Without Her

By Panny

It started with her dad; rich and successful. It finally worked, all those daft little plans. Not just a little success, but so successful he was a bit of celebrity. Even knew the president well enough to have him over on occasion. Harriet Jones never comes over, but that's by their own decision...

When she thought about it, Rose began to wonder if anyone had benefited from her presence at all.

Mickey certainly hadn't. In her world she kept him safe and comfortable at home on the estate. Here, Rickey had been a man of action. Strength, bravery and the fire to fight the wrongs of the world even when there was no hope of winning. And then Mickey himself changed. Once she'd left with the Doctor he grew more independent and outspoken. When she left him behind here that change became even more apparent. He grew. Became a man. They're still close but he doesn't look to her anymore for security and reassurance. He's got it all in himself.

She saw a poster once for a rock concert: Jimmy Stone, live. He was a famous musician like he always wanted to be. Apparently his big break was a song about waking up alone, half drunk and half drowned in a puddle of rain. She remembers that night. Finding some poor sod who turned out to be quite a looker passed out outside the estate. She woke him up and took him inside, then let him take her home. Her Jimmy was still sitting in a cell for drug possession last she'd heard.

The Jackie Tyler of this world, though a bit of a snob, was certainly well off too. Friends in high places, nice clothes, fancy food and wait staff. Back home, her mum was a struggling widow, and that was probably her fault too. Her parents would have had time to get a wedding gift sooner if they didn't have an infant to care for. Her father never would have been on Jordan Road for the car to hit him. Now in this new world her mum's even more well off, with a rich husband running Torchwood, and a healthy baby everyone says is cute enough to model.

And even Shireen, sweet old Shireen whose claim to fame was once breaking into school for test answers, led a good life here. She's well off and successful. Some kind of trial lawyer. Shame the Shireen of her world had dropped out of school with her.

No, it seemed that for everyone she'd been a damper to success. A cause of pain. Holding them back.

It was thoughts like these that struck her in the middle of the night when she wasn't dreaming and reminiscing about other things, other places, other people. Dreaming of another world and universe entirely.

A universe that contained an animate man, all smiles and laughter. A man who'd learned to suffer through hardships and come out smiling on the other side.

A man who, without her, might have given up long ago. Who would have plowed through the remainder of his lives until it was all over, leaving the universe unattended. Who, before her, would have fallen into despair after suffering his latest heart break but was instead showing a young med student Raxicorricofallapatorious, telling her what the hatcheries are like, and smiling at the memories.

And it was that thought that finally allowed Rose to sleep at night.