LATE AND SHORT, I KNOW, I KNOW. SORRY. THIS STORY HAS TURNED OUT TO BE HARDER TO WRITE THAN I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE.


The Doctor snapped the phone shut and tucked it back in his pocket. 'So,' he said, ' believe me now?'

Valkyrie looked at the other two, and then back at him. 'Can we trust you?'

'Depends what it is.'

'It's me,' Elizabeth spoke up. 'A long time ago, I woke up here, with no idea where I was. And then my husband shows up, looking a bit dead telling me that I died years ago.'

'Oh, I see.'

'Yes.'

'What I don't see though, is...' The Doctor bounded up to Skulduggery, fishing out a long gold and silver instrument of some sort. He pressed something on it, and the end flashed up a garish green. He waved it at Skulduggerys empty eye-sockets. '...How you can still be upright. I mean, I know all about you people with your magic stuff, all a bit showy for me. But sustaining a man's consciousness through a skeleton...that is something else entirely.'

Skulduggery leaned back slightly. 'Do you mind not...what is that?'

The Doctor grinned and tossed the instrument in the air, catching it smartly. 'Sonic screwdriver. It's handy. Very handy.'

'...Right.'

'How are you able to, physically, maintain your living existence when you're just a skeletal structure?' He asked to himself more than anyone else, lighting up Skulduggerys eye sockets with the sonic screwdriver.

Skulduggery batted it away quickly. 'Oi!'

The Doctor blinked at him innocently. 'What?'

'You said you could help us...' Elizabeth said.

The Doctor turned to her. 'Yes, yes I did.'

If Skulduggery had eyes, he would be narrowing them. 'Hold on, why should why trust you? Of all people in the world to trust, you want us to depend on a man who dropped from a castle directly in front of us. Why you?'

The Doctor looked at him, suddenly very serious. 'You need me, skeleton-man. You need me because there's no one else who can do this. No one who can travel across space and time and leave without a trace. You trust me because, to be honest, who else is gonna sort this out? No one. First and last option of everything and anything. Right before your eyes. You're trusting me because what else are you meant to do with a wife who was meant to be dead two hundred years ago? You call a doctor, and I answered.'

Valkyrie found herself grinning at him. Skulduggery tilted his head at him, and then sighed.

'Okay. You've proved your point.'

The Doctor grinned. 'Ha-ha! Gotcha!' He said happily.

Elizabeth rolled her eyes. 'Oh sweet Jesus.'