It was one of those rare quiet moments in the TARDIS. The Doctor had finally given up trying to get the gramophone to work and so he and Lisa were sitting in the console room reading a book together. Due to their link sharing their thoughts, they were taking turns reading the passages so as to not to overwhelm the other with too much information.
As Lisa recited the words on the pages, the Doctor leaned back and closed his eyes, her telepathic voice conjuring the scenes she was reading in his mind. He let his thoughts wander a little, reflecting on everything and just how his life had changed since she’d come into it.
If he ever got the chance to see his First incarnation and Susan again, he had to remember to thank his granddaughter. If she hadn’t talked his old self into bringing Lisa on board the TARDIS, then he would be alone right now.
He never really expected to fall in love with her. Lisa had been a good friend for a long time; she’d considered him a mentor figure at first, way back when they first met. He’d found it quite sweet when she and Jamie had fallen in love and was very sad when his sentence of exile forced her to take Jamie away before the Time Lords could erase their memories of their time with him; he was happy when she’d later found him on Earth. She’d been one of his best friends in his Second and Third incarnations, but his Fourth was when everything changed.
She’d been a friend at first, but he realized she would turn into something more when he’d seen the Watcher, the interim stage between his Fourth and Fifth incarnations and, as it turned out, the part of him that was in love with Lisa.
He remembered the moment vividly. Freshly regenerated into his Fifth self, weakened from the trauma and barely able to move on his own, she’d stuck by his side and helped keep his thoughts grounded. While he rested on the floor of the TARDIS with her consoling arms around him, she had kissed him and thus began the link between them.
The link. Only now did he realize how much he missed it. Upon regenerating into his Sixth incarnation, Lisa’s feelings for him waned due to his complete personality change. The link weakened to a fraction of the strength it had been. He’d still cared about her but it was…just so difficult to show her properly at that time. Even in his Seventh incarnation, he was unable to properly articulate just how he felt about her.
Not until now, here in his Eighth incarnation. He was finally able to tell her how much he loved her, how much he’d missed her when they’d been apart, and how glad he was when her kiss recharged their link back to what it had been three regenerations ago. He pressed his hand to his chest where the beating of his hearts was perfectly synchronized with hers. It had been too long since he felt the steady thump-thump, thump-thump this strongly.
He never wanted that to happen again. Lisa had said that she was no longer going to let his personality alone sway the way she felt about him, but it still being a possibility scared him a little. He made a private mental note to try his hardest to never drive her away again.
Although their being separated wasn’t his fault. The Time Lords…it occurred to him that they never fully understood their relationship. They only had had one objective: to put him on trial again. As far as they were concerned Peri had died and Lisa could use her own abilities to leave Thoros Beta and so didn’t concern themselves with them.
He felt lucky that Lisa did try to get back to him even though her powers had failed in the attempts. He felt even luckier that, when they were finally reunited, she’d realized during her time away that she still cared for him just as he did for her. It hadn’t been enough to strengthen the link, but it was something.
The Doctor realized with a quiet chuckle that his thoughts had been all over the place, but it all boiled down to one thing: he loved Lisa, Lisa loved him, and he never wanted to be separated from her again. They’d shared a lot in their time together.
Sharing…now, that was a thought.
Beside him, Lisa gave him a gentle nudge and he realized that she’d finished reading her part. Doctor? she said telepathically. Are you okay?
He looked down at her and smiled. Yes, he said, but instead of continuing the narrative, he took the book from her hands and set it to the side. She gazed at him in confusion, silently asking him what he was doing.
He adjusted his position on the couch so they were both sitting up so that he could look at her properly. Gently caressing her cheek with the backs of his fingers, he said, I was just thinking about…well, everything.
She canted her head, frowning. As Time Lords were telepathic, and Time Lords by their nature were very secretive people, there was always a chance that he was unintentionally and unwillingly blocking her out, which seemed to be the case here.
He tucked a stray strand of her hair behind her ear. Just…when we met, when we fell in love, how I never stopped caring for you even if I couldn’t show it, when we fell in love again. He took her hands. I don’t ever want us to go through that again.
She squeezed his hands. I know. We won’t. I told you, I won’t let your personality alone affect my feelings for you again. I learned my lesson. She reached her hand up to touch his face. I’m here to stay.
He smiled at her. If he’d had any doubts about what he was about to do next, they were gone now. He knew it was the right thing to do. She deserved it.
“Lisa…” he said aloud, “I need to do something. Something I’ve never done…but I want to.”
She looked confused again. He knew there was one way that he could be open to her without any questions whatsoever. She’d explained it to him a long time ago. He took her face gently in his hand and brought her towards him. Trembling, he gently pressed his forehead to hers, closing his eyes. The link opened fully on his end, baring his soul to her.
Her eyes widened as the Doctor whispered to her. She felt overwhelmed and as if she’d just been let into a most exclusive club. What he was telling her floated around in her mind, heavy with the weight of the honor he’d just bestowed upon her. She found his hands and squeezed as the Doctor shared his deepest, darkest secret, the trust he was putting in her radiating off of him in waves. He loved her and he wanted…needed her to know. After a moment he caressed her cheek again, taking a deep breath, and cupped her face in his hands.
That…was my name.
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