The Long Walk
The Doctor landed the TARDIS in the car park of one of the
hotels along the beach in Dubai.
It was a city that was just beginning to find itself. New construction was
being erected in many places. It was a reason why Jenro could hide his
spaceship so easily.
They left the blue box behind and headed towards the beaches. He walked slightly behind Isabelle. He watched her take off her boots and socks, tie the laces together and throw them over her shoulder. A slight breeze blew off the water tossing her red headed ponytail to and fro. She kicked lightly at the sand. The afternoon sun shone down upon them. The Doctor gazed at her. She wasn't an alarmingly beautiful woman like you see in magazines. She had a simple elegance about her, as though her face belonged to another time.
Isabelle slowed her pace until the Doctor was walking beside her.
"Can I ask you something?" Isabelle said as they strolled the beach.
"Absolutely," the Doctor answered.
"But you don't know what I'm going to ask," she said cheekily.
"Doesn't mean I have to answer," he chided. They both chuckled. "Go on, then."
"Why didn't we come when Jenro would be at the airport. Why come in the afternoon? I mean, I know we jumped in time anyway, but why not a bit further?" she asked.
He took a deep breath and turned to her. "Mostly because of you. I thought you might like this."
"Oh, well, it is very lovely," she said tucking a loose strand of hair behind her ear. "Thank you."
They exchanged small smiles as they walked. She had so many more questions for him. Questions about what they were doing now. Questions about his space travel. Questions about time travel. Questions about him. She had to start somewhere.
"Why is Jenro taking the eggs to the Moon?" she continued to question.
"The Krassen lay their eggs on various moons with the Frathen Plar taking care of them until they hatch. Then they return to their planet. The Earth Moon happens to be just right. They bury the eggs in darkness. In this case, on the dark side of the moon. The New Moon portion of the story is just superstition. They think the offspring will have a better chance of survival," the Doctor explained.
"That's is so amazing that one species takes care of another. They aren't slaves or anything like that?" Isabelle said.
"No. Complete free will. Not all Frathen Plars help the Krassen," he informed her. "What else do you want to know?"
"Everything," she answered breathlessly.
"No one can possibly know everything," he said.
"You do," she stated.
"There is plenty I don't know."
"Name one thing you don't know."
He hesitated for a moment. His face contorted as he tried to think of something. He glanced over at her. "You. I don't know much about you," he answered seriously.
"My turn to ask you something."
"All right then," she replied.
"I know you have a job at the airport, you mentioned it earlier. What do you do there?"
"I'm an office clerk."
"Sounds boring," the Doctor said putting his hands into his trouser pockets.
"Not really. Keeps me busy. I like organizing files and keeping records."
"Do you wish you did something else?" he asked her. She thought for a moment.
"I think everyone does. I would have liked to be a historian."
"Not an astronomer?" he questioned bewildered by her answer. She had the star charts and the interest in aliens.
"No," she said with a chuckle. "That's just a
hobby. Besides, how do you learn about a new alien?"
"I ask them questions," he answered.
"Usually about their past, correct? If we have a solid knowledge of our past, then any aliens we meet can understand what we have been through to get to where we are at that moment," she told him. He nodded in understanding.
"So, why aren't you a historian?" he asked.
"A lot of reasons," she said somberly. The look on her face was of disappointment. He didn't press the matter.
Isabelle glanced over at the Doctor and questioned, "Why do you travel alone, Doctor? Don't you have family back on Gallifrey?"
His features fell into one of sadness.
"No," he said plaintively and kept his eyes forward. "My planet is gone, along with everyone on it. I'm the only one left."
"How is it gone? Did it disappear? Oh, or did it . . .," then pursing her lips she emanated a guttural sound to imitate an explosion.
"There was a Great Time War between the Time Lords on Gallifrey and the Daleks of Skaro. The Daleks had the upper hand. There was only one way to end it, to stop the Daleks. I destroyed them, and my planet. I was the only one to survive. I'm the last Time Lord."
Isabelle stopped walking but the Doctor kept going for a few more steps. He finally stopped and to look back at her. Sorrow stained her visage as she gaped in his direction. Both sets of eyes glistened with tears in the sunlight. He immediately down cast his eyes upon the sand. She moved closer to him and touched his arm.
"I'm so sorry. Had I known, I wouldn't have asked."
"I know you didn't. You're the first person I've told since it happened. Although, I'm sure news of it has spread throughout the galaxies."
"Should I feel privileged knowing what you did? Because I don't. I feel sad. You're the last of your kind. That means when you die, Time Lords will be extinct."
"When you put it that way, yeah," he said melancholy.
"Is there any possibility that some of them have survived?"
"No," he said firmly.
Isabelle looked away perplexed. She embraced herself as she stood there.
After the Doctor glanced at her, he forcibly grinned and said, "Come on, there are still miles of beach to walk."
The Doctor began walking off before Isabelle did. She wasn't sure she wanted to continue to walk. Maybe she was asking too many questions. Then again, he hadn't told her to stop. He looked back to see if she was coming. She then began to walk and caught up with him.
The Doctor asked, "I noticed you didn't have photos of family in your home. Don't you have parents, significant other, or children?"
"No," she said flatly. Her face became hard.
He looked at her curiously.
"There's no one?"
"No," she said again with more force.
The Doctor's brow furrowed as he watched her pick up her pace and move away from him.
Isabelle had stopped a short distance from him and sat in the sand looking out towards the water. The Doctor joined her. They both stared at the water as it lapped against the sand. It was a good minute before Isabelle said anything.
"My family is gone as well," she stated simply. She continued to direct her attention to the water as she spoke. "I never knew my true parents. My adoptive mum and dad are dead. They died in a car accident when I was eighteen. I didn't like being on my own so I married not long after their death. He died in an accident at work two years ago. We never had children. We tried, but I am unable. Now, it's just me."
The Doctor gazed at her with bewilderment. "Now, it's my turn to be sorry," the Doctor said softly.
"I guess we don't have to be sorry to each other. We both know what it's like to be by ourselves. Yeah, sure, there are still humans around, but, most times, I feel utterly alone," she said with tears welling in her eyes.
She blinked and he watched as a single tear fell from her eye leaving a trail on her cheek that shown in the sunlight. She shivered slightly.
"Are you cold?" the concerned Doctor asked. He was ready to take his jacket off and put it over her shoulders.
"No, not really," she answered trying to sound more cheerful. "I like the cold, always have." Isabelle smiled.
An immediate image came to the Doctor. In her mind he saw her sitting in front of her fireplace curled up on her couch with a cup of tea snuggled next to empty faced man. Then the image changed to their current sitting position, but in her mind he sat closer beside her with his arm draped around her.
"Ah," the Doctor said with a chuckle. "We never did have that cup of tea."
"What was that?" she asked turning towards him.
"Nothing," he replied promptly. He avoided eye contact with her as he looked from the sand to the water and out to the sky.
"No. You said something about a cup of tea. I was just thinking . . . . Hold on. Can you . . . ? Did you just read my mind?" Casually, he glanced towards her from the corner of his eye.
"I have the ability, yes," he replied.
"Stay out of my head," she said enunciating every word.
"I don't do it often. It ruins some situations." He mumbled the latter.
"Well, I'm telling you to stay out of my head. Gah, now I feel naked," she said as she wrapped her coat tighter around herself. "Oh, no, please don't see that image that just popped in my mind."
"I'm not," he lied. He smirked.
He looked over at her as though he was about to say something to defend himself but he saw the amused expression on her face. She started to laugh. It made him smile and laugh as well.
"We haven't properly kissed and you've already seen me naked," she said still laughing.
The Doctor smirked. He leaned over and gave her a kiss on the cheek.
"There. Now, you've been kissed," he said with a grin.
Isabelle appeared to be stunned for a moment as she touched her cheek where he had kissed her. He looked away. Their laughter subsided as the sound of the crashing waves on the beach took over.
"Are you hungry?" again he asked out of the blue.
"Yeah, now that you mention it," she said.
"Get your boots on. We'll go have lunch before retrieving Jenro," he told her.
Isabelle brushed off her feet to put on her socks and boots. The Doctor helped pull her up to a standing position once her laces were tied. They walked towards the solid ground of concrete and asphalt.
The Doctor decided to take the TARDIS since walking where they needed to go would be nearly impossible. Isabelle happened to remind them that they needed money. Working his sonic screwdriver magic at a cashpoint, the Doctor managed to get enough money for breakfast, lunch, tea, and supper for the next week, or so she told him.
When he stopped next, the TARDIS stood on a sandy lot near a strip of buildings. Wonderful smells originated from one of the buildings which the Doctor was walking towards. Isabelle followed.
Inside, there was a handwritten menu of all sorts of bakery items tacked onto the wall. It wasn't much to speak of. It was a bit dingy. The beverage cooler hummed loudly in the corner. Isabelle hoped the food was better than the atmosphere. They chose a variety of items. The Doctor told her to order after explaining how the Tardis interpreted the language around her to her native tongue using a telepathic field. This delighted her so she stepped up to the counter and gave their order.
As the items were gathered, the Doctor stood with his arms crossed standing slightly behind Isabelle. He could still see her in profile and she gave one man a pleasant smile as he stood there behind the counter. The man looked at her with intrigue. Then he retreated into the kitchen. Isabelle took a step back from the counter to stand even with the Doctor. She tucked the bothersome strand of hair behind her ear again and cleared her throat. She avoided looking at the men now. The man that retreated into the kitchen emerged with a friend who was wiping his hands off on a towel. The man who had taken the order grunted. She looked up and approached the counter cautiously. He told her the total and she gingerly paid what was due.
The Doctor watched her trepidation towards the man. He quickly took a gander at each man. They were ogling her! With a quick read through the men's thoughts, it was obvious they were very lonely men with only one thing in mind. The Doctor grabbed the bag of food in one hand and Isabelle's hand in the other. Outside, his swift steps took him towards the TARDIS practically dragging her behind him. Looking behind them to make sure they were not followed, he made sure she was in the box first, then he slammed the door.
Setting the coordinates to the airport this time, he avoided looking at her. Once they landed, he stormed out of the TARDIS in a rage. She stepped out cautiously. He stood stoic with his hands clenched into fists.
"Can I ask what that was all about?" she asked carefully.
"Those men," he seethed.
"So? They were looking at me. It happens," she said brushing it off.
"Their thoughts," he spat.
"What were they thinking about?" she questioned realizing he must have read their minds.
The Doctor turned and glared at her with blue eyes that were now dark storm clouds. The hatred and loathing that emanated from the Doctor would have killed those men had they still been standing in his presence. Ever muscle was tense throughout his body.
"Vile musings," he growled.
"About me?" she asked hesitantly.
"Yes about you!" he flared. "I keep forgetting there are nasty people in this world. I just peered into the minds of a group of men that turned my stomach. No man should think that way. I never would. It's disgusting."
"So I guess lunch is out?" Isabelle said nonchalantly.
"How can you be so passive about this?" he fumed.
"Because I don't know what they were thinking exactly. I have my suspicions. And I would rather keep it that way, especially after your reaction. I just want to move on and forget it happened," she calmly came back at him.
The Doctor took a deep breath and avoided eye contact with Isabelle.
"If you're not going to eat, that's fine. But I'm going back in the TARDIS," she stated as she turned to walk back into the blue box.
The Doctor chanced a glance at her as he watched her disappear. He sighed heavily and followed her with deliberate steps.
Isabelle was already sitting on the jump seat when he entered. He hesitated at the ramp. He stood there like a shadow of himself, dark and looming.
"Not bad for men who have vulgar imaginations," she stated as she casually glanced over at him.
The Doctor raised an eyebrow. With unhurried steps, he approached the bench then sat down next to her. She took the bag off the console and handed it to him. He took out one of the flat breads and took a bite.
"Seems they put their efforts into baking rather than their carnal nature," he stated. Isabelle nearly choked as she laughed. The Doctor's hard expression melted away when he saw her smile. He finished his bread before saying, "I'm sorry I reacted in such a harsh manner."
"There is nothing to be sorry about. They didn't harm me and you didn't harm them. I suspect your blood sugar was low. You seem to be fine now that you have eaten," she concluded. The slightest of smiles hung on his lips. "So what do we do now?" she asked as she brushed the crumbs off her front.
"We wait for Jenro to arrive at the airport," he stated.
"Where should we wait?"
"Wait inside the airport or here in the TARDIS, if you like."
She leaned back on the seat. "Staying here wouldn't be all that bad," she replied with a smile.
"I could give you a tour," he offered.
"Really? There's more?" she said looking around.
"Of course there's more," he replied.
The Doctor went behind where they were sitting. He pressed on one of the circles inset in a hexagonal cut-out in the wall. It dematerialized to reveal a passageway.
"Are you kidding me?" she questioned getting off the seat to walk around to the opening of the corridor.
"Nope," he responded. "I'll show where the kitchen is, and the bathroom. That's always useful. Then I can show you the library, the lounge, the smoking room. I don't know why that room is always so smoky?" He grinned.
"A smoking room that just smokes?" she questioned.
"Fantastic!" she said with a laugh.
The Doctor gestured for her to go down the corridor first. He followed up behind her. There was a short corridor before it branched out to the left and right.
"Which way?" Isabelle asked.
"You pick," he answered. She turned left. Isabelle's eyes were bright and searching. When she came to a door, she stopped. It was slightly ajar.
"What's in here?"
"Storage," he said ushering her forward to the next door.
"Oh, okay," she said moving.
At the next door, the Doctor said, "Try opening the door." Isabelle tried the handle but nothing happened. "Now, put your hand on the door," as he pressed buttons on a keypad behind a small panel door beside the door. Isabelle hesitated. "It's not going to bite you."
She pressed her hand against the door. "Ow!" she yelped and withdrew her hand. "It did bite me!"
"No, it didn't. It took a DNA sample. This is your room now. Only you can open the door," he informed her. "Try the handle now."
She was hesitated again but managed to open it without incident.
"See," he said.
"Fantastic," she uttered as she walked in.
The large room had an ultra modern chair and a dresser in black but nothing else. The walls were bare and stark white. The floor was solid and the same color as the walls. The room glowed all on its own without visible lighting.
"Oh," she said rather disappointed.
The Doctor stepped in after her. "Oh, sorry. It's in default mode," he mentioned. "I can fix that but it takes a while.
"No, that's okay. It's fine," she said.
"Really?" he said. She nodded. "Okay, moving on."
They went out of her room and continued on down the corridor. He showed her where the kitchen, dining room, library, and the smoking room were down a series of other corridors. They had just came out of the smoking room.
Isabelle was coughing as she spoke, "And that's all it does?"
"Yeah. I can never stay in there long enough to figure out why it's smoking," he replied closing the door and waving at the air around him.
"What about using a scuba mask or even a space suit, something with an oxygen tank?"
"I never thought of that," he said looking surprised. Isabelle chuckled.
"Um, there is a room I absolutely must see," she said.
"Which room is that?"
"Oh, yeah," he uttered. "I'll show you." He walked back the way they came. A few paces down he stood in front of a door.
"Here we are," he said and was just about to walk off when she stopped him by grabbing his leather clad arm.
"Do you think you could wait for me? I don't think I could find my way back," she said sheepishly and let go of his arm.
"Really? It's not that difficult to get back. You just go down here, make right, pass about seven doors, then turn left. Continue on until you see the door marked with . . . ," he said dragging out the last few words detecting that she wasn't going to remember all the verbal cues. "I'll just wait right here."
"I appreciate it. I won't be long," she said as she went in.
Inside, she leaned against the closed door and took a deep breath. She then did her business and washed up at the sink splashing some water on her face as well. She glanced at herself in the mirror as she grabbed a towel. The woman staring back at her was more vibrant and alert. There was a glow about her. Isabelle touched her cheek, as did her reflection in the mirror.
"Are you all right in there?" the Doctor's muffled voice sounded through the door.
"Yes," she said turning from the mirror. "I'm absolutely fine." This she said quieter and more to herself as she caught one more glance in the mirror at her shining image.
She opened the door and saw the Doctor standing there with his hands in his trouser pockets leaning against the wall.
"All set?" he inquired. She nodded with a dreamy smile.
He started walking back towards the direction they had come. She followed behind him. When they came near her room she stopped.
"I'm going to take one more look around my room," she said as she put her hand on the handle.
"Okay," he said and continued on. He turned right to go back to the console room.
Isabelle took her hand off the handle and walked down to the one door they passed that was cracked open. She paused in front of it then gave it a slight nudge. It swung open. From the doorway, she saw a leather club chair and a small round side table. Looking down the corridor, she made sure the Doctor hadn't double backed, then she ventured into the room.
There were oak carved wood panels that lined the walls. The floor was similar but it was polished so that you could see yourself in it. Oriental rugs covered over most of the opulent flooring. Mahogany book shelves dotted themselves around the walls like Scot Guards looming high overhead touching the twelve foot ceilings. Each unit was stuffed full of books.
"This is definitely not storage," she muttered to herself.
Approaching the book shelf directly across from her, she grazed over the books reading the spines. There were classics such as The Tale of Two Cities but also more recent titles like Life of Pi.
At first glance, the room seemed to be a study or library of sorts as she continued to peruse the bookshelves, except tucked into an alcove on the left side of the room was a bed. It was similar to the one she had at home, a canopy bed with heavy curtains tied to the bed posts. The curtains were dark as night almost black but there was a hue of blue in them. As she got closer to the bed, she saw it was untouched. Dust lay in the creases of the curtains. The duvet had not been turned down for some time. Everything else in the room was spotless.
"I see you found my room."
His voice startled her and she spun around on the spot. He didn't seem upset. He had his arms crossed over his chest and was leaning against the shelf where she had discovered The Time Traveler's Wife.
"I'm sorry, the door was open. I thought it was a library," she responded hastily.
"It's alright, Isabelle," he said putting his arms down and strolling over towards her. He stuck his hands into his pockets and stopped a few feet from her.
"It's a beautiful room," she commented.
"You like it?" he questioned.
"Yeah, I do. It looks like it should be in a castle, not in a time and space ship," she stated moving towards one of the shelves.
"I usually decorate rooms to represent places and time periods I've been to. I have a small bedroom that mirrors the one on the Titanic. I have game room that is very reminisce of the 1980s," he explained.
"I bet that would take me back to my childhood," she said with a chuckle.
"Which one?" the Doctor asked.
"Are you serious?" she quipped.
"No," he said with a smile. "How old are you anyway?"
"I'm twenty-four," she answered turning her attention to the books.
"Just in the prime of your life. I came at a good time. It'll give you lots of stories to tell your grandkids," he said light-heartedly.
Isabelle didn't move. She just stared at the books in front of her.
"Isabelle," he said softly. She did not acknowledge him. "Isabelle, I'm sorry. I was stupid for saying that."
She still didn't respond to him. He moved in front of her. She had no choice but to look at him, although she kept him out of focus.
"Please talk to me," he pleaded. "You are all I have."
"That's a lie," she said just above a whisper. Pulling him into focus, she looked him in the eye. "You have all of time and space to talk to anyone. I have no one. Everyone I have loved is gone. I have no friends, no family, nothing. I will never have children or grandchildren. I thought you would remember that."
"You have me," the Doctor said. "And I have you. As much as you would like to believe I have anyone to talk to in the universe, look around. Is anyone here travelling with me other than you?"
Isabelle gazed at him and her shoulders relaxed.
"Right now, we have two choices," he told her seriously. "We can make tea here or go out for tea while we wait for Jenro?"
She shook her head as her face broke into a smile.
"Let's go out for tea and wait for Jenro," she offered serenely.
"All right," he said with a nod and held out his hand to her. She gladly took it.