16 February 2007

New Companion, Old Earth - Chapter Two - Part 2

A few minutes later Saskia was dressed and sitting on a picnic rug, whilst the Doctor unpacked a wickerwork picnic hamper. She felt a slight inclination to laugh at the sight of the Doctor, in his usual blue pinstripe suit, sitting on the grass and having a picnic with her.
He looked at her and beamed. "You're allowed to laugh, you know. It would do you good, too."
She grinned back, and his smile widened, then they were both laughing so hard they fell back onto the rug, breathless. Saskia reached out and clasped the Doctor's hand.
"Better?" he asked.
"Much," she answered.
He squeezed her fingers. "You're welcome. Come on, let's eat."

After they had finished eating Saskia lay back on the rug, her eyes closed against the sunlight. The Doctor lay on his side, propped on one elbow, watching her and wondering if she would get through her experiences.
"Stop staring at me, Doctor," she said abruptly. Opening one eye, she caught a look of astonishment on his face.
"How did you know I was looking at you?" he asked.
Saskia snorted in disbelief. "Your look is like a thermal lance in here," she said, tapping her forehead. "Besides, since you spent so long in my head, I can feel the shape of your thoughts."
"What, even without a physical touch?"
"That should be impossible," he said. "I wonder how that happened?" Sitting up, he reached into his inside pocket for his Sonic Screwdriver.
"Put that thing away," Saskia said, sounding exasperated. "I don't need you beeping me. I can tell you how it happened, I think."
The Doctor pushed the Sonic Screwdriver back into his pocket, then lay back on the rug. Closing his eyes he said, "Tell me then. I'm all ears."
"You told me yesterday that you're mildly telepathic."
"Well I think that because you spent so long in my head, fighting off that 'beastie', as you called it, it strengthened the telepathic bonds between us. I can't read your thoughts exactly, but I can feel the shape of them in my mind. And sometimes I can see images as well."
"Can we test that?" the Doctor asked eagerly.
Saskia sounded resigned when she answered. "Yes."
The Doctor felt a small pang of guilt at her tone, but he was too curious not to try out her theory.
"OK. I'm going to think of something specific and you tell me what you can see or feel."

Saskia cleared her mind as she had been taught as a small child when she was first learning the mental disciplines that were necessary to an empathic race.
"Ready," she said. Moments later her head was filled with the image of a laughing young woman. She had blonde hair, a bouncing step and looked as if she was in love with life.
"Rose," she said quietly; even though she had never seen this young woman before, she could sense the Doctor's feelings for her, and guessed her identity.
"Yes," answered the Doctor, just as quietly. "Another one?"
"Go on." An image of a metal robot, with a vague resemblance to a dog, appeared in her head. "K9," she said, smiling as she named him.
The Doctor smiled too. "Yes. Now let's try something a little more complicated this time."
Saskia waited, then saw a barren, blasted plain in the midst of which stood a tower. "The Tower of – Rassilion?" she asked, unfamiliar with the name she could sense the Doctor was thinking.
"Yes," the Doctor answered. "Do you know who he is? Can you sense that?"
Saskia concentrated for several minutes before answering. "The founder of Time Lord society on Gallifrey."
"Yes." The Doctor sounded quite triumphant as he sat up, but when he glanced down at the young woman lying beside him, he saw she was grey with exhaustion.
"Rassilion's Tower be damned!" he exclaimed. "Why didn't you tell me this was too tiring?" He knelt and picked Saskia up bodily from the grass.
"Doctor?" she said feebly.
"Let's get you back inside the TARDIS," he said worriedly. "Then it's bed rest for you my girl."
He carried her across the grass to a stand of trees amongst which the TARDIS was standing. Pushing open the door with his shoulder, he went straight to Saskia's room and lowered her onto the bed. As he straightened up again he realised she had fainted, so he pulled off her boots and covered her with a blanket. He sat on the bed beside her, one hand on her wrist, taking her pulse, the other resting gently on her forehead, hoping that he would find her alone in her head.

When Saskia opened her eyes next, she thought she was still outside, seeing the blue ceiling above her head. The next moment she became aware of the TARDIS humming in the background, and the Doctor sitting beside her, his eyes closed.
"Sorry," she whispered.
He opened his eyes abruptly. "Don't apologise," he begged her. "If anyone needs to say sorry, it's me! Thoughtless, careless, stupid – "
Saskia tightened her grasp on the Doctor's hand. "Do stop calling yourself names," she said hoarsely. "I could have told you that I wasn't strong enough for your test."
"I should have known without being told," he answered, sounding very cross. "I – "
"Don't," Saskia said. "Don't keep beating yourself up. It's a waste of energy."
He looked down at her. She smiled weakly, and he leant forward and kissed her gently on the forehead. "You're very wise," he told her.
"I'm also very tired," she answered.
"I'll leave you to sleep, then. I'm just going to fetch our picnic things, then I'll come straight back."
"Mmm." Saskia was already falling asleep even as he spoke. He watched her face for a few moments, then went outside to retrieve their picnic things. Then he went to have a shower, knowing that the TARDIS would keep watch over Saskia for him.
Heading back to Saskia's room afterwards, he stopped at the door to the library, then went inside. He rummaged in his pockets for a key, then unlocked a drawer in the large writing desk that stood in one corner. He pulled out a large book, picked up a pen from the collection that were scattered in a pot on the top of the desk, then went back to Saskia's room.

When Saskia woke again she found the Doctor sitting nearby, his glasses on his nose and a large book in his lap.
"Hello," he said cheerfully when he saw she was awake. "How are you feeling?"
"OK," she answered. "How long have I been asleep?"
"About four hours," he said.
"Oh. I haven't slept this much since I was six and sick with the 'flu. I can't say I like it much."
The Doctor smiled. "I don't suppose you do. Most active people hate being ill."
"What's the book?" she asked.
"My diary," answered the Doctor. "I've been looking up my previous encounters with telepathic beings, but there's nothing similar about those encounters and our present situation."
"Have you encountered many telepathic beings?" Saskia asked curiously.
"Only a few, and none as vicious as this beastie, at least none that are also likely to turn up on 20th century Earth."
"Is that good or bad?"
"Neither, just unhelpful," the Doctor answered with a grimace.
Saskia sat up with a wince. "I'm stiff," she complained.
"You could always have a shower," the Doctor suggested.
Her face brightened. "I think I will," she answered.
"Do you need a hand?" the Doctor asked.
She shook her head. "I'll manage."
"OK. I'm going to the Control Room, there's some data I want to check."
"I'll come and find you there in a bit, then."

No comments: