(I can't remember exactly where the idea for this came from. I know I thought about writing for Rose, but couldn't think of a point in canon that would appropriately answer the question. I also don't see Rose as fitting so much as existing as a body unto herself, affecting the Doctor with her gravity. Same for Donna, really, except louder. And the only way to answer for RS!Donna would be "perfectly", and that's not much of a story. But Reinette is perfect for this prompt, because she does just fit in, quietly, like a piece of a the Doctor's puzzle.)
What's Still Unsaid (I always come up with titles either during or at the end of my story. This one came after the last few lines. I actually was inspired by a lyric from the first musical episode of Xena. "What's still unwritten, you can't erase." What's still unsaid can't be taken back, but it also can't hurt you yet.)
She finishes his sentences, which is something he never expected from her. It's nothing against her, really, it's just that none of his companions have ever been like that. (I'm always very very careful to hint that the Doctor has had a whole lot of companions.)Usually they interrupt him, and less usually they let him finish before they speak. But it's rare to find someone whose mind mirrors his own enough that it's like they share one thought.
At night, while she sleeps, (As in: he watches her sometimes.)he wonders if it has something to do with the link forged between them when she first saw into his mind in her past and his future. Or maybe, he thinks, it's the time they've spent together, rubbing off on her in a way it has on so few others. Maybe it's the long conversations they often have, stretching so long that they're only broken when she finally needs rest. (I picture these conversations/debates going on for hours and hours, about everything and anything. I also picture him telling her about places and things she'll never see, and her telling him about people and customs he never bothered to learn about. They teach each other. The Doctor teaches and learns with all of his companions, but this is how I see it happening with Reinette: sitting in the library, in giant chairs, just talking.)
Or maybe it's just her. Maybe she's just special.
His special little queen. (I wanted it to be unclear who the companion was until this point, and then I still wanted it to be subtle. I think of Reinette as a woman of intricate and infinite subtleties (like all those layers she wore), and I try to convey that whenever I write about her.)
(I initially wanted to stop here, and have this be a drabble, but Megs and MJ both inspired me to continue. I was just getting back into writing Nine, and was feeling frustrated, so I did something else and about half an hour later, the next sentence came to me.)
Whatever it is, he finds himself continually amused and impressed by how quickly she learns. So far, she's had the last word in conversations with philosophers, poets, and... physicists. The look on Marie Curie's (I chose Marie Curie because 1) she's so heavily associated with France [despite being Polish], 2) she was a woman who was highly intelligent and broke down several barriers, but whose work had mixed effects on the world, and 3) she died before her time.)face had been priceless but, unlike the Doctor, Reinette had known enough to soften the blow by thanking her for her contribution to France's legacy in the world.
The look on the Doctor's face had been as priceless as the one on Madame Curie's. Later that night they talk of feminism, science, and death. "I wish I could have told her that inside her pocket was the cause of her death," she said. She looked at him as though he understood, because of course he did. "But she still has much to do, does she not?" )Most of my knowledge of Madame Curie comes from a really fantastic book called Before the Fallout by Diana Preston. It's non-fiction, about the development of the atom bomb "from Marie Curie to Hiroshima", but reads like a series of interconnected short stories rangingin topic from science to feminism to espionage. I supplemented it with Wikiepdia.)
"She likes the colors it gives off in the dark," was all he said at first. (This is true, and is like an eerie prologue to the atomic age of the twentieth century.) They were speaking of Madame Curie, but he was thinking of Madame de Pompadour. By now she had learned of her own death, the natural consequence of a library full of books on the history of Earth, but they had never spoken of it. (I don't imagine the Doctor will ever speak directly about it, but she had to know. She's too smart not to.)He took her hand in his, and she offered him a warm smile. "She'll always have work to do, and she'll always have done it.(Timey whimey!) Every death of every person we meet can be prevented, but that doesn't mean it should be."
His special little queen. (I wanted to bring the story back around. I'm a fan of overly dramatic repetition. It starts here and continues with the next line. I like things that end where they started.)
At night, while she sleeps, he thinks of the day he'll have to say goodbye to her. He knows that a time will come soon, by his counting at least, when her health will begin to falter and she'll whither before him. He can extend her life, keep her healthy until he returns her to France in time to fade away and die. But should he?
"No," she whispers from behind him, arms sliding around his waist. She presses her face to his back and finishes his thought for him, even if it's in a way he could never finish himself. (I love this image, of a tiny Reinette pressing her face to the back of the ninth Doctor while he stares angstily at the TARDIS console.) "You should not." (It occurred to me on my fourth or fifth reading of the story that this line makes it seem like she's telling him not to return her to France instead of, as I intended, telling him not to extend her life. I was worried about it, because I don't think Reinette would do that. But Megs assured me I was okay and it read fine.)
"You're always finishing my sentences, you know." His chest feels tight. This time, for the first time, he wishes she hadn't.
He stares into the monitor on the console and says nothing.
(I hadn't meant for this to end so sadly. When I'd gotten the idea, after thinking about the prompt and deciding neither Rose nor Donna would work for it, I'd thought it would be a cute little piece about how Reinette compliments the Doctor so well because of their unique connection. But Reinette is a tragic figure [not that all the modern companions aren't] and it just turned into this.)