Ben Jackson had seen quite a bit of the world in his travels, both before and after meeting the Doctor. Since returning to London back in 1966, he'd been restless – he'd met the Doctor exactly when he'd needed to, always wanting after an adventure, and now he was once more stuck. Well, no, he reasoned, that wasn't entirely true, he did have a small dinghy that he'd purchased, unable to face the thought of not being on the sea for six months. That had been two years ago. But now even the ocean had lost her once alluring attraction, for after seeing the stars how could mere water hold his attention.
Ben knew that it was not the planets he'd visited that distracted him from the sea. It most certainly wasn't the aliens, well, mostly. He had to admit that there were some creatures he'd met that occasionally re-surfaced in a nightmare – Daleks and Cybermen were mad enough in their own right, and Macra certainly came to mind for the sailor. But it wasn't the aliens that Ben remembered the most from his time in the TARDIS.
Polly often crossed his mind. He thought of her often, his Duchess. She was married now, he knew, and in the time since he'd last seen her had more than likely had a child. He wondered if she was happy with her husband, if she thought of him as much as he did her, if she worked or stayed home, and other frivolous thoughts.
It did no good to dwell on questions that might be best left unanswered, he told himself every time. They were living their own lives, on their own terms. It was pointless to think of her, unless it was to remember their time together, on the TARDIS with the Doctor and Jamie. But think of her he did. He thought of her intelligence – defeating the Cybermen with nail polish came quickly to mind – and he remembered how beautiful she was, how easy she had been to talk to, her jokes and playful teasing. It was a fantasy that kept him going, despite his grounding in realism, because he missed her.
He missed her. Why was it so hard to admit that, even to himself? One day, he'd look her up, he promised himself many a lonely night. Find her address, give her a ring, see if she would like to have a coffee or something. Catch up, the way old friends so often do. But he knew that that would never be enough, for he fancied her still. He'd never mentioned it while they'd had the time – she'd certainly chatted him up the first time they'd met, but that had been different. Or could have been different, if not for the TARDIS. Or would that have made any difference at all?