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Pony POV Series
Recursive Fiction

Dark World Doctor Whooves:
"The Weight of the Universe"

Written by OracleMask

Almost reluctantly, the Doctor pushed away the giddy feeling of relief.  At this point, he honestly felt like he'd be in hysterics if he showed so much as a hint of that feeling.  The faces he was seeing, the burning ache deep inside his...his everything where the Valeyard had was a bit much.  Well, in a sense this whole scenario was completely impossible.  Wondrously, deliriously impossible...annnd the Doctor shook his head, trying to dislodge this train of thought before it got round to being pathetic.  Instead, he took another look at his unexpected and highly implausible rescue party.

“What are you two even doing here?” the Doctor  asked. “...Never did get an answer on where 'here' is myself.  Still!”

“Don't be so dramatic, it's just the limbo between life and death,” the Master replied, waving a hoof airily, “Personally I prefer the one from the last universe – it had a proper bar.  With these gargle-blasters you could just die for.”

Sparkler sighed, sounding weary.

“Will you please stop saying things like that?” she grumbled, “You might be used to this kind of stuff, but I'm not.  And even if we are in a place like that, I don't know what I'm doing here.  The last thing I remember is -”

Sparkler cut herself off abruptly, shuddering.  It didn't take a Time Lord to know what she was referring to.  The Doctor could almost see that poor crystal statue right before him, perfectly poised as it – as she – spun and twirled and sparked in an empty, never-ending dance.  The poise would change between iterations, but it was the same cruel fate every time.

Wait, the Doctor realized.  How did he know that?  That wasn't...his...

...Shuddering a little himself now, the Doctor pushed that intrusive thought to the side and hoped it went away.  He hadn't made it through the Valeyard's attempted assimilation unscathed after all: there were little bits and fragments of memories, thoughts, and ideas left behind.  Given time, the Doctor could integrate the new information.  And if he didn't pick up any more of the little blighters, his mental identity wouldn't be compromised.

If, if, if.

The Master looked from one face to the other, and snorted.

“Could you two be any more depressing?  You're no fun at all.”

“No fun?  How can you be so cheerful at a time like this?!” Sparkler shot back.

“Oh, that's easy.  I'm dead and I know it,” the Master replied with a shrug, “It happens to the best of us.  And even though I. Hate. It. -”

One of the Master's eyes developed a momentary, violent twitch.

“I can take pride in that at least I've never been dumb enough to try that.”

The Master pointed past them, to where the Valeyard was struggling up to his hooves.  He was still twice the size he should have been, and his colors had changed further – darkening from what had been a deep shade of brown down to a pitch black.  The Valeyard glared at them, eyes nearly dripping with rage.

'You fools, I was so CLOSE -'

Hiding a wince, the Doctor tried to bury the foreign thread of irritation that tried to come to his attention.  He had to think his own thoughts if he was going to make it out of this as himself!

“Wait, no, I'm lying,” the Master said, sounding amused again, “I did use a memory engram once.  He went bonkers too.”

This time it was the Valeyard who snorted.

“Calling me crazy?  This coming from the one-pony drum line?  Ha!” the Valeyard said.

The Valeyard took a step forward.  Involuntarily, the Doctor took a step backwards.  No chance he was letting the Valeyard lay a hoof on him, not when he could still feel a faint burning impression of those hooves inside his chest!  To his surprise, Sparkler and the Master each took steps of their own, filling in the gap before the Valeyard could more than raise a hoof for his second step.

“Well this is...different,” the Valeyard noted, putting the hoof back down and looking honestly puzzled, “Can't say I saw this coming.  You two plan on protecting him from me?  When I know for a fact that both of you utterly despise him?”

“True,” the Master replied, nodding, “Still, I'd rather have his sanctimonious drivel to contend with if the alternative is you.  Almost a shame...that there's not enough room in the universe for two devilishly handsome and ingenious megalomaniacs of our caliber.”

Abruptly, the Master's expression turned dark.

“And after what you did to my followers after I died?  When you know all the work I put in to get them ready for me?  Don't be dense, Trashyard, you knew this was coming.”

“Oh, is someone upset that they're stuck being dead?  You knew perfectly well that I would have kept reviving you with my spare lives once yours were gone if you'd only behaved yourself,” the Valeyard retorted.

He mock-pouted, before adding, “But you didn't want to be the test subject for my little experiment.  I'm sure we almost had that good persona out of you too!  And if you didn't want me snatching up your little cult, you should have hidden them better.  You were asking for me to kill them all!

The Master's expression darkened even further.  The Valeyard grinned.

“Then again, I imagine it must've been difficult planning things, what with having to work through your little...impediment,” the Valeyard snickered, “How long did it take the drums to pop up again?  A day?  An hour?  And the only pony that you'd risk begging help from was already one of Discord's new lawn ornaments!  Poor little Master.”

“How did you -?!”

“I didn't actually know 'til just now, of course,” the Valeyard sniggered, “You're too easy to read, old friend.”

There was a sound rather like teeth grinding together.  Sparkler hesitantly reached out with her hoof and nudged the Master's shoulder, and the sound quickly stopped.  Watching from behind, the Doctor once again took note of how surreal this all was.  Assuming all three of them made it to the end, the Doctor just had to ask how Sparkler and the Master had decided to team up.

“We're not listening to you any more,” Sparkler said to the Valeyard, “You're not going to get through us that easily, you monster!”

“Monster?  I must have missed it when I grew all those scales and fangs,” the Valeyard said drily, “Last time I checked, I was a unicorn.  A much more brilliant and powerful unicorn that you, I might add.  Now then, I would rather strongly suggest you run along and let the big ponies finish their talk.”

“No way,” Sparkler retorted, stomping a hoof, “Maybe I'm not one of you weird Time Lord ponies, but I know one thing for sure: if you get your flanks kicked here, you're never getting anywhere near my mom again.  You think I'd step aside and let you get another chance to hurt her?”

“What a brave and selfless little pony you are,” the Valeyard sighed, rolling his eyes and yawning, “How cliché can you get?  Interesting to see that that retarded brain of your mother's runs in the family, but at least yours won't be bothering me much longer.”

“My mom's not retarded!


The Doctor – who'd been keeping an eye on the Valeyard for any signs of incoming magic – spotted the spell just as the red glow formed on the other Time Lord's horn.  There was no chance at all that that spell would be anything but bad news!  The Doctor managed to shove Sparkler out of harm's way just as the red beam of light lanced out.

And the Doctor screamed!

The magic rippled across his body in crackling waves of PAIN.  Not some instant-death spell at all, not this!  How could it possibly be, this horrible thing that sliced open every single nerve ending with red-hot razor blades and poured undiluted AGONY into every fiber of his being?!  Regeneration was a tickle compared to this!  A hundred thousand deaths at Discord's hands was a friendly pat on the back!

Suddenly the hideous pain subsided, and the Doctor's sense of the world around him slowly returned.  The Doctor had fallen, the brief pain of impact with the ground lost in overwhelming agony of the pain spell.  His muscles were still twitching here and there, not quite understanding that they were free to relax, that the magical PAIN was gone.  Where did it go?

Looking up, the Doctor saw the Valeyard rearing and dodging as Sparkler charged him from the side.  It hadn't taken the Doctor's warning for the canny Time Lord's sense of self-preservation to kick in, and the Valeyard had been forced to cancel the pain spell so he could defend himself.  Sparkler had minimal practical experience, but the Master wasn't that far behind her and the Valeyard already knew what the Master was capable of.

Still, it didn't take long for the Valeyard to get enough breathing room in for him to magically launch a retaliatory blast of wind, one which sent the Master and Sparkler flying off.

This left the Doctor to face the Valeyard alone once more...only now with the Doctor fighting to stand on weak and wobbly legs as the Valeyard strolled casually over.  Exactly, the Doctor bitterly noted, as the Valeyard wanted.

“How predictable you are,” the Valeyard said, smirking, “All I have to do is aim for someone else, anyone else, and there you are!  Dashing in to take the blow!  Do you enjoy dying that much?  Or is it the pain?  Perhaps you're a masochist under all that bluster...just begging for someone to reach in there and hurt you.

Again, the Valeyard's horn flared with red light.  The Doctor managed all of a single, staggering step before the world dissolved back into PAIN.  It roared in his ears, boiled in the back of his eyes, and slithered through his veins like acid.  He could feel it worming its way deep into his bones...

And the pain ended, again.  It took the Doctor a little longer to bring the world around him into focus this time, which was a bad sign.  His body here wasn't technically real, but his mind certainly was!  The longer the Valeyard got to blast him full of PAIN, the more strain it was for the Doctor to hold himself together.

Too much torture and he'd be left a drooling vegetable...wait, that was a book.  Err...but still!  It was clearly not leading to sunshine and rainbows in any case!

“Did you know that one of our early versions came up with this spell?” came the Valeyard's voice.

Belatedly, the Doctor realized that the Valeyard was standing directly over him.  A lance of terror shot up the Doctor's spine, but he couldn't make his hooves to more than uselessly flail about.  He was well and truly cornered now, and the Valeyard was taking full advantage of the Doctor's helplessness at him.

“He was a bit upset regarding the whole 'repeatedly murdering you' thing Discord put him through.  Even I'm not sure if the stupid menagerie managed to get himself a proper Valeyard out of that one,” the Valeyard continued, “He just kept killing you and killing you, over and over and OVER again, until finally you snapped – and OH, did you ever SNAP!”

The Valeyard chuckled fondly.

“Hardly any time to enjoy your new-found lack of morality before She Who Walks Behind The Rows stuck her hoof in, but at least you had the sense to store the spell in the TARDIS before turning into Time Lord flambe.  As you can see, I'm going to be finding it dead useful.”

The Valeyard's smile at this thought was beatific.

The Doctor felt his insides threatening to make a run for it.

“Ah, that's enough sentiment to be going on with, don't you think?” the Valeyard said, that smile turning predatory, “I've got a whole universe just waiting for me to bend it to my will!  Time for the fun and games to come to an – OH COME ON!”

The Valeyard jumped backwards as a purple blur rushed to intercept him – Sparkler!

“You – again with this?  What do I have to do to convince you sod off?!” the blackened Time Lord snarled.

As he pulled his sluggish legs in underneath him, the Doctor had to admit that Sparkler had an interesting style.  It was surprisingly graceful how she was flailing about.  The fact that every wild swing was sparkling made less sense, until the Valeyard had backed off far enough that Sparkler came to a stop.  That was when the Doctor saw how all four of Sparkler's legs had taken a suspiciously crystalline sheen.


Realization sunk in, and the Doctor winced.  Oh, Sparkler...

Sparkler was breathing painfully hard, well more than she needed to even after that frantic display, and the unicorn was very carefully not looking down.  The Doctor's hearts went to her.  This was...

“Oh?  What's this?”

The Valeyard hadn't missed any of the signs either.  His expression morphed from irritation and frustration into a wicked delight.

“Are we having some trouble coping?” the Valeyard exclaimed, not even trying to hide his mockery, “What a shame!  Your special talent was the only thing that made you more than the pitiable daughter of the village idiot, and now just look at you!  Terrified of your own little trick.  How adorably pathetic.”

“Shut,” Sparkler managed around her breathless gasps, “Up!  I can still – kick your flanks – with it!”

“Sure you can,” the Valeyard replied, “Just magic up some nice crystal swords, we'll have a little duel – are you done yet, you useless nag?  Unless your plan is to bore me to death – which would be daringly original, I'll give you that – there's no way you can win against me.  Go sit in the corner and wait, I'll have your mum with you soon enough.”

Eyes narrowing, Sparkler lowered her head to point her horn at the Valeyard.  She pawed at the ground with one of her crystal-covered hooves and braced herself to charge.

“...You're kidding.  You're kidding, right?”

“Maybe,” Sparkler said, head suddenly up again, “But you're the one who can't count to four.”

The Valeyard mouthed the word 'four'.  Then his eyes went wide, and he turned his head just as the Master slammed into him from behind.  Unlike Sparkler, the Master had plenty of fighting experience – even if that Time Lord had always favored mental arts over physical ones – and the Valeyard was caught completely flat-hoofed.

More tellingly, seeing the Master body-check the Valeyard and send the black unicorn flying into the ground made the Doctor think of something.  He looked down at his own self: there were several blackened marks on his body still.  Painful marks from where the Doctor had struck the Valeyard, or where the Valeyard had struck him.  And even the slightest contact let the Valeyard – or, more correctly, the Valeyard's Memory Program...ugh, wasn't there a better name to use?  Maybe...'Valegram'?  Ooh, that was good! – physical contact let the Valegram begin downloading himself into the Doctor.  But there were none of those marks on the Master.

As Sparkler turned and helped him back to his hooves, the Doctor took note of her crystal-covered legs again.  Was that really a covering?  Up close, it looked more like her legs were solid crystal.  Which sadly fit with the state the Doctor had last seen her in...Sparkler noticed what he was looking at, and glared at him.

The Doctor decided to go back to watching how the Master over there fighting instead, only to see the blue Time Lord come crashing down at their hooves.  Well, that was short-lived.

“...Oh yeah...I always was the more physical one,” the Doctor noted.

“Shut up,” the Master grumbled, scrambling up, “It'll be your turn soon enough.”

“His turn – but you said...” Sparkler trailed off.

“I lied.  I do that a lot,” the Master said, turning to face Sparkler, “Listen carefully: I'm dead, this isn't my engram, and you're a pony.  The best we can do is delay that thing.  It's up to this dummy -”

“Oi!” the Doctor yelped as the Master, without looking, reached out a hoof and smacked him upside the head.

“- to clean up after himself,” the Master finished without missing a beat.

“Yeah, love you too,” the Doctor muttered through gritted teeth as he rubbed his head, “Wait, you expect me to – against that?!

What, exactly, did the Master think the Doctor could do?  He'd already tried the one-on-one thing, and the Valegram had laughed it off!  The Doctor would've ceased existing ages ago if the Master and Sparkler hadn't come rushing in, and now they were supposed to leave him to face that – that thing that wanted to eat him and wear his face all by himself?!

Who said you were alone?

And nothing that those other hims could say would sway him on the matter!

...Hang on.

The Doctor looked over to where the Valegram was stumbling on his hooves.  A few blows to the head had left the blackened Time Lord dazed, but that wouldn't last long.  And it was certain that the Master and Sparkler's surprise tactics wouldn't work a second time.  After all, even if it wasn't really the Valeyard, the Valeyard had programmed the Valegram himself.

The Doctor had met the real Valeyard in person only the one time, but even that experience much told him that his evil self had an unhealthy love for plots within plans within schemes...which left some options for creative opponents.

“Right,” the Doctor said, smiling, “I'll give it a go, shall I?”

“Wait, what are you -”

The Master didn't get any further, because the Doctor charged at the Valegram.  His legs were still stiff after everything, but the Doctor could make them work.  He was the champion of running!  Most importantly, the Valegram was equally surprised by this turn of events, because he just stood there and watched as the Doctor rushed at him.

It was only a few seconds before impact that the Valegram's expression went from bemused to shocked – that was the time he noticed that the Doctor wasn't going to stop - !


Pushing his body against – and very slowly INTO the Valegram's – the Doctor couldn't help but scream himself.  He was on FIRE, he was burning OUT from the INSIDE, he could feel all of his EVERYTHING tearing apart, ripping itself into tiNy pIEceS – n – no!  He had to hold on!  He was still him – still himself!  He had to go...just...a little...FARTHER – !

And all the way down...he could feel it.  The mechanical interface locked around his head, the pulse of the TARDIS matrix close by, and...and...the Doctor could hear the sound of pain.  Back in the physical world an endless, hideous shriek echoed through the TARDIS – that was the Doctor's body, mindless and trapped in the moment of regeneration, unable to finish the change or die.

The Doctor managed to focus on the interface for a moment – before suddenly the world washed out into white around him.  When he came back to himself (he'd...fainted?), the Doctor was once again sprawled out in that endless white void.  The whole front half of his body felt like he'd been bathing and breathing in hot tar, whereas the rest of him...the Doctor couldn't feel the rest of him.

Sparkler and the Master were standing over him again.  Both of them looked completely horrified.

“Exactly what part of anything I said sounded like 'commit suicide', you idiot?!” the Master yelled.


That growl came from the Valegram, who was standing none too far away.  The Valegram was obviously confused, but his expression showed a new emotion, one that the Valegram hadn't shown so much as a hint of since he and the Doctor had first arrived in this place.


“You...what was that supposed to be?!” the Valegram's voice was shaky, even as he began regaining his composure, “Trying to assimilate me instead?  An...unusual tactic, I must admit.  I applaud you for surprising me one last time, but your desperate plot was too little, too late.”

“Plotting, planning...” the Doctor rasped out (blimey, his throat hurt from all the screaming), “I never was much for that...I just remembered something is all.”


“That you're just a copy of the Valeyard,” the Doctor answered, smiling again, “And where your program is being stored.”

The Valegram growled...then shuddered, his eyes going wide.  Suddenly, tiny spots of golden light appeared all over his body.  He startled, trying to shake them off, but the spots ignored the blackened Time Lord's actions and began to spread.  And as the light began to spread, the glowing portions of the Valegram began to crack.

“No,” whispered the Valegram.

Hohyes!” the Doctor laughed.

“!  No no no no!  You can't do this to me!”

Even as the Valegram howled, the glow continued to spread over him.  Large portions of his body were glowing bright gold now, and the cracking spread over him.

“Oh don't put up such a fuss,” the Doctor sighed, “Show some dignity.  The real Valeyard wouldn't throw a fit like that!”

“I AM the real Valeyard!”

Now all of the Valegram was glowing, and the Time Lord program...fell apart.  It was a macabre parody of regeneration, and out of the corner of his eye, the Doctor could see the Master just as transfixed by the sight as he himself was.  Really...the sight of the light that should bring life instead destroying was disturbing.

With that final, desperate cry, the Valegram's form collapsed into a pile of dust.  The glow faded, and the black ash dissolved away to smoke, and then nothing.

Unable to resist, the Master leaned over and sniffed at the smoke.

“...Smells like pears and sulfur,” the Master opined.

There was a long quiet moment.  Sparkler broke the quiet by sinking down on her haunches and sighing loudly.

“That was insane!  I knew you were crazy,” she said, pointing at the Doctor, “But I thought maybe it was just you.  But everything you Time Lords do is like this!  I can't believe Mom likes going on adventures with you!”

“Fighting an evil regeneration for control of my body is not typical, thank you very much,” the Doctor grumbled, “It's only happened twice...I think.”

“Trust me, being on this side of the megalomania is new for me too,” the Master said dryly, “I also recall you volunteered for this, Sparkler.”

“That reminds me, how did you two meet?” the Doctor asked, “You've been awfully chummy today.”

“It's a very interesting story!  It all started...oh would you look at the time!  Gotta go!

Before Sparkler or the Doctor could say a word, the Master vanished with a muted 'pop'.

Typical,” the Doctor sighed, “Wonder where he learned to blink around like that without a unicorn horn?”

“Huh?” Sparkler blinked, “But that was...”

She trailed off, gaping as she spotted a large beast that had appeared seconds after the Master had fled.  It looked a little like a pony, a little like a dragon, and mostly like it meant business.  The Doctor struggled up to a sitting position to get a better look, while Sparkler did the sensible thing and put the Doctor between herself and the new problem.

“A thestral!  Will you look at that,” the Doctor marveled, “Never seen one in person before!”

Sparkler muttered something about his having an unhealthy interest in meeting monsters, but the Doctor ignored it.

“I wonder...ah, I bet you were here for him, weren't you?”

The thestral nodded, looking sour.

“So he's been running...yep, he'll do that.  He's gotten away before.  But he's not here now, so we won't keep you...”

To the Doctor's surprise, the thestral interrupted him with a shake of its head, then pointed over the Doctor's shoulder – at Sparkler.  It didn't take him long at all to figure out what that meant, and the realization made the Doctor's hearts sink.  Oh, Sparkler...

“Doctor, what's going on?”

He almost kept his silence.  Why did this have to happen now?  Why, of all times?!  But the Doctor couldn't keep Sparkler in the dark.  Not about this.

“...It's here for you, Sparkler,” the Doctor's voice was wooden.

“  Don't be stupid,” Sparkler said slowly, “You're not the only one who's read up on monsters.  They only take ponies who are already...”

Her voice died.

“I'm sorry,” the Doctor said, unable to meet her gaze, “I'm so, so sorry.”

Sparkler was quiet, for a while.

“...How?” she finally asked.

“I don't know.”

Another pause.

“Fix it.”

Now the Doctor did look up.  Sparkler was looking down at him, her gaze like steel.


“You're the Doctor.  You go around fixing things, right?” Sparkler said, “So hurry up and fix this.”


Could he?  How could he?!  He hadn't known that Sparkler was dead any more than she had until just now!

“...I can't.”

“Then...then what good are you?!”

Sparkler lost her composure completely.  The Doctor was able to catch her before she fell to the ground, and the poor unicorn sobbed against his burned shoulder, fear and loss catching up with her all at once as she cried at the unfairness of it all.  A thousand years of madness and imprisonment, only to lose her chance to return to her family before Sparkler even knew what was going on.  It just wasn't fair.

He knew that feeling all too well.

Eventually, Sparkler's tears ended, and she was able to get back on her hooves.

“You'd...” Sparkler said, wiping the last tears from her eyes, “You'd better make sure you keep my mom safe. Or I'll come back from the dead just to get jerk.”

The Doctor nodded.  Sparkler didn't look much happier, but turned to the waiting thestral and nodded.  In an instant, both had disappeared.

Which just left...

“...Now how do I get out of here?” the Doctor said, looking around at the white emptiness surrounding him.

“You could start by looking behind you,” an amicable voice suggested.

The Doctor turned around as best he could.  Behind him stood a brown pony with an hourglass cutie mark.  Wrapped around his neck was an incredibly long multicolored scarf.

Next to him stood a dark brown pony who also had an hourglass cutie mark.  This one was sporting a beard much like the Master had had once.

...A minute later, the Doctor face-hooved.  In all the confusion of Doctors and Valeyards fighting before, he hadn't realized that some of the participants had slipped away.  Or, more accurately in this case, never shown up to fight at all.

“You never would show up with everyone else,” he grumbled at Four.

“And risk you lot overshadowing my entrance?” Four replied, grinning, “Besides, you took care of everything just fine.  I had plenty of time to chat with my new friend here!”

The Bearded Valeyard looked like he wanted to strongly disagree with the 'friend' part of that sentence.

“Your last stunt damaged the interface controls,” he said, calm and to the point, “And even a Time Lord body can't last in that half-state forever.  If we do not act soon, it will disintegrate.”

Well, at least this version wasn't cackling maniacally.

“And we're going to fix that how?” the Doctor asked, wary.

“I had a marvelous idea while we were waiting.  It just needs a simple merger of our good and evil sides,” Four replied, rummaging idly through the folds of his scarf, “I suppose you could call it putting both a Doctor and a Valeyard in a bottle and shaking it.  We should reboot quite nicely...ah-ha!”

Four triumphantly pulled a small paper bag out of his scarf.

“Would either of you like a jelly baby?” Four asked.

“No,” the Bearded Valeyard said flatly, not even looking away from the Doctor, “And believe me, you're not the only one who dislikes this plan.  I would've much preferred to stay with my original one.”

“Do I dare ask what that was?” the Doctor wondered.

“Waiting for you to exhaust yourself fighting the other copy, then forcing myself on you when your guard was down.”

...The Doctor inched away from the Bearded Valeyard, who rolled his eyes.

“As I said, that's no longer an option.  And I have no interest in ceasing to exist: if merging will save us both, then I'll accept it.”

“At least you're honest,” the Doctor muttered, still eying the Bearded Valeyard nervously.

“Law of averages,” Four said around a mouthful of candy, “One of us was going to turn out that way eventually.”

“What, evil?” the Bearded Valeyard asked, eyebrow quirked.

“No, honest.  Can't say I see the fun in it.”

Swallowing, Four tucked the bag away.  His smile had never left his face.

“Shall we get started?”

The Doctor tried to stand up properly, but he still couldn't feel his hind legs.  Hopefully that didn't carry over to the next body...the Bearded Valeyard and the Fourth Doctor waited politely for a minute.  When it became obvious that the Doctor wasn't going anywhere, both of them reached out and put a hoof on the Doctor's shoulder.

All the world around them vanished with a wash of golden light.

Your ideas are too narrow, too crippled.  I am a citizen of the universe, and a gentleman to boot!

Our lives are different from anybody else’s. That’s the exciting thing. Nobody in the universe can do what we’re doing.

Courage isn't just a matter of not being afraid. It's being afraid and doing what you have to do anyway.

Impossible? Bumblebees. Terran insects.  Aerodynamically impossible for them to fly, but they do it.  I'm rather fond of bumblebees.

A man is the sum of his memories, you know.  A Time Lord even more so.

Planets come and go. Stars perish. Matter disperses, coalesces, forms into other patterns, other worlds.  Nothing can be eternal.

I really must curb these urges. I've no wish to be contaminated by your whims and idiosyncrasies.

Think about me when you're living your life one day after another, all in a neat pattern.  Think about the homeless traveler and his old police box, with his days like crazy paving.

The universe hangs by such a delicate thread of points, it's useless to meddle with it.  Unless, like me, you're a Time Lord.

We're falling through space, you and me, clinging to the skin of this tiny little world, and if we let go...  That's who I am.

I'm so old now.  I used to have so much mercy.

I will be judge and jury to the scum and madmen of the cosmos.

The Universe is big; it's vast and complicated and ridiculous and sometimes, very rarely, impossible things just happen and we call them miracles.  Nine hundred years, never seen one yet, but this'll do me.

There was no pain.  Huh.  He sat up, heard a clatter as the interface released its grip on his head and fell to the floor of the TARDIS.  He'd expected pain, but that last experience...the universe must've decided that was enough pain for one day.  Nice of it.

Now to check on...what the?!

“Gray?  I'm gray?!

The Doctor frantically examined himself.  He was gray...but that seemed to be his new natural color, thank goodness.  It wasn't ginger either, blast it, but at least he was himself!  Whoever this himself turned out to be, at any rate.  He hadn't had a new HIM in a long, long time...this was going to be interesting!

“Long flowy mane and tail old tie will never go with this,” he sighed.

Hmm, now then...was there something he was forgetting?  There was an empty box not too far away – a box that the Valeyard's memories said should have been holding his backup template.  Except now it hadn't been, and there was a great big furry thing sitting next to it!

The Doctor stared, wide-eyed, as the Wolf looked back at him at him.  Part of him was squeeing at the sight – they didn't have Reapers in that shape back where he came from!  Frankly, he'd take a wolf over those flappy bat-things any day – and the other part was wondering exactly how long it had been sitting there watching him.

And then there was another pulse from the TARDIS, and the Wolf turned and walked out through the wall.  The Doctor thought he heard it say “.keeP youR peT oN hiS leasH nexT timE” as it left, but that couldn't be right...

“You've got...interesting choices in friends, old girl,” the Doctor said, moving to the console, "Now then, when are we?”

First, he had to get his bearings, both in space-time and mentally.  Then...well, the Doctor had a made a promise, and he intended to keep it.  But there was one small obstacle...more like a large obstacle.  Not like an obstacle at all, more like a purple monster pony with lots and lots of chains and chainy things.

Also, there was an alarm going off.  Possibly due to the chains snaking themselves sneakily around his TARDIS.  She was circling around in the Time Vortex, it wasn't that shocking he'd been spotted.

“Hmm, someone's not playing fair,” the Doctor said.

This whole regeneration felt...strange.  He hadn't been so clear-headed right after changing bodies since ever!  Twilight Sparkle had cast her famous memory special on the Valeyard during their fight, maybe that was why things didn't feel different wouldn't last, he could already tell.

(Too bad, Doctor.  You just sit there and wait: with that other draconequus here, I don't need loose ends running around.)

The Doctor grinned.  At least this part was going to be fun!

“Loose end?  Guess I'd better act the part.  Good thing some clever pony left me an escape plan!”

He reached for a particular switch, one with a big 'Do Not Use' label on it, and slammed it down.

(You're not going to get away that easily!)

The chains smashed together, but the box they were trying to ensnare dropped downwards, like a rock, and they missed!  Inside the TARDIS, the Doctor laughed as ALL of the sirens and alarms went off.  He'd never had a good use for that feature before, and there was a chance it would've turned the console into a penguin, but right now it made a handy getaway device!

Granted, he was now crashing somewhere, but who cared?!  This was the best part!

“New plan!” the Doctor yelled, “Get settled, get ready, and then watch out you ponies because HERE I COME!  GERONIMOOOOOO!

And the TARDIS fell.
Part 8: Doctor, Sparkler, and Master vs. Valeyard.  Ready?  FIGHT!

(Almost eight months of writing to get to this!  Oh boy~)

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ItsfromPeople Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2013
Very nice!

I love how the entire setup is completely rigged in favor of the Valeyard but how the Doctor turns it around with one swift strike at the very source of all of his problems.

"...and the Valeyard was taking full advantage of the Doctor's helplessness at him."

So often villains can not resist the urge to monologue when it is time to strike. :) Then again he is trying to break the Doctor's mind.

Sparkler having to accept her death was also quite sad. How many friends did the Doctor have to see die around him?

The time you put into this is really well spent. I love the Doctor Who flavour this story has.

“Wrapped around his neck was an incredibly long multicolored scarf.”

Four still tries to keep his clothes as… unique as always. :)

Fun fact: When I wrote the story about the Valeyard in hell, I thought about him maybe meeting the Master there but in the end I dropped the idea to focus more on the journey instead.
OracleMask Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I'm really, really, REALLY glad you liked it!

Sparkler having to accept her death was also quite sad.

One of the details that made it through all my MANY rewrites: that there was no way Sparkler could've known what had happened to her.  That moment of realization was planned since the first half of this chapter was being written.

Fun fact: When I wrote the story about the Valeyard in hell, I thought about him maybe meeting the Master there but in the end I dropped the idea to focus more on the journey instead.

Oh, I've no doubt the Master will end up there eventually...that poor thestral just has to CATCH him first. XD
ItsfromPeople Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2013
Thinking about it, it makes sense that Sparkler wouldn't know about her death. After all these years as a dancing statue without somebody there to treat her like a pony and then she gets possessed and we didn't even know if the unicorn still has a working mind at this point... which might be a blessing considering that Fluttercruel is using her body to try to murder her mother.

So often we have seen souls that are willing to pass on but now seeing one that desperately doesn't want to go is quite painful.

Somehow I imagine the real Valeyard and the Master meeting each other in hell would incredibly awkward.

Valeyard (looking down): “Long time no see, need a helping hoof?”

Master (slowly slipping down into a lava pit): “I am perfectly fine, no thanks.”

Valeyard: “Here is a quick reminder: You are about to fall into an eternal fire pit and I can pull you out. Besides I would ruin my back if I continue to look down on you.”

Master: “Eternity is overrated.”

Valeyard: “It sure is! Most souls are able to climb out of there after just around 2000 years. You must be running away for quite some time and we always thought that running was the Doctor’s special ability.”

Master (still slowly slipping down): “So does anything interesting happen here?”

Valeyard: “Well… there was the time when Anarchy got really drunk and crashed Havoc’s chariot into…  now can we just skip the unconvincing laughter part and pull you out of there?”

Master: “… okay, fine.”
eric-emanwu Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2013
Hmm, so the pony doctor beat the valyard, watched the master stave off hell again, said goodbye to sparkler, and became the 11th pony doctor. Geronimo away! Great write.
OracleMask Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you!  I'm glad you liked it.
ardashir Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2013
She Who Walks Behind The Rows? Nice Children of the Corn reference.
OracleMask Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks!  I saw that title and thought 'that right there is PERFECT for Nightmare Twiley!' and just had to throw it in~

Was there anything else you liked?
ardashir Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2013
I'll have to tell you later, when I actually have the time to give it a good read-through which I lack right now, sorry. But I will be commenting on this.
OracleMask Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Take your time~ X3
ardashir Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2013
I like the battle with the Valeyard, and the coming of the thestral (poor Sparkler! At least it wasn't permanent.... I think), and even meeting Shiny's 'Wolf'. The Doctor is certainly having an interesting time of it, but that's normal for him.

Eyes narrowing, Sparkler lowered her head to point her horn at the Valeyard.  She pawed at the ground with one of her crystal-covered hooves and braced herself to charge.

“...You're kidding.  You're kidding, right?”

I like that shout out/reference there. Heh-heh!
OracleMask Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Really glad you enjoyed this!

I like that shout out/reference there. Heh-heh!

Yeah, I couldn't resist using it~ X3
ardashir Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2013
Yes, this is a good chapter. Worth the wait.
alexwarlorn Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2013
one of Discord's new lawn ornaments!

Which one?

And ironically, the statue Sparkler was turned into was fully animated, like a golem, it just never stopped dancing, ever, and it was the only thought in its head.

Of course the real irony is how Sparkler originally saw her mother as a mark of SHAME.

A hundred thousand deaths at Discord's hands was a friendly pat on the back!

Discord, "QUICk! I need to take notes! Let it never be said I don't try to improve myself!"

She Who Walks Behind The Rows

Interesting way to put it.

But rows in what context?

And considering she humiliated the Doctor and turned him into a newborn foal in the last loop before beginning her battle with Twilight (using everything Derpy had told them about the Valeyard agains thte doctor!!!).

“Typical,” the Doctor sighed, “Wonder where he learned to blink around like that without a unicorn horn?”

But the Master's form IS a unicorn's!!

“No, honest.  Can't say I see the fun in it.”


It wasn't ginger either, blast it, but at least he was himself!

THis tells something, since the timeline who grows up and marries Derpy (and fathers her "third" child) WAS ginger.

Valeyard's memories said should have been holding his backup template.  Except now it didn't and hadn't ever,

Should some of those lines be striked through?

I'm guessing since the wolf simply left, it only saw the Valeyard's template as an infection time, and not the doc himself.

And it's nice we finally get to see the wolf in the dark world.

Interesting she appears here in her pupa stage as Nightmare Purgatory rather than Nightmare Eclipse.

And she doesn't even BOTHER with pretenses with who the ( ) voice is!

And I'll admit, the 'do not use' device WAS SO doctor who!!!

This made for a good and interesting story. Thank you very very much for writing it. I know how it feels to be working on something for months and months! 
OracleMask Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
And ironically, the statue Sparkler was turned into was fully animated, like a golem, it just never stopped dancing, ever, and it was the only thought in its head

See, I went back and re-read the battle that they had with the Valeyard, and the fake Sparkler statue wasn't mentioned as moving.  And since nopony picked up on that being strange... *shrug*

Still, I'm sure Discord would start mixing things up however he could during the loops.  Even if it's something that tiny.  Better than nothing~
alexwarlorn Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2013
You're completely right. They didn't. That is a 100% screw up on my part. Forget what I said. *politely bows* 
OracleMask Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Which one?

I figured it was Celestia, but it could have been Luna or even somepony else.  An alicorn's sphere of influence would be enough to stop the drums, though, since they don't originate inside the Master's head.

She Who Walks Behind The Rows

Interesting way to put it.

But rows in what context?

It's a reference to Children of the Corn.  The 'rows' here are the loops.

But the Master's form IS a unicorn's!!

The Doctor doesn't know that.  From his perspective, the Master's been in his blue Earth Pony form this entire time.  Sparkler's reaction was supposed to show that to her, the Master did have a horn - but we don't see this from Sparkler's perspective.  Also the reason why the narrative doesn't indicate if the Master is male or has any features aside from being blue.

Should some of those lines be striked through?

Normally yes.  But Time Lords are temporally grounded.  They can remember things that were done even after they're undone.

And it's nice we finally get to see the wolf in the dark world.

Poor thing must HATE it in there, the timeline's been hideously mangled.

Interesting she appears here in her pupa stage as Nightmare Purgatory rather than Nightmare Eclipse.

Doesn't she have chains as Eclipse?  Doesn't she also have a good friend to help her, who also has chainy powers? 8)

This made for a good and interesting story. Thank you very very much for writing it. I know how it feels to be working on something for months and months!

Thanks~  This thing went through five or six versions before I decided on this one~  I spent NaNoWriMo rewriting it...twice! XD
alexwarlorn Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2013
You're right, she DOES have a good friend whose signature is chains. 
alexwarlorn Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2013
Oh! My mistake! The screen shots DO show the master as an Earth Pony! Oops! 
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