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[personal profile] fic_of_fork
Word Count: 620
Summary:  Once upon a time, there were two brothers...
Warnings: None (oops, to those who saw the warnings before the edit...can you guess which story I copy/pasted the header from? *grin*)
Rating: G
Characters: Braxiatel, the Doctor
Genre: General
Author's Note:  Inspired by a short story in the 2009 Storybook.
Disclaimer:  I don't own Doctor Who, Torchwood, Bernice Summerfield, or any of its characters, and I'm receiving no profit from this beyond the joy of writing.

In the middle of the night, he rolled over and accidentally kicked a small, crying lump at the foot of his bed, underneath the blanket. Braxiatel jerked awake at the intrusion, and the lump gave a dejected sniffle at the sudden movement.

“What are you doing here?” he hissed, his hearts racing at the surprise of being not-quite-alone in the middle of the night.

The lump burrowed up the bed to the other end, emerging with his head on the pillow. “I couldn't sleep.”

“You'll get us both in trouble, if they find you're missing, which they will at the next bed check.”

“I waited until the last one. Can I sleep here tonight, Brax? Please?” he pleaded.

Braxiatel sighed, and moved over to make room for his brother, secretly amazed at his brother's ability to sneak past the network of wardens between the first-years' rooms and the older students' cells.

His brother sat up in bed and pulled a glowing orb from one pocket of the black and white robe he wore and a book from the other. Braxiatel had heard rumors of how his brother had been teaching himself alien languages, but didn't believe them until he saw the book. Somehow it didn't surprise Braxiatel that his brother had already made a name for himself during his first week at the Academy.

“Is that writing?” Braxiatel asked. “It looks like a bunch of gibberish. How can anyone read that?”

“'Once upon a time--'” his brother read aloud. The vowels sounded flat and exotic. It hardly seemed possible that such strange sounds could be actual words, much less that anyone could understand them. Seeing the look on Braxiatel's face, he quickly translated the words, as best he was able.

“What's that supposed to mean?” Braxiatel asked. “Time isn't linear. Even you should know that by now.”

“'...there were four little Rabbits, and their names were Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-Tail, and Peter.'”

“Awfully strange names.”

“They're not human names,” the younger boy explained. “They're rabbits!”

“Rabbits talk on Earth? Is that a rabbit?” Braxiatel asked, as he pointed to the picture of the Rabbit family and their burrow under the tree.

“Of course rabbits don't talk! It's a story.”

Braxiatel flipped a few pages and gaped at one picture. “Is that supposed to be a human? He looks like a Time Lord.”

“That's Mr. McGregor. Mrs. McGregor cooked Peter's father into a pie.”

“That's horrible! And disgusting!” Braxiatel interrupted.

“I want to see it,” his brother said, resolutely.

“You want to see rabbits being made into pies? What is a pie, anyway?”

“No,” he responded. “Earth. Fir-trees, cabbages, and tool sheds.”

Braxiatel sighed, rolled over, and stared at the dark ceiling of his tiny cell. “What happens to Peter?” he asked, hoping to distract his brother from speaking about something they both desperately longed for.

“Peter? He goes into Mr. McGregor's garden, gets chased into a tool shed, then finds his way back home.”

Braxiatel looked at the watercolors on the pages. “Do you think everything is as green as it is in the pictures there? And look at the sky—it's blue.”

Braxiatel's brother let his head dip to his chest, fighting sleep. He mumbled something about blackberries and currants, but blinked awake. Braxiatel pulled the blankets aside to make room.

“I want to leave. I want to explore,” Braxiatel's brother said, extinguishing the light in the globe and tucking it and the book safely underneath the bed. He wriggled next to Braxiatel and pulled the blanket back over both of them.

“Me too,” Braxiatel whispered. As they drifted off to sleep, Braxiatel dreamt of blue skies and trees with green leaves.
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