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[personal profile] globaldominationent
Title: Forever
Author: [livejournal.com profile] erykah101
Rating: PG
Summary: This is how I would have preferred the journey to end. It's a "re-imagining" of the last 20 or so minutes of the episode. There's something in here for everyone.

Spoilers: Journey’s End



With Earth back in its proper place the impromptu – and somewhat motley - crew of the TARDIS fell back from the console in relief; hugging each other and laughing.

At first no one noticed Donna stagger back from the group and close her eyes. Then she shuddered and gasped so loudly that everyone turned to stare. Her body started to shake uncontrollably.

“Doctor, the metacrisis is… is… ahhh!” She stuttered.

“Donna!” The Doctor ran to her side and took her in his arms as she slumped to the floor. “No!” He stated vehemently.

“What’s wrong with her?” Sarah Jane asked as all the companions crowded around them.

“The metacrisis is too much for her body to cope with.” The Other!Doctor stated flatly.

Rose, who was standing next to him, looked up at him, worried. He looked down at her and tried for a reassuring smile. He failed. She gulped visibly.

“Is she Time Lord enough to regenerate?” Captain Jack asked practically.

“Not enough.” Donna replied on a gasp. “Already thoughta that.” She smiled slightly with an echo of the Doctor’s smugness. Pain whipped through her again causing her to convulse in the Doctor’s arms. “Ahhhh!” He held her tighter.

“Donna, the only way to stop this would be for me to wipe your memories. If you don’t remember any of this… anything about me…” He swallowed hard. “That way…”

She gripped his arm hard – really hard - and stared straight into his eyes.

“Don’t You Dare spaceman!” She stated firmly. “Don’t you dare take ANY of this away from me.”

“But you’ll die if…” He tried again.

“You can’t save us all Doctor…” She smiled tightly through the pain. “And that’s okay. And that’s not your fault. Travelling with you has been everything to me. Thank you… for showing me how to be everything I could be.”

A tear ran down the doctor’s face but he smiled down at her.

“Donna Noble, you are…”

“Brilliant.” Martha stated firmly with a smile.

“Awesome.” Captain Jack agreed with a grin.

“Wonderful.” Sarah Jane chimed in.

“Fantastic.” Rose finished.

The Doctor looked around at all of them and he smiled again. He would happily use all those words for all of them and they knew it. He looked back down at Donna. She convulsed again but then forcibly steadied herself.

“Tell Grandad…” She closed her eyes. “Tell the old fogey that I love him… and to keep watching the stars.”

“I will.” The Doctor promised.

Another wave of pain hit her but she pushed it back down one more time. Her eyes shone brightly and she grinned.

“I am so much more brilliant than you!” She stated and the Doctor looked taken aback. She pulled him down to her and spoke directly into his ear. “I’m gonna stay with you forever.” She promised.

He pulled back to look at her. She was still grinning but then the grin disappeared. Her head fell back and her mouth fell open.

Tears openly flowed down the Doctor’s face as he continued to cradle her body, staring at her as if willing her to come back.

Jack sagged against one of the columns.

Sarah Jane closed her eyes to blink back tears.

Jackie stood with her head down, wiping at her tears.

Mickey stood straight and stoic, and tried to pretend he was too tough to be affected by the scene in front of him.

Martha put a reassuring hand on the Doctor’s shoulder.

The Other!Doctor reached out and took Rose’s hand firmly in his. She looked up at him past her tears; their eyes met and held. Rose squeezed his hand back.

They were all surprised when Donna gasped one more time. They were even more surprised when a fine trail of golden “dust” started to rise from her mouth.

“What’s going on?” Mickey asked.

“Is she regenerating after all?” Rose asked stepping forward, but still holding the Other!Doctor’s hand.

The swirl of gold floated through the air and danced around their heads almost playfully, threading through and around the beams of the TARDIS console room. The Doctor lowered Donna’s - now empty - body to the floor and stood up. The swirl wove around him too. It darted in and out amongst the companions, who turned to watch incredulously as it veered and wafted on a invisible breeze.

“What’s happening?” Martha asked as it passed by her.

Both Doctor’s looked at each other in amazement as the TARDIS walls began to glow gently.

“Can’t be.” They both said at once. They snapped their mouths shut as an unpleasant memory haunted them briefly. The swirl of light came between them and did a sort of poofing thing as if to distract them from the memory. They both laughed happily and watched it with identical growing grins.

The loud banging noise startled everyone, as did the burst of light from the TARDIS console overtaking the room, blinding everyone as they recoiled from it. After a moment the light level eased a little.

“That’s the heart of the TARDIS!” Rose exclaimed. “Oh my God! I looked in there before.” She now remembered everything.

The Other!Doctor reached out unerringly for her despite the overwhelming light and pulled her into his arms firmly. She clung on to him just as tightly.

The dancing light that had come from Donna still swirled around their heads, somehow having a different quality to the light coming from the TARDIS’ brilliant heart.

“Forever, Doctor.” Donna’s voice whispered all around them.

The swirl of Donna dust gathered itself together and darted into the open console. Firmly it closed behind “her” and, in an instant, all was still again.

For a few seconds there was stunned silence and then the Doctor - the original Doctor – began to laugh… really laugh. He clutched his sides and flat out guffawed with laughter.

Everyone stared at him.

“Oh come on!” He addressed them all. “Wasn’t that great?! Donna Noble, totally brilliant! Not a temp anymore! Permenant fixture!”

“What was that?” Jackie asked. “What just happened?”

“Did she just ‘upload’ herself into the TARDIS?!” Rose queried incredulously from within the arms of the Other!Doctor.

The Original!Doctor turned to look at Rose. His face fell just the tiniest bit when he saw who she was standing wrapped around. She didn’t even seem to realise what she was doing. He wiped the pain off his face before it had barely even registered.

“Yeah.” He forced the grin back. “She did. Used the Time Lord connection to the TARDIS as a conduit to knock on the door...” He touched the TARDIS console lovingly. “And the old girl welcomed her right in!”

A suggestive grin spread across Jack’s face at the thought and the Doctor – realising where Jack’s thoughts were headed – looked at him sharply.

“Stop it!” He said pointing. Jack grinned. “Right then…” The Doctor began. He looked down at the TARDIS console in front of him and grinned again, laying a hand on it. “Let’s see about getting everyone back home. First stop, Cardiff! Let’s go meet your team, Jack.”

The Doctor busied himself fiddling with instruments and tried to ignore Rose having a conversation with the Other!Doctor on the opposite side of the console room.

“Is that gonna happen to you?” Rose asked, standing awkwardly facing him now. “Will that metacrisis thing kill you too?”

“No.” He replied. “I’m just a little bit more Time Lord than human. It’s enough to keep it under control.”

“Well,” Rose said, looking up at him from under her lashes and smiling a little. “That’s alright then.”

He smiled back at her.

The TARDIS set down in Roald Dahl Plass and Jack, smiling, started towards the door. Rose broke away from the Other!Doctor and placed her hand on his sleeve to stop him.

“Jack…” He turned to look at her. Tears were welling in her eyes. “I’m so sorry.”

His smile faded, comprehending her meaning.

“I didn’t mean it as a curse… I was just…”

He put a finger over her lips to stop her and then pulled her into his arms.

“You wanted to give a gift of life.” He said into her hair. “That’s not wrong.” He pulled back to look at her. Her mascara was smudged, so he pulled a handkerchief from his coat pocket and wiped at it gently. “It’s quite useful sometimes.” He smiled wryly.

“I still shouldn’t have…” She insisted.

“Rose.” He cut her off. “If you hadn’t done it, then I’d have been dead a long time ago and I’d never have met some amazing people. Thanks to you I have a chance to be a better man than I was.” He touched her hair. “It’s not easy living forever,” He looked over to see the Original!Doctor watching them intently. “But I’ve got a pretty good role model.”

Rose followed his gaze and smiled too.

“What are you gonna do?” Jack asked her. She looked over at the Other!Doctor. “Ah!”

“What?” She demanded looking back at him.

“Threesomes are fun!” He replied naughtily. She burst out laughing and hit him playfully in the stomach. “What? Come on, you seriously weren’t thinking that? Are you made of stone?!”

She grinned back at him, but then her face fell. He sobered up too.

“This universe can’t have two Doctors.” He said softly.

“I know.” She replied seriously and they just looked at each other for a long moment.

“Jack.” The original!Doctor called out to him breaking the spell. “Your team’s headed this way.”

Jack grinned, took her hand, raised it to his lips and kissed it. Then he turned and went to stand in the TARDIS doorway. There was a shriek as a red and black blur (that was probably Gwen) landed in his arms. He nearly buckled to the floor. The more sober figure of Ianto appeared in the doorway, his eyes wide as he looked into the TARDIS.

The Doctor waved cheerfully at Ianto and he – still gobsmacked from seeing the TARDIS interior – sort of waved back.

Jack managed to extricate himself from Gwen - who walked into the TARDIS staring around in amazement – and went over to Ianto. He pulled him into his arms firmly and buried his head in his shoulder. Ianto let his relieved head drop onto Jack’s shoulder.

“I said I’d come back.” Jack said softly.

“I knew it.” Ianto replied.

They stepped back but stayed close.

Hellos and goodbyes were said pretty much at the same time.

The Doctor declined Ianto’s offer of coffee, saying that he was more of a tea man himself but suggested that Martha and Mickey might like to stay for some.

Jack looked at him seriously when he said that; taking in the suggestion. Then he nodded.

“I’ll take care of them.” He said.

“Take care of each other.” The Doctor replied.

He held out his hand for Jack to shake. Jack rolled his eyes and pulled him into a huge bear hug. They broke apart laughing.

“You’re still wrong Jack.” The Doctor said, perhaps meaning it as a warning for the future.

“And that’s what you love about me!” Jack grinned, noting the warning but choosing to ignore it for now. “Don’t be a stranger.”

“I’m sure I could learn how to make a great cup of tea.” Ianto chipped in. Jack smiled at him.

“Maybe next time.” The Doctor agreed.

They turned to leave the TARDIS, picking up a grinning Gwen on the way.

“I’ve been talking to Sarah Jane and it seems that we could pool some info…” she was saying as they went out the door.

Mickey broke off from hugging Rose goodbye and headed for the door. In the doorway he stopped and turned back. He touched his fingers to his temple as a quasi-salute and the Doctor smiled; doing the same gesture right back at him. Mickey followed the others out.

Martha stepped in front of the Doctor.

“Martha Jones.” He sighed with a smile, but then his face fell. “You wouldn’t have really..?”

“No.” She stated flatly. “I’ve saved this planet too many times now to just go and blow it up because of a few Daleks. But I had to make Davros think that I would, to buy us some time.”

“That’s my girl!” The Doctor grinned and hugged her.

“Doctor,” She began into his shoulder. “What Donna said…” She moved back to look at his face. “About how travelling with you made her see everything she could be.” She bit her lip. “I haven’t always liked everything I could be.”

He looked at her seriously.

“How do you stop it all from making you too cold? Too… heartless?”

He gulped, looked as if he was going to speak, stopped and then tried again.

“I’ll let you know when I’ve worked that out.” He replied sadly. But then he looked around the room. He saw Rose chatting animatedly with her mum and Sarah Jane. He saw Gwen, Jack and Ianto catching up just outside the door. “Having people around you definitely helps.”

They shared one more hug. Martha smiled back at him as she walked out the door. Jack shot out an arm and pulled her tightly next to him.

The Doctor watched them all walk away towards the bay. Jack with one arm around Martha and one around Gwen. Ianto was walking close by grinning. Mickey was walking like a soldier, slightly away from the group but with them in spirit.

“Let’s go get totally blinding drunk.” He heard Jack say to his team.

He smiled and closed the TARDIS door.

-------------------

The TARDIS only just fit into Sarah Jane’s house and Sarah Jane was all over Luke the minute she stepped out of the door. He only complained when she was in actual danger of breaking his ribs. She introduced him to the Doctor, bursting with a mother’s pride in her child.

Once again it was all hellos and goodbyes; both sweet and bitter.

The two Doctors made a fuss over K9 that got everyone laughing and the Original!Doctor fiddled with Mr. Smith to give him a way to get in touch with the TARDIS should it ever be needed.

Rose, Jackie and the Other!Doctor finally headed back into the TARDIS. Luke and K9 made themselves scarce.

And the Doctor wrapped Sarah Jane in a hug.

“For so long I lived without a goodbye, now it seems like it's all we ever say!” Her voice broke on the words.

He smiled sadly into her shoulder.

“My Sarah Jane.” He sighed, closed his eyes and held on for a long moment. They both enjoyed the feeling of not needing to say anything more at all.

Finally they parted and he headed for the TARDIS but stopped in the doorway and turned back to face her. He looked around the room and grinned.

“I LOVE this room! See ya!”

She grinned back, waved and he went inside.

--------------------

As he closed the door the Doctor looked over at Rose. She was standing with her mother and it looked as if they’d been having a serious conversation. The Other!Doctor was stood on the other side of the room pretending to do something technical.

“Right then,” He finally said with forced cheerfulness. “Where to..?”

Rose swallowed hard and came across to him.

“You know where.” She said sadly and looked over at the Other!Doctor.

“Yep.” He said on a sigh, rocking back on his heels.

He went to the controls. There was silence in the TARDIS as it travelled to its next destination. Each of its inhabitants was lost in their own thoughts.

The cold sea breeze forced its way into the console room as soon as the door was opened and the four travellers stepped out onto the sodden sands of Bad Wolf Bay; not just a world but a universe away.

“Home.” Jackie sighed happily, breathing in the air of this world. “Hope your dad’s okay.” She said to Rose. “He’s been babysitting.” She explained to the Doctor. She stuck out her hand. “Goodbye Doctor.” He shook it and she reached up to kiss him on the cheek.

He smiled at her as she moved away.

The Other!Doctor stepped up next.

“You were brilliant, as always.” He said with a grin.

“And you were dangerous.” He replied and the Other!Doctor’s face fell. “I’m entrusting this universe to you… but you can’t go round killing everyone that causes trouble.”

“You destroyed the Daleks too!” He complained.

“Yes we did that, but it doesn’t mean it was right to.” He told himself. “If Dalek Caan proves anything it’s that even Dalek’s can be redeemed… and that gives me hope. Because, if they can change…” He smiled wryly. “…then so can we.”

The Doctor looked over at Rose, who was standing staring out to sea

“You know I will.” The Other!Doctor said seriously in response to the unspoken words and went to stand with Jackie.

The Doctor went over to Rose. She didn’t turn around.

“Last time we were here I thought it was goodbye forever.” She said. He said nothing and so she turned to face him. “You not going to say anything?”

“Do I need to?!” He asked, his face full of emotion.

“Yes!” She replied firmly. “This really is goodbye! This really is your last chance!”

“What are you going to do now?” He asked instead, as a diversion.

Rose sighed.

“Exactly what I did before. Defend the Earth.” She looked at him, then over at the Other!Doctor. “And look after him of course.”

The Doctor shot a glance at his other self.

“He is me.” He said. “He has all my memories... and, rather worryingly, Donna’s too.” He said wryly with a slight frown.

“But he’s not you.” Rose said softly, then grinned cheekily, breaking the angsty moment. “He already told me that he loves me!”

A surprised smile broke out on the Doctor’s face.

“I’m actually worried that he’s gonna be too lovey dovey and clingly.” She teased further. “I’m not used to that. I might go off him in a week.”

He looked a bit gobsmacked. She smiled and reached up to cup his face with both her hands. She pulled him down to her and gave him a peck on the lips.

“Oh, Jack was right.” She said - almost - against his lips. “A threesome would be amazing!”

She drew back still grinning naughtily but he was looking down at her seriously again. He surprised her by pulling her into a hug. They held on tight. He moved back so he could see her face.

“Rose Tyler...” He began before pulling her close again to whisper the words for her ears alone.

She pulled back and grinned at him.

“Quite right too.” She said and stepped back, but kept hold of his hand. “Take care, Doctor.”

He moved back; still holding onto her hand, letting fingers, and then finally just fingertips touch until there was far too much space between them to keep in contact any longer.

The Doctor smiled - really smiled - turned and walked to the TARDIS. He didn’t look back. He didn't need to.

Rose went and stood with her Doctor - held his hand – and watched the TARDIS disappear.

-------------------------

The Doctor stood in front of the TARDIS console and put his hands onto the controls. He let them rest there a moment without doing anything.

“Right then ladies,” He grinned. “Second star to the right and straight on till morning!”

He threw the lever into position, cranked the handle and started laughing as they spun into the vortex.


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