Word Count: 4,260
Author's Summary: Stranded on Earth following a non-EDA-compliant version of the Time War, Fitz finds himself falling in love with a most unlikely woman.
Characters/Pairings: Fitz Kreiner/other characters
Recced because: I think it would be fair to say that the Eighth Doctor Adventures novels were a bit of a mixed bag. The NAs that came before them had their high points and their low points, but I think on the whole they had a certain consistency, if not in quality then in general vision and (grim, dark 'n' edgy 90s) tone. The EDAs certainly went through phases and had arcs and so on, but I always thought they were a bit more pot luck. They certainly had their moments, for both good and ill. They're a strand of Who's not-really-canon I'd like to see addressed more in fic (along with all of the other strands in their seemingly infinite multitudes), but that's just me.
One of the things that the EDAs really had going for them was the character of Fitzgerald Michael "Fitz" Kreiner, one of that select band of non-television companions from the various spinoff media who really could hold their own with the best of the televised lot. He was a complex character, Fitz, with some rather dodgy tendencies, but tended to overcome them as he travelled with the Doctor and on the whole his heart was in the right place. An exceedingly human companion, Fitz. Or rather, his biodata clone after a certain point, because...well, the EDAs were just like that sometimes, especially after Lawrence Miles got involved. In any case, I consider that Fitz (or his clone) really should be in more fic, so that's another tick in favour of this fic in my opinion.
And this fic makes excellent use of the character, exploring his combination of cynicism and romanticism, the naivety of the long-distance time traveller and how his yearning for love crashes into bitter everyday reality and his own difficult baggage after years spent travelling with the Doctor. The author paints a convincing picture of a damaged individual, out of touch with the time and place he finds himself in, but desperate - painfully so - for something better. It is a very affecting portrayal, and made all the more so by the revelation of how the post-EDAs Fitz came to be the way he is. The portrayal of the Time War and the Doctor's part in it given here is no longer strictly in line with what we know, or think we know, by this point in the post-2005 series, but such are the perils of fic. It is, however, convincingly horrible and horrifying. Even if the particulars were not like this, the general tone of the proceedings are probably not very far from the way it "really" was for the wartime Doctor.
And then there is the fic's final revelation. I didn't see it coming on my first read, although I think I can see a couple of clues on subsequent readings, but it is in any case a genuine "gasp of surprise" sort of moment and will stay in your memory long after reading.
On top of all that, we're talking about another author who is never less than reliable. You know you're going to get good fic reading one of her stories, usually with interesting character insights, great use of descriptive prose and a pleasing combination of high concept and realistic meditations on real life and the human condition. All of which you are getting if you go and read this fic. Please be sure to leave words of appreciation for the author.
Travel the universe and eventually you got jaded and immune to surprises, but get plonked down in the city you grew-up in fifty years after you left and the confusion and deja-vu and nostalgia got so bad sometimes it was almost painful. You'd go looking for your favourite old pub and find out it'd been boarded up for decades, then walk down another street and find some stinking hole of a place you'd always shunned still hustling away, selling the same food-poisoning waiting to happen it had when you were a kid. And you'd end up buying some just because it was familiar.
The queasy morning after was familiar too.