Nothing Noble left
The blue-suited Doctor frowned when his counterpart announced they had time for one more trip — Dårlig Ulv Stranden. Bad Wolf Bay.
No. This wasn’t going to happen again. He wouldn’t allow it.
He caught the other Doctor’s eye and jerked his head toward the corridor off console room. “Can I have a word?” he asked casually, giving the others in the room no hint to the Oncoming Storm gathering in his eyes.
The Doctor sighed with a nod and motioned for the Blue Fury to follow him to the library. He didn’t need this now. What he had to do was killing him. He was going to lose everything. Again. He seriously began to wonder if he could go on after all was said and done. Wondered if he even wanted to anymore. The last thing he needed was Doctor 2.0 questioning him.
Once they reached the library, the two men faced each other in a clash of ego, the likes of which haven’t been seen since the gods ruled the Earth.
“I know what you’re going to say.”
“It’s not going to work.”
“Yes it will; it’s for the best.”
“Who’s best? Yours or hers?
“You’re an idiot.”
Probably, but that really wasn’t the point. This had to be done. Rose deserved a life with a man who could love her fully, be with her always … grow old with her. He couldn’t offer that anymore. The meta-crisis changed everything.
“We can’t both exist in the same universe,” the pinstriped Doctor reminded him, unnecessarily.
“No doubt about that,” the other Doctor agreed with a roll of his eyes. “You’re too thick to stay here.”
“And what, you’re going to remain here and send me to Pete’s World?”
“You’re insane!” He threw his hands out in frustration. “And dangerous! That was genocide! You murdered an entire race of beings!”
“Hardly a first for us.”
The Doctor bristled, shoving his hands into his pockets to glare at the Indigo Irritant. “We don’t have time for this.”
“Yes, I know. We have exactly 17 minutes and 42 seconds before we land,” the Doctor answered stripping off his jacket and tossing it to the floor in front of the other man before grabbing the hem of his t-shirt and pulling it off.
“What the hell are you doing?” Ah, that explained it. The new Doctor was certifiable, completely around the bend. The meta-crisis had gone bad somewhere and his counterpart was unstable.
“Getting undressed, we only have a few minutes to change clothes,” he spoke slowly as if addressing a small child.
“Wha … You think we’re switching places?” Well, he hadn’t been expecting that.
“Again with the thickness. We are switching places. I have to stay here and clean up the mess I’ve created.”
“Donna is my responsibility...”
“No!” the nearly naked man shouted. “She’s mine. I’m the reason she’s Doctor Donna and I’m the one who’s going to deal with it.”
“You can’t just —” and he was interrupted again.
“No, you can’t, you fool.” The Doctor stopped removing his clothes and faced his double, fists clenched, annoyed that this was taking so long. “When that energy blast hit Donna, what did it do to her?”
The suited Doctor’s hearts clenched at the question. “It activated the Time Lord DNA.”
“What the hell do you think it did to me?” the new Doctor ground out between clenched teeth and the other man’s eyes widened.
“Exactly,” the Destroyer of Daleks confirmed. “The human DNA is being rewritten as we speak. I’m losing Donna fast; I’ve already begun to grow a second heart. By the time we hit that beach, they’ll be nothing Noble left.”
“Regardless, I’m the one staying.” The Doctor dug in his heels. This didn’t change anything, he tried to convince himself. He had responsibilities. No matter how much he wanted to stay with Rose, he couldn’t.
The other Doctor smiled grimly, seeing the resolve set in with his counterpart. So, that’s how it was going to be — an all out battle to see who could be the most self-sacrificing. Bloody hell, they were stubborn.
“You want this. I know you do,” he told him calmly, knowing he would win this in the end. He held all the cards, even if the other Doctor didn’t realize it yet.
“I remember what it was like after she was gone. All of it — every day and every, single lonely night we spent laying in her bed wanting nothing more than another minute with her. Everything we are is for her. From the moment we regenerated into this body … this body we created just for her. So, just stop. I know what you were thinking when you saw her on that street. If you managed to save the universe and survive, you were going to take her, find a nice quiet corner of the galaxy, park the TARDIS and settle down. Live the rest of her life with her. Give her the children you so desperately want to. And never, ever let her go again.”
The Doctor, crossed his arms over his chest and frowned darkly, but couldn’t deny what the other man was saying.
“It’s why I exist,” came the reminder that sounded dangerously close to an accusation. “You couldn’t bear the thought of leaving her again. You were so scared she wouldn’t love you the same if you weren’t in this body, but it was nothing compared to the fear you had about not loving her the same in a new body.”
Again, he could offer no response. Not sure he wanted to anymore. His mind whirled with the ramifications and possibilities of what he was being offered. His every dream ... his every nightmare. Why wasn’t his timeline in flux? If he was seriously considering this, why wasn’t the universe protesting? It should be fighting every step of the way, yet....
“And you’re right,” the Blue Wonder never faltered in his argument. “I can’t force you to do this. If you insist on playing the martyr, there’s nothing I can do to stop it. But I’ll tell you this — Rose Tyler gets her happy ending. You’re not abandoning her on that damn beach again. Thirty minutes from now, after the TARDIS disappears, one of us will turn to her, place both her hands over the hearts that beat only for her and apologize for not having time to explain, but that we did it for Donna.”
“And if that man is me,” he continued, the warning clear. “I will never tell her what happened in this room. How you didn’t love her enough to take the risk, even after all that’s happened. She promised forever and that’s what I’ll give her. She. Will. Never. Know.”
The Doctor’s eyes hardened. He would do it too. He would lie to Rose, tell her he was her Doctor and she wouldn’t know the difference. Not that there was much of one anymore. But he wouldn’t even give her the choice of choosing for herself. At least he’d been planning on giving her that much. She couldn’t have him, but she could have the half-human him … if she wanted.
The Doctor waited for that last bit to sink in. He wasn’t bluffing. He had all the same memories. All the same feelings. He loved her too and if it wasn’t so damned wrong, he would be fighting to stay with her.
“Don’t think I don’t want it to be me, either. I love her as much as you do. I want nothing more than be with her, regardless of how much pain it will cause me when I lose her again. And I’m going to have to live with that a hell of a lot longer than you will.”
The Doctor’s head snapped back. “What do you mean?”
“And we called Mickey an idiot,” he sighed. “Newly created Time Lord, genius, figure it out.”
“Who’s never regenerated,” the man in the brown suit realized suddenly.
“Now he finally gets it. I’ve got twelve lifetimes left. You have two. And the way you’ve burned through them in the last few years, there’s a pretty good chance she’s going to outlive you,” he smirked.
“So, Time Lord, now you know what will happen. Rose and the Doctor. Together. Forever. It’s your choice. Time is running out and there’s really only one question here: Tonight when she cries out our name in a way she hasn’t in three years, is she going to have her legs wrapped around you, or me?”