Set before and after the episode "Love & Monsters".

Once again, although this story is meant to remain within the TV show canon, it's written as a sequel to my stories, "The Girl in the Stalking Spaceship", "Age of Bronze", "Lantern Extinguished", and "Gravity Schmavity".

Thanks ever so much to Saavik13 and KateCarter for beta'ing this for me, and to btvsfifi for pointing out that the Hoix was in Woolwich.

Disclaimer: Surprise, surprise, I don't own Doctor Who. Nor do I get anything from writing these stories--except wonderful, constructive reviews! Wink, wink; nudge, nudge ;)

Chapter 1, Mum's the Word

Rose led the Doctor up to her Mum's flat. He wasn't exactly dragging his feet, but he still let her go first. Jackie greeted them happily enough, even sparing a hug and a kiss for the Doctor, despite her, "It's about time you brought her back." She sat them down to a breakfast of tea and toast, which the Doctor happily accepted. Even Jackie couldn't get toast wrong, provided it wasn't burnt--which it wasn't.

The Doctor smelled the several jams Jackie had set out on the table, then cautiously applied the orange one to his toast. One bite, and he was in heaven! "What is that?!" he demanded, holding his toast up to his eyes as if verifying its existence.

"What?" asked Rose. "Your toast?"

He pointed at the jam.

"Marmalade," Jackie answered.

"Rose, why didn't you tell me about this?" the Doctor asked, taking more bites of the slice in his hand. "It's fantastic! We should have cupboards and cupboards of this on the TARDIS!"

"Sorry, didn't occur to me," she said with a shrug. "We had it all the time when I was growin' up, I kinda got sick of it, no offense, Mum."

"To each his own," Jackie replied, indifferently. "You can take the jar, Doctor, if you're that keen."

"Brilliant!" He thickly covered a new slice of toast in the jam, and swallowed it down almost in one go.

"Surprised ya can even taste it," said Jackie, watching him.

"Hang on," said Rose, "you tellin' me in 900 years, with all the time you spend vistitin' earth, you've never tried marmalade before?"

"Nawadit, foo eshewashuns go," said the Doctor, around a mouthful of toast.

Rose and Jackie stared at him. He swallowed.

"No, I had it a few regenerations ago," he clarified. "Tasted terrible in that body, though. I didn't even recognize it, now."

Jackie just shook her head. "Anyway, the reason I called," she said, pointedly ignoring the Doctor's ongoing love affair with the jam jar.

They moved to the living room after breakfast. The Doctor and Rose sat on the couch, Jackie in a chair next to Rose. Jackie told them her side of events with Elton, how he'd insinuated his way into the flat, pretending to be a handyman; how he tricked her into telling him about Rose—though she'd only said her daughter was travelling; and finally, how she'd found Rose's photo in his jacket pocket and he'd admitted that he was looking for the Doctor.

"I got a snapshot of 'im," said Jackie, taking out her mobile and showing them the display.

"I remember him," said the Doctor, taking the phone from Jackie and holding it so that he and Rose could get a better view. "A few months ago, right after we visited you. Thought I recognized him then, but I still can't place him. Elton Pope, Elton Pope," he said, trying to see if the name rang any bells. "We were after that stray Hoix in the Woolwich warehouse district." He turned to Rose. "You remember, humanoid-ish, walking appetite with teeth," he mimed gigantic fangs snapping while Rose nodded. "You threw the wrong bucket at it--"

"I thought you said blue!" Rose retorted with a shove at the Doctor's shoulder.

"Not blue. Anyway--"

"You told me you had some shoppin' to do," interrupted Jackie. "Didn't say anythin' about aliens in Woolwich!"

"I was taking her shopping!" defended the Doctor, handing the phone back to Jackie. "It wasn't 'til we got back to the TARDIS that I picked up the anomaly." At her disbelieving glare, he added, "Honest!"

"Doesn't matter," said Rose, reaching for her mother's hand. "You alright?" she asked.

"Yeah, I jus' don't want this Elton causin' you two any trouble."

"Oh, we'll take care of him," said the Doctor, leaning back with his arms along the top of the couch.

Rose gave Jackie's hand a squeeze, then turned to the Doctor. "Ya ready, then?"

He blinked uncomprehending at her. She nodded her head towards the front door. "Right!" he said at last, jumping to his feet, pleasantly surprised that she was ready to leave so soon. "Shall we?" he asked, offering her a hand up.

She took it, but then bent over Jackie and gave her a good hug. "We'll take care of it, Mum," she said.

"Be careful," said Jackie, before releasing her daughter. "Both of you," she said with a half-glare, half-smile at the Doctor.

"Always," he replied, taking Rose's hand to lead her from the flat. Just before they reached the door, he turned back to Jackie. "Oh, could I get that marmalade?" he asked, failing miserably at containing his excitement. Jackie grabbed it from the table, and tossed it to him. "Thanks!" he said, actually leaving this time.

He was fairly certain he heard Jackie's "tut", just as the door closed behind them.

To be continued.