Warnings: Shameless fluff, heh...
Summary: Jeff meets a man in a blue box who calls himself the Doctor. All he has to do is step in and the universe is theirs. Doctor!Nick
Author's Note: This is dedicated to hattler on Tumblr. He did this amazing, short drabble/image thing that inspired me to do this. I apologize for not updating Seasons of Love or Bitten yet. Well, here goes nothing.
Next Stop Anywhere
"It's bigger on the inside?" Jeff whispered, his breath catching in his throat. He wasn't sure where to look first. The center drew his eyes though – it was glowing a sort of aquamarine and humming as if it were alive. And the panel around it had knobs and buttons of every sort. He moved toward it, curiosity drawing him forward.
"So everyone says," the man replied, leaning back against the wall and smirking slightly.
Jeff looked back at him, and scowled. "Who's everyone?" The man gave him a curious look.
"Everyone who follows me, I suppose."
"Multiple people follow you?" he asked, glancing around as if expecting to see someone suddenly pop out and introduce himself. The man chuckled at his reaction.
"They're not here. They've all gone on to… other things." He said, almost wistfully. The man's eyes were hazy for a moment as if remembering something, but he shook his head. "But, yes, multiple people have followed me."
"Well, why?" Going up the steps, his eyes flickered up to the knobs. He wondered what all of them did.
"Why did you follow me?" Jeff opened his mouth, trying to think of a good answer, and closed it again. Why had he followed him? Hell, he didn't even know his name. When he had asked for it, the man had simply replied with The Doctor. And yet here he was, in his – whatever exactly this was – spaceship? Time machine?
"The thrill of the adventure…" he replied, though he bit his lip. That wasn't all. There was the mystery surrounding it all, the uncertainty, the idea that he could have something more – a peak what others only would dream of. All of it sounded fantastic. It wasn't that he didn't love the Warblers. Blaine, Wes, Thad – they were all good friends, but he wasn't that close to anyone. He didn't have the sort of friendship the others seemed to have. On top of that, he had always been afraid he'd never get out of here – middle-of-nowhere, Ohio.
And then there it was. He had been walking by himself down the street, shivering somewhat. It had been colder at night than he had expected, and his hands were shoved in his pockets in a desperate attempt to keep them warm. There had been a strange wooshing sound, and the box had just… appeared. For a moment he debated running away.
But there was nothing tying him here, and whatever had landed in front of him, he wasn't even sure whether he was meant to see it. He wasn't sure whether anyone was meant to see it. This sort of thing only happened in books. Things didn't just materialize out of thin air.
Before he had time to decide, the doors had swung wide open. Admittedly, he had jumped back, afraid for a moment. A man with unruly, mid-length brown hair and a strange sort of smile appeared at the doorway, and for a moment his head looked wildly around before settling on him. Jeff knew he should've been scared, yet he hadn't been. Instead he had been drawn in, walking towards the man he later uncovered to be the Doctor.
Jeff wasn't quite sure how he had ended up here exactly. But somehow he had followed him in, hours later as the sun had just started to rise again. His hand went up to his hair and he circled around the main controls. There were footsteps, and his eyes snapped back yet again to the Doctor. He was fixing his blue bow tie as he walked up, though his eyes never left Jeff.
"Can it really go anywhere?" Jeff asked, falling back against the railing.
"Any time, any place – you name it." Jeff bit the inside of his cheek, trying to think of somewhere special, somewhere beautiful.
"Where are you from?" he finally asked. He couldn't even tell if he was from another planet. He certainly looked human enough. But no simple human came out of nowhere in a blue police box. The Doctor's face darkened slightly, and he furrowed his brow.
"Somewhere far away."
"Is it pretty there?"
"Beautiful." There was no hesitation in the Doctor's reply.
"Could we go there?" he finally asked, afraid of the answer. The Doctor wasn't looking at him anymore, and he could tell from his expression that something wasn't right.
"No. It's… gone."
"Oh. I'm sorry." What was he supposed to say to that? Jeff moved in closer, his hand falling on the Doctor's back. The Doctor jumped a little and turned to face him. Yet again Jeff found himself puzzled at the age in the Doctor's eyes. If he had to guess by his general appearance, the Doctor was just a boy like him, seventeen. But there was no way a seventeen year-old would have eyes swimming with that many stories and secrets.
Jeff leaned forward slightly, drifting towards him. "Okay, so where do you want to go," the Doctor suddenly said, pulling back and moving toward the center. Jeff swallowed thickly and shook his head, glancing elsewhere, around the – whatever the Doctor had called it. His TARDIS, wasn't it? There were other staircases, leading who knew where.
There were several places he wanted to go. A part of him wanted to travel into the past. Another bit to the future. And if the Doctor was an alien, surely there were others. Some part of him wanted to go to some unknown planet. There was the sound of something being pressed, and the machine whirred into motion, shaking, its rumbling getting louder.
"I didn't tell you where!" Jeff shouted, feeling somewhat upset. Where was the Doctor going to lead him?
"Don't worry. It's where you want," the Doctor replied, grinning at him. Jeff couldn't help but smile back, though he shook his head quickly.
"How do you know?" he asked, yelling over the sound of the machine and clutching onto the railings. The shaking was getting pretty bad, and it was hard to stay standing. It tried to rock him back and forth, like a wild stallion trying to throw off a man from its back.
"Okay, then where do you want to go?" the Doctor yelled right back.
"Does it matter now?" the shaking came to a sudden stop, and the TARDIS was still. The humming disappeared, and Jeff pulled himself up.
"Just tell me where."
"I was going to say the moon." The Doctor rolled his eyes but beamed widely at him.
"You humans are always so predictable with your requests." Jeff scowled at him, wishing he'd been more original or creative with his request. Rolling his eyes, though, he started making his way towards the door before freezing. "What?"
"Don't we need space suits or something?" The Doctor laughed.
"No, we'll be fine within a certain limitation of the TARDIS." He nodded, feeling suddenly unsure.
What was he doing here? A part of him was afraid to open that door. What if he was still trapped in Ohio? What if this was all some joke, and after that small wave of hope he'd have to go back to his regular life? He'd believed it all so fast; it was possible that all of this was some strange dream or practical joke.
He pushed on the doors and let out a breath. There, right in front of him, was nothing but barren, white rock. Minutes ago he had been in Ohio, but now… He looked upward and froze. That was the Earth right there in front of him. It was strange looking at it, half-formed, floating in a pool of black. It was nothing more than a color blotch – as if someone had dropped blue, green, and white paints together and let them swirl. But it was his home. There were billions of people there right now, some looking out their windows where he was now.
"It's beautiful, isn't it?" Jeff jumped as the Doctor walked up to him, looking out at it as well.
"Yeah." The Doctor moved closer, and he felt him pressed up behind him. When he glanced back, his gaze was still at the Earth, though.
"It's funny, how that right there holds the entire human race. Can you believe it?" He shook his head and looked out at it again.
"How does no one know?"
"About you? About this? I mean, no one's done this before." He heard the Doctor chuckle behind him.
"People have gone to the moon before, Jeff. Are you failing your history class, by any chance?" He turned around, hitting him playfully.
"That's not what I meant. I know about Apollo 11. I'm not an idiot." The Doctor quirked his eyebrows as if skeptical, and Jeff glared.
"Sorry, I'm kidding. I'm sure you're very smart." He paused before adding, "I know what you meant. But people aren't supposed to know. Sometimes it's better if they didn't." Slowly nodding, Jeff mulled this over.
"I suppose that makes sense. And it wouldn't be quite as special if everyone knew about it. It wouldn't be an adventure anymore." His hand went back up to his hair and he stared at the earth for a moment longer. The Doctor's hand fell on his shoulder, and Jeff turned around.
"Do you want to come with me?" the Doctor asked.
"I thought I already had." The Doctor shook his head.
"No. I mean come with me everywhere. Be with me. It won't be like this. Sometimes it will be loud and horrifying and dangerous. But it will be exciting, and you'll see things beyond your imagination."
Jeff felt a light blush enter his cheeks. Did the man really think him that special? Did he really feel like he was worth sharing this secret with? He didn't know what to say. "I mean, I understand if you'd rather stay at home. You probably have friends and people you care about. I just thought…" In that moment, his eyes betrayed his loneliness, his desire for someone else.
"No. I want to. It's just out of everyone on that planet, I can't believe you're picking me to go along with you."
"I didn't pick you." Jeff's smile fell. "But I'd like to think there was a reason you're there. I'm glad you were." Jeff nodded, feeling a sort of warmth spread through him as he tentatively smiled again.
"I'm glad too." He threw a final glance out the door before closing it. The Doctor stared at him curiously for a moment before extending a hand. Jeff took it, looking away as their fingers entwined. They walked silently up to the center of the TARDIS, their arms pressed against each other. Jeff was glad to feel that the Doctor's palms were sweaty as well. It wasn't only his.
When they finally stopped at the buttons where the Doctor had previously set their time and destination, he pulled away, looking at Jeff and winking. "Next stop, anywhere."