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He awoke on Tuesday morning to the fading image of the Untempered Schism and its cacophony of strangely coherent sounds.  Panting slightly, he could still remember the terror and wonder of the moment so very, very long ago. 

It was still well before dawn, but a restlessness had come over him.  He pulled on a dark blue tracksuit from the closet and padded barefoot downstairs before sliding into his plimsolls.  Keying in his security code, he slipped out one of the back doors of the mansion and started walking toward the stand of trees to the back of the property.  A waning gibbous moon cast enough light for the rods of his sensitive Time Lord retinas to easily locate the footpath leading into the woods, so he set off at a fast jog through the dewy grass.  Once on the path, he stretched into a ground-eating stride that most humans would never be able to match.

He ran swiftly down the path, listening only to the slap of his feet against the well-worn path, his breath as he gulped the crisp morning air and the occasional twitter of a songbird.  He’d always loved running, even more so after his encounter with the Untempered Schism as an 8 year-old Academy initiate.  This kinetic, frenetic movement was a theme that ran throughout his long life, and none of his bodies was more well-suited to the activity than this one.  His long legs and lean torso seemed to move through the air like a sharply-honed knife, his stride a graceful long lope that conveyed a sensuous power, efficiency, and freedom of movement.  The artificial wind driven around him pulled at his tracksuit, urging him on at even a faster pace as his thoughts turned back to the Schism.

He had been a frightened and lonely child when he first looked into the portal of the Untempered Schism.  Only days after being taken from his only home and family, he’d been ushered to a dormitory with a dozen strangers and distant cousins from other Houses across the planet.  His House, one of the oldest and most esteemed on Gallifrey, had provided the Prydon Academy with some of its most prestigious graduates, he was informed the day before his departure.

“Make sure,” his father had told him, “that you aspire to be within the ranks of the noteworthy, rather than the notorious.”  Such pronouncements were characteristic of his father, who was a typical emotionally distant Time Lord parent of Gallifrey.  He had kept his distance in proximity, as well, so the Doctor had never properly got to know him.  His father’s Curriculum Vitae were far more familiar. 

To be truthful, he had avoided crossing his Time Lord parent’s path.  Most of their interactions had been far from pleasant, and usually centered around his rampant emotionalism and rebellious nature.  But he had shown he possessed a stellar mind and thirst for knowledge, so he had been quickly accepted into the Academy as an initiate.  It didn’t hurt that he had been loomed from one of the greatest Houses, so certain “quirks” were graciously ignored.

No one told him, as they dressed formally for the affair, of what was to come.  He had stepped before the massive gilded ring and stood over the Seal of Rassilon, only to face one of the most overwhelming sights and sounds he would ever encounter. 

He saw it all, in an instant:  All that is, all that was, all that ever could be.  Life, Death, Wars, Fixed Points in Time that shone brighter than quasars; the sights and sounds of the Universe washed over him and burned deep impressions into his young brain.  Names sprang forward that frightened him, because he knew they could be his.  Horrible, frightening names that made no sense to him but filled him with dread, they sprang forward and then receded.  He could become one of the greatest Time Lords of all Time, or he could become the Instrument of Destruction of the entire Time Lord race. 

Which was it?  Savior or Destroyer?  Darkness or Light?  All of the permutations in-between those states confused him.  With everything existing in one moment, he could not tell what would be from what could be.  He would never know, until the time arrived for the moment to exist.

And so he had run.  And he never stopped.  He fled into academic studies.  He rebelled against and fled the society that created him.  He stole an ancient and dilapidated TARDIS and fled the planet of his birth.  He ran from star to star, from danger to more danger, from companion to companion, from enemies, from friends and lovers, from the Time War, from himself.

And still he ran as the first glimpses of the rising sun lit the path he was on.  Veering sharply to the right, he ran down a narrow deer path he’d spotted.  It was never his way to stay on the tried and true.  He had to take the one less traveled by.  Brambles, low-hanging tree branches and bushes whipped his tall frame, slowing him only a little.  The sting of their kisses and slaps reminded him that he was alive.  He could still feel.

He came to a rise in the path, and the sound of an engine told him it was a road leading to the mansion.  Putting on a burst of speed, he pounded up the hill and flashed across the road, clearing it just in time to hear the angry blast of a lorry at his heels.  He laughed as he ran, brimming with joie de vivre, wondering how far the path would take him.  He knew he was still within the Tyler compound since he hadn’t encountered a fence, so he continued on, occasionally clearing a branch or tree trunk along the way.

The woods gave way to a clearing of tall grass where the path appeared to fade away.  Beginning to tire, he decided to make a wide circle and go back the way he came.  His time sense told him he’d been running a good half-hour, so he should be back to the mansion a little before breakfast.  No one should have noticed he was missing. 

The road was clear this time when he crossed, but the charge up the hill seemed to take a bit more out of him than before.  Dratted single cardiovascular system, he whinged to himself as he slid down the slope on the other side.  By the time he reached the end of the footpath and could see the back of the mansion again, he was truly winded and gasping for breath.  He slowed to an easy jog and made it to the back door before stopping to brush the loose leaves and sticks from his hair.

Keying in his security code, he stumbled into the house and headed for the kitchen to get a drink, only to barge into Jackie at the kitchen door.  Her eyes grew large at the sight of a disheveled Doctor appearing in the kitchen, wheezing like a bellows and grinning like a cat that had just caught the canary.

“What in blazes jus’ happened to you?” she asked as she hurried to put her cup of tea on the counter.

“Went runnin’,” he gasped.

“Runnin’?  But what happened to your face?  You run into a buzz saw or somethin’?”

“Eh?” he asked with a grimace.  He reached up to feel the area on his face that Jackie’s eyes seemed to be focused on, and pulled his fingers away to see a few spots of drying blood.

“Sit down,” she ordered as she grabbed a tea towel from the cupboard and then wet it.  Grasping the seated Time Lord none too gently by the hair, she tilted his head back and started cleaning him up.  He hissed in pain as she started dabbing at one particularly deep scratch on his cheek, squirming and whining a bit when he realized he was in a grip of steel he couldn’t easily escape.

“Ow, oow?” he whined when she found another scratch on his neck.

“Oh stop it,” Jackie said in exasperation.  “I could get the alcohol, you know.  Then you’d have somethin’ to whine about.  Why didn’t you stay on the path?”

“Saw an interestin’ deer path and decided to follow it.”

“I can tell,” she said drily, looking down at the bottoms of his tracksuit, which were covered in burrs of various types.  Finally satisfied, she gave his wild hair a couple of swipes before she stepped back.  “Well, I can fix you breakfast since you’re here already.”

“No need,” he said, relieved that he could finally move his head.  “I’ll just toast a bagel or something, thanks.  I’m going in with Pete to Torchwood this morning.  No time for a full breakfast.”

“Hmmm,” she said as she turned to slice a sesame bagel she retrieved from the fridge.  Dropping it into the toaster, she took cream cheese and a jar of marmalade from the refrigerator for the Doctor before picking up her tea to head back upstairs.  “Well, I’ll see you in a bit, then.  I made a pot of tea, so help yourself.  Toss that tracksuit in the bin, though.  It’s done for.”

Washing his hands, the Doctor turned to get the bagel slices as they popped up from the toaster.  He put a thick schmear of cream cheese and marmalade over each slice, before pouring a huge mug of tea.  Four heaping teaspoons of sugar and milk later, he sat at the island and munched on his breakfast, feeling better than he had in a very long time.

That is, until a very irate Gladys chased him out of the kitchen so that she could begin the family’s breakfast.  Put out, he carried his bagel and tea upstairs to shower and dress, this time opting to wear a suit for the day.  He decided to go with a pair of plain brown trousers, no pinstripes, and a matching sport coat. 

Pinstripes, he thought, might be a little confusing should he run into anyone he knew.  There were few Torchwood survivors in Pete’s World who knew his face, as far as he remembered, but he didn’t want to take any chances of being immediately mistaken for the other Time Lord.  It might take too much explanation, and he wasn’t sure Pete had given his people any.

There was not much to be done about the scratches on his cheeks and neck.  The one on his neck stretched up beyond the collar of his oxford to his left ear, but at least it had stopped bleeding.  He stuffed a notepad, in which he’d jotted some notes the day before about possible future projects, and a pen into his pocket.  After a last adjustment to his hair, he went downstairs to meet with Pete, who should be finishing breakfast.

The drive to Torchwood was a mere twenty minutes or so, depending on traffic.  They’d taken Pete’s auto, a black Mercedes SUV, and Pete filled the Doctor in on a few of the security protocols he was expected to adhere to while there.  As they chatted, the Doctor felt a twinge of guilt as he realized he really didn’t spend nearly enough time with Pete.

In spite of being a multi-millionaire many times over, Pete was more like a regular bloke in many respects.  Although he was politically savvy, Pete seldom brought his work home with him except for the occasional Vitex or Torchwood party he was expected to host.  He had been quietly supportive, but never pried into the Doctor’s personal feelings or life.   Over the months the Doctor had learned to appreciate his quiet intelligence and staunch devotion to his small family, which he had extended to the Doctor.  Rose had certainly accepted him as her “Dad” over time, and he had quickly assuaged many of the Doctor’s doubts about the alternate Torchwood Institute.  Reformation of the old regime had taken a few years, but the cultural changes he brought made a huge difference between it and the Torchwood more familiar to the Doctor.

Their first stop, after clearing security, was Pete’s office.  It wasn’t particularly large or imposing, and it was decorated mostly in dark woods that gave a warm and welcoming ambiance to the space.  His desk was tidy, but not overly so.  A large blotter desk calendar dominated the surface with tonnes of little scribbly notes filling almost each and every date square.  He was obviously a very busy man, if the notes were an indicator.

Waving the Doctor over to a chair next to his desk, Pete pressed a big button on his phone to let his executive assistant know he was ready for his first appointment.

“Uhm, do I need to go?” the Doctor asked, somewhat surprised that Pete hadn’t mentioned a meeting he needed to attend.

Pete’s eyes twinkled as he waved the Doctor back to his chair.  “Nope,” he said as the door opened.

“’Ello, Doctor,” said a young sandy-haired man as he walked through the door.  The boyish face of Jake Simmonds broke into a big smile as he caught his eye.

“Jake!  Jake Simmonds!” yelped the Doctor in surprise as he leapt to his feet to pump the young man’s hand.  “I didn’t expect to see you here.  Aren’t you still working in the field with the Preachers?”

“Aye, that I am,” he responded.  “Pete ‘ere tol’ me you were comin’ an’ asked me to come int’a the office to help with the tour.”  His Geordie brogue was welcome to the Time Lord’s ears, given that his last regeneration sounded distinctly Northern.

“Thought you’d appreciate a familiar face, Doctor,” Pete said with a big smile.

“Never thought I’d get the opportunity to see you again,” Jake said.

The Doctor’s face fell for a second.  He looked to Pete for a second as Pete shook his head.  “Oh, no.  Don’t worry,” Pete said.  “Jake knows, Doctor.  He’s one of the very few operatives in Torchwood who know who you are, or know that there are two of you.”

“Kinda amazin’, really,” said Jake.  “Couldn’t tell ya apart to save me life.  You look exactly like I remember.”

“Won’t be able to say that in about twenty years, though, Jakie,” the Doctor said with a grin.  “I’ll probably look more like your Dad!”

Jake shook his head.  “It ain’t aall that bad bein’ human, Doctor.  You’ll get the hang of it,” Jake chuckled.  “Now, what happened to your face, though?  Get into a cat fight?”

“You have no idea, Jake!” the Doctor said with a giggle, remembering Sunday night’s visit to Rose’s flat.  “But this was from running like a fool through the woods this morning.  Had to get the tickle out of my feet.”

Pete laughed and pointed to the door.  “Shall we take the tour, gentlemen?”

The Doctor felt as if he was passing not just through a doorway, but through a threshold in Time, and he couldn’t help but feel a shiver of delight.  A new life, a new adventure was beginning; one that he had never hoped to have in his previous lives.  He could only hope it wasn’t going to be rubbish.


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The Doctor reflects on his initiation to the Academy and decides to take a long run in the woods. 
Title: Wayward Son - Chapter 12: Questions of My Childhood

Characters: Jackie Tyler; Ten II; Pete Tyler; Tony Tyler
Genre: Alternate Universe; Angst; Character Study; Het; Romance
Author's Description: Set mostly in the AU of Pete's World; TenII hits a big snag in his efforts to forge a new life with Rose and finds himself facing an unexpected identify crisis.
Length: WIP
Rating: Teen for slight swearing