One of the benefits of rarely needing sleep was having all the time one needed to ponder the mysteries of the universe. Not that he was ever without time, but still, the quiet hours in between adventures–or misadventures, the case could be made–gave him time to think. Quite possibly too much time, if that was even possible. Because really, what kind of Time Lord was he to be spending those hours and days not contemplating the mysteries of the universe, but instead, trying to pinpoint the exact moment the invisible spark flared, irrevocably binding him to one fragile human?
Still, there were a few positives to all that pondering. For one, he was sure, without a doubt, that he hadn’t fallen so far down the evolutionary ladder as to say the spark flared the first time he’d grabbed her hand and told her to run. No romantic, him. At least not in his ninth incarnation. No, at that moment on that day, she’d just been one more fragile human that he was determined to keep alive as penance for the death he’d wrought in his lifetime.
It hadn’t happened when he’d stumbled upon her at her mother’s flat, either. He’d still been focused on other things and truly, that brief foray into Jackie Tyler’s home had felt more like observing strange, interesting lab rats running amok in their cage.
It hadn’t happened standing on the street just outside the estate’s park, her small hand captured by his much larger one. But he should have sensed the storm coming just by the look she’d had in her eyes: Curious, wanting to believe, afraid to believe, naïve and somehow strangely wise all at the same time. She’d been open to him. To the idea of what he might be.
It hadn’t happened the moment she stood inside the TARDIS, shocked, but bravely accepting as he faced her down with the first grains of the truth. In truth, she hadn’t been the only one apprehensive. Feeling like a fist was twisting his gut, he’d been struck by how important it had suddenly become to receive that acceptance. Still, he’d missed the warning signs.
It hadn’t happened when she’d run with him hand in hand through the London night, her face alight with the adventure of saving the world. It hadn’t happened when she took the a risk he’d never expected, saving him and her world as she knew it in one reckless swing on a chain. It hadn’t even happened when he’d ignored his pride and his demons to ask her to join him a second time and been rewarded with a smile that would shine in his mind until the universe collapsed in on itself.
The truth was, he knew exactly when it happened; when that spark flared, fusing him to another soul in a way he’d never dreamed possible. It had been that quiet moment when she stood with her hand in his, watching her world shatter and gleaning the tiniest bit of understanding of what it meant to be the last of one’s kind. In that moment, he’d looked over at her and hadn’t seen the girl barely out of childhood, but seen a kindred spirit.