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The Hessian

From the personal journals of Mikanostinocolai, timelord

Chapter 5

Some weeks passed, and the love that Wilhelm DerRighur and I shared blossomed and grew with such a passion as I had never known.  We spent as much time together as possible, but away from the town, usually in the woods or by the lake on the other side of town.  Whenever we walked to and from our meetings, small pockets of boys or drunkards would invariably take to following us and hurling hateful jeers and rocks or snowballs at the unfortunate son of the murderous executioner.  Wilhelm took it all in stride, having lived with it all his life.  I, on the other hand, tried my best to do as he did, but I couldn't help it.  It made me so angry that people could be so cruel.  After all, he'd never done a thing to harm them.

Then one day, Greta awoke me with the message that my 'fine soldier' had stopped by very early and bade her tell me that he would be by later with a surprise for me.  I could only wonder what it could be, but I had my suspicions.  I had a mind to accept as Greta helped me to dress.  She brought me some breakfast as I took up my vigil in the front window of my room.

A little before noon , I spotted him coming down the street from the end opposite as usual.  As was often the case, there was a small band of men following behind him, apparently bombarding him with jeers and taunts, but still he ignored him.  There were clearly other things on his mind.

Now this day, the group that decided to give him grief was composed of five men, one a little more drunken than the rest.  Unsatisfied that the 'devil himself' refused to acknowledge his insults, and unbeknownst to me, he pulled out a pistol and waved it at Wilhelm.  I had already begun my flight down the stairs to greet my noble Hessian, anticipating the joy in his face when I answered the question I knew he was going to ask with a resounding yes.  I appeared in the doorway just as Wilhelm turned to say something to the man.  Alcohol reeking on his breath, he leaned forward and muttered something incomprehensible and waved his pistol right beneath Wilhelm's nose.  Angered, I stepped forward and shoved the pistol up to the sky, then shoved the man back into his compadres.  As I turned to usher Wilhelm inside, I heard a shot and smelled something burning.  I was going to turn and see what it was, but I couldn't move.  I felt myself fall forwards into Wilhelm's arms, wondering what was happening.  I looked up into his face, terror and despair in his deep blue eyes.  That's when I knew, and when the pain registered with my brain... I had been shot in the back.

Everything happened so fast, yet I remember it all as if in slow motion. I fell into Wilhelm's arms as he turned to confront the man who had fired the pistol.  At the same time, the drunken man who had the gun dropped it and turned to flee.  Three of the other men followed suit, while the fifth stood and gazed upon us with horror.  He tried to stammer out an apology, but I was finding it difficult to understand him.

I supposed that the close proximity and the primitiveness of the weapon caused more damage than I thought.  I could feel that two of my hearts had been damaged, as well as my lungs and several other obscure vital organs, indigenous only to the Ecturian race.  I knew I didn't have long left to me.  I had to get back to the TARDIS so I could regenerate.

"Wilhelm," I gasped.  "I... you have to take me... to the clearing.  I can ... heal, but I have... to go to the clearing... now...."

He looked down at me, a puzzled look mixing in with the shock and anger.  "You must ... take me to the clearing.. now... please!" I begged of him.  "Please?"

With a single powerful move, he scooped me up into his arms, like I was no more than a small child, and took off with his long stride towards the woods and our little clearing.

"I'll be back," I was trying to say as I struggled to hold on to consciousness.  "Promise me you'll wait for me... promise..."

"I... I promise," he muttered, his voice shaky and distant.  He couldn't believe this was happening. I was already beginning to lose him.  Damn the timelords.  They knew this would happen.  I should have known better than to try to mess with time... but still, when I think of how happy we had been these last few weeks, if even for such a short time, I thought it all worth it.  I only wished I could prevent what I knew was to happen.  But I was losing all hope for that as well.

He continued to carry me towards the forest, the one sober man tagging along, as did Greta, who had come out when she heard the shot.  She tried to get Wilhelm to let her look at my wounds, but he refused to let anyone near me.  He was afraid to even let go of me... so frightened he was of losing me. We seemed to gather more and more people, curious lookers-on who wanted to know where their favorite pet whipping boy was going with the wounded girl.

We finally reached the clearing and I summoned up enough strength to point to the stone bench by the door of the little 'shack' as where he should put me.  Of course it hadn't been there before; it was the TARDIS' way of preparing for my regeneration.  I just had to say my 'goodbyes'....  somehow I knew I wouldn't get another chance.

He laid me down carefully upon the bench, cradling my head in one huge hand.  I could see the trail of reddish violet blood that I had left in the snow as he carried me.  I couldn't hold on much longer, but I had to.  I didn't want to leave him....

I looked up into his dear face, a face I had grown to love very much.  I reached up with a trembling hand to wipe away the tears that were flowing freely down his cheeks.  I couldn't bear to see him sad, but there was nothing I could do.  I just hoped that my regeneration wouldn't take long.

I forced a smile as I caressed his cheek.  "Don't cry, my love, I'll be back.  I promise you that.  You'll just have to wait for me.  I don't know how long it will take, but I'll be good as new.  You'll see....."  I began to cough and I could feel the hot blood running down my back...  it wouldn't be long now.

"But how...."

"Shhhh," I placed a finger against his lips, as I had often done in our short time together.  He grasped my hand in his and closed his eyes, bowing his head as if to plead for my life.  "Keep a brave face, my sweet soldier....  I... I promise I'll be back... you said...you had a surprise?"  I tried to keep his mind off the inevitable.

Slowly, he raised his head, his startling blue eyes swimming in tears.  "Yes, I..."  he reached with his left hand into his waistcoat pocket and drew out a ring.  "It.. it was my mother's .. and hers before that.  I was going... "  he choked on his words, trying to keep his composure.  "I wanted to ask you to marry me..."

My remaining hearts fell as my suspicions were confirmed.  And I would have accepted too.  But I now knew that it was never meant to be.  The Timelords would never allow it.  He had to live on and bring about a folktale by meeting a horrible end in some distant foreign land....  I would have given all my remaining lives right then to prevent that... but it was impossible.

It was getting more difficult for me to speak, and my vision was beginning to fade.  I summoned my strength and merely held out my left hand.  Tears spilling anew, he placed the ring on my finger.  "I love you..." he whispered, almost afraid to say it.  I could hear the sound of Greta sobbing nearby, as did a few of the women from the town who had followed us to the clearing.

"I... love you too, ... Wilhelm...." I managed to squeak.  "I always will.... don't ever.. forget that...."

"I won't, Mika, I promise I won't... I..."  but he couldn't say anything more.  With the last of my strength I reached up and caressed his cheek with my fingertips.  Then I could hold on no more.  My eyes closed and my hand fell limply by my side as I succumbed to my injuries and faded from view, to be reborn again in the TARDIS.

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