I hope that this particular oneshot falls on more than just a few deaf ears. I am hoping against hope that lots of people will review. In any case, this fic is most certainly a dark one, so if you prefer humor then I wouldn't give it a read. I feel that I've stayed relatively true to character, but any comments you may have are most certainly very welcome.
"How did it happen?"
Amy was leaning against the railing surrounding the TARDIS control platform, staring at the floor. That in itself was a very un-Pond-like thing for her to do, and at any other time the Doctor would have been quick to notice, but her words were quiet and he was thinking hard. The mere idea that she couldn't remember the Daleks was so completely shattering, he couldn't even begin to comprehend what it might mean. Thoughts snapped endlessly through his head, lightning fast, scenarios and ideas and a thousand different methods for eliminating some of the possible has-beens he had to choose from.
"What?" His voice was harsher than he'd intended it to be, but even a human as sharp as Amy wouldn't have been able to hear any real malice in his tone. He shook his head slightly. "Ah - how did what happen?"
"You - you said you were the last, and I was just wondering, well...um..." The question lost momentum quickly, stuttering on wariness and a lack of confidence that belonged to a select few races in the universe. Races that could understand the concept of empathy. The Doctor didn't want to be the one to tell Amy just how rare that phenomena was...especially between different species. Then again, the latter point was moot with humans; they often forgot what he actually was.
She was curious. It was understandable, and he couldn't deny her the knowing, especially since he would have taken the information without asking if the roles had been reversed. A TARDIS gave you that kind of power. The Time Lord straightened his back, told himself that remembering was necessary, and looked Amy in the eyes. "There was a war. Everybody lost. I thought they were all gone, but the Daleks came back. They always come back." There was a lightness there, cheapening his words, but never before had Amy been able to see such endless amounts of hurt.
She looked up to meet his eyes, and couldn't help but to look away. Sometimes he was pure, and sometimes he was black and white, but now he was impossible. It scared her, and she would have admitted to that if asked the right question. The pause that followed his words was long and cold.
"Do you miss them?"
He'd looked away as well, up at the striding engine of the TARDIS. "No." He shook his head firmly. "No, it's not them I miss, it's Gallifrey I wish was still...here." Amy gave him a look of unconvincing understanding and he turned to face her completely, crossing his heels and leaning against the console. He had no idea why he needed her to understand this, but it was extremely important that she did. "You don't understand. The people themselves aren't important, specifically, but people are. There's nothing very familiar about Earth, Amy, when you've grown up everywhere else." He furrowed his brow as she gave him a slow nod; apparently, he still hadn't said enough. "Amy, I lived on Gallifrey for two hundred years before I stole a TARDIS and ran away. The Untempered Schism planted the idea but it took a while for the feeling to set in. I was raised a Gallifreyan, and that's more than just a funny name, Amelia Pond."
Her eyes widened. "Wot?"
He smiled slightly, sagely. "Watch your thoughts."
She shifted away from him, though she refused to allow herself to take a step back. "That's not fair, Doctor."
He looked down, the smile still waiting on his face although the melody was lost. "I'm rather surprised you didn't notice, actually. It's hard to mask that sort of thing from a human mind, and I haven't done it in quite a while. For obvious reasons." He moved around to the other side of the TARDIS and tapped delicately at a lever along the panel's ribbing. Adjusting, always adjusting. "It's alright. You can't change your thoughts."
It took Amy a second to follow him around the panel, and he noticed. "But why don't you miss your people?"
"See, that's the thing, Amelia, it's not the people. It's the familiarity of the thing. We could speak without words and and feel our planet as it turned and travel in time and we shared that and not a single sentient being in the entire universe can do it any more." He seemed so desperate, and Amy really didn't know what to do. "There are others who were as advanced as us, and by now they may have passed us all up. But none of their minds will ever feel the same to me."
The fire raged bright. Amy could see it now, the black fire behind his eyes that was completely, utterly mad. It was the Schism, though she couldn't know that, and although he always wished he could go home, it was the Schism that had fueled his escape. Even if he found his planet again, he would not have been able to hold it close. The world was roundabout for him and he couldn't have stared at the same two suns for another hundred years any more than most humans could have done. But that was the problem in itself. That was the Time Lords. They stared at those suns and contemplated the meanings of their rays, and the fact that he could stand no more than two hundred years of it was proof of his insanity. He longed for home but could find no peace for himself there. Truth be told, he was no more a Time Lord than Amy was.
"I'm sorry," was all she could say. She couldn't claim that she understood, or that she wished she could do more, because she didn't. If there was anything she had learned not to do around him, it was not to tell lies. She was only human but she was treading on thin ice and he would not appreciate her cheap concern. He didn't need gossamer tales to help him feel better, and he didn't want them anyway. He could read her mind. What good was a lie to him? "I'm so, so sorry, Doctor."
He flicked a switch, clearly refusing to look her in the eye, and when he spoke his voice was deadly calm. "What's there to be sorry about?" he said finally. "I was the one who finished them off."