That’s what she could smell.
But not quite.
Something about it wasn’t…quite like celery. Not that she was in any real position to figure it out anyway. She had been unconscious, and probably for some time, if the pain in her head was anything to go by. Not to mention the fact that she was being carried.
Now, what was that scent?
She could smell celery. Now that she was a little bit more aware of her surroundings, she was able to figure out that she was being carried by the Doctor.
Reluctantly, Tegan opened her eyes. Sure enough, through the extra stab of pain that that action caused, she saw the red-trimmed jacket right in front of her face. Including the ever-present stick of celery that was right under her nose.
In deference to the stabbing pain that the presence of light was causing, she shut her eyes again.
Okay. Celery. Check. That mystery has been solved. But not the other scent. It was, now that she knew what was going on, the distinct scent of the Doctor himself behind the celery.
It was the scent he generated when he had been exerting himself, she decided. It wasn’t what she’d expected to smell. It didn’t smell like any of the other sweaty male smells she’d smelled.
It was something like rosemary, but not really. A moment later, her dazed memory threw up a connection with lavender. But that wasn’t right, either. That was followed by a flashback to her childhood, on a cattle station in Queensland. This connection was considerably stronger.
Sun-baked red sand, as she stepped out onto the front porch, heavily laced with the essential oils of the rosemary and lavender bushes that were positioned on either side of the steps leading down to the ground, oils released by the baking heat of the day.
Also impacting on her nostrils were the ever-present Australian scents of eucalypt and tea-tree, although somewhat more delicately than the rosemary and lavender. This, Tegan realised, had everything to do with the relative proximities of the plants generating the scents.
But there was something missing, too, and something else that was present. The something that was missing was, she decided, the smell of sweaty cattle. The something else that was present was possibly the most alien scent she had ever smelled. It resembled nothing she’d ever smelled before.
Not that that mattered particularly. Tegan could think of no reason at all as to why the Doctor should smell like the Australian outback. All she could think was that the scent was reassuring. It took her straight back to the happiest memories of her childhood. She smiled to herself, clutched at his lapel, and fell asleep to dream of riding out on musters for days at a time with the farm hands to retrieve the cattle from the furthest edges of the station.
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