Beta: The amazing and talented ganeris
Rating: R (for some adult content)
Summary: Which is better, the dream or the nightmare?
Disclaimer: I don't own these characters and I make no money off of their obvious love and desire for each other.
Author's Notes: Written for the time_and_chips ficathon, anywhere but Cardiff.
Prompt: Deva Loka (paradise planet of the Kinda), August 3, 2266
To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with. ~ Mark Twain
The Doctor should be in a state of total relaxation. He’s on one of the most breathtaking beaches in the known universe; the sun high in the sky, the breeze soft and warm, and the sound of the waves gentle and rhythmic. He’s got a fallen log to support his back, a towel to cushion his head, and one of his favorite books in hand. It’s a shame really, since everything is beyond perfect, that he’s nearly desperate to leave.
Rose asked for someplace beautiful, and so he brought her here, unwilling to risk ruining her request on something new and unknown. But Deva Loka reminds him too much of a different life; a time when he’d had a younger body and a lighter soul; a time when he’d been accompanied by three old friends, now long lost to him. He smiles in bittersweet reminiscence as their images dance though his mind: Nyssa, as brilliant as she was beautiful; Tegan, full of loyalty and stubborn pride; and Adric… Oh God don’t think of Adric. The Doctor runs a palm over his face as a painful wave of remorse rolls through his abdomen. There are too many ghosts on this planet.
He lays the lovingly worn pages of Don Quixote against his chest, finally admitting to himself that he’s not going to read any of it, and focuses all attention on his redemptive angel. Rose is frolicking among the gentle waves with a family of lombins, the furry creatures, sprinting and bobbing around her in the foamy sea. Every so often one of them pokes her playfully with an oversized duckbill, saying “hello.” She laughs, throwing her head back in abject joy, as a brave baby lombin does just that, brushing its nose playfully against the bare skin of her stomach. The Doctor’s breath catches in his throat as he is suddenly unaware of anything other than this woman: the music of her laugh; the way the sunlight reflects off her wet hair; the curve of her breasts against the powder-blue bikini top.
It would be so easy to go and join her; to strip down to his skin, wade out into the warm waves, and assuage the all consuming need he’s felt since shortly after her first trip in the TARDIS. She’d welcome him, he knows this. He could have had her hours ago, propped up against the kitchen sink, legs spread wide, moaning his name. He’d been so very angry: angry at believing the impossibility of a dream, angry that she wouldn’t let it go, and angry that there was a part of him who’d not really wanted her to. The Doctor had been a hair’s breadth away from ravaging her lips with his, taking everything she was offering, but it was so much more than he deserved. In the end he’d thrown his rage into a childish tantrum rather than burying it between her thighs, but it had been a close call. Too close.
There are some things in this universe that are just not meant to be, and a broken Time Lord with more than nine centuries behind him has no business being in a sexual relationship with a nineteen-year-old human girl who’s just begun to live. If he crosses that line, Rose will be too loyal to ever leave and someday she’s going to want so many things he can’t give her: a stable home, a family. The Doctor brushes his fingers down the spine of the book, the corner of his mouth curving into a bitter smile; when it comes to loving Rose Tyler, he might as well be tilting at windmills.
He’s saved from falling further into maudlin introspection when Rose, glowing with youthful health and enthusiasm sprints the short distance separating him from the water’s edge.
“What,” he asks, closing the book and placing it on the sand besides him, “you get bored with your new friends already?”
“Nope, they all just up and swam away.” she says, twisting the long length of her hair over one shoulder and wringing out the excess water. “Guess I wasn’t very interesting company after all.”
The Doctor swallows a comment about just how interesting she actually is and glances down at his wristwatch, grateful for an excuse to divert his gaze from her gloriously wet skin. “Nah,” he says, tapping the watch face, “they’re just hungry is all; tide’s about to come in, and with it all whole mess of different kinds of fish and plant life. They’ve just left you to go catch some grub.”
Rose rubs a hand over the flat expanse of her stomach, fingertips just skimming the top edge of her bikini bottoms. “Speaking of which,” she says casually, snapping the Doctor’s attention back up to her face, “is there anything here we can eat, or am I going to have to go wade around in high tide myself?” She flashes him a cheeky grin, warming his whole body more effectively than an hour lying on the hot sand.
“All the fruit on this planet is edible,” he tells her, his voice deceptively even.
“Seriously?” she asks him, her pretty face all scrunched up in disbelief, “all of it?”
“All of it,” he confirms, getting to his feet and brushing considerable amounts of sand off his black jeans. “You asked for someplace beautiful, and I’ve brought you to paradise.” The Doctor reaches over to the fallen log that’s been acting as his back rest for the past hour and retrieves his leather jacket. The movement reveals the stash of brightly colored fruit he picked earlier. “You see,” he says smugly, tossing her a perfectly ripened specimen from the pile, “no worries.”
Rose catches it effortlessly in both hands. “Is this an apple?” she asks, examining the bright red skin.
The Doctor chooses his own snack from the pile before looking up to answer her. “Near enough,” he shrugs. The fruit makes a distinctive popping sound as his teeth break the skin. “Tastes like one too.”
Rose’s expression turns decisively smug as she tosses her snack in the air a couple of times, “You sure I should be eating this with you?” she asks, her lips spread wide in a playful smile. “One of these a day and I might just be left on an asteroid somewhere, no way to get home.”
“Cheeky git,” he replies, gesturing towards the fruit, “it’ll take a lot more than a pile of these to keep this Doctor away.” He laughs in spite of himself, “That’s a terrible pun, by the way; I must be rubbing off on you.”
Rose sends him her most flirtatious look. “Oh, don’t you just wish?”
He sees her smirk, and wolfishly raises an eyebrow, calling Rose’s bluff. This game is safe, because he’s holding all the cards.
Backing down just as he knew she would, Rose takes a huge bite of the red fruit, only to burst into hysterical giggles a second later as a cascade of excess juice dribbles down her chin and in between her breasts. “Okay,” she manages between guffaws, “not exactly like an apple.”
Near enough, the Doctor repeats in his mind, because this Eden, and she is the ultimate temptation. Heat pools in his groin as she takes another messy bite.
“Doctor,” she mumbles, managing to swallow.
He snaps his thoughts away from where they most certainly shouldn’t be and tosses her a towel. “Um, hmm?” That’s right, he thinks, sound disinterested.
Rose wipes the juice from her face and neck before wrapping herself in the fluffy terrycloth, effectively concealing her lush curves. “You said that there were people here, highly developed people, but I haven’t seen anything bigger than those giant platypuses I was just swimming with.”
“They’re called lombins, Rose,” he corrects her, rolling his eyes in feigned exasperation, “and the people I told you about prefer to live in the deep jungle.”
Rose makes a face, her disbelief evident as she searches the nearby sand for her discarded clothing. “Isn’t that dangerous?”
“Paradise, Rose, remember?” He grabs her denim shorts from next to the fruit pile and tosses them to her. “The Kinda have no natural predators and no enemies; they’re completely peaceful. And since the temperature here never varies more than five degrees in either direction, they have no need for any shelter other than the trees.”
“So they’ve got no buildings? How advanced could they be then?”
“Not everything has to come packaged with a human bow, Rose,” he tells her, throwing her pink t-shirt at her lap as she sits down to tie her trainers. “This is Deva Loka in 2266, not London in 2005. Civilization means something entirely different than from what you’re used to.”
“All right,” she says, straightening up and attempting to wipe sand off of her damp clothing, “then tell me what it does mean. What are the Kinda like?”
“Well, they’re silent for one thing, Rose,” he tells her. “Don’t have to worry about them making snap judgments.”
“Oi!” she exclaims indignantly, throwing her damp towel at the Doctor’s chest.
He catches it effortlessly and continues without missing a beat. “They have the most developed sense of hearing in the universe, and as a result have developed chimes that when struck, use frequencies that are so precise they can manipulate different aspects of their biology. They heal using sound, Rose, which is brilliant, absolutely fantastic, and you know why?” Rose just shakes her head, caught up in his enthusiasm. “Life has a tendency to overcompensate for any flaws, lose one sense and the others get stronger; the Kinda communicate almost exclusively with telepathy.”
Rose’s eyes grow to twice their size with that statement, “So when you say they’re silent, you seriously mean they don’t talk? At all?”
“For the most part,” he tells her, making to move back towards the edge of the jungle where he’d parked the TARDIS, “each tribe is ruled by a priestess or wise woman. She and her protégé are the only members of the Kinda who can speak at any given time. Think of it as quality control.”
Rose blows a puff of air inelegantly out of her nose, “quality control?”
“Yep,” he says, grinning widely and leading her back towards the TARDIS through the thick expanse of trees. "No one speaks except the one in charge.”
Rose seems to consider this for a moment. “But you said they have tepathy.”
The Doctor rolls his eyes at her mispronunciation, “Telepathy, Rose.”
“Right,” she agrees, quickly recovering, “telepathy. Doesn’t that mean they talk all the time, only it’s all in their minds, and not out loud?”
“Sort of,” he agrees, “but it’s not talking as such, more like a sharing of the minds. They have a constant sense of each other, but no real dialogue.”
Rose’s expression grows contemplative, “I’d miss it,” she tells him sadly, “no more music, no more laughing, never hearing someone you care about say your name. How can they bear it?”
How does anyone bear it, he wonders, how did he survive before she came along to bring those things back to him? “You don’t miss what you never had, Rose,” he tells her, laying a firm, but gentle hand on her shoulder.
She nods, but doesn’t look convinced, “I think I’d miss it anyway.”
The Doctor thinks she might be right, but decides it’s better left unsaid. “Would you like to see for yourself?”
Rose brightens instantly, once again animatedly enthused, “you mean go meet some of the Kinda?” He nods. “Absolutely! But how are we going to communicate with them?”
Rose lets the Doctor take her hand as he begins to lead them in a different direction. “I’ll be able to sense a bit of their telepathic field,” he tells her, guiding her deeper into the sub-tropical jungle, “and like I said, the wise woman can speak. Although I’ve got to warn you, the last time I was here I’d have preferred her not to have.”
Rose giggles at his playfulness, “how do you mean?”
“Oh she was scary, Rose,” he tells her, in all honesty. “All old and wizened, spouting prophesies that made no sense, and insults with no basis in reality.” He lays a palm in the center of his chest and affects his most pained expression. “She called me an idiot, Rose,” he says incredulously. “Can you imagine, me?” His expression grows more horrified as Rose’s giggles get louder. “A batty old crone she was, I’m telling you.”
Rose’s laughter stops short as they’re suddenly not the only people walking through the trees. Rose clasps the Doctor’s hand a bit more tightly as a group of young men, all wearing simple linen skirts and guarded expressions, line up shoulder to shoulder to block their path. He senses a ripple of unease wash through them, and immediately sends out a psychic message of reassurance, hoping he’s not too out of practice to send a clear signal. “Hello,” he says calmly, more for Rose’s benefit than theirs, “Just came here to see the sights, got any recommendations?”
Rose moves a bit closer to him when there’s no change in the Kinda’s unfriendly body language.” I thought you said they were peaceful?”
Before the Doctor can reply the group suddenly splits in the middle, the twelve men lining up side by side in two parallel lines, allowing him to get a glimpse of what they’ve obviously been protecting.
The breathtaking woman glides gracefully towards them, her bare feet hardly making a sound on the lush grass. The simple linen shift she wears somehow manages to accentuate every elegant curve of her body, while perfectly complimenting the auburn highlights in the cascading waves of her ebony hair.
Rose moves in close to the Doctor, leaning her whole length into his side, her body heat suddenly startling him away from the wise woman’s thrall. He looks down at her familiar face, at once startled by the hostility he finds there. “Batty old crone, yeah?” she says flippantly, “Well that’s certainly a new definition.”
Too stunned to comment, the Doctor looks back up towards the enticing creature now standing directly before him; her dark, heavy lidded eyes seeming to take in his whole self. She lays a palm flat on his chest for a moment, smiling knowingly before reaching up to touch his face.
“Welcome, Doctor,” the wise woman’s voice echoes in his mind, a caress much more intimate than the fingers on his cheek. “We’re so glad you’ve come.”