When Blondes Hung From Balloons
Summary: And there he was. At least in his memories. Night time in the Blitz, nineteen forty-something. Kids with masks. Ninth incarnation, big ears and bald head. Leather jacket, Northern accent and Rose. Everywhere Rose. Victory Of The Daleks tag
Disclaimer: I do not own Doctor Who
He sat on the rooftop, all bowtie and sighs. He surveyed the sky around him with a pair of binoculars he found in the TARDIS. They weren't the best pair of binoculars he had; in fact, somewhere in the TARDIS lay a pair of binoculars that would have been far superior to the ones he had. They could see through solid material. X-ray-oculars, they could have been called. They weren't of course. They were called Spertz. Much less interesting. Still, they were purple, and that made them slightly more exciting.
But the Doctor hadn't picked up the Spertz. He could have, if he had looked around the TARDIS hard enough for them. But he didn't. He wasn't entirely sure he wanted to find what he was looking for. He knew he shouldn't look for it. For them. For her. It was against the time-traveling guidelines he had set himself. It was also against his better judgement. So, if he used a substandard pair of Judoon Binoculars, he was sure to finish the whole experience annoyed, and no closer to finding the subjects of his search than when he started. Perfect.
"What are you looking for?"
The Doctor pretended not to jump as Amy Pond sat next to him on the roof. Timelords didn't jump. Timelords were never surprised. Not by loud Scottish girls, anyway.
"A blonde hanging from a balloon," he murmured back, not bothering to tear his eyes out of the Judoon binoculars. If he had, Amy might have noticed that she had succeeded in sneaking up on him. Worse, she might have noticed the glassiness of his eyes and interrogated him about the binoculars and the blonde he was looking for. He noticed vaguely that he had just mentioned it…her. The blonde…the balloon. The subject of his binocular-related activity. Bugger.
"What?" Amy asked, though to the Doctor's relief, she sounded less than interested. There were always perks to being eccentric and sporadically nonsensical. Humans tended to ignore things that didn't make sense.
"Never mind," The Doctor said, and he knew that Amy would follow his instruction.
"Are they out there?" she asked, and this time, The Doctor did pull his eyes from the binoculars. How could she know? "The Daleks?" she added, noticing the look on his face. He must have looked surprised. He reprimanded his new face silently, ordering it not to betray surprise any longer. He doubted it would take heed. New faces tended to do whatever they liked.
"No," he responded, remembering again that Amy was there, waiting for an answer. "They'll be somewhere out there in time and space. Biding their time. Growing stronger." He could feel it bubbling under his skin, between his two hearts. The anger. The anger reserved only for the Daleks. They were the reason he was up there on that roof, looking for the love of his past life through a pair of ridiculous binoculars. If it weren't for them, he might be with her. He might be with her, with his old body and his two hearts intact.
Still, best not to dwell. He was a new man now. That grief was for another man. For another pair of hearts.
"Are they really that bad?" Amy asked, as though she followed his inner monologue exactly. He reprimanded his face again. Far too expressive.
"Yes," he answered. He didn't elaborate.
"What did they do?" Amy continued. Amy Pond. Always asking questions. Always poking. In that annoying, awful, fabulously human way.
"They…" how was he to respond? How could one encompass the atrocities of the Daleks? "They've taken everyone I love from me," he said, finally. True. Each and every thing he loved. They took Donna. They took Rose. They took Galiffrey and every last Timelord from the face of the universe. They took his home, his life and his friends, time and time again.
"I'm sorry," Amy said, and he gave her a small smile in return. How like Amelia Pond. She was still so young. Still a child. She could not even imagine the losses he had suffered and yet she was sorry for him.
"Still," he said, hoisting up his pride, "Saved Britain for another day." He smiled again, but he was sure that the smile was false. He could feel it stretching his new face. Contorting it. He slackened his grip on his lips and sighed. Grief wasn't supposed to be this fierce in a new generation. It wasn't usually. It was because of her. Because there was the smallest chance that she was out there right now, hanging from a stupid zeppelin, calling his name. He lifted the binoculars up to his eyes again. If he could just get one glance…
"What are you looking for then?" asked Amy. Of course she did.
"Hmm?" The Doctor hummed back at her, trying to ignore her politely.
"Those ridiculous binoculars," she said, tapping them lightly so that they fell on his nose. "What are you looking for?"
"I've been here before," he answered, in spite of himself. "You know, over 900 years old, you're bound to go somewhere twice."
"In all of time and space?" Amy asked.
"Come on, it's the London Blitz," The Doctor said, gesturing to the war around him. "How could you not come back for seconds?"
Amy chortled. "You are mad."
The Doctor grinned back. "And you are correct."
He tapped on the sides of the binoculars, having just placed them back to his eyes. Was she going to drop it? She cleared her throat. No such luck.
"When were you here last time?" she asked.
"During the Blitz. World War Two. Nineteen forty…something…" It might not even be the same year as the last time. In fact, it was highly unlikely. The probability that Rose was out there somewhere was minuscule, next to nothing. He was being too irrational. He was being too human.
"No," Amy said, rolling her eyes. "When in Doctor time?"
Amy Pond. Too smart for her own good.
"Oh I dunno," he said, surprised to hear the intonation of his tenth incarnation in his voice. "Four years ago? Maybe more? It all gets a little…wibbly wobbly…"
"Is that the technical term?"
And there he was. At least in his memories. Night time in the Blitz, nineteen forty-something. Kids with masks. Ninth incarnation, big ears and bald head. Leather jacket, Northern accent and Rose. Everywhere Rose.
"I was a different man then," he said, ever so slightly surprised at himself for elaborating. Amy wouldn't understand what he meant, of course, but he supposed he was a different man then in more ways than physically. Full of rage and fire and war. And Rose.
"Were you alone?"
Amy Pond! She read his face so easily. Perhaps he ought to wear a mask from now on. To match his bowtie. Very Phantom of the Opera.
"No," he replied. "Traveling with friends." The best of friends. Jack Harkness; untamed testosterone. Wild and witty and brilliant. And Rose. "Well, one friend and one pre-friend. Well, one pre-friend and one…" he stopped himself. Caught his tongue. Nearly literally. He was sounding like his tenth incarnation again. Curious.
If Amy noticed the dark look in his eye or the abruptness with which he stopped himself, she didn't mention it. She didn't push further. This in itself probably meant that she had noticed and was, for once, employing an element of tact.
"Where are they now?" She asked. Drat. So much for not pushing. "What happened to them?"
"The Daleks," The Doctor said harshly and without hesitation. It was always the Daleks. "They killed Jack," he said, and Amy gasped. "Rose fixed him, or rather, the Bad Wolf did, but that's a story that's really too complicated to get into…" he trailed off again, wondering why he had even mentioned it.
"Rose?" Amy asked, although to be honest, it was more of a statement than a question.
"Yeah," The Doctor said, tightening his grip on the Judoon binoculars. "My…other friend." He could see his new knuckles turning white.
"What happened to her?" Amy asked, slightly more timidly. She was treading on eggshells. The Doctor hoped it wasn't his face betraying him again this time. He wondered what it must have betrayed. Was it grief? Was it loss? The tug of that empty space between his two heats?
"She's gone," he said. He felt Amy's eyes on him, big and sympathetic. There was a certain knowledge in her look and he suddenly felt sure that his face had once again betrayed him. Bugger.
"She's fine," he assured her, looking anywhere but back into those balls of sympathy. "She's just gone. Can't come back to me…to this universe," he corrected. "Not ever."
Oh, indeed. "Still," he said, "I've got Amy Pond now. New face, new suit and new Amy Pond." He smiled at her, praying to the stars that she would let it go.
Nope. Amy Pond. Never letting it go.
"She's fine. She's happy…I hope…" he trailed off, brain full of memories of another man with his mind, one of his hearts and Rose. "She's with someone who loves her very much."
And that was it. That was all he would say. He was a new man now and he wouldn't let himself worry about her anymore. She was fine. She was happy. She was with him. The other him.
He looked at Amy out of the corner of his eye. She hadn't replied. She was looking at him sternly, as if she knew he was still holding something back, but for once, thank the Vortex, for once she wasn't pursuing it.
Silence. Sweet silence. But the binoculars were still in his lap. He tapped them. Once…twice.
"Do you really want to see them again like that?" Amy asked, with too much understanding for a human that understood so little. "Through a pair of ugly old binoculars?"
"Yeah, why not?" What else was it but a bit of a laugh? Like a photo album, but better. "No," he said, changing his mind. What was there to see but a man who had moved on from his life and a woman he had knowingly abandoned? There was no laughing about it. Only regret. "No," he repeated, and set the binoculars aside.
"I'll be in the TARDIS," Amy said. Just like that. And she got up, ruffled his hair and turned to leave him alone on the roof. Alone. With his binoculars and his memories. "And Doctor," she added, "Thank you. For sharing that."
He smiled and watched her leave. And once again he was alone. With his memories.