Hey! So, I've finally done the next chapter of this story. I think that after you write a certain story a few times, your brain starts screaming 'No! Why are we doing this AGAIN!' But, hey, I really want to get this one out. And I'm a drama student, I can deal with repetition.
I'm slowly chipping away at everything. So if one of your favourites haven't been posted in a while, fear not. I'm writing a little bit of each story, plus focusing mainly on one or two. I know that 'Through the Stars' and 'Footsteps' are most liked, but we have to give the other stories a chance too.
Anyway, enjoy this one!
Oh, also, a few people commented that Martha didn't seem suspicious enough of Rose, and I couldn't agree more. I wasn't very happy when I posted this, and I wasn't entirely happy with the conversation. So I've gone over and edited it. I feel much happier now.
I Know your Face
To say the truth, Rose was a little glad when the maid, Martha, had left. The woman had come to her with the dresses and the left over money from trading her jewellery.
Now, she had nothing against her ethnicity. In fact, she had no idea why people of this era were bigoted towards them. No, it was the way she had looked at her.
The entire time, Martha had looked at her suspiciously, as if she were some kind of danger she had to beware of. It had made her uncomfortable and even odder than she already felt. And she wished that someone would just look at her normally for once. Word had spread very quickly about who she was. Now everyone who saw her gazed at her in sympathy or curiosity.
Once again, she stuck her head down into the books. She liked this job. She was so focused on getting everything in order that it kept her mind off things like Martha and the fact that she could remember very, very little.
Already, she and Tim had reorganised and catalogued half of the books in the Dewey Decimal system. They had managed to get through A and B, before they got bored of doing things in order and decided to work backward through the non-fiction.
That was where they had hit a problem. The 900's of the Dewey Decimal system were 'History and Geography'. And it seemed that most of the books in this area had been taken out. Indeed, looking at the paperwork, it seemed that most of the missing books had been taken out by a 'Professor John Smith'. Headmaster Rocastle had told her it was likely he had the others too.
It was said that Professor Smith was rather absent minded. They said he was smart, a genius at times... but his head was in the clouds. He sounded sweet, and Rose couldn't wait to meet him.
And hadn't Tim asked her if she knew him?
It wouldn't be long till she met him anyway, though. The Headmaster had requested that Mr Smith bring back all the library books so she could get them in order long enough to at least figure out what was actually missing.
She had asked Tim a bit about him, too. Tim seemed a bit uncertain about him, but that was probably because he was a very shy boy. Apparently Mr Smith had begun working here around two months ago. And he had bought his maid, Miss Jones, with him. She had been told that Miss Jones was nice, but seemed very different to most women… Like her, Tim had said. Though, considering the way the woman had treated her only a few hours ago, Rose didn't really want to be compared to her in anyway.
"You do know we can just take more trips," she heard Martha enter the library. "Can you even see over that pile?"
"I can see perfectly well, thank you, Miss Jones," came an eerily familiar male voice. The second Rose heard it, her heart gave a pang of longing and excitement. That voice!
"You look like you're about to drop them all, Sir."
"I'm fine. Just, uh… left or right?"
"Right," Martha replied with a laugh in her voice. It was only a moment later that she walked around the corner. Behind her was a stack of books… that were hiding this man from view. "Hello, Miss Wolf."
"Martha. Thank you for helping with this." It might have been her imagination, but she thought she saw the man stiffen slightly at her voice.
"Yeah, well, Mr Smith has so many books it's going to take us a few more loads. Where should I put these?"
"Just over on that desk. You too, thank you, Mr Smith."
The both of them placed their piles, Mr Smith with much difficulty. With a slight grunt, he straightened up and turned around. When she saw his face, Rose gasped. There was just something so familiar about him. He seemed to be staring at her in shock, for some reason. Even that face… the face, the voice… Something…
Everything seemed so familiar about him. His height, his skinniness, the sharp angles of his gorgeous face… although, the hair seemed… wrong.
Before she knew what she was doing, Rose had launched herself into his arms. He caught her in surprise and she wrapped her arms around him tight, burying her head into his chest. She felt her eyes prickle and tears well up.
Suddenly she remembered what century it was, that this man probably didn't know her, and that she was, in fact, invading his personal space.
"I'm sorry," she squeaked, jumping back. She wiped at her eyes and stood with her hands behind her back. "I - I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to- I don't know what came over me- I-"
Mr Smith was staring at her with an open mouth and wide eyes. He floundered for a moment, trying to think of something to say, but he seemed to have gone into shock.
It was impossible… It was just not possible in any way! It was her, the girl from his dreams, standing right in front of him. It sounded like her, looked like her… even acted like her. He was only mildly surprised by her lack of boundaries.
The point was, that there was no possible way for a figment of his dreams to become reality.
"I, ah- No, no, it's- Um. Alright. It's alright. I'm alright. I, ah… Books. There's more books. I'll go get them." And with that, he turned and strode out of the room as fast as he could without running, bumping into a shelf as he went.
Rose stared at the empty door for a few more seconds. That man was so familiar. She had to know him. The second she had seen him, such feelings had been stirred within her. Feelings that she had never felt so strongly in her life. And he almost seemed to recognise her too.
Who was he? Who was he…?
The more she tried to think, the less anything would come to her. Finally, she staggered backwards to the desk, a hand clutching her aching head.
Why do they hurt… her memories?
Suddenly she got a flash of a large metal room. A man in black leather stood before her, worry on his face. Her vision was tainted with gold, and her mind burned.
"But why do they hurt…?" she whispered.
Rose stumbled back further, almost falling off the desk, her head laced with pain.
"Are you alright?" a voice asked, seeming somewhat far away. Rose blinked up to see the woman, Martha. She'd forgotten there was someone else in the room. "Miss Wolf? Can you hear me?" As she spoke, the words became clearer.
"Ah, yes. Yes, I'm fine. Sorry, I…"
"I beg your pardon, ma'am, but what was that?"
"I'm not sure, Martha. He just… I think I know him. He's so… familiar." She felt something warm slide down her cheek, quickly turning cold from the icy room. She reached up and felt the wet trails on her cheeks. She looked at the tears on her fingers in confusion. Why was she crying? She bashed her hand against the desk, growling in frustration. "Why can't I remember?!"
Martha just looked at her critically for a moment. "You… really have lost your memories, haven't you?" she said sympathetically.
"What do you mean?"
"You're not just pretending. Not faking it or anything. You really have just lost your memories."
"Why the hell would I pretend to lose my memories?!" Rose cried. What the hell kind of idea was that? Why would anyone in their right mind do that?
"Well, it could have been a plausible reason for being here, without coming up with much of an excuse."
"You aren't making any sense!"
"And you aren't speaking like someone from this time!" Martha cried.
"I have no idea what you're talking about!" She really didn't. Not from this time?
"I'm not! I can't remember anything! I can barely remember my own name! Why would I want to be here? I just want to go home!"
Martha looked at her, her eyes softening. This girl was clearly distressed and confused. She didn't know much about the Family, but she didn't think they acted like this. But the woman was talking and acting strangely. She seemed out of place here. "Okay, Miss Wolf, I'm going to ask you a question or say a word. And you answer with one word. Got it?"
"But... how can I answer. I don't remember anything. And when I try it just hurts."
"Then try not to think. Just answer," Martha told her, her voice not quite as harsh. "Okay, ready? Stars?"
Rose closed her eyes and tried not to think. She let the words come to her, barely paying attention as they slipped through her lips. "Brilliant."
"Astronaut." Martha blinked. Definitely not from here. Last she checked, astronauts didn't exist at this point in time. But why would she give such a simple answer.
"Internet." So not from this time.
"Home." She couldn't mean the TARDIS, could she? Martha hesitated before asking the next one.
"Love... no, pain." Suddenly her eyes snapped open as she realised what Martha had said. "Wait! Did you say Doctor? What do you know about him?" Martha clammed up and Rose grabbed her as she pleaded. "Please, Martha. I can only recall three things and that name is one of them. I... I know it's not a regular doctor. And there's this face. It keeps trying to push it's way through, but it hurts. When I try to think about the face my head tells me he's the Doctor. And... and I think Mr Smith looked like him, a bit."
Martha scrutinised the woman a little longer. She was from some other time and was looking for the Doctor, just like the family. But on the other hand she had said that the 'blue box' was her home. And besides, she had a memory of what he looked like, and that memory was trying to surface. The Family had not seen the Doctor. Finally, she conceded.
"Look, Miss Wolf, I can't be too careful. There are people, bad people, looking for the Doc- for Mr Smith. But he doesn't know that. We came here so he would be safe, but they're still looking for him. They can… change what they look like. It's my job to look out for him and make sure they don't find him. And I'm sorry, but a girl from nowhere, with no memories, who doesn't act or sounds like she's from 1913 seemed a little suspicious."
"…Yeah, fair point," Rose shrugged.
"And," Martha went on, dragging the word out. "I just told you all of that, and you don't think I'm crazy."
"Yeah, well…" Rose paused. "I don't know, I guess I'm used to it. I just don't find anything you said… strange. It's more strange to me, the fact that I'm working here and living linear time."
"Ha! You said linear time!" Martha said, pointing a finger at her. "Time traveler."
"Can't really agree, or disagree," Rose grinned uncomfortably. "Although, it does… seem familiar." She pulled up a chair for Martha and herself and sat down. Out of habit, it took Martha a little longer to sit.
"Well, I'm Martha Jones. I'm from the year 2007. I'm companion to the Doctor."
"You do know about him!" Rose said in surprise, sitting straight in her chair.
"Yeah… He's really only one of a few things you can remember?"
Slumping back, Rose began to fiddle with her skirts. "Well, yeah. I mean, other things just pop into my head out of nowhere. But when I woke up, there were just three things. Doctor. Bad Wolf. And Rose."
"Yeah, I figured it was my name. It just seemed right… But my last name isn't. I just used the wolf part of Bad Wolf, because it was the only other thing I knew. And Doctor didn't really seem to fit."
"Yep... I think."
"Well, then," Martha paused and swallowed, pushing down her feelings of pain and jealousy. "You just earned my trust completely."
"I've heard of you," Martha said.
"He talks about me?!" Rose said in joyful surprise. She had no idea where that emotion was coming from, but just hearing that made her very happy.
"Yeah. He does."
"So… John Smith is the Doctor?" Rose guessed. "Because so far he's the only really familiar thing I've seen."
"Yep. But… best not to go around saying it too much. He's being hunted by these aliens called the Family. They want to… Well, consume his essence, I guess… Oh, crap."
"I just realised why he acted like that when he saw you," Martha said. "To hide him, we had to turn him human. He doesn't actually remember being the Doctor. He's convinced that he's a human History teacher from the year 1913… but he has dreams. If he's dreamt about his life as the Doctor, he's probably dreamt about you."
"So… he recognized me… from a dream."
"Looks like it. He's probably freaking out right now."
"Oh dear. Hold on, there's something I'm missing. The Doctor's here… There's something else with him… I can't quite…"
"TARDIS! That sounds really familiar." Martha laughed at how excited Rose got at the mention of the machine.
"Tell you what, I'll take you to see it sometime."
"Yay!" She joyfully clapped her hands a little, causing Martha to laugh. Something about that sounded so wonderful.
"You cannot be serious," they suddenly heard someone else enter the library. A student.
"No, I saw it myself," said another. "He was talking to Matron, all flustered and whatnot, next thing you know, he's toppling down the stairs. All the way to the bottom, a good trail of books following him."
"Blimey! Mind you, it's not exactly unexpected from Mr Smith."
Martha and Rose looked at each other with wide eyes, then, at the same time, stood and ran. Martha led the way to his office, where he would no doubt be. There, they found Ms Redfern tending to a wound on his head.
"Because it hurts," they heard him say sulkily.
"Is he all right?" Martha said breathlessly.
"Excuse me, Martha. It's hardly good form to enter a master's study without knocking," Ms Redfern scolded.
"Sorry, right, yeah," she said in annoyance. She strode out past the still frozen, and unacknowledged Rose, to the door. She blatantly knocked on it, before coming back in and standing by Rose. "But is he all right? They say you fell down the stairs, Sir."
"It was just a tumble, that's all," he said, clearly not happy at the attention. He hadn't looked up since Martha had burst in.
"That's all?!" Rose cried in alarm. At the sound of her voice, Mr Smith stiffened. "You 'tumbled' down a flight of stairs!" Automatically, she went to his side.
"Have you checked for concussion?" Martha asked the nurse.
"I have. And I dare say I know a lot more about it than you," Ms Redfern said sternly. Martha nodded and stood down silently. Rose got the impression that not only was Martha sick of being treated that way, but she actually did know more about it than the nurse. She could practically see Martha twitching to go over and help.
"Sorry," Martha said. "I'll just… tidy your things…"
Rose had been too busy watching the interaction, that she had failed to see the familiar man next to her, staring at her with wide eyes. Now she did.
"Are you all right, Doctor?" the words automatically slipped from her lips. Three heads snapped sharply towards her. Mr Smith looking at her almost in fear, Martha in warning, and Ms Redfern in curiosity.
"Doctor?" she said. "As in your dreams?"
"Dreams?" Rose questioned.
"Y-yes," Mr Smith stuttered. "I was just telling Nurse Redfern- Matron, um, about my dreams. They are quite remarkable tales, Miss Wolf."
"Rose," she said.
At this, Mr Smith practically went white. "Wh-what?"
"My name. It's Rose. I'm… not really certain that Wolf is my last name. So, please, just call me Rose."
"R-right. Yes, sorry, of - of course."
"It's all right. W-would I be allowed to hear these stories?" she said hopefully. If this man really was part of her past, which every fibre of her being was telling her he was, then he may be able to help her remember.
"Yes, well, I keep imagining that I'm someone else. I'm called the Doctor, a man from another world… a madman, really. And - and I have two hearts."
"Two hearts?!" Ms Redfern said in surprise. "Well, then, I can be the judge of that." She went into her medical bag and pulled out a stethoscope. Mr Smith leaned back, with his hands on his stomach, looking almost relaxed as she placed the end over where his heart was, then where it would be. Although he looked relaxed, Martha noticed that he kept glancing back at Rose. "I can confirm the diagnosis. Just one heart. Singular."
Mr Smith chuckled a little, shaking off the strange feeling he got whenever he looked at the mysterious woman from his dreams.
"I have written down some of these dreams in the form of fiction… um… not that it would be of any interest…"
"I'd be very interested to have a look," Rose said. If anything – anything - could jog her memory, she would be happy.
"As would I," Ms Redfern said.
Smiling in surprise, Mr Smith got up and moved to his desk. "Well… I've never shown it to anyone before." He went back over and showed them a black, leather bound journal. He opened it to the first page and held it out so the three of them could see it.
"Journal of Impossible Things," Ms Redfern read off the first page.
"Nothing's impossible," Rose grinned. "Just a bit unlikely."
"Just look at these creatures!" Ms Redfern gasped in amazement. "Such imagination."
"They're incredible," Rose said. And even better, almost everything she saw in that book seemed very familiar.
"Mmm. It's become quite a hobby."
As Mr Smith turned the next page, they saw a glimpse of a familiar looking woman, before the book was snapped shut.
"Anyway," he said, holding the book behind his back. "The stories really are brilliant, but some are quite sad. I travel through worlds and through time. There's this box, the blue box. It's always there. It's like… like a magic carpet. This funny little box that transports me to faraway places."
"Like a doorway?"
"Blue box…" Rose muttered. "Bigger on the inside."
"S-sorry?" Mr Smith stuttered.
"Well… it - it's got to be, right? You said it was this box… but I saw a drawing of this ship inside. How could all of that fit in a small blue box."
Mr Smith blinked at her for a second. He had not realised she'd seen that picture. He felt a smile creep up his lips. "I sometimes think how magical life would be if things like this were true," he admitted.
"If only," Ms Redfern agreed.
"It's just a dream." He gave a short, quiet laugh.
"I, ah, I best be off," Ms Redfern said. "Heaven forbid there are any children needing my help down there. You should be all right, Mr Smith. I hope your head feels better soon."
"H-head? Oh, yes. Right, of course. Thank you. Good day, Joan, ah, Matron."
Joan tried to hide a small giggle before she dipped her head and left.
"Hmm?" he said, looking up at Rose.
"Could I… borrow that journal? Just… I noticed that there was more in it. And I would very much like to read the rest of it."
"Um, yes. Yes, of course you can." He held the journal out to her, and carefully, she took it from his hand. "Perhaps you could help me make sense of it."
Rose smiled. "I'll see what I can do for you. Good day, Mr Smith." Then, she turned to leave.
"Excuse me?" she said, turning back to him.
"Call me John. I get to call you Rose, it's only fair that you get to call me John."
Rose's special tongue in teeth grin spread across her face. "Good day, John." And she left.
Martha looked at him as he stood there, looking at the empty doorway. "Goodbye, Rose," he whispered.