STANDARD DISCLAIMER: The Doctor Who characters belong to the BBC. Moonlighting belongs to ABC Television and Glenn Gordon Caron. The theme from Moonlighting belongs to Al Jarreau.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: This fic is a sequel to my fic Never Gonna Dance Again, so if you haven't read that, you might want to do so before you read this. For those of you who have read my fic Blue Lines, this fic does not take place in the AU of that fic's alternate ending, but rather within its original ending, which fits into the cannon of Doctor Who.
JAMA = Journal of the American Medical Association. AMA = Against Medical Advice. And no, I didn't make a mistake regarding the Doctor's regenerations. The blond, celery-wearing cricket fan was the Doctor's fifth incarnation, but his fourth regeneration. There's a difference. And yes I know that the Doctor Who movie took place in San Francisco, not in Los Angeles. However, Grace did quit her job in San Francisco in the movie, so it's possible she moved to LA and began practicing at (the fictitious) LA General Hospital.
Dr. Grace Holloway yanked the x-ray off of the light box and crammed it back into the patient's chart, tears of frustration stinging her eyes. The words of one of her medical school professors echoed in her head: Often, the most difficult challenge we face in the practice of medicine is knowing when to let go. "But no one said I have to like it," she said out loud in the otherwise empty x-ray viewing suite. As she was gathering her things to leave, the door opened to admit Dr. Jerry Cooper, better known to staff and patients alike as Coop. The tall, stocky brunette had just finished his last rotation in trauma and been hired by the hospital as an attending. Trauma suited him; no matter what kind of emergency he was faced with, he always managed to maintain a calm demeanor.
"Amazing Grace," he greeted her. She gave him a tired smile.
"Hey Coop, what's the scoop?" she asked rhetorically. Coop gave her a toothy grin as he crossed the room,
"Funny you should ask that, my dear. Funny you should ask that. Guess who the EMTs just brought in?" Grace shrugged.
"Angelina." Grace shrugged again. "Angelina, Grace. Angelina." She gave him a blank look. "The supermodel! Good grief, you're a woman – don't you read Vogue?" She snorted.
"Are you kidding me? Who has time to read Vogue? I barely have time to read JAMA."
"Well, they just brought her in. Her limo got t-boned in an intersection by a drunk who was also smoking pot while he drove. Good idea, huh? He was DRT."
"Dirt?" Grace asked, raising her eyebrows. "Isn't that a pretty harsh judgment?"
"No, not dirt. D-R-T," he enunciated. "Dead Right There."
"Oh, that is sick!" she told him, trying not to laugh.
"It's a technical term."
"No it isn't!" she protested, but now she was laughing. He shrugged.
"It is when you work in trauma. Anyway, the limo driver walked away, but Angelina wasn't as lucky. She got a little banged up." He held up his right hand and began to tick off the patient's injuries like a laundry list. "Fractured left radius, probable cracked ribs with possible pneumothorax, probable concussion, and various minor contusions. I've got my intern down in the ER putting a chest tube in while we're waiting for the chest films." Coop's beeper went off, and he shifted his long white coat to peer down at it.
"Doctor Jerry Cooper to ER stat," said a voice over the hospital loudspeaker. "Doctor Jerry Cooper to ER stat."
"You're popular," Grace observed as they both moved to leave.
"Come with me," he invited. "I could use an extra hand."
"Best offer I've had all night," she said, following him out the door.
"That's sad, Grace. That's very sad."
The scene in the ER was chaos. Local news crews and reporters from the national networks had already arrived on the scene, hoping for an update on the famous Angelina's condition. Coop and Grace raced past them, peripherally aware of a nurse screaming at the news people that they weren't allowed in this area. They reached a curtain surrounding a bed just as a hand belonging to someone within whipped the curtain open, revealing a trauma team frantically worked on a young woman while the monitors all around her told the same story: flatline.
"Coop!" the wild-eyed intern wailed. "Coop, it's not my fault, I swear to God!" His gloved hand brandished a bloody chest tube at Coop. "I tried to insert it, and she just flatlined!"
"Aw cripes, Max," Coop lamented, pushing the panicked intern out of the way. "How the hell did that clown get an internship here?" he asked no one in particular. Grace moved closer to inspect the patient. What little Grace could see of the evidently famous Angelina told her that she was a tall, very thin young woman with long wavy blonde hair. Her features were obscured by the black mask of an ambu bag. "Clear!" Coop yelled, and Grace automatically took a step back as the patient's body buckled under the jolt from the paddles. "I've got nothing!" he yelled after a moment. "Clear!"
"Still nothing," the chief resident said. "Wanna crack her chest?" he asked, almost conversationally. A radiology intern came running over, clutching a large envelope that could only contain x-rays.
"Coop," he panted. "You've gotta see this, man!" he exclaimed, waving the envelope around.
"I'm a little busy right now, in case you didn't notice!"
"Put them up," Grace said. "I'll take a look." She followed the intern to a light box mounted on a nearby wall.
"You're not going to believe this," he told her, quickly mounting the x-rays and snapping the light box on. She stared at the x-rays in shock, her mouth hanging open.
"Coop!" she yelled, her eyes still glued to the chest films. "Coop!"
"Be with you in a minute, soon as I crack this chest!" came the shouted reply.
"No!" she screamed, his words shocking her into sudden motion. She ran across the ER, yelling all the while. "Do not crack her chest, do you hear me?" When she reached his side, he was holding the scalpel, getting ready to make the first incision. She grabbed his arm and pulled him away.
"What the hell, Grace?" he yelled, yanking his arm free from her hands. Ignoring him, she began untaping and removing the IV lines in the girl's wrists.
"If you don't want to kill her, you'd better leave her alone," Grace explained in what she thought was a perfectly reasonable tone of voice.
"Have you lost your mind?" Coop demanded.
"Have you seen her chest films?" Grace countered, pulling out the last of the IV lines and beginning manual CPR, but performing it in a very odd way that Coop had never seen done before, cupping both of her hands on either side of the patient's chest just below the ribcage and pushing upwards underneath.
"I've got a pulse," a nurse suddenly announced, frowning. "Wait, she's fibrillating!"
"No she's not," Grace said absently, pulling her stethoscope from her pocket. As she leaned over the patient to listen for a heartbeat, she glanced up at Coop, raising her eyebrows. "Better go have a look at those chest films, Coop. And trust me, it's not some kind of weird double exposure." At the cold touch of the stethoscope on her bare chest, the patient gasped and opened her famous deep blue eyes. Her right hand came up to push the ambu bag away from her face.
"Where am I?" she gasped.
"Holy guacamole!" Coop exclaimed, stunned by his patient's miraculous recovery.
"Who are you people?" Angelina asked, glancing around, looking bewildered. English accent, Grace noted, nodding to herself. The supermodel tried to sit up, but was prevented by Grace's gentle hand on her shoulder.
"Lie back," she told the girl quietly. "I'm Doctor Grace Holloway, and you're at Los Angeles General Hospital. Do you remember what happened?"
"Not really," Angelina answered, frowning.
"Don't worry, that's only to be expected," Grace assured her. "You were in an accident and you've got some injuries that need to taken care of, but you're going to be just fine." Grace listened to one side of Angelina's chest for a moment, then moved the stethoscope to the other side and listened there as well. "Mmm hmm," she said absently, as though her suspicions had been confirmed. She pocketed her stethoscope and glanced over at Coop. "You're lucky I've seen this before," she told him. "You nearly made almost the same mistake I did."
While the orthopedic resident set Angelina's broken arm, Grace stood at the nurses' station scribbling orders in the supermodel's chart. Absolutely no procedures are to be performed or drugs to be administered without my prior express approval, she wrote in large letters, and then underlined it three times just to make sure. She reread what she'd written, and then signed her name at the bottom of the page. She closed the chart and filed it neatly in the rack labeled New Admissions. A hand fell on her shoulder, and she turned.
"Oh my God!" she exclaimed, breaking into a huge grin. "It's you!"
"It is indeed," the Doctor said, matching her smile. He looked just the same as when she'd seen him last; he wore the same dark green velvet jacket and gray cravat, and his mop of fine brown hair still hung down around his face in an untidy mass. And, she noted, the entire effect was still very sexy. "Did you miss me?" he asked, sounding very concerned about her answer.
"Yeah, I – " She ran a hand through her short red hair and let out a surprised little laugh. "Yeah, I really did. I've spent the past three years hoping you'd pop up in my life again." He smiled. "And I guess you missed me too…" she continued. A new thought occurred to her. "…Or are you here about Angelina?"
"Yes, I read all about it in People," he replied. "And I thought that interview you gave about the importance of diet and exercise in maintaining cardiovascular health was very informative." Grace frowned.
"You couldn't have read anything like that," she told him. "I didn't talk to any reporters… and how could they have gotten it out so fast even if I did? The accident only happened a few hours ago!"
"Next week's People," he said, as though it were obvious. She laughed. "I simply had to come and congratulate you, though I meant to do it after the article was published! It seems that the TARDIS had other ideas."
"Well, you could stick around until it's published and congratulate me then," she suggested. He appeared to think it over.
"I suppose I could do that," he agreed. She nodded.
"OK then." She looked at her watch. "I don't know about you, but I'm starving. Would you like to have some dinner?"
"Why not?" he replied, smiling.
"Great. Let's just stop by my office first. I have to pick up some paperwork."
"Fine." She took his arm and walked him up the hall to her office, questioning him all the while about where he'd been and what he'd been doing since she'd last seen him. "…And after I made my report to the High Council on Gallifrey - " he was saying as she unlocked the door. A nurse came up behind them.
"Doctor Holloway… oh, I'm sorry to interrupt," she said belatedly, glancing at the Doctor.
"It's all right, Kelly," Grace told her. "What's wrong?" She pushed the office door open and led them inside.
"Angelina's gone," the nurse told her. Grace's eyes opened wide in surprise and dismay as she imagined her patient stealthily slipping into a phone booth in the hospital lobby and vanishing forever; she probably wouldn't even get proper follow-up care for her injuries! The truth turned out to be rather more mundane. "She signed herself out AMA, called a cab to take her back to her hotel, and walked out right through the crowd of reporters hanging around in ER."
"Damn," Grace swore softly.
"Don't ever go into celebrity medicine if you want compliant patients, Doctor," the nurse advised her ruefully. "They're all spoiled brats who're used to getting their own way!"
"Thanks, Kelly, I'll keep that in mind." The nurse left, closing the office door behind her.
"Well, I guess you'll want to go to her hotel and see her," Grace said absently, shuffling through a stack of papers on her desk.
What?" the Doctor asked, looking puzzled. "Go see who?" Grace glanced up at him, looking equally puzzled.
"Angelina," she said sounding confused. "Don't you want to go see her?"
"Why would I want to see Angelina?" he asked, sounding as confused as Grace.
"I asked you if you were here about Angelina, and you said yes," she reminded him. He thought for a moment.
"I meant that I'd seen the article and your interview in People," he said.
"So you're not here to see her." The Doctor frowned.
"Forgive me Grace," he said slowly, "but I feel as though I'm missing something. Is there some reason that you thought I would have come here to see this Angelina person? Certainly, she's very lovely, but…" He gestured expansively. "She's not Grace." Grace opened her mouth to reply, and the words doctor/patient confidentiality flashed through her mind. But does it apply in a situation like this? she wondered. She thought for a moment, finally deciding that having a platoon of lawyers sicced on her by an angry celebrity wasn't the way she wanted to find out for sure. And then the Doctor's words truly sunk in: She's very lovely, but she's not Grace. There was a knock on the office door.
"Come in," Grace called, the Doctor's last statement still echoing in her head. The door opened to admit Kelly, who carried a brown paper sack.
"Angelina's personal effects," the nurse explained, setting it on Grace's desk. "She was in such a hurry to get out of here that she must've forgotten about them. And since you're her doctor of record…"
"I'm not her doctor of record," Grace protested. "Coop is."
"Not anymore," Kelly informed her. "He signed her over to your service. Said you seemed to know how to treat her better than he did." Grace sighed.
"All right. I'll have my secretary contact her tomorrow about picking this stuff up."
"Her people," Kelly corrected. "Your secretary will contact her people tomorrow, and her people will come here to pick it up. God, don't you have any experience in dealing with celebrities?" Grace laughed.
"No, and it sounds like I'm very lucky!"
"Believe me, you are!" Kelly agreed, exiting. Grace stared at the bag for a moment until curiosity finally got the better of her. She reached for the bag and pulled it open.
"Very naughty, snooping through a patient's possessions," the Doctor observed mildly, sprawling down on one of the chairs in front of her desk to watch.
"I am her doctor of record," Grace reminded him. She reached into the paper sack and pulled out a small white Louis Vuitton purse with light brown leather straps and the designer's logo stamped all over it in multicolored pastel lettering.
"Very tasteful," the Doctor observed. No fashion maven, Grace snorted. She opened the purse and pulled out something that looked like a small red booklet.
"British passport," she observed, flipping it open. "Issued to Angelina Jovanka, born in London on – "
"What??" the Doctor suddenly exclaimed, sitting bolt upright in his chair. "What did you say her name is?"
"Angelina Jovanka," she repeated. "Why? Do you know her?"
"No," the Doctor said shortly. He jumped out of his chair and began pacing around the room, muttering to himself. Suddenly, he spun around to face her. "I think you were right, Grace. I think I really am here to see Angelina after all!"
"I'm her doctor," Grace said reasonably, indicating her white coat with the hospital ID clipped to its lapel and the stethoscope slung around her neck. "I've got her personal effects," she continued in the same reasonable tone, holding up Angelina's purse. The hotel concierge peered past her to stare dubiously at the Doctor.
"And who is this… gentleman?" he sniffed, his expression suggesting that he found the Doctor to be anything but.
"He's… he's a doctor too," Grace said, not knowing what else to say. She still didn't know why seeing Angelina was suddenly so important to the Doctor, and he didn't seem inclined to explain it to her any time in the near future. Meanwhile, the concierge had picked up a phone and punched some buttons.
"Here you are, Doctor Holloway," he said, handing the phone to Grace. She put it to her ear and heard the phone on the other end ring several times.
"Hello?" said an English-accented voice.
"Hello, Angelina?" Grace asked.
"No, this her agent, Rebecca Howell. And you are…?"
"Doctor Grace Holloway," she said, and briefly explained the situation, painting the Doctor as her colleague in cardiac medicine, which technically wasn't exactly a lie. "We just want to return her purse and make sure she's OK," Grace finished.
"Hang on a moment," Rebecca told her. Grace heard sounds indicating a hand being placed over the mouthpiece and a muffled conversation being carried on in the background. Finally, the hand was removed and Rebecca spoke into the phone again. "She says she's very tired right now, and wants to know if you and your associate can come back tomorrow afternoon, after she's had a chance to rest." Grace covered the mouthpiece and glanced at the Doctor.
"Tomorrow afternoon?" she asked him. He nodded. "Tomorrow afternoon would be great," Grace said into the phone. "And we'll leave her purse here at the Concierge's Desk for her, OK?"
"That's fine," Rebecca replied. "And she'll expect you both here in her suite at noon for lunch." Grace wrapped up the conversation and handed the phone back to the concierge.
"We've been invited for lunch," she told the Doctor, looking surprised. "I don't care what Kelly said about celebrities. Angelina doesn't sound like a spoiled brat to me. As my mom would say, she must've been raised right."
"Very likely," the Doctor agreed wryly.
The Doctor begged off their dinner plans, telling Grace that he was suddenly quite tired and didn't feel like eating. While the latter was certainly true, the former wasn't; he doubted he'd sleep a wink all night. He had said goodbye to Grace and promised to meet her promptly at quarter to twelve the next morning, and then gone back to his TARDIS to brood about the whole situation. He wondered what he was going to say to Angelina, and how much she knew. He knew that he couldn't very well burst into her life proclaiming to be an alien from somewhere beyond space and time and demanding to play Daddy after nineteen years of absence, even thought that absence hadn't been his idea or his fault. And he doubted that Tegan would go for that either. Tegan! he thought suddenly, as though only just remembering that she existed, and groaned. Tegan probably wouldn't be very pleased about any of this. He smiled, remembering that Tegan had spent an inordinate amount of time being displeased with one thing or another… and, he admitted guiltily to himself, he had often given her very good reason for her displeasure. They had argued frequently, but their arguments had always been undercut with a sizzling, delicious tension that both of them had pretended wasn't there until that one fateful evening in Paris… I've got to get my mind off of this, he thought, moving to the control console. Let's see… He pushed several buttons, routing certain receivers through to the TARDIS display. He pushed another button, and the screen switched on, showing a commercial for laundry detergent. "Ahhhh, that's done it," he said to himself. He went to his armchair, turned it to face the display, and settled himself comfortably into the chair. "I wonder if I get any premium channels," he mused. He allowed himself to be absorbed in the mindless television program, glad for the distraction. By the time the rerun of the insipid sitcom had finally ended, the Doctor's head was already listing sleepily to one side. As he began to drop off to sleep, he was only dimly aware of the next program's theme music coming from the TARDIS display's speakers.
Some walk by night, some fly by day.
Nothing could change you, set and sure of the way.
There is the sun and moon, they sing their own sweet tune
Watch them when dawn is new, sharing one space.
So come walk the night, come fly by day
Something is sweeter 'cause we met 'long the way.
By the time the music had finished and the show had begun, the Doctor was already fast asleep…
A phone rang. The receptionist answered it.
"Blue TARDIS Detective Agency," Nyssa said, and began to speak in rhyme:
"If you've got a crime having to do with time,
Call us, because we're in our prime!
If a Dalek has stolen your wallet
He left a trail and we're the ones who can follow it!
If you've lost your TARDIS, we'll try our hardest
When it comes to finding things, we're real artists!
No matter how long it takes, we'll see it through,
Even if it takes a regeneration or two!"
Tegan Jovanka walked into the Blue TARDIS Detective Agency, dressed in a white business suit with a pale pink blouse underneath and carrying a matching briefcase. She stopped at the receptionist's desk, watching as Nyssa scribbled a phone message, the phone still pressed to her ear.
"Good morning, Nyssa," Tegan said when Nyssa hung up.
"Good morning, Miss Jovanka," Nyssa answered.
"Has Adric asked you for a date yet?"
"No, not yet." Tegan gave her a sympathetic look, and then went on to business; engaging in small talk with the staff wasn't really one of her strong points.
"Is the Doctor here yet?" Tegan asked. Nyssa nodded.
"He's in his office."
"Thank you, Nyssa." She walked through the detective agency until she reached a set of double doors.
"Doctor?" she called, pushing the doors open. As she entered, the Doctor swiveled around in his chair to face her. He was in his fourth regeneration, and was wearing a white shirt with the sleeves rolled up and a pair of sunglasses.
"Good morning, Tegan," he said. He put his feet up on the desk and leaned back in his chair. "We've got a new case this morning. Someone's stolen a sack of plaster from a construction site."
"Plaster?" she asked, sounding puzzled.
"I suspect the Master," he told her.
"The Master? Why would he want plaster?" The Doctor shrugged.
"I don't know, Tegan, but it's sure to end up a disaster. We've got to move faster."
"Faster than the Master with plaster?"
"Faster than a Master plaster disaster."
"That plaster-robbing bastard!" Tegan exclaimed. Suddenly, she frowned. "Wait a minute… "
"Ah ha!" he crowed triumphantly. "I knew I could get you to do it!"
"Rabbits! Can't you be serious?" The Doctor stood up.
"Can I be serious? Can I be serious? Do flies fly? Do bees be? Does a bear shi – "
"All right, all right," he said, holding his hands up in defeat. "Miss Jovanka, you are currently looking at the most serious man in the universe. If I have to be serious, I can be serious just like that," he said, snapping his fingers right in front of her face. He whipped off the sunglasses and put both hands on his desk, leaning forward so that they were nose to nose over it. "I'm as serious as a hearts attack, Miss Jovanka. I am Doctor Serious, and don't you forget it!" They remained in that position for a long moment, staring into each other's eyes.
"Good," Tegan finally said, looking away. "Do we really have a new case or not?" she asked. He nodded.
"Yep. Someone stole a statue from the museum."
"And have you begun a file on this case?"
"Got it right here," he told her, holding up a manila folder. "Someone has to be on top of things, since you just wander in to work whenever you feel like it."
"Whenever I feel like it?" she asked hotly. "May I remind you that I own this detective agency - "
"How could I ever forget?" the Doctor asked, talking over her as she continued.
" – and that you are my employee – "
"So employ me," he said, waggling his eyebrows suggestively at her.
" – and that I am the boss around here?" she finished.
"Yes Miss Boss Lady," he agreed with a smirk.
"Oooo!" she huffed, infuriated. She whirled and stalked out of his office, slamming the door behind her. Immediately, he stood and opened the door.
"You know, when I was hired, I wasn't told what positions you might want me for, Miss Boss Lady!" he called after her as she crossed the space to her own office. She stopped in mid-stride and spun around to glare furiously at him.
"Drop dead!" she yelled. He grinned hugely as she stormed into her office and slammed the door. Suddenly, her door opened again and she stuck her head out to yell at him some more. "Deader than dead!" She slammed the door again.
"Deader than dead? There's no such thing as deader than dead!" he yelled at her closed door, which promptly opened.
"They can invent it just for you!" she yelled.
"Good!" he yelled at her.
"Good!" she yelled back.
"Fine!" he yelled.
"Fine!" she yelled back.
The Blue TARDIS Detective Agency echoed with the sound of both office doors slamming shut simultaneously.
The Doctor jerked awake, forgetting where he was for a moment. He stared at the TARDIS display, which was currently showing the end credits for a detective show/romantic comedy about two very strong personalities with a love/hate relationship that he vaguely remembered seeing a few times during one of his visits to the Eighties.
We'll walk by night, we'll fly by day
Moonlighting strangers who just met on the way.
"Good Lord, what a crazy dream," he murmured, running a hand through his hair. "I've really got to get a hold of myself before tomorrow!"
The Doctor found Grace waiting for him on a bench in the hotel lobby when he arrived.
"I wanted to tell you again that I'm really sorry about dinner last night," he told her, kissing her cheek in greeting.
"It's all right," she assured him. "I understand… you were tired. Traveling through space and time probably causes killer jetlag!" He laughed. She picked up her black medical bag and took his arm with her other hand. "You know," she said, as they walked towards the elevators. "I went on the internet last night and did some reading about Angelina." The Doctor's eyebrows went up.
"Really? Anything interesting?" he asked as they got on the elevator. Grace pushed the button and the doors slid shut.
"Yeah," Grace said. "She might be a supermodel, but she's not just some dumb bimbo." I would certainly hope not! the Doctor thought but did not say. "She's only nineteen, and she has studied English Literature, Physics, Biology, and History at Oxford, and she graduated with a joint degree in Chemistry and Astronomy!" Grace told him.
"Very impressive," the Doctor murmured, mostly because he knew he was expected to offer some kind of comment on the girl's accomplishments. The elevator stopped and the doors slid open.
"Here we are," Grace said, turning back to look at him. "Aren't you coming?" She frowned. "You look nervous."
"Do I?" he asked, moving to follow her.
"There it is," she said, pointing at a door. She started towards it, and then stopped when she realized that she had left him behind again. "Are you coming or not?" she asked, sounding exasperated.
"Right," he said in an odd voice. Suddenly, she grinned at him.
"I know why you're nervous," she said.
"You do?" he asked, astounded. Surely she couldn't have figured it out –
"She's a supermodel," Grace said, shrugging. "She probably makes most men go weak in the knees. Don't worry, Doctor – I'm sure she's used to men drooling all over her!"
"Hmph." While the Doctor mulled over how much he disliked the idea of slackjawed idiots drooling all over the famous Angelina, Grace was knocking on the door to her suite. "Makes me wish I still had that cricket bat," he muttered.
"What?" Grace asked. He didn't have time to reply, for suddenly the door opened and Angelina herself stood there regarding them both with those famous deep blue eyes.
"Hello, Doctor Holloway," she said, smiling a radiant supermodel smile. Her left arm was in a cast and sling, but other than that she showed no sign that she'd been in a serious car accident less than twenty-four hours before. In fact, Angelina was breathtakingly beautiful, with long, silky-looking wavy blonde hair, delicate features, and large innocent blue eyes. Like most models, she was very tall – over six feet – and her slender form was lean and lanky, displaying her tight jeans and simple pink blouse to full advantage... which of course was her job, after all. As she shook the supermodel's hand, Grace noted that Angelina's skin was as cold as the Doctor's, and wondered why no one had noticed its coolness in the ER the previous night. "I'm afraid I was rather out of it when we met last night," Angelina said as she motioned them into her lavishly appointed suite. The air conditioner in the suite was evidently set on Arctic Blast; Grace nearly expected to see icicles hanging from the ceiling. She shivered and wished she'd brought along a sweater, while the Doctor suddenly looked more comfortable in a way she couldn't exactly pinpoint. "I usually have better manners than that!" Angelina was saying.
"There's no need to apologize," Grace told her, setting her medical bag on a convenient side table near a sofa. She saw the supermodel staring at the Doctor. "This is the Doctor – " she began.
"Of cardiac specialties," the Doctor finished for Grace, shooting her a warning look that she didn't understand. He realized that the title he had invented hadn't made any sense, but it had been the first thing that had popped into his head. "That's right, I'm the doctor of cardiac specialties," he repeated, as though repetition would make it sound less ridiculous. It didn't, but he plunged on ahead nonetheless. "Doctor John Smith, at your service. The doctor of cardiac specialties," he said again. Meanwhile, Grace was looking at him as though he'd suddenly regenerated into an identical twin of Britney Spears. He noticed her expression and wondered how she would react when he explained why he didn't want Angelina mentioning to her mother that she'd had lunch with a mysterious stranger known only as "the Doctor".
"I'm very pleased to meet you, Doctor Smith," Angelina told him, oblivious. She motioned them over to a table that had been set for lunch. The Doctor pulled out a chair for Grace and took a seat beside her. There were already glasses of ice water on the table, and the Doctor took a sip from his and glanced around the table.
"Four place settings," he noted, Angelina nodded, sitting down in the seat across from him. He took another sip of water.
"Yeah, my Mum's here." The Doctor choked on his water and began to cough. "Are you OK?" Angelina asked. Wordlessly, he nodded and took another careful sip. "She just flew in. She works for British Airways, so it wasn't a big deal. She was already in New York for work when she heard about the accident, so she just hopped on a plane for here. Pretty handy, actually." And on cue –
"I thought I heard voices," an Australian-accented voice very familiar to the Doctor said from the doorway of one of the bedrooms. The Doctor turned to look, while Grace stood up to greet the new arrival and Angelina made the introduction. Tegan was still quite lovely, he decided. She was dressed in jeans and a very warm-looking dark green sweater. She looked remarkably young for her age; her short, curly hair was still dark brown. In fact, she looked far younger than Grace, though she had to be about the same age if not actually older. A byproduct of so much time travel, he thought to himself… and then glanced at Angelina. Or her pregnancy…
"It's very nice to meet you, Mrs. Jovanka," Grace was telling her, shaking her hand. She was surprised that Tegan's hand was as warm as her own, and wondered how she had ended up having a child like Angelina.
"It's Miss Jovanka," Tegan corrected her. "I've never been married. Just call me Tegan." She turned her attention to the Doctor, who hastily stood.
"I'm Doctor John Smith," he said, deciding that he'd better not try that doctor of cardiac specialties nonsense on her; Tegan had always had an excellent nonsense detector.
"Wonderful to meet you, Doctor Smith," she told him. She held out her hand and he almost made the mistake of taking it.
"Er… I don't shake hands," he told her, knowing that the coldness of his skin would have immediately told her he was a Gallifreyan, and that she would likely have figured out the rest in short order.
"Oh?" she asked curiously, letting her hand fall to her side.
"Germs," he blurted out, and then very nearly went on to babble something incoherent about being the doctor of cardiac specialties, but was able to stop himself in time.
"Oh," Tegan said, shrugging and taking her seat. "All right." He sat down, studiously ignoring the dumbfounded look Grace was giving him. Acutely aware of Grace on one side of him and Tegan on the other - not to mention Angelina sitting across from him, staring back at him with his own eyes from his fourth regeneration - he had to stifle an urge to squirm in his chair. Welcome to lunch in Hell, he thought grimly as room service staff appeared pushing food-laden carts. He sighed and unfolded his napkin.
As it turned out, the lunch itself actually went fairly smoothly, especially considering that if he hadn't known better the Doctor would have sworn he'd somehow gotten trapped in one of his worst nightmares. The only thing that could have made it more uncomfortable for him would have been the Master showing up with a couple of Daleks and some Cybermen, but thankfully that didn't happen. Afterwards, as the room service staff cleared away their lunch plates, Grace asked to examine her patient.
"Of course, Doctor Holloway," Angelina agreed. "Where do you want me?" Grace looked around.
"How about that sofa?" she asked, pointing. Angelina obligingly went over and lay down. Grace laughed.
"It's all right, Angelina. You can sit up." She knelt on the floor in front of the supermodel, pulling her stethoscope out of her black bag. The Doctor moved to stand behind Grace, and Angelina began to unbutton her blouse.
"Oh!" the Doctor exclaimed, taking a step back and nearly colliding with Tegan, who was standing behind and to one side of him, her arms folded across her chest. "Please, don't undress!" Blushing furiously, he scrunched his eyes shut and put a hand over them for good measure to make sure he didn't see anything. Angelina laughed.
"I thought you're a doctor," she said.
"I – I – I am," he stammered, his hand still firmly plastered to his eyes.
"He's… um… he's very shy," Grace said. And very strange, she added mentally.
"All right, I'll leave my clothes on," she agreed, buttoning her blouse. "It's safe to uncover your eyes, Doctor Smith," she told him teasingly. He parted two fingers and peeked out at her from between them, making her laugh again. "You know, there are millions of guys out there who would give nearly anything to see me take my shirt off!" The Doctor removed his hand from his eyes and muttered something about a cricket bat under his breath, but neither Grace nor Tegan were close enough to make out his words.
"Breathe in deep for me, OK?" Grace told Angelina, who complied. He just keeps getting weirder and weirder, Grace thought as she listened to Angelina's hearts. I know he's from another planet, but still… Finally, she removed her stethoscope and put it back in her bag. "Your – " She had about to say "your hearts", and then remembered that the Doctor didn't know (or seem to know) that Angelina was one of his own people. Doctor/patient confidentiality, she reminded herself. "Everything sounds good," she said instead, moving to sit on the sofa next to the girl. "How are you feeling, Angelina?" Again came that dazzling supermodel smile.
"Just fine, Doctor Holloway, though I did have a rough night last night. Between the pain and itching from my arm and the side effects of that stupid pain killer they gave me – "
"What pain killer?" Grace, Tegan, and the Doctor all asked simultaneously. Grace noted that there had been a hint of frantic concern in the Doctor's voice. Angelina frowned, thinking.
"I can't remember its name, but the doctor told me it was a narcotic. I told him that I can't take a lot of drugs and that I'd never had a narcotic before and didn't know how I'd react to it, but he said that I wasn't going to enjoy having my arm set anyway, and that I'd enjoy it a whole lot less if I didn't let him give me that injection… so I did."
"Angelina!" Tegan exclaimed, dismayed. "You know better than that!" Angelina shrugged, smiling ruefully.
"I know, Mum. But he was right; even with the pain killer, getting that bone set hurt like bloody hell."
"You poor girl," the Doctor murmured, his eyes filled with sympathy. Grace saw that he looked like he wanted to take Angelina in his arms and comfort her, which brought up a turmoil of emotions in her that she struggled to push down; she was acting as a doctor right now and did not have the luxury of trying to sort out all of her feelings at the moment.
"Did the painkiller make you sick?" Grace asked. Angelina frowned.
"Not exactly. It just made me feel really strange. I couldn't think properly, and when I lay down to try to get some rest, I felt as though I were sinking, or falling through the floor." The Doctor was nodding, absorbed in his thoughts.
"Yes, a narcotic would make you feel that way," he said absently. "And you'd have some psychic seepage, which would make you feel as though your thoughts weren't really your own, because they wouldn't have been." Grace and Tegan both stared at him in shock; obviously the Doctor knew about Angelina's alien physiology, and they both wondered how the hell he could know that. Angelina nodded eagerly.
"Yes, that's exactly how I felt, but I didn't know quite how to put it into words." Now she frowned. "How did you know? Most doctors don't understand me one bit!"
"Well…" he began, daring to steal a glance at Tegan and noting that she was now eyeing him suspiciously. "I've… I've… had some experience with… with cases that are similar, well that are the same, I mean…" He stole another glance at Tegan; she was gazing at him through narrowed eyes and biting her lower lip in thought. He could practically see the wheels turning behind her eyes. He took a deep breath. "I've – " Tegan didn't even let him finish. She strode over to him and looked up into his eyes.
"Don't you worry about germs, Doctor…. Smith," she spat sarcastically. "My hands are quite clean." He felt his right hand enveloped in two very warm, very familiar hands, hands that had touched him more times and in more ways than he could remember. Her eyes opened wide in shock and anger, and she released his hand, took a step back and touched him in a whole new way, slapping him across the face so hard that he saw stars. "Bastard!" she hissed deep in her throat, reminding him forcibly of the Mara. "How dare you come in here like this, pretending you're someone else and that you'd never met me and that you don't know who Angelina is!" Grace saw cold fury building in the Doctor's blue eyes as he rubbed his cheek where Tegan had slapped him. When he spoke, his carefully enunciated words fell from his lips like little chips of ice.
"How dare you leave without even telling me you were pregnant, Tegan?" Tegan visibly flinched. Angelina looked from the Doctor to Tegan and back, an astonished expression on her face. Grace's eyes opened wide as she suddenly understood. Everything - his nervousness, his ludicrously unbelievable alias, his odd behavior - now made perfect sense.
"Why didn't you stick around to ask me that at Heathrow airport all those years ago, Doctor?" Tegan countered hotly. "At least I'd assumed that was you; I don't know any other guys with awful fashion sense who travel 'round the universe in a police box!"
"Oh yes, it was me," he confessed readily. "And I didn't stay to chat because I was in shock."
"You never were a good liar, were you Doctor?" Grace and Angelina watched the argument unfold as they would have watched a tennis match, their heads snapping back and forth as each opponent got in another good shot. "You didn't stick around because of your own wounded pride!" The Doctor was so furious that he replied without thinking.
"Did it ever occur to you, Tegan, that I would have, as you put it, "stuck around" until the end of Time if only you'd had the decency to be truthful with me, to offer me the chance?" Tegan blinked.
"What did you say?" she asked, shocked. The Doctor shook his head.
"Forget it," he said shortly, not meeting her eye.
"No, I won't forget it! What did you mean by that?" He sighed.
"Exactly what I said," he replied quietly, still not looking at her. He moved to stand by a window. Sitting on the sill were several flower arrangements of the "get well soon" variety. The name signed on one card was that of a famous magician with a taste for supermodels; another card was signed by an aging rock star whose womanizing ways and backstage antics with willing groupies were notorious even in rock music circles; yet another arrangement had been sent by a young movie star with a well-known propensity for marrying and then leaving one costar for another, a strange sort of serial monogamy. Cricket bat! flashed through the Doctor's mind.
"Doctor," Tegan said from behind him. "Answer the question. And exactly what I said is not an answer, and you know it!"
"Mum – " Angelina began.
"Stay out of this, Sweetheart," Tegan said, and then laughed bitterly, without humor. "Your father and I are having a discussion."
"Am I to be sent to my room without supper as well?" Angelina asked flippantly. The Doctor sighed.
"The answer to your question is rather complicated, Tegan," he said without turning around, his voice oddly different… He turned to face her, and his posture and body language had changed along with his voice. He paced about the room with his hands jammed into his trouser pockets, his movements swift and precise. Grace watched him, frowning. It was as though he were a different person… or as if he were becoming one. She knew people like the Doctor sometimes did that; was he going to regenerate right before her eyes? She had no way of knowing that he was unconsciously regressing into mannerisms and speech patterns from his fifth incarnation, but to Tegan, who had known the Doctor then, it was eerie and unsettling to watch. Suddenly, he spun to face her and stood with his hands still jammed into his pockets, rocking forward slightly on his feet as he spoke. "Tegan, had you seen fit to confide in me instead of running off, I would have stayed with you until the stars burned out, the worlds fell from the heavens, and Time Itself came to an end. And the truth is, I would have done so even had there been no child, had you wished it. I loved you completely, Tegan, with both my hearts. I told you my darkest secrets, things I've never discussed with anyone before. I trusted you, Tegan, because I thought I could." Tegan lowered her eyes. "And I thought you trusted me in return." Tegan's shoulders slumped in defeat. Oh, ouch, Grace thought, wincing in sympathy for the other woman. Game, set, and match. The verbal tennis tournament had finally come to an end.
It had been the first time in quite a while that he could recall winning an argument with Tegan, but that didn't make the Doctor feel any better about it. His words had sent her fleeing to her room, slamming the door shut. From behind it, he could hear the sounds of her muffled sobbing and was aware of Angelina's hurt, angry eyes watching him warily from her place on the sofa. After a moment, she stood and walked to Tegan's room, passing him without giving any indication that he even existed. When she'd shut the door behind her, he sank into a chair, putting his face in his hands and groaning.
"I've certainly made a mess of things," he moaned, looking up to see Grace watching him with her own pair of hurt, angry eyes.
"Why didn't you tell me before?" she asked. He groaned again.
"Not you too, Grace. Please, I think I've had about all I can stand today!" She snorted.
"Well, you brought it on yourself, didn't you?"
"Grace – " he began.
"You did. You knew the girl existed, but you didn't do anything about it until now."
"Grace – "
"I know all about deadbeat dads, because I had one!"
"Grace, it wasn't like that!"
"Then what was it like?" she asked, leaning back against the sofa and giving him a level gaze. He sighed.
"During my fifth incarnation, Tegan was one of my traveling companions. As you've probably surmised, we had a relationship that went beyond friendship. One day, after a particularly harrowing encounter with the Daleks – " She gave him a questioning look, and he gave her a tired smile. "I'll tell you about Daleks later. As I was saying, she simply walked off, barely even saying goodbye. I had no idea she was pregnant. I only found out during my sixth incarnation, when I happened to see her and the child at Heathrow. I was so shocked and hurt that I popped back into my TARDIS and left. I never saw either of them again until today."
"I must be missing something, Doctor," Grace said coolly. "You know, the part of the story that makes you not a deadbeat dad."
"After I dematerialized from Heathrow, I had a change of hearts. I realized I'd been too harsh on Tegan, that I should have at least heard her out. So I went back to find them, but they'd gone."
"Sorry," Grace said, shaking her head. "It doesn't wash. You knew about Angelina, but never did anything about it. That makes you a deadbeat dad." The Doctor looked like she'd hit him with a sledgehammer.
"You know," he said quietly, "you're right." Without another word, he stood and headed for the door.
"And that's your solution?" she called out after him. "Running out again?"
"Oh, he's very good at running out on things he doesn't want to deal with," came Tegan's bitter voice from the doorway of her bedroom. Angelina was propped against the doorframe behind her mother, eyeing the Doctor coldly. Both Grace and the Doctor started in surprise, wondering how much of their conversation the two women had heard. "He didn't only run out on Angelina and me, oh no," Tegan continued. "He ran out on an entire planet. Just ask the High Council of Time Lords what happened to their Lord President. He has quite a history of running out on his responsibilities, and – " she said, raising her eyebrows pointedly at Grace " - you'd do well to keep that in mind, my girl."
"Thank you for your input, Tegan," the Doctor said peevishly, sounding a bit like his fifth incarnation again.
"Always eager to help," she answered sarcastically. There was a long silence.
"I don't know what to say," the Doctor finally said, throwing up his hands in defeat. "You're both right about me," he said, pointing at Grace and Tegan in turn, "and you," he continued, gesturing at Angelina, "hate me, no doubt rightfully so."
"Oh, poor you!" Angelina said sarcastically.
"But I do promise to do better in future," he went on, talking over her.
"That's not good enough, Doctor," Tegan said angrily. "Not this time."
"It is all I can offer, Tegan," he said heavily. "Even a Time Lord cannot turn back the clock to do things differently the second time around. You know that. I am sure you remember Adric." She nodded glumly, and sighed.
"And I know I have my share of the blame too," she conceded. "I should have told you." He nodded in agreement.
"I believe we'll save that conversation for another day," he said heavily. "I think we've all had quite enough for now."
"I know I have," Angelina said. "This is all so much to take in." The Doctor gave her a tired smile.
"You're so lovely," he said, shaking his head, gazing at her in wonder. "I can't believe that my genetic code helped to produce such an amazing young woman."
"I've been wondering about that myself," Tegan said.
"Yes, well, she got your good looks, didn't she?" the Doctor asked tetchily, sensing a veiled insult in her words.
"No," Tegan said, giving him an exasperated look. "I've been wondering how a human and a Gallifreyan managed to produce a child together."
"It's been done before," the Doctor replied. He gave a wry smile. "Obviously."
"When?" Tegan challenged. He looked surprised.
"It seems that I was wrong earlier," he said slowly, thoughtfully. "I didn't actually tell you all of my darkest secrets after all. You see, I am half-human on my mother's side." Tegan looked astounded.
"But you're a Time Lord!" she protested.
"That I am; Gallifreyan genes tend to breed true, as you've no doubt noticed in Angelina. However," he said, holding up his hand to forestall her inevitable flood of questions. "Some human traits do end up being expressed in the genetic code. You have noted in the past that we Time Lords are… 'a cold bunch' is the wording I believe you used." She nodded. "My strong emotions have always been my one failing as a Time Lord, my one legacy from my human mother. I have often allowed them to rule me, as no Time Lord should do. And I think Angelina is much the same, if her behavior today is any indication." Tegan nodded again. "But, she is still Gallifreyan. She has two hearts, a respiratory bypass system, a normal body temperature of fifteen degrees Celsius, some telepathic abilities, and when her present body fails or if it is injured beyond healing, she will regenerate just as I have done. And," he said, turning to Grace, "You should take her in for an x-ray of that arm. I'm sure that cast can come off by now." Grace blinked.
"All right," she agreed. "But she should probably keep wearing the cast for a while anyway. She's a celebrity. Her accident and medical condition have been widely publicized, you know. If we take the cast off, people will wonder. And they might start asking questions."
"I guess I'm stuck with it, then," Angelina said unhappily. After a moment, she walked over to the Doctor. "And…" she continued hesitantly, looking into his eyes, "I guess… I guess I'm stuck with you, too." He looked shocked. "That is," she added quickly, quietly, "if you decide to remain a part of my life this time."
"I would be honored," he said softly. Smiling, she held out her good arm to him, and he walked into her embrace, careful of her injured arm even though he suspected it had already healed. He put his arms around her and drew her against him, stroking her hair and gazing in wonder at her beautiful face, as though trying to memorize every aspect of it, while her big blue eyes searched his face for any resemblance to her own. Finally, he closed his eyes and rested his cheek against hers, smiling to himself. "Lovely, lovely," he murmured, and she felt his warm tears on her cheek, mingling with her own.