The Doctor opened his eyes, he had no recollection of any of the events that had happened previous to his awakening. He took in surroundings and saw that
he was on the floor of the TARDIS. He had a terrible ache towards the back of his head, and his thoughts were jumbled and cloudy. He tried to sit up, but blinding pain shot through his body. He gave up on trying to make any attempt of moving from that position, so he let his body fall back onto the floor.
After lying there motionless for a couple of minutes, his head seemed to be cleared. The pain had not yet subsided, but the murkiness had started to fade away. When his mind seemed ready for thinking, he allowed himself to do so. What had happened? How did I end up here? Why am I in so much pain? Where is my companion?
He tried to answer these questions by retracing his steps. He had most recently been in London fighting the Silence with his newest companion, Willow. He smiled at the thought of her, she was his rock. She was the only companion to ever listen to him, and not just run into danger. Plus, she knew how to use any weapon. She was also one of his only female partners not to be human, she was a creature from The Forest of Cheem, so she looked surprisingly like a tree.
"Willow!" the Doctor cried out. He figured she would have some answers for him. He was expecting her to come dashing in, calling back to him with unbridled enthusiasm, but that didn't happen. "Willow! Where are you?" the Doctor screamed once again, but this time with more panic in his voice. Yet again the only response he got was silence.
Terror started to seep into his body. Where was she? Something couldn't have happened to her, she was too tough, he thought. He tried to think about that nights previous events, but nothing came into his mind. Then all at once, memories started to pour into his mind, like he had just found the key to unlocking them. They were blazing in his mind, burning and stinging everything. The Silence attack. Pulling out the Sonic Screwdriver. Willow pulling out her gun. Charging them. Everything was going well. A stranger. The stranger was human. He grabs for her. A dagger. The dagger slits her throat. Blood. Screaming.
The thoughts were inescapable. They appeared and wouldn't leave. She wasn't dead, the stranger wasn't real. "Get out! Get out of my head!" the Doctor exclaimed. "No...No! Willow! You're not dead Willow!" Tears were falling down his face. He needed to see her. He felt as though his body would result in combustion if he didn't reach her. He then tried to roll onto his stomach. All he managed to do was send another wave of heart stopping pain throughout his body, but he couldn't just give up. He tried wriggling around on the floor to go and find her, but that just made everything worse. His mind started to match the aches of his body. He wouldn't let more die because of his carelessness.
He knew he couldn't run from the truth any longer. He needed to accept her fate, no matter how painful. He started to think about his amazing memories with her. When they saved the Earth from Cybermen. When they traveled to eight planets in one night. When they met up with Captain Jack. When they hunted down the last Weeping Angel ever, the one that had killed the Ponds. Memories of the Ponds started to fill his skull, he fought hard to keep them down. He couldn't think about the Ponds, they brought up the darkest moments in him. He couldn't handle anymore death, especially the death of loved ones.
His body went slack and he let his head smack the ground. For a second he was silent, just lying there, but then the emotions eventually poured out. He started sobbing. They were horrible, broken sobs, the kind you can only get with years of pent up agony. In between his cries, he muttered, "It's all my fault! It's my fault! I'm so sorry Willow, and Clara Oswin, and Amy and Rory, and everyone. I'm worthless!" He then started to hit his head on the floor, hoping to go unconscious, hoping to blot out the pain for at least a while. I must have done this before, he thought, it would explain a lot of pain.
"Do you have to do this again? I thought one outburst was more than enough," remarked a voice. The Doctor thought he was hallucinating, so he continued his actions. "I can't believe how weak you are. Dying is what people are meant to do." Then the Doctor stopped. He was horrible to himself sometimes, but he would never ever scold himself for mourning a friend. So, if he wasn't making up the voice, who did it belong to? Nobody could have gotten into the TARDIS except for him. He only had two keys, one was in his possession and the other was given to Willow, and she was dead, so it couldn't be her. But what if she isn't dead, the Doctor pondered, what if that is her.
"Who are you? How did you get in here?" he questioned. His voice was weak and tight from all the crying.
"Oh, yes, how could I have been so rude as to not tell you anything. I actually met you already, it was quite a brief meeting, but I was there and so were you. And you also had someone with you, and a good thing too, because if she wasn't your petty, little shield, I would have taken your life, Doctor." The last word was said as snarl. It couldn't have been Willow because the speaker was a man. His voice was like nothing the Doctor had ever heard before. If he had to describe the voice with one word, the word would be...soft. "But, it wasn't all bad taking her life over yours. I got this nifty little present off of her pathetic body." The anonymous figure slid Willows TARDIS key towards the Doctor. He bent down to pick it up, and saw that it was stained with her blood.
Waves of rage started to engulf the Doctor. He felt an immediate hatred towards this man. He was about ready to lunge at the figure and rip his throat out, but then he thought about how that is exactly what the killer wanted him to do. He probably has dozens of knives on him and is probably waiting for the right moment to kill me, the Doctor thought, if I attack I will get close enough to him that he would stab me, how ingenious. But even though Willow's murderer was clever, the Doctor was too. The Doctor needed a plan, but with aches and pain circulating throughout his body, it was difficult and tedious to think of one, he needed time. It was a good thing he had a surplus of that.
"I know that you killed my best friend, Willow, but I don't know your name. Would you care to share that with me?" While he was saying this, the Doctor was formulating ideas in his mind. He was only half paying attention to the stranger.
"Well, I was going to save it for my big finale, right before I killed you, while you were begging for mercy, as helpless as a baby," the thought of a murder made the strangers face twist into a grin. The Doctor couldn't see the look on his face, but by the way he spoke, he knew that the smile was existent "But, I guess I could give you a sneak peek. My name is Jim. Jim Moriarty. Hi."
The Doctor froze. He knew that name, everyone knew that name. The name made painful memories bubble up for him. One of his best friends and occasional companion, Sherlock Holmes, was supposedly murdered by this man. Sherlock's flatmate, John Watson, told the Doctor that Sherlock had taken his own life. He had also mentioned that he thought Jim Moriarty had triggered his behavior. But, John also told the Doctor that Moriarty had committed suicide alongside Sherlock, which made the situation improbable.
The Doctor gathered up all of his strength and got into a sitting position. He tried to look unfazed on the outside, when in reality he felt like he was submerging into lava. Once sitting, the Doctor looked for Moriarty. He couldn't seem to find him anywhere, until he looked in the darkest corner of the TARDIS, where he saw the faint outline of a man. "You're supposed to be dead," the Doctor managed to choke out. Even that tiny sentence made him light-headed and heavy-bodied. He tried to put power and rage into that phrase, but it came out frail.
Moriarty let out a laugh. It was a vile sound, like finger nails scraping a chalkboard. "You were really thick enough to believe John Watson, the man whose mind is a pile a mush!"
"How do you know that Watson told me?"
"I know things, Doctor. I know the secrets of the Universe. I can tell you everything you need to know. Some say too much knowledge is dangerous, but they don't how it feels. They don't know the rush of knowing the things that they would only dream of knowing. It's only you and me that understand that feeling."
"My companions were filled with knowledge too. They were like you and me."
"I'm going to have to disagree with you," Moriarty spat back at him.
"Why? They knew the truth about the universe, how it works, what exists in it, and even more than that."
"Yes, they knew a lot. But there is one crucial piece of information that every single one of your weak pets didn't ever to get to figure out. Some information that only you and me know."
"And what's that?"
Again, the Doctor was stunned speechless. No one knew his name except for himself. That was information hidden in the deepest caverns of his mind, never spoken to any living creature. Moriarty was obviously lying to him, but the Doctor didn't want to press him, just in case the most impossible word was spoken by the man who had killed his friend. So instead of lingering on the subject, the Doctor changed the topic.
"So, how did you kill yourself and then survive?" he said, trying to sound like the prospect of Moriarty knowing his name didn't make him want to run and hide.
"The usual. Fake gun. Frozen blood. An accomplice."
The Doctor didn't know what that meant, but he honestly didn't care. Moriarty had fallen into his feeble attempt at a trap. The Doctor could now go back to planning how to get the man out of the TARDIS without killing himself and many others in the process. He also needed a way to stop Moriarty's murderous rampages. This seemed impossible, but the Doctor eats impossible for breakfast.
"You know, Doctor, you and me are quite similar. But, do you know what the biggest thing we have in common is?"
The Doctor replied, only half focused, "What, Moriarty?"
"We both know how to fly a TARDIS." Suddenly, the man leapt out of the shadows and dashed to the control panel. The Doctor tried to stand to run after him, but his body felt like it was made out of cement. He couldn't move, all he could do was sit and watch horrified as Moriarty pressed buttons and pulled levers that made the TARDIS light up. Then the wheezing sound that was accompanied with the TARDIS' motion filled the air.
"Where are we going?" the Doctor shouted at him, filled with wrath at Moriarty and himself. How did I not see this coming, he screamed internally at himself. Now, there was absolutely no hope of saving the Universe, in the Doctor's mind at least.
"To see some old friends. They've been waiting patiently, as still as statues, for you to come and visit them."