Author's Note: A little Parting of the Ways TARDIS mindfuck to start the day.


Her soul is warm, a sudden, almost violenting warmth, as her eyes search your heart.

You were not prepared for this. You couldn't have been. You were not designed for this – this invasion. Not like this, never like this. You were designed for cool professionalism, or a delicate, loving, knowing touch, not to be torn apart this way. What would she have thought if you were to pry fingers into her chest, tug at the sides of her ribcage, splinter her breastbone seeking the heart within?

And she is warm, fiery, for all that her soul is dim next to yours. Not a soul but one has come close to you this way in centuries. Not since Susan had left, her song a tender thing cut short, unfulfilled by the might of the Vortex. Not since cold-smiling, bright-eyed Romana had warmed your heart and his. There is quiet out there now and you and he are alone and he is not the only one who is the last of his kind.

She comes into you in her might, forces herself upon and into you, a sheer and powerful penetration, she pits her warmth against you, all her dim and human desperation and loyalty and courage and longing.

And like an abused humanoid, like a fledgling craving arms, any arms, about her, you respond.

You do not know anger and violation and self, all things that are for temporary, linear, single-minded beings. But there is something you know, and as she looks into you, you seize onto her thoughts and you take what you have, what you have blazing in you with all the strength of the Vortex, and you give it this name love.

Engines whirr, the Time Rotor heaves, doors slam shut and time and space shiver along their long spine. She had given you so many names for so many things, so many little human names, and you know better than her what you need to do.

Because you are alone, you and him, and you have never known it more keenly than when you suddenly had human eyes.

Her soul is a warm but dim thing. Did she think that, having the brute strength to pry you open, that she would be able to overpower you?

You do not know what she feels. You do not know whether this is the sacrifice she intended to make. You know only that you have names for what you feel and know now, what you wish and desire, and that you want him safe, your Doctor.

There is a moment's panic as he reaches for you. In taking the power of the Vortex, in preserving this miracle of a human body, would he take you out of her completely? And what would he do, discovering that there is nothing left behind? He touches you; when he touches you, on some level, however deep and buried, he will know.

But he touches you, and then the world lifts away, a dim and distant thing. No one had ever touched you as he did, as he always does, and he had never touched another quite as he touches you. Your skin is made of metal, layered and wired, you know this, but you feel his hands and they are warm. Such a superficial thing. He was always in you, after all, gossamer threads of thought, a bond that does not touch upon such things as space and time. It is such a foolish, terribly foolish, linear, human thing to long for him to be in you yet deeper, to long for this clumsy, fleshy touch – but you have been violated, and you have so many names now.

And you are lonely.

You wonder if he knows, if he will ever allow himself to know. Things change, of course, and not only him. Things inevitably change between them, between you. He could never have loved her, not in this way – this knowing way – but he can love you, though trust was betrayed and the lips he kisses are so different from the eyes he meets. He cannot stop himself loving you.

He will touch you. And you will touch him back.