Chapter Twenty Seven

The Ninth Doctor narrowed his eyes as he stood in the shadows of Christ Church and watched his counterpart get out of the hansom cab.

"So the geek's come back to claim his beloved, eh?" he muttered to himself as he watched John put his arm around Rose. "We'll see about that."

The Ninth Doctor knew his jealous urge to throttle his counterpart was just what the master wanted. He knew that he shouldn't give free rein to his darkness but he couldn't help it. Rose was his and his alone. No one else should be able to claim her, let alone another Doctor. But he kept his distance while he struggled with the darkness, trying to keep his primal urges at bay. While he watched, he sensed someone coming up behind him. He turned and saw his fifth self.

"The master was curious as to why you didn't report in," Five said as he studied his older self.

"I was doing surveillance," Nine said, which was the truth.

"Master wishes a regular report," Five said, folding his arms over his chest.

Nine stared silently at his fifth self. He was also emaciated and ghoulish and his hair was matted and dirty with soot and oil. He also had a horrific smell coming off him that made Nine back away from him. He didn't like this incarnation of him, he thought he was a bit too sentimental and wishy washy. He felt his fifth self had been a bit weak which he figured was why he wasn't fighting his conversion now. He wanted to tell Five to piss off but he knew that would be reported and the Ripper would be suspicious, especially since all of them were supposed to be working together. Five moved past him and Nine activated his respiratory bypass system to avoid inhaling his stench. He was dressed in his usual cricketing outfit, except it was all black in a mockery of who he used to be. Five gazed at the Ten Bells but by this time, everyone had gone inside.

"Why are you here?" he said to Nine.

"Surveillance, I believe I just told you that," Nine said tersely.

"Surveillance of who?" Five said.

"The tenth self," Nine said.

"Ah, just what the master requires," Five said, turning his attention back to the pub.

Before Nine could stop him, he was walking towards it. Cursing under his breath, Nine followed him.


"So the ninth Doctor has found us," John said grimly as he and everyone else sat at a table near the back of the pub.

"Just us, he might not have found you," Jack said.

"Still, we might not have much time now," John said. "It might be better to wake the Doctors back up since Nine knows some of us are here. We can still keep the TARDIS hidden but…"

Jack held up his hand and pointed towards the door. A hush fell over the pub as John turned in his seat. He grimaced when he saw the Fifth Doctor entered the pub with Nine following behind him. Five scanned the room and John sighed when his eyes finally fell on him and he grinned.

"I agree. I think it might be time to wake the Doctor's up," John said while Five gestured to Nine and they slowly walked towards the table. "However…"

He reached into his pocket, took out Ten's fob watch and put it into Jack's hands. John stood up and Rose grabbed his sleeve.

"No, what are you doing?" Rose said.

"Diversion, Arkytior," he said.

Rose noticed the loving look on his face and sensed he was saying goodbye to her.

"John, no," Rose said.

"I love you, Rose, now and forever," he said.

He wrenched his arm away and suddenly bolted through the pub. There was a collective gasp from the patrons as he ran at a diagonal angle to the Doctors. Five immediately gave chase but Nine ran towards Jack and the others. Jack leapt up and pulled out his webley, which caused more gasps from the people at the tables around them.

"I told you, you aren't taking her," Jack growled as Nine stopped a few feet from him.

"Take her and hide her, Jack, get out of here, all of you," Nine said, nodding to Rose.

Jack was perplexed. He lowered the gun slightly.

"Doctor?" he said while Rose stood up. "Are you good again?"

"Take her away from here, now!" Nine growled at Jack as he ignored his question.

"Doctor! Wait!" Rose said, holding out her arm to him while Nine spun around and ran towards the front door.

Jack held his gun at his side. Ignoring the women, he followed Nine outside. By now, Five and John were nowhere in sight but Nine was standing just outside the pub. Jack ran up to him, grabbed his leather jacket and spun him around.

"Where are they, you son of a bitch?" he snarled at Nine as he pointed the gun at him.

Again, he was taken aback at the sorrowful look on Nine's face.

"They took John?" Jack said.

Nine frowned.

"John?" he said.

"That wasn't the real Doctor, that was his clone. A half human clone called John," Jack said. "Where did they go?"

"I don't know but you need to take Rose and hide her. She's in danger and possibly the one called River since she's dear to the Eleventh Doctor. Those two must be hid before they're captured."

"Show us where they are," Jack said.

Jack could see the conflict on his face while Nine struggled to fight the darkness inside him.

"The Doctors, are they hidden?" he finally said.

"For the moment. But now that you've found us, I don't know how long that'll last," Jack said.

"And the TARDIS?"

"Hidden," Jack said.

"He's trying to get all the TARDISes as well. He allowed me the use of mine in order to come here but…"

"Doc, do something. Surely, you don't want this to happen," Jack said.

Nine sighed.

"He's too powerful, Jack. He has all of us except two and it's only a matter of time until he has us all."

"So, fight him then!" Jack said in frustration. "John is a friend of ours, he's gonna kill him or possess him or do something nasty to him. Don't you care about that?"

Nine opened his mouth to speak and then looked past him. Jack turned and saw Rose approaching them.

"Doctor?" she said in a choked voice.

"Rose, you have to run, you have to get away from here," Nine said urgently.

"You're not evil?" Rose said hopefully as she came up beside John.

"I don't know what I am anymore," Nine said bitterly. "I just know that you need to run before they catch you. They want the Tenth Doctor or John or whoever the hell he is to kill you so the darkness inside him can claim him."

"Then help us," Rose said. "You're standing here warning me so you must care."

"I told you, the Ripper is too powerful now," Nine said. "He won't let me help you. If my fifth self reports back that I'm not following his orders, he'll send him and the rest and maybe even the wraiths. You need to get in the TARDIS and get away from here."

Rose had a sudden thought.

"We hid the other Doctors by turning them human," Rose said. "With this thing called the chameleon arch."

Nine cocked his eyebrow.

"And this John…is that what you did to him as well?"

"No, he's half human, long story," Rose said when she saw the surprise on Nine's face. "But they did it, turned themselves human to disconnect from the other Doctors so they couldn't be found. Couldn't we do that to you. Turn you human but let you keep your memories so you aren't connected to the other Doctors or the Ripper?"

Nine frowned as he thought that over. By now, the other women and some of the patrons were outside, watching them.

"It might work, Doc," Jack said. "There is a way to just turn you human and let you keep your memories, isn't there?"

"I suppose," Nine said. "I could just have the TARDIS create an identity that's nearly exact to my Doctor persona. I would be human and have a human mind but remember who I was."

"Then why not do that?" Jack said. "You seem willing to distance yourself from the Ripper and everyone else, right?"

Nine looked at Rose.

"Please. Help us," Rose said.

"If I'm human, I'll have human weaknesses," Nine said to her. "If we go against the Ripper, I won't have the same strength or abilities I have now."

"Well, you said that you don't have much hope of defeating him as you are so what's the difference?" Jack said, shrugging.

Nine gazed at Rose.

"I remember you, even in the midst of my darkness," he said to her. "That's kept me from completely succumbing. It's why I spared you that day I killed Jackie and Mickey. I ran after Jack so you could get away."

"I thought as much," Jack said. "I figured you would choose me rather than risk harming her."

Rose, misty eyed, embraced Nine. Nine hesitated for a moment before returning the hug.

"You're not evil, Doctor," Rose said as she held him. "I've seen evil, traveling with you and you're nothing like them."

Nine said nothing, just held her close to him.

"Come on, Doc, we need to act quickly, especially since John is now in danger of being taken over by the Ripper," Jack said.

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