Doctor Who: The Bright Asylum

The Emperor's New Bose

The Valeyard’s slumbering arm is draped with a half dozen shirts, all of which go with the lovely grey suit he’s chosen.

His fingers are aching like little carrots afflicted by root rot.

“What about this one?” he asks, sticking his free hand into the open air, holding out a slick silver tie with thin black striping for Rassilon’s peruse.

“Hrm, not enough contrast for the black to work. Try the gold again. And Valeyard...” Rassilon says demurely from his perch atop an iced bench, “...if you need to take a break... there’s no shame in it. It’s hard to choose a good armor to die in. You know I always had trouble.”

The Valeyard pops his head around the sliding fitting room door, opening it slightly, “...yes. Am I the only one who finds it sad you’re still alive? Well, you were always right about one thing; no one does trouble like we do. But really Dallyrasse, do remind me to murder you once this is over, if I have the time. All these anecdotes from our shared past are making me nauseous.”

“You could alleviate that in your new derby. It would save your wife the trouble of shooting it, since you actually look good in the thing. That must have been traumatic for you, losing your favorite plaything to the Whore of Babylon on at least three separate occasions.”

Quiet fades into something Else then, in the dim lighting skirting the hall of fitting rooms.

Then it comes, a hoarse, foreboding whisper in the darkness of mood.


“I am not repeating myself like one of your little pets. Make a decision.”

“No, I didn’t mean you. I thought I heard it talking to me. Nevermind. Did you call River Song a whore? How invigorating. I was waiting for someone to do it. That bum alone... she has to be some kind of exotic evil. That hair... it’s like...”

“’s the hormones, you know, making you curse like that. That shard of Zagreus must have been sub-dimensionally attached to you for –some- time, long enough to plant suggestions and then carry them out once you were trapped in this Flesh. Perhaps the Doctor knew this would happen.”

“Of course he did, he’s ME!” the Valeyard squeals, rubbing himself as a sudden twinge cramps its way up his spine by way of his stomach, “...Um, Rassilon? I think I’ll go with the shirt I liked a few minutes ago. I... feel weird. Like mini Cthulhu is trying to make my guts into sausage suddenly.” He turns, and places a hand on the edge of the doorway, ignoring the sharp slice of the door as it bites a tiny chunk of his hand away in a flurry of blood drops. “This place is cold. I want to get away from here.”

“All right,” Rassilon agrees smoothly, “...put your clothes on; we’ll go when you’re ready. I’ll ask the ship to build a small, heated zero room for you.”

He comes out fifteen minutes later, grey trousers, grey suit, grey vest, grey patterned shirt with tiny plaid. Pale grey stockings. Nice laced grey shoes on his heels and a tidy grey derby sticking between his fingers. One hand holds an umbrella instead of a stick, also grey. All to match the dark circles puffing like honeypot ants under his eyes.

The hat he tosses from his hand as he takes a further step into Rassilon’s line of sight, then adjusts the grey bowtie at his neck.

“Screw the derby,” he mutters, clicking a heel down into the icy ground like a giddy tapper, “... he’s the one with the hat fetish. I just like to watch her shoot at him- why she keeps missing I can never understand.”

“I see.”

Tapping a finger astride of his nose like a gangly, indifferent emo Santa, he adjusts the red boutonniere kerchief at his right breast pocket then follows Rassilon back the way the other Time Lord had come from his landing position.

So there it is. He’s finally on his way to see that annoying junk heap again.

Perhaps if he’s very very good and not remotely horrid, perhaps the Old Girl might grant him a hit of Temporal Grace, a temporary stay of fate before he is transformed into the Nightmare Child’s microwave dinner. How grotesquely boring. And how necessary.

What he wouldn’t have given, had he still cared, for a chance to feel what it was like not to give a damn for or even know what was necessary.

Sometimes a man lives too long.

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