Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

FIC: The Noble Girl: The Unquiet Dead (3/6)

Title: The Noble Girl – The Unquiet Dead

Rating: T

Author: tkel_paris

Summary: Jenny's random joke possibly triggered the TARDIS to take them to the Victorian Era. The historical aspects – and the clothes – are amazing, but they weren't expecting to actually see Charles Dickens surrounded by ghosts. At Christmas. Written and posted for cassikat's birthday.

Disclaimer: Hugely AU. So no, I own nothing. Also, involves racism and other nasty things.

Dedication: cassikat, of course. Happy birthday, my friend! :D And tardis_mole and bas_math_girl, for beta-reading.

Author's Note: This idea was floating around in my head because I thought that a certain character looked more like another character than the one who was her (sole) parent in canon. And I know cassikat wanted a Nine story without Rose. So we both get our wish here! :D

Everyone has had the idea of taking a character and putting them into a different family situation. So, take one character from Who, transform the circumstances of her birth into something normal (or as normal as one can get in DW), and give her a different family. What do you get? Possibly this story. If you eliminate one other character...

Also, working on this fic made me realize how sheltered the companions who were – well, not of a “different race” appears to be the term even though I don't like using it – were. As if Mickey didn't have enough to deal with in canon; being ignored by his girlfriend for one, the Press that denied his place as the first Black companion, being called an Idiot when he was only playing the fool (which actually makes two things), then he chose to escape the girlfriend by going to a world that had to be at least as intolerant as the one he fled from, and who knows what he dealt with while Rose tried to work that Cannon. Here, I have faced the ethnicity issue head on and... well, read on. You may want a pillow to punch at times, as I have kept it true to the era in which this episode was set. Fair warning.

And as always, please review first with the idea that this was New Who airing for the first time. Then compare. :D Oh, and make sure you've read the whole series, starting with "Jenny". It'll help. A lot. ;D

In the interests of full disclosure, I have not actually read any of Dickens' work. Especially not The Signal Man, but after a comment by tardis_mole during the beta process I'll be reading that one early in the day. *shudders*

Chapter One / Chapter Two


Mickey couldn't believe how fast Jenny could move when the urge hit her. He was out of breath, and lost track of her before he even reached the front doors. Pausing to draw enough breath for another burst of energy, he raced outside just as he heard the Doctor shouting, “Gas! It's made of gas!”

He didn't want to know. But he knew he would likely learn anyway.

By the time he stumbled down the outside steps of the theatre, he looked around for anything out of the ordinary. Then he noticed two people racing into a carriage, and thought they looked familiar. Like those people Jenny had run after. Trouble was, they were pulling away... and there was no sign of his girl. “Jenny!”

If anything, the carriage driver – the man – seemed to pick up the pace. Mickey ran after them, fear making him forget his cover story, but couldn't keep up.

The Doctor hurried outside, moving quickly when he heard Mickey's shout. He saw the young man losing ground against a hearse carriage. “Jenny!”

Mickey turned. “They've got her! I know they do!” And that frightened him. He'd brought her back to the Tower Hamlets area last year, to help him bring things to his gran. An area boy named Jimmy Stone had tried to hurt Jenny, but she had managed to not only injure his privates but knock him out cold by throwing a small object at him. Luckily, Jimmy also had bad timing and so Jenny had witnesses to prove she was attacked. Which made her being abducted here more terrifying.

You're not escaping me, sir!” The bearded man – now wearing a cloak – chased after the Doctor, stopping beside his momentarily immobile form. “What do you know about that hobgoblin, hmm?” He ignored the Doctor's looking around quickly. “Projection on glass, I suppose. Who put you up to it?”

He spotted a nearby coach. “Yeah, mate. Not now, thanks,” he tossed at the man, racing for a nearby coach and signaling Mickey to join him.

The young man moved as fast as he could, desperate to catch up.

Oi, you!” shouted the Doctor at the driver. “Follow that hearse!” He would have jumped into the coach, determined to pull Mickey inside on the way if he had to, but he waited for the younger man to catch up.

You can't do that, sir!” the bearded man hollered, catching up.

Why not?” the Doctor tetchily asked as Mickey managed another wind to reach the coach.

The man spluttered. “Why not?! I'll give you a very good reason why not! This is my coach!”

Mickey stopped. He wasn't sure where he was supposed to be given the times. “Sir?”

The Doctor wasn't willing to wait, especially since Mickey hesitated. “Well, get in then!” He pushed Mickey in first, then dragged the bearded man in after getting inside himself. “Move!” he commanded the driver.

The driver could not see them given his seating, but he had seen Mickey and heard his master's squawking in shock. “Not before you remove the n-”

Oi!” roared the Doctor, making the driver and the bearded man start. “Where I go my valet goes, and I have a missing girl to find! Now move the coach!”

He was relieved that it was promptly obeyed, and the driver hurried them along on a rumbling journey.

Not that it was fast enough for the Doctor. “Come on, you're losing them!” he snapped. He would keep up the Oncoming Storm voice if he had to.

Everything in order, Mr. Dickens?” the driver asked, wanting to forget that the northern man frightened him into obeying.

No! It is not!”

The name used caught the Doctor's attention. “What did he say?”

Mickey wanted to snap at the Doctor for his timing, but he was still out of breath.

Dickens was aghast over the boldness of the stranger, and over how comfortable the servant was in a coach. Who were these men?! Where did they come from?! “Let me say this first. I'm not without a sense of humour--”

Dickens?” the Doctor, his brain catching up with his hearing.


Charles Dickens?”

Now Mickey's attention was caught. “The Charles Dickens?” he panted, thinking he couldn't possibly have heard correctly. And forgetting his supposed place.

The man gave them both a measured look, although Mickey kept his attention a bit longer. “Yes,” he answered warily, and only partly because the northerner could quell opposition with a furious look. It was surprising enough to see a black not only wearing excellent livery but sounding almost educated. That was unheard of, for education was not allowed unless they were related to a member of the upper classes. But that he would address one of his betters directly?!

The driver seemed to notice that yet more was not well. “Shall I remove the gentleman, sir?”

Ignoring the ignoring of Mickey, the Doctor cried, “Charles Dickens!” He was smiling despite his worries. “You're brilliant, you are! Completely 100% brilliant! I've read 'em all! Great Expectations, Oliver Twist and what's the other one, the one with the ghost?”

Dickens blinked. “A Christmas Carol?”

No, no, no, the one with the trains... The Signal Man, that's it, terrifying!”

Mickey thought Dickens looked suddenly pleased, if a bit baffled still. Although he knew the story and agreed completely with the Doctor's assessment. He was still coming to terms with having read it.

The best short story ever written!” the Doctor continued. “You're a genius!”

You want me to get rid of him, sir?”

Dickens slowly shook his head. “Er, no, I think he and his servant can stay,” he told the driver, who proceeded to ignore them and keep following the hearse.

Which was fine by the Doctor. “Honestly, Charles - can I call you Charles? I'm such a big fan.”

Mickey nearly groaned as the Doctor gushed. Closing his eyes, he wondered how the alien called this blending in. This might get them, particularly Mickey himself, into more trouble.

Already bewildered that the Doctor would permit his servant to ride with them and that said servant was hardly keeping his eyes lowered as expected, Dickens' eyes went wider in confusion and he stammered a bit. “What? A what?”

Fan! Number One Fan, that's me.”

Mickey doubted the term existed during this time. And Dickens confirmed it. “How exactly are you a fan? In what way do you resemble a means of keeping oneself cool?”

Despite himself, Mickey let out a quiet snort. When they got Jenny back, she was going to be mad she missed this conversation. But he quickly schooled his expression into a blank one when he saw Dickens glare irritatedly at him, and focused on looking out the window to pretend he wasn't paying attention – even if he couldn't ignore the reflections – because he remembered a servant was not supposed to listen in on their betters. He hoped the Doctor could protect him.

The Doctor shook his head. Aware of Mickey's faux pas, he kept going with his enthusiasm. “No, it means 'Fanatic', devoted to. Mind you, I've gotta say, that American bit in Martin Chuzzlewit, what was that about?! Was that just padding or what? I mean, it's rubbish, that bit.”

Mickey closed his eyes and covered his face. They had so much to teach him about tact. And he was going to demand to choose where they went next, assuming they all made it out alive.

Dickens was disgruntled already, and that didn't help at all. “I thought you said you were my fan.”

Mickey couldn't take it anymore, even if it risked his own life. Although he did think a moment about what to say. “Excuse me, Sir, but what are we going to do when we catch up?!”

You let you servant talk to you that way?!” Dickens snapped. “He is ill-mannered, black, and riding inside a respectable coach!”

The Doctor flinched. “Mickey, I need you to remember that you need to keep your eyes down, your head lowered and your mouth shut. When we find her, I'll decide what to do about the person or people who took her and what you can do to help me, but your biggest responsibility will be to make sure she's okay and safe. Sorry, it's the best I can do, but just don't draw attention to yourself.”

Suddenly concerned that he might've made it harder, Mickey nodded and lowered his head. “Yes, Sir,” he whispered tightly. “Forgive me for being concerned over a girl I saved as a little boy.”

Satisfied for the moment, although blinking over the added line, the Doctor snapped at the driver. “Hurry up!”

The driver urged the horses on, increasing their speed.

Dickens eyed the Doctor. Who exactly is in that hearse? And what does he mean by saying he saved her?”

When the Doctor hesitated a few seconds too long, Mickey decided it was time to risk some more behavior not of this era. “With all due respect, Sir, let me tell this.” He risked looking Dickens right in the eye, stunning him and the Doctor. “I was a boy when the Doctor came to where I was. With him was his even younger ward, Miss Jenny. Sweet and kind, she charmed everyone. But the Doctor didn't know some of his enemies were there. They plotted to kidnap her, and I overheard. They thought I was just a stupid little black boy. Well, I risked a whipping to run and tell her guardian what I heard. He stopped my master from beating me, and made me tell him all. He set a trap to see if I was right, and it caught them all. Along with some others involved. He bought me away and has had me protect her ever since.”

The Doctor nodded, impressed with the cover story. “Yes, I saw intelligence in the boy, and knew it would be shameful to let it waste away where he was. I knew I'd need a new personal manservant by the time he was of age and so I started training him. His intelligence and his ability to look like an idiot have served me well. You have an imagination, Charlie, so I know you can guess how well. And he has never failed me. Not even today, because Jenny is not an easy girl to watch over. She is head-strong and frightfully intelligent herself, but I would not have her be any other way.”

Dickens' anger faded. He shook his head in silent marvel. "I praise you, young man, for being so equal in inequality, when men of higher standing would down you in a twice for looking him in the eye. Pray tell, from what part of London do you hail where men of such audacity can call himself a seat in a gentleman's carriage and meet him eye to eye?"

Mickey was a little put out, and the Doctor slightly ruffled. Mickey muttered under his breath, “Get stuffed. I ain't no servant!”

Curiosity about their origins heightened, Dickens felt impressed by this young black man who deserved quite a bit of praise. He was aware of the conventions of their day and yet determined to overcome them. Dickens himself did not approve, but he knew his own outspokenness had brought him enemies and so he had to be careful. He still had to ask again, “Then Miss Jenny is the one we're after?”

My ward,” the Doctor explained. “The girl put under my protection at the darkest point in my life,” he added, letting his own pain fuel the rest of the cover story. “She saved me just by coming into my life, and I vowed to keep her safe always. She's only seventeen, and it's my fault. She's in my care, and now she's in danger.”

His fault. Jenny would have a field day with this, Mickey thought. So would Donna and Sylvia. Not that he had met Jenny's mother yet, but he was a little concerned over her possibly slapping him. In fact, maybe he would tell them about it just to make the Doctor pay the price for not doing more to prevent this.

Dickens was appalled by the end of the Doctor's admission. “Why are we wasting my time talking about dry old books and etiquette? This is much more important. Driver! Be swift! The chase is on!”

Because it didn't matter the girl's race. She was a human being in danger, and he wished to reach her before some evil befell her.

Yes, sir!” The coach gained more speed.

The Doctor beamed. “Thatta boy, Charlie!”

Dickens blinked. “Nobody calls me Charlie.”

The ladies do.”

Mickey's eyes widened. Dickens beat him to the question. “How do you know that?”

I told you - I'm your Number One--”

Number One Fan, yes...” Dickens sounded weary of that. He eyed the Doctor, lowering his voice a bit. “I'm more interested in knowing why your man servant there has such dark skin and yet no manners suited to his station.”

Mickey's hands gripped his trousers tightly. He wanted to glare at the famous author, but he forced his eyes to stay down even as he couldn't resist a retort. “With all due respect, Mr. Dickens, my station – as you have put it – is to protect Miss Jenny. If God saw fit to give me intelligence that your fellows assume is beyond a black man, then to punish me for making the most of the Lord's gifts is not only racist, it's blasphemous!”

Believe me, I am not partial to segregation, dear boy, but it is a matter of respect and social appearances,” Dickens suggested quietly, uncomfortable with the accusation. “Now, to the answers to my questions, if you please, sir?”

The Doctor's eyes never left Dickens' face. “A highly creative, intelligent mind is hard to fool with a filter, Mickey. Or a good cover story. I had no idea we'd meet one.”

Mickey groaned again. “Pardon me, Boss, but I believe Miss Jenny would say that's the story of your life.” He finally felt he could use the term since they had earn Dickens' respect and acceptance.

The Doctor looked chagrined.

Gwyneth and Sneed carried their unwelcome captive into the Chapel of Rest. The poor maid followed orders, but worried about them having her and insisted they keep the girl's cloak about her despite the extra weight. “The poor girl's still alive, sir! What're we going to do with her?”

“I don't know!” Sneed exclaimed as they set about laying the blonde girl on the black cloth covered table in the middle of the room. “I didn't plan any of this, did I. It isn't my fault if the dead won't stay dead.”

Gwyneth, finished putting the legs and feet up, looked up as Sneed finished placing the girl's upper body. “Then whose fault is it, sir? Why is this happening to us?”

Sneed was silent, then motioned her out of the room. As they left, one of the gas lamps flared. Whispered voices fluttered in the room.

Sneed thought a moment as they walked down the hall, having removed their cloaks. “I did the Bishop a favour, once. Made his nephew look like a cherub even though he'd been a fortnight in the weir.” He stopped Gwyneth as the idea fully formed. “Perhaps he'll do us an exorcism on the cheap.”

Someone knocked on the door. Sneed was not happy. Indeed, he was alarmed. This person might be this girl's guardian or parent. He could not be found with her in his possesion. “Say I'm not in. Tell them we're closed. Just, just get rid of them.” He went back down the corridor.

Gwyneth hurried to the door.

An instant later Jenny coughed as she woke up. There were odd whispers in the room. She felt slightly out of sorts as she pushed herself upright. “Oh god, why is my skin crawling?!” She flinched, remembering running after the man and the woman. “Oi!” she shouted. “If you touched me-!”

She cut herself off as she noticed that she was in a room surrounded by dead bodies. “I'm in a mortuary?!” She pushed herself off the table she was on. “Oh, when I get my hands on that-”

This time it was seeing the same gas at the theatre emerge from one of the lamps and go into the body of a male corpse in the room that stopped her speech. The body sat up suddenly, making Jenny's jaw drop in horror.

It had taken far too long before they reached the undertaker's. The three men had rushed out, and Dickens had knocked on the door. Each felt impatient, and were ready to act. He had to knock again and a woman – the one Mickey remembered – in a maid's clothing opened it.

Gwyneth started slightly, recognising Dickens from the visions she saw when they searched for the old woman. “I'm sorry, sir, we're closed,” she said, clearly trying to hide nervousness.

Dickens scoffed as the Doctor and Mickey tried to restrain themselves. “Nonsense! Since when did an undertaker keep office hours? The dead don't die on schedule. I demand to see your master.”

The woman shook her head. “He's not in, sir.” She tried to close the door.

Fear and anger taking center stage, Mickey rushed in, preventing her from shutting the door. “Don't lie to us! I know you've got Miss Jenny in here! Where is she?!”

Dickens and the Doctor followed, the former letting his anger at being put off come out. “Don't lie to me, child!”

The woman, who was rather young, was trembling in the face of the anger of a black man in high ranking servants clothes, and Dickens' pushed her into tears. “I'm awfully sorry, Mr. Dickens, but the master's indisposed-”

Having trouble with your gas?” the Doctor asked, noticing the light behind her flickering oddly. He supposed he should also wonder how the woman knew who Dickens was.

Dickens saw it also. “What the Shakespeare is going on?”

If Mickey hadn't been restraining himself from grabbing the woman, he might've smiled over the rather polite form of cursing. If only the author knew that his name would eventually be substituted.

Jenny couldn't believe it when the corpse suddenly made zombie noises at her, looking in her direction. “Oh my god! First dummies coming alive, then a human who takes surgery beyond all belief, and now zombies are real?! What's next, vampires?!”

He climbed slowly out of the coffin.

She rushed to the door, trying the handle. It wouldn't open the door – it was locked.

The corpse, free of what was supposed to be his final home, took staggering steps towards her.

Jenny shook the handle harder, making the door creek. She wondered if she could make it break – even if that might free that awful creature.

The Doctor, hearing odd noises like whispers, pushed his way inside and pressed his ear to the wall behind the door, just near the lamp that should not have been so lit.

You're not allowed inside, sir!” the woman cried, not taking her eyes off Mickey and his angry gaze.

There's something inside the walls,” the Doctor announced.

Can you hear Jenny?!” Mickey demanded.

Not yet,” the Doctor admitted.

Jenny glanced back and noticed the old woman – the same one whose body was the reason she was here – getting up as well. Her jaw nearly disengaged from her skull.

The gas pipes,” the Doctor breathed as things clicked in his mind. “Something's living inside the gas.”

Jenny risked grabbing two vases, and threw the contents at each of the zombies. The vases broke, stunning both creatures, but stopping neither. She rattled the door violently violently. “Zombies!” screamed Jenny. “Let me out! Open the door!”

The maid closed her eyes in dismay. Mickey and the Doctor barely noticed. “Jenny!” they cried and ran toward her voice. Dickens followed, and the woman trailed behind.

Let me out now! You hear me?!” Jenny's voice screamed like an banshee.

The Doctor charged past a man who was probably the Sneed mentioned on the nameplate outside.

This is my house!” the man bellowed.

Mickey paused long enough to punch him in the face. The man dropped the floor, awake but wounded, as Mickey – satisfied for the moment and uncaring what the man tried later, since the plonker would have to get through Jenny and the Doctor first – chased after Dickens as well. He heard the man splutter-yell at the woman who still followed, “I told you!”

I've got things to tell you, mate!” Mickey shouted over his shoulder.

Jenny kept shaking the handle, but not taking her eyes off the corpses that were getting far too close. “Let me out! Somebody, open the door! Open the door!” She didn't care that she sounded like a helpless creature – if it got someone's attention, the screaming would do its job.

The male corpse reached a hand to cover her mouth. Jenny managed to dodge it and swat it briefly away with a self-defense move, although his other arm grabbed hers and tugged her back.

Suddenly the door was kicked in, and the Doctor stormed in. “I think this is MY dance,” he snapped, grabbing Jenny away. The corpses stopped moving forward, but stayed upright.

Dickens froze, Mickey still catching up. “It's a prank?” the author wondered aloud. “It must be. We're under some mesmeric influence.”

No, we're not,” the Doctor said as Mickey tugged a panting Jenny behind him for her protection. “The dead are walking.” He glanced briefly at her. “You all right?”

Jenny nodded, holding tight to Mickey and not looking away from the walking dead. “Who's your new friend?” she gasped.

Mickey answered. “It's Mr. Charles Dickens!” he whispered, looking at her just long enough to reassure himself that she was unharmed.

Jenny was in too much shock to react properly, although she blinked as she looked at the man. “No!”

The Doctor had looked back at the corpses immediately. “My name's the Doctor. Who are you, then? What do you want?”

We're failing,” the male corpse rasped. Although the voice was not just his own. Male, female, and child-like voices joined in. The old woman's mouth remained motionless. “Open the rift, we're dying. Trapped in this form – cannot sustain – help us.” Then the male and the old woman raised their heads to the ceiling. The same blue gas left them with a dreadful wailing sound, flowing back into the lamp, and both corpses fell to the floor.

The witnesses were all left staring. For various reasons.

Chapter Four: Sighted Girls


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 12th, 2013 04:50 pm (UTC)
Poor Mickey. He's having an even worse time of it than Martha in 1912. And handling it better too.

I enjoyed Jenny fighting off the zombies. The Pink One was pretty useless, if memory serves, waiting around to be rescued. Jenny would never settle for that role. :D
Aug. 12th, 2013 07:44 pm (UTC)
Eh, well, being male he can fend things off a bit better. And he used his brain to create a cover story AND deliver one epic retort. :D Martha I think could've done better than she was permitted to show in canon.

Most useful thing she did was throw a vase, but she emptied it first. Jenny didn't care. She hoped the extra weight would do the trick. :)
Aug. 13th, 2013 06:28 pm (UTC)
Poor Martha really got short shrift in her series. She could have been so much more, had they dispensed with the "unrequited love" angle.

Rose was too busy playing the damsel in distress to bother figuring out how to help herself. Good on Jenny! Means to an end! :D
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

Latest Month

June 2019


Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Tiffany Chow