Summary: Being a rock star was everything Johnny believed it would be.
Notes: For hhertzof
Johnny was more nervous at this concert than he had been at any others, even the first gig they'd had at a proper, big venue. Tonight the Star Jumpers were playing Wembley, so of all songs, this new one needed to go over well. But more than that, his parents were here. When he'd been a child they'd loved everything he wrote, but these days they complained that his music was too loud and didn't have enough of a tune. Johnny would point out that was because they were old and he pretended their opinion didn't matter. In reality, he wanted them to like his music, even though he wasn't prepared to make it the sort of music they liked.
Black and White on Fire, the football song from their forthcoming album, was their encore. The fans were relatively quiet while they listened, not being able to sing along to a song they'd never heard before, but their applause at the end was just as big as for their favourites. Although their reaction meant Johnny walked off stage with a smile, his heart was still racing, and not just due to the buzz he got from playing to a live audience. While rest of the band and the crew cheered and congratulated themselves, he fidgeted while waiting for his parents to arrive backstage.
"What did you think?" he asked, as soon as they were through the door, hurrying over to them and looking at them hopefully. "Of the new song," he added, realising that he hadn't been quite clear, in his enthusiasm.
His mother smiled fondly - unbeknownst to him he'd just looked just like he had as a child when he'd played them a song and asked for their approval. "I don't know much about football," she said, and looked to his father.
"I liked it," he said thoughtfully. "The chorus reminded me of the days when I went to a football match with my father, watching Sunderland win." At Johnny's look he chuckled and added, "They did win sometimes."
Johnny's nervousness dissolved with his laughter.
"Hey, Johnny." Marty found him after the gig, as he was putting his guitar away. "Your fans are outside, if you're lonely tonight."
Johnny snapped his case shut and looked up to find Marty had a girl on each arm, one blonde, one brunette. Both short as well - Marty had a thing for petite women. They were both smiling broadly, as if they'd hit the jackpot. Johnny shook his head. "No, thank you."
"Oh, come on." Marty let the fans go for a moment to come over to Johnny and whisper. "I'll let you have one of them if you'd like."
That wasn't why he'd refused and he shook his head. "You keep them. I don't sleep with fans any more."
"Is this about that Australian bird?" He sounded sceptical, as if he couldn't believe anyone would be interested in just one woman.
Johnny glanced round to see that the girls were listening. They pretended not to, whispering to each other, but they kept looking up at him and Marty. Not knowing who they might speak to, he didn't remind Marty of Tegan's name. "No it's not," he said, picking up his case, although Tegan was a very good reason not to. She was already unsure about going out with someone famous, even if she'd never heard of him, and sleeping with anyone else was hardly likely to win her over. "Don't you remember the last fan I took home?"
Marty shrugged. "You weren't to know she was going to sell her story to the tabloids. But I don't know why you hate it so much, she did say you were really good in bed."
Johnny shook his head. It wasn't that that was the problem, it was having it all splashed across the papers that he hated. Marty, on the other hand, was happy for any publicity. He supposed he could understand when most journalists only cared about Johnny. Johnny wished they didn't. "If you're not worried, you go ahead."
Marty considered it for a moment, then grinned. "I'll show them such a good time, they won't have any cause to go to the press. Come along, girls."
"Have you seen this?"
Johnny sighed and put his pencil down, but kept hold of the guitar. He looked up to see Tegan walking across his study brandishing a glossy magazine. "No, I haven't. I don't read that sort of thing, you know that." Those things always spelled trouble. He stuck to the likes of NME - at least they knew what they were talking about.
"I'm on the front cover." She made it sound like it was worst thing anyone could ever do to her and threw the magazine down on top of his composition.
It hadn't been the first time she'd been in a magazine or a tabloid. They'd been full of the story about his love life ever since they'd met, even when there hadn't been much to write about. He'd tried to keep that from her as much as he could, wanting to protect her from the press and not wanting to lose her to their vindictiveness.
He glanced at the magazine and saw it had a photo of the bride and groom on the front, and promises of more details about their wedding inside.
"Where did they get it from?" She stood in front of him, arms folded.
Sometimes he thought he should make all journalists have to deal with Tegan before they published anything. They'd never dare print a word after speaking to her. It was one of the things he loved about her - she was passionate and stood up for what was right.
He put his guitar aside and stood up to face her. "They probably bribed the photographer. Or one of the waitresses or something. It doesn't matter."
"It doesn't?" Despite her firm tone he could hear a small seed of doubt in there.
"No, it doesn't." He reached out for her hand and was glad she wasn't so angry she wouldn't let him take it. "They'll all have forgotten about it in a week. And what does it matter what they say? It was our wedding, we enjoyed it and most importantly, we got married. Besides, you should be on a magazine cover." She frowned, but before she could protest he continued, "What magazine editor wouldn't want someone as pretty as you on their cover?"
She shook her head, but smiled. "Flatterer."
He grinned. "Is it working?"
"No, it's not." But she kissed him anyway.
Johnny was tired after the long tour, but glad to be home. There were lights on, which made him think Tegan was in, but calling her didn't get a reply. He gave up when he found the timer on the lamp in the lounge, then checked the kitchen to find a note on the fridge.
They always seemed to be missing each other these days. Either he was on tour or she was on a political rally. He didn't begrudge the Aboriginals their rights, just the amount of Tegan's time they took up. He sighed and put the kettle on, mentally calculating the time difference before picking up the phone.
Of course Tegan was unreachable or just wasn't around. Despite his fatigue he didn't want to go to bed without speaking to her, but by the time he got hold of her he was on his third cup of coffee and the sun was rising.
"How was the tour?" she asked him, sounding far more awake than he felt.
He considered lying to her. She probably didn't have much time - for him at least - but he wanted to talk to someone about it and she was his wife. He didn't want to pretend with her. "Terrible," he said. "Venues half full and we argued all the time. I was hoping you'd be here when I got back."
"I'm sorry. This opportunity just came up."
She didn't sound particularly sorry and went on to describe it, but he wasn't listening. He hated that she was putting her feelings above his. He'd been doing the same, but he wasn't sure how to stop. He ran a hand over his face. "I can't do this any more, Tegan."
She stopped mid-sentence. "What, the touring?"
"That and whatever it is we're doing. When was the last time we had a proper conversation?" It said something about the state of their relationship that all he wanted to do with his wife was to talk. "I'm tired of arguing with Marty about sleeping around, with Kel about chords and with you about not seeing each other." And arguing about arguing, which had been a new low, even for them.
There was silence at the other end. He hated doing this over the phone when he couldn't see her reactions. He hadn't intended to do this at all but he was tired, not thinking clearly and just wanted it all sorted out before he went to bed. "We both want different things. Maybe it would be better if we went our different ways."
"Sorry, what were you saying?"
He held the phone away from his ear for a moment, blinking at it. She hadn't even been listening!
"I have to go," she was saying when he put the phone back to his ear. He could hear shouting in the background. "We'll talk when I get back."
And then she was gone. He wondered if it was worth being here when she got back; if there was anything left of their relationship to fix.
"Doctor, what are we doing here?"
The Doctor put his hands in his pockets and grinned back at them. "Going for a nice walk in the park. Coming?"
Nyssa and Tegan looked at each other, as he strolled off down the path. "It looks a lot like Earth," Nyssa said, as they watched the Doctor dodge a child holding a balloon, who was running in front of her mother pushing a pram.
"It is Earth." The only question was when and Tegan looked around for clues as she stepped out of the TARDIS ahead of Nyssa.
"At least it's a nice day," Nyssa said, making the best of things, as she shut the door behind them.
"Makes a change for England." Tegan wasn't certain that they were in England, but the tall buildings they could see around them looked like London, even if some of them were missing. It was the clothing and hairstyles that told her it didn't matter how close they were to Heathrow, they weren't in the right time.
She sighed, but decided to make the most of it, walking beside the lake with Nyssa, some way behind the Doctor. From here she couldn't hear any traffic - the only sounds came from the ducks and children's laughter and the shout from an adult when their child nearly fell in the lake while throwing bread to the ducks.
While that incident caught their attention, and a group of ducks crossed their path, quacking, the Doctor had stopped to talk to a couple with a pram. He waved Nyssa and Tegan over. "Some old friends of mine," he said eagerly, once they were in earshot.
The old friends didn't look sure. "Do they know you can change?" Tegan asked the Doctor, guessing the source of their confusion.
"Ah, no." The Doctor slumped a little at that, but only for a moment before he launched into an explanation of regeneration.
Tegan tuned it out and peered into the pram. The blue blanket told her the baby was a boy, and he grinned at her, waving an arm around. She shivered and took a step back.
"Are you all right?" Nyssa came to her side, looking concerned.
"Just had a feeling like someone walked over my grave." She smiled at Nyssa, not wanting to worry her. "It's gone now. Let's leave the Doctor to his friends and go and get some ice cream." She took Nyssa's arm to lead her to the hut selling it not too far away.
"He's a lovely baby," Nyssa said to the couple, as Tegan led her away.
"Thank you," the woman said, smiling at Nyssa, but frowning at Tegan.
Perhaps she had appeared rude, she couldn't help it. But the couple must be used to the Doctor, so perhaps they wouldn't mind too much. As she and Nyssa headed off, Tegan heard the woman tell the Doctor the baby's name was John. It didn't make a difference: she didn't know anyone called John of the right age in England in her own time, but still something told her he was familiar. She didn't look back though. She just wanted to forget all about him and Adric and have a nice walk in the park with Nyssa.