Yaz found the Doctor sitting in the Tardis doorway one night. Still, except for her legs swinging in the void. She startled when she heard Yaz approach, looked around with wide eyes that had a panicky glimmer in them that faded so fast that Yaz wasn’t sure she hadn’t imagined it.
“It’s only me,” she reassured softly as she walked over and sat down next to the Doctor, who kept her eyes on the planet floating far below them. “Couldn’t sleep?”
“I don’t sleep much.”
The Doctor looked up. “No, that’s not what I–”
“I know.” Yaz met the Doctor’s eyes, saw the retort in them and waited for it, but the Doctor returned her gaze back outside without a sound. They sat in silence until Yaz asked what they were looking at.
“Two asteroids collided,” the Doctor pointed, presumably at the asteroids but Yaz couldn’t really make it out. “Debris is gonna be hitting the atmosphere any minute now.”
“Isn’t that dangerous?”
“The pieces are small enough. There won’t be any real damage. Just means they’re going to have a lot of falling stars for the next couple of hours.”
A bright white-green flash hit the planet like a heavy rain drop on the sidewalk.
“Make a wish,” Yaz said.
“Okay,” the Doctor whispered and she closed her eyes for a moment. “That one’s for you,” she said when the next one went by.
“It feels a bit like cheating,” Yaz said when she’d made her wish. The Doctor shot her a sideways glance. “To go to a place where you know there’ll be a lot of falling stars and go sit waiting for them. Like fishing.”
Another star fell and they both paused to make a wish.
“They’ll have to race for that one,” the Doctor said.
Yaz smiled at that. “Bit unfair though, isn’t it? For us to be using up all these falling stars. We should leave some for the people down there.”
“They’re just rocks, Yaz.” The Doctor sounded so tired. “They don’t grant any wishes.” She offered Yaz an apologetic smile. “Sorry.” She pointed at the next burning rock. “You take that one.”
Yaz shook her head. “I’m out of wishes.”
The Doctor looked at her in surprise. “Already?”
“You know you have to be specific right?” The Doctor looked at Yaz intently. “You can’t just wish for universal peace. You have to wish away every war specifically. You have to be thorough and wish for the specific change in circumstances that will make that war impossible.”
“Be careful what you wish for?”
The Doctor nodded earnestly.
Yaz stretched her arms out behind her and leaned back. “That’s a lot of rules for some burning rocks.”
There was a change in the air, like a cloud casting a sudden shadow, and the Doctor turned her attention back outside.
Yaz watched her wish on stars and thought about the way fairytale and hard science seemed to exist in the Doctor as one. The way hope seemed to be born out of the synthesis of the two. It had seemed incongruous at first. ‘You can’t be serious,’ Yaz had said, the first time the Doctor had described a mathematical equation with the words ‘magic spell’. She was starting to realise that that was just how the universe was. Stories and atoms, they turned out to be the same thing, in the end.
Maybe it was because the Doctor didn’t seem entirely like the Doctor, just now. That she was the Doctor, but slightly to the left, somehow. Or maybe time had unnoticably moved them into that weird hour of night where all sorts of things, that seemed impossible during the day, suddenly felt like good ideas.
Or maybe it was just that she was tired, because the next words out of Yaz’s mouth were: “You know you can talk to us, right?”
It was poking very close to territory that they unspokenly didn’t touch. The territory of deflections, distractions, of things hidden in plain sight, just around the corner. The eggs of rattlesnakes or beehives filled with honey.
The Doctor silently searched Yaz’s eyes. Yaz tried to determine whether the Doctor’s eyes were golden yellow or more brown and beige.
“I talk to you guys all the time,” the Doctor said, turning back to her falling stars. “I never shut up, didn’t you notice?”
“Yeah, about alien things,” Yaz said. “About planets and history and the future and technology. Not about you.” Yaz swallowed. “Not about this.”
“This?” the Doctor whispered, eyes on the stars.
Yaz didn’t respond to that. Just watched the Doctor wish on star after star, or rock after rock, until there hadn’t been any for a while. They watched day glide around the planet below and Yaz had lost all sense of how long she’d been up, how long she should have been asleep, when Ryan and Graham would wake up, when day would come, when night would end.
When Yaz had forgotten they were living beings that could move, and not marble statues, the Doctor got up. She held out a hand to Yaz and helped her up.
“Let’s go back to bed.”
They walked to Yaz’s bedroom in silence. Yaz wasn’t sure whether the Doctor was trying to get Yaz out of her hair, or trying to convince her that she also was going to bed, or if she actually was going to bed too. She’d never seen the Doctor’s bedroom.
When they came to Yaz’s bedroom and Yaz was about to close the door behind her and the Doctor was about to walk away, Yaz gathered all her courage, and asked.
She turned around. “Hm?”
“What did you wish for?”
The Doctor’s face was unreadable but her eyes were like the infinity of space. Yaz felt like she could see flashes of wishes still burning up in them. The Doctor exhaled.
“Good night, Yaz.”
And she was gone.