Title: Running Sideways

Author: cardiogod

Rating: G

Character/pairing: Ten, Eleven, Eleven/River if you squint

Disclaimer: Doctor is not mine, never has been, never will be. Unless you give me a TARDIS.

Author's note: First attempt in a new fandom - eek!

After the Library, he runs.

He can't look back, not yet, and he doesn't want to look forward for fear of what he will find (her – he knows he'll find her and he doesn't know enough and he knows too much all at the same time and he can't shake the image of her in that spacesuit, full of love and goodbyes, longing for someone that he isn't yet but that he will be, and he doesn't know how he'll be able to see her, past-her or future-her or whichever her he finds, and not be crushed by the knowledge of what is to come).

So he runs sideways, bouncing off the walls of time, a boy in his box. He runs to other planets, to cliffs of diamonds, to places that would hold no interest to an archaeologist because they are too new or too shiny or didn't have enough dirt to dig in.

Donna complains that he's getting boring. But then there are planets in the sky, far from where they should be, and she stops being bored (and then she stops being Donna, but he doesn't really want to think about that either because she was his friend and oh, how much it hurts to know what he's done to her, what he's done to all of them).

He runs from that, too. He is always running from that, in some way or another.

She knew another face, River did, and that knowledge haunts him when he stops long enough to think about it, so he doesn't stop. He doesn't want another face; he likes this one perfectly fine, thank you very much, and he really doesn't want to go, he really, really doesn't.

But it happens (you can't run from everything) and he has a new face and apples are rubbish and there is seven-year-old Amelia Pond and then twenty-something-year-old Amelia Pond who waited the five minutes that took twelve years (he never was very good at being on time) and they have adventures and he is just so tired that he has to stop running for a moment to catch his breath (and to let the TARDIS catch hers – he's afraid he's been running her ragged, and the poor old girl isn't as young as she used to be; she hardly ever listens to his directions anymore and she's always taking him places he doesn't want to go) .

He likes museums. Always has, even though they get it mostly wrong. He can find himself in almost all of them now (900 years is a long time to live and a timelord has to find something to keep himself busy, some kind of hobby to stave off madness and loneliness and whatever else timelords are prone to), and he's particularly fond of this one. Headless monks. Who doesn't love headless monks?

Amy bounces along beside him, vibrating with youth and energy and restlessness, and he knows he won't be stopped for too long.

When he sees the box and the writing with its whoosh of home and the words so familiar and so foreign, he forgets about stopping and resting and catching his breath and whatever else he was supposed to be doing and grabs it, taking off down the corridors of the museum, alarms blaring and security guards giving chase to the madman with a box (with a box and a TARDIS and a message).

He is now running towards the thing that he is running from and he gets the feeling that this is not the last time this woman will have him running in two directions at once.