Title: Hidden (2/?)
Genre: Doctor Who/Crime & Punishment crossover
Setting: AU post LoTTL
Characters: Tenth Doctor, Raskolnikov & other characters from ‘Crime & Punishment.
Rating: PG – possibly NC-17.
Summary: The Doctor finds himself in nineteenth century St Petersburg, where he sees an unexpected face....
Image Copyright BBC Television
‘Are you sure that he’s ready?’
The Doctor and Razumikhin are talking in hushed tones on the landing outside Raskolnikov’s room. The Doctor still thinks of ‘him’ as the Master, but under pressure from Razumikhin to call him ‘Rodya’ - ‘It distresses him so much every time you call him ‘Master’!’ Razumikhin protests and for the sake of peace, the Doctor gives in. At least, when Razumikhin is around; and if the truth be told, the Doctor is finding it harder and harder to see anything of the Master’s personality in the tortured young man whom he and Razumikhin have been nursing for the past six days. Yes, the acerbic wit is there when Rodya is ‘present’ and able to converse, but not only does he have considerably more of a conscience than the Master ever did after the Untempered Schism changed him, but the continuing lack of any reaction whatsoever to the carefully chosen and placed key words means the Doctor has been drip-feeding him means that the Doctor is starting to doubt his own belief that this young man is a chameleon-arched Time Lord. What if he is simply a human being who bears an uncanny resemblance to an alien once named Koschei?
And in fact, that’s funny, too – because the Master’s given name is, in Russia, a mythological being; ‘Koschei the Deathless’. If Rodya and the Master are simply doppelgangers... well, it all seems too coincidental, somehow.
‘He has to be, Dimitri. You say that he has to go to the Police in person and make this statement... ’
‘He has to write a statement, or letter, attesting to his ownership of a number of pawned items, yes. We’ve been all through this, Doctor! And I really don’t see why this watch you speak of is so important! Although, Rodya himself is bothered by its absence, it’s true...’
The Doctor is puzzled, because both men had previously told him that Rodya had already verbally confirmed ownership of said items with the Examining Magistrate – why, he’d wanted to know, could Rodya simply not write and sign the statement and allow either himself or Razumikhin to collect the goods for him? ‘Surely he can write a letter of authority which would give one of us permission to collect on his behalf?’
‘Well, yes, you would suppose so,’ Razumikhin had allowed. ‘But that is not how my cousin operates. He is most insistent that Rodya attend in person to present the statement.’ He’d shaken his head. ‘I confess that I don’t understand it myself... but Porfiry is a little... how can I put it without being rude... eccentric, I think you would call it.’
‘Ah, a man after my own heart...’ the Doctor catches himself in time. He’d been about to say ‘hearts’. He’s learned that Dimitri Razumikhin has a very keen intelligence; several times now he’s picked up on odd remarks the Doctor has made, wanting to know exactly what he means by them. He would make an ideal companion, the Doctor finds himself thinking more than once. If things work out with the Master... but no! This has been his downfall before, hasn’t it? Or rather, it’s been the downfall of the companions themselves. He has to stop treating inferior species like playthings, to be picked up, dragged along and then discarded when they begin to fray at the edges; or worse. It’s a shame, though...
Their conversation is interrupted as the door flies open, hitting the Doctor in the back. He turns to see Rodya standing in the open doorway, glaring at them in fury.
‘I hear you – traitors! Talking about me behind my back! Discussing how best to drag me to Police Headquarters, are you?’ He’s shaking, tense as a wire with barely suppressed rage.
Razumikhin, as usual, is the one to defuse the mood; he seems to have a knack, one which the Doctor envies; the young man takes all manner of insults (and there have been many) in his stride, never rising to the bait or showing any signs of being upset by the cruel things Rodya says to and about him as he struggles with his fever.
‘He’s not himself, Doctor,’ Razumikhin had simply stated when the Doctor brought it up in conversation after one particularly vitriolic outburst. ‘He isn’t the Rodya I first met and took up with three years ago. He’s always been an awkward customer, it’s true,’ he smiles at some memory but keeps counsel. ‘But this... this is the sickness talking, believe me.’
‘Oh, I do,’ the Doctor had assured him. Now though, he watches as Razumikhin simply steps forward and places an ink-stained hand (somehow he’s still managing to study and earn money from translating work whilst all this is going on – the Doctor, who has always been at best a fickle student, is impressed) on Rodya shoulder, steering him gently back into his hellhole of a room, all the while addressing him quietly and calmly.
‘Now Rodya, you know that’s simply not true. Why, we’ve barely left the room, so busy have you kept us.’
‘I don’t know any such thing, you scoundrel – prove it!’ Rodya flings Razumikhin’s arm aside and begins to pace.
‘It’s actually very hard to prove a negative...’ the Doctor remarks in an off-hand way as he follows the two men back into the tiny room.
‘What, a clever man like you?’ Rodya sneers, allowing Razumikhin to lead him back to the bed. Although no longer feverish, he’s far from well; a trip to the Police Headquarters is probably the last thing he needs at this point in time. If it weren’t so imperative that they recover the watch, the Doctor wouldn’t countenance it.
‘Me? Oh, no – I’m not clever, no, not at all...’ If he’s learned one thing about Rodya’s character over the past few days, it’s that he’s not only very intelligent but a deep and somewhat obsessive thinker – he says little but the Doctor is aware that there’s a lot going on behind those dark and familiar eyes.
‘That’s not what your dreams tell me, sir!’ Rodya retorts. Seeming suddenly exhausted, he slumps back onto the bed and turns to the wall, shutting them out.
The Doctor’s heartbeats thump loudly in his ears. ‘What do you mean?’ Is this it – the returning of the Master’s memory?
Rodya doesn’t answer, but the shrug of his shoulders is all too plain.
‘Master – Rodya, what do you mean by that?’ The Doctor perches on the corner of the small cot and grips Rodya’s shoulder, trying to bring him back to the room.
Rodya pulls away and turns his face into the pillow. ‘I don’t know why I said that,’ is the muffled reply. ‘Leave me alone!’
Razumikhin, who has watched the exchange in increasingly troubled silence, can’t contain himself any longer.
‘Doctor, please!’ he pulls the Doctor away. ‘Can’t you see he’s about to become delirious again if you continue to push him like this? What kind of Doctor are you, anyway?’ he adds as he squares up to the Doctor, fists clenched. For the placid and unflappable Razumikhin, this is unusual and the Doctor realises that he’s suddenly skating on very thin ice.
The Doctor wants nothing more than to take Razumikhin by the shoulders and shake him, tell him the truth – because at this rate, by the time they get Rodya to Police Headquarters and retrieve the watch, it will all be too late. He’s seen it before – a chameleon-arched Time Lord who has suffered complete mental breakdown in the human state - or indeed any other species, but the human condition seems especially prone - cannot always be restored, even with the aid of the fob-watch.
‘The kind of Doctor I am is the only one Rodya needs right now, Dimitri – you must believe me! I can’t explain it fully to you because.... because I just can’t, at least not right now. But I have his best interests at heart, I promise you.’
Razumikhin’s anger dissipates as quickly as it appeared. ‘I believe you, Doctor – although the Lord only knows why. I still don’t know how it is that you come to be here.’
‘Chance, Dimitri, chance – but thank Rassilon for Rodya’s sake that I am.’ He sighs, and turns back to the bed, where Rodya is lying, hugging himself and as tense as a wire. The Doctor can hear him whispering frenziedly and the knot of anxiety which has been sitting in his stomach since he first saw the familiar features intensifies.
‘Look, let me go and chat up the landlady for some tea, and we’ll discuss calmly how best to help Rodya, okay?’
Razumikhin nods wearily, and the Doctor claps him on the shoulder as he makes his way to the door. ‘Good man. He’s lucky to have a loyal friend like you, Dimitri.’
‘If only he would see it that way,’ Razumikhin says sadly as he watches the Doctor’s coattails disappear through the door.