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Doctor Who fic: Wayward Son, Chapter 3

Title: Wayward Son - Chapter 3: Hold On
Characters: Ten; TenII/Rose
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

In Chapter 3, Ten II has an interesting morning breakfast with a side of serious heart-to-heart with Jackie.

Totally unBETA’ed, so probably full of mistakes.  LOL!

Chapter 3, Hold On
Breakfast at the Tyler mansion was usually a casual, and somewhat chaotic, affair. In spite of being held in a formal dining room full of dark-walnut Jacobean reproduction furniture, Jackie Tyler was remarkably successful in making everyone feel comfortable in the large and imposing space. While not born to the manor like her predecessor, the late Cyber-converted Jackie Tyler, Jackie from the other universe knew exactly how to be a warm and welcoming hostess.

Bouncing down the stairs two at a time, the Doctor went straight to the kitchen anticipating having to heat his food up in the microwave, only to get shooed out of the kitchen by Jackie and one of the kitchen staff. Undaunted, he moved to the bar division to sit, resting his chin on his hands with elbow splayed out on its surface. He watched with approval, salivating a little, as Jackie covered a plate of rashers and hash browns before popping it into the microwave oven. Cracking two eggs into a skillet, she expertly prepared to cook them in one of the Doctor’s favorite style – over easy. Glancing up and noticing his famished expression, she cracked another egg with a small smile.

“Go on, Doctor,” she said with a wave. “Go join Pete and Tony in the dining room. I’ll bring ‘em to you when everything is ready.” The kitchen help, Gladys was her name he recalled, glowered at him. She liked to run a tight ship, and she was clearly not happy about being fifteen minutes off-schedule with cleaning up.

Pete was, indeed, sitting at the head of the table. Relaxed in his chair with a cup of strong tea, he leisurely clutched a news pad as he prepared for another day as owner and Managing Director of the Vitex firm. He was also, the Doctor knew, co-founder and head of world’s Torchwood One.

“’Morning, Pete,” chimed the Doctor cheerily before taking a seat to his right.

Pete Tyler smiled at the Doctor as he put his news pad down, his blue eyes crinkling as they only did when he was truly happy.

“Why good morning, Doctor. I see you decided to finally join us this morning,” he ribbed him good-naturedly. “For someone who claims to hate sleep, you do pretty well at it.”

It was true. You humans sleep a third of your lives away, he had frequently complained in the past. A fat lot of good it does you, other than taking up time you could be warring or otherwise killing yourselves.

“Cataloguing, Pete,” he said with a smirk. “I use that time to catalogue the sensory input of the day.”

As does every other human being, he knew, of which he now had to count himself. Besides having to bathe daily, use deodorant, wash between his toes, feel the cold or heat of the elements, adjust to numerous new baffling hormones that had no analogue in Gallifreyan physiology, wear clothes that weren’t tailored by the TARDIS, and having to eat Jackie’s cooking, the worst change in terms of being part-human was the requirement for regular sleep.

He simply couldn’t understand it. In the first few weeks living with the Tylers, he had fallen asleep almost anywhere on the lower levels of the mansion; driving Jackie to distraction as she searched rooms like a frantic mother hen in order to herd him to his bed. He fell asleep almost anywhere but a bedroom, determined to maintain his usual Time Lord schedule.

Well, there had been those few times when he’d drifted off as he read Tony a bedtime story, after which Jackie would simply tuck the two of them under the covers in Tony’s bed. Waking up next to a four year-old tucked under a Star Wars duvet was humiliating enough, but the final straw was the pictures Jackie took of them as they slept, which she then paraded before house guests, remarking how cute the two “boys” were.

Pete grunted jovially, obviously remembering those days as he sipped his tea. Tony greeted the Doctor with a quick hug and slipped off to play with his toy dinosaurs as his mother entered the room with the Doctor’s rewarmed breakfast.

“There you go, sweetheart,” she said as she placed the generous plate before him. Thanking her, the Doctor tucked into the rashers of bacon first as Jackie left to retrieve a large orange and a glass of milk for him.

“Hhmmm, so,” harrumphed Pete in his characteristic gravelly voice. “What’s on the agenda for today?”

Uh oh, he thought. Here it comes.

“Oh, thought I’d go looking for a temp job,” the Doctor said conversationally. “Hundred words a minute, you know,” he grinned half-jokingly, wiggling his fingers in the air over an imaginary keyboard.

Donna always managed to slip out at the most inopportune moments, it seemed.

“He means a proper job, cheeky,” Jackie admonished as she returned to set the glasses of milk and juice down, looking as if she would slap him in the back of the head.

“I know you don’t want to hear it, Doctor, but the offer at Torchwood still stands.” Pete looked almost apologetic. “We could really use your expertise, and it certainly pays well.”

The Doctor’s history with Torchwood in the parallel universe had not been very congenial. As a matter of fact, it had been chartered to protect the Earth from him. His history with this universe’s Torchwood and one of its chief operatives, one Rose Tyler, was hardly better.

He swallowed hard, trying to avoid eye-contact with Pete.

It wasn’t that he was uncomfortable with Pete. It was the conversation about working for Torchwood that sparked anxiety. He’d always liked Pete. Well, he’d liked the proper Pete Tyler he met in the original universe.

Oooh, no. No, no, no, no, no, no, he thought as he caught himself. Not proper, “other” Pete. The brave, unsuccessful dreamer who chose to sacrifice himself to preserve the timelines Rose disrupted through saving him being hit by a car. Can’t start thinking “proper” or he’ll be the “proper Doctor” and I’ll be… the duplicate.

“Pete… please, don’t think I’m ungrateful, because really I truly, absolutely appreciate everything you have done… are doing... for me. But I don’t know if I can do it.

The Doctor met his gaze finally, trying hard to show conciliation. “I don’t think Rose wants me there, and I don’t know if I’d fit properly even if she did.”

Pete nodded. “I understand, Doctor. But it’s a big operation. Big enough to get lost in, if you want. And I understand your aversion to weapons and the use of alien tech. I have a research branch that does nothing but identify, catalogue and archive alien tech that comes through the Rift in Cardiff. It really needs a Director who knows his stuff. There’s no one on the planet who could do that job better than you, or train others to do it, and you know it.”

Leaning forward slightly and lacing his fingers together, almost in supplication, Pete looked the Doctor directly in the eyes. “Do ya really want us to try to guess what that stuff is, and get it wrong?”

The Doctor took a slow deep breath though his nose, staring at his plate, before letting it out just as slowly.

“No, not really,” he admitted in a low voice.

“Will you please consider it,” Pete asked, leaning back and taking the pressure off the Doctor. “Come down to the office with me a day next week and simply tag along. I can find something for Rose to do in the field.”

A little pale now, the Doctor nodded silently. He wasn’t quite so hungry now, and pushed the hash and eggs about on his plate with a piece of toast.

Clapping his hands on his thighs, Pete rose. “Well, time for me to get back to the farm,” Pete said to indicate close of the inquisition. He kissed Jackie on the cheek as he passed.

Jackie sat across the table, eyes wide in obvious concern. She already had a full complement of eye shadow and eyeliner on.

Does she sleep in that stuff? He couldn’t help but wonder for about the hundredth time. He honestly couldn’t remember a time he’d ever caught Jackie without makeup on. In a negligee, most certainly. The memory of one such event arising from his ninth self, all ears, attitude, and leather jacket, still made him shudder.

“Doctor,” Jackie began. “We need to talk.”

Oh no. No, no, no, no, no, he thought for the second time in one breakfast. It’s coming. It’s the Rose talk, I just know it.

He picked up his fork, wondering if sticking it into his eye might provide sufficient distraction that he could escape.

“Rose is comin’ overnight from her flat tonight to spend time with Tony,” she warned him. “Pete and I have a charity event we need to attend, so it’ll just be the three of you.”

He nodded acknowledgement and stuffed eggs and hash into his mouth, hoping that was the end of the conversation.

“We won’t be back until well after midnight, long after Tony’s bedtime, so that’ll leave you two lots of time alone to finally talk,” she said with a faint smile.

“She won’t,” he said simply. “I mean, she’ll talk, but she’ll never say anything meaningful. Not to me, anyway.”

Jackie gave him a sad smile. “Funny, but she used to always say the same thing ‘bout you, Doctor.”

“I’ve tried, Jackie. I’ve really, really tried,” he said, unable to keep the pent up frustration out of his voice. “I’m trying to be patient and wait for her to see that I’m still me… him. But every time I try to talk about the things we’ve done together, she clams up and just says something like, ‘Yeah, I remember; I was there.’ As if to say, I somehow wasn’t? She wastes no opportunity to shut me down and make me feel like a complete idiot.”

Jackie reached across the table and took his hand, sympathy dripping from her features. “I know, sweetheart… I know this isn’t easy for you. She just needs time to process all of this. She needs to get to know you again, as you are.”

The Doctor fisted his other hand and slammed it into the table, causing the dishes to rattle precariously. “How much more time do I need to be ignored and avoided, Jackie?” he said through clinched teeth. “How long do I have to be a pawn in her game where she makes sure someone is always blocking me from her? WHY DID SHE KISS ME ON THE BEACH!” he practically shouted.

He never let go of Jackie’s hand. To Jackie’s credit, she didn’t flinch, although there was a tiny bit of fear in her eyes at the Doctor’s loud outburst and contorted grimace of anguish. Reaching across the table, she took his other hand.

“She loves you, Doctor. Plain and simple.”

“She loves him,” he said bitterly, voice low and gravelly.

“But it’s you that she kissed,” she reminded him.

“Yeah, because like Pavlov’s dog, I gave the right response to the right stimulus. I responded to the question with the answer she wanted to hear, so she rewarded the correct response. That’s all. She wanted to hear it from the other, not from me.”

Jackie sighed and looked down before meeting the Doctor’s eyes again. She knew that, in his current agitated state, he wasn’t especially receptive to most of what she had to say.

“Doctor, sometimes we don’t get what we want. We get what we need.”

The Doctor laughed a little brokenly. “Yeah, I can sing you a song about that.”

She shook him a little, implying that she was about to deploy the Tyler slap. He held onto her hands a bit more tightly.

“My baby girl… my Rose… she needs you, Doctor. And you need her!” she insisted. “I can’t imagine any two people more suited for each other, or who love each other more. You’re both jus’ equally stubborn. Somebody needs to slap some sense into one, or both of ya.”

“You can’t make her love me, Jackie.”

“I’m tellin’ ya, she already does, Doctor. She jus’ needs to see that. She spent three whole years riskin’ her life tryin’ to get back to you. She didn’t care if she left me, her own Mum, behind forever. Or her brother, Tony. Or Mickey. She was jus’ gonna find you, jump into that big box of yours, and never look back.”

The Doctor couldn’t help but deflate a tad as he watched the tears welling in Jackie’s eyes, threatening to turn her raccoon eye makeup into something truly frightful.

“You told her it was impossible, you know,” Jackie continued. “She beat them odds. She found you, and then the next thing she knows, before she even gets in a decent conversation with you, she’s back where she started. She’s jus’ angry ‘cause it didn’ turn out exactly like she thought. She needs to get that through her hard head.”

Letting go of his hands, Jackie put her hand gently to the Doctor’s cheek.

“And you, young man,” smiling when she saw the Doctor’s first genuine, albeit reluctant, smile, “you need to stop workin’ so hard at tryin’ to prove who you are.”

“But, she doesn’t believe I’m really the Doctor,” he whinged, not quite following her.

“Then that’s her problem,” Jackie stated with finality. “You didn’ have to prove nothin’ to me or Pete, right?”

He shook his head, staring at her in amazement. “True, I didn’t. Why is that, Jackie?”

“Can see it in your eyes, you silly prat. Anybody lookin’ into those eyes can see you’re a lot older than thirty-five. You and the Doctor, you may have been born hundreds of years apart, but the eyes are the same.”

“Oi, my driver’s license says I’m thirty-two,” he protested.

Laughing, Jackie finally lightened her mood. “Tell you what,” she said. “Try to talk to Rose tonight. Don’t talk about old time. Talk about what you’re doin’ now. Talk about anythin’ but old times. If she don’t want to talk to you or she gets high and mighty, let me know. I think I know of somethin’ that’ll work.

“And that would be… ?”

Jackie gave him a big smile. “Oh, you’ll see.”


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 30th, 2011 01:25 pm (UTC)
Oh boy, sounds like both TenII and Rose are angry. That could spell out one powerful showdown which could evolve into something else... Looking forward to more!
Dec. 30th, 2011 03:41 pm (UTC)
He's feeling pretty rejected, and in the absence of a clear message from Rose, his mind is filling in the blanks with all sorts of things that may, or may not, be true. I mean, he's made it pretty plain that he loves her. He let himself be stranded in an alternate universe without a TARDIS or means of support (with hardly a peep), he finally said the words she'd been waiting so long to hear, he's living with Jackie (of all the people in the multiverse to get stuck with) and now she so soundly rejects him that she won't talk to him alone?

Oh yeah, poor Ten II is not in a good place after three months of that treatment. He's starting to feel trapped.

Edited at 2011-12-30 03:42 pm (UTC)
Dec. 30th, 2011 01:31 pm (UTC)
Aw, Ten2 you're really desperate when you go to Jackie for help.

Hopefully you and Rose will get all your anger out. :)
Dec. 30th, 2011 03:49 pm (UTC)
Well... he actually preferred to stick a fork in his eye rather than talk about it with Jackie. :-D He sort of got pinned into a corner.

And, remember, he's only hearing things anecdotally through Jackie about Rose's anger and motivations. Jackie just can't help but meddle. She sees truly, but it remains to be seen if her meddling helps or escalates the situation.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )