The World Is In Your Hands (Turn of the Earth #10) -and epilogue

Rose left Earth, but her mother and friends remained there. Mickey meets another girl, Jackie tries not to think about her dying mother, and the Bad Wolf hunts them all.

(cover)
#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/WWIII
#4- Coward In Your Own Story– Mickey visits Clive’s family
#5- The One I Love– Trisha and Mickey go on a date, as friends- they hope.
#6- The Escape– Shireen, Trisha, and Jimmy Stone
#7- Mother’s Day– Jackie and her mother
#8- Meltdown– Mickey is summoned to Cardiff
#9- You Think You Know Your Name– Mickey returns from Cardiff, and has a secret to reveal to Trisha

#10- The World Is In Your Hands
Rating: PG13
Concrit: Yes please. :)
A/N: I think you have had to have read the last two in the series before reading this one, or some of it won’t make any sense. :)
Warning: Incredibly long.

The World Is In Your Hands

The hologram flickered into being.

This is Emergency Program One,” it said. “Rose, now listen.”

Rose listened, terrified.

This is important. If this message is activated then it can only mean one thing. We must be in danger, and I mean fatal. I’m dead, or about to die, any second with no chance of escape.”

“No!”

And that’s okay,” the hologram went on, “hope it’s a good death. But I promised to look after you, and that’s what I’m doing. The TARDIS is taking you home.

“I won’t let you,” Rose said fiercely.

And I bet you’re fussing and moaning now, typical,” the hologram said, and at that she felt very real panic. “But hold on, and just listen a bit more. The TARDIS can never return. Emergency Program One means I’m facing an enemy that should never get their hands on this machine. So this is what you should do. Let the TARDIS die. Just let this old box gather dust. No-one can open it, no-one will even notice it. Let it become a strange little thing standing on a street corner. And over the years, the world will move on and the box will be buried.

Shock took over.

And if you want to remember me, then you can do one thing. That’s all, one thing.”

The hologram, impossibly, turned to face her.

Have a good life. Do that for me, Rose. Have a fantastic life.”

The Doctor vanished.

Rose stared.

“You can’t do this to me. You can’t. Take me back.”

Nothing.

Take me back!”

She ran outside- she was back home. This was London.. This was where she’d grown up. This was where her family was.

This was where she couldn’t stay.

She ran back inside. She couldn’t let it end like this. There were people who she loved about to die back there. The man who’d changed her life, and one of the best friends she’d ever had. They were going to die, they were going to die…and she was going to live.

It went back and forth in her head. He saved me. He wanted me to survive. He sent me home, where my mum and boyfriend and all my old mates are. He said to have a good life.

But I want to choose for myself! If it comes down to either a good life without him or a short life with him, I choose to not see the end of today.

Did anything out there hear that? Please!

Desperately, she went outside one more time- and Mickey was there.

*****

Trisha had woken up at seven thirty in the morning. She had sat there in bed for a bit, worried as hell and sure, quite sure, that Today Was The Day.

As the sun rose, she got washed and dressed and went out to the balcony. She wondered what on earth you were supposed to do when you woke up and knew this was It.

She decided to go out.

She went to her room, put her mobile phone in her pocket, pulled on her trainers and headed for the door. On the way out she passed the mirror, and glanced in it.

She looked so different. Not just thinner…she looked older. Like someone new had taken her place.

But there was no time to linger- the warning from the dreams was still constantly in her head. She had to work it out- and fast. Assuming that she could.

She went to the front door, and then the phone rang. She ignored it, but as she reached for the door chain, her mother called to her.

“Trisha! The phone’s for you.” She stuck her head out of the living room door, the phone in one hand.

“Who is it?” Trisha asked guardedly.

Her mother winced a little. “It’s your father.”

What?”

*****

Shireen had also woken early that morning, except it had nothing to do with any feelings of foreboding. She had simply forgotten to turn the television off, and it woke her up.

She considered, after getting washed and dressed, what to do with her day. A year or two ago she’d have gone to the gym with Rose, but those days were over.

So she figured she’d go on her own.

She packed some stuff, went out without waking her mother and wandered down the road. It was a cold day. Grey and grim. The middle of October- too early for Christmas, too far away from summer.

Jackie ran past her.

Shireen stopped.

“Jackie?” she called after her. “What’s up?” Jackie Tyler did not usually run like that. She looked rather frantic- and when she turned around, Shireen saw the expression on her face. It was some combination of worry and relief.

“Rose is back, Shireen. Mickey just called. Something’s happened…” But before Shireen could ask a single question, Jackie was running again.

“Jackie!” Shireen yelled after her, but got no answer. She stood for a moment in almost-fear, wondering what to do.

Rose was back. Her best friend had returned. And no-one had phoned her, Rose hadn’t called- but she tried to push that irritation away.

She was about to follow Jackie when something occured to her: she didn’t want to see Rose. Not now. Not at the moment. She wouldn’t know what to say.

She remained where she was, nervously pondering her choices.

Rose was back. Mickey was with Rose. Jackie was with them too. She didn’t know where they’d gone. She could ring Mickey and find out, but…

Jackie had said something’d happened. What had happened? Had Rose been hurt? And what about the Doctor? She’d said nothing about him.

She could go and find Trisha, she supposed. As soon as that thought entered her mind another one followed: did this mean Trisha was her best friend now?

Holy shit, she thought. She had other friends…people from the old school, people from old jobs, and stuff. And Mickey, too. But Trisha! Even if she’d proved she wasn’t stupid or a bitch, why was Shireen thinking of going to her?

I’ll get her and we both can go find Rose, she thought. Assuming Rose wants to see me. Assuming Rose is still…Rose.

She started walking quickly to Trisha’s flat, thinking as she went. She had her mobile phone with her, the same one she’d had for years, if Rose was back why hadn’t she rung her? What was the Something that had happened?

What if Rose had lost her memory, or something? What if the Doctor had done something to her?

She took her phone from her pocket and dialled Mickey’s number, but his phone was turned off.

*****

Trisha’s mother held out the phone.

“It’s your father. He wants to talk to you.”

“I can’t. I’ve got to go out,” Trisha said, keeping her voice level. Her father? What the hell? “Tell him I’ll talk to him later. Some other time. Alright?”

“Aw, but Trisha…” her mum said, “…he’ll be really upset…”

Rob appeared in the doorway, his face angry.

He wants to fucking talk to you!” he mouthed.

That made her mind up. “Okay, then,” she snapped. “Ask him where he was all the times when I wanted to talk to him and he wasn’t there. When I was really upset. Tell him that.”

She marched out.

Halfway down the stairs Rob grabbed her arm.

“Are you mental, Trisha?” he snapped. “He wants to talk to you. You know, his bloody daughter.”

Why does he want to talk to me?”

Rob let go of her. “‘Cause…well….he thought today was your birthday.”

“My birthday is next month.” Trisha said flatly. “Excuse me, I’ve got to go.”

“Well, you could at least go and correct him, couldn’t you?” Rob asked. “Then he’ll get it right.”

“Why are you so bothered about Dad?” Trisha asked acidly. “You never cared so much about anyone else.”

“He was the only person who ever gave a shit about me,” Rob said angrily.

“I wonder why that could be.”

She turned to go down the stairs, and suddenly Shireen burst in through the door at the bottom. They spotted each other at exactly the same time. Trisha’s heart leapt: was this proof of her fears? Shireen had been running, normally she wouldn’t have run…

Shireen said simply, “Rose is back.”

“Rose is back?” Rob repeated, before Trisha had a chance to speak. “Rose Tyler?”

“Where is she?” Trisha asked Shireen. “Do you know?”

“She’s somewhere with her mum and Mickey. Mickey’s turned his phone off, though-” She reached for her phone and pressed a few buttons. “And Rose’s is off, as well.”

“Let’s go, then,” Trisha said.

“I dunno where she is,” Shireen said. “And Jackie said something had happened…”

Trisha felt a dull fear in her stomach. And possibly excitement, as well. “Something has happened, but I dunno what. Let’s go find her- I’ll explain on the way.”

“What’s happened?” Rob yelled as they ran down the stairs. But both girls ignored him.

*****

They walked quickly through the street, and Trisha explaning almost everything she knew.

“Look, I don’t get the Bad Wolf thing,” Shireen said. “What is it? Is it just the website?”

“I don’t know exactly what it is, that’s the problem,” Trisha answered. “But, it’s like…it keeps showing up. It’s been the name of a bomb and the name of a power station, and my brother’s graffiti tag, and then I saw the website…” She shuddered. “It’s something chasing Rose and the Doctor. Through time. I think.”

“Through time? How?”

“But Mickey asked the Doctor,” Trisha added, “and he said it was just a coincidence. But this website, it said it was everywhere. That it was graffiti, and names and things. Things you wouldn’t really notice. But it’s there. And the website…” She opted not to continue.

They slowed down a little; they’d reached the shops now.

“You think it’s chasing Rose? Just her, maybe?” Shireen asked.

“I don’t know…”

Shireen pushed buttons on her phone again. “Still no answer. From either of them. Rose’s phone is on but she’s not answering. What if something really bad…” But she trailed off. “Okay. Let’s split up. I’ll go that way and you go that way. We’ll keep in touch by mobile.” She sounded rather agitated by this point.

“Alright,” Trisha said.

“And,” Shireen went on, “…what do we do when we find Rose and Mickey?”

“I don’t know,” Trisha said.

“But you know something,” Shireen said, her voice getting higher, “because you saw the website, and I didn’t. You know something I don’t. And it’s something bad, isn’t it?”

Time seemed to pause, although of course it didn’t really. Trisha thought. She went back over everything she’d read about the Bad Wolf, despite not really wanting to. She also remembered the dreams.

I need your help.

And then, slowly, she thought she had an idea.

*****

Mickey watched Rose from across the table. She looked utterly devastated. He knew, somewhere in the back of his mind, that she wasn’t going to stay here with him. Not while her friends were trapped in the middle of a war somewhere. A war for Earth and all.

It didn’t break his heart as much as he had figured.

Because Rose was dead, in a way. Back during the time they’d all thought she was dead, she had been. Because this wasn’t Rose. Not really. Oh, the world was so mental these days.

“Listen to me,” Jackie was saying from her seat next to him. “God knows I have hated that man, but right now I love him, and do you know why? Because he did the right thing. He sent you back to me.”

“But what do I do with every day, Mum?” Rose said in a desperate voice. “What do I do? Get up, catch the bus, go to work, come back home, eat chips, and go to bed, is that it?”

Mickey answered, not sure whether the statement he was making made him angry, sad, defensive or all three. “It’s what the rest of us do.”

*****

“Sam’s got a friend staying over,” Trisha said as they hurried back to the estate. “Adam somethingorother. Dunno if he’s into the whole vandalising-public-property thing, though.”

“You’re sure this’ll work?” Shireen asked. “Because it sounds a little…stupid to me. No offence.”

“None taken.”

They tore up the stairs and into the flat.

“Sam!” Trisha yelled.

Sam was sitting with Adam, watching TV.

“Yeah?” he asked nervously. And then he added, “Rob’s gone out somewhere. He was a bit-”

“Listen,” Trisha said, interrupting. “You remember….some time ago, when you wrote something on a box and had to clean it off again? You wrote bad wolf, didn’t you?”

“Yeah,” Sam said nervously. Adam looked at him. “What’s this about?”

“It’s a long story,” Shireen said.

“Well. Anyway. Do you want to go on a graffiti spree?” Trisha asked.

*****

Rose was explaining herself.

“It was… It was a better life.” she said. Mickey listened. “Not the… I don’t mean all the travelling, seeing aliens and spaceships and things, that don’t matter. The Doctor showed me a better way of living your life. You know, he showed you too. That you don’t just give up, you don’t just let things happen. You… make a stand, you say no…you have the guts to do what’s right when everyone else just runs away…”

Mickey could think of no way to express his thoughts.

“…and I just… can’t…”

Rose half ran, half stumbled out of the restaurant.

*****

Trisha, Shireen, Sam and Adam raced down the street, armed only with some pens, chalks and spray paint.

“What’s this for?” Sam asked his sister. “Are you trying to get back at someone?”

“Yeah,” Trisha said. “In…a way.”

Sam shrugged.

They reached a park…it looked like a good place to begin.

“Right,” Trisha said, resigned to giving orders. “Sam and Adam, you can start here. Just write Bad Wolf everywhere you see.”

Adam said nothing, just pointed. The other three looked. Bad Wolf was already written on the wall, covered up with other graffiti. It had had to have been there years.

“Is there something you’re not telling us?” he asked.

Silence.

“No,” Shireen said. “You get writing.”

“I’ll go down the street,” Trisha said, taking one of the pens. “Shireen, you go over that way- we’ll all keep in touch via cell phone. Alright?”

Sam looked wary. “What if someone catches us?”

“I dunno-” Trisha said. “Tell them you’re on a secret mission, or something.”

Adam was already chalking the ground, looking gleeful.

*****

Mickey and Jackie sat in the cafe.

“She ran off,” Jackie said flatly.

“Yeah.”

“She just said everyone else runs away and then she ran away from us.”

“Um, yeah.”

“Are you going after her?”

“I…yeah, yeah I am.”

*****

Trisha hurried down the street, pen in hand, looking for a secluded spot. Somewhere that whoever was looking for this message (it was a message, wasn’t it? It had to be.) would be able to see it. Who was looking for it- Rose? The Doctor? A friend of theirs? It had to be one of the good guys; she couldn’t stand the alternative.

Maybe on a bus shelter or a bench or something…

She suddenly saw Mickey on the other side of the road. He had just come out of a cafe, and he was running- running after Rose? Trisha couldn’t be sure.

He saw her standing there on the other side, looked at her- she looked back- and then he ran off.

Trisha figured it was a goodbye.

*****

Shireen had found somebody who she didn’t especially want to see: Alex, Jimmy’s girlfriend, walking down the street with some shopping bags.

“Hi,” she said to Shireen.

“Hello,” Shireen answered frostily.

Alex didn’t pick up on her coldness. “You know…that was you Jimmy was chasing, back all that time ago, wasn’t it? When he was chucking bottles down and stuff.”

“Yeah.”

“I dumped him ‘cos of that. He’s a friggin’ maniac.”

“Right,” Shireen said, only mildly interested. And then, because she figured it might be worth it, “Y’know Rose? My old best friend? She’s back. Have you seen her?”

“No,” Alex said. “She’s weird, that one. People keep saying weird stuff happens when she’s around. Like, there’s this box down the street- someone said it was something to do with her. A phone box or something that wasn’t there yesterday. I thought it had to be the council, y’know, replacing the old phone boxes…they always look smashed up….”

“What was she doing in a box?” Shireen interrupted, giving no hint to her knowledge.

“Dunno. Say,” she changed the subject, “is Mickey Smith still dating…um…that fat chick? Because he’s quite nice, isn’t he…”

“Look, she’s not fat. She’s a mate of mine,” Shireen said angrily.

“Oh,” Alex raised an eyebrow. “Whatever.”

“Did you say the box was around here?” Shireen demanded.

“Yeah. Just at the end of this street. Haven’t seen Rose, though. What’s she doing back-”

Shireen ran off.

“Thanks, Alex!” she shouted over her shoulder.

*****

Jackie sat in the cafe and looked at her mobile phone. She went down the list of contacts. Mickey, Shireen, Trisha, Maggie. Rodrigo. Her old friends like Beth. Rose.

She dialled Rose’s number. It rang but no-one answered. Rose must be looking to see who was calling, and finding out it was only her mother.

Only her mother.

Jackie missed her own mother terribly all of a sudden. She wasn’t sure why- hadn’t they barely got on while she was alive? She felt a sting of guilt- not for the first time, either. All the time these days, she was wishing she’d acted differently towards the people around her.

But that was the past now- and she was in the future.

*****

Shireen reached the box, and took a good look at it. No-one else seemed to be especially interested- in fact, the street was pretty much deserted.

She tried the door. It was locked.

She took out her phone and called Trisha.

“Hey. S’me. I’ve found the…not Rose…not anyone…the time-travel thingy.”

*****

Mickey knew which way Rose had gone, but locating her wasn’t going to be so easy. She could have gone home, gone to a friend’s house (Shireen’s, maybe?) or gone back to the TARDIS or anything.

Sam Delaney and some mate of his wandered past him.

“Oi, Sam!” Mickey called.

Sam turned around. He had a can of spray paint in his hand. “Yeah?”

“Have you seen Rose Tyler anywhere?”

Sam shrugged at first, but then he said. “Wait. She might be in the park. Saw her walking over there when we were leaving.”

“Right. Thanks.” Mickey said, and went in that direction.

*****

Trisha came running to Shireen, who was now sitting on the wall beside the blue box.

“Did you…you know…manage to write the message down anywhere?” was the first thing she asked.

“I’m pleased to say I vandalised more bus stations and walls today than I ever have in my life,” Shireen took out a cigarette and lit it. “You?”

“Yeah. No-one saw me…I wrote it on posters, mostly.”

Shireen pointed at the box. “I tried the door. It’s locked.”

Trisha tried it anyway: it was indeed not going to open. She sighed to herself, just a little.

“I wonder what it looks like in there…”

“I thought Mickey would have told you, if he’s been in there.”

“He did, kinda, once or twice. But it’s not like seeing it.”

“Anyway, back in the real world-” Shireen said glumly, “-have we accomplished much?”

“We’ll find out soon, I suppose,” Trisha said

*****

Rose was sitting on a bench- she looked utterly miserable. Mickey walked up to her, and took a deep breath.

“You can’t spend the rest of your life thinking about the Doctor,” he said.

Rose only just looked at him. “How do I forget him?” she answered.

“You’ve gotta start living your own life. You know, a proper life, like the kind he’s never had.”

Rose didn’t seem to care.

“…the sort of life you could have with me.”

It was hopeless, he knew it. They’d been through this already.

Sorry, Rose. I can’t live without you and I can’t live with you, anymore.

He looked at Rose. And Rose was looking at something- something on the ground. He looked too.

Writing. Writing in chalk.

It said, ‘BAD WOLF’.

Oh no. Please not this. No, no, no.

Rose stood up and stared around. “It’s over there as well!”

“That’s been there for years!” Mickey yelled desperately. Now he thought about it, he figured that actually, it had. Besides, it was just a coincidence. Just a coincidence…

“It’s just a phrase!” he called. “It’s just words!”

“I thought it was a warning,” Rose said breathlessly. “Maybe it’s the opposite! Maybe it’s a message!” She looked around. “The same words written down now, and two hundred thousand years in the future. It’s a link, between me and the Doctor, bad wolf here, bad wolf there!”

“Yeah, but…” Mickey managed to say, “if it’s a message, what’s it saying?”

“It’s telling me I can get back!”

*****

Trisha and Shireen wandered down the street.

“Look-” Shireen said. “That one of yours?”

Bad Wolf was written on a poster.

“No…maybe it was Sam or Adam.”

“Yeah.”

“I wonder where Jackie is,” Trisha wondered out loud.

“Dunno. God, I feel sorry for her,” Shireen muttered. “Don’t ask why. S’just…”

They wandered through the streets of London, inside a crowd of people.

“Where are we going?” Trisha asked.

“Let’s do more writing on the walls. C’mon. I always wanted an ASBO.”

*****

Mickey and Rose were inside the time machine.

“All the TARDIS needs to do is make a return trip. Just… reverse.” Rose said.

“Yeah, but you still can’t do it.”

“The Doctor always said the TARDIS was telepathic. This thing is alive. It is.”

“It’s not listening now, is it?” Mickey said glumly.

“We need to get inside it.” Rose said. “Last time I saw you, with the Slitheen, this middle bit opened, and there was this light and the Doctor said it was the heart of the TARDIS. If we can open it, I can make contact, and tell it what to do.”

Mickey hadn’t been there, not for that, and thus wasn’t really sure what she meant. But she was the time-traveller, not him.

“Rose,” he said.

“Mmm?”

“If you go back,” he said, “you’re gonna die.”

“That’s a risk I’ve gotta take,” Rose said almost offhandedly, “because there’s nothing left for me here.”

“Nothing?” Mickey asked hopelessly.

“No.”

Mickey thought- about everything – and made his decision. “Okay. If that’s what you think. Let’s get this thing open.”

*****

Jackie’s phone was beeping: Mickey was calling her. Well, the phone wasn’t beeping exactly- it was playing a Westlife song.

She answered it. “Mickey? What’s the matter?” Apart from the obvious, she thought.

“Jackie? I need a huge, huge favour. Could you drive my Mini down here?”

*****

Shireen and Trisha sat on a bench, the London Eye turning in the distance behind them. Big Ben was also just about visible. It had long since been fixed- and the aliens had long since gone.

“It’s so weird,” Trisha muttered.

“What?” Shireen asked, although she could guess.

“The world in general. Aliens came, twice, and no-one cares anymore.”

“Some people do. Like the ones who visit Mickey’s website, and stuff.”

“True. But still…”

Trisha sighed.

“I just can’t get my head around it, that so much has changed since the start of the year.” she said.

“Mmm. I suppose not.”

Then Shireen had a thought.

“Let’s go visit Maggie. Mickey’s friend. He’s introduced you to her, right? Let’s go see her, and explain everything that’s happened.”

*****

Rose attached a chain to the console panel. Mickey climbed into the Mini, and started it up.

“Faster!” Rose shouted.

He pushed down on the accelerator. This is going to work, this is going to work, this is going to work…and then Rose is gonna go away.

“It’s not moving!” Rose shouted.

This IS going to work- and I don’t know what I’ll do after that.

The chain broke.

*****

Trisha was sure she’d done more running today than she ever had in her entire life. She’d be thin as a yardstick by the end of the day.

They reached Maggie’s house. Shireen rang the doorbell.

Maggie’s young son, Thomas, opened the door.

“Oh. Hi.” he said. “I think I know you. Mickey’s friends, right?”

“Right.” Shireen said. “Is your mother in?”

“She’s in her study. I’ll go get her.”

*****

She’s never going to come home, Jackie thought to herself. All my family has gone- I dunno what I ever did to deserve this.

“It was never gonna work, sweetheart,” she said to her daughter. “And the Doctor knew that. He just wanted you to be safe.”

“I can’t give up.” Rose answered.

“Lock the door. Walk away.”

“Dad wouldn’t give up,” Rose said, and Jackie’s heart plummeted.

“Well, he’s not here, is he?” she said sadly. “And even if he was, he’d say the same.”

“No he wouldn’t! He’d tell me to try anything. If I could save the Doctor’s life… try anything.” Rose said fiercely.

“Well. We’re never going to know,” And the future she could see looked ever so bleak.

“Well, I know.” Rose said. “Because I met him. I met Dad.”

Jackie knew in an instant that this was true, but she refused to understand. “Don’t be ridiculous.”

“The Doctor took me back in time, and I met Dad.”

“Don’t…say…that.”

“Remember when Dad died?” Rose said, almost crying now. “There was someone with him. A girl, a blonde girl, she held his hand. You saw her from a distance, Mum, you saw her! Think about it, that was me, you saw me!”

Jackie was befuddled for one brief second. Pete had died all on his own. No-one had been with him. Not her…not her, not anybody.

Did the Doctor KILL Rose’s Dad in 1987?

But…no…surely she’d explained it all to Rose when she was little…some random girl who no-one knew had been with Pete…and Jackie remembered seeing her…

…and feeling like she knew that girl, whoever she was?

Feeling like that girl had to be…

“Stop it!” she snapped.

…her daughter?

“That’s how good the Doctor is,” Rose said, crying.

Stop it! Just stop it!”

And Jackie ran away.

*****

Shireen, Trisha, Maggie and Thomas sat at Maggie’s dining table. Shireen could see pictures of Maggie’s late husband everywhere she looked- it depressed her slightly. Wedding photos, holiday photos…

…if she’d remembered everything right, and she thought she had- wasn’t it nearly the anniversary of Maggie’s husband’s death?

Maggie, in true British fashion, had heard their story, nodded calmly and offered them all tea. Shireen had accepted gratefully, and so had Trisha.

“Trisha, I ought to ask you,” Maggie said, slightly nervously. “Has Mickey…well…he spoke to me once about what happened the night he met you. When Rose left.”

“What?” Trisha asked anxiously. “Oh…you don’t mean…”

“The fact he refused the Doctor, and Rose.”

“Oh. Yeah. Yeah, he told me. I know why he didn’t rightaway,” she added. She looked at Maggie, and Maggie looked back.

“I knew,” Maggie said.

“Yeah.”

“I told him that perhaps he didn’t leave the planet because he had things to do here instead.”

“Oh.”

Trisha’s expression was unreadable, and Shireen looked hard at her. What on earth was she thinking now? That she would never have turned down the trip of a lifetime? That she would rather stay here and find something to do? That she wanted to have Mickey to herself for once?

“Do you want some Christmas chocolates?” Maggie asked. She reached behind her and took them from a cupboard.

“Christmas chocolates?” Shireen asked.

“I know it’s a bit early, but they were cheap. Actually, I have a feeling they’re last years, left over.”

Shireen and Trisha both took one. Thomas took three.

“I wish you two could’ve met my dad,” he said with his mouth full. “I wish…you know…”

“Thomas,” Maggie said warningly.

“Oh no,” Shireen said hastily, “it’s alright. I mean, if you…” But she trailed off.

“There’s no point in not talking about him,” Thomas said glumly. When his mother didn’t answer, he carried on, talking quickly. “He’d have loved all of this. He’d have known exactly what to do about Rose Tyler, and about the Siltheen.”

Maggie shook her head.

“You don’t even go in his shed anymore,” Thomas went on.

“Thomas…” Trisha said gently.

“I’m not angry,” Thomas said. “S’just…everything’s changed, hasn’t it? The whole universe.”

One of the chocolates still in his hand, he left the room.

*****

Jackie had no idea what she was doing.

You do know what you’re doing, Jackie, said a voice in her head that sounded like her mother. You’re going to do something that will help your daughter- and take her into danger. How do you like that? She might never come back, and it’ll be your fault.

It’s her choice! Jackie thought savagely. Just let me get on with it, before I change my mind.

And as she raced through the city, she was convinced she would change her mind.

But if she stays here she’ll never be happy. She’ll be a ghost of a girl, going to work and going to bed and never doing anything worthwhile, because she never did the thing she counted MOST worthwhile.

She turned the corner- Rodrigo’s house was just up the road. She could see the truck from here. Oh, she hoped he was in.

Do you even know your daughter? Alison Darkwood asked her. She could certainly do something worthwhile if she wanted. She could find a cure for cancer, end the corrupt, or fight injustice. You know she has the ability.

Jackie stopped right there. She was gasping for breath- she always got tired running. Maybe she should turn around right now.

Or…

…maybe thousands of years would pass and Earth would grow up and then one day- far, far in the future- the whole planet would be in irrepairable ruins, all because she ran away when she could have gone forward.

She waited for a few seconds, hoping for someone to help her. No-one came; she was on her own.

If YOU could have saved the man you loved, she suddenly thought desperately, you would have done!

That was all she needed to make her decision-

She went forward.

*****

“Mum was right,” Rose said, in a tone Mickey found impossible to read. “Maybe we should just lock the door and walk away.” Mickey had the feeling she was testing him.

As if she hadn’t done that enough already.

“I’m not having that,” he said. “I’m not having you just…just give up now. No way. We just need something bigger than my car. Something bigger…”

A large truck came around the corner. Mickey had never seen it before, and didn’t pay it much attention- but hang on- that was Jackie at the wheel.

“Something like that!”

Rose’s face burst into a smile.

Jackie stopped the truck and jumped out.

“Right,” she said. “You’ve only got this til six o’ clock. Get on with it.”

“Mum,” Rose said breathlessly, “where the hell did you get this from?”

“Rodrigo,” Jackie said. “He owes me a favour, never mind why. But you were right about your dad, sweetheart. He was full of mad ideas, and it’s exactly what he would have done.”

Rose kept on smiling.

“Now get on with it, before I change my mind.”

*****

Maggie opened the shed door. Thomas was in there, right at the back, just sitting down. He wasn’t ripping things apart or trashing the place, for which Maggie was extremely grateful.

“Thomas,” she began.

“Have those two girls gone?” Thomas asked.

“No. I’ve asked them to stay for tea.”

“Oh.”

The shed fell as quiet as it had been the past year.

“It wasn’t fair, was it?” Thomas whispered.

“No,” Maggie said, knowing full well what he was talking about. “It wasn’t.”

“It was just a little alien invasion,” Thomas went on. “Only a few people died. And you know Rose? Well, I know we’ve never met her, but…her and the Doctor…every time they remember what happened, here on Earth, with the plastic and all…they’re going to remember it as a good thing.”

Maggie felt tears in the back of her eyes.

“Because they got something good out of it,” Thomas said fiercely. “And we fucking didn’t.”

“Thomas! Don’t swear…” She was about to finish with “…in your father’s shed.” but she didn’t.

Thomas shook his head.

“It’s just not fair.”

Maggie put a hand on his shoulder.

“Thomas, you’ll…you’ll hate this, I think. But…”

Thomas looked at her.

“But. Mickey knows-thanks to you, don’t forget- what your father was all about, and he’s passed that information on to many, many people. You heard what Trisha was saying back there, about the Bad Wolf graffiti?”

Thomas nodded. “It sounds stupid.”

“But. If, as Trisha believes, it’s a message…she’ll have passed the message on to whoever needs to hear it, quite probably Rose Tyler, and Rose will do what she needs to and save the world. Or save someone who’ll go on to save the world. And, Thomas- Trisha is involved because of Mickey, and Mickey is involved because of you, and you’re involved because of your father. Understand?”

Thomas just stared at the ground.

“Do you understand, Thomas?”

“Yeah.”

“Your father played a part in the saving of the planet- don’t forget that.”

Thomas’s lip wobbled and he started crying. Maggie just held him. They just stood there, surrounded by images of Doctors past and present.

*****

Mickey sat inside the truck, at the wheel, foot on the accelerator. There was another chain attached to the truck, which led inside to the console.

This, he figured, might be their last chance.

His last chance. Whatever.

“Keep going!” Rose shouted.

He kept going; giving up now was not an option. Rose and Jackie shouted encouragement to him.

“Come on!”

He pressed his foot down harder.

This is so weird. I had my life ruined for a year, found Rose again, saved the planet -with help- turned down the offer of a lifetime and lost Rose again. Found someone else. Lost someone else.

Could stop Rose losing someone.

Possibly.

“KEEP GOING!” Rose yelled.

Mickey the idiot, the world is in your hands.

The chain didn’t break.

The console lifted up- Mickey felt it- and the truck jerked forward. Mickey braked, and jumped out, and ran to Rose and Jackie-

-but Rose had run into the TARDIS, and was gone.

*****

Night was falling.

Trisha and Shireen were both still at Maggie’s house, having informed their parents where they were. They had had tea, and now were out in the garden.

It wasn’t as cold as it should have been for the time of year. Thomas was sitting in an old swing at the back of the garden, and Maggie on a bench, her laptop on her lap, doing her work.

Trisha and Shireen were on the other bench, watching the stars come out.

“Up there, somewhere,” Trisha muttered, “give or take a few hundred years- something really, really big is going on. A battle, or a war, or something like that. Hard to comprehend, isn’t it?”

“D’ya think Rose is there?”

“Yeah. I think she is.”

There was silence, apart from the whirring of the laptop and the creak of the swing.

Trisha’s phone rang.

She picked it up- it was Mickey calling her.

“Trisha? Hi…where are you?”

“I’m at Maggie’s house. Shireen’s with me. Um…is Rose…where is she?”

“She’s left.” Mickey answered. “Um…does Maggie mind if me and Jackie come?”

“Maggie?” Trisha called nervously. “Mickey and Jackie want to meet me here. Um, is it okay…?”

“Certainly.” Maggie answered. “Ask if they want some tea.”

*****

All six of them sat in the Finch’s garden: Mickey, Jackie, Trisha, Shireen, Maggie and Thomas. The world was quiet around them.

Trisha gave her explanation of the day’s events first.

“It was the Bad Wolf that did it, you know? It was important. Um, did you see any Bad Wolf around the place, Mickey?”

“Yeah,” Mickey said warily, as if wondering where this was going. “Rose saw it. She said it was a message telling her she could get back. I dunno how she came to that-”

“It was me and Shireen and Sam and Sam’s friend Adam,” Trisha said. Mickey stared in bafflement, and Shireen took over.

“We did the graffiti. Well, some of it. Sam and Adam did a lot.”

“There was Bad Wolf in chalk across the ground, in the park,” Mickey said slowly.

“That would have been Adam, I think. He had the chalks.” Trisha said.

Silence.

“And Rose?” Maggie asked.

“Rose has left,” Mickey said quietly. “She got the TARDIS open, and took it back to the Doctor. But she’ll be back.”

Jackie, who hadn’t said anything so far, gave a little whimper.

“Oh, Jackie…” Trisha said. “It’ll be alright.”

“I brought her the truck,” Jackie said, “to get the thingy open. So she could go back. And if she dies there…”

“She won’t, Jackie,” Shireen said firmly. “Because I know Rose.”

Jackie just shivered; it was getting colder now.

There was a knock on the alleyway door.

It’s Rose, every person at the table thought at the same time. Jackie jumped up and opened the door.

It wasn’t Rose- it was Rob.

“Oi, Trisha,” he said, barely even looking at Jackie. “Mum wants you back home now. She sent me to get you.” He glanced around. “I can give your mates a lift, too, if you like.”

“Yeah, alright,” Mickey said.

They all looked at each other.

“Thanks for everything, Maggie,” Jackie said to her. She gave her a hug. “I’ll see you around, alright, love?”

“Alright,” Maggie said, looking surprised. Clearly, she wasn’t used to hugging.

“And you,” Mickey said to Thomas. “I’ll see you later. I’ll buy you a Christmas present, alright?”

“You don’t have to,” Thomas said.

“But I will.”

Shireen and Trisha said their goodbyes as well, and before long they were all bundled into the back of Rob’s car, heading home.

*****

When Trisha got home, the house was quiet. Not all that warm and friendly, but quiet. And that was enough for her.

Adam had gone home.

Sam talked to her as they did the washing up. “You know what you said? About Dad never caring if you were upset? Rob didn’t repeat that to Dad, but I did.”

“You did? Seriously? What did he say?”

“Nothing. He just went really quiet and said he’d call later. On your real birthday.”

Trisha could only shake her head in disbelief. “Well, thanks, Sam.” And then, “You were really good today.”

“Yeah,” Sam said with a grin. “Turns out I can get away with vandalism, too. Heh.”

*****

Mickey went to the website, and stared at the last update, made just after the trip to Cardiff.

WORLD SAVED. WHO CARES?

So, anyway. Saved the world last week, thanks.

And how’re you supposed to feel when you’ve done that? Pretty gutted, actually.

I can’t go on waiting for her to turn up. I can’t go on waiting for Rose. I can’t go on doing this. Sorry.

He went into the editor and hovered his finger over the DELETE key.

But he didn’t press it.

Not yet.

*****

Jackie went home and slept: it was all she could manage. She was exhausted. But she woke up at five in the morning, and hopelessly trotted into the living room and watched TV for an hour. She cried a lot, too.

Don’t cry, Jacqueline. It’ll be alright. Rose’ll be back.

Was that her mother, or was it Pete? Alison had been the one who’d said it, but it sounded like Pete’s voice. Then again, Pete had almost never called her Jacqueline.

She remembered one of the day’s more minor episodes- the blonde girl holding Pete’s hand, the girl who had been Rose- and burst into tears again.

*****

The next day Mickey and Trisha met again in the first place they’d met: by the red dustbin. BAD WOLF was scrawled on it; surely Sam or Adam’s handiwork.

“So,” Mickey said to her quietly. “We can’t really go on like this, I guess.”

“Yeah, I know.”

They stood still while the world went on around them.

“Thank you, Mickey,” Trisha said all of a sudden.

“For what?”

“Everything,” she answered, and before she had a chance to chicken out, she kissed him on the lips. Mickey was so surprised he actually took a step back.

“Well, thank you as well,” he said. “Seriously. You were good- you really were.”

“Thanks.”

“Maybe we’d better not thank each other anymore, though,” Mickey said. “I mean…this is kinda it, isn’t it? But I’ll always think of you as my friend, alright?”

“Yeah. Same here.”

They looked at each other.

“Maybe in a different universe…” Trisha said thoughtfully. “You know.”

Mickey shook his head. “Nah. We have to make do with the one we’ve got.”

“Yeah.”

And that, indeed, was it.

Mickey took one of Trisha’s hands. “Well,” he said. “Trisha- have a good life.”

And then he walked away.

*****

Epilogue

The future is most important:

Trisha got into a fairly nice college, after a not inconsiderable amount of work, and then went to university. Her absent father was incredibly impressed and sent her many cards and presents, but she wasn’t keen to talk to him. Her brothers eventually had to talk her into it. At university she met a nice young man who she married, but before the wedding she told him everything about what had taken place when she was eighteen. She kept nothing from him. He believed her- he had once visited the website, a long time ago. Since he was relatively rich, they were able to move to a nice house by a lake, where Trisha took up writing fantasy novels. Some of them were sucessful, others weren’t, but she loved every minute of her writing. One day, after being interviewed for a magazine, she sat by the lake with her husband and thought everything is perfect and there’s nothing more I could want.

Shireen didn’t go to university, or marry, but she did manage to fight her way into journalism, by force of personality if nothing else. She went all over the world reporting on wars, disasters, and various events, and raised money for charity on occasion as well. She remained in touch with Trisha, who assisted her in everything she did, especially on the financial front.

Maggie Finch married again, and was happy with her new husband. Her son eventually grew to like him as well. Neither of them forgot about Mickey, and often wondered where he was. The website remained where it was, for anyone with a curious mind to access at will.

Rob Delaney met a girl called Alex at the local pub- it turned out they were made for each other. Jimmy Stone was out of the way- in prison, in fact- and Alex wasn’t interested in him anymore anyway. Marriage was soon on the cards.

As for Jackie and Mickey-

-having your girlfriend dump you for an alien can indeed spectacularly mess you up, but in Mickey’s case it was not the end of the world. Instead, a new beginning. And Jackie decided to carry on as normal, and have faith in her daughter, and bought her Christmas presents just in case Rose would be back for Christmas Day.

She was.

She’d brought back the Doctor, and danger- and Mickey got to make his choice again.

And the Earth continued to turn.

THE END