Title: Judicium Aquae Frigidae

Author: Illman

Disclaimer: It's not my sandbox, I just play in it.

Rating: PG probably. Nothing you wouldn't see on the show.

Catergory: gen, h/c, angst

Spoilers: none, set sometime in the new series

Summary: After all, he was the Doctor and he always found a way. Written for 2dozenowies on livejournal. Prompt 9 – Drowning.

oOo

Rose couldn't bear to watch what was happening at the end of the pier. Two burly young villagers flanked her on either side, effectively preventing her from doing anything to interfere with the test that was being carried out on the pier. But even if she could have escaped her guards, the entire village was crowded at the shore, men, women and even small children stood to watch as the fate of the stranger was decided.

Rose wasn't sure what to make of the Doctor's demeanour. He hadn't said a word since the previous night when the villagers had locked him and Rose in the basement of the church, with the vague (at least to Rose's ears) announcement that the coming day would show if they were telling the truth. Aside from the incarceration in the cool cellar without food or water, no one had paid much attention to her. They seemed to have their mind set that the Doctor was the blame for the death of the two boys that had been found just outside the village.

He hadn't resisted when the villagers has tied him up and had willingly followed onto the pier. Rose kept hoping he had some sort of plan in mind and he would give her a sign that everything would be all right. After all, he was the Doctor and he always found a way. But not this time.

Rose watched in horror as the villagers fell silent in anticipation. Then, in slow motion as it appeared to Rose, one of the village elders pushed the Doctor off the pier with a

shove. A murmur went through the crowd when he hit the water and sank with a splash.

Interminable seconds went by. The dark surface was the lake was smooth once again as if had simply swallowed the Doctor. The cheer that erupted sounded like a cruel laughter to her. Hours later, or so it seemed to Rose, two villagers started pulling up the rope. The Doctor slammed down on the pier. Rose kept hoping to see him move, but she knew it had been too long. He couldn't have survived being underwater for so long.

This time, they couldn't hold her back. With strength she had never thought herself being capable of; she tore from the grip of her guards. Stunned by her actions or simply not caring now that that the test was over, none one made an attempt to stop her as she raced over to the Doctor. When she touched his cold face, her composure finally crumpled and tears started streaming down her face as she screamed for the Doctor to wake up. He didn't.

oOo

The weight of the Doctor was pulling hard on the joints in her arms and shoulders and her back had begun to ache in protests after only a few feet. Rose didn't care. She had only one thought – getting the Doctor back to his TARDIS.

Only when they were safely inside, Rose finally yielded to exhaustion. She gently lied the Doctor down on the grille in the main control room and sank down next to him unable to stay on her feet another second. With her last bit of strength, she pulled the Doctor close, resting her head on his chest. The last thing she felt before drifting off to unconsciousness, was a faint, double thump.

Rose was dreaming. In her dream, she was in her room in the TARDIS.

The Doctor was sitting at the foot of her bed. He was turned to the side,

Rose stayed as still as she could, content with watching the Doctor. She was afraid that if she tried the move, the dream would shatter and she would be taken back to the harsh reality of being alone and stranded in the past with no way back to her own time.

Suddenly, the Doctor put down his book and turned around.

"You really shouldn't have dragged me all the way back to the TARDIS. I think you dislocated my shoulder. I'm heavier than I look, you know," The Doctor told her with a smile.

Rose stared at him, unable to believe her ears. The Doctor sounded just like he always did. His smile started to waver and a frown settled on his face.

"Rose, are you all right?" He leaned closer and reached for her hand, but Rose pulled it back, as if fearing to be burned.

"Don't," She whispered. "You aren't real. You can't be." Rose screwed her eyes shut, open by the time she opened them again, the apparition would be gone.

It wasn't. The Doctor was still there, looking increasingly concerned. He reached for her again and this time she let him. He held both her hands and looked straight at her.

"Believe me, I'm real."

"No!" Rose shook him off as tears started welling up in her eyes. But when he backed away, Rose caught a glimpse of his wrist that had been hidden by the sleeve of his jacket. Sure enough, there was a purple bruise encircling his wrist in the place where the rope had been.

The wave of relief rushing through her at that moment was overwhelming. Tears started running down her face, but this time out of relief.

"Rose, it's me," The Doctor repeated, a hint of desperation creeping into his voice.

"I know. I know," Rose replied, sniffling. She tried to wipe the tears from her face.

"I was worried there for a moment."

"You were worried?" Rose was clearly started to recover her wits. "I thought you were dead! I thought you had drowned! How did you…?"

"You keep forgetting I'm not human," The Doctor said a little sadly. "I would have let you know, but I was afraid that would go after you next. Besides, I wasn't sure I could make it."

"But you are all right now?" Rose swallowed.

"Aside from the shoulder you dislocated. I popped it back in, but it still hurts like hell." But the Doctor was smiling and that all Rose needed to see.

HoldHJaaa