Disclaimer: I own nothing~

Author's Note: I made an observation while re-watching season one at the gym. So I wrote a drabble about it. :'D

Warnings: Doctor/Rose. Based on observations and about ten minutes of research, woo~

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Watch

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He wears it like any other would a ball and chain. A cuff, like a manacle: bound to his wrist. It is a perpetual reminder.

Time. Time Lords. The Time War. The curse he must now bear alone.

In or out of the Vortex, time wibbles, wobbles, and marches on. He forces himself to endure each excruciatingly-slow tick-tock of it, because that is his punishment. His penance. To knowingly suffer the full weight of What He'd Done for eternity.

He had stopped time for everyone else.

So he must face its remainder on his own.

X

She takes his hand.

The new-new-new hand of the new-new Doctor. Their fingers twine, their wrists brush; through the chilled veneer of her skin, he can feel the steady pulse of her fragile, racing mortal heart. Thu-thump, thu-thump: tick-tock, tick-tock. It beats out the same rhythmic melody as a clock.

Beneath the cuff of his coat and jacket, his wrist is bare. Unshackled.

He still carries the weight of the world, of course. Of all the worlds, really. He's bound to them, as if by a chain— unyielding and unbreakable. But with this little pink and yellow girl standing beside him, the nightmares and memories don't feel like quite as much of a burden, anymore. The wound is deep, and there, but healing. As the humans say, "a problem, once shared, is cut in half;" when she smiles, he can smile with her.

She is his reminder. Of what has happened. Of what might happen. Of what he protected, will protect, will always protect. That he is not just a killer, he is the Doctor. He is a Time Lord. And she— she keeps the time.

Every breath. Every laugh. Every meaningless conversation. Their time together is the only time that matters.

And he knows, even in those first, glorious, precious moments, that their time will eventually run out. Someday. Inevitably.

But for now— just for now— he wears no watch and lets himself pretend that it won't.

X

When he sees it, he remembers.

He remembers Bad Wolf, and ethereal eyes of golden dust. He remembers beaches, and yellow sand turned brown by tears. He remembers the tale of Icarus, who in his folly had flown too close to the sun. And— with fresh, undesired detail—, he remembers what had happened next.

Icarus had burned. The Tardis had burned. The Doctor had burned, because he had allowed himself to stray Too Close—to humanity, to friendship, to love. It had all seemed so beautiful from a distance… So lovely when observed from the security of his ship, with a "species barrier" to hide behind. But after 900 years, how could he resist trying to touch that warmth himself? After nearly a millennia, was it not natural to reach for (her) their hands…?

But it had been too much. The fire, the passion, the fleeting, horrible, aching, stunning torment of it all had been too much. He had gone up in gilded flames.

And now, here he stands.

Without preamble or show, the Doctor straps the golden watch to his wrist.Tick-tock, tick-tock.

His arm falls heavily against his side.

XXX