Bells clang. In sync with the grating of shattering collapse. Early warning system. Time stream slip through.
Doctor? Doctor! You need to focus now. Timelines merging. Three minutes forty-two seconds. Fractures radiating out from the center of the break. Goodbye. Always goodbye. The timing was—is—will be—must not crash into previous incarnation. Barrel towards the big bang.
Doctor. You must listen. Hear the splinter of worlds. The paths must align, but never collide. Smooth. Rocky. Scream through the vortex. Program coordinates. Different destination. Must alter course. Time jaunt.
The Not Rose woman. Names slip. Mix with the undulating universe. Sookie? The vibration of her brainwaves. Surf the surface. Knock. Sookie? Must answer. Doctor must know. Tell him. Three minutes twenty-three seconds. The explosion at the end of the Rainbow Bridge. Connections cease. Pathways burned to oblivion.
The ominous clanging of the bell reverberated through my bones, and my fingers tightened around Eric’s. The wind screamed in from the sea as The Doctor and Rose clung to one another, indifferent to the danger that crept in from all sides. I couldn’t name it, but it shivered up my spine. The TARDIS stood firm at my back, a reassurance of the possibility of home. I stepped forward, out of the safety of the doorframe, walking towards The Doctor and Rose.
A voice echoed inside my brain; fading in and out as if the speaker searched for the right frequency.
Sookie? The interior of the TARDIS flickered to life. Tell him. Three minutes twenty-three seconds.
“Doctor…” I really didn’t want to interrupt his reunion with Rose, but things outside their little bubble of happiness leaned toward sketchy. And just a little bit freaky.
Images of destruction assailed me; I blinked trying to handle the onslaught. I stumbled. Eric zipped to my side, and winding his arms around me, steadied me. It was one thing to project a destination to the TARDIS, quite another to have her tapped directly into my thoughts showing me what appeared to be the end of the world in flashing Technicolor. Slowly my vision crept back in.
The Doctor and Rose pulled back, still caught in the other’s gaze, only a breath apart. The Doctor withdrew his fingers from Rose’s hair, cupping her jaw. His face held a look of tender incredulity, like he couldn’t believe he truly held her in his arms. His thumb skimmed her lips.
“Doctor…The TARDIS is quite insistent. She says we have three minutes and twenty-three seconds until things go all sorts of sideways.”
The bell tolled again.
The Doctor kissed Rose once more, and bounded into motion. Whipping out his sonic screwdriver, he scanned the area around the TARDIS. He examined whatever information the device gave him, his face falling. I watched as he buried the emotion.
“What’s going on Doctor?” I hated his worried face. It meant something had gone seriously wrong. Not that I hadn’t already gathered that. But the TARDIS flipping channels in my head didn’t terrify me as much as seeing The Doctor actually scared.
He focused on me for only an instant before turning back to Rose and taking her hands. “I wanted there to be more time.”
“What do you mean, Doctor?” She removed her hands from his, and skepticism poured out of her. “There is no way you are leaving me behind. You forget. I know you. No matter how long we’ve been separated. You’re still trying to protect me. Let me guess, the worst has happened, and the universe is about to collapse.”
I admired the woman as she grabbed the Doctor’s lapels, and tugged him close.
“If you think there’s any way I’m letting you go again, you are insane. In every timeline. Facing any foe. Apocalypse or high water, I always choose you.”
The Doctor stood flabbergasted. A tiny smile hitched up, and a sparkle danced in his eyes. “I only meant to give you a choice. After this—providing we don’t break the universe—there’s no coming back. Ever. In hindsight, we shouldn’t have made it this far, but I think within the TARDIS hides the soul of a romantic.”
“Two minutes thirteen seconds, Doctor.” He shot me an exasperated look, and I threw my hands up in surrender. “Sorry! But with the TARDIS chattering away in my head, it’s hard not to feel the urgency.”
She chose him. That’s all he needed to know.
“Sookie. Head into the TARDIS. I’m sure she’s already got the route planned, but the third lever to the right of the time rotor needs winding. One twist right. Three left. Two right. Leave the handle at twelve o’clock. We’ll be right in.”
Eric and Sookie walked back to the TARDIS, Rose turned to her mother. “Mum…”
Jackie’s sad smile greeted her. “Rose, I’ve always known you’d leave me eventually. Remember when I told you I imagined you, years from now, and you looked like a complete stranger?”
Rose nodded, remembering the hurtful words. “Mum, stop it’s okay.”
The Doctor’s hearts warmed as Jackie laid her hands on her daughter’s shoulders.
“You weren’t a stranger. You grew up beautiful, into a woman I could be proud of. I just didn’t want to lose you. But when I found your father again,” her hand reached behind to slip into her husband’s. “Well, nothing coulda stopped me from following him to the ends of another Earth. This is your chance. Take it.”
The two women fell into a fierce hug, and The Doctor turned to Rose’s dad, Pete. “I promise. I’ll do everything in my power to make her happy.” He held out his hand to the man he’d fought beside in the battle of Canary Wharf.
Pete’s hand crushed his.
“So, this is what it’s like to meet someone’s dad as the man who loves his daughter, and wants her to run away to see and save the galaxy with him,” The Doctor half-quipped, uncharacteristically nervous, but still hopeful. “I do love her, Pete.”
Ever the protective father, Pete warned, “You’d better, because if something happens to her, I’ll focus all of Torchwood’s resources on breaking down the walls again, and I won’t care how many universes I shatter in the process.”
The Doctor nodded sternly, proud he didn’t point out that Pete would hardly know if something happened to Rose. But The Doctor knew there was nothing in this world or any other that would stop him from loving and protecting her. For as long as he was allowed. Pete’s face broke into a wide grin, and The Doctor found himself embraced.
“That’s what I thought.” Pete released The Doctor, and turned to the daughter he had only just begun to know.
Feeling like he intruded on a private family goodbye, The Doctor began walking towards the TARDIS. They didn’t have long, but he could spare a few more seconds.
“Oh no you don’t!” Jackie’s brash voice stopped him dead. “You come over here and say goodbye to us proper. None of this slipping off when you think no one’s paying attention. I’m always paying attention.”
He reversed course and met her halfway. She wrapped herself around him, and he felt her maternal love infusing him. “She loves you, Doctor. So, make it a good life. For both of you.” She kissed him on the cheek.
“Of course, Jackie.” He gave her a courtly bow. “Your wish is my command.”
“Oh you cheeky…” She smacked him on the shoulder as she laughed, which was his intention. When Rose parted with her family for the last time, he wanted her to see their smiles. To know the happiness they shared for her. For the adventure the two of them embarked on.
If they survived, of course.
Rose finally faced Mickey. The man who’d been her best friend for years. The Doctor could appreciate the bond they shared; he was fond of the man himself. He wondered if Mickey would choose to return to his original Earth. From the tears streaming down Rose’s face, he gathered the answer to be no.
The Doctor closed the distance between them, offering his silent support to Rose, a steady presence at her back.
“I’ve a life I built here, Rose. But you…you belong to the stars.” Mickey reached up and traced his thumb along the streaks of her tears. He looked like he wanted to say more, but instead pulled her in for a quick hug. “Get outta here. Go follow your heart. When I look up at the sky, I’ll always remember you.”
The tears flowed freely down her cheeks, but she stood tall, and brave, always ready to face the next challenge. Rose reached back, knowing The Doctor waited to take her hand.
“Ready?” He stared down at her. He still couldn’t believe she chose to travel with him.
Her eyes lit up. “Always.” With one last glance at her family, “I love you. I’ll miss you all. Goodbye.” The Doctor squeezed her hand, letting her know he was right there with her. He loved her endlessly for the sacrifice she made.
With that, they turned and ran back to the TARDIS. The Doctor and Rose Tyler. As they always should be, hand in hand and facing the impossible.
Taking too long. When will that man learn to focus? She remembered. Goodbyes hold importance. Rose’s memories assailed her, fused into the TARDIS mainframe. Two became one. Like the Not Rose woman. What was she called? Sookie. Yes, Sookie. Two lives. One body. Bigger on the inside.
Two lives. One body. Out of all the snippets of thought, and snapshots of potential disaster, that phrase stuck out to me.
Eric perched in the captain’s seat and observed. I couldn’t help but let my eyes roam the length of his body. So happy to have him back, I feasted on the man before me. I feared nothing, when facing it with him. My hands drifted unconscious down to my belly, realization flooding my senses. Two lives. One body. Could it be true? I thought back to our night in the glade. Eric had been human then.
Amongst the frantic confusion of messages and pictures coming at me from the TARDIS, I struggled with this new understanding. The TARDIS pushing insistence at the walls of our mental link. I had no time to consider the repercussions before the TARDIS swamped me with further visions: Rose and the Doctor running through time; smiling at the enemies that defied them. Eric crossed to me, sensing my exertion, his fingers reaching up to my temples, a soothing touch, cool against my overheated skin.
Rose’s consciousness left residual merging through the time vortex. Rose believed in the Doctor. Believes. Always believing. But the universe goes to slivers in advance of the disappearing bubble. Shedding the protection. Anticipate the disintegration.
One must separate from the other. Bold worlds attached by lifeline. One to another. The Doctor to Rose Tyler. Neither releasing the other. Never. They hold tight despite the tragic distance between them. Belief. Always belief. Tied to each other, the bond of souls.
Sookie saw the love between the Doctor and Rose, so intense it propped open the path between worlds.
One minute thirty seven seconds. Just in time for –
The Doctor and Rose flung open the TARDIS doors, and ran up the ramp, each tossing their jackets onto the waiting railing. I couldn’t hide my relief at seeing the two of them. The TARDIS busily painted scenes of utter destruction if we didn’t make it back through the hole in time braced open by the love of two people.
“The two of you, your love, forged the connection between two parallel worlds,” I breathed out; marveling as the two of them went to work piloting the TARDIS. “Do you know how epic that is—”
You’re as scattered as he. Get to the point, Not Rose.
“I have a name, you know, and you can shut off those bells anytime now,” I said aloud, to the consternation of the other three people whose attention focused solely on me in that moment. “Sorry…the TARDIS. She’s been yammering on in my head—“
OI! I resent that. Flip the warning to silent.
The silence relieved some of the ache of telepathy with the TARDIS.
“The TARDIS has started snarking back to me, Doctor.” I startled at the look on his face, one of absolute envy and longing. I realized that communicating with the TARDIS, talking brain to brain as it were, wasn’t something The Doctor could do. “She’s worried, Doctor. Things are getting dicey out there. She showed me something about how the tie between you and Rose was so strong; it stabilized the crack between the two Earths. You two loved each other too much.”
His face scrunched up as he swung the monitor around, studying intently on the swoops and swirls as the Gallifreyan language of the Time Lords scrolled across the screen.
“She’s right. Eventually the worlds would have collided, no matter what.” The TARDIS shuddered to one side, throwing each of us off kilter.
I clutched at my head, “Fifty seven seconds, Doctor. The TARDIS seems to be getting impatient.” I went into Eric’s arms, and he cradled my head against his chest. How would I ever tell him I was pregnant? How would he react? I couldn’t lose him.
I didn’t have time to truly consider any of the ramifications before we barreled headlong between the two worlds. Eric and I backed away from the console and monitor to give The Doctor and Rose room to work. I could only gaze in awe as Eric and I clutched at the railing in an attempt to remain upright.
The Doctor called out directions, and Rose burst into action. The two of them, partners dancing to call of the wild unknown.
“She’s knitting together the fractures. See that patch of buttons there?” He pointed off to his left, and Rose nodded. “The sequence is: green, yellow, yellow, red, yellow, purple.” He repeated it as Rose entered the combination.
He does know I have this under control, correct? I already inputted the coordinates, and figured the variables against the collapsing.
I called out over the rumbling din of the TARDIS, “Doctor, you remember that the TARDIS chose the destination already, right?”
“Yup yup yup!” The Doctor sprinted to the opposite side of the console, flopping into the captain’s chair. Rose slid the monitor around, and he caught it, stopping it right in front of him. “Thanks, Rose!”
I hated to ask, “Do you have any idea where we’re headed? She’s being all secretive. All I got from her was that we needed to take a detour before we could travel back to Bon Temps. Something about being unable to land there without confusing the time streams.”
The Doctor’s grin could fuel entire solar systems. “Nope,” he said popping his ‘p’. “Absolutely no idea whatsoever. Isn’t that fantastic?”
“I think we need to work on your definition of the word fantastic, Doctor,” came Eric’s dry retort.
The Doctor eyed him around the console. “Are you trying to tell me that you aren’t having the least little bit of fun Mr. Thousand-year-old Viking Vampire? What? You don’t feel alive unless you’re marauding?”
Eric just shrugged his shoulders, pretending indifference, but I could see the excitement glistening in his eyes. “Anything I can do to help? I am unused to inaction in the face of dire consequences.”
“Thanks, but no. Things are about to get really hairy. We’re trying to squeeze through on the same pathway we took to get to Rose, without running into our other selves. If I weren’t such a master of—“
The TARDIS lurched to the left, The Doctor scrambled to grab hold of the edge of the console.
“It seems the TARDIS disagrees with your description of the word master,” I joked.
Focus! The both of you! I have control, and I can’t have him playing around with the controls like a child right now.
I held in the laughter that bubbled inside me. The TARDIS sounded like a stern mother. A stern frustrated mother. “The TARDIS would like you to let her do her thing. It appears she’s got this all under control.”
“Harrumph.” The Doctor crossed his arms over his chest.
“Oooh. I love when they get like this.” Rose smirked. “Usually the TARDIS just locks him out of the mainframe. He gets so sulky and cute.”
“Cute, Rose Tyler? I am a Time Lord, I am not cute!” I could tell he barely withstood the desire to stomp his Converse clad foot on the ground.
“You are actually kinda cute, Doctor,” I joined in with Rose’s merriment. We might all be blown to smithereens at any moment, but she and The Doctor were too happy being together again to stay overly serious for any length of time. “Now hush! She’s talking to me again.”
“She’s always hushing me, Rose,” I heard The Doctor say.
“In that case, I like her.” Rose responded, nodding to me as I tried to zero in on the TARDIS.
Tell him if he insists on helping, he may wind the time rotor.
I relayed the information. The Doctor’s look of pure amused vexation, cracked through Eric’s composed exterior, and he huffed out a stifled chuckle.
The Doctor relented, letting the TARDIS take full control. “She does like to take care of me from time to time.”
I listened to the TARDIS counting down from thirty as we plummeted through time and space, without a destination. At least one that anyone within her walls knew about anyway. I could only hope we didn’t land on a planet with carnivorous plants, or rampaging zombies.
“Alrighty folks, here we go. Grab onto something, preferably not the gears,” The Doctor commanded.
Eric’s iron grip came around me at the same time The Doctor’s arms fastened around Rose. There was nothing left to do but pray.
“Twenty-three seconds, Doctor,” I warned. The Doctor’s eyes never left the monitor, though he used his body as a barrier for Rose against the buffeting of the pinballing race against the seconds.
I do so love soaring. Such freedom.
Inside the steel cage of Eric’s arms, his right hand latched onto the railing, the TARDIS bashed and battered against the time vortex. Sparks flew from the console as she wove a path of peace and balance in her wake. I could feel her joy at the stitching back together of time, the seamless re-weaving of the separate strands of reality. We rode on the rushing edge of a surging wave. Surfing the ragged crest. Tossed and whirling.
The TARDIS suddenly stilled. We struggled to gather our balance.
“Where did we land, Doctor?” Eric asked, as he crossed to stand beside The Doctor, serious yet curious at the same time. Now that one danger had passed, he prepared himself for what came next.
The Doctor squinted at the screen. “You aren’t going to believe this.”
“What?” Rose asked, her face eager as she stared at the monitor.
“From one dream to another,” The Doctor vibrated with nervous energy.
The TARDIS flickered another slide show across my brain. Candlelight, a stage, and a sky full of stars.
The TARDIS severed her mental connection with me, and I knew where we were. What we were here to do. The Doctor’s eyes sparkled in my direction.
“It’s our present from her,” I explained. “For surviving, partially I suppose, but also for the risk we took for love.”
The Doctor draped his arm over Rose and tucked her into his side, explaining where and when we arrived. “It appears the TARDIS also kept us from dropping in on King James this time.”
I felt Eric stiffen. “That bastard tried to burn you at the stake,” he exclaimed as the memory surfaced.
Rose’s eyes widened. “Seriously? You almost got burned alive?”
I nodded, shivering as imaginary flames licked my skin. Eric’s grip tightened around me. “Yeah, I wouldn’t recommend the experience.”
“I imagine not.” Rose stepped up on her tip-toes to kiss her Doctor. Their lips gentle, thankful. “You always get into the most interesting messes. I love you, you know.”
I gazed up at Eric. “What do you think about that night at the theater we talked about after you rescued me?”
He bent down, and captured my mouth with his. “You were so beautiful and trusting that night. So familiar, but our time together too far removed. There is nothing I want more in this world than to share Shakespeare with you.”
The Doctor cut in, apparently done with the kissing of Rose. “Well then, you and Rose oughta mosey on up, and change into less conspicuous clothing.”
I looked down at my jeans and simple light green long-sleeved V-neck. “I imagine this would draw attention. Hey! Wait a minute. What about Eric? He’s wearing denim too.”
The Doctor gestured at Eric. “Do you honestly think anyone would dare question him, no matter what he wore?”
The TARDIS popped back in to lend her two cents worth to the conversation.
This is absolute truth. That man is yummy.
“Hey! Where’d you learn the word yummy?” I asked the TARDIS.
I listen. Is he not yummy? Should I realign my definition?
“Nope, you hit it spot on.” Apparently, the TARDIS agreed with me. And apparently, I’d spoken all of that aloud. I realized three sets of eyes stared at me. “Sorry guys. TARDIS talking again. Anyway, fair enough, Doctor. I concede the point. Eric doesn’t have to change. He’s just fine as he is.” I may have said the last bit a tad bit dreamily.
Eric laughed and kissed me quickly. “Oh, but I do intend to change, Sookie. I happen to look very good in this era’s clothing.” He winked and strode out of the room.
“Eric,” I called after him. “You might want to wait up. The TARDIS can be a bit confusing.”
The Doctor waited with him for the ladies to complete their dressing. He offered to help Sookie with all the layers, but she had only blushed and batted his hands away. Saying she wanted it to be a surprise. She consistently surprised him. From the first, when she walked back into his life, she called to him. Something about her. He knew she wrestled with the man he had been previously, the violence that colored so much of his path.
He would spend the next several lifetimes proving to Sookie that his capability for violence stemmed from a fierce abiding loyalty to those he called family. A small group, to be sure, but her name had risen to the top of that list without him even knowing.
“It’ll work out, Eric.” The Doctor faced Eric who leaned against the main console.
“You can tell the future now as well?” He asked, his uncertainty evident, but hope welled in his chest.
“I’ve spent the last week with Sookie, watching her fall in love with you over and over. Every time discovering something new about you. I’ve seen you make her happy in four separate lifetimes. Whatever impediments you worry about, the two of you will overcome them.”
He turned the idea over in his head. “I can offer her immortality. We can spend the next hundred lifetimes together. But this path is not without its sacrifices.”
“I risked billions of lives for one lifetime with Rose. The one adventure I can never truly have. The gift of growing old with the woman I love. Rose has only one life. I die, but my body regenerates into a new person. I will continue after she leaves me.”
“Would you keep her with you, if you could?”
The Doctor lost himself in the thought. “I would,” he confessed. “But I would also give up every regeneration, every lifecycle I have, to spend a single lifetime by her side.”
“Even one lifetime with her requires a sacrifice. Not just going on after she’s died. I can never give her the life she deservs; a life steeped in light and a gaggle of grandchildren at her feet. What right do I have to ask of her these things?”
“All you can do is ask her what life she wants, not deserves. In the end, it’s her choice, and she deserves to make it. She may say no to any number of propositions. But she almost died twice, and she still loves you. She is a strong woman.”
His lips quirked up into a half smile. “That she is Doctor, that she is. Well what are two lovelorn men to do, but wait…” his words trailed off when he turned to see Sookie walking towards him.
A vision of loveliness, the dress a deep burgundy floor length gown, gathered in layers of black lace. Her hair fell in soft waves over her right shoulder. Rose looked beautiful as well in her baby blue gown trimmed in antique white. The Doctor stumbled over his feet to catch her hand in his.
But Eric’s gaze quickly fell again to Sookie. He bowed low to her and then offered her his own hand. Once her fingers wrapped around his, he tugged her against his chest.
“Do you like what you see, Sookie?” He pulled back slightly so allow her a better look.
Her eyes raked his entire body, and heat poured through his veins in response. She fingered the lapel of the long tailed crushed black velvet jacket.
“I most certainly do,” she whispered in his ear, “but I’m afraid we’d never make it to the play if I told you exactly what you’re doing to me right now.”
Lust and love rippled through his body. She placed a quick kiss against his earlobe and moved away, hand leaving his own bereft without its warmth. It took every ounce of his willpower to follow behind her, instead of finding a bedroom in the maze of the TARDIS. He wouldn’t let her leave that bed for days.
“Come on Eric, we’ve a play to catch,” The Doctor said as he opened the door to Elizabethan England for Rose.
Their hands slid together easily, a motion done a thousand times, now second nature.
“Come on, Doctor. We’ll leave them to catch up.” The Doctor and Rose bounded out into the night.
Once they stood alone, Eric crossed to Sookie. He held his hand out, aching for her touch again. “Shall we?”
We stepped out the door together. The Doctor and Rose waited a few feet away at the end of the alley we’d parked in.
“Welcome to Elizabeth’s England!” The Doctor swept his arms wide, taking in the teeming throngs of people. We stepped out into the electric crowd.
This was nothing like the first time I’d been here. I’d missed the vibrancy of the people the last time. I stared down the cobblestone road to see the Globe Theater, a glowing beacon against the night sky. Fire breathers performed next to stalls selling mead and ale; a fortune teller beckoned to the passing people; a small group of musicians gathered together playing a merry romp. A few couples danced in the street. The sounds and smells combined into a joyous celebration.
“I never realized the theater would be such a big deal,” I wondered at the sights surrounding me.
Eric surprisingly jumped in to explain. “No TV. No radio. No cell phones or twenty-four hour news coverage.”
He lived through this the first time around. “How much history have you seen?” I asked, in awe of the scope of his life.
Rose looped her arm through mine. “And imagine how much more we’ll get to see simply because we love them.” She beamed at The Doctor and then back at me. Her voice dropped conspiratorially, “Well, them and adventure.”
“Mostly adventure,” I winked at her, feeling lighter than I had in years.
We meandered through the street, stopping to check out the different wares the citizens of London sold to the passersby. Laughter mixed with music drew us into a pub where we shared pints of ale.
We cozied into a booth at the corner of the room, not noticing it was already occupied. When I slid to the back of the rounded table, I glanced up to see a young man with scruffy beard and mischievous eyes. He shuffled the papers in front of him into a messy pile, and replaced his quill in the small jar of ink.
My hand reached up to cover my mouth in surprise. “Oh. I’m so sorry. I didn’t see you back there.”
My eyes slowly adjusted to the dimly lit room, enough to make out the mirth hiding just behind the man’s smile. His wicked eyes definitely landed him in the charming rogue category.
“A beauty such as yours may interrupt my solitude at her leisure. Mademoiselle,” he reached for my hovering hand, bringing it to his lips. “My name is William Shakespeare, and I am at your service.”
My mouth hung agape, I knew it and I couldn’t do anything to stop it. I never imagined this happening. Not in a million years.
The one and only William Shakespeare edged closer to me. “And may I ask the name of my enchanting companion for the evening?”
I could feel blood rush to my cheeks, he might be a scoundrel, but he held certain magnetism. His scruff lent him an air of danger, his eyes promised seduction, and a woman might, easily and understandably, fall under his charismatic sway.
I finally gathered my wits enough to answer. “Sookie Stackhouse.”
He inclined his head to me, and kissed my hand again. The collar of his white linen shirt fell forward with the motion, allowing me a glimpse of a surprisingly well-defined chest. “I am utterly charmed to meet your acquaintance.”
Eric sidled up against me, as close as he could get without pulling me into his lap, which I wouldn’t put past him at this point. He hadn’t missed a moment of Shakespeare’s flirtation.
“I am her husband, Lord Northman, and I would thank you to remove your hand from milady’s.” I wondered at his title, but then I could feel the rumble of the growl building within him. I retrieved my hand from Shakespeare.
“Behave yourself, Eric,” I chuckled at his show of jealousy. He really had nothing to fret about.
“You are mine,” the words tumbled from him.
I leaned forward and gave him a quick kiss. “You know I’m yours, Mr. Possessive-Pants. There’s no reason to worry.”
The Doctor grasped Shakespeare’s still outstretched hand. “Blimey. William Shakespeare. So pleased to meet you. I’m The Doctor and this is my companion, Rose. Well, really so much more than companion, but what’s in a label anyway?”
“Indeed. And a most beautiful rose in whose eyes, I could lose my soul.”
“Oh, you’re a smooth-talker, aren’t you?” Rose let him take her hand, and he proceeded to kiss hers as he had mine.
Eric’s posture loosened only a fraction, and my heart wanted nothing more than to reassure his. I reached up, taking his face in my hands. “You know I love you, right?”
Shakespeare mused, “I see. Theirs is an epic love, one born of trials and flames, stronger for the heat that forged it.”
“Shhhh,” I said over my shoulder to silence Shakespeare before he could really get going. I would bet good money the guy could offer a running commentary, but it wasn’t what we needed right then.
“Don’t worry.” The Doctor explained, “She does it to me all the time.”
“Seriously, you two hush now.”
“See, I told you,” The Doctor said, and then when I turned my glare to him, he mimed locking his lips and throwing away the key.
“Oh, you’re hopeless!” I turned back to face Eric, “In case you hadn’t noticed, you own me body and as soul, as I do you. And I love you with so much of my heart that none is left to protest.” The tension left the crease between his eyebrows. He eased back in his seat, content.
Shakespeare reached for his quill. “That is very good—none is left to protest—oh yes, that will do very well.”
“It’s from one of—” The Doctor kicked my shin under the table. “Ouch! What was that for?” Until I realized exactly what I’d almost done.
That would have been a mess, trying to explain time travel to a 16th century playwright. Though, I imagined Shakespeare would adapt better than most to the news.
“Yes, a lovely phrase I heard once. Somewhere along the way…” I let my lame excuse drift away on he muddled conversation of the other patrons.
“I’ll have to steal it from you. I hope you do not mind.” Shakespeare didn’t look up from his scratching.
I couldn’t resist, “It’s all yours.”
Just a note to say that I’m fudging the timeline on The Globe. They didn’t actually start construction on The Globe until 1599. Creative license is a real thing y’all.