Then I Defy You, Stars
Disclaimer: Oh so many disclaimers for this one! For starters, I don't own Doctor Who...as much as I'd like to...*sob*...
Disclaimer Take Two: I don't own Romeo and Juliet, it belongs to the Bard himself.
Disclaimer Take Three: I don't own Theta's little mantra in the first section, it belongs to Disney and as far as I know, it comes from Pinoccio.
Disclaimer Take Four: Last one, I promise! I don't own the poem Theta quotes either, it's from The Thin People, by Sylvia Plath.
A/N: This was just supposed to be a nice, fluffy Valentine's Day fic for ThetaKoschei but it was never going to happen, especially since it came from the Big Bag of Weird that I fondly refer to as my brain. It's a little bit of a jumble but I hope I've tied it all together now...There is fluff...as long as you know where to look! So, um, enjoy, I guess!
A/N Take Two: Please remember that all reviews are greatly appreciated so once you've finished reading, have a go at pressing the purdy li'l button at the bottom of the page...Pretty please with an even prettier Time Lord on top?
"These violent delights have violent ends
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which as they kiss consume."
Romeo and Juliet, Act II: Scene III – William Shakespeare
"I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight…" It was barely a whisper; a ghost of a breathy sentence in a room filled with suffocating silence and the soft puffs of air from the mouth of the boy next to him.
Koschei stirred in his sleep, murmuring something unintelligible and wrapping his arms around Theta. The words were repeated, a mantra, as a blur of blinding white light flashed across the midnight sky.
"I wish I may…" Koschei withdrew his arms, instead hugging himself as the gentle breeze drifted through the open window.
"…I wish I might…" His eyes fluttered open slightly, blinking slowly in the darkened room.
"…have the wish I wish tonight." He sat up and Theta turned to look at him, his blue eyes wide with exhaustion; he had stayed awake to watch the meteor shower glitter in the sky.
"Thet, it's late. That Earth saying isn't going to achieve anything." Koschei's words were abrupt but he softened them with a kiss on Theta's cold forehead. "Get some sleep."
Theta twined his fingers between Koschei's and clambered off the bed, pulling the other boy with him.
"Theta, what are you doing?" Koschei complained, shivering slightly.
"Shhh, Kos. I want to show you something." He grinned brightly, his face alight with excitement. "Come with me."
"Can't it wait until morning?"
"It can, but I can't. Come on!" He urged Koschei towards the door of their shared room and opened it without a sound. They ran along the corridor and down the stairs, their footsteps muffled by the soft, thick carpet beneath their feet.
Theta skidded to a halt outside a door marked No Entry and grinned wildly at Koschei, his whole body bristling with energy, bouncing with sheer exuberance.
"What?" Koschei asked, puzzled. "What's so special about this door? We've passed dozens of them."
Theta drew himself up to his full, gangly height and grasped the ostentatious golden doorknob. "This room," he said dramatically, "is where they grow the TARDISes." He opened the door with a flourish and Koschei inhaled sharply.
The room was beautiful; there was no other word to describe it. The floor was soil; dirt and crimson grass mixed together in a carpet of gentle nature that reminded Koschei of his lazy days in his father's fields with Theta when they had returned home with red-stained knees and sweaty palms from their desperate hand-holding. There were bays along the walls, separated by screens intricately wrought from the butter-yellow Memento Mori flowers and the silver leaves of the trees of the Kaden Wood, which chimed softly in the light breeze of the open door.
Inside each of the bays was what first appeared to be a tree. They were pale gold with a faint emerald outline and spiralling branches and on closer inspection, Koschei noticed that they seemed to be made of the essence of colour and Time. They communicated with each other in an ethereal whisper of telepathy; the whole room sang of Time and Space and the supreme majesty and splendour of the Time Lords.
Koschei exhaled and then took another deep breath, drinking in the scent of them. They smelt like the Time Lords; honey and dust and another scent that reminded him of Theta just mingling in the air, a smooth undercurrent of what Koschei held to be the most blissful smell in the Universe. The branches stretched out towards him, drawing him closer, pulling him into their caress.
"Careful," Theta's voice broke through the haze of music and whispers. "Don't get too close. They're not fully formed yet." He smiled fondly at Koschei, waiting for a response.
"They're…they're…how did you find them?"
"They called to me one night a few months ago. The song you keep hearing in my dreams. I've been watching them grow." Theta's voice was proud and caring, almost parental as he surveyed the TARDISes.
"I've never seen anything like it…" Koschei could hear the awe in his voice and didn't try to hide it.
"You never will again," Theta replied, a little sadly. "They're almost fully formed now but they'll never grow this batch again. These are the only Type 40s in existence."
Koschei surveyed the beauty of the room and turned to look at Theta again. "But why?" he asked.
"They've designed a new model. Had a prototype forcibly grown in my father's laboratory. They're calling it a War TARDIS. A machine of destruction. It's scarlet. Sums it up, I suppose." Koschei heard the note of disgust and disapproval in Theta's voice and even though he relished the prospect of the ever-approaching war, he shared Theta's opinion of the new ships if it meant that the ones in front of him were the last of their kind. "Still, that's not what I brought you here for."
"So what are we here for?" Koschei enquired, desperate to fit the last missing piece of the puzzle into place.
"You see that one over there?" Theta asked, pointing at the far end of the room. Koschei followed his finger and spotted it. This TARDIS was larger than any of the others and it had a fully formed nucleus of shining Huon particles that pulsed in time with the music of the room. He nodded. "That's an adult TARDIS. And it's ours."
"You bought it? Where did you get the money?"
"Nope," Theta's mischievous grin flashed across his face. "We're going to steal it!"
Koschei blinked, unsure of whether he had heard Theta correctly. "Steal it?" he repeated.
"Well," he said, a small smile creeping across his face. "When did you become the rebel?"
"When I realised there's so much to explore, Kos! So many worlds out there! So go on, you choose. I can take you to Polarfrey, or Demos? No, too close to home, too boring…How about Alzerius? Or Earth? Entirely up to you!"
"The Medusa Cascade." Theta paused for a second, considering the suggestion, and then suddenly, Koschei found himself being pulled towards the gnarled door of the TARDIS and inside it, into a new world of discovery.
The mist surrounding them was a cacophony of cold hues; sapphire, emerald, amethyst, and a faint trail of white gold running through its core.
"We're the first Time Lords in over five centuries to see this…" breathed Theta.
"The Old Ones fear the light and Time of this place. They want to keep it all pickled and preserved, like them. Dusty and unused and unwanted."
"They're right, though, Kos…We shouldn't be here." Theta said, chewing on his lip slightly.
"We shouldn't have stolen a TARDIS either but you wanted to be a rebel. Live a little, Thet. You only get the one chance." Koschei's voice was barely masking his excitement, coaxing Theta's worry.
"What about regeneration?" Theta asked, puzzled.
"A cheat. This is you, the only you that will ever matter. Everyone who comes after you and calls themselves Theta is an impostor, an echo of you. My father says that regeneration is just like dying. Some new man walks away with your memories and your name and you're dead. It's final." Koschei's speech was impassioned; a fiery outburst of words so powerfully honest and frightened that Theta took a step back from his friend.
"The professors don't see it like that, Kos. They say it's a thing of beauty, something to be revered because we have the possibility of new life beyond this. New experiences, new tastes, new people, new love…" He stopped and corrected himself quickly. "Not that I'd ever want anyone but you, Kos…It's just that…well, no other species has this ability. They can't cheat death, they can't have experiences that they never would have known as themselves. We're special, chosen, call it what you like, but it's supposed to be an honour." He studied Koschei's stern expression as he watched the glittering violet dust clouds shift and swirl in the atmosphere and he was suddenly afraid. "Kos?"
"Will you still…love me…if I change?" The question was tentative but he needed an answer, he needed to know.
"On what?" The worry increased.
"On how good your hair is." Koschei turned and grinned at Theta, punching him playfully on his arm. "Of course I'll still love you, idiot! We're Theta and Koschei. Nothing can tear us apart. You know that. Now come on, watch…No one else is going to see this for a millennia!"
The Medusa Cascade was awash with clouds of sparkling dust; so many beautiful colours in perfect harmony with each other, swirling around in the depths of the Universe. A dance of Time and Space and forbidden beauty. In the centre of the Cascade, underneath the waterfall of the Fifteenth Moon, there was a brilliant white light. A star that had never existed before was glowing brighter than any other star in the Universe, a beautiful majesty of light. From the centre of the star, two young Time Lords could be seen, watching as their presence created a fissure of magnesium flame through the Cascade, ripping open the fabric of Time and Space around it. The rift of the Medusa Cascade. One of the boys would return, years later and unrecognisable, to close the very rift that he had helped to create. Alone.
"It's reacting to the TARDIS. We should leave, Kos."
"History says that there was a rift opened here. Who are we to argue with the Laws of Time?"
"We're Time Lords. Besides, it's my turn to choose a location now…"
"Here we are then!" Theta stepped out of the TARDIS and surveyed the land around them. They had landed in a field of lush jade grass surrounded by tall oak trees. The ground was littered with tiny purple flowers and the hedgerows of bottle-green leaves that skirted the edges of the field were thick with pale pink petals. He made straight for them as Koschei finally extricated himself from the TARDIS and sniffed the air cautiously.
"Smells like…France. Seventeenth Century…Am I right?" Koschei asked, wrinkling his nose slightly. "Trust you to take us to Sol 3!" he muttered mutinously.
"Kos! Come and look at these!" Theta called, beckoning Koschei to join him.
When Koschei reached him, Theta was studying the pale pink petals intently. Koschei had to admit that they were beautiful; they had hundreds of velvet petals packed together in a tight formation that created an overlapped pattern leading to a darker cherry-coloured centre. Their scent was intoxicating; a miasma of honey and freshly cut grass, and Koschei couldn't help but step closer to the beautiful flowers. From his daze of heady scent, he heard Theta whispering softly to himself.
"Grayness blues, reddens, and the outline of the world comes clear and fills with color. They persist in the sunlit room, the wallpaper frieze of cabbage-roses and cornflowers pales under their thin-lipped smiles, their withering kingship. How they prop each other up!" He looked up at Koschei, the rhythm of the poem faltering.
"I might have known you'd be a lover of Human poetry. It's so…pretentious, Thet."
Theta ignored him, returning to his study of the flowers. "They're called Rosa Centifolia, the provence or cabbage rose. We're just outside Grasse in South East France and these," He indicated the roses, "are the first of their kind in this country. In no time at all, they'll be established as the most popular perfume in France…They're beautiful, aren't they?"
Koschei nodded silently, watching Theta's bright expression with completely honest tenderness. Theta's smile widened. "Then they're yours."
His hand closed around a rose's stem and he tugged on it until it came loose from the soil. He held it out to Koschei, a small, inelegant gesture, and Koschei took it, holding the rose between his fingers and twirling it slowly, letting its slightly glistening petals catch the light.
Theta cradled his bleeding hand and Koschei noticed the thorns along the rose's stem; beautiful but deadly. "You're hurt," he stated, looking down at Theta's hand, which was covered in tiny wounds.
"It doesn't matter."
"Let me look at it, Thet." He took Theta's hand and turned it over in his own, examining the cuts. He pulled it close to his face and blew on it gently, covering each cut with his breath. They healed almost instantaneously, leaving a collection of small silver scars behind; a memento.
Theta looked at his hand, tracing a finger over the tiny silver bumps and then stared at Koschei, his eyes wide with shock. "But that was…you just…you just gave away…"
"Five years of my life. Worth every second."
Without warning, Theta's hands reached out and cupped Koschei's face. He stroked his cheeks lovingly and leaned in, his lips slightly parted as Koschei closed the space between them. The kiss was warm and soft and the world around them melted into a haze of smudged colours as they inhaled each other's emotions and thoughts. Flashes of lips and flesh and crimson grass under a burnt orange sky. They broke apart, hands clasped, gasping for breath.
"Let's go home…"
The room was dark, all glowing of the TARDISes extinguished; the only light came from a crack where the door was slightly ajar. Theta and Koschei crept out of the TARDIS; their hands intertwined, and made their way back into the corridor. When they opened the door, they blinked in the harsh light, adjusting to it sluggishly, coming face-to-face with Theta's father.
"Theta Sigma, what do you think you're doing?"
"Who is this boy?" Theta dropped Koschei's hand quickly but suddenly, bravely, he slipped his own around it again and held them out into the light.
"This is Koschei, father. He's the son of Castellan Marnel. They own estates on Mount Perdition."
Theta's father blenched visibly at this information; Koschei's father was notorious, the tyrannical patriarch of the formidable Newblood House of Oakdown. "You shouldn't be here, Theta."
"It was my idea, Ulysses." Koschei said, a note of command and mastery in his voice. "We're leaving now, come on, Theta." He tugged Theta back up the stairs and dragged him down the corridor to their shared room without a word.
Theta was first to break the silence. "My father will be so angry…" The whisper was frightened.
"Not if he knows what's good for him," said Koschei with a steely edge to his words. "He's afraid of my father and punishing you will implicate me. I don't think your father is a stupid man. Neither does he have a death wish. He won't say anything." There was a pause and Koschei slipped his fingers in between Theta's again. "You held my hand as you spoke to him. Why?"
"I thought he should know what you are to me. I don't see why I should hide it."
"They'll be disappointed."
"That's their problem, not mine."
"Good." Koschei affirmed, pulling Theta over to his bed and pushing him down onto it. As he leaned in to kiss him, Theta pulled back slightly, a mischievous grin settling on his face.
"There was a meteor shower earlier."
"So?" asked Koschei, leaning down further so that his nose bumped Theta's and he could count every freckle on his face.
"So…can I have my wish?"
And the night passed in a blur of cotton and stars and Koschei. Exactly what he'd wished for.