Title: Lose Again
Pairing: Tenth Doctor/Arthur Eddington
Fandom: Doctor Who/Einstein and Eddington
Prompt: 66, Loss
Author's Note: Continuation of Sound of Your Voice.
Disclaimer: This is entirely a product of my own imagination, and I make no profit from it. I do not own the Tenth Doctor or Arthur Eddington. Please do not sue.
The Doctor felt at a loss for words himself; for a few moments, all he could do was stand there and stare. So this was the man who he'd fallen in love with when he was human. He'd certainly had good taste, he told himself, trying to control his reeling senses.
He'd known that Arthur was attractive from seeing a picture of him, but he had underestimated just how gorgeous the other man would be in the flesh. He could feel something tugging him towards the other man, something that he couldn't control.
Was it some residual feeling that he'd had for Arthur when he was in a human body? Were those John Smith's feelings coming through to him, making him think that they were his own emotions and not someone else's?
Or was he feeling something for Arthur that wasn't a part of John, but himself? It was confusing to think that in this situation, he was more like two people than one.
How could he be sure that what he felt came from his own hearts and not from the feelings he'd had for this man when he was John Smith? If only he could know that the attraction he felt came from him alone ....
But he couldn't. He would simply have to get to know Arthur a bit, and form his own conclusions. That is, if Arthur gave him that chance. He would hardly blame the other man for having a hard time dealing with his own emotions.
After all, he thought that John was dead, that he'd lost the man he loved for good. The second man he'd loved, the Doctor told himself, a pang of guilt coursing through him. Arthur had been in love before John, though he knew that love had never been consummated.
What had his relationship with William been like? He'd only known of it from flashes of memory he'd had of his time as John Smith, and having read the name associated with Arthur in a few books. He really didn't know just how deep Arthur's feelings for him had gone.
It was absurd for him to feel any sort of jealousy, the Doctor scolded himself as he held out his hand to Arthur with a smile. He knew that Arthur hadn't been intimate with William -- and as of yet, he hadn't technically been intimate with Arthur himself.
"Are you all right?" he inquired solicitously of the other man. "You seem a little shaken. And no, I'm .... not John. I'm Jack. Jack Harkness."
How he hated using that name! Why in the heavens had he given it? It was ridiculous; he would have to tell Arthur that his real name was John, and that Jack was just a nickname that he used and had gone by for some time.
He hated this deception. How he wished that he could tell Arthur the truth -- but that wasn't going to be possible for a while. This man would run away in the opposite direction as fast as he could go if he knew that he was talking to an alien.
Arthur sank down on the bench where he'd been sitting with Winnie, taking a deep breath and looking up at him. "Yes, I-I'm fine," he stammered, the tone of his voice belying his words. "It's just a bit of a shock to see you, that's all."
"Your sister told m that I look very much like someone you .... knew," the Doctor said, sitting down beside him. "I'm sorry if I bring back bad memories -- I certainly had no intention of doing that. If you'd rather I left ...."
"No!" The word burst from Arthur in an explosion of sound. "No, please don't leave." He sounded almost breathless; one hand had moved to the Doctor's shoulder, nearly grasping it in his agitation. "I'd like to talk with you, if you don't mind."
"Of course," the Doctor said, trying to calm his racing hearts. Talking to Arthur could pose a problem. What if he said something that gave this man a clue as to the fact that he really was John Smith?
"Would you care to come back to the house?" Winnie interrupted, looking from one to the other of them. "We'd be happy to have you stay for dinner, Jack."
"I have a little confession to make," the Doctor told them, looking shamefaced. "My name is actually John -- Jack is simply a nickname that I use. I've been called that for so long that I usually introduce myself by that name. But if you'd like to call me John, that's fine."
Arthur's face had gone even paler at those words; the Doctor almost wanted to reach out and steady the other man, but he held himself back. He wasn't supposed to know anything about why Arthur might be upset, he reminded himself.
But it was so hard to hold his emotions in. He could understand the sense of loss Arthur felt, he'd felt that himself, too many times in his long life. He could definitely sympathize, and it hurt to know that he was the one who'd caused that loss.
Still .... it wasn't his fault, was it? He couldn't have continued to be John Smith; he couldn't have had the life with Arthur that they'd obviously both wanted. He was a Time Lord; he had taken on responsibilities when he'd become what he was.
Somehow, he would have to find a way to make Arthur understand that, and try to rebuild the relationship they'd had when he was human. He already knew tht he wanted to do that, even though he'd only "known" Arthur for these few minutes.
There was an attraction between them that he knew he couldn't deny. It was obvious that Arthur felt it too -- though that might be only his residual feelings for John coming through. That thought was enough to sober him, as though he'd been doused with a bucket of cold water.
What if Arthur couldn't love him unless he was human? What if his feelings only extended to John Smith, and it wasn't possible for him to love the Doctor for who he actually was?
Then he would be the one who felt the crushing sense of loss. He'd been there before, and he didn't want to lose again. He felt guilty for putting Arthur through such a heartbreaking experience, but that had, unfortunately, been unavoidable.
He didn't want to that of that possibility. He wanted to start fresh with Arthur, to build a relationship with him, and to eventually have this man in his life. There were all kinds of obstacles to doing that, but he had faith that together, the two of them could leap those hurdles.
Arthur had recovered himself somewhat; he was no longer so pale, and he even managed a slight smile as he looked over at the Doctor. "I'd .... like to call you John, if you don't mind," he said softly, his eyes meeting the Time Lord's. "I have my reasons."
"Is there a reason you prefer that name, or shouldn't I ask?" The Doctor almost held his breath as he waited for Arthur's answer. Maybe this would tell him if Arthur was still in love with John, if he might have a chance at rekindling what had existed between them.
Arthur cleared his throat, looking down at the ground as though he didn't want to face the Doctor. "There was a man with that name who I cared for very much who .... died recently. I'm still having a hard time getting over it."
"I'm so sorry," the Doctor whispered, instinctively reaching for Arthur's hand. "I don't know what to say. I know what it's like to lose people you care deeply for."
"You look so much like him," Arthur whispered, finally looking at him, their eyes meeting. "I can't get over it. The resemblance is extraordinary .... you even sound like him. It's as though he's come back to life before my eyes."
"Well, let's go back to the house and have dinner," Winnie interrupted, an anxious expression on her face. "You two will be able to talk, get to know each other. It will be nice to have a guest in the house -- we've been by ourselves for far too long."
Arthur nodded, standing up and straightening his jacket as he did so. "Yes, John, it will be a pleasure to have you stay with us. That is, if you don't already have a place to stay ....?" he asked, the question sounding almost desperate.
The Doctor shook his head, standing up and following the two of them. "No, I don't. I accept your invitation with pleasure. It will be lovely to have someone to talk with -- and to get to know you better," he said, his gaze meeting Arthur's again.
Was it his imagination, or was there a yearning in the dark depths of those eyes that matched his own? He was sure that Arthur was trying to convey something to him, but he couldn't be sure of what until he'd could talk to the other man, alone and uninterrupted.
One thing that he did know, he told himself as he followed Arthur and Winnie down the path in the direction of their home. He was going to try his best to fit into Arthur's life -- and hope that the other man would also let him into his heart.
***Next story in series - Like A Friend.
- Main Slash Archive page
- Doctor Who Slash page Doctor Who slash - crossovers page
- Chance's Archive on Reddit
- My Midnight Moon on Reddit