Disclaimer: Someone thought that it's high time I start putting disclaimers on my work even though it's pretty freaking obvious that I don't own Doctor Who. Mainly because I wasn't born when it first started back in the day and... well... I'm poor. I do own a David Tennant cut out though.
Synopsis: The Doctor's clone is an exact duplicate, the only difference being that he is human - meaning he only has one heart. However, after 'living' for 900 odd years with two, it isn't long before he begins to feel the strain. Rose knows there's something wrong even if he won't admit it himself. When he shows no sign of listening to what she has to say even after she has banned him from Torchwood, she decides its high time she looks for someone he will listen to. The problem then is convincing this person that the Doctor is not just another regular patient.
A/N: So, here's my attempt at a Handy fic. It might seem like it's Ten/Rose, but it's not. She's just there. As is Jackie, Pete, a couple of arsey people who work for Torchwood and a couple of familiar faces. I hope you enjoy it anyway - don't expect any Ten/Rose babies or any soppy stuff as I don't promote Ten/Rose at all. To be honest, I found the whole thing quite naseating. Anyway, enough rambling - enjoy :D
1 - Out of Breath
The Doctor's clone was the Doctor. There were no doubts about it. He spoke the same, moved the same, had the same questionable obsession with bananas and hatred of pears. The differences were hard to spot in the beginning. The odd peculiar word would slip out in his speech – Donna's words – and he would get a little rowdy if something happened that he disagreed with. Not that that was anything new, the Doctor had always gotten a little sulky when he didn't get his way, but this was different. It was more childish. But that wasn't the serious thing.
The serious problem was when he started to get out of breath.
For a long time he was okay. But then gradually his exhaustion began to show. While out with Rose on a mission for Torchwood they found themselves chasing a Level 12 immigrant through the sewers beneath Piccadilly Circus. Rose had known something was wrong when she was in front of the Doctor.
'Come on!' she yelled back to him, slightly breathless herself. 'We're losing it!'
'I'm… coming…' the Doctor panted, face red with the excursion. 'Just… keep going… Don't wait for… me…'
The Doctor didn't get breathless. He didn't get worn out. Rose knew immediately that it was serious, so she stopped. The Level 12 got away, but she didn't care. Going back to the Doctor – her persistent, stubborn Doctor – she saw just how exhausted he was.
'You look terrible.' She informed him.
He was doubled over with his hands on his knees, panting like he had just attempted to sprint up the side of Mount Everest. 'I'm… fine…'
His lie was obvious. She moved closer to him, but didn't make any attempt to help him. She didn't want him to know that he was in need of help. He didn't like feeling helpless. 'You're out of breath.' She pointed out.
'It's just…' He stood up and took another large gulp of air. 'I'm fine. Just… the air is thin down here. Not used to it.' He offered her a wide smile, but the gasps that rushed in and out of his stretched lips did little to comfort her. 'We've lost him.' He remarked in an attempt to change the subject. 'We should head back up top. Maybe we'll catch him trying to make his way back above ground.'
Rose eyed him uncertainly. She didn't want to push him into telling her what was wrong, but she also didn't like the way his chest was rising and falling so rapidly. 'We might as well just head home,' she said as casually as she could. She glanced at her watch. 'Sun's going to be up in a couple of hours. He'll be hiding.'
The Doctor nodded in agreement. This proved there was something wrong; the Doctor never gave up. 'You're probably right.' He agreed. 'I think I need some shut eye.'
They headed back along the dark and ranking sewer in silence. Both of them knew the problem that hung in the air, but neither wanted to mention it. The subject remained closed until they reached the ladder that would take them back above ground.
'It's your heart, isn't it?' Rose said, trying to hide her worry. She had suspected the problem for a while now, but she had found it hard to summon up the courage to mention it.
The look the Doctor gave her said everything. His eyes were sad, but still he smiled. 'What, this thing?' He patted his chest with a pale hand. 'Nah. Ticking along lovely. Although it was better having two. Not that I ever had two, you see. Just the memory. Still, the memory of having two was better than having one.' He saw the sorrow in her eyes and ignored it. 'Better keep it down when we get in, eh? Don't fancy having Jackie tossing shoes at me again. Wasn't my fault someone left that table so close to the front door. Bloody death trap that house is. I never let the TARDIS get that dangerous.'
Rose smiled slightly. 'It was only when you stepped outside when it got dangerous.'
He grinned, eyes glazing over with the memory. 'Ah yes.' He sighed. 'Miss that TARDIS.' He stood for a moment, just remembering, and then stepped aside and offered Rose the ladder. 'Go on then! Up you get! The stink down here is making my nose hairs evaporate.'
Rose mounted the ladder and climbed up. She heard the Doctor following. They had barely gotten half way up before he started gasping again. She tried her best not to think about it, but she couldn't shake it. She knew that would only get worse. And she knew that it was going to be the end of him.