Summary: Eventually all placebos start to wear off.
Fandom: Doctor Who
Pairing: Rose Tyler/Mickey Smith/Jake Simmonds (past Nine/Rose/Jack implied)
Original story: Role Play by booster17
Author's Notes: Thanks forever to ionlylurkhere: the best beta-reader a girl could ask for. This story wouldn't have been half as good without you.
Live Action Role Play (The Placebo Remix)
Mickey hadn't been in Rose's bedroom since the evening they'd returned from Dårlig Ulv Stranden. Since then, Rose had redecorated. Oh, the bed was still the same with its flowered headboard and most of the rest of the furniture was still the same as well, but the walls had plaster molding in a very familiar pattern and the insides of the roundels glowed with a soft pink light. Her nightstand looked like the TARDIS console, right down to the glowy thing in the center.
“Do you like it?” Rose asked.
Mickey tried to find a diplomatic answer to that.
Jake shrugged. “It's different, I suppose. I'm glad you've stopped playing that bloody song all the time.”
Rose chuckled. “Yeah, I suppose it was getting a bit old. 'S weird to think that both our worlds have Evanescence, even if they call themselves Stricken here.”
Weird was one word for it. Mickey's word for it wasn't repeatable in polite company. “So why here?” Mickey said after a moment. “Usually you want us to meet you in game room or in the garden.”
Rose bit her lip. “You know how you two have been helping me a lot since I came here? Well. There's something else I thought you could help me with.”
Mickey glanced around. “Moving furniture?” he guessed.
Rose shook her head. “Not exactly.”
Rose's idea was completely mad, of course. Mickey wasn't entirely sure how she'd talked them into it, except Rose Tyler was very good in general at talking people into things. It probably had to do with charisma. She had bags of it. It made up for some of her more frustrating characteristics, such as the tendency to micro-manage things (something Mickey was quite sure she got from Pete Tyler.)
“Are you done studying your lines yet?” she asked hopefully.
Mickey glanced at Jake. With a sigh, Jake nodded.
“We're ready,” said Mickey.
“Oh good,” said Rose. With great ceremony, she took a pair of black plastic emo glasses from the case on her bed table and gently placed them on Jake's face. “Action,” she whispered and pressed a hidden button on the underneath of the bed table.
The grinding sound of the TARDIS de-materializing was accurate enough to make Mickey shiver.
“Doctor!” Rose cried, striking a dramatic pose. “If we don't hurry, the sun will explode!”
“Don't worry, Rose,” said Mickey, trying desperately to speak through his nose. Sounding like an American was hard. He had a new respect for Hugh Laurie. “The Doctor still has his sonic screwdriver.”
On cue, Jake wiggled his prick and waggled his eyebrows. “Setting 349 ought to do the trick.”
“Oh! Let me help you adjust it, then,” Rose said as she got on her knees.
“He likes it when you suck on the head,” Mickey stage-whispered. Rose rolled her eyes slightly—that hadn't been part of the script—but got along with the sucking. Jake groaned.
“Did I ever tell you about Cleopatra?” Mickey said, approaching Rose from behind. “She had such a sweet arse—I mean ass. Just like yours. I used to have threesomes with her and Mark Anthony on the banks on the River Nile.”
Jake said nothing, just groaned louder and scrabbled at Rose's hair.
Mickey sighed softly. “Jake,” he hissed, “it's your line next.”
Jake blinked. “Oh. Right. Um. I must reverse the polarity of the Newton flow!”
“Neutron flow,” Mickey corrected.
Jake shook his head. “No! Because that, um, would invert the isometrics of the gravitational plane and cause a massive subspace pulsar which would send our trajectory straight into a black hole!”
Well, that definitely wasn't part of the script. Rose didn't seem to mind, though, if the way she started sucking harder on Jake was any clue. Evidently technobabble was one of her turn-ons.
“And we can't have that,” Mickey concluded. He unscrewed the jar of petroleum jelly that Rose had thoughtfully provided for them. If this happened again, he thought, he'd definitely make sure they had KY on hand. At the moment, that didn't sound like such a bad prospect. Mad as Rose's idea was, it was actually starting to be kind of fun.
Well. As long as Mickey didn't think too hard about certain things. And with Rose wiggling her arse like that, thinking about those sorts of things was definitely hard. Much like his cock was, even harder now that he'd greased it up.
“Next time,” he whispered in Rose's ear as he positioned himself behind her, “let's not have a script.”
“Are you sure you're all right with this?” Mickey asked a week and a half later. Rose had bounced off to some sort of charity dinner with Jackie and Pete, something benefiting the families of Lumic's victims, and they were sitting together on the balcony, watching the stars come out, like they'd done from the roofs after the liberation of Paris. It was nice to have time alone together, especially considering how much of the last ten days they'd spent “helping” Rose.
Mickey wasn't entirely sure how he felt about that. Part of him was enjoying it—especially since Rose was letting them improvise things now—but there was another part of him that felt uneasy about the whole idea and still another part felt guilty, because it was obvious that Jake wasn't enjoying their games nearly as much as Rose or Mickey were.
Jake shrugged. “We've done a lot more dodgy things over the years than being ordered to have kinky threesomes with the boss's daughter.”
Mickey shot him an annoyed look. “He asked us to keep Rose happy. Not to...” He sighed. “You know what I mean.”
Jake rolled his eyes. “She's happy. Or she's acting happy. Which is good enough for me. And as for the rest of it... well. I can live with having sex with a woman.” He glanced sideways at Mickey. “Even if she is your ex.”
“It's not me she's interested in,” Mickey said under his breath and it was good, somehow, to be able to voice his misgivings. “Believe me, it's not.”
“Yeah,” said Jake softly. “I know.”
“She'd rather have a fake Doctor and Jack than a real you and me. That's fucked up, that's what it is.”
Jake squeezed Mickey's hand. “Yeah. I know.”
“And the worst part is... I almost don't care. Just as long as I don't have to worry about her throwing herself in the North Sea again.”
“Norse Sea,” Jake murmured.
“Norse Sea, then. Bloody parallel worlds. Just when you think you've got them figured out, they change the names on you.”
Jake didn't say anything then.
It wasn't fair, Mickey thought. It wasn't his fault that Rose was stranded here—that they both were, really, even though Mickey had chosen this world, had chosen to play the part of Ricky who was both him and not him. It wasn't Mickey's fault that the walls between dimensions were almost impenetrable and if they ever were penetrated it would be pretty much literally be the end of the world.
It wasn't fair and there was nothing he could do about it.
Mickey sighed. “We should go inside. It's getting cold.”
“If you're doing something that you know is wrong—but it's making someone you care about happy—only you don't think it's really making her happy, that it's just a sort of sticking plaster—what do you do?”
“Ricky, does this have something to do with Mr Tyler's daughter?”
“... sort of.”
“She's a nice girl, Ricky, but I don't think she's quite right in the head.”
Mickey laughed softly, tiredly. “Yeah. You're probably right.”
It was a few days after Tony had his second birthday that Jake finally got fed up.“Why doesn't Mickey ever play the Doctor?”
Rose blinked at him. Only ten minutes prior, they'd been having a perfectly normal game of Hide The Sonic Screwdriver, with Jake doing the hiding and Mickey describing his affair with the Empress Theodora in great detail while he played with Rose's breasts. “Huh?”
“It's not because he's black, is it?”
Rose stared at him. “No. It's not.”
“Well then,” said Jake, “why?”
Mickey shot him a dirty look. As far as he was concerned, Jack was the better role by far. All you needed to do to play Jack was to adopt a bad American accent and make up some guff about your daring sexual escapades through time and space. He didn't want to play the Doctor. Rose had certain standards for how to play the Doctor.
“Well,” said Rose after a long moment. “You've never met Jack. Mickey has.”
“Yes I have,” said Jake, smirking a little.
“No, you haven't,” Rose said, getting a bit annoyed. “Jack wasn't with us when we first met you. The Doctor left him in the future so he could save humanity from itself.”
“Captain Jack Harkness,” Jake said, slowly and deliberately, “runs your world's version of Torchwood Three in Wales. He goes around in a long coat all the time like a drama queen and he hits on anything that moves and some things that don't. Do you really think Mickey was the only person our Torchwood sent to infiltrate yours? He was just the last agent we pulled out.”
Rose glared at Mickey, every shred of of post-coital languidness vanished. “You knew,” she said flatly.
Mickey was suddenly glad that it didn't show when he blushed. “Sort of. I never got a good look at him—I was trying to stay out of the way, so he didn't recognize me and give the game away—but I overhead Yvonne talking to the heads of the other Torchwood offices and he certainly sounded like Jack.” He swallowed, hard. “I wanted to tell you, but it was never the right time and then after you got stuck on this side, you were bad off enough that I didn't want to risk making things worse.”
Rose got very still. “I am going to take a bath now,” she said in a cold voice. “When I come back I want you two out of my room. Do you understand?”
Mickey swallowed hard. “Perfectly.”
Mickey waited until he and Jake had got back to their own room to start yelling. “What the hell was that all about?”
“I can't do this any more,” said Jake tiredly.
“Fine,” said Mickey. “I understand. Sometimes I think I can't do it either. But did you have to be such an arsehole about telling her you wanted to quit?”
“Yes,” Jake said flatly. “I did.”
Mickey stared at him for a good long minute. Then he sighed. “Look, what's this really about?”
“I told you,” said Jake quietly. “I can't do this any more. Any of this.”
Mickey frowned. “What do you mean, any of this?”
“What I mean,” Jake said, and his voice was unbearably gentle, “is that I'm breaking up with you, Mickey.”
Mickey sat down hard on the edge of the bed. He opened his mouth, thought better of it, then closed it again.
“It's because of Rose,” he said finally, miserably. “Isn't it?”
“No. Well, sort of. Not exactly.” Jake looked jittery, uncomfortable. Good, thought a small, petty part of Mickey.
“You think I'm still in love with her,” Mickey said slowly. “Don't you? But I'm not any more. I haven't been since the Doctor swept in and took her away. A little bit of me might always love her just a little, but it's you that I love now, Jake. Not Rose.”
“That's the problem,” Jake whispered. “I'm not in love with you.”
It hurt. It hurt worse than when Rose had told him the same thing, while they had waited for the new Doctor to wake up from his regeneration coma. After everything they'd been through together... especially at the beginning, when Mickey hadn't entirely believed he could fit into Ricky's shoes, when he'd thought he wasn't brave enough or strong enough. But Jake had shown him that he could be brave and strong, had helped him come to terms with that the fact that yes, part of him did fancy blokes, just as much as the rest of him fancied girls.
“I loved Ricky,” said Jake and his voice sounded choked up. Was he crying? “I loved Ricky and I still love Ricky and don't you see, Mickey? I'm just as bad as Rose. Worse, because at least she's honest about it. She has to be. But I can go around pretending you're Ricky all the time and it's easy, because you practically are him. Only, you're not. And that's why I can't stay with you. Because I don't see you, I see Ricky, and I can't do that to you, any more. And I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry.”
Mickey swallowed hard. “Please. Just leave.”
Jake left. And Mickey curled himself into a ball and wept until there were no tears left.
Five days after that Rita-Ann Smith had a stroke.
She died a fortnight later.
Jake was at the funeral. Mickey had the vague impression that he'd spent a lot of time staring at him as the minister talked about the Kingdom of Heaven. Rose sat next to him, holding his hand.
It was raining that morning. “I'm sorry,” she whispered, as they watched the coffin being lowered into ground. “This must be even harder the second time.”
Mickey said nothing, just squeezed Rose's hand as if his life depended on her not letting go. She didn't.
She let him into her bedroom without hesitation the next day. “Mickey,” she said softly, as she touched his cheek. “Mickey, is everything all right?”
“I'm not Mickey,” he said.
He swallowed hard. “I'm the Doctor. I regenerated again. Don't you like my new body?”
Were those tears in the corner of her eyes? “Of course I do,” she murmured, brushing her lips against his. “It's perfect.”
Her head was warm on his chest, familiar. If he closed his eyes he could pretend they were back on the estate again, that nothing in the past seven years had happened.
“One heartbeat,” she murmured, softly. “Not two.”
He swallowed, hard. “Did you really think...?”
Rose shook her head without lifting it. “No. Not for a second. But... I appreciate the intent.”
“Oh,” he said. “Good.”
Rose nodded sleepily. “You don't like it here, do you? Not any more than I do.”
“No,” he said quietly. “I don't. Not any more.”
She kissed his throat. “You know Toshiko, right? She works in the archives. She found a diagram for this thing, this sort of dimensional hopper. She wants you to build it with her. It could get us home.”
It could get them home. It could destroy both worlds.
“I'd love to,” said Mickey.