Fandom: Doctor Who
Characters: the Ninth Doctor, Rose Tyler, Jack Harkness
Summary: Leather jacket, jeans and trainers, greatcoat ... they're great for saving a world in. Comes the time for honoring world savers, however, much more is called for. A moment in time with the Ninth Doctor, Rose Tyler, and Captain Jack Harkness.
Author's Notes: This is a criminally long-delayed fandom_stocking 2014 gift for muccamukk , respectfully offered with apologies for not getting it done before the end of January, as I'd promised. She's a fellow Canadian who enjoys one of my favorite OT3's - the Ninth Doctor, Rose Tyler, and Jack Harkness. I hope she enjoys this relatively fluffy tale, told from the point of view of an outsider. I took the opportunity to do something the Ninth Doctor would normally race for the exits to avoid; dressing up. I hope I properly used my scanty research on crowns.Note: This takes place within my Beijo Sonho series, in which the Doctor does not need to regenerate, and Jack does not remain immortal, after the events of Game Station. The threesome spend much time in the First Great and Bountiful Empire, which I've decided has a neo-Portuguese lingua franca. Thus, the Procissão da’Strelas roughly translates to "Starlight Procession."
Edited By: my beloved dr_whuh, aka buckaroobob
Disclaimer: Much as I wish it were otherwise, nothing in the Whoniverse, save the occasional original character, is mine. All others belong to the BBC and their respective creators. I intend no copyright infringement and take no coin. I do, however, love them, and thank the BBC for letting me play in its sandbox.
"I can’t wear that.”
“It’s … I dunno. Gaudy. I’m a practical girl.”
Rose’s eyes, fixed longingly on the diadem, belied her words. That was hardly surprising, the jewel merchant thought. Even among her own admittedly fine pieces, this one was special. It shone on its plinth, cobalt laced with silver, shimmering hints of indigo and mazarine in the deeps of each faceted jewel. It was in no way gaudy, not with its few slender tines rising modestly above the chaplet, but it commanded the attention of all who saw it.
“Rosie, you’re practical, yes, but what does that have to do with it? It’s beautiful. You’re beautiful. You deserve this. Don’t you agree, Doc?”
“Don’t call me Doc, and yes, you do indeed deserve this, Rose Tyler."
As she decided how to proceed to a successful sale, the jewel merchant observed her potential clients. Her shrewd eye took in the two who stood by this Rose Tyler; the dark man hovering at one elbow, all angles and jutting cheekbone, and his bright and blue-eyed piratical companion standing at the girl’s other shoulder. That they both adored the tiny human female was obvious; that they’d never fall for any of the merchant’s usual lines of patter was equally obvious.
Of course, she didn’t have to offer meaningless patter; she was far too well-situated to need it. In truth, many of the circles in which the jewel merchant traveled appreciated discretion and circumspect knowledgeability more than showmanship, and this trio appeared to be of that sort. So ….
“You’re here because the Festival of Confederation, of course.”
The young woman nodded wordlessly, her eyes still on the diadem. The younger of the men watched her with the same intensity she bestowed on the jewels but said nothing.
It was the dark man who answered the merchant. “Yeah. We’ve been … involved … in the preparations, and we’re part of the Hierophant’s Procissãoa,.”
The merchant kept her face pleasant and unimpressed only with great effort. The Procissão da’Strelas? It hadn’t been held for so long that the merchant knew of it only from stories. The invaders had forbidden it during their half century of brutal rule. And now, the newly freed Hierophant had declared that it was time to renew the beautiful ceremony.
Everyone was to watch and rejoice. The merchant and her family planned to be there, sharing fruit and flowers with each other, with friends and strangers, as the suns faded and gave graceful way for the milky glory of the infinite starfield above her world. Even as practical a woman as the merchant was, she couldn’t suppress the shiver of joyful anticipation she felt at the thought of marking her world’s manumission.
But those who were to actually take part in the great cortege? Those were the people who had made that freedom possible. The world wished to honor them for that. They were most definitely from circles that the merchant — as well off as she was, as well educated and well-bred — could never attain. Indeed, she never wanted to, because those who walked in those circles bore the weight of history on their shoulders.
For the past few weeks, as the city and the world convulsed in an effort to throw off the yoke of the invaders, she had heard rumors of the outworlders who had convinced warring nations to join their strengths in that combined struggle. Were these three that rumored set of aliens?
Well, and indeed, the merchant thought. If that was the case, she was certain to be the envy of everyone she knew if she could convince them to choose her jewels. Then she could boast not only of being the finest procurer and designer of precious metals and light-stones in the city, but perhaps the only one whose work would travel beyond the sky!
But softly, carefully, she thought. One does not intrude on world-changers, one doesn’t shill or inveigle. One tells the truth; one deals honestly … she became aware that the dark man was still speaking.
“An’ it bein’ quite the shindig — entire world makin’ peace with itself, that’s worth celebrating — we’re looking to shine these two up so that they’re presentable—”
The jewel merchant didn’t laugh then but did so many time in the years to come, as she remembered the explosion the dark man brought upon himself. She also never quite settled to her own satisfaction whether his expression was one of horror, irritation, or delight, as his two companions plucked at his garments, laughing at him, and probably themselves, with a bit less outrage than they professed.
“—Oh, no, not this time, Doctor—”
“—not on your tintype, you fashion-challenged Time Lord. It’s all of us, or none at all—”
“— not just Jack an’ me, Doctor! This time, you’re not gettin’ away—”
“— with that damn leather jacket —”
“Oi! This is a piece of historic leather you’re lookin’ at—”
“— historic, my great Aunt Fanny. It makes you look like—”
“— what’s wrong with the way I look—”
“—Oh, I don’t know … have you ever considered wearing a shirt with buttons or cuffs —”
The merchant coughed politely.
All three of her clients stopped talking. The girl, Rose, looked happily exasperated, the younger man appeared amused, and the angular one looked embarrassed. The merchant didn’t think he sported that expression often; again, she hid her slightly awed amusement.
“If I may, gentlebeings? Femme Rose, let us place this on your head for a moment.”
Rose Tyler was wearing strange clothing, dark blue trousers of some sort, and ugly but practical shoes. Her top was printed with words that the merchant didn’t recognize. It was not the most prepossessing of outfits. But her golden hair fell about her shoulders in a full and gentle wave, and it welcomed the diadem.
“Oh, Rosie,” the younger man breathed. The other man said even more, but only with his eyes.
The merchant handed Rose a mirror so that she could see herself.
The merchant quite agreed.
“How much.” The dark man, the Doctor, was holding an exorbitantly full credit stick. He didn’t look at it once. Rose was all he had eyes for.
In the years that followed, the merchant often revisited her next actions. She was never able to explain why she shook her head and said, “First, you must see its companion pieces.”
“Yes. They’re meant to be a set,” she continued, mentally scanning her inventory for simple coronets that would complement the diadem in style, while echoing the personality of each man. To her silent relief, she recalled several that might work. “If you would wait here a moment ….”
“Hold on a tick. You mean crowns? For us?” The Doctor looked outraged. “No, no —”
The younger man grinned. “Oh, I don’t know about that. I think something simple and gold around your head would set off your ears, which some people would consider your best feature— ”
“ —and I think I’d look rather dashing with the right chaplet,” his companion continued. “So hush with the ‘Oi!’s. What do you think, Rose?”The girl had already been smiling. Now her grin was brilliant. "I’ll tell you what. If I like what this lady brings to show us, and if you agree to wear them, I’ll wear mine. You up for it, Jack?”
“When was Captain Jack Harkness ever not up for looking fantastic?” he teased in return.
“Then, if you will excuse me momentarily?”
The Doctor looked at his companions, then at her, his gaze turning from gentle to penetrating. "I imagine these two won’t let me leave until I see what you have to offer. Go on, impress me.”
“That is not my purpose,” she responded, stung at his dismissive tone. “The pieces I bring, perhaps those will impress.” She bowed slightly, and headed for the back of her shop.
The merchant had no one to fetch the pieces for her; she had been about to close up for the night and had already sent her staff home when her three customers walked through the door. She didn’t mind, however, because she suspected everyone in her employ would have been in an uproar over what she was about to do.
These three needed more than the items in her shop, she thought, as she quietly phoned a discreet clothier of long and trusted acquaintance. He dealt in bespoke garments, but was known for his quality racked goods as well. Like her, he knew how to deal with wealth and power, especially when it needed new robes.
Come quickly, she told him in whispers. Bring your best for men and women. If we work together, what we convince these three to wear will make us renowned. Her acquaintance wasted no time; he asked for her estimate of the customers’ height and size, skin color and eyes. Dark, she said, then one brighter and a third who is brighter still. One is a leader, one is an adventurer, and the third is the one who controls them both.
She hung up, and took very quick stock of the situation. Captain Harkness was correct, not only for himself but for his friends; they should look as magnificent as possible, given what they meant to this world (and she was certain now of who her customers were.) This called for suitable raiment. And there lay the difficulty. While she knew she could easily get the two younger outworlders to wear what the clothier might bring, convincing the Doctor would be much more difficult.
Sufficient unto that moment, she decided; between Rose, the Captain, and my own talents, it will be done.
She hurriedly found her keys, then took the stairs to her lower storeroom. Once she unlocked it, she went to the back wall and pulled a lever that allowed her through a previously hidden doorway. The small room beyond boasted a safe. She opened it, took out several crystal containers, and removed their contents. After some momentary consideration, she returned all but two to the safe. The two remaining came with her back upstairs.
“That took a bit.” The Doctor sounded disapproving.
The merchant gave a slight nod. “There are things that I cannot provide you. I simply ensured that you would have choices to make after you look at these.”
“What does that mean?” The Doctor looked suspicious, and just a bit apprehensive.
There was no time like the present, the merchant decided. “What good is a crown without robes?”
“Oh, here we go!” he groaned theatrically. “See what you lot started? Now we’re going to have a bloody fashion show!”
“Really?” Rose sounded delighted. “Oh, I like that! I mean, I couldn’t see me wearing a crown in this get-up.”
The merchant nodded a second time, and couldn’t help grinning more than was proper.
“Count me in, too,” Harkness said, almost crowing. “I’ve been dying for a new look —”
The Doctor groaned again. “Oh, now, don’t you start —”
His companions pointedly ignored him.
He tried again, this time a bit more forcefully. “I’m not gettin’ monkeyed up in a suit, not on your life! Not to please —”
Rose’s smile faltered, then disappeared. She turned to the Doctor. “Not to please your friends? Not just this once?
“Doctor, we went through hell this time,” she continued, putting one small hand on his arm. He startled slightly. He didn’t, however, move away from her touch, the merchant noticed. “We went through it together, an’ we got through it together because we’re a team, yeah? We did everything you asked us to do, because we knew you were right. We always do, in the end.” Her large eyes were serious, her face unexpectedly grim. “But is it so hard to listen to us sometimes? Is it so hard to do something we’d like to do?
“You’re willing to be flexible on a battlefield,” she said softly. “Can’t you be flexible off it?”
The Doctor looked down at her, his craggy face unreadable. “Am I so inflexible, then, Rose Tyler?”
“Like stone, sometimes.” Now her face was equally opaque.
He took a deep breath, then looked up and over at Harkness. “What do you say, Captain?” The merchant was startled at how mild his tone was.
The younger man had been watching his companions closely; almost, the merchant thought, as if he were looking for clues. When he spoke, he sounded careful. “I think Rose is right. It’s your call — she’s right about that, too, it’s always your call — but … yeah. Just this once, let’s celebrate by doing more than walking away.”
“Well, we weren’t walkin’ away, were we?” the Doctor said defensively. “We’re marching in the parade!”
“Yeah, with a maximum of bad grace and a minimum of manners,” Harkness said. “Don’t rationalize. It doesn’t suit you.”
The Doctor’s subsequent snort was more throttled laughter than anger. “Should have gotten the two of you out of here before the urge to cosplay overtook you. But I didn’t and that’s my own fault.”
“Well, you were the one who walked us into this shop,” Rose said, smiling up into his face. “What did you think might happen?”
He didn’t answer. But he smiled back, then over her head at Jack Harkness.
“So,” he said to the merchant, his eyes on his companions. “How much?”
“They are gifts, freely given,” the jewel merchant responded. In her head, she knew she should be berating herself for losing three treasures and gaining no coin. Her heart, however, told her this was what she should do. The merchant, who so rarely listened to her heart, agreed.
Just then, the merchant’s front doorbell jangled; the clothier had arrived.
*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***
In the peaceful years that followed the invaders’ defeat, people spoke often about the first Procissão da’Strelas to make its way through the city, sparking similar processions across the globe and signalling the beginning of what ultimately became that world’s Golden Age. They spoke of the Hierophant’s message of peace and of his willing work with the leaders of all the world’s nations; how stability led to prosperity, to the pursuit of knowledge, and a blossoming of culture and kindness that made their world the envy of several star systems.
And they spoke of the three outworlders who walked in the Procissão, directly behind the Hierophant and his scholar-generals; all three gloriously arrayed, with crowns and robes befitting their roles as liberators.
The Cavalier, with his boots and cape, brightly caparisoned in royal blue and brocade of silver and gold, his silver chaplet marked with sunstone and pearl;
The Commander, dressed in darkest blue, the minimal gold brocade of his long and high-necked jacket complemented by the thin gold band he wore upon his forehead, one sapphire gleaming in the middle;
And between them, holding their hands — the Conciliator, gowned in richest gold brocade, picked out in dark and light blue threads; upon her head a diadem that shone with the light of the stars.