Fic: Five Times the Doctor Resisted His Own Charm (and One Time He Didn't) (1/6) (Ten/Ten, PG-13)
Word Count: 2400
Spoilers: Season 4 finale.
Summary: He knew that extra hand would come in handy one day.
The atmosphere is thick with agitation in the TARDIS console room. Once upon a time, the two Doctors got on quite well, but recently, they have been grating at each other's nerves more and more with each passing moment. The new Doctor is less than pleased with their current arrangement, and he is dead set on avoiding making himself useful in every sense of the word until he annoys the Doctor enough to lend him a little more leeway. He's sitting with his feet propped up on the console, playing with the sonic screwdriver while the Doctor is under the floor plates, trying to sort out a mess caused by some loose cables and worn out wiring.
Martha's phone rings. The new Doctor glances at it but makes no move to answer it. It rings again and he hears the Doctor's voice from below, “You could at least go answer that, seeing as I'm kind of busy down here, and seeing as you never are.”
“Why? It's you she wants to talk to anyway. You're the Doctor remember? I'm the companion.” The Doctor groans and the new Doctor grins.
“Look, I've told you before, it's not like that. You're still me, so just answer it, will you?” The phone rings again, and the new Doctor points the sonic at it and with a quick buzz, the ringing stops. The response from the Doctor is almost instantaneous. He crawls out of the floor and rushes around the console to call Martha back, all the while glaring at his half human self. The new Doctor rolls his eyes and gets up to leave the room. He ends up in the kitchen and helps himself to a banana.
A few minutes later, the Doctor comes round to find him. The new Doctor giggles when he sees him pass the kitchen by, but then frowns as he realises he's been heard when the Doctor appears in the doorway again. He walks up to the table the new Doctor is sitting at and stares at him. His hands are on his hips, his head is cocked to the side and the expression he's wearing doesn't quite achieve the intended effect. It's more endearing than intimidating, really. The new Doctor grins, tempted to laugh, and he's only humbled by the fact that he probably looks the same way when he tries that look.
“Well, I assume you're waiting for me to ask what Miss Jones wanted?” Despite his words, the new Doctor's tone actually holds some semblance of interest. The Doctor shrugs his shoulders, glancing off to the right.
“Oh, nothing urgent. I'll sort it out in a bit.” The new Doctor purses his lips. There is a pause.
“You'll sort it out, eh? Always you. We're both the Doctor, but it's always you that gets all the credit. Does being part human make me second best, then? Is that it?” The Doctor frowns and stares through another pause.
"What's happened to you? Why are you trying to be as obnoxious as both humanly and inhumanly possible? I know you didn't get that from me." The new Doctor lets out a harsh laugh.
“Of course I got it from you. I just got it back before you beat it into submission. Did you forget how big your head was when you first became me?" The Doctor sputters for a second and then comes up with something coherent.
"Well, regardless, there should be something else floating around in your head that you could show a little more of." The chair screeches across the floor and the new Doctor is standing up as he raises his voice.
"Oh, whatever! You're just mad because I won't be the amazed and ignorant companion that fauns over you all day! I'd be more cooperative if you'd let me play the Doctor once in a while instead of you!"
"You know full well why that won't happen." The Doctor almost looks sad as he says this.
"Oh, I see, I've had it wrong all this time. I'm not the companion, I'm the patient; because you've still got to 'make me better', isn't that right?" The new Doctor is gesturing madly.
"Can't we just stop this now? Haven't we argued over this enough?" The Doctor sounds so exhausted that the new Doctor is almost tempted to oblige. Instead, he continues with a calmer tone, which unintentionally turns icy as he goes on.
"Look, I get that you don't trust me. I almost agree with you myself, in fact. But you don't realize how bored I am, do you? I don't see why you couldn't just leave me with Rose. Or better yet, since she didn't seem to want me, you could have stayed with her yourself, and then I would get to play the Doctor."
"You know the answer to that one as well, and look at that, you even understand it too." The sarcasm the Doctor has picked up from him is starting to show. The new Doctor furrows his brow in irritation, but he's run out of retorts.
"Oh, shut up. Seriously, we're going to have to figure out something else here, because we're not going to get anywhere with me on your choke chain all the time."
"I'm open to suggestions."
“Well think about, how did you 'get better'? Maybe you should cut me some slack. You didn't learn to behave by playing the stray dog,” the new Doctor says with a pointed look. The Doctor looks away and sighs, running a hand through his hair.
“We shall see.” The new Doctor frowns, not convinced, but stays silent. The Doctor leaves and after a few seconds' deliberation, the new Doctor follows him.
Now the both of them are back in the console room, the Doctor under the floor plates, and the new Doctor playing with the sonic screwdriver. He selects a setting at random and presses the button. There is a yelp from below and then the Doctor peers up at him from the floor, sucking on his finger with his eyes narrowed. The new Doctor smiles innocently and tries another setting once the Doctor has gone back to work. The room fills with a loud screech of static that makes them both jump, and the new Doctor nearly drops the screwdriver as he fumbles to stop it.
“Must you do that? Surely there must be something you would find more entertaining,” the Doctor asks irritably when the noise stops.
“'Course not! What could be more entertaining than bothering you?” The new Doctor walks over and squats down next to the hole in the floor the Doctor is sitting in. He has the cheesiest grin on his face.
“You know who you're beginning to remind me of?” At that, the new Doctor stands up and backs away.
"Oh, don't start! If you won't admit resemblance to him about yourself, then you sure as hopscotch won't admit it about me.”
The Doctor stares at him.
“Oh, be quiet.” The new Doctor crosses his arms and turns his nose up in the air.
“I'll be needing that now.”
“Huh?” He drops his arms and looks at the Doctor, dumbfounded. The Doctor points at his right hand, and he looks down and realises that he means the sonic screwdriver. A burst of spite suddenly clouds his mind. He crosses his arms again and asks very slowly, “Suppose I should say no?”
“Oh, come on, just give it here.” The Doctor holds his hand out, and the new Doctor stares at it contemptuously.
“I think not.”
“What?” The Doctor looks genuinely confused, and the new Doctor rolls his eyes at him.
“I refuse.” With that, the new Doctor turns on his heel and walks out of the console room. Behind him, he hears the Doctor begin his pursuit, and he takes off down the hallway. He hears the Doctor shouting at him, but he's not listening. He doesn't care, he's having fun, and he thinks the Doctor secretly is too.
“Catch me if you can!” he shouts over his shoulder. The Doctor shouts something unintelligible back, and the new Doctor just keeps running.
They race through the TARDIS, and the new Doctor is laughing, because he misses this; he's missed the running more than anything. He's not paying attention to where he's going, but he's not thinking about how lost he's going to get right now. He soon becomes aware that the Doctor's footsteps have faded, and that he can't sense that he's chasing him anymore. He starts laughing jubilantly as he rounds a corner. And then abruptly skids to a halt.
There's the Doctor, right there in front of him. And he's rushing forward to block his escape. The New Doctor curses his human half, because it's dulled his Time Lord senses to a considerable degree. They're not gone, but they're much weaker than the Doctor's. He's going to have to pay extra attention if he's to overcome such a disadvantage. The Doctor's outstretched hand manages to catch one of the lapels on his coat, and when he tries to break away, the Doctor shoves him against the wall and holds him there. They are both breathing hard and mere inches separate the two of them. The Doctor just stares at him, not saying anything. He's not even glaring, not really.
Before long, the Doctor lowers his head and sighs in agitation as he relaxes his hold on the new Doctor, who is fighting the urge to shiver as he feels the Doctor's breath on his neck. He is immobilised and he couldn't move even if he had any fight left in him, and somewhere in the back of his mind, he wonders if the Doctor is feeling in any way similar about this intimacy. One of the Doctor's hands leaves the collar and wanders downward, and the new Doctor's breath catches as he feels the subtle trailing of the Doctor's fingers as they move down his flank. They reach his hip and then the hand jumps to his wrist, and a relieved sigh escapes him as the Doctor's hand closes around the sonic screwdriver in his right hand.
The Doctor closes his eyes and is still for a moment, and the new Doctor has a sneaking suspicion that it's because they are still so close. “I'll be having this back now,” the Doctor whispers, and the new Doctor gives the sonic up without a fuss, because right now, his head is clear of every rebellious thought that ever crossed his mind. He's completely focused on containing his reaction to this situation; at least until the Doctor is gone, and he isn't so firmly pressed against the wall as he is at this moment.
The Doctor has the sonic, but his hand still hasn't moved, and nor has he opened his eyes. A few seconds longer, and he finally looks at the new Doctor again. In the moments that the gaze is held, he can see a multitude of emotions flashing in the Doctor's eyes: there's the irritation, the responsibility, the determination, both the optimism and the pessimism; and there are even the repressed undertones of desire gleaming in his eyes.
The Doctor closes his eyes again and releases him. He turns away, and the new Doctor watches him leave, still leaning on the wall; he's afraid that his legs might not support him if he doesn't. The footsteps have almost faded away completely before he peels himself off of the wall and catches up with the Doctor. (It will take him forever to find the console room again on his own.) He stays several paces behind the Doctor, who glances behind himself only once. This is the only form of interaction between them on the way back to the console room.
The two Doctors return to their former positions. The new Doctor is now twiddling his thumbs and rocking the bench back and forth, absent-mindedly examining the controls on the console and listening to the sounds of the sonic coming from below. Several minutes later, the buzz ceases and the Doctor pokes his head out of the floor again.
“That should do it. Would you be so kind as to test out my patchwork?” The sarcasm is actually rather subtle. The new Doctor pretends he didn't hear him. There's a pause and the Doctor adds an edge to his voice as he says, “Doctor.”
The new Doctor's head jerks up, and then he slowly turns to look at the Doctor, with haphazardly hidden astonishment. The Doctor's eyes plead with him, and he can see an ever so subtle hint of affection. Narcissist, he thinks with a scowl. Not that he has room to talk. Several seconds later, the new Doctor obliges and kicks at a switch with his foot.
The Doctor grins and bends down to check his work again. Once satisfied, he hops out of the floor and slides the plate back into place. Suddenly, he's all energy, which baffles the new Doctor (even though he's more or less the same way). He's not sure it's even possible to push this man past his capacity to ignore annoyances; the dumb Time Lord is so impossibly resilient.
The Doctor rushes around the console, setting coordinates and preparing for dematerialisation. The new Doctor just barely manages to move his feet out of the way as the Doctor passes in front of him. Finally, he stops in front of the monitor with his hand poised over the last switch. He flashes a grin at the new Doctor and says, “Off we go then.”
He flips the switch and the TARDIS lurches, throwing the new Doctor off of the seat. Through the din of the engines, he thinks he hears the Doctor laughing at him. He scrambles over to the console and latches on as the TARDIS shakes and rattles. He looks over at the Doctor, who's grinning like a child on a carnival ride (and also giggling), and he can't help but smile.