Fandom(s): Doctor Who
Characters: Tenth Doctor, Donna Noble
Word Count: 466
Summary: He'd wanted to see sapphires.
They sat on the edge of the pool, the roar of the waterfall drowning out the sounds of the forest around them. They'd both rolled their trouser legs up to dangle their feet in the cold water, the icy shock reminding them that they were alive.
After a few minutes, he scooted a tad closer to her and leaned his head on her shoulder, and she slipped her arm around him, first squeezing his shoulder, then running her fingers through his hair, playing with the soft locks the way her mum used to sometimes, when she was a girl, that would make her fall asleep even though she really wanted to see the end of the telly show. Though she felt more than heard his soft sigh at her touch on his scalp, she knew that he wouldn't fall asleep, that his wide eyes were haunted, horrified.
As she watched the river above plunge down, churning up raging clouds of mist where it met the water below, she mused on what had affected him like this. He'd faced death before, stood in front of aliens with claws and tentacles and poison, and men threatening to gun him down, without blinking an eye. Death doesn't scare him. Or, at least, death for a good, noble purpose doesn’t. It wasn’t the possession by the alien lifeform: he'd been controlled, rendered helpless, unable to protect the passengers of that bus, but from the stories he'd told her, and some she'd heard from Martha, he’d previously dealt with similar situations the way he did with everything else: as long as everything came out molto bene, he never looked back.
It was different this time, and she knew why, much as she didn't want to admit it. He was the eternal idealist. He searched for the magnificence in each person he met, but this time, as they dragged him to his death because he was clever, because he told them things they hadn't wanted to hear, because he was different, he'd seen what was truly inside: fear, ignorance, suspicion, panic, hatred. Beneath the sparkling surface of the jewel, there was nothing, no substance, no beauty deep down. A tear slid down her cheek, for him, and for the failures of her species.
Gazing at the streams of falling water and tangling her fingers in his hair, she bit her lip to stop her usually glib tongue. She wanted to comfort him, but words, those empty, meaningless sounds, were the last things he wanted, from her, from anyone. She rested her head against the top of his. No sapphires here, Doctor. Just me and you. As the thought drifted through her mind, somehow, he heard her. He shifted ever so slightly, relaxing just a bit against her, and she knew that his eyes had finally fluttered closed.