Jackie Tyler was late, and the bloody bottle was nowhere in sight! For Christ’s sake, where could she put it? The said bottle didn’t fall behind the vanity, it wasn’t in the bathroom, nor it was in her wardrobe (where Jackie sometimes put it on the cotton balls to let the flowery smell permeate her clothes).
The question still stood: just where did her favourite Gucci perfume go? It was a Christmas gift from her beloved daughter Rose, whom she’d been missing terribly since the girl started gallivanting across the Universe (supposedly, as Jackie wasn’t sure she believed that all that happened was actually true, maybe she’d gone mental during the year Rose was absent). Nevertheless, Mrs. Tyler tried her best not to dwell on the gloomy thoughts as Rose’s time of visit was closer by the day. It will happen in three days precisely, if the bleeding alien doesn’t mix up the dates.
Sighing dramatically, Jackie Tyler slammed the wardrobe closed and opted for putting on a couple of drops of Damask Rose essential oil (something her and Rose shared love to) and walked out of the flat in a hurry. She’ll continue her quest for lost perfume later; now she was due to a lecture from Bev on Jackie’s always being ten minutes late. “Be grateful it’s not Rome’s half an hour” muttered the woman under her nose.
“What’s taken you so long, then? Wait a minute, have you changed your shirt? Why?” Doctor was at a loss. They’ve just returned from the lunch on Iris-05, the planet well-known for its delicious pancakes served with flower jam in iridescent shades. “Now that’s something for the Instagram”, Doctor mused. Then shuddered. Thank Rassilon there’s no Instagram in 2005 yet. Rose would be quite the InstaDiva, and he wouldn’t be able to stop her from sharing alien nature and trinkets they’ve witnessed during their travelling.
Somehow it seemed that Rose blushed. Strange, but it could be just a trick of lights. He cleared his throat, indicating that he was waiting for an answer.
“I just felt like changing, that’s all” Rose replied evasively.
“But you just poshed up this morning! You put on your Sunday best, as your mother likes to put it.”
“I just did, okay? Christ, what’s the big deal? Always the smallest things with you.” This time, the girl sounded plain defensive.
The Time Lord snorted. Humans and their quirks. “Come on then, are you ready to visit your mum?” The smile that bloomed on Rose’s face was enough to let his hearts melt. She clearly missed her mum and was ready to jump at any opportunity to stop by. The visits he dreaded so much... “But...where’s the laundry bag? You never leave without one.”
“I’ll do it next time. Can we go, please? She seemed awfully eager to go and was too jumpy around the topic of her clothes.
“Oh no, you don’t. It’s gonna be three days, and you’ll start moaning about not having any clean clothes – and we are going to visit your mum – again.” He felt the hair on the back of his hands bristle. Jackie was a threat – both to his physical health and mental. He didn’t hate her as Rose was sure of, Jackie was just...aggressive. Protective. Ferocious when it came to her offspring.
Yes, yes, let him just admit that – he didn’t hate Jackie Tyler – he was afraid of her.
Rose ambled to the Tardis’ door, but Doctor was quick to halt her. “Come on, Rose, bring the bag, I’ll wait another couple of minutes. Off you go, then” - he ushered the girl towards her room.
Something was up, that he was sure of. He’ll just have to stick around and see what the problem was.
Rose appeared in the console room after 2 minutes and 47 seconds, a little longer than he predicted. The moment to face Jackie the Dragon arrived.
What did Doctor have to do with this, you will ask? That’s simple. He felt that Rose needed some comfort and emotional support after they’ve faced the Dalek, and he tried his best tricks to cheer his companion up. Easter in Italy? Easy! Nebulae fireworks in the MioLio Galaxy? With a snap of his fingers! A planet where there’s a country entirely made up from sweets – all Rose had to do was ask! The girl was grateful and put on a tough exterior for his sake, but he could see through her act. Always thinking about others, his Rose.
So, naturally, he decided that Rose needed her mother’s comfort. Unlike Time Lords, humans shared deepest connection with their relatives, and usually felt the need to stay close to each other. Not all the time, though, Doctor knew plenty of examples when parents and their children couldn’t get along to save their lives. Nevertheless, Rose fell into the first category.
And what did he expect? She was a young girl of nineteen, brought up and toughened by the Estates to always stick with her close ones, and she was taken away from her life abruptly. She was bound to feel homesick and miss her mum, she had all the right to do so.
Still, you’ll ask, why did Doctor have to go and face
the Dragon Jackie and the tea, and shepherd’s pie, and all the domestics? Clear as the day: he promised Rose’s mother to at least appear on their monthly visits to the Estates after he:
Quite the honorary list, eh? But Doctor had to give into Jackie’s admonitions and succumb into teatime because the mother needed to know the bloke better, she needed to be sure that her only daughter was fine.
Here they were.
The Dragon’s Lair Jackie’s apartment.
Jackie Tyler opened the door and wrapped her arms around her daughter enthusiastically. “Oh, sweetheart, there you are! Lord knows I missed you so much! How are you? Have you lost weight? Doesn’t himself feed you properly? I’ll teach him a lesson or two, where...”
The woman stopped her furious tirade and recognised the smell of her perfume on Rose’s hair.
“Rose, is that my Gucci? I’ve roamed the entire apartment in search for the stupid bottle. Have you taken it? I can smell it on you, the fragrance is clear and new.”
From his point of view in the doorway of the tiny living room Doctor could see clearly how Rose’s face was brightened by several peculiar shades of red.
The girl stuttered something in embarrassment and hid her face in her mother’s embrace. After Jackie asked “What’s that, then?”, Doctor heard Rose’s silent confession distinctly.
“I’m sorry, mum. I know how you like it, and I promise I’ll buy you a new one for Christmas, I just...miss you so much sometimes, and your perfume kinda helps. I’m sorry, though, truly, I am!”
Now Doctor felt genuinely uncomfortable, what’s with the two teary-eyed women hugging and sniffling silently in the doorway.
Then he felt as if a bucket of icy water was upended on him. Rassilon, if Jackie’s glare could kill, he’d be a dead man.
Then Jackie patted her daughter’s back and ushered her into the kitchen. He heard the mother say “Keep it, love, don’t fret about buying the new one” and felt a sting of remorse in his hearts.
Doctor realised at that moment that he truly had taken Rose away from her life – and away from her mother.
And Rose, his plucky and tender-hearted companion, felt ashamed for feeling heartsick without her mother's constant company, and wanted to find consolation in her mother's favourite perfume. He sensed her shame and awkwardness at being caught red-handed, and he was remorseful he made her feel like she needed to hide her emotions.
It was reasonable that Jackie was protective like a lioness would be protective of her cub, but Jackie was wise enough not to impede with her daughter’s desire to travel (even if the whole situation was just plain mental). She was wary of the Time Lord, and he’d be a fool to think she tolerated him for who he was (and not because of her daughter’s wishes). Doctor knew Jackie was waiting for Rose to get tired from the shenanigans or pushed off by him because of his flary temper, so the girl would come back and settle into a peaceful life.
Doctor had other plans. He would go to a great length to keep his young companion in his life. He’d die before he let anything harm her, but he was a selfish bastard – and he wanted Rose to stay with him as long as possible. The Time Lord knew all too well that the possibility of Rose’s leaving him was there still, and if to keep her was to spend more time on the visits to the Powell Estate and endure Jackie’s small talk – he would do that.
The trio (and then the four of them, as Mickey joined after work, too) spent a quiet evening in the Tyler’s kitchen. Rose was assured by her mother that she could leave the bottle of perfume to herself, and Doctor found out that the visit – and the serene teatime – was not as horrendous as he’d imagined. Anything to see the smile that lightened Rose’s face as she was smothered by her mother’s love and care.
And so, their once-a-month visits to Jackie became twice-a-month visits after that day.