As I am a professional writer and have work to do to get paid, I have decided to deal with these thudding plot bunnies in the traditional manner - I will inflict them on others. Please see my Profile for the Challenges of the Month. July Challenges are now available, and what a twist for one of them. If you'd rather do June's, instead, I'd love to hear from you. Thanks to all those who have participated thus far - we had an exceptional turn out for June II for example. The new challenges will run through the end of July. Please let me know when you respond to a Challenge so I can read and review.

This story is in response to blvdgrl's request for July Challenge II. I was asked to write a sequel or companion to her story, "Deity", include Ten, Rose, and Mickey, and set the story between "Girl in the Fireplace" and "Age of Steel". I have managed this. I was also asked to name the planet, give some cultural background, and disguise Rose for her own safety at some point.

"Deity" is a beautiful story, with a little humor and a lot of powerful prose. Make sure to check it out if you haven't already - it's on my favorites.

I, on the other hand, am insane. My response is from Mickey's point of view and, therefore, is all humor. It takes place ages into the future of the planet. I still cannot explain the special guest star - no idea HOW he got in this story, but he insisted and so here he is. Three chapters, and that's the end, folks. The rating should be considered to be a T+. Thanks!


Chapter 3:

"And thus, you got caught, and found yourself chained to a wall," said John, chuckling. "Not too bright, there, Rickey."

"It's Mickey," he said, firmly. What in the hell was it with people randomly thinking they ought to call him Rickey? Did he look like a Rickey? Was he Rickey in another life, was that it? "Besides, you can talk. Taking a leak on a statue's shoes, honestly."

"Wasn't his shoes," said John, eyes twinkling suggestively. "Got a good bit of piping and a clever aim."

Mickey laughed nervously and wondered... no, no, really, he didn't. But...

No.

"How're we gonna get out of here?"

"That's the thing," said John. "Most places on this planet have pretty much given up this old religion. This city is about the only place left where they still worship your ex and her new shag. Do they really do it like that?"

"Like what?" said Mickey, weakly.

"You didn't see the other side of that garden, then. Most of the galaxy considers it to be some of the most beautiful and erotic art work anywhere. I was just wondering if they really did and what I'd have to do to get an invite."

"Think it's pretty much a private party," Mickey replied.

"Shame. Ah well, then, I can kill him for you, if you like."

Mickey didn't want him dead, just gone. Preferably leaving a broken-hearted, clingy Rose behind because... well, she was supposed to be... wasn't she?

Mickey sighed. Maybe she wasn't supposed to be his, after all. "Don't bother, it doesn't work on the bastard and he'll just get angry. And he's dangerous even when he isn't angry."

"Oh, me too," agreed John, cheerfully. "I'm a psychopath. My therapist told me. Mind you, I had him dangling out a twenty-seventh story window at the time." John sighed. "Therapists have no sense of gratitude. I used my handcuffs to chain him to the drain pipe and he didn't even send a card."

"Was he dead?" Mickey asked in horrified wonder.

"No, and that should have been reason enough right there. Why don't we just hand your friends over to these people, take their spaceship - it sounds interesting - and get the hell out of here? They get a life time of luxurious worship and shagging and you and I get to escape alive. What do you say?"

Mickey hadn't mentioned that the Doctor looked completely different now than he did in the statues, but he wasn't about to explain that. "We couldn't - his ship's got funny controls, only he can fly it."

"Bio-controls," John spat. "Oh, I do hate a clever bastard. Well, what's your idea, then?"

"Why don't we..." Mickey thought about it. "I haven't got a clue."

"The guards are listening to us," John said, suddenly and very, very quietly.

"What?" said Mickey.

"That's it!" John exclaimed.

"What's it?"

John's voice went loud and ringing. "Tell me the story, oh divine one," he proclaimed. "I long for your words of wisdom. Tell me of your ancient love for the Earth goddess and how she was stolen from you by your brother, the god of the Sky. Tell me how you lost her, oh god of the Underworld, and why you will not smite these who have imprisoned you."

Mickey stared at Captain John. He was barking mad, and that was all there was to it. But then he heard the rustling and squeaky whispering outside the cell door. His face astonished him by coming over with a wide, wicked grin. He had never thought of it this way, before, but...


As Mickey walked through the city, he heard the well-embellished tale told at least a half dozen times. They'd been released and Captain John had pulled some fancy tech tricks that allowed them both to disappear before they even got to the palace they were supposed to be visiting. Mickey thought that was a good idea, because he didn't really want to be burnt at the stake, just in case. He didn't know where the Captain had got off to now, which was a shame, but the man had said he'd see him later, so that was good.

The city was in celebration. Mickey didn't know how that had happened so quickly, but the sun still hadn't gone down and the streets were filled with fishy aliens all whooping and squeaking and proclaiming that the Time of Failing had at last come to an end.

"Wonder how this happened?" said a tall, lanky man off to the left.

Mickey grinned.

"Dunno," said his ginger-haired, bespectacled little companion, "but I'm glad it did. I was so sad for them."

The tall man nodded. Mickey walked up to them and slapped them both on the shoulder. "Got something to show you two," he said.

"There you are!" Rose exclaimed. "Oh, I was so worried about you." She threw her arms around him and hugged him and the Doctor thumped him on the back.

"We've been looking for you," the Doctor said. "Where were you?"

"Long story," Mickey replied, and led them down the street. He had gotten a pretty good idea of how to get around now, so he knew exactly where he was going. "Rose, I need your mobile, too."

She handed it over without a thought. He smirked and turned down the street that ended in the garden.

"Oh, it's beautiful," she exclaimed. "Doctor, look at all the statues."

"Hopefully they'll quit worshipping them now that they've decided 'The Failing' has passed. Honestly, you'd think after two thousand years... never mind. Where are we going, Mickey?"

"There's a part of the garden you both have got to see," he said, and selected the camera on Rose's mobile.

The Doctor and Rose linked hands and walked on, stopping to admire the statues, stopping to flick each other with water from the fountains. Mickey went back to the wall and snapped off a couple of photos, then leaned against it to wait.

It was worth it. Rose saw it first, he knew, because she gasped and made a squeaking, choking noise, not unlike the aliens saying their names. Mickey snapped a photo of her face - it was brilliant, a vivid, flaming crimson.

The Doctor had been paying attention to either the trees or Rose, because he didn't see what she had her eyes locked on at first. Mickey waited.

"Oh no," the Doctor exclaimed. "Nononononono!" Mickey snapped the photo - that look was probably worth millions in the right hands.

"You might want to see what's through the arch," Mickey suggested, and gestured down along the wall.

Rose took one more look at the wall, then yelped and fled. The Doctor stood there, clenching and unclenching his fists.

"You all right, boss?" Mickey asked, and clicked another photo.

"I... not... this isn't... but..."

"Go on," he suggested. "You know you want to."

The Doctor glowered at him and stood, firmly, on that spot, absolutely not looking at the mosaic wall. Mickey started counting in his head. He got to six before the Doctor said, "Just in the interests of sociology, you understand. And protecting Rose's honor."

Mickey snapped another quick photo, then pocketed the mobile and strolled off, whistling, to find Rose.


"What did you do with my mobile, Mickey?" Rose asked, once they were back on the TARDIS and back in space. Mickey had noticed that their flight seemed a bit shakier than usual for some reason. The Doctor seemed to be in an open-mouthed, thoroughly dazed trance while he stood at the console, one hand on a lever that he didn't seem to be doing anything with.

"Just got some pictures," Mickey said, with a broad grin. "I'm gonna send 'em to my phone in a bit," he added.

"Oh, no you don't!" Rose shrieked. She started chasing him around the console room and Mickey grinned and held the mobile up over his head. "Doctor, help me!" she pleaded.

The Doctor was still out of it.

Mickey darted around him, dodged Rose, and started randomly pressing buttons on the mobile. "Now, let's see. Speed dial, check. Speed dial listings..."

Rose chucked a spanner at him but missed and hit the wall instead. "Doctor, he's got PICTURES."

"Pictures are nice," the Doctor replied, apparently completely absent at the moment.

Rose screamed and snatched at the back of Mickey's jacket. He shook her off and ducked behind the jump seat. "Mickey, don't you dare!!"

"And now, we just need to find..." Mickey muttered. Then, he grinned triumphantly, ducked the jumpseat again, and smacked into the console, opposite the Doctor.

The Doctor still hadn't noticed him.

"Doctor, please!!" Rose shouted.

The Doctor stared into space.

"Calling Jackie Tyler," Mickey announced, grinning fit to burst.

The Doctor appeared at his side as if he'd been teleported there. The sonic screwdriver was in his hand as if it had suddenly sprouted, and the mobile was smoking and shooting sparks and smelling like ruined plans and fried electronics.

Mickey pouted. "You broke it," he whined.

"Sorry," the Doctor replied, only he obviously wasn't. "Self-preservation instinct. I got us out of the mess on Byristra, but there is absolutely no force in the Universe that would save me if Jackie Tyler saw those photos. Frankly, I'm not ready to face that sort of horror, and really, I've gotten a bit fond of this body."

"I like it," said Rose, flippantly, with a little shrug. She didn't particularly seem to mean anything by it, Mickey could tell, but the results were priceless.

Normally, this would be another of their moments. They'd smile sweetly at each other, and Mickey would feel like being sick. But this time... oh, brilliant! The Doctor's hands started to tremble as he looked at Rose, his brown eyes so absolutely huge, he looked like a scared little kid. "D-do you?" the Doctor asked.

Rose nodded slowly, chewing at her lip.

The Doctor turned pale and swallowed hard. "Thanks," he muttered. Then, he turned and fled down the corridor at a dead run. Rose stared after him in complete, bewildered confusion.

Mickey decided that he didn't hate everything after all.