A heavy downpour drowned the streets that a lone man walked through at night. He seemed in a daze, walking without real purpose and unfazed by the droplets striking him. Water bogged down his sharp, black suit that had been perfectly tailored to his body. His short, dark hair was weighted to his head, rain drops dripping from the strands onto his face. He made no move to take shelter, no motion to wipe away the drops that blurred his vision. It was only when he heard an all too familiar noise that he awoke from his stupor.
It was a sound that evoked locked memories, ones that weren't quite his. It caused something suppressed to stir within him. He felt the unwanted urge to chase after the noise, to find the source of the otherworldly wheezing that assaulted his ears. His legs arrested control and ran, following the sound down slick streets and alleys. His movements were swift, as though his water-soaked clothes weren't dragging him down. When the noise was deafening, when the rain around him warped from a wind without origin, was when he finally stopped.
The three travelers were thrown around the console room of the TARDIS as it attempted a landing. The Doctor kept a solid grip on the console while Amy and Rory struggled to maintain a sense of balance. A huge grin was stretched across the Doctor's face as his TARDIS wheezed and whined rhythmically, the song of the universe. To the Ponds, it was a relief when the ship landed; to the Doctor, it was a tragic end to a fantastic ride. While Rory and Amy rejoiced in their newfound equilibrium, the Doctor pulled the sliding monitor toward him to check where they landed. The goal was Barcelona, the planet, not the city, but to his mild disappointment, he had missed. He had missed by a lot.
"I know that face," Amy said, walking to his side. "Where did we end up?"
"America. We ended up in America." He stroked the console with a concerned expression. "Why did you bring me here, girl?" he asked his ship under his breath.
"Is America a bad thing?" Rory asked, mirroring the Doctor's expression.
"No! No, of course not," he replied, returning to his energetic mood. "It's unexpected, is all. Unexpected is good. I like unexpected."
He ran to the doors, flying past Amy and Rory, and threw them open without hesitation. A torrent devoured the scenery just outside of the doors, stray droplets splashing through the threshold of the blue box. The Doctor stole an involuntary step backward at the startling sight standing in the doorway. A tired looking man was slumped beneath the falling sheets of water, his black suit soaked through. The man looked up with a hardened expression but his eyes betrayed his surprise. The Doctor knew who this man was.
"Doctor?" The man appeared troubled by his own American accent, like gravel crunching in his ears.
"Canton Everett Delaware the Third! Come in, come in! How long have you been out in the rain?" the Doctor asked, ushering him into the TARDIS and shutting the doors behind him.
Canton scanned the interior of the ship, blinking a few times as though he'd just woken up. He sighed and ran a hand through his freezing, wet hair. "Uh, I don't know…"
He looked at the doors behind him then turned back to the three confused faces studying him. He was missing something; there was a gap in his memory. The last thing he remembered was being in a bar the night after the Doctor left and the very next moment here he was in front of the TARDIS. He glanced at up at the Doctor, searching his face for an answer, when an explosion of pain wracked his body. Buried memories hatched open, pouring out and overloading Canton with information. He didn't know what it was that made these memories with his body but he could feel it, a leech on his soul sucking everything good out of him.
It kidnapped him, rode him around like a lowly beast, and destroyed his life. It killed his boyfriend. Oh, God, he thought as tears burned his eyes, David, I'm so sorry. The image of his partner's evisceration was seared forever into his memory, never to be lost again no matter how hard he tried. For some reason, for the first time since it entered his body, it had lost control and Canton was determined to keep it. He collapsed to his knees, fighting to push it down and keep it there. It was warring with him, pushing against his will and causing him pain. He cried out, unable to control himself any longer, and crumpled to the floor. The Doctor rushed to his side, draping one arm over his shoulders and lifting him by his torso.
"What is it? What's wrong?" the Doctor asked while beckoning Amy and Rory to take over for him.
They moved on either side of Canton, holding him up so the Doctor could face him. He looked the Doctor in the eyes, wincing in pain as the thing within him pressed on his insides.
"It's inside of me, Doctor, in my brain and my soul. Help me, please!"
Sadness and pain were etched into the lines on his face. There was another emotion there too, one that had never made it to the surface before: fear. Pure fear had leaked through a hole in his armor of stoicism. The Doctor placed a hand on each side of Canton's head, his fingers resting at the temples, and held it so that he could examine him properly. He stared through the ex-FBI agent, closing his eyes and riffling through his brain. Everything within his mind opened like the crisp pages of a book, his memories, his feelings, and his thoughts. When he tried to go deeper the thing made itself known by ejecting him from his head with a force that tossed him backward.
"What is it, Canton? What's in there?" he wondered as he picked himself up off the ground.
"I don't know. I don't know what it is."
His body was tensed up in nerve-wracking pain, his muscles convulsing and rubbing together like he was shivering from the cold. If Amy and Rory hadn't been holding him up, he would've been seizing on the ground. The Doctor scanned him, searching for an answer, but Canton refused to look him in the eye.
"You know something. You know what it is, don't you?"
Canton shook his head vigorously.
"Canton, I need to know!"
"You wouldn't believe-" He slumped forward, unmoving with blood dripping from his mouth.
"What could possibly do this to him?" Amy asked, as she and Rory struggled to keep him up.
"I don't know. There was something in his brain, something else occupying it, but I'm not sure what."
"Well, what are we going to do with him?" Rory asked.
"We can put him in one of the rooms until he…"
Canton's arms twitched in the Ponds' grip and his head bobbed slightly.
"Oh," the Doctor said, stepping back. "I suggest you set him down and back away."
The Doctor could feel an enormous amount of power awaken in Canton. It was the same power that threw him out of his head. Amy and Rory gently rested him on his knees and moved to stand behind the Doctor. Canton groaned, stirring from unconsciousness, swaying in his attempt to stay upright. He dropped forward, catching himself with his hands, and stayed in that position for a few moments to collect himself. When he was ready, he pushed himself to his feet, shaking stray water from his suit. He looked around, taken aback at the scenery until he remembered. The freshly unlocked memories flooded his mind to inform him of where he was. He smirked as his eyes settled on the man in the bowtie and tweed jacket.
"Doctor," he said, his voice unexpectedly gruff and English.
"Canton?" he asked warily.
"Not quite, darling."
The Doctor readjusted himself to this new being. He straightened out his relaxed posture, making himself seem bigger as an animal would do in the wild. His attention was completely focused on whomever, whatever this was.
"The stuff of nightmares?"
"Don't play cute with me," the Doctor replied shortly.
He shrugged as if he was conceding but he could've played games all day with this Doctor if he'd wanted to. "I'm a demon," he said concisely.
"A demon." The Doctor laughed but it didn't reach his eyes. "I don't think so."
The two inspected one another with such intensity, sizing each other up, that they felt like the only beings in the room. Amy and Rory didn't dare move or speak. They could feel the crackling tension and knew that they were in over their heads.
The powerful creature tilted his head like a lizard, gazing at the Doctor with humor sparkling in his eyes. He made sure he had the Doctor's strict attention before allowing his pupils to expand. They consumed the iris and the whites of his eyes, leaving two black, bottomless pits shining from the protective corneas. The Doctor simply crossed his arms and scoffed.
"I've seen much scarier things than that."
"I don't think so, sweetheart. All you've seen is my soul. The things I'm capable of would make you beg for mercy."
The Doctor stepped forward, staring him down.
"Who are you and why are you in Canton?"
He mimicked the Doctor's action, leaving little space between them.
"The name's Crowley, King of Hell, and this body is mine."