By the Empress of the Eclipse
Disclaimer - All belongs to the BBC and anyone else lucky enough to have been involved with inventing Doctor Who.
By the time Adric realised that the TARDIS had landed, the Doctor had already gone out for a walk.
"He said that he doubted we’d be interested," Tegan said, sounding thoroughly fed up. "We’re in Liverpool in the 1990s apparently, and there’s nothing much happening at all. Particularly as it seems to be late evening. He would go out for a little walk and we could stay here and do whatever."
"You might have told me we’d landed," Adric said, feeling rather put out. He wouldn’t have actually gone of course - he was busy reading and 1990s Liverpool sounded rather horrible to him. Why would anyone want to live in a pool full of liver? The Doctor had given him liver once and Adric had hated it. He certainly wouldn’t want to go near a pool of the stuff.
But all the same. It would have been nice to have been told. Just so that he knew. Adric hated being kept out of the loop.
"We didn’t want to disturb you," Nyssa spoke up quickly, sensing another row in the air. "We thought you’d much rather be allowed to carry on with your studying. If there’s anything interesting out there, the Doctor is sure to come back and collect us and then we’d have fetched you. As it was, it seemed silly - the Doctor seemed to want to be by himself anyway."
Adric considered arguing but decided to be mollified instead. There was no point getting upset about something so trivial. Besides, he was busy reading.
"Well, if he comes back ... " he said, turning and heading towards his room.
"We’ll fetch you," Nyssa promised, turning back to whatever she had been doing on the console. Tegan was looking sulky again and Adric suspected she would have rather liked an argument. It would let her bleed off her feelings about not yet being back at Heathrow. Adric could not understand how Tegan failed to grasp at the TARDIS travelled in Time and Space and therefore, worrying about missing a flight was completely pointless. But then, there were a lot of things he didn’t understand about people. They just didn’t seem logical at all sometimes. Especially not women.
Mind you, most men seemed perfectly illogical too. It was just easier to annoy Tegan by generalising it to women.
He sank back into his book quickly and was annoyed when Tegan barged into his room some time later without even knocking.
"Haven’t you ever heard of - " he began angrily but Tegan cut him off.
"The Doctor hasn’t come back yet," she said. "It’s been ages now and he’s still outside. He only said a little walk!"
Adric was tempted to dismiss it as Tegan worrying over nothing but it did seem a long time since the Doctor had gone out and with the Doctor, anything was possible. Getting off his bed, he walked back to the console room where he found Nyssa wearing a troubled frown.
"I’m sorry Tegan disturbed you," she said. "There’s no point us all being in here. And there’s nothing we can do."
"We could go and look!" Tegan said angrily.
"What would be the point?" Nyssa asked. "We don’t know where he’s gone. We don’t even know how big this place is. All that would happen is that we’d get lost and when the Doctor comes back we’d all be gone."
Adric and Tegan exchanged exasperated looks. They were normally in disagreement about everything but both of them were impulsive. Nyssa’s calm, controlled reactions to all situations were often extremely irritating. The fact that she was usually right had nothing to do with anything.
"We can’t just sit here!" Tegan insisted. "He could be hurt!"
"There must be something we can do," Adric said, wishing he could think of what it was. Turning, he looked at the scanner which Nyssa had activated. All it showed was a dark side street, nothing special. He could see people wandering around at the other end. He couldn’t see any of the liver but he supposed that must be nearer the centre of this place.
"We could ask if anyone’s seen him," he suggested.
"People have been walking up and down all the time," Nyssa said. "I certainly haven’t seen the same face twice. The best thing we can do is wait here and not panic."
Tegan gave an expressive snort and turned away from the scanner. She was scowling but Adric saw her lip tremble a little before she was looking away. Shrugging, he stared at the scanner, watching the people walk up and down. Very few of them came down their street. The ones that did gave the TARDIS very odd looks. Obviously the Police Box was anachronistic in this time. Adric wished that the Chameleon circuit worked. Trust the Doctor to steal something that wasn’t even the best of it’s kind!
Dammit, where was the Doctor?
Even Nyssa was beginning to look anxious. She kept walking around the console, examining different switches, as though there was something that she could press that would bring the Doctor back to them. A few times Adric saw her playing with the door control lever, as though tempted by the idea of going out and searching. Adric wished that she would make up her mind to. Not doing anything was beginning to drive him mad. If she didn’t make up her mind soon, he would go out anyway and the consequences be dammed.
Tegan’s shout brought him back to reality. Whipping round, Adric looked at the scanner. The Doctor was visible, walking along the road towards them. And with him ...
"Policemen!" Nyssa gasped. "What’s happened?"
Adric didn’t answer her. He was busy watching the Doctor and wishing the sound worked on the scanner. The Doctor had stopped now and was gesturing happily at the TARDIS. He seemed to be slightly giddy - he was certainly swaying slightly on his feet. The policemen were both looking highly sceptical and there was an air of annoyance about them. Obviously whatever the Doctor was saying to them wasn’t helping his case.
"Oh no," Tegan muttered. "That brain-dead - "
She moved quickly around the console and yanked the door lever. Adric followed her, not quite sure what was wrong but determined not to be left out of it.
The policemen were both facing the TARDIS and their mouths dropped open as two young people came out of the small space. The Doctor wasn’t looking at them. He was still busy explaining.
" ... it’s a magical blue box!" he said, sounding enthusiastic. "I travel in my magical blue box. I would explain more but you see, you have simple brains and would be very puzzled by the big words I would be forced to use to explain how it moves."
Adric didn’t think this was an entirely sensible thing to say to the policemen. He was rather surprised that the Doctor was explaining anything at all to them. In fact, the Doctor didn’t sound quite normal. He sounded ... rather strange. His voice sounded thick and slurred.
"I’m terribly sorry," Tegan said, using her best talking-to-officials voice. "He’s on medication. We don’t normally let him go out on his own. He escaped when we weren’t looking."
"Hello Tegan!" the Doctor said brightly. "And look, there’s Adric too! They live in the magic box with me! Adric is an alien and Tegan is an air hostess!"
"Doctor, what’s the matter with you?" Adric asked, completely bewildered by the Doctor’s raving.
"He’s drunk," Tegan muttered out of the corner of her mouth, still keeping up her air hostess smile to the policemen, who were obviously beginning to wish they’d never got involved.
"Drunk!" the Doctor said, obviously affronted. "I am not drunk! That is a scandalous lie! I am in full control of my faculties and I could have you tried in the High Courts of ... of ... of somewhere very alarming indeed!"
He proceeded to prove he was in full control of his faculties by falling over his own feet and sprawling on the pavement in an ungainly manner. This didn’t seem to bother him very much though, he was still smiling happily up at them.
"You all look very tall from down here," he observed.
Realising that the policemen had taken about as much as they could stand and not really wanting to get arrested when they hadn’t done anything, Adric quickly seized the Doctor by his arms and dragged him up, pulling him backwards towards the TARDIS at the same time. Tegan quickly followed, still smiling.
"Terribly sorry!" she called back to the policemen. "Nothing to worry about now though, you just go back and have a nice evening! Bye-bye then!"
If the policemen replied, Adric didn’t hear them. He had succeeded in dragging the Doctor into the TARDIS. Nyssa was waiting, her face tight with anxiety.
"What’s the matter with him?" she asked.
"Tegan says he’s drunk," Adric said.
The Doctor had found his feet by this time and stood there, swaying gently and looking rather surprised.
"Did you know," he said, with the air of someone divulging something of great importance. "that this police box is bigger on the inside than the outside?"
Adric and Nyssa exchanged looks. The Doctor didn’t seem to notice, he had begun to hum quietly to himself and was staring at the ceiling.
Adric wasn’t very used to people getting drunk. In fact, he wasn’t sure he’d ever seen anyone drunk before. And seeing the Doctor like this worried him. The Doctor was always in complete control - well, nearly always. He was never like this.
Tegan marched in and Nyssa quickly closed the doors, then stepped back a little. Tegan was plainly hopping mad and Nyssa obviously didn’t want to be in the line of fire. Tegan marched straight up to the Doctor and jabbed him sharply in the chest.
"What’s the matter with you?" she yelled. "You go off for a "walk" and come back in the grip of two policemen, drunk out of your mind? What did you bring them to the TARDIS for?"
"They asked where I lived," the Doctor said. "So I told them. And they laughed. So I showed them. And then you came out and made scandalous accusations about my sobriety! Bad Tegan!"
He tapped her sternly on the nose. Tegan’s mouth hung open, temporarily silenced by sheer shock. Nyssa quickly intervened.
"I think we’d all better go to bed," she said. "It’s been a long day and I think we could all use some sleep."
"Shouldn’t we take off first?" Adric said.
He felt a wave of extreme irritation when both the girls flashed him annoyed looks. It seemed perfectly sensible to him. The policemen were still outside and he didn’t want to get woken up by rampaging policemen trying to get into the TARDIS. Of course they ought to take off! Why was he always mocked for his ideas?
"What a good idea!" the Doctor said brightly. He tried to move over to the console and nearly fell over his feet again. Once he’d actually reached the console, he stared at it in slight confusion.
"You know, I’m sure the buttons move around this when I’m not looking," he said seriously.
Adric suddenly began to realise why Tegan and Nyssa had given him annoyed looks and gripped the edge of the console tightly as the Doctor stabbed haphazardly at the controls. Nothing happened. With an air of great concentration, the Doctor flicked a few more switches. With a groan, the TARDIS began to take off. For a moment Adric thought they were all right. Then the TARDIS gave a violent lurch, sending them all sprawling. Adric banged his nose on edge of the console and winced, hoping it wouldn’t bleed.
"Whoops!" the Doctor said merrily. "Wrong button."
"Is there a rule in the Time Lord records about being drunk at the wheel of a TARDIS?" Tegan asked, sounding rather sick.
"No," the Doctor said. "Probably."
"Perhaps Adric should help you," Nyssa suggested.
"I don’t need his help!" the Doctor said, sounding affronted. "He’s a small ... small thing. Yes."
Adric decided that it wasn’t worth getting offended over being called "a small thing." Obviously, being drunk meant that people went temporarily insane, hence the reason the Doctor didn’t seem able to stand any more and had forgotten how to fly the TARDIS.
"Small things can be useful too," Nyssa said placatingly. "Tegan and I will go to bed now. You and Adric land us somewhere nice and safe and then go to bed too. Then in the morning, we’ll all go out and explore together."
"Can fly it myself," the Doctor said stubbornly. To prove his point, he jabbed another button. This time there was a screeching noise like metal being scratched. Adric dreaded to think what that meant. He saw Tegan cover her face with her hands.
"But Adric likes to help," Nyssa said, frustration creeping into her voice. "He wants to learn to fly the TARDIS just like you. Don’t you, Adric?"
"Oh yes," Adric said quickly. "Yes of course I do."
"Humph," the Doctor said, not sounding very convinced. He yanked absently at a lever and the TARDIS gave another horrifying lurch. Adric darted forward and pressed one of the switches that he seemed to remember steadying the TARDIS before. Who cared about the co-ordinates? Anything had to be better than this!
"Hey," the Doctor said peacefully. "He’s quite good at this, you know."
"Yes Doctor," Nyssa said. "Good night."
She moved over to Adric.
"Make sure you get us landed somewhere safe and then get him to bed," she whispered. "He isn’t safe like this."
Adric nodded, wishing she wouldn’t interrupt when he was doing his best to fly the TARDIS. In theory he’d done it several times before but he couldn’t help wondering if the Doctor was right and the switches did move around the console on their own. The controls never seemed to do quite the same things each time around.
"I always like pressing the big red button," the Doctor remarked.
"What does that do?" Adric asked. He couldn’t remember the Doctor pressing a big red button before.
"I’ve forgotten," the Doctor said after a moment’s pause. "I expect it does something good though!"
Adric scowled and muttered a stream of insults under his breath as he continued flicking the switches that he needed to give them a smooth landing. His original Doctor would never have been like this. He wouldn’t have gone out and got drunk. It just wouldn’t have happened.
To his great relief, the TARDIS settled down gently. After a quick glance to check it was safe (it seemed to be lush grasslands and confusingly, the middle of the day), Adric closed the scanner window and turned to the Doctor.
"Well, I’ll see you in the morning," he said.
The Doctor gave him a blank stare and made no move to leave the console room. Resisting the urge to mutter some more oaths, Adric grabbed his friends arm and began forcibly pulling him.
"Oh, are we leaving?" the Doctor asked, sound disappointed.
"I just said we’re going to bed!" Adric growled.
"Oh. Yes, of course you did," the Doctor said, not sounding very ashamed. He began to hum again
Adric hadn’t been in the Doctor’s bedroom before. It was huge, larger than Adric’s. Adric was rather pleased to see that it was messier too. The actual centre of it was clean but the cupboards and shelves and the desk literally overflowed with clutter and rubbish.
"Well, I’ll never listen to you again when you talk about keeping my room straight," he said dryly, staring at a large chocolate coloured toy rabbit and trying to work out what on Earth the Doctor wanted it for.
"Did you know," the Doctor said, sounding thoughtful. "That you have more than the usual amount of eyes?"
"What?" Adric spluttered, distracted from the rabbit.
"Four. At least. You’ve very blurry around the edges. It’s bad for you to blur. Young children should never blur, it means they’re drunk. You should stop."
The Doctor was beginning to sway on his feet. His voice sounded thick and his eyes were unfocused. Panicking slightly, Adric grabbed him and pulled him over to the bed, making him sit down.
"Are you okay? Are you going to be sick?"
"No," the Doctor said slowly. "Never sick."
"Do you need help with anything?" Adric asked nervously. He hated seeing the Doctor like this. The Doctor was always in control, always knew what to do. Seeing him unable to even talk properly, unable to walk without falling over.
"No ... no, I’m fine ... "
Adric lingered uncertainly. The Doctor was just sitting there on the bed, looking rather lost and confused, as though he wasn’t quite sure what to do next. Adric didn’t feel like he could leave him alone in this state.
"You know," the Doctor said. "You know ... no, I don’t either."
Adric couldn’t help laughing at the look on the Doctor’s face. The Doctor seemed to take this as approval. He gave Adric a wide smile, then reached out and pulled him down next to him. Adric grinned and bounced up and down a little on the bed.
"I ought to go to bed," he said reluctantly. "And so should you."
"You’re in bed," the Doctor pointed out reasonably. "Well, you’re on bed anyway! You never said your bed."
Adric snorted at the logic which was typical Doctor. Perhaps having the Doctor drunk wasn’t such a bad thing after all.
The Doctor reached forward and turned Adric’s head so they were looking at each other. There was a strange expression on his face, Before Adric could ask what the Doctor was thinking, the Doctor leaned forward and kissed him.
Adric had never been kissed before. He’d never really spoken to girls until the TARDIS and those he had spoken to had never seemed very interested (in fact, most had seemed to dislike him intensely). He’d certainly never thought about the Doctor kissing him.
But it felt ... nice. The Doctor tasted strange - sort of smoky and sweet at the same time. He was holding Adric to him very carefully, as though he thought Adric might jump away. Adric wondered what he was supposed to do. Did he stay still? Should he put his arms around the Doctor? Dammit, why didn’t he know what to do?
The Doctor didn’t seem to mind though. He just kept kissing Adric, pulling back enough to let Adric breath but always keeping close enough so that their lips were still touching. He was beginning to stroke Adric’s back gently, one of his hands coming up to twist in Adric’s hair. He shifted closer and Adric suddenly became very aware of all the places where their bodies were touching. A wave of terror washed over him and he wrenched back.
The Doctor stared at him for a long moment. Adric wished he was better at reading people’s eyes. The Doctor looked totally blank. Adric tried to think of something to say but the Doctor’s arms were still around him and his brain was swimming. He was torn between wanting to run to his bedroom and hiding under the covers and leaning back into the Doctor.
Then the Doctor drew back, moving away.
"Goodnight Adric," he said, his voice sounding neutral, as though nothing had happened.
Adric stared at him, not quite sure what to say.
"Doctor, I - "
Adric slowly stood up, still staring at the Doctor. The Doctor stared back, still as unreadable as ever. Adric waited for him to speak but the Doctor didn’t move. After a long pause, Adric slowly turned and walked out of the bedroom and into his own.
It seemed like forever before he slept. And when he did, his dreams were filled kisses and hands and the Doctor giving him that strange, inscrutable stare.
In the morning, feeling as though he hadn’t been asleep more than five minutes, he found that the Doctor had woken up before them all and made them all breakfast which he’d set up outside on the grass.
"Feeling better now?" Tegan asked acidly.
"Er ... yes," the Doctor said, looking sheepish. "Sorry about that. I er ... might have had one or two more than was good for me."
Tegan gave one of her impressive snorts.
"I hope you have a terrible hangover," she said.
"Not really," the Doctor said. "I’m quite lucky in that respect. But I don’t really remember anything about last night. Did I fly the TARDIS here?"
"With some help from Adric," Nyssa said. "He had to put you to bed too."
The Doctor turned and looked at Adric. That same inscrutable stare.
"Thank you Adric."
Adric got up without a word and walked back inside the TARDIS.
He wished he was better at explaining the feelings inside. He wished he knew how he felt.
He wished he knew what to say to the Doctor.
He’d just settled down to a book when the Doctor came into his room.
"I didn’t mean to upset you earlier," he said quietly.
"You didn’t," Adric said, not looking up.
He waited for the Doctor to go but he didn’t. He stood there silently, as though waiting for Adric to say something. Adric pretended to be very absorbed in his book.
"Adric ... did I ... last night ... "
Adric’s heart suddenly began to beat quicker.
"Well ... no, I suppose ... well, I had a lot to drink," the Doctor blurted, sounding very uncomfortable. "I don’t really remember ... did I say anything ... do anything ... odd?"
Adric’s mouth felt dry. He stared at the Doctor uncertainly. The Doctor wasn’t looking at him any more. He was staring at Adric’s star chart, as though it fascinated him.
Had he forgotten? Or was he just pretending? Was he regretting last night? Did he think he’d wasted his time with silly little Adric?
Adric felt a surge of rage go through him. He turned back to his book and pretended he couldn’t see the Doctor standing there.
"You were acting like an idiot," he said coldly. "That’s all. I thought better of you."
"I see," the Doctor said after a moment. "I’m sorry I distressed you."
He turned and walked out of the room. For a moment, Adric wanted to shout after him. But he bit his tongue and turned bitterly back to his book.
If the Doctor ever remembered anything about that night, he never said anything. And if Adric was ever tempted to mention it, he just bit his tongue and thought of something else until it was nothing more than a nagging memory hidden in the corner of his mind.