Stronger Than Forever

by Astroskylark [Reviews - 0]

  • All Ages
  • None
  • Angst, Character Study, Drama, Introspection, Missing Scene, Mixed, Standalone

He’d kept his voice low as he told Donna they’d arrived, and asked her to do the same. She’d only complied because she had his memories. He was silent as they left the TARDIS.

“What year is it?” she had asked in the same hushed tone he’d used before. He’d looked at her sadly, trying not to cry. She should know what year it was, but the memories she’d obtained as a result of the metacrisis were fading.

“Seven billion years after your time, more or less.” She had asked for one last trip after he had begun the process of wiping her memories. 900 years of experiences took a long time to erase. He had told her that she had sixty minutes left, and she hadn’t bothered to correct him.

They both knew she had only fifteen.

“The star is just beginning to turn red. There’s already a New Earth, a New New Earth, a New New New Earth, and... I think that’s it. New New New New Earth doesn’t happen for another hundred years.” She would have smiled at that, usually, but not today.

“It lasted forever.” She knew about forever now, and always would. The one thing he couldn’t take from her was forever, and for that, if nothing else, he was truly sorry. She knew, and she’d always know, that forever meant nothing at all, and everything at once. She knew about forever because she was supposed to travel with him, the Doctor Donna, forever. She knew that forever never lasted.

“Forever,” he mirrored. He knew about forever just as well as she. He also knew that forever lasted as long as one wanted it to, never a second longer nor a second less. “Forever and ever.”

They stood there, half time lord, half human, entirely neither and both at once, counting their seconds and reflecting on all they’d lost over the years, across the stolen decades through which they’d ran and ran and ran. They stood there, in front of an ancient timepiece, the only clock in the universe that didn’t begrudge them the minutes they’d taken, thinking of how their time had run out while they’d been running.

He felt more alien here than he ever had, and she did too. They stood on a foreign world that was their own, an adopted world for the Doctor and an echo of the world of his companion, as an alien. The Doctor looked at the orange sky and thought of home and how he’d never belonged there, or anywhere, and the Doctor Donna looked at the same sky and thought of how she’d come to this point, seven billion years from home with nine hundred years of memories not her own slipping from her like sand from her fingers.

They’d stood there forever until she collapsed as the last of her memories were torn from her, and only then did he enter his painfully empty ship to take her to the home he’d never have, the home that wasn’t hers anymore, yet still was.

He’d taken one look back before he went, because he welcomed the pain of looking upon the amazing structure alone. He hadn’t been able to say its name aloud, though. “Stonehedge.” The whisper within his mind was lost among all the other things he’d never found the strength to say.

He wouldn’t forget her, while she wouldn’t remember. He’d be stronger than forever.

The sky is decidedly alien here, alien in a way that no place on Earth should ever be, alien in a way that only a moment frozen in time can be. The walls of the eternal clock of the ancient humans shall not be corrupted by time and the passing of the years, shall stand for as long as the wearying of rain on stone will allow. The impossible structure shall stand as a relic of the people that once built it, of the small humans that moved great stones to build a circle of awesome importance, the creatures of the Earth that moved stones forged at its core across a now distant land to build something so ponderously lasting.

The sky is decidedly alien here, gleaming purple and orange and pink-stripped above an impossible structure built so long ago by an empire that perished to time in a way that their legacy shall never.