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A Companion in Solitude

By alwaysgus

Drama / Romance

Chapter 1

He sat on the floor of the awkwardly swaying TARDIS, legs akimbo and arms folded across his chest. Any mother of a young child would immediately recognize the signs: The Doctor was pouting. He knew it was senseless, considering an effective pout required an audience. Something of which he had not. Hence, the pout. Nonetheless, he soldiered on in his reserve to make it clear to all the nobodies who were pointedly not there that he was thoroughly upset about it. So, he pouted.

It had been days since he had watched the backs of his companions walk out of the TARDIS door, and it would be days yet before he would see the front of them come back through it. Though his gangly arms and legs may have been relatively new, his distinguished older brain knew that it was not common for companions to pack a bag for a trip beyond the TARDIS. He regathered all the available information and replayed it in his head once again.

"Alright then. 2011, it is. Come on, Captain Doctor!" Amy commanded as bags tumbled from her arms to the TARDIS floor. "Can't you make this ship sail any faster?" More bags fell, as did Rory, when he joined them at the console. Neither Amy nor the Doctor seemed to notice the young man sprawled across the luggage.

The Doctor was properly irritated. Hours after their pirate adventure, she announced that she and her husband needed a holiday away from the chaos. When the Doctor offered her galaxies of possibilities, she explained, "No, Doctor. We need a holiday away from the galaxies of possibilities."

He looked at her in that way he only looked at humans…dumbfounded. "Yeah, I don't think I quite understand….."

"Doctor, do you know how awkward it is to…" Amy searched for the right words, but there seemed to be no other way to explain it other than to say it exactly as it was. "We need to have sex away from Big Brother."

"So much for breaking it to him gently," Rory mumbled, more as a reminder to them that he was still there.

A few hours later and before Amy could expound further on the need for messy nakedness, the Doctor began frantically working his ship to get them where they needed to be. He threw switches and pressed knobs that he hadn't even known existed in the hopes that the TARDIS would sense the urgency. He was afraid that Amy may try to explain to him, once again, the nature of the birds and the bees. He was over 900 years old, for fuck's sake. The TARDIS wasn't the only time traveling being in the universe with a knob. Although, her knobs got considerably more attention than did his.

A thought ran through his mind like lightening, but, though clever as he was, he wasn't quick enough to grab hold of it before it was gone. The TARDIS jerked unexpectedly. "Ok, maybe the wrong knob. Sorry. Won't happen again…."

"What was that?" Amy asked. He turned to look at the couple. It appeared that Amy was trying to instruct Rory on the most efficient way to stack together their luggage for a quick getaway.

The Doctor shook his head and waved away her question as the ship came to an abrupt halt, causing Rory to lose his balance once again and scatter the luggage from its perfectly positioned tower. "Oh, bollocks…really?" He yelled at no one and everyone at once, uncharacteristically on edge. And, if the Doctor had not been so preoccupied with his own self-pity, he might have noticed that the anxiousness of Rory and the urgency to leave had little to do with private shagging.

In fact, if the Doctor had not had a secret of his own so fastened upon his mind, he may have perceived that his companions had a secret as well. And it would have taken very little convincing from the Doctor for Amy to dispel with her hush-hushed matter. Hence, the need for the Ponds to make haste from the TARDIS. Though bigger on the inside, secrets crowded up the space so that the three friends always seemed to be squeezing through tiny hallways together, each afraid that those things unspoken could be absorbed as easily as through a simple touch.

"Well, here we are then. Off you go. To do your holiday business," he said and then murmured, "…handle your marriage nonsense…."

"What?"

"Nothing."

Amy walked over and placed both hands upon his shoulders. "You'll be fine. Now, visit your friends, crash a war, dance like you've never danced before." She smiled and cautiously gave him a kiss on the cheek. "Even for a Time Lord, life is short, Doctor. Live a little more and save a little less, for once." Her smile didn't reach her eyes. There was a worry in her face that he couldn't quite place. But then again, his companions always seemed to be worried about him.

"Go on, you two. I'm double parked," he grumbled.

"We'll be back before you know it. Two weeks. Try to stay out of trouble, yeah?" With that, the last of the bags disappeared out the door, along with his two best friends in the world. The TARDIS was bigger on the inside once again.

That was eight days ago. He had resisted the urge to return to 2011 and feign ignorance that he was early. It would be easy enough to blame the TARDIS. She hadn't quite gotten her sea legs since her revamp. Though truth be told (and he'd never admit it), sometimes he thought that she was flying him.

"There has to be more to the holiday story than just shagging. It has never been a problem before," he said aloud. "Shagging. What complicated nonsense." It had been awhile, but he didn't remember anything remarkable about it. Not altogether unpleasant, but definitely nothing for which to leave a spectacular adventure-seeking mate such as himself.

So, there had to be another reason for the quick exodus other than time alone to do some very human wrong-sided business, but he was too steeped in self-pity to bother with further pontification.

So, there he sat…on the floor of his faithful ship…. …as they sailed rather aimlessly through time and space…humming a tune Amy was fond of playing loudly during travel. No place to be, no one to impress. Just him in his solitary confinement and the whirring of his truest friend.

So mired was he in his gloom, he didn't even respond to the flash of white-blue light accompanied by the sound of thunder, the tell-tale signs of a vortex manipulator in use.

"A great and wise man once said, 'I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.'"

"True and rather brilliant, though I don't recall saying it. Or have I not yet said it?" he asked the intruder, back to her, arms still folded and legs still akimbo, eyes staring downward.

"You don't say it at all, my love. 19th century Earth, Henry David Thoreau."

"Well, it certainly sounds like something I'd say. Perhaps I visit him someday," the Doctor whispered, adding as quietly, "Hello, River."

"Hello, Sweetie…."

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