22 April 2007

Saskia's Trials - Chapter 3 Part 1

The Doctor reached out and grabbed Luca by the throat, lifting him bodily off his feet. Dr Karg quickly got to his own feet and looked over at the guard, expecting him to intervene, but the guard remained standing by the door, apparently oblivious.
Luca was scrabbling with both hands at the Doctor's hand, his face turning purple and his eyes bulging from their sockets.
"Not such a pretty boy now, are you Luca?" the Doctor growled as Luca's feet sought to gain some purchase and take the weight of his body from his throat.
The Doctor let him hang there for a few more moments, then let go of his throat, dropping him carelessly onto the floor. "You're so far beneath Saskia, you little scumbag, you're not even worth my time." He shoved his hands back into his pockets, turned with a swirl of his long coat, and walked out of the door, which the guard had swiftly opened for him.
Dr Karg looked down at Luca, who was sprawled on the floor, massaging his throat and crying pathetically.
"You know," Dr Karg said thoughtfully, "I think the Doctor's right. You're not worth our time." He crossed the room and went out into the corridor where he found the Doctor leaning against the wall, wearing a shame-faced look.
"I shouldn't have done that," he said remorsefully when he saw Dr Karg.
Both men looked round when the guard cleared his throat meaningfully. "Actually sir, I'm glad that you did. He needed taking down a peg or two. He might be a bit more bearable now you've put the wind up him, so to speak."
The Doctor raised his eyebrows, whilst Dr Karg looked surprised.
"He's been so full of sh- himself since the Council sent him down. By rights, he should have got that two year exile, he deserved it. No one in here likes him, not even the Commander." The guard grinned suddenly. "The boys'll be glad to know you had him crying on the floor."
"Even so, you'd better take him to the infirmary before he goes back to his cell," Dr Karg said. "I doubt the Doctor's done any lasting physical damage, but I'd be neglecting my duties if I didn't advise you to get him checked by a medic."
The guard nodded. "I will. But let me show you to the room where you'll see Saskia." He led them down the corridor and showed them into another room. The Doctor was surprised to see that this room had a pleasant aspect: there was a carpet on the floor and the chairs looked comfortable. It was painted a nice shade of green. He looked at the guard in surprise, who grinned cheerfully, tapped the side of his nose, then went out.

Dr Karg sat down and watched the Doctor restlessly pacing around the room.
"I think Luca was deluding himself," Dr Karg observed after a few minutes.
"Hmm?" The Doctor looked up from the small bookcase which had caught his eye.
"Luca. He was deluding himself if he thought Saskia would be interested in him."
"Of course he was," the Doctor answered confidently. "Saskia's a smart young woman."
"That wasn't quite what I meant," Dr Karg said.
The Doctor look up again, something in Dr Karg's tone catching his attention. "What do you mean?" he asked, crossing the room to sit beside Dr Karg.
"About four years ago Saskia was in a relationship with a young man who worked with her at the Museum. It ended very badly and she was very hurt by the experience. You could say she swore off men after that, and just buried herself in her work. Even if she's now interested in having a relationship, she wouldn't be interested in Luca that way. He's far too conscious of his own good looks and, as you said, far too shallow."
The Doctor rubbed at the back of his head thoughtfully. "Why are you telling me this?" he asked finally.
"Saskia cares a great deal about you, that much was obvious to me the first time I met you. She's like a daughter to me and I care about her a great deal. I don't want to see her get hurt again."
The Doctor tugged at his earlobe. "But Saskia knows I love Rose with my whole being," he said.
Dr Karg nodded. "Of course she does. But love isn't logical, and it's not something that can be switched on and off."
The Doctor looked at Dr Karg in surprise. "You think Saskia loves me?" he asked.
"I think she's probably on the way to loving you. Don't tell me you don't know how she feels?"
"I knew she cared about me a great deal. She made that clear a couple of days ago, although I don't think she realised just how clear her feelings were to me. I asked her why she'd done what she did to Jackson and his men, and she made it clear that her concern for me was her sole motivation." The Doctor tugged at his ear again. "But I didn't think – " he paused, remembering the way Saskia had kissed him in thanks for their dinner at the Randolph in Oxford. "Hmm."

Before Dr Karg could say any more the door opened again and Saskia, dressed in a baggy grey jumpsuit which the Doctor noticed made her look paler than usual, came in escorted by the same guard who had escorted Luca. He nodded at both men, then went out, locking the door behind him. The three of them looked at each other for a moment, then both men got to their feet and moved towards Saskia. The Doctor hung back a little, allowing Dr Karg to hug Saskia first so that he could block his conversation with Dr Karg from his mind. Saskia turned from hugging Dr Karg and glanced swiftly at the Doctor's face. She had noticed he was hanging back a little and was unsure what it meant. He smiled at her suddenly, holding his arms out to her and she stepped into his embrace with a dizzying sense of relief.
"Are you OK?" the Doctor asked quietly as he held her tight.
"Apart from being here," she answered, determined that she wasn't going to complain to them.
The Doctor held Saskia as if he would never let go of her again, and Dr Karg couldn't help wondering if the other man knew yet just how much he cared for Saskia, even if he did love Rose with his whole being.
Dr Karg cleared his throat. "Saskia, did you know that Luca is being held here?"
The Doctor frowned at him over Saskia's head, wondering why he was bringing this up. Saskia pulled herself away from the Doctor and sat down in one of the chairs. He immediately sat down on the arm of the chair and put his arm around her shoulders.
"I didn't know," she answered, "although I should have guessed."
"He's inclined to be vindictive about you," Dr Karg said, which the Doctor considered was a vast understatement. "If you see him before the trial tomorrow, don't let him provoke you into doing or saying anything rash."
"Have you seen Commander Posten yet?" asked Dr Karg.
Saskia nodded. "I saw her after lunch. It was she who told me that you were coming to see me this afternoon, although I didn't know you were coming too," she said, looking up at the Doctor's watchful face.
"You didn't suppose anything could keep me away, did you?" he asked.
Saskia shook her head. "No, but Commander Posten just said Dr Karg was bringing a colleague."
"Jeff sent his love and said to tell you that he was sorry he didn't come to see you too," Dr Karg told her.
Saskia half smiled. "There's no reason why he should have come," she said. "Is he OK?"
Dr Karg nodded. "He's fine, just anxious about your trial, like the rest of us."
Saskia looked up at the Doctor again. "It's a pity we can't go back and undo things," she said, a slight catch in her voice.
The Doctor tightened his grip on her shoulders. "If I could find a way to, without letting the Reapers loose, I would. No hesitation."
She nodded. She had known it wasn't possible, having read Rose's account of her own interference in her father's death.
Dr Karg spoke quietly. "Saskia, it's OK for you to cry, you know. We won't think any less of you, and you might feel better if you do."
"I – " Saskia tried to speak and found herself sobbing instead. She turned her face to the Doctor's chest, her right hand clutching convulsively at his shirt and jacket. The Doctor reached down and scooped her up from the chair, then sat down in it instead, cradling her in his arms, her head against his shoulder and her legs resting at a right angle across his own legs and over the left arm of the chair.
"It's OK," he whispered, kissing the top of her head. "It's OK. Just let it all out."

No comments: