Chapter Fifty : Lovers
Korrok moved to greet Enissa as the Doctor stood and swept Rose into his arms, lifting her off her feet in an exuberant hug.
"Doctor, put me down!" Rose laughed. "You'll break my ribs."
Setting Rose carefully back down onto her feet, the Doctor gave her a rueful grin. "Sorry," he apologised. "I'm just pleased to see you."
"It's only been a few hours," Rose pointed out, matching the Doctor's smile with her own.
The Doctor nodded in agreement. "Too long."
Rose pushed a lock of her hair behind her ear. "Yeah, now that you mention it, it was."
Taking hold of Rose's hand, the Doctor took a moment to look at her. Her blonde hair was loose and brushed smooth so that it shone like spun gold. She was wearing a long, stone-coloured dress and a chestnut-brown leather corset, which was tightly laced with a narrow, black ribbon.
"You look… beautiful."
Rose smiled happily. "Sorry I kept you waiting so long. We would have been here sooner, but Enissa wanted to be sure I was okay," she explained.
Concerned, the Doctor looked at Enissa. "And is she?" he asked.
Enissa was silent for a moment. "I'm not entirely sure."
The Doctor's gaze narrowed. "What do you mean?"
"You have to understand, what happened to Rose was entirely unprecedented," Enissa began. "The magicks used reacted in a way that no one could have predicted. I've already explained everything to Rose, but she needs to prepare herself for what is to come and…"
"What do you mean by, 'what is to come'"? the Doctor interrupted. "What's going to happen to her?"
"As I said, Doctor, I'm not entirely sure. Even after consulting with my sisters, my conclusions are still little more than educated guesswork."
Rose squeezed the Doctor's hand. "It's alright, Doctor. Everything's going to be alright."
Frowning, the Doctor looked back to Enissa. "Tell me about this guesswork of yours."
"A p'tar eye is used to keep whatever is held within it fresh for one hundred years. It is meant simply to prolong the potency of whatever magicks it holds. It was never meant to hold the consciousness of a person. That, coupled with the somewhat unconventional mix of magicks that were used and…" Enissa stopped and took a steadying breath. "It appears that Rose's lifespan has been extended. And by far more than a mere one hundred years."
Dumbfounded, the Doctor looked at Rose, only to see her wide, beaming smile. Rose slipped her hand from his and held it out toward him so that he could see her palm.
"It's like Enissa said, Doctor. Don't you remember? It was just before we left the coven to find Ahkethia. Enissa told you that I had an unusually long lifeline." Rose's brown eyes sparkled with a happiness she could scarcely contain. "She said that my lifeline was almost as long as yours."
The Doctor reached out to hold Rose's hand. Gently he traced her palm with his fingertips. Wide-eyed with wonderment, he looked back up at Rose.
"You're not afraid?"
Rose shook her head. "I'm not afraid of anything as long as I'm with you."
"And how long are you going to stay with me?" he asked tentatively.
Rose tilted her head as she looked at him, her tongue flicking to the corner of her mouth as she smiled. "Forever."
Later, when the huge white moon was surrounded by stars and the feast tables had grown quiet as people headed home, the Doctor and Rose reluctantly got to their feet. They knew it was time they left too.
Rose leapt into Korrok's embrace. Stepping back she smiled up at him, her eyes bright with tears. "Goodbye, Korrok."
Korrok leant forward and softly kissed Rose's forehead. "Goodbye… Rose," he whispered.
Rose looked at him in surprise. "What happened to calling me Scrawny?" she asked.
"Oh, I think that you've outgrown childish nicknames. And besides," he added with a smile, "Rose is a beautiful name."
Rose took a breath and blinked back her tears. "I… I want to say goodbye to Enissa before we leave." She looked at the Doctor. "I'll just be a minute."
The Doctor nodded his head and Rose turned to walk off toward one of the other tables, where Enissa was sitting, deep in conversation with two other witches.
"It's hard for her to say goodbye," the Doctor explained. "She's very fond of you."
"I'm very fond of her too," Korrok replied, his one eye misting over slightly. "But enough of this, we are all safe and well and that is more than anyone could have hoped for. So take your Rose and show her the stars again, Doctor. I have a feeling she has missed them more than she knows."
The Doctor grinned. "You still set on staying here?"
Korrok smiled in amusement. "Indeed I am. There is still the matter of Vhella's father to take care of. And that is something I would not miss for the world."
The Doctor nodded his acceptance. "Good luck."
"You too, Doctor."
The Doctor glanced over to where Rose and Enissa were saying goodbye, then returned his attention to Korrok. "I suppose I'd better be off, then."
"Before you go, I have something for you," Korrok said as he held out a small leather pouch to the Doctor. "I think you'll find a use for it."
The Doctor took the pouch, opened it and then, somewhat taken aback, he stared at Korrok. "Is this…?"
The Doctor grinned broadly. "Thank you," he said earnestly and carefully pushed the leather pouch into his jacket pocket.
Before any more could be said, Rose returned and the Doctor offered his hand to her. Smiling brightly, she slipped her hand into his and turned with him to walk back through the coven toward Enissa's house, where the TARDIS waited for them.
They had not been walking long when the Doctor noticed that Rose was unusually quiet. He stopped and turned to face her.
"Is there something wrong?"
Rose looked up at the Doctor. "No, I… I'm okay," she said then sighed, defeated. "It's just…"
"I've been thinking about everything that's happened. And I just wish… I wish that Jexa hadn't died," she confessed mournfully. "I wouldn't ask you to go back and change things — I know we can't do that. And I know that I wouldn't be alive if it wasn't for what Jexa did but… it still hurts."
The Doctor cupped Rose's face in one hand and smiled gently. "I think you need to talk to Parhta."
Rose's eyes widened and she took a step back. "No, I can't. I wouldn't know what to say to her."
"I was going to drop in on Parhta before we left anyway," the Doctor said. "It would be rude not to say goodbye and besides, you know what omelettes are like about good manners." He held out his hand to Rose. "Come on."
"Rose!" Parhta squealed in delight and got up from her soft straw bed. "Oh, I'm so pleased to see you that you're alive again! Not that you were ever dead, of course. I don't mean to imply that you were dead. Well, perhaps technically yes, you were. But the less said about that the better, don't you agree? Well of course you do. That was a silly question. Why wouldn't you agree? You don't want to talk about how dead you were. That would be such a depressing conversation." She trotted merrily toward Rose and the Doctor. "Have you come to say goodbye?"
"Yes, Parhta. We're leaving tonight and I…" Rose swallowed hard. "Parhta, I'm so sorry about what happened."
"Why?" Parhta asked, sounding somewhat baffled. "What happened?"
Taken aback Rose glanced at the Doctor, then somewhat hesitantly she looked back at Parhta. "I meant what happened to Jexa," she explained.
"Oh!" Parhta nodded her head, understanding. "Yes. That was very upsetting. We'd been together for so long, you see. And even though she could be difficult at times, a bit of a know-it-all even, I do confess that losing her so suddenly quite took the wind out of my sails. But then I shook some sense into myself and told myself to snap out of it. Jexa wouldn't have wanted me to wallow and these things happen, after all."
"These things happen?" Rose repeated in a horrified tone.
"Well, yes," Parhta agreed rather cheerily. "They do."
"It's all in 'Alrahk's Complete Treasury of Magical Beasts,'" the Doctor explained with a smile. "Turns out I have a copy in the TARDIS library. I read it today while Enissa was making sure you were okay." The Doctor looked at Rose, his eyes sparkling. "Omelettes and phoenixes have a lot in common, you know."
"Am I supposed to understand any of this?" Rose asked bluntly.
"Once the dots are all connected, yes," the Doctor replied with a nod of his head. "Do you know anything about phoenixes, Rose?"
"A bit," Rose said, her brow furrowing in consideration. "They're a mythical bird that…"
"They're not mythical…" the Doctor corrected, "but go on."
Rose began again. "They're a bird that dies in fire. From the ashes comes an egg and a baby phoenix hatches from the egg."
The Doctor lifted an eyebrow and waited.
Rose connected the dots. "You're saying that when an omelette dies and is burned on a pyre… they turn into an egg?"
The Doctor beamed. "I'm sure you've heard the old saying, 'you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs'."
Rose shook her head. "That doesn't mean…"
"Doesn't it?" The Doctor smirked a little, his eyes bright and lively.
Rose looked at Parhta. "Is it true?" she asked, her voice somewhere between amazement and hope. "When an omelette dies does it become an egg?"
"Oh, yes," Parhta said. "It's quite true. Of course, we can only do it a certain number of times." She swished her tail proudly. "It's called the continuation."
"Did you know about this?" Rose asked the Doctor.
"Not until today," the Doctor admitted. "Enissa mentioned the continuation at the pyres and that Jexa's name would be carried on. But I was so preoccupied with finding Ahkethia that I didn't think to ask what she meant by it."
Just then, there came a rusting noise from the straw bed that Parhta had been snoozing on. And as Parhta, Rose and the Doctor watched, a drowsy looking, cream-coloured baby omelette — about the size of a lamb — emerged from beneath the straw.
Rose's eyes grew big as saucers. "Is that… is that Jexa?"
"Yes," Parhta said as she trotted back to the straw bed and nuzzled the baby omelette fondly.
"But you said she was an egg."
"She hatched," Parhta replied in a matter of fact tone. "It's what eggs do."
Rose took a tentative step forward. "Jexa?"
The baby omelette lifted its head, looked at Rose with doe eyes and promptly stuck out her tongue.
"Now, now, we'll have none of that!" Parhta reprimanded the baby omelette. "I won't have you forgetting your manners."
The baby omelette put its tongue back inside its mouth and gave Parhta a look of contrition.
"That's better," Parhta said and looked at Rose. "I've been thinking about what to call her."
"But I thought… I mean, you said she was Jexa."
"Indeed," Parhta said. "She was Jexa. And in a way she always will be, but in another, she is not." Parhta clarified.
"Sorry?" Rose said in confusion.
The Doctor came to stand beside Rose. "When an omelette dies and is reborn, they become a new life. They honour their old life in their name. Names are very important — especially for an omelette. You can tell a lot from a name."
"Exactly," Parhta agreed. "And I was thinking… would you mind if I named her after you two dear people?"
"You want to call her, the Doctor and Rose?" Rose asked in astonishment.
"Heaven's no," Parhta chortled in amusement. "That would be a mouthful, even for an omelette. No, no I was thinking of shortening it somewhat. What do you think of…" She took a breath, puffing out her chest. "D'rose," she said dramatically.
The Doctor looked at the baby omelette, who was now sleepily munching straw. "D'rose Jexa Tull Feeg Veer Groghar Misk." He smiled and looked back at Parhta. "We'd be honoured."
"Oh, wonderful!" Parhta beamed. "I'm so pleased."
"Hello, D'rose," Rose said softly.
The baby omelette lifted her head to look at Rose, then fluttered her long, dark eyelashes, gave a yawn and settled down on the straw, falling asleep almost immediately.
Parhta took her place next to D'rose and gave a tired sigh. "Motherhood, at my age. Gracious, I'm sure I don't know what I'm letting myself in for."
"I think you'll be a wonderful mother," Rose assured her.
"You do?" Parhta said, sounding in no small way relieved. "Oh, I hope so."
She took a mouthful of straw and covered D'rose up with it. "I must admit, I'm quite looking forward to it. I expect it'll be rather thrilling and…" She yawned and lay her head down next to D'rose. "Rather exhausting, too."
The Doctor drew Rose into his arms and for a moment they watched Parhta and baby D'rose settle down together for the night. It wasn't long before both mother and daughter were purring contently.
"We should go," the Doctor whispered, his lips brushing the words against Rose's forehead.
Rose tilted her face so that she looked into the Doctor's eyes. "Do we have to?" she asked. "Can't we stay a bit longer?"
"I don't think so." The Doctor cupped Rose's face with one hand. Gently he stroked his thumb across the apple of her cheek and when he spoke again his words were dark, whispered promises. "What I want to do with you isn't for innocent eyes."
The Doctor closed the TARDIS doors and headed over to the central console. Rose leant against one of the coral struts and watched in silence as the Doctor moved around the controls, instinctively turning all manner of dials and levers. Around them, the TARDIS shuddered into life as it swept them away, back into the time vortex.
When the Doctor looked at Rose he saw that she was smiling. He held out his hand to her. "Come here."
Rose stepped away from the coral and slowly began walking toward the Doctor. When she was close enough the Doctor reached out and tugged her into his arms. He held her for a moment, staring into her eyes as if there was a part of him that still couldn't quite believe she was real. With a smile of wicked intent he pulled her closer and kissed her.
Rose pressed her body against the Doctor's and slid her arms up and around his neck, all the while her heart racing faster.
The Doctor's arms wrapped around Rose and his hands settled at the small of her back. His body hard against hers, the Doctor pulled Rose closer still, so that she was left in no doubt as to how much he wanted her.
Her own desire building, Rose moaned softly as she opened her mouth to the Doctor's deepening kiss. She pushed her hands into his hair, her fingernails gently scratching his scalp, pulling him closer, wanting more.
The Doctor's hands slid to her waist and before she understood what was happening, he had broken the kiss and was holding her at arms length, his hands firm at her waist.
He was frowning. "You hear that?"
Catching her breath, Rose stared up at him, a little dazed. "Hear what?" She licked her lips. "I don't hear…"
Rose frowned. She could hear it now. It was a muffled ringing sound.
"Oh!" Rose said as she slipped out of the Doctor's embrace and headed over to the TARDIS doors. "It's my phone!"
The Doctor glanced over to where Rose was kneeling and saw that she was rummaging through her bag. The ringing noise was getting louder.
"When did you…?"
Rose looked up, the phone in her hand. "I dropped my bag off here just before me and Enissa left to go to the feast tables," she explained with a grin. "Didn't see any sense in carrying it around all night." She glanced at the phone. "It's mum."
The Doctor slumped back against the console table. "Course it is." He sighed heavily. "It's like she has a sixth sense about... stuff."
Rose fought to control her smile. "What sort of stuff?"
The Doctor's eyes darkened as he looked at Rose. "Me kissing you, touching you, making love to you, making you scream when you…"
"Voicemail," Rose said suddenly as she switched her phone off and dropped it back into her bag. "Bloody brilliant invention." Grinning madly she ran toward the Doctor and kissed him.
After a moment the Doctor drew back to look at Rose. One hand moved from her hips to her waist to the curve of her breast. He smiled as he watched Rose half close her eyes, a soft breathy sigh escaping her parted lips.
"Last chance to run," he whispered darkly.
Beaming, Rose shook her head. "Not this time, Doctor. I'm right where I want to be."
The room that the Doctor led Rose to was large and opulent, softly lit with candles and the bed was made of an ornately carved black wood. It was covered with a rich plum-coloured silk and velvet throw that trailed onto the dark wooden floor. A log fire burned brightly and for a moment Rose watched how its flames cast dancing shadows onto the walls, but then the Doctor drew her into his arms, kissed her and suddenly they were all that mattered, all that existed.
Their clothes, unnecessary and unwanted as they were, were removed slowly, with reverence and patience. Ribbons, buttons and zips were undone as each garment was gradually discarded and allowed to slip away from warm skin, falling like hushed sighs to the floor. There was no awkwardness or uncertainty between them. Their hearts had ached too long for this moment and all they felt was love, desire and completion.
His eyes filled with dark intensity, the Doctor brushed Rose's cheek with the back of his hand and watched her smile. Carefully he lifted her up into his arms and carried her to the bed, laying her down and moving to lie beside her.
They held each other in the soft light and between kisses and whispered promises their hands learned the soft curves and smooth planes of each others bodies. Their breath quickened and their hearts raced as their kisses, slow, sweet and heady, blurred their thoughts and dragged them deeper into blissful intimacy.
Rose trembled from the slow, precise artistry of the Doctor's touch; fingertips tracing paths across her skin. Her breath caught as one cool hand cupped her breast and she felt his lips close over her nipple, drawing it into his mouth, sucking gently. Her eyes widened and she arched beneath him, gasping as pleasure shot through her. Her hand moved to rest at the back of his head, gently holding him to her breast and through adoring eyes she watched as with lips and tongue he brought her nipple to a firm aching peak.
Slowly the Doctor moved away from Rose's breast, his kisses moving to trail down Rose's body. Glancing up at her he smiled then gently moved his hand between her legs, long fingers exploring her warmth.
Rose gasped, lifting her hips as her hand fisted into the silken bedding. "Doctor!"
"I've wanted you since the first moment I saw you," he told her, his voice rough with honesty and emotion. "Told myself a thousand times that I was an idiot, that you'd never feel that way for me, that you'd never want me."
Gently he eased her legs apart, settling himself between them. "But the ache for you never went away. Never."
She felt him move higher, felt his fingers spread her open, felt his breath as he leant in closer.
"And now that you're mine… I'll never let you go."
Rose closed her eyes when his tongue slid inside her, exploring, tasting, driving her insane with want. Her heart felt like thunder and her skin was aflame.
With a muffled cry she raised her hips, giving herself up to him, already feeling the fire in her blood sweeping through her body.
Long fingers pushed inside her and Rose's eyes opened as she cried out needless encouragement. Her hand moved to the back of the Doctor's head, fingernails scratching his scalp as he stroked and devoured her.
She cried out his name as she arched under him, lost in the orgasm he had brought her to. Her body soared and she drifted in white light, she half believed that she had died, half believed that it was only his kiss that brought her back to life.
She looked at him through heavy lashes as she caught her breath. He was above her, his eyes so dark they appeared almost entirely black. His body was tense and she reached out to place her hand over one of his hearts, smiling to herself as she felt its strength.
He drew closer and she wrapped her legs around his hips, her gaze holding his. Neither would look away. This moment was theirs.
He pushed deep inside her and they clung to each other as they moved. She was fire beneath him, around him. He closed his eyes, pushing deeper, pulling back, then in again, harder this time.
Rose clung to him, lost in the storm and let him take what he needed, what they both needed.
He whispered her name against her skin, over and over and over, falling into the rhythm that their bodies moved to. Hushed words of love, sweeter than ambrosia were spoken between breaths and kisses.
Rose wrapped her arms around her lover, holding him close, sure that she would never let him go. A moment later she cried out in pleasure; breathless, she arched her body and her orgasm seared through her.
The Doctor held Rose in his arms as she clenched and tightened around him. The sensation was like nothing he could ever have imagined. He loved her, she was his hearts, she was his soul. Moving closer, kissing her, her felt his body shudder, he gasped and all control lost he pushed deep and hard into Rose as his own orgasm swept him into the dark.
Rose woke to find herself in a warm bed, the Doctor lying next to her. Her memory stirring, she gave him a lazy smile and stretched her body under the covers.
"Hello," the Doctor said, his eyes sparkling.
Rose beamed. "Hello." She stretched again and yawned. "How long have I been asleep?"
The Doctor moved closer to Rose, brushed his lips to hers then pulled back to look at her. "A few hours."
Rose pulled herself up a little and looked at the Doctor. There was a question to ask and she wasn't going to shy away from it, not after all they'd been through. She took a breath. "What happens now?"
The Doctor frowned a little. "Well, I suppose a shower, a cup of tea, some breakfast maybe and…"
"I meant what happens with us now." she bit her lip for a second.
The Doctor smiled broadly. "How about I take you to visit your mum? Then we can go and find the mysterious Castle Serefey. I'm sure that compared to telling Jackie Tyler that I'm in love with her daughter, returning a black book will be a piece of cake."
Rose caught her breath, it was still so new, hearing the words. She could barely keep control of her smile. "You're gonna tell my mum that you're in love with me?"
Smiling, the Doctor reached out to gently touch Rose's face. "It's not like I can hide it anymore. Hand holding's one thing, but from now on I'm going to be kissing you — a lot. She's bound to notice."
Rose pulled him close and kissed him. The Doctor held her gently then drew back a little, his smile as broad as Rose's. Remembering something, he reached under his pillow.
"I want to show you something," he said and opened his hand to Rose. In his palm lay a piece of amber-faceted gemstone that caught the light and shimmered as if a bright flame was locked within it. "Galifyirre," the Doctor said. "It's all that's left of my home planet. I gave it to Korrok when we were in the caves, but last night at the feast tables he gave it back to me."
"It's beautiful," Rose said, and meant it. She'd never seen anything quite so striking.
"I'm glad you think so." He reached under one of the pillows again. "As it turns out, Korrok is one of the few alchemists who can actually turn lead into gold." He opened his hand. "He also gave me this."
Rose stared at the beautiful ring that lay in the Doctor's palm — a smooth band of gold that was set with a perfectly cut piece of galifyirre.
She took a breath and lifted her eyes to meet the Doctor's. "Is that…"
"Looks like it."
She hesitated a moment. "Does that mean that you're…?"
The Doctor smiled. "Might be."
Rose let out a breath and looked back to the ring. "Right."
There was a moment of silence.
"If I was…"
Rose's eyes darted back to the Doctor's. "Are you?"
There was no hesitation. "Yeah."
Rose swallowed hard. "Right," she said.
The Doctor glanced at her. "Is that a yes?" he asked, knowing how much rested on her answer.
Rose looked up, her eyes as wide and bright as her smile. "Yes."
His hearts ready to burst, the Doctor pulled Rose into his arms and kissed her.
After a moment and with her world still spinning, Rose pushed him back slightly, meeting his gaze once more.
"Just to be sure — you did just ask me to marry you didn't you?"
The Doctor's smile was something wicked. "Sort of, yeah."
Rose sighed in relief and tugged the Doctor back down to meet his kiss again.
Another moment passed and this time it was the Doctor who drew back, his expression perplexed. "Just to be absolutely sure — you said yes?"
Laughing happily, Rose nodded her head. "I said yes."
The Doctor carefully slipped the galifyirre ring onto Rose's finger. "Fantastic."
Rose slowly pressed her lips to the Doctors. "Yeah," she whispered as he drew her into his arms. "It is."