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Speaking his Language

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The Doctor was beginning to fret in the same frantic way that the Dahrama was.   Still kneeling over the cliff’s edge, his hands began to paw and clutch at the grasses, so much so that he’d removed chunks by their roots and was now digging at the dirt below.


Pain and discomfort started to settle inside the Time Lord’s chest.  Nausea soon took hold, and the Doctor knew that they were walking a perilous razor’s edge toward fracturing a fixed point.


“Do you feel that, Brax?” he asked his brother quietly. 


“Feel what?” He snarled in reply.  “The urge to kick you over the edge of that cliff to join your foolish mate in destroying all of reality?”


The Doctor shook his head.  “Never mind.”   Obviously the worry of the universe wasn’t yet great enough for his brother to sense it.  He was feeling it though.  It took him his all not to lean over into the ravine and expel the meagre contents of his stomach, such was the swirling inside his belly.   Curse this sensitivity.  He’d never been strong enough to fight Time’s wrath or warning when it hit – and many times he buckled over and fell at its power.  He hoped that the true fury of Time would hold until he knew Rose was safe.  If she needed him, being incapacitated wouldn’t allow him the privilege of being her saviour.


He heard a yelp from below and called to her.  There was scuffling, a hiccupped peep, and then a return call of assurance that she was okay.


Curse this woman.  Curse humans and their capacity for compassion toward all living things.  Curse their need to risk it all for one.  Curse their fragility … Curse him for so easily finding feeling for them. 


“It doesn’t sound good down there, Thete,” his brother breathed worriedly, anger obviously fleeing for concern toward Rose’s wellbeing.  “We should get down there and help.”


The Doctor shook his head.  “She’s actually better served with us being up here,” he admitted gravely.  “Up here we can provide support – down there, we’re as helpless as she is.”   He looked up.  “Brax.  Is there any word of timing for when the Chancellery Guard will be here?”


Braxiatel shook his head.  “No.  I haven’t been able to get even an approximate timeline from them.”


The Doctor snorted.  “Typical.  Lords of Time, and none of them can actually give us any.”


“Romana’s on it,” he breathed out.  “There’s something happening at the shipyards with the union.  They’re battling to get through the lines.  As president, she’s hoping she’s able to step in to control the situation and get us transport.”


The Doctor shook his head.  “Do they not know the importance of this?  Of her?”


“They don’t actually believe it,” he sighed.  “How can a harmless and insignificant creature from a class three planet can be the one who holds reality’s future in her hands.  They’d more easily believe that task was yours.”  He crouched down beside the Doctor and peered over the edge as scuffling and scraping sounds sounded up over the edge.  “Are you okay, Rose?”


Words of assurance once again answered the worry.


“Go to her,” Braxiatel urged.  “I can handle anything up top.  You should be there making sure that you can control any issues down there.”


The Doctor nodded and pressed his hands into the grass to push himself to a stand.  “You’re right Brax,” he admitted quietly as he stretched to his full height and turned in search of a vine of his own.  “I’ve never been one to…”  His words switched into a long and pained groan that seemed to draw out his breath in full.   He fell to one knee, and then to two, and then finally rolling onto his back in pain.


Braxiatel was at his side, immediately.  “Thete!” he called out in panic.  “What in the name of Omega is wrong with you?”


“Fixed point.  Time’s … fracturing,” he ground out through his teeth at he clutched fistfuls of hair in his hands and battled to stay focused.  “Rassilon … it hurts.”


“By Arcadia’s dome,” Braxiatel seethed through his teeth.  He looked toward the cliff, and then back to his brother writing with pain on the grass.  He snatched his phone from his pocket and rapidly dialed a familiar series of numbers.  “If you’re feeling it this much, Thete, I can only assume the matricians are feeling it too.  There’s going to be panic at the Capitol.”


There was a horrified call of the Doctor’s name from deep below them and a and a cry for him to help her.   Despite the pain in his head and the nausea in his gut, the Doctor immediately rolled off this back, through his knees, and then launched himself over the edge of the cliff.


He heard his brother’s shrill and panicked cry behind him; heard him beg for him to stop, but he ignored it.  His focus now shifted from pain and nausea into absolute determination, and he snapped out a hand to grab at Rose’s vine.   His expression steeled, and his eyes flicked in search.  He let the hook of his arm and his hand work on finding the vine, and his feet kick off the wall.   With a spiralling motion he quickly sped down along the vine toward to sound of a sharp cry and calling of his name.


Internally he cried out for her to hold on; that he was coming; but outwardly his face was a rock.  Intense focus rendered him completely silent.  He saw a flash of blonde hair below and kicked hard off the wall.  His hand locked around the vine, slid on a slick wet patch, and then locked hard above a hard petiole that anchored a broad flat leaf.   Anchored tight, he thrust his hand into the darkness, swatted through the air, and finally captured the wrist of a flailing hand below.


The vine snapped tight, he felt his entire body flip upside down.  Both arms stretched wide, but strong despite the perilous position.  The hard tensing of his arm against the sudden weight below him, drew an involuntary and long cry of shock and pain from deep inside his chest.  That cry of pain shifted into a longer bellow of exertion as he pulled with his all to secure his terrified mate in his grasp and pull her in toward the cliff’s face.


Slowly, and with his feet against the wall as anchors, he managed to secure his position and levered himself first horizontally, and then upright.  One hand was held high on the vine above him, the other hung down low between the part of his legs.  He pressed his feet into the wall and straightened his legs to push bim backward.


“Rose,” he hissed through his teeth as he struggled with his grasp.  “Can you lift yourself?”


Her terrified eyes shone through her fallen fringe.  She panted a pair of breaths and swallowed thickly.  “I – I don’t know.”


“Try,” he grit out.  “Grab my foot, climb my leg.  Do whatever you have to do to get secure.”


“I’m going to fall,” she whimpered.


“No,” he growled as he tightened his hold on her wrist and tried desperately to pull her up.  “I won’t let you.”  He let out another strained cry as he used everything he had in him to try and pull her up.  “But you have to help me.”


Rose’s still flailing arm finally lifted to clutch at the top of his boot.   She flexed the arm he still held and managed to lift herself enough to grab at his ankle. 


“That’s it, Rose,” he praised in urging as he used his own waning strength to help lift her.  “That’s my girl.  Keep going.  You can do it.”


She didn’t bother telling him she was trying, nor really respond to his urging at all.  She merely grunted and huffed as she held on to his wrist and used the wall behind her to shuffle her feet and lift her up.  Her face finally made it to the part in between his legs.  Her face met with his groin, but neither thought anything of it as she hooked her arm around his waist and then shook her wrist free of his to complete the circle her grasp and hold herself securely at his waist.


“H-Hello,” she managed with a weak smile from his belly as she rolled her shoulder blades along the wall to lift herself higher.


“Hello indeed,” he ground out through his teeth, still sore with exertion and perilously hanging the two of them with a single hand still wrapped around the wine.   “I’m going to grab you by your rear, Rose,” he warned her.  “Not breaking the rules, I just need that leverage to get you up on that ledge.  Are you ready?”


She nodded urgently.  “Go for it, Doctor.  I – I’m ready.”


His nod was pained, and he dropped a shoulder to move his arm across the underneath of her rear.  His fingers dug painfully into the side of her thigh, and he growled as he tensed himself up once more to find the strength to lift her.


Once safely secured in his arm, Rose released his waist and leaned back to clutch at the rocky wall and walked her hands up toward the ledge.


“Almost there,” he hissed.  “Just another few inches.”


He hands found the edge, and she growled out her own sound of struggle as she used what was left of herself to finally scramble her grip enough to push her backside onto the ledge.   When she did, she scrambled as far back against the wall as she could.


The Doctor had only enough room I front of her to secure his knee on the ledge.  It wasn’t enough to take the load off his arm, and so he still hung from the vine.   “Are you – are you okay?” he panted wetly as his lips slapped together and he swallowed thickly.


Beside him the wolf growled dangerously and snapped a vicious bite toward him.  The Doctor, not willing to be up with this nonsense any longer, sharply growled and huffed at her, and then smacked her nose with the fingers of his free hand.   The animal quickly yelped out a shrill sound of surprise and shuffled back to cower submissively.


“That will be enough from you,” he warned her sharply with a switch to English for Rose’s benefit.  “Foolish animal.  Get yourself trapped and then bite the hand that helps you.”


“Speaking of,” Rose muttered as she lifted her arm into his view.  “She did get me quite good.”


Lit by the large blue moon rising in the mountain range, the Doctor could see a line of deep puncture marks along Rose’s forearm.  There was blood, but not enough to cause him too much alarm.  “I can fix that up back at the TARDIS,” he offered gently.  His eyes moved up to hers, and expression of concern on his face.  “Tell me, are you hurt otherwise?”


“Just scraped and bruises,” she replied breathily.  “Nothin’ that’ll take more’n a day or two to heal up.”


He looked away from her and kicked off the wall a little.  He scanned for an area that he might be able to seat himself and plot a path toward their freedom back up top, but was called back to her when she made a soft whimpering sound.  His attention fell back immediately toward her.  “Are you okay?”


“You saved me,” she breathed out, now that safety had allowed her fear to fall in.  “I called, and you came.”


He looked surprised by that.  “Yes.  Of course I did.  You needed me.”  He smiled only on one side of his mouth.  “What kind of mate would I be if I didn’t?”


“You’re not my…”  She stopped herself and tilted her head at him.  “I almost fell.  And you were there.  To stop me.”


“I told you,” he said with a smile.  “I’ll never let you fall.”


“But I did,” she whispered with a shake entering her muscles.  She looked down and then back up at him.  “And if you didn’t catch me…”


“Then I would have fallen with you,” he vowed quietly.  “Like I promised you I would.”


She said nothing further and quickly rocked herself forward.  She captured his cheeks in her hands and pressed her mouth to his.  Although her lips were slightly parted, and he had certainly had met her mouth eagerly, the kiss remained just a kiss.  It was not heated, noisy, nor full of tongues; it was simply two sets of lips, pressed firmly against each other, gently rolling in perfect synch.


When she pulled back from him, it was only a short way.  Her breaths were heavy and panted as she pressed her forehead against his.


“What was that for?” he asked breathlessly, his hand still clinging to the vine, and his leg perilously dangling over the edge of the cliff. 


“Thank you,” she breathed out.  “For saving me.”


He let his free hand settle on her thigh.  “I thought kissing against the rules.”


She let out a quiet laugh.  “I was never really one for rules.”


He hummed in agreement.  “Neither was I,” he chuffed in reply, tilting his head to one side and moving forward to capture her waiting lips with his.


They barely touched again before they were quickly drawn apart by a whimper from the wolf.   Rose quickly nodded, swallowed, and let her voice stagger over her words.  “I – I guess we should help her out, yeah?”


The Doctor nodded in agreement and looked up at his hand, still straining on the vine.  “It might also be a good idea for me to join the both of you on the ledge.  I’m not all that confident that this arms got enough strength to maintain this position much longer.”


Rose’s eyes widened and she let out a peep.  “Oh my God, Doctor!  I didn’t think!  Sorry.”   She shuffled to the side, and toward the still cowering animal.   She held out her hand.  “There’s room here.”


He grunted as he maneuvered himself from the relatively secure hold of the vine and onto the small outcrop.  It took a few moments, but he was finally able to get himself into a safe position at her side and released the vine.  It flopped and whacked at the wall, but hung close enough that he knew he could quickly retrieve it if necessary.   He shook his aching hand and arm to reintroduce adequate blood flow and looked around her shoulders at the back of the wolf.


“Thiffawen,” he muttered with a wince.  “That poor girl, she must be in pain?”




“Thiffawen,” he repeated.  “It’s a rather nasty form of parasitic ivy.  Grows mainly underground and chokes the nutrient out of the root systems of trees and other plants.”  He took his sonic screwdriver from where it had been discarded on the ledge before Rose’s fall, and aimed the light toward the mass of vines around the wolf’s legs.  “It’s not entirely picky on where it gets its sustenance from, and will leech onto anything – animal or plant.”


Rose gasped.  “Oh.  That’s horrible!”  She looked to the whimpering animal.  “So.  So it’s sucking her nutrients out?”


He shook his head.  “Not as yet,” he lectured gently.  “When it finds itself a living animal host, it will choke its victim first, wait until there’s no struggle left in it, and then start to draw what if can.”  He reached around her and shone the light around the legs of the wolf to assess just how tightly the branches were wound around them.    He let out a long breath.  “Oh dear.”


Rose’s eyes were wide and worried for the poor creature.  “Is it bad?”


“It’s not bad,” he answered,  “But it’s not exactly good, either.  I can remove it all, and she will almost immediately recover from it.”  He frowned.  “But it’s going to hurt her.”   He shifted to look around Rose’s back at the wolf, and breathed out a snarl and couple of huffs.   He waited for a return snuffle, and then shifted again to look at his companion.  “I’ll need you to comfort her.”


An expression of panic crossed her features.  She looked at him, at the wolf, and than back to him.  “How, exactly, do you suggest I do that?”  She held up her arm, swelling and sore from the bite moments ago.  “I don’t want another one of these.”


He jutted his chin in a gesture toward the animal.  “I’ve assured her that you mean no harm, and that we’re only here to help.”


“Yeah,” she whined.  “But what about when the pain kicks in, Doctor?   Did you warn her about that, too?”


He lightly pushed her shoulders in urging for her to move to settle the wolf.  “She’s Gallifreyan,” he assured her.  “I don’t think there is a living creature on this planet who doesn’t know what to expect when an entanglement of Thiffawen happens.”  He shuffled his own position to further urge Rose across to the wolf.  “I vow to you that you’ll be free of snapping jaws … at least for now.”  He smiled weakly.  “I can’t make any promises toward any subsequent Dharama encounters – of which I hope there will be none.”


“If you promise,” she  breathed out unsurely.  “Is there anythin’ I should say to her, you know, in wolf speak, to let her know I’m just helpin’?”


“Just light huffs will do the trick, Rose,” he offered.  “She’ll respond to the honesty in your tone, and smell your sense of fear.”


“Nice,” she whimpered.  “Doesn’t make me feel any better.”


“Which shows her your courage,” he amended quickly.  “Ig you’re willing to fight the fear to comfort her, then you are truly hers to cry to.”  He touched her cheek tenderly.  “If I think for a second she’ll react, I’ll stop and get you clear.”


Rose nodded and shifted closer toward the wolf.   It eyeballed her warily as she approached, but didn’t rise toward aggression.  Instead she lifted her nose to smell the air and offered a forlorn whimper.


Rose very timidly reached out her hand, and was surprised when the wolf lifted her nose for a sniff, and then moved forward for a nose-touch against the pads of her fingers.


“Oh well look at you,” the Doctor said with a chuckle that wasn’t condescending at all.  “Fast friends, the two of you.”


Rose moved closer to the wolf and braved holding her hands around her face.  The wolf’s eyes met with hers and lifted up to shorten the distance.  “Tell me, beautiful girl, is your mate an unreasonable, condescending git, too?”


“I thought I wasn’t your mate,” the Doctor reminded her as he shifted to the back end of the wolf and changed the settings on his Sonic.  “Or, at the very least, you weren’t mine.”


Rose felt her confidence rise and shifted enough so that she could have her back against the wall, and the wolf’s head cradled on her lap.  “Let’s say it’s a work in progress,” she replied softly without looking up at him in fear of his face falling into an expression of rejection.  “If.  If that’s okay?”


“Just … Just hold her firm and keep her calm,” the Doctor answered.  There was a smile on his face that was heard in his voice.  “When we are all safe, then you and I can talk about mating… ehm, that is to say: being mates.”


He shook off that little slip and shifted to the Thiffawen vines.  He clicked air in through the side of his mouth as he scanned for the least evasive method possible to free this poor girl.  Not wanting to prolong it anymore, he depressed the switch of his sonic and began to cut at the vine.    Through the buzz if his sonic, he heard the animal let out a cry of pain.  She jerked and pulled and scratched her clawed paws on the dusty rock.   He hummed and huffed to assure her it would be all over soon … but a sonic wasn’t a knife.  This was going to take a minute.


Through the buzz and the howl, he heard a soft song.  One sung like a lullaby:  Calming, gentle, soft.   It wasn’t anything indigenous to Gallifrey, and quite frankly where would it come from if it was?  He flicked his eyes up to Rose and saw her leaning down with her head on top of the wolf’s head, her lips moving a gentle song as she stroked her hand along its fur.  He couldn’t quite hear the words, or even recognise the tune, but it seemed to work, and the wolf’s cries shifted to whimpers. 


As delightful as that image was, he shook it from his mind.  He had to focus on getting this beautiful girl free, and then perhaps he could sit with Rose and let her sing to him like she was singing to her. 


It really did take only a few more moments for the last of the vine to fall and free the wolf’s legs.  As the animal kicked to find its new freedom, the Doctor aimed the sonic at the plant and increased power to max to shrivel the dam thing where it grew.


“Take that,” he growled.  “And die you revolting waste of cell replication…”


He could still hear Rose’s voice softly singing to the wolf, and the wolf still lying supinely with her head in her lap.  The animal huffed contentedly, and seemed to quite enjoy the gentle strokes along her fur.


“You two look very comfortable there,” he commented with a smile as he took a seat on the opposite side of the crag with his back against the wall.  “I wouldn’t believe that the creature you’re singing to is one of the most dangerous and feared creatures on Gallifrey.”


Rose looked up with a smile.  “Big teddy bear,” she sighed happily.  “Is she okay?”


“You and your reference to all things big and mean being as soft as teddy bears,” he remarked with a shake in his head.  “You have a gift for wrapping those creatures otherwise aggressive around your little finger.”


That made her laugh.  “Hardly.”


He leaned forward to attempt to pet the animal and was warned off with a growl.  He snapped his hand back, scowling at Rose’s laugh.  “You ingrate,” he growled before saying the same inside huffs and grunts in the wolf’s tongue.


Rose petted the wolf’s shoulder with a couple of firm slaps.  “Now now, you.  The Doctor here was the one who saved us both.  If it wasn’t for him, we’d both be dead, so be nice.” She looked up at him and reached out a hand to take his.  She clutched onto his hand tightly, stroking at his knuckles with her thumb.  “So what now?  How’re we going to get all of us back up there?”


“No idea right now,” he answered with a sigh.  “I don’t know that I’ve got enough strength left right now to get all three of us up.  May have to wait until morning when we can actually see what’s around us and make a plan.”


She winced.  “Brax won’t be happy about waitin’ around all night.  Reckon he might be able to lend a hand?”


The Doctor bellowed out a large belch of amusement.  “Brax?  Nah, he’d be worried about breaking a nail or getting dirt on his suit.”  He looked up when he heard movement above them.  His eyes widened in surprise.  “It can’t be…”


Three tick and heavy ropes rolled loudly down the embankment.  Both Rose and the Doctor flinched at falling rocks and dirt as three large masses descended down each rope.  Flashlight beams from helmet lights shifted around them, and within moments a set of crimson boots touched down on the ledge beside the Doctor.


A young man, likely in his 20’s by Earth standards, clicked a fastener on his belt and leaned back on his rope.   He looked either side of him at another pair of men.  “Nespar, this ledge isn’t going to support all of us.  Animate an extension toward the front to give us some leverage.”  He looked to the other side.  “Primdar, get us some more steady light here.  These shifting beams give me a headache.”


Two words to the affirmative quickly followed, and the young man looked toward the Doctor.  His smile lit up as the area did the same from an orb placed centre of what looked to be a cement extension to the front of the crag.   He loosened his hitch enough to be able to crouch comfortably in front of him.


“Lord Doctor,” he cheered.  “Perorasusis of the Oakdown chapter, and Rescue Ops Commander of the Prydon unit.   Heard you might be in the need of some assistance.”


“I’m sorry,” the Doctor replied with a small level of annoyance in his tone.  “What did you say your name was again?  Fred?”


“Perorasusis,” he repeated without offence.  “Commander Pero if you prefer.”


“Pero will do just fine,” he grumbled.  He then gestured toward Rose.  “Please see to my companion before you do me.  Her safety is my utmost concern, and so it should be yours as well.   If anything happens to her, then it won’t just be she and I who’ll need help tonight.”


Pero pursed his lips and nodded.  “Yep.  Cardinal Braxiatel warned me you might be a little testy,” he said slowly as he turned his attention toward Rose and the Dahrama.  His eyes widened.  “Oh.  My.  Is that the mate of the one up top we had to tranquilize before we cold come down here?”


Rose looked mortified.  “You did what?  Oh, not necessary at all, really.  S’long as he knew you were helpin’ he’d be okay.  He was just worried about her.”  She scratched the wolf behind her ears.  “They’re quite lovely and friendly, really.”  She kissed the wolf’s head to accent her point and giggled when the animal licked at the tip of her nose.  She looked up.  “See?”


“Uh-huh,” he managed.  He shook himself and held out his hand.  “Commander Pero,” he said in introduction.  “I understand you are Rose, and you’re the Doctor’s mate.”


“Friend,” she corrected.  “Companion.  Not mate.”


Again, his expression was one of surprise.   He quickly stifled that reaction and flicked his fingers in a request for her to take his hand.  “Well.  Time to get you secured on my line, then I’ll escort you back up the cliffs.  Primdar will take the Lord Doctor up, and Nespar’s tasked with cleanup down here.”


“What about this one?”  Rose asked.  “I think she’s hurt, so you should get her up top first.”   Before he could argue, and she could see it forming in his eyes.  “I’m not goin’ up without her, so if you don’t wanna take her up by yourself, then you best be planning on how that rope is going to carry three of us up.”


Pero looked toward the Doctor for assistance.   The Doctor shook his head.  “I cannot help you out with this one, young Lord.”  He gestured toward Rose.  “One thing I’ve definitely learned about this rather incredible woman tonight is that she can give Omega a run for his money with how bullheaded she is when her mind is set.”


“Bullheaded?”  Pero shook his head.  “I don’t follow.”


“Bullheaded,” Primdar offered.  “Stubborn, uncompromising, unmanageable – pretty much any word that’s used to describe the Lord Doctor.”


The Doctor grinned as he looked toward a dark-skinned Time Lord that was digging inside a large red bag to retrieve a rescue harness.  “I’d take offence if any of those descriptors were incorrect in any manner.  As it is, you’ve proven you’ve read up on me.  I’m actually flattered.”


Primdar chuckled.  “Wouldn’t be that flattered, Sir.  I work as escort to Cardinal Braxiatel on his consular travels around Kasterborous.  He’s not exactly tight-lipped when it comes to recounting your adventures.”  He strode around Pero and held his hand out to Rose.  “I’ll escort you and the Dahrama up the wall.  She seems comfortable with you, so I’m not fearful that she’ll tear any of my limbs off.”


“Are they really that bad?”  Rose held out her hand and let Primdar draw her up to a stand.  The wolf followed quickly and kept close to Rose’s legs.  There was a hum of warning from the animal, but it didn’t make to lunge or attack.


Primdar gulped.  His voice was tight and his movements guarded.  “Their reputation is legendary, as are their kill counts.   Fortunately, regeneration energy scared them off, so there really aren’t all that many cases of a Time Lord actually expiring from a Dahrama attack.”


“That isn’t to say it hasn’t happened,” the Doctor warned.  “So again, if anything happens to Rose, you’ll also hurt that young lady, and that male up top will hunt you down and tear you to shreds.”  He leaned in close.  “And I’ll be there to take up the hunt when the regeneration energy dissipates.”


Rose shot him a look of surprise.  “Wow, Doctor.  Testy, much?”


“I don’t like your safety being in their hands,” he groused.  “Your protection is mine to take.”


Rose breathed out a sound of adoration.  She stepped over a rope, around Pero, and put her hands on the Doctor’s face.  “Awww.  I love you too, Doctor.”


Although she said it in teasing, the Doctor snatched out an arm and hooked it around her waist to draw her up against his chest.  He captured the startled breath that flew out of her mouth in a searing, chaste press of his mouth against hers.


“My hearts,” he breathed out in a fierce vow when he released her mouth, but held her to him. 


She pressed her finger to his lips, knowing how that sentence ended after hearing it so many times before from her lover in leather.  “Please don’t,” she whispered.  “They can’t.  Not yet … you barely even know me.”


He watched her walk toward Primdar.  “And how long did it take me – in the future – to realise that?”


Less time than now, she wanted to admit, but knew she couldn’t.   Leather had fallen rather fast.  On only their second TARDIS adventure together he was holding her hand tightly and saying how glad he was to meet her. 

“Not now,” was all she replied to him with.  This was not the setting, and not the company that she wanted to have any conversation of this kind in.    She stooped to pet the wolf and then helped the friendly Time Lord to secure a harness around it’s chest.


Nespar tapped on the Doctor’s shoulder and offered a harness.   He would have offered to assist as Primdar was doing with Rose, but he really wasn’t all that confident that the Doctor would be willing to accept such assistance.  “Sir,” he said quietly.  “If you wouldn’t mind.  Lady President Romanadvoratrelundar and Castellan Andredaselus are waiting up on top with the Cardinal.  It’s best we don’t keep them waiting too long.”  


The Doctor’s eyes lit up.  “Romana?  Well it has been a while since I’ve had the pleasure of her company.”


“If the Cardinal has his way, Sir, then you’ll be in her company quite a lot.”


The Doctor frowned.  “What do you mean by that?”


“Not my place to say, Sir,” Nespar replied professionally.  “Best you discuss with him once you’re safely back up on the mountain.” 


The Doctor looked toward Rose, who was not attached to both Wolf and Time Lord only feet away.  “Rose.  Please do be careful.”


“It’s okay,” she called with a giggle when she picked up the wolf and held it against her chest.  The animal growled playfully and lifted its head backward to attempt to lick at her face like a dog excited to be wrestling with it’s owner.


Nespar chuckled and attached himself to the Doctor’s harness.  “If I am permitted.  Congratulations, Sir.”


“Congratulations on what?”


Nespar didn’t look at the Doctor, he instead looked up along the height of the rope and gave it a good tug.  “For becoming the companion of a mated pair of Dahrama.”


The Doctor’s voice hitched as the both he and Nespar started to rise from the ground.  “Don’t be foolish, man.  No Time Lord has ever been chosen as the master of a Dahrama – let alone a mated pair.  And besides, I really don’t have the time nor the lifestyle for pets.”


Nespar chuckled and directed the Doctor’s attention toward where Rose was still giggling and happily petting the wolf as she was lifted up the mountainside.   “I’m afraid you don’t much have a choice, Sir.  You know how it works.  Once chosen by an animal – any animal - you must accept the partnership.”   He grinned.  “You’re now the proud owner of two of the most feared animals on Gallifrey.”