To Have And Not To Hold by mtemplar [Reviews - 266] Chapter or Story |
My first Who-fic - please be gentle! Thanks to slayersgrl and nonlinear musings for the initial read-throughs and suggestions. Grammar and formatting helpfully beta'ed by brit_columbia and banshee196; general content/grammar has been kindly betaed by platypus - thank you all so very much!
This story is loosely based on the Fourth Doctor serial, 'The Brain of Morbius' and contains elements from the 1996 TV Movie and the NA novel 'Lungbarrow'. Spoilers are present for Series 2, up to 'School Reunion'.
Disclaimer: I do not own 'Doctor Who' and am making no profit from this fanfiction.
"Do you mind?" Rose snapped irritably. "I'm just brushing my teeth. It's really nothing exciting...do you have to stare?"
Rose and the Doctor had just been shown to their temporary quarters after what Rose thought was probably the most amazing dinner party she'd ever been to, given by the matriarchal society to welcome them to the city. After a somewhat bumpy arrival, the Doctor had surveyed the world that awaited them outside the TARDIS and thought that it looked familiar...perhaps he had been there before in a previous incarnation...but seemed to have quickly shaken off his initial unease when he noted the enthusiasm of the rapidly gathering crowd greeting them. Rose was initially reluctant to follow the group that was escorting the Doctor (with a little more fanfare than was good for his ego, she decided) to the center of the city, but upon their arrival, she soon changed her mind. The imposing hilltop ruin appeared to be the remnants of a once magnificent castle, festooned with brightly colored banners. It almost reminded her of a picture-postcard image of Mont St. Michel, decorated as if for a festival. The people were friendly and what she had seen of the interior of the building, despite its outward appearance, was neat and well-kept. The food at the banquet had been sublime...though she hadn't tried every dish, unlike her companion, who had several different and unusual dishes pressed upon him at every turn, it seemed. After seeing the sheer amount of food he had consumed, Rose had wondered where he managed to put it all, and more importantly, whether he would share his miracle diet secrets with her. Maybe she could pry the information out of him after she stopped being so annoyed with his current behavior. "Really. Don't you have anything better to do? I'll be done in a minute...surely there's telly here you can watch or a book you haven't read before."
"Sorry, it's just...well...I can hear your eyes blink. It's a bit distracting...that's all." The Doctor lingered in the bathroom doorway a moment longer before turning away. "Didn't mean to bother you."
"What?" Rose slowly lowered her toothbrush to rest it on the edge of the sink. "I didn't quite catch that...what did you say?"
He poked his head back through the doorway, grinning. "Your heart has sped up too...unless I'm quite mistaken."
She accidentally swallowed her toothpaste, sputtering briefly. "What - you're saying you can hear my heart beating? From over there?"
"Oh yes...I can. I can detect your scent from here as well...and Miss Tyler!" He crossed the short span from the doorway, and gave her an mock accusatory stare. "If your mother could smell the pheromones you're putting out right now, I'd be the one getting the slap for sure. And I don't even deserve it, at least not yet." he added.
Sure that he was having her on, she chanced a look at his face, expecting to see the all-too-familiar manic grin. It was not there. He looked deadly serious, and she started when she realized that his normally warm brown eyes were dilated so that only a thin rim of chocolate was discernible at the periphery of his wide pupils. A thin sheen of sweat was on his brow. "Doctor? What's wrong? Why are you acting this way?" she squeaked out while edging away. "This isn't like you at all."
The Doctor paused, blinking as if he'd just been doused with a bucket of cold water. His eyes cleared, and he looked at her, frowning. "You're right...this isn't like me. It's the most odd sensation, Rose. It's almost as if...." He trailed off, dubiously peering into her eyes. "I need to say things to you. It's the strangest thing, really. I almost have no control at all."
"Oh-kay..." Rose slowly backed out of the bathroom into the small sitting area of their guest quarters. "Is this another Time Lord thing that you've forgotten to tell me about then? Like you've got a 'Star Trek' Vulcan mating season and all that?"
"Oh no...I shouldn't think so. Time Lords as a species don't reproduce in that way...well, most of the time anyway...that's what the Looms are for." Rose noted that the Doctor's eyes were darkening again as he followed her into the sitting room. "Rose...."
"So what's wrong with you then? Maybe you ate something that didn't agree with you, yeah?" She continued backing away from him until the backs of her knees hit a small settee and she sat down, hard.
"Maybe there was something...." he murmured. "Can't imagine what it would have been though, I didn't detect anything unusual. Rose, it's happening again." He had now closed the gap between them and loomed over her. "I can't control myself."
"What should I do? Do you think I should leave then?" She tried glancing around his trousered legs for an escape route, but he was too close.
"I...I don't know. Maybe you should take notes?" He offered brightly. "I've really no idea what I'm going to say next - it's absolutely fascinating!" He dropped down to one knee before her, beaming.
"Notes...right." Rose scooted over to a small side table, finding a convenient writing instrument. A quick search of the attached drawer yielded a tiny red book with small, foreign print. Gideons, Rose thought...they're everywhere. Surely they wouldn't mind a few notes in the margins - nobody ever read those things anyway. She turned back to the Doctor, smiling. "All set." She frowned when he slid onto the settee beside her. His pupils were almost completely dilated again.
"You're so beautiful."
Rose's jaw dropped. She hadn't expected that. She stared down at the tiny red book on her lap and tried to ignore her rising blush. He must be drugged...that was the only explanation she had. He'd never say anything like that to her otherwise. She didn't even know he was capable of this behavior...after his complete lack of a reaction to some of her skimpier outfits, she'd decided that Time Lords, as a species, were completely asexual and that their status as 'friends' or 'companions', as he was wont to say, was better than nothing. She looked up, noticed that he was starting to lean in toward her, and began scribbling madly in the margin of the book. "You're...so...beautiful...."
Strong, elegantly long fingers closed around her right wrist, making her drop the delicate glass pen onto the floor. "Doctor...I c-can't take notes if you've got my hand." she stammered nervously.
"Your pheromones, Rose," he said softly. "They're intoxicating." Still holding her right hand in his, he leaned in to inhale at the pulse point of her neck and she felt a jolt in the depths of her abdomen as his breathy exhalation seemed to caress her cheek. The tips of his fingers stroked gently at her temples and she found herself leaning into the caress. They were nose to nose now, and Rose's head was spinning.
"Please..." The Doctor implored, his eyes now closed and breath fluttering against Rose's cheek. "I want to kiss you...." Soft lips touched hers and suddenly....
She was somewhere else.
Rose found herself standing in a meadow full of lush, long grasses studded with pink sweet-smelling flowers. Wild roses... She thought. What the hell is going on? A gentle breeze swept her long blonde hair into her face. Swiping it away, she saw the storm clouds on the horizon, dark and rolling. Thunder sounded in the distance and then...blackness.
Rose blinked rapidly as someone slowly lifted her body into a sitting position. Her vision began to clear and the face of a lovely young woman slowly swam into view. She wore a beautifully embroidered reddish-orange silken robe-like garment with an intricately tooled bronze breastplate. An ornate golden headdress with dangling brass beads crowned her long brown coiled hair, the beads weaving themselves into her curls. Curious bright green eyes accentuated with heavy gold makeup bored into hers.
"She has regained consciousness. I do not detect any ill effects. She will recover shortly." The woman seemed satisfied with her assessment of Rose's condition and pulled herself up to stand beside the settee, hands delicately folded at her waist. Rose could now see that ten similarly dressed women were also crowded into her sitting room. One was kneeling on the floor, her back to Rose.
Rose's hand went to her lips...she could still feel the sensation of the Doctor's tongue slowly gliding across them, gently probing for access. She suddenly realized that he was no longer next to her and began to panic. Where was he?
The kneeling woman shifted, partially turning to address a tall, slightly older-appearing regal woman who appeared to be the leader of the small party. Rose spotted a supine, unconscious, pinstripe-suited figure at the woman's feet, his head partially supported by one of the woman's hands, her other hand trailing at his mouth. She gasped - the Doctor appeared to be alternating between softly moaning and licking at the woman's proffered fingers.
"The Time Lord is ready. We must take him to Sister Ohica at once."
"Get off me! I can walk on my own." Rose squirmed in the grip of her captors. Two of the mysterious orange-garbed females were escorting her down a dimly-lit tunnel, making several turns along the way. They were trailing behind the others by several paces. Every so often, Rose caught a glimpse of the dark hair of the Doctor, barely visible between the flowing robes of the individuals in front of them. He had been unceremoniously loaded onto a litter back in the sitting room, and was currently being carried down the tunnel by eight of the women. The apparent leader of the party led the way through the labyrinth, holding a burning torch aloft. The flame flickered with the barely perceptable breeze as they made several turns through the maze of tunnels and Rose began to seriously doubt that she could find her way back to the surface if, by some miracle she managed to escape.
"Do not fear for your friend. He will come to no harm while he is in our care."
Rose started - the journey through the tunnels thus far had been silent, save for her struggling, the swish of reddish-orange robes and the occasional soft groan from the litter.
"My name is Sister Lyra." the woman grasping her by her left arm offered, smiling gently.
"I'm Rose...Rose Tyler. You said 'Sister' - are you part of some, uh...religious group then?" Rose stopped squirming and regarded the green-eyed woman who she had first seen after she had regained consciousness.
"It is nothing that simple," the young woman replied, the pleasant smile on her face fading. "We are what remains of the Sisterhood of Karn."
Questions were swirling through Rose's head at a rapid pace. First and foremost though was her concern for the Doctor. "What have you done to him? Will he be all right?"
Lyra smiled, her gaze briefly falling on the litter ahead of them. "He was given a powerful soporific...one that has interesting side effects in his people. I assure you though - no harm will come to him. Did you not try the fruit?"
"Wait...so you're saying that you've drugged him? But why....what do you want with us...." Rose fell silent as the rest of what Lyra had said began to sink in. His people. Her mind whirled as she tried to recall if the Doctor had mentioned that he was a Time Lord to anyone at any point during their brief time on the planet's surface.
The flaming torches bracketed into the sides of the tunnel cast a shadow onto Lyra's face, suddenly making her appear much older. "I do not know if I am able to answer those questions at this time, Rose Tyler. I must speak to Sister Ohica first."
"Rose. Call me Rose...hang on...I think I must've been hallucinating before - one minute I'm with the Doctor, next thing I know, I'm in a meadow. There was a storm coming...and then I wake up and see you. Did you drug me too, then?"
Lyra's bright green eyes regarded her curiously. "You are human. I do not believe you ingested the soporific, you would have merely fallen asleep." She paused, thinking. "The Time Lord must have entered your mind before we were able to subdue him."
Suspicion confirmed, Rose thought. Somehow, these women knew that she was human and the Doctor was a Time Lord. She briefly wondered if they knew that he was the last of his kind. "You're saying he was in my head?" She was suddenly glad that the light in the tunnel was dim...the better to hide the blossoming redness of her cheeks. "Just by kissing me, he can do that?"
Lyra smiled, shaking her head, golden beads glimmering through her curls. "No. The Time Lords are able to share their thoughts by contact, here." She indicated her temple. "He must have touched you there. Their mental capabilities are nearly as advanced as the Sisterhoods'. You did not suffer any ill effects?"
"No. I'm fine...." Rose trailed off, momentarily lost in thought. No ill effects whatsoever here.
The group rounded another corner and were met by another similarly dressed young woman, also bearing a flaming torch. Rose strained to hear the conversation between the new arrival and the leader of their party, but couldn't quite make out what they were saying. "What's going on?" she whispered to Lyra.
Lyra whispered back. "There has been a change of plans. We will be taking the Time Lord for the preparation rituals before he is presented to Sister Ohica."
"Preparation?" Rose was rapidly becoming more alarmed by the second. "Preparation for what?"
"Extraction, of course."