The Doctor heard the sharp clacking of ceremonial shoes against the floor behind him but he refused to react. If what he’d heard this morning was true, the eight-year-old child who had just run past him wouldn’t have any tolerance for sudden movements.
The next sound was the creaking of a cupboard and the scuffle of small knees against its wood. A click and the door was shut. Only then did the Doctor set aside his reading and get to his feet. He took his time approaching the tiny cupboard and when he reached it, he simply stood there, recalling his own eighth-year-Initiation.
Exhaling slowly, the Doctor knelt and rapped his weathered knuckles gently on the cupboard door.
“Go away,” came the muffled voice.
“Is that any way to greet me, Arkytior?” the Doctor called softly. At his voice, the door slammed open so quickly he had to jerk back so it wouldn’t strike him.