It felt like a dream.
Seo and William, walking together, hand-in-hand, through the mists of time. They wandered for days, weeks, maybe even months. It was hard to tell. Her senses were all giddy with love, and her time sense more than any of the others. Seo didn't care. Just let the love wash over her, as the two of them ran together through the eras.
He loved her.
And she loved him.
She loved him so much. Could feel it, burning through her. The love. The desire. That need to always be near him. The strong need to touch him, hold him. No, more than that. She was insatiable around him. Unable to stop herself from drawing him nearer and nearer, unable to stop herself from wanting everything.
She didn't just want him, though.
She wanted to be his.
Wanted him to tell her what to do. Wanted to rush out and do it, make it happen, being just as clever and brilliant as she always was to show him how well she could do his bidding. When he wanted a convenience, she wouldn't just go to the store and buy any old thing. She'd do the research, work out the most ingenious way to build a machine or gadget that would do exactly what he wanted, and then show it to him, with pride.
When he wanted amusement, she did her best to make him laugh. When he wanted society, she did her best to trick everyone else into believing they were the most sophisticated, elegant, important people around.
But most of the time, they just kept to themselves.
Were happy and content with just the two of them. Together.
There was a game they often played. William would chase her around, trying to catch her, while she, laughing, would attempt to outrun him. Before one of them gave in, and it turned wild and passionate, turned to love and desire.
Today, they played that game. And Seo could feel it turning to that passion, as she looked over her shoulder and admired the way the sun spilt across William's fair hair, the way his slender body moved along the grass…
Oh, he was handsome. The most handsome man she'd ever seen. Seo wanted him to catch her. Wanted him to hold her, kiss her, cuddle her and bring her closer and closer, until…
Seo froze. In place.
Every single emotion draining from her, in a single instant.
Here… standing in this one spot, felt… different. Odd. She couldn't put her finger on why or what it was. Everything in her head suddenly felt so hazy. Fuzzy. It was as if, trying to understand this spot, she was reaching for something just out of her grasp. As… if…
William swept her up, tackled her to the ground. Rolling across the grass, kissing her neck.
Then looked up, as he realized she wasn't responding.
"You're happy," William told her. "In love with me. Don't you remember? You can't wait for me to touch you. Nothing makes you happier."
Seo's forehead bent into a frown. "Something's… wrong," she muttered.
William's eyes widened. And the next thing Seo knew, the world was spinning around her, and she felt dizzy, tired, sleepy.
She drifted off.
Not remembering anything, when she awoke. Remembering only that she loved William, wanted to hold him, be with him, do anything he asked her without question.
Wanted to travel with him forever.
"Can we go to Roald Dahl Plass, early 21st century, next?" Seo asked him.
William gave her a smile. Brushed some hair from her face, tracing her jaw with his fingertips. He always loved it when she made suggestions about what time period to visit. When she used her brain to pick out those really incredible bits of Cardiff history, so that they could have anything they desired.
"What's there?" asked William.
"My Torchwood friends," said Seo.
William suddenly went stock still. Staring at her, with suddenly intense eyes. "Your… friends," he repeated.
William shook his head. "No. No, we're not going there." He tilted her head up, gently, so she looked right at him. "You don't want to go there."
No. No, of course she didn't. She didn't want to visit her friends. She wanted to spend all of her time with William, and William alone. Nothing and no one but William, all day, every day. There was no one else worth talking to. No one else worth being near.
She felt something drip down her cheek.
And only when she raised up a hand to her face did she realize… she was crying.
And couldn't understand why.
Nor could she understand why she crept away, that evening, after William was asleep, and searched for... something. A spot. One place, in Cardiff, that Seo had found by accident — which had stuck in her mind, despite everything.
She found it.
Stood upon that Spot, in the middle of the moonlit grass. The wind tumbling through her hair.
Seo loved William. Would do anything he said. Wanted nothing more than to please him. Be with him and only him, no one else. Dote upon him every second of the day. She wanted nothing more than to run back to him, right now, and cuddle into him, kiss him, be intimate with him.
She knew that.
But… for some reason… standing here, upon this Spot… she couldn't stop the tears from rolling down her cheeks.
Seo and William were walking around Cardiff, in 845 AD, when they heard a series of screams and shouts and desperate pleas, nearby. Seo spun on her heels, raced out towards the yelling, but William had grabbed her. Pulled her back.
"They're in trouble," Seo said. "We have to help."
Seo heard the screams, again, and tried to wrestle herself out of William's grasp. But found herself completely unable to do so.
William leaned down, looking deep into her eyes. "Seo," he said, very softly, "you could die. I could lose you forever."
"I could not!" Seo insisted. "I could save someone!"
"No," said William, holding her even tighter. "I can't take that risk."
"It's not your risk to take!" shouted Seo, struggling even harder. Trying, desperately, to run out and help. "It's my life, Billy! My risk! My choice!"
"I said no," William reiterated. "You're mine. And I won't let you."
Seo snapped her eyes to him, her entire body suddenly going still, a blaze of anger and fury and rage suddenly lashing out from deep down inside, a blaze Seo hadn't known was there before now.
"I am not yours," she warned. "I will never be yours. I am mine."
A flicker of fear appeared in William's eyes. A flicker of hesitation and doubt and worry. Then it went away, as Seo suddenly felt the world spin around her, for no reason, felt the sudden darkness of sleep tumbling across her mind, and she fell… fell deep down… fell into dreams…
When she awoke, she couldn't remember where she'd been or what had happened, before she fell asleep.
Just went out, and found it, again. 'The Spot'. Still here, even as early as this period of Cardiff history. And Seo sat there, staring into the distance.
Trying to understand why she felt she needed to be near it.
William hated 'the Spot'.
But Seo loved it. With everything she had in her. It was hers. Seo's. Her Spot, that one place across Cardiff's history that she always came back to. The one place she sought out, every time she could.
Sometimes, she would just sit there, in 'the Spot', with her eyes closed, until William found her and grabbed her away from it.
"Your solitude makes you miserable," said William. "You should stop thinking of yourself. I'm your husband, now. Your life revolves around me, and me alone."
But she still always visited 'the Spot'.
"It doesn't make you happy," said William. "Not like I do."
"You're right," Seo admitted. "It doesn't." A pensive expression on her face, as she looked over her shoulder at it. "It makes me… sad. So sad."
"Then why do you keep going there?" William demanded.
Seo's eyes were just fixed back on that spot. "I don't know. Maybe… I secretly love being sad," she mused.
It was all she could think of, through the stream of love and happiness and euphoria pouring through her, at all times. She didn't understand why, but she needed 'her Spot'. Sometimes, if she lay on top of it, she thought she could feel… something… deep down below the ground.
Something she thought she should remember.
Like a light that kept flickering, on and off. On and off.
"What are you, down there?" Seo whispered to the ground, one day. "And why do you keep flickering?" She tried to stretch out her senses and feel deep down into the soil, understand it better and place why she felt it was so familiar. But her senses kept spiraling out of her control, like she couldn't get a good grip on them.
That was odd.
She didn't know what was below the ground. Why it kept flickering. Or why she felt so drawn to it. But whenever it flickered, every time that beautiful little light extinguished — Seo felt a horrible, intense sadness inside of her.
She was determined to make the flickering stop.
It took her a lot of trial and error, but eventually she discovered that — if she focused very, very hard, and used every ounce of energy she had — she could make the flickering stop. Shift part of this thing beneath the ground into a pocket side-dimension, so it could stay illuminated.
Seo liked that.
It made her happy — a kind of happiness deeper than what she felt when she was around William. But keeping the light illuminated like that was difficult. Insanely difficult. Seo could only keep it up for a minute at a time, before it sapped her strength completely.
Once, she managed to keep the light illuminated for a full two minutes. And, as a result, had wound up unconscious for two days.
William was furious with her for that.
Shouted at her that she was an idiot, trying to get herself killed for nothing, and the moment he worked out what made that Spot so special to her, he'd wipe it out, completely. For her own good.
Seo stopped visiting the Spot so much, after that.
Just snuck off, whenever William wasn't looking, or when he'd been distracted with something else. Sat in that Spot. And tried to stop the flickering.
"I want to see Mom and Jack," Seo told William, one day — when he'd caught her visiting the Spot, and had physically struck her.
"No, you don't," William insisted. He repeated it, slowly, as if trying to train a very stupid pet. "You want to be with me. And only me."
"But I don't," Seo insisted. She rubbed her red cheek, just where he'd hit her. "I want to visit Mom and Jack. And Aunt Dawn. I miss them."
William grabbed her up by the shoulders. Staring into her eyes. "Why are you making this so difficult?" he demanded. Shook her. "Why are you being so stubborn? So selfish? Why can't you just be happy?"
"I am happy," said Seo.
"It's this… Spot!" said William. "That's what's doing it to you! That's what's making you doubt and question and fight."
"I don't understand," Seo said. Trying to think it all through, but losing her focus too quickly. Every thought fading away into a haze. "I'm not fighting anything. I love you."
"And the Spot?"
"I love it, too."
That night, she dreamed she was with Torchwood.
Fighting off a specter, in the distance. A shadow, looming in the darkness. But that didn't matter, because… here… she was with friends. Her friends. And they were all chatting and talking and laughing together. And Seo was part of a team, again, a real team, like she and Dawn had been. And they ran around Cardiff, saving people right and left, saving everyone, saving the world…
Seo woke up.
Found her Spot. And lay on top of it. Trying to stretch out her senses to sooth it, keep it bright, keep it illuminated.
This beautiful, wonderful something buried down deep enough below her that William couldn't reach it. This light that shone, always came back, even when darkness kept trying to smother it.
"Safer down there," Seo whispered to it. "Where Billy can't find you and snuff you out, forever."
She kept it illuminated as long as she could.
Before she passed out, exhausted.
Dawn was familiar with the idea of leaving messages through time, in the hopes that someone from the future would pick them up and help.
She could chisel it into the stonework of Cardiff castle, maybe. Send the Torchwood team a note, let Buffy and the others know that Seo had been kidnapped, and that she was in trouble, and…
What would they be able to do that Dawn couldn't, here?
They didn't have Oliver — couldn't travel back in time to 1826. Okay, yeah, they had a rift manipulator, and could probably do something super smart with that so they could use the rift to pick Dawn up and return her to the future.
But that wouldn't help. While she was on Earth, she was stable, but Dawn knew she couldn't time travel without Seo. If the rift ever opened, to get her back to the future — it was Dawn's duty to stay behind, so that the universe wouldn't fall apart.
Just like it was Dawn's duty to save her niece.
Dawn knew she was the Key. A master-key that could open any dimensional lock. Unlock any part of a rift. If William was controlling Seo by using the rift, then Dawn should be able to release her. Unchain Seo, set her free. If anyone could do it, Dawn could!
Which meant… Dawn was on her own on this one.
She had to get Seo out.
She just hoped, with every fiber of her being, that when she found Seo, it would only be a few hours that had passed for her.
Because if that Billy Foster had actually used magic to force Seo to sleep with him — well, that was Dawn's niece he was dealing with. And if you messed with Dawn's niece, then Dawn was going to make your life a living hell.