A/N: I struggle through last chapters. Last chapters really don't like being written by me. Oh well! Here it is. Sorry this fic took so long to write, I picked a bit of a stupid time in the exam calendar!
Chapter 22 – Forsaken
The Doctor had allowed Father Jace to keep the one remaining unused bottle of nanogene water, but insisted that it be used sparingly and only for emergencies, and that he should tell no one he had it. Gabrielle had also said a fond farewell to them after the Doctor had checked on the baby she was carrying to find it in perfect health. Martin and Elizabeth had also waved them off, along with Larec as the last of the wounded got back onto their feet. The trio had just finished making their good byes and were making their way back to the TARDIS when a shrill, ear ringing beeping started up from out of nowhere.
The Doctor frowned, taking a few moments until he realised that the beeping was infact coming from him. He reached into his pocket, drawing out the slim white metal tube he'd picked up from the crashed alien vessel days previously. Its before dull and uninteresting lights were flashing alternately in some kind of crazy disco dance, then he realised what it was.
He froze, looking up to see Jack and Rose staring back at him. "It's a fertilisation tube," he muttered, looking up at Rose with wide eyes.
Rose stared back at him. "That doesn't sound good."
"It… It takes the DNA from the fingerprints of a male and female from any species that could be fertile together and…" he trailed off, not really needing to complete that sentence.
Rose was still staring at the Doctor. "What does this mean exactly?"
He swallowed, his eyes swivelling down to the tube in his hand. He was acutely aware of Jack stood next to Rose, grinning like mad.
"You and I both touched it," he finally croaked.
Rose's eyes opened Bambi-wide. "You mean… In there…"
He nodded, feeling slightly numb. "The combination of our chromosomes has… formed a new life."
Silence proceeded for an unhealthy amount of time.
"Hold on," the Doctor suddenly said with realisation spreading over his face, frantically examining the tube over in both hands. "I can reverse it!"
"No!" Rose burst out, flinging out her hand to catch the Doctor's wrist, stilling it. He fell silent again. "That's no better than murder and you know it."
The Doctor's eyes met hers. He was ashamed. "I'm sorry," he muttered, his eyes flickering down to the floor. "I should've realised…"
"It's okay," she replied, extending a hand to rest on his shoulder. "Really."
"Guys," Jack suddenly interrupted softly. Rose had almost forgotten he was there. "You'd better make a decision coz that fertilisation mixture in that tube ain't gonna last long."
"What? What've we gotta do?" Rose questioned, letting go of the Doctor.
"It's designed as a sort of IVF treatment," the Doctor began to explain, his voice still trembling, tinted with shock. "It creates the life but it still needs to be incubated in order to be born."
"Do it," Rose said. "Whatever you need to inject me with, whatever I need to give birth to, just do it."
"Rose…" he began, unsure.
Rose sighed loudly, taking the tube out of his grip and checking it over. "Where's the 'on' switch?"
The Doctor slipped back inside the TARDIS, closing the door gently behind him. He walked up the ramp with his hands in his pockets, eyes glued to the floor, lost in his thoughts. He stopped at the console; finally looking up to the column of the time ship he loved so much. He sighed, reaching out hand to rest it on the controls. She throbbed beneath his palm.
The TARDIS door opened quietly behind him, and Donna Noble entered. She could tell he was in a sensitive place just by his pose, hunched over the console, gaze to the ground.
She walked up to him, resting her hand on his. Their eyes met.
"Doctor," she said gently. "If you need to talk… I'm here."
His eyes disconnected from hers to look at the floor. It took him a few moments to sum up the courage to speak, but even then it was only a broken whisper. "I'm fine."
Donna was feeling just the slightest bit agitated. "Doctor, please. You're not fine. Tell me what's goin' on inside that head of yours."
"There's nothing to tell," the Doctor said airily.
"Who is Josh to you?"
"He's Martin's son."
"I don't believe you."
The Doctor looked at her for a long moment, considering.
"Well," he began, staring straight into her eyes. "Then I guess you'll never know."
Josh was crying again.
Minutes after Donna had said, 'no' after events with the Racnoss the Doctor was sat cross-legged on the floor of the TARDIS nursery, the baby boy cradled in his arms. He never seemed to stop crying… what had Rose done to make him stop all those times before? At the thought of Rose the Doctor broke a little more inside. Rose was gone; trapped in a parallel universe forever – but at least she was with her family. She'd be happy. That was all that mattered. Never mind him – he was fine, he was always fine, he'd get through…
Josh continued to cry and the sound was beginning to hurt the Doctor's ears. He tried to shush the child but Josh just continued to wail in the Time Lord's arms, little tears running down his face. The Doctor could feel his own tears welling up. How was he going to do this without Rose? He couldn't even make Josh stop crying…
"Please," the Doctor found himself saying to the child in his arms. "Please, just stop… Please…"
Josh continued to cry.
"I can't do this," the Doctor whispered to the child. "I can't do this without your mother. Please forgive me. I love you."
He got to his feet with the baby boy in his arms, blinded by tears as he headed out of the nursery and into the console room. He began to program one-handed, hearing the TARDIS in his head attempting to reason with him, but he ignored her. He stood back as the TARDIS lurched into action, tears falling freely down his face. The TARDIS was creaking in protest, unwilling to take her driver to the destination he wanted but still unable to refuse. She was screaming inside his head, but he just ended up shutting her out completely.
She landed, and it took a few tries until he managed to open the door and step outside, Josh cradled in his right arm. He'd emerged into a forest in the middle of the day, the bright sunlight shining through the summer leaves. He felt more tears run down his cheeks and onto the cradle of cloth he held in his arms, still crying with him.
He turned towards the direction of a footpath, and began to walk.
Martin was surprised to say the least at the sound of the frenzied hammering on the door. He set down the wooden toy he was carving and hurried over to answer. He pulled open the door, and was instantly surprised by the sight that met him.
"Doctor!" he exclaimed, eyes flickering to the crying bundle in the other man's arms. "What are you…"
"Take him," the Doctor said, and Martin was alarmed to find the tears swimming in his eyes. "Please."
Martin looked down to find the crying bundle in the Doctor's arms being offered out for him to receive. He automatically took the baby into both arms, and the Doctor moved back several paces.
"Doctor, what happened?" he asked, but the Doctor was already past the front gate, his eyes fixed to the child in Martin's arms.
"Promise me you and Elizabeth will love him, and keep him safe."
Martin blinked, looking down at the child he held, still crying his tiny eyes out. "I promise."
The Doctor nodded, a hand raising up to wipe the tear tracks from his own cheeks. "His name's Josh," he croaked. Then he was gone.