The Ends of the Earth by vegetables
They’d parked in a junkyard, when they had first arrived. Yaz had no idea why the Doctor had insisted on it. Humour me, she’d said, and of course Yaz had. Maybe that was all she ever did, in the end.
They were back there, now, the two of them together. Among the dusty and broken things, all used up and still going on. The light was dull in the late afternoon: the slate and endless grey of near November.
There was someone watching them near the junkyard’s dark blue doors, their body just as blue, as tough, as wooden. A figure with copper limbs and a policeman’s helmet. The logo of the Saint John’s Ambulance instead of a face.
“Ubble nop pur num,” they said. “Tobble nim.”
“I thought that they’d all gone,” said Yaz.
The Doctor shrugged.
“Maybe this one wanted to stay. Why wouldn’t you? There are much worse places than here.”
She took out her sonic screwdriver and scanned it over the COP, making the effort to do it thoughtfully. Gently.
“His Chameleon Circuit’s broken,” she said. “He’ll be like this forever now. But he’s handsome, really. Perhaps there’d be worse ways to look.”
Yaz smiled. “It’s what’s inside that counts,” she said.
The Doctor shook her head.
“No. It’s knowing there’s an inside; that it’s bigger. In everyone. And never forgetting it.”
Yaz looked around at the junkyard once again. When they’d arrived here the Doctor had said it was still around in the present, in 2020. Crazy to think of something like this, surviving and still going on.
“But to think of all that ending,” said Yaz. “For everyone. It’s just too huge.”
“But then it’s huge any way you slice it,” said the Doctor. “Being part of any world. Maybe I never really understood it. Or perhaps I was always too scared,” she sighed. “To admit it to myself.”
Yaz looked over at the TARDIS in the centre of the junkyard, an impossible policewoman there with that impossible box. It looked like she felt inside, exhausted and broken, like it belonged here with the rust and scrap, not in the world living outside. But that was how it felt to be part of helping that world. You might feel broken, but you’d still keep the world to be whole.
“It looks like she belongs here, doesn’t it? said the Doctor, reading her mind. A worn out bit of junk. But still she endures. Strange to think how long our stories might really have left. Hard to believe that they might only just be beginning.”
“Come on, Yaz,” she added, gently. “This hasn’t been much of a holiday.”
“Listen: there’s a hell of a good universe next door. Let’s go.”
Yaz smiled back at her. A new relationship, and new places to go. Something to look forward to, again. And something to hope for.
She took the Doctor’s hand tightly in hers.
The panels closed behind them both as they stepped into their machine, the greyness having deepened to darkness, the day drawn in. Something that wasn’t a policeman watched as they entered that something that wasn’t a police box, as it roared, as it then faded, once it was gone.
He stood alone in that junkyard for a moment, watching and considering.
And then he travelled onwards, back into the vigilant night.
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