Show/Ship- Doctor Who. Ten/Rose
Rating- YT, T, PG13
Disclaimer- I'll offer a reward for the safe return of Peter Carlisle. I'll swop Ianto.
Summary- The Doctor's oral fixation gets him into a kind of trouble that Rose can't deal with.
A/N- Anyone remember the Mini Time Lord Happy!Who fic i did (if not go here)? I said there'd be a longer one. But I wasn't going to post it until JACEY challenged us.
Rose and the Doctor walked hand in hand along the crowded alien streets staring in delight at the wonderful masks and costumes that were up for sale, marvelling at the beautiful decorations and exuberant celebrations that were underway.
“So what’s the celebration for?” Rose asked as she peered intently at an ornate mask that hung above one vendor’s store. It was a deep silver and gold colour, shaped like half a moon and decorated with jewels. It was gorgeous. And expensive.
The Doctor tugged her hand, as much to get her attention as to move her along. “It’s the festival of youth. See, centuries ago the Fervians learned the secret to longevity.”
“Drink more water?” Rose guessed.
“Actually, yes, in a manner of speaking. They discovered how to slow the aging process and renew the cells to lengthen life. It’s a combination of anti-aging matter, bio-chemicals and special herbs—” he noticed Rose’s attention wandering and got back on track “—anyway they turned it to liquid form and Bob’s your Uncle— or Aunt if you’re a very confused child— you have a society that doesn’t die quite so quickly.”
Rose glanced up at him oddly, wondering why he had brought her here. It had been some time since he’d brought up the fact that humans wither and die far too soon and she’d thought he’d forgotten it.
From the look he was giving her, he obviously hadn’t.
There was something in that look, something he was asking her, or wanting her to know; Rose just wasn’t sure that she was ready for it, despite having promised him forever, she was starting to realise what that actually meant and it scared her.
“Lengthen it by how much?” she asked quietly.
He pointed out an old man walking by with a bucket in each hand. “That’s M’lick, I met him about two hundred years ago.”
Rose whistled. “Two hundred years, ‘snot bad.”
“Hmm,” the Doctor muttered watching her carefully. “Of course he was already 240 then.”
Rose shivered and avoided his glance.
Five hundred years almost.
She folded her arms over her chest and nodded, despite feeling a little uneasy. “Wow.”
The Doctor squeezed her hand and smiled softly. “Every year the whole of the planet comes together to drink the waters of Grailar.”
“It’s how your planet got the idea of the fountain of youth and the Holy Grail; a Fervian went to Earth and let it slip.” He grinned. “Too much whisky and not enough Holy water.”
Rose grinned back at him, the moment of uneasiness passed. “So they all have a dip in the fountain and get another special Oil of Olay package?”
“Yep.” He popped the ‘p’ and swung their arms in sync to their feet. “Imagine living five hundred years, Rose. All you could see, all you could do.”
“Like you, you mean?”
“Oh, much more.”
They reached what was the centre of the festival, a huge ornate fountain. It stretched high up into the air, a good eight, maybe even twelve feet tall with waters as clear and blue as the sky on Earth after a good storm. Water cascaded down into the large circular bowl with a pink-tinged froth only to be sucked back into the foundations and recycled.
The white marble-like fountain shone brightly in the twin suns and garlands of fruit and lights hung from the cresting figureheads of semi-dressed women.
As Rose stared at the water she couldn’t deny that it was tempting; couldn’t deny that she could imagine five hundred years with the Doctor. And it seemed that he was thinking along the same lines, his head cocked at an angle wistfully regarding her, his dark eyes fathomless.
“Have you ever tasted it?” She wanted to know as the waters swirled. “Mum always said that you had great skin for a 900 year old.”
“Well, I moisturise,” he said offhandedly and Rose had a sudden image of the Doctor in a green face-pack.
She had to turn her head to hide her laughter.
Rose sat on the edge of the fountain and stared down. Once the water crashed to the bottom it reminded her a little of pink champagne, a hint of azure but mostly a clear pink.
Healthy bubbly and pink.
“Greetings weary travellers.”
Rose shot up and tucked her hands behind her back in a classic ‘wasn’t-me’ gesture.
The man that stood in front of her was tall, taller even than the Doctor with a neatly trimmed black beard covering the bottom half of his gold face. Tattoos of his tribe covered the left hand side of his face and the white robes he wore fell to the floor in waves.
“Greetings,” the Doctor said and bowed with one hand touching his knee.
“Ah!” said the man in surprise as he repeated the gesture. “It has been many an age since the Reppil greeting has been performed.”
“Oh,” the Doctor sounded disappointed. “Well, it has been some time since I was here.”
“You are a friend of Fervian?”
“Oh yes.” The Doctor didn’t elaborate and just looked around. “I miss the great Dome, I have to say. Went mad when they decided to tear it down. Lovely arches in there. I remember De’rori carving his name in one.”
“Arch-TreCouncil De’rori regrettably passed three rotations ago.”
“I know,” the Doctor sighed. “Only four hundred and three. Sad loss. Still, he did say he wanted the next great adventure, not that I think death is such a great adventure, I’m not that eager to try it myself and there’s not much I won’t do. Sorry, you are?”
“Well, Mi’ca, I’m the Doctor and this is Rose. It’s her first time here,” he added conspiratorially.
Mi’ca bowed in Rose direction and she smiled waving her fingers.
“As you were a friend of our esteemed Arch-TreCouncil I’d like to extend the honour of partaking of the waters with us.”
Rose started and shot the Doctor a look.
He was beaming. “Oh. I’d be delighted, but not sure it’d agree with me.”
“Doctor?” Rose muttered but he ignored her.
“The chemicals you use for the elixir, if I remember right, were harvested under odd circumstances?” He let the end of his sentence dangle as if a question and the man was only too willing to explain.
“The moon herbs were indeed harvested specially,” Mi’ca said. “Legend has it that many centuries ago a meteorite fell through space and gathered time in its wake, dragging it behind like a blanket. It swept its way through the solar system and crashed onto our planet. Time landed and burned a patch of ground not ten glios from where we now stand. Nothing grew for years and then the herbs sprung up, opening over night and dying the next day only to re-grow at night. A speeded up cycle of life and death that we harness for our own longevity.”
“A nice story,” the Doctor said, his voice thin and pained.
Rose watched him carefully, his expressive eyes shielded with an echo of hurt. Rose wondered if there was more to the story than it appeared. Was the falling meteorite part of Gallifrey? Did it have anything to with the Time War or was it something to do with his people? There was still so much that she didn’t know about him. But what she did know was that he was hurting and she’d do anything to take that look away from him.
“You know what they’d call it then?” Rose prodded him, trying to coax him out of his sudden introspection.
“Hmm?” he said with a distracted air.
He was silent just long enough for Rose to feel embarrassed before he burst out laughing. “That was good, Rose. Very good.”
She saw the darkness fade from his eyes and congratulated herself. It was getting easier to draw him out of himself.
The Doctor seemed to be deliberating over something and he half-turned to face Rose, giving her a gentle smile.
She gave him her best grin and that seemed to decide him.
“Well, since you ask, I suppose one little drink wouldn’t hurt. Do we drink at the festival tonight?”
“Yes, you and your …” Mi’ca looked at them silently asking for clarification on their relationship.
Rose wondered what the Doctor would say. Friend? Love? Companion? Latest in a long line?
“Partner.” The Doctor grinned widely at her, his eyes shining. “My plus one, we’ll be there.”
“The occasion calls for celebration,” Mi’ca bowed. “Avail yourself of the costume stalls and mask stands. It will be an experience never to forget.”
Rose couldn’t help but feel that those words were somewhat ominous.