Chapter 20 – Leah
The Doctor woke up, feeling slightly better than he had done earlier. He was lying in his own bed in the TARDIS wearing just boxers with something on his chest...
He opened his eyes to find a tiny baby staring back at him with big brown eyes that looked eerily like his own.
"Morning," he said to the baby.
"Actually, it's afternoon," came a voice from next to him, and he jumped in surprise, finding Jack lying next to him propped up in one elbow, grinning. "Hey honey," he said seductively. "Sleep well?"
"Get off my bed," the Doctor said instantly, picking up his baby and cradling her in his arms.
"Oh but I thought we had a connection!" Jack said, grinning. "How are you feeling?"
"Better," he replied, gazing down at Leah in his arms. "Where's Rose?"
"Went with Gwen and Martha for baby stuff. Or something. I'm babysitter."
They watched for a moment as Leah stared up at her father, as if trying to decide whether she should cry or not.
"Goo goo, gaa gaa!" Jack said, stroking the girl's face. "Who's gonna grow up to be intergalactic saviour of the Universe, eh? You are, aren't you! Goo goo!" She took one look at him and burst into tears. "Hey, what I do?"
The Doctor laughed, holding the girl a little closer, kissing her forehead. She soon quietened in his arms.
"She's so beautiful," the Doctor muttered, tears in his eyes. "And she's mine to care for."
"Look," Jack said, pointing. "She's smiling."
"No... I think that's constipation," the Doctor said, frowning slightly. Leah suddenly sneezed, squeaking as snot came out of her nose, flooding everywhere.
"Not so beautiful now," Jack said, grinning.
The Doctor reached for a handkerchief and wiped it away. Leah laid still for a moment, before suddenly turning her head to his bare chest, trying to latch.
"No, Leah, no!" the Doctor said quickly, pushing her away from his nipples. "Wrong person!"
She burst into tears.
The Doctor quickly held her again. "Uncle Jack will go get you some milk, okay?" he said to her, staring pointedly at Jack, who beamed.
"Uncle? I've been promoted!" he whooped, punching the air before running out the door.
The Doctor put Leah down on the bed, her arms and legs waving around like an upturned tortoise as he slipped out from under the covers and hunted down some clothes to wear. When Jack got back the Doctor was leaning over Leah, playing peekaboo. Leah was staring at him with a what-the-hell-are-you-doing look.
"She not appreciating your peekaboo?" Jack asked as he sat down on the bed next to the Doctor, handing him the milk.
"Isn't that what you're supposed to do with babies?" the Doctor asked, sounding unsure.
Jack stared at him for a moment. "Have you ever looked after a baby before?"
"Not really," the Doctor replied, pulling Leah to sit up. "We didn't really have babies... as such... on Gallifrey. We loomed children. I didn't have a clue what a baby was when I first saw one."
"That's weird," Jack said, frowning.
"It was from Pythia's curse. It made Gallifreyans sterile for eons. Just before the Time War it was suddenly lifted. This is the first time I've..." the Doctor trailed off, staring down at Leah gulping down the milk eagerly. "Well, first time I've been in this kind of relationship since then."
Jack nodded, understanding. "We'll all help. Whenever you need a break or you're not sure. Gwen can help."
The Doctor nodded, still staring at Leah. She was so tiny and fragile. His thoughts must've beamed out because Jack rested a hand on his shoulder, comforting him.
"I know what you're thinking. You're thinking you'll protect her from bad things all her life because never want to see her hurt, but you're scared that you can't do that, because of who you are."
The Doctor didn't reply.
"It's okay to be scared," Jack continued. "Hell, I was terrified when I gave birth but..." he suddenly stopped and cleared his throat, embarrassed. "Well, never mind about that. But she's your daughter, Doctor. If she's anything like you she'll just keep running into trouble and get herself out of it just as quick, saving a few people on the way. You've got nothing to worry about."
The Doctor grinned. "Yeah. Thanks, Jack." He pulled the bottle away, much to the disgruntlement of Leah and began to pat her back. Eventually Leah burped, dribbling all over his lap.
"Nice," Jack commented, taking Leah and resuming feeding her as the Doctor moved to clean up. When he got back Jack was in the thralls of trying to get the one-day-old to talk.
"Daddy, can you say daddy? Dad-dy..."
"Ahh," Leah replied, looking up at the Doctor as he sat back down on the bed in fresh clothes.
"Give it up, Jack, she's only a day old," the Doctor said. "She won't exactly be reciting Shakespeare by next week."
"No, no... Gallifreyan genius child," Jack insisted. "Daaaah.... dy..."
"Ahh," Leah said, still staring at the Doctor.
"Aww, you want to go to Daddy? Dah..."
"Ahh," Leah said again. Then her face scrunched up and there was a mild smell in the air.
"Doctor, your daughter just pooed all over me," Jack informed the Time Lord, holding the baby girl at arms length with a look of disgust on his face.
"That's my girl," the Doctor applauded Leah, taking her from Jack. She looked up at him with big brown eyes.
"Ah... ahh... Daah..." Leah said.
"Yes!" Jack urged. "Daaaaaa..."
"Jack!" the Doctor interrupted.
"What?" Jack asked innocently.
"Nappy change! You and her!"
The TARDIS churned into existence.
Sarah Jane spun around in surprise, staring at the bright blue box parked neatly on the stair in her attic. The door opened to reveal the Doctor, who grinned at her broadly.
"I promised!" he simply said, and then Rose appeared carrying a tiny newborn baby swaddled in a pink blanket. Sarah couldn't stop the squeak of adoration that erupted from her lips as she bounded forward.
"Leah, say hello to your Auntie Sarah."
"Hello, Leah," Sarah said gently.
Leah looked up at her. "Ahh."
"Do you want to hold her?" Rose asked, smiling. Sarah nodded eagerly, taking the baby and cradling her in both arms.
"She's so little! How old is she?" she asked.
"Just a day," the Doctor replied.
"Awww..." Sarah cuddled her. "She's adorable. How was the birth?"
Rose glanced at the Doctor, resisting the urge to giggle. He pursed his lips, frowning.
"Oh, smoooooth," he said simply, panning with his hand.
"We're thinking of having another one," Rose said, grinning.
"We are?" The Doctor blinked.
"And maybe three more," Rose added cheekily, tongue between her teeth.
"You'll be lucky," the Doctor muttered.
Leah suddenly yawned in Sarah's arms, blinking a few times up at her. Sarah smiled.
"I think someone needs their bed," she commented, passing Leah back to Rose. "Anytime you need a babysitter, don't hesitate to call by."
"Sure," Rose replied, smiling. With final hugs the Doctor and Rose got inside the TARDIS, and it churned back out of existence.
As the TARDIS spun through the vortex, the Doctor and Rose were deeply engrossed in a kiss. The Doctor didn't notice the alert on the screen or the slight fluctuation of power until the monitor flared into life, showing one Jackie Tyler staring down the camera at them.
The Doctor looked up in surprise, saw Jackie, and subsequently squeaked and quickly ducked under the console.
"What the hell is this?!" Jackie demanded, staring at Rose and the bundle in her arms.
"Mum, mum, shush," Rose urged, holding Leah up to the screen so Jackie could see the newborn child. Jackie looked nothing short of surprised.
"Where did you get that, then?" she asked, dumbfounded.
"You see, Jackie," the Doctor began, getting to his feet. "When a man and a woman love each other very much, they buy furniture together, and then the man gives the woman a little seed to put inside her tummy, which..."
"You put SEED inside my daughter?!" Jackie practically shrieked. Leah instantly began to cry.
"Mum!" Rose quickly cuddled Leah, kissing her forehead.
"Jackie, I'd appreciate it if you kept your voice down," the Doctor suddenly said sternly, taking Leah out of Rose's grip and snuggling her. "It's okay, it's okay, nasty woman gone now... I love you, it's okay..."
Jackie surprisingly remained silent as the Doctor comforted his daughter, who slowly stopped crying. After a moment she stopped altogether, gurgling in his arms.
"Hey, you're okay now," the Doctor said gently, kissing her. "Daddy'll protect you."
Leah yawned again, her eyes closing. The Doctor glanced at Jackie on the monitor, then at Rose.
"I'll put her to bed," he said, disappearing through the door of the Console Room into the corridor.
For a moment there was silence.
"Please don't be angry at him, Mum," Rose pleaded. "You saw, he's a good father. He loves her. He's not going to abandon us."
Jackie could only nod. "He's a good man, Rose. Even if he is slightly... different. What's her name?"
"Leah," Rose replied. "Leah Tyler."
Jackie smiled. "How was the birth?"
"It was worse for the Doctor than me. He went through a lot of pain."
Jackie nodded again. "You just promise me you're happy, love?"
Rose nodded. "I'm the happiest I've ever been."
"Good. Tony says hello, he's in bed. Pete says hello too."
The console beeped as a signal that they were losing connection to the parallel world.
"Tell them I said hi," Rose said, feeling tears in her eyes."... I miss you, Mum."
"I miss you too, sweetheart." Tears were also building in Jackie's eyes. "I love you."
"I love you too."
"I'll see you soon."
"I hope so."
The monitor fizzled out to black, losing connection. Rose dropped down into the pilot seat, sobbing quietly to herself. She suddenly felt a hand resting on her back and she looked up to find the Doctor standing next to her, his expression understanding.
"C'mere," he said, sitting down next to her and wrapping his arms around her tightly, cocooning her in his embrace. "I'm sorry."
"What are you sorry for?" she asked, burying her head in his shoulder.
"Making you choose between her and me," he said, his guilt evident in his tone. "It wasn't fair on you. Whenever you see her you cry. I can feel you're sad. That's my fault."
"Don't be stupid," Rose rebuked. "I have you, I have Leah. She has my Dad, she has Tony. We both made our choice and we'd never change it. It's enough just to see her every now and then."
The Doctor nodded, and just held her in silence for five minutes until her tears had cleared up.
"Shouldn't you close the gap?" Rose wondered, drawing back. "You know, collapse of the Universes and all that?"
The Doctor frowned. "Oh yeah." He jumped onto his feet, pressing some buttons dramatically on the console. "Done."
"What would you do without me?" she said, laughing.
"I really don't know," the Doctor replied, helping her to her feet. "But you're way more important than the collapsing of reality."
"Sweet," Rose said, standing on tiptoes to kiss him on the cheek. "Bedtime?"
"Bedtime," he confirmed, taking her hand and leading her through the console room door into the corridors of the TARDIS, towards their destiny.
A/N: Ah, another one over. But at least my TenRose bunny is... temporarily... satisfied :) Thanks for reading! It really does mean a lot. :D