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Fic: The Flower Tender 3/6

Title The flower tender 3/6
Fandom Doctor Who (EDA)
Chapters One - two - three - four - five - six
Pairing Doctor/Fitz, some one-sided Sam/Doctor, mentions of Doctor/Turlough and Doctor/Grace.
Beta thought_goddess
Words of chapter 5350
Words of entire fic approx. 30 000.
Rating/warnings R. Sexual situations, mental illness, some mentions of substance abuse, people having Victorian morals.
Spoilers The Blue Angel (simply because of the existence of Obverse), small ones from Unnatural History/the Dark Sam arc and The Taint (but nothing you probably wouldn’t know anyway).
Disclaimer I don’t own anything but the clothes on my back.
Summary A beautiful madman, who talks of begonias and mermaids. A girl who is not
a tenant or a maid or a companion, perhaps not even the pious rescue worker she seems to be. Fitz Kreiner, who leaves his rooms in the semislum of Hoxton to join the eccentric household, entering into a world which challenge the very values of the time.
Author’s notes Comments are very welcome!


Fitz jolted awake and found himself in complete darkness. There was the sound of sobbing.

Fumbling with the gaslight on the wall, he turned it up and the hiss of light started. Now he saw the figure in the bed, curled up and shaking with sobs.

‘Doctor?’ he asked and moved closer to the bed. When he did not answer, he sat down beside him and grabbed his shoulder. ‘Doctor, what’s wrong?’ The sobs were interrupted and slowly, the man lowered his hands and turned to look at him. His face was tear-stained and pale, but his gaze was more lucid than before. ‘Doctor?’ Fitz said again. His equilibrium broke and the sobs returned. Hoping it would soothe him, Fitz lay down beside him and hugged him, as one would hug a frightened child. There was something so slight about his body that he could almost believe that that was the case.

When the Doctor stopped crying, he was the one to speak, his voice broken.

‘Why is she never there?’

‘Who?’ Fitz asked soothingly, guessing that this was part of some delusion. He had learnt that often, it was best simply to play along. The Doctor’s answer brought back the image of the child.

‘My mother,’ he whispered.

‘Why would your mother be in that field?’ he said, wondering what had truly happened to his mother. But the Doctor pulled away from his embrace and stared at him defiantly, as if he sensed that he was not being believed.

‘She wasn’t there yesterday - I looked all over,’ he explained hectically. ‘It was the wrong one. But I’ll find the right one, sooner or later...’

‘Calm down, Doctor,’ Fitz said. ‘You’re not well.’ The Doctor barked a laugh at him, almost spitting in his face.

‘Since when was I well?’ he asked savagely, eyes suddenly alight with twisted entertainment.

‘Really, I mean it,’ Fitz insisted, grabbing his shoulder. ‘I wanted to call a doctor, but Samantha said the one down the road wouldn’t come...’ The Doctor laughed once again and started rocking back and forth, rolling onto his back and then onto his side again.

‘He hates me,’ he explained, as if it were funny. ‘He thinks I’m an “abomination”. He says he won’t treat a freak.’

‘Doctor!’ Fitz exclaimed, appalled at the term. ‘Don’t call yourself that.’

The Doctor stopped his rocking and watched him with wide, mad eyes.

‘Don’t you see, Fitz?’ he said quietly. ‘I am a freak.’

‘The people at that side-show yesterday were freaks. Not you.’ Perhaps he had sounded too hostile, because the Doctor’s face fell.

‘Not even they thought that,’ he said quietly, and Fitz realised he was crying once more. He tried to apologise and soothe him, but he did not heed him. He wept silently without the theatricality of before, and Fitz simply lay beside him and waited for it to pass. Finally he wiped his eyes on the back of his hand and said:

‘I’ve been looking for her since she left me.’

‘Your mother?’ Fitz asked, and he nodded. ‘What do you mean, left you?’ The Doctor smiled melancholically.

‘She was a mermaid,’ he explained simply, as if this was a completely sane thing to say. ‘She was with a sideshow. I was born there. I travelled around with them. It was all I knew - I had never seen the inside of a house. Can you imagine it, Fitz? It’s a world where there is nothing normal. That word didn’t exist. I didn’t hear it until I was nine.’

‘You lived with a freak show?’ Fitz said incredulously. ‘With... people like that?’

‘People like me,’ the Doctor said emphatically, but then hung his head. ‘But then again not like me.’ He was silent for such a long time that Fitz wondered if he had fallen asleep, but then he lifted his head again and continued. ‘They were all so beautiful. So unique. I.... I was dull.’ He shrugged. ‘I look much like other people, don’t I? The odd things are in here...’ he tapped his temple ‘...Or in here.’ He took Fitz’s hand and placed it on his chest. He could feel his heart beating madly. ‘Nothing of it showed. This was the only thing which marked me out.’ Frantically he pushed down the sheets and lifted up his nightshirt, as if not reflecting that he was showing him his genitals as well as his stomach, which was completely smooth. He did not have a navel. When his cramplike grip of his hand slackened, Fitz pulled down the nightshirt for him, not certain whether he would bother to do it himself. The Doctor continued speaking, oblivious at Fitz’s attempt at modesty. ‘They only put me up front a few times. “The boy born out of an egg”. “The baby angel”. They could never really come up with anything which sounded good enough.’ He let his head fall back onto the pillow, and for a long moment they simply lay there, looking at each other.

‘What happened?’ Fitz asked at last. Despite his scepticism, he had been captivated by the story.

‘I guess I was one mouth too many to feed,’ the Doctor said, sounding as if the pain of it had worn down after all these years. ‘One day she left me behind.’

‘Are you certain that was what happened?’ Fitz pressed. ‘I mean, they simply might have forgot...’ The Doctor shook his head vigorously. ‘Would you really rather imagine that your mother willfully left you behind?’

‘Do you imagine mothers to be incapable of cruelty?’ he asked, and suddenly his blue eyes pierced him with such intensity that Fitz felt like he was looking into his brain and seeing the memories of his childhood all laid out like cards on a gypsy woman’s table. ‘Besides, if she forgot me, would that not be worse? They never came back for me.’ His voice was growing hoarse with tears. ‘I kept searching. They still haven’t come back. I’ve seen the inside of so many houses now. Workhouses. Hospitals. Asylums. I want to be free of this, free of it all...’ The sobs made whatever he was saying unintelligible as his face crumbled and he brought his hands up to his head. Frightened at how he could see the madness grip him, Fitz pulled him into his arms and held him, even when one of his hands untangled itself from his hair and punched his shoulder and neck weakly. ‘Let me go, let me go,’ he heard him sob, and then it became incomprehensible again, turning it into half words and disjointed sounds. The next real words he said was, ‘don’t.’ Fitz assumed that he meant “don’t hold me”, so what came next surprised him: ‘Don’t let them take me. Keep me here, Fitz...’ The hand which had been hitting him had tangled up in his hair.

‘You’re staying,’ he said, even if the way the Doctor’s body had gone stiff and his speech incomprehensible made him think that would not happen. It struck him as odd that he had not reflected on the situation. Here he was, practically lying in bed with a madman who had no inhibitions, who asked him to hold him and to let him go within only a few minutes. He wondered why this did not daunt him. His mother’s mad tantrums had frightened him, and he had never known quite how to approach her when she was unwell; he had felt a sickly relief when she had been committed. Now, as he let the Doctor cling to him while he hushed him and stroked his hair, he felt nothing of the kind. He did not want anyone, even the most competent medic, to take him out of his arms. Why this protectiveness? How could this eccentric lunatic stir so much emotion in him? Now, in the dead of night when they were closely wrapped around each other like frightened children in a storm, he did not care. It meant little to him if he was falling for his charms or into his madness. He was content for now to hold him and whisper soothing words of comfort until the Doctor fell asleep from sheer exhaustion. Fitz himself stayed awake until dawn, stroking his auburn curls and trying to ease the catatonic rigor of his arms.

***

The early morning light filtered in from the garden and fell on Samantha’s hands, clasped around an untouched cup of tea. Fitz was sitting opposite her, weighing on his chair and staring at the invisible trajectory of the light, an unlit cigarette between his fingers. They had called for the Doctor’s doctor first thing, and now he was busy upstairs. The tenants did not speak; there was little to say. The house was unnaturally quiet.

Finally there were footsteps on the stairs, and the doctor entered the kitchen, his opera cloak slung over one arm.

‘Do you take the Doctor’s decisions when he is incapable of taking them himself?’ he asked and looked at Fitz. Samantha glared at the two men.

‘I think we both do,’ he answered hesitantly. The doctor let it pass without comment that the maid would have a say in the matter and explained:

‘He needs to be committed.’

No!’ Samantha exclaimed and jumped to her feet. The doctor stared at her as if she were a hysteric.

‘Is it really necessary?’ Fitz asked, knowing it sounded feeble.

‘Absolutely necessary,’ the doctor answered. ‘His state is very worrying indeed. I have never seen him this passive before.’ As he spoke, Fitz got up and rounded the table to Samantha, taking her hand to comfort her.

‘He hates that place,’ she said weakly. By the sound of it, she had been crying the whole night. Fitz turned again to doctor Smith and, as it had fallen on him to play the voice of reason against Samantha’s voice of passion, he asked:

‘Is there any chance that we could care for him here?’

‘Would you want to have that responsibility?’ the Doctor’s doctor simply asked in return.

‘How bad is it?’ Fitz pressed.

‘I cannot guarantee that he won’t become violent, when he comes out of his stupor,’ he answered. ‘Whether against you or against himself.’

Fitz looked at the man, his noble face set in a frown. He knew that just as it did not work to reason with a madman, it did not work to reason with an alienist.

‘Take him,’ he said weakly and bit his lip as Samantha’s grip around his hand tightened. The Doctor’s doctor nodded.

‘Good.’ He left the kitchen. Samantha sat down again, a look of misery on her face.

‘I think he’s right, Samantha,’ Fitz said, trying to sound fraternal. ‘The Doctor’s too ill for us to take care of him...’

‘Do you know what they do to him in that place?’ she asked hectically, and the eyes behind the tears shone with anger. ‘Have you seen the cells they keep them in?’

‘Yes, I have - I know,’ Fitz said emphatically. ‘My mother was there, remember?’ She sighed and hung her head, as if she thought he was trying to make her feel guilty and she was having nothing of it. ‘Look, Samantha,’ he said, sat down and took her hand again. ‘It’s an awful place, but it’s all there is. It’s not like treating a chest-cold. There aren’t any cough drops against madness. Besides, he’s gotten better before, hasn’t he?’

‘Has it really been because of that place?’ she queried, but she was giving in. They could hear the Doctor’s doctor ascending together with the wardens he had presumably brought with him.

‘It’s going to be alright,’ Fitz said, but was cut off by a sudden scream from upstairs. The only thing which kept him from rushing out of the kitchen and up the stairs was that it was the Doctor’s voice. They both looked up and listened to how the scream oscillated in desperation. Something - a fist, perhaps - banged against the wall in the struggle. Then the scream grew closer; Fitz realised that they were taking him downstairs. He got to his feet, not heeding Samantha’s attempt to stop him. It had been he who had sanctioned taking the Doctor away, and therefore it was his fault. He had to see him before they carted him off. While Samantha stayed in the kitchen, he went out into the hall-way and saw the wardens lead the Doctor down the stairs. They looked like little else than thugs manhandling a gentleman, only the gentleman was in his nightshirt and a straightjacket. It made him look like half a man, as if he did not have any arms. As the thugs forced him to take one step after another, he continued screaming at the top of his voice, struggling to get free. His doctor followed them, seemingly unaffected by the charade. Fitz tried to swallow the tears which guilt brought.

It happened so quickly that Fitz was not certain later in what order things had happened. The wardens had each had a strong grip of the Doctor’s shoulder and arm, to keep him with them and to make sure he did not attempt to hurl himself down the stairs. Still screaming, the Doctor lowered his head and suddenly bit into the hand on his shoulder. The warden screamed and let go, but it only awarded him a moment of freedom before his doctor shouted to the other warden, who tackled the Doctor and held him down against the steps. Doctor smith acted slowly, as if the sudden turn of events bored him. He took a handkerchief out of his pocket, surveyed it for a moment and then bent down. Fitz winced as the Doctor’s scream was muffled by the cloth being forced into his mouth. He still did not keep quiet and took to thrashing.

‘Hold down his legs,’ the doctor told him and opened his bag. Fitz wished he could look away as the man fished up a syringe, filled it and pressed it into the vein of his patient’s knee. The thrashing continued for a few more moments, then the body on the stairs went limp. ‘Get him to the wagon,’ the Doctor’s doctor said coldly as he closed his bag of tricks. He doffed his hat when passing Fitz and said, ‘good day to you, sir.’ Fitz did not answer, trying not to stare at the body of the unconscious Doctor which the wardens carried between them.

***

The next day, Fitz went to the asylum for the first time since his mother had died and the Doctor had asked him to come for tea. The nurse showed him to Doctor Smith’s office, where he was busy writing something; it took a while before he looked up and noticed his guest.

‘Ah, Mister Kreiner,’ he said when he spotted him. ‘How may I help you?’

‘I came to visit him,’ The alienist’s face fell.

‘I’m afraid that’s quite impossible,’ he said. His tone of voice, which had been so obliging at first, had turned cold.

‘Please,’ Fitz said. ‘I want to know that he is alright.’

‘He is not. Of that I can assure you,’ he answered and started shuffling papers over the desk, feigning a heavy workload to make him go away.

‘Still, I want to see him,’ Fitz insisted. The old man looked up at him pointedly.

‘He is restrained in a solitary cell,’ he explained gravely. ‘We have had to sedate him several times since he was committed. Do you believe that it would be pleasant to see him in such a state?’ They stared at each other, and at last Fitz looked away, losing the battle of wills. He sat down in the visitor’s chair and started studying the pattern of the carpet. At last he asked:

‘How is he?’

‘Very agitated,’ The Doctor’s doctor answered. ‘He tore through a straight-jacket yesterday.’ Fitz looked up sharply in disbelief. ‘Precisely,’ he said, nodding at him as if to indicate his reaction. ‘What causes special concern is of course that it will upset his physical health.’

‘What’s wrong with him?’ Fitz asked. ‘Samantha mentioned some deformity, but...’ The doctor sighed and clasped his hands together on the desk.

‘It is a very rare abnormality - unique, in fact,’ he explained. ‘Essentially, your friend the Doctor, as he calls himself, has two hearts.’

‘Two hearts?’ Fitz echoed. He remembered how the Doctor had put his hand to his chest when speaking of his freakish traits, but he had not imagined anything like that. ‘How is that even possible?’

‘The medical profession has wondered the same thing for almost thirty years,’ the doctor said. ‘What is even more surprising is that he is as healthy as he is. He seems not to have received any medical attention for it until he was nine years old, when Doctor John Bowman noticed this truly remarkable medical condition.’

‘He told me that he spent his childhood with a freak-show,’ Fitz said. ‘Is that true?’

‘It’s impossible to say,’ the doctor said with a shrug. ‘He has mentioned the story to me as well. Apparently he has always claimed that. It seems plausible enough, but considering that he is delusional about so many ways, it may have started as a convenient story which he adopted, but has since become convinced of himself. There is no record of him until when Doctor Bowman found him in a workhouse, and no one there knew him. After that, Doctor Bowman arranged for him to stay at his hospital, which he did until he ran away at the age of thirteen. He was easily found, of course, and spent most of his young years in different institutions. He was eighteen when he became a patient here.’

‘But this... deformity...’ pressed Fitz. ‘Is it dangerous?’

‘Why, naturally,’ the doctor said. ‘Mostly, his abnormal heart-rate and blood-pressure does not seem to impact his well-being much, but it seems to me that it is less natural when his body learns to accommodate to it than when it makes him ill. His hearts are certainly weaker than a normal person’s, and they must take up too much place in his chest, because his lungs are malformed as well. I think it is remarkable that he is still alive, to be perfectly honest.’ Fitz’s jaw tightened. ‘Surely you must understand, Mister Kreiner, that with his mental state being what it is in addition to such a grave heart condition, his life-expectancy is not high. He relies only on luck.’

‘He seems to have a lot of it,’ Fitz answered defiantly and started rising. The Doctor’s doctor simply said:

‘He has little else, I must admit. Not even a name.’ Fitz stopped and stared at him.

‘What do you mean?’

‘Did you not know?’ the man asked. ‘When Doctor Bowman found him in that workhouse, the boy was unable to give his name. All he could say was that his mother called him Johnny, but he claimed that that was not his real name. Doctor Bowman called him that, and assigned him the surname Smith, as he needed to call the lad something, but he used to object to it strongly. Apparently he insisted on the nickname “Doctor” even then.’ He considered this and admitted: ‘I find it hard to use it myself. He has done nothing to deserve the title. His ill-health has hindered him from entering any form of proper education - everything he knows is what he has taught himself from books.’ He must have seen how Fitz furrowed his brow, because he leaned in and said: ‘Mister Kreiner, if you want my candid opinion, I think that the most likely scenario is that he was a street-urchin, quite possibly the child of a fallen women. The slums of London are filled with children who do not know their own names, because their parents are more fond of gin and whoring than their own child. I don’t know if carnies believe in last names, so perhaps they simply did not tell him, but how likely is it?’

‘Thank you for your time,’ Fitz simply said and put on his cap on again. He shook the doctor’s hand and left, trying to hide the turmoil the conversation had woken in him.

***

Fitz continued to visit the asylum every day after the market had closed. The Doctor’s doctor turned him away the first few days, and then seemed to grow tired of it and let him peer through the hatch of the door to the cell where they held the Doctor. The white shape huddled in the corner was only recognisable as the Doctor by his long hair. Fitz watched how the shape suddenly swung its head around and stared at him with void eyes. Three angry red wounds shone on his cheek. Fitz stumbled from the door, startled at that familiar face which was all but familiar. Doctor Smith closed the shutter, and said:

‘Perhaps you should not come to see him as often as you do.’ So Fitz simply went home to Sam after his work-day was over, something which was almost as unpleasant as visiting the asylum. The house was eerily silent since the Doctor had been committed, and Samantha did not take well to the empty place. Most often, Fitz would find her in the kitchen, staring into space and wringing her hands. She could not visit the Doctor at the asylum, as it would be inappropriate, and despite that Fitz explained to her that she should be glad for it, she seemed not to listen. He tried to convey what he had learnt and seen to show her that going there would not do her any good, but it was nigh impossible without disturbing her. Whatever he said, it would only make her hang her head and press her fingers to her lips, trying to quench the sobs. Fitz had been fond of Samantha, but now he realised that they had very little to speak of when the Doctor was not there. After two weeks, Fitz had more or less given up on her and kept to his room, almost wishing he was back in Hoxton. He wondered what lay behind Samantha’s reclusion and constant weeping. It seemed easier to leave her to it, because he was not feeling particularly sociable himself. In fact, he could do little else nowadays but think of the Doctor. The thought of him restrained to a bed or forced into a straitjacket hurt as much as the thought of the things he might do to himself if they did not take such precautions. The memory of the marks on his face still haunted him. Fitz remembered the laughing, gentle eccentric he had come to live with a few months ago, when his childish excitement was the oddest thing about him. That visit to the fair had reduced him to a diseased husk filled only with mad thoughts and delusions. In his solitude, he wondered if the Doctor would ever return to normal.

Then finally there was a telegram from the asylum.

Patient well enough for visitors STOP. Welcome. END.


Samantha smiled slightly when he showed it to her, but did not say anything, once again sad that she could not come with him. As he was about to go out of the door, she came hurrying after him.

‘Give him my love,’ she said and blushed. ‘Please.’

‘Of course,’ he answered, and for the first time in weeks they smiled at each other.

Well at the asylum, the Doctor’s doctor lead him not to the cell where he had shown him before, but to a ward which could have been in a proper hospital with rows of beds. Most of the occupants lay still, staring out into space apathetically, sometimes with their limbs oddly crooked. Fitz tried not to stare at them, but followed the physician until he stopped by a bed.

‘Fitz?’ The patient in the bed propped himself up on his elbows, staring at him in disbelief. The Doctor had lost so much weight and grown so pale that at first glance he was almost unrecognisable, but for the characteristic locks. His eyes, which had seemed so empty last time, were filled with quivering life. Fitz approached hesitantly, and then sat down on the chair beside the bed and observed:

‘You look awful.’ The Doctor laughed, offering him his hand. Fitz took it and squeezed it, and then almost threw it away when he looked down at it. His wrist bore the most severe bruises.

‘What...?’

‘Leather restraints,’ the Doctor murmured, laying back his head on the pillow. ‘I don’t like to be trapped.’ Then he turned his head to him again and smiled. ‘I’m so glad to see you, Fitz.’

‘I’m glad to see you,’ Fitz answered and grasped his hand anew. ‘Samantha sends her love.’

‘Of course she does,’ he said quietly. It sounded as if he were about to fall asleep, and Fitz glanced up after doctor Smith to see if he wanted him to leave. He was deep in conversation with one of the nurses, and gave no indication that he thought the visit should be discontinued. So he turned back and returned the Doctor’s weak smile. His stomach leapt at the small movement of the man’s facial muscles.

‘Are you feeling any better?’ he asked him.

‘I feel horrible,’ the Doctor answered truthfully. ‘Before, I didn’t feel anything.’ Fitz, acting on a sudden urge, reached out and touched his hair. The Doctor watched his hand, as if it were a butterfly fluttering close to his face, and then took it lightly in his grip. Even his fingers felt weak. ‘You have dirt under your finger-nails,’ he murmured.

‘I’m sorry,’ Fitz stumbled. ‘I’ve... I’ve been looking after your garden.’ He smiled in reply.

‘Happy men have hands like that.’ Fitz swallowed, because suddenly his heart was pounding and he wanted to lean over and embrace him, keep him safe, never have him enter this awful place again.

‘You’ll be well soon,’ he said emphatically. ‘You’ll be coming home soon.’ The Doctor nodded a little. His hand was paper-white against Fitz’s tanned skin.

‘Do you miss me?’ he whispered.

‘Horribly,’ Fitz answered and swallowed again to keep emotion from his voice. ‘Samantha prays for you every night. I hear her through the walls.’

‘You don’t pray, do you, Fitz?’

‘Not very often, no,’ he admitted.

‘But you work the garden.’ The Doctor smiled again, looking right at him with such intensity that Fitz would have looked away had he been able to. ‘You make things grow with your hands.’ He clutched at his hands and brought them to his lips. Slowly he kissed them, one after the other. Fitz could do nothing but stare. ‘You’ve grown since I picked you up from that cracked pot you were in,’ the Doctor whispered. The next sound he made was more of a sob than a laugh. ‘Look at you, all in bloom,’ he said. ‘You’re so beautiful.’ Fitz stared at him, bewitched at his odd words. He did not know if they were part of his delusion or if he meant something else by it.

The spell was broken by the sound of footsteps, and the Doctor’s doctor saying:

‘Mister Kreiner?’ Fitz closed his eyes for a moment, not wanting his disappointment to show, and then pressed the Doctor’s hand between both his.

‘Don’t leave,’ the Doctor said, sitting up fully suddenly and grabbing his shoulder.

‘I’ll be back soon,’ Fitz promised, but the Doctor shook his head, looking agitated.

‘You’re just saying that - you’re going to leave me here, aren’t you?’

‘No, I’m not,’ he said forcefully. The Doctor backed a little, frightened at his tone, and then he exhaled slowly.

‘Of course you’re not,’ he said weakly, but sounding much more sane.

‘Get some rest,’ Fitz said and pressed his hand again, aware of how limp it had gone. When he left, the nurse approached and started coaxing the Doctor to lie down again. The Doctor’s doctor, who walked beside him, spoke as soon as they were out of earshot.

‘You need not worry at that last little display. He is recovering remarkably well.’

‘So he will be able to go home soon, then?’ Fitz asked. The Doctor’s doctor grew grave.

‘That remains to be seen,’ he said. ‘He has been very calm today, but yesterday was not as encouraging. Even if he has not complained about it, it is obvious that he has been in pain recently, and as you probably noticed, he is not physically well. We have no way of knowing when, or indeed if, he will be well enough.’ The Doctor’s doctor stopped and turned to face him. ‘You must understand, Mister Kreiner, it is very uncommon that patients are taken home simply because they are better. Most inmates live at the asylum whatever their condition. And Mister Smith does not even have a family...’

‘The Doctor,’ Fitz corrected him, ‘And Samantha and I are his family.’

‘With all due respect, sir, you’re his tenant,’ the Doctor’s doctor said. ‘As for Miss Jones, I have my doubts about that girl...’

‘I have no idea what you’re talking about,’ Fitz said so sharply that one of the nurses in the ward whirled around and stared at him.

‘Very well,’ the physician said, but gave him a meaningful look. ‘Simply be aware of that whatever you have landed yourself in, Mister Kreiner, will be far more complicated than what your poor mother went through.’

‘Thank you for your time, sir,’ Fitz simply said, put on his cap and left the ward. He walked quickly, the anger at the alienist boiling away with his step and giving way to loneliness. The whole way home he felt hollow. It was as if there was some part of his body missing - no pressure around his chest where there should be, and no body in his arms where it belonged. He thought of the softness of the Doctor’s hair and how it looked almost red against the sheets. As it started raining and he lifted the collar of his coat against it, he imagined cradling that head in his hands and feeling the Doctor’s cheek against his as they held onto each other. He tried to imagine the Doctor drawing back a little from the embrace with a knowing smile, and then slowly bringing their lips together. Fitz realised that he had stopped in his step, and was standing stock still on the pavement, trying to imagine kissing his landlord. It made his stomach flutter and his cheeks burn. He did not know that such desires were even possible to have.

He started walking again, and tried to think of sweethearts he had had. Their faces were dim, the world of Hoxton distant. Only the Doctor seemed real, and yet so otherworldly. His heart leapt as he thought of how the Doctor had kissed his hands and how his blue gaze had not left his face as he did it. Even that first encounter, when he had put his hand over his heart and described that odd flower-simile, still lingered.

These thoughts occupied him on the omnibus ride home. When he stepped into the house and Samantha approached to ask of the news, he embraced her. She clung to him, her cheek pressed against his chest, but her body felt wrong against his. It was too short and too soft, and her hair was too coarse. It did not drive away the feeling that part of his body was missing, so he broke the contact with an apologetic smile. She drew away willingly and started instead asking questions about the Doctor. He answered, but the world around him did not seem real. His encounter with the Doctor had sparked something.

Later that evening, he realised that he had fallen in love.

Next chapter

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
funtimevash
May. 17th, 2011 11:59 pm (UTC)
This was such a beautiful chapter! The tenderness between Fitz and the Doctor is so gentle and touching. The Doctor in his madness is so vulnerable, so tragic. Like Fitz, I just want to hold him and make him feel better. I'm truly loving this story.
apolesen
May. 18th, 2011 07:31 am (UTC)
Thank you! I really appreciate it. :)
funtimevash
May. 29th, 2011 06:44 am (UTC)
Oh, I honestly can't get this fic out of my head, because I'm such a big fan of both Fitz and the idea of the Obverse. Just wanted to let you know I reread the first three chapters and I can't wait for the next one!
apolesen
May. 29th, 2011 08:05 am (UTC)
Thank you! I wish I had time to edit the next few chapters, but I'm doing my finals now. I hope to have time with it after my first exam on Wednesday. Really glad that you haven't given up on me yet...
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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