Author's Note: This is the second story in newest series, "Phoenix". This story elaborates on "She Ran" and is from Jackie's POV. They can be read in any order, but this story will probably make more sense if read after "She Ran". Post-Doomsday.
Summary: Jackie watches this woman in her house, but she has a hard time recognizing her. This isn't Rose any longer. The moment her daughter left with that daft-looking alien, she had lost her. Rose Tyler died a long time ago.
This is The Story of How She Died
She finds it nearly impossible to look at her daughter sometimes. Sometimes she finds herself staring at this woman in her house, she sees the image of Rose Tyler having her morning tea or watching telly with her little brother, but it's not the girl she used to know. It's not the woman she wanted her daughter to become.
Jackie remembers the day perfectly. The day she watched Rose work with the Doctor, watched her smiling and laughing and flipping switches in that blasted contraption of his. That day she saw the spark of something new, some strange confidence that she had never expected to see in Rose. To this day, she doesn't know why it scared her so much. Why seeing her daughter happy with that alien scared her so much.
But it did. That day it certainly did. That day when she told Rose that she was different, that she was becoming something alien, that in twenty years from then Rose wouldn't be her daughter any more. Back then, back in that world, she was honestly afraid that one day her daughter would disappear completely.
That day, long over two years ago, was the best gift the Doctor could have given her. It gave her Pete, it gave her a wonderful house and a wonderful family, but, most importantly, it gave her Rose. It took Rose away from that life that was changing her and altering her.
Don't get her wrong, Jackie was unbearably pleased that the Doctor had shown Rose all the wonders that she had seen. That he had given her an astonishing two years of travelling. She loved him for making her a stronger and cleverer woman.
But certainly she hated him. She hated him for taking her away. She hated him for putting her into harm's way. And she hated how, every time, he miraculously saved her, how he made her reverie him, stand in utter awe of him, making him an impervious godlike figure in her eyes. She hated that he had become more important to Rose than her.
She hated that day, even as she loved it, for how deeply it broke her daughter's heart. That day at the beach had left even Jackie broken, seeing her daughter like that.
She had tried so hard for months to comfort her daughter. She had tried to get Rose to find a job, to find something that she'd enjoy doing, to get out and make friends. But Rose didn't want any of that. In fact she hardly left the house. She hated it there, Jackie knew, even as she tried to put on a brave face. Even as she pretended to be happy.
When Jackie woke up one Tuesday morning to find a note from Rose on the kitchen cabinet, she cried for three days. Her daughter had left her again, had run away to find herself. Could her daughter find no comfort in her mother? No aid or self-realization? Did Rose not need her?
No she needed the Doctor, she needed the adventures and the aliens to define her. Not her mother.
Maybe she would find something here, in this reality, that she can hang onto, that she can learn to accept or love or enjoy. Perhaps she needed to lose herself before she'd be able to be found.
For the first few months, she pestered Pete about looking for her, about finding her or clues as to where she was. But Rose had learned a lot in her years with the Doctor and she would never be found for as long as she didn't want to be found. After five months of asking, Jackie couldn't stand hearing from Pete that she was still missing. Still out there somewhere, hiding from them.
After that, Jackie tried her best not to worry about Rose, tried not to blame herself or worry that Rose was dead somewhere. She tried not to cry at night hoping for her daughter's return. She focused on her son, Anthony, and she tried not to let him see that she hurt so much.
When Rose came back one day, with no warning, no phone call, she had certainly found something. She was different. She stood taller, her chin up and her posture dominant. Her body was stripped of fat and her muscles seemed leaner than they had ever been.
Rose wore a pair of muddied and slightly tattered jeans and a jacket Jackie had never seen on her before. Her closet had been cleared out when she left, but she carried nothing with her. And when Jackie offered to wash her clothes, Rose had rejected the offer. And naturally Jackie had insisted that they would go shopping to refill her closet, but Rose had outright ignored the offer. That was all she would wear. Every day, without fail, the same jeans, same shirt, and same jacket. Just like the Doctor.
There were so many things about her that were Doctor-like now. Her stance, that one of power and confidence, was almost a mirror of the Doctor's. And, when she spoke with Pete about working for Torchwood, there was an air of impatient control. She remembered that Pete stuttered at the request to work there. He offered her a place on Mickey's team; eventually he suspected she could lead her own. But she wanted more; she wanted her knowledge to be recognized. She would accept nothing but what she wanted. There was a storm in her eyes as she looked at him, as she waited for him to agree. It was purely terrifying.
Something had happened to her during the past two years. It had made her harder and wiser. She acted incredibly old sometimes. Her knowledge seemed the strangest thing she had acquired. Her daughter had always had a sense of street smarts about her, a cleverness that the Doctor had been attracted to and that her adventures had sharpened and honed. She had learned from him, certainly, for there was a lot about her adventures that Jackie simply couldn't comprehend but she could tell that not even Rose understood it fully.
But not anymore. Now she spoke of ship's parts and time and space and energy and physics like it was something she learned about in Year 2. She directed comments of aliens and planets like they were featured on the telly. She spoke exactly like the Doctor now and she didn't even know it. Rose didn't even notice that she was now the woman that Jackie had imagined walking through alien shops, the one she had warned Rose she would become.
Jackie thinks back to that day as she watches Rose fiddle with some gadget she had brought home from Torchwood (that was strictly not allowed, but Rose did as pleased half the time and Rose had insisted that this was merely a toy). She watched this woman in her house, she watched her eat and sleep and work and play with Anthony, but she has a hard time recognizing her. This isn't Rose any longer.
She remembers her fear on that day, her fear as she watched Rose in the TARDIS. She knows now exactly what that fear was for, knows exactly why Rose's confidence and comfort with the Doctor scared her so much. She was afraid of losing Rose to that lifestyle, afraid that one day she would never return to her.
And now she is gone. Even removed from all the influences of the Doctor, even safe with Jackie in this other reality, she managed to slip away like she was always destined to become this woman.
Jackie had every reason to be scared all those years ago. The moment her daughter left with that daft-looking alien, she had lost her.
Rose Tyler died a long time ago.