Prologue: Telling Tales
I own nothing to do with BtVS, and I’ve only recently discovered Dr Who, so I obviously don’t own that either. Well, not unless someone unearths a long-lost will, and an even more unlikely family tree…
A.N. A fair warning, although this is probably clear from the prologue -This fic is not going to be some nice, happy jaunt through time. It will
be dark.Legends of the LordsPrologue: Telling TalesShe looked at the Doctor, for a few moments, and shivered in the bone-deep chill of the pitch-black night. Usually there were two moons visible, but tonight was a dark matter eclipse, a once in a thousand year event, which meant that the entire planet, for the majority of the night would be as black as the womb.
Some thirty minutes before dawn, due to the reaction of the matter with the spectrum of light from the sun there was said to be a pin wheeling of colors across the sky, but the Doctor didn’t know for certain. There was something that kept the planet Terantius bouncing back and forth between several different Time coordinates, so he’d never pinpointed the eclipse before, and in fact, had only stumbled across it by accident.
The dark matter absorbed every particle of light that touched it, so the Doctor had decided that the best option was to stay for the night.
He could feel it as her heart-rate quickened, could feel the molecules that made her up vibrating a little faster as the shiver passed through her, so he took off his jacket and slipped it over her shoulders.
She knew that if sight had been possible then her breath would be visible as a white puff of steam rising from her mouth.
They sat in silence for a few moments, before she spoke again, “This is the sort of night that kids tell each other to watch out for the boogie-man on.”
The Doctor frowned slightly, although the gesture was lost.
“So, tell me Doctor, what sort of boogie-man did the Time Lords have? Or did they even have any at all?”
“Not many. And even fewer that really stand out, that stay with you.”
“Tell me a tale, Doctor.”
She settled back against him, closed her eyes for a few moments, grateful for his non-human warmth, as she listened to the rhythmic thud of his two hearts. Almost automatically he slipped an arm around her shoulder. There was another minute of silence, before he began to speak.
“There was a legend, back on Gallifrey, of a man, a Time Lord, well before my time,” he smiled slightly, at his turn of phrase, before he carried on, “They said that he was mad. They said that his first title was the Researcher, even though it didn’t really fit him. He brought chaos, and destruction, and death to over a thousand different galaxies, to over a million different sentient species, over hundreds of different time periods. The stories say that he managed to time lock his own actions so that no one could cross his time line in order to stop him.
“And that he did it simply for the sake of it, just because he could. It wasn’t a hunger for power, or a need for revenge, or anything of the sort that drove him; he just did it because the chance was there. When Time Lords began to look into, and after human history, then the legends say that he took another name; that he chose his new title calling himself after a particularly famous human known only as Jack.”
“Jack? Hang on, you don’t mean Jack the Ripper?”
The Doctor arched an eyebrow, not caring that again the expression would be lost, “That’s the one. He called himself the Ripper.”
“So, come on, how does the story end? Are you gonna tell me, or are you gonna keep me in suspense?”
“It doesn’t. Not really. It’s just said that one-day it all stopped. That he dropped out of sight, for no known reason, never to be heard from or seen again. The children… the children tell themselves…told themselves… that if you cross over the wrong time-line, that if you disturb the wrong part of history, or that if you…look into the time vortex in the wrong way then he’ll cross over your time-line and take over your mind. Or that he’ll stir again and wreck havoc to the known universe.
“It’s the sort of ghost story that’s repeated on hundreds of different planets.”
“Just like Bloody Mary.”
As she spoke, the first tiny silvers of colour began to play across the sky. There was a tinge of dark green around the edges, which danced in and out of visible perception…
“Just a story, that’s all,” he tightened his grasp a little, unsure of if it was himself, or her that he was trying to reassure.
And on Earth a human man dreamed, uneasily, oddly disjointed images, which, in their own way still ran together enough to tell a tale.
And a watch that he’d never looked at sat on some-one else’s mantle, gathering dust.