She doesn't get it. That's all that runs through my head as I watch the very, very old young lady in front of me lecture me about my recent lack of propriety and how it will potentially destroy the universe and unravel time itself.
Ashildr--Me, whatever-- doesn't understand. She can't possibly. She doesn't get it, and the Council didn't get it either. Frankly, it would've taken too long to explain and I am always running out of time. But it wouldn't have mattered even if I did tell them because I'm not doing this for her or for them. I'm not doing this for the universe, or to save anybody--not this time, I don't care. I'm not even doing it for me. Which is a surprise because I'm usually I doing whatever I want without hesitation. This time, however, I'm doing things the right way. This time I'm doing what is right. Because this time doing what's right is best for her.
You never know you've made a mistake until you see what happens after you've made your decision. You never learn enough fast enough to stop screwing something up again, the exact same way. It never happens. It's why history books have so many wars and revolts and rebellions--it's always the same story, isn't it? Something that should have happened didn't happen, and now the pudding brains are throwing around guns and tanks, both nuclear and atomic weapons of mass destruction at each other. And I always have swoop in, be a mum, and put them in a time out.
It's the one great attribute that humans seem particularly bound to adhere to: a selfishness that is beyond all understanding and patience. I hate it.
But don't you always hate in others what you hate most in yourself? Of course the human race will never learn, so what? They've got lifespans that are only so long to explore their own existence. But, me? When will I learn? When will I understand that somethings should be left to themselves? That I'm not meant to toy with the past or the future every time I'm fearful or lonely or bored?
Today, is the answer. I decide right then as I walk with Me to the classic prototype TARDIS, steeling myself for the repercussions of my unfair actions.
Today will be the day I stop running.
There are a lot of things I won't admit to, confess. There are a lot of things I will never say or do. After living as long and as hard as I have, of course, you start to accumulate regrets and secrets and people that all mean something. And are worth more than you're willing to say. And if you know, like I know, that every secret you have, every confession you breathe, every person you meet--if you know they all have a price, then you'll be careful. You'll try to keep from being so reckless, breaking rules, creating tidal waves. Maybe you'll start to become cold and jaded by everything you've seen and done, use that to push people away. Sometimes that works. Maybe you'll pretend you don't know you're hurting people to try and prove to them that you aren't so warm and cuddly after all--and maybe you never were. You'll stop being charming and understanding and lose your temper more, if just to prove a point.
Oh, and you'll stop falling in love. Or, you'll try.
Except that's not how it works because it's not always that easy.
But you would think that after centuries of reliving the same kinds of heartbreak and experiencing equally tragic new ones that I'd swear off companions for as long as I live. Because I don't always beat the baddie's and I don't always lose the battle, but I do always lose them-- the things, the people I would rather fight for. It's an occupational hazard; I can prolong the inevitable for as long as I want to, but it's always coming, that ever-present shadow.
So why even bother? Why keep trying?!
I was sure I was done after Amy and Rory. I was done, I had convinced myself. No more companions, no more adventures. If I couldn't have the Ponds in that blue box, then I didn't want anyone at all. Ever.
And I hadn't known then, of course not. Not in the Dalek Asylum when I'd not even seen her face. Not even when I met her again, and she followed me up the spiraling staircase and through the clouds and I showed her the TARDIS. Not even when I held her hand as she died in Victorian London and I gave her the TARDIS key. She was a friend then, just a new acquaintance that confused and excited me and made me forget, just for a moment, about how painful it was to lose someone. Until she died. Again. When I met her this past time, it was on purpose, orchestrated. I had been far more happy to see her than I ever should have been, and that should have been the first warning: my hearts beating a little too quickly at the sight of little Miss Clara Oswald. And even when I saved her from being uploaded that day, I never knew she'd end up being the one to save me.
Of course, she jumped into my timeline and forever saved me from the Great Intelligence, but it was more than that. It would always be more than that. And that was more than I would ever be able to admit, to confess about Clara Oswald.
Because the day I admitted to myself or anyone else that I was in love with Clara Oswald, and the day I came to terms with her reciprocated feelings--that, I'd convinced myself, would be the day I lost her. She was her safest when I held her at arms-length, and I had every intention of keeping her that way.
I'd seen glimpses, heard little whispers on streets of a creature called The Hybrid. An ancient prophecy that insinuated that there would come a day where a new breed of monster with a destructive tendency would tear apart the entirety of time and space, destroy Gallifrey and stand in its ruins: a creature that was half Time Lord, half Dalek.
The truth? It was all rubbish. And I'd known it from the start. A species with such a psychologically faulty superiority complex as the Dalek's would never voluntarily taint their own genetic structure with another life form, and Time Lords would never even conceive of it. It could never have been half Dalek, but there other species just as capable of mindless destruction.
I hadn't known then, or if I had, I'd pretended I didn't, which was often just as convincing. But looking back, the answer should have been obvious. The hybrid had never been me. Not just me. The hybrid was two people. The most reckless, the most stubborn and the most dangerous duo in all of history, in all of the universe.
Half Time Lord, half human.
Me and Clara Oswald.