She wants to tell you a love story. Sit and listen, for a moment. It isn’t very long. Only a lifetime, a thousand memories, a hundred places.
Here’s an abridged version:
She was a student, naïve, convinced of her own genius. He was a wanderer–been there, done that, but still fascinated by it. They did not hit it off.
He mocked her name. She mocked his age. But even while being sulky and ridiculous and clumsy he managed to save the world. Or their lives at least and he did it by talking and a neat trick of the hand. She had to grudgingly respect him for it.
It’s an odd love story, but a love story all the same, even if all they ever do, in public or private, is hold hands when crossing the street and grin at each other a lot. That’s okay, though. Because here’s the secret: they don’t know they’re in love.
He wants to tell you a love story.
It’s about a woman who thought she knew better and the man who showed her that no one does. She thought the universe was orderly and mathematical; he knew it was bigger and madder and sillier and so much better than she had imagined.
At first it was all about the quest–a quest that yielded nothing in the end. But all that time wasn’t wasted: she didn’t insist on going home now that it was over. They were spinning off into the unknown and she grinned at him and he thinks, in retrospect, that may have been when he fell in love.
They just didn’t realize it. It might have been that grin or when she stole his coat or a day running down the streets of Paris, but they had no idea at the time. No zap of a lightening-strike-realization. It was slow, though both can name exactly the moment they knew for sure.
She watched him. The way he moved, spoke, got people off their guard so they would tell him what was going on. She watched him when he wasn’t saving the world, too. The way he flew the TARDIS, that awkward half-pat he’d give K9, how he put his hat over his eyes when he wasn’t going to pay attention.
The first time she saw him she thought: Oh, well, you’re ugly, aren’t you? The first time he grinned at her she thought: Well, you’re alright.
They realize it at the same time, though they don’t know it. He’s telling Adric how she’ll be superb and suddenly thinks that he was probably in love with her. She’s putting K9 on the ground behind the mirrors and it occurs to her that she might have been in love with him.
They never tell anyone. It’s like a secret they don’t know they’re sharing.
He watched her. The way she walked, ran her fingers through her hair, put her head up–nose in the air–when she told someone off. She was graceful. The first time he saw her he thought: A genius of the worst sort–brilliant and knows it. The first time he saw the new her he thought: That body’s prettier on her than it was on the princess.
They’re a funny couple that’s not a couple. She doesn’t do what he says and they finish each other’s sentences. She’s the brilliant one and he’s the experienced one. People can’t figure them out: two eccentrics in funny old fashioned clothes, making references to things that make no sense, speaking in half sentences because they get each other so perfectly. He looks twice her age (and is really about six times her age), but they don’t care in the least.
Unfortunately, all love stories (the real ones) have an end. Theirs ended when the TARDIS left E-space because sometime you can’t go back on a decision. She went to save the Tharils and a week later he found himself lying on the grass, dying.
Sometimes he imagines her coming back during the Time War. They’d fight side by side and press the button together and die under the fiery orange sky. Maybe they’d even kiss, for the first and last time, while destruction reined around them or something romantic and depressing.
Sometimes she imagines getting back to N-space and finding him again. She wonders if he’s regenerated and how different he is. Not too different, she hopes, and that’s why she stays away and keeps putting it off. She wants that last picture of him in her mind to be the way he is to her forever.
So maybe this love story isn’t over. Maybe they’ll meet again, two old eccentrics, kissing in the rain in Paris or something.
I hope they do.