I think I'm the first one to write a story focusing on Colonel Manton from "A Good Man Goes to War." There's not even a character listing for him. So, I shall try to pick up that thread.
Disclaimer: Maybe in an alternate universe. But not this one.
I want people to call you "Colonel Run Away." I want children laughing outside your door
because they've found the house of Colonel Run Away. And when people come to you and ask
if trying to get to me through the people I LOVE! [calmer] is in any way a good idea...
I want you to tell them your name.
The house was rundown and old. Its caretaker was one in name only, not bothering to keep up his own home. Anytime he went outside, he got the same reaction.
Children, laughing, because they had found the home of "Colonel Run Away." A man who went up against the most powerful creature in creation and ran away with his tail between his legs as soon as he got face-to-face with him.
He hated that man for that.
The sound of high-pitched laughter got his attention and he stumbled drunkenly to his feet. Oh yes, as soon as he had been dishonorably discharged, he had started to drink. It was the only way he had to escape his depression.
He snorted. Escape, like he could escape the shame.
The laughter suddenly cut off. He frowned. Usually the children would hang around outside till he got out there to shoo them off, jeer at him, then run away themselves.
As soon as he opened the door, he saw the reason why the children were gone.
There, standing at the end of the walkway, was the man Manton hated so much.
The Doctor frowned as he exited the TARDIS. He had landed in some rough places before, but this rundown neighborhood wasn't exactly a dangerous hotspot. Still wondering why the TARDIS had brought him here, he began to walk.
A little farther along, he saw a bunch of children hanging around on the unkempt lawn of a rundown house. They weren't doing anything but standing there and shouting. As he got closer, he was able to understand what they were shouting.
"Colonel Run Away!" they shouted. "Come out and play Demon's Run with us!"
One of the children noticed the approaching Time Lord and poked one of his fellows. That child poked one of the girls and slowly the jeering died down as all the children turned to face the young-looking man.
The Doctor swept the gaggle of children with a penetrating gaze, one that caused every child to squirm. It was a technique he hadn't used since his first incarnation, raising his own children. The look that said, "I expect you to be better behaved than this."
With those two words, the children fled, scrambling over themselves in their attempt to get away from the Doctor.
He raised his look in time to see Manton stumble out of the house, not even armed. So this was why the TARDIS had brought him here: to see what his rage at Demon's Run had created. The dark-skinned man still wore his uniform, but it was all raggedy and haphazardly patched. He also looked like he hadn't used a razor in quite a while.
The man gritted his teeth at him. "What do you want now? Haven't you done enough to me?"
The Doctor raised a thin eyebrow. "I came here to tell you something. And I know you won't tell anyone else."
Manton chuckled. "And why is that, Doctor?" He spat out the name with a literal accompaniment.
"Because after you hear this, you'll probably get a visit from one of your old…employers."
Manton squinted at him. "Fine. Say whatever you're gonna say, then go away."
"Your plan failed. Melody Pond wasn't able to kill me. She's River Song now, a person of her own. She has her parents and her husband supporting her."
In the dim glow of the setting sun, Manton finally saw the thin gold band, hanging from a matching chain around the Doctor's neck. Always with him, but could be tucked inside his shirt when an unknowing River was around.
"There will come a day when River will not know who I am and that day she will die. For me, that day could be today, tomorrow, or a year from now. I do not know, and I do not want to know."
The Doctor stepped forward one step and Manton stepped back to match.
"But know this: the Silence failed. Kovarian failed. And despite your strongest beliefs, you failed.
"The Fields of Trenzalore, the reason why I was 'murdered,' still waits for me, somewhere out there. And I know the Question now, too."
The Doctor turned to leave.
"What, that's it?" shouted Manton. "You're not gonna finish me off so I can't tell them?"
The Doctor paused long enough to reply. "No, Colonel. That's up to you."
And with that, the Doctor walked away.
Manton was shaking as he locked the door behind him. His heart thudded in his chest as he scrambled around in the living room for a certain box. Once he found it, it took twice punching in the code for it to open.
His service revolver. Still in perfect condition from when he had packed it away following his military discharge. There was one bullet left, to do the one thing a soldier could do to keep himself from falling into the wrong hands.
He sat in a chair that had long since lost its springiness and waited, the gun in his lap.
He wasn't disappointed. Within minutes, a Silent stood before him. Manton was careful to keep his eyes on the creature, so that he wouldn't forget why he was doing this.
"Tell her: we failed. We all failed."
The Doctor stood at the doors of his TARDIS, leaning against the thrumming wood. He closed his eyes and waited.
In the distance, he heard the shot ring out. He knew what the papers would say the next day: that Colonel "Run Away" Manton, after three years of living in shame, had finally committed suicide by eating a bullet.
Everything he had told Manton was true, save for one thing: Yesterday was the day that he had taken River to Darillium. As he and Manton talked, somewhere out there, his previous self and River were in the library. And when he departed from there, River would be gone.
He fingered the ring around his neck. It had been such a human thing to do, to wear a wedding ring. To show that whatever else happened, he had chosen to marry her.
He tucked the ring inside his shirt, so that he felt it settle on his chest between his hearts. Until the day this regeneration died and perhaps, not even then, he would not take it off.
He unlocked the door and departed as the sounds of sirens wailing filled the air.
Perhaps a little long for a oneshot, but I think this would be a good reason why, after Demon's Run, we did not see Manton again at Area 52. Unless I missed something in that episode?
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