You Must Give in Order to Receive
Beyond What Eyes Can See
There would be time for grieving, but there were also practical matters that required attention. Once Rose had finally calmed, the Doctor pulled the cover over Maggie’s face.
“I suppose we should take her back home now. Maybe we can find a nice place for her, somewhere she’d like to be.”
Rose shook her head, tears still heavy in her eyes, “No … I want to take her with us to 21st century London. She so wanted to go there and see what a beautiful, loving, compassionate and understanding world the Earth had become. Perhaps it’s better she never knew the truth about how much technology has progressed in a hundred years, and how little man has. Either way I want to take her there, Doctor. Please … I know this is what she would want.”
The Doctor was touched and amazed at his companion. She continued to grow and learn with each encounter they had, and yet with this knowledge, she still carried the love and compassion that had drawn him to her. “All right Rose, we’ll take her home: the home she always wanted to call home.”
The Doctor went to the control panel. The last time he’d been there he hadn’t set a course. He couldn’t imagine where in time and space they could be. A smile went across his lips as he read the dials and then noted the stars in the viewer. A familiar small planet would soon be in the distance.
“Next stop, Earth,” he said with a grin.
Then verifying the readings on the dials, “On course for south London, Christmas Eve 2008. We might just save your Mum’s goose yet!”
He hoped the pun might coax a smile from Rose, but no such luck. She was still fighting tears as she stared at the covered body of her friend and almost daughter.
The Doctor walked over and placed a gentle hand on Rose’s shoulder. “Why don’t you sit by the fire for a moment while I try and find Maggie some clothes to wear? I suppose it’s not really important now, but I think it’s only proper she has something, even if it’s well … only for burial.”
“No, Doctor,” she looked at him bravely through tears, “please let me do it. I … I’ve got to know Maggie and well … I think I know exactly what she’d want to wear. I’d like to do this for her. Please?”
“Good girl. I’m sure Maggie would appreciate that.”
The Doctor pointed at the doors that led to the kitchen. “If you’ll go into the kitchen and into the pantry, you’ll find a wardrobe with a supply of clothes that would put Mark’s and Spencer’s to shame. I’m sure somewhere within there’s a children’s section that should have what you’re looking for.”
The Doctor noticed the gobsmacked expression on Rose’s face and winked, “I know what you’re thinking, Rose. How could there possibly be such an assortment of clothes in one little wardrobe?”
She gave her first smile in quite some time. “I know, Doctor … I know. Infinite dimensions!”
Rose turned and disappeared through the door in search of just the right outfit, hoping the Tardis could provide it.
This left the Doctor alone with Maggie and gave him the chance to set aside his very polished “wise cracking in the face of death” persona and open up his two hearts. He reached out and took her hand. It was still warm, but growing colder. He knelt down like a handsome prince trying to wake a tiny Sleeping Beauty and kissed it. When he looked up, tears and anger were in his eyes.
“I’m tired of death without purpose. I’m tired of the innocent suffering at my expense.” It was a continuation of the one sided conversation he’d had earlier in the cold London night, “How could you let this happen to her? You’re the White Guardian, and although I’m sure it was the Black Guardian who sent us into Belatarian space, you never interceded!”
The Doctor waved his hand above Maggie’s prone body. “You’ve done nothing here. I’ve done nothing here. Rose was right. What is the point of you sending us to rescue her if only to let her to die before she’s had the chance to live?”
The Doctor received silence for his answer. “What? Nothing to say? No more quaint riddles. Not even an appearance?”
The Doctor shook his head and continued to rant through his tears. “I won’t do this anymore. If this is the cost of my continued existence, if more innocent souls like Maggie have to die so the last of the Time Lords can continue to roam about space and time, it’s not worth it. I won’t have more blood on my hands. I said I refused to be a pawn and I meant it! I’ll drop Rose off at her Mum’s and I’ll take this Tardis to the end of time, and I swear to you I’ll stay there.”
Finally exhausted, he laid his hand on Maggie’s chest, “From the moment I saw her on that railing I knew there was something special about her. I knew somehow she figured into your plans, and I thought somehow she figured into my life, but not just a tool to prolong it and then chuck in the rubbish bin when she’s served her purpose.”
Rose went into the pantry and found the small wardrobe the Doctor spoke of. It was a lovely handcrafted piece consistent with Maggie’s time period. Rose opened the door and peeked into the darkness. Stepping in, she said, “Alright then, Alice, here we go.”
Once inside, internal lighting came on to reveal seemingly endless racks of clothing. ‘The Doctor was right,’ she thought. ‘This place would have put ol’ Marks and Sparks to shame.’
She didn’t have to hunt long before she found the children’s section. She was amazed by the variety of clothes for both boys and girls. There were items that had three or four legs and just as many arms. Undoubtedly, the selection was not limited to only human attire.
She found outfits from nearly every Earth time period she knew of and some she’d never seen before that she guessed were from futuristic Earth.
She’d been searching for about ten minutes when she found it. The “it” being the perfect outfit for Maggie. She smiled as she removed it from the hanger. She held it out before her and then pulled it to her chest, struggling to hold back more tears.
When she walked in to the main control room, she was carrying a little girl’s summer dress from the late 1800’s. She saw the Doctor kneeling at Maggie’s side. When he raised his head she saw fresh tears on his cheeks. Realizing he had not noticed her, she stepped back in the room and allowed him a moment to regain his composure. She knew all along there was a great deal of emotion and compassion in those two hearts of his.
Rose gave him that moment, then made a bit of noise before she re-entered the room. “I found it, Doctor. I know it’s exactly what she would have wanted.”
Rose raised the dress before her. “It’s almost an exact duplicate of Alysson’s dress, the one she wore a very special summer day.”
“It looks perfect, Rose; I’ll give you a chance to get her dressed.” The Doctor turned and headed toward the console. He wanted to be sure they hadn’t gone off course yet again.
Rose set the dress down by Maggie’s side, then gently pulled the green cover back. She smiled as her eyes misted. Maggie’s body was indistinguishable from any other four or five year old girl, and that included her genitals. Maggie’s wish had come true, only she would never know it.
Rose pulled knickers up Maggie’s legs, and then tiny petticoats. She eased her lifeless arms into the sleeves and then did her buttons up the back. Save for proper boots, she looked every bit the 19th century little girl she had been that summer day in the garden.
Rose had found a few ribbons when she’d found the dress and used them to put Maggie’s curls up in bunches. The last touch made her too cute and Rose had to gather her up and hold her.
The Doctor’s hearts nearly melted as he saw Rose rocking the lifeless child in his arms.
Rose tenderly caressed Maggie’s head and back, and then … it happened. She felt it and she heard it. There was a large intake of air into Maggie’s lungs and then when it expelled a child’s voice came out with a flurry of words. “Don’t want any Brussels sprouts …I’m thirsty … thank you Rose … but I don’t want a nap, Mummy”.
“Doctor!” Rose screamed as she pulled the child close and ran to him. “She’s alive! She’s talking! She’s alive!”
The Doctor took Maggie from Rose’s arms and quickly examined her for any sign of life.
“I swear, Doctor. I felt her suddenly take a breath and then she … she started talking.”
The Doctor placed his fingers to her throat and then his ear to her chest. Her squeezed her hand and then opened her eyes. Shaking his head, “I don’t believe it. I just …. don’t … believe it. Her pupils are responsive Body temp is warming. Reflexes are sluggish, but coming round, and there’s a heartbeat. Granted it’s very faint, but ... but there’s a heartbeat. Somehow she’s alive again. It’s just not possible.”
Rose took Maggie back into her arms and held her close. “Who cares if it’s not possible! It’s true.”
Rose cried tears of joy as she rocked the sleeping child, “All that matters is that she is alive.”
The Doctor’s fist hit the console, “Of course! How can I have been so bloody stupid! She was never really dead. Her body was reacting the same as mine would during a regeneration under similar circumstances. It completely shut down until all the changes were complete.”
“It was if she was wide awake for just a moment”.
“Yes of course, that makes sense as well. The body had to do a shock to the system a sort of … jump start, if you will, in order to bring her back to the land of the living.”
“I’m just glad she’s back,” Rose smiled as she kissed Maggie’s forehead.
The Doctor ran his fingers through his hair, “You said she spoke?”
Rose nodded, “Yeah … but it was a bit broken. Sort of like bits and pieces of sentences.”
“Can you remember any of it?”
“Ummm…something about being thirsty … not wanting Brussels sprouts and … and … oh yeah … she didn’t want a nap and I think she called me Mummy. Do you think it means anything Doctor?”
“Most certainly it does,” he confirmed with a grin. “She’s about as normal as any other five year old.”
Rose struggled to remember the rest, “There was something else … something different. Yes! Now I remember. She said she ‘thank you’ and she called me Rose.”
“Those may be the last words you’ll ever hear from that woman we met on the bridge. I think it’s pretty safe to say she’ll be but a distant memory, a dream to the child Maggie has become.”
Rose felt like she should cry for having lost a friend, but she couldn’t, because she knew she truly hadn’t lost her friend. She was still here, in Rose’s arms and finally with a form to match her spirit. Rose had to be happy and now only one thing concerned her.
“Does all this mean she’s going to be alright now Doctor?”
“Yes, she is weak and she is exhausted, much as I was during my regeneration two Christmas’s ago. Remember Rose, you very nearly thought I was dead.”
Rose nodded as she held the sleeping miracle close.
“I would say she’s going to sleep for quite awhile, and even after she’s awake she’s going to tire easily, but I’m sure in no time at all she’ll be a proper toddler terror.”
“Our toddler terror, Doctor!” she declared, her maternal instinct clearly in play.
“Now wait a minute, Rose,” the Doctor tried to make a strategic retreat.
She cut his off his escape, “No you wait a minute. You and I helped create the body that Maggie has now and well … well … I think that makes us responsible for the life that comes with it. She can’t possibly fend for herself and we can’t just drop her off at an orphanage.”
The Doctor’s hearts started to melt, “Well … of course we can’t, but what are you suggesting? Surrely you don’t think we can drag her about while we dodge Daleks and Cybermen. That’s hardly a proper environment for a child. It’s not particularly healthy for us adults.”
“I know Doctor … I know,” Rose admitted as she stroked Maggie’s hair, “but she is kind of our daughter even if you don’t want to admit it.”
Rose pointed her finger square at the Time Lord. “I know you care for her. I can see it in your eyes. You could no more chuck her out and let her live with strangers any more than I could.”
The Doctor sighed. He reached out and touched one of the silk ribbons holding Maggie’s hair, “I suppose not. And besides, if there is any chance she might have a little of my DNA in her, we certainly couldn’t leave her with unsuspecting caretakers. We’d need someone capable of dealing with her.”
The Doctor snapped his fingers and smiled, “Yes … Sara Jane! I’m sure she could handle Maggie if the need arose, and I think she might even take Maggie on a full time basis. She’s done quite well with that boy she adopted. Luke’s his name I think. ”
Rose’s eyes narrowed as she pulled Maggie closer.
“Rose … we cannot take her with us. You know that!”
Rose sighed and nodded, “I know … I know, but I feel connected to her. I … I can’t just give her to someone, even Sara Jane and then walk away.”
“Well … I suppose you could stay on Earth and take care of her.”
Rose flashed hopeful eyes at the Doctor, “And so could you … that is, if you wanted to.”
The Doctor turned and looked round the Tardis. “Me settle down of my own accord, eh? Become just another daily worker catching the tube from Waterloo Station and you the happy little housewife with flowers in the garden and brownies baking in the oven?”
He turned to Rose and offered open arms. She reluctantly put Maggie in them. He looked lovingly at the sleeping child on his hip. “Having her and you Rose, is certainly enough to get me take on that type of life, but I know it’s not where I belong, and you know it’s not where you belong, at least not now. We’re needed out there, Rose. No matter how frustrating and hopeless it sometimes seems, we’re needed, and we do make a difference.”
The Doctor looked at the view screen and pointed at the stars. “This is where we belong Rose. It’s like the call of the ocean to the ancient mariners; the thrill of the adventure, the temptation to explore the unknown. You felt it Rose, or you never would’ve gone with me. You still feel it now. I know you do.”
Rose did love the life she was leading. It was an incredible adventure that she never wanted to end.
“Yes, Maggie needs us. I know that maternal instinct of yours got a massive shot in the arm the moment you held her. You’d protect her with your life. I can see it in your eyes. I know you would be a good parent Rose, and like any good parent, you’d only want the very best for your child. You want Maggie to have all the things she never had the first go round, but you know and I know, she could never have any type of a normal life being with us.
As much as she hated to admit it, she knew the Doctor was right. The Doctor and Rose could give Maggie loads of things; moons and stars, and plenty of love, but a normal childhood was out of the question. Perhaps the best thing she could do was to turn Maggie over to Sara Jane or to some proper parents, but she didn’t want to let go. She just couldn’t. Somehow in giving her that blood, she must have given her some of her heart, because there truly was a connection, a bond. Yes, she knew Maggie couldn’t go with them Yes she knew neither she nor the Doctor was ready to settle down and turn their backs on their destiny. Yet she also knew she couldn’t just walk away from Maggie. She had to be a part of her life. Rose wasn’t sure what to do. She just knew there had to be another alternative.
“Doctor, you’re right about my maternal instinct.” Rose looked down at Maggie, “I love her and I want to protect her. I want to see her smile and learn and grow.”
“Well … I can understand that. You do have a physical connection now through your blood.”
Rose shook her head, “No Doctor, I don’t think it really has all that much to do with the physical. It started long before we gave her our blood. It happened while her and I were talking. She was pouring out her heart and soul to me and telling me about a little girl one summer afternoon a very long time ago. That little girl who feel asleep snuggled next to me stole my heart long before I ever saw the one now in my arms. Doctor, I finally do understand what you were trying to tell me earlier?”
“Yes, it’s not the body or the blood for that matter. It was Maggie’s spirit that brought out my maternal instinct and forged our bond. I’d feel the same way about her no matter how she looked. She is this little girl no matter what body she’s packaged in.”
The Doctor smiled proudly at his companion, “Well done Rose. Now you can see beyond what your eyes tell you.”
The Tardis engine’s finally came to a halt which drew both Rose and the Doctor’s attention.
The Doctor gently transferred possession of the precious parcel back to Rose’s arms and went to the control console. Pointing up at the monitor he smiled proudly, “Just as I promised … home for Christmas.”
Rose looked at the screen. Sure enough, he’d finally got it right. The familiar sight of South London and her Mum’s house greeted her..
He reached into his jacket pocket and produced a turn of the 20th century pocket watch. It was badly tarnished, but spot on when it came to time.
“Just before six. We’ve saved the goose, and hopefully, our necks.
The Doctor opened the Tardis’ door and smiled at Rose, “Shall we my dear?”
Rose held the sleeping child in her arms a bit tighter as she prepared to step into a Christmas Eve night nearly as cold as the one where she and the Doctor had met Maggie.
She stopped at the door and turned to the Doctor. “What about Maggie?”
“If she’s awake, she has to brave the goose just like the rest of us, and if she sleeps through, which I am pretty much sure she will, I get her pudding and her Christmas cracker.”
“Doctor!” Rose scolded her time travelling Lord, “You know what I mean. What am I going to tell Mum about Maggie? I think she’ll notice her, and I don’t think I can pass her off as a fruit cake.”
“Right!” The Doctor rubbed his chin. “Don’t worry. I’ll handle it. I’ll explain it all to Jackie.”
Rose rolled her eyes. “Now I’ve really got reason to worry. Guess I better tell her.”
The Doctor bowed, “As you wish,, my lady. Now shall we brave the elements, the goose and your mum?”
Rose giggled as she stepped out of the Tardis, “I wonder which will be worse.”
To be continued ...
Editing by Holly Logan
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