sam_storyteller: (Doctor Who)
sam_storyteller ([personal profile] sam_storyteller) wrote2005-07-18 02:25 pm
Entry tags:

In Geneva

Title: In Geneva
Rating: PG-13 (Brigadier/Eleven)
Warnings: None.
Summary: The Brigadier was always a companion on his own terms.
BETA CREDIT, JESUS: [profile] neifile7 fixed my commas and kicked all the little awkward bits around till I made them make sense. :D
Notes: This story assumes a slightly alternate universe where the events of Mawdryn Undead never occurred.

Originally Posted 7.23.10

Also available at AO3.

***

One Day

The Brigadier -- as if he were the only Brigadier in the military, though he was singular and it was less of a mouthful than Lethbridge-Stewart -- had a little house in Geneva, which he'd purchased when it became clear that he was going to be there for work quite a lot. He was a reasonably wealthy man by then, between his military salary and a small inheritance, and the cost of the thing was hardly a concern. Location was more key; it had to be somewhere private, on a quiet street, not too far from headquarters. It had to be defensible, should the worst happen. The worst quite often happened to Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart.

And it had to have a garden.

The place he settled on was a small two-storey job with a cellar, surrounded by hedge; the garden was small, but it was enough to fill the requirements. He planted cypress trees, rhododendrons, bellflowers, and the sturdiest English roses he could find. He wasn't an especially artistic or sentimental man, but the garden reminded him why he did the work he did, so it served its purpose. His father had told him he should have a reason for all that he did, but his family was so entrenched in the tradition that "serving your country" seemed to be the exception to this rule. You didn't need motivation to be a soldier; it came naturally.

But Alistair needed reminding sometimes of why he worked hard and sacrificed -- well, personal pride, the chance for a different kind of life -- to protect his little planet. The garden in Geneva made him remember that there were beautiful things outside the wire-topped fence.

He had been in Geneva for six months and expected to be there at least another three, which suited him. The Doctor hadn't been back to London in at least that long already, and a change of scene would shake off the anger (he would not admit to grief) and help him to realise he would not be seeing him again. The Doctor himself had warned him that he wouldn't stay forever, so it had been ridiculous to expect him to stay for a mere human like Alistair. He wouldn't have been happy, anyway.

There were no memories of the Doctor here, at least, except the ones he brought here with him; the Doctor had never seen his house in Geneva.

Given how much time he had spent in his garden, making sure everything was as orderly and correct as an English gardener could make it, he was...frustrated when he heard the familiar whine-and-thump of the TARDIS. Elated, yes; breathless when he reached the kitchen doorway and saw the TARDIS in his garden. But also frustrated and angered that the Doctor had just brought it down on top of the rhododendrons.

The calm remonstrance was on his lips as the door opened -- "A year AWOL, Doctor, and dereliction of duty; I should have you court-martialed" -- but it died when a young man stepped out, an unfamiliar but good-looking young man. Instead of what he'd planned, the Brigadier said, "Who the blazes are you?"

Really, after all, there was a reason he'd only assigned women to work with the Doctor.

"Brigadier," the man said, beaming, his voice warm. "I knew I'd find you here. Mind you, we never went to Geneva, did we? Took me a while to find the right house."

He was crossing the lawn, and when he was close enough to the door he leaned forward, squinting. "Guess my timing's about right, how old are you now? Thirty-eight?"

Ah. He'd done it again.

Alistair sighed, long-suffering. "Thirty-seven."

"Sorry, it's been a while," the Doctor said. "Got any tea?"

Alistair turned and went back into the kitchen, glad he'd cleaned it recently. He filled the gleaming kettle and put it on the hob to heat, measured out the tea into a basket in the pot, and took down two teacups. The Doctor watched it all from the doorway, shoulder against the frame.

"Like what you've done," he said, looking around. "Homey. Bit small."

"It suits me. Room enough to get my head down, that's all that matters."

"I don't believe it. That garden?" the Doctor jerked his thumb behind him. "Sorry about the rhododendrons," he added absently.

"They'll grow back," Alistair said, and finally found himself with nothing to do. He turned to study this new Doctor, well-used by now to his changing faces but still unsettled by it. He never felt comfortable staring, but he liked to know the look of the man.

Hm. Something of an improvement over the curly-headed, pop-eyed version he'd seen last. He couldn't approve of his clothes or hair, except that the former were at least tidy and the latter was probably not entirely under his control (it never had been). A strong jaw, high cheekbones, prominent brow, light eyes; a sense of mischief about the mouth. The Doctor was smiling.

"Bit of an improvement, I think," the Doctor said, fiddling with the bow tie at his throat. "How do you like it?"

"Your hair's not curly," Alistair announced, turning back to the teacups. Sugar; milk and sugar. He took down the sugar pot from a shelf.

"Well, no, but you can't have everything," the Doctor pointed out, coming into the kitchen and closing the door behind him with his foot. Alistair leaned into the icebox to take out the milk. "Just sugar for me, thanks."

Alistair put the milk back. He took his black. The Doctor used to take it with three sugars and an obscene amount of milk.

"So," he said, holding onto his control and his training, "are you back to start work again, or is this the farewell tour?"

"Well, bit of both, bit of neither," the Doctor said, and Alistair turned to him sharply. "It's been a long time, Alistair."

"A little under a year."

"Longer for me. By about two hundred years."

"I'm shocked you remember me at all, in that case," Alistair said, as the kettle whistled. He poured it out into the pot, put the lid over it, tossed a tea towel over that, and carried it to the table. "Do sit down."

"Did you think I could forget you?" the Doctor asked, and when Alistair straightened he was there, almost nose to nose. "I remember all of you. Every last one. You, I thought of often."

"Now I think you're a flatterer, and it won't work," Alistair said lightly, turning away to fetch the teacups.

"I was in a war," the Doctor called after him, and Alistair stopped at the counter, hands on the cups, not moving. Quieter -- "I was in a war. I was a soldier. I thought of you."

"No army would have you," Alistair said, still trying to pretend that this suddenly didn't matter a hell of a lot.

"UNIT did," the Doctor pointed out.

"Not as a soldier. You, in battle dress? Not bloody likely," he said, tracing a thumb around the rim of a cup.

"But I was."

"How'd you do?" Because did you win wasn't the right question.

"Everyone is dead. The enemy. My entire species. I'm the last," the Doctor said.

"I'm sorry," Alistair told him, back still turned.

"Alistair, please, look at me," the Doctor said, and that was something new; the Doctor didn't beg, and he didn't say please unless he was using it as an insult. He turned around, lifting his eyes to the Doctor's face almost defiantly. The Doctor gave him a sad smile -- a soldier's smile. Perhaps he was telling the truth after all.

"I know I left you, and I know you're angry and repressing all that rage like a good officer," the Doctor said. Alistair opened his mouth to protest, but the Doctor went on inexorably before he could. "I know I don't have the right to lay my war at your feet, you've enough wars of your own to worry about. I know that you know that the man I was isn't coming back, ever, and being alone for the rest of your life is frightening. I know more now about why you did the things you did."

"You seem to know a lot," Alistair said. "To some point, I presume."

"I'm old, Alistair. I'm tired. I missed you. I want you," the Doctor added in a low voice, and Alistair worked hard to keep his expression steady. "Let me come back. I'll stay here, look after the place, get some job in town."

"You act as if I even know who you are anymore," Alistair said. "For all I know you could be the Master."

The Doctor flinched. Alistair swore. "Dead too?"

"I told you. I'm the last," the Doctor said. "They're all dead."

Alistair carefully walked past him to the kitchen table, seating himself and pouring two cups of tea. The Doctor spooned sugar into his, stirring with the sugar spoon.

"Are you angry about the rhododendrons still?" the Doctor asked.

"No," Alistair replied around his tea.

"Good."

Silence for a while; the click of the spoon against the teacup, the sips as they drank.

"The thing is," Alistair heard himself say, "Where you go, disaster tends to follow. It's not as if you can switch it off. You can say you want a quiet life but you're not going to get one, are you?"

"I think I could. Here," the Doctor said. "I think the universe owes me a few quiet years."

"And even if you could, you wouldn't be happy."

"I told you. I'm tired."

That really was funny. "How tired do you have to be for that?" he asked, and the Doctor smiled too.

"I'm nine hundred and ten years old, Alistair. How tired do you think?"

Alistair swept him from hairline to laces, and it felt familiar; like part of the pattern, part of the way things were on the very best days.

"You look all right for nine hundred and ten," he said.

"Was that a compliment?" the Doctor asked, leaning in close. He smelled like ozone and oversteeped tea. There were whole swathes of UNIT House that smelled like that sometimes, and it had made him insane, he'd had to come to Geneva --

"That depends on how effective you found it," he replied, because he wasn't about to make this easy on the man.

The Doctor kissed him, light and quick, and rested his forehead against Alistair's. Too late, he realised what was happening: the cold-water trickle through his brain meant he wasn't alone in his head anymore. He trusted the Doctor -- had once trusted him, anyway -- not to cherrypick through his memories and thoughts, but he'd never found the intimacy of direct telepathy pleasant.

The story of the Doctor's life beyond him scrolled out in front of his closed eyes: regenerations, so many battles fought, so many people to love. Then the war, and everything changing, time itself changing, reality convulsing. He could tell there was a screen over what he saw, a filter preventing him from the worst of it, but what he saw was bad enough. After the war -- though the phrase could be a lie in itself -- he saw a period of penitence, hard lonely work to fix what the war destroyed, and more regenerations. The death of the Master. The end of the universe and a quick re-start (so like the Doctor to treat all of time and space like a car that needed a jump).

The most recent memories were good ones, though -- a redheaded girl and a patient-looking boy, goodbyes that weren't bitter or painful. And then he'd come here, to the Brigadier's tidy little garden in Geneva. Yearning for rest, for respite.

The Doctor huffed softly and leaned back just a little, enough to break contact. Alistair opened his eyes.

"It's not that easy, you know," he said, because he wasn't going to point out all the problems but he felt he ought to put a flag in place to signify them: the Doctor's restlesness, his youth, both now (he looked perhaps twenty-five to Alistair's thirty-seven) and in the future, his dangerous habit of getting attached and then bolting, Alistair's own uncertain hours with UNIT and his inability to be a terribly good boyfriend for anyone. The fact that it had been two hundred years for the Doctor since the last time they slept together.

"What about you let me stay tonight?" the Doctor wheedled, smiling.

"No," Alistair said, and then had to correct himself quickly when he saw the Doctor's face fall. "Not like that, not again; I'm not ad-hoc'ing this. If you're going to stay, the thing will be done properly."

"I...think I'm lost," the Doctor said cautiously. God, he looked young.

"Ten years," Alistair said. "If you stay, consider yourself in for a long run. It's not much of your life but it'll be a fifth of mine by the time it's done and I'm not -- " he broke off, because there were some things you just didn't say. I'm not spending one more day wondering when you're going to fuck off and leave me again.

The Doctor gave him a careful look. "You want me to promise you ten years," he said.

"That's right."

"You want me to sign a hitch with you?" he asked, and Alistair could see now he wasn't offended of confused. He thought it was funny. Utter bastard.

"Well, if that's too long for you, feel free to get back in your blue phone box and find someone else's garden to destroy," Alistair said, but they were grinning at each other now, and the Doctor had his hand on Alistair's leg, and suddenly he was faced with ten years, ten promised years of the Doctor, and it was almost hard to breathe.

"Where do I sign?" the Doctor asked. Alistair leaned in and kissed him, one hand on his new and unfamiliar face, the other over the space between his hearts.

***

Two Days

The telephone on the bedside table rang at three the next morning. The Brigadier answered it, because it was his job.

"Lethbridge-Stewart," he said quietly. Next to him, half-draped over one shoulder, the Doctor snorted and shifted, but didn't wake.

"It's Kendall, sir," said the voice down the line. "Urgent business for you, Brigadier."

"Kendall, it's three in the morning," Alistair said. "Someone had better be dead or dying."

"Yessir, it's two in the morning here, sir," Kendall said, a note of respectful reproach in his voice. "There's been a crashdown."

Of all the bloody things, a crashdown. "Where?" Please, not London. Occasionally they did get crashed ships, usually in the Cotswolds for some unknown reason, but at least it kept the noise about them to a minimum. A crash in London was one of UNIT's most pervasive nightmares.

"Eastern Wyoming, sir."

Alistair rubbed his face. "Eastern Wyoming? United States?"

"Yessir."

"Well what in the bloody blazes are you calling me about it for?" he demanded, giving up on any pretence of being able to go back to sleep and sitting up, sliding his legs over the side of the bed. There was a faint, unconscious noise of protest from the Doctor.

"It's the Americans, Brigadier, they're not entirely certain what to do."

"Where's Benton?"

"On leave, sir. Can't raise him."

Alistair took a deep breath. "Right. There's a shelf behind my desk, take down the blue binder and the red binder. Protocols...." he wracked his sleep-addled brain, "PK-1922 and DD-988, that's covert recovery and secure storage. Dig up a UNIT courier, give those to him, and get him on a military transport with a platoon -- just two sections, no need to get flashy. Tell the Americans we're sending our blokes and if they make a fuss then tell them next time to do it their own bloody damn selves and not call me at three in the morning."

Kendall sounded terrified. "Yessir, of course sir."

"And have the American ambassador in my office in Geneva at eight -- no, make it nine this morning. We can't go wiping their noses every time some bit of junk falls out of the sky."

"Will-do, sir."

Alistair hung up, annoyed, and felt an arm slide around his waist.

"Very commanding," the Doctor said, against his hip.

"Well, there's no reason to wake me up just because some idiot alien crashed in the wilderness of America," Alistair grumbled.

"Do you need to leave?" the question was plaintive.

"No." Alistair relaxed back, crawling under the blankets again. The Doctor made room for him, but not much, wriggling into his personal space, soaking up his body heat. "They don't need me."

"Hmm. So. Then what do you do, here in Geneva?" the Doctor asked. Alistair turned so he could see his face.

"Do?" he asked.

"Yes. What do you do? No chasing round after dinosaurs and Cybermen and being a thorn in my side anymore," the Doctor explained. His eyes were large in this new, unfamiliar face.

"Paperwork. Diplomacy. Advising," Alistair shrugged. "I head up any major investigations, Benton handles the rest."

"You live here now, don't you?"

"Part of the year."

"Must've been here a while though." The Doctor tipped his head at the window that overlooked the garden. "That's not exactly a neglected patch, is it?"

Alistair shook his head. "I have a girl come in to tend it when I'm gone. Lives next door, nice young woman."

"How domestic."

"Well, we can't all be heroes all the time," Alistair muttered.

"No, I like it. So, when you go back to Britain the next time..." the Doctor grinned, "...will I be the boy who stays to tend the garden? Or do you plan to take me with you as a travelling companion?"

The word, he knew, had loaded meaning for the Doctor. He curled an arm over the Doctor's shoulder, holding the back of his head with one hand, fingers rubbing gently. The Doctor closed his eyes and hummed in appreciation.

"I won't be going back for a few months yet," he said, and left the rest unspoken: And you'll probably be gone by then.

"Shame," the Doctor murmured sleepily. "We'll miss May Day. I love a good Maypole."

"The last time you saw a Maypole it was because a gang of hoodlum Morris dancers were trying to burn you at the stake as a witch," Alistair replied. "Go back to sleep."

The Doctor nodded against his arm, consciousness slipping away. Alistair watched him for a few minutes before he closed his own eyes and tried to drop back down into dreams.

***

Two Weeks

It took time to learn him, this strange new iteration of the Doctor, though he knew enough to see traces of the others and sometimes much more than traces. In a way, this man was easier than he had been. The high-handed arrogance was gone, and he seemed to see other people more, not simply the people he found relevant at the moment. He was less of a bloody struggle.

For all his talk of ten years and certainty, Alistair expected the Doctor to be gone in short order. He wasn't the sort to be domestic, and he bored easily. There were times in the past that Alistair had been forced to devise distractions for him, just to keep him from causing trouble on the base or getting it blown up. What could possibly keep the Doctor in a little house in Geneva, a house that was mainly empty with Alistair at HQ all day? There were only so many pots of tea one could make.

He came home on the third day of the Doctor's residence to find they had acquired a large, enthusiastic black dog. The Doctor explained that a) he liked dogs, b) dogs liked him, c) look at her face, Alistair, she needs a home, and d) dog!

Alistair didn't particularly care about dogs one way or another, but she made the Doctor happy and she didn't dig in the garden, so he saw no reason to object.

After two weeks, he had a call in the middle of the morning asking about a character reference for Doctor John Lethbridge-Stewart. He put his hand over his eyes at his desk, wondering what had happened, but he gave the reference regardless. When he left HQ, the Doctor and Eva were waiting for him ("What are you going to call her?" "Eva." "Why Eva?" "Why not?").

"Guess what I did today," the Doctor said, looking unusually proud of himself. Alistair bent to give Eva a cursory ear-rub, then straightened.

"I suppose I'm lucky you didn't get arrested under the name John Lethbridge-Stewart, and I imagine you found employment under it," he said. The Doctor nodded.

"You are looking at Geneva's newest assistant librarian," he announced.

"You?" Alistair scoffed. "A librarian? You'll burn the place down inside of a week."

"You have no faith in me," the Doctor said, amused. "By the way, we're brothers."

"Yes, I thought you might try that," Alistair sighed.

"What? What's wrong with that?"

"You don't find it a trifle offputting?" he said significantly. He waited for the Doctor to work it out; sometimes you did have to wait, with this one. He used to be better at blending in with humanity, frankly.

"Ohh. Well. I doubt it'll come up much and nothing to be done about it now," he pointed out.

"Yes, of course," Alistair sighed.

"So, dinner?" the Doctor asked.

***

Three months

"Alistair! The cab's waiting!"

Alistair darted around one of the rosebushes and made a grab for Eva's collar. She scurried away, ducking and barking.

"Tell her that!" he shouted back, as the Doctor appeared in the kitchen doorway. "She thinks we're playing tag. I blame you," he added, pointing at him.

The Doctor whistled sharply; Eva yelped, rolled over, scrambled back to her feet and ran past Alistair, panting and wriggling in front of the Doctor. Traitorous cur.

"Well, come on then," the Doctor prompted sternly. He had a small suitcase in one hand. Alistair straightened and walked back to the house, where his own suitcase and travelling coat were sitting near the door. Eva, suspecting she was going for a walk, danced around the Doctor while he tried to clip her lead to her collar. "Behave!"

Eva sat suddenly, half on-top of Alistair's shoe. The Doctor clucked at her, attached the lead, and opened the door.

"Goodbye, house!" he called cheerfully, stepping outside. Alistair lingered in the doorway, perplexed. "What is it now? You're terrible at this whole business of international travel."

"You're not going to..." Alistair jerked his head at the back of the house. "The TARDIS, does it need...anything?"

"What, like a dust cover?" the Doctor asked scornfully. "Are you afraid of airplanes or something? Come on. GOODBYE SWITZERLAND! Tonight we dine on mutton in London!"

They took military transport, which wasn't terribly comfortable but had the advantage of not only leaving them right at UNIT House but allowing Eva onboard with no questions asked and no quarantine required. The Doctor brought peanuts to eat while they flew, Alistair wasn't quite sure why.

"Listen," the Doctor said, as they came in for landing. "While you're off terrorising the base tomorrow, I'm going into town."

"What on earth for?"

"Well, I'm not getting recruited to be your scientific advisor again! What a load of rubbish. Anyway, it's been ages since I've been there. You know, properly proper London-y...London," he finished, looking like he thought himself a momentary idiot.

"We'll only be here a week," Alistair replied. "Do try to stay out of trouble, Doctor."

He didn't, of course. He uncovered a ring of aliens brainwashing the students at Eton (how could he tell, Alistair uncharitably wondered) and got himself briefly arrested for breaking and entering. Alistair mainly left him to his own devices until, of course, he required rescuing; at that point he led the first, and hopefully last, military conquest and occupation of Eton College.

It had to be something in the air in Britain, he decided. It drew malevolent aliens like moths to a flame.

"Still," the Doctor said, on their last night in London, sitting out on a restaurant patio overlooking the Thames, Eva snoring gently on his shoes. "I mean, it might have been a bit of a close shave -- "

"A bit?" Alistair asked. "When I broke in you were trussed like a turkey and about to have your throat slit."

"I've had closer," the Doctor told him. He sounded almost smug about it. "As I was saying, it might have been close but in the end it was all right, and you can't say it wasn't exciting."

Alistair watched him across the table. He thought about him as-he-had-been, bolting so fast after his regeneration that Alistair wondered if he'd done something wrong.

Or maybe one could only tolerate the company of humans for so long.

"What?" the Doctor asked.

"Nothing," Alistair said, and sipped his beer.

***

Six months

"Did you never want to come in the TARDIS?" the Doctor asked one morning, out of the blue.

Alistair, whose mind was already on the series of meetings he had to attend after breakfast, put his toast down and dusted the crumbs from his fingers.

"If you'll recall, I once did go in that contraption of yours," he said, looking stern.

"There were extenuating circumstances for that," the Doctor protested. "You'd like it, if you had a bit more warning ahead of time."

"I'm perfectly happy staying Earthbound and in one linear stream of time," Alistair replied.

The Doctor looked sulky. "I'm really much better at piloting it now."

"So you said then!"

"Well, it was a lie then, it's not now."

"I can't be having with it," Alastair declared. "It's highly irregular. I suspect you of being an anarchist."

The Doctor laughed. "Of course I'm an anarchist. You're a bit late to be complaining about that."

"Yes, well, someone has to keep some discipline around here," Alistair said. "What you need is a firm hand."

"Oh, do I?" the Doctor asked, leaning close. Alistair allowed him the liberty of a kiss, then folded his newspaper and picked up his plate.

"I'm in meetings most of the day," he said, setting the plate in the sink. "Are you doing tours today or restoration?"

"Mm -- restoration," the Doctor said, around a mouthful of tea. "Lots of glue, lots of twine, promise to keep the explosions to a minimum."

"Much obliged," Alistair drawled, and went to put on his boots.

He was halfway to HQ before it occurred to him that he had just been offered a ride in the TARDIS. The last time that had happened, he'd said no, and the Doctor had disappeared forever -- that Doctor had -- returning as this young-faced hooligan who had fought a war and lost everything and was impossible not to love.

He swore under his breath, but the business of the day couldn't wait and he hoped the Doctor would have the decency to say if he was leaving again. Besides, Alistair was a soldier; he did his duty first and saw to personal concerns after. That was the whole point.

"Good morning, Brigadier!" his secretary called as he walked into the office, shedding his coat.

"Morning," he said absently, hanging up the coat. Perhaps he ought to call the library, but they'd likely call him if the Doctor didn't show...

"Sir, there's someone here to -- "

"Not now," he said briskly, pushing his office door open.

" -- see you," his secretary finished.

There was a man sitting at his desk, in his chair: slick-haired, handsome, utterly at ease. He wore a blue-grey RAF coat, about thirty years out of style. He didn't look more than about thirty-five himself.

"Captain Harkness," Alistair said, even-toned, poker-faced.

"Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart," Jack Harkness replied. His voice was friendly, but his eyes were determined, and there was a threat there that Alistair didn't like. He closed the door. "Nice chair you got here. Good springs. Doesn't squeak. You could have a good time in a chair like this."

"Get out of Geneva," Alistair said, without preamble.

"Not until I see what I came for," Harkness answered. "I know he's here, Alistair."

"Bollocks you do," Alistair replied.

"Did you really think you could keep it a secret? From Torchwood? You're damn lucky it's me here and not Derrick Hartman," Harkness retorted. "If Torchwood knew I was here they'd ask me to hand him over in irons. I want to see him. Now."

"You can't. We both know you can't cross timestreams."

"I want to see him," Harkness repeated stubbornly.

"He's not here for you," Alistair said.

"Prove it," Harkness replied.

"How they ever let you command soldiers, let alone fly airplanes, is utterly beyond me," Alistair announced. "I don't have to prove it. I've known him since I was a Colonel. I've known four of him. He is not for you."

Harkness raised an eyebrow. "He's for you, huh? I wonder what HQ would say -- "

"Get out of my office," Alistair snarled. "Get out of Geneva. You want him kept safe? go back to Cardiff, where they won't follow you to him. Leave. And if you come back I will personally make sure the next time you die you won't get back up."

They glared at each other across the desk -- Harkness taunting with Alistair's secret, Alistair taunting back with a much more dangerous one.

Finally, Harkness spread his hands flat on the desk and pushed himself up, circling around to stand eye-to-eye with him.

"Okay, so, he's not mine," he said, and the pain was evident in his voice, despite all his attempts to hide it with a hundred-watt grin. "I still want to see him. Just once. Please."

"What good would it do?" Alistair asked sharply. Harkness inhaled.

"It would give me hope," he said.

Alistair considered this, but he wasn't cruel by nature, and Harkness was a useful ally to have. He bent across the table and took a pen from the cup, scribbling an address on a scrap of paper.

"Every day he stops here for coffee," he said, offering the paper to Harkness. "Five o'clock. You could set a watch by him. Don't let him see you."

"Thank you, Alistair," Harkness said. He kissed him once, briefly -- a liberty left over from past years, taken before Alistair could react -- and then was gone.

Jack Harkness had travelled with the Doctor and spent a hundred years trying to find him again. If the Doctor asked Jack to go, he would go; Alistair wouldn't, couldn't, refused to compromise his life so far as that. He didn't think the Doctor would want him to. But Jack could, and would. Alistair didn't know what timestreams it would cross, but if Jack were willing and the Doctor grew restless...

Best not to think about it.

That evening, the Doctor and Eva were waiting for him as usual outside of HQ, the Doctor holding an extra cup in his free hand. The sight of him was a relief; Alistair had been distracted all day, wondering.

"Quiet day?" the Doctor asked, handing him the cup of coffee as they walked.

"More or less. You?" Alistair replied.

"Uneventful."

"Boring?"

The Doctor shook his head, smiling. "No."

"But nothing...untoward."

"Should there have been?"

"No, no," Alistair said, stopping when Eva stopped to inspect a tree. "If you ever do get bored -- "

"I don't plan on it," the Doctor said drily.

"But if you do...just tell me first."

The Doctor nodded. "Promise."

"Fine, then," Alistair said, and continued towards home.

***

Two years

He woke up in hospital.

At first he couldn't figure out where he was, because at first he wasn't sure who he was; a few minutes' concentration sorted that, and listening to the nurses outside his hospital room told him he was probably in England. A few minutes more and his brain reliably brought up the reason he was here: he'd been shot by someone trying to hijack a transport truck full of recovered artefacts en route from UNIT to Torchwood. It was supposed to be an easy run -- he was just breaking in some new recruits, keeping busy while the Doctor entertained himself giving a lecture series on medieval manuscripts at Oxford.

He was supposed to deliver the artefacts for study, have dinner with Torchwood's current director in London, meet the Doctor in Oxford and...

Bugger. Nobody would know to call the Doctor.

"Nurse!" he called, pushing himself upright, heedless of the burning pain in his side. "Nurse! Excuse me!"

"Oh god," someone said, outside his room, and then a nurse hurried into the room, pushing him down against the pillows. "You'll tear your stitches, Brigadier, just lie still for a moment -- "

"Balls, I need a telephone," he told her.

"A telephone he wants!" she said, firmly holding him down. "Brigadier, I don't want to sedate you but I will if you don't lie still."

"You don't understand -- "

She forced him down again -- when did they start hiring Amazons as nurses?

"I do understand, but I can't do anything for you if you won't lie down," she said firmly. He snorted, but when she took her hands away he didn't try to sit up again.

"I need a telephone," he said. "It's very urgent. I need to call someone -- "

She crossed her arms. "Brigadier, if there is anyone who doesn't know you're here by now, it's because they're in outer Mongolia."

He hesitated. "Beg pardon?"

"There's a whole bloody platoon of soldiers cluttering up our waiting room, and that brother of yours will be the death of us all," she retorted.

"Broth -- oh, my brother," he said, relieved. The Doctor was here; he knew, and that was all right then.

"Yes, your very loud, very insistent, possibly insane brother," she continued. Definitely the Doctor. "Now, you've had a very traumatic injury and you need your rest."

There was a commotion outside; she sighed.

"Nurse Whitcomb," said another nurse, standing in the doorway. "Nurse Whitcomb, if he's awake -- "

"Yes, yes," Nurse Whitcomb replied. "Fine. God knows it might get him to shut up. If you promise to keep very still and stay very calm you may see your brother and Lieutenant Benton."

"Benton's here too?" Alistair asked.

"I told you, half the British military is here -- " she started, but she was interrupted by shouts in the hallway. She sighed again.

"LET HIM IN!" she yelled. "On your own head be it, Brigadier."

She left, then, and barely a second had passed before a shadow appeared in the doorway -- gangly limbs, floppy hair, too skinny by half.

"You are a completely backwards, unevolved, backwater species," the Doctor announced, stepping inside. "The idiocy of the human race is surpassed only by its love of equally idiotic rules about visiting hours. This is a planet of barbarians."

"Hello," Alistair said.

"And you," the Doctor continued, standing at his bedside now, eyes glittering with fury. "You are undoubtedly the stupidest person who ever lived. Who gets shot anymore? What is wrong with you? What sort of stupid, stupid human goes out and gets shot and makes me leave in the middle of a lecture and come down here only to make me wait two days for him to wake up? Mental, the lot of you!"

Alistair closed his eyes. "I didn't choose to, you know. Besides, what kind of idiot sits in a hospital lounge for two days? Benton should have had you sectioned."

When he looked up again, the fury had gone out of the Doctor's face; with the wrath wiped away, Alistair could see his red-rimmed eyes and the unhappy, frightened set of his mouth.

"You stupid, mortal human," the Doctor mumbled, and collapsed into a chair next to the bed. After a minute's contemplation, he reached out to touch Alistair's arm, just above where the IV went in; there was a brief thrill of pain, but it faded quickly. "I thought you were going to die. They wouldn't let me do anything to help."

"You don't get rid of me that easily," Alistair said. "I've got you under contract for eight more years."

There was a sound like a laugh, but it turned out to be a sob; the Doctor leaned forward and pressed his forehead to Alistair's shoulder. He was trembling.

"Promise you won't get shot again," the Doctor demanded. Alistair lifted his arm and curled his hand in the Doctor's messy hair.

"Don't make me lie to you," he said.

The Doctor nosed against his shoulder. "You smell like antiseptic."

"You smell like you've not bathed since you got here."

"Bathing is overrated, you were dying."

"Bathing is not overrated, you were clearly insane."

The Doctor was silent. Alistair could feel the double-fast pulse where his wrist pressed against the Doctor's neck.

"I didn't die," he said finally.

"But you will."

"This shouldn't be news," Alastair sighed.

"I hate you."

"Well, you're stuck with me, so pull up your socks and stop being a ninny," Alistair told him. He could see someone lurking in the doorway -- Benton, looking extremely awkward at what he was witnessing. "Go on, I need to talk to Benton. Stop annoying the nurses."

"If they weren't stupid I wouldn't have to annoy them," the Doctor said, but he leaned back and stood up, straightening his coat.

"And stop calling everyone stupid," Alistair ordered. "Go. Sleep. Do something with your hair. Don't come back until after breakfast."

He got a sullen look for that, but the Doctor turned and left, brushing past Benton in the doorway.

"Excuse me if I don't get up," Alistair said. Benton chuckled.

"I'll assume I'm at ease, sir," he replied.

"Thank you. I hear we've invaded the establishment. How's morale?"

"Bit better now, sir," Benton said, grinning. "Glad to see you recuperating, and the best wishes of the men of course."

"Damn it all, Benton, come in," Alistair ordered. Benton stood at the foot of his bed, not quite at ease but not really at attention either. "I'm not dying, for God's sake."

"Very glad to hear it," Benton replied. "Touch and go there for a while, sir."

"Does everyone think I can't handle a little gunshot wound?"

"They reckoned on one," Benton nodded. "Three's a bit less of a safe bet."

"They shot me three times?" Alistair demanded, suddenly outraged. "I'm going to find them and -- "

"Taken care of." Benton pressed his lips together. "They weren't very hard to find. Unfortunately," he added, looking completely unrepentant, "they resisted, and we were forced to shoot them."

Alistair didn't like cowboys in the ranks; revenge smelled of lack-of-discipline. Still, perhaps once in a while...

"I'm...sorry to hear that," he drawled. Benton tapped his fingers on the footboard of the bed. "Well? What is it?"

"I...did a bit of checking, begging your pardon, sir. You haven't got a brother," Benton said. "Didn't like to bring it up before, but as he's here..."

"No, Lieutenant, I haven't," Alistair agreed. It occurred to him that Benton didn't know about the Doctor -- that the Doctor was playing human, and apparently fairly convincingly. A rare streak of discretion, perhaps. Or just a hearty desire to avoid being tapped by UNIT again.

"I haven't mentioned it to anyone," Benton continued. "And he's very popular with the enlisted men. Everyone likes a sharp dresser."

Alistair choked out a laugh. This was no threat to him; if Benton didn't care about Yates lifting shirts (and they were best mates) he wasn't going to care that his Brigadier kept a man.

"Only, I hope he's worth you, sir," Benton added, a dangerous edge to his voice.

"Benton, what do you take me for?" Alistair asked.

"No kind of fool, sir."

"Do I seem like the kind of man who keeps company beneath his standards?"

Benton chuckled again. "No, sir."

"Then see that someone feeds the poor blighter and makes him sleep, won't you?" Alistair ordered. "I'm thinking of getting some sleep myself."

"Just so, sir," Benton said, and about-faced sharply, walking out of the room. Alistair closed his eyes, touched his shoulder where the Doctor had pressed a brief kiss, and slept again.

They discharged him two days later, the Doctor and about half of the staff of UNIT House hovering over him, which was utterly mortifying and not to be borne. He sent them all away except Benton, who was driving him to his housing unit on base, and the Doctor, who sat in the back seat and was eerily silent the entire way. It wasn't until they were inside that he started talking again, his usual complete bollocks over nonessentials, a cover for the fact that this was a totally alien situation to him and he had no idea how to behave. Alistair ignored him and his clattering around in the kitchen looking for warm milk or apples or whatever it was he thought sick people needed; he took himself to the bedroom, carefully easing himself under the covers.

"Alistair?" the Doctor's voice up the stairs, panicked. "Alistair, where are you?"

"In here, you idiot," Alistair called. The Doctor appeared in the doorway, looking relieved. "Did you think I'd fallen through the floor?"

"Well, I don't know what happens to humans after they get shot," the Doctor said, sounding cross. Alistair rolled his eyes.

"We are in a lot of pain for a considerable amount of time, and then we get better," he said. The Doctor sat carefully on the edge of the bed and offered him a bowl. "What's this?"

"Custard. It's good for you. Eat it," the Doctor ordered. Alistair set it aside. "Alistair!"

"I just want to sleep," Alistair said. "I'll eat later. They fed me in hospital, you know."

"I don't call that food."

"You're an alien, what would you know about it?"

The Doctor blew hair out of his eyes in frustration. "Well, what do you want me to do then? Shouldn't you be taking some kind of medicine?"

"I am. I want you to let me sleep."

The Doctor turned to study his face, frowning, contemplating. "That's really best?"

"Yes."

"Then...should I, that is, well." He blinked and started again. "Will you be sleeping a lot?"

"It's a fair assumption."

The Doctor nodded. "Right. Right. So should I...?"

"Should you what?" Alistair asked, beginning to be impatient.

"If I touch you, does it hurt?" the Doctor asked, sounding very young, for all his nine hundred and twelve years. "I can sleep in a chair."

"Oh, for the love of -- " Alistair picked up one of his hands, which had been curling uneasily in the bedclothes, and pressed it against his own chest. "First, if you sleep in a chair you'll take a cramp. Second, you'll be miserable. Third, I shall be miserable, and that is an intolerable state of affairs."

The Doctor nodded but he pulled away and stood, apparently not reassured. Alistair wanted to argue the point with him, but he was so tired; he closed his eyes and decided he'd have this fight in the morning.

He was just drifting off when he heard a rustle, and the Doctor slid into the bed next to him, curling up against his side but careful of the bandages, forehead pressed to his temple.

"Had to put my pyjamas on," he said. Alistair laughed and turned his head a little, inching closer. "I've been all over the universe, you know."

"I'm aware," Alistair reminded him.

"I've seen things so horrible and frightening they'd turn your hair white."

Alistair yawned. "Wait a few years and that'll probably happen anyway."

"I've been much more frightened than I was when I thought you were dying," the Doctor insisted.

"Undoubtedly."

"I have, really."

"I'm sure you have."

"So you needn't think I'm going soft."

"I should never in a million years believe it."

"Good. Just so we're clear," the Doctor said. "You're definitely not going to die anytime soon, right?"

"I shall do my utmost."

The Doctor exhaled and relaxed, apparently satisfied with this. Alistair was asleep before he could make fun of his brilliant, completely inept, totally mad boyfriend.

***

Five Years

"The rhododendrons are about to eat your TARDIS," Alistair said, and the Doctor looked up from his work in alarm.

"I knew it," he said wrathfully. "I knew it! It's been sitting out there leaking artron energy for who knows how long, and plants just soak up that kind of radiation -- well, come on then, get your clippers!" he said, struggling into his jacket. "Do we need more than clippers? How sentient are they? Do they look carnivorous -- "

Alistair stopped him with a hand on his chest. He smiled, but his heart wasn't in it, because along with a certain degree of panic there had been some...eagerness there, some passion for a return to the fray.

"Not that kind of eating," he said, tucking his gardening gloves in his pocket. The Doctor frowned.

"What particular kind of eating?" he asked.

"See for yourself. Been a nice rainy winter," Alistair added, leading him out the door to the back garden. Eva shoved past them, racing to the back wall and throwing herself gleefully into a pile of wet mulch.

It was early in spring still, in Geneva, and the plants in the garden were just beginning to flower and put up green shoots. The rhododendrons had bloomed almost overnight and were in a riot, branches crawling up the sides of the TARDIS, blossoms everywhere. The old phone box was half-obscured by plants.

The Doctor sighed in relief.

"That's all right, then," he said. "Don't tell me that kind of thing unless they have teeth."

"You are God's own fool," Alistair told him.

"Which one?"

"Which what?"

"Which god?"

"Right now? All of them," Alistair replied. "So?"

"So?" the Doctor echoed. "So there are no teeth, what do I care?"

Alistair wiped his forehead with the back of one hand. He was hoping he wouldn't have to actually ask.

"Do you want me to trim them back?"

The Doctor looked perplexed. "I don't know. Is that good for them?"

"It's more a concern of whether you want the TARDIS cleared," Alistair said. "In case...well. You know."

"Ohhh." The Doctor said, looking thoughtfully at it. Then he looked back at Alistair. "No, I don't know. Are we going somewhere, do you want to go somewhere in the TARDIS?"

"Not especially, but you...might, mightn't you?"

The Doctor frowned. "I think it looks nice with the rhododendrons all around it. But the first sign of teeth, you let me know," he added, patting Alistair on the shoulder and walking back inside. Alistair regarded the police box covered in flower blossoms thoughtfully. He walked across the garden, cupped one of the blooms gently, and then rested his hand against the TARDIS.

"I win," he whispered.

(A few months later the rhododendrons did turn carnivorous, but as long as he kept them pruned they weren't so bad; they kept the bug population down and entertained Eva for hours.)

***

Eight Years

Nightclubs made Alistair feel so very old.

He had grown up in a rigorous tradition of military excellence, fostered by generations of his ancestors, and it wasn't until he was out in the world, serving his first tour, that he realised he had been raised in another century. The way his world worked was not the way the world worked. The military might protect him from some of it, but there was no getting away from the fact in the end.

It was difficult, in some ways, because the Doctor didn't age. Alistair was forty-five, showing grey, not as quick as he had been. A rare saving grace was that often people thought the Doctor was old regardless, because he usually acted all of his nine hundred and eighteen years, and he wore those ridiculous bow ties.

Sometimes, after a dinner out and if the night was fine, they'd walk home, which often took them past the clubs. There were a few in particular that catered exclusively to men, a thing so alien to Alistair's experience that he'd stared openly the first time he'd seen one and been jeered at by its patrons. Careless, young, good-looking men populated such places, and Alistair was never quite sure how to react to them. He was better with soldiers; soldiers were disciplined, and discreet. If the Doctor noticed the nightclubs, he paid them no mind; perhaps, so far as he was concerned, they were little more than one more place humans indulged their strange and complicated sexual habits.

It was 1984. Alistair didn't know if Big Brother was watching, but he knew when he and the Doctor passed the boys taking drags of cigarettes outside the clubs, they watched.

"Alistair," the Doctor said one night, when they'd already arrived home and settled in. Alistair looked up from shining his boots in a kitchen chair and cocked his head.

"Yes?" he asked. The Doctor looked unusually troubled, staring out the window at the garden. "What? Did the fish not sit well?"

"Do you ever want that?" the Doctor asked, and Alastair set his boots aside. "The nightclub, I mean. Surely -- humans aren't known for their monogamy," he added.

"You've been running around with odd humans, then," Alistair said. "I thought that couple you traveled with, the Scottish girl...?"

"Amy."

"Yes, her and the nurse bloke, they were married, weren't they?"

"Well, yes. But they only stayed a few years, and they've not been born yet. I can't exactly check in and see how they did."

Alistair leaned back in the chair, tapping his fingers on the table. "You could."

"No," the Doctor shook his head. "And you're being distracting on purpose. What do you think of them, those men at the club? Some of them watch you."

"Some of them watch you. They look at me, they probably think lucky old bugger." Alistair grinned. "No, I shouldn't want that. What would I do with some fool like that? Rather have a fool like you."

"You don't get bored?" the Doctor asked.

"Why, have you?" Alistair asked, suddenly alarmed.

"No. I like it here. It's...peaceful. Nothing's blown up in ages. I shouldn't like it forever, but..." the Doctor rested his hands on the edge of the kitchen sink, gripping it perhaps more tightly than necessary. "I suppose without the TARDIS I'm not nearly so flash. I thought maybe you'd get tired of me."

Alistair sat forward, worried. "What on earth put that thought in your head?"

The Doctor shrugged, not looking at him. "Most do, sooner or later, even when I, you know..." he gestured to the ceiling, their covert language for his travels among the stars. "They want to go home, or they fall in love, or they decide the Amazon's more interesting."

"Jo was never the biggest on brains, Doctor."

"That's not the point!"

"No, it's not," Alistair agreed. He stood up, crossing his arms. "I'm not tired of you. I never could be. Never been out there where you were, when you left, but it's obvious they hadn't a home, so of course they wanted one."

"The TARDIS -- "

"Is a spaceship, not a home."

"It was my home," the Doctor murmured sullenly. Alistair ignored the petulant semantics of it.

"And they hadn't anyone to love but you -- I imagine many did, but you're not exactly the sort to notice," Alistair told him. "Of course they wanted to be loved in return."

The Doctor looked hurt. Alistair sighed and gripped the back of the Doctor's neck.

"I have a home," he said. "You stayed for me. You made them travel on your terms; I got you on mine. What sort of idiot would I be if I left all that?"

That earned him a small smile, hesitant, growing when he slid his fingers up through the Doctor's soft hair.

"Does that mean you love me, then? It's more subtle than I'd credit most humans with," the Doctor said, but there was a real question there, as if he hadn't ever been certain.

"You are an idiot," Alistair told him. "No-one who didn't love you would put up with you for eight years. I'd have strangled you in your sleep if I didn't love you."

"Oh." The Doctor digested this. "Then I suppose it's good you do."

***

Ten Years

It was eight in the morning. The sun was streaming through the window, but the air was chilly enough Alistair was glad of the duvet. He was just considering another lazy half-hour, as undisciplined as that felt, when the Doctor rolled over, fixed him with his wide eyes, and said, "So what sort of funeral do you want?"

"What?" Alistair asked, startled. "What sort of question is that to wake up to?"

"It's a logical consideration," the Doctor said.

"Not in bed it's not! What possessed you to ask me that? You're evil," Alistair informed him.

"I'm not evil," the Doctor said, indignant.

"Unless you know something I don't..." Alistair was suddenly struck by presentiments of doom. "I'm only forty-seven -- "

"No! No, I don't know anything," the Doctor replied hurriedly. "Honest. It's a gesture."

Alistair stared at him. The Doctor sighed and rested an arm across Alistair's chest, looking down at him.

"What day is it?" he asked.

"Saturday," Alistair said. The Doctor thudded his head against his arm briefly.

"Ten years ago today I landed the TARDIS on your rhododendrons," he said. Alistair, who felt that this was all a bit much, tried not to panic.

"What's that got to do with funerals?" he asked, which seemed safe enough.

"Humans are so thick," the Doctor moaned.

"Time Lords are so obscure," Alistair retorted.

"I'm signing up for another hitch," the Doctor said, very slowly and very loudly, as if Alistair perhaps didn't speak the language. "Career officer, me."

Alistair frowned. He'd almost forgotten the hitch; it was ten years, they seemed to be doing all right, and he hadn't even worried about the Doctor leaving in ages. "Well, that's fine, but funerals?"

"I can't live my whole life with you," the Doctor continued, softer now. "But I can live here for your whole life. I will, too. So."

"Ah," Alistair said, realisation dawning. "That's still a terrible thing to ask," he pointed out.

"Well, it was that or flowers, and you hate cut flowers," the Doctor told him. Alistair curled one hand around the Doctor's, considering him.

"I always thought I'd have the full military honours," he said finally.

"Big funeral?" the Doctor asked.

"Yes, I think so. Lots of people in uniforms. Bagpipes, bugles, drums. Women weeping discreetly, men getting drunk," he continued. "Big funeral. All the brass shining, flag on the coffin et cetera. One of those processions that stops traffic."

"Scores of wreaths," the Doctor grinned.

"Yes, scores. But," Alistair shifted slightly, for better eye contact, "I don't want you to come."

The Doctor looked injured. "Why can't I come?"

"When I die, hopefully in fifty or sixty years, tell them what I wanted. Then you find someone who'll go with you, clear the rhododendrons off the TARDIS, and go back up there," he said, tipping his head at the ceiling. "That's what I want."

The Doctor smiled at him. "Last time you wanted ten years, this time you want me to sod off?"

Alistair nodded.

"Marching orders, then. Yes, sir," the Doctor said. He kissed him -- familiar now, but still thrilling, that this belonged to him and would forever. Then the Doctor pushed himself up, crushing Alistair briefly as he used him for leverage, and rolled out of bed. Eva, sleeping on the rug at the foot of it, leapt to her feet and shook herself, batting her tail against the footboard.

"Have we got any muffins? I'd like muffins for breakfast," the Doctor called from the hallway. "Maybe croissants. Shall I go to the bakery?"

Alistair looked up at the ceiling and laughed. "Do whatever you please."

The Doctor put his head back in the doorway. "Come with."

"I certainly will not. You nearly gave me a heart attack, you can fetch breakfast."

"Alistair -- "

"You go. And come back to me," Alistair said, which made the Doctor smile.

"Yes," he agreed simply.

END
contrarywise: Glowing green trees along a road (Green road)

[personal profile] contrarywise 2010-07-23 03:12 pm (UTC)(link)
OMG, they are the strangest and most adorably cantankerous pair ever! I love it!
spiderine: (RAWR)

[personal profile] spiderine 2010-07-23 03:19 pm (UTC)(link)
Plz to see icon. Thx.
mogwai_do: (bowties are cool)

[personal profile] mogwai_do 2010-07-23 03:30 pm (UTC)(link)
Awww. I do love the Brigadier and I do think he underestimates that he's one of very few stable points in the Doctor's life.

This was fun and somehow sweet and no-nonsense at the same time. My one bit of strangeness though was that for some reason I couldn't see 11 in it, I have no idea why, but what I got was 8 for some reason. It didn't actually affect the story at all, which was possibly even weirder, but I suppose that was because it's still the Doctor... and equally pretty in different ways :))

I mean, apart from the timeline not quite working with the Time War refs, it actually still worked as it was with my brain doing this weird substitution thing. I'm not even sure why I'm mentioning this, I'm clearly in ramble-mode, I'll shut up.

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[personal profile] valancy_joy 2010-07-23 03:35 pm (UTC)(link)
n'awwwww. sweet and lovely. you're an ol' softy there Sam...

(Anonymous) 2010-07-23 04:05 pm (UTC)(link)
This was absolutely the sweetest thing. And I love that Eleven qualifies as a "sharp dresser" in 1978. :) Bow ties are cool!
sanura: (Default)

[personal profile] sanura 2010-07-23 04:07 pm (UTC)(link)
Obligatory AWWWWWWW

And fervent appreciation for immensely thorough characterization, especially of characters I'm not familiar with outside Classic Who Three Things.

The Brigadier's put his finger on my reactions to Eleven's visual and emotional half-youth. He looks so terribly young sometimes, and then... not. And traces of past regenerations show up in his personality, even to me, who have seen few of them. The weird juxtaposition of immaturity and towering age comes through crazily here. I suppose it's us projecting our human standards on what it means to be mature.
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)

[personal profile] melannen 2010-07-23 04:14 pm (UTC)(link)
Yes. Oh, yes.

Of all the people the Doctor's loved, Alistair is the only one I ever believed in a happy-ever-after with. And now you've written it, and it's exactly right.
silentstep: the text "Team Hilarity" on a blue background, with sparkles (Default)

[personal profile] silentstep 2010-07-23 04:16 pm (UTC)(link)
OMG Sam.

I just...

...you just made everything better. Even the things that were already awesome. THEY ARE EVEN BETTER NOW.

(and the things that sucked, they are now fi-i-i-ine.)

Thank you for this. Thank you immeasurable amounts.

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filomena: (jack licks eleven)

[personal profile] filomena 2010-07-23 04:30 pm (UTC)(link)
"Well, you're stuck with me, so pull up your socks and stop being a ninny," Alistair told him.

I think this was the moment that I fell for the (thoroughly committed, tragically unavailable) Brigadier.

You know how I love this. Jack still makes me all sadface, but the carnivorous rhododendrons and custard make up for it.

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ruisseau: Underwater picture of person swimming with fish; very blue (Default)

[personal profile] ruisseau 2010-07-23 04:47 pm (UTC)(link)
I really enjoyed this. :)

[identity profile] infelixsoror.livejournal.com 2010-07-23 04:58 pm (UTC)(link)
Mockery of Eton FTW!

Utterly adorable, if a little bit heartbreaking in parts. Awesome as always. =)
giglet: (Default)

[personal profile] giglet 2010-07-23 05:03 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh, this is wonderful!

(Although... 10 years with so few explosions almost beggars my imagination.)

But I adored it. Especially the part about the rhododendrons!

(Anonymous) 2010-07-23 05:06 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh bless them, this is lovely :)

[personal profile] quean_of_swords 2010-07-23 05:59 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm mostly without proper words, but I'm smiling really hard and the bit where the Brig got shot and the Doctor was worried about him made me wibble and this was really wonderful and look ma, I'm a run-on sentence.


♥♥

ETA: DAMN TYPO.
Edited 2010-07-23 18:03 (UTC)
thedeadcat: Dead Cat Harvest Cat (Default)

[personal profile] thedeadcat 2010-07-23 06:20 pm (UTC)(link)
This was so perfectly awesome that I may have to download scores and scores of Brigadier episodes because I'm all freakin' nostalgic, now. (Three and the Brig were how I began, wayyyy the frell back in the day!)

What is with you and certain voices, anyway? Ianto and the Brigadier, OI! Perfect!

I was reading along and grinning and enjoying and then caught this line: "(A few months later the rhododendrons did turn carnivorous, but as long as he kept them pruned they weren't so bad; they kept the bug population down and entertained Eva for hours.)" and started cracking up. :D

Then I hit this: "You are an idiot," Alistair told him. "No-one who didn't love you would put up with you for eight years. I'd have strangled you in your sleep if I didn't love you."

And well... it's freakin' perfect. It's so Brigadier-y!

And the idea of Eleven taking a human lifetime off to be with his Brig... I can see this incarnation of the Doctor doing just that. Really I can. Ten had far too much angst in his system to try to be happy, and Nine was still in War-Vet mode. (Eight was way too frippery, and Seven was just effin' insane.)

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[personal profile] samisaurus 2010-07-23 06:25 pm (UTC)(link)
I think Eleven, out of all the doctors we've seen so far, would be the most capable of actually settling down and being domestic. Because he's so old some times! You can tell he longs for an afternoon nap in a recliner! And you've got him pretty much spot on.

I'm not particularly familiar with the Brigadier, but from what I know of him, he's absolutely perfect here too.

Also, Benton. When they had the conversation about the Doctor, I pretty much wanted to pinch him and tell him he was a sweetheart.
melayneseahawk: (adult)

[personal profile] melayneseahawk 2010-07-23 06:29 pm (UTC)(link)
Love it!
khellar: (Default)

[personal profile] khellar 2010-07-23 06:52 pm (UTC)(link)
I really enjoyed it! And not only because I live in Geneva, but that's part of it. I kept picturing the nice house not far from where my boyfriend lives.
amanuensis1: (Default)

[personal profile] amanuensis1 2010-07-23 07:15 pm (UTC)(link)
This is the first Doctor/Brigadier I've ever read and my heart is just wibbling. Oh.
devohoneybee: (Default)

[personal profile] devohoneybee 2010-07-23 08:00 pm (UTC)(link)
I totally sneaked reading this at work and just got all not-work-mode-y through it all. Sweet and smart in all the right places. The old/young thing is really amazing about 11.

(I'd love to see an out-take where they go to one of those clubs, heh. Maybe in another city so the Brig won't be recognized, and the Doctor dresses him up. Hijinks ensue! hee.)
grey_bard: (Valentines)

[personal profile] grey_bard 2010-07-23 09:40 pm (UTC)(link)
I. I just. Oh, my heart. I love this so much.

And the lovely thing is, if they write the companion transition the way they usually do, there's nothing to say that this lifetime with Alistair didn't happen in between Amy and Rory and whoever comes next.

[personal profile] adina 2010-07-23 10:53 pm (UTC)(link)
Carnivorous rhodedendrons! And the Doctor's most peculiar declaration of commitment at the end!

(Anonymous) 2010-07-24 12:12 am (UTC)(link)
Gorgeous. Sweet. Domestic. I'm pretty sure only Eleven could get away with domestic. :) Well written.

Unusual pairing, but that only makes it more intriguing.

^.^ Just... a good read. A good, cheerful, lovely read. Thanks.

lizzledpink @ LJ

(Anonymous) 2010-07-24 12:32 am (UTC)(link)
I love this! I have been giggling over your Third Doctor/Brig shipping in the Three Things series, but this makes it all terribly serious, and utterly lovely.

Cassiphone.

(Anonymous) 2010-07-24 02:49 am (UTC)(link)
Oh, this is brilliant! Loved it from beginning to end. :)

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