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FIC: Two Doctors 1/2

I know I haven't been around lately. But I've been keeping an eye on my flist, trying to catch and save links to all the wonderful fic I want to read and comment on when I have time. I've also been scribbling away in my GP Who notebook. The remaining two timestamp fics have been giving me trouble, though I'm not quite ready to give up yet. My finals are this Monday and Tuesday. I'll figure out what I'm doing with myself in fandom after that's over with.

Meanwhile, here's one of those stories that sometimes just write themselves through me, all 12,000 some odd words of them, even though I should have been studying.

Title: Two Doctors
Author: Adalia

Characters: Nine, Rose, Jack, the TARDIS, Ten, and Martha.
Categories: Angst, H/C, Friendship.

Rating: Teen for a bit of swearing and a bit of a depressing general theme. No real warnings or spoilers other than S1 and 2, though.
Summary: Long before Rose learned that there could be more than one Doctor, she knew that there were really two.
Author's Note: I'm just exorcising some personal demons through fanfiction. Don't mind me.

Teaspoon Link: click for fic

“It’s a little blue dropper bottle, it’s usually somewhere around… here it is!” Rose said triumphantly, locating the bottle. She grabbed it, and then grabbed the arm of Jack’s long sleeved tee shirt and started heading out of the infirmary on her way to the kitchen.

Jack trailed along behind her. “What’s in it?” he asked.

“It’s a painkiller. He’s allergic to most human painkillers, this is a special one the TARDIS keeps on hand for him,” she explained. “Three drops of this in a cup of tea, and that headache you described will be history.”


Two Doctors




Flash blink flash.

Each time the light flashed across his eyes felt like a spike to the brain. Each time it failed to flash in a regular, timely pattern made him twitch. It was random and painful and maddening.


Blink flash.

He wished it would stop. He needed it to stop. He even knew how to make it stop. He actually had several options. Some were more socially acceptable than others. But few of the socially acceptable ones were emotionally appealing.

Flash flash blink flash.

If only his photosensitivity hadn’t spiked. Then he could probably have tolerated the randomness of it. If only he wasn’t so tired. Then he could probably have convinced his stupid brain to focus on something other than each successively more painful flash…

Flash. Spark!

“Ouch! Watch it, Doc!”

… like the repair work he was supposed to be doing beneath the console.

“Oops. Hold your hand still.”

Flash flash blink blink blink flash.

“Does the word ‘still’ mean something different where you come from? Stop moving!”

There was one more flash. Then the light steadied, aimed directly into his eyes. He bit back a moan, reached forward to sonic the final connection, and then backed out from beneath the console and away from the glaring light reflecting off the tool in Jack’s hand.

“Um… can I let go now?”

He pinched the bridge of his nose. “Yes.”

“Oh, good. That was one hell of a spark, it actually burned my hand. Is the maintenance around here always as dangerous as the adventures with hostile aliens?”

Jack’s normally pleasant baritone was suddenly grating. His entire head felt like it was throbbing, and Jack’s voice buzzed in his ears.

“Doc? Hey… are you all right?”

“I’m fine.”

“People who’re fine usually don’t pinch their noses and wince for no apparent reason.”

Jack seemed to suddenly appear in front of him without crossing the intervening distance. Startled, he took a stumbling step back from the human, a low growl involuntarily escaping him.

“Whoa. Okay. What’s going on with you?”


“Excuse me if I’m a little bit skeptical. You’ve been snippy all day and now you’re…”

It felt like a switch flipping in his mind… or maybe a bit more like a safety barrier cracking and unleashing a terrible monster. Definitely more the latter than the former, if he was being honest. Snippy? He’d show Jack snippy…

“Enough! Just shut your gob, you stupid, useless ape! I can’t imagine how your dimwitted species even managed to last into your century. Actually, if I hadn’t been there to save you from every other annoyed higher being bent on your destruction, you probably wouldn’t have! I probably should have let them get on with it, if just to save the Universe from your ceaseless prattle! Well? What are you still standing there like a potted plant for? Can’t see a big fat hint when it gets all “snippy” at you? Get! Out!”

He saw the momentary look of panic in Jack’s eyes, and he had just enough of his shredded self control and compassion left to soften the blow of his words with a pointed gesture towards the interior door. Relief crossed Jack’s face, followed by hurt confusion, as the human wisely made his exit into the TARDIS interior.

Left standing alone in the console room, he sighed in relief. Blessed silence.

An alarm began tweeting on the console.

“Don’t you start!”

He viciously slapped at the controls, cutting off the sound.

Two more alarms switched on, then a third, and a fourth, and a fifth. Every time he swatted the control to silence one, another came on, each more shrill than the last. After only ten seconds of this, he gave up playing Whack-A-Mole with his ship and simply snatched the mallet off its hook at the console edge.

Brandishing it threateningly, he growled, “Oi! Don’t make me use this!”

The remaining six simultaneous alarms cycled off, leaving only one warning light blinking tentatively on the entire console.

He checked the monitor, only to find that the TARDIS was just trying to remind him of what he’d been in the middle of doing before he’d taken the time to yell at Jack. They were parked on an uninhabited planet so they could adjust the temporal circuitry. The TARDIS needed time in the Vortex to bring the system back online and run a diagnostic check of her own.

“You could have just said that,” he muttered, starting the dematerialization sequence.

The console sparked at him just as he pulled his hand away, as if to petulantly remind him that no, she could not just have said what she needed. It wasn’t the TARDIS’s fault she was a sentient time ship with limited means of communicating with her self-centered brute of a pilot.

“I hate you, too,” he replied to the sparking controls.

He threw the mallet onto the console, ignoring the ensuing indignant beeps as the tool landed on a bank of buttons. He stalked away, his growing headache throbbing with each step. He headed for somewhere quiet and dark and deep enough into the TARDIS that his companions would have a hard time trying to locate him for as long as possible.

Rose was in her bedroom when Jack came to her, lounging in bed with a book and generally minding her own business. She had just wanted to finish her chapter, and then she’d been planning to change into her pajamas and go to sleep.

“Did I do something wrong?” he asked nervously, sticking his head around the edge of her open door.

She sighed philosophically. Jack had joined them on the TARDIS just about a week ago, and Rose did not regret that in the least. He seemed to fit perfectly into their strange life, flirting shamelessly and helping with repairs and holding his own when they went adventuring. She had found a friend in Jack, someone who was partly a fellow human she could relate to and partly an interesting stranger from thirty centuries in her future.

That was not to say that it had all gone smoothly. There was a certain edge to Jack. It was like he was holding something back and trying too hard to figure out what he needed to do to fit in, to gain approval. Once overexposed to Jack’s flirting over the course their first couple of days together, Rose had built up an immunity and learned to see the flirting for the almost desperate bid for acceptance that it really was.

The Doctor, still riding an impressive emotional high from the Day When Everyone Lived, had been surprisingly accommodating and patient with Jack. After his initial cool reception and warning threats, the Doctor had enthusiastically welcomed Jack into their lives. He tolerated the flirting, and yet made it clear that it was neither necessary nor was it a valid way for Jack to “pay his way” on the TARDIS. Instead, the Time Lord took Jack under his wing and under his console, teaching him about the time machine and allowing him to help with the maintenance chores.

Rose took the Doctor’s cue when it came to reacting to the flirting, the result of which turned out to be that there was an awful lot of mutual flirting and not much else going on. But as the week progressed, Jack seemed to get the message and the nonstop innuendo slowed down to a manageable level more akin to a middle sized stream rather than a raging river.

As the idea that he didn’t have to fight or fuck for his place on the TARDIS slowly started to sink in, Jack seemed to settle down and tentatively begin to categorize his two rescuers as potential friends instead of himself as merely their potential debtor. When he was relaxed, Jack was wonderfully charming, eminently competent, and reassuringly trustworthy. Rose had been happy to find her initial assumptions about his generally good character to be fully supported as time went on.

He’d certainly done better than her previous “boyfriends” had, which even the Doctor seemed to admit.

But Rose had been waiting all week for the other shoe to drop. And while she was relatively certain that it was going to be the Doctor’s shoe and not Jack’s, poor Jack had apparently been hit hard when it had finally happened.

She set her book aside on her night table and beckoned Jack into her room.

He stepped over to the bed and sat down beside her, perching on the edge of the mattress. He looked like he was ready to flee if necessary, a reaction she’d thought he had finally lost as he felt more like he belonged on the TARDIS.

“What makes you think you did something wrong?” Rose asked him.

“His Lordliness of Time was displeased, though I’m not really sure why. He wouldn’t actually tell me. Just called me a stupid ape and ordered me out. For one horrible second I actually thought… but he pointed towards the interior door. So I…” Jack trailed off, looking over at Rose.

“You came here,” she assumed. “It’s okay. Tell me what happened.”

“We were running a manual diagnostic on the some of the circuitry. One of the temporal systems turned out to need realignment, so I was holding the calibration steady while he used the sonic to adjust the connections. He slipped, set off a spark, and my hand got burned.”

Jack showed her his hand then, a small but painful looking burn marring the back of the appendage in question.

“I held the final connection steady for him, and then he started acting kinda funny. Pinching his nose like this,” Jack said, demonstrating with his uninjured hand. “Like he’d got a headache all of a sudden. He wouldn’t tell me what was wrong, just yelled at me and ordered me out like it was my fault. But I don’t know what I did!”

“You didn’t do anything. Well, at least not anything really wrong,” Rose reassured him. “I’ve actually been expecting this for a couple of days now.”

“What do you mean, expecting this? I was starting to think I’d finally found a place… people… just… something to belong to again. How am I supposed to figure out what he wants if he’s just going to yell at me without saying why?” Jack asked her, his voice laced with confusion and frustration.

“Oh, Jack,” Rose sighed, reaching over to hug him.

He returned her embrace, holding her tightly.

“You don’t need to spend all your time trying to figure out what he wants. Just be yourself. You do belong here,” she reassured him.

“Thank you, that means a lot to me,” he said, squeezing her a bit before letting her go and sitting back. “But why did he yell at me if I didn’t do anything wrong? And what did you mean when you said you were expecting this?”

“You might have done something innocently that just happened to annoy him, or maybe you didn’t do anything at all and you just happened to be there at the wrong moment,” Rose told him. “You’ve just met the other Doctor, that’s all.”

“You’ve lost me, Rose. Other Doctor?” he asked her. “There’s more than one?”

She nodded. “There’s the one I first met, and the one you’ve seen this past week. And they’re so different, it’s like he’s two different people. See, the Doctor is… he’s sort of a bit manic depressive. Doesn’t do anything by halves, though… when he’s manic you’d better hold on for your life, and when he’s not… well, you’ve met that version of him, now.”

“Apparently. Are you telling me that we live with a bipolar Time Lord?” Jack asked. “It actually explains a lot.”

“I don’t think anybody qualified has ever diagnosed him,” Rose admitted. “Can you imagine the Doctor in a psychiatrist’s office?”

They shared quick grins at that odd mental image.

“But I’ve lived with him for a while now, and I’ve learned how to tell when he’s up and when he’s down,” Rose said.

“I take it he’s been up this past week, then,” Jack surmised.

“Massively. We had a day when everybody lived, he’s been riding off the high from that ever since. There’s no convincing him to slow down when he gets like that. But what goes up…” Rose let the sentence hang.

Jack filled it in. “… must come down. And if he was massively manic, then he’s going to be massively depressive now, isn’t he.”

“Probably,” Rose agreed. “Don’t worry, though. I know what I can do to help, and also what not to do. I learned that the hard way, but it’s been worth it.”

Jack was quiet for a moment. He looked uncomfortable, and wasn’t meeting Rose’s eyes.

“You don’t have to do anything, Jack,” she told him, trying to reassure him. “You didn’t sign up for this. I sort of did… I knew how he was when I agreed to travel with him. If you just stay quiet and out of his way for a bit, it’ll blow over.”

“No, if I’m really part of this crazy little family like you say I am, I want to help,” Jack protested. “I don’t know what I did sign up for, but hiding and leaving you to take care of him on your own certainly wasn’t it. I want to help. I mean… if you think there’s actually something I can do to help, that is.”

“You are part of this crazy little family, and you can definitely help. But the first thing we need to do is get you and your burned hand down to the infirmary,” Rose replied, gently taking his injured hand in hers.

He wandered the depths of the TARDIS aimlessly for a while. He was tired, but he didn’t particularly want to sleep. His headache had only grown worse, but he didn’t want to go near the infirmary in case Jack was there to fix the burn on his hand. He felt too guilty for abusing the man’s still fragile trust in his own place on the TARDIS. It had been no better than kicking an affectionate puppy, and he felt accordingly miserable about having done it in a fit of pique.

He knew himself well enough to know that he was just suffering the consequences for his amazing weeklong emotional high. It was a rule of the Universe. The Last of the Time Lords did not get to be happy without paying for it. Sometimes he hated the Universe for that. Sometimes he was a bit more rational and he hated himself instead.

Right now, he didn’t have the energy to hate anything. He’d had a glorious, nonstop week of sheer happiness and joy in life. He hadn’t wanted to ruin that momentum with sleep, so he hadn’t slept. Instead, he’d let the energy from that wonderful day when everyone had lived carry him as far as it could.

And now he was paying for it. Even a Time Lord’s efficiently designed metabolism required regular rest. That was why he had such a horrible headache.

But it didn’t seem fair. Why did it have to end? Why couldn’t he just be happy? The necessity of sleep notwithstanding, why couldn’t he just maintain a healthy, happy, balanced mental state like any other normal person?

And that was the reason, wasn’t it. There weren’t any other normal people any more. They were all gone, because he’d killed all of them.

He’d escaped that particular constant weight in his mind for a whole week. It returned in that moment with a vengeance. What right did he have to forget in a haze of happiness?

His headache abruptly worsened, blinding him, and he stumbled into the corridor wall.

Or what he had thought was a wall. In the split second between the blurring of his vision and the moment he should have bumped into the wall, that particular section of the TARDIS had apparently decided it would much prefer to be a door. An open door.

He fell through the doorway, mentally cursing the TARDIS for her contrariness. This, clearly, was her revenge for his mistreatment of her in the console room.

The fact that the floor seemed also to be missing in action just inside the doorway only served to confirm his suspicion. He tripped, his foot clumsily catching on the edge of one of the steps that apparently led down into the room. Whichever room it was.

He was briefly in flight, sailing downwards towards what he assumed would be an unpleasantly solid floor. To his surprise, his tumble ended in a soft and welcoming pile of pillows.

He cracked his eyes open, slowly at first. His vision cleared, the cool darkness of the room doing wonders for his headache. The TARDIS had tripped him into the bed of a tiny bedroom he didn’t recognize. There was very dim lighting coming from the general direction of the ceiling, but no other fixtures or furnishings besides the good sized bed beneath him. He’d landed across its width, knocking several of an impressive mountain of pillows down to the narrow strip of floor that ran between the bed and the wall on either side.

As he righted himself, even more of the pillows slid down off the bed. By the time he was sitting, facing the doorway, there were more on the floor than beside him.

He gazed up at the doorway, contemplating the pros and cons of dragging himself up the steps and back into the corridor. But the TARDIS slammed the door shut, and he resigned himself to his apparent incarceration.

Trying not to think, not to disturb the blessed numbness that had followed the shock of his fall, he pushed the remaining seven pillows into a comfortable pile and pulled himself the rest of the way onto the bed. He pulled his leather jacket snugly closed around himself and settled down on his side, curling into the soft nest he’d created with the pillows.

The TARDIS dimmed the remaining light in the room, and he whispered to her, “Thank you.”

“Ouch!” complained Jack.

“Stop being such a big baby about it and hold still,” Rose demanded, wielding the dermal regenerator.

A quick pass with the medical device and the burn faded and disappeared from Jack’s hand.

“Better?” she asked him.

“Much, thank you,” he replied, shaking his hand, probably trying to dispel the strange itching feeling Rose knew the dermal regenerator often left behind. “What are we going to do now?”

She put the regenerator back in its proper place and began searching the shelving on one of the walls. “Now we make tea, with a little something added in, and we find the Doctor.”

“A little something? What are you looking for?” Jack asked, hopping off the infirmary bed he’d been sitting on and joining her by the shelves.

“It’s a little blue dropper bottle, it’s usually somewhere around… here it is!” Rose said triumphantly, locating the bottle. She grabbed it, and then grabbed the arm of Jack’s long sleeved tee shirt and started heading out of the infirmary on her way to the kitchen.

Jack trailed along behind her. “What’s in it?” he asked.

“It’s a painkiller. He’s allergic to most human painkillers, this is a special one the TARDIS keeps on hand for him,” she explained. “Three drops of this in a cup of tea, and that headache you described will be history.”

“You really do know what you’re doing,” Jack observed as they reached the kitchen.

Rose set about making tea, speaking to him as she worked. “Like I said, I’ve had to learn. He gets these headaches sometimes, usually if he’s stayed awake longer than he should. One time, he spent about five straight days cleaning out this huge storage room bigger than my mum’s entire flat. He only finally stopped when he literally fell over with a migraine.”

“Does he always swing back and forth that badly?” Jack asked.

“No, not that badly. The storage room incident was a particularly bad one. And based on that and this past week, we’re not looking at a very pleasant next few days,” she replied.

“Neither is he, I suppose,” Jack said.

“Probably not,” Rose agreed.

They waited in companionable silence for the tea to be ready. When Rose had fixed a cup to the Doctor’s specifications, she reached for the little blue bottle and carefully counted the proper dosage of three drops.

She stirred the medication into the tea, and looked up at Jack. “It’s time to go find him.”

“Do you know where to look?”

“I know a couple of places to check. But the TARDIS will probably lead us to him when she thinks the time is right.”

He didn’t know how long he’d been there, curled up in the quiet darkness of that little bedroom. His world had narrowed to the pounding in his head and the whirling of his thoughts.

Trying to access his time sense only made his head hurt even more. He was, perhaps, the most pathetic excuse for a Time Lord in the history of Gallifrey. Not that there was a Gallifrey left to have a history.

He had a death grip on one unfortunate pillow, twisting it out of shape between his hands. It didn’t really help, but he kept doing it anyway.

He felt miserable. His head hurt and he wanted it to stop. His hearts hurt and he knew that it would never stop. He felt guilty about yelling at Jack, about taking the TARDIS for granted, about… so many things.

He wished he had the energy or the motivation to get up and help himself. He could go to the infirmary. He could find Jack and apologize. There were so many things he could do. Should do.

He thought about it. He would sit up, then stand up, then climb the stairs and open the door. He would make his way to the infirmary, and take something for the headache. Then he would find Jack, if he hadn’t run into him by then, and he would try to apologize somehow. Maybe he would take Jack and Rose somewhere nice if the TARDIS had finished her self diagnostic. They would relax, and maybe he would get some sleep. Later he would wake up and he would be himself again, relatively happy and ready for their next adventure.

It was a great plan. And if he could just make himself move, maybe it would even work. But he felt like there was an oppressive weight forcing him down into the pillows, and he couldn’t bring himself to fight against it.

So he stayed there, feeling miserable and trying to tell himself that if he just sat still for long enough, maybe it would all go away.

He wished it would all go away, so he could sink into the oblivion of dreamless sleep even if just for a little while.

And if that wasn’t possible, which he fatalistically assumed it wasn’t, he just wished that Rose would find him soon…

“The tea’s going to get cold if we don’t find him soon,” Jack pointed out.

“It’s still warm,” Rose contradicted him. “But you’re right… we should have found him by now.”

“We’ve looked in the console room, his bedroom, our bedrooms, the library, and the other library I didn’t even know was there. Where is he?” Jack wondered.

“How about in the room that just appeared behind you?” Rose suggested, pointing over Jack’s shoulder.

Jack spun around. “Okay, that was most definitely not there a moment ago. Does that mean he’s in there?”

“Probably,” Rose said. “It’s the TARDIS. She thinks it’s time we found him, so suddenly the right door is right in front of us. She does things like that. You’ll get used to it.”

“Strange as it is, I’m already starting to. You’re a beautiful ship, sweetheart,” he said, patting the wall beside the door affectionately. Then he turned back to Rose. “So what should I do? He was not happy with me the last time I saw him. Maybe I should let you go in alone?”

“No, it’s more likely he already feels bad about yelling at you. Just… be yourself, Jack, like I said. And follow my lead,” Rose replied.

Jack nodded, and opened the door. Rose peered past him as the light from the corridor spilled into the tiny room.

There was the Doctor, curled up on a bed that took up the entire space, whimpering into a wrinkled and misshapen looking pillow he’d pulled over his head to block the light.

“Inside, and close the door,” Rose whispered urgently. She followed Jack down the short flight of steps, carefully avoiding the pillows littered across the small area of floor beside the stairs. Jack closed the door behind them, cutting off the bright light from the hallway.

They were enveloped in pitch darkness for a moment, and then ever so slowly a dim light began to glow from the ceiling. It increased gradually, until finally Rose could make out the shapes of Jack standing beside her, the bed in front of her, and the Doctor’s curled up form.

He’d pulled the pillow away from his face again, but was still clutching it desperately with both hands.

Rose took one look at him, taking in the set of his shoulders and the way he’d curled into himself amongst the pillows. She hadn’t needed to see him react so negatively to the light from the corridor to tell that he was in pain.

She set the cup of tea down on the steps so she could fish the small bottle of painkiller out of her hoodie pocket. She carefully added two more drops of the medication into the cup before picking it up again and turning towards the bed.

“Rose?” Jack questioned softly.

“Help him sit up,” she directed just as softly. “There’s no reason he has to be in this much pain. Help me get the tea down him.”

The Doctor was unresisting as Jack gently eased an arm underneath his shoulders and levered him up into a sitting position. Rose waited until Jack had steadied the limp Time Lord against himself, then she sat down beside them on the edge of the bed.

“Doctor,” she called quietly.

He didn’t respond, but she hadn’t really expected him to.

“Doctor, I’ve got the medicated tea for you. But you have to drink it,” she coaxed him.

His hands were tangled up in the pillow, now clutched against his stomach, and he seemed unwilling to move.

“Okay,” Rose said, lifting the cup to his mouth. “One sip at a time. Come on.”

The Doctor’s eyes opened when the cup touched his lips, and he willingly swallowed as Rose slowly but steadily fed him the tea. His eyes met hers in the gloomy darkness, and held them until the cup was empty.

Rose leaned over to put the cup down beside the steps, then turned back to the Doctor. She tried to catch his gaze again, but he’d closed his eyes after she’d looked away.

“Doctor?” she whispered.

“Hmmm,” came the soft acknowledgement from the Time Lord.

Rose felt something soft and light land in her lap, and looked down to see that the Doctor had dropped the pillow he’d been clutching. Instead, he’d latched onto the arm Jack had wrapped around him to steady him while he drank the tea.

She looked up at Jack.

“Is he… is he going to be okay?” Jack whispered.

Rose could hear the worry in Jack’s voice, an emotion she was feeling herself in no small amount. This was beyond a simple case of staying awake too long and getting a straightforward headache. The only other time she’d seen the Doctor in that much pain had been when he’d collapsed after his storage room cleaning binge. It had taken five drops of the painkiller to ease his migraine then, and she hoped the same dosage would work for him now.

“He should be,” she answered Jack, trying to sound as reassuring as possible. “Five drops will knock him out for a while, but it’ll deal with the headache.”

The Doctor’s head had slowly drooped as they whispered over him, followed by his shoulders, until he was slumped forward over Jack’s arm.

Rose pushed him back up so he was leaning against Jack again, his head resting back on Jack’s shoulder. She stroked his cheek gently, watching carefully for any reaction.

When he failed to respond with even the slightest of twitches, she whispered to Jack, “He’s out cold. He should sleep for a few hours now.”

“Why’s he still holding on to my arm?” Jack wondered.

“If he doesn’t want to let go…” she started to say, reluctantly ready to suggest that they pry Jack loose and allow the Doctor to latch on to her, instead.

“It’s okay,” Jack interrupted her. “I don’t mind. I’m trying to be a part of this crazy little family, remember? I’m just curious.”

“He needs a hand to hold,” Rose replied. “And I think he trusts you.”

“Really?” Jack seemed surprised, but pleased. “You two saved me, in more ways than one. All I want is to prove that I was worth it. If he trusts me enough to hold on to me as he’s drugged into sleep, I’m honored. I am not going to complain.”

“You all right, then?” Rose asked him.

“I’m worried. But about him, not about whether I belong here or not anymore,” Jack replied, giving her a grateful smile. “We ought to get him lying down again. If he doesn’t want to let go, I’ll stay with him.”

“Thank you, Jack,” Rose said, helping him steady the Doctor as he pulled the Time Lord down to the pillows. “Believe me, you were more than worth it.”

The Doctor kept his grip on Jack’s forearm despite the movement, so the appendage wound up pulled over him as they settled down on the bed. Jack spooned up against the Doctor’s back, with the Doctor curled up around his arm.

“There’s plenty of room here, Rose, why don’t you lie down? It’s been a long day,” Jack whispered to her after they were settled.

Rose pulled the little blue bottle out of her hoodie pocket again and carefully deposited it into the empty teacup for safe keeping. Then she climbed onto the bed, curling up facing the Doctor and Jack.

She eventually drifted off to sleep to the sound of their steady breathing.

When he woke up, it was to the feeling of being surrounded by warmth. It took him a moment to remember where he was, and what had happened.

The room was still darkened. Jack’s arm was still curled around him, and he was still clinging to it. In the dim light, he could see Rose’s sleeping face inches away from him.

Rose. She’d brought him tea, with enough painkiller in it to push him into the dreamless sleep he’d needed. And she and Jack had stayed with him.

He couldn’t fathom what he’d done to deserve such loving companions. He absently wondered how long he would be able to hold on to them before the Universe took them away.

The blinding pain of the migraine had subsided down into a dull and bearable ache. His whole body ached, but he felt fuzzy and detached from it.

He let his eyes slide shut again.

The world could be ending, and he wouldn’t care. He knew it was a side effect of the painkiller, but he didn’t care about that, either.

It was so very nice not to care.

Rose woke slowly, sitting up and rubbing the sleep out of her eyes. She looked down at the two figures curled up beside her on the bed, trying to make out their features in the dim light.

The Doctor looked like he was still asleep, but Jack’s eyes were open and he was watching her.

“Good morning,” he said. “Sleep well?”

“Well enough,” she replied. “Was there any trouble?”

“Nope. I slept like a rock and he hasn’t moved a muscle,” he answered her. “When do you think he’ll wake up?”

“Depends on how long we’ve been asleep. I’d expect the painkiller to wear off in about six hours, but he might sleep a bit longer than that. He must have been wiped out after last week,” she explained. “He needed the rest.”

Jack nodded, and checked his watch. Luckily, he wore it on the wrist opposite the one the Doctor was monopolizing. “It’s been about eight hours since we found him.”

“He might wake up any time, then,” Rose said.

“You said you’d learned what not to do around this other version of the Doctor. Is there anything I should know?” Jack asked her.

“Just watch his reactions closely. If he seems to close off, back away and give him some space. Don’t try to force him to talk if he doesn’t want to,” Rose replied. “I usually just try to be there with him. Usually that’s enough, and before long he’s back to his normal, manic self.”

“And the headaches?” Jack wondered.

“They usually fade by the time he wakes up. That painkiller is potent stuff,” she answered.

She was right about that.

It was a very potent painkiller. That’s why it was so effective against his migraines. That’s why it could knock him out for hours. That’s why it left him all fuzzy and numb for a while after he woke up.

That’s why he needed it.

He didn’t want to feel the guilt and depression he knew where waiting for him when he fully woke.

He needed to stay numb.

How could he convince them to give him another dose?

“Do you think it’s safe to bring the lights up?” Jack asked.

Before Rose could reply, the TARDIS took it upon herself to grant Jack’s request. The glow from the ceiling increased, up to a level dimmer than the norm in the TARDIS but still bright enough to see clearly by.

Rose took the opportunity to get a closer look at the Doctor. His leather jacket was twisted around him, and he was still clinging to Jack’s arm. As she watched, he began to shift slowly, tossing his head from side to side.

“Doctor?” she called.

“Rose…” he replied, his voice laced with pain. “Rose… it hurts…”

“The headache? You still have a headache?” Rose asked him, gently cupping her hand on his cheek to still his restless movement. This was bad. If five drops hadn’t worked, she wasn’t sure what else she could do for him besides dose him again and hope for the best.

His eyes opened, and she gasped at the sheer desperation radiating from them.

“Hurts… please…” he whimpered.

“Oh, Doctor, I’m so sorry. I’ll fetch another cup of tea,” Rose reassured him. “Just hold on, I’ll be as quick as I can.”

“Please…” the Doctor repeated. “Please hurry.”

Rose stroked his cheek. “I will, just hold on.”

She was off the bed and bending down to pick up the empty teacup and bottle of painkiller when Jack stopped her with a nervous sounding call of, “Rose, wait.”

“What?” she replied, standing up and moving to open the door.

“I just… wait a sec. Something isn’t right here,” Jack told her.

The last thing Rose wanted to do was waste any time. But she trusted him, so she paused on the top step and waited.

Jack pushed himself up on his elbow so he could look down at the Doctor’s face.

“Hey, Doc,” he said. “Look at me.”

The Doctor obliged, turning the same desperate look on Jack. Rose could see his grip tighten on Jack’s arm, and she wondered if he was leaving bruises underneath Jack’s sleeve.

The two men on the bed held each other’s gazes for a long moment, and then Jack spoke again without looking away.

“He doesn’t have a headache anymore.”

“What?” Rose stammered. “Jack, what are you…”

“Just listen, Rose. We’ve all been talking at normal volume, even him. The room is almost as bright as the light from the corridor that blinded him last night, but he doesn’t seem to care. And his pupils are dilated. I’d say he was still feeling the first dose you gave him,” Jack explained, never looking away from the Doctor’s eyes.

“Doctor?” Rose questioned, looking down at him from the steps with concern and disbelief. “Is he right?”

The Doctor looked back and forth between them with a slight air of panic, and Rose knew he’d been caught out.

She carefully set the cup back down on the floor and unhurriedly returned to her spot on the bed. Her deliberately slow motions were calculated to give both herself and the Doctor a chance to gather their thoughts.

“Why did you lie?” she asked him when she was sitting beside him again, trying not to sound accusatory.

She knew his migraines were real, and that his mood swings were not without cause. But it hurt just a bit that he would lie to her, that he wouldn’t trust her with the truth. After everything they’d been through together, didn’t he believe that she would do everything in her power to help him?

click here for part 2


( 24 comments — leave a comment )
May. 12th, 2008 04:30 am (UTC)
Teaspoon link doesn't work as yet - it says 'Access denied. This story has not been validated by the adminstrators of this site.' Dangnabbit.
May. 12th, 2008 03:45 pm (UTC)
I must've just missed the mods. We'll have to wait until they're back again. The link will work... eventually. :-)
May. 12th, 2008 10:16 pm (UTC)
Let the refreshing begin!

It's always nice to see a new fic from you. :)
May. 12th, 2008 11:29 pm (UTC)
I wonder where the mods have got off to. This is pushing 24 hours since I posted.

I'm 1/3 done with finals. My next one is in an hour, but my brain is too fried to study any more. I'll be spending tomorrow cleaning up my last final to hand in. It's a take home thingie... and absurdly hard. ::gumbles::
May. 13th, 2008 12:31 am (UTC)
It took over 48 hours for my last story to appear. Perhaps the mods are super busy right now.

Good luck with your final although I know you won't need. :) Glad you're almost done! Soon you'll have the entire summer to relax and enjoy yourself. You've earned it!
May. 20th, 2008 05:55 pm (UTC)
Everything is, in fact, now done. And I still have my 4.0 GPA, so all is well. I just have to finish out my Graduate Assistantship (working part time in the office through June), but there's no more homework or school stress now. And after that, I'm truly done for the summer!

I'm even slowly starting to shake this downer I've been on since last month. My enthusiasm for GP Who is growing again as I finish up the outlining for ep 2. And I'm starting to read and comment on the huge list of fic I'd skipped all month. :-D
May. 20th, 2008 07:12 pm (UTC)
Congratulations on your continued success in graduate school! It comes as no surprise to me. :)

I'm glad to hear that you're getting excited about GP Who again! It's going to be a brilliant series! *pokes*
May. 12th, 2008 10:54 pm (UTC)
*hits refresh on Tsp impatiently* ;)
May. 12th, 2008 11:29 pm (UTC)
I've been doing that on and off all day. ::pokes the mods with the pokey stick::

Also, icon love! :-)
May. 13th, 2008 03:35 am (UTC)
Ooh! Thank you for taking pity on us and posting on LJ!

Loving this so far. I love me a bit of hurt/comfort, and it's very believable that a low would hit the Doctor after that huge high. And I like tentative, uncertain Jack, unsure of his place and what he needs to do to earn it.

Rushing on to part 2...
May. 13th, 2008 03:58 am (UTC)
It was sort of taking pity on myself, as well. I wanted to hear what other people would think about it!

The one thing that I missed most in S1 with Jack's character was that we never got to see him settling in and finding his place on the TARDIS. I definitely see him as tentative at first, trying to figure out what he needs to do to ensure that they won't kick him out.
May. 15th, 2008 09:52 am (UTC)
Ah, not dead, then, Whacko!AU!Muse was beginning to worry... ;)
May. 20th, 2008 05:31 pm (UTC)
Nope, not dead. Sorry I disappeared on you, though. Hopefully I'll catch up and start commenting again before you and Whacko!AU!Muse finish up that story. :-)
May. 20th, 2008 06:04 pm (UTC)
LOL, well, she's just committed to "x/54" with today's post, so you've got a little time, but not all that much... although I do hear she's about 95% committed to doing a sequel, too. ;)
May. 20th, 2008 06:36 pm (UTC)
Sequel? Yay! :-D
May. 19th, 2008 03:44 pm (UTC)
Yay, new fic! Sorry I'm draggy about reading and responding; the end of the semester has us all in a bit of a stranglehold these days. Gratz on being nearly done with exams (probably done by now). :)

Lovely little piece of h/c. And everybody gets some feeling sorry for here -- the Doctor for his pain, Jack for his vulnerability and insecurity, and Rose for doing everything so very right and finding that she, too, can still be manipulated by someone she clearly understands and cares for. Nice characterizaton throughout, as always. I always enjoy stories which give us more of Jack's quest to settle in; you know that wasn't as smooth a process as the series makes it seem. And your Rose here is so very competent and sure, she knows Nine so well, knows the ship and the patterns and is everything Jack wants to be. It's a beautiful counterpoint.

And of course, Nine. Dear Nine - with his wild, manic mood swings. I can completely believe he'd push himself into happy mode and stay as long as he could, holding rather desperately to that tenuous thread of joy. The crash makes sense (and good h/c - hee). Oddly enough, I particularly love that even in the midst of a raging migraine, he's still planning his plan, working out what to do to fix things. So very Doctor. Even if he doesn't have the energy to implement the plan.

And the TARDIS is always love. :)

Onwards to part 2, eagerly!

Edited at 2008-05-19 03:45 pm (UTC)
May. 20th, 2008 05:49 pm (UTC)
I'm in no position to complain about people dragging behind with reading and responding... I've not read or commented on anything in just about a month. It was partly finals (which are in fact over, and all aced, yay!) and partly just feeling inexplicably depressed lately. Hence this story.

I'm glad you liked the characterizations here. That's the danger with a story like this one, I think. It can easily slide down that slippery slope towards Mary Sue and other "out of character" problems.

And the TARDIS is always love. :)

She is, isn't she? The TARDIS is one of my favorite characters to write. :-)
May. 20th, 2008 07:54 pm (UTC)
Finals are depressing. No doubt about it. And sometimes, it just sneaks up on you for no reason, I know. *snugs* I'll try not to wish more of it on you, since I now know that you write lovely fic when you wrestle with your demons. ;)

Honestly, one of my pet peeves is h/c fic that has to go out-of-character in order to make either the hurt or the comfort work. Can't stomach it. Especially with a man like the Doctor, who is strong enough to save the world and darn good at hiding his own pain. The challenge of good h/c is to make the intimacy of comfort possible, believable, and necessary by grounding the characters in themselves and their relationships, not yanking them out. You actually do a very good job walking that very difficult line.

One of my favorite images out of any fic, and one of the most memorable, comes from a different story of yours. Ten falling asleep in odd places as he recovers, and his companions tucking a blanket around him and letting him stay. Handled by someone else it might seem odd and unbelievable. Buried in a well-crafted story, it's poignant and sweet and comforting.

*gives you a blanket, too?* Hope the demons leave you alone soon. Gratz on soundly trounced finals! :)

Edited at 2008-05-20 07:56 pm (UTC)
May. 20th, 2008 09:32 pm (UTC)
That's a pet peeve of mine, as well. That, and piling on the H without ever having any satisfying C to balance it.

Ten falling asleep in odd places as he recovers, and his companions tucking a blanket around him and letting him stay.

I'm not even sure where that image came from. I just saw him, still physically shaky as he recovered from the fever, secure enough in his environment on the TARDIS to just curl up and nap wherever he felt like it. The only thing Martha and Jack could do at that point was make his strange napping spots as comfortable as possible.

*gives you a blanket, too?* Hope the demons leave you alone soon. Gratz on soundly trounced finals! :)

::snuggles up with the blanket:: I'm starting to feel better now. Finals being done and the grades actually posted definitely helps. Writing this story, and then seeing the amazing responses, also helped.

Thank you again for reading and commenting. :-)
May. 22nd, 2008 04:54 am (UTC)
That, and piling on the H without ever having any satisfying C to balance it.

I suppose straight angst could fall into that category -- but well-done angst can be beautifully written, brittle, sharp, and/or melancholy. And that's fine for me, although I'll take h/c anytime over pure angst for pleasure reading. But bludgeoning a character for no artistic or storytelling reason is disconcerting and unpleasant to read. There's a Harry Potter story out there I read some months back that was simply cruel, sickening, nothing but torture and a grisly end. (I only skimmed it because it had inspired a lovely "retcon" piece that provided the comfort it so badly needed.)

I'm not even sure where that image came from. I just saw him, still physically shaky as he recovered from the fever, secure enough in his environment on the TARDIS to just curl up and nap wherever he felt like it

*happy sigh* Can't even put my finger I why I love that image so much. The vulnerability and trust involved, I suppose. I envy your ability to capture that so well. :)

Writing this story, and then seeing the amazing responses, also helped.

It's definitely garnered a lot of wonderful responses, a lot of resonance with people's own lives and experiences. I suppose we all have moments of darkness, so this rings true on some level for most of us. Glad it was cathartic, as well. The best of all worlds.

May. 25th, 2008 05:46 pm (UTC)
...simply cruel, sickening, nothing but torture and a grisly end...

That's the kind of thing I was talking about. It just seems pointlessly violent. But properly done angst can definitely be a treat to read.

I suppose we all have moments of darkness, so this rings true on some level for most of us.

::nods:: But it just didn't occur to me when I first posted the story. I was too stuck in my own head at the time, I guess. So the responses were a welcome surprise! :-)
May. 25th, 2008 01:41 am (UTC)
I'm just getting time to read some things I've tucked away, and I love the first part of this. Nine definitely has some deep swings, and I can definitely see him avoiding sleep for any number of reasons. The most frightening part of this was him plotting to give him more of the medication... That's dark, even for him. I figure him more suicidal in the manic phases (such as in "Rose", which I just finished rewatching and was struck by how very good and very subtle the modulation of emotion was in both the Doctor and Rose, despite the silliness of much of the episode. I miss that. Sigh.).

Very much looking forward to part 2 - I hope you don't mind if I friend this journal. With TSP's present issues, I'm trusting LJ more these days to find the fic!
May. 25th, 2008 05:54 pm (UTC)
I've been away from fandom lately, myself, so I can sympathize with just finally getting the time to catch up on things. :-)

The most frightening part of this was him plotting to give him more of the medication...

It really is a bit dark, even for him. I don't think he's entirely suicidal, though. He thinks about it a bit, supposes that he might actually do it if he found it easy at just the wrong moment. But here he's just longing for the numbness that the painkiller gives him. Another dose would knock him out again, but I don't think he believes it would actually kill him. Still... he's not in a happy place in that moment.

I hope you don't mind if I friend this journal. With TSP's present issues, I'm trusting LJ more these days to find the fic!

I don't mind at all! This journal is here just for that purpose. Though I probably won't be posting actual stories here all the time, usually just links to Teaspoon, instead. :-)
May. 25th, 2008 07:31 pm (UTC)
Another dose would knock him out again, but I don't think he believes it would actually kill him. Still... he's not in a happy place in that moment.

True. And I got that in the reading, just kind of connected the dots through short cuts in my mind as I was responding. Actually, I find Nine more suicidal in his manic phases, as I said, blowing up Henrik's, taunting the Nestene Consciousness, challenging the Dalek. He eased up in the second half of the series, apparently through Rose's influence, and became a bit less desperate. Ten seems more likely to take his anger out on others, which is perhaps healthier for him but a lot dodgier ethically!
( 24 comments — leave a comment )


Adalia Zandra


This is adaliazandra's fic journal, which she hadn't planned to use very often. That plan has since been defenestrated in favor of posting fic update notices and rambles about DW and TW.

If you note the spiffy paid-account layout, that's because nightrider101 is simply the most wonderful person ever! :-)

If I seem to have disappeared off the face of the Internet, it's because I probably did. I don't actually *like* suddenly ignoring my LJ friends and leaving my stories hanging, though, so odds are I'll be back eventually.