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Seaside, PG, 501 words

Title: Seaside
Characters: Nine/Barbara, Ian/Barbara
Rating: PG
Word count: 501
Summary: Not everything he touches turns to ruin.
Notes: Many thanks to purple_bug for betaing!



It’s a cold, grey winter day and the seafront is almost completely deserted. He sits at a table outside the only kiosk open at this time of year and picks at a platter of chips, watching them.

Bundled up in several layers of clothing as protection against the cold wind, they seem perfectly content to sit together on the beach and watch the waves. They’re alive. They’re happy. Not everything he touches turns to ruin.

His chips are almost finished when Barbara comes over to the kiosk and purchases two ice creams.

“Ice cream? Aren’t you cold enough already?”

Barbara jumps, surprised at being addressed, and one of the ice creams lands cone up on his boot. He kicks himself for opening his big mouth, drawing attention to himself. The last thing they need is for him to interrupt their lives again.

“I’m sorry, that was clumsy...”

“No, it was my fault.” He plucks the cone from his boot and wipes the ice cream off with a paper napkin. “Will you allow me to buy you a replacement?”

She meets his gaze carefully, then nods.

He manages to purchase an ice cream with the minimum of difficulty. He knows which currency to use now, after that incident with the chips.
Decimalisation hasn’t been introduced yet. Should have checked a newspaper.

He brings it back to her, standing by his table, and hands it over with a smile.

“There you go, my dear.” It slips out, so natural: in his head, he turns and snarls at the memories with that voice, trying to intimidate them into submission. This body, this history, is separate. He’s made sure there is a past, and a present, and that one can be told from the other at any point in time; he doesn’t want what he’s done to pollute what came before. No more tangled strings. No more future echoes.

“Thank you,” she says, after a beat.

“It’s no trouble.”

She half-turns, takes a step, returns.

“What happened?”

He takes a breath, surprised; he’s unsure what or who she’s asking. “Nothing,” he says eventually, because nothing did happen. Everything is exactly the way it’s always been. “Nothing happened.”

For a moment, she seems to hesitate, as if debating something in her mind. Then she leans up and kisses him.

She tastes of salt and spice, of human and Earth. Of memories. A ship that still had the standard interior; an old man at the beginning of his life; a time that now seems so innocent and so much simpler.

“Thank you, Doctor.” She smiles. “For everything.”

Her nose and cheeks are pink with the cold and yet she is, quite ridiculously, holding two ice creams, simply because eating ice cream at the seaside is something that humans do: he knows he will remember her like this because she is so human and so beautiful.

Then she walks away, back towards Ian, towards the life they’ve made for themselves.

He watches her go. She doesn’t look back.

Comments

Posted by: Just Pat (nentari)
Posted at: 25th March 2009 06:30 (UTC)
Barbara

Aww. This is so sweet nd beautiful!

Posted by: MinervaFan (minerva_fan)
Posted at: 25th March 2009 11:19 (UTC)
Dr. Who - Barbara

So sad.....beautifully written, but sad.

Posted by: The Island of the Fay (atraphoenix)
Posted at: 25th March 2009 11:37 (UTC)
[dw] ian and barbara

This was wonderful. I loved the Doctor's reactions to his own memories.

This body, this history, is separate. He’s made sure there is a past, and a present, and that one can be told from the other at any point in time; he doesn’t want what he’s done to pollute what came before.

Very poignant. The bitterness of the Doctor was balanced nicely by the sweetness of Barbara and Ian.

Posted by: Wisdom in Written Words (ibis_thoth)
Posted at: 25th March 2009 16:29 (UTC)

That may be the most beautiful scene of a later Doctor with a Former Companion. Thank you so much for sharing that.

Posted by: greenapple.insanejournal.com (ext_75726)
Posted at: 25th March 2009 16:51 (UTC)

I enjoyed reading this.

Posted by: lost_spook (lost_spook)
Posted at: 25th March 2009 17:39 (UTC)
ianbarbara

This is very nice - well done. An unusual combination and a good bittersweet vignette. (And you're so right about the ice creams.)

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