lost_spook: (Annie writing)
[personal profile] lost_spook
I've finished my endless UNIT series, so now I'm contemplating WIPs. I have other shorter things to do, but I can go back to at least one long fic. I shall probably tackle the first, but here's most of what I have of them. Which one would people prefer? (Of course, I'll probably get mugged by a passing plot bunny, but I'll bear it in mind).

Please note, some of this may not have been corrected fully yet.


WIP, Prologue, Ch1 and Ch2 already up on Teaspoon, featuring Five, Nyssa and Tegan at the Great Exhibition in London, 1851.

***

Chapter Three

*

What did she think she was doing?

Tegan had been asking herself that for the past couple of hours. She couldn’t seem to help herself, could she? She could blame the Doctor all she liked, and Inspector Monk, too, for that matter (and she did), but she’d leapt in feet first as ever.

She had tried to offer an excuse, pointing out to the abrasive Victorian Inspector that she was a paid companion (well, all right, that was a lie, but that was the Doctor’s story, and she was sticking to it), and not that sort of servant. At which point, the sardonic Mr Monk had looked down his nose at her and said he was aware of that, but he had assumed that she was capable of performing basic household tasks with some competence. Of course, she’d told him that she bloody well could, or words to that effect, and that had demolished her excuse.

He had asked her to become a servant in the Mansfields’ establishment; his eyes and ears in what was proving to be a sensitive and difficult case. He’d confessed that he couldn’t guarantee that there would be no danger, even if it was unlikely, and she was caught between her usual recklessness, her willingness to help, and the general fact that she seemed to be her own worst enemy wherever she was. Or maybe it was only that the Inspector seemed to want her; that he thought she could be useful. Tegan let insults slide off her like the proverbial water off a duck’s back, but maybe the Doctor’s continual slights were getting to her. Everyone liked to be needed now and then.

Whatever it was that had done it, she’d agreed and now she was following him up the steps of another one of those London Georgian town houses, this one in a wider, cleaner street and far larger and grander than the Hargraves’. What was worse, being from Australia in the Twentieth Century and not London in the Nineteenth, she didn’t actually know how to do a housemaid’s work, and this would probably end up going horribly wrong, with everyone annoyed with her, especially the Doctor, who seemed to have the unrealistic expectation that she would sit quietly where he had left her, even though she never did.

Still, she thought, it’ll be scrubbing and dusting and polishing. How hard can it be? She bit her lip as Monk rapped on the black door. Who was she kidding? She wasn’t a history buff, but she knew enough to guess that it meant getting up at the crack of dawn and working till last thing at night, taking orders without talking back (that was going to be difficult) and if she was going to be expected to do the laundry and work out what they did with all that starch, blue, scrubbing boards and mangles, she was going to be out on her ear within the hour. It looked a big enough place to have a laundry maid, she decided, trying to be optimistic.

*

“Where is Tegan?” asked Nyssa, once she had the Doctor had returned to the Hargraves’s house.

Charlotte moved forward to greet her, lifting her wide skirt to avoid the short cabinet against the wall. “That policeman came to fetch her. I do not understand what business it is of his, but it seems that there has been some trouble, and her aunt has sent for her.”

“Has she really?” said the Doctor, raising an eyebrow fractionally.

Nyssa only narrowly managed to swallow her protest at the impossibility of this, and now she frowned, as much at the Doctor’s tone as at this worrying turn of events.

“I did ask her if she ought not to wait for you,” Charlotte continued. “She seemed not to think it necessary, and Mr Monk was willing to escort her – and eager to leave, and pester other innocent families, no doubt. You are both, of course, still welcome to remain until she is able to return.”

“Thank you,” said Nyssa.

The Doctor played with his tall hat, in his hands now that they were indoors.

“Doctor?” Nyssa said, leaning over to him, as soon as Charlotte left them alone again. “Whatever can have happened?”

The Doctor only huffed, and muttered, “Why, why, will she never stay where I leave her?”

“Doctor, it sounds to me as thought this unpleasant Inspector has forced her to go with him. We had better try and follow at once. She told me she didn’t trust him.” When he only glanced at her as if she had started talking a different, language, she raised her chin, and added, “And if you don’t, then I shall!”

“Yes, yes,” he murmured. “Sorry, Nyssa. It sounds as though she made up this tale about her aunt, so I’m a little more optimistic as yet, but you’re right. We need to find out where they went to. I’ll go – you stay here and see what you can find out about that rather odd police officer from Miss Hargrave.”

“Doctor -.”

The Doctor patted her should and smiled at her. “It’s the most useful course of action, Nyssa. And you did say earlier that you couldn’t possibly walk another step in that – ah – charming outfit.”

“I can change!”

“We can’t get back to the TARDIS, yet, as you might remember. Even if we could, I’m afraid you would shock our hosts, and we can’t have that -.”

Nyssa wrinkled her nose. “By wearing more practical clothes?”

“Yes,” the Doctor said, with a nod, as he strode to the door, turning back as he opened it. “Victorians are like that.”

***



Not posted anywhere, beginning of Charley and Eight in the West Country in 1910, investigating something nasty left in the wake of the Monmouth Rebellion in 1685.

***

One: Forsaken Walls

*

“It’s a lovely, sunny day,” Charley remarked, surveying the rural surroundings. “Here we are, out in the countryside, all hills and thatched cottages and fields and you’ve got that look on your face. You’re about to say, ‘Charley, something’s not right.’ Aren’t you?”

He had to smile. “Something like that. Don’t you feel it?”

“No,” she returned. “And, whatever it is, I suspect I don’t want to.”

He pulled aside some of the nearby undergrowth. “Look, the remains of a building. And there’s a ruined church over there.”

“That’s not necessarily bad, though,” she pointed out.

He nodded. “When there’s a chill in the air I don’t like and ruined buildings, I suspect a possible connection. Of course, it may be coincidence. I wonder exactly where we are?”

“1910,” she reminded him. “Just the sort of day for a picnic in the West Country, you said. Sandwiches and jam tarts and ginger beer and a walk in the Quantocks, you said.”

He moved on towards the church and she followed, fighting her way through the thick undergrowth and trying to avoid the stinging nettles.

“Hmm,” he mused. “1910, West Country? No, doesn’t ring any bells. Besides, I think this is something older than that.”

She added, “There’s not a chill in the air anyway. It’s boiling. Are you sure you didn’t catch a cold on that dreadful watery planet with the unpronounceable name?”

“Hwiqiama,” he responded automatically. “Don’t be silly, Charley.”

“I’m not the one muttering about dark forebodings on a bright summer’s day. My nurse would have asked what I had for supper the night before.”

He stopped abruptly and she walked into him.

“Doctor!”

He turned. “For that, I’m going back to the TARDIS to fetch something to prove I’m right. You stay here, Miss Pollard, and don’t get sunburned.”

“Fine,” said Charley. “I shall fetch the picnic hamper – and I might eat all the jam tarts as well while I wait.”

“As long as you leave me some sandwiches and lemonade.”

*

Charley pulled the blanket out of the hamper and settled down, not far from what was left of the church. She hunted in the basket for a cheese roll and her book and prepared to enjoy herself while the Doctor proved his point with some terribly clever gadget.

Of course, she probably should go and help, but it was rather hot and it hadn’t been much fun on Hiw – Hia- whatever-it-was-again.

*

Really, thought the Doctor, companions these days were growing less and less respectful. He rifled through the ornate chest to one side of the console, pulling out a mournful looking stuffed rabbit and a copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar. “No,” he murmured to himself. After all, Grace had had some respect -. He sat up. “No, no, she thought I was losing my marbles. Aha!”

With perfect timing, he retrieved a bag of marbles and beamed at them. Well, Benny, then. Benny had – well, maybe respect wasn’t the word and he wasn’t sure it fitted Ace either but certainly they hadn’t used to laugh when he predicted trouble coming. At least, not most of the time.

*

The trouble with the Doctor, thought Charley, was that, even when one was sitting happily on a woollen blanket in a meadow, armed with an exciting novel and a sandwich or two, one couldn’t help wondering where he was and what sort of mess he was getting himself into this time.

She sighed, closed up the book and went in search of him.

*

The only thing she found other than wildlife was a small church falling into ruin. That, she thought, looked the sort of thing that would be sure to attract his attention, so she headed in its direction, passing a few sheep on the way. She looked down at her long skirts and realised that she had already managed to get grass stains on the fawn coloured dress. It was the sort of thing her nurse had always had to scold her for.

She entered the tumbledown building. “Hello?” she called out. “Doctor, if you’re hiding, it isn’t funny -.

Then she saw the body.

*

Charley backed away, looking about her. Suddenly the church seemed far more shadowy than it had an instant before. The Doctor had mentioned a chill in the air and she had thought he was going barmy, in this heat, but she shivered now. She felt something, too, an icy wave that passed over her and voices from somewhere – shouts and clashes, as if from some terrible battle. She shook herself and put her hands to her ears.

“Whatever are you doing?” asked a voice she couldn’t quite shut out and she looked up to see the Doctor standing over her, holding – inexplicably – a bag of marbles.

*

“I found her like it,” said Charley, leading him over to the body, once she’d told him what she thought of him for startling her and refused the offer of a game of marbles. “Lying there, dead, but without a single mark on her. And she’s not exactly old, poor thing.”

He crouched down. “You didn’t move her – touch anything at all?”

“No. I was too shocked – and then I heard those odd noises.”

The Doctor looked up at her. Somehow it never failed to surprise her at moments like these how very blue his eyes could be.

“You’re going to say I told you so, aren’t you?”

He smiled sadly. “No, I don’t think so. Charley, I don’t like it. I’ve seen something like this before.”

“Oh, good. Well obviously, not good, but at least you know what it is, then?”

He got to his feet. “No. I’ve seen this type of event before. However, it could have any number of causes from something extremely localised to an attack that could became planet-wide. From looking at this unfortunate woman, and your account of what happened to you and the atmosphere in here -.”

“Yes, it feels almost as if something in here is causing some sort of vibration, except it isn’t. It couldn’t be. It’s only an old ruin.”

He nodded at her. “Exactly. I’d guess that there’s someone or something around here – it’s usually some thing in these cases – that feeds on psychic energy. It seems a little more nebulous than some of the other things I’ve encountered of the same sort, but then again, I suspect this isn’t the centre. Or it could be because it’s just had itself a nice meal.”

“Doctor!”

“Sorry, Charley. Where are we again?”

“Well, if you don’t know that, I’m sure I don’t know how I’m supposed to. You claimed it was Somerset in the early Twentieth century, but you weren’t inclined to narrow it down further when we arrived. As I recall, you said, ‘Never mind that, Charley, where did I put the picnic basket? It looks exactly the sort of day for it’ or something along those lines.”

“The West Country?” he said. “Hmm. We’d better head for civilisation and find someone who’s a little more informed on the subject.”

Charley looked back behind them. “What about, well, her? We can’t leave the poor woman lying about like that.”

“I know,” he said, “but on the other hand we can hardly go wandering the country lanes while dragging a dead body behind us.”

She thought about it. “No. Lead on, then, Doctor.”

***



So long ago, neither will probably remember, [livejournal.com profile] clocketpatch and [livejournal.com profile] jjpor both told me to write more with Ten and Donna. A sort of Georgette Heyer crossover (but you don't need to know anything) was probably not what they had in mind.

***

“It’s dark,” said Donna. “It’s dark and we’re in the middle of a wood. Presumably a Regency wood, if my outfit is anything to go by. And if it isn’t, I’m going to kill you for dragging me through the woods in the dark in this get-up.” She paused and then gave a gasp. “Doctor, we’re not, are we?”

He turned around. “Not what? Donna, what are you talking about?”

“We are, aren’t we?” she grinned. “We’re going to meet Jane Austen. Or the Duke of Wellington or something.”

He stared back at her. “I don’t know where you get your ideas from. I suppose we could, after we’ve finished, but what we’re actually here for is a lot less fun.”

“Might have guessed,” she said, but smiled at him. “What, then?”

He smiled back, slowly. “We need to find a falling star.”

*

There was an argument taking place outside the local inn – the Crown. It might have been expected that Sir Gareth Ludlow and his wife Lady Hester would pass it by, but the last time either had witnessed a scene of this nature, they had been in the centre of it and he gave his orders to halt the carriage.

“Look, I’m not asking to darken your doors if you’re going to be so catty about it,” said the lone female in an outmoded dress, who was at the centre of the commotion. “Just tell me if you’ve seen a skinny guy in odd clothes and I’ll be off.”

Gareth crossed over, Hester close behind him. “Is there some trouble, Gibbons?” he queried of the landlord.

“Sir,” he said, widening his eyes in surprise. “No trouble at all. Just trying to tell this baggage – person – that we’ve no call for her sort around here. Begging your pardon, sir,” he added, feeling at look at his lordship’s grey eyes that he had said something wrong and reviewed his language in the light of Lady Hester behind him.

Sir Gareth said, “Gibbons, I believe this lady asked a reasonable question. Perhaps it would be simpler if you answered it? Have you seen a thin man in odd clothes this evening?”

“No,” he said. “She’s out to cause trouble, sir – leave it to me. Wouldn’t want her ladyship distressed, would we?”

Hester exchanged a glance with Gareth, who nevertheless solemnly agreed with the landlord.

The strange woman folded her arms and said, “Well, excuse me for bringing my petty little life and death problems to your happy little inn.”

“Whatever is wrong,” said Hester, reaching her and not appearing to be in the least distressed, “you may be assured we will do all that is in our power to help.”

“Perhaps if you would be so good as to lend us the use of your parlour, we might discover what this is about,” Sir Gareth suggested to the proprietor. “I’m sure Mrs Gibbons will not object?”

Gibbons inclined to the opposite opinion, but he nodded.

*

“Well?” queried Sir Gareth of the stranded female. She was not as young as he had first thought and neither could she be described as fragile, but he was prepared to listen to her story. And, he reflected with some amusement, she was unlikely to cause as much trouble as the last lone female he had rescued from an inn. “What is your difficulty?”

She took a deep breath. “I came here with a friend,” she explained. “We were looking for something – something important, only he disappeared out in the woods and I think he’s been hurt. He’s usually the sort to bounce when he falls, but I heard him yell and then I couldn’t find him. It didn’t seem sensible to go running round the trees in the pitch dark looking for him, especially not in these flipping skirts. I thought I could fetch help here, but no such thing. They took one look at me and decided I was an unsuitable female.” She wiggled her fingers in the air as she said this, which made no sense to him, but illustrated her annoyance clearly.

“How distressing for you,” said Hester, putting a hand over hers and turning back with a faintly questioning gaze to her husband. “It is quite lowering how many people have such commonplace minds when a little thought would persuade them of the unlikeliness of such things.”

He raised an eyebrow. “Ruffians out in the woods? That’s quite a tale.”

“It’s true,” she said, sensing his light mockery of her story. “And I don’t know what it was that got him. Maybe it was a poacher, then, clever clogs.” She caught their respective expressions at that and swallowed. “Sorry. But he could be lying out there dead, and all anyone wants to discuss is my morals, or lack of them!”

Hester took a hand. “That is very trying,” she agreed. “And you are trembling, for the cold, too, I shouldn’t wonder. Whatever happened to your cloak?”

She sighed and said, incomprehensibly, “This time-travelling malarkey’s a lot harder when the Doctor’s gone AWOL with his bit of psychic paper.”

Sir Gareth was frowning. He saw that Hester believed in her distress and that inclined him to accept that part of her story must be genuine – but was she perhaps deranged?

“Donna,” said a voice at the door. “Sorry about that. Something got me -. Hello, then. Who are you two?”

Gareth rose and crossed to greet him. “I am Sir Gareth Ludlow and this is my wife. Who might you be sir?”

*

[They return home to find Hildebrand waiting.]

“Uncle Gary,” said Hildebrand Ross, appearing at the door. Then he coloured, recollecting himself. “I suppose I shouldn’t call you that and I know I’ve a dashed cheek, turning up here like this, but – oh, well, I shall explain how it was and I knew you and Aunt Hester would understand!”

He surveyed the unexpected arrival with only the briefest raise of his eyebrow. “Please, inform me in the morning, as I suspect this promises to be a long tale and we have only this moment returned from a trying journey. Only assure me first you have not shot anyone.”

“That is very unkind in you,” Hester reproached him, joining him in the hallway. “Naturally, he has not. Hildebrand, it is a great pleasure to see you and you are always welcome here. It should have been more convenient to have had some warning of your arrival, for I fear Mrs Garner will have words, but I am sure when you explain it all -.”

“My love,” said Gareth, lightly, “it is absurd to find my housekeeper so alarming.”

Hildebrand said, with a grin, “Thank you, Aunt Hester.”

“And these are our other guests,” said Gareth. “Hildebrand, this is Dr Smith and Miss Noble, who are travellers. Doctor, Miss Noble, this is Hildebrand Ross, who once had the goodness to shoot me.”

The Doctor paused, but shook Hildebrand’s hand regardless. “Do you have people who shoot you round to stay a lot?”

“Only Hildebrand,” returned Sir Gareth. “He is unique in that respect.”

Hester frowned at him. “Gareth, that is most unkind in you. You know how sorry Hildebrand was, and how much he tried to make amends.”

“And, all in all, I’m excessively grateful to him,” agreed her husband. “This is getting to be something of an occasion. Hester, have you not invited Widmore and Almeria?”

Her voice sounded a little unsteady. “I confess I have not. How – how remiss of me. I collect I should have extended the invitation to your sister and doubtless to Susan also and all their progeny.”

“I cannot conceive how you could have omitted to do so,” he said.

Hester said carefully, “Perhaps we should discuss this in the morning? I cannot but feel we should all be -.”

“I’m sure you are right,” agreed Gareth.

*

“Hildebrand?” said Donna.

He coloured instantly.

“I’m so sorry,” put in the Doctor. “Parents, eh?”

He grinned then. “It might be of more use in the future – I hope to be a dramatist.”

“Still working on Katharine of Aragon’s black heart?” queried Gareth. “I thought you had quite given up the tragic drama.”

He turned. “When I look at what I wrote it that inn, I am ashamed to recollect how I read it aloud to anyone.”

“I found it vastly entertaining,” said the other lightly.

He said, “However, I do very much wish to make my mark with my pen and Prudence feels that something lighter might have more appeal -.”

“Comedy?” said Gareth, unable to picture Hildebrand creating something suitable.

*

[After that, I have only random scenes, which I will save, barring this:]

“Well,” said the man with the quizzing glass. “I don’t see what Gareth sees in you.”

Donna drew herself up and slapped him. “I don’t know what the hell is wrong with everyone round here. Even if I was some sort of fortune-hunter, or whatever it is you all think I am, I’d hardly come and stay in the guy’s house, with him and his wife – and if you lot are so blind you can’t see the way those two are about each other -.”

“That’s enough, Donna,” said the Doctor from behind a frozen smile. “I’m afraid you’re not improving things.”

“Oh?”

“Language. You don’t sound like a lady.”

She said, “Who said I was? I happen to be the new housemaid, thank you very much, so clear off.”

“I hope you’re keeping your cover stories straight. You told the old gentleman you were the housekeeper, that villager that you were Sir Gareth’s sister-.”

“Yeah, remind me not to do that again,” she put in. “That was a mistake.”

He frowned. “You haven’t been… making up stories about me, have you?”

“You?” said Donna. “Well, maybe one or two. People keep asking questions. The Spanish Inquisition has nothing on the types who keep popping up round here.”

***



And then in long-hand there's the Owl Service rip off for Eight and Lucie (sort of asked for by [livejournal.com profile] pitry Very sort of.), the one where Four, Sarah and Harry on get locked up for week, and probably others. Decisions...
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