Disclaimer: No. But I'm happy to accept gifts…
I really need to stop writing angst. But the plot bunnies will have their way.
'I watched it happen. I made it happen.'
The War is in progress for twenty-four years of the Doctor's life, all of them spent skipping between the cracks in the Vortex like a child playing on stepping stones. He is never reinstated as President, but somehow he ends up as a general go-to man for anything from strategies to personal problems. (It makes for an interesting day, when a person spewing words as long as his arm about a gadget no one knows how to use is interrupted by a desperate cry of 'My boyfriend left me!'. Especially when Romana appears, wondering why the hell he's soldering with one hand and handing tissues to a wailing man with the other.)
He tries not to think about what's happening outside the Citadel, and concentrates on the tasks in front of him. It's bad enough that he has to remember his stint on the front line in his dreams, without being distracted in the daytime, thank you very much.
Instead, he focuses on the numbers. Six (days trapped in jaws of the Nightmare Child) TARDISes due for repair, four hundred and fifteen (Gallifreyans dead this week) guns needing ammunition, fourteen seconds for Arcadia to fall…
Damn. And he was doing so well.
The worst hits him right at the end. He had held it all back until that stupid accident with an unpronounceable piece of technology, locking him in place while the Daleks take control mere metres away. It cripples him, a million images of the War compressed and stuffed into his head, suffocating him from the inside out. Noise and light and screams and pain and gunsdarkyoumekilltimespacemurderer…
He'd never escaped the front line. Not really.
And through it all, the smoke and the dust of the final battle, he sees Romana. Striding through the ashes of her people to the controls that would end it all, every inch the President she was never supposed to be.
The words spill out of his mouth almost before he opens it.
'Please! There has to be another way, there must be something, there's always something…'
'No,' she whispers, barely audible over the screams of the dying. 'This time there isn't anything.'
'But how can you do this? They're our people, you'd kill them all?' If only he could breathe, if only he could think…
Her fingers, dancing across the controls, have put everything in place. There's only one button left, and he can't reach it to stop her, because he can't move or think or breathe…
And then she says the words that will haunt him for the rest of his life, the words that will echo back over every choice he'll ever make.
'But you taught me that. Sacrifice a few for the greater good. See the bigger picture. I've got a choice, Doctor, coward or killer. And if I learnt one thing from you, it's bravery.'
And she presses the button.
Years later, he'll say it's his fault. He'll say he ended it all.
'You take ordinary people and fashion them into weapons.'
Maybe he's right.