1. “I’m not dead,” he says, just the faintest hint of annoyance seeping through his impassiveness.
YOU ARE. Death is . . . not exactly apologetic, but he’s always had a fondness for Batman; they share similar sensibilities in fashion and justice.
“There’s still sand in my timer,” Batman points out, and Death peers down at his waist before realizing that no, he had indeed tucked the timer safely out of sight. “Ah—so I am still alive.”
YOU’RE NOT, Death corrects him. YOU’RE CURRENTLY CAUGHT IN THE MOMENT BETWEEN MOMENTS. AS SOON AS YOU’RE REMOVED FROM SUSPENDED ANIMATION, YOUR BODY WILL BE DEAD.
“But it’s not yet.” Batman surveys the endless nothing around them, expression—what’s visible of it—contemplative. “Which means that I’m not yet, either.”
WELL, NO, Death admits, with what would be a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach under an entirely different set of circumstances. NOT EXACTLY.
2. “I drowned?” McKay masterfully blends outrage, annoyance, and disbelief into a single squawk.
YES, Death affirms, patient as always.
“I can’t believe I traveled to a different galaxy just so I could drown.” His scowl would have sent most people scrambling for the nearest exit, but Death is not most people. Death, if one’s inclined to nit-pick, is in fact not people at all.
I ADMIT IT DOES SEEM INCONVENIENT.
“Inconvenient? It’s downright infuriating, that’s what it is. All that beautiful alien technology and I couldn’t come up with a single way to save us.” He slumps a little, fury fading into something closer to regret. “Stupid Ancients and their lack of instruction manuals.”
YES, WELL, Death says awkwardly, because he’s never been any good at this sort of thing. I’M SURE YOU DID YOUR BEST.
And with that, McKay’s spine snaps straight again, ire clearly reignited. “Oh no. Don’t pin this on me. I’m not the one who didn’t think to put up warning notices about how the city was under water.”
Things go on like that for a while.
3. Michael stares at the gun pointed at his face, and for one very long, very panic-inducing moment, can’t think of anything that might get him out of this mess. The panic isn’t soothed at all when he notices the guy in black robes standing just behind the thug pointing the gun at Michael’s face—a guy with a really pale face and oddly bright blue eyes.
But then he blinks and something blows up to his left, and there’s no one there except the thug, who’s not paying as much attention to Michael as he should. Unfortunately for him, very fortunately for Michael.
4. “Yeow, that was unpleasant. I always forget how unpleasant that is—sort of like being turned inside out, not that I’ve ever actually experienced that, but I imagine it feels very much like what just happened. Only with more guts and stuff everywhere.”
This is really just a courtesy call, and both parties know it, which is why the Doctor is sprawled on the floor cradling a glass of insubstantial something or other that would have his ears melting off if he wasn’t currently also insubstantial, and Death is precariously balanced on a chair built for a being with rather more limbs and rather less body-mass. He also holds a glass of something, though it appears to be more substantial and is guaranteed to not melt anything that’s not supposed to melt.
YES, Death says somewhat doubtfully. I SUPPOSE. The Doctor looks up, as though startled that Death’s still there.
“I do appreciate this, you looking in on me and all, but you really needn’t stay, you know. I’ve still got two left after this one.”
I KNOW. He’d found the Time Lords annoying when they’d been around—all that popping in and out of death had been horridly inconvenient and a headache to keep track of—but now that there’s only the one left, he can’t help wondering if they really were as bad as he remembers. I THOUGHT YOU MIGHT LIKE SOME COMPANY.
“Oh,” says the Doctor, and glances down again, clutching his glass a little too tightly. “Well, then.” And for a moment he sounds like a child of twelve and not a man of almost a millennium. “Thank you.”
5. He goes through the motions, but the soul’s already gone, as testified to by the shaking of reality—the underpinnings of all creation have been damaged, willingly, intentionally, and now there’s nothing left to do but wait to see if the remnants will hold.
(And on the third day all things are made new.)