Old Phil

Disclaimer: BBC/RTD

Author's Note: Happy Easter! Planet of the Dead, yeah? Anyone fancies a long, rambling chat about it...PM me. Personally, I was disappointed because the Doctor was so...'We were made for each other' 'We make...something about a couple-can't remember exact words...'? Really? All I'm saying is, look, RTD, this is David Tennant's swansong. He has made DW what it is today. He was voted the most popular Doctor. Please. Please. Stop messing it up m'kay? The 'Stolen Earth' was the last episode that I thought was handled well. Anyway. About this story. The end is approaching. I've finished it; it just needs tidying up. Let me know what you think of it.

Nobody sat next to Old Phil. Not unless you went in for that old eyes-caved-into-your-skull look. Rumour had it that, whilst he was doing time, he scorched off someone's little toe for banging into his table and jostling his beaker of water. He was one of those dangerous, shady characters who seemed to give off 'I'm trouble, don't cross me' vibes like stale body odour.

Unfriendly and rough as the roads. He was a massive, lumbering ogre of a man in his late fifties with a shaved head, gammon-coloured forearms covered with heavy common-looking tattoos, chunky gold medallion rings on each finger, missing teeth and a permanent leer on his face, as if he were constantly thinking of ways in which he could crush a person's shinbone without using direct force. Sank pint after pint of bitter with gristly pork scratchings in here, most nights. Picked his ear, belched out loud, and liked carving expletives in the chipped varnish of the wooden tables with his car keys.

He sat at table in the very back nook of the pub, beneath the disused dartboard. Round puncture-holes from poorly aimed darts cluttered the plaster wall behind his head, as he always sat facing the door, his eyes flickering round the pub, shiftily. He had grown slightly paranoid and overly evasive with age. Not surprising, really; the amount of people he'd managed to upset, incriminate and swindle over the years, he was bound to have made a few enemies.

Why he was called 'Old Phil' though, was anyone's guess, seeing as he was called Daniel Todd, not Phil anything. Most people reckoned it was a name he'd picked up during his first stretch in Juvy, though of course, it was not a question anyone was ever stupid enough to raise. His usual table, with the cigarette burn (from back when the sale of nicotine and tobacco had been legal) in the upholstery of the armed chair, was unofficially Old Phil's table.

You knew that nobody sat there but him, in the same way as you knew not to cross the road when the traffic lights were on green. So when a tall man in a brown-pinstriped suit and long brown coat ambled in from the cold night air, hands shoved in his pockets and sat down at Old Phil's table like he owned the place, Marie, the barmaid couldn't help but feel slightly sorry for him.

She leaned her elbows against the sticky surface of the bar, watching him. She definitely hadn't seen him in here before; he seemed youngish, younger than her; early thirties perhaps, and quite good-looking in a boyish sort of way. He was looking around the pub, ankles crossed and resting against the support bar at the base of the table, taking in the tatty red carpet, stained tables, winking fruit machine in the corner that was beeping alternately and the wooden paneling around the walls that was splintering off, with an expression of mild interest.

It was a dodgy pub in a dodgy end of London; she'd only agreed to work there in order to pay off the debts she'd managed to strike up in her early twenties. You wouldn't set foot in a dump like this unless you really had to. Old Phil had slouched off to the toilets and he would come back to see this skinny man sitting at his table…Marie smoothed out one of the green bar towels anxiously.

Normally, her approach was to stay out of it; smile and serve punters without getting involved, unless things started to really kick off. But this man, he was just sitting there, oblivious to his predicament; a man who had trundled into the lion's den with his eyes squeezed firmly shut. He was a bit alright looking, wasn't he? A warning couldn't hurt, she decided, sliding her first finger out of her mouth, where she'd been chewing on a hangnail and slinking out from behind the bar towards Old Phil's table. The man, seeing her make a beeline for him, grinned at her and rested his chin on the heel of his hand.

She sent him one of her most flirtatious smiles, chest thrown out, wiggling her hips as she walked. "All right, my darling?" she cooed at him as she reached him. "Can I get you a drink of anything?" She very obviously leaned over to collect three of Old Phil's empty glasses, white foam splashed across the sides, not-so-subtly showing off rather a lot of cleavage. She straightened up, looking at him expectantly, eyebrows raised slightly. The man glanced in bemusement from the glasses in-between her fingers, fleetingly to her chest and then back up to her with a taken-aback look on his face that very clearly said, 'What on Earth did you do that for?'

"I-I'm not staying," said the man apologetically, with a wry shake of his head, gesturing at Old Phil's vacated seat. "Just waiting for someone." He shot her a disarmingly wide smile, all chirp and enthusiasm and she couldn't help but titter at his nerve.

"I'd wait by the bar, mate, really I would," she tossed her head in the direction of the shabby bar, reprovingly, but still smirking at him from underneath her lashes. "This is Old Phil's table and he doesn't like company."

"Hmm. Old Phil," echoed the man, over-enunciating each syllable, as if he were trying to wrap a new sound around his teeth. He said it with a hint of irony and amusement, but his eyes had suddenly turned very dark, penetrating, even, and he tapped out a short three-beat rhythm on the table with his long fingers.

Marie didn't miss the way his expression hardened.

"Oi," she said firmly, pointing a finger of her free hand at him. "I don't want any trouble off you, mind. I'd hate to have to make you wait outside." She said it jokingly, almost as if she were a mother scolding her little boy, but without really meaning it, her smile cheeky and glossy, but the intent was there. She would chuck him out if she had to.

"Oh, no trouble," promised the man brightly, waving away the suggestion airily as if nothing had been further from his mind. He winked at her. "Me and Old Phil, we go way back."

Marie laughed and reached over to ruffle his hair. "Give over, my darling. You ain't old enough."

Glasses in her hand, she turned away and retreated back to the bar. She deposited the empty glasses on the front before walking round to the side, to where a small section lifted up. Before going through, she looked back over her shoulder at the man, (who much to her chagrin, didn't seem to be watching her bum, like most of the other drinkers) and mouthed the word 'Behave' at him. He nodded at her in earnest, giving her a look that was half-innocent, half-charming before the heavy wooden door of the men's toilets squeaked open on its hinges behind him and his eyes immediately flickered to the hulking man in the doorway.

Old Phil stood frozen in the arch between the toilets and the main pub for a moment, his spiteful eyes locked on the stranger sitting at his table. He evidently recognised him and, rather than charging towards him like an angry bull and bodily lifting him up out of his seat by his tie as Marie half-feared he would, he seemed a tad…uneasy. The young man in the suit sat very still, watching him like a hawk with the utmost mistrust. He quirked an eyebrow up at Old Phil, as if to say, 'Well, are you sitting down, or what?'

Old Phil shot a nasty look at Marie, seeing her looking on and she very hastily decided that now would be a good time to empty the glass-washer, whether it needed doing or not, scurrying to the other end of the bar.

Crossing from the toilets to his table in four strides, Old Phil violently pulled back his chair from the table with so much force that it rocked back on its back legs, before it settled and threw himself into it, glaring at the man opposite him as if he would like nothing better than to rip him limb from limb.

The man didn't seem at all fazed. He simply smiled at Old Phil pleasantly, and said in a quiet, steely voice, "Hello, Danny Boy."

Old Phil growled at him in return, baring his teeth at the man like a rabid dog, his shoulders squared, gaze hostile. "You," he spat. "Again."

"Me, again" agreed the man flatly, as if Old Phil had pointed out that he was inconveniencing him. "How long have you been called 'Old Phil', then?" asked the thin man interestedly, looking quite honestly curious, frowning, looking down his nose at the man with his mouth slightly open, as if it were the most ludicrous thing he had ever heard.

Old Phil muttered something unintelligible and pointedly ignored his question. "I knew you'd come," he said through gritted teeth. "Y'always do."

The man pulled on his ear as he considered this. "Yes," he decided, making a face. "I suppose I do, yeah."

"Every time," choked out Old Phil, still through teeth gritted so tightly that his jaw was pulsing, his face bright red. He looked seconds away from smashing the man in the face. "Every time somethin'…'appens." Here, he spat out an expletive and thumped the table with his huge fist so that people at the surrounding tables looked over in alarm, before seeing who had made the noise and turning back round, hurriedly.

"You're there. Day we got done for the Blockbusters job, day I got sent down for GBH, day Sarah smashed up my car wiv' a vase, day she chucked me out, day I were in court for hittin' that copper…you're there."

He spoke quickly and venomously, spitting out his consonants, letting out this torrent of verbal abuse, as if his words could inflict pain on this strange man, coming out thick and fast, as if they'd been let out from a dam in his chest, his voice rising with hate.

"I've seen ya. You're always part of the crowds or round the corner. You…for more than thirty years. You never say anythin', you just stand there, innit? And now my son's been banged up, you're here again!"

The man nodded in offhand confirmation. "Yep," he said, popping the 'p.'

Old Phil twisted one of the rings on his right hand round and round, then moved onto the next finger, then did the same with his left hand until he'd loosened all the rings on both hand, avoiding the other man's eyes.

"Is it so ya can check I'm miserable?" he asked at last, fury radiating from his eyes as he looked up at the strange man.

The man swerved around his question. "You made her miserable," he replied, glowering at him, his eyes dark and stormy.

"I've made a lot of people miserable!" raged Old Phil, thumping the table again in bad temper. He winced as he hurt his hand. Massaging his knuckles vigorously he scowled at the other man, his greying eyebrows furrowing. "No one else has ever followed me round for thirty years just to prove a bleedin' point!

"Nobody else was Rose Tyler," retorted the man defiantly, quiet pride shining out of his eyes.

Old Phil shook his head at the man in disgust. "Look, mate, the stuff we did to 'er…we were just kids!"

"So was she!"

"It were years and years ago!" protested Old Phil; his hands still shaking, expression evasive. He laid his palms flat against the grubby tabletop and stared down at his dirty fingernails. "She'd be about my age now, yeah? Why's it still matter?" he asked, running a stressed hand over his shaved head.

The man looked at him sharply, his dark brown eyes boring right through him. It was a look of dislike, pity, anger and deep-set loyalty.

"Because no matter how old she gets, she's still going to remember," he said quietly, but in such a way that Old Phil heard every word he said and it sent a small shiver up his spine; the same sort of shiver of apprehension he always got when he was arrested, that feeling that he'd bitten off more than he could chew.

Old Phil craned round in his seat to look at the bar, checking to see if the barmaid was listening in. Satisfied that she was still arranging glasses on shelves, he closed a hand around his keys in his pocket and looked the man opposite him up and down; his eyes taking in his thick coat, crumpled suit and unruly hair.

"Who are ya?" he blurted out bluntly. "You…you're always dressed the same. You ain't aged. You used to look older'n me. Now you look younger."

The man chuckled, as if he found his Old Phil's comments quite funny, before leaning forwards on his elbows, the sleeve of his coat resting in a spillage of beer. "I'm the Doctor," he said bitingly, voice brittle, expression severe so that it sounded like both a threat and a warning.

"And you've got somethin' to do wiv' Tyler?"

The 'Doctor' man grinned humourlessly. "You could say that, yeah."

Old Phil brought his keys out of his pocket and began tapping a bronze, Yale key incessantly against the table; a nervous tic. The Doctor looked down at the jingling keys, distastefully and Old Phil stopped but used one of the keys to pick out something brown-looking from one of his fingernails.

"I 'fink I saw her," he said gruffly, muttering like a teenaged boy. His whole body had tensed, his hands clenched into fists, neck jutting out. He seemed uncomfortable; on edge. "That day…they day you warned us…made that wall collapse. I saw her. I told the others-Fat Kev and them…I told them but they didn't believe me. She were older…"

Old Phil mashed his face into his hands in irritation and scrubbed, unable to explain himself properly, sounding half-doubting and disbelieving. "The bird who was wiv' ya in the shop, yeah? That was her, innit? The Tyler bint. Then down that alley…she picked me up an' I recognised 'er. Tell by the eyes, yeah And 'er chin? I said 'Tyler' to 'er and' she nodded. It were 'er, I'm tellin' ya! She were twenny! It were 1997 and she were twenny!"

Old Phil's voice had risen to a paranoid shout and he was on his feet, the rickety table rocking from side to side at the force of the movement, bellowing down at the Doctor, angry tears starting to build up in his eyes, a key held between each finger so that it looked like he had sprouted claws.

Everyone in the pub had swiveled round in their seats to look at the source of the commotion, staring at Old Phil curiously, glasses halfway to their mouths.

Marie, the barmaid, put down the glasses in her hands and leaned across the bar. Shaking her hair out of her eyes she said, "Take it outside please, gents." She looked wary of Old Phil, but her voice was firm. It was an order, not a request.

The Doctor looked up at Old Phil, serenely, unimpressed at his outburst. He kicked the leg of his chair underneath the table to get him to sit down, again.

Breathing heavily, as if he had been running for a long time, Old Phil did so and the Doctor shook his head at him, dubiously.

"You're saying you saw Rose Tyler when she was twenty," said the Doctor slowly, patronisingly, as if he were talking to a toddler. "On the same day as you emptied two Sherbet Fountains over her head and left her screaming for her mum, trussed up in algae like a pond-turkey…when she was ten?"

Old Phil faltered, as if he were thinking about denying it, before nodding, slowly. "Yeah."

The Doctor rested his chin in his hand and smiled dryly, as if Old Phil had just let him in on an elaborate yet stilted joke. The look he gave him was condescending, and falsely patient. "Two Rose Tylers?" he said with a laugh. "Think about what you're saying."

"It were Rose!" snapped Old Phil. "Swear on my life it were."

"I'm sure it was," said the Doctor, consolingly looking around the pub distractedly, in a tone that said he clearly didn't believe him. Sighing, he got to his feet and pushed his chair in, looking for all intents and purposes as if he were about to leave.

Evidently panicking, Old Phil leaned over the table and grasped a tight hold of the Doctor's coat. The Doctor pulled a face at the hammy fist that was clutching his clothes and looked at him, pointedly.

"Every stinkin' time I walk out onto the street I s'pect to see one of you. You or her. S'like, every silly blonde cow I see I 'fink it's her. S'like she's gonna be waitin' for me. An' you! You never stop followin' me. But 'er…she ain't…it ain't normal!" howled Old Phil, fisting a tighter hold on the Doctor.

The Doctor shook himself out of Old Phil's grasp, jerkily.

"Daniel," he said harshly, using his proper name for the first time that night. Old Phil flinched and sniffed, his shoulders trembling. "You're old. You're paranoid. And your guilt has driven you bonkers," he told him matter-of-factly, almost dismissively, as if he'd established all he came for. "Bye."

The Doctor smartly sidestepped around the table and, shoving his hands into his pockets, he made his way over to the bar. Marie looked unsurely over the Doctor's shoulder at Old Phil, who appeared to be crying babyishly, hurling abuse at anyone who looked over at him. "What ya lookin' at? I'll come over there and…"

The Doctor leaned sideways against the bar with his ankles crossed. He smiled winningly at Marie, who tutted back, but who couldn't quite keep from smiling at him, the corners of her mouth crinkling. "Don't give the big fella more of anything stronger than an orange juice," he advised her. "He'll have someone's eye out. Try some horse sedatives…they might work," he suggested thoughtfully. "Green ones. Not the yellow."

With another cheeky wink at her, he pushed off from the bar and marched quite cheerfully out of the pub into the blisteringly cold January night air. As the door swung shut behind him, trapping in the smell of drink's fumes, stale beer, old vomit and urine in the drafty entrance-way, he picked out the outline of a blue wooden Police Box standing in the corner of the car park underneath an amber streetlight, and made his way towards it.

There was a loud clash and clatter from inside the pub, followed by angry shouts and the tinkling of shattering glass and he guessed that Old Phil had probably…possibly…upended a table.

"Blimey," he muttered under his breath as he crunched across the car park's loose gravel, not too unlike the rough gravelly surface he'd walked across with Rose wrapped around his back almost three nights ago. He felt an odd sense of déjà vu, actually. "2045," he remarked sarcastically, his voice rising in tone for nobody's benefit. "Barrel of laughs."

He unlocked the doors, chuntering some faint annoyance about the lack of shrimp canapés and 90's pop-singing companions.

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