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posted by [personal profile] predictivememo at 09:19am on 08/07/2008 under ,
Title: Coda
Author: [ profile] predictivememo
Rating: General
Genre: Short Form
Characters/Pairing: Just Ten now *sigh*.
Spoilers: Up to 'Journey's End' of course, with a nod to Doctors past.
Disclaimer: Doctor Who has, and always will be, stuffed into the Blue Box of the BBC. Those of us who nick stuff are always eternally grateful.
Author's Note: I needed proper closure, so I made some. You need to have read this first for the whole thing to make any sense.

The Doctor does what he's always done when people leave. He remembers.

He takes off his jacket and just stands.

He can feel the Chiswick rain drying in his hair, through his shirt, the remains of an atmospheric anomaly: the tears of a grateful planet. He’s lost count now how many times he’s saved it, sometimes it seems like it happens on a weekly basis. Except it’s not for him, there’s vast tracts of time and space in between every return. For him, everything looks different.

He stands and lets the events of the last two days slowly filter through him.

At the back of his mind he’s still a moment away from The End, the second when Donna Noble stopped being a Suitable Companion and became a Time Lord, when her brush with Torchwood sealed her fate and defined the Universe. The Doctor still can’t believe that a Dalek engineered the fate of his own kind, and he despises the fact it was at least a part of his essence that condemned the race for a second time to extinction. He realises too, far too late, that in his haste to lock his splinter part away with Rose he‘s created more problems than maybe even she is capable of solving. Alternative Universe or not, he should have been the one to deal with his own creation. He wonders if Rose will ever truly love the part of him he’s given away, if she’ll always look at him as never quite the happy ending she strove so hard to achieve. Only now does he truly understand that part of human emotion, the subtlety to love that he for so long simply ignored and pretended didn’t exist. Now, too late again, he sees what she gave wasn’t what he offered her back. His naivety was her undoing. The last of the Time Lords is a fool.

The tears flow down his face like rain.

He wills himself to let it all go: Rose, Martha, Jack, Sarah Jane… even Jackie. Those who he met and changed. He thinks about Mickey, how he learnt when Rose didn’t, that he took a moment and broke a thousand laws and that he’s existing in a different dimension. He should probably go find him and take him back as well but… not today. His destiny is bigger, the Doctor surmises in two heartbeats. So many new paths, opening from this one moment, moving from this single point in time. So much definition. Always loneliness as the payoff.

The TARDIS is suddenly very quiet.

He misses Donna in a way he’s never experienced before. He can remember every companion, implicit moments, each one with a place in his soul. Of course he’s shed tears for some, he’s mourned others, there are those he sees as friends still, those like Jack who will be with him across the galaxies, through dimensions and seconds and lifetimes. Donna has gone and it hurts, an ache he wonders might be Dalek Caan’s ultimate revenge, small compensation for his decision to betray his own kind. From death comes regret and understanding. It’s not the need that hurts him he realises, not like Rose when he lost her, this is something else, a piece of his very essence has gone, removed with his own hands. Part of him wonders if he will ever forgive himself and then he realises he won’t.

River Song knew, the way she looked at Donna, the regret and pain in her eyes suddenly taking on an entire different cadence. This is the legacy. This story will never have a happy ending. The Donna he knew is dead. His choice to save what she was, what he must remember her as.

He realises he’s sitting, back against the newly-regenerated Console Room wall, his legs pulled up to his chest, hugging himself subconsciously. It’s not a Time Lord thing to do, really, he shouldn’t feel the need to sit here and mourn…

All the lives lost, Davros said. The chaos in my wake. I am Death, Destroyer of Worlds.

I am the one who killed Donna Noble by making her part of myself.

He has no idea how long he sits, sobbing uncontrollably, but he knows it’s many, many hours. In the end it’s the TARDIS itself who reaches out, prodding him gently, by making the book appear next to him. For a long time he can’t bring himself to even touch it, because she was the last one to do that, the vague imprint of her hovering on the black leather cover. He never showed this book to anyone else, in all these hundreds of Earth years, she was first to hold it and to marvel at his drawings, to ask questions she knew he wouldn’t answer but she’d ask anyway.

The pages move, fluttering via an invisible hand. The TARDIS chooses the Medusa Cascade deliberately, the two pages of swirling colours a testament to it’s author’s skill with pencil, a reminder of what has been done. It scared him so much as a child, he dreamt of it for decades, and will again. In the end however it was the beginning, the start of the way forward. Thanks to her.

See the Good in all this, the fact that although your hearts break the Universe remains. Move on.

The last time this happened was after the Time War. The TARDIS knew then she could lose her sole occupant forever to madness and regret, but she stood firm and coaxed him out of it then. She can do so again.

She finds him the picture of Nyssa he believed was the best work he’d ever done, a picture so vibrant and alive the young girl almost reaches at the Doctor from the page to comfort him, that same look of regret etched through her which comes only when you have lost someone close, when family has been taken from you. Tremas was a fine man, snatched by a Time Lord close to death and on the brink of madness. The Doctor had to help her, and in the end she left him to help others, a testament to the strength she had gained in her time with him. Like Martha, so like Martha Jones it makes him smile for a moment… another soul who when it mattered was ready to risk everything to do what she thought was right. Without fear.

‘I didn’t make them soldiers. I taught them to be proud to be from Earth. They fought not because I told them to, but because they knew it was what needed to be done.’

The TARDIS does what it always does, it listens but says nothing in response, no sighs or movement but simply acceptance, understanding. No agreement, just inevitability. When it is just the Doctor, there is never a right or wrong answer.

He stares at Nyssa and remembers Turlough and Tegan. He’d vowed then never to have more than three people in the TARDIS again because when he lost them all, one after the other in such short order… and he knows why. TARDIS were meant for six people. One person was never enough.

‘Stop. It’s not your fault. Sometimes, people die.’

The voice in his head is Peri’s, or it’s Ian’s, maybe it’s Jack’s being caring yet still realistic, but the Doctor knows deep down his ship is doing exactly what it’s supposed to do, it’s pulling him out of himself, it’s making him stop the spiral into remorse and regret. He knows what must be done, and this time it has too be sooner than later. No moping around, trying to get lost, no refusing food or not sleeping. He mourned for his race once, for a thousand friends lost in a moment stretching across a thousand galaxies. The past is that, and if you let it consume you, you will never see the future.

He needs to mourn for her. He needs to do it in the only way he can.

The pencil is in his hand as if by magic, and it flies across the page with a determination to do her legacy proud. He doesn’t need to see her, he can imagine her in a hundred moments, recalls her with a clarity he realises will be his ultimate penance. When he closes his eyes it will be her he sees for many, many days and nights. Maybe one day the image will fade, his guilt will subside, but now he doubts it. So instead of dwelling he draws her, the start of the new page.

The end of this chapter of his life.

Donna Noble, Heroine of the Universe.

location: home
Mood:: 'sad' sad


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