It's never really like that. He'd have them forever if he could.
They age and die. They're pulled away from him. They leave.
Any time tomorrow I will lie and say I'm fine
I'll say yes when I mean no
And any time tomorrow
The sun will cease to shine
There's a Shadowman who told me so..
Her life disappearing like sand from a sieve. By the time he steps into the drawing room in Versailles, he doesn't need to look out the window to see what he already knows has happened.
43. He tries to remember what he was doing at 43. Pittering about at the Academy, most likely. Trying to make the most of his time in the most boring spot in the universe.
Not her. In her short 43 years she's climbed an impossible social ladder, built schools and homes, and changed a country. Whether or not she changed it for the better is a controversy that will last throughout the centuries. He imagines she'd have found the controversy appropriate. She might have even found it amusing.
It's fairly tragic, he thinks as he places the letter in his pocket, how easily he can slip into thinking of her in the past tense. He wonders if it's something he can blame on his Time Lord ancestry, or if he should simply chalk it up to being cold and jaded after centuries of loving and losing.
"Are you all right?" Rose asks, tilting her head to the side and gazing at him worriedly.
He smiles. It's forced, tight, and it can't possibly look even remotely genuine.
"I'm always all right."
Any time tomorrow a part of me will die
And a new one will be born
Any time tomorrow
I'll get sick of asking why
Sick of all the darkness I have worn…
Pulled away like a beloved scarf by the wind. He leans his head against the cold of the far wall and tries to imagine that in her universe she's leaning against that wall, catching her breath or maybe thinking of him.
It shouldn't be so painful. He nearly sent her there himself moments before, but this is different, this is loss without choice. He could move on if he was the one in control. Now she's gone, just gone and the memory he has of her voice was a terrified scream rather than a few foolishly sentimental words about forever.
It's fairly tragic, he thinks as he steps away from the wall that's really only a wall now, how little he managed to give her in their time together. Promises of forever, a part of his hearts that he hadn't opened in centuries...a cold. He gave her a cold that one time he caught one while they were in Galantri City, and took care of her when it gave her a fever. All of it, it wasn't nearly enough.
He steps outside, where there are equal cheers of joy at the destruction of the Daleks and tears at the loss of loved ones. They're crying out because the human race has survived.
It's a new world, a world where people can't deny what's out there.
He smiles. It's forced, tight, and can't possibly look even remotely genuine.
He steps towards the TARDIS and has a foolishly romantic thought that he won't ever be all right again.
Oh here's the sun again
Isn't it appealing to recline
Get blinded and to go into the light again
Doesn't it make you sad
To see so much love denied
See nothing but a Shadowman inside…
Slipped away like a child in the fairgrounds. She's not the sort to look for the hand that guides, she'll simply find her own way to what she's looking for. She embraces her own independence, and he supposes that's why he's been fond of her, even if he's been completely unable to show it.
She goes on a long speech about a friend and he imagines there's a good bit about unrequited love, but he can't hear it because he knows it's simply going to end with her still leaving. She's getting out. She's had enough. It's stopped being fun, Doctor. Can't go on like this. Have to be my own Romana. He's heard it all before.
It's fairly tragic, he thinks as he watches her clench her jaw and set herself to turn to leave. He can't love her like she wants, and he wants to tell her he's sorry. He's sorry because he's loved all of them and it was never, ever, ever enough. He wants to blame his Time Lord ancestry but he figures that John Smith would've been rubbish in this situation, too, so he keeps the blame to himself.
She turns back and tosses him her phone. It's the promise of a someday, but he's promised so many somedays that he can't make himself believe that she'll call. He wants to, but he can't. And that's fairly tragic, too.
"I'll see you soon, Mister," she says with a sassy smile that he doesn't imagine he'll forget.
He smiles. It's forced, tight, but he's gotten better at it over the years and it almost looks genuine.
The door shuts behind her and he lets the smile fall. He's alone.
It's the way that it is.
Oh, if you're coming down to rescue me
Now would be perfect
Please, if you're coming down to rescue me
Now would be perfect…
Muse: The Doctor (Ten)
Fandom: Doctor Who
Word Count: 797 not including lyrics from K's Choice's "Shadowman"