A/N: REALLY IMPORTANT: Heyo! You just got a chapter update alert for a story you thought was over! Yay for you!
This is embarrassing. So somebody just pointed out to me that for some reason chapter 21 has completely disappeared :o Now I'm having massive doubts as to whether I actually even put it up or did it literally just jump like that? Lol! I'm fixing it, anyway.
Chapter 24 - Collapsious
The Doctor woke up, feeling a little groggy.
His head was a complete mess, random thoughts flying at him ranging from "the creature?!" to, "did I leave the tap running?". It took him a few moments to gather his thoughts together until he opened his eyes to have a look at where he was.
He was in the TARDIS infirmary, lying dressed in a t-shirt and pyjama trousers, his right arm in a full plaster cast. He frowned and tried to move it, but it absolutely exploded with pain and he cried out, vowing not to do that again. What the hell had happened to it?
He caught sight of someone else lying on the next bed. It was Jack, unconscious with a few tubes going in and out of him. A look to the other side and he saw Rose, also with the same tubes going in and out. Then he finally realised he had some too. He checked the lines – a drainage tube and a feeding tube. That would only be necessary if he'd been asleep for at least a few days...
He disconnected himself, but his body was incredibly stiff so he took a few moments to flex his muscles and bend his joints. By the time he was satisfied, there was a small sigh from the right where Rose was, and he got up to go to her just as she opened her eyes.
"Hello," he said.
She looked confused, staring at his arm in plaster. "What happened to your arm? Wait a sec. What happened to me?"
"I was hoping you'd know, cos I haven't got the foggiest," he confessed, looking at his arm. "It bloody hurts, though. What's the last thing you remember?"
She frowned, eyebrows lowering. "Umm... stepping into the teleport with you."
"Same," the Doctor muttered, getting the tubes out of her. "Jack's here too."
Rose looked over at the other bed, where Jack was stirring. He grunted, pushed himself to sit up and saw them.
"Err..." he began, evidently as puzzled as they were. He saw their expressions. "You don't know either, huh?" he wondered vaguely.
The Doctor shook his head. "What do you remember last?"
"I was in the spaceship with the creatures, in a cell with Leah..."
Suddenly they all jerked to attention with eyes wide.
"Leah!" the Doctor realised, looking around in a panic. "Leah?!" he yelled a little louder, listening for a reply, but there was none. He made to the door to check through the TARDIS but to his complete surprise he found the door locked, an envelope pinned to the front.
LEAH IS SAFE were the words circled on the front, and below were written the words To the Doctor, Rose and Jack.
Instantly the Doctor relaxed a little, because he recognised the writing.
"This is my writing," he told the other two, holding the envelope up.
They were both standing up now, working the cricks out of their necks. The Doctor went back to them, sitting on the middle bed where he'd woken up. He instinctively tried to open the envelope but his arm quickly reminded him that was a silly idea and Rose whipped it out of his hand, glaring at him for doing that.
She opened the envelope and gave the enclosed letter back to the Doctor to read out loud.
"Dear the Doctor, Rose and Jack. When you read this, you will no longer remember. We have purposely erased our memories of something that happened to us, and this is the fail-safe. I have written all the details down of what happened in a log in the TARDIS database and locked it with the password 'AmbiaFive'.
"You should have your memories erased back to just before the encounter with the creatures, so your memory and reality will be a bit confusing. The creatures are now gone, Leah has recovered and we have left the hospital. Martha struck a deal with UNIT for them to leave us alone, but they probably won't be happy to see you again if you go back. Unfortunately for you, Doctor, your arm was caught in the cheap teleport and it nearly got taken right off near the shoulder, and you've damaged your ulnar nerve. Also the same arm was given a hairline fracture in a fight. You've probably found this out already, but don't move it. It hurts.
"We left Leah safely at Torchwood with Martha, Gwen, Ianto and Mickey on the 5th March saying we had some business to attend to, and we erased our memories whilst hovering in the vortex. I think Martha has figured out something's going on so you may have to cover for any questions. We don't want anyone else to know anything about it.
"Nobody knows about what happened to Rose and I apart from us three, and we all agreed to erase our memories completely of the days since. I erased Rose and Jack's memory and put you two in a three day trance, while I took a strong dose of Retcon. You should all wake up at roughly the same time. Rose, Jack, if you are awake and reading this and I'm not then the Retcon may have affected me badly and I've left additional medical instructions on a piece of paper next to my bed.
"We know this is the coward's way out but it was tearing us apart and making Rose and I very unhappy. We couldn't face the arguments and the anger and guilt every day, we hated each other and this is how we are fixing it. Looking at the file is up to you, but we'd rather you didn't.
"The code for the door is 64732BQ8. From the Doctor, Rose and Jack. PS, Doctor, please tell Rose you love her."
Below that was each of their signatures.
The Doctor looked up at Jack and Rose, standing there staring at the piece of paper. He looked at Rose, reached up and cupped her cheek.
"I love you so much," he told her simply, honestly.
"I know," she said, putting her arm around him and kissing him. "I love you too."
"This must've been something really bad that happened," Jack muttered.
"Wonder what it was?" Rose wondered.
"Well, I'm not looking at the file," Jack said.
"No," the Doctor agreed. "Erasing my own memory... I've never done that. I can't imagine myself even considering it, so whatever it was... It was really not good."
"How about we just delete the file and never read it, yeah?" Rose proposed. "Just get rid of it."
The Doctor looked between them. "All in favour?" he queried.
All three raised their hands simultaneously.
"Motion carried," the Doctor said, scrunching up the piece of paper and throwing it, the envelope and the medical instructions into the incinerator bin. With one short, dull flash, and it was all scattered into oblivion.
The Doctor stopped, frowning. "Wait, what was the code for the door on that letter, again?"
Rose's jaw dropped. "What?!" she gasped.
The Doctor looked at her, his eyes wide. "The code for the door, I didn't memorise it!"
"But... Can't we unlock it? Where's your sonic?" Rose asked quickly.
"It's a double deadlock... Quarantine mode."
"We're stuck in here?" Jack asked, panicked.
"Yeah... We're gonna have to guess it..." the Doctor said, jogging to the door with Jack and Rose in close tow.
"Is that gonna work?" Rose asked anxiously.
"Well we don't have much of a choice!" the Doctor pointed out. His hand hovered above the keypad for a moment, before hammering in a combination. With a polite beep, a click and a whoosh, the door slid open.
He looked back at them, and snorted with laughter. "Oh, you should've seen your faces."
"You bastard!" Rose laughed after the shock had evaporated, shoving him lightly.
"Ow!" he complained indignantly.
"I'm not sorry," she said, still laughing.
"It's like being with two big kids," Jack sighed, pushing them out of the door. "Now come on, or I'll make you read the file."
They got back to Torchwood to be met by Martha outside the TARDIS door, looking quite solemn, at least until she saw their grins and smiles and instead became very confused.
"Umm... Are you all okay?" she asked, looking at Rose. "Rose, are you okay?"
"Sure, why wouldn't I oof!" she exclaimed as the Doctor elbow her in the ribs. "What?!"
"You were ill, remember?" he told her pointedly, his eyes wide. "You collapsed."
"Oh, yeah," Rose muttered, rubbing the side of her face awkwardly.
"Poor thing, can't remember any of it," the Doctor said quickly, patting Rose patronisingly on the head. "Amnesia, the crippling symptom."
"All very sad," Jack added, patting her as well. Rose glared at them both.
Martha's frown deepened. "So what was it?"
"... Sorry, what?" the Doctor asked.
"The illness," Martha clarified. "What was it?"
"Oh! The illness! I thought you meant... Well, something else. Didn't you, Jack?" the Doctor said, looking at the Captain.
"Funny how questions can confuse you like that," Jack agreed.
There was a slight pause.
"So, what was it?" Martha asked again, a little concerned now.
"The illness?" the Doctor asked.
"Oh, well, it was..." the Doctor began, looking at Jack and Rose.
"Collapsious!" Rose burst out quickly.
"... Collapsious," Martha repeated slowly.
"Yeah. It makes you, umm... collapse."
"Awful disease," Jack said sadly, shaking his head.
"Terrible," the Doctor added.
Martha suddenly laughed, pointing at them. "Are you messing about with me?"
The three looked between each other for a second, wondering what to do.
"Oh, you got us!" Jack suddenly exclaimed, laughing. "There's no such thing as collapsious!"
"Yeah, what a stupid name for a disease," the Doctor agreed, staring at Rose.
"Don't look at me," she protested. "I'm crippled with amnesia."
Martha looked instantly panicked. "Are you still ill?"
"Oh, no!" Rose said quickly. "The Doctor fixed it."
"Yep, all fixed!" the Doctor enthused, beaming.
"Absolutely nothing wrong now," Jack added with a smile.
Martha stared at them. "But..."
"Oh, is that a beeping computer?" the Doctor asked suddenly, looking across the Hub to where Leah and Mickey were fighting over a keyboard. "I love a beeping computer. Excuse me."
He ran off.
Martha looked back at Jack, who instantly looked very solemn. "He's a bit emotional. Bit scattered. His head's not really in the right place, if you know what I mean. Poor guy. I found him in his underwear crying in the bathroom the other day, begging the toilet to flush."
Martha's eyes widened. "Really? Oh."
"Not to mention his addiction."
"Addiction?!" Martha gasped.
"Yeah," Jack continued, feeling Rose staring at him. "He was addicted to figs. It became his comfort food. And, well... you can imagine the effect."
Martha's hand went over her mouth, shocked. "That's terrible."
"But, you know, best not to mention it to him," Jack said quietly, looking over at the Doctor across the Hub. "He's over it now, but those were some dark times. You should probably tell the others. We don't want anyone offering him figs."
"Oh, of course," Martha said quickly.
"Unbelievable," Rose sighed, hand on her head.
"Oh, you feeling a little light-headed again, Rose?" Jack said quickly. "How about you sit down for a minute? This way..."
He took hold of her as though he were guiding a frail old woman, leading her to the sofa away from Martha. Rose was glaring at him.
"What?" he protested. "A bit of humiliation'll do his ego good."
Rose thought about that. "You're right," she conceded, just as the Doctor came back to them, holding Leah.
"I was thinking, we should go out, grab some chips and..." he trailed off as he noticed Martha staring at him sadly from across the Hub. The moment she saw him noticing her she smiled and looked away.
The Doctor frowned a little, then shrugged and turned back to them. "So, chip shop chips?"
"Yes," Leah said instantly.
"Yes, your highness," the Doctor said, kissing her, just as the tinny sound of a mobile phone sounded.
Jack scrambled around his pockets. "Sorry, me," he said, pulling it out and answering. "Hello? … Speaking... What about him?... Oh... What?... Okay... I'll pass it on. Thanks... Bye."
He hung up, looking up at the Doctor with wide eyes. "You know Dr Johnston?"
"They fired him?" the Doctor wondered hopefully.
"Err... Well, he hadn't been into work for a week, the day after we left, and no one could get hold of him. The cleaner was going over his office and she opened the cupboard... She found him dead. And according to the autopsy, he'd been dead for a month."
Rose's eyes widened, looking at Jack and the Doctor in turn. "Was someone... impersonating him?"
The Doctor paused, before nodding slowly. "... Must've been."
"Someone was there for us," she realised.
The Doctor nodded again. "Probably making the kids sick for the creatures... Looks like we've got ourselves an enemy."
There was a short pause.
"Chips?" Leah prompted, seemingly uncaring of the potential danger.
"Chips," the Doctor agreed, tearing away from his thought trail to put Leah on the floor and take his partner's hand, and together they all went to get some chips.
A/N: Review reply! Ask me anything!
And no, I've got no idea what's coming next or when at all before you ask :P