Disclaimer: I do not own Doctor Who and gain nothing from the creation of this story
AN: WOW! We made it! Review and keep me motivated to write the sequel!
Novice Hame looked up in alarm as the Black Guardian gave a vicious snarl, his dark eyes flashing with anger and a tiny ray of confusion. Only the gentle mind brush of the Face of Boe kept her from reacting further as she tended to him. Calling to his men the Black Guardian snapped some orders to the three Giknoans in their native tongue. Novice Hame blinked as he argued with them before announcing, "I will return some, this may be a diversion so stay close to the prisoner. If the Doctor has tried to hide the Key to Time I will go myself." He glanced at his henchmen frowning, "As you cannot be trusted with this." The Black Guardian turned his eyes back to the Face of Boe and sneered. "I'll be back in time. Don't worry about that."
The Giknoans snorted to each other as the Black Guardian faded from sight in front of them. "Me no like him." The largest of the Giknoans growled at his comrade.
"We work for Guardian. You be silent. He be back soon." Novice Hame knelt before the Face of Boe who was breathing with more effort than before.
"It's alright." She whispered. He smiled at his nurse and she heard his voice in her mind,
▒He and Ace will be here soon."
The Doctor walked forward in the delivery tunnel slowly and carefully, listening for Ace behind him as K-9 rolled along beside him. "So Doctor the Key to Time, how is that going to help you find your girlfriend?" The Doctor flinched slightly at Ace's use of the word girlfriend.
"Her name is Rose Tyler Ace"
"Girlfriend makes you flinch though, she must be pretty special. When I traveled with you I was so sure you were asexual." The Doctor sighed and gave into her earlier question to change the topic of the conversation.
"The Key to Time will let me establish a time loop so I can talk and work with my past selves without a paradox. Basically it will remove them from their points in my time line so we can work together without them or me remembering it. That is the only way to open a doorway to another universe now that Gallifrey is gone." Ace nodded beginning to understand.
"So you've got to talk to all your past selves and work with them." She grinned, "I remember the Brigadier talking about a few of your past forms." The Doctor smiled at the memory of Ace meeting Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart.
"Yeah the Brigadier had a habit of meeting me in most of my forms. I remember how you didn't like him at first"
"I just didn't like finding out that I wasn't the first human you traveled with."
Nodding the Doctor sighed, "Yeah that happened with Rose." The Doctor stopped and turned to Ace, surprising her. "I want to say this now Ace. No companion or assistant of mine has ever been like another. I care about all of them in different ways. My traveling with you didn't make me care about Sarah Jane any less and my traveling with Rose didn't make me care about you any less." A smile took over Ace's face and she nodded.
"I get that now Professor, I really do." Giving her a sharp nod the Doctor pointed at the ceiling a few feet in front of them. "K-9 run a check on this area, where can we blast through without causing the building to fall on us"
"I get to blow something up?!" Ace asked him excitably. Sighing he nodded at her, a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth.
"Yes Ace you get to blow something up"
"ACE!" She cheered happily, clapping her hand together.
Crushing the artificial segment in his hand the Black Guardian growled viciously, releasing a long shout of curses about the Doctor. Pulling his dark robes more tightly around him, he prepared to phase back to the building and his prisoner but nothing happened. "I created a travikitan barrier around this area." Eyes flashing with anger the Black Guardian turned to source of the statement to see a tall dark haired man leaning against the doorway in a black tailored suit. A blue public telephone box stood a few feet behind him as he smirked.
"Ah the future form of the Doctor has returned." The Twelfth Doctor smirked and nodded deeply to the Black Guardian.
"Can't say it is nice to see you too Guardian. Don't worry I'll release you once my past self has the next segment." The glare directed at him didn't even worry the Twelfth Doctor. "I warned you not to get in my way"
"You will pay for this Doctor." The Twelfth Doctor raised an eyebrow and shrugged, his blue eyes distant to the situation.
"Perhaps Black Guardian. I'm just doing what has to be done right now. You're the one trying tip the balance in your favor. Trust me I've got better things to do"
"Something to do with the Mrs?" The Black Guardian questioned with a sneer, the Twelfth Doctor chuckled.
"Nice try Guardian, lucky for time and paradoxes my tenth form has the gob, not me." He looked down at his watch, "Oh don't worry you'll be out of here in two hours or so Black Guardian and he or rather I'll be long gone with the Key to Time."
The Doctor was seriously beginning to rethink his decision as he saw the oh so familiar glow in Ace's eyes as she set down her beloved charges. He hoped that she had gotten better with the timers or Rose might have to make due with his eleventh form and that idea didn't exactly please him. So instead he took a few steps back and motioned for K-9 to do the same as Ace set the last canister down. "That should do it Professor." She stood up sharply and turned to see him standing so far away. A knowing smirk took over her face and she laughed and pulled out a small remote. "I upgraded to remote a few years back Professor." She dashed over to him happily and turned back to the canisters sealed against the ceiling of the tunnel. "All the charges are placed, right where K-9 said to put them. Are you ready"
"Not really." The Doctor replied quickly, "But don't let that stop you." Grinning manically Ace shoved the button down and shouted as the ceiling fell into the tunnel. Grabbing her shoulder the Doctor pulled her against the wall as the tunnel shook. He sighed in relief as the rest of the tunnel remained standing, leaving a pile of rubble underneath a large hole. "Well done Ace." He looked over at the hole, "You and my last form would have gotten along really well." Ace pulled her knapsack back oh and looked at him in interest.
The Doctor nodded, rubbing the back of his neck and sighed, "I met Rose when I blew up her job." A grin spread over Ace's face and she nodded.
"Nice." Smiling at her energy the Doctor looked at K-9.
"K-9, lift yourself up through the hole first. Let me know what is up there. Use your stun lazers if you see any Giknoans"
Ace nodded in approval as K-9 lifted off of the floor of the tunnel, using his hover pad and flew through the hole. ▒Nice dog Professor"
"Thanks I can't wait to build him." At the questioning look the Doctor grinned, shoving his hands into his pockets. "My twelfth self built him and sent him back through time to help me"
"Nothing is normal around you. I guess some things never change." The Doctor moved up the rubble pile and pulled himself up through the hole with ease. Glancing around he rested his eyes on K-9 who was scanning the entrance of the room. "Looks like an empty office or storeroom Ace." She nodded in agreement as she reached the top of the rubble and took the Doctor's offered hand. Pulling out her stun gun Ace visually checked for any Giknoans. "K-9 have you got a reading on any other life forms"
"Three floors up Doctor-Master. Detecting five life forms."
Nodding the Doctor let Ace take the lead, she motioned for them to follow her to the stairs a few feet from the office door. The halls were in much the same sad state. "Any idea why this building is so run down?" The Doctor asked her suddenly as they found the staircase. Ace shook her head and shrugged.
"It is weird since the buildings next door are successful businesses. I figured the Face of Boe owns it or something." The Doctor nodded, accepting that possibility as K-9 floated next to him up the stairs.
The trio froze as they reached the floor, Ace used the scanner in her watch for a moment and exhaled a deep breath. "He's still alive Professor." Nodding the Doctor pushed the door open just a tiny bit and looked in. Spotting the Face of Boe was no trouble but he blinked in surprise at the sight of the nurse cat.
"He has one of those cats as a nurse." Ace blinked at the odd topic but nodded the affirmative.
"She was one of the hospital staff a few years back who took care of him. After the scandal she stayed with him. Hame is a sweet heart." The Doctor nodded and shrugged.
"Good to know, don't hurt the cat." He breathed softly as the Giknoans came into their view and he held the leather of Ace's belt shift as she pulled out her gun. "K-9 take out the two on the left, stunners only I don't want any deaths today. Ace handle the other one. I need to get to the Face of Boe as soon as possible."
The Giknoans roared as the door swung open and a small metal animal and the girl opened fire on them. Dashing behind them, the Doctor grabbed Novice Hame and pulled her to the floor as one of the Giknoans' shot flew past them. Ace had to drop to the floor to avoid a stray shot but managed to shoot down one of the Giknoans. Smirking she turned to the other two and sighed as they both dropped to the floor. Looking down at K-9, Ace shook her head. "You've got some fire power don't you pup"
"Affirmative." The Doctor stood up slowly, helping Novice Hame up from the floor.
Turning to the Face of Boe the Doctor froze, the stray shot he and Novice Hame had avoided had hit the Face of Boe's tank. While the old being was still alive, the glass of his medical tank was shattered. Novice Hame placed her hand on it gently. "It is today then." "Ace." The Doctor said softly, "Tie up the Giknoans while Hame and I help him."
Ace tried to hide the tears in her eyes as the Face of Boe breathed with great effort in front of them, freed from his tank. He was calm as he breathed the air of New Earth without filters or his medical smoke. "It's good to breathe the air once more." The Doctor knelt in front of him,
"Please..." The Doctor begged softly, "Let me help you." The Face of Boe chuckled with effort as he blinked slowly.
"Everything has its time. You know that, old friend, better than most." "Oh come." Ace hissed joining the Doctor in front of him. "Can't be time to chuck it all in yet"
"The legend says that you still have to tell the wander something." Novice Hame said gently from beside the Face of Boe.
"Don't. There's no need for that." The Doctor said firmly giving the nurse a clearly put out look.
"Yeah, but not yet. Who needs secrets, eh?" Seeing his face, Ace takes the Doctor's hand gently and squeezes, seeing the vast change in him since she knew him.
"I have seen so much. Perhaps too much. I am the last of my kind ≈ as you are the last of yours, Doctor"
"That's why we have to survive. Both of us. Don't go." The Face of Boe offered the Doctor a smile and sighed, "I must Doctor for in my final words you will find the answer you need but hurry before I die. Know this Time Lord and defeat the Black Guardian: I am the segment."
It was Ace who pulled the locator from the Doctor's pocket as he stared at the Face of Boe and pushed it into his hand. The Doctor dropped his eyes to it and then looked back at Ace breathing heavily. "Hurry." Ace whispered motioning to the Face of Boe. Taking a breath the Doctor held the locator to the Face of Boe who smiled softly and breathed out one last time before he was encased in light. Silence filled the room as Novice Hame covered her mouth to stop a sob from escaping and Ace bit her lip. The light cleared leaving only the small clear fragment on the floor in front of the Doctor. Reaching out, he picked it up gently and exhaled as K-9 rolled up next to him.
"All segments of the Key to Time found Doctor-Master." The Doctor turned the segment over in his hands and nodded.
"Affirmative K-9. We've got them all."
The Doctor stood and placed the segment in his pocket turning to Novice Hame who was crying softly. She turned her eyes to the Doctor and forced a smile, "I know he would have been glad for this"
"You stayed with him all these years." She nodded and wiped her damp paw.
"After the release of the new humans I sought redemption, he taught me how to find a better way." She straightened up, "Now I have further work to do Doctor." The cat nurse gave him a smile, "As do you." The Doctor nodded.
"Yeah better clear out before the Black Guardian senses the segment. I'm surprised he hasn't already returned." Shaking his head, the Doctor turned to Ace. "Can you lead me back to the TARDIS." Nodding Ace grabbed her stun gun and lead the Doctor from the building through the main doors.
Ignoring the Black Guardian's glare the Twelfth Doctor glanced down at his watch and nodded. "Alright then Black Guardian." The Twelfth Doctor reached into his pocket and pulled out a small remote, only an inch or so long and wide. "I've got places to go." The Black Guardian narrowed his eyes further making the Doctor chuckle.
"My mother-in-law always so fit to remind me that doing that will only give you wrinkles." Opening the door of his TARDIS behind him, the Twelfth Doctor stepped back into the doorway.
"Preparing to run Doctor"
"I'm a lot of things, stupid has yet to be one of them." Smirking again the Doctor fixed his blue tie and then pressed the button. As the field dropped he slammed the door of the TARDIS leaving the Black Guardian to hiss in anger as the TARDIS vanished.
Stepping into the TARDIS, the Tenth Doctor picked up the Key to Time in his left hand as Ace stepped inside behind him and shut the door. He smiled, hearing her exhale as she looked around at the control room. "It's changed Professor." She paused, looking it over critically. "I like it, less sterile more energy and personality in this look. The old white walls made me think of a hospital or a Doctor's office and I never cared much for either." The Doctor rolled his eyes at the pun as he pulled out the last segment. Holding his breath the Doctor slid the final part into place as a soft glow began pulsing in the Key to Time. Releasing the breath he hadn't realized he had been holding the Doctor placed the Key to Time on the console carefully and took a step back to look at it.
"Now what Professor?" Ace asked suddenly, shocking the Doctor out of his thoughts. He turned to her, placing a hand protectively over the Key to Time as if he feared that it would vanish from his sight and grasp.
"Thank you for your help Ace." His smile was sincere and soft, Ace nodded and looked around the TARDIS again before her eyes drifted down to K-9.
"I don't suppose I could go with you Professor?" The Doctor blinked at her request and then smiled at her, a grin taking over his face. Kneeling next to K-9 the Doctor asked the machine,
"What do you think K-9, has the TARDIS got room for one more"
"The TARDIS is trans-dimensional Doctor-Master. It adjusts to-" The Doctor stood, ignoring K-9's continued comments.
"Sounds like we can handle it Ace. Welcome back."
The Doctor grabbed the Key to Time as the TARDIS gave a violent shudder, dematerializing from New Earth and rematerializing suddenly. "I didn't do that." The Doctor commented as Ace looked up at him from where she had grabbed the railings. Checking the scanner the Doctor watched Ace place a hand on the door of the TARDIS, watching for a signal. "I know who it is Ace, it's okay." She pushed open the door and white light flooded into the TARDIS, highlighting the Doctor's grin. "Hello White Guardian." The Doctor held out the Key to Time as the older man dressed in a white suit stepped into the TARDIS. "I've done my part, now it is time for your part of the deal"
"Indeed it is time for my part. Are you ready Doctor?"
Review so I'll write the sequel!