A/N I wanted to make sure I had this out before Saturday. I hope you enjoy the final installment. Please R & R.
Perhaps, the Doctor mused, it was because the Whisper Men lacked eyes that the moon base-like all other structures built by the them-was as stark and unimaginative as any place the Doctor had ever seen (and given his extensive traveling, that was saying something). The walls, floors, and ceilings were all a light grey and the rooms were rather small, with the exception of one. The room the Doctor was in was almost cavernous: large ceilings and a wide open space containing nothing except two small terminals and a black, metal structure, almost spider-like in its appearance. It was in this particular apparatus that the Doctor was held.
"Captivity does not suit you, Doctor" the commander said, almost pleasantly, "It is a simple enough question. What is your name?"
"You still haven't told me yours." The Doctor said hoarsely.
"My name is of no consequence. Can you say the same?"
The Doctor looked exhausted. His breathing was ragged and the rapid beating of his hearts practically rang out in the open room. "If I tell you my name you'll let me go?"
"And Earth. It will be spared."
"Our quarrel is not with you Doctor. It will be under our protection."
"Very well, my name is Stormaggedon, Dark Lord of All." Electricity shot through the Doctor, momentarily stopping both hearts and singeing the tips of his fringe.
"Your resistance in this matter is foolish. We shouldn't be enemies. Need I remind you that we started by offering an alliance?"
"Which I politely declined. Or didn't you get that message? Was my RSVP lost in the mail? I do love carrier pigeons but they can be rubbish at intergalactic routes."
"Regrettably, the task we face is too dire to accepted your refusal. Doctor, the Silence has infected our world the way it once infected Earth. They are a constant and malicious threat and we have been tasked with their defeat. The only thing we know that they fear is your name. There must be great power in it if the Silence cannot bear to have it heard."
"There's always power in names."
"If you share this power with us, we can defeat them for good. Rid the universe of the Silence once and for all."
"I've actually gone down this path, and belief me, genocide really isn't as great as it seems."
"No more stalling, Doctor. What is your name?"
The unnamed commander's question was interrupted by the all too familiar sound of the TARDIS landing. The commander looked up in surprised and completely missed the look of fear and dread that passed over the Doctor's face. By the time his interrogator had turned back to him, the Doctor wore an amused expression. "Looks like you're out of time. Here comes my reinforcements." The Whisper Man scoffed, but there was a slight apprehension has he turned back to the little blue box. The room was silent for the length of a breath and then Clara emerged, head and eyes cast low.
The commander nearly laughed, "This is your reinforcement? An unarmed girl?"
As if on cue River burst through the doors, guns raised, "Well I'm hardly a girl, and I'm most certainly armed." She took a quick glance around at the dozens of Whisper Men lining the room.
The Doctor knew she could take out ten, maybe fifteen before they stopped her, but there was no way she'd get all 34 of them. It was a lost cause, but that had never stopped her before. "River, get Clara out of here now."
"No!" Clara's voice rang through the empty room and reverberated off of the walls. She looked up to meet his eyes and the Doctor's hearts sank. Her eyes were golden orbs. And the glow was beginning to radiate throughout her body, giving her a saintlike aura. Despite the ridiculously fast speed that the Doctor's brain works at, his focus on Clara meant that it took him a moment to notice the silence in the room. And another moment to realize what that meant: River hadn't opened fire. This kind of distraction would have been the perfect opportunity and yet he heard nothing. The Doctor turned back to River only to find her frozen in place, pistols drawn, and a disrupter blast suspended a foot in front of them.
The commander was looking at River as well, when he looked back at Clara there was an uncertainty in his voice bordering on fear, "What are you?"
"I'm his." Clara said, with an almost elevated tone. So unlike her usual chipper demeanor it broke the Doctor's heart.
"Very well then." The commander pulled out a disrupter and aimed it directly at Clara's head. "Answer our question, Doctor, or I kill this strange girl."
"I'd like to see you try," the Doctor said without mirth.
Thinking better of it, the commander shifted slightly until he had the gun pressed against the Doctor's temple. He looked back at Clara, "You travel with him, don't you? You of all people must know."
"You're wasting your time. She doesn't know a thing."
"Of course I do."
"Clara," his eyes were pleading with her. Begging her not to say another word. Begging her to get back on the TARDIS, to find somewhere safe. Although he knew that that option was no longer available. There was no safe for her anymore. Not unless he could save her.
"You want to know the Doctor's name?"
A long string of Gallifreyan syllables flowed melodically from Clara's mouth. Their affect was immediate. Every person and thing in the room started to become translucent. As if they were slowly fading out of existence. "What are you doing?" The commander asked, frantically. "Stop this. Stop this now."
Clara opened her mouth again and seemed to sing the words back to herself. Upon completion, the room and all its occupants regained their corporeal forms.
"What did you do?"
"Names have power. The Doctor sealed the Time War with his name. That seal is broken with the utterance of it. If the Time War continues the universe is forfeit. You and everyone-everything- eases to exist. That is the Doctor's greatest secret. You now know why it can never be answered, but that is not enough. Others will come, others will try, and I want him safe. My Doctor. I could kill you for what you've done to him. Break you into atoms or erase you from time. That would be River's way. But it's not the Doctor's. So instead, you and all of your people will forget. You'll forget the Doctor, and the question, and the power you witnessed here today. You will leave this place and never return, and not a single Whisper Man will ever come near him again."
As if a lever had been switched, all of the Whisper Men, including the commander, abandoned their tasks and filed out of the room. Within moments the sound of a vessel could be heard retreating from the base. "Alright Clara, you did as you said, you came back to save me. Now just get me out of here and we'll go."
"No. There's still something left for me to do."
"You've done enough. You've looked into the time vortex. You've got all that energy flowing through your head and it's going to kill you. Please Clara, let me out so I can take it from you."
"Your life for mine?"
"Seems like a fair trade."
"Not this time, Doctor. All of time and space running through my head. All that is, was, and could be. I knew how this would end the moment I looked into the TARDIS. But don't despair. We will meet again. I spread myself through space and time. A message to lead me here. And people to help you along your way. People to keep you safe. My Doctor. You need to leave this place." She closed her eyes, but by this point the energy had built up so much her skin was shining. Suddenly her eyelids shot open, revealing her beautiful, brown irises. "Run you clever boy and remember." She looked away, seeming to almost take a moment to prepare. "One, two, three." Clara erupted into golden energy, which moved in chaotic spirals, plunging back into the depths of the TARDIS.
River rushed to his side and made short work of his entrapment. The Doctor simply stared in horror at the spot Clara used to occupy. Suddenly he whirled around and grabbed RIver by the shoulders. "Why did you let her look into the TARDIS? Why didn't you stop her?"
"It's worse than that, I'm afraid." The Doctor looked at her and understood. He released her and simply sank to the floor, the top half of his body propped up by the metal apparatus. River sat down beside him. They were silent for a very long time.
"How did you..." but the Doctor figured it out before he even finished his question. "You gave Clara the number for the TARDIS. If you hadn't she never would have met me? She never would have been here? Why did you do it?"
"I had to save you."
"But why her?"
"She's brilliant. Funny. Brave. And of course, pretty. She's perfect for you."
The Doctor was beginning to get mad again, "But of all the people, why did you choose her?"
"Then who did?" the Doctor snapped.
River smiled. It was a weak smile, but a smile none the less. "Spoilers, my love."
The Doctor's anger drained out of him. He turned back to the spot Clara had been standing. Silence enveloped them once again. When River finally broke it, her voice was little more than a whisper, "Will you ever forgive me?"
The Doctor didn't answer for a very long time, but finally he looked at her and took her hand. There was kindness in his eyes, even though the fury and hopelessness had not completely dissipated. "You know what they say, all things in time."
"I prefer what you say, Sweetie. Particularly that 'nothing is ever forgotten, not completely, and if something can be remembered, it can come back.'" She kissed him lightly on his cheek, punched a quick code into her wristband, and vanished, leaving the Doctor alone in the vast, empty room.
After what could have been hours, he picked himself off of the floor and walked into the TARDIS. How big and empty this box felt without Clara there. He ran his hand gingerly over the console. "Big day, huh? Out and about. I'd really prefer it if you didn't take the people I care about for joy rides." He thought of Clara. Of those final moments, when she had seemed like her again. And yet she was almost an echo. Those six words, throughout time and space. Filling the Doctor with guilt and- "I'm so thick!" He whirled around the room, grabs a console panel, and typed in 'RYCBAR123'. The TARDIS landed surprisingly silently and the Doctor raced towards the door. He had no idea what was waiting for him on the other side, but despite everything, he allowed himself to be optimistic as he opened the wooden door.
Clara stood just outside it, "Hello?"
"Hi..." he managed to splutter. He took a step out of the TARDIS and shut the door behind him.
"Who are you?" she asked, bemused.
"Me? I'm the Doctor." He managed to get out. Still too dazed to worry that she didn't remember him.
"Where's River Song?"
"She just stepped into that box a second ago. Said she had to fetch me something. Are you the something?" The Doctor's cheeks burned. "You must be. You blushed. What is it, anyway? A snogging booth?"
"No! Well... uh... I mean... Shut up." Clara laughed, delighted at the affect she could have on this strange man. "So you... you don't know me?"
Clara took a step closer and cupped his face in her hands. She stared up at him with those big, brown eyes. "Nope. Although there is something almost familiar about this chin." She gave it a tug for good measure as she released him.
The Doctor, for his part, was beginning to settle down. Clara always had a calming affect on him, "What's your name?"
"Clara. Clara Oswin. What's yours?"
"I told you, I'm the Doctor."
"That's a title, not a name."
"What's in a name? That which we call a rose... well you know."
Clara stared at him. A curious look on her face. "So you're just a nameless man who spends his time in a blue box."
The Doctor smiled his goofy grin, "That's a surprisingly accurate description."
"Doesn't it get lonely?"
"Why would you say that?"
Clara kind of laugh at herself, "I don't know. You... you strike me as lonely. And I get this feeling, like you never stay still."
"I don't. But it's not a bad life. Better with two. Do you want to come?"
"Into your snog box? With you and River Song?"
The Doctor was too happy, nothing could embarrass him. "Oh I'd expect she's gone by now."
Clara raised an eyebrow, "How's that? There's only one door and we've been standing in front of it."
The Doctor grinned, "It's a mystery. But then again, so are the best things in life. Care to come solve some with me?" He held out his hand and Clara took it without hesitation.