I've had this fic just sitting, disintegrating in a corner in my brain, since, what, two, three months ago? I don't know. Anywho, I decided to just get it out.
The sky is too big, the planet so bare and so small that, if you look hard, you might be able to discern a small amount of curvature along the blank, barren horizon.
The sky above is filled with so many stars. Like salt grains on a shroud.
It would be beautiful, if it wasn't so harsh.
Two figures break the straight line where the sky meets the ground. Two figures, and, between them, a headstone.
"Why would they do it here?" A man says.
"You tell me," the other says.
"Well, it isn't my body in there."
They pause for a moment, staring down at the turned up black soil that makes a strip between the tips of their respective shoes (one black, laced pair, one red-and-white Converse duo).
"How do you know?" the first says.
"That it isn't me? I heard about the man they buried. He had red hair."
"Oh," the first moans. "Why did you have to say that? You've gone and ruined gingerness."
"It's okay, you won't remember."
"I had no idea you were going to turn up. That I'd even been here before. Just heard about this and came, thought for the first time. Must be a memory wipe around this planet. Makes sense, if you want to bury a great warrior." He says the last two words slowly, lips staying in the "r" shape long after the sound has died.
"Someone might disturb the grave, if they knew where it was," the first man agrees, then kicks a bit of the black, dusty dirt. "Any idea what happened?"
"Not a bit," the second says. "Spoilers." He leans against the dark blue box behind him, crossing his feet at the ankles, digging one heel into the soil to keep himself standing. Smooth like.
"Don't like that word," the first says.
The second looks up. "I do."
"Eh," the first says, staring away into the distance. Looks back at the man across from him, sizing him up. "Why?"
"Now why on wherever we are would I tell you?" The second says, slowly spreading his arms. His tone slower is than normal, just a drip of condescension in it.
Maybe a bit too harsh of a response.
But no, because they both know what that short exchange was really about.
The girl with the hair that flew everywhere, with the sad smile and the flirting.
"So, why are you dressed like that?" The first says.
"It's cool," the second man says.
"I don't like you much."
"I'm not you. You need to accept that."
"No, I'm certainly not you. You're a stupid little time boy running around."
The conversation becomes rapidfire, each man jumping to speak before the other is even done.
"Oh, am I?"
"You know that there were nine other men who handled it better than you."
"You can't take it."
"Oh can't I?"
"You were a sobbing mess," the second growls.
"With good reason, if I was about to become some soulless -"
"Oh, that's what you think."
"You called yourself a warrior!" The first shakes his head, incredulous smile and frown worn at the same time. "A warrior!"
"We've both been that for a long time."
"Not me." The first shakes his head again, smile gone but frown remaining. "You, maybe."
"I don't like it anymore than -"
"I don't believe that."
The second clenches and unclenches his jaw, gritting his teeth ever so slightly. Straightens his bowtie.
"D'you ever even remember Rose?"
"It's hard to remember every-"
"Now and again, yeah."
"You're lying, aren't you."
"Maybe, maybe not - what does it matter?"
"There is no way I want to be you. I don't blame myself for breaking down a bit, if I was about to forget everything that made me me. 'Warrior'."
The second wets his lips. Long silence. Nothing registers on his face, but he feels a shard of glass digging its way through his insides. Is this the response he wanted?
"You didn't really cry," he says, voice suddenly husky, then half-turns, pushing open his TARDIS doors. Gives an awkward, hesitant two-finger salute. "G'bye, mate."
The first man turns away without a word, expression still grim.
And they both leave the grave alone under the cold-burning stars.
Yay, I did it! Wasn't so hard. Wasn't so great, in the end, either. Eh. Whatevah.