Title: The Dance
Author: nostalgia
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Set just after the TV movie.
Disclaima-go-go: I own nothing. Alas. The BBC own the Doctor and his attendant trademarks.

Author Babbles: Despite appearances, nowt to do with the NAs and it's Time's Champion thing,. If nothing else, I've only read about three of the noels so I have no bloody idea what was going on there, hence this breaks rather drastically with book continuity. Well, not so much 'breaks with' as 'never actually met'.
And, yes, I /know/ the Doctor's eyes change colour mid-fic, but it's /not/ gratuitous, it /is/ important to the plot, and it /is/ tastefully done. Or something.

Feedback/Archive: Hell, yes.


"Another dance, Doctor?"

"I'm tired. I think I'll sit this one out, thank you all the same."

Death extends a pale hand to her prospective partner. "Ladies' choice," she smiles.

The young man with the dark hair and the soulful eyes looks up at her, sadly. "If you insist."

"I always insist."

The man stands up and takes her hand. He winces slightly at the cold touch, but tries to smile because he knows enough to be polite.

Death tugs gently on the man's hand, pulling him into the circle of candlelight. "A waltz is traditional," she says. Silent music floats on the air as their dance begins.

Death runs thin fingers across her partner's face, gently touches his hair. "I sent you to the city of lights and made you this. Do you like it?"

"I'll get used to it, once I've worn it in a bit. The eyes are nice."

"Not my creation." He looks surprised. Death feels delight at his confusion. "Love made those." She smiles. "She now feels inclined to gouge them out."

"I'm sorry she feels that way. I wanted to thank her, I can see so much more now."

"You'll be sorry you cheated her, Doctor. She will bide her time. Destiny will be rather swifter in his revenge."

"Oh, he and I never got along."

"Love and I worked so hard. We even signed our work, we were so proud of it."

The Doctor nods gravely. "The woman who killed me was the woman who loved me. I thought that was a little tasteless."

Death glares at him. "A little more respect, Doctor, if you will."

"My apologies."

Death shrugs narrow shoulders, the offence already forgotten. "Love was furious. You were supposed to stay on the blue planet."

"And yet I didn't. Was that your intervention?"

"Nothing of the sort. You could die there just as easily as elsewhere. No, it was Hope. She played you as her wild card."

Blue-green eyes sparkle with amusement. "That's against even the rules of your game, surely!"

"The rules change."

"I bested you again, Doctor," notes Death as they glide and spin across an empty dancefloor. "Five more and I've won the match."

The Doctor considers this as he spins her under his arm. "You always win, Lady, even I am not so arrogant as to deny that."

Black eyes catch blue. "I didn't say you were. My concern in that matter lies elsewhere."

Her partner frowns the vulnerable confusion of his new form. Each change is a new delight for the Lady Death, one thirteenth of her inevitable victory.

"My sister, Time. She grows fond of you."

"I am sure I have done nothing to encourage her affections..."

"I've seen the way you dance with her, Doctor. Whispering your little jokes in her ear, touching with the intimacy of a lover. Always promising her more. You should pray that Winter never finds out."

Her partner laughs. "We're nothing but friends."

"You should be nothing at all!"

"And there I was believing that you cared for me."

"We may dance often, and you may dance well, but you are still mortal. You are just another finite lifeform, Doctor, and if..."

He asks the question as she clearly wants; "If?"

"If Time decides to meddle, if she changes the dance..." Cold breath in his ear; "Death hates those who cheat her, Doctor."

"I never cheat, Lady. I may play by different rules occasionally, but I always let you win your game."

Her black skirts fan out as he spins her again. "I was surprised that you let me take the girl."

Death smiles as she feels the ache inside him.

"You were entitled. Ace outlived her time." For a moment, he looks his age. He remembers Ace, vital and vibrant, his anchor, reminding him what he was fighting /for/. He remembers Ace in the Viridini space-cruiser, remembers her dying before he could get to her. It was better than the end that Death had planned for the girl, but that hadn't been a comfort.

Death continues dancing, an air of professional curiosity about her as she watches the Doctor's memories.

Shadows begin to gather around the edges of the candlelight, word has spread of Death's latest waltz. How many times will she dance with this one before he is seduced by her embrace? He is here often, he could even claim to be a regular. It hasn't escaped anyone's notice that despite her protestations, Death seems to enjoy his company rather a lot.

Each dance has one more step than the last, each is more intense. Now their dances last for hours, his world contains nothing but her.

The shadows watch them glide and sway.

"I would never break the rules, Lady."

Death smiles like ice. "But I might." She moves her hands to his chest, still swaying with their silent waltz. "Your hearts might not restart to bring you back." Her fingers move over his stomach "A Dalek blast. Here. I doubt even you could come back after that." She touches his throat, "Or perhaps something more primitive."

"But you don't cheat." His gaze locks with hers, his hearts pound.

"Are you so sure, beloved?" Her lips brush against his...

A woman in blue, eyes the colour of the future. "May I cut in, sister Death?"

Death ignores her sister, marking this one as her own.

The Doctor pushes Death's hands from his shoulders gently, breaking their kiss. "Ladies' choice," he whispers, taking Time into his arms.