Author's Notes: This story has already been written and completed. I will be posting a new chapter twice a week, on Mondays and Thursdays (barring any unforeseen circumstances).
Disclaimer: This story takes place within the Doctor Who universe. This story is a way of re-interpreting concepts and ideas already present in Doctor Who. All characters within belong to the BBC. This story is for fun and for sharing, but not for profit.
Chapter 1: A Way Home
The Doctor was dying. Not immediately. In fact, he'd been taking some time about it, as he had taken some time about getting through most of his regenerations. But now, here, in this alternate universe, he had no more regenerations and a part-Time Lord, part-human body which didn't seem to want to behave the way he preferred.
Torchwood (which still existed on this Earth) had been created to collect alien artefacts. He was certainly one himself and, sequestered in their sub-terranean sickbay especially designed for non-humans, he had to agree that he was in the most appropriate place possible. Nevertheless, the idea of his body in the hands of Torchwood after his demise made him shudder.
He made a mental note to discuss that with Rose at the first opportunity away from cameras and recording devices.
~ o ~ O ~ o ~
'Show me,' he said.
Yvonne pressed the button that raised the head of the hospital bed, and Rose reached over and grabbed the laptop from the desk. Balancing the computer on the Doctor's lap, she pointed to the slowly moving energy graph in the middle of the screen. 'It started about fifteen minutes ago.'
Dark brown eyes gazed at the data scrolling across the screen. 'Fifteen,' he mused. 'Fifteen minutes. Right... I see the amplitude has increased by five percent since then. Like a seismograph, it's showing output of energy. Look at the wave form. It's building towards something... something incoming, I should think.' He panted a little after such a long speech.
'Save your energy,' said Rose and she stroked his cheek.
He smiled at her. 'Sorry. Not my style. But, Rose, I want to see this.'
'You're not strong enough,' objected Rose.
'I'm strong enough to lie in a bed,' said the Doctor patiently. 'Take me up there. Take me to the top of Torchwood Tower.'
~ o ~ O ~ o ~
Energy pulsed and swirled, as far out as the last of the diagonal cables that lined the walls of the tower's top floor.
'You were right,' Rose whispered as she leaned over the bed. 'The readings have changed again. Something is coming through.'
'I wish you would let us bring in armed guards,' Yvonne said from behind them. 'There's no telling what's going to appear.'
'No!' The whisper from the bed was hoarse, but intense.
Rose frowned and shook her head at Yvonne. 'You know the Doctor's rules. No guns.'
'But-' Yvonne was cut off.
'It's getting bigger!' someone at the back yelled.
Rose blinked. There was a dark patch in the middle of the distortion. It seemed to hover for a moment, but before Rose could make out what its shape was, it suddenly grew until...
...until a man was pushed through and unceremoniously dumped onto the ground. Before anyone could move or speak, the man rolled in one fluid motion and rose to his feet. The energy vortex behind him disappeared.
'Hello,' he said as he looked around the room. He dusted himself off. 'I'm the...'
The man caught sight of Rose and he stopped. He peered at her intently and she shivered.
'Ah, I see,' said the man quietly. 'Hello, Rose.' He walked forward, slowly with hands down but palms forward in a placating manner. Rose looked behind her and saw the readiness and anxiety radiating from the Torchwood staff behind her.
'He's all right,' she said, although she was not sure why she felt so confident. She looked back and narrowed her eyes. The man certainly didn't look threatening. Rather, he looked like a young, absentminded professor in his tweed jacket and bowtie-a professor that really wanted one to do well in their exams but was generally confused when one did not.
She stood by and did nothing as the man approached the bed and looked down. It seemed right and it seemed natural, and suddenly Rose swallowed over a tight lump in her throat.
'It's you-I thought it might be,' the man murmured. 'But why like this, I don't know. Funny, that.' He reached down and very, very gently lifted an errant lock of dark brown hair back from a flushed and damp forehead. 'You know who I am, don't you.'
The Doctor smiled slightly. 'I do.'
'Doctor,' Rose said, although she was starting to understand. She reached over the bed railing and took up his hand. 'Who is he?'
He looked up at her. 'You don't need me to tell you, Rose. Look into his eyes.'
Rose did so and saw kind, green eyes looking steadily back. The man nodded slightly and smiled but said nothing.
'Oh,' Rose said, suddenly feeling hopeful and lost at the same time. 'You're the Doctor, aren't you. The original Doctor. The one who abandoned us here-who left my Doctor to die.'
~ o ~ O ~ o ~
'I left him to die?' The Doctor looked startled. He frowned and looked down at the Doctor on the bed. 'What do you mean, I left him to die?'
'No way to get back,' said Rose, her voice hard. 'No way to get help if something went wrong. We can't ask doctors here - he's all wrong in their eyes.'
The Doctor tilted his head. 'How do you mean, "all wrong"?'
'He's human, all right,' she said bitterly. 'Or parts of him. But his heart's tilted to the right and everything else is on the wrong side-everything is that has a "side".' She flapped her hand near her eyes. 'Even the, you know,... blood vessels at the back of his eyes spiral in anti-clockwise... or was it clockwise. Whichever's the opposite to the rest of us.'
The Doctor perked up. 'Do they really?'
'Yes, they do!' Rose shouted. 'We can't take him to a hospital because they'll treat him like a freak show. We tried that. They love the fact that he has two different sets of genes, but they don't know how to treat him. We had to hide him here to get him out of their clutches, and we still can't help him. He's dying, and you're the only one who can do anything.'
'I... I see,' stammered the Doctor, eyeing Rose with some apprehension. 'I can understand why you're worried.' He whipped out his sonic screwdriver and scanned. Upon looking at it, he frowned and pocketed it. He bent over the bed railing and reached out his hands. 'May I?'
The other Doctor nodded. Gentle, careful hands reached out and fingers touched at each side of his face. Both Doctors closed their eyes.
Suddenly protective, Rose inched forward and watched, but their faces were relaxed. Behind them, the Torchwood staff still stood silently, although there were many craning necks as they tried to get a glimpse of what was going on. Rose ignored them.
After a few moments, the visiting Doctor straightened. He removed his hands, opened his eyes and sighed heavily. He looked at Rose. 'I may have done exactly as you said.' He cleared his throat. 'I want to try something, and I think it may help.' He looked back at the blank wall that he had come through, but the energy ripples had ceased. The wall was smooth, solid and white. He looked down at the Doctor. 'Do you trust me?'
The Doctor smiled somewhat ruefully. 'Do I have a choice?' he whispered. But he seemed to regret his words as soon as they were spoken and said a little more forcefully, 'Of course I do. You're me, remember?'
The visitor smiled back. 'If you can't trust yourself, who can you trust?' He leaned over and once again smoothed away errant dark locks of hair. It was almost, Rose thought absently, as if he felt compelled to touch her Doctor's hair. In remembrance? In fascination?
'I need you to breathe out as hard as you can. Get rid of all the air from your lungs as much as possible. Do you understand? Then hold it. Hold it and wait for me.'
Rose's Doctor nodded, his brown eyes suddenly widening in realization.
The other Doctor let loose the catch on the bed railing and swung it down and out of his way. 'Breathe out,' he ordered. He laid his hand on the other's chest.
Rose frowned. She took up the hand that lay on the blanket close to her and held it tight.
Her Doctor breathed out as best he could, but, short of breath already, he was unable to drive out much air. In one swift motion, the other Doctor pinched her Doctor's nose closed with his fingers and, bending down, pressed his mouth hard over the other's and blew air forcefully into weakened lungs.
Her Doctor's chest rose. When their mouths parted, he exhaled, less shallowly. Rose started. It seemed to her that there was some tiny flicker of something at his lips. But before she could think further on this, the other Doctor again lowered his head and pressed his mouth to his patient's.
Fascinated, Rose watched closely as air was forced once again into her partner's lungs. This time, however, as he was allowed to exhale, she saw it. A curl of golden-tinged energy drifted out from between his lips.
As the visiting Doctor raised his head, Rose reached out and gripped his shoulder. 'You're feeding him Time Lord energy, aren't you? Like you did to that crystal in the Tardis. That's what he needs, isn't it?'
'Yes, Rose, I am. And, yes, I believe it is.'
They both looked down at the Doctor on the bed. He was panting very slightly and blinking owlishly. Rose brought his hand up to her chest. 'How do you feel,' she asked. She looked up briefly at the heart monitor. 'Your heart rate's increased.'
'Yeah,' he said. His voice was a little stronger. 'It seems I'm like the Tardis. We were right. It's this universe. I can't live here-the Time Lord part of me, at any rate.'
'Then we've got to get you back,' Rose said firmly. She looked up and levelled her gaze at the green eyes staring at her from across the bed. 'You have a problem with that? Now?'
'No,' he answered meekly. 'No, he can't stay here. But you-'
'Where he goes, I go,' Rose ground out. 'You don't get to choose this time. He and I-we're a couple, see. We belong together and nothing is going to get between us. D'you understand?'
The Doctor swallowed and nodded, backing away from the bed. 'I definitely understand,' he murmured. He once again looked back at the wall. 'The real question is, though, will I able to get you back? I didn't exactly plan to come here.'
She scowled. 'Then how did you get here?'
He shrugged. 'Cracks in the Universe, big explosion, time all wib... Long must have noticed some effects. But never mind. Suffice it to say, my universe spat me out here. Now it all depends on a young woman to remember me and bring me back.'
Her eyes narrowed. 'Your... companion? A lover?'
The Doctor's eyes widened and he backed up a little further. 'Not a lover, Rose. Never. Just... just a companion. Like Martha. Like Donna.'
'Mm-hm,' Rose said.
The hand still holding hers squeezed. 'Leave it,' her Doctor said softly.
The object of her ire shook his head. 'Not like you, Rose. Not...' He trailed off and shook his head. He stared at the ground. 'Just a friend,' he mumbled. 'But I'm hoping that if... when she remembers me, I can bring you, both of you, back with me, if it will work that way. If it will let me.'
'So what do we do?' she asked.
'We wait. We wait for her to remember. But if you two are to come with me, we ought to be in physical contact. That would increase the chances of all of us returning.'
'Do you really think so?' At that query, Rose looked down at the origin of the voice and then back up.
'I'm with him,' she said. 'You said it's based on memory. What does physical contact have to do with it?'
'Nothing,' said Rose's Doctor. 'It would mean telepathic connection.' He winced. 'Piggy-back on your memories? That's dicey at best.'
The visitor shrugged. 'She remembers me, I remember you. Best case scenario-it takes all of us. On the other hand, it could just take me. Worst case scenario-I am left here as well or simply wink out of existence.'
Rose's Doctor grinned. 'One in three chance? I'll take those odds any day.'
'So will I,' said Rose, but then she suddenly stilled. 'Where's the Tardis?' As she said the words, she could feel the hand holding hers suddenly tense.
The visitor looked away. 'It's at the heart of the... problem. But if all goes well, it should be waiting for us when we get back, no worse for wear.'
'What do you mean, the heart of the problem?' she protested.
'Rose, I know it may be hard after what I did to you two, but I need you to trust me,' he answered. He looked at her steadily. 'If we get back, the Tardis will be fine. If we, or I, don't, it won't matter anyway. Now, I don't know when Amy will remember us, if she does, but in relative time, it should be soon if I've played my cards right. You two have been here for a little more than one year, yes?' At their combined nod, he continued. 'So I suggest that we both climb up here on this bed. Physical contact may help. You never know.'
Rose said nothing but lowered the railing on her side of the bed and clambered on. With three of them, it was a tight fit, but Yvonne came forward and raised the railings again so that Rose and the visitor could relax without fear of falling off.
'Now,' said the Doctor in the tweed jacket, 'I'm only going to touch your minds lightly. Don't worry, Rose, I'm not going to go in deeply. Just enough so that our thoughts are connected superficially. You shouldn't really notice anything. Hopefully this will be enough.'
The Doctor was true to his word. When he touched his fingers to the side of her face, all Rose felt was a hint of a gentle presence in her mind. When it was her Doctor's turn, he sighed slightly and closed his eyes. She laid her head on his shoulder and took his hand.
'Yvonne,' she said softly.
'Yes,' Yvonne answered. She leaned over the bed.
'If this works, and I am gone, tell my parents I love them. Tell them... tell them, "Thanks for everything," all right?'
'Consider it done.' Yvonne stepped back from the bed and suddenly turned her head. 'Rose, the distortion is back. Same place.' She looked back at them. 'Good luck, all of you.'
The other Doctor reached across and clasped Rose's arm. Like her, he too laid his head against the tenth Doctor's shoulder. 'Good luck,' he whispered.
The bed jerked suddenly, and Rose realized that Yvonne had pushed it towards the wall. She only had enough time to notice the vibrations of the wheels turning. And then the world went white.
To be continued