Sugar Plum Nightmare
Chapter Eight: Happy Christmas
Disclaimer: I do not own Doctor Who or any of the spinoff material and I gain no income off of this story, just the satisfaction of playing with the characters.
AN: Thank you for all the great comments and reviews for this year's holiday special. I'm so glad that everyone seemed to enjoy it. I'm going to give myself a couple of weeks off before resuming Journey Amongst the Stars so look for the start of the next episode for the main season on February 1.
There were more hugs to be had as everyone calmed down. Rose told the Doctor about removing the pollen and how she'd gotten rid of it. Just for good measure, he ran a scan of the TARDIS's internal systems to make sure that there wasn't another clump waiting to strike. Rose didn't take it personally and given how the TARDIS hummed and ran the check, neither did she.
"That was something else," Jack said. He shivered a little. "It was so real."
"It wasn't," the Doctor said gently. "It was in your head only."
"But it hurt," Jack insisted. "The cold hurt. I've never felt like that in a dream before."
"The pollen hacked into the TARDIS telepathic systems for lack of a better word." The Doctor wasn't looking at Jack and Rose wondered what she had missed. "Pain is a result of nerves being activated. The Dream Lord was able to trigger those receptors in your brain."
"I get that," Jack said. He didn't sound comforted by it. "I hate to ask…" Jack trailed off and made a sound of frustration. "Never mind."
"It's okay, Jack," the Doctor said. "You can ask?"
"Ask what?" Rose asked softly. "What did I miss?"
"My planet came up."
"Oh." Rose's shoulders slumped and she wasn't sure what to do or say. "I could tell him if you like."
"No one has to tell me," Jack said firmly. "I don't need to know."
"Maybe you do." The Doctor sighed loudly. "Have you heard of the Time War?"
"As a legend," Jack admitted. "That's all though. Two powerful time-traveling races fought over the whole of time and space. As a Time Agent, you hear about the stories, but there's never been clear evidence if any of it was true."
"It really happened."
Rose leaned her head against the Doctor's back and wrapped her arms around his stomach, hugging him from behind as he leaned against the console. She wondered just what had happened to bring up that subject.
"I'm sorry," Jack said softly.
"Yeah." The Doctor shook his head. "Things just kept getting worse and worse. To survive, my people the Time Lords wanted to-" The Doctor cut himself off. "It would have destroyed the rest of the universe and the Daleks were closing in."
"So you took out both sides," Jack said. He was almost whispering. "I- thank you."
"That's what Rose said." The Doctor chuckled, but there was no actual humour in his voice. "Anyway, I'm one of the last Time Lords. A real piece of work that calls himself the Monk survived by allying with the Eternals."
"Let's hope we don't see him for a while," Rose muttered. "No offense."
"None taken. Of all the Time Lords to survive, he would not have been my choice." None the less there was a note of relief in the Doctor's voice. Rose couldn't imagine how it felt to believe you killed your entire species only to find that someone else had survived, even if it was someone you didn't like.
"Thank you for telling me," Jack said carefully. Then he cleared his throat. "So… what now? It is still Christmas, but do you want…."
"If you don't mind, I would like to go home," Rose admitted. "Just to check on everyone if nothing else. That dream, even though I knew it wasn't real, threw me a bit."
"And we can check the decorations," Jack added. He was smiling again. It was a soft and warm smile that relaxed Rose.
The Doctor shifted, bringing up a hand to touch Rose's clasped hands. She understood the gesture and released her grip on him, but didn't go far. Coming around to his side, Rose offered him a soft smile.
"Do you want to go now or rest first?" the Doctor asked. There was a ghost of a smile on his face.
"Napping is the last thing that I want." Rose glanced down at herself and chuckled. "But maybe showers, breakfast, and getting dressed first."
The Doctor did smile a little now and Rose grinned in response. Jack made a sound of amusement and Rose realized that they'd probably been staring at each other. Suddenly, she did feel rather dirty and out of sorts. Deciding that a shower and getting dressed was probably what she needed, Rose stood on her toes and kissed the Doctor's cheek quickly as a farewell. When she walked past Jack, she did the same thing and kissed his cheek.
No one moved very fast after separating. After a hot shower, Rose dressed in jeans and a holiday jumper that the TARDIS provided her with. She still found herself glancing over her shoulder nervously for any sign of the Dream Lord no matter how many times she reminded herself that the pollen was gone.
When she walked into the kitchen, Rose eyed the clock hanging on the wall. It was a silly black cat clock, but it fit into the room well. It was early according to the clock which was kept to a twenty-four-hour cycle for her. On a normal day, she'd only just be getting up. A small yawn escaped Rose, but she ignored it. Opening the fridge, Rose pulled out some eggs and started a simple scramble.
The Doctor appeared in the doorway a few minutes later. He looked tired and sank into a chair at the small round table. Rose smiled softly when she set down a cup of tea. It might be a little early, but they needed it. With automatic movements, he added his sugar and then looked up at her. His mouth opened, but before he could say anything, Jack came into the kitchen. His hair was still damp, but he seemed to be awake.
"Morning," he greeted. Then he grimaced, looking between Rose and the Doctor. Rose gave him a smile and nodded to one of the chairs.
"Have a seat. I went simple since we're heading for London."
"We could just have your mum feed us," Jack said.
"She'd whine about that," the Doctor sighed.
"Only for an hour," Rose said.
They didn't have the energy to talk much. A tension hung in the air and Rose wasn't sure how to get rid of it. Everyone was tired now that the urgency had passed and she considered suggesting they all go back to bed, but Rose knew that she'd be scared of slipping into a nightmare. Serving up the bowl of eggs, Rose and the others ate quickly with Jack asking the Doctor only a few questions about the TARDIS's telepathic systems and how organic they were. Rose listened with one ear, but focused on eating something. The food helped, but now a nervous energy was taking over. It had a nightmare, but she still wanted to check on Earth. Maybe it was silly-
"Ready?" the Doctor asked gently, drawing Rose's attention. He was standing beside her chair with a hand extended to her. "To visit Earth?"
Rose took his hand and let the Doctor pull her to her feet. Jack whistled as he washed the three plates, bowl, and pan in the sink. He turned his head enough to catch Rose's eye and winked. She almost kicked him as she and the Doctor walked past, but decided against it. It was Christmas after all.
The Doctor set the coordinates and Jack reached the console room just as the TARDIS sprang to life. Her hum was happy and alert now and Rose finally finished relaxing. Everything was okay. She leapt into action when the Doctor asked her to hold a button and laughed when Jack had to throw himself across the controls to throw a lever. The familiar whirling grind echoed around them as they landed.
"Christmas Eve," the Doctor said. He gestured to the door. "Bannerman Road."
"You sure?" Rose teased. She started reaching for the screen, but the Doctor scowled and pulled it away.
"Off you go, Jeopardy Friendly."
"Fine, Trouble Magnet. I'll take this on faith."
Rose debated going to the wardrobe to get a coat but figured she could handle the weather in the garden. Stepping outside, she found her mother already coming out of the house. Jackie rushed across the yard, wearing yoga pants and a brightly colored Christmas jumper. Her hair was recently dyed and her eyes were wide with glee. A happy sound escaped her as she threw her arms around Rose. Her daughter laughed and suffered a fierce hug without complaint. Rose patted her mum's back.
"Hi, Mum. I haven't missed Christmas yet have I?"
"No, you're right on time." Jackie released Rose and shifted back. "Mind you, he might have gotten you here a few hours ago so you could help with the food, but I'll take what I can get."
"Oh, the gratitude!" the Doctor shouted from inside the TARDIS.
Jackie made a face, but took Rose's hand and tugged her towards the house. "Well come on then. Guests have already started arriving and I haven't got all the food out! Mickey has the evening off thankfully. Provided nothing happens of course." She froze and swung her eyes over to Jack. "Are you expecting trouble? It's Christmas! Can't we have a nice holiday?"
"No trouble as far as I know." Jack smiled and stepped forward with his hand. "Jack Harkness, you must be Jackie."
"I know who you are," Jackie huffed. She rolled her eyes. "Honestly, I'm not that dim." She tugged on Rose's hand again, missing Jack's surprised face.
"You've met," Rose offered with a shrug. "Just go with it, Jack."
"Uh, yes, right." Jack blinked, but recovered quickly. Rose figured there'd be questions later, but then again Jack knew how time travel worked.
"Well come on," Jackie urged. She tugged the Rose again and Rose obediently headed after her mum. Jackie immediately started talking about the latest news of the neighborhood though only half of the names meant anything to Rose.
The kitchen was warm and bright. There were platters of food out and ready to go, the oven had a ham in it by the smell in the room, and there were decorations here and there. Rose noted with relief that there weren't any unexpected photos of her and Mickey. Her mother finally released Rose and scooped up a tray, still talking at a rapid pace. Rose shook her head fondly and walked past Jack to the doorway of the kitchen. The Doctor was a bit further behind them, but following uncertainly.
"Come on," Rose laughed. "She hasn't attacked you yet so I think you're safe."
"You think." The Doctor joined her in the doorway with a soft smile. "Not the most…" He trailed off and glanced up, his cheeks coloring.
Rose glanced up and found the bit of mistletoe that had distracted him. Jack eyed the mistletoe hanging in the doorway with a pointed look and then gave Rose and the Doctor a smile. Turning on his heel, he vanished into the main room and Rose could hear his voice as he found someone to flirt with. She just really hoped it wasn't anyone she couldn't deal with him sleeping with given his future relationship with her daughter. Looking up at the Doctor, Rose found that he was blushing a little, but there was a softness in his blue eyes that surprised her.
"Feel like upholding tradition?" the Doctor asked.
"Only if you are."
"I'd like to," the Doctor said. "But… maybe not more than that. Not just yet."
"That's fine," Rose assured him.
The Doctor leaned down towards her. Rose lifted her chin. They both paused, their air between them warm and electrified. Their eyes were open, keeping eye contact and Rose braced herself for the Doctor to change his mind. She would forgive him and was about to reassure him of that when he pressed his lips to hers.
He was warm against her, his arms coming up to hold Rose gently and they stayed like that. Rose's eyes slid shut. Her hands rested on his chest as their lips move slowly against the other's. The smell of leather, oil and time surrounded Rose. There was no great passion here, just warm reassurance and love that sank into her bones, but she could feel passion lurking just beneath the surface. A noise from the main room made the Doctor pull back. A faint blush coloured his cheeks and ears, but he was smiling softly.
"Happy Christmas." The Doctor kissed her forehead.
"Happy Christmas," Rose repeated. Then she smiled. "So, are you up for being a bit social for awhile. I hear Sarah Jane."
"Maybe for a little bit." The Doctor shifted back from her but took her hand in his. "But I reserve the right to vanish into the TARDIS later."
"That's fair. Socializing and my Mum are exhausting."
The Doctor chuckled and Rose squeezed his hand before letting go. She picked up one of the trays of food and the Doctor did the same. He caught her eye and sighed dramatically. Nudging him gently, Rose almost told him that she loved him again before deciding that she didn't need to. Walking into the main room, Rose found Jack taking Sarah Jane's coat while laying on the charm. Skye spotted Rose and bolted for her, almost knocking her over and sending the food flying. The Doctor's free hand caught her and kept Rose on her feet while Skye babbled happily. Happy Christmas indeed.