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"Journey of a Lifetime", chapter 2

Title: Journey of a Lifetime, chapter 2
Fandom(s): Doctor Who
Characters: Tenth Doctor, OC
Pairing(s): None
Rating: G (slight PG-ness)
Genre: Sci-fi
Word Count: 906

Summary: A normal high schooler with a bright future ahead of her, Traci encounters a man who tells her that she's not who she thinks she is.

Notes: Unlike usual, this fic is only mostly done. I'll be posting chapters every 2-3 days, to give myself time to edit the rest of this into shape.

Master post link: Master post

As Traci savored each bite of the burger (which, she had to admit, was really rather average), she wrestled with the guilt of being in this diner in the first place. She really couldn't afford to eat out, with the bulk of her scholarships going towards her rent and tuition. She just really needed a break from the instant mac 'n' cheese and Cup O'Noodles she had every day. She had eaten so much better when she had lived in the dorms, with its mandatory food service. She'd moved into an apartment because told herself she wanted the "freedom," but now she missed the food, the social life, and, honestly, the real freedom from having to cook, pay bills, and clean house. Her mom had warned her not to leave the dorms, and now the only thing keeping her from going back was not wanting to admit that she'd been foolish.

Still, she'd been pretty successful so far with staying afloat. This was the first time in two months that she'd enjoyed the luxury of a meal out, and there'd been plenty of opportunity. Though she'd had to take out student loans to make it through and was working at the Macy's for as many hours as she could spare from her studies, she'd avoided building and carrying balances on her credit cards, something that none of her friends had managed to do. With any luck, she would graduate and start her real life without that hanging over her head; she already had enough to deal with without that.

Anne leaned way back in her chair, one arm snaked up on the table to tease the remnants of the spaghetti with her fork. “Come on, Traci. He’s poison. You know that. You’ve got to get rid of him.” Anne regarded Traci with concern on her face, but she didn’t see, her own head bowed over her meal. She played idly with a french fry.

“But I love him.” She didn’t mean to make that sound whiny, but it did.

“No, you don’t. He’s comfortable. And he’s there when you get home. And he’s probably a decent screw. But you don’t love him.” She deliberately dropped her fork on her plate noisily, to try to startle Traci into a reaction.

Traci ignored her. She really didn’t want to think about it, and she knew why. If she actually thought about it, she’d agree with Anne, and she’d have to do something about it. John really was a complete loser. He lived in her apartment rent-free, mooched off her food, didn’t have a job or go to school. He was an expert at manipulating her, making sure that she knew he’d be homeless and starving if she threw him out. But to do something about it meant confronting him, starting a fight, putting her foot down. It was so much easier to let things go as they were.

“All he’s doing is distracting you," Anne continued as her friend remained silent. "Your grades are dropping. You're exhausted. And he's just sponging up all that you make from working all the time.”

“Yeah, yeah.” Traci continued to stare at the french fry. She’d heard this all before, and deep down, she knew Anne was right, but she didn’t want to admit it. John was getting in the way. Time was running out, though. She had two terms until she got her degree, and she needed to get her life back on track again: finish school with a decent GPA, take the LSAT, start applying for law school, figure out what she was going to do if she couldn’t get in. Everything was getting so… urgent.

Anne stared at her friend. They’d been best friends since they were juniors in high school and she knew her moods and attitudes, and right now, Traci was lost. “Hey, now, this isn’t like you. What’s wrong? What aren’t you telling me, girl?”

Traci threw the french fry onto her plate. “There’s just so much to do. I guess I’m not ready for college to end yet.”

Anne nodded. “I know the feeling. My week’s been taken up by getting ready for career fairs and interviews, when I’m not working on my thesis. I’d give anything to be a freshman again. But,” and she picked up her fork and waved it at Traci, “that doesn’t give you an excuse to let John walk all over you. You didn’t have a problem with telling Drew to take a hike. Where’s that Traci spirit?”

“Yeah, you’re right.” And she was. Traci knew it. She just didn’t feel very in control of her life right now, but she needed to overcome her fears and move on. This might be just the right thing to get her going. She just wasn’t sure. She looked around the diner at anything, anyone other than her friend.

A tall busboy covered in a long apron approached the table. “All done with those?” he asked in a clipped English accent, pointing at Anne’s plates.

“Yeah, take ‘em, thanks.” Anne dropped the fork on the plate. The busboy piled the dishes in his plastic bin and turned to leave.

“Wait,” Traci called. “Do I know you?”

The busboy turned only his head back as he retreated. “I’m not from around here.” He grinned and vanished into the kitchen.

Traci’s brow furrowed in confusion. “Anne. Do busboys in diners normally wear suits and ties?”

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( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 19th, 2015 10:40 pm (UTC)
That tall busboy... is that a pinstripe suit he's wearing? How about the shoes? Converses make sense for what he's doing. Does he have sticky uppy brown hair?

"I'm not from around here." That's for sure!

Anne is right, Traci needs to get rid of that moocher. First things first, school has to be a priority.
Aug. 20th, 2015 12:08 am (UTC)
She didn't quite get a good enough look to verify pinstripes or no... ;)

I love the phrase "sticky uppy"! But you know what my absolute favorite Wilf phrase is? I adore that he calls the Doctor "his lordship". The love and respect he expresses with that phrase is just stunning. And to me, it also expresses his (Wilf's) love for Donna, because I think that a large amount of Wilf's respect for the Doctor stems from his appreciation of the Doctor's friendship with her and his showing her the universe.

(Omg, I could go on and on about Wilf. I also love that he cheered Donna on when she left with the Doctor, especially when Sylvia was trying to stop her.)
Aug. 20th, 2015 12:33 am (UTC)
Right, the suit was under the apron, so she couldn't get a good look. Doesn't he ever change?

OMG, I love the relationship that Wilf and the Doctor developed! They both have such love and respect for each other. "His Lordship" can be used either disparagingly or with love, and it's clear that Wilf really loved the Doctor like he would a son. Part of that is the fact that he showed Donna the universe and encouraged her, but part is respect on his own part. And it was totally reciprocated! The Doctor said he would have been proud to have had Wilf as a dad. Wilf knew that both the Doctor and Donna were truly at their best when they were together, and that they needed each other.

Wilf and the Doctor were such a pleasure to watch, almost as much as Donna and the Doctor!

See... I did go on and on.

Edited at 2015-08-20 12:37 am (UTC)
Aug. 20th, 2015 05:05 pm (UTC)
Right, the suit was under the apron, so she couldn't get a good look. Doesn't he ever change? -- Nice Partners in Crime reference! :)

Completely agree with your thoughts on Wilf. I'm so glad that Wilf got his own episode to spend with the Doctor, even if it was the very last and the most tragic. I do especially love how they built Wilf's character and their relationship across series 4, even though Wilf rarely appeared. Gorgeous storytellng.
Aug. 20th, 2015 05:32 pm (UTC)
I just had to do it, couldn't resist! Donna would point that out...

Absolutely, they had some of the most bittersweet moments. Wilf was a soldier, he knew some of what the Doctor was going through, even if it's just a fraction. And it's so ironic that their relationship seems to be Wilf as a father figure to the Doctor, when the Doctor is at least ten times as old chronologically as Wilf. Of course, it's similar with Donna. They are equals maturity wise, even if, once again, Donna is so much younger chronologically.

Both WIlf and Donna gave the Doctor a sense of sanity, could rein him in, and never lost hope in him. I'd say they both trusted him to the end, but Donna would have had to lose that when he clearly went against her will in blocking her memories of him.
Aug. 20th, 2015 06:01 pm (UTC)
Well, you know, as the Doctor himself said, "It's not the time that matters. It's the person." Wisdom isn't necessarily a product of time, and a person can be wise in some matters and not others. One of the reasons the Doctor is such a compelling character is that he excels in some areas and not others, and the supporting characters really blossom when they provide him the guidance he needs in the areas he's lacking in.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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