"Just try not to fall in love with him."
John tossed another jumper into his suitcase. "How cold does Cardiff get this time of year, do you think? Do I need another ... wait, what did you say?"
He looked over at his partner. Scott had abandoned his paper and was regarding him with a characteristic mix of fondness and exasperation.
John tried to think who he might be referring to, but as far he knew, his dance card was full up at BBC Wales for the next several ... oh, no. Scott was kidding, surely?
"Wait, do you mean Eccleston? I really don't think he's ... hey, get out of there!" He hoisted Penny out of the suitcase and deposited her on the floor. He straightened up, folded his arms and looked over at Scott again.
"Anyway, he's hardly my type."
Scott rolled his eyes. "He's playing the Doctor. He could have a face full of spots and a hump the size of Brian Blessed and you'd never even notice."
John unfolded his arms and smiled. "OK."
"He could be Brian Blessed, and you wouldn't ... hell, he could even be a girl ..." Scott was smirking now and waving his hands about as he warmed to his theme. That he was still holding a sausage roll in one of those hands wasn't lost on the dogs, who came trotting over, abandoning John's pile of clothes to sit hopefully at attention near the table.
John crouched down and petted Lewis. He looked up at Scott. "It's possible you may have a point."
Scott laughed, and tossed the remains of his roll over John's head. Lewis skittered away from John and scurried off after Penny, who had a head start and was already closing in on the roll.
John stood up and folded his arms again. "In my defense, I do think I'd notice if the Doctor had tits."
Scott had gone back to his paper. John sat down across from him and began fiddling with a knife, tapping it with one hand against the other.
In theory, they had an agreement, though it had been years since they'd really talked about it. He knew that Scott still happily went into the backrooms of London's better clubs and Scott knew that John flirted shamelessly with everyone he met. John suspected that Scott also knew that he was usually too knackered after a day's shoot to do anything concrete in the way of dalliance, but as it was his career choices that kept them apart for months at a time, he didn't really feel he could object to the odd blowjob from anonymous 19-year-olds. Out loud, anyway.
He reached out his hand and then stopped, suddenly feeling foolish. "Scott, seriously ..."
His partner looked up, first amused, then sober as he noticed John's face. He put his hand over John's outstretched one.
"Seriously," Scott said. "It's OK. Have fun in Cardiff."
John sighed, relaxing his shoulders. "They'll probably just make fun of the new boy, anyway."
Scott turned John's hand over so he could clasp it properly. "Don't be like that. You'll be fine."
John squeezed his partner's hand in thanks and then sat back in his chair. "I suppose there's always the crew."
Scott snorted. "That's the spirit."
John never did snog Chris Eccleston -- well, except on camera, but that didn't count. He thought he spied something in the man's eyes after one take, but before he could say anything, Billie'd leapt on his back with a shriek, and it was all he could do to stay upright. By the time he'd swung Billie around a few times, Eccleston had vanished into his trailer.
Nor had the crew showed much interest, John thought later, as he was once again manhandled by a harried young man with a clipboard who might have looked excellent splayed against a dark wall somewhere, but currently just looked like he'd willingly shoot any actor who so much as moved from his place again.
John wasn't moving. He could happily spend the rest of his life here, he thought.
By the time John met his second Time Lord, he was no longer playing an away game. Cardiff was home now, and the rules were different on home ground. Even Scott had decided that there were only so many times he could sneak into the back of one of Cardiff's few gay clubs without getting papped for his trouble, and so now they were thoroughly domestic, civil partnership and all.
He wasn't the only one mildly worried they'd turned into their parents.
"Seriously, John, at least think about snogging Burn or something."
John rolled his eyes.
"Or a houseboy," Scott said. "We could get a houseboy."
"And wind up in the Daily Mail every day for a week? Not worth it, thanks."
When Captain Jack got the call to return to the mothership, Scott was as excited as he was. Though not for the same reason.
"This is perfect! Tennant shags everything with a pulse -- he's like you, but with actual follow-through."
John leaned against the wall. He could feel a headache coming on.
"I am not seducing a co-worker just to make you feel less middle-aged."
"OK, the fact that that's your first reaction to the idea of shagging David Ten-Inch suggests to me you haven't met him yet."
John cocked his head to one side. "If this is your subtle way of suggesting I bring him home for you ..."
Scott laughed. "I think one Scotsman in my bed at a time is more than enough, thanks. Though, if we're talking threesomes, let me know if Eve and Bradley ever break up."
"Eve?!" John choked on his coffee.
Scott pounded on his back. "I meant Bradley, actually, what with the whole, you know, being a homosexual and Bradley having, you know, a cock."
John grimaced. "Right."
Scott smirked. "Got something you want to tell me?"
"No. I mean, yes, I agree with you, Bradley is gorgeous. But they've been together since the flood, so I hardly think ..."
"John. I meant about Eve."
John grimaced again. It was true he'd been noticing her breasts a lot more recently. He blamed Captain Jack.
"I am not sleeping with a woman just to make you feel less middle-aged, either," John said.
Scott laughed. "OK. But I'll bet you a fiver you've got your hand down Tennant's trousers within a week of meeting him."
It took two weeks, a fact that John felt slightly smug about after he found himself having trouble breathing the first time he saw David in full Doctor regalia. But then David had smirked at him, and he could hear Scott saying "shags anything with a pulse" in the back of his head. It was worth the fiver to not be quite so easy, he decided.
Not that it took David long to realize his weak spot.
"It's true what they say, then."
John had been checking his watch, ready to leave the pub. He looked up, half-annoyed to be disturbed. His face relaxed when he saw it was David, holding a fresh pint from the bar.
"What do they say, then?" John found himself slipping into his Scottish accent too often when he was around David.
David sat down across from him and took a drink.
"That you've been domesticated, you have." David smiled, nodding his head at John's watch. "Barrowman for hearth and home, quite touching."
John knew he was being baited, so said nothing, waiting to see where this would go.
"And Mr. Gill, too," David continued. "The club boys must have worn black the day you swept him away to Cardiff."
John rolled his eyes. "We can't all be 22 forever."
"Aye, a pity that," David agreed, still smiling.
John reached for his glass, and threw his head back to get the last few drops of lager.
"Want to go fuck in the back, then?"
John choked, and barely avoided dropping the glass. He opened his eyes to find David staring at his mouth. While he was trying to work out what to say, David reached under the table.
"Um." Right, brilliant, John thought. Really witty.
David withdrew his hand, and slouched back in his chair.
"Oh, for fuck's sake, John, what are you waiting for?" Scott's voice rang clear as day, and for a minute John thought his partner was actually in the pub, not just in his head.
John leaned forward, capturing David's gaze. "All right," he said.
Scott patted him on the head when he got home, like one of the dogs who'd done something clever.
"Do I get a treat?" asked John, his nose already twitching toward the smell of something good on the cooker.
"Just pasta," Scott said, handing him a glass of wine. "We'll save anything more exotic for when you find some way of overcoming your natural preferences and seduce Eve."
John rolled his eyes and took a sip of the wine, watching as Scott stirred the sauce. He didn't want to push his luck, but he was surprised that Scott wasn't asking more questions.
"Aren't you at least going to ask me if his nickname is well-deserved?"
Scott looked up from the sauce. "John." It was said fondly, but with a decided air of "You clot."
"John. What on earth makes you think I don't already know?"