fic_of_fork: (Default)
[personal profile] fic_of_fork
Word Count: 1185
Summary:  Two brothers discover their paths.
Warnings: None
Rating: G
Characters:  the Doctor, Braxiatel
Genre: Gen
Author's Note:  Somewhat inspired by the opening scene in Cornell's novel, Timewyrm: Revelation
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.

Braxiatel stretched luxuriously, feeling every joint and muscle in his back relax after hours of being hunched over a desk—one repaired after his brother's pet ate half of it the last time they were both in their ancestral home.  Just because they were home on holiday from the Academy didn't mean that they weren't also assigned enough work for an entire semester. 

He and his brother had been in their family's House for exactly two days, and it was quiet.  Eerily calm and quiet, given his brother's predilection for trouble.  In fact, the more Braxiatel tried to recall, the more convinced he became that he had hardly even seen his brother recently.  He was probably visiting the hermit who lived halfway up the mountain their House was situated upon.

As Braxiatel became more aware of his surroundings, he realized the strange lull was a tense pause in a heated argument that was raging outside.  Silently cracking open his door, he stilled his hearts and breathing just enough to make out part of the argument down below.  He could only catch snippets of his mother's voice and the cadence of his brother's arguments. 

“Absolutely not,” she blurted.  “You're not even one hundred years old yet.  You do realize you're still grounded for that little jaunt you took to the Medusa Cascade, the bear loose in our House, and only the Gods know what else I'm forgetting at the moment.”  Braxiatel strained to try to make out what his brother was saying, but couldn't.  Their mother sighed heavily.  “Of course it's an honorable thing to do.  All I'm saying is wait.  If this is what your path is in life, then you'll find a way to follow it.  Please, just finish out your education.  End of discussion.  You are not leaving the Academy to live a life of contemplation as a hermit.  No.  We are not arguing this further.”

Braxiatel heard footsteps coming closer to his door, which he shut too quickly, wood banging and hinges creaking.  He sprang to his desk and sat down, but there was a sharp knock at the door.  The door opened, and Braxiatel could feel his mother's glare against the back of his head.

“We do not snoop in this House,” she announced.

Braxiatel turned and smiled innocently.


Later, just as the afternoon was almost gone, Braxiatel made his way towards the kitchens for a late lunch, his stomach growling miserably.  As he passed by his parents' rooms, he felt the air thicken with tension.  The door to a study was closed, but not fully.  Peering through the crack, Braxiatel watched as his parents glowered at his brother, who stood before them.  Instead of the scarlet and orange robes they wore as students, he was dressed in simple gray robes.  Braxiatel's empty stomach dropped, when he realized what his brother was about to do.

Abruptly, his brother knelt, bowed in front of his parents, then sat back on his heels in a formal seated meditation position.  Braxiatel was in awe, as his brother began to recite something in fluent Old High Gallifreyan.  He only caught words and phrases, but what he understood was some sort of text describing the impermanence of life.  As the words descended into silence, Braxiatel prayed to gods he wasn't quite sure he believed in that his empty stomach's gurgles wouldn't give him away.  He listened, shocked, as his brother formally begged leave from his studies.

Braxiatel didn't need to hear how the rest of the conversation would end.  He ran through the hallways, ducking servants and cleaning machines back to the residential part of their House, where he and his brother had their rooms.  He came to his brother's room, pushed the door open, and expertly dodged the various precariously-perched piles  and forgotten experiments that littered his brother's rooms. 

His hearts pounding, Braxiatel knew that his parents' verdict would be harsh and strict.  While loving, their discipline was absolute, and his brother had pushed them too far.  Once before, when they had feared that his brother was spending too much time with the hermit on their property, they had threatened to burn anything having to do with that which drew Braxiatel's brother's attention away from his studies.  Now Braxiatel knew they meant to make good on that promise.

It all seemed so unfair to Braxiatel.  There were so few now who knew anything about the old ways, and it intrigued him that his brother knew something of it.  From snooping through his brother's things before, he knew exactly where to find what he was looking for.  Underneath his brother's bed was an ornate box that Braxiatel pulled out.  From another nook in the flooring, Braxiatel yanked a small book with pages of some sort of silver metal.  Frantically Braxiatel searched through another of his brother's messes, and pulled out a small carved figurine wrapped in silk.  He panicked when he couldn't find the others he knew should be nearby. 

Already there were the sounds of determined footsteps approaching his brother's rooms.  Braxiatel pocketed the one figurine he found and hurried back to his own room, shutting the door behind him and panting, while still grasping his brother's things protectively.

Braxiatel dumped his armful of things onto his bed and sat among them cross-legged.  The silver book was meaningless to him, and he couldn't summon the text hidden upon it.  Such a thing would be easily hidden among his brother's things in his room at the Academy, and he hid it in his own room until he could return and plant it in his brother's room there.  Braxiatel knew that there were tutors and lecturers at the Academy who were sympathetic to the old ways, even those who publicly professed a belief in the old Gods.  He knew that they would turn a blind eye towards his brother's other studies.

The box and the figurine would be harder to return, Braxiatel knew.  It was best that both remain in his safekeeping.  Braxiatel was the practical one in the family, and was beyond suspicion.  He opened the box and pulled out a manuscript.  Gently caressing the pages, Braxiatel felt a tear course down his cheek.  They contained some poetry his brother wrote during a three-day fast, and the sprawl of script across the heavy paper contained some heartrendingly beautiful imagery.  When he'd first discovered it among his brother's belongings, Braxiatel had been stunned that his brother was able to produce such exquisite art. 

In his room, listening to the servants tearing through his brother's rooms next door, Braxiatel held the pages of poetry close to his hearts in a kind of embrace.  He was crushed by the unfairness of it all—one decision and such beauty would be annihilated from universe forever, not to mention the rare knowledge his brother possessed of their own traditions.  Braxiatel knew his brother had chosen his path and was already lost to them.  As Braxiatel sat upon his bed, as he protected the precious things he had saved, he knew his own path was forged as well.
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