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My Country is the Whole World (or four women Ace never kissed)

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i. The truth is, I often like women

Mel shifted, trying to get into a more comfortable position, not easy considering that her wrists and ankles were tied together. Also considering that she was tied back to back with Ace, whose incessant squirming was causing the baseball bat she carried to dig viciously into Mel's back.

"Ace, stop it. It's not going to work."

"Bloody hell, these blokes really know how to tie knots. I wonder where the professor's got himself off to?"

"He'll be back," said Mel, brightly.

Ace renewed her efforts to get free of her bonds. And the baseball bat jabbing into her back, together with the realisation that she was tied to someone who carried large amounts of unstable explosives in her backpack were beginning to make a dent in Mel's eternal optimism.

"I nearly left the TARDIS, you know, back on Ice world."

"What were you - ah ha, gotcha, you little bugger - what were you going to do?"

"Go with Glitz, I suppose. I hadn't really thought it through."

"Glitz!" Ace said incredulously. "Well, that was a daft idea."

"I might not have been strung up by giant reptiles if I had left."

"Nah, course you would. You just wouldn't have me around to rescue you."

"You're tied up too," Mel pointed out.

"Not anymore," with a final ferocious wriggle Ace managed to release herself from the ropes and bounced to her feet. She turned to face Mel who held up her wrists to be freed.

"Aren't you glad you stayed?"

"Ace..." Mel felt that this wasn't really the time.

"Say it." Ace rocked back on her heels, apparently losing all interest in untying Mel.

"Oh, all right. I'm glad I stayed with you."

Ace beamed brightly, and darted forward to plant a quick kiss on Mel's lips. She undid Mel's restraints, and pulled her to her feet.

"Come on, let's go see what trouble the professor's got himself into." She entwined her fingers with Mel's and dragged her out of the tent they'd been tied up in, and they went in search of the Doctor.


ii. I read the book of Job last night, I don't think God comes out well in it

The Doctor had given Martha Ace's name, when he'd been whispering his plan to her on the Valiant, he'd told her to find Ace.

It had taken Martha three months to track Ace down. Three months before she could even begin to tell the Doctor's story to people. But it had been worth it, she would have died in Bulgaria if it hadn't been for Ace.

It turned out that while Martha had some enviable talents, particularly as a medic and a storyteller, the operation of anti-tank missiles was not one of them - luckily it was one of Ace's.

*

They were hiding in a house outside Madrid. It was a humid night, and they'd stripped down to the minimum amount of clothing that would allow them to make a quick getaway should the Master's soldiers turn up.

Ace was stroking the skin of Martha's bare shoulder, she'd recently become fascinated by the tattoo there.

"What are you thinking about?" Ace looked up in surprise at Martha's question.

"Anti-tank missiles." Ace was not an introspective person by nature, and Martha was a little bit in love with her for it.

"Oh, really?"

"Yeah, and about those camps in Barcelona. I might go back, see if I can get some of the people out."

"Oh." Martha pulled back slightly.

"You've got to go back to England soon, anyway. The great Martha Jones has got to go home," Ace sounded equal parts sarcastic and impressed.

"Ace, what if it doesn't work?" Martha hadn't let herself think about the plan failing, hadn't let herself think about the plan at all.

"Don't be thick, course it'll work."

"Because everybody believes in the Doctor."

Ace brushed her fingers over the tip of Martha's nose, a gesture of affection she seemed almost unaware of. "No, because everybody believes in Martha Jones."

Martha wrapped her arms round Ace's neck and kissed her fiercely. It didn't matter about anybody else. All that mattered was that the Doctor believed she could do this, that Ace believed she could do this.


iii. I thought how unpleasant it is to be locked out; and I thought how it is worse, perhaps, to be locked in

"Rose has got an admirer," Jake sing-songed.

Rose turned her head and saw the woman Jake was referring to; older, dark haired, dressed all in black. She was staring at Rose and didn't look away when Rose met her eyes. Rose went bright red and looked down.

"Aww, she's blushing," Mickey mocked.

"Shut up," Rose muttered into her drink.

The pub was close to Torchwood, and the three of them were on free drinks for life after having stopped a couple of Slitheen from trashing the place one night.

"She's still staring," Jake noted. Rose didn't need to be told, she could feel the woman's eyes on her.

"I'm off to the bar," Jake drained the rest of his beer. "Same again?" He hopped up without waiting for an answer.

"And I'm going to the bog."

"Mickey..." Rose hissed, but he'd already gone. Rose stared at the opposite wall and tried to ignore the sensation of the woman's gaze drilling into the back of her head.

A pint glass was placed on the table and the woman dropped heavily into the seat next to hers, Rose looked up with every intention of saying she wasn't interested, but there was something in the woman's expression that stopped her. She was looking at Rose with dark, heavy eyes and a tiny smirk. She had a look about her as though she had seen things, things that nobody in this dimension other than Rose and Mickey could possibly have seen.

"Ace," she introduced herself.

"I'm Rose."

"Nice to meet you, Rose." Without any further pleasantries Ace stuck her hand down Rose's top.

"Hey! What the hell do you think--" Rose's objections died on her lips as Ace pulled out the TARDIS key that Rose wore on a chain around her neck. At the same time she produced an identical key from the pocket of her dark jeans, she placed them both on the table.

"Snap."

"Oh my God."

"Really? I always just called him Doctor, or Professor."

"You travelled with the Doctor? There's a Doctor in this world?"

"No, but I thought so. You're from my world. Britain has a prime minister and people don't walk round with their mobiles hard-wired into their brains, that right?"

"Sounds familiar. How did you get here?"

Ace pushed up the sleeve of her leather jacket, revealing what looked like a bulky digital watch. "Vortex manipulator. I was doing some dimension hopping when somebody closed the dimensional walls and I got stuck here."

Rose's heart sank, Ace was trapped here as much as she was.

"Thing is, it can still time travel and the French Revolution in this dimension is brilliant!"

It wasn't the Doctor, and it wasn't the TARDIS, but it was travel and she'd never been to the French Revolution.

"What are we waiting for?"

Ace kissed Rose deeply, took her hand and placed it onto the vortex manipulator and pressed down. And then everything changed.


iv. Arrange whatever pieces come your way

Romana paced around the chamber. Ace stood sullenly with her hands in her pockets. She knew that she was sulking and didn't care.

"You can't possibly understand what's happening here."

"Course I understand. The Time Lords are going to war against the Daleks, it's not exactly rocket science."

"Which is why you have to leave Gallifrey. Soon I won't be able to spare the capsule to take you back to Earth."

"No."

Romana sighed. The Daleks were coming to Gallifrey so Ace had to leave; this was the relatively simple concept that Ace was singularly refusing to grasp.

"The Time Lords are going to fight. You can't expect me to just leg it at the first sign of trouble."

"You're not a Time Lord."

"I'm as good as. I've been to the Prydonian Academy, and I can fly a TARDIS."

"Not that well," said Romana.

"Better than the Doctor."

"That's hardly difficult."

"Romana, this is my home. Gallifrey and the TARDIS. I'm not running away."

Romana stopped pacing just in front of Ace, mere inches from the human. "The Doctor should never have brought you here. I can't be responsible for you."

"I hardly need a babysitter. I was taking on Daleks with a baseball bat when you were still trapped in E-Space."

Romana smiled at that reminder that her human friend was no longer nearly as young as she looked. Life on Gallifrey had been good to her, although doubtless that would soon change.

Then she leaned in and brushed her lips against Ace's, because dogmatic beliefs about intimate relations with non-Time Lords seemed to matter less when the Daleks were massing their fleet.

Anyway, as Ace had pointed out, she was practically a Time Lord now.