The Council offers you a choice: wipe your memories so you don't remember, or keep them, even though you will be separated from the people you remember permanently? What do you choose, and why?
And just like that, it's over.
He was standing at the edge of the lawn, looking out at the sky. There was a sunset---bit early in the day for this time of year, but still quite beautiful. The light crested over the edge of the shoreline miles out, painting the skies with blues and purples----like a woman changing from the colors of a maiden to that of an adult.
And things were changing. Changing, changing, changed.
Everyone was leaving, now.
Gone, most likely.
He could already feel the emptiness in his stomach from where the TARDIS was no longer in his mind. Catherine was gone. Part of him couldn't help but wonder if she'd chosen to remember him. Remember their smiles, their slight flirtations. Part of him prayed to Menti Celesti, or whoever it was who would listen that she didn't. That she just forgot his intense cruelty. Losing her friend. Everything.
There was more emptiness in his mind. From where his other self's TARDIS had taken up residence. His other self was gone. Left. He knew he'd been trying to see him one last time. Asked around, poked about, nearly caught him earlier. But that...was a goodbye he wasn't sure he could handle. How did you say 'good bye' to yourself? Say things about friendship and understanding and make it all last for the rest of a Timelord's lifespan? Perhaps his other self understood, because after a while, he gave up.
His fingers were still warm from where he'd been holding Rose's hand from moments ago. He liked to imagine that if he didn't move, didn't alter the space where she'd been standing, it could be as if she never left. That she didn't smile sadly up at him, tell him she wouldn't have missed it for the world. Tell him she loved him. Then squeezed his fingers and turned to go when he couldn't figure out how to respond. When the silence just ate at him.
The chill on his fingertips ruined that illusion, however.
And like that, the realization set in. Gone. Gonegonegonegonegone, and there was no one left. Everyone he cared about. Chose their own timelines. Their own spaces. Sliced from each other like a knife and it wasn't fair that they were to be put together just to be separated.
"Doctor." The voice behind him was cold. Masculine. Some Timelord, he imagined. From this universe, didn't have much patience for outsiders.
"I'm almost ready," he said, his voice a little cracked, but still very matter-of-fact and sharp. Reinette had taught him that. Oh, Reinette. What a terrible partner he'd been to her, leaving her to face her goodbyes alone. Perhaps that's what she'd have wanted, but he should have been there in case. Just in case.
She was losing so much, too. The TARDIS, the stars, her friendship with Catherine, her new clothes and new medical help. They wouldn't even let her keep the necklace he'd given her at Christmas. Everything the way it was. Some kind of help he was, just abandoning her to that.
Ah, there it was. That self-loathing. He'd missed it, covered up by all the grief of losing those around him. That's what it was, too. Grief. It hurt.
"Have you made your decision, Doctor?"
The Doctor turned, glancing over his shoulder at the other man. Tall and slim and severe. Very like a rather cliché Timelord.
"You know, I kill you in a few centuries, your time," the Doctor all but snapped at him, "Wipe you off the face of the universe, so give your murderer a minute, would you?"
"Your wife is ready to leave, and I suspect she would prefer she is not forced to wait." There was a lot of disgust put on the word 'wife'—no matter the inaccuracy, it was still an implication that a Timelord and human should never have been put together.
"S'just a title," he muttered to himself. He looked back up at the other Timelord, "She's made her decision, then?"
"What was it?"
The Timelord is silent for a long moment, "That is not our place to tell you."
"She'd want me to know."
"That is irrelevant."
The Doctor's jaw set. This Timelord was deliberately being difficult. Fine, he could be. Difficult. It didn't matter, anyway. Reinette's decision wouldn't influence his. She would never let it. He was 956 years old. He could handle a decision.
"What have you decided?"
The Doctor's eyes went back to the house. He remembered so much of his time there. Laughter and joy, and asinine remarks, and tumbling onto the couch, and crying out in pain and...it was surprising, how much one small place could change someone. Could alter them so much. Make them grow.
Can't understand yourself, who've you got, then?
When he left this place, it would just be a place. It would just be an empty house on a stupid lawn, in the middle of a stupid country on a stupid rock floating in space. There would be nothing to make it important but what it represented to those people who lived in it. What he did, what he experienced, what he saw.
I have often wished to explore those stars a little closer, just as you have.
Now it would be gone. The friendships he made would vanish, and everyone would go forward with their lives. Him, in the knowledge that he would never save Rose, never see his other self in anything but a mirror, and never speak to any of the minds he'd spoken to before. They would be gone, as good as dead or lost or worse. Sliced like an appendage with a scalpel. Severed. Gone.
I wouldn't have missed it for the world.
Grief hurt. This hurt.
His eyes went dark, but he nodded, "I want to forget," he said, "Everything. Just make me forget."
Muse: The Doctor (Ten) (Alt 4)
Fandom: Doctor Who
Word Count: 984