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Alternating Reality

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The Doctor is burning, his hearts and his love, bound up in the dancing flame that is the woman who holds all three. The Time War is ending again, and she has given him that, along with all the very best of her.

It is fitting, really, that the last Time Warrior should also end with the Time War. He steps forward and takes her into his arms, his prize and his salvation, his death and his resurrection. He can touch her, this time, taste her, love her a little as he has loved her completely, perhaps since he touched her hand. Perhaps even before that, perhaps always. She is breaking in his grasp and he will not have it.

He will die on her lips, where he must, where he should.

All the power she has brought to bear on all eternity swirls from her and into him and he is become a full born god. All power is given to him in heaven and earth and she would trust him with it. He has choices to make, now, and time stops for him, because he was always a Time Lord, long before he had this.

For the first time, he can choose. He can die and she will live, or he can live and she will live. If he lives, he can still choose. There, for the first time, is the ability to decide what he will become.

He knows her now, better than he will ever know her again, and she is in love with him, with him and the thunder and the rain that is his life. He will choose, therefore, to suit her, to keep her with him, to love her and only her and always her. He will leave behind the anger and the fear, and the rage will burn again only for her sake. He will be younger then, to touch her rightly, to become a man worthy to live on her lips instead of dying on them.

Maybe ginger. She'd like that.

He selects, and looks forward to see what this possibility has wrought.

He will become a lunatic child, in love with life again and understanding his calling again. He will remember at last how long his life is and how short hers is. He will cherish her every instant.

And he will lose her and he will hurt her and it will destroy him and it is wrong.

He recoils from the man he can make, grimly turning away from that twice damned and twice abandoned beach. He had never thought before, but it is there now, the realization that his grim dance with death makes him more capable of appreciating her life. The potential him, the new him, the future him, he will see only that she will die, and never notice all the time between that she will live.

And though she has and will choose him over all creation, he will lose her still and leave her still and give her no promises, only precious gifts that are beautiful ashes. He will not hold her or keep her. He cannot stop a head-long flight to self-destruction. He cannot stop seeing her death in her very young and blooming life.

There is another option. It will make time strange and all the Universe with it. It will infuriate Jackie Tyler and look so very odd for ages, but he can choose it and she will not be lost.

He knows then, and decides once and for all, and heals what he has done, to himself and to her, and lets it go. For an instant, he was a god, and in that instant, he gave his eternity into her hands.

Time begins again, and he is ill but not dying, so he takes her into his arms, the woman who created herself for all he is and was and ever could be. There is something to that, surely, and he will glory in living to find out.

He sends them into the Vortex and knows what he has left behind them and mourns it, but time is fixed, there, never fluid again and he cannot bear it.

He is collapsing in pain, but not dying, never dying, and she is fluttering her eyes and thus a new Universe begins.