He turns in the desk chair and glances at her, pulling his glasses off of his face with a surprised look. "Rose," he says, "Didn't think you'd wandered this far into the TARDIS, yet."
"Well, it's not like there's a telly to watch when the TARDIS is just in orbit," she says, stepping in uninvited with a cheeky grin on her face, "I figured I'd take a peek back here, see what you're hiding."
He lets out a short snort, a half-grin slipping onto his lips, "I'm not hiding anything. Not really, anyway."
Her feet are bare, and he can't help but wonder if they're cold against the hardwood. Romana had told him once to install carpet in his room, but he likes the feel of the TARDIS vibrations against his feet, likes the knowledge that he is that much more connected with his machine. Her hand slides along his armoire, then her fingers curl around one of the bedposts on the large bed.
"You're always up working on the TARDIS, I didn't think you slept at all," Rose says, "Except when you were, you know." A gesture can't exactly define 'regenerating', but she does it anyway and he nods a bit in understanding. He always seems to understand silly things Rose does like that.
"Timelords sleep less than humans do," he replies, rubbing his eyes as if to demonstrate Timelord exhaustion, "Just a quick rest, then we're back to work."
"That's something I never thought about," she says, "You know, aliens doing things like sleeping and eating. I figured it was all the same." She sits down on the bed, and he wonders a bit if she realizes the affect her presence there is having on him. It's a private place, an almost safe place, and she's invaded it. He can't tell her that, though, it admits there's something wrong. Besides, she does need somewhere to sit if she is going to talk to him, and he doesn't quite feel like moving from the chair.
"Some races it is, some it isn't," he admits, shrugging a little, "Some creatures dream, some don't. Some like beans on toast, some can't stomach anything but water. You'll see more the more you travel."
She might've been paying attention, might not've, the Doctor can't really tell. Her eyes are fixed on a large grey circle that has been inlaid into the wall not far off from the Doctor's bed. It's a moving grey mass, with dark swirls mixed in with the light ones, and it is a constant state of motion, just above a table with three stones aligned on a seal of Rassilon. There's a layer of dust on the seal and the stones, but the moving grey circle seems to be spotlessly cleaned. Rose's hand immediately reaches out for the white stone, and the Doctor is amazed that he's able to leap out of his chair and catch her hand before she can touch it.
"Don't," he says, surprised at the forcefulness of his voice.
"What is that?" she asks, looking at him in a bit of surprise. Mi casa es su casa, the Doctor had said to her once, and she doesn't expect there to be barriers, he supposes.
"It's…" His eyes drift over to the setup, eyes on the swirling vortex of grey before lowering them to the red, white and grey stones on the Seal.
Rose is more perceptive than most, perhaps, and she speaks up, "It looks sort of like an altar, like in church or something."
"Something like that," the Doctor admits, quietly. Such things stay hidden in his room for a reason, hidden from questions and reasons and answers.
She's looking up, more interested in him than the objects in his room, "I didn't know if Timelords had something like religion or whatever," she says, "I just thought…well, I dunno what I thought, I guess."
The Doctor nods, moving his hand from hers, though still not fully giving her permission to explore. Rose doesn't need permission, of course, and she immediately picks up the white stone, examining it as one would a rare and priceless jewel. What it is, he supposes, considering it's the only one of it's kind in the universe.
"Formolis frostcrystal," his voice attempts to slip back into something like a mentorly tone (as it usually does when he explains something to her), though there is still a note of oddness to it, a wistfulness. "From the mountains of Gallifrey city."
"Carved into the shape of a woman," she says, her voice a bit surprised, "What is it?"
"Menti Celesti," the Doctor explains, "The three sisters."
Rose glances back up at him, "Three sisters?"
On a normal day, he supposes he'd be more likely to wave it aside, dismiss the concept, the story. Today, however, has been tiring, and he's read too many pages in Romana's old diary to leave the dead mythos buried.
"The way it's told," he says, "Is that long ago, when creation was young, three sisters were born. No, not born. Not exactly. Uh, woven. Brought into being. The Menti Celesti, the Gods of the Timelords."
The interest on Rose's face is almost embarrassing. She's taking in his words as if they are a part of him, a part of everything he is.
"The youngest was the only sociable member of the family," he says, motioning to the frostcrystal, "She danced with everyone in the universe at least once. Usually only once."
Death, he thinks, taking the stone from Rose's fingertips. Daughter of the Timewyrm. How ironic it is for Rose to be interested in that one.
"The middle child attempted social ness, though she always came when she was unbidden and stayed long past her welcome," his finger touches on the red stone. Pain. "No one ever purposefully asked about her."
"The oldest, wisest, and most beautiful," he picks up the swirling grey rock, made of the same material as the circular plaque on the wall, "Was Time."
Rose's head tilts a bit to the side, "And you worship that?" she asks, "Time and those sisters?"
"Not me, specifically," he says, putting the stone back in it's proper place on the Seal, "But some Timelords did, yes."
"Not you?" she says the words as though she's afraid they'll be the straw that'll break his back and he'll stop talking about it. She could be right.
He looks back at the religious symbol on the wall, at the altar pieces he hasn't touched in decades, let alone worshipped properly. Everything has a time and everything dies. With a motto like that, does he worship Time, Pain, or Death the most? It is impossible, according to myth, to love the three women at once, they battle each other for affection.
"If a planet is gone and no one is left to worship its Gods," he asks, "Do they still exist, or do they die with the believers?"
Rose glances at the altar, then back at the Doctor, "Maybe they just hide," she says in her naive and easygoing way, "Wait for new people to worship them the way the old ones did."
"Maybe," the Doctor replies, "Maybe."
Muse: Doctor (Ten)
Fandom: Doctor Who
Word Count: 1,318