AU: Hello everyone! I'm Helen and I'll be your author today! I'm a big fan of Doctor Who, and I figured it was about time to write a Doctor Who fic. I hope this is to all of your liking. :)
The Fallacy of Being Human
Chapter 1: Rose and Johnny
In the days of Rassilon, the Ultimate Sanction, and the Moment, there was a mother, a mother who loved her son very, very much, and who saved him from the ultimate horror.
5 a.m. – Rose
Rose Tyler hates two things.
First, waking up early and the way it makes her head feel stuffy, and the way it's dark out while she gets ready, and this is not natural. Before electricity and thus, alarm clocks, people went to bed with the sun and woke up with it. Rose would like to return to that. 5:00 is not a natural time. Rose hates many unnatural things – fluorescent lights, her mother's boobs, breakfast cereal…
The second thing that Rose Tyler hates is looking bad for school, and this is why she gets out of bed and walks across her shaggy pink carpet to her closet, takes out her cheerleading uniform (pep rally at school today), and walks with it into the bathroom.
In the shower she thinks about the usual things – life, death, and the universe in between. She gets some shampoo in her eyes and thinks mostly about death and what a pleasure it must be, but once it's rinsed out she realizes that the universe needs more time to collide with her and it is not time for death yet.
Once she's stepped out and toweled off, she looks at herself in the fogged mirror – she likes her showers scalding hot, and now she can only see herself as an outline. She fills in the outline with her mind but then wonders why.
She blow-dries her hair, standing naked in the bathroom, then as she's combing it through someone knocks on the door.
"Oi! Didn't wake me up, did ya?" calls a voice from the other side.
Rose rolls her eyes. "No, mum, I was going to do it after my shower."
"Well you're out now, aren't ya?"
"Yes, mum. It's called an alarm clock, you know!"
A groan on the other side of the door and then footsteps away.
Rose finishes doing her hair and makeup, puts on her uniform, stares at herself and thinks about how she really ought to go on a diet or something, and considers skipping breakfast… But mum's gotten sticky buns and Rose loves sticky buns, so she walks out the bathroom door into the chill of the hallway. It's mid-October, they really ought to turn on the heat.
"Mum!" she calls. "Where are the sticky buns?"
"On the counter!" Jackie Tyler calls back.
Rose tears open the package and eats one standing in the kitchen under the fluorescent light. She thinks about how much she hates fluorescent lights. And then she goes into the bathroom again, brushes her teeth, comes out, shrugs on a jacket, her backpack, and then walks out the door.
6:30 a.m. – Johnny
Johnny wakes up at the insistent buzzing of his alarm clock. He is tired and he knows there are bags under his eyes.
Oh, insomnia, how I loathe thee, he thinks. He's only just fallen asleep when he has to wake up, every morning. He gets out of bed and goes over to his desk where his laptop is perched. He opens it up and turns it on. As he waits for it to boot up he looks in the mirror, makes an attempt to smooth down his hair with his fingers, and gives up. He has dark circles under his eyes and those eyes seem too old to him, though he isn't quite sure why he thinks this. His hair has a slight curl to it, and he picks up his glasses so he can see once the computer turns on. He tilts his head and then shrugs at his reflection.
The computer lights up and Johnny opens up Google Chrome (a million times better than Internet Explorer, so says all his friends [friends = online friends]). He checks his e-mail – just some more colleges telling him how amazing his grades are and he knows his PSAT scores were great but do they really have to send him so many e-mails that start with 'Jonathan – we are so impressed with you!'? It's only the beginning of Junior year and Johnny knows he'll get into a good college. He drags the bad colleges to the trash can icon and saves the good ones into a folder labeled 'Colleges.'
College strikes Johnny as a strange institution, as do many things, but he usually just tries to shrug it off. He checks to see if any of his friends are online but they aren't, so he just turns the computer off again and turns about in his room. He doesn't know what to do. He doesn't feel like getting ready just yet, and he can do that in five minutes, easily. He spies his creation in the corner – a robot dog that has yet to be completed. He kneels down and looks at it for a moment. He's having trouble with the wiring, which frustrates him because he should be able to do this properly. It feels like it's his destiny to be able to do this.
He doesn't know why he has these complicated and huge thoughts – like about his destiny and other nonsense – but he does and he kind of likes it. He feels like Luke Skywalker.
He glances at his Star Wars poster, hanging next to his Star Trek poster because he honestly can't decide which he likes better and this is actually a huge debate for him.
He may as well get ready. He gets dressed and takes a shower and eats and then off to school for another day.
7:15 a.m. – Rose
Rose taps another girl (Callie, her best friend) on the shoulder, and Callie turns and squeals with delight upon seeing Rose. "Hi! Ohmygod you have to hear! It's so exciting! Guess what!"
Rose laughs. "I don't know but I imagine you're gonna tell me?"
"Yes!" Callie giggles. "He asked me out! Now you and Mickey and me and David can go on dates together!"
"Of course! YES!" Rose practically screams. "This is amazing! Of course he asked you out, though, he's been in love with you forever, I've told you!"
"Oh, shut up!" Callie obviously doesn't want her to shut up if her huge grin is any indication.
"But speaking of Mickey," Rose says, "I have to go meet him. See you later?"
7:30 a.m. – Johnny
"I know there are other galaxies that contain life. There must be and either our technology just isn't advanced enough for us to see them, or maybe they don't want to be seen." Johnny sits on a desk in the front of his science classroom, facing the teacher who sits behind his own desk. A few students mingle about in the back of the classroom, paying him and the teacher no mind.
"Well, there could be, and you have a valid point. But that's something out of science fiction. This is real life, it isn't Star Wars." The teacher waves a hand dismissively. "Until there is scientific evidence, I am not going to teach my classes about alien life. But it was an interesting idea."
Johnny sighs. "Alright."
The bell rings and he has to go to his desk. Maybe next year he'll get a teacher with a broader mind. He always hopes he will, and he never does. Why is it that he is the only person who believes with any conviction in alien life?
9:08 a.m. – Rose
"Rose!" Rose hears the familiar voice calling her name and she turns with a smile on her face.
"Mickey!" She fights through the crowd of students flooding the hall to reach him. When she arrives in his arms, he kisses her deeply.
"I missed you," he says, more of a sap than she is.
She rolls her eyes. "It's been 45 minutes!"
"I know," he says, shrugging a little. "45 minutes longer than I can bear to be without you."
Rose wants to gag.
"Well you're going to have to get used to it," she says, making a face, just as the bell rings. "Oh no, I'm gonna be late!"
Mickey shrugs. "So?"
Rose raises an eyebrow and then, after a moment of thinking about it, concedes. "You're right, then, it's only English class. Let's go." She takes his hand and leads him toward a broom closet where they spend a good while making out and even a bit more.
11:43 a.m. – Johnny
"I just think that Star Wars is more realistic, that's all," Quentin says, and Johnny rolls his eyes.
"They're both realistic," he says, at the same time as Chris says, "Neither are realistic."
Johnny shoots him a look. "Christopher, how many times must I tell you that it is most likely a reality that there are other beings out there in space, and there are other planets and galaxies and shit that contain life and really amazing and interesting things?"
Chris raises an eyebrow. "It's not like I insulted your mother, must you get so protective?"
Johnny sits back in his chair, finished with his lunch. "You may as well have," he says, then repeats it for effect, emphasizing all the words, "You may as well have."
Chris rolls his eyes and then all three burst into laughter.
Johnny is happy with his lunch table. It's better than sitting alone, as he did last year and the year before that. Maybe Chris will never invite him to his house and Quentin thinks Star Wars is better than Star Trek (they are TIED), but that doesn't matter to Johnny. At least he finally has some friends. Most people just discredit him because he likes talking about science and math too much. But not these people – these people are cool.
2:32 p.m. – Rose
"That was pitiful!" Rose thinks she can see the spit flying from her coach's mouth. "You girls need to get yourselves together, and you need to do it now! You'll never pep up the school with the way you just performed at that 'pep rally,'" Coach adds in finger quotations for emphasis. "You got it?"
No one responds.
"YOU GOT IT?"
"Yes," comes the chorus from the girls gathered on the football field.
"Good. Now do laps. Five."
Everyone groans and drops their pom poms, then starts to jog over to the track.
Callie gives Rose a look. "Someone's on her period," she says in a sing-song voice, jerking a thumb in the coach's direction.
Rose shakes her head. "Nah, probably menopausal."
Callie giggles and the two jog faster to catch up with a few of their other friends.
3:30 p.m. – Johnny
Johnny sits cross-legged next to the robot dog. He can do this. I can do this. I was destined to do this.
Maybe he should ask some of his friends on the robotics team…but he's so close, he feels like one more moment and it'll work.
Johnny licks his lips and pushes his glasses further up on the bridge of his nose. He leans in closer and, with delicate fingers, starts to rewire the blasted thing. When he creates a spark, he actually screams in delight. He's glad no one is home.
He closes it up and steps back. "K-9!" he says clearly, and K-9 snaps to attention and barks. "Come!"
Johnny grins. "Oh, I am brilliant!"
He's glad this didn't turn out like the time he experimented on his hamster and it died.
6:28 p.m. – Rose
"I'm off, mum, got a date tonight!" Rose leans down and kisses Jackie's cheek.
"You got yourself a date but you didn't get me one?" Indignance.
"Mum," Rose says with annoyance in her voice, "you should really try having a boyfriend. Infinite dates, guaranteed."
Jackie shakes her head dismissively. "Nah. Think I'll just watch some telly instead."
"Have fun," Rose deadpans, before picking up her jacket and purse and walking to the door. "Don't burn down the house, honey!" she calls back.
"Oh, just leave!" is Jackie's response.
7:09 p.m. – Johnny
"I finished him! He works now!" Johnny announces proudly.
His parents both set down their silverware to applaud him. Johnny grins and bows, as well as he can at the dinner table. Their approval feels amazing.
"Good job, son!" His father, sitting next to him, claps him on the back, then returns to his dumpling.
"We knew you could do it," his mother says. "Of course you could."
"I wasn't so sure for a bit there," Johnny admits, "but I did it. He does everything I wanted him to do! He comes, he looks at you, he responds to your voice, he barks… He's like a real dog."
"A real dog, which we would never get you, after what happened with Phillip…" Johnny doesn't know why his mother feels the need to mention Phillip biweekly, practically.
"Phillip was a hamster, I think it's about time you got over his tragic and untimely death," Johnny says.
His mother chuckled. "I think it's about time you feel some remorse for the tragic and untimely death of Phillip." She's only joking, of course, knowing that her son felt bad at the time – he did cry, after all – but it's been years and he's moved on.
Johnny nods and laughs but he hasn't moved on. Sometimes he dreams about it – killing Phillip. At his own hands, the hamster died… At his own hands, it ceased to know life… And it was a hamster but for some reason it feels like it was so, so, so much more than just a hamster that he killed.
Rose Tyler and Jonathan Smith fall asleep thinking of the universe, and they will dream of the stars.