Chapter Twenty Eight

John paused for breath after running behind a house. He'd managed to elude the Fifth Doctor but only just. He had hopped a wooden fence and was now leaning up against the wall of a house beside a back door. The garden was bare except for a small vegetable garden and a couple of trees. He took several deep breaths, drawing air into his lungs, while he hoped that he outwitted the Fifth Doctor. He continued to slump against the wooden house, his heart slowing down while he listened for any sign of his pursuer.

Suddenly, the back door opened and a young woman wearing a simple brown dress stepped outside. She looked John's way and started to scream.

"No, no," John said, holding up his hands. "I'm being chased by someone who wants to kill me. I need your help. Please don't scream, I won't hurt you."

The woman relaxed a bit. She had long brown hair that was handing down her back to the small of her back. She had light brown eyes and John thought she was very beautiful.

"'ho's chasin' ya, love?" the woman said.

"A…killer," John said.

"Well, you looks like you don't belong 'ere in the first place. You look a bit posh for the East End," she said, looking him over.

"Yeah, I'm visiting someone," John said.

"Well, can't let ya land up dead, lovey. Come inside that 'ouse and I'll get you a nice cup of tea."

John nodded and thanked her before following her inside. The house was a bit rundown but clean and pleasant in its own little way. The furniture was also a bit rundown but thankfully was free of pests and dirt. The woman introduced herself as Miranda and told him to have a seat in the lounge while she fixed some tea. As he made his way through the house, he was careful to stay away from windows. He sat down in a plush chair and rested while he considered his next move. Now that he'd been spotted, he was sure the Fifth Doctor would return with the other Doctors. Should he surrender himself to them so Ten and Eleven would have time to escape with everyone else? He didn't want to become like the ghoulish Doctors but if it meant that Rose and everyone else could escape, he would gladly give his life for them. For the moment though, he was thankful for the chance to rest and regroup and think.


Jack glanced over his shoulder at the Ninth Doctor. He wasn't entirely trusting of him but for the moment he seemed placated, just as long as Rose remained by him. John had told them where their house was but Jack wasn't sure he should lead the Ninth Doctor directly to it. Not without making sure he wasn't being followed or would turn on them. But he realized he would have to trust him on some level if they were going to make any headway. Lives were at stake, especially John's life and they had to take a chance.

"The TARDIS is near here," he said to the Ninth Doctor. "It's been put a second out of sync with time but I don't know how to reverse it."

"I do," Nine said. "Just take me to it and let me use the chameleon arch since I can see you're nervous about having me here."

"I just don't want a dagger in my back, thanks," Jack said sourly.

"You're not the one in danger at the moment, Jack," Nine said condescendingly. "I told you, they want my tenth self or John or whoever it is to kill Rose."

"Why me?" Rose said.

"Because you're precious to him…and to me. That's why he tried to have me kill you as well but I couldn't do it."

"But you could kill Mum and Mickey," Rose spat out.

"I had to kill someone, I was being watched and to be honest, I wasn't thinking clearly," Nine spat back. "You're not aware of just how powerful the Ripper really is, are ya? You think I'm so filled with goodness but I've seen and done things that I rather not remember. I'm not as goody two shoes as you think I am, Rose. The Ripper, is me, technically. He represents the darkness in me, in all my lives, and yes, your sweetums Tenth Doctor has darkness in him as well. I'm sorry if that upsets you but it's the truth. That's why I want to try Jack's idea and become human so I can unplug from the others and get their voices out of my bleedin' head!"

Rose fell silent as Nine seethed.

"Sorry," she said softly.

Jack looked over his shoulder and noticed Nine was giving Rose a bemused sideways glance. He'd seen that glance before whenever they had fights in the TARDIS. It was the "Oh, you're such a silly ape but I love you," look he gave her after Rose apologized for something. Jack considered that possibly Rose was the one keeping Nine on an even keel for now. He'd seen that before as well, where just her presence and voice could calm him down after one of his rants. She had the power to dispel the turbulence of the Oncoming Storm so he had no doubt that she was the one keeping him from succumbing to the darkness and killing all of them.

They reached the spot where the TARDIS was hidden and Jack pointed it out to the Doctor. River came up beside Jack and he glanced at her. She was glaring at the Doctor and he could tell she was also on her guard but she didn't say anything while Nine reached into his trouser pocket and pulled out a tiny black remote control. He fiddled with it for a moment and then they heard a wheezing as the TARDIS reappeared. He stepped back as he reached into his pocket and handed Jack his TARDIS key.

"I assume it'll still work for this one," he said to him. "I'm letting you do it as a show of trust."

Jack thanked him and took the key. River came up beside Nine, guarding his back and her friends while Jack unlocked the door. When they entered, Nine stepped inside and frowned.

"Something's wrong, I can't communicate with her," he said to Jack.

"We removed the telepathic circuit so we could take the TARDIS offline as well," Jack said.

Nine nodded.

"Then everything will have to be done manually," he said as he followed everyone up the steps to the console. "I trust the circuit is being guarded and is in a safe place?"

"Yes," Jack said.

"Good because she's as good as dead without it," Nine said, patting the rim of the console.

He walked around the console for a moment, staring at the unfamiliar array, trying to familiarize himself with the new layout. He walked back around to the typewriter and rapidly typed commands into it while everyone gathered around.

"Normally, I could think to the TARDIS as well as type out the instructions but since I don't have a connection, I have to type everything out that I need," he said to them as he typed.

He looked around at the group assembled around him.

"This is your army then?" he said to Jack.

"Some of it," Jack said.

"I just hope it's enough to fight the Ripper," Nine said. "Does anyone have a fob watch handy? I don't."

"I know where they are, I'll get one," River said.

She hurried up the stairs to the back door.

"Who's TARDIS is this?" Nine said, glancing at Jack.

"The Eleventh Doctor," he said.

"Nice interior," Nine said, glancing up as he typed. "Not what I would have chosen but not bad."

He continued to type for a few minutes.

"Rose, just as a point of clarification, I'm not mad at you any more," he said, his eyes on the keys while he typed. "You've gone quiet since we argued and I can see you standing there all gutted."

He glanced at her. She was standing beside him, watching him. Their eyes met and Nine smiled and squeezed her chin, eliciting a smile from her. He turned his attention back to his typing and five minutes later, he was finished with his instructions.

"Okay, I gave the TARDIS a new persona but I instructed her to make it as close as possible to me. The only difference is I'll be human. Hopefully, this will…"

He suddenly winced and gripped the rim of the TARDIS.

"Doctor? What is it?"

"I think I've been found out. Ripper suddenly started screaming at me to return to the coven. Augh! Where's the fob watch?"

"River! We need the fob watch now!" Jack yelled up the stairs.

"Coming!" they heard her saying faintly.

Rose and Donna helped the Doctor sit down. He was gritting his teeth, his eyes shut as he slumped down into the chair. River sped down the steps as Jack hit the button and let the chameleon arch drop into his hands. He took the watch from River and inserted it into the holder on the arch.

"What's wrong?" River said when she noticed Nine's distress.

"He's being tormented by the Ripper," Jack said, moving past her with the helmet.
"Doctor, here's the helmet thing."

Nine opened his eyes slightly, took it from him and clamped it down on his head.

"Do it, now!" he yelled as he held the arch on his head.

Jack nodded to River. River moved to the button, pushed it and the Doctor began to scream as a new agony invaded his body and mind.

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