Pete leaned back in his chair and frowned. Selby was watching him intently; expecting an explanation, but the problem he had now was… the first train of thought had been he would tell Selby everything, make him understand why Rose was… it seemed so complicated and muddled in his head but now he realized that… how could he even begin to…? There wasn’t anything to tell!
In the cramped kitchen, Selby watched Pete, unaware of the inner battle taking place. ‘Start at the beginning?’ he suggested after another minute of tortured silence.
Coming back to his senses, Pete glanced up at him. ‘There isn’t really a beginning,’ he said. ‘I… it seems so complicated in my mind, but really it’s not anything,’ he added lamely.
Selby frowned. Either Pete really didn’t know what he was talking about or… or he didn’t want him to know. But Selby wanted to know. He liked things to make sense, and out of everything that was wrong with the world, Rose made sense the least. So, in a Selby like fashion, he decided to be blunt.
‘Why does Rose sometimes seem like she’s looking through you? Why is it that, when you catch her looking at you, you think that maybe she doesn’t really believe that you’re there? How did you survive a year wandering about on this godforsaken planet without getting caught by Daleks?’
Pete scowled at Selby. All the confusion in his head, it wasn’t down to facts or actions. It was down to feelings. Just that nagging sense that Rose didn’t quite fit in, that nagging sense that there was more to all this than a planetary invasion, the sense that something was fundamentally missing from life… the sense that he shouldn’t be here. How can you explain feelings?
‘Have you ever had Déjà vu?’ he eventually asked.
‘Déjà vu? The feeling that you’ve already experienced something.’ Selby said.
‘Yeah, okay,’ said Pete. ‘Now take that feeling and multiply it by a hundred.’
‘That’s how Rose described it.’
But Pete didn’t seem to be listening to him. ‘Imagine doing something, seeing something, and you swear… you know that you’ve done it before. It’s something you’re just so certain about. And it’s more than just a five second feeling that the world’s repeated, it goes deep down through you, right through your bones.’
Pete looked up at Selby.
‘When the Daleks attacked, we were having dinner. Me, Jackie, Rose and Mickey had come round too. And they just… knew it all,’ he said at last.
Selby frowned, confused. ‘The Daleks?’
‘No! Rose, Mickey and Jacks.’
‘Everything!’ said Pete. ‘We saw them. Well, actually we heard them first, shooting at things…people… Then we saw them, flying past, all over London, shrieking, and shooting, and doing god knows what, and Rose and Mickey and Jackie just… stared at them. They didn’t say anything, just stared. An’ I was yelling at them to move, or run, or something. I was trying to ring people, shouting down the phone asking what the hell the things were, and Rose just turned around and told me.’
Pete frowned. ‘She just said, “They’re Daleks. They’re going to kill us all. Exterminate us.” And she said it calmly! So matter of fact! But… she looked so scared.’
‘But how did she know?’
Selby scoffed. ‘That’s stupid! There’s no way she could have known what they were. No way. No one had ever seen them before… No one on the face of the planet knew what they were! You trying to tell me Rose had seen a Dalek before?’
Pete shook his head and spoke very carefully. ‘Rose had never seen a Dalek before in her life. None of them had.’
‘Then she couldn’t have just known!’
‘But she did,’ said Pete quietly. Selby stared and him and shook his head.
‘It’s impossible,’ he said. ‘You can’t remember things that you’ve never seen.’
‘Well they did, all right?’
Selby rubbed his eyes. ‘She recognized the Daleks,’ he mused to himself. ‘Never seen them before, but just… knew about them…’ he glanced up at Pete disbelievingly, ‘Mickey and Jackie too?’
Pete pulled a face. ‘No… not really… Once Rose had said it they recognized the name, and they recognized the image. They knew that the things over London were Daleks, but nothing else. It was only Rose who knew the name off the top of her head like that. It was only Rose who knew more.’
‘Okay,’ said Selby, ‘So Rose knew things that she didn’t know how she knew and that no one else knew.’ And in the privacy of his mind, he added,nut case.
Pete nodded. ‘It was all down to Rose in the end,’ he said. ‘We’d be dead without her. When the Daleks came she… she just went all glassy eyed and started yelling at us, giving orders and stuff. And she justknew how to avoid them… knew how they moved and how they thought… and how to fight them.
‘For a year after the Daleks took over, we just wandered around… always hiding, always afraid of them,’ he sighed and rose from the table. ‘We walked all the way from London to here. It seemed like a good a place as any to hide. Jake found us shortly after.’
‘Then you started rescuing people, right? One big happy family?’ said Selby.
Pete shrugged and moved towards the door. ‘We try,’ he said.
‘But,’ said Selby, trying once more to get a grip on what he had been told. ‘You survived the Daleks because Rose just knew how to…’ it sounded so ridiculous, ‘and how did Jake survive?’
From the doorway, Pete considered this and gave a small smile.
‘He remembered the Daleks as well.’
Selby blinked. Jake too? That made even less sense! At least Rose, Jackie and Mickey lived together; they were all sort of connected so it made sense if they all thought they recognized the Daleks… but Jake didn’t have anything to do with them! He hadn’t even met them before the Daleks came!
‘So how did he…?’ Selby began.
‘Maybe that’s why he found us,’ interjected Pete. ‘Like he was drawn to us because he and the others all share these memories… Do you believe in fate?’
‘It’s hard to believe in anything anymore.’
Pete shrugged dismissively. ‘Well there you go,’ he said. ‘There’s not really anything else I can tell you, there’s nothing more to it. But don’t go asking Rose about it.’
‘You don’t want me to?’
‘No, it’s not that, you just won’t get anything from her. And the more you ask, the less she’ll like you. Best to leave it alone.’
The bed made a whining creak as Mickey flumped down and stared at the object in his hand. Rose sat by him and watched him carefully, occasionally glancing up at Jake to try and read their expressions.
‘All right…’ Mickey said at last. ‘I knew that, what ever it was, it had to be small enough to put in your pocket, but…’ he frowned and tossed it at Jake to examine. ‘I really wasn’t expecting that,’ he said.
Rose sighed. ‘You dunno what it is?’
‘No,’ said Mickey, and Jake shook his head, silently examining the object. ‘Why,’ Mickey added, suddenly suspicious, ‘do you know what it is?’
‘You’re a terrible liar.’
Rose glowered at him.
‘Well you are!’ said Mickey. ‘Don’t try to fool me Rose Tyler, I know you. You kept clutching at that thing when you thought no one was lookin’, its important to you isn’t it?’
‘No!’ a pause. ‘Yes…’
Jake handed it back to her. ‘What is it?’ he asked.
‘I dunno, I really don’t,’ said Rose truthfully. ‘I found it in the camp when I was looking for other stuff, it was just lying there.’
‘What other stuff?’
Rose pressed her lips together, seeming to consider her answer, before she gave a half hearted shrug. ‘About a week ago, I heard Dalek scouts talking about some new stuff that had been stored there.’
Jake raised his eyebrows. ‘So you just went off to get it? Sounds a bloody stupid thing to do.’
Rose nodded distractedly. It did sound stupid.
‘I know,’ she said, ‘but it wasn’t just that, the way they were talking about this stuff it sounded important... they said it was,’ and here she took a deep breath, ‘Gallifreyan artifacts.’
And there it was again.
That… odd sensation in the back of the mind.
Mickey blinked as he felt it settle into place, like an unpleasant bout of déjà vu. He had heard that word before… it felt so familiar to him…
He glanced over at Rose, and saw her faded expression.
‘That was that word you said before,’ said Jake.
Rose nodded mutely and Mickey knew that she must have felt it to. When she heard that word for the first time, she must have felt the same mind numbing sensation as he… that simple word that just sounded so right and so natural… But, and Mickey was positive about this, he had never, never, heard that word in his life. So how come it felt so mind-bogglingly familiar to him?
‘Gallifreyan…’ murmured Jake. He rolled the word around his mouth as he grew accustomed to it. ‘I dunno, Rose, it still seems a lot to put yourself through just because you heard a familiar word.’
Rose took a deep breath, squeezing her eyes shut as she tried to draw strength. If anyone had been watching closely, they would have seen her hand give an involuntary twitch, as though it longed to clasp at a certain pocket for comfort and assurance even though it was now empty.
‘It wasn’t just familiar,’ she tried to explain, ‘it was… it was,’ she waved her hands vaguely as she tried to recount the sensation she had felt, ‘right,’ she finished lamely.
‘Like déjà vu,’ supplied Mickey.
Rose suddenly twisted her head to look round at him, a burning look in her eyes. ‘You felt it.’ she stated.
Mickey nodded, a wistful look on his face. ‘Yeah… like I’ve heard it before, but I know I never have. It feels like a memory that I forgot… like really bad déjà vu or something. It feels…’
‘Right,’ finished Rose. Mickey nodded.
Jake looked at them both and nodded slowly in understanding. He understood in a vague way, it was the same feeling he had felt when he had seen the Daleks for the first time… that was something he shared with Rose and Mickey, but not this word.
‘All right,’ he said, ‘so yer heard about these Gallifreyan artifacts and went off to find them,’ Rose nodded. ‘And what were they?’ he asked.
‘There were loads of old boxes and crates, hundreds of ‘em. I opened a few and they were full of weird machines and wires and stuff.’
‘Useful stuff?’ asked Mickey.
‘Nope. Stuff I’d never seen before,’ Rose paused and thought about it, ‘it almost looked alien, at least some of it did.’
‘Like Dalek stuff?’
‘No. Maybe from a different planet… maybe one the Daleks took over.’
‘This Gallifreyan place?’
Jake shrugged one shoulder and joined Mickey and Rose on the bed. Together, they all looked at the little object from another world.
‘It was just sat on top of one of the boxes,’ Rose said, ‘I mean, it looked like nothing–’
‘I would have walked right past it if it hadn’t….’
A thick silence suddenly filled the room as Rose trailed off, staring at the thing in her hands. Mickey and Jake exchanged glances.
‘What?’ asked Mickey cautiously.
Very slowly, Rose looked up at them and spoke her next words with care, as though she hardly believed it herself. ‘It said my name.’
‘My name, it… it just said it.’
Mickey screwed up his forehead and looked baffled. ‘What then?’
‘Look,’ said Rose. She opened the little leather wallet and flashed Mickey and Jake the blank paper that was secured inside.
‘Yeah, we saw that.’
‘Well it said my name!’
‘What, in writing?’
As though he was handling some precious gem, Mickey took the wallet from Rose and stared down at the perfectly white paper. ‘It doesn’t say anything on it now though,’ he said and passed it back to Rose.
‘I know,’ she said. ‘But I swear to you Mickey, it did. It said “Rose” on it and then it sort of faded away…’ she looked imploringly up at him. ‘What was I supposed to do? Just leave it? It spoke to me!’
‘It’s a piece of paper in a little wallet thingy,’ said Jake doubtfully.
‘You think its alien.’
Mickey grabbed the wallet and peered down at it, twisting it in his hands to look at the back of it. ‘What if it’s dangerous?’ he said suddenly. ‘If it said your name then maybe its, like, psychic or somethin’… It could be reading your mind!’
Rose stared at him. ‘Don’t be stupid,’ she said hesitantly. Something about what he was saying seemed… sort of right, but she knew in her heart that whatever the strange thing was, it was important. It was special, and she wanted it.
‘Give it back,’ she said quickly and snatched the wallet from Mickey’s grasp.
And then the world distorted.
For a fraction of a second that seemed to spread out over eons, Rose Tyler was lost… lost somewhere that was so incomprehensibly far away from home, it ached... somewhere twisted, and sharp, with echoing voices and shouting. For a fraction of a second, Rose Tyler heard the screams of the long forgotten...