Chapter 3: Pretty Little Secrets

Fitz smoked a cigarette before stepping back inside, trying to stifle his coughing afterward as he held his chest until the burning pain stopped. He really should quit, but he supposed it was already too late for that anyway.

He and Jack had been given a room to share, in a cozy round stone house at the edge of the village. He thought for sure that the Doctor and River were right next door. Together. Fitz placed a hand on the wall for a few moments, as though trying to sense their presence, then took off his shoes and socks. Jack was already sitting on his own grass-filled mat beside him, ready for bed. Watching with hungry eyes as Fitz took off his shirt.

Part of him suddenly felt like he was about to star in some sort of gay porn, but Jack just said goodnight, sounding pretty damn depressed about it, then turned around, facing the wall.

He looked so fucking tragic that Fitz couldn't resist.

Moving over to sit on the mat beside him, Fitz ran a hand over Jack's bare shoulder. Jack gave a little moan, leaning into his touch for moment. Fitz kissed his neck, lightly, embracing him. Trailing nibbles up to his ear, he let his guitar-calloused fingers make their way across Jack's smooth chest.

"Fitz..." Jack said softly, regretfully.

He took Jack's chin, turned him to capture his mouth in a kiss. Jack tasted like no one else, and considering the number of humans, and aliens, he'd shagged from across all of space and time that was saying a hell of a lot.

"Don't," Jack whispered, as Fitz let his touch wander lower.

Fitz pressed himself close, desperate for Jack's warmth, for the feel of his body.

"You don't want to have anything to do with me, Fitz," Jack said, grabbing Fitz's wrist in a hard grip. "Trust me. Bad things happen to people who know me."

Fitz broke into a wry grin. "Heh. That's never stopped me before."

Jack pushed him away a little roughly. "I said goodnight and I meant it."

With a shrug, Fitz bounced back to lie on his own mat, still smiling. "Your loss, mate. You know where to find me if you get lonely."

Jack just watched him, kept watching him. Actually it was starting to creep Fitz out a bit. Probably would have creeped him out a lot worse before he spent 15 years of his life in love with a brooding, charming, melancholic alien. Who happened to be a bloke.

"You remind me too much of someone I loved," Jack said finally, in a quiet, sorrowful voice.

Fitz sat up cross-legged and kept smiling. "You too, mate. Except you don't stop loving them, do you, just cause they're gone. Not really."

Jack sighed. "No, I guess not."

And with that Jack turned around to face the wall. Whether Jack slept or not, Fitz didn't know. He fell asleep as soon as he closed his eyes.

They sat at the edge of the beach, watching the stars. Holding hands just a little too casually for the Doctor to feel at all relaxed. Instead, as River leaned against him, he felt a jittery sort of excitement. It was hard to sit still, feeling her breathing as she cuddled against his chest. It felt a little too natural for comfort.

Which frankly didn't make any sense at all.

"Remember the pink oceans of Alumbria?" River asked wistfully, snaking an arm across his back to completely encircle him in her warm embrace.

"Yeah, and all the fish glow blue," he said with a smile, resting his chin against the top of her head, enjoying the honey smell of her gorgeous curls.

"We should go back there one day," she said with a little yawn.

He rubbed River's shoulder. "You sound rather a bit tired, Dr. River Song."

"So it's true. I am going to be a doctor after all!" she said with a chuckle. "How exciting."

It was just a little spoiler, he told himself, and tilted her head upwards to stare into her hazel eyes. Blimey, she was young. They almost always traveled in opposite directions to each other, but every once in a while, he would run into her out of order. Usually later in her life, for the most part.

But not this time. This River still had so much ahead of her. So early. Maybe still in her 20s. He stroked her cheek. Really soft. Yet she was always soft, wasn't she? He still remembered the first time River had stroked his face, all the way back in The Library, when he'd been younger and foolish and always emotional, and she as old as she would ever get. Still just as beautiful. He'd felt that strange, exciting, uncomfortable thrill at her touch, a sensation that still hadn't quite gone away.

He wanted to kiss her, he'd already kissed her, would kiss her, one day, would feel himself entangled in her arms. But had that happened already, for this River? He'd hate to spoil things for her.

And then she kissed him, so suddenly, so surprisingly, that he almost burst out laughing. Instead, he kissed her right back, for long, dazzling minutes. Time simply crawling by as he tasted her.

Then her hand slid up his thigh, and he was not prepared to feel her fingers grip him through his tight black pants. He leapt to his feet.

"Right!" he began, pacing, ignoring the hurt look that crossed her face as best he could. "So Easter Island has a new god. Or more precisely, a new goddess."

River stood and pulled her hair back in a quick ponytail, suddenly brisk. All business. Good girl. She was always so great at keeping up with him.

"That's what I came to investigate," she said, brushing the sand from her black jumpsuit.

"And how did you find out about that exactly, River Song?"

He eyed the dark leather satchel hanging from what he'd come to fondly think of as her utility belt. Like the comic book superheroes wore, slung so casually over her lovely hips. He wondered if her diary was hidden away in there, full of the secrets of his future.

She smiled at him. "Spoilers," River said in that teasing, playful voice.

The Doctor stepped very close to her, and spoke in a low voice. "But you know exactly who we're facing, don't you?"

River said nothing.

"Come on," he said in a whisper, mouth so close to her ear his lips brushed across her skin. "You can tell me. You always tell me, don't you? In the end?"

She pulled away and shook her head. "Not always. And not this time."

The Doctor strolled off to look across the ocean before replying, sounding cross. "What's so different about this time?"

River said nothing, but stood beside him and took his hand.

He looked at her and sighed. "You just expect me to trust you, then? As usual. Stumbling along into mystery and danger while you keep all those pretty little secrets to yourself."

"Sounds about right."

"You know, River, I'm starting to think this isn't exactly the healthiest relationship I've ever been in."

"Oh, but where would be the fun in that?"

Breakfast consisted of fresh fruit and juice, served by pretty native girls wearing grass skirts and shell necklaces and nothing else. Fitz could definitely get used to a life like this. With the right company, of course. With the Doctor, suddenly feeling as if all those years apart never happened, for either one of them.

And they had certainly spent an awful lot of time apart. Still, Fitz didn't regret skipping ahead after the first destruction of Gallifrey. He couldn't go through with that again, after Mum. Spent most of his life before the Doctor watching her fall apart. Staying behind with him would have meant spending the rest of his life taking care of an amnesiac madman, tortured, angry, and absolutely unhinged. As the Doctor had been for decades.

He'd told Fitz stories, long afterward. Of Victorian asylums, madhouses, hospitals. Of ranting in alleys in the rain, screaming out to the stars, of days spent alone in boarding houses, simply staring at the walls, too numb to do anything else. Trickles of the past had seeped through, describing their century apart. Whispered stories told while safe and warm in bed, pained confessions hissed out in regret while imprisoned and awaiting certain death, even bitter memories shared as they prepared for battle, late in the last great Time War. After everything, the Doctor could still surprise him. More to know than could ever be shared. Fitz's eternal mystery.

And he was back now as another man, brilliant and friendly and in love with someone else. Found and lost at the same time.

Fitz watched them, couldn't help it. The young old Doctor, full of mad, jittery energy, and his flirty, mischievous bird, all curves and bouncy curls and pretty eyes that knew too much.

Yeah, he'd seen that before. Lived through that before, seeing the Doctor love someone else. Bloody hell, he'd watching the Doctor marry someone else, for Christ's sake. Seeing him flirt was nothing.

"So it seems to me that what we really need to do is find this Temple of the Mother," the Doctor said casually, ignoring the Ariki's glare.

"Sure thing, Doc," Fitz said, draining the last of his cup and wiping his mouth. "Where should be start?"

The Doctor smiled at him, a little gratefully, Fitz thought, and stood up. "Right then. Busy day and all that. Thank you again for the hospitality, my dear Ariki."

And with that he and River strode into the forest, ignoring the Ariki's protests. Jack and Fitz trailed behind. Fitz thought Jack looked especially haunted this morning. He wished there was something he could do, but Jack just kept pushing him away every time he tried to get him to open up.

They found River and the Doctor in the middle of an argument.

"Just let me see the tablets and I'm sure I can figure out the location," the Doctor said, sounding cross. "You've no reason to keep it from me. I'm only here because of you, so why won't you tell me what's going on?"

"As I was telling you last night before you childishly ran away until morning, there is nothing about the location of the temple on any of the tablets we excavated," River replied, continuing to walk and leaving the Doctor behind.

He ran to catch up with her, and circled around her as he argued. "So I'm just supposed to trust you blindly, and even though you know exactly what's going on, you're not going to tell me. Oh yes, isn't that just lovely?"

"I'm afraid there's a few spoilers that you'll simply have to find out as we go along."

"Gah!" the Doctor wailed, pulling at his hair. "If I never hear that word again it'll be too soon. River Song, you are absolutely maddening! I think I hate you."

"You don't," she said with a little grin.

Jack had fallen back to watch them, and Fitz lingered beside him.

"Do you think he actually trusts her?" Jack asked Fitz in a low whisper. "Because I don't think he does. And that means I don't trust her either."

"Hey, he's the Doctor. He knows what he's doing. Most of the time."

Jack simply stared at him for a few moments, before hurrying off after the Doctor, leaving Fitz to follow.

For those of you who haven't read the EDAs, yes, there was a time war before the Last Great Time War, which led to Gallifrey being pulled out of history and messing up the timelines in all sorts of crazy ways. Fitz and Eight played a huge role in it. At some point after the EDAs, Eight brought it back again through some crazy timey wimey nonsense that's never been properly explained. RTD himself described it as the difference between World War I and World War II, and I quite rightly defer to him on this. In my own personal canon universe, Fitz was with the Doctor through both, so don't worry about spoilers because half of the things he says/remembers are just my own wild speculation and fantasies!

But please, please, please tell me what you think! The more comments, the faster I update, heh...