Fandom: Doctor Who / Torchwood
Pairing: The Doctor (Ten)/Suzie Costello
Word Count: 2,238
Rating: R for sexuality
Summary: The Doctor follows a human weakness, and it leads him to Torchwood, yet again.
Author's Notes: Ph33r my lack of a Suzie-voice beta. I may end up retouching this, to improve upon that. I'm a bit bummed out that this part can't continue to have the impersonal "he" and "she" of the first two, but there were definitely too many characters to even try that.
Other Parts: Part One; Part Two
The lift beneath them jerks to life, and he can't help but stare in awe as the step itself slides downwards. It all appears to be on some sort of a pulley or a hydraulics system, and he can't help but be amazed by the technology. Primitive at best, of course, but for humans? It's way beyond their technology. Futuristic, and definitely alien.
And there, flying just near their heads as they go down? That's definitely primitive in comparison. A pterodactyl?
"Where did you get that?" he asks.
"Genetic creation for security purposes, didn't Manchester get one, too?" Her delicate eyebrow arches.
Right, of course. Torchwood-wide. He could feel his cover slipping, and he tugged a bit on his ear in thought. "Oh, right, uh, no, we got a velociraptor. Terrible pain to clean up after."
"Heard they don't respond well to the training, either." He's surprised at how calmly she says that, without any note of surprise. He supposes he shouldn't be as taken aback by that---after all, this is Torchwood, where the shrieks of a pterodactyl don't even phase her, let alone startle her. A velociraptor's only next on that list.
The lift lands, and she steps off like it's nothing, and he takes a moment to catch his bearings before he follows her. The lift rises again and secures its place back on the sidewalk. He can't help but wonder if people fall through that every now and again---or why people simply don't notice.
His cover's already wearing rather thin, though, so it's probably best he keeps his mouth shut.
"Who's that, then, Suzie? You got a boyfriend? Is this your take-your-most-recent-shag-to-work-day?"
"Owen Harper," Suzie says, extending a hand in his direction by way of introduction, "Owen's our forensic and medical specialist. Toshiko Sato, she's our computer analyst, and we've got Ianto Jones, I believe you saw him earlier at the crash site. This is Doctor John Smith, he's from Torchwood Manchester, here to help with the investigation."
The Doctor raises a hand and puts on a painfully awkward smile, "Hi."
"Looks less like a doctor and more like a drowned rat," Owen says, and the Doctor decides, instantly, that he's not going to like the fellow. Perhaps it's his eyes, just a little too close together, the fact that the Doctor's already very aware of how wet and muddy he is, or the fact that since arriving, he's only managed to leer at Suzie's cleavage more than actually listen to her.
That bothers him. He's not possessive, and she's far from his, but that simply...there should be no reason she's being looked at like that. It's a weak argument from a man who picked her up in a bar and shagged her for no reason other than to please himself, but still. S'the principle of the matter.
"Doctor Smith, it's good to meet you." Toshiko Sato---he was right, she is the Dr. Sato he met in his last incarnation---stands and offers him her hand. He accepts, of course, and it dawns on him---not for the first time, that despite the fact that he's so much shorter and leaner than his previous self, his hands are larger and more worn. His youthful appearance doesn't stop his bones from aching as she shakes his hand with a confidence he wouldn't expect from someone of her diminutive size.
Perhaps the wear, the creakiness...that's all just a part of the regeneration. One never does know what one is going to get.
"Have you got Victor Carroon somewhere stable?" Suzie demands, her voice ringing authority and experience as she shrugs off her coat and drapes it across a nearby workbench which looks like it, occasionally at least, might also be her desk.
Despite the way he's leering at her, Owen replies automatically, "Set him up downstairs in the medical observatory. I dunno what the hell happened up there, Suzie, but he's definitely not the same man from before."
"You knew him before?" the Doctor asks, trying for authority to his voice but letting it fall a bit flat.
Owen shrugs, "Met him at a few conferences. We're both doctors, go to the medical conventions, share a few drinks, you know how it is." He pauses, looking the Doctor up and down, "Funny, though, never seen you at any of them."
The Doctor snorts, "I don't care much for conferences, full of a lot of boring blokes getting rather knackered." He inwardly smirks, pleased at how that statement makes Owen look desperately foolish. The other man scowls, and the Doctor turns to follow Suzie, a very smug look on his face.
She leads him down a flight of stairs to a small, tile-walled room with an observation area above and a small examination table where the sweaty Victor Carroon is secured. He's pale, and thick, dark veins are sprouting along his hairline and all over his arms. His eyes, dilated and bloodshot, dart hysterically back and forth, but he doesn't say anything, doesn't react. To say it's a bit of a gruesome sight would be quite the understatement, the Doctor decides, so instead he slides on his glasses and then stuffs his hands in his pockets as he approaches.
"Body temperature's risen to just around 108 degrees Fahrenheit, far beyond normal body measurement," Owen rattles off, "I've taken some sampling of his blood and skin cells, but....it's nothing I've seen before."
The Doctor leans over the man, watching him toss and shake, trying to judge if he has seen anything quite like this before either. He can't think of anything and that is a terrifying thought in and of itself.
"Some sort of alien bacteria, perhaps?" Suzie asks Owen, "Radiation?"
"No way to tell until the cell samples finish culturing, so we're going to have to wait on that," Owen replies, "Ianto found some strange residue on the inside of the hatch, so I'm going to do some research on that, too. Just seems like simplified animal protein, nothing significant except----"
"How it got into the hatch," the Doctor finishes for him, "Doors were sealed, everyone accounted for..." he slides his glasses off but continues to look at the terrified astronaut, "And now two are missing and something that wasn't there is. And not that far out from Earth, either. That is the most terrifying thing. Proximity."
And this poor man, who is shaking and hurting and clearly quite terrified. He has no doubt that the man means little to them except to find out what threats he may have encountered and what that could mean for the survival of the human race.
"At least if we had the other astronaut bodies I could use the glove," she says, "Figure out what happened."
The Doctor's eyebrow arches, and he turns to look at her, "What glove?"
She takes him into a small room with shelves and boxes and what appears to be a long line of mortuary cabinets. He steps in easily, hands back in his pockets and glancing around as if there's something more important to be gained from this place rather than the fact that Torchwood organizes everything in the same room. Equipment, papers, corpses. It's rather disturbing, but he has a feeling that that's the way most of Torchwood is.
"I'm not supposed to carry it with me," she says, lowering her handbag to one of the tables and pulling the large metal glove out, "I appreciate you not saying anything."
"My pleasure," he replies easily, stepping behind her and reaching out for the object, "What is it?"
"We're not sure, it was discovered in Cardiff Bay just around 40 years ago. Everyone's attempted to use it, but the only one who can is me. Empathic connections, like from...the heart to the hand." Her fingers slide from a place above his right heart to the palm of his hand, and the slight...intimacy of the action surprises him.
"It attaches to my arm and lets me revive the dead, albeit for only a few minutes at a time." She looks at him warily, then hands him the glove, and the look on her face is one that says she might as well be handing over a beloved child.
"Brings anyone back?" the Doctor asks, sliding his hand within the metallic shape.
"So far it's only brought back some victims. It may be related to this---" she pulls out a large, rather terrifying-looking multi-edged dagger from her bag, "It's made of the same metal and victims from it have come back with a stronger, more...sure revival. Still only for a few moments, though." She glances worriedly at his actions, "It might not work for you..."
However, as his hand slips within, the glove closes, activating instantly, melding itself with his skin, "It just needs to grant the wearer access. Mind comprehension, that sort of thing. More of a security measure to those who made it."
The look on her face is nothing short of awe, "Do you know who made it?"
He shakes his head, "I haven't a clue." There's a tingle that slides up his spine at the touch of the metal against his skin. It's seeping through the metal and into his skin and into his very blood. It's something evil and he can feel it. He can't understand how Suzie can handle this thing day after day and not be affected.
Or maybe she is.
The glove comes off his hand easily, and he drops it onto the table with a harshness that makes her jump.
"Be careful with it!" she snaps, lifting the glove and gingerly putting it back into the large, metallic box labeled 'glove', where he assumes it is supposed to be stored. "Honestly, it's taken us so long to learn just what we have about it!"
"It's not worth it," he replies, waving it off, "Everything has a time and everything dies, anything that tries to bring it back isn't worth your time."
"But think what we could learn!" The intensity in her voice is startling, "What we could accomplish for the human race!"
He spins around to face her, "That thing, whatever it is, isn't going to find the two missing men in the shuttle or explain the substance found in the hatch. It's not going to help anything, and neither is that knife that came with it. So just drop it, Suzie."
"I can't," she says.
"I can't! And I won't! Torchwood Manchester has no authority over this glove, it's mi—it's ours! It's ours, Doctor, and we'll use it---"
He doesn't hesitate, he just steps forward, snatching her wrist and applying just enough pressure to make her release the glove. She cries out, but he ignores it, pushing her the foot or so it takes to get her up against the wall.
"You have to focus, Suzie," his voice becomes dangerously low, "You have to think about what you can actually use to figure out what's going on here, not what you want to use because you're addicted to the feeling."
"I'm not addicted," she all but spits in his face, "You don't understand."
"No, I do," he replies. He looks down at her face, her severe lines all crunched and furious. She's trying to justify herself and trying to hate him all at the same time, and he can't help but feel for her. She wants to save the world, but she doesn't realize how wrong that object is. Whatever planet it came from is cruel.
His hand slides up to cup her cheek. It's a small action. Some form of contact. She pulls away from it. The action stings him, though he just manages to keep his reaction off of his face. No need to show how quickly he makes connections. That's the way he's always been. He loves easily but briefly. Everything was always so brief.
"A few hours ago you were a bloke and just a bloke," she says by way of explanation, "Now you're part of my job, and I don't shag people at my job."
He shrugs, "The way Owen was looking at you---"
"Fuck Owen, he tries to shag anybody, and the only one he'd get any luck with is Toshiko because she's a fucking idiot, but he won't because he's a fucking idiot. The two of them should shag and have fucking stupid babies to populate this whole fucking stupid world!"
"Really, now, Suzie, don't try and hold it all in, you can tell me how you really feel about them."
"Quit being so sarcastic with me! You! You with your charms and smiles and---" she glares firmly at him, her mouth working as if trying to figure out something to say before she suddenly, and sharply, laughs, "Christ, you do look like a drowned rat, though."
He glances down at himself and shrugs, "Well, I suppose I do, a bit." That lopsided grin he used to wear so often slides back on his face, and it feels like an old friend he'd thought he lost.
And there they are, two lonely, miserable people in Torchwood, grinning at each other for no good reason. Naturally, something had to stop it.
"Suzie!" It's a male voice, deep, and very familiar to the Doctor's ears, "Suzie, you down there?"
She sighs, then glances up towards the door, "Yeah, we're down here. It's me and Dr. Smith from Manchester."
There's a pause, but then the voice comes back, "Right, you and Dr. Smith might wanna come up here, looks like I found something."
She shakes her head, "Right, Jack, we'll be right there."