Necessary Evils, Chapter 10

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WARNING:

Triggers for physical/sexual abuse.


Chapter Ten: When Angels Die

I heard the TARDIS door open down the corridor. We’re in.

Closing my eyes, and reopening them, I watched the Master through her eyes. He released her, shutting the door, and she ran toward the left corridor. She turned the corner and peeked around it, but the Master just shook his head and grinned at her.

She turned and saw the angel, gasping.

Get behind it, I instructed. She obeyed. Rose, I need you to do something for me.

I can read your thoughts, Doctor. I won’t let you do this.

There’s little choice left.

Doctor, it’s not just to save yourself from the guilt—it’s to save the universe and all of space and time. You cannot kill the Master. Not here. Not now. Not ever.

But I can kill this scrap of myself that has harmed you, can’t I? He has no fixed points beyond this.

Doctor. Don’t, she warned.

Rose, don’t watch any of this. I closed my eyes and reopened them again, ignoring her barrage of unceasing arguments. TARDIS, the lights.

The lights went out in the ship and I felt the breeze caress my hair as swift unseen creatures moved around us. My duplicate screamed, but then panted in relief. “What?”

“TARDIS, LIGHTS!” I commanded, the lights immediately returning.

The angels pinned my duplicate against the wall and blood streamed down his neck. I moved closer to him, examining the wound. “Huh…”

“What’s got you so fascinated, Doctor?” my duplicate sneered.

I smiled amiably at him. “You’ve been bitten by an angel,” I informed him.

“No,” he murmured, eyes widening. He began to struggle. “No! I cahhhn—!” He coughed and I thanked the universe that minor muscles, such as vocal chords, were the first to go in the process.

“What’s going to happen?” Rose asked.

I smiled at her, then turned back to my duplicate. “He’s going to become a weeping angel.” As we watched, his fingers stiffened and became stone. I grimaced, despite myself. “You’ll spend the rest of your existence with a single purpose—to feed. This is a great act of gratitude, angels,” I  told them, placing a hand on one statue whose mouth was smeared with blood. “To take this burden from me, and give him a fate to fit his crimes. I could never think of such a fairness in my anger.”

Sighing heavily, I turned with a strained smile at my group of companions. “Let’s not waste their thank you, then. Let’s sort this spacetime mess.”

I started walking past Rose down the corridor when she moved in the opposite direction, toward John. She grabbed a hank of his hair and slammed his face into the wall as hard as she could. She repeated the action. Several times.

“Rose!” I grabbed her and pulled her off of him. I saw tears streaming down her cheeks. I noticed a dark bruise on the side of her neck.

It was my Rose. The Rose after Bad Wolf, the one left behind with John in that parallel universe…

I wrapped her in my arms, holding her tight. It’s okay now, I sent, kissing the top of her head. He can never hurt you again.

“The four of you,” I said over her head to the four angels that pinned the still transitioning John to the wall. “Please hold your places there. I want to send him somewhere that he will not be able to escape.”

I turned with Rose held tightly against my side, squeezing past the others in the densely populated corridor.

“Is it just me, or are there less angels in here than before the lights went out?” Jack asked, staring at the covered faces of the statues we passed.

“Clever as always,” I acknowledged, entering the control room.

“Oh,” Jack said, crossing his arms with an appreciative smirk.

At the control panel, an angel gripped the Master tightly in its arms, a hologram of myself standing outside a glass cylindrical device that contained the two of them. Smoke still teemed behind the glass, knocking out the Time Lord.

“The intruder,” he told me, flickering slightly as he grinned, “has been contained. Nice to see me making friends, Doctor.”

I grinned back, moving to the control panel. “Angels are watching over us today, boys and girls,” I laughed, twisting knobs here and there.

“Couldn’t resist the bad joke, could you?” my hologram chided.

I stared at him, narrowing my eyes. “Don’t you have other TARDIS things to do?”

He flickered out of existence with a light chuckle.

I stopped turning knobs, deflating.

Doctor? Rose rested her hand atop mine. “What’s wrong?” she asked aloud.

“Time is wrong,” I muttered, running my tongue against the backsides of my teeth. “I don’t know how we’re going to maneuver the TARDIS when literally every road is closed.”

The lights flickered and River squealed. We turned to her to see an angel grasping her shoulders. She breathed deeply, gulping, but calmed herself. “No need to be so pushy,” she grumbled ill-temperedly. “They say that some of them are willing to use their stored sources to create an opening for the TARDIS.”

I shook my head, stepping away from the controls. “No, there has to be another way. I’m not having them sacrifice themselves for—”

“—the entire universe?” Amy said softly, coming forward.

River reached up and touched the angels hand, a sad look in her eyes. “They’re just as stubborn as you, Doctor.” She sent me an apologetic look. “They’re sending the energy directly to the core of the TARDIS right now. Don’t let it go to waste.”

The lights flickered again and the angels formed a series of circles around the control panel, looking up at the bright blue cylinder and joining hands. “Please,” I begged them, visiting several statues individually. “We can find another way! JUST WAIT!”

“They’re saying thank you,” River said, resting her hand on two of the statues shoulders.

Orbs of light shot from each of the statues, colliding with the column of blue light and starting the engines. With a cry of outrage, I lurched for the control panel and began inputting coordinates, pulling the lever and initiating the engines.

The TARDIS rumbled and began to toss in time and space, the statues crumbling to dust as we took off.

It’s not your fault, Rose murmured, gripping the bar beside me as the vessel spun.

Everyone willingly sacrifices themselves around me.

Because they believe in you, Rose returned forcefully, releasing one hand to grip over mine.

I met her eye. That belief gets people killed.

That’s not why you’re upset, she countered. You aren’t upset that people believe in you. You’re upset because you think they don’t believe in you.

I frowned at her. What?

When they sacrifice themselves to help you, she said gently, you take it as a failure on your part. You let them down. They didn’t have faith in you that you could fix everything.

Rose…

Doctor, she whispered, meeting my eye steadily. You don’t have to fix everything on your own. Nobody wants you to fix it all on your own.

I am a Time Lord, I said, shaking my head. The TARDIS threw itself to the side, threatening to dislodge us, but we held on.

And we’re the little people, she said softly.

You are more important than that! You are all more important than—

Exactly, she whispered, earning a surprised look from me. We’re all important. We’re all responsible. You’d gladly sacrifice yourself for any of us, for the entire universe. We’re no different. You think it doesn’t kill us when you go off trying to be a martyr?

Rose, it is my responsibility alone to protect the—

But it’s not. It’s not anymore, Doctor. The TARDIS lurched again and she used the momentum to hook an arm around my waist, holding me close. She stared deeply into my eyes. We all have faith in you. The angels even have faith in you. What they did was to help their species survive, and to protect time. Just as you protect time. It wasn’t a slap in the face of your capabilities, so stop thinking that way.

The TARDIS landed, sending us sprawling on the ground. Rose landed atop me, groaning. “Where are we?”

“End of the universe,” I whispered, dragging Rose up to face me. I searched her eyes and she grinned, leaning in close and pecking me on the lips shyly.

I accepted the light show of affection, connected deeply enough with her mind to know this was all there could be for now. End of time and space or no, Rose still had her own internal battles to overcome.

“Guys?” Jack cut in awkwardly.

We sat up, each of us smoothing back our hair. “Right, hit the green button there.”

The cylinder that contained the master and angel raised up, lights flickering, and left the master laying crumpled on the ground.

“The red button next to it,” I prompted, standing upright.

The Master stirred just as the cylinder lowered completely over him. He raised to his feet, pounding on the glass.

I smirked, wiggling my fingers at him in farewell, and smashed my hand down on a yellow button. The Master was sucked upward in the vacuum, deposited outside in his rightful place and time. I inputted the coordinates for Earth and crossed my fingers.

“That’s it?” Jack asked, studying my profile.

“Yep. That’s it.”

“But what about the multiple paradoxes and—”

“He was too stressed out to think properly,” Rose informed him sheepishly, rubbing my shoulder.

“I wasn’t stressed,” I said cheekily. “I was just thinking more than normal.” I pulled the lever before she made any cocky remarks.

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