Title: Why It Wouldn't Work
Word count: about 750
Characters: Fifth Doctor/Tegan
Summary: The Fifth Doctor thinks he and Tegan are meant for each other. But does she agree? (See the title.)
Note: Set after Terminus.
The Doctor stiffened his spine in resolution. He had been putting off a delicate task for some time, but further delay would be cowardly. He had to fulfill his duty.
He slowly approached the console room and peeked inside. Tegan was alone, watching the time rotor move up and down. She looked hypnotised or else incredibly bored. It was the perfect moment to strike. Surely, the Doctor thought, he was more interesting than a time rotor. He strode up to Tegan, grabbed her by the shoulders, and leaned down to press his lips to hers.
She began to shake uncontrollably. The Doctor hadn't expected tears, and he stepped back in alarm. Then he realised he should be comforting Tegan. It was another of his new duties.
"There, there," he said awkwardly as he patted her back exactly five times in perfect rhythm.
"Right, then. That's enough," said Tegan, shoving him away with rather more force than was strictly necessary. "What in the world were you doing?"
"Couldn't you tell?"
"Oh, I could tell it was a kiss. A really bad kiss, but definitely a kiss." Tegan's brow furrowed and she paused. "Right?"
"Right, though I might dispute the relative badness of it."
She stared at him. "Why?"
"Why?" the Doctor echoed. "It may have been a while, but I do still know how to kiss passably well!"
"I wasn't asking why the kiss was so bad. I was asking why you kissed me."
"Oh." The Doctor hesitated, alarm growing in his mind. Could he have miscalculated? Then he relaxed. Tegan was just playing hard to get. It was one of her finer qualities. She merely wanted him to convince her they belonged together, to do some of the work. "Well," he said, "I realised it was unfair of me to allow you to feel unrequited love for me. It was past time for me to reciprocate."
"Unrequited love?" Tegan hooted. "I don't love you."
"Of course you do," the Doctor said patiently.
"No, I don't. Look, I think I'd know if I did."
The Doctor fumbled for a new argument. "But... but you argue with me."
The Doctor blinked, at a bit of a loss. He hadn't expected to encounter this amount of resistance, but he was nothing if not adaptive. After taking a moment to marshal his thoughts, he renewed his attack. "It's obviously a form of foreplay when you scream at me and call me names. You scream because you love me," he triumphantly concluded.
"No, I scream because I'm angry and it's how I blow off steam. I don't do it because I want to shag you." Tegan looked the Doctor up and down and shuddered. "No offence, but you're too stodgy and alien and stubborn and bland for me. And aren't you, like, a million years old or something? Plus, this habit you have of changing bodies is kind of creepy."
"But you're my only companion who's ever stopped travelling on the TARDIS and later returned. That means you recognised your love and had to come back to be with me, that you couldn't bear to be away from me."
"No, it means I got the sack from my job for incompetence, had no money, and decided to freeload off of you till I figure out what the hell I want to do with the rest of my life," Tegan cheerfully corrected.
"But together we have fire and passion and chemistry. And you tell me when I'm being foolish! I need you."
"Together we're a total trainwreck," Tegan said. "You're Gallifrey; I'm human. You're intellectual; I'm impetuous. You're relatively polite; I'm outspoken. Besides, we have virtually no common interests."
"Opposites attract?" the Doctor weakly offered.
Tegan shook her head. "Not in this lifetime. And remember, I get only one of those."
It was a thorough rout. Tegan didn't look like she was pining away for want of his love, and the Doctor had to face facts. How could he have been so wrong about her feelings for him? He lowered his head in defeat and retreated.
"You're not inconsolable now, are you?" Tegan called after him. "Because if you are, I noticed Nyssa doodling your name and hers across her journal before we left her on Terminus, and I'm sure she wouldn't mind being rescued."
"No, no." The Doctor waved off her concern, set his shoulders, and went off in search of Turlough. He was sure his ginger companion had been coquettishly eyeing him ever since he'd come on board.
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