A/N so here's the second and final installment of this two shot. This one was inspired by the partner to the last chapter's song- Weight of Living part 1 by Bastille.
So basically, thank you for all the reviews guys. I really appreciate it. Please continue leaving your thoughts!
The Weight of Living Pt 2:
Stepping forward out into the day
Shrugging off the dust and memory
Though it's soaring still above your head
It is out of sight and none shall see
Oooh there's a light
Oooh there's a light.
Several people passed the alley on that night, but none of them ventured in. At least, almost none.
There was one figure, tiptoeing through the old, dirty streets of moonlit London, who saw the man, and stopped.
She was a young woman, no more than twenty five, and had been picking her way through the streets for the last hour or so. She found it easiest to think at night, wandering around the city. It made her feel more alive, like she was the only person awake. And she would gaze up at the sky, at the infinite other worlds that awaited her out there.
Sometimes, in dizzying flashes of thought, she would believe that she already had visited some of these other worlds. That she already had travelled the universe.
Sometimes, she could remember things. Remembering was what she called it, because that was what it felt like. But, she supposed, how could she remember it if it hadn't happened before? They were delusions, weren't they? Little quirks of the human mind?
Though the flashes- a specific shade of blue wood; a dried leaf crumbling into gold; a sense of sorrow, the loss of someone she loved; an explained joy, a feeling of discovery and hope; a strange fondness for bow ties; a shining silver man; fear, immobilizing, damaging, fear- the flashes, they felt like memories.
There was one flash that had plagued her since childhood, reappearing in her dreams and always at the back of her mind. It was a little image of swirling black and gold, a sensation of floating, and a feeling of accomplishment and certainty. Whenever this flash played in her mind, she could always hear the same words, in her own voice, over and over again.
"Run, run you clever boy, and remember me."
This flash was the reason she had pulled herself out of bed and shook her mind off with a midnight stroll. Where she found the man.
The woman studied him, a young man, sitting limply against a wooden box. This was what struck her first, the specific shade of blue that the box was painted. It rang a faraway bell in her mind, but the man himself orchestrated a symphony of flashes. They coursed through her mind, more than ever before. The dark, swirling hair, long, lanky limbs and bow tie.
She remembered him. But she didn't know how.
She stood there for a while, observing the lost, sorrowful, yearning way that he looked at the starless sky. Searching for something, something he both hoped above all hopes and dreaded more than any dread to find.
He was old, she decided. Very, very old. He had seen blood and war and terror and evil, he had lived it. He had fought it. And he had become it.
The man lifted his head.
Grey green eyes burning with ferocity and loss and loneliness and an overwhelming hate looked into her own. But the hate was not for her, she could see. It was a hate for himself.
The eyes transformed so quickly from that look of pure ancient power and passionate self-loathing to clear and innocent disbelief that she could have told herself that the man was not as old and scarred as she had thought. But she could not wipe that searing glare from her mind.
The man leapt up to stand in the middle of the alley, staring wide eyed at her.
Who was this man? Why was he so full of grief and loss and anger and hate? And why, how, did she remember him?
His mouth worked soundlessly for a moment before he managed a word.
Clara. Clara Oswin Oswald.
His impossible girl.
The girl who saved him.
Even though he failed to save her.
She was standing in the entrance to the alleyway, a curious look on her face, her eyes crinkled in confusion.
It was Clara. His Clara.
"And how do you know my name?"
The Doctor gazed at her, still dumbfounded. All of his thousands of years, hundreds of goodbyes, and hundreds of re-unitings, could not have prepared him for this.
He scrabbled for something to say.
"Do-do you know who I am?"
As he voiced the words, his hearts clenched in his chest. He didn't think he could stand it, if she didn't remember him. He remembered her, every little detail, the exact warm brown shade of her eyes, each lively flirt or witty remark, the specific way her eyebrows tilted and her eyes widened and a smile tugged at her lips when he showed her another beautiful corner of the universe.
What if she didn't remember him?
The puzzled look on Clara's features transformed into a more guarded expression. She raised her eyebrows. "Why should I remember you?"
"Because... Because..." the words struggled to come out of the Doctor's mouth.
"So who are you?" Clara questioned. He saw a light return to her eyes, curiosity? Recognition?
"I'm the Doctor." He stepped forward. "Please." He hated the way his voice sounded, almost pleading. But she had to remember him. He had already said goodbye to her three times before. Fourth time lucky. "You have to remember me."
"Might I remind you that it is 2 o'clock in the morning, I am a young woman wandering around alone, you are a strange man lurking in an alley and are standing beside a suspicious looking box?"
"What? No! No no! I'm not- I would never- that's just- definitely not-"
"Oh enough of the stuttering. You said you're the Doctor? Doctor who?"
He had never thought there would be a time when hearing that question would spark anything other than a pleased thrill in his hearts, but this time it made them freeze solid in his chest.
"Just the Doctor." the words were heavy, dragging themselves from his lips.
"So what's the box, then, huh?"
"It's-" he paused. "It's a time machine." There was a time for truth and a time for lies, and this one was not a time for the latter.
Clara smiled. "Sure, sure. That's how you lure people in there, right?"
"No! No! See for yourself!"
"Yeah... No. Not going to work."
"No- hey- that's not-" he couldn't finish the sentence.
Still clinging to the impossible hope that somehow Clara might remember him, he stepped back to the TARDIS.
And then he opened the door.
He watched as the girl before him assumed the familiar expression that he craved, the pure wonder and awe that coaxed a flitter from his hearts.
"Clara." he said simply. "You're my impossible girl."
She looked at him. Her eyes, her face, her hair, her voice; it was all the same. And her personality looked to be so too, as much as he had seen. She was his Clara. His impossible girl. There was no denying that.
But the question was, was he still her Doctor?
Her facial muscles tensed and twitched, her eyes flicking from him to the TARDIS. He could tell her mind was whirling, but for what reason he could not see.
She came down the alleyway and stopped beside the TARDIS, still peering at the Doctor.
"Please." he said. "Remember me."
"I-I think..." she murmured. "The Doctor. The Doctor." she sounded like she was trying out the words, seeing how they fitted.
And then she smiled. It was dazzling, and it warmed the Doctor's cold, old heart. She stepped through the TARDIS doors and into the console room, not watching to see if he followed. She spun around to look at him in the doorway, still smiling that impossible smile.
"So you finally came, Chin Boy."
Clara. Clara. His impossible girl. She remembered.
And in that moment, all of the anger and lamentation and self-loathing that had been swirling through his mind were locked away deep inside him, where he could pretend they didn't exist. She was the only person he had met who could do that to him so completely, make him feel young and free and good and merciful and mad again, instead of old and trapped and evil and unforgiving and useless.
He was the Doctor. Not a merciless warrior drenched in the blood of a billion worlds and races. Not a lonely old man clinging to the remnants of his past. Not a war-torn, time-hardened stranger who turned away from the innocent and helpless. Not a dark god separated from the rest of existence and never involving himself in the ongoing fight between good and evil. No. He was the Doctor.
He was a helper, a healer, a hero. He protected the weak, defended the innocent, and fought alongside the right and good. He gave evil a second chance, he allowed everyone the ability to redeem for their wrongs, he showed mercy no matter the cost. He felt emotion, and compassion, he valued the lives of every soul who had ever walked the universe. He thought not of himself but of others. His age had made him wise, his losses had made him kind, and his mistakes had made him good in his heart.
He was the Doctor.
And finally, impossibly, he smiled.