Clive: "He is a legend woven throughout history. When disaster comes he is there. He brings a storm in his wake. And he has one constant companion."
Rose: "Who's that?"
His body was still crackling with energy from his latest regeneration, and much to his dismay, his anger and hurt had remained. He wanted to leave the war behind almost immediately but when choosing his clothes, he was drawn to something more military in style. The battered leather jacket and the dark hues of his shirts he felt were a good metaphor for his entire being. The Doctor was desperate to leave the military behind him. He had never wanted to be in the army. He had wanted to be a Time Lord. He did not want people to associate him with destruction or the slaughter of millions. He wanted to be the man that saved people. The one who made them feel better. The one who meant that no-one had to lose their mother ever again.
After he had regenerated, the first place that he wanted to go was Earth. An insignificant planet in the eyes of most Time Lords but he had long ago learnt to appreciate its wonders and even the ingenuity of some of the stupid apes that lived on it. But as ever, he found that his journey was not untroubled. Another displaced being from the Time War had decided to take up residence on Earth. Unfortunately it was not doing so discreetly.
Henrik's seemed like an odd place to start a mission for world domination, but the Doctor decided to roll with it. He'd seen weaker strategies conquer planets in the past and he was certainly not about to take any chances with the Earth. However he certainly had not planned to blow up the store and the workplace of one Rose Tyler. He had also not planned to continuing to talk to the girl. But he had found himself easily joking with her about something silly that he had already forgotten and for a brief moment it was like he was over it. Like he was not weighed down by a grief so large that he was not sure that the word grief was adequate enough. This was more than grief. This was visceral. It was not just that he had lost people that he loved. It was also that he had killed them. Because he loved them. Because it was the only way. He kept repeating that to himself like a mantra. Like the more he said it to himself, the more it was true.
The Doctor had already lost count of the number of times that he had replayed the final moments of the war and the days leading up to it. He analysed every move that he made, every decision and every conversation. It was agony.
In the end, he regenerated and as the flame engulfed him, he prayed to a god that he did not believe in that this torment would be abated. He knew that it would not end with regeneration, but he hoped that his next incarnation would be somehow better equipped to cope with the legacy of genocide than he was. So far, that hope seemed an empty one. On the very first night that he spent in this form, he counted the number of children on Gallifrey who had died. His palms ran slick with sweat when he realised that even the child that his beloved family gardener who had being longing for his own children as long as the Doctor could remember was now surely dead. They would only have been eleven. Another promise to protect the innocent broken. Not for the first time, he wondered if he really deserved the name 'Doctor'. The man who heals. It was almost as if the universe was mocking him. It was impossible to believe that he could have the same relationship with the world that he had before, travelling around carefree with a companion by his side.
But then he thought back to Rose Tyler. They had joked together. And she had smiled at him. And she was in awe at even the smallest glimpse of the broader universe that she had been shown. So maybe, just maybe, there was hope for him yet. And it came in the unlikely form of a nineteen year old from a council estate with no A-Levels.
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