Rite of Passage.

by Clive May (clive@cj4386.demon.co.uk)

Tyler Dion is the Landlord of the This Time Round and I've snuck in without

Dr Who is copyrited to the BBC.


In the lady's room at the TTR, Nyssa stood before a mirror, while Mel brushed
her long silken hair.

"There now!" Mell said at last. She stood back to admire her

The effect was stunning. Nyssa was still possessed of that quintessential
girlish innocence that was so appealing, only now it was infused and added
to by a smoldering aura of womanly promise. - the epitome of a red cheeked
apple, fresh, just perfectly ripe, and ready for plucking.

Mel shivered as the icy fingers of foreboding caressed a discordant
crescendo of misgivings down her spine.

Nyssa bit her lip. "Do I actually have to...kiss..the little creep?
Ugggh!" A shudder of revulsion ran through the girlish form. A razor sharp,
stiletto, dislodged from her left sleeve, settled in the palm like a hand
slipping into a well fitting glove.

With a little sigh of irritation, Mel relieved her of the weapon. "Now
then, Nyssa. You promised..."

Nyssa hung her head. "Sorry." Then she brightened as an interesting
thought struck her. "If I really, really have to kiss the cre...I mean of
course, Adric - then shouldn't I put on some lipstick?" she said, in a
voice of such sweet reason that the hair on Mel's neck stood up and did a

"Yeees??" Mel conceded suspiciously.

"In that case, I've brought my own very special lipstick," She fumbled in
her robes and drew out a fat black tube with a tiny scarlet scull and cross
bones printed on the side.

Mel tutted disapprovingly. She took Nyssa's wrist in a firm grip, then
with her other hand, deftly removed the tube from Nyssa's fingers.
A thin wisp of blue smoke curled up from the tube. Holding the lipstick at
arms length, between finger an thumb, she dropped it in the waste bin.

In considerable vexation, she turned back to Nyssa and said. "As it
happens, I've got just the thing." She grabbed up her cosmetics bag and
rummaged around inside. "I've got a really nice one here - the very shade
to set off your eyes a treat. You do want to look your best for this don't

Nyssa assented with obvious reluctance.

"Good! I mean it's meant to be a water shed in your life. A red letter
day. A chance to turnover a new leaf? - Drat, where is it!"

As Mell scrabbled in the bag, a pair of nail scissors fell into the basin
with a clink. Nyssa jerked as though shot. She began to tremble
violently. Her face became serene. Her bright eyes shone suddenly with a
cunning gleam. She reached down a trembling hand towards the sharp

Mell snatched the wrist away. "Steady!Nyssa! Steady! Remember, Nyssa,
deep breaths, lots of deep breaths. You can beat this thing if you really
want to..."


In the men's room, Turlough was hammering a fist on a cubicle door.

"Adric! Come on Adric! You can't stay in there forever, you know."

"Why not? At least I'm not going to get dead in here."

Turlough kicked the door irritably. "Are you a man or a mouse?"

"Alzarian, actually."

"Alright! Alright! Alzarian then. But the thing is, are you going to
waste this chance of a reconciliation between you two, or are we just going
to go on with this farce of you getting killed over and over? It's getting
very tedious you know, not to mention the bills for cleaning services. Do
you know how hard it is to get Alzarian blood out of the carpeting?..."

A thin whimpering came from inside the cubicle.

Turlough swore under his breath. "Sorry! Sorry! I didn't mean to say
that. Look. Adric. Mate. All you've got to do is to come back to the
bar. Everything's been prepared. We've got some Ice Warriors in as
bodyguards. We even got in some Cybermen as back up. Aw c'mon Adric,
we've even got the Garm in! And you know what a soft spot Nyssa's got for
him. If he says not to attack you she's bound to do it, just for him."


"Eh - sorry. I didn't mean it *quite* like that. Anyway, all you've got
to do is come out and face Nyssa. Then we'll all have a reasonable
discussion of your differences; you then kiss and make up; and it's drinks
all round - and no more blood on the carpet!...Eh, sorry! Look! There
really is no danger of you getting killed - none at all.."

After a long thoughtful consideration, Adric asked: "Kiss, you say?"

Turlough smiled his unfortunate smile. He'd caught the note of interest
in the boy's voice. He was getting somewhere at last, in trying to coax
Adric out of his bolt hole for this long worked for reconciliation.

"That's right. After you've sorted out your differences -- you get to kiss
and make up. It's in the agreement, honest." Turlough waited, is ear
pressed to the door. After a long pause, pregnant with sweaty, adolescent
anticipation, there came the sound of a toilet being flushed. The bolt
snapped back; the door opened; and Adric peered nervously out.

"I actually get to kiss her?"

"Of course," Turlough assured, fingers crossed behind his back. "Just as
soon as the peace treaty's signed."


"But why can't I sign in blood?" Nyssa complained petulantly. "I thought
it was sort of traditional for this sort of thing?" She tested the
sharpness of the nib with an expectant finger.

"Ah? Whose blood did you have in mind?" the Fourth Doctor inquired
with a painfully studied indifference.

A hush fell on the crowded bar of the This Time Round. Fifty pairs of eyes
swivelled to fix on Adric. The boy went quite pale.

The Doctor adjusted his hat. "Ah! I rather thought that would be the
case," he observed.

"I think, young lady," said the First Doctor, "that we'd better stick to
ink, don't you."

Nyssa scowled, then brightened a little. "Red ink?" she asked hopefully.

The first Doctor harrumphed for effect, drew himself up, hooking fingers
through the arm holes of his waistcoat in an attitude that said he was
going to be stubborn over this.

"Oh! For pity's sake!" snapped Tegan. "Let the girl use red ink if she
really wants to, If we don't get this document signed soon there'll be no
champagne left for the celebration."

She looked significantly to the corner where Bennie Summerfield lay
stretched flat out on her back on the floor, a stream of champagne
disappearing down the prone woman's throat. An obliging Ice Warrior was
chilling and pouring for her, all in one action. It was a very acceptable
arrangement, to judge from Benny's expression.

Another bottle of the 99, too, Tegan observed sourly. It was an amusingly
violent little vintage from the Vineyard of Willis and Killings which the
Round had stocked up on of late. It was a particular favourite of hers.

Gurgle, gurgle went the champagne.

"Just sign! Nyssa! Please!" Tegan begged.

Gurgle, gurgle.

"In red ink?"

Gurgle, gurgle.

"Yes! In red ink!" Tegan cried in despair and shot a look of daggers at
the First Doctor.

Gurgle, gurgle.

The elderly gentleman nodded. "Yes! In red ink!" he conceded.

Nyssa thought about it for a long time

Gurgle, gurgle went the champagne from the corner.

Tegan bit her lip with frustration. PLEASE! NYSSA!"

Gurgle, gurgle.

Nyssa smiled across the table at the boy. It was the kind of smile you'd
expect to see gracing the face of a cat just before the pounce, if, that
is, cats could smile. Adric shrank into his chair. Then, with a sudden
flourish, Nyssa signed and pushed the treaty across the table.


The moment had arrived.

Tentatively their lips touched. Neither drew back. The kiss
continued, evolved into a deep lingering caress.

The first Doctor harrumphed and tried to distract Susan; but the girl
ignored him, getting an eyeful.

The kiss lingered.

Victoria blushed furiously and turned her gaze demurely aside.

The kiss grew in length and intensity.

The Second Doctor fiddled with his recorder.

Still the kiss lingered.

Ace looked on with a feigned boredom. Her Doctor studied the pair
with an avid interest.

Still the kiss continued.

Leela was absently stroking the end of the Fourth Doctor's scarf, a wild
light in her eyes.

On and on went the kiss.

The Fifth Doctor ran a finger round his collar. "Isn't it getting a bit
warm in here?" he inquired. No one paid him the slightest attention.

Still the kiss...

Tegan reached for a doggie bag.

Then the pair broke apart. Nyssa had a huge smile on her face. Adric just
looked completely stunned. He stood there a long second, swaying slightly
and blinking. The expression on his face was what could only be described
as ecstatic amazement. In a word "GOBSMACKED!" Then his eyes rolled up and
with a big silly smile, he fell flat on his face at Nyssa's feet.

"Rassilon's beard!" exclaimed the third Doctor. He inspected the girl's
lips. "That's frightfully un-sporting - I think she sneaked in with the
old cyanide lipstick ploy.."

"No,' said Mell. "I confiscated that. Oh dear! Not again! What ARE we
going to do with you Nyssa?"

Nyssa just stood there with a smile of womanly triumph, enigmatic and full
of feminine mystery, enhancing her girlish prettiness.


"I'm sorry," said the skeleton. "This punch card is no good. Not for
this kind of death anyway."

Adric took back the offered card and turned it over in his hands. They
were still weak and trembling from his last encounter with the homicidal

"What's the matter with it? It was always good before?"

"Not this time, I'm afraid. You see, you have suffered a *metaphorical"
death*; and the card does not cover this particular type of demise."

"I don't understand? Did I get killed or not?"

The berobed bones shifted the scythe from one shoulder to the other and
laid a manly hand over the lad's shoulder in a companionable
man-to-skeleton embrace.

"It was not your body which was killed this time. It was more an attitude
of mind. You see, Adric, when she kissed you, that kiss killed the boy
in you, stone dead."

Adric frowned in thought. "You say it was only a metaphorical death? That
she didn't actually, physically kill me?..."


"Then why am I here?"

The skeleton regarded him a long moment with his unsettling toothy
grimace before answering. "The trouble is, that you were a boy through and
through. When her kiss killed all that was of the boy in you...There was
simply not enough of you left to keep you in the world of the living."

Adric nodded sadly. "And you say the punch card doesn't cover this kind of


"What do I do now?"

Was it possible for a skeleton, an animated jumble of bones wrapped in a
dark cloak, a mere metaphorical representation of the end of existence, to
express sympathetic commiseration in a pair of empty eye sockets? Probably
not. Most likely it was just the way the light gleamed from the bony brow
ridges, emphasising the darkness beneath. Of course, the compassion
lurking there was a mere fancy - although...

"You will have to apply for an adult card," the skeleton said at last.
"Now. Come Along! The sooner you get your application filled out..."