Disclaimer: All original characters and such belong to the BBC.
Summary: The Doctor is always the one to remember. But once, he was the one who had to forget.
Pairings: None currently
Rating: K+ for over-cautiousness now, may go up later depending on situations
Author's Note: I'm not sure why I haven't done more Doctor Who fanfics. Maybe because all my ideas thus far have been super long and complicated and I want to give them proper attention and I felt like I didn't have the time or attention span. But this idea hit me one day and has sort of been developing for a while and it just felt like it was time for the words to meet paper. Basically, I wondered what would happen if the situation with Donna and the Doctor was reversed. And while I adore Ten and Eleven is my absolute favorite, something in my head told me that this had to be Nine. I still kind of miss Nine anyway. Nine needs more love.
So many times, for just the duration of a heartbeat, she had thought she'd seen him. She would catch a glimpse in her periphery of a dark jacket or generous ears and it would be enough to set her off, to get her blood racing and her mouth working into a smile, everything in her ready to offer a greeting, a hug, to join arms and start running. But every time she turned or looked up to put the image squarely in her view, it was never him. Even after years, the false encounters continued, and the disappointment was palpable every time.
As was the relief.
Because logically she knew that whatever emotional part of her cried out for the way things used to be, soothing her own feelings was not worth the consequences to him, to the universe. So she pushed the thoughts away whenever she could, tried to downplay the almost-encounters, and hoped they would fade as time went on.
Until the day she stepped off the tube at the Earl's Court stop and saw him standing across the street. This time for real.
The first few seconds she was able to play it off as a trick of the light or a projection of her barely subdued longings. The odds of stumbling into him, or vice versa, were astronomical even just in London, let alone all of space and time in the known universe. But as Earth time crept on, slowly as it seemed to swirl around her as she tried to reconcile the image in front of her with the face that she only ever saw in her dreams anymore, there was no way to deny the leather jacket and the smile and the short-cropped dark hair. She found herself staring, mouth dry, heart pounding, limbs shaking. The Doctor had returned to London.
And then he started to turn in her direction. She meant to only duck her head, turn away, walk down the street or back into the station. Keep going with her life and pretend she'd never seen him. It was how things had to be and she had accepted that. But that fact combined with the encounter caused her more pain than she thought she could feel, and she found herself breaking into a run with no real destination, just somewhere not here.
Cassie Pritchard felt the world she'd rebuilt slipping away with every step.