Doctor Who: The Bright Asylum

The Rose and the Roux

The TARDIS library is as good a place as any, the Eight Flesh supposes, as he applies wobble-fingers to the cravat around his throat.

It flutters to the floor, followed by the velvet sleeves of his greenish bluish coat.

His trousers… his stockings, too, are cast aside, into the safe from the smelt-pan pile.

He looks down at himself.

Lithe, fit. Slightly bony. Long Byronesque fingers. Well, they had been long, once… now they are a bit like stumps with nerves in.

His eyes move further down, finding melty Dali elbows; his legs are a Carrington landscape of colors one should never want to find on one’s body, should one be humanoid. The right complexion, he has found, is everything.

Calves line up where they ought, albeit full of holes.

His bum will melt a good dent into his big comfy chair soon, if he doesn’t do it now.

Yes. He must do it before his bum melts- else he’ll be a ruby-slippered Saruman singing a queer kind of opera from the wrong tower, and no one wants that. Even if that video WAS funny…

He digs those stump fingers against his chest, struggling numbly over his smoothish, light-hair dusted skin to find the locket he stole.

Toes are absent. Even the feet themselves dribble outward in waves through the smelt in the silvery pan at his feet.

“The moon goes in first,” he murmurs softly to the TARDIS, holding the locket over the molten silver. “We want a reduction, not a pancake! Not yet. And now the story, as I promised.”

The silver chain slips from his fingers, and as its shine looms over his face, caressing as it falls, he recalls what he saw in the cave, and sets the steamy sweet gingery mug of hot apple scrumpy to his frothing lips.

No tongue? No problem!

The heat alone is enough to stimulate his memory of the place.

He has entered the cave, picking his way amongst the seaweed and rocks. The darkness of the place was palpable, mutant even, as he peers inside the cauldron depths of that gaping rock maw, searching for any light.

The blind of white beckons suddenly then, showing him a bit of snowy hair against the black ink.

He is walking, before he knows it.

Before he realizes, he is reaching.

His fingers, hale and whole, bring themselves to touch her shoulder. For it –is- the girl.

Oh yes.

Flaminarixodaparcaftion.

No. Tzipporah.

Tzipporahkoczeskatilya.

Rassilon’s little girl.

As he touches her, he notes that her hand is frozen above a copper pot with a white porcelain handle.

The pot above a cookfire.

Seven pots and pans adorn the little space, all filled with a liquid that is brewing.

Seven sauces for seven pots for seven cookfires.

Man and woman and the flame.

How fitting.

In the back, the shadow of the box sleeps. It feels him. It stares.

He ignores it, waving it away as if swatting a fat and stinging fly… and sneezes.

The girl’s pale hand creeps into motion, stirring the white béchamel inside the copper pot.

Her other hand, unladled and yet poised, begs deference from a humble little brown jug-like pot layered within by a thin sheet of gold leaf. The most ancient of pots. A Jomon, filled with a perfect brown sauce mixed with tomato. Espagnole, of course. What else? This she stirs with a plump red rose in its exquisite prime, dripping fat droplets of silvery wet dew that puddle on the film of the thickening sauce without becoming saucy each time she dips and stirs. A secret little smile, just as large as the little pot, graces his lips.

He feels another sudden itch in his nose, despite the fact it’s long since dripped away down his spectacularly bare and Swiss cheesed chest. He sneezes then, and the girl changes tack, following her nature to another pair of pots being heated.

One pot is not a pot at all, he notes, reviewing its lines carefully, like a hospital sturgeon, is a blackened cast iron sautee pan, full of pale, yellow-white fish sauce, an elegant and long-ripened Veloute seasoned with little specks of herbs and spices.

Beat.

Its mate, sticking to the spoon in her right hand, is a golden frying pan, full of the rich, enduring yellow of eggy Hollandaise.

His nose feels that signature need for release again and he caves to it, puntastically enough, his nosebone warming to the needs of nature and beasts as he sniffles once more.

The girl then turns to the last pot, a black iron cauldron filled with the deep-bubbling perfection of dark red with green bits in. A comely tomato sauce.

Of course, he breathes, his mind stepping out of the memory and back into the console room.

His shins are draining into the pan like a halfway decent rendering of beef.

Excellent.

Alchemy can be fun, too, he thinks, as he sneezes for the third and final time, the germs travelling light years as a bit of him settles in every pot.

He opens his Fleshy eyes again; he is back inside the TARDIS.

“A dirty business, but it had to be done,” he murmurs, resting in pooled contentment on the nice thick cushion of the big and favorite chair, “…do you approve, Dear?”


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