Objects in Space

For a very long time, she refused to accept it.

She liked to pretend that her fingers hadn't slipped from the lever, that stupid yellow buttons and big white walls didn't exist.

But Rose Tyler was a survivor.

So after eight months of crying, sleeping, and crying some more, Rose started to live again.

She got a job at Torchwood - Rose Tyler, defender of Earth - and when the time came, she helped her mother through birth, and through raising the baby. In fact, Jackie let Rose name the kid. John. John Smith Tyler.

Rose even sees other guys, every now and then.

But she still likes to pretend. Pretend that this latest guy's brown eyes are gleaming mischieviously, that this one's brown hair is just a bit more wild. She likes to pretend that the baby in the cradle is hers - and more importantly, his.

It's been two years now, and Rose Tyler can finally bear to hear the word 'spaceship' without flinching. Actually, she begins to seek it out, watching science fiction movies and shows whenever she has the time. She watches it all, from bad movies from the seventies to high-tech movies fresh from the theater. And one day, she comes across a TV show that was cut, with only fourteen episodes. It ended too soon, she thinks, as she finishes the last episode. She supresses the thought that follows - like me an' the Doctor.

Then she watches the series again. She laughs, she sniffles, and then 'round comes the last episode.

Her knees are curled up against her chest, a thick blanket draped over her shoulders as a shield against the cold, and a green bowl of popcorn rests on her feet.

"Wrong about River. River's not on the ship. They didn't want her here, but she couldn't make herself to leave. So she melted. Melted away. They didn't know she could do that, but she did."

Rose freezes. So she melted. Melted away ...

Rose is well aware that she's being stupid, that she's already built herself a life here in 'Pete's World', as he put it so long ago ... But she can't help but want that other life, the one that isn't alarm clock work chips sleep alarm clock work chips sleep. She wants the life of stardust and smiles and him.

So she turns off the TV and lets the blanket slip off her shoulders as she stands. The bowl tips off her feet and falls from the couch, popcorn spilling everywhere. In a daze, Rose walks through the silent mansion - her mother and father at the movies, a two-years-old John and his nanny at the zoo - and to the white doors that look onto the grounds behind the house. She pushes the doors open and instantly begins to shiver as cold winter air washes over her. Rose ignores the way her breath steams in front of her as she walks, leaving the doors wide open behind her. White curtains flutter in the breeze, and frost-laces the still-green grass that crunches beneath her bare feet. Her thin sweater does nothing to protect her, but Rose is no longer aware of the painful chill.

When she has reached a point where she can no longer see anything but black sky, silver stars, and the frozen green grass, Rose abruptly folds her legs beneath herself and sits on the ground. She closes her eyes and sinks into the dark warmth of her mind.

She sits.

She breaths.

Her heart beats.

She sits.

Rose hears a retched noise, loud in the silence. A wave of warm air brushes across her face, and excited chattering joins the sounds of the engines.

She opens her eyes. She's home.

Alternate universe. Quote belongs to Joss Whedon's "Firefly."