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“I’m alright. You get some sleep.”

“You’re sure.”

He knew Clara knew he wouldn’t answer.

They’d lost today. A mission; a life.

Clara had apologized to the survivors because he was still relearning how to care. Her apologies were accepted, with banked resentment on the part of those they’d saved.

There were things he hated about regeneration, rejiggerings of his psyche. Losing empathy, even temporarily, angered him.

It’s part of the cycle he whispered to himself. Victories, defeats, things in-between.

This was why he’d tried to lose empathy, he supposed. He waited for Clara’s return so he could hug her.

-30-