nitro_is_ace: (aces are rare)
She manages to sleep through the hair tugging, through the gentle pokes in the side, and even through the amused and somewhat exasperated huff before the bed dips as he shifts to rise.

She even sleeps through the door opening and closing once, twice.

It's the smell of cocoa with peppermint applied liberally that wakes her up, and brings her, blinking sleepily, from under the tangle of blankets and pillows she had ended up under. He hands her the cocoa, selects a cookie for himself from the tray, and climbs back into bed. She snuggles in beside him contentedly, blowing steam off her cocoa. He pulls the blankets up close, ostenatiously to conserve heat, but really because they are both overly fond of cozy and close. They natter on about inconsequential things and important things and shallow things and deep things and everything and anything. She tweaks his beak of a nose, he gets crumbs in her hair.

The morning rolls on, but they show little signs of moving. Neither of them often indulge personal comfort above what needs to get done during the day, but it is a perfect morning, and it seems too much of a shame to end it after all that has happened - between them to them together.

Eventually he finishes the cookies and a little later she finishes off her cocoa and he rescues the mug from her lax fingers as he strokes her hair in a motion so close to petting that makes no difference. It must be the feathers, all the feathers, that explains why she drops off again when sleep is so rare for her now elsewhere.

Or perhaps it is more simple than that. A simple equation where he is her bird, and she is his kitten, and they are both of them home.

(Small table of doom.)
nitro_is_ace: (polaroid with Doc)
Despite protests and complaints and disdain, Ace does go back to Perivale now and again. She just has better sense than to go during any time she might run into... inconvinences. Of course, after a certain point, Perivale disappears under the weight of London, the name only existing as a lame leftover of a previous age, tacked to a neighborhood that much like many other neighborhoods, and only infrequently visited by tourists.

Today, she has come to Perivale.

When she lived here, there wasn't this much free space, the air wasn't nearly this clean, and the streets were paved with many layers of asphalt laid down over the years. Now, it is a quaint little village, with a manor house on top of the hill still standing aloof. Ace sits halfway up the hill, close enough to the town to see the villagers going about their day, far enough away to not have to smell the effects of a town before the advent of underground sewers. The house looms behind her, but it is far enough away the the horror contained within it only barely registers.

She's been here for the last few hours, idly sketching out the town with her unpracticed hand - it certainly won't be any great work of art, but it'll be something to trigger memory later.

"Ace! What are you doing here? I thought you wouldn't wake for another few hours at least." Calls a voice behind her, vaguely irritated in a distracted sort of way, energetic and assertive... and with an accent that calls up the Highlands. Ace's pencil skitters across the page as she tenses, suddenly, making a black streak through what could be (with some imagination) the blacksmith's hut down below. She didn't know he had left the manor. If she had... well, she certainly wouldn't have visited during this time span either. Give it a good fifty years either way, just to be safe. She can't run now, of course, he's older than her, and certainly craftier. The universe wouldn't be big enough to hide in.

"Hullo, Professor." And she's proud, so very proud, of how her voice doesn't shake at all. He'd have seen by now, of course. His Ace, the teenager snoozing the day away in an indecently comfortable bed somewhere in that monolith of a house is very proud of her jacket, and especially of the huge patch over the back with her name in big bold letters that can't be missed. She still has the coat, or rather, she still has an overly-decorated bomber jacket, but all of the decorations are different. One patch declares that she is an official ka-mai, a word from a language she hasn't heard in so very long. Over one shoulder is a bird, a big black bird with something sparkly in its beak, on a white background. There's a patch or a pin (and even random bits of jewelry) for nearly every bit of fabric, but on the back she does not have her name in big, bold letters for everyone to read.

She has the seal of an Academy she left decades before. One that the teenager sleeping so close by has no hope or desire (yet) of seeing.

"Who are you?" He demands from behind her. He knows, of course he knows. Or at least he suspects. He's far more intelligent and quick to not suspect. But even she has to admit that with the way she knows she's treated him lately, the logical conclusion isn't so logical. Who would dare suggest the emotional wolf of Fenric who can't even deal with her own past rationally, even in abstract, could ever be trained as a Time Lord? Never mind that humans are still banned on the whole from Gallifrey.

"I'm sorry." She says, not answering the question. "I thought we came in the fall, not the spring, and of course I made no note of the year whatsoever, save that there were folk in funny victorian clothes. Did you pick that dress out, Professor? It is lovely. I mean it, though I won't say as much tonight. It is very inconvinient for running amok in, after all." It took decades, more decades than she ever thought she had, to smooth her natural accent to something that doesn't scream street waif.

Soft footsteps in the grass behind her. She can hear him now that she's paying attention, she can hear the young stems crunching under his patent leather shoes, hear the thump of his umbrella in the soft ground as he uses it as a walking cane.

"Ace." And then, just then, far too late to do anything about it, she realizes that she let him come too close, that she simply cannot move in time to prevent...

His hand on her shoulder as he crouches next to her.

She tries anyway, rolling way in a blurred motion, abandoning her pad and pencil in the grass in her hurry to get away. Too late. When she gets back to her feet and turns, he's staring at her with a mixture of suprise, and curiosity... and horror. She's wanted to see him for so long, all these decades... but the reason she hasn't ever gone back was this precisely. She never wanted to see that look. She didn't want to come back and see Time's Champion doubt his course. He's risen now as well, and they watch each other, the abandoned sketch pad between them.

"I... I'm..." All this time to think of what to say to cover this moment, and she still stutters. Fantastic.

"You are Ace." She's surprised at how forceful his voice sounds.

How proud, she realizes, as she blinks away tears.

"But I don't know what that means." She blurts, surprised yet again. She never meant to say that.
"I mean, I... what I am I, Doctor?"

"More than a pawn." That startles a laugh from her - their relationship has always been based on games, hasn't it?

"Thought we weren't playing chess."

"Poker, perhaps?"

"More like 'Go Fish'." He laughs in turn, but it's more calm than her own. Of course it is. He's got his metaphorical feet back under him now, as firm and unshakable as ever. He looks like he wants to ask her a question - maybe something about their current problem, the hideously cruel mister Smith and his terribly creepy household, and the greater problems of Control and Light. But his control is better than hers, even now, and he doesn't ask the questions she knows he has.

"It'll be dark soon. Best get back before supper. Don't have the soup."

"Ace." He scolds, sounding pained, though he grins - that crooked, mischevious grin that always means trouble isn't far behind. He still doesn't ask. Instead, he opens his arms.
"One for the road?"

She's been back to Perivale many times.

She's only gone home the once.

(The tiny box of doom.)

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nitro_is_ace

July 2012

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