A/N: More from me! This is another short piece about the Doctor's childhood (the universe with my OC, the Wanderer, of course). I really like her character for some reason... Dunno why. ^^" This one will involve the Gallifreyan nursery rhyme, "Zagreus". If I get enough reviews/PMs about it, I can provide multiple links.
I'm not sure which episode/book/whatever this is from, but it inspired me! Enjoy, I suppose~! Oh, by the way, this one-shot/drabble mentions Grandfather Paradox. The Gallifreyan version. I'll explain it sometime in another story, perhaps... (^_~)
Disclaimer: I don't own Doctor Who, and if I did it would /probably/ be pretty damn bad... o.0
The Wanderer was sitting across from her two best friends, and there was a fire between them. The sky was quite a few gorgeous shades of dark blue mixed with a purple in some spots where there were speckles of clouds. The stars were nearly invisible, which was rare in this area, but they allowed for a dark, mysterious, and beautiful night. Perfect for camping out around a fire. There was a slight chill in the air. She gave a dark chuckle and a mock-malevolent grin. The way the shadows glinted off of her face made it appear dark, and just a bit condescending. Her eyes were aglow from the flames.
The other two across from her were watching and waiting. All three were waiting for the others to come up with a story, although it /was/ the Wanderer's idea to come out here, so naturally, they mostly felt that it was her responsibility to entertain.
A few minutes passed in afflicted silence, and one member of the group felt a chill go down his spine. He realized it was irrational, but in his mind Grandfather Paradox was hiding somewhere in the darkness...
Her voice made them both jump, "Zagreus sits inside your head..." She smirked, knowing that she had caught them by surprise, "Zagreus lives among the dead..."
The Master laughed, "I know this one! Zagreus sees you in your bed.../And eats you when you're sleeping!" At this point he jumped towards the Doctor and mouthed a roar. In response, the other just fell back and laughed.
"Rassilon's Rod, not this again...!" Despite his slight protest, he joined in the chant enthusiastically, "Zagreus at the end of days..."
And thus, the three friends continued the well-known nursery rhyme. I mean, what child grows up /not/ hearing about the Zagreus? That's just unheard of.
"...Zagreus lies all other ways.
Zagreus comes when time's a maze,
and all of history is weeping."
They exchanged looks of mock-fear. Zagreus was a tale for children, and couldn't scare students of the Time Academy. Maybe Time Tots were scared that easily, but the three friends were struggling not to fall into hysterics. They thought it was the funniest thing, and maybe it was. The sky shifted throughout the night, and the rustling in the bushes went unheard by the Junior Time Lords.
"Zagreus taking time apart,
Zagreus fears the hero heart.
Zagreus seeks the final part,
The reward that he is reaping."
The Wanderer raised her hands around the flames and posed them in the way that, to anyone else, would look monstrous. The two boys just laughed, until one of them stopped. The Doctor had seen movement behind the Wanderer, and he, for a second, was convinced that Grandfather Paradox was coming to get him. He shook his head and continued the poem, not wanting to mention anything to the others.
"Zagreus sings when all is lost,
Zagreus takes all those he's crossed.
Zagreus wins and all is cost,
The hero's heart he's keeping."
The wind whistled through the silver-leafed trees, calling out to the three. Only one noticed. He glanced around, finally noticing the chill in the air. He saw the way the shadows reflected off of the nearby plants, and saw the flames as they greedily engulfed the gases in the air. He shuddered slightly, for a moment forgetting of his friends. He snapped back to reality only a few nanoseconds later, and they all continued.
"Zagreus seeks the hero's ship,
Zagreus needs the web to rip.
Zagreus sups time at a drip,
And life aside, he's sweeping."
The Doctor's sense of impending doom deepened as he took a deep breath and turned around. There was nothing there, and he mentally slapped himself for being so stupid. Of /course/ there was nothing there! That was ridiculous... Wasn't it...? The sky seemed to darken, but that was surely just his own imagination. Before he could ask his fellow Juniors, they had begun the final verse...
"Zagreus waits at the end of the world...
For Zagreus is the end of the world...
His time is the end of time..."
"AND HIS MOMENT, TIME'S UNDOING!"
A voice bellowed out from behind the Wanderer, and the three squealed in terror and delight. They huddled close is fearful anticipation. A figure emerged from the bushes, it looked to be a fearsome beast. The three were frozen, and the Master uttered a quiet squeak. The monster stepped closer, and the shadows cast from the fire made the creature look as though it had giant claws, and as it came closer, it... laughed?
The young almost-Time Lords glanced at each other in confusion, but the Doctor just grinned. "I knew I recognized that voice!" He ran up and hugged the monster, yet in the light it was revealed to be nothing more than a middle-aged man, "You scared the Staazula out of me!" The Wanderer and the Master exchanged a worried glance. They had heard tales about the Hermit, a terrifying Gallifreyan living in exile of society by his own choice. Yet the Doctor seemed to not care. It was as if they were old friends, seeing each other for the first time in a long time.
The newly identified man clicked his tongue in disapproval, "Should a Junior Time Lord such as yourself be speaking like that?" He responded in a fatherly way, with a slight smirk, leaving the other two very confused. They would get an explanation out of their friend soon enough...