Companions Anonymous (Doctor Who)

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Rose stepped off the bus into the chilling London air, wrapping her jacket tighter around her. The breeze pulled at the strands of her blonde hair, trying to tug them out of the rubber band that carefully held them in place. She walked up the steps, pulling the faded blue door open and stepping inside. 

The room was empty, save a few mismatched folding chairs arranged in a circle in the middle of the room. Just as it always was when she arrived; the others didn't get there until a few minutes before it started. Rose took a seat and waited, fighting the urge, to get up and walk back out the door. 

Martha and Mickey arrived next. Martha gave Rose a small smile and sat next to her. She always had been just a bit nicer to Rose than the others, which was probably due to the fact that they had known the same Doctor. 

Last to arrive, a few  minutes late as always, was Jack. He smiled at the rest of the group, but chose a seat across the circle. 

This was the norm. There had been others, like Donna, and the red-haired, Scottish girl whose name started with an A (who, of course, always came with her husband), and River, but each had eventually disappeared for one reason or another; Memory loss, death, or just not being able to muster the courage to go to the meetings. But, every week, Rose, Martha, Mickey, and Jack still met in this small building.

"Do you think he'll come this time?" Martha said hopefully, breaking the silence.

Jack laughed bitterly. "The Doctor? Why should he? He said his goodbyes, and I doubt he's going to go back on them now."

"Come on, Jack, try to be a little optimistic," Rose shot back, defending her friend. 

Jack  sighed and shook his head. "I don't know why we still do this. We always bring back all our good memories of the Doctor, and for what? So we can keep remembering what it felt like when he still gave a shit about us?"

"So we can remember them," Rose said, counting to ten to calm herself down. "Look, I know that it's hard to remember things about the people you've loved and lost, but if we don't, then who will?"

There was silence for a few moments. Then Martha stood. 

"I remember the first time I met the Doctor. I was walking to work when he ran up to me and took his tie off. I thought he was crazy." Everyone laughed in agreement. "And then I thought he was even crazier when I saw him at work and he said he'd never met me before."

As time passed, everyone reluctantly shared their favorite memories from their time with the Doctor. Some were happy, some sad, and some were bittersweet; but still, they were memories.

As they were sharing, they didn't know about the man standing outside. They couldn't see the pain in his face, couldn't feel the hesitation as his hand hovered over the doorknob, and couldn't know how hard it was for him to turn away and walk back into his blue box, just like he had every week for the past four years.

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