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[personal profile] fic_of_fork
Word Count: 1292
Summary:  A young Braxiatel, his first official state dinner, and the meddling of his brother.  What could possibly go wrong?
Warnings: None
Rating: G
Characters:  the Doctor, Braxiatel
Genre: Gen, Missing scene
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 tried very hard not to gawp in wonder at all the elegantly-robed Time Lords surrounding him, each encompassed by a kind of otherworldly aura. In the early-summer twilight, the array of velvets, silks, rich embroidery and jewels made him think that he was in the middle of a fairy tale told to him by his old nanny. He felt plain and out of place in his plain white and black robes, as he had just turned eight and would be leaving for the Academy in the following months.

As dinner was announced, Braxiatel made his way to the dining hall while following at a respectful distance, taking care not to speak unless spoken to. As a novice Time Lord, there were suddenly a whole host of new rules and disciplines he had to quickly learn, and he was anxious about this night—his first official attendance at a state dinner hosted by his parents in their ancestral House, as was his right and duty as one of the two scions of the House of Lungbarrow.

At his place at the table, he garnered a smile and a polite bow from an elderly Time Lady, whose chair he struggled to hold, since it was nearly as tall as he was. Her courtly acknowledgment meant the world to Braxiatel, who beamed as if it was his eighth birthday once more. Braxiatel took his seat last out of deference to those around him, since he was lowest in rank.

As the dinner began, he felt more comfortable when the Time Lady asked him questions about his studies that he could easily answer, her smile instinctively putting him at ease. She responded to him with the courtly grace one would expect inside the Citadel, treating him more as an equal than one of lower stature. Braxiatel knew he flubbed a few of the complicated terms of address in Gallifreyan—a language he knew he'd have to be as comfortable in as his own dialect—but his conversation partner never let him know.

Finally, right before the soup course, Braxiatel felt a tap on his foot underneath the table. Glancing down, he saw his brother and his best friend, a child his own age from the House of Oakdown. What was his name, again? The two of them were inseparable. The two boys under the table giggled and waved at Braxiatel. The Time Lady seated next to him merely hid her smile underneath a napkin.

Braxiatel ignored them and continued on, not wanting to let his brother ruin this moment. If he were here, then there could only be trouble, a kind of chaos that followed Braxiatel's brother like the wake of a winter storm. There was another tap on his foot followed by giggles. Braxiatel kicked with his foot and felt it hit something. The person across from him—an Arcalian who worked in the main archives—yelped in surprise. Conversation abruptly halted, and the Arcalian whose shin Braxiatel had offended coughed into his napkin, more to save his face than Braxiatel's.

Braxiatel let out a long sigh, grateful to the person seated across from him. He would offer his apology later, in private, as protocol demanded. Light conversation and the tinkle of silverware against serving dishes and plates swelled back up to normal levels in the hall, and Braxiatel began to feel more himself.

He let his guard down when his brother and friend didn't make another appearance underneath the table. But when he thought he was in the clear, he heard the pair of giggling boys. Before he could lash out with his foot—more carefully this time—there was an unmistakable squeak of gas from underneath the table. If the Time Lords and Ladies seated around him heard, none of them reacted.

Taking all of his concentration, Braxiatel refused to give in to the giggles under the table, refusing to give his brother and friend the attention they craved. Anger started to well up in him—how dare he spoil this night? He began to burn with the unfairness of it all—Brax was expected to be the reliable one, the one who set a good example, while his brother was allowed to get away with—in Braxiatel's perspective—murder.

Conversation and cutlery naturally paused. In that silence, it sounded as if the very fabric of time and space had ripped open. A foul stench spewed around Braxiatel, as if it were from the Howling Void itself. His parents glared at him, and Braxiatel was forced to look away, shame burning his cheeks red, even though he knew it wasn't his flatulence. Braxiatel put his head down on the table to avoid eye contact with anyone else.

“There, there, dear,” the Time Lady next to him said. “It happens to us all sometimes.” As she patted Braxiatel's back, she noticed the two underneath the table with a wink. The two boys under the table, unable to hold back their laughter, guffawed, tears rolling down their faces both from the stench in the confined space and with the effort of trying to keep from laughing.

Unable to see the two under the table, Braxiael's mother stood and addressed him. “If you can't control yourself, then go someplace where you can,” she announced. The Time Lady seated next to Braxiatel began to say something, but was cut off by Braxiatel's mumbled word of apology. Slowly, his head hanging, he left the table, willing himself not to cry with the unfairness of it all.

Braxiatel made his way to his rooms, praying to Gods he didn't quite believe in that the very stones of the House would fall around him and end the gaping void of shame welling up in himself. For a time, he sat on his bed in the darkness, wondering if he should put himself to bed early or wait for the reprimand he knew would come in his parents' rooms later. Resigning himself to an early bedtime and a good cry under the covers, there was a knock at his door.

With dread, Braxiatel opened the door, only to have a servant hand him a note. Gaping, he realized it was hastily sealed with a blot of wax. Breaking it, he read the note. It was written by his dinner partner, the elderly Time Lady seated next to him and even signed over the Prydonian seal. His hearts sped up as he read:

My dear Braxiatel,

Rest assured, I shall make known certain observations of tonight's events. Thank you, once again, for such pleasant conversation.

Sincerely,
Flavia


Braxiatel put the letter away in a desk drawer and immediately felt relief. Before he could change out of his robes, there was a scratching at an air vent. The grille creaked open, and his brother and his brother's friend crawled out of the duct. His brother carefully held something and took his time to make certain that what he carried wasn't damaged in any way. His brother's friend sneezed and sent a cloud of dust swirling around Braxiatel's bedroom.

His brother proffered a napkin-wrapped bundle. While the two of them were covered in dust and filth, they had managed to keep the bundle pristine. They had practice, Braxiatel knew, sneaking things from the kitchen. Sighing, he took the bundle and opened it, only to reveal the most perfect fruit tart he'd seen, still warm and stolen right before being served.

Braxiatel's brother stood, sheepish and downcast and nudged a dustbunny that he'd dislodged into the bedroom from their crawl through the ducts with a foot. Braxiatel scooped him into a hug, and he could feel his brother beaming. Braxiatel knew he couldn't be angry with his brother. Not for long, in any case.
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