Characters: Rose Tyler, 10th Doctor, Mickey Smith
Genre: Romance, light angst, character study
Summary: After the Doctor saves the day in France by abandoning Rose and Mickey on a deserted space ship, Mickey wonders what, if anything, Rose will learn from the experience.
A/N: After a long hiatus from writing (but not reading!), I'm posting again! As a devoted 10/Rose shipper, here is my obligatory exploration of GitF. Your thoughts are appreciated. Thanks!
After their adventure on the murderous spaceship leading to 18th century France, Rose and Mickey had left the Doctor to his thoughts in the console room, heading to the TARDIS library with mugs of tea to chat and unwind from the day. Rose claimed her regular place on the end of the sofa opposite the fireplace, while Mickey sat in the leather armchair usually occupied by the Doctor. With a silent request from Rose, the TARDIS brought the fireplace to life. With a sudden whosh, flames burst forth from the logs. At Mickey's slightly surprised reaction, she gave him a wry smile before snuggling deeper into the sofa with her steaming beverage. Staring at the dancing flames, Rose was soon lost in thought. Carefully, Mickey studied her face for some indication of how she was handling the day's events. He was unsurprised to see a small furrow in her brow, her typical tell when something was troubling her.
Leaving Rose to her reflections for the moment, Mickey thought back on the past day. He had known, before coming aboard, that not all of the Doctor and Rose's adventures were sunny alien beaches and frozen waves, but he was still surprised by the degree of danger they had encountered his first time out the door. He wasn't sure he would ever understand how Rose could love this life as much as she did, but as much as he had once hoped, he had always known his girl wouldn't settle for an ordinary life. At first, he had resented the Doctor for taking Rose from him, but over the last two years, he had come to respect and appreciate the man for giving Rose the adventures and excitement he never could. He had thought the Doctor understood what a gift he had in Rose as well, but the day's events had left Mickey feeling astonished and a bit furious at the time-traveling git. He had just left her there, standing on an abandoned spaceship, so he could run off with some posh floozy in Versailles. And Rose watched him go, acting like it was no big deal. It crossed Mickey's mind that perhaps this wasn't the first time the Doctor had treated her like that. And Rose deserved so much more than that.
Mickey noticed then that Rose's eyes were glistening and a single tear had escaped down the side of her face. She was still watching the fire intently and had yet to notice Mickey studying her. Mickey carefully placed his mug on the side table and went over to Rose. Sitting down next to her, he placed his arm around her shoulder. Rose finally remembered that she was not alone and quickly wiped the tears from her eyes. She glanced at Mickey, feigning a smile. Mickey wasn't fooled. "Babe, you shouldn't let that git treat you like that."
Raising her eyebrows in surprise, Rose spoke, "Mickey, you don't understand."
Mickey interrupted, "Look, I'm not tryin to get back with you or nothin. I know the two of us is over. But your still my best and oldest mate, Rose. And I know how you sell yourself short sometimes, like you did with that Jimmy Stone tosser, but you gotta know that you deserve better than that."
Rose was silent for a moment, her thoughts clearly brewing. Finally, she laid her hand on top of Mickey's. "Mickey, I know how sad and pathetic I must look to you, but you gotta understand something about the Doctor. He's old. Very old. And all alone. His people are all gone. I'm all he's got. He may act all tough and like he doesn't need anyone... more so in his last body, but even now... but that's all it is, an act. He needs a hand to hold, Mickey. And that hand is gonna be mine, for as long as I can. And I know 's never gonna go further than that and... I'm okay with that."
Mickey opened his mouth to speak, but Rose held up her hand to indicate she wasn't done yet. "Don't you see, Mickey? He's afraid, so afraid. He's lost everyone. And he's gonna keep on losing people, because that's the curse of the Time Lords. He knows he's gonna lose me someday too. And I wish I could change that for him so he doesn't have to lose someone for once. But all I can give him is my forever, however short it might be. After everything he has done for the universe, all the countless times he has saved everyone, and after all he has done for me, 's all I can do for him, Micks."
"Rose, I know you love him, but don't you think you deserve to be loved too?"
"Oh Micks, he does love me. I know he does. He's never gonna say it or do anything about it, but he loves me so much. I can see it every time he looks at me, every time he takes my hand, every time he scolds me for wandering off..." she smiled her first genuine smile of the evening at that thought.
"But Rose, he made you cry. Don't even try to deny it, I saw you just now. You can't let him just go running off with whatever flavour-of-the-week he happens to find just 'cause he's scared. He's hurtin you." Mickey pleaded with her to see the truth of the situation. He couldn't just stand by while she sacrificed all her happiness for the spineless idiot (and believe me, Mickey understood the irony of that idea).
"Mickey, I wasn't cryin for me. I was cryin for him," Rose gently explained.
Mickey was dumbfounded. "Rose, what could you possibly mean, you was cryin for him? He LEFT you, Rose. Left you standing alone on an abandoned spaceship, God knows where, so he could run off with some posh French whore." Rose winced. "Rose, you gotta admit that you are at least a little hurt or angry about all of this. If not at him, at least at the tramp."
Rose earnestly entreated Mickey, "Micks, how could I possibly resent Reinette? All she did was love the Doctor. And she said something very wise to me too. She told me, "The Doctor is worth the monsters." She was right. And so was Sarah Jane, when she told me "The Doctor is worth getting your heart broken for." The Doctor is worth all that, Micks, and so much more. But he hasn't broken my heart. I love him, Mickey, and he loves me. And right now, his heart is a little broken. Because he just lost someone, again. And he's probably still standing in the console room right now, if I know him, starin at the time rotor and thinkin 'bout how one day that person he loses is gonna be me. So I'm not hurt or angry AT him right now, Mickey. But I am a bit hurt and mad FOR him. He's the one who deserves so much more from the universe. He gives and gives and gives... and all the universe does is take. That's why I was cryin just now. Because the man I love is hurting and there is nothing I can do to change it." Rose ended her speech and looked at Mickey defiantly, daring him to challenge her again.
Mickey chose not to. Instead, he pulled Rose into a hug. He sat back and studied her face again. This time, he noticed the quiet strength and confidence in her poise. Then he nodded towards the door, "Well, you better go talk to him then. We don't need him brooding anymore than he does already."
Rose gave him a faint smile and a kiss on the cheek. "I don't deserve you, Micks." Then she got up and left the room. Mickey settled back on the couch, collecting his thoughts. Several minutes later, another thought occurred to him and made him perk up with interest. Not quite sure yet how to communicate with the sentient spaceship, he asked out loud, "Any chance I could catch a game in here?" Seemingly out of nowhere, a television appeared on the wall above the fireplace and the latest footie match popped up on the screen. Mickey chuckled. Now THIS he could get used to.
Rose hurried out of the library, intent on finding the Doctor and doing whatever she could to lift his spirits. Sending a silent inquiry to the TARDIS for his current whereabouts, she was surprised to bump right into him the second she left the library. She gasped in surprise before taking in his appearance. He had shed his long brown coat and suit jacket and had his shirt sleeves rolled up part way. His hair looked even more mussed than usual. And despite his slightly sunken eyes and pale face, he looked a bit less morose than when she had left him earlier. Rose smiled gently at him. "Care for a cuppa?" she inquired.
She was surprised when he actually grinned. "I'd love one," he replied and offered her his hand. She gladly took it and together they walked down the corridor towards the galley, their joined hands swinging between them. Rose watched him from the corner of her eye and noticed that he was actually smiling. It made her smile too. The reached the galley and he held out his hand, motioning for her to enter first.
She smiled. "Sir Doctor."
He went over to the stove and began to prepare their tea and snacks while she took her usual place at the little table in the galley. As he set about making the tea and setting some biscuits on a plate, she noticed he was humming to himself as he worked. Curious about this sudden change in his demeanor from when they left the spaceship, she ventured to ask him what brought about the change, not that she was objecting or anything. The Doctor set down the teapot he had been in the middle of pouring from, walked around the counter and crouched down in front of her, taking both her hands in his. He beamed at her, eyes sparkling, and she returned his smile with her own tongue-touched smile.