Last chapter and its way too cute for me. So sweet and fluffy that it'll make your teeth hurt! Plus Jackie gets to be violent. Enjoy and R&R.
"He got it mum! He did! And he wrote back!"
Jackie Tyler looks from the crumpled letter to her daughter's tear-stained face. "This doesn't mean he's coming back Rose. Its just a letter."
They can't say his name. He is just 'him' or 'he', this omnipresent force that lingers in every corner of their lives, like a shadow looking over their shoulders.
"He can mum. He promised!"
"No he didn't love. He said he's going to prove you wrong. That isn't the same thing."
Rose glares at her mother and snatches the letter back. She jabs her finger towards Jackie's face fiercely. "He'll prove you wrong!"
Jackie watches Rose stomp up the stairs. Mickey smiles sadly and follows her. Jackie hopes Rose is wrong. The Doctor brings nothing but trouble and heartbreak, and she wants Rose to be happy. This last month Rose had been happy and now he has to come back and destroy it.
Mickey sits down on the bed beside Rose and hugs her. All of a sudden Rose turns and kisses him deeply. Mickey pushes her away.
"No Rose. You're not the right frame of mind for that."
Rose kisses him again. "I am. I love you, you know that right?"
Mickey smiles weakly. "Yeah I know. I love you too."
Rose reaches for his shirt buttons and he grabs her hand. "No. I'll stay but not for that Rose. Not tonight."
Rose just nods silently, her eyes still puffy and red.
Mickey strokes her hair silently as he hugs his girlfriend to him. He hates pretending that she's thinking about him but he will. Because maybe one day it'll be true. She wants to tell herself she loves me, he thinks. Construct her life the way it should be, family, job, boyfriend…but it's a lie and they all know it. Only Rose thinks she believes it. Because the truth is harder to cope with and she wanted to erase that. Move on. Forget. Until He came back with that letter. Why now? Why now of all times? But that's what He does isn't it? Steams in at the worst possible moment and usually saves the day. Well today Mickey thinks that he isn't coming. He told Rose himself that it would tear both worlds apart. And he won't do that. Not even for Rose Tyler.
Rose's eyes snap open and for half a second she thinks she has imagined that sound. Mickey's breathing is loud beside her ear but there is no mistaking it. She sits bolt upright in bed as the TARDIS materialises at the end of her bed. She can feel herself shaking. She screams. Mickey sits bolt upright with a yell. The TARDIS door opens and the Doctor nearly jumps out of his skin to be met by this.
Mickey. Mickey the idiot. The Doctor swallows thickly and slams the door.
Rose stares in horror as the TARDIS fades away, her hair blowing all over her face. Through the door burst Pete brandishing a gold club and Jackie with a baseball bat.
"What's going on?" Pete demands looking round the room.
"I thought you were being murdered!" Jackie says lowering the bat.
Rose kneels on the bed. "Mum he was here. The TARDIS was right where you're standing!"
"It was just a dream love."
The Doctor presses his knuckles against his eyes and slides to the floor, his back against the door. He can't breathe. Rose wasn't lying when she said she was moving on. Oh god, why did it have to be Mickey?
"Doctor?" Martha stands by the console. "What happened?"
"We're leaving." The Doctor's voice wobbles, on the verge of losing it. He aims the sonic screwdriver at the console and the time engine starts whirring. He bites his lip and tries to breathe. But his chest feels too heavy and he can't draw a breath. His eyes are stinging and his stomach feels stuck in his throat.
Martha smiles at him strangely. "Sorry Doctor that's not going to happen." She slams her palm down on a button. "I think that's the reversing button isn't it?"
The Doctor's eyes go impossibly wide and he stares at her speechlessly.
The TARDIS whirs around them and in the middle of the room a shape gradually appears. A woman. Holding a baseball bat.
"I'm going to kill you!"
"Jackie! I can explain!"
"You'd better!" The bat slams into the floor where the Doctor has just been as he rolls out of the way and leaps to his feet.
The Doctor runs behind Martha. "Please put the bat down!"
She swings it wildly at him. Martha darts out of the way and the bat hits the edge of the console.
"My ship!" he cries pausing to stare at the console.
"Ship this!" Jackie shouts swinging at him again. The bat cracks loudly against a pillar.
The Doctor takes one look at her face and legs it.
Jackie pursues the Doctor round the console like some 'Carry On' film. "I'm going to give you such a slapping you bastard!"
The door opens and the Doctor throws himself behind the first person that steps inside, and holds them in front of him like a shield. It happens to be Rose.
"She's crazy!" he cries holding out his hands in defence.
"Mum put the baseball bat down," Rose says calmly. Jackie lowers the bat sulkily. Rose turns, grabs the Doctor's lapels, pulls him into a smouldering kiss then propels him at her mother. Jackie slaps him round the face hard enough to crack teeth. The Doctor looks stunned.
"Hello," he finally stutters lamely staring between the two women.
"Can't I just hit him again?" Jackie asks.
"No," Pete and Mickey have entered the TARDIS behind Rose.
The Doctor looks at Rose silently. "Rose…"
"Is it really you?" she interrupts. "You sent that letter?"
He nods. "I got yours. Blew in on the wind. Seemed rude not to reply."
Rose's eyes well up. "Doctor…" she reaches out a hand for him tentatively.
He steps to her and picks her up in a huge hug. "Rose Rose, oh god…Rose."
Rose starts crying and buries her face against him. "Doctor. I gave up on you, I'm so sorry…"
He sets her down. "Don't Rose. Please don't. It doesn't matter."
She smiles at him and reaches for his hand, and the Doctor suddenly steps away. "I can't."
The Doctor's eyes slide past her to Mickey, leaning in the doorway. "You're with him now."
Rose looks round at Mickey looking torn.
Mickey makes the decision very simple for her. "She's yours Doctor. I know she doesn't love me. She wants to but she can't. Not while you're alive." He steps to Rose and kisses her tenderly. "I love you but this is what you really want."
Rose gives him a grateful smile and squeezes his hand tightly.
Martha steps forward and clears her throat nervously. In all the hubbub she has been rather forgotten.
"Who is she?" Rose asks suspiciously, suddenly jealous.
The Doctor takes Martha's hand and pulls her forwards. "Rose Tyler meet Martha Jones. Martha this is Rose."
"Hi," Martha smiles, trying to hide her sadness. "So you're Rose."
"Yeah. This is my mum, Jackie, and Mickey and Pete."
"Jackie of the tea fame?" Martha looks at the Doctor.
"Yeah," he says rather sheepishly as Jackie looks at him. He still thinks she might take a sneaky swing with the bat if Rose isn't looking.
Pete steps forward to break the awkward silence between the two girls. He holds out his hand to the Doctor.
"Nice to see you again Doctor."
The Doctor shakes his hand. "I see you've been looking after my girls well."
"Your girls?" Jackie retorts at him. "Since when was I your girl?"
The Doctor gives her a soft smile. "Always were Jackie. You had me at the first slap." He steps towards her and despite the threat of a beating with the baseball bat grabs hold of her in a tight hug.
"Get off you soppy git!" Jackie pushes the Doctor away but manages to smile at him.
He smiles back and looks back at Rose who looks worried and sad and happy all in the same expression. "What is it?"
She shakes her head. "Why did you come back?"
"What?" his voice is so quiet, so hurt, that she barely hears him.
"Why now? Why such a long time? Why when I…"
He steps forward and captures her face between his hands and kisses her deeply.
Martha suddenly realises exactly why she was always second best to her. To Rose. The one he left behind, lost and now found again. She can see in that kiss exactly why they belong together. And she doesn't want to stand in the way of that. She's going to ask him to take her home. She looks away and catches Mickey's eye. In an instant she can see he feels just the same as she does.
He steps over to her and smiles. "Tin dog," he says simply.
"You and me, we're the tin dog." He laughs lightly. "But we still wouldn't have missed it would we?"
She shakes her head. "Not a minute of it."
"Will you put my daughter down?" Jackie says. "You're like a dog on heat you are." She pokes the Doctor in the side with the end of the bat.
He releases Rose's lips but keeps his hands in her hair. "Do you see now?"
Rose nods her mouth open slightly and staring at his eyes.
"I never realised I could until that letter appeared. Rose I'm so sorry." His eyes start to glisten. "I am so sorry. Rose please forgive me."
"I do," she rests her forehead against his. "Can I come home?" she murmurs.
"Thought you'd never ask!" his voice hasn't sound so cheerful in months and he grins widely. Then spots Martha. "Martha I…"
"Don't Doctor. I get it. Just take me home and visit once in a while." She tries to smile convincingly.
The Doctor hugs her tightly. "I'm sorry Martha."
"Stop apologising!" she rebukes him jokingly. "Thank you Doctor. For everything." She looks at Rose. "He was miserable without you. I see it so clearly now. Keep him happy." She turns his face towards her with one hand. "Don't let this smile go out."
"So you're just taking her Doctor?" Jackie demands poking at him with the bat again.
"I…" he opens his mouth uselessly as Jackie hefts her weapon again.
"Over my dead body Time Lord."
"MUM!" Rose shouts.
"Jackie don't." Pete's voice never even rises but remains even. "He came through once didn't he? He can do it again can't you Doctor?"
The Doctor frowns, his tongue between his teeth as he thinks. "I guess I can now."
"So I can visit?" Rose's eyes brighten.
He nods. "And with that I think we shall take our leave," he says. "Before your mother really does batter me with that bat. Ooo battering with a bat."
He ushers them out of the door as he speaks. "Bye!" he waves camply. "See you all soon."
Rose hugs her mother. "I'll be back I promise."
"You better!" Jackie warns. "Or the Doctor is pancake shaped."
"Lovely to see you too Jackie."
He shuts the door firmly and turns to the two girls. "London first Martha?"
"Then maybe Barcelona Rose?" The Doctor starts up the time engine and coos at the TARDIS adoringly.
"He does that with you to huh?" Rose whispers.
"Yeah all the damn time! Enough to give a girl a complex."
Rose and Martha look at each other and start laughing loudly. The Doctor looks up. "What?"
The two girls just grin at him.
"What?" he implores. "Why are you laughing?"