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[personal profile] scarlett_key
Title: Treasures of Lost Gallifrey
Rating: This chapter, G; later R
Characters: Nine, Jack, Rose (later, Nine/Jack with lots of angst)
Spoilers: None, really
Chapter: 5/6-7
Disclaimer: Characters and settings belong to the Beeb. I make no claim to them. I’m just here to have fun.

Summary: The Doctor, Jack, and Rose stop in a trade and resort town. During a shopping expedition, the Doctor finds something extraordinary, something rare, something that makes him very, very angry....

Comments: The Doctor, Jack and Rose find the source of Mischa's contraband and the Doctor makes a choice about its fate. In the meanwhile, Jack is faced with an enormous problem--and realizes that there may be only one horrifying solution.... --Comments are love. Enjoy!

Chapter One: The Merchant's Wares
Chapter Two: Movement
Chapter Three: The Hunt
Chapter Four: The Trader

Chapter Five: The TARDIS

Jack was suddenly filled with a murderous rage. "Change back. You don't have the right to wear our faces."

"But she will do," the Doctor said. "Jack. Cuffs."

Jack pulled out his cuffs and placed one on Mischa's wrist, the other on his own. "You don't go farther than 10 feet from me or you'll have an electrifying experience. To the tune of ten thousand volts." Mischa looked at him without blinking. Jack averted his gaze; it was unnerving, seeing someone else behind the Doctor's eyes.

"Now, let's go find this TARDIS."

The Doctor strode out of the room. Jack, Mischa and Rose followed.


###

The cargo hold, from this perspective, was smaller than it seemed on first entering. The Doctor stalked around the room twice and then:

"I can't feel it!" he cried out. He walked to Mischa, who stood by Jack and actually recoiled as the Doctor approached. Face to face with himself, the Doctor didn't flinch. Jack wasn't sure he could maintain his composure so completely under the same circumstances. "Where is it? I'm only going to ask you once. If you don't tell me, it's off to the bridge, where you'll turn off that dampering field. I'll be able to feel the TARDIS and you'll be able to feel me. And trust me, you don't want to feel what I'm feeling right now."

Mischa transformed into herself again, and the way she shuddered as she did it, Jack decided that it wasn't a deliberate transformation; it was nerves. "Over there," she said, pointing at a large, silver, metal barrel as tall as the Doctor himself.

The Doctor strode over to the barrel; they all followed, Jack and Rose both in awe. Another TARDIS--even having seen one in a lifetime was a wonder. The opportunity to see another was something neither of them had ever dreamed of.

The Doctor put his hand on the barrel, gently first, fingertips only, then spread his hand on its surface. He caressed the TARDIS, and then ran his hand along a horizontal seam. Suddenly, he pushed in a door. Jack would never have known it was there. He peeked beyond the Doctor's shoulder. The inside was shrouded in shadow. The Doctor ducked inside. Jack, Rose, and Mischa followed.

As his eyes adjusted, Jack realized that there was light inside, the last embers of a fire that had once burned brightly. As he became accustomed to the gloom, he realized that this TARDIS looked nothing like the Doctor's pulsing, organic ship. Though there was a center console, a time rotor, rondelles on the walls, and a jump seat, the style was all hard edges and pale colors, almost as though it had been designed by an ancient Roman architect. The lines were graceful but very precise and artificial. The console was white and hexagonal, with a molded edge. The jump seat was a padded bench, covered in rich white fabric, threadbare around the edges.

The Doctor's TARDIS always vibrated with the thrum of its life. Inside this TARDIS, the near-silence was chilling. Jack could feel a slight herky trembling every now and then, but there was no rumble of life, no bouyancy, no power.

The Doctor walked over to the console and placed his hands along the edge. He moaned, then crouched close to the control panel. "I can feel you now," he said softly, as though soothing a child. He caressed the fluted edge, leaned his cheek against it. "I can feel you," he said again, his eyes closed.

He stayed there. After a while, Jack began to feel uncomfortable, as though he were watching something too intimate to be shared. He shifted on his feet, and then felt Rose sneak a hand into his. "Maybe we should leave him to it," she whispered.

"No. Stay," the Doctor said. He looked up from where he crouched. "Please."

"I won't stay," Mischa said. Jack had almost forgotten about her, standing there with them. "You're making quite a fuss over nothing."

"Shut up," Jack said before anyone else could respond. "I don't want to hear your voice again."

"Shall I test this cuff?" she asked, lifting her wrist and letting the spare light play over the metal bracelet.

"You're the only one who'll suffer if you do," Jack said, "but be my guest." He swept one hand toward the door and hoped that she'd try it. Mischa took two steps in that direction, glanced at it, then the cuff, and hesitated.

"Not so brave now, are you?" Jack said.

"Jack," the Doctor said. Jack turned to him. "I don't want her here for this. She can't be here. Take her outside."

Jack nodded. If what was passing between the Doctor and this TARDIS was almost too intimate for Jack himself to witness, he understood that it was nothing the Doctor wanted to share with Mischa. He wondered if, since it seemed as though the dampening field didn't affect things inside the TARDIS, the Doctor could feel Mischa in the air here. The Doctor clearly didn't want to be distracted, and he didn't want this communion with the TARDIS to be sullied by her presence. As much as Jack wanted to stay, he knew he had to take this interloper away from the scene. Rose would take care of the Doctor, whatever occurred. He grabbed Mischa's wrist none too gently and they left.

Back in the cargo hold, the air felt different, and Jack realized that it wasn't just that he could no longer feel the TARDIS around them, but that he could distinguish the sensation of the dampening field. After being inside the TARDIS, he felt as though he was wrapped in cotton. He'd never been psychically sensitive and didn't think he was starting now. But the contrast in the atmosphere was so strong he didn't think anyone could have missed it.

"Quite the bleeding heart, your Doctor," Mischa said as she seated herself on a wooden crate, pulling Jack from his reverie. She crossed her legs and asked casually, "Where'd you pick him up?"

It took Jack just two steps to stand directly in front of and above Mischa. He wanted her to feel small, to feel powerless. "I told you I didn't want to hear your voice again."

"Whose voice would you like?" Mischa said, smiling venomously. She changed into the Doctor. "You seem to like this voice." She wasn't just a shapeshifter; apparently she was also a mimic, for her voice had deepened to the Doctor's baritone. She rose and stood too close for comfort. Jack took a step back. "You take commands from this one. Does he own you? Do you like to be pushed around?" She stepped toward him. "I can push you around just as well." She shoved him in the chest. He grabbed her wrist, and twisted her arm.

"Stop it," he hissed.

She winced, but she didn't back down. "Why?" she asked. "I've got nothing to lose, now. You're not going to let me go. Your Doctor's in there either saving that TARDIS or killing it, so beyond a certain point my special stock in trade is gone. Now that I can look like any one of you, you'll chase me across the galaxy until you stop me. So I figure I'll end up your prisoner or implicated somehow in some crime you'll trump up. I'll end up in a prison in Palla City. You can't let me go free."

Jack glanced around the cargo hold. He needed something to gag her with, a rope or a rag. What he felt rising inside himself was a dangerous thing, and Mischa was fanning its flames. He had to find a way to shut her up, but he saw nothing he could immediately use. The cargo hold was devoid of anything but crates and barrels. If nothing else, Mischa ran a tight, tidy ship.

"Maybe, you'd like this one better," she said. She shifted again, once again taking Rose's form. Jack stepped back. "I've seen how you look at her." She tilted her head, ran her fingers down her cleavage. Jack kept his eyes on her face--Rose's face. "You want her. You want them both, don't you? Ambitious. I like that." She smiled wickedly. Jack resisted the urge to smack her.

He pushed her back to the crate she'd been sitting on and forced her down. "We can prove you've been trading in counterfeit goods. We don't have to trump up anything to get you arrested on that charge."

"And that carries the death penalty here; did you know that? On a planet where trade is all, the worst thing you can do is cheat a customer. Rape, extortion, murder--somehow here, they don't hold a candle to ... " She thought for a moment, then laughed. "They don't hold a candle to dishonesty. Such a little crime elsewhere. One you're committing yourself right now."

That caught Jack off guard, and he must have let it show on his face.

"Oh, don't be so naive," she said. "You've been a commander of men but you present yourself as harmless and affable. You're a soldier, but here you are following a rogue Time Lord and a child. You must want them badly." She stood up again, and ran her hands down her breasts, Rose's breasts. "You could have them both. In me. If you let me go."

It took all of Jack's self control for him not to throttle the shapechanger in that moment. She was perceptive; it was true. She was also right about at least one thing: they could never let her go. This performance was proof positive of that. She could be any one of them, and in that guise do anything. It occurred to Jack that a conventional prison wouldn't be able to hold her for long. All she'd have to do was touch one guard at some strategic moment, and she'd have her pass to freedom.

It occurred to him that there was only one way to ensure she never imitated any of them again.

He pushed the thought away.

The door of the TARDIS opened. Rose came out looking ragged. Her face was streaked with tears. Jack stepped up to her and touched her cheek, wiping away some of the wet. She took his hand.

"What's happening?" he asked quietly, disarmed by her appearance.

"This TARDIS is dead," she said. Mischa exhaled in a way that sounded exasperated. "I'll tell you about it later," Rose went on. "I can't now..." She glanced past Jack at Mischa. When she looked back at him, her eyes met his. She wouldn't talk in the shapeshifter's presence. He nodded.

"The Doctor?" he asked.

"He's a mess. We’ve got to get back to our TARDIS. What are we going to do about her?"

Jack glanced at Mischa, and then turned back to Rose. She suddenly seemed rare, like some precious jewel that should be stored away where no one could touch it, cut it into a different shape. Something inside him shifted, as though his internal landscape was shaken by an earthquake with an epicenter somewhere south of his heart.

Some things were unavoidable: love, regret, conscience. Death.

“I’ll take care of it,” he said.
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Janna Silverstein

January 2012

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