Chapter Twenty, Part Two: soffite d'argile et de têtes d'orMature

But paintings, too, she has never seen. 

 Had never seen, before Leaving with the Doctor. 

It must be how they all feel, the first time. 

She picks that notion up, dusts it, and sets it aside on a nondescript shelf.

 No time to wonder about wondering.

 “So I can leave you alone then, Borusa?” the voice murmurs, a quietness coloring the offhand twist of phrase; it gives Borusa a perfect glimpse of the grin its owner must be wearing.

 “Obviously. Take your rest, you pandemic jollyhop,” she mutters, grinning herself at his presumptive impetuousness, “…I’ll find our objective in this place. There are things I need to see again.”

 “I saw what you did there. Well, all right, if you say so… even still, be careful, Old Bean,” the Doctor tumbles out a soft, sad, approving laugh, before retracting himself from her presence, his mental retreat washing over her, toes to teeth, like a curl of sea dropping away from a stalwart cliff.

 When the biting, salty sea wind starts again up over her skin, when his long, gentle square hand no longer touches her shoulder, she knows he has completely retreated, and that she is free to conduct her investigation and observation of the subject at hand.

 “That memory of mine,” she adds, opening her eyes and sitting up. “It’s bound to be around here somewhere.”

 She finds herself to be naked on the red grass. To her left, there is a white shift, trousers and a blue sash, lain out carefully- the Doctor’s sentimental offering, an apparent jest.

The End

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