“OWWWWW! What the heck was-
This is from- need it be said -the great orange primate known to all and sundry as The Librarian, who stands over me like an avenging angel made of furry garbage bags.
“What do you mean, insur-?”
“Rrrrrggh!! Stop hitting me!”
“That was for planning to have me killed. Good intentions or not, I deserve to project at least a little bitterness about it.”
This is from whom I can only assume to be HH. Quite clearly HH, even with the alarmingly white features and an even whiter TimeLord-ish outfit, which makes him look like the intergalactic ambassador for some bizarre washing detergent enterprise.
“So you survived, huh? How?”
HH switches his gaze to someone I assume is standing directly behind me; I can smell something horrible, and there’s a haze of smoke drifting around my head.
“We change things. You can go now, by the way- unless you actually want to see a man beat seven shades of crap out of his former stupid self. Again.”
HH nods, as does the Librarian, and in a flash of sharp light they disappear. All that’s left now is the pale desert, which stretches out before us all cold and empty…and apparently I’m about to beat the crap out of myself…
“Right…where to begin? Turn around.”
I do so, because why the hell not. Standing before me is an older man, probably me, very clearly Twili* and smoking something foul from a small metal pipe held close in one hand. Liking the jacket (pale grey with a thick black furred trip), although not a lot else seems that different. Black scarf, ripped jeans, leather flip-flops, tight black shirt- somewhere between a Goth and a surfer, with added tramp.
“I know you know I’m you, so forget what I said about beating the crap out of us. It’d be a waste of time and I want to enjoy this. Want one?”
He proffers a second pipe from inside his jacket, which looks identical to the first one.
“When do I start this?”
“Maybe now, maybe billions of years later. It helps deal with the light, though, saves that whole business with the bodies.”
I take the pipe, on the basis that I’d be an idiot not to. You do not know irritation unless you’ve tried using bodies that glitch the reality around them, as a result of you being in them, to the point where bits of DNA will warp or bits from differing points in time will fuse (such as, among other things, switching a live grenade from hundreds of years ago with my left kidney), and which occasionally cause a memory leak that royally screws with any and every sense of self you’ve ever had…
…if it spares me any bit of that, it can taste of the very worst in assorted vogon dung for all I care. Future-me smiles.
“Why couldn’t you have given me this earlier? Would’ve saved one heck of a lot of stress, as you damn well know.”
What’s that Look f- oh no…
“OWWWW!! AGAIN! WHY NOW?”
“Just to be clear- time does NOT work that way! Stuff is meant to happen, why is why it always does, and neither one of us is going to be stupid enough to try stopping it. Second invention of the universe, after idle thought. So don’t even think about it.”
“Alright, alright, jeez…you could’ve just said…”
“I owed you that one for putting me in danger.”
“How? Clearly we get out of this alive, if what you’ve just said is all true. What now?”
“Listen up and listen carefully, because I’m only going to save our shared arse once. After that, you’re on your own, so don’t go crying to our time-travelling friend for a rewind, or else I’ll post us both to oblivion my damn self.”
…this is very definitely me I’m talking to- no one else would threaten someone else with their own damn suicide…
“You remember Blink, right?”
“With the stuff in that pipe you’ll stay this way for good- so don’t lend it to anyone, and for Ned’s sake don’t go nuts. Remember always what happened last time one of us appeared. They’ll be watching still, and we have work that still needs doing.”
“Get your arse together and save HH.”
“Right. Then what?”
“Remember how to fight.”
… … …
“…you can come out now. I’m going to need patching up.”
“Ha. Don’t worry. I kinda deserved it.”
“It wasn’t obvious obvious. You should’ve said.”
“That’s really not obvious. Next time you insure a robot against ‘abrupt and total abandonment’, write it on a piece of paper or something!”
*Red irises, yellow sclera, bright orange hair, pale blue-white skin partially covered in black, and a default Look that suggests they’d much rather be asleep.