Carnival Mirror

by Awdures [Reviews - 2]

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  • All Ages
  • None
  • Alternate Universe, Angst, Missing Scene

Author's Notes:
The original scenes in Mindwarp were downright scary! This is a bit of an experimental, doodly sort of ficlet playing with them. I haven't changed any words from the dialogue though I've gone taken fairly substantial liberties with punctuations and accompanying action. Perhaps the untampered-with version in the Matrix went more like this...

"Doctor, help me!" Even the fact that it was the Doctor who had exposed her couldn't quite quell the hope that prompted the scream. Some part of her was still unable, in the face of the evidence to accept that he would ignore her cries for help.

Yet he did just that, and the disinterest on his face was worse than any prospect of where she was being dragged off to.

The guards fastened Peri's wrists and ankles into the chains at the base of the seaward cliffs. The chains were fixed into the rocks there, this place had been used for this purpose before.

Cold waves splashed over her, breaking higher each time and drawing another panicked cry.

"What do you want!" she asked, unable to keep the sob from her voice.

The Doctor stood over her, and for the first time since the early days of his regeneration Peri was truly afraid of him. The expression on his face was unfamiliar, angry, without a trace of recognition in his eyes. No hint at all that they even knew each other, that they had travelled together, had risked their lives for one another.

"The Mentor Sil fears a conspiracy against the Lord Kiv," the Doctor stated. He jabbed an accusing finger at her. "You are a spy for the Alphans!"

"What?" The outlandishness of the accusation startled Peri enough that for a moment confusion overrode the fear. At least until the Doctor dropped down beside her and grabbed the arm she'd been struggling to free. Startled, she cried out again

"No! Stop that!"

The Doctor slackened his grip and abruptly his whole manner changed.

"It's alright we're alone now." He shot a glance at the clifftops. "We can talk."

Peri went limp in relief.

"Doctor," she gulped. "I thought that brain transference pulse had made you crazy."

Doubt crept into the Doctor eyes and he spoke slowly.

"I'm..."

Peri eyed him warily, her relief fading and being replaced with a suspicion that this was more of a remission than the reveal of a fake out.

The Doctor was struggling to finish the sentence he'd started. He rubbed his temples, ran his fingers through his hair distractedly, fingers snaggin in the spray-damp curls.

"... your friend," he finally managed, staring at her face, his eyes troubled.

"You know that..." he trailed off, sounding to Peri's ears, distinctly unsure of the fact himself. There was pleading note in his voice, asking for confirmation but Peri was unable to hide her own doubts as she answered.

"I was beginning to wonder."

The Doctor blinked rapidly several times and ground the palm of his hand against his forehead, grimacing.

"I'm here to help you." He forced the words out through gritted teeth and Peri realised she might have very little time.

"Then how do I get out of this?" she demanded, renewing her struggles with the chains.

The Doctor looked at them as though he'd never seen them before and didn't answer for several seconds. His voice when it came sounded distant, stilted as though he was reading aloud from a book whose text had faded.

"By telling me who the Alphans are who are leading the unrest and where they can be... annihilated..." The Doctor's voice faltered on the end of the sentence, almost making it a question.

"What?" Peri cursed herself the moment the word left her mouth. Not the most helpful thing to contribute really, when what she needed was something that would snap the Doctor out of this confusion and back to himself.

"Tell me!" he shouted, suddenly, anger replacing the confusion once again.

"I don't know!" Peri shouted back, desperate and frightened and unable to think of anything better.

"Answer me!" All trace of the Doctor's normal demeanour, or even any internal conflict was gone now. He looked down at her, calm and cold. "The tide is on the turn, Unless you want to add your own despair to the Sea of Sorrows, I suggest you tell me everything"

He settled himself more comfortably on the rock beside her and was silent for several minutes staring at her. Peri stared back, struggling to find something to say that would help, afraid of saying anything at all in case she made things worse.

Eventually the Doctor leaned over her, cradling her head and bending close.

"Confess," he murmured but it was less a demand and more a rote repetition. He barely seemed aware of what he was saying.

"Confess to what?" Peri couldn't keep a hiccuping sob from her voice, despairing of being able to help either of them, only able to hope that the Doctor's mind would clear as it had before if she questioned him enough.

"Your guilt," he said sounding slightly surprised, as though it should be obvious. His voice sped up, grew more certain. "Your bungling! Your Alphan friends! Everything!"

He snatched his arm away, letting her head drop to the hard stone and clutching his own.

"You... must help the Mentors..."

He gasped. "Peri!"

"You must..." He tried to continue but his voice was shaking badly and he got no further before breaking off again.

"Help me." A whisper as he ran his hands over his face, squeezed his eyes shut.

"Doctor!" Peri twisted to try and see him more clearly. He looked back at her, eyes wide again, shivering. "What's wrong with you?

"I..." He struggled for a moment. Then, like an elastic band snapping back he finished in a collected tone, "See my own interests, I place myself first."

Peri's heart sank but she was certain now that the Doctor was still there, he couldn't have forgotten everything, he was trying to regain himself, she knew it.

"But what about me!" she pleaded, willing him to fight back.

"You are..." again the pause was long enough to give her hope but finished with a snapped, "Expendable. You have no value."

Peri was shocked into silence by the ruthless assessment as the Doctor went on.

"Tomorrow they intend to take the brain of the lord Kiv and transplant it into my body. He will possess my body. To prevent that..." A pause, the slightest of hesitations, but the Doctor's voice slowed.

"I must... please the Mentors..." He frowned, the expression of someone who's forgotten something but can't recall what. His hands clutched at his lapels as though he was holding on to someone else entirely for support, to keep from falling.

"Peri?" A ragged gasp as though her name stung his throat, and then the calm, cold tone was back.

"If that means sacrificing you in my place, then that is the way it must be."

"Enough." The voice from the clifftop made Peri flinch and the Doctor glanced upwards. " Do not damage her. We have more effective ways of interrogation."

Unpromising as that sounded Peri felt only relief. It bought her time, and time it seemed was on her side for as long as the Doctor's conflicted reactions continued to increase.

She didn't dare look over her shoulder at him and they marched down the tunnels, not until they stopped and he stumbled forward into her.

"What's happened to you, Doctor?" she tried. "Why do you hate me so?"

He looked honestly startled at that tack.

"I..." He stopped, face a picture of confusion as he looked around at the guards before going on, "Must do what I think is best."

Peri stared at what she could see of his face but he'd half turned away from her and in the shadows his face was unreadable. She thought it was distress there of a sort. Peri thought about the rocks and the waves and the mockery in his tone as he informed her of the state of the tide. She could be ruthless too if that was what was needed.

"I used to think that you were different," she spat. "That you you cared for justice, truth and good."

He turned back towards her, face drawn tight with some emotion, still unidentifiable.

Knowing this might be her best chance, Peri pressed on, giving no quarter. She ladled as much venom into her voice as she could muster.

"I can't bear to look at what you are now!"

For a fleeting moment she saw her barb hit home, saw the dawning horror on the Doctor's face.

Too late she heard the bellowing roar of Yrcanos' battle cry as he charged the guards, cutting them down as easily as swatting flies and levelling one of his captured weapons at the Doctor.

"Now, Doctor! It is your turn to die!"

The Doctor stood frozen, the expression on his face mingled dismay and fear and something else. Peri abruptly realised that, for all his talk of putting his own safety first, he hadn't run. Had stood there as the guards were downed. Stood now, staring at the gun and she suddenly realised what the look on his face meant, what his intention was.

Yrcanos' finger tightened on the trigger but Peri was already moving

"No!"

She flung herself at Yrcanos' arm, dragging the gun down and away.

The Doctor flinched as the gun discharged against stone, started as though to run, hesitated, staring at them, then screwed up his face and fled.

Yrcanos let out a bellow of dismay. "My lady! What have you done? Because of you that vermin stills lives."

Peri was shaking in shock and relief and a muddle of fear and hope. "I couldn't help it," she stammered, doubting she'd be able to explain. "The Doctor, he wasn't always like that, he..."

But Yrcanos was already waving off explanations, intent on the next battle, and there was nothing now Peri could do for the Doctor except hope that this time it had been enough to bring him back to himself.


END