Set in the SwitchVerse.
"Jackie love, for God's sake don't fight me on this."
"I know. I know it's not ideal and it wasn't meant to happen like this but just get in the lifeboat."
"I'm not going without you."
"We don't have time to fight about this, yes you are." He lifted her up, sitting her on the side of the ship. "Look, it's going to be alright, we're all gonna be just fine. Trust me on this." He gave her a smile. "We'll get to the TARDIS and meet you on land." He held her face in his hands. "Look after Rose and Tony. I love you." He kissed her then lifted her to get her into the rowing boat, sitting her down before he picked up his son, cuddling him as he hugged him back. "I love you so much Tony, so, so much." He pressed a kiss to his nose. "Be good for your mum."
Tony nodded, blue eyes staring up into his. "Love you too."
Pete smiled, lowering him onto Jackie's lap, then turned to Rose. "And you Rose, I love you." He kissed her cheek. "Look after your mum for me. We both know she needs it."
She hugged him, smiling. "Yeah I will, I love you Dad." She let him go, grabbing the Doctor's hand and pulling him to her. "I love you; wish I was coming with you."
"I know, but you know this is for the best, you need to make sure Jackie and Tony are okay and I want to keep you safe, we don't know how much water the TARDIS is under."
Jackie looked alarmed, reaching back towards them. "Pete! Come with us then!"
He leant over the edge of the ship, stroking her hair. "You know they won't let me. Don't worry about me. We'll see you soon."
The Doctor kissed Rose, then picked her up and put her in the lifeboat. "I love you." He turned, placing his hand on Pete's back to coax him away. "Come on."
"Doctor." Pete looked at him as they pushed through the crowds. "Do you remember where the TARDIS is?"
"Yeah. But she's a few floors down and I'm not sure how much water is down there yet. We need to hurry." He picked up the pace, checking his father in law was following suit. "Down here." Running down the stairs he shook the gates, plucking his sonic screwdriver from his pocket to unlock them. He could hear the water in the stairwell somewhere below them; it couldn't be more than a couple of floors away. "I think she's under, or at least partly under." When they reached the next floor the Doctor held up a hand, stopping Pete in his tracks. "Wait here, I'll swim down to her then come and get you."
He nodded, wishing he didn't have to ask. "And what if you don't find her? What if, what if you don't make it Doctor?"
"Wait ten minutes; if I don't make it then you do whatever it takes to get on a lifeboat, swim out to them if you have to just get back to your family, live a fantastic life." He looked down for a moment, fiddling with his sonic screwdriver. "And tell Rose that I love her and I'm sorry."
He nodded, watching him walk away until he was out of sight and he heard him begin to wade through the water. "Good luck!" Eight minutes later Pete was pacing around, watching the second hand tick on his watch, desperate to hear the whirr of the TARDIS' engines. He could see the water rising ridiculously fast and therefore so much faster than he had anticipated; it had risen a whole floor already and was lapping at his feet, much longer and he knew he'd be knee deep in freezing water and truth be told he didn't much fancy his chances if he was forced to swim out to a lifeboat. Even if they let him on, because he doubted he would find his family's boat, he would be soaked through and freezing while they were ages away from rescue. He knew that to stand a chance of surviving without the TARDIS he would by some miracle have to find his wife and children; they would keep him warm, awake and fighting long enough but he was dreading the thought of having to break the news to Rose. He didn't think he could bear to see her go through that again; to lose the love of her life but this time with no chance of a reunion. "Come on Doctor." He closed his eyes, holding his hands together like he was praying, trying to ignore the feeling of the water at his feet that was now at his ankles and beginning to make its way up his trousers. "Please."
He opened his eyes as he heard the familiar sound of the TARDIS's engines and saw her materialise a few metres way from him where the water was deeper. As the Doctor opened the door relief flooded through him, confirming that she hadn't just come on her own accord to save him. "That's not good." The Time Lord looked behind him as the water flooded in. "More freezing water, she's gonna kill me later."
Pete smiled, forgetting how cold he was as he looked at the Doctor's soaked figure. "Doctor."
"Come on then." He pulled the other door open. "Sorry old girl. Here Pete." He reached a hand out towards him, grinning as he grabbed hold of it, then pulled him in, helping him through the water that was beginning to surge around his waist. As Pete stepping inside the Doctor closed the doors, leaning against them to use his weight against the force of the water. "Safe and sound." He ran over to the jumpseat, picking up the blanket that lay across it and wrapped it round Pete's shoulders where he was collapsed on the floor. "You gonna be okay? Sorry I took so long."
He shook his head, shivering and trying to dry his legs with the end of the blanket. "That's okay. Just glad you made it. I'm freezing but I'll be fine."
"Good. We've just gotta give her a while to dry off then we can go and get everyone else."
Pete looked up at him, brow creased. "Are they gonna be alright? Please tell me they'll be okay, they'll make it."
"'Course they will. They've got plenty of layers and they're on a lifeboat, someone will be along soon to rescue them. They're gonna be fine."
"Doctor." He rubbed his legs, sucking air in through his teeth. "If anything happens to them."
"It won't." He flicked a switch on the TARDIS's console. "We put them on that lifeboat to keep them safe, because the water out there is freezing and there's no way we were going to risk them ending up in it; they're safe."
"How can you know that? How long are we going to have to wait? I have to know they're okay."
"I know that because you and Jackie are gonna have the rest of your lives together, because Tony is going to grow up and get married and you will get to see your grandchildren, and because me and Rose have forever." He walked across the console room to the corridor, stepping into the nearest room to grab another blanket; he could see Pete was shivering. "Look Pete, I know you worry, worry that you aren't good enough or don't look after them well enough but Jackie adores you, she wouldn't trade you for anything and Rose and Tony have the best dad in the Universe. Here." He tossed him the second blanket. "You just concentrate on warming up, they're safe. I can feel Rose in here." He touched a finger to his temple. "There's no intense fear or pain or sadness, she's calm and looking after her mum and brother. I promise they're safe."
"Just please." Pete wrapped the blanket round himself. "Please, Doctor." He brought his knees in closer. "Tell me we can go. I can't just sit here waiting. I can't leave them waiting. Take the TARDIS to them now, even if it puts us in the middle of the sea, do it."
"Mum you've got to calm down." Rose shuffled closer to her, stroking Tony's hair. "For him if for nothing else, you don't wanna scare him."
"How can you expect me to calm down? That's my husband out there."
"Yeah, and it's my husband, and my dad." She met her mother's gaze. "But you don't need to worry, they're gonna make it."
Jackie shook her head, watching her expression as she held Tony closer. "I know your dad is tough but if they can't make it to the TARDIS it's not being stuck here that I'm worried about, this water is freezing, and if they end up in it." She choked on her words. "If Pete ends up in the water then, then he's gonna freeze to death out there, alone. Alone."
"Mum." She nodded her head towards her brother; he was looking up at his mum, tears in his big blue eyes, frowning. "That's not gonna happen; they will get to the TARDIS and then come and get us. And even if they don't they are going to be fine."
She looked down at Tony, kissing his forehead and cuddling him closer. "Oh sweetheart, I'm sorry I didn't mean to scare you." She bit her lip to stop herself crying, guilt washing over her. "I love you." She held his face in her hands. "My beautiful boy I love you so much."
He sniffed. "Mummy? What's gonna happen? What about Daddy?"
"We're all going to be fine, that's what's going to happen." She held his head against her, repeatedly stroking his hair. "We're all gonna be just fine." She looked back up at Rose, slightly shaking her head.
"You're right." She smiled reassuringly. "Those two are the toughest men in the Universe. You know Dad will fight everything for you alone, let alone all three of us, he's gonna be fine. You just need to stop worrying; right now your little boy needs his mum."
"Thank you." She pressed a kiss to Tony's hair but didn't take her eyes off her. "The Doctor's going to be alright too Rose, I know he is."
She nodded. "I know, I believe in him."
"You first Rose." Jackie laid a hand on her daughter's back, encouraging her to stand. "I'll pass Tony up to you."
"Alright." Rose quickly edged closer to the edge of the boat, momentarily looking back at the others on the lifeboat. "Remember, as many as you can." She stood on her tiptoes and reached up towards the Doctor, knowing they needed to hurry because the TARDIS couldn't hover there for long. She grabbed hold of the Doctor's wrists as he grabbed hers, pulling her up until he could wrap an arm around her waist and she pushed herself up off the edge of the TARDIS. Once inside she lay down on the floor, reaching out of the door down towards the boat.
"I've got you." The Doctor held her round the waist, letting her reach further.
"Come on, pass him to me." Rose stretched as far as she could go, feeling increasingly agitated in knowing the time they had left was diminishing.
"Don't drop him." Jackie lifted him up to her, only letting go when she was satisfied that Rose had a good grip on him. She watched with increasing concern until Rose had him safely in her embrace, walking out of sight.
"Doctor, you alright with Mum? We need to get her in now."
"Yup." He turned away from her, letting her check over Tony as he reached down to his mother-in-law. "Jackie, trust me."
"You know I do, but how do I know you can get me up there? I don't even know if Pete's alright."
"I'm fine, love." Pete called out to her, eager to have her in the ship, safe. "I'm here, just get in, please." He looked up at Rose, concern displayed on his face even though she couldn't see him. Of course he was relieved that his children were safe but his wife was still out there and he didn't know what could happen to her if they didn't get her in the TARDIS straight away. "Come on Jackie, please."
She reached up towards the Doctor, hearing the slight shaking in her husband's voice, he sounded genuinely worried, terrified even or maybe something else, she couldn't put her finger on it. "Are you sure you can lift me?"
"Yes. For Pete's sake Jackie!" He smiled at his own bad pun. "You're not heavy, now come on, just a bit further." He edged closer until they could grab onto each other. "Don't let go." He pulled her up into the TARDIS, taking extra care to get her in properly before he shut the doors. "Everyone alright?" He leant back against the doors, breathing a sigh of relief as he saw the TARDIS's contols move of their own accord as she flew into the Time Vortex, understandingly needing some time to rest. He lightly stroked the coral beam as he walked up the ramp towards Rose. "Thank you."
Jackie picked herself up, immediately worrying when she looked across at her husband. "Pete! You look frozen!" He was still sat curled up on the floor, blankets wrapped around him as he shivered, pale in the face. She pulled off her lifejacket and coat, kneeling down in front of him and unbuttoning his shirt, slipping her arms around him to hold him to her. "You're so cold." She rubbed his back. "And soaked, what happened to you?"
"Nothing." He pulled her closer trying to stop himself shivering. "You're warm."
"No I'm not which is precisely my point. It was cold out there, you're just colder." She slightly shook her head. "Knew I shouldn't have let you give me your coat." She pulled a blanket over his legs a bit more. "I'm gonna get you warmed up. You're gonna be fine I promise, I'm not letting anything happen to you."
He held her tighter, instinctively seeking out her warmth. "Is Tony alright?"
"Yeah he's fine." Rose let go of her little brother, stroking his hair to calm his nerves. "Warm enough?" When he nodded she pulled him back into a cuddle.
Jackie smiled, giving Pete a kiss. "We're alright, don't worry about us, you need to worry about yourself a bit more. I need you to look after yourself."
"Why?" There was a touch of laughter in his breath until he took a deep breath and gave her a squeeze. "Because I'm old?"
"No." She stroked his hair, smiling as she pressed a kiss to his forehead. "You're fit and healthy, we both know that, you're probably healthier than me. It's because I don't want to lose you, because our little boy needs his dad and our little girl doesn't want to lose you either."
Rose laughed. "I'm not a little girl Mum, I'm a grown woman."
Pete smiled, looking over Jackie's shoulder at her. "You're still our beautiful little girl. You're my child and i'll always protect you with everything I have."
Rose grinned at him, she knew he felt like he had to make up for missing her childhood, worried that seeing Tony grow up with both his parents made her feel like she'd missed out but she didn't, she felt nothing less than blessed and she hoped one day both her parents would see just how much they were worth. "I love you." Tony pulled away from her, running over to their parents as Rose leant into the Doctor, slipping her arms around his middle.
Tony wrapped his arms around his dad, leaning his head against Pete's as Jackie shifted to accomodate him. Pete smiled, turning his face so his nose rubbed against his son's. "Hello Little Mite." He pulled an arm from round Jackie to hold Tony closer. "You alright? That was a bit of an adventure wasn't it?"
He nodded. "Are you okay? Mummy was really worried. She was scared of losing you."
"I'm gonna be fine, just a bit cold. But you must be exhausted, let's get you to bed."
Jackie laughed. "You're not doing anything, you're still freezing, I'm going to get you in a nice warm bed. Come on." She stood, wrapping the blankets round him and taking Tony away from him. "Let me get you some dry clothes and put my boys to bed." She helped Pete to his feet, picking Tony up and taking them down the corridor towards their rooms.
As they left the room the Doctor loosened his hold on Rose, sweeping her fringe away from her eyes. "And you're alright?"
"Yeah." She nodded, leaning back into him. "I'm just so glad everyone's safe and that Dad's gonna be okay, thank you, you were brilliant."
He pressed a kiss to the top of her head. "Was a bit scary there for a minute wasn't it? I nearly drowned."
She gave him a squeeze, reaching up to ruffle his wet hair. "You are soaked head to toe. Glad you're okay though." She leant up to kiss him. "And the TARDIS was an absolute star." She leant her head on the Doctor's shoulder, looking across at the TARDIS's central column. "Thank you." She reached a hand out to stroke the edge of the TARDIS's console, smiling as she felt her relaxed humming in her mind. "I just..." She held him tighter. "I wish we could have saved them, just anyone, more than unlocking the gates and getting them in lifeboats."
"I know." He stroked her hair. "But we couldn't interfere, we could only get ourselves out of there."
"I know, it's a fixed point in time, but that doesn't make it fair."
"No." He pressed his face into her hair, closing his eyes. "But you were wonderful, you know people out there will survive that wouldn't have without you. People will get pulled into the lifeboats and be saved because of you." He pressed a kiss to her hair. "I love you."
"I love you too." She kissed him. "Thank you for getting us out of there so quickly, you know before the ship went down, before things were any worse around us." She bit her lip, leaning her head against his chest as he hushed her.
"You're welcome, how could I do anything else? Especially with Tony so young, I don't want him to witness anything like that ever, let alone at such a young age." He gradually let go of her, pressing a kiss to her forehead. "Come on, the TARDIS needs some time to rest and recooperate, perfect time for us to get some sleep, you need some rest like everyone else." He took her hand, curling his fingers between hers as he lead her across the console room to the corridor.
"We'll get you into some dry clothes first."
"Of course, it's no fun cuddling a soggy Time Lord now is it?" He bumped his shoulder against hers, grinning as she smiled and squeezed his hand. "Come on."
Jackie pulled the hem of Pete's t-shirt down, rubbing his arm as she looked him in the eye. "Feeling warmer or are you still frozen?"
He smiled, feeling lucky not just to be alive but to have her looking after him too. "A bit."
"You gonna be alright if I go...? Oh Tony." She got off the bed and met him halfway across the room, kneeling down in front of him as he collapsed against her. "I was about to come through and put you to bed once you'd brushed your teeth. Are you alright? I know you're tired but are you okay?" She brushed his hair back from his face, holding him up so he'd look at her.
He nodded. "Can I stay? I wanna stay with you and Daddy, just for tonight? I promise I'll go to sleep. Please?"
"Yeah okay." She hoped he wouldn't have nightmares. "You help warm your dad up." She scooped him up and sat him on the bed beside Pete, stroking his hair until he nestled into his dad and she could pull the duvet over them. "You okay?"
Pete smiled. "Yeah, he's nice and warm."
Jackie looked up at the doorway as Rose leant against it. "Can I sit in for a bit? Is that alright?"
"Yeah. As long as you want." She could see on her daughter's face that she just needed to be near her family, needed to relax and be cuddled as she fell asleep. "You too Doctor." She gave him a smile as he walked in behind her, two reference books in hand.
He smiled back, looking away to Rose as Jackie climbed in beside her husband, curling into him. The Doctor watched as Rose sat down on the floor, giving her a moment before joining her, leaning back against the wall and pulling her close. "Look listen to this." He balanced the first book on his knee. "'Some survivors recalled an unnamed heroine aboard the Titanic, a young blonde woman in her twenties who fought to help as many as she could, getting steerage passengers past locked gates and as many children and women into the lifeboats as she could until her husband made her follow. This woman, whilst looking after her family, spent her short time in the lifeboat helping look after those that needed it. Before leaving with her family in what has only ever been described as a blue box, she helped men, women and children alike by helping them fight off the cold when soaked through and encouraging those in the lifeboats to pull others in. There were many that accounted this mysterious woman as responsible for saving their life.'" Rose smiled, relaxing as he pressed a kiss to the top of her head. "That's you."
"I don't know what to say."
"Don't say anything, just listen." He picked up the second book. "This is an extract from something one of the survivors, a child, later wrote. 'I remember masses of men and women rushing past me towards the lifeboats, I was caught up in the crowds, pushed around as I was too small for them to notice me. I was knocked and fell and prepared myself to be trampled but I was immediately approached by a woman with golden hair who picked me up, asked me my name and made every effort to comfort me as she carried me to a lifeboat. From inside the boat I watched as she turned away, telling the gentleman with her that there were others that needed their help. This gentleman, who I soon realised was her husband, spent a good while convincing her to join us, helping her with other children until she finally relented, convinced only by his desperation and his insistence that she needed to look after her mother and brother. When they'd said farewell and the lifeboat had been lowered she continued to help us however she could. She made every effort to reassure us all with her kind words, leading the women around her in pulling in some of the poor souls that had fallen or jumped into the sea. Before long her husband came to rescue her in this peculiar hovering blue box, she told us to rescue as many people as we could then took her family to safety. She saved my life and many others' that night, I only wish I'd had the chance to thank her. I never even thought to ask her name.'"
"I remember her."
"And they remember you. You were incredible." He pressed a kiss to her forehead, shifting so that she would be able to lie comfortably, her head on his chest. "Now get some sleep."