Prompt: "The Doctor actually realizes he can't give the Duplicate to Rose because there's a bond between Handy and Donna."
Summary: in a complete re-working of the ending of Journey's End, the Doctor comes up with a plan to save Donna from heartache. Or does he?
Disclaimer: I might have nicked a few ideas but that's far as any ownership goes.
A/N: I tried to come up with a fic for tkelparis' Alternative Handy Fanfic Challenge, and this is the best I've come up with so far.
The Duppy Effect
Before Donna touched the jar that held the Doctor's spare hand things weren't looking too good for her. Rose had arrived to reclaim her place on the TARDIS, the most gorgeous bloke she'd ever seen appeared to destroy a Dalek but had eyes for everyone else but her, she was then locked in the TARDIS, and to top it all, they were both plunged to certain death in a fiery pit. Her day was going really badly at that point.
And then she had touched that fated jar.
What followed had been magical; like something out of a fairy story. Her very own version of the Doctor had grown before her very eyes; and she hadn't had to kiss a single frog. Although she was a bit miffed she hadn't got to kiss anyone, let alone hug them…
The very first thing the Duplicate Doctor did after springing into being was save the life of Donna and the TARDIS. Once he'd put some clothes on, obviously. That made him instantly a very special person in her eyes; and no, the nudity had no bearing on that fact. The second thing that he did to extol him in her eyes was the way he hugged her before they burst out of the TARDIS with the weapon he had fashioned. He couldn't have been sweeter if he'd tried.
"Donna, before we go out there… I just wanted to say; it's been brilliant knowing you," he had stammered out. He added to the effect by opening his arms to her for a hug.
She had known he was saying goodbye; that the chances of them making it to the end of the day were slim, and she had accepted that without any qualms. She wanted to face death with dignity, so she had thrown her arms around his neck to allow them a moment of sentimentality. "Yeah, it's been great," she had whispered in reply.
And he had then kissed her.
It had been a gentle kiss rather than a desperate one; but it had managed to convey so much emotion in that moment. Who could blame them for going out with a bang rather than a whimper?
# # # #
The general atmosphere on board the TARDIS was reasonably concentrated and jubilant, unsurprisingly, since they had defeated the Daleks, seen the return of twenty-six planets and were currently helping to tow the Earth back to its rightful place in the solar system. There would be a lot of celebrating around the console before the Children of Time could catch up with each other.
But something was bugging a particular person. "Doctor, I need to talk to you," Jack opened his conversation, sidling up to speak in low, hushed, tones to him. "Have you noticed anything about Donna and your Duplicate?"
"What do you mean?" the Doctor asked, obviously wrestling with diverting his attention away from the console. He lifted his head to see Donna joining his Duplicate's side yet again; laughing with him as they shared a joke. Yes, there was something there now that Jack had pointed it out.
"Is it legal what they are doing?" Jack anxiously asked, returning his concerned gaze to them.
"You mean talking together? Yes, that's perfectly legal," the Doctor replied; but his mind was working along totally different lines of thought as he kept his gaze upon them.
"No, that's not what I meant," Jack tried to clarify as he held back his need to chastise the Doctor's obtuseness. "They seem to be more than talking; more than just friends. They are acting as if they are secret lovers. And seeing as he is part Donna; is that even allowed?"
The Doctor smiled patronisingly at Jack. "Don't worry; I'll deal with it as soon as I can."
After that the Doctor's attention kept wandering back to Donna despite other people's best efforts to focus his thoughts onto them. Donna had made a grab for Jack at some point, teasing him mercilessly by pretending to make a play for him, and shocking Sarah Jane in the process. But her true target had appeared to have been the Duplicate Doctor; who had teased her back by making a beeline for Rose and coaxed her into laughing at his lame jokes.
The Doctor's first responding thought had been to rectify the burgeoning situation by dropping off the Duplicate with Rose and Jackie in Pete's World; that would teach the pair of them! But the leading factor that stopped the Doctor from doing so had been Donna. Or rather the mental state of Donna. It was far too fragile as she currently existed. If he were to exile the Duplicate Doctor, Donna's mind would immediately deteriorate. There was a strong link between the two of them that could prove to be detrimental if it were severed; and he couldn't let that happen, no matter how 'wrong' their relationship was.
With that in mind, the Doctor pulled Jack to one side to ask, "If you were ever shorthanded at Torchwood, would you appreciate the expertise of a semi-Time Lord?"
"Of course!" Jack brightly answered. Heck, who wouldn't want such a person around? "Who were you thinking of sending my way? Donna or Dougie?"
"Dougie? Who the hell is Dougie?" the Doctor spluttered in surprise.
"Okay; call him Donnie or David instead. Whatever you all decide. If he is sticking around, your brother can't carry on calling himself the Duplicate forever," Jack reasoned.
"Yes, he needs a name," the Doctor agreed, his thoughts whirring away in the background. "But he isn't my brother."
"So you want him to be your son…? Yeah, that makes sense." Jack rubbed a hand over his chin as he considered this.
The Doctor blushed; a deep crimson. "No, not my son! He's clearly my brother; a half-brother, shared between me and Donna," he insisted.
"Which leads me nicely back to my earlier question," Jack said pointedly. "What are you going to do with them?" He indicated to where Donna and the Duplicate had squirreled themselves away in a corner of the console room, deep in conversation together as they stood side by side, ignoring the interested glances in their direction. Rose in particular seemed to find them fascinating as she chatted with Sarah Jane.
"I'm not sure yet. But I'll probably be in touch within a couple of days," the Doctor replied, deep in thought.
# # # #
Every time the Doctor looked up from concentrating on some detail held on the monitor, Rose was there, practically in his face. It had seemed really sweet to start with, became too intimate, and finally grew to be annoying when he found she wasn't allowing him to look anywhere else. Then to add to it he noticed that Donna and the Duplicate had snuck off somewhere while he was distracted. "Where are they? Where have they gone?" the Doctor demanded angrily.
"They went that way," Jackie pointed down the TARDIS corridor. "He said something about needing to show Donna something." She eyed him in confusion, wondering what the problem was, and then returned to her conversation with Martha, Mickey and that nice Jack.
"Did he? I bet he did…," the Doctor muttered; and strode off in the same direction down the corridor. That wasn't all he muttered to himself as he sought them out.
He eventually found them in the TARDIS garden. With deliberate care, the Doctor shut the door to the garden room, asking the TARDIS not to let any of their houseguests in with them. Strolling purposefully through the long grass he followed their obvious pathway through it, then along a line of trees by a stream until he found them beneath the shade of a large overhanging tree.
The sight that greeted him deeply concerned him. Donna was leaning back against the trunk of the tree, and the Duplicate was almost straddling her. He had her trapped within his hands placed on the bark either side of her head.
"I don't think you realise, Donna, how unique you are," the Duplicate was telling her; and then, to add to the watching Doctor's growing horror, he took hold of a lock of Donna's hair and began to twirl it between his fingertips.
Donna snorted in scorn. "I don't think I am," she insisted. "If it wasn't for you and the Doctor I'd be dead right now. I'm just nothing."
The Duplicate leant in closer to her, closing the gap between their lips considerably. "I'm sure you've never been anywhere near to being nothing," he assured her.
There was a sound behind them. "None of my companions are nothing!" declared the Doctor; and the pair of them jumped guiltily apart.
Donna greeted him with a sunny smile, but the Duplicate looked decidedly miffed as he gazed upon the Doctor standing observing them nearby. "Did you need us?" he asked.
The answer was a vague gesture towards the door. "You need to go and say your last goodbyes," the Doctor told him, with the air of a dismissal.
The Duplicate went to argue the toss, but chose instead to obey for the time being, so his mouth moved wordlessly for some seconds. He certainly didn't want to be chucked out in the alternative universe; especially when things were beginning to look interesting on the TARDIS. He sighed heavily and waved at Donna as though he was a naughty schoolboy before heading off.
They both stood and silently watched him go until he disappeared beyond the trees. "Are you okay?" the Doctor asked Donna as soon as they were alone. "How's the head?"
She touched her forehead as she contemplated the question. "It seems fine for the time being, thanks. What about you? How are you? It can't be easy to lose her again."
"What? You mean Rose? No, I'm alright," he said with a sniff. "She's moved on; apparently got someone, and just needed some closure. So that's fine."
"You're really taking her back to the alternative universe? I never thought you would have." She shook her head in disbelief, and then gave a wry laugh. "I thought you were going to dump Duppy with her as a consolation prize! How daft is that?"
"Duppy? Where did you get that from?" the Doctor asked with a laugh.
Donna laughed with him. "Well, I've got to call him something until he chooses a name, haven't I? I can't call him Cousin It, and Duplicate Doctor is too much of a mouthful." Her expression then grew more sombre. "I'm really glad you're not going to dump him, because I'd miss him desperately. I'd miss him like mad."
"So you like him?" the Doctor asked cautiously.
"Oh yes!" she agreed. "How could I not? He saved my life; he saved all our lives."
"And does that liking stretch to love?" he mused, gauging her physical response to his words.
"Well…" She blushed and fidgeted a bit. "He is everything I ever wanted; you must admit that. He understands me like no-one else does, not even you. He's good looking in a different way to you somehow, and he's human so…"
"So… what? What does that exactly mean?" the Doctor asked in confusion.
"This is awkward," Donna mumbled. "You are my friend, but you can never be more than that for me. And I'm fine with that, I really am. But he… he's reachable. And he likes me too."
"Donna, he's part you," the Doctor pointed out.
"Yes, I know that bit! I was there!" she huffed in exasperation. "He got my humanity. That's all he got."
"Are you sure? I think we might need to try out some tests on him to clarify that." The Doctor looked at her expectantly.
"But… Are you saying he might be actually related to me, Doctor?" She scrunched her face up in disgust. "But that would be wrong! So wrong!"
"Then we need to find out as soon as possible," he said, trying to console her with a gentle touch on her arm. Suddenly she looked so vulnerable, and he wanted to ease that away.
Tears appeared in her eyes as the implications of any actions they had performed hit her, and she gasped. "I might be in love with my own brother," she said in a small voice. "How do I stop that?"
The Doctor felt a part of him die in anguish at her words. "I'm not sure; but I'll help you in any way I can," he promised.
"Thank you," she gratefully mumbled, lowering her head.
It was in that moment that the Doctor started to devise his cunning plan. The idea was to distract her away from his brother, and divert her feelings onto him instead. He could pretend for a while; that would be no problem for him. After all, they had lived as brother and sister or as a sort of husband and wife combination for many months, so it would be no hardship to spend extra time with her. All he had to do was start to pay her slightly more consideration than he had, show a bit more affection and let her know she wasn't alone in this. That way she should get over her crush on Duppy in no time.
He reached out and took her hand, pulling her attention back onto him, and outlined his agenda. "How about we finish dropping off our houseguests, do a few DNA tests, and then I'll find us somewhere nice to visit. Have ourselves a bit of a holiday. How does that sound?"
"I think that sounds brilliant, Spaceman," she answered enthusiastically, and gave his hand an encouraging squeeze. "Can it be after I've checked in on Mum and Gramps? I need to know they are alright first," she asked with concern, obviously aware that he might not approve.
He sighed in resignation. "Okay… Just don't go around saying I never do anything for you!"
It was totally worth the hug of joy she gave him.
# # # #