It's a bleaker world. Cold and dark all of the time. Even the sunshine through the smog doesn't break it. People don't smile anymore. People don't think or move anymore. They just hover from place to place, waiting for the next bad thing to happen. The world governments refuse to call it a depression, stubbornly saying that the next good thing will happen. It isn't a depression, in the Doctor's opinion. Depression isn't a strong enough word for it.
He tells Donna that it's like what she told him her parallel world was like. Donna doesn't say anything, of course. She doesn't say anything at all anymore. It doesn't stop him from talking.
He's not talking tonight. He's standing in front of a door to a rebel meeting. He isn't allowed in meetings anymore, and that's all right. He doesn't think he can help, anyway. So he just stands there, hands in his pockets, and waits. When the meeting ends, Peter gives him a code in a microchip and tells him to take it to UNIT in Times Square.
UNIT. He thinks about Martha. His face gives it away; Peter tells him to cut it out. He can't figure out when humans started bossing him around, but he does what he's told and starts the walk from the base towards the UNIT headquarters. He misses the TARDIS on nights like this. Back when he could run away from what the world he loved had become.
The night is cold and silent and feels thick and hard around him as he walks. He feels like a marble in one of those gel-candles Jackie used to collect. He catches his reflection in a wet puddle on the road. He runs a hand through his hair and thinks that the white streaks don't look as bad as he originally thought. Maybe he can trim off the top, make it a little less noticeable.
At least he still has his vanity.
There's a click. It's the sound of the safety being pulled back on a gun. The hollow sound of the weapon reminds the Doctor of footsteps in a mausoleum.
"Claire." He turns and there she is. She's a tiny woman, though the light from the twitching streetlight behind him she seems to grow exponentially.. He remembers when she used to be all smiles, like a little bolt of sunshine through the city. Now she's dark---dark haired, dark clothed, dark eyes. Light makes the shiny gun in her hand look like a streak of light from her arm.
"Doctor. Give it to me."
Always foiling Peter's plans. He tries to remember the point in which the two of them fell out so badly, but he can't. He can't remember a lot of things that are probably very important, and that's one of them.
He holds his hands up. Unarmed as always. Her gun doesn't waver. She steps towards him.
"You were such a happy girl," he says. "What happened to you?"
"I grew up, Doctor," she says. "So should you."
He's so old now. He thinks that he could break her arm at the elbow and the gun would drop. He thinks that he could run and he'd probably get away without too much danger. He think that would make him no better than her. Hurting someone and then running.
Maybe he'd be more like he was when he was younger.
"Give it to me," she says. "Or I'll---"
"No," he shakes his head. "You don't kill me now."
The future isn't always clear. Not even to a Time Lord. "How should I know?"
A cat leaps off of a trashcan and it falls over. Claire is startled, her head jerks to the side. He takes a step forward with inhuman speed, wraps an arm around her waist, and kisses her. She doesn't kiss back, but the gun doesn't go off, either.
She tastes like nothing. No strawberry cheesecake ice cream, no soda pop, no stale breath. Nothing. She's empty.
He twists the gun from her grip and pulls away. She looks up at him and he thinks she looks vulnerable. Just for a moment, she looks like the Claire he remembers. The long eyelashes and the dark hair aren't really her, he wants to say. He wants to say he misses her.
Then it's gone. Her masks are in place and she's a block of ice in a leather suit. She steps back. Again. And again. Then she walks away, confident and secure in her emptiness. He feels like he should mourn her, but he's not sure he knows how to mourn anymore.
He looks down at the gun in his hands. Rose will need it later, so he puts it in his pocket. The chip is gone, but he knew it would be. She's crafty, but she's predictable.
And she needs it more than he does.
Muse: The Doctor (Ten)
Fandom: Doctor Who
Word Count: 817
Written for its_notluck following this conversation about snogging evil!Claire.