The man on the other side of the little restaurant felt like the one year ago on… what was it again? Midnight? He had two parents then—the Canes. Fake parents who called him by a fake name with fake love and fake concern.
A falseness created and maintained by magic. Magic that had grown since the destruction of earth. All that magic… all that power had fled to him.
He had released the Canes soon enough. Right after Midnight, actually. Before they even left. And then he vanished back into the shadows again.
It was always nicer there, anyway.
But this man.
This strange, strange man… he was different than the others. Shadow and light, hope and despair.
His eyes didn't flash anymore as he used his magic—especially not for something as simple as turning on the hidden eye. There were dim blues and flashes of silver, pinks and reds and purples. But this man was gold.
A bright autumn harvest gold. The gold of apples and life strings. Of the dragon scale that was warm against his heart. Blinking, he returned his gaze back to normal and focused on his meal.
Two men over the course of a hundred years having the exact same aura? The same darkness and hope and life? He would have shook it off as impossible but… looking down at himself he couldn't say that just yet.
After all, he lived because of the impossible.
Maybe there were others out there.
Others like him; immortal and so, so old.
People who waited. Who watched and learned.
The chair was pulled out across from him and he didn't jump. Arthur had managed to remove that instinct from him a very long time ago. He looked up, though, at those old eyes on a young face and then continued to pick at his lunch.
"You look like you could use some company."
He bit his lip and pushed the food away. "Maybe," his eyes met the others and caught the recognition in the other's face before he looked away again.
"You aren't Jethro Cane, are you?"
"I was. Not for long, though." He tilted his head to the side. "Are you the Doctor?"
The tall, gangly man nodded. But his eyes were dark and looking away from him now, lost in memories. His long face was pale with dark circles under his eyes and hair that was flattened.
There wasn't any life in him.
"What happened to them?"
He blinked in surprise at the question. "Who?"
Folding his hands, he looked away from the Doctor and sighed. "I let them go before they even got off Midnight. It was my fault anyway—I wanted to go. To see something and to… retrieve it."
"The thing that possessed Mrs. Sylvester?"
Black hair waved a bit as he shook his head. "No. That was unexpected. An unknown. I tried to help you but… I could only weaken the connection." He ran his pale fingers over his forehead, rubbing into the skin tiredly. "I'd forgotten what it was like to be in that type of situation."
"You kept your head," The Doctor reached forward and then thought better of it.
He wondered what he saw. "Didn't get me anywhere, did it? Didn't save Susan."
"Susan…?" Realization dawned on his face. "The hostess."
"I asked the hostess of the second vehicle. Felt pretty bad for her… you know." The tears were long gone, now. And he was frightened of how cold he felt. "She didn't deserve that."
The Doctor gave a jerky half nod. "So what were you doing there? If not for the…"
"I went looking for a promise."
By the wide eyes and taken back look… he was pretty sure the Doctor hadn't been expecting that. "A promise?"
"You ask a lot of questions."
"Right. Sorry." And he actually did sound like he was—fiddling with his thumbs and looking down at his lap.
He blinked again and bit his lip, looking over the table before… "You can call me Emrys."
He made a face at the name and the other laughed. "You know, I asked for Jericho but that didn't seem to work or they just didn't hear me right." His fingers drummed against the table. "They didn't hear a lot of things. Always wanted it their way. Needed something to complain about."
"So why did you choose them?"
"I searched for people who wanted a child. And then I granted their wish." He shrugged a bit. "Not that it helped any, well… you saw what they were like." It felt so good to finally talk about something to anyone and he found himself relaxing in his chair and reaching for his abandoned meal. "I figured no one could replace my real parents anyhow."
The Doctor waved over a waitress. "Where are they?"
"Long gone," The chicken was cold and the salad was slightly warm but he didn't care. "Very long gone I'm just… stuck." He waved at his young body. "Like this."
Those dark eyes brightened a bit. "Have you ever heard of Gallifrey?"
"I know it's a planet but if you're thinking I'm a Time Lord then your answer is no, I'm not. Sorry." He stabbed a bit more food and felt a bit bad when the other deflated. "Is that what you are? All that gold in you?"
Shoving some chicken into his mouth he waited a bit, thinking over his next words. "Every living being has this essence inside of them. Some people are blue and green. Some have bits and glitters of others but you're completely gold." He shrugged a bit. "Some of it has darkened a little since I last saw you but… definitely gold."
"And you?" the Doctor leaned back into his chair, crossing one leg over the other. "What color are you?"
The food turned to ash in his mouth and, slowly, he put down the fork.
He set the fork down again and turned away. "You know how people touch your lives and you can never, ever forget them?" By the sadness in the other's eyes he knew the answer was yes. "Sometimes their colors come to yours. Like a… bit of them going to you. But everything must be balanced so while they go to you, some of you goes to them. I say you're gold cause that's your main color but there are… others in you. Many others." Licking his lips he leaned back slightly. "Anyway, I can't exactly see my own color."
Letting out a soft breath, the Doctor gave him a small, but bright smile. "Any way that I can see?"
"See?" Well, he'd never done it before but with all that was inside of him… he could make it possible. But what would he see? What color was he? "Alright," reaching out his hand, he let curiosity take over. "I've never done this before."
"Quite alright, quite alright," The Doctor clapped his palms together before they laced their fingers. "I'll take the credit for any misfortunes and accidents."
" I doubt it would be anything like that." Licking his lips, he grinned. "But if you get any more brain damage…"
The doctor nodded with a wide smile that made him look so much younger. "I understand."
Taking a deep breath, he held it for a bit, thinking over the words and finding the right ones… "Càepung ábeþecian éaggebyrd." He felt the spell flash behind his eyes and then something was… different. A slight twinge in the center of his forehead and he looked up at the Doctor, holding his breath as those dark brown eyes were suddenly gold. This wasn't the gold of the Time Lords no… no he could see that it was the color of deep magic. Magic he transferred.
Then it was gone and their hands stayed together for a brief moment until both pulled away.
"You're a unique being, Emrys."
His head tilted to the side, magic rising up beneath him, excited and full of energy, wanting to be used. "Why? What did you see?"
The Doctor clapped his hands together, gathering his thoughts before simply saying; "everything."
"Everything. Every color. Blue and blacks and grays and reds. Swirling around like a… soup of paint that never mixes. And at the center was white. Blinding white. Pure and untouched."
There was a slight, soft smile and he nodded his head gratefully. "Thank you, Doctor."
"No, no… thank you." The Doctor smiled brightly. "It was a… colorful experience."
Laughing, he watched as the waitress came back with a grilled cheese sandwich. "Doctor? Can I ask you a question?"
"Hm?" the Time Lord looked over his meal with the excitement of a child.
"How old are you?"
The sandwich was set down carefully and both of them looked over each other. "I do suppose that you answered all my questions…" He mixed the tomato soup with a spoon. "I'm going to have to say… around one thousand two hundred. Which is a vague estimate as I've never really took the time to see how old I actually am."
"Younger than two thousand, though?"
Both of them stared at each other even as the Time Lord nodded.
"I think I have you beat, then."
"I'm at least one thousand years your senior."
And oh, he enjoyed that gob smacked look on the other's face almost as much as those he managed to get on Arthur's.
I wanted to put this someplace and decided that here would be best.
Right now it's currently just a oneshot but I already have ideas on where to take it.
Review if it fancies you.