The One I Love

Fifth in my series of DW fic…it’s finally starting to actually vaguely come together, huzzah. For those who don’t know what it’s about, it’s about what happened to Mickey and Jackie (and assorted others) after Rose left with the Doctor, using the seriously nifty spinoff website for inspiration…

Turn Of The Earth (what do you know…I finally found the better title)
1. Not The End Of The World (Mickey after Rose) [note: it’s been revised slightly and moved to my own journal]
2. So Are You (Jackie before Aliens of London)
3. It’ll Be Alright (Trisha Delaney after AOL/WWIII)
4. Coward In Your Own Story (Mickey visits Clive’s family)

And here’s the fifth. I think it’s the one most in need of concrit- it seems sort of awkward, but it’s sort of supposed to be awkward…you know? (Oh, and I finally watched Boomtown again and remembered Trisha is said to be ‘Rob Delaney’s sister’. So he’s finally in there.)

Useless fact before we start: When I was just finishing this, the song it’s named after came on the radio all of a sudden…you know, the REM one?

The One I Love

On Saturday- it was now roughly two weeks after Rose had left, although she had no idea why she was keeping count- Trisha’s other brother Rob showed up at their house for a visit. Rob didn’t look like he was related to any of them: he was thin, for a start, and had blondish hair instead of dark. He took after his father, as a matter of fact.

He had moved away from London a couple of years ago: he wanted to go travel the world. So far he’d already been to America and Italy, but then had settled down in Cardiff with a girl he’d met while travelling. Except now the girl had gone. But he was having a fantastic time, he always was, and Trisha was jealous. Jealous of her own brother- it was probably pathetic.

“Dad sent me a birthday card this year,” he said to her at some point. That made her want to run upstairs and scream- she hadn’t recieved a birthday card since she was seven. Neither had Sam, come to think of it, but he didn’t seem to care as much.

After lunch (beans on toast, it was all they had) Rob sat next to her on the sofa, turned on the TV and said to her, “By the way, Trisha…is Rose still around? Pretty blonde chick? I think she fancied me, it’d be good to see her again…”

Trisha lost her voice for two seconds. “Er…Rose who I worked with at the shop?”

“Yeah, that’s her. She was mature for her age…came to the pub with me once or twice…I rather liked her.”

“That was two years ago- you were dating Hannah Addrison then.”

“I know, I know. But I’m not dating her now, am I? And I’m not dating Josephine either, anymore…I just wondered if she was around, that’s all.”

Trisha took a deep breath. “Well, she’s not around anymore. She’s off travelling with an older man.”

“Seriously?”

“Yeah. And before that she had a boyfriend, so…you’ve missed out, I’m afraid.”

Rob shrugged and watched the TV for two hours.

*****

Rob didn’t bother staying the night- he said he was going to go to the pub and then to a hotel. Trisha’s mother was annoyed about it.

“Takes after his father, that one…doesn’t care about the people he’s related to, spends all his days chasing girls- and poor Josephine! She always sounded so happy on the phone, and then she catches him making out with a schoolteacher on a sofa- her sofa…”

Not wanting to hear all this- her family had always been somewhat of a train wreck, really- Trisha went outside to the balcony. The sun was setting. It made everything look prettier and more peaceful than it actually was, probably, but sunsets couldn’t last forever.

She’d lived in London all her life- she’d never even been out of England. She felt….sort of neutral about it, really. Or she did at the moment, she’d probably have changed her mind and be feeling depressed about it tomorrow. But for now…

…well, she had a pretty sunset.

That would do.

She looked over the balcony at the ground below, and saw Mickey down there. He had a girl with him…it was Shireen. Maybe she should go down there and…and what? She wasn’t friends with Shireen, and she really didn’t know what Mickey thought of her.

Roughly two weeks ago she probably would have gone back inside, but now…well, it couldn’t hurt. She went down the stairs. It was getting gradually darker, but she could see Mickey and Shireen in the distance, standing near a wall. They were talking. She was intruding. Well…

Mickey looked up and he saw her. He looked at Shireen, then left her and walked over.

“What’re you doing here?” he asked.

“I saw you from the balcony.”

“I’m talking to Shireen.”

“Yeah, I know, but…”

“I’ll email you or something later. Just…go…back to bed or something.”

He went back to Shireen, who shot her a nasty look. Trisha went back home.

*****

The next morning she checked her email. Just one, from Mickey.

Go to http://www.aliensinlondon.co.uk. It’s pretty interesting.

She went. She was greeted with the same picture that had been on Mickey’s website- the Siltheen. Beneath it it said: ALIENS INVADED LONDON ONLY A FEW WEEKS AGO. THIS IS A FACT. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE. She didn’t click, but she noted the small line of text at the bottom: We have over one million members!!!!! Hmmm.

She went back to the email and typed back to Mickey, So does that mean over one million people would believe you?

He replied within a matter of minutes, while she was looking around the website: Yeah. I wish they hadn’t stolen my pictures, though.

He was always really quick to reply. She supposed it was because he was working on the website- gradually he was working on it more and more, it had interviews and competitions and everything now. Still, she didn’t mind at all- it was like having a proper conversation with him. And he couldn’t see her, either. That was good, because really, who’d want to look at her?

She went back to the website and clicked around. They’d actually done a fairly good job: she could see people being convinced by this. Most of the pictures were stolen from Mickey, but she supposed at least that meant a few more people would get to see them. The word would be spread around, before long millions of people would know exactly what had happened, and they…

And they what? She didn’t know. What could they do? The aliens had gone, after all.

She was suddenly bitterly disappointed, and wasn’t even sure why. Then her email beeped. She went to look. Mickey again, obviously:

Here’s my mobile number: 08717 178553. I’ve got yours already, your brother gave it to me when he was here. I asked him and he was all, ‘what are you doing with my sister’. It was really embarassing.

I just thought it was time you had the number anyway.

She read it through several times. She tried to make sense of it. All she could see was the fact that he was embarassed even at the mere thought of them being more than friends- aquaintances– but surely that wasn’t it? And anyway, sometimes boys were embarassed at the mere thought of being more than friends with girls who weren’t fat and ugly.

It was nothing, it was nothing…

Without thinking she leaned over to the phone and dialled the number. Mickey answered.

“Hello. Is that you, Trisha?”

“Yeah. Me. Hello.” She wasn’t sure what to say, really. So she said the other thing that was on her mind: “Um, I’ve been wondering…what are you going to do- what are we all going to do- when Rose comes back, or more aliens come, or something?”

There was a long silence. Trisha’s screensaver came on -she hadn’t moved the mouse since clicking on that email, after all- and she closed it irritably.

“I don’t know,” Mickey said. Then, “Look, sometimes I really wish everything had stayed exactly the same, exactly the same- I loved her, we were perfect, to me…”

So you keep saying, Trisha’s jealous side said nastily. But then Mickey said, “And then, just sometimes- only sometimes, alright?- I think that maybe- as long as she comes back– I can live with it. Because if it wasn’t for…for the Doctor, then I wouldn’t have met Maggie and Thomas and you, and I wouldn’t be running the website, and…”

“You wouldn’t have fought aliens,” Trisha supplied.

“Yeah…I’d have run a mile, if I’d been faced with that thing and it’d been a few years ago.”

There was another silence, but it was an okay sort of silence this time.

“And I wouldn’t be here talking to you,” Trisha said.

“No,” Mickey said. But he added, “Only sometimes I think that, right? But I don’t know what I, you know, actually think.”

And then Trisha thought of something it might be a good idea to say, but she wasn’t sure if she ought to say it. It might upset him…but when had staying silent ever done her any favours?

“Mickey, what if…what if Rose…when she comes back…she, um, isn’t interested in you anymore?” She expected to hear Mickey’s phone hanging up, but that didn’t happen.

“You know what?” Mickey said morosely, “You must have read my mind.”

*****

After that phone call, the rest of the day went as normal. Until the doorbell. She went to the door, expecting it to be Mickey, but instead it was Shireen.

“I want to talk to you,” Shireen said.

“Me?” Trisha said, baffled.

“I don’t see anyone else here, do you?”

“What do you want to talk about?” Trisha asked.

“Not here. Come on…” And she walked away, and Trisha followed her. They went out of the flats to a bench. Shireen sat down and lit a cigarette.

“What are you fucking doing with Mickey?” she asked.

Not this again. “Nothing,” Trisha said. “I just…look, you’ve been talking to him, haven’t you? About Rose.”

She gave a very unladylike snort. “He’s been talking to me. I don’t want to believe a word of that shit.”

“But you do.” This was probably the boldest statement she’d ever made in front of Shireen, and in return she got a glare.

“It’s stupid,” Shireen said. “It can’t happen….”

“You saw the aliens on the TV, remember? You saw it. You saw everything.”

“Not Rose,” Shireen said. “I didn’t see Rose, didn’t see where she went and with who…”

“You believe it,” Trisha said. “You do.” She knew this was going to be one of those conversations that went round in circles until the participants came to blows, but she had to try -despite the fact that if Shireen wanted to pummel her, she certainly would.

“I didn’t even want to talk to you about that,” Shireen said. She blew smoke out of her mouth- Trisha loathed the smell of cigarettes, but she couldn’t very well tell her to stop- and said, “A week or so ago, whenever it was- you came down here in the morning. When I was here. You talked to me. Why?”

“You were upset…”

“So?”

“You mean I mustn’t ever talk to you?” Trisha said. “I mustn’t talk to you or even to Mickey?”

“You didn’t even know Rose! Not properly. You weren’t friends. Me and Mickey were her friends- it’s our business. And you, you bitch, walking in while she’s gone and taking her boyfriend…”

Trisha, for the first time that day, felt geniunely angry with her. “I’m not doing anything like that! You’re the one who’s so- who’s so narrow-minded you don’t even know where she’s gone- at least I listened to what Mickey had to say!”

“I know where she’s gone!” Shireen yelled. At that moment, a woman walking her dog walked past, and both of them were forced to shut up. When Shireen spoke again she kept her voice down. “She left a message on my answering machine. She said she was going to the stars with a man who’d show her the universe, and she’d bring me back a present.”

Trisha almost laughed at that- it sounded funny for some reason. “So…Shireen, she as good as told you she’s not even on Earth anymore.”

“She probably meant it metaphorically.”

“You’re kidding yourself!” Had she actually said that? To Shireen, of all people? Blimey.

“All I see is that she went off with some man. She might even have been brainwashed…”

“No, Shireen.”

Shireen said nothing, just took a drag on her cigarette. “You sound different. You know that? I used to see you around, you were this shy little lardball who never said anything…” She clearly noticed the brief flicker of fury in Trisha’s eyes, because she laughed and said. “Oh, sorry. Don’t want to make you anorexic. Anyway, now you’re lording it about the place thinking you know everything about this, aren’t you? Well, you don’t.”

Trisha took a deep breath. “Just tell me this…do you believe that the man Rose went off with was actually a time traveller called the Doctor? Say yes or no.”

A pause. “Why do you even care?” Shireen asked.

“I don’t know.”

“Well, guess what- I don’t know either. Now listen to me- stay away from Mickey, and from me and all. I don’t like you.”

“We’ve been through that.”

“Well, now we’re going through it again.”

“This isn’t what you wanted to say,” Trisha said hastily, “you didn’t just come to my house and get me because you wanted to yell at me…”

“Why shouldn’t I?”

“Because,” Trisha said. Oh, this was the stupidest conversation she’d ever had…

Yes!” Shireen shrieked all of a sudden. “Yes, she’s gone off to another world, she’s never coming back, the whole world’s fucking mad- yes, yes, fucking yes, alright?”

She ran away, and Trisha was left alone. Or not. She turned around, and Mickey was standing behind her.

“Mickey!” She wasn’t sure if she’d ever been more pleased to see anyone before. “What’re you…?”

“I heard everything from ‘lardball’,” Mickey said. Trisha flushed and looked away. “Which you’re not, you know,” he added. “I’ve seen lardballs, you’re not one. Anyway,” he shrugged. “I thought she always believed it, you know. Just…wanted to deny it.”

“I can see why she’d do that…”

He shrugged again. “She ought to leave you alone. You don’t have to stay away from me, you know…”

“Yeah.” That was all she could manage. Then, although she was almost shaking as she said it, she said, “Shireen thinks I’m…you’re…you know, that I’m stealing you.”

“What, from Rose?”

“Yeah.”

He looked so depressed- so very depressed, and then he said, “I don’t know how it happened, how the hell it happened- but you’re the only one I can talk to.”

“Oh…”

“It doesn’t mean anything. We’re not…but you’re my friend, alright?”

That was strange. That was so very strange…

“Yeah. Yeah, of course…”

He walked away. She wanted to call after him, or even run after him and hug him…but she’d already had enough dramatic moments for one day. She wasn’t cut out for this sort of thing.

*****

For almost a week she didn’t see Mickey. She checked the website: he had something new on there- some kid had won the first website competition. Some kid called Adam Mitchell. The name rang a bell for some reason.

She opened the email- Mickey was the only person she ever emailed, really. He and her dad were the only people in the address book.

That Adam kid- I think he’s a friend of my brother. My younger brother, that is. I think they go to the same school.

It wasn’t until after tea that he emailed back: I barely met him- it was his mother who’d been to the website. She obviously thinks I’m nuts, but she’ll do anything to get her darling boy noticed.

She filed the email away. She’d filed all his emails away. Sometimes she’d even read through them all again…

Oh, it was probably pathetic.

Especially since he’d forget about her eventually. Because one day Rose would be back, with stories to tell, stories that would most definately have no place for her. And somewhere out there worlds would end and stars would collide and…and all that other stuff. All that other stuff she knew nothing about.

Rose and her friends would save a million worlds, and she had no-one to save. Mickey had said he should have gone with Rose, and she understood that perfectly…but who would want a fat brunette girl tagging along with them? She’d get killed, or worse, get someone else killed…she’d run a mile from any monsters, she’d be too afraid to give anyone or anything a chance…

She wandered outside to the balcony. It was night and the stars were out. There were no people anywhere that she could see. It was just dark. Perfect place to wait and watch and think things over.

She’s out there somewhere- maybe she’s walking on pink sand, or purple grass. Maybe she’s never coming back, because if she does, what will she do? After having done more than any other human in the world?

She could save her own world, a tiny voice in the back of her head said.

Somewhere, a door opened, and a siren wailed. London looked different at night- everything did. Like you could strain your eyes enough, and there might be a fleet of alien ships on the horizon…

I bet ants don’t know what humans are. Except that they ought to be avoided, because you could get crushed. But if ants never came out from underground…well, then I don’t know what. You’d be able to go on picnics? People wouldn’t be able to poison them? No-one would ever see a ant? I don’t know.

She had guessed this would happen. That one day she would be so miserable about herself, the fact that she didn’t go to school or have a job anymore…after the incident at the department store she’d had on-and-off jobs, at the chip shop and so on, but they hadn’t lasted long. And she was miserable.

Rose was somewhere fighting…Trisha had never fought. Because you need something to fight against, she thought. And…what’s here to fight? Who’s going to turn up and say This is your choice, and it might not be easy but at least you know what the right and wrong options are? The Doctor did for Rose…I doubt anyone will for me.

****

The next day, she recieved an email from Mickey. It was utterly unexpected, and, furthermore, the single most important email she would recieve in her life.

Trisha,

I was thinking about how come you ended up with me in the first place. You want a sort of adventure, right? You want to feel like you’re doing something, being something, like you’ve saving the world and you’ll die happy. I’m not going to give you any of that, obviously. I don’t even have Rose anymore, and I loved her. I wasn’t good enough. Maybe if you were faced with the same choices you’d get it right, or maybe anyone who wasn’t me would. I dunno.

So those are my answers to everything. It’s probably not good enough. But I figure, most people wish they were somewhere other than here. But if everyone left Earth, what would be left? People are pretty important. So then they could blow the planet up and no-one would miss it.

-Mickey

p.s. I saw you on the balcony. You looked miserable. Hence this email.

If she had had a printer, she would have printed it out and kept it. As it was, she hit reply.

Thanks. I’m not miserable anymore. I figure- even if we’re not out there, at least we’re here. We have each other at least. (By each other, I mean, you know, not just us…people like your other friends and family and stuff as well.)

It sounded stupid, but she sent it anyway.

*****

Mickey read the email, read it again, and then picked up the phone to call her. But she was clearly quicker- his phone rang first. He picked it up. “Hello.”

“Hi,” Trisha said. “Umm…I got your email.”

“I got yours,” he answered.

Silence.

“I didn’t know you were watching me,” Trisha said. “Did I really look that miserable?”

Mickey paused. “I know what you were thinking,” he said.

“Yeah,” Trisha said. “It was just…”

In the silence that followed, Mickey looked at the pictures dotted around the computer. Rose, Rose and him, Rose and him and Shireen…they looked happy in every single photo.

Come with us.

“Trisha, I…we seem to have a lot in common, you know.”

“We both wish we’d gone with Rose, you mean?” Trisha said. “Something like that.”

Mickey figured then, hearing Trisha say that, that he’d spend his entire life waiting around for Rose. He’d never even properly date…no, date was the wrong word, fall in love with was probably more like it…anyone else again, even if he wanted to. Because how could he when he knew (however vaguely) how fragile time was- it could be changed so easily, he could wake up one day and Rose would be there and he’d just get up and go to work and everything would be normal…or not.

Mickey the idiot, indeed. Poor Trisha.

“Well,” he said. “I miss her. I miss her a lot.”

“Mickey…” she asked hesitantly, “I was wondering, how come you didn’t go with her? You said once you wished you did, or something.”

Mickey’s breath caught in his throat. Rose doesn’t know so there’s no need for anyone to know, no-one need ever find out, think of Rose’s expression if the Doctor told her, think of Trisha’s expression…

He didn’t want Trisha to think he was a coward. Was that it, then?

“The Doctor said I couldn’t come. Said I’d be a liability.”

What was that he’d typed to the website not so long ago? After Rose had left- and after he’d met Trisha?

I’m not particularly brave. No, I’m not very strong. My mind isn’t that open. But I’m not a LIAR…

“He said that?” Trisha said, awed. “But you- didn’t Rose…?”

“Oh yeah, she asked as well. He said his decision was final.”

It was almost true.

“That’s…that doesn’t seem fair, to me,” Trisha said.

“No,” Mickey answered. “I…I guess not.”

There was a pause, and then Trisha said, “I…well…maybe I’d better go, my mum is calling, she’s annoyed that I’ve added to the phone bill…”

“Trisha,” Mickey said quickly, before he could change his mind or look at any of the photographs, “let’s go somewhere. The cinema or somewhere…just as friends, you know.”

Silence. Then she said breathlessly, “I’d like that.”

“Yeah. Alright…how about you come here, in the afternoon?”

“Yeah, I will…”

“Okay, see you then.”

“Yeah. Bye.”

She hung the phone up. Mickey looked around the room.

But I’m not a LIAR.

Well. Trisha was ordinary, not like Rose, maybe she wouldn’t understand enough to care…

He was fooling himself. She’d understood everything else. What would Rose think of all this? While she was off somewhere travelling with a man better than a boyfriend, he only had a girl he was lying to…

He’d screwed up from day one. From the moment the Doctor stepped on the Earth he’d been utterly doomed.

He wished he had his own time machine.

*****

When evening came, he went to the cinema with Trisha. They picked an action movie, watched it in relative silence (not much talking, definately no kissing) and then sat in the cafe outside.

“You…all through the day you’ve looked sort of guilty,” Trisha ventured when they were sitting drinking coffee. “Is it because you think you’re still involved with Rose? You know…as soon as she comes back you’ll pick up where you left off?”

Mickey groaned inwardly. “I…”

“Am I just…the person you turned to because you didn’t know what else to do?”

At least she hadn’t hit on the other reason he looked guilty. “Um. I…we were going out as friends, remember?”

“I know, but…”

“I think…”

And he was about to say We shouldn’t even go out as friends, then, because one thing will lead to another and I don’t want it, dammit, I could weigh you and Maggie and Thomas up against Rose and it’d be no contest…and I DON’T KNOW WHY.

“I think we should go home,” he muttered. “After this, I mean.”

“Yeah,” she said.

*****

So they went home. Mickey, feeling that he might as well at least try and act like a gentleman, walked her to her front door.

“I don’t want to go home,” Trisha said, looking out over the balcony instead. “I…you know…they’re always arguing.”

Mickey didn’t know what he himself wanted to do. Go home…and do what? Just think. Just hope, in a way, although he didn’t know what for. For Rose coming back? With the Doctor, or without him? Without him she’d be miserable, and with him Mickey would always be second. Just like Trisha was second to Rose- surely she resented that? Surely she resented that every time she even looked at him?

He was so bloody useless- even in the real world.

It really wasn’t fair.

“The sun’s setting,” Trisha said. “We could just go and watch it. I mean, if you don’t think…”

“I don’t mind,” he said.

So they watched it, in complete silence. And eventually the sun slid down beneath the horizon, and the stars came out- not many, but still some.

“Well,” Trisha said, out of the blue. “I expect she’s out there right now, maybe. Rose, I mean. Zillions of miles out there somewhere.”

“Or here,” Mickey said, “a million years ago. She could be standing where you are right now.”

Trisha shivered.

“I…” she said, “I’m probably jealous. I am jealous. But I expect…she’ll never go for an red, yellow and orange sunset anymore, will she? It’ll have to be purple or or bright green…she’s lost three colours. That sounds stupid, but…you know.”

And gained more than what she’s lost, probably, Mickey filled in. He said, “If it was you, would you come back? At all?”

“I’d see everything I wanted to see,” she said, “and since time-travel is an option, I’d come straight back to the minute I left. I don’t want my mum to worry, you see.”

Mickey thought, rather bitterly, about Jackie. “You know what?” he said. “I was there, so I remember…Rose…the first time she was asked, she said no. It wasn’t until she learned about the time travel that she said yes.”

“So she got a second chance.” Trisha said.

“Yeah. She did.”

It was quiet then, and Mickey felt more guilty than he ever had in his life. Because he liked her- he liked Trisha. Ever since she’d insisted on hanging around and asking questions- ever since she’d listened. But…

He’d taken Rose for granted like you took your eyes or ears for granted, and then she’d gone. He’d been dumped. He hadn’t even realised, realised how much he loved her until days turned into weeks and weeks into months and she never came back…

And he hadn’t followed her, he hadn’t said yes, it was his ultimate choice and he said no, and there was this horrible, horrible voice in the back of his head saying Well, that’s what you get- Rose doesn’t love you anymore, you’re stuck on Earth with nothing to do, nowhere to go, with a girl not as pretty as Rose who you told a lie to.

He hated it.

“I was thinking,” Trisha said, “She’s given everything up, almost- if she comes back she’ll never have a moment of thinking everything is perfect and there’s nothing more I could want. Can you imagine that? She gave up her home. Do you think she’s in love with the Doctor?”

That was so out of left field that Mickey just blinked. Then he said, “Yeah.”

“I thought so,” Trisha said. “Because you don’t give it up…your normal life and all that…for someone you don’t love.”

“Yeah,” Mickey said quietly.

“Sorry,” Trisha added.

Everything is perfect and there’s nothing more I could want. Did Rose think that while standing on an alien planet with the Doctor, looking out at the night sky? Did she think that while she was on Earth millions of years ago, watching the Ice Age, freezing all over but utterly in love? Did she think that while watching ancient wars rage, knowing she was going to survive? Did she think that, ever, when she was here?

“You’ve got nothing to be sorry for,” he said. But he was sorry. Sorry you’re not Rose. Sorry I’m not the Doctor. Whatever.

“Maybe not,” she said. “Maybe, um…maybe…let’s see each other tomorrow.”

“Yeah,” he said, practically hating himself. He was going to end up hurting her eventually, no matter what happened. “Come on, then.”

And he took her hand.