This is for TheRavenclawNinja who wanted me to write the meeting between Rory and Owen's mum.
From what Owen said about her in "Adam" and from the deleted scene from that same episode, his relationship seemed frosty to put it mildly.
Rory hobbles as quickly as she can from the kitchen to the front door as Jack and Ianto hang their coats in the closet. The layers upon layers of lavender tulle and organza fabric in her Fifties style skirt bounce as she races across the room to greet the men.
"Hey you," Ianto calls out.
"Choos or Blahniks?" Rory asks anxiously.
"Pardon?" Jack says.
Ianto looks down at her shoes and answers, "The one on the right foot."
"Choos it is," Rory says.
"How did you know what Rory was talking about?"
"Lots of episodes of 'Sex And The City,'" Ianto replies with a straight face.
"I have to go find my other shoe. Ianto, could you keep an eye on the food?" Rory asks.
"Why doesn't she ask me?" Jack protests.
"Remember the time you tried to cook for us?" Ianto replies. "When they make blackened fish in Louisiana, I'm fairly certain that they don't actually burn it."
"You don't know that," Jack says confidently.
"Well, I'm no expert, but I did read the recipe."
When the men walk into the kitchen, Jack smiles in delight, "Ahh, nibbles! I love nibbles."
Ianto picks up a wooden spoon and taps him lightly and playfully across the knuckles just before he takes an appetizer. "Those are for the guest of honor."
Jack sheepishly pulls his hand back and steps away from the food. He sits down on a stool and watches Ianto as he checks on the food. "So do you think they're serious?"
"I think they are very fond of each other, and this shows that Owen thinks highly of her."
"They haven't known each other for that long."
"I don't think we're going to hear wedding bells any time soon. I think she's just curious about him. After all, he knows about her family."
"If I tell you something, promise not to laugh…" Jack says.
"You have my word."
"I'm just as nervous to meet Owen's mum as Rory is," Jack admits. "I'm glad that you're here with me."
"I'm glad you asked," Ianto says. He kisses the Captain's lips very lightly.
"I'm just sorry that I never got to meet your father," Jack says. "From the way you speak about him, the two of you must have been very close."
"We were. I am the well-dressed gentleman you see standing before you because of him."
"You forgot handsome. You got your good looks from him as well."
"I'm sorry that you didn't get to meet him too. He would have liked you," Ianto says wistfully.
"Even though I'm a man?"
"Well, he might have needed some time to get used to that part, but he always told me that my happiness was the most important thing to him." Ianto's eyes tear up a little. "It's been ten years since he's passed, but every now and then…"
Jack wraps his arms around Ianto's neck. "He would have been so proud of you."
"What about your mum? You know, you never really talk about her. Does she still live in Cardiff?"
Ianto pulls away from Jack and begins to tidy up in the kitchen. Jack stops him and asks, "What's wrong?"
"It's just that it's been ages since I've seen her. We sort of... drifted," Ianto mumbles.
"Maybe I shouldn't get into that right now. This is Rory's evening, and I don't want to ruin it for either of you."
"But we will talk later, right?"
"Yes." Ianto says without meeting Jack's eyes.
Just to lighten the mood, the Captain steals a bit of food right from under the Welshman's nose. Ianto rolls his eyes and chuckles.
With a deep sigh, Owen reluctantly enters his mother's hotel room. The woman had been there for less than two hours and already she's leaving her mark. The television set is turned on loudly to some weepy movie that she isn't even watching. Her clothes are scattered everywhere, and he shudders to think about the mess in the bathroom. He quietly picks up an empty gin bottle from the mini-bar and deposits it in the bin.
He watches her slip on a jacket that could use a bit of tailoring to fit her tall, thin frame. She checks her hair that is dyed black to cover up her gray. The color only makes her already pale skin look ghostly - a far cry from his girlfriend's sun-kissed complexion. Despite the make-up she uses to make her face look its best, it cannot hide the lines on her face that make her look tired and much older than her actual age.
"Well, what do you think?" she asks.
"You look nice, Mother. Very smart." He checks his watch and becomes slightly anxious.
"Now, if I could just find my earrings…"
Owen finds a pair of earrings on the nightstand, "Here they are."
His mother glances at them and shakes her head. "Not those. You men never know what goes with what." She finally finds them in the bottom of her make-up bag. "Here they are."
"We should have been on our way by now. We're gonna be late."
"You don't have to shout, son."
"I'm not shouting," Owen says, trying not to lose his patience. "Rory has put in a lot of work in preparing this meal for you. I like this woman, Mother. I like her a lot, and I want this evening to be perfect for her."
"And you don't want me to do anything to embarrass you?"
"I didn't say that."
"I wonder how she puts up with your temper, Owen. Honestly when I think of the times your teachers rang me to tell me all about your little outbursts during class, or the times I was called into the headmaster's office because of the fights you got into."
"Do we have to get into this now?"
"Did you tell her that I kicked you out of the house because I found drugs in your room? Does she know that you used to get high?"
"It was one joint, Mother, and that was ages ago."
"I just want to remind you that you're not so perfect yourself," she says casually. "There are a lots of things about you that are embarrassing."
Owen bites his lip, closes his eyes, and counts to ten. He opens his eyes again and asks in a very calm voice, "Are you done?"
"I was ready before you started to give me that lecture on my behavior."
"All right, then," Owen mutters as he escorts her out the door.
Owen doesn't say another word until Rory opens her front door. He sweeps her into his arms and inhales the scent from the violets in her hair. Some of the tension begins to melt away. "Hello, gorgeous," he whispers into her ear before kissing her lips.
"Hello," Rory replies with a giddy smile.
Jack clears his throat, and Owen reluctantly steps away from his girlfriend. "Rory I'd like you to meet my mother, Victoria Harper. Mum, this is Dr. Aurora Templeton."
"Hello, Mrs. Harper," Rory says, shaking her hand politely. "I am very pleased to meet you."
"Oh, she looks just like a little faerie, doesn't she? All you need is a wand and a pair of wings, Miss Templeton," she exclaims.
Owen swiftly corrects her. "It's Dr. Templeton."
"Call me Rory."
"Rory? That's a boy's name, innit?" Victoria says.
"I started calling her that when she was a baby. Her father liked it, and it sort of stuck," Jack says.
Mrs. Harpers eyes grow wide as she stands in front of the immortal man. "Well, hello."
"Captain Jack Harkness," he says with a winning smile.
"Oh my. You can call me Vickie," she responds. "How do you know Miss Templeton?"
"I'm an old family friend. I worked for her adoptive father, and I also knew her birth parents."
"You must have been very young," Mrs. Harper says, pinching his cheek.
"Well, you're as young as you feel," Jack replies.
"Oh, is that right?" Vickie laughs, flirtatiously.
Owen rolls his eyes. "Mum, this is Ianto Jones, Jack's boyfriend."
"Oh, it just figures."
The Welshman bows formally. "Pleased to meet you."
Vickie replies. "You are pretty thing, aren't you?"
"Why don't we eat?" Rory suggests. "Owen, could you get her coat, please?"
"Right this way, Mrs. Harper." Jack says as she places her hand on his arm. Ianto follows them into the dining room.
Owen takes Rory's hand and whispers in her ear. "We could be in a hotel in Paris right now having a very dirty, absolutely filthy weekend."
She looks up into his eyes. "But instead, I am meeting the woman who brought you into this world."
"If she starts to get rude, I give you my full permission to kick her to the curb."
"Golly! What generosity," Rory teases. "Come on, handsome. Let me dazzle you with my culinary skills."
Owen traces her lips with his thumb and murmurs, "You know I love your cooking, but I can think of something else I'd rather eat right now."
"Tempting, but I should get back to my guests."
She tries to walk away, but Owen doesn't let her go so easily. He pulls her back into his arms and steals a quick kiss. He wants to sling her over his shoulder and take her as far away from his mother as possible. However, Rory would never consent, and he's also left Vickie with his boss and a bottle of chilled chardonnay.
When they enter the dining room, Ianto has begun serving the appetizers much to Rory's chagrin.
"You are not serving in my house," she tells him firmly.
"Bossy little thing, isn't she?" Mrs. Harper comments. "She'd have to be to keep my Owen in line."
Sensing Owen' discomfort, Ianto quickly changes the subject. "You know, Rory is working on a new project right now."
"Is that so?" Vickie asks before taking another long sip of her wine.
"Tell her about the robot arm," Jack says beaming.
"It's not really my project," Rory insists.
Jack tells Mrs. Harper about it anyway. "She's now consulting her old professors on a robotic arm that can be controlled by a monkey's thoughts, which could eventually mean a better prosthetic for people with missing limbs. They want her to redesign the transducer for the brain machine interface -"
"Goodness! Slow down. What's a trans-thingamagig?" Vickie asks.
"A device that converts one form of energy into another," Owen replies. "In this case, she's converting the nerve impulses sent by the brain into the electrical signals that control the robot."
"Since when do you know what all that means?" Mrs. Harper asks her son teasingly.
"The man's got a beautiful mind," Rory replies applying the same tone another woman would use to describe a man's rippling biceps or dreamy eyes.
"Does he now?" Vickie replies with some skepticism.
"He's a wonderful doctor," Jack says. "Very focused under pressure, persistent, creative, improvises well."
"And he's very skilled in chemistry, genetics, botany, and forensic anthropology," Ianto adds.
Rory leans on Owen's arm as she speaks. "He is also a quick study of other sciences such as physics and astronomy. He's quite brilliant."
Owen cannot remember the last time he felt so appreciated for his talents. "Thank you," he tells his friends.
Rory, Jack and Ianto wait for Mrs. Harper to gush with pride over her son's accomplishments. Instead, she pours herself another glass of chardonnay and replies, "Well, I reckon some of his teachers never would have guessed."
"Oh, I don't know," Jack says. "Owen was always one of the top students in his class."
"He was also on the headmaster's most wanted list," Vickie says with a hearty laugh.
Owen throws his napkin on the table in disgust. "I'll go get the entrée."
"I'll help," Rory says.
"No, let me," Jack tells her. He gives her shoulder very light and reassuring squeeze.
Rory sits down and looks over at Ianto who smiles at her.
"Just once," Owen says when Jack joins him in the kitchen. "Just once I'd like her to say she's proud of me. I've got a good life, don't I? I've got a job where I can truly make a difference, a nice flat, a nice car."
"Good friends who care about you and a great girl who loves you to bits," Jack adds.
"And none of it seems to matter to her at all. When I finally became a doctor, I didn't expect a party or anything like that. I just wanted a simple 'god job, son.' Well, to be fair, she said that all right, but she didn't have to add, 'I guess this means you think you're better than all of us.'"
"I always thought that being brilliant meant that you are better than everyone else," Jack responds. "That's why I picked you as part of my team."
"I shouldn't have brought her here. That woman is cruel and cold."
"But you still love her…"
"Why is that?"
"Because she's your mum. It's instinct," Jack replies.
Ianto knocks on the door before entering. "What is taking you so long?"
When they go back into the dining room, Vickie and Rory are discussing a picture on her wall. "Well, I know nothing about art," she says. "I just think it's an unusual painting to have in the dining room."
"It's not about art. It's just funny."
"What are you two going on about?" Owen asks.
Vickie points up the an oil portrait of Ralph Wiggum from "The Simpsons" that hangs in the dining room.
Jack reads the plaque at the bottom of the frame that has one of the quotes from the show, "Your toys are fun to play with. Mine are all sticky." Even he's a bit puzzled by it.
"I just meant that Rory designs cool robots for a living, and I crack open chests…" Owen mutters.
"Owen gave that to me," Rory explains. "He knew that Ralph is my favorite character, and I love it. I think it's sweet and romantic."
Vickie coughs loudly as she almost chokes on her wine. "Romantic?"
"Everyone's idea of romance is different," Ianto comments. "It all boils down to knowing what will make the other person happy."
"Well, that is beyond me!" Vickie exclaims.
Rory begins serving the meal, and Jack leans into his plate appreciatively. "This smells wonderful."
"What is it?" Vickie asks.
"Chicken molé. It's chicken with a sauce made from dried chilies, sesame, chocolate -"
"Chocolate? Really?" she picks at her food suspiciously. "I suppose you never do a simple beans on toast."
"Come to think of it," Jack says. "I don't think she does."
"This actually became one of my favorite dishes when I was living in Pasedena."
"I suppose you travel a lot?"
"I've done my fair share."
"Never really got the chance once this one was born," Vickie says pointing to her son. "Once you have children, everything changes, and you are no longer living for yourself. You find yourself giving up your dreams. I was just seventeen when I had Owen. Where were you at seventeen, young lady?"
"I was working in my uncle's engineering firm, waiting to turn eighteen so I could study in America," she replies softly.
"So young and with the world at your feet," Vickie replies. "I sometimes wonder how things would have been different if…"
"You know men can just pick up and leave if they are unhappy with a situation. Never mind the wife and children. Mr. Harper left when Owen was just five. Raised him and his brother on my own and never anything in the way of child support."
"I can't imagine having to do something like that," Rory says sympathetically. "But Owen has become a good man."
"Of course you can't imagine a thing like that," Vickie mutters. "Is there more wine?"
"I think we've all had enough," Jack responds.
"I did the best that I could with you, Owen. I made sacrifices for you. I loved you," Vickie says quietly, but the others can hear her anger rising in her voice.
But you didn't have to like me, Owen thinks to himself. He says aloud, "I know."
"If you'll excuse me, I'd like to use the ladies' room," Vickie mutters.
"If you just go out into that hallway, it's the door to your right," Rory says.
Mrs. Harper stumbles out of her chair. Ianto quickly stands up to help her because he can't think of anything else to do other than be polite.
"I am so sorry," Owen says to his girlfriend.
"It's not your fault," she replies lovingly. "You tried to warn me."
"It could have been worse," Jack comments.
"How?" Owen asks with a scowl on his face.
"I was at this dinner party where Salvador Dali farted in his wife's face just before the third course."
"You and your stories," Owen retorts.
"I don't know," Ianto says. "I've read Dali's biography, and he was quite the character. This one might be true."
"I gave him the idea about the melting clocks that evening," Jack brags.
"You did not!" Rory exclaims.
Jack and Rory begin to laugh if only to break the tension. They are joined by Ianto, and eventually Owen.
"I should check up on her," Owen says. He gets up from his chair and kisses the top of Rory's head. He mumbles another apology to Jack and Ianto before he leaves.
Owen enters the hallway and finds the bathroom door open, but Vickie is nowhere to be seen. He checks the security system and finds a heat reading in one of the rooms upstairs.
Vickie stands in a small room reserved especially for Rory's clothes. Although the organization of the room is still a work in progress, Vickie still manages to find a suit that looks almost exactly like the one she's wearing.
She glances at Owen when he walks inside, "She has a room just for her clothes."
"There was a small pest problem in the closet of her bedroom," he replies.
"And this is a real Chanel suit."
"It belonged to Imogene, her adopted mother. Rory never wears it, but she likes to keep it for sentimental reasons." Owen tries to pull his mother out of the room. "Come on. You're not supposed to be up here."
"I don't normally drink as much as I did this evening."
"Well, you really put away the sauce tonight, Mother. I told you that I wanted this to be perfect for her. All she asked for was a civil meal so she could meet you."
"I was nervous. That's why I drank. At least Katie was a simple girl who came from an ordinary family. There's nothing simple or ordinary about this one, Owen."
"I know, Mum. That's why I like her. But there is something she has in common with Katie. She treats me like I'm special. She never treats me like I'm some sort of fuck-up. And don't talk about Katie. You barely knew her."
"I barely know you," Vickie confesses.
"And whose fault is that, Mother?" Owen hisses, trying to contain his rage. "Let's just go."
He leads his mother downstairs and sits her on the couch like a misbehaving child. "Stay there," he tells her.
He re-enters the dining room where Jack and Ianto have decided to eat anyway.
"Is everything all right?" Rory asks.
"I reckon I should get my mother back to the hotel," Owen says.
Ianto wipes his mouth with his napkin and stands up, "I'll put her in the car whilst you and Rory have a proper good-bye."
"I'll help," Jack offers.
"Thank you, men," Rory says.
"Yeah, cheers," Owen says, handing Jack his keys.
Jack pats Owen on the back before leaving the room with Ianto. Rory smiles at him affectionately. Owen wants to apologize once again. He wants to compliment her on the meal. He wants to tell her that she looks beautiful with the flowers in her hair and in that dress. He can't. All he can do is hold onto her.
She doesn't speak either. She just stands on her tiptoes and gives him a kiss on the cheek, but her smile tells him that nothing has changed between them, that she cares about him, that there is nothing that he has to apologize for.
Owen kisses her once more before he leaves the room. Rory stays behind in the dining room and finishes her meal.
Jack and Ianto leave shortly after Owen does, but not before Rory packs up some left-overs for them along with half of the cake that she had intended to serve as dessert.
"We can handle all sorts of hostile aliens, but when we're faced with someone's drunken mother, we're useless. Now that's pretty sad," Jack says on the drive back to the hub.
Ianto doesn't say a word. He just looks out the window.
"It's still early. We could drop off the food, and go see a movie or maybe just take a walk around the bay," Jack suggests.
"She's in a mental hospital," Ianto confesses. "That's why I don't see my mother anymore."
A/N: I can't take credit for the robotic arm idea. I actually read about it in The New York Times.