: So, yeah. Buffy doesn't know Spike's alive. No matter what canon dictates.
Forget canon! What did Joss Whedon ever do for me?
No, just kidding. I do kind of have a good-ish explanation for the canonical departure in the next story, but I'll save that for the next story.
By the way, in Vampire Science
, the Doctor actually does trick Joanna into turning herself human by convincing her that she has to turn him into a vampire to save his life. Even though he was fine the whole time. Joanna turns human, and shouts at the Doctor that, "you killed me!" Then they all go out for ice cream!
Because ice cream makes mortality worth it.--000--
After a brief private word between Angel and Joanna, everyone gathered inside Angel's office. Joanna standing beside Angel's chair, Buffy and Willow seated opposite him in front of his desk.
"It's my fault," Angel began, his hands folded on the desk. "As far as we can tell. Based on the dates on the newspaper he used, the Doctor arrived here about a month and a half ago."
Oh. Of course.
"He noticed LA wasn't in the right dimension," Buffy realized, "and came to help."
And, because it was the Doctor, he missed the date.
"I probably should have known he'd show up, eventually," Angel said. "Joanna's pointed that out to me, many times. And I probably should have guessed what would happen to him, the moment he landed."
Buffy leaned in closer to Angel. "Angel. What happened to him?"
"LA's one of the biggest gathering spots for transformed vampires," Joanna said. "Most Doctor-tricked ex-vampires wind up here. All plotting their revenge against the man that made them human. Everyone knows that."
Buffy's jaw tensed, as she looked back over at Angel.
"Like I said," Angel told her. "I should have expected it."
"They knew the Doctor would show up to help you," Willow said, "so they waited for him? Set a trap?"
"But… why didn't they just kill him once they'd found him?" Willow asked. "Get their revenge?"
"I know why," Buffy said. She could feel her heart sinking, as she worked it out. "They struck a deal. Like Ford did, with Spike's gang, back in Sunnydale. Hand the Doctor over in exchange for getting sired again. And you can guess the results."
"Massacre," Angel confirmed.
"Killed every single human, and took the Doctor for themselves," Joanna added.
Willow's eyes widened, as she worked out why the vampires would want the Doctor. "The Doctor's seen every single Slayer die," she said. "He knows every single weak-point of the Slayer. If the vampires wanted to get rid of the Slayer Institution, they'd just have to torture the answers out of him. That's why the vampires know, now."
Buffy shook her head. "No," she said. She felt her fists clench on the tabletop. "No! He'd never tell them. If they'd been acting on the Doctor's information, they would have gotten all our weak-points wrong. He would have tricked them!"
Joanna glanced back at Angel. "Wait a second. She's both a vampire Slayer and the Doctor's friend, and she doesn't know about the defense mechanisms?"
"Defense mechanisms?" Buffy asked.
"The Vampires and the Time Lords were ancestral enemies," Joanna told her. "They fought a war way back in ancient history, which wiped out the Great Vampires completely. And during that war, both sides developed biological defense mechanisms."
"Regeneration," Buffy remembered. "It's like super-sunlight to vampires. It destroys them entirely."
"That's a Time Lord defense mechanism," Angel said. "Against vampires. What you're seeing, now, is… the opposite."
Buffy felt a chill run down her spine. "What do you mean?"
"These unbeatable vampires," said Angel. "Do you know what they are?"
Buffy and Willow shook their heads.
"They're normal vampires," Angel explained. "Completely normal, ordinary vampires. The kind you've fought for the last eight years. The only difference is their diet."
The word stuck in Buffy's throat. "Diet…"
"The digestion of Time Lord blood," Joanna confirmed. "The ultimate vampiric biological defense mechanism. Drink enough Time Lord blood over a long enough period of time, and… well, you can see the effects for yourself. Invincible. Invulnerable. Intelligent. Incredibly strong. Unimaginably fast. Immune to sunlight. Everything."
Buffy felt her world spinning around her. Willow put a comforting hand on Buffy's shoulder, but it didn't help. Buffy's mind was fixated on that one point. That one thing.
"The Doctor…" she swallowed. "Is he…? Did they…?"
"He's still alive," Joanna said. "They'd be stupid to kill him. The blood's effects are cumulative. The longer you drink it, the faster, more intelligent, more invulnerable you are." She shrugged. "Besides. If they caused a regeneration, they'd be signing their own death warrants, and they know it. I'm guessing they're trying to convert the Doctor into their own personal blood farm."
Buffy stopped breathing.
"It's the vampiric dream," Angel explained. "Every vampire's thought about it. Capture a Time Lord, drain him of enough blood that he couldn't stand upright — every day, without fail, for exactly the right period of time — and you'll become immortal. Then you can do whatever you want, and never have to worry about getting staked for it."
Angel brought out a book from his desk, and laid it in front of Buffy and Willow. A paperback, featuring a rather gruesome cartoon on the cover, with the title, "101 Ways To Collect Time Lord Blood; an easy, step-by-step guide to using the last Time Lord as your own, personal blood farm!"
"A best-seller in the demon community," Angel said. "And not the only one of its kind. There have been books like this dating back farther than you could imagine."
"I worked as a librarian a few centuries ago," Joanna said. "I've seen them all."
Buffy ventured to pick up the book from the table, and flip through its pages. There, she discovered a comprehensive manual explaining, "How to capture your Time Lord", "How to make sure your Time Lord doesn't escape", "How to determine how much blood is too much blood", "Why you should never directly bite your Time Lord", "Can I breed my Time Lord to increase my blood supply?" and on and on and on.
A page by page instruction manual, Buffy realized, on how to torture the man she loved more than anything.
"If there've been books written about this forever," Willow said, "then why hasn't this kind of thing happened before?"
Joanna snatched the book out of Buffy's hands. "Because of this," she said, opening the book to the inside front cover, and displaying it for Buffy and Willow to read.
There, printed in large letters, was the following disclaimer:WARNING!
If you actually employ any of the methods or strategies outlined in this book, there is a 100% chance that the Time Lord in question will kill you. Or worse. Please don't ask us what 'worse' means — you don't want to know. Just remember — if you die, you're lucky.
On the other hand, if you use this book, at least your death won't be boring!
"Even I knew that, when I was a vampire," said Joanna. "Complete invulnerability is nothing to someone who can travel through time."
Buffy looked up at Joanna, a dark, stormy look in her eyes. "You're human," she observed. "That means you still did it. You drank his blood."
"I thought I was saving his life," Joanna retorted.
"By killing him," said Buffy.
"He told me to!" Joanna insisted. "He pleaded with me, begged me to sire him, said he was dying and I was his only hope. Thirty seconds later, the Doctor was walking around, completely fine, and I was human, again. A trick right from the start!" She folded her arms. "If I didn't like the man so much, I'd hate him for that."
Buffy gave Joanna a skeptical look.
It was Willow who asked the question that Buffy was thinking. "You spent centuries without a soul. The Doctor tricked you into becoming human again. Why do you want to help him?"
Joanna looked away, an expression of raw pain on her face. "He could have killed me," she said. "Should
have killed me. I see that, now that I'm human. But instead… he saved my life." She shrugged. "He tricked me. Threatened me. Moralized to no end at me. But he still saved my life. And I won't forget that."
"Joanna only agreed to tell me what was happening," Angel assured Buffy, "on the condition that I promised not to harm the Doctor in any way. She might be an ex-vampire, but she's on our side."
"The situation unfolding with the vampires, right now, is worse than you could possibly imagine," Joanna told Buffy, trying to steer them back onto the main topic. "Worse than anyone could possibly imagine. These vampires who have the Doctor — they've infiltrated UNIT. They killed off any and all vampire experts. And, when they broke in, they looked through the files. And discovered… something else."
"What else?" Buffy demanded.
Joanna took a deep breath. "When I first met the Doctor, he gave my vampire coven an ultimatum," she said. "Either stop killing humans and come up with an artificially developed food-substitute, or he'd destroy us. I came up with a food substitute." She sighed. "It just wasn't the food substitute the Doctor wanted."
"She created artificial humans," Angel told Buffy. "Test-tube grown people. Easy to create. Lots of blood. And they don't fight back."
"I was trying to cut out all higher brain functions," Joanna explained. "I was trying to create non-sentient animals who happened to have human blood. I just… failed." She met Buffy's eyes with her own. "The Doctor verified. They're humans. Just like you or me. But they don't talk. They don't fight back. And they're a perfect artificial food source for vampires."
Buffy's jaw dropped open.
"I knew I should have destroyed them," Joanna said. "I knew they were dangerous. But the Doctor insisted that they were living, breathing people, and I had to treat them as such. UNIT's got them, now."
"But UNIT's been infiltrated," Willow said.
"We know," said Angel. "As far as we can tell, the vampires know that Joanna's developed something they can use. But they don't know what it is. They're after her, because they want to know what she created and where it's hidden."
"And they can't
know," Joanna insisted. "They can never
know. No matter what! Or they'll have no reason to keep humanity alive. They'll kill every single human being on the planet."
"Death is coming," Willow breathed. "Death for all."
Buffy squeezed her eyes shut. "No," she insisted. She pushed her chair back. "No, it doesn't make sense! None of this makes sense! Yes, the Doctor knows UNIT. Yes, the Doctor knows about the Slayer. But he'd never tell any of this stuff to the vampires! Even under torture, he'd never compromise the human race!"
Angel and Joanna started going on about how vampires drinking Time Lord blood must increase their intelligence level, but Willow had gone quiet. Very quiet. And very still.
"It makes perfect sense," she whispered.
They all turned to Willow.
Willow's hands clutched the arms of her chair a little tighter, as she stared — anywhere that wasn't Buffy. Her voice very quiet. Her tone the echo of empty hopelessness.
knows how to infiltrate UNIT," said Willow. "He knows all the people in UNIT that might pose a threat. He knows about Joanna. He knows about the Slayer. And—" Willow ventured a glance over at Buffy. "—in your red notebook, you wrote down that, in the future, vampires would call the Doctor the 'Bringer of…' Something."
"Will…" Buffy said.
"Buffy, you've got to face it!" said Willow. "He's
the Bringer of Death. He's their leader! Whatever blood-drinking thing they were trying to do, they screwed it up, and sired him. Now he's taking down humanity, and there's nothing we can do to stop it!"
Buffy gave a small laugh. "Will…"
"You know… that might explain a lot," Angel put in. He glanced over at Joanna. "You've heard the TARDIS. The ship is panicking, as if it's lost contact with the Doctor entirely. And your own psychic episodes stopped shortly after you arrived here."
"The moment he gets sired, the Doctor becomes the one with all the power, not them!" Joanna insisted. "They'd never do it. They'd never… voluntarily…" Her face went pale.
"But if it was an accident," Willow put in.
Joanna said nothing. She braced herself against the wall, so she wouldn't fall over.
Buffy shook her head, an amused smile on her face. "He's not a vampire."
Everyone looked at Buffy.
"Buffy, I'm sorry," said Willow, "but you have to accept…"
"No, seriously," said Buffy, leaning back in her chair, crossing her arms. "He's not a vampire. He's not evil. He's not possessed. If he's still alive, he's still on our side. I know it. For a fact."
Everyone looked at everyone else.
"How?" Joanna asked.
Buffy shrugged. "Because it didn't happen this way, the last time," she said.
From the looks on the others' faces, Buffy knew she'd need to go into more detail than that. But she honestly didn't want to get into a long, drawn-out explanation of her experience, last year. That trip she'd taken, when she'd been facing down the First, into an alternate reality. A reality in which the Doctor had turned evil.
"Trust me," said Buffy, instead, "the moment the Doctor turns evil, you'll know. Because he'll completely annihilate Torchwood — starting with Torchwood London. Then he'll use time travel to destroy the Slayer way in the past, before it was ever even created. And then he'll destroy the world. And if we're lucky, he'll stop there."
Once more, six eyes were fixed on Buffy.
"And if we're not?" Angel asked.
"It was a great universe while it lasted," said Buffy.
For a moment, no one said anything. Everyone in Angel's office froze, their minds all thinking over the same possibility. Understanding all the implications of what Buffy had just said.
"Do you think the vampires know what'll happen, if they sire him?" Angel asked Joanna.
"I didn't," said Joanna, "and I was bloodfasted to him." She shook her head. "But… it wouldn't come to that, anyways! Those vampires are smart enough to keep him confined for a month and a half — they'd never take the risk of letting him regenerate. They're not even biting him!"
Buffy raised her eyebrows.
"One bite from a vampire, and a Time Lord can trigger the regeneration process," Angel explained. "They're draining him some other way."
"My point is, these vampires aren't idiots," said Joanna. "They'd never sire him. Because they'd never give him the ability to gain the upper hand."
Angel stared at the Amulet, lying on his office desk. "'Just in case', he said."
And Buffy realized that 'just in case' might be reserved for a way, way worse scenario than she'd thought.
"Besides!" added Joanna. "That's what the regeneration is for. The defense mechanism to counter the vampire's defense mechanism. Even if the biting doesn't trigger the regeneration, draining him of all his blood will."
"But he's not going to have to regenerate," said Buffy. "Because we're going to rescue him. Where is he?"
Angel's shoulders slumped. "We don't know."
"No one knows," said Joanna. "The only lead we had was this Worthing kid, and he was eaten by a demon a few days ago."
"But… we can follow the vampires that have drunk the Doctor's blood!" Buffy proposed. "Figure out where they all are."
"That's… the other thing," Angel said. "The vampires have been… selling the Doctor's blood."
"It's a luxury item," Joanna agreed. "High priced. But there's no way a vampire's going to say no to invulnerability-without-risks. Everyone's been drinking it. All over the world."
"Creating a global army," Buffy realized. "Of completely indestructible vampires. We humans won't realize it's there until it's too late to stop them. And humanity falls."
"But… wait," said Willow, turning to Joanna and Angel. "You guys said that the effects of the blood were cumulative. The vampires that were around the Doctor at the beginning would be way stronger, smarter, and quicker than all the others. And if I were a vampire, intelligent enough to infiltrate UNIT and Torchwood, who'd already wiped out Giles' coven and was currently amassing an army to wipe out the human race, the one place I'd put my strongest people would be…"
"Around the Slayer Institution," said Buffy. She glanced over at Willow. "He's in Cleveland. Right where we…" She stopped, and frowned, her face bent into sudden concentration. "Hang on."
"What?" asked Willow. "You think he's somewhere else?"
Buffy shook her head. "Not that," she said. "I'm just thinking… if the Doctor's been on our doorstep for a month and a half, being used as a weapon to wipe out the human race…" She glanced up at the others. "What's he