"Law and Disorder"
STANDARD DISCLAIMER: See: Chapter 1.
Tegan was waiting when the TARDIS materialized in its customary corner in Angelina's living room; the Doctor was astounded when he stepped out to see her standing in the candle-lit living room wearing a long black silk robe and holding two glasses of white wine.
"Hello, Doctor," she said, handing him a glass of wine. He sipped it, looking around suspiciously.
"What have I done this time?" he asked warily.
"Done?" she asked, laughing. "What do you mean?"
"This is some kind of clever ruse to lull me into a false sense of security so you can catch me completely by surprise when you begin yelling at me." He took another sip of wine. "Right?"
"Don't be silly," she told him with another laugh. "Angelina is out with Detective Munch, and we have the place to ourselves, so I thought I'd make us a nice dinner, and then…" she shrugged. "Who knows?"
"You cooked?" he asked, sounding more suspicious than ever. "It's poisoned, is that it? Never mind," he said with a wave of his hand. "I'll have an antidote somewhere; I am a doctor, after all." She laughed, taking his arm and leading him to the dining room, where the table was set for two and also lit only with candles.
"There's dessert as well, if you're feeling especially brave," she told him with a smile as he sat down.
"I didn't know you could cook," he said, watching as she brought out salads from the kitchen.
"Never had any reason to cook on the TARDIS, did I? You have food synthesizers in there." As they were finishing their salads, the phone rang. "I'll get it," she said, rising and taking their salad bowls into the kitchen. He could hear the quiet murmur of her voice as she spoke to whoever was on the other end of the telephone. After a few minutes, she returned holding two steaming plates of fettuccini aflredo and balancing a basket of garlic bread in the crook of one arm. "That was Detective Briscoe on the phone," she told him as she set down the plates.
"He said to tell you that someone's stolen the Rani's TARDIS from the evidence locker, and that a police woman was later found unconscious and missing her uniform in the ladies' room." The Doctor sighed. "Oh, and he also said to tell you 'Oy vey ismier, that miserable yente is on the loose again', whatever that means." Despite the bad news of the Rani's escape, he had to laugh. "So, tell me about your day playing cops and robbers with the NYPD," she invited. He took a sip of wine, twined some pasta around his fork, and began to talk. He told her everything, beginning with his and Angelina's trip to the museum the previous morning up to materializing in the living room an hour before, pausing only long enough for Tegan to clear away their empty dishes and bring out pieces of chocolate cake and cups of coffee spiked with anisette. By the time he was finished talking, the cake had been consumed, the coffee was drunk (and Tegan was half-drunk, but that's another story) and the candles had burned nearly all the way down.
"What a sad story," Tegan finally said. "He really loved her and then that bitch the Rani had to come along…" She sighed. "And what she said to you when they arrested her! I wish I'd been there… I'd have popped her right in the nose!"
"I bet you would have at that," the Doctor said, giving her a fond smile. He looked down at his plate, idly pushing his remaining bite of cake around with his fork. "This incarnation is different from my others," he said quietly. "Last time around, what she said this morning wouldn't have bothered me a bit; I'd have laughed it off, and probably said something even nastier about her genetic weave in return. But not now." He looked up at her. "I seem to feel everything more deeply, and I've done things I'd have never even thought of doing before. I'm more… I don't know, more…"
"Human?" she asked, raising her eyebrows. He nodded silently. "I'm glad to hear it," she said with a smile. She stood and held out her hand.
"What about the dishes?" he asked, frowning.
"The dishes can wait," she said, and blew out the candles.
Later, in bed.
She propped herself up on one elbow to look down at him in the dimness of the candlelit room.
"You're so different," she murmured. "And yet just the same." He laughed.
"I feel the same about you," he said, moving his head a bit so he could look up at her. "Both of our bodies have changed."
"Having a baby will do that to a person… and so will getting older," she told him. "Not that you'd know about either of those!" She used two fingertips to trace the line of his cheekbone. "I suppose I'll get used to it eventually, the new face, the new body."
"I hope so," he replied. "I don't plan to change them anytime soon!" She laughed. He was shorter than the Doctor she remembered, and his body wasn't muscular or athletic; once she'd gotten those baggy clothes off of him, she had been surprised to see that he was thin, almost gaunt beneath them. And once she'd gotten him into bed, she had found that there was a new tenderness in him, and a fierce passion that she couldn't reconcile with her memories of her Doctor, who had undoubtedly loved her, but had always somehow remained unreachable even during their most intimate moments together. More human, indeed, she thought, and saw him smile.
"What are you thinking about?" he asked, turning on his side to face her.
"Your eyes changed just then," he told her. "As though you'd had a really wonderful idea." She grinned.
"Maybe I have," she said, and he laughed when she pushed him over onto his back.
Later, in bed.
She was snuggled up against him; she knew she had to be making him uncomfortably warm with her body heat, but so far he hadn't complained. She had been surprised to feel a vague tug of jealousy when he'd spoken of his adventures with Briscoe and Green over the past two days. Though she had often been confused, lonely, and frightened half out of her wits during her travels with the Doctor, she had to admit that there were times when she missed the excitement, when she missed waking up wondering where they would go and what they would see that day… and what kind of trouble they'd get into, and how they'd get out of it. And him. Most of all, she had missed him. Angelina is grown now, she mused. And very successful. I certainly don't have to worry about her any longer…
"Doctor," she said quietly.
"Mmm," he replied.
"I've been thinking," she began.
"So have I," he said with a little laugh. "Go ahead, what were you thinking about?"
"No, you first," she told him.
"Are you sure?" he asked.
"Absolutely. I'm curious whether we've had the same thought." He frowned.
"That would be interesting," he said musingly. "You see, I've been thinking about how much more special this is with someone I really love." She blinked.
"What?" He didn't seem to notice the change in her voice.
"When I slept with Benny – "
"Who's Benny?" she asked, pulling away from him. He suddenly realized that he might be in trouble.
"Bernice Summerfield. A companion. She traveled with me for awhile." He tried a friendly smile. "You know, like you did." Almost before the words were out of his mouth, he knew that they had been the wrong thing to say.
"So I was just the first in a long line?" she asked angrily, backing away from him. He sat up in the bed.
"No, Tegan, it wasn't – "
"I see… I gave you a taste for it and when I left, you went on to bonk your subsequent companions too!"
"Tegan, that's not what – "
"After you, there was no one else in my life until tonight! No one!"
"That's not my fau – "
"And here you were shagging everything with a pulse!" she shouted over him, getting up to look for her silk robe.
"You weren't the first in a long line of anything, Tegan!" He was almost yelling now. She found her robe and pulled it around herself, tying the belt with short, angry gestures. "It was just the one time. And just the one woman."
"But you had to wait until you came three times before you told me about it!" she shouted through furious tears, grabbing his clothes and throwing them at him. "Get out, you bastard. Get out and don't ever come back! I never want to see your face – any of your faces – ever again!" She stormed out of the room, and he heard the bathroom door slam.
"Well, that didn't quite go as planned," he said into the empty bedroom.
He finished buttoning his shirt as he walked into the darkened living room, his cravat loose around his neck and his brocade waistcoat and velvet jacket thrown over one arm. He pulled on the waistcoat and then held the jacket up, searching for something in its pockets. Finally finding the small scrap of paper with the phone number on it, he pulled the jacket on and went to the phone. Consulting the paper once, he picked up the phone and began pushing buttons. Angelina answered her cell phone on the fourth ring.
"It's me," he said.
"Oh, hi," she said. No matter how much or how little time had passed between encounters or conversations, she always greeted him the same way: Oh, hi. "I'm at dinner with Munch… a little steak place he likes in Tribeca."
"You call him 'Munch'?" he asked. She laughed.
"Everyone calls him 'Munch'! Wait, he wants to ask you something."
"All right." He heard the phone being handed over.
"Hello, Detective Munch. You wanted to ask me something?" He suddenly wondered if Munch were going to ask him for his daughter's hand in marriage. The thought made him sit down hard; luckily, he was standing in front of the sofa at the time.
"I was just wondering if you could tell me who really killed JFK," Munch said. The Doctor laughed with relief.
"I could tell you, but – "
"But you'd have to kill me?"
"Good grief no! I could tell you, but you wouldn't believe me!"
"Try me," Munch invited. The Doctor sighed.
"I don't believe you!"
"I told you that you wouldn't believe me!"
"But she died before he did!" The Doctor snorted.
"You humans will believe anything, won't you?"
"Wait, are you telling me – "
"Enjoy your dinner, Detective Munch. Put my daughter back on, would you?" He heard the phone being passed back to Angelina.
"Listen, I have to go. They're bringing the food."
"All right. I just wanted you to know that I'm leaving."
"Your mother and I had a fight."
"Another one? Whoa, there's a big news flash!"
"She told me to get out." Angelina snorted.
"She's told you to get out a hundred times before."
"Yes, well, this time she really meant it. I'm afraid I've hurt her very badly. I know you've got to get off the phone… I just didn't want to leave without saying goodbye."
"All right. I hope I see you again soon. And don't worry, whatever you did I'm sure Mum will get over it." The Doctor smiled sadly.
"I wish that were true," he replied softly.
"What was that? I didn't hear what you said."
"I love you, Angelina. And I will see you soon, I promise."
Three weeks later…
Unshaven and still clad in his robe and slippers, Andrew Parker opened the door and picked up the newspapers that were sitting on his doormat. The Supermodel and the Super Sleuth: Inside the Secret World of NY's Hottest Couple! blared the headline on the New York Post. He took the papers inside and shut the door. It had been three long weeks since Madame President Romana had personally returned him to his apartment not more than ten minutes after he'd left, three long weeks of going through the motions of living without any enjoyment. He had called off work this particular morning because he didn't think he could face leaving his apartment; a remote part of his brain recognized the symptoms of severe clinical depression, but he didn't seem to have the energy or the desire to do anything about it. He put the newspapers down on the kitchen table. The cats wound around his legs, meowing. He dumped some Cat Chow into their bowls and realized vaguely that he would have to go out at some point that day; he was nearly out of cat food. He supposed that it was a good sign that he was not yet so far gone that he would neglect his pets… their pets, he thought, and his eyes filled with tears. He and Eva had acquired the cats together one by one, the orange tabby from a shelter, the calico from the veterinarian's office where she'd been abandoned, and the little brown one from a vacant lot where she'd been looking for food. He sighed and sat down at the table, preparing to escape from his troubles for a little bit anyway by losing himself in the mindless gossip about the supermodel and her policeman. There was a knock at the door. "Probably another UPS delivery for Mr. Babbage across the hall," he muttered to himself. The knocking became more insistent. "All right, all right, I'm coming!" He walked out into the living room and pulled the door open. A tall woman stood in the hallway. She had long straight chestnut hair that fell down past her waist and dark hazel eyes that danced with joy. When she saw him, she smiled brilliantly.
"Hello, Andy," she said. He blinked.
"Do I know you?" he asked, frowning. Still smiling, she held up her left hand. On its third finger was a $10,000 diamond and platinum engagement ring from Tiffany & Co.
"Explain this to me again," he said. They were sitting at his kitchen table with cups of coffee in front of them. The cats, who almost always hid from strangers (their behavior the day the Doctor and the detectives had paid their visit had been an odd exception) wound themseves around her legs, purring. "How could you have regenerated? The M.E. autopsied your body, for God's sake!"
"It's not a regeneration, Andy," she said patiently. "I explained to you before where new Time Lords come from, remember?"
"Yeah, they're loomed," he said, nodding. "I remember."
"Good. Now, they've developed a new technique… it's still experimental. In fact, I'm their first test case ever."
"Go on," he said, taking a sip of coffee.
"They looked up the genetic weave they used when they first loomed me, and rewove the pattern with memories they were able to take from my mind. It's not perfect; I'm missing huge chunks of my memory and there's nothing to be done about it. But I remember you, and I remember the life we had together, so I am content. I know I don't look the same as I did before; the Time Lords knew I would want to return to you and thought it best if you didn't have to try to explain how Eva Newton had miraculously risen from the dead. But it's me inside, and I hope you can get used to this new body in time." She reached across the table and took his hand. "Can you?" she asked, suddenly sounding unsure and worried. He stood and went to her.
"New body?" he asked, opening his arms. She stood, and he pulled her into a tight embrace. "What new body? I only see you."