You’d think the Doctor would have gotten the hang of this after a few millennia, but turns out that some lessons, you never really learn—this particular one being: Feelings are a lot.
She’s never felt happier, she thinks; but she also feels a Sword of Damocles hanging over her head in the form of her apparently imminent death. (As for Damocles himself, he’d been fine after the Doctor had given Dionysus II a firm talking-to, but never mind that just now.) And this constant push-pull between joy and despair—both emotions stripped of the armor she insulated them inside in the past—is bloody exhausting.
And so the Doctor indulges in what has become an alarming but gratifying new habit these days: She talks about it. Actually out loud. With her words.
“Feelings are a lot!”
Yasmin Khan looks up from where she’s lounging on a patch of cerulean moss, reading a book whose title the Doctor can’t make out. “Hullo to you, too. And I’m gonna do you a favor and not ask for context.”
“You’re the context,” the Time Lord says, flopping down beside her. “You’re the text, really. The whole novel. A 300-volume encyclopedia.”
“Mmm, tell me more about my word count,” Yaz says, bending down to plant a kiss on the Doctor’s lips.
“Lengthy. Erudite. Cult classic, not bestseller.”
“Did you just quote the Streets at me?”
“S’pose I did.”
“How millennial of you.”
“Which millennium?” the Doctor asks.
“The Earth one.”
“Oh, yes, of course, that one millennium the planet Earth has had.”
At some point during their banter-slash–makeout sesh, Yaz has rolled on top of the Doctor, and the warm, human weight of her is now pushing the Doctor’s body into the plushy moss, her breath sweet against the Doctor’s mouth. Lovely. Nice. Happy.
“This is what I’m saying, Yaz! Feelings!”
Yaz laughs. “Okay, now I do need context.”
“I just…I really love you, and you make me really happy, and it’s bonkers.” Not the Doctor’s most eloquent speech ever, but it gets the point across.
“I love you too,” Yaz says easily, because it is easy these days, for them to say things like this to each other.
“But I’m also really sad sometimes? Because…you know, the whole ‘Your time is heading to its end’ thing. And I just feel both these things at once, all the time, and it’s…”
“...A lot,” Yaz finishes for her.
“Yeah. And it’s not like there’s anything to do about it. It’s all very new for me.”
“It’s new for me, too.” Yaz sits up, and the light of the purple sun on the horizon strikes the peaks and valleys of her face, casting them in bronze, and she’s so beautiful that the Doctor wants to die. (Except that she specifically doesn’t want to die. That’s the whole problem!)
“Does it scare you?” the Doctor asks.
“’Course it does. You know it does. And it also makes me really happy, and really sad. But that’s just life, yeah?”
It’s a sign how much she’s grown since the two of them finally made it official that the Doctor doesn’t say anything like, I don’t deserve you, or Run! Run away from me as fast as you can before I inevitably and irreparably hurt you!
Instead, she says, honestly: “Historically, my reaction to this sort of thing is to pop off into the middle of an intergalactic war or something so I don’t have to, y’know, think about it. The feelings.”
“Sometimes you just have to sit in them, I suppose.”
“Sitting still and feeling things. Right. I’m top-shelf at that.”
Yaz smiles knowingly. She always knows. “I mean more like metaphorically sit in them. You can still run around and have daft adventures and all that while you’re feeling feelings.”
“That sounds like a lot of multitasking.”
“…Says the woman who spent the morning repairing the Chronometric Astrometer while simultaneously brewing tea and giving Dan a lecture on the history of the Lost Moon of Poosh.”
“Have I ever told you it’s very sexy when you casually remember the names of TARDIS components?”
“You may have mentioned. And I may have been studying up on schematics to impress you.”
“Is that right?”
With a wicked grin, Yaz leans in until her breath is tickling the Doctor’s ear. “Thermo-Buffer. Zigzag Plotter,” she whispers. “Artron Energy Capacitor. Lambent Tachyonic Visualizer.”
“Yasmin Khan, we are way too far from our bedroom right now for you to be engaging in this level of foreplay. It’s downright irresponsible.”
“Sometimes I get to be the reckless one in this relationship.”
The Doctor balks at this. “Blimey, does that mean I have to be the reasonable one?”
They look out across the vast expanse of Philadelphia (the planet, not the city)—its vistas of creeping ivy spires, giant snails making their glacial way across the landscape—and the Doctor allows herself to feel, for just a moment, content.