15 / pg-13Spoilers:
A bit for The Dalek Invasion of Earth
(classic S2), a bit for The Last of the Time Lords
Family happens despite itself.
Okay. So: spent a good bit of time with Hartnell's Doctor of late. Consequently, some things happened, and this is one of them. Haven't written anything in ages, it's completely un-beta'd, and I fear that much of it makes no sense to anyone who isn't actually sharing my brain (or to me). I offer it mainly in the hopes of kicking myself in the bum to do more writing, and anyone who cares to do some bum-kicking in a similar spirit is happily welcome to have a read.
•Also (phew): The first line is a quote, although I cannot remember by whom. I've scoured my bookshelves, pored over all my old notebooks, and trolled the internet hunting it down, but I've come up empty-handed. Anyone?custody And what about the children who do not want to be loved?
Some are inspired. Some run away. Some are driven mad.
And which one wins?
I should know him.
But he is dazzling, blinding. He is hiding from me and all I see is this brilliance, this human, no one I know.
The man walks the halls of my stolen ship, one finger trailing delicately along the wall. I follow, a young man (so young); perhaps I am talking, describing, explaining, and perhaps he listens: indulgently, silently, smiling.
I have come so far, already, I think. I have been - I think - so alone.
I ask him, Who are you? Where on Earth do you come from?
But he doesn't know this planet much better than I do, not yet. He casts about for a name, a place, manages something. He pauses, not knowing how to ask - says finally, simply, What are you called?
Shyly, I tell him. The name is still new on my lips, intoxicating: I taste it as I offer it to him, savouring it. He accepts it, somehow unsurprised, and I don't notice that he offers nothing yet but a laughing echo in return: Doctor. He has come further already than I; yet here I am now, impossibly, and perhaps, he thinks, he can find again that small quiet space between us. He reaches for me.
The sudden contact makes me dizzy, makes my breath come fast. The ship waits expectant around us as I let myself be pulled to my knees, close my eyes as he touches me: lips, hands, mind, closer and somehow closer still. My hearts race, the double-beat of blood fast in my ears one-two-one-two, one-two-one-two and he - I can almost hear it as well, can feel now from the inside his blood pounding, the beat a mirror of my own, a mirror of itself one-two-one-two, one-two-one-two and dimly I realise that I might not know much about humans yet but surely three hearts between us shouldn't sound like this, one-two-three-four, one-two-three-four and he pulls me closer, thinking, make it stop, just for an instant, please and, finally, achingly, just for an instant, it does.
For an instant, silence. But then.
The tide of blood within me subsides. Thought returns and with it certainty, familiarity. I blink at him. I recognise.
He knows my mind, too well already.
No. He pushes me away. He is blinding. He cannot let me touch him again and I - a young man - the Doctor - I sit, dazzled, as he runs away.
"Let us compromise," they say. "Let us come to an agreement. You will be allowed to keep this ship, if" - one of them thrusts a small bundle into my arms and takes a step backwards as if relieved to be rid of it - "if you will also keep this."
I glance down at this - a mewling pile of white blankets, curled fists, tremendous blue eyes - and glare uncomprehendingly at the three figures before me. Delivered of the infant, the Time Lords gaze serenely at me, arms folded into silver robes, beatific smiles plastered infuriatingly across their smug faces.
"I fail to see why I - "
The nearest figure speaks. "You are the child's only living relative." Behind her, the others glance at each other uncertainly. "The only suitable living relative," she amends. "Her other grandparent has been deemed ... unacceptable."
"Grandparent?" I splutter. "But I have no children! I left Gallifrey as a young man, I have no children ... " I trail off, gazing at the child in my arms. Brilliant blue eyes blink quietly up at me. "I left Gallifrey ... " I murmur. The Time Lords turn away.
"She is the child of your child. You will care for her."
"But - but I cannot!" I rouse myself to call after the silver-clad figures. "I am an old man, I cannot care for a - a neonate! It is best left to the schools of Gallifrey, is it not?" The figures continue their retreat. "Wait!"
They pause, turn. "You will care for the child," they say simply. Helpless, I shift the bundle in my arms.
"What am I to do with it?" I demand.
"'It' is called Susan."
"Well, then. But - "
"Care for it."
I let her go.
You locked her out. You chased her away.
I let her go. It was for her own good -
You didn't give her a choice. Not everyone runs, Doctor. She would have stayed.
You can't know -
[He tosses something onto the floor before me; I struggle to see it with my old, old eyes. A key: small, dull, impotent. Dead.]
It was hers.
It was hers. I found it, just where she left it - where you left her, in the wreckage of a ruined world. I found it and I found her - terrified and abandoned in a dead time, surrounded by weakness and stupidity, suffocated by so many tiny human lives.
They rebuilt it! They rebuilt - she must have helped them, led them -
They wore her down. They tore her apart until she was no better than them, no more than them. You should have seen her: fat, insipid, with a beast of a man, surrounded by howling infants. Certainly they rebuilt, Doctor, and they wore themselves down doing it.
You saw her? Then you were there ... and you could have saved her -
Saved what? There was nothing left to save after you cast her away. Think what she could have been - our granddaughter! She would have been a god, Doctor. We could have raised a god -
[I laugh. The sound is ghastly, dry and hollow and painful to my own ears. He whirls on me and I am glad that I can barely see, that I can not be blinded by him any more than I already have been.]
We? Could have raised her? What, together -
A little more than kin, Doctor ...
[He comes closer. He whispers to me.]
... and a little less than kind.
[I close my eyes and I know how close he is, how close he can get, and though I can hardly laugh any more, I can still cry.]
We could have done anything together.
[I can still cry.]
And what about the children who have to love?
Some are alone. Some are alone. And some are left alone.
And not one ever wins.