A/N: Hello again! To any new readers, this story is the third in a series that I've been writing, so there might be a few comments or events mentioned that you won't understand unless you have read those. Give them a read if you want but, apart from a few things, I think most of this one will be pretty self-explanatory.
To any old readers- welcome back! I've been toying with this idea for a while now and I'm actually pretty proud of the plot I've managed to plan out. It's probably the biggest and most complex thing I've written to date, so I hope you all enjoy! :D
It had been an ordinary day when it happened. Well, ordinary in the sense that they hadn't been chased by aliens, shot at or wandered into something they should have which, in the lives of the Doctor and Jenny, actually turned out to be really quite boring.
The Doctor had deemed that- since Jenny was still not fully recovered from their recent trip to Autonis, during which she had managed to get herself killed and henceforth brought back to life by part of the Tardis consciousness inhabiting her body, meaning she had strange visions of random points in time- he would ease her back into their chaotic lifestyle by taking her somewhere relatively normal and safe.
Fortunately, the strange visions Jenny kept seeing seemed to have stopped. Well, she had stopped waking in the middle of the night screaming, crying and tearing at her skin and hair. Whether that meant they had stopped altogether or she had just learnt to control them, however, the Doctor didn't know. She was still weak and tired at any rate and so, although it pained him greatly to do it, the Doctor preferred knowing Jenny was safe even if it did mean they couldn't go on any adventures for a little while longer.
So he had decided on a zoo. Zoos were nice, not-dangerous-in-any-way kinds of places. And, besides, the particular zoo that Jenny was currently being dragged through had just gained two new Galacta-Rhinos that the Doctor was just dying to see.
"Come on- you'll love this!" he grinned, pulling her by the hand through a gaggle of blue, humanoid school children.
"Will I really? Or is this just a clever ruse to stop me going on about going somewhere exciting?"
"Both!" the Doctor cried happily in reply. "And this is exciting!"
"Not from where I'm standing."
"Well you obviously just don't know how to have a good time!"
Jenny couldn't help but grin as her father squealed excitedly, dropping her hand to go bounding up to an enclosure surrounded by onlookers. She had no idea where he got his energy from.
She looked down into the guide book that she was clutching in her other hand and found a page on the creatures that the Doctor seemed so excited about seeing. An image of the creature immediately caught her eye- they were huge, green and orange spotted things with six thick, chunky legs and a horn on the end of their snout that formed the shape of a hammer head protruding from their head. They really were quite amazing.
"Look at that! Jenny, come and see- they're beautiful!" she heard him cry from somewhere in the crowd currently blocking her view of seeing the real thing. They were certainly something, but beautiful definitely wasn't the word she would have used for them. "They have two hearts you know- just like us- and they-"
A strangled cry of pain from the depths of the crowd suddenly had Jenny very alert. Yells and mutterings were beginning to fill her ears and the whole crowd seemed to jostle and begin to move.
"Dad?" she yelled, racing forwards and shoving confused people out of the way to try and find him. She finally spotted him- on the floor, clutching his chest and writhing in agony. "Everybody move back- give him space!"
Jenny came to a sudden, worried halt as the Doctor held a shaking hand out to her to stop her from getting any closer. His face was slowly turning the colour of beetroot and he appeared to be having trouble breathing.
"Stay b-back!" he managed to splutter, both hands on his chest again.
"Why, what is it- what's the matter? Is it one of your hearts? Both of them?" Jenny asked, beginning to panic as her wide eyes roamed over his twitching body looking for signs of unusual cuts or symptoms that could give her a clue as to, quite frankly, what the bloody hell was going on.
"D-don't know… could be… c-contagious," he panted, looking up at her with pleading, bloodshot eyes. "Tardis."
Though thoroughly confused and frightened, Jenny knew exactly what he meant. Nodding to show she understood, she closed her eyes and reached her mind out to where she knew the Tardis was parked. A reassuring hum echoing through the part of her brain where the Tardis consciousness rested told her that help was on the way and, sure enough, seconds later the sound of wheezing pistons filled the air.
Jenny turned just in time to see people running and throwing themselves out of the way of the rapidly materialising Tardis. A light moan from behind her had her turning back towards her father; the Doctor had pulled himself to his feet, still red in the face and clutching his chest, and began staggering towards the Tardis.
"Dad, seriously, let me help. I-"
"Stay away!" the Doctor yelled most uncharacteristically, causing Jenny to shy away from him warily.
He knew. Jenny could tell he knew what was wrong but, for some reason, he was refusing to tell her what it was. That meant it was either something small that would soon pass or, more likely, it was very, very bad. Either way, she knew she wouldn't get it out of him if he didn't want her to know.
With this in mind, and suddenly very aware of just how many people had stopped to watch the incredibly strange scene play out in front of them, Jenny followed the Doctor into the Tardis. To her dismay, she found him laid, face down, by the stairs that led up to the main console.
"Jesus Christ," she muttered worriedly, turning to close the doors behind her. "Right- are you going to tell me what the hell is going on with you or am I going to have to beat it out of you?" she asked in what she hoped was an airy tone, and didn't give away the impending sense of doom and terror that was quickly filling her insides.
She heard him mutter something weakly in reply, but couldn't decipher exactly what he'd said.
"You're going to have to speak up if you don't want me near you," she told him, sweeping past and up the stairs to set the Tardis flying.
"Scan… have to be… sure…"
Jenny sent out a mental request to the Tardis asking her to start a full body scan before she even had a chance to ask why.
"Be sure of what?"
She knew the answer before the Tardis even told her the scan was complete, but she still turned to read the results- not quite able to believe what she had been told.
"It can't be…"
The Tardis gave an indignant hum in her head- was she suggesting that the results were wrong?
The readings on the screen depicted Jenny's worst nightmare, but she couldn't help pulling her jacket up to cover her mouth and nose anyway as she swivelled on the spot to stare, teary eyed, at her father.
The Doctor had somehow managed to contract Chen 7- the one day plague- from, according to the scan results, one of the Galacta-Rhinos. He was wasting away before her very eyes.
"I don't… how do I… what do I do?"
Jenny hadn't realised she had been holding her breath until she let a gasp escape her lips. She didn't understand; it had all happened so quickly. One minute they were having a good (albeit slightly boring) time, and the now the Doctor had less than twenty four hours to live? She wanted excitement, but not at this cost.
"You knew, didn't you? Right from the beginning? That's why you didn't want me near you- it only affects beings with a binary cardiovascular system." Jenny took a cautious step towards her father, still very much unable to wrap her head around what was happening. She could have broken down right there and then, but she was just too numb.
"Yes… had to keep… you safe…"
"So what do I do now? How do I keep you safe?" she asked hurriedly, panicking at how laboured her father's breathing had suddenly become.
It took all of Jenny's strength not to throw herself across her father's body and shake some sense into him, but she'd be of even less help if she caught the disease as well. The Doctor needed her to be strong and not panic for his sake, but it was very difficult- especially when she began to notice a bluish rash creeping up his neck from underneath his collar.
"There has to be a way to save you!" she cried, unable to accept the fact that she could lose him. No, that wouldn't happen- this couldn't be real. It must be a dream, or the visions were back. There was still a chance she could stop this from happening- there had to be.
Suddenly a shudder echoed through the Tardis as she unexpectedly changed course- throwing Jenny into the pilot's chair and causing the Doctor to roll over onto his back.
"Why the hell have you gone and changed course?" she demanded, pulling herself to her feet again. She didn't need a misbehaving Tardis on top of everything else right now.
The Tardis hummed the answer and Jenny frowned. "Why are you taking us to Leadworth? It's- oh."
Old Sexy was taking them to Amy and Rory- perhaps the only two people on Earth (besides River, but god knows if she was even actually on Earth) who would help without question. And Rory was a nurse, which could only help matters.
"Good job, Sexy," she murmured to the machine, before turning to bound back down the steps to the door again, feeling the Tardis land as she did so. "She's brought us to Amy and Rory! Don't worry- I'll be back in a second! Sexy, look after him!"
And, with that, she threw the doors open and sprinted as fast as she could up Amy and Rory's path. She thought for a split second about knocking, but that idea swiftly became void as she pushed the back door open and scrambled inside anyway.
"Amy? Rory?" she screeched, staggering through the dark laundry room and through another door into the kitchen.
The Doctor's former companions heads whipped up, alarmed, from their dinner plates and wine glasses as the panicking, dishevelled, panting girl almost fell into their kitchen in her rush to find them. Amy's glass slipped from her hand and onto the floor, where it smashed into thousands of pieces, once she realised who it was.
"Oh my god- Jenny?" she squealed as they both got hurriedly to their feet. "I thought you were back in Egypt?"
"What…? Oh, no." Jenny realised they were referring to where she had been before she had met up with the Doctor again after his 'death'. "I came back- I was feeling a bit nostalgic and… hang on, no, that doesn't matter! It's the Doctor- he's ill, and I don't know what-"
"Wait! The Doctor's with you? He came back for you?" Rory interjected slightly morosely.
"Look, there's no time to explain! Please, just come?" Jenny pleaded, looking from one to the other as they each glanced at their better half.
Jenny smiled for the briefest of moments, before turning on her heel and sprinting back outside again. "Follow me!"
She heard the Ponds thumping along behind her, but didn't stop to check where they were until she'd jumped over their already flattened flowerbed and was at the door of the Tardis. A concerned hum in her mind told her that the Doctor was getting worse.
"Come on!" she yelled at the quickly nearing figures she knew to be Amy and Rory.
They reached her quickly and, together, stepped through the doors of the Tardis. Just as Jenny had suspected (and feared), the Doctor was laid in exactly the same position as before, only now he was shivering violently as well as having had the rash spread right across his body.
"Dad? I've got them- we're going to make sure you're alright," she called from the entrance as, gasping in shock, the Ponds rushed to his side.
"What happened?" Amy demanded of Jenny, turning to face the youngest (in looks at least) in the room.
"He… He's caught something called Chen 7. It's-"
"We know what it is," said a pale Rory. "The one day plague."
Tears began rolling down Amy's face as she looked into the unfocused eyes of her Raggedy Doctor. She had wanted him to come back for them more than anything else in the whole universe, but not like this. Not when he was so close to death.
"I didn't know what to do- the Tardis brought us here. I thought, seeing how Rory's a nurse, you might be able to help. Just until I can find an expert."
"You know I'll do my best, but all I can do is try," Rory replied unsurely, resting a palm on the Doctor's forehead. "His body temperature is dropping. We need to warm him up."
"Here," Jenny offered, pulling the Doctor's green trench coat from the coat stand and, covering her mouth and nose again with her own jacket, took it over and draped it- one handed- over her father's quivering body.
"Ok," Rory sighed, running a hand down his face in order to concentrate. "I need to know what I'm dealing with, but I don't know how to use the Tardis equipment and we can't keep letting you near him, Jenny- we can't afford for you to get it as well."
"So what do we do, Rory? What do we do?" Amy sobbed, clutching the Doctor's hand in both of hers.
"I've got some stuff from work in the house. We can put him in River's room and work from there."
They both glanced at Jenny, as if to ask permission to move him, and she nodded quickly. "Do whatever you need to do to help him."
And, with that, Rory pulled the Doctor into his arms- immediately very concerned by just how light he felt- and stepped through the Tardis doors as Jenny held them open for him.
A/N: Yep, the Doctor's really dying. I totally went there.