Why hadn't it lasted longer, that glee? The friends he'd made here would surely encourage it, encourage him to pursue this end. He could always come back. Play the hero, he mused as he shut the door of his cabin behind him. That always seemed to be what it boiled down to here. Playing at some daydream of what he'd once been, only to return here and simply cope.
And it occurred to him as he walked to tell these people of his discovery that... he didn't know if he could come back at all. He stopped a moment to absorb this. It had taken months, years even, before, to even pinpoint the proper singularity to reach through, and the second time had been quite by accident. His friends had thought him dead. Martha... Coyolxauhqui had thought him gone. He couldn't do that to them again.
This wasn't what he was made for at all, anyway. He understood the premise well enough, but slow and steady had never been his pace, aside from reading or tea. It wouldn't be fair, to himself or to any of them, to act as if he meant to return. They probably knew well enough that were he to go once more, he might not even try to come back. One step, and another. Wouldn't be fair.
He always had been one for quick decisions.
Her chamber was his last visit. Everyone he cared for here had been seen, and for better or for worse, the mutual understanding had been achieved and acknowledged. He glanced up to the door, half in dread and half in pride. Coyolxauhqui. The goddess, the moon, and the warrior. A figurehead of his greatest point of contention with the Admiral: his own knowledge that gods, true gods of any sort, didn't belong here.
Ever since the tragedy the month before, he'd been swayed once more out of his sense of being betrayed, bit by small bit... through her small struggles and honest efforts, more than anything. He still kept her fettered by his restrictions, but these were the only measures he could think to reach her at all with, and she'd grown away from them admirably.
They hadn't spoken of that night ever again, to each other or to anyone else (that he knew of, anyway), but it still caught at the edges of his mind. He'd allowed her to sway him then, too, to touch him and plead with him, and then, he'd had an inkling of an ulterior motive, though he hadn't known what it could be. Why had he let it pass? Curiosity was no excuse; there was very little to be curious about in this place anymore. He remembered her struggle with words then, her frustration at... him? Herself? It didn't matter. A spot of phantom warmth bloomed on his face, remembering again. And the ensuing ache at the pit of his chest. He didn't know whether he was in the corridor of a hub ship, or on a beach years ago with a lack of the right words to give to another woman, just as ageless, just as lovely, just as wilful and fierce.
But that was the only similarity, really. The lack of words. Oh, she was going to be angry.
With a steadying breath, he knocked.
Addictive though it was, the surge of joyous triumph on the tail of a discovery never seemed to last very long. He'd been ecstatic to finally dislodge the last obstruction in the way of his blueprint's success: he could go home, and tear the empire of the Cybermen apart from the foundation up... and save them at the same time. It would be a painful process, of course, but with a small bracket of practice, a measure of improvement by his own scientists (even if he surpassed them on a larger scale, they were adept at bridging the minuscule but crucial gaps he left behind), and a great deal of compassion and patience alike, the Alliance would succeed, and peacefully.