Safe in his Citadel room, the Terrorist frees his hand from his long gray glove and sighs.
There are far too many wily people about, and he has no wish to get on the wrong side of any of them. Until he’s ready. Then it’ll be fun.
A sharp pain erupts like a nuclear cloud in front of his shoulder-blade as he flops down on his plain white bed. He’s jarred the wound again. Idiot. As he tries to reach into the dresser for his latest hit in a long line of fast-heal patches, there comes a knock at the door.
“You fool! Get in here!”
He shoves the bear mask in the drawer and instantly shortens his blond hair, quick and dirty like. Did he remember to take the things off? The stupid-looking hose with the floppy boots?
But the person who enters his room is not who he thought it would be.
“It must be terrible, being separated from your stubble for this long, Kos’, just for me,” Flamina tells him, reaching out with white arms to take his clean cheeks before she’s crossed the room.
Her fingers reach as she moves; her flesh touches his. For a moment, he is back there, standing in House Oakdown’s fields, the red grass so bright it burns the retinas. He remembers that, when the grass finally blooms, the sweet violet flowers fly up and fill the air with their silent strains. His father called it the Third Sunrise.
“What are you doing here?” He makes no effort to stammer the words, for, on any other’s lips, they would be like a prayer against evil. That tee-shirt’s in his wardrobe, somewhere. He thinks he might have shown it to her in what suddenly seems like another life, because the woman standing before him is nothing like the girl-thing he’s been courting. And yet, she is exactly all of her.
“Be not afraid, my lover,” she moans at his ear, nipping the flesh there, “Theta Sigma says to tell you I need my present now. He said, ‘If he doesn’t believe you, tell him, Lucy Saxon.’”
He fights the urge to stagger- but he’s not even standing up.
“You’re in with him then. So be it. The box is on the nightstand.”
But she shakes her head, white bun trickling a thousand tiny braids like snow behind her. “No Koschei- he said it has to be by your hand.”
His own head shakes now, but he straightens and gets the rectangular box from beside his bed. It’s wrapped in silver. There’s a luxurious, crunchy bow. How like his old friend, to play psychologist in absentia.
“Here you are, pet,” he whispers, covering her hand with his as he lets the box slip from his fingers and into hers.
Before she twists the strange little ring on her finger, she looks up, a question in her eyes. “What name for you, my love? What title, if not for Rassilon’s meddling?”
He answers without hesitation.
But she is gone.