Chapter Eight

After Lori went back upstairs, Rose and John rested again. Rose held the panda in the crook of her arm while she examined her adoption certificate.

"So we found ourselves a brand new family then," John said to her.

"Yeah," Rose said softly.

John studied his wife for a moment.

"You don't want to be a part of this family then?" he asked, taking her hand.

"I do it's just…"

"You're afraid of losing them as well?" John said when Rose trailed off.

Rose bit her lip and nodded as her eyes misted over. John stroked her cheek and put his arm around her.

"I think this will be different," he said, snuggling up to her.

"You do?" Rose said.

"Yes, because now we have allies here who would help protect them and the Earth. We really didn't have that in the other universe," John said. "We didn't have Jack or Sarah or Donna or Martha. All we had really was Pete and he's only one man. Not to mention he never traveled with the Doctor so he wasn't trained to fight that sort of alien threat. I admired him, I really did but he wasn't cut out for Torchwood. He was a salesman who got caught up in the whole Cyberman fiasco and worked for Torchwood when all he should have been doing was selling pop. I mean, we outlasted him in the camps. I hate to say it but he was in the wrong profession."

Rose nodded.

"So were we," she said. "We never should have been there, John. We weren't meant to work at Torchwood either."

"I wholeheartedly agree with that," John said. "I just wish I would have realized that sooner and had the guts to walk away before dooming the Earth to extinction. The Doctor isn't the only one with guilt."

"And I'm telling you that you needn't feel guilty either. You thought you were helping," Rose said. "If the two of you insist on feeling guilty, I'm going to do so as well. Nothing will be solved by you two being guiltridden. What's done is done and we can't go back, we can only go forward."

"God, Rose, you do sound like me and him, more and more each day," John said.

"Good. It means I'm listening and learning from the best," Rose said. "And the fact that I survived that hell back there means I did learn."

John nodded and squeezed her hand. They looked over when Lori came down the stairs with Tom.

"Sorry about this, Tom wants to say something to Rose," Lori said. "I'm sorry if we're bothering you."

"No bother, I don't know about Rose but I'm a bit bored just lying here," John said.

He watched while Tom walked over to Rose's side while Lori stopped at the end of the bed and watched.

"I wanted to ask you something," Tom said to Rose.

"Yeah?" Rose said, smiling.

"You had a brother?" Tom said.

"Yeah, I had a little brother called Tony. He was about your age, actually," Rose said, putting her hand on his head.

"Did he die?" Tony said.

Rose swallowed hard and nodded while John squeezed her shoulder.

"I want to be your little brother then."

Rose stared at Tom while John rubbed her shoulder. He could see she was choked up from hearing that and Tom backed away from her.

"I just wanted to know, I'm sorry. I'll leave," Tom said.

"No!" Rose said, holding out her hand. "Love, I'm sorry. It's just that hearing you ask that made me…choke up and I couldn't answer you at first. I would love that," she said, taking his hand.

"I don't want to be like Tony but I'll be your brother," Tom said while Lori smiled while tears came to her eyes.

"Thank you," Rose said before leaning over to hug him.

"That's all I wanted to say," Tom said. "I'll leave you alone now."

"Thank you, love," Rose said, wiping a tear away from her cheek.

"Get better, Sissy," Tom said as he walked over to his mother.

Lori smiled at Rose as she took Tom's hand. John snuggled with his wife while they watched them going back upstairs.

"So…you're getting deeper and deeper into this adoption business then?" John said, amused. "He didn't ask me but maybe it's because I'm your husband. This is your side of the family then, eh?" he teased. "All this time, you had family in Indiana and didn't tell me?"

Rose chuckled and took his hand.

"I suppose I didn't talk about them much," Rose teased. "We weren't that close, them being in Indiana and all."

"I can see why the Doctor loves them so though," John said. "They're a sweet little family."

"Listen to you, now you're going domestic," Rose said with a grin as she poked his side.

"Well, I started doing that when I went to live with your family," John said. "Not to mention I was forced to live a life as a human so now I'm used to all that. After witnessing all the terror and brutality and living in that camp, I could do with a bit of family togetherness."

"Me too," Rose said.

Just then the storage room door was flung open.

"Ps and Qs!" Mandy said as she followed the Doctor out of the room.

Rose laughed at the exasperation on the Doctor's face as he came out of the unfinished room and walked towards the bed. Mandy walked behind him, a grin on her little face.

"Ponds!" the Doctor yelled when he reached the bed.

Amy and Rory appeared beside the bed.

"What?" Amy said, feigning annoyance. "We were frolicking in Rainbow World and hopping like bunnies just now!"

"Is there a way you can take this small thing and deposit her over there? I mean, Rory, this is your girlfriend."

"Sorry, no nonspirits allowed over here," Amy said with a shrug. "Unless you want to strangle her and make her dead."

"Believe me, I'm considering it!" the Doctor said, raising an eyebrow and looking back at Mandy.

"Ps and Qs!" Mandy said, pointing at his head.

"Aw, isn't that sweet?" Amy said. "I remember when I could order the Doctor about and get away with it."

The Doctor reached down, picked Mandy up and stared at her.

"You see this?" he said, nodding his chin towards the floor. "See how far you are off the floor? See how tall I am?"

"Ps and Qs!" Mandy said, pressing on his nose.

"Yeah, Ps and Qs," Rose said.

"Yeah, Ps and Qs," Amy said.

They laughed when the Doctor rolled his eyes.

"I see I shall have to establish my dominance once more," he said, carrying Mandy over to the sofa.

He lay her down and Mandy squealed when he began to tickle her.

"Ps and Qs, eh? I'll P and Q you, my dear!" the Doctor said, tickling her armpits while Mandy squealed with delight. "This is what comes of ordering Time Lords about like a little queen!"

He stopped tickling her and walked away, whistling, while Mandy lay on the sofa and sucked air into her lungs.

"Dominance has been reestablished!" the Doctor said smugly to his friends.

They laughed when he bolted away the moment Mandy let out a shriek, leapt off the sofa and gave chase. They laughed harder when the Doctor zoomed up the stairs while Mandy chased him.

"At least we won't have a dull moment here," John said to Rose while they heard Mandy shriek out, "Ps and Qs!" upstairs.

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