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Carry on, my Doctor
September 2, 1701, 12:04 AM.
The Tardis whooshed into existence atop a grassy, moonlit hill, mortal farms and settlements only a short jog away. A foreignly modern man burst out of it at a blind run, until he tripped flat on his face with a rough tumble down the hillside and a shatter of glass. Sniffing, he removed his broken frames and tossed them wantonly among the shards, trying to blink away his tears as he watched the moonlight play with the prisms. Despite the beauty, he couldn't bring himself to calm down or appreciate it.
Rose was safe.
But she was gone.
He started sobbing, quietly but uncontrollably, too fraught with grief to try and hide his shameful tears. So there he sat, like a little lost child, letting Earth's moon quietly observe him in his agony. How long would he live on like this? Forever. On and on, breaking hearts and steadily crippling his own. There were no more immortal beings like himself to hold his hand. So why did he bother? What could possibly be worth such pain?
Though he didn’t know it, he was about to find out.
“Are you okay?”
He brought himself to look up. Standing over him was a girl of about sixteen, though in the current day and age that qualified as adult. He vaguely remembered that he was in the late 1600s--or was it early 1700s? He didn’t think it mattered. He’d just had to fly away, to somewhere simpler, where the world would possibly be kinder to him. It appeared that he had guessed correctly. She knelt down, carefully brushing away the broken glass. She wore a long, rather plain teal dress, the sleeves rolled back to reveal much of her forearm. Her brown hair fell in a mildly wavy curtain, bangs cut short over soft brown eyes. She took his head in her hands and lifted his head so that he had to look her in the eye.
“What happened?” she asked calmly, as if she truly thought she could help this strange, otherworldly man that had just walked out of a blue box.
“Gone,” he choked, throwing to the wind any attempt to make sense to this simple earthling. “Rose. I saved her, but she’s gone. I’ll never see her again.”
Just as he felt himself beginning to lose control, she pulled him towards her and, on base instinct, gave him a hug. His crying continued, more openly this time, now that he had something to hold onto in the storm of his emotion. All the while she held him, rocking the Timelord slightly in an attempt to calm him down.
“Shhh, sh-h-h,” she chided, stroking the back of his head. She pulled back slightly to look at him again. It was apparent that her sympathy had helped. Though there were still saltwater rivers to envy those of Kythox VI coursing down his face, he was slightly more relaxed, and was controlling his sobbing into small hiccups and whimpers.
“If she’s alive, she can’t be completely gone,” she reasoned gently. “There’s got to be some way to contact her, at least. You’re clever, clever enough to figure something out. You haven’t lost her yet.”
He nodded noiselessly, now breathing with some regularity. She smiled at him, rising to her feet and offering him a hand.
“Come on,” she said. He took her hand and rose to his feet, taking a deep but shaky breath. He looked at her with part unbridled thankfulness and part hazy wonder.
“Thank you,” he whispered, unable to trust himself to a normal-volume voice. “I...I needed that. I think I have for a long time.”
“Sometimes a good cry is healthy,” she agreed, gazing back up at him with her utmost support. “Especially for a man like you.”
He allowed himself a small chuckle. They stood there in silence for a long time, the night suddenly warmer and less aloof than it had been previously. He looked back up the hill at his Tardis, already beginning to formulate a plan.
“Well, I’ll be going then,” he mused, bending to pick up his broken frames. Holding them up to the moonlight and squinting, he scowled at the now useless things. “Shame, that. Brand new pair. But on the bright side, it looks like I’m back to first-world problems.”
They laughed a little more, though both felt slightly awkward to varying degrees. Waving back at her with a smile, the Doctor started up the hill back to his mystical blue box, feeling immensely better and grateful for their meeting. Exhaling inaudibly, the girl turned around and was about to walk away when a small, almost trivial thing caused her to turn around.
“Oh, I forgot,” she called up the hillside. By now he was more than halfway up to his blue box, but nonetheless he turned around to acknowledge her. “What’s your name?”
“Oh, I’m the Doctor,” he replied, smiling as if at an inside joke. “And that’s all you need to know. And you are?”
Nodding at each other, the two parted ways for the final time. As he walked up, he couldn’t help but wonder at what she had said, how she had seemed to--know him. At the Tardis’ doors, he turned to look back at her for the final time, but she had vanished. What had she said, again?
Especially for a man like you.
“Nah,” he dismissed himself, not letting the notion that had blossomed in his mind get any farther. Swinging open the doors, he walked back into his beloved ship. But why did he still have that nagging feeling that she wasn’t just Clara?
The following morning, Clara the Orphan was burned at the stake for being accused of being a witch.
A man in a brown overcoat and glasses threw a black rose at the burning rod’s base, wiped a tear from his eye, and walked away.