Show- Doctor Who
Pairing- Rose- mentions of Rose/Nine, Rose/ Mickey.
Rating- PG13, PGF, YP, T
Disclaimer- I do not own the TARDIS. damn it.
Summary- Yet more angst. Takes place after Age of Steel.
The door closed behind her and Rose leaned against it, her eyes stinging with tears that she refused to let fall.
Behind her, left out there was Mickey; Mickey the idiot, the reliable fool who’d always been around.
No matter how far she’d been, what she’d seen, what she’d done, Mickey had always been waiting for her, and now he wasn’t.
He wouldn’t come running when she called, wouldn’t ring her to tell her he loved her, wouldn’t come over just to see her face or take her to lame pubs to watch even lamer matches and by her soggy chips.
She’d never thought that she’d be without him, thought he’d be clinging to her for eternity— expected it.
It didn’t mean that she didn’t appreciate that he’d come running when she called but she’d gotten too used to it, taken it for granted and it had been taken away from her.
Like so much recently.
Having a mother who behaved like a hyperactive teenager had meant that Rose had grown up more mature than any of her peers. Having no father meant that she’s had to find her own role models and rely on herself.
Rose Tyler could always count on herself and she knew that nothing was forever.
But she’d forgotten that when the Doctor took her hand and showed her the universe.
He’d shown her that there was someone else she could rely on, someone else that she could trust with her life, her soul and her heart.
The Doctor had shown her a better life, a better way of living that life and he’d taken her to the stars, taken her to the end of the world and she’d fallen for him hard.
He’d given her so much; he’d given her a friend in himself that she’d always wanted, someone she could trust to make her whole. He’d given her the father she’d never had; he’d given her precious hours with her daddy. No matter that it had meant the end of the world; to see her happy he had risked death.
He’d allowed Jack to come on board and she’d loved Jack like the best gay friend she could ever have had; he was like a girlfriend and a big brother all rolled into one.
She knew her daddy loved her, was proud of her. She had Mickey waiting at home for her to come back; had Jack there to make her laugh and, best of all, she had the Doctor who loved her. The Doctor who she loved and trusted above all else.
Then in one fell swoop they were all gone.
In one moment she’d lost them all.
She hadn’t been quick enough and the Doctor had left her, regenerated, but still gone, taking Jack with him.
The two most important men in her life were dead because she just wasn’t fast enough.
But she’d held it together, she had a new Doctor and maybe he wasn’t exactly the same but he was still there, wasn’t he?
And he’d allowed Mickey to come along, that was good too. Right?
Then the Doctor had shown her that he wasn’t the same man. He’d left her on the space station without a second thought, taking the slow path with Madame De Pompadour.
She didn’t begrudge him, couldn’t hate him, and even understood him. It stung like a bitch but she understood.
He could leave an entire country to die, couldn’t allow history to be rewritten. She ignored the whisper that told her that the old Doctor would have, that the old Doctor would have taken her and Mickey with him, that he would never have left her alone.
The Doctor found a way back to her—to them—but Rose knew it would never be the same.
He wasn’t her Doctor, he was someone else. A close friend, but not the man she trusted above all else.
Then he brought her and Mickey to this world, a world where her father was alive, hadn’t died to save her.
He was the same man, the same wonderful, loyal, brave man … who rejected her.
He’d looked in her face and instead of seeing his loving daughter, a daughter that he’d always wanted; he’d turned his nose up in disgust and run away—literally.
The picture of her real father’s face, lit up with pride, was replaced by the look of horror and distaste.
That rejection, following so very soon after the death of Jack, the death of her Doctor and the abandonment of this Doctor had left her reeling and all she’d wanted to do was to crawl back under the covers in the TARDIS with Mickey to soothe her and tell her that at least she had him, who never changed his face or died or rejected her.
Except Mickey wasn’t coming back with them.
After everything that they had seen and done and been to each other, he was leaving.
Mickey was leaving her.
She’d never see him again, never hold his hand and tell him he was being daft. Never tell him to let go, tell him to watch the match or wash his cups.
She’d gone from being on top of the universe, from having everything to having nothing and no one.
How had she let it all go?
How had she lost it all so quickly?
Jack, the Doctor, Mickey, her dad—it was all gone. She had nothing. She was alone.
Rose closed her eyes and leaned back against the door harder, trying to press herself inside the TARDIS.
All she wanted in the whole universe was to have two leather-clad arms wrap around her and tell her that she wasn’t alone.
But that was never going to happen.
“Rose?” the Doctor was watching her carefully. “Are you ready to go?”
Rose nodded quickly, her eyes still tightly shut.
She heard the familiar hum of the TARDIS echo around her as they dematerialised into the Vortex.
“I just need to seal the hole,” he said quietly, apologetically. “We’ll be on our way.”
Rose dug her nails into her hands and bit the inside of her lip. She wasn’t going to cry.
If there was one person Rose Tyler could always count on, it was herself.
She’d lived for 19 years without them all. She hadn’t needed the Doctor to save her, hadn’t needed Jack to hug her, hadn’t needed Mickey to kiss her and hadn’t needed her father to take care of her.
She had never needed anyone not even her mum.
But her mother needed her.
Suddenly all she wanted to do was see her mother, see Jackie Tyler, large as life and filled with love for her daughter.
For one moment Rose needed to have someone who loved her more than anything.
For one moment she needed to be the centre of someone’s world again.
Then she could go back to relying on herself.
She felt someone move closer and a hand brushed her cheek. Her eyes flew open to see the sad face of the Doctor standing in front of her, his face full of pity and worry at her uncharacteristic silence.
“He’s done a brave thing, very noble.”
Rose nodded, unable to say a word as he fixed her with a soulful look. “Are you all right?”
Rose swept his hand away and moved around him, ignoring his surprised and slightly hurt face. “I’m always all right.”
His face fell even further at the echo of his own words, delivered in the same melancholy manner. He actually flinched to hear them coming from Rose.
He started to reach for her but she dodged out of the way again and walked towards the doors.
He was worried. He knew that Mickey had meant a lot to Rose but the devastation in her expression was more than just letting go of Mickey. He didn’t know what it was that made her face so pale and her eyes so hard but he was scared for her.
“Rose—” he started but she spun on her heel.
“I want to go home.”
His hearts fell to the floor as the words echoed.
Home? She wanted to leave.
No! screamed something inside him. Not Rose, not my Rose. Please, god, don’t let her leave me. I can’t take it if she goes.
“I need to see my mum. I know she isn’t the one who went into the factory, but—”
“Course!” he sighed in relief, she didn’t mean home to stay, just for a visit.
He could deal with that. Could deal with her seeing her mother. She probably needed to reaffirm that this Jackie hadn’t been her Jackie.
But maybe he’d take the TARDIS into the flat, have it right there to remind her to come back. Just in case.
Rose just carried on towards the door and he watched her walk away, knowing that no matter how much she was hurting, she knew that he was there for her, that he loved her and that she could cry on his shoulder any time.
She’d need a moment alone but she’d come back and he’d be there for her. They had a special bond that nothing could destroy.
Rose walked away from the central control and almost made it to her room before the tears started to fall.
Jackie Tyler stood at the kitchen sink, filling the kettle to make herself another cup of tea. It’d go down a treat with some scones she’d brought from Tesco that morning. She’d put some of the special cake aside just in case Howard dropped by for a visit again.
The taps were making weird noises and she felt a flash of irritation as she wondered if she’d have to call the plumber out again. But as she listened she realised it wasn’t the water, wasn’t the pipes, it was the TARDIS. Rose was back!
With a rushed mixture of elation and confusion she realised that the sound wasn’t coming from outside but here, inside the flat.
She raced into the living room and stopped short as the big blue box flashed into her home, taking up half the living room and making her home look so much smaller.
She wondered if this was the way it looked to Rose after her life in the stars. Did home look small and claustrophobic?
The door opened, Rose stepped out and immediately Jackie knew that there was something wrong.
On the few occasions that Rose had been back to visit she was almost bubbling over with life and enthusiasm, except that time that the Doctor had died and changed his face.
But this almost fragile girl stepping out didn’t really seem like the super confident Rose that she was so used to seeing.
“You’re alive,” Rose burst out and Jackie’s eyebrows rose at the emotion in her daughters face.
“Oh mum. You’re alive!”
With one step Rose flung her arms around her mother and held on for dear life, like she was afraid Jackie was going to be ripped from her at any moment.
“Well, I was the last time I looked...”
The pleasure that Jackie usually felt at seeing her daughter faded into a real fear for what Rose had seen and been through as her daughter just squeezed tighter.
“Mum,” she whispered and Jackie’s heart fell as she looked up into the eyes of the Doctor.
“What is it? What's happened, sweetheart?”
There was a squeak from somewhere deep inside Rose and Jackie went beyond scared, she asked the Doctor desperately.
“What's wrong? Where did you go?”
What’s made my daughter so scared? What happened to my beautiful baby? What did you do? She wanted to scream but the Doctor looked just as worried as she was.
“Far away,” he answered lowly. “That was… far away.” His eyes didn’t leave
Rose as he responded and Jackie could see that he was hurting as much as she was at seeing Rose this fragile.
Neither of them saw Rose’s eyes flash open and harden at those words. Far away; like a fairy tale. A fairy tale that was turning into a nightmare.
The big bad wolf breaks free and devours little red riding hood as she’s sitting down to dinner.
Something dawned on Jackie. Mickey would never let Rose act like this. He’d be the first in line to tell her that she was wonderful, the first to let her know that she was perfect and could beat anything.
Where was he?
“He's gone home.”
Rose’s grip tightened and Jackie knew all she needed to. She rocked her baby girl and stroked her hair.
“Oh, Rose. I’m here. I got you.”
Rose nodded against her shoulder and moved away, looking down into her mum’s face.
“I’m glad you’re okay, mum. I missed you.”
“Missed you too, love. Are you okay?”
Rose opened her mouth but out of the corner of her eyes she saw the Doctor shift position, his eyes locking onto hers in the hallway mirror.
She quickly masked her expression and plastered a smile on her face. It didn’t reach her eyes.
“Yeah, all the better for seeing you. Could murder a cup of tea though.”
“All right, love, I’ll put the kettle on.”
Giving her daughter one last look of worry she walked away.
“I need to get some stuff,” Rose muttered and hurried to her own room before he could say anything.
But the Doctor didn’t say anything because he had frozen. He’d caught sight of Rose’s face in the mirror and something inside him reached up and cut off all air to his lungs.
He’d seen that look on his own face more than once. It had been a staple friend during his eighth and ninth regenerations. It was grief, fear, pain and loneliness all rolled into one.
He’d seen so many broken hearts in the universe, so many times in his own mirror but never thought he’d see it on Rose’s face.
He was right when he thought it was more than Mickey. But he didn’t know what it was.
Didn’t know how to fix it.
He could take her to somewhere fun, take her to see the best her world had to offer, but that kind of loneliness was deep. He might not ever reach it.
But he had to try. Had to try because he loved her.
Jackie held a tray out in front of her, three mugs of tea on it and the Doctor looked at her urgently.
“Does Rose like Elvis?”
Back in her room; the childhood room where she’d grown up, Rose sat on her bed and stared at the mirror.
The image had changed over the years. Baby fat melted away, hair changed colour, but there was something in her own expression that haunted her.
Something that showed her that the woman who sat here now, wasn’t the same one who’d dashed headlong into a stranger’s arms when he offered to show her the universe.
No longer invincible.
She laughed bitterly at herself. Who’d have thought she’d be this miserable? Who thought it’d hurt so bad to say goodbye to Mickey the idiot? To say goodbye to the father she’d never had? The friend she’d never expected to have?
She stood up and looked at herself closer in the glass.
There she was, Rose Tyler. She saved the world, surrendered her soul, shared life and love with an alien.
And lost everything.
For the first time she understood why the Doctor ran so far and so fast. Why he existed on the rush of escape and adrenaline.
Because when you were running, when all your concentration was on living and existing for the next breath, you didn’t remember that the next breath hurt.
When you were so close to death, that was the only time when you really didn’t want it.
When you were striving for life, that’s when you forgot the loss.
And that, as much as anything else, is all that she needed to put the smile back on her face and walk back to the Doctor.
Because she understood.
Like he’d told the Cyber controller; if you didn’t have pain and grief and loss, then you might as well be dead.
It wasn’t about what you lost, but about what you had to lose.
And maybe that was enough.