“I’m ready, I want to be at home with my grandson” he says, a look of longing in his eyes, longing for home comforts, longing for quality time spent with loved ones.
Or was it longing for the opportunities he was about to miss out on?
I can’t help but smile, I can’t help but be moved, because I know it’s not the latter, he’s leaving for the right reasons; he’s leaving for just reasons.
He’s leaving our fam to be with his own.
This is it, this was properly it
Oh blimey, now what am I going to do?
Of all the people to turn me down, turn all this down, why him?
If I were a little less kind, a little less tolerant, I would be cursing out Ryan Sinclair right now for not speaking out about this, to convince Graham to stay, that he’s his own man with his own life to lead. Graham has so much more of the universe to see before he slips away.
I can’t tell when that’ll be, I can’t tell when the cancer will take hold of him again, all I know is I’ve lost my window to remind him every day that he should not let that scare him out of doing anything extraordinary.
Yaz tells him she’s going to miss him, she’ll miss him far more than she thinks, and I’ll miss the calming influence he has on her. I feel young Yasmine will be quite a handful to me going forward if that shove from earlier in the mission was any indication.
She seems so possessive, she’s afraid of letting go, like I’m all that tethers her to some meaningful purpose in life.
It’s not fair, I tell the universe, why must I carry on while everyone stays behind? As it pertains to Yaz, just why do I need to bear this burden of personal responsibility? Is it some kind of karmic punishment for defying the will of The Judoon? For escaping their justice?
Am I being told to grow a little? Maybe a lot?
Can’t help but think these thoughts, they always course through me whenever situations like this arise; I’m left wondering what I could have done to make things right, or different.
Oh no, now he wants a hug. That’s certainly different.
Still, it might just be one of the few things I can do right by him in this situation.
Were it not for social awkwardness, it’d be more than a hug.
My face tells the whole story, a long drawn out feature made of missed opportunity and wasted time, how inappropriate given my very calling as a time and space traveller.
He thanks me for everything…no, dearest Graham, thank you.
He prepares to leave; I can’t let him go, not after receiving a taste of his warmth, of his generosity, of his love.
I beckon him over and we all come together in one last unified circle of friendship and family, our arms wrapped tightly around each other’s waists, I hold Graham closest to me, his immediate present about to become my inevitable past, and I would no longer be a part of his future.
“Bye fam” I say.
And then he goes, Ryan in tow, and we’re alone.
Yaz is with me, but whether or not she truly is altogether there will be for our time together to decide.
For now, I am left with my thoughts.
And all I can think of is just how unfair it all is.
The traffic had been merciless in this most crucial race against time, but Archibald ‘Archie’ Worthington was driven to beat it.
“Come along man, just another avenue to turn into and we’ll make it” he bellowed to his chauffer as he took another bite of his muffin.
“In good time sir, as soon as we’re clear of the van ahead of us, we’ll be where we need to be”
Archie sighed, his patience had all but eroded, and now he had to deal with patronising reassurances.
“Can we not state such impossible things?” he asked
“What’s so impossible about what I just said?” asked the curious chauffer.
“No one can tell us where we truly want to be, there’s always a different time, a different place, a whole world of ideal possibility forever distant from the present we live in”
“But sir, surely the destination in the present is what’s important”
“What’s important today is what was sacrificed yesterday”
The door to the right side of him opened and another person leaned in, wearing a strange assortment of clothes and colours, a bright and mostly tacky yellow blazer covered in question marks, a panama hat, and a large brown duffle coat. Above his head sheltering him from the downpour of rain was an umbrella with a handle also shaped like a question mark.
“Whatever are you doing man?”
“A storm’s brewing; may I come in for a bit of crumpet?”
“You most certainly will not”
“I may not will anything to be so? My will won’t take kindly to that” the man continued
“How did you pick the lock?” Archie asked.
“What lock?” the impish man replied.
“This car can only be opened from the inside”
“That’s just it, I happen to be inside”
“On the outside, there is nothing but space, we are inside the Earth, a ship forever lodged in harbour, we shelter within its skin, every one of us is a prisoner. Every so often we riot. Every now and then we pay the price for it”
Archie was weary, more of this strange man’s ramblings; he tapped on the window separating him from the chauffer.
“Do you have something to do with this?”
“He looked drenched sir, thought I’d take pity and give him a lift”
“Real heart on sleeve protocol” Archie replied, flabbergasted
“That’s what they tell me” the chauffer said, a satisfactory smirk on his face.
“See, simple answer for everything” Archie responded to the man.
“Those you serve always say that when the
Archie sensed the stranger was speaking more of his language and cooled his jets in regard to his rising temper.
“Are you headed my way?” he asked calmly.
“A friend of mine is giving a sermon at this very moment, circumstances will soon force me to travel, I’d like to wish her god’s grace and speed before I do”
“Then you might as well come in if you so wish”
“I don’t wish, I will”
“Will that do?” Archie responded.
The man folded up his umbrella and clambered into the limousine, prompting Archie to move
“Do you have a name?”
“I’m The Doctor”
“Doctor eh? I suppose one always has to be on standby on this sort of occasion, some of us are a bit steep in age at this point. Comfortable are we?”
“Couldn’t really tell you at the moment, we’ve just met”
The Doctor eyed the Smith and Wesson on Archie’s lap, his demeanour changed from lively to sombre.
“No, on second thoughts, I shouldn’t be all too comfortable”
Archie took note of the man’s swift discomfort, and chuckled.
“Oh don’t let this hunk of metal trigger you man, ’tis but a memento of past glory, nothing more”
“Today is the not a day to bask in glory, it is to commit to memory” The Doctor reminded him.
“Whenever are we getting a move on man?” Archie asked incessantly, sensing he was about to be lectured and not willing to put up with a second of it were it about to slip loose from this most righteous Doctor’s lips.
The chauffer spotted a man approaching the van with some camera equipment in his hands and lowered his window to inquire about the hold-ups they were continuing to experience.
“Excuse me, we are in a bit of a hurry, when can we expect your van to move?”
“My apologies sir, we’re filming something special for the regional bulletins, we should be good to go in a few more minutes”
“Great, puff piece remembrance stories, the media are such parasites; can’t we have the rest of the day to ourselves?”
The Doctor pressed his fingers against the tip of his lips, whatever he wanted to say, he felt it would fall on the deafened ears of this individual.
Before long, and true to the camera technician’s word, the BBC news team finally finished their work and headed back over to their van, the van in turn sped off down the street, allowing the limacine and every car trailing behind it to press on.
The limo did not have further to travel, it pulled up beside King’s Chapel Church, which had been at the centre of the regional news, for it was the first remembrance sermon to be given there by one of the initial wave of newly anointed female ministers.
The Doctor and Archie stepped through the hallowed doors of the church and took their seats.
Archie wondered why The Doctor was keeping so close to him, it unnerved him greatly.
“Would you mind finding somewhere else to sit?” he asked.
“I’d prefer to keep my eyes trained on your glory, you’ve taken it in with you” The Doctor noted.
“What makes you so sure there’s a bullet in it?”
“Guns I find make the most terrible possessions when they are so far removed from their purpose and function. There’s always the temptation to load them”
“No innocent blood will be shed this day, you have my guarantee”
“Archibald, you know as well as I do, today is not just to remember the noble or the innocent”
The two remained silent as the sermon, performed by one Judith Winters, commenced.
“They say God is tribal, that there are two sides, the renegade devils and the imperial angels. Try as they might, the imperials cannot stave off the incursion of the renegades on Earth as they do in Heaven.
For Earth is at the centre of their great and ceaseless struggle. Human souls are tested and challenged on a basis so constant, that to the eyes of a timeless child native to uncharted stars it must be compelling to see this everlasting battle amongst the living, not knowing if where they dine next is at the table of our saviour, or at the behest of the devil himself.
The child must look down upon the Earth in wonder, amusement, but perhaps, just perhaps, it looks down on us in shame.
I believe in this child, one came to me, when I was lost, used by those that served in wars fought so long ago, who had lost their way of life to the steps taken forward by our evolving and ever blessed world.
They had been tested, but their experiences had blinded their souls to the awakening that opens our eyes to all that is splendid and right, and they sought to exploit the generations under them, to treat them as if they were their personal weapons.
I spent so many years locked away in my own private corner of the globe, readjusting, trying to convince myself I was not a weapon purposed for evil, that I was a design of the divine.
In your time on this earth, when you are tested, look to your child, your guardian angel, your Ace of Hearts, and ponder what they will forge you into”
The sermon came to a close and the church emptied, but not before a young mother and child approached Judith singing nothing but praise on her.
“That was a lovely sermon Reverend, what inspired it?”
“Just a story from my childhood Mrs. Cooper”
“Well, young Gwen and I loved it, didn’t we dumpling?”
Young Gwendolyn Cooper was a little distant, her eyes trained on The Doctor as he politely raised his hat in salutations to her, in acknowledgement of deeds not yet performed by her on Earth.
“When we get back to Cardiff we’ll be sure to tell her all about it. It’ll do her a lot of good” Mrs. Cooper jubilantly spoke, she took her daughter’s hand and she left the church.
Once the church was emptied, Judith blew out the last of the ceremonial candles and took a much needed glass of water.
The Doctor approached her.
“It was a tale well told Reverend Winters, but nobody ever thinks about what comes after, that’s just our lot, in all our lifetimes”
“It’s as if God takes you to a certain place, then takes both eyes off of your presence on his Earth, leaving you stranded in the dangerous currents, his back turned as you struggle for years to cling to the safety of the holy surface, the holy land”
“What you served was worse than any devil” The Doctor spoke, reminding her of remembrances past.
“Even the devil fell from heaven” Judith responded.
The Doctor opened the palm of his hand, a small drop of rain dropped onto it; he glanced upwards, staring at the ceiling above.
“You really should get someone to fix the roof. It’d do you a lot of good to shelter from the approaching storm while you can, before war is thrust upon you, as it is now thrust upon me”
“If war is to come, are you ready for it?”
“I can step onto every battlefield there has ever been on your planet, I can step forward onto every conflict that is yet to come”
“But are you ever truly prepared for it?”
“I’m not surprised when I see it, but I’m always sad, especially the ones when there is no chance for remembrance. Humans are fortunate to have it, be against an alien or native instigator. With the devils you served, unless I’m involved, there is never a chance”
Judith had to ask the question, encouraged more by curiosity than faith.
“Then you are an angel?”
“I am a champion”
“Of the word?”
“Are you here to respect my gospel, or here to glorify your own?”
“I came to say I failed. I failed you, that I underestimated their cruellest of capabilities, the indoctrination of children into their nefarious ways, no better than what the most inhumane of humans did during the second of the great wars, that’s not even the worst thing”
“What is the worst thing?” Judith asked.
“That even now I’m still failing”
The sounds of a gun barrel being locked into position made both of them turn.
“You were right Doctor, the temptation was there to resist, but do not take it as a sign of weakness, more of strength. For war is not just to remember the noble, we must also take heed of the sin, and that woman right there is ripe with it”
He approached Judith, his eyes glaring into hers, showing nothing but contempt, and hate.
“At last, I’ve got you where I want you”
“I do not recognize your face, but I understand your intent. Are you prepared?” Judith responded.
“For everything you did to my mates, who weren’t so well prepared for the war you brought to their shares, you dare ask me this?
“Archibald, listen…” The Doctor pleaded.
“She is in service of the Daleks, foreign devils, worse than anything Adolf threw upon us, I see that now. They were on no side but their own. Mike and Mister Radcliffe, they paid the price for that”
“Are you of relation to the men I killed decades ago?” Judith asked.
“We were all drinking buddies, we formed our own clique, The Association, a brotherhood bonded in a belief that the rivers of blood will not course through this nation’s veins. Mike Smith paid the price for placing his trust in the generations that have come to lead this world”
“She had no choice” The Doctor responded angrily.
“And she does now?” Archie said, his hand trembling.
The Doctor could see the fear in the man, but he was too stubborn to end his provocation.
Judith’s eyes flickered with a spark, she thought it’d might have been the flash of a camera but the press had long since come and gone.
Something was different about her. She felt no fear from the man aiming the gun at her, but from the unquestionable thirst she felt to punish him for drawing a weapon and message of malice into a holy land.
It was a righteous fury, she did not know if it belonged to her, or to God.
“You brought this devil out of me, God would never entrust the church to the designs of those that had cast the first man from Eden”
“Both bore the brunt of responsibility that day, they breached the laws laid down upon them and we all must pay for those sins to earn our way back there” The Reverend persisted, but Archie would hear none of it.
“The law is in my hands now, and I will not see you speak in the name of anyone, lord or law, ever again” he cried, and squeezed the trigger.
The shot was fired, the bullet rapidly approached its target, The Doctor stood firm, and he closed his eyes in dread anticipation of what was to come.
The bullet froze in mid-air and the small damp raindrops leaking from the roof also froze some fizzling with energy, they could shock someone at the slightest touch.
“No shelter from the storm” The Doctor said, crossing his hearts.
“What’s happening?” Archie spoke in alarm.
“You were so busy making deals with the devil, you never once thought to ask it to dance”
The energy ignited from the reverend in a ferocious manner, the interior of the church was set ablaze with a torrent of electronic fire which reignited the extinguished candles and reduced some of the pews to charred splinters.
Judith opened her mouth to speak, but nothing let slip from it but more unfathomable levels of power, electrical bolts danced and diced in and around the petrified Archie, he could shield his eyes, but not his spirit, which bent all too easily to the will of this hellacious being that he had awakened.
The gun slowly contorted, and broke down into molten metal that spread all over Archie’s hand, he screamed in the holiest of terrors as the liquid steel touched his hand, severely burning it.
He collapsed to the floor, tears pouring down his frail cheeks, clutching his right hand in searing pain, looking up at the heavens as the imperial angel stood in judgement of him.
And then, the energy cut off, Judith slowly descended, her great power faded, and she sank to the floor. Weary, but well.
Small sobs could be heard from her.
The Doctor knelt down and put a comforting arm around her.
“This is how I failed you, I didn’t cut the cord from the Daleks when I could have, I couldn’t, I knew there would come a time where I required you to serve that power, at a specific time and place, a time of war”
“What sort of war would permit this devil’s design?” Judith said in between wails of sorrow.
“A war of time” The Doctor replied solemnly.
“What makes you think I will fight?”
“I would never ask you to fight, merely to offer suggestions and ideas to our side of the struggle, a weapon forged by one side now in use of another, all for a greater purpose , the power that goes with it need not be in service of the Daleks, but in service of every divine soul in creation. For the sake of every untested soul”
Judith composed herself, she felt the righteous fury dissipate, and instead entered a state of perfect grace, as if her personal truth was telling her all would be well
“I was left so broken the last time, so helpless. Can you guarantee me liberty after?”
The Doctor already knew the answer; he was in his third incarnation at the time when he paid a visit to an asylum with Josephine Grant and one of their less than routine matters in the year 1999, at the turn of the millennium, an asylum Judith Winters once more graced the halls of, having had a relapse, having once again retreated into herself.
Cut off from all masters she could serve, cast out from the light.
In order for her to be useful, one of them had to believe. It might as well be him.
Believe for her, and believe in her.
“You will live, I assure you. That’s all anyone can do after war is through with us. Live”
Judith took his hand, and they made their way towards the doors, towards the rain and the storm.
Archie, still squirming on the floor, crippled and in agony, demanded to ask one last thing of the angels that had denied the demon his due.
“Why? Why was I spared?”
The Doctor glanced over at him, his eyes piercing into Archie and somehow managing to fill the pits of whatever remains of his soul with terror and anguish.
Unauthorized Short Trips is the first book from PLANET MONDAS PUBLISHING, it comprises thirteen short stories centered on something that’s a little dear to me…and something that is most assuredly ‘over there’ in terms of fan reception….namely Thraham, the pairing coined by the few fans in support of it for The Doctor and Graham.
This fic is credited and dedicated to the words and teachings of Neil Gaiman and J. Michael Straczinski.
It could still keep her up at night.
She wondered even to this day what kind of lightning it was, there were types.
She often thought about decision making, how drastic she could make one, whether she could look for it in the thunder, she imagined how the lightning would react.
She inserted the key in the motel door and unlocked it; she slipped in quietly, as the room was pitch black, shrouded in almost liquid dark. The only prevalent light coming from a muted and still active television displaying nothing but static.
She could vaguely make out a heavily breathing lump on the bed, the distinct aroma of salad dressing and salami clung to the room’s atmosphere.
Daphne quietly walked over to the bed, sat gently on the edge, and slipped off her shoes.
As she proceeded to remove her sports jacket unbutton her shirt, she took a quick glance at Scooby, who was tossing and turning in his sleep, positioned near a half-open dresser with various sheets and shirt hanging out from it.
She contemplated walking over to the dresser and rocking Scooby gently so as to calm his nerves, she could tell he sensed when the weather was steadily changing outside, and that they would be in for a rough night.
“How’d it go?” came a stirring voice from behind her, the lips that uttered it still adhered to the front of the pillow as the face that they belonged to refused to turn.
“Go to sleep” Daphne said, taking off the shirt and gradually stroking the strands of facial hair strands on the unshaven man’s chin.
Norville opened one eye and glanced at her.
“Why close my eyes? I’m already dreaming” he joked.
Daphne smiled warmly, she crawled closer to sit next to him.
“I told Fred I couldn’t cover the story” she replied.
“Did you tell him why this time?” Norville asked.
Daphne placed one arm on the pillow, resting her head comfortably against it, her free hand wrapped itself warmly around Norville’s head and shoulder, and she pulled herself closer towards him.
“Fred wants it all to be real again. Like he thought it’d be the first time we went to that island with feral zombies and cat people. He wants to believe so badly what we face together has a foothold in reality, he doesn’t want to pull more masks off and then have all our stories are about normal people putting themselves through extraordinary guises to prove some point exclusive to their notions fuelled by disillusion, anger, or greed”
“But he knows it’s our shtick right?” Norville replied, “You’re telling the viewer something that you hope will stay with them, something honest, something important, something vital…”
“He’s sleep walking Shaggy, the problem is we have to wake up in our own lives, we tend to fall asleep in our lives, we do the same thing today as we did yesterday and the day to follow, every so often you have to jolt yourself awake”
“So he wants to…what? Do things that really scare him?” Norville suggested.
“Exactly, at the moment, this precious moment in our careers, he thinks I’m telling them, the audience, lies. We’re telling them that we’re chased through corridors by something that doesn’t exist. That it’s all some grim fairy tale we’re telling every time to scare little kids. There’s no such thing as Red Riding Hood, the wolves can’t talk like your grandmother”
“They can sure talk like me, look at my career” Norville responded, which gave Daphne a bit of a tickle, and she let out a small and harmonious giggle that warmed his heart as much as it did hers.
“Did I ever tell you why I never tell him that?”
“Would he believe it?”
Daphne retracted her arm from his face and reached down the back of her bra, she unclipped it and let it fall off her chest.
“Oh he’d believe it; he just would never believe it could happen to you”
She placed both hands gently on Norville ‘Shaggy’ Rogers’ face and pressed her lips gently against them, giving him a sensational emotional surge which made his body bright red with radiance, and hers too. It was ecstasy.
After letting a minute back to take back the breath she had taken, Shaggy asked Daphne a question.
“So what did you say back to him Daph?”
“I talked to him about the weather”
Shaggy nodded, smirking smugly. Taking note of the ruckus outside, the terrible rumblings in the kingdom of clouds above the motel.
“You told him to find his reply in the thunder” he softly uttered.
Sheet lightning that illuminated the room, startling Daphne to the point she threw herself into Shaggy’s arms. She knew there would be little rest for her tonight, even held within this moment of divine warmth, divine bliss.
Daphne’s phone rang, Scooby, now awake, plucked it out of her jacket pocket and handed it to her. She slowly let her skirt slip loose as she rose to her feet and answered.
“It’s Fred” she said, quietly.
Shaggy leaned over to the edge of the bed, his hand placed tenderly on Daphne’s shoulders.
Daphne told Fred she’d probably be sleeping in over the morning, which would give him as much time as needed to finish editing for the 5:15 PM bulletin without being necessarily called away to another assignment. Shaggy could tell from her other responses that Fred was doing most of the talking for the remainder of the conversation.
“Thanks Fred, I understand, I love you too” she said, and put the phone down, her naked body leaning back over Shaggy’s lap and staring into his eyes as her hands again playfully brushed against his face.
“What’d he say?”
“You were right, the weather conditions outside got his adrenaline pumping, he said he found his reply in the thunder. He has to do what scares him, it’s important. It’s necessary, even though he may fail at it. Too many people at the network are telling him it won’t work out; we don’t want you to fail. If he does this he’ll get himself hurt, they’re trying to protect him, but they’re really only protecting themselves, trying to preserve the team…but if you follow your dreams, and you achieve them, then they have to say to themselves ‘what didn’t I do?, and why didn’t I do it?'”
“And that’s a harder thing for them to accept” Shaggy added.
“So what do we do now? My cameraman, my editor, my friend, is leaving to pursue a career in the supernatural, I reckon there’s a vacancy, want to fill it?”
“A few autumns ago, Googie called me, she wanted me to look after the kids and take them on a nature trail in the park. She gave me a pair of glasses, she figured I needed them to see what was ahead of me, thought I could see long distance better with them. Just another thing she insisted to better on my person, story of our divorce, but I wasn’t going to argue with her ‘least I never see the kids again, so we head out on the walk. And half way through the park, Scooby steps on a yellow jacket’s nest that was hidden amongst the dry October leaves. The kids took a few hits, and then they all swarmed over me.
I rocked my head back and forth a few times, Scooby leapt into my arms, then the kids all piled on top of him, and we headed right back home. After we gave the kids and Scoob a bath and put them to bed, Googie asks me where the glasses went. In shaking my head, I lost them, and they were back there, in the forest. Pitch black, conditions were right for creepers and crawlers.
I wanted to show her right then and there that I could see what was ahead of me, the danger, dragons in the dark; I had to show her those dragons could be slain. Turning away from that danger to save our own skin wasn’t what was brave. Turning back and proving your point was braver. She never insisted I change things about myself again”
Daphne gave him an aroused, suggestive smirk, pulling his face closer to hers as he cradled her.
“That was one solid audition pitch Shag, tell that story to the network execs tomorrow once they get my recommendation and you’ll have Fred’s job in next to no time”
“Wow, hear that Scoob? We’re gonna be, like, making monster movie magic” Shaggy remarked to Scooby, who had settled back into a peaceful slumber on the floor, having halfway chewed on Daphne’s phone.
“Just promise me you won’t sleepwalk, you snore” Daphne softly whispered, as she drew Shaggy’s lips to her for another enticing kiss.
(Tie-In story for the “Time Lord Victorious”, please read Titan Comics “Defender of the Daleks” and watch “The Waters of Mars” and the novel “The Knight, The Fool, And The Dead”)
The Doctor took a gentle step forward, leaving a footprint in the molten snow.
He had reached his destination, he was sure of it. The ember pits of Snodoke.
He withstood the smouldering and intense heat of the triple sunsets, even as day turned in briefest seconds to night before they rose again, an indecisive orbit, it required a fool’s errand to endure.
Was The Doctor playing that fool? Many had died because of the act once before, but now no one else would die this day in creation, not now or any other day that graced his gaze. Night would fall on the many no more. The sun would rise for everyone and for all time.
A tall volcanic mountain, a sight so familiar to the Doctor through childhoods past, from beyond an infinite set of lifetimes, stood before him.
Standing to his opposite side was a circular temple in the shape of an ouroboros snake. Its jaw wedged in its own tail. Symbolising eternity, symbolising, to the Doctor, a way of things he sought to unravel.
These pits contained of the last great super weapons conceived in the twilight of the Dark Times, the Hondraiser. A device capable of undoing what can never be undone, keeping the doorway to eternity firmly shut, yet leaving but one way open.
A safe passage to death. No harm, no pain, no taxing mental or physical compromise. Just release.
The Hondraiser was developed by those who challenged the way of the universe as it had evolved to that point, to see no need for life after a time, to cease all manner of suffering, an ongoing price paid for the folly of unspeakable atrocity committed by those who breathed in a galaxy’s worth of ash.
This device would revive, exclusively, those who bared the burden of the great threshold, the creatures that sought to silence the screams they could no longer afford to absorb and cry when those voices they belonged were silenced for all time. The sound of silence, the one voice they could never afford to have. The Hond.
That is, until The Doctor crossed their pathway, and granted them their own unique silence, a painless passage to the next life. And now he had to ensure they stayed at rest. It was a quandary that played on the current state of his soul…why would he wish to spare them from life if his present mission was to hold back death for all time? Why not grant them a light to guide them through the memory of times so dark to them?
Surely their imprint on the universe would be a stark reminder to all that the time lord victorious can never be truly wrong.
But maybe that was the point.
He had yet to relinquish the universe of pain, and it was through the suffrage inflicted on souls was what gave the Hond their grudge against all who dwell in the galaxy.
A race cursed by pain, inflicting that pain on others, a reminder of travesties that would be finally put to rest.
If he gave them life anew, he might as well snuff out all hope, it would be wrong of him, the time lord victorious is never wrong, that there is no one to stop him, no one to hold him back, no one to tell him his way, his law of time, is an affront.
Nothing but that.
Nothing. But. That.
The Doctor stood between the mountain and the snake; he produced his trusty sonic screwdriver, and held it high above his head. He pressed his finger delicately on the third setting.
The vibrations rocked the planet to and fro, the Doctor, in a physically taxing bout of defiance, did all he could to stand his ground. The temple collapsed, the volcano erupted, the lava spilled.
The Doctor inspected the wreckage while he could; his time was short as the lava raced towards him.
The Doctor was satisfied.
The Hondraiser was no more.
When the future is born, and they were old enough to join the wisest of men in the dead of winter, at the end of another wonderful year, in preparation for the beginning of yet another golden tomorrow, they will ask just what the precise moment was when those wisest among them realised that peace was assured for eternity in the universe? A universe free not just of pain, but the constant reminder of it?
And those wise men would say, as irony would have it, when the jaw was released from its tail.
Just thought I’d pop one out here after reading a Radio Times article on where Dawan’s Master fits in the chronology. The first words spoken by The Doctor come from the annual, and I figured it’d make for a good self-prompt, so having not read the annual, I challenged myself to finish the conversation
Under a charred orange sky brimming with ashes, The Doctor stood in the ruins of Gallifrey, The Doctor asked her old friend and many-a-time foe of the last time they understood one another.
“You looked quite different the last time I saw you, I quite liked you as Missy. At least she wanted to change, to be a better person.”
“She spent too long in your company, Doctor,” The Master, architect of the last great destruction of Gallifrey, replied, “A mistake I don’t intend to repeat.”
“Why? Because it may calm all the rage?”
“Maybe. Not telling you”
Frustrated, The Doctor’s thoughts swiftly turned elsewhere, she looked out into the distance, she could see something faint in the distance just beyond the perimeters of the capital. She smiled. There was always hope to be had, provided you use your eyes.
“My place?” she asked.
The Master chortled.
“You never knew your place”
“Is that supposed to have a double-meaning now I’ve had an upgrade?” asked The Doctor
The Master didn’t respond, he looked back at the shattered dome of the great Gallifreyan citadel, attempting to place upon his face a mask of proud accomplishment.
“Come on, my place. You left it standing”
“How thoughtful of me”
“Yeah, well, probably the only clear thought that came into your head when acting out this deed”
She offered her hand to The Master, he hesitated.
“What makes you think your place is where I need to be? Even after seeing all this around you?”
“Do you remember Harold Saxon? Do you remember the year that never was? Where you plagued humanity with a brutal, quasi-omnipotent rule? Do you remember what I said? Could you bear it at the time? Can you bear it now? What did I say? What did I do?”
“You forgave me” The Master whispered, holding back a faint tear.
“And then you held me”
He looked back at The Doctor, her eyes matching his in urgency, in sincerity. Here, there was no such thing as malice, or hatred, or even the blight of disappointment, here there was only concern, there was a yearning to understand.
This was love
“Let me hold you. Again, just once, one more time, there is a rage inside of you and I don’t know if I can stop it this time, but if there’s any part of you that enjoyed my company as Missy, that relished the very notion of redemption, and if you have any secrets that need sharing, then for my sake, for your sake, don’t hide it behind a campaign against the universe, embrace it in a quiet, private place in the universe. Share it with me, without a cross word before, not a cross word after, without any hesitation. Whatever it is, I forgive you. Always”
“It’ll hurt, trust me, it is going to hurt” The Master warned.
“Whatever hurts me can sting only once, from there we’ll heal. Together”
The Master reached out and gripped her hand tight.
Together they headed over to an old, well worn hut.
There they made everything better.
There, by some miracle or another only their bond could achieve, they calmed all the rage.
Yasmin Khan couldn’t believe the state the TARDIS console room was in. More to the point, she couldn’t believe she had taken time out of her day off to check in on her friend and mentor as she fumbled her way through the TARDIS wardrobe, leaving piles of discarded clothes laying across the floor, some had even found their way onto the centre columns.
Yaz gasped as her keen sense of smell starting picking up whiffs of something burning, she kicked aside some fur coats to reach the source of the smoke that was forming.
The Doctor’s head peered out the small changing room, catching a glimpse of Yaz’s activities.
“Here, careful with that, they’re the latest fashions from Spyradon” The Doctor spoke,
“You’ve left the iron on. Again, it’s burning a hole in one of your shirts”
“I know, it’s all by design, brilliant isn’t it?”
“No it’s not brilliant, that’s a perfectly fine looking shirt and it’s ruined now, what were you thinking?”
“Depends, I do a lot of thinking, like whether or not Graham’s kept his sights on the schedule”
“And what do you mean by that?” Yaz asked, her arms folded, tapping one of them with an index finger rather frantically. Her patience running thinner and thinner.
“Tell me he knows when the Hatton Road bus is due?”
“7: 39…and no, Doctor, that’s not in the morning, how many times have I told you not to go by military time?”
“I can’t keep count of those times, they slip in between the cracks of history, I stick more closely to those”
“Doctor, he’s not going to forget the schedules. He used to be a driver remember? He keeps tabs on all the timetables, even now; it’s a hobby between him and his mates”
“It’s just; we’re doing this all his way this time, no reliance on this old snog box”
Yaz broke out into an uncontrollable giggle.
“That one didn’t come from me, it came from a friend, and it’s quite a fetching title at this stage in our little drama together” The Doctor replied.
“You shouldn’t treat your dates like they’re a constant drama” Yaz insisted.
“Everything in my life is a drama, I’m not wired to think any way differently…life is so rich with complexity, even the simplest things follow convoluted rules and restrictions…take this restaurant we’re going to, yeah? Black tie…where am I going to find a tie at such short notice? A chap called Turlough wore out pretty much all of them back when he travelled with me. Only time he didn’t have any on was when he headed off back to Trion”
Yaz shared with her friend some words of wisdom, which she had meticulously formed during this phase of The Doctor’s ranting. Perhaps being around her for so long had also helped piece together both the right temper and fluidity of this advice.
“Everything is a process, the point is to enjoy yourself when you sort all that out, then you can look back on all this worry, all this drama if you will, and laugh about it with Graham when the two of you have dinner. Drama makes good conversations, you’ll be at it all evening, trust me”
The Doctor emerged from the dressing room chambers, Yaz reacted with some surprise, she also felt like she shouldn’t be all that shocked, but her mind was drifting more in favour of the situation presenting itself within an hour’s time for the Doctor and Graham.
“Are you…are you really going out like that?”
“Why? What’s wrong?”
“Nothing it’s just…so typically you. I thought you’d strive to be a bit more…feminine for once, you know, so you wouldn’t have to worry so much about black tie”
Yaz’s phone started ringing; she took a moment to answer it.
“Hello? Yes, oh…oh of course, yeah, she’ll be on her way shortly. Just for FOMO, what’s exactly the time right now? 6:55? And is the schedule still good for you two? Yeah, yeah I see…ok, not bad, I’ll let her know. Yes…yes, I know she has a time machine, that doesn’t mean she keeps track of any on odd occasions”
Yaz switched the phone off and turned back to The Doctor.
“That was him?” The Doctor asked.
“That was him, don’t worry, if you make it to where he is, you’ll be early” Yaz assured her.
“What did he say about the schedule?”
“The bus will be running two minutes late”
The Doctor punched the air with a sense of triumph.
“Ah, so the schedule couldn’t keep track of HIM, that’s better, I like it when time becomes your enemy, gives you another reason to head on out there and make yourself it’s master”
Yaz rolled her eyes.
Fifteen minutes later, The Doctor announced her arrival at Graham O’Brien’s house with a firm knock on the front door. Graham swiftly answered, and, to the Doctor’s delight, she found him wearing a most fetching tuxedo, a velvet black tie tucked into his coat.
To his own surprise, he found The Doctor was wearing a matching tuxedo and shirt
“Here I am, all good and proper. Shall we?”
Graham gave the Doctor a little bit of the soft-shoe shuffle at the door.
Graham also noticed The Doctor’s bow tie looked somewhat displaced
“Your bow is looking a little crooked there; here let me sort you out”
His hands reached out to adjust the bow tie, the Doctor allowed him, humming a couple of musical notes to herself, all slightly out of key, but in her head sounded like blissful release…relief from all that earlier pressure.
“Mind asking me what compelled you to grab that?”
“You said it was black tie. Couldn’t find one lying about the place, figured the coolest thing I could find would suffice”
“Well, who am I to argue? We’ve all got to bring a little flavour to a restaurant”
The Doctor giggled.
“There, good as new” he said as he finished adjusting the bow tie, poking The Doctor on the nose with the tip of a middle finger.
The Doctor tucked in her lip and closed her eyes briefly, allowing herself to revel in the ever decreasing pressure. Around Graham, the drama just all seemed to wash away.
She also let out what Graham could distinctly identify as a mischievous chuckle, almost as if she was sharing a private joke to herself.
“What’s tickling those ribs of yours Doc?” Graham asked.
The Doctor wrapped her arms snugly around his neck, their two powerful and thunderstruck eyes matching.
She knew Graham wouldn’t get what she meant, and caring little if he did. He didn’t know every story, she was just thankful he had become the latest chapter.
“Let’s just say it’s a good thing we aren’t going to church…”