by Henry Wyckoff
Crossover: XF, DW (4th Doctor), HL, ST:Voy, and the world of David Eddings

Chapter 21

The Door is Open

Jan stared at the gentleman, who had been restrained in a straight- jacket. He had hoped that the man would have the mind of an adult, whether he was cold and collected or scared and blubbering. But this man was childish and without any conception of the real world.

When faced with a wounded man who so desperately wanted to make him hurt, the gentleman responded with, "You're going to make me feel pain? How wonderful! That's never happened to me before!"

"Does this make you feel any better?" Methos stood at his side.

"No. I wouldn't have felt better if I hadn't come by either."

"Somebody has to pay, eh? Can't just walk away and let time slide?"

"That may work for you, but I don't work that way."

"But you don't want revenge."

Jan hung his head, "No. I just want David back." He looked at Methos, a stirring of something in his heart that he pushed back down. "I've been alive for almost two thousand years, and I haven't met anyone like David. I don't think I ever will again."

Methos put a hand on his shoulder, gently leading him out, "Don't sell yourself short, kid. There's a lot of life out there. You just have to open yourself up to it. There's a lot open to you if you'd just let go of it all."

"Very... philosophic."

"What do you expect? I read a lot!"

"Are you implying something by that?"

Methos laughed.

Jan didn't. He looked at his right arm. Still couldn't move it... He stopped. "I'll talk to you later."

Methos stopped too, his eyebrows raised. "I'll meet you at the coffee place Pancho was telling me about."

"Sure," Jan nodded a little too quickly. Methos, true to form, kept on going and didn't look back. Didn't slow down. Didn't seem to judge, but took it in as much stride as one took in a breath of air.

Jan made his way back to the cell, the guard not even blinking when Jan called "Something else just came to mind."

He was alone with the gentleman, who perked up like a happy puppy, "You've come to _torment_ me some more, haven't you?"

Jan sneered, "Blow it out your ass!" He yanked out his gun with his left hand and blew out the man's brains from point blank. The man collapsed like a sack of potatoes, blood and gray matter sprayed across the wall .

The sound of the shot echoed through the room again and again and again and...

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!" Jan fell to his knees, grabbing at his right arm, dropping the gun. His arm still couldn't move, but it felt like the demons were ripping it out. As if David was ripping it out.

The guard ran in with his gun drawn, taking it all in, looking around frantically. He saw Jan writhing on the ground, tears falling from his eyes as he clutched at his arm. "Are you all right?"

"My arm!" Jan sobbed through clenched teeth. "The bastard won't stop!"

The guard looked at the dead prisoner. He knew enough. The guy was responsible for putting that poison on the streets. Five hundred kids looking for an innocent high, dead because this monster had wanted to kill people, just for the hell of it. He looked back at Jan, "I saw everything, sir. He attacked you and hurt your arm. You had no choice, sir."

Jan was too far gone in pain to even register what the man was saying. When help arrived, the guard had already filled out his report.

One last phrase Jan heard before his conscious mind tuned out for the next few hours was, "That poor guy has a lot of control. The bastard had to twist his arm before he'd even think of defending himself..."

And now when he began to dream, it was of underground tunnels, and chains starting to grab for him...

* * *

Poncho looked at Clovis from a distance. It looked like he'd been keeping from the drugs and drink, but he was still pretty bitter about life.

Janeway put a hand on Poncho's shoulder, "He'll be okay. You're here."

"Yeah. I know."

"You ready?"

"Whenever you're ready. Is Zedar around?"

"We couldn't find him. Chakotay said that he left with Chuck."

"He's not really from this world's future. We could just let him go."

She shook her head, "He may not be from this world, but he's from the future. He has to come back with us."

The matter was settled when the Doctor waved from the TARDIS. Pancho shrugged, "I guess it's not that important."

When they stood on the bridge of Voyager, Pancho rubbed his head, wondering if it had all been a dream. But he knew it hadn't been when he saw the Doctor staring at him, "You did serve a purpose, you know."

"Not you too. First Powys, then you..."

The Doctor smiled, "Then Powys was right. What he probably didn't tell you is that there's no such thing as a serious dog."

The thought was so absurd that Pancho couldn't help but laugh. "Care for an Irish Kegbomb?"

It was the Doctor's turn to laugh. "No thank you. I tried it once already, and it was a near death sentence!"

He pouted, "Nobody ever wants to try them!"

The Doctor laughed again, patting him on the shoulder, "That's the price you pay for being your own man! See you when we meet again."

The Doctor and Sarah left in their fashion, leaving the crew alone on the bridge. Silk was the last one to leave. He had been speaking softly to Chakotay, and nodded goodbye when it was time to go. What they were discussing, nobody knew.

"I promise to take Silk back to his proper place," the Doctor was saying to Janeway, who had looked at the thief with a raised eyebrow, considering the fact that he'd been really chummy with several of the female crewmates over the last several minutes.

Tuvok was the first to formally greet them once the leave-takings were over and the TARDIS had left. "Welcome back, Captain."

Janeway smiled sadly, "Thank you. I wish I could say I am glad to be back..."

"I understand, Captain." Tuvok kept his thoughts to himself.

"How long were we gone?"

"Since the moment you left, three days, four hours, seven minutes, and forty-seven point five four seconds have passed."

"Thank you." She didn't say anything else on that subject and immediatly got to ship's business, but it was a clear bet that she would be the star of conversations off-duty for months to come. The same would go for Chakotay - but not for the Nightman.

The Nightman immedately left the bridge and kept to himself. The first place he went to was his cabin. Nobody had welcomed him back when in the bridge, and nobody hailed him in the hallway. He might as well have not been there at all. Wherever he might be, nobody would miss him where he was not.

* * *

Agent Dana Scully's Personal Log:

She didn't add that the orb had inexplicably vanished. Perhaps Powys . . . ?

* * *

Powys met them on the freeway outside of Phoenix, heading up the Mogollon Rim, a big escarpment that separated the low desert from the transition zone, which in turn led to junipers and later pines as one reached Flagstaff.

Zedar looked like a convincing biker, and Chuck... well, he seemed too nice to be one now. But Powys was willing to bet that they'd always come away first in a bar-room brawl.

They didn't seem surprised to see him as he got out of his recently acquired Mustang. "So what brings you up north?"

Zedar was serious, "I have heard much about Sedona. I wish to see this place for myself."

Powys nodded. "Just watch out for that place. I figure a place that sells 'Supernatural Granola' has to be pretty dangerous."

Chuck laughed at that one, "I went through when it was still an artists' colony. I guess I'll be just as shocked!"

"What are you going to do?"

"Just ride the road for now."

Powys drove on his way, pretty confident that those two were going to be quite all right. Zedar needed a few decades of freedom. After serving Destiny for more than five thousand years, he needed a break, and Chuck needed a mentor, now that he was getting to touch his inner gift.

Now, twenty years down the road, Powys would have to worry about Chuck. He'd have to worry about a _lot_ of things . . .

* * *

Pancho smiled as he lay down on his bunkbed. He held up the orb, almost lovingly. Nobody had seen him take it, but for some reason, it had called to him.

For the first time in ages, he closed his eyes without the need for alcohol -- willingly, that is. He had the orb.

* * *

The Doctor nodded towards the door, "Boktor, if you want to get off."

Silk hesitated. Powys had given him enough gold to last for a few lifetimes, but he was hesitant. "Need another travelling partner for a while?"

The Doctor slowly smiled. "No."

The TARDIS moved on quickly.


This concludes XTC.

If you do not understand everything in this story, then that is perfectly all right.

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