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Tea Means Family (and Tea Means Nobody Gets Left Behind)

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The first time she makes him tea he "doesn't do domestic" and nearly scowled at her for even making him tea, but he had her daughter's heart and she was going to make him family, thank you very much.

(Neither of them mention the way his eyes go soft at first, like he's remembering someone, or that he neatly cleans the cup and puts it away. And they definitely don't mention that the next day Jackie Tyler had "won" a beautiful set of TARDIS blue mugs in a contest she didn't remember entering.)

The second time she makes him tea, or first, depending on how you look at it. Bloody time travel. A mysterious stranger appears at the door, holding a red bicycle, the very same that her Rose had begged for in a store that day. His hair was short, and his leather jacket made him look tough, but to Jackie, he looked like an angel.

Truth be told, Jackie didn't know how they were going to have a Christmas this year. Funds were already tight and they were barely getting by, let alone well enough for the bike Rose wanted.

"I heard your daughter asking for this earlier," he lied, but it's easier to believe than the truth, "so I bought it. For her. Blimey, this sounds terrible. I used to have children myself, so I thought-"

He didn't get to finish his sentence, as Jackie pulled him into the tightest and somehow best hug of his life. She insisted on repaying him, but he refused. Being as stubborn as she is, she invited him to tea with a look daring him to say no.

When she next sees him, she finally realizes where she knows his face from, and trusts him with her daughter from then on.

Neither of them mention the way his eyes got misty when she asked his children's names, and how he mentions someone called Susan, his granddaughter. He doesn't say, and she doesn't ask how they died, but she sees the guilt behind his eyes that he tries to pretend isn't there.

The third time she makes him tea he had just gotten a new face. How he had done that, she had no clue, but he was still him, Rose insisted.

She asks him how he wants his tea, figuring new teeth, new everything. He makes a small confused look, looking younger than she had ever seen him. Finally, he smiles, telling her to surprise him.

(Rose later tells her that the Doctor mentioned she made it "perfect, as usual", and she definitely doesn't smile at that, nope.)

The fourth time she made him tea, he and Rose were staying over for "should be a week, old girl needs to rest", and she pretended she wasn't so happy to see them.

She hears whimpers coming from her living room, and, worried the Doctor was hurt, ran into the living room. He was, just not in a way she could fix with a quick trip to the actual doctor.

She quietly wakes him up, makes him tea, and they quietly watch the discovery channel for the rest of the night, eventually falling back asleep.

(Once again, they don't mention the dreams, or the fact that Rose now has pictures as "proof you don't hate 'im as much as you claim, mum".)

The fifth time she makes him tea, he has a bow tie and tells her his name is John Smith, but she knows the Doctor anywhere, even if he looks about twenty this time around. She plays along and invites him inside for tea, "since you just look so sad, young man. 'M not coming on to you, y'know."

He tells her of his friends, Amelia and Rory Pond, and how in love they are, how human they are. She pretends not to hear the human comments, since he seems adamant she doesn't know who he is.

He tells her they make him miss someone he had lost, but is happier without him now.

She, of course, knows who he's talking about, and comforts him, even if she has no clue how or why Rose left, but she knows one thing. No matter who he left her with, she's not happier without him.

(In the end, she calls him a "bloody idiot, and that girl must still love him", and she pretends not to notice the tears on her shoulder when he hugs her goodbye.)

+ The time he makes her tea.

He's still got that bow tie, the one, she realizes, she had given him one Christmas as the one in pinstripes.

It was a bit of a joke gift, but she realizes how much it meant to him, and was shocked at how much it meant to her that he actually kept it.

They're finally back in the right universe.


John Noble, as he called himself, barely lasted the rest of the day. Told them a human with a time lord brain just wasn't possible, and with his last breath, thanked Rose for everything, and thanked Jackie for the tea.

For Rose, it was like losing him all over again. Cried for the rest of the week, then got set on her dimension cannon again. This time, good enough for the entire family, by Jackie's request.

Her and Pete had talked it out, and he was surprised how much he agreed with her. They couldn't be without Rose, she was family, of course.

It took longer, but eventually they made the cannon safe enough for all four of them, extra safety on Tony.

Jackie took her first breath of air and knew she was home, not because of the universe, but because she was with her family, including that alien.

They see a strange bow tied man sitting in the park they landed, his head in his hands.

Amelia was Amy now, had been for a while, but now it was only Amy. Rory had... well... he wasn't sure. He hadn't died, but he wasn't exactly there, more like he just... wasn't anymore. He was so caught up in his thoughts, he almost hadn't heard the Tyler's shouts of joy, not caring how mad they sounded. Almost.

His head snapped up, and he locked eyes with Rose, his Rose. She knew who he was, and ran to him as quick as she could. Of course, he met her in the middle and immediately took her in his arms.

"Rose," he whispered, "my Rose."

"My Doctor," she whispered back.

Jackie practically had to drag them by their ears into their flat, muttering about how this used to be easier when he wore a leather jacket.

She went to the kitchen and he followed, unknown to her. She turned and saw his face again, nearly dropping her kettle.

"Jackie, let me," he said, smiling, finally. A sharp contrast to how she had seen him the first time.

"Alright, but if you add twelve different 'upgrades' you're explainin' to my friends why the kettle makes eleven cups in ten seconds."

He laughed, another new sound. Despite her best attempts the first time, she had barely gotten a smile.

"Thank you, Jackie, for everything."

"Thank you, Doctor."