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23 May 2007 @ 06:45 pm
The L World Part 15/16  
The L World
 
This is a crossover between the worlds of Highlander, Stargate SG-1, Buffy, Torchwood and Doctor Who. It’s technically an AU as I have resurrected Richie, and there are three pairings: Duncan/Richie, Methos/Jack Harkness & Xander/Spike.
 
Disclaimer: I don’t own any of the shows involved or any of the characters, and I’m not making any money out of them, I’m just doing this for the love of the shows and the love of Richie. All rights and ownership belong to whoever actually owns them, I’m just having a party in their flat and promise to clean up after myself.
 
Warning: This story contains non-graphic same sex relationships, so don’t read it if that sort of thing offends. There’s also the occasional bit of bad language, but I try to keep it to a minimum (except when Spike’s around).
Rating 15 for violence and language.
 
So here is the penultimate part, we're entering the final stretch now:

15. Lurking in Shadow
 
As the TARDIS barrelled along the time vortex, the passengers inside who had not travelled in her previously were a mixture of excited and terrified. For Sam Carter it was her second trip and she was fascinated by the way the living ship functioned, and she secretly hoped that when all this was over she might take the Doctor up on his offer of travel. She would really love to find out how the ‘old girl’ worked.
 
“Saint Petersburg, August 25th, 2010, 3.23am local time. All ashore who’s going ashore! Next stop, Cardiff.” The Doctor called amiably. The group staggered as the TARDIS came to a stop, clutching onto railings to prevent themselves falling. Angel tentatively went to the door and opened it. Outside it was dark, and snow was falling. They had landed in an alleyway, and the buildings around them looked distinctly Russian to Angel. Relieved, he stepped out and motioned for the rest of his team to follow. The door of the TARDIS closed behind them and she dissolved with the now familiar whorp whorp of her engine.
 
Inside the TARDIS, Sam took Jack aside and asked him, quietly,
“I understand that when I was shot…that I…I was dead and you brought me back. Would you mind if I ask, how?”
“Not at all. I don’t completely understand it myself though. Did the Doctor explain anything about the TARDIS to you?” Although the Doctor had explained some things, Sam shook her head, wanting Jack to continue, “Well she’s alive and that there,” Jack pointed to the console in the middle of the room that the Doctor was currently dancing around, “that is her heart. The heart of the TARDIS is the time vortex that she travels through. A friend of mine took the vortex into herself to save Earth. I had been disintegrated by a Dalek, but she used the vortex to reverse it, to bring me back to life. A little bit of that energy stayed with me. Until I met Methos again, I thought it was that making me immortal.”
“And you passed some of that energy into me when you kissed me.”
“Yep. Like I said I don’t really understand it. I guess the Doctor can explain better.”
“No, thank you, I think you did a great job. And thank you for saving me. I hope Gwen pulls through.”
“So do I.” Jack said, his emotions clear in his wretched tone for a moment before he brightened again. “So, Colonel Carter, are all SGC personnel as attractive as SG-1?” Jack grinned lasciviously and Sam flushed a deep scarlet, but any further flirting was halted by the two of them, along with everyone else, being hurled across the TARDIS.
“Sorry!” came the Doctor’s muffled voice. He had landed in a heap in one corner, his jacket thrown up over his face. He leapt to his feet, his grin broader than ever. “Sorry about that! Right, shall we go and greet our visitor?”
 
Angel and Spike crept silently across the rooftop, and took up their positions watching the square. With their vampiric night-vision they would be able to see anything unusual and alert the others, who had taken up ambush positions around the square. Xander and Giles were positioned on one side, Amanda and Teal’c on the opposite. Each of them carried a modified zat in case the Dalek Emperor did show and both Amanda and Xander had their swords at the ready to challenge the Immortal Goa’uld they knew would come to welcome his lord. The Doctor’s calculations had narrowed the possibilities to a small window of opportunity, so the group only had to wait for two and a half hours. If the Dalek hadn’t shown by then, he was going to arrive in Cardiff and their objective became the Goa’uld.
 
“So, do you think this thing is going to show here?” Amanda asked Teal’c, “Personally I think this Doctor’s a bit of a quack, but Adam seems to trust him, so who am I to judge?” After half an hour of this inane prattle even Teal’c’s limitless patience was worn thin.
“Amanda Darieux?”
“Yes Murray?”
“Do you not think that silence would be the better option when waiting to ambush someone?”
“Sorry Murray, it’s just that I tend to talk when I get nervous, and I’m very nervous right now. I mean, you live a thousand years and you think you’ve seen it all. But then, then you find out that aliens exist and that time travel is possible all in one day? I…oops, sorry.” Amanda covered her mouth and flashed her most apologetic look at Teal’c, who simply returned his gaze to the square.
 
Up on the rooftop, Angel spotted an approaching figure. He nudged Spike, who followed his gaze and nodded. The two stood and jumped, dropping silently to the square below. They ran to join the others, Angel heading for Amanda and Teal’c, Spike for Xander and Giles.
 
“There’s someone coming.” Spike and Xander said in unison.
“How did you…?” Spike asked
“It’s an Immortal.” Xander replied. Spike and Giles nodded and spread out to cover the entrances to the square. They didn’t want their quarry to get away.
Amanda stepped from the shadows and into the middle of the square. She was terrified, but it didn’t show under her usual bravado. She hadn’t fought anyone older than herself for quite a while, hadn’t been challenged at all in two years. She was suddenly very grateful that she’d been teaching Xander and in the process training herself.
 
The Immortal stranger stepped into the square and Amanda saw that he was a slight man, standing an inch or so shorter than herself. She was relieved that he obviously didn’t work out regularly and men almost always underestimated her, she hoped this meant she had the advantage.
 
“I have no time for a challenge tonight woman. I am here on more pressing matters. The time is at hand for my lord’s arrival.” The stranger said, not even bothering to hide his Goa’uld voice. Well, at least we know this is the right Immortal, Amanda mused.
“Tough luck, I came here for a fight. We’re here to stop you and your lord.” Amanda replied with more courage than she actually felt. The others stepped into the light so the Goa’uld could see he had no escape. He looked around the square before bolting in the direction of Giles.
 
“He’s running!” Angel called, giving chase.
“Why do they always run?” Xander asked nobody in particular as he ran across the square. Giles ran toward the Goa’uld and performed a flying rugby tackle, sending them both crashing to the ground. But the Goa’uld recovered quickly, kicking Giles in the head to free himself before jumping to his feet again and running toward the nearest exit from the square. Fortunately, Giles’ efforts enabled Spike and Angel to cover the ground between them and their quarry and they both dived for him, Angel grabbing him by the shoulders and Spike grabbing his knees, sending him crashing to the ground once more.
 
“You’re not going anywhere.” Angel whispered into the Goa’uld’s ear. Xander walked up to them and placed his blade against the captive’s throat.
“Now, you’ve been challenged. Are you gonna accept, or do you want me to execute you now?”
“I accept the challenge.” The Goa’uld grudgingly replied. Angel and Teal’c hoisted him to his feet and escorted him back to Amanda, followed closely by Giles, Spike and Xander.
“You gotta love the old bad cop routine.” Xander beamed.
“You do it well pet.”
“Yeah? Cool. I always wanted to be a cop, like Sipowicz or Cagney and Lacey.” Xander said. Giles and Spike looked at him and then each other before bursting into laughter. Xander smiled at them both, a little confused, and then joined in as he realised what he had said.
 
At that moment, outside Cardiff Museum, six men were arguing over who should challenge the last Goa’uld. It was 11.23pm local time, and a Wednesday, so luckily there were no witnesses to the strange conversation or any of the events to follow.
“I don’t want a double dose of snake-head memories. As the oldest, I think you should do it.”
“Why me? I may be the oldest, but Duncan’s taken more heads. He’s the strongest.”
“Fine, I’ll do it.”
“Why can’t I do it?” Richie chipped in, not really wanting to, but not wanting Duncan to either. It wasn’t that he was afraid he might lose, more that he was afraid of what might happen if he won and the Goa’uld memories overwhelmed him. Shadows of the Dark Quickening lingered in Richie’s memory.
 
Their argument was interrupted by an approaching Immortal. Duncan stepped forward to challenge the newcomer,
“I am Duncan McLeod of the Clan McLeod.” He called, drawing his katana.
“My name is Imhotep.” The Goa’uld said, drawing his own sword, a rapier with an ornate hilt, “I presume you are challenging me?” They closed the distance between them and began to circle each other.
“Imhotep?” Richie asked quietly, “Like in The Mummy?”
“Imhotep was the architect who designed the Step Pyramid of Djoser, the first ever structure made entirely from stone.” Daniel answered, “He was later worshipped by the Egyptians as a god.”
“Figures.” O’Neill sniped.
 
Imhotep made the first move, lunging forward and making several high slashes in quick succession, which Duncan easily parried. Imhotep then pressed forward with a flurry of rapid lunges and swipes that Duncan was again able to easily block. Duncan realised that the ancient Immortal was testing his defences, searching for a weakness. Duncan then went on the offensive, not wanting to give Imhotep the opportunity to find a weakness. He moved with an almost supernatural speed and grace, his centuries of diligent training making man and blade one. Pulling the blade across his chest and forward, followed swiftly by a downward cut, Duncan drew first blood, drawing a deep gash in Imhotep’s thigh. He then raised the katana to eye level, parallel to the ground, to block Imhotep’s next blow, before swinging the blade clockwise and using its momentum to deliver another downstroke, this time connecting with his opponent’s side. Those watching heard bones break as the force of the blow shattered Imhotep’s ribs.
 
The Goa’uld gasped, his eyes flashing with pain and hatred, and he brought his sword up to attack once again. Somehow, despite bleeding profusely, he found the strength to press his attack, and he found a chink in Duncan’s defences. He lunged, piercing Duncan’s stomach. Too late he realised that it was a trap as he felt Duncan’s blade slice across his chest. He staggered backwards, pulling his blade from Duncan, and fell to his knees. He looked up at the raised sword of Duncan MacLeod, poised for the final blow, and his eyes flashed once more. As Duncan delivered the stroke of his sword, he was surprised to see that Imhotep was smiling.
“Meri nebi. Bakeni nefer nebi. Kheper wa.” Imhotep spat in Egyptian before Duncan’s blade severed his head from his neck. In the silence that preceded the Quickening, even though those assembled all understood the speech, Daniel translated Imhotep’s final words,
“I love my lord. I served my lord well. There can be only one.”
 
Sam and the Doctor had been inside the TARDIS modifying the last of the zats, but they arrived in time to witness the Quickening. Despite her time as a Watcher, Sam had not witnessed the power of the Quickening and she was awed as she beheld windows and lamps exploding for a block in every direction. The scientist in her was fascinated by the energy that repeatedly lashed Duncan as though it were a physical thing. The Doctor, on the other hand, observed it all with quiet amusement.
 
When it was finished, Richie ran forward and caught Duncan as he slumped, exhausted, anxiously looking for a sign that he was still Duncan. Duncan looked at him and smiled weakly,
“This seems oddly familiar.” He joked, and Richie smiled and relaxed. As the light from the Quickening died, it was noticed, first by the Doctor, followed by Sam and then the others, that the sky had not gone back to the dark of night. After all the lampposts exploding the night should have been even darker than before, but instead it glowed a warm orange, as though it were nearly sunrise.
 
Meanwhile, in St Petersburg, Amanda was not faring so well against her opponent. She had been managing well initially, but the Goa’uld had brought his pommel down on her sword arm and it had broken with a sickening crack. It now hung loose at her side, which was covered in blood from several nasty gashes. She could barely keep her feet, and unable to properly defend herself, she was soon on her knees, her blade on the floor and her opponent poised to strike.
“Go ahead.” Xander called, “But when her Quickening is over, you’ll feel my blade against your throat, and it’s the last thing you’ll ever feel.” The Goa’uld paused at Xander’s threat, only for a second, but that second was enough for Amanda to pick up her sword from where it lay and thrust it deep into his chest. With one last concerted effort, she pulled it out and got to her feet.
“You fools. You cannot stop us. You cannot prevent my Lord’s return. Everything has come to pass as he foresaw, even this.”
“Yeah? Well did he foresee this?” Amanda said as she swung her sword.
 
The Quickening exploded all around the square, destroying windows and plant pots, setting fire to trees. The lightning struck Amanda again and again and she screamed as the memories and essence of the Immortal and the Goa’uld forced their way into her body. The force of it raised her a few inches from the ground, and she raised her sword high above her head so that it appeared to those observing to act as a lightning rod. She sank back to the floor as the Quickening subsided, collapsing onto the ground. Xander rushed forward to his teacher and held her in his arms. She looked up at him and grinned.
“I’ll be right back.” She breathed hoarsely before dying.
“Umm, I haven’t witnessed a Quickening before, but I’m fairly certain that isn’t supposed to happen.” Giles said. The others looked at him and noted that he was pointing at the sky. Following his finger, they saw that there was a glowing ball of orange light directly above their heads.
 
Back in Cardiff the assembled group stared at the growing ball of light in the sky.
“I think we’ve been set up.” Methos said.
“I think you may be right.” The Doctor concurred, “The Emperor needed the energy from the Quickening to open the doorway. Oh of course!” The Doctor growled, slapping his forehead with his palm. “That’s why he wanted so many Immortals; he needed enough of them to survive to be able to fight each other here and now, to release that energy. We’ve just given him the key to the door.” The light grew stronger and a more vibrant orange until it became hard to look at.
 
In St Petersburg the others watched as the same phenomenon occurred. The light in the night sky was so bright that the square was as bright as day, causing Spike and Angel to throw their arms up against it, before slowly lowering them and staring, blinking, into the light.
“Now that can’t be good, right?” Xander asked. Amanda woke back up with a gasp, which was quickly followed by another as she saw what was above them.
“What the hell is that?” she asked.
 
A dark shadow suddenly appeared in the light and slowly it coalesced, gaining form and colour, becoming clearer, like a photograph being developed. The Dalek came through the tear and back into the space-time continuum.
 
In Cardiff.
 
“Is that him?” Methos asked, “It’s like someone stuck a tube and a sink plunger on the front of a giant pepperpot. I’m somewhat disappointed.”
“You’re not the Emperor!” The Doctor exclaimed, “I’ve met the Emperor of the Daleks. Much bigger chap. Had a rather inflated sense of self-importance. Who are you?”
“I am Dalek Fehr. I am the last of the Daleks, but I shall become Emperor of the new Dalek Empire.” The Dalek’s mechanical voice sounded like a man on the edge of hysteria drowning in treacle.
 
“How did you escape the Time War? Tell me, I must know.”
“You don’t really expect an answer Doctor?” Jack Harkness asked.
“The Doctor! I will tell you nothing Doctor! You will die! I will succeed where all before me have failed! I will kill the Doctor! Exterminate! Exterminate!” The Dalek rotated his body in agitation and pointed the tube at the Doctor. It glowed red briefly before sputtering out.
 
“Yes, well, there’s a bit of a problem there isn’t there, Dalek Fehr?” The Doctor said with a smile, though his eyes showed no humour, “You haven’t got enough juice to light up a Christmas tree at the moment, let alone exterminate anyone.” The Dalek began to trundle towards the assembled group. “Don’t let it touch you! It will use your DNA to regenerate itself.” The Doctor called out as he backed away from the approaching Dalek. Another Dalek, in another time and place, and when the Doctor had been different, had used Rose’s DNA in the same way and the Doctor wasn’t about to make the same mistake twice. The group fanned out, putting as much distance between themselves and it as possible.
 
“Dalek Fehr. I am giving you one last chance. The Time War can end in peace, now. Just swear that you will leave this planet and never return.” The Doctor intoned in his most commanding voice.
“Never! Earth shall become Skaro reborn! The Daleks shall live again! We will conquer this world and then purify the universe! The Doctor will die and the Daleks will win the Time War!” The Dalek screamed in reply.
 
“Can we kill it now?” Jack O’Neill asked. The Doctor looked at him, looking for a moment as though he might lose his resolve and say no. It was one of the most difficult decisions he had ever made, but for the sake of the universe it had to be done. He nodded. Everyone opened fire at once, sending a massive amount of zat energy surging towards the Dalek. It struck, sending purple lightning dancing across the armoured shell.
 
The Dalek stopped in its tracks, letting out what could only have been a scream, but it was distorted by the synthesiser that produced its voice. With a hiss of steam, the shell opened up, revealing a small purple mass of flesh, its single eye staring out in hatred. Tentacles curled and uncurled around levers, writhing in agony.
 
“You would have been a great Dalek.” It was not the first time a Dalek had told the Doctor this and he had to suppress a shudder at the thought, “You have won the Time War Doctor. It is over.”
“Yes Dalek Fehr, it is over. But you’re wrong. Nobody won.” The Doctor’s voice was filled with a sadness and guilt that could not be borne by any other. Of those assembled, perhaps only Methos could come even close to understanding what the Doctor was feeling, but even he, with all the atrocities he had committed, had never done anything as final as the Doctor had. Methos had been responsible for many deaths, but he was not responsible for the destruction of an entire race. The Time War was finally over and the Doctor was the only one left from either side. Both his hearts broke as he thought of Gallifrey and all the friends and family he had lost. He thought too of Rose, who in her own way was a casualty of the Time War, trapped in another reality because of the Daleks. Wordlessly he turned and walked back into the TARDIS.
 
A second later he popped his head back out, his near permanent grin restored to its rightful place.
“Are you lot coming?” he asked.
“Are we just going to leave a dead Dalek in the middle of Cardiff?” Richie asked.
“No. I’ll remember the date and time and the Torchwood team can come and fetch it.” Jack replied. “In fact, I think that’s us there.” He pointed to an approaching four by four. “Come on, things never end well when you cross your own timeline.”
The others all headed into the TARDIS, but Ianto lingered.
“But sir…Gwen…”
“No Ianto. Whatever the answer is, we can’t change it. You’re better off not knowing. Come on.” With that they joined the others inside. The TARDIS vanished just as the black SUV pulled up and the Torchwood team began their cleanup.
 
The L World Will Conclude in Part 16:Last Orders