Ten/Rose. Just so you know, there’s a couple of references to the Doctor Who novel, Only Human, near the end, in case anyone who hasn’t read it gets confused.
He was acting so weird. Usually by now he’d have that jealous streak of his right on show, with a dimple in his cheek as his jaw clenched tight, maybe a sniff in consternation, a not-so-nonchalant glance away from her. But he was just…smiling.
“Doctor, what’s going on?”
“Hmm?” He grinned. “Nothing.”
“You, um. You seem pretty happy.”
“I am,” he assured her, dashing around the console as he set the coordinates to send them back into the vortex.
Rose was almost offended. “But…”
He threw back the dematerialisation lever with a flourish, beaming up at the time rotor for a second, before turning back to her. “Cuppa?”
“I was just proposed to.”
“I know!” He let out a giggle. “I was there. Remember?” He tilted his head towards the corridor. “Galley?”
Because I’ve become addicted to Harry Potter and needed to reflect that in the love nerds somehow …
They fight constantly now.
It’s so much different from the constant bickering they used to share. That action - hell, that life - is no more. It’s the ending of quiet muttering over who took the better pair of goggles, which Doctor was better, who was quicker at repeating the digits of pi.
That’s over. Those days are left in the sullen darkness of the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. Just like those times, FitzSimmons are no more.
He stutters; she cries. He shakes; she hides. He thunders; she stops.
She stops helping. She stops following him. She just … Ceases.
They’re volatile. Deep within her aching chest, she knows this. She’s toxic. He’s damaged. They’re no longer a “they.”
She looks at him and sees a best friend that’s no longer there - and if he is, he’s too far buried under the sediment of a broken friendship, the words at the bottom of the sea, the days spent silent in the infirmary. She can’t dig him out any more than she could swim those ninety feet faster.
So she watches as he rides the waves, risingrisingrising before the inevitable crush of salt against the rocks. And then she’s there to pull him up, clean the glass out of his hands, before he’s back at the crest.
Her distance is maintained. She watches and watches and watches and feels like screaming because if he would only let her help he wouldn’t be hurting. She wouldn’t be laboring under this burden of responsibility.
For six weeks this continues. Forty-two days filled with waves and tears as salty as the sea. But like all, the darkness ends. Even if for but a spark of light, the darkness must cease.
He seemed well enough last week to hold tea cups with sloshing too much, so that’s what she brings him. The set is old, but nonetheless it represents them as much as the lab. The sugar dish is a Dalek, the pot the TARDIS, and the cups covered in various quotes. And though she can’t see it as she rests the pot on the tray, she almost smiles at the fact a “Love, Fitz” is scribbled on the bottom. Almost.
His door is left open, so she doesn’t bother knocking. He’s not asleep, and he avoids showers as long as possible due to his trauma, so she has good reason that she won’t interrupt.
Sure enough, he’s on the bed, a well worn book open against his knees. He doesn’t notice her come in, too engrossed in the pages. A smile ticks at the corner of her lips; he looks near exactly like the Fitz from years before. Curled up, reading.
It’s only as she draws nearer that she realizes he’s mouthing the words, squinting harshly at the pages. Her heart plummets.
“Knock knock,” Jemma whispers, offering a plastic smile.
His head jerks up, hand shaking against the book’s back, eyes wide with surprise.
“I brought tea,” she holds the tray up just a bit higher, his eyes following the trail of steam. “English, just the way you like it.”
He nods, swinging his legs over the side of the bed. When she makes no move, his hand twitches to his side.
She shakes her head, as if in a trance, and softly pads over, hesitating a second more before taking a seat next to him. The tray is placed between them.
It’s silent, and that hurts. Less than two months before they would have banter between them, perhaps even laughing.
But the airwaves are as still as the ocean depths, the only echoes being the clink of tea spoons on china.
She doesn’t have to ask him what he takes; she already knows, and so does he. It’s not until their fingers are both being warmed that she hesitates, eyes glued to the way his hand shakes.
He catches her looking, gaze hardening, as he slips the offending ligament behind his back.
“So what were you reading?” Her voice carries a faux light note, and they both know it. But she’s trying to bridge this gap between them, and again they both know it, so he lets her, even if just for a little bit.
“Ch-Chamber ‘f S-Secrets,” he mumbled, watching the tea swirl in his cup.
“Really?” Jemma can’t help the crease in her eyebrows. “But you always said that was your least favorite,”
“’S,” he nodded, managing the single syllable. “B-But it re-remi-nds m’ of y-you. When you we-re ha-happy,”
Her fingers ghost the bicep of his injured arm, but she pulls back at his flinch. “But you - we hadn’t even met back then. The only books we ever read together were the Half-Blood Prince and The-”
“- Ha-Hallows, yeah,” he nodded. “B-But you 'ways re-reminded me of Her … Herm … ” his fists clench at his inability to get the name out, but Jemma gently placed her palm on his tense shoulder.
“Hermione, yes …” She smiles, perhaps for real this time, but even that’s not enough to stave off the misting of her eyes. “And you always did remind me of Ron. Perhaps not the strongest, but you were definitely the bravest,”
Even Fitz has to grin at that, half-hearted as it is. “Yeah?”
“Yeah,” Jemma sighed, fondness overtaking her.
They lapse into silence yet again, and it’s only a few moments later that she realizes what she’s just admitted. A flush creeps up her cheeks at the realization, but regardless, she can’t help but think that it’s true. He’s the Ronald Weasley to her Hermione Granger. No matter what, they would always find each other.
“Perhaps,” Jemma whispered, a realization creeping over her. “Perhaps this is our Horcrux, Fitz,”
“This is our Horcrux,” she stated again, sitting up. “This is what tore them apart, us apart.”
He doesn’t try to speak, perhaps too turned by the past few minute’s events, but nonetheless he gives her a quizzical look.
“The Horcrux, Fitz - the locket. It’s what made them fight, and then Ron left, and it hurt both of them.” Her eyes were beginning to glisten, and the fact it was over a book series didn’t escape her. “That’s - That’s what happened to us. The pod - it pulled us apart. Made us forget what we were. You changed.”
He jerks as if he’d been burned, and it’s only that Jemma takes his shaking hands gently that he stays seated. Her palms softly take his tea cup so she can fully grasp both of his hands, eyes wide.
“But it was temporary - this is temporary. They found their way back to each other - so why not us?”
She’s torn between laughing and crying all at once. If someone had told her just four months ago that the way she would honestly open herself up to Fitz after he sustained brain damage was through a TARDIS tea set and Harry Potter references, she’d have laughed in their faces. But here she was now, looking up into his hurt but hopeful blue eyes, and it all felt right.
“They - they, ah, they en-end up to-to-together,” he stumbles out, hands and voice quivering. She knows what’s flitting through his - both of their minds, really - right now. Those few words shared on the ocean floor.
“Yes,” Jemma murmurs. “But that’s the thing - they were friends first, Fitz. And then they decided that they would like to spend the rest of their lives with their best friend. And, really,” she added, growing bashful. “I’ve had to experience life without you, and quite frankly, I’m not sure if that’s a life worth living.
"Maybe we don’t make it like they do. Maybe we really are just friends. But I know you wouldn’t mind trying for … for something more. And truthfully, neither would I,”
When her eyes dare to meet his again, it’s with such an intensity that she’s never seen. He’s open, and for the first time in weeks, his eyes aren’t clouded with worry or stress.
“Want t-to kiss you,” he mumbled softly, the thumb of his injured hand carefully moving to run over her knuckles. It’s shaking, but they can’t bring themselves to care. They’ve made it.
She laughs lightly in the air between them. “Then why don’t you?”
Her head ducks in, but just before their lips meet, he gently pulls her back by her shoulder.
“No-Not y-yet,” he managed, sheepish. “I want to b-be bet-better. Able to, ah, h-hold you,”
The ice that had momentarily forked in her heart dissolves in a flurry as she gives him an understanding smile. Instead, she pulls him into a tight embrace, planting a warm, light kiss on the shell of his ear.
“Whatever happens,” she whispered. “I just want you to remember that you’re my best friend before anything else. No matter what happens, if this doesn’t work out, or if we don’t get our fairytale ending, that will never change.”
He pulls back, his lips finding her hairline, before he pulls her tighter into the crook of his neck. “Always,”