This is credited to my significant other, who said the song fitted one of my RP characters. However, when I looked up the lyrics, my first thought was "That's a Doctor song." And thus, this ficlet was born.

Anything from Doctor Who belongs to the BBC. The song used here is "Shoes" by Chris Volpe.

Please enjoy!

I'm running blindly, I don't really know from what

The running is one of the few constants in his life other than his TARDIS. Everywhere he goes. It's the reason why, in his tenth incarnation—the skinny trouble magnet, as one of his Companions so kindly put it—he insists on wearing trainers everywhere, and the only concession he makes to style is to have pairs in different colors.

I've been living my whole life like some phrase at the tip of my tongue

Of course, the running brings other constants, something he always says and something he never says. Often he never has time to say it, sometimes he can't say it.

Don't really know how to say it, it's always just out of reach

Companion after Companion, left behind as he moved on or regenerated. He wants to apologize to them, explain why—but he never sees most of them again.

Stays locked in my larynx along with my freedom of speech

That time in the school, when he turned a corner and found Sarah-Jane staring at the TARDIS in utter disbelief… his hearts had sunk at the sight, expecting an angry tirade when she finally found out that the mysterious "Mr Smith" was actually the same Time Lord who had left her in Croydon—she informed him later that he'd gotten the coordinates wrong, again, and actually left her in Aberdeen—and all he could muster up was "Hello, Sarah-Jane."

I'll use the rubber on my shoes to erase all that I've done

and if I just keep adding miles and miles to the soles

I can erase all that's gone wrong

He left her again, this time with a hug and a tin dog, and he didn't look back. Not that he didn't want to look back—she was his friend—but he couldn't. If he started looking back on nine hundred years of mistakes, it would break him.

Some people write their stories with ink and a ballpoint pen

But I'll use the rubber on my shoes 'til streets and rivers end

He remembers Agatha Christie, a fierce, fragile woman channelling her grief and anger into some of the most gripping mystery novels ever written. Perhaps if he had asked… she might have been able to put a snippet of his life onto paper.

But he didn't, and she didn't. And he continued to run.

I roam alone and restless, a ghost through the alleyways

A week before he hears of Adipose Industries, he finds himself alone in the back alleys of a market town somewhere, holding an exceptionally bad cup of tea and just wandering the streets while the town sleeps, ending up sitting by the river with a cold cup of 'tea' and brooding as the faces of his old Companions dance through his mind.

Preyed upon by no one but loved by just the same

"It's a funny old life, living in the TARDIS." He remembers telling Donna that, a funny clenching feeling surrounding his hearts as he tells her the truth, half of him hoping that she'll walk away and save them both the inevitable parting and the other half even more desperately hoping that she'll scoff at the prospect of danger and join him with that glint in her hazel eyes.

He never told her, but he needed her. He needed all of them—Rose, Martha, Jack, Donna, even Mickey-the-idiot—because he needed a family. He never did well alone.

Alone means you don't get hurt, he sternly reminds himself after he's forced to leave Donna behind.

But alone means nobody to catch you, another little voice in his mind tells him, one that sounds strangely like Reinette.

Later, when he's staring at a London house, the gun's loud report ringing in his ears, he realizes how right she was.

You might feel my touch, a cold breeze against your skin

But you'll just unroll your shirt sleeves and shiver, moving on your way again

Before he regenerates, he goes to see them all one last time. Martha and Mickey, Sarah-Jane and Luke, Jack and Alonso, and Donna… he can never see Rose or River or Reinette again. One last visit, to do something good for them after all the chaos and hurt he caused, and to let himself say goodbye.

In his final moments, as the heat surges through him, he sees a woman's face floating in his mind—Rose or River or Reinette, he doesn't know—but she smiles sadly as he strains to reach her, before she turns away, back to her life. A life without him.

He tries to smile back even as his hearts are breaking.

I'll use the rubber on my shoes to erase all that I've done

If only the running could make it go away. All the beings he's been forced to kill, all the beings who died for his sake, all the scars on his soul.

And if I just keep adding miles and miles to the soles

I can erase all that's gone wrong

When he thinks about it, maybe that's why he never stops. If he stops, he has to think about where he is now and what he's done, the words he wishes he had said and the things he wishes he had done instead.

Running is his penance, his absolution. For every person he left behind, he finds another one to save. For every disaster he was at the heart of, he finds another one to stop.

Some people write their novels with ink and a fountain pen

He can't write his story into a novel, he would be well into his next regeneration before he finished. He once tried to put music to the song he hears constantly—the song of the universe, of galaxies laughing and stars dancing—but that ended in an encounter with a Graske, and the piece never was finished. A shame, it was a beautiful song.

But at dawn it's on the streets I'll don my words with my shoes in hand

No matter what happens, who he loses, he keeps on running, his well-worn trainers carrying him ever onwards, leaving only a smile, an apology, and the faint, mournful toll of a bell in his wake.