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The Irish Tales

The Year We Ran Out of Fridays. (Part Two) 3

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In camera meeting : The Early Hours of March 12th

Present : The Millennium Lord, December, November, Tuesday

Venue : December's apartment.

The last time I set eyes on the Millennium Lord was when dear old Queen Bess was on the throne and there was some trifling problem with the Spanish.

In those days, he affected a very patrician attitude, dressed soberly, wore a disgustingly filthy wig and spoke deliberately appalling pigeon English.

Clearly, he had changed with the times. (Or perhaps the Times had changed him ? Lord, all this can get very confusing.)

As if his sudden appearance wasn't shocking enough, his greeting to Tuesday had left her and Nov speechless. Not me, however.

I'd known for a long time who Tuesday's progenitor was and if I'd been slightly evasive when she asked me directly, it was only to protect her from the shock.

It was for her own good, I reasoned incorrectly.
For after standing slack-jawed for a moment, she turned to me and slapped my face so hard, I'm sure it left a palm print on my handsome mug.

"You lying, fucking bastard," she screamed at me.

"Child, child, daughter... desist !" said the Millennium Lord. "I'm sure December was only trying to protect you from the shock. For your own good."

At this, I glanced sharply at him ; I knew he had astonishing powers - but mind-reading ?

As if to confirm this notion, he grinned wickedly at me, raising one eyebrow. Bastard.

He was thoroughly enjoying himself, that was plain to see. Then in an instant, his whole demeanour changed.

The smirk vanished and his previously sparkling blue eyes turned to stone, fixing me with a gaze that sent shivers up my spine.
He settled gracefully in an armchair by the fire and spoke; quietly but chillingly.

"You appear to have fucked things up quite remarkably, Dec. A Day, two Months and the Calendarist, all lost. Not mention the draining away of Time itself."

I opened my mouth to protest, to say that none of this was my fault, but he simply spoke over me.

"Are you any nearer to finding the cause of the leak ? Or who is responsible for it ? Do you know the reason for March's death ? Or why the Calendarist did what he did ? Well, dear boy ?"

Now, the answer to all those questions was of course, no. But I was so stunned by his assumption that all of this was somehow my fault, or my responsibility in some fashion, that I was lost for words.
Unlike Tuesday, bless her.

Having vented her immediate shock and anger on me, she now turned on her father. Gosh, what a vixen she could be !

"What is the point of blaming Dec ? None of this was his doing. And more to the point, why do you choose only now to acknowledge me ?"

She spoke with a contained fury that startled me and seemed to take the Millennium Lord somewhat aback as well.

I laid my hand on her shoulder, meaning only to restrain her passion, but it was yet another mistake. She spun round and slammed her gloved fist into my right eye, causing it to spout blood and close immediately, even as it rapidly repaired itself.

I glared at her with my one good eye and was about to give her the slap she so richly deserved, when the Millennium Lord spoke, so very gently.

"Children, desist."
And astonishingly, we did. Simply on his word of command.
"Sit, please."
And we did. (I have mentioned that we perennials have some rather cool powers and the don't get much cooler than the M's, as we commonly refer to him.)

"Now. Daughter, get some ice for December's eye and bring me a glass. Swigging from the bottle is so very vulgar, don't you think ? Ah, that's better. Eye healing well, Dec ? Good show."

He took a sip from his glass and regarded us blandly, although we were neither of us fooled; he was icily angry. For some reason, I noticed that the champagne bottle he had been drinking from was now full again and frothing. Oh dear. Oh very dear.

"Listen now and listen well, because I have no intention of repeating myself. Daughter. You were not informed of your origins because there was no good reason to do so and many good reasons not to. And before you ask, no - you have no mother. You were born of me and by me and, let me tell you, a damned painful process it was. However, December was not truly lying when he said you were a creation of The Time Lord."

I blinked and tried to hide my consternation at that remark. It was as if he had been there at the time ? He ignored me and continued.

"He deemed it a creation worth attempting. And as He could not achieve it, He ordered me to."
Here he paused and closed his eyes for a good minute. I shifted uneasily in my seat and wondered, (to my shame) if he was aware that I has spent the night insinuating myself into his daughter.

When he finally opened his eyes, he looked directly into mine and said coldly,"Yes."
Ah, I thought. Trouble here. Then I realised two things: Firstly, he was grinning sardonically and secondly, (to use the vernacular) he didn't give a fuck.

His expression changed abruptly again to the cold, humourless gaze.

"Things you should know. Firstly, The Calendarist martyred himself because he was Friday's father and mentor and was ashamed of his son's activities. But he also knew that Friday's cheap fraud alone would not account for the massive loss of Time. He reasoned that there must be some other force at work and that it must involve an invasion of the Pond. So he went to see for himself and did the best he could. He did well."

The M paused for a second and grimaced, as if to say it was still a pretty poor show.

"March stopped his own clock because he was responsible for the hole in The Pond and he was convinced he was about to be found out."

Now, I knew,of course, who Friday's father was and I could feel Tuesday's look of anger burning a hole in the back of my head. Tough. Some things have to remain a secret.

But this revelation about March stunned me.
"How do you - " I began and he raised a hand.

"I know much about many things, young Dec. You should bear that in mind. But what you really meant to ask was, why did March do it and how did he do it. Am I right ...?"
I nodded.

He sipped from his glass and stared at me for a moment, before replying.

"As to why....that I do not know. As to how, he had help from a mortal. From Real Time. From the Outside."

And then he gave me the broadest, biggest, cheesiest smile.
"Which is where you are going to have to go, my dear boy."


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