Feb. 10th, 2011

theoldgirl: (heart of the tardis)
She remembers the boy. One of those dancing in and out of the Doctor’s life, charming him with their brief moments of brilliance, with their nonsensical flightiness and their refusal to join him permanently, yet reveling in his attention. Undeserved attention, if anyone asked her, but no one ever does. She prefers them to those who attach themselves to her Time Lord completely, but she looks at them with disdain even so.

And now the boy is lying dead in her Cloister Room, life and timeline cut off by a deviant member of an alien species, one victim of many during a fixed point in Time. The Doctor – two incarnations of his, even – and the Master had tried reviving him in her infirmary, but they soon realized it was impossible. Time required his death, and that alone is reason enough for her not to be particularly moved by the loss.

Not so for the Doctor, though. He’d placed the body before her Heart, knelt by it on dried leaves, and began to plead with her. Their bond is awash with his regret, his despair at being unable to interfere with the events on Earth, his pain at the loss of another friend. Just this life, just this once, to make up for all the millions he can never save, and he would be careful this time, and if there are complications he would let her do what is necessary, and pleasebringhimback. Like a child before his mother, he looks up to her through tears and helplessness, and fills her to bursting with his desperation. The younger incarnation is standing aside, trying to be respectful of the fact that she isn’t his yet, but his sadness is just as overwhelming.

Suddenly, this boy has become the symbol of all those lives he has seen lost, all the deaths he couldn’t prevent, and it is in her power to absolve him. How could she refuse?

And so, as though the Doctor’s anguish is breaking her Heart, the Eye of Harmony cracks open slightly to release a cloud of glowing particles. They hesitate for a moment, floating in the solemn air of the room, before settling down on the body like gold dust. Within the very fabric of Time, the TARDIS is reaching out to the boy’s short, fragile thread and, ignoring her own fundamental trepidation at this, changes one simple fact. It’s as easy as flipping a switch from Yes to No – Did Ianto Jones die on September the 4th, 2009 in London, Earth? – but the consequences are immediate. A new timeline grows from the violated end of the old, creating a path where none should be, and the Web is in tremors trying to preserve continuity despite the fact that one event crucial to Earth’s safety now never happened.

She knew this would happen, she had seen that the boy’s death was what caused Jack Harkness to sacrifice his grandson and destroy the alien, but the Doctor hadn’t, and yet she allowed his judgment, his hopefulness to compel her. Just one small life, like it won’t make a difference. And it is that same hopefulness that now keeps her from undoing her change, because the unpredictability of the consequences is not worth the Doctor’s happiness.

And as the TARDIS watches anxiously to see if the Web of Time will heal itself, Ianto Jones takes the first desperate breath of a new life.

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theoldgirl

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