Everything has a time and everything dies.
You want to believe that there isn't an end, so you travel to the year 100,000,000,001 AD. Just after the end of the universe.
You don't take your human companion. Not because you don't want to, but because, unlike Lucy to the Master, Martha won't follow you everywhere. She stays behind, wants time to herself, time to move on. She tells you she's going to find someone who wants to see her, and you feel a strange sort of jealousy stab at you. But it's too late, and she's already made her choice, and you told her it was 'okay'.
Your hand feels cold without hers in it when you pull open the doors of the TARDIS. It's like Rose all over again---you realize how important someone is to you just in time to have them pulled away. At least Martha is still in this universe. At least you can still imagine that one day she really will call.
Your ship shields you from the lack of oxygen, lack of pressure, lack of everything. There's nothing here. Nothing at the end of the universe. No light. No heat. No cold. No sound. Nothing. Of course, you can still swear you can hear the pitiful cries of the cannibalized humans, the things the Master called the Toclafane. Your favorite species, reduced to that.
Nothing lasts. Nothing.
It's a terrible feeling, knowing it all just…ends. It's why you didn't go to the end of the universe before, why you avoided seeing how everything turned out when it was all over. It wasn't because you were scared---no, no, it was because you were scared. Scared that there really was nothing.
Just the cold and the dark.
Even humans, the universe's ever-virulent cockroaches, even they didn't survive.
Time doesn't go round and round, you can't get on or off whenever you like.
Well, where does time go then?
Nowhere, it just happens and then it's done.
There's no time. No passage of it. You can't even feel it, and you usually can feel eras that have passed long before, and eras long in the future. But here, here where there isn't a universe anymore, here there's no future and no past. It's a dizzying sensation, all of this nothing.
There's not even a hole where things used to be. A hole would at least be something.
If this is what the Master showed Lucy, then there's no doubt in your mind as to why she snapped. This is so completely devastating and isolating and…empty. It feels empty. And Lucy wasn't that strong, she couldn't separate the nothing from the something in the past. You're not sure you are strong enough.
Nothing lasts forever.
Jack the Fact will die in the year 5 billion, a deformed and disembodied head in a jar, his final words too cryptic for you to figure out before it's too late. It would be like Jack, wouldn't it? To make it a bloody anagram and honestly expect you to figure it out. Or maybe it was a paradox problem and he couldn’t help. As if Jack ever adhered to any rules like those governing time and space, he was probably just trying to be difficult.
You let out a bark of a laugh and it doesn't echo in the empty. An echo would be something.
There isn't cold, there isn't anything, but you feel a shiver run down your spine. All this nothing. It's what the future holds, for you.
We Time Lords live forever, barring accidents.
Forever is this. This is the end of it all. A big empty nothing and you alone.
You swallow back a sob. It's shaming, all this fear you've got inside of you. Coupled with the knowledge that you're the only one, and that you will always be the only one, it's…well, it's nothing short of devastating.
Devastating. It's a good word, you decide. You also decide there's no point in being ashamed, because nothing can judge you here (and the TARDIS has already made up her mind about you a long time ago), so you let it out.
You crumple onto the floor and howl in anger. Frustration. Grief. There's nothing left. There's just you, and your ship, both of which will eventually crumble into nothing, too. You can only run for so long.
And those humans. Those beautiful humans that you love so much, they're gone. Wiped themselves out, and thus you can't even fall back on your adoration for them. It's like your safety blanket species has been stolen and burned right in front of you.
It breaks your hearts.
The air around you warms, and you can almost feel the TARDIS embrace you. She can feel how hurt you are. How lonely and hopeless, and she wants you to feel better.
It's almost like not being alone. You stand and lean your head against the door, eyes out to the nothing. Two lonely wanderers, last of their kind. You and the TARDIS.
The shield outside the TARDIS pulls in. She's ready to leave, now. Too much hopelessness for one day. Too much knowing instead of dreaming. Grief instead of goodness. You defer to her wisdom and step backwards, watching the doors close.
As they do, you see something. A streak of light hit the darkness. Briefly, quickly. You can swear you see a world in there, in that crack of light, but you're not sure, and the doors are closed too quickly.
Your hand goes for the door, but stops.
Do you really want to know? Do you want to know if there's more? Maybe it was a trick of light, and there's still nothing there and you'll always know there's nothing there. Maybe it's a remnant of the Master and Lucy's travels, and seeing the man who would rather die than spare you loneliness would only slice an already infected wound open further. Or maybe it's the fabled Utopia. The only way you'd know is if you open the door.
You take a step back. Head over to the console, and set a new course.
It's not safe to open the door now, you think. You don't want to admit that you'd rather cling to a glimmer of hope, a chance, than lose it all by knowing.
It's a small chance. A little possibility. A dream.
In your dream, though, the skies are made of diamonds.
Muse: The Doctor (Ten)
Fandom: Doctor Who
Word Count: 1,043, not including quotes from An Unearthly Child and Tomb of the Cybermen.