Doctor Who: Life with Theta

26

Wil watched Pendergast lower his firearm with no great bit of relief as the Doctor, or what may or may not have been left of him, finally turned to face the two other men. The one holding the three infants wore a grin like the Doctor’s, and she could tell whose babies they were just by looking at the two of them, standing there, doing nothing and avoiding each other’s gazes even as they looked each other up and down, scrying for differences in every motion, every muted cough, every sigh. Every half-eyed look turned slightly aside from what they both knew had brought them back together to stand where they were standing now.

Together. Strange word, that despite the edge of recklessness these two men possessed, it seemed to fit them perfectly, like a missing glove found under the bed. Wil could easily guess just how much soul-searching they’d done in their own company, judging from the lovely little triplets snuggled firmly against the Doctor’s near naked chest. He was giving suck to two, Jack bottle feeding the third. They would probably switch soon. It was truly amazing just how quickly the Doctor’s gaping chest wound had healed. That fantastic angel of a man had just ripped out his heart 26 times... 26! 26 times he had torn his leftmost heart -yes she had overheard that little tidbit too- from his chest and thrown the still-beating mass so carefully toward each Chronovore. In doing so, he had evidently released them from the coins she’d treasured enough to give away to him, the coins she had kept safe for what seemed like centuries, now. It was maddening even to attempt to conceive of what she had just witnessed. But there Wil stood, naked toes staining themselves without care in the wide pool of his blood. They were all standing in it, even Pendergast, in those expensive Italian loafers.

“Doctor!” Wil called out, waving a hand at the Time Lord as she leaped out into the open, standing crimson and fled over those stilling red waters.

She would have her answers now. Everything was not over! She had to know.

“Doctor! What about the-”

But as he turned, his golden eyes slid open like two rusted metal shutters and he gasped, nearly dropping one of his three babies as Jack stuck a hand out to catch the child. The Doctor whirled on her, spinning, his body swirling about in deadly chorus of up flung red drops so swiftly that the blood he had shed in his efforts became a wall, a wall through which his shaking hand frantically thrust, not reaching for her, not warning her, but beckoning.

Wil never saw the bullet as it struck her in the back, never saw the sniper perched atop the lighthouse near the entrance to the pier, sent by some third party to kill the girl with the coins and her entourage once they’d gathered in one place and taken care of things that need taking care of. Easy picking... She fell toward the ground in a slow haze, and feathers of red water sprang from the Doctor’s back in defiance of the strike. Red wings spiraling out to either side of him, the Lord of Time began to run to her. Then the 26 people asleep on the ground began to stir slightly, the coins floating up from their necks and into his hands as if summoned. Just as he reached her, arriving in a cloud of red that must have been his hair, his wings, his very essence that had poured out onto the pavement, she settled into his arms like a fold of cloth and he was gone with her into the light, in a blur of scarlet hues so dense and deep he could have still been bleeding, had the three men still standing on the pier not glimpsed his very hale departure with their own eyes. Had the girl’s gleaming body become somewhat smaller as he’d held her? They couldn’t be sure; besides the three men knew it didn’t matter now, as they each broke into a run after the sniper. Who he was, why he had done it, that didn’t matter.

The Doctor and the girl were gone.


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