This is it! Thank-you SO much to all my fantastic readers and especially to those who've taken a moment to comment - I'm eternally grateful. Writing this fic was a truly satisfying experience! I'm halfway through writing my next fic, a Broadchurch/Doctor Who crossover called 'Identity', which I'll begin posting here soon, in case you're interested :)
CHAPTER 30 - Heeled: Revelation
Flying up the ramp, the Doctor danced around the console, readying the TARDIS for flight. Rose watched him from the jump seat, obviously a bit concerned for him. He probably looked a bit manic right now, he realized, but he couldn't find it in himself to try to look more reassuring for her.
"Doctor… what's wrong?" she asked, concern lacing her voice.
He didn't answer right away. He needed to get them off this planet. Throwing the last of the levers that would finally put them safely into the vortex, he let out a massive sigh and ran his hands down both sides of his face.
"Doctor?" she tried again.
The Doctor took a deep breath and let it out slowly before turning to his brilliant girl. She looked positively beautiful sitting there under the softly pulsing lights of the time rotor. "I have to check something Rose. And I'm… I'm not sure…" he stammered.
Rose stood and moved to him, putting her hand on his shoulder. "Hey… it's okay, yeah? We're here and we're safe. And the Danarians… I think you said what needed saying," she said, trying to reassure him.
He wanted to pull away from her… he didn't deserve her support right now. Not if what he suspected was true. He didn't pull away though. As was so like him, he weakly gave in to her touch and took all he could from it before resignedly pulling the monitor in front of him. Typing the command that would get him the information he was looking for but probably didn't want to see, he pressed enter and waited. Before him scrolled the data he'd requested. And it confirmed his fears.
"What?" Rose asked, worried. He realized then he was trembling. Gesturing to the screen before them, he slid away from her touch and slumped onto the jump seat, nestling his head in his hands.
Moving to read the screen mounted before her, she took a moment to take it in the information so objectively and impartially presented on it. "What does this mean, Doctor?" Rose's anxious voice finally said from her spot at the console. "There was a civil war? On Danaris?"
The Doctor pulled his hands down his face again and nodded dejectedly.
"When? Doctor… talk to me, please," she entreated, moving to sit stiffly beside him.
He couldn't look at her. Staring at his own feet he said, "I landed us a century early, Rose. When we first arrived… I'd landed us a century too early. I knew there had been a civil war, but I planned for us to arrive well after it had ended," he lamented, running his hands through his hair. "The war… It happens not long from now. Within months. I thought… I felt it, Rose. It was a fixed point in time. I knew I sensed one looming when we landed, but I had no idea… I didn't know we were part of it."
"Wait… do you mean that we… that because we visited…"
"Yup," he said resignedly. "It was a nine year civil war, Rose. Between humans and those Danarians who supported human freedom against those who didn't. All because I couldn't keep my bloody gob shut," he said, anger at his own stupidity bubbling to the surface.
"But, Doctor… the humans were already talking to the Danarians on the planet. Why would it make such a difference if you did?" she asked gently.
He stood then, fisting his hands at his sides. "Because it was me saying it, Rose. That's why. Because when I talk, people listen. And I didn't just talk to the children, Rose. I bloody let the cat out of the bag too soon by involving adults directly. That wasn't the plan. That wasn't what Onyx and the other humans wanted. They wanted this to come from the children… from the Danarians themselves. But, no. I was so caught up in my own… in… in…" he stopped, realizing why he'd done what he'd done. He'd done it for Rose. So she wouldn't be caught. So they wouldn't be caught.
Rose stood to stand in front of him. "You did it for me, didn't you?" she asked softly. "So I wouldn't be taken again," she added.
Losing steam, his shoulder slumped and he nodded.
"So this is my fault then," Rose said quietly, realization dawning.
The Doctor's head flew back and his eyes pierced hers. "No. No, Rose. This is not your fault. This is on me. On my shoulders, not yours," he said, his eyes never leaving hers.
Rose stared back at him, incredulous. "What? How can you say that? How dare you put this all on you. Are you saying you forced me to come with you to visit Sanjay? To go into that building to see Stala? If I hadn't come… if I hadn't insisted on seeing Stala... none of that would've happened. Tell me I'm wrong!" she challenged.
The Doctor stood speechless for a moment. "Rose… this wasn't your fault. How could you have known this was going to happen?"
Rose's expression suddenly became softer. "And how could you?" she said matter of factly. "You didn't know your words would have the impact they did. Not until after you said them. Am I right?" she asked.
"But… I knew… I knew it wasn't the plan…" he started.
"Doctor… am I right?" she asked pointedly.
Reluctantly, the Doctor nodded.
"And this event was a fixed point in time, yeah?" she asked.
He nodded again.
"Well… that means it had to happen. Whether you wanted it to or not. Just because you understand time and travel in it doesn't mean you can always change it," she said wisely.
The Doctor's eyes rose to meet hers. She was right, of course. It was a fixed point. It did have to happen. He just… he couldn't reconcile the fact that he was the key factor in it. If only… if only…
… but then, there really was no way around it, was there. Had he not been there to have the moment play out as it did, reapers would surely have shown up as they had every other time he'd attempted to cheat fate. He was truly a pawn here. And he hated it.
"Besides that… you were just trying to protect your mate, yeah?" she smiled sadly, taking his hand lightly in hers.
The Doctor felt a blush tinge his cheeks and he made himself look away. "Not just my mate," he said quietly.
"What?" Rose said beside him.
"I said… not just my mate. I wasn't just trying to protect my mate," he said, raising his eyes to meet hers.
"Wha…" Rose said, staring at him. A very small smile quirked on his lips despite the gravity of the situation. "What do you mean?" she finished.
The Doctor, knowing that this was going to come out sooner or later, let his gaze drift down to Rose's middle before once again bringing his eyes up to find hers.
Rose's breath caught. A shining smile lit his face and he was unable to stop it. He couldn't help it. One bright, glorious light was shining through the darkness of this moment and it enveloped him.
After a moment, he realized Rose was still staring at him, her mouth agape. "Rose… breathe," he said anxiously, actually beginning to worry for her safety if she didn't inhale soon.
"But… but…" she stammered, "How… how…"
"Rose Tyler… I would think that you'd be quite familiar with the 'how' by now," he grinned wolfishly, encasing her in his arms.
"But… how do you know already? I haven't even missed my… you know," she said, gesturing toward her middle.
"Rose… I can smell when you. I can smell when you ovulate, I can smell when you're aroused, I can smell when you break wind… mind you, I think even other galaxies can smell when you break wind…" he said, his face a study in seriousness. Rose giggled and slapped him rather heavy handedly on the arm for his troubles. "Of course I can smell if you're pregnant," he finished, now grinning.
Rose stood there smiling for a moment, probably letting it sink in before sliding a hand over her abdomen. "I'm pregnant."
"Yup," he said, knowingly popping the 'p' the way he knew she liked it. "We'll have to do some tests to see exactly how far along you are, but I'd guess you're somewhere between twelve or thirteen days along," he smiled.
"Oh my god," she said. Then she looked up at him. "How long have you known? Why were you keeping it from me?" she said with a bit of a suspicious tone.
"Oh… only for sure for the last three days. Before that, I thought maybe it was just an unusual ovulation. But then, the other night when I licked you under your… uh… when I licked you," he said, taking in her adorable blush before continuing, "I could taste it and I knew for sure," he said. "I was gonna tell you, but then I got distracted… you know, with, uh… things…" he smiled. "You give off the most amazing scent now, you know," he added, waggling his eyebrows.
Realization dawned in Rose's eyes. "Is that why you've been so, uh… energetic? I thought maybe it was some weird cyclical Time Lord thing or something," she said grinning at him sexily.
"Nah. It's all you, Rose. You're my weird cyclical Time Lord thing," he grinned goofily before leaning in and pressing his lips to hers. A passionate snog ensued, and only after he sensed Rose's oxygen level dip slightly did he pull back.
He knew he shouldn't be feeling joy right now. An entire planet had undergone a bloody civil war. Humans and Danarians had died. It had ended with eventual freedom for the humans and the other enslaved species on the planet, but the price had been high. He knew all that, and while he would never be at peace with how things happened, he also thought he might be able to let go of some of the incredible guilt he felt about it someday. If that fixed point in time hadn't involved him, he would've had to let it happen anyway. But it did involve him, making him feel responsible for it even though he couldn't have done anything to prevent it. He and Rose had become part of events when the Danarians captured them in the first place. They were merely playing their parts out to the end, as painful as it was.
"Oi," Rose's voice floated into his thoughts. Looking down, he found her delicious hazel eyes gazing up into his. "You're thinking too much," she said, bringing her hand to the back of his neck. Pulling him down, she kissed him again. She seemed to be pouring every positive feeling she had into it, making him feel unspeakably honoured to be on the receiving end of such intensity. Deciding that she needed to know how much he reciprocated those feelings, he pulled her body flush against his and tentatively grazed her mind with his as his lips slid against hers.
He felt Rose's surprise at the intrusion, but she didn't pull away. He let himself float, hovering over her consciousness but not dipping in. After a moment, he felt her open herself up to him. Completely. He felt himself gasp, both physically and mentally. He'd hoped she'd let him just dust her mind with his feeling for her, but instead, she'd completely let down all her guards and laid herself bare to him. The honour he'd felt at having her feelings reflected in her kiss was now amplified tenfold with this unbelievable show of trust. Giving over to it, the Doctor allowed his veneration of her to wash through into her mind. He let her feel his passion for her, his constant worry for her, and his undying love for her. Rose's breath caught and this time she did pull back. Her eyes were brimming.
"Do you… do you really feel that way about me?" she asked, a tear sliding down her cheek.
The Doctor brushed the tear away softly with the back of his hand. "Oh no, Rose. I feel much more that that. But I couldn't very well show you all of it at once… wouldn't want to overwhelm your adorable human brain," he smiled.
Rose gave him a watery smile back. "I love you, Doctor," she said, hugging him close and pressing her face into his chest.
"And I love you," he said, pressing a soft kiss to the top of her head. "I love you both."