Yes

The Past Cannot Be Cured

Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.

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How Do You Make a Woman Believe She's Beautiful? (5/6)
Yes
mcinstry

Title: How Do You Make a Woman Believe She’s Beautiful (5/6)
Rating: T
Words: 2,166 (this chapter)

Summary: How do you make a woman believe she’s beautiful? Under the threat of one Jack Harkness, the Doctor is told to man up and take what is his before someone else does. A series of chapters where a person is at their worst and the other grows into himself.

Author’s Notes: A good song to listen to is ‘Fleeting Instant’ by Delerium. Also, as you may have noted, the chapter amount has gone down. The next chapter should be the last unless something crops up. It also may be rated M. 

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How Do You Make a Woman Believe She’s Beautiful?

Chapter 5 – Do You Give Her Flowers?

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Honestly, it seemed like these things only happened to him. 

They’d gone to the planet of Askok usainak. It was a greenhouse planet where every flower within the galaxy was grown. He’d thought it would be perfect; somewhere pretty, safe, and simple.


Rose had looked amazing (more so than usual) in a long skirt of dark blue and a fitting peasant style top in grain white. She’d taken to wearing longer shorts and skirts because of her brand. Sometimes he’d catch her staring at her thigh with a frown, like it was some sort of puzzle or something. But as long as she wasn’t clawing at it, he didn’t worry too much.

Once they stepped out of the TARDIS, the scent of flowers hit them. It hung in the air like a visible mist of perfumes. Spores floated by their heads, fluffy and white like balls of cotton rather than seeds from an alien plant. The sky was gold and pink and filled with drifting spores of all shapes, sizes, and colors.

“This has to be magic,” Rose said, her fingers twisting into the long reeds of soft grass that reached up to her hips. It was an odd shade of mauve with fuzzy hair-like fuzzies.

The Doctor was about to say that scientifically there could be no such thing as magic until he saw the look on her face.

It was love.

Love and awe.

And seeing those two emotions on her face roused something in him. It just shut him up for some reason, seeing that look on her face.

Her eyes had misted, but there was joy in them. “It’s amazing,” she breathed and stepped forward, the grass bending before her like servants to their mistress. Her sandaled feet sunk into the soft brown ground and she smiled to herself.

The Doctor felt faintly like he was intruding on a private moment when he saw her move about the grass. It was like she belonged there, an earth goddess in her meadow amongst her people. He breathed in deeply as she continued on without him, her whole being completely enamored with the planet and its unmoving, unspeaking life forms which now twined around her ankles like an adoring pet.

The tall purple grass bled into a meadow of even taller yellow flowers which resembled earth sunflowers except they had small red dots around the stigma. The scent in the air became muskier, like the scent of asphalt after a rainfall mixed with fresh, yeasty bread and dried herbs.

A few trees rose from the ground, their odd purple-brown roots thick. The leaves were as green as earth leaves. And then more trees came into his vision. Rose picked at one, her hand coming away filled with an orange fruit.

“Is this safe to eat?” She turned to him, her eyes wide and dark – such a stark contrast to the surroundings – and he found himself unsure of what she had even said.

He nodded absently.

She bit into the fruit and lapped quickly at the juice which beaded to the surface of the soft, plum-like skin. The flavor was saccharine – nearly too sweet for even her sugar loving palate. She took another bite and suddenly there was a pleasant spicy tang. Her tongue darted out to lick her lips clean before she took another bite, her feet moving onward into the forest, the Doctor behind her.

The Doctor moved slowly, letting Rose mingle in with the tall grasses and thickening trees. The bright sunlight filtered through the leaves of the trees, casting a gold and light blue shadow on everything beneath them. He touched a tree trunk fleetingly, feeling the rough and knotted surface before looking back up to Rose.

And his breath caught just the slightest bit.

The glow made her hair look dark and shiny. Her skin gleamed in the sparse lighting, all tan and healthy looking. Iridescent blue spores fell from the trees above. They floated downwards in spirals like leaves in an autumn wind. He watched as Rose reached out a hand and caught one. It shone blue before darting off her palm like a young bug. She gasped, unaware that they could move on their own.

He moved closer and took her still outstretched hand in his. Their fingers instinctively threaded together and Rose gave him an absent smile, her eyes still trained on the living, moving scene before her eyes.

“They’re spores from the trees. This planet has some of the oldest plant life in the universe. It’s where Jabe and her people originally came from. It’s under a preservation pact now.”

“You mean these trees used to be alive?” He nodded and she smiled brighter, her hand reaching out to caress a tree trunk. The leaves of the tree branch curled around her and she squealed in surprise.

“Ooh, I think they like you.” Rose giggled as the leaves caressed her cheek. Her eyes moved up to meet his and he found his breath catching, his two hearts slowing and his binary vascular system protesting.

The words, they were on the tip of his tongue.

He was going to say them.

“Rose… I…” The Doctor moved his free hand up to play with a piece of her gold hair. He twisted it between his fingers and tried to gather up all the courage in his cowardly hearts. Because he was a coward for not doing this much earlier. He’d loved her since she said she wouldn’t miss it (him) for the world. And that had been way back in Cardiff… their first time in Cardiff with Gelth and Charles Dickens.

His eyes moved from his feet to hers, tracking the lines of her shape before him.

Why was this so difficult?

His dark eyes darted to hers and all he saw was softness and compassion.

So warm. How could he dare not tell her? After all the things she’d given him, done for him. Why could he not just buck up and say the words she deserved to hear?

He didn’t know if he could look at her as he said it. There was so much forgiveness in her eyes for all the things he’d done; things she knew about and even the ones she didn’t know of. He didn’t deserve that.

“You know how you said you wouldn’t miss this, travelling, for anything?” The Doctor saw her nod out of the corner of his eye which he kept fixed on their joined hands. “Well I, uh, wouldn’t have missed it for anything either. Travelling with you has been amazing and you are-.”

Rose screamed suddenly and her hand was wrenched from his. He leapt forward, trying to catch her before she hit the ground.

He was unable to.

Her back smacked against the soggy floor. Vines and branches twisted around her ankles and wrists as she struggled. Their green and yellow leaves rubbed against her, the bark chafing her skin. Thorns dug into her, causing blood to come to the surface and smear.

“Rose! Rose, calm down!” The Doctor said urgently.

“Calm down?! I’m being dragged by a plant!” Her voice was panicked, but her body stopped thrashing. She knew to trust him. It was so instinctive and it made his body warm just the slightest bit.

“It’s like in Harry Potter with the Devil’s Snare… The more you move around, the more the vines take you in.” He watched as she took a few deep breaths before stilling completely. The vines retracted, their leaves covered in Rose’s blood.

He knelt down and helped her sit up before taking her hands and checking the injuries. Sharp little bristles were left behind in the wounds on her arms and legs. Beads of blood were on the surface of where each thorn stuck out. The Doctor bit his lip before standing and offering his hand to help Rose up. She took it gratefully, her eyes questioning.

“Just a pair of tweezers and the dermal regenerator and you’ll be set to save the world in a few hours time.” She nodded and winced as her tiny wounds twinged. The Doctor noticed and gave her an apologetic glance, his eyes guilty. “I’m sorry.” Rose shook her head.

“’s not your fault. I shouldn’tve played around with an alien plant.”

“I should’ve remembered that they liked humans for snacks.”

Despite the pain, Rose rolled her eyes. “Believe it or not, not everything is your fault.” She stopped abruptly and the Doctor stayed by her side. Giving no regard to the little pricks of soreness, she reached her hand up to touch his face. Her fingers tilted his head towards her so she could see his eyes.

He, just like her first Doctor, was extremely expressive. All those emotions came through his eyes. It’s just now they were a whiskey brown instead of steely and paradoxically warm blue. “Please believe me when I say ‘tha this isn’t your fault.” Rose’s hand moved from his cheek to his neck, cupping just under his jaw as her thumb strayed just the tiniest bit. “Not everything bad that happens to me or people around you is your fault. You save people, Doctor. You make them better; you help them. ‘An, sometimes, like the rest of us, you make a mistake.” Her touch was soothing and her voice soft, “’An tha’s okay. ‘Jus… don’t let everything rest on your shoulders. You don’t deserve the guilt no matter what you’ve done in the past.”

The Doctor pulled away and Rose worried that she’d upset him. But she hadn’t.

Instead he stared at her, his eyes a bit glassy. His arms wrapped around her suddenly, pulling her into a tight embrace. Rose hugged his middle, her forehead resting against his shoulder. His hands couldn’t seem to figure where to settle. One moment they were higher on her back, the next lower. Finally he pressed one to the small of her back and the other at the beginning of her spine, just under her neck. His fingers were moving in gentle circles and she could hear him murmuring something beneath his breath. It felt so warm and safe that Rose nearly forgot about the pain from the nettles. The Doctor, as if sensing her discomfort, pulled back. His head hovered over hers for a moment before he bent a bit to kiss her forehead lingeringly – a benediction of sorts.

“Come on,” he started, his voice oddly quiet, “let’s get you back to the TARDIS and all patched up.”

Rose felt his arm wrap around her waist, supporting her weakening ankles. He made sure not to touch her injured wrists, watching guiltily as the blood from each nettle spilled out and twisted around her thin wrist in a gruesome looking bracelet. Rose hobbled along, leaning heavily on him. She looked up to his face and saw the guilt as he stared at her wrists.

“You want to say it, don’t you?”

The Doctor’s eyes snapped up to hers.

How could she know what he wanted to say? Did she know what he’d been trying to get out only moments ago before he was interrupted by a plant?

“Well, I won’t let you say sorry again. There’s no need.”

Oh, that. Well, he did want to say that too. But he wanted to say that L-word thing more than he wanted to say sorry.

“I won’t say it.”

“Promise?”

He nodded.

-

From her spot on the cot and his on the chair positioned between her legs, their heights were altered so that Rose was the taller one. The Doctor cradled her ankle in his hand gently, picking at one of the many thorns adorning it. He sighed as he put the fortieth thorn into a small metal dish to his right.   

This was happening too often – Rose getting hurt or being in danger. She truly was jeopardy friendly.

And it scared him how vulnerable she was.

When she hissed suddenly the Doctor was pulled back to the present.

“Sorry.” He said instinctively. Once he realized what he’d said he looked up at Rose guiltily. She rolled her eyes. “Okay, I apologize.” Rose snorted a laugh which, in the Doctor’s opinion, was much better than her noises of pain. He picked at the last thorn and ran his thumb over her soft skin, trying to see if there were any left that weren’t as visible. “Alright?” He asked quietly. Rose nodded and reached forward, touching his face gently.

“Thank you.”

“You’re quite welcome, Rose Tyler.” She smiled slightly and leaned toward him somewhat hesitantly. The Doctor stilled when he felt her lips press against his cheek. Her human-warm breath tickled his skin and begged him to lean up and just kiss her.

He wondered why he couldn’t just get his body to move that fraction of an inch so he could experience bliss.

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(Deleted comment)
Infuriating, right? I'm working on the next one so you shan't be infuriated for long. :)

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