Chapter Sixteen

Rose and the Doctor sat on the sofa eating some of the food that was brought to them. To Rose's surprise, the menu consisted of Earth food but even more amazing was there was a few things from Gallifrey. She was disappointed when the Doctor explained that it was synthetic food from his home world but she was glad that the meat wasn't from anything kept in the cages. The Doctor declined to eat anything from Gallifrey, preferring a burger instead. But Rose sampled some tafelshrew meat and zorba berries and liked it. The Doctor watched her while she ate it.

"How is it?" he asked when she swallowed some tafelshrew meat.

"I like it. It's very good. You don't want any?" she asked him.

"No, I prefer the real thing. Synthetic food tastes strange to me."

"At least they didn't use the real animals to make this stuff," Rose said.

The Doctor snorted.

"They'd be fools if they did. Rare species from an extinct planet and they chop them up and serve them to us? Darius is insane but he's not a fool. We'd be eating up his profits."

Rose nodded and ate another zorba berry. She looked at the Doctor when he continued to stare at her and swallowed the berry in her mouth.

"What is it?" she said, frowning at the wistful look on his face.

"You would have made a good Time Lady," he said.

Rose smiled at that, pleased that he thought so.

"I would have loved to seen Gallifrey," she said. "Wish I could."

"So do I," the Doctor said wistfully. "You would have loved the red fields and the silver leaves. You would have felt at home there."

The Doctor mouthed something as he stared into space and Rose thought he said, "You would have been my wife there," but she couldn't be sure if that was what he really said or it was her wishful thinking forming the words in her mind. She hesitated a moment before she brought her hand up to his left ear and ran her finger down the rim. The Doctor closed his eyes when she laid her hand on his shoulder. She recognized what he was doing. It was how she used to calm him when he became angry or agitated and she smiled when his face relaxed into a peaceful expression. Rose put her hand on the back of his neck and rubbed it and the back of his head, continuing the familiar calming ritual that had developed between them since his ninth self allowed her to get that close to him. The Doctor kept his eyes closed and lowered his head slightly, a peaceful sigh escaping from his nostrils as Rose continued to caress his neck and the back of his head.

It always amazed her how much power she had over him. She knew he didn't let anyone else do this to him and it took him awhile before he even allowed her to do it but once he allowed it, he kept asking for her to do it until it became commonplace. She had seen him go ballistic before and knew the darkness that lay within him. She had watched him stand up to tyrants and evildoers and never submit to them, yet he submitted readily to her ministrations and let her do what she wished. She often wondered if he'd even let her plunge a knife into his body since he never wanted to know what she planned to do during these sessions. Not that she'd ever hurt him but still, the absolute trust he placed in her both thrilled and terrified her.

She continued running her hand down the back of his head and she listened to his steady, soft breathing and she wondered if he was asleep now.

Then he took her free hand and Rose paused when he raised it to his lips and gently kissed the back of it. Rose resumed rubbing the back of his head while the Doctor kissed the back of her hand a couple more times before putting it over his right heart and then putting his hands over it. Rose wondered if Darius was watching them and decided she didn't care if he was or not. He was planning to breed them anyway, might as well show him that they were truly a couple.

Rose paused when the Doctor murmured something in Gallifreyan. He also did this during their sessions but to Rose's frustration, he never translated for her. She suspected he was telling her he loved her or telling himself he loved her since the words were always said gently and lovingly. She'd long given up on asking him to translate, preferring instead to listen to the beautiful musicality of his language, feeling privileged that he felt enough at ease to speak it around her.

"Oh Rose, my Time Lady."

Rose froze when she heard him say that in English. After that, he said something else in Gallifreyan but she heard her name in between the Gallifreyan words and she figured it was an expression of love that he didn't feel comfortable saying in English. She hesitated a moment before leaning in and kissing his jaw. She pulled back and her heart warmed when the Doctor smiled and kept his eyes closed while he let out another contented sigh through his nose.

"Doctor," Rose murmured as she ran her fingers down his cheek.

"Rose, my Rose," the Doctor murmured back.

Rose's heart warmed again and she stroked his cheek. Then suddenly a wave of emotion washed over her and she felt her eyes burn with tears. She tried not to sob or let the Doctor know she was crying but they had such a deep bond that even without opening his eyes, the Doctor frowned and turned his head slightly towards her.

"What is it?" he said, his eyes closed. "What's wrong?"

Rose swallowed hard and the Doctor lifted his head and opened his eyes.

"What's wrong?" he murmured as his eyes studied her with concern.

"I wish I could give you children," Rose said, her voice barely above a whisper. "I wish I could help you bring your people back. I wish we were the same."

She swallowed hard again, her eyes fixed on the floor. The Doctor didn't say anything and she tried to sense his mood, hoping she didn't just say the wrong thing.

"I'm…s…sorry," Rose said when the silence continued. "I didn't mean to upset you. I just wish you weren't the last and you had a family and a home to go to. I'm a poor substitute for your people."

She kept her eyes on the floor, not wanting to look at his face. She watched as the Doctor's arms slowly went around her middle and she closed her eyes when he pulled her close to his body. Another wave of emotion flooded her when the Doctor nuzzled her cheek and laid his forehead against the side of her head.

"I told you that you would have made a great Time Lady, Rose. I meant that so I don't know where you got the idea that you were a poor substitute."

"I just want you to be happy," Rose said.

"What makes you think I'm not happy?" the Doctor said, gently grabbing her chin.

He lifted her face and turned it so she was looking at him.

"I'm happy," he said to her. "Well, granted I'm imprisoned right now and that's not so good but overall, in the grand scheme of things, I'm very happy at the moment. And you, you help make me happy. I like being with you. You're not a poor substitute for anything. And frankly, I find it a bit disturbing that you're being so hard on yourself. I thought all that rubbish ended long ago. As for helping rebuild my race…I wouldn't want you to have that kind of responsibility. Having children just to bring back a nearly extinct race is not a good idea. You're not a brood mare. Besides, who would take care of them while we explore? I'm flattered that you would be happy bearing my children but I would rather explore a distant planet by your side than be in a nursery bottle-feeding a child. That's why I'm glad you aren't compatible with me. I've come to terms with the loss of my people and I don't want to resurrect them through you. Mind, I'm sure the fact you can't safely breed with me won't stop Darius from trying but I want our relationship to be deeper than just…fuck buddies, I guess would be the term. The whole friends with benefits thing doesn't interest me. Not when we could be so much more together. Don't you agree?"

Rose nodded and smiled when he kissed her temple.

"So…still wanna be my brood mare?" he teased.

"Yeah," Rose teased back. "I wanna be a baby catapult and just repeatedly fling the little buggers from my vagina at you while you try to catch them."

"Hmm," the Doctor said while Rose giggled. "Seems like a lot of work for you since not only would you be constantly naked but you'd have to be on your back with your legs up in stirrups while you had these never ending babies. And would my sperm be in an IV drip going into your uterus so you could keep making babies like a queen ant? Not to mention your womb would be enormous and quite crowded. All I'd have to do is catch the kids as they came out of your vagina like a cannonball. Are you sure you've thought this whole thing through, Rose? Because all this sounds quite painful for you."

"You're right, it would be a pain in the arse," Rose said.

"No actually, a pain in the vagina but I get your meaning," the Doctor said.

Rose giggled and the Doctor smiled at that.

"No more tears?" he said, wiping the wetness off her cheeks.

"No more tears," Rose said.

The Doctor kissed her forehead.

"Good. Because we need to find a way out of here before we die of boredom, yeah?"

Rose nodded. She was about to say something to him when suddenly the door opened up. The Doctor stood up when Arjunk was shoved through the door by two guards. The Doctor tried to get to the door before the guards shut it but he wasn't fast enough. He helped Arjunk up.

"What's going on?" the Doctor said.

"Sorry, Doctor. Darius decided he didn't trust me after treating you and Rose with dignity so I'm afraid I've just become your roommate."

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