As I sit to write this my future is decided. It will also be a very short one. I delay my final journey only to commit these words to paper in the hope that one day they may be found and read, and that the reader will have compassion for my story in a way which I doubt history will share.
It has been two hundred summers since that fateful day when I fell from the sky and my new life began…
“What is this?”
The Doctor started at the question, bumping his head as he slid out from beneath the console to look at Amy brandishing a sheaf of papers in her hand. “How am I supposed to know? I’m a Timelord not a Bane! What is it? Where did you find it?”
Amy looked sheepish “Well I was looking for the swimming pool, I found the library and you said before the swimming pool was in the library so I went in and…”
The Doctor interrupted “That was before the TARDIS reconfigured herself it’s not in there now.”
“Well I know that now. But while I was in there I had a look around and this was on a table on it’s own just laying there so I picked it up. It looked like a diary, thought it was a diary but it seems to be a confession of some sort.”
The Doctor clambered up to his feet and in a few strides closed the distance between then. Taking the papers from her hand he read the first page, the colour blanched from his face. “Sometimes things are not black and white, sometimes there are so many shades of grey you have no idea how to make things right. And sometimes someone else has to step in and make the decision for you.” He walked over to the staircase and took a seat never once removing his eyes from the page in his hand. Still without looking up he offered the pages back to Amy. “Take it and read it. And when you have finished tell me…was there another way.”
Amy took the papers from him but he still did not look up at her. She turned and headed back towards the corridor where she has found the library in her wandering through the endless corridors. Just before she turned right to enter it she looked back over her shoulder, he had not moved, and the look on his face was one of indescribable sorrow. Amy opened her mouth to speak then decided against it, she had seen that look before but only when he thought she hadn’t seen. It had been at Byzantium, it had been so quick she could have thought she had imagined it if she had not known him so well, he had been watching the mysterious River Song at the time. She knew there was more there than either was willing to say but now she looked down at the handwritten story in her hand and wondered how many more secrets were hidden in the recesses of the TARDIS.
She retraced her steps but the rooms seemed to have changed, she was sure she had reached the place where the library had stood only a few minutes ago but now a reading room with large, inviting leather sofas welcomed her. She smiled the TARDIS had a habit of providing what you needed rather than what you wanted and this was perfect. She picked one close to a glowing log fire which had been lit in an ornate fireplace, kicked off her boots and stretched out sinking down into the soft seat and began to read once more.
It has been two hundred summers since that fateful day when I fell from the sky and my new life began. I had been returning to my home world its location is not important as no one reading this will ever know where it is nor how stark in comparison to this wonderful colourful world in which I found myself.
I was so incredibly weak as gravity drew me down, I fell so far so quickly I had to draw on my energy reserves just to stay intact. My form, my real form is that of light but in this atmosphere the concentration required to stay complete not to dissolve, dissipate was almost impossible, then I saw her.
She was so incredibly beautiful but damaged so badly. I could see the disease which had ravaged her internal organs despite to youthful appearance she outwardly displayed, she had weeks months at most, I had only hours before I was too weak to carry on. It was the perfect solution, she welcomed me and I healed her flesh and transformed it. It was a mutual choice I would never have entered her without her consent she knew she was dying and wanted to live, we both wanted so much to live, and we did for a long time. It is strange for the first few years it was she who led the interactions with others and I was the voice in her head whispering to her, I cannot say when we traded places but at some point we did now we exist as one neither of us would have lasted so long on our own.
Marietta was mistress of a large house just outside Passo Pordoi, her husband was much older than she was and incredibly rich but lacked to taste to make his wealth any comfort to either of them. At first he seemed pleased by the strength and vitality which reappeared on his brides cheek but soon his own health began to decline. I did not think anything of it after all he was already old but the signs were there, maybe I never wanted to see them.
After his passing we began a new life, Marietta taught me so much about this wonderful human race the colours, the art the music, I was in love with it all. We transformed the house into a palazzo and invited the most interesting and beautiful people from all over the country to join us. We entertained constantly, occasionally it would seem one or more of our party would become overly fatigued but they would go away recover and then rejoin us. Every now and again we would close the house and in that time of solitude we would reinvent ourselves, Marietta explained to me the life span of mortals and how we must disguise our extended existence.
Time passed so quickly the faces around us changed frequently and we managed to hide who we were for so long, I never thought we were hurting anyone, we just wanted to live and be loved.
And then everything changed the knock came late one night just as I was retiring for the night I paused watching as the footman opened the heavy wooden barrier and stepped back allowing the stranger to enter. His attire was strangely cut, a long brown coat whirled around him as he spun round taking in his surroundings, then he caught sight of me and froze. It seemed his eyes penetrated the deepest corners of my soul.
“Hello, I’m the Doctor and you are beautiful.”
Amy had not heard the door open and was unaware the Doctor had entered the room until he cleared his voice at the side of her. She looked up to see he was holding a tray. She smiled up at him.
“Tea and Jammie Dodgers the answer to all the problems in the world.”
He shook his head “there are some things even jammie dogders can’t fix.” He looked round the room “I haven’t seen this room for so long, it isn’t really me, well this me anyway.”
Amy watched as the Doctor left the room, she had read nothing yet to really explain his strange reaction to the manuscript. Her initial curiosity about it had not been from its content as the Doctor had supposed but from the very fact he had it, she had wondered if it had belonged to one of the other who had come before her but he avoided mentioning unless necessary. It would always be some item she found or a question that led to a single sentence reply which was a dismissal from the subject far more than it was an answer. She thought of the time she had emerged from the wardrobe room wearing what she had thought a rather jaunty straw hat, his face had frozen before he had walked over whisked it off her head and stood looking at it in his hand as if it were something alive. Then with a half smile he had told her it was Romana’s and that he had never liked it declaring ‘straw hats are not cool, wear the stetson if you want to wear a hat. Stetsons are cool or a fez.’ He had thrown the hat to one side and grabbed her hand dragging her off to an adventure, she had thought no more of it at the time but when she looked for the hat later it was gone and he could not be persuaded to discuss the matter any more.
As she sat here now she wondered whether in time her name would join the ranks of the unspoken. Was that what was hidden in these pages, another ghost from the Doctors past, who had walked these corridors before her? She resumed reading determined now to discover what was hidden within the pages.
I looked at the strange man stood before me, there was something unusual about him, I could not hear his thoughts as I normally could but I invited him into my home and bid him welcome. Given the lateness of the hour I arranged he should be fed and shown to one of the guest rooms. Excusing myself I retired to my room and slept. Little did I know how many changes the morning would bring.
It was at breakfast the next morning I had the opportunity to pay closer attention to the traveller who had arrived the previous evening. As was normal in my home every place at the table was laid, the side tables were laden with everything any of my guest could desire for each meal and already ten or more had wandered into the room and settled at the table with laden plates. I took my seat at the head of the table and watched as the Doctor as he had introduced himself sat at the opposite end.
Though I could not read his thoughts the others with whom he conversed provided me with a running commentary of their conversations. I knew immediately from his line of questioning that he was not the normal traveller he claimed to be. I also knew that he viewed my existence very differently to the way I did.
As I have mentioned before I quickly realised that those who spent any extended period of time n our presence fell ill and though they recovered once they were removed from our direct vicinity there were those who never recovered fully. It was in the early days when Marietta had more control over our flesh, she did not understand the way we drained the life from those we loved, and we did love. Oh and how we loved, our capacity for passion and affection was limitless, and we drew them near us like moths attracted to a flame. In those early days some like her husband were simply not strong enough us and their own life force, and yes I confess we fed upon the energy, it was like a drug that we could not live without. After her husband passed we took lovers before we learned that by exercising restraint and that by merely surrounding ourselves with these beautiful creatures we could live without damaging their fragile lives.
The lovers tending to fade quickly, the union of the flesh draining them far quicker than simple everyday exposure and others, those more sensitive had seen something in our eyes that had led to madness. I regretted this, I had mourned for each of those whose wings I had burnt but the look I received from the man at the far end of the table told me that my regrets would mean nothing to him.
I could no longer bear the scrutiny of his gaze and rose leaving the food on my plate untouched. I passed through the open doors to the terrace and headed towards to rose garden. I walked trying to compose my thoughts, to prepare myself for the confrontation that I knew was coming.
I turned a corner intending to head back towards the house and there he stood, in his strange clothes he was every bit as alien as I was, I opened my mouth to speak but my words failed me and then he spoke.
“You can’t stay in that body, you can’t keep draining all these people, it’s not right. You know you can’t stay here.”
“You make it sound like I have hurt people deliberately that is not fair, I never wanted anyone to hurt for me I have done everything in my power to save them I send them away when I know they are weakening. You know that you condemn me to death, both of us, we share this body now neither of us can live without the other?”
“I know and I am sorry but you have hurt people, you might not have intended to but just by being round you they are changed, they can never see life the same way again. You have had your time in this body it is time to let her go, she could never have known what she was agreeing to or she never would have done it. It’s time to end it and if you won’t end it then I will have to.
She sat staring at the words she had just read trying to imagine the Doctor she knew ever acting that way. Would he make the same choices? She was not sure and that bothered her, part of her could not imagine him being so cold and unfeeling but then even with different feelings towards it would he not still make the same choices? Would it be better if he at least showed remorse over the situation she was in?
She flung the manuscript down and stormed to the console room, the Doctor had disappeared beneath it once more, his bottom half protruding from underneath and it was this half of him which she addressed.
“Doctor I just want you to know I wouldn’t have liked you if I had met you before. You were not nice, you were a bully.”
She turned to leave but just as she reached the door she heard a muttered reply “River didn’t didn’t think much of me then either.”
She waited half expecting him to continue but he remained silent.
Amy collapsed back into the sofa her mind racing at the snippet she had just learnt, River had met the Doctor before he was her Doctor. She tried to imagine River interacting with the Doctor as she was imagining him from the manuscript, River certainly would have had something to say about the Doctor who thought he was a god. She felt the anger rising again at the idea of the Doctor deciding who should live and die, oh she had seen have have to make that choice before but never like this. This woman, this… well whatever she was, she hadn’t hurt anyone she had sent them away to save them before they had been harmed there must have been another way. She reached for the manuscript and resumed her reading.
I stood facing him trying to find the words that would somehow convince him that things did not have to be this way, but deep inside a voice told me we had always know this time would come. Tears flowed down my cheeks as my eyes met his searching for a glimpse of something that would allow me to convince him that I was no threat to anyone.
“I don’t want to do this but I have no choice, you are changing history, people come here and meet you, then never go on to fulfil their destinies, medicines are not created that will save lives in the future, books never written that are supposed to change the thoughts of civilisations. And I know, I really do know you never intended any of this but you can’t change it. You’re the flame to which they are drawn and the only way to stop them is to tale away the light.”
I knew he was right, I knew in that very minute the very destiny of this planet, of these people I had grown to love was in danger just from my presence, he was talking still talking of the possibility of taking me to another planet, somewhere I could live out my days where my influence could do no harm. I knew that was not realistic, my union with this body was too fragile so adjust to another gravity and the link between the two of us mentally was too far progressed now for either of us to continue alone. I would not make the man stood before me responsible for my death. Marietta agreed the course of action we determined to take and urged we act quickly lest either of us lose the courage required to act. I took my leave, requesting that we have an hour to prepare ourselves and put our affairs in order before we depart. I confess I felt guilt at the deception of allowing him to believe we were going to accompany him in his ship and when he looked in our eyes I felt sure he knew or suspected what we intended, however he made no objection.
We sit here now in our boudoir, writing this letter that I hope will allow anyone who reads it to look back at our lives and understand that we never intended harm and that they may forgive the Doctor as we have done for his part in what will happen now. Marietta and I have shared our final thoughts, we have chosen that she shall sit by the window when I depart so that thought physically separated we may witness and give comfort to each other in our final moments.
We bid you farewell and go now to our rest.
A tear dropped onto the paper, Amy’s hand trembling as she imagined what the entity had done. How had the ended it? Had Marietta survived the separation? It couldn’t just end like that she need to know how it finished, she jumped up intent on demanding the final chapter of the story from the Doctor, as she did so a single sheet fell from the manuscript clutched in her hand. She bent and retrieved it, in a different hand were the answers she wanted. The writing was familiar, it resembled the Doctor’s but the flourishes varied from those with which she was acquainted. She realised it belonged to the previous incarnation of the Doctor he had finished the story.
If I am honest I knew what they were intending. I could have stopped them, I should have stopped them, I thought I had more time.
After they left me I wandered round the garden trying to work out the best way to transport them and think of a new home for them where they could live together, and no one else would be at risk from their spell. I had even felt myself succumbing at times, she or should that be they were so beautiful and truly captivating, that smile and those eyes like lakes you could have dived into and drowned for eternity. Infact that was not so far from the truth of what had happened to those who had come into close contact with them. I thought I had it all worked out, it was then as I turned towards the house that I saw what they had planned.
Marietta sat at the window, I was just close enough to make out the smile on her lips, then from her a light appeared. It surrounded her wrapping her in its glow before expanding and stretching out into the open air. It seemed to whole sky was filled with a warm glow, tinged the palest of pinks. The like an explosion in reverse it shrunk. The colour intensified and the area covered diminished until it a red star burned in the sky then with a blinding intensity burst like a firework, thousands of sparkling cinders falling to the Earth and a feeling of terrible sadness over came me. I looked back at the window and noticed Marietta slumped against the panes of glass.
I raced into the house taking the steps two at a time as I ascended to her chamber. when I reached her she was barely breathing I lifted her and placed her carefully upon the bed. I knew, even as I frantically called for assistance it was too late to save her. For one last time, at great effort to her, she opened her eyes and looked up at me smiling, I strained to make out her words as she asked,
“We were magnificent, were we not?”
“Oh yes! You were magnificent, you dazzled them all and they loved you.” I answered
I felt her go limp and knew she had gone. I closed her eyes and smoothed her hair back. Standing to leave the room I found this manuscript. After I finished reading it seemed fitting I record the final actions of these remarkable women, I can’t accept the forgiveness they offer nor the shame of allowing others to know my actions which led to this and shall place these words in a place they shall not be found again.
The Doctor was still fixing the controls when she returned to the console room, he looked up at her his eyes moist as he awaited her verdict. She tried to smile but it died on her lips.
“You couldn’t have saved her, even if you tried she would have died, she said so herself. As soon as they separated they would both die there was no other way.”
“I could have taken her somewhere, them, together as one, somewhere they could have both lived on.”
“And then what Doctor left them to live in solitude not coming into contact with anyone else, ever. You would have saved them yes but they wouldn’t have had a life they would only have had an existence. In the end they made the choice, it was theirs to make and I don’t think for one minute either of them would want you to feel sad over it.”
“Maybe not, but that doesn’t make it right.”
The Doctor connected the final two wires there was a flash of light that filled the room, and caused him to jump to his feet anxiously checking the console.
“Strange it’s never done that before. Enough moping I know what lets go to Paris, I love Paris, Paris is cool. Did I ever tell you Madame De Pompadour kissed me…”
“Now is that supposed to make me jealous?” River Song stepped out from behind the far side of the console adjusting her Vortex Manipulator “Hello Sweetie, don’t worry I’ll forgive you, I kissed the king.”
River leaned over and punched in co-ordinates, she looked up at the Doctor and smiled. “Looks like I arrived at just the right time.”