His companion reaches over and pours him another. His fingers are long and thin like the Doctor’s, but his nails are nibbled off at the ends, not meticulously and vainly trimmed and manicured the way the Doctor kept his own nails. He finds his companion's nails to be utterly disgusting. Destroying something as natural as nail growth? Why would you? It doesn’t make much sense to him sober, which means it makes absolutely no sense to him whatsoever now.
The alcohol burns when he takes the shot. It burns, but it feels good, in a way. It feels like he’s drinking to stay alive. Drinking seemed like a fantastic idea after he left Adelaide’s home. After he raced away from the horror he’d committed back in 2059. Really, after that, going to a bar and ordering up a number that is not as big as the number of bills in his pockets is a fantastic idea. Presently, this number includes some rancid whisky from some ungodly year in the 77th century.
“Ungodly!” he declares, because he’s at the point in his intoxication where it makes sense to blurt out about his internal monologue. “Did you know, that the Earth Atheism law is passed next year? All religions---pfffft. Non-existent. Completely! Well, for the most part. I never really understood the whole Valiant Child religion, did you---? Do you even know what I’m talking about?”
“I do, actually,” his companion says, coolly. His companion hasn’t actually had anything to drink, which is really unsporting of him. He already looks younger, more well-kempt, and snazzier than the Doctor does. He shouldn’t be showing off sobriety in the face of the Doctor’s intoxication, too.
“Course you do, don’t you? You know everything.” The Doctor slurs the word as he says it, and extends his hand out across the table as he speaks, knocking over a series of shot glasses he’d stacked up moments earlier. His companion reaches over and resets them. His movements are strange and bird-like, and he’s nothing like the Doctor is. He’s so nice that it’s downright disgusting, and it makes the Doctor feel like he’s done something terribly wrong.
He’s also young. More than young, he’s just so energetic, bouncing about in his seat with a youthful energy the Doctor hasn’t felt in centuries. And that bowtie. Who would think a bowtie was fashionable, and yet his companion wears it with flair. And the hair and the eyebrows---well, they’re not much for eyebrows, are they?---and the bright blue eyes. He’s stupidly pretty. It’s annoying to the nth degree, actually. But everything his companion does is annoying to the nth degree.
“I could look that pretty if I wanted,” the Doctor says, pathetically. He leans his cheek against the cool metal table. “I was told by River that I’m a pretty boy. Pretty! Me!”
His companion reaches over and pulls the Doctor’s tie up from where it’s drooped over his left eye. At some point between drink 23 and drink 35, he decided that wearing his tie on his head was actually the best way to show off the design. His companion didn’t deter him then, and even now he looks particularly amused.
“I’m sure she did say that,” his companion says. “It sounds like something she would say.”
The Doctor hates him. He hates his coolness, he hates his shy smiles and subdued nature. It makes the Doctor look positively boorish in comparison. Maybe that’s what his companion wants; maybe he’s just being this way in order to upset him in his miserable, drunken state. If that’s the plan, it’s working.
“But she adores you, doesn’t she?” the Doctor exclaims, sitting up. “Everyone adores you! No one’ll even remember me! I’ll just…vanish into the ether of time.”
“Bit dramatic, wouldn’t you say?” his companion asks.
“That’s who I am! I’m dramatic! I own dramatic. I make dramatic look brilliant and then I wear it until it’s out of style. And when I’m upset, I make big---“ he searches for the word and comes up with nothing. The alcohol has wiped his brain clean. “Big…speak-y---“
“Shouty,” his companion supplies. He pours the Doctor another shot. “You do shouty quite well.”
“Shouty!” the Doctor says, and he bursts into hysterical laughter. “I do shouty! I do shouty and angry and mean, and you’re all cool and collected!”
His companion, cool and collected as ever, nods.
“I hate you,” the Doctor declares. “I hate everything I become.”
All subdued and silly and polite and happy, all bowties and floppy hair that doesn’t at all stick up in interesting directions. All rolled-up trousers and silly looks and quiet rambling and long-term romances and things that aren’t the way the Doctor is at all. Not the way he is now. He can’t fathom not making shouty speeches at monsters or running madly away (or towards) a girl. His companion probably doesn’t even have a mole between his shoulderblades.
His companion smiles, and the expression strikes the Doctor as being almost nostalgic. “Of course you do.” He reaches over and pats the Doctor on the back. For someone who looks as young as he does, the action comes off as rather patronizing. Of course, age is only a number, and Time Lords only look young on the outside. The Doctor can see what River said before. His companion is so old.
“I don’t want to go,” the Doctor says. He means it, too. He’s got so much life left in him, so much time left to help the universe and make amends for the terrible things he’s done. But somehow, stopping off at this bar and running into this man…it all makes sense now. He’s almost out of time, now. Almost about to be replaced, removed, regenerated.
“I know,” his companion says. “I remember.”
Muse: The Doctor (Ten)
Fandom: Doctor Who
Word Count: 1,045