SOOTHING INFLUENCE

You've checked in with Mr. Smith and K9 for the night. You plan on settling down with a good book and having an early night. Luke is in his room, wrapping up his homework, since Clyde and Rani have already gone home. Your house is yours alone and it gives you time to pause and reflect after a hectic day.

Today hasn't been overly difficult, but you've had a challenging few weeks. You finally opened your heart to someone, and ultimately it wasn't even real, but something concocted by one of your enemies to try to destroy you. It didn't, you wouldn't let it. You're too strong for that, but you would be lying if you didn't admit that you were devastated.

You've tried really hard to move forward, but on a night like tonight, you risk wallowing in that emotion. You ponder having a glass of wine, or even something stronger, but that would just give someone else the victory. You've never been one to allow anyone to have control over you, at least not intentionally.

Sitting on the sofa, you bury your face in your hands and focus on keeping the tears at bay. You've already cried so many times, would one more tear accomplish anything? Your thoughts drift to the Doctor and his running in to try to stop the wedding. He tried so hard to protect you, just like always.

When the doorbell rings, you wonder why your thoughts have drifted to him. You focus now on answering the door, intent on quickly ridding yourself of whoever it is so you can go back to your solitary thoughts. Tonight, you ultimately just want to be alone. The last thing you expect is for it to be him, looking as if his world just crashed around him.

You quickly block your surprise and replace it with a genuine smile. You usher him in and he quickly wraps you in the tightest of embraces. All of your instincts tell you something is wrong. You know he needs to talk about it, and you know how to get him to talk. You pepper him with questions and over time, you see his features ease.

You withhold judgment, even though you're surprised by what he's telling you. The Time Lord Victorious isn't someone you care to cross paths with, but you understand why it's finally come out. In fact, deep down, if you admit it, a part of you wonders why this side of him hasn't shown itself before.

He talks until the wee hours of the night, and you stay with him, continuing to listen. That's what he needs right now, a friendly and sympathetic ear. You can't stop the yawns though, you are still human, after all. He encourages you to get some sleep and reassures you that he won't disappear in the night. He's not ready to say goodbye just yet. Truth be told, neither are you. No matter what else, you've missed him.

You wake up when the bedroom door creaks and know he's entered the room. Part of you is surprised, but the other part isn't. He's checking on you, just like he always did. While not shocking, the last thing you expect is for him to slide into bed behind you, his arms wrapping themselves around you instinctively, his body melding itself to yours. You close your eyes and reach up to cover his hands with yours. You pretend this is normal, that he holds you like this every night, blocking out the fact that it's been closer to three decades since that last time.

His body is smaller in this incarnation, but it's still him. You still feel as if you belong here, in his arms. Even through his clothes and your nightgown, you can feel the temperature differences between you. It's reassuring in its alien familiarity. Sleep weighs heavily on you until you can't fight it any longer.

During the night, you rouse and feel arms around you. Then you remember that it's the Doctor holding you yet again. You turn in his embrace, pretending to still be asleep. There's a part of you that wants to kiss him, but the face is wrong. This isn't your Doctor, although in the same sense, it is.

You finally open your eyes and he's watching you. Like he has so many times in the past. Though the eyes are a different colour, they still reflect all that he was to you, and still is if you allow yourself to admit it. You smile and reach out to tentatively smooth down his shirt. There would've been a time when touching him was expected, anticipated. More memories float up to the surface that you haven't entertained for years.

You know it's almost morning, and soon he'll leave you. He always does, it's his way. He could never stay confined to one world, one time. It would suffocate him. There are times, although you hate to admit it, but it suffocates you as well. Or it would if it wasn't for your kids, and yes, you sometimes consider Clyde and Rani to be yours as well, because you feel responsible for them. This planet would smother you if you let it.

He reaches out and ghosts his fingers along your face. A part of you would love to go with him, stand beside him, going through space and time. Best friends, facing the universe like all those years before. However, you can't regain the past, no matter how glorious it looks in retrospect. You have responsibilities here.

You've become a mother, so you fall back on the staple of mothers everywhere and offer him breakfast. It's almost too domestic, but it's another role you've had to pick up over time. You start to pull away, but he takes your hands in his and brings them to his lips, planting the gentlest of kisses there. You give him a slight nod, thanking him for still caring for you.

Luke joins you for breakfast, asking questions as always before heading off to school. His mind is amazing to watch. You already know that he can think circles around you, but you give him your love and guidance. He gives you a reason to come home at night and eat regular meals. Sometimes it's nice not being alone all the time. It connects you back to humanity in a way you thought you'd lost.

You watch the Doctor over breakfast and you can see the wheels turning in his mind. You know him well enough to know he's planning something. And you don't necessarily approve. You tilt your head as you regard him, letting him know that you can read him better now than you ever could when you were travelling together.

He tells you about the Ood prophecy. His past is catching up with him and his future seems to be planned out already. It's not something that he's comfortable with, nor is it the way you want to see him live his life. You can't help the tears that well up as your heart breaks for him. He reaches out and holds your face, brushing away those tears with his thumbs. He stands, then pulls you to stand in front of him. He gives you a look before leaning in and kissing you. In that instant, time is erased and you're the inquisitive young journalist and he's the scarf wearing bohemian set to carry you across all of time and space.

You know he has to leave, but you feel the hesitation coming from him. Neither of you want this moment to end. It's a gift to have him here again. His feelings seem so obvious now, and yours never were a secret. He holds you tight, and you close your eyes to memorise everything about him. Even if you never see this body of his again, you will always have this moment.

He is so important to you, and while he came here looking for something, he's also given you something in return. He is so special to you, and while you may never vocalise your true feelings, you hope he knows just how much he means to you.