Disclaimer: I do not own Doctor Who or anything remotely related to it.
Warning: This fic is a sequel to my previous story "One Moment in Time". If you haven't read that, this one probably won't make much sense to you.
Summary: Tejana is now living on Earth, trying to put her life back together. Still haunted by the atrocities she witnessed at the Fall of Gallifrey, she is attempting to rebuild Torchwood with Jack. However, Jack is himself still badly damaged from the 456 incident and Tejana's beloved father, the Doctor, has regenerated into a stranger. Worst of all, whether she likes it or not, she is still deeply grieving the loss of the Master. But the destruction of Gallifrey has changed the balance of the Universe, and something ancient and unimaginably evil has returned, something which will change everything...
It was almost Christmas again. Wilfred Mott stood in the street, watching the snowflakes drift down from the night sky, listening to the pure voices of the carol singers floating in the crystal clear air. The coloured lights strung around the shop fronts splashed festive patterns across the ground and the gaudy tinsel decorations sparkled and gleamed as they fluttered in the light breeze.
He thought of the Doctor. All these people rushing backwards and forwards, so busy with their last minute shopping – they had no idea that it was nearly a full year since that brave man had saved the entire Universe from annihilation.
Wilf removed his red woollen hat and wiped an errant tear from his eye, remembering it. He kept watch always, staring at the faces as they passed by, hoping against hope to see the one he longed for. But he never saw it and deep down he knew he never would again.
So lost was he in his memories, he almost missed the other familiar face. Almost, but not quite. Staring after the slender figure in the hooded blue anorak, his heart skipped a beat. It wasn't the Doctor, but it was a close second.
Then he was hurrying as fast as his old legs could carry him. For a moment, he thought she had been swirled away by the crowd, but then the people in front of him parted and he saw the blue jacket. Desperately, his breath coming in ragged puffs, he managed to reach out and catch her elbow.
"Tejana, wait! Oh, please wait!"
Disappointment sat heavily in his stomach as she turned to face him. It wasn't her, he had been mistaken. The woman who stared at him blankly, without recognition, had startlingly similar features, framed by the long black hair. But she was older, her face thin and pale, her eyes haunted.
However, all of a sudden, the blue eyes seemed to lock on to his face and sharpen.
"Wilf," she said. "Wilfred Mott."
"It is you," he whispered. "It really is."
She smiled faintly. "I see you haven't lost the knack for tracking down Time Lords. It's good to see you, Wilf. You're looking well."
"I wish I could say the same for you!" he blurted out. "You look so ill, so sad. What's happened? Is it the Doctor? Is he all right?"
"He's fine," she replied reassuringly. "Off travelling the stars, as usual."
"But you're not with him!"
Wilf hadn't meant the words to sound like an accusation, but somehow that's what they came out like.
Tejana looked away. "No, not this time," she answered, a thread of pain running through her tone.
Without stopping to think, Wilf took her arm. "Please, come into the caf and have a cuppa with me?"
At first, he thought she was going to refuse and disappear again as suddenly as she had come. But then her arm relaxed and she followed him meekly into the nearby Pablo's Cafe. With a pang, Wilf realised it was the same cafe in which the Doctor had sat with him a year ago and told him of his prophesied death.
Wilf got them a cup of tea each and sat down opposite her.
"He changed, didn't he?" he asked flatly, with no preamble. "After I saw him at Donna's wedding?"
She didn't pretend to misunderstand him. "He regenerated, yes."
The tears came again to his old eyes. "He said it would be like dying. He didn't want to go."
"It is, a little," Tejana nodded ruefully. "He is fine though, Wilf, I promise. His new incarnation is young, hugely energetic, talks a mile a minute, wears a bow tie. You'd like him."
"But you're not travelling with him?" Wilf said again, watching her closely.
"No," she repeated, once more not meeting his eyes. "He's not alone though. He has a new companion, Amy Pond. She keeps him in line, just like Donna used to."
"If it's like dying...and a new man walks away...it must be hard on you, to lose your father over and over again?" he asked shrewdly.
She gave a choked noise that was half a laugh and half a sob. "Are you asking if I'm grieving for Ten?"
"It's how I refer to the Doctor's previous incarnations, by number, so it's easier to keep track," she explained. "The one you knew was number ten."
"You mean he's done this ten times?" Wilf exclaimed, aghast.
Tejana had to smile at his tone. "We're Time Lords, Wilf, it's what we do. Change is our only constant. And in answer to your question – yes, I do miss Ten, every single day. And yes, I do grieve for him, because I will never get him back and it will never be quite the same. That's what he meant when he said it was like dying."
Wilfred's face crumpled in sadness. "I'm so sorry, Tejana. It's my fault. He should have left me to die. I'm only an old man, worthless compared to him..."
"Sssssh," she hushed kindly. "Don't say that. You were worth everything to him, even his own life. He could never have done anything else, or he wouldn't have been Ten."
"We thought it was the Master, see?" Wilf cried. "The four knocks, we thought it was those drums in his head. But in the end, it was the Master who saved him and it was me that killed him!"
"Wilf, don't! Please don't blame yourself like this," she begged. "He isn't dead. All that he is and was, it's still there, just in a different form. And one day he will change again, that's just the way of the Time Lord."
"And the Master?" the old man asked fearfully. "He just disappeared that day. He won't ever come back, will he?"
To his surprise, he saw a flash of white-hot pain flare in her eyes, before the long lashes dropped to screen them from him.
"No, he won't come back," she answered tonelessly. "He died, on the Last Day of the Time War, fighting Rassilon."
"Oh, good-o, then," Wilf said, relieved he would never see the renegade Time Lord again. "Well, I mean...he was a pretty bad egg, though, wasn't he?"
Tejana smiled bitterly, her face suddenly weary. "Oh yes, a bad egg indeed."
Wilf frowned, sensing he was somehow close to the source of Tejana's pain and yet not believing it.
"You're never grieving for him too?" he demanded. "Never! I know he was one of your people, but after what he did? Why?"
At first he thought she was not going to reply. She stood and pulled her hood back over her head, clearly preparing to go back out into the snow. Wilf realised he had trespassed on forbidden ground.
"So many things should have been different, Wilf," she said finally. "So many."
Wilf climbed to his feet and followed her out into the wintry street.
"I'm sorry, Tejana," he called. "I'm just an old man, I didn't mean..."
"It's fine, really," she answered calmly, her expressionless mask back in place. "I don't know what it is about you, but you seem to have a talent for getting lonely Gallifreyans to open up to you. A dangerous thing, perhaps."
"It's my honour!" the old man replied proudly, remembering when the Doctor had used that same phrase, right before he absorbed the deadly radiation in Wilf's place. "Will you...will you remember me to the Doctor, when you see him?"
"Of course," she smiled. "That will be my honour."
And that was when she saw the man in black walk up behind Wilf and shove a gun in his ribs.