Ten First Times

by Alienist [Reviews - 10]

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  • All Ages
  • None
  • Angst, Drabble, Drama, Mixed, Romance

Author's Notes:
Most of this is fanon, pieced together with bits of canon and characterisation. Just one more imagining of the Doctor's lost past.

I

They first meet in the wastelands. Nature is harsher here, but more genuine; silver leaves are glazed with snow crystals, and dying grass snaps underfoot.

It is within a grove of trees that the Shobogans gather. Young rebels, desperate to affect anything at all; they are both out of place. Theta, a privileged Academy student of a renowned House, and Susan, the bastard of a renegade and an alien.

Perhaps that is why they gravitate to each other, despite their dissonance. He is smug and condescending; she is distant and acerbic.

Common goals unite them, and common dreams bind them.

II

The first time he says he loves her, she knows she is not the first, and will not be the last. Such is the way it goes, and she cherishes what he offers now.

Their courtship is, in part, a political move, but their feelings are sincere. Long ago her reserve had waned, and his condescension faded. They share knowledge and experience freely; they share their love with the few who call them friends.

All of them are comrades in arms, the wrenches in the machine. All of them will one day say goodbye. Such is the way it goes.

III

The first time his family threatened to disown him it was, more or less, a farce; this time, it is real, and it's a stunning blow.

It isn't enough that he disregards his classes, they say. It isn't enough that he incites rebellion and fills minds with idealist rhetoric. It isn't enough that he cavorts with Outsiders, covets barbarian planets, challenges the very foundations of Gallifreyan society.

Now, he must shame the family further still by joining with a woman who's barely a Time Lord, who oughtn't be allowed on their world at all?

Yes, he tells them, he must.

IV

The first time he holds his daughter in his arms, she is a toddler, woven with the essence of he and his partner. His own sharp blue eyes gaze up at him, and beneath his caress is the soft, fair hair of her mother.

He knows her life will be hard. He knows she will be shunned. Even now, her esteemed family have disowned her before ever seeing her face. Only Susan's father is there with them, sharing the centuries of wisdom of a settled renegade.

They name her Kathryn, after Susan's mother, long passed on a planet far away.

V

Her first glimpse of the mountain sends her into squeals of excitement, almost tumbling from her mother's arms as he guides them to the abandoned house of his childhood. The air is crisp and clear, swaying the sea of scarlet that swallows their footsteps.

They speak in soft, bright voices, safe in this refuge of innocence and tranquillity. When they being to climb, they leave the stale world of stagnancy and suffocation behind.

They only stop once, when he kneels down and gently plucks a flower from a crack in the stone.

Smiling, he slips the daisy into Kathryn's hair.

VI

They fight the first denial with all the passion of young parents and daring activists, joined by old friends and secret sympathisers. As a child, Kathryn learns of both the intolerance of her world and the tenacity of her parents.

The second denial doesn't diminish their struggle. As they turn the tide, Kathryn is taught at home. The quiet man with a smooth voice is her favourite, but the daunting woman with sharp features teaches her the most.

Most of her father's lessons border on unlawful.

Finally, years late, she enters the Academy, and becomes the top of her class.

VII

The first friend she makes is a professor, the best teacher her father ever had. He tutors her in classes she's barely tolerated in. He talks to her about different worlds, and different cultures, and people who don't care where you come from.

He inspires her. It's his field she pursues, he she comes to when her theories are dismissed, when her work is scorned.

She is devastated when Azmael leaves, and only her father can comfort her. He, too, has lost friends to the stars. He, too, has been tempted to join them.

Not yet, he whispers. Not yet.

VIII

Her first loss shatters them both, and all he can do is hold her hand as they sit at Susan's bedside.

She always knew they were different, she and her mother, but never as much as this moment.

Despite everything, she has excelled, but too many things remain beyond her reach. Her heritage continues to bind her dreams and smother her future. Usually, it's just a part of life, another struggle.

She's never resented it this intensely.

Her whisper is that of a lost child, choked by the tears her father is too proud to shed.

"Why isn't she changing?"

IX

The first time he holds his granddaughter in his arms, she brings a spark to his weary eyes, levity to his bitter voice.

Isolation has proven easier; he could not change the world, could not save his partner. Easier to stay alone than face the friends he failed.

Still, he comes to know this tiny, lonely child with Susan's name and his daughter's eyes.

He comes to realise that he can't bear to see the hope crushed from her spirit, the wonder worn down to dust.

She is an outcast, and always will be; she may as well be free.

X

Her first tears fall on her mother's body.

It's a cowardly assassination, quick and brutal, and the killer will never be apprehended; her family will suspect that few tried very hard.

Kathryn's father kneels beside her body, his arm around Susan's heaving shoulders. Her father is filing the report, distant with shock.

He winces at the question that slowly emerges from the sobs.

"Why isn't she changing?"

He decides, then, that it's time to leave. They will steal away to the old TARDIS he used to play in without so much as a goodbye to the people they'll leave behind.