R/B Composite

Wonderful.

Absolutely sodding wonderful. Agent Donovan Beaufort slogs his way along the side of the road, rain working its merry way through his layers of clothing, turning his internal heat into something best described as a kind of thermal slurry. Sweat beads on his forehead as his feet splash through the mud, firing screaming messages to his brain to rest. The Agent's companion moans softly a few metres behind him, the rain parting around them like some kind of metaphysical umbrella.

He squints. In the distance, through the fog, he can make out five twinkling lights — two up, two down, one from what he can only guess is an attic. Picturesque and lovely. Exactly what he was looking for. If what information he could salvage was correct, this would be the place he could-

Fwoom

Suddenly, the world is full of light. Donovan leaps back and to the side, grabbing his companion as the two slide down the bank into a ditch. Thistles grasp at his clothes as he tumbles, kicking out his legs to slow him down — above him, a lavender-scented shape sprawls over him. As the world goes dark once more, he affords himself a sigh of relief. One leg may be plunged deep into the unspeakable ooze, and he might be in severe danger of frostbite, but he's still unnoticed and they're both still okay. He looks up into their face.

"You have no idea what that was, do you?"

They stare back, mouth slightly open, rain sticking their normally exuberant hair into a thin damp mess on their forhead.

"That was a lorry. It goes fast. Fast, do you hear me? You know what fast is? Maybe one of your friends could teach you about fast?"

Nothing but those same bright, staring eyes.

"I think you get it. You're a smart guy, you get things. A concept as basic as fast should be nothing for you, right?"

He takes a deep breath.

"So why the hell were you walking in the middle of the road?"

Nothing. He draws back a fist momentarily, but catches himself just in time. Even if he did hit them (and lord knows sometimes he wanted to) it wouldn't make much of a difference. He affords himself another, more mournful sigh.

"Come on. We want to get there before your bedtime."

After fighting a brief but futile battle with the ditch over his right shoe, he pulls Mr. Purple up, and the two set off once again. Eventually, feet red and sore, clothes permeated utterly with every drop of hate the heavens could muster, they arrive at a small, pleasant cottage set back slightly into the woods.


Knock knock.

Two raps in quick succession. Not a friendly way of inquiring into a residence. Personally, Barnaby favoured a light, playful rhythm, perhaps something like 'tap tap te-tap tap', and his regular visitors invariably select one of the many pastel-coloured doorbells that surrounded the entrance to his home. It's somebody new, then. Somebody not in the business.

Slowly, he bends down to the oven. Almost done, he thinks, just a few more minutes. Got to get that perfect golden crust to it. Apple pies were his specialty, and he hated to disappoint. Brian would eat whatever was put in front of him, poor kid, but the good Doctor felt an obligation to take super-duper extra-special care when he was staying.

Knock knock knock knock

Four knocks, and oh no, judging by the sound it was right on the pink panelling. It was done so recently as well, to offset the blue, and oh how he hoped it wasn't scuffed.

There was nothing for it. Pulling off his oven gloves and donning his hat (public image was everything, you see), Barnaby stepped to the door. It didn't have a peephole, so he clicked the latch-chain into place and pulled it ajar.

"Hello?"

"Are you Dr. Wondertainment?"

"I'm sorry, sir, I think you must have the wrong house. Good day."

He had barely made it back to the kitchen when a third series of knocks disturbed him. His face flushing pink, he wrenched the door open wide, and looked his visitor straight in the eyes.

"My good sir, I do not care to guess the sort of company you are accustomed to keeping, but in my circles, when someone says 'good day', they mean 'good day'. If you are going to persist with this- with this racket, I shall have to call the authorities. I will say it again, sir: good day!"

There is loud creak as the door is slammed shut.

There is an even louder harrumph as Barnaby turns on his heels, bright red with indignation.

There is a sickening crunch.

Barnaby turns again slowly, and looks at the door. It's a weighty oak thing, knotty and solid. None of this plywood nonsense you get nowadays. If you had half a dozen of them, you could build a bomb shelter. A few more and you could armour a tank. It has a finality to it that says 'if this door is to be closed, then closed it shall be'.

It is currently open, a fraction.

Barnaby winces preemptively, and looks down at the gap. It's a small gap, not wide enough for a foot, and yet- eeurgh. He shudders. He looks back at his visitor's face, which is shiny and pale beneath a layer of grime and dirt. They flash him a strained, silent smile. Behind them, a figure dressed all in lilac sits in the middle of the garden, pulling up grass and twirling it between their fingers — on their forehead, a vivid purple 'W' illuminates a small area of greenery. Barnaby gulps.

"Well then. I- I think you'd better come in."

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