Disclaimer: If I was making a profit from this story I wouldn't be babysitting my sister tomorrow, would I?
Summary: The story of Rose and her teenage son, as told through his eyes. And od course, the father. Can't forget the father, even if he has been a lifelong absentee. And given that Rose's son can multiply pi in his head, I think we can work out who the father is, don't you?
Might as well start with, to quote J.D. Salinger, all the 'David Copperfield crap', for want of a more arresting opening. Does make this whole process feel a bit like a labourious social networking site, apart from the fact that I'm not obliged to sell myself. Which is the key difference, because I'm crap at selling myself.
One of the main reasons for that is what I'm about to tell you – don't laugh – my name is Gallifrey Tyler.
Well, now I've had chance to think about it, you probably can laugh if you want. It's be hard not to when you're faced with someone introducing themselves with a stupid name like Gallifrey, so really I reckon it's only reasonable. I don't ever get called Gallifrey, though, mainly because I'd get beaten up verbally or physically whenever they took the register at school. As Gallifrey or any abbreviations thereof (Gall? Gallie?) will ultimately result in my crucifixion, I go by Ty, (abbreviated version of Tyler. Handy, eh?) Everyone calls me that, even my Gran. She agrees with me about the name, because she's a sane, if fairly vocal, human being.
I've spent the last seventeen years giving my mum the benefit of the doubt about my her lapse of sanity when she named me, and assumed that she was a bit screwy on epidural at the time and didn't come back down to Earth until it was too late. She's not the kooky, New Age-y type, my mum. You'd expect her to call her kid Tom or Joe or something equally inoffensive, instead of something that sounds like a Lord of the Rings character ('Tis the elf Gallifrey! He has the Ring of Power! Egad!) so it must have been a case of being pumped full of happy pills. Or, as my suspicion has been in recent years, it's something to do with my Dad, but that's rocky territory that I prefer not to enter, so I tend to go for the epidural option. It was only when I was about twelve that I realised that my mum goes all weird and quiet when I start harping on about my name, so I do it a lot less now. Granted, I still have lapses of bitching about it occasionally, but not quite as much as I did. Which is probably a good thing, because there was a point when I talked of little else. Probably a complex.
Apart from her outstanding display of idiocy when it came to naming me, my mum isn't half bad. She's not your stereotypical chavtastic single mother package, living in some grim council flat, complete with a stringy of dodgy blokes and a drink problem. Yeah, we live in a flat, but that's because it'd be stupid to have anything bigger with just the two of us, and it's a nice high rise one on the South Bank. She has got a bit of a council estate accent, I suppose, but she does her best to iron it out for work, and most people are none the wiser. At home she plays it pretty fast and loose with the dropped 'g's and 'innit's, but that doesn't mean anything particularly, unless you're feeling snobby. She's had occasional boyfriends over the years, of course, some of whom I've even liked, but she hasn't ever been in love with any of them, which I put down to her having been so utterly and irrevocably screwed over by my father (who, if you hadn't guessed, has been missing in action for my entire life). No booze problem either, unless you count getting giggly after one Baileys too many at Gran's Christmas party. And let's face it, when you're listening to my Gran singing karaoke, intoxicated is that best way to be.
Everyone's always very interested when they hear that my mum works for Torchwood, and is pretty high up there (high up enough to have a reserved parking space, which for her was the most exciting thing about the job). It's not really that special apart from that, to be honest, and she's always saying she's fed up with all the bureaucracy and narrow mindedness and she ought to go freelance. Dunno how far she'd get running a freelance alien detecting institute from our front room. Not that she ever will, because I think she's got a lot of ties to the place, whether or not she'll admit it. Plus, I reckon she feels that she owes it to Grandad's memory to stick with the place. Personally I reckon that's stupid and he'd much rather she was happy, but try telling her that. My mum is the most stubborn person I know, apart from myself, and I don't have to worry about arguments with myself. For the most part. There's always the 'Do I really need to eat another banana?' internal debate, but the less said about that, the better.
My careers advisors suggested that I apply to Torchwood myself for a career when I leave school, because apparently what she calls my 'confidence' combined with the ability to multiply pi in my head is just what Torchwood look for in new recruits. Of course, what she calls confidence, my Gran calls 'being a gob on a stick', and I'd rather invite the army to use my balls for target practice than go and work for a corrupt, fucked up institute like Torchwood.
Oh, I do have a job, after school and at weekends. I work in the back room of a second hand DVD player shop, fixing other people's buggered up DVD players. The money's crap but we're not exactly skint, and anyway, I like fixing stuff, the more broken and complicated the better. I'd rather drop school and work at the shop full time, but my mum goes steely eyed whenever I bring the subject up, and gives me a lecture about how she'll be damned if I become a dropout the way she did. I don't know why it bothers her, because it doesn't take A levels to see she's clever, and she's done fine without them. But like I said, stubborn as hell. So I'm stuck, doing my A levels and bored out of my skull. All of my teachers assumed I'd do all sciences and become a doctor or something, but I don't like people in general enough to try and get along with them, especially when I'm trying to stop their privates being ravaged by necrotizing fasciitis. And anyway, I don't like doing what people expect me to do. Often I'll go out of my way to avoid it, which led to my bow tie phase, and also meant that I kept Latin for GCSE against my better judgement.I kept physics, because nuclear fusion makes me smile, but I dropped the others and took art and history instead, because I liked them and because I could. I like drawing cogs and the inner workings of machines, and my girlfriend Cassie when she's asleep. Those drawings aren't included in my coursework sketchbook, though. I'd thought a bit about keeping Maths as well, but then I decided that it really wasn't worth it, given the stick I constantly get from my teacher about not setting out my working when using the quadratics formula. When I point out that I don't use the poxy formula because I don't need the poxy formula, as nine times out of ten the answer would be painfully obvious if anyone actually bothered to use some logic, she has the most ridiculous hissy fits and accuses me of cheating. Mum laughed when I told her.
"You must run rings around the poor woman. Try to humour us mere humans, sweetheart. We mean well."
All my life it's been my mum's little joke that I'm actually an alien (it's not the best joke in the world but she enjoys it), due to my little condition. Well, some might argue that it's more along the lines of a gigantic condition, but they're just narrow minded and confined by traditional organ proportions.
Because, you see, I have two hearts.
Yeah, that's right. Deux. Dos. Two full sized, fully functional hearts. Yeah, I'm beating out a constant samba, baby.
When I was little, it never even occurred to me that it wasn't one hundred percent normal. I thought, yeah, two lungs, two kidneys, two ears, two… well, never mind… so why not two hearts? By the time I'd realised that it wasn't exactly considered the status quo, my mum had told me about people with three kidneys or one lung or whatever, and basically my spare heart was just a foetal fuck up. She didn't call it that though, obviously. She called it 'special', which is usually a euphemism for 'disability', but it's not like it does me any harm. I just keep quiet about it, because some Doctors might disagree, or try to filch the spare one for an organ donation. I don't even think my Gran knows. My girlfriend nearly had a corany when she first gave me a hug, though.
Cassie is my first what you might call 'serious' girlfriend, only serious is not a phrase that is often used in conjunction with her, because she is literally incapable of taking anything seriously, ever. But whatever you want to call it, we've been going strong and steady for eight months now. I've even met her parents, which was fucking scary. But she's a cool girl, and I care a hell of a lot about her. She's not like me – by which I mean she doesn't have my superior intellect (which, with my roguish charm, makes for a killer combination), but she's what I'd call emotionally intelligent. She takes Sociology, Drama and Music, because Sociology and Drama are piss easy, and music's the only thing she cares about particularly. She plays the cello and the piano, and she's always writing funny little songs and playing them to me down the phone at two in the morning. She's got a piano in her bedroom, and often I'll go round there and watch her play the piano for hours.
I do realise that this entire rant has been, thus far, a massive series of tangents, but a continuous set of tangents creates a perfect circle, and so we arrive back at the David Copperfield crap. I'm Gallifrey Tyler, call me that at your peril, I live in central London with my mum, and I like quantum physics, bananas, converse trainers and chips. I hate pears, Art Deco, people treating fictional characters like they're real (i.e. So what was Iago's motivation?) and the complete body of work of Coldplay (I think it's cruel to tread on kittens, add a piano riff and and some whimpy snare drumming and then call it music). My mother and I exist within what has always been pretty harmonious existence, apart from the occasional spat about my time keeping abilities. Or lack thereof.
I shut the front door very, very quietly, hoping agaist hope that Mum didn't wait up, although it was a pretty futile hope considering that I knew full well she always waits up, absolutely without fail. It's one of the few things that she's pretty strict about. There aren't many things – she'll let me have Cassie over for the night if she's going to be away (I wouldn't particularly want her over for the night if my mum was going to be around) and she's said she doesn't mind if I take my allowance straight out of her purse, but she's really very hot on lateness. She worries a lot, I think. It's like she trusts me not to start injecting China White heroin into my eyeballs, or run off to join the circus, but she just doesn't trust the world enough to keep me safe. The problem is, I really am completely shit at being on time.
"Where've you been?"
She doesn't take her eyes off the screen, which is a sign that this could either turn into a full scale shouting march or a casual reprimand, depending on how good I am. If she takes her eyes off that telly I'm completely dead.
"The pub," I replied truthfully. It's actually very hard work lying to my mum, because she can read me like a book.
"How come they served you?"
"I had a coke."
I don't think she believes me, but I'm actually telling the truth. I don't really like alcohol that much. Don't like the taste. When I say so people tend to laugh and inform me condescendingly that the taste isn't the point. I think it is, though. If you're going to destroy a load of brain cells it ought to be for a good reason, which is why my feelings on alcohol do not extend to the banana daquiris. But I'm not exactly going to order one of those on a Friday night at the Albert, am I?
"You should go to bed, Mum."
She looks exhausted. Often she won't remember that she does in fact need to go to bed in order to prevent passing out on her desk at work, so I have to remind her. It's in ways like that that she actually takes quite a bit of looking after. Not that she's fragile, or anything. She's one of the strongest people I've ever met, and she'd probably deck you for suggesting otherwise. Yeah, she cries during news footage of Darfur and sad episodes of Coronation Street, or when I actually remember Mother's Day and make her breakfast in bed, but when it counts she's tough as old boots. She was strong for Grandad right up until the end, even when the chemo made things really bad, and she's been coping with Gran leaning on her for the last two years. And hell, she's even coped with bringing me up without bashing my head against the floor repeatedly, and personally I reckon there's no better evidence for inner strength than that.
And yes, I do realise that throughout this David Copperfield crap I've come across as a complete Mama's boy. There's a very good reason for that, the reason being that I completely am. When you're a geeky little fucker (well, not little. Very tall, actually. Six two or six three) living in a single parent/only child household, you do grow up pretty tight. I mean, we've got Gran, but mum and I have a knack of always being on the same wavelength in conversation, and Gran's always talking about something different (i.e. TK Maxx, her mate Kerry, and so on). Mum asked Gran to move in with us after Grandad died of course, but Gran said no, she'd coped with being alone before and she could still do it. Not quite sure what she meant by that, but I was sort of relieved. Mum doesn't fuss in the way Gran does, and although it's heartless, I do think that Gran would have disrupted what is currently a fairly chilled out existence. I honestly don't know what I'm going to do when it comes to moving out and stuff, because I don't know if Mum would cope on her own. But on the other hand, I don't exactly want to end up like some weird, physics loving version of a Norman Bates figure. For now, though, we'll stay tight. We get takeaways together and watch Scrubs together. She buys me clothes and I even wear them sometimes, and we get along fine. I know some people think it's a bit weird to be close to your mother when you're a seventeen year old guy, but that's the best thing about growing up with my mum. She raised me firmly instilled with the knowledge that I don't have to give a toss about what other people think, and that's served me well my entire life. I remember when I was about eight, coming home from school crying because this kid had been picking on me. Because of my name, of course. She'd grabbed me tightly by the shoulders and looked me straight in the eye, and asked me if I actually cared what a snotty little bastard like Jamie Wright thought. She didn't say snotty little bastard, but her tone definitely implied it.
And because it was a genuine question rather than an accusation or a reproach, it actually got me thinking. And in the end I realised that no, I didn't actually care what Jamie Wright thought about my name, and therefore Jamie Wright could never upset me again. I was untouchable, and that was the most powerful armour that anyone could have given me.
I still thought Gallifrey was a stupid name, though. Jamie did have a point.
"You're right, love. I promise I will go in a bit."
She stood up, and gave me a kiss on the cheek, ruffling my hair up. I made the perfunctory groaning noise and looked at her seriously, taking in the purple bags underneath her eyes.
"I mean it. Sleep. It's good. Helps the cells regenerate."
She rolled her eyes.
"Don't use science to boss me about, horrible child. I'm still your mum."
"Sure you are."
I've got no idea what I mean by that, but if I say it whilst widening my eyes crazily and speaking in a psycho voice, she gets really freaked out. Sometimes.
"Go to bed."
Not tonight, apparently.
A/N: This is my first Doctor Who multichaptered fic, although I've done a few one-shots in this fandom. Hope you enjoy.