Jackie finally takes matters into her own hands. She hasn't seen Rose in what seems like a very long time, although Pete assures her it's just been a busy few weeks for them all. Tired of voicemail and emails that don't get answered, and phone calls that end too quickly, Jackie leaves the mansion one afternoon without saying where she is going. Pete has come home early for a change - will wonders never cease? Jackie thinks to herself - and is taking Tony to a school activity.
It's a good sign that Pete is growing more comfortable leaving Torchwood in the hands of his personnel. Someday Jackie hopes to have him away from Torchwood Tower completely, and back at Vitex full-time. Someday she hopes to extricate Rose and the Doctor from Torchwood, as well. They show no signs of wanting to do so yet, but she's a patient woman, all in all.
She drives her car to the blue house that Rose and the Doctor bought before their marriage, nearly five years ago now. She parks on the street and looks over the lawn in approval. She's the one who hired the gardeners to keep the lawns trimmed and green, and to keep the flowers blooming. Rose has no interest in flowers. The Doctor took to gardening enthusiastically at first, but mowing the grass on a regular basis proved difficult when he was usually busy with aliens and other Torchwood-related activities. His roses are still the largest in the area, thanks to his own mix of fertilizer and growth enhancements.
Jackie rings the bell and waits. Rings the bell again and waits. Glancing again at the car in the drive, she lets herself in with her key.
The hallway is flooded with light from the outside. Walking across the hall, Jackie glances in each of the rooms. There's more furniture here than there used to be, thank heavens. All of her pushing and insisting hadn't budged Rose. She'd been determined to furnish her home on her own time, and there's nothing here that Rose and the Doctor didn't choose for themselves.
They did a good job, Jackie acknowledges. Walking through the house, she calls out to them and gets no answer. The television is on in the living room, but the room itself is empty. Jackie shuts the television off and looks around in exasperation, hands on her hips.
Hanging above the mantel is a wedding picture. Jackie knows it well. It's not one from Rose's actual wedding, the one that Jackie spent thousands and thousands and thousands of pounds on. It's from the movie the two of them were in, that silly alien movie of Sam's that made more money than any other movie in the past three years combined. That is the photo Rose has chosen to hang up on her mantel.
Jackie can't help but smile, as she does every time she sees that photo. It's so like them to do what they want, whether it's acceptable or not. Other family photos, including some from that real wedding, line the mantel and are propped up on tables and bookshelves.
But no Rose.
The dining room is empty, as is the sitting room. The kitchen is cleared away of dishes. The Doctor's laptop is on the table.
"What have the two of you been doing?" Jackie had asked the other night on the phone. "You haven't come round in ages. Tony's wondering what's happened to you two."
"I'm sure Tony has better things to think about," Rose had said indulgently. "Like that spelling test coming up."
"He adores the Doctor, you know that."
"Are you trying to make me feel guilty, Mum?" Rose had asked in amusement.
"So what have you been doing? I know you're not working too hard."
"The Doctor is writing a screenplay," Rose had said after a long pause.
"A screenplay. For a movie. For Sam's studio."
"Really, Rose," Jackie had started to say.
"Mum, he does have some experience with aliens."
Jackie had given up. "Well, come over yourself, then. Or does he need you there to hold his hand?"
Rose had laughed, told Jackie that she loved her, and rung off.
"Rose?" Jackie calls out again at the bottom of the stairs. "Doctor?"
No sounds, no sudden movements. She knows her daughter is an adult, a married woman - even if she did choose to marry a daft alien - but not even Jackie Tyler will take the risk of going to her daughter's bedroom in the middle of the day. Just in case.
The house is deathly quiet. Jackie steps to the back door and peers through the glass. Maybe they're talking to the neighbors...
Jackie loses her train of thought as she glances around the garden.
There are two sheds on the grass.
Jackie blinks to clear her vision. No. Still two sheds. Both painted blue like the house, both with those obnoxious blue doors, that color she's never seen anywhere else but on that awful blue box that she hopes to never see again.
Jackie is fairly certain that there was one shed in this yard the last time she was here.
She opens the door and walks outside, her eyes on the sheds the entire time. She stands in front of them, eyes darting back and forth. There are two, where before there was just one. They are identical.
Stepping up to one of them, she cautiously sets her hand on the knob and opens the door, then quickly backs away. A bicycle, some pots, and lawn equipment sit inside.
Jackie lets out the breath she's been holding. She moves to the second shed and stands in front of it uncertainly. At that moment she catches a snatch of Rose's voice, saying something. Jackie looks all around, but doesn't see her daughter.
She looks back to the shed and frowns. Gathering herself up, she touches the door.
"Rose?" Jackie pushes open the door to the shed and walks inside. "You in here?" As her eyes adjust to the light she stops. "Rose?" she whispers.
Caught by surprise, Rose and the Doctor spin around. A slender tool that the Doctor has been holding between his teeth falls to the floor. Between them is a glowing column of coral. They look as guilty as if she'd just caught them snogging in the butler's pantry during a dinner party.
Which did happen not too long ago.
Her eyes are fixed on that column. "What is that?" Jackie asks in an eerily calm voice. She knows what it is - she's seen it before.
"It's not what it looks like!" Rose says.
"It looks like you've got another TARDIS." Jackie takes her eyes off the column long enough to sweep around the room that is much too big to fit inside the garden shed. She's seen this room before. She's stood in this room before.
Rose and the Doctor are wearing old clothes and look completely disheveled. Tools and wire and bits of string are scattered all around them.
"It is what it looks like," the Doctor acknowledges. "But Jackie-"
"Rose, where did it come from?" Jackie bursts out. "What are you doing?"
"We're just testing it. To see if it will work."
"If it works!" Jackie repeats in horror. She turns on the Doctor. "Are you leaving? Are you taking her away again?"
"No! No, Jackie, no. We're just going to see if she works."
"You said you wouldn't go away again. That you were staying here forever."
"We are, Mum!"
"You'll leave again. And then what? Make a mistake - come back in a year instead of an afternoon? Never come back at all?"
"We will always come home, Jackie."
"We will, Mum. I promise!"
Jackie shakes her head. "No, you won't. It'll be just like before. All phone calls and quick trips home and you itching to leave again."
Rose takes her mother's hand. "We will always come back."
"And how do I know that?" Jackie demands.
Rose smiles. "Because I'm having a baby."
It wasn't something they'd planned on doing. They were kept so busy with work, and traveling, and growing the baby TARDIS to adulthood. Babies were something that other people had, something that Jackie brought up more out of habit now than anything else.
Something that Rose had assumed might come someday, but not something to go out and actively try for.
The Doctor never mentioned children, and she assumed he was as happy with their life as she was. If he ever thought about the children he'd lost, he never told her.
The first time Rose forgot her birth control pills was after a family holiday to France. She'd forgotten to pack them, and a week of frantic activity with her parents and Tony had served to make her forget that she should be taking them.
When they'd finally arrived home she'd stared at the small plastic compact on her bathroom sink in horror. Instead of confessing everything to her husband, she'd stayed silent and waited. He knew her too well to think that she was fine, but she kept deflecting him and assuring him that nothing was wrong, and eventually she was proven to be right about that.
Rose had felt like she'd just escaped execution. A rather too-familiar feeling, thanks to her past life with the Doctor.
It happened once or twice more over the next few years. A pill here and there, a late start thanks to stress or illness. Each time Rose held her breath and waited, never mentioning it to her husband.
When it happens again, she knows there's no holding her breath and waiting it out. She's been doing that for three weeks, and she knows there is no other reason why she could be so late.
The hardest thing Rose has ever done is to sit beside the Doctor and smile at him.
"What's wrong?" he asks instantly. "Rose?"
"I think...I think I might be having a baby," she confesses, and he stares at her as though she's started speaking a language he doesn't understand.
"A baby. You mean, you mean a baby?"
She nods. "Yeah."
He swallows, hard. "How do you know?"
"I just think," she says hastily. "Not sure yet."
"How do we find out for sure?"
"I have a test."
"I bought it last week," she confesses.
"Oh. Should we take it?"
She smiles faintly at that. "I take it, silly, not you."
"Oh. Right. Are you going to take it?"
"Okay. I'll...I'll wait here."
Rose knew what the result would be. She just can't quite believe it.
They both stare down at the pregnancy test, a thin plastic stick resting on the sink.
"What's it say now?" he whispers.
Rose forces herself to look. "It's still there."
"Are you sure?"
There is sweat on his brow and his hand shakes slightly as he reaches down to pick it up.
"Careful," she murmurs.
He takes a deep breath. "Two," he says. "There are definitely two. What's it supposed to have?"
Rose takes a deep breath herself. "One is no. Two is...two is yes."
The stick falls from his suddenly numb fingers.
When the shock has worn off he starts to laugh.
"You're laughing," Rose says. "Is this good?"
"Rose! It's a baby! We're having a baby."
"I know. Is that okay?"
"It's brilliant." He draws her close to him, hugging her tightly but gently. "It's fantastic." Something occurs to him and he pulls away, his hands on her shoulders. "It's good news, isn't it?"
Rose feels like she's in a daze. She lets him push her down onto the toilet seat. "I never thought I'd have a baby," she confesses. "My life wasn't really cut out for kids."
"No, nor was mine," he admits. "Now, though...now we're human. We're married. This is what humans do isn't it? Fall in love, get married. Make a family."
Rose takes hold of his hand and tugs slightly, to draw his attention away from his thoughts and back to her.
"Tell me about them again," she says softly. "Your family."
Sitting there, on the tile of the bathroom floor, he tells her about them again. The ones he loved and lost, his children, his kindness and cruelty to them. When his voice stops, he stares at their hands, linked in Rose's lap.
She slides down from the toilet seat and frames his face in her hands.
"This is a new start for us," she tells him gently. "They're gone, and he - he's gone, and you and I are all that's left. We can make a new family."
The TARDIS is nearly ready. The circuits and control console were built by the Doctor long ago. He's been building the rest as the coral grew. Now, as an adult, it's nearly ready. He's set up the chameleon circuit, hoping the malfunction of the original TARDIS did not carry over to this one.
Rose waits with him, watching as he stands by the control console.
"Right," he says briskly, though his single human heart is racing. "We'll just move the TARDIS out of this shed and outside and engage the chameleon circuit. Do you have that?" he asks the TARDIS, and the TARDIS replies in the affirmative inside his head. Rose doesn't feel it, but then the song floats through her head. She smiles and pats the control console.
"We're ready, too," she tells the TARDIS, and the Doctor pushes down the lever.
The familiar whoosh-whoosh starts, and their eyes meet in astonishment and delight. It worked. The familiar sensation of dematerializing, and then a soft bump as they land.
The Doctor hurries to the door and steps outside. He laughs in delight as Rose joins him.
"It worked, Rose!"
They're still in their own garden, standing beside the shed where the TARDIS has been growing for the past five years. They've just stepped out of the TARDIS, but it's a TARDIS disguised as a second shed.
"You brilliant, clever ship," the Doctor says, incredibly proud. "Look at you!"
"So the chameleon circuit is fixed?" Rose asks.
In response the TARDIS shifts, going from an ivory pillar to a street lamp to a very familiar blue police box.
Rose's breath catches in her throat at the blue box.
"It's her," she whispers.
"You are amazingly clever," the Doctor tells the TARDIS. "I always knew I could fix that circuit. You did it for me."
"Why didn't you ever fix it, then?" Rose asks.
He frowns at her. "I never wanted to."
She smirks. "Sure."
"Come on! Just a few more details left." He takes her hand and leads her back inside the TARDIS, opening the blue doors with just the faintest pang of memory. "You might want to go back to being a shed for the time being," he adds to the TARDIS. "No sense in scaring the neighbors right away."
The TARDIS isn't happy about that - it liked being a blue police box all those years - but it shifts just the same.
Rose watches as he makes a few last adjustments to the control console. He picks up one of his newer inventions, a sonic screwdriver that isn't quite as sonicced up as his original one, and holds it between his teeth so he can use both hands to fuse a wire to the circuit board.
"I can hold that for you," Rose offers.
"You shake it around too much," he mumbles around the screwdriver.
"How much longer?" Rose asks him. The issue of time has suddenly gotten more important to her, what with the big event due to happen in about eight month's time. And her mother is calling her a lot lately, trying to find out what's been keeping them so busy. That lie about writing a screenplay hadn't been very good, but it had been all she could think of.
"Oh, a few weeks, one or two months," the Doctor says casually.
That's the moment when Jackie walks in.
The news doesn't stay a secret for long.
She's geared up the next day, heading out the door behind Jake and Simon, when the Doctor comes upon them.
"Where are you going?" he asks in surprise.
"On a job," Jake tells him, like it should be obvious. Which it is.
"Not with Rose," the Doctor says firmly.
"Excuse me?" she says icily.
"Do you really," he asks her evenly, "think you should be going out to the field in your condition?"
"Condition?" Jake and Simon chorus.
"Don't you dare tell me what to do," Rose says, just as evenly but with a lot more menace in her voice.
"You're pregnant, Rose. You can't be running around after aliens!"
"You're pregnant?" Jake and Simon chorus again.
"We've not received an official doctor's report yet," Pete acknowledges, walking up to their little group, "but I've heard it from a fairly reliable source."
"Pete," Rose begins, but he cuts her off.
"Jake and Simon will be fine. Backup is available if they need it. You and I need to have a talk."
The Doctor folds his arms across his chest, well-satisfied. Rose shoots him a look that promises death later. He smiles happily and waves as she walks away.
"But that's not fair!" she protests to her father. "I'm not even showing."
"Rose. It's company policy. You're having a baby, you can't be out in the field. It's too dangerous," Pete says firmly. "And your mother would kill me if she knew I was letting you do it."
"But what am I gonna do inside all day?" she demands.
"Rose, you were the force behind the dimension cannon," Pete says with no small amusement. "I can't even imagine what you can come up with in the next few months."
They go to her first appointment together. She lies back on the exam table in a darkened room, the Doctor standing beside her. Their eyes are fixed on the monitor as the ultrasound is performed, waiting for their first glimpse of their baby.
"Here we are." The nurse pauses with her wand over Rose's belly. "Do you see?"
The Doctor squints at the screen. "Is it there?"
"I don't see it," Rose is forced to confess.
The nurse points. "Right there!"
"That little bean?" the Doctor asks in surprise.
"That's your baby. See? It's moving."
What Rose took to be the movement of the wand now turns out to be the baby itself, moving around with her womb. No larger than a bean, tiny stumps where arms and legs will be. Moving on its own accord.
Rose smiles in wonder, any doubts about this baby disappearing. "Our baby."
"And there's the heartbeat."
"Just one?" Rose and the Doctor ask together.
"Of course just one. Just one baby in there, after all."
"Of course," Rose agrees. The Doctor squeezes her hand and kisses her.
"So what do you want?" Simon asks the Doctor. "Boy or girl?"
"Boy or girl for what?" The Doctor is building a device right there in the field, trying to make a decoy that will work out of a broken scanner and some spare parts. Beyond them Ian and Riley are holding off volleys of weaponry from an unknown alien source. Beyond them Jake is setting up a few wire traps to try and catch the aliens without any more damage to them or to Torchwood personnel.
"The baby," Simon clarifies. "You know, Rose wants a girl and you want a boy. That's usually how it goes."
The Doctor looks up at this, squinting in the harsh sunlight of the Isle of Wight. "What's it matter? The baby's healthy."
"Yeah, but men want sons, don't they? Carry on the family name."
The Doctor rolls his eyes and tests the decoy, pleased to see that it's functioning. "Human men, perhaps. Boy or girl, it makes no difference to me."
"Oh, but men care," Riley says, speaking to them through their headsets. "Men have all these issues with carrying on their names and proving that they're men."
"Haven't you got anything else to do?" Simon asks pointedly. "Like covering us so we can get this done?"
"I'm not your average man," the Doctor says, hitting his scanning device with his not-quite-as-sonicced-up screwdriver and activating it. "Ha! Got it!"
"No," Simon says ruefully, watching as the scanner takes flight and explodes in the air above the aliens' heads, capturing them all in a glow of white webbing, "you are not the average man."
She is still pregnant when the TARDIS is ready to fly. He is worried about what could happen in the time vortex and thinks they should wait. Rose does not.
"Rose, this is not something we should do."
"It's completely safe, love."
"This is a new TARDIS. Even bonded to the two of us, I may have done something wrong. Something might spark when it shouldn't, or we'll materialize on top of a volcano or something."
Rose rolls her eyes. "Nothing like that will happen, you're being ridiculous. And if something does happen we'll be together."
"And the baby?"
His anxiety about the baby has increased with each passing week. His fear that he will lose his family will not abate, and she has to force herself to be callous sometimes, just to knock him out of that fear.
"This baby will know the time vortex," she says softly. "This baby will know the TARDIS."
The words bad wolf float through his mind, and he stands at the control console, hand shaking.
Rose tries not to cry at the look on his face. Forcing herself to ignore the wetness in his eyes, she holds his gaze and smiles reassuringly, reaches over and covers his hand with hers.
And forces the lever down.
They float in the time vortex, marveling at the fact that it worked, that the TARDIS is functioning.
The song sings in Rose's ears. "She's so happy," she says softly. "The TARDIS has missed this."
"I have, too," the Doctor admits. "Are you all right?"
"I'm fine. Nothing happened."
He glances around. "As soon as I open the other transdimensional circuits I can set up a medical room, make sure for myself."
"I do not need my husband to give me a medical exam," she says tartly.
"Even if he's a doctor?" he asks with a grin.
She pretends to consider it. "Playing doctor is something else," she says, grinning back.
The first room they set up after the transdimensional circuits are in place is their bedroom. The TARDIS, acting on her own initiative, sets up a small nursery beside their room.
Rose notices it when they leave their room to walk back to the control console.
"Did you do this?" she asks, carefully opening a door that wasn't there before.
"No, I was with you." The Doctor looks inside the room, peering above Rose's head. The walls are a soft green and curtains hang at an improbable window. A rocking chair is in the corner.
Rose starts to laugh softly. In the center of the room is a cot, a copy of the one that the TARDIS had spent the first five years of her life inside.
When the baby is born he sits and holds him, just holds him, while Rose is taken care of by the hospital nurses. The baby looks back at him, with eyes as blue as the ones he used to have in his own face. They are old and wise, framed with tiny brown lashes.
"Hello," he says softly. He can almost feel the baby's mind with his, almost feel a link there. Whether it will fade or grow stronger only time will tell. He marvels at the miracle of birth, how amazing and different it is from looming, which was all his people had known for so long.
The baby yawns and starts to fuss.
Rose smiles from her newly made bed. "Think he wants me."
"Just give him a feed," one of the nurses says before they leave the room. "That's all they want for a good long while. A feed and a dry nappy."
"Yeah." But he still sits there, rocking the baby. When the fussing turns to crying, he stands up and deposits the baby in Rose's arms. He sits by the edge of her bed, his arm supporting her behind her back.
"Sh, sh," Rose whispers. She doesn't know anything about babies or nursing, despite the classes she's sat through, but she tries it and hopes for the best. The baby works the rest out for himself and abruptly stops crying.
Rose blinks in surprise at the sensation, more painful at first than she'd expected. Together they stare down at their new son.
"He's beautiful," Rose says in awe. "And we made him."
He kisses the top of her head. "Thank you," he whispers.
"You can't leave the hospital until you register his birth," the nurse says firmly. "And you can't register his birth until he has a name. Have you picked a name yet?"
"No," Rose admits.
"When you do you may leave," the nurse says, and walks out of the room.
"Henry," the Doctor says.
It is a game they've played for nearly nine months. Nothing sounds right, no matter how many books they read or suggestions they listen to.
Rose looks down at her son, sleeping in her arms. "Who's he look like, then?"
The baby suddenly arches his back. His blue eyes open wide and he sees Rose and smiles. A wide, ridiculous smile that makes them both laugh. Looking at one another, they have the same, ridiculous thought.
Of course, he is torn. He wasn't thinking of Jackie when he said it, but neither can he bring himself to name his new offspring after Captain Jack Harkness. Jack, for pity's sake!
Rose is insistent that Jack Harkness is the baby's namesake.
"A pity he's not here," the Doctor says sulkily. "He could stand as godfather."
"Don't be stupid." Rose coos at the baby as she abuses her husband. "Who's a handsome boy?"
"It's for your mother," he says firmly.
Rose smiles. "Whatever you say."
He drives Rose and Jack home in their car, the baby wrapped up and secure in his car seat, Rose tucked in beside him in the back, smiling gently the whole way home.
The baby is sleeping by the time they get home. The Doctor lifts the car seat up and helps Rose up the walk. None of their neighbors are about, which makes a nice, quick trip to the door. Rose knows there will be visitors later, come to see the baby. She'll be happy to greet them, but right now she could do with a nap.
"Do you want to lie down?" he asks her, still cradling the baby.
"Not yet. I'll just sit on the sofa."
Rose puts her feet up on the sofa with a grateful sigh. He hands her an afghan to cover up with and sets the baby down in a portable cot that Jackie says all new parents should have for the downstairs.
"How long," he asks her, flipping through a stack of mail on the table, "before your parents get here?"
Rose tilts her head to the side. "This afternoon, I should think."
Jackie beats even that expectation. Rose's parents and Tony arrive within half an hour. Rose has fed the baby again, burped him, and handed him to the Doctor to change. The wet nappy still fills him with fear and foreboding, but he manfully changes it just the same. The Tylers arrive just as he's setting the baby back in Rose's arms.
"Hello there," he starts to say, but Jackie brushes by him on her way to Rose. Pete grins at him and follows his wife.
The Doctor looks at Tony. "What are you up to?"
"Can I see the baby?" Tony asks eagerly.
Jackie is beside herself when she hears the baby's name. She literally doesn't know what to say. The Doctor has upset the delicate game they play with one another, pretending to barely tolerate each other while at the same time having a real affection.
"It's a nice name," the Doctor is forced to say. "Just happens to be yours. Really we named him for Jack Harkness."
"Oh, you!" Jackie hugs him tightly and kisses him soundly on the mouth.
"Did you hear that, Pete? He's called Jack!"
Pete smiles down at the baby that is and isn't his first grandson. "A perfect name, Rose. He's beautiful."
"Awfully small," Tony says critically.
"He'll grow," Rose says. "He'll grow."