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devant, derrière et avant ça

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He stood on the very top of the Eiffel Tower. Arms crossed, back straight, his face turned to see the city of Paris laid out below him. The air was sharp and chill for May, the breeze buffeting him from all sides; and his coat whipped around his body, falling open to let the scarlet lining make a flash of bright colour against the night sky.

For two thousand years, his modus operandi could be defined as late. Almost always; so much so that in the past it was acknowledged fact that by the time he finally showed up (apologies tumbling from his lips as he nervously tweaked the bow tie he'd once thought so cool) she'd have been waiting for at least a few hours. Her eyes might have been narrowed, lips pursed and foot tapping in frustration; but she would always be there.

His wife, waiting. For him.

Funny what regeneration could change. Late was still his usual for Clara and -well- really, most of the races of the world; but when it came to River... When it came to the possibility of seeing River...

He felt like a school boy anticipating a glimpse of the girl he admired. He’d always dressed for the occasion, but now he did it with deliberate intent. White shirt: clean and crisp, his fingers nervously adjusting his cuffs. Hair: trimmed and groomed to be impeccable. Jacket: brushed free of lint or any other space debris that might have gotten caught on it; and then a glance at the clock, and he was out the door.

Yes, it was funny what regeneration changed. Because these days, if he even thought he might see her, he was always five minutes early.

Which is what led him to be standing on the top of the Eiffel Tower. Not moving; not making even a single twitch of his eyebrow or any other facial expression. He could be a statue. Stern, stoic… no, not a statue. He was like a Roman sentry. Too bad he couldn’t drop Rory a line, tell him that he could beat the Roman at his own waiting game now. The Doctor fancied Mr Pond might have been impressed; though perhaps more so, because it was for his daughter.

Still, waiting. He exhaled sharply, closing his eyes.

So boring.

Not that it mattered how tired he was of standing here alone. And not that he would have moved. Because he might have been different -wanting to run to her and not away- but everything was different. Instead of her waiting for him, he was searching for her. Because he'd said he would.

Or rather; she'd said it for him. Years ago, likely, for her. Hours for him. She'd made a statement. Almost a promise; and River always lived up to her promises.

You'll come meet me later.

It was May, in Paris. 2010. And it felt like he'd been waiting for her for a lifetime.