Doctor Who: The Bright Asylum






“Oh for god sakes, woman, just kick the damn thing!” the Master calls back over his shoulder to River Song where she stands at the box-shaped portable comms device they’ve brought with them from the shuttle, himself careful to keep both eyes on the man who bears such a striking resemblance to his friend that he has begun to wonder if he’s imagining it all.

No, no he can’t be.

The –Doctor- is leering at River again, his bone-white lips a sickening rictus of desire, his once-lovely crystal eyes little more now than pallid sea glass vases filled with damp flowers stinking of rot. He grabs at his face, as if trying to clear cobwebs from his skin.

Wait, is the bastard... ill? But the Flesh doesn’t get… hold on a moment…


Blink blink.

Ah. Ghost in the machine. The clever little idiot.

Suddenly, to the Master it seems as if by way of the –Doctor’s- sudden weariness, the old gleam breaks through the filth, for a moment.

The real Doctor’s watery gaze pleads with him from once empty eyes.

The sweaty eyebrows begin their dance- but always the eyes, they sing fountains.

“And I’m through! Finally. Hello, Koschei,”the dying light seems to say, “… you need to distract him like this until he breaks ranks and reaches the Cloud- it’s there I’ll make the switch... and would you please stop –him- glaring at my wife’s tracts of land? It’s really quite disturb-”

Then the Flesh’s finger crawls up, cutting off the Doctor and hiding a soft shush noise with a bit of a waggle.

Most of their hopes gone then, in an instant. Damn. Has the Valeyard discovered the Doctor’s meddling?

Along with his finger, the rest of the leering wonder returns slowly to life, with hand to dizzy rabbit head, hoping belatedly to halt the forward sway of motion which only just afforded the Master one last glimpse of a sea-eyed Kusabi made of glorified almond paste before the onslaught of insufferable boredom he knows is sure to follow in the Valeyard’s spiritually small footsteps.

In any case, River Song’s fingers are playing across the usurper’s shoulders now, rolling out imagined kinks.

Oh if she only knew whose land rover she was steering.

The Master fights with himself at the sight, willing his body not to scream like a little girl in sheer frustration at this upstart clone of a Time Lord who thinks he bloody owns the place, walking around in his friend’s Flesh form as if anybody ever cared about the shoes he’s pretending to but him.

“I got a signal from the Citadel, finally,” says River, as Borusa’s big yellow crystal head floats over, on marble shoulders covered now by River’s jacket.

“And I see that you finally got the hang of that turn, Borusa! Good job on, even if you do keep having trouble with the Laneet’s vibrational speech synthesizer-much more problem and it might be better just to telepath it, and avoid the Flesh’s comm altogether. Anyway, according to my husband, the Doctor, I mean the trail, will get a fair bit rocky from here on in.” She turns to the Valeyard in his Doctor suit, he pretending sleep at her feet while his darkening green eyes gaze brightly on the Master’s carefully crafted deer in headlights expression.

Wait. The Master thinks on the woman’s gaffe, considering. Did she just admit she suspected something? But, before he can think on it further…

“You don’t do worried liar lying about lying well, Koschei,”the Valeyard’s traitor eyes call out merrily, dancing sideways after River’s gaffe like a stiletto in the dark, with that vicious twinkle of ice behind tissue paper, “…although I have to say that -bothered- suits you.”

“Don’t make me bite your nuts off, you lacy twit.” The Master growls as he kicks at a running coal from the campfire.

River Song lifts her head from the Valeyard’s back and sighs. “And don’t make me –muzzle- you. Anklebiter. That was Jack Harness on the comms, of all people. He said something about a murder, but I couldn’t make it out. I guess the comms cut back in earlier than I thought. But when did he get here? Must have been during shuttle prep.”

Anklebiter? Really? But Koschei of Oakdown has reason to smile; the mere memory of the fact of the Freak’s presence on Gallifrey is enough to make him happy for the moment. He really –must- introduce the man to Braxiatel.


But… hadn’t River Song been there during the shootout with Harkness? Then why was she…


Quite a bit later then.


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