Chapter Twenty One
: Yay! I think I've finally figured out a way to write the Year that Never Was! It has a plot and everything! And thanks to google maps, I can figure out how long it takes to walk across vast distances. Hurray!
(We'll see if they stick through to when I write the actual story itself, but I think I might be the only fanfic author to ever write a fanfic for the Year that Never Was that includes the Knights of Byzantium storming the Valiant. The thought just popped into my head, and it was just... too... funny...)
Anyways, enjoy this chapter.
No, really. Enjoy.
I love when the Doctor gets clever.
"Please," the prisoner pleaded. "Don't! Please, I'll do anything! Just don't… don't use the electricity. Don't!"
Leandra bent down over the terrified Time Lord. "Aw, but I don't want 'anything'," she said. "I'm just enjoying my play-time."
The Doctor glanced over at the lever that controlled the electrical flow, the one that would cause electricity to sear through his body, frying him from the inside out, if it were flipped. Then back at Leandra. Tears appearing in his eyes.
"Anything," he begged. "Anything you want. Just… not that. Anything else but that."
"Anything?" Leandra asked, a small smile quirking at her lips. "Anything at all?" She sidled up closer to him, inhaling his scent, hungry eyes fixed on him.
"I can't stand it," the Doctor told her. "Please. Please. Whatever you want. But not that. Not the electricity."
"What else?" Leandra asked. "What would you do for me? Would you kill for me? Murder for me? Would you sit and watch while I split apart a baby's skull right in front of you?"
He was crying, now. Crying in earnest.
"Mercy," he said. "Have mercy on me."
Leandra jumped to her feet, her good cheer suddenly gone. Mercy? She went over to the lever — the one he dreaded above all others. "Mercy?" she asked him. She yanked it down, and the electricity seared through him, making him writhe and scream. "I have no mercy."
She lifted it up, to give him just enough of a breather that he thought he was safe. Thought he was free. Then pulled it down, again.
"You'll never gain our mercy, Time Lord," Leandra shouted over his screams. "To the end of eternity, this is all you'll ever be. The plaything of the gods!"
And with a final yank up of the switch, she noticed his broken, destroyed appearance, his sobs, his muttered mumblings. And decided that maybe this was not so bad, after all.
The Doctor waited until she'd gone. Until she was no longer in sight. And then allowed himself to stop the act entirely.
He glanced over at the lever, and gave a tiny, relieved smile. Then shifted so that he could access the makeshift lock pick he'd constructed out of shoelace tips and anything else he could find, nearby, and had concealed within easy reach.
"For a moment, there," he muttered, popping open the lock around his right wrist, "I was worried you'd actually heard the stories of Brer Rabbit."
He popped open the lock around his other wrist, then his ankles, then the rest of the restraints. Then reached inside himself, and accessed the electricity he'd managed to store inside his body. Ready to give the vampires' system the shock of its life.
"Don't throw me into that briar patch," the Doctor said.
Then thrust his head against the edge of the psychic barrier that encaged him, and, gritting his teeth against the pain, he let the electricity he'd gathered rush out of his body, and whip across the barrier's surface.
"This is bad," said Willow. She'd only just created the TARDIS safety field a week ago, and already she could feel it getting weird. "There's something coming through, Buffy. Something's found a way in."
"I thought nothing could get in!" Dawn hissed.
"The TARDIS is sick," said Buffy. "Panicked about the Doctor. Anything could happen." She grabbed up a sword, as she noticed the transparent shapes appearing before them. The shapes that were solidifying into vampires.
"They're appearing all across the Institute!" Kennedy exclaimed, as she lashed out at a ghostly form, but was unable to strike anything but air.
"Not the whole Institute," said Xander, but whatever he was about to say next was cut off by the rush of terrified Slayers-in-training, flooding into the lobby from the dorms and classrooms.
They were followed, close behind, by the rest of the Institute staff. The non-Slayer-powered staff.
Shouts came from the gathered crowd, pleas and cries and desperate hopes that Buffy could save them. Buffy felt her grip tighten along the hilt of her sword, as she knew that she was screwed.
"Hate to say it, B," Faith told her, her own sword drawn and ready for action, "but there is no possible way we can win this battle. Face it. We're vampire food."
Buffy looked around her. At all the scared and worried faces. At all the people that were relying on her. Then her eyes rested on Xander.
"What do you mean, not the whole
Institute?" Buffy asked him.
"Well, they're avoiding the basement," Xander explained.
The basement. Of course. Because the TARDIS was still down there, and the vampires must still be afraid to get close to it. The light would scare them off for a while, Sam had said. Until they wised up to it.
Buffy turned to Dawn.
"You've got the TARDIS key," Buffy said.
Dawn fidgeted with the key around her neck. "Yeah, but… I mean, if the Doctor knew you were alive, he'd have given it to you, so—"
"No, Dawn," Buffy cut in, the shapes rapidly solidifying around her. "You've got the TARDIS key. And the TARDIS itself is way stronger than any extrapolating spell. Take everyone here, and get them inside the ship. Right now. I'll stay up top and hold the vampires off."
"Buffy…" Dawn protested.
Buffy gave her sister a long stare, and Dawn stood down.
Dawn turned to the others, clearing her throat. "Everyone, follow me!" she shrieked, above the racket of the gathering crowd. Then began to run.
The others, scared for their lives, raced after Dawn.
Buffy felt a creeping, unnervingly wrong feeling beside her, and swung around, sword drawn, to find Jack. She lowered the sword.
"TARDIS," she demanded. "Now."
Jack took out his gun. "Stopped being a coward a hundred and fifty years ago," he told her. "You can thank the Doctor for that."
"If you stay here, they're going to rip you apart," Buffy warned. "Again."
Jack grinned. "Tell you what," he said. "You can kiss me better when I come back."
And then the vampires solidified around them.