Into the Fire

by Daystar Searcher [Reviews - 6]

  • Teen
  • None
  • Angst, Introspection, Vignette

Author's Notes:
Warnings: Implied major character death/torture

Notes: I'm not familiar with the audios, so this will probably have zero continuity with them. Doctor Who is the property of the BBC. Written for Dark-Fest 2012.

She is a warrior of the Sevateem, and she will show no fear.

The Daleks are filled with fury, screeching like thwarted birds of prey above her, and this means that she and the Doctor have won. She will hold this as a fire in her heart.

(“You do not have to convince me, Doctor. I have seen the madness in Rassilon’s eyes. I have scented it in his smiles. He holds as much danger as the Daleks, and he blinds the Time Lords with his words and dreams of glory.”

“I almost wish I did have to convince you.”

Once, long ago, the ‘almost’ would not have been there. This is what she wanted to protect him from, more than any monster. Her Doctor was never meant to be a soldier.)

They have chained her to the prow of her ship, a battered but worthy craft that Andred had given her long ago. It has survived many battles that the newer, more elaborate time-ships manufactured by the order of Rassilon have not, and now she and it will face the last and eternal sunrise.

Old warriors both, and proud.

Flames bloom on the horizon, and the cowardly Daleks flee.

They cannot escape, but they will make sure she is the first to suffer for her actions.

And they will watch.

This is the starting point, the place where she planted the relay device. The Daleks had destroyed it, but too late. The war is sealed away from the rest of the universe forever, and Time will come to where she called it.

The Doctor had called this place many words designed to dress it up and confuse her, but Leela has spent too many years among Time Lords to be ignorant any longer, and she has never been a fool. This place is where the flint must spark, and the tinder catch, and the fire-maker be burned alive for the heresy of slaying gods and demons.

(“Are you sure, Leela? Are you absolutely, completely sure? Because–”

“Have you known me ever to be unsure, Doctor?”

A smile, like the last dying ray of sun. Like a lost, confused thing wandering through the woods. “Never, savage. Not once.”)

The scent of Time catches in her nostrils, carried to her on the wind, and for one instant she is young and old and all the thousands of people she could have been but was not, in all the lives she did not lead.

And then she is herself, and the smoke of burning years and moments makes her eyes water as the flames advance.

She cast aside the false gods of her people long ago, and even Gallifreyans do not believe in their own deities. So she presses her hands against the scarred metal of her ship and thinks the names of who she does believe in. Father. Tomas. Doctor. K-9. Andred. Rodan. Romana. Susan.

All dead, or soon to be forever dying.

(It was not right, what they did to the dissenters. Rodan, wearing her fingers to the bone fusing coil components together in her cell, trying to prove herself worthy of their trust. Susan, her bright and ever-young eyes turned to stone. Romana, caught in a crystal of Time and forgotten, left to gather dust.

And the outsiders, the nomads of the desert, who came to defend the Capitol but never exchanged their animal skins for robes and never bowed before the Lord President…they disappeared one by one, winked out like stars. They had been brave, and beautiful, and true.

It was not right, no matter what Rassilon said in all his pretty speeches.

“Tell me what must be done, Doctor.”)

The flames of Time lick up the side of the ship, and Leela hears the past whispering in her bones: they say the Evil One eats babies. She left Gallifrey with the Doctor and never stopped running. She never ran into the TARDIS. She died from the poison of the Janus thorn.

She grits her teeth. “I do not believe your lies,” she shouts into the fire, and it pauses, hovering over her, as if confused. Its flames form the eyes and mouths and of the fallen, stretching and gaping and leering.

“Well?” she demands. Her heart is pounding like the drums of her people; it beats thrice every second and once every century. “Do you not see your enemy before you? Slay me, then, if you can find any courage in your heart! I have made my choice, and I will not give you my fear!”

Leela spits in the face of Time, and then it is upon her.