Author: Isilien Elenihin
Warnings: Explicit sex, swearing
Word Count: 17391
Author's Summary: The TARDIS locks the Ninth Doctor out in modern-day London. While he's investigating a puzzling knot in the Time Lines, he runs into Rose Tyler, who's going back to school to get her A levels. What if there was no 'run?'
Genre: Alternate Universe, Angst, Character Study, Drama, Het, Hurt/Comfort, Introspection, Romance, Standalone
Characters/Pairings: Ninth Doctor/Rose, the TARDIS
This is the first fic this week that I'm not reccing for the sex (though there's absolutely nothing wrong with it ;)). This is an AU where the Doctor ends up stuck in London, and to have something to do he takes a job as a teacher and guess who ends up in his class?
Some of you may recall the uproar a few weeks where Doctor Who was accused of being a racist show. While one may have different opinions on that, I don't think anyone can argue the fact that Doctor Who only rarely examines the problems of gender, race, sexuality, class and general privilege.
Which is why I find fics that delve into the probable realities of Rose's poor, working-class background especially interesting. We know that Jimmy Stone was a rotten egg, but he's especially nasty in this fic (prepare your hankies). However, Rose's good humor and lust for life really shines through in this fic, and is even more poignant considering how rough her life has been.
They're studying Shakespeare when he first notices her. She stumbles over the words, but once she understands what Will is trying to say she's remarkably quick in understanding what he means, which is why he's surprised when she does poorly on an exam. In discussion she's vibrant and sure and she holds her own. Unlike Shireen she's serious about getting her A-levels, unlike Shireen, he thinks, she wants to get out of the estate, wants to do something with her life.
He leaves the test face-down on her desk with 'see me' written on the front. There are things he should be doing, problems he should be solving, but–it's nice to affect change without having to blow something up or doom a species to extinction or even bother with local law enforcement. Sometimes it takes years for his changes to come to fruition (years that he doesn't have to spend waiting for a thank you or even an acknowledgment) but he can see the influence he's having on these kids. And it's nice (but it doesn't change his destination, doesn't weaken his resolve because he's decided).
When Rose hangs back at the end of class she's hesitant, more uncertain than he's ever seen her (and granted he's had limited experience with her but the day she fails to speak her mind he's pretty sure the sun will fail to rise out of sheer amazement). She's wearing her hair over her face today and it seems odd, like she's hiding.
"You wanted to see me, Dr. Smith?" He really should think of a better name, but John Smith has served him well enough in the past (and it's not like he's going to need a name, where he's going). She's looking at him a little odd and the Doctor realizes that she was talking, just there, and he missed it.
"Yes, Miss Tyler." He waves at the chair next to his desk and she sits. He leans back in his chair and watches her for a minute (long enough for her to fidget) before he holds out his hand for her test. She gives it to him, her teeth worrying her bottom lip. He hates the stilted formality that accompanies the education system, as if keeping that extra distance between teacher and student ever did anyone any good. But he isn't here to fix the system, he's here to make sure that whatever needs to happen to keep the universe ticking happens.
"We've gone over this in class," he reminds her gently.
She looks down, ashamed. "Yeah, I know."
"Then what's the problem? You're clever, Rose." Her first name slips out like it belongs on his lips. "I know you can get this."
Her lips twist in frustration. "It's these words–I dunno what half of them mean, and reading it just–it doesn't work."