profile] tricksterquinn.livejournal.com - Date: 2010-04-05 11:25 pm (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

From: [identity profile] tricksterquinn.livejournal.com - Date: 2010-04-05 11:50 pm (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

From: [identity profile] kaydeefalls.livejournal.com - Date: 2010-04-05 11:56 pm (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

From: [identity profile] tricksterquinn.livejournal.com - Date: 2010-04-06 12:03 am (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2010-04-03 07:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tardis-stowaway.livejournal.com
Although I heartily disliked Christina on screen, I love this fic from tip to toe. The madcap adventures of these two made sense, and they were full of fun with just the right tinge of sadness. I especially liked the scene with Reinette. You handle the twisted timelines very well.

You know, Jenny, I don't think I ever mentioned -- I snogged your Dad once."

"We will never speak of this again," Jenny informs her


LOL!

Date: 2010-04-04 04:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kaydeefalls.livejournal.com
Thank you so much! Especially for giving it a try despite not liking Christina. :) And no lie, I basically wrote the entire fic for that line.

Date: 2010-04-03 08:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rosa-acicularis.livejournal.com
Wonderfully done.

Date: 2010-04-04 04:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kaydeefalls.livejournal.com
Thank you!

Date: 2010-04-03 11:55 am (UTC)
ext_1798: (Default)
From: [identity profile] wildestranger.livejournal.com
Most delicious. I really enjoyed their relationship, and their interaction with Jack and the Doctor.

Date: 2010-04-04 04:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kaydeefalls.livejournal.com
Thank you so much! (Time traveling lesbians -- there was no keeping Jack away from this.)

Date: 2010-04-03 04:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] selenak.livejournal.com
Time-wimey goodness of the best kind. Your characterisations of Christina and Jenny really work for me, and so does the non-linearity of their relationship. Great story!

Date: 2010-04-04 04:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kaydeefalls.livejournal.com
Thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Date: 2010-04-05 02:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] petronelle.livejournal.com
This is gorgeous, twisty and sweet and inevitable in the way of great timetravel stories.

Date: 2010-04-05 01:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kaydeefalls.livejournal.com
Thank you! I'm so glad it worked for you.

Date: 2010-04-05 12:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sheldrake.livejournal.com
Oh, lovely! :) I am a paid-up supporter of the Mixing Up Underused Whoniverse Characters In A Really Cool Way club.

Date: 2010-04-05 01:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kaydeefalls.livejournal.com
Thank you so much! I fangirl that club so hard, clearly. :D

Date: 2010-04-05 06:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] celievamp.livejournal.com
very very good

Date: 2010-04-05 09:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kaydeefalls.livejournal.com
Thank you!

Date: 2010-04-05 09:54 pm (UTC)
snorkackcatcher: (Default)
From: [personal profile] snorkackcatcher
Excellent fic that used the timey-wimeyness to good (albeit brain-hurting :D) effect - 35, 27, and 25 with the Doctor being particularly poignantly done (it took me a long time to realise that the numbers were ages not scene-sequences!), and 31. It's an unusual pairing, but it works.

Date: 2010-04-05 09:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kaydeefalls.livejournal.com
Thank you so much! If it helps with the brain-hurtiness, yes, the numbers are Christina's ages, and the fic as a whole is just Jenny's timeline backwards. :) (If you think it's complicated, you should see the flow charts I had in my notes to keep everything straight while writing the dratted thing!)

(no subject)

From: [personal profile] snorkackcatcher - Date: 2010-04-05 10:07 pm (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2010-04-13 11:09 am (UTC)
copracat: dreamwidth vera (Default)
From: [personal profile] copracat (from livejournal.com)
What a great idea and a great execution. I yearn for more Jenny and your story is wonderful and sad and gleeful and a little bit dizzying.

Date: 2010-04-13 12:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kaydeefalls.livejournal.com
Thank you! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. :)

Date: 2010-04-27 04:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mirageofmae.livejournal.com
Oh my. This is fantastic!!! I love a good non-linear story and this really works. And you used Jenny and Lady Christina! Fabulous! So wonderful and a little bit heart breaking and lovely. This is definitely worth more than one read through.

Date: 2010-04-28 01:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kaydeefalls.livejournal.com
Thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)

Date: 2010-04-27 11:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dariclone.livejournal.com
This was absolutly lovely! I wasn't sure I'd like this pairing, but I absolutly do!
I *loved* Jenny, [even though I know quite a few people didn't] and I'm even a Lady Cgristina fan. These two are great together and so much of the adventure loving in their nature compliments each other quit well. Not to mention they're both such flirts. Of course they had to be in a few scenes with Captain Jack. :)

Date: 2010-04-28 01:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kaydeefalls.livejournal.com
Thank you! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. :D

Date: 2010-04-28 03:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mind-the-tardis.livejournal.com
I love so much the complicated time-traveler-falling-in-love conceit that they can lose someone and still go on to meet them again and again until they die themselves. It's really too bad we don't die like that in real life. You'd get it out of the way, and then you could spend the rest of your life knowing you'd already lost them, so you would never have to lose them again. And then just focus on being alive with them.

Complicated, intricate Doctor Who fem!slash. I like. And prefer this pairing to River/Doctor, as far as timey-wimey couples—at least, I prefer it as you've written it here.

Date: 2010-04-28 01:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kaydeefalls.livejournal.com
Thank you so much! I love nonlinear relationships, so I'm glad that worked for you. :)

Date: 2010-05-04 03:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] oneechan19.livejournal.com
Oh, I really like this!

Date: 2010-05-04 01:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kaydeefalls.livejournal.com
Thank you!

Date: 2010-08-23 07:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sassy-lion.livejournal.com
Here on a rec from [livejournal.com profile] netgirl_y2k.

Absolutely gorgeous.

Date: 2010-08-24 02:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kaydeefalls.livejournal.com
Thank you!

Profile

kaydeefalls: blank with text: "white. a blank page or canvas. so many possibilities..." (Default)
kaydeefalls

March 2017

S M T W T F S
   1234
567891011
12131415 161718
19202122232425
262728293031 

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Jul. 20th, 2017 04:27 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios