“Rose, please eat,” Jackie begged. She hated to see the way Rose had retreated since the Doctor disappeared three months ago. She wasn’t looking after herself, she wasn’t eating or sleeping, Jackie wasn’t sure if she was even washing herself without being reminded. It was as if she had given up on life since he’d disappeared. He’d never texted and Rose had believed him to be dead, so as Jackie understood it, life wasn’t worth living anymore. Jackie had forced her to see a doctor but Rose had just laughed bitterly and told her that this kind of doctor couldn’t help her.
Rose continued to play with her food and push it around the plate, pretending to eat. But Jackie knew what she was doing. Rose wanted to die, and she’d be damned if she’d allow that to happen. Getting up from the chair, Jackie stalked over to Rose’s side and bodily lifted her up and marched her up the stairs to her shower. Standing Rose under the showerhead, Jackie blasted her daughter with the water.
“No more, Rose,” Jackie said sternly, “You cannot give up on life. The Doctor wouldn’t have wanted you to.”
Rose laughed hysterically. “He wanted to die, he hated this life, he wanted out. And that’s what he got. He killed himself, you know it, Pete knows it and I know it.” She slumped down to the floor of the shower and let the water flow over her.
”Oh, sweetheart, you don’t know that. Maybe he just got caught up in things, maybe he lost the phone or it got broken. I don’t believe he would deliberately abandon you. But what you need to decide is, are you going to just sit here and destroy yourself or are you going to get back out there in the world and start living again? Because one thing is for sure, Rose, I will not stand by and let you ruin yourself.” Jackie stood with her arms crossed, hoping that this time Rose would take heed of her words.
Looking down at Rose sitting in the bottom of the shower, Jackie was relieved to see that at last Rose was crying. It was the first time in the three months he had been missing that Rose had cried and Jackie was glad. It meant she could finally move on. Turning the water off, Jackie draped a towel around Rose’s shoulders and allowed her to cry herself out.
It was some time later that Rose quietened enough to get herself out of her wet clothes and into some pyjamas. Jackie sat on her bed, gently drying her hair and whispering reassurances to her as she fell into the deepest sleep she’d had for a long time.
Jackie stood up and went to speak to Pete. She found him sitting in his study, a glass of whiskey in his hand with the computer screen glowing brightly in front of him. When Jackie approached, he nodded at the brandy he’d already prepared for her and motioned for her to come and see the screen.
“I found this, Jacks,” he said, pointing at the image on the screen. It was a CCTV image of the zeppelin port from three months ago. “You can see why it’s been missed by the boys before, he looks nothing like the description we’d given them. He appears to have boarded a flight to Australia.”
“Great,” Jackie said sarcastically. “Australia’s not that big a place.” Jackie knew that Australia was a vast country, but was trying to be positive about the situation. At least they knew he had been alive when he left and had not killed himself as Rose feared. Of course, that didn’t make it any easier. They’d still have a hell of a job finding him.
As if reading her mind Pete spoke up. “We’re not going to go looking for him, I’ve told you before. It’ll just make him run again. And anyway, that zeppelin wasn’t a direct flight to Australia it stopped in Algeria, Sudan and Ethiopia before it landed in Australia. He could be anywhere.” He held up his hand to calm Jackie’s forthcoming rant. “He needs to come home by his own volition, you, me nor Rose can't force him.”
“But,” said Jackie, formulating a counter argument, “he doesn’t think he has a home to come home to. How can he come home if he doesn’t believe that? And how can you go on allowing Rose to just fade away? We need to tell her something.”
Pete agreed. “We do, you’re right. We’ll tell her about this and we’ll let her decide what to do with the information. Maybe we can just find out where he got off. Maybe Rose can cope with that knowledge and work from there.”
The following morning, Pete and Jackie explained what they had been able to find out about the Doctor to Rose. Jackie could tell that she was very relieved he hadn’t killed himself, but still angry with him that he’d obviously never bothered to contact her. Jackie watched as Rose seemed to gain some fight from the news and as she stood up to leave, Jackie asked, “What are you going to do with the information, Rose? Pete has agreed to let you use both Torchwood and Vitex contacts. I’m sure we’ll be able to find out where he got off the zeppelin.”
Rose turned, her face a blank mask. “Nothing, Mum, I know he’s not dead, but that he doesn’t want me to know where he is. I’ve got to learn to live without him, just as you said yesterday.” And with that, she walked away to get ready for work.
Jackie looked at Pete, who shrugged his shoulders in confusion, before following her daughter out of the study and upstairs into her bedroom. She stood quietly in the corner as she watched Rose disconnect the mobile phone, which had been on constant charge, and stare at the blank screen for a moment before she powered it down.
“Goodbye, Doctor, I’ll always love you,” she whispered before she fell into Jackie’s arms and cried.