Funny how in the midst of an interplanetary war, it was the little things Jake noticed most. Everyday stuff, like stopping down the pub for a pint after a full day of taking down Cybermen. Before he'd always taken that stuff for granted, because that was just the way things were, and chances were they'd always be that way. But after he and Ricky almost got themselves killed the first time, the little things started to mean a lot more.
And it was even more important after Ricky, because that time he did lose something. At first he blamed Mickey for surviving, for being the one to make it while Ricky...didn't. But once he got over that it was almost like having a second chance, and he started to appreciate the little things about the time they spent together even more.
Mickey wasn't Ricky; he knew that, and even if he'd tried to lie to himself, Mickey wouldn't have let him. But they were different enough to keep reminding Jake that Mickey was his own person, and after awhile he kind of liked that too.
Mickey wasn't as focused as Ricky, to begin with. He got the job done and eventually he even got good at it, but he never had the kind of drive Ricky did. He never disappeared for days without bothering to tell anybody, leaving Jake to worry that the Cybermen had finally caught up with him.
But he didn't always get Jake's jokes, and when Jake forgot and mentioned something that happened back in the old days, Mickey just looked at him blankly. He spent a lot of time talking about his own past, too, about that other life back in that other world. Sometimes it got so bad that Jake almost wished he'd gone back there, but then Mickey would grin at him or touch his arm and everything would be right again.
The thing was, he liked their routine. Liked traveling around with Mickey in the beat-up van, joining up with others to fight every once in awhile and then going off on their own again. He liked waking up crammed together in whatever bed they'd happened to crash in, even if it was just the mattress in the back of the van. He liked the way Mickey kissed him -- different from Ricky, less intense but sweeter somehow -- and he liked that Mickey needed him more than Ricky ever had.
He didn't think much about what that said about him until Rose crashed back into Mickey's life, dragging her mum with her and suddenly Mickey didn't need Jake so much anymore. And he'd never really thought of himself as selfish until Jackie and Rose turned up, but as it turned out, he didn't like having to share.
He'd heard all the stories about Rose, and he knew how Mickey felt about her. And he was okay with it back when she was stuck in another universe, but now she was here and Mickey wasn't just his anymore. It wasn't like Mickey just dropped him the second she came back around; they still fell asleep with Mickey's arm draped around his waist, and they still woke up with Jake's face pressed into Mickey's neck. They were still mates, still more than that too and he was pretty sure Rose knew about it. Mickey hadn't really tried to hide it, at least, and Jake knew that should give him hope. But he knew Mickey, maybe not as well as Rose herself, but well enough to know where Mickey's loyalties were.
So he didn't try to argue when Mickey announced that he had to follow Rose and her folks on some crazy trip to Norway, and he didn't try to invite himself along. He wasn't part of that...whatever they were to each other, and he'd resigned himself to the fact that he never would be. So he didn't remind Mickey about their standing Friday night date, didn't point out what he was giving up. Because Rose needed Mickey, and no matter how selfish Jake was, he didn't want Mickey to know it.
Instead he resigned himself to spending the weekend alone for the first time since Mickey turned up, and he tried not to think too much about what was going on with Rose. He tried not to resent how easily she became the center of everyone's attention, focusing instead on the van repairs he'd been putting off in favor of spending as much time with Mickey as Mickey would give him. He told himself this was a good thing, because before Mickey he'd been on top of these things and it was about time he pulled himself together. Back when it was him and Ricky he'd always had plenty of time to keep the van in good shape; he needed something to do when Ricky pulled his disappearing acts, after all, if only to keep himself from going crazy with worry. But Mickey had never disappeared on him before -- hadn't disappeared this time, either, if Jake was being fair -- and he'd let a lot of stuff slide in the past few months.
So he wasn't thinking about Rose, and he wasn't thinking about the way Mickey dropped everything to follow her across Europe. He wasn't thinking about anything except the mysterious drip that had started last month and the squealing brakes that had started last Tuesday. He wasn't wondering what Mickey was doing or when he'd be back, if he'd realized what day it was or that he'd left town without even saying he was sorry for missing the first Friday night since they'd met. Because it didn't matter; it wasn't even a standing date. It was just that they were always together, so it made sense to spend one night a week unwinding together at the pub.
Jake wasn't thinking about any of that, though, because his clothes were covered in grease and he still hadn't found the source of the drip. He scowled and rolled out from under the van, catching himself just before he pushed grease-covered fingers through his hair. Not that it mattered, because Mickey wasn't around to complain about the smell of grease on the pillows and Jake never slept all that well when he was on his own.
He let out a sigh as the garage door rattled, the sound instantly setting him on edge as he pictured Cybermen on the other side of the wall. But when the door rolled up it wasn't Cybermen staring in at him, and he was too relieved to be surprised that Mickey was standing in the doorway.
"You look well nice."
And it was just like Mickey to take the piss, but Jake's heart skipped a beat all the same as he stood up. "Somebody's got to work around here."
"Thought we had a date." Mickey hoisted a couple bottles as he said it, expression sort of smug like he knew exactly what Jake was thinking. Knew all the doubts he'd had, and just how quickly he'd given up when Rose came round again.
"Thought you were off saving the world."
Mickey shook his head slowly and set the bottles down before he pulled the garage door closed again. "Wouldn't do that without my partner."
He knew what Mickey was saying; at least he thought he did, and if he was wrong he didn't want to know. So he kept his mouth shut and watched Mickey cross the room, stopping in front of Jake and closing his hand around the front of Jake's grease-smudged shirt. He didn't ask if everything was sorted with Rose, didn't ask after Jackie or Pete or what happened in Norway. Instead he let Mickey pull him forward, his free hand in Jake's hair to hold him in place while Mickey kissed him. And it was hard not to touch, but his hands were still covered in grease and he didn't want to ruin the moment by messing up Mickey's clothes, so he kept his arms by his sides and kissed back as hard as he could.
"What's wrong?" Mickey breathed against his mouth, pulling back far enough to look down at Jake's hands.
"Grease," Jake murmured by way of explanation, holding his hands up and it seemed kind of stupid now that he'd said it out loud.
"Don't care," Mickey answered, surging forward again and this time Jake didn't try to stop himself from touching. He wrapped his arms tight around Mickey, hands sliding under his jacket and ruining his shirt, but he could tell by the way Mickey moaned into his mouth that he really didn't care.
God, I missed you, he thought, realized he'd said it out loud when Mickey pulled back and said, "Me too." And he knew he was grinning like an idiot, but he couldn't bring himself to care when Mickey caught one of his hands and tugged him toward the door.
"Alright with you if we skip the pub and stay in tonight?"
"Yeah," Jake said, forgetting all about the van and everything else he'd spent the day trying so hard to focus on. "Best idea you've ever had."