Doctor Who: Hearts Song
By Jean Riddler
Magenta ran into blue into black as the sun’s rays relinquished their hold on the day to drown into a sea of burning colour. A loan dark figure was momentarily silhouetted before the fiery ocean returned to a black deadly sea. The figure did not move as another broke from the shadows of the tree lined shore to join the first.
Barbara encircled the Doctors shoulder with her arm, reassuringly, as they stood together, each trapped in their own thoughts, each apart but supporting the other.
“You don’t know the pain” the Doctor still looked upon the dark sea.
How could she say what she felt, meant, without sounding cold. “I don’t know your pain, I can’t feel how you loved, but I miss Susan as well” she paused “She meant a lot to me & Ian too”.
The Doctor spun round, knocking Barbara’s arm away, “She meant everything to me, everything” his gaze returned to the sea as he calmed down “when all others betrayed me, deserted me, left me; she stayed. She believed in me… perhaps she was my real granddaughter”.
Stars began to reflect in the expanse of water as the last of the evening clouds moved on, illuminating the sea as it washed gently, rhythmically over the pebbles.
Barbara heard his last comment, “Tell me about her mother”.
Star light reflected off the Doctors tears as he replied “It was a long time ago. I was young an idealistic and she was beautiful, noble but not a Time Lady. We were of different Houses and different classes, but we loved each other. Our worlds prejudices and etiquette did note enter into it” he paused to look at Barbara, tears openly flowing down his cheeks, “we thought we could change the system; but we couldn’t”
Barbara could almost physically feel the pain and loss she saw in his eyes.
“We consummated our love and she conceived a child. We thought that that would stop them parting us but, in hind sight, it probably made things worse”.
The sea continued it is unfailing rhythm; time passed between the Doctor and Barbara, but did not touch them.
“What happened to the child?”
The Doctor fixed his eyes out to sea, “Pressure was brought to bare by the High Council and she was transferred to another Citadel, whilst I was posted with an off world observation team… She was lost to me”, his voice began to break, “I never found out if I had a son or daughter, until Susan found me.”
“I’m sorry” she could think of nothing more.
The Doctor grabbed her by the shoulders, looking her straight in the eyes “have you ever loved; loved to the point of total self sacrifice?”
It was Barbara’s turn to look out to sea.
“I have had boyfriends. One or two of them I even thought I loved” it was a harder question to answer than she thought “it is only recently that I can say I have fallen in love”
“Yet Ian is not your lover”
Barbara was surprised at his directness, but then she should have expected no less. “No. And I won’t ask how you know”.
“He loves you, you know that?”
“Then why don’t you do something about it?”
Her answer was silence.
The Doctor was not letting the matter rest, “Don’t let the prejudices of your upbringing or world destroy your love as it did mine. You are free to choose who you wish to be with and you have but one short life to live. Live it to the full, as you do not know when it may end” he looked at her kindly “go to him…love him” he was almost pleading with her.
He released Barbara and returned his sight to a sea of memories. The moon finally joining his cloak of stars to cast an aerie light upon the still pair.
Barbara returned to the TARDIS, leaving the Doctor to his past.
Barbara found Ian in his room. Gently she knocked on the partially open door, “may I come in?”
Ian put down his book and smiled, “Only if I don’t have to get out of bed. I’ve just got comfortable”.
Barbara laughed nervously as she entered his room.
He patted the side of the bed she sat where he has indicated. “What can I do for you?” he asked.
“I…I don’t really quite know how to say this” she paused “I was talking to the Doctor. He’s not as cold as he always appears you know”.
Ian replied, almost to himself, “We all hide our true feelings at times”.
She stared at him, it was now or never. “I don’t want to hide my feelings. I don’t want to feel the pain and loss like that, like he has”.
Ian reached for her hand, “What is it Barbara?” the concern in his voice was obvious.
“I love you” she almost shouted out the words, then began to rise from the bed, as if to leave. Ian tightened his grip, gently holding her there.
“Barbara”, she looked at him, “I love you too. I was just too afraid to say anything as I wasn’t sure how you felt”.
The atmosphere broke into instant relief as she threw herself on the bed and kissed him.
The sky began to pale, as the moon in his turn relinquished the world to the Sun. The Doctor turned from his silent vigil, bidding goodbye to the ghosts of his past. He returned to the TARDIS.
He passed Barbara’s room, the door was open and the room was empty, her bed had not been slept in. Further on Ian’s door was slightly ajar. The Doctor could make out the two lovers, asleep in each others arms. He smiled as he made his way to his own room, his own dreams.