My Lonely Doctor
Reinette stood in the front of the mirror, trying to keep a straight face though heart was pounding in anticipation at the thought of dancing with the King at the Yew Tree Ball. If things went well tonight, she would hopefully be taken on his mistress.
Still, she couldn't help but think of her Fireplace Man. It had been years since she had last seen him, and she was starting to think their last encounter was nothing more than a fanciful dream. The feel of his lips against her own felt very real though.
Flushing slightly, Reinette adjusted her earrings. She was just about ready to leave the room to attend the Ball when she heard ticking behind her.
She spun around and saw one a figure standing not too far away from her.
"How long have you been standing there?" She asked. No answer came. "Show yourself!" She demanded.
The figure turned, and Reinette knew it to be one of those clock creatures that had plagued her dreams as a child.
All of a sudden, the mirror behind her swerved, and three people emerged.
"Hello, Reinette! Hasn't time flown?" It was him.
"Fireplace Man!" She exclaimed, happiness overcoming her fear of the monster.
The Fireplace Man stepped past her and sprayed the creature with a sort of white smoke. It started to click and whir loudly.
"What's it doing?" An other man asked.
"Switching back on. Melting the ice," the Fireplace Man explained.
"And then what?"
"Then, it kills everyone in the room."
The creature shot its arm out toward his throat. He jumped back towards Reinette.
"Focuses the mind doesn't it? Who are you? Identify yourself," he demanded.
It cocked its head, but did not answer his question.
"Order it to answer me," he whispered to Reinette.
She looked at him, confused at his question. "Why should it listen to me?"
"I don't know. It did when you were a child. Let's see if you've still got it."
Reinette took a deep breath and faced the monster. "Answer his question. Answer any and all questions put to you."
It lowered its arm. "I am repair droid seven," it replied.
"So, what happened to the ship then?" The Fireplace Man asked. Reinette's confusion heightened even more. What ship could he be talking about? "There was a lot of damage."
"Ion storm," the droid answered. "Eighty two percent systems failure."
"That ship hasn't moved in over a year. What's taken you so long?"
"We did not have the parts."
The darker man laughed at this. "Always comes down to that, doesn't it? The parts."
The Fireplace Man continued, "What's happened to the crew? Where are they?"
"We did not have the parts," the droid answered again.
"There should have been over fifty people on your ship. Where did they go?"
"We did not have the parts," was its answer.
"Fifty people don't just disappear!" He exclaimed, clearly frustrated. "Where…?" He stopped, realization shining in his eyes. "Oh. You didn't have the parts, so you used the crew."
Reinette's heart raced at that. She did not know exactly what it meant, but it couldn't be good.
"The crew?" The other man asked.
The blonde girl spoke up. "We found a camera with an eye in it… and there was a heart… wired to the machinery."
"It was just what it was programmed to. Repairing the ship an way it can, with whatever it could find. No one told it the crew weren't on the menu. What did you say the flight deck smelt of?"
The blonde struggled to find words. "Someone cooking," she finally said softly.
"Flesh plus heat… Barbecue."
Reinette felt her stomach clench. She was right. It wasn't good.
"But what are you doing here?" He continued to interrogate the droid. "You've opened up time windows. That takes colossal energy. Why come here, you could have gone to your repair yard. Instead you come to 18th century France? Why?"
The droid looked directly at Reinette as it spoke. "One more part is required."
The Fireplace Man, the other man, and the girl looked at her.
"Then why haven't you taken it?" The Fireplace Man asked.
"She is incomplete."
"What… so that's the plan then? Just keep opening up more and more time windows, scanning her brain checking to see if she's done yet?" He asked sarcastically.
"Why her?" The blonde girl asked suddenly, causing heads to turn in her direction.
"You've got all of history to choose from, why specifically her?"
"We are the same," the droid answered.
"We are not the same!" Reinette yelled angrily. "We are in no sense the same!"
"We are the same," it said again, answering her further.
She advanced towards it, holding out her hand. "Get out of here! Get out of here this instant!"
"Reinette, no!" The Fireplace Man said, but it was too late. The droid had pressed its hands together and vanished into thin air. "It's back on the ship. Rose, take Mickey and Arthur. Get after it. Follow it, don't approach it. Just watch what it does."
Rose's eyes narrowed. "Arthur?"
"Good name for a horse."
She sighed. "No, you're not keeping the horse!"
"I let you keep Mickey! Now, go, go, go!"
Mickey and Rose ran back through the mirror, but not before Rose cast one last look at the Fireplace Man and Reinette.
He closed the mirror and turned back to her.
"Reinette, you're going to have to trust me." What a senseless thing to say, she thought. She trusted him with all her heart from the moment he came through her fireplace. "I need to find out what they're looking for. There's only way I can do that. Won't hurt a bit."
Reinette nodded, and felt his fingers on her temples. She closed her eyes as he did. She flinched slightly.
"Fireplace Man…" she whispered. "You are inside my mind."
It was nothing she ever felt before, and never will again, she was sure.
"Oh, dear, Reinette," he tsked. "You've had some cowboys in here."
"You are in my memories. You walk among them." She shuddered softly, but it wasn't from fear; it was from pleasure. It felt more pleasant than anything she had experienced. It felt so personal, so intimate.
"If there's anything you don't want me to see, just imagine a door," he told her, "and close it. I won't look. Ooh, actually, there's a door just there…"
Reinette opened her eyes and smiled slyly, knowing exactly what memory he was seeing.
"You might want to clo—ooh, several."
She didn't close any doors, loving that he was seeing everything about her.
"To walk among the memories of another living soul," she suddenly said. "Do you ever get used to this?"
"I don't make a habit of it."
"How can you resist?"
"What age are you?" He asked.
"So impertinent a question so early in the conversation," she chuckled. "How promising." She waggled her eyebrows.
"Not my question, theirs," he said, referring to the droids who were after her. "You're twenty-three, and for some reason, that means you're not old enough."
A memory hit her, and Reinette flinched. She saw him, as a child, so lonely, so very alone.
"Sorry, you might find old memories reawakening. Side affect."
Her heart ached as the memory played before her. "Oh, such a lonely childhood…"
"It'll pass," he told her. "Stay with me."
She saw everything. She saw everything he lost. She saw a younger him, with cropped hair and a black jacket, standing over the wreckage of his planet. So much destruction, so much death, so much pain. She saw him with that blonde girl, Rose, and she heard their conversation. I don't age. I regenerate. But you humans, you wither and you die. Imagine watching that happen to someone that you… What, Doctor? You can spend the rest of your life with me, but I can't spend the rest of mine with you. I have to keep going. It's the curse of the Time Lords.
"Oh, Doctor… so lonely. So very, very alone," Reinette said softly, her heart continuing to ache at the loss for him that would inevitably come.
"What do you mean alone?" He asked. You've never been alone in your life…" His eyes snapped opened. "When did you start calling me 'Doctor?'" He asked sharply.
"Such a lonely little boy. Lonely then and lonelier now," she said, her thoughts drifting back to his conversation with Rose. She opened her eyes, scanning his face. "How can you bear it?"
He took a step back. "How did you do that?"
"A door, once opened, can be stepped through in either direction," she explained simply.
He continued to stare at her, at a loss for words.
"Oh, Doctor," she said softly. She stepped towards him. She knew he would lose again, and no doubt, lose soon. He would soon lose a someone he cared so much about, someone who cared about him so much in return. For this moment, she wanted him to be with her. Just for one moment. A moment of peace, of happiness, before he would have to go back and travel again, losing so much along the way. "My lonely Doctor. Dance with me."
The Doctor shook his head. "I can't."
"Dance with me," she said again, more demanding.
"This is the night you dance with the King."
"Then, first, I shall make him jealous."
"Doctor… Doctor Who? It's more than just a secret, isn't it?"
"What did you see?" He asked.
"That there comes a time, Time Lord, when every lonely little boy must learn how to dance." She smiled and took his hand. She knew she couldn't erase the pain, but she could give him this one moment where he could be free before the heartache could have a chance to claim him. She squeezed his hand and lead him away to the Yew Tree Ball.
AN: Once again, this is on my Tumblr: DameRose-of-the-PowellEstate. We are one and the same.