The Doctor Will See You Now

Disclaimer: Nothing belongs to me. I could do with a cup of tea, though

Author's Note: Hello. I'm still here! I wrote some of this on the plane from the UK to Boston, USA. I wrote the rest at a table on the roof of a hotel in Upper Manhattan. The next chapter (coming soon!) I wrote in the bar of a hotel in the Scottish Highlands. Basically, I work on this whenever I have free time! I want to say thank you to all you lovely, inspiring people who have left reviews. I'm still writing because of all of you!

Rose was doing a great job of inadvertently disproving the theory that women could multi-task.

She had her toothbrush clamped between her teeth; a mouthful of toothpaste; a brush in one hand and a pair of straighteners in the other. Oh, and an attractive white dribble running down her chin.

She was trying to get dressed in a hurry. She was in a hurry because the TARDIS had just landed and she needed to hurry because that meant that the Doctor would be alone in the kitchen at the mercy of her mother.

She groaned as she thought about this and hopped from foot to foot impatiently, feeling a surge of adrenaline.

Deciding that her hair looked fine with just her brand-new layers straightened, she wrenched the plug out of the socket, set them on the mirror to cool down and more or less sprinted to the bathroom.

She had heard the door open, heard the animated male voice that she would recognise across several galaxies never mind through a thin wall and had instantly felt...jittery.

A sort of nervous, happy-excited feeling that she imagined people felt at an airport arrivals gate, waiting for someone you cared about to walk through that magic automatic door.

Because the Doctor was back! He was here and wasn't that just the greatest thing in the entire world? True, it had only been about twelve hours since he had left, but that didn't mean that she couldn't look forward to seeing him, did it?

Or was it a bit pathetic to be so happy about the fact that he was once again in the same building as her?

Rose finished brushing her teeth, sighing as she looked at herself in the bathroom mirror . At least she wasn't as pale and washed-out looking as yesterday. The bags under her eyes were thankfully lighter and you never would have guessed that she had spent a large portion of the day before in tears. Still, thank God for Maybelline, she thought, pulling her make-up bag towards her.

She kept listening for any shouting or the sound of windows smashing or...walls collapsing that was the usual fanfare of the Doctor's visit at her mum's flat as she painted a thick layer of foundation on her face but she didn't hear anything.

She could just imagine him though, sitting there at the table with his coat still on, unwilling to get too comfortable, prodding at his scrambled egg or giving the bacon a quick buzz with his sonic screwdriver to make sure it definitely wasn't of alien origin.

You know, his usual behaviour.

Then there was her mum; she would probably be asking him all sorts of questions about where they were going next. Was it safe? Did she need any more injections? Did they get travel-sick on the TARDIS?

Meanwhile, the Doctor would be counting to a thousand in Gallifreyan in his head and would be itching to just go. Like an over-excited puppy, desperate to be out for a walk.

As funny as she found it; the Doctor stuck making small talk with her mum, she would have to go and save him.

She didn't know what she has expected to see when she pushed open the kitchen door. Maybe for Jackie to half-shout 'Rose,' brightly or for the Doctor to give her a quick hug in relief and drag her to the front door but certainly not...this.

The kitchen was peaceful.

Jackie was sitting at the table, now reading Hello instead of the free paper and the Doctor, well, he was perched on the edge of the bench dismantling the toaster.

A small heap of debris: plastic knobs, a charred metal grill and stained plastic casing was piled up beside him and he had enough burnt toast crumbs over his knees and the bench to fill a large bird-feeder.

Well, that was a new one but she couldn't say that it was entirely out of character.

"I take it toast's off the menu, then?" she said by way of a greeting, raising her eyebrows at the springs and wires in the Doctor's hands.

"Hello," he said, looking up at her with a small smile. Just for a second, he looked at her like she was his very favourite thing in the universe. As if she were a mixture of the TARDIS and a banana tree. Then he turned his attention back to what he was doing.

"I'm fixing the toaster," he added, unnecessarily.

"Yeah, I can see that," she said with a smirk as she squeezed past him to sit next to Jackie.

"Are you two going to eat your breakfast, or what?" she asked them, peering at what Jackie was reading and looking from her to their new resident toaster-fixer.

"Have you changed your hair?" asked the Doctor, abruptly, managing to speak at exactly the same time as Rose.

"What?" they said in unison.


"What breakfast?"

Rose and the Doctor started laughing at each other at their unhelpful ability to speak at the same time. Twice.

"Anyone told you," said Jackie conversationally, turning a page with an extravagant flick. "That you two spend too much time together?"

It wasn't the first time that she had sat at the table with her mum and the Doctor, but the last time had been Christmas Day. Christmas trees had smashed up their entire flat. She had a vivid recollection of cutting up her turkey and grimacing at her mum's over-cooked carrots whilst crunching plaster and crumbly pieces of stone beneath her trainers.

But then, the Doctor had been a complete stranger and so something as normal as Christmas Dinner amongst all the change and chaos had been a welcome, if surreal familiarity.

However, this definitely felt more domestic and scarily more 'couple-ish.'

"Here, have some more eggy bread," Jackie coaxed the Doctor, dropping two more slices onto his already full plate. "There's not a scrap on you."

The Doctor widened his eyes at the tower of eggy bread he had piled up in front of him.

"Thanks, Jackie," he said uncertainly, picking up a slice with his fingers.

Rose looked at him for a moment and then put her own cutlery down with a clatter.

"I like your thinking," she said, grinning at him and holding her eggy bread like a slice of pizza.

The Doctor chewed, thoughtfully.

"What did you say this was?" he asked her.

"Eggy bread," said Rose and Jackie in unison.

"Rose made it," Jackie told him, leaning over to ruffle Rose's hair as if she were a a well-behaved pet.

"Have you not had it before?" asked Rose, aghast.

"Nope," replied the Doctor, popping the 'P.' "What is it? I mean, some form of egg and bread, obviously..."

Jackie looked at Rose incredulously but Rose just shrugged.

The Doctor had been there for every mouthful of beef-flavoured milkshake; warm ice-cream and dog food fit for human consumption. He hadn't laughed at her wonder and coiled-up excitement, even at things he himself took for granted.

Now, she could sort of see why he liked introducing her to new things and places. The intrigue on his face at something as basic as eggy bread made her feel all warm and fuzzy.

"It's bread, dipped in egg, then fried," Rose explained to him, miming shaking a frying pan.

"Yeah, thought so," said the Doctor.

He inspected a slice of bread closely. "It's like a pancake and an omlette. Ingenious. Very, very clever. Compliments to the chef," he enthused, raising his cup of tea at Rose in a silent toast.

"So," began Jackie in a business-like tone. "Where have you been, then?"

She looked at the Doctor expectantly.

Rose nearly choked on the mushroom she was eating. Trust her mum to ask that! Honestly, she must have realised by now that the Doctor just didn't do cross-examination from someone's mother? He held his cards very close to his chest.

Rose felt like her insides were shriveling up in embarrassment. She glanced sideways at the Doctor, waiting for him to clam up and go all sullen and unresponsive. But to her complete and utter amazement, he looked up from the piece of bacon he had been stabbing enthusiastically and lowered his fork.

He screwed up his face, as if trying to remember something that had happened a long time ago.

"Well," he began slowly, "I've been to 1997, 2001, 2017, 2030 annnd 2045," he reeled off, listing them on his fingers with a self-satisfied smile to himself as if he'd done something particularly clever.

Jackie gaped at him and shook her head in bemusement.

"You know what it is. I know you two can do all that reversing time stuff like Marty McFly but when you say you've been to 2045, I still can't get my head around it," she murmured, almost to herself.

"The TARDIS doesn't reverse time," said the Doctor, testily, visibly paling at the thought. "It's a..."

Rose gave a small cough and kicked him under the table. The Doctor seemed to wilt ever so slightly and his mouth thinned.

"OK, fine. It reverses time," he said tonelessly, his eyes weary as if the thought of it caused him physical discomfort.

Rose would have normally found the idea of her mum trying to understand time travel an entirely hilarious concept but she had been entirely blind-sided by something the Doctor had just said. Where had he said he had been? All of those years?

Of course, she had had a sneaking suspicion that he was going to return to 1997. All of that business with the Sherbet Fountains; the ones he had bought yesterday morning definitely hadn't been opened but somehow four Sherbet Fountains had been exploded all of the boys.

Then there was that article in the newspaper that her mum had had a minor fit over.

Surely it wasn't a coincidence that, in Rose's time, as far as she was concerned (and this was the bit that made her head spin) the Doctor had met the boys and then a day later they had all been arrested?

No, what most people called 'coincidence,' Rose called 'The Doctor.'

"Hang on, you went to all those years?" Rose questioned him sharply, her expression still suspicious. "How long for?"

"Doctors have to do their rounds, now, don't they?" the Doctor answered her innocently. "Just popped in for a quick check-up in each year," he reassured her with a wink.

Jackie snorted at his use of the doctor gag but Rose ignored her.

The Doctor was sitting beside her, on her left-hand side, just where she would normally expect to find him but this time she swivelled round so that she was properly facing him.

"Yeah, but what for?" she asked him slowly, reaching over and placing a hand on his wrist to get him to look at her.

The Doctor did, and when he saw from the set of her jaw and the uncertainty in her eyes that she really did want a serious answer, he sighed and pushed his plate to one side.

Jackie, too, stopped eating and stared in interest at the Doctor.

If only to give himself time to think, he leant backwards to swing on the hind legs of his chair. It creaked ominously and he propelled himself forwards so that he was once more on all four legs, looking decidedly guilty.

"You've got the right idea, looking guilty if you break that chair," Jackie told him, warningly.

The Doctor gave Jackie his best placatory look for half a second before he turned his attention firmly back to Rose.

"To prove a point," he said tersely.

Rose couldn't work out whether he was angry or proud or perhaps both. But from the way he said it, with that glint in his eyes and his thin fingers gripping the table tightly, she knew he absolutely meant it.

The kitchen was very quiet. Rose could hear the tap dripping and someone arguing furiously in a foreign language in the flat above.

She rested her chin on her hand and looked up at the Doctor with her eyebrows raised.

"What was your point?" she probed.

The Doctor grinned at her.

"That no one messes with you whilst I'm around," he told her simply, with a sheepish sort of shrug.

Rose giggled. It sounded awfully gangster and street to be coming from a skinny man in a stripy suit.

She had the overwhelming urge to throw her arms around him. She knew he hadn't just been looking out for her, It was more complicated than that. She just couldn't put her finger on what it was.

Not for the first time this morning, she wished she wasn't sitting here with her mum. Not that her mum was in the way or anything, it was just slightly...awkward.

"Thanks," she said quietly, crinkling her eyes up at him.

The Doctor waved it away like it was nothing.

"You know me," he said jovially, spearing a piece of eggy bread and bacon onto his fork. "Always have to have the last word in.

"You?" said Jackie sarcastically but with a definite fondness in her voice so that he knew she didn't mean it. "I couldn't imagine that."

She gave him an appraising look, and looking more at ease with him than Rose could ever remember, she slid two of her untouched slices of eggy bread onto the Doctor's now-empty plate.

"Here y'are," she said, almost maternally. "Get these down ya. I'm meant to be doing Weight Watchers anyway."

Rose caught the Doctor's eye and had to look away quickly to avoid dissolving into giggles.

Even Jackie Tyler couldn't ply them with tea and food forever. After they had eaten absolutely everything and had had a fresh cup of tea each, (with a Kit Kat for the Doctor because clearly, four rashers of bacon and five slices of bread wasn't enough for a growing Time Lord) Rose caught herself peering out of the steamed-up windows, trying to get a glimpse of the TARDIS.

The Doctor noticed what she was looking at.

"Time to go?"

"Time to go," she replied, a slow, excited smile spread across her face.

Apparently the Doctor had to finish fixing the toaster first, though. He perched himself back on the kitchen bench and carried on tinkering with the clanking bits of metal and wires whilst Jackie rushed around the flat packing Rose a 'goodie' bag, Rose obediently following her into the bathroom.

"Here, take one of these soaps that Keisha sent," Jackie insisted, plopping a vanilla-coloured one that looked like a wedge of honeycomb into a plastic Jane Norman bag that already held mini-rolls and tea bags.

"Mum, she sent them to you," Rose protested, feeling somewhat embarrassed at Jackie's kindness. All she had brought back for her was a Wispa!

Jackie shushed her and then away she was again, careering into Rose's bedroom like a train.

"And I got you a few tops and things from New Look when they had a sale on," Jackie told her cheerfully, pulling a fuzzy blue zip-up cardigan, a yellow t-shirt and a long grey cable-knit jumper dress out of Rose's wardrobe and into the bulging bag.

Of course, in her haste to get changed, Rose hadn't noticed these new, pristine garments hanging up in her wardrobe and she felt the familiar squeezing sensation in her chest at how much her mum clearly loved her.

"Oh, and hang on. One more thing," said Jackie excitedly before she almost ran out of Rose's room and into her own.

"Mum, you've given me more than enough," protested Rose quickly, feeling almost like it was her birthday.

"Just one more thing," Jackie promised, shouting through from her bedroom. "Ooh now, where did I put it? I put it somewhere what did I do with it?" she chuntered to herself. Rose could hear muffled banging and thumping going on and guessed that she was rifling through her drawers.

Two seconds later she heard a triumphant "Aha!"

"Have a look at this," Jackie said, looking faintly pink and flushed as she came back into Rose's room and helped herself to a seat on Rose's bed.

Rose sat down beside her and she heard her bed springs complain underneath the thin mattress.

Jackie handed her a black and white postcard. It was one of those vintage photographs from the 50s that you could buy in the gift shops anywhere in London of those old trolley buses or Piccadilly Circus during the war.

This photo was of a young, fair-haired (from what she could make out, as it was in black and white) woman in a spotty, puffball skirt being picked up and whirled around by a tall, handsome man. He was lifting her up high and she was beaming down at him, her legs flying out behind her. But for all she looked the picture of 50s lady-like glamour, there was something anomalous about the man's suit. It looked too fitted; too modern. And he was wearing Converse trainers.

Rose stared at the postcard, lightly grazing her own face with her fingertips. It was a photo of herself and the Doctor, there was no doubt about that. But she certainly could not remember wearing an outfit like that, nor did she recognise her hairstyle; half pinned up, half in loose curls over her shoulders.

She flipped the postcard over. There was the usual square box for sticking the stamp and it was split into two sections; one for the address and the other, obviously for writing but written in tiny, typed print in the bottom left-hand corner were the words:

Opening night of My Fair Lady, Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. April 30th 1958

"Where did you find this?" asked Rose, intrigued.

"In WH Smith beside the birthday cards," said Jackie, sounding very pleased with herself. "Look at you, on a postcard, Rose! I couldn't believe it! I was looking for a Get Well Soon card because, you know the old woman who used to work in the paper shop beside your school? Took a fall and she's broken her hip, the poor love. Anyway, I saw the suit and those trainers out of the corner of my eye and I thought to myself, only one person I know would dress like that," Jackie rattled off at high speed. "Knew it was you two straight away!"

Rose tittered.

"Well, we haven't been to 1958, yet," she mused. "This is in the future."

She gazed down at the photograph again. She looked positively giddy and the Doctor was grinning up at her. They looked like they were having the time of their lives. Bless him. It seemed like ages since she had seen him smile like that. She couldn't help but smile back.

Now, where was the real-life version of the man in this picture?

She could still hear the sound of metal on metal and the high-pitched hum of the sonic-screwdriver coming from the kitchen.

"Thank you, Mum," said Rose sincerely, leaning over to hug her Mum, even though they were at an awkward angle.

"You're welcome, darling," cooed Jackie, rubbing her back. "So," she said finally, pushing her away gently so that she could say goodbye. "Yeah, you definitely look more like your old self. I've made a cracking job of your hair, if I do say so myself," she said approvingly.

"Where are you going now, then? The Rings of Saturn?" she joked, elbowing her.

Rose gave her a shove, back.

"No idea," she shrugged. " You'd have to ask the organ-grinder, I mean," she said, nodding in the direction of the Doctor in the kitchen. "I'm just the monkey."

Jackie laughed. "Oh give over," she told her. "Like he wouldn't take you exactly where you wanted to go like that"" she teased her, clicking her fingers.

Rose felt her face flush and she made no reply.

"You know," began Jackie, wistfully. "I used to worry myself sick about you. Couldn't sleep. Couldn't eat...kept thinking I'd open the door one day and the Doctor would be there telling me you'd got yourself killed."

Rose swallowed uneasily. She felt as guilty as she had felt earlier; guilty because she knew her mum worried about her, but that was just a mother thing, wasn't it? All mothers worried but she had never heard her mum tell her her fears like this.

"Don't get me wrong, love," Jackie pressed on, flapping a hand at her. "I'm still going to worry about you but at least now I now I really know that he's going to look after you."

Rose thought about this. Thought about all the times the Doctor had come running after her to rescue her from whatever scrape she had managed to get herself into and how he had given her a piggy-back to the TARDIS after the party and had wrapped her up in a blanket so that she wouldn't get too chilly. About how he had carried her younger self home from that manky park and had still been concerned about her, tripping along in a daze beside him.

"He does look after me, Mum," said Rose earnestly. "He does. Seriously...Mum, you have no idea how much he looks after me."

Jackie looked at her. Properly looked at her and chewed her lip.

"Ok," she sniffed, giving her a watery smile. "I suppose that'll have to do, then."

Rose laughed at her typical dramatics and hugged her mum's arm, resting her head on her shoulder. She smelled so nice and reassuring; flowery perfume, hairspray and face powder.

"Love you, Mum."

Jackie gave her a quick squeeze.

"I love you too, sweetheart," she said, sounding surprised. "What are we like? A right pair of softies, ey? Come on," she ordered, springing to her feet and pulling Rose up after her.

"I don't want to leave that man alone in my kitchen for too long. I know he's only fixing the toaster but I dunno if it was ever safe to begin with. One of your dad's mates got it on the cheap just after you were born. I'm not having the Doctor set himself of fire," she said seriously, pushing Rose into the kitchen.

Rose did as she was told, the handles of her bulging plastic bag cutting grooves into her palms.

The Doctor was leaning against the kitchen bench with his ankles crossed in front of him. He had his coat on once again and his hands were shoved into his pockets.

"You ready?" he asked, not impatiently as such, but Rose could tell that he was really hoping that she would say 'yes.'

"Yep," she said cheerfully, bounding over to stand directly in front of him and shaking her bag of treats at him like a child with a party bag.

"You fixed the toaster then, or what?"

He gave her a playful smile and tapped her gently on her nose.

" I have indeed," he said, loftily, moving aside to show her...a toaster which to be honest, didn't really look very much different to how it had looked before he had started fiddling with it.

"She's now firing on all grills, as it were. You can now toast two bits of bread at the same time annnnd," he paused for dramatic effect. "Jackie Tyler, Rose Tyler, it is my honour to confirm to you today that the dial to adjust how light you want your toast is now in full and complete working order," he announced, faux-grandly.

Jackie gasped and clapped excitedly, like a seal.

"It's not, is it? Oh, that's just marvellous. That hasn't worked since we got it, has it?" she squeaked, sounding absolutely delighted.

"No, it hasn't," chipped in Rose. "'Thanks' is what she's trying to say," she added, touching the tip of her tongue to the roof of her mouth and nodding at her mum.

"What?" said Jackie distractedly, still gazing fondly at her toaster. "Oh! Sorry! Thank you, Doctor."

The Doctor merely looked extremely relieved that she hadn't decided to give him another suit-rumpling hug like she had yesterday.

Clearly, there was only so much of her mother he could take.

She looked at her mum; all girly, pink and big hair. It didn't take much to make her happy, did it? Just a toaster.

"I haven't seen her this happy since she won tickets to see Boyzone on a radio phone-in," Rose decided, dryly.

Jackie rolled her eyes.

"Thank you for bringing her home," she said gratefully, watching Rose off-load her carrier bag onto the Doctor so that she had her hands free. "Keep an eye on her," she ordered, her voice muffled slightly as Rose gave her another brief hug.

The Doctor gave her a one-fingered, mini salute and nodded, deeply.

"Trust me," he quipped. "I'm a doctor."

Rose tutted at his awful joke and decided to more or less march him out of the front door.

"Yeah, and visiting time's over," she retorted, prodding him forwards.

Both Rose and the Doctor turned round to face Jackie once they were stood on the concrete balcony outside.

"T'ra then, mum," Rose said, happily. "See ya!"

Just ahead, about five minutes away, Rose could see a very familiar wooden blue box. The sight of it still gave her the goosebumps and that warm, excited feeling.

They walked in a companionable silence, Rose inching in closer to the Doctor for warmth as it really was blisteringly cold. She could see her breath clouding in front of her.

"Hold on a minute," said the Doctor, grabbing at her sleeve to get her to stand still. "Best do it now before we get out of range..."

He pulled the sonic-screwdriver out of his pocket, buzzed it nonchalantly over his shoulder for a few seconds and then pocketed it, again.

"There we go!" he said cheerfully. "Done and dusted."

Without so much as an explanation, he chuckled at Rose and carried on walking. Rose stood still, looking back in the direction of her mum's flat . The block of flats looked untouched. Now what had he done? She did a half-run to catch up with him.

"What did you just do?" she asked, though in a tone which suggested that she didn't really expect a proper answer.

"Who, me?" asked the Doctor, innocently, looking at her out of the corner of his eye. "Nothing much, really. Hardly anything, in fact."

Rose raised her eyebrows at him, silently waiting for him to elaborate.

"Certain things, certain people, should be left in the past," he said with a small sigh and somehow Rose innately knew that he was referring to his own demons as well as hers.

"But maybe not all of them," he finished, simply.

Rose didn't know exactly who or what he meant by that but it sounded like a nice thought. He had a pleased sort of smile on his face. She thought back to her mum's expression of utter delight when she had given her a Wispa.

"Things like Wispas?" joked Rose, with a knowing look at the Doctor.

"Things like Wispas," he agreed in a bored voice, though giving her a fond eye-roll.

Rose was all too used to the Doctor being all mysterious and pointedly not answering questions because he thought it made him look all enigmatic.

Actually, it was more annoying than enigmatic but she supposed that she would find out if she needed to.

To prove that she was letting the matter drop, she reached for the Doctor's hand and held it tightly all the way back to the TARDIS.

Jackie was in the kitchen, filling the sink up with hot, soapy water to wash the breakfast things when, underneath the sound of running water she heard a familiar metallic pop.

It was the toaster. But she hadn't put any bread in...

Mystified, her hands stilled in the water and she stared at the fixed toaster. Sure enough, there was something sticking up out of the top, smoking slightly.

Drying her hands on a tea towel, she crept towards it, gingerly. It wasn't toast, whatever it was and if the Doctor had been fiddling with it he could have set it to receive stuff from outer space or something, couldn't he?

Jackie let her hand drop to her side and wiggled her fingers nervously. Oh, no she didn't want to touch it.

But if Rose were here, Rose would march straight over there. She was brave-fearless, even. That settled it, then.

It was paper sticking out of the toaster. She pulled it out, shaking the crumbs off it. It was still warm and the corners were charred and black but it was still recognisable as a receipt. A receipt for two pots of tea and a plate of toast from a café at 2.16am in 2011.

Then, she turned it over. It was covered in sprawling, untidy handwriting. It was a Canadian address of somewhere in Calgary and a really long telephone number. They were contact details for someone called June West and underneath were the words:

Get back in touch.


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