Full title: Rocket Man (Five times Mickey Smith thinks about kissing)

Note: section titles taken from Elton John's song "Rocket Man"

and I think it's going to be a long, long time (Jake)
"Vive la France!" yells Jake, and the bartender pours them all another round. Paris: first stop in the Preachers-versus-Cybermen world battle.

Sounded a bit pompous, Mickey thinks as he takes another swallow. But tonight they're all allowed to be as pompous or arrogant as they wished. France is free of Cybermen and that's in large part due to their work.

Two hours later and Mickey is half-dragging Jake back to their base of operations here in the capital. Jake's not a maudlin drunk; most of the evening he was as cheery as anyone else celebrating in the bistro. Now he's gone silent, though. After they arrive, Mickey clears a couch for Jake to sleep on, then helps him over to it. "Here you are, mate," he says.

"Ricky," says Jake from the couch.

"I'm not-"

Jake's eyes focus on his face and he says, "Wish Ricky'd seen this."

Mickey nodded once. "Me too," he tells him.

Jake's asleep almost instantly. Mickey watches him for a moment, remembering his Gran and how she used to kiss him on the forehead when she thought he was asleep. He wonders if Jake's grandmother did the same. He doesn't even know if Jake has a living grandparent.

Ricky would have known. It's one more moment in which Mickey is very aware that stepping into another person's life doesn't work.

'til touchdown brings me 'round again to find... (Rita-Anne Smith)
Rita-Anne Smith on this world has every bit as much stubbornness as her counterpart did from his own, thinks Mickey.

Before leaving for Paris he and Jake told her what happened to Ricky. Mickey made sure that the neighbors-those still living-would keep an eye on her. He even persuaded Pete Tyler to check in on her now and then.

Now he's back in London-this London-and staying in Pete Tyler's too-empty mansion with a dog named Rose. (Mickey just calls it Dog.) They're both negotiating their first days working with this world's Torchwood, Mickey as a full-time employee and Pete as a sort of consultant. He still has his multi-million pound company to run, after all.

With Pete's permission Mickey invites Rita-Anne to stay with them at the mansion... and she refuses. It takes a couple of falls and a looming stay at an assisted care center to change her mind.

Her first night there, he and Pete are both trying far too hard to act casual. Talking about work is limiting and the atmosphere is uncomfortably strained.

Dog doesn't help; she attacks Rita-Anne's shoelaces as they sit around the dining room table.

That was enough. Rita-Anne launches into a magnificent speech about how Pete needed to teach his dog some manners, how Mickey should learn to act interested in other people besides himself and his job, and how the cook had oversalted the meat.

It's the most welcoming sound Mickey has heard since he arrived here. Pete grins at him from across the table, meekly agrees with Rita-Anne's assessment and promises to talk to his household staff the next day.

"I'll do it myself, since I'm going to be living here as well," announces Rita-Anne. Neither Pete nor Mickey dares to disagree.

Mickey wants to kiss her cheek right then, like he'd done with his own Gran when he was feeling pleased or happy, but she isn't his Gran, and he's not her grandson.

He sits quietly at the table, half-smiling over his sadness.

I'm not the man they think I am at home (Rose)
Rose came here, and Jackie. It's great and awful at once. He's pleased to see Pete so content-it's a side of Peter Tyler that Mickey hadn't known during his three years in this world. Jackie is still Jackie, but he's glad to see her as well. It makes him more homesick but he's chosen this life twice now.

Rose didn't choose this world, though. She's stuck here by accident. She acts like she's adjusting, but then it falls apart after her trip to Norway. Jackie's distraught for her daughter and the pregnancy hormones make her reactions much more volatile.

Mickey keeps a low profile; he's one more reminder of what Rose has lost, because he'd traveled with them too. With the Doctor. Rita-Anne is sympathetic, a surprise considering that Mickey's Gran had never liked Rose very much.

Because she's Rose and she doesn't give up, she pulls herself out of the despair. Gets herself a flat, starts to work all hours on something. At Jackie's behest, Mickey tries to intervene. He goes to her flat to talk; instead he finds himself dumbfounded when she kisses him. His first reaction is to kiss her back. This is Rose, after all. The first woman he really loved, the one who made him try harder, do better, be more.

Instead he pulls away. "What's this about, then, Rose?"

"Moving on," she tells him. "Isn't that what you were supposed to tell me?"

"Not like this," he answers. "I don't want to be anyone's second best. So if you can really say that it's me you want..." He shrugs as he leaves the sentence unfinished. "Otherwise I'm not interested."

She looks at him-really sees him, he thinks, for the first time in a long while. Finally she says, "Come here and I'll show you what I've been working on."

As Mickey listens, he thinks that Jackie was right to worry. That would be a perpetual state for her with Rose Tyler for a daughter, though. Maybe the whole universe should worry.

Oh, no, no, no (Donna)
He spies her talking on her mobile at the park. That bright red hair glints in the sun. She says something emphatic, then disconnects with a disgusted glare at the phone.

"Donna!" he blurts out, realizing immediately afterward that he should have said nothing.

"Do I know you?" she asks. A line creases between her brows.

"Oh, er... we met at a party one time. Guess you made a bigger impression on me than I did on you." Mickey shrugs and does his best fake-bashful grin.

She seems somewhat mollified by his attempt at self-deprecating humor.

"Mickey Smith," he says next, and puts his right hand out.

She shakes it and asks, "So whose party was it?"

"Not really sure. Me and my mates, we were crashing." He gives her a flirtatious smile and that definitely warms her attitude. "Don't tell on us."

"Cheeky," she tells him. "Well, if I don't know whose party it was, I can't tell, can I?"

They chat for a few seconds more, then he excuses himself. After walking a moment, he turns and watches her walk away; she's grabbing her phone again. He wishes he could tell her, "Donna Noble, you helped save the world and I could kiss you."

Instead he looks until he loses track of her red hair in the crowd.

I'm a rocket man (Martha)
Martha was just a pal-until she wasn't. Sometime after she confided that she'd broken off her engagement to Tom, it happened. Hearing her voice on the phone makes him feel like smiling. Her nerdy grin was-well, it's still nerdy, but in an adorable way.

He's still debating over whether to say anything. If Tom wasn't for her, than what chance does he, Mickey, have?

No time right now to arrive at a conclusion, though he does notice how well Martha runs in her high-heeled combat boots.

Without needing to discuss it, they both turn the next corner and lean against the wall, out of view. They stand listening, waiting to hear the alien go past so they could have the advantage again.

Suddenly Martha's walkie crackles. "-Seventeen, the Poozer has been captured. Repeat, the Poozer has been captured."

Martha leans forward slightly, put her hands on her thighs and takes several deep breaths. Then she laughs. "I kind of love this part," she says. "The running."

Mickey smiles. Serious business, this, but yeah-it was fun sometimes.

She smiles back, her big eyes wide with the excitement of the chase. Mickey thinks about his internal debate. She looks so beautiful, as always. This is the moment on the telly when the hero on the show would lean in for a kiss: just after danger had passed, the lead couple alone together in a secluded spot.

He's not a hero on the telly, so he doesn't do anything. "Need to radio in?" he asks her. The spell of the moment was broken.

"No, they know my location."

"We should probably get back, then," Mickey says.

"Right," she says. "Let me just check one thing first." Then she leans in, puts her hands behind his neck, pulls him toward her and kisses him. He's surprised, but Mickey has always had quick reflexes. He kisses her back, and it's wonderful-her lips warm, her arms wrapped around him.

She finally breaks the kiss and they stand close, just breathing deeply and grinning at each other. "You were taking too long," she finally says.

"Sorry 'bout that," he replies, and gives her his not-so-bashful smile. Martha rolls her eyes, laughs and nudges his chest with her shoulder.

Stepping back into his own life has never seemed like a better idea.