Turlough woke up in his room in the TARDIS, which was normal. What was not normal was the Doctor softly snoring beside him. He froze, not moving, afraid that the slightest tremble of his body would shake the mattress and wake the other man.
The Doctor looked even younger when he slept, his fair lashes brushing his cheeks and just the tip of one collar peeping out from under the covers — collar?
He slowly, slowly moved one hand, and ran it down his front. All of his clothes were on, and the Doctor appeared to be - hopefully was - equally dressed. That was a relief. He was sweating, clothed under the blanket; the Doctor was like a man carved from marble. There was no warmth radiating out from him; his strangely cool fingers were apparently matched by a strangely cool — everything else.
Not that he had really explored...
Turlough peeled back the blankets over him, rested his head on the pillow, and remembered last night.
It hadn't been sex. He would have called it making love, except that phrase translated as sex in far too many languages. But that was what it had been: two people, their emotions running between them like glowing chains of light, love unencumbered by flesh or gender, love that just was. And behind them and around them had been the TARDIS, feeling what they felt, offering herself to be touched as well. Every contact to floor or wall or bed or flesh had been a part of the act (he wondered if she could feel him now, and curled his sock-clad toes into the mattress as though expecting a response).
But the TARDIS had not been the focus of his attentions: the Doctor had. He hadn't even known that he was in love with the Doctor; not consciously, anyway. Even now his mind flinched a bit at the thought.
He hadn't felt like this since he'd been — seven? Eight? Xilla had been the prettiest girl in his teaching group; they'd sat close and blushed, and once they had dared kiss in the little hidden corner by the worn granite stairs, where the purple vines made a nook that two children could fit into and ignore the cries of the teachers looking for them. They hadn't really known how to kiss, even: they had just pressed their lips together breathlessly. His first love.
Then there had been other girls, other boys, time, maturity, all the grinding demands of his family and his own body...but that memory of that first pure love had been underneath it all. And somehow, something had called it out. Something in the air or — he suddenly recalled the blue drink, pressed so quickly into his hand by the Prime; the one the Doctor had not taken just as quickly downed in front of them both, as though to prove its innocuousness.
So, he'd been drugged. He ran through a mental list of his functions, trying to decide if he was still under the influence. He didn't feel hung over; he was no more hungry or thirsty than usual; his feet were a little sore from walking; the pain in his chest was gone; he didn't have a headache or —
The pain in his chest was gone.
He touched his chest: the feeling of some painful bite there was - not gone, now that he looked for it. But faded, attenuated: a ghost of a ghostly pain.
Turlough anxiously gnawed at his lower lip for an instant. He didn't know what he wanted to do, but he definitely didn't want the Doctor to wake up and find him here. He moved, experimentally, easing one leg out from under the covers; the Time Lord snored on.
Gingerly, he crept out from under the blanket, rose, and backed away from the bed. What would he do? He'd go find another room, and lie down there, and say the Doctor had taken his bed, and he hadn't wanted to disturb him. That would be fine-
-so long as the Doctor suffered a sudden fit of amnesia.
He gritted his teeth, and silently slipped backwards to the door. It opened, and he darted outside — and nearly jumped out of his skin at the slim figure waiting there for him, arms crossed and face crosser. She hadn't changed a hair since he had last seen her: same short black skirt and spangly top, same impractical heels, same dark red hair and furious dark eyes.
"You didn't think of me," she said, her voice a little tight in her throat, the sound of holding back tears. "Not once. You knew I was hurt like you were, and you never once thought of my joining you." She blinked too fast, and then opened her eyes wide, rather than let the tears run and smear her makeup.
Turlough was confused and frightened. Tegan, here? Tegan was right here in front of him, but Tegan had gone — no, but if Davros had sent her away — had Davros brought her back? Was an Eternal powerful enough to reach them even here?
"Tegan, how-?" he asked, and she shook her head furiously. Then he realised what was going on.
"Kamelion," he said, and was suddenly angry. That sneaky shape-changing robot, taking Tegan's form, probably for no good reason.
"I wanted to be with you," she said — it said. "I could feel you healing, I could feel your strength growing. Why wouldn't you let me in?" Kamelion had been designed to be a puppet, a will-less slave; apparently it had been unable to enter the bedroom without their permission.
"You - Kamelion, please change back." He had meant, change back into Kamelion's natural state, but the robot either missed his meaning or ignored it.
"I don't have to be this. I could be-" and Tegan's face and body changed, blurred sideways, and were replaced with a vision that hit Turlough like lightning.
"Take that off!" he hissed, spinning on one heel to turn his back on Kamelion; otherwise he would have thrown himself on her. On it, he reminded himself again, gripping a corner of the corridor hard enough to make his fingers bruise.
"She is gone," came the inhuman fluting of Kamelion's natural voice, and Turlough peeked out of the corner of one eye, to see silver limbs and blinking lights. Then he turned away for a moment and stared at nothing.
But it wasn't nothing he stared at. It was the image of perfection: shapely legs and small breasts, hair the dark glossy brown of burnt sugar in sunlight, and a face more clever than beautiful, with eyes that a man could fall into and be lost. A woman who was the most beautiful, most desirable woman that Turlough had ever seen. And at the same time, the figure that Kamelion had turned into was no woman that he had ever seen in his life.
"What did you do?" Turlough finally asked, and Kamelion stepped back a pace from his glare, its joints clicking.
"I was made to respond to the thoughts and will of others," it said. "To know what they wanted me to be, and to become it. That woman is - very deep in your mind. But if I could be anyone, she is what you would have me be."
"I don't want her!" Turlough breathed hard, and imagined he could see expression on the robot's metal face: sarcasm, contempt. It could feel that was a lie, he was certain of it. He amended, "I don't want you to be her."
"I am sorry."
"Because - it would be…it would be pleasant to take on a shape that someone could love. Or would love."
"You can see that all in my mind." This was stated, instead of being a question. He was feeling more and more upset; first his bizarre tryst with the Doctor, and now Kamelion clumsily trying to seduce him.
"Yes," the robot said, and then cocked its head towards the doorway behind Turlough.
He turned and jumped, seeing the Doctor standing there. Jacket off and collar undone, his limbs seemed longer and his shoulders broader. In fact, he was, at least visually, entirely seduction-worthy. A reserve to his expression suggested that this seduction was not going to happen.
"How much of that - never mind," he growled. The Doctor must have heard all of it. He clenched his jaw muscles hard, as though holding back his humiliation.
With a force of effort that frightened him a little, he looked the Doctor straight in the eye and said, "Doctor, I apologise for last night. I wasn't...myself."
"I think I know why." The Doctor's tone was reassuring, and Turlough dared to let himself relax the tiniest fraction.
"I think it was the blue drink."
"Yes." The Doctor smiled, very faintly. "I've never seen it, but heard it discussed, and seen its effect on one of my previous companions: it makes people — amenable to influence."
"You mean that I — that I was doing what you wanted me to?" That came out a bit too fast.
"Turlough," the Doctor paused, and finally reached out and took one of Turlough's hands. "My race — we aren't usually intimate with other species. Physically intimate, I mean."
"We didn't...we just slept, and I mean just slept, together." Didn't the Doctor remember what had happened — or what had not?
The Doctor smiled. "I rather suspect the TARDIS of having a bit of a hand in that — not that she actually has hands, or needs them. She sensed the damage to my — to our souls, all of our souls," he glanced at Kamelion, "and worked to make sure that we would heal ourselves."
"I thought the meditation, the music-"
"Ah, yes. I hadn't discussed that with you...For most people, those methods would work. For travellers, always entering new environments-"
"Always meeting people willing to rip us to pieces?"
"Exactly. You need to be whole, to face those sorts of challenges." He touched the wall beside him, his fingertips just brushing the off-white surface. "I will ask her not to do that again. And I," he fumbled with his words, his free hand twitching. "I am very attached to you, Turlough," and then he seemed to run out of words.
Turlough finally broke the silence. He pressed the hand in his own, and said simply, "The hearts are willing, but the flesh is weak?"
The Doctor smiled at those cynical words. "Turlough, I'm sorry if what we did, what I did, has offended you."
"It didn't." Turlough looked down at their joined hands as the Doctor went on. He hadn't been offended, certainly not at the time, and now a part of him sorely and silently wished that he could be a boy again, a boy in love.
"Well then, if you wouldn't mind, I would very much like to, ah, proceed with this...treatment." He said that last word with a casual air, as though distancing himself from the intimacy he was offering.
Turlough flushed. "I can't guarantee that I won't try to seduce you," he said half-nervously, running one hand through his hair.
"I can't guarantee you won't succeed," and he smiled. "Eventually."
"And me?" Kamelion asked, its lights flickering faster in its transparent body. "What about what I need?"
The Doctor gazed long and thoughtfully at the robot, and then glanced at Turlough.
"I am not taking any sort of treatment with that present," Turlough snapped. He cut his eyes at the machine and then stopped, and against his will a laugh escaped him.
Kamelion had taken on a new shape. Blond hair, blue eyes, tousled summer clothes: the Doctor stood there, identical to the real man.
"I assumed that my taking your own form would distress you, Turlough," Kamelion said in the Doctor's voice.
Turlough thought a remarkably obscene thought, and quickly smothered it. "It would, rather," he replied instead. "But-"
"I could read to you," the Doctor suggested. "To both of you."
They all ended up in bed, the Doctor stretched out cool and relaxed in the centre, his Kamelion-twin tucked tight to one side, and Turlough on the other side, not quite as close but near enough to hear the Doctor's breathing and see the Kamelion-Doctor's pale lashes flutter with something close to ecstasy, at touching and being touched.
Turlough's room had been stocked with books when he moved in, a wild mixture of higher mathematics and tales for children, and it was one of the children's books that the Doctor read from, the sound of his voice lulling his companions into contented rest sweeter than sleep.
"I Keep six honest serving-men:
(They taught me all I knew)
Their names are What and Where and When
And How and Why and Who."
NOTES ON THE TALE:
Thanks (as always) to my invaluable beta, F.
Sequel to "Doctor Who and the Exodus of the Daleks." In the Damnatio Memoriae series, the Doctor was last on Skaro in his fourth incarnation, in "Doctor Who and the Enmity of the Daleks."
Chapter 1: The giant clams are in fact canon from the original episode "Genesis of the Daleks." And so is Harry Sullivan dubbing them 'magnae conchylum.' But of course, he dubbed them in the original timeline, not this one...I think whatever Reflectionist made that slip was probably roundly scolded.
Chapter 2: The picture of Nyder, Esselle and Davros has shown up in several of my stories: it was first seen in "Doctor Who and the Dawn of the Daleks."
Chapter 3: The parade on Peace Day (the anniversary of the war's end) was first celebrated in my story "A Soldier on Skaro." It is celebrated in the equivalent of Earth fall, but apparently this is a very warm fall day.
Ronson and Caso mourned the premature death of her deformed infant in "Suffering in Silver"; here she has whole children.
Chapter 4: Tek-Four is mentioned in my story "Dawn"; its usage predated Davros by hundreds of years, but then again, those Kaleds do have some very clever scientists.
"All of me that wished to leave left on the Fleet" - the Prime cloned herself and duplicated her mind, and her duplicate left on the Fleet and Ascended with Davros and his companions.
The blue drink which has such a striking effect on Turlough is almost certainly plus-plus, the Kaled party drug of choice first used in "Dawn of the Daleks."
Chapter 5: I apologise to anyone who found the term non-explicit dub-con intimacy confusing, but I couldn't think of a more concise way to say "Two men and a TARDIS snuggle under the influence of drugs, without which they probably would not snuggle at all."
Dalek Omega visited Skaro and announced its intentions of joining the Dalek-Kaled Expeditionary Fleet in "Directions."
Chapter 6: Kamelion encountered the Ascended Davros and gained something very like the beginning of a backbone in the process in "Exodus."
The previous companion who took the blue drink was Harry Sullivan in my story 'Dawn of the Daleks.'
The Doctor is reading to Turlough and Kamelion from what I assume is Adric's copy of Kipling's Just So Stories; the poem he reads is from the end of 'The Elephant's Child.' I do believe the Doctor knows all about 'satiable curiosity, and has quite likely been spanked for it (metaphorically or literally) in the past.