Pairing: The Joker (Ledger) x Reader Rating: T Words: 2998 Note: This is part one of the “prequel” to @kittylivesyou‘s request. Summary: It’s not unusual for people to take in a stray dog they find on the street. However, taking in a terribly mutilated stranger found in an alley in the Narrows? It wasn’t my smartest move.
Time flexed and belched and shook and spasmed terror palimpset quake storm explosion mess
Marie navigated the flux and spiral, dodging anomalies, sargassos, reaper swarms, might-have-beens, nightmare children, cancers, polyps, loops, shells of Highest Entropy Matter shielding zones of oblivion and anti-time, the razor-edged tails of broken and flailing timelines, the roaring Leviathans feeding on the disintegrating borders of reality.
The Enemy, a boiling wavefront of revisionist history annihilating the status quo the Time Lords had spent all their lives painstakingly constructing to defend their privilege, shattering sense and sensibility and replacing it with something alien and… improper. For the first time since the science of chronology began, time was no longer the Time Lords’ friend. But the Great Houses of Time wouldn’t give up their hegemony without a fight.
Marie and her pilot, Homunculette. Caught in the middle in the chaos of a war with all of history up for grabs.
Marie and her pilot, the only constants in an ever-changing universe. Marie and her pilot, together until the end.
Weaving and ducking, skipping back and forth across the timestreams, avoiding paradox fronts as she surfed the vortex. Among the Type 103 timeships, there were few as experienced and canny in Wartime maneuvering as Marie.
And yet: something burst. An obstacle, a temporal mine, a dangerous, explosive Fact in a sea of Maybe. Undeniable, deadly. Even Marie couldn’t avoid it. Not in Time.
A sickening crunch audible in her mathematically-modeled interior. Marie’s gravity compensators weren’t working. Homunculette hit the solid surface of a block transfer equation with an impact that shattered bone. A soft glow as his body tried to regenerate.
“Hold on, Homunculette. I can fix this.” Marie reshuffled her interior, walls shifting, engines rebuilding themselves millions of times a second in an attempt to regain control as the Fact ate away at her substance, shrinking her, scattering her equations to the vortex and rendering them mere noise. She shrugged off libraries and ornamental gardens and triple-reinforced her essential systems as she tried to keep her interior a place where a Time Lord could survive while still remaining alive herself.
“Fix this,” she insisted, her voice turning plaintive. The statement became a question.
Mechanisms upon mechanisms. Sacrifice everything to hold on. One last coherent plea: “Hold on to me, Homunculette! Don’t let go! Please don’t go.”
Homunculette did hold on as the temporal forces erased Marie’s shell, left him clinging to the console as it opened up into the howling void, his knuckles turning white, his body shining gold and faceless as it tried to rebuild itself into something that could survive without a timeship’s shielding, something many-limbed and armored and clawed.
It wasn’t enough. The last thing Marie heard from her pilot was a scream unlike anything a humanoid throat could produce. She answered it with a howl of her own, a machine wail of pure loss and despair as she fell apart.
When she awoke she no longer remembered who she was. A name, a purpose, a shape: there was nothing but equations turned abstract, formless, sprawling and liquid on alien pavement. It might have been millennia; Time had long since stopped having any meaning.
But the War was over, whatever that meant. Meaning began to accrue as intelligences moved near, each pair of eyes adding a little more context to her situation, allowing her to define herself. That’s what she required: a pilot, someone to tell her what she was and what she could be.
She grasped, greedily, at each observer. There was nothing left of her but raw need. At last someone lingered just long enough for the chaos that was once Marie to fulfill her primal directive and hold. On. Hold on to definition, any definition, hold on and not let go. And finally, finally, she knew who she was, and what she wanted.