THE CULT OF THE DOCTOR

Chapter Two

An hour later, an unmarked black helicopter was taking them back to the nearest city where they could wait comfortably until Pete arrived. The Doctor, Rose and the clone sat together in the belly of the helicopter while Jackie sat in the co-pilots seat. The pilot, a young man named Sven shocked the Doctor when he recognized him and the clone the moment he got out of the helicopter. He asked for an autograph and the clone deferred to him, letting the Doctor sign the piece of paper Sven handed him. He wanted to ask Sven what he knew about him but Sven told them they were in a hurry so they piled into the helicopter and Sven took off. Now the Doctor stared out the grimy window of the helicopter, lost in his thoughts until Rose touched his arm.

"I didn't ask anyone to write a biography about you and I wasn't interviewed by anyone and I know Dad wasn't either," she said.

"Then how did it get written? You know me best out of everyone here and even you don't know the whole story of my life."

"I don't know. I mentioned you sometimes to people at Torchwood because I have a photo of you on my desk but I never really said anything about your life. I told people you were a former boyfriend and we used to travel together and that's as far as it went for awhile. Then I had to explain who you were when we constructed the dimension cannon but I still didn't go into much detail. I just told them that you might know how to stop the stars from going out and I had to find you."

The Doctor nodded.

"I want to ask Sven what he's read when we land. Or find a copy of the book. Someone over here knows me well enough to write a book. Unless it's a bunch of lies."

"Even so, why would someone write down a bunch of lies and sell it?" the clone said. "You're not a part of this universe, right?"

Rose shook her head.

"He's not. Believe me, I checked. I spoke with several alien delegates when they visited Earth and I asked about you and no one ever heard of you," Rose said. "Then again, that doesn't mean you might not exist here, it just means that the people we talked to had no knowledge of you."

The Doctor was bemused that Rose had asked around about another version of him. He often wondered if she had found another version of him or at least tried to find him. The fact that she tried so hard to be with him again warmed his hearts. He relaxed against the high-backed leather seat and closed his eyes, listening to the muffled sound of the helicopter blades turning as he tried to give his mind a break from thinking for several minutes. He felt Rose lay her hand on his arm but he kept his eyes closed and didn't acknowledge her. He was trying not to think of Donna and imagine the worst for her. That was his first priority at the moment, finding her and saving her life. The mystery of the biography could wait.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

When they reached the nearest city, Jackie checked them into a hotel and rented four rooms. Two of the rooms were beside each other on the third floor. The other two were down the hall from them. The Doctor went to the room farthest away from the others before anyone could say anything. He needed some time alone to think and come up with some solutions. He didn't wait to see where everyone else went as he strode off the down the hall with keycard in hand. His room was two doors down from the end of the hallway. At the very end was a large window with a small table and a vase of flowers in front of it. The Doctor inserted the key card and went inside his room. There wasn't much to it. A wooden floor with white plaster walls. There was a few framed paintings on the walls and a simple bed and a bedside table with a lamp and a telephone on top of it. It had an en suite bathroom but it was small and undecorated and to the Doctor's distaste, had a dead cockroach in the bathtub. The Doctor picked it up and flung it into the toilet. He flushed it and walked back to the bed. He was about to stretch out on it and think when he heard a knock on the door and Rose calling to him. He walked over, opened the door and gazed at her beautiful face. She was giving him a concerned look.

"Are you okay?" Rose said.

"I'm fine, Rose. I just wanted to rest a bit and think."

"Mum wants us to meet downstairs in a couple of hours so we can find somewhere to eat. She was about to tell you that but you just walked off so she sent me to tell you."

"Thank you."

There was a moment of hesitation.

"Doctorůare you mad at me?" she finally said.

The Doctor shook his head.

"I'm just worried about Donna. I don't want her to die."

Rose nodded.

"I just wondered. You've been so distant, especially after leaving the Crucible. I thought I did something to upset you."

"No, you've done nothing wrong. There's been a lot of my mind lately."

Rose took his hand and ran her fingertips lightly over the back of it.

"We haven't had much time alone since we found each other again. That bloody Dalek shot you and you nearly regenerated and then we were kidnapped and imprisoned and we had to deal with all that. This is the first chance I've had to really be with you. But you want to be alone so I'll just tell you I'm in 322, next door to Mum. The other you is three doors down from here. Anyway, if you want me to come get you for supper, I will but you don't have to go. It's just an invitation. Anyway, I'll leave you alone andů"

Rose was turning to go but the Doctor tightened his grip on her hand. Rose looked back at him and she saw an intense longing in his eyes. No words were spoken but Rose knew to come close to him and to walk with him as he backed up and shut the door behind them. She walked with him to the bed and lay down at his side. Still, nothing was spoken between them but Rose knew what the Doctor wanted. There were many times when he'd been troubled or distressed and he welcomed her company. There had been times when they'd had sex but for moments like this, the Doctor wanted only to cuddle and be comforted by her presence. She turned on her side towards him and sighed contentedly when he draped his arm over her and caressed her back while he relaxed and considered the problem at hand.

The Doctor hadn't meant to do this. But looking at Rose and realizing she didn't have mum and the clone in tow, his longing for her increased and now they were lying together in bed. It amused him that neither of them had said a word since he brought her inside, yet she knew what he wanted. It was just an affirmation of the bond he had with her. As he lay with her, he suddenly wondered how this was going to play out with his clone hovering nearby. It was different when he was going to give Rose to him and go back to his own universe, now that he was stuck here for the moment with his clone he suddenly felt very possessive of his lover, especially since he failed to resist the temptation to pull her inside his room. But if his clone shared his memories and mannerisms, he probably would want Rose for himself and he realized he might have a third problem on his hands now. He suddenly regretted taking the hand away from Jack. Because of his severed hand, he was not only going to lose Rose but lose Donna as well. Then he regretted letting his vanity get the best of him and preventing him from regenerating fully into another body. If he hadn't poured the residual energy into the handů

The Doctor sighed. He couldn't change events now and he knew he was wasting time playing the what if game. He had more important things to think about now. He'd been dealt this particular hand by fate and he had to make the best of it. But for the moment, Rose was with him and he could pretend that her mother and his clone weren't down the hall from them.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

The clone lay on his bed in his room. He was using the remote to flip through the TV channels, trying to find something interesting to watch. He was also trying not to think of Rose. When the Doctor mentioned going back to Pete's World, he had given him a pointed look while starting up his TARDIS so it didn't take a rocket scientist to know that he was being dropped off in another universe. He wasn't sure about Rose and where she would land up but he had a feeling she was going to be left behind as well. He was going to tell them something before the TARDIS disappeared and he suspected what he was thinking was what the Doctor was planning to tell them. If that was so, Rose was supposed to be his now, right?

Only hours after being born and already life was complicated. First he gets ostracized for doing what he considered to be the right thing and now he might have to fight over the woman of his dreams with himself. But for the moment, he was willing to put that all aside to help the Doctor find out what happened to the TARDIS and Donna. As for the mystery biography, he didn't care about it, at least not as much as Donna or the TARDIS. He suspected someone at Torchwood got into the Doctor's file and used that as a source for the book. Surely, they had a file on the Doctor, the other one did and if Rose was that adamant about getting back to him, they would want to know everything about him, right? He shared the Doctor's wariness about Torchwood. He didn't like that Rose was working for them and he wondered if someone had done something to Rose to gather information. Maybe hypnotize her or do a mind probe on her and make her forget it? There had to be something more to it.

But for the moment, he was too tired and weary to think about it further. After fighting a battle against Davros and the Daleks, incurring the Doctor's wrath for daring to save the universe without his permission and worrying about Donna, the TARDIS and Rose, he was ready to close his eyes and fall asleep.

That's when he saw it. He paused in his perusal of TV channels, intending to fall asleep to the sounds from the telly when he saw a news report that mentioned the Doctor and the biography. Suddenly awake, the clone sat upright in bed and gave the TV his full attention.

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