Doctor Who: The Bright Asylum

The Big White Telephone

“Here,” a sweet voice mumbles through the bars, “I brought you some water.”

Ice splashes wetly across the Doctor’s face, and his head smacks back, hitting stone.

He blinks away the water, staring as the naked white skin of his lovely not-daughter parades itself around, like an armor suit of meat, on the wrong side of the bars.

“Do you remember when I made you your pretty dress? It was your birthday...,” he murmurs softly, averting his gaze with a hand, as if trying not to stare out to sea.

Flamina’s white fingers wrap around the bars, curling loose, then tight. They pull.

The thick bars rattle free with a clang and no small bit of dust, clouding up a bit.

“Don’t tell me what to do, Daddy. We’re too old for this game,” she breathes, tossing the wall of bars and stone behind her, causing a racket somewheres.

“Well you can tell your mother I don’t like the furniture. Bit too garish. Needs addressing.”

He mutters it under his breath, watching her watch him as he plucks at the dirty blue bathrobe that’s all they’ve dressed him in.

Flamina smiles, and draws her ankle back, dipping her foot so smoothly along the floor, touching toes to the stones.

Her foot then returns to its former position, and finds his solar plexus, kicking him there, in the middle of his ribs.

The blow scoots him toward the back wall and instinct curves him in on himself, and so he holds his arms close to his lower chest.

“You’re not yourself today. But we could still be friends. What say you put this behind us, and we can get some ice cream? Just tell me where the TARDIS is, and-... glug!”

Her fist shoves violently into his stomach, forcing a little trickle of blood to come up and bubble between his shivering teeth, spraying all over her hand.

“Flamina?” he says softly, looking up at her with red smudges on his face.

So calm. As if he knows... But he can’t. He can’t! He... can’t know. He... must not...

He knows. He has to. How? How did he find out? It was... perfect.

Despite herself, her fingers unbuckle themselves from that fist and slacken, riding limply along her lower thigh. Dimly she can feel her face beginning to revert, losing cohesion temporarily. If he sees her now, the way she really looks...

“You’re not really a clown, are you, Doctor?” she asks, looking down at him.

But his head has lolled.

He is asleep.

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