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NEW: A Different Threefold Man (1/10?)

Title: A Different Three-Fold Man
Rating: T
Author: tkel_paris
Summary: Not even Caan could see every possibility. The Hand was far more aware than anyone gave it credit for, and it transformed itself into something different. Now Donna Noble and the Doctor have their work cut out for them.
Dedication: tardis_mole. This was provoked by “Another Fine Mess.” You'll have to read it all the way through to have any clue why. And yes, I beta read that story, so in a tiny way I'm tooting my own horn in addition to TM's. ;D And thank you, my friend, for the chapter titles! :D
Disclaimer: Rose Tyler wouldn't have been anywhere near Series 4, and therefore this probably couldn't have happened, had I anything to do with owning these characters. I've lost all respect for the character, I freely admit it. Which means I've lost some respect for her creator. Shame, since he also created characters that I adore.
Author's Note: A new entry for the Alternate Handy Fanfiction Challenge. Nope, we haven't mined this one to death. Not at all! :D And there are still other possibilities! :D

Chapter One: Double Vision

Donna felt the energy within the Hand touch her mind. It gave her a massive headache as it seemed to consume her, but then, after who know how long, she felt the energy withdraw - forcing her body away violently. She gasped in shock as she found control of her limbs again, and looked to where the hand was lying.

Golden energy was making it grow. It vibrated wildly and then exploded like the Doctor had not long ago. Donna shielded her eyes against the brightness, which suddenly seemed to have two sources, before it faded enough that she could uncover her eyes. They widened as she saw two humanoid shapes forming, one with a sharper outline and the other with a softer one. The glowing faded as they sat up as one, staring at her and-

Donna's mouth dropped. The one on the left looked almost exactly like the Doctor, which some part of her mind was somehow expecting, but the other...looked almost exactly like her! Only one thing could come out of her mouth, as dazed as she was: “You're both naked!”

The two people only then seemed to notice each other, and hopped in their sitting positions. “Oh!” They seemed startled, and a little shocked. Although they would've kept staring in surprise – except the Duplicate Doctor noticed the flames. “Oh,” he cried out, “the Crucible!”

Donna's distracted mind still noticed something odd about his accent. It didn't sound like the Doctor's.

The Duplicate Donna turned toward the Controls, being closer, and crawled quickly over to press a blue button. “There,” she called out triumphantly, “the Doctor's favourite button!”

Another accent that didn't sound like the original person's! Donna watched as the TARDIS engines kicked in, and the flames died out. She could hear the repair systems start working again. She wasn't going to die! But what about the Doctor?! What was happening to him, Jack and Rose?

Her attention was distracted by the two manic naked people rushing around the Controls, checking settings and seemingly communicating without talking. Or looking at each other – except in occasional exasperation. As though one had just somehow said something utterly daft. Donna felt completely weird about the situation...and a bit freaked out. Did that...Duplicate Doctor...look exactly like him? If they all survived this, things could get very awkward between her and the Doctor; the body she saw was actually much better looking out of those suits and pinstripes.

That was not a good thing to realize. She already kept enough things from the Doctor. This would be one more, and even more critical, to be kept from him. She wasn't sure about how mentally stable Rose was, given how she'd begged the Doctor to not regenerate – even though that was the only thing that would save his life. The girl seemed awfully jealous when the Doctor had hugged her, and very single-minded on getting back to him in that parallel world. Secrets she could handle. She'd kept a big one from the Doctor all this time already.

At least she prayed she had. Given that he was a touch telepath, who knew what he'd sensed – even by accident – when he opened her mind to hear the Ood song or when she snogged him to save his life? The last thing she wanted to be seen as was another Martha to him. Of course, that Martian was such a bloke about feelings that he might've mistaken anything he did detect for a more platonic nature. She could hope.

Although Donna would rather be a Martha than a Rose. Especially after seeing how possessive Rose had been about the Doctor in that parallel world. Could what that girl did to the TARDIS be called murder? Or rape? Or both?

If the Doctor's sudden and brief dark look upon hearing that detail was anything to go by, perhaps. He had seemed a bit conflicted about Rose coming back after that. Donna wondered just what had happened to reset things back to their rightful place. Her memories – fuzzy as they were – stopped with that dreadful machine being activated.

But – and this was a more pressing concern – she wasn't sure how she felt about someone who looked like that daft Spaceman knowing what she looked like naked. Not that this one seemed to pay attention to that. If anything, they were studiously not looking at each other – although neither seemed freaked about their respective lack of clothing.

Donna, however, was. “Oi!”

Her Duplicate looked up and held up a hand. “Sh-sh-sh!” She approached quickly. “We have to be quiet! We pulled away from that death trap, but the Daleks might still detect us!”

Donna blinked, still thrown by the accent difference. She sounded like she was from Surry or West Sussex! Although she also noticed that the two looked a lot younger than she and the Doctor did. In fact, they looked like bloody kids! Donna knew she hadn't looked that young since her early teens. Or been that short. And on second look, the Doctor's Duplicate's hair was sticking up even more, he was actually shorter than her Duplicate by an inch, and his face looked equally untouched by stress. Or fuzz requiring a razor. Or acne. Although he had every one of the Doctor's facial freckles.

Which meant... She blushed.

“So,” the Duplicate Doctor added, also whispering and joining the Duplicate Donna in coming over to Donna, “we're running on silent. Like those old submarines when you can't drop a spanner.”

Donna pursed her lips. “Okay,” she whispered back, still trying to figure out what sounded so familiar about each of them while her eyes played ping pong, “but could you each please get dressed?! And what are you two?! Time Lords must be absolutely bonkers if they cut off a limb and grow a new person from it! Or people!”

Her Duplicate quietly laughed. “No, we're something unique. A complicated event in Space-Time, if you please.”

The Duplicate Doctor nodded. “When the Hand that we were was cut off, the Doctor was still in his regeneration cycle. So there was energy trapped in us, unable to resolve itself into normalcy-”

“But then,” the Duplicate Donna interjected quietly, “you touched the jar and wham!”

Donna jerked backwards slightly, flinching over their insane excitement at their explanation.

The Duplicate Doctor continued with restrained energy. “We had all the DNA we needed to become a full person!”

“But,” Donna began, forcing the words out of her shocked mouth, “there's one of the Doctor and one of me.” Then it dawned on her. “Oh, my God! Your accents are flipped! How?”

Her Duplicate's smile faded, as did the Doctor's Duplicate's, as she touched Donna's shoulder. “For one moment while we – as the Hand – were connected to you because of the regenerative energy, a possible future flashed before us. The Hand only turned into him, leaving a lot of energy inside you. Davros later zapped you-”

“Activating that energy into a Time Lord consciousness inside your mind.” The Duplicate Doctor's sad look turned a bit proud. “Oh, you would've been so beyond magnificent, it would've been breathtaking! But it would've meant you would've either died or the Doctor would have to lock away all your memories of him because he couldn't let you die.”

Donna gasped in horror. “But that is a death!”

The Duplicate Doctor put a hand on her shoulder. “We know. We couldn't let either of those things happen. So we drew that energy out of you-”

“-and that copied a much greater amount of your DNA into us, which made things really confusing for a while. Until we somehow split apart!”

“Making the two people you see before you.” The Duplicate Doctor flinched, touching his chest. “Although this weird version of cellular mitosis – twin creation – explains perfectly why our accents switched and why we each only have one heart despite all of the Time Lord DNA.” He grimaced, but had enough wisdom to keep from whining. Not with two Donna Nobles there; he could be slapped on both sides.

The Duplicate Donna frowned, a hand over where the other heart would've been. She sighed. “Well, it's worth it. We saved Mum, didn't we?”

Donna's eyes – which she was struggling to keep at eye level with either of them – felt like they were threatening to expand into cartoon-like balloons. “What?!”

“Sh-sh-sh!” The Duplicate Doctor held a hand up. “Yes. We're each half-human, half-Time Lord. We were all meant for this to happen, Mum. My sister and I just couldn't let anything happen to our mother.” He smiled like a little boy then, offering his mother flowers he'd randomly plucked from a field on the way home from school, and his sister gave her own version of the smile.

All her life, Donna Noble had wanted a child to look at her like that. To see her as the most important person in their life. (With the possible exception of said child's daddy in their eyes.) And now two people were looking at her like that. Donna knew she hadn't looked at her own mother with that kind of love since she was a little schoolgirl. Her eyes felt watery. “Is that,” she asked her Duplicate, “why you sound like the Doctor and he” she pointed at his Duplicate “sounds like me?”

She'd had the question answered already, but the shock made her need a few things repeated.

The two nodded. “A little mix-up,” they said as one. “But we can live with it.”

She focused on the one part that sounded the most absurd. “You're not saying this was destiny, are you? I'm nothing special!”

Her daughter took her hands. “No, Mum. Let us explain. Meeting Dad that first time was a fixed event. You were meant to save his life just as he was meant to save Earth from the Racnoss. Your paths were destined to cross again. Timing was the only questionable point, but it had to happen for other important events to happen.”

Donna shook her head, unable to believe what she was hearing. Her son took up the mantle. “All those things people have said about you over the years, you took it as truth. But it wouldn't have hurt if part of you knew that you weren't what they said you were. Look at what you've done as his companion! No one else managed even half that! You're the greatest of all time!”

Despite all of the ingrained doubts, the instincts developed in response to her mother's nagging, Donna wept. “Bless, you two really think that.”

Her daughter beamed. “We know it, Mum. You are the Most Important Woman in the Whole of Creation, and we're going to make sure you believe it even to a little extent.”

They each threw an arm around her, wrapping her into a group hug as they nuzzled against her shoulders.

Donna tried to blink away her building tears as her arms slowly and instinctively wrapped around them. I'm a mother. The thought ran through her mind once again, sinking in this time. She had made two people, and they looked up to her. I'm a mother.

The floodgates opened. She clutched them against her, letting her face become wet. The Doctor might have unknowingly and unintentionally made her a mother, but that made it no less precious than if she'd carried them and birthed them and raised them to this point. Her chest felt like it had somehow grown on the inside, as big as the universe now. This was the most priceless gift that daft Spaceman had ever given her, and she planned to hold on with everything she had. To help him be a dad to them, to heal a bit from all the pain of losing his people and his last family. He had a new one now, and she would be a help to him.

As his friend, of course. It was foolish to hope to be more than his children's mother to him. She had to suppress the regrets that she was a mother without getting to make love to create her children.

Then the realities of their immediate situation hit her again and she cleared her throat. “Right!” She pulled out of the hug, ignoring the matching pouts. “This is the happiest I've ever been, don't get me wrong, but we have your dad to save, not to mention the universe. And I can't stand it any longer. Put on some clothes now!”

They blinked, and glanced at each other. “Oh,” the Duplicate Donna observed. “Right. You know what your son looks like naked before you've seen his father – even if he's even skinnier than his old man. Yep, that's awkward.” She rushed off toward Donna's room, where there'd be clothes that would fit.

She hoped. She was shorter, after all. That was annoying, the prospect of having to wait for a growth spurt or two to be as tall as Mum.

The Duplicate Doctor looked at his mother. “Yeah, that's a shame. You have two kids and you didn't even get to have sex.”

Donna gaped. A hand pulled away from her side, but he dodged the potential slap – with a huge manic grin – by rushing to find the right storage bin for spare clothes. She dropped into the Jump Seat, her face trying to match her hair. Oh, God, she thought, if they somehow know how I feel about their father... Oh, please don't let him find out! It'll be embarrassing enough when he knows I know what he looks like starkers! Especially if Rose finds out; she'll be furious.

She paled as she remembered the stories she'd heard about Jack and the Boe-Kind. In fact, best to try to not let the Doctor find out until everyone else was gone. Or at least distracted, just in case Rose stayed.

Donna had lost all track of time in her rambling thoughts when she heard her son wandering around again. He was buttoning up a jacket matching the blue trousers he'd found. It looked like a suit she'd seen the Doctor wear about half the time, although it was the without-a-tie look. She frowned as she also noticed how the baggy clothing and bare feet heightened how young the boy looked. He was struggling to not trip over the too-long trouser legs, his father's manic energy brimming over as he also tried to push up the jacket sleeves.

Come to think of it, the Doctor often reminded her of a teenager. How was she going to handle having three to deal with?!

“There!” He was satisfied with what he saw as he inspected the ship. “Repairs largely done. A few things will need more time, but the Old Girl knows they have to wait.”

“And now,” the girl quietly called out, rushing into the room with one hand closed around something and the other holding a belt, “we can save Creation!”

Donna looked over and blinked. She immediately recognized the entire outfit from the pink top down to the trousers. She last wore it when she and the Doctor landed in 1926, before she changed into the flapper outfit. She was suddenly unsure whether it looked better on her own almost forty years-old body or her daughter's seemingly fourteen years-old body. If you adjusted it to fit the girl's flatter chest.

And the girl was equally barefoot. Oh, right, Donna realized numbly, her feet would be too small for my shoes. Same must go for my son and his father's shoes. Although why were her feet clearly sticking out?

The Duplicate Doctor looked up, and grinned. “Safety pins!”

That answered her question. Donna watched as her daughter quickly helped him roll the sleeves so his hands were free, and swiftly used three pins to keep each roll in place. Her son was awkwardly putting on the belt with one hand, grimacing. Donna recognized it as the smallest one she brought on board. She usually could only use the last notch. Her poor son needed it to keep the trousers at his waist. As soon as his sleeves were done, he swiftly finished attaching the belt while his sister rolled the legs up enough. Then he pinned one leg, she the other.

The whole time, neither said a word. Yet their actions were coordinated. Were they talking to each other through their minds? Like the Doctor had said that his people could? Did that mean he wasn't alone anymore, that he could have those empty spaces he once spoke of filled a bit once again?

Except when her children rushed to look at the controls, watching some of the readings they saw, Donna reminded herself that she had to put all her personal concerns aside. The realities of sudden motherhood could wait. Worries about what the Doctor's reaction might be could wait. Concerns over Rose Tyler's behavior here and in that parallel world could even wait. If they didn't find a way to stop the Daleks and whatever they wanted all of the planets for, none of it would matter.

No, she told herself, standing to join them. We will find a way. If this miracle could happen, then the universe can be saved! And so this Earthgirl would be as much of a help as she could.

Chapter 2: Twice the Work


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 25th, 2012 10:56 pm (UTC)
Ooh, I like the premise! And poor Doctor (or very lucky Doctor?) when he realizes there's two Donna's! ("I can't tell you what I'm thinking right now...") Definitely looking forward to the next part.
Apr. 25th, 2012 11:41 pm (UTC)
Right now its poor Doctor. He has no clue what's coming his way. Later on he'll feel lucky to have two Donnas. Very lucky. :D

And he and Donna will be yelling at Jack if he dared say that. Not that he would; the Duplicates are kids here.

Will post it as soon as the parts after are ready. Have some visions to do to make them better. Thanks for reading and reviewing! :D
Apr. 26th, 2012 01:49 am (UTC)
This is certainly interesting. The Doctor can't very well shunt *this* Meta-Crisis off on Rose, now can he!? :D

I'll be waiting for future installments.
Apr. 26th, 2012 01:55 am (UTC)
Wait. Just wait! ;D

If I can finish the edits, I can have the second chapter up within a day. :D
Apr. 26th, 2012 12:35 pm (UTC)
I adore all of Donna's insecurities and dreams coming out here, and the cheekiness of her newly acquired twins!! Brilliant. :D
Apr. 26th, 2012 04:59 pm (UTC)
Good icon! Too bad it's missing someone for this fic. Oh, well. :) Thanks! :D
Apr. 26th, 2012 02:13 pm (UTC)
I totally love this first chapter and I can't wait for the next one! :D
Apr. 26th, 2012 05:00 pm (UTC)
I love this story. I'm feeling pretty good about it even. :) Next chapter might be up later tonight, depending on a few things. :)
Jun. 15th, 2012 03:02 pm (UTC)
Need an alternate link to the Another Fine Mess as the ff.net link you had is gone due to FF.net deleting the story.
Jun. 15th, 2012 03:55 pm (UTC)
Actually, TM deleted the story before FFN could. Keeps his account in good standing - even though I'm not sure he's ever posting there again.

TM hasn't posted a new link yet. He's going through the backlog of stories and uploading them one at a time to LJ. And there's a lot of them. Will update this link when the story is up on LJ.

Meanwhile, hope you enjoyed the chapter.
Jun. 17th, 2012 06:10 pm (UTC)
I'll still be able to follow your story though without his? I'm asking this because from your author's notes you seem to imply that his story is very necessary to be able to read yours.
Jun. 17th, 2012 06:13 pm (UTC)
My story has nothing to do with his. His was the inspiration for mine, and the bit that sparked this story didn't come until the final chapter. Another Fine Mess is 20 chapters long. Well, it was on FF.N, but LJ might force a few chapters to be broken up more. We'll see.

So you can follow mine without needing to have read his. When his story is posted again, then you'll know what exactly inspired me. :)

Update: The story starts here and continues for 19 more posts. Use the tag "alternate handy" in TM's tags section and be ready to click back a few pages to follow the rest of the story. But it's worth the effort.

Edited at 2012-08-17 05:02 am (UTC)
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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