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Canadian Shack #85

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"It's a shack."

"That's true, thank you for noticing."

"It's cold." Turlough could apply his statement to the Doctor's voice as well as to their surroundings.

"Again, you have a fine eye for detail."

"It's Earth. Again. Still. Just ten years later."

Sitting across from him at the tiny, rickety table, the Doctor only answered that with a hunted, haunted look.

Turlough sighed. "With Tegan gone, I have to complain enough for two people now." Despite everything, he missed her. His father would say that a Turlough never formed attachments to peasants, but his father had also said that the republican upstarts lacked the firepower necessary to be a threat to the regime. A Turlough had never been tried and sent into exile before either, yet the whole family had been splintered and tossed across the galaxy like trash.

"You've done quite enough, I assure you."

The death and carnage caused by Davros and the Daleks, Tegan's departure as she fled in horror from it all... these things had taken their toll on the Doctor. Physically, he looked as young as he had before, but some spark had faded from his dark eyes, making Turlough wonder how much longer he'd go before his next regeneration became necessary. He was an engine losing fuel and going cold.

It scared Turlough, even if a Turlough never admitted fear either. "How much longer are you going to stay in this bare hellhole of a lean-to before you've finished punishing yourself?" To remain in character, he added, "And me. What do I need punishing for?"

They were alone. Nyssa had left long before. Tegan had left. Kamelion remained, but the android hardly counted as company, and the Doctor hadn't brought it with them into the shack.

They were alone together.

"You're right," the Doctor said with a fake version of his hearty tone, a false, nearly hectic, light in his face replacing the usual sunny brightness of his features. He stood up. "I did my best, so I have no reason to punish myself. All of you leave me eventually; that's the way it goes." He gave Turlough a look so heavy with meaning that it made Turlough's skin crawl.

Turlough returned fake brightness with fake brightness. "Perhaps a goal might help get us back on track."

"A splendid idea. I'll take you somewhere warmer. You'd like that, wouldn't you?"

"Yes. You have no idea how much."