Yay for Doctor Who fics! This is the first one I've written. Although I've been a fan for a while. :P
Summary: He's been a lonely traveller for years. He hates it. Even though he meets companions and is able to shake the feeling of being alone, he still is and always be a lonely traveller.
There are some things you should know before you read this story, so that it will make more sense.
1. The Ninth Doctor has been travelling by himself since the last season of the Eighth Doctor ended. Years ago, in other words.
2. I like to think that Nine and Ten are basically the same man with a different face. I also like to think that this is because of Rose and the fact that they cared about each other so much. That's why he was sort of okay with regenerating in to Ten, but since Rose was no longer there, was absolutely devastated to be regenerating into Eleven.
Don't get me wrong, I love Eleven. But I love Nine and Ten more. I wish Christopher had done more than one season and that David had stuck around for just one more. But that's just my fangirl dreaming.
I don't own this brilliant series or these characters. I just like writing about them to help soothe the many, many feels. Also, I don't have a beta, so any and all mistakes are mine. See some that need to be fixed? PM or review and let me know and I will fix them ASAP.
I've talked enough! On with the story. Allons-y!
He hated being lonely.
Loneliness was all too familiar to him, though. It was the one thing he could rely on, the one thing that was always there. That nagging sensation of being all by one's self.
Sometimes, it wasn't so bad. Those times when he found himself in the middle of a part of history, or saving someone from the future. Those moments when the planet was in trouble and he only had an hour to find a way to save it. Those were the moments when the loneliness was almost nonexistent.
When he was in the TARDIS, though, it was there. That all too familiar feeling was there and stronger than ever as he spoke out loud to himself and pondered where he would go next and especially when he was at the wheel of the TARDIS, throwing switches and spinning dials and wishing he had someone else with him, someone to help make his home feel a little less empty.
Then, he met Rose.
Rose Tyler. What a wonderful girl she was. From the moment she first stepped foot in the TARDIS, he knew it was meant to be. She was meant to travel with him. She was meant to be his next companion, his next friend, the next person to make this lonely traveler feel a little less alone.
So when she agreed to go with him, he was elated.
She was a wonderful companion. She loved the adventure, did well in times of crisis, and was able to put up with his witty comments and smart-aleck responses. And on more than one occasion, she was there to save him.
She saved him even when he didn't know he needed saving.
It was thanks to her that he met Captain Jack Harkness. The cocky, flirtatious human was, in his opinion, a particularly annoying man at first. He got used to the charismatic Captain, though, and was glad to have even more company. It wasn't just him anymore. It was Rose and Jack, too. The loneliness had all but disappeared.
Then it all seemed to need to come to an end abruptly. The Daleks were here, on Satellite 5, and Rose had gone home and Jack was dead and once again it was just him and he loathed it. From the moment he realized he was the only one left, that loneliness that he had long ago gotten rid of made his acquaintance again.
She came back. He had gone through the effort of getting her home, safe and sound, and still, his stubborn Rose managed to find a way back to him. She had looked into the heart of the TARDIS, though.
She would die. And that killed him.
He knew he had to do something. He couldn't just let her die like that. He could save her. It would cost him a precious life, but she would live, and he could move on when he changed and she left him. He could do it; he'd done it before. He'd been a lonely traveler before.
He could have just touched his hands to her temples. Just a simple touch like that could have transferred all of that energy from her frail human body to his resilient Time Lord being. But that wasn't enough for him.
It was in that moment that he realized just how much he had come to love her.
He, the last Time Lord, who had sworn that he would never love again after his wife and family had been killed with the rest of his home planet, had learned to love someone again. This was what caused him to grab her hands in his and pull her to him, letting his lips fall on hers.
It was a wonderful feeling; the rush of kissing her as well as the energy that flowed into him at the contact. It was a moment he wouldn't soon forget.
Later, in the TARDIS, he knew it was time. He had to leave his Rose behind. He had to regenerate, and he knew, just knew, that she'd leave him.
She had been fantastic, and he would miss her. But she was alive, and that meant the world to him. She could live a life that she deserved. She would find someone worthy of her love, and would find her calling, and would live a wonderfully human life.
The kind that he could never live, he thought sadly, as she watched in horror as he regenerated.
Nothing shocked him more than realizing that even though he wore a completely different face, she was still there, helping him while he was down for the count. His Rose stood there, in front of an army of aliens, standing up for and protecting planet Earth, looking more determined and beautiful than he had ever seen.
"Miss me?" he had said as his new eyes landed on her. He hummed in approval when she smiled.
She was travelling with him again. He had an entirely different face. To her, he might have been an entirely different man. But still, she went with him. They travelled, going farther and farther into time and space each time they went, and getting themselves into more and more trouble each time they exited the TARDIS. And he loved every moment of it.
But all good things must come to an end. The Cybermen and Daleks made sure of that.
He told her to hold on, told her to do it for him. He watched, though, as the beautiful woman he fancied himself in love with, was taken away from him, and saved in the last minute by Pete. He screamed after her, called her name, and begged her to never leave his side even though she was already gone. It was too late. She'd never be by his side again.
He hadn't even had the chance to say goodbye.
Later, he travelled away from the earth for what he thought would be the last time. How could he go back, when it would only fill him with memories of Rose and the fact that once, she was by his side, making his loneliness melt away?
He happened upon a dying star. He happened upon a chance. A chance to see her, one last time.
And see her he did. With adrenaline rushing through him at the thought of seeing her one last time, he projected himself into her universe.
She was there, looking just as beautiful as he remembered her being. She asked him to come through. His hearts ached as he told her he couldn't. He wanted to. He really did, but he couldn't do that. He couldn't let the universes collapse just to hold her one last time.
She told him she loved him.
His hearts fluttered and he couldn't help but smile sadly. This was his chance, his chance to finally tell her just how much she meant to him, just how much he loved her.
He was cut off before he could utter those three words.
He cried. He couldn't remember the last time he cried, but there he stood, in the TARDIS, tears streaming down his face. He'd never see her again. He felt as though a part of him had been lost with her.
He vowed never to love again. It only ever ended in disaster and heartbreak.
He travelled alone again. All by himself. He allowed his loneliness to swallow him up. He'd had other people aboard the TARDIS, of course. Like the bride, Donna. But brief meetings like that were never enough to cover up Rose's absence.
Then, he'd met Martha. The loneliness began to subside again as she travelled with him. She was a fine companion who was quick on her feet and a quick thinker as well. He'd enjoyed all of the times he spent with her.
Jack came back, as well, meeting them in Cardiff one afternoon. He was glad to have the quirky Captain there with him. While he was flooded with memories of his Rose, he was also able to fill the gap a little bit more with another friend on board.
Then , he met the Master. For a few fleeting moments, the loneliness disappeared altogether. He wasn't alone in the universe. There was another Time Lord, another of his own kind.
The moment disappeared as soon as it had come to be. Martha and Jack decided to leave him when the disaster with the Master was over.
And so it was that he travelled alone again. He was missing Rose again. Missed her laughter and her kind words and her silly stories and her eagerness to go somewhere new. He missed Jack and Martha, too. He missed companionship.
Fate led him to his next companion. Donna Noble found herself on the TARDIS once again after helping him with the Adipose.
She became the greatest friend he had ever had. He had loved Rose, and had become very close to her, but their relationship had been nothing like the one between Donna and himself.
She was funny and charming and witty and smart and so very, very special. He'd had friends before, of course, but none seemed to be quite the same as Donna. She was, in fact, his best friend, and it had taken only a couple trips in the TARDIS for her to find herself in a special place in his hearts.
She helped to cure his loneliness better than Jack and Martha had been able to do. He never felt alone with her. He still missed Rose, but for some reason, travelling with Donna helped him to forget the bad times he'd had over the last few years. With Donna, he only ever remembered the good times.
Donna travelled with him for a while before the end of her time in the TARDIS came.
The Daleks stole the earth. They had created a reality bomb and were going to destroy the universe.
That was when he received the greatest surprise he'd ever had in his 900 years.
She was standing there, in the middle of the street, looking determined and brave and dangerous and beautiful. She was glancing around, as though looking for something, when her eyes found his.
He couldn't remember a time when he'd felt so happy. Excitement surged through him as he saw her, his Rose. Memories flooded his mind. Memories of the good times, of the smiles and the laughter and the adventure, and the bad times, with tears and whispered goodbyes and unspoken sentiments. Every word she had spoken to him, every one that he had wanted to tell her, every moment that he had spent in her warm embrace. In that moment, he could remember everything.
He was running towards her, trying to get there as fast as he could. She was smiling at him again, her eyes were bright with hope and love, and he couldn't help but grin back.
The Dalek got to him before he could get to her. Looking back, he supposed that it was a sign that nothing would work out in his favor.
He nearly regenerated in the TARDIS, but managed to stop it, thanks to Jack and his obsession with the severed hand that he kept. When he had stopped it, his eyes swept over the TARDIS, searching out once gaze in particular.
She was there, looking sad and scared and confused and heartbroken and he wanted nothing more than to hug her, pull her close, tell her everything would be okay. Normally, he would have kept himself from reacting this way. But he couldn't help it. His body reacted before his mind. He didn't regret it, either, as he leapt forward and wrapped his arms around her and once again felt her slim, warm body against his. He sighed his contentment as she burrowed farther into his embrace.
The loneliness was completely gone. It wouldn't last, though. He knew it. He just didn't want to believe it.
But for a moment in time, he reveled in the feeling of having so many companions with him. Rose was there, of course. Mickey, and Jackie, and Martha, and Donna, and Jack, and Sarah, and his second self. For the first time since he had stolen the TARDIS, it was completely manned. He felt completely content, for the first time, watching his friends and loved ones as they travelled.
This was what travelling was supposed to be like, he mused. Spending time with the ones you cared about, not caring where you came from or where you were headed, just enjoying the moment.
It would never be like that again, though. They all went their separate ways.
Martha and Mickey went off and married. Jack went back to his lover, Ianto. Sarah went back to her son. Jackie went back with Pete and her new son.
Donna had to forget him. She had to forget all of the wonderful times they had had together. He was losing his best friend. She was going to go home. She wouldn't miss anything. She wouldn't miss him. She'd never met him. But he knew he'd miss her. Donna Noble, the most special human in the universe. Her song would be sung across the universe and she would never be forgotten, especially not by him.
The final parting hurt him more than the parting with Donna had. Rose Tyler had to go back to her universe. He left her with himself, of course. A version of himself that could age with her. She'd be happy with him, he knew it. And that made him happy, knowing at least one of them would get what they wanted and deserved.
But for the second time, he had to leave the woman he loved for good. And not only by herself; this time, she was in the arms of another man. That's the last he saw of her.
It killed him to have to do it. But what needed to be done needed to be done.
He was lonely again.
He was lonely when the Master made another appearance.
He was lonely when Wilf joined him.
He was lonely as he was dying.
With only a few more minutes left before regeneration, he visited all of the people who had helped him to get rid of his loneliness.
He saved Rose for last.
She hadn't met him yet. He told her she'd have a good year. He knew she would. She'd help him, save him, be the reason he learned to love again, and in return, she would become the Rose Tyler he had left behind.
He had never felt lonelier than he did when he walked into the TARDIS one last time.
He was glad she was the last person he saw.
But that didn't get rid of the aching loneliness.
He was all by himself when he regenerated. There was no one there with him. No beautiful blonde to hold his hand, no brilliant med student to try to help him, no charming Captain to wish him the best, no fiery redhead to tell him it would all be alright.
Because it wouldn't be alright. He was dying. It wouldn't be him that walked away, it would be someone entirely different.
Rose had helped him stay the same. It was thanks to her that he was a similar man after regenerating. But she wasn't here, and he wouldn't be here much longer, either.
His hearts ached and his fingers and toes tingled as he felt the process beginning.
"I don't want to go," he said. He had never spoken more true words, either. He might have been lonely, but at the same time, he wasn't. He'd found people who cared about him and whom he'd cared about.
But they couldn't come back to him. He couldn't go back to them.
He was lonely again.
It was a different man who walked away that evening. One who had pushed back the memories of love and friendship. One who didn't yet understand the depths of the words.
He would always, though, always remember the meaning of the word lonely. That never changed.
The Doctor hated being lonely.
Oh, the feels. :(
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