A/N: I so wanted to call this "Are You My Mummy?" but by the time I finished it it had gotten so serious and so far from my original idea that it just didn't fit. So the new title is taken from Steven Curtis Chapman's song of the same name, which just seemed to fit by the time I'd decided where this monster was actually going. It started off being just 10.5/Human 10/whatever you want to call the guy Rose is left on a beach next to at the end of JE and Jackie talking about the Doctor's mother, and it ended up with the introduction becoming more of the plot than what was actually supposed to be the plot.
Oneshot. Post JE. 10.5 and Jackie. Obviously implied Rose/10.5 (or human 10, or 10.2, or John Smith, or whatever you want to call him).
When Love Takes You In
When love takes you in and everything changes
A miracle starts with the beat of a heart
When love takes you home and says you belong here
The loneliness ends and a new life begins
When love takes you in
-Steven Curtis Chapman, "When Love Takes You In"
"Ninety-four-point-three degrees Fahrenheit—I still can't believe Britain's not on metric in this universe! I prefer metric; it's so much more practical." The Doctor complained, slipping the thermometer out of Rose's mouth. "Anyway, temperature's a bit low, that's odd. You sure this thermometer works?" He asked, turning to look at Jackie.
The matriarch nodded, sighing. "I took Tony's temperature yesterday to make sure he wasn't catching this too, and it seemed to be working fine then."
Rose sighed. "Well, at least I haven't got a fever." She mumbled cynically. "Just another symptom."
The Doctor clicked his tongue and started rummaging through his pants pocket. "Maybe your heart's slowed down a bit; less blood being circulated would lower your temperature." He pulled out his stethoscope and pressed it to Rose's chest. His eyebrows narrowed. "That's weird. Heart's going a little faster than normal. Faster heart rate, lower body temp. That's definitely not right."
Jackie rolled her eyes, her annoyance barely hiding her worry. "Great; my daughter's got something that not even the expert on everything can diagnose."
"Oi!" The Doctor shot back, "There could be things in this universe that didn't exist in the one I'm used to; how am I supposed to know what it is?" He turned back to Rose. "So, these headaches, how often have you been getting them?"
Rose shrugged. "Pretty often. Seems like every time I eat something I end up feelin' like my head's gonna explode." She groaned a little and lay back on the sofa, resting her aching head on one of the soft designer pillows.
The Doctor's eyebrows narrowed a little more. "What do you mean, 'every time you eat something'?" He said quietly.
Rose looked groggily up at him. "Seems like I always get these headaches after I eat. And the more I eat, the worse I feel."
Jackie got up from her chair next to the couch to squat down beside Rose and stroke her forehead. "Have you tried eating a little less? Maybe, I dunno, it would help."
Rose nodded. "See that's what I thought, eat less, maybe they'll stop, but I can't! I've been so hungry lately! And all I've been eating is fruit! It's not like fruit can make you sick! I dunno…" Her eyes suddenly narrowed. "Doctor, are you alright?" For the last few moments the Doctor had been staring emptily into space, his mouth hanging open a little and his eyebrows narrowed. "Doctor?"
Suddenly he snapped back to attention, although his eyebrows remained narrowed. "After you eat, you say? Always after you eat? Never any other time?" He asked, the quiet words tumbling quickly out of his mouth.
Rose nodded, her eyebrows narrowing at the Doctor's odd behavior. "Yeah," she said slowly. "Now that I think about it, it's pretty much only then. Why?"
The Doctor blinked a few times before asking, "Any nausea?"
"A bit." Rose answered, suspicion now evident in her tone. "Why?"
The Doctor nodded. "At the same time as the headaches?"
"Not always, but sometimes. Once again, why?"
"Ooh!" Jackie cut in, "Could it be migraines? You get nausea with the headaches when you get migraines? Could that be it? You know, your Gran used to get them all the time, and I've heard they're hereditary! Is that what'cha think it is, Doctor? Migraines?"
The Doctor was still staring at Rose. "Could be." He said quietly. Suddenly he seemed to perk up, coming out of his trance. "Well," he said loudly, "I think I might know what it is, just need to, uh, do some research, make sure. Rose, why don't you get some rest; go take a nap, hm?"
"Sounds good." The Doctor helped her up and she started off towards the stairs.
"Oh, wait!" The Doctor suddenly exclaimed, making both women jump. "Have you taken anything for these headaches?"
Rose shrugged. "Just some ibuprofen, why?" She was giving him that suspicious look again.
The Doctor shrugged, trying to look casual, but Rose could tell he was hiding something. "Oh, just, um, do me a favor, love? Don't, don't take any aspirin. I mean, take anything else you like; Tylenol, ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, whatever. Just, you know, no aspirin."
Rose nodded. "Alright." She turned and continued up the stairs to their bedroom.
"Why can't she have any aspirin, then?" Jackie asked, still looking at the stairs as she listened to her daughter's footsteps getting quieter. "Is it one of those weird things they haven't discovered about the stuff yet, like when they found out it can kill you if you're under eighteen, or…" She trailed off as she turned to look at the Doctor, who had sunk onto the sofa, and was now staring in to space with a small smile on his face. Jackie's eyes narrowed dangerously. "Whatchoo smiling for, eh? Your wife is ill with God-know-what, and here you are, grinnin' like a bloomin' idiot!"
The Doctor looked up at his mother-in-law and grinned. "She's getting headaches after she eats. Isn't that brilliant?"
Jackie Tyler's mouth hit the floor. She looked as if she was going to say something, but then she closed her mouth, grabbed the Doctor's arm and dragged him across the living room, down the hall, and into the kitchen, where she forcefully plopped him down into a chair. Hands on her hips and eyes narrowed in that, something's-gone-wrong-and-it's-all-your-fault look, Jackie proceeded to berate her half-alien son-in-law for what she perceived to be negligence. "What are you on about, 'isn't it brilliant'? I don't see anything brilliant about my Rose being in pain!"
And to add to her frustration, the Doctor's grin only spread. He looked happier than she'd ever seen him. "She's pregnant."
Jackie Tyler's frown quickly melted into surprise as she collapsed into the chair next to him. "Pregnant? What about those symptoms say 'pregnant' to you? She's got migraines, is what she's got! Not a baby inside her!"
The Doctor shook his head, still looking ecstatic. "Those headaches aren't migraines, Jackie! Problem is, you've got a human idea of pregnancy in your mind, and that baby's part Time Lord; symptoms are gonna be a bit different." He jerked his head to the side. "Well, some symptoms aren't; it's part human too, after all. That's the nausea; just morning sickness."
Jackie still didn't look convinced. "So she's a little nauseous! What do the headaches have to do with anything! Even if she did have a part Time Lord baby in her why does that mean headaches?"
The Doctor sighed. "Headaches after eating is the number one sign of pregnancy for my people! And that baby has just enough Time Lord DNA for it to affect Rose this way. And that's why her temperature's down! It's just the baby making itself comfy! It's like me: even though I'm mostly human now, I'm most comfortable when it's a bit cooler!"
The Doctor looked back around, his mouth hanging wide open and his hand cradling his smarting cheek. "What was that for? She's twenty-four, we're married, I've got a good job so I can support them, they finish painting our new house tomorrow, so we can move in within the week, and hello, did I mention you're getting a grandchild, I don't what about this situation merits me getting slapped!"
Jackie crossed her arms over her chest. "My daughter is having a baby—one of the biggest and most important events in her life, and mine, and instead of just telling me this wonderful news you have to be all enigmatic and let me think that my Rose has some kind of brain tumor or something and that you're some kind of sadist who takes pleasure in watching his wife suffer from some kind of mystery illness!"
The Doctor just stared at her, at a loss her words. "Jackie Tyler, what am I ever gonna do with you?"
The vivacious blonde cracked a smile. "What are you gonna do with me? What am I ever gonna do wiv you? Honestly, the things I've put with from you over the years. If you didn't deserve that slap for this time, then I assure you, you deserve it for something else." The half-alien grinned cheekily. She shook her head. "And yet here we are. To think I hated you so much at first, and yet here you are, father of my grandchild."
She noticed the Doctor's smile turn into a mischievous smirk. "If you'll recall, Jackie Tyler, you did not, in fact, hate me when we very first met." Jackie tilted her head to the side in confusion. "If you remember correctly, you tried to seduce me."
"Oh!" Jackie smiled embarrassedly and put her arms on the table, burying her face in them. "I did, didn't I!" She giggled.
The Doctor nodded, looking somewhere between disturbed and amused. "I think your exact words were something like 'I'm in my bathrobe. There's a strange man in my bedroom; anything could happen.' "
Jackie gave another embarrassed moan and sat up, shaking her head and smiling. "You said no, of course. Goodness, what a start to all this! Kind of ironic, isn't it? I wanted to shag the man who'd end up shagging my daughter!" She noticed the Doctor's cheeks turn red. "And look at you now, my son-in-law! That would have made me shudder back then. You were even worse in those days. I can only imagine what you were like as a child." The Doctor grinned. "I'll bet you were a right little terror!" The Doctor nodded. Jackie chuckled. "Oh, God bless whatever poor woman raised you!" She noticed the Doctor's smile soften, and his eyes shift a little out of focus. Jackie's expression softened and she laid a hand on his arm. "You know, I never really asked. What was she like, your mum? Bet she was strong woman, raising the likes of you."
The Doctor sighed. "She was. You'd have liked her. She was quite a bit like you, I suppose. Fiercely protective; mother-bear syndrome and all that." He said quietly. "Amazing woman." He chuckled. "Dear sweet Rassilon, that woman used to slap me! Not that I didn't deserve it, when she actually hit me. She didn't believe in slapping us for everything." The chuckles increased. "But she certainly slapped us often enough that we knew she wasn't kidding when she threatened to. She used to say she'd slap us into our fifth regeneration." He sighed again. "She'd have loved Rose. Even though she's human. I think my mum's part of the reason I like humans. She always had an interest them. She was brilliant, too. Was one of the inventers of the Chameleon Arch. Figured out how to set it to Human." He giggled. "On accident, actually. Ended up turning herself human for three weeks by mistake."
Jackie giggled. She bit her lip, happy that the Doctor was opening up to her, but hesitant to ask too much, lest he close his heart up again. "When you say 'us', do you mean, you and…siblings?"
"My brothers and I," The Doctor said, his smile fading the smallest bit. "Poor woman, putting up with all us boys. And my dad! There were seven of us."
Jackie raised her eyebrows. "Quite a few."
The Doctor shrugged. "Well, you know, Time Lord lifespan, live that long and it's not unusual to end up with a big family. You can have one kid a decade and have ten kids by the end of your first century of marriage. I was a middle child. You know, me and all three of my younger brothers were supposed to be girls. She was so determined to have at least one daughter, and she kept getting us boys." He laughed. "Kept telling us we'd better give her granddaughters one day! I think the best day of her life was the day Skyla was born." Jackie noticed the sudden change that came over the man sitting before her. As he had finished that last sentence his face had fallen; a look of joy for bygone days and the pain at the fact they were over.
The Doctor felt his smile drop as the images sprang into his mind's eye and the pain blossomed in his heart. When was the last time he'd let those syllables pass through his lips? He couldn't remember the last time he'd said that name aloud. Centuries, it must have been. And yet now the names and the faces appeared, fresh as ever before him. Why was it he was saying it now? And to Jackie, of all people? Before, when he was fully Time Lord, it had been too painful to ever say those names, and now, with his single human heart, it was as if his heart would break not to say them.
"Was Skyla your--" Jackie began gently.
"My daughter," he said the words so softly that only the consonants made anything close to a sound at all.
"Was she your only child?"
And suddenly they were pouring from his lips; the names he'd held inside for so long.
"There was Tiden, and then Brovus, my only boys. Only a year apart, most people assumed they were twins. Wild little Firilee, Vrenalyre, Kinsidy, she was so stubborn; Xirixie and…Jenny." How long since he'd said their names? Even to himself? When Jenny had been born he'd had to fight to keep the newly-resurfaced pain from overwhelming him.
"Doctor," he looked up to see Jackie giving him such a caring look. "I know it hurts. I've lost my husband; I had a late-term miscarriage before I had Rose. But you've lost everything. And you haven't got two hearts to bear the pain with anymore. It helps to let it out. Now you're about to start a brand new family with Rose. If you're going to do that, you've got to deal with the pain of losing the first one."
He'd never felt so human as in that moment, spilling everything to Jackie Tyler, of all people. Sure, he'd told a lot to Rose, but part of him didn't want her to know about the life he'd once had. This was his second chance, so he'd thought it might be best to forget the past as best he could. And Jackie Tyler, who he realized in that moment was more like his mother than he'd ever imagined, had convinced him otherwise. So he just started talking: telling her about the look Skyla used to give him when she was mad at him, and about all the trouble Tiden and Brovus used to get into, and how he had always been getting onto them about annoying their sisters. He told her about the pure joy he'd seen on Firilee's face the day Susan was born, and how proud he'd been the day he'd become a grandfather. He talked about Vrenalyre's beautiful singing voice. He told her about the time he'd traveled all the way to the Time Lord academy to beat some sense into the brat of a boy who'd dared to hit his little Kinsidy, only to find that not only had she broken up with him, but she'd given the ex-boyfriend two black eyes and bloody nose in the process. He told her about Xirixie, and how she'd been such a perfect little miniature version of her mother.
And then he was talking about Andalornarene, and telling Jackie about how she'd always joked about how long her name was, but how funny she found it that people thought the four syllables of Andalorna was so much shorter and easier to say than the five syllables of her whole name. He allowed himself to get lost in his memories, even those he didn't articulate to Jackie. A cool Gallifreyan evening, sitting in red grass with Andalorna's head resting on his shoulder, hearing her light laugh as he called her Anda, as only he was allowed to, and her reply of his own name…
He even told her about Jenny, and how he'd loved her too late. He cried as he told her how much he regretted doing anything other than taking her in his arms and holding her there from the moment she'd stepped out of that machine. He told her about how amazing that little girl of his was, and how amazing she would have been.
He was in tears by the time it was all over, gripping the same hand that had slapped him numerous times, and feeling happier than ever that he had someone in his life like Jacqueline Andrea Suzette Tyler. Of all the things he'd ever dreamed of having again, a mother hadn't been one of them.
It ended with Jackie making him tea, and giving him the longest hug the Doctor can ever remember getting.
"Someone's going to have to tell Rose she's going to be a mother," Jackie told him after he'd finally calmed down.
"Bet you ten quid she hits me for not telling her earlier," The Doctor replied, smiling. "I should go check on her." He got up and started towards the door.
"Hey," he turned to look at Jackie, who was smiling gently at him. "You know, you can call me Mum, if you like. I mean, you don't have to, if you don't want to, if you feel like you'd be betraying your own mum; I mean, it won't hurt my feelings if you don't." She smiled a little wider. "But I just want you to know that you can call me mum. Mum Jackie, even, if you think it'd be a too weird otherwise."
"Mum Jackie, I like that." The Doctor said, smiling.
Jackie grinned. "Mum Jackie it is, then."
The Doctor smiled as he threaded his way through the large house to his and Rose's room, marveling at everything he'd lost and everything he'd gained. After his wife had died, he hadn't thought he'd ever fall in love again, and yet here he was, with that gold band on his finger matching the one on Rose Tyler's. A human life! When did he ever dream of that possibility? He felt a pang of pity for his original self, and hoped that somewhere in that other universe that man had found happiness. Godspeed River Song! He thought.
A father; he was going to be a father again. He missed it; he hadn't thought there was any of that part of him left alive, but he was excited about this child.
And then there was Jackie Tyler. Of all the things the Doctor had ever imagined regaining, a mother had not been one of them, and Jackie Tyler certainly would not have been his first choice.
But after everything that had happened, he couldn't imagine anyone else doing a better job.
Disclaimer: I'm American. Enough said. I do however, own the names of the Doctor's kids and wife (whose names, btw, are all pronounced pretty phonetically; Ann-da-lor-na-reen. Xirixie: Zihr-rick-sy.)
A/N: Yeah, so let me know if it's any good. It evolved so much over my writing it that I think I may have just lost the plot somewhere. Jackie totally did try to seduce the Doctor one time; don't believe me, go rewatch Rose.
Poll: Who doesn't imagine Rose and new 10 naming their first daughter after Donna?