The water is rushing, pouring, positively sweeping through the corridors, bringing with it the smell of briny, possibly quite polluted water. It rushes through, knocking objects and sweeping along corridors, and dragging everything in its way along with it. There’s no way it can fill the thing the Racnoss has drilled, this giant hole in the world, right to he core, but it’s trying, and it’s drowning the waking children beneath. They’re starving, and they’re screaming as they’re pushed back into the molten core, their scrawny, spike-covered legs pulled off the walls and to their deaths.
You can smell the Empress’s flesh, curling and peeling beneath the fire. She’s screaming but it’s not in pain for herself, but for those beneath her. For her children. Her pitiful cries echo through your ears, piercing the sensitive Gallifreyan drums, but you only just barely hear it. The heat sears the cotton of your jacket and the water freezes your hair and ears, but you don’t feel it. It’s the killing. You’re killing them all, and it’s all you can see, all you can focus on because you have to.
"Doctor! Please! You can stop now!"
Your eyes drift downwards. Donna. Stupid, silly, human Donna. She looks so scared. So very, very terrified, but not of the Racnoss, not of her dying children. Not of the fire and the water and the cold and the heat that could just take her and her still wedding-dress-clad lump of a self and wisk it away to wherever Lance wound up.
She’s terrified of you.
You don’t want it to matter. You don’t want it to matter. You don’t want it to---but it matters, it matters so much. She’s a human. She’s this innocent human who cares too much about gossip and talks too much, and bruised your cheek, and what she thinks matters. It’s the most important opinion of all.
She is who you are trying to save. And she’s terrified of you.
You take a breath and look over what you’ve done. The pain, the terror, the complete and utter devastation. It’s what they would’ve done to Earth, but you went off and did it for them and how does that make you better? How does it make you better?
It doesn’t, and Donna’s terror is proof of that.
You take a breath and run down the stairs and grasp her hand in yours. You get away from the carnage, get away from the screaming Racnoss and the creatures you’ve committed genocide to in this building. You flee.
Donna still looks terrified.
You take a breath. You don’t think she’ll ever look at you like anything but a stranger again.
And you wish that opinion didn’t matter, but it does.
Muse: The Doctor (Ten)
Word Count: 466