So - this takes place during The Almost People, but I wrote it before I had finished the episode. Therefore - not canon. In that the Doctor who was sitting lonely on that barrel was NOT Flesh. I thought he was. I wrote this as the Flesh's ponderings. So... pretend it was actually the Flesh sitting on that barrel, okay? Thanks.

Oh, yeah. And then I wrote the end during those few minutes where you think the Doctor (you think he's the Flesh Doctor) is pertending to be evil. So the end hints at that darkness.

All in all, a sort of messed up fic in terms of canon. Oh well. I took IMMENSE pleasure in writing it, as I had Eleven's voice stuck in my head and channeled it best I could into the writing. Enjoy!

He sat on the barrel and he thought.

He was always thinking, but this time the images and questions pouring into his mind weren't voluntary. He didn't mean to think of Rose and her … her Doctor … but the ponderings were flooding through his brain nonetheless.

He hadn't thought of her in a while, to tell the shameful truth. It was easier to forget her with this new body, this eleventh form, and he embraced the ability to shut things out of his memory. It was such a rare gift - most of the time he had to grin and bear the weight of nine hundred years of pain. Forgetting was bliss. Especially when it came to Rose. But now, he needed to remember, and it was like tearing off a mental band-aid and looking at a bloody, festering scar, healed a little but still oozing ignored sludge. Yuck. He shuddered, just a little, sitting straight on his little barrel, his own little makeshift chair. How broken he was. He shouldn't be, he was a Time Lord. Wowzer. There goes that word again, not planning on using it any more any time soon. Wowzer - oops - what a crime against the stoic, indifferent faces his ancestors and superiors and friends back on Gallifrey had shown. So broken. Why was he still bleeding for Rose?

He snuck a glance at his 'ganger (funny, how the language twisted that - really, he was that Doctor's 'ganger, but his brain didn't want to process that, so he let it be) and the Other Doctor met his eyes. They each gave each other a sad smile and then turned back - the Other Doctor too busy to extend the thoughts that were running through their duplicate minds, he (who was, looking at things from a non-subjective viewpoint, the real 'ganger) having plenty of time to think about it, as he had his own lovely little barrel to sit on and not be disturbed.

And the thought was this:

What if Rose was like Amy?

It was a scary fear to let sit for a while because it got rooted into him, sort of like poison, sort of like acid, so he stirred it around inside his head. What if Rose was like Amy, and thought there could "only really be one Doctor"? That would be a terrible thing, and if it was ever confirmed to him that it was true, well, there was another nightmare to add to his list.

He had given Rose a duplicate of himself. Same thoughts, same memories, same soul.

But it was only now that he really knew what duplicates were like.

He had thought of the metacrisis Doctor, the copy of his Tenth incarnation, as sort of primitive, sort of … less. Less than real. He couldn't help it, it was imbedded in his instincts. Like the way he had thought of Jenny, his machine-fabricated daughter, before he had realized she really was fully Time Lord.

You're not real. You're from a machine.

But now that he himself was from a machine, he saw how people really reacted to duplicates. It had got him a barrel to sit on. Lovely barrel, and all, but he didn't want the metacrisis Doctor sitting on a similar object, somewhere in a corner in Rose's house. He wanted Rose to love that copy of himself. He wanted - no, that was rubbish. He didn't want, for heaven's sake, he had to face it - he needed Rose to be happy! And if she wasn't - well, like he said. Another nightmare. Oh, yes, and like a part of himself was dead. Well, not quite dead, but almost dead. Almost-dead like he was an almost-person - certainly, but still not quite. Hurting a bit too much.

He shot Amy a look as she said the cutting words to the Other Doctor, the words about prejudice and trust. One of those emotions of hers were aimed at him, the latter was reserved for the Other Doctor. Fine by him. Well, not perfectly fine, but working on it. He would get fine with that, if he could - teach himself not to resent that. But he couldn't stop screaming inside about what Rose thought. If she was happy, or too like Amy. Or too like everyone!

If Rose distrusted duplicates as much as Amy. If, to Rose, the metacrisis Doctor was just a "John Smith". A John Smith like him.

I thought I was doing the right thing… but no… I should have taken her with me. It might have been better.

And that hurt. That hurt so badly. What if both he and Rose could have gotten complete happiness? What if they could have been together?

Oh - but if Rose would have preferred the real Doctor over the metacrisis Doctor, if Rose didn't like duplicates, then … of course … she wouldn't love him.

She'd just love the first Doctor. The Other Doctor.

Always, never ending, time loop of hurt. Deep horrible hurt.

Whoops, time to stop angsting like a teenager, the less emotional, more condescending part of himself said. And so he reattached the messy band-aid that covered the hole in his hearts Rose had left, and composed himself in time to follow his Other Self's line of reasoning and catch the sonic screwdriver that was tossed to him.



Oh, but maybe - maybe that band-aid wasn't big enough. Maybe it would break and the anger would spill out, enough anger, just maybe, to kill all the love in the Doctor.

Because perhaps only Rose was deep enough inside him to do something crazy like that.

Speculation… simple speculation.


Please review! Thank you muchly!