Title: Meant To Fade
Pairing: Tenth Doctor/Ross Jenkins
Fandom: Doctor Who
Table: 4, 50ficlets
Prompt: 19, Past
Disclaimer: This is entirely a product of my own imagination, and I make no profit from it. I do not own the Tenth Doctor or Ross Jenkins, just borrowing them for a while. Please do not sue.
***"How far back into your past can you remember clearly?" Ross asked the Doctor, raising an inquiring brow. "If you'd rather not talk about the past, then we don't have to, but I was just wondering if your memory gets cloudy when you think about times that long ago."
"Well, the Gallifreyan memory is longer than a human's," the Doctor mused, leaning back in his chair and looking up at the Tardis' ceiling. "But the Time Lord memory .... ah, that stretches back much further, Ross. It has to, given how many lives we have."
Ross nodded, still looking curious. "But those memories don't get hazy like a human's memories will when they get older, do they?" he persisted, feeling that the Doctor hadn't really answered his question. "The past is clearer for you, isn't it?"
The Doctor nodded, looking amused at Ross' words. "Yes, our memories have a tendency to stay sharp," he confirmed, tilting his head to the side and regarding his young lover quizzically. "Why do you want to know, love? Some sudden interest in Time Lord memory?"
"I was just wondering because .... well ...." Ross looked down at his hands, blushing. "There are so many things about my life before I met you that are getting hazy now. Things that I feel like I should remember a lot more clearly, but I don't."
"And you were wondering if my memory lasted longer than yours seems to?" the Doctor asked, his voice gentle. "Yes, my memory spans hundreds of years, Ross. It has to. I can remember some things from my childhood as clearly as if they happened yesterday."
"I wish I could remember things that clearly," Ross said with a sigh. "I had a good childhood, but there are so many things that are fuzzy now, things that I wish I could look back on and remember and smile about. But they're just .... gone."
"Most memories are like that, sweetheart," the Doctor told him, his tone soft and gentle. "Memories are designed to fade, Ross. They're not supposed to linger. Especially the more painful ones," he added, his voice catching slightly in his throat as he spoke.
Ross was immediately aware of that little hesitation in the Time Lord's words; he had become sensitive to his lover's moods, and he could tell that his question had brought back some memories that the Doctor might rather not have in his mind.
"I wish I could take away all of your bad memories," he said, the words tumbling out before he could hold them back. "I wish there was some way I could wave a magic wand, and then only the good memories of your past would be able to come through."
Slowly, the Doctor shook his head, negating Ross' words. "That's a lovely thought, Ross, but it wouldn't work. You see, all of our memories -- even the bad ones -- make up the person we become. I wouldn't want to lose those bad memories. It would change me too much."
The young man nodded, musing over the Time Lord's words. He was right, really. The experiences and memories of the past, even the bad ones, had made him the person he was today -- and that was the person who the Doctor had fallen in love with.
Besides, he liked the person he was. He liked his present -- and even his past, even if there had been some parts of it that hadn't been all that great when he was living through them. They'd at least given him the experience of knowing what not to do in his life.
The Doctor was definitely right, Ross thought, a smile spreading over his face. The past was behind him, and he couldn't change it -- but he could take the parts of it that had molded him into who he was and cherish them. Even the bad memories.
"Does that answer your question?" the Doctor asked, raising an eyebrow. "Yes, my memory lasts longer than humans -- and even longer than other Gallifreyans. But then, a Time Lord's life -- if you look at each body as an extension of the same life -- lasts much longer, too."
Ross nodded, smiling at the Doctor as he went to where the Time Lord was sitting and bent down to press a kiss to the other man's cheek. "Yes, that answers my question," he said, laughing. "And very well, too. I don't think I'll ever worry about my memories getting hazy again."
"They're meant to fade with time, Ross," the Time Lord told him, tipping his head back and looking up into the young man's face. "Memories are built that way for a reason. But the good ones stay with you always, even if they're a little blurred around the edges."
"I don't mind them blurring -- as long as they don't disappear," Ross said with another smile. He was happy to let those memories fade around the edges a little -- though he hoped that the best things about his past would be there in his mind and his heart forever.
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