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Author's Notes: Nine/Rose. This was inspired by a prompt by Burnmybridges.

To the Light

He brings her along because he sees something in her. He's not sure what it is, and that's part of the fascination for him. He loves a good puzzle and that's exactly what she is.

He doesn't let her in, doesn't tell her about himself. He just shows off (he IS so impressive, of course) and plays his role because how could he possibly trust her with his past, with the things he's done, the things he regrets? And if he could, how could he ever burden her with that knowledge? She'd run, screaming in horror. Or maybe toss her head and sneer at him. (He's been on the receiving end of both before, and he still doesn't have a preference.)

It's selfish on his part and more than a bit manipulative (he's never claimed to be a saint), but he takes her to the end of her world.

She's out of her element, but she tries to gain her footing and stand on her own two feet. She challenges him, something that no one has done since before. She nearly dies and even though she's in danger, she doesn't lose her spark and he's grateful for that. Seeing others fight helps this him fight, helps him remember that there are things still worth fighting for.

She sees the destruction, feels pain at the loss. He can feel her grief and compassion long before he stands in the doorway and sees her staring at the floating bits of burned earth in space. He hears her words and he realizes that she gets it. She understands, on some small level. She knows, as much as she can know.

He tells her part of his story, shares with her part of the burden that's weighed him down and made him feel every bit of his 900 something years.

She doesn't run in horror, doesn't look down her nose at him, just sort of offers her companionship in a way that he's sure he'd never get from anyone else. She just sort of lets him know that she'll be there for him for as long as he wants her to be, and it's amazing to him to have that sort of trust laid at his feet.

She has this blinding light about her, and he can't help but be drawn to it. He wants to drown in her light, help her light grow brighter. Maybe it's selfish and cruel of him to be around her, because he's done so many horrible things, but when he's around her, when he's around Rose, he gets this feeling that maybe, just maybe, he'll be okay.

Questions, comments, and constructive criticism are greatly appreciated!