Set in the SwitchVerse.
"Hello, Doctor." Jackie's voice startled him; he nearly dropped the glasses in his hands. She was sat at the kitchen table with her back to him, sipping coffee as she leafed through a magazine.
"Jackie." He chuckled. "You nearly gave me a heart attack, I think that's the quietest you've ever been."
"Oi, cheeky." She turned the page of the magazine she was reading. "Sometimes I like to have some peace and quiet, need some relaxation."
He made his way over to the sink and filled the two glasses from the tap. "It's alright for some; Rose has got me fetching her drinks and snacks and doing whatever Tony wants for his games." He pulled a chair out and sat himself at the table.
"You're telling me? I'm their mother. At least Rose makes a good babysitter." She finally looked up from the magazine, smiling at him. "But no it's good, I love that they're so close and it's lovely that you get along with him too."
"Oh he's amazing, brilliant that boy is! Honestly I already love him to pieces; he's definitely got the Tyler charm." She couldn't help but laugh at his comment. "I'm glad you're happy, Jackie, you deserve it." He looked down at the table. "And I know I made you suffer to get it, but I'm sorry, and Tony really is a credit to both you and Pete, and Rose too."
"Oh, Doctor." She closed the magazine, reaching over and laying a hand on his arm. "If it wasn't for you I wouldn't have this at all, you think I care about what we went through to get here? No I don't, I just love that the five of us are a family. If it wasn't for you, me and Rose would still be stuck in the Powell Estate, she'd be bored of her life, still working in a shop and never reach her potential. Maybe she'd still be with Mickey but I know she'd never really be happy, not like you make her. Without you, I would never have got a second chance, I would never have even found Pete again and Tony wouldn't even exist." A smile spread across his face as he looked up at her. "I know you think that you've caused a lot of pain, but you've caused so much more happiness. Don't go thinking you don't deserve Rose; she loves you so much and I know you love her just as much. She couldn't ask for a better guy. You treat her beautifully." She took a long sip of her coffee, mumbling under her breath. "Not everyone's like that, believe me."
The Doctor bit his lip, gradually leaning forward onto his elbows. "What happened with Jimmy? I know it ended badly, and she blames him for deciding not to do A-Levels but, well." He rubbed the back of his neck. "I guess we just never talked about it." At Jackie's hesitation he immediately worried. "Oh no, you don't have to tell me, maybe I should ask Rose, actually maybe I should just forget about it. But you know, it hurt her, of course I worry about it."
"No, no, I'm sure it's fine if I tell you." She drained the last of her coffee, stalling for time as she chose her words carefully. "It was the summer after her GCSEs when she met him; he was in a band you see, older than her and good looking. She was infatuated with him, hardly surprising, he drew her in with the perfect choice of words and charmed her enough that he convinced her to leave home and move in with him, promised her that after a few weeks she could go on tour with the band. Rose left school, deciding not to do her A-Levels, they moved into a bedsit, horrible place it was really. The fact I wasn't so keen on him maybe didn't help, I could see why she was charmed by him but I knew something was up. There were many nights that she came home to me and complained about him trying to pressure her into doing things she wasn't comfortable with. But before long he let her off, stopped asking for more, I thought it was weird that he was so willing to have her living with him if she wasn't having sex with him, when clearly he'd first hoped to charm her into it. All he'd wanted was a beautiful young girl that he could manipulate into doing whatever he wanted. Rose thought he loved her for her mind." She sighed, running her fingers through her hair. "Turns out he was getting it somewhere else and for most of the five months they were together he was just keeping her there to pay the bills and cook him dinner, she didn't tell me 'til afterwards that he'd had her sleeping on the floor in a sleeping bag. Rose came back from work one day to find his bags packed and him standing there with another woman in his arms. He ran off with that woman, leaving Rose in tears and eight hundred pounds in debt." She wiped the tears away from her eyes before they could fall. "That evening she came home to me, crying, she was terrified that I'd be angry with her for getting herself into such a mess. But I was so proud of her for sticking to her guns and respecting herself, she stood up for herself rather than just giving him what he wanted. I moved her back in with me and helped her pay back the money. She was just young and pursuing love, wanted to explore life, see the world too, but looked in the wrong place, she mistook that initial infatuation for falling in love. She's always had a lot of love to give and was searching for the right man, the one that would deserve her love and give her his in return."
Despite the tears in his eyes he couldn't keep from smiling at her last comment. "She deserves to be loved more than anyone, and I am solucky to get to be that man. Everywhere she goes she just radiates love, she's so compassionate and cares about everyone and everything. I can't believe someone could treat her like that." He clenched his fists. "I swear, if I could go back right now and make him suffer the way she did, I would."
"Rose had that covered; she certainly kicked him where it hurt." She couldn't resist smirking. "But all things considered I think it's good that you can't."
"I'd go back and make sure he wouldn't even get the chance to hurt her."
"Exactly, but, Doctor, everything worked out fine, she learnt a lot from it, and the only real damage was financial; she had me and Mickey to look after her. In the end she was glad she looked after herself the way she did."
The Doctor nodded, feeling his muscles relax a little; he understood that Rose had had to be hurt, otherwise she would never have been working at Henrik's that day, that didn't mean he liked it though. "Thank you for being so accepting of us, well, me in general really." The smile emerging on Jackie's face soon had him smiling. "I know it can't be easy, daughter in love with an alien, and one that doesn't age and now neither is Rose."
"No, it's good." He watched Jackie flick at the corner of her magazine as she spoke. "'Cause, you know, she's happy with you now. She's got what she wanted and I know you'll always look after her. Just promise me you'll be there for her 'til the end."
"You know I will." He put a hand on her shoulder. "I'm going to spend the rest of my life making her happy, you know Rose means more to me than anything." Jackie's unrelenting gaze told him she distinctly wanted to hear him say the word. "I promise, and I've already made that promise to Rose."
"See?" Jackie brought a hand up to his face and pinched his cheek. "She's got a good one in you."
He swatted her hand away, shifting his gaze to the doorway. "Hi, Rose." A grin appeared on his face without him realising.
"Here you are, you have a funny idea of what getting me a drink is." She teased. "I was dying of dehydration in there." She soon joined them at the table, planting herself beside the Doctor and taking a sip from the glass he pushed in her direction. "You two are rather cosy, should've guessed you'd been distracted by Mum. What've you been talking about?"
"Nothing much, sweetheart." Jackie opened the magazine again, fully expecting the two of them to get wrapped up in each other and forget she was there.
"As long as you haven't been giving him a hard time." She grinned and pulled him to her. "Come here." She gave him a kiss. "Has she been traumatising you?"
"Actually I asked her about Jimmy." He fixed his gaze on her as he waited for a reaction, knowing he couldn't lie to her even if he wanted to.
Rose immediately looked concerned, her voice wavering. "Whatever she said, I didn't throw myself at him. I was never that kind of girl, I never threw myself at guys."
"Rose, calm down." He wrapped an arm around her. "That's exactly what she said, and I would never think you were."
"Good, because I only ever had two boyfriends before you, him and Mickey and I didn't…"
"I know." He moved his hands to her face, looking her in the eye. "You have nothing to worry about. Firsts, remember?" He pressed a kiss to her forehead. "I know and I know you know that I know, and I realise your mum knows that I know and I'm really not comfortable talking about this around her."