Los Dias Y Los Caballeros De Leslie Y El Doctor
rating: +78+x

Two piles of books sat next to the doctor. The group on his left was neat and orderly, books stacked carefully atop one another. The heap to his right was much larger, much more mound-like in shape, each new addition tossed carelessly atop the pile.

The doctor read aloud from the book in his hands, a story about brothers, dragons, time travel, and self sacrifice. Leslie listened to the story as she had all the others, resting comfortably atop the doctor's leather hood. These were Merle's books, but it wasn't Merle's voice reading them. Still, she briefly forgot that fact as the story built, as the elder brother fought a grotesque half-ogre in the mud by the light of a bonfire. She gasped as he was knocked to the ground, and cheered when she realized it had been his plan all along.

"Caramon is so brave, fighting him all alone like that!" she opined at the end of the chapter, as the doctor's finger turned the page.

"There is no bravery here, he must fight or die," the doctor answered, turning the page. "Not just himself, but his brother, and the woman too. He does what he does because there is no other option."

Leslie wasn't so sure. "That doesn't make him any less brave. They would be dead if not for him, he's a hero."

"A hero is—"

The doctor never got to tell her what a hero was. There was a tremendous commotion outside in the back yard. In all the time they had spent here, they had heard the wind make some pretty strange noises, but this was different. The wind never galloped. The wind never crashed into something hard enough to shake the house. The wind, especially, never spoke Spanish.

"And so, at long last, the final giant lies dead, and the land may know peace once more!""Y así, finalmente, el último gigante a muerto, ¡y la tierra puede por fin vivir en paz!" a voice bellowed. The Plague Doctor and Leslie made it to the back door, looking out at the scene.

Merle's decorative windmill lay dead, a dinner knife tied to the end of a broom handle lanced through its spokes. An equally collapsed horse lie nearby, and to the doctor's eye, the beast was in rougher shape than the windmill. The nag looked ancient enough to have seen humanity's end. Hell, it looked old enough to have seen its beginning.

A mustachioed man stood atop the felled structure, pulling his makeshift lance from the vane. He stopped when the doctor cleared his throat, rounding on the noise and drawing a sharpened piece of car bumper from his waist to level at the new threat.

"I am Sir Quixote of La Mancha, knight-errant and slayer of monsters! Identify yourself, knave!""¡Soy Don Quijote de La Mancha, el valiente señor y enemigo de monstruos! ¡Identifícate, demonio!" Two stop signs, riveted together, made his cuirass. A colander was his helmet. Chicken wire formed his greaves.

The doctor broke into laughter. Not the quiet, polite laughter he sometimes offered Leslie's jokes, but a spasm inducing belly laugh, wracking him, doubling him over. Before long, tears were streaming from his mask. Leslie was terribly confused; she didn't speak Spanish.

The knight's sword lowered slightly at this display, studying the black-robed man as he began composing himself, wiping his mask clean. "Very well, then," said the doctor finally, "In that case, I am Victor Frankenstein, a doctor." he snarked. He almost fought off another chuckle.

Leslie flew from the plague doctor's head to study the black-robed man, confused. He had read her the story of Frankenstein before, it was somewhere at the bottom of the mountain of books. Why on Earth had he said that? Still, she remained quiet for now, small and unnoticed between the two.

"A pleasure to meet you, good doctor Frankenstein. It seems I am just in time." The knight sheathed his sword and took his helm from his head, holding it in the crook of his elbow. His English was fluent, but unmistakably accented. He approached the doctor, offering him an antiquated salute, then peered curiously around him, into the house.

"Might I ask for what, or whom you're looking?" the doctor asked, perplexed, as the man of La Mancha's inquisitive gaze peered into the darkened building.

"The princess. The one held by the giant," he gestured to the felled yard ornament "She who has been separated from her true love."



The knight turned to the source of the small voice, his wild eyes finally falling on the gently hovering mosquito. "Ah, my lady, yes." He knelt on the dry grass. "Please allow this humble knight to escort you to your love."

Leslie felt sick in her stomach at this mockery. She landed again on the doctor's hood. "Merle is…" She stopped. No, it was the truth, and she had to learn to live with it. "Merle is dead."

"Ah, then it is most fortunate we have the fine Doctor Frankenstein to accompany us." The Doctor's eyes widened.

"No, no, I'm—" the doctor was cut off.

"Don't doubt yourself, doctor." Don Quixote rose and put his hand on the Plague Doctor's forearm, tilting his chin up at the small mosquito on his head. "For her sake."

"C…could you really do that, doctor?" Leslie asked, moving to the front of his hood to look down at the long white mask. "Could you revive Merle like… like you did with me?" She could feel the doctor grit his teeth through his hood.

"Perhaps." the doctor admitted, eventually. "Though, we would need to find him." He pulled his arm from the knight's grasp, extending his arm wide to his side, offering for them to take in the abandoned world around them. "And that, without a doubt, is beyond my abilities."

"Bah!" The Knight strode quickly and withdrew his lance from his foe. "That is the simplest part." He moved to stand beside his horse who was, against all logic and in apparent violation of several physical laws, standing up. "We have the greatest tool of navigation known to man: a lover's heart."

The trio rode day and night, stopping only to let Rocinante graze and sleep. Per Don Quixote's insistence, Leslie rode the nag, with the two men following on foot. Day followed night and they marched. Nuclear rain fell, scorching winds howled, and still they persevered.

Leslie held, deep within her processors, a seed of doubt. She followed not her heart, as the mad knight had suggested, but the satellite beacon in her brain. Site-42, she had decided. If the Foundation had recovered him, then that's where they would have taken him. For the first time in over two hundred years, Leslie let her mind go to her children. That's what they would have been interested in, no doubt, and Site-42, well… That's what it was for, right? For—for things like that. She couldn't bear that train of thought any longer. Besides…

"There it is." Leslie directed their attention to a partially collapsed subway tunnel entrance. She flew from the horse's back directly into the darkened tunnel. The two men exchanged quick glances and took off at a run after her, the knight's armor clanging loudly with each step. Rocinante, glad for the respite, collapsed in a heap at the side of the road.

The two caught up with her outside of a locked service door, buzzing around the keypad next to it. "I don't know how to get in, I don't know how to open it!" she told them frantically as they approached.

The knight studied the door for a moment, then announced, "Even the greatest barriers cannot hinder the pursuit of true love!" The doctor stood aside as Don Quixote's lance turned the metal door into shrapnel with a single thrust.

Site-42's hallways were white, sterile, and completely devoid of human life. Leslie was off like a shot, the site maps already loaded up in her memory. She knew where they would have Merle… if he were here at all.

The tiny bug was hard to follow, the two men nearly lost her several times. "Hurry, Victor! We must run with the speed of love as well!" the knight bellowed, as he picked up his pace. The doctor, exasperated, redoubled his efforts, panting. He hadn't had the opportunity to do much running in the past few centuries.

When he finally caught up with them, doubled over, wheezing, and desperately wishing he could sweat, the knight and the mosquito stood in a room with a dozen tall glass cylinders. He finally caught his breath as he studied the bodies frozen within the glass, a fine layer of frost lining the inside of the tubes. He felt his heart sink; Leslie had described Merle in exacting detail and he was certain of it, none of these people were Merle.

Therefore, when Leslie's voice came out bubbling with joy, he was confused at first. Until he heard her words.

"These are my babies!" She was flitting between four of the stasis tubes, studying their faces closely. They were young children, perhaps six or seven years old. The doctor squinted; their faces were… not entirely unlike how she had described Merle's. "Doctor, sir knight! My babies!" She was blubbering, no doubt thankful she didn't have tears to blur her vision. "Oh god, get them out of there! Are they ok? Doctor, please tell me they're ok! Please tell me you know how to get them out of there safe!"

The Plague Doctor studied the bodies for a few moments, pondering. He stole a quick glance over at Don Quixote, who was beaming, and muttering sweet nothings about the nature of love to no one but himself. What an odd fellow. he thought. Then, Though who am I to judge?. He pulled himself from his reverie and nodded. "Yes. It should be a simple procedure."

Months had come and months had gone in the subterranean facility. The children had learned how to use the food extruders, and the Doctor had no worries that they would survive, indeed thrive, in their new home.

Leslie and her children had all they could need in the confines of the Foundation facility. The procedure had gone well, and the three boys and girl had recovered quickly, taking quite well to their mother. Granted, it had taken a while to explain to them that Leslie was, in fact, their mother. But she loved them, and she assured him that that they, some day, would come to love her. She hadn't been worried; He held in his mind the last words they had exchanged.

"How long will I be around to care for them, doctor?" There was no greater tragedy than that a parent would outlive their children. Still, Leslie would continue to function indefinitely, whereas her children would grow, and age, and die. The question had caused him no small amount of distress, but finally he admitted it.

"For longer than the rest of their lives."

It was the truth, and it had made her happy. He took comfort in that, at least.

Dawn's light shone down on the ruined city, on the black-robed figure standing alone at the threshold to the secret entrance to Site-42. Don Quixote had ridden away the night prior, told them that a Knight's work was never finished, and left as madly as he had come, riding through a glass storefront and into the mists of history. And then riding back out of the glass storefront and down a street. But the Doctor resolved not to remember that last part.

He stood, alone, and looked at the broken world around him.

A sick, dying world.

A world in need of a cure.

And so he walked.

Be sure to check out Othello's entry: La Marcha GrenaDEETa.
As well as Hippo's take on the power triangle: Down With the Sickness

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License