Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or Doctor Who, never could, never would the way my luck is running lately.
Characters: Sophie, Jack, Ianto, Gwen, Eleven
Spoilers: Nothing, honestly nothing at all…I think
Summary: Sophie is 17 and off to university, or so she thinks…
Rating: PG (but grab some tissues)
Beta: No one, so the mistakes are mine and mine alone, hopefully there aren’t too many of them
A/N: It’s the final (chronologically so) Sophie story, there will be a few other ones, maybe a Christmas one, maybe one about Sophie’s Welsh lessons with Ianto, a little more fluff to make everyone smile.
A/N 2: It’s very alternate universe, very, very alternate universe.
A/N 3: Time spans are all messed with here, just don’t think about it too much and go with the story, it won’t hurt your head that way.
Word Count: 1,869
Reviews, constructive criticism, comments are always appreciated.
The Seventeenth Year
The teenager’s bedroom hadn’t changed much in the last seventeen years, barring the removal of cots and childish toys. The walls were still adorned with pictures of her fathers’ friends, each with their own special story. The final picture that had been added was of a shy young man, dressed impeccably in a smart suit and holding a cup of coffee. Sophie Harkness took one last look at everyone and bent to pick up her rucksack from her bed.
“Are you ready Sophie?” asked her father as he strode into her room.
The girl straightened and ran her fingers through her curly hair; she smiled at Jack and nodded. “Yep, I’m ready to go.”
“You sure?” he asked softly.
She nodded her head slowly and moved to go out into the hallway. “I’m sure,” she said as she ran her hand over the newest picture. “I just miss him, that’s all.”
Jack came up behind her and pressed a kiss to the top of her head. “I know baby, I miss him too. He’d have been so proud of all that you’ve accomplished, top of your class, off to university, you’re an amazing young woman.”
Sophie smiled and turned around to hug her father. “Thanks Dad.”
“Should we go now?” murmured Jack. “Auntie Gwen is probably outside waiting to take us to the airport.”
She nodded against her dad’s chest, “Yep.” Sophie unwound her arms from around Jack and swiped her hands across her eyes. She walked out of her room and out into the hallway. Sophie picked up her other suitcase from by the top of the stairs and trotted down to the front door. “I do see Auntie Gwen’s car,” she called back to her father.
“All right then,” said Jack as he grabbed his own pack and opened the door.
“Why do you have a bag?”
“Maybe I was planning to surprise you and come along for a few days to help you get settled,” answered her father.
“Oh, that’s a nice surprise,” said Sophie with a big grin.
“Oi! You two, you’re going to miss your flight!” called Gwen. She waved from the car, “All right Sophie?”
“Yep!” replied the teenager. She opened the back door of the car and scrambled inside. “Apparently my Dad’s coming with me.”
“Yeah, I was in on the surprise, sorry sweetheart, he swore me to secrecy.”
“Shut it you,” said Jack fondly as he slid in next to Gwen. “Off to the next adventure.”
“What are you going to do when Sophie’s off at school?”
“Not sure,” Jack answered evasively. “Maybe the Doctor will make an appearance.”
“Going to go running off again?” Gwen joked.
“Who knows? My baby is off to university, you and Martha and Mickey are doing a great job with Torchwood, Captain Jack just isn’t needed anymore.”
“Oh poor old you,” teased Gwen.
“Oi! Who are you calling old?” laughed Jack.
15 minutes later
“We’re here,” said Gwen as she pulled the car to a stop near the local park.
“Erm, Auntie Gwen, we’re at the park,” Sophie said with a puzzled expression on her face.
“Yep, it’s the other part of the surprise, but that’s all I know. Jack said to bring you both here, and not to the airport
“What?” asked Sophie.
“Well Sophie, someone found out that you’re off to university and wanted to give you a lift, a special girl like you needs more than first class on an international jet. So how about first class on an intergalactic style transport that’s bigger on the inside?” asked Jack as he opened the car door.
“The Doctor?” Sophie gasped as she slowly opened the door and climbed out of the car.
“Yes,” said her father, “the Doctor wanted to give you a ride to school. Here, let me get your bags so you can say goodbye to your aunt.”
“Okay, bye Auntie Gwen. Thanks for everything,” she said as she leaned into the driver’s side window and hugged the Welsh woman gently.
“It’s no problem sweetheart. Your father’s right, you’re definitely a special girl. Don’t forget us commoners when you’re ruler of the universe yeah?”
Sophie giggled, “Sure thing.”
“Goodbye then, we’ll see you soon pet.”
Sophie straightened and walked away from the car. She waited a respectful distance while her dad said goodbye to Gwen.
“Well Ms. Cooper, take good care of that family of yours, and Torchwood, it’s in your hands now,” said Jack as he leaned into the car window.
“You aren’t coming back, are you?” Gwen asked softly. “You and Sophie are going to go running off with the Doctor right?”
Jack sighed and tapped her nose, “I don’t know. Sophie may still choose to go to school, but I hope she chooses what the Doctor will offer her.”
“That’s fine, just, just don’t forget us okay?” Gwen answered quietly. “And drop by once in a while?”
“I promise,” he said. “I’ve got to go now.”
“Bye Jack,” she said as she rolled up the window.
Jack watched her pull away and then walked over to where Sophie stood, pensively chewing on her thumbnail. “I see you biting your nails Sophie Harkness, stop it!”
She ducked her head and blushed, “Sorry Dad. Where’s the Doctor?”
“He’s around here somewhere; give it a minute and he’ll show up, probably running.”
“Or, you can both turn around,” a voice said from behind them.
They turned to see the Doctor standing behind them, a fez perched jauntily on his head, and a bemused grin stretched across his face.
“Doctor!” said Sophie happily. “Are you really going to take me to university in America?”
“Ah, I see you didn’t tell her, did you Jack?”
“Tell me what Dad?”
“Well Sophie, with your experiences, and having inherited my ‘ability’, university might be a bit challenging for you. So when the Doctor contacted me about taking you to school, I got to thinking about being away from home might be a little difficult, and asked if he’d take on a companion or two. That is, if you want to go with us.”
The young woman smiled, “Of course I want to go with you. I wanted to go with you all those years ago, and I do now. I only have one request okay? There’s nothing here for me if we leave, so I want to say goodbye to someone.”
The Doctor nodded, “You can do that.”
10 minutes later
“This is 13 years ago, by the Hub, if I got things right,” said the Doctor.
“So basically, you’re saying that this should be 13,000 years in the future in New Cardiff on one of the colony planets?”
The Doctor turned to face Jack, and grinned, “That is what I’m usually saying yes, but this time, I definitely got it right, I hope. Now listen Sophie, when you see who I think you’re going to see, don’t say anything that lets him know what’s going to happen, it will cause serious problems.
“I don’t want to say anything,” she whispered. “I just want to see him again.”
“Ah,” said the Doctor. “In that case,” he continued as he rummaged around under the console and pulled out a key hanging from a piece of battered old rope. “HA! I’ve still got it. This is a – ”
“A perception filter,” she said. “I wear this, and I can see him, say my goodbyes, and he’ll never even know I was there.”
“Exactly,” the Doctor said triumphantly. “Go ahead, we’ll wait right here.”
Sophie slid the key around her neck and opened the door to the TARDIS. She stepped out onto the Plass and shaded her eyes against the sunlight. The teenager turned and walked towards the bay until she spotted him coming out of the tourist office, hand in hand with a four year old version of herself who was singing a nonsensical song at top volume.
“What are you singing?”
“Dunno, d’you like it Taddy?”
He smiled down at her, “Yep, you’ve got a singing voice like your Daddy.”
“Daddy has a pretty voice.”
“That he does, now where should we go for lunch?”
“The chip shop, again?”
“Yes Taddy,” she giggled. “Again!”
“Then after lunch, I suppose we ought to walk to the park and play?”
“No Welsh?” she asked with a wide smile. “And get a lolly?”
“You were a very good girl while I met with Daddy, so I think a break from Welsh might be in order, and maybe a lolly if you eat all your lunch.”
Sophie continued to watch as her Tad led her away from the Hub and over to their favorite chip shop. She raised her hand slowly and whispered, “Bye Taddy, I love you.” Goodbye delivered, Sophie lifted the key over her head and walked back to the TARDIS, her heart breaking all over again.
Jack looked up as she opened the door and stepped inside. “Are you okay?”
“No,” she answered as she stood uncertainly by the door, tears threatening to spill from her eyes.
He walked over to his daughter and pulled her into a tight hug. “Oh baby, I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.”
“I wanted to tell him that he should go with me when the other Doctor comes to see us. I wanted to tell him that you both should have taken me away so we could have been a family for longer. I wanted so much to tell him,” she sobbed.
“I know Sophie, I know,” her father soothed. He stroked her hair and held her tight to him, whispering quiet endearments in her ear.
“It’s not fair,” she hiccupped, attempting to stop herself from crying again. “I want him back.”
Jack rubbed his daughter’s arms briskly before moving to cup her face in his hands. He kissed her forehead and looked into her eyes before asking if she was all right. “You don’t have to do this; we can take you to university if it’d be easier. Whatever you decide, I’ll support you.”
Sophie shook her head, “No Dad, I don’t want to leave you. I don’t want to be alone.”
“That’s my girl, now, where would you like to go first?”
“What about Barcelona? Do you think the TARDIS will let the Doctor actually get to Barcelona with a companion?” she asked, the ghost of a smile beginning to form on her face.
“Very funny Sophie Harkness,” chuckled the Doctor. He set the ship in motion, staring intently at the central column. “Don’t let the poor child down, please,” he muttered under his breath, hopefully encouraging the TARDIS to behave, just this once.
Sophie stayed wrapped in her father’s embrace until the ship landed with a slight bump. She looked at the door and wiped her eyes. “Are we there already?”
“Open the door and see,” the Doctor replied.
“Is Barcelona supposed to be so full of sand?”
The Doctor glared at the console, “I said Barcelona, I put in the coordinates, and you send us to Boeshane in the 51st century?”
Jack smiled and opened the door. “Sophie? Would you like to meet your Gran and Grandpa?”