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An Unfortunate Predicament

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              Jackie Tyler thought of herself as a very rational woman, thank you very much. She had a perfectly lovely daughter, who (up until quite recently) had had a perfectly lovely job. She lived in a homey, serviceable apartment in London, and she had friends that lived very near her, all of which would tell you that Jackie Tyler was just a fine, fine woman. Just fine.

              It wasn’t fair, then, that all this had to happen to her: this obsession of her daughter’s and this man that changed his face. It was mad, all of it, and she was at her wit’s end – ready to refuse to harbor any more of this nonsense. That was, before she learned he had a child.

              “How do you do, Mrs. Tyler?” She didn’t believe it, of course. This sweet little girl, Chance, could not possibly be the daughter of the man in the next room, sleeping in a bed that did not belong to him – nor was she the daughter of the leather-clad man he used to be. She wouldn’t believe it. There was only so much silliness that she could tolerate, after all, and Chance’s dark violet eyes, pure black curls, and flushed cheeks did not belong to either of these two intolerable men.

              Jackie smiled, “Just fine, dear. How are you?” It was impossible not to smile at the child – at least, it was for Jackie. She was so like Rose with those wide, wondering eyes.

              Chance looked away, shy. Of course this couldn’t be the Doctor’s child. Who did he think he was fooling?

              “I hate to talk about myself when you have only just invited me into your sitting room and served me tea.” Chance drummed her fingers on her empty glass. Her clipped fingernails made hollow clicking sounds on the porcelain.

              “Oh, quiet, I did ask.” Jackie batted at her arm, playfully. Chance looked up at her in surprise, then let her lips quirk into a slight smile.

              “I suppose it’s alright if you insist.” Chance craned her neck to try and get a look into the slightly open door of her father’s borrowed room.

              Jackie laid a gentle hand over Chance’s smaller one, “Are you worried about him?” She asked quietly.

              Chance nodded, “I think he’ll be OK, though. I wish Rose hadn’t left.” Jackie did too.

              It felt like a coin toss every time she walked out the door. Jackie felt a little better knowing that Mickey had gone with her, but still – She glared at the Doctor’s open door. It was all his fault that Rose was this way now. When Jackie had inquired (not unreasonably) about the origins of the small, and potentially endangered child that had shown up on her doorstep in the wake of her Rose and this brand new man, she had only barely gotten a response.

              “S’his daughter,” Said Rose. She was checking the Doctor’s vital signs. (Two hearts? What sort of crap was this man telling her?)

              “What do you mean that’s his daughter, why haven’t I ever heard of her, then?” Asked Jackie.

              Rose had shrugged (shrugged!), “I dunno, mum, I never really thought about it.” She finished her task and took the stethoscope buds out of her ears.

              “I think I’m going out,” She sighed, before Jackie could even get a word in edgewise, “Mickey asked me to go shopping with him. I don’t think he likes me being cooped up in here all day. Mum? Chance?” From the sitting room, Chance looked up sharply from her laptop.

              “You’ll watch over him, yeah?” Rose looked imploringly at her mother.

              Jackie crossed her arms. She couldn’t very well just say ‘no,’ now could she?

              “You better not leave me for too long, Rose,” She grumbled, “You know I’m already thinking of strangling him.”

              Rose didn’t respond, just kissed her on the cheek and left the room.

              “Be careful, Rose,” Said Chance, as Rose came into the sitting room.

              “I will,” Said Rose, and smiled at her. She had left, and Jackie had stayed, and now here she was: alone with two aliens (for as much as she protested Chance’s parentage, she could not deny that the girl was uniquely inhuman), and sipping tea as if it were only another day.

              “Would you like me to take that from you?” Asked Jackie, returning sharply to reality and gesturing at the girl’s empty teacup.

              “That’s quite alright, Mrs. Tyler, I’m sure I can get it myself,” Said Chance, sweetly.

              “That’s Jackie,” Corrected Jackie, “And I’ll not have you doing dishes in my house.” She quickly swiped hers and Chance’s mugs and went to rinse them.

              “How old are you, sweetheart?” Asked Jackie as she finished rinsing the cups and placed them neatly in the sink.

              Chance didn’t answer. She wasn’t in the sitting room. Jackie looked around, confused, then paused at the sound of near-silent murmuring coming from the Doctor’s room.

              On light feet, Jackie crept to the door of the Doctor’s bedroom and peaked in.

              Chance was sat on the far side of the bed, clasping the hand nearest to her between two of her delicate, pale ones. Her brow was furrowed and her eyes were closed. She said something that rang in Jackie’s ears, despite the low volume. It was like no language she’d ever heard. Jackie backed away from the door, quietly, feeling like an intruder in her own home.

              This story is not about Jackie Tyler.