Title: Ginger Beer 4/7
Summary: The Doctor overindulges in ginger beer and speaks unwisely to Nyssa.
Note: Set after Time-Flight.
Following the debacle on Neptimius Prime, the Doctor did not see Nyssa for a number of hours. It didn't take a genius to reach the assumption that she was avoiding him.
After what he estimated was a reasonable amount of time to wait, he decided to again attempt to make up with her. A sincere overture should go a long way towards mending fences, and sincerity was one of his current persona's hallmarks. He tapped on Nyssa's door. There was no answer, so he nudged the door ajar and peered inside the room.
Nyssa wasn't there. Even he knew that hunting her down would be a very stupid move. Disappointed, the Doctor withdrew with the intention of making up later. He would just have to wait for Nyssa to come to him.
In the meantime, he thought about his next actions. He temporarily dropped the idea of finding another companion, seeing that his first two attempts had been little short of disastrous, yet his other ideas seemed equally prone to failure.
Eventually night fell outside the TARDIS. He had to come up with something to do, and no matter how he struggled to prolong the experience, procuring a cup of tea consumed mere minutes. He set the steaming mug on the console and grabbed a giant spanner. Fiddling with the TARDIS would make him feel busy, though he was never sure if any of his attempts would result in the slightest success.
At that moment, Nyssa chose to enter the room. She also chose to speak. "Good evening, Doctor," she said breezily, as if their disagreement had never taken place.
He dropped the spanner on his foot, winced, and replied, "Good evening, Nyssa," very cautiously.
"I'd like to ask you a few questions," Nyssa continued.
She hadn't spoken in the tone he had grown to associate with the dreaded wedding plans, so the Doctor, optimistic that she had come up with a fresh and safe vein of conversation to tap, readily consented. "All right. Go ahead."
"I happened to be in the library just now," Nyssa began.
"Oh, yes?" the Doctor said faintly, the sick realisation that Nyssa had been exploring dangerous areas oblitering his optimistic mood.
"Yes, the library," she confirmed. "And it's interesting, really, that I came upon a rather disturbing book behind a shelf way in the back of the room, almost as if it had been hidden."
"The Rassilonia?" the Doctor said quickly. "Oh, I just kept that for the articles. The pictures came with."
"No, not The Rassilonia."
"Well, The Omegatron Chronicles were officially ruled not to be indecent approximately 277.358 years after I left Gallifrey," the Doctor went on. "So my possession of them is retroactively acceptable and also arguably legal."
"Not The Omegatron Chronicles either," Nyssa clarified.
"Oh." Realising he had dug himself rather a hole, the Doctor suggested, "Perhaps you should just tell me which book you found and then I'll come up with a way to justify my possession of it."
"Maybe that would be best," Nyssa agreed. "Well, it wasn't a published book. It was a sort of journal, and the entries I saw contained some interesting information about you."
"Me?" the Doctor said in his finest "puzzled" tone, which he had been exercising quite often lately. Its usage bought him time to think of a potential cover story and (he hoped) lent him the illusion of bewildered innocence.
"Yes, you." (The Doctor received the distinct impression that Nyssa had seen straight through his "innocent" act and was not amused.) "Specifically, you and a previous fiancee of yours. You got engaged to her over a cup of cocoa, and to me, as you might or might not admit to recalling, over ginger beer. I'm sure you can understand why I'm beginning to wonder exactly how many fiancees you've had over the years."
The Doctor gulped. "You don't mean you know about..."
"I do mean..."
"Cameca," they chorused.
"The Aztec woman you jilted," Nyssa finished by herself.
She stared at him. Long, dead seconds ticked past. Outside, the moon reached its apex. Crickets chirped in the background. However, only when his tea grew cold--and indeed, began to congeal--did it dawn on the Doctor that Nyssa was not going to speak until he did, so he delicately offered, "Cameca was a special case."
"So special that you abandoned her. Left her high and dry with no notice." Nyssa nodded. "I understand."
"It wasn't exactly like that," the Doctor protested. "There was a lot more to the issue."
"In other words, I can expect a repeat performance? I mean, am I more or less special than she was?"
"I don't rank my acquaintances in order of specialness," the Doctor stressed. "Everyone is special."
"In your own unique way, you're saying you could jilt me just as easily as you did Cameca. That's comforting."
"No, I didn't say that." The Doctor was very aware that his voice dripped with frustration, but he couldn't help it. Nyssa seemed to be wilfully misinterpreting every word that slipped out of his mouth.
"Then what do you mean? You certainly don't seem very enthusiastic about our engagement." Nyssa narrowed her eyes. "You know, you were the one who proposed to me."
Since it would be most ungentlemanly to point out that he very much regretted uttering those ill-fated words, the Doctor remained silent.
"So that's the way things are. I see. Well, then, I think you had better find a suitable place for me to permanently live." On that unpleasant note, Nyssa left the room.
Alone, the Doctor mentally composed a to-do list:
Must recover incriminating journal from Nyssa.
Must discover identity of author of said journal. (Ian? Susan? Barbara?)
Must learn improved ways to communicate.
List completed, the Doctor then reached the sad realisation that he could never again safely drink in the presence of others, particularly women. Look at what such folly had twice led to!
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