Adam couldn't help stretching a smile across his face, as he watched the two Slayers dragging an unconscious Doctor towards him.
"Here," they said, shoving the Doctor onto the floor in front of Adam. "Now. We want Bunfy Sompters."
Adam stepped forwards, and picked the Doctor up. Checking to make sure he was the real thing, that this wasn't some trick. But the sensors and mechanical devices in his body all picked up a binary vascular system and lower body temperature, along with an odd radiation reading that Adam knew meant that the Doctor had travelled through time.
"A different face," Adam verified, "but the same person. Interesting."
The Slayers crossed their arms, and gave Adam that same look he'd seen on the Slayers he'd killed that first day he came back from the dead. A look of defiance and self-confidence.
"I am fascinated by you Slayers," said Adam, as he began to pace in front of them, dragging the Doctor along the floor of the space ship like a rag doll. "It seems that, over time, an ordinary person — one weak and breakable, one so easily manipulated and destroyed — has turned to a god in your eyes. Infallible. Perfect. Buffy Summers." He flicked his eyes over to them. "So perfect you'd do anything for her."
"We upheld our end of the deal," they said. "Now you uphold yours."
"Do you know why she hated me so much?" Adam asked the Slayers. "Your Buffy Summers?" He glanced down at the Doctor. "I locked him away and let him get tortured for two months. I nearly killed him, and she was devastated." Adam glanced back at the Slayers. "Yet here you are. Handing him over to me, in exchange for her life." He grinned. "I'm tempted to give her to you, after all. Just because it would be interesting to watch her rip you apart."
The Slayers shifted into a fighting stance. "Gotta warn you," said one of them, "if you don't hand over Bunfy Sompters, you're going to regret it."
Adam regarded them, vaguely amused at their display. Then his arm morphed into a machine gun. The Slayers, like all the others Adam had faced in this time period, activated their energy-blast repellent armor. Morons. They'd get what they deserved.
Adam opened fire, shooting a stream of bullets through the air. He admired the look of complete and utter horror on their faces, as they keeled over and died.
Adam's arm morphed back into its normal appearance, and he kicked the bodies to the side. He could use them later, he knew. The Slayers he'd already incorporated into his army were infinitely useful. These two would make excellent additions.
A spark of anticipation appeared in his bio-mechanical mind, and Adam glanced down to find the body he was dragging along the ground beginning to stir. Adam dropped the Doctor onto the floor of the space ship, then turned to his lackeys. "Secure him."
The lackeys rushed over and bent a number of metal bars around the Doctor's already rope-bound limbs. The Doctor groaned, opening his eyes and scanning the area around him. He grimaced, as he took in Adam, the space ship, and his entire new situation.
When his eyes fell upon the destroyed bodies on the ground, however, every trace of lightness was wiped from his face. He grew completely solemn, completely serious, completely upset.
Oh, yes, this was certainly the Doctor.
"And this is where it all leads," the Doctor muttered. "After all questions are answered, all plots uncovered, all truths known, it all boils down to this. Death. Destruction. Slaughter."
"They handed you over," said Adam. "The humans. It's just the same way it was before. Always locked up and betrayed by the race you keep trying to save."
"Just as before," the Doctor said. "Same villains. Same goals. Same plans." He glanced over at Adam. "Different Doctor."
"And yet, I have observed this version of you," said Adam, "as you crossed your own timeline, frantically searching to make sense of a time when everyone was against you. Desperately looking for answers that weren't there."
"Oh, they were there," said the Doctor. "Always, they were there. I simply didn't understand where to look." His eyes shifted across the room. "Where's Elizabeth?"
"In pain," Adam answered. "Torment. Agony. You left her at my mercy. And I've taken advantage."
The Doctor just gave a little laugh.
Adam's smile dropped off his face. This was a reaction he hadn't expected of the Doctor. "You find her pain amusing?"
"I find it amusing," the Doctor corrected, "that after 1800 years, you're still making the same mistakes! You made me angry once before, and you nearly died. You made Elizabeth angry, and you did die. Examine the data, Adam! When you face people with emotions, the worst thing you can possibly do," he leaned in, and shouted, "is to make them angry!"
"Fascinating," said Adam. "Would it make any difference, I wonder, to tell you that her torture is completely self-inflicted? I simply left her alone, and let her own guilt consume her."
The Doctor said nothing.
Adam's eyes met the Doctor's. He could see the undeniable guilt boring into the Time Lord, already. "After you left the Initiative, I noticed a pattern," Adam continued. "Your Buffy Summers kept returning to face me, over and over again, completely unprepared. Seeking me out with no backup or defense. Trying to cause herself injury. Trying to make me hurt her. And here, again, in the future, she did the same thing. Only this time, she explained why." Adam's eyes gleamed. "It's because of you."
And, yes, now Adam could see even more horrible pain crawling into the Doctor's face.
"Her guilt over your treatment," said Adam. "Her love that forced her to blame herself. Her compassion which—"
"Oh, give it a rest!" the Doctor groaned. "If I wanted a lecture on how emotion was a weakness, I'd have dropped by Telos! Just skip the pontification and cut to the chase, already!"
"Very well." Adam turned to his lackeys. "Bring her in."
The lackeys turned and left the room.
"There's something I've been meaning to say to you for years, now, Adam," said the Doctor. He squirmed in his bonds, and glared up in Adam's eyes. "You are — all meanness intended — completely and utterly thick!"
Adam didn't bother to give in to such an obvious provocation. He had no anger to provoke.
"I've found my answers," said the Doctor. "But it seems you haven't found yours. You spent an entire year manipulating others and you never once saw — never once imagined — that you were being manipulated yourself."
"I understood what you were trying to do," said Adam. "What you're still trying to do. I can always see through your manipulations, Doctor. I will always overcome them."
"Not me!" the Doctor said. "Think back! Remember! All those little things that seemed just a bit too convenient. All those little coincidences that seemed to work in your favor. You were being played in just the same way that you were playing everybody else. That's
the truth you didn't see, Adam. That's
the truth I've been returning to Sunnydale, over and over again, so I could uncover."
"The Slayer is capable of many things," said Adam, "but this is beyond her."
"Not Elizabeth, either, you dolt!" said the Doctor. "Can't you see? Don't you notice any connection? All these different elements from the 39th century, all being projected, backwards through time, into the 21st? The Carflodashians. The Daleks. The fixation with me. The fixation with the Slayers. Your entire life has been as a gear-cog in someone else's machine!"
"It is interesting," said Adam, "that you feel you have to make up excuses for your own inability to kill me. Your inability to escape. Your own weaknesses."
"You first learned about me when I was inside the Initiative," the Doctor pointed out. "But you didn't put me there. You saw I was in there, saw I could travel through time, and took advantage."
"The humans trapped you," said Adam. "I simply realized your potential."
"Not the humans!" said the Doctor. "The Daleks! They sent a temporal team back in time to exterminate you, but they couldn't do it. So they got clever. Began to manipulate you. Made sure that you read up on every single part of my biology, so that you could defeat me, while I defeated you. Fighting to our mutual destruction."
"My plan," Adam said.
"And the Daleks'," the Doctor insisted. "They knew that Elizabeth and myself leading an army against you and your lot would wipe all of us out. I thought it was Earth's army the Daleks wanted us to lead, but when I learned what IPSA was, the strategy became obvious. You'll wipe out Elizabeth, myself, and IPSA, while we wipe out you and your army, and — who wins, then, Adam? Tell me that. Who wins in that situation?"
"The Daleks have used you," said the Doctor. "They've manipulated the situation so that your army and IPSA will both be obliterated, allowing the Daleks to waltz right in and take this galactic sector for themselves. No opposition. No troubles. No nothing. Think about it logically, Adam. It makes sense!"
"You say that the Daleks have used me," Adam said. "Manipulated me. And yet, Buffy Summers has assured me that you two are allies. Which means that you were the one who manipulated me, all along. And I should destroy you."
The Doctor raised an eyebrow at Adam. "You don't believe the Daleks are my allies. Any more than I do."
"A bluff," Adam concurred. "Just as are your own words, now."
"I'm not bluffing, Adam," the Doctor promised. "Every single word I've told you is the truth." He gave Adam a very serious stare. "The Daleks are your real enemies. They've been mucking about in your own past, reshaping who and what you are, so you could fight their battles for them."
"But I have the data that disproves that," said Adam. "The only one who altered my past was you, Doctor. Your two companions. Spies, Mother called them."
"Ah," said the Doctor. "That's different."
"You claim that these Daleks sent a team into my own past," said Adam. "Tried to exterminate me. But could not. An interesting theory. It's a shame it has no bearing on reality."
The Doctor blinked. "I'm sorry?"
"I saw the Daleks when they arrived in Sunnydale," said Adam. "I saw their destruction and carnage, and thought it beautiful. But I never encountered them."
"Never encountered them?" the Doctor cried. "You mean to say that when the Daleks were swarming through Sunnydale, they never once sent a team after you? Never once tried to exterminate you? Never once tried to get rid of you?"
"Never once," Adam agreed. He grinned. "Your answers don't live up to expectation, Doctor."
The Doctor frowned. "But why?" he asked himself. "Why else would they send two teams of Daleks back to that exact point in the 21st century if they weren't...?" The Doctor trailed off. "Ah." He cringed. "Vastly
underestimated her importance, then."
The swish of doors opening, as Adam's lackeys re-entered the room, shifting uneasily. Adam turned on them. The two were empty handed, no Buffy Summers in sight.
"Well?" Adam demanded. "Where is Buffy Summers?"
"She's... gone," they confessed.