It hurts to say goodbye.

-

The TARDIS doors formed a barricade between myself and Susan. But, to be truthful, it would take a lot more than that to separate us; I had to set up my own personal walls, as well, to block her out. It was one of the hardest choices I ever had to make, but I knew it was for her own good. I promised her that I'd come back, but I never did. I suppose I realized even as I bid farewell to her then that I could never bear to do so a second time. Really, I was being selfish; I put my own pain ahead of hers. Now, it's too late. It's my own fault... This was the first time I'd ever let her down, and I can never make it up to her.

-

Ian and Barbara wanted to leave from day one. Good riddance, I say. They were always a nuisance: pestering me, questioning me, lecturing me. I never invited them and they didn't want to stay. I knew I wouldn't miss them; I still had Vicki, at least for a little while... And the gall! Leaving in a Dalek ship- they could have blown themselves up. I spent all that time trying to teach them: utterly useless! But I suppose they did get back all right... I must have rubbed off on them a little.

-

I knew it wouldn't last forever. No matter how far you run, they always catch up eventually. But I did nothing wrong; I still contend that. I got to say farewell to Jamie and Zoe; they allowed me that much, at least. I even got to see the two of them return safely to their own times, content with their lives. Really, that's all I could ask for. Even though they wouldn't remember all of our adventures, I knew that they could manage for themselves. And, perhaps, deep down, there remains a remnant of our time together, that in the remotest areas of their minds reminds them that they are special, that they can be spectacular in anything they dare to accomplish. Even though they have forgotten me, I'll never forget them.

-

Sara Jane! My dear Sara Jane. I had to leave her; I couldn't bring her with me, not that time. And she would have had to depart eventually- better to get it over with then. I tried to explain it to her once, that I walk in eternity. She didn't understand. They never do.

-

I knew she would do well on her own. She wouldn't just do well... she'd do good. My, my! How you'd grown, Romana! And yet... how much of yourself have you sacrificed?

-

I thought I had left her where she was meant to be, but I was wrong. She wasn't ready yet. I left her, but she found me again. Then, she did the leaving. And I fear I have no hope of our paths crossing again. I couldn't help but feel regret in knowing that I had hurt her, that I had been too careless. She was always standing by me, the voice of my conscience. And I let her down. Her final words will never leave me; I can never allow myself to create those circumstances again. I would try harder, for her sake, and mine. But she was gone. She ran, just as I have always run. She disagreed with me, just as I have disagreed with Gallifrey. I had become what I most despised and the realization struck me at my very core. I would change- to make her proud. And wherever she is now, I hope she realizes how much she has affected me, and I hope that the pain she felt when she left me has by now given way to happier thoughts. Brave heart, Tegan! It's not just a comfort, it's a promise. Be yourself, and you'll be wonderful.

-

And now I say goodbye again. Not just to one or two, but to everyone. They all have separate lives to lead. They don't need me. They've outgrown me; I'm like an imaginary friend after one learns to make real ones. And now I'm utterly alone. The TARDIS is quiet. No one will come blustering in accidentally; or sneak aboard, hiding themselves in the depths of the ship until I've already taken off; or follow me around, begging me until I relent to take them along. Or making me care for them, then deciding they want to leave- that they'll be happier somewhere else, with someone else. Silently telling me that they've outgrown me, and that they don't need me anymore.

-

It hurts to say goodbye. So I don't think I'll do it anymore...