Sorry about the lack of update yesterday. Pesach is here, and I was very busy getting everything ready for the first Seder.
For all of you people who are like, "Shoshi, you haven't beat up the Doctor once, yet!" this scene's for you. And, no, it's not the last time he'll get beat down in this story.
The Doctor said nothing for a long moment. He just stared out into the distance, at nothing, his jaw falling slightly open, his face turning pale in the night air.
"Told you," said Elizabeth. "You have something to do with that one, too?"
The Doctor snapped his eyes to Willow. "It's a mistake," he said. "It has to be. Jumping into that portal, that was a fixed point in time. If she died, if she really died, she couldn't possibly…" He trailed off. Then he shook his head. "No," he insisted. "It's impossible. It wouldn't make sense. She told me to remember…" His eyes grew distant, and terribly, terribly sad. "The future can be rewritten," he muttered.
"See?" said Elizabeth to the others. "He's got his guilty face on again." She turned back to the Doctor. "It really was your fault, wasn't it?"
The Doctor didn't say anything.
"Wait, no, it wasn't his fault," said Willow. "Buffy died saving us all! That had nothing to do with the Doctor. I think. Besides! He was… in-and-out-of-timey and stuff."
"He's still all guilty looking," said Elizabeth. "Let me guess. Buffy wasn't supposed to die, but you did something that screwed with time. You rewrote the future, made it so that she died. That's what you meant, wasn't it? If it wasn't for you, Buffy would still be alive."
The Doctor stared down at the ground, but didn't answer.
"You monster," Elizabeth accused.
"Well, I think he's okay," chirped in Anya. "And definitely not the kind of person who would want to erase any former vengeance demons who've truly reformed and become good honest American human beings from existence!"
The Doctor snapped his head up. "Wait, wait, vengeance demons?" the Doctor asked. He turned on Anya. "I thought I got rid of you lot."
Anya backed away, trying to edge behind Elizabeth. Xander jumped out, and waved a scolding finger at the Doctor.
"Don't you dare think about touching Anya," Xander warned.
"Angel said if I apologized, I'd be okay," Anya complained. "You're supposed to be not wanting to kill me anymore."
"See?" Elizabeth asked the others. "No pity. No mercy. No humanity."
The Doctor looked around, a bit confused. "Sorry, what—"
"He isn't unkillable," Elizabeth said to Spike. "He isn't undefeatable. You just have to know how to fight him."
Anya and Xander kept yelling at the Doctor, but the Doctor ignored them. His eyes fell on Spike. "You!" he cried. "You're still here!"
"Bloody hell," Spike muttered, tripping over his coat as he stumbled back.
Elizabeth got Spike to his feet. "Sometimes, it's kill or be killed," she said. "Now, go on. Hit him. Prove to the others that he's evil."
Spike hesitated, then his face twisted into a vampiric snarl, and he ran forward. The Doctor, his mind clearly elsewhere, didn't register what was happening until it was too late. Spike gave the Doctor a hard punch in his gut, which sent him flying into a nearby tree trunk. The Doctor collapsed against it, feet falling out from under him, and tried to catch his breath.
Spike waited for the retribution, for some terrible pain in his head or for the Doctor to raise his hand and reduce Spike into a pile of ash like the legends all said, but… nothing happened. Spike looked back at Elizabeth.
"See?" she asked him.
Spike flashed a feral smile, and lunged forwards at the Doctor, his knuckles bared. The Doctor just looked up, a little dazed, as Spike struck him across the face, then began pummeling him across the chest, stomach, jaw, anywhere he could, beating him into the tree trunk. With each blow, Spike's smile of satisfaction widened a little.
"That's the thing about monsters," said Elizabeth, observing them from a distance. "You fear them for so long, but when you realize you can hurt them, when you realize you can kill them, that's when the world becomes yours again. That's when you see that you don't have to run."
"Oh, my God!" came a teenage voice, from across the street.
In a flash, Spike was thrown away from the Doctor, revealing an angry-looking Angel in his place, standing in front of the injured alien. Angel growled at Spike. "Get away from here."
Spike's face morphed back into his usual appearance. "Yeah, whatever, mate," he muttered, and stalked off.
Angel turned to Elizabeth, his eyes fixed on hers, a stern reprimand in his gaze. Neither of them said anything, just looking at one another, as if daring the other to speak first.
Dawn, in the meantime, had run over to the Doctor. She knelt down by him, and shook him, but he seemed pretty unconscious. She looked over at the others. "Don't just stand there!" she said. "Help me!"
They all looked at one another, then rushed over to help Dawn carry the Doctor inside, and lay him out on the couch.
Angel waited until they were all inside the house, before he began speaking.
"You told me not to let you hurt him," said Angel. "I'm not going back on my promise."
"I should never have made you promise that," Elizabeth muttered.
"What did he do this time?" asked Angel. "Or is this just payback for all the other times he's hurt you?"
Elizabeth dragged her shoe along the ground. "It might have been a little paybacky."
Angel nodded. "We aren't going to let him hurt you," he said. "While he's here, we'll make sure you're safe."
Elizabeth gave a dry laugh. "You can't stop him."
"Even so, doing things like this — you know that's not right. You told me that, yourself, in the past."
"He deserves it," said Elizabeth.
"He's also done a lot of good," said Angel. "Remember? I know you've seen him do good things. I was there for some of those."
Elizabeth's eyes blazed. "That doesn't make up for happened on Iphidrin, what happened in Sunnydale, what happened to all the other places he destroyed. That doesn't make up for torturing me, and killing everyone, and then forcing me to watch every single one of my friends die a horrible death, twice!"
"I know he wants to send you back," said Angel, calmly. "But you agree with him on that. You told me, earlier tonight, that—"
Elizabeth snapped her eyes up to Angel, a cold, hard bitterness shining inside of them. "I'm not going back," she hissed through her teeth, "until the Doctor is dead."
"I'm not going to let that happen, either," said Angel, crossing his arms. "I made you a promise in 1905. And I intend to keep it. I didn't let Buffy kill him. I'm not letting you kill him."
"That was before he killed my mother!" Elizabeth shouted at Angel.
Angel's stern expression faltered, just a little bit.
"I know it won't change anything in my timeline, if I kill him now," said Elizabeth. "But what about this one? He already admitted he had something to do with Buffy's death. How long before he kills off the rest of them, too?"
"You still can't kill him," said Angel. "If the Doctor dies, I die. The regenerative energy will turn me to ash."
The bitterness fell away from Elizabeth's face. "What?"
"It's a biological defense mechanism against vampires," said Angel. "When a Time Lord dies, he regenerates — he bursts into a bright, shining light, one that turns all vampires within a fairly large radius to ash. If you kill him, Elizabeth, he'll wake up, with a brand new face and new personality. I won't."
Elizabeth thought this over. "All right," she decided. "I won't kill him. I promise. Just… give me a little time to cool down."
Angel gave a curt nod, and went back into the house. Elizabeth's eyes followed him, their blue irises twinkling in the moonlight. She gave a small smile. No, she wouldn't let Angel die. But she'd still make sure the Doctor was dead — or as good as — by the time all of this was over.