Fandom: Doctor Who
Pairing: Danny Bartok/Tobias Zed
Summary: It's Tobi's life, from the beginning of their mission to the end. AU coda to The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit
A/N: This is my first Doctor Who story and it's probably the story that has the longest writng time ever: three years. I know it's an incredibly obscure pairing but I hope you'll give it a shot
Tobi was quite used to being teased. Hell, he was used to a lot worse things than just being teased. He had been a walking, breathing cliché as a boy: a lanky, scrawny, awkward boy that spent his whole time brooding over books about dead civilisations and languages. He had been the perfect victim for his schoolmates to pick on. At home he had told his parents about sport accidents to cover bruises and split lips. So when he was told, that he would share a room with Danny, who seemed to be the charming, outgoing kind of guy that looked down on geeks, he braced himself for the worst.
But nothing happened. At least not what Tobi had expected to happen.
‘Hey, Tobi right? I’m Danny, Danny Bartock.’ Danny held his hand out and Tobi shook it.
‘I’m the Ethics Officer and you…?’
‘Sounds boring.’ Danny grinned.
‘Not more than Ethics.’
‘Touché. I can see why they put us in the same room.’ Danny patted his arm and looked around.
‘So, top or bottom?’
‘What?’ Tobi blushed but Danny didn’t seem to notice.
‘Top or bottom cot?’
‘Great, because I snore. So, if it disturbs you, just kick my bed.’ With that Danny climbed onto the top cot.
‘Thanks.’ Tobi said a bit unsure. Danny grinned and reached down to ruffle Tobi’s hair.
‘You’re welcome, mate.’
Four weeks until they reached their destination and neither of them had something to do. Tobi spent most of it with his books and Danny, when he wasn’t busy checking on the Oods or flirting with Scooti, pestered him with questions. Tobi let him because Danny laughed when Tobi parried his teasing with teasing back and giggled with him after Ida gave them a stern talk about climbing in the repair tunnels and their behaviour matching ten year old school boys.
Then they reached the planet and suddenly they had too much to do. Building a base was hard work and kept them busy 24/7. The regular impacts that made the whole planet shudder and the black hole looming over their heads made them all nervous and easily irritated and he and Danny had more than one fight but the amazing thing was that it didn’t stop them from being friends.
‘Tobias.’ Came Captain Walker’s voice over the radio.
‘I need you in section 3.2’
Walker and Ida worked on the outer storerooms, normally with Scooti but she had sprained her wrist and was out for a few days.
‘I’m on my way, sir.’
‘Be careful.’ Came Danny’s voice over the ether and Tobi felt a warm glow in his stomach because no one beside his parents ever said that to him.
‘Don’t worry.’ He replied and gave Danny a last reassuring grin before he left their workplace on the outer mantle.
Section 3.2 was more dangerous than the rest because the impacts occurred here more often and the stabilisators did only so much good.
Tobi felt the impact before he heard Ida’s sudden cry and then he felt a weird mixture of falling and floating and the world was upside down. Over the com he could hear Ida’s request for help and saw Walker, oddly misshaped and struggling but Tobi couldn’t tell for what. He felt very tired and there were brown eyes that stared at him…
‘Morning, sleepyhead.’ Scooti greeted him when he woke up. He wanted to protest that no one could really say whether it was morning or not since this planet didn’t circle a sun but a black whole but his throat felt too sore to speak. Scooti got a glass of water and held it carefully to his lips. After he had drunken he asked:
‘The impact was too close. The stabilisators were useless. We…we lost Walker. Ida was stuck under the debris and Danny couldn’t get you both in time…’ She swallowed.
‘Zack is Captain now.’ As Tobi tried to get up, she stopped him.
‘You have a concussion, Tobi. You stay here until Danny allows you to go.’
‘Danny?’ He frowned.
‘As an Ethics officer he has a rudimentary medicinal training and is therefore the closest thing we have to a doctor.’ She explained patiently. Tobi was the only one of them who hadn’t been in space before this mission.
‘Welcome back to the living.’ Came Danny’s voice from the door. He was carrying a tray and had his hair in a queue. It was the first time Tobi saw him this way and something inside his stomach squirmed at Danny’s attractiveness.
‘Hungry?’ Since Scooti had occupied the only chair in the room, Danny sat down on the edge of Tobi’s bed. Tobi stared at him bewildered that someone would go at such lengths to make him feel comfortable, injured or not. Danny waved a hand in front of Tobi’s face.
‘Planet to Tobi! Hello? Anyone there?’ Tobi flushed and stuttered a ‘Thank you’ before he began to eat. After he was finished Scooti and Danny gathered up to go back to work. At the door Danny turned around.
‘If I have as much as a feeling that you left the bed I’m going to tie you to it.’ Danny warned him.
‘Tobi.’ Danny rolled over in his cot. Sleepy and exhausted as he was Tobi’s name sounded like one, long syllable.
‘I want to sleep, so switch your light off and go to bed, you obsessed maniac.’
‘But these hieroglyphs are – ‘
Danny’s impatient sigh interrupted him.
‘Where do you get your energy?’ he whined: ‘You worked as much as I did and yet instead of going to bed you work on this scribbling.’
‘This ‘scribbling’ might belong to the oldest and most advanced civilisation that ever existed in this universe.’ That got him another sigh from Danny but then he jumped down and instead lay down on Tobi’s bed.
‘So, explain this to me.’ He gestured over Tobi’s notes and shards.
‘Because we’re friends and friends at least try to take an interest in each other. Either this stuff is as exiting as you make it up to be and I’ll stay awake or it’s as boring as I think and you get to sleep in my bed.’ Danny rested his head on his arm and looked expectantly at Tobi.
‘Okay. Easier question. Why are you doing this?’ Tobi shrugged.
‘I always liked history, ancient cultures and all that. It was different you know? Completely different from now.’
Danny gave him a smile that was a little understanding and a little amused.
‘You’re weird, mate.’
‘What’s with you?’
‘Not much. Ethics officer is a job that gets you easily hired. I figured this mission was as good as the next. Plus the whole black whole thing sounded pretty cool.’
Tobi stretched his arms as he walked into their room. He had repaired the outer mantle of section 3.4 with Scooti and wanted nothing more than a shower and some food. He rumoured through his locker to find some clothes as his eyes landed on his notes, spread out over the table. Tobi gave in to the temptation and sat down. Five minutes wouldn’t hurt anyone.
He was half into comparing the hieroglyphs with 14th century Arabic when suddenly someone screamed
Tobi nearly jumped out of his skin and then turned around to scowl at Danny who grinned unrepentantly.
‘You scared me to hell!’ Tobi snapped, feeling the urge to punch Danny to sweep that grin off of his face.
‘Right, you were doing important work.’ Danny’s eyes glimmered with mischief as he took a page from the desk.
‘Looks mightily important.’ He ran out of the room, calling: ‘You might want it back.’ Over his shoulder.
Tobi followed him. With Danny’s panted giggles in front of him Tobi hunted him into the main room, where the rest of the crew sat over their lunch.
Danny stormed in, Tobi in tow, both of them laughing as they chased each other around the room. Out of the corner of his eye Tobi could see Jefferson’s disapproving frown. He didn’t care, though. He reached out and was able to grab Danny’s belt, then dragged him against a wall and bodily blocked a possible escape.
‘I want that page back.’ He said breathlessly, grinning from ear to ear just like Danny.
‘’Wouldn’t want to keep you from your important work.’ Danny replied dryly and cocked his head. It suddenly occurred to Tobi that a) Danny looked good with his flushed face and dishevelled hair and b) he was pretty much pressed up against him.
‘Boys!’ Came Ida’s voice from the table and Tobi stepped away from Danny.
Tobi joined Danny when he monitored the Ood to finish the slow day they had had. On Earth and everywhere else where humans lived Christmas would be celebrated. Those two days made them all quiet and wistful. None of them wanted to be alone, not on the days were homesickness was greater than anything else and the black hole seemed to be even more sinister than usually.
Tobi leaned against the railing as he watched Danny work quietly and efficiently with his hair pulled back again. Tobi watched the shift of muscles underneath his skin when Danny moved and the concentrated look on Danny’s handsome face, without really realising what he did. Until Danny was finished with his work and sat down next to Tobi, leaning his back against the rail.
The planet fell into the black hole and suddenly the madness was over. Tobi hung unconsciously and unblemished in his seat.
‘What the fuck…?’ Danny was not sure whether Zack meant Tobi or that they were again moving away from the black hole.
‘Hello!’ Came the Doctor’s voice from above.
‘How about an exchange? I have Ida here and you give me Rose.’
‘How is she?’ Zack asked relieved, a feeling Danny shared.
‘Oh, a bit oxygen deprived but nothing severe.’
‘What about Tobi?’
‘He should be fine. The beast is dead now.’
They helped Rose from and Ida on board and then Zack told him to bring Tobi to the quarters. They would return to Earth first, to report on their mission to the Torchwood Archives and after that they could all go wherever they wanted to go.
For Danny that meant hiring on another ship and then another and another until his luck would catch up with him. He had been born in space and switched from one ship to another for his whole life. This godforsaken planet had been the first ‘home’ he had ever known.
‘Da…Danny?’ Tobi’s voice was quiet and rough but it startled Danny nonetheless.
‘It’s okay, Tobi. We’re on the rocket. We’re going home.’
‘He…he was so angry..’
‘It’s over. The Doctor says it’s over now.’ Tobi let out a shaky breath. He looked horrible: drenched in sweat and exhausted, as if he had lost weight he hadn’t been able to afford to lose. Danny suddenly felt guilty. He and Tobi had shared a room on the station and shared a room here, he had considered Tobi his friend but when trouble arose and Tobi had needed him he had turned his back as usual.
‘It’s really over?’ Tobi looked at him, his blue eyes wide and fearful.
‘The Doctor said so. Zack and Ida believe him and I believe them. How are you?’
‘Okay, I’ll see you when you wake up.’
They would need four weeks until they reached Earth. They were not even a skeletal crew for a ship of this size and to maintain and steer the ship they rotated between sleeping, eating and working. Danny hadn’t avoided Tobi but he also hadn’t tried to spend whatever precious minutes they had to spare with him. They all were more than busy and so he didn’t know how to react when he met Tobi in the mess after his own shift.
‘Hey.’ Tobi looked as bad as he’d done from the day the planet had fallen into the black hole. Maybe even a bit thinner.
‘I can’t sleep.’ He hesitated a moment: ‘…I…I have nightmares.’
‘It’ll get better.’ Danny said, mainly because he had no idea what to say.
‘Yeah.’ Tobi answered in a vague, affirming tone.
‘So’ Danny sat down: ‘What are you going to do when we’re back on Earth?’
‘Find a job with a archaeological research project.’
‘I think I’ve had enough space travel for a lifetime. What about you? Are you going to hire on another ship?’
‘You’re kidding, right? I’ve spent my whole life in space and I’m not going to stop now. And being an EO is so boring that just a handful of people do this job. I’ll be off planet again in no time.’
‘Of course.’ Tobi murmured into his mug, but his eyes held none of their usual humour.
‘You’re really a virgin?’
It was nearly funny to see Tobi blush in a whole range of different shades of red before he muttered:
‘That’s none of your business.’
‘Seriously, no one ever…?’ he couldn’t believe it. Maybe Tobi wasn’t the most entertaining person he’d ever met but he had a dry sense of humour and was attractive.
‘I was busy with my studies.’
‘Scooti had seemed to like you.’
‘We were all quite busy on that planet.’
‘Not that busy.’ Danny rolled his eyes.
‘Why is it so important to you anyway?’ Tobi snapped. His nerves were wearing thin on this whole work, sleep, food schedule when he wasn’t getting any sleep.
‘I just never met anyone like you.’ Danny tried to de-escalate but Tobi stood up and bit out:
‘I’m not some kind of circus freak for you to stare at for your entertainment.’
‘I didn’t mean to-‘ But he was cut off by the closing door.
‘Hey, look,’ Danny said the next day. He had deliberately waited for Tobi to turn up in the mess: ‘What I said yesterday...I didn’t mean it like that, okay?’
‘Okay.’ Tobi answered and kept eating.
‘So, we’re friends again?’
‘Friends?’ Tobi asked slightly bewildered as if the whole concept was new for him.
‘Friends.’ Danny repeated: ‘Here, pinkie swear.’ He laughed as he held his pinkie out to Tobi and Tobi returned the gesture reluctantly.
“Danny!” Zack called and Danny got up with a sigh.
“See you.” He said to Tobi but at the door he turned around and smiled, which did something very treacherous to Tobi’s insides but he blamed it on the bland food he had been eating for far too long now.
The captain came in and looked at Tobi for a moment as if to make sure that he was still Tobi before he grabbed a plate and sat down. Tobi was used to the suspicious looks by now but that didn’t mean that they didn’t bother him and it certainly didn’t help his nightmares one bit that everyone on the ship including himself believed that he could still snap every minute.
“So you made up with Danny?” Zack asked casually and poured himself some water. Tobi felt himself blush at the choice of words and murmured a ‘yes’.
“We’ll be on Earth in a week and I still don’t know how to write any of the things that happened on the station in my report for Torchwood.”
“There have been possessions by unencountered lifeforms before.” Tobi reminded him.
“But like this, I doubt it.” Zack dug into his food as if it was the best he had ever eaten. Maybe he was just that hungry: “Too bad that The Doctor couldn’t stay until we reached Earth that would have been helpful.”
“You could always blame me.” Tobi said quietly. Zack snorted: “Sure because that would make it sound so much more believable.”
“Nothing that happened on the station was your fault.” Tobi shook his head lightly but he didn’t say anything, leaving the mess for the fuel checks that had to be done today.
Scooti stood in the corridor, the panel in front of her cracking while she screamed at him to help her, tears at the corners of her eyes. The strong surface wind tore at his shirt but Tobi stood there, watching her fear grow with every additional crack in the panel, her hands frantically grabbing onto anything that would save her life. He grinned. She was so stupid, not understanding why her friend didn’t help her. She would die in a handful of moments and nothing she did could save her but it was so amusing to see her futile tries.
The panel gave in and she was flung past him, screaming, her fingertips just touching the fabric of his shirt before she fell towards the black hole, choking in the anoxic space long before she could reach it.
Her eyes were still on him, wide open and send him right into Hell and Damnation, her arms still outstretched as if she wanted to take him with her.
It was a piece of art –
“Tobi! Tobi, wake up! Tobi!” Tobi jerked awake, trying to get away from the source of the noise but two strong hands held him down by the shoulders. His arms and legs flailed in all directions, hitting the walls and something softer hard before Tobi could get a grip on himself. Above him Danny made a pained noise but the grip on his shoulders didn’t lessen in its strength.
“Scooti!” He gasped out.
“Scooti is dead, Tobi.” Danny reminded him, still holding him down.
“I killed her.”
“You didn’t. That wasn’t you on that planet.” Danny slowly let go of him when he saw that Tobi’s eyes cleared. He let out a laugh.“Man, you scared me here.”
“Sorry,” Tobi sat up. “Is it my shift?”
“No, I saw you trashing on your bed. Thought it might be better to wake you up. What were you dreaming about?”
“I was standing on the planet. Scooti was behind the glass. And I shattered it. I killed her.” Tobi brought a hand up to hide his face. The memory of those symbols on his skin was still fresh in his mind.
“We’ll be home tomorrow.”
“Maybe you should take some time off.”
“Will you?” Tobi scoffed.
“Might be nice to see some plants and breathe fresh air before hopping into space again. I’m not really a planet-side guy.” Danny raked a hand through his long hair with a self-ironic smile. It made Tobi smile back. “Could’ve fooled me.”
“See.” Danny grinned. “Torchwood will make us all stay a couple days anyway to answer questions. They love questions.”
“You’ve been working for them a lot?”
“Now and then, “Danny shrugged, “Usually means an easy opportunity for legal, interesting work.”
“You’ve done illegal work?”
“Sure, all the time. It’s the age of the pirates, baby.” Danny laughed at Tobi’s face. “So what do you say, while we’re stuck on Earth we’ll go out for a couple drinks and maybe get rid of that pestering virginity of yours?” Danny’s grin grew so lewd that Tobi blushed.
“Come on! Life affirming sex and all of that.” Tobi hesitated for a moment but then he gave in to temptation.
“It’s a date.” Danny winked at him. “See you later.”
The Cassiopeia was packed with people, badly lit and too loud. Tobi used to avoid these places but Danny hadn’t listened to his protest and since entering had kept plying him with drinks. The old world kind that still contained alcohol.
“Relax!” Danny shouted over the music.
“I’m trying to.” Tobi shouted back. Thanks to the alcohol he was beginning to feel lightheaded and didn’t protest when Danny pulled him away from the bar and deeper into the dancing masses. It was less dancing and more like moving in one homogenous mass of writhing, sweating bodies to the music’s beat. A redhead with green ribbons in her hair laughingly threw her arms around his neck and he could smell the alcohol on her breath. Danny gave him an enthusiastic grin before turning to his own dancing partner, a giant guy with blonde dreadlocks down to his waist and a pierced lip.
The girl in Tobi’s arms was obviously too drunk to do anything but cling to him to keep upright but Danny and his blonde guy were making out on the dance floor, barely stopping to breathe between open-mouthed, sinuous kisses, hands roaming wildly over each other’s bare, glistening skin. Tobi had a hard time looking away from them.
The blonde guy pulled Danny closer by his belt loops, leaning down to nuzzle Danny’s neck and Danny tilted his head sideways with a soft gasp to give him better access. Suddenly he opened his eyes, so dark and wide that it seemed nearly inhuman, and found Tobi’s.
Feeling reckless under the influence, Tobi let the half-unconscious girl slip out of his grip and pushed the blonde guy away from Danny, earning loud protest. His eyes still held Danny’s who just stood there, waiting for him to make the next move. Tobi reached out, his fingertips brushing Danny’s jaw before he leaned in to kiss him.
He woke up with a dull but persistent headache clouding his mind.
“Hey, you’re awake.” Someone said way too loudly and pressed a glass into his hand. “Figured you’ll need this after last night. Second best cure for hangover.” And fed him two small pills which he automatically washed away with what was in the glass, orange juice as it turned out. Still he needed a couple seconds before he recognised Danny.
“How do you feel?” Danny asked, sitting down on the edge of his bed.
“Horrible. Why did you make me drink that?” Danny grinned.
“You don’t remember?” Tobi tried to for a moment, squinting at Danny, who was in his room, in yesterday’s clothes and....
“Of course I remember.”
“And how do you feel about that?” Tobi simply shrugged. He didn’t feel changed at all, just happy that Danny was still there.
“I told Ida and Zack that they shouldn’t count on seeing you today.”
“Thanks.” He looked at Danny. “What happens now? I mean after this?” But Danny shook his head.
“That’s a conversation for another, lot less hangover day.” His grin turned lewd. “Do you want to know the best cure for headache first?” Tobi’s heart beat like mad when he felt his lips curl into an answering smile.
“Sure.” And leaned back into the pillows when Danny leaned in to kiss him.