Characters: TenII, Alt!Donna, Rose, Jackie, OC
Rating: R (because of one scene)
Warning: DO NOT READ IF YOU ARE HOMOPHOBIC.
Summary: What if the Doctor didn't only remove his memories from Donna because of some special bond between her and Handy? This is set at the end of JE and offers a slight alternative to that.
Disclaimer: I don't own these and sadly never will, otherwise Handy would be my favourite pet in all the world.
A/N: I can't seem to stop thinking about the Duplicate Doctor and giving him a better life.
A/N2: I tried to write the birthday fic I had started for tkel-paris and this came out. Sorry love! I hope this will do for the time being.
The Inner Person
As they walked towards the TARDIS Rose tried to halt the Doctor's progress away from her.
"On the worse day of my life…," she began her speech, but the Duplicate Doctor was willing her to keep quiet, to let them get into the TARDIS; to allow the Doctor time to fix Donna.
The time was running out, he could feel it ebbing away, so he decided on a distraction tactic as he stepped up next to her. A kiss provoking piece of spiel couldn't hurt, could it? So he whispered into her ear, "I am always here for you, love."
It had the desired effect. Rose clung to him, engulfed him in a rib-crushing hug. It was only polite to do it back. Okay, it was also rather pleasant; it turned out that he liked kissing quite a lot! He might even do it again if the chance was offered.
And it worked. The sound of the TARDIS dematerialising finally hit his ears and he could release his hold on Rose. The futile run towards the TARDIS was expected, as was the look of utter grief in his direction. Phew! It had all gone to plan… so now what?
"We'd better make our way to the airfield," Jackie piped up.
He loved Jackie! She always had this wonderful way of adding warmth to a situation. He was about to make a reply to her when nausea struck him. It welled up from the tips of his converses, making him waver on the spot and seek somewhere to hide.
"Excuse me," he stammered out and raced towards the sea and away from Rose and Jackie. Who would want to be an onlooker to such an act? Once he was well away from them he heaved, losing all the celebratory meal they had all had, plus the wine that had accompanied it. Damn! That had been such a lovely meal too. He'd had the opportunity to rib Donna about her cooking and everything. Best not to think about Donna, he decided.
That was when intense pain hit him squarely behind the eyeballs, sending him crashing down into the soft sand as he grasped his head in desperation. Every neuron screamed out in protest as his last properly informed thought knew that he was mirroring what was happening to Donna somewhere in another universe. Memories whipped by, torn out of his head, gutting his mind until he was left gasping as he clung onto the only surface he could be aware of.
As Rose and Jackie raced up to see what the problem was, he blacked out.
Coming to happened goodness knew how much later, but the surface beneath his head was soft and squishy, a blanket was draped over him, and his mouth was as dry as a bone.
Rose's face swam into view. "Hello, second Doctor," she said as she smiled sweetly at him.
He frowned at her. Who? What was she on about? "I'm not the Doctor," he stated, and immediately grabbed his throat in confusion. What was wrong with his voice? He didn't normally sound like that; it was normally a lot higher and feminine in tone. Did he have a bad cold or something?
"Of course you are," Rose gently mocked him. "Stop messing about and kiss me again." She then brought her face close to his and placed a brief tender kiss on his lips.
He immediately pushed her away and spluttered, "What are you playing at? I know I've tried some things in my time but I don't do that!"
Rose's hurt expression hit him like a ton of bricks. "What do you mean? Don't you love me anymore? You said, on the beach, that you…," Rose began to say, unwilling to finish the horrible thoughts that were bombarding her mind.
"Did I?" he asked incredulously. "I don't remember." He sat calmly for a moment with his eyes shut, trying to bring back what the hell he'd been doing for the past few hours; or any other time come to that. "My mind is blank," he eventually offered in explanation. "You'll have to remind me what happened."
Rose quickly guessed that his collapse on the beach was connected to his memory loss. All it should take was a gentle reminder of what they had been to each and how she had fought her way to him. She was assuming still that he was the Doctor since her Doctor, the proper Doctor, had said that this one was all that he couldn't be.
"Let's see where I should start. You lost me at Canary Wharf when I almost fell into the void but Pete rescued me. On the worse day of my life you came and found me via a burning star to say goodbye, saying that the dimensions between our worlds could not be crossed anymore and you started to say you love me before you vanished. You finished saying it on the beach just before the TARDIS left for the last time. I used the dimension cannon to jump through loads of universes to find you, so that we could finally be together," she explained. "I was given you to grow old with."
It didn't get the reaction she had been hoping for. The Duplicate Doctor shot up to pace about in a mad fury as finally what memory he had snapped into place.
"What? Are you seriously saying you were told not to jump across universes because it was dangerous but you still did it anyway? Are you mad?" he ranted at her. "The Doctor is one of the most powerful beings in the known universes, he loves you and would have jumped through hoops of fire if it had brought you back to him, but he didn't cross the dimensions, so YOU thought you would! Bloody hell, woman! You are having a laugh!"
Rose tearfully replied, "I did it for you."
"You certainly did not! This was some sort of demented romantic notion of yours." He stood there panting in his rage, trying to rein it back as Rose looked at him in bewilderment. He then shook his head and said, "I can't believe he knew you did all that and then rewarded you. Talk about love is blind."
"But… but…," Rose stammered, "…he gave me you because you are him."
He shook his head. "No I'm not. He took that part of me away, from both me and Donna, and left me like this." He then swept his hands down to emphasise his body, a sneer of contempt on his face. "He took away his memories, his very essence, and that only leaves… me. I'll bloody kill him if I ever see him again!"
"What do you mean? If you're not the Doctor then who are you?" Rose anxiously asked.
"Isn't it obvious? Good god, is every one as delusional as you seem to be? I mean, look! Really look." He then leaned in close and pointed to his face. "I may have his face but I'm all Donna. I am Donna Noble."
Rose gasped and brought her hands up to cover her mouth. "You can't be!"
He glared back at her. What did it take to convince people? "Ask me something only Donna would know. Go on," he coaxed her.
"Well I… erm… When I visited Donna in the parallel universe what did she say when I first asked her to come with me?" Rose chose to ask.
"Easy! The blonde hair may work on some but it won't work on me," he gleefully replied and then threw a self-satisfied smirk in her direction. "You had your fringe clipped back off your face. Why did you do that? It didn't suit you."
She brought a hand up to her hair to check where her fringe was at that moment. "I thought it looked nice," she defended herself.
He snorted. "Nope! You've had better hair styles."
"Don't be rude!" she protested.
"You asked," he tartly replied; although technically she hadn't, he had to admit that to himself. "Sheesh!" He then rolled his eyes impatiently. "What do you have to do around here to get a cup of tea? I'm spitting feathers; and while we're on the subject, my stomach thinks my throat has been cut."
"Oh!" Rose hesitantly exclaimed. "I'll go and see if Mum has anything ready to eat, shall I?"
"That would be nice," he answered, giving her his cheesiest smile. "And if you could tell me where the bathroom is I'd be grateful."
"It's the third door on the left," Rose pointed out, and raced away from him.
What had she got herself into here? Her life had suddenly gone from this romantic ideal to a horror story in five seconds flat! Who was this monster that had been foisted onto her, and could she ever get back the man she fell in love with? Tears started to fall as she made her way downstairs to where Jackie was waiting with comforting words and lots of advice.
The Duplicate Doctor stood in the bathroom examining his face in the shaving mirror. What had the Doctor done to him? Here he was with a man's body and a woman's mind, feeling as though the Doctor had stolen him, or made him into a changeling. All those stories about fairies exchanging human babies with one of their own kind, and he had no idea what happened to them in the end. Did the changelings have a happy ever after? Did they get home back to their original families, or were they merely shunned? Who knew? And was this even the Doctor's body?
He pulled forward the elastic of his underwear and looked for the tell-tale mole that existed once on his hip. Yes, it was there; so that bit was true. Now for the embarrassing bit: handling this body to carry out natural tasks. Would it feel right?
He unzipped and tentatively put a hand in. Well, it wasn't as though he had never done this before… except 'he' hadn't; that had been for some lame-arse boyfriend of Donna's. He would get to know what it felt like on the other side of those ministrations now. It was a few minutes into testing out those skills that a voice yelled out to him.
"Doctor! Are you coming down for this sandwich?" the voice of Jackie called him.
"Be right there!" he shouted back. Damn! He'd explore that physicality later on, and possibly other things. Washing his hands, he encountered his next task to overcome; navigating his way in this place to wherever Jackie was so that he could eat. They could have given him a map, he griped to himself.
"Hello, sweetheart," Jackie greeted him when he eventually turned up in the kitchen. "Did you find us alright?"
He smiled gratefully back at her. "Eventually," he informed her. "You've got a nice place here."
Jackie took an encouraging breath. "Rose said you are feeling a bit different to when we were on the beach."
That was putting it mildly, he wanted to laugh. "Yes, quite a lot actually." He then eyed the plates containing sandwiches enviously. Boy was he hungry!
"What am I thinking? Sit yourself down, and have something to eat," Jackie encouraged him. She sat herself down next to him as he began to tuck in with ravenous enthusiasm. "Have you decided on a name you'll be using yet, or are you sticking to 'Doctor'?" she asked as pleasantly as she could.
He thought about it as he chewed. There seemed to be no contest in his mind. Swallowing down the mouthful he had dealt with, he then said, "I know what I want to be called, and it isn't 'Doctor'."
"Well? What is it?" Jackie asked some seconds of silence. This one certainly didn't like talking quite so much as the other one.
"I'm not sure if you'll think this is daft, but I'm Don A. Noble," he announced.
"Don A. Noble," Jackie repeated, trying to get her head around the concept. "Why? And what does the 'A' stand for?"
He shrugged his shoulders. "It's what I'm used to, and I thought the 'A' could stand for 'Andrew' since the others in the TARDIS started calling me Andy."
Jackie stifled a laugh. They had called him 'Handy' but if he had wanted to mishear that it was up to him. "And what are you going to do with yourself from now on, Don?" she asked, trying out the name.
"Erm…" He chewed a bit more, having taken another sandwich. "I suppose some temp work for the time being. My typing skills are pretty okay."
"Shall I ask if Pete can find you some work in Torchwood?" Jackie offered.
Don blanched as a thought hit him. If he went into Torchwood would he ever come out again? Wouldn't they find his part alien physiology too tempting to ignore for long. Was there the chance that he would become a huge guinea pig for their investigations?
"Let me try something in the outside world to start with," Don cautiously answered. "I don't want to appear to beg for favours. Which leads to another question: where the hell am I going to live?" he pondered.
"You can stay here for as long as you like," Jackie magnanimously offered.
That earned her a big beaming smile. He looked incredibly sweet when he smiled. "Thank you; but I promise to move out as soon as I can," he told her. "I don't want to outstay my welcome."
Going out into the big wide world proved to be more daunting than he had first anticipated. Having none of the Doctor's memories to hand meant that the Zeppelins flying overhead were a complete surprise; as was the continuous references in speech about the time during the Cybermen. He didn't know who they were or what damage they had wrought. There were vague memories of talk about ghosts from Donna's memories, but she had all but avoided that mess. Quite wisely, in his opinion; but it wasn't helping him a great deal.
And there were even bigger surprises to this new existence (and he wasn't talking about the way Rose was acting towards him). It first happened when Pete took him out for a drink and a chat; they had ended up in a discrete bar. In this case Don was sure 'discrete' stood for 'over-priced and poncy' but he didn't say that out loud. Pete was a nice bloke, and quite nice to look at too; but Don was keeping that aspect equally quiet.
A few beers later meant that Don had to use the toilet facilities, and almost accidentally walked into the ladies. What was he like? Too embarrassed to use the urinal (he told himself he'd work his way up gradually to peeing in public like that) he went into a stall and smiled sweetly at the bloke who was coming out, since he wasn't bad looking at all.
The shock was that Don hadn't even got as far as closing the stall door when he was shoved from behind and the bloke he had smiled at forced his way in before locking them in together. "What…?" was barely passed his lips when the bloke demanded, "Get it out, then."
Don tried again. "What do you…?"
The bloke huffed in annoyance. "Here, let me show you." He then expertly took hold of Don's trousers and pulled them down before placing his mouth upon him.
Any protest Don could think of immediately melted into the ether. This random stranger was prepared to give him a blow job and he felt powerless to stop it. In fact it felt too good to stop. Bloody hell! No wonder past boyfriends had been so eager for Donna to do this. He would have staggered back in shock and ecstasy if the bloke hadn't had a firm hold of his body, and he roared out loudly how good it felt.
"Shh!" the bloke admonished him. "Or we'll get caught."
"Sorry!" Don quietly apologised. "This is my first time at doing this."
"You'd have never guessed," the bloke answered sarcastically. "Where have you been hiding yourself? Down a hole?"
"In a glass jar, actually," Don haughtily replied, and then realised how daft that must have sounded.
"Whatever you say, mate," the bloke retorted. "My turn."
"Your turn? Oh, of course!" Don blustered. Now this he had experience of, in a past life; except 'his' experiences had been instead of personal satisfaction rather than after, but a new experience is always welcome. And this bloke was pretty tasty. Did this count as a date? "I'm Don, by the way," he said when he was finished.
"Are you? That's nice for you," the bloke said dismissively. "Perhaps I'll see you around."
"Okay." Don felt his hopes sink. And to think he had felt used when he'd been a woman! This was miles worse. He went to rinse his mouth out at the sink and go glug down some beer to take away the bad taste in his mouth. It was the taste of disappointment. A plan formed in his head; he had to get himself a flat, a job and now a boyfriend, but not necessarily in that order.
Pete had promised to lend him any deposit on a rented flat, so Don was quite hopeful as he started his flat search. Nine properties on, he wasn't quite so hopeful. In fact he felt drained and utterly disappointed. Why was everywhere such a rip off? They wanted an arm and a leg for amenities he wouldn't give a rat's for. Huffing to himself, he decided he would treat himself to a latte in a vain attempt to cheer himself up.
Having made his choice at the counter of a Starbucks, and bugger it, he would have a giant cookie too; he made his way to the only spare stool near the end of a bar top and sat down. Peering glumly out at the street, he tried to think of cheerier things. Absently he bit into his cookie, and chewed thoughtfully.
"Excuse me, I hope you don't mind me asking, but where did you get that t shirt?" someone to the side of him asked, bringing him out of his trance.
Don looked down at the emblem emblazoned across his chest; he'd forgot he'd even put it on. It was then that he looked properly at the woman asking the question, and met inquisitive blue-brown eyes. Familiar eyes that used to look back at him at one time. "Of course I don't mind," he answered enthusiastically. "I bought it in River Island."
"Thanks," she replied, smiling broadly.
This was the point he was supposed to say something funny or welcoming in order to keep her attention. "Thinking of buying one for your husband?" he wondered.
She snorted derisively. "Him! I'm not sure he'd appreciate anything I bought him. No, I was thinking of a birthday present for a friend," she explained.
Damn! She was married! That dashed one particular hope. "Would your husband mind you talking to me? I might whisk you away to amazing places."
She laughed then. "Chance would be a fine thing! He doesn't give a monkey's what I'm doing or who I talk to as long as his shirts are washed and ironed."
"What a shame," he sympathised. "I suppose it's safe to introduce myself then. I'm Don Noble."
She nodded back at him. "I'm Donna Bennett; but it used to be Noble. How strange. I wonder if we are related in some way."
"I have a feeling we might be," he replied, giving her his smuggest grin.
"Are they any good?" she asked, pointing at his cookie.
"Not bad. Not as good as the ones at Mama Pup's," he supplied.
"Oh yes!" she enthused, just as he expected her to. "Those ones are brilliant!"
"Do you also like the pasta place opposite it? That's one of my favourites," he asked her, hoping he'd get a positive reaction.
"Is it? That's uncanny because I love that place," she told him. "I can see you and me getting on like a house on fire."
"We can only be true friends if you agree West Ham are the best, and Princess Beatrice needs to get a different stylist," he goaded her, knowing he had probably hit the jackpot.
Donna squealed with delight. "Do you know what? You are perfect. What are you drinking because the next coffee is on me?"
When she got back from the counter he was perusing the 'to let' ads again. "Looking for a new place?" she asked conversationally.
He sighed and put the newspaper down. "I'm trying but everywhere is either too expensive, or a complete dive. I'm beginning to lose hope."
"Would you consider sharing with anyone?" she wondered. "That would help with the costs."
"Got to find someone you could bear to live with in order to do that. Know anyone who'd be interested by any chance?" he tried asking. Well, it was worth a try, he justified to himself.
He smiled with pleasure when she answered, "Let me think that one over for a while."
Already a brighter future was beckoning.