Characters: 11th Doctor, River Song
Summary: Despite his boyish exterior, the Doctor was not a boy. Most people refused to see below the surface...
He wasn't a boy. That's what most people couldn't see.
He was adorable. With that little boy mouth, and those innocent eyes. His twirly joy in fezzes and bowties and fascination with new experiences and enthusiasm with which he'd grab a companion's hand and drag them off to show them something exciting.
But he wasn't a boy.
River had seen him in all different moods. And she'd seen him when companions and other people weren't around.
It was true, he did have boundless enthusiasm for the universe. For everything, no matter how big or small.
But it came at a price. Because under all the enthusiasm and innocence he preferred to portray, and experience, was a man older, and more responsible, than anyone humanity had ever met.
He had a bright and shining soul. She'd seen it for herself. But it was a soul covered in scars. Like a sun that shines brightly from a distance, but up close is turmoil and passion and danger. Notes of black among the brightness. Blight upon the cauldron of starshine.
He preferred to ignore it. He, unlike most people, understood that there was no going back. There was no "timey-wimey" for the soul. Everything that had happened to him had happened, and they'd all left their mark.
Just as she knew she would leave hers.
Sometimes you could see it, in the quiet moments, when he thought no one was watching.
A soul as hard as dwarf star alloy. Not because of anger, but because he had to be that hard, to be as gentle as he was.
People who saw them together thought she was the hard one, the dangerous one, the one who had been shaped by the monsters.
But next to him she was a babe. For a human, yes, she'd been through the crucible. She'd found herself in the fire that burns away all pretense.
But he was the crucible. There was a point beyond the point where iron melted and impurities burned away.
A point beyond any hope of cooling, and forming into any one pure image.
People thought the Doctor changing his face was just a metaphor, or a handy trick. An evolutionary bonus for those lucky enough to have been born Time Lords.
What they don't see, is that one face would never be enough. Too much churned under that surface. Too many pasts, too many possibilities, too many scars, too many hopes.
Oh, he was not a boy. And he was not a god. He was what he chose to be.
He was innocence, and joy, and discovery, he was enthusiasm and foolishness, he was gentleness and resolve.
He was wonderful. And manifold. And consciously chose who he would be, who he would present himself as to the world. It was play, but it was truth, it was discovery, and it was all one.
Those dark, gentle eyes would so often be blind, staring silently into the past, into a maelstrom inside that birthed and destroyed and reformed and shone out into the universe with such a beautiful light...