Spoilers: The War Games, for those who don't want to be spoiled about the classic series.
Summary: Jamie tries to remember.
Note: nicocoer recorded a podfic for it ages ago. Sadly, I forgot to link it here, and it seems the download isn't working anymore...
It was the music that got to him.
It made him itchy, nervous. Scratching at the back of his mind like a lost memory, something that was just out of reach. It made him want to do something but he couldn’t tell what. Echoes of conversations danced through his head, never actually forming words.
His friends were laughing about something someone had said and he got nudged in the ribs for missing the joke. Even his frown was distracted. The tune of the song had trapped him.
“Oh, please don’t! Haven’t we suffered enough today?”
“I have no idea what you are talking about! This isn’t an instrument of torture and I mean you no harm, as you should well know. Now behave, Jamie, and stop covering your ears.”
Who had he been talking to? He tried to relate that voice, that special way of saying his name to any of his friends but neither of them matched. That feeling of deep affection the vague memory carried didn’t go along with any of their faces.
What had they been talking about? Something about music…
“You can’t play the flute! It sounds dreadful, D-“
Dan? Dave? No, it was longer than that. Two syllables. Darren? No, that didn’t sound right either.
He repeated the fragment of memory over and over in his head, but the rest of the name escaped him. The melody changed pace, and from where he was sitting he watched the fingers of the player fly over the instrument in graceful, fluid movements.
“Not a flute, Jamie! It’s a –“
The song made him feel vague surprise, made him hope it didn’t show on his face. The thought of ‘Not so dreadful after all’ was woven into the melody, but he couldn’t tell where it came from.
“Since when can you play like that? It sound exactly like the song we heard in that pub. I didn’t know you were familiar with this kind of music.”
“Jamie, my dear, I am familiar with more things that you can imagine. But as for this melody, I’d never heard it before. But you see, copying the movement of the flutist’s fingers is easy if you have my memory.”
He was pretty sure that was a lie and frowned into his glass. Frowned more when he realised that he had no reason to frown. The melody was making his dizzy. Not a flute but a… a…
It was gone. Couldn’t have been important then – except that he felt like it was. He got up, walked up and down a few steps, restless. This was important! If only he could grasp this one thought everything would be alright. The song was drowning him, making him feel feelings and think thoughts that had no place here. It felt like travelling in time.
Travelling in time. In a big blue box that was… There was something weird about it. Something about its size? Big blue box… big… bigger than it should…
Travelling in time, with a man called the…
“I won’t forget you, you know.”
I won’t forget you, D… Do…
No, it was lost.
The song ended, replaced by a new one, and the unfamiliar tune carried his thoughts away. When he tried to remember what he’d been thinking about just now it escaped him.
Couldn’t have been that important then.
He let it go and returned to the conversation, to his drink, to the easy fun of the night.
The feeling of loss stayed with him until morning.