London Without Starshine

by jer832 [Reviews - 3]

  • All Ages
  • None
  • Angst, Character Study, General, Het, Introspection, Missing Scene, Standalone

Author's Notes:
This was written to a photo prompt (below) at the bad-wolf-rising comm on lj.

It's half-past one o'clock of the morning, Christmas has gone by and Britain is past due for its annual invading. He should be thrilled at his… that is to say at London's good luck, not walking her streets in a funk looking for some kind of incendiary distraction. The cosmos twinkles a billion billion teasing promises of adventure and danger at him; he knows the names of every star but can't see them through the dense unrevealing veil of London's pregnant atmosphere. Earth spins beneath his feet; he appreciates the physics but frankly thinks the game has gone stale.

The night is textureless. Street lamps and Christmas lights that should have put the odd pedestrian in a joyous mood, leading him perhaps to contemplate divinity in the beauty of misaligned stone and cracked concrete, can't quite muster the energy to get through the dense air. Tonight London has shown up for work blurry-eyed and hung-over from Christmas. This is a wobbly and woebegone London. A custardy London.  A soupy London (A rather greasy chicken soup of a city swimming with pieces of overcooked orange and red and green pepper, and onions. And perhaps a grated carrot or two.)

He yanks at his bow-tie and scowls. His London should be not of the soupy variety, or even the silent night variety, but a London full of shouts and laughter; and instead of this detumescence of colour through rain that's refusing to be itself, and golden fire gone damp and sloppy, there should be good honest no-nonsense explosions. And running. Yes, there should be very much running. And her hand to hold.

He crosses the bridge at a jolly good run just as once before, (it's been hundreds of years; he'll never forget), his arm flung sidewise to hold fast to something so precious, so much more necessary than air, that he can almost feel her hand clasped in his.  He looks across at the Eye and dwells with wistful delight on the night he almost died in a vat of angry consciousness.  He would trade his fez for a paper party hat, one more grinning hip check, or even a solid Jackie Tyler slap.

He drops onto a bench damp with humidity that still hasn't made up its mind, leaves his long legs to themselves, to find a way to fold and come to rest before him without making themselves a hazard. (He chances a peak but scoffs; there is no one about to be tripped up).  His long fingers tangle in his braces, his head falls back, his coat falls open. He's not tired but weary. He could see the sky, or what there is of it that's visible through the bloody fog, if he opened his eyes. He won't.

One chime followed by another, their sharpness is moderated somewhat by distance of the spatial variety. He chances a peek, for auld auld lang syne, but there are no taxis about. Sod it, it's London December 26th -  Why is there no invasion fleet to smack against the cold white wall of memory, no would-be conqueror's obstreperous boasts to endure rather than this silent night of sweet remembrances and self-indulgent glances back at bold possibilities never grasped, all slowly slipping into regrets and dreams of might-have-beens.

Cold fingers pass over aching eyes and cheeks, rubbing away moisture that must come from the uncomfortable smarting of the biting London wind; a palm pauses against a cheek much longer than before but still sorely in need of cupping. Cold fingers whisper to cool lips of a future he no longer has. He trembles, not from London's chill.

"For Auld Lang Syne, my dear?"  Phantasmagorical arms enfold him with determined need, soft luscious lips argue their way past his cold ones; silken skin aroused to the perfect temperature for loving gives him a discomfort far, far more pleasant than the biting wind. He sighs.

Bother that, he's grown hard again.

Oh, that stubborn, stubborn girl of his. His goddess from the first touch of their palms, Time's Goddess frighteningly, dangerously all-seeing.  Knowing all that was and is and ever could be; judging all —  No, judging all but him. I want you safe, my Doctor. He shakes his head and marvels. Saving the universe and him from the Daleks she stole a moment to save him from himself.

(If he didn't know better, he would wonder if had been just a dream. But the cosmos fits him differently, now, like your twin's perfectly-tailored suit; and Time feels like an old elastic band that's been stretched and twisted then let snap back–the poor old thing's come back just a wee bit sloppy from the adventure. And Gallifrey is in a gallery, safely not for sale.)

Where's a good amusing villain when you need one?  'Tis the season to be jolly — to bring on the holiday cheer, bring out the eggnog and mistletoe and invading ships full of evil aliens. He pulls his collar to his chin and wishes the rain would make up its mind. It's two a.m., middle of an atypically quiet London night. No creature is stirring, not even a taxi. Just he. Just he.