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Title: “Miss Austen and Dr. Smith”
Fandom: Doctor Who (Tenth Doctor)
Summary: At the age of three-and-twenty, Jane Austen was not a young woman anyone would have supposed destined for a remarkable life. And then she met the peculiar Dr. Smith.
Spoilers: None, really
Rating: G

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7


Chawton, England

At the age of one-and-forty, Jane Austen is not a woman one would necessarily expect to have led a remarkable life. On this count, however, one would be entirely mistaken.

She has, by the time this particular February morning rolls around, already published four well-received novels and can count the Prince Regent among her many admirers (though the prince cannot claim the same of her). She has laughed often and much, won the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, earned the appreciation of honest critics and endured the betrayal of false friends. And she has, with her own eyes, witnessed wonders far beyond the imagining of even the most learned men of her age.

She has also, in the last year, begun to suffer from a slow, irregular deterioration in her health. Though she makes light of her condition to those around her, she secretly feels the weight of her own mortality pressing upon her. The days may be growing longer with the approach of spring, but to Jane they have never seemed shorter. By April she will be confined to her bed; by July her earthly remains will be laid to rest in the nave of Winchester Cathedral.

But this is only February and in February she can still walk under her own power (most of the time), can still think and laugh and — most importantly — write. In fact, she has just begun a new novel the month before, and though she will never finish it, on this bright, cold February day she still believes that she can.

She sits in the parlor of her mother’s house at Chawton where she now resides with her sister Cassandra and her friend Martha Lloyd. (The league of old spinsters, she sometimes calls the three of them, but she would not trade this comfortable situation for all the husbands in England.) It’s a Sunday and the others have gone to services but Jane has stayed behind, pleading infirmity, though in truth it is her disposition that isn't up to the challenge today rather than her constitution.

She ought to be working on her latest novel, which may or may not be called The Brothers, but her concentration is vexingly poor this morning. It is the most welcome sort distraction, therefore, when she hears a strangely familiar sound outside — a sound she has not heard for 18 years, yet has remained firmly etched in her memory. She rises, her hand involuntarily clutching the cross she wears at her throat, and moves to the window. Out in the garden, between the primroses and the epimediums, a tall blue box begins to take shape before her eyes.

When she finally makes her slow, painful way outside he is there waiting for her — her impossible man and his impossible machine. He leans jauntily against the side of the box, arms crossed; the door, she cannot help noticing, hangs tantalizingly open. His face lights up when he sees her (and blessedly betrays no dismay at her prematurely aged appearance).

“Miss Austen!” he calls merrily, pushing himself upright and bouncing on the balls of his feet.

“Dr. Smith,” she replies.

“Told you that’s not my name.”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” she says. “Everyone should have a proper name in civilized society.”

He grins, and now that she’s drawn closer she can see that he has not aged a day from her memories of him. In fact, she’s almost certain he is still wearing the same clothes.

“You came back,” she says.

He cocks his head to the side — as if even he is surprised by this fact — and plunges his hands into his pockets. “I did, didn’t I?”

A magpie calls from the bare branches of nearby birch and it occurs to Jane that she has left the house without her coat. She ought be cold, out here in the chill February air, but she’s not. Quite the contrary, in fact.

“I was thinking,” he says. “About that trip we talked about. Still fancy a go?”

A dull ache blooms in her chest, a pain that has plagued her repeatedly through the years, and has nothing at all to do with her recent illness. The hand that isn’t clutching her cane moves once more to the cross at her throat.

“Just a quick one, mind. Have you back home safe and sound before the others notice you’re gone. Still, should give us plenty of time to catch that falling star.”

“Oh, yes,” she says. “Yes, please.”

He offers his arm and she takes it gratefully, allowing him to escort her back into his little blue box that isn’t so little as it appears. And for this one bright shining moment, all the wide wonders of the universe are spread out within her frail grasp.




( 30 comments — Leave a comment )
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Jul. 29th, 2009 03:53 am (UTC)
Awww, I loved it! So, so good! Thank you so much or sharing. You really have the Doctor's voice down pat. :)
Jul. 30th, 2009 02:26 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! *hugs you*
Jul. 29th, 2009 05:46 pm (UTC)
oh, that was wonderful! the whole thing! loved it. :)
Jul. 30th, 2009 02:26 pm (UTC)
Aww, thank you! I'm so happy you liked it!
Jul. 30th, 2009 02:40 pm (UTC)
AH! What brightness lingers hastily upon my shadowed dreams, that naught but dev-lish days come roiling after?

I could go on forever, but this was truly great. Please, know thatyou shine with the brightness of stars, as one poet to another. Laugh and dream, for your dreams.
Aug. 5th, 2009 08:16 pm (UTC)
Wow! Thanks so much!
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 5th, 2009 08:16 pm (UTC)
Jul. 30th, 2009 07:05 pm (UTC)
Aww, that was absolutely lovely, heart-warming even.
Aug. 5th, 2009 08:17 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it.
Jul. 30th, 2009 08:08 pm (UTC)
This was wonderful! I just read it all in one go.
Aug. 5th, 2009 08:17 pm (UTC)
Thanks! And thanks for reading it!
Jul. 30th, 2009 08:10 pm (UTC)
Beautiful. I have always wanted to see a truly good Whofic featuring Jane Austen. This is it.

I hope she enjoyed that last splendid journey.

Aug. 5th, 2009 08:18 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! I'm really glad you enjoyed it.
Jul. 30th, 2009 11:22 pm (UTC)
Austen and the Doctor together? Wonderful! It read very genuine. You have the Doctor's voice down, and I can just imagine Jane Austen in this. So wonderful!
Aug. 5th, 2009 08:19 pm (UTC)
Awww, thanks! And thanks for reading!
Jul. 31st, 2009 01:23 am (UTC)
Oh, that was lovely!

Thank you very much for sharing.
Aug. 5th, 2009 08:19 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much!
Jul. 31st, 2009 03:30 am (UTC)
Awww, he would come back to visit her, wouldn't he? I like to think this is what the Doctor does in his spare time when he's not saving the world, seeing cool things and meeting extraordinary people. : )
Aug. 5th, 2009 08:21 pm (UTC)
I love when he goes back to check on people, like at the end of "The Family of Blood." Makes me cry every time.
Aug. 7th, 2009 01:32 pm (UTC)
That was a great fic! It made me think of some stories I have read in the official storybooks. It could very well have a place there, I'm sure!
Jan. 23rd, 2011 01:36 am (UTC)
Thanks so much! My daughter has a lot of the 9th and 10th Doctor novels, and I tried to model this story on those. Glad it worked!
Dec. 15th, 2009 03:13 pm (UTC)
Oh, this was absolutely beautiful. So well written and true to the style of Austen. I'm in awe.
Jan. 23rd, 2011 01:37 am (UTC)
Thanks so much! I'm a huge Austen fan so I was dying to get her and the Doctor together.
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 23rd, 2011 01:39 am (UTC)
Thank you! I tried to get a feel for Austen's voice from reading her letters. I absolutely adore how snarky she was and think she and the Doctor would get on like gangbusters.
Jan. 22nd, 2011 11:16 am (UTC)
This has just been recced on epic_recs and with very good reason. I enjoyed this immensely. You captured the Doctor really well and your Jane is delightful.

Really nice.
Jan. 23rd, 2011 01:41 am (UTC)
I'm so glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for reading, and thanks for letting me know about the rec! I'm honored!
Jan. 22nd, 2011 11:50 pm (UTC)
Aww... such a nice ending to a delayed adventure!
Jan. 23rd, 2011 01:41 am (UTC)
Thank you!
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