Author's Note: Do you remember the chattering toy teeth that the Doctor had way back in Blast To The Past ch 3? Well, you're going to see when Tony gave them to him and why in flashback as both the Doctor and Pete find themselves reflecting on this day. The ambush that the Doctor is referring to took place in Guys and Dolls.
During the Doctor's first flashback, it briefly touches on how Rose came to accept him so easily (in this 'verse anyway) after the Doctor left them on Bad Wolf Bay. For those who believe that their coming together so quickly is inconceivable, my reasoning is this. I honestly believe that in all the time that Rose was apart from the Doctor, she wouldn't have only spent it pining for him and searching for him. Being out from under his shadow and now being the one who sometimes has to make the hard choices, I think that she would have grown into her own woman and with the added years of maturity and wisdom, it would still have been heartbreaking when the full Timelord left, but it wouldn't have broken her. Plus, she's been through regeneration with him before and with the human Doctor being much more open with his feelings, the choice for her, or at least the Rose of this 'verse, was clear.
Will Rogers was once quoted as saying that he never met a man that he didn't like, this quote pertains to a line in this chapter.
The Doctor steps out of the portable shower stall, one hand holding a towel in place around his hips while his other hand runs another towel back and forth over his hair. "So, what's next on the agenda, Pete?"
"Well, since we're men," he advises wisely, "I would say just clothes and hair."
The Doctor nods affirmatively before dragging the towel over his head one last time leaving his hair a wildly tousled mane. "Hair's done, so now onto the tux!"
Tony stares at him wonderingly before announcing, "I have some things that I need to take care of so I'll see you later." He stops briefly at the tent flap opening before he departs. "Don't wander off!"
The Doctor chuckles softly as he watches his soon-to-be brother-in-law leave. "What's put a bee in his bonnet?"
Pete bears a slightly anxious smile as he confesses, "We gave him a few tasks to keep him busy so that he'd feel like he's part of the wedding. And I guess we're all a little nervous that this could be one of the days that you suddenly choose to go running."
"No worries on that front, Pete," assures the Doctor merrily. "The only running for me from now on is if Rose is by my side." He scans the tent for his wedding attire and inquires excitedly, "So, where's my tux?"
"It's behind that screen over there," he indicates with a nod of his head. "Tony and I set it up while you snuck out to see Rose. I'm a little disappointed in you, Doctor, I expect Torchwood agents to be stealthier than that."
The Doctor's expression is sheepish as he heads behind the screen and starts unzipping the garment bag. "Oi, it's cut in the same style as my suit and it even has pinstripes! Molto bene!" He hurriedly throws off his towel and throws on his tux and steps out to receive Pete's approval. "Well, what do you think?"
"Very nice," acknowledges Pete with a nod. "Sorry about your trainers," he notes regretfully with a rueful glance at the Doctor's shoes. "I didn't think to bring another pair."
"Oh, it's just a bit of mold, nothing a good sonicing won't take care of," he observes dismissively as he shoves his hands in his pockets and rocks back on his heels. "Now for the big question, are you lot ready to have me as a member of the family?"
Pete quietly regards the man in front of him before answering with a grin. "That's not even a consideration today since we've regarded you as part of our family for quite some time."
The Doctor's smile is a grateful one and being the type of men that they are, no more words are said, only the unspoken gesture of a firm handshake silently recognizing each man's place in both the family and in their hearts.
"Good, he's still here. Well done, Pete!" congratulates Jackie as Pete claps the Doctor on the back in sympathy and exits the tent.
Traitor, grumbles the Doctor mutely as he glares at the back of Pete's head before turning to face Jackie. "Yes, as you can see, I'm still here and I'm staying here because I'm never leaving her!"
"I know that, Doctor," she admits to his surprise. "It's why I've never kicked up a fuss about the two of you getting married."
"Is this our last minute talk?" he questions in suspicion. He's been ambushed by Pete and Jackie before but last time they set it up the other way around.
As Jackie steps directly into his personal space and crosses her arms over her chest, she gazes at him intently. "No, no last minute talk, I think that we both know where we stand. We both love Rose with all of our hearts and we'd both do anything for her." She stares him down and he's surprised to discover her question voiced in a tone of complete assurance and without a hint of plea. "Wouldn't we, Doctor?"
He grins widely to match her own smile and responds resolutely, "Yes, we would, Jackie Tyler. We absolutely would."
After a satisfied nod of her head, they share a hug and Jackie holds tight to both of his arms and has one final say. "And since we obviously haven't made it clear enough to you, you daft man, welcome to the family." With this last declaration, the Doctor is left to watch her leave while he cradles his cheek in astonishment. However, this time it is not because of a harsh slap across the cheek but from a loving kiss.
Shaking his head in amazement at the day's events, the Doctor turns to face the mirror so that he can adjust his tie. While he stares into the mirror, he thinks back to that not so long ago day on Bad Wolf Bay when the TARDIS disappeared from their lives for the last time.
They are left standing alone on the beach as the last strains of the TARDIS engines die out with the wind and the waves lapping at the shore wipe out the last remaining traces of any reminder that it was ever there.
He stands beside her holding her hand and looking down at her and promises, "I'm still here, Rose, and I'm never going to leave you, not even if you try to send me away."
She smiles softly and whispers, "I know," with a slight catch in her voice.
The Doctor nods his head before exhaling slowly and staring out at the skyline in resignation. "But you'll still miss him?"
"No, not really, not when you're still here," and she gives his hand a reassuring squeeze. "But I wish that I could have said goodbye to him, he was such a big part of my life. He took my hand and showed me the universe; he gave me this incredible life…"
"And then he gave me to you," he states almost too casually, but she knows that the resentment is there.
"No!" she immediately denies. "No, he didn't give you to me because you made a choice that he couldn't or wouldn't make! You wanted to stay!" She glances at him worriedly, her voice losing strength as her fear grows. "Didn't you?"
This time it is his turn to offer a comforting grip as he declares, "Yes, Rose, I wanted to stay with you." He draws her closer to him and before he kisses her, he whispers, "Forever."
She pulls away just far enough to tell him, "Then that's all I really need to know," and kisses him softly before murmuring, "My Doctor."
Before the couple can continue exploring the more pleasurable activities of their reunion, Jackie walks over to them and makes her presence known. "Pete's on his way. Is everything alright between you two?"
The Doctor turns his head to wink at Rose, a gesture which goes unseen by Jackie, and then starts speaking Gallifreyan. Jackie's eyes widen dramatically and she stares at him as she questions her daughter. "What? What's he saying, Rose?"
Rose tries her best not to laugh as she answers, "It's his native language, Mum."
"His native language?" ponders Jackie before a horrible realization dawns on her. "Oh no, Rose! You once told me that ship of his translated everything but I didn't think that it translated him too!"
The Doctor speaks some more non-sensible syllables. Jackie turns despairing eyes onto Rose. "Now what do we do? Pull out Tony's old In the Night Garden dvds and teach him English all over again?"
At this suggestion, the Doctor laughs and pleads in perfect English, "Oh, please no, Jackie, I have a much more sophisticated palate. I prefer Grange Hill."
Jackie's worried countenance instantly morphs into one of fury. "What? You were just having me on? Why you little…" she growls right before she starts smacking whatever parts of him that she can reach.
"Ow! Ow!" he yells as he runs away from her while she continues to follow him while landing one blow after another as she refuses to give up the chase. "Ow! Call her off, Rose, please!"
He darts a glance at Rose and quickly realizes that she won't be coming to his aid anytime soon. Watching her clutch at her sides as she views their antics, he muses about how he doesn't recall the old team of Shiver and Shake meaning to shake with laughter.
He remembers the long flight back to London and the surprise of seeing Pete when they boarded the Zeppelin as well as a small group of Torchwood agents who gave him a not so gentle and extremely thorough going over.
The adult Tylers were reunited and Pete clung to both Jackie and Rose while all three wept unashamedly. Once he was assured that his wife and daughter were okay, Pete turned to speak to the Doctor.
"It's good to see you again, Doctor," welcomes Pete while he reaches out to shake his hand. "Jackie's filled me in on everything so I've already set up your room at the mansion and contacted the necessary people when you're ready to establish your identity." His smile is wide and sincere as he proclaims, "Welcome to my world! Well, your world too now."
"Yes…the Doctor's World…no, that doesn't sound quite right," mulls the Doctor. I think that I'll keep calling it Pete's World, it has a much better ring to it."
Pete chuckles and suggests, "When you've settled in, we'll set you up with a background history, identification and a job at Torchwood if you'd like." He darts a knowing glance towards his daughter. "I'm assuming that you'll want to keep an eye on this one."
Rose rolls her eyes and chides, "Dad…"
The Doctor nods sagely and confirms, "You're right on that count, Pete!" Winking at Rose, he confides, "Jeopardy friendly, this one!" Then he flashes an indebted smile at Pete and remarks, "You know, for having this sprung on you so quickly, you're managing to take it all in and adjusting remarkably well. I really do appreciate all of the effort that you're putting in for someone that you've only met twice."
Pete responds with a mischievous twinkle in his eyes. "Well, Rose and Jackie have told me how much they consider you as family and besides, I like to take the Will Rogers approach to life." At everyone's looks of confusion, he clarifies, "I never metacrisis that I didn't like."
Various degrees of groans meet Pete's jest ending with the Doctor tugging on his ear and noting, "Yes, well…at least I finally know where Rose obtained her sense of humor from."
He finishes straightening his tie and with a soft chuckle, he recollects the end of the nine hour flight that culminated with a limousine ride to the mansion where he met Tony Tyler for the first time.
Jackie storms through the front door screaming at the top of her lungs. "Tony! Tony Tyler, where are you, love? We're home!"
The Doctor leans down close to Rose and mutters, "Do you honestly mean to tell me that he'll actually answer to that tone?"
Rose is barely able to bump his shoulder with her own before a blur of blond hair rushes into the room, first launching himself into Jackie's arms and then into Rose's. Clinging to her as tightly as he can, he proceeds to bombard her with questions. "I've missed you both so much! Where have you been? Did you save the universes? What did you bring me?"
Rose laughs before setting him down and tossing the Doctor a sly look as she answers Tony. "It just so happens that I did bring you something back, or rather someone to be exact." She reaches out for the Doctor's hand and tugs him close to her side.
"Tony, remember all of those stories that I told you about when I lived back in my old universe?" When he nods, she introduces the man at her side. "Tony, this is the Doctor."
Tony's eyes alight with excitement as he exclaims, "Really, Rose? The Doctor? Wow!" He turns to the Doctor and questions, "Did you bring your TARDIS?"
Rose gives the Doctor's hand a brief consoling squeeze as he replies sadly, "No, it had to go back to the other universe."
"Oh," mutters Tony dejectedly. "Well, how about your sonic screwdriver or psychic paper?" The Doctor rubs his neck as he divulges, "No, those left with the TARDIS as well."
Rose leans into him and encourages, "Don't worry, Doctor, we have psychic paper in this universe and we can probably find whatever you need at Torchwood to make a new sonic screwdriver."
Tony, completely unperturbed by the Doctor and Rose's anxious states, plows ahead with his line of questioning. "Do you at least have a robot dog?"
The Doctor uses his free hand to rub at his temples. "No, he's in the other universe too."
"Oh," murmurs Tony in consideration. Feeling a bit bad for the newly arrived Doctor, he fishes around in his pockets until he withdraws a pair of plastic teeth that chatter and offers them to the man who he has grown up hearing so much about. "Here, you can have this. Welcome to my universe!" He then turns a beseeching gaze onto Rose and his parents. "May I please go back to my game now?"
Pete bites down on the inside of his cheek so as not to offend the Doctor while Jackie sniggers outright. Rose places her hand on her hip and puffs out a breath of air. "Yeah, go on and play your game."
He rushes out of the room while the Doctor stares after him wide-eyed. He glances at Rose while releasing a mirthless laugh. "And here I thought that I was so impressive."
Rose leans her head against his shoulder while gazing up at him with nothing but love shining from her eyes. "You are to me," she tells him quietly before reaching up to kiss his cheek.
She nestles snugly into him as he tightens his arms around her and he kisses the top of her head before settling her comfortably under his chin. "Then that's all I need to know," he whispers back contentedly.
**********End of Flashback**********
Meanwhile, over at Rose's tent, Jackie walks in just as Rose has finished drying her hair. "You know, love, I've never been happier than I am right now that I'm a hairdresser." She flicks the switches on a few of her curling irons and adds with a cheeky grin, "Or that I let you talk me into allowing the Doctor to sonic my equipment."
Rose giggles as she watches her mum gather everything she needs to fix up Rose's hair. "By the way, Mum, how's your beauty shop doing?"
Like all hairdressers, Jackie combs out Rose's hair while she carries out her half of the conversation. "It couldn't be better, or as your first Doctor would have said, 'Fantastic'! The Hairsbreadth Away From Elegance is an absolute success! You know, we've had to open seven days a week now that we're so busy."
"That's great, Mum," congratulates Rose, "but what's really fantastic is all that you and the shop are doing for the Powell Estates. Giving all of those single mums a chance to learn a new trade and offering free haircuts to the folks who've been out of work for a while and need to spiff up for a job interview or for the pensioners who need to save their money but still want a treat every now and then."
Jackie blushes at her daughter's praise while she continues to work on her hair. "Well, it's not all down to me now, is it? If it wasn't for your dad funding everything, the idea would never have gotten off the ground. Besides, it's nice to give something back to the estate, even if it's not our original one. Mind you, it took me forever to get those folks down there to trust me. I don't know what that other Jackie did once she left there but it sure as heck wasn't to go back for any visits."
"Yeah," notes Rose with melancholy at the memory of the other woman. "She wasn't exactly the friendliest of people."
With one last placement of a hair comb and more than a few spritzes of hairspray on Rose's hair, Jackie announces, "There, all done!" She happens to catch Pete's reflection in the mirror as he enters the tent to check on their progress and notices he seems a bit lost in thought. "Pete? Pete, love, are you alright?"
Pete steps into the tent and watches silently as Jackie puts the finishing touches on Rose's hair. Whether at home or at work, he has swiftly learned over the years that the wisest move he can make is to stay out of a Tyler woman's way when she's on a mission.
Although technically Rose isn't his daughter and she grew up without him in a parallel universe, he still views her as his little girl. And now his little girl, who is a brilliant and gorgeous young woman in her own right, is marrying the man that she loves. A man who has saved the world, the universes and if he were completely honest with himself, saved him; he is a man that they have unconditionally welcomed into their family. So why does he feel as though he's losing her?
He continues to watch them talking animatedly as he drifts back to the moment that Rose first called him 'Dad'.
The Doctor has just made his final goodbye in the form of a projection on Bad Wolf Bay and Rose has lost her last chance to hear how the Timelord truly feels about her and to make good on her promise of forever. She has stationed herself far away from the others along the beach, sat upon some driftwood that has washed ashore. As she is lost amidst her pain and memories of the Doctor, she is caught unaware at Pete's approach.
"Mind if I sit down?" he asks with a gentle smile as he settles himself beside her.
Rose wipes at her eyes with the back of her hand and swallows harshly before inquiring, "Did Mum send you over here?"
His smile is wry as he stares out at the ocean and replies, "Not really, or at least not so much. When I asked her what I could do, she told me, 'How the hell should I know? You said that you wanted to be a proper dad to her, go over there and figure it out!', and then she shoved me in this direction."
She remains silent except for a slight quirk of her lips turning upward and when Pete also keeps quiet, she turns to him with a curious gaze and queries, "Well?"
Pete scratches the back of his head and answers sheepishly, "Well…I'm actually still trying to figure that part out."
Rose releases a small laugh before giving into a fresh wave of tears and Pete tugs her into his arms and holds her tight. "That's right, sweetheart, let it all out. Have a good cry for as long as you need and then you can start rebuilding your life."
Rose suddenly pulls back and desperately demands to know, "What life, Pete? I don't even exist here except as a dog!"
"Yeah," he admits contritely, "sorry about that. But don't you see, sweetheart? That doesn't matter! You know that I've been restoring your mum's identity as more and more people come to realize that she's here but I've also been creating one for you."
"What, for me?" She stares at him accusingly. "Did you know that I'd end up stuck here?"
"No," denies Pete quietly, "but I was hoping that you would stay."
Rose lets out a snort of disbelief. "Don't worry, Pete, you don't have to take me and Mum as a package deal, no matter what she told you."
"And what if I want to?" he questions with a trace of anger lacing his voice. "Now just hear me out," he insists when she opens her mouth to protest. "There was a time before I met you," he lets out a harsh laugh, "or let's face it, even when you met me that I was a hard, cold, bitter and angry man who barely cared much about others anymore, much less myself. And then something happened to me, or rather someone…a blonde. Once I met her, she turned my entire world upside down. She made me think about something other than my own misery for a change, made me care, and simply by knowing her, I became a better man."
He gazes at her intently when he informs her, "That woman wasn't my Jackie and she wasn't even your mum, Rose…she was you. You, Rose Tyler, made me better and now I want to do the same for you," he declares encouragingly. "I want to offer you all of the advantages of education so that you can go out there and make your mark in the world, and even though we already share the same last name, I want to offer you mine. I want to give you the chance to build and live your life and offer you a place in mine."
The years seem to fade away on him as the man who looks the spitting image of her dad eyes her hopefully. "Rose Tyler, I would be honored if you would agree to be my daughter."
It only takes a moment for Rose to decide but when she does, it's with her whole heart. She's lost her chance to promise her forever to the Doctor, but maybe…just maybe…she can promise it to her family instead.
With a speed and alacrity that would have put a certain Time Lord's superior reflexes to shame, Rose launches herself into Pete's arms and holds on for dear life, her new life…without the Doctor.
Pete returns her embrace as tightly as he can, never willing for even one moment to let this second chance go or his daughter…his little girl.
A familiar hormonal sniffle from a pregnant Jackie declares her and Mickey's arrival. Mickey merely rolls his eyes at Jackie before offering her yet another tissue and gazing down at Rose in sympathy. "You alright there, Rose?"
"No," replies Rose honestly and then with a quick glance at Pete, "but I will be." Mickey and Jackie's eyes both widen in shock and pleasant surprise at Rose's next words. "Come on, Mickey, Mum, Dad, let's go home."
**********End of Flashback**********
"Oi, Pete Tyler!" tries Jackie once again. "I'm talking to you!" When she knows that she has his attention, she questions smugly, "Well, what do you think of our little girl?"
Pete's gaze is as loving as it is doting as he surveys Jackie's handiwork when Rose turns around to face him. "She looks beautiful, Jacks, you did a great job." Then in a more teasing tone, "Especially considering what you had to work with."
Jackie laughs aloud at the remark while Rose complains, "Dad, that's not a very nice thing to say to the bride on her wedding day," before her chastisement quickly gives way for her own laughter.
He walks over to place a gentle kiss atop Rose's head despite Jackie's warning of 'Watch the hair!' and soothes, "I'm just taking the mickey, sweetheart." At that familiar phrase, they all fall silent and quietly reminisce about their oldest and dearest friend of the family, Mickey Smith.
Rose is wistful as she muses, "I always figured that if I ever married the Doctor that Mickey would be the one to give me away or at least be at the wedding."
Jackie wraps her arms around Rose from behind and smiles at her daughter's reflection in the mirror. "I'm sure that somehow Mickey's here in spirit, love, and I know that he'd be happy for you. Besides, he's happier where he is now. Did you see how chummy he was with that girl, Martha, when we were all on the TARDIS?" She lightly smacks Rose's arm as she stands up. It looks like you both snagged Doctors!"
The pleasant lighthearted feeling returns to everyone's hearts and Pete checks his watch before commenting, "The Doctor's raring to go, Jacks. Shouldn't you start on Rose's make-up?"
Jackie scoffs, "Oh, there's no rush. It won't take more than a minute, she doesn't need much anyway."
Rose's tongue peeks out between her teeth before explaining one of her Mum's lifetime lessons to Pete. "Yeah, Mum always says that the only time that less is more is when you're applying make-up on your wedding day and when you're mixing drinks at a party and you're low on booze. And then you just keep adding more water!"
Pete nods his head in appreciation at his wife's wisdom before playfully asking Rose, "Are you sure that you still want to go through with this, sweetheart? I know for a fact that you and the Doctor drove in the Citroen so we could easily outrun him."
Rose replies, "No thanks, Dad, I'm good and I'm staying right where I am." She stares at her reflection in the mirror. "I'm feeling the best that I've ever been, in fact." She flashes a huge grin and inquires excitedly, "So, are you two ready to give me away?"
"Never," they state firmly in unison. Seeing the love in their eyes for her in their reflections, Rose hurriedly rises out of her chair and embraces them, holding both them and this moment close to her heart.
Jackie is the first one to pull away with a sniffle and orders, "Alright, you two, enough of that, back to business! We need to get this wedding started! Heaven knows that we've all waited long enough for it! So come on, Rose, and sit down because in no time at all you're going to be a married woman and I'll be waiting on news for my first grandchild!" Ignoring Rose and Pete's mutual eye rolls at this constant hope, Jackie dreamily stares off into some faraway place of her own creation and nods affirmatively. "Just as it should be."
Jackie's reverie is immediately broken when a soft breeze blows through the open tent flap accompanied by a wheezing, groaning noise that is all too familiar to the two Tyler women but was never thought to be heard again. The occupants of the tent all stare agape at each other before they rush over to the opening and peer outside.
"Is that who I think it is?" asks Jackie squinting at the oddly dressed man who was currently pushing his floppy brown hair out of his eyes. "And what's that he's wearing on his head?"
"Yeah, it is," whispers Rose in utter amazement. She has to squint her eyes as well when she's unable to identify his companion. "But who's the ginger woman that's with him?"
To Be Continued…