Title: Losing Grip
Summary: Set after The Girl in the Fireplace. Rose deals with the fact the Doctor left her, Mickey deals with the fact Rose is in love with the Doctor and the Doctor is oblivious until the end. Part 1 of 2. Re-edited 11/01/12.
Notes: Inspired by Avril Lavinge's song Losing Grip.
Warnings: Profanity, bashing of French people (sorry!) and lots and lots of angst.
"Why should I care? Cause you weren't there when I was scared, I was so alone. You, you need to listen, I'm starting to trip, I'm losing my grip, and I'm in this thing alone".
Rose was slumped in the TARDIS wardrobe, left-over tears painted on her cheeks and a lifeless expression echoed on her face. He'd left her... Came back but left her... For some French slut! Such a slap in the face, had their time together meant nothing? And then, there was Mickey... He wasn't an idiot, got to give him credit where it was due... There'd been times when Mickey had come through and saved them all... But he wasn't him.
The stupid Doctor, the one she'd gone and fallen for. Her mother had taught her; always look out for number one, never get attached and when you do settle down, marry someone rich. Rose smiled softly when she'd first heard her mum tell her all about the ins and outs of men. Relationships... Relationships with aliens, she'd obviously left out and now Rose was stuck in an in-between of emotions.
Rose was in such a horrible state. Then... Mickey, poor poor Mickey. He loved her, craved her affection and put up with the constant mood-swings she'd have because he wasn't him. She sighed sadly, leaning forward to reach out and touch one of his jackets. And she shouldn't have fallen for him because every time he regenerated, she'd be back to square one, getting used to the new him, the new face and testing the new boundaries between them.
Rose slumped back into the wall and let a couple of new tears flow out, trickling down her cheeks and her neck. A muffled sob escaped her lips and she covered her head in her hands, letting the tears and sadness out. She'd always be second-best to him... Sarah Jane, Reinette, who else knew him better than she did? Who else gonna pop out of the woodwork and trump her?
There would always be someone else but her, how long did she have til that happened? Rose bumped her head gently against the wall, turning to her side to lean completely against it. More tears escaped before she decided she knew what she had to do. It would hurt like hell but she knew if she ever really had a chance at getting over her feelings for him, then she'd have to do it.
The Doctor looked up from the console over to Mickey, who was eating a bag of greasy chips. He frowned "What is it with you humans and chips?".
Mickey looked offended "I'll have you know these chips are the best ever! I don't care what planet you're from, Doctor, these" he pointed to a chip "Are the most—".
"Fattening things you could put into your mouth" Rose interrupted, appearing from the stairs. Her voice sounded a mix between flat and indifference.
"Rose" The Doctor beamed, his grin suddenly full of life, "Mickey said you'd gone to the toilet, what took you so long?".
"My mum called" Rose said, stepping forwards "She says I've forgot some laundry, I need to go back home".
"Can't you do with the clothes you've got now?" The Doctor replied with a sigh, "We've just been for Mickey's stupid craving for chips...".
Mickey pulled a face "Whatever...".
"Well, we need to go back" Rose replied bluntly. She resisted the urge to snap at him; how many times she need to repeat herself? The Doctor frowned. Her eyes wouldn't look at his, her head was down and her arms were wrapped firmly around her body, almost painfully.
"Rose, are you okay?" The Doctor stepped forwards and on instinct she took a step backwards, bumping into Mickey.
"You alright?" Mickey touched her back.
Rose turned to Mickey, revelling in the joy that an excuse had come up to turn away from The Doctor. "I'm fine" she insisted "But you know how mum is, when she says something's gotta be done, that's it".
"Okay" The Doctor said simply but he hadn't forgotten about her strange behaviour as he walked towards the controls on the TARDIS and starting hitting random buttons. They felt the TARDIS shake and Rose reached out and used Mickey's shoulder as support.
"There you are" The Doctor announced "2006, London; Powell Estate".
"I'll be about half an hour, my mum has the gift of the gab" Rose started to walk but The Doctor started talking again.
"And whatever she says" he added, smiling "We're not available for lunch, dinner, tea or any other refreshments" The Doctor waited for the usual roll of eyes and smirk but it didn't come.
Instead, Rose just nodded and walked out the TARDIS door. Mickey shrugged and started eating his chips again.
"Mickey" The Doctor began slowly "You didn't by any chance say anything to Rose lately? Or did she say something to you?".
Mickey shrugged again "Girls are girls... Why?".
"Didn't she seem a little..?" The Doctor trailed off, still deep in thought.
Mickey nodded slowly "Now that you mention it... Yeah".
The Doctor waited.
Mickey glanced at the chips "She totally dissed the chips, something had got to be up!".
The Doctor groaned internally and rolled his eyes.
Rose walked along the streets of London, knowing exactly where she was going. Her heart ached and it was all his fault, she wanted to scream at him, and shout and curse and hit him, how could someone as clever as him fall for Reinette's tricks? And it wasn't just that, he'd left her, on a freaking spaceship, in the middle of space, with nothing but the TARDIS and Mickey.
And then he went and fell in love with that French tart. It bothered Rose, how could it not? She'd been travelling with him for nearly two years and still the feelings were imprinted in her heart. But she wouldn't let them fool herself into thinking they were anything more than what they were; she'd lock them up in the attic and blow it up, figuratively speaking, of course.
Rose turned and found she'd got to the door she'd been looking for. She almost lost her breath, wondering if this was the right thing to do. She smiled sadly and approached the door, breathing deeply. Maybe this was a mistake, maybe she wasn't in, maybe she didn't want to see her but—
Rose had already reached out and knocked the door gently, tapping twice. She waited and heard light foot-steps pad to the door and Rose held her breath as the woman answered it.
"Rose" the woman gasped, surprised and concerned and worried all at the same time, "...Come in".
Rose forced a smile and walked into the house.
"Fine" The Doctor gave in "I'll have one, Rose's right, y'know... Chips the most fattening thing in the world...".
Mickey smiled as he held the chip-bag up and The Doctor plucked one out. He watched as he ate it slowly. "Well?" Mickey expected fire-works.
"S'alright" The Doctor shrugged, munching it whole "But, for scientific reasons only, I'll have another..." he took another chip.
Mickey beamed triumphantly "I told you! The best chips in the world!".
The Doctor pulled a face "They're good, not great".
"Good?" Mickey felt insulted "No see, you come to earth, you eat our food, you appreciate it, you don't diss it off as: good!".
"Mickey, calm down" The Doctor smiled "They're just potatoes...".
Mickey nodded slowly "Right, sorry... But they're the best chips ever!".
The Doctor suddenly felt mean. Always taking Mickey for granted... "Oh alright" he caved "Come on, we'll go out and buy us another bag of best earth chips ever".
"You mean it?" Mickey grinned. Although just having bought a bag of chips nearly forty minutes ago, Mickey was the first one bounding towards the doors.
"Why not?" The Doctor shrugged "Jackie's probably talking the mouth off of Rose and... Me... Well, I'm gonna live forever, so I might as well try the best earth chips ever" he took a piece of paper from his jacket "Better write Rose a quick note otherwise she'll be worrying where we got too" he scribbled something down.
Rose looked up as Sarah-Jane Smith sat down beside her on the couch, handing her a cup of coffee "Thanks" Rose accepted, taking a sip; her throat had gone dry and she'd needed something to wash away the lump already forming.
"Why don't you start from the beginning..." Sarah-Jane said quietly, studying Rose with curious eyes.
"Well" Rose began "We were saving this French girl; Madame De Pompadour actually… and he... fell in love with her, asked her to come travelling with us and if she hadn't of died, then me and Mickey would be stuck back on earth, and... I'd of been replaced".
Sarah-Jane smiled softly "Are you sure? How do you know he was in love with her?".
"He kissed her" Rose blurted out "I watched them through the fireplace-which was this transport-thing… Me and Mickey saw everything".
"Oh" Sarah-Jane felt at a loss for words "Maybe it was a friendly peck—".
"We heard tongues" Rose cut her off.
Sarah-Jane took a sip of her tea and sighed softly "He probably thought that now you have Mickey... He wanted to have someone for himself".
"But" Rose started, then stopped "He's got me, he knows he does... And then there's Mickey, I appreciate your gesture and all but it's been hell since he came with us... It's so awkward and I don't know how to tell him... Tell him that it's over and that I love..." she sighed.
Sarah-Jane smiled softly again "Sounds like a proper job of messed-up communications between all three of you...".
"What should I do?" Rose bit her lip, "I never thought I'd need to come find you Sarah-Jane, but… I don't know, maybe I should leave? I don't want to, my heart is breaking just thinking about it but… I saw the pain on your face when you met the Doctor again, I see it now…" she sighed, "What do I do?".
Sarah-Jane turned to face her "You need to let Mickey know that you love him, but only as a friend and that nothing is ever going to happen between you two and then... Tell The Doctor you love him and put yourself out of this misery".
Rose frowned, then looked away "I know I need to set Mickey straight but as for The Doctor… You said he was worth getting your heart broken for, do you remember? Except I don't know now, I almost feel like I can't trust him… He told me he wasn't going to leave me like he left you… And he still did" she fought back tears.
Sarah-Jane sighed softly "Oh Rose, I'm so sorry" she reached out and took Rose's hand, "Young-love may be the wrong term to use but he's new in this regeneration cycle... Give him a little more time; he'll come through, the face changes but not the soul".
Rose exhaled deeply, drinking her coffee. "I'm so glad I have someone that understands, my mum would never be like this, she would tell me 'I told you so', and say I should leave" a moment of silence passed between them until curiosity suddenly took over her and Rose asked "You have pictures of his old faces?".
The Doctor and Mickey strolled through the streets of London, carrying a bag of chips each. Mickey moaned in delight "I told you, these are the best damn ch—".
"If you say it one more time, I'll rip your head off!" The Doctor interrupted with fake anger, "Yes, they are nice, Mickey! But please, prove us all wrong and don't fall in love with the average chip".
"Average chip" Mickey rolled his eyes "These are like... Royal chips or something" he scoffed a load in, getting a look from The Doctor, who was content in eating one at a time.
"No wonder you're a skinny rake!" Mickey smirked "You sure you eat?".
The Doctor glared "I eat quite regularly, ask Rose! The kitchen is usually empty by the time she's hungry".
Mickey stopped abruptly "Wait! You have a kitchen in your spaceship?" he didn't realise he'd just shouted it until people started staring at him in confusion, some laughing and some throwing him dirty looks from the fact that this world was now an alien-magnet and this strange man was joking about spaceships.
"That's great, Mickey" The Doctor hissed, pulling him along quickly by the arm "Why don't you alert the FBI and tell them that I'm a 904 year old alien that's immortal?".
"Sorry" Mickey whispered "But, seriously, Rose never mentioned the TARDIS had a kitchen!".
"No wonder" The Doctor muttered, walking off.
Mickey gulped down some more chips, before stalking off after him "Hey, what's that supposed to mean!".
Rose flipped through the photo-album Sarah-Jane had brought out. There were several pictures of Sarah-Jane with a fairly old man, with crazy white hair and he looked quite grumpy.
"Oh my god..." Rose trailed off "That's hi—He used to look like that...".
Sarah-Jane smiled "His third regeneration, I was told... He was an authority figure, loved to build things; gadgets and stuff..." she pointed to another picture of a different man, he was possibly younger with curly brown hair.
"That was him?" Rose looked closer "Oh my...".
"That was his fourth regeneration" Sarah-Jane leaned in to take a closer look "He loved discovery and adventure..." she laughed abruptly "He... He always used to offer jelly-babies to anybody, didn't matter if they were the enemy or not".
Rose grinned "Jelly-babies, huh?".
Sarah-Jane nodded, smiling "And he always wore a multi-coloured striped scarf... And that hat! I used to call him Sherlock Holmes behind his back!".
"He's been 9 different people..." Rose trailed off "I don't know if I could..." she stopped, glancing up at Sarah-Jane.
"I actually met five of his incarnations" Sarah-Jane added, sighing softly, "You never realise how fast time goes by, until it does" she smiled sadly and stood, "Want another cuppa?".
"Please" Rose nodded and watched her go. She turned back to the photo-album and sighed.
"Rose, we're back!" The Doctor stepped into the TARDIS and looked around expectedly. He glanced to the note that was still folded up on the console. Mickey walked in behind him, frowning.
"Surely she can't take that long!" The Doctor grabbed Mickey's wrist and looked down at his watch "That's nearly two hours!" he cried absurdly.
"Jackie can talk, though" Mickey pointed out "She's like, the Queen of Gossip, don't worry... I'm sure Rose is fine".
"Let's go visit Jackie, then" The Doctor opened the door again.
Mickey groaned and rolled his eyes "Fine! But when we're sitting with tea in our hands and listening to how Howard's kidney stones are, don't say I didn't warn you!".
The Doctor grinned "Oh come on, Mickey! Howard saved the world! If it wasn't for his Satsuma".
"Hello Jackie!" The Doctor beamed as soon as Jackie had opened the door. She was wearing her pink dressing-gown, her hair was pinned up in curlers and she was drinking a strawberry smoothie.
"Oh, girl's night in!" The Doctor with a smile grin "Is she ready yet?".
Jackie looked him up and down "What in bloody hell are you talking about?".
"Rose" Mickey interrupted "Is she ready yet? She said she was coming up here to get some clothes".
Jackie narrowed her eyes suspiciously "What? She's not here!" she turned on The Doctor "If anything happens to her, I'll kill you! She was in your care and you've gone and lost her! What kind of alien are you, anyway?".
"But" Mickey frowned "You called her, saying you had laundry for her".
"Like hell I did!" Jackie cried "I've not heard from her since Wednesday and today's not even my laundry day!".
"Doctor" Mickey sounded worried "What's happened to her?".
"I don't know..." The Doctor trailed off "I'll check the TARDIS!" he ran off.
"When you find her, tell her to call me!" Jackie slammed the door shut on Mickey, leaving him to follow after The Doctor.
Rose hugged Sarah-Jane tightly and sighed softly "I should really be off" Rose looked down "They'll be wondering where I've got to..." and she wanted to punish The Doctor a little bit, just a little. But, he'd hurt her and she wanted to hurt him and hold him and tell him the truth but—
"You come visit me whenever you need" Sarah-Jane interrupted Rose's chain of thought, "Even if it's just to talk, okay?".
Rose nodded back "Sarah-Jane..." her face trailed off "What happens if he leaves me? What happens if he drops me off somewhere and leaves him?" the very prospect scared the hell out of her.
Sarah-Jane smiled proudly at Rose and cupped both sides of her face, saying firmly: "No man or alien defines who you are, Rose Tyler, not The Doctor, not Mickey, you are a strong independent woman and whatever life throws at you, you will pick yourself up and move on".
Rose felt a genuine smile grace her lips.
Rose walked towards the little blue box she'd gotten used to so much. It was a second home. And the scariest thought passed her heart: leaving it. What if some old lover crops up and suddenly; four's a crowd? Three was already a crowd…
Rose reached out and touched the wood, her hand curling around the handle. With ease, she opened it gently and stepped in to see Mickey and The Doctor, staring at her with heavy eyes.
"You weren't adducted!" Mickey leapt forwards, hugging her, "I was imagining all kinds of horrible things! We thought someone had taken you-".
"Mickey" Rose laughed, pushing him back affectionately, "I'm fine... Honestly, I'm okay".
Mickey pulled away, glancing quickly to the Doctor, "What took you so long?".
"Yeah, you know how mum is..." Rose flashed them a fake smile "She just goes on and on... Howard-this, Howard-that".
"Rose..." Mickey began hesitantly, "We went up to Jackie's, we know you weren't really there".
The Doctor studied Rose's reddened cheeks.
"Oh" Rose stated with a slight shocked expression "Next time, I'll try to think of something better" she forced a strained smile.
"Where were you?" The Doctor finally spoke; his tone accusing. Something had been off with Rose since the minute they'd got back from 18th century France and now, all he wanted to know was what the hell was going on with her.
"Shop" Rose sounded angry. She pulled out a carrier bag from her back pocket and threw it at The Doctor. He caught it, still looking at her intensely. The Doctor stared down the bag and then back to Rose.
"Go on, then" Rose folded her arms "Be my guest, we're all adults!".
The Doctor opened the bag and pulled out a packet of tampons. He sighed and put it back in the bag, wrapping it up again. Mickey looked awkwardly around.
"I'll just..." Mickey began "Check out the kitchen" he walked off.
"I'm sorry, Rose" The Doctor added "But nearly two hours! And you were what, choosing which brand to buy?".
Rose stepped forward and grabbed the bag off of him, fury burning through her veins, "As opposed to lover-boy who spent five and a half hours in France doing god knows what with god knows who!".
"Is this why you're mad?" The Doctor frowned, suddenly understanding. He stepped towards her and she moved back in response, "Because I left you in France?".
Rose stopped herself. Sarah-Jane was right. No man or alien defined her and she didn't need to answer any of his questions when a lot of her own questions were still left unanswered. A lot of them.
"I'm going to bed" Rose retracted her angry voice, keeping herself indifferent, "It was just a misunderstanding, now, I'll see you in the morning" she walked down the ramp to her bedroom. The Doctor watched her as she left.
Rose slumped down into her bed, tears beginning to form. She curled into a ball on her bed and let the sobs escape. Of course she'd known they'd go to Jackie's and that's why she stopped at the shop to buy something. A cover-story and an uncomfortable issue was essential so tampons it was.
But they still caught her; she couldn't have been shopping for tampons for two hours.
Of course, anybody who really knew her, like her mum or Mickey, knew she despised tampons. But The Doctor didn't know that and he never would. Maybe she'd never know him the way she wanted to either.
She'd just have to get over her feelings for him, and then, when he dropped her back on earth, maybe it won't hurt so much.