Title: Small Sacrifices
Author: B.H. Ramsay
Disclaimer: Characters appearing here belong to Mutant Enemy or The BBC
Rating : G
Spoilers: Season five
Summary: Being an examination of the high costs of fixing mistakes.
Dedication: To the Shrine of Heroes, everyone at Xanderzone, Crossover Connection & Buffy Crossovers
Authors Note: because of some of the mail I got on this one I thought an explanations was in order but how to explain complex thoughts about time travel in a way that’s fun, and interesting…. Enter my never ending love of Dr, Who
Giles was cataloguing in the magic shop when the shop door opened with a jingle. Turning he saw a young and attractive woman with dark hair and a bright and pretty smile.
"Hello young lady how can we help you today," he asked hardly needing to fake the charm she inspired in him.
"Sarah Jane Smith, I was hoping you could help me with a some information."
Giles smile didn’t waver but he cursed mentally The name Sarah Jane Smith was known in all the wrong circles. Her stories were well written enough and well reasserted enough that when she on occasion tuned her attention to the odd and fantastic people made note…people that Giles really didn’t need looking into his affairs. "I'm just a humble shopkeeper happy to hear the Queen's English after so long abroad. I'll do what I can."
"I was hoping to find some friends of yours Xander Harris and Willow Rosenberg did you know where they might be. "
"Xander and Willow. ahh yes I'm not sure I .."
"You might recall they used to attend classes at Sunnydale High School the yearbook from the year the school exploded has a picture of you standing with them."
Giles cursed again, openly this time.
"I assume my name is not unknown to you. "
"Indeed it is well known Ms Smith. Might I ask Why you want to interview them?"
I don't really want to interview them Mr. Giles I'm doing leg work for a friend he felt it might go better if I approached you."
"This friend, does he have a name "
"Not one that you would know but he did mention that in light of the favour he did you in that Pub in Brixton …Back-In-The-Day …you might want to overlook your misgivings."
Giles paled, he had heard rumours that Sarah Jane Smith knew …HIM…indeed Giles secretly dreaded hearing that wheezing and groaning sound of HIS machine every day he had been at Sunnydale High.
Giles went to a pad and paper and wrote down the times for a movie fest going on in town. He handed the scrap to Sarah. "Please tell him that I would appreciate if there is still a town standing when he is done."
Sarah smiled "He always leaves things better then he found them. Rupert."
"And if they aren't he just blips back like he was backing a lorry up a street and meddles some more."
Sarah retreated to the door. "You know Rupert if he really was as bad as you seem to think. He could have fixed it so you would be better disposed toward him. He respected you enough to let you have your feelings. "
"Time changes people Ms. Smith. Either he has grown more charitable with age or else he has yet to become the man I encountered." Giles said turning his back. The jingling of the door opening and closing allowed him to let out the breath he hadn't noticed he was holding.
Sarah left the shop and headed across the street. Her destination was a blue painted store with a sign on the front that said the Metropolitan Police Department owned the store. Using a key she opened the front door and as she did so pulled off the Sarah mask. Bernice Summerfield hated disguises but the Doctor had been very clear, he wanted this mission as clandestine as possible.
The Doctor's pacing abruptly changed to nervous foot tapping. "Well, what did he have to say."
"He seems scared of you."
"Our first meeting was under not the best circumstances."
I've seen you screw around with things before why not blip back and make him like you."
"Because I need him afraid Benny, You never know when a bit of healthy fear will tip the scales in your favour." The Doctor took the scrap of paper from her and began setting the TARDIS controls.
"You know, you have not explained why you are doing this favour. As near as I can tell this Anna has screwed up the world a treat already why give her the means to really mess things up"
"Because like all the worst monsters she has a really good justification for her crimes. Benny one day you will realize that sometimes the simplest solution is often the best one, not always, but sometimes. "
"And you think letting her do this …thing will…"
"Allow her closure … you saw the world she came from. The devastation she created. The lives lost trying to stop her. Willow made me promise that I try not to hurt Anna and for Willow's sake I have to keep my word. She thinks changing one little thing will make things better and I can't say that she's entirely wrong."
"So you're thinking?"
"Better to give her a simple target, turn her loose and let her do what she wants to."
"And the fact that it will remove her from space time … You know if I didn’t know better I would say you found a sleazy way of getting out of your promise to Willow."
I'm just altering a key circumstance and I'm not doing it, Anna is. There is every reason to believe that she will survive." The Doctor replied evasively
"But not like we remember her, Of course if this doesn't work you could always … How did Rupert put it , back up a bit and meddle some more."
"I don’t think he was intending that as a compliment to my character. as for her being different, is that really such a bad thing." He hushed her to silence as he guided the TARDIS to pre-arranged co-ordinates in space/time. Instead of landing, he only dropped the screens that protected the TARDIS.
A reddish glow filled the control room floor and from the light stepped an attractive girl. She looked young but that along with her frail appearance was one of her demonically effective illusions.
"You have what I want Time Lord." Anne asked, her voice echoed with age and power.
"I said I would come through and I have, Be at this precise place and time. Stop Xander from crossing the street at that precise moment. I guarantee you everything you blame for life as you know it will change."
You can't fool me Time Lord, your reputation precedes you, plots within plots, intrigues mutating and evolving. Puppet Master in your own mind."
"Guilty as charged, now are you going to help. I only agreed to this because you agreed to free the people you enslaved."
She closed her eyes a moment." It is done, I never wanted slaves in the first place but they resisted me, interrupted my research."
"An abused populace will do that. Now whatever you do don't make waves just stop him from crossing the street but don’t speak to him or her."
"What of the other, he is the true author of my despair."
The Doctor had thought about this question a lot "Don’t leave any traces whatever you do and don't mention my help…to anyone."
Anne grinned in a fashion that Benny found a bit frightening. Anne vanished and the red light surrounding her faded.
"Are you sure you did the right thing." Bernice muttered looking at the space where the mad girl had been standing.
"I did what was best for Anne. " the Doctor said raising the screens and setting a new course for the TARDIS
"And you don’t feel a bit bad about delivering some poor soul to his doom at her hands or setting her up to destroy herself
"Those are the small sacrifices we make on the way to a better world Benny." The Doctor said tiredly
*** Movie Night ***
Saturday night in Sunnydale, Xander and Willow were taking some well-deserved friend time. Buffy had optioned out. The Movie was a Terminator Double feature and Xander was still gushing over the relative merits of both classics. Willow was less enthused.
"All I'm saying is that it doesn’t seem likely." Willow supplied hesitantly
"It’s a classic, Willis " Xander was still in genre fan-boy mode
"I know that it's just… traveling back in time just to kill one person. " Willow asked pointedly
Xander could not believe she had seen the same classic flick as him. "Not just a person…"
"The person who changed the face of the war, I know you mentioned. " Willow soothed
"Yes I did " Xander relaxed, his fan boy territory defended
"I just think you would have to be pretty desperate to win that way " Willow sighed
"Desperate or crazy like a fox." Xander winked knowingly
They made for the corner. As they got, close the street. Xander was tripped and fell. Willow stopped and picked him up. He shot the person who had tripped him an annoyed look as the figure vanished into the evening crowd. Unnoticed by the pair of them, a dark car sped by and turned the corner.
"That guy me tripped on purpose."
"Yeah cause people do that kind of thing. They probably didn’t even see you."
"Everyone sees me, I am the master of my domain."
"King Of the County."
They traded Seinfeld lines for the rest of the walk home. Finally arriving at Willow's where they chatted and watched videos for the rest of the night.
Outside of the house a woman stood in the shadows she held a glowing jewel in her hands and smiled. The jewel glowed brighter for a moment and an elderly face appeared in it
"Anne where are you."
"You know where I am Mother."
"You defied me."
"Someone had to do something."
"You have no idea what will happen, what could happen. For all that you know, you'll doom us all "
"Or I'll make it a better world, a better place " she insisted defiantly
"But you might fade away, vanish completely " there was steel in the voice that the woman had not heard in a long time. More then ever she knew she had done the right thing.
"It’s a small price to pay, I owed him this. I owe you this. What he gave up for me, for all of us after everything that happened.."
New tears fell from elderly eyes seeming to shimmer and sparkle in the glow from the jewel "how did you even know the right place to strike."
"The Story about the film; it gave me a starting place. The rest was just pure luck."
"My god, How did … what were they like. "
"Happy, happy I almost didn’t recognize them they were happy and enjoying themselves."
It was a long time ago, There were not as many memories, as much darkness. But what of you my child?"
"You always said I had a destiny, if that’s so I'll come back maybe things will be different this time, better."
Soon there was no glow to brighten the night no jewel to cast it, no girl with a broken heart to hold it and no elderly eyes to shed the tears that broke that heart.
The night was empty but it was a good empty as if the darkness promised bring something better when the sun rose.
*** Many Afternoons later ***
A young girl played in the sun. Her hair catching the colours of a bright sun and reflecting it. On a park bench, a middle age woman and her companion sat watching her play.
"You broke your promise you know." Anne smiled sadly
The Doctor picked at lint on his velvet green coat and glanced around. "Well, finding Alexandra decent ice cream at this hour is hard."
She pulled out a stone from her purse it glowed faintly a seething reddish glow. "A Memory Stone." Anna responded to the question she knew he would not ask. "Implant your memories in it and they stay safe regardless of circumstances."
"A handy thing, I have something similar on the TARDIS. Actually the whole TARDIS can do that."
"I have no idea how or why, but when the time stream altered, the memories I placed into he stone were preserved, a record of what was.'
"What might have been, what should have been, what is. Toss it away my dear, a memento of times best forgotten."
"But you remember, you remember things as they were."
"I'm a time lord, you would be surprised how often that explanation takes care of things."
"And when it doesn’t "
"I'm The Doctor, that usually settles the rest of it."
"She was … I was … a monster."
"She was a destroyer, You are a healer, She cared for nothing except her obsessive search for vengeance and closure. You are a very good Mother. "
"She did terrible things, I've seen the bodies, the fortresses, the camps … everything…all in pursuit of a dream, the undoing of a capricious crime of passion. "
"She was in love, her lover warped her mind. Xander tried to stop what he knew was coming. She struck him down. She went mad. Willow tried to save her but She became obsessed She followed pathways of probability forward and backward.. She became convinced that by changing a single event in the past before she was even born. Things would be different."
"So you just decided your way was best. "
"The street accident was a minor thing, almost meaningless in the scheme of things I just used Her belief in the importance of the accident to focus her. The man she killed that night was related to her lover and had his own sins that I felt needed to be atoned for."
"What about your promise."
"I kept my word I did not destroy Anna. Anna is here beside me. Healer, Mother, respected in a world that respects her. A happy conclusion, nes't pas , anything else that happened … well those are the things one learns to live with. "
"The price of being time's champion."
"A period of my life I'd just as soon not think of again."
"How do you live with what you know. I could not do that. Live with the knowledge of lives, cites, civilizations entirely destroyed just to change one little thing."
"I just remember that it could have been worse if I had not acted."
"She was a beautiful girl." The woman sighed wistfully
"She is a beautiful girl, a beautiful girl that will be needing an Ice Cream and soon I imagine."
"Her power was frightening. Pure and dark, she was her mother's child all right. Embodiment of everything Willow feared she might become one day.."
"She was a troubled young lady and has my pity. You on the other hand, you should let this terrible thing go. In the end, she gave her life so that you could live. The Anna I remember would envy your life. You are healthy and happy and as far as I'm concerned, there is nothing to fear or hate in your world." The Doctor held out his hand "Give me the burden, Anna. I'm much more experienced at carrying it then you know."
Anna thought about it, and then dropped the stone in his palm
"I once asked Uncle Rupert why he feared you, he said that it was because "you are totally ruthless in the application of good."
"Some would say that was good thing." The Doctor smiled
"No one but you knows just how far you have gone to make the universe a better place."
She looked at him at last and saw cold and shining blue eyes "The reverse is also true no one but me knows what my crusade has cost me."
The young girl finished swinging and came over to the twosome. "Mommy, Want Ice Cream "
"Well honey we don't have any now."
"But I seem to recall the friendly staff at Harris Family Ice Cream have a number of really good flavors, each more mouth watering then the last, shall we try our luck?"
The girl clapped excitedly and ran ahead of them.
"She really is beautiful, and happy."
"Will I be forgiven?" The Doctor asked placing the stone in his pocket.
"Ask me after I've had a few Rocky Roads " Anna said resolvedly "After that, I think a memory erasure spell is in order. I still do them better then mother you know."