This is just what I need to post before I put the next fic in my series of Doctor Who fic up -this is the edited version of Not The End Of The World. Since that was written before even Aliens of London, I figured it really needed reworking to fit with the rest…
Not The End Of The World
One meets his destiny often in the road he takes to avoid it.
Having your girlfriend dump you is a regretable thing, but most people get over it eventually. They put it behind them and try and find someone else. Having your girlfriend dump you for an alien, on the other hand, can spectacularly mess you up.
At the moment that was how Mickey Smith was feeling: spectacularly messed up. He had no idea what time he’d got back to his house last night- narrowly escaping certain death tended to screw with your memories, and he even had to keep reminding himself that it had actually happened. He hadn’t bothered phoning Jackie to tell her where Rose had gone; he mostly assumed she already knew. (Of course, when he returned home he would find that Jackie had phoned him, and that she had been in a terrible panic, and after that things would really start to go downhill)
He left the house as early as he possibly could, and started walking aimlessly down the street. It took Mickey some time to realise he was heading for the park, and even more time to realise that he was going there purely so he could mope in private.
When he reached the park, however, there was someone already there. It was a boy, probably not even into his teens, sitting on one of the swings and staring miserably into the distance. Mickey thought about turning around and going somewhere else -he didn’t want company and clearly neither did this kid- but he couldn’t really think of anywhere else to go.
So he walked right past the kid on the swings, and sat down on the rusty old roundabout. He pushed his feet against the ground and it creaked a little. The kid didn’t look up. Mickey wondered vaguely why he was there, anyway.
About a minute slipped by, during which Mickey thought a bit about his girlfriend. Or former girlfriend. He wondered if he’d even thought about the fact that she most likely wouldn’t be his girlfriend forever, and he most likely wouldn’t be her boyfriend forever. Something might have happened, something that would split them up- but it never felt like it. It felt like they’d be boyfriend and girlfriend forever. They’d been practically caught in a time bubble, now he thought about it. Every day was exactly like the last. She’d gotten bored of him, was all.
All the same, it just wasn’t fair. One very important thing had been completely lost in the shuffle: he’d nearly died…
There was suddenly a loud sniffing noise from the swings. It was the kid. He was crying. A bit.
Mickey ignored him best he could. Maybe he’d missed a sign stuck on the gate: Meeting Place For Miserable Persons. Maybe this was where they all ended up.
Back to Rose again. He had met her….hmmm…just over two years ago at a disco-ish thing. He couldn’t remember much about the disco itself, it had been some charity party, and not very interesting. He had been dragged there by his next door neighbour, a bloke called Steve, who had wanted to impress some girl or other who worked at the building the disco was being held at. Mickey had been bored out of his mind- no good music or anything- and so had gotten drunk, as bored teenage boys were wont to do. He had then spotted Rose out of the corner of his eye- he thought she was pretty, and she wasn’t dancing with anyone, so he thought might as well give it a try. He decided he’d wait and finish his drink first, but then he got what he thought was a tremendous stroke of luck- that godawful Mickey song came on. (He’d rather liked that song at first, but now it annoyed him.) So he’d put down the drink, walked right over to her, and said with a beaming smile. “Hi, I’m the guy in the song. Wanna dance?”
How on earth had they gotten a relationship out of that? One of life’s mysteries…
And in other news…the kid on the swings was still crying his eyes out. Except now he was doing it loudly. It was the sort of crying you didn’t generally see in public, and Mickey was more fascinated than anything else.
But eventually, and even though all things considered he didn’t really want to, he went to the swings and sat down next to him.
“Hello.” he said pointlessly.
The kid kept crying, then took a tissue from his pocket and wiped his nose with it, then looked up. “Who are you?” he asked, in a not especially friendly tone.
“I just wondered what was up with you,” Mickey said, far more brightly than he’d intended.
“My dad is dead,” the boy said flatly.
It was at that point that Mickey began to feel faintly ridicous, and wanted to go home.
“Aren’t you going to say sorry, or anything?” the kid demanded. “Most people have, so far.”
“Sorry,” Mickey said, although he had no idea if he meant it or not.
The boy said nothing. He had his tissue in his hand, and now he was playing with it, ripping pieces off it and flicking them away.
“So what are you miserable about?” he finally said. (This was probably a good thing, as Mickey had been about to say “That’s littering, y’know,” and he didn’t think it would have gone down too well.)
“My girlfriend left me,” he said.
“Well, so? People do that,” And then he added accusingly. “I mean, it’s not the end of the world, is it?”
Honestly, he didn’t expect grieving people to act like this. Not so angry. Then again, it was a perfectly natural response, now he thought about it.
There was almost a minute of complete silence, in which Mickey fully expected the kid to get up and leave.
“How did your dad die, then?” he finally ventured.
“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”
“Dunno about that.”
“Well, I don’t want to bloody believe it, and neither does my mum, so…”
And more silence passed. In that relatively short space of time a police siren wailed in a distance, the wind made the roundabout creak, a bunch of shouting teenagers appeared on the other side of the park, and Mickey suddenly realised that Rose had run off with an alien, for God’s sake. Who knew where she was or what she was doing now? He didn’t, and maybe Jackie didn’t either. Oh Christ.
Before he could get up off the swing and race out of the park, the kid suddenly stood up. “My mum…” he muttered, “she’ll be really, really worried if she gets back and I’m not there…”
“Don’t you have a mobile?” Mickey asked, despite knowing it wasn’t the best thing to say.
“No. It was stolen at school,” the kid said, and then he started walking. He didn’t even give a backwards glance. Mickey saw him disappear through the gates.
It occured to him that Something Had Happened. That, of course, being the fact that he’d just been talking to a kid mourning for his father, and he had been of no help whatsoever. He could have said any number of things, but he hadn’t. And they wouldn’t have sounded right, because he couldn’t imagine himself saying them. And…
…oh, bloody hell.
Rose had abandoned him, something horrible had happened last night, and now people seemed to be dying and buildings were blowing up all over the place.
He got up, left the park, and spotted the kid at the end of the road. He followed him, and managed to do it right…the kid didn’t turn and see him, but that might have been because he was staring at the ground. Mickey took note of what house the kid disappeared into, and then…went home, fully aware he hadn’t exactly achieved very much.
On the way home he weighed things up. Rose had gone off with some alien who he didn’t know. Right. He’d got that one now. Something absolutely horrible had happened last night and it had almost definately ended in a few deaths. Right.
It’s not the end of the world.
He felt really miserable all a sudden, like someone who’d just woken up on his ninty-ninth birthday and realised there was a lot of the world he knew nothing of and now it was almost too late. Or something.
On the other hand, one day he could walk past that house, knock on the door, ask the person who answered if that kid was alright…
It’s not the end of the world.
Bloody felt like it, though. Okay, so Rose wasn’t dead, as far as he knew, and his parents and other assorted family members weren’t dead either, but still…
It was Rose, his girlfriend, he was in love with her, she’d just gone without even a thought for him…pretty much…
He had no idea why it happened, or how, but he found himself walking back towards the kid’s house, and knocking on the door. A woman answered the door- her eyes were red, she’d been crying a lot– and she let him in. He went into the living room. The boy stayed huddled on the sofa, barely looking at him.
“Maybe you should look at the website,” he finally said.
And after that, Mickey knew he was caught up in something considerably bigger than him, and he knew he wasn’t going to get out of it in a hurry.
And after that, just to top it all off, it was the end of the world.