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darkbunnyrabbit ([personal profile] darkbunnyrabbit) wrote on September 29th, 2010 at 05:48 am
Finding Me Chapter 2 (Doctor Who/Casanova PG-13)
Title: Finding Me
Rating: PG-13
Spoilers: 4x13 Journey's End
Pairings: Rose/Ten.5, possible others in the future
Genre: Angst, Adventure, Romance
Summary: Sometimes things go terribly wrong, and sometimes everything falls apart. And sometimes, the universe expects you to pick up and keep on going anyway.

Disclaimer: Still not mine.

AN: Right, so I definitely had to get this chapter out quickly, because it's ridiculous to have a crossover fic in which there's not even a hint of the crossover. I will still count this as Rose/Ten.5 because, as of this moment, that's what it remains. There will be further notes after the chapter.





Empty. The rawness faded, eventually. The pain...she could tuck that away like she did before, when she found herself in the wrong universe on the wrong beach all alone. But it wasn't the same thing this time. Looking back now, she'd been so young and full of defiant hope, she'd picked herself up, brushed herself off, and forged onward with single-minded determination.

She'd had anger, she'd had despair, sometimes. She had an unfinished sentence and a life never lived spurring her onward, giving her the strength to find a way through impossible walls against all odds, and she'd found a way through.

This time she'd felt fury. She'd felt anguish, and guilt, she felt disbelief.

She felt as empty now as she'd felt when the light faded and she stood alone again. The fury, that faded when she dragged the Mayor by her dyed hair and flung her at the feet of the investigating galactic officer, even if whatever fate awaited the woman was better than she deserved.

She'd spent months running over the possibilities, turning over in her head how she could have done it better. How they could have avoided the planet, or solved things just a bit faster. If she'd recognized the Mayor before they'd been arrested, if she'd paid more attention...

In a year, she hadn't found any answers, and it hadn't made her feel any better when she stopped running over the conversation they'd had. It hadn't made her feel any better to stop thinking of all the things she could have said and didn't. All the things they could have done and never could. How very painfully short one life turned out to be.

She still knew things could have gone differently. That they could have, and they never would change. And she was too old and too worn to believe that somehow, just maybe her Doctor had found a way to survive, maybe slipped through a brief rift in time, and waited for her to find him, because there hadn't been anything left of him when the machine was finished. There was so much energy, so much power, nothing would have remained. He'd taken the brunt of ten million deaths.

She hadn't the strength to stir up any stronger grief than mind-numbing emptiness. What was one year of waiting, of drifting in the TARDIS? She hadn't gone home, she hadn't dared. If she went home, she'd be forced to acknowledge he was gone, she couldn't run away and content herself with accepting (yes, that was it...she was accepting it. When she'd finished, things would be...different. But never better.) his loss. She'd stop running, and then she'd collapse, and who would look out for the TARDIS? Who would look out for the universe, and how would that honor his memory?

How would that honor a sacrifice that no one knew he'd even made? A world saved that never knew it was in danger in the first place?

No. No, she had to keep moving. The Doctor had done something when they'd first grown the TARDIS. They'd said it was a necessary step, to share the brunt of the TARDIS' connection between half-Time Lord and human. She'd known it to be a deeply intimate gesture, and a promise stronger than any words that he'd never leave her behind.

Now, sometimes, she almost wondered if he'd always known he'd lead to this, and knew someone would need to look out for the young, frightened TARDIS.

She'd never be able to ask, and a wave of aching swept over her so completely that she very nearly collapsed against the console.

No.

She wouldn't stop. She wouldn't collapse. She'd live the life she and the Doctor should have had. She'd live his life as he'd meant to. She'd make the most of every moment like he always drove her to, she'd save a million stars in the sky, just like he would.

She'd never stop, because the emptiness...she knew it would never go away.


-*-

He'd never stop. He was beginning to believe he could wander the entire world and never find a place that hadn't heard his name. Great cities, small towns, tiny villages tucked at the end of crooked, forgotten roads. Someone always knew his name, someone always knew the stories. That some were completely distorted and inaccurate meant nothing, he'd done close enough differently. It all amounted to the same in the end.

It was miraculous, only months (was it a year now? It all seemed to run together without anyone or anything to mark the passing of time.) before he hadn't notice at all. Oh, he knew there were stories, he knew he'd had a reputation, and at times he'd used it shamelessly. He knew just the right places and the right people knew his name to give him hassle whenever he stayed in one place or sought pardon. But it'd never been so widespread. It'd never been so clearly like a rotting growth across the countryside.

Now that he simply wanted to be forgotten, simply disappear where no one would know his name in the hope that one day the world would forget it—and all of his deeds—as if they'd never happened, he couldn't escape it.

His eyes were opened, and he couldn't escape the truth, no matter how far he fled, how long he ran. He'd left a trail of fire and devastation behind him as surely as if he were Charlemagne, and what did he have to show for it? What did anyone?

Was it his penance to see how far he'd reached, how much harm he caused? How many lives had he damaged, how many had he ruined? How many lives had he cost? How many bastards had he let loose across the lands, and what had they done?

What legacy had he made for himself, while he'd stumbled blindly through the world?

Whatever it was, it was thoroughly well deserved. He'd done it all, hadn't he? Like father, like son, and what a father was he.

He frowned down at himself. The silk he wore was ruined now with dirt and mud, but he didn't have the heart to change them, nor the coin to pay for newer ones. It was just as well, in ruined silk he didn't stand out in the small villages he kept to.

He sighed, as he settled atop a crate full of dubious supplies. This small village...he hadn't heard stories yet. He'd only just arrived, but there was a chance. He needed to believe there was a chance, or he really would be wandering all of his life.

Something crashed nearby, and he glanced up to gauge what caused the disturbance, but found nothing. Perhaps someone had lost control of their washing, that was possible. He certainly didn't see anything like gaping, as he'd come across in some of the earlier villages he'd visited. Of course, he supposed he'd looked far more impressive then. And a bit more raving mad.

A bit more desperate to find an easy solution to ease the guilt that crushed in on him. A way to forget Naples, and everything else before. Most everything else.

He'd found nothing, and now he'd found he'd stopped looking.

There was a flurry of movement, and quite suddenly something snatched up his wrist and yanked him from his seat. He lurched forward only a step or two before his instinct to struggle won out, and he jerked away from the hand. Or attempted to. As it turned out, the grip around his wrist was stronger than he expected it to be.

Before he could try again, a harsh—and surprisingly feminine voice spoke. “No time, just run.”

Run. Now, there was a command, a pleading he'd heard more times than he could probably count. Run, run before my husband finds you, before he catches you, before they arrive. Just keep running, and don't ever look back.

Of course, he'd done nothing here to warrant the need to run, so it could only mean, like all others, his stories spread to this town. Particularly nasty ones, so it seemed.

Disappointing as it was, painful as the purgatory he found himself in could be, he had no true desire to die. No true desire to spend his life in a cell, even if he deserved to stay in one. So he would run. He would flee the very thing he'd sought to—he'd willfully created for himself.

The woman, whom he just now registered wore clothing unfitting of the village (or indeed of much anywhere he'd been) they ran through, said nothing more as they ran through the streets. Curiously, there was no fear in her face, nor panic, nor concern. Only determination.

It might have given him pause, made him wonder whether she ought to be the one he fled instead, but he saw no hostility in the glimpses he caught behind brown tresses. And he found himself distracted by something more unsettling than the strange woman who dragged him through the streets.

No one stood in the doorways of the buildings. No one leaned from windows or attended the half-prepared washings. No one tended gardens, and very most important in a small village like this one, no one stared or followed after the two strangely clad people speeding down the streets.

Something was gravely wrong. And he was beginning to think it had nothing to do with him, for once.

Without warning, the woman pivoted on her heel and dragged him around a corner, flush against the side of a building.

“What's--”

“Hold this.” She pressed a square box, made of something close to steel, into his hand. Her attention, however, remained on the road behind them, over his shoulder and around the building. “When I say so, press that blue button there, understand? Good.”

He barely had time to nod before she dashed back out to the road, lifting her hands. The figure of a tall man in a dark hood seemed—almost—to materialize on the road a small house's distance from where she stood. From where he stood, still concealed by the village house, he couldn't get a good look at the man's face, but...it simply wasn't wise by any stretch to step into view until he understood what was going on.

“Look, let's talk.” The woman spoke English, he recognized that now, but he knew too little of it to place her accent. “You're lost, yeah? I understand that. Believe me, I do. This world is strange, it's cold, and it's nothing like home. It's confusing, and it hurts. But I can help, if y'let me.”

The sound the figure made was like nothing human. He would have thought he'd misheard, but it continued, in some strange, rasping sound. The woman gave no indication that its sound was anything out of the ordinary, and he began to think this was a terrible, terrible dream borne of too much drink and too little food. In fact, he was almost certain of it.

She was speaking again, he realized, words flowing in that odd accent of hers once more, almost too quickly for him to make out. From where he stood, her expression was hard, lined with the weight of far more years than he would have initially thought. “Then I'm sorry, but that was your only warning.”

She lifted a hand, pointing at him, and snapped “The button!” He'd very nearly forgotten he'd been holding anything at all, but the mad situation, and the strength of her command assuaged any doubts he'd normally held.

The box in his hand clicked, and the air around him—around them as well, he assumed—hummed. It was a strange, tingling sensation, that prickled all across his skin and yes, clearly this must have been some sort of dream. What else could explain this? She spoke again, but though he caught her words, he didn't understand them, not enough of them to know what she spoke of, anyway.

He didn't have long to wonder what the words might have been, nor why his mind might have conjured something like this, before light shot from each of the buildings and surrounded the man. A painful shrieking sound split the air, and he clasped his hands to his head, letting the box fall.

When the sound and the light faded, the woman stood alone in the street, and for just a moment—perhaps it was a trick of his still-blurred vision—she seemed to sag in place, as if the weight of the entire sky dropped itself fully upon her shoulders.

A moment later she straightened and strode toward him, as full of purpose and determined energy as ever, though still gazing over her shoulder where the man once stood. For all her determined frown, there was a distance in his eyes that made him question whether she quite realized where she stared.

First there bore more pressing questions. “Who—what was he? What was that light? That sound? It just--” He trailed off when he realized her attention had shifted from the street to where he stood. And she gaped at him in an all too familiar way.

So she did recognize him after all. Or, did now, at least. What sort of fate did he hold to encounter the one person in the village who seemed to recognize him so readily?

“...You know me.”

His words seemed to jar her out of her shock enough to speak, at least. “But...how? You-you're...”

He sighed. How many times had he heard this, now that he fled from it? Far too many. “Giacomo Casanova, yes.”

“...dead.”

Ah. Well that was different.

--

AN: For those unaware, the story on Casanova's side picks up in Episode three, after the end of his autobiography, but before he arrives at the Duke's palace. It's also very probably (but I'm not saying for sure) before he decides to enhance the stories of his deaths. I'm guessing he's somewhere between 35-40, but I could be wrong. This is also probably the last time I'll write in his POV if I can help it, because it's just...not easy to illustrate the world, much less what lies ahead, through his eyes.
 
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