A Small Piece of Coral

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A Small Piece of Coral

Post by Paksena on Mon Jun 08, 2009 4:04 pm

Description: The Doctor knew he would face problems with Rose in the parallel universe he didn't expect the universe itself to be against him. Spoilers through post Journey's End.

Chapter 1 of 17

The Doctor sat at his desk in Torchwood, looking out the window. He had a top floor corner office in Canary Wharf. Rose had insisted on it. What Rose wanted she got.

That was the real reason he was here, to try and keep Rose under control. His brother couldn't do it. She was the first being he bonded with after the loneliness and heartbreak of the time war. He was unreasonably besotted with her and he knew it. She excelled at getting her way with him, in almost all areas but one. When she disrupted the time line by saving her father, he should have taken her straight home once the situation was resolved. Instead, he kept her with him, telling himself he would just have to keep a better eye on her, not give in to her demands.

His brother had tried, he had really tried, but always Rose could get what she wanted from him. On their trip to the parallel world he warned her not to see the parallel Pete Tyler, that he was not her father. He knew it would have bad consequences for Rose emotionally. But she pouted and sulked then wheedled and cajoled him, using her little girl face and body language that always seemed to make his resolve cave in. He could face down all manner of monsters and demons, but against the wiles of Rose Tyler he was defenseless. It was a dangerous situation, one that had to be rectified.

His brother had thought that when she was in the parallel universe she would be content. She had always wanted a family, and he had, in the midst of defeating the Daleks, Cybermen and closing off the void, assembled one for her. His first attempt at sending her with them had failed. She came right back, he relented against his better judgment and said she could stay (when it came to Rose his brother had a soft spot in his heart… and his head). She then by accident and the greatest of luck wound up back in the parallel universe. He'd burned up a star so he could say good bye to her, give her the closure he hadn't given Sarah Jane, hoping she would then move on with her life. He had told her the dire consequences if the breach was reopened, that both universes would collapse.

It had turned out she ignored the warning, didn't care about the collapse of one or even two universes. Rose had to have her way. She, with her strength of personality and determination, had gotten Torchwood to build a dimension cannon so she could get back to the Doctor. Cannon, such an appropriate name. Her experiments were ripping holes in the fabric of reality. It allowed Dalek Caan to go back and rescue Davros from the time locked timewar. It allowed possibilities that were never meant to exist, to be created. It nearly destroyed the entire time space continuum when she broke through to universe prime, his brother's universe. Yet she still didn't believe that had anything to do with her.

He heard a knock at his door. Rose came in. "Hi, how's it going?" She walked over to his desk and sat on the corner. She licked her lips as she looked at him.

He looked up at her. "Not well, it would help if I knew what this power source was going to be used for. I could most likely come up with a more efficient design."

She pursed her lips and pouted. "You DO know, it's a planetary shield."

"And I told you, this is way too much power for a planetary shield. You could shield the quadrant with this much power. Why can't I see what it is you're building?"

Rose looked at the ceiling. "I TOLD you," she drawled in her most exasperated voice while she played with her hair. "You're an alien. This is Torchwood. They don't trust you. It was everything I could do to get them to let you have an office here." The Doctor knew that was a lie; he'd had free access his first few months here. Then, one day he tried to get down to the lab and he was blocked by the guards. They said they had orders to stop him. When he asked whose orders, Rose Tyler's was the reply.

She leaned forward sinuously resting her elbows on his desk and her chin on back of her overlapping hands. "Is it really that important that you see the shield? My Doctor, the proper Doctor wouldn't need to."

He looked down pretending this bothered him. It was one of her favorite phrases. She used it whenever he wasn't doing what she wanted, as a spur to get him to cooperate. "Yes I could build it, but not safely, a power source of this size would have the capability to reduce the earth to its subatomic particles. It would make the Osterhagan key look like a firecracker."

"Don't worry about safety. Just design it, safety isn't important."

The Doctor forgot himself and who he was dealing with "Don't be stupid! What's the sense of shielding the planet from attack, if you blow it up yourself? I need to see what this will be powering; I know I can make it more efficient."

"You're the one that's stupid. If it hadn't been for you, we wouldn't be stuck here. Donna said she got the best part of you, your mind. I think she kept it. You're just useless." She stormed out of the room.

He should have known she was going to pull up that argument again. He had destroyed the Daleks before his brother had the chance to. His brother knew it needed to be done, just as he did. But his brother already had so much blood on his hands. It was only right that he take that burden from him and destroy the Daleks himself, while he had memories of his brother's actions, they were distant, like the memory of seeing a movie, the genocide would not affect him as greatly as it would have his brother.

It also gave his brother an excuse to leave him with her. One she would believe. That she needed to help him. That he needed her. They both felt since she wanted the Doctor, if she had him, she would be content, and quit punching holes in the fabric of reality. But it had to be the Doctor that wouldn't indulge her as his brother had.

His brother would help Donna, something he wouldn't be able to do. Having come partly from her, he feared he would not be able to do what was needed to save her life. He felt how much she loved the knowledge she had gained, and the adventures she'd had with her brother. His brother feared the death of those he cared about to the point he would do anything to save them, even if it meant destroying who they were.

So they made their pact, each doing the job they were best suited for. His brother would make sure Donna would live. He would protect Rose and keep the universe and all its parallels safe from her. He hoped his brother had better luck with his part of the bargain, than he did with Rose.

It had gone sour from the start. He and his brother had made a plan, it was poorly thought out. He would give Rose what his brother had refused her. He would tell her he loved her. Love, such an overloaded word, used to describe sex even when no emotion is involved, to describe the caring protectiveness a parent feels towards a child, the need to be with someone, who you never feel whole without and even the reaction to a well thought out plan, a great meal or handsome outfit. It was a word that could not be used with precision, too open to misinterpretation for his brother to use it with Rose.

So, he was the one who would take the plunge. His brother made it seem as if he was to be exiled with Rose taking care of him. Someone who was the same as his brother when she first met him. Implying he could be changed by her into what she wanted, he the Galatea to her Pygmalion.

Donna had suggested the finishing touch on his brother's gift. Letting her know that he would grow old with her, so there would be no others after her, ensuring he would be hers exclusively. Something his brother couldn't give her that would appeal to her self-centered, entitled nature.

It almost worked. Then she had her little test. He and his brother had misunderstood it and failed miserably. They had thought that maybe it was a test of if they loved her. So, his brother fluffed it and refused to say what she wanted. While he told her the words she had literally risked everything to hear, showing that he was the one who loved her, more than his brother. A lie, but a necessary one… or so they thought.

The test was to see if they were indeed the same. As soon as he said "I love you." he had failed. She kissed him then, but it wasn't a kiss of love or even affection. It was a kiss designed to arouse the jealousy of the brother who had refused her. Show him what he was missing. Hurt him. Though he tried to play his part, it had no effect on him.

Rose/Cassandra, Astrid, and Reinette, especially Reinette had all caused him to go weak kneed when they kissed him. The kiss Rose gave him had almost the same effect as the kiss Jackie had given him when they had returned to earth and found it infested with ghosts. Disgust. When she heard the TARDIS door close, she had broken off the kiss. After all, why continue to do something for the sole purpose of punishing someone, if they weren't there to see it?

She had walked away from him, towards the TARDIS which was fading as it traveled back to where it belonged. He'd walked up to her and took her hand hoping he could connect with her. They'd looked at each other, not as lovers, as his brother had hoped, or even friends, but rather sizing each other up, almost, but not quite as if they were adversaries.

With his brother gone, the fun began. Jackie complained that the least his brother could have done was wait until they had contacted Pete. She had a point, but it was urgent that his brother leave when he did. It was not the breach in time and space that was disappearing but his brother's resolve that was about to fade away. The TARDIS had sensed it and had given a warning. Fortunately, Pete was easily contacted. He sent someone in the area to pick them up.

While they waited, the Doctor had explored the beach, trying to work out how to recover from his bad start with Rose. The wet sand, smelling of fish and seaweed pulling at his shoes as he walked, the chill wind cutting through his thin suit. The least his brother could have done was leave him the coat. That was about the only semi useful thought he had. How to deal with Rose? Well, it didn't look like he was much better at that than his brother.

The trip home had been quiet. Jackie made a few abortive attempts at conversation. Rose was in a mood and refused to answer. He, for his part, was too tired to hold up his end of the conversation for long. After a regeneration a Timelord needed to rest and recover, he hadn't had a chance to do that yet.

Jackie had looked at him with concern and patted his hand. "Are you alright love? Your head hurting again? We could stop and get you some tea, it helped last time."

The Doctor had smiled at her efforts. "No need, I just need to get some rest. The sooner I get to a bed the better."

"He'd better not think he's getting into my bed." Rose muttered just loud enough for the Doctor to hear but low enough she could claim he'd misheard. "I can't believe the Doctor left me here to nursemaid this shadow of himself. Presenting him to me like a consolation prize at a church picnic. My Doctor, the proper Doctor, wouldn't be tired." Totally forgetting how his brother had slept through most of the Sycorax invasion.

A wave of nausea hit him, bringing his thoughts back to the office. The coral in his pocket cried out to him. He should have known. Every time she got angry with him she tried another trip with the dimension cannon. His brother's seal would bounce her back. She needed more power to break through it. The power he refused to provide her.

He took the coral out of his pocket, holding it carefully soothing it. He had broken off a piece of the TARDIS before he left, apologizing to her for the injury, while his brother pretended not to see. He had hoped he might be able grow a TARDIS here. That it could acclimate to the foreign energy of the universe as it grew. The first night as he slept in Mickey's abandoned room, he shared the last of his regeneration energy with it, activating and nurturing it.

The next day, while Rose was still in a snit, he had wandered the property looking for an appropriate place. He was in luck. There was a small energy breach, just enough to nurture a growing TARDIS. He carefully connected it to the flowing energy, hopeful his plan would work. The coral screamed in agony, a sound only he could hear, that brought him to his knees. He quickly disconnected the coral, taking its rough shape into his hands, gently blowing on it, transferring some of his own universe prime energy to it. Feeding and purifying it. The energy here was not just incompatible, it was poisonous.

He had knelt there in the wet soil. It's fertile smell, the promise of possible life, providing an ironic contrast to the coral's condition. He had lost several of his limited years saving the coral. It was an impulsive act, perhaps not a kindness in the long run. The coral was now aware and felt the need to travel as much as he did. It wanted to protect him and tour time and space with him. But it was too small, too weak to do anything but share his mind.

When Rose fired off the dimension cannon it pushed the poisonous energy into the Doctor's and coral's energy field, injuring them both. Timelords did not only need the biochemical energy provided by food and water. They also needed pure energy. It was the fundamental vibration of the universe itself that sustained them. Gave them their power, their ability to heal and regenerate. Here in this universe that vibration was off, tainting the energy, making it poisonous to both Timelord and TARDIS. They both were dying, slowly starving to death in a world filled with energy they dare not use.

This was where the plan had gone totally wrong. Rose would out live him by several decades and when he was gone, her drive to get back to his brother would be relentless and ultimately destructive, destroying all life in all universes, the ultimate genocide.

He was on the same floor as the dimension cannon. Rose he felt, liked the sense of danger knowing he was so close and she could be found out. She was attacking where the void ship had first gone through in her universe, apparently deciding the patch and the reality around it would fail the easiest. If true to her pattern she would try again soon. He needed to get out of there.

The pattern of the energy wave was isotropic, radiating equally in all directions. The effect of the energy would reduce geometrically the further they were from it. Twice as far away would reduce its power to one fourth, three times as far to one ninth. The inverse square law at its finest.

The Doctor got up and walked over to the door, the plush carpet cushioning his footsteps. The polished brass of the door knob felt cool in his hand as he turned it. It was Brad on duty today. Rose said the guard outside his door was there for his protection, but he knew it was another lie. The guard was there to keep tabs on him. He smiled as he passed Brad. "I'm just going out for some air, I should be back soon."
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Re: A Small Piece of Coral

Post by Paksena on Tue Jun 09, 2009 4:59 pm

Chapter 2 of 17

The elevator ride down was long. Too slow for his taste, he wanted to be well away from here when the dimension cannon went off again. Finally, he got to the first floor and walked rapidly across the inlaid marble lobby and out the double glass doors. The heat hit him like a blast furnace as he went outside.

He felt he was being followed, but he didn't care. This wasn't about where he was going. It was just to get away, as far and as quickly as possible. He made for the nearest tube station. Luck was with him, he caught the train just as it was about to leave. He sat in his seat, eyes closed, just relaxing to the rhythm of the train. He would ride it until the end of the line, or until Rose fired the dimension cannon again.

He thought about the heat, way too warm for March. It was another side effect of the dimension cannon, slowly cooking the Earth. Already the ice fields of Greenland had turned into a lake held back from the ocean by a thin dam of rotting ice barely one quarter mile wide. He doubted it would last till the fall. When it went, the influx of fresh water would result in a sudden desalination of the ocean at that spot, effectively stopping the North Atlantic currents. It would plunge Europe into an ice age that would last a millennium or more. He had tried explaining this to Rose.

"But if the problem is global warming, wouldn't an ice age be the cure?" Rose had asked.

"No, it's not. No more than cutting off your head is a cure for a headache. You've got to dismantle that thing, melt down the parts to slag and wipe all the plans from every computer in the place."

"I can't do that, we might need it again."

"What would you need it for? It doesn't work, and if it did work it would collapse all of time and space. You and Torchwood with it"

"He just says that. When we were first here he said Mickey couldn't come back and he did. Then he said I couldn't come back and I did."

"It's not that you can't do it!" The Doctor's frustration was growing. "It's that you shouldn't, there are consequences when you do. He explained it to you. When Mickey and his friends were jumping between universes, this world was cooking as a result. Pete practically kidnapped my brother to make him fix it!"

"Well, he didn't fix it; he just used it as an excuse to leave me here. It was still too warm here after he closed the breach."

"Closing the breach just stopped more energy from coming in, heating up the planet further. Didn't the planet start to cool down a bit after that? He left you here because he had to. The breach was closing, if he had reopened it, then everyone here would have died. The universes would have collapsed"

"No, that's not true. He just said that to see how much I love him. He's depressed and insecure. I figured it out, that's why he left me here, to see if I loved him enough to risk everything. It had nothing to do with universes collapsing."

The Doctor was stunned. She apparently thought his brother was as mad as she was. "You saw it, you said so yourself," he pleaded with her to understand. "The dimension cannon worked and all the universes started collapsing, even the void was dead. Do you think that was a coincidence?"

"That was because of Davros, not me, and even if I did cause it, the Doctor can fix it, he always can."

And that was the problem, she firmly believed that whatever she did, the Doctor could fix it. She like an adolescent, realizing her parents didn't know everything she was up to, but still believing they had a magical ability to fix any messes she caused. Only, instead of parents, for her it was the Doctor that could magically fix everything. Twenty four years old and she still hadn't transitioned out of that teenage personality. The books he had read said her next chance to grow up was around age thirty five. He might not even be alive then to see it.

He suddenly was hit with another wave of nausea. The train had taken him miles away and still he felt it. The dimension cannon had been fired again, much stronger this time. He was glad he'd left the building when he did. His hand in his pocket, he gently closed it around the coral, cradling it. He could feel its whispered gratitude, its gentle song filling his mind. He let it relax him, take him away, for just a few moments, from all his worries and concerns.

He felt a hand slide into his jacket pocket as the train slowed for the next stop. Fast as an adder, he grabbed the wrist it was attached to, digging his finger tips into the tendons. He looked up at the thief, letting all his anger and frustration, stored for centuries, show on his face. The hand opened, the Doctor straightened his arm, returning the hand to its owner and let go. The thief fled.

The Doctor stretched and gave himself a shake, preparing to get off. He mentally whispered to the coral, letting it know he was okay. His anger had frightened it and it wanted to protect him from whatever had caused it. "It's alright, it's alright," he told it. "Just knowing you are here is all I need. It's all over now. I'm safe. Don't worry, just rest." The coral's frenetic energy smoothed and relaxed he reassured it.

He hadn't really checked which train he was getting on back at the station; distance had been all he was after. Now he wished he had, the thief meant it was a bad neighborhood. He wasn't afraid. Just not looking forward to the childish nonsense that was about to happen.

The train stopped. He made his way to the exit, stepped onto the platform and looked around. Dirty concrete, trash everywhere but in the containers put out for it, and yes there it was, the ID check that was always present in these less desirable locations, a desperate attempt by the government to maintain some control. He considered stepping back onto the train, but previously that tactic had just resulted in him being pulled off rather roughly at the next stop. Treated like a criminal until they looked at his ID. Then it was fawning apologies that were more embarrassing than being hustled off the train.

He sighed and joined the queue, the sticky floor causing a crunchy snapping sound as he walked, the smell of urban decay penetrating his senses. He held his ID at the ready. No psychic paper. His brother hadn't left him any. Just as well. It took energy to use it, energy he couldn't replace. He was next in line. ”Let the foolishness begin,” he thought glumly.

He handed his ID to the policeman, who took it without looking. "State your purpose for being here."

"Just trying to get acquainted with the city. I'm new here and want to get the lay of the land as it were."

"Well, Mr…" The guard looked at the ID to get his name. His eyes went wide as he read it.

The Doctor rolled his eyes, looking upward, pleading in his mind. ”Once, just once, can't I get the incompetent one, the one who doesn't know his job. The kind the public says the force was full of?"

"I'm sorry, sir, I'm so sorry, you shouldn't have had to wait. Simons here will take care of good care of you. Just go with him please. He'll fix you right up."

Resigned, the Doctor followed Simons. He'd tried bolting once, he hadn't gotten far, and everyone had gotten into trouble with Rose, himself, the police who found it impossible to restrain him without out doing him some injury, losing a week's pay as a result, and anyone who got near Rose for the next two days, had been subject to her wrath. He'd tried to explain he'd been hurt far worse with some of the TARDIS landings. She wouldn't hear it. She was determined to avenge him. Show how much she cared. How much power she wielded. A lot of fuss over nothing. People hurt needlessly because of him. So now he just went along in situations like this, saved the fuss for when it was worth it.

They must have updated the instructions concerning him. He wasn't led to one of the holding rooms in the station this time. Instead they had apparently kicked someone out of their office. An aid with tea and nibbles followed them into the room. Apparently standing orders when dealing with him, ply him with tea and food till Torchwood came. Simons motioned him to the chair behind the desk.

The Doctor sat in it and spun around, playing a bit to lighten the situation. It was a typical lower management government office, dull, unimaginative, standard certificates showing accomplishments on the walls. With a sigh he grabbed some nibbles and put his feet up on the rough wooden desk. "So how long this time?" he asked Simons.

"Not very, apparently there happens to be an agent on the very next train."

Ah, his tail, he figured they hadn't managed to board his train in time. "Well, I'll try not to be too much of a bother until then." He sat up, putting his feet back on the floor and picked up the tea pot. "Care for some tea? They say you shouldn't drink alone, though I guess they weren't talking about tea, were they." He smiled, hoping the joke would be understood.

Simons just looked at him and frowned. "Tough room," thought the Doctor "Look, I'm not any happier about this than you are, might as well make the best of it. Sit down and have some tea. Please?"

Simons reluctantly took a chair and sat across the desk from the Doctor. The Doctor handed him a cup and then poured one for himself. "So what are the orders on me now if I may ask?"
Simons just stared at him, decidedly nonplussed. The Doctor tried again. "I'm just trying to make conversation here. Anything you care to talk about? I don't think reading certificates on the wall is going to prove very entertaining."

"Why do you cause trouble like this? Every time you turn up, some policeman gets his pay docked because we did something wrong in handling you. Who are you anyway?"

"I'm no one special. I really don't know why they make such a fuss. I just want to check out the city a bit. I really hate being cooped up in an office. I'll make sure they know everyone here did their job with proper decorum. This is good tea by the way, thank you. Nice nibbles also," he observed as he pushed another handful into his mouth.

"Why did you pick here to stop? It's a dangerous area. Did you want to get mugged?"

"Well, I really don't pick where I am going to stop. I just get on the first train and see where it goes. I get off when I feel like it. Kind of random I know, but a bit more exciting than preplanning everything, don't you think?"

"Are you some kind of mental patient?"

The door opened, saving the Doctor from having to answer. A tall blonde man entered with a frown on his face. The Doctor brightened. "Oh, hello, George, you have the duty today? This gentleman here has been quite good company, make sure she hears that. And good nibbles too. Here, have some."

George smiled and shook his head. "No, thank you, Doctor, we have to go."

The Doctor sighed and stood up. "Well, thank you Simons, it's been most enjoyable." He then turned to George, and smiled as he raised his eyebrows, looking hopeful and asked. "Any chance we can go back via the train. There was a gentleman who seemed most interested in the contents of my pockets. I was hoping we might run into him again. He would probably enjoy one of your little talks."

George shot Simons a look, who shrugged. "First we've heard of it. He didn't say a word about it to anyone."

"Sorry, Doctor, she is sending a Zeppelin for you."

"Oh, well, I was hoping,” the Doctor said with a sigh. “A Zeppelin you say? She must be upset, she knows I hate those. Makes it seem like I am one of the tops, being above it all, literally and figuratively." He always enjoyed playing games with George, who would take it good naturedly, letting him indulge his weird brand of humor without taking offense.

George just smiled and shook his head. "Come on, it should be here now."
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Chapter 3 of 17

Post by Paksena on Wed Jun 10, 2009 2:51 pm

The trip home was uneventful. The Doctor spent most of it looking out over the bleak landscape, constantly overcast and choked with pollution. Most of the wealthy had left the city for the country, leaving the mess they had made for the lower classes to deal with as they chopped up the rural terrain with their small lots occupied by over grown houses, useless shows of wealth and ostentation, conspicuous consumption.

He hated this, being brought back like an errant child. But it was silly and petulant to take it out on the people tasked to do the job. He would have words with her when he got back. She most likely would have her own words. There was a time, a brief time when they got along. It started about a week after they had arrived. Jackie had had all of Mickey's belongings moved out of the room, so the Doctor could make it his own. It basically left him with a bare space, bed, night stand, dresser, mirror, and not much else. He really didn't know how to furnish. The TARDIS was more an accumulation of things over time, not a planned decor.

He had been sitting cross legged on his bed, trying to figure out what to do with the room, feeling a bit out of place when Rose came in and said, "This is you, living in a house." He laughed and looked up at her.

"Well, your mother wants me to make this room more 'mine' as she puts it. I haven't a clue as to where to start."

She smiled at him in that little girl way of hers, looking pleased with herself. "Don't worry about that. I have a surprise for you."

He was hopeful at that, finally she might be warming up to him a bit. "A surprise, for me? What did I do to deserve this?"

"Oh nothing, I just thought you needed a little welcome present."

She was holding a garment bag in one hand and a box in the other. She handed the bag to him. Inside there was a duplicate of his brother's brown suit, a light blue shirt and a few ties. The box contained a pair of off white trainers. The Doctor was a bit taken a back. He liked his blue suit but, Rose was very pleased with herself and he didn't want to wreck her mood. "This is really quite unexpected. Thank you."

"I couldn't find a suit like yours, so I had it made. Try it on and see if it fits."

The Doctor hoped that maybe this meant things were changing between them. It had been a tense week. Rose had been upset at being dumped back in the parallel world and she blamed him for it. 'Having to play nursemaid to a mental case' is what she had called it. Though it was Jackie who had realized he was ill. Plied him with tea and kept asking what he needed. Rose never even noticed he'd been sick.

He went into his bathroom to put on the suit. He came out to get Rose's opinion. "What do you think?"

"Now that's the Doctor I know," purred Rose. She walked up to him, grabbed his tie and pulled him down to her. She gave him a kiss that was filled with all the passion that had only been pretended at the beach. He kissed her back giving to her what his brother never had. What they both had felt she really wanted.

She was playful and affectionate after that. Often coming up behind him, putting her arms around him when he was sitting down, nuzzling his neck, letting him know it was time for bed.

There were no more derogatory comparisons with his brother. She had Pete bring him into Torchwood so he had something to do, in a place that could use his knowledge. Rose proudly showed him that they had mothballed the dimension cannon. He made a point of checking it later and taking a few parts off it. He felt that his bad start on the beach had been overcome. She had seemed happy with him and content to stay here, no longer obsessed with his brother.

Then one day he came upon her in the garden, sitting on a bench, crying. He sat down next to her, put his arm around her and asked what was wrong.

"The baby, I've lost the baby," she sobbed into his chest.

He gently took her by the shoulders and pushed her upright so he could look her in the eye. "What baby?" he asked, afraid of the answer.

"Ours, our baby."

The Doctor's mind was flooded with questions, none of which were appropriate to the situation. Starting with 'Isn't it customary to let the father know what your plans are?' He put his face in his hands and rubbed it. Then he looked at her. "What happened?" It was the best he could do.

"They don't know. It never developed a fetal heartbeat and it was gone at 8 weeks."

The Doctor took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "Yes, that would be about right. I'm sorry, you should have talked to me about this." That the fetus had failed to develop that vital organ didn't surprise him.

"Why?" she snapped at him. "I just wanted to have something of his to call my own. You didn't seem to mind the process. What did you think would happen?"

The Doctor was startled at her change of mood and stumbled for an answer. "I thought you were taking precautions, like you did with Mickey. I also…"

"What I did with Mickey is none of your business," Rose hissed at him, taking her disappointment and loss out on the Doctor. She got up to storm off. He grabbed her wrist and turned her towards him. Desperate that she understand what had happened.

"Rose, you need to listen to me. This is important." He looked up at her pleadingly, trying to connect with her.

Rose glared back at him angrily, but kept quiet.

"We can't have a baby that way. It would take a genetics lab with far more advanced equipment than you have here on this planet."

Her expression turned to one of disbelief and scorn. "Why? You're half human. There was no genetics lab for you. Why can't I just have his baby?"

"Come on, sit down, please?" The Doctor gave her wrist a slight tug to reinforce his request. She resisted and broke his hold. She placed her hand on her hip, looking at him accusingly but said nothing. He sighed, "It's only because of the healing that comes with regeneration that I ever drew a breath. Thousands of things had to be fixed while I was being created. The same would be true of any child we had."

She set her head back a little so she was looking down her nose at him, suspicion oozing from every pore. "Why didn't he ever tell me this? He never told me there would be problems if we had children."

"Because he never intended to have sex with you. So there was no need to bring it up." A poor choice of words that only added fuel to Rose's anger.

"He loves me! You said so." She yelled at him.

"Yes, he did, but not in that way. Never in that way. He knew that's what you wanted, which is why he sent you here, so you could have that kind of life."

"What, that kind of life with you!? You're just a pale imitation of him, a flawed copy. Why would I ever want that? You're useless, totally useless." She'd turned on her heel and ran into the house. The Doctor sat on the bench, putting his hands to his face, rubbing his eyes as he tried to figure out how he could have handled it better.

She had wanted his brother's baby. He was just a DNA delivery system to her and now she found out he couldn't even do that. All her affection had been a ruse.

Later he had gone to find Jackie to see if she could help. She fixed him some tea and told him to just give Rose some space. It really wasn't an area men were much help in anyway. She'd settle down soon. That night Jackie helped him decorate Mickey's old room, make it his own.

It was a few days after that he found there were places he wasn't allowed to go anymore in Torchwood. He'd talked to Pete about it, but it was out of his hands. Pete had been relegated to just handling the business side of Torchwood. Others were in charge of the operations.

A few months later the dimension cannon was fired again.
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Re: A Small Piece of Coral

Post by Jennyjenkins on Wed Jun 10, 2009 3:25 pm

More please sunny
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Re: A Small Piece of Coral

Post by Paksena on Thu Jun 11, 2009 3:59 pm

Jennyjenkins wrote:More please sunny

coming right up Smile Thanks
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Chapter 4 of 17

Post by Paksena on Thu Jun 11, 2009 4:12 pm

As the Doctor looked out the window of the Zeppelin, he realized the landscape was wrong. They apparently weren't going to Torchwood. He looked at George. "Going back home am I?"

George nodded. "She's staying late, and said you were done for the day."

"Well, I guess I am then." He actually was relieved; he could recover a bit before he had to face Rose.

He put his elbow on the armrest, his forehead in the palm of his hand. He was feeling nauseous. That last wave had taken a bit out of him. She was apparently finding more power somewhere. He should have been far enough away for it not to affect him like this. If he had stayed in his office, he would be out cold by now and woken up to all the idiocy that would have caused. He hoped his brother was paying attention to the seal, she might be getting close to cracking it. Originally they both were supposed to seal the breach. A seal in each universe. He tried, but his incompatibility with the energy here made that impossible. So it was all up to his brother.

When he got to the house, mansion really, Jackie was waiting at the door. She smiled at George, who had apparently been told to provide door to door delivery service. "Care to come in?"

"No ma'am, I need get back, she'll want a report." George seemed eager to go.

"Alright then, you have a good trip, tell her I said not to be too late." She turned her attention to the Doctor. "Oh, you get in here," she chided. "You've gone and made yourself sick again haven't you. I wish you would let me tell Rose."

The Doctor struggled up the steps, feeling a bit faint. "No, please don't, there's nothing she can do. I'll be alright once I have some of your tea." If Rose found out he was sick, she would start having tests done and discover he was dying much faster than anticipated. It would cause her to redouble her efforts to get back to universe prime, adding his illness to the list of reasons why she needed to get back to his brother.

Jackie smiled. "I put on the pot as soon as I saw the Zeppelin. It does help, doesn't it?"

"Yes, it does." He assured her.

In the kitchen the Doctor saw a tea cup already set out for him. The room was a bright yellow, daisies on the table cloth and curtains. The cabinets, yellow birch, the 'in' wood at the time it was built. An open and airy a space, designed to lighten any mood.

Tony was playing with a truck on the floor. He smiled when he saw the Doctor and ran to him. "Hi Dockor," (He couldn't quite manage a t after a c yet.) "Can we see Shadow?" The Doctor crouched down, balancing on the balls of his feet to greet the child, his illness temporarily forgotten, as he enjoyed the welcoming embrace.

"Maybe later, I have to have my tea now, or you Mum will be mad." He gave the child a final squeeze, and ruffled his hair affectionately. He stood up and made his way to the table where Jackie was pouring his tea for him. She had a staff to help her with the mansion, but she enjoyed being domestic from time to time. Taking care of the Doctor was definitely one of those times.

He smiled at her as he sat down. "Thank you, you've really been kind putting up with me like this."

"Oh don't be silly. You're no bother at all. And Tony loves you."

"I'll take Tony out when I am done with my tea."

"Now, I don't want you pushing yourself. I know how bad you are after you go on these jaunts of yours."

"Not as bad as if I stayed in the office," thought the Doctor. "I'll be fine; the walk will do me good, and your tea does help," He paused, gathering his thoughts, trying to think of how to ask what he needed to. "Jackie, where did I go wrong with Rose?"

Jackie shook her head as she sank into the chair next to him. She reached out across the corner of the table and patted his hand. "Dear, it's not you, it's Rose. With her it isn't about the having, it's about the wanting."

The Doctor stared at her intently, trying to understand. "What do you mean?" His furrowed brow as he asked the question.

Jackie looked at him sadly. "Oh you poor thing, you really are out of your depth here, aren't you? All that knowledge of time and space and everything else, yet, in this you're just like every other man. Once Rose has something she wants, she doesn't want it anymore. Look at how she treated Mickey, crying when he stayed here, then not interested in him, when she was here with him.

"Your brother got her a father, something she always wanted, and then, she couldn't care less. You told her you loved her, you gave her what he wouldn't. Once that happened, she really didn't want you anymore. Well, that may be a bit harsh. You're just not that important to her. I'm sorry, she's just that way. I love her, but I see how she treats you, and a mother shouldn't say this, but, I don't like her very much."

The Doctor contemplated her words, pulling on his lower lip. His brother never said he loved her, never slept with her, so that is what she still wants, not him, who had so quickly given her both. No wonder she considered him to be a pale copy. His elbows on table, chin resting on his folded hands, he looked at Jackie intently, almost pleading and asked. "Is there anything I can do to start over, get a reset, a mulligan as it were?"

Jackie shook her head. "No, not unless your brother left you a spare TARDIS around here somewhere." She put her hand up before the Doctor could correct her. "I know, I know, personal timelines and all that other gibberish you and Rose are constantly on about.

"Maybe, if you took her on a trip somewhere. She may have seen all those planets, but she hasn't seen much of this one. Show her new things just like he did. Take her on one of those cruises to the South Pacific or something. She might come around. If nothing else, it would give you a break and frankly you need one. Pete and I never did thank you properly for getting us together, you could consider it our little gift."

The Doctor nodded and smiled, that just might work. It was a better idea than anything he had come up with so far. If nothing else, it would get her far away from Torchwood, and all the damage she could do while she was there. He was about to reply, when Tony started tugging at his arm.

"Dockor, we go see Shadow now? Mum not mad, we go see Shadow?'

Jackie got up from the table laughing and pried Tony off the Doctor, picking him up and resting him on her hip. "I'll show you who's not mad, you rascal." She tapped him on the nose with her finger. "Leave the poor man to his tea; he should at least have another cup." Jackie put the kettle on.

When she first realized he was getting ill, she had checked out various teas until she found one that helped his nausea and the general weakness that accompanied it. She was proud that her tea had helped the Doctor recover from difficulties regenerating before, and she was keen to repeat that success. She poured him another cup as soon as it was ready.

"Now, you drink that up while Tony and I fix a snack to take with you."

"Thank you, I'd appreciate that."

As soon as the Doctor finished his tea, Tony was ready to go. "Dockor, go see Shadow now?"

"Yes Tony, He's going to take you to see Shadow. Here," Jackie handed the Doctor a large paper bag. "this should tide you over till dinner."

The Doctor hefted the bag. "This would tide the entire British army over till dinner. How many of us do you think you are feeding?"

"There's something there for Shadow too."

The Doctor nodded.

Tony was at the door, impatient to leave. "Come on Dockor, we go see Shadow now."

"Alright, alright, we're going Tony," the Doctor laughed. "Let's go see Shadow."
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Re: A Small Piece of Coral

Post by Lucy McGough on Fri Jun 12, 2009 12:29 pm

Awww, I'm loving your Jackie and Tony. Just wish your Rose wasn't such a female dog... but it's your interpretation!

I want to pick Tony up and hug him.
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Re: A Small Piece of Coral

Post by Paksena on Fri Jun 12, 2009 1:52 pm

I really enjoyed writing Jackie and Tony. They feature fairly prominently throughout the story. Thank you very much for your comments, the next chapter should be up soon.
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Chapter 5 of 17

Post by Paksena on Fri Jun 12, 2009 2:09 pm

The Doctor and Tony headed out the door and across the immaculately groomed and landscaped yard, down the stone path that lead to an arched gap in the boxwood hedge. Tony hung on to his hand, swinging it as he walked along next as he sang. "We're going to see Shadow, we're going to see Shadow."

Tony's exuberance was catching. The Doctor smiled as they went through the arch, slightly overwhelmed by the pungent cabbage smell of the boxwood. On the other side was an open meadow. The path turned into a dirt track, lined with antique roses, providing a sweet smelling contrast to the hedge.

It was good to be around a child again. The demands were so simple and uncomplicated. Tony let you know what he wanted. It didn't take much to bring a smile to his face, and when he did smile, you knew it was genuine, not a subterfuge.

The path led them to a wooden gate set in a hedgerow. Once through the gate, the cause of all the excitement was visible. Shadow, Silver Shadow more properly, stood in his paddock. There was a three sided shed built in the fence line that allowed the pony to get out of the sun and rain.

Jackie enjoyed all the trappings of wealth, and a pony for her son was part of the package. She had however, been sensible in her choice, getting Tony a sturdy older Shetland pony, instead of one of the fancy and more temperamental, welsh thoroughbred crosses favored by the wealthy.

Shadow was a silver dapple in color. White covered evenly with dark grey dapples, giving him the appearance of being in the shadow of a leafy tree. His mane and tail were white. The mane so thick it fell on both sides of his neck, his forelock almost obscuring his soft brown eyes. He looked hopefully at the Doctor and Tony, ears pricked forward as they approached.

Tony turned loose from the Doctor, running ahead to the paddock gate.

"Oi!, Tony wait up!" called the Doctor. "You're not supposed to go in there alone."

Tony turned around to look at him, a pout on his face. "Dockor, you hurry, NOW!"

"Now Tony, what would your Mum say if she heard you talking like that?"

"Mum not know, you not tell Mum."

The Doctor caught up to Tony and tousled his hair saying, "Someday I might. Now go get me Shadow's headcollar. That's a good boy."

Tony took Shadow's headcollar and lead off a fence post, while the Doctor got the saddle and grooming kit out of the tack room next to the shed. The Doctor put the bag with their snack down on a bench after extracting a carrot, which he broke into two pieces. Upon hearing the carrot break Shadow headed to the gate. The pony got one part of the carrot for coming; the other part for letting the Doctor put the headcollar on. It was an arrangement the two had that worked well.

The Doctor set to work grooming the little pony. When it came time to put the saddle on, Tony objected.

"Dockor, I no need saddle. I just ride."

The Doctor continued to tack up the pony tightening the girth as he explained to the little boy. "Your mum wants you to have a saddle, therefore, you get a saddle."

"Mum not know, you no tell mum"

"This is becoming a theme today," the Doctor thought. "What mum doesn't know won't hurt her."

"Sorry," the Doctor explained. "but your trousers will tell mum."

"They can't tell mum."

"The horse hairs on your trousers will tell mum. Now let's get you on board." The Doctor lifted Tony onto the saddle. For these little trips, Shadow had a saddle, but no bridle. They would use just a halter and lead. This way Tony didn't get into the habit of using his reins to hang on.

The pony was stabled in a hunt territory, so there were plenty of trails. The Doctor choose a wooded path with a place to picnic around the halfway point. The leaves were already coming out as the trees responded to the warmer weather, the shade providing a welcome relief from the heat. Where the foliage encroached on the path, the ever hungry pony would reach out and try to snatch a leaf. When he succeeded there was a rustling sound as the branch snapped back when he let it go. The Doctor indulged the pony in this little vice.

Tony was happy, splitting his time between petting Shadow and pointing out all the birds, squirrels and other wild life they could see. Where the path was straight and level the Doctor would break into a jog, causing Shadow to trot and Tony to squeal with laughter. It was an enjoyable, relaxing time, a pleasant break from the more pressing matters the Doctor faced.

But even here, those matters would start to enter the Doctor's mind. There was a time when he could jog the entire trail, now he needed regular breaks. He didn't have much time left to solve the problem of Rose. Jackie's idea of a cruise was a possibility for a temporary solution, maybe a permanent one if he could get her to listen and see reason. He might even be able to convince her to settle in New Zealand or someplace similar, where she would be far from the temptations of Torchwood.

Convincing her to go with him would be the hard part. Ever since the miscarriage, they hadn't even held hands. He wondered if cruise ships had two bedroom suites. Maybe separate cabins would be better. That way if she found someone else it wouldn't be awkward. Her finding someone else would be an ideal solution. She might never accept him as the Doctor and being around him would just make her remember his brother more. It was also a solution that would continue after he was gone.

They were approaching the picnic area, when the Doctor stumbled, at first he thought he'd tripped on a tree root, but then the nausea hit him and he was on his hands and knees gasping for air. He managed to hang on to the lead. He could hear Tony, as if in the distance asking what was wrong. "It's okay Tony, just stay on Shadow," he gasped out. His thoughts were racing. "Three times, three times in one day. So much stronger. He shouldn't have felt anything. This far away he should have been safe. What was she doing?"

He realized the coral was crying out, suffering from the onslaught. He pushed himself upright, sitting on the dirt path. Shadow was quiet but eying him warily. Tony on Shadow's back looked worried. He took the coral out of his pocket. Held it and soothed it, exchanging his energy with it, helping it clear the poison out. He apologized to it as he healed it. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry I wish I could do more. I never should have brought you here." The coral let him know he was being silly. He grew out of his brother's hand; the coral had been a part of his brother's TARDIS. They belonged together.

He knew that was true. He had tried leaving it behind once when he went to Torchwood, wanting to save it from the ravages of the dimension cannon. It had worn itself out with its frantic efforts to find him. As soon as he got out of the car that evening, he'd felt its distress. He'd run upstairs to his room, and spent the next half hour reassuring it that he would never leave it behind again, before it had finally settled down.

The Doctor stood up and put the coral back in his pocket. The contents of the bag seemed intact when he picked it up off the ground. He smiled at Tony. "I'm fine now Tony. Let's go have our snack shall we? The table is right over there." He pointed to a picnic table under a tree in a little clearing up ahead.

Tony looked unsure. "Dockor all better now?"

"Yes Tony, I'm all better. Are you, alright? I didn't scare you did I?" asked the Doctor as he started leading the pony toward the picnic area.

"I not scared, I stay on Shadow," Tony replied brightly.

"Yes, you did a good job staying on Shadow, and he did a good job looking after you. Did you thank him?"

Tony reached forward and patted Shadow on the neck. "Thank you, Shadow."

"That's good Tony. Shadow is a brave little pony, but now it is time to get off. Let's see what your mum packed for us, shall we?"

The Doctor was also grateful to the solid little pony. It could have been a disaster; a more flighty mount would have bolted, possibly causing Tony to be injured. It saddened the Doctor, but this was the last time he would be able to take Tony and Shadow out by himself. He couldn't risk having another spell while leading the pony. Maybe Rose was right; he was pretty useless if he couldn't even do this safely.

Last edited by Paksena on Sat Jun 13, 2009 7:09 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: A Small Piece of Coral

Post by Lucy McGough on Fri Jun 12, 2009 2:50 pm

Poor Doctor Sad
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Chapter 6 of 17

Post by Paksena on Sat Jun 13, 2009 6:50 am

The Doctor tied Shadow to an available hitching post and loosened his girth. Tony had taken the bag with the snack and was setting up the contents on the table. As he walked towards the picnic, the Doctor dusted the dirt from his fall off his clothes. He had considered not telling Jackie about his mishap, but it was obvious in this case it would be his trousers that would tell.

On the table he saw there was a thermos; he hoped that meant Jackie had packed some of her tea. It wasn't a cure, but it did help with the symptoms. The trip back to the stables would have to be slower, tea or not. He hoped Jackie wouldn't worry.

It turned out Jackie hadn't packed enough for the British army, but a small platoon could definitely have done quite nicely on the fare presented. There were sausage rolls, cheese sandwiches, quiche, warm pop for Tony, savory eggs and salad cream. She'd also packed more carrots and a cut up apple for Shadow.

Tony was already eating when the Doctor sat down across from him. He looked up and smiled, crumbs visible around his mouth, the Doctor smiled back. The food had been spread across the wooden table. The young boy had opened up all the containers and set out the utensils and serviettes. "You did a good job of setting everything up Tony. Thank you. If that's your mum's tea in the thermos, I'll feel better in no time."

"Docker? You sick? I can get mum if you sick."

"No, no, nothing to worry about Tony.” The Doctor held up one hand as he reassured the concerned child. “I just need a bit of rest. Here, let me open up that pop for you." The Doctor imagined Jackie's reaction if Tony showed up at the house by himself. The outcome of that event would not be pleasant. "It's best if you just stay here with me. Your mum gave us quite a lot to eat here, didn't she?"

He opened the thermos and was relieved as he saw it was the tea. He poured some out into the thermos cap that doubled as a cup, the steam rising up showing it was still nice and hot. Tony nodded as he tried to pop an entire savory egg into his mouth.

"Careful there, I don't want you choking. We've had enough excitement today, don't you think?"

Tony looked at him with wide eyes as he worked on the food in his mouth. After what seemed like an eternity, he finally did swallow and proclaimed, "See I not choke. Mum always say I choke. I not choke."

"Well, next time, try to eat one in two bites at least."

"Here Dockor, you eat one." Tony held out one of the deep fried, egg and sausage concoctions to the Doctor. Normally The Doctor enjoyed Jackie's savory eggs, but looking at the proffered food, he felt his stomach do a flip at the thought of eating one. He would need a lot more tea before he was ready for that.

"I'll just have one of those cheese sandwiches, if you don't mind. I'll try an egg later." The Doctor reached for a sandwich, as Tony tried to put the second savory egg in his mouth. "Oi! Hang on there, what did I just tell you?" Tony smiled and took a bite out of the egg instead. "That's better. You'll find you actually get to taste it that way too."

The Doctor smiled at Tony, and took a bite out of his sandwich. Being with Tony was a treat. Though in no way related, the Doctor felt a kinship with him. If not for the Doctor getting Jackie and Pete together (or was that back together, hard to tell with these cross parallel universe relationships) Tony wouldn't have been born. So in a way he was responsible for Tony being here.

Tony continued to offer food to the Doctor, sausage rolls, which he declined, quiche which the Doctor tried and managed to keep down. Despite the tea however, he never did feel up to the savory eggs. He basically nibbled on the cheese sandwiches trying to fool Tony into thinking he was just fine.

There was still plenty of food left over when they were done eating. The Doctor started packing it up, while Tony took some apple slices over to Shadow. The tea, food and rest had done the Doctor some good. The strength of the pulse that had flowed over him concerned him.

He was pretty sure whatever power source she'd used would have a long recycle time before it was fully charged again. At least, he hoped it did. He wondered why she had pressed him on his power source today if she had one that strong on hand. There must be something about the new power source she didn't like. It would be great if its durability was in question and it burnt out with that last effort. He sighed. Unlikely the way things have been going so far.

He finished packing up the food and went over to Shadow and Tony. "Shadow finished with the apple?" he asked. Tony nodded and held out his empty hand. "And all the fingers are still attached. Good!" The Doctor tightened Shadow's girth. "Alright, up you go. It's not a problem if we just walk back, is it?"

"Just walk?" Tony asked sadly as the Doctor led Shadow down the trail.

"Yes, I'm sorry. I'm a bit tired. Maybe at the end of the trail we can trot a little."

"Dockor tired?"

"Yes, Tony I'm tired. Just a little."

Tony smiled brightly. "Dockor can ride Shadow."

The Doctor laughed. "No Tony, Doctor can't ride Shadow, I'm too tall for him. My feet would drag. You stay on Shadow, I'll walk."

Tony screwed up his face in thought and then nodded. "I ride, you walk."

"Glad we got that settled then," the Doctor laughed.

The trail back followed a brook and eventually crossed it. Tony laughed when he heard the hollow sound his pony's hooves made on the wooden bridge. Shortly after crossing the bridge they met Pete coming they other way.

"What are you doing here?" asked the Doctor, surprised to see Pete.

Pete bent down to greet his son. "Hi, you and the Doctor have a good time?"

"Dockor fall down."

Pete looked up at the Doctor. "I had a feeling something like that might have happened," He straightened up. "That's why I came looking for you, to see if you were alright."

"I appreciate your concern but why would you worry if I was alright?"

"I saw the strength of the power draw of Rose's last experiment; I was concerned over what it might have done to you. They said you had gone home, so I called Jackie. She told me you had taken Tony to see Shadow. I came straight here in case you needed help. Back at the stable they said you three had taken the picnic trail. So I back tracked it."

The Doctor continued down the trail as Pete fell in next to him. "How do you know what Rose is doing and how it affects me? I thought you were just doing the financial end of things now."

"That's true, however you can find out a lot, when you watch the money. Expenses for power to the building have been going through the roof recently. I decided to have individual meters installed in the labs to find out the cause. Any anomalies get reported to my desktop. That lab Rose uses on the top floor was drawing a lot of power. After a while, I noticed whenever there was a spike, it would be followed by a second one, and that night Jackie would talk about how you had taken a little trip and made yourself sick.

"I checked around and found you consistently left the building like a scared rabbit when a spike occurred. It's not hard to figure out it isn't the trips that make you ill," Pete looked hard at the Doctor. "My wife thinks your illness is just a problem in recovering from regeneration. She's wrong, isn't she?"

The Doctor bit his lip and reluctantly answered. "Yes, she is."

Pete sized up the Doctor. "Here, let me take that," He took Shadow's lead and the bag from the Doctor. "You really don't look very good. You're not going to get better are you?"

The Doctor gave his head a slight shake. "No, I'm not."

"How bad is it?"

The Doctor just looked down at Tony, not wanting to discuss it in front of the boy.

Pete understood the meaning of the gesture. "That bad?"

The Doctor closed his eyes and gave a slight nod in response.

"Well, let's get you home. We can talk about it there."

The rest of the walk to the stable was quiet, almost somber, even Tony didn't have much to say. When they got there, Pete asked one of the workers if they would take care of Shadow for them. The busy young woman started to object, but when she looked at the Doctor, she just took the pony's lead from Pete's hand.
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Chapter 7 of 17

Post by Paksena on Sun Jun 14, 2009 7:27 am

Once in Pete's car the Doctor let himself relax and sink into the leather upholstery. The next thing he knew Pete was calling his name and giving his shoulder a shake. "Sorry, I must be more tired than I thought," the Doctor said.

Pete shook his head. "Don't be, you were out like a light before I even turned on the engine. You obviously needed it. I’m sorry it was only a five minute trip and I had to wake you so soon. Let's get you inside."

The Doctor reached for his door handle and found by the time he opened it Pete was already there ready to help him. Tony stood next to his father a concerned look on his face. "Dockor sick?"

"Great," thought the Doctor as Pete helped him out of the car. "I look so bad even a three year old can tell there is a problem." "I'm fine Tony, I just need to rest a little."

"Dockor need a nap?"

"Quit pestering him and go get your mum," admonished Pete as he positioned himself under the Doctor's arm, supporting him. Tony ran off towards the house.

"You don't need to do that," the Doctor protested. "I'm perfectly capable of walking on my own."

"Sorry, I'm trusting my own judgment on this. You look like hell and I'm going to help you whether you want it or not."

The Doctor knew when it was no use arguing. Though he felt ridiculous, he accepted Pete's assistance. They were on the porch when Jackie opened the door. "What's this Tony said about you falling?" Jackie gave the Doctor a hard look.

"It's really nothing. There is no need for everyone to be making such a fuss. I'm fine. Really," asserted the Doctor trying to regain his dignity.

Jackie reached out and chucked him under the chin examining his face carefully. "Oh dear, I would say you are wrong about that, your color is definitely off," She rounded on Pete. "Well, what're you standing there for, get him inside and put him in the parlor while I put the kettle on." She headed off towards the kitchen.

"Come on let's get you inside and settled before she comes back and has both our hides," said Pete as he helped the Doctor over the threshold.

"You really don't have to do all this. I can take care of myself," protested the Doctor.

"Not while my wife is involved you can't. I don't want to find out what she would do to me if she sees you walking on your own right now. It's not like you weigh that much anyway. Just let me get you settled." Pete half carried the Doctor to the parlor. It was a serious room. Dark wooden shelves with books lining most of the walls only one small window heavily draped, allowing very little natural light in.

He put the Doctor in a heavily upholstered leather chair and set his feet up on the matching ottoman. He started to get a throw to put over him, but stopped when the Doctor looked at him and shook his head. "All right, we'll forgo it for now, but if my wife wants it, you are going to have that throw on you." The Doctor just rolled his eyes as he sat with his arms crossed. "She should be here with that tea soon. Does that stuff really help you or are you just humoring her?"

The Doctor managed a chuckle as Pete sat in the chair in opposite him, "Well, incredibly enough, it actually does seem to help. Don't know why, but it does."

"It's not a cure though, is it?"

"No, it's not, it just takes care of the symptoms."

"What's wrong with you?"

"I'm dying, the energy here is wrong and I can't use it."

"What's this about you dying?" Jackie exclaimed as she walked in the door with the tea.

Pete craned his neck looking behind her out into the hallway. "Where's Tony?"

"He's up in the nursery with Sarah, he's fine," she replied, as she put the tea down on a small round wooden table next to the Doctor. She poured him a cup. "Now what's wrong with you? I thought it was just the regeneration causing some problems." She started to lay the throw over him and tuck it in.

The Doctor looked to Pete for help. He just shrugged his shoulders and turned up his palms as if to say, 'I told you mate, you're on your own.' The Doctor sighed in resignation. "It's the energy of the universe here. It's wrong. It's why my brother had to use his own energy to get the TARDIS started when they first crash landed here. Timelords tap into that energy regularly. Here that energy is tainted and poisonous. At times I come into contact with it and I have to use the energy from the other universe that I have in me to deal with it. its energy I can't replace."

Jackie frowned as she sat in a chair next to Pete. "But doesn't your being half human help? Make it so you don't need as much energy? Couldn't you just live as a human? Ignore your Timelord half."

"Actually, if anything, my being part human is making it worse. When I was created the regeneration energy had to make… Well… I guess you would call them compromises. The single heart was one of those. Some of those compromises relied on a steady supply of energy to continue to be successful. As I lose energy, those internal functions supported by it will fail."

Pete appeared quizzical. "What does this have to do with what Rose is doing?"

"She's test firing the dimension cannon…"

"She can't be!" Jackie protested. "She knows what it will do if she gets it working again!"

The Doctor looked at her sadly. "I'm afraid she doesn't believe that and every time she fires the cannon, there's a kind of shock wave that pushes the energy of this universe into my field, poisoning it. I then have to use some of the energy I have stored to clear it."

"How much longer do you have?" Pete asked. Jackie turned to look at him, shocked that he would ask so callous a question.

The Doctor took a sip of tea and closed his eyes. It was a question he hadn't even asked himself. He took a deep breath and assessed his condition. "One… possibly two months if I'm careful." He opened his eyes.

"And if Rose quits firing the dimension cannon?" Jackie asked hopefully.

"That's if she quits, if she doesn't, a week, maybe two. If I am at Torchwood when she fires it next, not even that, given the power of the last test. I'm sorry, Jackie your idea of a cruise was a good one, but I am afraid I won't be around long enough to try it."

"What's this about a cruise?" Pete asked.

"What are you asking about a cruise for?" Jackie protested. "Haven't you been listening? The poor man has just announced he hasn't got long to live as if he was predicting an overcast day! I don't understand either one of you!"

"Jackie, it's fine, Pete's question is important," The Doctor looked at Pete hopefully. "Jackie felt there might be a chance that if Rose and I went on a cruise we would reconnect. I hoped maybe I could convince her to stop trying to reach my brother. Get her to see reason. She is going to tear apart all of reality if she continues what she is doing.

"I was supposed to give her a reason to stop. That's way my brother left me here. I was supposed to replace him, make it so she was content to stay. You saw how well that worked. I felt maybe the cruise, if nothing else she might find someone other than me or perhaps she would find some place she would feel happier living. It was a long shot. But I am running out of time and ideas. The power of that last wave took a lot out of me. I don't think I would have survived it if I had been in my office."

He slid his hand in his pocket, grateful for the throw that hid the movement. The coral was sensing the tension and becoming distressed. He pleaded with it in his mind. "Don't worry, stay calm. You can help me best if you stay calm. Please just relax. Jackie's voice brought his attention back to the room.

"Well, you're just going to have to stay here then. Don't go into Torchwood anymore." She turned to Pete. "You can just tell them they don't need him anymore."

"Jackie, that's not what's important…" the Doctor said.

"What do you mean not important?! I don't care how little time you have left! I want you to have every second of it!"

"Jackie, please, just listen to me," He started to push the throw off himself. Jackie shot him a look and he stopped. Pete just smiled. "The important thing is to stop her from using the dimension cannon. If she gets it working, everything is lost. This universe, the universe you came from, all the universes in between and potentially all of time and space.

"I didn't think she would be able to get enough power, but now, that last attempt, I am afraid she is very close to succeeding."

"Are you sure that is what would happen?" Pete asked "She got it working last time and we're still here."

"Only by the greatest of luck, The collapse centered around Davros. His reality bomb was the possibility that was never supposed to exist in any universe at anytime. Basically it was an impossible possibility. The dimension cannon ripped open the barriers to that impossibility and allowed it to happen. It was only because of another impossibility that it was able to be stopped. The human Timelord metacrisis, the DoctorDonna. Those two impossibilities canceled each other out. They both ended up being destroyed."

"But Donna wasn't destroyed," Jackie protested. "She was fine when she left us."

"No, I'm sorry Jackie, she wasn't. She was sick. Her brain was burning up. There was a chance my brother could save her. I don't know if he succeeded. He was going to wall off all Timelord knowledge and intelligence, take away all memories of him, the TARDIS, everything they ever did together."

He gave a sigh of regret. His sister, so bright like a sun. Taking all that Timelord intelligence, using her human intuition to apply it in new ways. She was so exciting to be around. The connection they had. They way they could just banter back and forth knowing each other's thoughts. She was wonderful. It was almost a physical pain when that connection had been severed. He missed her desperately. Hated the thought of what is brother had to do to her.

Before she had met his brother she was like an ungerminated seed full of untapped potential. Trapped in a life that was unfertile ground, giving her no opportunity to grow. What his brother was going to do to her was going to return her to that state. All that potential trapped in a place with nothing to nourish it, help it blossom into what it was meant to be. Like the coral.

He realized Pete and Jackie were staring at him. "I'm sorry, I was just thinking of Donna, wondering how she was." He smiled weakly and took a deep breath. "Back to the main issue. The problem is there is no guarantee if Rose succeeds this time, another lucky set of circumstances will occur. When Gallifrey was still around the opening and closing of the breaches between universes could be done safely. The Timelords monitored it all, made sure things that never should happen, didn't happen when a reality was opened. Now there's only my brother to do it. It is too much for just one person."

"Why didn't he just keep Rose with him? He must have known she would try to get back to him?" Pete asked.

"He hoped I would be enough," the Doctor said with a soft sigh. "A miscalculation as it turns out. He couldn't keep Rose with him. He just doesn't think clearly when she is around. I have a memory of his. He's in Dalek occupied territory. He sees her and runs straight to her across open ground. If not for Jack, both he and Rose would have died. If he had done things like that during the time war he would have been its first victim, not its last survivor. I also have Donna's memory of when Rose told him she used the dimension cannon so she could get back to him. He just grinned like a fool, not thinking of the consequences of what she had done.

"For him those kinds of cognitive problems could be disastrous, not just for the two of them, but for everyone who depends on him. He can't help indulging her, and with the technology at his disposal that is dangerous. He also knows he is bad for her, she really hasn't matured. He feels he may be to blame for that. So he felt her being here, with her family was the best for both of them."

He sat forward in the chair, taking his feet off the ottoman, letting the throw fall to the floor. His folded hands falling between his knees, he stared intently at Jackie and Pete, trying to convey his sincerity and desperation. "It's not working though." He shook his head. "She is fixated on him, and can't or won't see reason. I've been trying to find a way to stop her and haven't been successful. I'm running out of time and need your help. We have to stop her. I promised him I'd keep her safe and prevent her from trying to jump between parallels. I'm failing. Pete you still have some power at Torchwood, is there any chance we can get her out of there and destroy the dimension cannon?"

"The only way you are going to get me out of Torchwood is by using the dimension cannon," Rose announced as she entered the room.
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Chapter 8 of 17

Post by Paksena on Mon Jun 15, 2009 2:43 pm

The Doctor turned to Rose. "How long have you been listening?"

"Long enough to know you have been spreading all that end of the universe nonsense again. That’s just rubbish. No one believes you. You would think you would know that by now."

"Rose, it's the truth…"

Jackie broke in. "You're killing him Rose! Just look at him!"

The Doctor looked over at Jackie, silently appealing to her to please, please keep quiet. Don't let Rose know just how bad off he was. It was no use. Jackie was furious and was determined to be heard.

"At best he has only a couple of months to live, if you keep firing that thing he might not even make it to the end of the week!"

Rose eyed the Doctor, sizing him up. "That seems a bit extreme. What's wrong with him?"

"Something about the energy here. It's wrong and it hurts him. I don't really understand it, but that thing of yours makes it worse."

Rose stared at the Doctor working her lower lip. He could tell she was thinking hard, not wanting to believe what her mother had told her, trying to find a reason not to. "How are you sure he's not just having you on? I've seen the real Doctor, the proper Doctor lie convincingly, that might be ONE thing the two of them have in common."

"Why would I lie?" the Doctor asked, his voice deadly serious. "What would I possibly have to gain?"

"Oh, I don't know," Rose drawled tilting her head to the side as she looked down at him. "make them all sympathetic towards you? Help get them on your side? Who can tell what someone like you is up to?"

"I don't need to get them on my side. Pete has always been on my side. Didn't he try to stop you from building the cannon in the first place?"

"Yes, and you saw where that got him, relegated to bean counting. He tries that again and he'll be out of a job. He knows better than to cross me now."

Pete stood up indignant at Rose's assumption. "You think I'm there because I need a job? Look around you girl," He gestured with a sweep of his arm. "A government salary doesn't even come close to buying all of this! I am there because someone sane has to keep an eye on things. Watch out for this planet's welfare."

"There you go again," Rose replied, sarcasm dripping from her voice. "Pete Tyler, caretaker of the planet, the scourge of global warming. It's that kind of nonsense that got you tossed out of operations in the first place."

"Cut it out! Both of you!" cried Jackie as she rose to her feet. "This isn't about jobs! It's about the Doctor dying and what are we going to do about it."

Rose looked from the Doctor to her mother and back, clearly not pleased with the situation. "I don't see how anything I am doing could be affecting him. He was back here when I tested it last."

"16:35," said the Doctor

"What?!" Rose exclaimed.

"16:35 was the time of the last test. I felt it."

"So, you feel lots of things, doesn't mean its hurting you."

"Rose, he fell down onto his knees. Look at his trousers," Jackie yelled, frustrated at how thick her daughter was being. "He was out with Tony and Shadow and your machine made him fall."

Rose looked at the Doctor's trousers, narrowing her eyes when she saw the mud on them. "So, he's a klutz. Doesn't mean he's dying, or even sick."

The Doctor just closed his eyes resting his forehead in his hand. This really wasn't getting them anywhere.

Pete spoke softly trying to get Rose to see the truth. "Rose, haven't you noticed? Every time you fire the cannon he leaves the building. He doesn't come back until it's been fired a second time. At the end of the day you mother is pouring tea down him and he winds up in bed before sunset. Why do you think that is?"

"What do I care about when or where he goes to bed, so long as it isn't with me?" Rose replied with a disgusted look on her face.

The Doctor winced and rubbed his forehead. Sleeping with her had really been a bad idea.

Pete continued, carefully staying calm. The Doctor could tell it was an effort for him. "Rose, it's not about that. It's about him getting sick on those days. You're the only one who doesn't see it. Karen at the stable today, took one look at him and didn't argue about taking care of Shadow for us. That's how bad he looked."

The Doctor shook his head, this was getting humiliating. He could feel Rose staring at him. He lifted his head up. She was considering him carefully, lips pursed as she tried to fit the evidence in front of her with what she wanted to believe.

"Well he is a bit off. I suppose it could be he isn't faking it."

"A bit off!" Jackie yelled. "The man is almost green! He may be a Timelord, but I don't think that is a good color for him."

"Well if he’s sick, all the more reason to get back to the Doctor. He would know what to do."

The Doctor spoke up, tired of being talked over. "He's not going to know what to do, anymore than I do. Can't you see that I know everything he does? About this problem I know more than he does. The energy here is wrong. That is all there is to it. Neither of us realized how much energy I needed, or how toxic the energy here would be to me. There is no way to change the energy here so I can use it. If there was he would have done that to fuel the TARDIS when he first came here, instead of using ten years of his own life. There is nothing either he or I can do. What's done is done."

Rose looked at him suspiciously. "If the energy here is so wrong and you are dying from it, why aren't you trying to get back? You obviously know what I really need that power source for. Why haven't you built it? You could go back with me, save your life."

"Because the consequences of going back are too great. My life is not worth destroying an entire universe for."

"That's not true. No universes get are going to get destroyed just because either you or I go back. If that was true, he wouldn't have smiled when I told him I used the dimension cannon so I could get back to him."

The Doctor loved his brother, but right now he could cheerfully have strangled him for his idiotic behavior when it came to Rose. "Yes, he was flattered that you would go to all that effort to see him, but when he realized that what he had predicted would happen, was indeed happening, he wasn't very happy, was he? The universes were collapsing, all of them, it was even worse than he had said it would be..."

"That's not because of me! That was Davros!"

The Doctor shook his head, frustrated, they had been down this road before, but he had to try again. "Rose why do you think he sealed the breach? Why did he make it so the dimension cannon wouldn't work again?"

"Because of you! That's why! I got left here, because of you!" There was a catch in her voice. "If you hadn't killed all the Daleks, I could still be with him. He sealed it up because you are too dangerous! It's all your fault!"

The Doctor gave a sigh of exasperation and rubbed his eye, trying to gather his thoughts, trying to think of a way to get her to see reason.

Jackie jumped in, taking advantage of the lull in the conversation. "Rose, what you are doing is killing him, Can't you see that? Look at him. He could barely move after what you did today. You've known the Doctor longer than any of us. Can't you see how bad off he is?"

Rose became even more upset. "He's not the Doctor! Why am I the only one who can see that? He's not even a man. He can't have children. He's even got a pet rock, what kind of grown man carries a pet rock around?" The Doctor was about to put his hand in his pocket, to reassure the coral and stopped himself, not wanting to give her further ammunition.

"Rose!" Jackie yelled sharply to get her attention then lowered her voice. "I don't care about what he is carrying around. I care about him staying alive. You can't keep using that thing. It's killing him."

Rose looked at the Doctor, who was the only one in the room still sitting. He saw her glance at the throw on the floor and then looked him square in the eye. Her face softened a little. "How does it hurt you?" she asked.

The Doctor took a deep breath and spoke softly. "Whenever you fire the dimension cannon, it creates a shock wave. That shock wave pushes the energy of this universe into my field, poisoning it. I have to use the energy I have in me from the other universe to clear it. There's not much left."

"And you have two more months to live if I don't fire the dimension cannon?"

"At most. Yes, two months," the Doctor confirmed his voice still low.

"I suppose I could hold off testing it until you're gone."

Jackie gasped, shocked. "Rose! How could you say such a thing?"

"But mum, it all works then. He's said there is nothing anyone can do. The Doctor left me here to take care of him. After he's gone, there is no reason for me to be here, I can go back."

Her words hit the room like a bomb.

The Doctor took a deep breath and tried one more time. "The reason for you to stay here is because if you leave using the dimension cannon, you will start to collapse all the universes again. You have family here that cares about you. Don't they mean anything?"

Rose looked uncomfortable and stared at the floor, twisting the toe of her shoe into it. She raised her head, looking more determined than ever. "They have each other and Tony, they don't need me. The Doctor does, he said so."

The Doctor put his hands to his face and shook his head, wishing his brother had chosen his words to Rose more carefully. He dropped them and tried again. "Rose don't you understand, if you manage to get back you will destroy yourself, him, your family, everything!"

Rose was crying now, tears running down her face. "That's not true, it can't be. He needs me. I have to be with him."

"Rose it's true, I know a part of you knows that. No matter how hard you try to bury it. Somewhere inside, you know the truth!"

"You're wrong! You know nothing about me! You know nothing about us or love or anything. You're just a fake. Everything about you is false." She turned to leave the room.

The Doctor realized what he had to do. "I'll help you," he said "I'll help you get back." Rose stopped in her tracks at his words.
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9 of 17

Post by Paksena on Tue Jun 16, 2009 2:59 pm

Pete gasped, "No! Doctor you can't".

The Doctor turned to Pete, resigned to what he was going to have to do. "Pete, I have no choice. She has the backing. None of us can stop her. If there is a chance this can be done safely. I have to be involved. Trying to convince her not to do it is wasting time. Ironically, time is one thing I don't have a lot of right now. I'll need all I have left to make this work." He looked at Pete pleading with him to keep quiet, to trust he knew what he was doing. He hoped that trust wasn't misplaced.

Rose stared at the Doctor suspiciously. "Why should I believe you?"

The Doctor locked eyes with her. "If I am lying, what do you lose, two months? You've already said you would wait that long. I know what you're doing wrong. You're trying to use brute force to break through, he shielded against that kind of attack. You need to finesse it. It's the only way to succeed without damaging the universes themselves."

She scrunched her face up showing she wasn't convinced. "Why the sudden change?"

"I don't see where I have any choice. You're determined to go back. If that is going to be accomplished without ripping apart the very fabric of reality, I have to be involved. The way you are going at it you will destroy everything. All of time and space." The Doctor kept his voice even, intense, trying to get through to her where he hadn't before.

"Then why didn't you help me before if there was a way to do it safely?" she asked almost accusingly.

"Because it's not safe, it's an unacceptable risk. The only reason I am willing to help is because it is obvious if I don't, you will continue down a path of sure destruction." The Doctor paused and took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "I have two choices, a possibility of total destruction, or a certainty. I have to choose the possibility and take every step I can to make sure that possibility is as small as can be.

"The best solution would be for you to give up trying to get back and work on helping this world. You're not going to do that are you? Even if I could convince you to give up trying to go back, there is no reason to believe you will stay convinced. So to avoid a total disaster, I'll help you."

She stared at him narrowing her eyes suspiciously. "What's the catch? This sounds too easy."

"It's not easy. It's going to take every bit of computing power we can get our hands on to get it to work. There are a lot of calculations that need to be done both before and during the jump. I am going to need free access the dimension cannon and any alien technology Torchwood has."

"Why do you need the dimension cannon? I thought it was the wrong way to do it."

"The way you are using it, yes it is. But it has an inter-dimensional sensing capability that I can use. It's a good place to start."

"How do I know you aren't just using this as a way of sabotaging the dimension cannon so I can't use it? I know those missing parts didn't just walk off on their own. How do I know you won't try to break it again?"

"You don't, so put your best people on me. They can document everything I do, make sure it can be reversed."

Jackie spoke up, her voice filled with concern. "Doesn't that dimension cannon hurt you Doctor? How can you work with it and not get sick?"

The Doctor smiled at her fondly. "I'll be alright," he lied. "We'll keep the testing to a minimum. I'll only be there when I absolutely have to be. Don't worry, I'll be careful."

"I am still not sure if I am going to let him help me anyway,” Rose declared. "This offer of his seems to be just a little too good."

The Doctor shook his head, growing weary. Even giving her what she wanted she still wanted to fight. He really was in no shape for this right now. "Rose, I'm going to get cleaned up. Think about what I have said, and let me know if you want my help. Understand, if you wait much longer, it will be too late." The Doctor rose slowly to his feet and steadied himself. "I'll be back for supper."

As he left the parlor he heard Jackie giving Rose a piece of her mind. "I don't see how you can be so heartless, that man has been nothing but kind to you. Why can't you listen to him and be content to stay here? Doesn't it bother you at all, the damage what you are trying to do …." The tirade faded as he walked away from the door.

The Doctor gave a little start when Pete came up alongside him. "I'm sorry," Pete apologized. "Jackie sent me to make sure you were alright, let me help you get up your room."

The Doctor tried to shake off the unwanted assistance. He was tired of being treated like an invalid. "I'm fine. I just need to get cleaned up and have a bit of rest."

"Come on, be a mate. If I don't help you, Jackie is going to expect me to go back in there. Those two going at each other is something no man should have to endure. Talk about your fate worse than death." Pete grimaced as he realized what he had just said. "Sorry, not the best choice of words given the circumstances. I wasn't thinking."

The Doctor smiled and gave a little laugh. "Well, I'll save you from that fate then," he said, choosing to ignore the implications in Pete's apology.

"I'm sorry, I really am sorry, that was just unforgivable of me."

"Please, don't be. The last thing I want is to have people tip toeing around me, afraid of saying the wrong thing, acting all somber. That would be hard to bear." The Doctor gave a sigh, then smiled. "So how long do you have to take care of me to avoid going back?"

"Well, I would feel better if you let me help you up the stairs at least. Then if you are up to it, I'd like to have a chat with you. Man to man."

The Doctor winced, he knew that was coming. He might as well get it over with. "Alright, we can have a chat. Just let me try the stairs by myself. I really don't want to be treated like I am a piece of glass about to shatter."

"It's a deal, but the instant it looks like you are in trouble, I am helping you, whether you want it or not."

They arrived at the bottom of the subject stairs. The Doctor looked up and steeled himself, longing for when he could take the steps three at a time with no effort at all. He took hold of the hand rail and used it to pull himself up each step. He made it to the top, winded but with a sense of accomplishment. He turned to Pete and smiled. "See, nothing to it."

Pete wasn't fooled. "You're not going to be able to do that much longer are you?"

"I'll manage."

"We could move you to Mickey's grandmother's old room. It's on the first floor. It would be easier and more convenient for you."

The Doctor's expression turned sour at the idea as he thought of the room. It was set up like a hospital suite. Grab bars everywhere, bare floors, so spills can be cleaned up easily. Monitors set into the wall over the head of the bed, extra wide doors to accommodate wheel chairs. Everything needed to care for a blind woman in her last years, but a constant reminder of sickness and infirmity to anyone with sight. He wasn't ready for that yet, he hoped he never was.

"No, no, thank you. I'm fine here."

"Are you sure? It wouldn't be any bother. We could have it set up tonight."

"Please, no, I am much happier where I am now. Thank you for the offer though. Come on, let's have our chat."

The Doctor led the way to his room. Gesturing grandly to Pete as he opened the door, indicating he should enter first. The room was definitely 'his' now. Books everywhere, mixed in with odd pieces of equipment whose original function appeared to have been altered significantly. A desk filled with monitors of various sizes that were attached to the aforementioned equipment. Heavy nondescript drapes were over the windows, blocking light from the outside, so glare would not be a problem with viewing the monitors.

Pete looked around the room in astonishment. "Are you sure it's energy that is causing you problems and not just a lack of sleep? When did you have time to do all of this? And what is it for?"

The Doctor cleared some equipment off the one chair in the room for Pete, sitting himself on the bed as he replied. "This it's just a hobby, nothing complicated, really, doesn't take that much time at all anymore. Just analyzing the data as it is collected. I will admit, it would have been easier if I had the sonic. Just as well, you need just a bit of telepathy to set it properly, an energy drain I can do without."

"We could set up a room as a lab for you so you don't have to sleep with all of this. We have several spares still."

"No, don't, I often think of something in the middle of the night. It is useful to have it right here when that happens."

"So what's all this for anyway?"

"I'm monitoring the global climate, seeing just how bad it is, testing various possible solutions on computer models, seeing if I can come up with a way of safely reversing the global warming with minimum effects on agriculture and the economy. It would be counterproductive to reverse it and have the world experience famine or economic collapse." The Doctor looked at Pete hopefully, wanting him to grasp the importance of his work and that it be continued after he was gone.

Pete shook his head and smiled. "You are always full of surprises. With everything you have on your own plate, your own worries. You are not only trying to save the universe, but this world as well. Don’t you ever feel like you have done enough?"

The Doctor looked down, studying the ornate pattern of the carpet. "No, I don't, I have made so many mistakes, there is so much to make up for. Even if I had a full life, there wouldn't be enough time to set the books right." He looked up at Pete, a plea for understanding in his eyes.

Pete reached out and put a hand on the Doctor's shoulder. "Doctor, I would argue that, you have done more than any mortal could expect to do. You are way too hard on yourself, but I have a feeling you are just as stubborn on this as Rose is on getting back to your brother. Speaking of which, why are you going to help her? Is any of what you are saying true? Is there a way for her to get back safely?"

"Pete, there is a possibility, that is all there is. It's a long shot at best. You heard that thing theoretical physicists talk about, how you could theoretically walk through walls?"

Pete shook his head and smiled. "You'll have to explain it to me. I've lost touch with all my theoretical physicist friends."

The Doctor gave a little laugh. "Well, the theory goes like this. All solid material is mostly empty space, the atoms and sub atomic particles are separated by comparatively vast amounts of space between them. If you can line up all the empty spaces of one solid object with the particles of another object, the two solid objects could pass through each other. There is a bit more to it than that, but you get the gist of it. It is conceivable to do something similar with the barriers between universes."

"Are you sure this will work?" Pete didn't sound convinced.

"I'm not, but it is the best chance we have. Don't worry, I'm not about to risk total destruction. If I can't do it safely, I'll not do it at all."

"But won't that leave us right where we started, with Rose intent on going back no matter what the cost?"

"Pete, you are just going to have to trust me. The less you know the better. I haven't let you down yet have I?" The Doctor met Pete's gaze, asking him silently to trust him, to not probe any further.

"And everyone will be safe?"

"I promise you, the universe and this planet will be secure."

"Alright then, I guess that will have to do for now. I'll let you get to your shower." Pete, got up from the chair, not bothering to point out that his question hadn't really been answered. "Take care of yourself Doctor, we need you alive and well for as long as possible."

The Doctor breathed a sigh of relief when Pete left the room. That had gone better than he had thought it would. He prepared to take a shower, taking the coral out of his pocket and placing on the dresser, letting it know the separation was just temporary.

Once inside his bathroom, he saw that Jackie had already been at work. There was a plastic chair in the shower so he wouldn't have to stand when he took one. He eyed it with displeasure and opted for a bath instead. By the tub he found something he could add to the water to ease sore muscles. Seemed no matter what, Jackie was determined to help him. He decided to try it. Her tea did help after all, this might surprise him.

He finished with his bath, noticing how much better he felt as he toweled off. Again, Jackie seemed to be onto something. Suddenly he felt that the coral was in distress. He quickly put on a robe and hurried into his bedroom. What he saw caused his heart to stop. There was Rose examining the coral, casually tossing it into the air as she did so.
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Chapter 10 of 17

Post by Paksena on Wed Jun 17, 2009 3:29 pm

The Doctor schooled his expression, trying to appear nonchalant, his eyes following the movement of the coral, as his mind reached out to it, reassuring it. "What brings you in here?" he asked.

"Mum was going to bring you up some tea. I told her to save her legs." She nodded over to the chair she had placed it on. "So what's your fascination with this rock? It doesn't seem like much, rather ugly, in fact." She held it up between her thumb and index finger, frowning at it, as if trying to figure out what its secret was.

"It just reminds me of home is all. I found it at on the shore. Only one like it." He hoped he didn't sound as nervous as he felt.

"This thing reminds you of back there? Doesn't everything here remind you that?"

"I didn't mean the other Earth. I meant Gallifrey, my home."

Rose shook her head. "How could anything, much less this ugly thing, remind you of a place you've never been? Gallifrey is no more your home than mine." She plopped the coral back on the dresser. The Doctor hoped she didn't see him wince at the report it made when it connected with the hard surface. He sent out a soothing thread of calm to the coral, letting it know it was safe now, but made no move to pick it up, not wanting to let her know how important it was to him. He turned his attention to the problem at hand.

"So why are you really here?" the Doctor asked. "If you'd just wanted to save your mother's legs, you would have handed the tea off to one of the household staff."

"I wanted to talk to you alone, to find out what you're really up to."

"Why do you think I am up to anything? I willing to do what you want, help you get back. Isn't that all that matters?"

"No, you've tricked me before. You're not like him at all. I can't trust you." She crossed her arms and scowled.

The Doctor was confused. When she had first said he'd tricked her, he thought she was talking about his brother. How his brother had told her to get something out of the TARDIS and then had it take her home or perhaps when his brother had dropped the interdimensional transport around her neck, sending her to this world that first time. But no, she was clearly talking about something he had done.

"When did I trick you?"

"When you managed to get me to sleep with you."

"What! Excuse me? I managed to get you to sleep with me? That's not how I remember it." He was shocked at the accusation.

"You dressed up like him to entice me. Made me think we could have children."

The Doctor was incredulous. "I…, I dressed up like him? You're the one who bought the suit and told me to try it on, treated me like a fashion doll. It was your fantasy, not mine."

"But you wore it, you looked just like him, you knew how that would make me feel." He could hear the pain in her voice and words.

He was dumbfounded. "I was just…"

"Just what? Giving me what I wanted, playing along, hoping I'd be satisfied with you." She almost spat the final word.

"Ouch," thought the Doctor. That last one was just a little too close to home. He gently put his hands on her shoulders and looked into her eyes, trying to get her to understand, not sure if he did himself. "Rose, we never meant to hurt you. We wanted you to be happy. He thought I could make you happy, when he couldn't."

She shook him off, getting angrier. "Neither one of you asked me what I wanted. You both felt you knew what was best for me. Don't I get a say?"

"What did you want Rose?"

"I wanted him. I wanted to be with him, to be more than just another companion. I wanted to share his bed."

"That wasn't going to happen. He doesn't do that…"

"Yes, he does, he did with Rienette."

He should have known she would remember that. "Reinette, oh Reinette," he thought. His brother had no defenses when it came to her. Brilliant and beautiful, he was hers the moment she walked into his mind and took in all she could. His loneliness, his despair, his guilt, his joy. He'd tried to resist her charms, but it was a feeble effort at best. Reinette who had learned more about him in five minutes, than Rose had in more than two years. He shook himself out of the memory.

"That was an exceptional case."

"And I'm not? Aren't I an exceptional case. What do I get?"

"You were given me," thought the Doctor. "You were given my entire life, on the chance I could make you happy and you broke me and threw me away." He went over to the bed and sat down on it. Wishing he was anywhere but here, looking down at the carpet as he shook his head slowly, trying to think his way out of this. He knew self pity wasn't the answer. He looked up at her.

"What's your real question? What do you really want?"

"I want you to know just how much you hurt me. Then I want you to tell me why I should trust you."

He put his head in his hands and tried to figure out a response that wouldn't get him in further trouble. Somehow 'I'm sorry I slept with you' didn't seem like the right thing to say nor did 'I'm sorry I put on the brown suit when you told me too.' Well, there was the one subject. The one that had brought an end what little harmony they'd had. One which he avoided, as it was almost as painful to him, as it was to her.

"I'm sorry I didn't tell you we couldn't have children. I would never have slept with you if I had known that is what you wanted. I could never know what it feels like, but it must have been terrible to have a life inside you, only to have it fail. Especially one you wanted so much." Where the words came from he didn't know, but he hoped they would help her heal, move on.

His hopes were dashed when he looked up at her face. There were tears, but they were tears of anger and frustration. "How dare you try to use my baby to manipulate me." she hissed slapping him hard across the face. The force of her blow knocked him into the nightstand, he put out an arm to steady himself connecting with the lamp, which shattered as it hit the floor. He quickly unplugged it before they had a fire on top of everything else. He checked the coral. It was still safe on the dresser, but very concerned that he'd been hurt. He closed his eyes and calmed it with his thoughts. "I'm fine, it was nothing, don't worry."

Everything else taken care of, he turned to Rose, prepared to duck if need be. Rose stared at the mess wide eyed, apparently shocked at what she had done. She then put her hand to her mouth and pointed at him, laughing so hard she could barely get the words out. "I can't believe the look on your face, it is priceless." She held her sides as she doubled over, unable to contain herself.

The Doctor watched her carefully. He almost asked 'Are you hormonal?', but Jackie had schooled him that no man should ask that question unless he wanted his next breath to be his last. Right now, he was pretty sure that wasn't hyperbole either. Instead he rubbed the side of his face and said. "I'm glad I could provide you with some entertainment." Rose laughed all the harder.

Feeling a bit abused, but glad the tension had eased, he continued. "Can we get back to the real topic at hand? Do you want me to help you or not? There really isn't a lot of time to waste. This last little exchange is probably going to cost me a day at least." He smiled to show he was kidding, when it fact he was not. When his body healed it took energy. The bruises he felt forming on his face, side and arm were going to cost him.

"Obviously, I want you to help. It's either that or I have no progress at all for two months. I just wanted to make sure you weren't doing this so you could get back into my bed."

"Rose, I haven't so much as knocked on your bedroom door or even tried to hold your hand. You've made your wishes clear in that area and I have respected them. Why do you think that would change now?"

"Because you're dying and you might not want to die alone."

He gave a short sad laugh. "Well, there's not much chance of that now, is there? I couldn't be alone if I tried. I leave Torchwood, you send agents after me. Pete has started hovering every time I take a step, afraid I am going to fall and your mother is so intent on curing me, I think she is going to be pouring that tea of hers down my throat three weeks after I am gone."

"So this isn't about you trying to get back in bed with me?"

"No, Rose, to be honest, my condition makes doing anything along those lines a pretty bad idea."

"Oh… I'm sorry… I didn't know." She chewed on the end of her hair, an uncomfortable expression on her face.

"It's alright, now is there anything else you are worried about?"

"Did you ever love me?"

He was spared having to answer by a knock at the door. "Hello, you decent in there?" It was Jackie.

"Yes, Jackie," the Doctor replied. "Come on in."

Jackie entered the room and saw the broken lamp on the floor. "What happened?"

"I just had a slight dizzy spell. I put my hand out for balance and broke the lamp. I'm sorry, I'll clean it up."

"Don't be silly. I'll send someone up here to take care of it. I just came up to tell you, it's almost time for supper." She looked at him, a frown on her face. "Do you want to take it here or in the dining room?"

The Doctor suddenly remembered he was still in his robe. "The dining room, just let me get dressed." He turned to Rose. "It's settled then, you want me to help you?"

Rose nodded.

"Good, then Ladies, if you'll give me a few minutes please?"

When they left the room, it was as if the air had been let out of a balloon. He surveyed the situation and realized the broken lamp and his bare feet was going to make getting dressed a bit problematic. He stretched out crosswise on the bed, his head hanging down over the side, as he searched beneath it. He found one, then two slippers, crammed in amongst the discarded books and journals. They weren't from the same pair, but that hardly mattered. Protection was what he was after, not style.

The mismatched slippers on his feet he went to his closet and pulled out the blue suit. He dressed quickly and was almost done when he heard another knock at the door. It was Pete.

"Come on in," called the Doctor as he sat on the bed putting on his shoes.

Pete entered and a surveyed the room his eyes resting on the shattered lamp.

"Come to survey the damage?" asked the Doctor.

"No, officially I am here to make sure you get downstairs without incident."

The Doctor looked up from tying his shoe. "And unofficially?"

"I'm to find out why Rose hit you."

"Who says she hit me?"

"That red hand-shaped mark on your face."

"Oh… that… I guess it would be a bit of a giveaway, wouldn't it? So, Jackie wasn't fooled by my lost balance story."

"Not for a second, mate. You want to tell me what really happened, so she doesn't keep me up all night speculating."

"I apologized for not telling Rose from the very beginning that we couldn't have children, and she took it as me trying to manipulate her."

"The apology or the not telling her in the first place."

The Doctor rubbed his cheek, wincing at the pain. "Now that you mention it, both, I think."

"Then you got off lucky, mate, you could have wound up like your friend there," Pete said indicating the lamp.

"For a second there, I was worried I might." Both shoes tied, the coral safely in his pocket, he put his feet on the floor, clapped his hands on his thighs and stood up, showing more vigor than he felt. "Well, shall we be off then? What's for supper, anything exciting?"

Pete just looked at him and grinned. "I'll let it be a surprise."

"Jackie been talking to her herbalist again?"

"What do you think?"

The Doctor grimaced. "Is it at least edible?"

"Should be. Oh, you should know, she overheard your crack about pouring tea down your throat after you died."

The Doctor covered his eyes with his hand and shook his head. "Please tell me you're kidding."

"Sorry, mate, how else would I know?"

The Doctor took his hand from his eyes, briefly pinching the bridge of his nose as he did so. This day was getting better and better. "Pete, do me a favor, when we get to the top of the stairs, just give me a great big shove. Will you?"

Last edited by Paksena on Thu Jun 18, 2009 4:08 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Chapter 11 of 17

Post by Paksena on Thu Jun 18, 2009 4:04 pm

"Sorry, my job was to get you downstairs without incident. Besides, it's not that bad, she actually took it as a sign that you notice how hard she is working to help you. That's not to say you won't have to pay for it later, but right now she thinks it was funny and is glad you can still have a sense of humor about things."

The Doctor breathed a sigh of relief. He really didn't want to be on Jackie's bad side. He probably owed her more than anyone else here. "How much did she hear?"

"Not much, she heard the lamp fall and went to investigate. She heard you and Rose talking and decided not to interrupt."

"Or wait until just the right time to interrupt," thought the Doctor. He could kiss Jackie, her timing had been perfect. "I am glad she isn't upset with me."

"She isn't, don't worry. How does it stand with you and Rose?"

"Tense, but she will accept my help," the Doctor answered quietly.

"Why so despondent? Isn't it what you wanted?"

"It's not so much what I wanted, but what is needed." "I really hope I know what I am doing," he worried.

They reached the top of the stairs. "So do you still want that push or do you want to walk down?"

"I'll walk down; no sense both of us being in trouble."

"Good choice."

Tony was waiting at the bottom of the stairs. He almost knocked the Doctor over with his exuberant greeting.

"Hold on there," Pete admonished his son as he peeled him off the Doctor's leg. "What do you think you are doing?"

"Mum says Dockor sick. I hug Dockor, make him feel better," Tony declared.

"Well you need to be more careful. You could hurt him."

Tony looked up at the Doctor, his eyes sad, his lower lip quivering. "I hurt Doctor?" he asked.

The Doctor crouched down, putting him himself on eye level with Tony. "I'm fine Tony, just be careful. Ask me before you hug me, alright?"

Tony nodded, a worried look on his face.

"Good then, I'll have that hug now." The Doctor smiled at Tony and held his arms wide. Tony put his arms around the Doctor's neck, hugging him as hard as he could. The Doctor picked him up. "There now, that's better isn't it?" As he stood he realized Pete was looking at him, a concerned expression on his face.

"Sorry." He handed Tony over to his father. "I guess I should be careful too." He sighed. Pete didn't trust him to carry his child. He couldn't blame him. Being two months away from death didn't exactly inspire confidence in one's strength, but in fact he was weeks from being unable to carry Tony, so long as Rose didn't fire the dimension cannon. He had to admit though, Tony's safety was more important than his pride.

He smiled at the young boy and reached out to ruffle his hair. "Let's go see what supper is shall we?"

Jackie smiled warmly when they entered the dining room, putting the Doctor at ease. "Come here love. I had cook make something special for you." she motioned him to a chair with a large bowl of soup in front of it.

The Doctor sat down and looked at the soup. It was a beef broth filled with vegetables, mushrooms and fungus, apparently native to every continent but Europe. "Thank you. I'm sure it's delicious."

Jackie was pleased with herself. She gave the Doctor a description of the soup while she settled Tony into his booster seat. "It's a special kind of Hot and Sour soup. It's supposed to boost your immune system and detox you."

"Just what I'm looking for from my food." the Doctor mused. He wondered if his every meal from now on was going to be some kind of phytopharmalogical experiment as Jackie and her herbalist tried every possible plant on the planet to cure him. He looked at the food the others had on their plate wistfully. Roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, roasted vegetables. He turned his attention back to his soup and resigned picked up his spoon.

"Don't worry. Once you finish your soup, cook will bring out the rest of your dinner," Jackie reassured him. "I noticed you’ve become awfully thin. It will take more than soup to put some meat back on your bones. I just didn't want it getting cold."

"Thank you, that's most considerate of you." He briefly considered protesting the need for the soup, but he owed Jackie for the crack about the tea and held his tongue. She wanted to help him and consuming an odd bowl of soup was a small price to pay for her support.

Surprisingly the soup proved to be good, spicy enough to clear the sinuses but not to the point of overwhelming the other flavors. Some of the fungi were a bit rubbery, but overall it was quite nice. Eating it was a pleasant experience, not the chore he had anticipated. He made quick work of it.

The Doctor nodded at Jackie gratefully. "Thank you, that was perfect."

"You could have some more if you want."

"No, no thank that you. I think it is best if I start the 'getting meat on my bones' part of the meal."

"Very well then." Jackie got up and took his bowl back the kitchen coming back with a plate over laden with food.

His nausea gone and feeling invigorated the Doctor dug into the rest of his meal. "Maybe Jackie was onto something with that soup," he thought. He would let her worry about his health. That meant he could spend more time on the real issues and who knows she might even be able to eke out a day or two more for him.

He looked up from his meal noticing that Tony was trying to get his attention. "Dockor, you want my veg? Mum says veg make you better." Tony offered up his plate, the vegetables untouched, in all earnestness.

The Doctor shook his head and laughed. "I think your Mum wants you to have those vegetables. Thank you though."

"His mum most definitely does," Jackie confirmed. "Now Tony, finish your food and leave the Doctor to his meal." She fixed Tony with a firm but motherly gaze. The little boy put his plate back down and reluctantly took a bite of carrot.

The Doctor loved these little family moments and the feeling of belonging he had when he was included in them. Tony could be such a scamp. Lovable and caring, but always looking for an angle, he was definitely Pete's child. Jackie would have her hands full with him as he grew up.

When the meal was finished, including all the vegetables, out came dessert, a lovely trifle. The Doctor could tell by the flourish with which Jackie set it on the table that its production had not been left to the cook. Instead it had been made by her own hands. Each layer had been crafted to perfection, the glass bowl it was in allowing full view of the artistry involved. It was almost seemed a shame to destroy the effect by serving it.

Jackie however had no qualms and dished out generous portions to everyone. The Doctor looked at his plate as Jackie put it front of him; by the size of his serving, she was serious about putting some meat on his bones. It was a good end to the meal. The trifle was delicious with a hint of sherry, just right, providing a pleasant background to the other flavors. He savored the different textures provided, the grainy sweetness of the sponge cake and jelly, the creaminess of the custard, the soft crunch of the fresh fruit that Jackie had used. It reminded him to enjoy to its fullest, every sensation that life provided him.

Dinner over, the Doctor excused himself to his room. He wanted to look over his data and run a few models before he went to bed. He tackled the stairs a little easier this time. He was in his room about ten minutes, deep into his analysis, when there was a knock at the door. It was Jackie.

"I just wanted to take care of that bruise on your face," she explained. "You don't want to show up at Torchwood tomorrow and have to answer all kinds of questions about it."

The Doctor sat down on the bed, giving her easier access to his cheek. "Actually I was planning on staying home tomorrow. There’s a lot of work I can do here."

Jackie took his chin in her hand, a serious expression on her face as she examined the damage. "That may be for the best then. This would be hard to hide tomorrow." She released his chin. "I'll have a talk with my daughter about her temper."

"Please don't, she let a lot out of her system with that hit. I don't think she will do it again. If you talk to her, it might stir everything up. Right now she is willing to let me help. If it took her hitting me to get that, it was a small price to pay."

Jackie fixed him with a hard stare. "I didn't ask your permission to talk to her. This is my house. She knew you were sick and she hit you anyway, quite hard apparently. I won't allow that. Don't worry; I saw her looking at you during supper. She couldn't help but see that bruise forming. I think she is a little ashamed of herself. I am just going to reinforce that for her."

The Doctor resigned himself Jackie's chosen course of action. That issue settled, she dipped into a tub of dark orange salve she had brought with her and proceeded to apply it liberally to the Doctor's cheek.

"What's that you are putting on me?" the Doctor queried.

"It's an herbal salve, wild yam based. It should draw out that bruise. It's safe around the eyes which is why I chose it. It also doesn't smell like some. You need your sleep. I don't want you up all night because of the stink."

The Doctor had to admit it did have a pleasant, almost soothing odor.

Jackie finished applying the salve and looked at him as if making up her mind. "Take you jacket and shirt off now."

"Why?" asked the Doctor, slightly worried as to where this was going.

"I saw you wince when you got up from your chair tonight. Your face didn't collide with that nightstand, but I am guessing your ribs did."

The Doctor relaxed and proceeded to do as he was instructed. "I was trying to go with the force of the blow."

Jackie was busy examining his side as she answered. "That might have helped your face love, but your ribs here are a bit worse for wear." She proceeded to slather the salve on his side.

The application of the salve finished, the Doctor reached for his shirt, Jackie stopped him. "You don't want to put that back on. This does stain. You have an old t-shirt you don't care about?"

The Doctor pointed to the dresser. "Second drawer, any of the plain ones. Won't this stain your sheets?"

"They're my sheets. Don't you worry about it," she answered as she handed him a t-shirt. "Now put that on and finish up what you were doing. I don't want you staying up all night playing Mr. Wizard. You need your rest." She started towards the door.


She turned to the Doctor. "What love?"

"Thank you."

"For what?"

"For everything, for caring."

Jackie snorted. "With you, caring is the easy part. My daughter's a fool." With that she left the room.

The Doctor returned to his work. The results of the data models were promising. With careful planning this planet just might be able to avoid a catastrophe. He set some new models to running and made sure all the data feeds were still functional. Satisfied he prepared for bed.

He lay on the soft mattress staring at the ceiling in the darkened room. The lights from the various pieces of equipment providing an eerie green glow that peaked and ebbed with the changes of the data displayed. He pushed the events of the day from his mind and concentrated on the coral in his hand. This was a time they both looked forward to. He and the coral would pass energy back and forth, it felt good to draw it in, feel it flow through his body even if it left at the same rate as he passed it back to the coral. It provided him and the coral the illusion of taking in of the one nutrient this universe couldn't provide them. The sense of wellbeing he felt during the procedure he knew was false, but he craved it none the less.

The procedure also balanced the remaining energy between them, linking their fates. Ensuring neither would be left alone. They would end their life on this planet together.
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Chapter 12 0f 17 (part 1)

Post by Paksena on Fri Jun 19, 2009 12:32 pm

The Doctor woke up to the sound of wind and rain tearing through the trees and beating against the house. He slept with his windows open these days, wanting to experience as much of nature as he could. He could hear the flapping of the drapes as the wind blew them inward. He was glad he had thought to put a towel down to catch any stray drops, though from the sound of the incoming rain he suspected it was already soaked through.

Almost ten weeks had passed since Rose had agreed to let him help. He never thought he would make it this long. When he had said two months if he was careful, he had actually felt the best he could hope for was five or six weeks. Whether the difference was because of the teas, soups and bath salts or just the emotional support he received from Pete, Jackie and Tony, he wasn't sure, but he was grateful for every extra day he had.

Now, however, the reprieve was over. There weren't many days left. Two at most, at least one, he hoped fervently at least one, that he hadn't left it too late. He told himself not to worry; he had been tracking the energy depletion every night. He could even exert himself today and still make it through as much of tomorrow as he needed to.

Rose was getting impatient; she was eager to test the modified dimension cannon. The expert who had followed the Doctor's every move when he worked on it said it should work, and if not he could reverse the changes, but he did admit he didn't fully understand what all the modifications were for nor how to operate the new control panel.

The Doctor was deliberately putting off firing the dimension cannon. Delaying that final action as long as possible, hoping something would intervene, making it no longer necessary. The risk was so great and the fate of this and perhaps all universes hung in the balance. If he made a mistake, literally everything could be lost.

He'd spent yesterday going over all the procedures, checking the equipment, verifying it was properly calibrated. He had run loop back tests to ensure the connections that linked all the computers in Torchwood were good and functioned as they should.

Rose had watched closely. Eager, knowing he was getting close to actually running it. Bringing her closer to the day she could go back to 'her' Doctor. He had finished the last of his tests and shut off the equipment, when he looked up and told her he was taking the next day off.

She was predictably furious. "What do you mean, you want the day off? It's been over two months, you should be done by now. Even if you couldn't get it to work the way you wanted, by now, you were supposed to be…"

"Dead?" He finished the sentence for her, fixing her with a stony stare. His normally warm eyes like ice, wanting her to face up to what she had been thinking. That she was angry because he was still breathing. At the edge of his vision, he saw her hand flex, itching to make contact with his face. To lay the blame for any guilt she felt on him, not her own actions, never her own actions.

He broke eye contact with her and wondered why he bothered trying to get her to see herself and what she had become. Even if she did see and started to change, there was no guarantee she would change enough or that change would be permanent. The fate of the universe was too high a stake to gamble on with such long odds.

"I didn't ask you if I could take the day off," he said as he put his tools away. "I told you I was. To run this takes more than the computational power of the networked computers. It takes this," he tapped the side of his head hard enough that it was a bit painful as he emphasized his point. "And I want it in top shape when we fire this system up. So I am taking a day off. You can wait a day. It will still be here." He turned and walked out of the lab.

Rose yelled after him, "The Doctor, the proper Doctor, wouldn't run off now. He wouldn't be able to wait to see if it worked. You're leaving because you know it won't..." The Doctor let the lab door close behind him, cutting off her taunts.

Looking back on the incident, he was glad he made the decision he did. He didn't want to spend his final day on this planet in a windowless lab with someone who couldn't wait for him to be gone.

He stretched in his bed and listened. The sound of the rain was soothing. He could hear the water rushing through the gutter system, there was a steady tapping sound indicating one of the gutter seams was leaking. It was dark out, but not as dark as night, indicating the sun was up behind the clouds. The rain made the air smell clean. He listened to the sounds inside the house. No was one up yet. That worked for what he wanted to do. He got dressed in the brown suit, the one he liked the least and quietly left his room.

He stealthily made his way to the end of the hallway where the lift was and entered it. The door sliding shut behind him. Pete had it put in six weeks ago. The Doctor had thanked him and then steadfastly refused to use it. Determined not to change how he lived his life and admit infirmity into it. He continued to doggedly use the stairs instead. Pulling himself up each step, taking breaks till he made it to the top.

Then one day it was too much. He slipped while trying to lift his foot to the next stair and banged his shin. He sat there on the step, breathing hard, still four from the top, squeezing back the tears of pain and frustration that formed in his eyes, angry with himself, his weakness, and even this universe that he was trying to save while it was slowly killing him.

The coral cried out from his pain and anger, causing him to realize it wasn't just himself that was suffering from his stubbornness and pride. He took it out of his pocket and held it gently in his hands, stroking it with his thumb, letting the motion calm him, as he reassured the coral, apologizing for his carelessness, his thoughtlessness. The coral became tranquil under his care. Its concern for him eased as he explained it was just foolishness on his part, everything was fine, he was safe and well.

He felt a small hand on his knee. He looked down to see a concerned young boy looking up at him. "Dockor fall down? Dockor hurt?"

"I'm fine, Tony, where's your mum?" the Doctor replied in a carefree voice, trying to ease the boy's anxiousness.

"Mum is right here," called Jackie from the top of the stairs. "When are you going to quit being so silly and use the lift?"

The Doctor slipped the coral back into his pocket and shakily got to his feet. "I was thinking now would be a good time to start."

"I think a good time to start would have been before you attempted the stairs this time. Stay right there, I'll help you the rest of the way. You men and your pride." She shook her head as she descend the stairs to the Doctor and put a supportive arm around him. "Come on, just lean on me." She helped him negotiate the remaining four stairs. After that the Doctor used the lift without complaint, surrendering to inevitability of his increasing disability.

This morning the lift was a blessing. Quiet, no telltale bells, the door mechanism, so brilliantly engineered, there was only the faintest whisper as it opened, letting him out on the ground floor.

He went out the garden door and stood on the covered porch, looking out over the landscape. The rain was coursing down with such force it was over running the gutter system. Small ad hoc streams were forming in the garden as the over saturated soil could take no more and refused to receive the gift of moisture the storm brought. Lightening was flashing off in the distance, followed by the predictable but untamed sound of the thunder that rolled over him.

Not ideal conditions for a morning stroll, but a day like this had its own appeal. He was a bit sad whenever a planet mastered the art of weather control. Nature was at its best when it was untamed. He always enjoyed the sheer power and force of a feral storm. It made him feel so alive.

He stepped out from under the protection of the porch. He enjoyed the wind as it played with his hair, the feel of each raindrop as it hit his unprotected scalp and face, the squishy splashing sound his feet made as he trod down the path to the stable. When he arrived, he was soaked through to the skin, his socks soggy and limp around his ankles, bunching into a sodden mass inside his shoes. He didn't mind, it was all a part of being alive, an experience to be cherished and savored.

He picked up a plastic step stool that was used as a mounting block and entered Shadow's paddock. The pony, having more sense than he did, was in the three sided run in shed taking shelter from the storm.

The Doctor joined him and sat on the step stool leaning his back against the rough oak boards that made up the lower inside wall of the shed, protecting the outer plywood from the stray kicks of the residents. The stable staff had already been by and left a token amount of hay for Shadow and his paddock mate. The Doctor enjoyed listening to the rain and the contented crunching sound of the ponies eating hay. The sweet smell of the grass hay, the musky smell of the ponies and even the odor of their dung seemed pleasurable on this day.

He'd ruined his suit. The one Rose had bought him. He didn't think it mattered anymore. He took his shoes and socks off, putting his bare feet on the lowest step of the stool. He twisted his socks, wringing them out, causing a stream of water to fall to the packed dirt floor of the shed, creating a small patch of mud. He lay the socks on the upper most oak board, not that he expected them to dry, but just to keep them out of the way.

Shadow finished his hay and came over to the Doctor who held out his hand to the pony. He felt the soft velvet of the muzzle, the warmth of the pony's breath on his hand as it checked him out.

"Sorry, boy, no treats today." He scratched the pony behind the ears, looking into its soft brown eyes. Shadow, such a genuine mount, perfect for Tony. The Doctor missed their walks together. The first of the pleasures he had given up to his illness. Now he wished he hadn't been so quick to relinquish that recreation. Shadow was so steadfast; there was really very little danger of anything going wrong. But then again, he would have never forgiven himself if Tony had been hurt.

He put a hand on Shadow's forehead, resting it there gently, as if conferring a blessing, saying good bye to his friend. He put on his damp socks and shoes and gave the pony a final pat on the shoulder. He left the pony with his equine companion, the paddock gate making a metallic click as it he closed and latched it.

The trip back was a bit more difficult. His shoes were heavy, soaked with the water, dragging at his feet. His wet clothes, binding, sticking to his skin, restricting his movement. "Maybe there was a reason people didn't walk in the rain without the proper gear," he thought. The ionization of the air round him suddenly increased sharply. He dove reflexively to the ground, flattening himself as lightening hit a nearby tree.

He slowly rose to his feet, dazed from the experience. He had to be more careful. In his weakened condition a lightning strike could prove fatal. If he let himself be killed now, everything he had been through would have been for nothing. His emergency maneuver left him covered in mud from head to toe. It would be impossible now to reenter the house without leaving a rather visible trail.

He continued to slog on up the path. He had a bit of good luck when the rain increased in its intensity, coming down in sheets washing the worst of the mud off him. Once he was through the gap in the hedge, he saw the lights were on at the house, including all the outside lights, making a quiet return unlikely.

Jackie met him in the garden and wrapped a blanket around him. "What do you think you're doing, going out in this weather? You gave us all a scare when we saw your bedroom door open and you nowhere to be found. Where were you off to anyway?" she admonished him.

"I just wanted to go for a walk. Get a bit of fresh air."

"You couldn't have waited for better weather? You're soaked through to the bone. How did you get so much mud on you?"

"I slipped, no harm done. It's nothing."

"Well, this suit of yours is ruined. Come on, sit down here." She maneuvered him to a bench just inside the garden door. "Mary, go get his robe and slippers," she ordered the maid, who had been hovering nearby.

She took the soaked jacket, his shoes and socks off him. "What are you trying to do? Come down with pneumonia? You really need to take better care of yourself in your condition."

Jackie continued to reprimand him, her worry and concern showing in her voice, as she used the blanket to try to towel him off. The Doctor just sat there without comment, letting her take care of him, both embarrassed and comforted by her attentions.

When Mary returned with his slippers and robe Jackie helped him up to his room. He didn't need it, but it made her feel better, so he accepted her assistance. "Now I want you to take a nice long shower," She told him. "Get yourself warmed up while I go fetch you some breakfast."

"I'd prefer to come down for breakfast."

"You sure?" Jackie reached up and brushed his soaked hair from his eyes. "You took this day off; you should use it to rest up."

"I don't want to spend it in my room alone."

"All right, suit yourself then. I'll get on with fixing your breakfast."

Jackie left him alone in the room. He sat down on the chair that was no longer occupied by equipment. He had transferred all his work to Pete, who'd moved the lab to a room in the basement of the mansion. He stripped off his wet clothes and left them in a pile on the floor. If he knew Jackie, they would magically disappear while he was in the shower. Lots of things had been magically appearing and disappearing in his room since his illness became known.

He entered the bathroom and turned on the shower as hot as he could stand it. He used the shower chair now, it was convenient. The shower head had been changed out to one attached to a hose so he could direct the water where he wanted it, very efficient actually.

He let the water sluice over him, washing off the rest of the mud, warming him up in the process. He used the soap Jackie supplied him. Like all the toiletries she equipped his bathroom with, gentle but effective, with a pleasing scent that left him feeling clean and refreshed, but not effeminate.

When he was done with his shower, he toweled himself off and entered his room. His blue suit had been laid out on his bed, the wet clothes were gone as he had predicted. He dressed and went downstairs, his hair still damp.
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Chapter 12 of 17 (part 2)

Post by Paksena on Fri Jun 19, 2009 12:33 pm

He entered the kitchen expecting a light informal meal. He should have known better, when Jackie was feeling protective, she tended to go overboard.

Kippers, ham, potatoes, eggs, muffins, bacon, fried tomatoes, barbequed beans, bangers, waffles, three kinds of juice. The Doctor looked at it, hoping it wasn't all for him. "The local pony club dropping over for breakfast?" he asked.

Jackie laughed. "No, I just wanted to make sure I had all your favorites. I couldn't help but notice you are thinner than ever. You need to eat more."

The Doctor debated if he should explain to Jackie that he could eat everything on the table and he would still continue to lose weight. His weight loss was due to his ever diminishing energy level. His body was decreasing what it needed to maintain and at the same time harvesting the energy in his muscle tissue as it was destroyed, literally consuming itself. He decided instead to sit down and take advantage of Jackie's culinary efforts.

"So long as you aren't upset when I can't eat it all. I do appreciate all the work you have done here." He looked pointedly at the display of food on the table.

"No, no, I wouldn't want you to try to eat it all, I know I went a bit overboard. I didn't realize how much I made until I saw it all on the table," she replied as she poured the Doctor some of her tea.

The Doctor was hungry and applied himself to the food. He bit into a banger feeling the resistance of the skin which gave way suddenly as it was pierced by his teeth, revealing a flavorful burst of seasoned fat and the rubbery bits of sausage within, it's pungent smell reaching his senses. The bacon was crisp without being burnt, the eggs scrambled to an almost creamy perfection.

Everything on the table proved to be brilliantly made. Jackie had outdone herself, and he found himself eating more that he had thought was possible. When he finished he sighed contentedly and got up from the table. "Thank you, that was very good. I'll get out of your hair now and do some reading."

"Go make yourself comfortable, I'll bring in some tea for you."

The Doctor went to the lounge with its tall windows facing the out to the garden. It was a bit lighter, the rain letting up a little, the lightning and thunder having retreated. He picked up some magazines out of the rack next to the couch, mind candy, nothing deep. He just wanted something to distract himself.

He sat down on the couch and started thumbing through his reading material, when he became aware of a small figure in front of him. He looked up from an article on planting an herb garden to see Tony standing in front of him with a throw in his arms. "Dockor want?" Tony asked as he held out the throw.

The Doctor smiled at the young boy. "Sure, Tony. Thank you." He held up the magazine while Tony laid the throw on his lap and proceeded to tuck it around him. Tony had appointed himself keeper of the throw over a month ago, making sure the Doctor never sat down for long without having that additional warmth, relieving Jackie of the job.

Having seen to the Doctor's comfort, Tony climbed up on the couch next to him, leaning against him. Jackie entered with the tea. "Leave the man alone, Tony. He needs his rest."

"Jackie, he can stay. I would like that in fact."

"You sure?" Jackie asked as she set the tea down on the end table and poured him a cup. "I don't want him bothering you."

"He's not a bother. He's just the sort of company I could use today."

"Alright then, if that's what you want," Jackie said, her doubt showing in her voice. "If he becomes a bother, you send him to me."

Tony looked at his mother and very earnestly said, "I not bother Dockor. I be good."

Jackie smiled at him and ruffled his hair. "You had better be young man. Doctor, let me know if you need anything." With a final smile at the two of them she left the room.

Tony squirmed his way under the Doctor's arm and looked up at him. "Doctor, you feel better?"

The Doctor turned his head to look down at the boy and smiled. "I'm feeling fine Tony, just a little tired."

"Mum mad you all wet."

"I gathered that, I'm all dry now."

"Good. Not good when Mum mad," Tony said very seriously, a frown on his face.

He gave Tony a little reassuring squeeze. "I'll try not to make her mad then. You want me to read to you?"

"Yes, please."

"Alright, then." The Doctor took a sip of tea, picked up the magazine and proceeded to read to Tony about the growing of herbs for a kitchen garden, taking comfort in the young boy's presence and friendship. Sometime during a section about proper use of compost, the Doctor and Tony both fell asleep, the magazine, forgotten, slipping to the floor.
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Re: A Small Piece of Coral

Post by Lucy McGough on Fri Jun 19, 2009 1:40 pm

Awww Smile
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Chapter 13 of 17 (part 1)

Post by Paksena on Sat Jun 20, 2009 1:56 pm

When the Doctor woke up, Tony was gone. Someone, he guessed Jackie, had adjusted the throw, covering his shoulders, and placed a pillow under his head. He stretched and yawned, letting the top of the throw fall to his lap. He really didn't want to sleep this day away; his failing body was apparently having other ideas.

The rain had stopped and the sun was out in full force, burning away the residual fog. The windows were open, letting in a soft breeze. That explained why the throw had been pulled up. Jackie must have wanted him to have the fresh air, but not catch a chill. He was lucky he hadn't woken up with four quilts on top of him.

He looked around and discovered a pot of hot tea on the end table and a cup already poured for him. The steam rising from the cup told him it couldn't have been there more than five minutes. He shook his head and smiled. This was happening quite a bit now. He would doze off and wake up to a pot of hot tea within reach.

He wondered how she managed it. Was she that observant and had figured out when he was close to waking up? Or was she just putting a fresh pot out at intervals? As hot as the tea always was, he really hoped it was the former. Otherwise there was a lot of tea being wasted, that special blend she had made for him had to cost a pretty penny.

On the tray with the tea, he noticed a scone, some biscuits, jam and clotted cream. She was going all out in her efforts to put some weight on him. Though fruitless, he did appreciate parade of culinary accomplishments that kept coming his way. Except for the tea and the nightly soup, she always made sure to not let his diet get in a rut, apparently afraid he might lose interest in eating.

"Well, no fear of that," He thought as he bit into the scone, orange with pecans, interesting combination, the clotted cream would definitely go well with it. He put the scone down and sipped some of the tea, feeling its warmth spread throughout his body. He held the cup with both hands and let the heat sink into them as he observed the pattern of the steam that rose from it. He was sure it was warm in the house, but he always felt a bit chilled these days. A sure sign he hadn't long now.

He had no problem accepting that, so long as he could accomplish what he needed to. Jackie, on the other hand, would brook no talk of his eminent demise and persisted in acting as if he would be there for years to come.

She did however understand and act on his increasing disability, which he tried to ignore. She was always thinking ahead, trying to find ways to make his life easier. The shower chair, later grab rails, discrete entrance ramps, looking more like creative landscaping than handicapped access and of course the lift. Jackie generally did this quietly, in the background so as not to embarrass him, but the accommodations were always there when he needed them, the grab rails once saving him from what could have been a particularly nasty crack on the head.

The latest additions were almost comical. She had gone out and bought a fairly large collection of fancy gentleman's canes that she had placed around the house as objects 'd art. Coincidentally, the places he enjoyed sitting, all seemed have an ideal 'artistic' spot to put a cane nearby. His room had been 'decorated' with two of them.

The one near the couch was mahogany with a stag horn handle and a silver collar where the horn joined the wood. He put the tea down. He reached over and picked it up to examine it. The handle fit his hand perfectly, not a mean feat considering the shape of his hand. The tip was covered with a sturdy rubber foot to prevent slipping, stylish and practical, very nice and thoughtful of her. He put it back in its place. He wasn't quite ready for it yet. Maybe tomorrow, he wouldn't want all her work to go to waste.

He finished the rest of his tea, draining the pot, polishing off the scone and most of the clotted cream. He saved the biscuits for last, ginger with little bits of the crystallized root to give them an extra bite.

He threw off the throw and sat up, stretching his arms over his head. He looked down at his feet. The magazines he had selected were gone. A quick glance showed them to be on the couch, within reach. Apparently Jackie didn't want him slipping on them. She was trying very hard to take care of him, while at the same time giving him his space. So long as he wasn't doing something stupid, like walking in a thunderstorm.

He checked the coral as he thought about the incident with the lightning. It had barely made a peep when he hit the ground. It mostly rested these days, trying to help conserve what little energy they had between the two of them. Last night it had tried to refuse the balancing as it realized it was the Doctor who was doing most of the giving, keeping the coral alive past when it would have perished.

The Doctor had finally convinced it to take the energy by telling it he was going to give it anyway and if it didn't take it, it would spill away and be of no use to either of them. The coral had reluctantly acquiesced. Now it was sleeping fitfully, its thoughts filled with worry and sadness. He sent it reassurance and calmness, quieting his own mind as he linked with it, sending it into a deeper more peaceful sleep.

He tried to think of what he wanted to do next. He thought about the lab in the basement. He hadn't checked the equipment in weeks since Pete took it over. There were a few more modifications he could make to the equipment and he wanted to see if his weather models were still holding. It would be exactly the kind of thing that would keep him occupied and feeling useful. Just what he needed.

Unfortunately, when they put the lift in, Pete hadn't wanted to waste time to do the excavation needed for it to go all the way to the basement. So it stopped on the first floor. The lab may as well have been on the moon as far as he was concerned. Funny, there was a time when something being on the moon wouldn't have mattered.

He looked at the tray that had held the now empty tea pot and decided to carry it back to the kitchen. If Jackie was there, that should at least provide some entertainment.

He used his back to push open the door to the kitchen as he carried the tray. He turned around and saw Jackie, holding Tony on her hip as she supervised the making of that night's soup. She looked up, her eyes going wide when she saw the Doctor.

"What do you think you are doing?" she exclaimed as she put Tony down and hurried over to the Doctor, taking the tray away from him.

"Carrying a tray of dishes?" the Doctor quipped. "Well, not now, that is, they seem to have been confiscated." He made a show of looking at his now empty hands.

Jackie gave him a smile while shaking her head. "You are supposed to be resting, taking it easy. It's your day off. We have plenty of staff to carry trays."

"I did rest, and now I am restless. Anything I can do in here to help keep me out of trouble?"

"I don't think anything could keep you out of trouble. Thank you, but we have a routine, plus if you help with dinner, how can I surprise you with it? Why don't you go see if there is something you can tinker with in that lab?"

The Doctor frowned. "I would love to, but, you know… stairs."

"Oh that, come on I have something to show you."

Tony followed along as she led the Doctor to the entrance of the basement. She opened the door with a grand flourish. "Look, just for you."

There was a stair lift. A chair he could sit in that would take him up and down the stairway.

The Doctor couldn't believe his good fortune. "When did you put this in?"

"A few days after you started using the lift, it had been back ordered. We knew you weren't happy about having to use the lift, so Pete and I decided to hold off telling you about this till the time was right. I hope you don't mind. Pete knew he would need your help in the lab at some point and didn't want getting you down there to be a big deal."

"Oh, it's brilliant, I really do have some things I want to check in the lab," He took Jackie's head between his hands and gave her a kiss on the forehead. "Thank you!"

The Doctor's exuberant thanks flustered Jackie who tried to cover it by patting her hair back in place. "That's good then, because I know Pete has been getting anxious, there's something he wants to show you."

Tony piped up. "Dockor go for ride?"

The Doctor looked at him quizzically. Jackie explained, "Tony's been using it as a kind of carnival ride. He thinks it's fun."

The Doctor nodded and told Tony, "Yes, I am going for a ride. Do you want to show me how?"

Tony smiled and climbed on the chair. He put on a serious face as he buckled the seat belt. "Must have belt, Mum says, or no ride again."

He picked up the control box that was dangling from the chair. "This go down," he said as he pushed a button marked with a down arrow. The chair glided down the stairway. At the bottom he held up the box and looked at the doctor. "This go up." The Doctor couldn't see the button from that distance, but he was pretty sure it was the one with the up arrow.

When Tony arrived at the top of the stair, he unbuckled the belt and climbed down. "Dockor ride now?"

"Thank you, Tony, that was very good. I'll try a ride now."

"I go with Dockor? I go with Dad."

The Doctor looked at Jackie. "I could use his company. I'll keep an eye on him."

Jackie looked dubious as her eyes went from Tony to the Doctor and back. "It's not the lab, he's with Pete down there all the time. It's…"

"It's the stair lift, isn't it? He's used to riding down on Pete's lap and you don't trust me to hold him. You're afraid I might drop him. I understand. We'll do separate trips. It's not a problem."

Jackie smiled, relief showing on her face. "Well, if you're sure he's not a bother. I'd actually feel better if he was with you."

The Doctor looked down briefly at the last comment. Jackie wanted someone who could tell her if the Doctor needed help. Tony in the lab was less obvious than a maid stationed outside of it. He grinned at Jackie, letting her know he didn't mind. "He won't be a bother, every scientist needs an assistant. Don't they Tony?" He ruffled the boy's hair, who looked up, pleased he was being included.

Jackie appeared satisfied. "Good then, once you two are safely at the bottom, I'll get back to supervising supper. I'll send Pete down as soon as he gets home."

"Good," said the Doctor. "Tony, I have to go by myself, so you want to go first and show me how it's done again?"

As Tony went down the stairs the Doctor asked Jackie. "How did he get so good at working seat belts?"

"Oh, he was getting out of the car seat before he was a year old. I would get so mad at him when he did that he figured he had better learn how to get back in it also. He's been buckling and unbuckling himself since before he was two."

Tony was at the bottom of the stair and out of the chair. The Doctor looked at the control box dangling from the arm of the chair. "Jackie, do you have to go down now and ride the chair back?

Jackie laughed. "No, we had a recall circuit put in," She went to a control panel above the light switch on the wall. "Tony," she called down. "Now you get away from the chair." She lowered her voice as she spoke to the Doctor. "We didn't want you getting stranded if Tony decided to go for a ride and not tell anyone. There are controls at the bottom of the stair also, you don't have to worry."

The chair arrived at the top of the steps. "Well, it looks like my ride's here, thank you, Jackie. I'll keep an eye on him, don't worry."

Last edited by Paksena on Sat Jun 20, 2009 1:59 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Chapter 13 of 17 (part 2)

Post by Paksena on Sat Jun 20, 2009 1:58 pm

It was the first time the Doctor had seen the lab since Pete had set it up. He was a bit taken aback by how much space it used. It was all the same equipment from his room, maybe one or two more computers added, nothing more than that, but it took up twice as much space as it did in when he had it. Pete apparently didn't share his penchant for piling pieces of equipment on top of each other. Everything was almost uncomfortably organized. It looked more like a showcase than a working lab.

It was apparent Tony had been here before. His lab manners were very good; keeping his hands behind his back when he went near the equipment. In a corner was a child's desk, a stack of paper and a big box of crayons. Around the room, various crayon drawings were up on the walls. It appeared Tony's usual job in the lab was draftsman. The Doctor had some data he wanted to check over, so he set Tony to work on drawing a locktight wrench, wire strippers and a c clamp.

The data was cause for concern, his models were holding, but their predictions were not good. The failing ice dam in Greenland was the biggest worry. He pulled up the CAD package on the computer and checked his plans for shoring up the dam until the radiation reflectors and other projects had a chance to lower the global temperature. He saw a few areas where some design changes could be made speed its construction.

He then ran the new designs through the models. One of the changes caused a failure so he'd have to scrap that. He pulled his lip and considered how much time would be lost without that modification. He set up the model with all but that one modification and the dam held, still not enough of a safety margin to satisfy him. A day's labor dispute would do them in.

He then realized Tony was at his elbow holding several drawings, very vague abstractions of the subject of each picture, but it was possible to discern the c clamp from the locktight wrench. The Doctor looked at them and nodded in approval. "Very good, Tony. Do you want to help me here?"

Tony nodded enthusiastically. The Doctor printed out several pictures of the ice dam and showed them to Tony. "Could you draw on these where that water there will go over that snow?"

"Draw on picture?" Tony asked, clearly confused that he would be allowed to do such a thing, much less be asked to do it.

"Yes, Tony, I want you to draw where the water would go over on each of those pictures. Can you do that?"

Tony nodded. "I do."

"Good, let me know when you are done."

Tony took the pictures back to his desk. The Doctor doubted much would come from Tony's drawings. But there was a chance they might cause the Doctor to notice something he had been ignoring. If nothing else, they gave Tony the feeling that he was helping and that was important too.

He looked at his proposed construction schedule, trying to see if there was a way to optimize it, shorten the critical path to a finished product. Right now there was only a day of safety margin between the completion of a back up dam and the ice dam's failure. With the way construction on earth went, he would feel much happier with a month.

He heard the lab door close, looked up from the computer to see tea, milk and biscuits had been delivered while he'd been deep in thought. Tony already had his milk and biscuits at his desk, eating happily while he drew.

The Doctor turned his attention back to the computer. If he couldn't speed up construction, maybe he could slow down the failing of the dam. Perhaps some radiation reflectors to mitigate the impact of the sun on the dam, though with the ice dam already being white they wouldn't have that much effect.

He was frustrated and angry with himself. The plan had been to use the resources that were being spent on the dimension cannon and divert them to the backup dam and other projects to reverse the global warming. Once he had finished with the dimension cannon, work on the back up dam could begin. His pushing back firing the modified dimension cannon, so he could live a little longer had been stupid and selfish. This planet could face a global disaster, all because he had wanted a few extra days.

He stood up wanting to get some tea to calm himself. After he took a few steps, the room started spinning. He quickly sat down on the floor before he fell down or maybe he fell down and just happened to wind up sitting, it was hard to tell. Soon he felt a small hand on his forehead and heard a worried voice. "Dockor sick? I s'posed get mum Dockor sick."

"No don't get mum. I'm fine, just a little tired. Here watch, I'll lie down and feel better." The Doctor lay down hoping having full contact with the floor would make the room stop spinning. He could feel the coral's worry but couldn't help it now. Tony patted his shoulder and put his hand back on his forehead.

"Tony, why is your hand on my forehead?"

"Makes better. I sick, Mum puts hand on head, I better."

The Doctor chuckled at that despite the dizziness. He loved the cause and effect reasoning of Tony. The dizziness faded. It was just a spell. He was afraid for moment he had left it too long. He was relieved that apparently it had just been caused by his aggravation with himself.

He reassured the coral that everything was alright, nothing to worry about. It wasn't convinced, it insisted something was wrong. He asked it to rest anyway, telling it if something was wrong, he would need it ready to help, not tired out from worry. The coral accepted the reasoning and reluctantly went back to sleep.

The Doctor sat up and winced, he had a slight headache and was feeling nauseous. Well he knew the cure for that. Unfortunately the tea was at the other end of the lab on the one free table by the door. He could ask Tony to get it for him, he wasn't going to have the youngster attempt to handle the hot liquid. But there was another way Tony could help.

"Tony can you bring me the chair?" Tony nodded and brought the chair over. "Thank you Tony, you are a big help." Tony's face lit up at the praise. The Doctor pulled himself up into the chair. It was your standard office furniture type with casters. He used it to maneuver over to the tea and poured himself a cup. As he drank it the nausea and headache faded, much to his relief.

He thought about that and began to wonder if it was just a spell he had suffered. He heard Jackie's mobile ring with the distinctive tone that indicated it was Pete calling. "No, no, no" he thought. "It can't be… she wouldn't… she couldn't…" He'd locked it down, only he could operate it. He heard someone hurrying down the stairs, then Jackie was at the door, a concerned look on her face.

There could only be one explanation. Rose had built a duplicate dimension cannon and fired it.
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Re: A Small Piece of Coral

Post by Aspadistra on Sat Jun 20, 2009 3:30 pm


Lucy's right: Rose is a female dog in this!

Thank you for posting your work, Paksena. Smile
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Re: A Small Piece of Coral

Post by Jennyjenkins on Sun Jun 21, 2009 5:17 am

Yes thanks Paksena - I look forward to my daily read! sunny
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Re: A Small Piece of Coral

Post by Paksena on Sun Jun 21, 2009 7:32 am

Aspadistra wrote:EEEEeeeeek.

Lucy's right: Rose is a female dog in this!

Thank you for posting your work, Paksena. Smile

Jennyjenkins wrote:Yes thanks Paksena - I look forward to my daily read! sunny

Thank you both for letting me know you are enjoying it. About to put up the next chapter.
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chapter 14 of 17 (part 1)

Post by Paksena on Sun Jun 21, 2009 7:39 am

"Are you alright?" Jackie asked the Doctor.

"Dockor fall down," Tony reported.

Jackie shook her head. "Tony, you're supposed to come get me if he's sick."

"Dockor say no, say tired."

Jackie sighed. "That's alright Tony. He is convincing when he wants to be." She went over to the Doctor and put her hand on his forehead. "Pete thinks she's made another dimension cannon and fired it. Did you hurt yourself when you fell?"

Tony piped up. "See, Dockor, Mum hand on head, make better."

"No, I didn't, I didn't really fall, I just sat down suddenly," the Doctor responded. "I worried Tony I guess, I told him I was alright. More importantly, why does Pete think she fired a dimension cannon?"

"I don't know, something about a power surge. It won't happen again. Pete had maintenance turn off the power." Jackie dismissed the details with a wave of her hand. "I am more interested in you. You feel a little warm. I don't want you catching a chill."

"My body temperature is always a little warmer now," stated the Doctor as he ducked out from under Jackie's hand. "It's nothing. Honestly I'm fine." To prove his point, he stood up and put the tea cup back by the pot. He rolled the chair over to the computer, hoping she didn't notice that he was leaning on it.

He sat down, facing Jackie. "I really have some work I need to get done. I'll be alright. Don't worry."

"Well, if you're sure." Doubt evident in her voice.

"I'm sure."

Jackie turned to her son. "Tony, you come get me if he falls down again. No matter what he says."

"Yes, Mum, I sorry. I get you."

"Good, and you," she said, rounding on the Doctor. "Behave yourself and don't get my son in any more trouble. I think your soup will be ready soon I'll send it down when it is."

"You don't need to bother."

"It's no bother at all and this way you can eat your main course with the rest of us."

"Alright then, thank you." The Doctor smiled briefly.

Jackie bent down and gave Tony a hug. "You take care of him okay?"

"Yes mum, I helping." He pointed to the papers on his desk.

"That's good." She ruffled his hair. On the way out of the room she checked the teapot. "This is getting a bit cold. I'll send down some more."

The Doctor breathed a sigh of relief when she left the lab. "Tony do you want to show me your drawings?" He asked, curious as to what the boy had done.

Tony gathered up his drawings in a messy bundle and brought them over.

The first few were what the Doctor had expected, blue scribbles over the ice dam. As Tony had continued a pattern started to develop with the blue heavier in the same spots on each picture.

It gave him an idea. He ran the computer model of the dam several times. Each time the same locations were the ones to break first. He kicked himself for not seeing it earlier. He started changing the design of the dam and its construction, making a series of smaller dams at the failure points that could eventually be connected creating one large dam. He ran the simulation. Using that plan it bought him another three weeks. Not as much as he wanted, but still much better than he had.

He turned to the young boy. "Good job, you may have saved the day." and gave him a hug.

"I draw good?"

"Yes, you draw very well. Let's go get you some more milk and biscuits."

His mood better and the effects of the dimension cannon being fired diminished. He tried walking over to where the refreshments had been left. He pulled the chair along, just in case he needed a break on the way. It turned out the chair was unnecessary for that purpose. It was however quite convenient for sitting in while eating the soup that had been delivered.

He gave Tony more milk and a couple biscuits and sat down to his soup, enjoying its flavor and the multiple textures of the contents. It always did make him feel better. Refreshed and cheered by his progress, he closed his eyes and asked of himself the question whose answer he feared.

His energy level was lower. Lower than he would have liked, but it should be enough. He just had to be careful, stay calm, not push himself. Rose should have no problem with testing the modified cannon first thing in the morning, He checked the coral, amazingly it had suffered no drop in energy. He smiled like a proud father, it must have figured out how to shield itself. "Hey, you learn a new trick?" he asked.

"Mum, help," was the response. It made no sense, Jackie helped him, nothing she did could help the coral. It must have misunderstood him. Well he was glad it hadn't been affected by the assault. He needed to get back to working on reducing the planet's temperature. The ice dam was the most urgent problem but not the only one.

He finished his soup and gave Tony more tools to draw before he went back to work on the computer. He had several ideas and ran them through his models, the radiation reflectors had the most impact for funds required to implement. It was also easy to adjust them so the drop in temperature wouldn't occur too quickly, causing its own set of problems.

Soon he had a course of action set up for Pete, complete with how to deal with various contingencies. The Doctor would save the universe. He would have to leave it to Pete to save the world. He was putting the finishing touches on the plan and about to do a final assessment of all the computer models he had built, when he heard a familiar footfall. With dread he turned to face the latest occupant of the lab.

"I thought you were too tired to work today. What are you doing down here?" accused Rose as she stood in the doorway, hand on her hip, her casual attire a contrast to her officious manner.

"Tony, you been a big help today, now why don't you go see if your mum needs you?" asked the Doctor, wanting to get the young boy out of the line of fire. The boy looked at the Doctor, indecision showing on his face. The Doctor nodded and gestured to encourage him to get on his way. Tony took off at an unsteady run, trying to avoid touching Rose as he made his way out the door.

The youngster safe, the Doctor answered Rose "I never said I was tired, I said I needed to have my mind in top shape. Doing the kind of statistical analysis Pete does here is a nice low key work out for my brain, exactly what I need to get ready."

She snorted at that and entered the room. "Oh, I'm sure. Admit it, just another one of your lies."

The Doctor briefly closed his eyes. This is not what he needed today. "What else am I supposed to have lied about now?" He was unable to keep the exasperation out of his voice.

"That you are dying, that firing the dimension cannon was killing you. All that stuff you have been saying to get sympathy and stop me from going back."

The Doctor took a deep breath, reminding himself it was essential he stay calm. He opened his eyes and looked Rose square in the face. "I am just as surprised that I am still alive, as you are apparently annoyed by that fact. The dimension cannon does affect me, your little test today caused quite a drama here and wasted a lot time I can ill afford. And whether you believe it or not, I am doing everything I possibly can to try to get you back safely, without tearing up the time space continuum."

"Oh, I bet it caused a drama. A little bit of play acting on your part no doubt. You and your brother are both so good at pretending. Well, you had better be prepared to deliver on your promises tomorrow. I have managed to duplicate the dimension cannon. So I have a back up if you have made a hash of the old one. I even tested it today and it works just as well as the old one did before you started mucking about with it."

"Yes, it apparently does, I suppose I should thank you for not firing it at full power."

"Don't thank me. Thank Pete. He came up with some lame excuse to cut power to the lab."

The Doctor definitely felt he, and perhaps the entire planet owed Pete their thanks. "Well you won't need it. I promised you tomorrow would be the day. In fact, I would prefer if we did it early before too much is going on that could interfere with the power flows. We can leave before sun up and have breakfast on the way, no need to disturb anyone here."

"I'll have no such thing!!" exclaimed Jackie as she entered the lab. "Tomorrow of all days you are to have a proper breakfast. I'm not letting you go out of here on an empty stomach, having to endure some premade rubbish that has been sitting under a heat lamp for six hours! I'll get up and make you a real breakfast myself. And you, young lady, where do you come off being so reckless? You could have killed him today."

Rose smirked at her mother and laughed. "Boy, has he got you snowed with his little act. I can't believe it. First that Elton guy having you think he was all interested in you. Now you buy this tall tale. I'm surprised there isn't a line of con men from here to London waiting to fleece you, as gullible as you are."

The Doctor was about to speak, to try and defuse the situation before it was too late. Too late arrived before he could get a word out. Jackie hauled off and slapped Rose. The coral was getting agitated from the intense emotions in the room. The Doctor tried to calm it while Jackie proceeded to give Rose a piece of her mind.

"Just because I don't think what I want is more important than everything else in the universe, or should that be universes. Doesn't mean I am gullible or soft or easy. If you could ever get past your own selfishness you would see what a kind, generous and gentle man he is and what a complete and total idiot you were to reject him."

"Jackie no, please no, just… just... let it be." The Doctor pleaded with her to not bring up things from the past that would only add fuel to the already out of control emotional fire.

Rose took the opportunity to berate him further. "Yeah, that's right. You don't want her to find out how you tricked me. Made me think you were something you're not."

The Doctor looked down at the floor and shook his head. Knowing nothing he could say would ever get her to see the truth. He wondered if he should tell her he had managed to destroy the brown suit that morning. She would never have to worry about him 'tricking' her again.

He looked up to see Pete had joined them. "Great just what we need, one more player added to this deranged soap opera," thought the Doctor. "More fuel for the fire."
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Re: A Small Piece of Coral

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