Doctor Who: The Bright Asylum

Rooms Full of Keys

“That’s the thing though, Miss Song,” Jack muses pleasantly as he fires up the shuttle’s sleek spherical landing gear with a few button pushes and a blow of air for luck, “The last time I was here, I noticed this place had a chameleon-tech shielded basement… just like my Torchwood. Of course you would know about that particular side effect of frequent TARDIS landings in a single location, wouldn’t you?”

River raises her eyebrows as the crew cabin lurches this way, that way; this Jack has an obvious flair for the dramatic, like another idiot she knows.

“Of course,” she murmurs drily, “…where do you think you got your dress sense from?”

She grins.

Jack lands the shuttle in a grey area; they can see their destination from the window screens. He turns to his three-man crew and leans into life like a former Forgotten Man, practically singing out his next sentence as he plants himself in the doorway of the shuttle’s exit ramp.

“What makes you think he rubbed off on me, Miss Song?” he murmurs, scratching his hair like a freckle-faced boy, “I’ve been trying to get him to do that for millennia. He’s never going to.”

River just stares, double-taking it all in. “You mean to say he hasn’t slept with you yet? He’s certainly got resolve. Just wait him out; he’ll come eventually. After all, he slept with me! Finally.”

Before she can breathe, he’s in her face, gulping her air with silent, closed lips from across the room… and he’s never once moved from his place in the doorway.

“Don’t go there, Pond,” he says, brightly, with a grin that could skin twenty giant size rabbits and a few daleks for the soup, “What do you say that after this we go investigate all the reasons you don’t deserve him, eh? The list should be quite… wait… I…”

River Song is watching him now, running long fingers through her golden curls as she works it out. Nobody but Borusa, standing in the background and listening like a mouse, and herself, could know that she was really watching the blue arch of a dying timeline shudder away from the man, like crisp leaves on a fall tree. If she concentrated, she could follow the light as it grew backward, all the way to a planetoid no longer in existence, a planet of incarcerated daleks and encased memories… erased memories, now- an entire universe worth.

Memories of the Doctor.

Did her glorious train wreck of a husband really just pick and choose who got to keep him? She’s going to ask him what happened when she sees him again, and then she’s going to give him a piece of her mind.

“So, Jack, what was it you were going to say about me? How I don’t deserve my husband? Because I did something naughty? The only thing naughty I’ve done is kiss him and think of ways to get him to kiss me. I think it’s… oh, three times, or is it four, now? Maybe more. Depending on which me in which timeline, that is. He claims he can’t keep them straight, but I think he’s lying, I really do.”

Jack Harkness turns to her, staring at her tan, sun-framed face. He glares, then stops.

“You know, it must have slipped my mind. That doesn’t happen often. I don’t know why I was so angry… there seems to be something pulling at me from the corners of somewhere, but I just can’t… ah. Never mind,” he adds, patting her shoulder in a loose embrace of fingers before walking down the ramp and strutting across the museum’s storage basement to a large, crate-shaped object nearly as tall as the shuttle and covered in a white sheet.

He reaches for the sheet; it flies off in his magic hands, like a tablecloth trick.

Under the sheet, there stands a big box, covered in all manner of mirrors with the shiny side facing away from view.

Jack pats her on the shoulder and says, “Go ahead, River Song; take a look.”

Borusa watches from the shuttle door, taking it in like a wizened professor too long at the drink, her irises globes of blue against the drab grey nano-stone of the museum’s basement walls, doubtless gaping more at the imitation of classical architecture than the thing in the box.

And oh yes; there is a thing in the box.

A dangerous thing.

River opens the mirrored door, her eyes wide on what she sees inside the box.

There is a chain, a single, quantum-material chain, affixed to the mirrored door.

As she pulls the door open wider, it pulls more tautly on whatever it is inside, ensuring the safety, in all dubious probability, of the one who opened the door.

She peers in closer, unable to help herself- and where her hand lands naturally, near the crack of the door, she finds a small switch, which she flips.

Light fills her eyes and floods the box; bringing the face of something she hoped she’d never see again.

Clink, clink.


Clink, clink.


The calm stone face of the only Weeping Angel ever to smile at dinner, the one who stole her parents from a graveyard in New York, is staring demurely back at her, from a nest of chain, in a cage of mirrors and light.

Also, like a mendicant stolen from their prayers, a white paper sign hanging around its neck, scribbled in Galactic Common, reads:


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