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FIC: Flipped, Book 2 (6/10)

Title: Flipped, Book 2
Rating: heavy T for most contents, but it earns an M for occasional scenes and subject matter
Author: tkel_paris
Summary: David Noble has the biggest challenge of his life ahead – taking care of the new Tenth Doctor. Of course, it's harder because his male friend who was in love with him is now a gorgeous ginger woman... who's caught his eye. Sequel to Flipped, Book 1. Written for tardis_mole.
Required Disclaimer: The summary should be enough to tell you I own nothing.
Dedications: My good friend tardis_mole, for helping me discover my talent at editing and for being an inspiration. You've challenged me to go beyond what I previously thought I would like, and so this is the farthest I've gone from my comfort zone so far. Who knows where I'll go next?

And another important shout-out: sykira, whose LJ post about John Barrowman's comments about how Doctor Who could eventually go was the ultimate spark for this idea. So I suppose that means the ultimate blame for this lies with the Barrowman. I can only imagine what he would think, although I suspect he would heartily approve. :P

Author's Note: Originally spawned from a different idea that split into three, this is a new version of one of those ideas revived as a birthday present. And it's spawned a slightly AU version as a future present. The original prompt from TM boiled down to this: “The Doctor and Donna in a situation that's never been done before.” Ask and ye shall receive, my friend. Enjoy the sequel. :D Happy Belated Birthday, TM! :DDD I really jope you like this. I finally had to start posting because the uncertainty of whether I did well enough was getting to me.

Oh, and if you haven't read Flipped, please go back and do so. As in right now. :)

Special Disclaimer: I refuse to be held responsible for any $2000/2000 lattes, spit-takes, fainting spells, workplace/school gaffes, or falling against/from things that might happen if you're not careful while reading this story. Especially in certain chapters. Read at your own risk. (I put this in because I was warned by one of my betas, cassikat, that my emails should come with a spit-take warning. So I'm looking out for y'all. ;D)



Chapter One / Chapter Two / Chapter Three / Chapter Four / Chapter Five



CHAPTER SIX: FRENCH ROYAL MISTRESS WISDOM

Mickey Smith, a lad who struggled to improve his situation and take care of himself, was travelling through the stars and time.

The Doctor had offered the opportunity to join them on an adventure or two, see a little bit of time and the rest of the universe. Since David – he was starting to drop the “Dr.” part of even thinking about him now that he was further along with his studies – seemed so rejuvenated by it, despite the dangers, he was willing to give it a go. Besides, that wise Sarah Jane Smith had suggested that the TARDIS needed a new Smith on board, and who was he to argue with someone the Doctor plainly respected and even admired?

Of course, there had to be a long explanation of what the previous Doctors had looked like, and Sarah Jane finally got to see what the four Doctors she never got to know looked like. Apparently she also learnt more about the ones she only saw through a time crash, too.

So the Doctor sent them into the future, with the settings on random. That would have frightened Mickey – what if they landed somewhere really dangerous, after all – but David seemed mostly ready for an adventure and had dryly remarked that danger tended to find the Doctor no matter what. Although the companions could manage to perhaps lessen it slightly if they paid attention to their surroundings and the actions, even though no one could never completely protect again some enemy (known or not) deciding to target them.

So when the Doctor opened the door, Mickey did not know what to make of what surrounded the ship. “What is this place? And when are we?”

“The 51st century,” the Doctor announced. “We're on board a spaceship.”

“You mean something that most people of my area would recognise as a spaceship?” David asked.

“Yeah, but I'm not sure who the makers are. The design could match several different species. Let's look and see if we can find some identification. That usually indicates who commissioned the ship.”

Mickey thought a moment. “You mean like HMS Victory or the USS Enterprise?”

“Yep,” the Doctor confirmed.

They spent a little while searching for that one clue, but couldn't find it.

But their confusion was increased upon discovering the robots with clock-like features. The Doctor was naturally fascinated and impressed, going so far as to call them gorgeous. To the mutual disbelief of the two human males. Even David was a little perplexed, since they seemed a bit on the nightmarish side to him.

And his instincts seemed vindicated when the first one vanished. The mystery intensified when they realized a little French girl was on the other side of a fireplace, in another time-frame.

“Hello, I'm the Doctor. Who are you?”

“Reinette.” The little girl looked at her, head tilted, and asked, “How are you in my fireplace, ma'amselle?”

It seemed the robots were after her, and had to be stopped. And somehow there were various places in the ship that acted as portals into various places in the girl's life. Only after going into the future did they realize who she was destined to be.

Mickey blinked. “Hang on, wasn't she the most famous French royal mistress of all time? Why would a group of robots be after her?”

“Probably named for the wrong reasons,” David muttered. “I read that she was an interesting person, assisted the royal family as a whole and even encouraged the arts. The Uncrowned Queen, I think she was called.”

“And those robots are after her,” the Doctor reminded them after they had overheard what they needed to know. “It's up to us to stop them.”

/=/=/=/

It had been a long day for the Doctor, and now it seemed endless. She had protected Reinette and the royal court, but at a cost. It looked like she was stranded in the past.

Her only hope might be if David could take everything he learned about flying the TARDIS to bring the Old Girl to this very year. She could be sure that the TARDIS would eventually take the two men back to 2006 if enough time passed for them, but she hated the uncertainty. It also assumed they got back inside the TARDIS and didn't die from anything. Although David had a key, so that was just her overactive imagination thinking of disaster scenarios. And although David had never truly flown the TARDIS unsupervised, he flew the Old Girl oftentimes better than the Doctor could. Probably meant the Old Girl was almost as much in love with him as she was.

So she stared out a palace window, wondering what she would do if she remained trapped. The French Revolution was coming in only a few decades. She would have to hide, make her way to another part of Europe. And there was the matter of her being a woman in a time when women had few rights, if any. It all depended on the place. Here and now she had the protection of Reinette and King Louis XV, but what would she have once Reinette died? How much of her protection was due to being an intimate friend – no naughty implication intended – of the official mistress? Or did she no longer hold that title?

And what would the lack of a TARDIS and its fields do to a time sensitive like her? There was speculation in Time Lord medicine that it would lead to a disastrous deterioration that would lead to death and possibly regeneration. If that happened in front of the wrong place or people, new religions would emerge that ought never to happen.

She had time to think, but it was not something she enjoyed. Not on this occasion.

Reinette came back into the room, having convinced the King and the others to leave them be a while. “My lonely angel, you are missing your companions, the life you once led. But other than your ship... that wonderful, mysterious box... you regret leaving David.”

The Doctor swallowed. Reinette did not pull punches, although she granted all the mercy in the universe. And there was no point in lying to someone who managed to walk in her mind. What that meant she was to her now, the Doctor did not yet want to examine. “He brought me back from the brink of madness, showed true friendship when I had been without any kind of friendship for centuries, and he showed me that life is still worth living and enjoying. He made me feel like I had somewhere other than the TARDIS to call home.”

“And you came to love him when you were someone who could not expect the same from him.”

Tears welled in the Doctor's eyes.

Reinette took her hand. “I do not fault you for your heart's choices, and neither should you. Just because you were a man then does mean you cannot ever have happiness, Doctor.”

She shook her head. “Even though I know David finds this body appealing, I can never expect him to forget what I once was. I would never want him to. He was the first person other than Sarah Jane to see that the person I became was the same person who existed before the regeneration – if in a different body and holding a new personality. He recognised it as a death to be mourned and respected, and he has been urging me to grieve if I feel any need. Yet I haven't. Death and rebirth is a fact of life for Time Lords. He was the first to figure that out, despite my trying to hide my people's greatest shame.”

“Your people considered it shaming to be able to change?”

“We live so much longer anyway. Add this into the mix? It was easier to try to conceal it from other species.”

“With varying success.”

The Doctor had no answer. Reinette had surely heard of the legend of the Phoenix. One more thing the Time Lords could be blamed for. Someone had been careless while being in the Greek world, but she no longer remembered who. Perhaps they had not known that someone had been seen until it was too late to determine who had done it.

Reinette sighed and tugged her over to a wine bottle. She poured two glasses. “Tell me your favourite memories of David Noble. I walked in your mind, but I could only see glimpses of the specifics.”

Taking a sip and cataloging the differences between it and more modern wines (most notably the lack of preservatives), the Doctor used the time bought to consider the question. “Oh, I could go on about his good traits. But his best ones? Maybe how he has been able to always deal with whatever weirdness travelling with me brings about. He had to adjust, just as all of my assistants and companions have, but only one other managed so well. I think you saw her in your walk. Or maybe it's how he's never let me lie to him, always keeps me on my toes. Never a dull moment, even when it's quiet. He's been so good to me, given so much without asking for much in return. Except for the demand to be treated with respect and as an equal.”

Reinette smiled. “He is an honourable man. I believe the King would have respected him had he known him.”

The Doctor giggled suddenly. “You should have seen the look on his face when he realised I was going to ride Arthur to save you, crashing through the window that was also a mirror. Or on Mickey's. I don't know whether they were more tempted to call me insane or laugh hysterically at the sight.”

Reinette laughed. “Because it would have been more fitting for a man to ride to my rescue? How like a story that would have been."

The laughter faded quickly. The Doctor finished the wine and put down the glass. She took both of Reinette's hands. “My friend, I am at your mercy. I need a place to hide. There a great many events I must avoid if I am to survive. My ship will take them home after enough time has passed, and I had hope that David might be able to fly the Old Girl to here, but I just realised that I never told him what year we were in. He might never be able to find me. So I have to go to him. As long as I avoid being hurt, I can live more than long enough to reach England in the year 2006 and reunite with him and the TARDIS. I know you normally send people off to be married, but I can't have any of those things binding me down. I won't entertain the idea of bonding to someone not...”

She cleared her throat. That was too close to admitting to something that must never be voiced. “And there is the chance I could fall very ill and have to hide so I don't die in front of others. And I could still not make it. But I have to try to get back to my ship and friends no matter what. Will you help me?”

Reinette looked sadly at her lonely angel, suspecting what she would not say aloud. Perhaps not even in thought. “Come. There is something you must see.” She held her hand the whole way to her room.

The Doctor felt uneasy. She had no idea how far Reinette had gone in pleasing the King before, and there were some activities she was not sure she wanted to try.

Sending the servants away, Reinette waited for the door to close before she spoke. “Do not make plans born from desperation just yet, Doctor. There is another way. Does anything about this room seem familiar?”

Looking around and taking in the various items, one thing did stand out. The fireplace. “You had it designed the same way as the one in your childhood room. How did you manage that?”

“I did not have to have it designed for me by the King's command. Because it is the same one.”

The Doctor stared at her in shock.

“A door once opened can be walked through again. I hoped that by bringing it here, it would be possible for you to come back.”

“It might have been off-line when the connections were severed with the ship, burning all the ones active at that moment.” The Doctor stepped close and touched around the fireplace, looking for that thing she had touched that had brought her back to the ship before. She startled when it suddenly rotated, and she found herself exactly where she wanted to be.

Beaming, she looked back through. “Reinette!”

Her dress became even more visible, and she knelt, looking expectantly.

“Do you still want to pick a star?”

“I can?” There was so much excitement and wonder in her voice, and it reflected in her face.

“Pack a bag and choose a star. I will be back as soon as I can! I must find David and Mickey first, make sure they're all right!” She ran off, racing to the TARDIS.

She rushed inside, banging the door open after she unlocked it. She found David looking up with disbelieving eyes and Mickey with equally stunned ones. “Doctor!” exclaimed the younger man. “You found a way back!”

“All thanks to Madame du Pompador. She made one last bridge crossable.”

David took measured steps closer. The Doctor was uncertain what he was thinking – he was keeping his expression tightly controlled. Much more so than usual – he was often times an open book. At least in some ways.

“Doctor, have I told you how much... I sometimes hate you?!” He promptly belied the words by throwing his arms around her and clasping her against him.

The Doctor laughed, hugging him back and relishing feeling and smelling him again. This human always kept her on her toes, and he was sometimes willing to hug her now, which she supposed was a bonus from turning into a woman. “Well, I have to go stablise the doorway, and then go back. I promised Reinette she could have a journey amongst the stars. You can tell your granddad that you travelled with a historical figure!”

David let her go with a laugh, the tension finally draining away. “I don't think I'll tell my mum, thank you. She'd ask if I used protection.”

Mickey snorted.

The Doctor grinned wickedly at him. “Well, we'll see!” She rushed through the process with the controls. Once satisfied, she hurried back out. “Just stay inside!”

David and Mickey exchanged a long-suffering look known to all males who had to wait for females. They each hoped Madame du Pompador was a quick packer.

When the Doctor returned, David looked at the clock on the console. “It took you five hours again?” But his annoyance vanished in the clear face of loss. One more friend of the Doctor's had passed, and she missed it. So David simply held her before she asked for a hug.

It seemed natural now. He knew the Doctor probably needed hugs before, but hadn't had anyone willing. David wondered if that made him a bad person, not seeing the need before. Maybe he should've talked his grandparents into the act?

Mickey just offered silent support, and asked no questions. There were no good ones that were appropriate for Humans, let alone a long-lived alien who had changed genders.

Once they left the ship behind for good, the mystery of why Reinette had been targeted remaining unsolved, David dragged the Doctor to the kitchen, and proceeded to make a banana bread pudding for her. A little dessert to mourn a friend would be good. And then they could see whether the Doctor had invented the banana daiquiri two centuries too early.

It was a debate that went on for several hours, much to mutual entertainment.

At least until the Humans had to rest. Then the Doctor pulled out the letter the King had handed her. She remembered that moment vividly.

Reinette?” she called again, unease growing steadily since she'd found the room dark and empty. Hurrying into a room with windows, she stopped when she saw someone. A man, gazing out of a window on the first floor. “Oh. Hello.” She knew it was King Louis himself.

He turned his head, briefly. “You are looking for Reinette?”

Um, yeah.”

You just missed her. She’ll be in Paris by six.”

Ah.” She found a relieved smile. “She is on some duties after all. Perhaps she would be back tomorrow? I can call back?” Timing would be everything.

The King instead turned towards the Doctor fully and stared, eyes wide. “Good Lord... she was right. She said you never looked a day older.”

The Doctor shrugged with a humorless smile.

So many years since I saw you last, yet not a day of it on your face.”

How many times had those words been uttered in one form or another over the many lives, irony or no? She remained silent.

Although the King smile grew slightly, there was something not quite right in the way he walked over to a sideboard, and opened a drawer. He took out a letter. “She spoke of you many times,” he remarked, closing the drawer.

The Doctor’s smile fell. April 15, 1764. It was past that date. The more important one to not miss.

She often wished you’d visit again,” he said, in vain attempting to make light of his own pain as he held the letter out to the Doctor.

She took it silently, staring at the letter as Louis returned to the window on hearing a sound in the courtyard below them. Two horses began to move off, pulling behind them a most precious and beloved cargo.

There she goes.”

The Doctor moved to the window to stand beside Louis, watching as the hearse carried Reinette’s coffin away towards the gates of the palace. She stood motionless at the window, letter in her hand at her side.

Leaving Versailles for the last time. Only forty-two when she died. The Marquise won’t have good weather for her journey.”

A single tear flowed down her cheek. “I'm sorry, Reinette. I'm late. Again,” she whispered, too numb to curse fate for preventing another goodbye.

Too young...” the King whispered in pain. “Illness took her in the end. She always did work too hard.” His eyes glistened with unshed tears, the sign of someone who lived in a world that did not permit him to show weakness. He looked at the person who commanded Reinette's respect, loyalty, and sisterly love. “What does she say?”

The Doctor, still watching the rapidly vanishing glass coach, just tucked the unopened letter into her inside pocket. “Women must have some secrets kept between them.”

The King nodded. “Of course. Quite right,” he responded.

She was probably the only person who could command his assent to such. Kings didn't like secrets kept from them.

The Doctor hesitated over reading it, but she had to honor her friend's memory. David would remind her that she owed Reinette that. He was wiser about emotions than she was, even after knowing him for two years.

Taking a deep breath, she opened the letter and read it.

My Dear Doctor,

The path has never seemed more slow, and yet I fear I am nearing its end. Reason tells me that you and I are unlikely to meet again. But I think I shall not listen to reason. I have seen the world inside your head, and know that all things are possible.

My life has been brought such wonders and joy in knowing you. You are the truest friend that could be wished for. Your heart is bigger than you know, and I beg you to not lose hope for yourself. I saw the pain and longing in your eyes when you spoke of David. I only knew him for a moment outside of the memories I witnessed, but I saw a very wise man who cares deeply about you. It may yet be possible for you to spark a fire in his heart toward you. A woman such as you should be able to find a way.

I only hope that I shall not depart before your return, as I wish to see if you find a way. Hurry, though, my dearest sister. My days grow shorter now, and I am so very weak.

God speed, my lonely angel.

The Doctor folded the letter, letting more tears fall at last. She refused to acknowledge which emotions were drawing them from her.


Chapter Seven: The Devil Inside

Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
dtstrainers
Dec. 17th, 2013 03:31 am (UTC)
I've been savoring these chapters in the mornings, but now a bedtime treat! I loved the way you tied in the legend of the Phoenix as being the result of an observed regeneration and how unexplained phonemena end up creating religions. Just gorgeous as usual. Thanks for all the lovliness
tkel_paris
Dec. 17th, 2013 05:53 am (UTC)
N'aw! :DDDDDD
bas_math_girl
Dec. 17th, 2013 04:51 am (UTC)
The Doctor was lucky to escape the king's attention (or he was the unlucky one?). But yay that Mickey saw the universe, and that David was more willing to hug her!
tkel_paris
Dec. 17th, 2013 05:54 am (UTC)
Depends on your perspective, I guess. *shrugs* And yes, that just seemed natural, the hugging thing. :)
tardis_mole
Jan. 13th, 2014 05:08 pm (UTC)
Bread pudding! *gags* Oh the English are disgusting when it comes to food. And he put bananas in it. I am mourning the bananas here. o.O

That was exquisite.
tkel_paris
Jan. 13th, 2014 05:42 pm (UTC)
*giggles* I'm going to have someone say that in Flipped 3. :)

Thank you. I assume your lack of comments mean that you were pleased?
tardis_mole
Jan. 14th, 2014 06:07 am (UTC)
Haaa!!!! Hahahahaha

Erm... actually my lack of comments was due to the fact that this episode always had me on the verge of tears. Your reworking was poignant and needed no comment.
tkel_paris
Jan. 14th, 2014 02:53 pm (UTC)
Aw... That might be the highest compliment I've ever gotten, knowing you. *hugs*
tardis_mole
Jan. 14th, 2014 05:06 pm (UTC)
Wow, that's saying something. :DDD
serenityslady
Feb. 11th, 2014 11:11 pm (UTC)
I never much cared for "Girl in the Fireplace" but this version was sweet and sad and just lovely.

The idea of the two women discussing the Doctor's feeling fro David was very touching, as was the letter. David is still quite conflicted himself. His anger at her is quite telling, as is his tight hug afterwards. The Doctor's reaction is also: "The Doctor laughed, hugging him back and relishing feeling and smelling him again." Smell? Oooo!

"Your heart is bigger than you know, and I beg you to not lose hope for yourself. I saw the pain and longing in your eyes when you spoke of David. I only knew him for a moment outside of the memories I witnessed, but I saw a very wise man who cares deeply about you. It may yet be possible for you to spark a fire in his heart toward you."
Oh, such a wise woman, dear Reinette.


tkel_paris
Feb. 12th, 2014 02:49 am (UTC)
There are many reasons to not be fond of TGitF, but an AU always makes things better. :)

Conflicted, indeed. Both of them. That's not easily worked through. Not yet. ;)

She was. So I like Reinette. The woman who played her? Not so much, but I won't get into that.

*off to reread more of your reviews*
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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