A/N So this was originally supposed to be part of my oneshot collection thing, but it grew and grew and now it's this. A Christmas regeneration story. Sort of. As with the other stories in my oneshot collection, it comes with a song. Christmas Lights by Coldplay to be exact. Have a listen, and maybe cry. I did.

The following is written in Clara's point of view. Second person. Will be about three or four chapters, depending on me. Rated T for swearing, whouffle and general paranoia. Please tell me what you thought in a review, read and enjoy!

•••

Christmas night, another fight
Tears we cried, a flood
Got all kinds of poison in, poison in my blood
Took my feet to Oxford Street, trying to right a wrong
Just walk away those windows sing
But I can't believe he's gone

When you're still waiting for the snow to fall
It doesn't really feel like Christmas at all

Up above candles on air flicker
Oh they flicker and they flow
And I am up here holding on to all those chandeliers of hope
And like some drunken in this city
I go singing out of tune
Singing how I've always loved you, darling
And I always will

Oh when you're still waiting for the snow to fall
It doesn't really feel like Christmas at all

Still waiting for the snow to fall
It doesn't really feel like Christmas at all

Those Christmas lights
Light up the streets
Down where the sea and city meet
May all your troubles soon be gone
Oh Christmas lights, keep shining on

Those Christmas lights
Light up the streets
Maybe they'll bring him back to me
Then all my troubles will be gone
Oh Christmas lights, keep shining on

Oh Christmas lights
Light up the streets
Light up the fireworks in me
May all your troubles soon be gone
Those Christmas lights keep shining on

•••

When you hear the word 'Christmas', what do you think of?

I suppose not everyone celebrates Christmas, though. But they must have other memories. Everyone does. You know, birthdays, name days, Thanksgiving, anniversaries, weddings, births, celebrations. All of that. Those days, those memories.

Of them, Christmas has always been mine. My day. The best day.

But.

And there's always a but.

Christmas.

The word's cold now, in my mouth, you see. The memory blackened, in my mind. And the day is dead. With you.

But enough of me.

When you hear that word, what do you think of? Such a beautiful word, all elegant vowels shaped around slippery consonants. Said best at a shout first thing on the morning of December 25th, accompanied by a hug or a kiss or a skip of excitement.

What does that word make you think about?

Presents, I bet. Neat little boxes shining with big red bows. Irregular shapes patched with Santa paper and half a roll of Sellotape. The perfect gift from that perfect person nestled right under all the others and showered in pine needles.

Or food. Of course, food. Elaborate turkey dinners done with rich gravy and homemade Yorkshire pudding. Grandma's trademark potato salad, all gone barely ten minutes into the night. Half-baked cookies courtesy of some proud younger cousin, eaten with pretend praise but very real smiles.

Or maybe you're religious, well, not you, I suppose. But lots of people. I used to love going to church when I was younger, with mum at the midnight mass. On the good years, winter would tap its nails along the stained-glass windows, as if wishing to be among the happy people rugged up inside. I'd try to listen to the priest, I would, but usually I'd spend the warm late-night hour gazing up at the dead lungs of the church ceiling, imagining the building heaving with breath and life, gargoyles and paintings and windows coming alive to wish us the season's greetings.

Or maybe it's the people that you think of. I know I do. The wistful great aunt who'd give me a spider web's kiss on the cheek before tottering off to reminisce over old photo albums. The pair of god-awful twins who I couldn't help but love, stealing meringues from the table, tearing up party hats and peeking at their gifts too early. My parents sharing the same slice of Chrissy pudding, spitting out old pennies and competing for whoever got the oldest one.

And then there are the memories. The shadows, the ghosts. An empty chair or two, a missing place on the table for someone's signature dish, a person's eyes constantly flitting about as if to catch sight of another, even if the other was not there and had not been for many years.

I remember being that pair of eyes. I remember glaring at the chocolate soufflé some well-meaning uncle had baked, wanting to cast it off the table and scream. I remember seeing my father sitting surrounded by people but somehow alone, taking the last bite of a piece of Christmas pudding and dropping a shiny coin into the bowl without even a brief inspection of the minting date. I remember the distinct increase in gifts labeled with my and Dad's names, and the distinct lack of ones with my mother's.

Sometimes, I think I remember the absence of my mother at those once joyful Christmas dinners more than I remember her presence. Sometimes I think I focus more on the shadows, the memories, the ghosts, than the living and breathing souls.

You're a dark and weighty shadow, Doctor. You're a frightening ghost.

Or maybe it isn't the people that you think of. Maybe it's the decorations, the mistletoe, the tinsel and the tree. Clusters of golden baubles reflecting your own morphed and alienated face. Strings of fairy lights passing rainbows about the branches on which they're hung. Old kindergarten decorations made of coloured pasta and pipe cleaners, alongside century-old family heirlooms and precious glass angels.

Maybe – what else is there?– do you think of the stories? The swapped tales of incidents in the supermarket, crazy chance meetings with a celebrity in a hotel bathroom, long-winded recounts of week-long jaunts to France, Canada, the Phillipines, or the town no one's heard about in a a forgotten Welsh moor. The stories that are told so passionately and so often that everyone butts in with their own continuations and comments. The tall tales that everyone knows are codswallop but still laugh along with anyway.

Maybe Christmas reminds you of none of these things, or all of them. But it's what it makes me think about. It's my memories, leading back year after year, from now until even before my fathoming.

I loved Christmas, I did. I loved it, even after my mother couldn't be there for it I still loved it. Sometimes the happiest things are tainted with a bit of sadness, sometimes the best memories are bittersweet. And Christmas, to me, was a sanctuary, a celebration, a beautiful glowing flurry of snow and joy and love and sound.

Yes, it's fair to say that Christmas was my favourite day of the year. I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

But–and there's always a but–to erase this last Christmas from existence, or at least from memory, I would hand over my heart and soul. In a neatly wrapped box, no less, complete with pretty silver bow.

But, then, I think that perhaps I already have.

Is that what I've done? Is that what I've been doing these past months with you, the very thing I was so focussed on avoiding? Have I already relinquished those parts of me? Given them so thoughtlessly away?

If so, I've been given nothing in return.

•••

You're probably wondering what this is all about. Tattered old book in a waterlogged old chest, left squatting in the ribcage of a long-dead tree. Actually, knowing you, you probably aren't wondering at all. You probably know exactly what this is about, and exactly what it means.

I'm sure, by now, you've worked out who is writing this. Was the Old High Gallifreyan I scratched into the lid enough? Of course it was, who else knows that script these days. Took me ages to remember enough to write that, though. Months of scraping my brain, picking through all those memories for that one Clara who lived a decade or two on your own planet Gallifrey.

Go back and read it again. Again. Put the book down, pick up the chest and read it.

Run you clever boy, and remember.

At least, that's what it's supposed to say. I don't think I got the Gallifreyan equivalent for 'b' right. Or the 'ou' sound, for that matter. And I messed up the 'clever' bit. You get the idea.

I'll tell you later what I meant by those words. It's not just the phrase I knew would catch your eye, it means something more. Keep reading. Keep reading.

You'll recognise this place, I hope. This place you've found this tree, this chest, this book. Not with fond memories, and I'm sorry about that. More sorry than you can know. But this is the only place I could be almost certain you would come back to, if you came back at all. So this is left here, in a chest, in a tree, in the place where you once died.

You already know the intention of this letter, or book, or mess of words I've managed to scrawl onto paper. You worked it out paragraphs ago. But I'll write them here anyway, because I want you to hear my voice saying them in your head.

1. I'm angry.

This is the best reason, I like this reason the most. Imagine me shouting this part at you. Cringe a little bit in regret. Good. Because I am angry. I am so angry. I want to punch your goddamn big chin and smash your stupid sonic and tear your TARDIS into scrap metal. Figuratively, anyway. Mostly I just want you to read this all in my voice, picture me shouting it at you. Add some swearing in for me, too. Colourful as you like.

2. I'm sorry.

I don't like this reason at all, but it's true and probably more valid than the previous one. I'm dreadfully sorry. Not sure what for, exactly, but I am. And here I am, writing this.

3. I miss you.

I hate this reason. I hate it a lot. But it's truer than the others, even the hundreds that I haven't written down. I hope you can infer those other reasons from the following pages, but this is the big one. I miss you, you bastard. Yeah, that's right. You're a bastard. You're a fucking bastard.

If you're alive, that is.

If you're alive.