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FIC: Flipped, Book 3 (2/12?)

Title: Flipped, Book 3
Rating: heavy T, with some M/MA
Author: tkel_paris
Summary: David Noble thought he had come to terms with the strange feelings the female Doctor inspired, and it seemed to be helped by Martha Jones joining them. But when the Aubertide threaten the Doctor, protecting her requires a cover that will test his sanity and his ability to find the right thing to do. Written for tardis_mole.
Required Disclaimer: The summary should be enough to tell you I own nothing.
Dedications: My good friend tardis_mole, for helping me discover my talent at editing and for being an inspiration. You've challenged me to go beyond what I previously thought I would like, and so this is the farthest I've gone from my comfort zone so far. Who knows where I'll go next?
And another important shout-out: sykira, whose LJ post about John Barrowman's comments about how Doctor Who could eventually go was the ultimate spark for this idea. So I suppose that means the ultimate blame for this lies with the Barrowman. I can only imagine what he would think, although I suspect he would heartily approve. :P
Author's Note: Originally spawned from a different idea that split into three, this is a new version of one of those ideas revived as a birthday present. And it's spawned a slightly AU version as a Christmas present. The original prompt from TM boiled down to this: “The Doctor and Donna in a situation that's never been done before.” Ask and ye shall receive, my friend. Enjoy the second sequel. :D A VERY Belated Happy Birthday, TM! :DDD

Special Disclaimer: I refuse to be held responsible for any $2000/₤2000 lattes, spit-takes, fainting spells, workplace/school gaffes, or falling against/from things that might happen if you're not careful while reading this story. Especially in certain chapters. Read at your own risk. (I put this in because I was warned by one of my betas, cassikat, that my emails should come with a spit-take warning. So I'm looking out for y'all. ;D)

And TM, be careful that you don't hyperventilate from reading some of the sections. I know you. :P And so sorry for the delay. At least I have a legitimate excuse for not working on it last year; we had our balrog to work on. :D

Thanks to cassikat and bas_math_girl for betaing. Couldn't have done it without y'all.


Chapter One


Flipped, Book 3

Started July 14, 2013
Finished December 31, 2015

CHAPTER TWO: ACTS OF DESPERATION

Another planet, another day in the life of a companion of the Doctor. Those were Martha's thoughts as the trio strolled along in the aftermath of yet another near disaster. Not the least because of what the Doctor and David had caught.

They rushed inside the building, and just as the Doctor and David closed the doors they each cried out. “Ow!”

Martha looked up, panting from the bench she had stumbled against. “What happened?!”

The Doctor groaned and felt her arm. “I think they shot us with something.”

David stumbled away from the door, and suddenly hurled into a handy bucket.

Martha paled and hurried over. “Did they shoot you, too?”

He managed to nod, but the motion made him heave again. Not that anything came out that time.

The Doctor moaned, hands to her head. “Oi, what a headache and stomachache. Must be some sort of psychotropic compound. With something that induces nausea.” She tried to reach her screwdriver, but her hands fumbled. “Ooh, I can't get it!”

Martha walked over. “Come on, let's get you two where I can examine you both easily. We've got to find some way of fixing this before we can put our heads together and work on the planet's problems.”

The Doctor accepted Martha's guiding hands and followed her to sit beside David, who was struggling to stay mostly upright in the face of his own symptoms.

Suddenly they both felt something at the same time the Doctor sat beside him. “Hey,” David muttered. “I don't feel so sick. What happened just now?”

Martha managed to get the screwdriver and ran it over both of them. “I wish I could read this.”

The Doctor frowned as she struggled to understand the readings. “Yes, psyhcotropic and hitting the nausea receptors.” She leaned toward David and blinked suddenly. “Wait, it's not as strong now.”

“I'm noticing the same,” he whispered, his voice steadying for the first time since he was hit. “Does the sonic say why?”

“Maybe those shots are linked?” Martha suggested.

The Doctor turned enough to face David, but then she slipped and fell off the side. He grabbed her and held her against his chest to steady her.

His eyes suddenly popped wide open. “What the hell? I feel well again!”

“Me too,” said the Doctor. “That is unusual.”

Martha thought that this was the longest they had been that close when not comforting each other in the aftermath of something dreadful. She wondered how long it would last, and whether she would have to remind them what they had to do. “Okay, so what does that mean?”

The Doctor blushed and drew away, but then moaned at a fresh surge of nausea. As did David.

“Wait, you got better when you were right next to each other. How close do you have to be?”

They started moving around, trying to find the right combination that would work. But then it wasn't looking like anything worked to completely eliminate the nausea except for being chest to chest.

If it weren't for how serious the situation outside was, the presence of a despotic government that was suppressing – among other things – the presence of gingers in the population, Martha would have laughed. The two afflicted were blushing furiously.

“Okay, Doctor, how are we going to save the day like this? We're practically one creature out of two fused together!” David snapped, trying to not think of any beast with two backs jokes.

“Okay, okay. I'm not sure why this is working the way it is, but I did notice something critical.”

“What?!” he snapped.

The Doctor found a grin in spite of her very red face. “They chased us into a computer building. Now what better place to stop their methods and get the word out?”

Martha had to admire the Doctor's ability to think so quickly on her feet, even thinking in ways that a Human brain could not. Even if sometimes the Human brain could make intuitive leaps that the Doctor's was simply unable to do. No matter how long he or she was around humans.

It sort of reminded her of Gandalf's comment about Hobbits. 'You can learn all there is to know about their ways in a month, and yet after a hundred years they can still surprise you at a pinch.' Or something like that. She hadn't watched the movie in about two years or read the books in at least five. Bit busy with medical school.

But she did find it difficult to suppress giggles as the Doctor and David had to shuffle around the room, unable to properly twist their own bodies to work on their own. Which meant Martha herself had to do things that were better suited for one of them or the other to do.

She later thought it was lucky neither had to pee before they found a treatment to stop the effects.

Still, the looks on the despots' faces when their intended method of preventing people from working together to stop their own plans had failed to stop one determined Time Lady and her Human companions had been priceless. Or would have been if the crowds had let them get a picture.

If the Doctor had a wall of the faces of people when their plans were foiled, it would need a wall longer than the Vietnam Memorial. And she and David had been there. To give him a proper perspective, she had asked him to imagine how many of those would be needed for all the military dead from the Soviet Union during the Second World War. Factor in the civilian casualties, and you had a very long wall of names.

It came up because this planet decided to make a wall of their own to commemorate the dead who fought against their long-reigning terrors. Martha had to find pictures to give them ideas while their medics helped the Doctor and David get the drug out of their systems.

It was a long process, longer than either of them liked. But it allowed them to finally part without side effects after over twenty-four hours pressed almost completely against each others' fronts.

Given what she knew about that Captain Jack friend of the Doctor's, Martha wondered how many naughty jokes could be make now that the danger was over. She could think of a few, and some of them Shakespearean.


It brought back great memories of meeting that man. If Shakespeare could have seen that moment, even if only in one picture, Martha mused, then he would've laughed himself silly. Never mind if he could have seen video of it. Probably tried to find the right words to make them see sense.

Not that it probably would have worked. They seemed stuck still. The Doctor unwilling to act, David unwilling to step outside his own denial. What would it take?

Suddenly the Doctor stopped and sniffed the air, tensing.

David frowned at her. This had never been a good sign in the past. “Doctor?”

“I don't know. I'm sensing something that smells wrong. My time senses are prickling at me. I don't know what it means, but I'm thinking that it's difficult. Or problematic. I can't tell you what it is. I may need my sonic to tell.”

“So what is the trouble?” David asked, ready to look around.

He didn't get an answer or the chance to look. Someone fired off an energy weapon near them.

The Doctor looked behind them and paled. “Run!” she screamed. “Don't look back!”

They had to dodge more blasts, and put extra speed on it when the Doctor pushed herself to get ahead to open the TARDIS doors. She raced inside and they had to hurry after her, shutting the doors behind them without looking. “What's going on?!” Martha cried.

Too frantic with sending the TARDIS into the Vortex, the Doctor didn't answer.

David hurried to the opposite side, trying to help steer the Old Girl. He glanced at a reading, and – although he couldn't understand it fully – blanched. “Something's following us in the Vortex!”

The Doctor hissed something that sounded like a curse. The TARDIS tended to not translate those. “Aubertide!”

“What are they?” asked Martha.

“Creatures the Time Lords had to be very careful of. They can steal a Time Lord's life force, live practically forever off it. We found out the first part during the early years of our civilisation, and barely destroyed the ones who killed that Time Lord. Ever since we've had to be careful. I thought they had all died out with the Time War.”

“Obviously not,” David griped as he fought with the controls. “So how can they follow us? Can they live in the Vortex?”

“No, only TARDISes and creatures native to the Vortex can. Not the Aubertide. They must have stolen a Vortex Manipulator off a Time Agent! Oh, I hope the Agent survived, but I doubt it knowing this lot. They probably ate him or her for some energy.”

Martha grabbed the console to steady herself against the shaking. “Who are they?!”

“Energy beings who can forcibly merge with people like you, taking over their bodies like a second skin and slowly killing the host's mind. But Time Lords have always had to be careful of them. Our regeneration energy could feed them nearly forever, one of our scientists estimated. They could do untold damage to space and time if they catch me!”

“Then we'll outrun them!” David declared.

The Doctor shook her head. “The jumping around isn't helping, they're just following our trail!” She sucked in a breath, eyes wider than the roundels along the sides of the Control Room. “They can trace me through my scent through time. If I had a moment to prepare, I could throw them off long enough to set a trap, but I don't have that time. The TARDIS needs time to set up the distraction, and we need them thrown off our trail long enough!”

“Then what are we going to do? Just give up?!” snapped David.

She paled. “I'm going to have to do it.”

“Do what?!” David and Martha shouted.

Something very strange came down from the ceiling. It was a helmet attached to a slew of wires, and it looked vaguely threatening to both Martha and David. The Doctor reached and grabbed something from within it. A fob watch. “Listen carefully: this watch is me. It's about to contain everything that makes me a Time Lord, locked away safely where they can't smell it.”

“What do you mean?!” shrieked Martha.

The Doctor took a deep breath. “This is the Chameleon Arch. It can transform a Time Lord's body into any species in the database. Including Human. My people believed these creatures only live three months. If I hide as a human for that long then they'll die and then I – and everyone around me – will be safe.”

David got right in front of her, forcing her attention on him. “How the hell are you going to hide as a human? Are you just changing biology? Because you know you don't blend in all that well.”

“Which is why the Arch also hides our memories in the watch. I will be given a new set of memories so I can fit in.”

That rendered both companions silent. David shook his head. “You're... effectively dead for three months.”

“It's the only way. The TARDIS is preparing the new set now. She'll make sure I remember both of you so I can let you in. You'll have to look after me. Now I need you to collect the bags that she's prepared for me. We'll have to start integrating me into wherever we land quickly. And yes, she'll have cover stories for both of you if you need them. Now do it!”

Martha hesitated, and David outright refused to move. He looked militant.

“This is not the time to argue with me!”

“It's a bad idea,” David protested.

“It's the only plan that has a chance of working right now. They're on our trail. I use the Arch, the trail goes dead as we leave the Vortex. They'll race through time, but they won't find me. Now go!” She pointed at the doorway leading to the interior.

Martha grabbed David's hand and dragged him off. Only his shock allowed her to get away with it.

Grateful for the younger Human, the Doctor hurried with her commands to the TARDIS, and also drew the screen to face her. When the light pinged on, she would start talking. She had to get this out, and didn't have much time. She had to say everything she could think of in as short a time as she had.

/=/=/=/

The Doctor had finished all the settings as David and Martha hurried in carrying several bags. David also had a hatbox resting on one case. “Blimey!” he cried. “This all looks modern!”

“Then the Old Girl might be able to hide me within your time. Might be for the best for both of you. The only cover story to memorise will be my own and how it relates to each of you. I've recorded a message for you to watch. The TARDIS will power herself down to emergency levels only, which will be just enough for you to get inside and play it if you need to. But it's best to let her hide herself. I've also sent it through a secure file to your computer, David. You know the TARDIS password translated into English? Use that to open the file, but be careful how loud you play it. Caution is the key word of your lives now.”

David looked at the Arch in dismay. “Doctor, how safe is that thing? It looks like some film designer's idea of a mad scientist's creation for a Frankenstein movie!”

“Trust me, it's been done before. I've never done it, never had to, always wondered, but I trust in the technology.”

“What if it just kills you?!”

Martha was too frightened to note how panicked David was over the thought.

“Please,” she begged them, putting the Arch over her head as she sat in the Jump Seat. “All will be well. Just cover your ears. I'm told this next part is a bit loud.”

She flipped the switch.

And started screaming.

/=/=/=/

David and Martha stood stock still for a long moment after the screaming stopped and the Doctor's body went still. They looked for any sign of movement, but none came. David snapped out of it first, and hurried over to gently tug the Doctor's body away from the now-silent Arch. He lowered her body to the floor, and reached for the kit attached to the Controls.

Martha joined him, medical training beginning to override her own shock. “Did it do what she said it would?”

She spoke in a whisper. Not that anyone could overhear them. Even the TARDIS seemed quiet.

David put the earbuds of a stethoscope in his ears, and placed the end in each of the two spots where the Doctor's hearts had been. Then he moved it over to where a human heart would be. He slowly tugged the buds away. “One heart. I can only hear one heart. That's... something scary. I can only imagine how that was used in the past. I'm afraid they might have made it a punishment.”

Martha shuddered. “My God, what do we do now? Do we listen to that message she left us?”

“I think... we need to see where we've landed.” Since the Controls seemed to be on emergency power only, David strode to the door and cracked it open. He almost sagged against the frame in relief. “It's my back garden. We can get you a ride somehow. Could always call my young friend Mickey, the one I've told you about before.” He closed the door.

“Well, at least we'll have our families for this. Can't imagine having to live in another time.”

“Thank God we don't have to,” he agreed, briskly coming back over. “Check that bag the TARDIS has there. I'm going to check her other vitals, make sure I know what might be a baseline to work with for her... altered state.”

They went to their tasks. David noted mentally her heartrate, temperature, and breathing patterns within moments.

Martha muttered aloud as she found items. “Driver's licence... calling her Donna Jane Smith.”

David smiled a little. He wondered if Sarah Jane would find the tribute an honor.

Martha kept looking at what the TARDIS had created. “Debit card... some credit cards with 'Donna Smith' on them... cash... birth certificate... passport... Tesco rewards card... Sainsbury Nectar card... health card, and...” She fell silent, blinking at something in her hand that was still inside the purse.

“What?”

She slowly brought her other hand into the purse, then drew both out and into the open. “These.”

Resting on her right palm were two simple rings, one larger than the other that had a diamond in the center – like one ring had been cut in half and attached to the gem's ring. In her left hand she held a, official document. A single paper with two names on it standing out:

David Andrew Noble.

Donna Jane Smith.

It was dated just the day before from Gretna Green. It was a marriage certificate.

CHAPTER THREE: WE'RE WHAT?!?!

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
dm12
Dec. 26th, 2015 11:58 pm (UTC)
Ooh, the TARDIS is playing matchmaker! I love it when she does that....

So, this time, they are in their own time period, and at home. Could get interesting, along with the aftermath of having to be married. She will really believe they are, and David's going to have to protect her from that. Interesting twist, can't wait to see how this turns out. I just hope there's no collateral damage, but somehow I have the feeling that's not to be...
tkel_paris
Dec. 27th, 2015 05:59 am (UTC)
Ah... not the only story I've posted where the first chapter got ignored. Oh, well. :) Yes, matchmaker TARDIS. It sure seems that way.

He's in for trouble. And that'll all I'll say so far. O:)
bas_math_girl
Dec. 30th, 2015 01:07 am (UTC)
I'm so pleased that you mentioned the Soviet statistics, because those atrocities often get forgotten or overlooked.

Aw, I almost wish we'd seen them meeting Shakespeare; but another time perhaps, eh?

How horrifying must it have been to see the Doctor change thanks to the chameleon arch? Can I just say: thank you for including a Tesco's rewards card and a Sainsbury's Nectar card! These are the sort of thing that would definitely be carried about. It was an act of genius, or adorable meddling by the TARDIS, to have them land in David's back garden. And a terrific cliffhanger to end the chapter on; one that pleases my shippy heart enormously. :)
tkel_paris
Dec. 30th, 2015 06:33 am (UTC)
Military historian here. I know about some of those details.

Eh... maybe. :)

Yeah, I'm glad we got to skip that. And yes, thank you for the details. And that was definitely meddling by the TARDIS, combined with the Emergency Program. And I bet it did, love. ;)
tardis_mole
Jan. 1st, 2016 10:22 am (UTC)
*snorts* Oh this is not going to end well...

*cackles*

*cackles*

*gasp* Soddin' Hell!!!!!!! I was NOT expecting that!! O.O

Sod the housework. *runs for chapter 3*
tkel_paris
Jan. 3rd, 2016 06:31 pm (UTC)
You mean the whole stuck together thing? Yeah, I wanted to expand that, but the Muse wasn't having any of it. :( Still, I got a few good lines out of it. :)

Wasn't expecting me to go the Family of Blood route? Yay, I surprised you!

Hope the housework got done, but I'm glad you're enjoying this.
tardis_mole
Jan. 3rd, 2016 07:40 pm (UTC)
Erm, well... some of it. But I did some more today. It'll be done by the time we start the decorating in a few days. :D
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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