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Shakespearean Cupids (8/13)

Title: Shakespearean Cupids

Rating: T for emotional angst, innuendo, and Jack-style machinations

Summary: When two people are reminiscent of a Shakespearean couple, friends and family are liable to borrow from the Bard himself to bring them together. 

Disclaimer: I don't have the money to go see the awesomeness of David Tennant and Catherine Tate in a Much Ado About Nothing production – let alone own anything related to Who aside from a Disappearing TARDIS mug. And one pair of Converse - that I started breaking in on May 16th...

Author's Note: Okay, my dear readers... Here's a mixed bag of news for you. A new chapter earlier than I'd originally planned! However... because I'm not sure how well I can juggle multiple angles like an episode does, especially this version of “Forests of the Dead,” I felt I had to write the following chapters in a particular way... Which means the absence of two major characters for a few chapters...

But please bear with me. I think you'll eventually agree that this part of the story was absolutely necessary. Especially because there will be a sequel... You might disagree with how I'm presenting the story now, but this is what my Muse and I were able to agree upon. With

bas_math_girl 's help. So she deserves a major round of applause for helping me with this story. Love ya, girlfriend!


The Node continued turning and announcing. “The Doctor has left the Library.”

“Hey!” Another unwelcome voice, accompanied by halting steps. “Who turned out the lights?” Skeleton Dave entered the aisle. The others started getting up, but Jenny couldn't move, couldn't take her eyes off the Node.

Waving the others onward, River shook Jenny. “Soldier!”

“The Doctor has been saved”

“Hey! Who turned out the lights?”

“Donna Noble has left the Library.”

River dragged Jenny to her feet. “Listen, we've got to go, now!” She pulled the completely shocked girl away, following the others.

“Donna Noble has been saved.”

The escape was haunted by those six sentences repeating themselves over and over – until they were far enough away that four of them – the worst four – were inaudible. Jenny's soldier instincts finally kicked in, and she was able to run under her own steam – but halted with the others when shadows closed from the other end of the aisle, and Skeleton Dave continued his approach.

River looked at their only hope. “Soldier, what are we gonna do?”

At that moment, Jenny had no clue... All she knew was that she had to somehow take up her dad's mantle... Had to keep these people alive... She'd promised him, and she owed it to him and her Mum to do it... No matter the emptiness inside her hearts...

River, sensing that the Soldier was still recovering her wits, used the squareness gun again to make a hole in the wall. “This way, quickly, move!” They rushed through.

“Hey! Who turned out the lights?”

Jenny was vaguely aware that she was getting very sick of that phrase.

River soon had to blast their way into another room. “OK,” she said on seeing a fair bit of light, “we've got a clear spot. In, in, in!” She continued to be a verbal guide, even as the others seemed to instinctively know what to do. “Right in the centre, in the middle of the light, quickly! Don't let your shadows cross.” She turned to Jenny, who already had both Sonics out for scanning. “Soldier...”

“Already on it!” Jenny couldn't help the snap. Don't you see what I'm doing?!

Forcing herself to ignore the angry retort, River saw much more to concern them as she scanned the room with her eyes. “There's no lights here,” she said, realizing this room was entirely lit by the dimming sun. “Sunset's coming, we can't stay long. Have you found a live one?”

Jenny shook both Sonics, and tried scanning each with the other – the TARDIS giving her suggestions all the while. “Maybe, it's getting harder to tell. Why are both of them acting up?!”

Not good... River thought quickly for a solution. “We're gonna need a chicken leg. Who's got a chicken leg?” Other Dave ripped his bag open and had one out impressively fast. “Thanks, Dave,” she smiled. Good man. She threw the leg into the shadow the Soldier was trying to scan, and it was stripped to the bone before it hit the floor. She flinched. “OK... OK, we've got a hot one. Watch your feet.”

Jenny stood slowly. “They won't attack until there's enough of them,” she said, thinking about what she knew thanks to her father's actions, “but they've got our scent now, they're coming.” She moved to try scanning again, after attempting a few meddling options the TARDIS was giving her.

“Who was he?” Other Dave whispered sharply, catching River's attention. “You didn't even told us. You just expected us to trust him.”

There was no good way to explain given the danger, River knew. “He... He's the Doctor.” And maybe he's still alive... She frantically dug for her journal.

Mr Lux interrupted her thoughts. “And who is the Doctor?”

Her answer was absent, as her memories felt even foggier than before. “The only story you'll ever tell - if you survive him.” She pulled it free of her bag.

Anita risked grabbing River's arm. “You say he's your friend,” she pointed out, looking back and forth between River and the tense young woman nearby, “but he didn't even know who you are, and neither does she.”

River knew that this prattling could cost them dearly, so she cut them off. “Listen, all you need to know is this...” She had to revise what she'd normally say in light of her fear of the Soldier's reaction. “I've trusted that man to the end of the universe. And I'm positive that she – for all her anger – is equally trustworthy.” She opened to a random page – and felt her heart and lungs stop working.

Anita was very skeptical. “He didn't act like he trusted you, and she's got a worse opinion of you.”

Flipping pages, she kept finding the same thing over and over again... Through the haze of her shocking discovery, River found one thought in response to the questions: And I may know why... “Yeah,” she admitted, “there's a tiny problem. He hadn't met me yet. And I'm not sure who she is exactly – although I may have some idea of who she could be to him...” She cut them off further by walking over to their hope of survival. And my only hope for answers...

Jenny shook each sonic. Dad's mallet would be really nice to have right now... But why is Professor Song's dead all of a sudden...?

River frowned at the intense concentration – combined with the unusual image of someone shaking a Sonic Screwdriver like a glow stick. Try being nice... “What's wrong with them?”

Great... Jenny forced herself to keep working on the problem, and growled, “There's a signal coming from somewhere, interfering with both of them. Although yours has stopped working completely.”

That's not good... She tried to think, and an idea came. “Then use the red settings.”

Jenny looked up, and River drew back at the venom in the gaze. “I already tried all the settings on both – including the ones on yours that the Doctor's doesn't have. Which begs a few questions about how, some time in the future, he supposedly just gives you a screwdriver rather like his.”

River sighed. “I didn't pluck it from his cold dead hands, I swear! I know that means nothing to you, since you've lost your parents -”

What?! The Time-Lady hadn't thought her hackles could get this high. “Excuse me?! How did you-?”

“You whispered 'Mum' and 'Dad' as you stared at the Node,” River explained softly. Got to be careful, treat her as delicately as possible. “I felt your heartbeats, which tells me that – somehow – the Doctor is your father. Clearly you view Donna Noble as your mother, whatever the circumstances of your birth, and feel she has a claim to him.”

“More than you could know,” Jenny snapped. “Go ahead and tell me that you understand. That I need to be less emotional. But you listen to me, Professor Song: I'm trying to keep all of you alive, just like I promised my dad I would!” I'm not admitting if she's gets anything else right! Her voice was clipped from the effort of restraining the urge to hit River. “So unless you want to die right here, you'll only speak if you have something to offer than might save us. Got it?! I'm not asking any questions about you until after we're safe, so you can focus on trying to save everyone, too!”

Even if I live for an eternity, River thought as something she never expected popped into her mind, I might never quite get how this could be... “I swear I don't know how I can know this,” she said, moving a bit closer to the unmoving Time-Lady, “given that I can't remember ever meeting you, but I can't wait to figure that out. I need you to trust that you can trust me...” She quickly leaned in, and whispered her new knowledge:

“Jennifer 'Jenny' Celeste Noble.”

Jenny's jaw would've hit her chest if it could've. Her mouth moved, but she couldn't get out any words.

River pulled back, saddened by the horrified shock on the young woman's face. “I shouldn't know that, I know... But I also shouldn't be forgetting everything about the Doctor! Look!” She opened her journal to Jenny's vision.

The stunned girl's eyes fixed on the pages, and her eyebrows drew together as the sight registered. “The words... They're all blurry... and vanishing...”

River snapped the book shut. “It's that way for every page! I suddenly got a massive headache, and I bet it was the moment you teleported the Doctor away. Ever since then, my memory has become a blur, and now I can't draw up one detail about him from the many adventures with him! You might've lost your parents, but I've lost almost my entire past!” She couldn't talk any further, knowing she'd break down into tears if she did, and walked back to the rest of the group.

The room was silent. The various bombshells were a lot to absorb.

After a few seconds, Jenny's Time-Lady brain started working again. “Time-lines... You said you can't remember the details...” She didn't get an answer – not that she was expecting one, or left much time to get one. “Dad said some moments in history can be rewritten, and others are fixed. The latter moments must always happen, he said. But if you can still recall the adventures, and the look in your eye tell me you can, and the fact that your screwdriver is still in my hand means one thing: the universe is trying to compensate for what's going on right now, for the changes.”

Mr. Lux couldn't follow her line of thought. “What are you going on about?!”

Jenny ignored him; her mind was connecting dots that were telling her something hopeful. And it quickened her breath. “But if he was critical to saving the day, which your trust in him suggests, then there's a chance he's still there. Just not quite how you remember. Maybe, just maybe, my Mum and Dad are still alive somewhere we can't detect!” Her eyes widened further. “And maybe the same is true for all those people from 100 years ago!”

Other Dave stared in shock at her. “But how?”

I don't know,” Jenny promptly shot back, “but I'm going to find out. I am Jenny Noble, the Daughter of the Doctor and the Best Temp in Chiswick, after all!” No point in hiding my identity any longer...

River found a tiny smile, and the previous hopelessness began to fade. She has his determination...

Then Jenny's eyes drifted to her father's Sonic. “Wait... Dad's screwdriver is very hard to interfere with, practically nothing's strong enough... Well, some hairdryers, like Mum's ionic.” Her mouth quirked, remembering her Mum's enthusiastic retelling of that early moment on board – including his frustration over Donna's lack of remorse. “Means there's a very strong signal coming from somewhere, and it wasn't there before. So what's changed?” She looked up to see the others look in confusion at each other. She groaned loudly. “Come on! What's new? What's different?”

Other Dave shrugged. “I dunno, nothing. It's getting dark.”

Jenny decided she'd forgive the man's ignorance. “It's a sonic screwdriver, it works in the dark.” She looked up at the darkening sky, and notice what was coming into view. “Moon rise... Tell me about the moon. What's there?”

“It's not real,” Mr. Lux quickly said, not ready to tell the whole story and hoping he wouldn't have to, “it was built as part of the Library. It's just a doctor moon.”

Jenny frowned. “What's a doctor moon?”

Mr. Lux silently acknowledged the legitimacy of the question. “A virus checker. It supports and maintains the main computer at the core of the planet.”

Turning the Doctor's Sonic back on, she aimed it at a random point while she checked the readings. “Hmm, still active, still signaling.” She thought aloud, “Someone somewhere in this Library is alive and communicating with the moon, or, possibly alive and drying their hair. No, the signal's definitely coming from the moon. I'm blocking it, but it's trying to break through...”

As she spoke, suddenly the images of Donna and the Doctor appeared. They were fuzzy, and in clothing different from what they'd been wearing earlier. But they seemed to see Jenny...

River gasped. “Jenny!”

She was ready to snap at the woman's use of her name, but Jenny happened to turn her head in the right direction. She almost choked at the sight. “Mum! Dad!” But the images faded as quickly as they came.

River moved to join Jenny, practically bubbling with new hope. “Jenny, that was them! Can you get them back? What was that?”

Too many questions... “I knew it! They're still alive! Could the teleport have sent them to the moon somehow?”

Mr. Lux shook her head. “The range isn't far enough, and there's nothing there to support life except in certain computer areas. And it's not recommended to go in there without spacesuits.”

She flinched. “Damn!” She messed with the Sonic. “I'm trying to find the wavelength. Ah, I'm being blocked!”

Suddenly Anita squeaked, “Jenny? Professor?”

River opened her mouth to ask for a moment, but Jenny – remembering Miss Evangelista – was quicker. “Yes?”

The dignified woman was staring at the floor in horror. “It's important. I have two shadows...”

Everyone saw it. Jenny sucked in a breath, covering her mouth in an unconscious copying of Donna. Oh, my God... I've failed again...

River managed to maintain her self-control. “OK,” she spoke calmly, hoping to provide comfort. “Helmets on, everyone. Anita, I'll get yours.”

Tears formed in Anita's eyes. “It didn't do Proper Dave any good,” she choked.

Quickly collecting the helmet, River tried to be soothing. “Just keep it together, OK?”

Jenny approached to help River lock the helmet on, while Anita looked like she wanted to let out a hysterical, short laugh. “Keeping it together, I'm only crying. I'm about to die, it's not an overreaction.”

Once the helmet was on, Jenny had an idea. “Hang on.” She aimed the Sonic, and the visor went dark.

River recoiled. “Oh, God, they've got inside.”

Jenny shook her head.”I just tinted her visor. Maybe they'll think they're already in there, leave her alone.”

“D'you think they can be fooled like that?” River eyed the girl, wondering just how young she was.

The Time Lady shrugged, not knowing what else to do. “Gotta try something. It's a swarm, it's not like we chat.”

Other Dave, his own helmet not tinted, looked worriedly at his cohort. “Can you still see in there?”

“Just about.”

Jenny marveled at the woman's composure under pressure. Wish we could offer her a chance as a companion.. “Just make sure you don't cross anyone's shadow.” Then she noticed something out of the corner of her eye. “Oh, it doesn't give up!

River turned to face her. “What is it?”

Looking off in the distance, Jenny shook her head. “Skeleton Dave is back.”

They all turned and saw the possessed suit standing there. River shouted, “How long has he been there?!”

“Hey! Who turned out the lights?”

“Don't worry about that,” Jenny shouted back. “Run!”

They ran, with those annoying two sentences still following them. Finally, in a corridor, Jenny decided to try something her father would probably have done; the information could be useful. She stopped, quickly scanned the floor and – finding something useful – said, “Professor, go ahead, find a safe spot.”

River gaped at her. Now I know she's his daughter! “It's a carnivorous swarm in a suit, you can't reason with it,” she gasped, trying to reason with the girl. Whether he's alive or not, I have to keep his daughter safe!

Jenny just gave her a did-you-think-I-didn't-know-that look. “I have a plan. Besides, I'm not as reckless as my Dad can be.”

Seeing that she wouldn't talk her out of it, River snapped, “Other Dave, stay with her, pull her out when she's too stupid to live. Two minutes, Jenny.” She promptly led Mr. Lux and Anita out.

This might be the dumbest thing I've ever done, Jenny realized. If I see him again, I'm going to have a chat with Dad about his habits... Especially the ones I've apparently inherited...

Skeleton Dave appeared. “Hey! Who turned out the lights?”

Jenny aimed the Sonic for the spot right in front of the suit zombie, using a setting her father had apparently never used; he was nervous about what it would do. It made a light so bright that the possessed suit stopped cold, even recoiled. Good, she thought, I've got a weapon – for now. “You hear that?” She channeled her father, seeking the words that might work. “Those words? That is the very last thought of the man who wore that suit before you climbed inside it and stripped his flesh. That's a man's soul trapped inside a neural relay, going round and round forever. Now, if you don't have the flipping decency to let him go, then use that neural relay to talk to me. Just point and think.”

Skeleton Dave went, “Hey! Who turned out the lights?”

Jenny sighed. “The Vashta Nerada live on all the worlds in this system, but you hunt in forests. What are you doing in a library?”

Other Dave spoke. “We should go. Jenny!”

She wanted to turn to look, but she was afraid to look away, afraid her aim would slip. “Just one more minute, Other Dave. You came to the Library to hunt, why? Just tell me why?”

Slowly, new words came. “We...did not.”

This could be really, good, she thought, or really, really bad... “Hello,” she snapped sarcastically.

“We did not,” Skeleton Dave repeated.

Dad would tell it to take it easy, that you'll get the hang of it. I'm not that nuts. “Did not what?”

“We... did not... come... here.”

Jenny frowned. “Well, of course you did, of course you came here.”

“We come from here.”

That made her pause. “From here?”

“We hatched here.”

Jenny's still dazed mind tried to wrap around that, trying to recall everything she's absorbed. “But you hatch from trees, from spores in trees.”

“These are our forests.”

If I were sure it could see me, Jenny thought, I'd roll my eyes at that ridiculous statement. “You're nowhere near a forest. Can't you look around you?”

“These are our forests.”

She wanted to snap at it, but something started dawning on her. “This isn't a forest, it's a library. There are no trees in a...” She freed one hand to slap her forehead – an unconscious imitation of the Doctor.

“We should go,” Other Dave exclaimed again. “Jenny!”

Unfortunately, Jenny's mind – once engaged – could be as single-minded as her father's. “Books. You came in the books. Microspores in a million million books.”

“We should go. Jenny!”

Damn it!” She risked a glance around her. “The forests of the Vashta Nerada, pulped and printed and bound. A million million books, hatching shadows.”

“We should go. Jenny!”

Jenny looked behind, as she realized that he'd been repeating the same words for a while. Her eyes watered as she saw a skull where his face had been, and the neural relay was blinking. “Oh, no, Dave! Oh, Other Dave, I'm so sorry.”

Then what was Other Dave started closing in. Jenny realized that she only had the ability to aim at one of them, as she wasn't sure how to make it spread around her.

Hey!” The former Proper Dave resumed, “Who turned out the lights?”

And the former Other Dave went, “We should go. Jenny!”

Jenny stopped the setting and lowered it to aim again below her. “I'll give my Dad this: he may be stupid, talk too much, always babbling on - that gob doesn't stop for anything other than Mum – but he stays alive 'cause he always manages to stay near the door.” She depressed a button, which opened the trap door she'd deliberately stood on top of – sending her down.

She quickly put the Sonic in her mouth, and grabbed one of the metal structures off just to the side. She quickly used the instinctive gymnastic skills – flipping from arms to legs over and over again – she somehow was born with to move out of sight of the opening. She only stopped to scan the way ahead, checking for dangerous shadows. Good thing it's still fairly bright out over here...

She didn't know that, deep within the computer, the girl they'd seen in the screen was watching her with a happy smile...

Chapter 9: Th'idea of Her Life


Jul. 9th, 2011 04:15 am (UTC)
Okay, so I'm obviously not so well acquainted with the Whoverse as others, but why is Celeste a good choice as Jenny's middle name? And how the heck does River know her name anyway?

So delighted with time being re-written, hopefully will make River less smug.

Loving Jenny more and more...she seems to have inherited the best bits from each of her parents.

And yes, I cannot WAIT until the next chapter. This is amazing stuff. Thank you for sharing it with us.
Jul. 9th, 2011 05:17 am (UTC)
"Celeste" comes from a Latin word meaning "of the heavens." So a modern interpretation would be "of the stars." I assumed that someone like Donna would know a lot about names, and I found it while working on "The Belted Doctor." It seemed appropriate in many ways.

As for your other question... that'll be explained later...

And yet Jenny realizes that she also inherited some of the Doctor's bad traits. As her little thought about having a talk with him about his problematic habits shows... I might be writing that one day. ;D

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