A/N: This is basically another Shipwrecked-type story, a bit of an introspection into Jackie and the Doctor relationship and how it changed between Nine and Ten. It's 7.3k words, split into two parts of 4k words and 3k words. Is it just me or do other people actually find this kind of thing interesting? :P
The Doctor felt like a bit of an idiot.
It was Boxing Day on Earth, 2005. He'd just regenerated and was still a little under the weather with regeneration sickness, so when Jackie and Rose had mentioned going out for something called 'Boxing Day Sales' he'd naively assumed it was a good way to get out of the house for a bit and get some air in his lungs.
But it wasn't until he was standing in the middle of Woolworths two hours later being pushed and shoved by absolutely hundreds of Boxing Day bargain hunters did he realise exactly what he'd just got himself into.
He'd lost Rose and Jackie in the throng of human heads ages ago, and was feeling a little bit like a 5-year-old boy who'd lost his mummy. He'd discovered so far that this body was not designed for this Boxing Sales malarkey, as he'd already been crushed against the shelves twice and had had his foot run over by a woman with a toddler in a pram.
He was still getting used to the reach and grasp of his brand new limbs, which normally he would work out slowly and easily over a few days, but in this environment falling over was becoming as frequent as breathing, and it was just beginning to be a bit embarrassing, frankly.
After a few minutes of intense concentration he managed to make it out of the shop door, tumbling onto the floor of the shopping centre and trying to get some breath back.
"Bloody hell," a voice came from above him, Jackie Tyler. "What's wrong with you?"
"That..." he pointed at Woolworths, still on the floor. "Is that... normal?"
Jackie laughed at him. "You've never done Boxin' Day sales before have ya?"
"Oh Mum, leave him alone," Rose said with a giggle, helping him up.
The Doctor brushed his brand new suit and coat down before looking at them both. "Is that it? Is that the end?" he almost pleaded.
"Almost. We're just gonna go to Topshop," Jackie told him. "Then maybe H&M, then we'll get some food, look in Monsoon then a coupla charity shops..."
The Doctor stared at her. "How is that 'almost'?"
"Oh, stop bloody complainin', you didn't 'ave to come!" Jackie told him sternly, shoving all her shopping bags into his hands for him to carry. "Now 'old these, I need the bog."
"Great," the Doctor muttered as Jackie strode off through the crowd. He glanced at Rose who was giggling at his expense. He pulled a face back. He was sure his Ninth body wouldn't have taken this kind of attitude... This body was turning out to be a pushover. He wasn't sure he liked that.
He and Rose followed Jackie through the crowd until they got to the toilets. Jackie breezed straight in, Rose shortly following, leaving the Doctor with all the bags outside.
"Bit of a queue," Jackie told him, picking up the bags when she came out. "She's gonna be a while."
The Doctor didn't even acknowledge that, just sighing and leaning against the wall. Then suddenly he froze, his eyes snapping across the shopping centre, widening...
Then Jackie watched, as quite casually, he ducked behind a large plant.
"What the bloody..." she began, really quite surprised.
"Shhh!" the Doctor interrupted, crouching on the floor. "Don't look at me!"
"God, you're weird," Jackie muttered, hands on hips as she looked across the shopping centre where he'd been looking... And instantly notice a crowd of people that were standing out from the others by appearance alone, black suits and ties, sunglasses... It looked like some sort of Mafia, walking slowly, precisely, heads scanning around the area.
"Is that security?" Jackie asked seriously, looking back at him. "What the hell did ya do?"
"Shh, it's not Security... Don't look at me!"
"Doctor!" Jackie hissed, trying not to raise her voice. "If I don't get a bloody answer now..."
"Shut up!" the Doctor yelled, utterly frustrated.
"Don't you tell me to shut up you little..."
"Jackie!" the Doctor practically squeaked. "They're not security, they're aliens using a disguise, they're called Chronodores..."
Jackie frowned, thinking about that. "Didn't they sing 'Three Times A Lady?'" she mused.
"Jackie, please, please, please stop looking at me and stop talking to me!"
"Fine," Jackie said with a sigh, looking back at the weird alien Mafia men. Then she frowned slightly. "Doctor..."
"No, Doctor... They're lookin' at us..."
"Are they coming towards us?"
"JACKIE!" he screamed in a whisper.
"Um... oh, yeah they are."
And suddenly without even realising it, Jackie Tyler found herself running, weighed down with bags and bags of shopping as the Doctor grabbed her arm and yanked her back in the direction of Woolworths. She pulled her arm out of his hand, but he wasn't having any of it. He got hold of it again and pulled her staggering in her high heels towards River Island... Or more precisely the staff only access door to the right of it. They hit the door and the Doctor desperately scrabbled in his jacket pocket, bringing out that blue pen thing of his...
He looked over his shoulder, and his eyes widened. Jackie managed a glance and to her complete alarm the Mafia aliens were running towards them, reaching inside their jackets and pulling out weird alien guns...
"Jackie!" the Doctor yelled and pulled her in the door, slamming it shut behind them. He raised his blue pen thing to the lock, but the door was already opening, so he grabbed her again and dragged her down the stairwell. She truly didn't know what was happening as she struggled not to fall on every step, the bags and bags of shopping making progress quite difficult.
"Leave the bags!" the Doctor yelled.
"No bloody way, I've got a genuine Ted Baker in 'ere!" she yelled back, and the Doctor groaned in exasperation, pulling her down the flights again as the footsteps sounded quite close behind them...
"Shoot him!" the alien yelled, and there was a strange high-tech warping sound near her left ear and a flash of green light. For a moment she thought she'd been shot in the head, but then suddenly it felt like the side of her face was on fire from the sheer heat of the laser beam that had passed by. She froze on the spot, paralysed by fear, just in time to see the Doctor duck and the laser hit the wall just behind his head. It exploded on impact, the wall instantly covered in a torrent of flames.
"Jackie!" the Doctor shrieked, darting back to her and grabbing her arm, yanking her abruptly back to reality as she stumbled and found herself being dragged to the next flight of stairs.
There was another warp and streak of green light, and suddenly the Doctor's hand let go of her arm. It took a moment for her to realise, but she saw him began to stagger backwards. Then she began to wonder why exactly the Doctor was screaming at her. She was bloody doing what he asked, wasn't she? What a rude, obnoxious little...
No, wait, he wasn't screaming at her. He was screaming in pain.
As soon as the realisation hit her it felt like all the breath had been instantaneously sucked out of her lungs. Then cliché was bang on as suddenly everything went into slow-motion, and she could do nothing but stand there glued to the spot, watching helplessly as the Doctor stumbled, lost his footing and fell backwards down the stairs, tumbling down until he ended up at the bottom in a crumpled heap, not moving an inch.
Jackie looked at the pursuing aliens, who were standing there metres away, their guns held to her face.
Then she did probably the only thing she could have possibly done in that situation.
She screamed a very loud scream, and fainted clean away.
When Jackie came to, she could hear a small voice calling her name. For a moment she wondered where she was, and then everything hit home like a hammer in the face. She sat up, wide-eyed and alarmed.
"Jackie..." the Doctor's voice whined quietly. "Jackie, please answer me..."
"Doctor?" she asked, a breath caught in her throat as she struggled to her feet to move to the stairs, looking down.
The Doctor was lying there in a pool of blood, barely conscious, breathing heavily. His head was turned to look up to her through drooped eyelids, but with every millimetre of moment deep, pained groans were rattling out of his throat. His eyes fixed on her, and he almost seemed to sigh with relief.
"Jackie..." he said again. "You're okay?"
She nodded quickly and tottered as fast as she could down the stairs in her high heels, completely forgetting about the bags and bags of shopping. She reached him lying there so wounded; so helpless.
"Please don't die," Jackie pleaded seriously, her heart racing in her chest. "What do I do? D'you need something alien? Like shampoo? I bought some shampoo!"
"Help me," he croaked. "Stop the bleeding."
She nodded again, running back up the stairs to retrieve some of the bags. She went back down and set them on the floor, rummaging through until she found the Ted Baker top and pulled it out. Without a further thought, she pressed it to the bloody area of the Doctor's stomach. He sucked in a pained gasp through gritted teeth before managing to get a hand on the top, holding it in place.
Jackie drew her hand away, rummaging through her handbag for her phone. She was about to dial 999 when she remembered what Rose had said before...
"Who do I phone?" Jackie asked him quickly. "Have you got like... a space ambulance thing I can call? Have they got a number?"
"No," the Doctor croaked. "Phone Rose."
She nodded quickly, and speed-dialled Rose, trying to work out what she was going to say as it rang.
"Mum?" Rose's voice asked. "Where are you? Are you with the Doctor?"
"Sweetheart..." Jackie began, looking at the Doctor lying there barely able to keep his eyes open. "Please don't panic."
"What?" Rose asked, instantly panicked. "What is it? Why am I not panickin'?"
"Sweetheart... There were these alien things, they chased after us, they had these laser thing guns..."
"Mum!" Rose cried in the pause. "What's goin' on?"
"Rose, love... the Doctor's been shot."
"WHAT?" Rose shrieked down the phone. "Oh my god, is he dead?"
"No," Jackie said quickly, looking at the Doctor lying there, gesturing to use the phone. She nodded. "Hold on, love, he wants to speak to you."
She pressed the phone to his ear before the Doctor spoke as strongly as he could.
"Doctor? You've been shot? Are you okay? Where are you?"
"Rose, listen to me, you need to get out of the shopping centre. The Chronodores are back and they're looking for us. I think they assumed I was dead, but they'll be looking for you. Get out and hide."
"Doctor!" Rose wailed. "Are you okay?"
"I'll be fine," he assured her. "It's not bad. Just get out, give it a few hours then come back. Bring Mickey when you come back, and a car."
"Okay. But you're all right, yeah?"
"Fine," he replied, even though it felt like the inside of his entire torso was on fire. "Just go, get away from here."
"Okay, just... don't die again, okay? Bye."
"Bye," he said, and Jackie pulled away the phone.
"Rose? Rose. Don't worry, I'll look after him all right? We'll see ya around 2ish," she said down the phone, and then hung up before looking back at the Doctor. She checked the bleeding, but couldn't tell if it had stopped or not.
"Can you move?" she asked, almost hesitantly.
He whined and grunted with the effort, but managed to roll onto his back. She drew off the bloody Ted Baker top, before pushing aside his coat and reached up to unbutton his jacket and shirt, to which he whined and tried to resist.
"Doctor, I've seen it all already, love," she told him gently.
"You know this body better than I do," the Doctor muttered, and stopped resisting. Jackie smiled, and it was somehow like a breath of fresh air that the Doctor had actually made a joke in his current state. Instantly she knew he wasn't mortally wounded, and relaxed a little.
"Can't see a bloody thing," she complained, trying to mop away the blood with the Ted Baker top but getting nowhere.
"Right coat pocket," he grunted in reply. "Should be some wipes."
She nodded and reached inside, and instantly pulled away and shrieked in alarm as her arm seemed to disappear completely into a space that completely contradicted what her eyes were seeing.
"Bigger on the inside," the Doctor told her with a weak smile.
"Bloody hell, shoulda guessed," she said, rolling her eyes before putting in her arm again and rummaging around within. "But I'll tell ya what else, your blood is red!"
"So?" the Doctor asked seriously.
"I thought it'd be a weird alien colour," Jackie confessed. "Like green or purple. Or is it even called blood? Or d'ya have another name for it? Like... Umm..."
"No, it's blood," the Doctor replied before she could get any further. "And yes, it's red."
She pulled out the wipes, and began to wipe away the blood to increasingly reveal what looked like a hole. She felt a little sick looking at it, so she covered it up with the top as it was still bleeding.
"Check my ankle," the Doctor said, wincing. "I think I might've sprained it in the fall."
She nodded and carefully reached down to untie the shoelaces and slip off the shoe, accompanied with groans from the Time Lord. Even before she could see it she know it was sprained, swollen and reddish-purple in colour with some minor bruising.
"What do I do?" she asked anxiously.
"Wrap it in some kind of cloth," the Doctor grunted. "Then prop it up on something."
Jackie did exactly that, wrapping the scarf she'd bought around the foot before placing it on a bag filled with soft things.
"There," she said.
"Good job," the Doctor replied, barely able to muster the energy to look at her. "Okay, this next bit, I need you to be really calm. I need you to roll me on my side, and check to see whether the laser went clean through and out the other side. Can you do that for me?"
She took a breath and nodded, putting one arm around his chest and one under his head to pull him towards her. She counted to three, took another affirming breath, and rolled him onto his side.
The Doctor cried out in pain, shaking in her arms. She tried to ignore it and leant over to check his back, then as quickly and as carefully as she could she rolled him back, where he groaned and closed his eyes for a long moment.
"There's a hole and blood, so I reckon it went through," Jackie told him. "Is that good?"
The Doctor didn't answer the question directly. "I've lost a lot of blood. It's missed any major organs, though. It's going to take a few days for me to get working again."
"That's all right, sweetheart," Jackie assured him. "Bed's already made up. Bad luck you're havin' recently though."
The Doctor couldn't help but smile at that. "I suppose so," he replied.
There was a momentary pause. The Doctor knew what the question was going to be before she even realised she was going to ask it.
"How did you die?"
The Doctor looked at her, and she looked back at him. There was another slight pause.
"I mean," Jackie began in clarification. "Last thing I really said to Rose... That you just wanted her to be safe, that opening the panel thingy wasn't gonna work. I told her to lock the door and walk-away. But then she started sayin' about her Dad, how she met him... and I got... angry at her, you know? I didn't believe her. But then I thought about it and it made sense."
The Doctor nodded, understandingly. "... How did she get the panel open?"
"She and Mickey, they were tryin' to use Mickey's car with a chain to force it open," she told him. "But his car wasn't heavy enough. So after I thought about her Dad, I got a big yellow truck, we hooked it on, pulled it open... Then the doors slammed shut and I didn't see her until Christmas, and you with your different face. What 'appened?"
The Doctor fell silent again.
"Look, I've told my story so now tell yours," she told him seriously, a little bit annoyed.
"Okay," the Doctor replied quickly. "Well... I was all linked up and ready to destroy all living things in radius to stop the Dalek fleet killing everyone in the Universe. They'd killed everyone in the tower and finally got to the top where I was... I had a lever to push. That was all I needed to do. Push a lever. But... I couldn't bring myself to push it. I was ready to die, I'd accepted it. Then suddenly there's the TARDIS, the doors burst open and Rose was standing there lit up with the vortex. She'd looked into the vortex and absorbed it..."
"What does that mean?" Jackie asked quietly.
"No one's meant to have that power. She could takes atoms and break them apart with a wave of her hand, she could have done anything she liked, she could've destroyed the entire universe with a click of her fingers. But she didn't. She turned the Daleks to dust and brought our friend back to life. She told me... She just wanted me safe." He smiled weakly at that, pausing before he began once more. "So human, beautifully human, all that power and she only cared about saving me and ending the War. And she did."
"Then what?" Jackie prompted the next portion of the story.
"... Absorbing the vortex was killing her, burning her inside, and she didn't want to let go. So... I took the power out of her before it could kill her, put it back into the TARDIS... But it started killing all of the cells in my body. I didn't have time to explain about regeneration. I changed, but it went wrong, I couldn't stop myself... I crashed the TARDIS in London on Christmas Eve. Then... I think you know what happened from there."
There was a pause, and it took the Doctor moment to realise there was silence. He looked up at her, and she was just staring at him with wide eyes.
"You..." Jackie began, barely able to get the words out. "You... died for Rose?"
"I didn't have a choice," the Doctor replied simply.
"Yes, you did," she told him, then leant forward to kiss his cheek. "Thank you."
The Doctor offered a smile. "No problem."
There was another brief pause between them as Jackie considered.
"You really love her, don't you?" Jackie realised, more of a statement than a question.
The Doctor completely ignored what she said, looking around the stairwell. "It's quiet in here."
"Doctor," Jackie said sternly.
There was yet another pause.
"Look," she began, repositioning herself to sit crossed-leg next to him. "I might not be Einstein but I'm not thick, I know love when I see it. She did everythin' she could to save ya. She loves you, Doctor. And you gave your life for 'er. You love 'er."
The Doctor licked his lips to try and moisten them finally looking up at her. "I think I'm a 900-year-old alien and she's a 19-year-old human."
Jackie's eyes widened. "You do love her."
"All right, I won't make you say it. It can be our little secret, right?" she said, smiling smally. "... Does Rose know you died for 'er?"
"No, removing the vortex wiped it all from her memory."
"And you haven't told her?"
"She'll feel like she owes me something."
"She owes you 'er life," she told him seriously, then thought some more about what she'd just said. "I owe you 'er life."
"Neither of you owe me anything," he replied seriously. "You've looked after me these past few days, all of you, Mickey included. If I had to do that on my own I'd probably still be in a coma. The regeneration went wrong, everything could've easily backfired if I didn't have people to care for me."
Jackie paused for a moment before she replied, gazing at him. "You're an alien," was all she said.
"You just realised?" the Doctor wondered, a little sarcastically.
"No, I mean, your other body... He was always pretty alien, but so far this one is just... You had Christmas dinner with us, he wouldn't even stay for dinner," she said, then frowned. "Sorry, it's 'ard to explain."
The Doctor nodded, he knew what she meant. "After I regenerate I usually cling onto the first things I encounter... Like a chick imprinting on a mother hen. The first things I got with this regeneration were tea, humans and pyjamas. You're not getting those pyjamas back, by the way."
Jackie laughed. "That's okay," she said. "Well, we've got some time to kill, tell me a bit about yourself."
"What?" the Doctor asked, caught off guard.
"I don't know anythin' about you... I don't think anyone does, right?"
The Doctor's brow furrowed. "Jackie, please, I don't... I just..."
"Keep things inside?" Jackie completed quietly.
"Yeah," the Doctor answered.
"I know," Jackie said, nodding a little. "I did that with Pete. Everyone was sayin' I'm sorry for your loss and I was just feelin' guilty about it. Last words I said to him..." She paused, thinking about that. "Well, I won't say. But what I learnt was I guess you don't really miss things until they're gone."
The Doctor nodded slowly. "That's it... exactly."
"But I think you need to let some things out," Jackie continued. "Maybe not to me... Maybe to Rose? She's a good listener."
"I know," was all the Doctor replied.
Jackie looked at him some more, realising. "Can't convince you can I?"
"No," the Doctor replied, smiling a little.
"What do you know about her?" Jackie suddenly wondered.
"What do you know about Rose's past?" she clarified.
"Not much," the Doctor admitted. "Bits and pieces, I suppose."
"So the name Jimmy Stone means nothin' to you?"
"No?" the Doctor replied in a question, looking at her enquiringly.
"Who's he?" he asked.
Jackie paused, looking at the floor before continuing. "I think you need to find that out from her. We've all got our secrets, Doctor, even Rose. And I know every secret we keep hurts a little bit more inside, alien or human."
The Doctor nodded, taking note of the name before moving on. "Though you're all the aliens to me, you know."
Jackie nodded. "What's the name of your planet?" she wondered.
"That's a nice name," Jackie supposed.
"It was a nice planet," was all the Doctor replied.
"Was?" Jackie echoed.
He looked at her and smiled slightly. "Secrets."
She smiled in return, resting a hand on his arm. "I understand."
But before they could get any further, there was a sudden sound from above – a door opening.
"Someone's comin'," Jackie practically squeaked, suddenly alarmed.
"Shh," the Doctor replied quickly, finger on his lips. They waited for a moment, just listening to the footsteps move down the stairs towards them. But thankfully a flight up there came the sound of a door opening, and the footsteps disappeared.
"That was close," Jackie breathed.
"Too close," the Doctor agreed. "Here." He groaned a little as he moved his arm to his jacket pocket, reaching in pulling out the sonic screwdriver, holding it out to her. "Press down this button and hold this end against every door, it'll lock them."
Jackie nodded, taking the strange blue whirly device before turning back to the bags, rummaging through her purse. "I'm gonna get some food. Are you hungry?" she asked.
"A bit," he confessed. "It'll help as well. Watch out for the Chronodores."
She nodded. "Well stay here, don't move, I'll do this door lock thing and get somethin' to eat," she said, getting to her feet before she realised the front of her hoody and her hands were covered in blood. She took off the hoody and tried to wipe her hands off the best she could, and then left.