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tired, old machine

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For one blessed evening, the Tardis is empty and quiet- they like it this way, they tell themself.

Their feet take them to the library. And then their feet take them to an almost unfamiliar part of the room.

It's been more than a few lifetimes since they'd been in this particular corner of the library. The air is heavy and still and the shelves are thick with dust. It doesn't entirely surprise them when their gaze catches on the familiar spine of The Memoirs of an Edwardian Adventuress. In fact, it makes them smile as they recall proud harrumphs and inquisitive exclamations from an old friend.

What comes as a greater surprise, however, is a small, old machine tucked up alongside it.

Their smile falters and the sight of the interociter alone is enough to give them considerable pause, waves of distant grief suddenly pushing closer. They can't remember the content of the tape verbatim although they do remember the face that could recite the recording in perfect time with this fixed, unchanging, forgotten Lucie Miller.

No. They're a different person now, but they still remember the affection. And they know without a doubt that as long as they're alive, Lucie Miller is never forgotten.

They dust off the recorder and press play.

Lucie's tinny voice rattles from within the small device in their hand. The still air seems to begin buzzing with life in turn, as if the books and shelves themselves remember the sound that used to envelop them with regularity. In one of the last three remodeling efforts, the Tardis must have moved old things around. Or she just knew her doctor would like to see familiar furnishings, complete with a warm cup of tea and unfinished Elizabethan play draped over the arm rest of a well-loved wingback chair. The nostalgia is charming. The doctor wonders for a moment why this chair remains in confinement. It's quite a nice chair. They sit, or rather, they fall into the chair. That's why.

"Used to be smaller back then," they mutter, picking the playbook up from where it has fallen to the ground and setting it on the tea table beside the otherwise nice chair.

The tea grows cold and forgotten as the Doctor listens closely to their best friend's final story.

A chuckle is surprised out of them when their voice- unusually soft and tired as it is- joins Lucie's, unbidden,

"Ow, that hurt."

It's nice to share a laugh with Lucie again all these lifetimes later, they think.