The Eyghon Crisis, Part II
Genre: Dramady, YAHF.
Word Count: ~2100
Timelines: Buffy Season 2, "Halloween." Doctor Who: Series 2x09/10 ("The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit"). Series 5 just after ep08/09 ("The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood"). Torchwood, general first season.
Disclaimer: I do not own Scooby, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Torchwood, Doctor Who, or David Tennant, though I'd very much like to own David Tennant. I am not profiting financially from this bit of silliness.
Author's Notes: The conversation in the middle here just completely got away from me.
Sunnydale High School Library
"I thought you said Xander dressed as a doctor."
Buffy's confused, almost plaintive, tone made Giles want to dissolve into teary laughter again. The last day had not been good for his stomach muscles, which were cramping with all the laughing he'd been doing. No doubt poor Willow was traumatized, from the astonished looks she kept giving him.
He cleared his throat and polished his glasses, because if he didn't, he was going to burst into another bout of unmanly giggling. "Xander dressed as the Doctor," he said, "which is a whole world of difference. The Doctor is a doctor, but not every doctor is theDoctor."
The look on Buffy's face almost made him lose his composure again. He mastered his expression through supreme effort and calmly placed his glasses back on the bridge of his nose. "Honestly, Buffy, I can't simplify it any more than that."
Willow raised her hand, her forehead furrowed. "So he's still Xander?"
Finally, a question that wouldn't make him start laughing again. "In a manner of speaking," Giles said, and sat in the chair he normally occupied. "It's a little more complicated since Halloween."
"Well," Buffy said, leaning on her elbows. "Uncomplicate it for us. The more I know about it, the sooner I can fix it and get Xander back to his usual, goofy, properly numbered organed Xander self."
Giles paused. "It isn't ever going to be that simple, Buffy." Oh, how was he going to explain this to the girl who believed the word 'impossible' only meant it would take a little bit longer to accomplish? "The spell is a permanent one. Xander is not and probably will never be human again."
Buffy's expression settled into a mutinous, stubborn look, which had Giles reaching mentally for calming techniques. Should it really have surprised him that the Slayer, who by all accounts should already be dead, wouldn't accept an immutable fate for one of her friends? "Buffy…"
Buffy cut him off with a raised hand and a resolved shake of her head. "No, Giles. It's fixable. It has to be fixable." She turned to look at Willow. "Magic did this, right? So maybe magic can undo it. What do you think, Willow?"
Willow chewed on her lower lip uncertainly. "I-I dunno, Buffy. The spell Ethan cast Halloween night was pretty big. A-and I think Xander would want to have some input as well. I mean… what if he likes how he is now?"
"I can't believe what I'm hearing." Buffy's eyes were incredulous. "Something bad happened to Xander, something that hasn't gone away, and you're both waving your hands and saying tish-tosh."
Giles arched an eyebrow. "Tish tosh?"
"Or something equivalently British. The point is, this happened to Xander, and it's up to us to fix it. Xander started off human. I like him human. This…" She flicked her hand at the book in front of her, "Gilly Frigga—"
"Galifragos," Willow muttered.
"—demon can't be a good thing. As far as I'm concerned, this thing is a demon no different than a vampire. It turned him from a person into something that isn't a person, and we need to fix it."
Giles rolled his eyes skyward. "Very well, Buffy," he said, because the last few moments had proven to him it was utterly useless to keep arguing with the girl. "Where do you suggest we start?"
Buffy stared helplessly at the books. "I don't know," she said.
It was awfully silent on the roof after Rose disappeared. Xander knew the Doctor's expressions almost as well as his own, because he remembered them being his own. Though a casual observer might think the Doctor was lost in thought, Xander knew intimately it was his wary I'm-not-quite-sure-what-to-do-with-you face. He really couldn't blame the Doctor; if the roles were reversed, he had no doubt he'd look much the same.
"So you're me," he said finally.
Xander shrugged. "Yes. Well, no. Well, sort of. Let me explain-"
The Doctor waved him off. "I caught the gist of it from your little tete-a-tete with Rose. I heard what happened. There's a word for it."
"Don't be daft. There's no such thing."
"Fine. Chaotic energy semi-intelligently shaped into altering the fabric of reality in such a way to be indistinguishable from magic to any underadvanced species. Is that better?"
The Doctor's lips quirked. "That's better. But you know the other word for it, the one I'm thinking."
"Metacrisis." Xander ran a hand through his hair, ruffling it idly. "I'm not. Would have burned up already if that were the case. Want to hear my theory?"
"I love a good theory."
"There's actually two."
"Ooh. Double the fun. What's the first?"
"The chaos energy, focused as it was through the procedures of Janus, acted as a temporary inverse Chameleon Arch. Instead of rewriting Gallifreyan to human, it rewrote human to Gallifreyan."
"Interesting. Yes, definitely interesting. What's the second?"
Xander grinned, unable to resist. "Magic."
"You're going to be trouble, I can see it now. But there's something I want to speak to you about before we get into the wherefores and the why nots."
"I'm all ears, good man."
"Yes, well… You've been going around claiming that you're the Doctor. Well, I won't have it. There's only one of me—"
"Two of you," Xander corrected.
"Oi! One of me!"
"Are we counting your previous regenerations? I seem to recall meeting yourself a time or two."
"There's only one Doctor, no matter how many regenerations he's gone through, and…" The Doctor blinked. "Hang on. You've got me talking in third person, is what you've done."
"You don't look very apologetic."
"We're off topic."
"Yes, we are. Isn't it fun?"
"Oh, it is. But back to the Doctor business. It's my title, you can't have it. I don't object to you having your own, a proper Time Lord-y title. But you can't have mine."
Xander nodded, shoving his hands in his pockets and rocking back on his heels. "That seems fair. So what do you propose?"
The Doctor adopted the same stance. "First, you need a title. Then, you need a change of clothes." He cast a pitying glance over the simple outfit Xander had managed to cobble together out of his closet. Xander nodded. "And then, Rose willing, we'll jaunt off for a quick peek at the Untempered Schism."
Xander blinked. "What? No! I've already seen it."
"You haven't seen it with your eyes," the Doctor said.
"Weren't yours enough?"
"They were, for me. For you, you need to use your own."
Xander cursed under his breath. He'd been hoping to avoid gazing into the abyss of time. He should have known he wouldn't get away with it. "One thing at a time," he said. "The title. Do you have any suggestions?"
The Doctor's brow furrowed. "The Master's taken. He's a bit of a tosser anyway, so I wouldn't recommend that one."
"More reasons than one," Xander agreed. "There was a Master around here too, for a time."
"Oh? Nice bloke?"
"I was thinking maybe the Warrior."
The Doctor's eyebrow went up. "Are you then?"
Xander made a face. "No, not really."
"There you go."
"So I should strike any combat-related titles?"
"Yes, I would suggest."
"Too smarmy. The Chancellor? No, that one's taken."
"Do you really think he's going to pop out of the time lock and swing by to sue me for copyright infringement?"
"Touche. Still, no. The Visionary?"
"Also taken, and kind of a creepy individual. I wouldn't want to cross her, even if she is behind temporal locks at the present. The Demonologist?"
"Oh sure. Yes, you could be called that. Fancy being burned at the stake?"
"Earth doesn't do that anymore!"
"Nineteen hundred thirty two other places do, just off the top of my head."
"I just won't go to those places."
"Point. Oh, here's a good one: the Collector!"
The Doctor shook his head, waving a hand in dismissal. "You should just call yourself the Crazy Old Cat Man and have done with it. Because that's how it starts."
Xander ran his hands through his hair and blew out a breath. "This is harder than it should be."
The Doctor smirked. "Scratch the Thinker, then."
"Sorry. Nix the Philosopher, the War Chief and the President. They're taken. Also crazy."
"Well, yeah. Oh, what about animals?"
"Ooh! There's a thought. Not too popular with the Time Lords, animals. Never understood why, but I always assumed it's because no one wanted to get stuck being known as the Codfish."
Xander snickered. "Oh yes. Well, the only really neat animal is—"
"But it's taken. Yes?"
"Yes, I suspect it is."
"I could just stick with my own name. I may be a Time Lord—"
"—but there's nothing to say I can't just use the name I was born with."
"Well, you could do that. Yeah, you could. Course you could. But why? Why would you want to gallivant throughout all space and time calling yourself Xander. What kind of a life is that?"
"Just what is the problem with it? I realize you're not at all fond of your name, and honestly, who would be? It's not like—"
"Hey! No! Don't say it! Don't you dare!"
"Oh, give over, will you? It's not the worst name in the world. It could be worse, you know. It could be Bob."
"There's nothing wrong with Bob."
"What's wrong with Dave?"
"It seems to attract creepy and/or barmy AIs. Do you really want a guy named Dave mucking about with a gorgeous girl like the TARDIS?"
The Doctor blinked, considering. "No, I suppose not. We're off-topic again, did you notice?"
"In fact, I did. And it's not because I'm trying to put off staring into the swirl of eternal chaos as long as I possibly can."
The Doctor stabbed a finger at him. "You've already got a title all picked out."
Xander winced. "Am I that transparent?"
"When you all but admit it, you are." He adjusted his suit jacket, giving Xander a wary, sidelong look. "Let's hear it, then."
Xander sucked in a deep breath and blew it out again. "The Watcher."
The Doctor's face was unreadable. "The Watcher," he said neutrally.
Xander nodded. "The Watcher." It made sense, after a fashion. Out of all the various members of the Scooby Gang, Xander's role most closely identified with Giles'. He was research-boy. He was the one who fetched spell components and jelly donuts and tea and coffee. He was the least of them all, or he was the least of them all.
"Quiet, unassuming, gives the feel of knowledge. It's not bad, I suppose. Can't really say I'm a fan of it, but it's not my title now, is it?" The Doctor grinned affably. "So. The Watcher." He abruptly stuck out his hand. "Pleasure to meet you, Watcher."
Xander smiled and shook the Doctor's hand firmly. "Nice to meet you too, Doctor. Now that we're all properly introduced, would it be impolite to ask a favor?"
"Watcher, old chap, I've asked favors from my mortal enemies before."
Xander remembered some of those occasions fairly clearly. "Yes," he said wryly. "And do you recall how they more or less always turned out?"
"Uncertainty: the spice of life."
"I'd like to borrow the closet."
"What, the one in the TARDIS?"
"The very same."
The Doctor circled him, running a critical eye over his clothing. "Yes," he said. "I can see why. Of course you can. For a price."
Xander sighed. "You're going to make me peer into the Vortex, aren't you?"
Delight spread across the Doctor's face. "It's like you can read my mind. You're not a proper Time Lord until you do, you know. You-" He broke off, eyes narrowed in thought. "Have we already had this argument?"
Xander was tempted to tell him know. "Ten minutes ago," he said instead.
"Ah. Yes. Then it's settled. We'll take a quick spin in the Vortex, indoctrinate you properly into the ranks of the Time Lords, and then you can browse the closet to your heart's content."
Xander smiled weakly, already regretting asking the favor. "Sounds like a plan. Hang on a second, though. What about Rose?"
The Doctor paused, slight confusion touching his forehead. "What about Rose?"
"She went thataway." He jerked his thumb over his shoulder. "Shouldn't we tell her where we're going? See if she wants to come along?"
The Doctor's eyes narrowed again. "No poaching companions," he said, very seriously. "She's mine, and you can't have her. You're just going to have to get your own. Also, you're stalling."
"She worries, you know."
"Ah." The Doctor waved a hand, then took Xander firmly under the arm and began to half-lead and half-drag him towards the police box. "We'll just pop off for a moment and be back in time for tea. That's the wonderful thing about having a box that travels in all space and time; you're never late unless you want to be."
Xander couldn't resist, even as the Doctor all but shoved him into the blue beauty. "You must want to be late a lot then, huh?"
Unaware that the Doctor was, once again, haring off on some quick jaunt without her, Rose made her way through the empty halls of the school. She hoped the Doctor and this Xander fellow were getting on; half the time, she thought what was most wrong with the Doctor was the fact that he was alone. Even though she knew as long as he had her, he wasn't truly alone, but that wasn't the same as not being the last survivor of one's entire race.
She chewed on a lock of hair as she wandered aimlessly, worried and hopeful for the meeting of the two Time Lords. Then she chided herself. When all was said and done, she'd either fly with the Doctor in one of his better moods, or she'd pick up the pieces and comfort him if it didn't turn out so well. Until then, though, it was pointless to worry.
The sound of hurried footsteps and heavy breathing behind her spun her around in time to collide with a man who had been too busy looking over his own shoulder to see her in front of him. She slid on her backside into the wall, and the air rushed out of her lungs with a huff. She hatedhaving the wind knocked out of her; she always flailed and kicked like a dying fish until she could breathe again.
The man who had knocked her over fell himself, heavily to his hands and knees. While Rose tried frantically to get the wind back into her lungs, she couldn't help but notice that his eyes were wide with terror, face pale and sweating. He scrambled back upright and took off down the hall. More out of habit than anything else, Rose glanced the way he'd come to see what had him running so scared.
She got her breath back just in time to scream.