AN: This came to me at 11pm and wouldn't leave me alone until I wrote it down... I didn't realise until I'd finished it that I got the idea from something the Doctor said to Rose once. You might spot the almost quote, or you might not...
Disclaimer: I own a lot of things. Doctor Who is not one of them.
When Rose was little, her favourite film had been ''The Secret Garden'' - not so much for the story as for that one scene, when Mary finds the garden and it all comes alive - every flower and bush and tree blossoming in a matter of seconds. She used to wind the video back to that spot again and again, until finally it loosened the tape and wouldn't play any more, so Jackie had thrown it away.
She was telling the Doctor this, one day in the TARDIS - he'd been tinkering at the console and she hadn't thought he'd even been listening properly - but then he surprised her by looking her right in the eye and saying, ''I can take you there.''
She did a double take. ''You what?''
He was moving round the console now, pressing buttons and pulling levers. ''Well, not there exactly, but a place where that happens. What d'you say?''
Rose gave him one of her trademark grins. ''Go on then.''
He winked at her over the console. ''Hold on tight!''
* * *
''The planet Lupina,'' the Doctor said in a whisper as he led Rose out of the TARDIS, and into a dense, dark forest, the tall trees around them casting eerie shadows around their feet, ''has the fastest rising sun in this sector of the galaxy. Sunlight comes and goes, lasting only a few minutes at a time. The plants treat this as normal daylight, and they bloom and die in about five minutes. Any...moment...now,'' he said softly, a note of anticipation in his voice as his breath drew delicate swirls of mist in the cool air in front of them.
And then, suddenly, it was no longer dark. The whole forest was filled with a brilliant orange glow and to Rose's awe, she saw all around them, flowers blooming forth on every tree and bush, tiny buds forming into huge blossoms right before their eyes.
She gave a little gasp of pure wonderment. ''It's beautiful,'' she breathed.
''Isn't it.'' the Doctor agreed. He took her hand suddenly, squeezing it gently. ''As good as the film?'' he asked with a chuckle.
''Better. A lot better,'' said Rose, still staring around at the breathtaking beauty of it all.
They stood there for the longest four minutes of Rose's life - just the two of them, surrounded by flowers of every colour and shade imaginable. Rose wished she could remember everything about it, every last detail, but she knew her memory could never be this perfect.
Then, abruptly, the Doctor turned round, back towards the TARDIS. She didn't follow him. She just carried on watching.
And then the light faded, just as quickly as it had appeared. In the half-light, Rose watched as every flower withered and shrank away, folding in and collapsing until there was nothing but dark leaves again.
The door of the TARDIS creaked open. ''Rose.'' said the Doctor in a low voice.
She waited for a minute, and then turned to look at him. For a moment he looked older than she'd ever seen him look.
And as she made her way back to the ship, she wondered if he'd done it on purpose. If he'd run away just before he could see the pretty, delicate petals droop and fade away into the night.
Just before they withered and died.