"You're not serious." Rose was already thinking of a hundred and one reasons why this was a really bad idea.
"Look, she's somebody we can trust to keep a very close eye on him, and from what I hear, she can definitely take care of herself," Jack replied.
Rose narrowed her eyes, not quite convinced. "Isn't there anyone else?" she asked, her own list of people that would be likely to take in a nine-hundred-year old alien with a rather odd disease was non-existent.
"I suppose there's Mickey," Jack mused aloud.
"No way," she said automatically. "That would be the start of World War Three."
"Nancy may be willing to watch him." Jack hid the smirk when Rose glared at him. "Or Adam, you said he was a bright kid," his voice trailed off as Rose's face began to turn the same shade as her hoody. "Well, Margaret's definitely out, she's much too young." Jack flinched from the smack on his arm.
"You're not being at all helpful," Rose assured him.
Jack shrugged. "That just leaves your mum, or we find an uninhabited planet, and the likelihood of me navigating successfully to one of those is nil."
Rose sighed, pulling on the strings of her hoody. "I'll talk to her, it's not as if they're attracted to one another," she conceded, remembering the Doctor's tale of he and Jackie's first meeting. Rose was sure her mum hadn't forgiven him yet for his rudeness.
"Well, he's certainly not staying here." Jackie's sharp voice penetrated the quiet of the console room through the closed door. Jack winced at the uncompromising tone, understanding where Rose came by her headstrong ways, as he continued listening to their conversation and idly playing with the controls.
When Jack had first explained the theory of his cure for the Doctor, Rose had insisted she be the one to break the news to Jackie. That, coupled with a slight hesitation of how her mum would react, upon discovering that her daughter travelled not only with the Doctor, but Jack as well, worried her a little. She didn't have to wait long.
Jackie burst into the TARDIS, her eyes scanning the room quickly and not seeing the subject of their discussion. Instead she stopped, halfway up the ramp, sharing a startled look with Jack. "Where the hell is he and who the hell is that?" she demanded, as Rose sidled around her, giving Jack her own apologetic look.
"Mum," Rose began, stepping between the two figures as they sized each other up. "It's not what it looks like."
Jack was the first to recover. "Hello, Jack. Captain Jack Harkness." He smiled warmly, extending a hand while keeping his face just out of range of the infamous Tyler reach.
Ignoring him, Jackie turned on her daughter, fire flashing in her eyes. "What's this then?" she spit out, pointing an accusing finger towards Jack. "How many other men are there hiding in this—box?" She waved at the room behind her and Jack gingerly took a step back towards the console, suddenly finding the control board fascinating.
Rose attempted to placate her mum, steering her back out of the doorway. "It's a long story, and well—we rescued Jack, his ship was about to explode—"
Jackie cringed, already storming out of the door, her hands placed over her ears. "I don't want to hear about ships exploding. You know, Rose—" She stopped to face her daughter again. "I don't pretend to understand this life you insist upon, but I do worry about you." Jackie blinked back tears and wrapped Rose in a hug. "I always knew you'd be one to venture off—not quite like this," she nodded towards the TARDIS, moving further into the room and taking a deep breath. "And don't think you can just barge into my living room and dump your problems on me. That Doctor you travel with has brought nothing but trouble since you met him."
Jack leaned out of the doorway. "We need to be moving." He urgently motioned for her to join him, opening the door wider.
"Mum." Rose grasped Jackie's forearms pleading with her. "He needs a place he will be safe, and someone to keep an eye on him. He's not a complete stranger." Jackie furrowed her eyebrows and shook her head, folding her arms across her chest. "And there's no one else I can trust—" Rose's voice broke off, as Jack began waving more frantically.
"We're running out of time, Rose," Jack insisted, glancing over his shoulder, sure he had heard movement behind him.
Rose hugged her mum. "Gotta go," she said apologetically, joining Jack.
"It's just one week, and you'll come back then?" Jackie seemed to be weighing options, looking at anything but her daughter and the oversized blue box taking up half of her front room. Rose paused at the doorway, a brief flicker of hope crossing her face, while she bit her bottom lip.
"And he's not contagious?" Jackie asked.
Rose dared a quick look at Jack, who shrugged half-heartedly, then shook his head, his eyes betraying his doubts.
"No," Rose declared firmly. "He's not contagious." She hugged Jackie again as her mum nodded in resignation.
Rose dashed into the TARDIS as Jack shouted a final warning. A small wind storm kicked up around Jackie as the ship dematerialized, leaving magazines strewn about and a solid shape curled against the wall.
"You better not be," Jackie told the huddled figure in the corner of the room staring back at her. Comprehension slowly dawned as he took in his location.
"No," he let out a strangled cry, half rising and frantically feeling the solid wall before covering his face with his hands. "This can't be happening, it's a hallucination, fever's spiking, creating an impossible scenario in my mind." The Doctor spread his fingers slightly, peering out between his fingers. Jackie was still standing in the same spot and the room hadn't changed. "I'm going to kill him," he mumbled at last, crumpling to the ground and dropping his head onto his arms, trying to shut out his nightmare.
Jackie's maternal instinct kicked in when the Doctor slumped forward. Kneeling beside him, her hand hovered above his arm, unable to decide if it was acceptable to touch him or not.
"You need anything, Doctor?" She tilted her head trying to get a better look at this man, alien, and just how did one check the temperature of such a person? She couldn't very well just leave him sitting there in the corner. "Can I bring you something? A blanket? Or towel. I could get a pillow, maybe something to drink? A nice cuppa—"
"No!" he shouted, suddenly standing above her, and moving to the window with startling speed.
Jackie regained her balance and turned to face him. "Well, of all the ungrateful—" He brushed past her, seeming not to notice or care that the wall kept her from falling this time.
"No time for pleasantries, I'm afraid," he announced, the apartment door half open. He jerked back as the door slammed in front of him, falling back another step as Jackie imposed herself between him and freedom.
"I don't care who you think you are Mister," she spoke softly, pressing her point home as she poked a finger into his chest with each word. "But you are going to do as you're told, no arguing."
His facial features twisted in anger as Jackie marched him backwards. Opening his mouth to protest, a final jab forced his knees against the arm of the sofa. His arms flailed wildly as he fell onto his back with a soft plop and suddenly found himself staring up at his tormentor.
"Do I make myself clear?" she demanded, standing over him with her hands planted firmly on her hips. He flinched, cleared his throat, and quickly shut his mouth again. Finally, he nodded slowly, dropping his head back with a groan as Jackie stood and picked up a few stray magazines. Straightening them into some semblance of order she placed them back onto the coffee table, gave him a stern look and announced she'd be in the kitchen, making tea.
The Doctor pulled himself into a sitting position, looking thoroughly defeated as he pulled his leather jacket tightly around him and crossed his arms. He wasn't pouting because Time Lords didn't pout.
Jackie stepped out of the kitchen with two mugs. The resounding crash of porcelain on the wooden floor caused the Doctor to drop the picture of a particular blonde, he was holding. Jackie gaped as her face turned a deep crimson, realizing there was a very large, very obvious problem. The Doctor snatched a pillow and held it before him as Jackie advanced like an angry bull.
"You pervert," she snarled as the Doctor pressed himself up against the wall, anxiously watching the distance between them diminish rapidly.
"I can explain—"
"I'm sure you can," her voice had dropped to a dangerous level. "Don't think I don't realize what you two get on about in that bloody ship of yours."
"That's just it. We don't—get up to anything—honestly," he stretched upwards, but not quick enough.
"Ow!" he yelped, dropping the pillow and covering his cheek while trying to protect himself with his other hand.
"Serves you right!" Jackie shouted back, another slap catching him above the temple. The Doctor dropped, pulled his knees in to his chest and covered his head all the while continuing to babble on incessantly about disease, side effects and alien sex pollen.
He peered tentatively through a small space between his arms when the barrage stopped and found Jackie peering at him curiously.
"Alien sex pollen?" she asked, giving him a bit of space as she stepped backwards. The Doctor nodded, keeping his arms raised. Jackie sat down on the edge of the sofa, looking slightly bewildered. "Why didn't you say something?"
Dropping his arms slowly he rubbed his cheek that displayed a white handprint against the red splotch. "You didn't give me half a chance."
Jackie nodded in agreement. "So you're infected with this pollen stuff, but it should wear off in a week?" she asked sceptically.
"Theoretically," he mumbled.
Jackie stood and the Doctor cringed. "Oh relax," she stated, dismissing him with a wave of her hand as she picked up the picture of Rose. "There will be rules," she said matter-of-factly, raising to her full height and giving him that look. He swallowed hard and nodded slowly. "All right then," she extended a hand to him. "First we get this mess cleaned up, then I'll make more tea."
One week later
The Doctor hardly raised an eyebrow as the TARDIS materialized in the corner of the room. The back cover of the television was propped against the wall next to him, and his arms had disappeared into the set, up to his elbows. Wires hung in tangled masses, circuit boards dangled and he held the sonic screwdriver between his lips as he peered into the gaping hole.
Jackie brought out tea, setting one of the steaming mugs on the top of the opened box for him, before taking a seat on the sofa with a magazine.
Rose and Jack stepped out of the TARDIS, looking between Jackie and the Doctor before exchanging curious glances.
"Was wondering when you'd drop in." Jackie scarcely looked up from her magazine, much to Rose's shock.
"Do you know what the penalty is for stealing a space ship, Captain?" Jack stiffened to attention at the Doctor's question.
"Well—I—see," he stuttered.
The Doctor chuckled; pulling his arms out of the box, and began to shove the assorted dangling bits of wiring back into the set. "Relax, Captain. You're forgiven—this time."
"You're all better then?" Rose asked, moving towards Jackie to give her a hug while keeping an eye on the Doctor.
"Yep," the Doctor announced brightly as he stood, slipping the sonic screwdriver into the inside pocket of his jacket. "Good as new, right as rain, fit as a fiddle."
"We get the idea, Doc," Jack laughed extending his hand to the Time Lord, who gave him a hearty handshake, then held on a bit longer, unspoken words passing between the two. Jack nodded and stepped back, his expression a bit more serious as he made way for Rose.
The Doctor picked Rose up and swung her in a tight circle as she giggled delightedly. He hastily let her go when Jackie cleared her throat, and Rose gave him a wide smile, hooking her arm through his.
Jackie was on her feet, eyeing the TARDIS warily. "Guess you'll be off then?" she noted.
Jack had already disappeared into the open doorway, and the Doctor handed Jackie the screws for the back cover. "That should finish it up then; no more interference and you can get programming three galaxies away. Any problems just let me know," he finished, gave her a quick nod. He hesitated as if waiting for something, and then stepped into the ship as Jackie gave him a quick shove on his arm.
"Go on you big oaf."
"Everything okay then?" Rose asked brushing the hair off her mum's shoulder.
Jackie pulled Rose into a hug. "You take care of yourself," she whispered, holding her daughter tightly.
"I will, mum," Rose reassured her and then stepped backwards into the TARDIS, giving a little wave as she closed the door.
Jackie sighed heavily as the ship vanished again.
Inside the ship a few furtive looks were exchanged as the Doctor began programming coordinates, his hands seeming to caress the controls as the ship hummed contentedly.
"Now then, what say you to a bit of a holiday? I know this little planet, tucked in the corner of a quiet galaxy—" he began, then stopped and gave a stern warning. "And no wandering off—"