Doctor Who: The Bright Asylum

Over the Rainbow

As he looks at the man on the slab, the man he’s just carried all the way down to someone’s secret communications bolthole at this Rassilon’s urging, Jack Harkness wants to touch. He wants to reach down, to grab the unruly chunk of rabbit-soft hair obscuring the bone-bleached face of that woman’s murderer.

To… repay the man properly.

He wants to jerk this bony sack of a man up by that sizeable forelock, stuff his fingers through those staring peridot eyes like he’s prepping a Thanksgiving turkey, and slam the skull satisfyingly back down in a dent of reddish blood against the silvery surface of the antiquated slab of the portable medical bed Rassilon has set up behind their swivel chairs.

But Jack can’t. His right hand is pressed against the reason why- a hard swell of inhabited flesh protruding beneath an alien navel… Benjamin Pond’s swollen stomach muscles are stressing the buttons on his white shirt.

Hell.

The bastard’s roughly nine months pregnant, in a coma, relying on ancient, jury-rigged equipment to keep things rosy for the bun in the oven.

Bastard. It’s just like him.

A rustling of purple robes; Rassilon. Jack cops a smile as the canny old alien sidles up with the air of a general and the subtlety of a Chinese fishmonger – the Doctor’s words, according to the rather wrinkled Time Lord called Pasmodius; he’d cleared the halls of lurkers for them. Obviously Rassilon must have wanted Jack to hear him approach, hence the sound. Hence his presence at all. So, he wants information… or wants someone to think he does.

“How is he then? The same as before I imagine, but please- feel free to expound.”

The 50-year old face of a blue-eyed ancient war lord twinkles merrily, like an evil kitten while Jack tries vaguely not to blink as the Doctor’s many warnings about the Time Lords come to mind:

‘Don’t make nice unless they swear they don’t know me. I have that effect. Or better yet, don’t make nice at all; it saves on the arrangements later.’

So Jack grins like a shark all over, fully aware that his –teeth- are like plastic fangs compared to this man’s sharpened incisors.

“The Lord Doctor has warned you against us; I would expect nothing less of my very old friend. You said you had something for me?”

Jack meets Rassilon’s boundless gaze, and tries not to shiver despite himself. He reaches into Pond’s tweed coat and rolls his fingers on the hem, revealing the bug-wire he planted there during one of the many nights they slept together.

“You constructed the Transduction Barrier surrounding Gallifrey, yes? The Doctor, he…” Jack’s eyes flit down, despite himself, “…hinted to us about that, vaguely. Well here’s a little Christmas present- if you can buffer it enough and then loop it through the Barrier… you see the theory in play here.”

Rassilon takes the tiny listening device and holds it up to the light. A simple little thing really; just a small silver dot with a wire hanging out.

“Yes… in future I believe I might come to treasure this low-tech piece of nostalgia- thank you Captain Harkness. Your planting this listener on him is especially fortuitous for us now. But what will truly impress me is if this little thing still works. I will be gone only a short while, but nevertheless, please notify me of any change in his condition publicly over the coms. In return, I will share a secret with you that you may find entertaining…”

Jack inclines his head as the Time Lord leaves, and then it’s back to the gaslight vigil.


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