Doctor Who: The Bright Asylum

Ovum Regem

“Was he good to you, while you were growing inside him?” Rassilon asks softly as he watches his daughter sit by the window, her fingers curled on the sea green comb she’s pushing through her hair.

Flamina turns from the window, a sight in her stark white robe and sash, and sighs. Then her face lights up, her narrow smile stretching up to touch her dimples. It doesn’t fade and she begins to speak.

“...for a thousand years, that man kept me safe. I played in a garden, where the trees were so...” her voice quavers, the dying trumpet of a tiny, exhausted elephant. “I was inside his mind for a long time. The catch pools in that garden were filled with silver water, and the hedges were like mazes topped with fog! They went on for years...” She reaches to touch Rassilon’s cheek, grabbing his skin. Exploring it with careful birdish fingers. “I knew... all I had to do was cry or trip, or cut myself in a little thorn. He would be there. Waiting. He taught me how to ride a bicycle- that’s a vehicle from Earth. We sang songs. We painted portraits and landscapes by the sea. He put sand in my hair, and we watched the sun go down together, with my head in his lap. I would... he... sometimes he would... he often kept...”

She pauses, biting the inside of her lip and staring up into Rassilon’s patient blue gaze, studying his face for the end of her sentence.

“He would... what? Regale you with war stories? Bore you to tears? Perhaps... cook you breakfast and then forget and burn it?” Rassilon offered with an odd, stiff little bounce of his shoulders, not wanting her to notice the seething anger he felt at the man’s sheer neglect of his feelings with regards to his wife.

“Oh papa, are you trying to be cheerful? It doesn’t suit you very well at all!” Flamina laughs and pats his cheek again. She rises from her chair, and goes to the window of her Citadel apartment once more, releasing a deep breath as she leans and presses her thin nose against the cold glass.

“Winter on Gallifrey... I’ve never seen it. I imagine you have. What is it like? Is it like this? The Doctor always showed me fantastic things, and he was always cooking me something or babbling on about a book he wanted me to read. He got them mixed up, sometimes. There was this one about a unicorn... but he got it confused with the one about the two bears and the ladder made of stars... but you, papa...” she murmurs, heaving another great breath, so heavily that her small bosom rises two hands off the windowsill. “You would never tell me the truth, like he did. He is a kind man. I... oh!”

Rassilon’s hands slip around her neck, dangling a cold metal object down her white lace bodice. His fingers fasten a clasp, rest on her back for a moment, and then remove themselves, almost like letting go.

“My daughter, you should look in the mirror...” the man murmurs, looking down, then up again, hoping to meet his daughter’s eyes.

She floats away from the window, toward the seven silver Mirrors in her room.

“It seems,” Rassilon says flatly, “... that the Mirrors have taken a shine to you, daughter.”

“They keep me honest.” she says, gently grasping the ornate curls of silver along the top of the middle mirror. She looks at him, eyeing him via the crisp reflective surface. “...won’t you forgive him? He had to do it; it was the only way to save things. I was there, papa. I know.”

Rassilon harumphs, grasping his chin as he considers things. “We’ll see. He has done many dangerous things, and endangered you. Endangered everything. Endangered your relationship with the Master.”

Flamina rounds on her father, bracing herself with the window, her back to the glass- a stance betraying the validium will beneath that delicate lace, lavender eyes boring into him with all the force of a raging solar storm- a tactic she learned from the Doctor, no doubt.

“’My Lover,” she counters flatly, “... has a name- it’s Koschei. And I know about the Doctor, Papa. I know, I know. I know. But he was kind to me. He taught me things you never could. He saved mother. Saved Gallifrey. Helped my silly bookworm save the universe. They do that rather a lot. Ought to do it together, really... Koschei says he’s coming to the ceremony tomorrow, whether the Doctor tells him it’s all right or not. Please forgive the Doctor, Papa? Please? He’s trying so hard to be a good man, despite everything that’s happened. You don’t know what he’s lost.”

“All right, all right. I will eventually. For you. Borusa needs us in the Panopticon in one hour, all right?” Rassilon quips, pointedly brushing her good-hearted glare off his shoulder as he walks out of the room and down the hallway to the Doctor’s study...

And as he passes the Doctor’s door, where the man is lying practically in state, sleeping off the last few hours, he smiles, thinking to himself, not today, Doctor... not today.

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