A Teaspoon And An Open Mind: A Doctor Who Fan Fiction Archive
Tenth Doctor
To Have And Not To Hold by mtemplar [Reviews - 266] Printer Chapter or Story
Author's Notes:
Vingt-Trois: The aftermath of the Doctor's clever plan....

The blinding light of the Doctor's artron was beginning to fade, and Rose felt herself fighting to not hyperventilate during the agonizing wait for it to disperse. She still couldn't see the Doctor's face, didn't know if he had indeed regenerated, and she felt sick with fear. As she watched, the faint cloud of residual energy floated outward to engulf Lyra and Ohica. They both staggered to their feet, and Rose was relieved to see that they seemed to have somewhat recovered their strength after exposure to the artron.

She looked back to where the Doctor and Melina had been on the flat rock and was overjoyed to see the Doctor's familiar features come into view. She couldn't see Melina, though - it seemed as though she had disappeared, leaving her orange-red robe covering the Doctor's still form. Rose slowly moved toward where he still lay bound, only to come up short when she realized the robe was moving. Her mouth dropped open in shock when a small hand emerged from the folds of Melina's robes and a distressed wail pierced the silence of the chamber. She hurriedly crossed the remaining distance to the rock where the Doctor was still bound and pulled the fabric of Melina's robe aside to reveal a now squalling infant girl clutched to the Doctor's right side. A pair of embroidered slippers fell to the floor along with Melina's bronze breastplate as the baby beat on the Doctor's robe-covered chest with her tiny fists. Bewildered, Rose carefully eased the naked infant from the Doctor's grasp and held her awkwardly out in front of her to examine her. The baby's wispy, fuzzy tufts of honey-blonde hair and hazel eyes were the only things that resembled Melina now and Rose was suddenly reminded of what had occurred when Margaret the Slitheen had looked into the heart of the TARDIS and been regressed to an egg. Had the Doctor's artron done the same to Melina?

"Give her to me. She is of no threat to us now - her powers have been drained." Ohica's voice still sounded weak, but the underlying authoritative tone was unmistakable. Rose quickly handed the crying infant to her and turned back to the Doctor.

He still hadn't stirred, and Rose guessed that he was out cold again from losing more artron. She located the ornamental knife on the floor and was intending to cut the remainder of the cords that bound him to the rock when she was joined by Lyra.

"What happened?" the Sister inquired.

"The Doctor had me wound him - enough to trigger a regeneration," Rose replied, contemplating the situation. "He said he'd force the energy outward to blast Melina. I guess he meant to um, regress her, so she wouldn't be a threat anymore. You'll have another chance to raise her right this time - "

"What about his wound?" Lyra interrupted. "He still bleeds."

"What?" Rose dropped the knife to the floor with a clatter. "He said he'd be able to heal it with the energy - oh no!" She pulled back Melina's robe from where it still covered the left side of the Doctor's chest to examine him. The wound was not only still there, it was bleeding profusely, the blood running down his side to stain the white of his scrunched dress shirt and soak into his pinstriped jacket. His right hand moved to cover his injury as his face contorted in agony.

"Oh, God - Doctor!" Rose leapt up onto the rock, moving his hand away and pressing down hard to try to stem the pulsing flow of the bright red blood from the wound. He cried out in pain and gasped for breath as he tried to roll away from her. "Lyra! Help me!" she yelled.

Lyra quickly moved to join Rose, grabbing up Melina's robe and pulling it up to bring it to where the Doctor's wound continued to pulse. "Here - use this," she said as she thrust the orange-red silken fabric into Rose's hand. Rose quickly pressed the fabric to the Doctor's wound and watched in dismay as it was almost immediately soaked through.

"Doctor, please," Rose implored as she continued to try to staunch the flow from the wound. "You're going to bleed to death at this rate - what should I do?" He didn't answer and Rose growled in frustration. She couldn't lose him now! What if he wasn't able to regenerate? Her hands were stained with his blood and she tried to wipe one of them on her robe as she adjusted where Melina's robe pressed against his wound with the other. Ohica had come forward to offer Lyra her assistance, but Rose barely registered her presence. She was grimacing at the amount of blood that remained on her hand when a sudden wild thought occurred to her. The paste - it had healed the cuts and scrapes on her hands before....

"Lyra," Rose called out. "That green slimy stuff that was on the tray in the room where we were before - I don't remember what you call it, but I need it - right now! Please!" The Sister looked at her quizzically, but quickly left the chamber. Ohica came to stand by where Rose knelt on the rock, the baby girl in her arms still screaming and pulling at her long, brown hair.

"The Time Lord does not regenerate - he is dying. What is your intention?" Ohica asked. "If he dies, we will all perish."

Rose pressed harder on the Doctor's wound, trying to ignore his grunts of pain. "He... he healed up my hands back in the room with that green stuff. 'S worth a try, right?" She blinked back the tears that were starting to obscure her vision. "I can't lose him...."

Ohica nodded, and knelt with some difficulty alongside the rock as the infant Melina continued to fuss. Raising her ring, she pressed it to the remaining cords that bound the Doctor to the flat rock. They hissed and snapped in the blue light, the short ends falling to the floor. "There," she said as she got to her feet. "I will return with assistance."

Rose nodded as Ohica left the room with the wailing baby, leaving her alone with an unconscious, injured Time Lord. "Oh, Doctor, what have I done?" she murmured, her voice wavering as the tears began to run down her face. She watched the Doctor closely while she waited for Lyra, noting with alarm that he seemed to be having more and more difficulty breathing, and was reduced to short, quick pants with intermittent, hitching gasps for air. His blood continued to seep from between her fingers where the cloth pressed and Rose was beginning to panic. He couldn't die - not now!

After what seemed like an eternity, Lyra returned, rushing quickly into the room holding a small, carved bowl filled with the green slime Rose remembered from before. She peeled the orange-red silk away from where it had adhered to the skin of the Doctor's left chest, a feeble pulse of blood escaping as she did so. Gritting her teeth, she plunged her fingers into the proffered slime and withdrew a generous amount to glop into and around the Doctor's injury. Her gruesome work done, she quickly replaced the orange-red silk, pressing firmly. "Please let this work," she muttered under her breath.

The two women waited, both watching the Doctor carefully as he continued to pant, occasionally grunting or moaning in distress. Rose noted that he was paler than usual, the pallor of his skin making the light dusting of freckles on his skin stand out in stark relief. He still seemed to be struggling to breathe, and Rose pressed harder at his chest. After a few moments, she again peeled the robe from his skin, relief flooding through her at seeing shiny, reddened skin beneath the congealed blood and residual slime where the wound had been. "Thank goodness," she said softly.

Lyra visibly relaxed, setting the bowl down at the foot of the flat rock. "We should take him back to the recovery room. Sister Ohica should return shortly with help to carry him - oh!" Lyra was cut off as the Doctor turned his head to the side and feebly coughed up a small amount of blood, a bright red dribble at the corner of his mouth.

"Shit!" Rose and Lyra looked at each other in horror and Rose quickly pressed a palm to the Doctor's left chest. Nothing. She slid her palm to the other side and felt the racing pulse of his right heart. "Lyra, his left heart's not beating!" she exclaimed.

"He is also having great difficulty breathing," Lyra observed. "I fear his lung may be damaged as well. Why does he not regenerate?"

"I don't know!" Rose wailed. "Doctor, please! I don't know what to do!" She watched him struggle to breathe, feeling helpless. He weakly coughed again, bringing up more blood, and Rose's heart lurched in her chest. She smoothed his hair from his brow, realizing that his skin felt slightly clammy under her fingers, and was slowly taking on a greyish hue. He was dying and there wasn't anything she could do to help him. Why didn't he regenerate? Had he lost too much artron?

Ohica had returned to the chamber - not with a baby, but with the litter and six other Sisters, a bewildered-looking Riza among them. Rose barely noticed their arrival, but Lyra quickly filled Ohica in on what had happened and Ohica hurriedly moved to Rose's side by the flat rock.

"Are you able to move him? At least tip his head up - he must drink this." Ohica produced a flask from her belt pouch, the fluid within shot through with golden, glowing particles. It was the last vial of the Sisters' substitute elixir that she had seen in Valna's laboratory! Rose quickly shifted on the rock to sit near the edge, Lyra helping her to pull the Doctor's upper body toward her, guiding his head to rest in her lap. Ohica knelt, unstoppered the vial of precious fluid and as Rose gently opened the Doctor's mouth with her fingers, Ohica poured the contents of the vial past his lips. He coughed and sputtered, but eventually swallowed.

"What happens now?" Rose whispered in the sudden hush that had come over the chamber. "Will he regenerate?" The Doctor remained still, but his color was improving and Rose felt a glimmer of hope.

"He should make a full recovery," Ohica said softly. "We owe him this much after his ordeal at Melina's hand."

"Thank God," Rose murmured, watching as the Doctor stirred slightly, his pink tongue running over his bottom lip. His eyes fluttered open and he looked at her blearily.

"Rose - 'm ok. Need rest. I'll be fine," he rasped, his voice nearly inaudible.

"'S good to see you again," she whispered to him, a grin spreading over her face. "Melina's gone - you did it. You can sleep now," she said, but his eyes had already drifted shut and his breaths were deep and even. Sighing, she put a tentative hand on his left chest, relief flooding through her as she detected a steady, if faint, beating. "Where is Melina, anyway?"

"Sister Morgana is watching her. It has been a very long time since we have had a child in our midst. We may take her to the surface dwellers to raise; I have not yet decided." Ohica stood, dusting off her robe, and signaled to the group of Sisters standing nearby. "Come, we need to move him."

"Where are you taking him?" Rose asked, suddenly uncertain.

"He needs time to rest and recover from his trauma. We will return him to the guest quarters so that he may do so," Ohica replied. Rose raised an eyebrow.

"You have my word that you will not be confined," Ohica added. You will be free to move about as you wish - within reason, of course." Rose nodded, twisting part of the sleeve of her borrowed robe with her hands nervously.

"Can I stay with him?"

"Of course. I believe your presence will aid greatly in his recovery, as you are his bonded partner," Ohica responded. "He should be soothed by your proximity."

Rose leaned back slightly as the six Sisters, three on each side of the rock, carefully lifted the Doctor's unresisting form and transferred him to the litter. Rose shuddered as she looked at the rock's surface - it was covered in blood, as were her hands and robe. She climbed off the rock to follow the procession with Lyra, but as she stood on shaky legs, she felt extremely lightheaded - and the periphery of her vision was darkening. She could hear Lyra calling her name, but couldn't seem to move her lips to respond. She crumpled to the floor in a heap as everything went black.

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