22 April 2007

Saskia's Trials - Chapter 4 Part 4

A couple of hours later, the Doctor turned up at the hospital to collect her. His tie was pulled askew and his hair stood up wildly, but he had a huge beaming grin on his face. Saskia couldn't help smiling at the sight of him. He dropped to his knees by her chair and reached out to hug her, but she put her hands on his arms, stopping him. He looked at her in surprise, his smile fading.
"I'm not quite up to hugs just yet," she said. "Especially your bone-crackers."
"Oh." He sounded more disappointed than Saskia had expected. "Are you up to coming home though?" he asked.
She nodded and got up carefully. The Doctor moved to put his arm around her, but she stopped him again. "Just lend me your arm, please," she said.
He held out his right arm and Saskia put her hand on it, then walked slowly and carefully out of the room. By the time they had reached the street, the Doctor was convinced something was seriously wrong and was wondering why she hadn't told him what it was. He knew she'd been given a muscle relaxant prior to being taken down for the surgery, but the nurses had assured him that it would have worn off by now.
"I'm going to call the TARDIS," he told her. "You can barely walk and you won't let me carry you." He pulled his Sonic Screwdriver out of his jacket pocket and activated the program. A few moments later the TARDIS materialised wheezily beside them, and he helped Saskia through the door and over to the bench. He flicked a couple of switches on the console, and sent them back to the usual spot near the Museum and Saskia's apartment.

"Tell me what's wrong, Saskia, please," he said quietly.
"I'll show you," she said. "But I need to lie down."
He nodded and helped her to her room. She lay down carefully on her bed, leaving space for him to sit beside her. She nodded and he reached out to her, placing his long cool fingers on either side of her head, then closed his eyes.
By the time she had finished showing the Doctor what had taken place at Wachter's home, she was sobbing silently. She opened her eyes and found the Doctor was crying too. He moved his hands from her face and clasped her hands tightly in his.
"Oh my love," he said quietly. He pulled out his handkerchief and gently dried her tears. "You get some sleep," he said. "I'm going to go and talk to Dr Karg. Wachter has to be dealt with, and it's better that the Council deals with him because if I find him, I'll kill him."
Saskia nodded, then closed her eyes. The Doctor waited until she was asleep, kissed her forehead, then went to have a stomp around the Control Room until he'd calmed down a little. He was horrified at what had happened to Saskia, and whilst he knew it was best that the Council deal with Wachter, he was seriously tempted to go and find him, so he could at least beat him senseless.
He asked the TARDIS to watch over Saskia, then let himself out and went to see Dr Karg, whom he knew would be waiting with Jeff for Saskia to get back from the hospital. He let himself into Saskia's apartment and both men looked surprised when they saw he was alone.
"Saskia's in the TARDIS, sleeping," he said, forestalling their questions. "She's still feeling rough from what's happened." He turned to Jeff. "Could you do me favour, and see if you can get some fresh fruit for us, please?"
Jeff nodded. "Of course." He went out and Dr Karg looked expectantly at the Doctor. "What is it?"
The Doctor told Dr Karg everything that had happened to Saskia. He couldn't sit still to talk and soon found himself pacing restlessly around the room. Dr Karg sat and listened in silence, a look of horror growing on his face.
"We shall have to report this to the Council," he said when the Doctor finally finished talking.
The Doctor stopped pacing and looked at Dr Karg. "You will have to report it," he said firmly. "I'm taking Saskia away in the morning. She needs time to heal and I'm not subjecting her to the experience of giving evidence again until she's feeling stronger. She's been through quite enough in the last two days."
"Very well," said Dr Karg. "But Wachter will not be tried without her evidence."
The Doctor waved a hand dismissively. "I can bring her back months or years from now from our point of view, and it would still only be tomorrow for you," he said. "She needs time to heal."
Dr Karg nodded. "Of course they might not find Wachter immediately anyway. If he's heard that Saskia was reprieved, he'll have gone into hiding."
The Doctor began patting at his pockets, then pulled out his mobile phone. "I'll give you the number of this and you can call me when they're ready to try him."
Dr Karg was making a note of the number when Jeff came back with a large paper sack full of fruit and a bunch of yellow flowers that looked quite like daffodils from Old Earth. The Doctor raised an eyebrow at him.
"They're Saskia's favourite flowers," Jeff said.
The Doctor nodded. "Thanks Jeff. We'll come and see you in the morning to say goodbye," he said, taking the fruit and flowers from Jeff, before hurrying out.

By the time the Doctor got back to the TARDIS, Saskia was in the throes of a nightmare, and he rushed to her room, hearing her screams. He soothed her and she went back to sleep. He remained sitting at her bedside, holding her hand. But she woke again an hour later suffering from another nightmare. After she woke the third time, he told her that he might be able to help.
"I've got a drug in the medical bay that I could give you to stop you dreaming," he said.
Saskia looked at his anxious face. "That might help in the short-term, but what about the long-term?" she asked.
The Doctor nodded. "You can't suppress the nightmares forever, it's true. They're your mind's way of dealing with what you've been through, which means they're a necessary part of your healing process."
"Then I guess neither one of us is going to get much sleep for a while." She tried to smile. "Try not to find any monsters we might need to run from, please."
"That's easily achieved," the Doctor assured her. "We'll just hang about inside the Time Vortex until you're ready to travel again."
"You'd do that?" Saskia asked.
"Of course," answered the Doctor, surprised that she felt it necessary to ask.
"Thank you."
"Do you want to try to get some more sleep?" he asked.
She sighed, then nodded. The Doctor looked at her thoughtfully, rubbing the back of his head.
"What is it," she asked, puzzled.
"There might be another way to help you to sleep better," he said, tugging at his earlobe. "Do you remember, when you were having trouble sleeping after the Devron attacked you, I read to you one night, and I gave you some mental images to go with the story?"
Saskia nodded.
"I could do that again – give you some mental images to encourage you to have pleasant dreams rather than nightmares." The Doctor saw her face brighten at his suggestion. "The only thing is, I'd have to touch you, or better still, hold you, to keep the images in your head for several hours." He spoke carefully, knowing she might hate the idea after what she'd been through.
She looked at his anxious face. "OK."
"You're sure?" he asked. "I don't want you to feel uncomfortable."
"I trust you," she said simply.
"OK." He stood up and took off his Converse boots and his socks, then shrugged himself out of his jacket. He pulled off his tie and started to unbutton his shirt, then stopped. He looked at Saskia and raised one eyebrow. "Is it OK if I take my shirt off?" he asked.
She nodded and he finished unbuttoning it, leaving on his t-shirt and trousers. He put his clothes on her chair, then sat on the edge of the bed. Saskia moved across to the middle of her bed, then turned on her side, so that her back was to him. He lay down beside her, then turned onto his side. He put his arms around her middle, and pulled her back against his chest.
"OK?" he asked softly.
He closed his eyes and concentrated on providing her with a mental movie as she fell asleep. He lay quietly, marvelling at what an amazing thing it was to trust someone as much as she trusted him at this moment.

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