Warning: Don't look if you are a Rose lover: consider yourself WARNED!

A/N: I'd like to express my grateful thanks to cassikat for being so gracious as to let me nick an idea of hers.


Part 12

.

Jack returned from dealing with a spot of Torchwood bother elsewhere to see the Doctor happily sitting in a comfortable chair dressed in a new suit and looking remarkably refreshed considering what he'd been through.

"Welcome back, Doc!" Jack cried out as he rushed forward to greet the Doctor with a hug.

The Doctor stayed where he was and offered his hand to shake instead, thereby escaping the embrace. "Sorry, Jack; I'm still feeling a little fragile," he explained in a raspy voice.

"That's okay," Jack answered as nonchalantly as he could. The Doctor did indeed still look a bit weak despite his cleaned up body. He noted that the Doctor's skin was almost back to normal, and there were no grimaces of pain. "How are you feeling now?"

The Doctor touched a hand to his chest, where his heartbeats were almost normal now. "Much better, thanks. I can't thank you enough for bringing them to me and all the help you given us."

"Are you up to explaining how exactly you got here, Sweetheart?" Donna asked him softly as John placed fresh cups of tea in front of them.

The Doctor gratefully sipped his cup. "I think so," he answered hesitantly. If she was still calling him 'Sweetheart' he couldn't be completely healthy in her eyes. "But my voice still feels a little dodgy."

"Just do your best," she encouraged him, gracing him with fond smiles. He concluded that he definitely had a small way to go along the road to 'mended'.

Jack still wondered at the scene before him; he'd never thought he would see the three of them together again like this. It was a sight to gladden the heart; if not the loins. "We'll understand if you want to stop," he added, wanting to encourage any information from the Doctor.

"Well," he began, putting his cup of tea carefully down on the coffee table, "it all started with Rose, I'm afraid. She wasn't too keen on not getting the real Doctor, shall we say; so she took things into her own hands."

"Did she use violence?" Donna agitatedly asked, sensing some sort of wincing response from him.

"Not against me, as such, but…," he paused to find the right way to express himself. "I'd rather not think about it if it's all the same to you."

John placed a consoling hand on the Doctor's sagging shoulder as Donna took hold of his hand. "We understand," John told him simply.

The Doctor gave him a brief thankful smile. "She smuggled out a dimension cannon from Torchwood that she'd bribed and coerced a technician to adapt. Using the duplicate DNA she got it to home in on the original Doctor, and effectively… switched us for want of a better phrase."

"What? She did what?" John cried out in shock. "But… I don't understand!"

"She took your DNA John, strapped the device to your body and violently switched us a couple of weeks ago. You were sucked back into this universe with such force you fractured your skull and lost all your memories, even though they merged with mine," the Doctor softly explained. "I heard from several sources how she had mistreated you; and I can't help thinking that it is my fault in some way. I'm sorry… so sorry."

John gasped, and began to tremble as it all became clearer in his head. "Donna?" He reached out towards her, seeking comfort. "What about Donna, and what we've become to each other?" he asked. "Have I got to lose all that, and go back to that… that… little cow! 'Cos I don't want to go! In fact, I refuse to," he declared, standing to demonstrate his forceful intentions. "She thought I was nothing and no-one. I belong here now..."

"John, give him a chance to explain before you jump down his throat," Donna interrupted his rant; giving his leg a gentle touch in sympathy. "He won't send you away again, not if he wants to live through his next regeneration," she lightly threatened the Doctor.

"Yes, well," the Doctor said, giving them a small cough. "I'm saying all this for Jack's benefit, not as a threat to you. Where was I? I suddenly found myself flung into the alternative universe without the TARDIS and Rose jumping for joy that her plan had worked up to that point. To say I was not pleased would be an understatement. What would I want to stay there for? I'd already made my choice where she was concerned and I wasn't about to retract it."

There were concerned frowns all round. "Didn't she do anything for you anymore?" Jack asked, wanting to clarify the point.

"I'm a Time Lord, not a pet!" the Doctor testily answered. "Despite John here calling me Fido; and don't think that went unnoticed… No, I couldn't give her what she wanted when she was with me, and I certainly refused to do so when she forced me into her dimension. I made my way straight to their version of Torchwood and demanded the plans they'd used for her monstrosity. It took me a couple of days but I built my own vortex manipulator and used the Rift at their Torchwood to get back here; hence all the injuries."

"You'd rather suffer all that pain than stay with Rose," Jack reasoned in wonder. "I can hardly believe it."

"Oh yes," the Doctor replied with meaning. "All that I want is here, in this world."

"Aw shucks! Does that mean you love me deeply?" John coquettishly asked with a cheeky grin.

"You, young man, are pushing your luck!" the Doctor told him, waggling a finger in his direction. "Stealing away my best friend like that."

"I noticed you didn't deny you love me," John retorted smugly. "Does that also mean you aren't angry with me?"

"Whatever for?" queried the Doctor.

"I think he is referring to us," put in Donna. "He wasn't supposed to fall into a relationship with me, was he? He was supposed to stay in order to fill in for you and, therefore, make Rose happy."

"Do you want me to go back to HER?" John blazed at Donna as she sat passively looking up at him. "Honestly? Do you? Because I thought we had something special going on. You promised me that nothing would split us up and here you are suggesting I go back to that spoilt brat who did nothing but shout abuse at me when I wouldn't…" His demeanour changed then and he sank into the nearest chair. "Don't send me away from you, please don't! I'd rather die," he finished in a small voice.

Donna tried to sniff back the tears that were coursing down her cheeks. "I don't want you to go, you numpty; but if you'd have wanted her instead I'd have let you go. I just want you to be happy." She gave a small sob.

John knelt down in front of her and grasped her hands. "I can only be happy with you; I'd be lost otherwise. I thought you knew that. As you told Jack earlier, we're two halves of a whole; you're the north to my south; the yin to my yang. And how many more lame examples have I got to use before you believe me?" He was gratified to get a hint of a smile from her. "Come here," he softly ordered her, throwing his arms around her to embrace her tightly. "I love you," he whispered into her ear before kissing her slowly; overjoyed when she eagerly returned his kiss.

"They've been like this ever since I met them the other day," Jack told the Doctor conversationally. "They just can't seem to keep their hands off each other."

"That must be a bit awkward for you, Jack; and more than a little bit galling," the Doctor mocked him. "I take it that they refused your threesome offer."

"How did you know about that?" Jack exclaimed. "Oh, the mind thing… Yeah, I got turned down by them; and Sylvia, before you ask."

"You didn't?" The Doctor laughed at him openly. "It's a good job you still have your Welshman. Yes, I know about him; I keep my own tabs on people."

"What about you, Doctor?" Jack asked as Donna and John showed no sign of stopping their passionate embrace.

"Me? I have some new family it seems, a possible wedding, nieces and nephews to expect… Oops! I shouldn't have let that one out," the Doctor answered sheepishly.

"Family?" Donna broke from John to ask. "Does that mean you'll be sticking around to visit us often?"

"My dearest Donna, I plan to do lots more than that; if you are willing, of course," he answered with his trademark megawatt grin.

She gasped; and her hands flying up to cover her mouth. "You mean…? Really?" she asked after a few moments.

"Yes!" the Doctor replied with a high-pitched whine.

Joy burst out all over her face and she raced over to lunge at him, throwing her arms around his neck and squealing happily. "I bloody love you!" she cried, and they bounced about joyfully.

Jack walked across to stand next to John as Donna and the Doctor ecstatically swopped possible future destinations in the TARDIS together; oblivious of anything or anyone else. He drily observed to John as they watched this exchange, "She doesn't suspect a thing, does she?"

"No," John quietly responded. "She thinks it's all from her."

"What are you going to do if he makes a move?" Jack asked softly. "It could get awkward."

John sighed. "It could also get interesting, as well you know, Jack. I'll cross that bridge when we come to it; but for now I'm hoping he'll do what he did last time: absolutely nothing."

"There's a lot to resist there," Jack mused, as he flicked his gaze appreciatively over Donna. "Especially when you take the Time Lord mind stuff into account."

"It's going to be fun; there is that," John agreed.

"Just let me know if you ever want to consider extending that fun," Jack told him, lightening the mood into playfulness. You never know, there might be an opportunity in the future with one of them if not all three; though he'd be perfectly happy with two of them now he came to think about it...

John gave a low chuckle and then moved away from Jack to shout at the Doctor, "Oi! Put her down!"

The Doctor dutifully stepped back and Donna batted at his chest, clearly delighted with his show of jealousy. "Don't be so daft, John! The Doctor was only telling where we could all go together. Is there anywhere in particular you fancy?" She smiled her sweetest smile at him.

He placed an arm possessively around her waist. "Anywhere with you would be fine by me." He drew her closer to whisper into her ear, "Just tell me where and when and I'll make the most of it."

"I like the idea of that," she commented. "Though it almost sounded like a proposal."

He leant in especially near to say in a low sultry voice, "Perhaps it is."

"Oh!" Her mouth formed a perfect O as she let his words sink in. As always there was only one answer to that. She grabbed his head and snogged him senseless.

THE END