"It doesn't take long." He murmurs, nimble fingers dancing around its surface- loosening something here, tightening something there. It had to be perfect. He would settle for nothing less.
"What doesn't take long?" She asks, because it's always a she, isn't it? Always a female to speak reason to a male- perhaps that's why he travels with them. Reason, after all, seems far more compelling, when delivered to you by a pretty face.
"'Cos last I checked, you've been here at least a century. Exactly a century, actually."
He continues to fiddle with a particular wire that doesn't seem to want to stay put.
"A century is merely a neat and tidy way to gather up years and stick a jumbled mess in order. You take away that word and the years scatter- you take away 'year' and months flee. Take it even further and those 'months' scamper away as 'days'- and each day is very easy to handle- to catch and isolate- to pin down and rip apart until all you have left is a handful of hours- hours that conveniently disperse into minute- mere minutes to sift through, to find a second- or perhaps something smaller. So small that it once again makes itself almost difficult to catch- but far from impossible. And once you do catch it- it's so easy to contain- try as it might to slip through your fingers. Just one tiny, single, fragment. So, no. It does. Not. Take. Long." He reiterates, attention never leaving his work- his Masterpiece.
They don't know it- they have no idea- all those others they had him build. Hundreds of machines- thousands perhaps (he doesn't know. A side effect of spending so much time fixated on one moment in time is that the rest tend to spill over and escape your notice.) all now likely locked away. "Forbidden." Reserved, more like. Until They found themselves in sudden need for them. After all, They might act high and mighty, but He's never known a single Timelord to be above a little bloodshed.
His thumb brushes against a gear experimentally, and he feels more than sees the tremble.
"Wotcha!" She proclaims in irritation and he can't help but roll his eyes.
"I really had hoped you'd pick something a bit more...authoritative. Persuasive. You only have one job."
"Well, lucky for me it's not to persuade you, is it?"
For the first time in hours, he pulls his gaze away from his work to look up at Her- his face marred with an unimpressed scowl.
It's Her turn to roll her eyes now- something, he notes, she does quite well.
"I didn't pick this form for you." She counters, "What good would that do? I'm off the clock."
"Shame. I fear he won't appreciate your sense of humor as I do." He laments, his eyes flickering over her, appraisingly. He really shouldn't be surprised, should have guessed His voice of reason would be pretty, young and human.
"Not human." She corrects, voice mildly reproachful, yet equally amused, and continues: "We both know who this is for, so there's really no point growing comfortable in another form- 'sides, I rather like this one." She adds as an afterthought, running her hands up and down her new torso.
"Yes, positively ravishing." He concurs, eyes once more trailing up and down her frame. Rassilon he's been in here long. "Perhaps I'll make myself one."
She positively snorts at that.
"A conscience?!" She replies, increduously. "How would you ever get anything done?"
He smirks at that.
"Yes, you're absolutely right- nevermind that. I've spent centuries without one and been just fine- best not to mess with a good thing." He agrees, once more turning to hunch over his work.
They had absolutley no idea that those other designs he had concocted for them were hardly scrap metal in his eyes. He simply wanted parts- parts that they couldn't provide for him. That only those devices could grant him. They had no idea that this would eclipse them all. Something so powerful, so dangerous that only a mad man would ever consider actually using it.
(So it was only fitting, as a mad man, that he created it.)
He knew what they were after- though none of them spoke of It. Only Timelords could see It and of those Timelords it was only the High Council that knew of Its forthcoming. He only knew because what else would it be? Why else would they lock him away and encourage him to construct weapon after weapon. Never satisfied, despite the fact that He knew with complete certainty that each and every one was more powerful than the contents of their entire Vault Archive (he had taken a pleasure stroll or two through it in his youth). It didn't take a genius to put it together (so why they assumed a genius like him couldn't figure it out, he hadn't a clue). Not that he minded much. If he were to spend an eternity in incarceration, than it might as well be doing what he loved. There were far worse ways to wittle away time until the next war. The Big One. The one this beauty of his was made for.
His hands gripped the box on either end- a mere container, really- The Device itself had been ready for ages. However, he'd sooner regenerate than hand over his magnum opus in a shoddy tin cup. No, this box was some of his best work- the exterior faces all composites of complicated puzzles and riddles that would have Timelords scratching their heads until The End of Time- unable to fathom how to turn the bloody thing on.
None would succeed of course.
He'd assured that she was far too stubborn to give herself away to just anyone. The metal seared into his flesh- deterring the average TimeLord from touch- the only worthwhile technology taken from the Daleks (the casing was build from five of them- only the best bits though- the ones that would kill the average individual on contact, if it chose). He continued to turn it in his hands, ignoring the burning pain in his palms- for that was all it was: pain. She had no plans to kill her Creator, he'd made sure of that.
"But as I've point out, I don't like being handled like a bloody Christmas present!" She spits out, that strange accent coating her words and somehow making her sound more fierce and unimpressive all at once.
"A reference which is entirely lost on me." He replies, indifferently, spinning the box again to examine a different panel. "How is it you are acquiring knowledge I haven't imprinted you with?" He adds after a moment, setting the box down to look up at Her. She was presently taking up the vacant side of his worktable, sitting on it and surveying the entire process shrewdly.
"From my power source." She replies with a nonchalant shrug. He raises an eyebrow at that.
"And tell me, when do I get to meet this charming deity?"
"You already have." She replies, matching his raised eyebrow with her own.
"No, I'm fairly certain I would remember that." He argues, impatiently.
"Who do you think you've been talking to this entire time?" She teases, hopping off of the desk and stretching. Peculiar, that, why would a sentient projection need to stretch?
"You flatter me, Love, but I hardly accredit myself with creating the Goddess of Time." He replies with a smirk, and despite his constant haphazard ministrations, he adjusts the box on the table with the utmost care. His eyes once more trace over it with the faintest onset of envy prickling the back of his mind. It was a shame, really, that as usual, such an important task would befall Him.
"Great men are forged in fire." She replies, once more tuning into his thoughts- she seemed to be the only one who could- whether he allowed it or not. It was her primary function, after all. "It is the privilege of lesser men to light the flame."
He gives a bitter snort at that, watching her as she once more leans against the worktable, hands braced on the edge as though she's contemplating once more hopping onto it.
"More wisdom from our Goddess?" He asks, turning to watch her once more.
"No, just a Doctor." She replies, giving another charming grin. He doesn't have it in himself to laugh at her joke this time.
"He always was one for dramatics." He muses, his tone not the slightest bit bitter. "Centuries spent forging a flame, only to be extinguished in a single moment." Alright, there was some bitterness.
"Well, it's my understanding that it doesn't take long." She points out, getting a wry grimace.
"No." He agrees, surveying his life's worth. His greatest accomplishment. The most powerful and dangerous weapon in all of creation- something even the Timelords would grow to fear- lock up and forget about- until the time came. And even then...no one would ever truly appreciate the genius of it. The small details- the intricacies- the labor and time spent.
His fingers trace over the exterior longingly, and this time she doesn't burn him.
"It's time." She states, pulling him forcefully out of his reverie.
"You're not ready." He replies in a low growl.
"I've been ready for weeks- you think I haven't realized you've been fixing the same wire for three days? You're not ready."
He is silent in response, jaw tight, eyes fixed on the shell, unwilling to truly look at her.
"I just don't see why it can't be me!" He hisses, seething. "He always gets all the glory! Despite the fact that I'm the one to save us!"
"And so he also receives the burden. He will end The Time War, yeah- but he will also live with the ramifications for centuries."
"And what will I do? Die in the fire I forged?!" He practically shouts, turning to pace the small room. They never bothered to give him a chair.
"No, of course not." She replies, as though the very idea was preposterous, causing him to whip around, eyes blazing with desperation as he meets her own.
"Then what? What will become of me? You can see it! Tell me!"
"You know I can't." She replies as coolly as ever, straightening up from the table and fearlessly approaching the haggard, mad Timelord- warm golden-brown eyes staring into hollow black.
"But what I can tell you, is what I know to be fact." She continues, calmly, pointedly. "An' the fact is, that you are incredibly hard to kill."
He pauses at this, her words sinking in, eyes never leaving hers- trying to bore into them, as though somehow he could see beyond the projection and into the eyes of that power source he knows so little about. The moment ends, and suddenly the severity that had been there before- and a knowing glint once again shines through as she takes a step back, looking him up and down with a small grin.
"An' you know what? I just realized," She continues, her voice suddenly lighter, "After this is all over- I don't really have much planned...do you?" A teasing grin plays across her face, once he hasn't seen before- certainly not one he programmed in. There is something incredibly human about it- and he's too distracted to feel the least bit repulsed.
"Nothing concrete." He concedes, allowing another chuckle to escape his lips, his mood already brightening.
"We'll do drinks then, yeah?" She replies, and his grin becomes positively manic, his chuckle contorting into a more pronounced bark of laughter.
"I've never been on a date." He proclaims, delightedly. She smiles back, but her face falls a mere fraction.
"You will." She replies, and vanishes completely, as though she had never been there at all.
At the same moment, for the first time in a century, The Device falls completely silent.
His attention immediately veers to curiously observe the large, unassuming, though impressive box, sitting atop his anti-gravity table (because clearly They trusted him more with deadly weapons than with legs- he supposed he couldn't blame them. They were excellent for bludgeoning- both the table and organic variety.).
It looks precisely as it should, and despite the fact that he has never seen The Device and knows nothing of its existence (save a few spare passages in some old Citadel tomes)- he knows that it existed and that there isn't a single thing he could change about it.
It is perfect.
The most perfect thing ever created.
He approaches it slowly, eyes scrutinizing every groove and corner- every minute detail- completely certain that no one could possibly feel for it how he does now. Appreciate it as he does.
Which makes getting rid of it all the more difficult.
He lets out one more heavy, tired, defeated sigh.
He supposes he should just get on with it.
He reaches over and plucks his screwdriver up from the table- not nearly up to snuff as he would have liked, but there was no way They would allow him more than the base materials for a single-setting sonic-based screwdriver. (He'd still managed to make it a duel). He utilizes the second setting that very moment, knowing the best possible way to harness Their attention - and raises it to the pathetically concealed surveillance device planted high above him. The screwdriver pulses very briefly, before the entire hidden segment pops off in a cloud of thick black, billowing smoke.
Almost instantaneously, there are four guards at his door. He greets them with a patent, utterly charming smile.
"Ah! Gentlemen! Good! You're here! I have a present for you..."