Word Count: 1294
Author's Summary:An unexpected reunion amid the fires of a planet where time is crawling to a halt.
Characters/Pairings: Ace/Ninth Doctor
Recced because: I love this story. The language, the atmosphere, the characterizations are all amazing. The more times I read it, the more I love it. I keep catching things I missed. It's dark and bitter and bleak but there's still hope in there somewhere and it's the perfect post-time war meeting of Ace and the Ninth Doctor.
On a nameless, otherwise lifeless planet, the deserted city burns around them. It has been burning for years, the flames moving like glaciers, creeping cataracts punctuated with sudden unexpected explosions. Ace is inured to them now. To her recollection, he had never watched the results of any of her experiments with explosives, only come to survey the aftermath and scold her with perfunctory primness that was utterly spoiled by the twinkle in his eyes. He has never been so bothered by the presence of fire as he seems to be now, keeping close to her heels as they walk to her home instead of bounding on ahead, wincing whenever something goes boom.
There are explosions in his eyes now, when he opens them long enough for her to see, images burned in like ghosts into stone. He is cold, and he tastes as of old, but nothing else is the same. The teasing and tender playfulness are all gone, replaced by the weeping need of a man who makes love in frantic desperation because he is hollow inside, and only Ace's hands upon his chest can convince her that he is real and not a ghost himself, released from the black-streaked stones by the neverending fires.