The Panopticon doors fling open; a woman in white bursts into the hall, her naked feet clapping against the stone in frantic rhythm, ringing in the back of everyone’s psyches like the hoofbeats of a night mare.
“Don’t get all impressed by the wings, sweetheart, for your blood pressure’s sake; it’s just a bit of tinkering with baby’s dna. Our girl’s a Pythia!”
River skids to a halt in front of the Doctor, a frown crawling over her bones. He imagines he’ll die, once it reaches her face.
But all she does is cock her head at him, spilling gold curls all over like yellow plump cherries from a bowl. With a toe, she rubs a smudge from his cheek, then gives him a nudge in the belly, rocking him slightly. “I didn’t stuff that plum.”
“Did too. ‘Cause I say so.” he snuffles. His nose is broken; a wing sticks out oddly from somewhere beneath him, a ruined scaffold of dirty white feathers. There’s some sinew poking out. “Oh River… I can’t remember how to fold these back up. My math is g-good but I’m rubbish with tents.” He stiffens, attempting to spread a limp, machine-grease stained mess of primary feathers in the blue-haired man’s direction. Do they come with a switch? Kenny here ‘s crisis of passion got m-my k-k-kidney kebab’d, and now I want a k-k-kip.”
The blue-haired Time Lord stroking the Doctor’s face looks up, his gold eyes veiled by a thin, dull, happy kind of shame that colors his whole demeanor. “He asked me not to hurt the child, so I stabbed him in the kidney. He’s got three more. I was having a mood swing because my… what’s the word… psychotic boyfriend left me.”