Death stared down the hall, unsure of herself. She had been told to be there at exactly the right time, when that would be precisely she didn’t know, but she had a hunch. Her little informant down in Tarinii had tipped her to when he would be ready, when he would make his break from home and finally start on his path to the All Coming.
The newly positioned blond brushed a stray strand of hair from her face, pushing it behind her delicate ears. She hoped she wouldn’t have to wait a great deal of time for his arrival. He was an important being, but she did have others to keep after; especially after finding out she had assistants. Death had not been aware of them when her mentor was in charge.
Death walked down the hall and opened the door at the far end. There was no light inside, only darkness and space, but Death could see perfectly well. Here in her home, the house she dwelled in, she would meet those she was to keep watch over; that is to say, she would pass through her house to where she would meet them, through dimension portals.
She walked into the darkness and closed the door, she heard the click of the tumbler inside the door as it fit into place. Once inside, the room brightened and she stood on a bridge looking out over Cardiff Bay. The sea breeze was salty with a tinge of rain and fried ozone; a storm was likely to have just passed the town.
“’Ello there. Didn’t expect to see you here. Alright, that isn’t true, I did, but I didn’t expect you to just pop up out of nowhere. Not right that is, not right at all.”
Death turned towards the voice. A young man, maybe 16 or 17 years old in Earth time, stood leaning against the wooden railing, arms crossed over his chest. In her minds eye, Death could see the ship that he traveled in, what would later in his timeline come to be called a TARDIS, Time and Relative Dimension in Space. At the current it stood the shape of a red phone booth, though Death knew it wouldn’t stay that way. How she knew that, Death didn’t know or understand. It must have been part of her abilities as being Death.
She nodded with a smile to the young man and extended her hand in greeting. “Hello, young sir. I’m Death.”
He gave a cheeky grin and shook her hand. “I’m the Doctor. Pleasure to meet you. How may I be of service to you Death? I doubt this is a social call, though tea is always nice to have. Maybe some fish and chips. I’ve become fond of them very much.”
“No, this isn’t a social call, I’m afraid. It would be nice if it was, but sadly, I don’t get to have many of them because of my work.”
“Alright, then. You aren’t here to take me off yet. That I know, but what is it you need of me? I’ve already spoken with your sister Destiny, she told me you would be meeting me soon but she wouldn’t elaborate on why or when exactly. Had to figure out the when on my own, bit tricky, but my ship did quite well with helping me out on that.”
Death watched him run a hand through his rumpled brown hair. He had a charming look about him. Something about the way he spoke, the way he enunciated each syllable; she no longer wondered why he was so special. Death could see into his timeline, the trials and tests he would undergo, she saw him as the Higher saw him, but more so she saw him as the All and Everything. Kani was right when she said everything hinged on him, and Death understood why now, though she would never tell a soul, not if she could help it.
“I just thought a meeting was in order. My sister told me it would be a good idea. Something about fates intertwined and destinies untold. Besides, wouldn’t you want to meet Death, the REAL Death, and it not be your time?”
He chuckled. “Sure, sure. Good plan it is. So then, this is more of a social call than work and we can have tea! Come, there is this quaint little diner along the way to my ship. We can natter on a bit about ourselves and let the Gods be done for the time. Come then!”
The Doctor wrapped his arm around Deaths and led her down the bridge with a grin. She raised an eyebrow towards him as they walked. He was quite the character, not at all what she was expecting. She thought he would be more of a quiet, reserved, watchful man than a fast talking brazen boy; but she thought he was decent enough from the few moments speaking with him already.
The two reached the tiny diner with in a few minutes. Death listened as the Doctor prattled on about the adventures that he intended on having; traveling to far off worlds and times, learning about different people and ways of life; but the one thing he wanted to do more then anything, something he always knew he wanted to do, was help people. Death smiled as she listened to the tales of civilizations that he had heard about and wanted to visit to help. She listened to him when he spoke of this planet called Skaro that needed help, desperately, and he was going to help them, if it was the last thing he did.
The two sat at a booth in the diner, the Doctor spoke in rapt detail. The two ordered tea, the Doctor insisted on having a plate of fish and chips, while Death ate nothing. She wasn’t hungry, nor in the mood for earth food. She listened intently, enjoying his company. He told of his family, his brother more importantly; of his friends and schoolmates.
“Yes, my best mate was Koschei. He and I got on well. Alright, not well, but well enough. We had our spouts, sure, but well enough, I think. Not many others liked him much, though he got the good grades at the Academy, still does, I think. I’ve never been one for grades, always rather be off having a bit of fun. Though fun usually turns into some sort of trouble, but I get out of it. Schei never could, always had to have me help get him out of trouble.”
Death sipped her tea. He was so versatile for being so young a being; old soul, young in this life. He had so much to say, and so quickly. Several times she had to stop him to repeat what he said. Several more times she had to ask him to slow down. She laughed when the Doctor told of when Koschei and he had nearly destroyed the physics and antimatter corridors at the Academy. Both nearly got caught, but thanks to the Doctors quick thinking the two managed to avoid a ‘sound scolding’, as the Doctor put it.
“Now then, I think I’ve talked enough here. Tell me about yourself. I’m sure Death has all sorts of interesting tales to tell.”
Death was taken aback when the Doctor quickly changed the conversation to her. She blinked several times before she spoke. “Well, Doctor, I don’t know. I’ve only just taken this position. You’re the first being that I’ve gotten the chance to meet, officially as Death, I mean.”
The Doctor raised an eyebrow to her and smiled. “Really, now? I’m Honored. To think, me, the Doctor, being given the chance to meet you as your first charge. That’s fantastic! So, yes, even though you are new to the calling, you aught to still have tales to tell. So please, by all means, do tell.”
Death smiled meekly. “Alright. Let's see. I’ve only just taken the position as Death. I met my new Kin yesterday. I don’t think it went well, but I half expected as much. I’m originally from Earth, North America, actually.”
The Doctor listened to her chatter on nervously about her past, what little she could remember of it. Death had only been slightly more than 20 years old when she died and took the position of Death, so her stories were few and far between. The Doctor sympathized with her as she told him what she remembered about how she died and confusion that followed. Death wrinkled her nose as she finished speaking. She hadn’t spoken nearly as much as he had, nor had so much to say. Though she thought that the Doctor had spoken a good deal, but not actually said a thing. Inwardly, she shook her head.
“Well, isn’t so bad, then? You’ve been given a new life, a new chance on things. You’ll be making a difference.”
Death raised an eyebrow to him. Did he know something she didn’t? Something he shouldn’t? “The differences I make are in the lives of the loved ones of the people I take. Not so much the lives of those I take.”
“No, I think you are wrong. You haven’t taken me. And I think you have made an impression on me. A change even.”
The Doctor gave a cheeky grin again, a knowing smile. It unnerved Death, but she kept with the conversation and hoped that her unease didn’t show through. “Well, Doctor, I don’t know what change I could have instilled in your timeline, but I hope it is a good one.”
The sun began to set through the windows. The sky’s colors changed from blues to reds to deep purples. The pair both turned to watch as the sun reflected in the water. She turned back to the Doctor and noticed his expression had changed. He looked somber and sad, lost in thought.
“Something on your mind, Doctor?”
He turned to her, then back to look through the window, then back to her once more. “Nothing much. I met a nice girl upon leaving the Academy. She wasn’t there, no, couldn’t be, she’s human. But I haven’t been able to get her out of my mind since then. I doubt I’ll see her again, not any time soon, at least. I have far too much work to be on with.”
“Maybe you will again. You never know. You travel through time, but you don’t see the future, Doctor. Have hope that one day you will.”
Death smiled softly. She knew the girl he spoke of; she would meet her soon. Death also knew that he would meet her again, but he wouldn’t remember that it was her that he had met just after leaving school.
“I guess we should say our fair wells, then. You and I both have work to be on with.”
“Yes. I agree. It was nice meeting you, Death. I hope we meet again, but not for you coming at my end.”
Death chuckled and nodded. “Don’t worry, Doctor, I will visit you again, but not at your end. Good luck to you. I hope you have fun in your adventures.”
The two stood and departed from the diner. The sun was nearly completely sunken below the horizon and the sky was a myriad shades of reds and purples. Death hugged the Doctor as though he were an old friend. Tall and lanky, she felt as though she might crush him in her embrace, but he had a strength about him that few others would find in him.
She watched the Doctor walk towards his ship, the red phone box and then heard the whaling sound that the ship emitted as it began its departure.