Before the sands of time run out
I know that I could never
Fall from grace, I'm far too clever...
It's like when you're young. Very young and you make some sort of a mistake. You break your mother's favorite vase or you drop your favorite toy into the river by your house. You'd give anything to take back that one mistake, that one horrible error. Anything, you think. And you think if you wish hard enough then somehow you'll get another chance. The vase will be mendable, the toy will bob to the surface. It's stupid to wish for it, but when you're young enough you think that wishes and second chances are real.
It's like that with Jenny.
You failed as a father. You're not a fool, you know you did. You were young and inexperienced and by the time you realized you wanted the child you'd created, it was too late. His childhood was gone like sand in a sieve.
And then there was Susan. Oh, she was wonderful. Like you in so many ways. Frustrating girl. Too stubborn. Too headstrong. Oh, but you loved her. Loved the life you could give to your grandchild when you couldn't give it to your son.
Still, gone now.
You would sit and stare at the space outside the TARDIS where Gallifrey used to be. Where all of the people---well, the very few number of people---you genuinely loved and adored used to be. Susan and her children. Your family. Oh, but you'd have given anything---
No use harping on the old times or looking back on the bad times, they're already over. You move on and straighten your tie to cover up the pain-filled hole that they left behind. Part of you wonders if it all could've been reversed if you were a better father in the first place.
And then his stupid machine and that stubborn girl. Calling her your "daughter" is a fairly romantic way of putting it. She's just an echo of who you are. A very good echo, of course, but an echo nonetheless. Strange girl; she's smart and sassy and looks unnervingly like Romana during her second incarnation. You want to classify her as a soldier and for a while you do. It's easier that way. Not your daughter, not someone else for you to fail. No, she's just this thing.
Of course, things don't work that way. It actually feels nice when she calls you "Dad". It's like some part of you is fixed, something you didn't think you could do you can. She makes the right choices and she loves running. She's so much like you.
Too much, in fact.
Things were too good for a while there. You almost had a little family unit with Donna as your partner (certainly not your wife), you as the father, and Jenny. Donna would make a decent Mum, you decided, and yeah, it wouldn't be so bad having her on board. You think about how many places you wish you could've taken your son. You think about the good times you had with Susan. Donna tempers your current incarnation well enough. It wouldn't be bad at all.
But then there's Cobb with the gun.
Of course, it all comes back to the fact that you hate guns, doesn't it? One of them was attached to your side during the War. One of them tore your oldest enemy and dearest friend from you. One also took your daughter. They're cowards' weapons. So quick and so deadly and there's just not enough time to react until she's bleeding to death in your arms. Your hands are sticky with her blood.
She doesn't regenerate. You would've if you were hit.
It's another way you've failed her, you think. You passed on that self-sacrificing, self-righteousness, but not something that could keep her alive.
And you think that right now, there must be some way, something, anything to take it back. If you just wish hard enough as you hold her then maybe, just maybe---
But you're not young anymore.
Not everything in this universe can be fixed.
Muse: The Doctor (Ten)
Fandom: Doctor Who
Word Count: 678
Apologies as this was not betaed prior to posting.