Journey

My own Doctor Who fanfic. Don't be too put off by it, I think its rather good

It happened in my usual spot, I was just sitting on the bench across the street from an old brick apartment building. I am a people-watcher, like a bird watcher with people. When I notice an interesting person, I take note of what they look like and what they are doing at the time that I see them. That was when I met the strangest man of all. I was sitting on the bench finishing off a few notes on a woman with pink a cheetah print skirt and tennis shoes, looking like she stepped right out of the American 50s, when I saw him. 

He’s just standing there, his hands in his pockets; the look on his face isn’t easy to place. His eyes look old, as if his twenty-or-so years are just an illusion.

            With those strangely old eyes he looked into the distance, his face was calm, yet pained. I couldn’t see any signs of a wound of anything else that could cause him pain. He was breathing hard, like he just ran a mile. Well, I would be panting too if I had just beaten back an alien invasion.  I watched the stranger leaning on that old brick wall for a few minutes, when I noticed a change in his stance. He wasn’t breathing hard anymore, in fact it seems as though he’s stopped breathing altogether. My eyes travel to his face. He didn’t look hurt, or calm anymore. I thought at first he looked angry, but the expression on his face was more complex than that: kind of sad, longing, surprised, maybe annoyed and lonely, all behind a feigned blank stare, looking right at me. All of those conflicting emotions seem to be aimed at me. I feel stuck, glued to the park-bench across the street. My pen was poised above the open notebook on my lap, stopped mid-description. He began to push away from the wall, I shift my feet ready to bolt at any moment. I think he notices and leans back against the wall.

            If we had been having a staring contest I would have lost long before. He never seemed to blink and his eyes never left my face. I put down my pen, balancing it on my notebook, not taking my eyes off his. Minutes pass, the staring contest continues. I’d shifted back into my original position, but I hadn’t taken up my pen again. I was frozen, staring. I was starting to find it hard to think; I shut my eyes and shook my head to clear it. When I opened my eyes, the stranger had moved. He was no longer leaning against the wall. He was walking steadily towards my bench. It was too late to run. I just sat, holding my notebook and watching him cross the street. When he reached the bench he just sat next to me, not saying a word. Glancing sideways at him I added more detail to him in my notebook.

His eyes are hazel, and deep set in his face, he looks like the type who would smile easily, but now there seems to be something on his mind, his face is determined.

I ran out of description for his face so I decided to concentrate on his clothes because they had more descriptive possibilities.

He’s wearing nice shoes, but they are covered in dust and look as if he has worn them everywhere, and dark slacks, nothing out of the ordinary. He is also wearing a brown tweed jacket with patches on the sleeves; like the kind that men over the age of sixty wear. The jacket fell back when he sat down, revealing that he’s also wearing braces (suspenders), also mostly only worn by older men, not young people in their twenties.

I had to ask, breaking the silence that had reigned for the past twenty minutes.

            “How old are you?”

He just stared at me. I could see why, I had been watching him when he beat the aliens, and observing him since; it was not the question that most people would ask. I still wanted an answer so I gestured with my hands that he should answer my question. He thought about his answer for a minute, he opened his mouth several times to say something, but each time he closed it and thought some more. I hadn’t realized that I had asked such a hard question, and opened my mouth to apologize but his hand flashed up to stop me from talking.

“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you,” he said solemnly, I gave me a “try me” look because his hand still covered my mouth. He just shook his head and dropped his hand. I stayed quiet for a minute, thinking.

            “Twenty-five?” I guessed.

He shook his head.

“Twenty-six?” I tried again.

He gave me an exasperated look

“What part of ‘you wouldn’t believe me if I told you’ didn’t you understand?”

I thought about it again.

“This sounds like that one scene from the Lord of the Rings, where this girl’s trying to figure out how old this guy is and he looks like, thirty right? So she keeps guessing and he’s eighty-seven! Are you eighty-seven?” I spoke in a rush, trying to get all of my thoughts out at once. In answer to my recent guess he just shook his head again, but this time with a small smile.

“Stop guessing I’m not eighty-seven.”

I stopped guessing and we sat in silence for a few minutes. I took out my notebook again. He looked at it curiously; I flipped it closed to show him the cover.

“It’s my people watching journal,” I explain. “Like some people have a bird watching journal? Well, I have one for people.” He took my journal and flipped through it, smiling at some entries, nodding at others, when he got to his entry he read it carefully, smiling at my attempt at deciding his mood, laughing quietly at my comments about his confusing age. He put the notebook down after a few minutes and just looked at me. I tried staring back, but his eyes were much more intense up close and I had to look away.

“You’re good at reading people.” He said. I smiled and we sat in silence for a few more minutes.

“I’m 910.” He said deliberately. I stared at him open mouthed. After a minute he tapped my chin and my mouth snapped shut.

“Say again?” I tried to clear my brain. He smiled.

“I’m 910 years old. I told you that you wouldn’t believe me.” He jumped off the bench startling me. He was still smiling.

“You’re wearing a bow-tie.” I state simply, still dumb-struck at his age. He reaches up to straighten the tie. I smile and jump up, clutching my pen and notebook to my chest.

“I forgot to ask, what’s your name?” I ask, coming to my senses and remembering that I don’t know it. He thinks for a moment.

“I ask tough questions don’t I?” I observe. He shakes his head, shrugging.

“Nah, it’s just because you’re asking me these questions.” He replies.

“What’s so diffe-” I stop mid-question. I had been about to ask ‘what was so different about you,’ when I realized that there was more to him that meets the eye. The aliens for example.

“So, what is your name?” I venture.

“I’m the Doctor.”

The End

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