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The Belted Doctor, Chapter 17

Title: The Belted Doctor, Chapter 17

Author: tkel_paris</lj> , aka KendraC


Rating: High T, borderline M for (very) naughty humor, and some hints... Consider yourself warned.


Summary: A crack!fic inspired by a line from “Robin Hood: Men in Tights” and run for its life with. The Doctor is left with a very uncomfortable “protection” against unwanted advances. But will he find the one who is foretold to release him from his... prison?

Disclaimer: Mel Brooks owns “Men in Tights.” The BBC and others own “Doctor Who.” 'Nuff said.



Author's Note: I must've gone through a few different versions of this before I decided to call it. The goal was to leave part of the ending a bit ambiguous. Not sure how well I did on that score...

P / 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13 / 14 / 15 / 16



CHAPTER SEVENTEEN: ONE JOURNEY'S END, ANOTHER'S BEGINNING

Going from just being aware of events in time and space to having five physical senses – and a body! – was just brilliant! And it meant there was one more of him to save the universe!

Then he registered retching sounds. And then: “Oi, Handy!”

Donna! He realized she was sitting a ways in front of him, reaching out to a nauseated Jenny. “Yes?”

Donna was not amused. In the Royal We sense. “Get to the Wardrobe and put something on! You're scarring Jenny for life!”

Then he noticed his birthday suit, and – with memories from a while after he was separated from the Doctor coming back with a vengeance – long-suppressed paternal instincts reared their head. And he was mortified. “Oh, yes,” he squeaked, rushing out of the room.

It dawned on him that while he had all of the Doctor's memories, he definitely wasn't the Doctor. The clue was how he sensed Donna; it didn't have the intensity that the memories said it should. Although he could sense her shock and mortification and anger on Jenny's behalf, which suggested a different kind of bond. The feelings also lacked the intensity and depth that he thought he should feel.

He was still contemplating this when he re-emerged in a blue suit and one of the Doctor's many pairs of Converse. He heard Donna murmuring to Jenny, “You reacted like that because a parent's nudity is always gross to a kid. But trust me: when it's the right guy, you won't mind seeing him naked.”

More paternal instincts rose up. “Oi,” he hollered, “don't be giving her ideas!”

Jenny raised her head from the bag she was breathing into – the TARDIS had suggested that the exposure to additional Carbon Dioxide would help soothe Jenny's nausea, and produced what looked like a old brown lunch bag – and glared at him. “Listen here, Meta-Crisis Duplicate,” she snapped, knowing just enough to figure out what had happened and trying to reign in a completely frayed temper, “you might share my Dad's looks, blood, and presumably personality, but you have no right to lecture me on anything!”

He was indignant. “Listen here, Little Time-Lady: I've got enough of him in me that no one else could tell that I'm not the Doctor. So you should be treating me like your uncle-” Then a thought hit him at supercharged speed. “Oi! If I exist because of Donna, then that makes her not just my sister but my mother!” A touch of horror crept into his voice. “Oh, I never thought family relationships could become wibbly-whimey!”

Donna had had enough of this; her husband and prospective son-in-law were both in Dalek hands, after all! She slapped him. “Enough, Sunshine!” The combined force of word and force stopped his mouth, and she took advantage of that. “Dalek threat to the universe and possibly all of the multiverses, remember? So use that alien brain he gave you and let's figure out how to save the day! We can deal with whatever makes you different later.”

“Right,” he agreed, chagrined that he'd forgotten about the emergency. “Sorry, Donna-” He froze, sensing another difference, and put a hand over his chest to confirm. “One heart! Oh, that's disgusting!”

“Oi!” Donna would've grinned if the situation weren't so serious; some of the memory cells were obviously lost in the transfer. “He told me that his line starts with only one heart! He lived with that single one for over eight hundred years, so don't you go complaining, Handy!”

He could only stare at Donna, as those memories were very fuzzy. Maybe he didn't gain every one of the Doctor's memories...

“Okay, you two,” Donna announced, “we've got our work cut out for us, so let's show the Daleks how magnificent humans and Time-Lords can be!”




The Doctor had never had a day that qualified as an emotional roller-coaster before. Not even the day he had to condemn Gallifrey had come close. His horror, both over seeing the TARDIS disappear with his girls in it and over the revealing of the Dalek's Reality Bomb, clouded his ability to think. He didn't trust the part of his brain that said that there was still a chance to stop this, that his girls yet lived.

Hope, he had realized as he, Rose and Lee were led deeper within the ship, was a lousy method of action and planning. You needed a hard dose of reality to balance it out, or things could get worse.

It also wasn't comforting to know just how many of his companions would kill to protect him – and the Earth. It was completely disheartening to realize just how necessary violence could be – and how futile the actions seemed there.

Seeing the TARDIS appear again gave him a surge of hope, but it switched to shock upon seeing... himself?! No,he realized as the man was shot, his hand had grown! He had no time to think about it as Donna and Jenny were also shot, seemingly killing all chance at stopping the Daleks.

Until during the countdown, Jenny's voice boomed: “That was a mistake.” He looked over and saw her push herself off the floor, fading golden energy flowing around her and awakening more Time-Lord instincts and knowledge. “Because it lets someone stop you.”

And the machine did stop, and he saw Donna stand up – with the most proud, pleased grin he'd ever seen on her face. He didn't need to hear her speaking coherently in what she had called “technobabble” to realize what happened. Their bond told him what she explained to the others – although one point caught and held his attention: The metacrisis, combined with the bolt from the Daleks, had awakened a Time-Lord awareness in Donna's mind based on his own knowledge.

He didn't let himself focus on his fears about it until they were back on the TARDIS, the Dalek ships self-destructing around them and all but one planet (naturally, Earth) returned. Darvos' words would have haunted him, except he realized that the destructive actions of his double and daughter were – sadly – necessary; some idiot would surely stumble onto the disabled Daleks and restore them otherwise. It had taken having a militarily-minded daughter and a pragmatic wife to remind him of something he'd instinctively known as his last self: sometimes you couldn't afford to give someone a second chance.

The Doctor never imagined that he would see such proof that his refusal to destroy the Daleks before they were born had wrecked profound, unnecessary havoc on the universe. And fill him with yet another regret.

Only once Earth was safely returned, and the occupants celebrating did he pull Donna aside. He had to check, now, whether the bond would be enough for her to cope with the Time-Lord awareness. If that human spark made her more brilliant than even him and his double put together, it would be the greatest tragedy if they couldn't save her. Even with what he'd experienced, the promise that his future was with her seemed ready to disintegrate just as the victims of the Reality Bomb did.

Jenny and his double could handle getting anyone home, explaining themselves to Mickey and Jackie and Rose, and piloting the TARDIS. He had to preserve his future.

Really, Doctor, Donna told him, stopping them from exiting the Console Room, I'm fine. Maybe as long as... Handy... is around, we should both be fine. We'll balance each other out.

He silently groaned. Might not want to tell him you called him that.

She chuckled within their link. Why not? He does carry some of me in him. Surely he could have guessed what I might name him. Besides, I called him that to his face to get his attention. He materialized into being naked, and Jenny was horrified.

His eyes popped wide. Okay, that explained why Jenny wasn't meeting his gaze, and would definitely require a few different talks – much later. Sighing, he tried changing tacks. Please let me look inside your mind, he begged, for my sake. I'm going crazy worrying about you.

She sighed, but smiled and nodded. The things we do for love, she thought at him. But she quickly figured out what he was terrified of: that the only way to save her would be to wipe her memories of him – a task made completely impossible because of the bond. I did talk about this with Jenny and Handy, she whispered over now joint worries, but we couldn't be sure if the bond would be enough to protect me.

There is no need to worry, Doctor and Donna, the TARDIS said to them both. The other Doctor must stay with us for the moment to keep him healthy, but she will be fine on her own.

The absolute certainty in the tone surprised the Doctor, who was still too worried. Excuse me, he snapped, if I need more proof.

Simple, came the answer. How many Time-Lord essences do you sense on board?

That threw them both. Still, they both closed their eyes to focus as he made the connection stronger. Their presences were both obvious, and were Jenny's and the human Doctor. But then they both sensed something else... from within Donna. And it wasn't his excess energy.

It clicked for them both instantly. And they recognized the essence at almost the same moment, voicing it simultaneously: River...

Donna unconsciously put a hand over her lower belly as she started crying, and her tears moved the Doctor. She's saving us again, he thought in awe. He backed out of the extra connection so he could tightly embrace his (pregnant!) wife. The storm clouds that had weighed over him since Donna's nightmare finally dissipated. He couldn't even feel himself grinning like a maniac. Of course, her own smile wasn't much better.

Then they vaguely sensed a smug tone from the TARDIS. Now, she told them, do you see why I did what I did those weeks ago? I sensed that something major would happen, and she would save Donna – with the right timing for her creation.

They froze a moment, letting the implication sink in. After a moment, Donna snickered. The cheeky minx! She wanted to ensure that River was conceived right then! Guess our future little troublemaker had to be at a certain growth stage to absorb the excess energy that Jenny couldn't.

So that's how she knew my name, he realized gleefully. Her half-Gallifreyan mind made it possible. Explains why she was so like me... Even more so than Jenny...

Our biggest problem child, Donna mused with a silent laugh, shoulders shaking. All of your bad habits, and who knows which good ones she'll get.

He laughed out loud in joy for the first time while thinking of the strange woman who'd known his future. She'll make raising the others seem easy. I guess this proves I'm as rubbish about predicting who raised someone, or how one might have behaved as a child, as I am with feelings.

“Oh, my God!” Martha's exclamation interrupted the tender moment, and brought all other conversations to a halt. Her eyes were wide with growing excitement as she looked Donna over. “Does that mean that Donna can remain the DoctorDonna because there's a bun in the oven?!”

A few started noises burst into the air. Rose's was the loudest. Jenny's eyes went wide in utter surprise.

Donna merely pulled out of the hug, just enough to smile at the former companion. Some explanations could wait a while, but not this announcement... “Ready to be a Godmother, Martha?”

Multiple screams erupted, and Donna and the Doctor were quickly surrounded by Martha, Sarah Jane and Jack – who Jenny had stopped first and warned, “Try to kiss either of them, and I'll give your team reason to never respect you ever again” – for hugs.

“Handy” and Jenny breathed huge sighs of relief that what could have become a great tragedy was averted – although the Time-Lady wasn't pleased to realize (via her own telepathic abilities) who she'd be dealing with soon. River had gotten on her nerves, and the idea that they were siblings hadn't gone over well the first time she heard it. Although, she thought, I suppose I'll accept her. There are others I'll never like even with the whole of time to adjust to them – and one's on board right now.

But that didn't stop the two from a little bickering, as Jenny muttered, “What are you grinning about, Uncle-Bro? I'm not sure the universe can handle three people who could be called The Doctor at once.”

He startled over the name, but – just as his “maternal” source would – quickly shrugged it off. “Hey, if he can actually have a family again, then I can make a place for myself here.” Then he thought about that name. “Wait, does mean I should call you Sister-Niece?”

She grimaced, remembering the latest story she was reading. “What are we? From Middle Earth?”

He shrugged blithely. “We are talking like Brits.”

Meanwhile, three others were feeling a bit unsure what to feel. Mickey remembered the Doctor admitting that he couldn't return Rose's feelings, and he himself had slowly grown away from loving Rose. Her single-minded focus on the Dimension Cannon had worried him; he took the Doctor's warning at Bad Wolf Bay seriously and tried to remind her of it. A Rose scorned was something he had no clue what to expect from, and he wasn't looking forward to finding out. But he couldn't help but feel happy for the being who'd helped him grow up...

Jackie Tyler had watched the obsession more closely than Mickey had been able to; she was Rose's mother, after all. Even with the peace of having Pete back and the birth of little Tony, concern revived with a vengeance for her daughter. Where she used to blame the Doctor for problems with Rose, she began to see that this one lay directly on Rose's shoulders. On the one hand, she understood not being able to move on (after all, wasn't that what she'd done – with a bunch of flings mixed in, which Rose hadn't done – after her Pete's death?), but Rose had been starting to nearly bite people's heads off over the idea of stopping her quest.

Such behavior wasn't healthy over a human man. Over an alien? It was absolutely nutters!

Besides, this Doctor was – even to her jaded eyes – rather cute and she could have predicted him moving on. Just like so many other blokes could. Especially if the right woman came along. And she could tell that had happened. But the look in her daughter's eyes wasn't the anger or outrage she was expecting, given how Rose had clearly believed that the Doctor was her alien. Instead, she saw an enormous disbelief – and what Jackie was positive was denial.

Should she be worried? And for which person or people? Could Rose accept what had happened during her absence...?

The Doctor and Donna remembered their other company when Mickey walked up, which brought silence from Sarah Jane and Jack. No one was sure how this young man who had been in love with Rose would act, but he smiled and extended a hand. “Congratulations, DoctorDad. You're going to have your hands full.”

You have no idea, he and Donna thought, both mildly amused over the new nickname. Though they noticed Mickey was keeping his volume low, to not let Rose hear his words. The Doctor accepted the handshake. “Thank you, Mickey. I hope Pete's World has been kind to you.”

He shrugged, trying to brush off the topic. “Had it's moments, but... I doubt there's any reason to stay. I don't think I can look Jackie or Rose in the eye after this.” He quickly turned to Donna, changing the subject with a teasing grin. “And you need to be doubly congratulated; never would've expected this one to do something so normal as to settle down.”

A sudden flare of tension in the Doctor made Donna laugh. “Oh, it's only extending so far. We're still going to be traveling the universe and saving people, worlds. Our lives will be more complicated, but I wouldn't trade it for anything.”

Disappointment was not a foreign feeling to Rose Tyler. She'd seen all sorts of people fail to keep their promises, or prove to be less than what they had seemed. And that was before she'd met the Doctor. This was pushing her mind into an overdrive that rendered her incapable of speech.

Jackie, reaching out to hug her daughter, looked between the Doctor and the man who'd grown from his hand. The latter was filled with the abundant energy she associated with the Doctor. The one she'd known, that is. “He's so much calmer,” she whispered, voicing her observations, “and yet... happier.”

“She grounds him,” said the man in blue. “And yes, she does calm him.” Jackie, he felt, deserved an explanation for the Doctor's actions, to help her cope with Rose's reaction – whatever it turned out to be. “All his life, he's been searching for someplace to call home, and... our own people couldn't give him that. That partly drove the running predilection, and kept him from staying in any one place. He didn't feel confident that he could ever have what he saw others have. But for the first time, he's found someone who not only gives him that sense of peace we didn't even know we needed, but who also has the maturity to challenge him into thinking about what he does.”

Rose trembled from shock as those words seeped through. The Doctor saw her as... immature...?!

Jenny took up the charge. Her words were laced with a mocking derision directed at her victim, but her expression remained neutral, to not offend a mother (she hadn't had a Mum who she'd heard slapped so hard your teeth would rattle for days and not learned a few things). “Mum makes him look at the consequences of his actions, which means that what looks like the right thing to do in the here-and-now isn't necessarily a good long-term solution. He told my Nan, Mum's mum, that she's made him into a better man than he was, and that he trusts her implicitly. He even taught her how to fly the TARDIS.”

Everything they said was a dagger to Rose's already breaking heart. Flying the TARDIS? Neither of her Doctors had even hinted at letting her do it. She'd asked once, and he'd... He'd brushed her off. Firmly. Said it was too complicated for a human to learn. He hadn't seemed nasty about it!

Jenny suppressed a big grin, sensing that a memory was hitting the culprit hard. But it was a good thing her own mother wasn't looking; the effort wouldn't have fooled Donna for a nano-second. Even her father would've seen right through it!

Jackie still had to ask the man in blue one question. “What did Rose mean to him?”

“Handy” motioned Jenny to be silent and go to her parents. The Time-Lady gave Rose a nasty glare, refusing to follow Lee to express and wish joy. Her fingers still itched to land another few punches, so she crossed her arms and leaned her weight mostly onto one foot.

Rose was vaguely aware of it, and had a flashback to actions of the previous Doctor. It was frightening to see that anger again.

He sighed heavily, clearly weighing how to say it. His primary progenitor was extremely rubbish with feelings, but Donna's influence had given him a wisdom that he knew the Doctor wished he had. “She was his first friend after losing Gallifrey, and helping on that first day earned her a chance as a companion. So she was important, but she never had the... maturity... to be more to him.” There were some things that she wasn't going to hear; especially when Jack could overhear...

Something in Rose snapped; she couldn't stand hearing the words and watching how her Doctor couldn't stop touching Donna – particularly her stomach. The idea of that woman carrying his child was too much for Rose to bear. “There has to be some pollen or something affecting him-”

Jenny wouldn't stand for that. But her sibling/uncle beat her to the verbal punch. “He should've said this to you instead of your mother back when you nearly destroyed the time-lines in 1987: Rose Tyler, shut up and do as I say!”

Unfortunately for “Handy,” Rose lunged out of her mother's arms and shoved him hard – which he wasn't expecting. “Shut up! You're nothing but a pathetic copy-!”

Before anyone could blink, Jenny had tackled Rose to the floor, bound her hands with cuffs (courtesy of TARDIS) in a grip that the Time-Lady could keep Rose's torso down with one hand pressing the cuffs into the back, and hold down the head with the other. A knee to the lower back kept the struggling and now screaming human under control.

Jenny looked up, not having broken a sweat, and yelled over the shrieking, “Mrs. Tyler, I'm so sorry, but I'm afraid Rose won't be going back with you.”

Jackie, as much as she understood that Rose had made an enemy of this girl, wasn't clear on why. “Doctor, what's going on?!”

The Doctor didn't answer at first. He and Donna had begun a debate over what to do next. But he had to interrupt Rose's screams because it was getting on their nerves. “Rose Tyler, shut your mouth! I can't hear myself think over that racket!”

It worked. The entire room went silent, Rose went into shock, and he – satisfied that he'd made his point – returned to the silent debate.

For everyone else, it was rather strange to watch the play of emotions on Donna and the Doctor's faces, accompanied by a variety of gestures. Especially when no audible words accompanied them. Actually, their lips didn't even move the whole time. The only thing clear was that she was telling him off for something, and he was arguing his own point. “What the hell is going on,” Mickey asked, quietly.

“Handy” answered, equally quiet, “They're talking through their bond. It lets them communicate without speaking aloud.” He also had an inkling what they were arguing over, and why Donna was against it. Since he could see both sides and their merits, he walked over and pulled them both further out of earshot.

Then words still floated over – and yet no one understood them. Jack wondered, “Is that Gallifreyan?”

Jenny answered, “Yep, but Dad hasn't taught me any High Gallifreyan yet, so TARDIS must have turned off the translation circuits.” Then she frowned over something she overheard. “But I'm pretty sure I overheard your name, as well as 'Jackie' and 'Mickey.'”

Finally, the Doctor seemed to have given up on his point, and led the other two to send the TARDIS into the vortex. Three did the job in less than a third of the typical time it took him on his own. The dark, heavy atmosphere that had settled over the room after his outburst relaxed a bit with obvious action being taken.

The landing came quicker than anyone – except the three pilots – expected, and it was as jarring as the majority of TARDIS' touchdowns. Still, everyone remained silent; the Doctor's mood was growing more grave, like he had to do something he wasn't comfortable with.

His wife and double weren't looking much happier about the prospect. But they had the air of believing that the chosen action was the lesser of however many evils there were.

The Doctor slowly walked to the doors, taking Donna's hand to bring her alongside him. “Handy” followed behind them, keeping a few feet away. “When we ask everyone to come out,” the Doctor said, “do so slowly. Make no sudden movements.”

Jenny figured it out. We've arrived at the Shadow Proclamation. Dad's fulfilling his promise to the Architect, but why did my parents argue and why is Dad upset? Isn't it a straight-forward decision?

She hadn't yet learned that anger clouded your judgment. And often blinded you to the nuances of a situation.

Silence remained as the Doctor opened the doors, and he and Donna raised their hands to prove their unarmed state. “Handy” did the same, closing the doors behind him. With the conversation muffled, Jackie finally couldn't take it. “Listen, aside from the unjustly violent behavior, why are you restraining my daughter? And where did she get that broken nose from?”

“Mum!” Rose couldn't believe her own mother wasn't fighting for her. She didn't want to remember how many times her mum had tried to dissuade her from working on the Cannon.

Lee found enough courage and strength to push through his stammer and explain the readings of the TARDIS from before the planets disappeared: the time-lines shimmering as if their very existence was threatened, the evidence tracing it to the blasting between universes, and the uncertainty of how many other universes might have been harmed by the use of Rose's Dimension Cannon. And how that had triggered all of Jenny's protective instincts toward her family. It took him a bit longer than that Jenny might have taken, but the total number of words was fewer.

“Wait,” Mickey interrupted, stricken with shock. “You mean that billions, if not trillions or more, of lives have just disappeared without a trace because of Rose using the Cannon?”

“Y-yes. T-That's the D-Doctor's b-best hypothesis.”

Jackie realized the implication immediately. “Are you saying that none of this would have happened if the Dimension Cannon had never been used?”

Jenny looked at Jackie, and finally grasped her father's sadness. There were other considerations at stake... that didn't include Rose herself. “I'm afraid so, Mrs. Tyler,” she answered, sad for the mother.

Rose was ready to argue (she had to defend herself, after all!), but the doors opened – interrupting her thoughts. “Handy” stuck his head in. “File out.”

Martha and Sarah Jane squared their shoulders and exited first. Mickey waited for Jackie to join him before heading out, and Jack waited for Jenny to get up. He flinched how she dragged Rose up, and force-marched her out. That time, Rose was too stunned and affronted to speak. He sighed and followed Lee, who stayed close in what might be a futile endeavor to keep Jenny's anger reined in.

Except for Martha, Jenny, Lee, and Jack (who'd had... interesting dealings – the only description fit for polite company – with the Shadow Proclamation back in his original century), everyone was in shock over the Judoon. Each person was scanned briefly, but then the Architect signaled the soldiers to back off. As they lumbered backwards, giving Mickey another reminder of “The Hitchhiker's Guide” (and not as amusing as the last one), the Architect approached Jenny and Rose. “This restrained one is the culprit you spoke of, Doctor?”

Rose gasped in shock. “Culprit?! I've only acted to return to the man I love!”

“Silence! Your crimes against space and time are normally punishable by immediate execution. However, the Doctor and his wife have persuaded me to commute your sentence to life on the virtual reality prison world known to your language as Cyberia. Do not test my patience, or I will order the Judoon to execute you on the spot.”

That got through to Rose's survival instincts. The ones that had allowed her to figure out what to say once she'd gotten herself into a mess. Didn't necessarily get her out of it, but it kept her alive long enough to be rescued. Her heart screamed that it would be the case again, and she turned to face the man who couldn't possibly be behind this. “Doctor,” she whimpered, “how can you let this happen?”

“Let it happen?” None of the companions could remember ever hearing his voice be that devoid of the wild emotions they were used to seeing. So flat, so... disappointed. It wasn't the coldest they'd ever heard, but it wasn't encouraging. Nor could anyone remember ever seeing such coldness in his eyes when not speaking to an enemy.

Which made Donna, Martha, Sarah Jane, Mickey, and Jack flinch hard. It signaled a big change in how the Doctor viewed Rose Tyler. This, they all knew, could get very ugly for everyone...

“Handy” grimaced, shuddering on the inside. This was definitely not something the Doctor could have predicted. Did Romana think this was necessary, he wondered, or did she not see it coming? He had the sinking feeling it was more likely the former; she just might have created the Belt in anticipation of Rose Tyler... just to keep her Doctor's hearts pure for Donna. And not spared an ounce of compassion for the human girl's well-being.

He'd forgotten that Romana, for all her goodness and sense of justice, could be as nasty as any of the Time-Lords when the mood hit her...

The Doctor walked right up to Rose – slowly, like his feet were lead weights – and stopped out of arm's reach, just in case. He frowned at her. “The only thing I let happen was allowing you to think you were a grown woman when you were still a girl – even when you factor in the prolonged adolescence typical of twenty-first Century Earth.” His frown deepened as he considered that aspect. “Really bad idea, encouraging shorter-lived peoples to let their progeny remain in a child-like mindset for so long. Everyone needs clear-cut boundaries and rules to make the change from childhood to adulthood-”

Nearly everyone was puzzled when he suddenly stopped, as if shocked. His eyes flew to Donna, who was looking impatient and merely raised her eyebrows. He flinched. “Right, unnecessary tangent.” He cleared his throat, and resumed his earlier train of thought.

“I've realized,” he continued, sadly, “that you had consistently shown yourself to be rather selfish, and sometimes encouraged my worst traits. It's probably what really got us banned by Queen Victoria. But hear this: I offered you the chance to travel with me because I was lonely and felt that I had no friends. But I quickly knew that you would never be more than that to me.”

He didn't allow her the opportunity to do more than gasp on an anguished moan. “There were a number of times when I should have dumped you back on Earth, but I was too scared of being alone again. Later I also worried about how it might hurt Mickey and your mum.” He sighed deeply. “Now I see that that pain would be preferred to what they're going through now – and what they will go through. Maybe I should never have burned that sun to say good-bye; you might not have become so determined to find a way back.”

He frowned again, shaking his head. “But, then again, you rarely did the smart thing, so it might have made no difference. In any case, you've caused such harm to the universe that you have to be punished. I'm not rescuing you this time, Rose Tyler. You nearly caused the deaths of my wife and my daughters. I was ready to let the Judoon execute you because of that...”

Jackie and Jack gasped, and Mickey sucked in a breath. No one – not even Jenny, who'd never seen her dad act that angry – was sure they were ready to hear the rest.

Yet his eyes softened just a bit. “But Donna stopped me. She has so much compassion in general, and especially for me, that she wouldn't let me use her or the girls as an excuse to do something I might one day feel guilty over. And she reminded me that it wouldn't be fair to the three people here who do love you – even though you didn't treat them right.”

Seeing no point in going over Rose's mistakes any further, especially when there was one more critical thing to do, the Doctor finished, “Don't fight this any further, or I can't promise that you'll live. The Architect has agreed to let whoever wants to say brief goodbyes. We need to leave soon to destroy that Cannon of yours, and get your mum back to your brother. I only hope you can find peace one day, Rose Tyler, because I can no longer wish you well.” He didn't bother with any further goodbyes. Just walked away, and took Donna's hand as she met him, entering the TARDIS together.

Some time later, Lee closed the TARDIS doors behind everyone. He would never again think that the pain of realizing the world he'd thought was real was a fake was the worst thing that could shatter a person's conceptions, their sense of well-being.

Jack, Mickey, and Jackie were clutching each other, sobbing – although none as hard as Jackie was. Two blamed themselves for not fighting Rose harder, and the third cursed himself for not being a sufficient distraction for Rose.

Sarah Jane collapsed into the Jump Seat, one hand over her heart and the other clutching the chair. She mourned not thinking of some way that the Doctor could have peacefully let Rose go after that one day... No wonder he was so miserable, she thought. It's the worst end for any of his companions...

Martha leaned against the railing, never having known such a feeling of numbness. She wondered if she had been too harsh with some of her words; the Doctor'd had a worse time of it than she'd ever thought possible... Poor Doctor... and... poor Rose... No one deserves that...

“Handy,” who'd obtained the Vortex manipulators from Mickey and Jackie, attached them to the Console so they could make their way directly to the Dimension Cannon in Pete's World. He keenly felt the loss of potential, the lost opportunities for that one companion to grow up... but he also knew that he had to not dwell on them if he was to help his “brother” move past the inevitable guilt from this mess. Donna's influence was proving quite useful...

Jenny helped her uncle-brother prepare for their next stop. Her own actions were stiff as she used her military training to push herself through what had to be done. She now had a much better appreciation for her dad's burdens, for the complexities that each situation held, and vowed to try to carry some of the weight for him.

She also wondered where he and Mum were, but TARDIS hinted that they should start the journey without them. She now knew just enough of the universe to read between the lines, and decided – given the circumstances – that she wouldn't begrudge her father for seeking out her mum for a comfort shag.



Chapter 18: Touches of Gray on the Happiest Day



Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Carolyn Harrison
Apr. 3rd, 2015 08:29 pm (UTC)
I loved everything about this chapter. Especially the Doctor arguing for Rose's execution. The only reason I'm not upset that she didn't die is because of how much more that would have devastated Jackie.

Martha is right. She was to hard on the Doctor. He never said or acted like he was in love with her. Even with taking 1913, 1969 and walking the Earth into account.
tkel_paris
Apr. 6th, 2015 09:24 pm (UTC)
But it all depends on how well Rose handles things. If she resists they will execute her. So... my aim was to leave things a bit ambiguous.

Still, he didn't treat her with the respect he should have back then. So she's still semi-justified. At least in some of her harshness.
Carolyn Harrison
Apr. 7th, 2015 02:58 am (UTC)
I agree that he deserved some of what she said to him. Especially because of the comment he made in the Shakespeare episode about how Rose would have come up with something to solve the mystery already. I just think she took it a little too far.
helloprilly
Dec. 28th, 2015 01:59 am (UTC)
A much better resolution to Journeys end though I do almost feel sorry for Rose. Not often that happens for me. He really was a complete idiot with regards to her and I guess it could be expected she would have projected more onto him then he had actually felt. Still she did rip through multiple realities with no thought to the consequences and his reactions to her apearance here were FAR more in line with how he should have reacted instead of the pathetic lovesick run he did in the actual episode. Well done and I am happy it didn't end a few chapters ago!!
tkel_paris
Dec. 28th, 2015 05:21 am (UTC)
Well, it's not the cruelest I've ever been to her. I can think of punishments I preferred to this. Being left behind to suffer the consequences of leaving Jackie behind and having to get a job would've been far more of a punishment. Which I did to her more than once. The first story in one of the series I'm posting for right now is one of them. *evil grin*

Yes, Rose wasn't needed in Series 4. At all. Someone else could've saved Wilfred and Sylvia.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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