A/N: As I'd already written two fics about what the Doctor and Rose felt about the whole Girl in the Fireplace thing, I decided to complete things by writing how Reinette felt. Not sure how good it is, but I tried to get it in the sort of way she'd speak. Could be read along with "Disposable" and "Voices" the two other fics I have written, but it's not essential. Hope you like!
Reinette has waited for her Lonely Angel. She has waited for weeks and months and years. She has waited through summer and winter, sun and rain, day and night. Each evening, as she watches the fire burning in her fireplace, she wonders if tonight will be the night that her Doctor will come back. She stays awake to watch the last embers die, and as the room fades into black, she turns over in bed and closes her eyes tight, hoping that when she opens them again he will be there. But he never is, and every night she goes to bed alone.
He was right when he said that she has been surrounded by people all her life, never left alone for a moment. It is true. In the busy palace of Versailles, she has rarely a moment to herself. From the moment she wakes until the moment she falls asleep, she is attended to by maids and servants. But that does not mean she is not lonely. For one can be surrounded by a million people and still feel all alone in the world. Reinette has always felt this. Even with her love, her King, who worships the ground she walks upon. Etiquette dictates that she does not burden him with her thoughts and feelings. Reinette has grown accustomed to feeling lonely.
It is only in her dreams now that she does not feel lonely. Her dreams belong to him, her Doctor, her lonely angel. It is only when she sleeps that she feels complete and her heart is fully repaired. She has done a good job herself, mending the worst affected parts by building walls and faking smiles. But she needs him and this time for the cracks to be papered over, as though she were never damaged.
The palace has been repaired since his last visit. Under her careful eye, it has been restored to its former glory, with all the tapestries either repaired or redone, and the mirror in the ballroom replaced. It all looks as good as new, or even better. All the clocks, too, have been fixed, although she does not care to spend long alone in a room with a ticking clock.
Only sometimes does she even allow herself to consider what happened to him. She feels sure he must have at least tried to come back for her, for he seemed a man of his word. Though appearances can be deceptive. Sometimes she feels it is possible that he forgot all about her as he turned back to his real life. With that girl. At other times, she feels sure he will come for her and that he has just been delayed.
Her Lonely Angel. The shooting star that came into her life and showed her another way. The doctor who read her mind and changed her life. The man who abandoned her having given her the taste and promise of another world.
Reinette has prepared herself for the fact that she may never see him again. She can feel her body, this useless earthly body, sickening and dying. Perhaps she has lived too much, seen too much, felt too much. For she is sure that the great heroines of the past, the Juliets and the Cleopatras, loved too much and too hard and this is what killed them. Maybe she is just another one of these women. Oh, how she wishes he would come and take her away from here; take her to a place where death and dying are but a fairy story. But she knows that she has to face facts at some point.
This will be the last letter she will ever write. As she holds the pen in her hand and begins to cover the cream parchment with her elegant writing, she recognises the finality of what she is doing. An end to hope, an end to wishing.
My dear Doctor,
The path has never seemed more slow and yet I fear I am nearing its end. Reason tells me that you and I are unlikely to meet again, but I think I shall not listen to Reason. I have seen the world inside your head and know that all things are possible. Hurry though, my Love. My days grow shorter now and I am so very weak. God speed my Lonely Angel.
She re-reads it several times before folding the paper up and sealing it. It will now be put into safe keeping until he returns, for she is sure he will not return before she departs forever. Reinette was once afraid of dying; now death is coming and she has resigned herself to that fact.
The Doctor has visited her but five times in her whole life, and yet Reinette measures her life by those few occasions. Once in a lifetime with a man like that would be special; she recognises that she should feel honoured to have met him five times. To have had the Doctor watching over her since she was a child… she will be forever grateful. One cannot expect too much from one meagre lifetime on Earth.
She is left alone in her room once again. The candles are blown out and the curtains pulled across the windows. And Reinette stares into the fire. And waits, alone, for her weary progress along the slow path to finally end.