"Why is it that the human monsters are always the most terrible?" Gwen Cooper asked Jack Harkness. The Captain shrugged but said nothing. Gwen walked out of the morgue, shaking her head.
"Is everybody okay?" Jack asked as he looked at Wil with a strange mixture of sadness and – what was it? – thinly veiled longing. Or maybe it wasn't so thinly veiled. In the exact same fashion, John looked at Jack, and Ianto looked at The Doctor.
After a moment the Lord of Time smirked and then laughed out loud. It was a rich, deep laugh, but… more, somehow. The sound of the laugh was filled with a warmth and a purity that almost made the air quiver around it. It'd been a long while since The Doctor had laughed like that. "What a pathetic bunch of human beings!"
The four all turned and stared at him.
"I'm just sayin'… it's like you're all in a Eugene O'Neill, Tennessee Williams, or Arthur Miller play. It perpetually amazes me how clever you humans are at finding ways to make each other crazy…" The Doctor paused for a few seconds and then smiled puckishly, "I knew him, by the way; Arthur was a very nice man. He had a lovely wife… gorgeous, in fact."
The Lord of Time pivoted and limped toward his TARDIS. "Whoever is coming with me, let's get rolling!"
Jack turned and followed The Doctor inside. "What did I tell you, Captain? Every time I come here something terrible happens to me," the Time Lord muttered as he closed and locked the doors. "Besides," he sniffed, "this place's feng shui is unpleasant." Less than a minute later, they were gone.
John gazed at Wil and noticed the crow's feet in the corners of her eyes that hadn't been there the week before. She looked back at him steadfastly. "Shall we continue to live the Story, M'Lady?" he asked softly, tipping his head toward their ship and smiling as he reached out a hand to her. Wil nodded as she intertwined her fingers with his and the two of them shimmered for a few seconds before they vanished. Then quiet as a cat, Grasshopper evaporated.
Ianto Jones was left alone to clean up the mess.
"If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story."
The sequel to "Stories" is entitled "Love."
Wil Beinert does get around, and she has been showing up in some strange, unexpected, even exotic places. For example, check out the fiction of my dear and supremely talented friends Random Cheeses and ChellusAuglerie.
Thanks to all for the reviews, which mean so much to me (more than I can say). And a special thanks to my Book Club partner.
"My friend, I am going to tell you the story of my life, as you wish; and if it were only the story of my life I think I would not tell it; for what is one man that he should make much of his winters, even when they bend him like a heavy snow?"