Everyone stood in a sort of shocked silence before Donna finally exclaimed, “It’s about time!”
That broke the spell holding everyone still and soon everyone was rushing them to congratulate them. Finally, Martha, the voice of reason, asked, “Have you all planned any of this?”
“Well, er, no,” the Doctor replied.
“Who’s going to officiate? Will it be Gallifreyan or human? Where is it gonna be? When is it gonna be?” Martha asked.
Rose laid a hand on her friend’s arm. “We’ll figure that out. You just get to calling your family and give them a head’s up.”
“Doctor,” Rose said, telepathically. “I have an idea about an officiant, but I don’t actually know him, so I don’t know if he’d want to do it,” Rose said.
“Who is it?” The Doctor asked, unsure who Rose might have in mind that she wouldn’t know.
“The Brigadier. You’ve always talked so highly of him, I thought it might be nice.
The Doctor kissed Rose on the forehead. “It would be perfect.” He then turned to Sarah Jane. “Would you mind making a phone call for me?”
Once the Doctor had explained his plan, Sarah Jane was thrilled. She had seen the Sir Alistair a few months earlier but hadn’t let on about the Doctor’s relationship. She decided against telling him on the phone as well, mostly because she doubted he would believe she was serious. Even if she had been in love with the Doctor as a young woman, the idea of any of the Doctors that Sir Alistair had known getting married was absurd, and even though he knew how much the Doctor could change through regenerations, this Doctor was quite a change from any that he had known.
“Hello?” came the voice on the phone.
“Hello Sir Alistair,” Sarah Jane said with a smile.
“Sarah Jane Smith, to what do I owe the pleasure?” the man said.
“I actually was hoping to ask you for a favour. On behalf of the Doctor, that is.”
“A favour? After he just saved us all? At least, I’m assuming it was him that got us out of that mess,” the Brig chuckled.
“Yeah, I guess you could say he helped,” Sarah Jane laughed.
“Well then, what can I do for him?”
“He was hoping you’d officiate a wedding,” Sarah Jane replied.
“A wedding? Whose wedding?”
“Well, sir, you know the groom, he’s a mutual friend of ours, but I’m afraid you haven’t had the chance to meet the bride yet,” Sarah Jane replied cryptically. “But don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll love her.”
“Well, if the Doctor’s asking, I’ll do it, but I’d really like to know who’s getting married,” Sir Alistair said.
“Believe me, sir,” Sarah Jane said, glancing at the couple as the fielded questions from their friends and set to planning, “you wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”
“Alright then, keep your secrets. But when is the wedding?”
“Um, well, now,” Sarah Jane replied. “They didn’t exactly plan it, despite having been engaged just under two years. But they decided that now is the perfect time, so we’re all going along with it.”
“Then I’ll go put my uniform on,” the Brig chuckled. “I’ll admit, I’m quite curious about this whole affair now.”
“Thank you, Sir Alistair. It’ll mean a lot to them,” Sarah Jane replied.
After hanging up, she turned to the couple. “He’ll do it.”
“Perfect timing,” the Doctor said. “Now, here we are on Bannerman Road. Let’s get Luke, then we’ll be on to get the Joneses, then we’ll stop by and get Wilf, then we’ll get Alistair.”
Jackie was already out of the TARDIS before the Doctor could finish speaking. Rose stepped out into the attic where Luke was sitting with Mr. Smith and K-9. “Did my mother come through here?”
“Yeah,” Luke said, looking a bit shaken, but that was a common reaction to Jackie Tyler. “She’s downstairs now.”
“Thanks Luke,” Rose said, ruffling his hair before becoming mock-serious. “Now, you and K-9 run into the TARDIS. The Doctor and I are getting married, and your presence is requested at the ceremony.”
“Really?” Luke asked excitedly.
“Really,” Rose smiled, giving him a hug. “Now get in there and keep Jenny company.”
Once Luke was inside the TARDIS, Rose took a deep breath before heading downstairs. She still wasn’t sure how to be around Pete. He looked like her dad, and he was married to her mum, but he wasn’t her dad. He had made that clear the first time they met in Pete’s World. And now she had a little brother. She had always been an only child, so she had no idea how to be a big sister. Having had Martha and her family might have helped, but they were adults, and Tony was a toddler. Before she even reached the bottom of the stairs, she could hear Jackie fussing over Tony. Pete was trying to reassure Jackie that they were both fine, but Jackie had managed to mostly hold it together the whole time they were on the Crucible, so Rose couldn’t fault her for losing it a bit then. It also helped her take those final few steps into the living room because it felt so normal. As she stood off to the side watching them, Rose couldn’t help but wonder if this sight would have been normal to her already if she had listened to Pete and the Doctor and just gone to Pete’s World at Canary Wharf.
Quickly shaking off that thought, Rose made her way into the room. She wouldn’t give up Jenny or her life with the Doctor for anything.
“Hi Pete,” Rose said with a bit of a strained smile.
“Rose!” Pete exclaimed, quickly pulling her into a hug. It was so unlike him the last time they had met that she just froze. Quickly realizing she was uncomfortable, Pete let her go. “Sorry about. Jacks talks about you so much and has told me so many stories about you that I sometimes forget you aren’t actually my daughter. Especially after your brother.”
“Speaking of her brother,” Jackie huffed, hoisting the toddler higher on her hip before turning her attention to hip and saying in a sweet voice, “You wanna meet your sister, don’t you?”
“Hi Tony,” Rose smiled, waving a little at him, still a bit unsure what to do with a kid that size. Sure, she had met Keisha, Leo’s baby a few times, but something about this felt inherently different.
“Rose?’ Tony asked, glancing between his mother and his sister a few times for confirmation.
“Yes, love, it’s your sister Rose,” Jackie reassured him.
His little face lit up and he reached for his sister. “Rosie!” He exclaimed, leaping out of his mother’s arms and into his sisters.
“So you’ve heard of me then?” Rose asked, laughing awkwardly.
“Heard of you?” Jackie snorted. “The only bedtime stories he ever wants to hear are about you and the Doctor.”
“Well, I guess I’ll have to share a few new ones then, won’t I?” Rose said, suddenly calmer. Something just felt right about being with her brother. Sort of the way things felt with Jenny after they talked things out the day she was born.
“Oh?” Jack asked suggestively, wiggling his eyebrows.
“Oh, shut it,” Rose laughed. “I was just thinking that if this was a normal wedding, you’d be allowed to invite a plus one.”
“What are you saying Rose?”
“I’m saying you should invite Ianto. I’ve heard so much about him, I think it’s about time we meet him,” Rose said.
Jack looked unsure. “Are you sure? This seems like more of a family thing.”
“I’m positive. I’ve been dying to meet him for ages, the way you talk about him. And what better time to introduce us than a wedding?”
“Listen, you don’t have to, it’s up to you. But if you decide you want to, just tell the Doctor and we’ll pick him up. But I want to let you know he’s more than welcome,” Rose smiled.
“Thank you,” Jack said, pulling her into a tight hug.
“Just think about it. But I have to go, Francine is likely to kill me for doing this all last minute, but I ought to at least face her,” Rose laughed, turning toward the TARDIS doors. They had just landed in the Joneses house.
Martha and Rose were the first two out the door. Francine hugged them both tightly before pulling back and looking at Rose seriously. “Now? Of all the times to get married, you choose now?”
“Well, technically it’ll probably be sometime far in the future,” Rose said awkwardly. “The TARDIS is picking the time, we just picked the planet.”
Francine shook her head and headed into the TARDIS, the rest of the Jones family following after her.
“Who are you?” She asked Jackie, who was sitting on the jump seat with Tony. Francine looked surprised to meet someone new as they were headed off to Rose’s wedding.
“I’m Rose’s mother,” Jackie replied, staring down Francine.
“Hmmm….” Francine replied, eyeing Jackie. Rose knew that Francine had a hard time understanding how Jackie could have gone to the parallel world without Rose. It was different for her. Francine had never had to accept that Martha wouldn't eventually end up back home after her adventures with the Doctor, and even if Martha had decided to travel the stars for the rest of her life, Francine still had children to look after. For her, she had so many things that would keep her at home, it was hard for her to see how Jackie hadn't abandoned Rose. Rose had wanted Jackie to go and live her life with the love of her life. It didn't matter how many times she had explained that--Francine just saw how much Rose had missed Jackie and had taken it upon herself to protect Rose.
Jackie eyed her right back. Rose let out a sigh. While she was sure the two women would get along scarily well eventually, they both tended to be rather protective of Rose, and she could feel a fight brewing.
“Don’t worry, I’ll keep an eye on them,” Martha whispered.
“You’re the best, you know that?” Rose asked, smiling at her friend.
“Well, I have been told I’m a star,” Martha grinned back, laughing.
The Doctor was pretty sure the TARDIS had never been so full. Ten years ago, he’d have griped about the domesticity of having so many families on board, and he likely might to keep up appearances, but deep down, he was thrilled. And alone, he couldn’t help but smile. After Gallifrey had been destroyed, he had thought he’d be alone forever. But now, listening to the sounds of laughter, arguing, and everything in between echoing through the TARDIS halls, he realized he had more of a family here than he ever had had on Gallifrey.
“What are you smiling about?” Sarah Jane asked, slipping quietly into the room.
“Nothing,” he said, trying to lie.
“Come now, Doctor. You can’t believe that’s going to work on me,” she laughed.
“It’s just… Did you ever think this was possible? Back when you travelled with me?” He asked, deciding that Sarah Jane had known him long enough that it was indeed pointless to lie.
“No, I don’t think I did,” she replied. “I fancied myself in love with you back then, but I never could have pictured you getting married, especially surrounded by all this family. You act like such a lonely man. But look at you. You've got the biggest family on Earth.”
Sarah Jane stepped forward and hugged him before saying, “Come on, let’s go pick up Sir Alistair. He’s going to need a bit of time to wrap his mind around the fact that you’re the one getting married.”
“You didn’t tell him?” The Doctor asked, pulling back.
“Quite frankly, I didn’t think he’d believe me. The you that he knew never would have dreamt of getting married, so I decided that he needed to see it to believe it,” she laughed.
“Well then, Sarah,” the Doctor said, moving to the console and throwing a lever. “Allons-y!”
As she made her way to the door to greet her old friend, Sarah was briefly aware of the sounds of yelling from somewhere in the TARDIS, but she ignored it. In the hour everyone had been on board, there had been a surprising amount of yelling, but from her short experience with the women, it seemed pretty par for the course for Donna and Jackie. She opened the door to see the Brigadier General standing there in full dress uniform.
“Hello, Sarah Jane,” he said.
“Hello sir,” she replied. “Welcome aboard the TARDIS. I’ve got to warn you it’s a bit mad in here right now.”
He chuckled as he followed her in, and then stopped and looked around. “He’s redecorated,” he noted.
“Yeah, it grows on you, but I’ll always prefer my TARDIS,” Sarah laughed.
“Have you seen the Doctor?” Rose asked, wandering into the console room.
“He was here when we landed, but he disappeared,” Sarah Jane said, shaking her head.
“I think he’s back on the run,” Rose sighed. “I’m not sure what Martha said to them, but now Mum and Francine are thick as thieves and trying to find him. I tried to tell him that they probably just want to talk to them, but he’s convinced he’s in for a slap.”
“If he keeps hiding from them, he probably is,” Sarah Jane laughed.
Rose nodded in agreement, but the Brig looked shocked. “Someone wants to slap the Doctor?”
Rose jumped, clearly just noticing him. “Probably not, but he’s paranoid,” she replied, stretching a hand out to him. “I’m sorry, I ought to introduce myself. I’m Rose Tyler, and it’s an honour to meet you. I’ve heard so much about you from Sarah Jane and the Doctor, and it means a lot that you’re going to officiate my wedding.”
“Ah, so you’re the bride,” Sir Alistair responded, shaking her hand. “Well then, congratulations.”
“Thank you,” she smiled. Before she could say anything else, the sound of footsteps echoing down the hall reached them. “Sorry, the sounds like Mum and Francine. I really ought to go. I’ll see you later?”
“If we see the Doctor, we’ll try and hold him captive here for you,” Sarah smiled.
“You’re a lifesaver,” Rose smiled, disappearing into the hallway.
“Well, she seems like a sweet girl,” he said.
“Oh, Rose is the best,” Sarah Jane agreed. “I’m not sure girl is the right term though. She’s a bit old for that.”
“Old? She couldn’t be much more than twenty!” He exclaimed.
“Try thirty-one,” Sarah Jane replied. At the shocked look on his face, she continued, “Keep in mind we are on the TARDIS. Nothing is exactly normal around here, and Rose is no exception.”
“Did you say Rose?” the Doctor asked, peeking his head in. “Has she already checked in here?”
“She has,” Sarah Jane replied.
He let out a relieved sigh and made his way fully into to the console room. When he reached the Brig, he held out his hand. “Hello Brigadier, or should I say Brigadier General now? Anyway, sorry I wasn’t here when you got on board, I was trying not to get slapped into my next regeneration.”
“Why are you so convinced Jackie’s going to hit you?” Sarah Jane asked.
“Last time she saw her daughter, she was twenty-one. Now, she’s thirty-one. She’s bound to blame me for that, and I haven’t forgotten the Tyler slap,” the Doctor replied, placing a hand to his cheek.
“That was because you took her daughter away for a whole year with no word!” Sarah Jane replied. “This is different. The separation wasn’t your fault. And Rose is fine. The only reason she might slap you is cause you keep running from her.”
The Doctor paused to think but didn’t say anything. After a moment, Sir Alistair said, “Alright, Doctor, maybe you’ll tell me since Sarah Jane won’t. I’ve already had the pleasure of meeting the bride, but who is the groom?”
The Doctor’s face absolutely lit up. “Me.”
“You? You what?”
“I’m the groom,” the Doctor beamed.
“I’m sorry, what?” the Brigadier asked, still flustered.
“I told you that you wouldn’t believe me. If I had called and said, ‘The Doctor’s getting married, will you officiate?’ you would have thought I was mad and hung up,” Sarah Jane said.
“I-I just, are you being serious right now, Doctor?” he asked.
“Yes, yes I am,” he replied.
“You are what?” Rose asked, coming back into the console.
“Serious that I’m going to marry you,” he said, looking at her with a dopey grin.
“Well, you better be. Our daughter will be quite put out if you changed your mind now. She’s having far too much fun helping everyone find outfits in the wardrobe room,” Rose said, coming up to him and giving him a quick kiss. “Speaking of which, she has decided that you are wearing the tux, Tux-Of-Doom or not.”
He sighed dramatically but didn’t argue. He had already been planning on wearing it. It was a special occasion after all. The most special occasion.
“Did you say daughter?” Sir Alistair asked. “Doctor, you have a daughter?”
“Yes, Jenny. You’ll meet her later, and I’m sure you’ll love her,” he replied.
Rose took a quick look at the Brigadier. He was clearly trying to keep it together, but apparently, he was still struggling to process it all. “Sarah Jane, do you want to take Sir Alistair to the library? It’s pretty quiet in there now, and I’m taking someone to the kitchen to talk to my mother so she doesn’t decide to kill him before the wedding.”
Sarah Jane agreed, and took him to the library. Rose kept a tight grip on the Doctor’s hand the whole time. “Do I have to?” he asked.
“Yes,” she replied aloud. “Doctor, Mum loves you and missed you too. And I really need you two to get along. She didn’t seem mad at you at all, at least, not until you started hiding from her… So please, play nice. For me.”
“Okay,” he agreed, placing a kiss on her forehead. “For you.”
“Is everything okay?” Donna asked her quietly.
“Of course it is,” Jenny replied, far too quickly, as she pulled out another dress from one of the racks. “What do you think about this one?”
“Don’t change the subject,” Donna said.
“What is Jenny avoiding?” Martha asked, sneaking into the conversation.
“Nothing!” Jenny exclaimed.
“It’s something, you’re far too quiet,” Donna said.
“Come on,” Martha urged. “You know you can tell us anything.”
“It’s stupid,” Jenny replied, shaking her head.
Martha grabbed her shoulder and turned Jenny to look at her. “It isn’t stupid if it’s bothering you. And if you are being ridiculous, sometimes you just need someone to help you see it. I’ve done that for your mum plenty.”
Jenny looked down at her feet as she thought about it, but finally gave in. Mum had always said that Aunt Martha gave good advice. “It’s just… What if things change? I never thought they would when mummy and daddy got married, but everyone is acting like it’s such a big deal that I can’t help but think that maybe I’ve got something wrong. I’ve never known people before they got married before. I just… I just don’t want things to change.”
“Oh, sweetie,” Martha sighed.
“Jenny, you know I love you, but that’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard,” Donna snorted. “Your parents are as good as married already. The only reason any of us are making a big deal is because it’s a big old party. You’ve got nothing to worry about.”
“Nothing is inherently changing today. Donna’s right, your parents do already act like their married. This is more of a formality for them. And certainly nothing will change when it comes to you. They love you more than anything,” Martha smiled.
“Thanks guys,” Jenny said, hugging her aunts. “I knew I was being ridiculous, but I just couldn’t help it…”
“Don’t worry about it, Jenny. You get it from your mother. Sometimes you just need someone to talk you down. And I’ll always be here to do that for you,” Martha said.
“Same goes for me, sweetie,” Donna said before turning back to the rack of clothes in front of them. “Now, let’s pick you out a dress.”
“Three?” Rose asked, looking at the women.
“We just want a word with him,” Francine said.
“Don’t worry about it love,” Jackie added.
Rose eyed them warily, but they looked calm, not upset. While Jackie had been taking the lead in the hunt for the Doctor, the calm setup seemed far more like Francine’s style. She was about to insist on staying, but then Jenny’s voice echoed down the hall, calling for her.
“I’m going to see what Jenny wants, but I do expect to find him in one piece,” Rose said. The Doctor looked at her, slightly nervous, and she gave him a quick kiss and said, “You’ll be fine.”
With that, Rose left, and Francine motioned for him to sit down. “Calm down, Doctor.”
“Yeah,” Jackie said. “You don’t need to be so uptight.”
“Unless there’s something we don’t know,” Francine said, staring him down.
The Doctor looked taken aback. “What?” He exclaimed.
“You’ve been avoiding me at all costs, so you must have something to hide,” Jackie said.
“What would I have to hide?” he asked.
“Have you been treating Rose well?” Francine asked.
“Of course I have!” he exclaimed.
“Then why have you been running away from me?” Jackie yelled.
“Because I’m the reason you haven’t been with your daughter all these years!” he yelled right back, before realizing what he had said and freezing.
Jackie froze too, then asked, “What do you mean?”
“She could have gone to Pete’s World with you, been safe, known her brother, all of that. But she wasn’t cause she stayed with me,” he replied calmly.
Francine coughed lightly. “I know I didn’t know Rose back then, but I feel I’ve gotten to know her rather well since then. And if there’s one thing I know about Rose, it’s that she’s no damsel in distress. All of her choices are her own.”
“Of course they are,” the Doctor replied. “But I promised Jackie I’d always bring her home, and I couldn’t do that.”
Jackie snorted. “For such a clever bloke, you really don’t get it, do you?”
“What do you mean?”
“I figured it out ages ago, Doctor. For Rose, home isn’t with me anymore. It’s here. And I can’t pretend I understand it, but she loves you. Yes, I’ve missed her, but I trusted that she was where she wanted to be. And you did make sure we got to say goodbye. As much as I wanted her with me, I knew she’d never have been happy without ya,” Jackie said.
“So—you aren’t mad at me?” he asked.
“Of course not ya lump,” Jackie smiled.
“Then why were you chasing me around the TARDIS?”
“Well, someone had to sit you down and remind you that if you broke Rose’s heart, you’d regret it,” Francine replied.
“And since we both were planning on it, we thought we might as well do it together,” Jackie added.
“Believe me,” the Doctor said. “I can’t imagine breaking her heart, but if in some way I ever do, I’ll deserve everything I have coming to me.”
“Good, I’ll hold you to it,” Francine said. “Rose might not be my daughter, but I love her like she is anyway.”
“Now, come here,” Jackie said, pulling the Doctor in for a hug. “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’ve missed you.”
The Doctor smiled as he hugged Jackie back. Then, so quietly that only she could hear—so he could deny it later, he whispered, “I’ve missed you too.”
“What are you doing in here?” he asked.
She glared at a rose bush as she answered. “I’m trying to decide on flowers for my bouquet, but nothing is right.”
The Doctor looked around at all of the flowers, trying to see what he thought might be nice, even though he really didn’t think he cared. But when his eyes landed on a small, champagne coloured daisy, he remembered a conversation he and Rose had had with someone oh so many years ago. I think I have an idea,” he suggested, dragging her to the console room.
He quickly input some coordinates but was determined not to let her see where he was taking them. “No peeking,” he said. “I promise, you’ll know as soon as we get there.”
She rolled her eyes but gave in. He seemed excited, so she was willing to go along with it. Honestly, he seemed to care more about the flowers than she did, so she’d go along with whatever he wanted—as long as it wasn’t a rose. That was just a bit too obvious. When they landed, the Doctor opened the door and gestured for her to go first. She stepped out on to the pale blue sand and looked out at the champagne coloured sea and knew exactly where the Doctor had brought her.
“Barcelona,” she sighed happily.
He took her hand and led her into town, eagerly searching for the woman who had given them a flower the last time they were there. “A pink and yellow flower for my pink and yellow Rose,” he said, pressing a kiss to her head.
As they reached the stall, the woman grinned. “I knew you would be back. And exactly a year later, too. So tell me, are you married now?”
“Not yet,” the Doctor said. “First we need some of your lovely flowers.”
Rose and the Doctor bought a small bouquet, and the woman just grinned smugly at them. They walked back to the TARDIS, holding the bouquet between them in order to make sure all of the flowers were properly pink and yellow. As they walked in, Rose immediately heard her mother calling for her, demanding that she start getting ready.
“These are perfect, Doctor,” Rose said, putting them to her nose and taking a deep breath to inhale their scent. “Thank you.”
The Doctor pulled her in for a short, sweet, kiss. “Anything for you,” he whispered. “Now, go get ready. I’ll get us in place and round everyone up, and then I’ll see you at the altar."