The Slow Path

oOo

I suppose I could have learned to dance right there in the meeting room.

I mean, come on. I'm the bloody Doctor!

I've spent more time dancing than this woman has spent living! Of course I can bloody well dance! But then, I suppose, knowing how to dance is different from learning to dance: It takes a master of the art to make someone like me feel like a stumbling amateur in anything.

Let alone getting under poor Louis's skin. I mean, one can only piss off so many French monarchs, but this was more than that. At the sight of me entering the ballroom with Renette, I got a flash of Mickey on the poor blighter's face. Just like the hurt-filled looks Mickey tries to flash me every time I bring Rose back to him.

Bugger him, anyway. He could've come along with us, but he chose not to. I very much choose to expressly blame the comedy of errors which followed his poor decision on his own head. Besides, turmoil strengthens the soul. Mickey's a good enough lad. I'm sure he'll be better for the conflict.

And I know that Rose is the only other who's taught me to dance. I know that I'd do whatever it took for her, I know I'd burn out a solar system for a few more words with her. As I'd do with Renette.

But...

I know, despite the wisdom of interfering with events, that I can go back. I can change things. Renette can be mine. Right now.

A woman who knows me like no other, the only woman potentially alive who's wandered through the desolate wasteland of my memories and not been repelled by The Oncoming Storm. The only one who knows... understands that entire species have been ended by my wrath. And she's the only one who can possibly forgive me for it.

And yet, I known if I break my own rules, she'll become just another who will wither and die. Another who can spend the rest of her life with me, if I dared allow it, while I couldn't share the rest of mine with her no matter how much I might privately rail and scream at the cosmos.

Another who will eventually come to hate my immortality.

It's during these rare times that I admire human faith: No other species in the universe possesses such a strong belief in something which exists beyond any of the innumerable measurable scopes of their world. Give a man a million possibilites and he'll believe in a million and one, just because his imagination sparks him to think of it.

And I suppose despite all of my differences from them, it's one of the reasons I'm more like a human than I ever dare admit.

Renette... well, she's said she always taken the slow path to me: Just this once, just this time, I'll take that slow path to her.

I know, with a certainty which beats in both my hearts, that she's waiting for me when I can finally lay my burden down. This time, I'll take the slow path. This time, I'll march through dozens, hundreds, thousands of years.

I'll know a thousand people as dear to me as Rose Tyler and Donna Noble. I'll know each one with the certainty that I'll have to discard them, for their own safety or my own sanity, but...

...just like a man, I have to believe.

I know!

I know it's silly.

But I have to tell myself that Renette is waiting while I am the one who takes the slow path, this time. I want to believe that she's waiting, watching, from some ethereal starship beyond the imagination of even the Timelords, that she's biding the time between the frantic moments when I save the universe and the long-awaited moment when I can finally lay down my protection of it all.

It's why I couldn't go back for her, I suppose. Beyond Rose, beyond anything, Renette deserves better. For her entire life, for the scant hours I knew her, she marched through time for me.

For her, I can endure thousands of years. Like a bloody human, I know she's waiting for me. And somehow I know, no matter how much I hate it, that I'll resist my next regeneration. I'll be tempted to just let myself expire, like the Master.

Because when I do, I'll finally be with the woman who truly taught me to dance. Renette, you're worth the slow path. For all the years you spent waiting for me, I'll spend a million centuries for each.

And for the first time in my life, something I can't define tells me that I know you'll be waiting. I know that when I finally lay down all my burdens, you'll be there to give me something more.

Because... because you taught me to dance. It's a bit of a switch, but you don't really need a doctor. However, mayble I can admit that a Doctor needs you, my Renette.

I'll continue to march, I'll continue to save... But... I'm waiting, just as you had to. I march the slow path.

And I can admit, to myself, that it's never been so wonderful.

oOo

Author's Notes:

Woot for my first Doctor Who fanfiction. Y'know, I thought I could avoid total geekhood by restricting myself to one or two series, but clearly I was wrong. I be a major, total, irrevocable geek.

And I imagine mine is a sub-par entry into an already glutted field. In fact, if nobody's written anything on this unseen interlude, I'll be shocked. I was staying with Lady Shinimegami this weekend and wound up watching Series 1 of Doctor Who and a good part of Series 2 as well. Not for the first time, either.

It's rather annoying and, at the same time gratifying, that this moment in time is not covered in the actual series. And I know that a lot of people are frightened by Russell T Davies leaving the series, but what they don't realize is that the man now in charge has written the most impactful episodes of the series.

The Empty Child. The Girl in the Fireplace. Blink. Any Who fan who doesn't experience chills at the thought of those episodes is not a Who fan at all. And the man soon to be in charge is responsible for them all.

A fact Lady Shinimegami pointed out to me, which restored my own faith in Mr. Davies departure.

Cheers,

Gaming Ikari