jedi_of_urth: (dw happy)
[personal profile] jedi_of_urth
Title: Though Memory Imperfect
Author: [personal profile] jedi_of_urth
Fandom: Doctor Who
Characters/Pairings: The Doctor (John Smith), Rose Tyler (Anne Young), Martha Jones. Doctor/Rose (John/Anne)
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: ~39,000
Summary: HN/FoB AU, when Martha and John Smith arrive in 1913 they encounter the mysterious Anne Young, whose forgotten past is more important than any of them know.
Disclaimer: Doctor Who isn’t mine. And the basic idea of HN/FB isn’t either.
Author's Notes/Warnings: This story as bee a long LONG time coming, but I think I can finally call it finished. I’ll include more on this as we get later in the fic but I hope it came out alright after all that. Includes fictionalized amnesia, and obviously plot points borrowed” from the show. Thanks to [personal profile] got_swagger for betaing.

Past Chapters: Chapter 1



A doctor came and examined her, treating her cuts and scrapes from running through the woods and carefully examining her head for sign of serious injury. She heard him tell her rescuer that there was no sign of grievous damage, but that cases such as hers were too rare to know much for certain.

Her rescuer, Richard was his name, took care of her after that. He fed and clothed and sheltered her, and he was patient with her as she learned how to help around his house. He made inquiries to try and learn anything about who she had been or what had happened to her. After a week he declared that she should have a name, even if it wasn’t her true one, so he called her Anne after his grandmother.

Richard’s daughters returned home frequently from school and in time both of them accepted the presence of the strange woman in their home who took care of their father when they were not there. Richard’s wife had died almost a year earlier and he thought it was an extravagant expense to keep servants essentially for only himself while he had no steady income. The girls did what they could when they were home, but ultimately Anne was reasoned to be good for him, providing him with both a project and help around the house.

The four of them formed a rather unusual family, and a part of Anne hoped that things would never change. But she still found herself looking out at the stars many summer nights, looking for something she could not remember, but knowing it was out there somewhere.


~~~~~~~~~~

She was falling. The seconds stretched into an eternity but never enough time to stop falling.

She was screaming, too terrified even for tears.

Strong arms caught her, stopped her plummet into nothingness but she looked back...


“John,” Anne gasped as she woke up. Her heart was racing at the memory of her dream as she threw her feet to the cold floor and raced out of the small servants’ room. Her rapid footsteps padded lightly down the stairs and hallways until she reached a familiar door with J. Smith written on it.

The doorknob turned easily under her hand and she was relieved. For the past two weeks they had been sneaking around at night to see each other, and even though they had seen each other earlier that night, John had still left his door open for her. She was surprised however to find him out of bed and pacing in front of the remnants of his fire. “Anne,” he breathed when he looked up and saw her. She could see the relief on his face even in the dark room as he crossed it to embrace her.

She was shaking, a little from the chilled night air but mostly with residual fear from her nightmare. She held him as tightly as she could and buried her face in his chest, a little surprised she still wasn’t crying either from fear or relief. He held her close and whispered soothing words to her but she could feel his hands shake slightly as he did so, as if the same fear had a hold on him.

“I had a terrible nightmare,” she confessed, feeling a little silly to admit it. But then she lifted her face too look up at him for the rest, “I thought I’d lost you.”

His reassuring smile didn’t quite reach his eyes as far as she could see. “I’m right here Anne,” he said seriously.

“I don’t want to lose you,” she told him.

“Nor I you,” he said, bringing a hand to caress the side of her face. The silence between them stretched on as they looked into each other’s eyes in spite of the darkness. “Anne,” he finally said, “I…” he paused and but went on after a deep breath, “I’m worried that you do not know how I feel for you, how much you mean to me.”

“John-”

“This is my nightmare Anne, that I would never get to tell you the truth. That I love you; deeply, passionately, foolishly perhaps, but completely.”

“That’s what’s keeping you up at night?” she asked teasingly.

“Well...a bit,” he answered, laughing a little at himself. He dreams had unnerved him yes, but they hadn’t exactly been about that. That was part of it, and the part that he had to tell her now, even if she thought he was mad.

“For such a smart man John, you can be a fool sometimes,” she said gently as she raised herself up to kiss him on the lips

He let the kiss linger but then shook his head as he forced himself to pull away. “Anne, while you can’t remember who you are we can’t…” he shook his head again, not knowing how best to finish that sentence. At her questioning look he went on. “There could be someone else out there who loves you, and is looking for you because he misses you.”

It was her turn to shake her head. “It’s been months John, how long do I have to wait for someone who either doesn’t exist or hasn’t tried very hard to find me? I know who I am when I’m with you, and I’m happy because I’m with you.”

“Do you mean that?” he asked, almost breathless with hope that she did.

“Forever my love,” she said. And this time as she moved to kiss him his lips moved eagerly to meet hers.

Gentle would not have been the key word for that kiss, or the others they traded as they came together. Their movements were hungry and desperate and needing. Needing something neither of them could put into words as they fell into bed together, but something their bodies found other ways to express throughout the night.

~~~~~~~~~~

“Why were you awake when I came in?” Anne asked, her head resting against John’s chest listening to the steady beat of his heart. Spent now, and the sun coming up outside, they lay tangled together among the sheets of his bed. It was a different kind of intimacy to lay here, naked and exposed after what they had done during the night, but she felt secure wrapped in the love they shared.

One of his hands lightly gripped hers while the other played with bits of her hair; that one stopped for a moment after she asked her question. But he quickly resumed the slight motion so she knew he was thinking about it. “I have dreams,” he started. “Fantastic, intense, dreams. Sometimes I have wake up and walk around a bit to clear my mind.”

“What do you dream about?” she asked him.

“I could ask you the same thing,” he said, kissing the top of her head so his already gentle words could not be misinterpreted. “Yours may be more important,” he reminded her.

“I don’t think so,” she said. “After all, you would remember if we’d known each other before now.”

“Me?”

She smiled against John’s chest at the surprised tone in his voice. The nightmare that had brought her down here was still clear in her mind, but seemed much less frightening now. “Yes you. You’re often in my dreams,” she admitted, looking up at him even as she blushed to make that confession.

He smiled, which made her smile too. “And you are in mine,” he admitted, his voice low and heavy.

She looked into his eyes for a long moment, and he didn’t look away. She could feel in his body and hand that there were things he did not say about those dreams, or perhaps she just thought so as it would mirror her own anxieties. That in those wild dreams, a feeling of sadness and loss too often arose, and fear that that same loss would happen in the waking world.

Eventually she stopped looking and kissed him. Their still naked bodies pressed together, she could feel his arousal as their hands roamed each other’s bodies and their kisses grew deeper. Soon enough John rolled them so he was above her and ready to press into her again.

It was then they were both alerted to the fact that they had never locked the door, and had entirely lost track of the time, as Martha Jones entered the room with John’s morning tray.

Martha stopped and stared, frozen at the sight of the two of them together. Quickly John and Anne separated themselves and made an effort to cover their bodies with the bedclothes, but still Martha stared at them in shock. Anne could feel herself blushing and John looked bewildered with no idea what to do now.

“Martha,” John finally said, breaking the long awkward silence, “set the tray down, and come back later.”

Martha shook her head slightly, snapping out of her shock somewhat. “Yes…sir,” she said slowly, now staring intently at the floor as she managed to set the tray down on the table across the room and then quickly fled the room.

As soon as the other young woman was gone Anne flew out of bed herself and collected her night clothes, throwing them on haphazardly while John kept saying her name to try and get her attention until he finally grabbed her lower arm through the twisted sleeve of the nightdress she was only half wearing. “I have to go,” she reminded him, looking out through the neck hole that hadn’t made it over her head yet.

“Anne,” he said her name again, and in a way that made her want nothing more than to stay and damn the consequences. “I’ll speak to her, make sure this doesn’t become an issue.”

She hoped he was right, because this could easily become an issue for both of them as soon as people knew about it. She nodded and managed to get her dress reasonably arranged for her coming dash back to her own room. As soon as she did he kissed her again. “When can I see you again?” he asked, a hint of desperation in his tone that was another reminder to her that he was still aroused from their interrupted loving.

“Tonight, as soon as I can,” she assured him and then remembered something. “No, Richard and I are leaving to visit his daughters tonight and we’ll be gone for the weekend.” She could tell John wasn’t happy with that, and although she longed to see Lucinda and Lillian again she was no longer happy with the timing of this visit. Although hopefully it would give John time to smooth things over with Martha.

“As soon as you return then?” he asked anxiously.

Anne smiled and kissed him lightly, although she wished she could do far more. “I hope so. I don’t want to leave you at all,” she admitted.

“Then make sure you return soon,” he implored.

“I will always come back to you,” she said. It was a promise that felt absolutely true in a way she couldn’t describe just then.

She started to leave to room but John called after her one more time. “I love you,” he said softly. So she was smiling broadly as she rushed up the back staircase to the servants’ quarters and her own room to prepare for a day.

~~~~~~~~~~

“Don’t let me hurt anyone.” Those words rang through Martha head repeatedly as she tried to go about her day. But what if the person he was hurting was her? “Don’t let me abandon you,” he’d said that too, but that instruction didn’t offer Martha any comfort.

The Doctor hadn’t said anything about love in his list of instructions; she doubted the idea had ever occurred to him, at most figuring that in three months he wouldn’t go too far in a relationship. John Smith wasn’t the Doctor, she’d reminded herself of that countless times in the weeks they had been hiding here, but this one hurt more. Somehow, in less than two months Mr. Smith had fallen in love with Anne Young when the Doctor had never so much as looked at Martha with anything beyond friendship. Mr. Smith wasn’t even a real person, how could this happen?

Martha knew she had to do something, she might have already waited too long to stop anyone from being hurt but she had to try. As soon as she had a free moment she sought Anne out only to be told the other woman had been sent to get supplies from the village and would not be back until later. Anne was often sent on such errands, as her condition unnerved so many of the others that giving her tasks away from the masses was common practice, but Martha wished it hadn’t been put to use today.

It was after the noon meal before Martha ran into Anne arranging the new supplies in the pantry. When she looked up and saw Martha blushed and smiled shyly. “Anne, we should talk,” Martha said, carefully keeping her voice neutral,

“I suppose we should,” Anne admitted, “but not here and now.”

“Oh course not,” Martha said. Even if the conversation was only troublesome for the obvious reasons – as in only about the impropriety of Anne having a relationship with Mr. Smith – it wouldn’t have been right to do it here. As it was, Martha wanted to make sure there was no chance of them being overheard for reasons Anne had no idea of.

Martha helped the other woman with the pantry stocking, both of them silent as they worked. Martha wondered if Anne was playing the upcoming conversation through her mind as much as Martha was herself, then it suddenly occurred to her that Anne would have no experience in anything like this. She doubted any of the other servant girls would have gone to the amnesia stricken coworker with romantic problems before now, and this was almost certainly the first affair Anne could remember having.

Martha studied Anne out of the corner of her eye as they worked. Some days it was easy to forget how little life experience the other woman had, but now that Martha recalled the truth it weighed heavily on her mind. Anne Young had no experience with relationships, or the idea of ending one. It was key to Martha’s arguments for why she should end her current affair, but it was hard to imagine how Anne’s mind compensated for the memories she lacked.

Once they were done, Anne turned to Martha. “Where should we go?”

Martha had assumed they would go to their room, but now she realized that wouldn’t be much better than the pantry for privacy. Although they could close the door, the walls were thin and one never knew which of the other servants might be around. So she shrugged, “Do you have any good ideas?”

They ended up in the empty history classroom, both of them aware that Mr. Smith was working with the boys on marksmanship and that hour.

Before Martha could say anything Anne started the conversation. “Martha I would never have meant for you to find us like that,” she blurted out, still blushing a little at mentioning the way they’d been found.

But Martha went forward with what she was prepared to say. “Anne you don’t know Mr. Smith very well. There are things you don’t know, and I can’t tell you, but if you did know you would know why this can’t work.”

“What do you mean?” Anne asked, clearly bewildered.

“He’s not who you think he is,” Martha said, hoping all this wouldn’t end up going too far. “He shouldn’t even be here, and he’s not going to stay. I really don’t want you to get hurt but you will if you get involved with him.” Obviously they already were involved, but Martha chose not to say it that way if she could help it.

“You’re not making any sense.”

“He’s different from anyone else you know isn’t he?” Only as she said it did she catch herself, “Obviously your number of comparisons is not what most people have, but it’s still true right?” It was an unfortunate way to have to say it but it was true. “You tell yourself it’s just you and your situation but you have to know it’s not.”

Martha knew full well Mr. Smith’s oddities were the subject of some speculation. He was often distracted and difficult to socialize with. His relationship with Anne, even before this recent turn, of course had also been remarked on but it wasn’t the only reason why people thought he was different.

Anne did look to be at least puzzling over what Martha said. “What are you trying to say?”

“Just wait until you know him better. And until you know yourself better,” she added significantly.

But it seemed to have to opposite effect on Anne, her expression suddenly became resolved and she met Martha’s eye for the first time in the conversation. “You don’t know what it’s like,” she said without any of the hesitance that had marked the conversation so far. “Whoever I was, I don’t know if I want to remember. No, that’s not it exactly,” she sighed. “I know who I am now; I don’t need to remember who I was to know that.”

“But you should know who you are,” Martha said, feeling herself losing ground in this discussion.

“Maybe one day I’ll know who I was, but for now I know being Anne,” Anne said with something approaching a shrug.

“And what if tomorrow you turn out to be someone else entirely? Or he does? One of you is going to end up hurt if you keep doing this.”

“Why are you so worried about it?” Anne bit out.

Martha knew what Anne meant and resisted to surge of anger in her that wanted to rise to the bait. She loved the Doctor, but she couldn’t tell this girl about that. “We’re friends,” Martha said without the conviction she knew she should have put in it.

Anne shook her head at that. “Martha, I’m not saying you’re wrong that we may have gone too fast, but that’s between us, not you.”

With that she turned and started for the classroom door but Martha wasn’t out of options yet. “There’s someone else,” she said as Anne passed her.

That brought her to a stop. “What?” she asked, but her tone said she already knew.

“He loves someone else.” God help her, she didn’t know why he was still hung up on that someone else, but if the memory of Rose helped her keep this situation in some control she’d try it.

Anne was now faced away from Martha but her body language was no longer confident, it had obviously touched a nerve somehow, if only because it was a concern that wasn’t a vague caution on Martha’s part. “There can’t be,” she said, but Martha knew that tone as one of someone trying to convince themselves.

“Do you know that for sure?” she asked.

Anne squared her shoulders and walked out of the classroom and Martha collapsed into one of the desks. This could very easily backfire on her efforts if Anne went straight to Mr. Smith with what Martha had said, but it looked like it had at least some chance of working. She’d done her best to protect the Doctor, but it had ended up hurting her as she carried it out; as well as an innocent girl whose only crime was falling in love with the wrong man.

~~~~~~~~~~

“And that’s when the wolf told the princess how to she could save her prince. She could use the magic box herself to return and protect him from the monsters.”

“Then what happened?” Lily asked excitedly. Both girls were enraptured by the story Anne told them, but Anne couldn’t have told them where the story came from.

She paused and thought about what would happen next in the story. She was making it up as she went even if it was sort of familiar, like a half remembered dream. “Well of course she did what the wolf said, she wasn’t going to let her prince fight the monsters alone.”

“Did they win?” Lucy asked.

“What do you think?” Anne replied with a smile.

“Of course they did,” Lily said. “They loved each other and together they could do anything.” Lily was only ten but already an incredible romantic. Lucy nodded too; although, or perhaps because, she was two years older she had a bit less faith that love concurred all, but she did see how this story would end.

Anne nodded too and smiled. “Yes they did. With the power of the magic box they drove back the monsters and saved the world.”

“Then what happened?” Lily asked again.

“Then,” Anne said, ruffling the girl’s light hair slightly, “you stopped asking me to tell you more of the story and went to bed.”

Both girls pouted as Anne hugged them goodnight and Richard appeared in the room to do the same before sending the children to their room. “You could have simply read them a story,” he said as he sat down next to Anne on the sofa.

“Lily wanted a new story,” she replied, with a smile and shrug. “So I gave it a try, it was easier than I expected.”

“Yes,” Richard said with a more serious nod

“What are you getting at?”

“Just that you seemed to know the story better than just making it up as you went, and it’s nothing I’ve heard before.”

“I guess,” Anne said, but her good mood from seeing the girls again was evaporating quickly as memories of her earlier talk with Martha came back at Richard’s turn at a discussion of her lost memories

“I thought that must be a good thing, right? It means the memories are there you just don’t exactly remember them.”

“Richard…” she started but shook her head and got up to walk about the room. She didn’t want to talk about this for a second time in a day. Now that the people she saw everyday were accustomed to the idea of her situation she didn’t have to address it as often. They may not like it, and she knew the ones who wanted to help as opposed to the ones who didn’t handle it so well, but after the earlier discussion she didn’t want to have this one.

Often Richard pushed her to try and remember things about her former life, but when he could tell she was bothered by something else he didn’t press the matter until she was ready to talk. So as she walked about the room, trying to find words she was willing to express to him, he waited. Finally she sat heavily in a different chair across from her friend. “Sometimes,” she said slowly, not meeting his eyes, “I don’t know if I want to remember things.”

“Why?”

It was an obvious question, but she wasn’t sure she wanted to explain it to him the way she had to Martha. “Because what’s so wrong with who I am right now? What if I’m better or happier as Anne than I was as whoever I used to be?”

“Do you really believe that?” he asked.

“I am happy Richard, I’m starting a new life here, with you and the girls and…” she caught herself before ended that sentence the way she intended to, “everything.”

“Smith?” he supplied.

“You knew?” she said before she could catch herself again.

“I have my suspicions, that you just confirmed,” he said with a slight smile. “He’s a good man, perhaps not the most sensible around, but I can tell he cares about you. Is all this about him Anne?

Anne wanted to deny it, but it was at least somewhat about John. “Not exactly,” she settled on.

“Because, remembering who you were doesn’t mean you would lose any of us, if you’re worried about that from him it means you have other doubts doesn’t it?”

Anne was quiet for a long moment, processing that idea. It would explain why Martha’s final blow had caught her so off guard even though she told herself she didn’t believe it. She did have her doubts about John, she supposed she must admit to herself, and she hadn’t had the chance to see him before she left to relieve those doubts.

But it was around John when she felt the most sure that it didn’t matter if she remembered. Not because she was afraid he couldn’t accept her if she became again whoever she had been, but because she felt whole as she was. Suddenly she was angrier at Martha’s meddling than she had been before; she didn’t want to lose that feeling, and she wasn’t sure yet how much her roommate had soured that.

With her long silence, Richard got up and came over to rest a hand on her shoulder. “My dear, you can’t decide who you want to be without knowing who you are. That’s what I believe you have to understand. And why you can’t choose not to remember who you once were, you can only decide who you are as you learn about it.”

Anne managed to smile slightly. He always made it sound so reasonable, which always made her glad to have him looking out for her. She just had to hope that whoever she was or would be was still someone who he would accept.

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October 2013

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