Author: Aris Merquoni (aris_tgd, aris_writing
Summary: Harriet Jones has always had her reasons, and always had her pride.
Fandom: Doctor Who (New Series)
Spoilers: Through the end of Series 3
Title, Author and URL of original story: Keepsakes, Rivrea (having_written), http://having-written.livejournal.com/16549.html
Note: Thanks to my betas, dz_crasher, angevin2, Beta Number One, liviapenn, and anyone else I threw this story at to look over in a fit of flail. Betas are the best.
When the vote of No Confidence passed, Harriet Jones seriously contemplated resigning; she believed in her party as firmly as she believed in her country, and there were others who could take over the government in her absence. But the jackals of the opposition were circling already, and she refused to expose the party's underbelly by admitting defeat. So head high, she called for the general election and bet everything on her ability to carry the day.
She assumed the Doctor was watching somewhere, feeling proud of himself. He'd proved the power of one man's ability to divert history, yet again.
When Harriet was quite young, her family had gone on holiday to visit relations in America. She remembered endless hours on an aeroplane and in a car, jouncing along mountain roads until they spilled out under the deep blue sky of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, the world framed by fences of green pine and walls of sheer rock.
In those days there were places the park had set up to watch the black bears feed on rubbish. Harriet perched on a tin bench and listened to a park ranger with a thick drawl explain, "It's the mothers with cubs you have to be the most careful of. You get a momma bear defending her cubs, and she'll do anything to make sure her babies are safe."
Harold Saxon was young.
Harold Saxon was charismatic.
Harriet Jones promised strength of character, strength of will, strength of national pride in the face of a strange, hostile universe.
Harold Saxon promised change, vision, new ideas.
Harriet Jones watched the nation turn away.
When Dr. Lazarus' press conference went on the air, her staff took some time off to watch it. "Regeneration machine?" Deborah, another old political warhorse, asked. "We could use one of those around here." Then she laughed, bitterly.
Harriet didn't get angry at her. Maybe they were all right. Maybe she was too tired to be doing this, any more. She felt exhausted, after fighting an uphill battle against Saxon's popularity for months.
It took a few hours and a few phone calls to get information about Lazarus after everything went awry, but finally the story came out. The Doctor had been there, of course. The Doctor was always there to fix things.
Harriet dreamed that night. She grew into a giant monster, many-legged, hideous; she clutched the leader of the Sycorax in her hands. The Doctor was watching her, angry, yelling "You were only supposed to attack what I pointed at!" She tried to tell him he hadn't been there, he hadn't been pointing, and his hands were too small to see, but she couldn't make her mouth form the words.
It only occurred to her when she woke up sweating that the argument she really believed in was one she hadn't thought of making. That the Doctor had no right to decide who lived, who died. Not in her country. Not on her watch.
She'd had to clear out her office--which, frankly, had only recently started feeling like her office instead of "The Prime Minister's office which one Harriet Jones was currently occupying."
She had a piece of rubble from the Downing Street explosion, just the size to serve as a paperweight. When her hand curled around the fragment of rock, she was overwhelmed by memories of that awful day with the Slitheen, the Doctor, and that young woman Rose. She wished rather suddenly that the Doctor was there so she could bounce it off his head.
Every step, she thought, closing her eyes, every step she'd taken had been to protect her country, her England.
And the damnable thing of it all was it was all invisible. The work she'd done tracking down Torchwood had been on her own time; she'd carefully weighed the knowledge when she had it and put it away in a corner of her mind, not to be used unless in the gravest of circumstances. She'd done her best to stall the Sycorax, to reason with them, to buy time for the salvation of the men and women counting on her. Until the Doctor's eleventh-hour save.
Shakespeare's Sycorax had also been a mother. She thought about Caliban crying in the wilderness, and about the ash of alien warships. She tucked the piece of rubble into her handbag, hands steady and calm.
Much later, Harriet Jones, Prime Minister (again, by default) found herself overseeing another reconstruction, putting together the government in the wake of Saxon's death.
It wasn't any particular day when he finally showed up. She had just laid her handbag on her desk, and then she sensed the presence behind her--the strange aura he carried, like static electricity and the smell of tea, prickly and familiar.
"I wondered how long it would take you to stop by," she said without turning.
"Er, yeah," the Doctor said. "Sorry about that."
She sighed and turned around. He was standing a few feet away, hands in the pockets of a slightly-too-large coat, ridiculous red trainers sticking out from underneath pinstriped trousers. She'd seen him briefly on the telly, up on the Valiant, but hadn't gotten a good look; he looked just as suited to saving the world as he had in a dressing gown.
She couldn't help smiling, tiredly. "Well, thank you, I suppose. Again."
"Oh, that? That was..." he hemmed and hawwed for a second, then finished, "Martha did all the real work, anyway, but I suppose it was a good bit near the end."
"Yeah, Martha." He inhaled with a long hiss, then admitted, "She took off, actually. Tired of it."
"I can't imagine."
The Doctor pursed his lips, took a moment to study the tips of his shoes, and finally said, "It occurs to me that I may have... overreacted. When I, erm... with the whole. Sycorax. Thing."
Harriet crossed her arms over her chest. "Doctor, applying your own code of ethics to the entire Earth might be tempting, with how many times we owe you the safety of our planet, but it isn't your place to tell us what to do."
"That's the thing about you Humans," he said casually. "Always so sure of yourselves. Beating your path open to the end of the universe, you are."
"That's never been a solely Human failing, has it?" she said archly.
"Welllll," he said, then grinned, caught out.
"I'll make you a promise, Doctor," Harriet said. "You continue to fight to reshape the entire universe with your sneaky, underhanded tactics, to make the world a better place with every weapon at your disposal... and I'll do the same with mine. Deal?"
He leaned back onto his heels, raising his eyebrows. "Oh, I'm much better at it."
"I don't doubt that."
"Can't think of a better idea." He flashed that smile again. "Prime Minister."
"Good." She smiled back, politely. "Now get out of my office. I have work to do."
He chuckled and swaggered to the doors. She turned around before the latch clicked, mind already back on picking up the pieces of the mess.