Doctor Who: The Bright Asylum


The Master stands his ground, crossing his legs and shoving his hand down on the Doctor’s skull. Finding a purchase in the rabbit fur flopsy mess, he grabs a sizeable chunk vaguely comparable to the dimensions of the candy bar in his back pocket, and holds the Doctor’s head up by his handful. He begins to mutter under his voice, “How many times have I told you, I don’t want you off-planet! You could lose the baby, be killed, or worse, start a dead-end Houdou cult around one of your old pairs of Chucks on bloody Easter Island! You’re too fucking important to the Restoration, much as I hate to admit it in company. So straighten up!”

But the Doctor just stares at him with that soft face, that unsmiling gaze. That Mask he used to wear, back when they were children. His fingers, however, are curving around the Master’s arse, diving for a pocket-kept yummy bar of chocolate wrapped in a fuschia and silver-streaked foil.

The Master decides to wrench the admission he’s looking for out of the man. “Give me that- it’s mine and you can’t have it!” his vicious elbow slams into the Doctor’s side, knocking him to the ground just as the Doctor sticks his own elbow out behind his body so he can lean.

The younger Time Lord flinches, allowing his balance to wobble, then rolls over on his back and applies slightly calloused hands to the buttons of his shirt.

“I have begun to hurt a bit in recent weeks, but that’s just because she’s growing again,” the Doctor says softly, drawing in a hard, hitched breath or three every time the Master moves, and rubbing circles over his stomach as though reciting a poem. Then he adjusts his nearly-prostrate position on the flat floor, and crosses his legs out straight at the knee.

The Master looks at Borusa, then at Pasmodius, then at Rassilon, whose blue eyes skirt around the Doctor’s outline as though he’s going to take to the floor at any moment and give him a physical.

But, why not tell him you never really left, young man? Pasmodius’ wordless gaze says everything.

Koschei of Oakdown, The Master, Lord President of Gallifrey, sticks a finger toward the Doctor’s stomach and stabs at it, poking the man’s swollen abdomen in vicious, shallow jabs, as though spearing at fish, his fingertips stopping only a millimeter in, enough to avoid any awkward questions.

In tiny, paint-water patches of purple, green, brown and yellow barely visible beneath the Doctor’s white shirt, tiny contusions the size of the Master’s trim fingernails begin to dot the Doctor’s abdominal skin. In seconds, they grow up into scale blots like rotten mandarin oranges, then pale away.

“You think this is all a game? Well of course you do!” he rages, while the Doctor still says nothing, content to rub his side and make small moaning sounds every so often in the dark recesses of the back of his throat. “Ever since we were kids, you’ve never stopped playing, not once! I can’t fucking stand it!”

“Kos…” the Doctor says finally as he holds up a tiny silver object between thumb and forefinger of his left hand, using his entire body to draw another long breath that shudders through even his –unused- limbs, despite obvious efforts to project stillness, “… someone’s been listening in. That was why I did what I did. There’s yet another spider in the web.”

The Master’s hand flicks forward; soon, the planted bug is crunching between his fingers.

“Thank you, Theta. You were with it that much, at least. But good god man, stop whining! It’s not like you’re in any real pain right now, is it? We can turn it off! We can. Be. Beautiful.” he chokes, saying it softly to himself like a litany under the breath. “I will be… and so will Gallifrey, if I have to kill you to do it. You’re a frivolous, dangerous, irresponsible child.” His dark eyes flare up, softening only when they cascade over the baby bump stretching his dear friend’s overlarge and slightly rumpled blue-pinstriped white shirt.

The Doctor just turns away, purses his lips tighter than the clasp on a certain golden clutch and covers his face again, lying back and flattening himself the rest of the way. Rassilon’s eyes are on him, as well, so he looks. To his infinite suspicion and surprise, there is a refreshing, barest edge of sympathy there, hanging like cold dew from the tired, painted sill of a rainy window.

“I beg to differ, Lord President.” Rassilon says, his sky blue orbs glistening gravely. “Haven’t you heard him groaning under his breath for the past quarter hour? I’ll take him to his rooms and settle him in. If it’s what I suspect, he’ll need bed rest for a few days. In fact,”

“I don’t care! Do whatever you want! You lot are determined to undermine me at every turn! It reminds me why the Doctor left! And god damn I wish I could! But no, I had to try and be RESPONSIBLE!” the Master screams the last little bit, getting up and wrenching his foot out from beneath the Doctor’s back -where he’d been propping him- before brute forcing the door panel and stomping out like a toy soldier on holiday.

Once he is gone, Pasmodius and Rassilon are kneeling beside the Doctor, one man pushing him down with a hand to the chest, the other gently raising him up.

“I’m… all right, really we haven’t had much food and just need a little rest. After using the Board for so long, some sleep will do nicely, thanks. I’m all right.”

“I’ll take him.” Rassilon murmurs to Borusa, and a crackle of pleasing fire surges out from the hand he’s placed on the Doctor’s spine, rushing through the nerves, filling them with a handsome sensation, similar to the cold-hot melt of ice cream being fried. To the Doctor, he says simply, “…there you are. A taste of the immortality you so despise. It will help you to sleep.”

“Oh my dear word, is the boy all right? Someone should get his wife in here!” worries Pasmo, cringing and wringing his wrinkles as if they were full of dirty mop water.

His hands wrap around one of the Doctor’s arms, while Rassilon takes the other.

The Doctor just shrugs, slumping on his feet and digging in, half-heartedly. “I’m all right, I’m all right, really I am! But you’re not going to let go of my arm, are you? Humph. Well I never!”

As they walk together, his eyes trail along the halls until they reach his room, his hands on his stomach the whole way. It does kind of hurt, but they are really taking it too… ooh, question!

“Dallyrasse, do you think it might actually work, or are we just delaying the inevitable hydrogen inrush, among other things?” the Doctor asks with weighted eyelids as the older man helps him undress.

Pasmodius rifles in the blank wall cabinets for the sudden appearance of a glass, and fills it from a tap that melts out from the wall at a snailing pace. “I’ll be just a moment, “he squawks in soft apology, “This area’s automatics have always been a bit slow!”

Up-curving the corners of his sapphire eyes just enough to evoke a bit of calculated warmth, Rassilon shrugs, though it never reaches his eyes. He says, “… wasn’t it you who helped me to answer that same query recently? I’ll call for your wife- I believe she’s in what’s left of the gardens.” Then he smiles, genuinely. His fingers tap a couple of keys on the door panel to keep the communiqué on private lines, then he speaks into the comm., “River Song, please come to the Lord Doctor’s rooms at once.”

Before he leaves, the ancient Time Lord turns to the Doctor and says, ‘But the universe didn’t begin with an inrush, did it, my Lord Other? You know that as well as I.”

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