She had expected a childish retort, to be honest. Something along the lines of, “Oh Prydonia, don’t be such a worry wart! You never used to be this way when you visited my sister and myself! You weren’t so concerned, then! And that reminds me, just the other day, I…” or perhaps, if he was in a darker sort of mood, no words, a little Puccini and a cup of cocoa.
Her high beige heels click somberly on the cool floor tiles as she moves around the fallen shelf.
She halts the clicking of her heels near a lump of half-crumpled black stocking when she feels the thing squish, soundless beneath her instep. It lies boy-sized and wrinkled on the floor. She bends, in a bark brown pencil skirt that hugs the hips and an egg blue blouse with heavy, dangling ruff, to pick it up, and finds a tie stuck inside that pools out as she raises the cotton foot-warmer to her nostrils.
Her nose wrinkles in pleasure at the mild gingerbread scent of her employer’s adolescence, and she closes her eyes, inhaling the measure of him, smiling. Time Lords are physically incapable of smelling like anything but nice, even their feet.
Then she sees the body.
A child’s body.
The spry young foot to go with the spry young sock.
But he’s not spry at all.
She rushes to him in a huff of shock. Her bones melt down into neat folds like a paper airplane and she touches all over him, looking for bites or cuts in his ruffled black hair and under his tee-shirt.