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Lucy picked up the gun.

No one tried to stop her. No one even saw. She had become a ghost, invisible, drifting through the corpse of the world without notice, without effect. She left no footprints where she walked. Why should anyone notice her or care about what she did? She hardly even cared.

The gun was heavier than she'd thought it would be. Solid. Real, in a way that the hand that held it was not.

Outside the bubble of stillness and silence that surrounded her, the living held their councils, ignoring Lucy entirely -- no, not even ignoring her, she thought. They had simply forgotten her. Well, why shouldn't they? She was dead. She had felt herself slowly fading away ever since Harold -- the Master, she corrected herself hastily, unwilling to make that particular mistake even in the privacy of her own mind -- ever since the Master had taken her to the future and shown her the end of the universe. The death of all things had been cold and slow, a nightmare of claustrophobia and lack of resources; the future of the human race ended not with a bang, but a whimper. Slow, sure starvation or the deadly, indifferent cold of space. She'd taken that cold into herself, she sometimes thought, that void, that complete lack of life or heat or anything at all. She had seen the future, and it was nothing. Humanity was nothing. She was nothing. Everyone died -- would die, had died, was dying. There was no point to pretending it wasn't true, to pretending that anything anyone did had any meaning. There was no point to pretending there was a point. She was utterly sick of pretense. There was no point to it. No point to anything.

Everyone died. Except the Master.

He lived. He was alive, more gloriously alive than anyone she'd ever met. He radiated life, glowed fiercely with it, dazzling her mortal human eyes. He had a point. He had a plan. A plan that made no sense to her, being more than a little mad, but that did not matter, as nothing did. He had a plan, and he had the passion to implement it, and she felt almost warm standing in his shadow.

Slowly, her arm raised itself and extended in a graceful line away from her body, pointing the barrel of the gun towards the two Time Lords in the center of the room. It wavered there for a moment.

Her numbness had cloaked itself about her during the long year she spent as Mistress of the Earth. It was her shield, protecting her from the misery that surrounded her, leaving her strangely serene. The Doctor suffered. The Joneses suffered. All of the human race suffered. It didn't touch her. She found their suffering strangely comforting in a way -- the dead did not suffer, as she could attest. Suffering was the province of the living. Not dead yet, she thought and almost -- almost -- smiled.

Not yet, but soon. Soon.

Martha Jones had ripped that comfort from her. The sudden rush of hope she felt at Martha's words during the countdown had hurt. The pain of it had almost ripped her in two. What if...what if the Master had been wrong? What if what she did actually did matter? What if she could have an impact on the world? She'd found herself chanting along with the rest of humanity, unable to stop herself, dizzy with hope -- sick with it. "Doctor," she had said, closing her eyes and fighting not to vomit. "Doctor."

He'd come, shining with life and power and that awful, awful hope. And he'd set back the clock, changing the course of history like it was nothing. Like it was easy. And Lucy had seen, suddenly, how she'd been used.

Her arm stopped wavering as she chose her target.

He'd used her. He'd shown her the future. He'd killed her, and she'd let him.

The future was a lie. It hadn't happened yet.

She'd had it exactly backwards. It was the future that didn't matter. The point was here. The point was now. All she had was what she did, and that was everything.

Her finger tightened on the trigger. She didn't know what would happen next.

For the first time in a long time, she looked forward to finding out.


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