His hands, white hands.
The Doctor has done a bad thing.
White hands, soft hands.
Melting into clay.
Slowly now, the Flesh touches the beautiful crystals again, feeling their cold warmth seep into his bonelessness.
So far, so good.
No-one suspects the plan. Even the Master is in the dark.
And it –is- dark.
So dark now.
He pools himself in his white white hands, waiting for the inevitable.
Pour, and pool.
Pour… and pool.
Thirsty cracks pervade his once hard torso like drying pot clay, despite his increased fluidity in other areas; he does not have long.
Soon the Master will wake up. Koschei… he might try to stop this.
As he waves himself through hanging bushes toward the root dangling just out of reach, he sighs and stretches his dripping hand out, creating a boneless arm unchallenged by such silly laws as physics. The limb extends out like a sickle, curving until he can almost… wrap his… strange fingers around a… twist of translucent-veined pith.
A little more…
He reaches, straining. His molecules are not exactly stable, and he must do this quickly.
Suddenly, a crunching noise behind him.
And strong male arms breach the precipice, caressing his back, pushing their strength into his.
Yes, sudden. And yes, he knows who it is.
“You figured it out, I take it?” he murmurs, smiling with half a mouth on a melted doll’s head. “Good… on you… old friend. Help me with… this, would… you?”
A white mushy tooth pops out of his drooping, holey gums, plopping on the ground in a pile of runny white ooze.
“Yes, moron,” an adult male voice grumbles from boy-lips hovering just behind his left ear. He himself has no hair anymore, and the back of his head is more the waxy remains of a candle than anything living.
“Yes, quite so.”
And together they reach.
Longer, outward; the Master holds the Flesh avatar out toward the branch.
In the distance back the way they have come, the shuffling of feet through brush becomes a deafening roar.
The Flesh can feel his torso creaking, but something else, too. This little outcropping, so much weight…
But the Artifact, it’s just a little further… a fog begin to swirl now, thick and bent around the place, heavy with light and the sound of so many footsteps. He does not remember it having such a lovely tinge- it’s silver and tarnished and dented, like mercury glass.
Something snaps inside.
So does the branch.
But their tugging has brought the floating tree closer.
Something small and coveted tumbles out of an outcropping of rock and root.
Beneath them both, the swirling thickens, becoming a pool of whorls.
The ground beneath them cracks like thin reeds and they fall in line with the height of the cliff.
Tall they are, and tumbling.
He kicks out as they plummet, slapping something shiny back onto the ground with his foot’s remains; the momentum from that push out propels them both toward the spiraling spatial disturbance below them, and then there is no air for breathing anymore.
They are in the Heart of the Cloud.
The last thing the Flesh hears before the winds of the Vortex embrace them is the welcome sting of Koschei’s reprimand in his goopy ear, “…so tell me, moron- are there corsets where we’re going?”