Show: Doctor Who
Timeline: A few days before Army of Ghosts, follow up to The Truth Behind the Words.
Synopsis: The Doctor and Rose spend some time on Stasis Twelve…and learn a bit more about one another.
Author’s Note: This is Part III of what seems to have turned into a series that I’m calling Unlocking Secrets. Special thanks to fairygothmum for the beta!
Rose vividly remembered the last time that the Doctor had spread his coat out on the ground for them to rest upon. That time had been a trip to New New York in the year five billion and twenty-three. The heady scent of applegrass had wafted around them as they shared their fond memories of their first ‘date’. Rose had never admitted how her heart had skipped a beat when he had stated happily that they’d had chips.
She also had never admitted how hard it had been to keep from kissing him that day. She chuckled to herself, amending that thought. She’d never admitted how hard it had been to keep from kissing him as herself…and not as Rose-inhabited-by-Cassandra. It had been especially hard when he’d turned his head towards her and smiled so adorably at her as they rested next to each other, stretched out on his coat.
But, today was a new day. They weren’t on New Earth, they were on Stasis Twelve. And it felt like it’d been a lifetime since they had been on New Earth.
Stasis Twelve was even more beautiful than the Doctor had described. There had been no running for their lives, no hiding from beings trying to kill them. There was no danger here and the emerald sky of Stasis Twelve reminded Rose that he’d done this for them.
A day, just one day, for the two of them to simply be together.
She smiled as she watched him spread his coat out under a large tree with sparkling diamond leaves. Her smile grew as he stretched out on the makeshift mat and patted it as he grinned up at her.
“Come on, I want to show you something.”
“What?” She asked as she kicked off her shoes and stretched out next to him.
He lifted his hand and pointed towards one of the larger leaves on the branch directly above them. She looked up and waited for his explanation…and when it didn’t come, she rolled her head towards him. She was only mildly surprised to find him staring intently at her.
“What?” She whispered, moving a little closer to him.
“What? Oh, uh…sorry. I…the…”
She giggled softly at his nervous, incoherent ramble and rolled onto her side to face him. “I really love you, Doctor.”
He smiled and lowered his hand, letting it rest on his stomach. “Quite right, too.”
She snorted playfully and leaned into him, pressing her lips to his. She kissed him slowly, moving to lean over him without breaking the kiss. She smiled inwardly when she lowered herself to his chest and felt his twin hearts pound underneath her. When the tip of his tongue ran across her bottom lip, she pulled back and offered him a bright grin.
“What did you want to show me?”
“Oh…” He chuckled and glanced back up at the branch stretched out above them. “This tree.”
Her eyes sparkled as she rolled onto her back. “Well, I kinda saw the tree before I laid down here with you…so, I’m guessing that there’s something special about it from down here?”
“Not particularly.” He responded, reaching over and covering her hand with his. “It’s special from any angle you look at it. It’s called the Sibylia…and this is the only place in the entire universe where it can be found. This specific tree would be approximately eight thousand and thirty-two years old.”
She turned her hand under his and laced their fingers together. “Approximately eight thousand and thirty-two, huh?”
He grinned at her gentle teasing. “Give or take a couple of years. The leaves are actual diamonds and they were nearly harvested into extinction. These days they’re guarded closely and the penalty for plucking one leaf from a branch is death.”
“You trying to tell me to leave the tree alone?” She asked with a playful tone.
“Nope.” He absently scratched at his stomach with his free hand as he looked into her eyes. “It’s not in your nature to take something that isn’t yours.”
“I get the feeling that there’s more to this tree than what you’ve told me so far…”
He smiled as he returned his gaze to the shimmering leaves. “Rose Tyler, you are perceptive. Should make this experiment all the more interesting.”
“Yep. Well, when I say experiment I don’t mean using you as a lab rat or anything. Nor do I mean…well, maybe experiment is the wrong word to use altogether. What I’m suggesting isn’t experimental in the least…it’s – ”
“Doctor…” Rose interrupted impatiently.
“It’s said that if two people concentrate on the same leaf, the tree connects their minds.”
Rose furrowed her brow at him. “What do you mean?”
“It’s a type of telepathy. The legend says that if one person thinks of a question to the other, the answer will be projected in the leaf for both to see. For that reason, the Sibylia is also known as ‘The Tree of Truth’.”
“Oh…wow.” Rose whispered, resting her head against his shoulder. “That’s pretty full on.”
“Yeah.” The Doctor licked his lips and exhaled slowly. “Pick a leaf.”
“Huh?” She asked, turning her head sharply and staring at him.
“Pick a leaf.” He gently squeezed her hand and offered her a smile. “Tell me which one you’ve picked…and then…think of a question you want to ask me.”
He nodded and leaned into her, brushing his lips across hers. “Really.”
She regarded him closely for a moment and then pointed to a large leaf hanging from the tip of the nearest branch. “That one.”
He smiled warmly and then turned his gaze to the chosen leaf. “Relax, Rose…just concentrate on what you want to ask me.”
“Okay…” She whispered, her fingers tightening around his as she felt the connection between their minds click into place.
It was only a few seconds before he felt the question in his mind and saw the image take form in the diamond. He arched an eyebrow as the picture grew clearer…until it was a perfect representation of the answer to her question.
“You could’ve asked anything of me…anything and I would be unable to hide the truth from you.” He licked his lips and shook his head in slight bewilderment. “Anything…and you asked what Gallifrey looked like?”
She shrugged a shoulder and stared at the leaf, watching the image of the planet orbit its suns. “It’s more beautiful than you described.”
“My true name, the war, my past…you could’ve asked about those…”
“I could’ve…” She agreed, turning her head towards him. “But those questions…I have no right to cheat the answers out of you. You’ll tell me when you’re ready.”
She smiled lovingly at him and lifted their joined hands. He watched as she kissed each of his fingers before cradling his hand against her chest.
“What you just did…” She started and then breathed a deep sigh. “You must really trust me.”
“I’ve never trusted anyone more. Not even myself.” He admitted, reading the emotions showing prominently in her dark eyes as he gestured towards the image of his home. “And after seeing that…I only love you more.”
Her eyes glistened and she swallowed the sudden lump in her throat. “Your turn. Ask me a question, Doctor.”
He thought for a moment and then gave her a nod, swallowing thickly as he focused on the leaf once more. The connection was made quickly and he exhaled softly as the image of Gallifrey disappeared.
He smiled as the new image took its place. An image of him…of her. His eyebrow rose slightly as the image of himself kissed the image of her. He cleared his throat and shifted slightly as the kiss quickly led to more.
Sensing he was getting ready to look at her, Rose gripped his hand tightly and shook her head. “Don’t, Doctor…your question hasn’t been answered yet…”
He didn’t say anything, but he didn’t break the connection either. And when the images of themselves fell onto a bed that looked like hers, he gasped and allowed his hand to move from its resting place on his stomach to his groin.
He focused on not taking his gaze from the leaf, which was becoming increasingly difficult considering that all he wanted to do was to pull her into his arms and recreate what he was watching. His vision blurred as he watched Rose’s nails rake down his back as she silently screamed.
He couldn’t hear, but it was easy enough to make out that she’d called his name as she came.
“Rose…” He groaned softly, pressing his hand down against his erection.
“Not yet.” She murmured.
The colors suddenly changed in the diamond and the Doctor felt the passion dissipate from the image. He took a deep breath and willed his hearts to calm. He nearly succeeded…until the image of her smiled at the image of himself.
His tears were instantaneous…one slipping from the corner of his left eye as he watched Rose place a newborn child in his arms.
He closed his eyes and broke the connection.
They were both silent for a long while. He hadn’t tried to pull his hand from hers…and Rose took that as a positive sign. Of course, it could just as easily mean that he was too shocked to try to move. She took a nervous breath and finally turned her head to look at him.
It was then that she noticed his tears…and another question slipped into her mind.
“Can we have a baby?”
Hearing the softly asked question, he opened his eyes and swallowed hard. “I…I’m not sure that now is…I mean…”
“I didn’t mean now.” She whispered, biting her lip as she rolled onto her side facing him and placed her left hand on his chest. “I meant…is it even possible for us to have a baby?”
His right hand moved from his subsiding erection and covered hers, his fingers curling around her hand. “Oh…um…yeah. Yes, we can…we’re, um…compatible.”
She nodded slowly and met his eyes as he turned his head towards her. “Do you think…maybe? One day?”
When he hesitated in his answer, she lowered her eyes and bit her bottom lip. “I’m sorry. It’s way too soon…I mean, we haven’t even been together for…I’m sorry, Doctor. I’m so sorry.”
“Stop.” He whispered, tightening his grasp on her hand when she started to pull away from him. “Please don’t apologize…”
He rolled onto his side and sighed sadly when he watched the tear roll over the bridge of her nose. “You’ve surprised me once again. Please don’t think that I don’t…I…it’s just…”
He swallowed as she slowly lifted her gaze back to his. “When I asked what you dreamed of, I…I was expecting…well, I don’t know what I was expecting, really. I know that wasn’t it, though. It was a surprise, is all…not a bad surprise, just…a surprise.”
“What?” She sniffled, pulling her hand free to wipe the tears from her eyes.
“One day, Rose.” He stated softly, tenderly threading his fingers through her hair as he offered her a loving smile. “I think…maybe. One day.”
Her eyes sparkled behind the sheen of tears as she whispered her love for him. He returned the sentiment and pressed a warm kiss to her lips, not resisting as she rolled onto her back and pulled him with her.
Their kisses were slow and passionate, tongues stroking instead of thrusting. She pulled his tie loose and unbuttoned the top three buttons of his shirt, allowing her fingertips access to the warm skin of his chest. His fingers had just edged under the hem of her t-shirt when a crash of thunder startled them apart.
He glanced up, smiling as he watched the purple lightning streak across the emerald sky. “We should head back to the TARDIS. It won’t be long until the storm hits full force.”
Rose furrowed her brow and flipped the edge of the Doctor’s coat over, delving her hand into its pocket. She pulled out the gold-colored object that she’d picked up in the marketplace earlier that day from a nearby asteroid and shook her head.
“I thought this was supposed to get cool when it’s going to rain?”
He looked down at her hand and gave her another quick kiss before jumping up, pulling her with him as a raindrop landed against her cheek. “That only works on Earth and planets similar to.”
Any other response was forgotten as the rain suddenly poured down. She couldn’t help but laugh as the Doctor shot her a bright grin before lacing their fingers together and taking off at a run towards the TARDIS.
They ended up completely soaked, but she thought that she’d never had a more perfect date. And as he pulled her into the TARDIS, slamming the door shut behind them before wrapping her in his arms, she told him exactly that.
At that moment, he made the decision to delay their departure…just until the storm was over. When she asked him what they’d do in the meantime, he grinned and leaned down to reinitiate the kiss that had been interrupted by the thunder.
He was sure that he could find something to keep them occupied for the next hour or three.