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Title: Handy('s) Story
Series: Riverlets Through Time
Rating: T
Author: tkel_paris
Summary: From life in a jar to suddenly having one heart, Handy has one heck of a journey in a short time. But it didn't start then... Fifth story in the “Riverlets Through Time” series.
Dedication: nini_cuddles. I told you, you created a monster, sweetie. ;P
Disclaimer: Handy isn't with the Doctor and Donna still. Proof enough who owns what, I'd say. :(
Author's Note: I know the Meta-Crisis is supposed to be filled with anger, but the right setting would quickly calm him. Someone with a lot of patience and who won't let him get away with crap. Sorry, but that never sounded like Rose Tyler to me. Anyway... a little background before we pick up where Jenny's story, “Flowers of Time”, left off.

Bridal Fears
Diverging Truths
Truth Shines Through
Flowers of Time

The first time he felt awareness, separate from the Doctor he came from, it was when he hit the ground somewhere in London. Only a Time Lord's ability to keep blood largely within a wound – even such a gaping one as his was – kept a precious secret from the rest of the world. He was actually rather grateful that Jack Harkness found him. Here was one person who wouldn't try to run tests on him!

Being kept in a jar was one thing. He had to be kept alive, after all. But just being a Doctor detector?! He waited almost two years... Okay, three, but that third thankfully Never Was now. He counted himself lucky to avoid torture, but it was because the Master hadn't bothered to figure out what he was. Still, he painfully remembered what he could sense happening around him... Point was, he had to wait before he was back inside the TARDIS, receiving a bit more advanced nutrients to live.

Still, it was a form of prison. He longed to be his own person. Despite everything that was the Doctor about him, a tiny part of the hand that he was knew that he was destined to be someone different. (How strongly didn't hit him until much later...)

But how? He didn't have enough regenerative energy to grow into a full person! So he was stuck as a time oddity detector, listening in the Doctor's mental rambles to the TARDIS. It really wasn't a fun place without a companion...

Along came Donna Noble! Oh, he marveled over her! The threats, the shouts, the verbal set-downs, the slaps! It was all a delight to listen in on! The Doctor certainly did better with her, since she was willing to ask him all sorts of questions. He wondered why no one thought to ask about the clothing before...

Detecting another Time Lord life was a shock, He wished he'd been able to communicate about it, because then maybe Jenny wouldn't have died. Although what Donna said to the Doctor afterward? Brilliant. Simple, but the complete truth and no less brilliant for it!

Of course, he was deeply amused by how highly the Doctor thought of Donna. He might share a propensity for being rubbish with emotions, but he could see through the Doctor's thoughts to their emotional source. He was not surprised when the Doctor finally acknowledged his feelings for Donna, and even less so by the nervousness over it. After all, the universe had a tendency to be more than a bit cruel to the Doctor.

Sensing the events of the Library and Midnight proved that...

But then he sensed from the TARDIS that things were changing. She let him know what had happened between the Doctor and Donna in her room – leaving out certain details; he really didn't want to have what he couldn't do rubbed in his metaphorical face – and that the all-important marriage bond had been formed. That was a relief! Now perhaps the Doctor would be more open to listening in, and hear that he had some thoughts to share, thank you!

Although he couldn't be angry over the delay caused by them going back to Messaline – on River Song's advice – in the end. He had to wait... and was surprised by the TARDIS' shock. He couldn't make out what she was thinking; she was actually incoherent for a change. Only when the Doctor and Donna returned did he learn why: Jenny lived!

He couldn't help but bubble a bit in excitement. Here was good news, after all! The bubbling got Jenny's attention, and he listened in as the Doctor explained why there was a hand in nutrient fluids. He didn't mind that Jenny was a bit baffled and confused, but he wished that her father would listen a bit harder to the TARDIS sounds; he'd hear him!

Of course, he had some hours of complaining to the TARDIS while the family was at Shan Shen, but he changed his tune as soon as the Old Girl detected the strange appearance of Bad Wolf on so many surfaces. It was potentially the end of everything, and he could only listen in helplessly as the Doctor and his girls sought answers.

Through it all, he started to feel a heartbeat within him. He knew he was broadcasting it, but was anyone listening?

When the Doctor stumbled in under Donna and Jenny's support, the time lines seemed at risk. The Doctor wasn't supposed to regenerate just yet! But then, the TARDIS gave him a warning to brace himself. Suddenly he was hit with a huge blast of regeneration energy, and had it all brimming inside him. Sure, he was fine with saving the Tenth Doctor's life, but he needed to do something with all this energy! But he didn't have enough DNA to make it work!

Then... Donna Noble, thinking she was about to die and hearing the heartbeat within him, touched his jar. Somehow that broke the barrier, and then he was on the floor. He used the heartbeat to call to her, knowing he needed more help. Her hand's touch did the trick, and there was suddenly enough DNA for him to become a full-bodied person! Freedom at last!

Although he had to admit, despite his rather sharp words to her at first, he couldn't blame her for being a bit disturbed. After all, he looked exactly like her husband and had appeared naked before her. And to make matters more wizard, her DNA contribution meant that he was her son! The Doctor was now his father! Well, if that didn't end all!

And he'd absorbed her memories, too... That made for a confrontational first few exchanges! But one thing stuck out like a sore thumb. He sounded like her, but didn't get her ginger hair?! That wasn't fair!

Not that he could afford to whine much. He had to persuade his mother that this had to be her destiny, being with the Doctor. He now accepted that what he'd endured was worth it, because it enabled him to become their child and he would help her save the rest of their family and the universe.

To make things easier, his mother had named him Benjamin. The Son of the Right Hand. He had to laugh when she said its meaning. Oh, Dad would laugh, too, when this was all over!

It was a close call. Too close. Ben – the nickname his mother had also bestowed on him – had been captured, and he'd been stunned that his mother survived being electrocuted by Davros. But he – and he knew his father – could sense that she was still moving. Although he had to be less surprised than his father was over her rising as the Doctor-Donna. She was beyond brilliant, and she finally believed it!

He became worried for himself when Dalek Caan called out that the Daleks had to be destroyed. They could still cause untold damage, and he had enough time senses to know that the risk couldn't be permitted... So he set about creating their destruction. He felt he had no choice, and would argue the point with his parents. Yes, he was committing genocide, but so had his father... All in the name of protecting innocent lives...

The subsequent events of returning Earth flew by. He noticed Rose's miffed reaction that Mickey got to control part of the TARDIS, but not her. He sensed that it was a decision on Dad's part to not upset Mum or Jenny. The latter in particular. At least Jackie was more forceful about getting her daughter to remain quiet...

He also didn't get a hug from Rose during the celebrating. She only seemed to want to hug her mother, Mickey, Jack, Sarah Jane, and the Doctor. Selfish wretch. He mentally shrugged and turned to make sure his sister was okay with him. He remembered his mother's wishes that she'd had a sibling, and knew that such an event would've been a big adjustment nonetheless. So he didn't hold it against Jenny that she had mixed feelings. But he knew her well enough through both of his parental sets of memories to know that the offer of a hug and a show of fond affection would break the ice. And it did.

But then Jenny's question silenced the whole room, and chilled Ben to his core. Oh, no... His mother's mind was stable for the moment, but how long would it last?

Then his father repeated River Song's words, and Ben suddenly knew before the scan was finished where his other heart had gone. He had a twin, just starting to grow inside their mother. A twin who would never be born if Mum died or if her mind was wiped...

The debate was a frantic one. Martha, bless her, contributed her knowledge of the human brain to help find a solution, but the only one that seemed viable? Dad pulling the memories away, risking regeneration. Ben felt bile flow up his throat. His instincts told him that was just as dangerous to Mum, the baby, and himself. He just didn't know how to say it.

Jenny shocked him by offering to do it. He felt as horrified as his parents did over the thought. She was so young mentally that it wasn't clear how she would handle the sudden onslaught of a Time Lord mind where one hadn't really existed before. But she had good arguments ready, and the offer of a sacrifice was just like her... and their father...

He knew his father would cave once the genetics argument was raised. It just took the Doctor a long moment to swallow his own bile and let Jenny approach her mother. Ben was motioned over to help, and he stood on Jenny's other side to form the link...

Watching and helping his father guide the process from a distant part of Jenny's mind? The oddest thing ever. He hadn't thought it possible to see such a tangled mess inside of a mind, and he realized that humans folded information away in a less complicated manner than Time Lords did. Bigger on the inside applied to the mind as well as the pockets. But Jenny and Donna were doing rather well on their own. Jenny's mental eye could see how the memories were entwined around her mother's, and helped her work her way free. Much faster than should've been possible – and Ben knew that was saying something given the hypothetical nature of his and the Doctor's knowledge.

The hardest part was the moment of his own conception. That moment didn't seem to want to leave Donna Noble be, and she and Jenny fought against it for a long moment. Ben and his father nearly had to step in to help... when they both felt the energy of the memories changing. Suddenly disconnecting from another's mind was always jarring, and left both parties with a slight headache. But any concern Ben had over that vanished as golden energy flew through the connection from Mum to Jenny...

Ben watched in numb shock as Jenny stumbled back, seeing and yet not. Her eyes shone with the marvel of her new knowledge, and she beamed as she proclaimed time more beautiful than she'd thought possible. Her name escaped his – and his parents' – lips on a shout as he watched her collapse.

He had to stop his mother from going to Jenny; there was no telling what the regeneration energy was doing to Jenny's body, and they weren't going to risk a second Meta-Crisis. His father frantically ran the Sonic over his prone sister, and – after a long moment – heaved a sigh of relief as tears escaped. Jenny had done it. She'd absorbed his memories, and the energy was just fading into her, helping her mind adjust. The shock had made her pass out into a healing coma, but she would be fine. Just needed her sleep.

Neither Ben nor his father could stop his mother from drawing Jenny into her arms, crying as she hugged her unconscious child. Ben wrapped his arms around them, sagging a little in relief. No matter what happened to him, his mother and sister would be okay. But then... his father hugged them all and planted a kiss in his hair. Ben knew then that he was no longer in danger of being exiled; his father was letting him know that he would stay with the family, where he belonged.

The moment was broken by Rose. She'd been awfully silent during the whole thing, at first shushed by Jackie and Jack, but then apparently by her own thoughts. She asked a few questions to make sure she understood what was going on. Was Jenny the Doctor's child? (Yes, the Doctor had answered, with an extremely short summary of the progenation machine.) Did she consider Donna her mother? (Yes.) Was the Meta-Crisis the son of Donna and the Doctor? (Yes, he was half of each of them.) Did he have a twin that was inside Donna now as a pregnancy? (Yes, Ben had answered, with a bit of irritation that that had to be repeated. Daft bint, he thought.)

Finally, she asked who Donna was to the Doctor. Ben watched his father take a deep breath, and finally admitted that Donna Noble was his wife. The room went silent, everyone shocked by the admission. Even more so when the Doctor added that the Meta-Crisis would've made Donna his wife anyway, but he'd already bonded himself to her yesterday.

Rose's eyes filled with tears, and she demanded to know one last thing: had the Doctor ever loved her? Ben and his mother had to bite their respective tongues, each flinching with the Doctor as he visibly sought an answer. In the end, there was only one acceptable one: once he'd thought so, but the feelings were gone.

The room watched as Rose's tears fell, and she struggling to maintain a bit of dignity as she muttered that she'd wasted ten years of her life trying to get back to him. Then she turned away, asking to be taken back to the parallel world, and sank into her mother's arms. What Ben noticed was how Jackie was clearly keeping her mouth shut to prevent four words from coming out: I told you so.

The two Tylers left without further word. Just some hugs for the others, and a wave of goodbye to the Doctor. Mickey stayed in the TARDIS, saying that there wasn't anything in the parallel world for him anymore. Everyone understood, and sending the rest of the companions back to London was a quick journey. Ben wasn't surprised that his father disabled Jack's Vortex Manipulator. The wrong people time traveling was a dangerous thing, even if Jack was getting so much wiser. In fact, the memories he had of River Song came to mind, and it made him shiver.

Once back in the Vortex, Ben and his parents took Jenny to the infirmary to make sure she was fine except for the coma. The scans weren't something his mother could read, although his father promised to teach her written Gallifreyan. (Spoken was impossible given that more than one larynx was needed, but there was no reason she couldn't grasp reading and writing it.) She muttered that she would be glad to finally understand how his name was actually spelled...

It was a little humour, a necessary tension breaker. Ben asked how long they should let Jenny rest, and his father sighed, figuring on at least several more hours. Of course, his mother didn't want to wait that long to see her family and check on them.

Ben blanched, but not nearly as much as his father did. That almost made him forget about his own nervousness, almost made him laugh. Being part Donna, Ben figured that he would be accepted by at least the end of the visit. His father had no such assurance. At least not where Gran was concerned...

TO BE CONTINUED IN “A Mother's Awakening”


( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 22nd, 2012 09:03 am (UTC)
I just want to give Ben an enormous hug!!!! Is that allowed?
Feb. 22nd, 2012 01:23 pm (UTC)
Of course! He deserves every hug possible! :D

And jeez! How long ago WAS that picture taken?! :O
Feb. 22nd, 2012 11:12 am (UTC)
oh Ben, why are you so adorable?
I love how he had a conscience even as just a hand. that was brilliant, really.
Feb. 22nd, 2012 01:24 pm (UTC)
Because his father is, whether the Doctor would admit it or not. ;P

I had to wonder, after all. So I think part of this has become head!canon for me. :D
Feb. 22nd, 2012 03:57 pm (UTC)
I normally don't write comments until a story is completed, but I had to say, this is bloody brilliant!! I can't wait fo rthe next installment....it's kind of like the old Who serials.

Just a bit of Rose-bashing, but I have to say I approve wholeheartedly. She wasn't quite the bitch that I've seen her in other stories, but it was enough. :)

Mum, Dad, sister, brother, and baby-to-be.....what a lovely Whovian family.
Feb. 23rd, 2012 03:36 am (UTC)
Like the Old Who serials?! Man, that's the biggest compliment ever! :D

Well, the events of the end of the last part would've given her a lot to think about. The Doctor being so desperate to save Donna, worried about the baby (that one's existence would've shocked her to no end), and then watching the weird mind-linking going on. Still, she interrupted a sweet family moment. That's bad timing. ;)

And soon to add Gran and Great-Grandy to the mix! :D
Feb. 23rd, 2012 12:25 pm (UTC)
Bad timing, my left foot! That's calculated selfishness! Always the "me! Me!!" factor. Just think back to how harsh she was with Nine when he wanted to kill the Dalek at Van Statten's, you know, the one that he thoguht has exterminated her! It's all about Rose!

BTW, I *love, love, LOVE* the "Son of the Right Hand" thing. Benjamin Noble. Fabulous name.
Feb. 23rd, 2012 02:11 pm (UTC)
Heh. I'll have to re-watch that sometime and make a new judgment. Hmm...

It's perfect, isn't it? :D I'm pretty much going to use it in all of my fics now. And I already have in two fics: "Cherub" and "Love Potion #42."
Feb. 23rd, 2012 02:18 pm (UTC)
Yeah. Watch it again. He is so totally freaked out the whole episode because:
a) he thought he had killed *all* of the Daleks (and his own race) and now here's another one and what was it all for then, anyway?
b) he thought Rose had been killed
c) *HE* had history and knowledge of what exactly the Daleks were capable of and what the hell did Rose know?
d) he was suffering from *major* Time Lord Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder and this little slip of a bleach blonde dared to judge him?

Oh my. Where did *that* come from?? See *this* is why I have a hard time writing about Nine (MY Doctor, dammit!) because I just can't get emotionally invested in his companion. Sorry for the rant!

Edited at 2012-02-23 06:20 pm (UTC)
Feb. 23rd, 2012 02:37 pm (UTC)
Wait till I finally write a re-write of New Who, but place Donna as the first companion. That episode will be a bit different... although I think I will need Rose there - for reasons that will become clear later in the re-write...

Eh, then go read "Idris' Revenge" if you want some MASSIVE Rose-bashing. In fact, go read the two fics I mentioned in the previous comment for more Ben goodness. And some more Rose-bashing. ;D
Feb. 23rd, 2012 03:00 pm (UTC)
I'm sure I've read "Idris' Revenge" but I'll read it again and see if I commented (or comment again...it's not like I don't like to talk or anything!)

I;ve got something percolating about Nine and Donna too. It may be a while. This flipping worj thing keeps getting in my way!
Feb. 23rd, 2012 02:36 pm (UTC)
About the name. I *am* a little partial since my name (Benay) is a combination of BENjamin and rAYmond (my two grandfathers. My Dad expected a son, you see! So I've been Ben or Benny to my family much of my life.

And I've read *both* of those (ooh! Should I be admitting to reading suggestive material?? It *is* Lent, after all!) and loved them both.
Feb. 23rd, 2012 02:39 pm (UTC)
Ah. Well... it's not a bad name to be called. :)

Well, if you haven't left a comment here or at FF.N, please do! I could use the cheering up right now... If you do, note some specifics of what you liked. :)
Feb. 23rd, 2012 03:02 pm (UTC)
I'll take a look at them again and comment again with more specifics. Gotta get *something* done here at work, though!
Feb. 23rd, 2012 07:43 am (UTC)
First off...glad Jenny's okay. =)

I do love Ben. He's sweet. He's my favorite. =P

Loved it.

Feb. 23rd, 2012 02:12 pm (UTC)
I love her. I wouldn't hurt her. :)

Well, I'll consider that a challenge for when I write the fic from Ben's twin's POV. ;)
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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