A Hymn for Fatima
Pasmo runs his thumb along the edges of the flattened sphere of silver lying like a touch under his folds of purple silk, feeling the cold of the metal against his skin. The ice in the medal reminds him of rain, that very rain. The rain that was falling when his unborn daughter...
Little freezing drops- they’d gone plink plink plink on the window glass outside his wife’s room. The child had died inside her, and she soon after. He would forever curse the vicious harpy who had mote it be.
He remembers it, ah so well. With his hands against her mother’s belly, he had promised her a daylight of two suns, free from that old time repression. He had promised her red grass and flowers and catsharks and gulls, silver mountains and cities of metal and crystal, all dwarfed by giant trees. Instead, she had received a penance that should have been his, what all of Gallifrey had not deserved. And from their Mother. She, the winged witch who defended her rotting nest atop the hill with her claws and her teeth and the spreading of her legs. As if the old ways were not immune to the power she would later claim was hers, once she’d been stripped of most of what she’d taken.
He hadn’t wanted this.
But the rot was here, regardless. That someone like that ingrate could suddenly emerge from the stinking, eaten woodwork and usurp his place was evidence enough.
It meant he’d failed.
Once, he had fooled himself by leaving Omega to die in the heart of Qqaba. Then, once the sacrificed star had been rammed into place, he had fooled himself again in sending his pets after the Other, the Other’s granddaughter and her nurse, all his little assassins scurrying for witnesses like filthy rats after a scrap of bacon. Some had been foolish enough to lie; still others had claimed they’d never found the body- he’d taken care of them personally, a fact only one man still living knew, other than him. And that man... he’d thought he’d taken care of, too. He would do for that man, this time.
So many things he’d thought he’d taken care of.
Plink, plink, plink plink.
The medal is warm now. His fingers, gnarled and frail, settle around the hammered metal round, feeling the smooth lines, the heat radiating in waves.
“Let me see her,” he breathes, berating himself as the voice lock recognises the patterns in his deep voice and begins to open the medal in his hands, revealing tiny quiverings to the peripheral nerves in his digits while it clicks.
He feels a swaying, chattering flip of the little edge as it forms; his hands jump apart; the catch melts in and the hinge melts out and back, until the other side of the medal splays apart from its mate, the welcome of a clam. The glint of the inner machinery catches on his walls, and dances over the bookshelf where the Doctor was leaning. He can still see the elbow-patch-shaped void in the dust.
As he looks at the light, a figure forms, growing out of the shimmering, shallow depths of the medal’s guts; the light forms a pyramid, ending above in a point so bright he might be forced to blink. He doesn’t want to.
And then she’s floating in the air, no longer a point, but a promise. A gift the Other had given him, so long ago. She is an infant, smiling in her mother’s arms.
He waits. She grows. Now she is seven years old, running through what might be red grass, chasing one of the little flying amphibians. A Chortlefrog.
Plink. Plink, plink.
He blinks; that reminds him, he ought to have had Omega recondition certain parameters in the autonomous nerve programming in the original Loom before he sent him to his death…
And now she is 20.
Her long hair is almost the color of bark, all curls at the ends and straight in the middle; her eyes are bright blue sky, with bits of pearly iridescence sprinkled in among the rods of her new irises. Her gaze is just beginning to settle. They’ll know her permanent eye color soon.
He blinks again, making a decision this time.
She is fifty. Her long white hair is snow against her cheeks. She is not looking at him, now; the book in her hand is much more important. The cover reads, the Unabridged Histories of Gallifrey.
He blinks again.
This time, her lavender eyes are 120 years old. Ready to choose a Chapterhouse. Is that a flicker of red under her gown? So she has chosen already. She is laughing with him, laughing with him, no, well, yes, with him, but also, someone beyond him. The person with the…
Pasmo’s hands quiver now as he folds his left hand over his right, closing the locket’s mechanism, deactivating the tiny fluid catches and gears, the hinge and clasp. His daughter will sleep until the next time he wakes her.
Funny that, how the Other had never once claimed the Sight. But how else had he known to put such detail into the locket? How else? Unless… unless he’d known. Unless he HAD seen. Or been there, somehow.
He looks again through surer lenses on the shelf where the Doctor had leaned.
Plink. Plink, plink.
How had he ever been Rassilon? Suddenly he knows, knows that he will never be that man again.
For he is just a man. Just a man.
And today, that man is Pasmodius.
As for tomorrow, who can tell?
The Doctor had been right, he muses as he replaces the medal beneath his shift and robes. He was fond of the girl.
Once he has caught his breath, he will go and learn where she is, he decides, brushing a hand through his four remaining strands of shimmer-generated hair. And the Tomb of Rassilon is as good a place to start as any. That man… he must be dealt with.
But, tomorrow. Tomorrow.
After all, old men need their rest. One night is enough, to drain the water from the cup. Hopefully then, they will be ready.
It’s been a long time since old Pasmo’s read tea leaves.