It was a cold and breezy morning, with strands of mist coiling around the TARDIS as the Doctor opened the door and poked his head out. Behind him, the TARDIS' machinery hummed, patching the rift in time and space back together. Next to him, stepping onto the slightly damp grass as door opened wider, was Clara, fighting to hold back tears.
In front of them, stood General Yuu and his men, and behind them, stood the ornate and magnificent Japanese building where their adventure had begun.
The Doctor stepped forward.
"It's done General. The rift will shortly be repaired, and the danger gone. You and your men are safe now." His voice was low, soft. Yuu knew, instantly, that something was wrong.
"The dragon has fallen." His voice was calm, with just a tinge of regret.
The Doctor met Yuu's gaze. "Yes. He gave his life up to ensure the survival of his world... and this one. Greseer embraced the spirit of the Samurai."
"Then he died with honour. We are grateful for his sacrifice."
"Remember him General. Remember the noble dragon that saved us all." The Doctor offered his hand out. Yuu clasped it by the wrist, as was befitting a Japanese warrior.
"Not just the dragon. You have saved us too."
A small smile crossed the Doctor's face. "I did what I could."
Yuu released his grip, and looked beyond the Doctor to Clara.
"I never thought a gajin, much less a woman, would show the same heart and spirit as a Samurai."
Clara shot Yuu a slightly pained look. "Thanks... I think."
Yuu smiled. "I mean no disrespect. Your courage helped keep my men calm when they might otherwise have succumbed to fear. For this, you have my deepest respect." Yuu bowed, and the Doctor arched his brows. Clara looked uncertain for a moment, then bowed in return.
"And you Doctor, the Samurai of the stars. We will forever be indebted to you." Yuu bowed once more, and the Doctor returned the gesture.
"Perhaps we'll meet again Doctor." But Yuu's voice was not hopeful.
"Perhaps." The Doctor's reply was noncommittal. "It's time to take our leave of your hospitality General. We wish you all well."
"As we do you. Goodbye Doctor, and good luck."
Clara propped herself up against the TARDIS' central spire. Her coat remained on, though she was gradually warming up now she was back inside. All she could do was replay in her mind the sacrifice the Doctor had asked of Greseer.
"This is a theme isn't it Doctor?" She asked quietly, without looking at him. The Time Lord himself was around the other side of the console, studying a display.
"Being forced to ask people to give up their lives. It seems to come up again and again."
The Doctor stopped working. "I've had to do that before. I've had to make many a tough call in my time. It never gets easier." He looked up at her, and smiled softly. "I prefer to think of the lives saved. The faces of the people you rescue and help. General Yuu will forever remember and honour Greseer, and two worlds are safe - that is his greatest legacy."
There was a nod, as though Clara agreed, though in her heart she was not so sure. She walked around the console, to stand beside the Doctor.
"Don't you ever wish there was another way?"
Another pause. "Every second of every day."
Clara slipped his hand into the Doctor's. "Well, maybe one day we can find another way."
The Doctor squeezed her hand. "Perhaps one day."