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Title: Ginger Goddess, Part 3: Drama in Venice and Spacial Multiplicity
Series: none – first part belonged to “There's The Door!”
Rating: M (there be smut inside in more than one spot, or at least some adult thoughts or implications)
Author: tkel_paris
Summary: Unaware of the Doctor's intentions even after months of traveling with him, Donna confronts her own feelings when the Doctor is arrested and in danger of execution. She and Martha need help, and only the man the Doctor was mistaken for can save the day: Giacomo Casanova.
Disclaimer: RTD clearly missed on some of the subtext created by the dynamic of Tate and Tennant.
Dedication: bas_math_girl, for her birthday (and now for Christmas). Love ya, Online-Mummy! (blows a kiss) Also to tardis_mole and cassikat for extremely helpful beta advice. :D But especially to TM, since I'm sort of writing about an ancestor. (It gets confusing when fiction is mixed into history and the distortions therein.)
Author's Note: This started as a one-shot, but quickly grew into a story and a sequel. And another sequel. :D And there will be one more story after this one. Maybe two. And possibly a DVD extra. ;)

And before we begin, a note about Casanova's life from one of his descendants, my good friend tardis_mole:

Casanova was Venetian by birth, back when Venice was an independent city state. He was the youngest child of an actress, and I mean actress in the true sense - that is a woman who sells her body in order to earn a place on stage. As a small boy he often saw her with a number of men, none of whom were his father. He was an elective mute and was abandoned at young age at a boarding school. It was a young maid who worked there that gave him his first lesson in sexual arousal. It quickly became obvious that he was a polymath, spoke several languages and had a photographic memory.

At the age of fifteen, during his training to be a priest, two sisters visited him. With them he lost his virginity, but he learned a powerful lesson - listen to women. In those days, women had no voice in anything, right down to what they wore, where they went or the marital bed. The age of consent at that time was 12 and girls were a commodity to be sold, shared and bartered. He rescued a few, showed them how a woman should be treated, with kindness and gentleness, and tried to change social attitudes. He was adopted by the Chevalier family, but promptly arrested and imprisoned on false charges by someone who disagreed with the decision. He remains the only successful escapee from that prison tower.

Contrary to popular belief, Casanova was not polygamous, nor did he have sex with children or men. He had several lady friends, some of whom he had sex with, but the relationships did not last long. He had one true love, but she was owned by a rich and powerful man who had blackmailed her and her family and Giacomo had no choice but to let her go. He was married briefly to Bellino, a singer, who then left him. He met her again much later when she beguiled him with a young girl, but didn’t tell him it was his own daughter until afterwards. He spent his later life as a librarian in exile and lived with a common law wife. He was never told that his exile had been revoked and died in Bohemia, which was then also an independent country, and his grave was unmarked.

His few vices in life were chocolate, which was a powder back then to make a thick drink which you half-ate with a spoon, and oysters. He had several children, including one with my greatx6-grandmother, but he was the first to invent a way to lessen the risk of pregnancy. Lemon juice. He hated condoms, because they were made of sheep’s intestines and were so thick that a man could not feel anything during sex to the point of not being able to maintain an erection. He was also the first to make a connection between sex and the transmission of syphilis (or as the Italians still call it, French Pox). Condoms at the time were more like sex toys than a useful device and often made of linen and tied on with ribbon.

At parties, Casanova blew up sheep’s gut condoms, and at the ball held at the meeting between Reinette Passon and King Luis, he blew up several, tied knots in them and called them balloons (Note: this is what the Doctor meant by the French really know how to party in TGitF). He also invented the National Lottery. He had a great many friends, one of whom was Voltaire, although they disagreed on many things. Casanova’s memoirs were written in Venet, the language of Venice and still spoken today. They were translated into Latin, French and Polish, but never into English. He wrote the original Don Juan opera, but Mozart, for whatever reason, changed the dialogue, which hurt him deeply. On seeing the opera, he left without a word and never spoke of it.


Thank you for being so kind as to make sure I gave him fair treatment. I did my best in the original drafts, but your help made the final one the best it could be.


Chapter One / Chapter Two


Ginger Goddess, Part 3: Drama In Venice and Spatial Multiplicity
Started October/November, 2012 – New File Started December 4, 2012
Finished December 2015

CHAPTER THREE: THE DANGERS OF PARTING WAYS

Martha eyed the Doctor as he went around the console. The proposed additional TARDIS lessons seemed on the backburner, which was a shame. They had rested after Manhatten, and the Doctor was back to his hyper self. “You do know that if we learned to handle a few of the controls, your job would be cut by half or even two-thirds, don't you?”

“Well...” he hedged.

Donna laughed, and moved to stand beside Martha so they could each hang on to the console. But also show a united front. “I think it's along the lines of men and their precious cars.”

“Oi! The TARDIS is more than a car! She's a living being!”

“And you call her Old Girl. If she's as sentient as I suspect she is, how do you know she isn't offended by that nickname?”

There was a tinkling sound that none of them could ever remember hearing. Not even the Doctor. He blinked. “She just said she likes it.”

Martha looked skeptically at him.

“I'm not joshing! That's what she actually said!”

Donna shrugged. “I'll believe you. Millions wouldn't.”

She actually did believe him. She had quickly noticed that the TARDIS seemed to talk to her. While she could not understand the exact meaning she could interpret based on the chimes

He groaned, looking plaintively at the Rotor. “Please, let us land where I intended,” he said in what sounded like a commanding tone, but he worried that it came out more like the begging he was really doing. Ever since Donna came aboard, he was painfully aware that his ship had ideas of her own about where he was supposed to go. It made him wonder how often she had deliberately done that, especially in more recent years.

They landed a moment later, sending all three of them grabbing for something to hold on to while they stabilized themselves. The Doctor grinned as he read the readout. “Ha! 1753 and Venice! Exactly where I wanted to go!”

“Why?” asked Donna. “What's there at that time?”

“Among other things, an old friend. I think you'll both be interested in his stories. Never mind that Venice itself was in an exciting time, although not for my friend. If I've timed it right, he'll be needing our help. It's not his favourite place. The city is corrupt and the police are cruel, lawless and have no interest in civil obedience or safety. More like thugs for hire.”

Martha cringed. “You mean like the Judoon?”

“These police make the Judoon look like ideal peacekeepers.”

Donna and Martha shared a long-suffering look. When he got like this, it seemed all the more likely that fate or whatever was going to throw them something unexpected. Still, Donna had to admit to herself that he was rather cute when he got like this and they were going to help a friend of his. She was curious about this person and could tell that Martha was also. “So what are we waiting for?”

“Well, you two might want to change, to blend in better.”

Martha frowned. “Will you be wearing something other than one of your suits?”

He gave her an affronted look. “And why should I? I need all of my pockets, and no one ever notices what I'm wearing.”

“Right,” Donna said, flatly. “You just walk in like you own the place and people accept that. Well, are you sure that will go over with the government here?”

He thought a moment. “Ah, well, perhaps we should take a more quiet approach. Besides, I shouldn't wear local garments. I might be mistaken for... someone else, and I think that could be a very bad thing. Especially if I remember my history correctly and got the timing right...”

“What history?” demanded Donna.

He shrugged. “The odds are tiny. Anyway, off with the both of you to the Wardrobe! Donna, you know the way! Just don't spend more than an hour in there!”

She rolled her eyes. “For that, we'll make you wait two. Come on, Martha. Let's see what the Old Girl has for us.”

Martha looked back and forth between them, but followed Donna without comment. She let her dubious look at the Doctor do the talking for her.

He sighed, and then hurried to grab a book he'd hidden out of sight. He had to double-check some details. Depending on exactly when they landed, his old friend might need his help. In any case, he suspected he was about to be able to answer a great mystery of an escape act. The ladies should appreciate this adventure.

/=/=/=/

He was waiting long enough when he finally heard footsteps. “About time! It's been over two hours!”

Martha's laugh preceded her. “Doctor, you sometimes act like a child! I think my nephew is more mature than you at times!”

The Doctor chose to avoid answering by assessing what Martha's choice was. She wore a pale cream gown of flowered silk, each beige colored bloom was hand-stitched and the lace that edged the outer skirt that hung like a half open curtain, matched the hem lace along the bottom of the under skirt, the ends of the elbow-length sleeves and the square-topped V of the bodice. Since Martha was rather slim, the bodice was too big, but he doubted anyone would notice. The box frame flared outward at the hips; he’d never asked why, but it was the fashion of the day. It wasn’t the attire of a wealthy woman, but of a personal lady-in-waiting, a female escort of the lady of the House. He nodded approvingly. “Very nice. It'll fit your cover well.”

“And what about my cover?”

The Doctor opened his mouth to answer Donna, but was struck silent by the sight of her in a gown of pure opulence. Its entire surface was a tapestry of gold, red and bronze silk embroidery. From the flared winged arms to the skirt, over skirt and bodice she was the lady of the House. And she more than amply filled the bodice, her voluptuous breasts poked modestly from the top enough to tease but not enough to be rude. His jaw dropped as his eyes took a second circuit of her dress before moving to her impeccably coifed hair and headdress, a small cap of matching silk that was worn to keep the hair in place. But on Donna it did more than that. It made the richness of her orange locks stand out like a beacon. And the box at her hips only accentuated her shapely figure. Suddenly he felt his chin go moist and he rapidly wiped it dry of drool.

Martha suppressed a smirk. “Guess yours is the better one, Donna.”

Donna shrugged. “Perhaps it's fancier, but that don't change that you're the prettier one.”

“So what's my cover?” asked Martha. “A servant?”

The Doctor finally cleared his throat. “Well, no, Martha. You're going to be a lady-in-waiting to Donna, whose cover is a noblewoman married to a glass merchant. Glass is one of the most important trade goods in Venice. The authorities would not dare imprison her for risk of upsetting the trade Murano beads.”

Martha's lips twitched. “Strange, but I'll take it.”

“And where does this leave you, Doctor? Claiming to be Lord Noble?”

In light of the raised eyebrow she managed, he hesitated. “Well, it would make some things easier. We would have complete freedom to go wherever our cover would take us-”

Donna blanched. “Oh, no! You'll have to come up with something that permits me freedom without being married.”

The Doctor blinked. Why was she reacting so strongly to the idea?

“What about a widow?” gently ventured Martha, thinking it would be less objectionable. Only the pained reactions of both told her otherwise. “Or not...”

Donna shook her head. “No, it is sort of the truth. I was sort of widowed on my wedding day, so it wouldn't be a complete lie. Yes, but I'll go with my own name.”

“Donna, you have to pretend to be my wife! Women have no voice in Venice in this age. There is no other cover that would protect both you and Martha. I'm pretending to be said glass merchant, you are my noble wife and Martha is your lady-in-waiting. It has to be this way or we'll draw attention to ourselves that we don't want!”

The idea of playing married was not comfortable. It was like dangling a carrot and keeping it out of reach. Donna sighed loudly. “Fine!”

Oh, he should have accepted those lessons from his friend when they were offered! On the other hand, they were going to visit him again so it was not too late. He shrugged to cover up his disappointment. “Well, then! That settles it! Here!” He reached into his pocket and drew out something familiar to Donna.

“Is that a wedding ring?” asked Martha.

“It's the biodamper he used to try to protect me the day we met,” Donna explained, quietly.

“This time we won't have any ancient particles that can't be hidden. It'll help the cover more than anything,” the Doctor remarked as he took Donna's hand and placed the ring as gently as he did the last time.

Donna shivered at his touch and gulped. She had to cover it with a remark. “What, no words this time?”

He merely smiled softly at her, delighting in how she could not look away. A little lesson in wooing from his friend and the Doctor was sure that Donna would be his at last. “Well, then! Alons-y!” He hurried to the doors.

“Might want to reign in the French, Doctor,” quipped Martha. “Didn't the Venetians blame the French for bringing Syphilis?”

He paused at the door. “Oh... ooh... right.”

The ladies shared another eye roll before walking out. “We won't need cloaks, will we?” asked Donna, pointedly.

“No, the weather is very comfortable this time of year. You'll both be fine!” He opened the doors with a flourish.

They stepped out and each sucked in a breath. The first thing that met – not greeted – them was the stench of raw sewage. Behind that, once their noses accommodated, amid gasps of horror and appall, was the sound of sex from many an open window. Venice seemed rife with it. Unfortunately their ears were not as accommodating as their noses. There was no shutting it out. The buildings hadn’t changed much from now to their own time. That was their first visual clue. The second was that the water level was lower. Or the buildings were higher. It was probably the latter. The stonework and brick façades were brighter than in the 21 century. Venice of this century had yet to lose its splendor. Some would say acceding to Italian rule in 1797 had done that more than age and the inward march of the sea combined.

The Doctor closed the doors behind them. “Venice.” He leaned in to whisper. “Do not call it part of Italy. Talking like that will get you arrested and summarily executed for treason.”

Martha's lips twisted. Lovely. Yet more reason for her to keep her mouth shut.

The Doctor began a history lesson as they started walking.

“No one knows exactly how Venice was formed, but some believe it was begun by refugees from Padua area of Portogruaro, which is daft, since Venetians speak a different language. However the first people here were fishermen, called lagoon dwellers. The first settlement was sacked by the Marcomanni and the Quadi and then the Visigoths and the Huns had a go, followed by the total invasion by the Lombards, who never left. There was an uprising in 726, during which the first Doge, which is the Venetian word for leader, of the city was murdered, and the people elected their own leadership, though no one actually made a note of the man’s name. Thirty years later, Venice stood alone, an outpost of the Byzantine Empire, surrounded by the Roman Empire. Though it should be said that Venice was substancially larger than it is today, stretching along the coast in both directions and on the west coast of what is in your time Croatia. Charlemagne tried to invade, but failed and in a tantrum he tried to evict the inhabitants. And when that failed, he besieged the city. He went bankrupt - or would have if they had banks back then - and after six months he had had enough of malaria and went home in a huff. As a result Venice remained a part of Byzantium and kept the trade routes open. In another few years as Byzantium collapsed, Venice remained proudly independent. Venice became the European centre for trade between Western Europe and the east. Their navy got rid of piracy in the Adriatic. They made a huge profit from the collapse of Constantinople, raking in a vast amount of pillaged goods. It’s still a mostly Roman Catholic state, although there is a lot of religious freedom here. It’s not as extremist as many places in Europe. So if you tell everyone you’re an agnostic, they won’t mind. By this point, 1753, Venice has been in decline for nearly two hundred and fifty years; first the loss of Thessalonica and then Constantinople, war with the invading Turks, and then to add insult to further injury – Columbus discovered America and Portungal found a sea route to India. Venice faced a total collapse of its monopoly. And then came another plague of Black Death which killed a third of the population. What they still had was vast tracks of farmland and manufacturing. But even those are coming to their end. And even now, the stupidity of the founding inhabitants can be seen all around us.” He glanced at Martha and Donna to see if they had noticed. When they didn’t he clarified it for them. “They diverted the rivers to cut off the islands from the mainland and deepen the lagoon. They’re drowning the city, even now, long after they died. These buildings all around us are under water, right to the top of the third floor. Soon even the Basilica will be under water. Even by 2010 it’s under several centimetres of water for three months of the year.”

Donna was spell-bound. “I visited Venice when I was much younger. Part of a trip across Europe I took with several of my mates. This is so different, seeing it in better times.”

“So tell us about how things are here,” Martha requested quietly, not letting her voice carry while she carried out her role. “Who rules right now, what's the major concern of the elites, and what major events have just happened for them?”

“Unusual interest in what the ruling powers were concerned with, Martha Jones,” observed the Doctor.

“Rule number one of history: it's always written by those in power. So to read between the lines you have to figure out not only the writer's biases but their culture's too. Never mind being aware of your own individual and cultural background. Sometimes you can also tell about the other classes by what the ruling classes wrote about them. A little mix of inductive and deductive reasoning never hurt.”

“Ah, no wonder you're doing well on your exams!” he praised.

Unknown to them, a few men with beady eyes had noticed their progress.

“The Doge's police are his enforcers. They don't wear any particular uniform so no one can tell they're police until they arrest someone. And they will deal vicious blows if they dislike you. If some of the police disliked you they could 'arrest' you whether you're on the wanted list or not. This usually entailed a savage beating before being hauled to the Doge's Palace. And once in there you're automatically found guilty and imprisoned. No one speaks out against the Doge. His power is absolute.”

Both women suddenly wanted to be back inside the TARDIS. Donna swallowed hard. “And your friend lives here because-?”

“Halt!”

The Doctor turned to see guards chasing them. Yes, their eyes were definitely on at least him. “Run!”

The women did. They'd learned enough to listen when the Doctor said it.

Only trouble was that the Doctor knew that the Doge liked to send lots of men to block off escape routes. His best hope was that they did not expect the women to run so fast, and that he had merely ticked off some police merely by looking odd.

But he quickly got the feeling that he had to order something that was otherwise a very bad idea. “Go that way!” the Doctor hissed. “I'll follow in a moment!”

“What?!” Donna protested at parting ways. “Without papers and-”

“Just do it! Take these!” He shoved the Sonic and Psychic Paper into her hand.

Martha tugged her along. Lifting their heavy skirts, they ran towards a narrow alleyway and practically stumbled down the stairs to the bottom and turned right again and climbed even steeper steps into an even narrower alley, leaving them both afraid their boxed dresses would get stuck.

They took two more sharp turns, taking them up some stairs as quietly as could be, and halted behind a wall. They both struggled to control their breaths and waited.

No sign of the guards.

But within moments it was also clear there was no sign of the Doctor.

Donna risked looking out over one railing and gasped. “No!”

Martha moved to see and stilled. The guards that had been chasing them were dragging an obviously unconscious Doctor away.

Chapter Four: Regrouping in a Hurry

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
bas_math_girl
Dec. 28th, 2015 04:13 am (UTC)
*squees with delight* I had not expected such a luscious Christmas present (let alone one at all)! Thank you so much, my gorgeous online daughter. *blows kisses* I absolutely loved the descriptions of their dresses, and can't wait to see what happens once they meet Casanova. But I'm really worried about the Doctor at the end of this chapter. These people can be mean blighters.
tkel_paris
Dec. 28th, 2015 04:50 am (UTC)
Welcome! Yes... be very nervous for him. I probably should've issued a violence warning. Oh, well. Will do so for the next chapter... as soon as I'm satisfied that it's ready.

Glad you commented. Might you enjoy the MAAN fic I'm posting, too? :D
helloprilly
Jun. 24th, 2017 11:03 am (UTC)

Oh I love this ficverse! Have read all three in one go and hoping to one day see the conclusion of the story. I love how youve woven Donna into Martha's storyline since Martha at least got to have her own full season. Bravo!

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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