Title: The Fearful Child
Genre: Episodic, Introspection, Romance, Spooky Ghosts
Summary: The TARDIS picks up an errant transmission of a terrified child that chills Rose’s heart. Together the Doctor and Rose investigate the ghostly goings on and strange disappearances in an old world village but as even the Doctor is effected by the visions and possessions, can the dynamic duo save the day before they join the ranks of the restless dead?
AN: I have uploaded several photos of the real life place that this story is set so you can check them out
So many thanks to you wonderful people who had read and reviewed and made me smile. There is truth in disguise in this chapter and much implied angst though I mainly let the words speak for themselves. I don’t think I need to explain the relevance to fellow Whovians!
Chapter 4 ~ Love’s Labours Lost
The Doctor punched at buttons and controls on the console, “Yes, as I suspected that young boy disappeared from the very room we materialised in, we were just off by a couple of days.”
“So what now?”
“What say we take another look at that church in the daylight, see if we can solve this riddle?”
Rose wasn’t convinced; the dead were notoriously hard to engage in conversation.
“Come on, you and me? We’re like arsenic and old lace!” he beamed with pride.
“What so you’re poisonous and deadly and I’m an old maid?” she accused.
“Ok, bad example. What about Starsky and Hutch or Ben and Jerry. I love their cookie dough ice cream!”
“How about you play the part of the eccentric alien with an insatiable thirst for trouble and I’ll be the long suffering companion who bails you out of it?” she joked, fixing his tie and smoothing down the lapels of his coarse, pin-stripped jacket. He cocked an amused eyebrow at her, “Ready mummy?”
“Oi! Enough of that or I’m take you over my knee and spank you!” she glared.
“Promise?” he quipped before sobering and flushing in a delightful shade of red, the ‘smacks’ unnecessary.
“You kinky bastard! No wonder my mum’s obsessed with your intentions.” She playfully slapped his arm, feeling a little hot and bothered by certain ensuing mental imaginary.
“I’ll have you know that I’m the perfect gentlemen,” he recovered smugly.
“Well as you’ve taught me, language is relevant. Perfect gentlemen compared to a farting Slitheen maybe or a barbaric, tribal leader, looking for a virginal sacrifice?”
“Move it, Tyler. Before I start to comment on how you ain’t no lady! Flirting with Captain Jack like he was a piece of meat on a spit. You bated your eye lashes at Shakespeare and he wrote you a bloody sonnet,” he exclaimed, hand rising to ruffle in frustration.
“You practically snogged a tree,” she retorted, “And what about Madame Fish-face?”
“Now that’s unfair, she kissed me and you were in a totally other time zone and giggling with Mr. Mickey the idiot while I was single handedly trying to save history,” he pouted.
“I don’t want to know what you get up to single handedly but you’re so not as a-sexual as you get on!” She raised teasing eyebrows at him before realising that this line of mockery would probably lead to less hand holding and a stubborn celibacy in her “foxy Doctor”!
Before he could respond she cut in with a suggestive, “So are you taking me up the aisle then Doctor or should we neglect the church for an old fashioned dual, pistols at dawn?”
“I’ve never liked guns,” he concluded before reaching unabashedly for her hand and tugging her back to the world where the present was the past.
The church was much less ominous in the glaring light of day and the pair secretly hoped that an easy resolution was in sight. It was still early morning and it seemed that tourists didn’t get up too early so they pretty much had the place to themselves as the old wooden door creaked open to the church and the Doctor and Rose entered cautiously and ever alert.
Even the invigorating and playful sun did little to lighten the sense of burden and weariness from the crumbling stones. They walked in silence down the aisle expectantly but saw nothing out of the ordinary in the well worn cushioned seats or discarded Bibles perched in the pews.
As they neared the alter Rose felt a strange sensation like something being absorbed into her skin, a rush of a non-existent breeze and the brush of a consciousness that was not her own. She wobbled precariously feeling faint and somehow overwhelmed, the bleaching rays too bright, their footsteps too loud and the smell of history and time too pungent. She naturally reached for the Doctor but he was donning his brainy specks and riffling through old parish documents, grown yellow and dusty, hidden under a lectern.
She opened her mouth to speak, when out of nowhere a flood of passion, love and embittered pain rose like a tsunami in her throat and worked the taught strings of her vocal chords, “It’s not fair,” she stammered suddenly, feeling the need to cry as her head buzzed with pressure and emotion. The Doctor snapped upright and turned to face her.
“It’s not fair. Why do we have to be so different? Why do we have to be separated by Time and responsibility? Why can’t I love you freely and unashamed? No one knows you like I do. No one will ever love you as much as I do, so completely, so foolishly.” Tears did fall then but silently and ignored as she trembled with some force stronger than reason or control.
She looked so young, so pure and earnest. Her golden hair caught the early morning sunlight and enveloped her in an aura of luminescent beauty and soft, warm flesh. He knew he was staring as if she’d just recited the laws of Time in high Gallifreyan but in that moment he had never felt so human, so affected, so overjoyed and so deeply afraid.
In his most fanciful thoughts he occasionally dared to imagine a time when a man like him was free to love and be loved and always Rose Tyler was the smiling, amazing face that mirrored his, the hand that fit so perfectly into his own. He was so damaged, broken, battered and torn that he never believed that anyone could see past the scars and dangerous, looming power and knowledge to fragile hearts and a longing soul. He had sacrificed his very being to be moulded and tainted by the mocking whims of Time and existence, pulled and pushed, forced to his bruised knees and extolled to the highest mountain top. He ridden the wave of destiny, powerless to just drown and sink into oblivion and always presumed himself to be a wanderer through the ages, but never belonging, never finding rest or a home.
He was a man who fought for love but distanced himself from it never trusting that he was worthy of its caress, thinking it would burn like holy water upon an unclean spirit, a toy for inferior races and idealistic beings but not for himself. He had long since become an idea not a person, long since learnt that emotions were sacred but deadly. Yet something responded to this beneficent creature, something primal and beyond reason but he was too old and too tired to trust in hope again, not for him, not for the last of the Time Lords and murderer of his own people.
He edged toward her like he was stuck in the gravitational pull of a dying star and gently ghosted a tantalising touch over her young, perfect cheek. She nuzzled into him like a cat in a blanket, sighing mournfully into his cradled palm. Oh Rose, what could he say? He opened his mouth to speak but an urge not of his own overpowered and possessed him.
“I know, sweetheart. How many nights have a lay awake dreaming of you in my arms, safe and warm and where you belong? How many prayers have turned into curses at the very God I proclaim to adore? Florence, my love, the keeper of my heart. This blasphemy has to end. I am a man of the cloth and I can’t let my own selfish desires cloud my duty and allegiance to a higher purpose, a greater love,” his timbre was lilting like a soft lyrical serenade of a lamenting lire player.
She nodded imperceptivity into his hand, loathing acceptance and defeat apparent in every weak shift of muscle and strained breath.
“But how can I marry a man I do not love? Can that be God’s will?” she pleaded quietly like a small child.
“I do not claim to answer for God, much too finite is my understanding but I know it would be foolish to sacrifice a joined place in heaven for a few years on this grey earth. Love can be learnt, familiarity breeds fondness and affection and Robert is a good man. He will treat you well, much more than an exiled priest could ever provide for you,” he spoke softly and with much weariness and regret.
“I don’t care for material wealth or propriety. You spend your life serving others but how can you hope to comfort their pain if you have not experienced their love? How can you testify and protect an emotion that you run from until one day the concept is so foreign that its importance is lost on you and everything you have built means nothing?” She matched his gesture, hesitantly stroking down a long sideburn and meekly touching his full, red lips that looked so divine she knew them to be a sin.
“By remembering what I feel now, for you. By keeping it alive when you are long gone and married to another and I am alone and loveless. It is not my will but God’s and I must trust it and believe in the path He is guiding me. This pain, this light is but a flickering star, our light already dead but echoing through the vacuum of space. But love? That can never die and though I wish hourly that our circumstances were different I cannot change the past.” His eyes belied such sorrow and resentment at an ignorant and unfeeling world that even his loving smile was dimmed by the strength of a sobering reality.
With infinite tenderness he brushed his lips to hers like he were kissing an angel, incorporeal and fleeting. Her breath shuddered as it mingled with his and the moist caress seemed to ground some electrical charge and light up her heart with passionate longing as she pulled him closer still and revelled in the feel of his lean, sharp frame and strong, trusted protection.
Inconsolably drifting apart to a decent distance she turned and walked towards the door as if in a trance, her body complying but her spirit residing in his embrace.
When the sweet, chilled air filled her lungs outside Rose jolted to awareness and cursed quietly at the unbidden arousal and quickly blossoming embarrassment. Converse clad feet echoed from behind, running at a pace to the door. They stood there in the sunlight blinking idiotically at one anther as the Doctor rocked on his heels and tried to unattach an ear lobe.
“Hmmm…hi?” she offered.
A nervous laugh left him in a gush of expelled air, “Hi yourself!”
“So…hmmm…that was weird, right?”
“Right,” she stuttered.
“Well…I’ll just…pop back to the TARDIS to see if she picked up any strange readings in the area,” he gestured madly but didn’t move.
“Ok and I’ll…hmmm…take a look around, see if the ghosts come out to play in the daylight!” she finished feeling that vocalisation was lame and inconsequential right now. How can you do small talk when there’s a bloody, great big elephant in the room?
The Doctor keep twisting his hips towards where the TARDIS lay hidden like there was a compass in his trousers but evidently followed where they were leading him, glancing over his shoulder and offering her his best, “I’m always alright” grin which she returned, equally unconvincingly.
The path of true love never runs smooth nor, apparently, changes much with the ever spiralling, forward motion of Time. How her hearts broke at the familiarity of echoed words and lonely lives. How he wished the un-owned but eerily apt conversation and constantly cognisant rules and realities it voiced, away. Oh how a borrowed tongue could unman him and unveil confessions and curses like some cruel truth serum binding brutally to his soul. And above all was the disappointment and envy of the honesty of two dead lovers who neither had the whole universe nor the power of Time but bore more courage in that single moment than either of them had dared, great battles fought and revelations begun, shrinking in comparison to the exposure and vulnerability of owning one’s own heart.