Fandom Doctor Who: Eighth Doctor Adventures
Pairing Eighth Doctor/Fitz Kreiner
Summary When a Time Lord looks at you as if you were the centre of the universe, what does it mean?
Author's notes Thanks to not-my-century on Tumblr, who betted this.
The Doctor was out of shirts. When he announced this to the console room, neither Fitz nor Compassion thought it meant that he would drag them to the 1890s.
‘This is before even radio was invented,’ Compassion grumbled.
‘Well, not really,’ the Doctor said as he pulled on his velvet coat. ‘Nikola Tesla actually demonstrated radio frequency transmission this very year.’ He smiled to himself. ‘Good old Nikola. We should go see him at some point. You two would get on well, Compassion.’
Compassion rolled her eyes. Fitz was inclined to agree with her.
‘What about you, Fitz?’ the Doctor asked. ‘Do you want to come for a walk? My tailor is really quite friendly...’
‘Sorry, Doc, but if there’s a risk I come out of the shop looking like you...’ he said. ‘I’m going to stay in the TARDIS. I’ve got a few new song ideas I should write down.’
The Doctor admitted defeat, said goodbye and left the TARDIS. Through the door, Fitz saw a road busy with people and carts. For a moment, he thought of going with him after all. It would be interesting to see what the city where he had grown up had looked forty years before he was born. But then he thought of his guitar, and decided that Victorian London would still be there. His song ideas might not.
A few hours later, Fitz was sitting on his bed, playing a sequence of chords again and again and hoping he would figure out how they continued, when the Doctor knocked on the open door.
‘Did you get your shirts?’ Fitz asked and stopped his strumming.
‘Yes. A few new waistcoats too,’ the Doctor said brightly. ‘But they won’t be done until tomorrow.’
‘So jump ahead and pick them up.’
‘Nonono, far too likely that we end up in the wrong place,’ he said. ‘It’ll be much less risky just to spend the night here.’
‘Alright then,’ Fitz said. It made no real difference to him. He was about to go back to that sequence of chords, when he realised that the Doctor was still standing in the door, bouncing on his toes. ‘What?’
‘Well, as we’re stuck here overnight, I was thinking...’ The Doctor hesitated a moment. ‘Shall we go to the theatre?’
Fitz was not a little surprised at this.
‘Yes,’ the Doctor said and smiled very broadly.
‘It’s not really my thing. I’d rather see the music-halls,’ he admitted.
‘We could go on to a music-hall later,’ he suggested, still bouncing. ‘You’d love the Alambra, Fitz! But you’d love the Lyceum too! They’re giving Macbeth - it’s one of the best productions I’ve ever seen. Ellen Terry is stunning in it. And Henry Irving as well.’
‘You’ve seen it before?’
‘A long time ago,’ he said with a shrug. ‘I’m ready to see it again.’
Fitz chuckled and got off the bed.
‘Fine, I’ll come with you.’
‘Wonderful!’ the Doctor exclaimed, took him by the shoulders and spun him around. ‘I’ve already got the tickets!’ He pulled two tickets out of his inner pocket. Fitz sighed, but still smiled. Of course he had already got the tickets.
‘So, when does it start? Do I have time to eat a sandwich first?’
‘If it’s a quick one,’ the Doctor said. ‘You need to change your clothes.’
‘Yeah, I guess I do,’ Fitz said and looked down at his t-shirt and jeans. He didn’t like that idea in the least.
‘I’ll find something for you in the wardrobes,’ the Doctor said. ‘Go have your sandwich.’ And off he went, a spring in his step that made his curly hair bounce over his shoulders. Fitz looked after him before turning to go to the kitchen and smiled. That enthusiasm made the prospect of a dull play a little more interesting.
Fitz was in the kitchen, just finishing his sandwich and cup of tea, when the Doctor turned up with some clothes over his arm. He had changed already. The outfit may be more sombre than his usual velvet coat, but the impression it gave was stunning. The cut of both the white waistcoat and the tailcoat accentuated the shape of his chest, and the strict, white bow-tie stood in stark contrast to his curly hair. The Doctor’s face split into a smile, and Fitz realised that he had been staring.
‘Here - this should fit.’ Fitz stuffed the last of his sandwich in his mouth, took the clothes as he passed and hurried to his room. He felt himself blushing as he walked down the corridor.
Fitz dressed as quickly as he could. The slim trousers were not too bad, but buttoning the shirt, which did not have buttons sewn in but was held together by studs. Once he got the waistcoat on, he realised that the outfit fitted him quite well. Not that it looked much like anything he usually wore. The man looking back at him from the mirror looked straight-backed and handsome in a way Fitz was not used to be. Now he was pretty glad he had decided to get rid of the stubble that morning - it would have looked out of place. He tried to complete the picture by combing his hair, which refused to lie in any way which looked Victorian. He gave up the attempt and put on the frock-coat instead. If the Doctor was with him, no-one was going to look at Fitz’s hair. After tying the bow-tie, he looked back in the mirror and wondered whether anyone was really going to look at any of him. The wonky bow-tie ruined the handsome look the waistcoat had brought. He was just about to try to tie it again when the Doctor called from the other side of the door.
‘Fitz? Are you ready?’
‘Yeah,’ he called back. ‘More or less.’
Giving the bow-tie a final tug, he opened the door. The Doctor, who had been staring down the corridor idly, turned. His face broke into an appreciative grin. Fitz smiled back, feeling embarrassed.
‘Just the final touch...’ the Doctor said, reached up and undid Fitz’s bow-tie. As he retied it, still smiling, Fitz noticed how close he was. As he wound the bow-tie around itself to tie it, one of the Doctor’s fingers touched Fitz’s chin briefly. He pulled his head up, startled by the contact. He hoped the Doctor had not noticed it, and read it the wrong way.
‘There,’ said the Doctor, stepped back and looked his companion up and down. Again he smiled approvingly. ‘Here you are.’ He handed Fitz what had been slung over his arm while had been adjusting Fitz’s bow-tie - a cloak. ‘Our hats are in the console room.’
‘Opera hats. We can’t be seen without hats,’ the Doctor said, skipping down the corridor. Fitz followed, tempted to point out that the Doctor had not worn a hat when he went to his tailor. Instead, he concentrated on arranging his cloak. It made him feel far less attractive than the tail-coat alone had. When they reached the console room, the Doctor picked up his own cloak and slung it over his shoulders. The fabric danced around him, then settled in heavy folds. On him, it looked perfectly natural.
‘Come on,’ the Doctor said and handed Fitz his opera hat, which looked squashed in its collapsed state. Expertly, the Doctor punched his own hat open and placed it on his head. ‘Don’t break it with your fist.’ Fitz tried to imitate him. It took him two tries to hit the hat hard enough for the springs to expand. ‘You look the part,’ the Doctor said and opened the TARDIS doors.
Outside on the busy street, no-one paid any attention to the two gentlemen who stepped out of the small confines of the odd blue box. Fitz wondered if the fog had anything to do with it, or if it was, as so often, people’s inattentiveness which protected them.
‘How are we getting there?’ he asked the Doctor. ‘Are we going to hail a hansom, like in the books?’
‘That’s no fun,’ complained the Doctor. ‘We’re taking the omnibus!’ His arm shot out, and out of the fog came the huge shape of the omnibus. Pulled by four horses, the carriage could easily have held twenty-odd people.
‘Good evening!’ called the Doctor.
‘Evening, sir!’ answered the driver. ‘The compartment is full, ‘mfraid, but there’s the roof, if you gentlemen don’t mind the climb.’
‘We certainly don’t,’ he answered and handed him the fee. ‘Come on, Fitz!’ The Doctor hurried around to the back of the omnibus. In the space of a few moments, he seemed to sprint up the side and settle on the roof.
‘How do I get up?’ Fitz asked. Now he was aware of people watching him, malicious amusement on their faces.
‘There are metal rings, which you use as a ladder,’ the Doctor explained, and pointed. Now when he knew where to look, Fitz saw them. The metal had gone so dull that it was barely distinguishable from the wood. ‘Come on, hurry!’
Fitz grabbed the highest ring he could reach, but one foot against the lowest one and pulled himself up. The undersides of his dress-shoes were slippery, and it was only through luck that he managed to get his other foot onto a ring before slipping. When he was already that high up, he could grab the railings and pull himself into the seat beside the Doctor, facing out over the street. It had not been a very dignified ascent - certainly nothing like the Doctor’s preternaturally agile climb. Now he was pleased that the visibility was so bad.
The Doctor did not seem to agree. After looking around, he pulled a disappointed face.
‘It’s a pity about the smog,’ he said. ‘I’d hoped to show you London.’
‘That’s alright,’ Fitz said and shrugged. ‘It’s dark anyway.’
Despite the dark and the polluted air, Fitz caught glimpses now and then. The gas-lamps would shine through the fog, sending blurred light onto the walls behind them. A couple of workers with a lamp passed the omnibus, which slowed down to see if they wanted to join, and then sped up again. After some time, the mass of houses opposite them disappeared, and Fitz could make out a series of lamps, disappearing at a distance or half-hidden in foliage. They must be passing a park. Then the houses started again. Ahead of them, a building larger than the others appeared. On its roof blazed two large lamps.
‘Here we are,’ said the Doctor as they drew closer to the colonnaded entrance, where a swarm of well-dressed people, all turned into spectres in the fog, stood waiting. ‘The Luceum Theatre.’
He called to the driver, and the omnibus slowed. Before it had quite stopped, the Doctor climbed over Fitz and jumped down. Fitz, not trusting himself on the cobbles, took the slower route, and climbed down by the metal rings. Then he followed the swish of the Doctor’s cloak.
In front of them, the crowd was moving into the theatre. The Doctor paused to let Fitz catch up. The smile on his face as he turned his head towards him was so warm that it made Fitz’s heart jump. It was such a physical sensation that it was almost painful. Had it shown on his face? Fitz couldn’t help thinking that the Doctor’s smile had grown a little wider.
‘Come on,’ he said and touched his arm. They joined the crowd and ascended the steps.
Once inside, the Doctor unclipped his cloak and collapsed his hat with ease. Fitz got out of his cloak easily enough, but making the hat portable was more difficult. If he had had the opportunity to stop, and possibly lean it against a table, he would have been able to do it quickly, but the jostle of the crowd meant that he kept having to inch forward. At last, he managed to push the top of the hat in the right way and the springs contracted.
‘Finally,’ he sighed. ‘How can you do that so quickly?’
The Doctor, who looked amused at Fitz’s hat problems, looked about to answer, when a call claimed his attention.
‘Doctor!’ The voice was rich and jovial, and when Fitz looked around, it was obvious whose it was. The man approaching them was already tall and broad-shouldered, but the way he carried himself made him look even more imposing. His hair was long, like the Doctor’s, but darker and straighter, adding to the larger-than-life impression. The young man following in his wake looked even smaller than he would have on his own.
‘Oscar!’ the Doctor exclaimed and hurried to meet the man. They shook hands, both grinning widely.
‘It’s been too long, Doctor,’ the other theatre-goer announced. Fitz had a feeling that this man seldom simply said anything.
‘Indeed, indeed. How is everyone? Constance, and the boys?’
‘Well, I should expect. Haven’t seen them for a while. Who has the time for that, dear boy?’
‘Give them my love when you do. And Robbie?’
‘Oh! Dear Robbie. Off looking at paintings. But well, as always.’ Not until now did they let go of each other’s hands. ‘Ah, Doctor, I can’t remember - have you met Bosie?’ He gestured to his companion, who had sidled up to his side. He was much younger than Fitz, twenty-two at most, and still boyishly blond. There was a lingering prettiness to him, but he looked thoroughly bored with the situation. Nevertheless, he extended his hand to the Doctor.
‘My Lord,’ said the Doctor, took his hand and bowed. ‘A pleasure.’
‘The Doctor is a scientist - but one of an artistic disposition,’ Oscar explained with an indulgent smile. ‘But Doctor - who is your friend?’
The Doctor turned to Fitz and smiled at him, almost as if he had forgotten he was there. This sudden attention from the three men who seemed so well-attuned to each other made him uncomfortable.
‘Fitzgerald Kreiner,’ the Doctor said. ‘Fitz - Oscar Wilde, Lord Alfred Douglas.’ Fitz shook hands with both, trying not to stare. He had figured out who this flamboyant man was, but it was still odd meeting someone so famous. Would they expect him to make conversation? Be witty? Instead, he just said:
‘Pleasure to meet you, Mr Wilde.’
‘Pleasure’s all mine, my boy,’ Wilde chirped.
‘Pleasure to meet you, My Lord.’ The young lord did not answer, but the sides of his mouth twitched. He had a cruel smile. Fitz looked down on the floor, realising how out of place his accent sounded. But they seemed to have forgotten about him already.
‘Will you be joining us in our box, Doctor?’
‘Alas, we’re in the stalls,’ the Doctor said and extracted the tickets from his inner pocket. Just as Wilde was about to answer, the bell rang. ‘And there’s our cue.’ Wilde smiled.
‘Very well, then, Doctor. But you must promise to come for dinner soon! London misses you.’
‘In that case, I will make sure to come visit more often.’ The Doctor shook hands both with the poet and the lord. Wilde’s handshake with Fitz seemed like an afterthought. Bosie did not shake his hand, but smiled at him again as they turned to leave.
When they were out of earshot, Fitz turned to the Doctor.
‘You know Oscar Wilde?’ he said under his breath.
‘Yes,’ the Doctor said with a shrug. ‘Not very well. But we have the same tailor.’
‘Of course you do.’
They did not speak as they found their seats, but when they had settled down and placed their cloaks and hats under their chairs, Fitz turned to the Doctor again.
‘That bloke who was with him... isn’t he the one who’ll land him in jail?’
The Doctor looked rather uncomfortable.
‘Yes, but that’s three years in the future,’ he said, very quietly. ‘Don’t talk about it.’
Fitz settled into his seat, thinking about it for a while.
‘Don’t you ever feel like changing things like that?’
The Doctor shifted a little, looking uncomfortable at the question.
‘It’s not up to me.’
The Doctor glanced over at him and smiled weakly.
‘Don’t give me any ideas, Fitz.’
‘You don’t need me to give you ideas. You’re good at coming up with them yourself.’
The Doctor’s smile changed. It was no longer a half-hearted smile at what he had said, but a genuine one, directed at Fitz. He smiled back, but not as boldly as he had wanted to. This attention overwhelmed him. The Doctor was not just looking at him, but had turned his face, his whole upper body, towards him. How could the Doctor possibly look so absorbed when looking at him? It was as if the rest of the world had disappeared from the Doctor’s perception. It made Fitz feel like he was at the centre of the universe, or perhaps like he was the universe. It felt wonderful and terrifying all at the same time.
The sound of the curtain rising made the crowd around them hush, and the Doctor turned to face the scene, awaiting the coming of the three witches. Fitz thought he could feel his gaze being ripped off him. He had expected to be relieved when not under the Doctor’s gaze. Instead, he felt like he was shrinking. It was as if there was more to him when the Doctor looked at him. The Doctor saw something which was usually not there, and Fitz far preferred himself when he was made real through the Doctor’s eyes.
These thoughts weren’t new. They had grown slowly, at first without Fitz noticing them. The Doctor had become a fact of life, and then all of a sudden he was more than that. Gradually, Fitz had stopped feeling relieved whenever the Doctor bounded into his personal space but did not kissed him, and had started feeling disappointed instead. He had come to notice when the Doctor looked at him, and did not know whether he dared to look back, afraid that it might make him look away. When the Doctor was absorbed in other things, Fitz would look at the him, and feel enthralled by that whirlwind of curls and velvet. Even now, he could not help glancing over at his profile. His face was rapt with attention, eyes gleaming with excitement at the play. His hand was lying on the armrest between them, almost as if he was hoping Fitz would take it...
He looked away again, trying to concentrate on the play. Macbeth was on stage now, and the Doctor was right that it was a very good performance. Despite that, Fitz didn’t feel engaged by it. He had never really got Shakespeare - he only understood half of it, anyway. He considered asking the Doctor about some of the lines, but he looked so captivated that it seemed a pity to disturb him. Fitz sighed to himself and sank deeper into his seat, trying not to look too bored.
It was in the middle of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s debate about whether or not to kill the king that it happened. There came odd sounds from backstage, and the actors froze. Beside him, Fitz noticed the Doctor leaning in, his interest in the play changed to readiness. There were shouts from somewhere in the building. A young man dressed in clothes not in the least appropriate for a medieval Scottish court ran onto the stage and whispered something urgently to Macbeth. He nodded and as the man left, he seemed to transform into someone else, shedding Macbeth and becoming an actor.
‘Ladies and gentlemen!’ he said in a voice so authoritative that there was no doubt whose theatre this was. ‘The rest of this performance is postponed. Our sincerest apologies. Would you please leave the building as calmly as possible!’
With that, he turned and ran off-stage. A sudden chatter broke out. Around them, the audience was complaining. The Doctor was already on his feet.
‘What’s happening?’ Fitz asked.
‘There’s a fire backstage,’ the Doctor said, his voice urgent but his face alight. ‘I’m going to help. Get outside, Fitz.’ Without another glance at him, he pushed past and started making his way towards the stage. Fitz thought of following him, as he did so many times, but there was no way of moving against the stream of theatre-goers who were now making their way outside. He simply had to follow, clutching his hat, afraid to drop it.
It was a relief to get out into the open air. The crowd swarmed onto the pavement and tried to hail cabs or stopped in little groups to discuss what had happened. Fitz was glad to break out of it and put some distance between him and them. He reached into his inner pocket, but then remembered that he had left his cigarettes in the TARDIS. He briefly considered buying some - it was still not that late - but he realised that he had no money.
‘Forgot your fags?’
Fitz turned around, towards the voice. Wilde’s young friend was standing at the entrance of an alleyway, out of sight from the theatre. A lit cigarette was delicately balanced between his fingers.
‘I must have.’
The lord produced his cigarette case.
‘Have one of mine.’
Fitz hesitated for a moment, not certain if he wanted to accept a favour from someone who seemed so dismissive, but his need for nicotine won out. He crossed to him and accepted the cigarette.
‘Cheers.’ Bosie took out a box of matches and struck one against the brick wall. He cupped the flame, and Fitz, putting the cigarette to his lips, leaned in to light it. ‘Thanks.’ The young lord shrugged. It was amazing that anyone managed to look so perpetually bored. ‘So... where’s Mr Wilde?’ He narrowly stopped himself from just calling him ‘Wilde’, like you did with historical persons.
Bosie rolled his eyes.
‘God knows. Chatting to someone “interesting”, I expect. He’ll turn up.’
‘Fair enough,’ Fitz said, for wont of anything better.
‘I saw that your friend dashed to help.’
‘Yeah. It’s very like him.’
‘What do you reckon happened?’
‘The Doctor said that there was a fire backstage.’
‘He seems like the type who fancies himself a white knight,’ Bosie observed.
‘Sort of. He likes helping.’ Fitz wondered if he should say something about the future, despite what the Doctor had said, but he could not remember any details around the Wilde trial. Saying “just so you know, your boyfriend is going to end up in court because of you” simply didn’t feel very helpful.
‘He’s kind, then?’
‘I find kind people so dull,’ Bosie said and rolled his eyes. ‘No backbone. But I guess you might disagree.’
‘Well...’ Fitz said, not certain what to say. He had a feeling that he was being goaded into something.. ‘The Doctor definitely has a backbone.’
Bosie pouted his lips.
‘Bully for him.’ Then he smiled his cruel smile at him. ‘How come I haven’t met you before?’ Something about him had changed. He looked just as bored as before, but his hooded eyes had a spark in them and his voice had sharpened.
‘Why would you have?’ Fitz asked, then realising he sounded very rude, added: ‘My Lord.’ Bosie shrugged.
‘Oh, it’s just that I know most of the boys. Are you new to London?’
‘Not really,’ Fitz said.
‘But you’ve been with that doctor,’ Bosie said and took a step towards him. He may be younger and shorter than Fitz, but he still made him feel like a predator’s quarry. ‘Oscar says he travels - all around the world, apparently. That’s why we don’t see more of him. So have you travelled with him long?’
‘Dunno. A few years, maybe?’
‘Does he still pay you?’ Bosie asked.
‘What are you talking about?’ Fitz asked, astonished. Bosie smiled again, now showing his pearly teeth.
‘I was simply wondering how attached you are to him,’ he said, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. ‘Fitz - that’s what he called you, right? I expect it must be frustrating, Fitz, being stuck with some bumbling scientist out in the colonies. Now when you’re in London, you could always... add to your capital.’ He stepped closer. ‘Oscar won’t miss me, and I’m sure your doctor fellow won’t miss you. When he’s done helping with that fire or whatever it was, Oscar’s probably going to sweep him up and go have champagne and oysters and talk well into the night. They won’t know we’re gone.’
For a moment Fitz thought he had forgotten how to talk.
‘I’m not a rent-boy!’ His temporary dumbness seemed to amplify his voice, and he shouted so loudly that Bosie laughed. ‘The Doctor’s my friend!’
‘Really? “Friend”?’ Bosie said scornfully. ‘You’re a labourer in an ill-fitting tailcoat. I know your type.’ He reached out towards him, but Fitz batted away his hand.
‘Get off me!’ he shouted. He threw the cigarette to the ground and stormed off.
‘Oh for goodness’ sake, Fitz, come back!’ Bosie shouted after him. Fitz walked faster. Angry tears were clouding his vision. He reached up to rub them out of his eyes. Just then, he walked straight into someone.
‘Fitz!’ The Doctor grabbed him by the shoulder. ‘Fitz, what’s happened?’ Fitz tore himself loose and continued walking. Behind him he could hear the Doctor following. The Doctor said his name when they turned the corner, but Fitz did not slow. He walked on, tensing his jaw to stop himself from somehow articulating his anger. He wanted to scream and rage. He was starting to regret storming off. He wished he had punched that smug aristocrat. But some part of him, oddly enough, was angry with the Doctor too. It was the Doctor who had taken him with him, who had said hello to Wilde and the lord in the first place, who had styled himself as one of them, a well-to-do highly educated intellectual, which had made Fitz look scruffy and uncultured by comparison. It served as a violent reminder that the Doctor and he were not equals.
Fitz heard the smatter of hooves and the sound of wheels on the street, and the Doctor called out, flagging down the hansom.
‘Fitz!’ he shouted, now closer. Finally, he looked up, and saw that the Doctor had gotten into the hansom to catch up. He was holding the door open for him. ‘Come on in,’ he said. ‘You wanted to ride in one of these, didn’t you?’
Fitz considered refusing, feeling patronised. Perhaps Bosie was right. Beside the Doctor - not a lord but a Time Lord - he was of no importance. But the pleading smile on the Doctor’s face made him get in. He still slammed the door shut.
‘We put out the fire,’ the Doctor said awkwardly. ‘It wasn’t very bad, actually.’ Then he turned to him and asked: ‘What happened? What’s the matter, Fitz?’
Fitz crossed his arms.
‘Wilde’s friend,’ he muttered. ‘He tried to buy me.’
The Doctor frowned for a moment, and then sighed deeply.
‘I’m sorry, Fitz,’ he said and rubbed his own forehead. ‘Bosie’s not very pleasant, most of the time. He’s a bit of an idiot, really.’
‘I thought he was a pal of yours,’ Fitz said. It came out as an accusation. The force of the words startled even him.
‘No, he’s not.’ The Doctor’s voice had gone thin. ‘I barely know him. I’m not in the least fond of him.’
‘He thought I was your rent-boy,’ Fitz all but spat at him. The Doctor bit his lip. He looked very pale. There was something about the way his face looked which made Fitz reluctant to keep watching him. Instead, he looked out at the passing street.
‘I’m sorry,’ the Doctor said again.
Fitz didn’t know what to answer. He watched the street-lamps’ glow through the smog and thought about friends and companions, lords and Time Lords.
‘What are we to you, Doctor?’ he asked, surprising himself. ‘Douglas talked to me like I was dirt under his shoe. He thought I was so far below him. And you’re not even human. We must be nothing to you.’
Something in his voice made him look over. It was as if the man beside him had dropped his mask and Fitz now saw the tender skin under it. Tears were trailing down the Doctor’s eyes, but his face was not contorted or ruddy. He sat perfectly still, his cheeks thin and his eyes bright, and wept.
‘No?’ Fitz repeated. The Doctor nodded.
‘You’re not nothing. You’re... so much.’ He sniffed and wiped away a tear that was threatening to fall off his face. ‘I was so looking forward to tonight, and it all went wrong. The commotion, and Wilde, and Bosie - of all people!’ He sighed in frustration and took a deep breath. ‘I wanted to spend some time with you, without the world being about to end. Without moral dilemmas and temporal paradoxes getting in the way, or people trying to kill us. No running or screaming or plans improvised in the last minute. Just you and me, for an evening. I...’ He paused and gathered his courage. ‘I wanted to kiss you for another reason than that you hadn’t died. For no other reason than... the fact that I like you.’
Fitz stared at him. Last time he had been rendered speechless, it had been from outrage. Now it was something altogether different.
‘This was a date?’ he finally managed to say.
The Doctor looked away, embarrassed.
‘I like to think so.’ They sat silently for a moment. ‘I suppose I should have mentioned that earlier.’
‘Yeah.’ When the Doctor looked over at him, his gaze was pleading.
‘What would you have said?’
‘Dunno,’ Fitz admitted.
The Doctor averted his eyes again.
‘My choice of date activity wasn’t particularly good.’
‘No, not really,’ Fitz agreed. Then he smiled and said: ‘But at least no one tried to kill us.’ The Doctor looked at him and smiled back shyly.
‘We could still go to a music hall if you’d like.’
‘Dressed like this? We’ll get robbed.’
‘Not necessarily. And we could change our clothes if you feel uncomfortable.’
‘Nah, I don’t feel like it.’
The Doctor tried to smile at him, but failed. Then he reached up and banged the ceiling.
‘Here’s fine, thank you!’
The hansom slowed and stopped. The Doctor got out without looking at Fitz, and did not pay him another glance as he paid the driver. Fitz did not recognise the street they were on, until the hansom disappeared into the peasouper and the Doctor jerked his head to make him follow. After a few steps, Fitz was able to make out the contours of the TARDIS some way in front of them. He hurried his step to catch up with the Doctor. He reached his side only a few paces from the TARDIS, and had to take him by the arm to make him stop.
‘Wait, Doctor.’ The Doctor turned to face him. He could not read any emotions of his features. ‘You like me?’
The side of the Doctor’s mouth twitched.
‘Yes,’ he admitted.
‘Right,’ Fitz said. ‘Okay.’ Then he added: ‘As in, you fancy me?’
Now, the Doctor did smile.
‘Yes, Fitz,’ he said. ‘I definitely fancy you.’
Fitz looked into his eyes, and felt himself falling into them. Again, he had that feeling of being at the centre of creation, but now it seemed different. He knew what it meant now, and it no longer scared him, at least not as it had before. Carefully, he reached out and touched the Doctor’s hand. The Doctor interlaced their fingers, one at a time. It felt like there was no distance between their skin, not air nor atoms nor vacuum.
‘So... do you have any other plans for tonight?’
‘That depends. I think there might actually be a bottle of champagne being cooled in the chess room.’
‘Might be a plan,’ Fitz said. ‘Is there any chance of kissing without the danger?’
‘I can’t guarantee that in the long run,’ the Doctor said. ‘There will be danger - there usually is. As for kissing...’
He stepped forward and kissed Fitz on the lips. In the past, it would have startled him and pull away. Now, he kissed back. When the Doctor drew back, Fitz’s chest felt like it was glowing.
‘I like you too, by the way.’
The Doctor smiled widely.