The Old One could sense the circling ring of beautiful winged bodies around him, stacked with such seeming haphazard as though the 26 Chronovores they belonged to were artifacts in his personal reliquary. There were familiar footsteps circling, too. But soon they would stop, dig into the grass, and one’s set of fingers would aim a crude projectile in his direction. Every venture the little ones could or could not go through with would be utterly pointless. It all was. All was meaningless, before him, behind him, beside him. Everything waned. And he was no exception. But none of that mattered now. Soon his gaze was pooling slowly along the ring of flesh the bodies had made, eyes skirting to the metal disks embedded in each one’s neck. They were, of course, 26 Anti-Time collectors disguised as old German currency and hidden on the one planet that was close enough to the TimeStation to do the cosmos real damage. Once they had collected enough, the tiny devices were designed to transmute a pre-determined number of people with the correct genetic markers into ‘altered’, ‘tamed’ ‘controllable’ Chronovores, making use of the Anti-Time to facilitate conversion. Like control collars. Still, the tooling on the gleaming faces truly was magnificent, a testament to the workmanship of early pre-Dalekian Skaro. Skaro, of course, had long been a fragment of the universal memory. Absently he found himself wondering why in the universe a Skaroan of that time period would have bothered to make such a thing. But that was neither here nor there, and the answer was unimportant, for the moment. And the barely-conscious things had been just as feral as always. So much for the mad Gallifreyan’s ambitions. Then again, even though his decisive little battle with the man had resulted in that man’s absorption and the coins’ activation, there had been one more coin. The coin he’d been thumbing in the warehouse, before he’d set free the two Solians dangling from the high-set bones of the place like freshly strung bovine slabs. What had been the reason? He’d still been awakening, perhaps that... no. He knew better, though still unused to the need for such knowing. He had indeed changed, in the countless little years of sleep he had endured. Even so, an involuntary blink along with a shiver or two still took him. He found it refreshing. His eyes felt hot, and then he remembered. It was normal for the eyes of those still fleshbound to fill with water, to leak onto one’s cheek their dewy let, to dribble from the chin as still more tears followed dumbly after, like a march of rain drops. They just were.
The coin in his hand... it was the control piece, the Master key, of sorts. The failsafe. Suddenly he became aware of the cooling thick fluid that was flowing around him, staining most of the pier in brilliant blackish red and covering his feet to his ankles as it slowly congealed. And he remembered why it was there. With a sigh, he noted the fresh flow of molten tears down his face - his eyes were puffing, now- so again, for the last time, he pressed his fingers to his chest and pushed inward, through layer after layer of writhing, breathing flesh.
A lump of throbbing, deep red muscle, dripping and groaning with hard life, came out with a rush when he brought his hand out, his fingers curved around its entire mass as he plopped them from between his chest cavity with a wet smacking sound reminiscent of... was it kissing? Yes, it was. Kissing. A smile touched his lips.
“Agh. Only... this one more to go, and then, you’ll all... have your minds again. This will be... my last gift to the Earth, just-” he paused, clutching his chest and smiling as more blood rained down from his lips and joined the quick, rushing flood from his heaving chest, “... just... this little bit... of freedom... ”
With that, he flung this new heart after the many others he had carefully pitched onto the coins embedded in the Chronovores’ necks, and they flinched as one, shrinking until they were mere mortal humans again. Heart blood from a descendant of the Other had been the only way to break the genetic lock, because the locking mechanism had been created on pre-Rassilon era Gallifrey.
He laughed. So Koschei had gotten his way after all. Theta Sigma was dead, if not in the way his mad friend had envisioned. Then, before his inner throat and sinuses could gather themselves for a snort of amusement, he heard the warm, familiar whirring of the Ship as it materialized somewhere very near to his current point of reference. So he turned around, smack into Jack Harkness and three wide sets of rainbow brown eyes that glittered in the bright sun. The captain held their children in his arms, all three staring up at him as if set to brush long ago in an old, faded portraiture.
“Honey... ” Jack Harkness said softly, holding the triplets out to their -mother- with no hint of a grin as Ianto Jones came out of The Ship to stand close by, “... I’m home.”