Tea time

by ilwin [Reviews - 0]

  • All Ages
  • None
  • General, Series

Author's Notes:
Directly related to my fic "Talk to me"

Thanks to Louise for beta-read.

What’s wrong, Turlough? Turlough thought when walking away from the console room. What did you want the Doctor to do, huh? To give you an intergalactic award for saving his Time Lord life or what?

No, of course not… It’s just… The first thing he was worried about was his precious ship and if I didn’t come to the console room, he probably wouldn’t notice I wasn’t there at all, would he? Turlough shook his head and sped up.

You can’t run away from yourself, the voice inside told him viciously. You can’t run away from you being just a poor little nothing… And you know that… A poor little nothing without a home and family, exiled from your home planet…

"Leave me alone!" Turlough shouted out like he really heard someone else, but his voice echoed in the corridors and Turlough twitched in a surprise as he hasn’t been aware of speaking aloud.

Damn, I’m shouting at myself like a mad man. But… maybe I am mad… or will be in no time…

A bad day… It’s surely just a bad day… I just find myself some nice quiet place and calm down and we’ll see how this whole thing looks afterwards…

In the next corridor Turlough opened a door at random and saw a quite empty room with a table in the middle, where a silver android sat and seemed to be busy with some subtle work.

"Kamelion," said Turlough disappointed, expecting some interesting fantastic room that the TARDIS had hundreds of rather than this. Even if such a room wouldn’t be much use for calming himself down. "What are you doing here?"

The android slowly raised his head and looked at Turlough. "Working," he answered shortly in his metallic voice.

Turlough watched him silently for a moment, trying to decide if he should go on asking or just let it be. "Obviously," he said then and crossed his arms. "Have you been here all the time since the Doctor took you from the Master?"

"I’m travelling with the Doctor now. I help him," answered Kamelion, not quite answering the question.

Turlough snorted. The poor thing apparently needs someone to lead his android mind after all, he thought dismissively. "Help him… sure. You should have been there the other day to help him properly. You could have done the talking and the Doctor surely would have recovered sooner."

"He couldn’t," said the Doctor’s voice behind him and Turlough jumped in surprise as he hadn’t heard the footsteps behind him at all.

He turned to the Doctor, but before he could speak, the Doctor went on: "He couldn’t do the talking, I needed a live voice to follow."

"Follow?" Turlough raised his eyebrows and the Doctor nodded. "What happened to me wasn’t simply falling asleep — the air was affecting my mind and leading it away from… well, just away; so I needed the link — a live voice — to this world to cling to until my body had dealt with it and the effects of the air faded. I couldn’t do it without you, Turlough."

"Or without any other living creature," remarked Turlough immediately in rather a stubborn voice before he could have stopped his own sarcasm.

The Doctor put his hands in his trousers’ pockets, watching Turlough carefully. "Yes. But there wasn’t any other living creature by hand but you at that moment," he answered drily. "So I’m glad you were by hand when a living creature was needed." He sounded serious but Turlough realized that the Doctor was just teasing him.

Great. Like I needed to feel even more stupid, thought Turlough, feeling uncomfortable. He sighed. "Right… Do you… do you remember what I talked about?" he asked slowly.

The Doctor shrugged. "Not actually at the moment, but everything can be recalled again if you do it the right way. And a Time Lord mind probably could do it even easier than… let’s say a human mind. But I don’t intend to do so. Should I?"

"N-no," said Turlough evasively, avoiding the Doctor’s gaze. "What is Kamelion doing here anyway?" he asked then, apparently trying to change the subject.

The Doctor smiled. "He’s just helping me with the stuff," he answered quite like Kamelion did before.

Turlough grimaced, but before he could say anything else, the Doctor spoke: "I’m going to have a cup of tea now, would you like to join?"

Turlough hesitated and the Doctor added: "In the tearoom." "Tearoom? The TARDIS has a tearoom?" Oh, why so surprised, Turlough, he thought straight away, We’re talking about the TARDIS… on top of that it’s the TARDIS that belongs to the Doctor… With all his love for Earthlings and their silly habits…

"Possibly," answered the Doctor with light-hearted smile.

Possibly! That’s just the Doctor, isn’t it? Turlough thought resignedly. "Alright," he said aloud. "A good cup of tea is always fine."

"Great," said the Doctor and turned to the android. "Go on, Kamelion, I’ll come back to check it later."

"Yes, Doctor," answered Kamelion politely.

So happy to serve, thought Turlough with a bit of subconscious dislike.

"Come on," the Doctor turned back to Turlough, "let’s find the tearoom."

Although the Doctor spoke in a way that made the impression that he wasn’t really sure if the TARDIS had or hadn’t got a tea room, they didn’t need to search for it for a long time and it rather seemed the Doctor went directly to the right place.

After walking through few corridors and some stairs, they entered a pleasant looking room with comfy chairs and small tables, with a little space for preparing tea in one corner.

The Doctor aimed for the corner with the tea-making appliances without hesitation and Turlough leisurely walked to the closest table with chairs.

At least he didn’t want me to go to see another cricket match with him, thought Turlough with a sigh. He sat in the chair and leant back to make himself comfortable.

Tea is probably the only good thing about Earth…

After a while the Doctor came to the table and served the tea in the tea pot with little tea cups. "I got this tea in China in… well, I’m not sure about the year, but it’s long ago… well… in a way… well… never mind, it’s one of the best teas in the universe, anyway," he claimed delightedly as he was pouring steaming, golden brown liquid in two cups.

"Now," said the Doctor, suddenly all serious, when he sat in the chair opposite to Turlough, watching him questioningly. "Tell me… What’s wrong?"

Turlough looked at him surprised. "Wrong? Aren’t you alright then?" he asked confused.

The Doctor shook his head. "Not me. You. What’s wrong with you?"

Turlough raised his eyebrows. "Nothing," he answered indefinitely. "Why?"

The Doctor took a sip from his cup. "Turlough," he said then, patiently in the tone he usually didn’t use on his companions. "You’re quite the strange bloke. I don’t know much more about you than I did when we first met, but I can see something is bothering you lately."

Turlough grasped the little tea cup with both hands like he was searching for support and shook his head, but the Doctor hadn’t finished yet.

"I know you’re not quite an adventurer that would long to explore new worlds and places, but it seems to me you’ve rather enjoyed the travelling before. Not that much lately though, so maybe when you tell me what’s wrong, I can help you."

The Doctor stopped and took another drink from his cup. Then he fixed his eyes on Turlough questioningly.

Turlough was watching his tea carefully as though there was something very interesting to see. "You can’t," he said quietly and sighed. "I’m ok, really. It’s just…" he stopped and shook his head once more.

"Just what?" the Doctor asked encouragingly.

Turlough finally raised his eyes and looked at the Doctor, making a wry face. "I just want to go home. I actually can’t, but I really miss my home and it’s…" He paused and shook his head like he was trying to shake off the homesickness. "It’s just that I can’t travel on and on. It’s so long since I’ve been home and…" Turlough stopped and turned his gaze back to his tea.

The Doctor watched him pensively for a moment. "Why can’t you go home? What happened?" he asked again, the question from the range of questions that Turlough kept refusing to answer. "Maybe there could be done something about it. If you just tell me, maybe…"

"Doctor, please," Turlough interrupted him quietly. "Stop asking me. I just can’t go home, that’s all you need to know. Please," he said tiredly without looking at him.

"Hmm," said the Doctor, trying to think of some way to draw the information out of Turlough. "If it wasn’t anyhing "bad", why won’t you just tell me? And if it was, how can I trust you?" It sounded almost like he was just thinking aloud and wasn’t really expecting Turlough to answer.

Turlough looked at him and grimaced bitterly. "Could you go home to Gallifrey now? After running away from being the president? Again, obviously."

The Doctor cleared his throat. "Well… I suppose… I… But I do not want to go back," the Doctor closed up quickly and wanted to continue, but Turlough sneered.

"And? Is it "bad" or "good" that you don’t want to go back? That you keep running away from your own people all over the universe? Maybe running away from responsibility as well? I could say the same — how can I trust you?"

The Doctor hesitated and didn’t answer, looking a bit confused and Turlough scoffed. "It’s all about point of view."

There was a moment of silence, when Turlough went on staring into his tea and the Doctor thoughtfully watched the ceiling.

"You’re right," the Doctor broke the silence. "Point of view can do a lot. But if you tell me, maybe…"

Turlough glanced at the Doctor with a look, that didn’t need any other words and the Doctor didn’t finish his sentence. "Alright, as you wish," he said in a voice that sounded a little bit offended.

"So maybe I should take you to some place to cheer you up a bit?" The Doctor made a suggestion and without waiting for any reaction, he went on. "I know a few planets that are used mainly as an entertainment centres with lots of carnivals, festivities, fireworks, parties, exotic food…" The Doctor fired off fun activity after fun activity that Turlough could hardly make himself pay attention to.

"…lots of various species and fun and…"

"Troubles?" Turlough interposed with a mocking grin.

The Doctor stopped and looked at him rather uncomprehendingly at first. Then he got what was Turlough pointing out and scowled a bit. "Never on a purpose," he murmured, a little bit ashamed.

Turlough grimaced and took a drink from his tea. "No, of course not. Someone stepping on one unkown world after another and thrusting his nose into other people’s affairs… someone like that never asks for trouble…" he said mockingly.

The Doctor raised his hands in defence. "I don’t want troubles, I’m just trying to help and…"

"Point of view," dropped Turlough teasingly and the Doctor made an offended face.

"Look, Doctor," said Turlough, more seriously then. "I just don’t want to see another world and species and fireworks or whatever right now, I…"

"Something calm then?" blurted out the Doctor. "There are lots of places calm and peaceful like…"

"Like the place we were last time? With that thing in the air?" interrupted Turlough again, but the Doctor didn’t want to give up so easily.

"Ok, not that planet again, but there are lots of other places like… like The Eye of Orion for example or…"

"Doctor, stop," Turlough interrupted him determinately. "I don’t want to go anywhere, ok?"

"But…" the Doctor tried to object, but Turlough didn’t let him finish the sentence.

"Doctor, please…" he said in rather distressed voice. "Maybe you like the endless travelling, but I miss my home and every other world and planet just reminds me of the fact, that it isn’t my home again and it’s been quite exhausting lately," explained Turlough, clutching the little tea cup nervously. "Could we just stay in the TARDIS for a while?"

"In the TARDIS?" repeated the Doctor like he didn’t quite understand what Turlough meant.

"Yes. No trips, no landing, no going out of the TARDIS. At least for a week?" Turlough sighed and shrugged. "I’d say you could go anywhere outside meanwhile, but… well, maybe you wouldn’t like to leave me here alone for long, so..." He stopped and raised his eyebrows a little in a silent question.

The Doctor looked confused. "You… want to stay in the TARDIS? Without going anywhere?"

"Yes," Turlough nodded. "At least for a while. I’m sure there is as many sights to see inside the TARDIS as outside. Although I probably don’t want to see any exciting things and places at least for a few days in a row now," he added sarcastically. He cast his eyes on the Doctor with a serious look. "If I’m not asking too much…?"

The Doctor finally came to himself and smiled cheerfully. "Oh. No! No, of course not, quite okay. We can stay inside for few days. Sure, no problem. We can take a break. I suppose you’re right, there were quite a lot of travelling lately with not much rest, yes." He nodded approvingly like he needed to convince himself of that fact.

"Well…" said Turlough indecisively. "You could go alone if you want to and if…"

"No," refused the Doctor immediately. "No, there’s a lot of work to do inside the TARDIS I didn’t get to do in the past and I guess this is a great occasion to do it finally. At least some of it, yes." He nodded again to confirm his own words and then looked at Turlough. "You could help me too, but I suppose you’d like to be by yourself for a while…?"

"If… you don’t mind…" muttered Turlough tentatively.

"Alright," said the Doctor, rather satisfied, like they had just solved a big problem. "Give me a shout if you need something." He stood up with his tea pot already empty. "Would you like some more tea?"

"Doctor…" Turlough said hesitatingly. "Would you rather have someone else travelling with you?"

The Doctor stopped half way to the corner with the tea-making equipment and turned back to Turlough, surprised. "What?"

Turlough shifted in the chair. "I mean… Someone more… amusing? Someone more into the action or…" He shrugged and looked at the Doctor questioningly.

The Doctor returned to the table without making more tea and sat back on his chair. "Why do you ask? Do you wanna leave?"

Turlough stared again deep inside his tea. "I… You said it yourself… I’m not an adventurer longing to explore new worlds. Maybe you’d rather travel with someone… better?" he answered without raising his eyes from tea.

The Doctor watched him pensively. "I don’t mark you for being active or not," said the Doctor gently. "Nor for anything else either. I mean, not any of my companions, ever. You just join me some day and another day you leave. And I try to keep you alive in the meantime," he said with a slight overstatement to ease the situation. "Do you wanna leave?" he asked then again directly.

Leave… Where to… "I…" Turlough didn’t answer, his eyes still sank in his — now totally cold — tea.

"I won’t expel you from the TARDIS, you can stay as long as you wish. Or you can leave if you wish to," said the Doctor and stood up again. "Now. I better go check out Kamelion’s work. Tell me if you need something, hm? See you later," he added already half from the doorstep and Turlough hardly did manage to answer in time.

The tearoom sank into silence and Turlough was left alone with his own miserable mood.

Great, thought Turlough sarcastically and leant back in the chair. Now what?