Fic: Forty-Six Ways (WIP)
Title: (Eleven out of) Forty-Six Ways
Pairings: 1/2, 1/7, 1/8, 2/3, 3/8, 3/10, 5/6, 8/7, 8/9, 8/10, 9/10
Rating: PG-13, lots of snogging and not much else really
Notes: Ranges from crack to angst to fluff and back again. If anyone else wants to contribute to this effort, please do! Perhaps post them in comments and then when I make the next post, I'll add them with a byline? Or heck, do your own set. It's fun. Promise.
Well. Doesn’t everybody?
It was a lark, that was all, going back. Everyone knew the limitation effects didn’t quite apply to Time Lords, everyone had the late-night discussions, everyone knew how to lock off bits of their own memory they didn’t like and his last regeneration had been a looker, in Academy. It was more or less inevitable.
He could’ve done without the clown comment but the immediate afterevents were very much worth it.
He didn’t mean to be in 1963 for this long but there was that spot of trouble with the Daleks and, well, things occurred. Ace was well occupied giving the general populace headaches with that overlarge musical contraption of hers, and he was studiously not noticing that he was about to pay a visit to himself. At least until he found the junkyard door and gave in to inevitability.
He got called ‘young man’ and suffered some rather unflattering comparisons to his second incarnation, but he’d been lonely. It didn’t take much before the older man was accepting his embrace.
Theta would have been bored in this ‘explorative learning environment’ –code for ‘bloody boring piece of rock’ – except that it wasn’t that often that you got to see yourself from across the room without a mirror. Theta was shocked. And compelled.
“You know who that is, don’t you?” Koschei had caught him staring.
“Can’t be, can it?” But it was. Koschei didn’t do him the courtesy of replying, but really, Theta might not have noticed if he had. The man who he would be had already caught his eye, and was winding his way towards them.
“…And you’re not listening to a word I say. Just because you have a few decades on me doesn’t mean you know it all,” the Doctor heard. This came at the end of a rapid rant that’d been going on for quite some time.
It wasn’t that he wasn’t paying attention. It just seemed rather unimportant. He kept getting sidetracked by the overwhelming urge to… well, to snuggle. It was a pity he’d been so short last time round, but he was managing. Well, would be managing, if the clown hadn’t been trying to push him off the place he’d found with his head on the other’s shoulder.
“I don’t know what’s gotten into you,” he heard from above him. Hm. He seemed to be sitting down. He didn’t remember doing that. Interesting.
The other Doctor was looking at him in bafflement. The Doctor didn’t know why he should be confused. He should stop that and come over here and sit in his lap. He was almost positive the other would fit perfectly. They should at least make the experiment.
He was about to suggest this course of action when the other ran off into the TARDIS. This hardly seemed fair, and though it took him a couple of tries, he followed him into the blue box to tell him so.
The other Doctor was scanning through the list of planets he’d been to recently. The Doctor put a stop to this by draping himself over the smaller man and pressing his face into his ear. Said ear turned bright pink.
“Doctor, what’s going on?” he heard. Ah, he remembered that accent. He looked up.
The other Doctor, sounding a little strained, said, “Jamie, go down the main hall, fourth right, second left, left, orange door, red box with a mauve circle on it. Bring that back. Quickly.”
“But Doctor –“
The Doctor took very little notice of this conversation, and when Jamie ran through the door he took the opportunity to start rubbing the other Doctor’s shoulders.
“Stop that,” squeaked the other Doctor. The Doctor decided that now would be a very good time to make him stop talking.
Perhaps it was good that he’d been so tiny. He could take the shorter man in his arms and kiss him properly.
He was just getting into the swing of it when he felt something stab him in the shoulder. A second later, things got rather fuzzy, and he leaned on the console to steady himself.
When things stopped spinning, he asked, “…What did I just do?”
The other Doctor glared at him. “Did you really neglect to get your vaccine for Ordivora trelundarii? We were on Ordifica a day ago.”
“Oh.” The Doctor paused and replayed the events of the last ten minutes. “Oh. I’m sorry, that was extremely undignified. How embarassing.” It wasn’t his fault he hadn’t thought he’d come in contact with the pollen, but still.
The other Doctor just looked horrified. “Yes, and thanks to you I have that to look forward to!”
“You won’t remember it until it happens.”
“That’s not the point!” He and Jamie looked equally scandalized. If the Doctor remembered his last life correctly, he and Jamie were probably... Ah. No wonder Jamie looked as if he was having one of those kiss-or-kill moments.
“I’ll just show myself out,” the Doctor said, and left before either of them could yell at him further.
The Doctor had met the young man in the black velvet frock coat walking less than stealthily down the halls of UNIT. Asked for identification, he’d shrugged and flashed a dazzling smile and said, “I’m a Time Lord who doesn’t think you’re wrong. Good enough?”
That was three hours ago. Now they’re sitting in Bessie at the end of some road – he lost track of where he was going, somewhere down the line, and is trusting to intuition to help him get back – drinking good scotch and talking.
It was nice to find someone who appreciated things as much as he did. Really, that’s all he asked: someone to see the deeper meaning in something as simple as the sky. The young Time Lord has many ideas, sometimes almost tripping over his tongue in his hurry to get them out, and they so exactly match his own that the Doctor is starting to have his suspicions. He puts them away. His visitor should be left some secrets.
“And so the meaning tied to the colour is part and parcel of the way the light moves through it – oh dear. Have I really drunk all of this?” he asks now.
“I seem to have helped,” the Doctor admits.
They sit silent for a while. With the sun going down and the scotch gone they should be headed back. The Doctor doesn’t want to.
His visitor doesn’t want to either, if the way he’s leaning against the Doctor’s shoulder is any indication. “Thank you. This was nice. A good reminder.”
“What did it remind you of?” the Doctor can’t help but ask.
His visitor smiles. “That it was all worth it,” he says. He pulls himself away just enough that he can press his forehead to the Doctor’s; neither of them lets any telepathic contact slip through, but it’s intimate all the same. “Do you mind if I…?” he trails off, so close that the Doctor can feel the words on his skin.
“No,” the Doctor says, and the young man leans forward and kisses him gently. Later the Doctor will imagine that he knows how stars feel, burning from the inside.
He’s loud and he’s breaking things, but, the Doctor has to admit, he has a few good points, and he’s only broken the experiments the Doctor’s been meaning to scrap anyway.
“You should go to Barcelona, first thing, when you get off this rock,” he says. His hair is sticking straight up, he’s wearing very square glasses and his suit does not come from this century. At least he’s ahead of the curve instead of behind it this time.
He pushes the glasses down to look over them at a piece of a time dilator. “Nice that time of year…” he says, but he’s not really listening to what he’s saying.
“What are you doing?” the Doctor asks him.
“Hm? Oh, excellent question. I was just passing through and I happened to remember I was here now. I haven’t got the faintest idea why though,” he muses.
“The Time Lords didn’t send you?” the Doctor asks.
He looks up and something flashes across his face, almost pained. Then he grins. “Nah. Can’t a man do something to help himself out? Ah, here it is,” he says, pointing a strangely coloured sonic screwdriver at one of the Doctor’s pieces of equipment.
The Doctor jumps forward. “Careful with that! The radiation alone –“
“Yeah, yeah, I know, sterile patch the size of Norway, come here and help me complete this circuit.”
Ordinarily the Doctor wouldn’t take this, but eventually this man will be him, and he’s usually right in the end. The Doctor finishes his forward path and holds some connectors “Here and here, right where this little fiddly gold bit – and why does it have to be gold, really? I never understood that – joins the spring,” and waits for something to happen.
Something takes the form of a hot silver light running up his fingers and, just as the pain is about to make him drop it, a quick brush of the man’s lips against his. The shock he’s feeling is literal, the silver having jumped across to the other with the contact. The Doctor watches as it runs down his fingers and back into the machinery.
The other looks very pleased with himself. “There we go! Fixed.”
“What did you do?” the Doctor asks, because he can’t concieve of how what they’ve done would work.
He looks concerned for a minute then refocuses. “Oh right, you haven’t – well. It just needed some temporal jiggery-pokery, that’s all, it was out of phase in a couple of the higher dimensions. Went through some time travelers and that was enough to jerk it back into place, neat as you like.”
The Doctor thought about it. “You could have done that by yourself.”
He grinned. “Well, yeah, but I kinda wanted to visit, you know how it is. …Fancy a drink?”
The slime had managed to wrap itself around the Doctor’s hands, chest, and head, and was now squelching speculatively towards his upper thigh. The Doctor tugged on his lapels and observed the situation.
“I really cannot believe how completely wet I was. I don’t know how I survived as long as I did.”
His younger self gave him a dirty look, but merely said, “Oh, good. That bodes well for my future. Do you recall how we got out of this predicament?”
“Any chance you could get on with it? I think it’s about to make a bid for my celery and – mph.” There went the mouth.
The Doctor sighed, and snogged himself. About ten seconds of tonguing later, he pulled back, with a smug if slightly disgusted expression.
The Doctor, looking a little flushed and a lot annoyed, said, “That’s really not high on my list of priorities right now.”
“Don’t be dense, Doctor. You’ll notice that your mouth is now free.”
“I fail to see why you’re complaining.”
“Does it have to be Gallifreyan saliva?”
“Ugh. Still I suppose it could be worse.”
The Doctor did not dignify that with a response, instead setting about the business of freeing the Doctor’s left hand.
He hadn’t really meant to, he’d just gotten so excited when they fixed the temporal transducers. And, well, he supposed he’d gotten in the habit.
Besides, his last incarnation hadn’t seemed all that displeased with his kissing skills, and the loss of that jumper could hardly be a bad thing.
It wasn’t something he’d planned, y’know. He’d meant to get a coffee and a newspaper, figure out what year it was, maybe take in a near-death experience. He hadn’t meant to come around the corner and walk straight into a fluffy-haired prat in a frock coat.
He stopped in shock, just long enough to let the other realize that yes, that was another Time Lord in front of him, and wasn’t that mind familiar. His last life opened his mouth. And then the Doctor punched himself in the face.
The younger man didn’t fall over, but there was enough force in the blow that he staggered back. The Doctor had him up against the nearest wall before he could get in a breath. He was ready to kick him, throw him over, strangle him, do something, but then he looked into those blue eyes, and shocked himself into stillness.
“What have I done?” his last life asked. He shouldn’t’ve, didn’t expect an answer. The Doctor just kept still, breathing hard and glaring.
After a few seconds of this, he heard, “Put me down, please.” He listened. It took him a few seconds, but he managed to release his grip, and then stared lost at the ground.
A hand on his shoulder brought him back into the present. “You’re mad at yourself. Whatever it is I haven’t done it yet. I hope you’re not here to try and change that,” the younger man said softly.
The Doctor shook his head. “Nah. I know better. Too late now,” he said. His laugh had no humor in it. “This is the TARDIS’s fault.”
“Are you sure about that?” he asked. The Doctor couldn’t think of a reply to that, so he just shrugged and stuck his hands in his pockets and tried not to let his face screw up. He’d thought he was done with the crying.
The hand became more insistent and he found his face pressed into the shoulder of a velvet coat. Fantastic. He was not crying on his own shoulder, but it was a close thing.
“You won’t believe me,” he heard, “but it’s never as bad as we think it is.” It could’ve been telepathy, or speech, at that distance it didn’t even matter.
“You’re right, I don’t believe it,” he said.
They stood there for a while. The Doctor never bothered to figure out how long. Then he felt a quick brush of lips on the side of his face and was pushed away.
“I’ll leave before we cause a paradox,” the younger man said. “You should go too. I spend a lot of time here, remember. Goodbye.”
The Doctor did, without bothering to say his farewell.
He keeps crossing paths with his tenth regeneration and he’s not sure he wants to know why. He barely remembers the last few times; there could be many more that have escaped his mind entirely.
No matter how many times he meets the tall, wild-haired, wild-eyed man, though, every time he thinks, I have to know, and, but why now, and, this can’t be good for me. But then…
But then there’s a figure in a pinstriped suit looking miserable on a dock in bloody Cardiff, and the Doctor walks to his side, and as always he asks no questions.
Quite frankly it was all the TARDIS’s fault. Well, it could have been Rose. It certainly wasn’t the Doctor who set them to materialize a day and a kilometer away from the JFK assassination.
Naturally they’d set down next to another police box, and that could only mean one thing. The Doctor would’ve left right away, but Rose stepped out first, and the other TARDIS’s doors opened, and between her sudden tears of joy and his own shock, the Doctor couldn’t make himself care about the risks.