The golden man reaches out; his hands glitter with sparks of molten gold. Larger and larger he grows, swamping the huge hangar with his looming presence. The gold fills every bolt, turns every screw.
Pieces of the hangar reattach, flinging themselves back into place in reverse. This is the last place he has to fix. Just a little bit more now. Just a few more steps.
But he is so large.
There are so many little things. They are breathing, dividing. He can see them live and die, in miniscope, each stretch of time cascading like a firework in the night, brilliant. Piddling.
He is so huge now, so huge he dwarfs even the blue box that usually contains him. Taller than the hangar. Taller than the world. He can no longer see the blue doors that burst open. Doors that made him like this. Doors he chose to unlock. To release. To free from golden chains.
He looks down, and there are the little things again. Moving. Scurrying. He could step on one; they are ants to him.
One little thing runs toward his massive glowing foot. He looks down at it, wondering. Everything is gold.
And that gold… it burns.
"Doctor?" the thing calls out, staring up at him, little eyes reaching, as if it could actually see his massive face above the clouds.
"You wanted to save everyone, my big stupid sunset! Remember?"
Words tumble free of him, torn loose, like a dripping piece of meat from his chest.
His voice echoes down.
"Burns… it burns…"
The little thing continues, tamping her foot as if he hasn't spoken with enough force to pulverize mountains into their individual atoms.
"When you're married to an ancient god… who insists on the face of a twelve year old, you do your best to hide the damage."
Why didn't it touch her? Confusion follows her words, and he finds himself staring at the top of a tree now, a very tall tree. Is he shrinking? The burning hurts too much to tell. His consciousness writhes like sizzling meat, so he looks down again, suddenly noticing for the first time in ages that his eyes feel like tiny suns.
He decides to reach for the little thing, unsure as to why. But the urge is unmistakable, maddening. It crawls through the golden light and makes him feel…
"Yes yes, you silly man. You fixed the world and put the trees back. The only thing left is to come down here and get slapped for taking so long. Now rush to it. Come on! Hop!"
Down on the ground, the little thing runs a hand through her bouncy coin hair and then puts it with the other on her strong hips. Her ample chest breathes up and down, heaving with anxiety in slow motion. There is a nervous surety in her deep eyes that makes the others in the hangar grind their teeth.
His body shrinks more, rushing down past the tree he'd been staring at. He can barely feel the gold, erupting like blisters from his pores. So much heat… the little things might be burned. He should probably…
"Christomin Lungbarrow, you come down here right now!"
His hand freezes; so fine his control that little crystals form on his skin- mind over matter. He concentrates… remembering the fairy tale of Whale-Root. If he concentrates hard enough, perhaps they'll let him back into the garden?
The giant wings retreat into his back and slam into his dna, disappearing. Impact and a brief white glow force him off balance. Goodbye, that tremulous gold. His body sails at a tilt toward the floor, the debt of a sinking ship. It's done; the form he took was meant to contain the energy, but he…
He falls over, folding sideways in an inelegant pile. His searing skin touches cool breasts, and steady hands with red nails hug him against her.
"River" he croaks, gagging on his dry throat, "did I kill anyone?"
A throaty giggle.
"Not unless you count your fashion sense, my love. Do you think you can walk, or do you just want to-
He stares at her, confusion and relief warring on his face. Suddenly he grabs her and kisses her hard, then shoves her away only to scramble to his feet. As soon as he regains his balance, he starts leaning to one side to survey the scene in the hangar.
"I could murder a sandwich! Who's with me?"
His eyes scan the crowd of bedraggled parents and children huddled near the TARDIS, a plot hardening in his brain like a spot of good caramel. His fingers shoot up in a snap, and he cries out, "SANDWICH!"
He grins at them, digging his hands in his pockets.
But nobody moves, not the little boy with the split lip. Not the ten year old girl with the airplane on her shirt. Not the woman clutching a small dirty old purse. Not the older man clinging to his lover, another man, both of them with shiny new rings and light grey hair. They stare, fumbling nervously.
He looks away; the movement small and short, nearly imperceptible except to those who he hoped might not be looking.
"Suit yourselves- but I'm going for a burger." He smiles, then his eyes widen merrily. "…a big burger, with everything…" he trails off, grinning to himself like a child hiding something.
His hands reach behind him before he starts walking though, cleaving the air, clinging and reaching and grasping and grabbing and…
River's hand grabs his, entangles it. They walk off, a little hop in their step.
The girl with the airplane cocks her head and looks up at the gay couple, then tugs on the older man's suit hem.
"Hey, mister? Do you know who that was?"
The older man looks at his lover and they turn in unison, rising up on their heels just a little before sinking back down to the safety of the earth.
"No, not a clue, love. Though I would like to know, and I'm sure Reginald here would as well. Just who was that masked man?"
His lover smiles at him; their hands tighten together, and as one, the crowd of rescued looks up at the clouds, then at the rebuilt hangar.
The little boy runs after the woman and the man, screaming happily, "I want what he's having!"
Slowly, then quickly, the rest of the crowd follows the little boy. All but the gay couple, who just stand still enjoying the clouds.