A/N: The Daleks have gotten a little tired at the moment, so while they get rested up, our beloved tin dog decided it was time to be heard. And no, it ain't K-9.
Disclaimer: Much as I would love my own Mickey, he, like Doctor Who, is the property of the BBC and Russell T. Davies.
Warning: Angst dosage, and massive spoilers for Rise of the Cybermen/Age of Steel, Army of Ghosts/Doomsday, and a few for Torchwood - Cyberwoman.
I don't hate him.
At least, I don't think I do.
He did what he had to do to save Earth…well, both Earths, stop the Cybermen, stop the Daleks, and send all of them into hell.
He never said anything about sending her there with them.
I hate that. I hate what he did to her. Made her cry. Broke her heart.
But the worst thing he could've done to her was what he did.
Him and the TARDIS, traveling through the universe, seeing all those aliens and planets and spaceships.
Might've been better if he'd died. At least she'd get…what's the word? Closure.
Think that's it. Was never one for big words or heavy concepts. The Preachers don't need them. Not in our jobs.
The Jeep hits a pothole and my rucksack jolts my knee. I swear silently, and Jackie tuts at Pete as he wrenches the van back into line, Rose ignoring them both and craning her neck out of the window, her hair getting tangled in the wind.
Trying to tell Jake about this was interesting. He still thinks Rose finally went off the deep end on this one, but even he's got curious. Texts me every day, trying to get a bead on where the Doctor might be.
If he's even there.
Nah, quit that Smith! That's not gonna help anyone.
He's there. Rose dreamed about it, and I know you don't underestimate the Doctor.
Not if the Battle of Canary Wharf was anything to go by. Five million Cybermen and God-knows-how many Daleks…
After that, I knew why Rose was terrified of them. I remember her telling me about them on New Year's Day, just after the Sycorax. I felt a bit guilty then; I'd bunged her a few WKDs and wheedled it out of her what had happened when she went back to save the Doctor.
I didn't know if I'd be able to cope with all that, even then. But everything she'd said, everything she'd told me…it didn't seem scary anymore. It sounded like a blast.
So what do I do? I get involved. Rang her on the superphone, told them about Deffrey Vale, the UFOs.
And then…Sarah Jane Smith.
Smart, funny and still something of a babe; she was great. Couldn't say much about K-9 though, weird little tin dog.
No-one knew, but I did mourn the little mutt when he died. And it got me thinking…if I was the tin dog, could I be as brave as him?
The air smells saltier, must be getting close to the sea. Rose has dozed off, her head on my shoulder. Pete's humming tunelessly along to the radio, and Jackie takes a swig of tea from her flask stashed in the front.
That ship in the 51st century…that was mind-blowing. The clockwork robots, the time windows; this was what Rose and the Doctor did wherever they went. Solving mysteries, saving lives…
And for a while, I was part of it. But I always knew in the back of my mind.
I was the tin dog, the spare part, the fifth wheel. Rose and the Doctor – they had each other, they didn't need anyone else.
At least until we reached the parallel Earth where Pete Tyler was still alive.
Where my old Gran was still alive.
She's back in London, still going strong. I got the carpet fixed – did the whole house up for her, me and Jake. He's living with her, helping her out, keeping her company. They wind each other up like hell, but they love it. I head round for tea most days, just to take part in the banter, or when Jackie threatens to cook.
Meeting the other me, Ricky - that was weird. Just like me, but aggressive. Angry. I never found out what made him that way, guess I never will.
But seeing him, the better me, dying at the hands of the Cybermen…that did something. That could've been me. It should've been me.
But it was him.
Seeing how much Jake valued Ricky, and then seeing how little faith Rose and the Doctor had in me, that made me angry. Angry enough to raid that blimp with Jake, take out that Cyberman and hack into Lumic's database. Brave enough to stay and rescue them, and brave enough to stay behind.
I wasn't needed in my world anymore. Gran needed me, Jake needed me.
Rose didn't. Not anymore.
It hurt for a while, until we decided to go and hit the other Cybus factories in Europe. Jake trusted me, so that was enough.
My phone beeps. Has to be Jake, it's that time of the afternoon. Told him earlier where we were heading, fify miles out of Bergen.
U'll never believe this – place called dalig ulv straden, u'r heading that way. Means bad wolf bay, coincidence? J.
That's it. That's gotta be it.
I nudge Rose awake and show her the message. Her eyes narrow slightly, then widen in shock as the words sink in.
Jake…I'd sort of guessed he and Ricky had had a thing going on, and he did tell me on the way to Paris, but I've never been brave enough to ask about it. He's not bitter anymore; he's a bit more relaxed and still one hell of a soldier. I can't be Ricky, he knows that. But it's enough for him that we're mates.
He and I got recruited by Pete after the attack by the Cybermen, after we'd liberated Paris. Heh. Always wanted to say that.
But there was only so much we could do. The Preachers and the governments could only seal the converted into the Cybus factories until the UN worked out what to do with them. That took the better part of three years.
In those three years, Pete got us trained up, sorted us out with all the latest gear, and then we took on Torchwood. All the agency's dealings were outed by Harriet Jones after the Cybermen started disappearing from the factories. No-one knew why, until we found most of Torchwood One completely wrecked, and covered with those teleportation discs. They'd been experimenting with the converted, trying all sorts on them, until they were overpowered, and the Cybermen escaped.
I went to Pete then, told him everything I knew about the crack in the universe, how I'd got here, what the Doctor had said about it. Even told him about Rose, and Jackie.
Never hurts to match-make sometimes.
Jake took over the Preachers when I went back to my own universe, infiltrated its own Torchwood, and waited for the Doctor to show up.
I don't miss the Sphere, I can say that. Spooked the hell out of me.
I thought, we thought, that was how the Cybermen had escaped. The Cyber Leader would be in there, and we'd be ready when it opened.
I hate being wrong.
No-one could've guessed about the Daleks. Creepy little pepper-pots.
But Rose…she was amazing.
Just stood up to them, no fear, nothing. Still, bit of a brown-trouser moment when she started winding up the black Dalek. Not a good idea pissing off an alien with a big gun and no patience.
And then the Doctor showed up. Still annoys me how he can do that and be so cool about it.
Nice place, this beach. Quiet. Rose has wandered off by herself towards the rocks while Pete, Jackie and I watch and wait.
Jackie shifts next to me and grimaces slightly. Pete notices and gently pats her stomach. I hide a grin and look away.
I was the one who found Jackie nearly a month ago honking her guts up in the bathroom. Scary, especially since I'd never seen her like that. Thought it was too many Lambrinis until I saw the little white stick in her hand.
Her telling Rose and Pete…that was brilliant. That was the first time I'd seen Rose look even slightly happy since she came here. Pete was pretty much dancing on the table when it sunk in.
I've been keeping her company when the sickness kicks up. Pete's not good with that kind of stuff, and Rose…just seems a bit vague about it. It's not bad though. She filled me in on what happened in our old world, and I told her about this one. We chat a lot when she's not got her head down the pan.
She's three months gone now, and she looks well on it. Another Tyler on the way.
The Cult of Skaro – weird. They didn't say what the Ark thing was, but just kept banging on about Time Lord science restoring the Daleks.
Yeah, keep dreaming.
I'm not gonna forgive him for the plan though, no matter what else happens. Seeing Jake and the others tearing in with the Cybermen…
He could've got us all killed.
Nearly did. Felt like it when I lost my balance and hit the Ark.
But what happened after that made up for it.
First time I'd seen Jackie in years, and she still can't stay out of trouble. Couldn't help but laugh at her and Pete. Even the Doctor was sniggering.
It made me feel better though, once they'd stopped pretending and just went for the big Hollywood hug.
But outside…the war was still going. The Daleks were kicking the Cybermens' arses. And the staff inside Torchwood were probably getting converted into Cybermen because of that.
And then we saw the Ark opening. Time Lord science – bigger on the inside.
Millions of Daleks swooping over London, with that black Dalek at the head.
I had to agree with Pete. This world was done for.
So we left. Teleported back to Pete's world with a little help from the Doctor. Guess he always knew Rose would have to leave him someday.
Not that it worked. She still ran back to him. Teleported away from me, her mum, her dad…that hurt.
Jake and I broke the rest of the units, just like he said to do. Jackie was screaming at Pete, and he was giving as good as he got. Always wondered where Rose got her gob from.
And then we all felt it. The Void opening. It felt like a vacuum sucking round the building, pulling us in.
But that was nothing compared to what we heard.
The screams of the Daleks.
The Cybermen howling as they got sucked through the cracks in reality.
And then…their screams.
And then the suction started to slow. But the screams kept going. Something had happened.
Then the suction again, but the Doctor was screaming in panic, screaming for Rose.
All I saw was Pete slapping the device on his chest, teleporting away for barely two seconds, and then collapsing on the floor, with Rose huddled in his arms.
She was safe.
And totally broken.
We watched her cry against the wall for so long; me, Jackie and Pete, all holding hands. I was trying so bloody hard not to cry. And then thinking about the Doctor.
That's that. He lost her.
Lost his people, lost his home, lost Rose, lost everything.
Both of them lost each other.
And there he is. Still in his suit and those knackered Converses. He looks older now, but still young.
Rose moves to touch his face, and I can't help but feel jealous. She used to do that to me. But not any more.
They talk for a while, the Doctor looking over at the three of us by the Jeep. I can't make out what they're saying too well.
'…You're dead - officially - back home. So many people died that day and you had gone missing. You're on the list of the dead.'
Jesus. I'd wondered about that. All of us now dead. And still alive.
And I remember now. What I'd said to Rose and the Doctor when the Slitheen invaded all those years ago.
'…Look deep enough in the history books or online, and there's his name. Followed by a list of the dead.'
Guess it was only a matter of time before we ended up there.
Thanks to him.
So many months. I tried to listen to her, tried so hard. I'd traveled in time, I knew what it was like.
But they had each other.
They loved each other. It was so obvious.
Never said it though. Don't think they needed to.
But then she heard his voice in her dreams. Calling to her.
Anyone else, I'd've said they were nuts. But this is the Doctor. You never underestimate the Doctor. And we didn't.
We packed up some stuff and left. Traveled across the sea, across mountains, following his voice.
Anything for him. Or was it for her?
I don't think I'll ever know.
And then he's gone. Just like a shadow. Leaving her alone, standing there on the beach.
She turns, her face messed with tears, and I feel my heart break for her, but also a tiny touch of superiority.
That's what you get for loving an alien. A Time Lord.
And then I hate him all over again.
I hope he's broken. I hope he's in the TARDIS right now, crying his eyes out. I hope he's hurting more than anytime he's ever been hurt before.
But then the guilt hits.
I have my Gran, Jake, Pete, Jackie and Rose.
Pete and Jackie have each other, Rose and the baby.
Rose…she has all of us, but we'll never be what she wants.
The Doctor…he's got no-one now. Not even Rose Tyler.
I dunno who's hurting more now.
Even on reflection, I'll never know who lost the most.