disclaimer: The Doctor belongs to the BBC and Illyria is Joss's. I just had fun with them. Please R&R. Thanks.
“It must be terrible,” the Unity said. “made little more than weak flesh, powerless,” he whispered in Illyria’s ear. “cast adrift in a universe that passed you by.”
“I have power enough,” Illyria answered.
“Yes, the so-called power of choice,” the Unity chuckled. “How much choice do you really have with the Timelord? You prance around the universe taking care of his unfinished business, and he has an awful lot of that, doesn’t he? Maybe you’re just another piece of the puzzle he hasn’t solved yet. After all what is it they say, keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”
Illyria tilted her head considering the Unity’s words. “Bleat no more,” she said. “I care not for the ramblings of a mere echo.” The Unity just smiled a Not-Wesley smile.
“Death is an art,” the murderer was saying. “and like any other art it has many different mediums. Mine was more honest, more pure then yours, Doctor. Yet we are both murderers.”
“ I have done many things I am not proud of, but murder is not one of them.”
“No? Wherever you go, a trail of bodies follows, your one true companion. How many megalomaniacs lie six feet under, because they picked a fight with you? It is only a difference of M’s: method and motivation. But now you want to talk. I’m all aquiver with curiosity. Whatever could you want with little old me?”
The Doctor regarded him, as though grading a performance. He let the silence linger for a long tortuous moment. “I want information,” the Doctor said at length. “information…”
“You won’t get it,” the murderer said.
“Yes I will,” the Doctor said, resting his chin on the umbrella.
“What you going to do, torture me?” The murderer’s mouth curled into a mocking smile. The Doctor turned slightly to peer back at the table. The instruments of torture sat there innocently, perfectly arranged. Somehow in the dim light, they gleamed. The murderer’s smile faded.
“I was going to offer a trade, but if you prefer torture…” the Doctor trailed off meaningfully. The murderer shifted uncomfortably in his manacles.
“What can you trade with me?”
“Your life,” the Doctor answered.
“Careful Doctor, you’re going senile in your old age. I’m dead, remember. Last I checked, the dead aren’t exactly up and about.”
“No,” the Doctor agreed. “but it can be arranged.” He consulted his pocket watch, then looked up to meet the murderer’s eyes. “In one hour, this star is going to go supernova, and every planet, every moon, every piece of cosmic flotsam and jetsam in the system will be utterly annihilated.” The Doctor paused to let that sink in. “The Unity of the Conscience and every mind it contains will come to a final end. Give me the information I want, and I will save you, time tot’s honor.”
The murderer paused, but only for a moment. “What do you want to know?”
All the Doctor said was “The Wolf, the Ram, and the Hart,” but then, that was all he needed to say.
“Our world died,” the Unity said. “great asteroids came screaming from the sky and brought the plague upon their backs. Brutal agony gave way at last to death. More then merely physical, the plague ripped out our souls, and left our carcasses to fade into dust. That was how they Doctor found us. An old man then, he was too late to save us. Instead he carved out a small piece in the astral plane and brought us here. You understand, don’t you Illyria. Your world is lost too. Unlike us, you’ve been replaced by that crafty ape called…man,” the Unity seemed pleased that it had found the right word
“The world crawls with upstart bipeds, strutting with an arrogance only possible through their ignorance. I would have crushed them like vermin. What beautiful squealing they would have made. But it matters not. My world is long gone. It would have been best if had I remained in my eternal slumber but that choice was not mine.”
“Choices are illusions. We did not choose this end. If we had the power of choice, then my kind would not have been the victims of genocide."
Illyria cocked her head, suddenly curious. “What purpose did your death’s serve?”
“Our race had not yet developed space travel,” the Unity said. “nor come into contact with an alien race. We were a virgin species, a virgin sacrifice.” There was a familiar irony in the Unity’s borrowed voice. For a moment it sounded exactly like Wesley. “The power generated by the sacrifice of billions must have been enormous, but to what end, we can not tell.”
“Who performed this sacrifice?”
“You tell me, demon.”
Illyria paused for a moment to think. There were very few powers abroad in the universe who could orchestrate such destruction. In fact she could think of but one. “They broke me,” she said. “humiliated me, and caused me to feel…grief.” The word seemed distasteful in Illyria’s mouth. “In my time of greatness they cowered at my feet, all three of them.” Illyria’s eyes blazed with such a fury that the Unity had to look away.
“Thank you,” the Doctor said. “that was most helpful.” He got up and slowly walked back to the table.
“Wolfram and Hart is too strong. No one can beat them, not even for you.”
The Doctor turned and regarded the murderer. Beneath that cold poker face, the murderer could see a storm coming. It was something about the eyes. “Someone has to try,” the Doctor muttered. Then snatching up his lantern, he made his way to the stairs.
Suddenly frightened the murderer called out. “Doctor! What about me?”
The Doctor paused at the foot of the stairs but didn’t turn. In the gloom the murderer could only see a silhouette of the little man, outlined by the weak light from the lantern. “I can’t save you,” the Doctor said. “You’re already dead.”
The murderer could hear the clang of feet, as the Doctor climbed the steps. The light became fainter and fainter, as it disappeared up into the dark. “You promised,” the murderer cried. “You promised!” Nothing. There was only silence. The murderer sagged into his chains.
Then at last, as if from a long way away came the Doctor’s reply. “I lied,” he said, not gloating, not victorious, just matter-of-fact. “I lied.” There was a decisive bang and the cellar door slammed shut. The murderer was alone with the black, and the knowledge that it would be getting much brighter, very, very soon.
The Doctor sighed and returned his watch to his waistcoat. 15 minutes was cutting it close. “All right children,” he called. “playtime’s over.” Illyria turned away from…Wesley…no the Unity, and gazed at the Doctor imperiously.
“I know what came to pass,” she said ignoring the Doctor.
“See what happens, when you play nice with the other little girls and boys?”
Illyria glared. “What advantage did they gain from this sacrifice?”
“Power mostly,” the Doctor answered. ‘but now we really need to be going.”
“Why such urgency, Timelord?”
“Because our sun is about to explode,” the Unity said.
The Doctor’s face became suddenly apologetic. “I’m sorry,” he said. “There’s nothing I can do.”
“No,” the Unity agreed. “This was always to be our fate. We have been preparing for centuries.”
The Doctor tipped his hat. There was sorrow in his eyes. Then the world was gray again, and the Unity vanished into the shadows.
“Now what,” Illyria asked.
“Now we reenact an old tradition.”
“What would that be, Timelord?”
The Doctor reached over and grabbed her hand. “We run,” he answered, and they ran.
The Unity of the Conscience reached out and felt the Tardis disappear into the Vortex and was glad. The Wolf Ram and Hart were strong, but so were the Timelord and the Old One. Perhaps they would triumph. Time would tell. The Unity took a deep metaphorical breath and made its way through the myriad of individuals. Yes, they were ready. Time to relinquish the uncertainty of the shadows for the comfort of death. The Unity smiled a Not-Wesley smile, and then there was light.