The Cake is a Lie; Long Live the Jammie Dodger!
The Doctor throws open the TARDIS doors and steps out, careful to turn around and lock her properly instead of using his clicker. Or snapping his fingers. She’d shocked him for it… He’d learned not to snap too often, after that.
Feeling his feet touch solid ground, he closes his eyes and lets himself revel in the touch of the wood under his squarish, not quite slim fingers.
“Wait a moment. That doesn’t smell remotely like chocolate cake,” he says, sounding confused even to his own ears as he takes a backstep away from the TARDIS.
One more step backward.
But his naked foot doesn’t touch floor first, oh no. It sinks a little, and he can feel something cool and wet. And slightly sticky.
He can feel what it is through his clothes. He can smell it on his skin, the instant recognition seeping through his body. Has the TARDIS taken him back to Gallifrey already? Gallifrey. Gallifrey? Gallifrey! Of course Gallifrey. Idiot.
He looks down, and sees only the marble floor, and the vermillion of Time Lord blood in a pattern like spilt paint beneath his feet.
Suddenly there is a tugging at his sleeve. He looks around, but sees only the Master’s body. He clutches his head, trying to stave off the creep of a vascular headache that so often accompanies such flashes of shared pain and failing miserably as the tugging fingers? It is fingers, isn’t it? pull at his shirt again.
“Are you Jesus?”
Oh lord. And there’s a palm-leaf motif on the floor tiles, too. Oh joie de vivre.
He’s forgotten to get rid of the extra hair! And the flowing shirt and striped sleeping trousers aren’t helping much. Nor the naked feet.
As he looks down, he manages a hastily-concocted reply to the young brown-haired boy who is staring up at him, one hand wrapped firmly in a fist on the hem of his bishop sleeve shirt.
“That, Georgie Plombkins, is an unsubstantiated rumour!”
Then the headache blows up in his face; no blood anywhere he looks. No body, no Panopticon, no assassin with that gaudy silver bear’s mask… Was it a vision? The last time he’d one of those had been when… oh lord have mercy, when the Lord President of Gallifrey had been assassinated. He’d been in his fourth body… tried to warn them. Naturally, he’d been blamed.
But this headache, now… it isn’t his pain; it’s Koschei’s.
His eyes in a sea of blackness now, he lurches out with fumbling hands, aware of only blobs of light and flowers of heat. Red and blue here, blonde here… sandy white here… silky champagne there… really, does Francine have any other colors of blouse? Not that it’s a bad look for her- he find it rather elegant, fitting even.
He sinks lower.
A pair of strong male hands grips his sleeve; it seems as if the boy was touching his cheek. The adorable little thing. Hopefully he hasn’t scared him too badly.
Long fingers smack his face, trying to waken him. Oh dear, had he said that about Francine out loud?
Soon, someone is talking, but not to him, thank the stars, and other hands are feeling around in places... his neck, his wrist, looking for and finding the double pulse. Then they find the baby. A hesitation, then, a solid pressing of palm against his stomach, followed by a gentle pat. Must be Jack. Could be Mickey? But there seem to be wrinkles… wait! There were slightly longer nails, the scent of perfume… was it… no! Grace? Grace Holloway! Nooo, couldn’t be.
“Georgie, go get a juice bottle. Martha! Mickey, a little help here!”
“No no, it’s a vision, I’m feeling someone else’s… it’s not the baby! Something’s happened and I have to get back, I have to…”
Francine’s voice now, cutting through the fog. “Be quiet and do as you’re told.”
“Yes, mam!” he croaks, evoking a tiny snort from at least one of the owners of the pairs of hands palpating his body for bruises or injury.
Oh well, he thinks, as his hair shortens itself a little and his face cleans up of stubble and his body becomes like an anchor somewhere beneath him due to the lapsing control over his conscious, at least he’s arrived at all. Or has he? Since when has the TARDIS used semi-tangible capable of weight-bearing four-dimensional interactive incomplete-quantum-state multi-function diagnostic holograms? The naughty thing! He’s been inside her the whole time! Ha HA!
“Happy Birthday, Me we’ll have to leave till later. Face, say hello to the TARDIS grates. SEXY…” He pets the small bit of the console he can reach, the base of an industrial mixer. “SEXY, you know what … to do…follow the presets over the river and… through the woods. To Gallifrey we go.”
Funny how the best place for him and his condition during a bumpy ride is the very place he’s fallen, wedged tight-as-you-please between the crash seat –which has mysteriously moved closer- and the console, which hasn’t. “Not my mother, indeed,” he chuckles as he drifts off to sleep. Well, maybe on Sundays.
On his finger, a golden ring hums as his face smushes against it…