Disclaimer: I own neither Doctor Who, nor Hootie, nor the Blowfish.

The final chapter! Unbeta'd as of yet . . . .

--

Chapter 17, Wedding Bells

The Doctor woke at half past four. He gave his tux another once-over, and checked in his drawers for any little thing he might have forgotten to pack in their luggage. He even re-laced his black Converses, thinking longingly of how the TARDIS had always known just how he liked the laces crossed.

Satisfied his preparations were complete, he dressed in a spare suit--no point in exposing the tux to five hours of potential harm before the wedding--and made to leave his room.

The chair in the hallway rather impeded his departure.

As soon as the door opened, the woman in the chair turned around and jumped to her feet. It seemed she had been dozing during her vigil.

"Doctor Smith!" she exclaimed in a hushed voice mindful of the hour.

"Just Doctor . . . sorry if this seems rude, but who are you and what are you doing?" He recognized her as one of the wedding coordinator's assistants, but couldn't recall her name.

"Ah, um, Debbie Warner," she said. "I'm supposed to get your ring size." While she spoke, she had reached into the satchel next to the chair, and withdrawn a jingling mass of sizing rings.

The Doctor just looked at her.

"Um, Mrs. Tyler picked out the bands, but we need to get them sized before the ceremony," she said, holding out the rings to the Doctor. "Just find the one that fits the best."

He took the rings and began trying them on. "How long have you been sitting there?" he asked while he struggled to remove a ring that was just a bit too small.

"Oh, since three," she answered. "They said you were an early riser."

He returned the sizing rings to her, holding up the one that fit.

"Thank you so much!" she said cheerily, noting the size before dropping the rings back into the satchel. She immediately retrieved her StrawBerry from the same bag, and typed out a message or note on the subject.

"Happy to be of service," the Doctor told her. "Was there anything else you needed?"

She looked up at him, startled. "Oh, yes, sorry, you're not allowed to leave the room," she said.

Once again, the Doctor just looked at her.

"Um," she began again, "I can take your breakfast order to the cooks, but Mrs. Tyler said you're not allowed out and about until she's up to run interference between you and the bride-to-be."

--

Along with breakfast, the Doctor requested that the chessboard from the library be brought to his room. It was Geoffrey, the butler, who brought the requested items.

"Thanks Jeff," said the Doctor. Before he could leave, the Doctor asked, "Have you got time for a game?"

"Not this morning, Doctor," he said. "There's a wedding to prepare," he added with a smile.

"So there is," the Doctor said, grinning. "Well, thanks anyway."

--

At nearly half past eight, Jackie herself arrived at the Doctor's door.

"Alright, get everythin' you'll need for the weddin' and take it downstairs to the breakfast parlor," she said, without so much as a "good morning".

"And hello to you, too, Jackie!" the Doctor told her springing up from his seat on the bed beside the chessboard.

"Hello," she said, grudgingly. "Rose's had her breakfast, so she'll be up here now 'till it's time. You," at this she pointed directly at him so as to prevent any misunderstanding, "are not to come upstairs again until afterwards, understood?"

"Understood," he said.

"If you need anythin', ask. Right?"

"Right."

"A'right," she said, then made to leave.

"Oh, Jackie!" the Doctor said, catching her just before she closed the door. "Can I get the duffle from Rose?"

"Duffle?" she asked.

"From the TARDIS," he clarified. "It's got our luggage in it for the honeymoon."

"I'll get it," she said. "You - wait - here."

"Yes, Mum," he told her as she left.

She didn't bother correcting him.

--

The Doctor made his way downstairs, loaded down with his wedding attire, the breakfast tray, the chessboard, and the duffle. He handed the duffle off to Melissa, who promised it would be in the limousine as soon as it arrived.

It was certainly a relief to be out of his bedroom. Still, the restriction that he couldn't go back upstairs left him checking and rechecking everything he had brought with him.

At one point, he nearly panicked when he thought he'd forgotten to bring socks, but Tony saved the day. He pulled a rolled-up pair of socks out of the Doctor's shoe, which he had been wearing and comparing to his own.

Pete and Tony were sharing the breakfast parlor with the Doctor as a sort of groomsmen's staging area. Tony had been added to the wedding party as ring bearer, and even had his own little tuxedo to wear for the occasion.

Once everything was in place in the parlor, the Doctor decided to kill some time by inspecting the setup in the front hall. With forty-five minutes to go, some guests had already arrived. They were seated at the round tables that the Doctor had seen being set up yesterday. Now, the tables were decorated with elaborate centerpieces which still failed to rival what had been done to the dais. It was covered, and overarched, and in all other possible ways bedecked with flowers and frills. A long, white carpet was draped from the dais nearly to the foot of the grand staircase. From the size of the remaining roll, he assumed it was going to be run all the way up the stairs.

He chatted with a few of the guests, none of whom had seen him before, nor heard of him until they had received their invitations.

"Oi! Doctor!"

The Doctor looked up at the call to find Jackie descending the staircase. She was already dressed for the wedding.

"Time for it," she said more quietly, once she had alighted. "Make sure these are tied on the pillow," she said, holding out two platinum wedding bands. She had almost handed them over to him, when she apparently thought better of it. "Never mind, I'll do it," she said.

Jackie waved politely at the guests as she led the Doctor back to the parlor. She quickly located the ring bearer's pillow, and tied the rings to the ribbon.

"Now," she said, facing the Doctor when she'd finished. "Twenty-five minutes to go."

Twenty-seven minutes, thirteen seconds, the Doctor thought, but didn't correct her.

"You get changed, and just wait here. Melissa'll come an' get you when you can come back out." Before she could leave, the Doctor stopped her.

"Jackie," he said, "thanks. For all of this."

She smiled tightly, then moved to give him an even tighter hug. "Jus' take care of her, ya hear me?" she said. "Like you promised."

"I will," he answered, unsurprised to see the tears in her eyes when she pulled away. He was a bit surprised to feel the tears in his own.

Almost as soon as she left, Pete and Tony came in. They all got dressed, then father and son left the Doctor to count the remaining minutes (by nanoseconds) alone.

At ten oh one and forty-six seconds, Melissa finally summoned the Doctor.

He waited on the dais with Reverend Simmonds, who, he was relieved to discover, was quite a personable person. He hardly noticed the further three minutes and five seconds which passed before the orchestra changed their music to indicate Tony's approach.

After Tony had taken his seat, Jackie appeared. She descended the staircase, reminding the Doctor of her parallel self at her not-quite-fortieth birthday party, all those years ago. She followed the path to the dais, taking up position opposite the Doctor.

At long last, the wedding march began. The Doctor could see Pete escorting someone in white along the upper level, until finally they turned the corner at the top of the staircase and he could see Rose.

His Rose. With a smile even broader than when he was running to her in that almost deserted street.

The smile was what he noticed first, although the dress wasn't far behind. It was stunning. Well, she was stunning in it.

He saw she'd forgone any veil, instead weaving white flowers into her hair. He was taken back to a time--just after their first visit here, actually--when they had shared a dance at the summer solstice, accidentally getting married in the process . . . .

"Eh-hem." Pete cleared his throat, gaining the Doctor's attention. He'd already kissed Rose on the cheek, and was now standing there, holding out his hand to the Doctor.

The Doctor shook his head, then Pete's hand, then took Rose's, helping her up the last step to stand before him. Pete walked around behind the Doctor, mirroring Jackie's position.

"Dearly beloved," the Reverend began.

--

Rose could barely hear the Reverend's words over the blood pounding in her ears. She was really here, standing in front of the Doctor--getting married!

She couldn't take her eyes off of him, mostly because she was enjoying how much he couldn't seem to take his eyes off of her.

She had almost laughed on the staircase at his slightly open mouthed stare when he'd first seen her. And she'd seen the exact moment he'd recognized the way she had done her hair. His goldfish expression had turned into a wistful sort of smile. And then her Dad had shaken him out of his stupor.

Rose now stood on the dais, waiting for her cue from the Reverend, holding her bouquet. The Doctor's hands were clasped in front of him, but she could tell he was anxious to reach out for her hands. She decided she'd had enough of waiting, so at a convenient pause in the Reverend's remarks, Rose handed the flowers to her Mum, then held her hands out to the Doctor, all as if it had been rehearsed and was completely expected. He took them with a smile.

Almost soon enough, vows and rings were exchanged, and they were pronounced "man and wife". By "you may now", the Doctor had pulled Rose into his arms for their first married kiss. There didn't seem to be any indignant response to their eagerness. Rather, some amused laughter was followed by applause and a couple whistles.

When they finally broke apart, the Reverend announced, "May I present Mr. and Mrs. Smith."

Rose caught the Doctor's eye, and they burst out laughing.

The spattering of applause that had begun faded away, while they attempted to regain their composure. Rose spoke quietly to the Reverend, who then revised his announcement. "May I present, the Doctor and Rose."

There was a pause as the guests digested the titles, and then the applause broke out in earnest, led by Pete and Jackie.

The Doctor kissed Rose again, just for good measure, she assumed.

Rather than the orchestra, the DJ took over, playing a song Rose couldn't quite recognize at first over the clapping and cheers. However, she was at last able to make out an old Hootie and the Blowfish tune, as the words "I've got a hand for you" sounded over the din. From the impish smile on the Doctor's face, she knew he'd arranged it. Her hypothesis was only confirmed when he reached his hand out to her just as "'Cause I wanna run with you" was sung.

He nodded towards the front doors, and that was all the prompting Rose needed. Hand in hand, careful of her large skirts, they ran from the dais and out through the doors.

The Doctor helped her into the waiting limo before any well-wishers could intercept them. "To the airport, my good man--pardon, woman," he said to the driver, before settling in the seat beside Rose.

He turned to face her as they made their getaway. "We got married," he said, grinning.

"We got married," she answered him.

He kissed her again, just a bit awkwardly due to the seatbelt across his torso.

"So," Rose asked, "are ya finally gonna tell me where we're goin'?"

The Doctor reached into the inside pocket of his tux, withdrawing an envelope. "I have here," he told her, "two first-class tickets to . . . Barcelona! The city, not the planet, mind you."

It was Rose's turn to kiss him.

"You sure you're gonna be alright on the jet?" she asked, remembering his concern over his first ride, followed by his "nap".

The Doctor shook his head. "We can take a jet on the way back," he said. "These tickets are for a luxury zeppelin. Nine hours of airborne sight-seeing and pampering for you, Mrs. Rose Smith!"

"'S that all?" Rose asked. "Just sight-seeing?" She ever-so-boldly fingered his bowtie.

"Well, we've got a cabin, too, if you're, you know, too tired for any of that other stuff," he offered, carefully fingering one of the white blossoms in her hair.

"I think I just might be completely knackered, Doctor Smith," she told him, leaning in to brush her lips against his.

--

The end.

The sequel's already in the works, and is entitled "Spoilers". Coming soon :)

And for those who are interested, I'm working with a bunch of other writers on a round-robin story entitled, "I Miss My Mind the Most". It's a Doctor Who humor/romance piece that'll hopefully last all through October. Look for it as authored by OctoberProject. Enjoy!