Sorry it's been so long but if you knew what I've been going through this past month, you'd understand!

Warning: lots of doctor whump ahead.

Previously:The Doctor's body was too weak from blood loss and crashed back down to the floor, gasping, his eyes half closed. "I don't want to die." He managed to articulate slowly and precisely.

Chapter Nine

Rose fumbled for her mobile as she threw the door to the flat closed and stepped out to the street. She dialed "Pete."

The Doctor lay on his stomach, moist palms and the side of his pale, sweaty face pressed into the tile floor. His eyes were half closed and dull and his mouth hung open as he panted. He could feel his weak heart racing in his chest, trying to compensate fast enough. He could only watch as the precious fluid was suctioned from his arm, filling unit after unit with his blood. He vaguely thought that in his last moments he should be thinking of Rose, of the life they had had together, of the good times he had experienced in his tenth body, and his brief time as a human. Instead of these thoughts, however, all the Doctor could think about was the hard tile, and the cold chill that gripped his bones.

"Norm, we need more unit bags." Rich stooped into the Doctor's hazy field of vision and plucked the needle from his arm, replacing it hastily with a sticky plaster.

Hope bloomed in the Doctor's stomach and he experimentally mustered the strength to slide his arm closer to him.

"He all right on his own?"

"He's half dead, Rich, what do you think?"

I am not dying today. The little voice in the back of the Doctor's head startled him. Images of bananas and marmalade wafted through his brain. Have I ever tried bananas IN marmalade? No! That means I can't die today.

It was a good enough distraction. He did dare allow his brain to dwell on the very real fear of the future he might lose. The future that he and Rose had.

The future that includes sex… oh loads more sex, he told himself. Sex every day. Twice a day. More than that. Whenever he fancied it. All the time.

A future that might have babies, and morning breath, and peanut butter jelly sandwiches stuffed in loafers. No. He admonished himself. Don't think of that. Too painful…think about sex.

What was the human fascination with sex, anyway? He never felt like this as a Time Lord. Well, it had passed his mind a few times but never as constant as it did now. He was a human male now, and sex seemed constantly in his mind. Humans need to pass on their genes, and now the Doctor has been thrown into that game. Don't think about children never to be born. Regardless, there would be sex and the Doctor focused on that as he managed to twitch his fingers and toes, life slowly coming back.

The sound of the door closing drew him from his mind and he looked up to see that he was alone. He froze, realizing that he had in fact raised his head. Slowly, and with enormous effort, he managed to heave himself up onto all fours.

His eyes lit on the table beside him and his face broke into a goofy grin. Half laughing, half sobbing, he launched a hand to the table and gripped it firmly, dragging himself up. With his other hand, he triumphantly snatched up his sonic screwdriver.

Panting with the effort, he fell back down on to his bottom, gazing at the screwdriver as though trying to remember why it was so important.

He knew that Rich and Norm had underestimated his body's knack for clinging to survival—it came from the Time Lord side—and the Doctor was quickly regaining a modicum of energy.

As his brain began to get back in touch with the rest of him, he smiled and closed his hand tighter around the sonic screwdriver. Adjusting the setting and flicking it on for a half second, the lock of the door quietly clicked open.

He raised his free hand to the table and dragged himself to his feet, shaking with the effort. Beads of sweat grazed his forehead and he panted, one hand pressed to his chest as he stared at the door with determination.

He paused to gather his strength, his tongue sticking out of the corner of his mouth in concentration. He lunged for the door and managed to get to it before falling. Pushing it open slowly, he peered around it. The corridor was deserted. The sickly fluorescent lights bounced off the very white, new looking tile floor and made the windows on the far side look black. The Doctor could just make out his reflection, ghost-like amid the blackness of the night.

There were two stairwells and both were covered by caution tape. No wonder there was no one here. He thought grimly. It's a construction site. He pulled himself carefully around the wall, leaning heavily against it. He tore through the caution tape and opened the door to the stair well. Scaffolding strangled the stairs as though growing like weeds from the linoleum.

Rose burst into the hospital reception room and couldn't help but pace circles in panic and indecision. She knew he had to be here, but she had no idea which floor or wing he could be in.

Her years of working with Torchwood had leveled her head and allowed her to think rationally in desperate situations. This was different. Those years were spent trying to get back to the man she loved. That figure that is so precious to her was in her grasp for a little while, only to seem to be leaking from her cupped hands like water.

"You all right, ducky?" An eldery woman looked at her in concern but Rose did not care enough to respond.

Her vision was blurring rapidly and she wondered if panic could possibly kill a person.


She spun on her heel. "Dad—I mean, Pete!"

Pete ran to her and grasped her forearms. "Don't worry, I've got back up, but think, Rose, was there anyone suspicious, anyone you may have seen lately?"

Rose gulped, shaking her head, then her eyes landed on a figure exiting an elevator. "Rich." She whispered.

Pete turned and made eye contact with Rich. Rich paused, looked back at his companion, then sprinted back in to the elevator.

"Oi!" Pete yelled. "Stop!" He ran to the elevator doors just as they were closing and through a foot between them. They bounced back and Pete shoved Rich to the wall, pinning him with his arms.

Rose saw Norm do a runner and hurried after him. She shoved around patients and nurses, determined not to lose Norm's back.

"What's all this now?" Yelled a voice. Rose ignored it.

Norm disappeared behind a stairwell door and Rose followed soon after.

Grateful for all the running that came with the Torchwood job, Rose maintained her pace and could tell that Norm was fading as he climbed the stairs two at a time.

The Doctor heard a commotion at the bottom of the stairs. He leaned over the rail to look down dozens of floors. His head spun from the height combined with his blood loss but he was sure he saw a flash of blond hair.

"Rose?" He called hopefully. The blond head lunged out of view and he could hear the sound of a struggle, then distinctly, Rose's voice: "Where is he?" She yelled. "I promise you, if you've hurt a hair on his head…" Her voice echoed up the stairwell. "I'll kill you. You'll already be locked up but I promise you will be dead if you don't tell me now."

The Doctor's mouth twisted in distaste at her threats but reasoned that her panic was clouding her judgement. "I'm coming Rose, no need for death." He muttered to himself as he took on the stairs. His strength was not quite there yet, however, and his foot slipped on the displaced and unfinished linoleum. He flung a hand out to hold on to something, but he was already falling. His shoulder connected painfully with the scaffolding and with an all mighty groan, the metal began to fall with him. He held his arms around his head in protection as he rolled down the stairs to come to a sickening crash against the wall. The scaffolding continued to collapse.

"You're coming with us." Pete said, handing Rich off to his Torchwood team. "I want two of you with me." He ordered and jogged in Rose's direction.

The Doctor groaned. Something very sharp was pressing into his leg and his chest was painfully restricted. He opened his eyes but what he saw was just as confusing as what he was feeling. A series of abstract lines met his soft focus vision. Something hard was pressed against his back, his side, and his front, pinning him in place. He blinked and his vision began to clear.

He was lying on his side. Numerous metal supports from the scaffolding surrounded him. One was pressed to his chest restricting his breathing. Another was painfully pushed up against his abdomen, just under his ribcage. A spasm tore through his body and he coughed, bringing up the metallic flavour that had become so familiar to him.

From his point of view on the floor he could only see the top of Rose's head as she crested the stairs.

So much for all the sex they were going to have, he thought ruefully as he watched her ashen face contort in pain at his appearance.

"Help me, Dad, hurry!" Her voice was sonorous as though under water.

She reached through his metallic cage to touch his face. Her touch woke him a bit. "Rose." He managed, very aware of the pole pressed against his belly.

"You're going to be fine, love, just fine. Don't worry. We'll get you out." Tears streamed unchecked down her cheeks. Her speech was rushed. "You'll be okay, I love you, You'll be okay."

"Rose." He said calmly, aware that he only physically had enough room to say a few words at a time. The more relaxed he was, the easier it was to talk around his metal captors. "Rose, I love you." He closed his eyes to take the shallow breath he was allowed. "It wasn't what…we had envisioned. After… everything…I go and…die on you."

"No!" Rose hissed angrily. "You're not dying, not today, don't say that."

Pete was hovered around his peripheral vision, assessing the damage. "Sonic screwdriver!" He shouted suddenly, bending down and reaching something near the Doctor's hip. "That's what it's called, isn't it?" He held it up and Rose snatched it quickly.

"Which setting, Doctor?" She half shouted in urgency.

"I'm dying, Rose." His resigned voice was cracked by a cough, bringing up more fluid. "There's only…so much a…human body can take."

"Doctor, listen to me. You tell everyone else not to give up. Now it's your turn and I won't let you be a hypocrite. I won't let you take the easy way out. You're not dying on me. Tell me the setting!" She flinched as she realized how loud her angry shout was. His warm brown, doleful eyes stared at her.

"G53 should…do it."

Rose took a second to spin the dial and set the figures. "You are going to die with me when we're really old and both in nappies and eating mush. You hear me? We're going to watch bad day time T.V. together and eat pudding and buy ridiculous presents for our grandchildren." She pressed the button on the screwdriver. She had to press down hard with both hands before it took effect. Miraculously, the metal seemed to soften before her eyes.

Pete reached forward and pulled at the metal. "That's good, stop Rose." The blue light died. "We need enough support that it won't fall down on him." He managed to bend the pole slightly, releasing pressure from the Doctor's chest.

Rose repeated the process for the one that stuck up and into his belly. This one was what worried her the most. The location of the injury did not bode well for him. Pete had to dig his hand palm between the Doctor and his entrapment to pull it from him, causing him to whimper in pain.

The screwdriver began to grow hot in Rose's hand and suddenly, with a spark, the light died. "No!" Rose banged it against the floor.

"It's all right," Pete said. "We can pull him out now. You lift the board at his leg and I'll pull him out from under it."

Rose took one look at the Doctor's pale face and nodded. He was uncannily relaxed, given his situation, and Rose did not like it. It was as though the fight had left him, and it scared her.

A/N Ouch. Another cliffhanger. I'm sorry guys, I don't mean to do it, I really don't, but my fingers just start typing horrific whump against my will!