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Speaking his Language

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~~oooOOOooo~~

 

The Doctor swatted at his brother and let out an annoyed groan at his mirth toward Rose and her current state of attire … and dancing.  He moaned out his brother’s name in a long suffering manner.

 

Braxiatel didn’t take offence to the swat against his shoulder.  He was still highly amused as he stood straight up at his side.  “Sometimes you make it too easy…”

 

The Doctor levered him a glare of warning as he strode forward.  He lifted a finger.  “Be nice.”

 

Braxiatel grinned widely and took hold of his lapels to exude a distinguished façade.  “I’ll be a perfect gentleman.  I won’t even say yee-haa y’all.”

 

The Doctor rolled his eyes and shook his head.  “There are so many things wrong with that I don’t even know where to begin.”  He offered him a side-long glance.  “I swear to Rassilon, Brax, if you even think of saying either of those words, I’ll put you into regeneration.”

 

Braxiatel smirked.  “You’re a pacifist, Thete.   Putting me into regeneration without violence might take some work.”

 

The Doctor turned to face his brother and continued onward walking backward.  He flicked his finger side to side.  “Tenacious and sneaky, remember.  Don’t think I haven’t already got several rather effective and non-violent plans already in mind.”  He pivoted on his foot to continue walking forward.  “Seven centuries of planning…”

 

He lifted his eyes to the sky.  “I can’t even laugh that one off as jest,” he said with a sigh.  He considered making another comment, but paused when the back of the Doctor’s hand hit lightly at his chest to stop him.  He followed his brother’s gaze and lifted a brow to watch his little human dancing inside the flashing lights of an obviously excited TARDIS to music blaring through the front doors.

 

“Give me a minute,” the Doctor requested with amusement in his tone.  “I should warn her that we have a guest, just in case she wants to find a little bit of dignity before introductions.”

 

“Perhaps to her species this is dignified,” Brax offered with amusement.

 

“No.  It’s really not,” the Doctor answered with a shrug.  “Adorable, maybe, but not dignified.”

 

“Subjective,” Braxiatel replied with a shrug.

 

The Doctor flicked up a finger and walked toward the clearing in front of the TARDIS.  “A minute, Brax.”

 

“Gallifreyan, or Earth minute?”  His eyes widened at the Doctor’s glare.  “It’s a very important distinction to make.”

 

The Doctor shook his head and strode carefully into the clearing.  Still on guard and wondering if Rose was still mad at him for whatever past-misdeed he had inadvertently done during the evening, his movements were slow and wary.

 

She was adorable like this.  He had to admit.  The music was quite delightful and reminded him of songs long past in Earth’s History – and a night where he donned rose-coloured rounded glasses  and wore his cravat around his head, smoking pot with a husky-voiced fellow wearing a straw cowboy hat and a black eye patch and his musical group of friends.

 

…Oh, that was a night…

 

Rose’s lyrical voice sang across the distance.  “Sharing the night together, woah, oh yeah, sharing the night together…”

 

The Doctor knew the song well enough – he had a hand in writing part of it that night around a campfire – and hooked his arm around her waist to join in on the next line.

 

“We can bring in the morning girl if you want to go that far.  And if tomorrow finds us right here, the way are, would you mind sharing the night together.”

 

Rose pealed with delight and laughter as she turned toward him and threw her arms around his waist.  “I never knew you were a Dr. Hook fan, Doctor.”

 

“My name’s in there, Rose, how can’t I be?”  He replied with a grin.   He looked up to the open TARDIS doors.  “I think that’s enough for now, dear.   Thank you.”

 

The music shut off and he looked down at the adorable woman giggling in his arms.  “Did you have a productive day without me?”

 

She pouted a little.  “I’m surprised you left.”

 

“You made your feelings on my presence rather effectively known,” he offered with a shrug.  “And who am I to deny you your wish?”

 

Her expression fell completely and she moved in closer to hug him tightly.  “I’m so sorry I was mean to you, Doctor,” she said sincerely as she held him tight.  She lifted her head to settle her chin on his chest and gifted him with her most innocent and apologetic wide-eyed expression.   “When I woke up this mornin’ and realised I was in a code red situation…”

 

“And what might a code red situation entail?” Braxiatel asked smoothly.

 

Rose peeped out in alarm and buried herself in the Doctor’s chest.  She looked through the gap between his arm and his chest at the rather finely dressed man behind him.   She felt the rumble of a moan inside the Doctor’s chest.

 

“Brax, just what part of give me a minute did you not understand?”

 

He shrugged.  “The lack of distinction between an Earth and a Gallifreyan minute,” he shot back through a one-sided smile.  “I did seek clarification on that matter, of which you neglected to elucidate.  As we are on Gallifrey, I opted for the latter.  Foolish, I might admit, given your penchant for all things Earthly.”   He held out a hand toward Rose.  “Good evening, my dear.  I’m Irving Braxiatel.  My hope that it’s a pleasure for us to meet.”

 

Rose’s eyes were wide.  She looked at the hand waiting for her to shake it, and then looked up at the Doctor with question in her eyes.  He nodded.  “It’s okay,” he assured her as he drew her to his side.  “Rose, please allow me to introduce you to…”  He sounded off a sixteen syllable Gallifreyan word with a smirk on his face.  “…otherwise known as Brax, my brother.”

 

“Oh very mature,” Brax ground out with a roll in his eyes.

 

Rose gasped.  She looked at the man in front of her and then looked up at the Doctor.  “You.  You have a brother?”

 

He swallowed a gulp.  His voice lifted an octave higher than usual.  “Of course I do.  Surely I’ve mentioned him to you.”

 

She shook her head and pretended to think on it a second.  “Nope.  No.  You didn’t mention him.”

 

Braxiatel chuckled.  “I wouldn’t be too surprised by that if I were you.  I prefer not to acknowledge the fact I have a brother either.” He held out his hand again.  “And now, allow me to introduce myself to you again.  Irving Braxiatel.  Perpetually embarrassed brother of this timeless degenerate.”

 

Rose nodded quickly and moved to shake his hand in greeting.  Realising that she was still wearing dirty gardening gloves, she apologised and quickly flicked them off her hands.  She went to wipe them on her shirt and realised that she had it tied up underneath her boobs.   With her face reddening by the second, she whimpered and then apologised as she quickly untied the knot, let her shirt fall properly down and over the length of her shorts, and wiped her hands.

 

“I’m so sorry,” she breathed out with a wince.  She took his hand for a shake of greeting.  “I’m Rose.  Rose Tyler.”  She pointed to herself and then moved to take the rag from her hair and fix the flyaway mess into a bun on top of her head.  “I must look a fright to you right now.   I was just doing a spot of gardening, and it’s really hot out here.”

 

“Oh nonsense,” Braxiatel shot back with cheer.  “Why dear you look absolutely, oh, how did Thete put it?  Adorable.   You look positively adorable.”  He looked toward the Doctor and gave him a wide grin.  “See?  Nice.  I’m being very nice.”

 

The Doctor palmed his face and let out a groan.  Rose was amused.  “And usually you aren’t so much so?”

 

Braxiatel shrugged.  “No.  Not too often.  Part of my position in society I suppose.”

 

“Lucky me, then,” Rose said happily.  She looked toward the TARDIS.  “Uh, can I get you a drink or somethin’.  I saw some lemonade in the fridge earlier this afternoon, and…”

 

“Drinks aren’t necessary,” the Doctor cut in quickly.  “Brax won’t be staying for too long.  Will you brother.”

 

Braxiatel smiled a cheeky grin toward his brother.  “Actually, Thete.  I was thinking that the three of us should take supper together.  I had my assistant book us a table at a delightful new restaurant near the capitol.”

 

The Doctor and Rose simultaneously bleated their own reactions to Braxiatel’s invitation:

“Hold on a minute.  Your name is Thete?.”

“We already had plans for tonight, Brax.  Perhaps another time?”

 

Braxiatel looked between the two of them, but said nothing.  Rose however, took a step back from the Doctor.  There was a look of surprise on her face.  “Your name is Thete?”

 

“Short for Theta Sigma,” he answered with a shrug. “And no.  It’s not my true name.”

 

Braxiatel offered up another option.  “Actually his given name is…”  he rattled off a long and multisyllable word in Gallifreyan.

 

The Doctor moaned.  “Brax, please.”  He looked toward Rose, whose expression was one of disbelief.  “Theta Sigma is the name I chose to use at the Academy.  As you heard from my brother’s recital, my true name is somewhat long and difficult to pronounce, so – as most of us do – I found an alternative moniker that is much easier to wrap your tongue around.”

 

Braxiatel smirked.  “And afterward he settled on Doctor, mainly as a dig toward old Quences who was utterly mortified that Thete here wanted to take on said occupation instead of accepting post on council.”  He chuckled.  “Right up to the end the old man hated you for that little piece of defiance on your part.”

 

“Disowned me completely,” the Doctor said with a sigh. 

 

“What’s wrong with bein’ a doctor?” Rose asked curiously.

 

“What’s wrong, indeed,” the Doctor agreed with her.  He then looked back to his brother.  “Thanks for the invitation, however tonight I believe we will take a pass.”

 

“Why?” Rose half whined.  “I think it could be fun getting’ to know him a little.”

 

“Fun for whom?” he groused petulantly.

 

Rose set her hands on her hips.  “You said you wanted me to learn about you, Doctor.  You said that.  Before I make any decisions about you’n me, I should get to know the real you.”  She grinned toward Braxiatel.  “And who better to tell me all about you than the one you grew up with?”

 

Braxiatel grinned.  “You can’t argue with that, Thete.”

 

The Doctor slouched.  “Fine,” he droned through his teeth.  “Fine.   We’ll be happy to join you for supper.  Thank you for the invitation.”

 


Rose bounced excitedly a single jump.  “I just need to take a quick shower.  Uh.  Can you gimme a mo’?”

 

“Go right ahead, dear,” Braxiatel smoothed out politely with a smile that could light up a room.  “Do be off, we have quite a walk ahead of us, and the sooner we can depart the better.”  She made to leave and he cut in quickly.  “And this code red of yours.  I understand on you planet that’s a dire warning.  IS there anything we should be made aware of?”

 

Her eyes widened and she shook her head in very tight and very uncomfortable movements.  “Oh.  Oh no.  No.  Just an – ehm – girl thing.  Nothing for you to be alarmed about.”

 

The Doctor’s eyes widened in realisation, Brax just looked perplexed.

 

She thumbed over her shoulder.  “Ten minutes.  I promise.”  

 

And with that, she turned and ran.

 

Braxiatel turned toward his brother with curiosity and concern in his gaze.  “After this encounter, I have two questions and one observation for you.  Where would you like me to start?”

 

“Let’s get the painful part over first,” he said with a sigh.  “What have you observed that you feel is necessary to share?”

 

Braxiatel smiled.  “She is very adorable.   So unlike your other companion .. what was her name? Leela?  All fearless, and to be feared.  A right savage.”

 

“Warrior,” the Doctor corrected.  “Very different upbringing than Rose.”  He looked back toward the open doors of the TARDIS.  “And Rose definitely has a fire inside her, Brax.  You’re just not seeing it at present.”

 

“No,” he purred.  “I’m obviously not.  Still.  Time will tell.” 

 

“Your questions?”

 

Braxiatel nodded.  “Yes.  She mentioned gardening.”  He looked around.  “Highly unnecessary in a forest clearing wouldn’t you say?  Unless she’s planning to set up permanent residence on this mountain, it seems a rather pointless exercise.”

 

He shrugged.  “She wants a garden inside the TARDIS,” he answered tiredly.  “Has been working on and off on it for the past few weeks.  For her own reasons, she has plans to replicate this area in a room inside the ship.”  He shrugged.  “A gift for me, she says, so that when I’m away from home, I always have it with me.” 

 

“How very … adorable.”  Brax managed quietly.  “And also very strange.  Gallifrey is only ever a flip of the dematerialisation switch away.”

 

“And your next question?”

 

“This code Red…”

 

~~oooOOOooo~~

 

Rose had taken only thirty seconds more than the ten seconds she had asked for.  In that time she’d managed to shower, change, fix her hair, and apply a little makeup.   Both men had been stunned when she’d emerged from the ship, dressed in black fitted slacks and a loose-fitting dark maroon blouse – both of which perfectly accented her curves.  Her damp hair was held in place by an elaborately designed dark hair clip, with wispy curls kissing at her neck and cheeks.  Her face was fresh and lightly powered, and her eyes thinly lined underneath thick black lashes.

 

The Doctor had exhaled a whistle of appreciation, and Braxiatel had actually bowed a little.  Within only moments, and with Braxiatel offering his elbow to Rose, the three had begun their trek toward supper.

 

The walk took them along a well worn path through the forest.  Their conversation was friendly and at times enthusiastic as the two brothers sparred with words, teases, and taunts toward each other.  During lulls in their banter, Rose would stop, point, and ask both of her guides about plants and animals of interest, and how she would repeat their names in the language of the Time Lords.

 

Surprisingly, both men were happy to share their insight.  Braxiatel was far more specific on her pronunciation than was the Doctor, and many times he would correct the way she spoke to ensure that her pronunciation was perfect to the trill.

 

They paused for a moment at a cliff’s edge to admire the setting suns falling down into the valley.  Rose couldn’t help herself as she sighed in complete wonderment at the beauty of the landscape around them, and of the darkening wash of deep reds, purples, greens and oranges that filled the sky.

 

“Magnificent,” Rose breathed out with reverence.  “I’ve never seen anythin’ more beau’iful.”

 

Braxiatel followed her gaze toward a scene he’d seen so many times before in his life and shrugged.  “It’s a fine view, I suppose.”  He then spoke in Gallifreyan and urges Rose to repeat it.

 

She didn’t this time, however.  Instead, she moved in closer to him, shifting the hold she had of his elbow to wrap her arms around his.  “Brax.  How can you not look at that and not want to thank every deity looking down on us for blessing us with something so amazin’?”

 

He wasn’t quite used to being held like this – in fact he wasn’t used to anything of this nature at all – and so he looked down at her with discomfort on his face.  He was well prepared to chide her for impropriety and being so wistful, but paused at the expression on her face.   This young woman was truly, and without falter, awed by the sight.  So much so, that her breaths were taking on a short whimpering sound.  Looking across at his brother, he noted that the Doctor had much the same expression on his face – as though seeing a sunset for the very first time.

 

His eyes fell to the Doctor’s hand as it searched out that of his companion.  Once found, the Doctor clutched her hand tightly and pulled her toward him.  Rose immediately untangled herself from Braxiatel and wrapped herself against the Doctor’s side.

 

“Thank you for this,” the Doctor breathed out reverently to his companion as he dropped a kiss atop her head.  “Thank you.”

Braxiatel’s eyes widened at the two of them, of their obvious easy closeness, and of the shared bond of awe they had toward the Gallifreyan sunset.  Curious to understand this awe and appreciation, he looked toward the sunset once more and looked deeper into the coming night sky.   And all at once he was hit with the majesty of it.   How could he have missed this?  He opened his mouth to make comment, but quickly inhaled those words as the call of a wolf howled across the cliffs.

 

The Doctor immediately pulled Rose behind him and took a step across her to keep her protected.  “Brax?”

 

Braxiatel held up his hand to ask for pause and waited.  The howling sound came again.  “Dahrama,” he growled in warning.  “Male, and none to happy right now.”   He looked toward his Brother.  “Thete, we need to get her out of here.”

 

“To where?” he snarled in reply.  “We’re in the middle of Cadonwood and the TARDIS is an hour’s walk from here.”

 

Rose chutched onto the arm that the Doctor had held out across her path to shield her from whatever was ahead of them.  She rolled onto the balls of her feet to look up over it.  “Doctor, what’s wrong?  What’s that sound?”

 

“Dahrama,” he hissed out quietly.  “Similar in build and size to your wolves back on Earth…”

 

“Only several times more dangerous,” Braxiatel added through gritted teeth.  “What are they doing here, Thete?  This is not their territory.  There hasn’t been a Dahrama sighting in two centuries.”

 

“I don’t know,” the Doctor grit in reply as another howl ripped by them.  “Let’s hope it’s just a lone male.  Together we can deal with one.”

 

“With what?” Braxiatel snapped in reply.  “We don’t have any weapons between us.”  He panted.  “We just have to backtrack and hope he hasn’t caught out scent.”

 

Another more urgent howl echoed around the cliffs, this one followed by another howl more mournful than the first.

 

“Sepulchasm!” Braxiatel yelled out.  “Two of them.”

 

“Language,” the Doctor chided him.  “Watch your mouth in front of Rose.”

 

“It’s okay,” Rose peeped out.  “Don’t think I’m not singing a bunch of swears inside my own head right now.”  She squinted into the rapidly falling darkness to try and see exactly what lay ahead of them.  “How bad are they?”

 

“That really does depend on a few factors, Rose,” he breathed out. 

 

“Are any of them ones that might give us a break?”

 

Braxiatel laughed under his breath.  “Not any that immediately come to mind.”  He pointed a finger into the Doctor’s chest.  “The most important thing is that you keep Rose safe,” he warned.  “Regenerate if you have to, but don’t let any harm come to her at all.”

“Oh aren’t you sweet,” Rose sang in an attempt at levity.   She only received a glare from both men in response.

 

The Doctor nodded his agreement to the task.  “And what about you?”

 

“I’ll put a call into the chancellory guard, see if I can have a capsule transported to the area to get us out.”  He winced at another howl.  “I don’t know how long that’s going to take.”

 

“Aren’t they time machines?” Rose hissed.  “Can they get here, oh, you know, like in a second?”

 

The Doctor shook his head.  “No time travel on Gallifrey, I’m afraid.”

 

“Well, shit,” she purred out as she looked across the cliffs.   She was still held firmly back by the Doctor’s strong and unyielding arm, and still stood on her toes to try and peek into the darkness.  Out of her peripheral, she could see Braxiatel press a communications device to his ear in the hopes of reaching help.

 

Her eyes quickly tracked toward a shelf overlooking the cliffs around the bend from hers as another howl swam through the trees.   Her eyes tracked, and then locked upon a large white wolf, with its heaf thrown back and his nose in the sky, bellowing out a solemn howl to the stars.  Its chest was painted purple and red from the sunset, it’s legs and belly soaked black in the darkness behind it.  She panted in amazement, and in fear.

 

“Doctor,” she whispered with a squeeze at his arm.  “He’s beautiful.”

 

Both he and Braxiatel lifted their heads quickly.  “Where?” the Doctor hissed sharply.

 

Rose moved her arm up over his to point into the distance.  “There.  On the cliff.”

 

The Doctor narrowed his eyes for focus and saw the wolf across the way.  “That’s him,” he confirmed as the wolf let out another howl.  “Brax, we’ve got location, and I think if we can keep eyes on it, we should be fine.”  He leaned his head to down to his companion.  His voice softened.  “Rose.  I promise you I’ll keep you safe.  Please listen to what we tell you – no matter how much you don’t like it.”

 

She nodded, her eyes locked on the animal ahead.  It was a magnificent creature.  It’s howl was haunting and relentless.  It reach inside her soul and made her chest hurt.  Each arch of its neck into the sky and the stomping, shifting of its front feet…

 

…Hold on…

 

Her focus on the sound of it tightened as she tilted her head to one side and listened.  She blocked out the Doctor’s growl, and Braxiatel’s hissed demands over the phone, and just listened.  The male howled out, and a second howl soon followed.  The second how – it was close – but not close enough to either them nor the lone wolf on the cliffs.   This one came from below them.

 

Her head flicked upward and she took a more analytical examination of the wolf.  It lifted it’s head to howl, but lowered it to listen for a return.  Its movements were not controlled, they were frantic.  This was an animal in panic, not one proudly marking new territory.

 

“No,” she breathed out with a shake in her head.  “No.  This isn’t right.  Something’s not right.”  She pushed both hands against the Doctor’s arm with an unspoken demand for him to let her pass.  He wasn’t focused on her movements, figuring she would stay put, so the barrier of his arm was breached quite easily.

 

He grabbed at her hand as she walked by him.  “Rose,” he growled.  “I said stay behind me.”

 

She waved him off and stalked onward, purpose in her movement to strive forward.   “Something’s not right,” she whispered hoarsely over her shoulder in reply.  She tugged her hand free of his, fought against him trying to grab it again, and then moved quickly through the scrub and trees toward the cliff shelf ahead.

 

The Doctor growled and took off after her, vainly trying to grab at any part of her to pull her back in line.  “Rose,” he hissed.  “Get back here.  This isn’t safe.”

 

“Get her back here,” Braxiatel hissed.  “Thete, nothing, and I mean nothing is allowed to happen to her, do you hear me?”

 

The Doctor answered with only a glare that bellowed out Do you think I don’t know that?!  He focused himself back onto the hunt and capture of one Rose Tyler, and called out repeatedly for her attention.

 

“I have to help,” she called back over her shoulder.  “Something’s wrong with him – cant you tell?”

 

“Don’t’ be so foolish, Rose,” he growled with equal part frustration and demand.  “you can’t hope to defend yourself against power of that animal.   Please, for Rassilon’s sake, stop.”

 

“I can’t,” she called.  “Something’s wrong.  I.  I think somethin’s happened to his mate.”

 

“Not our problem!”

 

She growled as she leaps over a fallen tree and stumbled on her ankle.  Despite the pain, she pushed on.  “Then bugger off, Doctor.  I’ve got this.”

 

She burst through the thicket and skidded to a stop that slid her along 6 feet of dewy red grass before she finally came to a stop.  When she did, she was met face to face with a surprised white wolf that quickly dropped down onto its hunches – it’s rump in the air – and snarled an horrific and terrifying sound.  She fell to her knees in front of it, and held her hands up in front of her. 

 

“S’alright,” she ventured as she leaned to one side to try and peer over the edge of the cliff.  “I’m not here to hurt you, so please don’t hurt me.”

 

The Doctor flew out of the trees behind her, his red-tipped sonic screwdriver held out front of him like a weapon.  He bellowed out a threatening sound toward the wolf in a language she was sure belonged to the beast, and fell to a knee beside her.  He cocooned her with one arm and held her tightly against him, that sonic buzzing against her ear.

 

“My mate,” he warned the wolf in English before shifting again to snarls of warning.

 

In the distance she could hear Braxiatel yelling hot demands into his phone, and while the Doctor and the Dahrama held firm within their own standoff, Rose took her current moment of safety to press her hands into the grass and lever herself far enough to peer over the cliff’s edge.

 

With the slowly dawning moonlight breaking the horizon, she saw a shimmer of blue on a rocky outcrop below.   A tighter focus, and Rose saw movement.  A pained whimper and a frightened half-howl sound danced up the rocks.

 

“Oh my god,” she panicked out as she once again struggled out of the Doctor’s protective hold and scarpered on her hands and knees toward the edge.

 

“Rose!” the Doctor called out as he moved to make chase, only to be held in place when the wolf moved and let out a very threatening growl.  The Doctor held up his sonic into the face of the animal, lighting its entire muzzle up over its ears with an eerier blood red glow.  His hand blindly swiped through the air in search of her.  “Rassion, Rose.  Get back here.  Please.”

 

Rose scrambled to her feet, ignorant to the power play happening between beat and Time Lord, and stepped side to side with indecision as to what she needed to do to help the animal trapped below.

 

The wolf snarled with her sudden movement and drew back again on its hunches.  It shared its attention of threat between them both.

 

“Rose,” the Doctor begged on a growl.  “Please, come here.  Let me protect you!”

 

“No,” she ground out in reply.  “His mate’s down there.  She’s trapped.”

 

“That’s not my concern right now, Rose.”  The Doctor was locked on one knee, hidden behind the glow of his sonic. 

 

“Yes it is!” she shot back angrily.  She stomped a foot into the grass and shoved an angry wave toward the wolf.  “Look at him, Doctor.  He’s frantic, and he’s scared.  His mate is down there, and he’s desperate to get to her!”

 

The Doctor looked away from the animal and shot the most dangerous of his oncoming storm glares toward her.  “I don’t care about that,” he yelled.  “I only care about you and your safety right now.”

 

“But his mate,” she cried out.

 

“And you’re my mate,” he shot back.  “I’m not risking you just to save her.”

 

She leaned down to sneer into his face.  “I’m not your anything,” she corrected sharply.  “Your future’s made that perfectly clear to me – so tonight, just like every other night since the day you regenerated, I’m going to be second-best!”

 

“How dare you,’ he bellowed as he dropped the hold of his sonic to let the glow colour the grass instead of the wolf.

 

The wolf snarled and lunged forward only a few inches.  It held back only because of a call from down below.  It quickly fled to the edge of the cliff and looked down below, momentarily lifting its head to howl deeply into the night.

 

“I told you,’ Rose snapped with a point toward the animal.  “He’s fretting for his mate.”

 

The Doctor launched to his feet and talked quickly toward her.  He held off on grabbing her arms in fear that he’d bruise her with his angered strength and instead hunched his shoulders down to speak into her face.  “And so am I,” he growled.  “And I don’t care what pitiful little worries you have thinking my future isn’t 100% dedicated to you.  Here and now, in this moment, as I am: you are my only concern.” His breath hissed through his teeth.  “And I will die to protect you.”

 

“At the risk of that innocent creature below, stuck on a ledge?”  She asked him with controlled fury.  “Waiting to die?”

 

“Better her than you.”

 

“Then you’re not my Doctor,” she declared with a sniff.  “Because my Doctor would never allow any innocent creature to die if he thought he had any hope’n hell of helpin’ it out.”  She stalked toward the trees and stooped to pick up a long orange vine from a plant wrapped around the limbs and trunk of a large tree.  “Because noone’s more important than anyone else.”  Her eyes looked sadly toward him.  “You taught me that, Doctor.  All gruff leather and ears and fire and anger… Sometimes everyone has to live.”

 

She wrapped the vine around her hips and waist twice, and then hauled the rest of the length of vine toward the cliff edge.  “And tonight everyone will.   I promise you.”

 

He felt that punch in the chest at her words, of her accusation, and then of her disappointment in him, and then realiisation dawned.  Is this what had turned his future self into a pitiful fool who was willing to throw all this away?  Because his love her for was so utterly all encompassing that he would ignore the plight of others just to save her?

 

He was only beginning to scratch the surface of this emotion toward her, and he was already finding himself heading in that exact direction.

 

He held that thought inside his throat as he shifted his gaze toward where she was heading toward the cliff.  Her hands were held up defenselessly as the wolf snarled and pounded the ground.   She looked toward the Doctor.  There was less disappointment and more an expression for help on her face.  “Please, Doctor,” she pleaded softly.  “You speak it’s language.  I know you do.  Please tell him I’m only trying to help.”

 

The Doctor nodded slowly and looked toward the wolf.  His lips parted and he spoke in huffs and growls that quickly seemed to soothe the animal.  It dropped down completely onto its hunches and whimpered as Rose finally made it to the edge of the cliff.

 

“It’s okay,” she assured him as she braved reaching out to touch the wolf’s head.  “She’ll be okay.”

 

She took a last look of thanks toward her Time Lord and breathed out a word of thanks as she got down onto her knees and then slipped down over the edge.