“Was she really pregnant?” his pink and yellow human asked as they sat in the library drinking tea, the T.A.R.D.I.S. now functional enough to be happily spinning through the vortex once more.
“Can’t know for sure but I think so, makes sense! Explains why Madden was able to see the Asphyx to begin with if he was physically connected to the impending death of Stella by parental DNA.”
“And this ass fixing thing really was peaceful and never posed a threat?”
The Doctor smiled at her obviously deliberate mispronunciation. She had been giving him every conceivable opportunity to lecture her or talk at her since his near death or at least near regeneration experience. She’d also been a lot more pass remarkable, complimenting his hair, fashion sense, manly hairy hands and even his slightly cauliflower ear, clearly trying to assert that she appreciated this version of him and wasn’t ready to break in an upgrade.
“No, Madden had chosen people most likely to have heart defects, gave them a small dose of digitalis probably in tea, which I may add is just criminal, and let their already over stimulated imagination do the rest. Their hearts failing and the power of suggestion caused the look of sheer terror as opposed to sheer terror leading to a heart attack.”
Their free hands were joined and settled casually on the couch and Rose mindlessly stroked his knuckles with soft, feathery fingers. Her brow was slightly creased and her mouth hung open as if in preparation for speech but feeling an awkward frisson in beginning.
“You really ok?”
He beamed at her reassuredly and raised her hand to press it to his lips before feigning annoyance and forcing out, “Yes, for the thousandth time. I’m fine.”
“Fine as in ‘I’m always fine’ or fine as in fine?” she coaxed knowingly, adorable pink tongue swelling her feminine cheek.
“Digitalis smalitalis! Easy pezy, antigen neutralisation, child’s play. Take’s more then a fancy wild flower to beat me!” he grimaced at the unintended double entendre.
“Oh so you were just playing dead while I kicked Madden’s ass for my self-esteem? And looking and sounding like a straggled chicken with the bubonic plague was just the studio lights, right?” she teased.
“Rose?” he puffed in exasperation before setting down his cup and lunging at her, “I’ll show you how fine I am, young lady.”
“In your dreams, old man,” she shrieked as questing fingers connected with her rib cage and warm tea went flying everywhere.
Later that night the Doctor stood staring with unseeing eyes at the re-invigorated pulsating motion of the time rotor. It’s not the length of your life but the quality of it. So scared of death that you forget to live. Rose would walk on alabaster shores where no sentient being had ever trend, make pancakes in the heart of super nova, run and dance through all of Time and Space but was that really the best quality of life for Rose, her time so short, one chance to act and feel and experience and regret nothing.
What of friends, family, marriage, kids? What of love? The Doctor suddenly realised all the magic moments and emotions of life that he’d stolen from Rose, all those oh so human connections, joys and miracles that she had sacrificed and at the same time, perhaps, the one that he could give back.
To be continued in the final part of this series, “There’s a Time to Die”.