|Dead Men Walking
Author: When Darkness Rises PM
Loki and the Doctor are presumed dead, and Loki intends on keeping it that way. The universe has different plans— like ending. (Sequel to In the Midst of Liars.)Rated: Fiction M - English - Adventure/Drama - 11th Doctor & Loki - Chapters: 12 - Words: 30,213 - Reviews: 32 - Favs: 32 - Follows: 50 - Updated: 04-01-13 - Published: 10-03-12 - id: 8578109
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: This is the sequel to In the Midst of Liars. More adventures and plot stuff. The Avengers and companions will make appearances down the line.
Dead Men Walking
The inevitable end
The days spent among friends
The strife between siblings
The light of the stars
Even time itself
Everything must come to an end
Chapter One: Passing Days
Precisely five days passed since the escape from Galik thanks to a certain God of Mischief's quick thinking and magic. The gloating hadn't stopped, even as he sipped a smoothie in a little café.
"As I recall, you used the terms 'dead men walking' and 'low profile,' my good Doctor. You did a marvelous job of doing the opposite of the latter. Who knows what would have happened if I hadn't stopped them from beheading you? Oh, yes, you would be wearing another skin."
They both knew where Loki would have been—facing whatever "Asgardian justice" pertained to.
The Doctor sipped his cup of tea, trying not to let the bitter taste trifle him, and filed through the Galactic Times newspaper. "Mm-hm. Which is why we're enjoying a quaint little meal on a quaint little planet in celebration of your valiant efforts." He raised his tea cup in vigor. "Hurrah," was the flat finish
Loki stirred the smoothie contents with his spoon, trying not to find the texture fascinating. "This planet and its food are dull."
Loki raised a manicured browed, ever since his departure from the cell, he had vainly kept up his appearance. It also gave him something to do in the infinite amount of time at their disposal.
"Truly?" he drawled. "This is your plan? To dull me to death in hopes that I will seek it?"
"Is it working?"
Loki shook his head, slashing the Doctor's cheeky hopeful grin.
"Not yet. I doubt my false-parents think me dead, given what I am the god of. Thanos is most likely tearing apart the universe to extract rightful vengeance. Why tempt my demise when I still find this life interesting?"
The Doctor grimaced and down the rest of his tea. "How is this interesting?" He winced at the after taste. "They can't even make decent tea!"
Loki rolled his eyes at his companion's antics. "I'm sure you can come up with something."
He confiscated the newspaper. The headline read: Galik Tech Broke Into—Nothing Stolen. At least something was going to plan. The stars and planets called to him. It was only a matter of time before he caved.
Loki shouldn't have been surprised that he found the Doctor in one of the TARDIS's libraries. In a corner was Loki's pile of books he had been reading—languages, folklore, and various fields of science. The man lounged innocently on a sofa chair, reading Gulliver's Travels.
"My room consists of only pillows," Loki stated blandly.
The Doctor idly flipped another page in his book, not paying the least bit attention to the god.
"Not only that, but they appear to be arranged in a fort of some kind. If this is a lackluster attempt to make me feel at home, Doctor, I—"
The Doctor nodded midrant, and set down his book "Because," he explained in a simple tone as if everything were completely obvious. Which it was, if anyone bothered to stop and think. "I figured you would need somewhere to hide. I was trying to be courteous."
"We're inside a time machine, which is perched on a moon orbiting Jupiter in the year 1610. Hide from what, pray tell?"
At that exact moment, the Doctor hopped up and sprang a water gun from betwixt the sofa cushions.
He needed more than that to surprise Loki. A simple incantation and delicate movement of the hand caused the water to solidify into ice. The now heavier gun drooped in the Doctor's hand.
"Tsk, tsk. You should know better than to mess with the God of Pranks."
"Well, aren't you a bucket full of delights?"
Loki adopted a feral stance, a wolfish grin on his cheeks. "Tis not I who requires shelter, my Doctor." Any icy green aura formed around Loki's hands. "Run."
The Doctor complied. Laughter trailed the hallways as the Doctor dodged frost missiles.
In the end, Loki won. The Doctor swore the TARDIS helped him cheat.
No air existed in space. No life forms, for they needed breath. Yet Loki strolled effortlessly on the rocky landscape of the moon. Previously, during the fall from Bifrost, he conjured magic to sustain himself as he drifted through nothing. This time, the Doctor extended an air bubble around the TARDIS.
The Doctor followed him out the door, logs balancing in his arms. He arranged them, and then Loki set the wood on fire.
Loki breathed, relaxing in that he needn't exert himself. Although months had passed since his departure from the cell, the drain on his magic remained. A part of his core felt hollow. Not that he admitted anything to the Doctor.
He lazed on a lawn chair, casting his gaze above him. His favorite childhood hobby returned, along with the memories the stars held. Recalling the day's earlier events, he chuckled. It seemed the Doctor truly brought out the child in him. A perplexity struck.
"This is not Jupiter's Callisto," Loki observed. "Judging from the stars and their placing, we are not in the Milky Way."
The Doctor stuck marshmallows on a prong. "Oh, we are. This is in the year 4029, after the Fifth Great Roman War."
"What was the expression you taught me? If I had a chain, you would be yanking it."
"Close, but no cigar."
"Never mind that." The Doctor put his marshmallow over the fire. "The war ended a few centuries ago. Rather peacefully, I might add. The absence and new appearance of stars stems from them dying out and being born. Stargazing is looking into the past, what we see has already occurred years ago."
"I am aware of the science. Do not think me to be one of those mortals you tugged about."
Somewhere in the vast abundance of stars, were people who sought them. Who wished them dead. The Doctor hadn't slipped the full story, but Loki knew it was why the Doctor left the mortals behind. Gods were far more durable.
"Right, right. As if the past five months hadn't made that fact abundantly clear. I almost had frostbite because of you."
The Trickster watched the Doctor going through the roasting process, apparently another Midgardian thing, and snorted when the white fluff conspicuously caught on fire. He tuned out the Doctor running amuck, trying to extinguish the growing flame. Instead, he concentrated on the stars.
"Everything comes to an end, you told me that before. How many years until all the lights in our sky vanquish?"
There were stomping and clanking noises followed by, "Ooh, about one hundred trillion years, give or take a few thousand. How is this fire still going? Loki!"
Loki rolled his eyes and let the fire dim out.
"What then? What happens when the stars go out?"
The Doctor settled into his own lawn chair adjacent to Loki's. "You're serious about this, huh?"
"It's my nature; the desire to learn more and use it later on."
The Doctor closed his eyes, the end of the universe being a tricky subject.
"The vast majority of the stars will go out, until a few remain. Life will continue in small ways, but dwindle nonetheless. Some humans and humanoids on spaceships, on dying colonies, still trying to find the perfect home. There are animals and bacteria, able to survive in the cold and the dark, but they too will eventually die off. About a million or so years into that, Time itself will start to deteriorate, marking the end of the universe as we know it."
"Did all Time Lords live with such knowledge, knowing precisely how everything ends?"
Staring in the vortex, still a child, seeing but not comprehending.
"Some go mad," the Doctor said. "We are forbidden from interfering. Kind of, I should say. Until the end. Each creature serves a purpose, and, well, I should start over. You see, Yggdrasil is but a tree in a metaphysical forest. The planets, or realms if you like, though we should really discuss the definition of realm later, where was I?"
Loki halted the Doctor's speech. "You are unused to explaining concepts to those who possess the ability to fully comprehend." His fingers tapped nervously on the armrest. "To make matters simpler, a brief shared conscious will do. What you cannot say in words, I will see and feel." He turned his head to the Doctor, but kept his eyes on the ground. "If you trust me enough for the task, that is."
The Doctor considered this. No ill will was hinted in Loki's voice. "I kicked you out once before," he mused.
Loki explained the process to put them both more at ease. "In short," he finished, "it is far more complicated to ease myself into another person's conscious without the scepter. It is far easier letting someone in." It would also take energy that he didn't have to spare.
"You're letting me inside your head?"
"No," Loki responded flatly. "We'll each be inside a shared space. There, you will project your understanding of the universe."
There was a chuckle of relief. "No bags of cats mixing together?"
"Your reference falls unknown."
Still lounging in lawn chairs, the pair held hands as they drifted to the eighth plane of existence.
If the Doctor could explain the experience to Amy, the metaphor would involve a canvas, a paintbrush, and tons of colors. The accuracy would be off considering the metaphysical eighth plane, the world between worlds, had colors unknown to the human eye.
He painted Yggdrasil along with her surrounding planets and realms. The canvas expanded, more trees and planets dotting it.
The golden gleam of Yggdrasil shined brighter than any other tree. Magic poured from Yggdrasil, seeping into her fruits, weaving through her domain. A few other trees possessed magic, but little of it.
Then he painted the tree Trenzalore, a million shades of blue and purple, her leaves a shade of fluorescence that boggled Loki's mind. She was the All-Giver, the thread that weaved Time and Space through the universe. The other trees interconnected through her ever expanding roots—the Fields of Trenzalore.
A dark splotch near Trenzalore. Gallifrey. Gone. Time Lords and Keepers. Time locked. Forever burning.
A scorch mark— Skaro. The birthplace of the Kelads, Thals, and the Daleks. Constant hatred screaming.
White and pastel green. Galapozi. Old and ancient and nearly forgotten. Dormant power hidden from its own people.
These are three great worlds of Trenzalore.
Eons pass in blink of an eye. The trees are dying, stars are fading, and planets are shriveled fruit.
The roots and branches of Trenzalore are wilting, breaking. The treads of Time and Space are knotted, tangled, thinning. The universe is dying.
A woman in black appears. She yields fruit plucked from the Time Vortex itself. She sings in words that Loki cannot understand. She whispers a word that he cannot hear. She plants the fruit in the roots of Trenzalore.
The old tree dies. Trenzalore, Yggdrasil, and the forest turn to ash.
The fruit bares a sapling, and the universe is restarted.
If Amy were here, the Doctor would say, "Yeah, it's something like that. But not really."
Loki opened his eyes and gasped for air. His grip slackened, but remained. Before, when he tapped into the Doctor against his will, it was nothing compared to this. What he experienced moments before was wondrous.
"And that is why I'm a certified techno-babbler," the Doctor said smugly.
"I fail to see how you're a certified techno-babbler. That's not even a real position."
The Doctor let go of Loki and reached into his pocket.
"One, that's the same psychic paper that got us in trouble on Galik. Two, it appears someone has left you a message. Unless a bunch of circles and the planetary symbol for Pluto is the sign for a professional techno-babbler."
The Doctor brought it back, and studied the message. Loki, still relaxing, created a simple shade of himself. The shade unabashedly peered over the Doctor's shoulder.
High Gallifreyan mixed with an Earth symbol? About a month ago, Loki requested to be taught the language. Given the infinite amount of time and books available, it seemed like a good idea. Not to mention, Gallifreyan was the only language that the TARDIS hadn't been able to translate. The Doctor decided it best to start with a more common tongue that High Gallifreyan, which led to Loki's current problem of not being able to read what was on the paper.
"This is the part where you translate it," the shade murmured in the Doctor's ear.
The blank expression on the Doctor's face told Loki nothing. The god tilted his head, seeing a tiny tear forming in the corner of the man's eye.
"Tell me what ails you."
"This is her handwriting," he muttered. "The woman in black."
The coordinates are given thusly. Find me, Doctor.
Trying to meld two universes together, so much fun and yet a daunting task.
According to the Tao, there are seven planes of existence. According to the Doctor, there are eight. I'd post a link to a website that explains it, but fanfiction is being a shifty lil' bastard. PM me if you want me to link you c:
There'll be references to other fandoms, maybe minor appearances. However, no knowledge of the other fandoms will be needed.