Chapter Thirty One
: Short update, this time, because the next section is long.
Sunnydale, August 14, 1999
The first thing Amy and Rory heard was the buzz of the sonic screwdriver. Which was... impossible. Had the Doctor come back from the 39th century, already? Swooping in here to save them?
Then came the sound of the metal bars being lifted back into the ceiling of the cave network. The grating of metal and gears and cogs clattering nearby.
And the sudden flickering on of lights, embedded within the walls of the cave surrounding them.
"Right," came a chirpy English voice that Rory didn't recognize. "Where were we? Oh, yes! You responded to my sonic screwdriver signal, then just flew off without exterminating me. Which I found a wee bit odd."
Rory and Amy ventured a peek over the crates, to find a skinny man in a brown pinstripe suit and trainers, carrying a blue-tipped sonic screwdriver and grinning at the Dalek, as if the situation highly amused him.
"YOU ARE THE DOCTOR!" shouted the Dalek.
"Yeah, worked that one out, thanks," Rory muttered under his breath.
"Yes, I am," said the Doctor to the Dalek. "Number one enemy. So why are you ignoring me, and running off down here to exterminate rats and rodents? Or... can I guess?" His eyes shifted around the cave. "Somewhere down here are my future companions, and you're trying to exterminate them, because you've already finished future-me off somewhere else in time and space." He glanced back at the Dalek. "Which is why I'd have sent them here. To make sure you didn't kill them, too."
That was when a very violent shaking began underfoot.
"ALERT! ALERT!" the Dalek shouted. "RIFT ENERGY INCREASING!"
"Oh, sorry, did you forget where we are?" the Doctor asked. "Rift in time and space? Because I didn't. And I built this." He took a device out of his pocket. "Gathers up rift energy and focuses it into a metallic receptacle of my choosing. And... well... too much rift energy, all at once? That could kill even a Dalek."
The Doctor yanked something on the device, and the Dalek shrieked, as the ground shook once again, and rocks began to fall from the ceiling.
"EXTERMINATE!" the Dalek screamed, spinning around through the air and firing its gun at random.
"If you two are still about, whoever you are," the Doctor called out, over the Dalek and the roar of the trembling earth, "Run!" Then he pointed his sonic at the ceiling, and buzzed it.
Rory and Amy scrambled to their feet and frantically backed up, as the entire cave ceiling collapsed between themselves and the Doctor, pouring on top of the Dalek, who gave a faint but pathetic, "EXTERMIN..." before it made a garbled, strangled sound, and was buried beneath the soil.
Amy and Rory ran back out of the way of the cave-in, desperately trying to avoid being squished, and when the last tremors finally stopped rippling through the ground, they leaned against one another, catching their breaths.
Amy took a step forwards, staring at the wall that now separated them from the younger Doctor.
"Doctor?" Amy asked. Then, not hearing an answer, shouted, "Doctor!"
Still, no answer from the other side of the cave-in.
"Um, Amy," said Rory, tugging her back towards the fork in the cave network. "I think... we should keep running."
Amy spun around, and looked where Rory was staring. There, just emerging in the distance, was a group of Initiative soldiers, led by a gun-wielding Riley Finn.
"Okay," Amy said. "Time to play our favorite game, again."
Keep Well-Armed Riley Finn Away From the Doctor.
"He's behind a huge caved-in dirt barrier," said Rory, as he began to run, with Amy, through the cave network. "Riley can't possibly get to him."
"Then let's keep it that way!" insisted Amy, as she burst forwards.... ... ...
The Doctor walked off, hands in his pinstripe pockets. He never liked thinking about his future too much. And he really hated speculating about what could have caused this particular incident to occur.
"Hell," the Doctor repeated to himself. "A very
A Dalek. His companions in trouble. And being forced to face his own mortality.
Three things that were the Doctor's personal hell.
The Doctor sighed, and decided to put all of that aside. Not good to look too closely into your own future. Time to get back to Buffy. Brilliant, wonderful Buffy, who kept making up monsters to get him to stay. Who had, very obviously, not read the section in Giles' books that explained how to actually summon the Trio of Hell.
And the Doctor knew exactly what would happen when Buffy's friends realized who could do that.
The Doctor emerged out of the cave tunnel and into a dense group of trees. Buffy was clever, but when faced with something like this — separated from her friends, unable to seek help from those she trusted most — well, needless to say, Buffy would be in trouble. She'd be confused and uncertain, freaking out, looking for someone to save her. And so, the Doctor had to.
Just the way he always had. Just the way he always would.
He trudged off towards Giles' house.