Title: The Influence of Seasons
Pairing/Characters: Ten/Rose, references to TenII/Rose
Word Count: 938
Summary: There are some things the Doctor finds hard to bear. Dreaming is one of them.
Disclaimer: The names, images and logos identifying the BBC and their products and services are subject to copyright, design rights and trade marks of the BBC. Used without permission for non-profit, non-commercial personal use.
Fic Type: Ficlet.
Author's Note: Written for challenge 2.02 at writerinatardis, the prompt being: "The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter -- 'tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning." --Mark Twain.
Beta: hippiebanana132. Thanks ^_^
Excerpt: How different she is. How she fights, how she struggles with chasing what he long ago gave away.
Just as words are the substance of language such is time the substance of the universe. A wrong time in the right place is just as detrimental as the wrong word in the right sentence. It was the Doctor whose life was made up of almosts and near misses. Almost the right time, almost the right words; but not quite. Not quite enough to be perfect, but when nobody’s looking, who takes heed? Then again, when nobody’s looking, it ceases to matter whether his times and words are perfect or not.
When he has to say good-bye to her a second time ... that’s when it hurts the most. When he has to watch an alternate life in an alternate world begin to unfold before his eyes, and he thinks: almost. He’s just shy of this life, as he watches himself kiss her. A hair’s breadth away from what he always imagined but never dared to believe. The universe heard his call, planted seeds in time he could not control and, worse, tamper with for no longer. It gave him words he could not speak in a time he could not reach.
“Does it need saying?”
How different she is. How she fights, how she struggles with chasing what he long ago gave away. Almosts and near misses his life may be, but he’s learned some things are certain and never will change: there are words he cannot say. Words he cannot bring himself to utter, whether right or wrong.
Life is cold for a while after that. The first time was passion and remorse and distress and grief. Months of searching for a way to hammer back through to the universe, eventually accepting that all was doomed and he would never see her again.
But this time ...
There are truths he hasn’t told her – there was never a right time: the him, the other him who she’s spending the rest of her days with, isn’t all he seems to be. He’s more; he’s him. The half-human Doctor may be just an imprint, a whisper of the original man, but they’re connected. Just as the voices of all his previous incarnations echo bitterly around his mind when he sleeps, so, too, does the alternate Doctor.
He chooses not to sleep because it brings to him all the lives he’s lost, all the nine hundred years he’s lived through and can’t get back. He sees it all, but he cannot touch. When he dreams, it’s of past lives, past friends – past loves. So he chooses not to because it’s easier, because he has enough of a struggle in his waking hours.
Before, when he lost her the first time, was the longest period he had gone without sleep. He couldn’t bear to see her in his dreams, her face and her laughter. To see but not touch, to hear but not speak. To reach out feeble hands and feel nothing but the intangible shreds of a life and love that once was abundant, but no longer abides the laws of presence.
It was fine before the split. Before a separate him began living out his life in the alternate universe. Now the Doctor struggles with the temptation of spending the rest of his lives locked away in himself, in a world of dreams and imagination and hope. Because he can see. When he sleeps, now, it’s no longer just a memory. It’s her, in her new life with her new family and her new love.
And it aches.
Behind closed eyes he sees her, can practically feel her; when they’re holding hands, when they kiss, when they make love ... It breaks him the first time and he wakes up with tears in his eyes, his pillow soft and damp. If he so chooses he can watch as she grows up, grows older, has the life he’s always wanted with the only man ever truly deserving of her.
Sometimes, when the connection is strong and the feelings are vivid, it’s almost as though he can talk to her. Through his own eyes in another time he can watch her, drink her in as the forbidden. But it’s stronger than that. At times it feels like he will just fall through, a simple tear in the fabric of everything and he’ll be with her once again.
“Rose,” he says to her on the voice of another and in his dream she looks up, questioning; as though through voids and voids of nothingness she can hear him on the other side. “Rose ... ”
It’s all too late. It’s too quiet, too much time has passed, the right words have left him for nothing more than a name. The lightning storm that once engulfed him is now just a trickle of rain, leaving just a secret world through secret eyes.
He doesn’t always want to see it. He wants to let go, to leave her in that untouchable place where the tendrils of his despair can reach her no longer. He wants to move on, to be born again and again until there’s peace, finally, and he can rest where his own people lay.
But instead, he sleeps. And one day, maybe, when the universe is tired and splits in two, he’ll see her one last time – the perfect, golden image of the woman who stole his heart.