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memento mori

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The Doctor's long legs dangled as he swung lightly to and fro in an arc from the playground swing. He observed the constructed countryside, with its carefully constructed sky blue hue and the perfect fluffiness of the cotton white clouds. It was almost a perfect replica of the planet he loved, and yet the golden motes of rising light reminded him that it was a mere construct of Alice's memories.

Seeing a laughing girl approaching over the hill, he slowed his movements until the tips of his shoes could brush the blades of grass.

'Hi.' he called.

The girl that had skipped over had long white hair with twinned long plaits. She held a bouquet of blue flowers so pale that they were almost translucent.

'I'm the Alice. These flowers are meant for Kevin.' She assured him, handing them the bouquet, the ribbons spilling into his lap.

'I'm the Doctor. Kevin is gone now, but I'll be sure to pass on the message.' The Doctor said lightly, setting the gift on the ground. He looked around. 'I've got something for you as well. Just wait, it's in here somewhere.' He fished around in his pockets.

'Is he in your head?' She asked brightly, tapping his temple.

'Yup. Well yes - Well, sometimes.' Nodded the Doctor distractedly. He picked up a metal rod with a glowing blue dot of light, three pliers, one green cube (a souvenir representing the Skasis Paradigm the Doctor replied to the Intention's questioning look) and a packet of sweets from his pocket. He carefully unrolled it with a crackle and pop, before offering a to the girl. 'Want a jelly baby?' he grinned boyishly, his two red eyes gleaming brightly in the sunlight.

'Thanks.' She snatched a sweet, studying them before sniffing it and popping one in her mouth. Her hair bobbed lightly as she chewed.

'I used to like jelly babies, you know' said the Doctor sleepily, with a cat like yawn, covering his mouth with one sleeve, causing the swing to turn in a calm circular momentum. He dropped down the arm, suddenly wide awake. 'And scarves, really, really long ones. I had one which reached down to my ankles. But now I'm old and I don't like scarves any more. I used to wear a nice pair of converses, but after I changed I used liked fezzes and bow ties. Then I ran and hid.' His eyes contained a deep sadness.

Her head whipped around at his tone, and suddenly her face was tilting dangerously close to his head, fingers sneaking around the hollow curve of his throat. 'You regrew your eye.' She pronounced darkly poking his forehead in a way that made the Time Lord feel distinctly uncomfortable. 'I liked it better when you only had one. And Cheshire had the other.'

The Doctor swallowed audibly. Was he just particularly unlucky, he wondered, that most of the people he encountered seemed to be crazies, psychopaths or crazy psychopaths?

'No need to get antsy, it was just a bright cold day in April, when the clocks struck thirteen and I was hit by an alpha wave of Artron energy.' He told her, rambling on with barely a pause. He patted the swing next to him, causing it to rock gently. 'Aren't you going to sit down, Alice? You might get tired just standing here.'

He earned another dark look before the girl stilled, then loosened her grip and then stuck both hands behind her back. She stuck out her chin forcefully.

'I'm not going to sit.'

'Fine, but unless you want to miss a good story, you're going to sit down.' The Doctor replied cheerfully.

The girl belatedly seized the opportunity to sit down with an eagerness that surprised the Time Lord and plonked herself down.

'Tell it to me now, not-Kevin. I get lonely,' she confided.

'It's a looong story.' The Doctor cautioned.

'I don't care. You're not getting out of here until you finish. And you still haven't fulfilled my wish! Even if you're not him.' She screamed the last word with a sudden high pitched anger that surprised him, her cheeks visibly reddened. Emily the doll was pulled off his shoulders and thrown at him, hitting the Doctor with surprising force. Somewhere, deep in the recesses of the Doctor's mind, Xerxes Break winced.

'Oof' said the Doctor, spinning in insane circles as the swing seat rotated wildly. Oh dear he thought, flailing mentally. Not after last time...

He didn't particularly want to remember the last time.

Then the bright countryside started shredding away in ribbons showing the blackness beyond. Which, the Doctor thought irately, would not have been too bad had the Abyss not contained enough Void stuff to trap him for a very long time in-between the universes.

'All right, all right, I'll fulfil your wish AND tell you the story!' The Doctor held up both his hands in a defeat. 'Two for the price of one, bada bada boom.'

The Intention of the Abyss smiled happily, and the scenery was once again tranquil and peaceful. As if nothing here had changed. As if nothing would ever change.