Title: Hearts and Moons Recall the Truth
Summary: Love, silk, and memory, in shades of cold and dangerous blue.
Disclaimer: Dr. Who is the property of the BBC and its various creators. I intend no copy infringement. I just love the Whoniverse.
Edited by: The magnificent dr_whuh
The sun was still bright, the wind very cold, when the Doctor found Rose Tyler and Jack Harkness sitting in the Memory Market of Abela Fort’leza.
It was really quite beautiful. Any passing tourist or artist could have assured him of that. The scenery was, after all, what drew both types to Lizhbau. And today, on this late afternoon? Ah, well – the view was spectacular.
Above his head, Lizhbau’s three moons were pale hints in the faded blue sky of the planet’s high summer. The wind blew frayed and icy ribbons of cloud across them in a fruitless attempt to hide their coming brilliance, as this side of the planet hurtled toward its brief dusk and spectacular night.
Onrushing darkness shadowed mountains beyond the city in shades of steel and purple, their permanent caps of ice fading with the afternoon light. The fields outside Abela Fort’leza’s blue-washed walls were lush with ripe crops and laden fruit trees, all in pastel hues and all fed by cold rivers that branched around the city and tumbled down into great ravines below.
Inside the walled city, lamps flared to life with the approach of dusk. Their warm glow replaced the now-plummeting sun. The slender trees along the avenues and boulevards of Abela Fort’leza cast shadows, not as sharp as they had under their unforgiving sun, but dark enough. Their feathery leaves moved with the constant wind, and the shadows danced across the walls and windows of the market.
It was an attractive confusion of stalls and one-storey shops, each shop painted a different shade of blue, each stall awning striped with more blue and the occasional hint of gold or palest green. It was threaded through with alleys, bricked sidewalks and roads just wide enough for the never-ending parti-colored stream of people: laughing, talking, coming by foot, in carriages, by two-wheeled carts and floaters, all looking for bargains, or heading home after finding some.
The river brightened into a flow of night time partiers, many stopping briefly to pick up last minute gifts, an extra bottle of wine or spirits, some special delicacy to present a host or hostess. Music spilled from some nearby café, providing a final lovely touch. As the artists told the tourists, as the tourists told their friends when they returned home: “You haven’t lived until you’ve seen the market, in cold Lizhbau’s great city.”
The sun was gone, the wind was colder, and the bright flood of humanity streamed around Rose Tyler and Captain Jack Harkness, as they sat, a length of blue silk cloth stretched between them, unheeding of the Doctor and all his pleadings, in the Memory Market of Abela Fort’leza.
Jack hadn’t left the TARDIS with Rose and the Doctor to go sight-seeing when they arrived on Lizhbau. He’d been intent on a mission to the library, ferreting out whatever information he could about the blue box’s operation and nature.
“Seems she’s not makin’ a fuss about you touchin’ her,” the Doctor had grumbled after watching Jack do some minor make-work he’d been assigned. “Since I don’t want that makin’ you too cocksure, you need to do some reading.”
“Be still my heart,” Jack had grinned when he finally understood what that entailed. “Did you hear that, Rose? I’ve got library privileges!”
“Aren’t you the brilliant one,” Rose had teased. “Told you the Doctor would see reason. Didn’t you, Doctor? It’ll be good to have someone better’n me to help you with Her, yeah?”
“Don’t think givin’ him something to do gets you off the hook,” the Doctor said. “Can’t have layabouts in my ship, now, can I?”
“As if! I do all the laundry around here, and most of the pickin’ up – not to mention findin’ the tools you swore were somewhere in the Vortex, and fixin’ the plumbing. I seem to remember a certain high an’ mighty alien who was glad to get his hot shower back,” she shot back.
“The TARDIS would have fixed it,” the Doctor had muttered as he reached for her hand. Rose had laughed out loud and reached back. She was still glowing when she’d turned once more to Jack, with that glorious smile. He’d felt his breath catch in his throat.
“Are you sure you don’t wanna put off that library visit? Come on to the market with us, Jack; it won’t be half as much fun without you.”
“Oi! Life of the party here, and tour guide,” came the Doctor’s mock-outraged retort.
“Yeah, right. That’d be the alien in charge of getting us in trouble no matter what peaceful planet he assures us is gonna be a fantastic rest stop.” She had started to giggle again, but stopped in order to check once more with the Captain. “Jack? Last chance?”
“I can’t deny that I’d like to, But as intriguing as the shopping trip sounds, I have a feeling there’s a pop quiz on the TARDIS in my future, and if I want to pass, I’d better do some serious studying,” he’d told her. “Tell you what, though. How about I join you two in three or four standard hours...say at the market’s central fountain? It’s a big tourist draw, so it’ll be easy for me to find.”
“Alright, and we’ll take you to tea as a reward for all your studyin’, won’t we Doctor?”
“Oh right. Gallons of tea. And whatever passes for beans on toast in Abela Fort’leza,” the Doctor had said, moving close behind Rose and putting his hands comfortably, and territorially, on her shoulders. Rose smiled up at him, then back at Jack.
That smile could power the TARDIS, the giddy boy in him whispered. And if you so much as try to bathe in the warmth, the jaded time agent in him warned, wondering why the hell that long-buried part of him had to surface for this particular woman, you’ll be nothing but dispersed potentialities in the time vortex, courtesy of the last Lord of Gallifrey.
Which darkly compelling alien was giving him an opaque look right now, he’d realized, with another lurch of his insides, this one a bit lower than his throat. Damn the man for looking as he did, for moving as he did, for...for being everything he was. Because there was no way he’d let Jack anywhere near him, the renegade Time Agent knew. Tease, yes, perhaps even flirt – but Jack saw the detachment behind the Doctor’s cheerfully manic grin.
Rose and the Doctor, the Doctor and Rose...you incredible idiot, Jack had thought as the other two jostled and joshed with each other, getting ready to go out. Don’t you go falling for either of them. Not the innocent, not the alien. That way lies madness.
(To Chapter Two)