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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

Sadly, I'm afraid "Aliens of London" and "World War 3" will require more time. Other stories are taking priority right now. But I do hope to be further along than those stories by this time next year. ;D

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


The trio flattened themselves against the dungeon wall, hoping the gate kept the Gelth out. So far it seemed they needed the host body to be dead already, which possibly bought them a little time. Or so the Doctor hoped. He wasn't counting on them not figuring out how to inhabit a still living body.

But we can't die,” Mickey insisted after a long moment, looking at the Doctor for reassurance. “Tell me we can't! We haven't even been born yet, it's impossible for us to die! Isn't it?!”

The Doctor looked at the young man with the saddest eyes he'd felt since the Time War had ended and he was thrown outside it. “I'm sorry.”

Dickens kept running toward one of the archways, praying for a miracle.

Suddenly the Gelth stopped and screamed.

He turned, and saw the Gelth was frozen in place.

“Failing!” it cried in the child-like voice. “Atmosphere hostile!” It dived into one of the street lamps.

Dickens' mind worked quickly. “Gas. The gas!” he cried in triumph, and hurried as quickly as he could back to Sneed's.

Jenny shook her head, trying to piece together the puzzle. “But if it's 1869, how can we die now? That'd mean that-”

Time isn't a straight line,” the Doctor finished her sentence, and silencing them both. “It can twist into any shape. You can be born in the 20th century and die in the 19th and it's all my fault. I brought you here.” His voice dropped. He didn't want to think about his own death, but the idea of hers was hitting him far harder than he'd thought possible. And he didn't know why. It had never affected him like this before.

Jenny touched his arm. “It's not your fault. We wanted to come.”

Mickey nodded, even as he sank in his shoes. “Yeah.” He'd chosen it both times. More so the second, but still.

The Doctor forced his horror about dying forward, not wanting to admit how much the Earthgirl had come to mean to him in such a short time. “What about me? I saw the fall of Troy! World War Five! I pushed boxes at the Boston Tea Party. Now I'm going to die in a dungeon! In Cardiff!”

Jenny could think of worse places to die, despite noting the Doctor's odd tone. She just didn't want to think about them. Although that Boston Tea Party thing puzzled her. What was that event again?

“It's not just dying,” Mickey hissed. “We'll become one of them!”

Dickens burst back into Sneed's house. He went to the same lamp the Doctor had been near when they had arrived, and turned the gas lamps off. Then he turned up the gas, letting it out into the open. Coughing, he held a handkerchief to his mouth to try and stop himself choking on the unlit town gas. He hurried toward the Morgue, doing the same to each lamp he encountered.

Jenny took a steadying breath. “Well, I'm not going down without a fight! These creatures are made of gas. There has to be something we can do to stop them!”

Mickey found a tiny smile. “I hope you're right.”

The Doctor smiled at Jenny and took her hand. “I'm so glad I met you. Both of you,” he added, as Mickey flashed a brief glare his way.

Jenny and Mickey exchanged a quick look. They nodded. “Us, too,” they said.

Doctor! Doctor!” Dickens cried as he ran into the room, his handkerchief off his mouth so he could talk. He kept a ways from the corpses, but gesticulated wildly. “Turn off the flame, turn up the gas! Now fill the room, all of it, now!”

What're you doing?” shouted Mickey.

Turn it all on!” he continued, moving to one of the lamps. “Gas the place!” It turned off, but the smell of gas started filling the room.

The Doctor beamed. “Brilliant. Gas!” he cried as he looked around the tiny space.

Mickey's eyes widened. “What, so we choke to death instead?!”

Am I correct, Doctor?” Dickens called out. “These creatures are gaseous!” He covered his mouth, needing the cushion.

The Doctor nodded, excitement mounting. “Fill the room with gas, it'll draw them out of the hosts. Suck them into the air like poison from a wound!”

The Gelth corpses turned, groaning. They started toward Dickens, who stood by the wall near the lamp.

I hope... oh, Lord.” Dickens knew his panic was in his voice, especially as he saw the two corpses who started the night's madness joined them. “I hope that this theory will be validated... soon. If not immediately.”

Plenty more!” The Doctor grabbed a gas pipe hanging against the wall and ripped it open.

The corpses all stopped, their heads turning upward. Screaming erupted as the creatures fled the bodies. The wait until the bodies started collapsing was long.

It's working,” the author declared. Even though the demonic gas still flowed around Gwyneth and the blue ones flowed across the ceiling.

Instantly, the Doctor freed himself and his companions. He ignored their sudden coughing fits as they hunted for handkerchiefs. “Gwyneth! Send them back! They lied, they're not angels.”

Her arms flopped to her sides, and her body went limp, leaning to the left. “Liars.” The tone was so simple, so flat, that it wasn't clear if Gwyneth understood him or was still there in any way.

The Doctor beseeched her regardless, approaching carefully. “Look at me. If your mother and father could look down and see this, they'd tell you the same. They'd give you the strength. Now send them back!”

Mickey and Jenny covered their mouths. Her breathing eased, his not so much. “Can't breathe.”

Charles, get them out,” the Doctor demanded.

Mickey went toward Dickens, glad to be led out, but Jenny moved toward Gwyneth. “I'm not leaving her!”

They're too strong.”

She was still there, the Doctor realized, but fading fast. “Remember that world you saw? Jenny and Mickey's world? All those people - none of it will exist unless you send them back through the rift.”

I can't send them back,” Gwyneth said sadly, but with a firmness that had been lacking in her earlier – even when she wanted to help her 'angels.' “But I can hold them. Hold them in this place, hold them here. Get out.” Her hand went to her apron pocket and she took out a box of matches.

Jenny gasped. “Oh my god! Gwyneth!”

Leave this place!” Gwyneth cried.

The Doctor grabbed Jenny's shoulders and pushed her toward Dickens. “Jenny, Mickey, get out, go now, I won't leave her while she's still in danger, now go!”

Dickens led the two out of the Morgue. Mickey almost had to drag Jenny away by her hand.

The Doctor turned and held his hand out for the matches. “Now give that to me.”

Gwyneth didn't answer. She was stock still, looking like she was waiting.

Dickens led Jenny and Mickey through the hall. “This way!”

Not that weren't right at his side the whole time. Fear was giving Mickey the strength to keep going even as he tried to cover his face. Jenny had nothing to protect her face. She wondered why she was managing better than the others as they fled the house.

The Doctor placed his fingers on Gwyneth's neck, feeling for a pulse. His face fell. “I'm sorry.” He placed a kiss on her forehead, like he'd sensed Jenny's granddad and great-granddad did for her. “Thank you,” he whispered, and ran from the Morgue.

As soon as he left, Gwyneth opened the box and slowly drew out a match. She looked up at the flying blue creatures she had called angels. The whispers began again, this time more panicked than ever. She looked up and smiled ever so slightly.

In the hall, the Doctor's feet blazed a trail.

Gwyneth gave that Mona Lisa smile again and lit the match.

The room exploded.

Jenny and Mickey still ran with Dickens. For Jenny, it felt like that day outside Hendrick's again. Only this time, she knew what was coming. Since she could breathe freely, she clasped her hands together, ready to pray for the Doctor's safely – despite not praying since she was little.

The Doctor practically dived out of the doorway just as the whole house went up in flames. It sent him flying.

Jenny, Mickey, and Dickens stared at shock. At first they couldn't see the Doctor, and then he landed near them, not breathing very heavily at all.

Suspecting what had happened, Jenny focused her attention on that detail as she led the others back to the Doctor's side despite the rubble still falling. “Why aren't you panting? Why could you handle those gases?”

Respiratory bypass,” he explained, not caring that they had an audience. “It allows me breathe without taking a breath for several hours even under toxic conditions.”

Mickey looked at the Doctor. “Gwyneth made that explosion, didn't she?”

The Doctor nodded solemnly. “I'm sorry. She closed the rift.”

Dickens closed his eyes. “At such a cost. The poor child.”

Neither Jenny nor Mickey looked away from the Doctor. “Bypass?” Jenny asked scathingly. “What the hell else can you do that a mere human can't?! And where's Gwyneth?!”

He sighed. She was reacting to grief by sinking into her anger, he realised. Seemed like a learned defence mechanism. “I did try, but Gwyneth was already dead. She had been for at least five minutes.”

Mickey blinked. “What do you mean?”

The Doctor's eyes were haunted. Memories of past companions sacrificing themselves for him floated across his mind. So many that it took several seconds before he could talk again. “I think she was dead from the minute she stood in that arch.”

Wait,” Jenny insisted, snapping out of her anger and focusing on the new mystery. “But... she can't have, she spoke to us. She helped us – she saved us. How could she have done that?”

I'd like to know that, too!” Mickey agreed.

There are more things in Heaven and Earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy,” Dickens answered with a measure of calm, looking at them. “Even for you, Doctor,” he added, turning to look again at the inferno before them.

The other humans turned to gaze at the burning house. The Doctor however kept looking at Dickens, wondering how much the man suspected about him.

She saved the world,” Mickey whispered. “A servant girl. No one will ever know.” He felt horrible. “How many people have saved lives and no one knows their names to honour their sacrifice? How many won't be honoured merely because of their skin tone or their gender?!”

The Doctor didn't answer. There was no answer that could comfort under the circumstances.

In the alleyway, the four walked back to the TARDIS. Jenny and Mickey wondered how the Doctor intended to explain it away to Dickens.

The Doctor fumbled with his keys. “Right then, Charlie-boy, I've just got to go into my um... shed. Won't be long!”

Jenny rolled her eyes as the Doctor slid the key in the lock. “Sorry,” she told Dickens. “He needs some manners. We're still trying to teach him.”

Oi!” the Doctor protested.

Mickey found a snort within him despite his mood. He looked at the author. “What're you going to do now?”

Dickens answered right away, either having already thought it out or come to the conclusion right then. He sounded like a reborn man. “I shall take the mail coach back to London. Quite literally post-haste. This is no time for me to be on my own.”

The Doctor stopped his actions, his attention captured.

I shall spend Christmas with my family and make amends to them. After all I've learned tonight, there can be nothing more vital.”

The Doctor grinned. “You've cheered up!”

The enthusiasm was infectious. “Exceedingly!” Dickens was grinning as much. “This morning, I thought I knew everything in the world and now I know I've just started! All these huge and wonderful notions, Doctor! I'm inspired. I must write about them!”

Jenny and Mickey glanced at each other. “Do you think that's wise?” she asked. “Your readers might not be ready for that.”

He nodded, gesticulating occasionally as he expressed his thoughts. “I shall be subtle at first. The Mystery of Edwin Drood still lacks an ending. Perhaps the killer was not the boy's uncle. Perhaps he was not of this earth. The Mystery of Edwin Drood and the Blue Elementals. I can spread the word! Tell the truth!”

The Doctor just kept grinning, his voice quiet but sincere. “Good luck with it. Nice to meet you.” He shook Dickens' hand. “Fantastic.” He turned back to the TARDIS door.

Mickey shook Dickens hand. “It's been an honour, sir.”

The author nodded, looking thoughtfully at him. “You are quite the person, Mr. Smith. I have not seen the like before. You have shown so much strength of character in standing up for yourself and your race. You have inspired me to continue and end the struggle for inequality irrespective of persons.”

The young man nodded. What could he say even if he could speak? There were still struggles even in his own time. But it proved he was held in high esteem by one of the most respected authors of all time.

Jenny smiled and grasped the author's hands. “Bye, then. And, thanks. I am honoured to meet one of my literary heroes.” She thought a moment about giving his cheek a kiss, but felt it would be too modern for him to take. Besides, she was not a wild thing.

Dickens blinked, unable to resist smiling back. “Thank you, child. You, too, are extraordinary. Do not let anyone try to take that from you.” Then he frowned. “But, I don't understand – in what way is this goodbye? Where are you going?”

The Doctor thought a moment, then shrugged. “You'll see. In the shed.” He opened the door of the TARDIS just slightly.

Jenny, her hands still in Dickens', eyed his reaction. How wise was this?

Oh, my soul, Doctor,” the author breathed, pondering the strange man before him. “It's one riddle after another with you. But after all these revelations, there's one mystery you still haven't explained. Answer me this – who are you?”

The Doctor paused a long moment. “Just a friend. Passing through.” His gave his trademark grin, the one he used when he didn't want to explain anything.

Mickey suppressed a smirk. Those cryptic answers were going to be the alien's undoing someday, he just knew it.

But you have such knowledge of future times.” Dickens hesitated for a moment. “I don't wish to impose on you, but I must ask you. My books. Doctor – do they last?”

The Doctor's manic grin returned full force. “Oh, yes!”

Dickens looked like he wanted to believe it. “For how long?”


Jenny and Mickey noticed that Dickens tried to look pleased and modest at the same time. He had no idea that each emotion was cycling after the other.

The Doctor cleared his throat. “Right. Shed. Come on, Jenny, Mickey...”

They both turned to the door, although listening the whole time. They weren't surprised to hear Dickens blurt, “In – in the box? All three of you?”

The Doctor suppressed a smirk. “Down boy. See ya!” He entered the TARDIS after his companions, and shut the door.

Mickey frowned. “Doesn't that change history if he writes about blue ghosts?”

The Doctor went right to the scanner. “In a week's time it's 1870, and that's the year he dies.”

Jenny gasped, covering her mouth. Mickey's mouth went slack.

He looked up at them with sad eyes. “Sorry. He'll never get to tell his story.”

Jenny and Mickey joined him at the screen. They could see Dickens was still standing outside, trying to make sense of what he was looking at.

That's so sad,” Jenny murmured. “He was so nice. And he dies just when he turned his life around, was making amends to his family.” She thought of Gwyneth, and her promise about the future. She'd got all those things right about how the world was in her time. Could she be right about that?

But in your time, he was already dead!” the Doctor said. “We've brought him back to life!” He grinned at the screen. “He's more alive now than he's ever been, old Charlie-boy. Let's give him one last surprise.” He drew down the main lever and the engines started.

Jenny and Mickey couldn't help but smile as they watched Dickens' face when the TARDIS disappeared before his eyes.

The blue box the Doctor called a shed began to make the strangest mechanical noises Dickens had ever heard. Soon it vanished before his astonished eyes, leaving odd noises as he left..

He laughed, and walked away. His mood was more cheerful than it had any right to be given the events of the evening.

He walked through the streets, the occasional coach passing by. Somewhere off in the near distance a choir was singing Hark the Herald Angels.

“Merry Christmas, sir,” a man said as he passed him.

“Merry Christmas to you,” Dickens called back. “God bless us, every one!”

Meanwhile, the TARDIS occupants imagined him walking away, laughing because that was the best reaction to all the horrors and wonders of the night.

The Doctor turned his grin on them when the screen went blank. “So...where to next?”

Jenny suddenly felt her energy flag. “I don't know about you two, but I feel like some sleep. Can we revisit the question after I've had some winks?”

That made the Doctor grin even wider. An old phrase. Anyone could really tell that Wilfred Mott was her great-granddad.

Mickey tried to stretch, but the costume was a bit constricting. “Yeah, that sounds lovely right now.” He went off towards the room the TARDIS had given him. “Good night.” He offered an arm to Jenny.

She took it. “Good night, Doctor.”

The Doctor wasn't thrilled that they had just vetoed any immediate adventures, but he knew that humans needed more rest than his species ever did. They had no idea how lucky they were that they could sleep without the nightmares he had. “Good night. No funny business!”

Jenny, without looking behind her, raised her hand in a rude gesture. She was too tired to be thinking of such mischief, thank you very much! “Remember what I said earlier, the promise we made?!” She turned her head slightly as she left the room, calling over her shoulder, “Oi, and one day you're going to explain to us what you were doing helping the Americans with their bloody little act of rebellion!”

The Doctor suppressed a laugh. He'd made the right decision asking them to join him. He turned his attention to the repairs, thinking about where he'd like to go next with them. He certainly could grant them several adventures before he had to return them home, right?

TO BE CONTINUED IN “Aliens of London

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