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This story is No. 3 in the series "Traveling Scoobies". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Willow and Buffy are hurt. Good thing there's a Doctor to help them.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Dr. Who/Torchwood > GeneralloyaleskamoeFR13525,81122511,04811 Aug 0719 Nov 08No

In the Cave, They Fell

"Well this is just stupid," Xander muttered right before stopping.


"What's the hold up," Willow demanded impatiently.  She wanted to get to the Master, get that darned cellphone, then get the heck out of this time period as soon as possible.


Xander let go of Willow's hand, revealing himself and Martha, whom he was supporting.  The woman could barely stand with his help.  They couldn't just take her back to face a demon as powerful as the Master!  He pointed this out to his best friend.


Willow deflated.  She didn't think of that.  Why didn't she think of that?  What did that say about her?  God!  She was so inconsiderate!


The young redhead apologized profusely to Martha.


"Don't.  You don't have to do that," she said to Willow's disembodied voice. "And you don't have to hold me up either, Xander!" Martha shrugged herself out of his arms and straightened herself out.  She staggered and almost slammed into the wall.  She would've too if Xander hadn't grabbed her.  Martha swore.


"It's okay, Martha," Xander reassured. "Me and Willow can handle it by ourselves." He smiled his most really reassuring smile. "We do stuff like this all the time.  Remind us to tell you about our fight with the Oni."


WIllow retook Xander's hand and, under the cover of invisibility, lead them from the caverns of the Master.


-


Buffy hadn't said a word since their little disagreement, the Doctor noted as they headed towards the Master's lair.  He wasn't sure if he was pleased by that or not.


He considered the woman he was with.


Not, it was decided.  Most definitely not.


A woman of Buffy's considerable skill and spirit was absolutely someone he didn't want angry with him.  Of course, it wasn't like he wanted anyone to be angry with him.  And why should they be anyway?  He was charming, wasn't he?  Also brilliant, humble, modest, unspeakably clever, almost criminally witty, handsome... The list went on and on, really.  


Buffy should be happy to have a guy like him on her side!  It wasn't his fault that he had to protect the Timeline!  Like he wanted to let that murderous snake get away!  He's taken down Goa'ulds before, after all!  And did it very thoroughly and finally too.  It's just that history records the Americans doing the deed in the late 1990s.  If he lets Buffy defeat Setesh now, that'll just create a paradox which would threaten to rip a hole in all of Time and Space!


Y'know.  It just might behoove him to actually explain all that to the irate Slayer.


He beamed internally at his brilliance.  He'd have done it externally, but that was just asking for trouble.  One doesn't beam at a woman that's cross with you.  A hard learned lesson learned from his 900 years of life.  He chuckled.  Morgan le Fay had one heck of a left hook!


"What's so damned funny," Buffy asked dangerously.


Mind you, slayers probably have a better one.  So much for treading carefully.


"Listen, about Setesh," he began.  Buffy didn't reply, but gave the Gallifrian her attention. "You know when he dies because I told you.  What you don't know is why it's important he lives until then."


Buffy sighed in exasperation. "If he dies now, it'll create some kind of space/time pair-a-dock, right?"


The Doctor smiled, amused. "Very good.  But it's paradox.  Not pair-a-dock."


"Whatever," Buffy dismissed. "I get it.  What's supposed to happen, has to happen.  The point is:  I've heard of the dox thing before."


"Impressive.  Where?" the Doctor wondered.


"I think it was on Star Trek."


He chuckled. "I bow to your expertise."


-


Setesh and his Jaffa stood triumphantly before the entrance of the caves hiding the vampires.  What a fool their leader was.  This... "Master" assumed much, calling itself by so conceited a title.  


The Goa'uld anticipated the coming encounter with excitement.  Though presumptuous, the so called "Master" did indeed command a formidable amount of soldiers.  Or so his sources claimed.


It was, he supposed, possible this information was incorrect.  There could be more than expected.  But, should the need arise, it was highly unlikely that any vampire could withstand the awesome energies from a staff weapon.


The grin on his face was smug as he ordered his Jaffa to advance.


-


"Oh God," Buffy exclaimed.  She and the Doctor were behind a very large shrub, about twenty meters away from the cave entrance. "They're storming the place!"


The Doctor pulled out a pair of binoculars and peered over their cover. "So they are.  Good luck for us, eh?"


She gave him an incredulous look. "Our friends our in there!  How is that good luck?"


"You're not one for silver linings, are you," the Doctor asked distastefully.  Buffy made for the cave instead of replying. "Oh come on!  This is exactly what we need."


Buffy paused, her expression dubious. "How?"


"We were looking for a distraction, right?  Can you think of a better one?"  When she didn't respond, the Doctor grinned. "Yeah, I thought not.  As for our friends..."


With a flick of the sonic screwdriver, Willow, Martha, and Xander all appeared out of thin air.


"It can teleport people?" the blonde questioned, astounded.


Willow frowned. "What?"


Xander blinked. "Huh?"


Martha rolled her eyes. "We didn't teleport.  The Doctor just used the sonics to negate the cloaking spell." She smiled at her friend. "Right, Doctor?"


The sight of her injuries ignited a cold fury within him, but the Doctor hid it.  Instead displaying only his pleasure at seeing Martha alive.  Not to mention a little pride at her very correct explanation.


"Absolutely, Martha Jones.  You're becoming quite the little expert."


She blushed at his praise.


"No teleporting?" Buffy asked, a little put out.


Willow smiled at the slayer. "Sorry."


"As fun as the banter is," Xander spoke up. "We should probably..."


The Doctor interrupted. "... Get Martha back to the TARDIS.  I completely agree.  Let's go."  He started heading back.


"Wait," Martha called out. "I left my mobile back with the Master!"


The Gallifrein sighed.  It was always something.


"All right.  Here's what we're going to do." He pointed to Buffy and Xander. "You two get Martha back to the TARDIS.  Willow and I will retrieve Martha's mobile." The Doctor snickered. "Martha's mobile.  I love alliteration."


Buffy shook her head. "I'm going with you."


"No, you're going to the TARDIS."


"Like hell!"


"Listen, Buffy.  You cannot be seen by the Master.  If you are, he might remember you in the future, take the appropriate precautions, and then kill you.  Thus, changing history and creating a hole in the universe the size of..." He thought for a moment. "Well, actually, about the size of Belgium.  Which isn't all that large, cosmically speaking, but the entire Earth would be sucked into it and what comes out the other side is just rock.  And dust.  And powder."


There, the Doctor thought triumphantly.  There was absolutely no way ANYONE could argue with such a logical explanation as that!


"He did kill me."


Oh that's just not fair.   Maybe he heard her wrong. "I'm sorry.  What was that?"


"It's true," Willow chimed in.


Xander nodded. "Yep.  The Master drowned her.  I brought her back with a little mouth-to-mouth."


"Oh." The Doctor coughed. "Well that's... Did he mention anything to you about how he knew you were a slayer?"


Buffy shook her head. "Not that I remember.  He just sort of knew."


"So he didn't say he remembered you from when you traveled back in time and fought him for a mobile phone, then?"


The slayer frowned.  That was really, really unlikely, wasn't it?  Yeah...


"Right.  You're not going.  Willow, come with me." And without another word, the Doctor walked around the shrub, expecting to be followed.


Nobody moved.  Though Martha did wheeze a little.


He walked back into view.  Buffy glared at him. "Well it was worth a shot," the Doctor defended with a shrug. "All right, Buffy.  You can come with."


Buffy smirked at getting her way, Willow looked relieved at not having to face the Master again, and Xander was getting awfully tired of holding Martha up.  Martha was getting awfully tired.  Period.


The Doctor stared Buffy in the eyes.  His gaze was unsettling in it's intensity.  Even for her.  It was like staring into an abyss that could swallow you whole, leaving you in darkness and forgotten for all time.


Buffy cringed, but resisted the urge to look away.


"I need you to promise me, Buffy," the Doctor began solemnly. "I need you to promise me you will do exactly as I say in there." She began to protest, but the Doctor interrupted. "If that's a problem, then you can just go with Xander and Martha back to the TARDIS."


"I've been fighting vampires since I was fifteen.  I know how to handle myself," Buffy said defensively.  She knew how to do her job.  She's the longest living Slayer in the Council's history, thank you very much.


The Doctor nodded. "Fifteen?  Well that's different.  I'd say you're about twenty-seven now, right?" Buffy was. "So you've been slaying for twelve whole years.  That's...well, that's impressive.  I really, sincerely, mean it.  I know how short lived slayers are." The scoobies all smiled a little smugly. "But it doesn't matter.  None of it.  All that death, and trauma, and horror you've endured?  Worthless compared to what I've lived through.  And what I've learned because of it."


"Why are saying that?" Willow asked, hurt that he could say such mean things after he'd been so sweet and nice to them.


"Because it's true, Willow," he replied bluntly.


Buffy stalked forwards and got right in the Doctor's face. "How dare you," she demanded. "How dare you say that to us.  You have no idea what we've been through.  Who we've lost."


"It's a funny word, lost." The Doctor placed his hands in his pockets and circled Buffy. "Did you know it originated from the Old English word, losian?  Not a nice Old English word.  It literally meant "perish," or "destroy".  Could also mean become unable to find."


Buffy watched as he rotated, her eyes never leaving his.  They were filled with such coldness, alien in their depth and inscrutability.  A Slayer's life depends on her ability to read opponents, and she could divine nothing from those empty, terrifying orbs.  Buffy was afraid.  Needless to say, she didn't show it.


He stopped walking. "You've lost family, friends, maybe more, and I'm sorry.  I'm so sorry that you've suffered.  But can you imagine, Slayer, having your entire world be lost?" 


Nobody said anything, but Martha wanted desperately to be strong enough to go to him.


The Doctor nodded at their surprise. "That's right.  My world.  My civilization." He stared Buffy square in the face. "My family.  Lost."


It was almost too much to believe, but all the coldness in his eyes was replaced by the saddest, most haunted expression Buffy had ever seen.  She'd only seen pain like that once before.  When they first met, he reminded her of Angel.  Now though, she was reminded of someone else.


"Huh-how?" she asked, not wanting to, fearing she knew the answer.  For you see, the only time she'd seen something that could possibly compare to the look in his eyes was the summer after Acathla.  After she'd killed her love, her world, to save everyone.


"I lost them.  In every sense of the word.  I destroyed my planet.  Burned it from existence.  My people perished in the blaze.  And afterwards, I made it so they never existed, unable to be found by any time traveller.  Myself included.  The only home I have left is the TARDIS."


"Why?" Willow asked in a hushed, horrified, tone.


He was about to answer, but Buffy spoke up before he could.


"To save us," she said in awful understanding. "You did it to save us.  Everybody."


In his mind's eye, he could see them.  He could hear they're terrible shrieking voice as they tore across the once idyllic Gallifrey.  "Picture the worst possible evil you have ever met, then multiply that by a thousand, and you'll get a small idea of what my people faced."


"Daleks," Martha whispered, shuddering.


The Doctor's attention focused squarely on Buffy. "Will you do as I say?" he asked quietly.  She nodded, and he smiled in response.  Only those that knew him, or suffered as he did, could see through it. 


"Excellent!  Then allons-y! "


-


The Master fumed at the way his day was going.  First his beautiful Laura is destroyed, then the savage, Martha, literally disappears before his very eyes!


Willow and Ufgood of Nelwyn are behind this.  They must be!  It is also logical to assume that they are behind the foul odor that is permeating throughout his stronghold as well.  He will peel the skin from of their bodies as his family pours wines and spirits all over them.  Yes, that should do it.


That happy event would have to come later.  Now, he wonders what he'll do to the idiot who barged into his home and started barking orders in that annoyingly distorted voice.  He'd heard of Setesh, of course.  One as powerful as he should keep up with whatever players appear in town.  


This one claimed Godhood for himself.  The centuries old demons grinned, despite his bad temper.  It was always fun to show "gods" the error of their arrogance.


The Master observed the Jaffa that surrounded he and his family, their staffs lowered and aimed in their direction.  He'd heard of these weapons that fired magic at their enemies.  If the sight of so many pointed at him unnerved the vampire lord, he didn't show it.  


Setesh glared at him. "Well?" he demanded. "What have you to say to our proposal?"


"Please allow me a moment to see if I understand it properly."  The Master clasped his hands behind his back and began to pace slightly. "You want me to send my subordinates out to hunt down the ones who attacked you?"


"Yes."


"And why, pray tell, can you not do this yourself?"


"We can!" the Goa'uld snarled. "There is nothing that is not within our divine power!"


The Master stopped pacing and gestured to the vampires behind him. "Then what need have you of my people?"


"My power is unlimited, but my patience is not."


"Is that a threat?"


Setesh smirked. "Do not fear, vampire.  It is merely the reason why we are here.  I would see my enemies -our enemies- smitten sooner rather than later.  Your forces would aid in that goal."


The Master was about to reply when a voice spoke out from the entrance. 


"Oh, don't worry, your Lordship, I'm absolutely smitten.  It's hard not to be when you've met some of the most remarkable women in history," the Doctor said, walking in the room, Buffy right behind him.  


Her eyes locked on to the horrible form of the Master.  He looked the same!  It's hundreds of years in the past and he looks the same!  He even still has fruit punch mouth!  Buffy was surprised at how little effect he had on her.  Obviously he was still oh so fugly, but the terror and fear he used to inspire in her were gone.  Neat.


The Doctor went on. "I mean, seriously, have you ever met Lisa Gherardini?  Beautiful.  Simply gorgeous!  The Mona Lisa absolutely doesn't do her justice!  Leo did his best, but it's insanely impossible to capture a perfect likeness of an Aphrodite.  Well, she wasn't a full one, but still!"


"Now who the hell are you?" the Master demanded, annoyed by this intruder's very existence.


"I'm sorry, that was me being rude again." He turned to Buffy. "I do that sometimes.  Have ever since I can remember looking like this." He turned back to the assembled villains to answer, but was interrupted by Setesh ordering his Jaffa to open fire on the ones who humiliated him so.


The Doctor raised his hands and shouted his surrender, asking Setesh to hold his fire.  Buffy stared at him in shock. 


"You have got to be kidding me!"


"Absolutely not!  I certainly can't dodge..." he glanced at the Jaffa. "8, 9, 10, 11, 12... -12?  Well isn't that overkill?  Right!  I can't dodge that many staff blasts." His eyes locked with hers in warning. "And you can't either, right?"


Buffy pouted. "Fine."


The Master quirked an eyebrow. "Am I to surmise these are the enemies you spoke of, Setesh?"


"Yes, vampire, you are." The Goa'uld stared at the Doctor.  Then he turned his attentions on Buffy, his eyes roaming up and down her body.  His expression made her want to shower.  After stabbing him in the face with a big, phallic-y, sword.


Setesh chuckled arrogantly. "I don't blame you for surrendering, mortals.  It is only right to stand before your Lord and ask His mercy."


Buffy rolled her eyes.


The Master peered at his latest uninvited guests. "I find it odd for these two to be here, Setesh.  Indeed, were I them, I would be heading as far away as possible.  It seems to me that this is an extraordinarily foolish thing to do, surrendering to us."


"They fear me.  It is only logical they would see the foolishness of running, knowing I would find them."


"Oh yes," the Doctor agreed blithely, walking between the Master and Setesh. "Clearly we're here in the hopes of appealing to said mercy."


Buffy snorted, then defiantly looked the Master in the eye when he noticed.


"I would not be so hasty to assume your victory," the vampire told Setesh. "These two are not afraid."


Setesh sneered. "Of course not.  I am omnipotent!  Do not speak to me as though I am a fool again, demon."


The Master raised an eyebrow at him. "Very well."


"What are you really doing here?" Setesh demanded of the Doctor and Buffy.  


The Doctor shrugged. "Nothing important, really.  I just wanted to ask something."


The Goa'uld stroked his chin thoughtfully. Why not?  It's not like these mortals will live much longer.  


"You may ask."


"Oh, this is awkward.  Yeah, the question's not for you, sorry." He turned his back on Setesh and faced the Master.  Who, incidentally, was now sporting an extremely amused grin on his face. 


"What can I do for you, my fellow?"


"How dare you?" Setesh demanded before the Doctor could speak, his two-tone voice quivering with insult.


"Excuse me one moment, would you?" The Master nodded amicably and the Doctor turned back around. "I'm done talking with you, so shut up!"


Buffy smirked.  Funny, but getting the guy with all the alien weapons might not be the best idea ever.  Everybody's attention was focused on the Doctor, she realized.


Slowly, the Slayer moved into a position to cover him should he need it.


"Jaffa, kill him!" Setesh ordered.


Which, apparently, was now.  Buffy sprang into action, but she wasn't going to make it.  There was no way in hell she could stop them before they shot her ride back to the future.  She was gonna be stuck in Past-Germany for the rest of her life!


The Jaffa took aim.


-


Willow, Xander, and Martha finally arrived back at the TARDIS.  Martha let them in and the two Scoobies immediately brought the injured woman to the infirmary.


Xander was waiting outside as Martha talked Willow through patching her up with the TARDIS's alien tech.  It had been more than a few minutes, and he was getting antsy.  The temptation to explore an actual spaceship was almost more than his inner sci-fi geek could handle!  Yeah, he got a tour, but that just isn't the same! 


Martha was going to be fine, he thought assuredly.  And besides, when would he ever get this chance again?  


He decided just to take a quick peek down the hall.  What harm could that cause?  


Xander headed down that hall and stopped at the first door he saw.


He opened that door and peered in.  It was a bedroom.  A woman's bedroom.  Was it Martha's?  Xander entered the room and took a look around.  The first thing he noticed were some pictures stuck to the vanity mirror.  He went over to them.


They depicted a very young, very pretty, blonde woman.  Some of them were with the Doctor, but the rest featured her with a bunch of guys he didn't recognize.  Some of the most prominent were of this older man with big ears, in a leather jacket.  Others showed her hugging a black guy, or laughing with some really good looking dude that had annoyingly perfect teeth.


A lot of them were taken in the TARDIS, others looked like they were taken on Earth.  Some didn't.  There were pictures of all kinds of alien locations, strange buildings, and amazing, fantastic, utterly weird, creatures.  The only constant in any of them was the absolutely happy expression the woman's face.  She looked like  she was having the time of her life.


Xander tore his eyes away from the pictures and investigated the rest of the room.  There was clothes on the bed, on the floor, and the closet was left open with a bunch of clothes still in it.  The desk had an unfinished letter on it and a picture of someone that could only be the blonde woman's mother.


He read what there was of the letter.  The woman was writing to her mother about some adventure she and the Doctor just had.  The tone of it only confirmed his suspicions.  This girl was absolutely thrilled with her life.  She described deadly and terrifying experiences as exciting and amazing.  Xander smiled.  Which probably scared her poor mother to no end.


All in all, the room had a very lived in look.  From the scattered mess of make-up on the vanity desk, to the magazines haphazardly tossed everywhere.


But something wasn't right.


If being best friends with Buffy, and living with Willow, has taught him anything, it's that a woman's room smells.  It smells like her perfume, or hairspray, or shampoo, or, y'know, just generally girly.  The air in this room smelled clean, processed.


Which means no one has lived in here for a long time.  


What happened to her, he wondered.  Did she go home?  Xander frowned when he noticed something else.  Laying in front of the bed was a backpack and two suitcases.  She wouldn't have left without that.  Not unless she had no choice.  


Having an answer, of a sort, Xander took one last look at the happy woman in the photos, then went to check up on the girls.


-


The vampires moved quicker than Setesh and his minions could follow.  Their preternatural speed and agility, surprising the sluggish, nish'ta controlled Jaffa.  Half of them were dead before Setesh had even a chance to react.


"What is this?" he demanded furiously.


The Master chuckled. "Why, my dear Lord, this is me rescinding the hospitality I so graciously extended to you and your servants." 


Buffy barely controlled her impulse to slay.  The sight of so many vampires feeding and killing was almost too much for her to ignore.  She looked to her companion.


The Doctor, too, watched the slaughter before him, horrified. It was what he wanted, the vampires and the Jaffa fighting each other.  But not like this.


"You didn't have to do that," he yelled to the Master. "They're being mind controlled!  They never stood a chance against your soldiers!"


One of the vampire laughed. "That's why it was so fun," he told the Time Lord.


That laughter stopped as red energy exploded across the cavern, sending vampires and corpses slamming into the walls and ceiling.


The Doctor barely managed to jump out of way, saving himself from the injuries that were now visited upon the demons.


"You will pay for this insult," Setesh swore with a quiet rage. "I will make sure you die, vampire!"


The Master rolled his eyes. "Oh please, Setesh.  We both know that I'll never allow you to leave here alive."


Buffy was torn.  On one hand, she desperately wanted the vile Goa'uld deader than all kinds of dead.  On the other hand, that would imply she was rooting for the Master.


Ew.  So much ew that it's a sin.


She sighed.  Besides, her ticket home said the obnoxious bastard has to stay alive.


Great, now she'll have to fight the Master again.


Sighing once more, Buffy got in front of her once and future foe.  He regarded her with a sort of disdainful  amusement.


"And what can I do for you?"


"I really, really, don't want to do this," she told him. "But if I don't, then it's time for Belgium sized holes.  And I honestly don't think that, despite your horrible evilness, you want that.  So why don't you just give me the cellphone and save me from doing stuff I don't really, really wanna do."


The Master laughed at her. "You're insane, woman."


She nodded, having a feeling it was gonna go down like this.  Then she punched him in the gut.  Without giving the centuries old warrior a second to react, Buffy followed her blow with a fierce uppercut.  


He fell, stunned beyond his wildest expectations.  Truly, he has not felt such a hit in many, many years.  Not since... the Master's eyes widened in realization.  Not since the last time he'd battled a Slayer!


Buffy was on him before he could move on this new understanding, leveling punch, after punch on the monster.  But the Master was not one for taking such punishment, and he used his terrific strength to kick the Slayer off of him.  


She landed roughly, the back of her head bouncing off the hard cavern floor.  


The Master loomed over her, and Buffy thought how stupid it was that this guy could kill her twice.


-


"I will give you just one chance, Setesh.  One chance to end this peacefully."


The Goa'uld laughed in his two-toned voice, then gave his answer in the form of another blast of red, livid energy.


The Doctor was ready for this, having faced Goa'ulds the past, and raised his sonic screwdriver.  Subtle blue waves of sound, almost invisible, emanated from it, creating a wall of sorts, protecting him from the attack.


Setesh stared at the Doctor in shock before snarling and redoubling his efforts.  Even more energy flew from his hand device.  The powerful red glow it generated mixed with the gentle blue light of the sonic screwdriver, giving the cavern a distinctly purple hue.


"Oh that's quite nice," the Doctor commented casually as he stalked closer to his enemy. "Perfect for you, eh?  The Royal Colour?"


"Stuh-stay back!" Setesh commanded, shakily.  Nothing in his long life has ever prepared him for a being such as this!  Who was this Doctor, that so effortlessly deflects his weaponry?


Wordlessly, the Doctor continued his advance.  Setesh lost more and more ground, until finally, he was backed against the wall.  Yet still the Doctor approached, growing closer, and closer, until...


He could feel it running up his arm, the buildup.  Causing his whole body to tremble with violent waves of energy.  And before he could do anything about it, he heard the cracking sound. 


Setesh, the Goa'uld that had once ruled over the deserts of Egypt as their god, screamed in agony as the full backlash of the broken weapon, used to dominate so many to his will, lacerated his body.  With the ribbon device gone, there was nothing for the sonics to effect.  And so he collapsed, staring up at his enemy with more than just a little fear.


The Doctor crouched next to Setesh so they'd be face to face.  He stared at the terrified ruler in the eye and spoke.


"Congratulations.  You get to live."


He stared in confusion as the Time Lord stood up and walked away.


For a brief moment, Setesh considered attacking, but then he saw that his Jaffa were all dead, their staff weapons in the hands of vampires.  They were all staring at the spectacle of the Master fighting with the blonde whore.  He would never have as good an opportunity for escape as this.  


A Goa'uld is proud, but that pride will only last until it's life is in jeopardy.


He ran out of the cave as fast as he could.


-


The Master looked down upon the dazed form of this new Slayer.  He reached down for her, but was distracted when Setesh's hand device exploded.  


Buffy took advantage of that and drove her palm into his chin.  He staggered backwards and Buffy rolled out from under him, getting to her feet.


He stared at her, taking in her fighting stance.  It was one he didn't recognize.  One that he couldn't predict.  This was not a fight he was prepared for.  Though he did have the advantage, he surmised as he saw his family aim the stolen staff weapons at the Slayer.


"Y'know, I never did get the chance to ask you that question," the Doctor said cheerily, walking up to the Master.


Buffy blinked.  What's he playing at?  Death by Master?


She was about to rush forwards and shove him out of harm's way, but the Master acted before she could.


He laughed, a great big, booming, evil laugh,  The Doctor used the Master's merriment to surreptitiously signal Buffy to wait.


"I like you, Watcher.  I am correct in assuming you are indeed her Watcher?"


The Doctor nodded. "Oh yes, that's me.  I like to watch." He paused when he realized how that sounded, but continued on blithely. "So anyway, about that question?"


The Master saw that Setesh had gone, and knew this Watcher was the cause somehow.  It would not do to underestimate this duo.  His Slayer has already lasted far longer than the last one he killed.  Still, the Master considered.  They did humiliate that intolerable Setesh, which caused him no end of amusement.  Why not be merciful and allow one question?


He gestured for the Doctor to begin.


"Wonderful!  I was wondering if you've ever heard of a Jelagnon fish?"


"What?"


"Fascinating creatures, Jelagnons.  Did you know they can generate ultra violent light, much like a sun?  They need that ability because on the bottom of the ocean, there are predators that are blinded by such light." He reached into his pocket. "Of course, it's a defense mechanism," He pulled out his screwdriver. "But as I don't actually have one, I'll just have to make do with this." 


The Doctor twisted the screwdriver, causing it to emit a very, very high pitched noise.  All the vampires, the Master included, covered their ears in surprised pain.  Buffy, with her slayer hearing, wasn't fairing much better.  She put on the earplugs the Doctor had given her just before they headed in, and searched the pockets of the debilitated Master for Martha's cellphone.  She gave a little shudder as she felt around.  This is totally way creepy.  But it was worth it.  After a few moments, the Slayer pulled out the item she was looking for and placed it in her pockets.


With that done, Buffy made to leave, but stopped when she noticed the Doctor begin to gather staff weapons.  He indicated for her to assist him.  She considered the vampires warily, but they made no effort to stop him.  Apparently they were in too much pain.  She really needs to get one of those screwdriver things!  


With the staff weapons in hand, Buffy and the Doctor made their exit.  Once they reached the cave entrance, the Doctor turned around and fired one of the weapons at the cave, effectively burying the Master and his minions inside.  


He set down the weapons and turned off the screwdriver.


"Brilliant!" he enthused. "Absolutely, positively, brilliant!  Good for you, Buffy!"  


She blushed under his praise. "All I did was ask if your sonic thing could emit a noise that would keep the vamps from hearing us."


The Doctor picked the staff weapons back up and they headed back to the TARDIS. 


"Yes, but that got me thinking about vampires and their preternatural hearing, and of how the gregondala beasts of Platuuna Seven's heads explode at the right vibrational frequency."


"You thought the vampires' heads were gonna explode?"


"No!  I just thought a similar frequency might give us the right distraction to make our getaway."


Buffy considered that. "What would've happened if you were wrong?"


The Doctor shrugged, smiling cheekily at her.


"Forget I asked."


They made it back to the time machine with little incident.  Along the way Buffy inquired as to how the Doctor was able to defeat Setesh.  When he told her it was by using the screwdriver to reverse the polarity of the hand device's energy flow , she asked him if he felt it was a little unfair, using that thing all the time.  Not that she's complaining, but it seems awfully convenient how the sonic screwdriver could do just about anything.


He gave the Slayer another cheeky grin, and asked why else would he carry one.

The End?

You have reached the end of "Finder's Keepers" – so far. This story is incomplete and the last chapter was posted on 19 Nov 08.

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