this is us, then

by gabesaunt [Reviews - 0]

  • Teen
  • None
  • Alternate Universe

Author's Notes:
This is very Au for me and I tried to keep the characters true to who they are but with different quirks.

In this life…she’s a schoolteacher.

Every day she packs a small lunch for herself that consists of the same items: a turkey and cheese sandwich, an apple, and a bottle of water. Every day, she walks the three blocks from her flat to the school, taking the same route. Every day, she follows the exact same time table from the day before, no deviation from her schedule. And every day, at lunch, she sits in the same location as the day before, where she quietly watches the new geography teacher.

She’s ruled by routine.

His name is John Smith and she’s fascinated. He’s charmed all of the other teachers (especially the women), enticed all of his students to study harder and played havoc with her feelings. She’s only spoken to him once or twice, generally inane remarks regarding the weather or current state of British politics, but each time she wants to stay longer, wishing she could find the right words to say to prolong the encounters. Her mum, Jackie, would know how to flirt with him and have the right things to say but she finds all the right words seem to escape her.

So she watches, like she does every day, and waits.

Today, being the same as yesterday, she is eating her sandwich in the yard waiting for Mr. Smith to show up when he surprises her by quietly sliding down next to her.

“Hey! Would you like some company?” His eyes are searching hers, warm and open. “Rose, yeah?”

She blushes and moves over to make room for him, “Rose Tyler, literature.” She wishes she could think of something else to say, something clever. She knows that she will come up with something the minute he leaves and that annoys her.

Surprisingly, he simply continues speaking as if she hadn’t spoken. “Rose Tyler who teaches literature. Ah, I love literature. So many fascinating stories, they’re fantastic. I bet you didn’t know that some of those stories are true. People say they’re fiction or fables but I know that they’ve really happened and in passing down from generation to generation, the stories somehow (over time, mind) became fiction.”

He stops to wave his hand in the air in front of him. “But I bet you already know all this, being a teacher of stories. I bet you know that there’s more fact than fiction in those stories.”

She’s a little stunned at the speed of his speech and making the effort to follow the path he’s moving on. In that instant, she understands why everyone is easily charmed. It’s not simply how handsome he is (though he does have great hair), it’s the ease in which he carries himself and the confidence he shows.

Laughing, she looks at him. “Well, I’ve always loved books and fairy tales. When I was a little girl, my Mum would tell me stories and I could never tell if they were real or made up. But I loved them all. So, that’s how I approach stories today. Who cares if they’re real or not, just as long as they’re fascinating.”

He grins at her, widely. “I just knew that, Rose Tyler!”

He’s quiet for a moment, letting the since settle between them, before he jumps into the next topic. “Don’t you wish you could do something different? Go somewhere else? I always have the feeling that I should be doing something different and when I saw you for the first time, I had that same feeling about you.”

She stares at him, eyes sober but wanting. “I like what I do. What else is there?”

“Haven’t you wanted to travel the world, see new things?” His eyes are staring off, not looking at her.

She’s never told anyone about her desire to travel, to do something that wasn’t the same thing that she did yesterday. It scares her a little, that this stranger can see her so clearly.

“Rose Tyler, I think we were meant to for something more.” His hand laces through hers for an instant and squeezes, gently.

And she knows, in that exact moment, that things will not be the same again.


In this life…she’s a clerk at a motel called Paradise.

Well, really it’s more the errand girl but she likes to say clerk. Sounds better than motel dogs body. And her mum thinks it’s less sketchy that way.

No one has a name; she just thinks of them as room numbers. Mr. Sixteen needs new towels. Miss Eight needs pillows. Mr. Twenty would like someone to fetch something to the pub around the corner for him. She never cares what they’re real names are; all she wants to do is get them their stupid towels so she can get back to the telly and EastEnders.

It’s not a bad job, really. Pays decent, and it's better then being a shop girl on her feet all day, listening to all those posh customers, complaining. She could do worse than work in a seedy motel called Paradise.

The bell at the counter rings, and she reluctantly drags herself away from the telly. It’s late and she thought she was free and clear for the night. Annoyed, she pulls up to the counter and hands the gentleman standing there the ledger.

“How many nights?” Her voice is clipped and abrupt.

“Good evening!” He smiles at her, rocking slightly on his heels.

When she hears his tone, she drags her gaze away from the ledger and looks at him. His suit is rumpled and his hair is sticking up every which way. Actually, he looks like he could be a little mad so she starts to edge farther away from him.

“I need a room just for the night. The rain is pretty bad so I figured I’d stop for the night and wait it out.” He’s still rocking slightly on his heels.

Of course, she thinks. Just one night.

Pushing the ledger towards him, she asks him to fill out his name. “How will you be paying?” She watches as he signs his name, John Smith. She looks at him skeptically, “Really? You couldn’t come up with something a little less…anonymous?”

He looks taken aback. “Well, that’s my name. My real name.”

Right, and I’m Queen Elizabeth. She shakes her head as he hands over cash for the bill. “You’re in room ten. It’s up those stairs and down the hall on the left.”

She hands over the key and watches as he moves towards the stairs. Goodnight, Mr. Ten. I really hope you’re gone by the time I come in tomorrow.

She sighs as he stops and turns back towards the counter where she’s still standing. “Do you know if there’s anyplace around here still open for food?”

She turns and points out the window. “Around the corner, Billy’s pub is still open. You could get something warm there.” He’s staring at her, not acknowledging what she’s just said. “Can I help you with something else?”

“You don’t like me very much.”

She laughs. “It’s not you (much). I was watching the telly before you came in and I’m still distracted, s’all.” She wasn’t going to tell him he gave off creepy vibes since that’s just rude.

He pauses to scratch his neck. “So do you want to come with me and get something to eat?”

Was he hitting on her now? “Can’t, sorry. I have to watch the counter since there’s no one else.” Great, now he knows she’s all alone. Way to go, Rose.

Again, he smiles at her. “No problem, I could bring something back for the both of us and we could eat it here.”

“No!” Her words come out in a rush. “I mean, that’s nice of you but I’ve already eaten tonight.”

He sighs and she sees the lines on his face for the first time, the echo of exhaustion in his eyes. She hesitates, but her instincts tell her that this guy is simply tired and in need of some company.

“Tell you what, if you run over there and bring me back some chips, I can grab the little table out back and set it up here for us, yeah?”

She watches as his eyes light up and his smile dazzles. “Great, great! That would be fantastic!”

His name is really John Smith and he’s a salesman. An honest to God, door to door salesman. He tries to get home a few times a year, has no family, and likes to tinker in his flat with random objects. He swears that he can make a clock out of bubble gum and plywood and she believes him. He spends most of his time alone, moving from town to town; from city to city. Occasionally, he meets people on the way who travel with him, but he avoids becoming attached; thinks it’s too dangerous. She’s starting to wonder what it would be like to travel with him which is kind of crazy since she really doesn’t know him.

She feels like she’s known him her whole life.

“Where are you off to next?” She’s starting to like this person, with the rumpled suit and wild hair. She likes his quiet sense of humour and manic energy, that surrounds him as he waves his hands mid-story. She thinks his stories are wonderful and can imagine herself in them, as they travel around the country.

“Actually, I’m going home. Time for a bit of a break.” He watches her as her face falls, even then knowing what she wants without her saying a word.

“Will you come through here again, soon? Perhaps you could come by and say hi as you go by.” She waves her hand around the room. “S’not like I’m going anywhere.”

“Do you want to come with me?” He shakes his head. “Actually, that sounds worse out loud than it did in my head. I mean, do you think you’d like to travel with me for awhile; see something of the country?”

She stares at him doubtfully. She can only imagine what her mum would say, traveling about with a complete stranger. Jackie wouldn’t like it at all and won’t hesitate to make her crazy.

But something about this guy is sincere and it sounds exciting. Better than working at a motel called Paradise for the rest of her life.

“Yeah, I think that would be great! I think you might have to come and meet my mother first. I can’t leave without letting her know.”

His lips curl in distaste. “I really don’t do family.”

“Yeah? You’ll just love Jackie, trust me.” Her smile is wide as she reaches over and grabs at the last of the chips. “We can tell her we met over chips and stale beer, she’ll appreciate that.”


In this life…she’s an ex-shop assistant, ex-girlfriend to Mickey, and ex-Londoner (well, most of the time, anyway). She spends her life traveling around with the Doctor in his time machine. Yes, it sounds crazy but the reality is anything but. She can’t imagine her life being any different and wouldn’t trade a single day for anything. She’s living a life no one could’ve imagined; a life she often takes for granted.

“Doctor?” She’s sitting near the console, legs swinging in time to the beats coming from below her feet. The Doctor is hammering away at something, muttering under his breath as he works.

“Yes?” A trace of impatience threads his voice.

“Do you ever wonder what would’ve happen if we hadn’t met? If I hadn’t helped you with the Nestene?”

The Doctor pulls his head out from under the console and stares at her. “They say that every time we make a decision, a parallel world is created where the opposite of that decision is played out.”

She stares at him. “So you think if we hadn’t met, if I hadn’t come along with you; another version of us is out there somewhere? That’s a little weird.”

He shrugs. “I’ve heard of weirder things. I like to think, that no matter what world we live in, that I would’ve found a way to meet you.”

She smiles down at him. “I like to think so, too.”

He crawls back under the console and resumes hammering away at the metal. She continues to swing her legs and imagines thousands of Roses meeting the Doctor.

Weird but in a way, exactly right.