Title: Luna Sea
Author: Van Donovan
Characters: The Ninth Doctor, Rose, Jack, Original Male Character (mentions of everyone else)
Pairing: Nine/OMC (strongly implied Nine/Rose, Doctor/Adric)
Rating: R+ (hard R, for swearing and sex)
Word Count: 7,538
Notes: Written for the LJ community dwliterotica's August challenge of "vice."
Summary: The Doctor liked to watch the people burn.
Disclaimer: I own nothing. If I did, this would have actually happened. This is sort of cracky, but I really like it. Please consider reading it.
Notes: This draws a little on old school Who, audio dramas and the novels. It's not neccessary to know the context, but you'll probably get better enjoyment from it if you do. (Consider this a gateway drug to get you into old Who, folks.)
Thanks to: Starkiller for betaing.

It’s a vice he couldn’t help: giving into Rose.

Sometimes it made him hate himself, like the time he let her talk him into letting her see her father. He never should have agreed to do it. If Ace or Peri or Sarah Jane had asked that of him, he would have told them no. There were rules against going back in time to save lives, and he obeyed them. But Rose had asked just to see, and he’d agreed. Then he’d let her alter history. He’d let her father fix the rift in time he’d allowed to form. That whole thing made him hate himself.

Sometimes giving in to her made him happy, like when he’d agreed to her pleas to go back and save Jack. The con artist had proved himself useful and loyal on any number of occasions since. Sometimes it left him utterly bewildered. He always gave into her and he really needed to stop.

This time he’d let her and Jack convince him to go to an extremely popular, extremely loud 34th Century nightclub on the dark side of Luna. It had been on Jack’s recommendation, but Rose was the one who had asked. “Why not?” she said, grinning that big, beautiful smile she wore so well. “It’ll be fun, yeah?”

The nightclub was fun, if you were into that sort of thing, which he wasn’t. It was six-parts Steampunk, two-parts Noir and all Lightcolor. On top of that there was a live band playing on a transparent hover stage over the dance floor. The Doctor couldn’t make out the music over the droning of the bass, but everyone else seemed to enjoy it. Bodies thronged around them, glowing in phosphorescence and dye. The threesome was woefully underdressed for the party; all the articles of clothing in the TARDIS would never amount to the fiber optical and holographic garments the regular club goers were wearing.

For a time Jack and Rose waited patiently beside him. Rose drank in the sights, turning from one wonder to the next, her mouth slightly agape in awe. Jack’s gaze was cool and level; he was scanning the crowd, as though looking for someone he knew. The Doctor knew he was actually looking for someone to know.

Finally Rose turned to him. “Let’s dance!” she shouted over the din of noise. The girl was already bouncing on her heels, rocking to one of the beats in the music.

“Don’t dance to this sort, me,” the Doctor said, struggling not to flee back into the safety of the TARDIS.

“Come on, Doc! Live a little!” Jack said, abandoning his search of the crowd to clamp a hand on the Doctor’s shoulder.

“Prefer my eardrums intact, thanks,” he replied.

Rose took the opportunity to smack him in the chest. Hard. “What’d you bring us here for if we can’t dance, huh?” she demanded.

“Ow! Hey, I’m not stopping you. Dance the night away, I don’t care,” the Doctor replied. He crossed his arms over his chest protectively. There were too many people, too much noise. A vast holographic projection high above their heads displayed various scenes, most of which were violent in nature: exploding bombs, crashing ships, collapsing buildings. The music sounded more like screaming voices. The strobe lights and pounding bass played merry hell with his vision and heartbeats. He wished they hadn’t come.

“Hey Doc, you’re looking a little green around the gills,” Jack said, his hand still clamped on the Doctor’s shoulder. “You gonna be all right?”

“I’m just fine,” the Doctor retorted. “You watch Rose, make sure she has a good time,” he said. The urge to flee was growing. “See to it that she’s safe.”

“Going back to the TARDIS?” Jack asked.

The Doctor thought about it. It wasn’t far away. They’d materialized beside a wall and in the thronging, no one had noticed or cared. He could slip back inside, enjoy the peace and quiet for a few hours and let the kids have their fun. His gaze drifted from Jack to Rose and he saw her wide hazel eyes studying him. The phosphorescence made her glow green, then pink. “No,” he said finally, directing a firm eye to Jack. “I’ll be here. Maybe get a drink.”

“The Doctor drinks!” Jack announced, his smile wide. “I’ll buy you something.”

“You watch Rose,” the Doctor said, pointedly.

“Rose can watch herself,” Rose retorted. Her expression softened. “We don’t got to stay if you don’t want to,” she added softly.

The Doctor wondered how he could hear her over the booming of the music; must be something in the air. They had those things, in the 34th Century, little electronics that’d pick up on who you were talking to and amplify so you’d be able to converse over the noise. The Doctor self-consciously swatted a hand about his head, as though shooing away a fly. “Won’t be the stick in the mud today, Rose,” he answered. His eyes traveled over to Jack, sizing him up. “You’ve got a tour guide; best let him show you ‘round.” His expression turned serious. “Don’t go home with anyone. Don’t leave your drink unattended. Don’t let anyone buy you anything.”

Rose laughed. “All right, mum. We meetin’ y’back here or in the TARDIS after?”

The Doctor shrugged. His coat was starting to feel heavy and cloying amidst all the humidity. “If you can’t find me, we’ll meet in the TARDIS.” Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out his physic paper and handed it to her. “Should be able to get you some drinks with that.” Sharper, he added, “Don’t lose it!”

“Thanks, Doctor!” she said.

For a moment he feared she’d go up on her toes and kiss his cheek. He wasn’t sure what he'd do if she did, envisioning her hands bracing against his chest for purchase as she leaned in, her small fingers clutching at his lapel for leverage. The thought of her soft lips against his cheek made him curl his toes in his shoes.

It was far too hot inside the club.

“I’ll take care of her,” Jack said.

The words snapped the Doctor out of his reverie. He fixed his steely gaze on the Time Agent again, pinning him in place with just a look. He didn’t need to say anything to that. Jack knew the consequences if he failed.

There was a beat as the two men looked at each other, and then they were gone. Rose and Jack melted into the amoeba of people like two droplets merging into a puddle. The Doctor found himself in the crowd all alone and the music swelled around him.

Rose Tyler was going to be the death of him.

Here he was, standing in a cesspool of sweaty bodies and chemical deodorants, all because she had wanted to please Jack by taking him here. The Doctor had never been addicted to someone like her before; never bent so much to please someone so much. He wasn’t sure why he was doing it now. He didn’t understand why the sight of her smiling made his hearts ache. He couldn’t describe why bringing her happiness was like making up for all the lives he’d destroyed.

Overhead, the tempo changed. The bands switched, flying out on streamers of colors and light. The Doctor didn’t pay the music or the actions any mind, but the bodies around him moved, jostling him. He was too hot, too concerned and too preoccupied to handle the throng. As the tempo continued to increase, the people danced harder and closer and he started working himself toward the edges, eager to break free of the heart of the mass.

On the fringes, the music was quieter. It was the audio-electronics in the air at work again. The music was still loud, louder than he would have liked, but considerably less intense. It was a relief.

Sliding into a vacant seat at the bar, the Doctor dimly noted how much things had changed and how much things had stayed the same. Bars and stools and bartenders would never go out of style. They were plentiful and abundant through any number of times and galaxies. There was something to be said about a bar patron and his communion with his host. These counters were glossy black and transparent, displaying the same sort of gothic horrorshows that were broadcast via holographs above the dance floor. The Doctor ignored it, pulling out his sonic screwdriver instead. He ran it along the thin clear plastic strip in front of him and a small green light went on. His tab was registered.

“What’ll it be?” the bartender asked when she arrived.

The girl fit the theme: her hair was fluorescent red, glowing with the phosphorescence. She wore a tight fitting black and white pinstriped suit with no sleeves or shirt underneath it. The suit was fiber optic but was set to grayscale—it remained black and white despite the myriad of colors that flashed around them. Her skin was painted in the same way, so she appeared to be some black and white 1950s television vixen, save for her striking red hair, which was done up in twists and black beads, and her lips, which matched her hair. Her arms were bare, and there she wore her Lightcolor marks, designating her likes and kinks and interests in various colored swirls. They were like tattoos but glowed only under the aid of the lights in the nightclub. Most of Luna’s dark side was lit in the same way.

The Doctor wasn’t sure what any of the Lightcolor marks meant, had never bothered to learn the code, but was fairly confident he wasn’t her type. “Movellian Sunset,” he said.

“Classic guy,” she said approvingly. Her eyes trailed him again, studying him for the first time. She noted his leather coat and dark jumper. In the reflection of the black counter, he could see that the phosphorescence made his close-cropped hair look navy. She nodded, pleased. “Be right on it.”

He ignored her. What she saw wasn’t what she was going to get. On the bar counter the display showed an ancient shuttlecraft crashing to the surface of some planet. The Doctor guessed the make was late 24th Century and wondered idly whether it was real or computer generated.

He accepted the drink when it arrived and deflected any further conversation with the girl by swiveling his seat around to face the dance floor. He’d never been to this club before, but to ones similar. It had been years since he’d done so, usually preferring a somewhat quieter atmosphere. He liked to people-watch sometimes, and bars were one of his favorite places to do that. People lost inhibition here. In the mall or at a famous landmark, they were restrained and proper; they held hands and fed pigeons and drifted through time and space unnoticed.

In a nightclub like this, or in a charged rock concert, or on the front lines of a war, they thrummed. One man hopped up on stimulates burned through the night, releasing energy in mass quantities. His flame would last for years. The nightclub, full of the combining energy, was like a bottomless well. A hundred thousand years after the building had closed up, the air local to it would still shimmer with the memories of the energy released here.

The Doctor liked to watch the people burn.

He threw back his drink, letting it sear through his body. The liquor was synthetic and tasted a little over processed, but it did the trick. Within seconds his fingers and toes were tingling. After a minute he could feel it thrumming in his cock. With a wave of his hand, he ordered another drink and paid for it without speaking to the bartender, despite her hopeful smiles.

He took the second drink slower, wondering just what he was doing. It was a vice, coming here. It was a vice letting Rose dictate his moves, letting her make him feel this way. The bartender wanted him; he could feel the heat of her desire from across the bar counter. Maybe if she had been blonde, or if she had had less paint on her face, or darker eyes, he would have used her. He had those sorts of thoughts, because of Rose.

Knocking back the last of the refill set his skin crawling. If he were smart, he would have headed back to the TARDIS by now, to sleep this feeling off. If he were smart, he would have never let Rose’s long lashes or full, pouty lips convince him to come here. If he were smart, he would have known what she would do to him and never let her on his TARDIS in the first place. If he were smart, he would have fallen on the front lines of Arcadia like the rest had; he would have killed Davros when he had had the chance; would have never left Gallifrey in the first place.

He surged to his feet, leaving the glass behind him and his tab full. His eyes were blazing now with the bitter memories of the past and the harsh desires of the future. He needed to get back to the TARDIS before he pulled the bartender aside and fucked a thousand years of experience into her.

Someone stumbled into him as he entered the thronging crowd. He had hoped to past on the outside of the mob, but the TARDIS was unreachable without going directly through. Someone else laughed as she brushed up against him. He shoved her aside, rougher than he intended, not wanting to enjoy the fond touch of a stranger tonight, not wanting to lose himself again to that sort of sick pleasure. Not with Rose so near. Not with his thoughts as dark as they were.

His body ached as he pushed dancers aside. Some scowled at him for his rudeness, but the energy was too high to carry the contempt long. He was a burning blue flame of darkness in a sea of hot passion and the people were more eager to expel him from their proximity than they were to embrace him.

When he finally broke free to the other side, he found the TARDIS had become the dark corner for a couple’s public tryst. He found himself both enraged at their audacity and jealous of the ease of their lovemaking. He turned away from them, looking the crowd over for any sign of Jack or Rose; he didn’t want either of them to see him slipping away just yet.

Not finding them he assumed they’d gone further out with the motion of the people. The crowd tended to surge in and out with the music, as though the entire audience was dancing together as well as individually. Suddenly he stiffened and spun around, catching the wrist of a man in his hand.

Twisting his arm quickly, he neutralized the would-be pickpocket. His eyes narrowed at the sight of the culprit—perhaps if he couldn’t fuck his frustrations out he could berate them away. There was nothing quite like belittling and humiliating human beings. “Now that’s not nice,” he said darkly.

The man—boy, really, he barely looked old enough to be in the club—lifted his eyes to look at the Doctor. He broke into an ease smile and said, “We’ve all got to earn a jibbie, Brav.”

The Doctor released him instantly, stepping back as though scalded. The face he was looking down into was one he hadn’t seen in nearly three hundred years, at least not outside of his dreams. The boy had fair skin, dark eyes, a mop of unruly hair and an unmistakable upturned nose. “Adric?” he said, astounded. It couldn’t be though; Adric had died.

“Name’s McKinnon,” the boy said tartly. He rubbed his wrist where the Doctor had twisted it.

“Sorry,” the Doctor immediately said. His thoughts had derailed completely; gone were the images of Rose and the fire in his veins. For the moment they were replaced by the gentle memories of the math genius and orphan boy he’d once known. Another companion from so many lifetimes ago who had got under his skin and left a mark that could never be erased. The boy had been soft to touch and sweet; he had smelt of dry grass and dusty books. His fair skin had melted from his bones before he’d died, crashing as he did, to Earth in a rogue space freighter.

“Remind you of someone?” McKinnon asked, cocking his head.

This boy had a different voice and an accent laced with 34th Century slang, but the resemblance was uncanny. The Doctor knew that it happened; faces recycled. The universe was infinite in its ability to produce variations, but sometimes the differences were so subtle as to be unnoticeable. Adric had had a thumb-sized birthmark on his left thigh. The Doctor bet McKinnon didn’t. “A bit, yeah,” he answered.

“Spare a psu for a friend, Brav?” he asked.

“I don’t have any cash on me,” the Doctor answered. He wanted to reach out and touch McKinnon’s face, to see if the resemblance went that far or if it stopped. He wanted to know if he’d feel rough stubble beneath his fingertips or just the soft smoothness that he remembered. The desire was intense, backed by the knowledge that if he didn’t find out now, the chance would be lost to him forever.

“You’re hopped on Sunset,” McKinnon said. “Can wind it on you.” As though sensing the Doctor’s inner turmoil, the boy stepped closer, closing his eyes to heighten his sense of smell. “Got a tab?” he asked.

“Yeah,” the Doctor answered, resisting the urge to let his eyes close as well so he could smell too. The memory of grass and books returned in his thoughts and it was intoxicating enough to stir the fire in his veins again. “Not buying you one though,” he said. “Don’t reward pickpockets like that.”

McKinnon’s hand was on his chest before the Doctor could say anything. His hand was small but his fingers were proportionally long and thin. The boy was slenderer than Adric, and perhaps a bit taller. Maybe the Doctor was just shorter than he’d been, last time. “But you like what you see,” the boy noted, stepping in closer. “Wares ready.”

The Doctor struggled to find his voice. “I’m not into that sort of thing,” he answered. He didn’t have cash anyway, and he doubted anyone would be willing to be paid for services rendered with a bar tab.

McKinnon’s hand slid down the Doctor’s body with deft ease, skirting over the top of his jeans to cup at the fledgling erection pressing against the fabric of his trousers. “Suppy your body begs to differ.” He kept his dark eyes fixed on the Doctor, but his hand gave a gentle squeeze.

Around them the world danced, painted neon and opalescent by the lights and sounds in the air. The female in the couple behind them was moaning out a low orgasm as she came with her man’s hand between her legs, and the band overhead was singing a song in a minor key. Above them, displayed on the holograms, blood dripped down a stairwell, pooling in a garden of brilliant marigolds.

“I’m not what you’re looking for, me,” the Doctor said. He was ashamed of the way he was struggling against his feelings. He never used to be so emotional. His Eighth form had ruined him on so very many fronts and he couldn’t shut the valves off fast enough anymore. McKinnon’s hand felt right, where it was. His body was betraying him, desiring this thing he had so long ago decided he didn’t need, and that he had discovered so recently that perhaps maybe he did.

“Tell me ‘bout Adric,” McKinnon said, his voice smooth and low.

The music seemed to fade away at the question. The Doctor focused on the boy’s eyes and saw someone else in them. He saw marshes and stars and smiles. Beyond that he could taste the steely dryness in the air that meant he was standing too close to a Cyberman. He could envision the bountiful dreams he had had, over the last three centuries, of Adric dying alone on the empty bridge of the freighter. It was but one death, a drop in the ocean of the billions he had killed in the Time War, and yet it stood out still stronger than almost all the others.

Life had been gentler, back then, and Adric had been full of so much promise.

“He died,” the Doctor finally answered.

“You could see him again,” McKinnon said, fluttering his painted lashes. His hand uncupped, pressing flat against the Doctor’s groin. “Be however he was you like.”

It was all the Doctor could do not to shove McKinnon up against the TARDIS doors and grind his hips into the boy until he found his release. No one would have noticed and perhaps it would have relieved some of his pent up frustrations. “Sweet,” the Doctor answered thickly. “He was a boy.”

McKinnon’s eyes dropped to where his hand was. Beneath the fabric of his trousers, the Doctor’s hardness had twitched eagerly at the thought of being pressed into McKinnon. “You’re naughty Brav, aren’t you?” McKinnon said. His voice was softer, gentler.

The Doctor put a hand out, gripping McKinnon’s wrist again tightly. He had done it with the intent to pull his hand away, but he didn’t. He just gripped. His hearts started to match the beating of the music overhead. In one fluid motion he had the boy shoved against the TARDIS and he didn’t remember at all doing it. “I’m a bad man,” the Doctor confessed. His voice was ragged and weak and his hand, instead of pulling McKinnon away by the wrist, pressed his touch harder into him.

“Adric’ll take you back,” the boy coaxed. He let his hand cup and rub again while the other reached up, looping around the Doctor’s neck, to draw him down. When the Doctor’s ear was close enough, he whispered. “What’s your name, Brav?”

“Doctor,” he breathed harshly. “Call me Doctor.” McKinnon laughed and it was somehow pure and innocent and so much like Adric, so much like Rose, that the Doctor thrust into the hand on his erection.

“All right, Doctor,” McKinnon said. He brushed his lips against the Doctor’s ear, feigning a kiss, and then lifted his other hand, to fumble at the button at the front of the Doctor’s trousers. “Adric has a sweet mouth,” McKinnon said. “A boy’s mouth, and he wants to show it to you.”

In the back of the Doctor’s throat, a groan was building. He wondered if he could get the TARDIS doors open, without dislodging McKinnon’s hand, and if so, whether or not he could convince the boy the TARDIS was just another room of the club.

Said mouth loomed into sight, and it was Rose’s mouth on Adric’s body and the thought of having them both at once nearly sent him over the edge. He didn’t think, just shoved the boy back, crushing their mouths together with such a force that the TARDIS doors shuddered at the impact. His hips ground into the body before him and he knew it wasn’t Rose’s body; there was an erection grinding back into him, but McKinnon tasted like Rose looked: a mixture of chemicals and face powder with a sharp sweetness, like a half eaten peppermint.

McKinnon’s mouth yielded easily to the Doctor, but worked against him too. This boy wasn’t sweet or innocent; he was experienced and wonderful. The Doctor devoured him eagerly and delved for more. His hands finally moved. The one on McKinnon’s wrist released, to pull his hips closer. The other rose to tangle in his thick hair. In a matter of minutes, the Doctor knew McKinnon would be dropping to his knees to put that boy’s mouth to use. He groaned into the kiss at the thought, but tried to reel his thoughts in—the last thing he wanted was Rose and Jack coming back to the TARDIS and seeing this.

“Inside,” he gasped, pulling away from McKinnon’s hot mouth. He didn’t care anymore whether or not the boy recognized the TARDIS for what it was. He had to get out of the crowd. He had to get away from the pounding music, the glittering lights and electronic waves in the air, influencing how he thought and acted. He fumbled with the TARDIS key, finally managing to get the door unlocked.

McKinnon didn’t seem to understand at first, so the Doctor grabbed him by the wrist again, dragging him inside. He didn’t give the boy the chance to gawk, shoving him up against the TARDIS doors once they were closed. He blocked much of the boy’s view with his larger frame “Gonna fuck you, boy,” he growled roughly. “Gotta,” he added, thickly.

McKinnon laughed when he could, letting his fingers push at the Doctor’s trousers. With nominal help, they dropped down around his ankles.

The Doctor burned inside. The TARDIS could shut off the music and the infection from outside, but he still felt it in his veins. With one shove on his shoulders, he had McKinnon down on his knees. If the grating on the TARDIS floor bothered him any, he didn’t complain. Instead the boy nuzzled against the Doctor’s underwear, mouthing his erection through the fabric.

Flashes of Adric bent over his old, white console came to mind and the Doctor almost lifted the boy up to reposition him. There was something to be said for oral sex, but the way he was feeling, a hard fuck against the console seemed to suit his needs more. He was about to grab the boy around the armpits to haul him up when McKinnon freed him of his underwear and put his mouth to work.

Thoughts of moving away vanished from the Doctor’s mind. Instead his vision filled with the sight of a million exploding bombs. He saw Earth being destroyed by the sun in the year five billion, saw Adric crashing into that Earth in sixty-five billion BC. His hands gripped into McKinnon’s hair and it was Rose’s head he was touching, her mouth and full lips that were licking and sucking at him. His knees went weak and he shifted them, pressing his own back against the TARDIS doors so he could brace himself better. He was torn between wanting to thrust into her—his—mouth, and letting himself relax and ride it out. One of his hands gripped at the full head of hair, but the other pawed ineffectually at his abdomen. His fingers dug into flesh and fabric as all his rough needs were confined to remain bottled inside.

It wasn’t McKinnon’s fault. He’d asked about Adric, thought that it was Adric who the Doctor wanted to fuck. Seeing the boy who so resembled the Alzarian had brought the memories to fore, but it wasn’t Adric who was dominating his thoughts these days. It wasn’t Adric who had brought him to this bar in the first place. It wasn’t Adric who had perhaps saved him from his own insanity.

“Rose,” he groaned. The hand in McKinnon’s hair tightened, pulling hard upwards. It was a tragedy, pulling McKinnon’s deft little mouth off his swollen member, but he needed so much more than this.

“Get up,” he growled, roughly pulling McKinnon to his feet. The boy’s lips were swollen and they were all Adric’s in that moment—he’d never seen Rose’s lips like that. “Whatever you want, it’s yours,” he said sternly. “Pay you later.”

McKinnon’s mouth curved into a bright smile, and that was all Adric too. The Doctor turned the boy around because he didn’t want to see the smile or the face that reminded him of his failure to protect the one companion before Rose he’d said he would. Maybe he should have taken the bartender home; she would have been easier: less loaded with memories, and probably free.

The boy was older than Adric ever got to be—he could smell his age in his hair, taste it on his tongue. Maybe he was older than Rose, he couldn’t quite tell that, having never tasted her. It didn’t ruin the illusion though, didn’t make the sex, or the idea of sex, any better or worse.

McKinnon was an ace at this, knew how to please and perform. The Doctor had him bent over the console in less time than it took to form the thought to move him there. His touch was rough and needy, but McKinnon didn’t seem to mind.

The Doctor had never had Adric like this; had never wanted Rose in this way. Yet it was thoughts of her that spurned him on. She was why he was here, doing this thing. It was her fault that he felt this way.

McKinnon yielded easily to the penetration. Perhaps the Doctor should have been more concerned about that, but it was the 34th Century and he was a Time Lord. McKinnon made a sound, a noise that meant he either liked it or was pretending to, and he sounded so much like a girl when he did it, the gates that were holding the Doctor back burst open.

The Doctor’s hands gripped the hips that felt like Adric’s but were supposed to be Rose’s. He rocked into the boy’s body none-too-gently, using McKinnon like the universe had used him. He fucked Rose through the boy, and he let the weight of the Time War roll out of him and into the boy beneath him. Through McKinnon he was able to forgive himself for not being able to save Rose’s father. He was able to put Jabe to rest and apologize for not being fast enough to save her. He could see the faces of the Time Lords he’d killed and hear their voices again, if just for a moment. He could forgive himself for putting Charley back on that airship; understand Grace’s decision to stay on Earth despite his TARDIS being a time machine able to return her moments after departure.

He could be proud of Ace’s achievements and choices again, mourn and rejoice for Peri’s plight, adore and cherish the woman Erimem had become, make peace with Turlough’s decision to go on without him, grieve properly and completely understand Tegan’s need to choose peace over war. He could have pride in Nyssa and weep for his failure to save Adric. He could, perhaps at last, remember Romana properly, finally embracing her as someone he had never quite treated the way she ought to be treated. He could love Leela for everything she was and everything she had become, he could miss Sarah Jane in a way he’d never let himself miss her before. He could mourn the friend he’d once, long ago, had in the Master.

McKinnon’s body shuddered beneath him as he pounded hundreds of years worth of love and hate, desire and rage into the boy. Jo was there, smiling and soft, and Liz, bright eyed and inquisitive. He saw Alistair too, ever loyal and fond. Their faces began to blur together as he reached his end and he feared perhaps it’d all be over too soon.

He saw Zoe and Jamie, the beloved two who had forgotten him, and he could, at last, let the anguish of their loss wash over him. He could forgive himself, at least for a moment, for what had happened to Katarina, and the ultimate sacrifice she had made. Steven and Ian and Barbara and Susan flashed before his eyes, and more, and then he was back home, in the sanctity of Gallifrey before he knew the universe was corrupt and dark and lonely. Before he became Time’s Champion and destroyed himself to save existence.

The TARDIS flared white around him, and it wasn’t just his orgasm that caused it. The ship herself came with him, lights flaring to brilliant white, as they had shone once in his youth. If McKinnon noticed the flare up, he did not speak. The Doctor half suspected the boy’s eyes were closed as he experienced his own epiphany.

The lights dimmed and the white in the Doctor’s eyes faded away until he was cold again, and almost alone. Rose was spent beneath him, only it was Adric in the body of a stranger. Sound and touch returned slowly and the Doctor pulled out of the boy, sagging against the console. He felt heavy, exhausted and well spent. It had been centuries since he’d quite done that, and never with such force; never with so much guilt and weight on his mind. The energy they’d just released would burn for a thousand years on its own.


McKinnon was looking at him, still bent over the console. His knees were bowed and his trousers around his ankles. The Doctor thought he ought to offer to clean the boy up, but he was barely managing to stand on his own as it was. “All right there?” he questioned softly.

“What was that?” the boy asked. He was not putting upon anymore. His awe was genuine and clear. His eyes were wide.

The Doctor had repelled Daleks and committed genocide in the same day. He could bend and pull the boy’s trousers up. So he did, grunting with the strain. When he’d managed that, he refastened his own trousers, leaning against the center column again to do so. “The whole universe,” he answered casually. He shrugged out of his leather coat, draping it about the boy’s shoulders. He wiped first at his own face, then dabbed a tear off the tip of McKinnon’s upturned nose. “It’s uncanny, how much you look like him.”

McKinnon pulled the leather coat around him tighter, though the Console Room was not cold in the slightest. He pressed his back to the center column, but kept his eyes on the Doctor. “He must have been very special.”

The Doctor managed a smile and in that moment realized how relieved and unburdened he felt. The weight of the world hadn’t fallen off, but it had diminished. It was freeing in an unexpected way. “Yeah. They all were.”

The Doctor watched McKinnon and for a while McKinnon watched the Doctor. It was clear the boy was seeing him differently now—not as the potential customer or free wallet, but as a source of interest and intrigue. The Doctor wondered how much the boy had experienced, how much they had shared.

“What is this place?” McKinnon finally asked, looking around the TARDIS interior.

Putting his back to the console felt good. The Doctor spread his fingers out, over the controls, and let them warm his hands. He’d seen his entire life in that moment, all the companions and friends he’d had over the centuries, and yet he hadn’t seen the TARDIS, his one constant. He patted her lovingly. “It’s a ship,” he said simply. “Thought we needed some privacy.” After a beat, noticing the boy’s awkwardness, he added, “There’s a shower, if you’d like.”


McKinnon didn’t ask about the size of the ship or how they’d arrived there. The Doctor was glad for it. The first room with a shower in it that they reached was a bedroom that had been long abandoned. It had last been Fitz’s. Or had it been Sam’s? He didn’t remember and supposed it didn’t matter. Thinking on whose room it had been only made that familiar, empty ache return and he hoped to stave that off for as long as possible.

McKinnon gave the Doctor back his coat along with a shy smile before slipping into the bathroom.

The Doctor’s body told him to relax. He wanted to sink into the large plush armchair he had in the library, or to perhaps float in the pool and try to preserve this feeling of peace. He didn’t do either. Instead he sat on Fitz’s bed, hands dangling between his knees, and waited for McKinnon to finish his shower. He tried not to think while he waited. Thinking too much led to pain and memories and he was freed of them for the time being. He didn’t want to burden himself with that weight again so soon.

McKinnon was delightfully quick about his shower and was back in the bedroom before the Doctor’s mind wandered too far. With his hair wet and his clothes half undone and all the club make up washed away, he looked even younger and more like Adric. In the natural lighting his hair seemed a little lighter than Adric’s, his skin a slightly different hue, but still remarkably the same. He didn’t ask, but sat down beside the Doctor, mimicking his posture. “Was this his room?”

Fitz, as it was Fitz’s room after all, had been from the 1960s of Earth, and the room reflected the design of the era. The colors were bright, the bed spread a garish paisley print; the tableside lamp contained slowly undulating lava. “No,” he answered almost in a whisper. Fitz had considered himself a ladies man; Adric never would have hung that poster of Brigitte Bardot on his wall.

Things were starting to get awkward. McKinnon rose to his feet. “I should probably go.”

The Doctor followed him with his eyes. “How much do I owe you?”

The question hung in the air for several long seconds. A highly polished wooden clock made from a slab of redwood hung on the wall and kept track of the time with a steady tick. The Doctor wondered who had tended to the batteries all these years. His gaze eventually returned to McKinnon.

“Don’t know,” the boy admitted, smiling ruefully. Putting one hand on his hip, he cocked it again. “Usually find the ol’ in-out to be a right boring jibbie. That was different.”

With a sigh, the Doctor pushed to his feet. He wondered what Jack or Rose would think of him if they saw him now, or knew what had just happened. “I don’t make a habit of that sort of thing,” the Doctor tried to explain. He didn’t know why he bothered; McKinnon wasn’t someone he needed validation from.

“Got lucky, I guess.”

He didn’t mean to, but the Doctor found himself touching the boy’s face. He hadn’t been tender at all in the Console Room. He’d been rough, almost cruel in his actions. He’d taken and taken and anything McKinnon had gotten from their affair had been accidental, an overflow leftover. He didn’t think he should feel particularly bad about that, but he did. It didn’t matter who or what McKinnon was—the boy had helped him and deserved that much respect in return. The Doctor ran the soft pad of his thumb over McKinnon’s cheek, then over his bottom lip. To his surprise, the boy closed his eyes, apparently enjoying the touch. “Adric got lucky, too,” he softly said. “And then I got him killed.”

McKinnon didn’t open his eyes at first; he just nuzzled the hand that cupped his cheek. “Doctor?” he asked. “Why did you come here tonight?”

The Doctor knew why: he was pleasing Rose again, doing as she asked. He was addicted to pleasing her. “Two of my friends wanted to come,” he said instead.

McKinnon opened his eyes, fixing them on the Doctor. “Don’t you think they’re big enough to make their own decisions?”

The Doctor didn’t know what to say to that. He let his hand drop from the boy’s face.

“Adric chose his fate. Rose’ll choose her, too.” McKinnon smiled again. “You’ll chose yours and, hey, me? I’ll choose mine.” His posture relaxed. “That’s the freewheel of being autonomous.”

The Doctor wondered if McKinnon knew just how much he’d helped tonight. “Thank you,” he said.

“Thanks for the payment,” McKinnon answered.

The boy turned to go, probably determined to leave before things got strange, but the Doctor reached out and grabbed his wrist, halting him. For a moment he was unsure about why he’d pulled the boy back. Then his eyes fell once more upon those familiar not-familiar features and he knew. He had tasted McKinnon already, but not the way he wanted to. Not the way he wanted to remember the boy himself. So he leaned in and kissed him.

It lingered only a few moments and was chaste and sweet in comparison to earlier, but he enjoyed it more. McKinnon tasted of fresh water and mint and the Doctor liked it. It wasn’t Rose and it wasn’t Adric, and that was how it should be. McKinnon embodied both of them for him, but he was his own person and deserved to be remembered as such.

After, the Doctor walked him to the TARDIS doors. He wasn’t going to go back out into that throng. He didn’t need to be bombarded with the music and sweat and heat of other people. He was relaxed now and even happy. They stood together for a while in front of the doors. The Doctor wasn’t much of one for goodbyes with people he knew, and with someone he didn’t know it was even harder.

McKinnon’s attention was focused on buttoning up the last of the Noir-style waistcoat he wore. His suit was beige and the waistcoat was gold. In the light of the TARDIS, the fabric seemed to gleam. Absently, as he adjusted his cuffs, he said, “Do you believe in reincarnation?”

The Doctor stretched out his hand, flexed it to study it and shook his head. “No.”

McKinnon looked up, somewhat surprised.

“Souls don’t come and go,” the Doctor explained. “What’s yours stays yours, throughout all of time.” More emphatically he said, “You’re not Adric.”

“Would you ask me to stay, if you suppy I were?”

“No.” The Doctor closed his eyes for a moment, sighing. “I’d want you—him—to live.” He didn’t let McKinnon reply to that, just pushed the door open.

McKinnon’s surprise at being right on the dance floor washed away any retort he might have had. Stepping out, he turned around, looking up at the exterior of the TARDIS for the first time. “ ‘Public Police Call Box’ ?” he read. His eyes returned to the Doctor. “You’re a narkie?”

The Doctor crossed his arms, leaning against the doorframe. “What do you think, McKinnon?”

“No, suppy not.” He stepped back again, further away from the TARDIS. “Will I see you again?”

The Doctor shrugged. His eyes shifted, gazing over McKinnon’s head at the sight of Jack approaching in the distance. “No, I don’t suppose you will. Consider yourself lucky.”

“I do,” McKinnon said, genuinely. Whether they were agreeing on different points, they didn’t say. The boy looked over his shoulder, following the Doctor’s gaze, and spied Jack immediately and Rose a moment later as the two made it through the crowd. He looked back to the Doctor, but didn’t say anything. He just tipped the fedora he wasn’t wearing and slipped away. The last the Doctor saw of him he was bathed in gold phosphorescence as he began to dance, and gleaming like a star.

“Done so soon?” the Doctor asked, taking in his companions.

“Who was that boy?” Rose said.

The Doctor smiled at her. He could do it, too. He looked at her and for the first time in a long time he could see her clearly for the beautiful Earth girl she was. There was no weight on his shoulders, no cross to bear. He felt unnaturally light. “Just a friend,” he said.

“You sure look fashed,” Jack said, adopting the local slang. His smile was crooked and knowing.

The Doctor couldn’t help but smile back. He left the TARDIS doors open behind him, stepping forward to wrap one hand around the shoulders of each of his companions. He leaned forward, letting the boom of the music and the thrum of the songs overhead settle on him. Without the universe pounding around in his head, he could actually enjoy the scene for what it was worth. “I think it’s time we stopped pussyfooting about. I’d like to show you two what the universe is really about.”

Rose laughed. Her voice was clear and beautiful. The Doctor looked at her, saw Adric’s lips on her face, and thought perhaps she had a bit of McKinnon in her eyes. He loved her more purely in that moment that he ever had before.

“What are you on about now, Doctor?” she asked.

Turning them around, the Doctor steered them into the TARDIS. “Oh, just you wait and see, Rose Tyler. I’m going to take the two of you to a real party.”

The Doctor ushered them into the Console Room, which had been cleaned up by the TARDIS, all signs of his tryst with McKinnon neatly hidden away. He closed the doors behind him and within moments the whooshing of wind that surrounded the TARDIS’ arrival and departure stirred.

Out in the club McKinnon watched the Police Box disappear with a smile.

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