Doctor Who, Dr. Who, Chris Eccleston, Christopher Eccleston, Doctor who Fiction

Her second 21st birthday party hadn't been as spectacular as the first one, Rose thought as she looked at the debris of their party meal - the crusts of the garlic bread and the chicken wing bones and the inedible fries from the share-a-round plate, the empty beer jug and the bottles of WKD and other sticky pink coloured drinks that passed for sophistication, and the crumbs of the birthday cake with the plastic 21 and a bundle of partially burnt candles.

Still it had its moments.

THE moment had to be when the Doctor accepted the invitation to Karaoke. To Mickey's disgust, her mate Shireen's delight, and her mother's utter confusion, he had taken her with him to the stage and held her tenderly by the hand as, without even looking at the words on the computer screen he sang the Bette Midler classic "Wind Beneath My Wings". It NEARLY topped being introduced to the Prince of Wales at the opening night of the Eiffel Tower. When he was awarded the bottle of cheap champagne and a HMV CD token for the best act of the night the experience slid into a close second in her chart.

It was just after that, that Mickey, who had done his best to compete with his own rendition of I Got You, Babe with Shireen doing the Cher part, told everyone he was calling it a night. She hadn't even noticed that Shireen went with him. Now it was herself, the Doctor, and her mum having a last drink before chucking out time. Anyone looking at them would see a scene of utter normality. Only if they'd been close enough to hear the conversation would they have suspected that one of the party was not what he seemed to be.

"I suppose…" Jackie said, tentatively, "Seeing as it’s so late… Do you two want to stay the night… or… The TARDIS does have bedrooms I suppose?"

"Oh, yes," The Doctor answered. "Fully en-suite with power showers, tea and coffee service and spectacular views of wherever you want it to be. Currently the back of your flats, but give me half an hour and it could be the moons of Jupiter."

"Very funny," Jackie scowled. "I hope you have SEPARATE bedrooms," she added, glaring at the Doctor while addressing the question to her daughter.

"Mum!" She protested. "How many times do I have to tell you, it’s not LIKE that between us."

"How am I supposed to know what its like between the two of you," Jackie snapped. "You're alone with him. He could do anything to you."

"Mum!" She waved the plastic decoration from her birthday cake. "21! Even if we were…. If he was… It would be none of your business. But as it happens… Yes, sometimes there are dangers." She put her hand to her throat as the Vampyre flashed into her mind. "But the Doctor isn't one of them. And I wish you would treat him better than you do."

"I just can't get over you being with… him!"

"He has a name you know."

"No he doesn't" Jackie replied. "'Doctor' isn't a name."

"Chrístõdavõreendiamaendhaertmallõupdracœfiredelunmiancuimhne de Lœngbaerrow" The Doctor said, his first and only input into the argument that centred on him.

"Come again?"

"That's my name, since you asked. Seeing as we're friends you can call me Chrístõ. Though where I come from, they usually insist on the full patronymic."

"Chrístõ?" Jackie said, turning it over on her tongue. "Sounds foreign, but it’s an improvement."

"Right then." He smiled broadly. "Is everyone happy now?"

"No, not really," Jackie went on. "There's still…" Jackie positively scowled. Now he wasn't even looking at her. He was fiddling with some sort of gadget that was emitting a strange, low whining noise.

"Rose," The Doctor said, suddenly very serious. "I am sorry, really sorry to mess up your birthday again, but this is a dimensional distress beacon. Somebody needs my help. You can stay with your mum if you want. I promise to be back as soon as I can. You KNOW I'll be back."

"No. it’s ok." Rose stood up as he did. "We're a team, aren't we? Where you go, I go… except for the men's loo." She looked at her mother, who was on the point of another explosion. "Mum… don't say anything. Just don't. We'll be back. But my place is with him." She kissed her mother on the cheek and hugged her momentarily, then she ran to catch up with the Doctor as he strode across the pub car park to where they had left the TARDIS - in a parking space, of course.