22 April 2007

Saskia's Trials - Chapter 3 Part 2

The friendly guard opened the door quietly and saw Saskia asleep in the Doctor’s arms. He walked across the room and spoke quietly to the Doctor. “Let’s get her back to her cell,” he said. He and Dr Karg helped the Doctor to lever himself up out of the chair so that he did not have to disturb Saskia.
“All the other visitors have gone,” the guard said, “and everyone else is in their cells. I waited until the last moment to come and tell you that visiting hour was over.”
“You’re a good man, John,” said the Doctor quietly.
He shook his head. “Just doing my job,” he said.
“But with more compassion than some,” Dr Karg said.
Fortunately for the Doctor’s arms, it wasn’t too far from the visitor centre to Saskia’s cell, and they didn’t meet anyone on the way, which spared John the necessity of explaining why he was letting the Doctor carry Saskia back to her cell when he should have woken her and made her walk there.
John opened the door to Saskia’s cell and stood aside to allow the Doctor to carry her inside. He laid her gently on the bed, then carefully pulled off her shoes. She stirred and muttered in her sleep, but didn’t wake. The Doctor unfolded the blanket and tucked it around her, his long fingers moving swiftly and deftly. He stroked her hair from her face, then bent and kissed her forehead before joining John and Dr Karg in the corridor. John locked the door then led them out of the building.
“What time do they eat usually?” asked Dr Karg.
“Six thirty. But don’t worry, if Saskia’s still asleep by then, I’ll keep some food for her.”
“Thank you John.” The Doctor shook hands with him, as did Dr Karg.
“I’ll see you tomorrow,” John said. “I’m escorting Saskia to her trial.” They nodded and he watched them walk away before he went back inside to watch over Saskia.

The Doctor wore a thoughtful look as the two men made their way back across the city to Saskia’s apartment. “Do you think she’ll be OK?” he asked Dr Karg as they took the lift up to the fourth floor.
“I hope so,” Dr Karg said. “But I just don’t know. This trial is going to be difficult for her. You and I will have to convince the Council that Saskia was still under the influence of the Devron’s attacks on her mind when Jackson and his men were killed.”
“But she was,” the Doctor said immediately.
“I know,” said Dr Karg. “We both know that, but the Council never saw the Devron and did not experience contact with it. Some of them will be inclined to be sceptical, and disinclined to give Saskia the benefit of the doubt. It also depends on how Luca conducts himself. You frightened him badly this afternoon, but he may have shrugged off his fright by tomorrow.”
“I wanted to throttle him,” the Doctor admitted, a little sheepishly.
“I know,” answered Dr Karg. “It’s just as well that you didn’t, though.”
The Doctor nodded, then yawned suddenly. “Oh, sorry,” he said.
“When did you last sleep?” asked Dr Karg.
The Doctor frowned, trying to remember. “Two days ago, I think. I don’t sleep as much as you humans.”
“Nevertheless, you should try to get some sleep tonight. You won’t do Saskia any favours if you’re not feeling one hundred percent.”
The Doctor nodded. The lift stopped and they stepped out. Dr Karg knocked on Saskia’s door and Jeff opened it immediately, as if he had been waiting just the other side. The door was only half open before he asked “How is she?” There was an anxious look in his grey eyes.
“She’s been better,” answered Dr Karg. “We left her sleeping.”
“Sleeping?” repeated Jeff in surprise. “But Saskia never sleeps during the day usually. Is she – “
“She’s OK, Jeff,” Dr Karg interrupted. “She’s not sick, just very tired out by a stressful experience.”
“Oh, sorry.”
Dr Karg smiled at him. “It’s OK. I know you’re fond of Saskia, and you’re worried about her, just as we are.”
Jeff nodded, blushing, and the Doctor wondered just how fond Jeff was of Saskia, but he didn’t ask.
"What are we going to do now?" asked Jeff.
"Wait. That's all any of us can do," answered Dr Karg.
"I'm going to make a cup of tea," said Jeff. "Do you want one?"
Both men nodded and the Doctor followed Jeff into the kitchen. "I'm not that hungry at the moment, but we should eat, so I'll make dinner."
"OK." Jeff made the tea, then left the Doctor preparing something called lasagne, which sound alien and exotic to Jeff. The Doctor had said it was Italian, which meant it was both exotic and alien, but he would probably enjoy it.

Saskia woke up feeling disoriented and uncertain of the time or where she was. She opened her eyes and discovered that what she had hoped was just a nightmare wasn't in fact a dream. She really was locked up in the detention unit in her home city. She sat up slowly, rubbing her eyes and wondered how she had got to her cell. The last thing she clearly remembered was the Doctor holding her in a room in the visitors' area. She put her shoes on and stood up, then wondered where she thought she could go. The door behind her opened and a guard came in carrying a tray of food. She could smell it and it made her realise that she was hungry. She looked down at the tray then up at the face of the man carrying it, surprised. She recognised the guard as the same man who had escorted her to the visitors' area earlier.
John put the tray down on the bed. "Hello."
"You've slept almost all the way through dinner, but I've brought you something," he said.
Saskia looked at him in bewilderment. "Thank you. And I'm not ungrateful, but why?"
"I promised your friend the Doctor that I would," he answered simply.
Saskia raised her eyebrows but didn't argue. "How did I get here?"
"The Doctor carried you," John said.
"Oh!" She sat down on the bed, and put the tray on her lap.
"The Doctor and Dr Karg felt you needed the sleep," John said as he went to the door. "Knock when you've finished." He went out as Saskia nodded, deciding that it didn't matter for the moment if she didn't understand. She lifted the cover off the bowl on the tray and found it full of stew. She ate hungrily, trying not to bolt it.
John knew he was breaking all sorts of rules by giving Saskia what others would regard as preferential treatment, but he didn't care. Saskia was the Doctor's friend, and the Doctor had saved his life on the day that the Rovians had attacked Valentia. He would do everything in his power for either one of them if it meant he could repay at least a little of that debt.
After ten minutes or so, Saskia knocked on her door and John unlocked it, taking the tray from her.
"What's your name?" she asked.
"Thank you, John. I appreciate what you did, but don't get into trouble on my account."
"I won't," he assured her. He shut the door and locked it again, before taking the tray back to the canteen.
Saskia went back to sit on her bed. She felt better for the food, her earlier sleep and John's kindness, although the latter unnerved her a little. After her encounters with Wachter and the woman doctor earlier, she hadn't expected kindness from anyone here. She wondered what the Doctor was doing and what he thought of the fact that she had apparently cried herself to sleep in his arms. She thought he must be getting fed up with her crying and needing his comfort; it certainly embarrassed her. Anyone would think I was three years old, not thirty, she thought crossly. She hardly dared to admit to herself that she enjoyed being held by him.

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