To End Up Here
Jackie held Pete's face between her hands, tears suddenly forming in her eyes and threatening to overflow. "Oh my God, it's really you isn't it?" He nodded, letting it gradually sink in for himself. "I mean Rose said it was you, and I don't know, I could feel it, but I didn't know how it could possibly be you; I still don't, but it's you. You're my Pete."
"And you're my Jackie." He pulled her into a cuddle, letting her press her face into his shoulder as he pressed his into her hair. "The Jackie I've been missing all these years. You're real." He squeezed her tighter. "You're actually real."
She nodded against him. "'Course I'm real."
"Thought I'd made you up, thought my life here had driven me so mad that I'd lost my mind and made it all up."
Jackie exhaled with a laugh, nestling into him. "No."
"But I mean…" He seemingly lost his train of thought. "Oh my God."
She sat back from him, looking him in the eye. "What?"
"I have a family." He looked slightly stunned. She nodded with a smile. "An actual family that loves me."
"Yeah." She wiped the tears from her eyes. "Yeah we do."
He drew her closer, tenderly kissing her for a brief moment. "Sorry." She pressed her thumb to his bottom lip, shaking her head as she cupped his cheek and gently pulled him back in for a kiss. "I love you so much Jackie."
She pressed her face up against his, squeezing her eyes shut. "I love you, Pete Tyler."
He guided her lips back to his. "Are you crying?"
She nodded. "Yeah." His concern brought a smile to her face. "Because I'm so happy." She hugged him close again. "'Cause I've missed you, so so much, there was never anyone else even when they tried so hard to make me move on, no one ever came close to you to get past a forced date, I just, oh I've missed you." She pressed her face into his neck.
He cradled her head against him. "And for the record the parallel Jackie never lived up to you either; she just wasn't you, she never loved me, I doubt she even liked me except for the fact I had money." He blinked back the tears in his eyes. "I've spent the last twenty years yearning for you, just craving you in my life, and Rose."
"Oh, sweetheart." She squeezed him tighter, sitting up straighter so she could reach to kiss him. "You've got me now, got us both, and I'm never letting you go again."
"Jacks, love, I'm so sorry." He pressed a kiss to her forehead. "I wish there had been some other way. I didn't want to put you through that but I had to; you had to survive to raise Rose. I did it for you, because I love you both so much; I had no idea that I'd be so lucky to end up here with you."
Jackie kissed him firmly, tears in her eyes; she didn't fully understand what he was saying but he was so emotional and had so much love for them that she just didn't care. "I love you." She smiled as he brushed the tears from her cheeks. "I'm so sorry if you ever doubted that I loved you, 'cause I never ever stopped. And I'm sorry for being so difficult and irrational but I was just worried about our future and money because we had Rose, and God knows I feel horrible for the things I said 'cause I was so stupidly insecure and didn't feel attractive what with having a baby and everything. Oh I was so horrible to you, I picked the most wonderful man in the Universe and I treated him badly."
"Hey, no, Jackie, no." He raised a hand to her cheek. "You're exaggerating things in your head because you feel guilty, but I don't know why." He shook his head, lightly stroking the side of her face. "I mean yeah you were infuriating and completely crazy but that's just you, that's part of the Jackie I've always loved. I know you were worried and I'm sorry that I wasn't around more to reassure you that you were beautiful because my God you always are, but I had to work, I was desperate to earn a living to support you and Rose and if that left you terrified that I was playing away then I am so sorry but I never did, I didn't and I wouldn't. I love you with all my heart, always have; you were the best wife I could have asked for, still are, I never doubted your love for me; you made me laugh, you made me feel loved, you married me even though I was rubbish at proposing and even messed up the ceremony; you're my beautiful wife who gave me exactly what I'd always wanted, a family; you gave me our beautiful baby girl and that showed me you loved me. You're perfect; there was never a single moment when I would have changed you for anything."
"Yeah." He nodded. "And please, please don't tell me you tortured yourself for all those years."
"No, not at all." She shook her head, trying to control her emotions. "But thank you so much for the last few moments we had together before I lost you, I needed that reassurance that we were happy and in love and that you knew I loved you. If I hadn't had that then yeah I would have felt so guilty; if the last thing I'd ever said to you had been horrible it would have killed me. It was only having Rose that got me through as it was." She wrapped her arms around him, pulling him closer as she closed her eyes, tears dampening her cheeks. He softly feathered kisses across her skin, waiting for her emotions to calm. She smiled, gently raising a hand to his face and lightly stroking his ear, making him smile. "Oh I'm sorry Pete, I don't know where any of that came from, it just came flooding out." She began to cry.
He shook his head, delicately running his thumb across her cheek and drawing her in for a kiss. "Oh Jacks." He pulled her into his arms, holding her head against his chest and continuously rubbing her back. "You're amazing, you know that? I love you so much, and you know our love, your love got me through the past twenty years, if it can do that then it will get us through anything." He pressed a kiss to the side of her head. "If we can survive twenty years apart and come out like this then everything else will be easy. I am never gonna stop loving you."
"Oh I love you, Pete." She slipped her arms around his middle and squeezed him. "I can hardly believe we missed out on so much time together. I'd say it's not fair but then who else has had a second chance like this?"
He softly laughed, stroking her hair away from her face. "I know, but I'd rather have to wait twenty years for another forty with you than not have it at all."
She nodded. "Me too, but it breaks my heart for you that you missed out on so much of Rose's life, her whole childhood. You would have been a brilliant dad to her."
"And I still can be, I will be." He strained to press a kiss to her forehead. "I'm going to do everything I can to support her, including helping her get back to the Doctor. I don't want our happiness to be at the cost of hers."
Jackie shook her head, tears pricking her eyes again. "Me neither."
He cuddled her closer. "And I don't know how she'll do it, but when she does maybe it'll let us go back with her, or maybe he can come here. And if not then I'd rather know she was out there somewhere, safe and happy than have her be miserable."
"Yeah, I know what you mean, but I still don't want to lose her, I love her so much. There are so many wonderful stories I'm going to tell you."
"Can't wait." He rubbed her back. "But you'll see, everything will work out in the end, we're gonna be a happy family, all of us; just like you deserve."
Jackie let her eyes drift shut, unable to keep the smile from her face. "You always know just the right thing to say. My wonderful Pete."
He eased her away from him so they were face to face, the bridge of his nose pressing against her brow. "Jacqueline Tyler, I love you, you incredible woman. You're the love of my life; you and Rose are my world. Will you marry me?"
She softly laughed, her breath tickling his neck. "I already have."
"Here, in this universe, again I mean, renew our vows? Please, I want to do this for you. I want to show the world how much you mean to me, declare how strong our love is. I'm not saying anything big, just the people we're close to that would understand all this, maybe Rose can be your sort of maid of honour."
She raised her left hand to his cheek to maintain the intimacy. "Of course I will." She smiled as she watched him take her hand from his face, gently slipping a sparkling ring into place beside her others. "Pete it's beautiful." She marvelled at the way it slotted in perfectly with her engagement ring almost making them look like just one.
"Not compared to you."
She laughed, tilting her head up to kiss him. "When did you even find the time to get this?"
"I have my ways when it matters." He grinned as she gripped his shirt collar and pulled him into a kiss.
"Thank you." She kissed him again. "I love it, I love you."
He wrapped his arms tightly round her, kissing her as he gently lifted her and laid her down on the bed. "Jackie." He began to press kisses along her jaw line before returning to her lips. "I love you." He ran his hand along the curve of her waist, pressing his lips to hers.
"Pete." She slipped an arm round his neck, coaxing him closer to deepen the kiss. Gradually he withdrew, pressing a lingering kiss to her neck, her lips ghosting against his ear. "Please. I need this."
He smiled against her skin. "Patience, love."
Jackie ran her hands down his chest, reaching for the buttons on his shirt. "Please Pete, it's been too long." She pushed her hands up under his shirt, rubbing her palms across his body and onto his back. "I need to feel your skin against mine." She slid her arms tighter around him, holding him to her.
His lips curled upwards against hers as he kissed her; it had been just as long for him but he was going to savour the moment, take his time with her. "So beautiful, Jackie." He brushed her hair away from her face, gazing down at her for a moment. "My beautiful wife."
"And I need my husband."
Her words made his skin tingle. He was finally back where he belonged; with her, his Jackie who was his true love and truly loved him, Jackie who was every bit his wife instead of only on paper. Jackie that had given him a family and whose love had given him the strength and hope to persevere in a life he hated. For the first time in twenty years he was home.