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Title: The Old Man and the Statue
Author: Aenaria/io_aenaria
Character/Pairing: Ten/Rose, and an OC
Rating: PG
Summary: Even though Rose's sister doesn't realize it, it's not just the exhibits in the museum that are important, but the people you encounter there. Yet another 'Sonnets Writ in Skin' ficlet.
Spoilers: Big ones for 'The Stone Rose', with very, very slight ones for 'Voyage of the Damned'.
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Author's Notes: As said above, yet another Sonnets ficlet. This one follows 'Penelope's Web', which can be found at my journal along with all of the other Sonnets stories. I may get shot for the ending of this one, but I've had this scene in my head for ages and have been itching to get it out for months now. More author's notes concerning the future of this series at the end of the ficlet (nothing bad, just a rearrangement of sorts). As always, my heartiest thanks to Paige for her prelim reads, and I hope everyone enjoys it!

It’s so silly, so absolutely, terrifically silly, but sometimes they need moments like this. Rose doesn’t even try to hold back the giggles as she fumbles for the camera. They’re at the Roman Forum by the Temple of the Vestal Virgins, and Gemma has taken it upon herself to become one. Or rather, become like a statue of one, and so she climbs up onto an empty plinth (the statues on either side of her are unfortunately headless, their visages lost to the ages, but still quiet and beautiful at the same time).

At first she stands still, striking a noble pose, acting just as dignified and stately as the statues next to her. But then she grins and begins to shift, going from dignified back to a normal eight year old again. As Rose stands and laughs Gemma turns herself into all manner of things, the most notable being a demented chicken.

The other tourists around them shoot them dirty looks, but the girls pay them no mind, having far too much fun posing and recording. It’s only when a security guard comes by and tells them they are not allowed to play with the ancient artifacts please do they stop, Gemma looking just a bit sheepish. Not for the first time since she’s been back in this universe Rose understands the foreign words coming from the security guard’s mouth perfectly. It’s this important thing that tells her that the TARDIS is still out there, and so is the Doctor.

(Their connection goes far deeper and stronger than either Rose or the TARDIS realizes. But that knowledge will come eventually, and Time knows that the moment will come when it is ready.)

And then, rather suddenly, Rose gets an idea.

* * *

The freedom of being able to explore the British Museum all by herself is a heady feeling for the eight year old. Well, not really by herself, Gemma thinks. She didn’t quite get it – they’d come all the way back to London just to see one certain gallery and now Rose didn’t even want to go in there, preferring to stay in the gift shop instead and foisting Gemma off onto a kiddie tour of the museum. However, that specific gallery wasn’t included in the tour’s planned route, so she had oh so gracefully ditched the chaperones and wandered off to see what she wanted. Although, she really shouldn’t have been surprised at her sister’s sudden change of mind; Rose was a weird one for an adult. She was probably in another one of her lovesick, mopey moods again. ‘Course, Rose had never called them that but their mum certainly had and Gemma thought it was quite appropriate.

She goes into the open archway to the sculpture hall and grins widely. It’s late enough in the day that the hall is empty but for the guard at one end. Here, she can see the statues restored to all their gleaming glory. Not that they weren’t cool in the Roman Forum, of course, but they weren’t all white and shining and polished and just really pretty.

There are all sorts of statues in there, from stately ladies to naked athletes that make Gemma avert her eyes hastily. Off in one area is a giant foot – looks like something she and Rose had seen in their voyages off planet back in the old universe. Maybe one she found her Doctor they could go off planet again; that’d be really cool.

And right about then she finds a statue that makes her stop and stare. In the long line of figures it blends in well, looking quite classic, but it’s the appearance that gets Gemma. Strangely enough, the statue looks exactly like her sister. Eerily so, as if she’d modeled for it and the sculptor really, really knew her. The facial features are identical, and even though the statue’s wearing Roman clothing she’s holding herself the exact same way that Rose does. There’s a bench in front of this statue so she sits down there, intrigued and happy to stare for a while.

She’s so absorbed that she doesn’t notice the man standing behind her bench, staring at the statue just as hard as she is. It’s only when he speaks that she realizes with a sudden jump that she isn’t the only one there anymore. “Pretty statue, isn’t it?” the man comments.

“Yeah,” she agrees, too surprised to turn her head away from the statue. The man talks like she does, Gemma notices, a working class London accent as Mum always called it, even though they weren’t really working class.

“Reminds me of a girl I once knew,” the man continues, making Gemma turn to check him out. For some reason she finds herself disappointed, because all that’s standing there is an old man in a suit.

(It should be noted here that our perceptions of age change with our own age. When you’re five years old, a person of twenty-five looks old, and a person of forty looks positively ancient. So while this man may have appeared to be around thirty-five or so, in Gemma’s eyes he is an old man.

It could also be argued though that Gemma sees something impossibly old in this young appearing man’s eyes, and subconsciously forms her name for him out of that. The subconscious is more right than she realizes.)

Gemma snorts, not all that politely, and turns back to the statue. “Reminds me of my sister,” she says back.

“Your sister’s made of marble and about 1900 years old?” the man says, and she can hear the bemusement in his voice.

“My sister’s a mopey, lovesick idiot right now,” she blurts out rather suddenly. She hadn’t meant to say that, but the thoughts are at the forefront of her mind and they just sort of slip right out of her mouth.

“I’ve known my share of those folks,” the old man says, perching himself at the other end of the bench. Gemma shoots him another glance, only to find that his eyes are still glued to the statue. “Been one myself also,” he continues, voice suddenly softer than it was before.

‘Oh, great,’ Gemma thinks, giving him a wary look. ‘First Rose, now this. Why can’t we ever meet anyone normal when we travel? It has to be another lovesick idiot.’ She quickly decides to tell her story, thinking that maybe she could get a little sympathy out of it if not anything else. “My sister had this boyfriend she was totally mad for. But then he left. Well, he didn’t really leave, they both sort of…went in different places. But she just can’t seem to let go of him. It’s not fun,” she sighs, thinking of all of the travelling. It was exciting at first, but a year later it’s getting a bit tiring. She likes all of the interesting and amazing places they go, but she’s starting to miss having a home – a real home, something that was all theirs and not shared with whoever else was staying in the hotel at the time. Because having a home, any sort of home really, as odd or unorthodox as some homes could be, is really sort of important to her.

“I guess your sister’s never heard the phrase ‘if you love something, set it free’,” the old man says, tugging at the cuff of his suit jacket. He’s staring hard at one loose thread, and Gemma wonders who he had to let go. It’s obvious that he’s speaking from experience here.

Gemma shakes her head, taking her gaze from the old man to the statue and back again. “I think her phrase is more ‘beg, borrow, or steal, I’ll find a way’.” She folds her legs up under her; the rather worn out pink skirt doesn’t exactly keep her legs warm in the climate controlled atmosphere of the museum.

“I think I’ve heard that song before,” the man mutters, practically to himself.

A quick glance down at her watch makes Gemma’s eyes widen, and she realizes that the tour should have ended five minutes ago. How long had she been sitting there talking to this old man anyway? It’s like time just plain old got away from her there. “Sorry, mister,” she says, leaping off the bench and turning to look at him again. “I gotta go otherwise the mopey, lovesick idiot is going to be really mad at me.” She pauses for a moment, watches as his mouth opens to say something, then blurts something out that she really hadn’t seen coming at all. “I hope you find the person you had to let go.”

The old man’s dark brown eyes latch onto hers, boring in so deep she almost takes a step back in fear. Then the eyes soften and glance up at the statue again. “No, she won’t be coming back. She’s happy, and with her family. She’s safe there,” he says, and Gemma suspects that he’s saying that not just for her benefit. Something’s not quite right about his words.

Gemma shrugs. “Maybe she’ll find you, then. Maybe she misses you that much that she’ll come back.” Of course, she thinks of her own sister there and resists the urge to groan at wherever she’s going to be dragged to next. It’s summer now, so she’s hoping it won’t be someplace cold. They can save that for Christmastime.

The man smiles gently at that. “There is a second part of that phrase about whatever you let go returning to you. However, I think that may be a little too much to hope for in this case.”

“No it’s not,” Gemma retorts. “It can’t hurt to hope for it!”

Still smiling softly, the man shakes his head. “When you get to my age, you’ll find that hope isn’t everything.”

“Well if that’s the case I ain’t growing up to be as old as you are then,” she says decisively. “I hope then that she does come back, just to show you that you’re wrong,” Gemma declares, crossing her arms over her chest.

“I would absolutely love to be proven wrong with that one,” the man says, the soft smile turning into a toothy grin.

“Good!” she cries out, then runs out of the hall. She really is running desperately late now, although there was something strangely intriguing about that old man. She couldn’t think about that now though, because she has a place to be. As she runs through the next hall she vaguely hears a noise from behind her, an electronic whooshing noise and grinding gears sounding hollow and far off. It doesn’t really register though, because at that same moment Gemma’s tapping on the face of her watch, hoping in vain that the hands would turn back just slightly. Where on Earth could the time have gone? Rose is so going to kill her.

Eventually she finds Rose in the shop, getting lost in a book about Egyptian hieroglyphics. “Hey you,” Rose says with a smile as she sees her. “How was the tour?”

“Very good,” Gemma says in a rush. “Tour’s done. Let’s go.” She grabs Rose’s hand and starts tugging, hoping to get out of the museum before one of those chaperones found them and let Rose know just what she had done.

Rightly so, Rose looks suspicious, but lets Gemma lead her out of the shop. “So, did you see anything interesting?” she asks as they make their way out the main entrance.

“Yup,” Gemma replies. “Saw lotsa cool stuff. D’you know there’s a statue that looks like you in there?”

“Really?” Rose says, and Gemma can just catch the knowing twinkle in her eyes. Oh, she hates it when Rose goes all Dumbledore on her, and looks suspiciously up at her sister. “I had no idea,” she continues calmly, looking out at the street as she opens the door for them.

“Riiiight,” Gemma drawls. She doesn’t believe her one bit, but Rose isn’t offering up any more information. She decides not to tell her about the old man in the sculpture hall then, ‘cause a girl’s got to have some secrets. She’s forgotten his face by now anyway.

A/N: So I know I've been talking about for a while about an epic story involving Rose and Gemma's travels (of which this fic is actually an outtake from). However, with certain developments in regards to the upcoming fourth season, I've decided to skip right past that and go straight to the real reunion scene of the Sonnets universe (which is always the fun part, isn't it? *g*). I'm also, and I'm very hesitant to say this *gulps nervously* going to post it as a WIP. It may take me a while, but I want to have the story in progress and out to the world before the fourth season starts. That's all, really. Not too bad an announcement, I guess. :) Thanks for reading!



( 34 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 24th, 2008 06:00 am (UTC)
I might, possibly, have let out an undignified squeak of excitement upon seeing that there was a new story in the Sonnets-verse.

Very clever, this, and I love the teasing glimpse of Rose and Gemma's travels. Although I'm very sorry to hear that we'll not be reading more about their travels, I'm very, very excited to read that you'll be posting the reunion scene.


(eta: I friended you--I hope that's alright!)

Edited at 2008-02-24 06:00 am (UTC)
Feb. 24th, 2008 03:22 pm (UTC)
Friend away, that's perfectly fine! :)

And don't worry, the travels of Rose and Gemma will be coming at some point. I just know myself and my habits enough that I'll be able to put the reunion fic out a lot faster with that deadline looming over my head. And, of course, to have the scene out there before s4 totally destroys any visions I have. *g* The reason I chose this scene to do is because it will come up directly in the reunion fic (Gemma and the Doctor meet again. He still doesn't recognize her significance, but she definitely knows his...and then she starts to panic thinking Rose is really gonna kill her this time. It'll sound better within the actual story, I promise).

It's okay to let out undignified squeaks - I do it all the time too. Especially in regards to fandomy related things. I'm glad you like the stories enough to squeak about them. :)

Thanks for reading, and I'm glad you liked it! :)
(no subject) - paiger1218 - Feb. 24th, 2008 08:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - io_aenaria - Feb. 24th, 2008 09:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 24th, 2008 06:54 am (UTC)
GAH!!! Okay, your note at the beginning about readers becoming homicidal after finishing this chapter were prophetic - seriously, you can't leave it here, it's cruel and unusual punishment. Guess that means you'll have to update asap before said homicidal readers start running toward you with pitchforks and torches held high.

All kidding aside, this was an amazing chapter and it must be updated very, very, very soon.

Thanks in advance for the quick updating (and I'll stop dropping hints the size of steel beams 8D).
Feb. 24th, 2008 03:25 pm (UTC)
Usually I have all the psychic sensitivity of a toothpick, but this is one case where I knew I was going to get into trouble. *g*

I do plan on updating fairly soon, as soon as possible with real life issues in the way. The reason this one was posted first is because, of all of the stories so far in the Sonnets series, the small events here will actually be mentioned in the reunion bit. So I apologize for the cliffhanger, but it'll be worth it? *hopeful look*

I'm really glad you liked this little teasing glimpse. :) I've already got about five pages to the reunion written as well, and am working more on it as much as possible. Thanks for reading!
Feb. 24th, 2008 07:05 am (UTC)
I think I may, also, have emitted some squeaks of joy upon seeing this.

...Rose didn't know how devious she'd end up being! And I guess Gemma's not telling. ;)

This is the kind of train-wreck situation where you say, 'Just go into that room, just ask that one question, just go looking for your sister...' even when you know it's not happening. Not yet, anyway. But I have hope for the future...

I liked Gemma's impression of the Doctor as old. And not only because of some ephemeral, unearthly quality of his age that manifests in his visage, as you so aptly illustrate, but also that adults, often due to their bigger size, height, etc., get labeled as 'older' by children. Though they can certainly differentiate ages, the relative difference between being a kid and a grown-up seems so much more than the difference between 25 and 40. I think it's really tricky to write from the POV of a child, but you do it very well, of course. :D
Feb. 24th, 2008 03:35 pm (UTC)
LOL, and, as always, squeaking is good.

Rose thinks she's being all clever, trying to keep some mystery about things (she may have shared a lot with her little sister but she hasn't told her everything). Gemma's a bit miffed too (the poor girl's getting a bit tired of traveling) so she's got to keep some mystery for herself. She just won't understand the importance of that meeting until the next reunion story - why I posted this one first - at which point she panics a bit and I have fun writing chaotic scenes. So yes, keep hope for the future, because it's coming... :)

I'm glad you think that I write kids POV so well, because I was certainly panicking about it over here! I keep thinking that I always make them too old sounding.

As always, thanks for reading this, and for your comments, which are always, always appreciated. :D
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 24th, 2008 03:36 pm (UTC)
The story will be up on Teaspoon shortly with the rest of the series! It usually takes a little while for me to get it there, I'm pretty derelict about remembering to post. ;) So thanks for the reminder. *g*

I'm glad you like the story! Thanks for reading and for the comments. :)
Feb. 24th, 2008 09:58 am (UTC)
I love these. Genma is lovely, I adore her. She is definetly a Tyler girl.
Feb. 24th, 2008 03:37 pm (UTC)
Gemma is most certainly a Tyler girl. Between being raised by Jackie and then by Rose, how could she be anything else? *g* I'm glad you like her too; I know that OCs sometimes can really grate on people's personalities, so it's so nice to hear that you adore her. :)

Thanks for reading and for commenting, I always love seeing them from you. :)
Feb. 24th, 2008 04:14 pm (UTC)
I do love this universe. And of course Gemma is going to go look for the Rose statue in the British Museum ;) Not to mention of course she's going to meet the Doctor without realising she's meeting the Doctor.

As for the prospect of seeing the "real" reunion? YAY! I look forward to it :)
Feb. 24th, 2008 09:27 pm (UTC)
Rose might have just planted the thought that the British Museum has some rather fantastic Roman statues in there, so of course Gemma is bound to search them out. ;) It's not like she could have predicted who was going to be there at the same time (if she had, it'd save them both a lot of time *g*).

Oh yes, the real reunion is the next thing to come, and I'm working on it as we speak (literally - I've got the word file for the story open on the screen right now). Thanks for reading, and I'm always glad to hear that you love this little universe. :)
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 24th, 2008 09:28 pm (UTC)
Hehe, I'm always glad to induce squee. ;) Glad you liked it! :)
Feb. 24th, 2008 06:31 pm (UTC)
I may, possibly, have mentally yelled at the Doctor while reading this one. Something along the lines of "You idiot, take the little girl by the hand and find her sister!"
It makes sense that he would revisit that statue, nice tie-in.

As always, I'm very much looking forward to more from this 'verse.
Feb. 24th, 2008 09:31 pm (UTC)
It's not just the Doctor's fault here. If you look really closely, just as Gemma's about to leave he opens his mouth to say something - offer to walk her back to her sister, according to what was in my head, because that darned sense of responsibility really doesn't like to let a little kid wander off on her own where anything could happen to her, but then Gemma cuts him off and blurts out that unexpected statement and distracts him just a bit. So really, both of them are to blame. ;)

Thanks for reading, and keep your eye out for more! I promise it's coming. :)
Feb. 24th, 2008 06:39 pm (UTC)
I've just discovered this verse with this story, and I most say I really like it.

Already excited at the prospect of full on reunion fic!! Got an ETA on that yet??
Feb. 24th, 2008 09:37 pm (UTC)
Well if you're interested in all the stories, just click on the Sonnets tag and you can get all of them there. :) I'm really glad you like what you've read so far!

An ETA? *gulp* As of right now, I've only got five pages of the reunion fic done. The page count will increase daily, I'm going to work on this as much as I can. What I need to do then though is find a beta for the story, someone to really go over it and find all of the plot points that I'm skipping past by going straight through to the reunion story and making sure that things make sense as is without some of the past events being as explicitly explained. Does that make any sort of sense? LOL. So I'm not sure when this is going to happen, but the story WILL start to be posted before s4 airs, so fairly soon. :)

Thanks for reading and for the comments! :)
(no subject) - galadriella1 - Feb. 24th, 2008 09:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - io_aenaria - Feb. 24th, 2008 09:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - galadriella1 - Feb. 24th, 2008 10:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - io_aenaria - Feb. 24th, 2008 10:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - galadriella1 - Feb. 24th, 2008 10:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 24th, 2008 06:41 pm (UTC)
I'm glad to see another installment in this universe. Tantalizing! You tease!
Feb. 24th, 2008 09:38 pm (UTC)
As I said, I knew I was going to get in trouble for this piece. ;) But the true payoff is coming, I promise! Thanks for reading and for your comments!
Feb. 25th, 2008 02:26 am (UTC)
I held out 20 whole hours before reading this. I should get a medal. As usual, it's wonderful. I adore this series, as I've said many times....but dear heavens - that was not nice. Not at all nice. Truly.

So to conclude: it was wonderful; I love it; Gemma is a keeper; I anticipate the next part with barely-contained.... anticipation (you broke my internal thesaurus). Oh, and you're mean.
Mar. 2nd, 2008 07:36 pm (UTC)
I warned everyone at the start that I was probably going to get slaughtered for that ending. ;) It's necessary though, because it comes back in the reunion fic. *g* I apologize for being mean, but I promise it'll be worth it. Am quite glad you like the story anyways. :) Thanks for reading hon!
Feb. 26th, 2008 12:15 am (UTC)
AAHHHHHH! I can't believe you did that!

I just found this series via Time & Chips, and read it all in one go. I would *love* it if the reunion looked like this...execpt Rose has to actually find the Doctor again, instead of her little sister meeting him and keeping secrets.

Seriously, this is a phenomenal series. More soon? I'll bake you cookies, or brownies, or pie, if it'll get the juices to flow...
Mar. 2nd, 2008 07:38 pm (UTC)
*ducks a bit* Yeah, I did do it. Not my normal style but necessary for future plots. :) The reunion won't quite be like this, it'll be a little bit more chaotic, but not in a bad way. You'll see.

Ooh, brownies. Mmmmmm. The juices actually aren't flowing too badly, I'm already at fifteen pages which I just shipped off to the beta for the first lookover. Let's hope it doesn't end up being too much of a disaster! :)

Thanks for reading (the entire thing at once!? You brave soul you. :)) and I'm so glad you like what you've read!
Feb. 26th, 2008 12:59 am (UTC)

I was rooting for Gemma to ask him who he was, or for the Doctor to ask her who she was - but alas, nothing doing!

Glad to hear that reunion isn't too far away, though. *hugs*

Mar. 2nd, 2008 07:40 pm (UTC)
She could have asked him, and the Doctor could have asked her who she is, yes...but that would be too easy, wouldn't it? *G*

Oh yes, reunion is coming. May take a while though, I've already got 15 pages written and we're not even in the country the reunion is going to take place in. This just may end up being a monster of a story. *hugs back* Glad to hear you're looking forward to it. :) Thanks for reading hon!
Mar. 14th, 2008 10:11 pm (UTC)
She decides not to tell her about the old man in the sculpture hall then, ‘cause a girl’s got to have some secrets. She’s forgotten his face by now anyway.

I'm having trouble not picturing a cartoon-style throttling coming down the pike for Gemma, but it's not like Rose gave her a description of Ten and said 'If you ever see this man...'
Mar. 15th, 2008 02:47 am (UTC)
In my head, Rose never told her exactly what the Doctor looked like, and, to be fair, Gemma's a bit miffed with Rose at the time for dragging her all over the place, so she's just a bit "well all right then, same to you." (Gotta love younger sisters...)
Apr. 7th, 2008 01:44 am (UTC)
Oh, my gosh. You are SO EVIL. In such a specific RTD-type way.

I love it.
( 34 comments — Leave a comment )