AN ~ If any of you have been around the internet the last few days, you will have received some sad news. Yes it's the way it goes and all that, but in the words of Idris: "It's sad when it's over." If you don't know what I'm talking about, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry for when you find out.
I have set myself a challenge: to watch every episode of New Who between now and November and to create something (vid, fic, photo/meme/art) inspired by each one/storyline. I started with Eleventh Hour and Beast Below, images on my facebook fanpage. They'll be pretty far down by now but in case you want to follow my challenge (or just the page in general) here's the link:
www . /pages/ Doctor-Who-Always-Bring-a-Banana-To-a-Party /390119477732051 (without the spaces. We are having an admin comp btw – 500 likes!)
Anyway, back to this fic. There will be plenty later about that sad news, but I watched Victory of the Daleks this afternoon (the very first Come Along Pond – naaw!) and because I love Bracewell and I needed to do something happy, here goes.
As the stranger and the Scottish girl disappeared down the hall, Professor Edwin Bracewell's head spun. The metal under his skin no longer felt as heavy as it had just moments before. He turned on his heel, to look over his desk and his papers; all he had achieved throughout the war. Just think of the people he had saved! Dalek robot or no, he was a Brit, he was a Scotsman, and above all he was a man.
He spun back on his heels to face the corridor, and he could almost smell the fresh air of home despite the mildew and the cigar smoke. He took a step forward and spun back. He couldn't leave now, not like this, he didn't have any- well, anything! No clothes, no money, nothing! And – he stared with wide eyes at his damaged limb – only one hand! He couldn't go find Dorabella looking like this, now could he?
Almost throwing himself back at his desk, the Professor dug through his things – leaving a trail of disarray, part haste and part one-handedness – and tossed miscellaneous supplies into a toolbox that had once been painted red. Schematics were already assembling themselves in his mind as to how to fix the hand. A flesh covering might be difficult but he could easily synthesise one if he could get his good hand on the right chemicals. In the mean time, he had carriages to ride and country to see – for real, with his very own eyes, not someone else's. He had a home to go to, and a lost love to find.
It didn't take him long at all to find his home. There was a post office on the lane, in the shade of two large ash trees, just as he had always remembered. It was run by a storybook-lovely old couple called Mr & Mrs Potts: exactly the sort of people the Professor would have liked to think his parents were. These were of course not his parents, and not the parents of the man whose memories he had; their deaths were as true a memory as the post office's green door and the tinkle of its bell as one stepped over the threshold.
Dorabella, however, was a different story. Mayworth was her last name. She was the daughter of a widowed cobbler. When her father left for the Great War she went to London to find work, and she had not been heard from since in this little town of his. It made the Professor's heart ache to think something might have happened to her, and he couldn't help but join the clamouring relatives searching London papers and radio channels for news.
The Western Front fell silent a second time, and there was still no word. The scraps of Europe hobbled home, licking their wounds, and Mr Mayworth was not among the survivors. Winston Churchill and the party of the War fell out of favour with the British majority, a struggling Britain lifted itself from the ashes, and Professor Bracewell repaired his hand to functioning point (though he had to wear gloves in company) and started lecturing and tutoring Chemistry and Physics at the University of Glasgow.
Sometimes he had nightmares – about the Great War, about the Second War. Sometimes everyone turned out to be cardboard cut-outs like sets for the pictures. Sometimes that circle in his chest would light up and he would wake up yelling for the Doctor. But every morning, he would switch on the radio and listen for the name he hoped so deeply to hear. That hope, that fluttering hope, made him confident that the gadget inside him would never reactivate: if nothing else, he was safe and he was human in that moment of tremulous anticipation each day.
Then, one day in late April, he was approached after a lecture by a mature aged woman with faintly greying blonde hair in curls around her ears, hugging her books to her chest. Her face was vaguely familiar...could it be?
"Excuse me, sir," she began, in a Paisley accent softened by years in London, which he should have been expecting, but was not. His surprise didn't show, however, as his thoughts seemed to have quite lost connection with his facial expression – probably a good thing since he was undeniably staring. "I was wondering if you might go over magnetic induction with me again? I'm afraid I got a little lost in the lecture."
He stared for a moment longer, until the woman blushed and looked down at her books, pulling one from the stack and offering it out to him – her lecture notes, by the looks of the tiny, elegant script. The Professor blinked, and cleared his throat.
"Of course my dea- I mean, ah, Ma'm." Scolding himself, Bracewell grabbed the nearest piece of chalk and leapt out of his seat with slightly conspicuous speed to begin re-illustrating the diagram on the blackboard. After a few lines, he had gathered himself together (except for that pesky fluttering in the place where his memory told him he had a heart), and he decided to turn back to her and take the plunge.
"Dorabella Riley, sir," she said before he could so much as open his mouth. The question died on his lips, and this time she must have seen his face fall because she looked away again.
"Ms Riley. My husband, Richard, he...well he..."
She pursed her lips together and stopped. The Professor cleared his throat again.
"Magnetic induction, Ms Riley. Let us begin again."