“But then I met the Doctor and... all the things I've seen him do for me. For you. For all of us. For the whole... stupid planet and every planet out there. He does it alone, mum,” Rose told her mother before she winked out Pete‘s world. “But not anymore, cus, now he has me.”
Jackie stood on the TARDIS with the others: Mickey, Sarah Jane, The Doctor-Donna, the Doctor’s twin and that unbelievably handsome Captain Jack Harkness who was holding hands with the pretty soldier named Martha.
Jackie stifled a laugh, watching Jack cock-block Mickey’s attempt to meet Martha. The only pair holding to each other more tightly than Captain Jack and the young soldier was Rose and the Doctor.
“I think he truly loves her,” Sarah told Jackie. “Not Jack and Martha. I mean the Doctor. He truly loves Rose.”
Jackie made a scoffing sound.
“Then why is he preparing to dump her back in the other universe?”
Sarah shook her head.
“I can’t believe the Doctor would do that to Rose, Jackie” Sarah Jane reassured her. “Oh he dropped me off in the middle of no-where when he went back to Gallifrey. But look at the Doctor with your Daughter. He’s barely left her side during the entire trip. Rose came all this way to be with him, and a bit recklessly, I might add. Mister Smith mapped the progress of her dimensional canon. It will take the Doctor and K-Nine ages to repair the damage.”
Sarah Jane grinned at Jackie’s affronted expression.
“Not that I’m complaining, mind you,” Sarah Jane added. “I appreciate that you and Mickey showed up when you did. I’m not a fan of guns myself, but you and Mickey saved my life. I’d be a sorry sort of a hypocrite if I started fussing that they weren’t needed. Mickey looks amazing by the way. Older and stronger.”
“Mickey is amazing,” Jackie said with pride. “Pete’s been like a father to him, and once he stopped trying to impress Rose, he just blossomed. My son thinks of Mickey as his big brother.”
Jackie studied Sarah Jane. Sarah Jane was a bit older than Jackie was, but she carried herself like a younger woman.
“Did you travel with him-- with the Doctor?” Jackie asked.
“Yes-- well not this version. My Doctor was an elegant gentleman with soft white hair, and a most engaging smile. He could be pompous and bossy, but to me he was like that teacher whom all the girls get a little bit of a crush on. I was his favorite for a time. Then he changed into a sweet, jolly man with a pension for scarves and jelly babies. I miss him-- that version of him.”
“How old were you when you first traveled with him?”
“Twenty-Three.” Sarah Jane lips turned up. “I stowed away on the TARDIS and was whisked away to old England. My life was never the same again.”
“So you were twenty-three,” Jackie mused. “Then what, you turned fifty and he dumped you before he went out to find my Rose?”
Sarah Jane’s whimsical smile turned cool.
“I was still in my twenties, and I told you, he dropped me off because his people called him back home,” she said in a careful tone. “And there were three decades and at least five incarnations of the Doctor between dropping me off and him meeting your Rose. He’s traveled with older women before, older and younger men and people from his planet. He takes them for the shared adventure; he wasn’t looking for lovers.”
“How many others? Rose told me, that before her, he traveled the universe saving worlds and that he was all alone,” Jackie said.
“Alone?” Sarah Jane shook her head. “Rose is young, and in love, and this version of the Doctor appears to be in love with her; but she’s mistaken. He’s hardly ever alone in the sense Rose means. This incarnation is different on the outside, but he‘s still the Doctor. He’s more restless, angry, and he's immensely sad, but Jackie his planet, his people, his family were destroyed. In that sense he is more alone than any of us can imagine. Nothing and no one can replace that loss. But before the Time War--, it was like today. Oh, the Doctor always has the best ideas, and the best tools, and most times the best answers. But the universe is vast and filled with wonderful people like Martha and Jack over there, or Donna, and, yes, Mickey and you. The Doctor- he’s the kind of person who never meet a stranger. Sometimes the people he meets come along with him.” Sarah Jane spread her arms. “There’s plenty of space on this old girl.”
“Rose says he’s over nine hundred years old.”
“Yes, he is,” Sarah Jane said.
“Rose is my little girl, Sarah Jane,” she said. “For twenty-years she was my only child, my entire life. I wanted so much for her, including a bloke who would love and cherish her-- like Mickey used to. I never quite appreciated how loyal Mickey was to Rose.”
Sarah Jane reached out and patted Jackie’s hand.
“The Doctor will take good care of your daughter.”
Jackie shook her head.
“Yes, but for how long?” Jackie asked. “Mickey told me that when they traveled together, the Doctor met some French woman. What was her name? It was like that old-fashioned hairdo-- Oh? Madame Pompadour. Mickey told me this Madame was like Camilla-- the King’s mistress, but she was beautiful. A real posh number, straight out of a little girl’s princess book, Mickey said, and just as sweet. The Doctor told them she was one of the most accomplished women who ever lived. Anyway, Mickey said the Doctor just left them-- Rose and Mickey- to rescue her. They were stranded in space, and the Doctor was stranded in the past. He knew it would happen, but Mickey said the Doctor charged in, without a backwards glance, on his white horse to save this woman. Luckily, the woman found a way back to the TARDIS. The Doctor kept looking for her; he wanted to take her out of her time to travel with him. Mickey said the Doctor was devastated when he finally found a way back and the woman had died.”
“I don’t understand,” Sarah Jane said.
“Yes you do,” Jackie said. “The Doctor will live forever compared to us. There’s always going to be some woman in distress, or a posh siren like Cleopatra or Josephine Baker with talents Rose can only dream of. And he’s always going to go after those birds--even if it means he gets stuck in the past. Where is my Rose then? Rose is like her Dad and me. She truly believes she is the only one for him, because he’s the only one for her.”
“My fault,” Sarah Jane confessed sadly. “Rose once asked me if the Doctor was worth breaking her heart for and I told her yes. I still believe it, Jackie.”
“Well, you’re not her Mother are you?” Jackie snapped. “You didn’t see my girl wasting away like some woman in an old fashion romance, pining after him. And did he show any decency? Did he let her go properly, let her find her own way and start a new life with someone she could have a real life with? No-- he haunted her. He parked himself by a dying sun and called out to her like Merle Oberon did to poor Lawrence Olivier on the moors in that movie my Grandmum used to force me to watch. Rose, Rose, Rose -- Doctor, Doctor, Doctor--. He turned my little girl into something she never was when she was a teenager: a sad little girl moping over some man she can't have. She has a no limit credit card, a new universe to explore, a new family, still all she wants is him. She barely knows her little brother. He thinks she’s a guest. Pete broke rules to build that canon and he’s facing a government inquiry. And look at my daughter. You said you knew her before. It‘s all gone, all my little girl’s bounce and brilliance, except when she looks at him. And after everything, he’s just going to dump her. I swear I could beat him.”
“I think you’re wrong Jackie,” Sarah Jane persisted. “Maybe you’re frightened because you may never see your daughter again when she leaves with the Doctor.”
“Been there, done that. He sent her away the first time, and she insisted on going back after him,” Jackie declared in a flat tone. "I’ve been watching him-- the three of him, including the part of him in that ginger bird, Donna. They all look at her, then each other and the polite and happy smiles are gone. They look like someone died. He laughs and he lets Rose kiss him, but he won’t look her in the eyes for more than two minutes. And that other one-- his brother, his clone or whatever; he looks at the Doctor like he would like nothing more than a chance to strangle him. I may not know what button to push on this space ship, but I know men and that man is about to dump my daughter. And this time there will be no turning back.”
Two Days Later at the Tyler mansion…..
“This is your suite,” Jackie announced. “If you don’t like this stuff, just talk to Pete and he’ll arrange to get it changed for you.”
“This is fine for now,” the Human with the Doctor’s face said. “At least until I can get my bearings. Thank you, Jackie, both you and Pete for allowing me to stay here. I can’t tell you what this means to me.”
“We couldn’t just leave you there stranded in Norway, could we?” Jackie said. She pointed to a chair and indicated she wanted him to take a seat. The Human Doctor hesitated than sat down. She sat in a chair opposite him.
“I don’t like what he did-- your big brother. He hurt my Rose. She sacrificed everything to get back to him, and he just left her with you while he went on his merry way.”
“He’s hurting more than you know.”
“Maybe,” Jackie shrugged. “But he’s got what, two, three thousand more years of life in him? I don’t think he’s going to spend more than a hundred days mourning Rose, let alone a hundred years, so don’t you patronize me. I didn’t like it when he did it, and I will not tolerate it from you -- not in my own house. I overheard you two talking. There‘s something wrong with that Donna isn‘t there? He‘s hurting but it‘s not about my Rose. He‘s already moved on.”
“I don’t know what you want me to say, Jackie. He couldn’t stay with Rose.”
“I asked why not? What the hell is he going to do that he can’t do with Rose? He never was concerned about putting her in danger before, so what’s different now? Yeah, she’s going to grow older and he’s not, but she was willing to stay with him until death. It should have been down to what they both wanted, not what he thought was best.”
“I know that.”
“You can tell Rose any fancy story you want, but truth is, he dumped her. And to be truthful he dumped you too.”
The Human Doctor looked at his hand a moment.
“Yeah, he did. He’s torn up, because Donna can’t last long with a Time Lord’s energy in her body. He’ll have to leave her behind and she’s his -- our best friend. He cares about Rose more deeply than you think, but you’re right. He’s moved on beyond the need for her. And I know-- because I am him, that he’ll knock around and mope a bit, and then someone brilliant will come along, and he’ll find that he’s able and eager to face another day.”
“See, there’s the maddening thing for me," Jackie said on a sigh. "Rose should have the chance to grow and move on. She should have had the time to see that, although there may not be any Time Lords in this world, there are brilliant, wonderful people who can make her feel excited about life and love. But I don’t think she will, because -- well there’s you. You‘re always going to be here reminding her of the life she can‘t have.”
“I can’t have that life, either, Jackie.”
“I know. In a way your lot is harder than Rose, because you have all those memories of what he has done and could do, but your body won’t let you.”
The Human Doctor nodded.
“Are you scared?” Jackie wanted to know.
The Human Doctor nodded again.
“Well, Pete and me, we’re here if you need us; for Rose and you. When you’re ready, come down for tea and get to know the Tyler’s.”