The second he took off the wrist cuff, the Doctor could feel it, a thousand furious bees swarming around his head, stinging every vein of his body with hatred, and anger, and the want for revenge. He let out a shaky breath and stepped into the dark corridor, leaving the Ponds behind.
He would find Oswin, he told himself, he would find her and bring her back to the teleport. He would do just this and nothing more, and he would get there without incident. This wasn't about the Daleks, he told himself. It was about escape, and saving his friends, and he needed to not focus on the Daleks waiting above him.
Unfortunately for the Doctor, it was very difficult to stop focusing on any one thing. His Time Lord mind worked vastly, jumping back and forth and up and down and side to side and diagonally from subject to subject. Currently, his thoughts were zipping around his escape plan, the enigma of Oswin Oswald, getting the Ponds back together, the last time he'd seen River, whether he needed to buy more Jammie Dodgers, the TARDIS's Helmic regulator's latest malfunction, his recent need to keep a relatively low profile in the universe, and the impossible fact of the sheer number of Daleks in the spaceship above him.
They always survive. When I lose everything, they survive.
The memory of the Daleks in Manhattan didn't come bubbling up, it came bursting forth, an arrow through air, searing suddenly into his mind. He felt like he was there again, watching the Daleks commit genocide against the part-Time Lord, part-Dalek, part-human race, reliving the losses he'd suffered, remembering everyone who had died that day. His hearts sped up.
They were doing it. The nanobodies. They were making him think this. He smashed a flat hand against the metal wall, trying to get the coolness of it to shock him out of the trance-like state. He couldn't let them take him, wouldn't let them, and yet he could feel his thoughts and memories changing, being controlled, and then
He was watching Gallifrey burn. The screams of his brothers and sisters echoed out, drilled into his eardrums, as the orange sky rained fire and Hell. He had done this, he had made this happen, and for this he hated himself, hated everything, the whole of reality, every damned particle-
"No," he mumbled to himself, strength fading fast. The Doctor's legs buckled under him and he gripped the wall for support, pushing himself up. He had to keep his head, had to get Amy and Rory out of this.
Amy. Rory. The girl who waited and the last Centurion. He remembered his advice to Amy (or, at least, he tried to- memories now were becoming foggy, difficult to understand or recall). They subtract love. Don't let them.
The Ponds, he thought, his best friends. As he eked out what steps he could towards the doorway on the other end of the corridor, he made himself remember them. He thought of Amy, watching the stars with him, and Rory, refusing to leave the Pandorica unguarded. Amy, who had fought off pirates for him, and Rory, who had been the first to see the Flesh duplicates as real people, with emotions and needs and-
They failed. You left them, and they failed. They split up, ridiculous humans, stupid humans.
He fell, retaining enough of himself to brace it with his hands. Hatred was a thick towel wrapped around his head, suffocating him, changing him. This is not how it ends, he thought, but it was more of a plea. The Doctor does not die a Dalek. This can't be how it ends.
The blue door of Amy and Rory's house was shut, locked, never opening for him. They had blocked him out of their lives, forgotten about him, the way everyone did. Donna had forgotten, Martha had walked away, Rose-
Rose. Dancing in the TARDIS. Watching the New New York skyline with him. He raised himself to an elbow. Martha. The girl who walked the Earth. He raised himself up on the other elbow. Donna. She'd solved a murder mystery with him, an actual Agatha Christie murder mystery. With a huff, he rolled back onto his knees, kneeling now.
Amy. Rory. He was crouching now, both feet firm on the floor. He tried pulling himself up. He remembered River, laughing with him at a party, and he was back on his feet. Now they were all coming back, his memories, his friends, and though he could still feel the rage buzzing around him, there was something keeping it at bay now.
The Daleks turned you into one of them by subtracting all your love, and it was going to take forever to do that. Because even with all the self-loathing and hatred and vengeance he'd felt in 900 years, he had love as well. Centuries of it, galaxies of it. He loved the entire human race.
As he forced his way through the twisting corridors towards Oswin, he thought of Jack, the Face of Boe, the man who had sacrificed himself so many times and always come back winking. He thought of Craig, the man who had "blown up the Cybermen with love". If he could do that, then surely the Doctor could survive this.
He thought of Sarah Jane and the Brigadier, Wilf, who'd refused to shoot a man in cold blood, and Jackie, who'd joked about naming her child after him. He thought of Mickey and K9. He'd underappreciated them, but they had to know he cared. He loved all of them.
And once he'd rescued Oswin, he was sure he'd come to love her as well.