05 October 2010 @ 06:23 am
Finding Me Chapter 3 (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: This one took a bit longer, because I kept getting distracted it was sort of a complicated and awkward thing to write. Yet, it needed to be done, so we shall see where the story goes from here.



“But you can't be...” His words didn't immediately register. How could they? Because he was most definitely the Doctor. Outlandish, filthy clothing, slightly wrong hair, eyes of the wrong hue...it was still undeniably him. “I...watched you die.”

If his expression were confused and curious before, now it was simply baffled, but something remained reserved in his eyes—closer to the blue of the Doctor she'd first met, now. “I am no spirit, I assure you. You've mistaken me.”

Wait, he'd said something before, hadn't he? A...name. And that wasn't right. There was no familiarity, no recognition in his gaze. Could...could he have slipped through time somehow, and that half Time Lord side of him triggered some sort of half-regeneration? He'd mentioned to her once before, years ago, that his memories were sometimes confused after regenerating.

She shook her head. “You don't remember me.”

A flicker of something passed through his expression. Was it a memory? Guilt? “Madam, I've never died. I cannot be whomever you believe I am.”

Oh, no, she wasn't giving up so easily. Not this time. If he didn't remember, she'd take him to the TARDIS, and...if that didn't jog his memory, she'd find a way to make him remember. There had to be something.

She reached out for his hand, but he took a step backward, and glanced about the surrounding area warily. “Where is everyone? There should be an entire village of people gathering here about now.”

“I'm sorry, but...they're gone.” His gaze snapped back to her, though he made no response. “That creature drained the life out of all of them to support itself. If I hadn't found you when I did...”

Horror flickered across his features, and he dashed away from her, down the worn street. “Wait—Doctor!”

She stifled the urge to feel hurt as he vanished through the village's twisting roads without even missing a step. The village wasn't large enough to lose him in, and he'd find what he was looking for quickly enough. The question was, what to say, if he still couldn't remember who he was.

She frowned, following after, in a more direct path than he took. What had he called himself again?

It wouldn't any easier to see the evidence of the Shadeling's work than it was to imagine it. She hadn't expected it to have been so established, or so cunning. When she'd announced her presence, she hadn't expected it'd slip away, or draw all of the villagers into one place, compelling them all with the psychic link it'd built over its time hiding away.

She hadn't known it could, and now an entire village of people were dead. Except she'd found the Doctor alive. He had to be the Doctor, because how else would he have resisted the psychic call without even realizing he had? That had to count for something.

She found him just where she expected, and the remains of the villages were just as unpleasant to see. Two hundred people all gathered together, aged into unrecognizable husks. Even their clothing were nothing more than threadbare rags, ready to collapse into dust at the slightest disturbance.

He stood still enough that she doubted he was breathing. She didn't need to see his face to know the look of horror, the one of disbelief he wore. He'd blame himself, even if he didn't know why. It would sicken and twist his stomach...but it'd give her a chance to get through to him. That had to be worth it.

It needed to be.

She didn't reach up to touch him when she approached, but he glanced over his shoulder a moment before she spoke, anyway. “I'm sorry. There was nothing I could do.”

He shook his head. “How is this possible?”

“It's-it's complicated.” She buried her hands into her pockets to resist the urge to reach out and take his shoulder. “I can't even explain it. But I can show you, if you'll come with me?”

There was such weariness in his strange blue eyes when he turned to look at her once more. “Go where?”

She couldn't explain the TARDIS, not in any way he'd believe. She couldn't explain that she hoped to jar his memories without his fleeing once more, so she said nothing. Instead, she held out a hand to him.

He stared long enough, that she began to wonder whether she would need to say something after all, before he finally reached out and took her hand. His smile might have seemed genuine if she hadn't known him so well. “Show me this place.”

She offered a small smile, and turned to lead him back home. The silence that stretched from that first step onward made her grateful that the village, at least from where they stood to where she'd landed the TARDIS, was not very long at all. Even though it might have meant saving some or all of them if the village had been longer—if it had taken some of the villagers a bit longer to make it to the field of slaughter.

She hadn't locked the doors this time, so she spared herself the awkwardness that would have been glancing back to see his impression of approaching so small a structure. Even resolutely ignoring him and pulling him into the ship as if nothing were wrong didn't avoid the moment that no Doctor ought to have, though.

His slim hand, softer than it used to be, yanked from hers as she made her first few steps onto the ramp, and whatever he spoke was too fast and too quiet for her to catch.

She bit her lip a moment and took a steadying breath, before turning toward him. While he gaped openly at the interior of the TARDIS, nothing in his expression or body language spoke of the urge to run outside and measure the distance again by himself. She took it as encouragement.

“Yeah...she's bigger on the inside. Much bigger. That alright?”

He didn't immediately answer, but the fact that he walked further into the room, brushing by her with barely a notice, must have meant it was. For a moment, his expression held wonder and fascination, before confusion and annoyance crept back in, and he looked over his shoulder at her. “You said this would provide answers, all I find are more questions!”

“It will, just...trust me. A bit longer.” She walked past him to the console, sending them into space. The more distance she put between herself and the village of the dead, the faster, the better chance she might feel just a bit better. Besides that, she hadn't gotten this far—she hadn't found him again against all odds and impossibilities—just to lose him again now. If he wanted to escape, he'd have to remember himself first.

She offered him an apologetic look when she turned back toward him. The expression he wore was one of dubious curiosity. It was one she'd have expected to see on her Doctor if she'd put him through some impromptu mystery which did not—yet—include any of his favorite things. “It's just down this hallway. You'll see.”

“Just how far do you intend to lead me?” There was a ghost of amusement in his voice and his eyes, for just a moment, even if he remained wary. “What could explain the village, the creature, and this?”

“Biology.” She caught an incredulous look as she turned to start down the hallway without him, but she wasn't certain whether it was disbelief or a lack of comprehension. She didn't—couldn't—know how many memories were buried, how little he knew. He couldn't remember her, and he couldn't remember the TARDIS. He hadn't slipped, even a bit, yet.

If she were honest with herself, which she refused to be, she was beginning to become afraid that his memories were somehow lost irreparably.

Still, when she arrived in the sick ward, the Doctor followed after only two steps behind, still wary, and when she pointed for him to sit at the bed, he did. He fussed at the electrode pads attached to his head, but...perhaps he realized he'd come too far to turn back.

“Y'see...you've forgotten who you are. You think you're someone who you're not, and if I can get you to remember with this? You'll understand all of this.”

She expected further incredulousness, perhaps his patience to wear out, and him to simply storm from the room. Some form of protest or another, at least. Instead, he simply deflated. When he spoke, his voice weighed heavy with exhaustion. “Another man?” He sighed. “The dead man you spoke of, I suppose?”

“I told you, it's complicated.” And for reasons unknown to her, the TARDIS seemed to be stalling with the results on the DNA match. She needed it to synch with him before she could try anything else. She made a frustrated sound, and resisted the urge to re-input the code.

Just as he moved to stand from the bed, the results displayed.

Except they couldn't be. They couldn't be. It wasn't possible.

She nearly started when he stepped up next to her and stared down at the screen. He watched it flicker only a moment, before he turned his attention toward her. Despite the annoyance and stubbornness he seemed to display most often, there was sympathy in his gaze. If she could read him at all.

He reached out to touch her shoulder, but though she had the urge to shrug free of him, she couldn't seem to motivate herself to go through with it. She shook her head, and firmly fought down a sudden resurgence of tears. “It's not fair.”

His voice held a familiar gentleness to it that only made the readings more wrong, and all the more painful. “It isn't.” Yet, for the understanding in his gaze, she couldn't help but wonder if he was speaking of something else entirely.

She wanted to scream and insist that it wasn't possible. That he somehow just found another loop-hole the TARDIS didn't recognize, and it really was him. But there was nothing. No trace of Time Lord in him, no Artron radiation, no void particles. No buried memories. If this were somehow him, made entirely human, his memories weren't buried, they were gone.

And this wasn't the universe the Doctor (or even her Doctor) was born in. She knew better than almost anyone how faces and names and lives and people could change between universes. As mad and as unfair as it was, it was entirely possible this was the same face and a different man entirely. Completely the opposite of what she'd trained herself to understand of the Doctor.

For just one moment, the weight of the grief she'd held away from herself, the realization that her Doctor truly was gone, forever, which she'd kept one step ahead of, threatened to catch her.

She did the only thing she could, she panicked, and fled the room, not to any destination, even her room or the console chamber, only through the endless, shifting hallways of the ship. She could run until she no longer had the strength to run, and she'd never run out of pathway. She'd never have to be caught.

-*-

His day began not with hope, but with a chance for hope. The possibility that he'd found a village he could stay in, somewhere to live out his exile and be forgotten completely. The villagers were gone now, as was his chance at staying there.

He'd hoped for answers, for something to explain the impossible things he saw. He found none, and now he found himself trapped in endlessly twisting hallways. Endless hallways in a box that should barely have fit he and the nameless woman.

He created sensationalism all around him wherever he went, twisted it to his own purposes for his own advantages, whether for money, food, clothing, favor, or women, he'd always chosen to create it. He manipulated and he lied and he carefully arranged and pretended to be whatever he needed to be to succeed in creating that sensation, that scandal.

Of course he would be drawn into far more than he'd ever done himself when he'd hoped to flee all of that. Oh, this would be his penance alongside his name, wouldn't it? The people he'd hurt in his manipulations, the lives that he'd ruined, and all the spawn he might have unleashed on the world as consequence, this was just return. He'd made his fate, and it seemed too late to change it.

It was impossible to say how long he walked the hallways before he came across the woman again. More accurately, she found him, as he recollected his strength on a well-placed chair. There was a careful composure to the way she held herself, one he knew well enough not to call to attention. But she did not appear as if she might take flight again. Fortunate, that, because he doubted he would find his own way out in any timely manner.

She offered a tired smile. “Hi.”

Whomever she believed him to be, a part of him wished he might have been that man instead. This similar face seemed as if it used to sit upon a better man than he. He obliged her tired smile with one of his own. “Hello.”

Something flickered through her gaze, before she brought up a hand to tuck a lock of hair behind her ear, an act clearly meant to smother discomfort. “My name's Rose. Tyler. Don't think I ever got around to that before.” She offered an awkward smile, then. “I, uh...don't think I caught your name last time?”

He considered briefly using another name, his mother's perhaps? He'd used it before, briefly, when he'd needed to. Yet, after so much, he had no wish to further complicate the day. Even if she recognized his name, it meant little—the village was already dead. By tomorrow, he'd be traveling again, once more on an endless path, looking for a place where he could hide from the consequences of the life he lived.

If he were anyone else, the shrug and smile he offered might have been sheepish. Perhaps this strange woman wouldn't know his name after all. “Giacomo Casanova.”

She gave no immediate vocal response, but the dance of expressions across her face made it clear she was familiar with the stories after all. Likely quite a few. For a moment, he thought she might burst into laughter, but the mirth faded into something merely friendly. “Yeah, I s'pose so.” She sighed, and smiled once more. In her better days, he thought it might have been beautiful. “Right then. Casanova, yeah? Let's get you home.”

Though she clearly lead down the hallway with purpose, and the intent of being followed, he lingered in his spot for a few moments more, sighing. His 'home' was anywhere but where he meant to be going.

--

AN: Evidently I suck at solo POV fic, so by necessity there will be more Casanova POV. Here's hoping that works out.
 
 
Current Mood: mellow
 
 
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kilodalton[personal profile] kilodalton on October 5th, 2010 11:53 pm (UTC)
She could run until she no longer had the strength to run, and she'd never run out of pathway. She'd never have to be caught.

Awwww =(
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[identity profile] darkbunnyrabbit.livejournal.com on October 6th, 2010 10:19 am (UTC)
Yes, poor Rose :(
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[identity profile] rosaxx50.livejournal.com on October 6th, 2010 01:24 am (UTC)
He had to be the Doctor, because how else would he have resisted the psychic call without even realizing he had?

Curious.

Instead, she held out a hand to him.

I like this. In TL, Rose is shown to parallel the Doctor, and this is a nice continuation.

Oh, Cassanova's POV worked.

Oh, this would be his penance alongside his name, wouldn't it? Sigh, he really knows how to brood with the best, doesn't he?

And I have to admit... Rose knowing the tales and trying not to burst out laughing made me smile in response.
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[identity profile] darkbunnyrabbit.livejournal.com on October 6th, 2010 10:38 am (UTC)
Thank you! I liked the Rose-Doctor parallels in both s4 and s2, and I think with ten(-ish, something...) years traveling together in Pete's World, that would have continued.

Sigh, he really knows how to brood with the best, doesn't he?

Oh yes, I think cranky-old-man!Casanova proved that pretty well. Fortunately, Rose has lots of practice with brooding.

And I have to admit... Rose knowing the tales and trying not to burst out laughing made me smile in response

Well, she would know them! ;)
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[identity profile] fullmoondream.livejournal.com on December 5th, 2010 04:25 pm (UTC)
I really want more of this! It's brilliant!
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[identity profile] carrigan111.livejournal.com on August 9th, 2011 10:34 pm (UTC)
I can't decide, You're either a genius of the highest literary order, or you're just plain EVIL.(I bet you sit in front of the computer screen petting fluffy white cats and laughing as you plot world domination) Poor Rosie...Poor Giacomo. Still, loving this.
I need more I tells ya. MORE.
PLEEEEEEEEEEEAAASSE!
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