Fandom: Doctor Who, specifically NewWho
Characters: Rose Tyler, the Doctor, Jackie Tyler, Mickey Smith, some OCs
Pairing: Eventual Rose/Doctor
Disclaimer: I don’t own any part of Doctor Who.
Summary: Rose Tyler wakes up, goes to work and returns home at the end of a normal day. She doesn’t meet the Doctor, the Living Plastic or see the TARDIS. And from that day onwards the world she knows shifts forever, and another universe is born.
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6.
“—and I said, I always said to her…”
“—imagine how I reacted, when I found…”
A voice was calling to her, stirring her out of sleep. She felt the rough sheets against her arms and the cold toes that hadn’t been covered with the blanket. A breeze floated over her face to tickle the tip of her nose. Rose slowly opened an eye, then another and saw a half-open window on a white wall. Outside, a line of rose bushes along a pathway lead to a car park and an overhead sign, which told her that she was at the local hospital. Two voices were engaged in a hushed conversation nearby and she turned towards them. It was her mother, along with a stranger who saw that she was awake first. But soon enough Jackie caught on and within seconds had thrown her arms around her bedridden daughter.
“My god Rose, I’m so glad you’re okay! I was worried sick when I found you missing from the apartment. And with that policeman, too! My god, he was no policeman at all Rose!”
Her daughter could only nod and smile at her mother. She was too glad to see her to bother interrupting her. She pushed the images of aliens attacking her mother and Mickey out of her mind, and released a deep breath she hadn’t known she’d been holding. It was only then that she truly realised how worried she’d been for them. The two of them then took the time to alleviate their fears and worries to each other, followed by a lengthy rant from Jackie about fake policemen and suspicious activity in the neighbourhood. Only when the woman had been forced to stop for air, did either of them remember the presence of the other woman in the room. A quick look was exchanged between the two visitors, before Jackie stood up and took a step away from the bed.
“Now Rose, this lady here wants to talk to you for a bit. Says she was with you when you were taken, and if it weren’t for her you’d be bloody anywhere by now.” She turned and gave the patient woman a smile before adding, “So I’ll be waiting outside for a bit, ‘kay?”
Not knowing exactly what was happening, Rose watched as her mother made an unusually obedient exit from the room. She turned her attention to the stranger, whose face she didn’t recognise. The woman wore a smart coat and skirt, and gave Rose what she thought was a smile that a politician often made when addressing the public. She held up a card with her left hand as she began to speak.
“Hello, my name is Harriet Jones, MP for Flydale North. I…” she paused, before taking a tentative seat on the chair closest to the bed. She took a quick glance around the room for any patients or attendants who might overhear them, before leaning closer towards the bed. She looked as if she were about to impart a great secret to Rose.
“I was with you when the Slith—I mean, the aliens, held you hostage. The Doctor and I saved you from them.”
Harriet only received a blank look in response. Rose was about to ask what she was going on about, and how she’d ended up in a hospital bed. The last thing she remembered was being in room that looked suspiciously like one used for holding interviews with the Prime Minister, where a constable who wasn’t a—Rose blinked for a while as the bizarre events of the last few hours returned to her. For a moment she wondered how she could have forgotten such a significant point as being kidnapped by people who turned out to be large green monsters. The woman’s words circle back to her, and one in particular catches her attention. The word alien. From the alarmed expression of her visitor Rose knew that her face held an expression of nothing less than shock.
But once Harriet reached out a hand to hold hers, Rose felt her feet hit the ground hard. It hadn’t been a dream or even a nightmare, all of it had been real. It was only once the shock had subsided that the latter part of what Harriet said caught up with her. Rose bolted upright in her bed, giving Harriet another fright.
“Did you say, ‘the Doctor’?”
Harriet wondered why the girl was asking about a doctor of all things, instead of the aliens who had kidnapped her. Nevertheless, she answered her question. “Yes, the Doctor. At least that’s what he called himself. I don’t know anything about him, to be honest. It’s strange how little we know of the man who just saved the world from destruction.”
Rose blinked, resting her dry eyes. She had seen this Doctor as well, although it was only a brief glimpse of his legs at the time. Her head later collided with his chest when the aliens had shoved her aside, and it was the last thing she could remember. But from those sparse sights alone she knew he wasn’t her Doctor. If his different clothes and different body type weren’t enough, his distinct Northern accent sealed the deal completely. Harriet Jones couldn’t be talking about the same Doctor Rose was looking for. And yet, something didn’t feel right. She’d never heard of any other person referred to as the Doctor before. The coincidence seemed too obvious to ignore.
“I didn’t get a chance to see him, after we got out of the meeting room. He must’ve slipped off during all the chaos.”
Although Rose listened, her mind was already elsewhere. There had to be a connection between the two. Perhaps they belonged to a brigade of crime fighters who each called themselves ‘the Doctor’. At the very least, they were both the sort of dashing hero to rush in at the last moment and save the day, only to escape without notice when it was all over.
Harriet continued to speak, interpreting Rose’s absent look as disbelief at her circumstances. She explained what had happened while Rose was unconscious, and how the Doctor foiled the Slitheen’s plans to trigger the start of World War III by sending a small missile to destroy 10 Downing Street. When prompted, she described the Doctor in as much detail as possible, which proved further to Rose that the two Doctors were two different people.
“I think that’s he’s not like us, that he’s also an alien. He said he was. That’s the only way he could have communicated with them in that way.”
“Alien…he’s an alien?”
By now Rose’s mind was buzzing with ideas. Before that day she would have laughed at the thought of the Doctor being an alien, but that was before she’d been kidnapped by a fake policeman. Perhaps there was a species of aliens who called themselves ‘the Doctor’. They looked human and as normal as anyone else, but perhaps they could take on other forms, like disguises. Then the image of the damp human suit her alien had used flashed before her eyes, and she shuddered. Rose hoped that he wasn’t that sort of alien, or really an alien at all. So far her extra-terrestrial experiences had been somewhat less than pleasant.
If her past self could see the sort of worries that occupied her mind now, she would have had a good laugh. A year ago there had been nothing to really think about, at least nothing that felt important as this was to her. But times had changed and Rose Tyler had always been willing and able to go with the flow. This had never been truer than after her meeting with the elusive Doctor. She still hadn’t figured out how he had known her name, though frankly it didn’t frighten her half as much as it should have. It came down to the fact that she truly believed in him. There wasn’t a real reason for it, except that she just did.
Soon after her mother returned, and Rose bid farewell to her new friend Harriet. She would definitely take her up on her kind offer to visit whenever the whole alien situation overwhelmed her. She was some sort of politician, so perhaps she could even help in her search for the Doctor. But all that would come later. First she had to prevent Jackie from harassing the nurse and get herself up and out of hospital. Luckily for Rose the medic told her she’d only had a mild concussion, and after another check-up she’d be free to return home before the day was out. All she had left to do was to change back into her clothes and pick up her mobile, which had been found and returned to her by an anonymous bystander.
Jackie had them home in under an hour, and a worried Mickey was there to greet her at the doorstep. They spent the rest of the night eating dinner together, and installing the new locks Mickey had picked up for them at the department store while waiting for their return. She thanked him, hugged him and assured him that everything was fine before sending him back home. Her mother insisted on taking care of the clean-up, so Rose ended up in bed earlier than she usually did on a Saturday night. But she was exhausted, and was snoring into her pillow ten minutes later.
From then on her life continued on like usual, but Rose didn’t. She found herself counting her days in relation to the latest incident, as if waiting for something to happen even though she hadn’t any idea what it was. Between working, eating and sleeping she would spend hours in her room, rereading her research notes and even attempting to draw pictures of him. But she’d never been art person, and her lack of skill and practice only irritated her further. Each sketch never did justice to the image she held in her mind, and as the days past Rose felt it slip further away from her reach.
Mickey planned a romantic evening for them in order to take her mind off the Doctor, but she managed to ruin it with her sour mood. It then led to a shouting match outside her flat. Through their entire relationship they had barely fought about anything, and Rose was surprised at his persistence on the matter. She felt shocked and insulted when he called her selfish, and claimed that she never paid enough attention to him anymore. But in the end it finished in much the same way as all their arguments did. Mickey mumbled a quick apology and a goodbye at the door, before heading back to his car.
By the time Rose reached the apartment, she was fuming. Jackie heard the whole conversation clearly from inside her shower, but put away her questions and kept herself busy in the kitchen when Rose passed her. Even if she had it wouldn’t have made a difference, since Rose was deaf to everything at that moment. She sat in the middle of her bed, among a heap of unwashed clothes and messy piles of papers. The wall behind her bed was covered with papers and drawings, a collage of everything she knew about the Doctor. Mickey’s words had been more or less a slap in the face, and as she looked on at the rough sketches she’d done they all seemed to agree with him. She could almost feel their judging gazes upon her.
About an hour later, she picked up her phone and called Mickey to ask if they could meet up the next morning. Without many words they agreed on a time and place, and she hung up. For the rest of the night all Rose could do was try to put the matter out of her mind.
The next day they met at the local park, next to the school which they’d both attended, although at different times. They sat together at a familiar bench, and Rose handed over a coffee and bagel as a peace offering for the night before. He accepted, and they hurriedly exchanged apologises and had their argument settled within minutes. Once that was done, Rose took a deep breath and prepared herself to tell him the truth.
She had known how she really felt about him for some time then. She’d only been too afraid to hurt him to say it. And perhaps, she had grown too used to having him there. He was always beside her, if she ever needed someone to fall back on. But it was just that—Mickey couldn’t be her back-up if things went wrong. He deserved someone who loved him and put him first, and now she knew it wasn’t her. The truth was something that was long overdue.
The pain in his face was plain and another wave of guilt washed over her, but Rose knew she’d done the right thing. She could only hope that she wasn’t making things worse for him, by asking to still remain friends. Mickey couldn’t give her a proper reply, and could only promise to think about it, but she was content with that.
She returned home that morning, already weary with the day. Nevertheless she had work in an hour, and decided to take the scenic route there. Rose strolled past quiet streets and into the busier areas of the city, where the sounds of cars locking and heels on pavement followed her. As she weaved through the sparse crowd on the sidewalk, she could have sworn that she was being followed by a woman. Rose couldn’t get a proper glance at her without looking suspicious, so it was only when she reached the doorstep of her workplace when she turned around. But the suspicious woman was nowhere in sight. After another gaze at the crowd, Rose turned back and entered the café.
By this time the woman had ducked into an empty alleyway, around the corner from the restaurant. In the shadow of the building behind her she released the heavy object in her hands. It hung from a sturdy strap across her shoulder and bumped against her hip. She then leaned against the brick wall, and hid her eyes with the palms of her hands.