scarlett_key: (Default)
Title: A Message in the West
Rating: G
Characters: Martha
Spoilers: None
Chapter: 1 chapter, complete
Disclaimer: Disclaimer beneath a cut because it contains spoilers ) I’m just here to have fun.

Summary: Martha Jones’ walk across the world brings her to Seattle, where she encounters a pirate radio station perfect for getting the word out about The Doctor. When she finds the pirates, she has to argue her case to another doctor before she can access the airwaves.

A Message in the West )
scarlett_key: (DrWho: Timeless Love)
Title: The Long Walk Back
Rating: G
Characters: Ten/Rose
Spoilers: Journey's End
Chapter: 1 chapter, complete
Disclaimer: Characters and settings belong to the Beeb. I make no claim to them. I’m just here to have fun.

Summary: Rose and the Doctor walk away from Bad Wolf Bay, facing a new life that neither of them could ever have imagined. Where to begin?
-------------------------------------------------

Rose watched the TARDIS -- her Doctor -- disappear, the grinding of the time rotor fading against the sound of the wind and surf of Bad Wolf Bay. Her chest tightened as she watched it go, the walls closing one last time. Even as her heart twisted with the TARDIS' departure, she could still feel the sensation of the Doctor's lips on hers, the jolt of his solid body against her. It felt like a betrayal even though it wasn't. A hand took hers: the Doctor's hand, large and warm and sure. Once the TARDIS was gone, truly gone and silent, she looked up at the Doctor, her new Doctor. His gaze was dark, serious. Strange to see an expression she knew so well on her first Doctor's face here now, on this new man -- this new man, not Time Lord.

Wordlessly, they turned and walked toward Jackie. Rose reached out her hand; her mother took it. The three of them fell into step together and walked as one down the strand.

#

Near sunset, they found a motel in a tiny beach-side hamlet built on the tourist trade, if the boutiques and souvenir shops lining the streets were any indication. They didn't need Norwegian--the motel clerk spoke English, enough at least to understand they wanted three rooms; he only had two. Jackie retreated as quickly as she could, saying she'd attend to the travel arrangements to get them back to England. As she watched her mother enter her room and shut the door behind her, Rose couldn't have been more grateful, or more terrified. Part of her wanted to jump the Doctor right there; part of her wanted to retreat with her mother to sort things out.

The Doctor motioned toward the door to their left.

"Shall we?" he asked.

Rose stepped toward the door. She slid the card key in and out of the door lock. A little light over the doorknob flashed green. She pushed the door open and went in. The Doctor paused, then followed.

They hadn't spoken during their long walk back to civilization. For once, Jackie had sense enough to be quiet. Rose found herself speechless at the enormity of what had occurred. Her thoughts had been jumbled as they'd walked back together. Grief, elation, confusion, desire: a mad, whirling storm inside her. And she had no idea at all what the Doctor was thinking.

He left me so he could stay with me, she'd thought as they walked down the beach. He's here. He's real. He's mine. Forever. Those words, that idea, made her look at him as they walked. He smiled--a sort of half-smile. Was he unsure? She suddenly felt shy. All that wanting, all that grieving, had come to this: the two of them walking down a beach toward a future rapidly reshaping itself in ways Rose could never have truly hoped for.

But as they walked, Rose found herself turning that future over and over again in her mind. What would he do here, stranded on Earth, no TARDIS, no sonic screwdriver, no escape? Who was he without the things that seemed to define him? Did he want to escape? Who was he now? Who was she?

The room Jackie had secured for them had two queen beds -- which left them options -- a small bathroom, a chest for clothes, and a curtained set of sliding doors that revealed a view of the beach. The sea spread toward the twilit horizon. As Rose stood at the window, she heard the hotel room door shut, and soon felt hands on her hips, the Doctor standing close behind her.

"Rose Tyler, struck dumb. I should mark the date," he said close to her ear. She could hear the smile in his voice.

"What about you?" she replied, unable to keep herself from smiling but keeping her gaze firmly out the window. "You haven't said a word." She wasn't sure what she wanted him to say, after he'd said the one thing she'd wanted to hear more than any other. The intimacy of his touch, of him so close set her heart beating. Why was she feeing so shy, so unsure?

Because everything had changed. Everything.

He leaned down, wrapped his arms around her waist, kissed the left side of her neck then nuzzled her with his nose. She couldn't help but lean back into that embrace, enjoying the moment, one more nightly fantasy realized--shot through with uncertainty.

"We should talk," he said, his breath tickling her skin, sending shivers through her. The touch was familiar, the intimacy all she had ever wished for -- but this Doctor, this man, was a stranger--part Donna, part the Doctor.

"Doesn't feel like talking," she said without hesitation, almost smiling, calling up an old conversation that had become a mantra between them after their first adventure with Jack. The familiarity was comforting. He tightened his embrace around her, then let her go.

"You're right," he said. He took her hand and drew her to the only place there was to sit: one of the beds. Rose folded one leg beneath her as she settled on the corner of the nearest one. He let go of her hand and sat down on the other. She suddenly realized that she needed the space. He probably did, too.

"I know what you're thinking," he said. "I'm not him."

Rose looked down at her hands in her lap; he was right, of course. "Yeh," she said, embarrassed by her transparency.

"As long as there's a 'him,' there will never be an 'us,'" he continued.

She looked up at him then, seeing the truth in his eyes. How quickly he'd come to the point. The old Rose, the Rose she'd been before she'd met the Doctor so long ago, would have rolled her eyes and smiled in relief at a man who didn't beat around the bush. But now, cutting to the quick the way he'd done, it was painful.

"I asked you, on the beach, I said, 'I've only got one life, Rose Tyler. I could spend it with you. If you want.'"

Rose opened her mouth to speak, but the Doctor raised his hand. "No, don't. Don't make a promise you don't know if you can keep." Rose closed her mouth. He was right. "All I ask is this: Let's take it step by step. See who we are now. I've got . . . so much to figure out. I need to learn how to be human."

She smiled then. "Less than you think."

He smiled, too. Rose delighted in that look, the unabashed arrogance that she found so appealing.

"Well, no one's perfect," he said. For a moment it felt right. And then his smile was gone. "I do need a teacher, a guide. It's a whole new life." He leaned forward then, elbows on knees, his gaze boring into hers. "I said it on the beach, and it's true. I love you, Rose. I want to try -- if you do."

Rose's heart filled. There it was again: an old expression on a new face. That naked need, that cry for one light in the darkness.

"One step at a time," she said. "We can do that. We can try."

This time, when the Doctor smiled, it wasn't that wide, cheeky grin, but rather a gentle smile. "Good. I'll get your mum. Leave you two to sort things out."

He got up then and headed for the door.

"Wait!" she said, before he could grab the doorknob. She got up, walked to him, and put her arms around him. He embraced her. "One step at a time," she whispered. "Yes."
scarlett_key: (DrWho: Jack Behind You)
Someone over in the [livejournal.com profile] doctorwho community took a moment to rank the third season's episodes. Since finishing "Treasures of Lost Gallifrey" has been so tough (but it is coming), I thought I'd kill time in the meanwhile by indulging myself this way. So this is how I'd rank the third season's episodes:


1. "The Family of Blood"
2. "Human Nature"
3. "Blink"
4. "42"
5. "Gridlock"
6. "The Shakespeare Code"
7. "Smith and Jones"
8. "Utopia"
9. "The Sound of Drums"
10. "Last of the Time Lords"
11. "The Lazarus Experiment"
12. "Evolution of the Daleks"
13. "Daleks in Manhattan"

Notes: I love "42." The more I watch it, the more I see great character moments and, in particular, a real turning point in the Doctor's relationship with Martha. I mean, gee, that moment in the medlab where he admits that he's scared? He would never have admitted fear like that to Rose; it's a moment of perhaps unprecedented vulnerability for him, and in that moment, he trusts Martha without even thinking about it. He puts his life in her hands completely. It's huge. He'll never love her the way he loved Rose, but he finally has to admit to himself that other people are just as capable, just as resourceful, and can be relied upon just as well. That moment at the end, when he pauses before giving her a TARDIS key, it's as though he's finally saying to himself, "You know, wishing for Rose won't bring her back, and you do Martha--who's smart and strong and resourceful--a real disservice by continuing to compare them to each other." I think this episode is underrated in so many ways.

I think "Gridlock" is a little overrated, in part because it's sort of a "End of the World" retread: Companion gets into trouble, realizes she's taken a ride with a stranger, pushes him to tell her who he is, and they become friends. The concepts are cool, and the secondary characters are fun and well drawn. It just doesn't draw my admiration the way "42" does.

I may reconsider the placement of the series finale trio, mainly because there are scenes I keep going back to watch again and again. Somehow, it's growing on me, despite some of the incredible stupidity. It still isn't as awful as the Torchwood episode "Cyberwoman," which I've finally seen and can now finally appreciate its awfulness.

Anyway, that's what I've got this morning. "Lost Gallifrey" will return, though it's taking a turn I hadn't expected--a good thing but a challenge.

Joy

Aug. 28th, 2007 10:26 pm
scarlett_key: (Handprint)
Title: Joy
Rating: PG (for angst)
Characters: Rose, Nine, Ten (Mickey and Jackie make a brief appearance)
Spoilers: Father's Day, Parting of the Ways
Disclaimer: Characters and settings belong to the Beeb. I make no claim to them. I’m just here to have fun.

Summary: Rose takes a moment out of Easter dinner with her mum, Mickey, and the Tenth Doctor to retreat to her bedroom, the things she keeps there, and the memories she locks away.

Comments: This started with a simple question--but if I tell you that question, I'll instantly spoil it for you. All I'll say is that Rose keeps a secret in her childhood bedroom that she'll never share with anyone else.

Scent summons memory like nothing else. )
scarlett_key: (DrWho: Timeless Love)
Title: The Necessity of the Tin Dog
Author: Me
Rating: G
Characters: Ten/Rose, Mickey
Spoilers: School Reunion
Disclaimer: Characters and settings belong to the Beeb. I make no claim to them. I’m just here to have fun.

Summary: When Mickey asks to come along on the TARDIS, the Doctor has to say yes. But the request has come too late.

Comments: I've been thinking about this one for a while. Don't know why it came up right in the middle of my work on "Treasures of Lost Gallifrey," but then no one asks the plot bunnies why they spawn, because they never answer, being too busy making more plot bunnies and all.

---------------------------------------


Can I come? I'm not just the tin dog, and I want to know what's out there )

To Be Sure

Aug. 12th, 2007 09:15 am
scarlett_key: (Doctor Sonic)
Title: To Be Sure
Author: Me
Rating: PG
Pairing: Ten/Rose
Spoilers: New Earth
Disclaimer: Characters and settings belong to the Beeb. I make no claim to them. I’m just here to have fun.

Summary: Cassandra’s left Rose’s body, but the Doctor need to check, just to be sure. . . .

Comments: This piece assumes that Rose doesn't remember the kiss at the end of Parting of the Ways at least through the beginning of Tooth and Claw. All indicators in the episode seem to be that she's forgotten events from the moment she looked into the Vortex until the moment she wakes up on the grating. I've often wondered if that was a side effect of her absorbing the vortex, or if the Doctor, as he took the Vortex from her, cleared the memory out of her to leave her A) as untouched by the Time War and the pain and madness of the Vortex as possible and, B) untouched by his desire because he doesn't feel worthy either of her love (well, anyone's love, even after The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances) or of the sacrifice she made on his behalf. Nothing says she didn't remember what happened later (after all, she throws it in the face of the daleks in Doomsday). For the purposes of this fic, she regains her memory later rather than sooner. See my meditation on the evolution of their relationship here if you have any interest in my thought process about this.

Thanks: [livejournal.com profile] pie_is_good for the fine beta.

Do let me know what you think!

-----------------------------------------------


Rose leaned back against the TARDIS console and watched as the Doctor slipped inside the door. The sounds of Cassandra's party floated in behind him, people chattering, glasses clinking and, in between them all, one plaintive voice calling for help.

The Doctor shut the door. He wore what Rose had come to think of as his thundercloud brow, a dark look she recognized even on this new face. He strode up the ramp wordlessly, directly toward her. He stopped mere inches from her and looked into her eyes as if searching for something. She'd never seen his eyes so black.

"Before we go, I just want to be sure she's gone," he said. "All of her. Is that all right?"

Rose nodded. It hadn't even occurred to her that some part of Cassandra might still be hidden away inside her. The thought made her shudder.

Well, this made her shudder, too, but in a different way.

The Doctor placed his hands on either side of her head. She closed her eyes. If Cassandra's body snatching had felt like an assault, the Doctor's gentle touch, the way he seemed to pour into her mind, felt like a warm, slow tide.

"If there's anything you don't want me to see..." he almost whispered, his voice low, intimate. Or had he thought it? Rose couldn't be sure. He sounded closer than he'd been before. She parted her lips just a little, enough to ease her breathing, which had gone shallow. She gripped the edges of the console to stay upright.

"There's nothing," she whispered. "Nothing."

He moved inside her mind, then, with more certainty than he had before. It was the difference between a caress across her fingers and the firm hold of his hand around hers. Each was desirable, reassuring, but each was distinct. He knew what he was doing and she was safe with him.

She let her mind relax then. Each memory he touched, he touched with care, opening them as he might carefully push aside a curtain. That memory there--she lived it again--standing on the champion's podium, her heart racing, bowing her head as the bronze medal was placed around her neck. She felt the Doctor swell with pride.

And this memory--she was 14 at a party with mostly older friends. They'd goaded her into playing Spin the Bottle. She'd never been kissed before. She spun and the bottle stopped at Derek Brown, 16, dark-haired and gorgeous. He was sweet and careful with her for that first French kiss, and she was forever grateful. Could a thought smile? Rose felt the Doctor smiling at that memory.

And then that memory: the way the Doctor exploded in a roaring rush of golden light, and how her heart had skipped a beat at the sight of it. She'd been so shocked, so unsure, and so certain she could do nothing but be unafraid of whoever this was in the Doctor's clothes.

And then the way he took her hand.

And the way he looked at her when he did it, his large dark eyes filling her vision, seeming to see inside her, reminding her gently of his very first word to her. Her heart had filled in that moment, recognizing something in this stranger that was as familiar as her own skin. She'd been afraid of that sensation, feeling it so quickly for this person who was somehow someone she recognized and yet completely unknown.

The Doctor embraced her then, whether physically or psychically she couldn't tell, lost in this sharing of minds.

And then, unbidden and unwanted, was the memory of Cassandra using her body to kiss the Doctor, to run her fingers through his hair and devour him. Her cheeks burned with the memory of being inside herself, crowded into one corner by Cassandra, screaming at her to stop, to not ruin it, to not do the one thing Rose had wanted to do for such a long time.

Rose slammed a mental door on that memory, too awful, too revealing to share.

The Doctor withdrew suddenly, and the warmth Rose felt, the heat of his body so close to hers was gone.

She opened her eyes at a loss for breath, slightly dizzy. She held onto the console, unsure of her footing. Even the soft TARDIS light was too bright for her, and she blinked until her eyes adjusted.

She heard it before she saw it, the Doctor about a yard away from her, around the curve of the console, turning squeaky wheels and pulling levers without even a glance at Rose. She shivered.

"Doctor?" she said, uncertain what had just happened. She rubbed her arms to warm herself up.

"She's gone," he said flatly. He didn't look at her.

"That's good, yeah?" she said. She took a small step toward him.

As though there were a physical barrier between them, she couldn't step any closer.

"That's good," he said. He moved away from her, another two steps around the console, and peered into the screen while making some sort of adjustment at the controls. The time rotor began to pump, and the floor grating vibrated as the TARDIS fell into the vortex.

"Doctor, look at me," Rose said in a small voice. After what had just happened between them, somehow more intimate than a kiss, she wasn't having him retreat now.

He stayed focused on the screen.

"Doctor," she repeated, more insistent. He dropped his hands.

He did look at her then, his dark eyes haunted, vulnerable.

"What, Rose?"

She took another two steps closer. The barrier disintegrated somehow; whether the sensation was real or imagined, she was grateful for it.

"Why'd you pull away?"

"Cassandra's gone." He shoved his hands in his pants pockets.

Rose recognized his attempt to cover up. She closed the space between them step by step, never taking her eyes off the Doctor, afraid he'd bolt if she moved too quickly or looked away.

She realized, suddenly, that they stood at the edge of cliff together. She suspected why he'd stepped back; she’d shut the door so quickly, afraid he'd seen her desire exposed to the light. Now was the time to confront it, one way or the other. No secrets, right? And no fear. She swallowed once to loosen up her tightening throat.

When she stood just inches from him, he took his hands out of his pockets. His gaze never left hers. She took his hand, just the way he'd taken hers so long ago.

"Why'd you pull away?" she asked again.

"You shut me out. You didn't want me," he said, plain and honest and quiet, his chin lifted a little defensively, waiting for whatever blow she was going to inflict.

She squeezed his hand and felt the corner of her mouth rise in the tiniest of smiles; she couldn't help it. He'd misunderstood, but his words told her so much more.

"But I do," she said.

His eyes lit up.

"You do? Why did you...?"

She kept his gaze though it took all her courage, and knew without doubt that her cheeks were reddening.

"Cassandra was kissing you, and I . . . " She couldn't finish saying it. She wasn't even sure what she was going to say: that she'd wanted to kiss him? That she was angry at Cassandra for doing it first? That she was afraid of the Doctor's reaction?

The Doctor reached out and took Rose's other hand. He stepped a little closer. His voice now firm and deep and certain, he said, "You didn't know what I would think."

"Yeah."

He smiled, his face warming, his eyes crinkling with delight.

"Here's what I think."

He bent his head and kissed her, a slow, thorough kiss that started with just a small pressure, lips against lips, then a nip at her lower lip, and another. He parted his lips then, and slid his tongue gently into her mouth, and she returned it, exploring him in the way he explored her, taking her time, trying to slow the trembling that had overcome her, the rapid beating of her heart.

He withdrew just enough to look into her eyes. Her breath was shallow again, with him so close and the tingle of their kiss fresh on her lips.

"Don't ever think of Cassandra's kiss as our first,” he said. “This was. And here's our second.” He released one of her hands, put his hand on the small of her back, and drew her gently against him.

She couldn't summon words. He bent to kiss her again.
scarlett_key: (DrWho: Timeless Love)
No fic in this entry, just meditation about the arc of the Doctor's relationship with Rose and Jack in preparation, I suspect, for a longer fic piece than I've written in a while. Cutting for flist mercy )

And that's where I'll build story from, if I do, based on those assumptions. Hmmm.

And now, time for sleepies...
scarlett_key: (DrWho: Burns at the center of time)
Title: Moments in Time: Redecoration
Author: [livejournal.com profile] scarlett_key
Character/Pairing: Ten (with glimpses of Eight and Nine), Rose briefly, Sarah Jane, TARDIS
Rating: G
Spoilers: Mainly "School Reunion"
Disclaimer: These characters and settings aren't mine, nor do I earn money from them.
Summary: Sarah Jane says one word and the Doctor takes a trip back in time.
Author's Notes: I've been thinking that I want to write glimpses into character heads that offer flashbacks that we'll probably never see on screen. To that end, I've written this piece. I suspect there will be others as part of a series called Moments In Time. I'm still new at this so I'm a little skittish, but comments are appreciated.


Redecoration

He offered her tea and opened the door to the TARDIS. He watched as she stepped through the door and slowed down to take in her surroundings. He still couldn't believe it: Sarah Jane Smith back on the TARDIS after all these years. Things had changed; yes, they had. But inside, the Sarah Jane he knew was still there, all her drive, all her curiosity. She had been an extraordinary girl. Now she was an extraordinary woman, no doubt.

The TARDIS knew; he felt a swell of emotion as she recognized Sarah Jane. He smiled.

"You've redecorated," Sarah Jane said.

Is that good? he wondered. "Do you like it?" He felt like a child, eager for her approval. He felt the TARDIS respond exactly the same way.

"Oh I do. Yeah. I preferred it as it was, but yeah; it'll do."

He walked around to the other side of the console partly, he admitted to himself, to hide his face. Sarah Jane, Rose: he was transparent to them both and he couldn't risk that insight right now.

She preferred it as it was. That TARDIS was from another time: hard edges, clean lines. Things seemed so much simpler in the Sarah Jane days somehow. The Time War had changed all that.

Afterwards, after the the conflagration, the firestorm that had consumed Gallifrey, turning the planet into a hunk of charcoal in space, the chain reaction explosions he had created in the Dalek fleet, he and the TARDIS had retreated . . . and limped just far enough away to watch it all. The ship had withstood the inferno, but not without a price: the console blasted, the walls scorched, and the heart of the TARDIS bleeding searing golden light. As for himself, he was broken, body and soul, barely able to move on the floor of the console room.

He closed his eyes for a moment against the memory of the TARDIS screaming. No song could ever be so horrifying, like a million voices in unimaginable pain. There was so little time, so much healing to be done so quickly or he'd lose the TARDIS forever. He'd lose himself--though losing himself was an attractive and perhaps just consequence. He crawled across the floor to the gaping wound in the console, pushed himself to his feet. Leaned on the console. Her light engulfed him. He stood before the onslaught of her pain and absorbed as much of her as he could, fed her out of his own energy, a feast of years that she could draw on to heal and grow again. He had joined with the TARDIS before, but this was different: she absorbed him with an all-consuming thirst and he let her drink.

He'd awakened to a new self and a new TARDIS. He was taller, differently shaped, hair cropped close to his head. He imagined himself looking like an aescetic; self-denial seemed the only course he could pursue now. The TARDIS had changed so dramatically that he barely recognized her: she was warmer, more organic, and somehow comforting. Every part of her, every wall, the floor, the very controls were sensitive to his touch. She was more present somehow, more psychically exposed. He could feel her inside him, soothing him as she might a child, honey sweet, soft and strong. As though he could hear an actual voice speaking rather than the symphony of emotion and sensation they usually shared, she told him this was her truer self, free from the constraints of Time Lord discipline, a revelation no TARDIS had ever shared with a Time Lord before. He'd given her a gift; this was hers in return.

At the time, of course, he didn't see it that way; he couldn't accept such bounty. Now, surrounded by a new sort of family, he understood it better.

Sarah Jane had called it a redecoration. It was so much more than that.
scarlett_key: (DrWho: Jack Behind You)
Title: The Other Side of the Horizon
Author: [livejournal.com profile] scarlett_key
Character/Pairing: Rose, Ten, Jack
Rating: PG (for language)
Summary: That's what happens when you get what you think you want.
Disclaimer: These characters and settings belong to the Beeb, not me. I'm just thankful they're here to play with.

A/N: This fic is a response and a sequel of sorts to [livejournal.com profile] _usakeh_'s wonderful fic, Event Horizon and I recommend you read that one first. This is the first fan fic I've written in four years.
ETA: I know the continuity here is a little screwy, but I just couldn't write this with Martha. It had to be Rose, at least for me. Call it an AU.

----------------------------------------------------------

Jack had kept it light with the Doctor, even after they’d come through the storm. He’d awakened on the console room floor to find the Doctor kneeling by him, slamming his fists against the deck, his eyes full of terror, willing Jack back to life.

Afterward, the Doctor had made him promise not to push the issue of sex between them again. Jack had agreed and joked about there being other fish in the sea. He’d fallen asleep so quickly after their encounter – their mindfuck – in the console room. But the truth was, he hadn’t expected it, the raw, raging hurricane of time and emotion and history that had erupted inside him — the wild conflagration that was the psychic touch of the Doctor’s mind — when they had kissed. It seemed like it had happened forever ago.

Had it happened only the night before?

Jack didn’t remember how he’d gotten to the small bedroom in which he found himself. Clearly he was still in the TARDIS, but he wasn’t sure about the time or the day or any of it. He tried to push himself up off the bed and found little strength in his arms for the effort. He fell back onto the pillow and stared at the ceiling.

He’d kept it light with the Doctor; he was, after all, a 51st century kind of guy. But Jack’s pushing the issue of sex hadn’t been about recreation, despite how he'd framed the proposition, and despite what the Doctor may have thought before going in. They shared the cold passing of eternity, the enormity of which Jack knew he couldn’t share with another. They both stood on the edge of death every day, able to touch it but unable to receive its gentle release. If the Doctor didn’t know it before, then after sharing those moments of madness, he could have no doubt. It’s all fun and games until someone crawls inside your mind. But still he’d stepped away. Jack understood. He turned onto his side and curled into himself.

The door slid open.

“Jack?” Rose stood at the door, frowning. “What’s going on?” She came into the room, slid the door shut behind her, then sat down on the edge of the bed. What could he tell her? Anything? He’d have to tread carefully.

“Just sleeping late.” He rolled onto his back again, steeled himself to rise, and managed at least to push himself into a sitting position.

“I don’t believe you. Something’s wrong. The Doctor won’t look at me this morning. And you...”

“Whatever happened is between the Doctor and me. Don’t worry about it.”

“I’m not having that. What is it?”

He looked at his hands resting in his lap. Looking at her would mean revealing everything. He wasn’t sure he was ready for that.

Rose touched his cheek. He jumped, unprepared for the contact, unready for the shock of flesh that didn’t carry a charge, a firestorm. Hers was a purely human touch. Such a warm, gentle thing. Suddenly, he was trembling. He pushed himself back against the wall. "No."

“Oh.” Rose scooted up the bed and put her arms around him. Her hair smelled like berries. She was soft and pink and he fell into her embrace without thought, buried his face in her neck and closed his eyes. He breathed her in, shuddered, and sobbed just once. Safe haven, stolen relief. Silence. Peace. He held on until he knew there would be no tears, then pulled away from her. She leaned toward him and they sat forehead to forehead, shrouded by the pale curtain of her hair. She took his hands in hers and he clutched them. A new privacy, a new intimacy.

“Did he say no?” she asked, almost a whisper. It was in her voice; she suspected what he would say.

He shuddered again at the question.

“He said yes. For just long enough.”

“Oh God.” She put her arms around him again. This time, he pushed his arms underneath hers and pulled her to him in a hard, desperate hug. She rocked him and held him and didn’t let go.

#


The Doctor felt Jack wake up. Here in the console room, he could feel the energy inside the TARDIS shift, feel her becoming aware of him, making psychic space for him.

Rose had left only moments ago. He knew she’d been baffled by his silence, but she understood he needed space. She didn’t ask why. It was one of the things that he loved about her.

The energy shifted again. He couldn’t help glancing behind him toward the corridor. He swept his gaze over the console quickly just to make sure things were stable, then followed the sensations down the hall. Jack’s door was closed. The sensations came from the room beyond.

He hesitated, then leaned gently against the bulkhead beside the door, one hand on the wall. He reached out with his mind, just a tendril of thought.

Banked flame. Calm sea. The way Rose cradled Jack, the Doctor almost envied him, but that he’d been there himself. This was different. This was theirs. It was solely human.

He stepped away and left them to their peace.

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Janna Silverstein

January 2012

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