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Always Waiting

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She called for the Doctor as soon as she was ready for him. Of course she did: she hated turning him away, even when it was for both their own good. She felt wrong without him. Quiet. Hollow. Empty.

And he came running as soon as she called. Of course he did: she was his rock, his constant, his anchor to what he knew and understood. Companions came and companions went, flickering in and out of his lives like mayflies, but not her. The TARDIS always waited, and the Doctor always came back.

This time, they both had new faces.

He started her up as soon as her door had closed behind him, forgetting the silly little girl from Leadworth in no time at all. She felt his hands scuttering gently over her controls, those controls that were still new and tender and sensitive to the touch, and if she could have sighed happily she would have. They were together again, as they should be, and it felt right.

They faded out of petty, insignificant Leadworth, slipping through time and space like a fish through water, the Doctor darting around her console like a dance partner, hands firm and deft, flicking a switch here, pulling a lever there, until they came to a stop somewhere around 1492, orbiting the Earth about halfway between it and the moon. There they stopped for breathing space and to take in each other's new faces.

Younger than ever, of course – he had a thing for youth, her Doctor, a tendency to constantly switch out for a younger model – with a wide, pale forehead, an infectious smile and a bow-tie. He was beautiful; but then again, he always was and always had been. She'd always seen his beauty.

And as for his reaction to her...

He took a step back to take a look at her, that amazing smile lighting up his face.

"You beauty," he murmured. "Oh you smart little beauty."

He stepped forward again and reached out to her. His long, slim fingers ran across the surface of her console, gentle and tender, then up and over her switches and buttons to wrap around her starting lever.

"Let's see how you handle, eh?"

And he pulled her level.

The first time with a new face was always the best. It was settling into new patterns and revisiting the old, realising what was the same and what had changed, relishing the old and familiar caresses and being pleasantly surprised by the new and unexpected. And they were both new to it, this time: he, new and young with sad eyes; she, new and shiny with lashings of steam-punk. He wanted to see how well she worked and she wanted to see how well she worked her.

He took her on a trip around the moon; she was certain that the two of them that night, they could have made it last forever.

But it didn't, of course. All things came to an end, and their dance reached its climax when they returned from the dark side of the moon to their orbit half way between planet and satellite, her with her engines glowing faintly with heat and him with his face lightly flushed from exertion.

That was when he remembered her. Amelia Pond. The latest girl-child to catch his eye. And thus their private pleasure was ended so that he could go and find her, and bring her along too. She wasn't jealous, not really, but all the same, it was almost too much to bear at times.

She re-set her co-orindates two years late to spite them. It was petty, she knew, but she was in love, and people do strange things when they are in love. She always had been in love with him. She always would be.

And the TARDIS always waited, and the Doctor always came back.