Braxiatel turned toward his brother with a furious glint in his eye. “You need to go back to where you found her, Thete. Go back, see your elder self, and demand to know what game he’s been playing.” He pulled a small phone from his pocket. “I’ll have Romana notify the Transduction teams that you will be travelling off-planet. Go get your TARDIS, I’ll cancel my afternoon appointments and stay with Rose.”
The Doctor’s eyes were swirling with anger and frustration. He stared at the open front door of his home out toward the orchard of Magnolia trees that Rose was so happily enjoying only moments ago. His voice was quiet. “I can’t.”
“What do you mean, you can’t?” he growled in reply. “Because two of you in one place will upset timelines and wreak havock?” He let up a laugh. “You are Theta Sigma, the Doctor, the Renegade Time Lord who can – and has – done everything. If there’s one thing I know about you, Brother, it’s that there is no power or rule-set in this universe that will stop you from doing anything.”
He nodded toward the open door. “Except when she’s the one making the rules.”
Braxiatel laughed hard at that one. “You started breaking her rules almost immediately.”
The Doctor shook his head. His eyes still on that damn open door. “Only when she consented, Brax. Mutual rule breaking on both our parts.” His eyes finally blinked and he looked toward his brother with pain in his eyes. “One very specific rule she has that I vowed to her I wouldn’t break was that I would not go forward into my timeline to confront myself.”
“Really?” Brax breathed out with doubt.
“Yes, Brax. Really.”
“Care to share with me the exact wording of that very specific rule of hers?”
The Doctor could hear the hostility in his brother’s voice. He didn’t mind it. He mirrored it – for once. “Why are you asking me that?”
“To find the loophole,” he answered fast. He flicked his hand toward the door. “To be able to step ahead and address this issue before the reminders of him take you away from you completely.”
That surprised the Doctor. He flashed a look containing that surprise toward his brother. “You sound like you care just as much about the woman as you do the time lines.”
“Tell anyone else and I will vehemently deny any affection toward a Human,” Brax muttered. “But yes. This one is definitely special – if only because she brings about a change in you that I never thought possible.”
“I’m happy,” the Doctor added to Braxiatel’s remark. “For the first time since leaving Gallifrey to find what it is I needed to make me whole, I’ve finally found it.” He lowered his head with a frustrated huff. “And yet I have to suffer from sins I can’t imagine myself committing in my future… Not against her.”
“And this is why we need you to go ahead to that future and find out exactly what has gone wrong in your head … what else has gone wrong…” He tried for flippancy. “You’ve never been quite right in there.”
“Malfunction in the loom,” he said with a sigh. “Incompatibility between Human and Gallifreyan DNA.”
“No, Thete,” Brax sighed in an unusually tender brotherly tone. “Don’t’ talk like that. You’re just a little different to the rest of us .. more human than Gallifreyan.” He looked at him. “Tell anyone I said this and I will end you.” He inhaled. “The Human part of you makes you better than all of us.” He looked back at the door. “And so does she.”
“I just can’t imagine so heartslessly wanting to throw it away like that,” the Doctor breathed out with confusion. “What in Arcadia happened?”
“Go and find out,” Braxiatel urged him. “I’ll get you your clearance and keep an eye on your beloved. Just do try and time your return to within only a few minutes.” He smirked. “And the one that loved her – pick him up and take him with you too. Go in with a double-pronged attack.”
The Doctor actually considered it for a moment. He even took a step forward. Then he stopped, slumped, and let out a moan of utter defeat. “I can’t, Brax. As much as I want to – and trust me that want is excruciatingly powerful – I can’t betray her like that.”
“Then I’ll go,” Braxiatel offered with a firm nod of decision. “Give me the coordinates, and let me have a word with him. I’ll take Leela with me. She has a few new knives that she’d like to show him.”
That actually brought a smile to the Doctor’s face. “While I do appreciate your concern, Brother. Let me handle this one.” He stepped forward. “I’ll go have a word with Rose, and see if … if…” He exhaled. “I’ll see just what I can do to salvage what I have with her right now, and in the future.”
“The offer still remains, Thete,” Braxiatel offered. “I can, and I will most certainly make it happen.”
The Doctor nodded and waved his hand at him as he walked out the front door. “Thanks. I’ll … I’ll let you know.”
Rose didn’t know how far she ran. Calculating distance wasn’t something that was front and centre in her mind. All she knew is that she ran until she couldn’t anymore, and when she finally fell against a tall and smooth white-barked tree to catch her breath, she realised that she didn’t even know in which direction she’d run. She turned in place and looked around her, her eyes low and then high, desperately trying to find a landmark that may indicate where she’d ended up.
“Oh, crap,” she sighed finally. Her head fell to hand past her shoulders and she huffed at the ground. “Got myself in a right mess now, haven’t I?”
A large white face with a deep blue nose and charcoal black eyes moved curiously into her field of vision. Crouched on the floor and maintaining eye contact with her mistress, the female Dahrama let out a huff of concern.
Rose dropped her hand to scratch at the wolf’s head. “I’m okay, Sweetheart. Really.” She kept her hand on the wolf’s head and lifted her own to survey the trees ahead of her. “He’ll find us,” she assured her. “I promise you.”
Of course she knew that her pair of Dahramas were in no way concerned for their own safety and wellbeing. The pair were wild animals, they’d be perfectly fine out in this wilderness … which was breathtakingly stunning to her, even despite her panic and exhaustion. No, her pair of animals that she and the Doctor referred to lovingly as “the Kids” would be far more concerned for her safety than for theirs. She knew she was safe.
She looked down into the still concerned gaze of the female. “While we wait for daddy to find us, let’s explore, shall we?”
That seemed to satisfy the young female. She huffed and then stepped off to the side to flank Rose on her left, while her mate flanked protectively on the right.
The only walked a further minute or so before the treeline ended and the landscape opened up ahead of them. Once again Rose’s breath was caught at the beauty of the land around her. Mountains rose high from the ground ahead, snow capped and a majestic shade of red and orange. Between the mountains and her lay a wide creek and Cadonwood forest. The twin suns, both peeking through the split between the mountains sent visible rays of light so bright that when it hit the silver leaves of the trees, it looked as though it was ablaze with fire.
Her hands lifted to cover her gasping mouth as a distant cry of a Dahrama howled a cry marking its territory. Beside her the male wolf howled in reply, a warning that the lands this side of the creek belonged to them. The female quickly followed, and within only a moment a chorus of wolves howled their soulful song across the forest.
The male started to pet his feet on the grass, eager and urgently wanting to find a higher point to sing. Rose looked down at him and encouraged him with a nod and a wave of her hand. “Go,” she said to it. “Go be what you need to be. I’ll be safe, right here.”
The two animals looked up at her, looked down to each other, wanting to run, but unwilling to leave their mistress alone.
“It’s okay,” the Doctor’s voice crooned in quietly from behind them all. “I’m here. I’ll keep her safe.”
The Wolves both offered him a grateful hunch, and then launched off into the forest. Rose watched their excited scarper with a smile on her face. “Between theirs and your overprotectiveness, I’m beginning to wonder just how much of a damsel in distress you all think I am.”
“We just want to make sure you’re safe,” he replied quietly on a voice fairly devoid of any emotion as he stepped up beside her. His eyes were locked to the distance, his hands buried deep inside his trouser pockets, and he made no move to remove them and try and take her hand like he normally would. “This is our world, remember. We know it better than anyone. What’s dangerous, what’s safe…”
Rose looked down at the bulge in his packet that was his balled hand. She let her eyes trail up to the seat of his jaw: Taut, grinding, no sign of a smile at all. His eyes were half-lidded and focused ahead, the colour less dusty and more pale than normal.
“You’re mad,” she deduced out loud.
“I am,” he confirmed without looking at her. “Furious might be a more accurate descriptor, of course.”
She felt that inside her chest and immediately her face creased in regret. “I’m sorry, Doctor,” she pleaded. “I know you probably worked really hard to get that house ready. And I love it. I really really love it. I know I seem ungrateful, and I’m sorry about that.”
“I’m not mad at you,” he clarified on a gentle tone. Still his eyes were focused ahead of him. The hand inside his pocket shifted, relaxed, and then withdrew, finally seeking out her hand to hold. “Never at you.”
She noticeably relaxed when his hand clutched firmly at hers and she felt the rush of assurance shoot from her head to her toes, as it always did when he was near. She squeezed his hand. “What who’re you mad at? Brax?” She looked at a tall Cadonwood tree and gasped as the head of her male Dahrama popped up out of the top and lifted to the sky in a howl. “Oh, my.”
“They like to climb,” the Doctor lectured with a small and barely noticeable smile. “Like your cats back on earth, the Dahrama have retractable and very sharp claws. They use them to hunt, to fight, and then to climb trees.” He swallowed. “It’s important to know where a Dahrama’s territory exists when you intend on hiking through the Gallifreyan forests. The like to surprise larger pray by hunting from above, and many a traveller has found himself attacked from above…”
“Doctor,” Rose interrupted.
He finally looked down at her. “Yes?”
“You didn’t answer my question.” She paused at his still rather annoyed expression, but lifted her hand to stroke at his jaw, still tight and locked. “If it’s not me, then tell me. Why are you so mad? How can I help?”
His head moved just slightly, enough to press a very quick kiss against the very tip of her thumb. His voice fell to a more tender timbre, but still held considerable annoyance. “I’m mad at me,” he clarified.
That confused her a little. “Mad at you? Why would you be mad at you?” Her eyes widened. “About the house, Doctor?” She shook her head and turned fully toward him. There was desperation and pleasing in her eyes as she looked up at him via hic chest. “It’s beautiful, and I love it…”
“But it reminds you of me,” he said flatly. “A future me who haunts the both of us. You because of the pain he’s caused you, and me because he exists in a future that I can’t ever imagine allowing to happen.”
She slumped and petted his chest before moving to once again stand at his side instead of in front of him. “Does this mean you want to send me away? Back home? Back to him?”
That made his breath hitch and his hearts hurt. The hand still holding hers tightened to almost unbearable. “Is that what you want?”
She felt a shudder. “If I said yes, would you?”
His voice, his breath, was shaking. “I don’t want you to go,” he admitted. “It breaks both of my hearts to even consider it, but if that’s what you want, Rose. I’ll do it. For you.”
“Do you love me?” she asked softly, a waver in her voice.
“I do, Rose,” he answered quickly. “With both of my currently very terrified hearts.”
She turned to look up at him again. “Can you say it to me? Can you put that love into words and actually speak them?”
He turned toward her, and once again they were face to face. He brought up both hands to cup her cheeks and spoke with tender honesty, first in his native Gallifreyan, and then switching to English. “My hearts beat for you, Rose.”
She did smile at that, perfectly understanding that it was the Gallifreyan-English translation of a vow of love. Spoken by his people. And she’d normally be very happy with just that. For this, though, she needed to hear the phrase as it was spoken by the people on Earth … at least spoken by anyone that wasn’t a pin-striped Time Lord.
“Tell me you love me, Doctor. In my language. In my phrasing.”
He lowered his mouth to hers and whispered across her lips. “I love you, Rose. I love you in this time and for all the time ahead of us.” He pressed his lips gently to hers for a short graze; just enough to very appropriately accent his vow.
Rose smiled and set her hands on his chest. She lightly pressed away from him, letting her hands rise to take his hands from her face and hold them in between them. She dropped her eyes down to their hands.
“In your future, you can’t say that to me,” she said without looking. “At least not in a language I can understand.” She drew her thumbs against his knuckles, thankful that he was remaining silent to allow her to finish. “You try on occasion, I’ll give you that. There’s always an attempt before you simply stop, shrug, and assume that I already know.” She lifted her heat to finally look into his sad, blue eyes. “Which I really don’t any more – at least not from him.”
“Tell me,’ he urged her gently. “Let me understand what happens to me … to us … in times ahead.” He exhaled. “I can’t begin to imagine just what would take me from where I am now, to where I am when you met me, saved me, loved me … to the man who ultimately let you down.”
She stepped forward into his chest and turned her head to one side. Looking across to the distance and to her two wolves still howling toward their fellow dahramas. “When I was younger and more stupid than I am now, I fell in love. He was older than me. A bad boy. A renegade and rebel. Someone who on the very first day I met him promised me thrill and excitement.” She shuddered with remembrance of the exhilaration of young love.
“I was so taken by him, Doctor. So unbelievably entranced and enchanted by everything he had to offer and every promise that he made that I gave up everything to follow him. I left school. I left my mum. I left my friends. I threw everything to one side, took his hand, and I ran.”
She released his hands and stepped away from him. She wrapped her arms around her chest and held herself tightly as she walked to a large bounder by the creek and sat down against it. With her feet firmly on the ground, her legs only slightly bent to support her, she held herself and leaned down toward her knees to exhale a very long and tired breath. “But new love. It’s got an expiry date on it. ‘Specially when you’re only 16 and don’t know any better.”
The Doctor hadn’t moved from the position in which she left him. He still remained standing to one side, twisted to be able to look at her, and several long feet away from being able to offer her any physical comfort. He took in her words and let them curl around his hearts, but he said nothing. He just looked at her with soulfully sad blue eyes.
She remained in a lean down over her knees. Still held onto herself. She lifted her head, though, to look across the landscape, hoping that the marvel of the land would give her the strength to continue. “Bein’ taken for granted hurts, Doctor. Givin’ your heart to someone who only wants to hold it when they’re looking to get a bit of sex relief, or when they want dinner, or help payin’ the bills, well that’s one thing. A heck of a lot of us do it, you know. We don’t even think about it until one day when you’re in your 50’s, you roll over, look at your husband and think – what the hell was I thinkin”?”
“An’ I wish that’s all that it was with him,” she continued. “But it wasn’t, you know. I let him walk all over me. Didn’t just lay down when he wanted it, help pay his bills’n all, but I also turned the blind eye to him playin’ about with other girls.”
His eyes flashed angrily at that, but he still remained in place and quiet.
“I still stayed around when he raised hands to me, made me feel worthless, and …”
The Doctor rushed forward at that. “He did what to you?” There was absolute fury in his glare as he moved around the rock and fell to a knee on the ground in between her parted knees. “I vow to you, Rose, my solem oath, is that I will never, ever, do that to you. Something must have gone so sensationally wrong during my regeneration to become a man like that. Let me go to him, in my future. Despite wanting to, I won’t kill, harm, or maim myself. But please lift your rule of me speaking to my future. Let me reason with me, find out just what…”
“You think I’m describing you?” she interrupted curiously. Her eyes wide on his. “I’m really not, but I can see how it would appear that way.”
A look of confusion crossed his beautiful face. He didn’t rise from his knee, but he shuffled just a small bit forward to move closer. “I really don’t understand.”
“His name was Jimmy Stone,. Human, ” Rose clarified with a rueful smile of regret. “And he was your very typical band member bad boy. All greasy, unwashed, rebellious, and … to 16 year old me, the most gorgeous man alive.” She still held herself, still leaned over her knees, but no longer kept her eyes on him. Instead she peered back off into the distance ahead. “So when he offered to take me with him – his little groupie girlfriend – I did it. No thought for anyone else and anythin’. I just went.” She exhaled. “Didn’t take long for it to all go south, though. And I thought, you know, I really believed that he loved me like I thought I loved him. And I figured that it’d all get better soon. Everyone has a rough patch in a relationship, right?”
He looked up at her, argument on that dancing in his eyes, but he remained quiet.
“Things had to get pretty bad before I finally had to leave,” she admitted. “He had countless flings with loose women, there was drug use and abuse, him tryin’ to offer me out to his friends hopin for me to make money for him.” She held herself tighter and shuddered. “And then the beatin’ when I woudn’t do it.” Her eyes snatched toward him when he growled. “But Doctor I got out. On my own. Perfectly intact … well, for the most part anyway. Don’t be thinking I got involved in all that, hroguh. I don’t do drugs, and don’t lay around.”
“I would never,” he huffed.
“An’ I got out fairly good,” she said with a smile. “Went back to mum, got myself a job, got him completely out of my hair.” She looked at him sadly. “And I promised myself that I’d never let that happen to me again. Because, I’m worth somethin’,” she declared proudly. “I’m not some meaningless lil’ twit. I’m smart, I’m capable…”
“Brilliant,” he added with a smile. “Wonderful. Brave…”
Rose smiled at that and finally loosened her hold of herself, but only enough to flick at his shoulder with her fingertip. “I made a vow to myself that if a man ever treated me less than perfect, then I’d leave. Didn’t matter how much I loved him, I’m worth more’n that.”
He rose on his knees and lifted his arms to circle her hips on the boulder surface. “Indeed you are, Rose. If he’s not offering you the moon, stars, and his entire universe, then he’s not worth your love.” He smiled somewhat cheekily. “And so we are clear on that, I offer you that and so much more.”
Rose finally completely released her hold on herself. She wrapped her arms around his head, cradling the back with her fingers. Although his head was on her belly, she leaned down as har as she could to rest her forehead on the top of his head.
“I know you do, Doctor,” she answered into his hair. “You offer me that’n so much more. And so did my Doctor in leather.” She huffed. “But the you who followed couldn’t.”
She lifted up from his head. Her arms still cradled that soft mop of chestnut curls against her belly, but she looked up and out into the distance. “He couldn’t offer me that in half, even. Couldn’t even keep tellin’ me that he loved me. But I did, I really did. Loved him that is.” She shuddered. “And then I broke my promise to myself and stayed. I stayed hopin he’d come back to his senses and that everything would go back to what it was before the Daleks and his regeneration.”
He cursed that word on a low breath. “It’s always those damn Daleks.”
“So it was Jimmy all over again,” she sighed. “Of course no drugs and hittin’ me or anythin’ like that. But the being taken for granted and watchin’ as he made out with other girls…”
He lifted his head. Still cradled in her hands, he peeked though her arms with eyes so pleading and soft. “Let me see,” He pleaded. “Just one time, let me inside your head to see? Let me see if there is any way at all to salvage what you had.”
She looked down and shook her head at him. “I can’t.” She hiccupped. “I won’t let you.”
“So does this mean that we’re done? I mean you and I, and everything we were building here?” His voice shuddered and he felt that familiar fluttering in his belly that indicated a pivotal moment in the movement toward the fixed point. Whatever was happening here was a crucial moment, and it was beginning to terrify him. “If this where you ask me to take you home?”
“Do you love me, Doctor?” she asked by way of replying to his question. “And I don’t mean a fleeting kind’ve love where you’ll be done with me soon, I mean love that’ll last lifetimes.”
She closed her forearms around his head t hold him tighter and lowered her gaze to his. “Can you see the two of us together forever, building a life together?”
His voice was a whisper. “I thought that’s what I was doing, Rose.”
“Will you let me live the rest of my life here, on Gallifrey, with you?” She inhaled a shaking breath, held it and then spoke softly. “In for a penny, in for a pound. Doctor, I want to know that you’re in this for the long haul; that you’re not going to get itchy feet in a year or two and want of take off again to flirt across all time and space.”
“Are you saying that you never want to return to me, in the future, I mean?” He blew out a breath. “You’re willing to let me think that you died on Crandinia, break my hearts and leave me all alone?”
“Like you broke my tender and very singular one?” she retorted with accusation in her tone. “You left me, Doctor, without a care or concern, on a space ship 5,000 years in my future. Abandoned me’n Mickey and even the TARDIS, so you could go play about with madame de-bloody-pompadour.”
He shook his head. “I did what? With Who?”
“That really was the beginnin’ of the end right there,” Rose admitted. “I mean all of the thoughlessness I thought I could ignore, but that adventure, Doctor.” She winced. “You were a completely different person than ever. I could barely recognise you. You were mean, you were arrogant, self serving. You nearly let me get cut up for spare parts because you wanted to invent banana daquiris at the French Court….”
“This really doesn’t sound good.”
“But when you jumped through that mirror and left us all alone so you could be with her, God that hurt. Then to have you come back, didn’t care how scared me and Mick’s were. And then you flippantly tell us to hang about another five and a half hours so you could go back b’cause you wanted to invite your new lover on board….”
She wiped at her eye with her wrist, and then her nose with the back of her hand. “She was dead when you went back for her. You timed your jump wrong and she was already gone. I’ve never seen you so devastated.” She inhaled deeply. “I knew we were definitely over, but I really didn’t want to admit it.”
“Oh my hearts,” he breathed sadly. “What kind of cad did I become?”
She sniffed and said straight up, although still held his head protectively. “So that said, I think turnabout might be fair play, yeah? Sometimes, Doctor, we need to lose that we have to appreciate what we had. Maybe it’ll make you a better person for the next one who comes along.”
“You’re giving me a very grim future to look toward, Rose,” he breathed out, not quite wanting to voice the extreme desire to head into his future and punch his elder self in the face, although the feeling was quite overwhelming at present.. “And yet, I’m finding that I really don’t care about that all too much. I have you here, now, holding your heart out to me. I want to take it.” He drew his thumbs up along her thighs. “I want to give you everything you want. A home, marriage ,,, and I will vow to you that I’ll even get these things working right,” he gestured down into his lap with a tilt of his head. “And give you children…”
She chuckled. “How about we get married first?” she asked with a kiss against the top of his head.
“Is that something you’d be interested in?” There was a glimmer in his eyes and hope in his tone. “A life here, with me, for the rest of your life on Gallifrey?”
“I only wish it could be the rest of yours as well.”
He smiled a sad smile. “My future proves that it isn’t the case, Rose, and without that future, then I wouldn’t have you here with me now, contemplating our future.”
“I guess I have something to thank your future you for then, don’t I?” She lightly pushed his head back from her belly, and slid down the rock face to settle herself on his thighs, one leg either side. Her arms shifted to circle his neck and she exhaled a relieved breath when his arms immediately moved to encircle her back. “If he wasn’t such an inconsiderate and selfish git, I wouldn’t have run.”
“And you wouldn’t be here with me now, offering me the one adventure I’ve never had.”
She dropped her head to run her lips against his and rode slightly higher up on his lap to bring them toward a much more intimate closeness. “Ask me,’ she breathed softly, shifting herself on his lip and tempting him to rise to her. “In the voice of your people. Ask me again,” she let Gallifreyan syllables fall from her lips, sighing and whimpering when his arms snapped around her waist to pull her up hard against his rapidly hardening length.
“That’s my name,” he breathed out with a hiss at the shot of pleasure that exploded from where she was pressing against him. “How did you… Who taught you that?”
“Not a person I want to bring up when we’re like this,’ she answered with a rock of her hips and a sigh of the name he gave himself. “I also know how to answer you,” she explained. “Just ask me.”
There was temptation to push up her dress, pull down his pants, and simply thrust upward. A single stroke would have him buried deeply inside her, and together they could drive away each other’s insecurities and fears – forge a newer and stronger bond than anyone else before them on Gallifrey. And, by Rassilon, it was the perfect setting for such a thing. No, actually it wasn’t. Not perfect. Almost perfect.
True perfection would be in the new home that they’d build together. In the bed that sat in the middle of the large bedroom he’d spent hours creating just for her …
He held her tightly against him and lifted from his knees and up onto his feet. He made sure to have bth her legs remain around his hips as he drew one arm across her back and let the other hold her tightly up against him. With one short howl directed toward his still frolicking Dahrama wolves to let them know they were leaving, he began the relatively short walk back to the house.
Each step rocked her against his length, and with each sigh, gasp, and whimper of his name, and the arching of her back with desire, he knew it would be near impossible for her to make it back home before shattering and succumbing to the pleasure he was inadvertently offering her.
The cottage was in sight, as was Braxiatel waiting anxiously at his door…
But she was whispering in his ear, asking him to ask her for her forever, rubbing along the swollen length, and close to faltering and shattering completely. He finally found himself having to jostle his hold on her just slightly, to try and take some pressure off them both and save some small sliver of dignity around his brother.
She gave a nip at his ear, and he was done for.
Desperate words of longing and desire in an ancient language exploded from his mouth. Propriety be damned as he uttered the proposal that was only ever meant to be shared between two in privacy. Rose waisted no time at all in replying in Gallifreyan tongue with a drip and curl on the words that had his entire body shudder.
Braxiatel’s eyes widened when he saw their approach, and his mouth gaped upon hearing their words. That look of shock quickly melted into an expression more appropriate for a conversation between brothers.
“Thete,” he muttered by way of greeting as the Doctor walked past and into the doorway.
“Brax,” came the clipped acknowledgement only a second before the door was kicked shut behind him.
There was a smile on Braxiatel’s face as he looked toward the closed door. “Congratulations, my Brother. I wish you and your new wife as much happiness as me and mine have found.”
A loud, almost anguished, but obviously pleasured male howl emanated out of the windows of the home, and Braxiatel’s expression of pride toward his brother fell into one of confusion. The two wolves were outside with him and so the only people that could have….
His eyes widened and his mouth contorted into a frown of disgust. “Rassilon, Thete, really?” He shuddered, retched, and whipped a small transport watch from his coat pocket. Before he could hear another of those disgusting sounds he twisted a dial to disappear and head back to Arcadia.
Before fully dematerialising, however, that look of disgust did shift to a smile of happiness for the one member of his family he’d thought would never find it.