Felicity was dead. Harrison was alive. Joey was alive. Beloved Leader Leonard was alive.
The Doctor was dying.
He hadn't wanted to tell his people. All through his life he had been blessed with knowledge, knowledge that some men would have killed for. His brain was able to deal with things no mere labourer could comprehend – he was a clever man, a fierce leader, and a good soul.
And he knew when his time was up.
As Bill-Samus went about his orders and tied him against a board, ready for whatever this 'Crystal' had in mind for him, the blood in his veins was slowing down. The salve he had made had fought against his illnesses until it could do no more. Tyler – he thought that was his name, though it had been a long time since anyone called him it – Lost-in-Water, a man who had given all and lost everything, was not afraid of death. He welcomed it with the coolness he had welcomed the war. He believed in God and a paradise beyond their realm, because it helped him sleep at night. He cared little if his beliefs were true. All he knew is that, wherever he was going, he would be with his beloved wife and children, and his Bill-Samus would one day join them in a land where pain meant nothing.
The room around him was dark. Outside, he could tell that the fields were red with blood, hoping in his heart that Joey was still alive and he had made the right choice. His Underground would be safe no matter what the outcome. The children that resided there would rise up in another revolution, a better revolution, and he'd faith that they would succeed where he had failed. All that mattered now was his death; his death, as his heartbeat began to slow and his eyes began to lose their focus, his smile a quiver on his lips when he heard footsteps echo in the air.
"So, you're the famous Doctor?" came a voice made out of pure silk, one that would have made his heart flutter when he was a young man. In his mind he imagined a gorgeous creature, with long black hair flowing around olive-coloured shoulders and ruby red lips, eyes like sapphires staring at him with just a hint of curiousness to them. But his repulsion at her intents made him sneer.
"I suppose I am, miss."
"Such a strange man. You've been tricky to find, haven't you?" he felt her hand brush against his stomach, causing him to shudder.
Despite the reaction, he knew he had to fight back. Whatever Crystal wanted from him, whatever demand she had, he wouldn't give it to her; he'd fought too long and too hard to break so easily. "I'm tricky to find for people who aren't looking."
"And so handsome!" another brush of delicate fingertips, a warm breath against his ear, "Were you married before, Doctor?"
His heart seized up. Lily-Anna's beautiful face drifted into his mind, her voice chiming in the breeze like a thrush and a robin in perfect harmony. The trees themselves would have bent to her will if she sang to them so beautifully. Just by the way his muscles tensed, Crystal's sadistic smile widened.
"What a lucky lady. How many children did she give you?"
His reply was sharp, "Four."
"Where are they?"
"Dead. Three are dead. One's still alive. But because of you people, he'd be better off dead."
Suddenly, a white-hot flash of pain exploded down his side. So intense was the agony that he jolted forward, screaming so loud that it could have woken the dead and brought back his precious children. As Crystal pulled the Taser from his side, all he could feel was the sting of it, and he knew that her sadism was about to grow.
"I have a bit of a problem, Doctor. Think you can help me with it?"
"If you make an appointment, I'm sure I'll be able to fit you in."
"Ooo, sarcasm! Be careful," more pain erupted through his leg, "I think I may just fall in love with you."
That thought repulsed him. Even if the creature he couldn't see was some beautiful, siren-like woman with a figure of the old days, her voice a harp and her eyes an ocean, he couldn't imagine anything worse than having her love him. There would never be another woman like his Lily-Anna. There would never be more children like his boys. His life had been in the past, and now he was running on his dying immortality, just a few more hours left in a world that had taken everything.
"I need you to tell me how you managed to stay hidden. If you don't, I might just have to kill your precious Bill-Samus…"
A shriek sounded in the distance. Even though they had been separated for so long, the Doctor could instantly tell it was his son. Another struggle against the board was fruitless as footsteps marched forward, a man's cries being uttered and silenced, the woman's cackles like a heavy shroud around him.
"Leave him alone!" why did he care? The Doctor knew he would be the one killing Bill-Samus if Crystal didn't; perhaps he felt that it was his job to do it, his burden to bear. All he knew was that his son was being threatened, and he didn't like it.
"You're going to tell me everything I want to know, or I'm going to slice this boy's neck open."
"You're a crazy bitch, Crystal! Let me go! I swear to God, Leonard-"
"Leonard will do everything I ask him to."
"Stop arguing!" the Doctor's voice commanded silence. Crystal looked up at him, shocked out of her own authority for a moment, watching the blindfolded man that was suddenly so powerful. In a moment, her heart fluttered, but only because he was so strong despite the circumstances he found himself in, and she pulled the knife she'd been holding away from her friend's throat.
Bill-Samus looked at the man – his father – with a curious expression. He assessed the way his shoulders were tensed, his mouth an angry slash, and thought about the many ways in which he looked like him.
"You'll do everything I ask, won't you?"
"No." she looked at him with rage in her eyes, "But you're going to kill me before you kill him."