The Doctor (ninewho) wrote,
The Doctor
ninewho

For realmof_themuse 1.69.2 - Violent Opposition

Author's notes at the end.

Short Cuts

“I can't do this.” The Doctor struggled to get up, but the gentle hands at his shoulders made that task impossible. The searing pain of the bullet wounds in his shoulder and thigh didn't help. “I shouldn't be here.”

“I do not believe,” admonished the woman to whom those gentle hands belonged, “that it is a matter of can and should. Rather, Doctor, you are faced with what you must do.”

The Doctor sighed and set his jaw, saying nothing. She was right. He was healing from the unfortunate circumstance of getting between a gun and its intended target. It had all been an accident: a mistake of the TARDIS programming. He had aimed for Earth in the early twenty first century to pick Rose up from her mother's, and had ended up in the eighteenth century instead.

And, naturally, the instant he stepped out of the door he had seen a gun pointed at the woman with him now. “Wait!” He'd cried out and lunged for the shooter, but it had been too late, and he'd been met with two bullets and a very grateful Madame de Pompadour.

It wasn't until he'd regained consciousness that she'd told him who she was, and why she looked at him as if they were old friends. More than friends. He'd crossed into a time line he'd already visited in the future. Why had the TARDIS brought him here? This was exactly the sort of dangerous, forbidden activity that would have been unthinkable before the War.

Her quiet voice broke his revelry. “It is not before the War, Doctor.”

He turned and met her gaze. “No, Madame, I suppose it's not.”

“Please.” The smile on her face was warm, and she pressed a damp cloth to his head. “Call me Reinette.”

---

It was a week before he could get out of bed without too much difficulty, and even then he was relegated to limping around the palace with the aid of a cane. Reinette had spent as much time as she could with him, reading to him and telling him of her life; telling him of the part he played in it.

The King, for his part, was patient with his unexpected visitor. The Doctor had saved his beloved mistress' life, and he was grateful.

One evening, as Reinette told the Doctor of the events of one day at Court, the King came into the chamber.

Everyone, even Reinette, cleared out. The smile faded from the Doctor's face.

“She tells me that you change your face as one might change the style in which they wear their hair.” The King looked the Doctor over, but if he had any opinions on this particular body he said nothing.

The Doctor shrugged. “It's not quite that simple or that willful, but it's probably the best way to explain it, yeah. Why?”

The King smiled sadly. “I thought I would lose her to a much younger man.”

In his dreams this last week, the Doctor had met a slim young man that he knew was himself. He was jealous, that slim self, of the time being spent with Reinette, but the jealousy faded as the memories solidified themselves in the synapses of the Doctor's brain. Slim would remember, one day.

To the King, he said only: “I've always been older than I look.”

---

When he was healthy again, the Doctor hesitated over leaving. He invited Reinette to come with him.

“Would that not cause a...” she hesitated over the word, having only recently learned its meaning and use. “Paradox? If I go with you, you will never come to meet me in the past. You will never save my life and I will, therefore, never be here for you to invite to travel with you.”

“Well, yeah. When you put it that way.” The Doctor grinned at her, and she smiled back. He reached for her hand. “I'll figure a way around it. Or I can drop you off only minutes after I've picked you up. It would be fine. Besides, I've caused so many paradoxes you wouldn't believe.”

Reinette squeezed his hand. “I have learned to believe a great many things, Doctor.”

“Then you'll come with me?”

With her free hand, Reinette cupped the Doctor's cheek. Her thumb brushed gently over his skin. “I would not sacrifice the universe for my own happiness. I have walked the slow path for many years, waiting for your return, waiting for you to bring me out among the stars. And here you are, my lonely angel, and I cannot go with you. I do not pretend to understand time lines and paradoxes, but I know what the consequences of my choice would be; I have seen them in your mind. I do not have that right.”

He couldn't argue with that. She knew the cost as well as he did, maybe even better. And yet... and yet... “I can't leave you here, to walk the slow path. Not without seeing the stars. One trip up, I'll have you back before supper, no paradoxes, it'll be fantastic. I promise.”

In the end, she agreed: one trip. He knew there was no way she could say no to him. He saw it in her eyes, just as she saw a light in his; a light that she knew was rare. It was the light that convinced her; she could no more deny him that light than he could deny her a trip to the stars.

And so she left the slow path, if only for a single trip. Of course, a single trip with the Doctor never quite lasted as long as promised...


Word Count: 929
Author's Notes: Thanks to rude_not_ginger for the beta and ambitious_woman for writing a Reinette that inspires.
Tags: [community] rotm/tbs, [format] fiction, [verse] one trip, featuring: reinette
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