Braxiatel cautiously appeared from out of the trees lining the edge of the cliff. He kept his eyes on the wolf which was now looking over the edge and whimpering pitifully, and put his phone into a small pocket on his waistcoat. He flicked at the lower edge of his blazer and brushed himself off.
“A team is being scrambled to launch a capsule,” he advised the Doctor. “They should be here momentarily.” He looked around with a furrow in his brow. “Where is she?”
The Doctor remained in a tense and rigid stand on the grass six feet from the edge of the cliff. “What’s their ETA?”
“Where’s Rose?” Braxiatel asked instead of answering, feeling that her location and well being was far more urgent. He twisted left and right in search of their tiny blonde companion. “Rose! Rose, where are you?”
The Doctor’s stance hadn’t relaxed nor shifted from its tight and rigid state. “She’s going to be the death of me, Brax,” he breathed out on a low and furious breath.
“Fine, maybe then you’ll regenerate into someone with an ounce of responsibility to duty,” Braxiatel barked in reply. He finally saw the thick vine that lay across the grass that dropped over the edge of the cliff. His eyes widened when he saw it flex, tighten, and then move sharply to one side. “By the Gods of Arcadia, Thete!” He snapped a glare at his brother. “She went down there? Alone? Are you truly that treasonous that you will risk…”
“Oh shut your damn mouth,” the Doctor interrupted with a yell as his body was finally released from it’s furious lock. He thrust his arm out to point toward the cliff’s edge. “That young woman is from Earth, Brax. And because you aren’t fully unaware of the behaviours of Humans, know this: Female Humans represent the most dangerous half of that entire species. When they get their mind set on something – especially when it involved compassionate peril of others - you don’t stop them … and short of tying them up, that’s a near impossible task to even try and attempt. Rassilon knows I’ve tried before – and failed miserably at it.”
“Romantic nonsense,” Braxiatel growled. “She’s your mate,” he continued. “She’s your responsibility to tame and control…”
“And that’s outdated rubbish,’ he barked back. “I’ve no intention of-“
“When you two are done arguing,” Rose interrupted with harsh annoyance from the cliff. “I’ll let no one control me – not even my Mum – so don’t bother tryin’.” She looked toward her Time Lord. “Doctor, throw me your sonic.”
Both men immediately broke their standoff and ran to the edge. Braxiatel held out his hand to her. “Up you come, Rose. I’ll help you up.”
She glared at the hand and then up at him. “No, ta.”
“Young lady, I said-“
“And I said no,” she snarled. Her eyes shifted to the Doctor, whose hand was held down to her in much the same manner is his brothers. Her feet shuffled on the dusty cliff egde as the vine stretched and tried to retract, but she kept a firm hold of it via a single loop around one hand. “It’s dark down here,” she advised him gently. “I need the light of your sonic to get me safely to her.” She gulped and looked down at a whimper from the rocky outcrop, and then back up at him. “And she might also be hurt, so I’ll need it to fix what I can to make her comfortable down there.”
“Come up,” he pleaded softly. “I’ll go down to her.”
“I’m with There,” Braxiatel offered, his hand still held down and flicking insistently for her to take hold of it so he could pull her to safety. “Let him help, you come up here where you’ll be safe.”
She shook her head. “I’m already here, so I’m stayin’. You can come if you want, but there’s really not much room.” She hooked one hand tightly at the top of the loop around her srist and held out the other. “Please, Doctor, your sonic. I don’t think we have too much time to stand around arguin’ about it.”
The Doctor pulled his sonic from his pocked and knelt at the cliff’s edge. Beside him, the frightened wolf whimpered with urgency. He offered it a supportive growl and huff and then held his sonic out to Rose. “Please, my hearts, be careful.”
She took the sonic with a smile. “Your Hearts,” she repeated softly as she thumbed the switch to activate the light. She tucked the thin shaft of it into the valley between her breasts, held firmly into her bra, and then hooked that hand onto the part of the vine below her other wrist. She looked up with a light shake in her head. “Very cute name, Doctor, but don’t get ahead of yourself.” She pressed both feet into the cliff face and kicked off to lower herself down. “In your timeline, we’re not there yet.”
“I’m sorry,” he whispered as she looked down to focus on her descent. “About what I said back there…” He swallowed thicky. “It’s just, I…”
“I’ll see you shortly,” Rose cut in without looking up, saving him from having to continue. “We can talk about it later.”
He watched worriedly from his perch beside an equally worried large wolf as she disappeared from view to him, now just a red light descending low into the pit. He stretched a hand toward the animal and petted its head. “Tell me,” he whispered brokenly. “Is your mate as reckless and bullheaded as mine is?”
The wolf let out a simple and breathy woof in reply.
“I know the feeling…”
Having grown up in London, Rose Tyler wasn’t exactly used to tropical-style heat and humidity. On those rare occasions that her city did experience a heatwave or two, the temperature really didn’t climb all that high. Humidity wasn’t an unbreathable 90% like it felt about right now.
Gallirey was warm. She wasn’t going to be polite and gentle on that observation. This was heat more suited to the deserts of Australia, the humitity more apt for the Northern coastal cities of the same continent. She supposed it was the fact that there were two suns in the sky on any day, and both of them seemed to compete against each other for the most blazing of the two.
This also meant that it took quite a while for the planet to cool down once the suns had taken their leave on this part of Gallifrey. The ground was hot, and the damp soil insulated that warmth.
Why was this observation important as she repelled slowly and awkwardly down the cliff?
…Because heat and humidity meant sweating in places she didn’t know could sweat, and she needed the friction of dry skin to be able to safely make it down this cliff face.
She grunted as her sweating palms slid against the smooth vine. More than once she released a hand to wipe it against her shirt. She’d fall a quick free-fall slide of about 10cm each time she had to do so, and after a sharp shrilling yelp of fright the first two times it happened, she allowed herself to accept the reality of it, and planned for that eventually on any remaining hand wiping.
Fortunately the damp rocks and soils that lined the cliff face were pliant enough for her to be able to dig in her toes and heels to find solid purchase. Without that give to help her, she would have fallen almost immediately.
Up above her the Doctor called out several times, asking if she was okay and did she want him to come down and help. And although having him at her side would have given her far more confidence in herself than she currently held – despite telling him otherwise – there simply wasn’t enough room for the two of them. At least not down there. Not on that small little crook of rock that caught the falling wolf God knows how long ago.
She finally made it to the little outcrop, and to the lonely wolf. The poor thing, it panicked immediately upon descent, and once Rose’s feet touched the shelf, the frightened creature began to yap and snarl in warning that she was not to be tested.
Rose tired to ignore the horrific snarling and growling from beside her as she cautiously tested the strength of the ledge and whether or not it would be able to take her weight. The moment her foot touched the ledge, the wolf snapped at it in a repeated snapping snarling manner that looked quite like the animal was open-mouth chewing at the air itself.
Rose released one hand from the vine, but had enough strength in the other to hold her firmly in place. She petted into the air in a placating manner, hoping beyond hope that the animal would know that she only wanted to help.
It shuffled back as best it could, but sat on its hunches growling a sound of warning.
“Okay, Okay,” she pleaded out breathily. “You just stay there that’s okay. Lemme take a look at you.”
She removed the sonic from between her breasts and increased the beam’s range to scan the area surrounding the wolf. Dirt, Rocks, a thin, but obviously strong web of tree roots wrapped around her foot and hindquarters. She bit her lip and scanned the animal itself for any sign of major injury. Even though the white wolf was illuminated in blood-red light, Rose could immediately determine that there was no bleeding. The animal wasn’t crying out or whimpering, which meant that it wasn’t in any real pain…
…Unless Gallifreyan wolves signalled pain in other ways …
Here’s hoping not…
Rose finally assessed that there were two main problems that she had to overcome in order to help out her new friend. One: Both of them were stuck on a small precipice with a black drop into nothing beneath them. Would she have the strength to pull her up,a dn would the wolf have the strength to help out in getting back up? Two: This little lady was vicious and absolutely terrified – and possessed a really nasty set of jaws that looked big and strong enough to take down a damn tractor if it felt so inclined to do so. If Rose couldn’t get her to stop snapping at her, then neither of them looked like they were going to get through tonight alive.
Still hanging from the vine, Rose tried to reach forward again with her hand held palm up in an invitation for the wolf to take a sniff and determine that yes, she was the friendly sort.
The wolf was not as easily tempted as a domestic Earth dog and launched forward to snap a hard bite. That jaw closed around Rose’s wrist hard. As Rose let up a loud belch of pain, and a returning bellow for her safety rang out from above them, the wolf suddenly released her.
Rose instinctively released the only hold she had on the vine to cradle her now injured arm against her chest. Immediately she dropped, wailing out a sound of fright and shock and flailed her arms to try and clutch again at the vine. She called out his name, she couldn’t help it. If she was falling, then he would be the one to catch her.
He had to: He promised!
And from above the thunder that was Time’s anger burst from the sky above and howled its way down into the darkness below.