Title: Full Circle
Rating:: NC-17; 4th Doctor/Turlough, 5th Doctor/Turlough. If m/m interaction bothers you, what are you doing here?
Spoilers: "Mawdryn Undead," "The Five Doctors," "The Awakening," and "Planet of Fire," with some vague stuff from
other Turlough episodes and the early Tom Baker Doctor episodes. Don't worry; I explain as I go.
Summary: : Turlough and the Doctor meet for the first time. Then Turlough and the Doctor meet for the first time....
ARCHIVING/DISTRIBUTION: Anywhere, as long as you ask me first.
DISCLAIMERS: All things _Doctor Who_ are property of BBC Enterprises Ltd. No infringement intended, and anyone who thinks
I'm making a cent from this is on drugs. Besides, it's their own fault for introducing a character who wore a tight boys school
uniform most of the time.
FEEDBACK: can be sent to Viridian5@aol.com
NOTES: When the Doctor sees Turlough for the very first time, fiddling with the TARDIS controls no less, he just accepts him
after a few basic questions, taking a very suspicious character in immediately on faith. Maybe there's more to the story that the
viewers and Turlough aren't aware of. <g>
You could see this as taking place in the same universe as "Escape" or not; it could go either way. The view of Turlough
from the outside could never match with one from inside.
The place with the great onion rings and mozzarella sticks is Ryan's Irish Pub, the place where Te and I ended up chatting for
hours the day we first met in RL. I imagine the Doctor and Turlough would be amused by the red phone booths in front of the
Telephone Bar & Grill next door. My trickster brain started
playing Sting's "Englishman in New York" for me during the pub scene--"I'm an alien / I'm a legal alien / I'm an Englishman in
New York..."--so I've been drowning it out with Switchblade Symphony's _The Three Calamities_, without which the wall
scene would never have occurred.
Thanks to Zoe for inviting me to see the Village apartment she was
housesitting. Small, adorable, with lovely ceiling carvings... and a rental price of $2300 a month. Once I started to breathe again....
Thanks to Te for ongoing support and the read-through.
I really had no objective reason to talk to the lad sitting on the stoop nearby, no matter how angry and depressed he looked, but
I'd found in my long life that objectivity and reason had only limited roles in existence. More importantly, I'd been in the hero
business long enough to have a nose for trouble and for things out of joint, and this boy registered strongly for both. I tended to lead
with that nose; it made life so much more interesting. Besides, it was rather too large not to follow.
Maybe that boys school uniform he wore helped make my decision. I could tell myself that it caught my attention for being
so utterly English against a New York City stoop, but I couldn't ignore how tight it was either.
Ah, well. Sarah Jane had her ideas about what a vacation was, while I had mine. She'd also call me a dirty old man, but she was
too busy shopping to be here to tease me now.
Being very careful not to sit on my scarf, I settled down next to the lad and said, "You're far too young to put on such a sour look."
Actually, he looked vaguely familiar. If I could coax him into an environment with better lighting, I would know for certain.
The expression on his pale face hovered between incredulous and affronted, but with a tinge of dark amusement edging through both.
"And that may well be the sickest pick-up line I've gotten so far."
Sitting close to him, I suddenly realized that he was no more Terran than I was. He looked utterly human; so did I. He sounded
English, and so did I. From his coloring, he could have been a lad of Irish or Scots descent. Yet I knew. That highly developed
sense of mine again.
"Have you gotten many?"
"Plenty tonight." As he shook his head, orange-tinged from the streetlights shimmered through his pale hair, camouflaging its
color. I wanted to see it in regular light. He had it cut in a short cap style that so many far younger Earth lads had to tolerate when
their parents still determined such things for them. He asked, "Do
you know that this barbaric country demands an identification card for almost everything that could provide a good time?"
"No one ever asks me for ID, but I suppose that looking ancient helps."
"Ancient. You're hardly there yet."
"How kind of you, but I'm older than I look."
"So am I."
He appeared to be anywhere from 16 to 18 Terran years old, though his angular face was so utterly unchildlike that it actually
made me want to revise the estimate down rather than up, as strange as that sounded. His wide eyes and that air of abuse he had
about him helped make him look younger too.
"What does any of this have to do with people picking you up?" I asked.
"I tried a few more pubs, with every one telling me I was too young and needed an identification card. Finally I found this place
that took me on my word. The doorman said he liked my accent and costume. I didn't know what he meant until I went inside and
had a number of men trying to fill the role of headmaster for me. I had to decline."
The lad looked more amused than annoyed. So... "And why was that?"
"I've experienced an actual headmaster. It does nothing to fulfill any fantasies I have."
"Are you making a pass at me?"
"Are you accepting?"
"I look old enough to be your father."
"You do have that older, mad, dangerous eccentric look. Like you might take me home and lock me in your root cellar."
"And that appeals to you?"
"Sometimes. I have a mad passion for people with bulging eyes."
"It's not my gorgeous mop of unruly curls you find fetching?"
He just gave me an amused look. "Besides, I can take care of myself."
"I'm sure you can, since you look like an utterly devious guttersnipe I could easily snap over my knee."
"Words can be so hurtful. They cut." So did his smile.
"Oh good. If you could get me a beer, you'll find I'm even more accommodating."
"You'll whore yourself for that?"
"I think you understand what I'm saying. Besides, how often does one run into a man of the galaxy such as yourself?" He looked
even more sly.
I grinned back. I did love a challenger. "Not very often. At least not under friendly circumstances."
"You don't have to tell me about that."
"May I ask what gave me away?"
"You're so close I can feel your heart beating. Both of them. How did you guess about me?"
"Long experience." I had a sudden thought about him. I didn't remember him traveling with any of my past selves, but that didn't
mean he couldn't be traveling with a future one. "I know a great Irish pub on Second Avenue. They have some of the best onion
rings and mozzarella sticks in the city. And I can sneak you some beer."
We sat at one of the sidewalk tables, dining al fresco as so many in this city did in warmer weather, even if that warmer weather was
in December. He still hadn't given me his name, and he ate like he'd been starved. Since he looked like he hadn't ever gotten a
decent meal, I didn't begrudge him it.
In better lighting his hair proved to be a light ginger color, while his eyebrows and lashes were a far paler shade, nearly blond. He
turned out to be all over pale: porcelain white skin, ice blue eyes. He should have looked washed out, even more insubstantial when
such coloring was paired with how skinny he was, yet some inner fire prevented it.
"He finally realized he'd been running us hard of late once Tegan just about clubbed him over the head about it, so he finally agreed
to a vacation. I said, 'Please, not Earth *again*. Especially not England.' He said, 'Oh, not to worry.' So we end up in America.
I couldn't help feeling that he rarely spoke this much or this honestly. It warmed me. And made me feel smug as well, but any
of my companions could tell you that almost everything made me feel smug, so take that as you would.
Not that I had much cause to be smug over him talking so to me, a prefect stranger, because we weren't truly perfect strangers. He
*did* know me, or rather he knew a future me. The slim, young-looking blond one that my past selves had met in the Death Zone.
In fact, my past selves had also briefly met this lad. His name was
Turlough. I would have met him and that future self myself if I hadn't been caught in a time eddy at the time. Well, I *will be*
caught in a time eddy. That hasn't happened to me yet.
Confusing? Try living it.
It would be far worse if our memories of such things stayed sharp. Fortunately, they faded around the edges, especially when other
selves are involved. I wouldn't even remember Turlough and the rest at all if he weren't sitting here right in front of me as a
reminder. Self-protection is such a wondrous thing.
Besides, it's frightfully boring to know too much about the future.
"So this Doctor fellow then asked you not to split up, but you did anyway, as you always do." Companions always did.
Unfortunately, *telling* them to split up didn't work as reverse psychology, since they split up then too. I could never figure it.
"Why break with tradition? Besides, this is supposed to be a vacation. Why spend it with the people I work with?"
"I'm surprised you haven't asked my name yet."
"I could say the same."
He smirked. "I'm Turlough."
"John Smith." I could hardly call myself the Doctor around him, could I?
He raised an eyebrow but said nothing of it. Even a fellow alien knew how suspicious that name sounded, but it *was* one of my
I doubted I could succeed in diverting that suspicious steel-trap mind, but I could try. "I will never become accustomed to the way
Americans serve beer cold."
A long, pale hand flew out and grabbed the mug. Turlough downed a healthy swallow before I had a chance to react. Yes, the
lad certainly did have potential. "Mmm. It is cold. I think I like it that way."
"Oh, please. You're no more English than I am."
"Part of it is genetic heritage, but the rest is soul."
"Both of you... I'm trying to imagine a distant planet full of Anglophiles, and it terrifies me."
"It's so dreadfully sad to speak to someone so terribly misguided."
"What is it about the people of this miserable planet that fascinates you so?"
"Well, they can be arrogant--"
"Something you would know nothing about, of course."
"Impudent puppy. Respect your elders enough not to interrupt, at least."
"Sorry. I forgot how ancient you are."
I liked this boy immensely. I briefly wondered if he and my successor were lovers but decided it really wouldn't change my
plans for him either way. "They can be narrow-minded, intolerant, violent--"
"Are those supposed to be positive traits?"
"But they have such heart, such fire. Indomitable will and an inventive spirit that never fail to astound me. I wonder sometimes
if their violence and their creativity are linked somehow, the urge to destroy and create intertwined in some kind of necessary
"I should have taken you for a philosopher."
"I dare say you wouldn't be so rosy on them if you'd been brought up at a place like Brendon School."
"How bad could it really be?"
"I think its Latin motto says something like 'breaking bodies and spirits since the 1700s.'"
"Sometimes." He suddenly looked so sad that I regretted that our conversation had arrived here. Something about him suggested the
kind of creature who would gnaw his own foot off to escape a trap,
and I got the sudden impression that he'd only narrowly avoided facing such self-mutilation. Then that saucy look returned to his
face as he set the past aside and came out to play again. "In my experience, Earthlings are also loud, rude, and ignorant."
I smiled and played back with him. "Are you describing anyone you know in particular?"
"Tegan, for one."
Another one my former selves I had met. My first self remembered her as a small, snippy, highly opinionated woman wearing a
ridiculous coat. However, my first self had been an exceedingly crotchety and set-in-his-ways old man, which rendered him far
Turlough smiled. "She was very upset that the Doctor brought us to New York City in December of 1999 without at least getting us
here at the end of the month for the millennial new year. It took her 15 minutes to wind down after I told her the millennium
wouldn't really start until 2001."
"You never do anything to set her off, of course."
"Why no. I don't find her tirades entertaining at all. Your accusation is insulting." Turlough shook his head. "You're an evil
man. I'm not certain I should continue to associate with you."
"I'm a very good man. I just prefer to say evil things at times."
Turlough tried to hide his grin behind another swallow from my beer. "She doesn't really need me for that anyway. If she ever
stopped snapping, I think reality itself would come to a grinding halt."
"You sound fond of her."
"Only as far as it would be too much trouble to kill her and hide the body."
"Admit it. You're not as much of a bastard as you portray yourself to be."
"I admit nothing."
He'd finished the mozzarella sticks and set to demolishing the onion rings as well. "Does no one ever feed you?" I had to ask in
amusement. I regretted it as I saw the wall come up again, as my words made him remember himself. I tried to recover with, "I like
to watch people enjoy their food."
I succeeded. He answered, "I don't eat well, usually. My own doing. I expend too much energy for what I take in. Inefficient of
me, I'm afraid." Then he grinned. "In fact, one of the men applying for the position of my headmaster said he'd make me eat
"Then he'd already failed."
"A true headmaster doesn't ask his student such things. He simply comes in and takes care of the student without saying a word."
Turlough looked down at the empty plate and its nearly empty twin, then laughed. "Have you taken the position then?"
Lovely boy. I wanted to purr. "I'm not sure if it's worth the trouble. You seem to be quite a handful."
"Depending on the circumstances, that can be a positive attribute."
You don't say. "I've never seen that."
His pale eyes gave the impression of sun through ice. "I could demonstrate."
"I suggest you do so."
"Here? Now? I could, you know. You'd enjoy it for the brief time it would take for someone to notice and get us thrown out."
"Then we'll take it elsewhere once we settle with our lovely and attentive waitress." I signaled her.
Turlough finished the last onion ring and washed it down with my beer. Then laughed. "My mouth will be appalling."
"It already was."
"Never. Jelly baby?" I asked. He raised an eyebrow but took a few from my bag. To further tease him, I continued, "I said 'jelly
*baby*.' One. Singular."
"But you offered me the bag. Consider yourself fortunate I didn't take them all."
"You're a glutton."
"Now, now. You don't want to make such snap decisions, judging me on only one situation. You should first observe my behavior in
many different circumstances." He popped a jelly baby in his mouth and appeared to savor it.
"Is that an offer?"
"Have I said anything in the last few minutes that *wasn't* an offer?"
I grinned. "I really can't be certain. I'm--"
"--an innocent, thank you very much."
"An ancient innocent? That's just sad." Another jelly baby went in.
"I realize that almost everyone seems ancient to a child like yourself--"
"You started it."
"That was mature."
"You've already given me candy. Will you dandle me on your knee next?"
"I'll take you over my knee."
Where was that waitress? "No, that was a threat."
"Same thing," he drawled in a darkly perfect tone of drawing room menace, dripping with breeding.
The dear girl finally appeared and started to ask if we wanted anything else, but I shut her down and asked her what the damages
were. If I didn't get Turlough out of here soon, I would do something inadvisable. While doing inadvisable things in public
never failed to be fun, it often led to complications and obstacles
later on. Thus, this time I would much prefer to take my inadvisable self, my inadvisable partner, and all the inadvisable
things I planned to do to him private.
Meanwhile, Turlough sucked on a bit of ice from the glass of water he'd neglected through the whole meal. Somehow, even with his
mouth closed, he managed to give me the impression that he was perpetrating obscene acts on that ice with his tongue.
Oh, how I will make him suffer.
But it had been a while since someone had gone to such effort to seduce me. I could take teasing as well as I could deal it out. I
could let him pursue me 'til I caught him.
Not that I intended to make much effort to elude him.
I left a handsome tip as I paid, then grabbed my coat. Turlough reached my exceedingly long, striped scarf first and wrapped it
around his neck a few times. As he walked beside me on the sidewalk, so close I could touch him, he petted it, then wrapped
one end around one thin wrist. With everything else he'd already said and done that sight shouldn't have had such power over me.
Oh well. Ravening lust would simply better focus my attention on getting us someplace private.
"Why is this thing so long?" he asked as he petted.
"It has uses. Warmth, for one. Also, I can trip my enemies with it."
"I'm much smarter than that." I cast him a sidelong look. "I can bind people with it."
He walked closer still. "It no doubt adds that necessary touch of whimsy to the game. Where are we going?"
"I have a place a few blocks away."
"An alley would do."
Oh my. He sounded serious. I smiled. "I too find patience to be overrated as a virtue, but... Dangerous old strangers, sex in
alleys... Whatever are you punishing yourself for?"
"I'll tell you a little secret about punishment: It's only punishment if you don't like it."
"But I'm not finding any decent alleys here."
Indeed. As I led him up the stoop to my building, he said, "This seems surprisingly permanent for you."
"And you know me so well already." I took the keys out of my vest pocket and let us in.
"I believe so." He looked adorable with my scarf looped around his neck a few times. Its bright stripes added a splash of color to his
sober uniform, though it couldn't outstrip his blazing hair.
"I believe in having bolt holes in my favorite places. I have an apartment here that I let a string of artists live in while I'm not in
town. Those few times I show up, they vacate for a while."
"Why would anyone agree to that?"
"It's rent-controlled. In New York City, that's magic. Getting to live in the Village for only $500 a month in this time tends to
overcome any objections that they might have."
"Means nothing to me."
"Or so you might think. What it *does* mean to you is that we don't need an alley."
"That's a kind of magic I can like."
The brat kept fondling me from behind on the stairs. Every time I turned to look, his hands were in full view, innocent, and he had a
bland look on his face. I intended to even the score in good time.
Three torturous flights later, I opened the apartment door and inhaled a rich melange of oil paint and thinner. Amazing how
pleasant associations could render even nasty, nearly caustic smells wonderful. The current artist in residence kept the place cheerfully
cluttered with paint pots, scatters of pencils and brushes, easels, canvases, drop cloths, sketches, models, and a variety of more
ordinary items. Homey.
As I hung up my coat, Turlough took a moment to look at the sunset colors of a painting in progress before sweeping his gaze
across the small apartment. Somehow he gave me the impression that he marked every door and window into his memory, especially
I pulled him against me and put my arms around his waist. "Do you want anything?" I whispered into his ear.
"It's a long list. How much time do you have?"
"I'm asking as your host."
Turlough turned to face me. "As your guest, I've already told you what I want. Lucky us, you seem to want it too."
Pressed to me like this, he felt like a creature made entirely of bone, though I could also make out
surprising long, lean muscles under the camouflaging clothing. Still attached to me, he stepped
back until I had him pushed up hard against a wall, our bodies so close that the only way we could get closer would be if we broke
that rule about two physical forms being unable to occupy the same space at once.
Which I've done, thank you, but not without help.
Turlough's every move screamed of wanting a bit of rough, so I pressed harder and nipped his ear as my hands possessively
roamed down his back. Down, down, then *clutch*.... He surged against me and pulled at my clothing in response.
"Now, *please*," he gasped, his eyes dilated to black holes by lust. "Take me."
He'd wanted an alley. It seemed a wall would be a good enough substitute.
I understood needing it now. We could achieve art later.
At least my fingers retained their competence as my head went on vacation, reciprocating the half strip Turlough did to me. He did not start on my vest or shirt, nor did he allow me to remove his jacket, my scarf, his tie, and his shirt. Instead, eyes intent and almost mindless, he grabbed my hand and started to fellate my fingers. Lost under the sensual onslaught, the warmth of a talented tongue and the scraping touch of nearly sharp teeth, I took an appallingly long time to understand why he did it. Then it hit me in all its bright colors, and I became ever harder, aching for him even more.
He let my fingers fall from his mouth with one last, teasing swipe of his tongue, then turned to face the wall, offering himself to me so prettily that some dark part of me wanted to thrust home right then. I couldn't help feeling that he'd enjoy that too, yet I kept hold of some self-control.
I'd promised myself I would repay him for the fondling on the stairs. This might do it, even if it would torture me as well.
I put my arm around his neck, pressed myself to him, then circled the puckered entrance with a single finger. I didn't slide it in until he was shivering convulsively in my grip, begging with his whole body. Writhing gracefully, he pushed back, trying to take it in sooner, deeper, but I took advantage of my scarf wound around his neck to hold him in place, even tightening it like a large, woolen garotte occasionally. He gasped his thanks in another, harsher language, his English having failed him.
Dripping for him, inflamed beyond thought by his display, I couldn't hold back any longer. When I thrust in deeply, as far as I could go, I could feel his moan reverberate through his whole body. "*Take* me," Turlough gasped, but it sounded like a command instead of a plea.
I rode him hard, but he rode me back. With how thin he was, I'd feared that he might break or shatter with rough handling, but he proved to be as resilient and flexible as wire. I might break before he did.
I couldn't stop the thought that we fit, as if he were a glove specifically designed for me.
Instead of touching himself, Turlough kept his hands up to brace us against the wall. Seeing an injustice, I moved to fix it by stroking his cock with the hand I didn't already have occupied with keeping hold of my scarf and thus his neck. I inadvertently tightened the scarf on his neck as I did so. He achieved orgasm with a choked shout and a shudder that ran through his whole body, taking me with him.
I came to with my face buried in my soft scarf, leaning against Turlough as he leaned hard against the wall. My scarf smelled of me and of his sharp sweat. Flushed, utterly mussed, eyes closed, he looked exultant as he caught his breath. Debauched schoolboy, graceful and in control even with his pants around his ankles.
I felt smug utterly beyond my usual. The edge had been taken off my lust, but I could feel the low hum of it still as it caught its breath and regained its energy. It seemed I wasn't so old after all.
Once I disengaged, he slid down to sit on the floor. I kicked my boots and pants off, then walked half-naked to the refrigerator. "Juice?" I asked.
Turlough laughed. "Oh, this is so usual for you then? And yes, thank you." By the time I reached him, he had his own shoes, socks, and pants off and had arranged his shirttails to provide a semblance of modesty. Smirking, he clinked his glass against mine before taking a deep swallow.
"Not every day. You're making me feel guilty watching you sit on the hardwood floor--"
"--so I suggest we move this discussion to the bedroom. I must be a good host"
"Then, like a good guest, I accept your invitation."
His smile in reaction to the bedroom pleased me. Of course, the lavish bed that took up almost all of the tiny room belonged to the apartment's present occupant, but she belonged to the apartment, which belonged to me, so.... A carved and highly polished cherry wood headboard rose above a mass of crisp white linen and a deep red down comforter.
Turlough unwound my scarf from his neck and tossed it to the headboard, where it slithered to a stop around one of the bedposts. I actually hated to see it leave him. His tie followed it. He didn't take off the jacket and shirt until he was under the covers. It tickled me to think he might be shy or self-conscious. He stretched luxuriantly, yawned extravagantly, then snuggled under the covers and bid me good night.
"You must be joking," I said.
Only glinting eyes, ice green now, and a blaze of hair appeared above the comforter. "Yes," he answered.
I stripped down and joined him. When I touched his left arm, I felt a raised pattern on it I couldn't help stroking with my thumb. He shuddered. "Did I wear you out?" I asked. "Young things these days have no staying power."
"I'm sure it does you good to have such a high regard of yourself."
I traced the mark on his arm with my tongue and felt triangles. The smooth skin of the pattern suggested an old brand, making me think that perhaps my guttersnipe had a hellion past. He writhed. "Undeserved?"
He answered by flipping me onto my back, using my scarf to secure my wrists to the bedposts, then attacking my neck with nibbling kisses. The night was young.
To my disappointment, I woke up in bed alone. I'd hoped to see what Turlough looked like when he slept, if he lost that wary look at all. I'd imagined him as only a blaze of hair ruining his camouflage against white linen sheets....
Such is life. I'd be lucky if he hadn't slipped out of the apartment while I was sleeping.
I was lucky. He stood in the next room and looked meticulously groomed, with every line of his uniform straight, every hair in place, almost military. It worried me. I needed to muss and rumple him again. His attention seemed to be completely taken up by the painting he looked at, to the point that the mug in his hand seemed to be forgotten. I smirked at the scent of tea. The lad did protest so much.
I could tell by the way something in his posture changed that he knew I stood behind him, so I just asked, "How could you possibly get out of bed so early?"
From his meticulous appearance, I expected cold, distant precision, but he retained the night's mischievous spark. "Brainwashing," he said with a smile, "pure and simple."
I should know better than to simplify and assume; actual people seldom worked on A plus B always equals C. Why couldn't he be particular about his look and still be an impish troublemaker? I should applaud him for refusing to conform to stereotype. In fact, imagining that oh-so proper uniform falling in a perfect line over, say, that old brand of two slightly overlapping triangles, gotten perhaps in a wilder youth, he had on his left forearm did things for my lust. Just because I dressed in a manner I felt reflected my inner self didn't mean that others couldn't use it to misdirect or wrongfully calm others. In my own way, I was as fastidious in my own appearance, but in the opposite direction.
But I was lying to myself. Dressing like an innocuous, eccentric, absent professor only expressed one part of myself, the harmless part. It let me slip in and start meddling before anyone realized it, made life easier. I'd designed my appearance to mislead, and I never felt sorry about it.
Didn't mean I couldn't complain about Turlough confounding my expectations even as I loved him for it. "School?"
A shadow crossed his face. "Among other places." He took another sip of tea, then set it down. "I have to go, you know."
Which meant he wanted me to make him to stay. "And why is that?"
"I have companions to catch up with. They're probably neck deep in an invasion or some megalomaniac's plans as we speak."
"The better that you're here instead of with them. I thought a vacation meant avoiding life-threatening danger."
"But you feel they need you."
"Maybe. Silly, isn't it?"
"Not at all. He chose to let you come along with him for a reason."
He wore that sharp grin again. "Few people could say that like they mean it."
"I succeeded, I trust."
"Spectacularly." He sighed. "I suppose I could take a few more hours. He always manages to find me when he needs me."
"There's my boy."
I gave in and ruffled his hair, which earned me the nearly feline look of disgust I'd expected. How dare I force him to groom himself all over again? The mental image of him licking himself back into order had to be worth the price of admission. Before he could make any move to realign his hair, I put my arms around his waist, unbuttoned his blazer jacket, and pulled the tails of his shirt from his pants. Never do anything halfway. He smelled of the shampoo and soap the apartment's current occupant, and thus I, used. His clothing still smelled of last night's play.
As I pressed him to me, I grinned as he half molded to me and half fought. Luxurious, the feel of him slithering against me, especially as his movement made the silk of my robe caress my skin as well. I wanted him badly, but I doubted his morning fastidiousness would allow for a romp and roll through paint-stained drop cloths, so I had to get him back to the bedroom.
"It's too early. Come back to bed," I purred into his ear. He'd gypped me of the chance to catch him sleeping the first time, so I intended to get another.
"What for? I'm awake." It came out half hiss of sullen displeasure and half throaty tease. My guttersnipe did eschew being too easy to label.
I appreciated that.
"Sleeping is the only thing you do in bed?" I asked as I stroked the long, pale column of his neck with my tongue. I only had to loosen his tie and collar first to do it. I had faith in my ability to quickly bring him to a preferred state of dishabille.
"You have something else in mind?"
I answered his question with a kiss, and he answered my kiss with another nibbling kiss. With some pride, I can say that I managed to retain the presence of mind to steer him to the bed as we devoured one another. Age and treachery, you know.
Asleep, Turlough looked more relaxed but no less wary. He slept hard and deep, yet stirred reflexively every time I moved under him. I tried to stop moving and kept restraining the urge to take
him apart to see how he worked. My love of mysteries often got me into trouble.
I also kept asking myself if I really wanted him to go back to some future self I hadn't even become yet. It wasn't so much selfishness as an inclination for getting and enjoying gifts early. Really. How could I steal from myself? Time tended to take care of itself eventually, with a few nudges here and there, so I was sure I could make the paradoxes work out.
I couldn't stop trying to imagine the look on Turlough's face when I took him to the TARDIS. He'd make me pay for keeping my identity from him, and that couldn't help but be fun. Sarah might be scandalized at him and us at first--she could be narrow-minded at the oddest times--yet I couldn't help thinking she'd come around once she saw my contentment.
How Turlough and Sarah Jane would get along with one another I couldn't even begin to guess, but it would certainly be interesting to watch. They each seemed to enjoy a good verbal battle now and then...
I wanted him, and what was the point of being a lord of time if you couldn't use it to make yourself happy now and than?
But I awoke alone again, this time with my hand brushing something that rustled. A Dear John letter?
I picked up the scrap of sketch paper and read. Turlough had written his note in pencil with a heavy hand, leaving deep marks. Some of the letters of his angular handwriting didn't look quite right for English, showing traces of a different alphabet.
Although I already had a good idea about what the letter said, I read it anyway. He said some frankly flattering things about his need to depart by stealth while leaving only this note to explain, assuring me that he wouldn't have been able to say goodbye at all otherwise. He didn't believe in fate or predestination, yet he felt somehow that he needed to stay with the Doctor, that being there would take him someplace he needed to go. No matter how much he wished he could explain it, he couldn't.
I could. I saw Turlough's attachment to my future self in every word about him, the lucky bastard.
I swallowed down disappointment, but it didn't surprise me that Turlough had gone. He'd struck me as being hard to hold onto.
Besides, I knew I'd see him again.
But, damn it, patience *isn't* a virtue I believe in.
I rushed into the TARDIS and started adjusting the controls. There had to be a way to free us.
Suddenly, I realized I was not alone. At another station of the TARDIS's console, also adjusting the controls, stood a lad in a boys school uniform, and he looked at me with as much surprise as I felt on my own face. He seemed familiar...
"Who are you?" I asked. Then it hit me in a rush of disjointed images. New York City. A night of engaging conversation followed by an even more intimate connection.
Turlough, my devious guttersnipe.
This last regeneration had been harder than most, leaving my memories of my past selves more difficult to access. Even before that, my excess of memories had made it necessary to file the majority of them away deep in the back of my mind. But once unfolded, that night hit me with an immediacy that left
I smiled, which surprised him even more. "Who are you?" I asked again. He hadn't met the former me yet.
Polite and deferential, Turlough gave me his name, then spun a story of truths, half-truths, lies, and outright evasions. I pretended to believe his tale of being an Earth boy who'd wandered into the transmat.
I doubt anyone had ever been as happy to see him as I was at this moment.
"--been wandering from one calamity to another of late with no chance to take a breath. We need a rest," Tegan said.
"Oh, come now. We just had a vacation," I said. Tegan did tend to go on over very little.
"Which lasted all of ten minutes until Borusa started to steal your past selves and we had to go to the Death Zone."
"We went to see your grandfather in Little Hodcombe."
"And got caught in the possessed citizens' war games and the Malus' evil plans. I was nearly sacrificed as the May Queen. That is *not* a vacation."
Tegan and Turlough did look worn and a bit haggard. "What do you say, Turlough?" I asked.
"A rest would be much appreciated," Turlough answered, looking mild and deferential if you missed the smolder in his pale eyes. As usual. "We could come back fresh. Wouldn't that be better?"
When they thought I wasn't looking, Tegan raised an eyebrow at Turlough, and he smirked back. And the other Time Lords couldn't understand why I treasured the company of other races so.
"Then we shall have a vacation. I'll decide on a spot."
"Please, not Earth *again*. Especially not England."
Turlough's words struck me with all the force of deja vu. He constantly said something along those lines, but now they had a slightly different, yet familiar tone. Then I understood. He'd said them that night.
Was it time at last?
Turlough thus far hadn't proved to be quite what I'd expected. Instead of the insouciant troublemaker my past self had met, Turlough had come to me twitchy, desperate, and haunted, always on the verge of a flinch. I hadn't expected him to be tied to the Black Guardian and bound to seek my death, though realizing that the Black Guardian had coerced him with physical force and threats made me feel a bit better for myself and outraged on Turlough's behalf. Freed from that, he'd been slowly relaxing, gaining in confidence, taking on that remembered fire that had attracted me so.
It was time, and I knew where we'd be going. I smiled in a way that was more reminiscent of my past self, though I doubt they'd recognize it, and said, "Oh, not to worry."
Some things were worth waiting for.
As I walked out of the TARDIS with Peri back into the ruin, I heard Turlough say, "You go on," followed by him snapping out, "Go on, please!" to his brother, a man I didn't know, and the group of Sarns nearby.
Something told me that this boded no good, so I pulled myself out of my depressed introspection. I hadn't wanted to destroy Kamelion, but the android had begged me to, unable to continue an existence in which the Master could turn it against its friends at any time.
The TARDIS became ever emptier. Tired, horrified by the slaughter, almost in tears, Tegan had left me after our last battle with the
Daleks. For all their previous shows of enmity, Tegan and Turlough had looked stricken at the thought of separation. Yet she still left us. I had to destroy Kamelion myself. Only Turlough
remained. Now I feared that he would be the next to go.
Turlough looked dazed and preoccupied as stood there waiting for me. His fair skin, now slightly reddened, showed the early stages of sunburn from our time in the sun on Lanzarote and Sarn. That skin... it made you want to lock him away in a darkened room for his own protection.
Perhaps the Trion Custodians had chosen not to arrest him for breaking his exile. I would not let myself think of the alternatives.... I thought that a Turlough under arrest would look sullen and a bit sly as he considered his options for escape. I also doubted that a culture that branded its political prisoners would be kind enough to allow one to say goodbye to his friends before it sent him back to prison.
At least I knew why he'd always directed my attention away from his left forearm, slipping up only that once with my past self, who he'd thought he would never see again. Divided among
my selves, I never remembered the look and feel of that patch of flesh raised into two triangles from that night and morning in New York. Besotted with him, now as then, I'd asked no questions.
Now I had almost all of his dark secrets, and I couldn't quite blame him for keeping them from me. He preferred not to be known too well, and what I knew now explained him almost entirely and allowed me to guess much of the rest.
Besides, I had no right to complain when I'd never revealed myself to him, even though he was familiar with how Gallifreyan regeneration worked, at least in theory. Waiting for a perfect moment that never arrived, not the first time he met me as my current self, not the first time we'd made love, not any time, I'd remained silent on it. I couldn't be the same person to him, and he wasn't the same person to me. He never acted as wild and wanton with me as he had with my past self, but I didn't think my present self would react to it as well as the past one had.
Turlough's quiet voice sounded thick, and his eyes flickered up and down, unable to remain on me. "My exile has been rescinded." Yet he looked miserable.
My mouth chose to do the responsible thing even as the rest of me floundered in shock, too well aware of what would come next. "I'm pleased for you."
"I shall miss you," I said as brightly as I could. I knew. He'd found his brother, been given another chance. Although he'd never mentioned his home to me, it must have obsessed him while he'd languished in exile.
His eyes still couldn't stay on me. "I don't want to go, Doctor." I heard the truth in his words; I always had a fairly good judgment of his lies versus his truths. That was no doubt why he often chose to say nothing to me on some issues. "I've learned a lot from you. But I have to go back to Trion; it's my home."
"Better to go back while you're a bit of a hero, eh?" Some dark part of me wanted to say that his home planet wouldn't be as he remembered it and that his time away had changed him, perhaps to the point where he'd never fit in again. But I remained better than that.
In any case, his misery told me that he already knew. Turlough had the look of a man about to embark on an unwanted but necessary duty. I'd once pegged him as a creature that would gnaw his own foot off to escape a trap. Now he knowingly backed into such a trap and looked utterly unhappy but resigned to it.
How pathetic that we couldn't say a real goodbye, reveal the things we always thought we would have more than enough time to say, instead of sending silent signals we hoped the other would be able to read. But Peri's presence, the planet's imminent destruction, and the man in the military uniform who watched us with cold, sneering eyes prevented it. If men like that made up Trion's Custodians, I could understand the fear Turlough had shown since we found that Trion homing beacon.
Turlough and I shook hands. His fingers fluttered against mine in a brief caress, then he let go.
"Thank you for everything, Doctor." Then his eyes locked on Peri, and his voice turned even softer and thicker. "Look after him, will you? He gets in the most terrible trouble." He must have assumed that she'd already made a commitment to join me.
Peri, new to it all, asked, "What? I--"
Turlough started to walk away but stopped. Heart in his eyes, he looked back at me, then left in the presence of the cold-eyed Trion Custodian who would take him home.
Watching him go, I felt so old, so tired.
I only granted myself a moment to stare at the empty space where he'd been until I returned my attention to young Peri. "Well, I should be getting you home." If I looked and sounded carefree, maybe I would feel it. If I didn't think about everything I'd lost....
"Oh, must you?" she asked.
She'd been threatened with death by the Master and this alien planet, yet it sounded as if she would like to go on with me. Turlough had known.
"Oh, yes. Your friends will be worried."
I would no doubt give in to her soon, even if I couldn't find any enthusiasm for it. She was an engaging person, and I *needed* companionship of some sort.
But it wouldn't be at all the same.
NOTE: "Planet of Fire" gave me such an impression of things left
unsaid that it felt good to get some of them out here.
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