Upside Down in Venice
The amusing, romantic, and tragic tale of how the Doctor came to owe Casanova a chicken. Because the idea of David Tennant kissing Paul McGann kissing Matt Di Angelo is sexy beyond all comprehension.
This fic contains massive amounts of fluff, wonderful instances of sexy sex, and enough pain and tragedy to practically qualify as darkfic. Because that's what Casanova and the Eighth Doctor Adventures have in common.
So, the Doctor (played by Paul McGann) and Fitz (played for Big Finish by Matt Di Angelo) are between Parallel 59 and Shadows of Avalon, during what I personally refer to as their "honeymoon." There are no spoilers at all for the EDAs, though I suppose you should know that between these two books, the Doctor drops off his awesome, if bitchy, companion Compassion on Earth to find herself. And during that time Fitz and the Doctor go on a few adventures of their own, mostly undocumented, but including one where the Doctor wears blue eye shadow for some reason. I suppose a prequel to this that is only referenced very distantly is my previous multidoctor novella This Tangled TARDIS, which I'll shameless plug here.
Oh, and the title is from a song Fitz sings in EarthWorld. There's no official lyrics, but lucia_tanaka on LJ, came up with some great ones in her fic Come to Me with Remedies, which I will also shamelessly plug because it is beautiful and tragic and everything I love.
I have to admit, this story has been percolating in my head for many months, but last night I watched Casanova and was so very inspired to finally write this! Further inspiration for this fic comes from Paul Magrs' beautiful audio The Stones of Venice, which this doesn't reference at all except in that Eight goes off on these tangents about why he loves Venice so much. And of course from the Eleventh Doctor episode The Vampires of Venice, in which Eleven recalls the aforementioned chicken which he owes Casanova.
Oh, and I don't own Doctor Who, or Casanova!
Chapter 1: A Little Misunderstanding
The Doctor watched him, wearing a coy little smile. How the hell did he always manage to look so bloody gorgeous in the mornings, especially considering he slept so little? Fitz could never understand it.
For his part, Fitz felt as though something had crawled into his mouth and died at some point in the night, he was certain his unkempt hair was sticking up in all directions, and all he wanted to do was escape and take a long, satisfying piss. And maybe brush his teeth afterwards.
But the Doctor was trailing the tips of his cool, slender fingers across Fitz's bare torso. It was damn distracting.
"Morning, you," the Doctor said in a rather flirty voice.
"It's too bloody early," Fitz said, tempted to turn around and pull the blanket over his head, but dissuaded by those long, delicate hands.
"Oh, come on, the morning's the best part of the day!" the Doctor pouted.
Fitz guessed it couldn't be all bad if it meant waking up to the Doctor in one of his chipper moods. After they'd both woken up bloody and bruised as if from a nightmare, the Doctor had refused to talk about what might or might not have happened. Instead, he'd taken to brooding in the quiet corners of the TARDIS for weeks now. Fitz had begun to hate the sound of him and that bloody violin. The devastating sadness of the music that drifted through the TARDIS while he played had left Fitz weeping on more than one occasion. It was almost enough to make him consider suggesting they pick up Compassion from her little "exploration of her inner humanity," as the Doctor put it. Almost, but not quite.
And of course, a distant, moody Doctor definitely put a damper on his sex life. Until Fitz finally had the bright idea to drag him on a picnic in the butterfly room, and after playing him a few new songs, and plying him with several bottles of ginger beer and champagne, the Doctor had ultimately succumbed to Fitz's irresistible charms.
Hence his own nearly crippling hangover and the Doctor's infuriating cheerfulness were somewhat mollified by the wonderful memory of shagging his best friend over and over again while he repeatedly chanted the name Fitz like a mantra. One of the many Doctorish habits that Fitz found consistently endearing.
Fitz finally smiled back at the Doctor, which he seemed to take as an invitation to trail tender little kisses all over his face, and down his neck. By the time that teasing, playful mouth reached his chest, Fitz had forgotten about his hangover.
"Mhmm," he moaned, running a hand through the Doctor's soft bouncy curls. His perfect chestnut hair always made Fitz feel like the before shot in a shampoo commercial. Which was ironic, considering they usually used the same shampoo.
The Doctor trailed his cool, wet tongue over Fitz's erection. He gasped, shuddering with pleasure. Then, to his utter disappointment, the Doctor suddenly sat up and grabbed Fitz's shoulders.
"Bloody tease," Fitz muttered.
"You know…" he began, all smiles and excited. "Last night I realized that we've never been to Venice!"
And before he knew it, Fitz and the Doctor were scrubbed and clean and dressed for the era in velvet and silks. Well, Fitz was, the Doctor always dressed like a Victorian prat so he fit in as usual. But he did tie his long hair up in a little ponytail with some black string.
After drinking some strong, sweet coffee and consuming more fancy pastries with names he couldn't properly pronounce than was absolutely wise in a city where the main form of transportation involved wobbly little boats, Fitz and the Doctor were relaxing, casually arm in arm, as a gondolier maneuvered them through the narrow, crowded canals. Fitz was having a hell of a good time.
"So where are we going?" Fitz asked, and sighed with something approaching content.
"Metaphorically or geographically?"
Fitz chuckled. "Philosophically, of course!"
"Lunch," the Doctor said distantly, with a sad little smile. "Romana once asked me that…"
Fitz let him trail off, knowing from long experience that nothing good ever came of questioning him when he spoke with that melancholy sort of wistfulness in his voice.
A streak of red coat caught Fitz's eye, a tall, skinny bloke was running across one of the ubiquitous narrow bridges that passed overhead. With a shock, he realized the man had suddenly leapt through the air, a manic smile on his face. Laughing.
He landed shakily on his feet at the edge of the gondola, grinning like a moron, his huge blue eyes darting from Fitz, to the Doctor, to the increasingly agitated Gondola driver. His long silk jacket was finely embroidered, the high silver waistcoat intricately worked with tiny glass beads, his burgundy and black cravat tied in a little bow, and his high-collared black shirt ended with long frills that trailed over his delicate hands. Poncey in a beautiful way.
"Hello, gentlemen, I imagine that you'd be understandably upset by my sudden arrival, but I can only beg your compassion, as I seem to have upset a local innkeeper over a little misunderstanding regarding his daughter," he said in a great rush of words. "And possibly his wife."
"No, not at all," the Doctor said, extremely amused.
"I am most gracious for your kindness!" he replied, dropped to the bottom of the gondola, and hid under his red coat.
And that was how the Doctor and Fitz met Giacoma Casanova.
Venice. The Doctor had always loved Venice. Impossible, preposterous, beautiful, sinister Venice. Decaying from the moment it was built. Sinking deeper into the water year by year, kept alive for centuries on the promise of memory and romance alone.
Reminded him of himself in this incarnation.
He touched the worn grey stone, trailing his hands over the bumpy surface, practically tasting the history pouring from every molecule. It was glorious.
Night had begun to fall, staining the city red. It almost seemed like the canals were suddenly running with blood, reflecting the sunset on and on through the desolate side streets they were currently prowling.
Just ahead of him walked the human being he had recently fallen so desperately in love with, and another human being who's memoirs took up an entire shelf of his library. Original additions he'd carefully collected across several lifetimes. An adventurer, a rebel, and a charlatan with an almost mystical understanding of the human condition. And someone he'd always wanted to meet.
Fitz and Giac seemed to be getting along perfectly, but then, Fitz always made friends so easily. He smiled at the sudden burst of affection he felt. Then he stepped forward and placed an arm on each of their shoulders.
"So, are you two still planning on gambling the night away?" the Doctor asked in an indulgent tone.
"Yeah, we're supposed to be meeting his mate Rocco at this card game in the basement of some theater."
"That sounds absolutely lovely! Which one? I hope we'll be in time to catch a performance."
"Never fear, my friend, the evenings run late at the Teatro San Cassiano," Giac said, matching the Doctor's wide, excited grin.
The Doctor actually squealed and clapped his hands, dashing ahead only to spin around and face them, taking a few steps backwards as he spoke. "What are we waiting for? Come on, you two! Adventure awaits!"
It was an incredible experience—enjoying an original opera by an obscure composer he'd never heard of, holding hands with Fitz in the darkened theater, snickering at the droll comments Giac kept whispering in his ear. And afterwards, they joined the cast at a party in one of the basements, surrounded by costumes, the dank smell of the water lapping just below drifting through the air. Musicians played impromptu performances just for the sheer joy of it. Wine and liquor flowed freely, the spread of appetizers was absolutely tantalizing, and yes, at the corner they found Rocco at a table playing cards.
As Fitz proceeded to get quite drunk and flirt with every single actress and musician, the Doctor played several rounds of faro and handily won all of Giac's money.
"It seems you're reputation as a gambler has been quite exaggerated," the Doctor said mildly as Rocco teased Giac about his many losses that evening.
"Yeah, there's a lot about Giac that get exaggerated," Rocco said with a laugh.
The party had begun to wind down, just a dozen people drifting around lazily, drinking, playing quinze, chatting amiably as a single cellist improvised a slow song. Fitz sat with a girl in the corner, slouching, smoking a cigarette. A beautiful anachronism, wherever he went. He loved that about him.
"Yes, well, you wouldn't be the first person to become more charming in the retelling," the Doctor said absently, still watching Fitz with a little smile.
"How dare you!" Giac said with mock affront. "I'll have you know that the tales spread far and wide about my wit and charm are all quite true. Very few can resist me."
The Doctor rolled his eyes and looked back at Giac, pursing his lips for a moment before he spoke. "I can think of one, at least," the Doctor replied.
"Oh, I can seduce anybody," Giac said rather smugly, gesturing with his hands. "A natural gift, you see? An excess of charisma. Quite out of my control, it simply emanates from me."
And he leaned forward, resting his elbows on the Doctor's thighs for a moment. "I'd wager even you couldn't resist me if I made the effort. In fact, I'd gladly place a bet on it."
"Well, what would you have to bet me with? I believe I've already won all your money."
"Rocco?" Giac said, leaning back and crossing his arms.
Rocco gave Giac an exasperated look. "You already owe me 18 zecchini."
Giac have an exaggerated, pained hiss. "Bollocks. That much?"
He shrugged, and chuckled.
"Well, let's see…" Giac began. "Now, what exactly do I have that I could offer a gentlemen such as yourself?"
The Doctor laughed, "I wouldn't exactly be a gentleman if I excepted such a scandalous wager at all!"
Fitz returned at that moment, and handed the Doctor a snifter of amaretto as he downed half of his drink in one gulp. "A scandalous bet? Count me in."
"I'm afraid dear Giac doesn't have anything to bet with," the Doctor said, suddenly unsure of exactly what he was getting them into.
He idly wondered if Fitz had thought to bring his wallet, which the Doctor usually slipped a few condoms into as a general rule, due to the high probability that his rather philandering lover might find himself in one amorous encounter or another during their various adventures. Then he remembered that one panel from Histoire de Ma Vie showcasing Giacoma Casanova and a friend blowing up condoms like they were balloons as three ladies in various stages of undress watched on in amusement. And he laughed so hard he practically fell off the chair.
"Don't tell me you're drunk," Fitz said, catching the Doctor's drink with surprising dexterity, considering how much he was slurring his words.
The Doctor didn't quite end up on the floor as he tried to control his giggles, but it was a very close thing.
"Oh! I just remembered!" Giac exclaimed, turning to his friend with a smile. "Rocco, do we still have that chicken the Widow Battargia sent us the other day?"
"The live chicken that I told you I'd kill if it woke me up just one more time?"
"That's the one!"
The Doctor almost fell out of his chair laughing again, barely managing to speak. "You want to wager a chicken on my capacity for sexual restraint!"
Fitz had been in the middle of draining his amaretto, and spluttered liquor all over himself.