Turlough was surprised to find the Doctor standing near the control panel when he entered the console room.
"Have you finished with Tegan?" the young man asked.
"Yes. She's going to sleep for several hours, but when she wakes she should be back to her old self."
"So no more mind reading?"
The Doctor shook his head. "No. Her ability is gone now."
"Well, I suppose that's a good thing. It's rather unsettling being around someone who can pry into your thoughts."
"Hmm. I rather imagine that it would be."
"Can she still—" Turlough paused. "Can she still remember the things she saw and heard?"
"Most of the images were fleeting, and she was exposed to much more than her mind could fully process. She will retain fragments, I think."
"But you didn't specifically erase the memories?"
"No, I didn't." The Doctor's voice had taken on the slightly distracted tone that seemed to accompany his efforts to program coordinates into the TARDIS.
"Are we going somewhere?" asked Turlough after a moment.
"No, not really." The Doctor began tapping at the keys.
"Then what are you doing?"
"Hmm? Oh, I'm just resetting the time coordinates. I think fifty years in the future will do."
"We're staying on Rudaria?"
"Of course. We came here to see the rose, and I have every intention of doing just that. However, I would prefer that our visit occur during a more peaceful time."
"That's not a bad idea," said Turlough, rubbing a bandaged hand over his sore forehead as the TARDIS gave a slight shudder in preparation for the short journey through time.
The Doctor stood in the warm sunlight, surrounded by the intense perfume of the luxurious roses. The deep pink flowers were in full bloom, spreading like small flames over the surface of the opulent bush. Tegan sat upon the ground, leaning back on her hands. Her eyes were closed, and her expression revealed both tranquility and joy. Turlough had seemed relatively disinterested in the rosebush at first, but as he breathed in its fragrance he sank to his knees, clearly affected by the depth of the aroma.
Even the Time Lord felt some effects from the plant. He had not experienced such a sense of calm in some time. He felt his hearts slow subtly and realized that he breathed torpidly yet deeply, almost as though he were meditating. He took a few steps back to lean comfortably against a tree trunk as he watched his companions.
He could see that all of Tegan's recent stress had left her. Indeed, he had never seen her as serene as she appeared now. The effects of her telepathic experiences were gone, leaving no trace of anxiety or disturbance upon her face. She was completely and utterly relaxed and peaceful.
Turlough's countenance had changed, too. The Doctor had sensed a distinctly negative emotion in the Trion youth since reuniting with him after the battle. He was not certain what events had occurred, but he knew that Turlough was troubled. He suspected strongly that the young man had been forced to commit some act that he regretted. Based upon the looks that Tegan frequently gave him, the Doctor was fairly certain that Turlough's actions had affected her in some way, too. There was a deep gratitude in her glances.
With a start, the Doctor realized that he had lost track of the time. Shadows began to creep over the bush as the sun lowered in the afternoon sky. Soon groups of Rudarians would arrive to experience the rose's effects.
"Turlough," the Doctor said softly, resting a hand on the young man's shoulder.
Turlough blinked and looked up. "What?" he asked rather drowsily.
"It's time to go."
Turlough stood, seeming confused momentarily about finding himself on his knees.
The Doctor moved toward Tegan and bent before her. He knew that she had been affected more deeply than Turlough; the rose's influence was strongest on those most troubled. He took her hands in his and spoke her name. She did not respond, so he stood and gently pulled her upward.
"Tegan, we need to return to the TARDIS now," he said.
She took a sharp breath. "Doctor?" She squinted slightly, trying to focus her attention on him.
"Yes, Tegan, I'm right here."
She smiled languidly. "It's so beautiful," she murmured, clearly still under the sway of the flowers.
"Yes, it is," responded the Doctor honestly.
With slightly more lucidity, she said, "I feel wonderful."
"That was the intent," the Doctor said mildly. "But we should leave now."
Tegan nodded and turned, but she hesitated, twisting her head back for one more view of the rose.
"It will stay with you," the Doctor said. "You can remember it any time you wish."
She nodded again as she walked out of the clearing, Turlough close at her heels. The Doctor reached back to brush a hand over the magnificent bush for a moment then joined his companions.
As they strolled through the woods, he commented, "I read the history of this planet more thoroughly while you were sleeping, Tegan. It seems that our presence here was indeed necessary for the Briars' victory."
"Really?" asked Turlough. "In what way?"
"The history texts," said the Doctor, "mention a courier who delivered a message to Lord Pannon. This message helped the Briars prepare for the Kingsmen's attack. The Kingsmen had hoped to capture Lord Pannon, but their failure to do this ultimately turned the war in the Briars' favor."
"And was there any mention of your secret weapons?" asked Tegan.
The Doctor waved a hand, but Tegan saw a grin flash across his face. "Perhaps a few words."
"So you're trying to tell us that it was all worth it—everything we went through here," said Turlough. Despite the calming effects of the rose, his voice contained a harsh edge.
The Doctor glanced at him. "For the people of this planet, yes it was."
They walked quietly for several minutes before Tegan spoke again. "Doctor, I meant to tell you something that I saw. I think it was during the battle—I know it was after I woke up in the tent."
"Yes?" inquired the Time Lord.
"I saw an image of Amna and Erran."
"Really?" asked the Doctor with interest. "Are you certain? You told me that your memories of the images faded quickly—"
"Yes. I made an effort to remember it. So that means that Kirn survived the war, doesn't it? He should have made it back to his family."
The Doctor tried to smile. "I hope so."
As soon as they stepped inside the TARDIS, Tegan said, "I have some packing to finish," and headed for the hallway. The Doctor followed her quietly toward her room. Nyssa's things still lay on the floor; Tegan had not touched them since arriving on Rudaria. She sighed quietly as she surveyed the items.
"Tegan," said the Doctor softly.
She turned to him, surprised by his presence. He stood in the doorway, his arms hanging at his sides. Slowly he reached into his jacket pocket and withdrew his hand with closed fingers. He extended his hand and opened his fingers to reveal a half-opened rose. Its fragrance immediately surrounded them.
The Doctor took Tegan's wrist and placed the flower in her hand, cupping her fingers gently over it as he said, "It should dry nicely, and its aroma will remain for some time."
"You took this for me?" Tegan lifted the rose with some surprise.
He nodded in acknowledgement and granted her a small, affectionate smile.
"Thank you," she whispered as he walked out of the room.
The Doctor found Turlough leaning against the wall in the console room. He seemed slightly ill at ease still. His arms were crossed over his chest, and his brow was creased. The rose's effects on him had apparently been fleeting.
"Is there something you need?" asked the Doctor.
Turlough looked up. "No."
The Doctor shifted his gaze to the console, idly running his fingers over the keys. "In times of war," he said simply, "people are often forced to do things they would not normally consider."
Turlough did not respond, so he continued. "When regrettable things happen, they are often for the good of someone or something else."
The Doctor glanced briefly at Turlough. He was staring at his hands and did not appear to be listening.
Thus, his response surprised the Doctor.
"But that still may not make the action right."
"There are many ways to define 'right'."
Turlough appeared to consider this for a few seconds. "I suppose so." He straightened and took a few steps toward the door.
The Doctor reached for Turlough's blazer. It hung on the coatrack, abandoned temporarily in the heat of the late afternoon sunshine.
"Don't forget this," the Time Lord said, grasping the garment.
As Turlough reached for it, the Doctor's fingers brushed against the pocket. Turlough donned the jacket, straightening the collar and smoothing the hem automatically. As he walked out the door, a faint, sweet smell drifted upward from the rose petals the Doctor had left in his pocket.