Doctor Who: The Bright Asylum


Canton Everett Delaware checks his silver watch, then gazes again at the reflection of himself in the unrelieved blackness of the dwarf star alloy block prison.

The Doctor is late.

Which, knowing what Canton now knows, could mean only one thing.

A double entendre of galactic proportions.

The first time the Doctor had shown up with a beard had been about five months ago after the revelation of the Silence, no Ponds in sight, looking half-way between panic and elation. He’d said he was late. Then he’d explained further. And elaborated. With hand signs. Then he’d told Canton about the dwarf star alloy box. And they’d gone for a quick run in the TARDIS, picking out baby things and straitjackets in the 51st century. Damn but the alien was unique. And good for a laugh. The slightly-mad, but decent, type. Then they’d gone somewhere called Gallifrey for about three minutes, and the Doctor had come back three months older with a bit more weight on him.

“Erm, had to tell the father… turned into something of a quickie. Right then! Back into the jacket and beard,” he’d said. Then they’d returned to Area 51.

That had been then.

As the TARDIS comes in silent for the second time, he steps back while the ship adjusts an infinite array of physical and sub-physical differentials which he will never begin to understand or care about. All he knows was that another version of the Doctor has come to take the place of the one in their little black box, and his Doctor will leave. Which is what they all want, for one reason or another. Besides, soon the bodies will arrive, and the jig will be up.

They have to get this done before then. It’s what the Doctor said. Well, one of him, anyway.

The alien appears just as the doors of his blue time ship open, and he looks anything but calm. He is, however, thinner than the one who’s been chained in the chair.

“There’s no time to waste, boys,” says Canton with a smile for the older, clean-shaven Doctor, as he pats the younger Doctor, -the bearded one-, on the shoulder. Frowning, he watches the younger version lean with his eyes closed for a moment on the TARDIS doors, and sets his jaw. “You really oughta eat more. Think of the kid and do that. Get some sleep. And hurry it up with that straight jacket, Houdini. The Ponds will be here soon.”

“Yeah, ah, sorry… but remember, I was a tad ill during the first bit. You know how it goes, old boy!” says the younger Doctor with a wink, watching with interest as the older Doctor grows the exact same beard, mustache and overcast of hair as he is still wearing. “Everything in place, me?”

The older Doctor grins beneath the hair, then nods. “Down to the color of bowtie I’m wearing. The TARDIS is preset- which is good, ‘cause the thing we don’t want is you bouncing about too much. Not good for the…”

“…baby, yes, yes I know! A quick pop-over to my surprise -Honestly did they really believe I would be surprised but I appreciate it, regardless!- birthday dinner at Francine’s and then back to Gallifrey for the big chalupa. Oh lord don’t let me say that again without a side of decent rice, chalupa… but anyway thanks a bunch!” quips the younger Doctor, finishing the older him’s sentence as he gingerly steps up to the TARDIS, making use of the handy two-step stool his future self had so thoughtfully brought out and employed while tying his shoes.

Then Canton reaches down and picks up the stool, handing it to him with a grin and a nod, if just a touch too soberly. “Take care, Doctor. And have this banana on me.” He takes a nice ripe yellow one out of a pocket and sticks that in the alien’s free hand.

The older Doctor in the chair just smiles and rolled his shoulders, settling into the straight jacket as his younger self leans carefully out of the TARDIS’ double egress with a full bishop-sleeved hand on his barely there stomach, the banana already half-eaten and sticking from his mouth. Two months in the box have got him up to seven, and he still only looks a slim four months and change.

“Oh, Canton, you’re just a big sweetheart! Thank you ever so much for the lovely vacation in sunny downtown Area 51! I needed the break, and a laugh... and the cheek on you! Make me blush, you naughty thing! Okay, then- Self, Canton, no time to lose, so thank you and g’bye and see you later!”

Just like that, the younger Doctor is gone with a little hand wave and the roar of the TARDIS engines.

Once the younger Doctor has gone…

Canton looks at the Doctor.

The Doctor looks at Canton.

Then both men smile, counting their time until the prison break.

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