Universes. All bubbled up and pressed so compactly together, veiled so thinly if one were to equate continuum and the rate of growing pocket universes.
Each so unique with their own biodata, its own laws of nature and of scientific theory, and energy.
And humans. Not always present in every reality or in every universe (and, yes, he was very much fond of these enthralling, single-hearted creatures), and they were resilient. Ever-changing, creating monarchies and then branches of carefully administered judicial systems; societies hell-bent on conquering and destruction, and finally, reconciliation. They fought, they bled, they loved, they learned too late from their mistakes.
Humans were small, everyday phenomenon in themselves, really — though, the Doctor wouldn't call them miracles, for the term had never applied to any event.
There was nothing miraculous about the Panem, except possibly its malignant and irrational form of entertainment — using children as pawns for fear and obedience, and calling it entertainment. He could already visualize what would unfold, the delicate structure and power of their Capital to ebb into ruin, because of the actions of many, because of the actions to do with one, brave child. The Doctor needn't interfere on anyone's behalf — he can't; the timeline must never be altered, and fixed points in time must stay as they are.
Timey wimey… knowey woey.
However, it didn't mean he couldn't meet the child, face-to-face.
The TARDIS remains tucked away safely on a side-street with fashionably prismatic citizens of the Capital passing by it with only mere seconds of disinterested observation.
"You don't look like the Inspector General for the Tributes," is the first thing out of her mouth. Her clever, grey eyes examine his large stetson and braces. "And that paper is blank."
A wide smile perks his long, Time Lord mouth. "Oh, you're good~," he says cheerfully, flipping the psychic paper out-of-view and into his tweed coat. "I'm the Doctor—you can call me the Doctor. I call myself the Doctor. I'm not sure what else I would call myself." His fingernails rustle through his hair, like a tic. "This is usually the part where they ask if I'm a medical doctor, and it's all tending to boo-boos and little scrapes on the knees your Mummy would kiss—"
"—I don't really care who you are." Katniss tells him, hardly above a grim mumble, her dark eyebrows creasing. "I have to get ready to leave and you're wasting my time if you don't have any advice for me to stay alive a bit longer than I could manage on my own."
His smile deflates. His long, Time Lord hands settle at his sides.
Knowey woey, and there is very little to spare.
"You're not alone. No matter how alone you think you are… there are people out there, your loved ones, who will support you at the end of everything."
"What would you know about being alone?" she spits out, eyes like the fires of the grand, bloody revolution undoubtedly to spark, (and, oh — how her heart would break). Katniss rises from sitting on the bench in the steel-colored room, deep in the catacombs of the Training Center, outside the elevator to a hovercraft. "What would you know about killing your own?"
Whether or not she senses the hesitancy — a nebula-flash of an old, old agony in his hooded eyes — the Doctor's expression morphs into one of delight as he waves a hand and strolls towards an arrangement of genetically-altered flowers, ones with tiger-stripes and zebra-stripes, and with an artificial smell like laundry air-freshener.
"I've never eaten a bean that tasted like movie theater popcorn. Do they have those on this planet? You're all so much more advanced than I expected." His sonic screwdriver buzzes over the flowers' clear, plastic vase as he babbles on, and Katniss stares after him, momentarily stunned, "Mickey enjoyed them, slightly dodgy there. I never saw Adric touch any of the biscuits. Oh, there was a tray of fruit gums out by the lobby. Couldn't resist a treat after asking politely." He presents out a handful of gummy, blue candies to her, as well as a warm, distracted smile. "Always remember your manners, more of you forget than you'd think." Her sun-tanned fingers pluck up two of the candies with some caution.
One of the Peacekeepers bangs loudly on the closed sliding door before it whirs out of existence, and he enters, sneering through his helmet visor. "Time's up." She pops the candies into her mouth quickly before getting yanked on by her wrist. The Peacekeeper's black-gloved hand squeezes her jaw tightly. "What the hell is that, you little—?" Katniss heaves out a disgusted, gargling cry, eyes darting, struggling against the powerful grip keeping her in places as the leather-fingers invade her mouth, scooping out the chewed, blue remnants.
At the same moment the Doctor comes forward, Haymitch sprints in, prying her away and wrapping a protective arm around Katniss' shoulders as she coughs noisily into a hand. "There you are, sweetheart," he gently scolds her. A charismatic, apologetic look at the disgruntled Peacekeeper. "I'll escort her up, don't worry about it."
"… …hrrm, very well."
As soon as the uniformed guard turns his back, Haymitch's face twists nastily and he makes an obvious, rude gesture to the other man. Another moment and he glances to the Doctor in the corner of the private room, and then gives a double-take. "—Oh." It almost sounds guilty slipping from Haymitch's lips.
"Just us chickens." The Doctor runs his thumbs under his bright red braces, stretching them as he ambles towards them. "Alright?" Katniss nods to answer his genuine and amiable concern, wiping the back of her hand across her mouth. His right arm reaches out stiff to awkwardly pat on the crest of her head. It's all a goodbye the Doctor can manage before she is ushered away into the hallway by her shaggy-haired, half-sobered mentor, stealing one, last reluctant look over her shoulder at him.
No more spare time.
Amy and Rory live happily ever after. And what better a fairytale to end with the goblin, the trickster, the one being who has soaked in the blood of a billion galaxies vanishing…?
Inside the TARDIS control room, the Doctor quietly adjusts his scanner illuminating and zooming in on the image of her, open-mouthed with wonder inside the Arena when an orchid-blue butterfly climbs the length of her dirt-caked finger, taking flight in front of her very eyes.
Good luck, Mockingjay.
THG/DW are not mine, nope, nope. The timeline for THG is pre-Arena and for DW is between series 6, "Closing Time" and "The Wedding of River Song". Really hope you enjoyed reading~~
THG-Kink Meme prompt:
"Because every fandom needs one. :) Maybe a fix-it fic would be nice, with the Doctor saving the day.
Or, alternatively: the Doctor doesn't interfere with the games, because what's going to happen on the future is important - a fixed point in time. Cue angst. He encourages Katniss to stay brave."