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FIC: Starting Over (1/1)

Title: Starting Over
Series: There's The Door!
Rating: T (some ranting)
Author: tkel_paris
Summary: Right after “The Christmas Invasion,” Rose got the worst shock of her life. How has she coped with having to start over completely – without her mum, Mickey, or the Doctor? Mickey's wedding highlights how much has changed.
Disclaimer: No character would remain as selfish as I see Rose as always having been (from the beginning to the end) if I had any say in the development. Harsh? Maybe. I call it realism.
Dedication: Every fan who wanted to see Rose grow the blank up.
Author's Note: Originally one of the May 2012 Story a Day pieces, but I didn't get far with it then. Revived for alimoseby's birthday.

Starting Over

Started May 22, 2012
Finished May 14, 2014

Christmas again. Not that Rose cared. She hadn't cared about a Christmas since 2004. Actually, since 2005, given the year she missed. Anyway, she stopped celebrating then. No reason for her to celebrate when she was all alone.

And that still counted even though she wasn't alone at the moment. No, she was stuck accompanying her mother to Mickey's wedding. Yes, Mickey Smith. Marrying someone else, Rose Tyler. Worse still, her mother was remarried already. And had another child.

Harold was her step-father. She remembered him being mentioned that Christmas, but that was one of the few things she remembered clearly after talking with Mickey about the TARDIS, about something that she thought she had to do. Then nothing until she woke in the TARDIS and watched the Doctor she knew disappear in golden flames, and someone else appear in his clothes. Then nothing again until she found herself on the couch in her mother's flat. Alone.

She had grabbed her phone to call the Doctor in a panic, thinking that – like when they were parted in that alternate past – he had left her behind. But she promptly discovered that she didn't have the TARDIS number anymore. It'd been erased. She tried Mickey's cell, and merely got his voice mail. Same for her mother's number.

Only then had she noticed that it was the day after Christmas. She had some presents sitting under the tree, and there was a meal waiting to be reheated in the fridge.

Finally, she had noticed a note in her mother's handwriting. She had picked it up, and frozen faster than a deer in highlights when she read:

Mickey and I have gone with the Doctor. You did a number on him, killing him and hurting his ship. The TARDIS knocked you unconscious in retaliation. If we had known we would have said no and stopped you from hurting this living ship.

I did my best to raise you, and you just leave without a care. Well, here's your chance to prove to us all that you can grow past the selfishness and reckless streak. I've put out the help wanted ads. Pick something and get a job – or you'll lose the flat. I have ways of watching, so I'll find out and make your life miserable if you don't get off your arse and earn a living.

Mickey and I will be the Doctor's companions now. We'll check on you every so often to see how you're doing – as hard as it'll be for me to be without you. I told you I went through hell when you were missing! Let's see how you handle life as an adult.

Know that I do this because I love you and want the best for you,

Love? It hadn't seemed like love when she quickly found that she had to get a job to keep the flat. Her lack of work history prevented her from receiving any Job Seeker's Allowance, and she had to settle for the butcher's job she'd turned her nose up at the day after meeting the Doctor.

She was still there, almost four years later. She didn't want to see another pork belly or lamb shank ever again, but she had little choice. She'd been out of work for over a year by Christmas 2005, and lacked the urge to go back to school. Not that she wouldn't have to work anyway if she did. At least she could be glad she didn't have to slaughter anything – it all came to her already cut up.

At least she had a place over her head. Still, wasn't much of a consolation. No one talked with or to her, not even the neighbours. Well, not until someone – Mrs. Emmett from the flat above hers – finally told her that if she kept alienating everyone, she'd eventually be all alone. And she was far too young for that fate, “ a fate no one deserves, dearie”, the lady said in that way only grandparents could get away with.

She was lonely. It had been hell not hearing from her mother and being the one stuck on Earth. She'd flinched the first time she had the thought. If her mother had been through half the agony she'd been feeling... Oh, she didn't want to think about it!

“Chin up, Rose,” Jackie chided, sotto voce as they were entering the church. “You hardly gave him reason to wait for you. Don't blame him for moving on.” Or her, the unspoken addition to the warning.

Worst was that others seemed to hear from her mother and from Mickey during the time they were gone. Word was that Jackie Tyler was about to remarry, but Rose refused to believe it without hearing it straight from the horse's mouth, as it were. Saying that exact phrase to her mum might earn her a big smacking on her rear even though she was finally now old enough that she could buy alcohol Only major barrier she had cracked by age in a while, apart from driving, not that she could afford to learn. Aside from technically being able to have sex again.

Not that anyone worth her time had offered.

One day in June 2006 a key had turned in the flat's door. Rose stiffened. After all this time, her mum was back? She couldn't find her voice.

The door opened. “Rose? I know you're in here. I asked Mrs. Emmett!”

Swallowing, Rose stepped out of the kitchen. “Mum?!”

She froze when she was rushed by her mother. “Oh, you've stopped wearing so much makeup! And you're dressing your age!”

Rose flinched slightly, but her arms went around her mother instinctively. She was surprised to find tears coming down her face. “Mum, where have you been?!”

Jackie pulled away just enough to look into her eyes with a hard expression that was reserved for the rare occasions she had disciplined Rose. “Now, do you understand what I went through?”

I was gone a year! You were only gone for six months! Without a phone call!”

And that is exactly the sort of behaviour that I tried to get you to unlearn for months. I did it to show you that that's the way someone who doesn't care about their family and friends treats them. It's selfish and disrespectful. I did it to help you see.”

Rose could barely meet her mother's eyes. She had no high ground to reach for. “So where's the Doctor?”

He and Mickey are off for a while. I'm back because there's someone you need to meet properly.”

Oh god! The rumors are true!”

Oh! Did Mrs. Emmett blab?” Jackie scoffed, gently smacking her own forehead. “Should've known better. Oh well. Anyway, you remember my mentioning Howard?”

Mum, don't tell me he's going to be my step-dad!”

I am.”

Rose had blanched then on meeting the man, and she did at the memory. Worst of all was that Howard was a nice man who she would have likely responded to as a daughter had she met him when she was younger. As it was, after her mum married him she felt a wish to call him Dad at times. Even though she had to share her mum. Not just with him. Within a year she also had to share her with Tony, her little brother. He was held against his dad's hip while they found their seats.

Even now her thoughts were often her only real company. Until she started talking with the younger neighbours, and tried to get out to go and have fun.

She slowly made female friends, and barely reclaimed her old ones since Shareen led the pack in questioning her about her absence. Didn't have any boyfriends. She asked one of the neighbours why, and she was told that she seemed standoffish, unwelcoming.

That was a rude awakening. She still fought against the idea, but when she'd tried flirting again the bloke just told her to lessen her eye makeup and actually be happy.

If her mother had wanted her to be miserable, if Mickey wanted to punish her for running off with the Doctor, then they'd got their wish. She wanted the old days to come back, more than anything. Well, except get her Doctor back. But if he was gone forever... then who was that skinny man who had taken his place?

Only thing worse was when Mickey came around. He would not answer her shouted demands about the Doctor's location, and Jackie and Howard silenced Rose soon enough each time. Put simply, Rose was told to stop whining like a child who had lost her favourite toy or she would have to find her own roof.

Rose didn't have the friends or the money to manage that. So she had no choice. Not if she wanted to hold on to some dignity.

Then came the harshest blow, just a few months ago. The news of Mickey's impending marriage. Rose had fled the flat, needing to walk. Although she knew she didn't want him anymore, the idea that he had so completely got over her wounded her pride. The signs had been there for years, but she refused to see them.

She had to leave more than once when Mickey came around, although it was just to her room when he came to personally invite the family to the wedding. She would have remained in her room, but she realized quickly that the three adults in the other room were whispering. So she crept closer to overhear.

Are you sure she should be there?” asked Howard.

Martha knows that Jackie has been there for me during rough times, and she knows about... Anyway, it'd be a little too rude to not invite Rose.”

You know that Martha and Rose clashing isn't what we're worried about,” Jackie hissed.

Rose might have learned more, but Tony gave away that she was coming. She loved that little one, but he had the worst timing.

The church looked finer than the one Rose remembered from her doomed journey to see her dad. Southwark Methodist Church was an old building, and still featured the separate doors, men one side, women and children the other. The wooden pews, set out in a semi-circle, had no cushioning, but had high backs made of hard wood, intended to curb the wandering eye. There were none of the adornments she was used to seeing in a Church of England church. No cross, no icons of Christ, no stained-glass windows depicting holy scenes, no alter or pulpit.

The hits kept coming. When she saw the picture of Mickey's soon-to-be bride, Rose's stomach churned and her heart felt like a leaden brick. Martha Jones had model good looks – perfect skin, shining dark eyes, a winning smile, and a body that made Rose envious. And Rose had never really envied another woman's body before. And to take the biscuit, Mickey had never looked happier.

Worse still was seeing Jack looking like an usher, but it was quickly obvious that he had something in his ear. When she tried to go to him, he gave her a dark look and motioned for one of the groomsmen to assist her. He gave her the cold shoulder, just like in the old days from those books her mum loved! Jackie he greeted warmly and asked after the children, even flirting a little with her and Howard – all in apparent fun.

She had to top that moment when Mickey appeared – clearly eager to start this marriage – at the alter with his company. She recognized the groomsmen: his old friends Peter and Robin from Powell Estates. But who was the best man standing next to him?

His slicked dark hair looked like it had to have been tamed with hair gel. There was just an air to it that suggested it would be sticking up otherwise. He was tugging not quite subtly at his suit, looking like he would have rather been wearing something else. And he had the oddest choice in footwear: trainers. Trainers with a suit! Where was his sense of style?! And how had he got away with that?

But those questions about him as a person held second place to a more pressing thought. He looked familiar. Where had she seen him before?

Her thoughts were interrupted by the wedding procession starting. Rose followed suit with her mum and step-father, standing when they did and turning. She felt dismayed that Martha Jones looked even more beautiful in her dress than in her picture. The only blip in the beaming face was a flicker in her expression when her gaze fell on Rose. Oh, so she knew about her? Rose wasn't sure whether to feel a moment of triumph or dismay.

Wanting a distraction, she looked at the attendants. The obvious Maid of Honour was just as beautiful as Martha, likely her sister given the resemblance. Her dress was cream chiffon lace layers over silk, with a silk rose on one shoulder, that fell to her knees but gathered delicately at the waist.

Rose noted the variety in the other attendants, all wearing nearly identical dresses. The second in line was a woman possibly old enough to be the same age as her mum, a ginger with an overly generous chest and curves that Rose thought belonged in some other century. After that were a collection of women, more like ladies out of a Home and Garden magazine. They looked well heeled and certainly not short of a few quid.

She did notice the ring bearer, a girl toddler no more than two years old, or three if she was small for her age, had ginger hair just like the older woman's. Hmm, so there were no nieces to put in the role?

When she looked back up to the alter, she couldn't help but notice that the skinny man's eyes kept drifting to the ginger woman, who seemed very aware of his attention and smiled at him. Although they both looked back at the ginger girl with even bigger smiles.

Come to think of it, the girl had eyes rather like the man's. And his smile. Oh, and they wore matching rings as far as Rose could tell from her distance and angle. With the obvious exception of the engagement ring on the woman's finger, right above the wedding band. Did that make the woman the Matron of Honour given that she stood next to the obvious Maid of Honour?

During the ceremony, Rose kept staring at the Best Man, trying to place where she had seen him before. If he was aware of her interest, he pretended ignorance, had his back to her for most of the time – taking his attention away from the gingers once to gently prod Mickey to remember his lines. Going back over her past, she thought about the places she had been. Where would she have seen him before given all the time she spent with the Doctor?

She sucked in a breath, not seeing her mother and step-father looking at her. Or the alarm in their eyes.

Not that she would have noticed. It had hit her. He looked like the man who appeared in the Doctor's clothes after that explosion faded!

Wait, so how could that be the Doctor? Was he some sort of Slitheen that had got into the TARDIS?

She opened her mouth, and a hand clamped over it.

“Not a word,” her mum whispered sharply. “Not until after they've left for the pictures. You really want to try to ruin Mickey's big moment?”

The venom in her mum's voice suggested a smacking was in the near future if she didn't remain silent. Rose considered risking it. Until a hand clamped onto her shoulder. She knew that hand. It belonged to Jack.

She turned her eyes to see, and met him glaring at her. She had only seen such a dangerous look on the Doctor's face. It rendered her silent.

Suddenly she heard cheering. Jackie released her mouth and Rose turned to see the new Mr. and Mrs. Mickey Smith engaged in an enthusiastic snogging session.

She wanted to gag.


Rose wasn't feeling much better at the reception immediately after. After seeing Jack talking with some tough woman who bore a startling resemblance to Gwyneth and looking like they were checking the parameter, she realized he was ensuring nothing alien happened to interfere with the day. It made her only more convinced that the Best Man was in fact the Doctor.

Odd. She hadn't thought he liked Mickey all that much. He called him an idiot, after all!

But if it was the Doctor, then who was the ginger he kept looking at? And why was he so fond of her daughter? Was he just wearing a ring as a cover to keep women away? What was that phrase she heard? Was she his beard?

There was no announcing of the members of the wedding party. The reception, while impeccably set and designed by the mother-of-the-bride, was very casual in its atmosphere. It seemed that everyone there was assumed to be well known to enough people that the little paper saying who was in the wedding party would be enough.

Rose drew her copy back out of her little handbag as soon as she was seated. She looked for the names of the Best Man and Ring Bearer, and whether there was a Matron of Honour. She quickly spotted the names:

Best Man: Dr. John Mott-Noble
Matron of Honour: Donna Mott-Noble
Ring Bearer: Sienna Mott-Noble

“How can it be him? He wasn't one for domestics. If it's him, he can't be married to her,” she muttered. She looked up, determined to get a moment where she could find out what he was doing mixed up with some woman and her daughter.

Trouble was, it seemed all of Mickey's friends, and Martha's, had been told to ensure that Rose was kept occupied. She quickly realized she was at one of the single tables, surrounded by people who acted like they desired nothing more than to talk with her. It was odd to think that six years earlier she would have reveled in it and not given it another thought. Especially because she had assumed that she would be marrying Mickey one day – just because she figured he was as good a guy as could be found.

Not anymore. If she even made a move to get up, either one of the blokes would make some excuse that would prevent all but the rudest person from getting up to flee or one of the women would include her in some conversation that actually interested her. And Rose had learned that she couldn't afford to be rude. Not anymore.

After Martha and Mickey opened the dance floor, Rose noticed that the man she was certain was the Doctor swaying with the ginger in his arms. Their attention wasn't completely on each other, although they were both smiling widely and shared glances. Rose had to lean over to see the Ring Bearer guiding a ginger boy even younger than her through some basic dance moves.

Quickly her table and ones immediately around her had comments. The ones that stuck out included:

“Aw! Let me get me phone!”

“Hope the lad can avoid any photos being shown to the girls. Blokes don't need that.”

“What a sweet big sister!”

And then one back and forth between a girl and her brother stuck out:

“Isn't their dad hot?”

“Like you could get his attention away from the ginge. See those curves? Better than your stick figure.”

“Oh, so he might be old enough to be my dad! Don't mean I can't look!”

“Well, do it quietly. Heard she packs a slap that'll ruin a tank.”

“Who said that?”

“Mickey. Won't say anything else about it, just that his friend offended her the day they met.”

“And she still married him?”

There was a chuckle as another girl, apparently from Martha's side, interjected. “I heard she was supposed to marry someone else, but he turned out to be a bad one. Martha says that Mickey said his friend saved Donna's life and somehow quickly healed her pain enough to get her to marry him. Fell for her immediately, sounded like. Not so for her, but she warmed to him!”

The original girl giggled. “That'd explain why they have two kids. And didn't I see her rub her belly earlier?”

“Yeah, I think she must be worried about her age. Not that he seems to think anything's wrong with her. I heard that Martha's dad's fling insulted Donna, and... oh, what's his name... John set her right.”

“Hah! Hope Martha's mum got to hear it.”

Rose heard nothing more about the fling. Probably because they remembered that there were some topics you didn't talk about unless you were well known to both parties. Or something like that.

Finally, enough people paired off to dance after dinner that Rose found her opening. She was going to have to deal with the ginger at the same time, but she was past her limit.

But just as she made it within three meters of them, Jack got in the way. He put a hand on her shoulder, firm as lead. “Going somewhere?”

“Jack,” Rose whispered sharply. “Is that him?! I just want to talk to him!”

Jack looked at her, not letting her move forward. He stepped just enough to the side to let Rose look at her target.

The Doctor looked right at her in recognition, but gave her the hardest glare anyone had ever given her. Then he picked up the little boy, whose face looked so much like his, and handed him to the ginger before he picked up the little girl. He took the woman's hand and led her away, but not before looking one more time at Rose with disdain. The woman glanced Rose's way and then appeared to mouth, “That's her?” In that disbelieving way only women could do. The last thing Rose saw of the Doctor's face was him flushed with evident shame.

Rose couldn't find her voice.

“He doesn't want to speak with you ever again,” Jack whispered once the Doctor and his family were out of sight. “He understood that Mickey had to invite you, but he hoped that your memories were so dulled by what the TARDIS did in punishment for ripping her open that you wouldn't remember his new face. His loyalty to Mickey, and to Martha, was strong enough that he was willing to risk running into you. But now he's going to make sure you never see him again. If you even try to find him, I'll make you long for the shop again. That's a promise.”

He didn't let Rose go until he was certain she wouldn't try following. Even then he kept where he could stop her.

Not that Rose could. She could only shake her head. “What do I do?”

“Don't end up stuck on the outskirts of the dance floor of life. Especially by your own doing.”

She whipped her head, but he was already walking away.



( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 14th, 2014 03:37 pm (UTC)
“Don't end up stuck on the outskirts of the dance floor of life. Especially by your own doing.”

That was a wonderful end to a beautiful story, and a very good advice for anyone really but especially Rose. I love that Donna and the Doctor have been weaved into the story so neatly and it works nicely to show off their relationship. This makes me miss them so much. Is that weird? It's as if I am missing friends who have gone away and I don't know if I'll see them again.

Anyway, beautiful story.
May. 14th, 2014 04:45 pm (UTC)
Advice I could take. Especially right now. :/

Thank you. I was rushing this one and wasn't sure it worked. Glad to see that so far three people approve.

And yes, I do miss Ten and Donna. Maybe watching MAAN will help with that a bit. :)
May. 15th, 2014 01:56 pm (UTC)
Yeah. I am constantly watching Series 4 of DW just so I can watch their love/friendship grow. Maybe if David and Catherine continued, that marvellous friendship will be developed into a beautiful love story...but then in true DW fashion, the Doctor will have to lose her and it's just stupidly sad but I can't stop watching.

I'm a mess.
May. 14th, 2014 03:49 pm (UTC)
Oh what a lovely surprise of a morning!! Rose put in her place (by Jack, no less!) and ginger Time Tots!

It's good to know that the TARDIS created her own punishment for dear Rosie for ripping her open and violating her. It wasn't quite strong enough, in my opinion. A complete mind-wipe was in order.

I love the idea of Jackie and Mickey as the Doctor's new companions. :DDD And Jackie's dressing down of Rose was very satisfying. She learned quite a few home truths, not just from her mum but from everyone, it seems. I wish I could say there was hope for her, but my mother taught me never to lie. ;-)

I wasn't expecting to see Donna here, to be honest. As I read, I thought it would be a "Rose is taught a lesson" story, but her seeing the Doctor so happy and domestic was absolutely perfect.
May. 14th, 2014 04:52 pm (UTC)
Ah, yes, you'd love that. Both parts. :D

Well, I believe that you need to know WHY you were punished. And given the bad taste that Donna's mind-wipe left me feeling, I can't go there for Rose. Not here. Did it before, but I doubt I could do it again unless the story really called for it.

True. She's heard the home truths, but the proof of learning them is yet to be seen. :)

Well, I had to include her. It was part of my original expansion ideas for the May Story a Day challenge, and I finally got them to work. Thank you. :D
May. 14th, 2014 10:46 pm (UTC)
What a great story! The ginger Timetots were the icing on the cake.
It's a really interesting twist on what might have happened, and I really like the way you wrote it. Bravo!
Donna and Ten was absolutely beautiful.
tiny, insignificant concrits:
["At least she could be glad"] the next sentence starts "At least she had"
["checking the parameter"] should be "perimeter"
excellent work as always, love!
May. 15th, 2014 03:11 am (UTC)
I can't resist including ginger Time Tots, it seems. :D Thank you.

Oh. Well, thanks for letting me know. I did rush this a bit. As you could probably tell. :/

Anyway, thank you again.
May. 15th, 2014 04:04 am (UTC)
Heeheehee. Oh I love a good "Rose gets what's coming to her" fic.

Yay! Happy Doctor and Donna. With Time Tots. That are ginger. *fistpump*

Loved it. Thank you. =)

~Ali ♥︎
May. 15th, 2014 05:11 am (UTC)
Am glad. Had to delete a flame about that kind of stuff from FF.N tonight. Shared it with my betas just to create more fodder. :/

What else would they be? We need more reasons for the Doctor to be ecstatic about going domestic. ;)

Welcome. :D
May. 20th, 2014 05:19 pm (UTC)
Being on FF.Net and seeing roughly close to 10 stories centered on Rose and lovey doveyness out of every 3 or 4 stories not involving her and love, and then coming here. If I'm not making sense, I do apologize! The 3 or 4 non lovey dovey Roseness and your stories here are a serious breath of fresh air. I have honestly come to love your stories and this is another great entry. Loved Jack's final words to her!

Aug. 27th, 2014 01:05 am (UTC)
You're welcome. And amen. You may be underestimating the number of Rose fics, from what I've seen. The only reason it might be true is because of River. And that's a whole other discussion that should be saved for the aftermath of a fanfic. :) And yes, I'm proud of Jack's last words there.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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