"Every Time You Tell It"
STANDARD DISCLAIMER: Doctor Who belongs to the BBC, and I'm not making any money from this.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is the first fic I've ever written in the first person. I wrote it all in one shot, in the wee hours of the morning. I had to; it wouldn't let me sleep until I'd gotten it all down on the computer screen.
Which Doctor is this, and which companion? You decide! ;)
"It was like he came along and whispered some dream in everybody's ear, and somehow we all dreamed it." - Bruce Springsteen, speaking about Elvis Presley.
Listen, I'm only telling you this because I want you to understand. It seems important… especially after all that happened. You know, to set the record straight.
Yeah, cheers, I'd love another one. Sure, the house red is fine; I'm not picky. Can't be, nowadays. Where was I?
Sometimes I think I dreamed it all. I mean, who'd believe it? A man, a man from outer space, traveling 'round in a police box? It sounds like the plot from a bad television show… probably something they'd have on Sunday afternoon around teatime.
But then I close my eyes and I see him in front of me. I see the sparkle in his eyes, the way he'd smile down at the control console when he thought I wasn't watching. And I can smell that cologne he'd sometimes splash on, something that smelled spicy and alien and wild. Or maybe that was him. You know, now that I think about it, I really can't say for sure.
God only knows why he'd have bothered with cologne, because he didn't seem to care much about being attractive for the ladies. Or for the gentlemen, for that matter. That kind of thing didn't seem to interest him much. But they noticed him, the ladies… and the gentlemen too, some of them. We'd walk down a street together, and heads would turn to stare at us, at him. He never seemed to notice. Must've been used to it.
Was I ever frightened? You must be joking! I spent most of the time I was with him scared out of my mind and convinced I was going to die right there. And I thought about it a lot, about what would happen if I got myself killed, if he'd return my body to my family and explain what had happened. I always meant to ask him to do that, but it never seemed like the right time to bring it up, you know?
And then… well, it didn't matter anymore, did it? We'd parted company and I'd survived. I was safe.
But you know, it wasn't all bad… or terrifying. We had good times too, when no aliens or monsters were bent on taking over the Universe or destroying the human race. There were times when we didn't do anything, really… or nothing of importance, anyway.
And it wasn't always trips to the Medusa Cascade or off to a galaxy whose light hasn't even reached Earth yet to watch some distant sun go supernova. I mean yeah, we did go watch George Washington get sworn in as the first American president, and we did see Houdini perform. But sometimes we just went normal places and hung out.
We went to a restaurant in Maine once, on the beach. We sat out on the deck and ate lobster rolls and drank beer and watched the sun set over the ocean. We listened to the jukebox inside playing "Into The Mystic" and "A Whiter Shade of Pale", and when "Late In The Evening" came on, we got up and danced like crazy people.
And one time, we went to the main branch of the New York Public Library. Yeah, the one they went to in Ghostbusters, with those big stone lions outside! We walked around and got a bunch of books, all kinds of books on anything that caught our fancy. Some of the ones he picked weren't even in English. And then we sat down at one of those long tables with our big piles of books and spent the whole day there, just reading. Every once in a while, one of us would look up and make a comment to the other, but most of that day was spent in silence.
They don't make for exciting stories though, do they? Imagine watching that on television. How boring!
Oh, yeah, the wine's great, thanks. Sure, I'll have another. Cheers.
But see, the thing is, I can't really tell you much about him because I never understood him myself. I traveled with him for God only knows how long, and yet I never really had a grasp on him. And life aboard the TARDIS… oh God, how to explain it.
All right, look. You know how when you tell a story, and sometimes you maybe embellish it a little bit here and there without even realizing that you're doing it, and then finally it's not the same story at all anymore? It's like that. It's a story that's different every time you tell it. You don't even realize it's changed until you look back on the whole thing and you wonder where exactly you'd lost the plot. Time travel can do that to you.
I know where I lost the plot with him, though. No, I don't want to talk about that part, all right?
Sorry. Didn't mean to snap at you like that.
So, here's the thing. You might find this hard to believe because I know it all sounds so exciting, but after a while it gets to the point where you just can't take it. One day you're eating lobster rolls and dancing to Paul Simon, and the next you're running for your life from giant spiky aliens who're going to torture you to death if they catch you… and you're running and you're out of breath and you're bloody terrified and you suddenly realize that you don't even know why they're chasing you in the first place. It's not like you ever did anything to them, right?
I like a quiet life now. Oh, I hear Sarah Jane Smith is doing some kind of half-assed alien investigating on her own, like she thinks she's a one-woman X-Files unit or something, but I'm done with all that. The closest I get to adventure nowadays is the documentaries on BBC Four. Or Robin Hood, when it's on. You know, we never did get to Sherwood Forest.
But sometimes I sit with my tea and a book and I look out the front window and wonder if I'll see a police box up the road with a flashing blue light on top. You don't see police boxes anymore, so I'd know it would have to be him.
And I think about how I'd put down my tea and my book. I'd go out the front door, making sure to lock up. You know how this neighborhood's getting these days.
And I'd walk up the street and open the door, and he'd be waiting for me inside. He'd look up and smile at me, and greet me like I'd never been away.
Ahh, you know, I can almost taste the lobster rolls now.