Chapter Eight

When the Doctor came to, he was lying on the duvets inside his cell. He was turned on his side with his face to the wall but his left arm was jutting out and he noticed the red velvet sleeve had replaced his usual outfit. He sat up and looked at himself. He was dressed in red Time Lord robes that had gold trim down the front of it but without the skullcap and frill. He sighed to himself.

"At least it's a proper Time Lord robe and not the outfit the nutters wear," he muttered to himself.

"I think it looks good on you."

The Doctor jerked his head around and his breath caught in his throat. Rose was wearing white Time Lord robes with gold trim down the front. She was sitting on the other side with her back against the wall and beside her were two sets of golden skullcaps and frills with wide collars attached to them. The Doctor gazed at Rose and thought how beautiful she looked in the robes with her golden hair falling down the front of it.

"How long have you been awake?" the Doctor asked.

"For about an hour, I think. I'm not sure, there's no clock in here," Rose said. "But you've been unconscious for quite awhile."

"Are we bonded now or do you know?"

"Don't think so," Rose said. "Unless they did it while we were sleeping and I doubt they would let us sleep through that."

"Rose…something inside you burst out and attacked that woman."

"I know, it's happened before," Rose said.


Rose drew her legs up to her and put her arms around them.

"When I was working at Torchwood, I stopped working before Dad did and I decided to walk home part of the way so I could enjoy the night air. I started walking and about twenty minutes later, I was pulled into an alleyway and this bloke shoved a gun to my head and demanded my money. I gave him my purse and then he told me he wanted more from me and asked me to strip. I was scared but trying not to show it but he pressed up against me and suddenly I felt this warmth spreading all over my body. The man backed up and I saw this glow on my body. Then suddenly, there was this…blast of hot light that came out of me and I blacked out. When I came around, I was lying on the ground and he'd been knocked into a skip on the other side and was unconscious and bleeding from a gash on his head. I got up and grabbed my purse and rang the police but after that, I knew that there was something inside me that I figured was left over from the Gamestation. I've tried to summon it or control it but I can't. It seems to come and go on its own and I suppose tonight it decided to attack again. It frightens me. I mean, it's not normal, yeah? What if it kills me?"

"I won't let that happen," the Doctor said. "I want to scan your body when I get the chance and find out if its truly benign before I take you back to your proper timeline. "

"And if it isn't?"

"Then I'll try to take it out of you again. Although, judging from what I've seen, it might attack me if I try to do that. At the moment, it seems more interested in protecting you than harming you. Hopefully it'll stay that way. I told this lot that it was a mistake to meddle with either one of us and maybe after what happened to your torturer, they'll take the hint."

"But what about all this," Rose said, pulling on the sleeve of her robe.

"I think we're being forced to bond with one another."

"You mean, like marriage?" Rose said.

The Doctor sighed and nodded.

"You don't want that," Rose said as a statement rather than a question.

"It's not a question of what I want. You and me, we're not from the same timeline so this is further mucking with you and your destiny. At this point in your life, we didn't get married and we certainly didn't have a child. That lot out there," he said, jabbing his finger at the door, "they are changing history and now the future might be irrevocably damaged and that means that if the stars go out, the Earth and everything in the universe will cease to exist, never mind the huge paradox this could cause just by their interference. These nutters might cause the destruction of the entire universe before they even enact their whole take over everything scheme."

"So what do we do then?" Rose said.

"Dunno, Rose. I'm trying to formulate a plan but we might not have that much time. Our one saving grace might be that we're incompatible and we might just end up being married without bringing about a child that shouldn't be here. Being married wouldn't change the future that much, having a child would. And of course, once you have this miracle child, if you have it at all, they swoop in and snatch it from you and raise it to be as insane as they are. Blimey, it's River Song all over again."

The Doctor didn't elaborate on who River Song was and Rose didn't ask, figuring she wouldn't get an answer. As much as it hurt her to hear that the Doctor didn't want to marry her or have her child, she knew he was right and that being pregnant would only complicate things further. Still, she decided that at the very least they could keep each other company at the moment. She stood up while the Doctor watched her and started to go to him when she looked back at the frill and skullcap. She picked up one of each and examined them for a moment before setting the skullcap down at her feet. The Doctor had to smile as he watched her trying to put the frill on, trying first to pull open the sides of it and then finally trying to slip it down past her head. The Doctor got up and walked over to her, adjusting the frill and straightening the collar so it was straight. Then he picked up the skullcap and put it on her head before he stepped back.

"How do I look?" Rose said.

"Like a git."

"Oi," Rose said while the Doctor grinned. "It does feel weird though. The hat is tight and so is this collar thing. You had to wear this all the time growing up?"

"No. Thankfully, these are ceremonial robes," the Doctor said. "We wore these for special occasions."

"Like weddings," Rose said ominously .

"Bonding ceremonies they were called and yes, these were worn for things like that."

"I thought their dresses were hot and uncomfortable but they felt like chiffon compared to this thing," Rose said. "How you managed to keep from smelling and sweating to death is a mystery to me."

"You get used to them," the Doctor said.

"If you say so, Doctor."

The Doctor chuckled. He walked over to the spare frill and skullcap and Rose watched while he put them on and adjusted them. Rose burst out laughing when he was through.

"Oh my God, is that what I look like?" Rose said. "I'm so glad you don't wear this all the time. I might not have traveled with ya in the first place if you looked like this."

"Which is why I haven't worn them in ages. I don't like them any more than you do."

Rose walked over to him and ran her hand over the left side of the collar while the Doctor watched her. An engraved Seal of Rassilon was on both sides of the collar and Rose pointed to the left one.

"Is this a figure eight?" she asked him.

"No, it's the Seal of Rassilon, one of the founders of modern Gallifrey. He was one of the ones that overthrew the Pythia and established a more ordered and logical society."

"I like it," Rose said, tracing the design with her finger. "It's beautiful."

"Yes, I think so."

Rose finished tracing the design and laid her open hand over it. The Doctor continued to stare at her while she looked over his outfit. Then she grinned and playfully butted the top of the frill into the side of his.

"Look, it's rams fighting," she said as she gave another playful butt. "Is this how you chose mates on Gallifrey? Rammed into each other like rams with these things on your head?"

"You realize that you're mocking my culture," the Doctor said, a serious look on his face but a twinkle in his eyes. "I don't go around mocking you."

"P'eh, that's all you did, Doctor. Stupid apes, remember?"

"Ah yes, but now I prefer to think of you lot as Pudding Brains."

"Well, at least I don't dress like a…robed nightmare with a weird thing jutting up from my shoulders."

"Again, mocking my culture."

"Good. Turnabout is fair play for all the ape comments."

The Doctor had to smile at that. He playfully rapped on the top of Rose's skullcap and she did the same in return. Then the door began to slide open and the two of them took a step back from each other as Ortha, Mira and several other women entered the room.

"Ah good, you're both dressed," Ortha said. "Then we can begin the bonding ceremony."

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