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Title: Altered History: Prophecies and Pompeii
Genre: Doctor Who
Rating: T/M (violence, whump)
Author: tkel_paris
Summary: Sequel to “Altered History: The Runaway Bride”. The Doctor's getting the location wrong (again) lands him and Donna in Pompeii on Volcano Day. She's determined to save as many as possible, but for him the events bring back the nightmare that still haunts him. Donna is in for a lesson on the consequences of the Dark Times.
Disclaimer: Not mine. I only just got into Classic Who heavily in the last three years. This idea would've been unthinkable for me back in early 2014.
Dedication: My friends cassikat and hezikiah, who between them brought me to an appreciation for the Eighth Doctor. The rest was all my own doing. I also thank my beta, tardis_mole, whose impatience for this brought my muse to start writing right away. And... since I'm positive I wouldn't have had the idea without seeing him at Gallifrey One this year, the always delightful Paul McGann. Although I'm not sure I ever want him or any DW actor reading any fanfiction I write... Of course, if the next showrunner wants to bring Donna back then he or she can read them all they want for ideas. Just appreciate an acknowledgement in that case. ;)
Author's Note: If you haven't read “Altered History: The Runaway Bride”, go back and read it now. Then come back to this one. Otherwise you will be very confused.

I'm resuming posting to wish helloprilly and dm12 a happy belated birthday. Hope you both enjoy this one. :)


Chapter 1 / Chapter 2 / Chapter 3


Altered History: Prophecies and Pompeii

Started March 20, 2017
Story unfinished as of start of posting
Finished September 25, 2017



Chapter Four: The Growing Fires

“Donna?”

Metella's voice stopped the Doctor's tale. He and Donna looked up.

“Evelina is awake. She is curious to speak with you. I cautioned her to be nice to you. And forgive me, but you require Roman clothes. It is unseemly to show your figure to men other than your husband.”

The Doctor's lips twitched. He could only imagine what Metella would have thought of Donna's wedding dress with the impressive show of cleavage. As for the fact that she did not share her husband's belief that they were brother and sister? He had no energy to correct her.

Donna was intrigued, even as she knew she was dealing with cultural differences and being mistaken as her friend's wife. Again. “Well, I can hardly turn that down. We'll finish the tale later, Doctor?”

The Doctor nodded, sighing as his shoulders sagged. “Yes. Although I doubt it will be any easier to tell. But I do need to ask Caecilius some questions that might help me solve the mystery.”

“Be careful,” she warned him.

“You, too.”

With that, Donna stood and Metella led her off.

The Doctor waited a few seconds before he stood. He needed to learn more.

/=/=/=/=/

Soon Caecilius led him to the hypocaust that he had described earlier.

“Ah! A very different sort of hypocaust,” the Doctor said as he removed the grille.

Caecilius spoke proudly of the feature. “Oh yes, we're very advanced in Pompeii. In Rome, they're still using the old wood-burning furnaces, but we've got hot springs... leading from Vesuvius itself.”

“Who thought of that?”

“The soothsayers after the great earthquake seventeen years ago. An awful lot of damage but we rebuilt.”

That drew the Doctor to think about Donna's efforts to get the family to leave with a little more sympathy. “Didn't you think of moving away? Oh, no, no, no, then again, San Francisco,” he finished, muttering as unpleasant memories warred with the good ones.

“That's a new restaurant in Naples, isn't it?” asked Caecilius, puzzled.

Any further questions or commentary were stopped by loud grating and rumbling. The Doctor looked down into the Earth, trying to trace it. “What is that noise?”

“Don't know,” Caecilius said on a shrug. “Happens all the time. They say the gods of the Underworld are stirring.”

“But after the earthquake... let me guess,” the Doctor said, switching tracks as pieces of the puzzle started to come into focus. “Is that when the soothsayers started making sense?”

“Oh yes, very much so.” Caecilius paused for a few seconds. “I mean, they'd always been... shall we say 'imprecise'?”

“Most soothsayers I've known are.”

“But then... the soothsayers, the augurs, the haruspex--all of them, they saw the truth again and again. It's quite amazing. They can predict crops and rainfall with absolute precision.”

“And they have said nothing about tomorrow?”

Caecilius frowned, thinking of what the Doctor's lady had said. “No. Why should they? Why do you ask?”

“Oh, no reason,” he fibbed. “Just asking. But the soothsayers... they all consume the vapours?”

“That's how they see.”

“Ipso facto,” the Doctor muttered, leaning into the hypocaust as something caught his attention.

Caecilius's eyes narrowed at what he thought was more Celtic speech. “Look, you-”

“They're all consuming this,” the Doctor said, drawing back and holding a handful of rock particles.

“Dust?” the Pompeiian asked, forgetting about his aggravation.

“No. Tiny particles of rock.” The mystery was big enough that he drew out his sonic to scan them. “They're breathing in Vesuvius.”

One of the servants came up. “Master, we are ready for your approval for cena.”

“Excuse me, Doctor,” Caecilius said, apologetically. “Perhaps later you can explain what that item of yours does.”

“Yeah,” the Doctor whispered. “After I solve another part of the mystery.”

Caecilius left with the servant for the kitchens, leaving the Doctor alone.

The Doctor's eyes looked around and spotted Quintus lounging, sipping wine. “Time to see his worth,” he whispered to himself before strolling up near the lad. “Quintus, I hope you can answer this... this Lucius Petrus Dextrus, where does he live?”

“Nothing to do with me,” the teen insisted, focused on his drink.

“Let's try this another way,” the Doctor said, pulling a coin from behind Quintus' ear and seizing the teen's attention. “This Lucius Petrus Dextrus... where does he live?”

/=/=/=/=/

“Don't tell my dad,” Quintus said as he led the Doctor to Lucius' villa, just as they stopped outside.

The Doctor was amused by the sudden worry that hit the lad. “I'd say only if you don't tell mine, but he's long gone. Follow me.” He got onto a barrel in order to climb onto the windowsill to enter. Being of a lighter build than most of his incarnations, he didn't sink into it.

Inside he found it dark except for light coming from the hypocaust. “Pass me that torch,” the Doctor whispered. “Come on.”

While the Doctor checked that no one was around, Quintus nervously glanced about before climbing through the window. Once he was inside, he found the Doctor looking behind a curtain.

The Doctor promptly handed Quintus the torch. With both hands free, he pulled down the curtain to reveal more marble circuits.

“The liar,” Quintus breathed. “He told my father it was the only one.”

“There must be plenty of marble merchants in this town,” the Doctor mused. “Tell them all the same thing; get all the components from different places so no one can see what you're building.”

“Which is what?”

“The future... Doctor.”

The Doctor and Quintus turned around at the sound of Lucius' voice. The Augur's expression was sour as he beheld the intruders.

“We are building the future as dictated by the gods.”

/=/=/=/=/=/

“You're not supposed to laugh. Thanks for that,” Donna said to Evelina.

Still, she could not be entirely cross. The purple color of the dress suited her perfectly, making her feel almost royal as she got used to it and the additional cloth forming what felt like a cape to her. “What do you think?” she asked as she struck a pose using the extra fabric as a cloak. “The goddess Venus.”

The teen laughed harder. “Oh, that's sacrilege.”

Donna grinned. “Nice to see you laugh, though,” she said, taking off the cloak and sitting beside her on the bed. It was time to ask more questions. “What do you do in old Pompeii, then... girls your age? You got... mates? Do you go hangin' about 'round the shops? T.K. Maximus?”

Evelina shook her head. “I'm promised to the Sisterhood for the rest of my life.”

Any time the Doctor spoke of destiny she felt uneasy. Especially when she got the vibe that he had been forced to accept decisions made for him. “You get any choice in that?”

“It's not my decision,” Evelina sighed. “I have the gift of sight. The sisters chose for me.”

She saw an opening in that. “Then... what can you see happening tomorrow?”

“Is tomorrow special?”

“You tell me. What do you see?”

Evelina closed her eyes, letting the sight wash over her. “The sun will rise. The sun will set. Nothing special at all,” she said, opening her eyes again.

Donna sighed and stood. “Look... don't tell the Doctor I said anything 'cause he'll kill me... but I've got a prophecy too.”

Evelina covered her eyes with her hands immediately.

The act baffled Donna. “Evelina, I'm sorry, but you've got to hear me out... Evelina, can you hear me? Listen,” she pleaded.

“There is only one prophecy,” the teen insisted.

“But everything I'm about to say to you is true. I swear. Just listen to me. Tomorrow, that mountain is going to explode. Evelina, please listen. The air is going to fill with ash and rocks... tons and tons of it and... this whole town is gonna get buried.”

“That's not true.”

“I'm sorry. I'm really sorry, but everyone's gonna die.” The lack of a reaction alarmed Donna. “Even if you don't believe me, just tell your family to get out of town... just for one day, just for tomorrow. But you've got to get out! Just leave Pompeii!”

“This is false prophecy!” Evelina cried as she lowered her hands.

“I only wish it were so,” Donna insisted. “I don't like frightening anyone. Can you see that?”

Evelina looked at her as she dried her tears. “I do. I also see a great many things that I do not understand where you are concerned. Things relating to the Doctor.”

“Ah. Well, perhaps that's best left a mystery,” Donna suggested.

“Things that say that you were destined to meet him,” Evelina continued. Her eyes were wide with confusion but her words held the same certainty from when she had first spoken to them. “Yet he was supposed to be in a different body, wearing a different face. The man you know got some warning in his past, and his choices changed history. And yet it merely pushed your meeting into his life. Your path is entwined with his, far greater than he sees. I see you saving everything and everyone.”

A different body? A different face?! Donna laughed, not comfortable with where this was going. “Will you show me how to pay respects to the household gods? That was a lesson the Doctor didn't have time to show me.”

Evelina smiled sadly as she nodded and stood to lead Donna downstairs. “One day he will make you see that you are worth more than what anyone has told you. And you will only be grateful for the past because it led you to him.”

Donna's skepticism showed, but she remained silent. She had given the girl enough to fret over.

/=/=/=/=/=/=/

Inside Lucius' villa, the Doctor calmly arranged the marble slabs with Quintus' help. The whole time he silently pondered why Lucius was not stopping him.

“Put this one... there,” he said, then taking another from Quintus. “This one... there.” He stopped short of changing the direction of the last slab. “Hmm... Let's keep that one upside down. What have you got here?” he asked Lucius.

“Enlighten me.”

The Doctor laughed. “What? The soothsayer doesn't know?” he goaded.

“The seed may float on the breeze in any direction.”

“Now how did I know you were going to say that? But... I can identify it as an energy converter.”

“An energy converter of what?” Lucius said, his eyes suggesting he knew full well.

The Doctor shrugged. “I don't know. And isn't that brilliant? I love not knowing. I feel like it keeps me on my toes. Although my friend, Donna, would challenge that.” He turned to challenge the Augur. “It must be awful, being a prophet. Waking up every morning, "Is it raining? Yes, it is. I said so." Takes all the fun out of life. But who designed this, Lucius? Hmm? Who gave you these instructions?”

“I think you've babbled long enough,” Lucius suddenly declared.

“Lucius, really, tell me. I'm on your side. I can help.”

“You insult the gods! There can be only one sentence. At arms!”

Lucius' guards entered. The Doctor backed away from the slabs. Yet his tone remained calm. “Oh, morituri te salutant.”

“Celtic prayers won't help you now,” Lucius gloated.

“But it was him, sir,” Quintus pleaded. “He made me do it. Sir Dextrus, please don't.”

“Oh now, Quintus... it is possible and necessary to have dignity in death,” the Doctor said, tone soothing. “I respect your victory, Lucius. Shall we shake on it?” He held out his hand, which was ignored. “Come on. Dying man's wish?”

Lucius still ignored it.

“Oh, very well.” the Doctor said as he lunged forward, grabbed Lucius' hand and yanked hard. The Augur's forearm came off with barely a sound.

Quintus sucked in a shocked breath. “But he's...”

“Show me,” the Doctor demanded of Lucius.

Lucius threw back his cloak to reveal the stump of a stone arm. It was now obvious why he had his cloak draped the way it was. “The work of the gods,” he said.

“He's stone!” Quintus cried.

“Oh, he's now 'armless enough, though. Catch!” He threw the arm back to Lucius and turned to his companion as he moved towards the window. “Quintus!”

The lad needed no prompting. He threw the torch at one of the guards, making them squawk as he clambered out the window.

At the same instant the Doctor aimed the sonic screwdriver at the circuits, hoping to throw off whatever their powers were. “Out! Out! Out! Hurry!” he cried as he rushed out the window.

“The carvings!” they heard Lucius cry as the Doctor jumped onto the street.

“Run!” the Doctor instructed.

They ran through the streets back toward Caecilius' villa before stopping for a moment. The Doctor took stock. “No sign of them. Nice work there, throwing the torch. I think we'll be all right.”

“But his arm, Doctor. Is that what's happening to Evelina?” Quintus asked.

Suddenly a loud booming echoed through the street.

“What's that?” the Doctor wondered as he and Quintus turned around, trying to track the sound.

“The mountain?”

The Doctor shook his head. “No, it's closer.”

The thudding continued, making stalls and baskets fall over.

“They're footsteps,” the Doctor breathed.

“It can't be,” Quintus protested.

“Footsteps underground!”

“What is it? What is it?”

“Run! For your home!”

Quintus followed the Doctor as they continued running. With every vent they passed, steam blew up like geysers. Like a warning of danger.


Chapter Five: Battles of Fire and Stone

Comments

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
dm12
Sep. 25th, 2017 08:29 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for your birthday wishes and your post!

The same and yet... there are some subtle differences. Evelina's prophecy concerning Donna, along with her knowledge as to the alternate timeline, where Donna didn't meet the Doctor until later on, a different face and body, was intriguing. She knows that Donna's fate is intertwined with the Doctor's and that the Doctor will finally be able to make Donna see her own worth.
tkel_paris
Sep. 26th, 2017 05:19 am (UTC)
Welcome! Hope it was a good birthday. :)

A lot of thought went into writing this. As usual, the biggest challenge was making sure the Doctor sounded like Eight and not Ten. My beta had to correct me more than a few times despite my listening over and over to Eight audios. Although I believe that for this story the number of corrections on that score is smaller. :) Oh, yes. Eight wants her to think well of herself.

I intend to post more tomorrow. :D
helloprilly
Sep. 26th, 2017 01:27 pm (UTC)

Yay! Thank you for the present!

I agree with you on Paul McGann. I met him in niagara in june and chatted for nearly half an hour with him about life and the morality of doctor who and star trek. My photo op with him is my favorite I have ever had and I am kinda crushing on him now

I hadnt found this story till your post and I love the subtle differences. The Doctor is also different, angrier I think then he was at this point in the storyline though that could be explained by it happening a few years earlier and of course your changes as well.

I am definitely enjoying it and cant to see what happens next!! (Time to scour through your fic list to see if I missed any more precious gems!)

tkel_paris
Sep. 26th, 2017 05:32 pm (UTC)
Welcome! Am about to post the next chapter. And I still have to update A03. *sheepish grin*

Oh, dear. I remember first seeing him at Comicpalooza in Houston three years ago and being absolutely entertained at his panel. I'd never heard a Doctor speak in person before and I had no idea what to expect from him. Let's just say that one of the photo ops left a lasting impression on me. :*)

I hope you read the whole of AH:TRB first to see the differences! Because that story sets a lot of the stage for this one. And if you picked up on him being angrier you would be right. For him, the Dark Eyes and Doom Coalition events have happened AFTER the events of the flashbacks in this story. So he's got PLENTY of things to be angry over. Luckily for him, he's got an older and more mature version of Lucie in Donna. And he appreciates it more than he knows.

Making the changes has been a learning curve. I keep having to make sure it sounds like PM and not DT. But it's allowed me to crack an occasional joke at one or the other Doctor's expense. :D

Take your time. And feel free to leave feedback on any of the other chapters. :D
helloprilly
Sep. 27th, 2017 04:56 am (UTC)
Okay just finished TRB and NOW the differences make sense. Its funny though its still hard to picture any other Doctor bur 10 in this episode mostly because of the visuals we have associated with the story.

As I said in my comment over on the other story, I don't know 8 at all so some of his personality is lost on me other than I know he was considered the cultured, lover like Doctor.

Its definitely an interesting take though and enjoying the ride because it is different enough to see how Donna is evolving in a different way as well without 10's mania that could drive a saint batty!

Rushing to the next chapter now!!
tkel_paris
Sep. 27th, 2017 05:20 am (UTC)
It is, which made revising it to sound like Eight tricky. But it also led to some great gags and jokes. More of which will appear in later chapters.

He was. He also had the most unusual TARDIS. In fact, the next chapter I'm posting features it a bit. Through someone else's eyes. :)

She would be a bit different. Of course, he's also coming from a wildly different place than Ten was, and so that adds to the changes.

:DDDDDD
helloprilly
Sep. 27th, 2017 05:25 am (UTC)
Oh i'm definitely enjoying their banter. 10/Donna were so funny and quick that you sometimes felt dizzy and that could've just been the amazing chemistry DT/CT had but these two have a fun chemistry as well that is quick and witty just slightly different and he seems more reserved as well. It makes the humor that much more sparkling when it shows up. I also LOVED seeing that they were still instantly thought of as a couple and it just confirms that Donna was meant to be with the Doctor and not just with 10

And yes I did notice that the change in timeline and a certain someone not being ever present as a mood killer is an even bigger plus!! But then who is the she that Lucius is referring to? Can't wait to find out and now I want to go a research 8's Tardis cause you have me intrigued!!

Edited at 2017-09-27 05:26 am (UTC)
tkel_paris
Sep. 27th, 2017 05:42 am (UTC)
The 10/Donna banter was what got me hooked on Doctor Who. I saw bits with 9 and earlier 10, but wasn't gripped by it. But Donna brought out the best in him and I grew to really like 10. Not looking forward to when I need to finally watch Series 2 episodes in their entirety for writing "The Noble Girl" series.

*giggles* Yes, I had to keep that married assumption going. If only we can see CT and PM on the same stage... Oh, be still, my beating heart... :D

You'll figure it out. Notice that Lucius' fear of that "she". It's not good news. Oh, you'll "see" the TARDIS soon enough! :D
helloprilly
Sep. 27th, 2017 03:32 pm (UTC)
Oh yes though it was the angst too as Silence in the Library was my first ever episode and I was hooked minute one.

As to series too. Bleck not one of my fave series. I usually only watch it so i can laugh and say that the end of doomsday was a great day for fans of walla! LOL

As to PM and CT on the same stage well she HAS finally started to hit the convention circuit anything is possible!

As to Lucius I didnt realize who the she was until i watched series 4 like half a dozen times. I can be slow on the uptake.
tkel_paris
Sep. 27th, 2017 05:25 pm (UTC)
Ah, that episode. Not one of my faves, I'm afraid. River rubbed me the wrong way for the get-go, and I think what Moff put Donna through was wrong on so many levels.

I'll probably laugh at Rose. Although also at the Doctor for not saying what needed saying.

If I managed to be there when it happens... I'd be in fangirl heaven. :D

It's okay. She really wasn't needed for that series. Here? It's more than relevant.
helloprilly
Sep. 28th, 2017 12:31 am (UTC)
I agree 100%. I hated River from the moment I saw her in this episode and that NEVER changed. And moffat... grrrr. don't get me started on him, least he gave her some vindication in being the reason for 12's face which was WAY more than Rose ever got... LOL..
cassikat
Sep. 26th, 2017 11:46 pm (UTC)
Ooh, Evelina's seeing more than she did in the show! Intriguing...the gift of sight's coming through more with the changes made in the Doctor's past. Wonder how that's going to play out in the future? *G*

Though the sight's not kicking in that much for Lucius, I see. He still got rather handily disarmed. ;) And still called up the Pyrovile to chase Quintus and the Doctor all the way back.

Shan't ask more, I know you can't tell. Off to the next chapter!



Edited at 2017-09-26 11:47 pm (UTC)
tkel_paris
Sep. 27th, 2017 03:24 am (UTC)
Cassikat! *glomp hug* So happy to hear from you! Please email me with how you're doing! I've sent a few recently, one with big news. :)

Sight and visions seem to be playing a bigger part in this story than I previously expected. And they may play a bigger role than in canon. Yet it's a good thing. Just can't explain why. ;)
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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