Title: Turn My Wooden Heart (Chapter 3/13)
Genre: Action/Adventure, Romance
Rating: Adult, NC-17
Summary: The Doctor and Rose find themselves wrapped up in a war between two tribes of people. As they sort out the conspiracy surrounding this war, they begin to question their feelings for one another.
Disclaimer: I certainly don't own anyone or anything associated with Doctor Who, but I do enjoy playing with Nine and Rose. ::pets them::
A/N: This fic is thirteen chapters with a short epilogue, and it is nearly complete. I'm going to try to post at least two chapters a week. Also, big thank yous to Tardismate and Amberfocus. You gals have been so much help, and I appreciate all you do.
Previous Chapters: Chapter 1
|| Chapter 2CHAPTER 3
Rose woke to the sound of voices arguing not that far from where she and the Doctor were being held. They were just far enough away that she was unable to make out what the argument was about, but she hoped it wasn’t about whether they were going to be executed on this backwards planet.
A moment after that, she realized she was practically lying on top of the Doctor. One of her legs was thrown over both of his, and her chest was pressed against his chest and side. Her left arm was wrapped around his midsection, holding him to her.
“Morning,” she mumbled, rubbing her lips over the soft material of his jumper before looking up at him.
“Sleep well?” he asked, his blue eyes locking with hers.
Rose nodded against his chest. “Surprisingly well for sleeping on the ground.”
The Doctor lifted his hand and brushed it lightly over her hair. Rose’s breath caught in her throat as she melted into him. If he only knew what these little caresses of his did, then he certainly wouldn’t use them to comfort her. She felt like lifting herself up and straddling his hips, and then pinning his hands to the ground while she kissed him. He shifted beneath her, and the burning heat of arousal started creeping through her abdomen.
His hands moved to take her shoulders, and Rose closed her eyes, wishing he would roughly pull her against him and kiss her until her mind no longer functioned properly. Unfortunately, he gently pushed her away, creating more distance between them. “No lie-ins for us today, Rose. We’ve got work to do.”
Rose felt her heart cracking and tried to will her body not to yearn for him. His easy affection did not mean what she desperately wished it did. “Right,” she agreed, quickly standing up and surveying the area around their prison. The guards were still a few meters away, watching the goings-on of the camp with an occasional glance back at their prisoners.
The Doctor was standing by the door, listening intently to the argument happening just beyond a cluster of trees. She wanted to walk up behind him and place a hand on his back, trace his spine with her fingertips. But she didn’t. Entertaining the fantasies, wishing for more, trying to look at the deeper meaning behind the way he touched her was just going to drive her mad. She’d break her own heart without any help from him if she walked down that path.
“What are they saying?” she asked, stepping up to stand beside him.
“Shh…” The Doctor placed a finger over his lips and shook his head.
“Sorry,” Rose mumbled, shoving her hands deep in her pockets. Sometimes he had a knack of making her so uncomfortable. Then again, maybe this was her own doing, too. Maybe it wasn’t the Doctor at all, maybe it was her feelings for him that made her feel less than worthy sometimes. Discounting a handful of instances when she had angered him, he had never made her feel as if she was anything less than his equal. She knew she wasn’t his equal, but it touched Rose that he was willing to treat her as if she were.
“They’re arguing about the Sarhn,” the Doctor whispered. “Some of the members of this tribe want to meet with the Sarhn to discuss what Taal told us.”
Rose shifted nervously on her feet. “I don’t think involving the Sarhn is going to make the situation any better for us.”
“Oh, I don’t know. Maybe it will.” The Doctor gave her a reassuring smile and turned his attention back to the voices just out of sight.
A few minutes later, Tok and his two advisors returned with a handful of Harack trailing behind at a safe distance. There were a handful of women among them, and as was the case with the men, they all looked lithe and war-like. They, too, carried brightly painted staffs and wore crude leather clothing with hardened expressions on their faces.
Tok approached the wooden prison bars and looked directly at the Doctor. “Do you tell us lies?” he asked, his voice carrying over the sudden silence from his people.
“No,” the Doctor answered firmly. “Day before yesterday we were attacked by the Sarhn while we were looking for help to repair our… ship.”
“Ship?” Tok repeated, his expression quizzical and slightly confused.
The Doctor nodded. “Yes, a device used to travel great distances quickly. My ship is broken, and we thought we might have luck on this side of the forest after the Sarhn chased us out of their side.”
Tok’s eyes widened in realization. “You,” he whispered, looking from the Doctor to Rose and back again. “You walk in the forbidden land?”
“The clearing in the middle of this forest?”
“It is death. Harack and Sarhn both cannot walk there.” Tok paused before turning his gaze to Rose. “Your ilsingin, she brings you favor of gods.”
Rose’s eyes widened. “I didn’t do anything. It’s just the sun, that’s all. People on my world lay in the sun all day.”
When Tok didn’t reply, the Doctor threw an arm around Rose’s shoulder and smiled at the man. “A fantastic ilsingin, she is. Just fantastic.”
Tok nodded vigorously. “Perhaps--”
“Yeah, no trading or buying or selling,” Rose interrupted. “This ilsingin is happy right where she is.”
“Apologies,” Tok responded, bowing his head slightly.
Rose pressed on, eager to talk her way out of the prison she had spent the night in. “We found Taal at the edge of the forest. He was hurt, and the Doctor tried to help him, even offered to carry him back to your camp here. He wouldn’t let us and just kept on talking about how the others were responsible for the disappearances, not the Harack or the Sarhn.”
She could feel the Doctor smiling down at her, but she didn’t dare glance up at him. Any approval or admiration from his brilliant blue eyes would just serve to rend her heart further in two.
“I will speak to my people,” Tok said once she had finished her explanation. He turned on his heel and walked away from the prison to talk to his advisors privately.
“My clever little ilsingin,” the Doctor said with a cheeky grin.
“Think they’ll let us go?”
“Not a chance,” he replied, still smiling.
Rose sighed and put her hands on her hips. “Why are you so happy? We could be executed any second.”
“Oh no, Rose. I think we’re going to be asked to play ambassador.”
The Doctor motioned to Tok as he approached the cell again. “We have made decision. You will find Sarhn and arrange meeting with Harack.”
Rose felt her stomach drop into her feet. Ambassadors, indeed. This was a very bad idea.
The revelation that Rose and the Doctor could emerge from the forest seemed to bestow them with an elevated status among the Harack. They were released from the wooden prison cell and given a meal of what Rose could only liken to oatmeal and tree leaves. It was disgusting, but any food was better than no food right now. Obviously, chips were out of the question in a forest.
After warming themselves around a fire while several members of the tribe watched them with wary and slightly awed eyes, they were taken back to Tok for instructions. In his halting, awkward speech, he told them he would accept their explanation of Taal’s death and believe the dead Harack’s message if they, in turn, took that message to the Sarhn and arranged a meeting between the tribes in a neutral place. Rose was not looking forward to seeing the Sarhn again, but the Doctor accepted the conditions and took the provisions Tok offered.
It was obvious both tribes lived a meager existence in the forests of this world. Their houses did not look sturdy and were simply makeshift tents constructed of animal hides. It appeared they lived on little food. Despite that, they provided enough food to feed the Doctor and Rose for several days and flasks of hide that held water from a stream running through the camp.
Throwing the packs over their shoulders, she and the Doctor set out to find the Sarhn again. Rose was hopelessly lost, but the Doctor seemed to know his way through the forest. She assumed his uncanny sense of direction was a perk of being alien. He could do so many other things better than a human. Why not add that to the list?
Rose looked longingly at the TARDIS as they passed several meters from it. Nice, warm bed. A shower. That would be wonderful.
“They’re following us,” the Doctor said, scanning the edges of the tree line on his left.
He nodded. “Come on, then. We’ve got a meeting to schedule.” The Doctor scooped her hand up and pulled her along behind him.
Rose tried to relax her fingers so they did not clutch at him, but it was difficult. He had no idea how much this contact affected her, no idea how much she needed him. Sometimes just the sight of him made her heart beat faster, and she didn’t know what she would do without him. Going back to her old life held no appeal if he wasn’t there with her. And he couldn’t be. Time Lords didn’t do domestic when they had worlds to save.
He let go of her hand as they entered the forest on the opposite side of the meadow so she could better keep her balance while stepping over the undergrowth and the fallen branches. It was only a matter of time before the Sarhn found them, so they wandered deeper in the forest in hopes of running into the tribe. Each step twisted Rose’s stomach into knots. She couldn’t help but remember the enraged faces of the Sarhn as they ran across the meadow with thick, wooden staffs held high. Staffs she pictured being swept down and cracking bones. It didn’t matter if they were her bones or the Doctor’s bones because his injuries would pain her just as much. She felt sick at the thought of someone trying to hurt him.
Suddenly, the Doctor’s voice broke into her private thoughts. “Duck!” he yelled, reaching back to grab for her arm and pull her down. Rose’s knees hit the forest floor a fraction of a second before a wooden staff twirled over her head. The Doctor pressed her further into the ground with his body, protecting her.
A moment later, his weight lifted and rough hands were pulling her up upright. She struggled against whoever was detaining her, but he was too strong. When she was able to get her bearings and look up, the Doctor was being held by two men, presumably Sarhn, though she had a difficult time discerning the difference between the two tribes. Another man was pinning her arms behind her back, and the Sarhn they had encountered before was approaching from a short distance away.
“We bring a message from the Harack,” the Doctor said.
The leader of the group spit on the ground and returned his gaze to the Doctor, a distasteful look on his face. “Harack will die.”
“The Harack are not killing your people,” the Doctor replied. “And you are not killing their people.”
A soft murmur rose from the assembled Sarhn. There were only five of them—two holding the doctor, one holding her, and the leader with his advisor standing before them. If the Doctor only had a weapon, then they might have a chance of escaping again. Things were looking bleak now, though.
The leader let out a bitter bark of laughter. “Then who kills?” he asked. “Sarhn disappear, days later we find bodies.”
“A Harack was attacked and mortally wounded not far from here. I spoke with him. He said that the others are responsible for the deaths of both your people.”
“Lies,” the leader said, leaning forward and spitting again. “Kill this one’s ilsingin. He will tell no lies to save her.”
The advisor stepped forward and move to Rose, pulling a crude stone knife from his leather tunic.
“No!” the Doctor screamed, struggling against his captors, eventually falling to his knees in a desperate attempt to break free and crawl to her. It didn’t work; the Sarhn had a firm grasp on his arms. “Rose, you must run,” he finally said when he realized he was well and truly trapped.
Rose shifted and her captor tightened his grip. The man with the knife was not far away now. “I can’t,” she replied, twisting against the hands holding her.
“Let her go, and I will tell you the truth.” The Doctor’s voice was pleading, yet dangerous and very angry.
telling him the truth,” Rose said through gritted teeth as she struggled harder. The man who was going to kill her was standing before her now. “He’s telling the truth,” she told him. “They want to meet with you to discuss who is killing both your people! They’re not doing it!”
The leader slammed the end of his staff against the rock he was standing on. “They kill my people!”
“No!” Rose and the Doctor screamed back.
“No, they don’t,” the Doctor continued, glancing back and forth between the Sarhn leader and Rose.
The advisor brought the knife up to Rose’s throat, using his other hand to pull her hair and tilt her head back. “Doctor…” she managed to choke out, a tear rolling down her cheek.
“Rose…” He was struggling even harder against the men holding him. “If you kill her, I’ll kill you, don’t doubt that,” he said to the Sarhn leader, his voice dripping with venom.
The stone of the knife was cold against her skin as he pressed the tip just beneath her ear. Her shaking was driving the point deeper into her flesh, but she couldn’t still herself.
And then he was gone, and the knife was flying through the air, end over end. It landed with a thump at her feet. The man was sprawled across the ground, unconscious with his arm bent at an awkward angle.
Rose looked over a saw the Doctor still detained by the Sarhn, surprise written across his expression. “What happened?” Rose asked.
The Sarhn leader bent his head back, turning his face up to the sky of rustling leaves above them before letting out a trilling, vocal call to his tribe members.
“What’s going on?” Rose insisted on knowing, struggling against the man holding her. “Doctor, what is it?”
Before he could reply, she heard a voice directly behind her just as her captor stiffened. “They give truth, Sarhn. Call off men or we kill this one.”
Surely he couldn’t mean her. Rose frantically tried to turn around and see who was speaking. The Doctor finally spoke up, his voice pitched low for her. “It’s the Harack that followed us, Rose. One of them has a cord wrapped around the neck of the man behind you. He’s not threatening you. He threw his staff to knock the one with the knife away from you.”
Reinforcements. Rose closed her eyes and felt weak with relief. By the time she opened them again, two Harack were shadowing the two Sarhn holding the Doctor captive.
The leader of the Sarhn looked vicious and angry, unable to stand for his people being threatened by what he believed was his sworn enemy. “You kill these warriors, might of Sarhn will fall upon Harack.”
“Call off reinforcements!” one of the Harack near the Doctor yelled.
“More Sarhn await among trees if you kill warriors here.” The leader of the Sarhn had a grim smile plastered on his face as he willingly sacrificed his three men.
“Great Yorba, I have reinforcements. We detained five Harack on perimeter,” said an unfamiliar man as he stepped from behind the tree closest to the Sarhn leader. “These,” he gestured toward the three Harack backing up the Doctor and Rose, “are no trouble.”
Their leader, Yorba, bared his teeth with a vicious grin. “Open pits. We take Harack and spies back with us.”
Rose felt like collapsing from the tension. Near death had turned into a triumphant rescue which, in turn, had developed into everyone, including their rescuers, being detained and taken back to the Sarhn camp. To the pits
. Just the thought of it made her shiver.
At least death wasn’t imminent in the next few minutes, which was a rarity when traveling with the Doctor. Why did she do this to herself, anyway? Why did she travel with him and constantly put herself in mortal danger? Rose glanced over to him and saw his brilliant blue eyes staring back at her, concern written all over his face as he strained against his captors, trying to get closer to her. Rose’s stomach flipped over and her heart ached for him.
Oh, right. That
was why. She loved him.