Disclaimer: I do not own anything in relation to Dr. Who.
"Well, Mum," chuckles Rose as she throws her arm around her mother's shoulder, "it looks like you have a full house tonight."
They watch Donna and Wilf, along with the Brig and Sarah Jane, help Jack and the Doctor set up the decorations. "Yeah," grins Jackie, "and with more on the way. Jack's parents are coming in from Scotland tonight."
"I can't wait to meet them. I wonder if they're anything like Jack," giggles Rose. She does a quick scan of the room for her little brother. "Where's Tony? I wouldn't think that he'd want to miss a minute of setting up the tree."
Jackie smiles and says, "He's outside playing with his new cricket bat." Rose's eyes widen in surprise and Jackie explains, "You know your father. He's like a big kid himself, especially when it comes to Christmas. He couldn't wait to give Tony what he's been asking for the past few months."
Rose shakes her head and teases, " Yeah, sure Mum. It's more like Dad got tired of Tony nagging him if he'd find his cricket bat under the tree."
While the Tyler women discuss their guests, the Tyler men are busy sneaking into the front hall. "Where should I put the bat, Dad?" asks Tony a little too loudly.
"Shhh!" hushes Pete. "We need to be quieter son, we're in stealth mode. Go ahead and put it in the back of the closet behind the coats."
Tony hastily accomplishes his task and pops back out of the hall closet. "Are we going to tell the Doctor what happened to his windshield?"
Pete contemplates his answer while gazing at his son's innocent and trusting face. He doesn't want to teach him to lie but…well, putting the truth off for a bit shouldn't hurt. After all, it's just one time. And from what he's heard about the Doctor's history with Christmas, there'll probably be an alien invasion to blame the damage on later.
Pete kneels down to look Tony straight in the eyes and assures, "We'll tell him later, son. Much, much later. We don't want to ruin his good time at the party, do we?"
"No," answers Tony emphatically, "I don't want to do that."
They enter the living room and immediately encounter the Doctor as he opens up another box of decorations. "Hey, Tony! So how did it go with the new cricket bat?"
Pete squeezes Tony's shoulder in silent reminder of their agreement and Tony answers in the most innocent voice that he can muster, "Smashing."
"Oh, good!" exclaims the Doctor as he ruffles Tony's hair affectionately. "So are you ready for a visit from Old St. Nick?"
Tony appears baffled and questions "Who?"
The Doctor's brow furrows in confusion and he repeats, "You know, St. Nick!" At Tony's continued look of bewilderment, he cheers, "Kris Kringle! Father Christmas!" Still seeing no trace of recognition on Tony's face, he tries once more. "Santa Claus?"
Rose joins them and announces, "Doctor, in this universe it's not St. Nick, it's St. Bob."
The Doctor quizzes St. Bob? You must be kidding me"
"No," insists Jack, "it's really St. Bob. Listen." The Doctor stares at Jack in utter amazement as he proceeds to sing about St. Bob."
"Old St. Bob does a jolly old job, does a jolly old job does he,
He's fit as a fiddle, he can solve any riddle, as he rides into town on his Shetland pony.
You'll see him drag, his magic bag, as he travels the world delivering toys,
With his pony and his dragon, hooked up to his wagon, he brings smiles to girls and boys.
So just look for the mob, surrounding the man with the gob,
You'll get so excited, that you'll think you've been knighted,
When it's Christmas morning, you'll be so delighted,
That's the magic of Old St. Bob! Yes, that's the magic of Old St. Bob!"
Ever a man of logic and reason, the Doctor asks, "Why does he need a dragon and a Shetland pony?"
Jack replies, "The dragon is to fly the wagon all over the world and he uses the pony when he rides into town to visit the children. Uncle Alastair used to tell me the story of old St. Bob all the time."
The Doctor grins widely and inquires, "Let me guess, this is where your love for Dungeons & Dragons started?"
Jack's face lights up as he confirms, "That's right! Very impressive, Doc!"
The Doctor's expression is smug before it morphs back into one of confusion. "How does a grown man sit on a Shetland pony?"
"He uses a saddle," replies Jack.
"I know that," hisses the Doctor.
"Then why did you ask?" quizzes Jack.
Reigning in his temper, the Doctor presses, "I mean, how does he fit on the pony? I'm assuming that he's a fully grown man and Shetlands are very, very small!"
Jack answers in complete seriousness, "He's magic."
Unsure if Jack is joking or not, he queries, "Jack, you do know that there's no such person as St. Bob, right? That in reality, that he's just a myth?"
Jack merely takes a step back in response and glares at the Doctor as if he had just committed the ultimate act of betrayal. He takes a deep calming breath in an attempt to curb his anger which fails instantly. "Take that back!" he growls.
"I will not!" scoffs the Doctor. "He's not real, Jack!"
Jacks shouts, "Yes, he is!" and slaps the Doctor on the back of the head.
The Doctor rubs the side of his head as he yells back, "He's fake, like an impostor!" and then slaps Jack on the side of his head.
"Like your car!" retorts Jack and shoves his shoulder hard enough to push the Doctor backwards a few steps.
Eyes blazing, the Doctor snarls, "At least I won't find my next car gift wrapped under the tree!" and shoves Jack, who only teeters slightly before regaining his balance.
"What?" asks a befuddled Jack. "I don't know what that means."
The Doctor rolls his eyes in exasperation and explains slowly, "Like a toy car. As in the one you have now."
Jack gasps in indignation and moves in for the kill when Rose comes up between them and slaps both of them on the back of their heads. "Oi! Knock it off, you two! The only child that's supposed to be present is Tony and you're setting a bad example for him!"
Tony comes up alongside Rose and laughs, "I don't mind, Rose. They're funny!"
The Brig swaggers over to the group and chuckles filthily as he nears Rose. "I love a woman who can take care of a man with a firm hand."
In acknowledgement to the Brig's navy career, Rose proclaims, "Well, a woman has to become that way when she keeps meeting sailors that are only able to stay at half mast."
The Brig whoops in delight at her retort and steps a little closer. The Doctor, remembering their first meeting with the Brig, pulls Rose firmly to his side and advises, "May I suggest loving her from afar?" He then points to the farthest corner of the immense living room. "Perhaps over there?"
Sarah Jane strides over and crosses her arms across her chest while she demands, "Alright everyone, what's all the commotion about?"
Jack turns to his aunt, upset written all across his features. "The Doctor's ruining Christmas!"
"Wh-what?" sputters the Doctor. "I am not! I just find it incredibly difficult to believe that someone as 'magical' as St. Bob could actually exist!"
Both the Brig and Sarah Jane send a silent plea to the Doctor to stop this line of reasoning as they shake their heads and wave their hands in the air behind Jack's back.
Before anyone can attempt to break the tension, Jack walks right up into the Doctor's personal space and counters, "Oh, you mean like aliens don't exist? Because we all know that they do."
Oblivious to how close he is to revealing the Doctor's secret, Jack mocks, "I bet even half human, half alien clones exist. Possibly, they're even working within our own governmental agencies. Don't you think so, Doctor?"
Rose and the Doctor let out nervous giggles while Donna watches Sarah Jane very closely. She is aware that not only is Sarah Jane a journalist, but she's also famous for her wild conspiracy theories. And what better conspiracy is there when it comes to the government and aliens?
Fortunately, everyone is able to breathe a sigh of relief when Sarah Jane laughs and chides, "Oh, Jack! I've spouted some crazy theories in my time but that takes the cake! Let's try to keep things within the realm of possibility, shall we?"
She delivers both men a stern look and orders, "Now, I want you two to shake hands and make up. You shouldn't be fighting on Christmas Eve." Jack and the Doctor continue to stand there pouting and sulking until Sarah Jane urges, "Go on."
Never able to stay mad at each other for very long, Jack and the Doctor's fuming gazes soon change into chuckles of regret. Although the apologies are sincere, they are almost inaudible and it's the comments of 'berk' and 'pillock' that are more easily heard.
Once everyone is engrossed in decorating again, Pete sidles over to the Doctor and whispers, "Okay, Doctor. It's time for Tony's Christmas visitor."
The Doctor glances over at Rose playing with Tony and questions, "So soon?"
"Yes," asserts Pete firmly. "Tony is always so wired after dinner that Jacks wants him to arrive before we eat so he'll have plenty of time to settle down from all the excitement once the visit's over. It's going to be hard enough to get him to sleep tonight as it is."
Jack has unknotted his string of lights and walks over to the Doctor and Pete to see if they need any assistance. He arrives in time to hear Pete tell the Doctor, "I really appreciate this, Doctor, I want to him to enjoy the 'magic' for as long as he can."
Noticing Jack's approach, Pete states, "Jack, the Doctor's going to dress up as St. Bob for a quick Christmas Eve visit. Tony almost caught on it was me last year and I don't want to take that chance again. I put everything that you'll need in the den. Jack, can you help him out to make sure that he looks the part?"
"Sure thing, Mr. Tyler!" promises Jack enthusiastically. "I'm sure that the Doctor will make this Tony's best Christmas visit yet!"
Surprised at Jack's nonchalance over impersonating his beloved St. Bob, the Doctor asks, "You're okay with this?"
"Of course, Doc! It's a Christmas Eve tradition that a family member or friend dresses like St. Bob and visits the children." Jack's tone and faraway gaze recall memories long past as he shares, "For me, it was Uncle Alastair and tonight, the honor falls to you." The Doctor gives Jack a disbelieving smirk. "For Tony," urges Jack. "Don't worry, Doc. You'll be fantastic!"
As Pete tries to depart, the Doctor swiftly grabs his arms and intones in a voice that sound way too sweet, "Oh, and thanks so much for the heads up on St. Bob, Pete."
Pete flashes an evil grin. "No, thank you. I didn't know what to buy Jackie for Christmas but this worked out just perfectly."
Jackie's Christmas present! huffs the Doctor to himself. If anyone deserved coal more.
Rose returns just as Donna comes over to join them. Donna murmurs, "Well come on you two, let's go help St. Bob here get ready for his appearance."
The Doctor grimaces before muttering, "We can handle this on our own, Donna, thank you very much. We don't need to be babysat."
Donna's smirk says it all as she replies, "Apparently, you do. After your little Three Stooges display, Pete asked me if I'd make sure that the two of you behave so that you don't ruin Tony's Christmas."
The Doctor releases a grunt of frustration and complains, "Why does everybody keep saying that? I'm not going to ruin Christmas!"
Rose relates, "Wilf and the Brig offered to keep Tony entertained while we help get you get ready."
The Doctor laughs and inquires in a derisive tone, "Those two? They can barely take care of themselves when they're together." He turns to Rose. "Do you really want them tag teaming your brother?"
Rose chuckles, "He'll be fine. Look, he's already wrapped them around his little finger." She gestures to Tony sitting on the couch between Wilf and the Brig while Jackie and Pete are busy working on the decorations.
Tony listens avidly as the Brig begins reading 'The Tale of St. Bob and the Grouse'. Jack sighs fondly and mentions, "He used to read that to me all the time when I was a kid." The Brig's voice carries across the room so that everyone can hear him as he reads the story.
"It was Christmas Eve and a chill was in the air,
St. Bob searched out the Grouse, he knew he was somewhere,
He rode his pony through the mountains, deserts and plains,
Determined to foil the Grouse's plan to ruin Christmas and retreive his ill-gotten gains…"
The Brig's voice trails away as the four adults head down the hall leading to the den. "So, what?" cackles the Doctor. "Now St. Bob's a bounty hunter?"
Jack simply glowers at the Doctor while he remains silent. He doesn't need to read timelines like the Doctor can to know that his moment of revenge will come.
As soon as they enter the den and the door shuts behind them, the Doctor heads straight over to the box from the costume shop that is sitting on Pete's desk. He rips the lid off and peers inside, immediately questioning, "What is this? Rose, this is not Santa's costume!"
Rose tries not to laugh while she admits, "No, it's St. Bob's costume."
He pulls the costume out of the box and holds it up to the light in hopes that it will make it appear less hideous. It doesn't. The Doctor's eyes rove over a purple velvet jumpsuit with a matching hat and brown leather trench coat. However, it is the white cowboy boots with rhinestones that really pull it all together. The Doctor groans in dismay and whinges, "I'm going to look like a pimp."
Rose bites down on her lip to maintain her composure. She knows that one wrong word and the Doctor will immediately fall back to his old habits and run. Rose protests, "No, no, not at all. It's very eye catching." His eyebrow arches as he looks at her and she responds, "Seriously. Besides, you know how you love to be the center of attention."
To add insult to injury, Jack asks, "Didn't Janis Joplin have a coat like this?"
Donna scolds, "Oh, come on Spaceman! Do it for the kid. You don't want to ruin his Chri-"
The Doctor suddenly shouts, "Shut up!" as he points his finger at Donna and then repeats it twice more as he points at Jack and Rose for good measure. He stares at the hat in his hands and asks, "If this isn't a pimp hat then why is there a feather in it?"
Jack replies, "That's the plume that he uses to write up his naughty and nice list!"
The Doctor peers into the bottom of the box and asks incredulously, "And what in Rassilon's name is this?"
Donna smiles brightly, "That's his ginger handlebar moustache and goatee."
The Doctor's gaze shoots daggers at Rose who merely shrugs and reminds him, "Well, you always said that you've always wanted to be ginger."
Jack's voice forces him to focus on the task at hand. "Okay Doc, let's get you suited up!"
With a resigned sigh, the Doctor allows himself to be outfitted in the most garish outfit ever that will bring the character of St. Bob to life for his favorite soon-to-be brother- in- law.
****Twenty Minutes Later****
Rose leans out the window to questions the Doctors' sanity. "I still don't understand why you have to come through the window."
The Doctor replies, "Because Rose, I'm going for authenticity here."
"Then why don't you climb up on the roof and come down the chimney?" inquires Jack.
"Really?" asks an astonished Doctor. "Out of all the Christmas traditions that aren't the same, that's the one that remains? Unlike me of course, in the instance that I fall to my death because I don't regenerate anymore or if I merely die of embarrassment from being seen in this outfit. Now, somebody call Tony so that he can see me climbing through the window."
Rose attempts to reason with him one last time. "You could just walk into the living room and surprise him, Doctor."
The Doctor refuses to entertain the very thought and insists, "No, this will be far more spectacular for him. I must make an entrance!"
One last worried glance thrown towards the Doctor leaves Rose with no choice but to comply. She walks over and opens the door and calls out down the hall, "Tony! I think I hear St. Bob in the den!"
The Doctor has to hop a few times before he can clear the window ledge and start hauling himself through the window. Halfway through he realizes that he can't move and yelps, "I'm stuck! Help pull me through!"
Donna grouses, "How can a skinny little streak of nothing like you be stuck? I wouldn't have thought that we even needed to open the window. We could've just slid you through the cracks in the sill."
The Doctor growls, "I'm caught on something outside, alright? Help me!"
Jack soothes, "Okay! Okay! Now quit struggling before you damage the suit!"
The Doctor looks up in annoyance and sneers, "Oh by all means, let's not damage the precious suit! Elton John might need to borrow it for his next tour!"
Rose and Jack are just starting to unhook his coat pocket from the outside of the window ledge when Tony bursts into the room with a huge grin plastered on his face. Unfortunately it falls as quickly as the Doctor's handlebar moustache and goatee fall off of his face during the struggle to make it through the window. Tony bursts into tears crying, "There's no St. Bob! It's just the Doctor! There's no St. Bob!"
Tony nearly knocks Jackie down as he races past her as she enters the room. She is completely mystified and questions, "What happened?" All eyes turn to the Doctor who is fighting to make it through the window on his own. She takes in the scene around her and realizes instantly what has caused Tony's distress.
Everyone backs away as Jackie marches over to the Doctor and knocks off his hat and pulls his head up by the hair. She shouts, "What'd you go and do that for? SLAP! You broke his heart! SLAP!"
"Ow! Ow! Stop it!" howls the Doctor.
Jackie spins on her heel and storms out of the room. Her screeches of, "Pete! Help me find Tony! The Doctor's just ruined Christmas!" continue to echo down the hall long after she has left.
The Doctor fists his hair in both hands while hollering, "Arrggghhhh! I am not ruining Christmas! Moments later, the Doctor's anger is spent and is replaced with defeat. He slumps across the windowsill like a deflated balloon and asks, "Will someone please get me out of here?"
Jack's gaze is full of sympathy and just a hint of mischief as he states, "Of course, Doc. Just give me one more second."
Suspicious, the Doctor's head flies up as he demands, "For what?"
Rose covers her mouth with her hand to try and smother her laughter while Donna simply lets out a loud guffaw. The Doctor squeaks, "Jack! What are you doing?"
"Easy, Doc!" crows Jack as he presses the buttons on his cell phone. "I'm just sending it out to my friends and family. We've been so busy at Torchwood lately that I haven't been able to go out and shop for the perfect Christmas card to send out to everyone." His grin is pure evil. "That is, until now."
The Doctor is somehow able to pout and glare at Jack at the same time. His attention is drawn towards Donna when she muses, "Look at him. With all the candy that he stuffed himself with earlier, he's like a big Gallifreyan piñata."
The Doctor goes still when Donna's gaze searches the room and she casually inquires, "Has anyone seen Tony's new cricket bat?"
The Doctor's eyes widen into the size of saucers as he reasons, "I'm only half Gallifreyan, Donna!"
"That's okay," taunts Donna. "I know which half that I'll be hitting."
Arms and legs start flailing around in blind panic as the Doctor wails, "Rose!"
As Jack and Rose quickly pull the Doctor through the window before Donna can make good on her threat, Pete pokes his head through the door and informs Jack that his parents have just arrived.
He looks over at the Doctor and gives him a true sympathetic smile and consoles, "Don't worry about Tony, Doctor. He's fine now. Apparently, the Brig had a St. Bob costume in the boot of his car all along. Tony's with him now." He turns to Jack and says, "I'd hurry if I were you, Jack. Your parents are very anxious to see you."
"Will do, Mr. Tyler," assures Jack. "Please tell them that I'll be right there."
Rose asks, "Your uncle keeps a St. Bob's costume in his car?"
"Yeah," replies Jack. "He used to wear it down at the shelter that I volunteered at when he came to visit. He would entertain the kids for hours. He's really good at it, Tony's really lucky to have him play St. Bob."
"Wait a minute," interrupts the Doctor. "If he's had that costume all of this time, then why am I stuck wearing this monstrosity?"
Jack responds, "Hey! I did offer up Uncle Alastair's services and he was more than willing to do it. It was Mrs. Tyler who insisted that you had to be the one to play the part. She said that it would be funnier that way."
Seeing that the Doctor has reached his breaking point, Donna pulls Jack towards the door and suggests, "Jack, why don't you introduce me to your parents?"
"Okay!" grins Jack. He grabs her hand and drags her through the door. "I told them all about you! They're going to love you!"
Once they're alone, the Doctor and Rose just stare at each other although Rose's stare is more intense. "What?" asks the Doctor in confusion.
Rose answers, "Oh, I was just thinking about when you wore the brown and blue suits and the tux."
The Doctor prods, "Yeah, what about them?"
Rose states, "I was thinking about how there wasn't a suit that you wore that didn't leave me feeling breathless." He looks very smug as she gives him the once over. "But now I think you've met your match."
The Doctor ruefully takes in his own appearance and opines, "You know, a match wouldn't be such a bad idea right now. Oh! And some lighter fluid too." He sighs. "Well, what can you expect? I'm afraid that jumpsuits were designed more for men like Elvis, astronauts and the Six Million Dollar Man. He shudders as he looks down at himself one last time. "Now help me get out of this fancy dress before Ziggy Stardust wants his costume back."
To be continued…