The HANDS DOWN BEST
line of the entire story. Hands down! Let's see if you can figure out what it is?
(Bet you can!)
So that's all for this story. Working on the story about the "licking Doctor" story right now. The ending of this story is in reference to another story I'm writing right now - one that has Captain Jack in it (YAY! I wasn't going to bring him back, but Jack flirting with a seriously uncomfortable Giles was just TOO FUNNY!).
Next story. Either "Riley Doesn't Hate the Doctor" or "Not a Sword". I think I might just launch right into "Not a Sword" (it used to be called "Night Off", which is a way better title, but then I cut out all the references to nights off except one, so I couldn't call it that anymore). "Not a Sword": the Doctor and Donna try to find Excalibur. Using a toaster. In California.
"Not a Sword" has some problems with the end (by problems I mean that the ending sucks). But the beginning is good. So I might post the beginning, then make the end not suck as much and then post the end.
The Doctor and Buffy ran back towards the TARDIS, through the Dalek spaceship, which was now strewn with empty Dalek life-support machines, the creatures inside having turned to mush when their DNA had been unraveled by the machine. It was a little creepy, Buffy thought. Knowing she and the Doctor were the only creatures left alive on that spaceship.
"Please," said the Doctor as he ran, "do me a favor. Never, ever, ever, ever call yourself my weapon, again. Ever."
"What? That was a great zinger!" Buffy protested. "Riley would probably think I was flirting with you."
"And if you are
going to call yourself my weapon," said the Doctor, "could you please not do it on a Dalek space ship!"
"As long as I
can still call you my
weapon," Buffy said.
"Well, can I call you my Mister Pointy?" asked Buffy.
The Doctor looked horrified. "Your Mister what?"
"My Mister Pointy," Buffy repeated. "It's—"
"If you never explain to me what that means," the Doctor cut-in, "I'll forgive you for saying I'm worse than the Daleks."
As they rounded the last corner of the ship, the Doctor snapped his fingers, and the TARDIS doors swung open. Buffy and the Doctor tumbled inside.
"I'm sorry I said you were worse than the Daleks," said Buffy. "I just ran out of ideas."
"Oh, no, it was splendid!" said the Doctor. "Very clever of you. After that… tangent we took, you needed to call me something truly horrible so we could get back on track."
"Yeah," said Buffy. The tangent. She remembered that. "You said…" she stopped herself, not really sure she should say the rest.
The Doctor glanced over at her, but didn't answer. And Buffy knew he wouldn't. He didn't need to. When you were worth it, the Doctor let you know. And when you weren't… well, he let you know that, too. And of course, that's all it was. Just the Doctor telling her that she was worth saving. Nothing else.
(So why did it feel like so much more than that?)
"You're worth it, too, you know," said Buffy.
Because she might not be the ultimate authority in the universe, and in this century, probably wasn't even the ultimate authority on Earth anymore, but… damn it, she was still Buffy Summers! And that had to count for something!
The Doctor grinned, and then swept her into a tight hug. Buffy hugged him back, tightly. She could feel his twin hearts beating against her own chest. And she wished, not for the first time, that she could stay with him, that she could hold him and never, ever let him go. Her Doctor. Her weapon.
"My Mr. Pointy," she muttered into his shoulder.
The Doctor pulled her back, hands on shoulders, holding her an arm's length away. He regarded her face, curiously. "You're incredibly odd. You know that?"
"Pot. Kettle. Black," said Buffy.
The Doctor beamed at her, and dropped her shoulders. Then, spinning on his heel, he went back to his usual hobby of running around the central console. Buffy leaned against the railing around the console, and crossed her legs. She shook her hair behind her shoulders.
"So that's it?" Buffy asked him. "No more Daleks, ever?"
"Ah, well, no. Unfortunately, that was just a calibration test," the Doctor told her. "The energy stored in the Fountain was enough to wipe out every Dalek nearby, but the Dalek Supreme and his chums still got away."
"That sucks," said Buffy. "Can't we go back and widen the range a little? Get all the rest of them, too?"
The Doctor flipped another switch. "Can't."
"Don't tell me you're doing that thing where you say that they're living creatures and they have a right to exist," said Buffy. "Their mission statement is to get rid of every other creature in the universe except for them. It's got to be all right to kill them!"
"Elizabeth," the Doctor said, calmly, "we used up all the energy the Daleks had stored inside the Fountain. And I'm not draining the life out of any more planets. Not even to destroy the Daleks."
"Oh," said Buffy. "In that case, I guess I'm with you." She frowned. "What are we going to do about that Fountain thing, anyways?"
"Black hole," the Doctor told her.
"That's your answer to everything," Buffy said.
The TARDIS engines wheezed into life, and the TARDIS shook. Buffy managed to keep her balance, as the ship tumbled through the vortex. The Doctor yanked a lever, and the TARDIS shook again. He grinned. "There we go!" he said. "Down a black hole and out of the universe! Goodbye, Fountain of Kulkmattoll!" He swung around to face Buffy, a gleam in his eye. "Well?"
"Aren't you going to tell me how terribly clever and impressive I am?" the Doctor asked.
"You?" Buffy said. "I was the one who did all the work."
The Doctor's face fell, and he looked like a chided school boy. Or a kicked puppy. Buffy sighed. For someone who seemed to wield ultimate power over time and space, he really did act like a five year old sometimes.
(At least this
Doctor, unlike a certain previous incarnation Buffy could think of, didn't go around licking things. And people. Okay, just one person. Buffy had had a very hard time remembering she had a boyfriend that
"Okay, fine," she said. "Good job, Doctor. Yay! Hurray! Clap, clap. Can we get back to Sunnydale, now? I've got some angry friends I need to beg for forgiveness."
He beamed at her. "I have just the thing! We could take them to the fifth moon of Kerkazolia," he said. "They have the most amazing beaches you could imagine, and the sun never stops shining! Clear purple skies every day, and you'll never get sunburned, because the water acts as a—"
"I was leaning more towards the baking cookies approach," said Buffy.
"Ah, well, that could work, too," said the Doctor. "You know, I have the most amazing recipe for—"
"Come on, Doctor," said Buffy. "Riley is worried enough about you already without me going all outer-spacey on him."
The Doctor adjusted his bow tie. "I'll just… take you home, then," he said.
Buffy smiled. "Great. And… thanks."
The Doctor turned back to the central console. "Sunnydale, 2000, short time after we left. Residence of Rupert Giles."
Buffy swallowed around a lump in her throat. "No, I mean… Doctor," she said.
He spun around, facing her, regarding her with curious green eyes.
"Thank you," said Buffy. "Really, really thank you. For... you know. Willow. If she… if anything…" Buffy took a deep breath. "Just… thank you. You have no idea."
The Doctor met her eyes with his own, and she could see the echo of every friend he ever had, every person he ever lost inside those eyes. "Elizabeth Summers," he said, "I have every idea."
Then he yanked a lever, and sent his ship spinning back into the vortex.
The ship shook around them, making Buffy feel as if she and the Doctor were popcorn kernels in a microwave. She clutched the TARDIS railing, trying to make it look like she was just leaning against it to be all cool-looking and stuff, and didn't need it to keep her balance at all.
"So," she said to the Doctor. "All those nicknames you've got — you know, the really bad ones — those are from the Daleks, right?"
"Most of them," the Doctor confirmed. "Destroyer of Worlds, Bringer of Darkness, Dark Lord — those are all Dalek. Of course, there are others. The Sevateem call me the Evil One, the Galayari call me the Sandman, the vampires call me the Bringer of…." He stopped himself.
"What?" Buffy asked.
"Nothing," said the Doctor. "Absolutely nothing. Oncoming Storm, that's what they call me."
"No, you said they called you the Bringer of Something," Buffy said. "What? Bringer of Big Blue Boxes? Bringer of Vamp-Away? Bringer of Headaches to the Slayer?"
The Doctor said nothing, just staring at the central console. Buffy's smile died away, as she saw that terrible expression on his face.
"Doctor?" she asked, a little nervously. "What are you a Bringer of?"
"Nothing. It's not important. And certainly
not something that should appear in your little notebook."
"Notebook?" asked Buffy. "But that's only for stuff that hasn't happened yet. That would mean that whatever you're a Bringer of, you haven't…"
The Doctor met her eyes. He had that same look on his face, the look he'd had when he realized that the Daleks were doing something worse than he'd ever imagined. It was a look that took the air right out of Buffy's lungs.
"Done it, yet," she whispered.
One more clue. One more puzzle piece. His past, her future. And it was something terrible.
They said nothing the entire rest of the way home to Sunnydale.