First DW fic posted on this site, but not my first written. Hi to everyone! It's nice to finally enter this fandom.
Disclaimer: Doctor Who remains the property of the BBC.
I'm in a conundrum, don't you see? I have eternity in my hands and no time at all.
I am the Traveler.
I am the Nameless One.
I am a Time Lord.
Until the Time Lords all died and I was the only one left. Then I am—
The universe spins on a delicate balance of glass and fiber, fragile lives straying by the edge. So many people, so many words and gestures. So much variety and yet so many redundancies. Trying to capture the essence of individuality, you instead find a lot of mindless mammals all clambering for the best pick. Crestfallen, you do your best and choose at random. In the beginning, there was family. She was warm and bright and you wonder why you ever let her go.
You always could never keep people long.
The others that follow eventually make their marks; these mindless mammals are perhaps not all they seem. Time and time again, you think you have them figured out until they do something irrevocably opposite of your expectations; then you are stunned into a dumbness as comparable to these mammals' usual dimwittedness.
But the twilight sinks in quickly. A whole ancient race wiped out of existence utterly. You alone are the sole survivor, a bitter fate you scoff at. You loathe yourself. So you travel and save other worlds as best you can. With even more fervor than before. With anger and sorrow and guilt. But there is never enough danger. Never enough. You always walk away from destruction unscathed. It seems the universe is playing a twisted game with you.
Then there is a burst of color and light in the darkness. A single flower, young and thriving. As jaded and broken as you are, she accepts you and is captivated by you. In turn, you begin to value her seemingly naïve morals and you start to change, and…
You know you shouldn't, but you can't help it. The fall comes quickly and you're ensnared before long. Drawn to her life, to her spirit, to her humanness. You think to yourself scathingly, how foolish it was to underestimate these mindless mammals—but you cannot be bitter for long because you have her, this human girl who loves you inexplicably. And you…you…
For a time, all is well. You and she tour the universe and all its infinite glory. She mends the cracks in your hearts and you begin to think, maybe she is the one. That should have been the first warning. Time has an ironic sense of humor and you were caught in its joke unwillingly. It seems to you the universe simply does not want your happiness. The time is never enough, always slipping through your grasp. Perhaps it is atonement. War fought over the thousands of galaxies, whole civilizations burned and lost, including your own. For all the death and pain, you are more than willing to forsake the idea of happiness. But that doesn't make it easier to say goodbye. It is the one word that will always haunt you. Farewell. Adios. Sayonara. Adieu.
No one word should even try to encompass so much unexpressed emotion.
I am the Enigma. But the greatest mystery of all was never me. It was always that one word.
I was a Time Lord. I could claim a home once. Then all fell to ruins and I ran.
I am still running.
I was alone. Until I found her, a single entity whose life I imagined as my own. Then she fell. And I am—
He's a sad man. That's the first thing you notice when you finally take him in.
Underneath his manic behavior and drawn out explanations, you know he's been through something terrible. Something that makes his eyes darken when you don't have his attention. Oh, but he's an amusing one, though. If you had met him under better circumstances, you probably would have been good friends. As it is, all you want is to go back home and get married. He tries to oblige. He really does. How was he to know about your fiancé's betrayal and the ancient alien spider hanging in space above Earth?
You lose a fiancé that day but you gain a comrade. An alien man whose pain you empathize with. But you cannot go with him. Not yet. There is too much turbulence in those eyes and you fear him just a little. When he goes, you pray for him. Pray he will find his peace. Because you have just begun to walk down your own path and you can't afford to watch out for someone who has just strayed from his.
I am the Oncoming Storm. Nine hundred years and people still attach the silliest names to me.
I was alone again and for a short period of time, I thought I had found someone else.
But she was smarter than I gave her credit for and declined. Then I am—
—angry, bitter, lost. And I am still—
"It wasn't very clever running around outside was it?"
You should have known as soon as the question was asked. Certainly, she grabbed your attention, but you should have known that she would be the one—the one to lead you out of the darkness. Instead, you spend all your time teasing her, testing her. Ignoring her. And before you know it, there it is. The absence of pain. The absence of longing. You can say her name without bitterness, without turmoil. You realize this during your travels with this newcomer and you know it's because of her… But you say nothing. Never express your gratitude because you know it will change things. And you've just barely recovered from a big change and are not ready to risk another.
You've never tried to remain so distant from a companion before. But at the same time, you are never drawn to anyone else quite like the way you are to her—despite your attempts. It is with her you start thinking back on these mindless mammals. And though you still believe that many of these mammals are mindless, you can easily label her as something extraordinary. That spark of individuality, that complete uniqueness, you believe you have found it in her. But you cannot explain it to yourself why this is so. She is a medical student, intelligent and beautiful, but there is something different about her—something that makes her the only person in that entire hospital able to think logically and accept what is happening before her eyes. No matter how alien.
You know she loves you. The human John Smith can account for that. But even then you still say nothing. Because you fear her. She is something too precious, and knowing the universe's grudge against you, you fear you will lose her one day. So you withhold the words, the hope. You can't afford them. The threads of time are perpetually weaving and you count every second, trying to guard your heart.
It all seems to fall into an easy pattern with her. Until, once again, you are caught unaware. Except this time you're not sure whether you should be angry or exultant.
I was the Last of the Time Lords.
I was alone once. Then a young medical student showed me how to see again.
I was happy. Then he came back.
He was a Time Lord.
He was a friend.
He was an anchor that didn't remain.
You hated him. You loved him. You wanted to kill him. You wanted him to save you.
In the end, you got the ending you always knew would happen. It was fun for a while. You had many years of engaging each other in pointless fights, debating nonsense. So many years. You thought maybe it was time wasted, but then you laughed. You and he are polar opposites, seldom on the same side without some resistance. He is the healer, you the destroyer. A long time ago, this was not always the case. A long time ago, you were friends. You would have preferred no other company in the universe but his. You were intellectual equals, but more importantly, you both had a tendency to disobey. Calling each other by names now unspoken, you and he were set against the world.
But time passes and you tread on a different path from his.
He goes through two regenerations before you see him again. You yourself have changed considerably. You have lived a human life unwittingly and you are raging. Your newest regeneration is the most unstable of all your previous bodies. You realize this immediately, but you bask in the relentless drumming. It is all you can do to keep yourself together in his presence.
His companions amuse you. The man is fun to watch revive over and over, but you recoil from his presence. He is wrong. Strange how Time Lord protocol affects your judgment—you, who above all, rebelled against them the hardest. But the girl is another story. You know now she is the reason why he is so complacent and accepting of his fate. He, who destroyed his home, should have been racked with guilt, but instead he is happier than you have ever seen him. Her presence has softened the edges. You despise her and at the same you wonder why you could never find someone like that for yourself. Your wife is a pale reflection of the girl—nothing more but a vacant mind of which you utilize for your own purposes. But the girl, this little child, she is exquisite. Time spins around her like a protective web. You cannot deny that he has chosen well. But that…you will never admit out loud. Never to him. Rarely to yourself—and only in the quietest of nights.
He sends the child on a quest, of course. You mock him for placing so much faith in these mammals, but inside you are angrier than ever. Once upon a time, you had his trust. He had yours too. And sometimes during those long days on the Valiant, you ask him where they had gone wrong. He only stares at you with sad eyes. Such sad eyes. They annoy you like nothing else and you hit him.
It was never going to be a pretty ending for you and him. But you got the last laugh in.
Watching his despairing gaze, you know his hearts are breaking for you. That they will probably never be the same as before. He thought he was alone. And he had adjusted to that idea. But then to find you…and lose you… Well, you know how he operates. Foolish Time Lord, always too forgiving, too good. So desperate to cling onto a piece of home. He is nothing but a lost child. You know everything you did in this latest regeneration was just to get his attention—to have him acknowledge you. But when he did it so easily, you were lost. You are nothing more but a child too. The drum, drum, drum in your head is never-ceasing and you catch his eye one last time.
I am a Time Lord. To do him honor, to do them honor, I will never revoke my title again.
I'm in a conundrum, don't you see? I've this amazing girl, but I'm letting her walk away.
I am a stowaway on a ship who befriends a servant. She is beautiful and selfless and she reinforces the idea that…
I am a Time Lord left behind but I am no longer—
You were drawn to his loneliness. Day in and day out, it was the same routine for you on the ship. All those patrons with their fickle minds and needs. But you could sense he was different. He arrived alone. He had a friend, he said. You knew there was something deeper hidden in those words. But it wasn't in him to remain still for long. He jumped into people's conversations, was quite rude at times, and you never had so much fun in your life. And when things began to go downslide, he was there with his brilliant mind.
You would have loved to travel with him. Perhaps find out who this friend was and what she meant to him—because you knew it had to be a woman—but it would never happen. You didn't regret your last act. All your life you had always been in the background, watching all the action pass right by you; then he had shown you in less than one day the kind of life you had always wanted.
You were falling, but then you flew. Flew to the stars. And there you will always remain to watch this mysterious man wreak havoc across the universe—glowing and shimmering.
I am a Time Lord.
I've lost many friends and loved ones in my long years.
I should have learned my lesson.
But I'm in a conundrum, don't you see? Time keeps ticking and I wish it would stop if only…
You wish you had never met this fiery redhead in the first place. She is a friend. She fills your hearts in different ways from…her predecessors. But time, it's always the time, it's never enough. It's never fair. You don't understand why this amazing woman with so much life should have to go back to a life in the dark. A life where all her potential is ripped away from her.
So much happens with her. You see your medical student again. Your doctor, rather. Beautiful and talented as always, you are pleased she hasn't lost her heart. You aren't so much pleased by her wedding band, but you feign nonchalance. In truth, you are a bit at a loss with her there. When she leaves again, you are left feeling slightly empty. But your time right now is with the fiery redhead. Somehow, you know the threads of time are still weaving between you and your doctor. You do not know when you will see her again, but you know that you will see her. And so you devote this time to the firecracker.
But when you least expect it, she returns. From out of another world, you see your shop girl again. In the midst of a swirling mass of confusion, you disregard your redhead's fate for a moment to remember her face, take in her smile. The hardest goodbye for you, however, will not be hers. It will be your fiery redhead. To lose such a friend, such a companion… You realize you never gave her a choice. You can't. She wishes to stay but you cannot have that. You cannot watch her deteriorate, wither away. So you make the choice for her.
In your life, you are nothing more but selfish. It is you who has essentially killed her. But you can live with that as long as she is alive.
But your lovely flower, she must go too. Your alternative self cannot be allowed to remain in the same universe as you. And you know she will take care of him, just as she did you. You feel remorse on the beach, but you never say anything. It is their time now, as you watch them kiss. You have moved past her long ago. Time no longer beckons her to remain.
You can feel somewhat at ease that in him, there lives a bit of your fiery redhead. Though you will more than likely never see him again, you can smile when you think of how she breathes through him in another universe. They have their endings. But you wonder where yours is.
I am a Time Lord in confusion.
It is quite possibly the slowest love story in the universe. A love that came too late, too inadvertently.
Despite my many precautions, I still remain a foolish Time Lord in the end.
I am never alone. But I can never have what I want either because…
You travel for a while without anyone else. Thinking of your fiery redhead brings you too much grief and you flee the Earth for a while. Being reckless is your specialty and you give little thought to yourself as you encounter danger after danger. Eventually, the grief settles down and then you reproach yourself for being so childish. Your noble companion would never have wished this of you.
When you land on Earth again, it's been almost six months for you. But for them it's only been a couple of weeks. You go to her almost without thinking. She is based in New York again, a lovely flat smack in the hustle and bustle of downtown Manhattan. You knock on her door, hoping she is home. She is. Your doctor stares at you bewilderedly for a moment before dragging you in by the arm.
She is all angry words and pained eyes for several minutes before noticing your wretchedness. You knew she would lecture you, but you thought you had healed. The unexpected force of her accusations stings you hard and you realize you haven't really healed at all. You've only deluded yourself into forgetting the pain.
Your doctor stops speaking and watches you sadly, tears in her eyes. She then hugs you fiercely and you don't resist. Your doctor is so steadfast and strong, you can't help but cower in her presence. For her, leaving was the best possible thing to do. She is now the reason why you even come back to Earth, why you have not lost all faith in the universe. Because despite all the losses you've suffered, the universe has granted you her. She is something to treasure and love from afar because you know if you try to close the boundary between you, everything will break.
This isn't your time yet. It is why the threads still grow strong between you and her.
Through the span of short human years, you keep counting the seconds you have with her. It is everything you can do to not upset the balance. She is your salvation. But openness is not permitted with her. It cannot be. Your doctor is set to marry—she has a future in which you can have no part in. And you are happy this is so. It means that not everyone you have touched is bound to be cursed.
You don't know what will happen when she eventually d… You try not to think of such things each time you visit her, remarking how beautiful she appears no matter how many years have gone by.
You've made new friends during this span of years, encountered some possible loves even. But your doctor…no, she is eternal. It isn't because you can't attain her—it's because she shouldn't be attained. A long time ago you knew she loved you. Now she knows you love her. And you know she loves you still. There is a line of time suspended between you and her, and both of you can feel it now. Perhaps in another life, in another universe, you two would have been married, had children. As Time Lord and Time Lady. Or as man and woman. But in this universe, you and she are soul mates. Intertwined forever but knowing that trying to live a normal life with each other is completely irrational.
You are a Time Lord, bound for eternity. She is a human doctor, with a predestined amount of time to remain.
The threads don't stop even after she is gone. You keep counting because you know, somehow, the universe isn't done with you yet. And you aren't done with her. You never will be.
I was a Time Lord.
I was born on a planet called Gallifrey.
I met a shop girl, who fixed me.
I met a medical student, who made me whole.
I met a temp worker, who taught me to be brave and strong.
I lost Gallifrey and I lost my shop girl and super temp.
Eventually, I also lost my doctor. But happy endings are seldom clear-cut.
Time is never fair. It is always fair. You've been alive for billions of years. Once as a man. Now as the last of your kind. Even though the universe and all its ways will never be fully known, you think you've got a good grip on what to expect by now. You've seen many faces of the same man and you know how it will end for him. You never asked for this curse of immortality and perhaps the universe compensated you by granting you these abilities. When you see him with her, you know it is close to the time. You will warn him of the coming of his old friend. But you know so much more than you could ever deliver in your last words.
You know he has always felt alone—even when his family and home still prospered. It is the curse of his existence, the destiny he carries on his shoulders unbeknownst by him. He doesn't believe in destiny. Such vague ideas and philosophy clash with his scientific and rational mind. But you know better. The universe is not so black and white. It has a wicked sense of humor which no one may understand until the very end.
But everything has its time and everything dies. You've known his time very well.
And you've known her as well. The voice of a nightingale. You first met him with another, a blooming flower in the cold of night. But your nightingale is the one you will always think of first in association with him. Because they are two of the last people you will ever see. And that—oh, that is no mere coincidence. Two healers who walk down a path irreversibly entwined, and they don't even realize it yet. It amuses you for some time. Because you know they will eventually learn the truth. Perhaps him before her. But your nightingale is uncommonly intelligent, and you suspect she may know it unconsciously. Which is why she will never be able to pull away from him—not for long at least.
If the noble woman had decided to turn right, he would have died. And your nightingale too…would not have lasted much longer. Without each other, they cannot exist. There are few constants in the universe but you know this is one of them. Even if they had never known each other, they would have been bounded together. That is what it means to share a soul. In one lifetime they may be strangers. In another, enemies. They could have been eternal partners. But in this lifetime, they simply love. But you know that nothing is ever more complicated than simple love.
You have lived longer than he could ever possibly, in this universe or someplace else, and you understand what the threads of time are saying. You have been stuck for so long but you know your time will come eventually. It always does. You've kept count for a long time—for them, for yourself, for this universe. Everything dies.
But that doesn't mean things can't start over again.
"Very good point. Brilliant, in fact. What was your name?"
"And it was…Jones, wasn't it?"