... And Bobby McGee
“I don’t know if I like that alien... working on patients in the OR.”
“Don’t be that way, Mike. He collapsed from partial myocardial infarction yesterday morning.”
“Still, it’s too weird... now there’s some girl... claims she’s the Doctor’s Daughter... ”
“Well, if she is... ”
“As I was saying, if she is, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.”
“Yeah. I heard she’s just as crazy as he is.”
“Hey. You there.”
Jack Harkness was livid as he grabbed one of the two male nurses who had spoken and spun him roughly.
“Oh ho ho! That alien -who happens to be four months pregnant with triplets- is in there sleeping off a fucking heart attack! Plus he deserves a damn break, especially considering how many times he’s saved this good for nothing rock! Shut up now or else, because I’m just itching to try out these new phase displacers I borrowed from UNIT... ”
“Don’t mind him. He’s from Torchwood: Cardiff. With their member survival rate, I wouldn’t be surprised if they found him dead on the sidewalk tomorrow. He’s bluffing. UNIT won’t get the new shipment of phase displacers from Phelacti 7 till tomorrow night.”
“Ha! Street Pizza! Killer! But, hey. You really shouldn’t talk like that, especially around those Torchwood guys. The Doctor... Torchwood... they’ve saved Earth so many times, we probably can’t count them all. Come on. We can finish our coffees in the lounge on the second floor.”
“Whatever you want, Rudy. I just don’t know about all these aliens... used to be so quiet, before that Christmas.”
The two nurses walked off toward the elevator to finish their lattes. Once they’d gone, Jack turned and stared at the tall man at the end of the hall. The man turned too, meeting Jack’s gaze with a mixture of amusement and sagacious detachment.
A weak whisper broke their stalemate and they both headed for the door to the Doctor’s room.
“Yeah, I’m here.”
Jack walked calmly to the bed and took the alien’s one free hand in his. “It’s about time you woke up. The girls were worried.”
A thin smile, then a laugh. The eyes were dark with weakness, despite being half-closed against the assault of dimmed lights. It was painful to see him like that.
“I... thought they might be. What, if... if anything, did they... say when you told them?”
Those beautiful blue eyes fluttered for a moment, and his head lolled, but then, “... what did Grace say when she saw me? I... Uhn. I must have looked a right dog’s breakfast, eh? Lord knows I feel like it. Come here, you! Come... here... ”
As Agent Pendergast strayed into the room, Jack sat down beside the bed and just... lay his head on the cream blanket the Time Lord was wrapped in. Theta grinned and managed to raise the appropriate hand just so, enough to tangle his fingers limply in the Captain’s hair.
The Agent watched all this, saying nothing as Jack fell asleep beneath the Doctor’s palm. As the alien met his own blue gaze and held it effortlessly, Aloysius Pendergast thought of many things; Diogenes, his genius, madling brother. His lovely daughter-niece, Constance Greene, the pedantic, victim foundling of another time and place. His lover Lady Viola Mascalene, who had been the single sheaf of golden wheat in an otherwise barren field. He himself was around fifty-eight, now... though he looked no more than 45, albeit a very young 45, due to his great-uncle’s extra-curricular biochemical activities in the early nineteenth century. With a soft laugh, he came to stand a little ways behind Jack Harkness, who hadn’t slept since the early hours of the previous day, when the Doctor had collapsed.
“Aloysius X. Leng Pendergast.”
At the sound of what was almost his full name, the Agent blinked once, then surrendered himself to waiting within the silence to which he had grown so accustomed.
“Hah. You... are a bright one, for a stupid ape... ” came the soft admonishment from the bed, “... but then, from you I’d expect nothing else.”
The albino smiled that smile at him, a smile Theta had seen on his face many times; confident, assured; guarded by two towering walls of luminous silver-blue ice.
“And you, my dear Doctor Bloom, are a most exceptional man, as well. I daresay unique.”
After letting the pointless compliment settle on the alien’s psyche, Aloysius swept up a chair and sat beside the bed, beside the Captain, who still slept.
“I imagine he’d wake up instantly if you moved that hand. Am I right?”
Theta smiled weakly, patting the mattress beneath him with his other hand.
“Now you get it, brilliant human that you are! Come and have a sit on this side of the bed, here, my old friend, you! We have some urgent business to discuss.”
The albino moved to the side of the bed, taking the chair with him, and sat there beside the raised mattress. Then he leaned forward to guard their privacy, folding his arms near The Doctor’s waist.
“What do you need that the hospital cannot get for you? That he cannot get for you?”
Suddenly the alien raised up, heaving with effort, and grabbed him by the sides of the head. Aloysius found he could not move, though The Doctor’s grasp was gentle and easy.
“Oh, not for me, for you, old chap! For you. There is so little time left, before I... before we... I’m so very sorry for doing this, but... it falls to you to save us all, and the Agohzyen is the only way to regain that which you lost... do not be afraid. I will keep the darkness from you. Save my children, Aloysius! Save them all!”
The agent didn’t have time to breathe before the tapestry appeared in his head, a glowing curtain of lines that flowed in a very particular pattern. He could not help but look at the lines as they flowed, but he felt none of the heart-swallowing dis-ease as before on the cruise ship; instead, he felt calm, safe. The Doctor had not lied to him, then. He could feel the alien’s soft, soothing voice speaking through him, echoing in his mind as he was pulled away from the flames of indifference toward a quiet, empty hallway. At the end was a door painted in green, the knob silvery and cold to the touch. He opened the door...and there was the silken rope the Rinpoche had given him, untied and waiting. Aloysius took the rope. Then all was golden.
“Eureka... ” he murmured as he shut the door to The Doctor’s room and walked swiftly down the hall. As he reached the elevator, a sound echoed through the corridor, and a Code Blue screamed itself out over the hospital com...
“Crash-cart in room 11! I repeat! Code Blue! Crash-cart in room 11, NOW!”