Silver took Ian’s hand and they teleported. They smiled at each other and Silver stepped away. “I’ll, uh, catch you later?” It was a question rather than a statement.
Ian nodded. “Yes, I’m sure we will meet again.” She teleported away and he turned his back and saw two plain clothed Cleavers, moving the dead bodies of the old couple into a small van. He smiled grimly at them and walked back to the hotel.
He passed mortals, blissfully unaware of the danger they were in with Mevolent around. He wished that he could tell them all, warn them to hide and protect themselves. He wished that he could help them in any way he could. But he couldn’t. He was a sorcerer. There was limits to what he thought was power.
Ian smiled at the Hotel loomed up at him, stone bricks painting the sunny side of the building in a strange red light. He looked at the doors and walked in, hearing his footsteps clack on the stone floor and heard it change to a tap tap tap as Ian found himself in the bright lobby.
He smiled at the blonde receptionist who blushed and shuffled the papers on her desk nervously. He ducked into her head for a moment and heard something very familiar to him. Oh my, did he…? Did he just smile at me?! Mental faint! Oh, he is… Work… Remember work. Imagine if he wanted room service! SQUEE!
Ian smirked and winked at her. Her eyes widened and her jaw dropped. “Hey cutie.” He said and it looked like the receptionist was about to faint. He laughed quietly and began to walk back to the room where he had been teleported into.
He looked at the door and knocked twice. There was no answer or movement from inside. “Hello? It’s Ian, Ian Heartbreak.” He waited for a minute before twisting the brass door knob. It was locked – were they gone? – and he raised an eyebrow. Had they left to go to the hospital? Sorcerers didn’t tend to go to hospitals unless they had to. They usually went to the Sanctuary to be fixed...
Alistair recognized Ian the moment he appeared in New York again. He could feel the energy signals of virtually anyone, and after performing such a trying and complicated resurrection, he didn't think he could filter Ian out of his system if he wanted to. And if Ian died, that would be even worse, because he knew he would feel the soul floundering about in some other plane for a week, at least, and that kind of irritation just wasn't worth it. So when Ian showed up outside the door, he decided to make the best of the situation, and spice things up a bit.
In about half a second Alistair had rendered himself invisible to the human eye, and although he knew Ian could still find him easily with just a bit of concentration, he cloaked his mind enough to keep from alerting Ian immediately, and he was certain he wouldn't need much more than that to make the impression he wanted to make. And in another mere half a second, he woke Aretha.
I woke in the dark again, and my immediate emotion was simple exhaustion- I just wanted it to be over. But I held on to it and amplified it until it hurt. Keep feeling, always keep feeling, that's the way to survive. I waited for the growling that had become a normality for me, but for some reason, it didn't come. I waited, and then waited some more, and was about ready to get up and resume my search for a means of escape when I heard a sound much worse than growling. Alastair must have a real taste for sci-fi, I thought to myself as my absolute worst fear approached me- the Vashta Nerada, a monster from the tv show Doctor Who. It was basically a personification of darkness, which had always terrified me. The only fate I could think of worse than death by Vashta Nerada was the first death of Oswin Oswald. I realized that I was only telling myself Doctor Who things that I already knew as a distraction, and then I realized that the Vashta Nerada was only about three feet away from me and I was surrounded by complete darkness, and then I screamed more desperately than I ever had before.
Suddenly Ian found he could hear something coming from the other side of the door- if he didn't know any better, he would say it sounded like a Dalek screaming. It had exactly the right metallic quality, and it certainly sounded like a cry for help, no matter what it was. Of course it couldn't be an actual Dalek because those weren't real- they were just villainous creatures from the tv show Doctor Who, but it sounded so similar that one had to wonder. And Alistair grinned broadly, because Ian would wonder, and he knew the old saying- curiosity killed the cat. And it does, every time.
Ian launched himself into the door and rolled back up as he burst through. "Okay, Niccolo? Areth-" he began to call out and then stopped and took a step back. Is that a Dalek...? In this room...? In here...? Next thing he noticed was Aretha lying on the floor. "Shot!" He cried and raced over to her. He looked around quickly for Niccolo and cursed as he couldn't see him. "Okay, don't slap me for this," he begged quietly and dipped into her mind.
There was nothing. Not even her subconscious was functioning. He ratted around for a second and found himself all alone. Hello? Hello?! Aretha Tesla. Are you here?
He jumped out of her head and the hairs on the back of his neck stood up as if someone was watching him. "Who's there?" He turned around and found the room empty. He nodded to himself and took his grey blazer off, folded it and slid it under her head.Pulse. He put two fingers against her neck and nodded. Okay. Ian put her into the recovery position. Then stood up and walked to the small bathroom to wash his face.
I could hardly make myself believe it, but I was certain I heard a noise outside the box. Like someone kicking a door in, but so, so far away. The moment I recognized the existence of an outside sound, all the nightmares vanished like smoke. Then another sound came- just as distant, but familiar. Ian's voice. "Hello?" I called out quietly, not daring to believe my ears just yet, "Ian, is that you?"
The Dalek stopped its screaming abruptly, and after a moment, actually began to speak. "Hello?" It said, very slowly, "Ian, is that you?"
Ian walked out of the bathroom with a towel in his hand and looked at the now not-screaming Dalek. "Yes strange Doctor Who thing. Is that Clara? Or Aretha?" He smiled slightly at his joke. "Aretha, you should have told us you were in a Doctor Who episode! Death with be thrilled." He was only making jokes because he had no clue what was going on. "Okay, so, yes. It is Ian. What are you doing in there? Having fun? Oh Ari, you should know better than that. You don't suddenly jump into Daleks because one appears in your room.... Tsk, tsk." He spun quickly. He was certain there was something behind him. "Gimme a sec, actually..."
Ian searched the room, telepathically of course and found something. It was something hidden. Something that didn't want to be found. "Uh, who be there?" He said in his best pirate voice but it was too quaky to sound like Capt'n Jack Sparrow.
I couldn't believe it- I wouldn't let myself believe it. The possibility that someone had actually found me was just too good to be real! But on the other hand, emotions were keeping me alive, so if I did believe it... "Ian!" I exclaimed, "It's me! Aretha! I've been stuck in this box for so long- it's so, so dark, and cold, and I can't figure out how to escape- just let me out. Please, just get me out of here." I wasn't feeling so estatic by the end of my plea. In fact, I felt rather like crying. Really, there were just too many emotions for me to identify each one- I just wanted to curl up somewhere and cry. Preferably somewhere with light and fresh air. I had never really been claustraphobic, but after this, I had a feeling that might change. But my comfort was that no matter what had happened in the past, I was getting out now.
"Ian it's me," the Dalek responded slowly, its mechanical voice completely void of emotion, "Aretha. I have been stuck in this box for so long... It is so, so dark, and cold, and I can't figure out how to escape- just let me out. Please, just let me out." Ian had recognized Alistair's presence by then, but the moment was just too good- he would show himself for the aftermath. In the meantime, Aretha could figure out what he had done to her slowly and painfully, with the help of Ian, of course. And then she'll realize one of the meanings of Alistair's promise to her- you are never, ever getting out of this box.
"Aretha," Ian began and nodded slowly. "Have you watched Doctor Who before?" He looked at the Dalek, unsure how this was working, and lifted it up. It was solid on the bottom. "I'm not trying to sound rude, but how on Earth did you fit in there?" He started to circle the mechanical alien/robot. He stopped and looked up. "Who's there? Show yourself you coward. Do you think that I can take you? Are you scared that I can kick your butt from here to next Tuesday?" He laughed. "Come on. I'm not talking to you Ari, not yet." He started to tap his foot against the metallic shell. Tink, tink, tink.
"Of course- Doctor Who is one of the only shows I watch," I said, "But why would you..." I trailed off when he started talking again, but quite obviously to someone who wasn't me- and then it hit me. Alistair. There's no way he would just leave me alone in here- especially when he was so insistent that I never leave. And then suddenly I felt as though in the midst of a small earthquake- the entire box vibrated violently, and despite my good balance and the fact that I was leaning against the wall, I ended up on the ground. I let out a light involuntary shriek as I fell, but quickly picked myself up again. I was certain I knew who had done that."Alistair! His name is Alistair Cruciatus- he's the one who took over Niccolo's body! Ian, I'm so sorry, I think this is a trap. You should run- I can find my own way out of the box. Just go. Now. You can't beat him." I warned, a foreboding tone in my voice. I could almost feel myself sinking back into the darkness; back into fear and despair. But I'd be ok. What mattered was Ian and Death- Ian had to stay alive and free, for her sake.
"Of course. Doctor Who is one of the only shows I watch," the Dalek droned on, "But why would you." The mechanical voice of the Dalek broke off suddenly, like it had simply forgotten or refused to complete the sentence. "Alistair. His name is Alistair Cruciatus. He is the one who took over Niccolo's body. Ian, I am so sorry, I think this is a trap. You should run. I can find my own way out of this box. Just go. Now. You cannot beat him."
Alistair took what he saw as the perfect opportunity to make his entrance. His laugh started softly, so quiet it was barely audible, and built up, directly behind Ian's left ear. When Ian turned around, Niccolo Croatoan stared right back at him with cold, gleeful eyes. "At your service, my liege," he said, and bowed mockingly, "I've already brought you back to life, so what can I do for you today?"