That was Koschei's first observation upon waking up. His chest ached, his ribs sent stinging sensation through his body, and there was overall just a sense of pain. He remembered being in his cell, waiting, when a large shock had come from the collar. Surely if he was dead he shouldn't have been hurting so much? Then again hell wasn't supposed to be roses and sunshine, was it?
No, he wasn't in hell. There was a noise… One two three four, just by him. A wave of dread passed through him. Had the drums returned or had the past week just been a hallucination? What if he was still back in that cell on Gallifrey? The chains shouldn't have allowed him enough room to lie down though and he couldn't feel the familiar burning of the metal around his wrists and neck. Where the hell was he?
It took a moment but he slowly realized the noise was a heart monitor. Definitely not Gallifrey then and the Freak wouldn't have killed him just to bring him back. Perhaps he'd regenerated. He wasn't strong enough though and even if he had the heart monitor wouldn't make any sense.
He felt a warm hand grasp his and suddenly he remembered. The Doctor had come and taken him back to the TARDIS, saved his life… But why would he do that if he'd taken him to Torchwood in the first place? Unless he honestly didn't want him dead ad had realized what Jack would do. He growled mentally. None of this was making any sense!
Opening his eyes with a groan he turned his head. As he'd thought the Doctor was there, staring forward blankly. He clearly hadn't heard, which gave Koschei a bit of time to regain his bearings.
He heard his heart beats speed up slightly as he fully entered the waking realm. He groaned again, propping himself up on one arm. Finally the Doctor looked down, emerald eyes wide. After a seconded he sighed in relief, body slumping forward.
"I thought you weren't going to make it for a while there," he said, a goofy grin spreading across his face. "Should have known better, eh? Takes more than a heart stopping to keep you out. You'll always come back."
Koschei's brow furrowed in confusion at the statement. He couldn't imagine why the Doctor would be so relieved with his survival except that perhaps it was one less death on his conscience. That had to be it.
"When-" he cleared his throat, hating how weak he sounded, voice barely making it above a whisper. "When are we leaving?" Much better. He almost sounded like himself there.
The brunette shrugged. "Whenever you feel ready, I s'pose." Koschei let out a small sigh, slumping down into the bed. To the very least he wouldn't have to leave in his current state. Which brought up another question…
"Torchwood Two, UNIT, or uninhabited planet?" He asked and the Doctor's grip on his hand seemed to tighten.
"What?" Koschei shrunk back slightly at the low tone.
"You're going to drop me off somewhere," he said, tone slightly sarcastic. "I would just prefer to know where." The Doctor's eyes widened and for some reason he looked shocked. Koschei couldn't imagine why - it was a good question.
He expected an answer like "I'm not sure yet," or you'll have to see". What he didn't expect was the near scandalized look on the other Time Lord's face.
"You aren't going anywhere!" He said quickly. "I mean, obviously if we end up landing somewhere you're welcome to come if you want, but you aren't… Koschei, what made you think I was sending you off? I told you, you don't have to leave unless you want to." He looked almost hurt at the assumption and Koschei bristled.
"Well, considering you already pawned me off on Captain Freak…" He said, acid layering his tone as he sat up, pointedly ignoring the pain flashing through his chest. The Doctor looked slightly offended for a moment before his shoulders fell.
"Kosch," he said with the utmost sincerity. "Jack found out that the TARDIS was here from the rift activity and Rory mentioned you at a coffee shop he was at. He drugged me before I could explain and you were gone when I woke up." His gaze went downward for a second, thumb stroking the back of Koschei's hand where it was still in his grasp. "I should have been faster. If I'd been able to start talking a little faster."
It was that that made Koschei giggle. Just quietly, his shoulders shaking slightly with nervous tension. His hearts sped up, he cold hear it from the monitor. "N-no," he muttered through the giggle fit. "He-he said. You might've regretted it after but you did. I knew you would and you did and why wouldn't you? It makes sense. No one, not even you, would just… trust me!" The nervous giggled turned to panicked breaths and the Doctor held his hand tightly, bringing it up in his.
"Did he ever say that I did?" Koschei clearly wasn't listening. "Kosch! Listen to me!" The blonde's head snapped up, eyes wide. "There we go. Now Kosch, did Jack ever say that I sent you there? I don't mean implied - I mean in actual words." Koschei took a deep, shuddering breath and shook his head. The Doctor smiled softly. "Don't you think he would've brought it up if I had? You know he would've, Kosch; he's human. I did not "pawn you off on him". I promise." The younger man nodded slowly, wariness still in his gaze. The Doctor's grin widened. They'd get there eventually.
There was a moment of silence and Koschei glanced down at their still joined hands.
"You know how gay this makes us look, right?" He snakred playfully.
The Doctor laughed.
A/N: *does little dance* Longest fic, most reviews, and second ever finished! I am a very happy panda right now. ^_^ And finished while waiting for mom to get off the phone with her dad so we can head off to the earlier mentioned Bookstore (which certainly deserves the capitalization). I'm quote pleased at the moment.
I'm thinking of doing a series of one-shorts to go with this for the "getting there". Snippets from the rest of season six and the like, you know? Obviously I need encouragement to do so though... ;) There'll be a poll on my profile if you guys are interested.
So... yeah. Finished fic is finished. Huge thanks to everyone that reviewed, alerted, and faved. Swag of all sorts is avaliable in the TARDIS wardrobe - take what you like.
(Also, slightly smalled thanks to smiles2go. I know you never would've read this if I handed PMed you and abashedly asked for your opinion, so thanks for continuing to read when, really, you didn't even have to read the first two chapters, let alone keep going for the rest.)
Say goodbye, Koschei!
Koschei: *waves sarcastically* Thank God it's over.
p.s. The ending can be interprited any which way for thoes who don't like slash. Keep check of what type of goggles you wear. ;)