Author's Note: Please forgive me, but this is not the Doctor and Rose's wedding. Apparently, I still had one more pre-wedding story in me and besides, tomorrow's my birthday and I really wanted to celebrate it with Christmas in this 'verse. And I missed St. Bob. :)
I would HIGHLY recommend reading Have Yourself A Merry Parallelly Little Christmas if you want to understand all the St. Bob references (and hopefully funny in jokes) in this story and Lad's Night Out is where the Brig and Sarah Jane are introduced and you learn about Sarah Jane's doomed marriage.
As a side note, my husband told me that Jon Pertwee, the actor who portrayed the Third Doctor, bought Katy Manning, who portrayed his companion Jo Grant, all of the antique rings that she wore at flea markets.
Dosh is British slang for money, skiving is slang for ditching (like ditching school) and peckish is for hungry.
Disclaimer: I do not own anything in relation to Dr. Who.
Chapter 1 The Parallels
"Come on, you guys, hurry up!" shouts Jack as he runs ahead of Donna, Rose and the Doctor. "They're going to be here any minute!"
The foursome continues running as if the devil himself was after them and they don't stop until they reach the front steps of the Doctor and Rose's hotel. Jack wipes the sweat off of his brow as he congratulates, "Good job, everybody, they're not even here yet!"
Jack starts scanning the streets for any sign of his family while the others try to catch their breath. Donna turns to glare at the Doctor and grumbles, "We wouldn't have had to run if somebody had remembered to bring some dosh since it was his turn to pay! Then maybe we wouldn't have had to spend the last hour convincing the manager that we would call him with our credit card information once we reached the hotel!"
Affronted, the Doctor draws himself up to his full height and haughtily inquires, "Just what are you implying, Donna?"
Donna bellows, "I'm not implying anything, Dimbo, I'm saying it outright! You purposely didn't bring any money so that once again, one of us would have to pay!"
The Doctor glares back in righteous indignation. "I'm insulted that you would even consider such an insidious scenario, Donna Noble! It was simply a lapse in memory that caused me to forget my wallet."
Donna's stare is still accusatory as she questions, "What do you even need a wallet for? You never carry any money!"
He watches her almost pityingly as he shakes his head in utter amazement, unable to comprehend how she is so incapable of arriving at the most simplistic and obvious conclusion. "It holds all of my identification that you humans so tediously require."
Donna merely remains silent at this statement and counts to ten, that is until she notices Rose snickering. "I don't know what you're laughing at; you're the one who's going to have cover the bill. He's your man after all."
Rose instantly snaps to attention at the rejoinder and storms over to the Doctor to smack his arm. "Ow! What was that for?" he moans while rubbing his arm.
"That's for making me pay for you, again! She whacks his other arm when she recalls, "And you still owe me that ten quid from our bet over Queen Victoria!"
The Doctor nurses his wounds while Rose calls the restaurant to inform them that their guests will be arriving momentarily and then she'll call back with her payment including a very large tip. Donna works on restoring some sort of order to her hair and Jack has finally spotted his family and starts shouting, "They're here, they're here!" He frantically waves his arms in every direction to attract the drivers' attention.
Jack spins around to face his friends and marvels, "I can't believe that Jo and Cliff were finally able to take a break from their work to come down for a visit! It's been years since we've all been together for Christmas!"
Two cars pull up to the curb, one a bright turquoise 1970 Monte Carlo driven by Sarah Jane Smith, and the other is so small that the Doctor's not entirely positive that he's seeing it at all. It's a purple Smart car being driven by Jack's sister, Jo Jones, but what truly and unbelievably astounds the Time Lord is the fact that there are three other people in the car with her.
How is that even possible? he ponders as he scratches the back of his head. It has to be bigger on the inside.
The four friends watch on in fascination while the various members of the traveling party exit their vehicles.
Cliff hurriedly jumps out of Sarah Jane's car to assist Zoe with Nyssa's car seat, an attempt that meets with little success. His mother-in-law promptly bats his hands away while vehemently insisting, "I'm as much a scientist as you are Cliff, if not more, so I'm perfectly capable of disengaging an infant car seat!"
After a few twists and tugs that fail to achieve the desired results, Zoe whispers, "Sarah Jane, help me with this, it won't come undone!"
Sarah Jane does her best to help but to no avail. She mutters under her breath, "I absolutely hate these bloody things! You'd think that after thirty years that they'd find a way to make these contraptions a bit more serviceable!"
Noting Nyssa's watchful expression slowly change from wondrous interest to woeful resignation, Cliff reaches past the two women's struggling hands and deftly releases the necessary buttons and catches with practiced ease. With a knowing smirk, he picks up his daughter's carrier and heads over to his wife.
Zoe crosses her arms defiantly and huffs, "Hmmph! We almost had it. He thinks he's so clever, men, who needs them?"
Sarah Jane bears her own scathing expression as she grudgingly admits, "Apparently, we do."
However, the real show is taking place over at Jo's vehicle. Jo and her father, Jamie, exit the front seat with ease but viewing the Brig trying to exit the back seat is comparable to watching the struggle of trying to avoid a black hole that is determined to pull you in.
What's even more amazing is that Wilf is behind him. With one final shove, the Brig is free and Wilf is begging for aid. "Don't just stand there lads, help me out and pull!" It takes the combined strength of Jamie and the Brig, but a few harsh tugs soon liberate Wilf's aching form from the car.
Eyes wide with incredulity at the spectacle before him, the Doctor continues to watch the voyagers head towards them as he asks, "So, Jo's husband is definitely a mycologist, correct? I don't want to start off on the wrong foot."
"Yeah, Doc," assures Jack wholeheartedly, "he studies mushrooms and fungi."
The Doctor rocks back on his heels as he jests, "Well then, as a fellow scientist he must be a really fun guy!
Jack grimaces and barely spares him a glance as he replies in a tone laced with sarcasm, "You be sure and tell him that, Doc. I'm sure he's never heard that one before."
Jack's reply has scarcely left his mouth when he is abruptly enclosed within a throng of hugs and kisses. Last to reunite with him is Jo, both hugging each other tightly, neither of them eager or willing to let the other go.
"I've missed you so much," murmurs Jack, his voice muffled by Jo's hair.
"And I've missed you!" returns Jo while nearly squeezing the life out of him. She pulls back from his embrace just long enough to chastise, "If you can move all the way from Cardiff to London, then surely you can make a bit of a detour to the Amazon every once in awhile!"
Jack laughs and gives her another hug and kiss before Cliff comes up behind Jo and declares, "My turn!" He embraces his brother-in-law while stating, "It's good to see you, Captain! Now, what are the chances of some of your fish and chips for tea?"
Jack rolls his eyes at this most common request but still promises, "I'll see what I can do."
Jo giggles and tells her brother, "Don't blame him too much, Jack, you know how much he loves your cooking. In fact, he had an insane craving for it during my entire pregnancy."
Cliff protests, "Well, it's not as though I can exactly nip out for them whenever I'm feeling peckish, can I?" His gaze happens to fall on Zoe and Jamie who are leaning into each other and whispering intently. "Alright you two, that's enough of that! That's why you ended up in separate cars if you'll remember."
Jack's jaw drops open in shock and his countenance fills with worry. "Mom and Dad aren't fighting, are they?"
A naughty gleam appears in Jo's eyes as she answers, "No, quite the opposite, actually. Mum and Dad haven't been able to keep their hands off of each other."
Cliff glares at the canoodling couple and gripes, "They've been acting that way ever since we met up with them at our last layover. Your parents are like teenagers, Jack. They were all over each other on the airplane until some Australian stewardess started yelling at them and when I tried to intervene, the bloody woman turned on me and started cursing me out in an Aboriginal language!"
I bet she did, reflects the Doctor silently with a soft smile.
Sarah Jane scoffs, "Come now, Cliff, don't tell me that they've offended your sensibilities, not with the stories that I've heard about the two of you!"
Jamie strolls over with his arm around Zoe and chides, "Aye, that's true enough. Maybe it's your memory that needs to be jogged or don't you remember how we first met?"
Cliff quietly stews while Jo comes to her husband's aid and defends, "You only caught us at it the one time, Dad."
Jamie's face scrunches up in horror and disgust. "Once was enough Josephine Harkness!"
Cliff sternly corrects, "Jones, it's Jones now, Dad."
"Whatever," dismisses his father-in-law. "The point is that I don't want that happening again."
Zoe, who's only been half listening as she tickles Nyssa into fits of laughter frets, "Oh I do hope that's not the case, I think Nyssa should have siblings."
Mortified by his family's discussion, Jack clears his throat and begins to make introductions. "So…anyway…everybody, this is my sister Jo and her husband Cliff who I've been telling you about." Both Jo and Cliff step forward and shake everyone's hands in greeting.
"Hello," chirps Jo, "it's so nice to finally have the chance to meet you. Jack's written so much about all of you that I feel as though I already know you."
She turns to Donna and assesses, "Confident, beautiful and as fiery as her hair, you must be Donna." Jo gives her a quick once over before declaring, "Well from what I can tell, he couldn't have been more accurate."
Jack beams with pride at his sister and the love of his life while Donna proclaims decisively, "I like you already. I'll like you even more if you can persuade your brother to say those words aloud every once in awhile."
Jack flushes as red as a lobster while muttering out of the side of his mouth, "Donna, please, we're in public!"
Jo grins fondly at her brother and assures his ladylove, "Don't worry, Donna, I'll work on him." She faces the next woman and surmises, "You must be Rose. From Jack's description, I'd recognize that smile anywhere."
Her gaze and tone harden slightly as she confesses, "I was very jealous of you after reading Jack's letters. He said that he loved you so much that it was like having another sister and I was worried that I was being replaced."
Rose shares a nervous look with the Doctor, the memory of her first meeting with the Sarah Jane of their original universe ever present in her mind whenever she meets a former companion, even a parallel.
Fortunately, her fears are immediately laid to rest when Jo relates, "After speaking with my parents as well as my aunt and uncle, I now understand why he feels that way." She gives Rose's hand a gentle squeeze and shares, "I'm so glad that Jack has family here as well."
Jo now reaches the last of the trio and pronounces, "And you are Jack's best mate, the Doctor!" She impulsively throws herself into the Doctor's arms and hugs him for all that she's worth. "I feel like I know you best of all! Jack's written massive letters telling us all about you, about how kind and brilliant you are!"
The Doctor's chest swells with pride but deflates just as quickly when Jo remarks, "I even know your nickname, it's Rain Man, isn't it?"
He sighs, "Actually, it's The Oncoming Storm." His face instantly brightens when he remembers, "Oh, I almost forgot! We have a gift for Nyssa." He reaches into his bigger on the inside pocket of his jeans and pulls out a stuffed toy rabbit which he hands to Jo.
She lights up at the sight of the toy and squeals, "Jack, look at this! It's absolutely amazing, it's an exact replica of our old pet rabbit, Mr. Humpers!
The Doctor gazes quizzically at Jo when he queries, "Don't you mean, Mr. Thumpers?" He wiggles one of the toy paws rapidly up and down to illustrate his point.
It is a very enlightening and uncomfortable moment when every single member of Jack's family glances off to the side or down to the ground as they miserably state in unison, "No."
Donna tries to help the moment pass by as she comments, "That's quite a collection of rings that you have there, Jo." She lifts Jo's hands to inspect the jewelry more closely. "They're gorgeous; Cliff's a very generous man."
Cliff immediately denies Donna's claim. "Don't blame me for those gaudy trinkets; she was given them by her precious doctor."
His interest instantaneously peaked, the Doctor inquires, "What doctor?"
Zoe asks, "Do you remember the Doctor that I told you about last Christmas?" At the trio's nods, she explains, "Well, Jo's doctor replaced him. He adored her; he was always giving her things that he found in the strangest places. He was constantly buying rings for Jo at various flea markets. They were much too big for her then but she saved them until she was old enough to wear them."
Jo exhibits a gentle smile as she reminisces, "He was the sweetest man, so dashing and charming and such a dandy. He always wore the most elegant ruffled shirts and velvet jackets under his lab coat. The last gift he gave me was a beautiful blue crystal."
Sarah Jane muses, "Yes, he was very posh, he always reminded me a bit of Burt Bacharach. I worked with him for a few years as his assistant for a bit of extra money. Anyway, he was contacted by some council and they gave him the means to travel to wherever he wanted to." Her face contorts into a mixture of curiosity and frustration. "I never did find out what all that was about."
Jack mentions, "That's what started Aunt Sarah on her investigations. She has never been able to stand the fact that the doctor was the one mystery that she couldn't figure out." He glances over at his brother-in-law and queries, "You're pretty quite there, Cliff, are you feeling alright?"
Cliff removes Nyssa from her carrier while replying off-handedly, "I'm fine, my being quiet just tends to be the case whenever Jo's having a chat."
He stands up and Jo playfully swats his arm that's not holding Nyssa and vows, "Just be patient, your turn will come up eventually."
Cliff barks out a laugh and questions, "And when's that then? I've been waiting over a year."
Jo retorts, "Oh, you did your fair share of talking when we first met."
Cliff counters, "Of course I did you daft woman, and a good deal of yelling to boot! You ruined my experiment!"
While Cliff and Jo reminisce over their first meeting, the Doctor opens his link to Rose and sends, Sounds familiar, that's exactly how she and my third self met too. I thought that she was the tea lady and told her to leave but she came in anyway and with the help of a fire extinguisher, she ruined my experiment. It's also how my Jo met her own Cliff as well. Sometimes the more things parallel, the more they stay the same. His gaze travels over Jack's family until it lands on the Brig who is leering at Rose. Then again…
Donna has been listening attentively to everyone's stories and casually comments, "It's still so odd hearing Jack's American accent in contrast to the rest of the family."
Jo voices, "I know, but blame Mum. She's the one who insisted that I go to a British boarding school while they lived in America."
Rose nods in understanding as she inquires, "So, keeping up the family tradition, yeah?"
Jo's grin broadens and she says, "Exactly."
The Doctor muses aloud, "I guess every family has certain traditions or expectations that are passed down from mother to daughter. For instance, with Rose and her mother it would be blonde in a bottle and the infamous Tyler slap."
He's a little surprised when Rose merely arches an eyebrow at him in retaliation but that's because she knows something that he doesn't. The secret is out when he hears Jackie Tyler's voice directly behind him. "And I'd be more than happy to demonstrate the latter for you."
The Doctor gulps audibly before slowly turning to face Jackie. "Oh, hello there, Jackie, how lovely to see you again. May I take your bags?"
"Of course, love," utters Jackie as she swings the numerous gift bags into his stomach causing him to double over with an "Ooof!"
"And I'll have you know that there's nothing wrong with coloring your hair from a bottle!" She pokes her finger into his chest as she advises, "You should try it and all and cover up some of that grey in your hair!"
"What?" yelps the Doctor as he drops Jackie's bags and runs his hands through his hair in a panic.
Rose walks over and takes both of his hands in hers and begins rubbing soothing circles on the backs of his hands with her thumbs. "Doctor, ignore her, she's just winding you up. Besides, it's just a few flecks of grey and it makes you look very distinguished."
"That's right," agrees Jackie a little too sweetly, "a very distinguished older gentleman. The only response from the Doctor is a piercing glare that he manages to shake off when Pete and Tony walk up after having parked the car.
Tony heads straight over to the Doctor and clasps his arms firmly around his waist for a hug. "You've got your presents! I'm so excited about tonight!" He wags a finger at the Doctor as he warns him, "Remember, don't sneak any peeks at them!"
The Doctor grins maniacally at Tony's youthful innocence and bends down on one knee to look him straight in the eye. "Tony Tyler, you have my solemn vow that I will not peek at one single present."
"Good," states Tony in satisfaction before his smile morphs into a disgruntled expression. He stretches his arm out to the Doctor and says, "There's something in your hair." He pulls it out resulting in a wince from the Doctor and tells him, "Oh. No worries, it was just a grey hair."
A honking horn from a black VW bug interrupts any further conversation and everyone turns their heads to watch a ginger haired man exit the car. The Doctors stares agape at the man and grabs Jack's arm. "Turlough is your cousin?"
"Yeah," groans Jack, "he's a distant cousin." He glares at Turlough with intense dislike and adds, "And believe me, the more distant the better."
Realizations suddenly dawns and Jack asks, "Since you know his name, I'm assuming that you've met a parallel version of him?"
"Yes, he was a former companion of mine," notes the Doctor. His eyebrows practically shoot all the way up to his hairline as he declares, "And I'd recognize those shorts anywhere."
Turlough strolls up to the group wearing a smug expression and offering a wave to his family. "Greetings, everyone! Now that I'm here, we can get this party started!" He addresses Jo first and remarks, "I see that you're still driving the Nut Hutch."
Surprised at the familiar phrase, the Doctor inquires, "Why does he call it that?"
The Brig chuckles and answers, "Because it's the size of an acorn."
Jack reasons, "I don't know, I think it's a pretty smart car, heh heh."
Turlough sneers and quips, "You don't want a car that's smarter than you, Jack Ass. Best that you stick to your toy wind up excuse for a car."
"Belt up Turd-lough! No wonder you own a bug, it's so perfect for an insect like you!" He glances down at his cousin's attire and asks, "And who wears shorts in the middle of winter?"
Turlough crows, "Is it my fault that the ladies enjoy checking out my package?" His gaze becomes lecherous as he gives Jackie the once over and divulges, "Especially the older birds, they're always more grateful."
Snorting at Turlough's delusions of grandeur, Jackie doesn't miss a beat before announcing, "You're out of luck here, mate. From what I can see, your package is more designed for a front door's mail slot."
When Turlough stomps over to Jack, who's doubled over in laughter, the Brig's booming voice rings out in authoritive command. "Boys, don't even start!"
Both men instantly straighten up to attention and offer sharp nods to their uncle. Ignoring Jack, Turlough reaches out to Nyssa and takes her hand. "Cute curls. It's nice to know that her first Christmas will be in civilization and not in some jungle with lepers."
Jo rolls her eyes in exasperation, "There aren't any lepers, Turlough, and Nyssa loves the rain forest. She explores everything around her almost as much as Cliff does."
Zoe interjects, "Well then, maybe at least somebody in this family will finally follow in my footsteps."
Jamie clarifies, "When Jack's talents leaned more towards the culinary, Zoe had hoped that Jo would take some interest in science." He eyes his daughter knowingly, "Other than figuring out ways to skive off her classes, of course."
Jo scoffs, "Oh, please, Dad. Do you even remember the summer that I worked for Mum as her assistant? I knew in the first hour that she wasn't grooming me to be her protégée. All she wanted was for someone to pass her test tubes and to tell her how brilliant she was."
Zoe huffs, "It's not as though you would have understood that much anyway, you never did pass science."
Wilf starts stretching and moans, "Oh, my aching back." He turns to the Brig and grouses, "I told you that we should've taken my taxi."
"Ha!" laughs the Brig. "Not at the rates that you charge, mate."
Wilf pulls his reindeer hat with mistletoe hanging off the antlers out of his coat pocket while suggesting, "Perhaps someone would care to make it better with a kiss?" He flashes a seductive smile at Sarah Jane and with a waggle of his eyebrows, he purrs, "Is it giving you any ideas?"
Sarah Jane simply shakes her head in amusement while Rose and Jo each go over and kiss him on each cheek. "Oho!" he cheers. "It's working already!" He winks at Sarah Jane while he taps his cheek in invitation. "Are you sure that you're not feeling peckish?"
Turlough mocks, "I've never needed a hat to pull a woman."
"No," retorts Jack snidely, "you just needed a miracle." Thrilled at having made Turlough speechless for once, he turns to Jo and informs her, "Hey Sis, I made reservations for us at the D & D Bistro next week."
Jo gushes, "Oh, that's wonderful! A night at the games tables and I can't wait to try those Troll-fu burgers that you told me about!"
"And after dinner," adds Jack excitedly, "we'll follow it up with a night at the movies! There's a great double feature playing right now, The Curse of Peladon and The Daemons."
Jo squeals with delight and throws her arms around Jack's neck for another hug which he gleefully returns. Smiling at the two siblings, the Doctor rubs his hands together for warmth. "That sounds enchanting you two, but shall we go inside now? It's becoming a bit nippy out here."
A chorus of agreement emits from the crowd and the Doctor extends his hand out to Rose who automatically places her hand in his. He grins at her instinctive nature to connect with him before lifting her hand to his mouth for a brief kiss. "Thanks, love, but I was asking for your keys."
Rose's eyes twinkle when she suggests, "Then you better check your pockets because I gave them to you."
"Oh, really?" he questions in surprise. When she nods firmly, he begins to dig through his pockets. "They must be in here somewhere."
"Great," grumbles Donna, "now we'll be here all night." She tugs her jacket tighter around her as she watches the Doctor remove item after item and then proceed to drop it onto an ever growing pile.
She sidles up to Jack and gazes at him flirtatiously. "So, can you suggest anything to keep a girl warm?"
"Do you want my coat, Donna?" he responds immediately in concern. "Here, take my scarf too," and he starts to unwind it from his neck.
"That's alright, Jack, I'll be fine," assures Donna. "You keep your clothes on for once."
Turlough snorts in derision and asserts, "That's not the way to warm up a woman, you prat, this is." He reaches into his coat pocket and withdraws a silver flask. "Would milady care for a drink?" he inquires with a wink.
In hopes of preventing another argument between the two cousins, Pete proposes, "Why don't we just change the venue to the mansion? That would save us the time heading out there after we're done here, anyway."
"No, no, no!" nixes the Doctor heatedly. "I'm sure the keys are in here; simply give me a moment or two!"
While he continues searching, Jack strolls over to the Doctor and Rose and states, "By the way, thanks for being so great about arranging accommodations for my family for the holidays."
Rose smiles broadly in reply and the Doctor humbly claims, "Well, you know that I'd do anything for Jamie and Zoe, regardless of the universe."
Jack stares at him in amazement and questions, "What are you talking about, Doc? Rose made all of the arrangements for everyone to stay at the mansion."
The Doctor pauses in his quest to gaze curiously at Jack. "So? I'm the one who offered to put everyone up at the hotel."
Jack scoffs, "Yeah, you offered to put all of them in Room 1019. We all know how you feel about domestics and that offer said it all."
The Doctor knows that he's been caught out but refuses to surrender. "You're always telling me how close your family is and you said it yourself that they haven't seen each other in awhile. I thought that they would appreciate the chance of togetherness."
Jackie swiftly ends their conversation by yelling, "Hurry up with those keys, will you? It's freezing and we've got children out here!"
"Yes, yes, of course, I'm looking, I'm looking…" He mutters under his breath, "Yes, we definitely don't want any sick children, even when they're well they can be such a nuisance."
Jack clears his throat and the Doctor darts an abashed gaze at the two people before him who are very attached to their young relatives. Rose offers a verbal lifesaver when she poses, "I believe that you meant to say a noble reminder of why we celebrate the holiday. Isn't that right, Doctor?"
He simply offers an uncomfortable smile while Jack gives Rose an approving nod and praises, "Nice."
They all turn when they hear the jingle of keys and the sound of a lock clicking open. "No worries, Doctor, I've taken care of it, "announces Jo as she waves a gaggle of keys in the air.
The three scoop up the Doctor's assortment of bits and bobs and head over to Jo. "Why do you have all of those keys?" inquires Rose.
"These are my keys for every occasion; they tend to come in handy when you travel a lot." Jo wears a cheeky grin when she shares, "Dad always says that my keys could open anything that a screwdriver couldn't."
Jo opens the door and enters the hotel, her voice echoing as she mentions, "Aunt Sarah, I've been meaning to tell you about these huge spiders that I spotted in the Amazon, they're about the size of my head. I first saw them at a compound that was built by Global Chemicals."
Sarah Jane's eyes widen with interest as she enthuses, "I smell a story."
"No," responds the Brig as he and Wilf follow in their wake, "that would be your paranoia."
Zoe exclaims, "Oh, Jamie, celebrating Christmas in a hotel! It'll be just like the movies, like Holiday Inn!"
Jamie surveys the rundown condition of the hotel with a grimace. "Or Psycho."
Cliff and his in-laws behold the Getisome Hotel sign hanging above them, the letter I still missing. He nudges Jamie with his elbow and orders, "That's not an open invitation for you two so watch yourselves, there are children present."
Jamie pulls a face while Zoe merely giggles and then Jamie turns to face the Doctor. "Well, it is your hotel after all." He makes a formal bow and encourages, "After you, Doctor."
Recalling similar moments with his own Jamie, the Doctor sports a huge grin while making a similar bow. "No, Jamie, after you."
A quick nod of acknowledgement from Jamie and then the Harkness patriarch turns and leads the way into the hotel with the rest of the guests falling in line behind him, leaving a very merry Doctor and Rose to follow.
Next Chapter: The Party