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RADIANTBABY'S CREATIVE JOURNAL
Pharmakos, Part 1/1 
8th-Sep-2008 03:32 am
DW -- handy despondent
Title: Pharmakos
Author: radiantbaby
Characters/Pairings: 10.5, Rose, alt!Ianto, alt!Lisa [and mentions of alt!Yvonne Hartman and Jackie off-camera]
Word Count: 4914 [in Microsoft Word]
Genre: Angsty Character Study, mostly-Gen [open to interpretation, of course!]
Rating: PG
Spoilers: S4’s Journey’s End
Summary: Both stuck in an alternate universe, a newly-“born” 10.5 and changed Rose are thrown together by the Doctor. Things aren’t as happy or easy as either of them had hoped for, but now they must work together to find their new place in the universe and, by extension, what they truly mean to one another. Can Rose come to terms with another loss of the Doctor and living with his “replacement”? Can 10.5 come to terms with his new life and job at Torchwood in the alt!verse? And in all the chaos, what will their relationship finally hold?
Beta: persiflage_1
Disclaimer: All your Doctor Who are belong to us Sadly, I own nothing related to Doctor Who et al. I am just playing around in their sandbox for a bit of fun.



Author Notes: This story was written for scarlettgirl’s prompt: “The Doctor assumes Rose can help 10.5, but Rose isn't the same girl. The Doctor most likely would not approve of everything she and Alt!Torchwood, but how will 10.5 react and what are the consequences?”. I really hope that she likes it!

The title comes from the Ancient Greek festival of Thargelia where a scapegoat or “pharmakos” was chosen amongst the community and then expelled (and sacrificed, according to some scholars) during a time of crisis in order to purify the community. The casting off of the alternate version of Ten – seemingly a symbol and effigy of the Doctor’s sins – into the alt!verse (i.e., outside of the “community” of our own world), reminded me of this practice, so it is alluded to in the story. For more information, feel free to check out this wikipedia entry.

Oh, and feedback is happy-making, so please leave a word or two [even if I am a bit slack in responding, your comments always make my day].

===

[1]

“So, what’s your name going to be?” Rose asked, as they made their way back to London via one of the world’s Zeppelins.

He could tell that she was still sizing him up as she regarded him – so obviously feeling that telltale battle of pushing and pulling within herself, of whether to push him away or hold him close, to love him or to hate him.

He – the Doctor, who also was not the Doctor – knew that feeling far too well, but as always, he chose to ignore it.

“John Smith, I suppose. It’s as good a name as any,” he replied with a shrug.

Names have power, but did he anymore?

“John Smith it is, then.”

He smiled at Rose and then looked back out of the window and into the clouds, finding himself suddenly growing somewhat excited about the plethora of possibilities his new life in this world might have to offer.

He’d not yet come down from that initial sheer inebriety of just being there, of being so close to Rose again, of finally living that ‘one adventure (he thought) he could never have’…

Just a few weeks later, though, he would find himself starting to hate his new name and resent this world he was now trapped in.

Just a few weeks later, he would crash indelicately back into reality, all his senses – not as keen as they should be, he’ll think to himself bitterly – sobering to the true situation at hand.

Being John Smith isn’t just a fantasy or just a name he could masquerade around with just for fun anymore – this was his life now – his slow, meandering, human life.

---

[2]

“I think I might be dying,” he groaned as he lay in his bed.

Since he’d been there, he’d been given his own room at the Tyler mansion, situated just down the hall from Rose.

(He had been surprised, actually, when upon his arrival, she’d rejected him from sharing her room -- her bed -- and even more surprised at how she’d always just pushed him away when he’d sneak into her room those first few lonely nights, just hoping to be close to her. They’d even tried to make love once, with their clothes pulled off and flung onto the floor in swirling tempest of fervor, only to mysteriously escalate not into a passionate interlude, but instead into her suddenly crying and swiftly pushing him away yet again.

She’d barely let him touch her since.)

“You’re not dying, it looks like you’ve just got the flu,” Rose scolded him, feeling his forehead with her palm as she sat next to him.

“Influenza, I’ve never had influenza!” he exclaimed excitedly, his tone belied by a voice that seemed that little bit broken and a body that was obviously weak. “Did you know that influenza comes from the Italian word for ‘influence’ as it was once thought that unfavorable astrological influences caused it? Isn’t that funny? You humans, you always – “

Rose put a thermometer into his mouth to quiet him.

Even though he tried to continue speaking around the beeping device, his words only came out as mumbled nonsense, lost against the curves of plastic pressed against his lips and tongue. He decided to stop himself speaking, quieting himself to focus on the sporadic beeps from the device instead.

His thoughts (still always thinking of time, though his grasp on its intricacies seemed to slip further and further from him with each passing moment) began to liken the rhythmic sound to a ticking stopwatch. He listened closely, letting the resonance of each high-pitched tone wash over him, as he imagined each one counting down those final years, days, hours, minutes of his life.

For a fleeting moment, he felt as if he might actually still have the ability to influence that protracted string of the twists and turns of his lifetime – to pull and stretch at it’s elasticity, to cheat death, to be both timeless and time-full, to be both ageless and aged, to be more like his (old) self again –

The device indicated it was ready, jarring him from his thoughts, and Rose pulled it from his mouth to look at it. She frowned and groaned in exasperation.

“I don’t know what it’s supposed to say. I think you have a fever, but I don’t know with you being part human and part Time Lord.” She angrily tossed the thermometer onto the bed, tears now evident in her eyes. “I can’t do this. I don’t know what he was thinking, but I can’t do this. I can barely take care of a pet or even plants. I kill plants, I do. Mum had this ficus tree once and she went on holiday and I was supposed to look after it, but I killed it dead in two weeks. Two weeks!”

He put his hand on her knee in try to calm her down. “You are starting to sound like me,” he said weakly, stretching over to pick up the discarded thermometer. He regarded the numbers and then lightly tossed it onto the nearby nightstand. “Looks like I do have a fever, from what I can tell. I don’t know for sure as I am still trying to figure out my biology, but that is my theory at least. And it’s okay, you can do this, we can do this. It’ll be a bit of trial and error, but we’ll make do. Besides, I’m not a ficus tree --- at least last I checked I wasn’t.”

Rose bent over to lay her head down on his chest and his heart began to race that little bit as if to rise up to meet her, to thrum against her touch, as the hope swelled within him that she might fill that excruciating absence beneath where she lay, where his one heart ached to be completed (again) with another.

He reached up to caress her hair, loving the rare moment of closeness between them. They sat quietly for several long moments, both of them seeming to just simply enjoy the mere presence of one another, until he broke the silence again.

“I wish Martha were here,” he murmured.

Rose sat up quickly and he was startled to see her glaring down at him, her body now rigid. “What do you mean?”

“Rose, Rose, I just meant because she is a doctor and perhaps she would know what to do.”

“Better than me, of course,” she spat, her tone dripping with a palpable pained sarcasm.

“Rose, she is a doctor. That’s all. That’s what I meant.”

“Well, maybe the Doctor should have left you with her then instead, hmm?” she snarled, getting up and quickly walking out of the room. He jumped a bit from the harsh slam of the door.

“Rose,” he called out after her weakly, and then added quietly, more to himself than anyone, “What did I say this time?”

---

[3]

“You’re not really him, are you?”

Part of him thinks the same of her – how she is so different now from how she was when she still traveled with the Doctor and how different she is from all the dreams and fantasies he’d had of her since she’d been ripped from his life.

It had been several days since he’d fallen ill and while he was now feeling much better physically, he wasn’t feeling better emotionally – at least about their relationship. No, instead he was feeling almost consumed in worry about the growing acrimony between them, as well as helpless in how to heal it.

“I am and I am not.” It was all he could manage, as he reached forward to caress her skin again, wanting her close, needing her –

“I’ve got to go to work,” she said sharply, moving away from him, her eyes betraying her growing aversion to his mere presence. He bristled. “The maid should be here in a moment with your breakfast.”

Rose left the room quickly and he lay back on the bed with a staggered sigh, trying to keep his emotions in check – emotions that seemed so much stronger and more heightened in his near-human skin.

One of the maids came in a few moments later, carrying a tray of breakfast for him. In his piercing loneliness, he’d asked her to stay. Before he knew it, he’d coerced her – all charms and smiles – to sit on the bed with him to talk, and then as he stroked her blonde hair, he seduced her with Rose’s name on his lips.

The maid quit the next day.

---

[4]

“You need to get a job. All you do is sit around watching soap operas all day,” Rose said to him, frowning down at him from his doorway, as he sat on the couch in his bedroom in front of the television.

“Ssh, be quiet. I’ve never seen Broadberry Hill, they don’t have it in the other universe. I think Sally is about to find out if Steve loves her – “

“Doctor!”

He looked up at her. “That’s not my name,” he replied harshly, each syllable clipped and biting, and then resumed watching his show.

“John. John Smith. I have a job for you at Torchwood. It starts tomorrow.”

“Oh!” he whined, pointing at the screen as the credits began to roll, “it’s a cliffhanger.”

“Did you hear me? Tomorrow, Torchwood.”

“I don’t like Torchwood,” he said, evenly, still only watching the screen as it now showed an advert.

“Well, it’s not as if you can work down at the grocery store or whatever. It’s Torchwood or UNIT and seeing as how we have connections here at Torchwood, it’s the former for you.”

“And what if I don’t want to?”

“Don’t be a child. Torchwood, tomorrow, and please change into some other clothes, you’ve been in those same clothes for days now and you look positively haggard and smell like a tramp.”

With that, Rose left the room.

He bristled at her ultimatum, feeling the tension that still hung thickly in the air. Since living in this universe, she had become the protégé of this universe’s version of Yvonne Hartman. At first, he was proud that Rose had started to become so professional and driven in her life, but a closer peek also revealed a bit of severity that almost made him uncomfortable.

Lost was much of the compassion she’d had when she had traveled with the Doctor – she’d become rough around the edges, perhaps to cope with losing the Doctor twice now, and it pained him a bit to see her now pushing nearly everyone away.

If he were honest, he couldn’t imagine himself ever working for Torchwood, but after some contemplation, he considered that it might be his best option to acquiesce with Rose and perhaps assist in making her happier with him (something that he had to admit that he was becoming more and more confused and despondent about).

Rose was still angry with him over the incident with the maid (even after he explained repeatedly that he’d only done it because he’d wanted her instead, that he was feeling unwanted and lonely) and it seemed that he was having trouble pleasing her all around since his arrival.

Perhaps joining Torchwood might be just what they needed to start to rebuild the bridge between them.

---

[5]

John’s breath hitched. Before him – reaching up into the sky – was Canary Wharf.

He’d only been to the one in the other universe once since the battle, on its anniversary when he’d reluctantly agreed to take Martha there to leave flowers in honor of her deceased cousin Adeola.

As he stood before the monument with Martha that day, with the long list of the dead laid out before him -- a relatively short list, he’d thought, compared to all the lives he’d helped destroy elsewhere, else when – he couldn’t help but remember that day when he’d encountered Adeola – or what was left of her – himself.

He had started to speak, started to tell Martha the truth about that day, but he was stopped when he knew that he could never truly bring himself to tell her that, in the end, he’d been the one to finally kill her cousin. He never could, because he knew that he needed someone to believe in him and not see the dark side of him that lurked beneath his wide smiles and manic exaltations.

He always needed that belief – he needed it then and he certainly needed it now.

The problem was that he wasn’t sure anyone believed in him that way anymore, not this version of him, at least – the castaway, the scapegoat, the pharmakos.

(In nightmares he’d been able to smell the figs on the ropes they – the Doctor, Donna, Rose, all of them – drew him around by and he’d cried out when they’d harshly whipped him with the fig wood and threw stones at him – each stone a complaint lodged against his very existence – and chased him from them.

“Be gone!” they’d chant, again and again, and as he’d burn in sacrifice for them, he’d contemplate how he was not only a pharmakos – scapegoat – cast away from the world with the TARDIS and his other self, but perhaps also pharmacos as sorcerer, a lost magician of time and space, or even worse, a poisoner, poisoning everything and everyone around him, bit by bit by bit

The flames would usually consume him then, taking away both everything and nothing all at once, and he’d wake up sweating and screaming and alone.)

Darkness shifted beneath his skin as he looked upon Canary Wharf that day, but he was pulled back into the moment by a tug on his hand from Rose. He gasped as he knew he was going to have trouble hiding that monster inside him forever (especially now that he had no where to run from it) and he wondered if perhaps the Doctor had done the right thing after all by casting him out.

---

[6]

“Remember to eat.”

He felt his phone buzz against his hip and flipped it open to see Rose’s text message reminding him to eat lunch. Regulating things like eating and sleeping were a day-to-day challenge for him, he had to admit, but he was having particular trouble with the eating part. Some days it seemed that he would just gorge on food, eating and eating as if he were a starved man, yet other days he would forget to eat entirely.

Much to his dismay, the gorging was more common and something that was bothering him a bit, especially when he noticed the growing paunch of his belly.

He self-consciously ran a hand over his stomach, frowning that, with his new hybrid metabolism, he might have to consider joining a gym or whatever it was that humans did. Walking on a treadmill in front of too-loud televisions, alongside vapid people gossiping about celebrities, didn’t sound at all like his preferred way to spend his time.

He let out a deep sigh.

He wanted to be out on adventures again, running from aliens, but instead he was stuck in a lab in the basement in the offices of Torchwood. Yes, between his second day working there – when his “bad judgment” had almost got one of the field crew killed when they were hunting a weevil (they got a bit too close, it happens – but his superiors did see it that way) – and various heated arguments with the more powerful people in the organization, he’d acquired a “dangerous, but useful” label in his file.

Their punishment for his apparent transgressions was relegating him to a basement lab under the guise of reassigning him to Research and Development. He knew that they were just mostly trying to sweep him under the proverbial carpet to keep him quiet (squeaky wheel and all that), using him only when they needed him (which, honestly, with his headaches and bouts of memory loss seemed less and less as each week passed).

The worst part was that he felt as if he were too exhausted to even fight it anymore, winding down to finally accept that this was his lot.

He popped a pill of paracetamol to help with his current headache. He’d acquired the bottle from Rose – who unknowingly almost gave him aspirin instead. He’d explained to her how aspirin is fatal to Time Lords and, while he wasn’t entirely sure what it’s actual effect might be on this body, he didn’t want to chance it --

(Though that didn’t mean that days later, in a much darker moment, he would find his hand hovering over the bottle of aspirin in her medicine cabinet, contemplating on taking just one just to see what might happen after all).

Migraines were becoming a daily occurrence for him and he could only assume it was his physiology fighting against his metacrisis. He wasn’t sure what would win that battle in the end.

The memory loss was even harder for him to cope with, harkening back to the amnesia problems that he – the other he, at least – had suffered during his eighth regeneration. While he could remember everything from his other self, it seemed each day those memories were slipping from him, like sand through the sieve of his desperately grasping hands.

He had started to keep a journal – calling it “A Journal of Possible Things” in a moment of frustration -- to sort all them out, but it still didn’t quell the anxieties of losing all those memories someday.

Isn’t a person, in many ways, the sum of their memories? He would think. And if they were all gone, who would he be?

---

[7]

“Watch where you’re going, you idiot!”

“Donna?” he gasped in wonderment, seeing Donna in a flash before him, before he blinked and she was gone – replaced by a rather angry looking, tall redheaded stranger standing over him instead.

“I’ll send you my dry cleaning bill, whatever your name is – “ she waved her hand expectantly at him, her tone exasperated.

“John, John Smith from R&D.”

She dabbed at her blouse with a napkin and then groaned irritably, storming off the opposite way across the Torchwood canteen.

He had been lost in thought as he was carrying his tray of food – trying to go over some mathematical equations in his head that should have been easy, but frustratingly weren’t any more – when he’d run smack into her, knocking his tray of food into his chest and falling to the ground.

He supposed the incident and her yelling at him should have shaken him up, but instead he only felt himself shaken up by his unsuspecting flashback of Donna. Always shouting at the world, she was, when he’d first met him – so much like the tall woman who was now wearing his Spaghetti Bolognese.

He felt his stomach knot at the memory of Donna and, despite having done his best to try and not dwell on her absence since being away from her, those suppressed feelings rushed to the surface unbidden.

He desperately wondered how she was, where she was, when she was.

He also wondered (though he wished he did not) if she was even still alive, his near-paralyzing worries punctuated by many nightmares about what damage a Time Lord-Human metacrisis might do to her and how he, trapped on this world so very far away from her, could do nothing to save her.

It was moments like this that he simply felt lost without her – his other half, the DoctorDonna, the missing piece of his puzzle –

“Do you need some help?” a male voice came from his left. A Welsh male, certainly.

He looked to see a young man in a suit and tie kneeling next to him. He was surprised to see it was that man from Cardiff’s Torchwood he’d seen on the subwave network Harriet Jones had set up.

Or at least when his other self – the Doctor – had seen, well, the other him.

“No, I’m alright, just a bit of clumsiness on my part,” he replied, standing up and dusting off his trousers.

The man waved one of the cleaning staff over, who diligently began to clean his mess from the floor. “Ianto. Ianto Jones,” the man said, reaching out for a handshake.

“Good to meet you,” John replied, shaking his proffered hand.

“Why don’t you join me at my table? I’ll replace your lunch for you. Oh, and don’t worry about Margaret, sir, she’s always in a foul mood.”

“Oh…I shouldn’t.”

“I’d be honored if you joined me, sir. I confess that I know who you are,” Ianto paused, looking a bit self-conscious, “and I’ve been intrigued with much of the research you are doing.”

John felt himself beaming just a bit, excited and elated by the rarity of someone extolling his virtues these days. “I’d love to join you.”

John sat at the table, while Ianto went and bought a replacement lunch for him (he’d insisted on getting it for him and for him to just wait, even after several failed refusals on John’s part). As he waited, he tapped his fingers merrily on the table, humming a little tune as he felt the welling hope that this day may have turned around after all.

“Mr. Smith?” a young female asked, sitting down across from him. He smiled widely at her -- she was very pretty, he had to admit.

“Yes?”

“I’m Lisa Hallett, Ianto’s girlfriend. We are both so pleased to meet you. He can’t stop talking about you, especially in regards to the research paper that you submitted a week ago on the effects of the EM radiation spikes employed here on the Earth’s climate. I’m sure you aren’t making many friends with your hypotheses, especially as they use those spikes in an attempt to power that alien engine they salvaged downstairs, but I agree with Ianto that things like that need to be brought out into the open.”

“Well, Lisa, there is a reason they hide me in the basement,” he replied with a wink. “I’m glad the word is getting out, though. The best way to implement change is through small steps on the inside. Besides I might as well use what knowledge I have to shake things up a bit here before I end up as just a janitor.”

“A janitor, sir?”

He didn’t want to go into his rampant amnesia with a stranger, however nice she seemed. “Nothing, nothing, just a joke.”

“Here you are,” Ianto announced as he returned, setting the new tray of Spaghetti Bolognese before him.

“Thank you very much, Ianto. Again, you really shouldn’t have.”

“Ianto is great at service-oriented things,” Lisa said with a teasing nudge to Ianto as he sat. “In another time, he would’ve made a great butler.”

“Oh, I’ve known many a good butler, Lisa, so that’s quite a nice compliment.”

“I can only imagine, with you living at the Tyler estate and all,” Ianto said and then blushed, “I mean, that is where you live, yes?”

John sighed. “For the moment, yes.”

“Anyway, you should try his coffee sometime,” Lisa offered, smiling at him.

For once, John wondered if he finally might be making friends here.

---

[8]

“What’s all this?” Rose exclaimed in surprise as she entered her bedroom and noticed the multitude of candles lit throughout the room.

John had taken the tube home alone as she was going to be working later than he was, but he’d also taken a detour to pick up some candles and wine. He was now sitting in an over-stuffed chair in her room, reading a book on the history of this world’s London.

“I just wanted to do something nice for you,” he replied, setting the book aside. “I was also going to order in some dinner, but I didn’t know when you would be home, so I thought I’d wait on that until you got here.”

“Something…nice?” Rose asked, obviously still surprised, though her tone also hinted at a bit of softness he’d not heard from her in quite some time.

“I had a wonderful day, made some really nice friends, did some research, rocked a few boats, and…well, on Broadberry Hill, when Steve wanted to make amends with Sally after a fight they’d had, he filled her bedroom with candles and made her dinner. I can’t cook much, well nothing of consequence at least, and you know neither Jackie nor the cooks will let me near the oven anyway, so Chinese takeaway will probably be the alternative, I’m afraid.”

Rose slowly walked into the room and sat down on the bed across from him. “I don’t know what to say.”

He stood and walked over to sit beside her, still reticent that she would want him near, but doing it anyway.

“Rose, I know that I’m not really what you wanted. I’m simply the consolation prize instead of the man you truly loved and you are just as stuck here as I am. Still, despite all that, I would like us to at least be friends. I went out looking for flats the other day and found one rather close to Torchwood that I can afford. I hope to move there in about two weeks time. I was thinking that perhaps we need some time apart, so that we can then perhaps come back together with a new start and a fresh slate. We’ve both been thrown together without any say or any chance to really get to know one another without the spectre of the Doctor looming over us. Perhaps this way, if I am out of your hair for a while, we can decide then what our relationship to each other really is and what it should be.”

Rose looked over at him, her expression suddenly sad. “I never meant to make you leave, I just – “

“It’s alright, it’s all growing pains. You never asked to be my keeper or to be tossed back here after so much effort to get out of this place. Still, there is a whole world out there for both of us and no one said that we have to conquer it together, as much as I would like that sometimes.”

“I just want him back,” she said with a staggered sigh, falling into his arms. “He’s left me, he’s really left me for good.”

“He left us both, Rose,” John said, rubbing her back. “He’s left us both.”

---

[9]

“You look like a ghost.”

He remembered her words from when the Doctor had said his first goodbye to her on the beach, as he looked at her now sitting across from him – her hair swirling in the breeze, and her eyes sad and empty.

Rose, it seemed, was the one who now looked like a ghost instead.

Teatime in the park was something they shared weekly now, especially in the few months they’d been living apart. John had to admit that he liked those quiet stolen moments with her, when the sunlight would shine down on them and he could imagine the time of his speeding life standing still.

(It gave him a false sense of control over the flow of time in a way, his brain missing those beautiful moments of firing synapses where he’d held the time lines by his fingers much like the strings of a puppet.)

Rose had a new lover these days – a tall blond man by the name of George – but John could tell her heart was not really in it, that instead she was just testing her personal boundaries to try and see for once where the Doctor’s influence on her stopped and she began.

John was trying to discover those boundaries within himself as well, extricating himself from the man he (almost, never) was and molding himself into the man he would become. Though still affiliated with Torchwood, he was teaching these days instead – finding himself in front of many of the Torchwood staff’s children, in a school sponsored by the organization, teaching young eager (mostly, at least) minds about science, instead of being relegated to the basement.

He was glad to be away from that basement, glad to be in the light again instead of feeling like he was something that needed to be hidden away in the darkness and forgotten.

Rose reached over the table and caressed his hand. “It will be okay, you know,” she said softly, pulling him from his thoughts with her reassuring words.

He tried not to focus on the fact that her eyes seemed to tell him different, but instead focused on the growing bond between them. Neither of them were sure where things were headed between the two of them – especially as both of them were in the midst of rebelling against their past selves.

They both knew, though – even with words hanging in the wind between them unspoken -- no matter how far apart they might become, in the end, their lives would always been entwined in some way. Even if the string that binds them frays beyond recognition, they will hold to it with grasping fingertips and fierce resilience.

They both knew the real ghost that needed to finally be exorcised from both their lives -- their very souls. The ghost that needed to be cut out from them like cancer, so that they might finally live fully:

The Doctor.
Comments 
8th-Sep-2008 07:47 am (UTC)
The last paragraph is very bittersweet. I feel badly for 10.5 but I'm glad that Ianto and Lisa made friends with him...
12th-Sep-2008 09:40 pm (UTC)
I feel badly for 10.5 but I'm glad that Ianto and Lisa made friends with him...

Me too. The poor guy is so lonely (even more than proper!Ten).

*squishes 10.5*

Now I just need to try and resist the temptation to write a sequel where he meets alt!Martha... ;)
13th-Sep-2008 04:51 am (UTC)
Please don't resist!! *slyly offers the bunnies a coupla carrots*
16th-Sep-2008 12:16 am (UTC)
LOL! You are so evil! :)
16th-Sep-2008 04:30 am (UTC)
Oh yes!!
8th-Sep-2008 04:56 pm (UTC)
Have just validated this on the Teaspoon. Oooh, very angsty. Angst is good. *nods.

Again, thanks for taking part :)
12th-Sep-2008 09:43 pm (UTC)
I am so happy that you liked it! I was so nervous about it, to be honest!

I even didn't mean for there to be so much angst as I began to write it, but it just kept turning out that way. Oh well, I suppose that makes sense considering the circumstances of the piece.

Then again, maybe I'm just a cynic about thing. ;)

Again, thanks for taking part :)

Sure! It was lots of fun! :)
8th-Sep-2008 08:21 pm (UTC)

“I wish Martha were here,” he murmured.

That was the best part. Exactly what he'd say, either of him.

12th-Sep-2008 09:46 pm (UTC)
That was the best part. Exactly what he'd say, either of him.

I am so glad that you liked it. I was writing that part and it just sort of popped out and I thought "Yeah, I can totally picture that." I am glad that you thought so too.

He was honestly being as oblivious as he (arguably) was in The Shakespeare Code in that moment. I don't think he is so good about thinking before he speaks or, more to the point, understanding the emotional ramifications of some of the words he does say.
9th-Sep-2008 02:56 am (UTC)
This was so bleak and painful (in a good way, mind). The idea of this Doctor becoming bleaker and losing his memories and his grasp on time and finding sums more difficult made my jaw kinda clam shut whenever I'm reading proper angst. Sounds disturbing, lol. But no, I loved how you've taken on the end of JE xxx
12th-Sep-2008 09:51 pm (UTC)
I am so happy that you enjoyed it!

Maybe I am just a cynic, but it has been difficult for me to see things being fluffy between 10.5 and Rose in the alt!verse. It's not that see them as inherently bad people, I just see them as making a lot of mistakes as they try and find out who they are. They were really just stuck together in a bad situation and, for 10.5's part, he is going through a lot of turmoil over things like losing his memories and TimeLord abilities (which makes sense as he had a metacrisis too -- and the writers of the show just sort of glossed over that) and trying to adjust to Real Life. I can't imagine that going well, honestly. At least in the beginning.

Anyway, as I said above, I am so happy that you liked it! I was crazy-nervous about it!
13th-Sep-2008 01:13 am (UTC)
I totally agree about things not being fluffy for 10.5 and Rose- they were thrown together, 10.5 both a gift and a punishment. Once a person becomes that, all they have to look forward to is struggle. And I think Rose also got a raw deal, but then the writers gave her so little growth... but I've been grappling with her such a long time I just pity her at times. I forgot to say before, but 10.5's aching for the other half of the DoctorDonna made me sad, because they're like twins in a way, and one's dead and the other one is in an parallel universe.
9th-Sep-2008 03:37 am (UTC)
This is utterly, smashingly brilliant and I couldn't have asked for anything more perfect as a response to my prompt. You took what I thought was an interesting premise and took it up a notch, making both the Doctor *and* Rose somewhat less and somewhat more than they had both anticipated. The weaving in of the pharmakos legend was incredibly poignant and fit perfectly in with the bleakness 10.5 felt. My heart broke for both of them, but more so for the Doctor who lost so, so much. The little flashes of hope as he learned to stand on his own (new) legs were just uplifting enough to avoid some of the more maudlin cliches.

They were both given a raw deal and so few fics deal with the aftermath in a way that doesn't end up with sparkly hearts and ponies, this felt real and raw and I adore it.

Thank you.
12th-Sep-2008 09:59 pm (UTC)
Oh wow, I am so honored and flattered that you enjoyed this fic!

*heaves a big sigh of relief*

What an absolutely beautiful review you have left me! I am so happy that you got it -- that you understand that things probably wouldn't end up with "sparkly hearts and ponies." That is not to say that 10.5 and Rose can't work things out, of course, but it is my belief that it's going to be a long and bumpy road to get there. I wanted to be true to that in my story, show that even though they care about each other (at least on some level), that caring isn't enough to make things "right" and happy and that there is a lot of work they have to do to heal themselves.

They are a beautifully tragic story. I just wanted to honor that as best as I could.
12th-Sep-2008 09:44 am (UTC)
I've read this twice (I meant to leave a comment yesterday but my internet timed-out, ugh!) and it still leaves me feeling achy for both 10.5 and Rose. I've always been hesitant to read any 10.5/Rose fics because I never believed that everything will end happily ever after for them in the alt!universe (I mean, it might, but not right away like we're supposed to believe after JE) but your story's making me want to go ahead and see if there others just as good as yours to read :D

And Ten's dream with all his past Companions stoning and whipping him? Such a strong image and so emotional, my heart broke after that!
12th-Sep-2008 10:12 pm (UTC)
Honestly, I haven't read many 10.5/Rose fics outside of bluesuit_fic because of the fluffliness of most of them (a fluffiness which I just don't buy, honestly). There are exceptions of course. Some of the ones that I have found and enjoyed are:

1) Untitled by karnythia (this one is pretty dark)

2) Twelve Months by jlrpuck (this one is more positive, but well-written, IMO)

3) Half-Life by valdrys (another darker piece)

And Ten's dream with all his past Companions stoning and whipping him? Such a strong image and so emotional, my heart broke after that!

That was tied in a lot with the whole pharmakos thing where the people of the ancient Greek city-states would whip the pharmakos/scapegoat with fig branches as they chased him out of the city. Really disturbing stuff, but still it felt apropos to me for what 10.5 was going through and how he felt about himself.

Anyway, I am so happy that you liked the fic! I was writing a bit out of my comfort zone as I never write Rose, but it was a good challenge, methinks.
13th-Sep-2008 08:47 pm (UTC) - I MADE YOU A FEEDBACK BUT LJ EETED IT
well damnation! i left a long, thoughtful comment on this fic a few days ago but livejournal ate it. ;___;

anyway i will reproduce various thoughts as best i can:

For a fleeting moment, he felt as if he might actually still have the ability to influence that protracted string of the twists and turns of his lifetime – to pull and stretch at it’s elasticity, to cheat death, to be both timeless and time-full, to be both ageless and aged, to be more like his (old) self again –

...


It was moments like this that he simply felt lost without her – his other half, the DoctorDonna, the missing piece of his puzzle –


i love a lot of things in this fic, but these two bits might be my favourites -- john, trying to hold on to the memory of the man he feels he was; and later, yearning for donna, the woman who is an inextricable part of who he now is. it's very affecting.

and i love rose and john trying, but failing, because the basis for their effort was never the right one, and how they have to grow apart to come back together in some new, undefined way.

very nice. one of my favourite nate/handy/10.5 fics, definitely.
16th-Sep-2008 12:03 am (UTC) - Re: I MADE YOU A FEEDBACK BUT LJ EETED IT
well damnation! i left a long, thoughtful comment on this fic a few days ago but livejournal ate it. ;___;

Oh noes! Bad LJ - no cookie!

i love a lot of things in this fic, but these two bits might be my favourites -- john, trying to hold on to the memory of the man he feels he was; and later, yearning for donna, the woman who is an inextricable part of who he now is. it's very affecting.

Thank you! I have been surprised not to see those two things touched on in a lot of other Handy fanfic. While they certainly didn't go into it on the show, I can only imagine that he is trying to work out who he is versus that man who he shares the memories of and, by extension, now that he is essentially no longer a properly-functioning Time Lord, how he can integrate what he knows from the Doctor into himself without having all of those extra Time Lord senses at his disposal.

I think it was lizbee that likened it to something like running a new version of PhotoShop on a 386 computer -- it might work, but the computer would probably keep crashing and not be able to run the program effectively. I definitely agree with that concept. Handy has the memories of the Doctor, but not the hardware to use them properly, and of course on top of that, he is now living an entirely different life.

I've also not seen many fics dealing with his loss of Donna -- his literal other half -- as well. In the ficathon, I posed a cracky prompt about Handy's "Donna side" taking over and leading him to become transexual and live his life as Donna, but in a more serious sense, I think a lot of fandom (well, at least the fluffier 10.5/Rose parts of it, from what I've seen) seems to forget that -- like your icon states -- Handy has Donna inside him just as well as the Doctor. I can't imagine how that would feel to be ripped away from her like that. Someone in the comments likened it to twins being seperated and I have to agree with that analogy. I can completely see Handy as feeling as if something is missing with Donna's absense. It's very tragic, actually.

and i love rose and john trying, but failing, because the basis for their effort was never the right one, and how they have to grow apart to come back together in some new, undefined way.

That really made sense to me. The whole "Okay, here the two of you are, together now just like old times, but not really, go get married and have babies!" thing just sounded disingenuous to both characters. I don't think that their relationship is entirely without hope (even if my personal preferences don't really see them together), but I think, as you said, they really need to first find who one another are and break apart before they can see how they fit together.

very nice. one of my favourite nate/handy/10.5 fics, definitely.

Thank you! I was very nervous about it! I am glad that you liked it. :)
16th-Sep-2008 01:11 am (UTC) - Re: I MADE YOU A FEEDBACK BUT LJ EETED IT
I think it was lizbee that likened it to something like running a new version of PhotoShop on a 386 computer -- it might work, but the computer would probably keep crashing and not be able to run the program effectively.

heh. that sounds about right. *cue blue screen of death macro*

In the ficathon, I posed a cracky prompt about Handy's "Donna side" taking over and leading him to become transexual and live his life as Donna, but in a more serious sense, I think a lot of fandom (well, at least the fluffier 10.5/Rose parts of it, from what I've seen) seems to forget that -- like your icon states -- Handy has Donna inside him just as well as the Doctor.

i saw your trans/genderqueer prompt for the ficathon and almost signed up just so i could write that story. BUT i am already in the middle of a long and semi-transtastic nate/jackie fic, so i figured i would just keep plugging away at that one instead. also, i don't think it's a cracky idea at all! possibly this is because i am trans myself. but nate hasn't just got donna's thoughts, he's got some amount of her biological make-up as well, mixed in with the alien properties of being part time lord, and... yeah, that sounds like a recipe for interesting identity issues (although in my mind they are probably more genderqueer than strictly trans, but obviously that is basing it on my own experience, and everyone is different).

I can completely see Handy as feeling as if something is missing with Donna's absense.

so much agreement. that, plus not having the TARDIS near, the one companion the doctor has had almost his entire life... that's got to be tough. also! have you seen this fic:

semaphore

doctordonna, all the way. a sad way. but a good way, too.

The whole "Okay, here the two of you are, together now just like old times, but not really, go get married and have babies!" thing just sounded disingenuous to both characters.

judging from his comments in the confidential, RTD meant it to come across this way, to some extent at least. which i find a strange way to go about things, but i am obviously not RTD.
19th-Sep-2008 04:23 am (UTC) - Re: I MADE YOU A FEEDBACK BUT LJ EETED IT
i saw your trans/genderqueer prompt for the ficathon and almost signed up just so i could write that story.

Awww, that's too bad. Perhaps sometime in the future. I'd really love to see your take on the prompt.

BUT i am already in the middle of a long and semi-transtastic nate/jackie fic, so i figured i would just keep plugging away at that one instead.

Ooh, that sound really amazing! I really look forward to reading that once it finally sees the light of day. :)

also, i don't think it's a cracky idea at all! possibly this is because i am trans myself. but nate hasn't just got donna's thoughts, he's got some amount of her biological make-up as well, mixed in with the alien properties of being part time lord, and... yeah, that sounds like a recipe for interesting identity issues (although in my mind they are probably more genderqueer than strictly trans, but obviously that is basing it on my own experience, and everyone is different).

Well, I did mention genderqueer in my prompt, but I wasn't sure many people would understand that vocabulary, so I also just mentioned trans as well since it's more commonly used by people outside the LGBT community. I agree though -- genderqueer does seem more appropriate terminology for the DoctorDonna situation for Nate.

Oh, and I've not seen the fic "Semaphore", but I am about to read it now that I am catching up on things. I [heart] DoctorDonna. Thanks for the rec!
20th-Sep-2008 09:44 pm (UTC)
Hi. I just read through the bluesuit_fic, and this one was my favorite. Both Ten II and Rose got such a raw deal out of being dumped by the Doctor. This:
Rose, I know that I’m not really what you wanted. I’m simply the consolation prize instead of the man you truly loved and you are just as stuck here as I am.
is very true.
22nd-Feb-2009 04:55 am (UTC)
Hi, got here via cot_tossed.

This was very lovely. I loved the overall feel of it and the bittersweet ending. This was just a very nice read overall.
12th-Mar-2009 10:25 pm (UTC) - oh....
do tell me that's not the end of this series!


Please...More!!
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