Categories > TV > Doctor Who

Neither One nor the Other

by xwingace 1 review

Crossover with the BBC series Casanova; set after Parting of the Ways but before The Christmas Invasion. How do you deal with the same man getting a new face when suddenly a new man with the same f...

Category: Doctor Who - Rating: PG - Genres: Angst, Crossover, Romance - Warnings: [!] - Published: 2006-04-06 - Updated: 2006-04-06 - 6265 words - Complete

Disclaimer: Everything belongs to the BBC and possibly to Russel T. Davies. Not me, I'm just playing, and I don't mean any harm.

Credit: Major thanks go to Saganami Dreams for her positive criticims during the writing of this. Also thank you to shade_shifter for looking it over when finished, and an even bigger thank you to Margaret Price for her time and effort, even if we did end up disagreeing over this fic and I disregarded most of her advice. Blame me, that's what I say.

Note: This was originally written and posted long before TCI, and details may not comply with canon as it stands.

Comments and corrections are always welcome, leave a review or email me at



The Doctor starts to say something, but is distracted by an odd feeling in his mouth. He runs his tongue over the offending articles, and concludes that they are, in fact, this regeneration's teeth. Weird. Now, where was he? He distinctly remembers talking about going somewhere, before. What was it again? Ah yes, Barcelona. The planet, that is.

Hmm, he must have said some of that out loud, because Rose is staring at him like he suddenly has grown that second head. Still, this is no time to be standing around goggling at each other. There are times to go to, places to see. So he grins at her, and then turns to the TARDIS's console, ready to set the coordinates. Before he can properly reach it, though, he feels a wave of nausea wash over him and his legs abruptly lose the ability to support his weight.

He can just brace himself on the edge of the console, knocking back a few levers in the process. Oh no. This will not do. The last thing he needs now is to succumb to the effects of post-regenerative crisis. Well, if there were just him in the TARDIS, it might not be so bad. He managed last time. But now Rose is here as well, and she already has to deal with a Doctor that has completely changed his face. What will it do to her if he just collapses now?

Yes, that's another weird thing. He remembers her; not just as another name, another face of another companion, but as /Rose/, the woman he's died for. Who he would die for again, if necessary. Normally feelings like that changed, didn't they? Yet here he is, with a brand new face, brand new body, and not so brand new feelings. All of which makes it all the more important not to worry her too much.

But he really does need to sit down for a little while and try to find his strength again, so that he can let go of the TARDIS's console without falling on the floor. Ah, that's it, send her to get changed. Barcelona is populated by fairly humanoid aliens, and they have a strict dress code, one that Rose currently doesn't comply with. Nor does he, to be honest, and this jacket really is on the large side, but he doesn't have the energy to do anything about that at the moment.

The Doctor looks up at Rose. She's still in shock, still staring out to where his previous self changed into this one. His movement now at least does draw her gaze.

"You might want to change your clothes if you don't want to get arrested in Barcelona," he tells her. When she just stands there, looking confused, he eggs her on further. "Go on, you know where the wardrobe is." Well, he hopes she does, at any rate, because its location seems to have slipped his mind at the moment. Thankfully, she leaves the console room. He sags on the floor as soon as she is out the door.


Rose walks out of the console room in a daze. What has just happened? Why is she even in the TARDIS, and who is the stranger that just sent her out of the console room? She remembers her mother shouting at Mickey to put his foot down. Why, though? Then there was singing, and millions of bright sparks, and when she woke up the Doctor was there, babbling on about Barcelona. He said goodbye, or she thinks he did, and then there was another gold light and the stranger had taken the Doctor's place. And then she just gets sent off with nary an explanation, just some gibberish about teeth. That's not right. That's never right.

Despite her confusion the wardrobe is easily found and Rose enters it before realising she's reached it. Dozens of utterly gorgeous dresses, of silk and lace and rich brocade, in all the colours of the rainbow, shimmer and glitter in front of her. Unfortunately, they do not include black. She's in the mood for black. Deep purple will have to do, then.

There's a diagram on the inside of the door. Why is it, when the Doctor sends her to get changed, that the things she has to change into are always this complicated? The dress she wore in nineteenth century Cardiff had been painful and difficult to put on by herself, but this one looks even more impossible. How is she supposed to lace the bodice at her own back, for example? Ah, but this dress has thoughtfully been provided with little insets, so she doesn't have to. Small mercies, at least.

The struggling with the dress does take her mind off her current circumstances for a little while. She is dressing up to go somewhere with the Doctor, just like always. Maybe the Doctor changing - dying? - was just a bad dream. A hallucination, perhaps. Yeah, that sounds right. So that's it, then. She's just hallucinating.

When she keeps that in mind, it's a lot easier to enjoy the dressing up. It's almost like she used to play as a kid, only now the dresses are much nicer than Grandma's old nightgowns. And the jewellery and accessories are a lot prettier. Rose folds open an ivory fan with a gold-embroidered leaf of purple silk and studies herself with it in the mirror. Yes, this is as good as it's going to get and it's excellent, even if she does say so herself. Or should she put on another dress? This purple one is a bit dark... No, that'll take too long. She wants to go out with the Doctor and explore.

She has to walk through the doors to the console room sideways; her dress is so wide. Rose doesn't care; she wants to show it off to the Doctor. She's certain he'll gape again and tell her she's beautiful, just like he did way back then. So when she enters the console room and sees the Doctor standing there, half hidden by the central column, she smiles broadly and steps around it to surprise him.

But then the Doctor's head and face come into view, and they are the usurper's. Rose feels her smile fall as she registers the new man's features all over again. It was all real. Her Doctor is gone, and any trace of the good mood she was in disappears. It burns away into despair, like her Doctor burned.

The new man's face forms a pale contrast to the Doctor's dark clothes. A smile almost seems to form on it as she comes over, but it falls along with her own. Large, glittery eyes move from her face to take in her clothing. Then the dark eyebrows drop into a frown. Does he disapprove of the dress? Then that's his problem. It's not like she dressed up to please /him/, anyway. But he says nothing, merely gestures towards the door, in a gesture that is almost, but not quite, that of the Doctor she remembers.

Outside, the weather isn't being helpful either. Instead of torrential rain and a storm-force gale, or even simply a blackly overcast sky, there is bright sunshine and barely a breeze to be found. The usurper has followed her out and is now walking a little ahead, feeling the wall of one of the buildings lining the alley they have landed in. She doesn't want to be following /him/, so she sweeps ahead and out of the alley. She senses him walking half a step behind. They must have walked at least half a mile through a maze of streets and canals before he even speaks.

"This isn't right."

Oh, he's one to talk about things not being right. He's everything that's wrong about this situation in the first place. Rose doesn't hesitate to say so. A little to her surprise, that seems to genuinely hurt this entity that has taken the Doctor's place. His posture slumps, making the Doctor's clothes seem even more incongruously large, and the man even stumbles. But he collects himself again, takes a deep breath and manages a reply.

"Unfortunately, Rose, I'm not what's wrong here." He takes another deep breath, and his Adam's apple rises and falls as he swallows before continuing. "This isn't Barcelona." Something catches his eye and conjures something resembling a grin on his face. He nods at something behind her. "Look, a dog, nose and all."

Rose turns around to see a dog, which is indeed fully nasally equipped, rummaging in a refuse pile. Nothing to laugh about, though. Her expression must speak volumes, because the grin on the stranger's face disappears instantly when she faces him again. Then there is a long silence, during which he first stares at her face, then slowly lowers his eyes to stare at the cobbles, while she keeps glaring at him.

Well. If he keeps this up, then she's never going to find out where they are. "So where are we, then? And when?"

The stranger looks up and around. "It looks like Venice. Probably somewhere in the middle of the eighteenth century." The usurper pauses again. Is he waiting for her to say something? No, because now he turns to look at her again and continues: "Do you want to go back to the TARDIS? We could try again..."

Just another reminder that the new man isn't the Doctor. When had he ever cared that where they arrived wasn't where they had wanted to go? No, she is here, so she's going to explore. Even if it does feel strange without the Doctor by her side to grin, take her hand, and lead her into trouble. This time, Rose is leading as she turns around and heads off in the opposite direction from where she thinks they left the TARDIS.

He follows her again, struggling to keep up with her angry strides. Very quickly now they reach busier thoroughfares. She notices they're drawing odd looks from the crowd, but she doesn't care. As the number of people increases, so does the beauty of the environment. The magnificent facades of the houses and the intricate fountains and benches are somehow accentuated by the colourful masses streaming around them. Snatches of music drift in from somewhere, from an instrument Rose doesn't recognise.

So absorbed in her surroundings is she that she doesn't notice her companion falling further behind. The crowd around her increases, the buildings draw back further, and she finds herself in a large square. At one end is a structure even Rose recognises, and now she is sure that they really are in Venice. She turns around to smugly inform the usurper of this, and finds him gone.

This is some cause for worry. It's not that she really minds him being gone; she wasn't really enjoying his company anyway. But she's now alone in a strange city, in a strange time, and that is less comforting.

You know what? She's a big girl. She can find her own way back. She just needs to find the TARDIS again. Mister 'let's go to Barcelona' is bound to have gone back there as well. After all, he was the one who suggested turning around in the first place. Now, which alley had they come out of again?


After two-and-a-half hours of wandering around, Rose's confidence is waning, giving way to desperation. It's all these canals and bridges. She's not used to a city where she has to cross a bridge just to get across the main street, so to speak. And all the back alleys look alike, all horrible. Now she really wishes she had paid more attention to the way she was going this afternoon. But she is so used to having the Doctor around to point the way for her, it never even occurred to her. No matter how thoroughly lost she got, the Doctor would be there to take her by the hand and drag her back to the TARDIS. And if not the Doctor, then Jack.

Oh God, they really are gone. Surrendering her frantic search for the TARDIS, she sinks down on a conveniently placed stone bench. Now the full impact of whatever happened at the Game Station hits. It's not just the Doctor who's gone. She hasn't seen Jack either, not since that goodbye kiss. And there is just no way the Doctor would have left Jack behind if he were still alive, not even if the Doctor did happen to be dying himself at the time. So, no more Doctor, no more Jack, and she manages to get herself utterly lost a hundred and fifty years from the earliest flight home.

She fights the tears at first, but inexorably they come. Soon, she is sobbing so hard she doesn't even notice someone sitting down beside her. The first time she becomes aware that there is indeed someone else present is when long, elegant fingers prise her handkerchief out of her hands and use it to delicately mop up the tears from her face.

"There, that's much better. We can't have such a beauty as yours crying in public, now can we?" The voice sounds somewhat familiar, but with her eyes still full of tears, Rose can't see who her benefactor is. She does notice a red blur from a sleeve as her fan is also plucked from her hands and a purple blotch when it is folded open. She closes her eyes to enjoy the fresh air being wafted over her skin.

The voice continues. "In fact, it would be even better if you never needed to cry at all. What upset you so much?"

Rose opens her eyes. The tears have cleared away enough that she can now see who is paying her all the attention. Oh, but this is just too much. The usurper has found her, and he seems to think changing his clothes and showing concern now is going to make everything okay. Never mind that he let her wander all over Venice for hours, probably just waiting for her to break out in tears so he could swoop in and play the gentleman. Rose just manages to resist the urge to slap him, but she doesn't even try to disguise the frosty tone in her voice. "You took your bloody time, didn't you?"

The man's eyebrows rise, one after the other, transforming the look of concern into one of shock. But then his sky-blue eyes acquire a mischievous glint and he starts grinning. The resulting expression on the stranger's face is one Rose has only seen before on Jack Harkness at his most outrageous.

Now she does slap him. How dare he: not only has he taken her Doctor's place, but now he's trying to be Jack. Things just can't be more wrong than that. Somewhere in the background someone makes a noise of outrage. The man sitting next to her takes the slap about as well as the Doctor took the one her mother dealt him. Typical. She turns away from him, determined not to speak to him again, even if it does mean she'll be stuck in Venice in the 1750's.

But the stranger is not going to give up that easily. She feels a warm hand lightly touch her shoulder. "What's that all about, then?" he asks. When she doesn't deign to reply to his question, the stranger continues. "Come on, you can talk to Giac..."

Jack? Rose almost shouts out the name as she looks up and around trying to find him. No such luck. The small square is deserted apart from her, the stranger and a black man in a blue suit, standing at a discrete distance. So she asks. "Where?"

"Right here." The stranger gets up from the stone bench and after some flourishes with his arms and legs Rose can't quite follow, ends up in a deep bow, right hand extended towards her. "Giacomo Casanova, at your service." She lays her hand into his and he kisses it, very gently. "My friends call me Giac."

Casanova? Wasn't that one of the great seducers in literature? Has the usurper managed to throw them into a fictional world? No, wait, one of them had been real, hadn't he? She thought that was Don Juan, but apparently it was Casanova that really existed. /Exists/, at this point in time. Oh God, and she slapped him! That thought, and the memory of the look on his face, makes her giggle.

This also brings back the grin on Casanova's face. "Much better. You should do that all the time." He pulls on her hand, drawing her to her feet. He applies slightly too much force, so that she overbalances, and he catches her around the waist. But instead of taking advantage of that situation, as she fully expects him to do, he immediately puts her back on her feet and lets go. "Oops. Sorry."

She smiles at his apologetic grin. "That's okay. I should be apologising, anyway."

He shrugs. "I've been treated worse." The mischievous glint in his eyes returns. "Though not usually at the first meeting, I admit, at least not by a lady." Her eyes lock with his, and there is a long moment when neither of them speaks. During that time, the slight smirk on Casanova's face grows into a full smile. Then he asks: "Since there's nobody around who can introduce me to you, may I be so bold as to ask your name?"

"Rose Tyler."

"Tyler... That doesn't sound Italian. Where are you from, golden Rose?"

"I've come a long way." She certainly had, in more ways than one. "But I'm from London, in England."

One of Casanova's eyebrows rises again as he smiles in anticipation. Then he says something, and for the first time, Rose can't understand a word he's saying. "What was that?"

"'A Rose by any other name would smell as sweet.' That's from one of your famous writers, isn't it?" The frown that appears on his face is identical to the one on the usurper's face when he saw her in the dress she's now wearing. "Couldn't you understand that?"

He's spoken English? But they'd been speaking English all this time... So why hadn't she understood that, when everything else had been completely clear? Ah, because Casanova, at least, isn't speaking English. She's just hearing it as such. The TARDIS is still translating for her, and because Casanova's Shakespeare quote was in English, even if horribly accented, she heard it the way it was said. It's quite a comfort to know that the TARDIS is still here. She isn't stranded permanently. Yet.

But the young man in front of her is still staring at her inquisitively. She has to say /something/, at least. She forms a smile. "Your accent needs some work."

He smiles back. "Well, maybe you can help me with it." With a wink, he presents her with his elbow. "I'm getting tired of standing here. Shall we take a walk?"

She lays her arm over his and he pulls it in snugly, like the Doctor did in Cardiff. But as soon as they start walking, they fall out of step. Casanova mutters under his breath to correct her pace. Instead of her purposeful stride, Rose is soon gliding along on his arm. Her graceful gait is only interrupted by the occasional stumble as she stubs her toe on a wayward cobble. Casanova seems to find it amusing.

"So what brings you here, then?"

What to tell this young charmer about that? She can't bloody well tell him she came here in a time machine. "We're travellers, on our way to Barcelona. We had to make an unscheduled stop here, so I wanted to see the sights." This was entirely true, in a way.

"Your wish is my command. Shall we go this way, then?"

As Casanova guides her around the corner, Rose notices that the black man who'd been in the square is now following them. Casanova sees her looking over her shoulder and asks what's wrong. She tells him about the man following them and he looks behind them. When he sees who she means, he starts to laugh. "Of course he's following us." He calls out to the man. "Rocco, come over here." Voice extremely pompous, but humour still dancing in his eyes, he continues: "May I introduce my manservant, Rocco."

Rocco approaches. When he is close, he bows before her. "My lady." His expression when he looks at her is entirely neutral, but the one he directs at Casanova betrays some good-natured annoyance.

"Do you have to follow us like that?" Rose asks him.

Rocco shoots another glance at his master. "It would be the proper thing to do, miss." There is a strange sort of emphasis on that last word.

If Casanova has picked up on it, he's not letting on. "And Rocco is very adept at observing the proprieties in public," he says while winking at Rose, "so it would appear that he has to follow us, yes."

"Just ignore me, Miss Tyler."

If Rose is reading the exchange between these two correctly they are more than just servant and master. There is a friendship there as well. But still, it's a bit unnerving to have someone pacing them like that, silent but listening. Even if he does have the trust of her current companion. So for the next few minutes she is silent while Casanova plays tour guide. He must have noticed her reticence however, because he is soon regaling her more with stories from his own past than anecdotes about the streets they're walking through.

The stories remind Rose of Jack Harkness and his adventures with and without her and the Doctor, and after a while she is talking enthusiastically about them. Well, with a few adaptations so that time-travel doesn't enter into it, of course. Casanova listens to her with rapt attention, laughing and joking with her as the tall tale approaches its conclusion. He follows it with the tale of how he himself was dismissed from the seminary in Padua. But just as he's reaching the punchline, he interrupts himself. "Ah, here we are."

Rose looks around, seeing nothing special. Surrounding them are tall buildings, highly ornamented but seeming to have fallen into disrepair. The one they've stopped in front of towers over them, five stories into the air. "Where's here?"

"My home. The least I can do is offer you supper. You don't mind fish, do you?"


Once again, the Doctor ponders his penchant for choosing companions that wander off into trouble when he's not looking, even if just for a few seconds. And there were probably even more than he can remember at this point. His memory is still a bit fuzzy on the things that happened in his more distant past. But there is nothing fuzzy about his memory of Rose, dressed as if she were the wife of the Doge, striding wide-eyed through the crowds.

He also remembers the pins that started pricking, first in his fingers and toes and then spreading over his entire body, and the static crowding in on his vision. He'd sought support against a wall for an instant, closed his eyes for a fraction of that. And now that his eyes are open again, Rose is nowhere to be seen.

Yes, typical. Then again, she's dressed even more richly than most other people visible on the streets, and it's not like her behaviour blends in particularly well. She shouldn't be that hard to find. The Doctor deliberately picks a different street from the one they had come from. Knowing Rose, wherever they had been already would be the least likely place to find her now.

He has been searching for about an hour when the pins and needles start again. They are followed by an odd numbness and this time the Doctor stumbles before he can catch himself. He staggers into a group of nuns who scatter around him, crossing themselves. Only one of them pays him any attention, helping him up to disapproving comments of her sisters. When she turns away to join them, the Doctor notices the bulge under her habit that can mean only one thing. A pregnant nun? How strange.

He continues his seemingly futile search, wandering ever deeper into the back alleys of Venice. The prickling keeps returning, more and more often, and even when it goes away the Doctor is light-headed, as if he's had too little sleep. Which is of course ridiculous. He barely needs sleep. Then again, he is clearly suffering the after effects of regeneration. Perhaps he should head back to the TARDIS and rest, to continue the search for Rose later.

No, that's out of the question. With his memories in their current state of flux, it might even be possible that he'll forget, and leave her here, far away from home. Unprotected. He has to find her.

The Doctor ploughs on, finding his way back to the somewhat more reputable streets. There is still no Rose to be found. His feet are starting to drag, the boots too heavy on his feet, and the wool of the jumper he's wearing is itchy against his chest. He's also starting to draw attention to himself. He sees some people pointing and staring, women hiding behind their fans as they turn to each other to gossip. But all of them draw away as he comes closer. Nobody seems to want to get close to him.

Then he turns a corner and immediately gets far closer to someone than is desirable. The man the Doctor has bumped into roughly shoves him out of the way, against a wall. "Get away from me, beggar." But then the man gets a closer look at the Doctor's face and the look of annoyed disinterest changes into a smile that doesn't carry into the man's cold eyes. "Casanova. Finally dressing according to your station, I see. Or are you spying on someone?" He laughs, and two men dressed in livery join with him. The woman on his arm forces a smile, but her shock at seeing the Doctor like this is clear. Then the man signals to his two servants and turns away, drawing the woman with him. "Come, darling. My father is expecting us. We'll be late."

The couple walks away. The two servants follow, but each administers another shove to the Doctor. Neither shove is particularly violent, but because he's not feeling all that well to begin with, they send the Doctor reeling. This time, there's nothing for him to find support on, and he lands sprawled in the gutter. He tries to get up, but he can barely find the strength in his arms to crawl out of the roadway. The static starts at the edges of his vision again, and closing his eyes does nothing to clear it now. Instead, the grey shimmer fills his entire field of vision and then turns dark.


When Rose enters Casanova's apartment, the first thing she notices is the clutter. All of it is neatly stowed, but the whole room is full of various sorts of odd apparatus, books, and clothing. It almost works to hide the damp-riddled walls that are losing their plaster in several places.

Casanova sees her interest in some of his toys and starts explaining what they're for. With the same enthusiasm he used when talking about his exploits, he now talks about the possibilities and beauty of science, astronomy, poetry and music. He tries to demonstrate his prowess with the violin, but it's out of tune and he throws it aside in disgust.

In that instant, Rose sees something of the Doctor in him, the way he used to look when he'd dreamed up a marvellously impressive destination, and the TARDIS landed them someplace else.

The disgust passes quickly, and he is soon waxing lyrical about new inventions and what might come out of them, showing her pictures in the books. He even demonstrates an experiment where a small glass globe filled with water is heated over a candle until the water starts to boil and the steam escaping through vents in the sphere set it spinning. Voice full of wonder, he explains that it might one day be used to power carriages so that no more horses would be needed.

Before Rose can think of a response to that, Rocco comes up the stairs with the platters for dinner. As soon as he has served it, Casanova dismisses his servant. Rocco seems reluctant to leave, but Casanova insists, repeating his dismissal and suggesting that he take the whole night off.

Rocco takes the hint and leaves.


Merciful blackness.


Why is someone pulling at his arm and talking next to his ear? Consciousness returns fully and now it becomes clear that the talking is, in fact, scolding. The Doctor finds himself being carried by a strong black-skinned individual who, by the sound of it, is none too satisfied with the task.

"...bloody drunk. Bet he left that lady all by herself, too. Bloody idiot."

He wants to reply, but his tongue is swollen in his mouth and doesn't want to respond to his commands. All the Doctor manages is a half-grunted, "Bwuh?"

That gets an immediate reaction from the man carrying him. "How about that. He's awake. Well? What happened to your clothes?"

When the Doctor can't manage an answer, the man sets him down and shakes him. "Wake up, stupid." The Doctor still doesn't manage an answer, and now the tone of voice changes to one of concern. "I've seen you drunk before, but never this bad. Are you okay?"

What is going on here? Who is this black man, and why does he think they know each other? The Doctor shakes his head in an attempt to clear it.

The stranger seems to interpret this as an answer to his last question. He pulls the Doctor's arm over his shoulder again and partially lifts him. "Let's get you home, then."

It's a long way to go to 'home'. It gives the Doctor's head enough time to clear a little. He's still unsure how long he has been unconscious, but he remembers the encounter with what must have been a nobleman. That man had called him by a name too. What was it again? Casanova.

Now something clicks. However this new face looks, it must resemble history's greatest lover a great deal. Oh, the irony. He has probably thoroughly damaged Jack Harkness's spiritual predecessor's reputation as a snappy dresser, at the very least. It also explains all the odd looks he's been drawing all afternoon. His current support must be a friend, or perhaps a servant.

Hang on, hasn't the black man said something about a lady? Could it be Rose? It would be in keeping with her usual tendency to end up in the spot where she can cause the most trouble. Nah, probably not. After all, the major thing Casanova was famous for was never being short on female company.

They reach a tall house, which is apparently their destination, and the black man carries him up two flights of stairs. Partway up the Doctor hears a giggle, the sound unmistakable. It's Rose. That realisation gives him a spurt of energy and he struggles free, darting up the remaining stairs.

The stairs end in a comfortably furnished room. Rose is there indeed. Standing over her, laughing with her, is a young man, half undressed by the standards of this time. They both look up at the noise of the Doctor's entrance. Rose's smile disappears immediately, her mouth dropping open and her eyebrows rising in the surprise of a child caught doing something she shouldn't. Well, at least she realises she's doing something wrong, even if it doesn't seem to have prevented her doing it.

The reaction of the young man is a little more surprising. Initially he acts like someone irritated at being disturbed, but at the sight of the interloper he freezes and turns pale.

He must look a sight, too, all covered in dust and mud, with the collar of his oversized jacket turned up, breathing hard from the climb up the stairs.

They stand there, the three of them, frozen for the seconds it takes the black man to follow the Doctor into the room. He's the one that breaks the silence. "Now what was that all about then? Why st-." He must have caught sight of the tableau. "Bloody hell."

"Well said, Rocco." The young man is the first to recover his wits and he responds to what must be his servant. "Your companion, I presume," he says to Rose while still staring at the Doctor.

"Yes," the Doctor answers, and he hears Rose's voice along with his own. The young man snorts at that and carefully, almost apprehensively, approaches the Doctor. Blue eyes gaze piercingly into his own, then start to study every inch of him.

This must be Casanova. Somehow, the Doctor had imagined him differently. Older, at least; he can't be much over twenty. But young or not, Casanova must already be working hard at his career, because by the looks of it, he has Rose entirely at his mercy. And that's not good, oh no. He has to get her out of here now. He ignores Casanova, who is still incredulously investigating him.

"Rose, we're going. Come on."

At the same time as she says: "But I don't want to," Casanova also interrupts him. "Not so fast, sir." His hand grips the Doctor's jacket as if to stop him. "Who are you, exactly, that you would leave a lady wandering alone?"

Oh, but the boy has nerve. Now the Doctor fixes a glare on the young man who has dared insult him. Everything that has happened to him today floats to the surface. This young man is in more trouble than he believes himself to be, and today the Doctor has acted as a foil for that trouble. He starts to become angry. "Who I am, /sir/, is someone who promised to protect her." He gestures over to Rose. The anger does strange things to his voice. It is changing, the accent wandering northwards. "While I may have been somewhat derelict in my duties, that does not give you license to take advantage of her." The Doctor pulls himself free of Casanova's grip and walks over to Rose. She's now on her feet, ready to protest, but he simply takes her by the arm before she can say anything. "Let's go."

Rose struggles, but anger has given him strength and the Doctor manages to push her along to the stairway. The servant, Rocco, is still too dumbstruck to do anything. Casanova protests and first tries to free Rose, but perhaps he recognises the behaviour of an enraged guardian, for he turns from protesting to pleading. The young man attests that nothing has happened, and that this much ado about it is unnecessary.

When these protests have no effect on the Doctor, he directs his pleas to Rose, asking her to calm down. Maybe he thinks the Doctor will let go of Rose then. His efforts are unsuccessful, but he is persistent; they're already halfway down the street when Casanova finally gives up and they leave him behind.

Rose, however, does not abandon her efforts to get free. She is fighting, and it takes all his strength to keep her in check. When she finally calms down a little, enough so he can let go, she immediately pulls away from him. Well, that's to be expected, really, but it still hurts.

She is silent until they reach the TARDIS. Once inside, when all the Doctor really still has strength for is to sag against the console, she begins berating him. For leaving her alone, for taking her away from Giac, whomever that might be, for leaving Jack behind, for changing - well, everything and anything, really.

And the only way he can maintain any sort of face, the one thing that will allow him to stand up straight, is anger. He takes every accusation she flings at him and gives it back. All the pain he has suffered today, he throws it at her and sees it strike home, shocking her into silence.

But then she drops three words, breaking the momentary calm.

Three words that break him.

Head bowed, all he can do is activate the TARDIS in obedience to them while she disappears, gone somewhere to sulk in solitude.

Three words that mean that everything he fought for today has been futile. Three words.

"Take me home."

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