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Fitz and the Doctor Don't Go to the Moon

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Fitz dreams of Fitzes. There's a row of them, like parading soldiers. The close-by ones look just like him, but little by little they go off somehow, and as the row blurs with distance Fitz sees faces he doesn't recognise but knows are his. "This is all rather Macbeth, isn't it?" says the Doctor. Why does he have a beard? Behind his back Fitz hears slow bass-drum footsteps from still another Fitz, a terrible one, and he can't turn around and if he doesn't turn around that Fitz will kill him, and if he does he'll kill him anyway. He's got to -

"Wake up! Oh, come on, this is no time to lie in bed!"

It's still night, as black as a tar barrel, which in Fitz's opinion makes it a bloody good time to lie in bed. "Doctor, what the - "

"We've got to hurry." The Doctor's face is a greyish blob, but Fitz can fill in his expression from memory. Half panic, half delight. "There are Cybermen on the moon."

He's been jumpy lately, and quiet. Fitz should've known the signs, but it's been so long since the last time that he let himself think it was all over. "Is that bad?"

The Doctor flings himself onto the bed and grabs Fitz's bare shoulders with sharp, chilly fingers. "Of course it's bad, Jamie, don't be ridiculous. Put your skirt on, my boy, and let's go."

This is just unfair. Waking up from a nightmare should mean having a quiet fag and a cup of tea, remembering that the world has rules. It shouldn't mean being mistaken for some drag queen the Doctor once knew, or possibly invented.

What would happen if he told the Doctor to piss off? Chucked him out of the room, locked the door, went back to sleep hoping lunacy gets better by daylight? He wouldn't burn the house down or anything. He's not dangerous. At worst he might go off on one of his wanders, or hide in the old coal cellar and cry himself to sleep.

Fuck, his hands are icebergs. Time for Fitz to stop sleeping in the nuddy, if he's going to be woken like this. Time for good thick flannel pyjamas. He shrugs out from under the Doctor's hands and holds them between his own, rubbing briskly. "Sorry. You're right, Doctor. But we don't really need to hurry, do we? I mean . . . "

"Oh. Yes, of course. My time machine. You're never too late if you've got a time machine."

No matter how weird the Doctor's dream world gets, whether there are alien cannibals in Spain or dinosaurs living in undersea cities, he's always got a time machine. That's the one link that lets it all hang together. Sometimes Fitz thinks about writing down the things the Doctor says during his episodes and making a story of it. It would sell a million copies. But when he mentioned the idea, the Doctor didn't talk to him for two weeks.

Fitz, in what he hopes is a Churchillean, rallying kind of voice, says, "Maybe you could get a bit of kip before we go, yeah?"

"I'm not tired." The Doctor frees his hands and puts them back on Fitz's shoulders. At least they're warmer now. "You're awfully thin."

"Said the pot to the kettle." He'll cook huge meals and not eat a bite. Stow it all in the deep freeze and cook another one next day.

"You humans. You get thin, you get fat, you get sick and you get hurt and you get old and you die. I hate it."

Fitz hugs him, slowly, so that he's got time to pull away if he wants. In some moods he can't bear touching. In others, such as now apparently, he can't do without. The Doctor latches on like a barnacle. "We all hate it," Fitz says.

"You've lovely though, humans. Lovely people." A bed-shaking wiggle brings him closer. Maybe he needs to get warm. That Japanese silk thing he's wearing can't stand up to March weather. "You're lovely."

Fitz is still pondering singular and plural when the Doctor kisses him.

The last time Fitz had a girlfriend, she asked him why he didn't move out. Cheap rent, she said, isn't worth a mad landlord. Fitz never could give her an answer.

He reckons he's got one now.

The Doctor's not even a very good kisser. He just puts his mouth against Fitz's and sort of pushes, the way somebody might who didn't know anything about kissing except what he'd seen in old films. And his hair keeps falling forwards and sticking to their lips. It's the clumsiest kiss Fitz has had since he was eighteen. He doesn't mind giving the Doctor another chance, though, and then a few more, so he can learn the knack.

For years, since he was a teenager wanking into a sock to hide the evidence, Fitz has had a picture in his mind of the perfect girl. She's got the face of Brigitte Bardot, the body of Emma Peel, and the sexual skills of a high-class tart. Somewhere, he's always thought, she's waiting for him like a Christmas cracker full of happiness. As he eases his fingers into the Doctor's long hair, which he hasn't tried for a second to pretend is a girl's hair, he feels her image disappear. She fades out with a jaunty wave, like she wishes him luck.

It doesn't bother him, not with the Doctor getting so much better at kissing, but it does make him think. Fitz pulls back, a hand on the Doctor's chest to stop him leaning in again. "Doctor, do you know who I am?"

"Of course I do," the Doctor says indignantly. "You're . . . you're Fitz."

Conscience problem solved. Fitz isn't put off by the Doctor's time machines and lunar invasions, but it's a rotten trick to kiss a person who thinks you're someone else.

"Fitz." The Doctor's hands, freezing again, pat his hair and cup his face. "You're back. It's wonderful. I'm sorry about Geneva, I never meant to leave you behind."

The closest Fitz has been to Geneva is Swiss Cottage. "Can't shake me off that easily." Does the Doctor have an imaginary Fitz in that head of his? A perfect Fitz, with the face of Montgomery Clift and the alien-fighting skills of Dan Dare?

Is that whose ear he thinks he's nibbling on?

"I know," the Doctor says, breathing it right into his ear, and follows up with his tongue. Christ, he catches on fast. "You always stay. You always help me."

"I try."

"When you play the guitar I feel better." And that's true, as real as this house and every bit of the Doctor's beloved junk in it. Fitz kisses his muddled head that's found its way back to sanity. At least somewhat, at least for now.

"D'you want me to play?"

"No." He shakes his head, soft hair brushing Fitz's face. "I want to get under the covers."

He's not a kid. He knows his own mind, even if sometimes it's at an angle to the rest of the world. Still, Fitz asks, "Are you cold?"

"No. I . . . " He presses Fitz's hand to his bony chest. There are two hearts inside, Fitz knows. A deformity that almost killed him, but Fitz can't help wanting to hear how it sounds. "I like this."

"Yeah, me too." He slides over and lets the Doctor in, along with a draught of cold air that he tries hard to be grateful for, considering what the kissing did to him. Slowing down's for the best. No need to hurry. When they get to where they're going, it won't be too late.