The Eloquence of Angels
Fandom: Doctor Who (classic series meets new series)
Characters: The Fourth Doctor, Leela, K9 and the Weeping Angels
Disclaimer: The BBC then, the BBC now. I am not the BBC, then or now.
Author's Note: So I decided to write a 'how the Doctor first met the Weeping Angels' story, which became a Fourth Doctor story because I can never not write the Fourth Doctor if I have a chance to, which became a Fourth Doctor and Leela story because I love Leela about as much as I love the Fourth Doctor, and then became a Fourth Doctor, Leela and K9 story because ... well, because K9. The title comes from a quote from Charles Caleb Coulton ("Were we as eloquent as angels we still would please people much more by listening rather than talking.") - which is slightly ironic, since I think if there is anyone this quote would never apply to, it is the Fourth Doctor. Feedback and con-crit welcome and gratefully received. Enjoy!
Summary: The Doctor wouldn't normally have a conversation with a statue - but then, he's never met one that moves before.
The statue of the angel had outstretched fingers, which were only a few inches away from the Doctor's face. They were, he mused, really quite pointy.
"Now," he mused thoughtfully, his voice a deep rumble, wide eyes fixed on the statue's face, which was locked in a snarl of insane rage and hatred and hunger, "you're certainly quite interesting, aren't you?"
The statue didn't respond. That in itself wasn't entirely unexpected, since in the Doctor's experience statues didn't tend to talk at the best of times. They also didn't tend to move, though, which was the very interesting part, since the Doctor could have sworn that this very same statue had been standing in the corner of the crypt just a few moments ago. Well, crouching, really, forever locked into a pose of perpetual grief and mourning, hands covering it's face in anguish. As if it was weeping.
And then he'd turned his back on it, just to give the contents of the Bathurst family crypt a brief, cursory scan. Nothing out of the ordinary for a crypt, really, all cobwebs and must and the melancholy air of the long dead and abandoned.
And then he'd turned back, and what he saw was very much out of the ordinary. Apparently, the statue was not so forever locked in the same pose as he'd previously assumed.
Interesting things indeed were afoot in the Bathurst family home.
Not looking away from the statue's face, the Doctor reached into a pocket of his heavy grey overcoat, rummaged around, before producing a dog whistle and a crumpled paper bag of jelly babies. Almost absently, he put the dog whistle in his mouth and blew on it a couple of times before dropping it back into the pocket. Then, he thoughtfully took an orange jelly baby and popped it in his mouth, before remembering his manners and offering the bag. "I don't suppose you...?"
"No, of course not. I don't suppose you have much care for jelly babies, you statues. You don't really seem the type. Or for food in general, really, I suppose."
Again, silence. Just the frozen, insane anger on the statue's face, and the sharp pointed teeth locked in a never-ending scream.
"But then, before I met you, I could also have sworn that you statues weren't really the moving type, either. So that's one preconception challenged, no harm in challenging another one. Perhaps you do have a fancy for them?"
The Doctor grinned, a huge, wide, toothy grin as he returned the jelly babies to his pocket. Oh, he loved grinning in this body. "Definitely not the talking type, I see. Never mind. I can do plenty of that for both of us."
No signs of life whatsoever. Nothing to indicate that it was anything more than what it was. If he didn't know better, the Doctor would have thought he was just having a conversation with a statue. It's eyes were blank, empty, smooth and featureless. Perfect eyes for a staring contest. The Doctor was good at staring contests, but he had the distinct impression trying it with this opponent would be a spectacularly bad idea.
"You know, it's really quite clever. Some kind of quantum lock, I presume? Bet you'd be as quick as a greyhound if I wasn't looking at you. At least as quick as that."
The Doctor widened his eyes in mock surprise, as if the statue had responded.
"What, quicker? Than a greyhound?"
He shrugged with his face.
"That is rather quick. But when I am looking at you..." He reached out, tapped on the statue's head with a fist. The Doctor got the distinct impression the statue didn't care for that, so he did it again. " ... Nothing. Dead as a doornail. or a doormat. Or a dormouse, one of those three. Even a greyhound could outrun you when you're like this. Or a doornail, mat and mouse."
There was a bit of an ache in his back. Rather inconvenient, really, being sandwiched against the Bathurst family tomb like this, with a statue that could easily outrun a greyhound glaring at him easily in reach. He felt distinctly pinned.
"You know," the Doctor said conversationally, "it's been a most unusual day, this. At least, I assume it would be for anyone if you weren't me. Began quite promisingly, too. Thought to myself, '1920s Earth, Doctor, what could possibly go wrong? Lovely time and place to show Leela' - Leela, she's my friend, you know, lovely girl, likes knives. You probably wouldn't like her, I'm quite certain she wouldn't like you - but then when I get here, lots of people disappearing. Out of thin air, as if they never where. One by one. Like an Agatha Christie novel, I suppose, which reminds me, I simply must give her the idea some day. If ever I bump in to her. I usually do. Bump into people, that is."
He looks right at the statue's eyes, for just a moment. Nothing there, of course, but just for a moment, the Doctor fancies he sees malevolence in that nothingness.
"Don't suppose you'd happen to know anything about that, would you?" the Doctor asked, quietly. Again no response. "I just ask, you understand, because I'm almost certain that you do. It would be rather a coincidence otherwise, I'm sure you'd agree.
"And, well, you might not be the jelly baby type," and here the Doctor's wide eyes, normally so jolly and friendly and cheerful, began to burn themselves, "but that doesn't mean you're not the eating type. Even if you are a statue. After all, quicker than a greyhound, you have to get all that energy somehow. You'd need a lot of jelly babies."
He paused for a moment, really quite dramatically. He was good at being dramatic in this body.
"Or people.," he concluded.
No response. But the Doctor was increasingly certain he didn't need one.
"But the bodies, though," the Doctor continued idly, "that's the troubling part. Thing is, you simply can't kill a dinner party full of people off without leaving something behind. Specifically, bodies. At least, I assume so. I've never killed a dinner party full of people before myself, before, although I have been to some terribly boring dinner parties."
No response. This statue really was dreadful company, the Doctor decided. Terrible at conversations. He'd fit right in at a boring dinner party.
Except for the 'killing the other guests' part, but then, the Doctor had also been to some terribly interesting dinner parties. Such as this one.
"So what do you do with them? Vanish them into thin air? Disintegrate them? Or do you send them somewhere?"
The statue's fingers hadn't moved, but they suddenly seemed just a little bit closer. The Doctor's eyes were beginning to itch.
"I wonder," the Doctor mused thoughtfully, "what would happen if I were to blink? Just ever so quickly."
From the look on the statue's face, he was willing to wager a packet of jelly babies it wouldn't be anything good. For him, anyway.
The Doctor's grin returned, huge with relief. "Fortunately for me," he boomed, "I have big eyes and lots of friends."
"Leela. Just who I wanted to see. You wouldn't mind quickly coming in here and looking at this statue for me, would you?"
A girl appeared at the doorway, a wild gleam in her eyes despite the Victorian-style dress she wore. It had seen better days; it was in rags, frankly, although most of the tearing seemed quite recent, and self-inflicted. She brandished a knife as she cautiously entered the crypt; the brief look of relief on her face as she saw the Doctor dissipated instantly as she saw the statue, at which point she froze in a combat position.
"What is that, Doctor?" she hissed.
"A statue, Leela," the Doctor replied absently, as he slowly began to disengage himself from the statue's near-embrace. "And not a very good one at that. Frankly, the chiseling leaves a lot to be desired. Be a good girl and keep an eye on it for me, would you? And do try not to blink until K9 gets here."
"I do not think I like this statue, Doctor."
"No, I didn't think you would," he replied cheerfully. "I was just telling him that, actually. Sadly, I'm sure the feeling's mutual."
"It's evil," she declared authoritatively, knife still outstretched.
"Well, I think that's a bit harsh; it's amateurish, certainly, but as chiseling goes..."
"The statue, Doctor," Leela replied. "Can't you feel it? It's soaked in death."
"Ah." The Doctor looked at it closer, as if he hadn't considered that, shrugged with his face again. "I see what you mean, actually. Although you do tend to get a lot of these sort of chaps in graveyards and tombs, you know. People seem to like them there. Although I'm starting to wonder whether it's a chicken and egg situation."
Leela frowned, puzzled. "Chicken and..."
"Chicken and egg, Leela. As in 'which one came first'. Did the angel come to the graveyard, or did the graveyard come to the angel..."
"You are not making sense, Doctor."
"No, I very rarely seem to," he agreed.
"Why's it not moving?"
"Yes, he is a bit of a stationary character, isn't he? Hasn't moved a muscle since I set eyes on him. Not sure he can move if someone's looking at him, for that matter, and incidentally, you're doing a bang-up job of that, Leela. Fancy a staring contest when this is all done? I'm rather good at those..."
Slowly, without taking her eyes off the statue, Leela raised her knife with a warrior's poise and confidence, ready to throw at a moment's instruction. "I have a clear aim at the creature's neck, Doctor. Give me the word and I shall strike, put it down before it even has time to
The Doctor, who was in the middle of crawling between between the angel's arm and it's knee, looked up at her thoughtfully. "I wouldn't be too sure about that," he began, "and normally, I'd have some very strong words for you for suggesting that, but to be honest, I'm not sure it would do any good anyway. That's the clever thing about stone; it can't be stabbed. Or shot, or strangled, or any number of ways you might think to kill someone. Can't even blow it up, because it just becomes smaller bits of stone. Which I think is partly the point."
The Doctor had managed to extract himself, but before he began to walk off he felt his scarf begin tighten around his neck. Turning back, he noticed for the first time the statue's hand clenched around a handful of the lengthy multicoloured wool. He scowled, and began to loosen it from around his neck. "Now, none of that. You get your own scarf."
He began to slide his scarf through the hands of the statue; the grip was tight, but not tight enough to prevent him from sliding it through.
"Doctor," Leela whispered urgently, "I am not certain how much longer I can keep looking at it."
"Well, you're doing a cracking job so far, Leela," the Doctor muttered as he slid more of the scarf through the statue's hand. "Just another minute or so. Is K9 far behind you? Best not challenge him to the staring contest; he'd beat both of us, and be insufferable about it as well."
"What will happen if I take my eyes from it?"
"If you do, Leela, it will move. And what happens after that, I'm not certain, but I'm pretty sure nothing good. Our friend here seems rather too touchy for my tastes."
"But it's made of stone, it surely can't move that fast!"
"You'd be surprised, Leela. It's only stone when we're looking at it. But if we're not looking at it..." The Doctor managed to extract his scarf, and began to walk backwards, not taking his eyes off the statue. "Don't turn your back. Don't turn away from it. Don't let it out of your sight for a minute."
"It strikes from behind, then. When it's opponent cannot see to challenge it." Leela's lip curled into a grim sneer. "Not a true warrior, then."
"Definitely not that, Leela. If nothing else, I have a sneaky suspicion I know what happened to our fellow dinner guests."
"It hunts them. It cowers in the shadows and strikes them down when they least suspect."
"Quite so. Our dinner companions, I'm rather afraid, have just become that chap's dinner."
"Then where are the remains?"
"That's what I'm trying to work out, although I do have my suspicions."
"Doctor, I feel I need to blink." Leela's eyes were wide, and growing wet with the strain. Tricky thing about humans; they weren't quite as good at staring contests as Time Lords. "Help me."
"Just another minute, Leela, just have to wait for..."
The Doctor didn't risk turning around at the whirring of tiny robotic engines behind him, but he exhaled in relief. "K9, you really need to work on answering my signals before the nick of time."
"Neg-a-tive, Mas-ter. This unit cal-cu-lat-ed the op-ti-mum route to an-swer the Mas-ter's sig-nal to ex-act-ly five-point-nine-one-two-seven-four..."
"Not the time, K9. Do us both a favour and keep looking at that chap. The stone one, over there."
"Leela, you help me with these doors." Freed from having to look at the statue, the Doctor began fiddling with the heavy stone doors of the tomb, kept open - in theory - so that the Bathurst family had free access to grieve their ancestors whenever the fancy took them.
"Will they contain it, Doctor?"
"Not for long, I don't think, but long enough to let us beat a swift retreat."
"Retreat? Surely we must stay and offer challenge to this creature! It is drenched in evil..."
"Yes, you mentioned that, Leela. But still, like I said to old Sun Tzu, sometimes the best offense is a strong defense. He would insist on getting it the wrong way round when he wrote it down, though."
"Wrote what down?"
"A book about the art of war, Leela. You'd probably like it, once we get that literacy of yours a little bit better." The Doctor grinned. "Now, I will have to take you to meet him, someday. Perhaps after our staring contest. You'd like him. Very fond of apples, he was. Point being, sometimes you're in a better position to fight someone if you run very far away from them first."
"We shall regroup, then," Leela declared, looking around the tomb, noting the statues with particular suspicion. "Return to the house, and martial what remains of the survivors to mount a defense against these creatures."
The Doctor's grin grew bigger. "Yes," he echoed. "he'd definitely like you. But for now, let's get these doors closed. K9, you'd better reverse out of there, but don't take your eyes off our friend. Don't want you trapped in there; no telling how you'd end up. Or where you'd end up, for that matter. Or when."
K9 began to reverse, his gears making a tiny whirr as he retreated across the stone floor as quickly as he could. As soon as he was out, still facing the frozen, immobile statue across the crypt, Leela and the Doctor began to shove the doors closed as K9's bright red gaze remained fixed on the statue.
"Incidentally, Leela, the dress."
"What of it?"
"It's looking distinctly ragged. Almost as if you'd been cutting bits off it. I mean, I actually gather you do that with dresses, but not like that."
"I told you, Doctor, that it was impractical."
"Yes, well, Victoria was rather fond of that dress. I shan't be able to face her if she finds out what you've done to it."
"Then this Victoria clearly has understanding of the necessities of life as a warrior."
The Doctor grinned. "Yes, well, that she certainly didn't have, I'll grant you that. Anyway, almost there; you?"
"It is... it is difficult, Doctor." Leela grunted, straining against the stone. It squeaked loudly against the stone floor of the crypt. "But not impossible."
With the last of their energies, they shoved the large slabs together, closing the crypt off. No sooner had they done so than a tremendous pounding from inside against the doors could be heard. Leela jumped back, startled despite herself. "What?!" she cried in disbelief.
"Mas-ter," K9 chirruped, "my sensors are de-tect-ing a sing-u-lar life-form within the hu-man car-cass stor-age fa-cil-i-ty. No life-forms were pre-vi-ous-ly de-tect-ed."
"But ... it was stone! We all saw it! How could it come to life so fast?!"
"Yes," the Doctor murmured. "Rather quick, isn't it? Sounds rather strong as well. We should get back to the house, sharpish. Should also keep an eye out for statues. Especially if they happen to look like angels."
As they began to set off, the Doctor suddenly paused. As Leela and K9 watched, he began rummaging through his pockets before, with a triumphant grin, he produced the bag of jelly babies. He took out a green one and gently placed it in front of the door. As if it could sense he was there, the pounding seemed to be getting louder and angrier by the second.
Leela stared at him, bewildered. K9 just stared.
"Just in case," the Doctor grinned. "You never know."
Then, he led his friends back to the house.
The next morning, when nothing was left but bizarre stories of angels and the fading sounds of a blue police telephone box noisily dematerializing into thin air, a groundskeeper arrived at the now empty manor house only to find the old Bathurst crypt in ruins, the mighty stone doors knocked out of the frame and crushed into rubble as if by some mighty hand.
The jelly baby remained, a tiny speck of green amidst the grey dust of the rubble, but the statue had disappeared, never to be seen again.