Rose emerged from the corridor and came into the TARDIS console room carrying the garment bag containing the dress she was going to wear for Jackie and Pete’s wedding. Rose would be acting as her mum’s Maid of Honor, and Pete had asked the Doctor to be his Best Man.
A Best Man who was currently rumpling his wedding attire. Rose draped the dress across the jump seat and put her hands on her hips, narrowing her eyes at the sight of the Doctor’s tuxedo-clad legs sticking out from beneath the console.
“Doctor, what are you doing down there?” she asked exasperatedly.
His head poked out from beneath the console, sonic screwdriver held between his teeth. The Doctor removed the sonic with a greasy hand so he could reply. “Just giving her a bit of a tune-up.” He pulled himself up and stood, then, much to Rose’s horror, wiped his grease-covered hands down the front of his tuxedo jacket.
“Doctor!” she shrieked, “you’re getting covered in TARDIS grease! Now you have it all over your suit!”
The Doctor casually flicked on the sonic and waved the glowing blue light over his soiled clothing and then his hands. “Had TARDIS grease all over my suit. Past tense. Now it’s gone!” he beamed brightly.
Rose rolled her eyes. “For once would you just let the TARDIS be? I’m sure she’s getting fed-up with all of your poking and prodding and constant attention. We may have been separated from the ship for four months, but for her it was just a day, remember?”
The Doctor walked up to Rose and took her hands in his now grease-free ones. “The TARDIS hasn’t been getting all my attention. There’s someone else who can lay claim to that,” he said in a low, husky tone. He brought his lips to her ear. “I think I’d like to lavish some of that attention on you right now.”
He spoke in that voice which could quickly turn her to mush, but as much as she’d like to melt at his feet, Rose had to stay focused. She took a steadying breath and tried not to concentrate on his gorgeous, darkening eyes or how incredibly sexy he looked in the tux. “I’ll be more than happy to be the sole focus of your attention again — later. But right now we’ve got to get going. I still have to help Mum with her hair and her makeup and her dress.”
The Doctor sighed dramatically. “What is it with brides constantly interrupting my time with you? I’ve only had you back a few weeks since Canary Wharf and I thought we’d have nothing but alone time. First it was Donna appearing in the TARDIS when we were in the middle of something very important…”
Rose blushed. “That was…embarrassing.”
“And now it’s Jackie,” he complained.
Rose smirked at him. “Well, I know you’re just upset with Donna because she bruised your ego by turning down our offer to travel with us.”
“She called me a ‘long streak of alien nothing’ and accused me of wanting her along for a threesome!”
Rose fought back her laughter, and pointed out, “And then you scared her all the more by showing off with your Special Effects Snow.”
“We were dropping her off at Christmas,” he responded in defense. “Who doesn’t like snow at Christmas?”
Rose patted his arm sympathetically. “Well, maybe we’ll bump into her again sometime and you’ll get a second chance to make a better impression. But for now we have to get ready for the wedding.” Rose twined her arms around his neck and smiled sweetly, then brushed a kiss to his lips for good measure. He was about to be on the receiving end of her irresistible womanly wiles. “But before we go, I wanted to talk to you about giving Mum and Pete a wedding present.”
His hands came to rest on her waist, enjoying the look in her eyes but wary of where this might lead. “We gave them a wedding present, remember? The new telly I upgraded for them with the sonic so it now picks up every channel in the galaxy.”
“True, but I was thinking of giving them something else,” Rose continued. “Do you know where they’re planning to spend their honeymoon?”
“I have tried very hard not to let my thoughts go in that direction when it comes to your mother, Rose,” he told her in a serious tone.
“Suffolk,” she stated flatly. “They’re going to stay at some shabby little B&B in Suffolk because that’s all they can afford.”
The Doctor snorted. “All they can afford? Pete Tyler stashed away nearly half a million pounds in ‘pocket change’ before coming to this universe.” The Doctor tilted his head in thought. “It was quick planning, I’ll give him that. And fortunately for him the currency in this universe is the same. But he has a half a million pounds, Rose.”
“If I didn’t know better I’d say you sound a bit jealous. And not about the half a million pounds — you’re jealous because thanks to his Torchwood tech you’re not the only one with impressive pockets that are bigger on the inside,” she teased.
“Hmph. Pockets are hardly impressive,” he muttered. “Let him have his pockets.”
“See, you are jealous,” she stated in victory. “But back to the point, you know that money is being used to invest in starting the Vitex Corporation. That’s why they’re still living in Mum’s flat and can’t afford a lavish honeymoon. But that is where you come in, my very clever Time Lord.”
The Doctor shook his head. “Rose, I think I’ve already gone above and beyond to do my part for them. I’ve snuck into places I shouldn’t have been and soniced things I shouldn’t have soniced in order to create Pete an identity in this world.”
Rose laughed. “Doctor, sneaking in places you shouldn’t be and sonic-ing things you shouldn’t is what you live for! That was hardly putting you out.”
The Doctor knew this was a losing battle. He was putty in the hands of Rose Tyler and was hard pressed to ever deny her anything. “What is it you want me to do, Rose?” he asked with a sigh of resignation.
She grinned. “Well, I was thinking that since you have those very impressive connections in Antigua because of the sea monster you once took care of…”
“An Aquatimere life form with a nasty disposition,” he corrected.
“Right, anyway, I was thinking that maybe you could…arrange for them to stay at the same place we did?”
His eyebrows shot up. “But…but that’s our place, Rose. It’s sacred. The thought of Jackie Tyler honeymooning there would be a defilement!”
Rose began to protest, but thinking quickly, he silenced her with a very thorough kiss. The Doctor then eased back and slowly circled his hands from her waist around to her back and pulled her closer as he whispered in her ear. “I plan on taking you back there again sometime, Rose Tyler, and I want to keep it all to ourselves.”
Rose looked up at him through half-lidded eyes. “You know what I think?” she asked breathily as a roguish grin slowly crossed his face. “I think you’re trying to seduce me so I’ll forget about this.”
He dropped his voice low. “Is it working?”
She traced a finger along his jaw. “Seducing me? Definitely. Making me forget about this? No.”
His grin instantly fell. “Fine. You win,” he relented. “I’ll sneak off in the TARDIS sometime during the reception and make the arrangements.”
Rose beamed. “I love you.”
“Quite right, too.”
Rose stood with Jackie in the bridal chamber of the wedding chapel as she helped her with the finishing touches. Rose had to admit, the dress was a little more tasteful and her hair a lot less…poofy than it had been the first time around. The finished look was simple yet elegant.
“Oh, Mum, you look so beautiful,” Rose said as she gave her a hug.
“I still can’t believe all this is happening,” said Jackie. Tears suddenly sprang to her eyes and Rose quickly turned to find some tissues.
“Now don’t start that, Mum. You’ll ruin your makeup,” Rose said with a gentle smile as she dabbed at the corners of her eyes with the tissue.
“You’re supposed to cry at weddings though, aren’t you?” Jackie replied with a watery laugh as she dropped her gaze.
Rose smiled, but then began to see the tears in her eyes weren’t necessarily happy ones. “Mum, what is it?” she asked softly, placing a hand on her arm.
Jackie turned back to her. “Oh, Rose. Am I betraying your father? I mean…he’s Pete, but he’s not Pete.”
Rose wasn’t sure what to say for a minute. She hadn’t been expecting that. Her mum certainly never seemed to have hesitations about any of the other men she’d dated in the past. But then, she hadn’t married any of them, and none of them could have been seen as such a direct…replacement for her first Pete. Rose understood why her mum would by thinking this way. She was also pretty sure she knew what her dad would have wanted.
“Mum,” she began gently, “Dad would want this for you. I’m sure of it. More than anything he would want you to be happy. You know that. This may be a different Pete, but the one thing that’s the same is that he loves you, too. You’re not betraying Dad. You’re marrying this Pete because you loved the first, and that will never change.” Jackie sniffed and nodded. “Besides,” Rose added with a smile, “I think Dad would definitely approve of this man you’re marrying today. I’d say the two of them had quite a lot in common.”
Jackie laughed softly. “When I stop and think about this it’s all just so daft, but it’s all so wonderful, too. I can’t believe I’ve found this man.”
“And you love him.”
“Then be happy. Because that’s what they would both want for you.”
Jackie reached forward and gave her a hug. “Oh, I love you, sweetheart.”
“I love you too, Mum. Now c’mon, it’s just about time for you two to get married…again!”
The Doctor was currently standing with a nervous and fidgety Pete who couldn’t quite get his fingers to cooperate so he could finish his tie.
He yanked it loose in frustration and started over. “I shouldn’t be so bloody nervous,” Pete chided himself. “It’s not like I haven’t done this before.”
The Doctor bit back a comment about Pete’s bravery in marrying Jackie twice and that maybe his nerves were sensible. Instead, he gave him a reassuring pat on the shoulder. “Not that I have much experience with this sort of thing considering Rose and I took the Gallifreyan way with less pomp and circumstance and no tux, but I believe nerves are usually to be expected at such affairs.”
“I suppose so,” Pete replied absently. He stared blankly ahead for a few minutes.
The Doctor rubbed at the back of his neck, beginning to feel a little uncomfortable as to where Pete’s doubts might be leading him. “You’re not…having last minute second thoughts, are you? Please tell me you’re not. If you left Jackie standing at the altar, I can promise you she would have you hunted down.” The Doctor paused, a frown creasing his brow. “And I know exactly who she’d make do the hunting. Please don’t make me do any hunting, Pete.”
Pete smiled weakly and laughed, but the sound was strained. “I’m not going to back out, it’s just…”
He turned back to the Doctor. The strong, self-assured man who’d learned to put up a few protective walls of his own was suddenly open and sounding vulnerable. “The wedding itself isn’t what scares me, Doctor. What scares me is that I might do this, might have this, only to lose it all again.” He shook his head. “I lost Jackie once. There isn’t a day that goes by where I forget how that feels, and now I have the fear that I might lose her all over again. It makes me afraid of taking this step. Being afraid to have something for fear of losing it — does that make sense? Do you…do you understand?”
The Doctor swallowed hard. The two men had more in common than perhaps either realized until now. “I do understand that, Pete. More than you know. I’ve known loss, and I know how that can make you shut down and close off because you never want to experience it again. I almost let that fear of loss keep me from embracing the one thing that has brought me more happiness than I’ve had in my entire life. I almost let it keep me from Rose.” The two were silent for a moment. “We can’t control our losses, Pete. But we can take hold of the miracles that come our way and not let them slip past. I think you already know that. It’s why you’re here now — why you chose to come to this universe.”
Pete nodded, a look of certainty coming to his face. “Maybe I just needed to be reminded.” He looked at the Doctor. “Thank you.”
The Doctor smiled back. “Now, as Best Man, there’s one more thing I need to remind you of — Jackie’s name. Let’s practice so you get it right this time: Jacqueline Andrea Suzette Tyler.”
“Jacqueline Andrea Suzette Tyler…,” the two men repeated together as they made their way to the front of the chapel.
As it turned out, Pete pronounced her name at the proper time without a hitch. It was Jackie who flubbed his. Pete simply chuckled and mouthed, ‘now we’re even’. The slip was long since forgotten the moment the two were declared Man and Wife.
The wedding was a very small affair, with just a handful of Jackie’s closest friends and relatives. They wanted to keep it low key for obvious reasons.
After toasting the happy couple and watching them share their first dance, the rest of the guests joined them on the dance floor.
Pete gazed lovingly at his new wife in his arms. “Thank you,” he said softly.
Jackie tilted her head. “For what?”
He smiled. “For loving me, for giving me a second chance, for accepting me even when you thought I didn’t have a penny.”
She laid her head to his chest. “I could say those same things to you.” Then a thought struck her as she looked back up at him. “Hold on a minute, though. Were you testing me when you said you’d be comin’ here without any money at all? Did you think maybe I wouldn’t love you if you weren’t rich?”
“No, of course not, Jacks,” he assured her. “But I honestly didn’t know if the currency in this universe would be the same, and for all I knew I’d be bringing over a wad of useless money. I didn’t want to disappoint you.”
Jackie wound her arms more tightly around his neck. “I have you, Pete. Money or no money, you could never disappoint me. I might have felt that way before, and apparently your other Jackie did, too; but never again. This is a new start for both of us, yeah?”
Pete leaned in to kiss her. “To new starts and second chances.”
Rose and the Doctor took to the dance floor together a few minutes later. She was proud of how the Doctor had handled the entire affair. Participating in a family wedding definitely pushed his limits of domestic, but he’d made it through the day with only minimal complaint.
He stood on the dance floor with Rose, swaying to the rhythm of a cliché love song as he gazed around at the small number of guests in attendance.
“I can’t believe your mum’s friends and relatives actually believed that ridiculous story of Pete being the other Pete’s long lost twin brother,” he noted with mirth, keeping his voice low. “And who would name both their sons ‘Pete’?” he chuckled.
“His parents were eccentric,” Rose replied with a shrug. “At least that’s the story he’s sticking to. And besides, it’s much more believable than the real story,” she whispered.
The Doctor shook his head. “It’s like a soap opera. Your family is like an episode of By the Light of the Asteroid come to life.”
“Oi! And I suppose spending your life traveling through time and space in a box is ‘normal’,” she retorted playfully.
“Of course it is,” he replied in all seriousness.
He was just about to twirl her with a flourish when he noticed Rose’s smile fade as her eyes focused on something over his shoulder.
“Don’t look now,” she whispered, “but here comes Bev, and I think she’s got her eye on you.”
He came to a sudden stop. “I think…I think now would be the time to slip away and make those arrangements we talked about.”
The Doctor turned to back away. “Coward,” Rose chuckled.
He looked warily at the advancing Bev, then back to Rose as he made his retreat and answered solemnly, “Every time.”
The Doctor managed to return in time as Jackie and Pete were ready to leave the reception and embark on the honeymoon.
“Before you go,” Rose said at the last minute, “the Doctor and I have a surprise for you. Come on, it’s this way.”
Jackie looked a little skeptical, but followed them anyway. When she realized the TARDIS was waiting for her, Jackie turned to retreat. “I am not getting in that box again,” she said firmly, taking Pete by the arm to turn back. “Look what happened the last time!”
“That wasn’t my fault,” the Doctor protested.
“Mum, it’ll be fine,” Rose assured her. “We have a surprise honeymoon destination planned for you two, and it’s much better than a B&B in Suffolk.”
“Oh, I can just imagine. But I don’t plan on spending my honeymoon on some bizarre planet a billion miles away.”
The Doctor shook his head as Rose chuckled. “No, Mum. It’s not another planet. It’s Antigua! The same place where the Doctor and I stayed on…well, on our honeymoon, and he’s made arrangements for both of you to stay there, too.”
Jackie looked to Pete. He looked at the TARDIS and back to her. “I’m game if you are,” he said with a shrug.
Jackie chewed her lip nervously. “Alright, I’ll give you this one chance.” She pointed threateningly at the Doctor. “But if we end up on Mars, I’m warning you…”
The Doctor rolled his eyes. “You’re welcome, Jackie,” he replied sarcastically as they all boarded the TARDIS.
“It…it really is bigger on the inside,” Pete commented in awe as he gaped around at the dimensionally transcendent ship.
“Oh, yes!” the Doctor replied proudly as he set them in flight. “Allons-y!”
Upon landing a few moments later, Jackie stepped carefully from the TARDIS and eyed her surroundings cautiously.
“We’re really here,” she spoke in amazement. “On a beautiful, normal beach. No purple sand and orange water…”
The Doctor ambled towards her. “If you’d prefer purple sand and orange water, I can always take you to the planet—“
“Oh, shut up, you. Come ‘ere!” She advanced towards him with outstretched arms as the Doctor took several hasty steps back while holding up his hands in a defensive manner.
“Now, now, Jackie. Control yourself. Take any and all acts of affection out on your husband.”
Pete cleared his throat. “I would have to agree with that advice.”
Jackie channeled her joy to her new husband as she turned to embrace him. Rose stepped up beside the Doctor and whispered, “Thank you.” She then took a closer look around at their tropical surroundings. “I couldn’t help but notice, though…the beach looks pretty much the same but the bungalow is different.”
He nodded. “I arranged for them to stay in a different one. I told you, ours is sacred and I want to keep it that way.”
Rose looped her arm through his and smiled up at him. “I’m beginning to see that you’re just a hopeless romantic.”
He leaned in closer. “Once I get you back in the TARDIS I’ll show you just how romantic I can be.”
“Right!” he suddenly called out to the newlyweds, breaking their lip lock. “We’ll be back to pick you up in…say…a week?”
“Thank you, Doctor,” Pete replied in gratitude as he wrapped his arms around his wife. “Once Vitex Corporation is off and running I’m sending you two on an all-expenses paid trip of a lifetime.”
The Doctor and Rose both smiled as they turned to head back into the TARDIS.
“Oh, Doctor,” Jackie called to him. “When you do come to pick us up, just this once I wouldn’t mind if your arrival time was a bit off.”
He lifted a brow, then gave her a sly grin of acknowledgment before slipping into the TARDIS.
Jackie smiled to herself as she and Pete watched the blue box fade from sight. She would never admit this, but she was beginning to see that maybe there were a few times when having that daft alien in the family might not be such a bad thing after all. But if they ended up on Mars on their return trip, she was still going to kill him.