Why So Serious? (1/mentions of 2)
The Doctor looked over, hearing his granddaughter, Susan, calling him. He was standing at the console, absently staring at the rotor as he had been ever since Susan asked if they might one day meet William Shakespeare. It wasn't Susan's fault that asking that had made him rather sad. She didn't know. She didn't know who else had once asked him to meet the wordsmith.
"What is it Susan?" he asked, moving to walk around the console, setting random controls, not knowing, not caring really, where they ended up.
She was quiet for a long while, "Are you alright?"
Silence reigned again.
"I just…" she hesitated, wondering if she should ask. It wasn't like she was worried because it was such a sudden change in mood, her grandfather was always a bit moody and snappish and bitter…but THAT was the problem wasn't it? It wasn't right for someone to naturally be that way.
Her father had warned her when she'd told him that she wanted to go back in time and travel with her grandfather, see the Universe he always mentioned when he came to visit. Her father had scoffed, neither he nor her mother had been big on travelling. But then, her great-auntie, Poppy she called her, had sat with her one night, as she stared at the stars, and told her to go on, go for it, see what wonders the Universe had to offer while she still could.
So she'd stolen a Temporal Teleport, a crude little invention that could take you back in time, only once. And teleported right to her grandfather's TARDIS…unfortunately setting off alarms and defense mechanisms that led to an emergency landing in a scrapyard on Earth…
She hadn't believed her father when he said that HIS father was just a grouchy old man, bitter with loneliness, but it was true. That's how he always was to most others. Moody, grouchy, snippy, irritated…and so alone. Even with her there he always seemed alone. He was kinder to her, it was true, seeming pleased that she had more of an adventurous side to her than her father, his son, did.
"Why are you so serious?" she asked him with a soft sigh, "You're so cross all the time and…I rarely ever see you smile anymore when others are around…"
He ignored her, continuing on the controls.
Susan walked over and gently took his hands, "Grandfather please. I just want to help."
He paused, looking at her wrist, wrapped in a slight bandage. She'd sprained it on their last adventure. He turned her hand over and gently brushed a finger along her wrist, "You're so much like her."
Susan frowned, "Like who?"
He looked up and sighed, before turning to lean on the console, "You remember the Professor?"
Susan immediately smiled, "Of course I remember Aunt Poppy."
He offered a small smile, the Professor had been so irritated when his son started calling her Aunt Poppy. The boy couldn't quite pronounce 'professor' as a young child, ending up saying something like 'poe-pay-door' for some reason which had eventually shortened to poppy. Though, now that he thought about it, he wasn't sure if she was irritated with the fact she was called 'aunt' when she was godmother or 'poppy' instead of her title. He supposed he'd never know now. He rarely saw her anymore. Hadn't seen her at all since he'd run off with the old TARDIS they'd always hidden away in.
"You remind me of her at times," he murmured.
Susan looked at him, "Is THAT why you're sad grandfather? You miss Poppy?"
"More than you could possibly know," he turned and looked at the controls again.
"Well why don't we go back to Gallifrey then?" she shook her head, not understanding, "Poppy would love to see you, I know it, and..."
She frowned at how he had said that. He sounded like it physically hurt him to do so, "Why not?"
He sighed, rubbing his face, before he looked at her a long while, as though debating whether to say what was truly on his mind. He hadn't told anyone, no one at all, about what he felt for the Professor. Not his parents, not his friends, especially not his ex-wife, Susan's grandmother. No one knew, at least not from his own mouth, though he was fairly certain quite a few of his friends from the Academy had guessed it given how he often acted around the Professor.
"Susan..." he sighed, "You know I love you very much," he began.
"Of course I do grandfather," she nodded, moving closer to him, "I love you too."
He smiled slightly at that, "I DO love my son as well."
Susan nodded, before she realized something, "But...what about grandmother?"
He shook his head, "I tried..." he breathed.
Susan's eyes widened at the admission, veiled though it was, that he DIDN'T love her grandmother, "But...father..."
"Was the result of a Union with Mayra," he cut in gently, "Susan, there is something you must understand about me, about your father and your grandmother, about your aunt Poppy."
"What?" she shook her head, confused, and a little hurt. She'd always assumed that her grandfather and grandmother had loved each other, but that her grandfather's longing to travel and her grandmother's desire to stay on Gallifrey had caused their separation.
He took a breath, trying to gather not only the strength, but the courage, to admit, out loud, what he knew in his hearts to be true, "I loved the Professor."
He nodded, turning back to the console, "I loved her, more than anything," he let out a small laugh, "I even promised her, one day, I would Bond to her."
"Bond?" Susan breathed, stunned. Not just because of his words, but the Bond itself, it was...a very serious matter. And she knew, she realized right then and there, he must have truly and deeply loved Poppy very much to consider that. She blinked again though, "But...grandmother?"
He swallowed hard, staring, unseeing, at a random knob of the console, "The Professor was invited to be an Academic. I couldn't let her give up that dream by telling her how I felt," he nodded, "I began to court your grandmother, tried to keep myself from the Professor, tried to...distract myself. And it worked, for a short while. We United, as you're aware, we had your father..." he shook his head, "But I couldn't live the lie any longer Susan. It tore me apart, day in and day out, pulled at me in ways I hope you shall never experience. Until I couldn't bear it any longer. And we separated."
"Grandfather," Susan whispered, walking over to his side, putting her hand on his arm, "I'm so sorry. I didn't know..."
"No one knows," he turned to her, "No one Susan. Not your father, or your grandmother, not even the Professor knows. And you must NOT tell them. Do you understand?"
"But if Poppy knew, grandfather she'd..."
"She'd hate me for tearing apart her family," he cut in, "I ran because I couldn't stand to see that look on her face when next we met."
Susan frowned, that didn't sound like Poppy at all. Poppy would have been SO happy to have him back because she was SO sad without him. She knew Poppy wasn't always like that, that she'd been vibrant and happy and curious and brilliant, she still was brilliant but she'd regenerated. The Poppy she knew as so sad, all the time...as sad, she realized, as her grandfather was.
She let out a little breath, making the connection, "You miss her."
"Terribly," he nodded, looking at the rotor, "She should be here, with me, travelling the stars, seeing the Universe. We promised each other we would, together. Every new planet, every new species, every new star...I think of her, and how she's not here."
So THAT was why he was so cross all the time. It had to be so hard to see all these wonderful things and know that the ONE person who ought to be there with you, see it and experience it too, wasn't there and that YOU were the reason for it.
"I live in hope though," he continued, "That, through you, she might see these wonders as well."
"Through ME grandfather?"
He nodded, "You are of her family as well my dear," he smiled softly at her, "Through you, she's here too."
Susan smiled at that. Her grandfather was always so biting and harsh to the humans, but so kind and fond of her. Now she knew why, it wasn't just that she was his granddaughter, but that she was also Poppy's 'great-niece' as well. She knew Poppy wasn't really her aunt, she was her grandmother's cousin, but her grandmother always told them to call her cousin their 'Aunt' instead.
She blinked again, realizing one more thing, Poppy was never truly happy when that happened. She saw it sometimes, a sadness in Poppy's eyes when she looked at her father or her, almost...regret? No...envy? No...she didn't know exactly what but, if Poppy felt for her grandfather, what her grandfather felt for Poppy...then, perhaps, she was sad that she and her father were not HERS. She had to wonder, what would life have been like if Poppy was her grandmother. What would it be like if Poppy DID love her grandfather as much as he clearly still loved her? She felt like Poppy did love him, very much, there was always such a fondness, a happiness in her eyes when she spoke of the man.
"I'm sorry," she murmured as she moved to hug her grandfather, "That you're so sad. And that you miss Poppy."
He nodded as he clutched her tighter, he loved hugging his granddaughter, her hugs were almost exactly like the Professor's when they'd been children, "I hope, my dear, that one day you too shall find a love like I did," he pulled away and cupped her face, "No matter the pain it can cause, love will ALWAYS be the greatest blessing you can receive. Though I do hope you shall never have to know the pain of leaving the one you love behind."
She nodded, "And I hope, one day, you and Poppy get your chance to be together."
"As do I," he smiled, allowing himself one brief moment to think about what that moment might be like, feeling the warmth build inside him at just the thought of being with her again. But, as always with his little dreams, it faded as reality set in and the warmth was replaced by the cold of disappointment. He shook his head, needing a distraction to the sorrow he was feeling, "Now! I believe we were in the middle of finding a new adventure yes?"
"Yes," she smiled as well though, watching him now, she could see the longing for the distraction the adventure would provide.
"Let's visit Earth," he nodded, moving to the controls, "Now, which year? Hmm?"
"I don't know," she shook her head.
"It's up to you," he remarked, "Pick any number."
"Hmm..." she hummed a moment, before randomly throwing out, "21-64!"
He laughed, nodding, "2164 it is. I'll go collect Barbara and Chesserman."
"It's Chesterton," Susan corrected with a laugh as her grandfather ambled on to gather his companions. Her smile grew more thoughtful as she watched him go. She couldn't help but really wonder what life would be like if Poppy really had been her grandmother instead.
She couldn't truly imagine it, but she knew one thing at least, her grandfather wouldn't be so bitter, or sad, or serious if Poppy was there too.
A/N: I was debating doing both Doctors, 1 and 6 in this chapter, but I have different ideas of why they were so cross all the time in mind so I thought I'd split it. Which is why this one is so short, I also didn't want to take away from the scene by breaking it up with flashbacks, I just wanted it to be a little grandfather/granddaughter moment :) Absolutely no idea where 'Poppy' came from lol.
Here we have the First Doctor, and his reason for being bitter is because this is his first round of trips out into the Universe and it's hitting him harder that the Professor isn't there like they promised. This incarnation is him knowingly leaving her behind and going out on adventures, HIS decision. I sort of feel like his other incarnations could try to 'fool' themselves into thinking of it along the lines of 'that was a different me who did it' sort of thing which is why they were better able to adjust to travelling without her. We will see why 6 is so cross as well in the next chapter.
If the 1st Doctor or Susan seem out of character, I apologize, I haven't been able to watch Classic Who, so what I'm getting of their personalities and how they speak are from clips on youtube.
And...thanks so much for the promts/requests/suggestions for chapters! I've definitely added them to my list of possible chapters :) Just a quick note...I actually HAVE written out the Death of the Doctor (and the Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith) from the Sarah Jane Adventures already for both the Professor and my other OC Evy. That chapter (DOTD) can be found in that episode of Revitalization and/or Linked Through Time :) So since they're already a part of the main stories, I probably won't post them here in the spin-off but feel free to check them out :)
Next chapter: No Need to Shout