A/N: Many thanks to those who have reviewed and to Glacarius who add this as a favorite story.
Chapter 23 -Lessons
It's been a week now and meal times have become yet another kind of training lesson as he shows me how to figure out what my senses are telling me. I wonder what he is up to though as he insists that I stay here in the kitchen a bit longer and that he will be right back. Today I can tell is different, I sense from him an undercurrent of excitement, which I can't quite identify. 'What's he up to Verity?'
'You shall see.' she states and I get a smug feeling from her as well and wonder what they are planning. Sometimes I feel a bit resentful for their closeness and yet even as the feeling encroaches I ruthlessly shove it away. I know he needs us both but in far different ways. I also know she has had her moments when she was resentful of what I could do with Thete, things that she couldn't and now can as we share this body but it is something we both have acknowledged and have chosen to move beyond.
"Rose?" I snap to alertness and realize he has been calling my name, and I feel the flush of embarrassment color my cheeks.
"Yeah, sorry." I mumble in reply.
"We don't have to do this if you need a break…" and I see the concern and indecision on his face and all my previous thoughts are swept away.
"No, I'm fine just got preoccupied. It's all rather distracting still." His gentle smile that he seems to reserve just for me is a balm to my soul.
"Got a treat for you today."
What is he up to? Not like we have gone anywhere, I would have definitely noticed that, so what is he's planning? "You do?"
"Yes, I do." With that, he brings out a beautiful wide silk ribbon with opalescent tones. "But first you need to put this on."
"It's a surprise!" and the look of anticipation and youthful excitement make it worth the restriction and with that I nod and he practically bounces around behind me to gently wrap the seemingly delicate fabric around my eyes. In moments, I find myself in complete blackness, far greater than what I had expected from such an insubstantial looking bit of silk. In reaction, I reach out to Verity's sensors to provide me the missing information.
"Now no peeking." he chides in my ear and the feel of his cool breath on my cheek makes me shiver, I give a small start as I realize what it was I was trying to do and shut off the video sensors in the room.
When Verity first informed me that the Vrijemetree would be bearing fruit soon, I was at first quite excited as it was so rare for them to do so, and the idea of sharing this exceptional treat with Rose was delightful. They were trees that were native to Gallifrey and were virtually impossible to grow anywhere else due to their need for a steady exposure to, and absorption of temporal energy as part of their maturation process. They were part of the earliest experiments into growing an organic housing in which to travel in time and space and as such were very distant cousins of the TARDIS'. Well in as much as one could say small furry mammals could be called cousins to humans.
It was for their fruit they were cultivated and prized. The ripe fruit had a unique effect on most Time Lord's senses, enhancing and for a time providing a hyper-awareness and an increased control over our natural temporal manipulation abilities.
On a young developing Gallifreyan physiology it would help set neural pathways into more efficient patterns and they were highly valued for aids in controlling the results of a planned regeneration. All of these thing made the timing perfect for helping Rose and Verity come to terms with their merging. I wonder how much of this was Bad Wolf planning and how much it might just be serendipity. Either way, I do not intend to let the opportunity to show her this slide.
But, as I see how confused she is in the kitchen I wonder if maybe it will be too much for her.
'She will be fine Theta.' comes Verity's gentle assurance even as Rose tells me she is okay. I smile with delight at their agreement and am a bit surprised as I feel Rose reach out to Verity when I cover her eyes and gently chide her about it when I suspect she isn't even aware she has done so, seconds later that suspicion is confirmed as she deliberately turns off the sensors in the kitchen.
"That's better. Now were going for a little walk" and I feel him encouraging me to stand. I wonder where he is taking me as he takes my hand guiding me from the room. As we move only a little way down to the next door, I realize I don't know what is behind this door even as a wonderful smell reaches my nose. It is unlike anything I can remember ever encountering before. There are the usual things that I know and the unique scent of cinnamon, honey, leather and machine oil that I have always associated with this Doctor but there is also this new smell that makes my mouth water with anticipation.
"What is that smell?" I can't resist asking as we enter what my ears tell me is a much larger space, a moment later I register it as having to be one of the gardens as I hear birdsong. Tezervariou, or Tez for short, large macaw-like birds and I suddenly know this isn't a garden I have entered before.
"You will see." Is his mysterious reply, and it takes me a second to realize he is replying to my question about the smell.
"Patience Rose it takes time to get used to thinking so many thoughts." he states and I realize I am projecting and I feel a wave of frustration building, I just can't seem to get this.
As I feel her surge of aggravation, I know I my plans need to wait a bit as it is obvious she needs reassurance from me not surprises. As I try to think of some analogy that will makes sense to her Verity proposes a suggestion. I gently remove the blindfold knowing how visually dependant Rose still is, and it's imperative she understand what she is trying to accomplish in days is what some Gallifreyans took years to master.
I mentally roll my eyes at Verity as her analogy falls flat and I instead use the one I had been thinking and feel her apologetic mental shrug.
My hearts ache as I see Rose's tears and I try again to help her understand even as I am surprised by where her mental wandering, she is still projecting at me, takes her.
At my reaction he stops, gently pulling the silk from my eyes. I blink at the sudden light and find myself staring into his intense blue eyes. "Tell me this Rose, would you hand a motorcycle to a five year old, and expect them to start it up and drive off?"
"No, don't be silly..."
"My point exactly."
"But I'm not a five year old and this isn't a motorcycle were talking about. This is my body, and mind!" I practically shout in my frustration.
"How long did it take you to learn to walk, to talk?"
"But that's different..."
"How is it different? You said it was your body and mind." There is an edge to his voice an intense urgency I don't hear often and I don't know what to say.
Sensing my confusion, as I look away, he saves me from having to answer by taking my face in his hands and gently making me look at him again. "Rose it takes years to fully discipline your mind to keep your thoughts to yourself. You can't expect everything overnight." and as he says that I feel him brush his thumb across my cheek wiping away a tear I hadn't even realized I had shed.
"I... I don't want too..."
"Rose you're not a disappointment. You never could be." With that, I am engulfed in a bear hug. "My precious beautiful Rose" he mumbles into my hair kissing the crown of my head and I burrow my face in to the cashmere like surface of his jumper.
I have always loved this material since the very first time Verity showed me selection she had acquired, but couldn't convince him to wear. So many of the "luxury" items she could provide he had denied himself, no longer feeling deserving of them. His bedroom was a prime example; before we had become lovers, he had been making do with something barely better than some of the prison cots we have had to share. When I had tried to bring it up, he bushed the concern away as him not needing better as he hardly slept. He deserves so much better than what I can give him.
I look up as I feel an intense wave of love wash over me from him and realize he must have heard all that as well and I blush embarrassed. "I hadn't meant..."
"It's okay Rose."
'He's right, you know. Were both here for you.' I hear Verity reassure her 'In fact once the synaptic changes stabilize then we can do a bit of brain buffing'.
'Verity!' I chastise as I suddenly feel Rose realize again her extreme youth in comparison to us.
"That anything like buffin' furniture" I hear Rose quip even though I know she already knows what Verity's talking about is the intensive learning programs Time Lords experienced when they were very young. I feel a rush of relief as I see her smile as Verity gives her a mental raspberry, and I go along and just roll my eyes.
As she states with a coy smile, "Now I believe someone promised me a treat." and thinks of something rather explicit as she pokes her tongue in the corner of her mouth, I am caught off guard and blush realizing it's time to go back to plan A.
"Yes, well that's not what I was thing of." He states looking a bit flustered and with that, he turns me around and replaces the blindfold. I shiver as a moment later he leans in close and whispers "maybe later though" before nipping my ear.
Before I can respond he is curling his arm around my waist and gently returning me to the direction we were previously heading. We move just a short way before he makes an abrupt left taking us off the path and on to a grassy lawn. The enticing scent I have smelled dramatically increasing.
"Doctor?" I ask as we halt and he suddenly moves away from me. A moment later he is directing me to a chair and I sit perplexed unsure what to expect next.
I start a bit as I hear his voice much deeper and clearly utilizing more than a human range as he purrs a word in my ear. A word that it takes me a moment to decipher as it is old high Gallifreyan. A word meaning experience, but with additional connotations indicating something rare, infrequent, ephemeral and at the same time involving all ones senses.
Then there comes an almost sound, tickling my expanded ranged of senses, a feeling I recognize as a temporal flux and at the same time growth.
As the nano-seconds tick by the smell that has been tantalizing me grows stronger and I can feel a temporal hum that seems to be growing, vibrating and tickling; like an itch, though highly pleasurable. I hold my breath in anticipation, of what I am not sure. Then I 'see' a small round globe about the size of a large grape hovering in front of me not with my eyes, but with senses I hadn't been aware of previously.
'What do you see Rose?' and as if waiting for his thoughts to trigger it, I feel the small globe of energy expand and create a ghost like image, first of his hand then in rapid progression spreading up his arm. The more I concentrate on what I am seeing the faster the movement of the energy is filling in more and more details, until standing before me is a golden vibrating image of my beloved Doctor. As I open my mind to show him what I am seeing, his image crackles and I see bands of temporal energy flowing around and through his ghostly image, roiling like a raging storm yet fully contained. As he steps closer, the energy again increases and I watch in riveted fascination as he extends the hand holding the globe bringing it closer to me.
I gasp, as the smell I had commented on previously grows stronger until it seems to envelope me. I stand feeling the need to get closer, to taste. At my unspoken desire, I feel Thete gently touch the small globe he is holding to my lips and my senses explode. Sight smell taste all combine with the temporal energy from the fruit to create an extravaganza of delightful sensations the likes of which I have never felt before. As he presses it into my mouth, everything again leaps to a new level of focus.
I begin to tremble with the intensity of the sensations and I hear his quiet command. 'Chew'
Without thinking, I obey, and energy bursts forth as I pierce the skin of the fruit. A split second later, his lips descend on mine in a most gentle and chaste kiss that results in me trembling in his arms as I feel the energy dissipating about us, and leaving me tingling all over.
A few moments pass where all I can do is cling to him, a taste the likes of which I could never describe lingering on my tongue. As I collect my scattered senses I feel him untie the blindfold I had forgotten I was wearing. I blink up at his twinkling blue eyes and smile at him.
"So you like my surprise?" He asks knowing full well the answer, and I nod mutely suddenly struggling to keep my eyes open. The last thing I am aware for a time is his quiet entreaty "Rest now my Love" as he scoops me up into his arms.
I have been watching carefully as she reacts to each new level of stimulus part fearful, but at the same time as fascinated as I can feel Verity is by her reactions. I know what my own experiences were like the first time I was introduced to Vrijemetree fruit and I am delighted to see how similar are our reactions. It is only as she bites down do I feel an increased concern as she begins to tremble and I feel Verity's reaction; and I move to siphon off the excess energy that is threatening to overwhelm their still fragile neural pathways intent on keeping this a positive experience for them both.
I smile as I ask the question though I can practically feel the pleasure flowing off her in waves and pull her to me as I feel her knees begin to buckle as her body processes the released energy putting her to sleep.