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[Note: This was used as a writing sample for [ profile] luministi.]

Into the Universe

In the back of an auditorium filled full to burst with students, teachers, and a number of representatives from varied news agencies stood the Doctor. He had an amused, but proud smile playing on his lips as he listened to the lone speaker up on stage. Not because the speaker was a comedian of any kind, no. Though, to be fair, a few of the man's past theories had rather tickled him from how close, yet so far, he was to the truth because even a great mind like his was limited by the human thought processes.

But he couldn't help admiring this great thinker, this brilliant man confined to a wheelchair. He'd always meant to sit in at one of the man's lectures before, but was always distracted by some other adventure, impending invasion, or the odd shopping excursion he couldn't wheedle out of. Or he'd been waylaid somewhere else entirely, thanks to a minor malfunction of the TARDIS' controls. So, he had put it off, and put it off, and seeing as he'd landed on Earth again at this point in time with nothing else earning his attentions, he figured he might as well finally go see the man speak.

It was before the invasions of Earth had earned their own media circuses. Before the Slitheen made their mark on Big Ben and the Sycorax had stumbled upon the space probe "Guinevere One". He almost missed those days when the general population of his beloved humans were still sheltered from the knowledge that other species existed besides their own. At the same time, however, he was glad they knew. That knowledge would eventually spur them to explore the vast reaches of the universe and discover so many great and terrible things. The descendants of every person in the room with him would see and do things their ancestors never thought possible.

All except, that is, for the man speaking right now, the one who would later postulate on the presence of life throughout the universe and how it could affect those on this planet--and come so close to the truth.

At one point in time, he'd thought about giving the man a glimpse at the universe he very much loved. The Doctor more than understood that love and curiosity, and if there was ever a man born who did so more than he, it was this one. Oh, the discussions they'd have while gazing at any number of nebulae in the universe! He'd let the man choose which one to start with, naturally. And of course, as they spoke for hours on end, he'd prove just how very wrong some of those theories and formulae of his had been, but all in good fun, really.

And maybe, had this day come sooner in the Doctor's life, he would have approached the man after the speech and arranged to meet him after everyone else had gone so he could invite him in for the ride of a lifetime.

As the crowd began to thin and the camera crews had packed up at last, the Doctor found himself standing in front of the greatest theoretical physicist, a broad grin on his face even as the sadness of his decision filled his chest. He knew he couldn't show this man, of all people, the wonders of the universe. There were still so many important things he had to do, and the Doctor couldn't let any harm come to this man thanks to any meddling done to his timeline.

So instead of leaning down and issuing those words, he merely said, "Thank you. Thank you for being so brilliant. You are right, you know."

And then he walked away.

Character: The Tenth Doctor
Word count: 617
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The Doctor

November 2011

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