Doctor Who: The Bright Asylum

The Blue Lacuna

The Doctor opens his eyes to a rush of iced air on his cheeks.

The cold touch of the breeze, though pleasant, bites him, burning his skin with the fire inherent in every long winter.

He opens his eyes.

He can’t feel his toes to curl them on the slide-y thick black ice.

Clouds melt overhead, buffeting the scene on the lake with snow.

Covering them both.

A bright figure made of incandescent blue feathers and steely eyes and sharp beak, held up by pawing talons pressed flat to the ice.

His partner, it appears, is a giant bluebird.

He stares at it, forgetting his bluish toes now in the dull brilliance of the frozen streams cascading down like frosty curtains.

He takes a wingtip in his strangely furry glove, and curls the morbid covering gently over the primaries; there is a bit of bone in there, careful- we mustn’t break it.

His eyes curtail themselves, hoping not to catch another glimpse of the furry thing on his hand.

But look he does.

Gray.

Soft-bristled.

Wizened.

Furled toward itself.

“My kingdom for some proper mittens!” he calls out to the giant bird, whose visible eye rounds on him disapprovingly like Sauron in an apron, a taut feminine presence in blue, selfish and in communicado with the whole of some wrinkled, wispen world of wonders.

It doesn’t take much to begin.

Just a flick of his monkey’s paw, a twist on his naked heel, and they are dancing.

He spins the big bluebird round, tucking her body against himself so that she must release a wing to stay upright.

She flings into it, swirling flamenco spiral after flamenco spiral to his tapping, clapping swing.

As he tosses her upward in a catch, his reflection on the black ice decides it for him; yes, he’s still quite dapper in formal blacks... even if he doesn’t have any shoes.

Suddenly the echo of a projectile bang alights on the snowy heights, hurtling in a beam toward them.

One wing folds around him in a blast of warmth, and a crunching pounds through his ear.

A small arch of dark red liquid flutters out in an arc from the wing, but it pushes him, flinging his rag doll body like a paper ball to the far shore.

The bird cocks her head at him, a blue helmet of ruffed feathers set by a lovely gold jewel.

Then the ice splits in little waves of cracks that crawl toward him, larger and larger fronds of interrupted shatter carving their way across the fracturing lake like hounds toward his overhanging toes.

Wanting very much to keep those little piggies, he pulls up, wiggling a bit, then sinks into the snow on the bank, and groans, shoving his hand through his rabbit hair so hard it knocks away his lovely headgear, an elegant black beaver.

“Darling,” he murmurs to the receding cracks and beneath them, his missing bluebird, “... don’t let them dent my topper!”

Then, before the little icicles can form on his eyelashes and bore him to suicide with stories of the war, he scoops up his hat with a swaggering backhand and casts it, skidding fair out, just in time to catch what’s left of the rather unfortunate fishing hole before it ices over again.


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