In Plain Sight

1985 San Francisco, California

He was a little over six feet tall, seven, if one counted the massive green and yellow mohawk that grew from his scalp like the plumage of a demented peacock. His tall, skinny frame was covered in black leather studded with metal spikes. His feet were covered in black and red Doc Martins. Piercings jutted from his ears, nose and lower lip. He certainly wasn't laying low, even in hyper-liberal San Francisco he stood out.

He was sitting in an outdoor deli, eating a sandwich. An ordinary enough sight, especially in the 1980's. Nothing about him indicated his true nature.

He was an alien. A Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey.

He was what one might call an 'illegal alien', in the most literal sense. He had fled his war-torn world and its mad, blood-thirsty dictator and came to a slightly less screwed-up planet, a cosmic refugee on a backwater world, hiding in plain sight from both his people and their enemies.

He instinctively sensed the presence of another of his kind, and his hazel eyes widened in surprise as a tall man with gray-brown hair and fierce blue eyes approached. Despite God-only-knew how many regenerations the other had undergone, he still recognized the figure before him.

"Doctor?"

The Doctor stood silent for a moment, unsure of how to react. He had waited so long to see another, true Time Lord, a sane Time Lord, unlike The Master/Mistress or Rassilon. "Karanakanaq?"

"Slash. I'm called Slash."

He had an American accent, The Doctor noted as he pulled up a chair and sat across from his fellow Time Lord. It had been a long time since The Academy, but Karanakanaq, outside of his fashion sense, hadn't changed much.

Each Time Lord silently looked the other over.

"What in the world did you do to your hair?"

"My hair? What about those eyebrows?"

"They add an air of dignity..." The Doctor began.

"You look like a werewolf."

"This from The Last of The Mohicans."

They both laughed.

"I can't believe this!" The Doctor smiled, "Last time we met, you were barely out of The Academy."

"You were President of The High Council of The Time Lords, last time I saw you. It's a pity you didn't stay . . . You did a much better job than Rassilon."

"You haven't regenerated?"

"No. How many times have you?"

"Thirteen."

Slash raised a pierced brow, "Thirteen regenerations? How is that possible?"

"I had a little help. How did you escape the time lock?"

"Easy. I didn't have anything to do with Rassilon's stinking war. I ran away." He took a sip of his coffee, "What brings you to San Francisco?" He smirked, "Did you come for the Billy Idol concert Thursday?"

"No. Just some slight trouble with the Slitheen. I never expected I'd run into another -"

A waiter walked up and The Doctor ordered a sandwich and hot tea. As he walked away The Doctor continued, "I've been searching for centuries for any sign of another Time Lord and one was right here the whole time?"

Karanakanaq shrugged, "Yeah. I guess so. I've been hanging around The Punk Scene, trying to stay out of the way."

"Were you looking for others ?"

"No. I saw Paracelsus, or Mikaboshi, whichever he's calling himself now. He told me you were alive, but I didn't want to be drawn into any of the trouble that follows you around like a bloodhound. Seriously, you're like that lady from Murder, She Wrote. Everywhere you go, people die." He frowned, "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said that. It's not your fault."

The Doctor frowned. It might not be his fault, but it was true.

"I don't blame you for what happened." He added softly, "You did what had to be done."

"They're not dead, you know." The Doctor said soothingly.

"I know." Slash began, then faltered, "It's better than bein' dead."

The waiter returned with the tea and sandwich, The Doctor took a sip and grimaced, "They call this 'tea'? Americans wouldn't know a proper cup of tea if it bit them!"

Slash laughed, "You get used to it. Ever drink sweet ice tea with a little lemon wedge? It's great."

"Blasphemy!" The Doctor shouted in mock outrage. He set the tea aside, "I'm not that thirsty." He leaned slightly forward, "Seriously, though, how did you escape the Daleks?"

"They never came looking for me, and I never asked why." He shook his head, piercings glinting in the bright sunlight, "Homicidal flying garbage cans who think they're The Master Race. I almost feel sorry for them. I wonder what Davros was smoking when he programmed them..."

"It might have been more merciful if he had been smoking something." The Doctor had been there, at the beginning, when Davros activated the first Dalek. He was completely, hopelessly mad. Even his creations' continual betrayals did nothing to sway him from his belief that he could somehow control them.

"Do have your TARDIS?" The Doctor asked.

"Yeah. It's hidden, of course. I don't want The Master or some other lunatic stealing it."

"She's called 'The Mistress' now."

He raised a pierced brow, "The Master's a woman?"

"Yes, and a very dangerous woman. She killed some people I truly cared about, and perverted others... I saw her die. Of course, I've seen The Master die many times before. I have no doubt I'll see her, or him, again."

There was a depth of pain in his blue eyes that was unimaginable to beings who had not lived long eons, witnessed the deaths of entire galaxies.

Slash had a few centuries under his belt, but he'd not seen the kind of horrors The Doctor had witnessed, and prayed he never would. For a few dark decades he'd thought his world destroyed, until he'd encountered another of his race, sort of. Paracelsus (AKA Mikaboshi) had once been Gallifreyan, but he'd been changed by a Great Old One into something new. He'd brought welcome news of his world's, his species', survival. His life had been considerably lightened then.

Slash finished his tea. The other punks, the ones he hung out with, thought him a bit odd spending more time in cafes drinking tea than in bars drinking anything with alcohol. Not that he couldn't drink with the best of them, but sometimes he just liked a peaceful cup of tea.

"What about your TARDIS?"

"She's here."

Slash smirked, "Still a blue police box?"

"Why change perfection?"

"Indeed." He laughed. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it, as they say."

"Hey, Slash, this your old man?"

Both Time Lords turned to see a small group of young men sporting punk gear and wild hair approaching. The one who'd called out, a short youth with bright red liberty spikes, a torn leather jacket with no shirt, jeans that looked like they'd been through a shredder and bright red Doc Martins walked up to the cafe, gaining quite a bit of attention.

"Naw, this my old teach, I call him The Doctor. He's cool, Spike."

As The Doctor glared at Slash for calling him old, Spike and the gang walked up.

"He buggin' you, man?" Another youth asked.

"No, we're friends."

"Look at those eye mustaches! He's like The Werewolf of London!"

"Scotland, actually." The Doctor spoke in an annoyed tone, "Though I do spend a lot of time in London."

"The UK's like the birthplace of Punk." Another youth said.

"Please, don't remind me. I'm still trying to get over The Spice Girls."

"The who?"

"Oh, that's right, they haven't happened yet. Wait about twenty-something years, then you'll know what I'm talking about."

"He sounds kinda like you, Slash. Talking about the future like you been there or somethin'."

"Now you know where I get it."

"Actually we're both Time Lords from the planet Gallifrey. We've both traveled throughout time and space for centuries, separately, of course. I'm over two thousand years old and I'm not sure how old Slash here is, I haven't seen him since my fourth regeneration. In my time that was nearly one thousand three hundred fifty years ago. But time travel makes time relative, I could go back to when he was an infant, for instance. You never know if you're dropping in on old friends, or young ones. I've sat and talked to people years after attending their funerals or seeing them die in my own timestream." He looked at one of the youths, "And stop thinking that I look over two thousand years old, it's impolite."

The group burst out laughing.

It's so much easier to fool people with the truth.

"That would be awful, talking to someone after seeing them die. You probably couldn't change it, either."

The Doctor looked up in surprise, "You have no idea, but I'm amazed you grasp the concept of being unable to alter one's personal timestream."

"It only makes sense," Spike shrugged, "If you go back in time to stop something from happening, and stopped it from happening, then you had no reason to go back in the first place, so it happens and then you go back and do it again, like some kind of time loop."

"Exactly! A temporal paradox. You're far more intelligent than you look."

"Thanks... I think... Was that a compliment or an insult?"

"That's as close to a compliment as The Doctor gets." Slash replied.

"Well, it's been fun, but I have to go." The Doctor stood and Slash followed suit, "Time waits for no man."

"Sometimes I think it waits for one man." Slash replied.

"No, I learned the hard way, not even I can cheat destiny, or outrun time."

Slash didn't reply, he understood that some things cannot be changed.

"Good bye, Doctor. You know where to find me now." He smiled, "And now we both know we're not alone anymore."

They shook hands, and The Doctor walked away.

"You have some crazy friends, Slash."

Slash just smiled.

...

The End

Notes:

This is set shortly after the episode 'Death in Heaven'.

The punk character could either be referring to the 1978 song 'Werewolves of London' by Warren Zevon or the 1981 movie, 'An American Werewolf in London.'

The reference to The Doctor being unable to cheat destiny is a reference to the serial 'The Waters of Mars', where he arrogantly believes that he can alter history, and does, in a way, but at a high price.

Karanakanaq is, of course, an OC.

This has been sitting around for years, I decided to post it rather than let it wither away...