Large PrintHandheldAudioRating
using
 paypal
Twisting The Hellmouth Crossing Over Awards - Results
Is your email address still valid?

These Small Hours

StoryReviewsStatisticsRelated StoriesTracking
Story

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

Summary: When the end comes you have to go back to the beginning. Sequel to Life Past Death

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Dr. Who/Torchwood > Buffy-Centered > Theme: Real FamilyjezaeiriFR13112,95518445,15720 Jan 1020 Jan 10Yes
Disclaimer: I do not own Doctor Who, Torchwood or Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I make no profit from this at all. (Though I wish I did own them so I could kick the crap out of Russel T. Davies. Long Live Janto!)

A/N: Thanks so much to everyone who wished me happy birthday. I had an amazing one, best ever in fact. And as for where I've been...I've been working on this and rereading all the Anita Blake books in hopes of getting my muse to play nice and let me do the final chapter of Watching Forever.

Also a million and one thanks to Kerrykhat (go read Rift, Hellmouth Same Difference, It's brilliant) and AwesomeGeek at Paradise Lost for their endless support, feedback, ideas and just for putting up with me.


Now, how about a story?















"Find Buffy." the Doctor's words rang in her ears as she spared one last glance at her family and slid her finger over the button of Jack's wrist strap.

"Use the countdown." her finger pressed down and that feeling of falling took her for a moment before she felt the sudden impact of the ground and rolled. Felt the pain bite into her and used it to push herself.

"Find Buffy. Tell her, tell her that the Master can't be allowed to find her or her sister." the words echoed in her head Martha pulled herself up and stared in horror at the skies above her. Find Buffy, she had to find Buffy. "I'm coming back." it was an oath not to just herself but to the Doctor. She'd come back and save him and she knew as well as she knew her own name that Buffy would help.



*



Screams.

Gunfire.

Drumming.

That blurred buzzing sound of energy weapons she knew and still dreamed about.

Blood.

Bodies.

All around her men were dying. She could feel her own blood dripping down the side of her face and her left arm, cold, so cold. There was the sound of drumming in her head and she knew what was happening. The storm had arrived and so had the drums. The drums were beating all over the world and inside her head.

"Buffy! What do we do?" there was fear, absolute fear in Tosh's eyes as they kept low behind a bank of snow.

What to do? All around her she could hear the screams. Hear the screams and the drums and she could smell the blood and it made her burn.

Men dying.

Humans dying.

She felt something inside herself shift. Felt that part of her that had been born in the desert sweep over her like the sands of time. The Doctor was the Lord of Time but she was the Queen of the Slayers and she'd earned her crown in countless baptisms by blood. "We regroup." she pulled her teleport stone from around her neck with her right hand.

"RETREAT!" her voice sliced through the chaos like a hot blade through butter and it took only a heartbeat before she began to feel that familiar feel of teleportation spells as the others vanished to safety. If there even was such a thing. Without even looking she grabbed onto Tosh's arm with one hand and rubbed her bloody forehead with the hand that held her crystal. "Sineya."

Then everything went blue around her.



*



"You sentenced all those girls, those children to bloodshed and war!" his eyes were blazing, like fire and ice and planets burning. It would have scared other people but it didn't scare her. He was the storm but she was the desert. He was the Lord of Time but she was something terrifying in her own right.

Her voice was calm, sad even. She knew the weight she carried, understood it better than anyone else possibly could. "I didn't have a choice." the only other person who could understand was facing her.

His anger still blazed, his anger could destroy entire planets. "They were innocent!"

She met his eyes, let the desert fill her, let the weight of all she'd done and knew crawl its way to the surface of herself. "So were we once." his eyes widened and she saw understanding flow through him. A door when opened can be walked through both ways. He'd seen her and she'd seen him. She'd seen everything. She sighed, looked up at the metal ceiling of the TARDIS and thanked the universe that Martha was watching over a still unconscious Dawn. "You had to make a choice once. Terrible and that you will never stop feeling the guilt of." she brought her head back down and met his eyes. "So did I."

Their eyes stayed locked but something passed though his gaze. In the Vortex time meant nothing and everything and for them it did too as they stared at one another. Two old soldiers who had done things that could never be taken back. Then something in the Doctor shifted and he gave her what she would have almost called a sideways look if they hadn't been facing one another. "So exactly how much of my mind did you see?" he raised an eyebrow at her and rocked back on his heels a bit.

If she hadn't already figured out that he had mood swings that made Dawn's look like nothing she would have been caught off guard but she wasn't and she felt herself shift too. That little switch inside herself that she flipped and then all her masks and walls came up and the pretending started again. "Well your fashion sense has clearly improved." she smiled at him. "Though I liked that leather jacket."

"You would." his lips quirked.




*



Vertigo, that feeling of being off kilter fell away the moment she felt the desert inside herself. She blinked, found harsh industrial light around her and felt that familiar feeling of magic all that came from being in any Council location with all the protection spells around it. Time felt slow, stretched as she pushed herself up and looked around. Even sound seemed to crawl by like it was submerged in water.

"Oz!" there were wounded all around her, some much worse off than others. Her eyes had caught sight of so many things already as her brain pushed itself further and further. A million little bits and pieces becoming a whole to the sound of drums.

Oz came into view, an old friend. Oz was Oz and he had weathered more than one storm with her back in the old days. Oz could weather anything, just like she could, would. "Medical staff is on its way." he was the head of their Tibetan Haven. They had six of them up and running, six places that no one and nothing could get into. Six bases that looked like nothing more than deserted ruins to the outside would but held large buildings above ground and twenty stories of underground security. Six Havens that could and would function holding full capacity without any outside needs.

Six places on the whole planet built to survive an apocalypse.

And she knew that that was what they were facing. She felt Owen and Tosh move to stand near her. "Pull them in. Pull all of our people in now!"



*



November 2003

"We're gonna call it the Haven Project." she looked down at the sheets of papers before her on the table and tuned out what was being said by Xander as he proposed his new project. Her eyes flicked over the plans, all the information feeling like it was sticking inside her brain like metal shards to a magnet. It been happening more and more in the weeks since she'd left the Doctor and Martha. Connections happened faster and she'd found herself not only speaking Italian more easily but going through at least a book every other day. She'd have worried but worry was better saved for the end of the world. All she needed was patience and then she'd find them, find the Doctor and ask her questions.

She picked up her pen and started writing, making notes in the margins about things Xander needed to look into for the project. If the 'havens' were meant to be independent, and based on their size and how many people they were meant to house, then they would need a lot of things that he clearly hadn't considered.

"Buffy." she looked up and found everyone looking at her but her hand didn't stop going. "What?"

"Well, what do you think?"

She gave Xander a smile "I think you're gonna need a team of the brainy people."



*



"The witches have gone global." a nod, Dawn's face didn't show any fear that she could see on the screen. Fear was not an option, not now or ever. It was only twenty minutes since the sky had opened up and the end of the world had flown in upon them but it felt like hours. "We've already got sixty percent of our people accounted for world wide."

"Keep pulling them in. I don't know what this is bu..."

"Buffy! You need to see this!" Tosh was already at one of the stations, had been from the very instant they'd entered the room. She turned around and felt the words hit her like a brick. "It's Jack!"

But brick or not she didn't slow down until she reached where Tosh was.

And then the video began to play and she heard the words in her head over and over and over. "Time Lord. The Master. The monster. Don't be found! Don't be Found!" Her head began to throb as the memories hit her, as the connections smashed into one another like Titans in the dark. And she knew, knew. They weren't her memories, her past but it didn't matter. All that mattered was that she knew.

The Doctor, old and broken and defeated and no, no, no!

And then Martha disappeared in a flash of blue light.

Her head snapped up, her mind's eye seeing the old and frail Doctor whispering into Martha's ear. "Get me one of the witches!"

"Buffy? What's going on? What do we do?" Dawn's voice over the speakers. She turned, looked at her baby sister on the screen.

"Don't die." it was the only answer she had. Not until she knew what the Doctor had told Martha. The Doctor had a plan, he always had a plan. The Doctor would save them and until he did she would keep as many people alive as she could.

It was just what they did. It was who they were.



*



October 2003

The garden behind the apartment that she and Dawn lived in in Rome wasn't big but then the blue box standing in the middle of it under a tree wasn't either.

Bigger on the inside, kinda like the Doctor. Kinda like herself too. She smiled. Dawn was safe, tucked up in bed in their apartment. The universe hadn't ended, she hadn't died and that was all that mattered in the end. It was just another day in her life.

Only it wasn't and as she met the Doctor's eyes in the dark she knew that he knew it too. Everything was different. She was different and pretending didn't always work. Even if she wanted it to. Even with all the practice she'd had, especially since Sunnydale had sunk. She was tired, so tired. Tired of pretending everything was alright. Tired of being the leader. Tired of just--well everything.

"Come with us." three little words out of the Doctor and she felt like time stood still. Go with them? Could she? Did she want to? She knew the answer to the second question without even thinking. But the first question-no she couldn't. She couldn't leave Dawn, she couldn't leave the others no matter how far away they were physically.

"I can't. Dawn...." she let it fall off and he smiled at her. That little upturn of lips that she knew but shouldn't.

"I did mention that bit about traveling in time." and even with that smile, that show she knew he was putting on so that Martha didn't know just what was under the surface she could see the desperation in him. He was so alone. A thousand worlds, trillions of years and he was the only one left of his kind. And the only person left anywhere or when that had even the smallest bit of what he had lost inside of them was her. She wasn't a Time Lord and never could be but she was the only link he had left.

She'd clung desperately to Dawn and the watch in her pocket because they were the only ties to her mother she had left and who was she to judge if someone else wanted to do the same?

"Do you have coffee in there?" he smiled at her, and it was so bright it could have made the afternoon sun seem dim.




*



Hide-hide-hide!

For the moment it was all she could do. Keep low, out of sight. Wait until she could find a way out to get to Buffy. One of the Toclafane came into sight and she crouched lower, trying to keep hidden. Even with the key around her neck she had no guarantees that it would hide her and she couldn't take the chance of dying. Buffy's rule one, don't die.

She was more than willing to follow that rule.

Every second felt like hours but soon the flying orb of metal was gone. She felt herself relax a fraction only to tense back up a moment later as a blue tinge began to fill her vision. Had the Master found her already? Panic threatened to swell up inside her as she felt herself or maybe the whole world shift around her and suddenly her vision began to swim. She felt a hand touch her shoulder and tensed, prepared to fight.

"Martha." that voice! She knew that voice! Relief, the same kind of relief she felt when the Doctor saved the day washed over her. How many times had Buffy saved her? How many times had the tiny blonde American saved the Doctor? Or the world? She couldn't even count.

She blinked, looked up and found a face she hadn't seen in what felt like forever but had only been a couple of weeks. Green eyes and blonde hair and blood down one side of Buffy's face but it was still Buffy. A very grim faced Buffy. "Buffy! What happened?" she began to climb to her feet with Buffy helping her.

"I was hoping you could tell me." Buffy held on to her arms, keeping her steady because she felt like the world was still swimming some. "Because the last time I checked there was only one Time Lord left."



*



They were alone in the room, everyone leaving them in the glass walled space that she assumed was Oz's office without her having to say one word to them even if they didn't know what was going on. Why the world had suddenly been ripped apart.

But she knew, Martha had told her. The Master, the Toclafane, the countdown. One year. One plan. The Doctor's plan. Not to kill the Master, because that was something that only the Doctor could dictate and have her listen, but to give him one year. She understood his reasons, she knew them and understood them in a way no one else could ever hope to, but she didn't like it. Some days her memories of her time with the Doctor and Martha were all that kept her going and then other days she hated the man with every atom in her. This was one of the latter days.

But he was the Doctor and the Master was another Time Lord, the only other Time Lord in existence, and that meant that she would do what he wanted whether she liked it or not. She met Martha's gaze, felt the desert around herself because it was the only thing that could keep the drums away. "I'm not letting you do this alone."

Martha shook her head. "The Doctor told me that the Master can't be allowed to find you."

She fixed her old friend with a level look. It'd been weeks, maybe months for Martha since she'd left them but for her it'd been years and Martha had no idea how much things had changed, she had changed, in the years it had been for her. "If the Master even knew who or what I am it would take him years to get into one of the Havens."

Martha's brow furrowed, a look of confusion on her face. "What's a haven?"

She leaned back against the desk, a casual move that contradicted the tension in ever fiber of her being. "They're Council locations, six of them scattered all over the planet. They're basically closed ecological systems built to support Council staff in an apocalypse. We're cut off from the outside world, no way to get in unless you're a member of the Council." she took a breath but held up her hand to the questions she knew Martha would ask. "Every Council house, Base, Haven, and building has enough magical protection on it that it could survive just about anything shy of a nuclear bomb. But the Havens are different, I don't know the details of it because it's done with magic but even the Havens would stand about a thirty percent chance of surviving an attack of that scale."

She pushed herself off the desk and crossed her arms over her chest. "Besides, I've got plans of my own."

"Buffy, the Doctor said...."

She cut Martha off. "I never said that my plans are going to mess with his." and they wouldn't. But a year was a long time and she'd never been one to stand on the sidelines.



*



She looked around them at the busy, well she guessed it was some sort of market by the sheer amount of shops. "Where exactly are we?"

"Barcelona, twenty fifth century. Lovely place." the Doctor was smiling, not that she noticed too much. She was too busy looking around. So many shops! She spotted a stall that had clothing. "Ohh! Clothes!" she started winding her way through the crowds that were very not human for the most part. "And shoes...." she spotted a fruit stand with dozens of things she didn't recognize. "...ohhh those look good!"

"Well she certainly isn't shy!" she heard Martha laugh behind her.




*



364 days to go.

So many dead, so many. She felt the desert wash over her, the desert inside herself. Her only escape from the pain, from the drums. Giles, Robin, Rona, Molly, Dana, and so, so many other names. So many other faces. She knew every member of the Council, all nine thousand seven hundred and twenty two of them. Only now it was nine thousand three hundred and sixty one if she counted Riley's team and Tochwood as part of their number.

She did count them. Riley was dead, the only man she'd ever really been involved with that was human. Now it was three for three and the least she could do was take care of Riley's team and widow.

So many were dead, Giles was dead. I was like losing her mother all over again. Jack might be her blood but Giles had raised her. Had raised all of them and she could see it in everyone's eyes-their father was gone and now they had to do what he would have wanted-they would carry on. And she and Dawn would do what they were meant to do, they would lead.

Never give up, never back down. Just go on, go on, go on.

A hand on her shoulder and she came back to herself, but one hand still stayed in the sand. Had to so that she could keep the drums in her head quiet. That was another thing she would make the Master pay for. She spent enough time standing on the edge of the abyss without drums in her head. She looked up and found Graham standing there beside Oz, only it was Oz who had touched her. He was one of the few people that could survive a startled slayer if it came up. Oz looked like he always did, able to withstand anything, you could tell by his eyes. But Graham looked much worse for the wear, probably like she did because she could still feel the dried blood on her clothes and skin. Not that it mattered. But Graham had a bandage across the right side of his face, from temple to jaw but at least he hadn't lost his eye like Xander had against the Caleb.

"We've got all the feeds up." she gave Oz a nod, thank the gods for their own magically infused and supported networks or their communications would be down just like the rest of the world's seemed to be. She looked over to where Martha stood, her old friend, they'd stood side by side against so many things only this time they couldn't. "Martha." Martha's dark eyes focused on her, determination and pain and so many other things right at the surface, things she understood only too well.



*



"Urgh! Next time you two get to deal with the freaky space lizards! Twice in a month is enough for me." she was scrubbing at her jacket while the three of them sat in the TARDIS kitchen, though neither Martha nor the Doctor seemed to be paying all that much attention to her complaints. She liked her jacket! She'd hustled pool in Barcelona to get it!

She kept trying to get the stinky greenish black slime off the right sleeve. Next time she was just gonna make the Doctor clean her clothes when he got her in some gross situation. "Oh I am brilliant!" she narrowed her eyes at the be speckled Time Lord and glared. He didn't even need the stupid glasses, he just thought they made him look brainy.

And he was brainy enough without the things.

"So we're going to go see these Weeping Angels then?" Martha sat down in the chair next to her with a mug of what smelled like tea.

"Well...." why did she have a feeling this was going to go the way of most of their little escapades of the last month?

She looked at both of them, one right after the other. "If this involves a lizard or reptile of any kind I'm not leaving the TARDIS."




*



362 days left

"You're sure this thing's gonna work like Martha's key? Keep us from being noticed?" Xander looked down at the piece of rock wrapped in magic infused silver hanging by a leather cord from his hand.

"It should and we've tested it. It's got the same perception filter on it that Martha's key does." of course they'd tested it. Multiple times, and had the witches add spells to the silver that wrapped around it. It'd been a choice she'd had to make when she'd decided not to send Martha out into the world alone. To remove the stone from the Hub and make the most of what resources they had or to leave Xander, her Xander, without every asset he could get along with the three slayers that were going too.

She'd chosen to have the witches teleport it to the Scottish Haven and then have them drop one of the Super Balls inside the Hub itself. She didn't want anyone inside the Hub that wasn't one of their own people. She met Xander's eyes, he knew what he was walking into and he'd volunteered anyway. She didn't like it but she knew that Martha would need Xander and the slayers that were going along. But she was practical enough to know they didn't have any other options. "Xander.."

He hugged her and the feel of him wrapped around her made her relax and tense all at the same time because he was Xander and her rock and he was about to wade into a world gone mad. "Don't worry Buffster, I won't break rule one."

She pulled back, and smiled at him but it wasn't a bright smile, it couldn't be. "You better not."

He smiled too but she knew what was underneath the surface, she knew him like he knew her and that meant everything. They were and would forever be their own kind of soldiers, forever marching into war because that was what they were. It was what they'd chosen.



*



The room felt empty but it wasn't. Not with over two dozen people filling it and looking at the empty space where Martha, Xander and the slayers had been. They were gone. Gone to fight their own battle. To save the world with a story and the Doctor's plan. And herself, her old team and new team were left behind, safe inside their fortresses of frightened and wounded and broken people.

She had nine thousand three hundred and sixty one people to sort out. To give hope to, to give purpose to. She had things to do.

She squared her shoulders and ignored the blood that was still on her after three days that felt like lifetimes. "Torchwood and Graham, you're with me." she looked over at Saori, the head witch of the Tibetan Haven. "We need to go to Scotland."



*



"Buffy!" she didn't even have her equilibrium back before she felt Dawn's arms around her but it didn't matter, her sister was safe and alive. "I'm fine Dawn." she pulled back and met her sister's so blue gaze. Blue like Jack's eyes. She didn't want to think about Jack trapped up on the Valiant with the Master. About the things that could be happening to their father or the Doctor. Because she knew they'd survive and that made it worse. So instead she focused on what she planned to do.

"You're planning something." not a question. It didn't need to be, Dawn knew her well enough to know when she'd been walking around with one hand in the desert even if her sister didn't know the details. Even if her sister didn't remember the kidnapping that had changed everything.



*



The 'conference room' of the Scottish base wasn't often used, but it was full at the moment. The six large screens that covered one wall each held faces, all grim, all tired but only some held a fire burning in their eyes. The faces around her in the room, the bodies that surrounded her were similar. The world was broken and millions were dead and some of that number were their own. They were standing in a conference room while the world outside went mad.

She glanced over those gathered. Gwen looked broken by Rhys' death, Sam didn't by Riley's. There was a fire in the military woman's eyes that was like an echo of Doctor's. A memory of planets burning in his mind. The rest of her team, her new team didn't look broken, but even Owen had a hint of fear hidden in him. The rest of those gathered though, there was no fear, there was only determination. They were the defenders of the world and they'd failed and now they had to do what they were meant to do.

You don't stop being what you are even when the world gets ripped apart.

She took a deep breath and exhaled, the desert still strong in her head. "Things are bad." that statement earned her a snort from someone, probably Owen. "But we've had bad before. We survived then and we'll survive now." she glanced over the room one more time. "We've got the resources to handle our numbers for the year Martha Jones said it would take for the Doctor to beat the Master."

"Why don't we just kill the son of a bitch ourselves?" the anger in Faith's voice, eyes, it was almost a thing alive on its own.

"Because the Master has the Toclafane. If we kill him they'll go on a rampage and wipe out the whole world." she left out what she'd already worked out about the paradox machine being needed. Martha hadn't seemed to understand what it meant and no one else did either with everything going on but she did. The very thought made her sick inside. She let them see it in her eyes. She'd already chosen a course of action and that was the end of it. "Defeating the Master isn't our job, doing everything we can for those outside the Havens is." because there were more than just humans out there that they would need to help. They had treaties with over two hundred peaceful demon clans and those clans would need help too.

She felt the desert settle over herself more strongly, felt the heat and power and time that danced in the sands sweep over her. "We're in this for the long haul people and that means we've got work to do." she picked up the sheets of papers she'd left before her on the table and looked down at them. "We're going to be moving people around. Faith, Sam and Gwen are going to be running Cleveland. Willow, Andrew, Vi and the commandos get Brazil. Oz, Conner and Chao-Ahn get Tibet. Dawn, Caridad, Amber and Illyria get Australia. Gunn, Rowena and Shannon get the Alps. I'm going to take here in Scotland with Ianto, Owen, Tosh and Graham." a few people gave one another looks at the assignments but no one complained though she was surprised that Gwen didn't say anything. She let it go though and flipped to the second sheet of paper. "Assignments for the next twelve hours. Get everyone in your respective Havens sorted out. Duties, bunks, and what not."

"And after twelve hours?" Dawn met her gaze.

"In twelve hours the witches should be done dividing up the stone from the Hub and creating necklaces for teams." she looked over everyone. "Three teams of slayers from each base on six hour rotations. Each team member needs to have one of the gear bags."

"What are they going to be doing?"

Her gaze flicked to Graham before returning to the pages. "Supply gathering."



*



She could hear the Doctor and Martha grunting in pain about two feet from her as she lay on the cold and very wet stones where they'd landed. She blinked and looked up into the night. There was a street lamp about ten feet off that made seeing the rain falling down on them easier even though she could feel it just fine. "Buffy, you alright?"

She flipped herself up off the ground, the feeling of her now wet jeans sticking to her doing nothing for her mood as she glared over at where the Doctor was brushing off his long brown coat. "When this is over I'm taking a pile driver to those Angels." she reached down and took Martha's hand to pull her up.

If the Doctor's plan fell though and they ended up trapped in the past she was gonna force feed him his stupid sonic screwdriver.




*



His face burned but he ignored it, the cuts were superficial at best and there were more important things to think about. More important things to do. They had over a thousand people to sort out in the Scottish Haven as it was called alone. All around him what he had begun calling the senior staff were moving with a sense of grim and battle worn determination. They were the ones who had been present for the meeting only an hour earlier and he could see by the looks in their eyes, by the way they moved that Buffy's determination had spread to them.

All the new heads of the 'Havens' had been teleported to their locations and things had taken on a new level of speed the moment that they had gone. Buffy, their general had given orders and they would be carried out. He didn't know what had happened in the years that he'd only spoken to Buffy or the Scoobies over the phone on official business but somewhere along the line Buffy and the Scoobies had changed. Back then they'd been young and stupid and had no sense of order, now they were more efficient than most military units.

And they'd been better prepared than anyone else on Earth for the chaos that had fallen. It made him seriously reconsider where he should have been working before the whole world had been ripped apart. The last dregs of the Initiative were buried so deep and were so small that the impact they made was insignificant at best when compared to the Council.

He heard the speakers overhead flare, part of the security and alert system he'd only just found out was in place all over every Haven. "I know that the last few days have been hard, painful. There isn't one of us here that hasn't lost someone. There isn't one of us here that isn't hurting in some way." Buffy sounded tired and worn but so determined. Like a rock that stood the test of time being beaten at by an ocean. "But we, we're the lucky ones. The people outside, the people we swore to protect with our lives day after day have just had the whole world shatter. Harold Saxon has ripped apart the entire world and left it on its knees with no defense." he heard the change then, like a switch being flipped. No more worn, no more tired, nothing but sheer will and determination. A general addressing her troops. And that was what they were. "No defense but us. Five years ago we changed the world, we leveled the playing field for the first time since man began to walk the earth. Now the scales have tipped again and its time to do what we do best. We will survive, we will endure and we will show Saxon that we bow to no master."

He just stood there, letting the feel of the words and the power he could positively taste from them sink into him. Buffy had saved his life and the whole world more times than he could count or probably even knew of and somehow he knew that this time would be no different. The Master had started the battle but he had the distinct feeling that Buffy and this Doctor and Martha Jones would finish it.



*



Nineteen sixty nine London sucked on an epic scale. The clothes sucked, the food sucked, the weather sucked, the accents sucked, and the entire male population made her want to smack someone hard. And that wasn't even counting that she had to keep her slaying on the down low to keep the stupid, stuffy, snobbish Watchers from finding out that there was a slayer running around London twenty five years before she was supposed to be called. Though watching a faryl demon toss the Doctor into the Thames had been very funny.

But not nearly as funny as what was standing in the doorway of the tiny flat the three of them shared. The Doctor, covered in feathers and......

Well, she and Martha stopped laughing, eventually.




*



There was a fire burning in the fireplace of the slayer 'house' as Xander and the three girls called it. Three levels of security and resources as Xander had explained as they'd come inside an hour before to rest for the night. There were several hundred slayer houses all over the world, most in big cities or near universities so that the older girls could go to classes and have something like a normal life. Apparently almost a sixth of the university going slayers were training for the medical field. It made sense in a way she supposed. But then so few things did at the moment. But then there were 'bases', over two dozen of them scattered around at strategic points with more planned, or there had been before the Master and the Toclafane. And last but not least were the 'Havens', the six places that Buffy and the Council had created to withstand almost anything. Her fried really had been busy in the time that they'd spent apart.

She wondered if the Doctor would approve of all the work that Buffy had done since the slayer had left them. Probably, it had already saved lives. It had saved hers.

She glanced over to where Xander was sitting, one long blade in his right hand and some sort of sharpening tool in the other. Buffy had told her once about her friends, about the Scoobies, but what she'd imagined and what she'd seen since Buffy had had her brought to Tibet were just so different. She'd imagined, well she wasn't sure, but Xander Harris with his eye patch and ability to go from nice guy to something like Buffy when danger began wasn't it.

But then nothing was the way she'd thought it be or was supposed to be so what did it matter?

Except for Buffy, Buffy had always reminded her of the Doctor at odd times. The age in those green eyes, the pain, the determination and fire. But the Buffy who she'd hugged the moment she'd gotten to her feet wasn't the same Buffy she remembered. It felt like-it felt like Buffy took up more space, like there was something more to her now. There'd been something in those green eyes that made her almost nervous. Before, before it'd been the Doctor and Shakespeare and Daleks and Watches school nurses. Then it'd been the Doctor and Buffy and Weeping Angels and Demons and Cybermen and Snowglobes and a hundred other things. And then Buffy'd left and it'd just been the Doctor again and the TARDIS had felt oddly hollow without the two of them there.

"What do you think she's gonna do?" it was a whisper in the flickering light given off by the fire. Xander looked up at her and something in him sort of shifted, a light in his eyes that could have been the fire but she knew wasn't.

"What she always does."

Her brow furrowed, there was so much confidence and belief in his voice. "And what's that?"

"Change the rules."



*



359 days left.

"Has she slept yet?" Ianto looked up from the sheets of paper he was working on. An inventory of all the supplies that the rotating squads had gathered. Buffy had been right about what would happen when the Master's human troops began pillaging and fortunately they'd gotten there first for the most part. The teams had raided hospitals, medical supply companies and warehouses, lumber yards, camping supply shops, greenhouses, electronics stores, petrol stations-the list went on and on. And anything that the rotating groups of slayers couldn't fit into their almost bottomless bags the witches teleported in with the use of small stones as a grounding point. Cattle, chickens, storage tanks, generators-so so many things in only a few days. They'd started with enough supplies to see them all through several years completely cut off but now they had nearly ten times that.

Enough to help those outside. And anything to keep the Master and his forces from getting it. He glanced over to where Buffy was standing, a comms ear piece stark and brightly metal against her skin. She hadn't stopped moving, planning, working since she'd first arrived at the Scottish Haven and he had begun to suspect that if she stopped then her seemingly inexhaustible energy would stop and she'd sleep for hours. "No." he noticed the frown on Graham's face, the military man's expression giving him a moment's pause. He knew that Buffy and the now dead Riley Finn had once been a couple and that Buffy had saved most of the former Initiative team that had joined them before the sky and opened up and the world had fallen but Graham Miller's frown held more to it than what was on the surface.

Just like Buffy and Jack's frowns-no, he wouldn't think about Jack. Not now. Jack couldn't die but others could and that was the priority. That didn't make his insides constrict the same way. Jack would survive and Buffy would make sure everyone else did too.



*



Everything inside herself felt bigger, like it had expanded. She kept one hand in the desert, one hand there because it was an empty place, her place. She was a desert creature and keeping one hand in the desert kept the faint sound of drums out of her head.

But it didn't keep other things out, whispers of thoughts, of plans, of a thousand things that seemed to fill up all the spaces of her mind. It should have hurt, it didn't. Somewhere along the line of chaos and dreams come true and all the time that had passed since she'd last met burning brown eyes and seen worlds fall something had changed. She had changed. Though into what she didn't know any more.

But it didn't matter, not really. Because she could see, she could feel, she could reach out into the abyss of planets above her desert and see five steps ahead. She knew what was, what could be and what she couldn't stop but that she would make the Master fight for.

The whole universe burning, thousands of planets besides her own falling into the trap, falling-falling-falling. She couldn't stop it but the Doctor and Martha could. But what she could do, oh yes, there was so much she could do. She could give humanity hope, she could keep them alive, and she could keep the Master distracted and without a full deck to play the game with.

So she would go on, go on, go on. Don't stop, don't back down, don't hold back, don't give up.

"Buffy." she looked over and found Graham standing a few feet off. He was dressed in different clothes, no more blood spatter and his face had a fresh bandage adorning the side of it. "Buffy, you need to sleep. It's been six days."

Her brow furrowed, six days? Had it really been six days since she'd slept or even eaten? She blinked, it had. But there was so much to do and she had to lead, to fight, to keep going. "Since when did you start pulling an Owen or Ianto?" it sounded harsher than she meant it to be but he just tipped his head a little. "Since I became your second in command of this Haven." his lips quirked a fraction, though she might have imagined it. "And I became a doctor two years ago." he stepped forward and put a hand on her shoulder, big and warm and it was almost odd but somehow not. "And even the Queen of the Slayers has to sleep and eat."

"I can't." she couldn't. Things to do, so many things to do. Graham shook his head. "Go, we can handle things for a few hours."



*



The sound of Martha laughing loud and hard made her turn around from where she was fussing with her bright turquoise beach bag, yet another thing she'd found inside the TARDIS wardrobe that seemed like it'd been put there just for her in one corner along with a pile of clothes, shoes and accessories. She'd have asked if the ship did that for everyone but she was kinda reluctant and it didn't matter anyway as she'd already been adding things to the mix that she'd picked up in the last few months with the Doctor and Martha. She, turned and had to swallow a laugh as she saw the source of Martha's amusement.

The Doctor had emerged from the depths of the TARDIS with a large inflatable banana under one arm. Though that didn't really make it all that funny. What did make it funny was the fact that the Doctor has replaced his normal suit and brown coat with a pair of baggy bright purple swimming trunks, a Hawaiian print shirt, yellow flip flops, a massive sombrero and over sized sunglasses. "Perfect for a beach holiday don't you think?"

She tried to smother laughter as she and Martha exchanged a look. The two of them weren't nearly as likely to stand out in their outfits. Martha in a pretty red and white bikini with a red sarong, flip flops, beach bag and matching sunglasses and herself in a similar outfit except in turquoise and brown. "Absolutely." Martha was clearly fighting back giggles.

"Yep, quite the fashion statement." she wasn't going to laugh. Outside a least, though inside she was giggling like crazy. "So where are we going?"

The Doctor thrust the banana at Martha as he headed for the controls. "I know a lovely little place." he grinned, he seemed more excited than they did about taking a little vacation. But they so deserved it after their run in with the Cybermen. "Nice beach, good restaurants." he fiddled with the controls and the TARDIS gave a slight lurch and a thump as it landed. She might have her time traveling legs now but she was beginning to question the Doctor's driving skills. Ok not beginning, they'd landed in a swamp, the middle of the Battle of Hastings, and smack dab in Alexander the Great's bedroom. Though watching one of the greatest known military leaders in history hit on the Doctor had been priceless.

"Ok, so where are we?" Martha was still holding the banana as the Doctor grinned at the both of them. He grabbed his sunglasses and put them back on his face as she picked up the two beach bags and settled them on her shoulder just in time to have the Doctor grab both of their hands and drag them for the TARDIS door. "Saudi Arabia, late twenty first centruy. Best beach of the century and Batholomew's Planetary Gesseteria."

He hauled open the door and she and Martha jumped back with yelps as a blast of arctic wind hit them. She let out a sigh "So much for the beach."




*



308 days left

Movement, there was always movement going on. It didn't matter where you were in a Haven there was always movement going on around you. From Comms rooms to the medical wards to the greenhouses and fields outside every Haven, someone was always moving. There were always things to be done and everyone worked, no matter if you were twelve or seventy, everyone had jobs.

They had to go on, go on, go on.

She had to go on and on and on. Nearly two months they'd been at war for lack of a better word and things outside the Havens had gone from bad to worse. When humanity had tried to take up arms against the Toclafane it had been a massacre and now anyone who fired a weapon was killed without hesitation. Anyone who resisted was killed.

Or anyone who resisted and was caught. Those of the Council were nothing if not difficult to catch. Slayers were fast on their feet to begin with and the teleportation stones that every member of now named Defiance Squads made evasion even more easy. The witches had been working nonstop in shifts to keep up with the demands put on them. Though their number of witches had increased quite a bit already. They'd had a list of covens and single practitioners from all over the world and their first objective after the initial supply gathering had been to offer sanctuary to those who could easily tip off the Master about the supernatural.

It'd been an easy choice for her to make really. The Doctor hadn't known about the supernatural until he'd met her and she doubted that the Master knew if what Martha had told her was accurate. And if the Master found out and found himself magically inclined allies....well she didn't like the possibilities.

So the numbers inside the Havens had increased, not just by the additions of witches and non threatening demons but with others, with children and scientists and military staff and dozens of other professions that proved useful at times. None of the Havens had reached full capacity yet but already they were preparing for it. The greenhouses had been magically expanded, animal pens had been built and all the Havens save for the one in Cleveland had begun building additional spaces to accommodate more refugees.

Because that's what they were, refugees from a world that had become twisted and broken. From a world where an insane dictator ruled and flying death passed over the masses every day. A world where the only hope came from stories of Martha Jones as she walked the Earth.

She turned a corner and headed to the Comms Room, the light dimmer than it would have been only months before because they had to conserve power. They had to conserve everything, food, power, water, everything was rationed out. They were only two months into a year of war and while they still continued to gather anything and everything they could there was no way what they could produce and find would be enough to support an entire planet. She walked through the open doors of the Comms Room and found it as it always was, busy. Day and night, it never stopped or slowed down. It couldn't, they couldn't.

The drums were still beating inside her head and until they did she'd keep one hand in the desert and her people going. She didn't have any other choice. She, they, were the defenders of the world and it was what they did. They never gave up, they never backed down, they never stopped fighting and they never gave up hope.

"Reports?" she moved over to the center station where Graham and Ianto were standing. Somehow they'd become her two arms in everything. Ianto handled the logistics of almost everything, not only in the Scottish Haven but coordinating with the other five Havens to make sure supplies, staff and refugees ended up where they needed to be. Graham handled the Squads, the security and anything and everything else that needed doing. He and the other Initiative members were one of the reasons that she and the other Haven leaders hadn't had any issues with the military refugees that had joined their ranks from all over the world. Well them and the knowledge that a group of 'civilians' had prepared better for a worst case scenario then they had.

"The witches have completed ninety percent of the Super Balls that are needed for the refugee relocation program. The rest should be ready in a week." Ianto, pulled up the map of Tristan Da Cunha and she looked at it for what was probably the thousandth time. The relocation program was Dawn's idea, a way to get more people to safety and ensure that they had more places for people to go as their number of refugees increased. And none of them had any illusions that the numbers wouldn't increase. But the conversion of the small and remote island into a 'Haven on the fly' as Faith called it was no small undertaking. They needed it to be able to support at least five thousand people and they had to create it without getting caught.

"I'm assuming that the other teams working on the project are making progress?" she looked over the screen that displayed the most recent information on the project. It wasn't a small project by any means and a thousand things had to be taken into account. A thousand more had to be planned for but if it worked then they could start working on a second one.

"By the time the rest of the Super Balls are created and the shielding spells are in place the rest of the teams should have everything prepared for teleport." she gave a nod to Ianto and decided to move on. They were taking a huge risk trying to build a new place for refugees but it was a calculated one and in the long run they didn't have a choice. The Master had already put the whole population of the world to work on building rockets and had begun to shove them inside work camps without enough food, water, heat, medical attention and space. Hundreds were dying every day, a large portion of them children.

"Buffy." she looked over to Graham and there was a look in his eyes she instantly didn't like.

"What is it? What happened?"

He ran a hand over his face, he did that quite a bit now that the cuts had healed and left two pink stripes of scar tissue behind. "It's Sam, she's pregnant." her eyes widened a bit. "Ten weeks." he looked uncomfortable, like it bothered him to tell her. But she could do the math. It was Riley's Oddly enough that made something inside of her almost happy. Riley was dead but a part of him would live on. Would live on, she wouldn't allow anything else.

She felt Graham's hand touch her shoulder. "Are you alright?" she looked up at him and for the first time in what felt like lifetimes her lips quirked into something close to a smile. Well, as close to a smile as she could get given the desperate nature of things. "Life goes on." she began to focus again. A tiny spark of something beautiful and amazing or not they still had a mission. "Sam's confined to Cleveland. No missions, no teleporting. We have no idea what it could do to the baby. And have Gwen make sure Sam has the full run of tests done to make sure it's healthy."

Ianto turned, looked at her and she could see it in his eyes, the same kind of look almost that Graham was giving her. "You're alright with it?"

"Why wouldn't I be?" she squared her shoulders and decided to force them to let the subject to drop. There were more important things for them to worry about than whether she was alright with Sam being pregnant. She wasn't just alright with it she was almost elated but they didn't have time for elated. They couldn't afford it.

"Alright, moving on." she looked over at the screens, they had a world to protect and lives to save. Everything else had to wait.



*



The thing was big, with long claws, spindly legs, razor sharp teeth and it was giving her a headache. She didn't know if the Doctor realized it yet but the thing was telepathic and it was a bug compared to what it's mommy was doing. She ducked under a set of claws as she shoved the Doctor out of the way.

"I sealed the doors! How did you get in?" he was hard to hear over the chirruping of the demon that had gotten thawed out inside Snowglobe Seven.

"Maintenance tunnel!" she dove to avoid another claw and as she came up she pulled a lighter from her jeans pocket with one hand and a large can of hairspray out of her coat with another. She kept her eyes on the thing in front of her, keeping note the there was more chirruping in the distance and closing in fast. She flicked the lighter and a flame appeared.

"You don't like fire do you, huh?" she shifted her weight and brought the can up higher as she waited for the thing to strike out again.

"Buffy!"

"Start running Doctor, I'll catch up." she didn't take her eyes off the thing but they were running out of time. There were more of the things coming.

"I'm not leaving you here!"

"I said go Doctor, now!" he might be a Time Lord but she was a slayer and the thing in front of her was a demon. Not any type of demon she'd ever seen but it didn't matter. Demons were her territory, not his. "Run!" she barely had time to get the bellow out before the thing lunged and she pressed down on the top of the hairspray can. The makeshift flame thrower did what it was meant to and the thing's shrieks as it burned were beyond piercing. And in the distance she could hear more shrieks. Oh goody, she'd pissed off mommy.

She turned and began to run to catch up with the Doctor, knowing her luck he'd already gotten himself into even more trouble. It just figured that instead of a beach vacation they'd end up fighting demons inside a giant snowglobe. Next time she and Martha were picking their vacation spot.




*



241 days left.

Martha pulled herself in closer to Xander, doing her best to make the most of his body heat as it combined with her own to keep the chill out. "Did you hear the whispers earlier?" she tucked head into the crook of Xander's shoulder to use as a pillow since it was the only thing even close to one she had.

She felt him shift his head a bit, how he managed to sleep in the places they ended up never ceased to surprise her. He was like a cat, cuddly and sweet one moment but able to switch into something almost as dangerous as the slayers that traveled with them in a heartbeat. It was one of the reasons she'd found herself falling for him in spite of everything. "I heard them. It sounds like the Buffster is keeping busy." keeping busy? Xander had a way of understating things that would have bothered her if she hadn't already gotten used to it from being around Buffy.

Oh the world's ending? Again? Alright, come on, let's go stop it. That was their mentality. Things that made other people cower they walked right into the middle of with a joke. Things that could have others staring in shock just rolled off them like so much water. It was unusual to say the least. And oddly it comforted her in a way nothing else could. They could be running for their lives across the wastelands of Russia and Xander would joke and she it made her feel strangely safe.

Still, the whispers she'd heard made her feel even better. She hadn't been able to hear it all but some words had jumped out at her. Rebels. Slayer. Haven. Buffy was up to something but she didn't know what. Though once they made it to Australia in a couple of weeks she intended to find out.



*



"They really jump off a cliff? Really?" she eyed the waterfall roaring in front of them that dropped off into a fall that looked like it would take ages to reach the bottom of. Never mind that there was a large lake below, they jumped off a cliff.

The Doctor rocked back on his heels "Well.." he drew it out. "...yes they do. Right of passage it is. Prove that they're ready to become warriors and all that."

Her brow furrowed. "Seems sort of crazy to me. I mean jumping off a cliff, sounds like only a crazy person would do that." the sentence was no sooner out of her mouth than a blonde haired body went streaking past them at what Buffy called slayer speed.

"Geronimo!"

She blinked, mouth hanging open. "Was that?" the Doctor just grinned at her and then pivoted on one foot and broke into a run before disappearing over the side of the cliff, his brown coat billowing out behind him.

"Geronimo!"

Bonkers, they were both completely bonkers.




*



196 days left.

They only had two days warning before Japan burned and only that because she dreamed. Over a hundred million people dead in a matter of minutes. They'd only been able to relocate a little over five thousand into what was now nine Havens, most of that number had been people under twenty five. She'd teleported out only seconds before the islands had burned, bloody and bruised and with a screaming child held in her arms.

That night she'd ended up in her room crying because even the desert hadn't been able to keep out the screams that had rolled through her head. She still hadn't told anyone about the drums and she'd become even less inclined to tell anyone else about the fact that it seemed her psychic abilities were stronger. So she'd sat in her room, the only thing even close to luxury she had given the state of things, and cried for an hour before Graham had come in on nearly silent feet and wrapped himself around her in a hug. He'd treated the burns to her arms, the wound that had gone from shoulder blade to mid back and the still bleeding hole in her leg caused by landing on a piece of rebar from an explosion.

He'd stayed with her that night, the only thing that had kept her from pulling out her own hair or punching through walls, and he'd stayed every night since.

She didn't question it, didn't say any words love or anything else and he didn't either, but then they didn't need to. Somewhere along the way he'd just slipped in, become one of the constants in her chaos and she'd already learned that some things you didn't question. Some things just were.

You just had to go on, go on, go on.

And they did. They never slowed down. But supply gathering from abandoned military bases and anywhere else they could find had turned into raiding the Master's supply lines and preparing for full capacity had turned into having full capacity. They were still setting up new Havens, slowly and carefully in the most remote locations they could find but things were stretched thin. They had more children among them than adults, parents were more concerned with protecting their children than themselves but it didn't matter what age those children were they did everything to pull their own weight. Desperate times called for desperate measures and the work and conditions were better in the Havens than outside no matter what tasks people were put to.

Though inside was no walk in the park. Owen never stopped having smears of blood on him somewhere from treating wounded that they brought in from the Resistance groups and then sent back out once they were well. Ianto had left suits behind on the first day and now spent more time in the Comms Room than he did anywhere else, he had even moved the cot that served as his bed into the Conference Room next door. Graham had added as many new scars to himself as she had going on missions with slayer teams to raid and rescue.

That didn't even count the things she'd noticed about the others at other Havens. The scars, the weariness, the haunted looks, everyone had become marked. And she walked around every day with her hand in the desert just so she could keep the drums out. They weren't even half way through the year yet either and for some reason she just had a gut feeling that things were only just beginning.



*



She peered over the side of the well and could still spot the Doctor's head as Sadie and Angela kept lowering him down and chatting amongst themselves. She looked up at Martha and grinned. "So what do you think it is this time? Water monster?"

"Nah, we already did that. Brain sucking bug maybe."

"Too easy. Giant snake."

"Mutated rats."

"Alien device."

"Alien frogs."

"Fish men."

Martha's eyebrows went up "Fish men?"

She shrugged. "Well I've seen it before." she smirked. "I'm putting five on sentient plant."

"Then I'm picking giant snake." Martha held out a hand and they shook on it.

"Oi! You two stop betting on what's going to try and kill us next!" they both rolled their eyes at the Doctor's tone and then looked over the side of the well at the top of the Doctor's still retreating head.

"Five says it tries to eat him first." she jerked her thumb down the direction of the Doctor's head and Martha gave a snort.




*



103 days left.

Slayer.

Haven,

Martha Jones.

He heard the words like whispers in his head, echoes that were so loud they made it through without him even needing to listen. Down below hope had continued. Down below his Martha, his Buffy were alive.

And the Master still hadn't found them.



*



102 days left.

"Martha, how are you?" she looked up at the screen in the Comms Room, the sense of relief she felt that Martha, Xander and the slayers with them had reached Tibet again alive.

"Still alive." Martha glanced behind herself for a moment and then back at the screen. "Though its a lot more crowded here than last time."

"We're at full capacity at all ten Havens but we should have another one ready to fill next week." technically they were at more than full capacity but it didn't matter at the moment. What mattered was that Martha, Xander and the slayers had made it to a Haven in one piece. And that for the next three days she knew they'd be safe while they rested and resupplied. With better supplies than they'd gotten during their last check in and rest point. Andrew, Tosh and Willow had come up with yet another wonder for those who went into the field, a magic powered stasis field. It would only hold one but it was a great leap for them on both the tactical and rescue front. They only had five hundred of them so far but it was already making a difference at saving lives.

"And by then it looks like we're going to have another addition to the family." Xander came into view, he was as dirty and worn looking as Martha was but he was smiling. "Hey Buff, how've you been?"

She smiled and it was a real smile, a precious thing in their situation. "I'm alive."

"Conner said that Sam's having a girl."

She nodded. "Riley Hope Finn, Sam asked Faith and I to be godess mothers." when Xander started to laugh she couldn't help the small chuckle that escaped her. The world had come crashing down and they were surviving on nothing but sheer will but somehow they were still laughing after the world had ended.

Maybe there really was hope.



*



They kept running, trying to get to Angela's Jeep to that they could get ahead of the Verosis and try and stop it. "I won the bet!" she reached the passenger door of the Jeep and yanked it open, all but shoving the Doctor in before her. "I told you it'd be a smart plant!" she threw herself inside the Jeep and slammed the door shut as Martha started the engine and pulled out with squealing tires.

"You didn't say it'd be an insane killer plant!"

She held on to the door handle as Martha took a corner at high speeds. "I thought that was a given!"




*



74 days left.

She was up on the castle roof, the closest place to quiet that could be found anywhere in the Scottish Haven. Though quiet was a relative term. Even in the dead of night she could hear the people down below still working or living in the make shift housing they had built. Every square foot of every Haven was used for something and the fires in their barrels used to keep the highland winds they used to generate power at bay gave off a reddish glow below. She could hear the people all below her, workers throughout the castle and in the greenhouses, people in the makeshift housing, security patrols around the borders, cattle and chickens in their pens.

It was never quiet, never still. They couldn't afford to be.

There was another sound behind her, footsteps, ones she would know in her sleep. She could hear Ianto winding his way around the solar panels as he made his way to her. "What's the emergency?"

He came to a stop next to her. "No emergency, at least for the moment." he sounded tired, they all sounded tired. Time, circumstance and so many things had worn away at everyone. She glanced over at him. Gone was the once neat as can be Ianto Jones with all his youth still hanging on the edges of him and next to her stood someone else. Messy hair, grown longer sat atop a face that had lost a lot of its roundness and all of its innocence. A black t-shirt and black pants, slightly faded from wear hung a little too loose on a frame that had lost all the left over baby fat and left nothing but lean muscle. Everyone was like that, food was rationed and while everyone got enough to survive there wasn't any extra. Because any extra they had was given to those outside the twelve Havens.

Still, Ianto looked older, more worn than he had a year before. Everyone did. "Do you think..." Ianto let it fall off but she knew the question, she'd seen it haunting his eyes for over a year. She reached out a hand, taking his own warmer one in her own. She didn't say anything because words wouldn't do. Jack was alive and as long as he was there was a chance. She let out a breath, even if you were dead there was a chance of coming back.

They stood like that for what felt like hours, wordless comfort offered because sometimes it was all you had. But after a while they weren't alone. Tosh was the first one to come up and join them by some unspoken but felt call. She seemed bigger, more confident and yet smaller at the same time. Like a once beautiful China doll that age had worn on and cracked. In silence, Tosh accepted it when she took her hand. Graham came next, his arms ending up on her shoulders with his chest firmly against her back. Owen was the last, looking tired and worn and smelling like the medical supplies he spent all day with. His ever present anger felt dull and without the fire to it that had always been there as he wrapped one arm over Tosh's narrow shoulders.

They stood there and let the wind wash over them, five people holding on to one another in the dark because the whole world had fallen into shadow. The sounds below them ebbed and flowed, the lives they were responsible for flickering like flames below them.



*



They were standing on Xenian Seven looking out over its silver cliffs as it's three moons reflected a pale light that made the whole night seem to glow like some fairy tale land. The small bugs, almost like fireflies with a name she couldn't remember danced around them and only added to the illusion. But it was peaceful and beautiful and for once something hadn't spent the day trying to kill them and Martha was making the most of it back inside the TARDIS with a well deserved bubble bath.

"What happens if I open it?" like an echo on silver cliffs, that was what her voice was in the night. As though speaking too loudly would shatter the illusion only she knew that in some way the question she'd been mulling over for months already had. She'd wanted to hold on to that illusion because, like so many others over the years, she knew it would end up at her feet like so much broken glass.

When she didn't get a reply from the Doctor she looked over and found his eyes on her. Those eyes held so many things, so many. You could get lost in his eyes if you weren't careful. You could get lost in him and the universe and she'd spent far too long lost to not know it when she saw it. But she could see it in his eyes, his desperation, his pain and loss and she knew the answer to her own question without him saying a word. "It will kill me, won't it?" it wasn't a question, not really. She knew the answer and she turned her gaze back to the cliffs that stretched out before them. She couldn't open the watch, it was as simple as that.

Only nothing was ever simple and she knew it. "It's not worth the chance, worth your life." his voice was so soft and she knew what it cost him to say the words because she knew he wanted so desperately not to be alone any more. She knew and she understood and she reached out and took his cooler hand in her own.




*



3 days to go.

"Are you sure about this?" Gwen looked over at Martha who stood next to the former Torchwood member and then back directly at the screen. She could see it even through a video feed, Gwen didn't like the idea of Martha intentionally being captured by the Master.

She shook her head and sighed, she didn't really like it either but they'd spent weeks going over all the details to make sure they had the right intel and the right rumors had been spread in order to pull their plan off. "We don't have a choice here." they didn't and everyone knew it. Outside the Havens humanity was on its last legs, based on their estimations out of a population that had once been over six billion less than a billion remained. Inside the now seventeen Havens though they had a population of over two hundred and thirty thousand people and they were stretched far too thin to keep up with the refugees. "We've prepped everything. Tosh should have the 'gun' to you tomorrow. The ship that we're using as a decoy to mask the teleport knows when and where to be in place. We've got one of our out of the loop rebels coming to meet you and we've confirmed with multiple sources that Professor Docherty is one of the Masters spies."

"So we're all set then." Martha gave a nod.

"Yeah, we're set." as set as they could be. Because if the plan failed then they were out of options.



*



Little girls made of glass and mirrors that could trap you. She was standing at the railing of Castle Extremis looking out over the emptiness of space. Little girls, sisters. One broken because the other was gone. She sighed as she looked out, sisters. She had a sister, she had Dawn.

Dawn, how many months had it been since she'd even thought about Dawn? She wasn't sure she wanted to think about it. But she needed to. She needed to think about Dawn and her life and who she was now because the person she'd been that first time that the Doctor had grabbed her hand and said run wasn't the same person she was now. She could feel the Doctor behind her, Martha too, but she didn't turn. "It's time."




*



Doctor.

Doctor.

Doctor.

Her eyes were closed and for once her hand wasn't in the sand, for the first time in a year she allowed herself to let go of the desert inside her head. And she could feel it like ants marching all around her, she could feel the Doctor. She could feel time and space and she felt him push the drums away.



*



October 2003

She looked up at his brown eyes and she could see so much there, so much that was left unsaid because there really were no words for. But she smiled at him anyway despite the hollow feeling that had settled over her. "This isn't the end you know."

He looked down at her and she saw something flicker behind his eyes. "I know." and then something in him shifted and he smiled at her and pulled her into a hug. "You saved me, in so so many ways you saved me." his nose was buried in her hair. "Maybe you were meant to save me."

She smiled and inhaled the scent of him, the feel of him. He smelled like stardust and time and just-him. Just the Doctor, her Doctor. The day that had followed the night that had been brought on by the First. "Maybe were were supposed to save each other." they pulled apart and he looked down at her with a sad smile. Oh how she wished he didn't have reasons to smile like that but if those reasons were gone then he wouldn't be him and she wouldn't be herself.

She could smell the sunrise coming and knew it was time to go. She couldn't risk Dawn waking up and finding her gone. That would raise too many questions that she couldn't, didn't know how to answer. She smiled at him. "I'll be seeing you Doctor.

He frowned at her. "How do you know that?"

She turned to leave and found that her smile stayed in spite of everything. "Because there are trees in the desert now."

She had a life to get back to. Friends, family, and now she didn't feel hollow inside. Her time with the Doctor and Martha had done something that she'd never thought possible, it'd taught her how to feel alive again.




*



She saw it through the feeds, the Master dying in the Doctor's arms. She felt it like a truck to her head that left her sitting on the Comms Room floor with everyone around her trying to get her to tell them what was wrong. She tried to open her mouth, to force the words out but the pain was just too much. The Master was dead and all of time and space was screaming out the Doctor's pain and she could feel it in her head.

And then everything just shattered like a warped reflection in a mirror.



*



*****So reviews are made of love and I'd really and truly love the feedback because I'm beyond insecure about this story and the format I used.

The End

You have reached the end of "These Small Hours". This story is complete.

StoryReviewsStatisticsRelated StoriesTracking