Fic Tennis: Twelfth Match, Part 3
Wow. Well. Apparently this fic tennis is going kind of long. Here we are with Part Three of our ongoing match. In case you missed it, Part One and Part Two. If you want to avoid any potential TenToo/Rose feels, you might as well go ahead and savior “fic tennis.”
Head and stomach churning, the Doctor sits down next to the blond boy on the floor, picks up one of the toy trucks and flips it over, inspecting the undercarriage. “Mmm. Simple retraction velocity mechanism, I presume?”
Head tipping sideways, Tony stares at the Doctor as if he’s spouting out random sounds that bear no resemblance to human speech. The Doctor blinks, does a quick mental check of the last few seconds to make sure he was speaking English and hadn’t slipped into Gallifreyan or Farsi or Elvish. Realizing he was indeed speaking the Queen’s own, he lifts his eyebrows at the boy expectantly.
Tony says, “Mum always said you never made any sense.”
“Your mum said that, did she? Ohhhh, well, sense is overrated,” the Doctor tells him with a grin and a wink. “Especially as far as dealing with Jackie Tyler is concerned. We can improve the speed and power of these things with just a few little tweaks, have them crossing the length of the house in one go. Do you happen to know where your parents keep their tools?”
Tony’s eyes brighten at that. “Da’s got a box in the garage!”
Popping to his feet, lifting Tony up and bouncing him before setting him back down, the Doctor says, “Lead on then, my good man!”
Rose is closing the doors to the parlor, with her back to the room, and when she turns around Tim is right there. Close, tall and familiar and her source of comfort for the last half a year.
“I know,” he says, his arms slipping around her, pulling her against him. “I know what’s coming, what’s happening, and just – just let me have this, just for a second. Before it all starts. Please?”
It’s like a reflex, relaxing into Tim’s embrace, her arms slipping around his back and hands spreading against his shoulderblades as she presses her cheek to his chest. He smells like aftershave and his shirt still carries the faint hint of his detergent that she knows so well from the sheets on his bed. There’s no subtle alien nuance to his scent, nothing unusual. So very, very human.
“I’m sorry,” she says, and the words are strained, broken. Trip on the way out of her mouth.
“Do you think, if Sarah somehow miraculously showed up on my doorstep, back from the dead, that I would be able to turn her away? To say no? Don’t be sorry.”
Rose has to get some distance, because the warmth of his body and the sound of his voice rumbling through his chest are like shards of glass, poking at her. Reminders of the fact that what’s happening – it isn’t fair to anyone, really. Clearing her throat, using her cuff to wipe at the hot moisture building in her eyes, she steps away from him. “C’mon, let’s sit down.”
She perches on one end of the couch, Tim settles on the other. Normally he’d throw his arm along the back of it, stretch out, sprawl. Now, he sits with his legs together, his arms crossed over his chest, and his shoulders hunched.
“I’m glad you’re okay. I wondered, when the stars came back and I didn’t hear from you for a couple of days – thought that maybe something had gone wrong, even though you achieved your – what do they call it? Mission objective? The brass at Torchwood weren’t very forthcoming in the information department, and when I called Pete, he was very cryptic about everything.” Tim’s eyes dart toward the door, toward the Doctor beyond it, in the other end of the house.
She smiles, a small stretching of her lips. “Yeah, managed to muddle through with only a few bruises. Destroyed a good bit of Torchwood tech, though. The paperwork on that’s going to kill me.”
“And your alien bloke, the one so intent on saving that other universe over there, that other Earth. He came back to this one, just for you.” It’s a statement and a question, all at the same time.
Rose’s gaze falls to her hands in her lap, to where she’s picking at her cuticles.
“It’s…complicated,” she says, and it’s such a drastic understatement that she almost laughs.
“Oh, is he not staying then?” The hope running barely restrained through Tim’s voice tugs at something in her chest, stretching it wide and painful.
“No,” she says. “I mean yes, I mean — no, he’s not not leaving, yes, he’s staying.”
Tim nods, a tight little movement she almost can’t see.
“And so that other universe is, what? On its own?” It’s a little bit off-topic, and probably not actually the thing he really cares about, but she answers him anyway.
“There’s a Doctor there now, too,” and there’s a delay, a beat where he’s just another Doctor, not the Doctor, not the Time Lord Doctor, just a Doctor, same as the one with her. She wonders at her brain, buzzing along, working through all that on its own, almost without her permission.
“And which one is the one you love?” There’s a jam stain in almost the exact shape of Tony’s hand on the fabric of Tim’s jeans and he traces it with his fingers before looking up at her. “Or is it both of them?”
Rose clenches her jaw, catching the side of tongue her between her teeth inside her mouth and biting down just hard enough to give her something else to focus on. Because it is both of them, and she’s off to an inauspicious start with one, and the other left without saying goodbye and she’ll never see him again.
“It’s both of them,” she finally says. “This one here though, he’s here for good. Not so much ‘my alien bloke’ anymore as my half-human one. A half-human one.”
Tim tips his head back against the sofa, staring at the ceiling, eyes tracking the blades of the fan as it spins slowly.
“How did that happen?”
Rose feels a corner of her mouth lift, Tim is smart, incredibly smart, but she’s not sure he’ll understand about regeneration energy and metacrises and, anyway, she wouldn’t do a good job of explaining it. She lets her mind wander to a time when the Doctor could explain it to him, and the picture of it is so fuzzy, that she knows it’s not a very probable future.
“Alien stuff,” she says and smiles fully this time, because Tim’s used to that answer, used to asking her what she did at work that day and laughing when she tells him “alien stuff.”
Tim smiles, too, but it’s a sad thing, one that gnaws at her gut.
“Well, Miss Tyler, it’s been an absolute pleasure,” he says and runs his palms down the thighs of his jeans, like he’s readying to stand.
“You, too, Tim,” it’s not fair, what she does next, but she leans over and kisses him softly on the cheek.
He does stand after that, and she follows, accidentally catching the toe of his trainer with her own.
“Oi, these are meant to be kept in pristine condition,” he says.
It’s not exactly a hugging, tearful acceptance, but then, they were never about that.
“Henry got some new ones, purple, I think they were,” Rose says. “He told me to tell you about them, not even supposed to be out yet.”
Tim licks at his thumb, bending down to swipe at the nonexistent spot on his shoe.
“Lucky bastard,” he says when he stands again and it’s clear he’s not talking about Henry.
- i-excelatnotgivingashit reblogged this from allrightfine
- i-excelatnotgivingashit likes this
- memento-muffins likes this
- fightforcydonia likes this
- soundofbadwolfbay likes this
- sweetladyyluck likes this
- death-benotproud reblogged this from allrightfine
- centurione reblogged this from allrightfine
- senoritabonitakikilu likes this
- rootsandshoots likes this
- fromgallifreytotrenzallore likes this
- tictacsandpixiestix likes this
- ameliapondss likes this
- madmanmoriarty likes this
- winterinthetardis reblogged this from allrightfine
- kelkat9 likes this
- myballoflight likes this
- ellayuki reblogged this from allrightfine
- redtailedhawk90 likes this
- trustno1butthedoctor likes this
- stoprobbers likes this
- gallifreyburning reblogged this from allrightfine
- sonictoaster likes this
- whoinwhoville likes this
- nursebranson likes this
- yoadrian228 likes this
- dagguett likes this
- montypythonandtheholyblog likes this
- ceeahhblahh likes this
- sonicmetennant likes this
- theneverwas reblogged this from allrightfine and added:
- bookishandi reblogged this from allrightfine and added:
- sunshinespotlight likes this
- whooves reblogged this from allrightfine
- somethingofthewolf reblogged this from allrightfine
- mandalorianmercenary likes this
- pinkandyellowgirl reblogged this from allrightfine
- cinamoncupcake likes this
- allumina likes this
- knock-4-times likes this
- allrightfine reblogged this from gallifreyburning and added:
- drwhogeek reblogged this from gallifreyburning
- tinyconfusion reblogged this from bookishandi
- orbitingasupernova reblogged this from gallifreyburning and added:
- thetardisismyhome likes this
- tennants-type-40 likes this
- somethingofthewolf likes this
- episode613wasalie likes this
- misslokioblivion likes this
- theneverwas likes this