Gallifrey Records: The First Time the Doctor Sees Jackie Again + The First Time They Went on a Date Again
Allison and I have decided to write the post-GitF Bootleg fics as separate, slightly smaller stories. Here are the first two of — as it’s planned now — six.
The First Time the Doctor Sees Jackie Again
Jackie Tyler has never been the sort of woman who would stalk the Doctor.
Sure, she owns a few of his earlier albums. Bought those before she ever met the man, although everyone bought them, so it wasn’t as if she listened to the Scarf Album or the Cricket Album any more than she listened to The Dead Kennedys or Patti Smith. And after Rose got tangled up with the Doctor, Jackie listened because it was her job – she was Rose’s manager, after all.
And this morning, as she sits in the corner of the coffee shop around the corner from the Doctor’s flat, Jackie is certainly not stalking the Doctor.
With her floppy hat and her enormous sunglasses, her eyes glued to the door as she takes small sips from her mug, Jackie is on the hunt.
Four skinny vanilla almond lattes in, the little bell above the door jingles, and here he comes: the Doctor, wearing the same clothes he’d had on when he showed up on her doorstep last night. He’s showered and shaved, at least, and she feels a twinge of smug satisfaction, because there’s a faint bruise on his angular cheekbone.
He spends a while at the counter, chatting with the barista and waiting for his order. While he’s got his back to her, Jackie takes off her floppy hat, carefully arranges it on her crossed knee, and pulls her sunglasses up to rest on the crown of her head.
The Doctor finally turns around, mug of tea in one hand and food in the other. He’s got six banana muffins balanced precariously on a tiny plate, and when Jackie says, “Oi, you plum!” five of the muffins plop directly onto the ground.
He stares at her, jaw slack and she can see it, the wheels in his brain turning as he gauges his odds of a clean getaway. His gaze flickers to the muffins on the floor, to the exit, back to her table. “Jackie.”
“If you make a move for that door, this is only going to get more embarrassing for you.” She waves her latte at him, makes a vague gesture toward the unoccupied chair at her table. “So just sit down, hmm?”
He moves like a cornered stag, wary and slow, scenting the air for possible avenues of escape. Or in this case, scenting Jackie’s liberal application of Chanel No. 5. He picks up the ruined muffins from the floor and puts them in the bin with an unhappy frown before bringing his tea and last remaining muffin to Jackie’s table.
“How did you know I’d come here?” he asks, folding his hands in his lap. The tea steams enticingly, the lone surviving muffin sits delectably on its plate, and he doesn’t touch either of them.
Breaking bread with your enemy, Jackie thinks, narrowing her eyes.
“I know where you live, don’t I? Rose tells me things, doesn’t she? Like the name of the place that serves your favorite banana muffins. You just got in last night, Rose is the one who does the shopping, and she’s been with me this last week. Your cupboards are bare, Doctor. You were bound to stick your head out sometime.”
“More so than people generally give me credit for,” Jackie retorts. “You came onto my turf last night, I’m here to repay the favor.”
He clears his throat and glances around to make sure they aren’t being noticed. Leaning forward, he asks with a low voice, “Clever lady like you doesn’t just make a trip across London to deal out death glares. So let’s have it.” In a sudden movement, he shakes his head, holds up his hands, fingers wiggling. “Wait, no, no, no, let me guess! ‘Stay away from my daughter.’ Or ‘If you come around again, I’ll make sure you don’t live to regret it.’ Even better, ‘I have a shotgun and I’m not afraid to use it.’”
It’s odd, because the Doctor isn’t mocking or being derisive – not overtly so, at least – he’s bright and curious, as though he’s on some sort of gameshow, and if he guesses the correct phrase he’s going to win the car.
Sometimes, Jackie thinks, he’s so bizarre, he hardly seems human.
“I don’t like guns,” she says, crossing her arms and leaning back in her chair. Tap tap tap goes the toe of her high-heeled shoe on the metal pole of the table. “Although if you plan on getting my daughter into a situation that requires me to obtain a shotgun, I might well just strangle you with my bare hands.”
He clears his throat again and the flash of bright enthusiasm drains from his face. “Right, no, I’ve no intentions of getting Rose into any shotgun-provoking situations, Jackie. You can head right back to your side of town, rest assured that –”
“You hurt her,” Jackie interrupts. She’s furious, although the anger has had long enough to sit, it’s turned cold and fierce and focused. “She can’t even bring herself to speak about it, but Rose has been crying onto my shoulder for the last five days, because of whatever you did.”
He stares at her, his expression as blank as a piece of paper. He’s gone into his media mode; Jackie’s worked with him long enough to know. This is the face he puts on when reporters ask questions he doesn’t like and doesn’t intend to answer. But she also knows him well enough to read his eyes – large and brown and expressive.
Regret. Most definitely, right there alongside anger.
“I don’t expect you to turn back time, Doctor – there are limits to what even you can do, in spite of that enormous ego of yours. But I will say this once, and only once: if you ever, ever hurt my daughter like that again, I will do everything within my power to end you. Professionally and personally. Are we clear?”
Jackie isn’t sure what she expects – arguments or yelling or defensiveness – but she gets a curt, sharp nod. “Never again.”
Maintaining eye contact, she stands up. “Good.”
Without another word, she picks up the last banana muffin from his plate and walks out of the café with it.
The First Time They Went on a Date Again
Initially she thinks he’s just pouncing on an opportunity. Her mum had announced she was leaving town that morning and six hours later, the Doctor’s asking her on a date. A first date. Well, a second first date.
She’d been waiting for this, more than a little bit, if she’s honest. It’s been two weeks and there’d been plenty of lunches at chippies, a few early morning coffees, even some impromptu bowling, but nothing they’d put a label on. Nothing that said there were romantic intentions or couple intentions or did you always lick your lips this much or are you doing this on purpose? intentions.
Just the Doctor and Rose and an ocean of platonic gestures.
No, not an ocean. Never an ocean again.
And he’d always waited outside, away from her mum, standing near his car, hands in his pocket and shuffling his feet until Rose came out of the house. She’s not ready to move back in yet and he’s picked her up every time they’ve gone anywhere, but he’s still uncertain enough around Jackie to not risk all the extra run-ins.
But now, her mum’s gone and he can take her on a date properly, knocking on the door and everything, so that’s what she figures this is.
They’re in a studio, recording voice-over work for a documentary on British music. The Doctor’s got his glasses and a Beatles t-shirt on, apparently getting into the spirit of things. They’ve just wrapped for the day, and it’s still early afternoon yet when he turns to her, stopping their walk out of the studio.
He’s — nervous? He rubs his fingers against his palms a few times and she can see they’re a little damp. Definitely nervous.
“Rose Tyler,” he says. “I would like to take you out. No, would you go out with me?” He scrunches his face and shakes his head, “No, would you go on a date with me? I would like you to. Go on a date, that is.” He pauses for a breath and adds, “Please.”
She smiles, trying to match his sincerity, “Yes, Doctor, I will go on a date with you.”
He grins in response and it’s an earnest thing, full of hope, “Well, let’s go then! Allons-y! I’ll drop you off at ho— your mother’s, and pick you up in, oh, say an hour?” He’s feigning nonchalance, but there’s something in the way he’s holding himself that tells her he knows exactly that it’ll be an hour.
It’s plenty of time for her to get changed, and she does, but just into some trousers and a blouse under a jumper. She’d rather not be in a dress if his plan is paintball or running through alleys or rolling around in dirt — which are all possibilities because it’s the Doctor.
When he rings the doorbell, and then knocks shortly after, like he’s covering his bases, she’s already waiting in the foyer. She opens the door and he’s standing there, still in his Beatles t-shirt and still in his glasses (and that, she thinks, is definitely on purpose, the way he lifts a hand to adjust them by the side, moving them higher up his nose, all devastating looks and biting his lip).
“Oh, nice of you to get dressed up,” she says, ending with her tongue between her teeth and a grin.
He fakes offense, “This is a clue!”
Now she’s intrigued, “Really? A clue? Are we going to a concert?”
He laughs, “No, but maybe someone will play some music,” and he’s leading her to his car, and opening the door for her with a flourish. She rolls her eyes good-naturedly.
There’s a bag in the back from a local record store and she can just see the tops of some albums sticking out, that must’ve been where he went with his hour because they weren’t there before.
He starts the car and catches her looking at the bag, “You can check them out, if you want. It’s another hint, actually.”
She grabs the bag as he backs the car from the drive and maneuvers them onto the road.
There are several Beatles albums, some Pink Floyd — it’s a mixed bag really. Oasis and Radiohead, Rush and Duran Duran.
There’s a copy of Adam Ant’s “Wonderful,” and she smiles, thinking of the Doctor wandering through their house in his boxer briefs, singing from the kitchen to the living room and back to the bedroom — Did I tell you you’re wonderful, I miss you, yes I do — and then she’s pushing down the part of her that wants to assign the song more significance now.
They’re all great albums, to be sure, but together she can’t figure out a theme. Is he taking her to buy a new iPod? There’s a new model out, she knows because Mickey had texted her from the queue at the front of the store the night before it went on sale.
But no, that’s not very romantic. Where are they going?
“Nothing from The Cure then?” And the words are out of her mouth before she can stop them, but she’s been thinking about it for days — does he know what she did? That she went out there and played alone, that she acted?
He coughs, “Been handling calls on that for weeks, so no, no Cure. I’ve sent Robert a lovely fruit basket though,” he turns to her with a small smile.
There’s a part of her that wishes he’d press it a little bit more, the same parts of her that are keeping her at her mum’s house, that are keeping her from taking his hand, from kissing him.
She nods in response, “I’m sure he appreciated that.”
He shrugs, “Ought to, I made sure there were plenty of bananas.”
The rest of the ride passes in companionable silence, fighting over the radio and Rose looking out the window.
When they finally arrive, she understands the t-shirt and the albums and — oh.
They’re at Abbey Road Studios.
He’s got her out of the car before she can process it, the history and the weight and she shouldn’t be so worked up, she’d been in plenty of studios, plenty of times. But it’s Abbey Road.
Inside he’s a flurry of movement, sliding onto a bench and tapping on a piano, “Lady Madonna, Rose! Lady Madonna was recorded on this exact piano!” His fingers are running up and down the keys, notes tinkling out, and Rose’s eyes are wide.
“Have a go!” He says, sliding over to make room for her on the bench.
She sits, poking at a key experimentally, as if the entire set up will collapse and a hoard of angry Beatles fans is moments from descending. When the doors stay closed and the piano stays in tact, she goes after it more.
Piano’s never been her strong suit, but she taps out the beginning to “Heart & Soul,” the Doctor picking up the duet on the opposite end. They’ve played it through six times, faster and faster each go, smiling and laughing and elbows nudging and then he’s leaping from the bench to drag her into more rooms.
They’ve got the run of the place, not a single artist to be found, and there’s no way this was just because her mum had left town. He’d planned this. At length.
He pulls her around, popping their heads into rooms, the empty restaurant, lingering in hallways, and an hour later they’re in the penthouse studio, all natural light and top-of-the-line-equipment and —
The Doctor’s shy all of the sudden, toeing at the ground and dropping his eyes. She wraps him in a tight hug on impulse, the most physical contact they’ve had in weeks, and they both notice, backs straightening and limbs locking.
She pulls away quickly, not quite ready for all this yet, but certainly more than ready to play some music, inspired and energized by where they are and the sight of her guitar.
They, in an unspoken agreement, stick solely to covers, neither of them apparently prepared to play anything they’d written together.
Their next gig is a ways away yet and she hopes they’re better by then, hopes that the thought of being on stage with the Doctor again doesn’t make her insides churn with the memory of the last time and the way he wouldn’t look at her.
And the way he left her.
They end very deliberately on a Cure song though, a toned-down cover of “Close to Me” and she watches the Doctor, his fingers on the strings and his mouth around the lyrics and she smiles.
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