Virtues of Voyeurism
Adam Mitchell couldn't sleep and he blamed it on the TARDIS.
The sentient ship just seemed to buzz and echo with life and even when the lights were off and all was dark, he could hear the hum of electricity and the burr of engines and it was driving him crazy.
He pushed the thick duvet off his bed and threw on his t-shirt, heading for the doors in the hope of finding something to make him either fall back to sleep or to occupy him until it was safe to emerge from his room.
The Doctor had told him, after all, that if he asked one more question he was going to be flushed out of an airlock.
But how could he not ask questions when he was surrounded by so much superior technology? All he could learn—all he could do with such wonderful advances were truly mind-boggling.
Maybe he could find Rose and convince her that he needed a little comfort; it was his first time in space, after all. He grinned as he walked down the corridor, trailing his hands over the walls. He felt slight warmth and snatched his hand back, realising that he was, in essence, caressing the ship.
Adam heard voices and smiled realising that the Doctor and Rose would both be up and he could go and say good morning.
He reached the door and peered inside, trying to see what kind of mood the Doctor was in; although in his limited experience the Doctor only had two moods; annoyed and pissed off.
It took a moment for him to see anyone in the gloom of the darkened room and he frowned, peering at the two bodies on the floor.
He could clearly make out Rose glowing an odd sort of gold in the TARDIS light as she sat against the console. She was talking or humming and had the Doctor's head in her lap.
The Doctor was clutching at her knees, his shoulders hunched and tight as she rocked backwards and forwards in time to her humming. One of her hands was stroking his head and the other was rubbing his back, holding him tight to her.
It was a picture of love; of one person giving comfort and the other craving peace.
As Rose rocked the Doctor in her arms Adam suddenly felt so very alone in the universe. Even with all his A' levels and all his knowledge he'd never known love like this and probably never would. Suddenly all his flirting with Rose was so very childish and pointless. It would take a greater man to come between Rose and her Doctor.
Adam couldn't compete and he knew it.
He turned on his heel and left the man who needed real comfort and the one person in all the universe who could give it to him.
Captain Jack Harkness couldn't sleep and he blamed himself.
He had nearly caused the extinction of the human race through crass stupidity and mindless greed.
When had he slunk so low so as to think that that was a good idea? When had he gone from an honourable man to a con-man? Was it around the time that he had lost him memories or was just a catalyst for the type of cheap, scum-bag he really was inside?
His conscience, a long forgotten foe, screamed at him demanding to know what the hell he'd been thinking.
Jack had no answer and that, more than anything else, was the most damning thing of all.
He swung himself out of bed and yanked on a t-shirt, more for the sake of anyone he'd meet in his walk rather than any sense of modesty.
He didn't have any.
But if the Doctor caught him flashing that sweet bit of blonde fluff that he had around Jack would be introduced pretty swiftly to the airlock.
He rubbed his hand over his face as he walked down the long corridor, absently stroking his hand over the wall and feeling warmth drift into his fingertips. He smiled lazily thinking of all the uses of a sentient ship and let his grin widen when he heard voices.
Looked like he wouldn't have to be alone with his conscience anyway.
He had managed to find his way back to the control room and he halted, just outside the doorway as his eyes took in the scene.
He'd left Rose and the Doctor sitting on the plastic seats by the console talking about old adventures like a married couple.
Despite Rose's initial assertion that she considered herself very available, it had been plain to Jack as soon as he'd seen the Doctor that she wasn't.
It was also clear, despite the Doctor's truly amazing propensity for excruciatingly lame brush offs—resonating concrete indeed—that he was more than slightly into her too.
Jack had recognised the signs of two people in love, properly in love, and had backed off with only mild innuendo and flirting. He wasn't about to even attempt to come between actual feelings and emotions.
But there was more here than just the presence of love.
The music had drifted somewhat from the exuberant strains of Glen Miller to the low exotic seduction of jazz.
He watched as the Doctor and Rose stood almost suspended in time in the middle of the TARDIS, everything else forgotten as they held each other close, swaying gently to the smooth vocals of Ella crooning at them from somewhere above their heads.
Rose had her head tucked into the hollow of the Doctor's shoulder and the look on her face was one of utter contentment; she was exactly where she wanted to be.
As they turned slightly, Jack could see the Doctor's face and the sheer peace that was etched into those harsh features made his pulse freeze.
The Doctor looked more than serene, more than in love, more than content; he looked at home.
The Time Lord who had appeared so hard and scary to Jack; who had congratulated him on Volcano day and who had ordered the Empty Child to its room with fierce determination; who had sent Jack to his death, was gone and in his place was just a man.
A man holding the woman he loved.
Jack sighed and edged backwards, away from the tender scene. If his actions had pressed the Doctor and Rose a little closer, if his crass stupidity had made a Lord of Time a little less lonely; if his mindless greed had pushed a couple so much in love just that much closer to making it a declaration—then maybe, just maybe, his conscience would be appeased.
He turned on his heel and left the two of them alone, knowing that it was more than his conscience that would be soothed tonight.
Jackie Tyler couldn't sleep and she blamed the council.
It wasn't enough that they made these walls so thin that excited Christmas trees could cut through them, but they couldn't even fit the bloody windows so that the slightest draft didn't sound like the TARDIS was materialising in her room.
She got out of bed, throwing the thick duvet off and wrapping her silk nightgown around her before shoving her feet into pink fluffy slippers.
Normally she'd just walk around the flat with her knickers and t-shirt on but Rose would have her hide for doing that whilst the Doctor was around.
The New Doctor with the new face. He was such a different man and she could hardly believe that this cute, dapper new model was still the same grumpy sod that had kidnapped her daughter over a year ago.
He assured her that he was the same man but she couldn't quite see it; couldn't match the manic grin with the perpetual scowl; couldn't line up the flirty winks with the rolled eyes; couldn't align the witty quips with the sarcastic insults.
She wrapped her silk gown around her tighter and decided to make a cup of tea. She opened the door quietly and tiptoed down the hall not wanting to wake the Doctor if he was still asleep on the sofa.
But she could hear noises like voices and they weren't followed by canned laughter or cheesy music so it wasn't the TV.
Jackie crept over to the living room door and peered through the slight crack.
She'd thought Rose had gone to bed hours ago but it seemed that she couldn't sleep either.
Rose was sitting next to the Doctor on the sofa with the spare blanket wrapped around them both as they sat face to face. They were talking in low whispers, voices barely carrying in the still air of the apartment. Rose reached up and tucked the blanket around his shoulders, her soft smile growing as she plucked at the borrowed pyjama's he was wearing.
The new Doctor grinned back at her, his face almost flushing in embarrassment. He shrugged at something she said and then fixed her with an intent stare.
Rose ducked her head and looked away and he reached up, tenderly pushing a lock of hair away from her eyes and smiled.
It was a smile that caught at Jackie's heart, a smile that made her heart ache and a longing fill her. She wished someone would look at her like that, just once.
It was soft and it was tender and it was filled with peace and longing and desire and protectiveness.
It was love.
Jackie swallowed and backed away from the door, feeling an intruder in her own home. She'd seen that smile on another face, a harsher face with furrowed lines and shorter hair.
No matter what he said, it was that smile that showed her he was same man; a better model, perhaps with prettier packaging but he had the same intense love for her daughter and that was enough for her.
She turned on her heel and went back to her room, closing the door quietly so as not to disturb the new new couple.
Mickey Smith couldn't sleep and he blamed the food.
He knew that the TARDIS was old, very old, older even than time, the Doctor had said, what he didn't know was exactly how long that food had been in the fridge. Amidst all her travels with the Doctor Rose had never mentioned getting food poisoning.
But then again she had never mentioned being left behind on a space station or being attacked by space rats either. Seemed there was a lot about her adventures with the Doctor that Rose left out.
He fell out of bed, clutching his stomach and wondered if there was a medical bay on board somewhere, or at least a kitchen where he could get some antacids. He grabbed a jacket and edged out of his room and down the long corridor, not entirely sure which way would lead him the way he wanted to go. The Doctor had said that the TARDIS was empathic and could sense what he needed and would provide it if she was in the right mood; like any woman Mickey had joked and been promptly slapped by Rose.
Well, if the TARDIS knew what was good for him as well as for her interior design she'd direct him to someplace that would make his digestive system a little less dodgy.
He heard voices up ahead and allowed a sigh of relief, knowing that the Doctor could fix him up. Laugh at him first, sure, but he'd have some magic potion to deal with this.
Wait, that was Rose as well. Did he really want Rose to see him like this when he was falling way behind the Doctor on cool points anyway?
He peered around the door, wondering what they were doing.
Rose and the Doctor were stood face to face in a room that was filled with books. Each wall was lined with enough reading material to make any bookworm weep. But the two people standing in the middle of the room weren't reading, they were in intense discussion that seemed to border on an argument.
Mickey couldn't hear the words but caught the angry and hurt gestures that Rose was making and he had a pretty good idea what they were about. The Doctor still seemed as sad as he had been in the control room but he was listening to Rose now instead of brushing her off.
Rose shook her head angrily and looked away, her arms folded across her chest.
The Doctor moved into her space and placed both his hands on her shoulders, urging her with his body to look t him.
She tried to shrug him off but he was having none of it. One hand came up to cup her chin and lift her eyes to his.
Indignant and defiant, Rose stared at him dead in the eye and a slow smile seemed to drift across his face.
He ducked his head murmuring something quietly and Rose's stiff posture softened slightly. His hand curved around her cheek and his knuckles drifted back against her jaw line as he spoke in low tones, the sound sounding like cooing to Mickey who was straining to hear.
Rose gave a short shake of her head and the Doctor nodded sadly. With a sigh she leaned forward, into his caress and he laid his forehead on hers, bringing her into the circle of his arms where they just stood holding each other.
Mickey stepped back away from the door. There had been no kiss, no yelling or recriminations. He couldn't have even qualified that as an argument.
Despite leaving them both on a space station whilst the Doctor ran off to save another woman there was still a special kind of connection between the two of them. A link that Mickey couldn't even hope to reach let alone breach.
He turned on his heel and walked back down the corridor. He was still feeling sick, but the cause was nothing anyone could fix.
Pete couldn't sleep and he blamed the baby.
Little Brandon was entering the terrible two stage and Pete just couldn't get over how much his life had changed in the past few years.
He got out of bed, careful not to wake Jackie and slipped into his robe. He fastened the tie on the waist and crept out of the room, eager to see what the young tyke was playing at.
Four years ago he'd stood in this very hall and watched as Cybermen took his wife away to be killed, leaving him with a large empty house, no love and no potential for happiness other than revenge.
Now, four years later, he was stood here listening to the sounds of his baby son gurgling and giggling whilst the new version of his wife slept so close. He was head of his own business funded by the government and had a beautiful young daughter who loved him as much as he did her.
It was just a shame that she couldn't be as happy as he was.
He walked into the nursery and picked up Brandon who'd somehow got hold of a small plastic figure of a Cyberman and was cheerfully trying to knock it to pieces.
Pete smiled at the boy who was a chip off the old block and started to tell him about the big battle; one of Brandon's favourite bed-time stories. He'd barely gotten to the discovery of the rift when a sound broke the silence of the night. A wheezing, groaning sound that was familiar and ominous at the same time.
He heard a clatter of footsteps stomping downstairs and the slam of a door.
He cradled Brandon and stared out of the window as the TARDIS finished materialising and Rose flung open the back door.
The blue box opened and the Doctor stepped out, looking scruffy and ruffled in his blue suit. With an intense gleam in his eye he opened his arms wide and Rose bolted into them, grabbing the man and holding him tight. The Doctor picked her up and swung her around, his face in the crook of her neck.
A tinkling laugh carried up to the window, a sound Pete hadn't heard before and he saw Rose throw her head back in delight.
Then the Doctor put her down very carefully and pulled back, keeping his hands on her shoulders. He said something, low and quiet and stared into her eyes.
Rose paused and looked up towards the house where the shadow of Pete could clearly be seen. There was a sheen in her eyes as she stared at her dad and Pete just nodded, that laugh echoing around his head.
With a grateful smile Rose turned back to the Doctor who broke into a huge grin and crushed her against him.
Pete turned away and placed Brandon back in the cot, smoothing his hair over his forehead.
"See, Brandon," he whispered, "that's your happy ending."
He turned on his heel and went back to his room, knowing that Rose and the Doctor would still be there in the morning.
She wouldn't just up and leave then and there, she wasn't like that. She'd at least say goodbye and explain what she was doing.
But for now he'd heard that laugh and knew that she was as happy as he was.
He got back into bed, curled around Jackie and fell asleep.