The Ends of the Earth

by vegetables [Reviews - 1]

Printer Chapter or Story
  • Teen
  • Explicit Violence, Swearing
  • Action/Adventure, Alternate Universe, Angst, Drama, General, Introspection, Mixed, Romance, Standalone

It was later and the sun was setting, on that evening that shouldn’t have happened. Yaz and the Doctor were sitting on a hill, looking out to the distant skyline. Destiny said that none of it should have been there, not anymore. Only flames and soot, only death. None of this beauty.

Yaz was looking at the Doctor’s book in the fading light, the words in it still just about visible. At the illustration taking up half of a page, a bearded man with a ruff and a giant grin. His clothes a bit like you might see on Henry the Eighth. A perky feather askance in the brim of his hat.

“Run this by me again.” she said to the Doctor. “That’s you? He isn’t real. But he’s still you?”

The Doctor frowned.

“The story is,” she said. “It’s complicated. As far as I can tell?”

She hesitated, her face scrunching in the way it did when she had to explain something tricky.

“There were lots of them,” she said. “Eight separate stories, one after the other, winking in and out of existence. And what the Doctor was in each of them – what I was – it was always a little bit different. Sometimes a human; once maybe even an angel. But still me, somehow. Underneath it all.”

She took the book from Yaz, weighing it up in her hands.

“Eight different stories about eight very different Doctors,” she said. “Though they didn’t look that different, of course; they were all white men. Except”—

She was struggling to remember something, Yaz could tell. A dream within a dream, which somehow had still happened all the same.

“Except that wasn’t all they were,” the Doctor said. “Not exactly. They were works of fiction, after all. There were adaptations, remakes. Even fanfictions.”

She shuddered.

“And all of that’s in here somewhere,” she said, tapping her head. “It’s a lot to take in. Assuming that I’d ever want to.”

Yaz stared at her for a while, uncertain. She was never sure how to respond to the Doctor at times like this. What could you even say? “Oh yeah, my friend Fran was fictional for a while. She said it was right difficult.

No. The Doctor was a law unto her own. And that was fine, in its way. Even if it could sometimes make small talk pretty difficult.

She looked over to her friend, who was unimaginable. Extraordinary. And as she did, she thought the same thing she always thought.

“There’s one thing I don’t understand.” she said.

The Doctor frowned. “Only one?”

Yaz pointed up at the sky, to indicate time and space.

“I’ve been round there a lot, by now,” she said. “And there’s loads of folk out there like us; like human beings. Lots of planets like Earth. I keep thinking; we’re not that special really. Not like you seem to see us.”

And not like you, she thought but didn’t say.

“So— why us?” she said. “Why go to all that effort for this? A normal place that you’re not even from.”

The Doctor looked back at her oddly, as if she didn’t even understand the question.

“That’s not how love works, Yaz,” she said. “You don’t go out looking for the smartest planet, or the bravest one. You just come to one, and you see it a different way. And once you do, it’ll always be the best of them. The place that you have to defend.”

She sighed.

“And maybe that means you treat it differently, and maybe that makes you a monster. Maybe there’s no way to be The Doctor without becoming some kind of monster. But love— that’s what it is. It’s what it does.”

She squinted up at the roaring sun, at the clouds leaking red like the blood of the sky.

“Love’s beautiful and it’s terrible,” the Doctor said, “and I’m not sure Doctor Clayton saw either side. If those missiles ever fly, it’ll be because of love. And today, when they didn’t? It’s because of love as well.”

Yaz thought about Judith, then, how she’d talked of those missiles in the sky. How that had made her feel, to think about what a war with them would mean. It had felt so massive to her, unbearable. Something huge and secret, which you tried so hard to forget about. Something which seemed utterly inevitable, but which might never happen at all—

There were thoughts that felt too big to have, and words that felt too big to speak. The sun was a nuclear explosion in the heart of the sky.

“Doctor,” she said, feeling her own heart pounding. “Y’know what Judith said… about what we were?”

The Doctor sighed.

“You were right, Yaz,” she said. “I’m judging from the wrong standards”—

“No,” said Yaz. “I thought”—

She swallowed.

“Do you want to be?” she said.

The Doctor looked right round to meet her eyes, totally shocked.

“That’s not how I wanted to say it,” Yaz said. “But I love you. I hate you a bit as well. But I love you. That’s the important bit.”

She laughed, and blushed, and felt very awkward indeed. The Doctor kept staring at her, speechless.

“I know,” said Yaz, biting her lip. “I know I’m a woman”—

“No!” said the Doctor. “That’s not it! It’s”—

She fiddled with her hands, clearly very awkward too.

“I thought I could just be a traveller again,” she said. “Run away from it all, at least for a while. But there’s so much I didn’t even know I was running away from; that I have to fight. There’s too much going on in my mind, for something like that.”

“I’m sorry.” she added, looking away at the sky.

Yaz tried not to let the disappointment take her. It had been the answer she knew she was going to get.

“Maybe it’s for the best,” she said with a sigh. “Everyone’s always said who I’m going to marry. I’ve known him since we were kids. We were thick as thieves.”

“And are you still?” said the Doctor, still looking out and away.

Yaz hesitated.

“It’s funny,” she said. “We get together sometimes, still. Talk about what we used to do. But honestly? It’s like we’re trying to get back what we had again. Or pretending it’s still really there.”

She shrugged.

“But you have to keep on, don’t you?” she said. “Not just because people expect it. It feels like it’s— how things are supposed to be.”

The Doctor looked back from the sky and into Yaz’s eyes, right into them. There was an expression in her face that Yaz had never even thought could be there.

“Fuck how things are supposed to be,” the Doctor said.

Yaz laughed uncertainly, and looked back at her. “But you said”—

“I know. But… Life’s too short, Yaz. Even for me. It’s not worth pretending to be happy.”

“You’re still pretending?” said Yaz.

“Yeah,” said the Doctor. “But there’s a way I wouldn’t have to anymore.”

Yaz smiled.

“Then let’s stop pretending, eh?” she said. “For good. Forever.”

“Yeah,” said the Doctor. “Let’s.”

And they moved towards each other with real fear in their eyes—

—and then Yaz was holding the Doctor and the Doctor was holding her, and they were kissing, and it felt like time itself had changed. And Yaz could feel her friend’s hearts pounding in her chest, could feel she was passionate too, and for the first time she understood that however big someone’s mind was, it never meant they didn’t still have a body. Had bodily thoughts, felt bodily things. The enormity of the Doctor was with her now; greater in a whole new way.

There were so many secrets in the world, so many lies. But right now they were two people true to each other, each letting the other one in.

The kiss went on for what should have been forever, before the Doctor broke out of it to glare. Two people were staring at them, scandalised, their fingers pointing in horror and dismay.

“Would you look at that,” the Doctor said. “Two women kissing, and they think it’s the end of the world.”

“Don’t stop,” said Yaz.

She didn’t. Perhaps she would have to, eventually. But for now, it was October the 27th, 1962— and that wasn’t a day for stopping, not at all.