Fourth in my series of Dr Who fic…
The Website Stories (better title coming soon, I swear)
1-Not The End Of The World (Mickey after Rose)
2-So Are You (Jackie before Aliens of London)
3-It’ll Be Alright (Trisha during AOL/WW3)
This is the fourth, obviously.
Title: Coward In Your Own Story
Fandom: Doctor Who
Characters: Mickey, Thomas and Maggie Finch, Trisha (sort of)
Timeframe: After WW3
Coward In Your Own Story
Precisely one week and two days after Rose had left for the second time, Mickey went to visit the Finches. It was the first time he’d dropped by completely uninvited, and he was nervous. They might be trying to put their former lives behind them, or the alien invasion might have unburied the past again.
Maggie let him in.
“Hello, Mickey,” she said. Mickey stepped into the house warily, plastic bag in hand. “What’re you doing here? Something…”
She looked closely at his face. “Something happened?”
Mickey held the plastic bag in front of him. “I brought some comic books for Thomas. Old ones.”
“That’s very good of you,” she said, and it sounded like she meant it. “He’s upstairs, watching TV. Maybe you’d better go and see him.”
Mickey climbed the stairs slowly, aware of Maggie watching him from the lobby. He went to the door with the Star Wars poster on it, and knocked.
“Who’s that?” called the voice of somebody miserable.
“It’s me. Mickey. Remember me?”
The door was yanked open right away. Thomas stood there still in his pyjamas, fear etched across his face. “Why are you here? What’s going on?”
“Nothing bad, Thomas.”
“They’ve definately gone.”
Thomas dropped his gaze to the plastic bag. “And what’re they for?”
“They’re for you.”
Mickey handed over the bag. “Maybe you should get changed. I need to talk to your mum, but you might as well hear it all as well.”
He went downstairs. Maggie was making tea.
“D’ya want something to drink?” she said. “We’ve got tea, and coke, and lemonade and all…”
“Sit down, then.”
He sat on one of the sofas. “I don’t have much to say. I just thought I’d keep you updated.”
“We look at the website every single day, you know,” she said, not unkindly.
“I know, but it’s not like being told in person…”
“I suppose not,” And then, totally out of the blue: “So, you went and fought aliens then?”
He nodded. It seemed easier then telling her the entire truth, which after all involved missiles and computers and putting Rose in danger.
“I see,” Maggie took a gulp of her tea. “Well, thank you, Mickey Smith. I’m sure you deserve it.”
Mickey blinked: that was slightly weird. Well, slightly weird considering that just that morning he’d recieved twenty emails telling him he was a weirdo and a liar and a freak and god knew what else.
“Thank you,” he said.
Thomas came thundering down the stairs, not in his pyjamas anymore. “Thanks for the comic books,” he said. “They look good.”
“Sit down,” Maggie said. “We have guests. Well, a guest. So,” she said, turning back to Mickey, “the Doctor. He gave you this disk?”
“Are you sure it was wise to annouce this to the entire internet?”
He paused; that was actually quite a valid comment. And something he hadn’t even begun to think about.
“I didn’t see why not-”
“No. But you want to watch it. I read the whole thing, very carefully, and you didn’t mention Rose.”
She was, of course, very right. “Yeah, but no-one cares about her…” He was shocked to hear those words coming from his mouth. “I mean, not about her and me. So I didn’t think I ought to say, where she is…”
“And where is she?” Maggie asked, sharp as ever.
Mickey shrugged. “I don’t know- she went with him.”
“The Doctor?” Thomas said. “That’s who you’re talking about, right? She went with him again?”
“Yeah,” Mickey said. Maggie looked sympathetic.
“And they didn’t let you come?” Thomas went on.
“No-I…I…” But he couldn’t quite say it.
“You what?” Thomas asked.
“I didn’t- they didn’t let me come.”
“Did you ask?”
“Rose asked, and he said no.” It was as close to the truth as he was going to get.
Thomas went quiet. “I bet it’s because she’s a girl,” he said in a subdued way. “I bet he…” But he didn’t finish. Mickey was insanely glad of that.
“So yeah-” he said. “That’s it- everything on the website is true, obviously, and Rose and the Doctor have left. And I’m still here.”
Maggie nodded. “So,” she said. “Where do we go from here?”
Mickey realised he had absolutely no idea, but he didn’t want to say so. A silence fell. All he could hear was a tap dripping, and the radio on upstairs.
“Did he ever say anything about Dad?” Thomas finally blurted, “Did you ask him?”
“No-I…he doesn’t know who you are. As far as he’s concerned, some plastic alien freaks came to Earth, and they killed some people, and he and Rose got rid of them.”
“My dad was not some people,” Thomas said sullenly.
“Yeah, I know. But to him…”
The silence this time was truly awful.
“I’m going over the road,” Thomas said eventually. “Going to hang out with Adam,”
“Be careful,” Maggie said.
“S’only over the road.”
“Nonetheless, be careful.”
He left, slamming the door surprisingly loudly, and Maggie turned back to Mickey.
“The Doctor said you could come, and you said no, I take it?”
Mickey stared at her, utter fear suddenly making it’s presence felt. His stomach churned. “How do you know…?”
“It was obvious,” she answered. “Why did you say no?”
He couldn’t answer properly. He wanted to crawl into a hole and die horribly. “I didn’t…I couldn’t…I…I know I should have…”
Maggie just watched him. “Because of all the deaths? You didn’t want to die?”
“No…I mean, no-one wants to die- I thought-I knew if I went I’d screw something up, get someone else killed, maybe-”
“You might not have done,” she said sensibly.
“I would. I know.”
“You’re a bit too hard on yourself, I think.”
Mickey considered this. Turned it over in his mind. Mickey the idiot, the world is in your hands. “Imagine if I got Rose killed,” he said. “Just…you know…”
“Mickey, this may not have fully sunken in yet,” Maggie said, “but Rose has left the planet with a man in a time machine, and she wanted to go. Where will she go? Straight into danger- and he’s letting her. He wanted her to come, you told me. Imagine if he got her killed.”
Mickey felt sick.
Maggie put her teacup on the arm of the sofa. “Perhaps you should have stopped her from going.”
“I couldn’t have…”
“Her mind was made up. I couldn’t have said she had to stay just so me and her mum would be alright…”
“Of course not.”
Mickey felt quite irritated with her for that. “She…” he began, and then stopped dead. He had been about to say She’s so selfish, and he could barely believe it. His head spun.
“I should have gone. That was my only chance and I blew it.”
“Not neccesarily. Maybe you have things to do here.”
That sounded…pretty daft, to him, and yet it still seemed to make some sort of sense. Still- things to do here? It sounded over-dramatic. Or something. Then again, Maggie was giving him a very serious look, and she sounded like she meant it- really meant it, and she’d been so quick to come to terms with the fact that aliens killed her husband…there was more to this woman than there appeared to be.
“Imagine if aliens came back to Earth. You would almost definately know what’s going on beforehand. You’d be able to warn people.”
“And don’t use the virus.”
He blinked. “What?”
“That’s just my advice- don’t use it.”
He stared at her. “Maggie…Clive…”
“He knew about the Doctor…he researched and everything, he knew…and he’s…”
“Dead. Yes. But he would have died anyway, research or no research,” She looked very sad for a moment, and Mickey hated himelf for bringing the subject up. “You never know what might happen,” she went on. “I mean, you wound up fighting aliens.”
“Just don’t use it.” She got up from her chair, picked up the teacup, and marched towards the kitchen. Not sure what to do with himself, Mickey followed. She put the cup in the dishwasher.
“Thanks for coming, Mickey,” she said. “It was good of you.”
He took that as his cue to go. “S’aright. I thought you ought to know. About all this.”
“And you wanted to give those comic books to Thomas. Thank you for that.”
He nodded. Then he thought of something he ought to say, but he wasn’t sure how to say it. He said it anyway, though- it was the least he could do. “Is Thomas okay? I know it’s been a year, but…”
She looked thoughtfully out of the window, towards the house over the road which was presumably Adam’s. “He’s managing as well as could be expected…it’s just…” She sighed. “In front of him, and everything. Shot dead before his eyes.”
Mickey nodded, and felt guilty for no reason.
“I’d better go,” he said.
He drove home. The streets were full of traffic- he spent a long time not moving at all. He got plenty of oppotunities to think.
Hi, I’m Mickey, I’m so sorry, I just followed this kid home because he was upset and I wanted to check he was alright-you’re his mum, right?
Where was Rose, now? What if she was facing death?
They weren’t human, those things, they were shooting people. They shot my husband, his father…right in front of us…sorry about this, you must think I’m completely crazy…
Listen, Maggie, if I told you this would you believe me? You’re right, they weren’t human…I saw them. I was there.
They were good people, Maggie and Thomas. Sensible, too. He had a feeling that if it had been one of them in the situation he’d been in the night Rose left for the first time, the Doctor would have asked them along too. And why not?
God, it was a hard thing to get your head around…that the defender of humanity and Earth and all things good didn’t like you very much. At least he hadn’t said a word to Rose. Unless he had…and Mickey felt that if he had, and he found out about it, he wouldn’t forgive him in a hurry.
Come with us.
Oh yes. He was an idiot alright. Things to do here, indeed. What could he possibly do here that was useful? While Rose…she was probably saving someone else’s planet. Helping people- people with three heads and purple eyes, probably, but people nonetheless. And he was just one person here, few friends, definately no-one like the Doctor around to give him yet another chance…
The world is in your hands.
Liar, he thought.
When he got home he turned the computer on and went to check his email. Every time, about a week after the update, emails would come pouring in. He didn’t even really have time to open them all- but he did.
It was the usual stuff. More of what had been sent to him this morning. Emails consisting of one or two swear words, mostly.
He deleted most of them, and then about halfway through came across a very long one, typed in tiny writing. He strained his eyes to read it.
You, ‘M’, are a disgusting person. I followed the Rose Tyler story in the newspapers- she was a real person, and you’re stealing her image and story for a pathetic false ‘conspiracy’ website. She was murdered, possibly by her own boyfriend, and you’re trying to say she’s off time-travelling somewhere. As for ‘the Doctor’- I recognize that face, are you sure he’s not an actor, perhaps? Or maybe even a friend of yours who allows you access to his photos. I think it’s sickening.
Or perhaps you ARE the boyfriend- your latest couple of entries point to that. In that case, it’s doubly sickening. I hope the police get ahold of you soon, you psychopath. Undoubtably they know about this. Did you kill her? I haven’t had time to check the papers, what with all the chaos over the alien hoax (and I can’t believe you a) think it happened and b) are taking credit for getting rid of them) but I expect I’ll see your arrest in there someday. Hopefully, someday soon.
Whether you’re the boyfriend (Mickey Smith?) or just some random idiot who thought this would be funny- a nice story about time travel and aliens- I hate you. You should be in jail. Or dead.
Mickey read it through a couple of times, and groaned.
“Oh, that’s really made my day,” he said out loud, to nobody. He felt like crying.
I hate you.
He thought about actually replying, but figured it would get him nowhere. He went through the rest of the email moving purely on autopilot, wanting to go to bed.
There was one from Trisha.
I like the update for the website. It doesn’t say where Rose went, though. I just thought I’d say that in case people start asking you questions about her. I mean, she came back, but now she’s gone again, you know? You need a cover story.
Do you suppose she’s alright? Heck, are you alright?
He read through it, and realised he was grateful beyond all reason. He hadn’t been expecting this- maybe he should have. He hit reply.
I don’t know if she’s alright. I hope so. I should have gone with her. I’m such an idiot.
Jackie will probably have a cover story.
He looked at Trisha’s email again. She shouldn’t get involved in this. She had no idea. It was a scary business.
And not in the monsters-and-aliens way, either. Another way. Waking up in the morning, thinking Rose has gone, and I didn’t go with her, that was my choice and my only chance and I went and blew it, I’m the coward in my own story– that was worse than any monster. Having Jackie crying a lot of the time- that was worse than any monster, as well. And having Rose gone, maybe even gone for good, who knew…
The coward in your own story. Horrible thing to be.
He didn’t hate the Doctor, though. Or he was fairly sure he didn’t. Mostly because he had a feeling that if he hated the Doctor, he was automatically hating Rose as well.
Back to the email. He read it yet again, thoughtfully. And then typed the last line of his reply.
Thanks for caring, anyway.