"Remember Me In Red, My Darling"
STANDARD DISCLAIMER: All Doctor Who characters belong to the BBC. I'm not making any money from this.
Though she had murdered the Prime Minister in cold blood while he was handcuffed and helpless, there hadn't been a trial; her parents hadn't wanted the additional scandal.
Deals had been made with old friends over brandy, hands had been shaken in parlors of posh country homes, and a decision had finally been handed down, bought and paid for with favors owed, promises made.
She was to be sent away for a "rest" at a place where the grounds were beautiful, the rooms were expensive, the dishes were unbreakable and the cutlery was blunt and plastic.
Not that she'd minded. By then, a nice long rest had sounded like just what the doct… just what she wanted.
She was so tired, so very tired.
He had been good to her, at first. Oh, yes.
He had never tired of explaining things to her, and indeed had seemed to take some delight in his role as her teacher. He had patiently explained things that had always mystified her, small things like how refrigerators kept things cold, how motion-sensitive lights knew to come on when you walked by, and how television worked.
And later, in the dark, he would press his long cool body against hers. They would move together and she would burn, burn with the pleasure of it all until she cried out, barely hearing the nonsense words he was murmuring in her ear, alien words in the forgotten language of a dead planet.
But she had understood him well enough: Together, they would remake the world.
Twice a week, an attendant comes to her room and escorts her to a tastefully appointed office.
She sits in the in the overstuffed leather chair and gazes at a point on the wall somewhere behind the other's head. He always asks her questions. She rarely answers, at least not in ways that make sense to him.
She tells him of the fires that burned at the end of the Universe. Of a police box that was bigger on the inside than the outside. Of a man who had two hearts but was heartless.
He makes noncommittal sounds and marks another notation in the chart on his desk. Then the attendant returns and she is led back to her room and left to sit in peace in another comfortable chair where she can stare silently out the window at the grounds below.
He had always given her such beautiful things.
Bouquets of flowers. Jewelry. Gorgeous designer gowns.
He had dressed her up like a living doll and paraded her around like a trophy. It was only toward the end that she had understood that this is what she had been all along to him: a trophy, a necessary prop that would help him get where he wanted to be, in Downing Street.
It had been a bitter realization for her, bitter like the codeine tablets she had swallowed one by one in their private bathroom on the Valiant.
He had found her in time, of course.
It never happened.
It never happened.
A year had gone by, a year that hadn't happened.
She remembers it. Why doesn't anyone else?
Sometimes the division in her mind between what everyone says and what she knows is true will undo her, and she screams, screams and cries and wails until the attendants who are never far away come running. Then the needle slides into her vein and the drug slides into her brain and sweet oblivion claims her if only for a while.
It never happened.
Maybe she really is as crazy as they say.
There is a loose tile in the communal bathroom.
Whenever they take her for a shower, she stares at it. It has a perfect hairline crack down the center, like a break in the routine.
Someone had tried to mend it, but the crack is still visible. It recalls an incident from her childhood when her mother had dropped and broken one of their fine china plates. Instead of trying to mend it, she had simply thrown it away.
The pieces would never fit together quite right, her mother had explained. And it would always be weak where it had broken.
She feels like that plate, like the tile in the bathroom. Even if they succeeded in mending her, the pieces would never fit together quite right. And she would always be weak in that broken place.
It had never been about her, she understands that now.
It had always been about that gangly man in the pinstriped suit, the one called the Doctor. Even his stated goal – ruling the Earth – had only been tangential. He had somehow known that the Doctor would come, would try to stop him, would stop him in the end.
It occurs to her more than once that this was what he had wanted, though he would never have admitted it, even to himself.
He had needed someone to make him stop, and she knows now that she had never been up to the job.
This knowledge eats her up inside. So many people had suffered and died (no, it never happened!) because of him… because of them. Her hands weren't clean by any stretch of the imagination.
Vivian Rock's horrible death still haunts her nightmares.
But she had been a good person, once. A kind and caring person. Or at least she thinks so, anyway; sometimes it's hard to remember.
He had twisted her into something ugly, but she knows in her heart that she had been complicit in the twisting.
Love is like a drug.
It gets under your skin just like the attendants' needles and brings the same kind of chemical euphoria. But unlike the needles, love tears you up inside, leaves your heart raw and bleeding, leaves you feeling so wretched that death would be a blessing.
The Doctor had known this secret too.
She had seen it in his dark eyes as he had silently submitted to whatever new humiliation had been inflicted upon him. It seemed that every day had brought a new one, and he had borne them all without comment, without complaint.
He had told the Doctor that if he knew what the Toclafane were, it would break his hearts. But she had seen that his hearts had already been broken by this man, so many times over the years.
She knew the feeling.
People cry so beautifully on television or in the movies. Their eyes grow liquid and luminous, and the tears slide down their cheeks without ever disturbing their perfect make-up.
Not like real life, where your eyes get all puffy and red, your cheeks get blotchy, and you sob uncontrollably while snot drips down your chin. It isn't easy to cry cinematically.
She'd done her fair share of crying on the Valiant, God knows. She'd locked herself in their private bathroom and let the tears come, covering her mouth with both hands to stifle the sobs. It wouldn't have done to have him hear her, for he'd have come in and given her something to really cry about.
He hadn't been like that before, though. Before the Toclafane, before the Doctor had arrived. He had loved her before.
Or maybe, she realizes now, he had only found it expedient to pretend he had.
He had always liked her best in red, and wouldn't he be pleased if he could see her now?
When the attendant comes in with her breakfast, there is blood everywhere, so much blood. It stains the white sheets, soaks through her white nightgown, pools on the white floor in sticky drying puddles. It's astounding how much blood the human body actually holds.
Her hand clutches something that on closer inspection appears to be a broken piece of tile from the bathroom. It must have been loose and easily pried away with a bit of determination. The edge isn't very sharp, but it was obviously sharp enough.
She has left a note written on her expensive monogrammed stationery. Two perfect drops of blood stain the creamy white paper.
"Remember me in red, my darling."