A knock on the door, however, allowed the Doctor to retreat from Jamie's questioning. Thank Rassilon. Socrates entered without waiting for a response, carrying a jug of wine and a loaf of bread. He smiled at the Doctor, standing, wringing his hands, and at Jamie, sat on the floor, face blank.
The Doctor felt frustrated at this human who had somehow managed to corrupt his thinking in the way he had done. It was upsetting, to say the least, and not at all anything he was used to.
“Hmm.” He cleared his throat and looked at Jamie again, who now got up to accept breakfast.
“I have been invited to a symposium tonight, would you care to join me?” Socrates still smiled serenely, as if unaware of the elephant in the room.
“Yes, well, hmm, Jamie and I, we, we should be going, we wouldn't want to overstay our welcome.” The Doctor again wrung his hands, looking for a way out.
He was positively trapped between Socrates' mischief and Jamie's reproach. And somehow, somewhere, sometime in the future he was tearing a hole in the fabric of space and time, causing ripples, upsetting the timestreams, causing deaths and changing causality all over the universe. And despite his calculations, he still didn't have spatio-temporal coordinates precise enough to travel to where he was doing this and stop himself from doing it — because that he was causing it was clear enough to him.
Nevermind the dangers of crossing his own timestreams, this was more important.
“Ah but Doctor, I insist! Surely you too relish the opportunity to finally converse with someone of a similar intellect?”
The impertinence! The Doctor huffed and turned to Jamie, who now sat eating the bread and drinking the wine, and who was pointedly ignoring both the Doctor and Socrates.
“Surely you wouldn't want to pass up this opportunity of learning for your companion?”
The Doctor found the twinkle in Socrates' eyes more than upsetting. It reminded him entirely too much of himself.
“No, I really think we must be off.” He smiled politely at their host.
“Consider my proposal while you take breakfast, and I shall take you both to the olive groves of Athena afterwards.” Socrates left them, still grinning.
The Doctor sighed inaudibly and sat down next to Jamie, tearing off a chunk of bread and dunking it in the jug of wine. He wasn't actually hungry — he very rarely was — but it was better than to sit and do nothing while Jamie ate his breakfast.
Which he appeared to be doing rather slowly and absentmindedly, still ignoring the Doctor in an unbearable sort of silence.
The Doctor wondered whether he had to apologise again — he'd already done so twice! Surely that should be plenty.
Again, that knock on the door, and again Socrates entered without anticipating consent. He still carried that obnoxious broad grin and thrust a bundle of fabric at them.
“Dear Doctor,” he addressed the Time Lord. The Doctor scrambled to his feet, glad to drop the bread into the wine and grateful for the interruption. He accepted the bundle.
“Have you considered yet whether you'd like to stay for the symposium tonight? I would very much like to introduce you to some of my friends, they need someone other than me telling them they're wrong. Besides, I insist.”
The Doctor coughed softly. “Ah, well. Yes, well then. We'll join you.”
Socrates nodded at the bundle. “I have brought you chitons and himations for today. Garments such as yours indicate you too clearly as strangers. They might think you Persian.”
The Doctor glanced down at his trousers. “Hmm, yes, I suppose they might. Thank you.” He felt the brightly coloured soft wool. “We shall join you in a moment.”
Socrates smiled, this time less obnoxiously, and exited.
“Hmm? Yes, Jamie?” the Doctor felt relieved. Apparently the boy was speaking to him again. Good, at least that was something.
“Wha's a symposium?”
The innocent question brightened the Doctor. At least he hadn't damaged his companionship with the Scot too much, perhaps Jamie'd finally accepted his answer that he wasn't thinking, perhaps he too couldn't stand the awkward silence.
“Well now, Jamie, a symposium's really a sort of dinner party, where everyone just sits around and talks. It's really quite something, you know. Much of Western thought has come from these Athenian symposia. They had something like that in your time too, you know, in Paris and London. Salons, they called them.”
Jamie did one of the “aye”s that indicated that he truly understood. The Doctor separated the bundle and handed Jamie a lightblue chiton. “Socrates wants us to wear this, so put this on.”
In turn, he discarded his coat, feeling somewhat anxious to leave everything he carried around in his pockets behind, but recognising the need to not draw too much attention to themselves. The TARDIS ensured they would speak flawless Athenian — with these garments, they could almost pass as locals. He unpinned his bow tie and stuck it in one of the deep pockets of his trousers, when he noticed Jamie taking off his shirt. His chest looked strong and pale in the limited morning light and the Doctor yearned to reach out and touch it but knew he shouldn't — he'd done enough damage already.
Of course Jamie's re-dressing was completely innocent and normalised — he would have done it often in his own time. He would probably have shared plenty of sleeping spaces, some of them more comfortable than others, with plenty of other Jacobites, and would have learned quickly enough, even if he had had reservations about it before, to dress and undress in (male) company without thinking any more of it. Yet the Doctor found a strange sort of eroticism in watching Jamie undress, in seeing more and more of his skin revealed. If it did seem a bit slow to him, it was probably a mistake in his perception.
The Doctor caught himself and admonished himself for yet again failing to take Earth taboos on nudity and interpersonal relations into account when Jamie started on the clasps of his kilt. The Doctor quickly turned around and began unbuttoning his own shirt, meanwhile willing the starting pooling of blood in the region of his groin to subside. Blast that double cardio-vascular system — just because he could control it when he was conscious of its functioning, unlike humans, didn't mean he also controlled it when he wasn't conscious of it.
He unhooked his braces and dropped his shirt on top of his coat. He slipped on the chiton, pinning the shoulder bits together, before dropping his trousers. He tried stepping out of them, but found resistance from his shoes. Crumbs.
They wouldn't do at all, those shoes. He'd have to follow Socrates's example of going barefoot, at least during the day. The Doctor slipped off his shoes and socks and finally stepped out of his trousers, using his foot to drop it on the pile of clothes. Finally, he slipped the himation around his shoulders and was in the process of arranging it when Jamie called for him.
“Doctor, could y' help me?”
The Doctor turned around and smiled at the picture of Jamie trying to pin the chiton and failing at it. The lightblue did look extraordinarily lovely on him.
“It's these pins, y' see.”
“Yes, I see,” the Doctor looked at the boy. Those dark eyes looked at him again, without any reproach. Perhaps it hadn't been that big a mistake. The Doctor reached out and took the pin and cloth from Jamie's hands, resting his palms on Jamie's shoulder while arranging the cloth and pin, clasping it together. He brushed and arranged the cloth a bit more and longer than strictly necessary before repeating on the other shoulder. The blue did look lovely with Jamie's brown hair and pale skin. Again he smelled that heady mixture of Earthy and static scents, that which smelled so... Jamie.
“There,” the Doctor stepped back to admire his handiwork. “All finished.”
Jamie grinned at him. “Now we're both wearing skirts!”
The Doctor chuckled. “So we are. Now, come along, let's go find Socrates.”